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Glitches Free Online Serial Novel


Chapter 2

I messed up somewhere along the road. But I wasn’t sure where exactly. Somehow the summation of all the choices that comprised my life had brought me to this place where I’d become completely disinterested in absolutely everything that surrounded me. At the face of it, I have been given absolutely every single thing imaginable and haven’t deserved any of it. And yet, here I am.

Sitting here on my couch in my small loft high above downtown Denver I contemplated the universe. The tips of both hands worry definite patterns in the fray upholstery of my battered couch as I stare across the city as the morning light show of sunrise began unfolded before me. I had found the couch while dumpster diving at some point in my college ‘career’. The puffy brown beast of a couch quickly became a friend of mine as it comforted me and guided me as I thought. Fiddling and pulling at the frayed fabric quickly became a therapeutic catharsis for me. And today was no exception.

Today was the bottom I had decided. Nothing specific precipitated this feeling. It just was. There is something good about arbitrarily deciding that this is as bad as it can get as there is an inherent hope in the thought that everything will go up from here. Until it doesn’t of course, but that’s another matter entirely. But at that particular moment I was certain that my vantage was at ’the bottom’.

If forced to consider my circumstances I would have admitted that I actually it pretty good. Fairly prestigious job at the most well known architecture firms along the front range. I was moving up through the ranks quickly and learning the nuances of the trade. My girlfriend, by all manner of speaking, was beyond amazing. Drop dead gorgeous and probably encouraging to a fault. If anything Yolanda doted too much if that’s even possible. She anticipated my moods and somehow was there before I even realized I needed her.

“I could be bounded in a nutshell and still consider myself king of infinite space – and yet… I have bad dreams.”

Hamlet always moved me. The entire struggle. Grief and shock tinctured with responsibility. The seed of responsibility growing and festering inside him until it explodes out of his chest and ultimately drives him mad with it. And out of this madness acts of great selfless valor. “And yet, I have bad dreams.”

My own dreams have no form and I remember nothing when I awake. But still they torment me. And overtime I had slowly become enshrouded in gray. Eventually the gray pooled along the ceiling and dripped down and slithered across the floor. When I looked at myself in the mirror it was as if grey of life oozed out of my eye sockets and ran down my face.

Ennui defined me. Listlessness consumed me. Boredom oozed out of my core.

There was a knock at the door. Amazing really. That had to be Yolanda.

I didn’t even bother getting up off the couch – “Come!” I yelled down the length of my apartment.

And like that, a ray of light flitted and skipped her way my direction. Before I knew it she was there with her head in my lap and her arms around my legs. “Good morning sunshine.” came her muffled voice. She flipped her long blond hair out of her way and looked up into my eyes. She was assessing my mood, I could see it in her face. And with one cocked eyebrow a verdict had been reached. “This won’t do at all.”

“What?” I said sullenly.

“What?!” she laughed. “You look like you’ve been run over by a freight train full of kitchen sinks.”

“Kitchen sinks?” I chuckled, in spite of myself. Yolanda had a way with words. I had to give her that. “Isn’t it, ‘everything but the kitchen sink’?”

“Sure. And you look like all those neglected kitchen sinks were assembled and piled on a freight train… which then ran you over. See? Makes perfect sense.”

“Ok. If you say so.”

“Great. Because I do. Now. Let’s get you dressed and I’m taking you out.” Taking me out normally meant breakfast at the French bistro on the corner. Or maybe a walk around downtown and maybe over to the city center.

“I think I’ll pass this time. I might just read this morning.”

Yolanda buried her face into my lap and began shaking her head vigorously. “No, no, no, Bentley. You read way too much. Whole libraries of books have already been devoured. I think its time we got you out and had some fresh air.” She pulled herself up off the floor and pushed me back against the couch. Her cashmere sweater was drawn tight against her chest and her lips found mine quickly enough. “Ben, come out with me.” she pleaded.

