The Last Night

So this is what it comes down to? Laying broken and seeing things. I lived a good life, as lives go. I went to church as a kid. I believed it all, too! I still went after mom died. Looking for answers, I guess. I got good grades in school. I never smoked or anything. I worked after school, ’round about the time I got my license (on the first try!).

I can hear the river beyond the bushes. I know it’s cold water; really cold water. The car headlights are shining through the trees, but they’re focused on nothing. I thought the pain might be a little more harsh than it is. I s’pose breaking your back has some merit.

College is where I started to flail. Going to class was much harder. I s’pose that’s when I lost control of some things. When folks say they “experiemented” in college, I understand now. But, it wasn’t until I was out of college that I understood what that meant.

Funny how the cold makes you unable to move your legs. Or, maybe my legs are just gone. I can’t look down, I can’t feel them, I can’t do anything except this damned breathing. In, out, over and over.

Then, there was Marie. I should’ve fought harder, and married that girl. She was perfect. Sure, she was messy, but so was I. And, she did her “experimenting” with other girls’ boyfriends later on… okay, so maybe she wasn’t perfect. But, who is at that age? At any age?

You know, I’m gettin’ kinda sleepy. Is that a good thing? It would sure be nice to get some sleep and wake up tomorrow refeshed, so I can climb out of this gully or wherever I am. I’m not light-headed, so I can’t be bleeding anywhere. Right? I guess some First Aid classes would come in handy right about now. I’ll have to do that as soon as I recover. I might get a couple days off work for this!

I hear something… someone! I can’t yell, though… why can’t I yell? The breathing is stopping too. Oh, god… They’re going to walk right past me! No, they’re coming back!

Mom!?!

Published in: on June 5, 2009 at 11:37 am  Leave a Comment  

The Sound

As I exited the 47 floor building, the sun was shining.  Within 4 minutes, 13 seconds it was raining.  Not raining…. but RAINING.  The kind of rain that not only soaks you to the bone, it also soaks your family for generations to come.

Hiding under an awning, in a tshirt that was a little too clingy for my self-esteem, I watched as others hurried by.  All being drenched by this ocean falling from the sky.  Some gave up, walking in laughter at the predicament they found themselves in.  Some were very upset about their hair.  Some walked with umbrellas that had been turned inside out by the accompanying wind.

And then, the thunder began.  I suppose there was lightening too, but since it was daylight it was hard to tell unless you happen to be looking directly at where the lightning was about to be.  And, if you’ve ever tried to photograph lightening, you know how hard this is.  I have, and failed.  Not miserably, but enough to cause the negatives to be lost in the sea of negatives only to be found by my family long after I’m gone and buried.

But, back to the thunder.  In a large downtown area, surrounded by concrete, the sound was  multiplied and echoed endlessly.  But it was that first initial blast of sound directly overhead that made me grin like a squirrel in the Planters Tasting Room.  I wanted to live in that sound, I wanted it swirling around me, teasing me from the left, surprising me from the right.  It was miraculous. 

I’ve always been fascinated with sound.  From recording my first rainstorm when I was 14; to listening to my one and only earthquake experience.  The sound of a jet plane engine as the forward power is applied; the heavy foot of a drummer hitting that bass drum with all her might. (Yes, I just saw a female drummer do this, amazing!)  Even the plucking of a bass guitar, specifically Paul McCartney’s in 1990, causing my shirt to vibrate from 50 yards away.  Sound fascinates me. 

However, it’s gotta be that pure sound.  The dirty, over-compressed, over-driven sound from today’s guitars, rather bore me.  I’ve been in the venues where the sound was so loud that my ears began to distort.  The sound didn’t change, my ears simply couldn’t take it!  That doesn’t do a thing for me.  And, I know some people who think that’d would’ve been the ultimate rock show.

I’ve paid the price for all that listening.  My ears aren’t what they used to be.  I’m by no means deaf, but I know I miss out on a few things in a crowded restaurant.  Things like that.  Or, maybe it’s just that I don’t pay that much attention any more.  It takes effort to engage me these days.  Gone are the days of utter fascination with anyone with a story to tell.  You’re gonna have to have a good story to capture and keep my attention.  Because the more I look around, the more really good stories there are out there.  I want to move on to those good stories, and waylay the ignorant ones.

So, enthrall me.  Take my attention and rivet it.  Whisper in my ear, and capture my heart forever.  Either that, or shut-up and let me listen to the thunder.

