Bleach Monster, Part VIII

Dani woke up. Today is her birthday. She was pondering the text from Murray. She knew it was cryptic for a reason. She expected him to call with birthday greetings. He always called early. He is not vermin.

On Murray’s 18th birthday not one friend or family member called to say happy birthday. He spent the day with his parents and Dani. No one called. Not even his grandmother, who’s notorious for calling at around 6:00 a.m. on big days in one’s life. He decided they were all vermin.

Back to the text, she knew she had to meet Murray. He offered two choices. There was no way she was going to 161 Street. Sadly her days of going to the Stadium ended. She became a traitor and rooted for the Mutts.

She knew Murray hated coming back to the Island. Not sure it was that he hated that place so much or the harrowing commute to get there. A train, to a filthy ferry, another train and then being picked up in Annandale took longer than going to Boston. Our hearts are with them today.

So, she said she could meet him in two days at Wolfe’s Pond Park. Murray loved that place. He learned to inline skate there. Audrey came running into her room with a homemade birthday card and a cupcake. It was a little early for the cupcake. But Audrey was wearing such a loving smile when she handed it over to her mom. Dani ate it.

Audrey was excited that she got to spend the day with her mom. But she was more excited that she was going to the Staten Island Zoo. She loves animals. Unlike her mom, she isn’t afraid of snakes. Of course, that fear is Murray’s fault.

The trip to the zoo was easy. Everything was calm. They had pizza for lunch, watched Disney DVDs and got ready for a birthday dinner with Robbie, her husband and an ever-doting father to Audrey.

The day came. Murray stood in front of the restrooms at Wolfe’s Pond Park waiting for Dani. He decided to take the SI train or trolley as he called it to Huguenot. He walked down Huguenot Ave. to Hylan Blvd. to the park. He barely looked at Tottenville High School. That dump wasted four years of his life. Boy did he hate that place with a passion. He has no care in the world about that institution now. It was a faded memory of his past.

Dani drove in and parked in Murray’s traditional parking spot. He is very ritualistic and always parked in the same spot in the park and just about anywhere else. She knew he’d be standing by the park’s latrine.

He smiled and pulled a bottle of Segal’s Fusion Red out of his knapsack. He opened, decanted and poured. He was laughing and smiling every step of the way.


She reluctantly sipped her wine. She knew exactly why he did this. Even he though fought with bleach. He was a Sith at heart. The Force was always strong within him.

They chatted for about an hour. The bottle of Segal’s was finished and tossed in the recycle bin.

The two siblings agreed to get their little “weapons,” Danny and Tony together to start their “empire”. They would meet in two weeks at the South Street Seaport.

Over the next few days, Murray and Dani worked out and made sure Danny and Tony followed suit.

All were anxiously waiting for the rapidly approaching meeting date.


Bleach Monster, part VII


Murray woke up to a lovely spring morning. Before he went to bed he watched, Andy pitch a great game and was happy that Cano was beginning to hit well. All was right with the world.


Stacey was out of the picture.  Murray was upset. But not terribly depressed. She is cute.  But she wasn’t right for him.  Perhaps he’d find a new crazy before the end of the season.


Anyway, he brought his laundry off to the Laundromat. He no longer did his own laundry. He had to be careful with his use of bleach for him to continue to be the “Bleach Monster”.  He hopped on the R-train and headed to Columbus Circle.


As he sat on the train he began to read, “Revan”. He was obsessed with the Old Republic. He felt he was part of it. He loved the battles and knew he had to fight much more.


He knew he had to form an alliance.  Of course, he had to be in control. He was a little confused about how to get Dani, “the Wine-Girl,” Danny, “Blubber-Boy,” and Tony, “Tear-Water Boy” together under his domain. His sister, Dani would be the toughest.


He got off the train and grabbed a hot dog and Pepsi from a street vendor. He began to walk through Central Park.  It was the usual park scene.  Murray went to his rock.  He’d been sitting on that rock and meditating for more years than he can remember. He was good at it. He turned his iPhone off and immersed himself in his thoughts.


About an hour later he jumped off his rock and bought bottled water. He hiked over to the lake.  A cute couple was in a rowboat. They were smiling. He dreamed that it was he and his new nut job.  The couple seemed happy.


But then he heard sharp words coming from the woman’s mouth about the status of their relationship. She really liked him. The guy liked her. But she always seemed to spend her time with other people.  But she said she had known her other friends for many years and was having trouble squeezing in space for him. He was tired of being the second banana.


They rowed back to the boathouse and docked.  They were holding hands.  Murray didn’t hear all of their argument. So he figured they must have made up.


He tuned out for a moment or two and sipped his water.  His ears awoke to a shriek. The guy from the rowboat was rolling on the floor in excruciating pain. His girlfriend slashed his hand with a razor blade. She kicked him hard in the chest when he tried to clot the bleeding.


She was now running wild through the park. The NYPD tried to stop her. But were no match for her.  Little kids were screaming. Her boyfriend was being tended to by EMS.


Murray was not in the mood to deal with her. He was still figuring out how to create his republic. But there was still some good in him and he didn’t want anyone else to be injured.


He kicked his legs into high gear and approached her. The two of them exchanged words.  Her eyes were blood red.  Her twisted smile was beyond big. She came at Murray with the razor blade.