I knew that my ability to object was going to fail. I really couldn’t stand being alone. I’ve always had this terrible weakness for desiring other’s company. Even when I needed to think and make decisions I always found myself gravitationally pulled towards the company of other’s and distraction instead. And so I consented. “Alright. Alright, already.”

With that Yolanda jumped up and clapped her hands like a cheerleader beginning a new cheer. “Fantastic!” she exclaimed. And then she was gone. She headed into my bedroom and I knew she was selecting my wardrobe. I could almost guess what she was going to pick. This past week she had surprised me with a new linen button down shirt and loafers from Banana Republic. She was always buying me clothes and then building ensembles for social events I couldn’t have even imagined existed.

Sure enough, Yolanda walked out brandishing the new shirt, a pair of her favorite jeans (that she had also given to me a month or two ago) and the new loafers. She headed into the bathroom and returned, “Shower. Then we’ll go.” I dutifully obeyed. With reluctance I let go of the worried edges of my couch and headed towards the bathroom.

Twenty minutes later I was showered, shaved and dutifully wearing the proffered items. “Oh, yes. Much better. Don’t you feel better now?” and then without waiting for an answer, “Then, let us away!” And with that we left.


I stared into cloud of cream that I had just poured into my very black coffee. The cream exploded into a cumulous cloud and then folded back in on itself again. Cream and coffee always fascinated me. Watching the mixture of light and dark dance, and then ultimately the two contrasting colors enfolding each other and becoming one color completely different than the previous two.

“Auntie has invited us to her annual fund raiser that is happening tomorrow night.” There were about a million things that annoyed me about this sentence. Of course she invited us to her party. We have been hearing about nothing at all since she began planning it four months ago. So for Yolanda to speak to me like I hadn’t heard of it until just now grated on my last nerve. Yolanda was always coddling me like this. Speaking down to me like I’m mentally not all there. And yet, there was a part of me that had gotten used to it somewhat. And so I began to allow all the things she talked about to go in one ear and out the other knowing full well she would remind me again later when it was absolutely necessary to know more about this thing.

The fund raiser was one of the biggest galas of the year in Denver each year. All of Denver’s truly connected and noteworthy individuals came. The fund raiser managed to bring in multiple millions each year somehow, although I had never once seen a single check handed over or money discuss even once. I had been going since Yolanda and I had started dating. I think this would be my fourth such event and I hated them more than I can even express to you. I’m sure all of my friends would have killed to rub shoulders with all of these people. But I couldn’t stand any of it.

“Did you hear me Bentley?” Yolanda asked as sweet as pie.

“Yes. Yes mam I did.” And then without thinking I asked, “Would it be the end of the world if I took a pass on the gala this year?” Yolanda’s face didn’t change at all. Nothing moved. And yet there was a lack of something now that had been there before. She blinked once and then the moment passed. “I take that as a definite yes then. The world would end if I chose not to attend. You do know I loathe these events don’t you? Disdain them with the fire of a thousand suns even.”

“Ben. You are being melodramatic. It’s just a party. Go. Have some wine. Talk to the Governor, he loves you. Have a crab rangoon. And then it’ll be over.” She smiled a suddenly shellacked on smile that said – ‘If you have any idea what is good for you… you will go, and you will enjoy it.’

“Fine.” I answered. “But boy are you going to owe me this year.” Yolanda giddily clapped and giggled at this. And it was then – strangely enough – that I began plotting my own death.


Later that afternoon after Yolanda had left to go help her aunt finalize preparations for the party I found myself back on my couch, staring out the windows as the sun was now beginning its graceful swan dive. The colors began to explode into sherbet oranges and pinks as the sun slid silently closer to the mountains.