Published in: on May 18, 2009 at 7:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Dying Rock

In the crystal grey fog she lost her way.  She didn’t have far to go, but she went as far as she would.  Night was slowly creeping in around her.  With it brought all manner of disturbances, thoughts, and fears.

The trees, the rocks, and the grass were all slippery wet with the morning dew that came 12 hours too soon.  The sounds of the forest were dampened so that her footsteps and her breathing were all there was to be had.

She walked slower now, coming across the boulder that she was expecting to find 15 minutes ago.  Climbing to the top of it was no easy feat, but sitting there in triumph after conquering it was worth the effort.

As the silence eerily creeps over the woods, she understands what it means to be alone.  She may only be a mile from a warm fire and dry clothes, but it may take her the rest of the night to navigate back to them.

The slightest of breezes passes by her ear, as if calling her name.  She shivers ever so slightly.  Her fears begin to creep back into her head.  What was becoming comfortable is now a dread.  No one knows where she is.  Panic begins to grow in her belly.  The cold and dampness seems to have grown ten fold from what it was just minutes ago.

Her eyes dart around her, seeking movement, but she sees none.  Her instincts tell her to run.  Run back to the cabin in the clearing, but she’s unsure of which direction it is.  The panic inside her grows, hungry for more power over her.

She slides down off the rock.  Her body shakes from the cold, from the fear, and from realizing that this must be what her sister felt the night she died, in the same spot.

Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 12:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Time In The Woods

He had always said he’d finish his book, when he found the time. It’d been 3 years now. There it sat, 126 pages of the 300 needed. He knew it was good, he just needed to sit down and do it!

First it was Jen; then Deb; then that scooba diving class. It all took up his free time and he was tired of it. Sure, Deb still comes around but they’re not as close as they once were. And what a bust that scooba class was! He lives 1200 miles from the ocean! That wasn’t what his dad would call ‘Money well spent!’.

He was walking his talking trail. A trail out behind the park that nobody goes on, so he actually talks to himself. Has a conversation, his right brain talking with the left brain. But, it’s not working this time. He has to be back at the house soon for that conference call at 5. He sits down on a log,

“Why can’t I just get in a 2 hour nap when I need one?” He asks aloud.

“Because you don’t really need one.” Says a voice from the brush.

He jumps up, startled and a little afraid. A man with more lines in his face than a Los Angeles road map steps out from the brush.

“Sorry friend, didn’t mean to scare ya none.” the old wrinkly man said.

“That’s okay. I’ve just never seen anyone back here before.”

“Not many come out this far. They’re all too busy to appreciate what Mother Earth has put back here.” Wrinkly man said, as that’s what he had decided to call him.

“Yeah, I lose track of time when I come back this way. It’s the one place I can get away from it all. But, I’ve got a meeting in about 20 minutes, so I best be headin’ out.” He said.

“Nah, you got time.” Wrinkly man said.

“No, I’ve got a meeting at 5, and it’s… 3??” He looks at his watch in amazement. He had just looked at his watch, and it was 4:40.

“See? You got the time, sit down a spell.” Wrinkly man says, as he takes a seat on the log.

“Wow, my watch battery must be going out. I didn’t leave the house until four… and it’s…3??” He was beginning to lose his grasp of the time of day.

He played it all back in his mind; he got back from the gym at 3:30… took a dump… then headed out here.

“No use tryin’ to understand it. It just is.” Wrinkly man says.

“What just is?” He asks.

“Time. You just gained 2 hours of your life back. It happens back here a lot. To those that need it, anyhow.”

“No, that’s not possible… I mean… time just doesn’t… ” he’s running out of words.

“It’s just time. Can’t see it, can’t smell it, definitely can’t touch it. So, you get back a couple of hours. No one will know.” Wrinkly man says off-handedly.

“But to everyone else in the world… it’s… the two hours is….” He tries to justify time in his head.

“You’ll drive yourself plum bonkers if you try and make head nor tails of it. Just accept it, take that two hours or however long, and put it to good use. You said you needed a nap, didn’t cha? Take a nap. Them naps are good.” He couldn’t understand how the wrinkly man was making sense of a senseless concept.

“Yeah, maybe I should go lay down. It was nice chatting with ya.” He says still trying to make some kind of sense of it all. Surely the old man was just pulling his leg. Maybe there’s a weird magnetic field back here that screws up watches.

“Well, we’ll see ya back here tomorrow.” The old wrinkly man says as he himself stands and walks off into the brush.