He didn’t move a muscle. She got within inches of him. Her hand was in attack mode.  As she readied herself to slash his face his eyes shot gallons of bleach.  She was drenched. She went down for the count. She started screaming.  Murray poured some water over her. He didn’t want to kill her.


He figured she needed to go to the hospital and then the psych ward.  An EMS technician came over to her. Thankfully, the usual rubbernecking crowd was forming.  This gave Murray an easy escape. He meandered through the crowd unnoticed.


No he wasn’t interested in dating this woman even though he had a high tolerance for the mentally ill.  In recent months a young kid broke him away from that.  He finally recognized he needed to stay away.   His breakaway was a slow and enduring process.


The sun was blazing. For some unusual reason, no one was around the lake.  Murray jumped in. Did he care if the water was clean? In his neat freak, OCD, GAD mind he did care. He was going rogue.  The water felt great.  After a few minutes of the butterfly and side strokes, he climbed out. As he emerged a pigeon flew right at him. He has a little friend who hates pigeons. He’s not fond of them either. But he didn’t plan on hurting the bird.  It came within inches of him and flew away.


Murray grabbed some napkins from a food stand and “toweled” himself dry. His shorts and Gehrig t-shirt were damp. But they were wearable.


While in the water he only thought of forming his republic. His crazed, but good and caring mind had lots of ideas.  He sent a strangely worded text to Dani and requested her presence at a gathering….

Bleach Monster, Part VI

Murray sailed the Staten Island Ferry with his brother-in-law, Robbie. This weekend was going to be a break from his usual life.  He had things to do on the old home front of Staten Island. He chatted with Robbie.  But he pretty much lost himself in reading material.


The boat sailed and they trekked to Robbie’s home via train and car.  It snapped back into Murray’s head how much he hated going to and from the Island.  It wasn’t a bad place to grow up. However, it was so damn inconvenient to travel to and from. Plus it is somewhat backward from the rest of the City.


But he was going to a farewell party and hitting his old health club in between.  Overall Murray was in a good place. He was back to handling his special powers well. His sister, Dani was doing well with hers. Danny was no longer getting bullied.  He was working hard to stop others from having this problem.


Murray had things to do. Dani was nice enough to lend him a car for the day or two he’d be on Staten Island.  As he jumped into the car his mind drifted back to his old days.  He thought of the crazies he hung out with then.  He wondered how different they are from the nut jobs he now spent his time with.


He had great pizza, worked out and slept in his mom’s house.  Next day he did similarly. Eventually, he made it over to the catering hall for the farewell party.  His closest friends were there. This party was a farewell to a place he grew up in.  It was being shut down and merged into another being.


Would it be a stronger one? Perhaps it would be.


Murray was wondering if this was the time to confront Dani about her powers. He knew she was trying to take a young lad under her wing to train him.


They were good friends as brother and sister. But he knew she wondered about him and how he’d control his powers.  He still had thoughts of going after the superficial people.  But back on his home base, he should be ok.


Everything was great. He was excited to walk into the party.  All of the people he grew up with were there. People came from all over the country to say goodbye.  Thankfully he got a ride home to Queens.


While at the party there were people he wanted to attack with bleach. They didn’t let the young kids, who the disbanding group was created for participate and lead the show. However, he took pictures, shook hands and ate lots of salmon.


Meanwhile, Dani was in the park with Tony the kid that got beat up a few weeks ago. She befriended his mom.  Dani was trying to figure out if he had any powers or if they could be created.  She saw Danny, the blubber boy and figured Tony may have potential.


But she had no idea how Murray fleshed out Danny’s magic.  She was struggling.  She got so hyped up. That was very unusual for her.  She ran off into the woods and shot out wine.  She was not in control.


After spraying the trees she sat on a rock and fell asleep for a few minutes. It was during this time that she figured out what to do with Tony.  But she had to break him apart from his mom.  She wasn’t going to take him away or hurt him.


But she saw how dependent he is on his mom. She knew if he was going to be strong he had to be independent.   What powers he could have were still open.


The park was quiet. Most people were relaxing. There were baseball and soccer games being played.  Little kids were on the see-saws and monkey bars.  The ice cream truck rolled in. People ran out to go get their cones and went back to what they were doing. All was well.


As the day got later people started leaving.  Dani looked up at the sky and saw that a storm was brewing. She grabbed Audrey and put her into the car. She said goodbye to Tony and his mom, Elise.


There were dramatic changes in the weather.  Tony was getting drenched on the way to the car with his mom.  The water was dragging him down.  But somehow he was fighting it. He was never a fighter. But since he got beaten up and then rescued by Dani he decided to work out a little. He was still a little kid. But he was getting stronger.


He struggled.  Elise was running after him. He was toughing it out. He almost got sucked down into a sewer.  But he managed to jump away from it.  He was soaking wet. Elise was screaming for him. He heard his mom’s screams. But knew he had to keep running. He got to the car and turned his head. Mom was only a few feet away.


His clothes were soggy. His feet were full of water. Elise, who was just as drenched as her son, helped him into the car. She pulled away.


Tony was shivering. But he was proud of his mad dash to the car. Elise was cruising down Amboy Road. The weather was clearing up.  A truck smacked into Elise’s Maxima.  She and Tony bounced around a little. However, they were ok.