I flipped onto my back and stared at the ceiling. And despite the brilliant display of the coming sunset and despite the beauty of my girlfriend and the general luckiness of this life that I lived… I watched as grey oozed from the ceiling and coalesce into pools. The grey of life began dripping from the ceiling and listening to it splatter against the hardwood. I flipped back over on my side and watched the clouds form and move through the sky out my enormous windows.

It was then that I first noticed the glitches.

At first I thought my eye was involuntarily twitching, causing the pauses in my head. Maybe it was the imagined grayness coating everything that was playing with my mind and now I was really beginning to see things. That a part of me, physically, that was quitting now. Was my body now giving up and abandoning hope as well?

Oh. One other small thing you probably need to know is that I had decided to take my own life. I left work early this afternoon and purchased a bottle of Drain-o, a carving knife and a Glock 34 hand gun. I knew I wanted to die, but I hadn’t decided on the way to go about it. As I laid there on the couch staring out the window I began to contemplate my options. It was then that I noticed a jet break through the clouds inbound on its final approach to the nearby airport.

And without warning the world snapped to a halt. The plane paused in the sky. The omnipresent sound of the large clock in my kitchen stopped as well. I craned my neck around and saw that the enormous second hand was frozen in time just like the jet outside my bay window. I flipped my gaze back to the plane. It continued its unmoving resistance against the laws of gravity. It sat there like some leaden blimp immune to the laws of physics. I continued to stare at the jet for almost a full minute before the glitch unclutched the world around me and the plane continued its descent towards the airport.

As soon as the pause released its hold on the world my cell phone rang and the amazement of the moment ended. If I hadn’t been so off balance by watching the jet hang there in the sky I wouldn’t have taken the call. But I’m sure I answered on sheer reflex and surprise at what had just happened. And just like I feared, it was Yolanda calling to make sure I’d made an appointment with the ophthalmologist like I said I would after complaining unwittingly snags in my vision I’d begun to have recently. Oh, that and to make sure the job hunt was proceeding along with all haste and diligence.

“Hey. Did you get the appointment like I told you to? You really need to get this eye thing taken care of.” She always hollered into the phone. It drove me crazy that she had no idea how loud she was. Constantly yelling. And on her cell it was even worse. It was as if she had to propel the volume of the transmission across the distance all by herself. Maybe she thought that the technology itself did nothing but provide a tunnel to yell though?

“I’ll go with you. Just make the appointment for after I get off work. It won’t do to have you going on your own. By the way, how goes the job search? Oh and do remind me again why you walked away from your perfectly good job at that prestigious architecture firm, where everyone loved you and your work? Never mind, I don’t want to get into that again. Not now. Not on the cell.” I wondered if she noticed I hadn’t even said a single word yet? How did she even know she was actually talking to me?

The joblessness had become a common refrain for Yolanda. My self inflicted joblessness that is. Oh, and her “jobfulness”. Somehow she managed to mention her fantastic job dutifully multiple times every conversation we had – even if subtly. And my lack of a job was mentioned infinitely less tactfully. What really rubbed me raw was how often she mentioned her parent’s money and how she didn’t even need to work. It was enough to drive someone to suicide really. Speaking of which… where was I?

There really are benefits and negatives to pretty much every form of suicide. The revolver makes the exit quickly and inherently it is a fairly selfish . Faster than thought even. I am pulling the Trigg- … And its finished. There is something appealing to that really. Fast and final. No mistakes or maybes there.

“Remember that Auntie is hosting us for tea this evening. Please, whatever you do, don’t make an ass out of yourself again like last time. And for the love of all, please make an attempt to look halfway pulled together. You may be unemployed but I will not have you looking the part as well. Auntie still reminds me how you didn’t wear a tie last time. Wear the Hilfigger I bought you for your birthday and your new wingtips. I’ll pick you up at 7.”

The carving knife speaks of artistry and intentionality. Determination. It takes determination to carve oneself in order to exit the planet. Hara-kiri has to be one of the most intense ways to make a departure. Those World War II Japanese fellas were intense. But I give them this, it definitely strikes an amazing tone for those left behind. I mean, if that is your goal anyway. I failed my suicide bombing mission, but I won’t fail at taking my own life. Knife please.