“Tomorrow? What makes you think I’ll be back tomorrow?” he asks curiously.

“I heard ya, you said you just need some more time. Out here is where time is. When you want time, this is where you’ll come.”

“How long have you known about this? Do you come out here to save some time?” He asks.

The old wrinkly man smiles, his face wrinkles up all over again. He has obviously smiled a lot in his lifetime.

“Yeah, I spend a good deal of time out here. I was just like you, needed more time in the day to get everything done in time. But, I learned the hard way that your time is what you make of it. I found a lot of extra time from being out here, a lot of extra time.” his smile was becoming full of regret.

“It’s what you DO with that time… and trust me on this. It’s best if you just rearrange things so you make your own time. Because coming out here for a little every day is just…” his voice trails off as he ventures out into the brush.

“What?? What happens by coming out here every day?” He yells back at the old man who reappears from behind a frond of grass.

“My friend…. I’m 33 years old. You wouldn’t know it from lookin’ at me, now would’ja? But, I got all the time in the world.” With a somewhat mournful smirk, he disappears into the brush.

Published in: on May 18, 2008 at 10:24 pm  Comments (1)  
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The Dinner

The pot roast was ruined. The potatoes were stiff. The corn was… corn. You can’t ruin corn. But, it was high time to go out to eat. There’s nothing worse for the procedure of cooking than a phone call.

What will it be if not roast? Brutalized burger? Crummy chicken? Languid Lasagna? It all sounds so unappetizing. She thinks about chain restaurants, but quickly tosses that thought out the window with her last cigarette. After preparing one meal, she doesn’t want to wait for another one to be prepared… so fast food it must be. It must be, dammit.

She goes through the ridiculous process of placing her order by yelling out into the night at a lighted board that squawks at her. What can go wrong with a vegetarian burrito? Right? Sure, it’s not made out of real vegetarians, but it’s not made out of real pre-processed cows either.

And there’s nothing like washing it down with a chemical cocktail sometimes referred to as a “diet soda”. She parks the car in the empty parking lot, and begins her 1 course meal.

She remembers the first time she bought a meal all by herself. She must have been 14. A little diner that  now houses a cleaning service. A hamburger for a buck, and fries and a coke for half a buck each. There could be no better, nor cheaper way to have lunch.

The burrito is amazingly tasty. Must be the fat injected guacamole, or the close-your-eyes-and-make-believe sour cream. The soda she doesn’t mind, at least it doesn’t have sugar. She’s been trying to excise all sugar from her diet.

Suddenly she realizes that she’s been eating quite a long time. It’s been almost an hour now. And, she’s not even half way done with this nasty burrito. It’s nasty now, since she’d been eating on it for an hour. How big was this thing?? Even the drink is barely touched, but she knows she’s slurped more than he share.

She flicks on the radio and finds a talk-radio show that she can stand while she eats. The show is inundated with calls from whack jobs that claim miracles are happening in their lives. She scoffs at the thought as she turns the radio off again. Looking at her burrito… not even half finished. She checks her watch… she’s been eating for two and a half hours now. Even the ice in her drink hasn’t melted. She checks her receipt, and sure enough… she made her purchase 2 and half hours ago.

She tries to eat the rest of the burrito in quick procession, pausing only to wash it down with the cool liquid that sits between her legs. But, the burrito is still at the halfway mark. Her stomach is bulging, and she’s feeling an uncomfortable cramp.

She sets it down and gets her phone out. She dials the number of the talk show she had listened to.

“Hello? I could feed the world with my burrito.”

Hearing her words hang in the air, she slowly realilzes she was now officially a whacko.

Published in: on April 15, 2008 at 10:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Music

The night was dark. Darker than it normally would be. But, so was his mood, and that might have had something to do with it. He knew this feeling well; too well. It was going to be one of those nights. Things were going to get down and dirty. Things were going to happen that he had no control over, and he didn’t like giving up control.

He saw the neon signs in the window first. Nothing new. Every bar, tavern, and lounge had them. There’s a difference when the first sign you see is “Bud Lite”, you know that you’ve found a working man’s bar. There’s most likely sawdust, peanut shells, and Skoal covering the floor.

The growling bike quiets down and the sound he knew he would hear fills his head. “Skynyrd” he says under his breath. It could be worse, it could be a pre-programmed jukebox with the so-called “hits” of the day. It could be the fucking radio. At least this was live music. Men causing sound to emanate from thin steel strings and a piece of wood. Someone bouncing a stick off a tightly stretched piece of plastic, and probably an old church piano, slightly out of tune.