They got out of the car and were ready to call the police and input the trucker’s info into the iPhone so they can call the insurance company. The truck driver was walking with a limp. It looked like he broke his foot. He came after them wielding an ax and screaming.  It turns out he has a bad safety record and this was his trial trip to see if he’d maintain his employment.


Elise threw her arms around Tony. But he broke free. He ran toward the trucker.  Elise screamed at him. Tony started waving his arms and kicking his feet up and down.  Elise was crying.


As the tears rolled out of her eyes, gusts of water shot out of Tony’s knees. The trucker was knocked 15 feet away. The ax flew out of his hands. Tony ran over to him and tied him up. 911 was dialed the police came and took the report about the accident. No one mentioned Tony’s heroics.


The trucker was handcuffed and carted off to a mental hospital for evaluation. They did a DWI test. He tested sober. The accident was likely due to weather. His ax-wielding was likely because of his fears of getting canned. That was in the police report. But the man couldn’t speak a complete sentence and seemed clinically insane.


Murray and Dani were stepping behind Tony.

Bleach Monster, Part IV


Danny woke up with lots of energy. He had a healthy breakfast, some fruit, a glass of low-fat milk and some whole grains. After Murray rescued him at the movie theater he was determined to stay in shape. He needed to rescue himself.

But today was a special day. He had the note that Murray left him hidden under his bed since he got it. It was like his bible. He’d been reading Murray’s words since he ran out of the theater.

The note said, “Meet me in three days at 161 Street. Do not show up at the new “Disney style” stadium. You must make your appearance on the hallowed grounds of the real “Stadium”. I will be waiting for you where right field used to be.”

Danny raced out of his Forest Hills Gardens abode and caught the trains to the South Bronx. He knew this would be good for him. How good he had no clue. His life was going to change forever. Danny had no idea how good it was gonna get.

Funny thing is he has no idea that Murray is the “Bleach Monster” and Dani is the “Wine Girl.” Funny most of Murray’s girlfriends are “whine girls”.   Remember Danny was on the floor crying and bleeding when Murray and Dani unleashed their wrath on his tormentors.

Danny hopped off the 4-Line. He glanced at the new Stadium. He walked over to the spot, Paul O’Neill used to man in the good ‘ole days. He was so excited. He was short of breath from all of his running around.

Murray snuck up behind him and put his hand on Danny’s left shoulder. Danny jumped back in fear.

“That’s what I thought,” echoed Murray. We need to wack the fear out of you. Don’t worry. That’s my job.

“How?” inquired, Danny.

“Just leave that to me.”

The two guys talked and walked around this holy site. Both were dressed in N.Y. Yankees apparel from head to toe. Murray sleeps in Yankees pajamas.

Murray bought Danny a bottle of water.

“Ok, Danny, I know you want to lose weight and get your butt into shape. We need you to be healthy.”

Danny smiled. He felt like Murray was the big brother he never had. He finally had someone other than his mommy and daddy to take him under their wing.

Murray told him to forget about what the doctor and nutritionist said. He said you are now my project. I will train you. Danny was happy. However, he was nervous.

One of the crazies that hung around this sacred site came up to them. At first Murray ignored him. The guy got a little antsy and was starting yelling at them. Murray told Danny to start walking.

The nut job spits at them. They kept walking. The guy threw and empty soda bottle and hit Danny in the back.

“Be calm,” Murray yelled to Danny. The poor kid just stood there lifelessly. Murray looked at the deranged man and said hit me.

The guy ran toward Murray with his hands clenched into fists. Danny got so scared he shut his eyes. The guy threw a punch at Murray. Of course, he missed. But Murray countered with gallons of bleach. He drenched the loony. The guy hit the floor. He was breathing. So Murray figured that was a good sign. He probably learned his lesson. He likely needed a hospital. Murray pulled out his iPhone and dialed 911 and reported a grungy guy who passed out near the Stadium. An ambulance was on the way.

Murray grabbed Danny and said it is time to walk. They hiked over toward the row of stores that were at one time directly across the street from the House that Ruth Built.

Danny told Murray his favorite food was pizza with olives and sun dried tomatoes. Murray said “WTF. Let’s get a small pie. But remember if we were at a ballgame and we will be at many, you will only eat the things, I allow you to. I have a very strict ritual at when I go to ballgames. Consider it part of my Yankee Commandments.”

“Why do you like me?”

“I saw you in pain at the theater. I help people. I don’t want your problems to continue. We’ve all been in scary situations. Yours will soon end. I just need to figure out what powers you have.”

“I have no powers. I’m just a chubby high school kid who gets picked on. I try to lose weight. But I cannot keep it off.”

Murray smiled and took a bite of his slice.

“Maybe you don’t need to keep it off. I mean we will have you lose the weight. But maybe you need to gain it back once in a while.”

Murray’s eyes were glowing. Danny was perplexed.

Tomorrow you will run a few laps on the Forest Hills High School track. You will eat healthy for the next four weeks. I will be checking on you each Sunday. I will text you the meeting location about two hours before.

The next month went by. Danny was getting slimmer and stronger. Murray was often watching him run. Danny had no clue he was being watched. Murray saw the poor kid’s blubber bouncing up and down as he jogged. Each footstep made him stronger. The fat was wearing off.

It was like just falling right off him.

Murray wondered if he could use his falling fat to his advantage.

It was just rolling off the kid.