“By the way, my car is sputtering occasionally. Can you look at it this weekend? You need to keep busy anyway. This will give you something good to point your brain at. Are you there? Bentley? Are you listening to me? You never listen to me.”

If I was looking to strike a penitent note, the Drain-o would be the way to go. It also sends a message of extreme pain to those being left behind. Was it really THAT bad? Drain-o? It also guarantees a closed casket, which means that it avoids the obvious overly public gnashing of teeth and hand holding that Yolanda would force onto all the attendees at the funeral. The woe is me would just be almost too much to bear.

“Well, please send me a list of the job openings you send your resume to today. I’m thinking 10 or 20 minimum. There has got to be someone who needs help out there. Someone who needs an architect. You just need to get off your butt and make it happen.”

The trick, the brilliant play, would be to figure out how to use all three without screwing it up and spending the rest of my life a vegetable. Would it be knife, then Drain-o, then gun? Drain-o, then knife followed by the gun? Obviously the revolver would be last – unless I could figure out some magic trick to pulling off the inverse. Now that would take some study. That would be a worthwhile thing to investigate. So little in life is worth really concentrating for. But that may just be something worthy of my full attention attention. That would be a truly great calling. That and this weird glitching thing of course… whatever that’s about.

“Remember. Seven. Don’t be late for once. I’ll see you then.” CLICK.

After I was certain the call was dead I started in, answering to no one. “I’m listening. I really wasn’t aware a response was required. Seems like you had this conversation well under control. And by the way, I quit my job as an architect for a reason.” Looking at my paint covered hands I realized what a bad idea trying to take up painting out of the blue was. It seemed perfect at the time. I hated the rulers, the drafting pencils and most of all, the clients. And I was madly in love with my paintbrushes. So it made sense at the time. But looking back at it now – I really don’t know what I was thinking.

I stood up and walked over to the table. And on an impulse I grabbed the knife by the blade end and my hand was instantly bleeding. The pain drove a clarity that was refreshing. Made everything stand out clearly and succinctly. There was dullness and then there was the sharp clarity of the knife. And then without giving it much thinking I threw the knife across the room with such force and violence it was surprising.


The knife was halfway across the room heading on a direct flight path towards an enormous photo of Yolanda and myself. A gaudy behemoth of a thing. The knife hung there like the jet had only moments before. The knife’s potential violence was stored and waiting to be released towards the ghastly monolith of a photo that was meant to celebrate our fantastic relationship.

I wandered over to the knife and stood beside it. Well would you look at that? I considered momentarily standing in front of it; that would be a truly glorious way to die! It would baffle investigators for ages and the last thing they’d even consider would be suicide. And then without warning the glitch released and the carving knife blasted forward again on its arc towards Yolanda’s head. And with a loud SLAM the knife pierced the glass, Yolanda’s right eye, and embedded itself in the wall behind the frame. Shattered glass fell in an explosion and tinkled to the ground in a beautiful melody of ill portent.

Yes, this ‘glitching thing’ definitely was something worthy of pointing my brain towards. And suddenly I threw up with such violence it was shocking.

I am absolutely sick of Starbucks, and yet here we are… again. The most infuriating thing is that Yolanda knows just how much I despise Ventis & Grandes. The way the staff correct you order every time you refuse to play their game.

“I’d like a large coffee please.”

“One Venti Drip!”

“A medium latte with vanilla, and can I get an extra shot too?”

“One Grande Triple Vanilla Latte!”

I mean, seriously? It was enough to make me want to walk back there with a baseball bat and cause some havoc. And yet, here we were again.

