"If you didn’t blow something up, you didn’t do it right. That’s what they used to say."

stories

Michael Jimenez

jimenezA Southern California native, Michael Jimenez divides his time between the Coachella Valley and Los Angeles. Michael is a published writer with two pieces of work in the spring 2012 issue of West. An Honors Program student, Michael has been developing a unique technique for writing within the context of traditionally structured English composition classes. He hopes to present this process at the HTCC Student Research Conference at UC Irvine. Michael attributes his success as a writer to his lifelong love of reading. A husband and a father, Michael says his family is the most important facet of his busy life. Michael's schooling comes at the perfect time because he can do homework next to his six-year-old son in hopes that his son will absorb some techniques and discipline at a young age. Michael plans to continue to challenge himself scholastically through the most rigorous courses available. He hopes to attend UCLA in pursuit of both an undergraduate degree as well as admittance to the UCLA School of Law.

Other Works:


Nobody Dies Today

Nobody dies today.  Nobody dies today.   Nobody dies today.  Nobody dies today.  My time would be better spent banging my head against the tank outside.  Every week we leave the coastline and raid the inner city for supplies.  It used to be different.  The rich ones used to live here.  We were the ones in the inner city.  Not anymore.  The lines blurred.  Wires crossed.  Usually things fry when that happens.  I guess that’s what’s happening now. 

Lyoto was the guy to rely on.  I never have to worry about his focus.  The guy was like a Swiss timepiece, never missed a beat.  Chuck was the explosive.  Absolutely necessary, he was volatile but if you needed to raid you probably needed to blow something up.  If you didn’t blow something up, you didn’t do it right.  That’s what they used to say.  Every explosive needed a source of ignition.  A controlled source of ignition to jump start the bomb.  That source was me.  A graduate of one of those high end schools in the old days, I remember when the Bachelor’s Degree meant something.  My martial arts and athlete background was of more use lately.  Now the goal was to survive. 

Raids started at the most western end of what used to be the 10 freeway.  We called it the strip.  It was the only direct way to enter the heart of the freeway system downtown.  From there we could raid any of the halls around Southern California. 

The raiding.  The taste of burning flesh in the air.  The smell of singed hair stuck to third degree burns.  Skin stuck to strips of cloth stuck to the remnants of a limb.  This was the picture painted by those of us who went raiding.  It usually wasn’t this way, if we could avoid it.  Dana was the politician.  She graduated from the same program that I did.  She was more predisposed to play the social role.  You couldn’t really tell if she wanted to vaporize you or side with you.  She looked capable of doing either.  Or both.  Most of the time, she was good at dealing with the clans that we would come across along the trek down the strip.  She knew most of the notable and influential people along the way.  The goal was either to trade secrets or supplies on the way in or out.  This was to gain favor with the natives.  Any of them could snipe us at well over a mile away.  It paid to know and be known.  Dana did both.  It saved out lives every time.  You wouldn’t want to go into hostile territory without your full team. 

Today we slipped onto the strip like Olympic luge gold medalists.  Our trucks were running good today.  The freeway was littered with remnants of the war but like a trail in the forest, we had been up and down enough times to leave a beaten path.  Trades and nods got us into the heart of the city.  From there we parked the trucks under the freeway and iced down our coolant suits.  We wore these to reduce our heat signatures.  Stealth was the name of the game lately. 

Let’s make it quick like bad sex Dana said.  Past the bank and around the corner, our target was upstairs in the shopping center.  The door was emblazoned with a huge red bulls eye.  This was one of the last stores built before the destruction began.  We slipped under the gate and silently pried open the armored door.  Out came the bags and for a split second smiles lit up the dim aisle.  When the bags were full, we eased out of the store and closed the doors. 

Muzzle flash and ringing ears is all I can remember.  The next thing I can remember is bloody feet and a metallic taste in my mouth.  They won’t get it out of me.  Our camp and our routes are not going to leak from my lips.  They tried to torture me.  She walked in and saved me. 

Dana, how did you get in here? You’re one of them?  Not exactly, I mean yes, but no.  We can talk later.  For now you need to make nice with these guys.  I’m trying to buy you time until we can get you broken out of here.  You play the hard ass, they will skin your ass while you watch. Neither of us wants to see that.  Give them little shit until Lyoto can slip in and get you out.  I’ll see you back at camp.  I don’t know how they did it but I made it home.  Dana didn’t.

It took a month for me to recover from my injuries.  The scars stayed but my muscles healed.  One more raid to the store with the bulls eye on the front.  It felt familiar but the trip in took much more time without her.  When we got inside, the stench of rotting flesh overcame us.  We stalked past the section with all the mannequins and women’s clothing.  Dana was modeling the latest fashions!  They had left what was left of her here as a warning to us.  This is what happened when you crossed them.  Way to set an example.  I knew it was a possibility.  Do I fight back or let her go? 

The decision was made for me.  The raiders blasted our door down.  I initiated the self-destruct sequence and that was it…


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