They had their Sunday meetings. Everyone was happy. Danny’s grades, which we always good had become even better. Murray wanted to add this kid to his army. Dani still had no idea Murray knew of her powers. One day he’d confront her. But for now he wanted her to think she was keeping a big secret.

Danny’s mom was so proud of her son. She saw how hard he was trying to be healthy. She had no idea about his mentor. She took him to the Gap to buy a few new pairs of jeans, khakis and some smaller piques, t-shirts and sweaters. Everyone was happy. She was completely healed from her gardening accident.

As they were walking down Austin Street toward Continental Ave. The kids that were bleached in the theater were hanging in front of McDonald’s. They never bothered him. No one did. The girl who attacked him in the theater asked if she could take him to the movies. He told her no. This was a first for her. No one ever turned down a date with her.

Danny was becoming a man. He knew this girl was superficial. If he got fat again, the girl would dump him.

He didn’t know of Murray’s plan. But Murray had to run some tests to see if it’d work. The tests would occur in a few weeks if all went to schedule.

The girl ran to the obnoxious kids with her head down. She said go after him. The kids didn’t want to. But she told them if they wanted to be her friend they had to attack him again.

They got nervous. But followed orders. These mindless boys thought with only one thing. They started taunting Danny. His mom told him to walk faster. He did and was doing well. Murray and Stacey were walking out of Banana Republic. He just spent a boatload of money on his princess.

Murray saw what was going on. He knew Danny wasn’t ready for this. He needed to work out some more. His mom tried to make him walk faster. But he held his ground and yelled back at the kids.

“You can’t beat me this time. Hey, you didn’t even beat me in the theater several weeks ago. You may have knocked me down. But as I remember it was you and the dumb bitches that you were with that got your you know what’s kicked. I am stronger than all of you now.”

The kids charged him. He lost his breath. They knocked him and his mom down.

“No one messes with my mom,” he bellowed.

Within seconds globs of fat start rolling off him. These globs got rock solid. But had a bounce. They smacked right into all the nasty kids and knocked them down like dominoes.

Dani was on the corner. She saw all of this. She knew Murray had been working with troubled teens. She was now wondering if this was his “work”. She knew it had to be. But waited patiently. She saw the “cool girls” and their boyfriends rolling toward Forest Gardens in pain. The girl Danny turned down got up and tried to lunge herself at him. He was caught off guard, as he was wiping his mom’s face.

He couldn’t let her get hurt again. None of the good people would get hurt as this girl ran toward Danny, Dani shot her between the eyes with wine.

Murray watched all this from about ten feet away. He was so happy. Stacey was oblivious to it all. She was too busy staring at the bags of clothes she just got. She was already begging him to put this stuff away in his apartment and to take her to Bloomingdale’s.

We all know Murray is a sap. Of course, he told Stacey he would do whatever she wants.   That was something one his new superheroes would have to work on with him.

Danny got up from mom and saw Murray by his side. “I see you got into a fight.”

“Are you mad at me?”

“No. You had to defend yourself and mom. Did you know that globs of your fat spun off you? They took out the kids who were going to beat you.”

“I know. Was this your plan?”

Murray smiled and broke into a laugh.

He explained to him that it was. He did say it was very early to tell if his powers would work. He also said that he would have to keep working out. But every so often he had to put on some weight.

When it was time for that Murray would text him when they would meet at the pizzeria by the Stadium.

They shook hands and everyone went their separate ways.

Dani saw Murray and Danny chatting. She was onto them. Or was she?





Bleach Monster, part III

Dani was sitting at the kitchen table watching her daughter, Audrey. Her husband, Robbie went out to get a pizza and pick up some items from the grocery store.

Dani was in a good mood. But still contemplating what she was going to do about Murray. She knows he’s a good soul. But she was still worried after he slew his “girlfriend” Becky with bleach.

Murray had been quiet lately. He had a few bleach attacks on people. He saved an old lady from getting robbed in a bank’s parking lot. He didn’t kill her attacker. He took the thug out with two sprays of bleach. He saved a cute teen girl from her drugged out boyfriend. He didn’t kill him.

Robbie strolled in with the pizza. Dani got the plates out and water out. She cut a piece in half for Audrey. For some reason she wanted wine. She never drank. Even weirder she wanted red. On the rare occasion, she had a glass of wine she would usually have a chardonnay.

Robbie opened a nice bottle of Hagefen Cabernet-Sauvignon. She started sipping more than usual. She was getting tipsy. Robbie put Audrey in her room. Dani was talking really fast and she fell down. Robbie picked her up and placed on her on the couch. Billy Joel was playing in the background.

Dani’s speech was slurred. Her eyes were bloodshot. She was saying strange things. As you can tell, she was not a drinker. She tried to speak. As she opened her mouth wine spewed out. It wasn’t that she was spitting it out. She was shooting it out the way Murray shot bleach.

She passed out for about an hour or so. Robbie watched her sleep. She seemed fine. He figured, she needed her rest and all would be well. He had no idea about Murray and his skills. No one but Dani knew the true identity of the bleach monster.

As she slept, she dreamed of using her newfound powers to take on Murray. Wine vs. bleach. That could be very interesting. But would she remember her dreams?

When she woke up, Robbie asked if she felt ok? She said, she was fine and would stick to white wine. She figured the tannins in the red made her sick.