At least we were sitting outside anyway. It was a beautiful spring day and Yolanda was happily talking in a constant torrent of information sans punctuation or pauses. Her pixie haircut bobbing this way and that as her diatribe threaded its circuitous and wandering route to nowhere in general. Whole topics and subjects were being treated like recursive subsets of a single larger meta-conversation that made sense to Yolanda alone.

I remember that that was the day when I began to realize that the glitches were somewhat controllable. I didn’t necessarily summon a glitch so much as I made Yolanda stop talking. And there she was paused in mid-syllable. Mouth open, spittle flying, eyes closed. It was enough to make me laugh out loud. Right there, right then, I surprised myself by laughing louder than I had in years. After I wiped my eyes and blew my nose on my tie that I hated so much the thought occurred to me that I should go get a drink I actually would like. The thought came fully formed from nowhere actually. But in that moment, I wanted nothing more than to get rid of my Starbucks and to get a drink from the local shop further down the street.

So I chucked my drink in a long arc out into the street and began running amongst the paused traffic until I made it all the way to Rick’s Coffee Shop half way down the block. I slid between two customers who were paused on their way through the open door and headed directly over to the order counter. I noticed there was a cup of something hot there with steam stalled out in mid-curl. And with a quick whiff I guessed that it was a white mocha, a bit sweeter than I prefer, but it would do. Better than anything from Starbucks anyway.

So I grabbed the drink off the counter and spun around on my heel. As I did I immediately felt like I was being watched.

Something had subtly changed, but I was unsure as to what exactly it was. Surveying the room I saw people in various half-mannequinned poses and funny states of disarray. It was then that I noticed her. Or maybe she noticed me? Her eyes were locked directly at me. Was that where she was looking when the glitch happened, or had she moved? I was unsure. But the one thing I was sure of was that she was the most distinctly beautiful woman I’d ever seen. Brilliantly long curly red hair. She was a vision straight out of a Celtic story of old. This woman transcended time.

Slowly I began to walk around the outer periphery of the store away from her. Just like I’d assumed her gorgeous eyes followed. And yet no other part of her moved. Can she see me? Is she aware of what is happening? It was then that I realized the glitch was going to collapse very soon. I wasn’t sure how I knew, I just knew. It was as clear and obvious as her gorgeous red locks.

So I ran.

I slid into my chair just as the Glitch snapped off and the world continued on in its loud and bustling way. Yolanda’s tirade continued right where it left off. And she hadn’t even noticed my pale demeanor or the lack of a Starbucks logo on my cup. Was she really that oblivious? Seriously? Apparently she was.

It was then that I decided I actually had a life purpose. I needed to figure out how to master this glitching. I needed to figure out how to make them happen at will. And then I needed to extend them indefinitely somehow. And all of this was for one purpose only. I needed to find the redhead again. I needed to make her love me.

In those early days of my investigations I had no idea how naïve I really was. It was as if I was a toddler learning how to walk and I had no idea that the concept of running was out there waiting for me to learn. There were just so many things I was clueless about. The Councils and the Cerebrals. The Skill Guilds. All of it. I was so blissfully unaware of this wide open maw of an underworld that I was walking directly into. I was just so completely unaware of what I didn’t know or understand.

One foot forward, step, next foot forward was the only thing I was concentrating on. But the idea that I was being played with from the outset never once occurred to me.

Eventually I realized that if began applying for hundreds of jobs en masse I would then be able to show Yolanda a little bit of progress each day. And then I realized that potential employers calling back started to get annoying and so I began to forge all my applications from beginning to end. This became infinitely more convenient all the way around in order to allow me to concentrate 100 percent of my energy on understanding this strange other worldly Glitch phenomenon.

My practice began simply enough. At first I started by tossing an orange into the air and seeing if I could freeze time around it. All this did was to batter and bruise my poor orange. I didn’t realize how hard this type of Glitching really was. It required such a fine tuned finesse that I just couldn’t get the hang of it. I quickly gave this method up and instead just tried to invoke a glitch at all.

