“There was definitely something wrong with this guy; besides the fact that he was an 8-foot-tall pterodactyl with a mischievous look and torn Victorian robes.”
They wouldn’t believe me then and they won’t believe me now, but memory is a strange film; stories exist there.
Sometimes stories can’t be seen, and even more rarely, can’t see themselves and begin to fade out. But this one re-ignited, reanimated itself with a will I’m envious of.
This event took place in present day Los Angeles, more specifically Silver Lake where I lived in a lovely sunny apartment near the reservoir and near a bar called the Cha Cha Lounge.
From our apartment you could see the drunken bar flies zipping back and forth in front of our building. It was right there on the sidewalk that I saw the first murder–it was kinda dark and hard to see, all I could make out is a giant bird-like creature rush up behind a bearded hipster dude, grab his neck and pull him down out of sight. You could see all this going on through the window of our dim living room scene. The room had an old television which had been converted into a fish tank; but the murky tank hadn’t had fish in years.
So, I see this guy get taken down outside and quickly informed my roomies, “Woah, did anyone else see that?” A sea of all the faces of everyone I’ve ever lived with looked up at me from various books/laptop screens and gave me a “huh?” look.
Nobody seemed to know what I was talking about so I shrugged it off and didn’t mention it to anyone again. Later I thought to myself “that bird-guy thing creeps me out, I’m gonna see what’s up…” and decided to Google ‘missing persons in Los Angeles.’
There’s a part missing here in my memory but the next scene begins with me coming home to the apartment after work a few days later. There was a shared omniscient knowledge that people have been going missing throughout L.A. without anyone knowing why or how, and I’ve been telling my roomies about it for days and no one believes me. Don’t forget, that by roomies I mean an endless cavalcade of roommates, friends and family from the past and present, “Intervention” style.
So I came home from work a few days later, and everyone was sitting in my living room laughing and eating GIANT tacos with little tacos on top. Amongst them, with his own giant taco with lil tacos on top was… a Skeksis.
If you aren’t familiar with the Skeksis or Jim Henson’s Fantasy/Sci-Fi piece, The Dark Crystal then you’re missing out–I won’t ruin it for you but the Skeksis are a race of gigantic vulture like bird kings who harshly and lavishly struggle to stay in power, while their robes turn to rags. They steal souls, sack villages, commit genocide… they are EVIL. They also worship this dark sort of crystal… hence the name.
So I entered the apartment and everyone’s eating these oversized cartoon looking tacos with little tacos on top and my jaw drops to the floor as I recognize the murderer I had seen the other night. Little bits of taco spewed out of his mouth as he gargle-laughed along with all my friends.
“Who is this?” I awkwardly blurted out, still holding my purse in one hand, my laptop bag slung over my shoulder.
“Oh this is Skeksis–he’s our new roomie, hope you don’t mind! We said it was cool for him to move in.” everyone smiled and chewed.
“Well, no one asked me… but,” I felt myself trailing off as the Skeksis stared at me, his eye twinkling. I didn’t want to be the only one who said it wasn’t ok… but there was definitely something wrong with this guy; besides the fact that he was an 8-foot-tall pterodactyl with a mischievous look and torn Victorian robes. I tried to pull one of my roommates aside to explain, but they wouldn’t listen. “No I SWEAR that’s the guy who’s been killing people!” I pointed to Skeksis as I whispered from the kitchen, looking at him looking at me.
“Skeks? Naw man, he’s new to LA.” The room laughed at a joke Skeksis made and everything seemed to be fine. My friend patted my arm and went back to eating her giant taco with little tacos on top. After a beat ‘Skeks’ excused himself, putting down his giant taco, and walked out the front door to the street where the hipsters will soon be going by. I can see him out the window, past the couch where my friends are stuffing themselves with Disney tacos. I sat and watched, thinking “maybe he’s alright…” but suddenly, I see Skeksis grab an innocent girl in high-waisted polka dot shorts and drag her down out of sight.
“See! LOOK!” I said and sprang up, knocking into someone’s taco and sending lettuce everywhere. “Did you guys see that?” I pointed right out the window past everyone’s head, but by the time their taco stuffed mouths turned to look, there was nothing there–in true slapsticky Abbott and Costello fashion.
“What?” my friend angrily wiped lettuce off her lap, “I don’t see shit Viv, why don’t you chill out, yeh?” I stared out the window, blinking and hoping that my friends would see what I wanted them to see. But everyone was looking at me like I was nuts, so I decided to relax and put my stuff down in my room. By the time I came back out Skeksis was back, eating his giant taco with little tacos on top, as if nothing had happened. I half-smiled and his grin greased up the side of his face as I walked by to go to the kitchen.
“Hey, so where’s my taco? Did you guys make me one?”
There was a super awkward silence, “Oh shit, sorry dude. I guess we forgot and gave yours to Skeksis!” My friend shrugged and everyone continued eating, a little guiltily, but no one slowed down.
“Oh that’s ok, no worries,” I said, trying not to sound so hurt. Skeksis’ eyes burned into me. I was starving so I asked, “Can I have one of the little tacos on someone’s big taco?” and that’s when everyone stopped eating to look at me. One of my roommates sneered and said, “How are we supposed to eat our giant tacos without the little ones on top?” The room let out a round of “yeah, c’mon,” “duh” and “seriously?”
“I suppose you’re right- ha…” I trailed off as my roomies’ faces disappeared behind the tacos again. Skeksis stared at me through the eyes of an alligator and then he went out the front door again.
I shuffled back to my room, hungry and heard a sound like, someone screaming.
Story by Vivian Martinez.
Art by Yvonne Martinez.
Vivian Martinez grew up in Southern California and still lives there today. You can see more of her writing and her photography on her website thevivianmartinez.com or her Instagram @thevivmart. Vivian is a huge lover of comedy and hopes to make you laugh with/at her again someday.
Yvonne Martinez is an animator and illustrator living in Brooklyn. She likes pictures of cats, doodling, and the Internet. She goes by @meowiewowwie on Twitter and Instagram. Her portfolio can be found here: http://yvonnemart.com