The next morning she went to work. Everything was fine in the newsroom. Then one of the usual local crazies called with a story about a sewer leakage in a park. She hopped in her car and drove out to meet the maintenance staff. She shot a few pictures.

The nut job was in all his glory telling how he first smelled an awful aroma near the beach and saw that the pipes near the dock had exploded. Dani smiled and walked back to her car. The local followed her.

He tapped her on the shoulder. She asked what he wanted. He wanted them to do a feature on all his work in the neighborhood to keep things safe. She said they’d think about it.

He got edgy and said how they have to do it. She just smiled and unlocked her car door. He pulled out a knife and ran toward her. She started to scream. The lunatic was aghast. He jumped back during her blood-curdling screams. He thought he really stabbed her. He didn’t want to hurt her. He was off his meds and was acting crazy. His face was red.

He thought her blood was all over him. But he didn’t smell blood. He smelled grapes. Her screams propelled wine out of her entire body. The crazy guy was now drunk. The wine went right into his bloodstream.

Dani was horrified. She wondered what happened to her. She immediately dialed Murray. She thought she got his “disease”. Thankfully he failed to pick up. As she listened to his voicemail, she understood she might now have a weapon to take him out. Of course, she’d only take him out was he was in his crazy mode. She would probably help him when he was saving little kids and the elderly.

Over the next few weeks, she avoided Murray. He was fairly calm. He was dating a new crazy girl, Stacey. She was one of his typical types crazy or a princess. Some were a mix of both. Of course, Stacey is on meds.

Dani was shy about using her power. She never told anyone. Robbie had no idea. No stories were ever written about her antics. A few were submitted. However, Dani used her editorial powers to delete them and destroy all evidence ever reported to the media.

She wrote a few stories about bullying and was determined to take out any of the idiots that bullied.

On a rainy Sunday afternoon Danny, a sweet but overly heavy fourteen-year-old boy was at the movies with his friend, Matt. Danny has been bullied a lot because he’s the fat kid. He was way too heavy for his own health. His mom was in decent shape. His dad was not.

Sadly, this kid always picked last for any sports team, the school plays, etc. He had good grades. He dressed ok. It was tough for his mom to find nice clothes for him. The European clothes that he so adored were all cut too small.

He went to a few doctors. They gave him diet and training plans. His mom, who loved him more than anything took him a trainer. He started to lose some weight. He was feeling better about himself. He was still not playing baseball like Jeter or landing the starring role like Brad Pitt. But he was stronger physically and mentally. For a little while, no one made fun of him. He was feeling more confident than he ever did. A few girls even started talking to him and complimented him on his new looks.

Unfortunately, his mom got hurt, while working in the family garden. She was getting better. But she spent a lot of time in physical therapy. She spent as much time as she could with him. But she had to slow down a little.

He got depressed and started eating more again. He quickly gained back the weight he lost.

Danny waltzed up to the candy counter at the theater. Dani was there with Audrey. She was buying her popcorn and a soda. This was Audrey’s first Disney movie. In fact, it was her first movie ever. Murray and Stacey were there waiting for Angelina’s new movie. The two of them were in phenomenal shape. They worked out 24/7.

Danny bought too much candy. Matt told him not to. But he was in one of his moods. As Danny was walking away candy in hand, some of the older kids from his school saw him. Some of their older siblings were there too. They started taunting him.

They yelled out all types of fat jokes. They ran up to him and started punching him in the stomach. They said they were trying to see if they would bounce off him. Matt was scared to defend Danny. There were too many aggressors. He’d get his ass kicked. The movie theater staff was oblivious to what was going on.

Other theatergoers tried to get the older kids to stop. But they spit on them. Danny was hysterical crying. They beat up Matt for being the fat kid’s friend. The girls who were friendly with Danny when he was in better shape laughed at him.

He was curled up into a ball. The kids just wouldn’t leave him alone. They opened all the candy he bought and spilled it all over him. One of the cuter girls, who he thought was his friend picked up some of the candy. She bent down and opened his crying mouth and shoved it down his throat. She started laughing hysterically.

All of them laughed. Danny was a bloody mess. Tears and blood were all over his face.

Murray stepped out the Men’s room and saw this disaster. Dani noticed Murray and Stacey. She ran over with Audrey. She left Audrey with Stacey. That made her nervous. But Stacey despite her wackiness would never hurt anyone. She had many superficial tendencies. But was not as mean as Becky had been.

Remember Murray is short. But super strong. All the kids who were still beating Danny are tall. They are all athletic and much younger than Murray.

He walked over to Danny. He had some wet napkins and started to wash his face. He told him to stop crying and everything would be ok. Danny tried to smile. But he was so scared. He had no idea why Murray would help him.

The kids saw Danny being helped. They yelled stuff at him. They shot out a lot of short jokes. Murray stood up and laughed. One of them punched him. He took it. The kid’s hand hurt. Murray’s abdomen was rock solid. Two more kids came at Murray. He just stood there.

He started laughing at them. They taunted him for laughing. As the taunts flew, Murray laughed harder. Danny started smiling. He was still in much pain. The kids tried to tackle Murray.

As they ran toward him, bleach started to shoot out like missiles. The kids were drenched in it. Many fell down. They started choking. One started to cry. Danny started to laugh. The girl who beat up Danny started running toward her once cool now bleached friends.