That particular afternoon while laying on my battered couch I began focusing on the second hand. I realized later that the key was to find the hook. The handle to grab hold of mentally. And it also required an understanding what kind of power was even available to me within my reserve. Suddenly, snap! Just like that I was able to stop the second hand dead in its tracks.

Moments after I released the second hand I tried to grab it again and I almost passed out. I had no idea that there . Understandably I had been exerting extreme levels of energy to maintain the focus enough to control time. And it was my second attempt that had me throwing up on the floor a few minutes later.

So there definitely were limits. This much was clear.

I quickly learned, through repeated ralphing on the floor, that I generally could handle invoking several glitches a day. There were days I could do more, and days I could do less. And the causal link to how many I could handle was completely unclear to me. Was it how much I ate? Food related? Or how much I slept? Nothing seemed to make sense. One day I could do four and another day I could only do two. I couldn’t surmise as to the why. But I knew that figuring this piece of the puzzle out was critical to understanding this new ability of mine. And it could hold the key to helping to increasing the power available to me as well.

I soon starting hearing scuttlebutt that Yolanda’s family was expecting me to propose to her. This was complete news to me. Something I had never once even considered seriously. Yolanda always demurred when the topic came up, but it was obvious that she was expecting it too. Which was fascinating to me really. I didn’t understand why this well to-do family was so gung ho about my marrying Yolanda. Like, at all. Currently I was unemployed and I wasn’t from a well off family like theirs. And yet it seemed like the entire clan was hunting me down like a pack of dogs.

Call me a coward, but I was trapped and I couldn’t see a way out.

“Ah” I thought to myself. “Anger is the key. Passion and vitriol is the driver.” And everything snapped together and was clear.

Let me back up. It was a big day when I finally realized that days when I spent more time with Yolanda I was able to glitch substantially more. Once I understood that everything changed. I even began to revel in the anger. I welcomed it even.

So as we were doing our weekly visits with the family I began to become excited about the opportunities. And as I listened to them talking about me derisively right in front of me, as if I wasn’t even there, I allowed the hate to boil in a subcompartment somewhere deep inside of me. It was on those days that I was able to cause glitch after glitch in rapid succession without any sort of side effect. I felt almost omnipotent. It was an enormous high. It was a drug all its own.
Eventually I started inviting myself to more and more family events. I began seeking them out and even attending without Yolanda as I hunted for more glitch reserve. This in turn caused more conjecture about Yolanda and myself getting engaged which in turn caused more anger. It was a dance with death really as I courted the hate and welcomed it. Which caused even more misunderstandings and anger. All of it boiled towards a nefarious end… power.

The only other thing I spent my time concentrating on was my investigation into finding the Celt. I blew up a ten foot by ten foot map of the city and put it up in my spare room that I had only been using for storage up until that point. I began plotting key locations around the city that I thought might be relevant. And then I began placing pins and yarn from location to location to highlight their connections.

The key point on the map was Rick’s Coffee Shop and it was the only firm thing I had to go on. I then began plotting key housing areas within walking distance. Then I began plotting other similar coffee shops that may be intriguing to someone that frequented a place like Rick’s. Stepping back from the map I realized I really didn’t have much to go on, but every single shred of even the thinnest of evidence I catalogued and noted.

Several weeks after I began searching for my lady in Red I cashed in my retirement in order to pay for living expenses and some of the more costly investigative expenses. I kept that little transaction to myself knowing full well that if Yolanda caught wind of it I was a dead man.

And once I realized I was running out of leads I began spending some of my Glitch investigation time at Rick’s in the hope that she might wander back through while I was there. I would sit and stare at the table for hours with the hope of being able to stop time around me. Occasionally I would get it and once time started again the people around me would wonder why I would randomly begin jumping up and down. I think Rick and the other staff just thought I was mentally not all there. Which was ok with me. Whatever it took to be left alone in my investigations.