The problem was she ran right into Dani. She tried to push her down. Dani stood strong. The girl’s friends cornered her. Within seconds the girls’ ears popped as Dani started to scream. Wine shot out of her ears and mouth. The girls loved to have a glass or wine two. Not they were old enough. However, they opened their mouths thinking this was paradise. Little did they know the proof of wine Dani’s weapon shot out was way higher than what’s found in any wine.

The girls passed out. Murray finished off the other obnoxious kids.

Matt came running out of the corner he’d been hiding in. He was feeling better. His main regret was he forgot his iPhone and couldn’t record this for YouTube.

Murray picked up Danny. He handed him a note and ran into the Jolie flick with Stacey. Dani and Audrey were happily seated in their theater.

Danny and Matt ran out of the movie theater and jumped on the “F” train to go home. Danny read the note. It said to meet in three days and at this location…..

Bleach Monster


It was a sunny, but cool early spring afternoon. Murray was sitting in his Bay Terrace apartment reading the Wall Street Journal and getting ready to do one of his favorite activities, laundry. Yes, he was laundry boy. He lived in his apartment complexes’ laundry room.


He couldn’t explain it, but washing clothes were therapeutic to him. Yes, it took time and cost money. Most things do. He went to the closet and grabbed his overfilled laundry basket, bleach, detergent and fabric softener. Of course, he had a big collection of quarters, another one of his favorite things. He hoped he could get three machines so he wouldn’t have to keep running back and forth waiting for people to empty their machine and move the wet clothes to the dryer. He liked getting it all done at once.


He hiked over to his home away from home. The door was shut and the lights were off. That was a good sign. A big smile was on his face as he turned on the lights and got to load his three favorite machines. He started them off and went back to his apartment to listen to music and surf the web.


With a big grin on his face, he strolled back to the laundry room. He tossed his towels and whites into the dryers and carried his t-shirts back to the apartment. Murray never dried his clothes. He was so afraid they’d shrink. So he hung them up all over the apartment, off the refrigerator, on the microwave, every doorknob had a t-shirt or pique polo dangling.


He was smiling every step of the way. Then all of a sudden his eyes were aghast. He saw bleach stains on some of his favorite concert and baseball tees. He knew he didn’t bleach them.


He hung them up and looked at his laundry basket and searched the closet he kept it in. He didn’t see any bleach.


His next step was to follow his usual pattern.


“Mommy, I have a question.”


“Don’t you always?”


“Yeah, but you always have all the answers.”


“I just did laundry and have bleach stains on several of my t-shirts. I know I didn’t put any bleach in the machine. I checked out the places I keep my laundry and there was no bleach. I store this potent liquid away from all clothes. I’m perplexed.”


“Aren’t you always. I don’t know what to tell you. But I will think of something.”


They hung up. Murray flipped on the YES Network and got ready for the Yankees to play the Mariners.


His mom immediately dialed her daughter, Dani. They were one in the same. They loved to make fun of Murray. They were on the phone 24/7 telling stories about him. He did do a lot of dumb things. Dani and her mom cracked up over his bleach story.


Dani lived in the same complex as Murray, as much fun as she made of him. She liked her brother to be nearby.


Several innings later, Murray was deep into the game. Thankfully, the Bronx Bombers were winning 5-2. Dani walked into his apartment without knocking with a smirk on her face.


“I hear there’s a problem with bleach.”


She then walked right into the closet where he kept his laundry, she looked at the cabinets where he stored the laundry detergent and other items used for cleaning. She was a little detective.


“I can’t find any bleach.”


She smiled and walked out.


He just sat there and watched Rivera close out the game.


The next two weeks nothing changed. He continued to do laundry and was attacked by the “Bleach Monster.”


He spent hours upon hours in his head going over his laundry process. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Then he went to the laundry room only to do whites. He loaded the machine with socks and undershirts. He poured some bleach. He was grinning. All of a sudden he dropped the container of bleach while it was still open. It spilled all over him.


He wrecked another outfit. But he started to twitch and he was making strange sounds. Murray wasn’t the tallest guy in the world. But all of a sudden he grew taller and his jet-black hair turned fire red.


His legs grew, out of his nostrils and hazel green eyes bleach spewed. Was Murray the bleach monster?


He was afraid to leave the laundry room. He wasn’t sure if he could walk back to his apartment. Would he make it? Would he hurt anyone? Would someone call the cops? Not knowing what to do he squished himself into the corner by the slop sink.


He was pale. But feeling strong. His head was spinning. But how could he expect it not to be spinning? His body was still shooting bleach from his nose, eyes and now his mouth started to. He tried to scream and bleach shot of out his mouth like lighting bolts.


He stood for hours by the slop sink. Strange enough, no one entered the laundry room. He thought he was going to cry. But knew he’d shed bleach, not tears.


All of a sudden, he turned back into himself. His clothes were bleach stained and he was dying of thirst. He raced back to his apartment and stripped out of his clothes and jumped into the shower. He was petrified that the water would turn into bleach. But low and behold it was water. He wrapped himself in a towel and ran into the bedroom and passed out in bed.


About three hours later he woke up and got dressed. He decided he’d skip doing laundry for a little while and maybe just drop off his clothes at the Laundromat. But he still had to figure out why he became a bleach monster.

He woke up the next morning and drove to the office. Everything seemed normal. He has his usual conversations-the Yankees, politics and music He hacked away at his job.


He went to the gym and went home. The next few days were more of the same. About a week later he was at work and really pissed off, nothing was going his way. He loved the place, but it was just not his day. One of the idiots from the marketing department annoyed him. He went outside, walked around a bit and had some junk food.


He got back to his desk and saw an obnoxious email from that guy who was bugging him. As luck would have it the bozo walked right by Murray. All of sudden, Murray’s eyes started shooting bleach at him. His hair turned fire-red again and out of his mouth lighting bolts of bleach attacked this chump.


People gathered around and didn’t know what to do. They were afraid to go near Murray. In their hearts, they were pleased to see this freak of nature writhe in pain. No one liked this guy, who was now rolling on the floor. But they were not sure what was happening to Murray?


He always told them he wasn’t from Earth. Some of them thought he was nuts. Most believed him. The nervous people went back to their desks and just sat there dumbfounded. Murray ran out of the office and went to his vehicle. He sat in it with the A/C pumped and chilled.


He put the car in drive and decided to go home. As he pulled out of the parking lot he was looking exactly as he always did. His head was spinning.


As he crossed the Driscoll Bridge he realized he really was a bleach monster. He wasn’t sure if he should see a doctor or tell anyone. He was afraid he’d be locked up in a government research lab for experiments. What fun.


He wanted to figure out how he could use his newfound powers for good. He needed to be able to channel them and use them at his command.


He wasn’t sure if he should go back to work. But he needed the money. So he hopped into his car and headed back. No one mentioned a word. The marketing jerk wasn’t in. That wasn’t unusual. He rarely showed. He was taken to the local hospital after the bleach incident. No one at the office bothered to see how he was doing. It was not like they cared.


Murray worked away and left around 6. On the ride home they way home he stopped at McDonald’s for a shake. While walking out of the Golden Arches he saw a group of crazy teens attacking an old man. The poor old codger was down on the ground and bleeding. The kids kept kicking him.


Murray raced over to the guy and asked him if he was ok. One of the teens kicked Murray. He jumped right up and all of a sudden he started shooting bleach out of his nose. The kicker was bleached. The other teens started running, but not before Murray nailed them with bleach. People were gathering around Murray and the old man. Murray shot out a few extra gallons of bleach at the obnoxious kids and ran out of the parking lot.


An ambulance arrived and took the old man to the hospital. The bleached kids were on the ground wheezing. A few other ambulances arrived and rushed them to the hospital. The police followed the ambulances and placed the kids under arrest while they were being treated in the ER.


Murray calmly walked back to the parking lot and everything was back to normal. Shoppers were going about their business in the shopping center’s stores. He went into the drug store, bought a bottle of water and jumped into his car and drove home.


He was pretty satisfied with his efforts. But he needed to learn how to use his new power without getting attacked first. Next time he sees someone getting hurt he wanted to stop it immediately. He had some research to do.


He needed to find his friend, Adam, a genius. He hadn’t heard from him in years. He knew more about superheroes than anyone. He Googled Adam Tilapia and found his email.

It took Adam, days to write back. But when he finally did, Murray got the answer. He thanked Adam and they promised to keep in touch.


Adam told him not to tell anyone else of his special powers. But he may have to tell Dani, since she may suspect something when she doesn’t see him in and out of the laundry room on a regular basis. Some people hung out in bars. Murray hung out in the laundry room.


He was only supposed to go there when he needed to recharge on bleach. Adam did ask him what his kryptonite would be. Murray wasn’t sure. But he had an idea. He needed to test it first. Murray would have to do more research with his friend, Adam.


For the next few weeks, Murray went about his business at work and lived his usual lifestyle. The only thing he did differently, was he had his laundry done.


He went to the Stadium and cheered his beloved Yankees. Skillfully, they beat Boston. Big Papi struck out four times and Manny stared at the ball he thought was a homer for so long that Johnny Damon nailed him at first after he grabbed it off the leftfield wall.


The next morning he was in the supermarket and chaos broke out. A deranged man with a gun was holding a group of people hostage in the dairy aisle. You could hear sirens blaring in the distance and people were rushing out of the store or hiding in other aisles.


Murray raced to the dairy aisle. To get there he had to run through the aisle that stocked bleach and other cleaners. He eyed the containers of bleach and stopped at the foot of the dairy aisle.


“You what are you doing? Get over there with the other people and keep your hands where I can see them,” shrieked the gunman.


Shots were fired into several gallon containers of milk.


“If anyone fails to obey they will be my next shot. You will see pools of blood, not milk.”


People were screaming. Little kids started to cry, as their moms held them.


He stared at Murray.


“You in the white t-shirt.”


Murray looked the gunman straight in the eyes and belted out, “Yes?”


“That shirt is gonna be pretty red if you keep staring at me like that.”


Murray started laughing like a hyena.


“I’m not concerned as I walked over to this aisle, I walked right passed the one that sells bleach. It’ll come out.”


The man made like he was going to pull the trigger. Murray opened his eyes as wide as he could. He sneezed next.


“Bless you and you sure will need your blessings.”


As the gunman cackled out his last words he was sprayed with bleach. It shot out of Murray’s nose. He was sneezing bleach aimed like a projectile into the gunman’s eyes and hitting him all over the face.


The gunman fell to the ground, Murray stood over him and bleached his whole body.


The police were pulling into the parking lot and the now relieved shoppers were cheering Murray on. Of course, he was figuring out how to run out of the supermarket before the cops waltzed in.


Murray had to act quickly. The gunman was down for the count. At this point, the cops and EMTs could handle him. He had to run. He was out of breath. He couldn’t let that hold him back.


People were moving their heads to stare at Murray and the gunman. Some were hurrying out of the store. Murray’s perfect vision caught everyone staring at the pools of bleach and he raced out of the dairy aisle.


Slowly he was turning back into his human form. He caught his breath and headed for the door. Several cops were running in. He walked right passed them toward his Altima.


He put the key in the ignition and drove away. He just kept driving. He had no idea where he was going. Eventually, he went home and logged on to the Net.


He was aghast when he saw a story about his little episode on his hometown newspaper’s Website. Jessica, an intern penned the story.


He immediately dialed Dani.


“Hey Dani, did you see the story about what went on in the supermarket that’s about a block from us?”


“Yeah, one of the interns was there picking up milk and saw the whole thing. She texted the story into the newsroom.”


“Interesting. Anyway, I’m about to light the grill wanna come over for a burger?”


“Sure, I will be there in about 15 minutes, what’s my side dish?”




Lighter fluid was poured on the coals and within seconds the flames were blazing. Billy Joel was cranking. Dani strolled in.


“Hey, Dani. So what’s with this Jessica girl? Have you taken her under your wing?”


“I talk to her. She’s a nice girl. Attends Rutgers. A junior I think. I was in the newsroom when she sent the copy in off her iPhone. She wasn’t able to get a photo. We would have loved that.”


“I’m sure.”


“Did she say what he looked like?”


“Well, she said he was wearing jean shorts, a white tee, and sneakers. His hair was red and he was about 5’2 and slim.”


“Was that when he was shooting out the bleach or before?”


‘In action, she didn’t catch him before he turned into the bleach monster.”


“Oh well. Do you think more stories will be written or is this a freak thing?”


“It is definitely freaky. You seem so interested. Oh yeah, I forgot you have problems with bleach. You better be good, there’s a crazy bleach monster out there now.”


Dani was giggling so much that she got caught in a pickle. The coals were ready for Murray to toss the well-marinated burgers on the grill. He tossed them on and Dani tore open the chips. Billy was singing about Brenda and Eddie.


The two of them sat on chairs on the tiny terrace and watched the burgers while sipping Sierra Nevada.


Murray flipped the burgers and tossed the buns on. They needed to be nice and toasty.


They sat silently for a few minutes.


“So are you still having problems when you do your laundry?”


“No, I have it done now.”


“Well, it’s about time. At least you won’t spill bleach all over yourself any longer.”


“No, I don’t think I will.”


He took the burgers off the grill and they wolfed them down. Dani was itching to leave. Her theory was come, be fed and run.


“Well, the burgers were great. Do you actually have any ice cream? I know you are not one for that. But sometimes you surprise me.”


He smiled and walked away for a minute or two. Or much longer.


“Here,” he said as he handed her Nestle Crunch ice cream bar. She smiled. He opened his.


“Tell me more about Jessica.”


“Please don’t let this become one of your stupid things you bug me about. You’ve been better lately.“


“I’m the bleach monster.”


Dani almost fell into a pickle again. But for some reason, she picked herself up and stared at him.


“Yeah right, I know you spill bleach everywhere, even though you think you are so careful. But come on how can you be the bleach monster? You are a monster, but I don’t think you’re that one.”


“I am and you have to be on my side. You can’t let this become a story. We can do some cool things to help people if you keep the paper away.”


“Hmm, so Lois Lane or Peter Parker we aren’t. If you can convince me you are the bleach monster. I will work with you. But I could win an award for bringing you out.”


“Wouldn’t you rather see decent people get some help when they are in trouble?”


“Yes, but you have to prove you are the bleach monster and I’m on your side. Does this mean I have to spend more time with you?”




“How nauseating.”


“Glad you love me so much.”


“I do, later. Time to go home. Good night, Bleach Monster.”


Murray was pleased. As much as Dani would tease him, he knew she’d do everything she could to help him. She is a great sister, but a strange one.


Murray mapped out his Sunday and jumped into bed.


A few days later, Murray and Dani were strolling along 8th Street and Astor Place. Murray got a haircut and Dani just hung around. She was in and out of Barnes & Noble, Benetton, and the Gap. She was lugging around a few bags.


All of a sudden a deranged guy was attacking some NYU students. At one time Dani was one of them. He was holding a knife to a young girl’s throat. Her friends were panic stricken.


Murray calmly walked over to scene.


“Why don’t you leave the poor girl alone?”


The man was drunk and higher than a kite. He snarled, as his made a cutting motion with the knife in the air and then moved it back to her throat.


“All of you think you are so artsy. My artwork will be slicing open your throat and watching your blood pour out all over your clothes.”


Murray couldn’t take it anymore. He felt himself burning up. Suddenly, bleach shot right out of his eyes splattering the man wielding the knife, which he dropped onto the sidewalk.


Bleach was now shooting out his of ears. The man was screaming and screaming. Murray stopped shooting bleach and caught the subway. Dani was just steps behind him.