The music is loud. Louder than it should be on a Tuesday night. But there’s whooping and hollerin’ going on, and that tells him that his timing is right. As usual. He walks around the building, looking for the back door. It’s been his survival guide more than a dozen times. Just because you go in the front door, doesn’t mean you have to leave by it.

As he walks back to the front door, taking a last gasp of fresh air, he pushes the door open and steps into the haze. His long black hair frames his dark eyes, and darker disposition. No one notices him at first. He relies on the peoples’ intake of Bud Lite, PBR, not to mention the Long Island Ice Tea’s that college girls order. There’s no one to get in his way until it’s too late.

The guitarist starts up the signature riff of “Satisfaction”, much to the girls’ delight. Their tight jeans all swaying with their drinks being held over their heads. Why do girls do that? Not that he minds, the jeans give him a moments pause, before he continues on. To do what he came here to do.

The first one to notice him is a waitress; a young girl who discovered lying about your age while wearing spandex opens all kinds of doors. She always notices the front door opening, but he was already inside when she spotted him. She didn’t notice what he had slung over his shoulder to begin with. But, she would learn soon enough.

He was stepping on stage by the time she got the bartender’s attention, but by then it was too late. He pulled a cord from his pocket, and plugged into a Fender Hot Rod DeVille before the guitar player knew what was happening.

His homemade guitar screamed as he took “Satisfaction” into a realm never thought possible by every musician in the tri-state area. The band, unsure of whether to stop playing, or try and keep up. A look from his one good eye made sure they kept playing. Although the singing stopped; just as it always did when he started to play.

The drummer smiled as he caught up to the tempo, the drummers always smiled because every one of them is as crazy as he is. The bassist falls into the groove, locking into the deep thump of the drummer’s right foot. That leaves the guitar player and so called singer. He was no longer the vision in the sights of so many horny women. And, that didn’t make him very happy. He could get the one with the Prada bag into bed, and find her wallet with an errant hand within 60 seconds. She would be in the thralls of what she thought would be foreplay, as he had pocketed cash and several credit cards.

But, tonight something was different. The rogue Lothario found the religion he had long ago forgotten. In stepping away from the mic, and just playing, he found he felt more alive than he ever had before. “Satisfaction” became a triple entendre.

As the man continued playing, the wild eyes in the crowd became more endearing. Their disappointment and confusion was replaced with knowing smiles. The bevy of swaying ass’s began to sway again, but they didn’t know why. The men began remembering the guitar hanging on the wall of their grandparents house; and now they knew why. The women, their women, were focusing their attention on them, instead of the band. The music was intoxicating. It was going to be a good night.

And, the stranger played on.

Published in: on April 2, 2008 at 12:11 am  Leave a Comment  

A Short Story

She was no fool, but this couldn’t be real. The car rolled to a stop as she tried to clear her mind. Hadn’t she just been at the grocery store? Bread, milk, and a bag of those mini candy bars… yes. She had just been at the store. And, yet here she was.

She shakes her head, she doesn’t know why but she remembers seeing people do it on television when things were out of whack. She looks around to try and figure out just where she is. Trees, the road, a fence off to the side. But, this isn’t real. There are no trees, hills, pastures anywhere near the grocery store.

She steps out of the car, and things just seem different. The sounds are different, it smells different. “What the hell…” She says under her breath. She hears something in the bushes and jumps back into her car. A shudder runs through her body that reaches all the way to her toes. She starts the car and drives down the road. That’s when she sees the sign.

WELCOME TO ALABAMA!

“Alabama!?! How the hell did I get here!?!?” she screams. She’s shaking now. Violently. Was she dead? Was her life passing before her eyes? She’d never been to Alabama, she’d never been south of Kansas! If this is Alabama, she must be 2000 miles from home. And, that’s not possible.

“This isn’t happening… this isn’t happening…” she repeats over and over.

For three days she drives. Trying to make her way home. As she finally sees the familiar skyline, the welcoming sign of the town she’s known all her life, the reality of what just happened becomes all too real.

She drives to where her house is…. supposed to be. But, it’s not. It’s the wrong neighborhood. She’s confused and begins crying. She goes back to town, and then works her way back to her house. It isn’t there.

She stops at the grocery store she visited 3 days ago, and calls her house.

A recorded voice answers, “The number you have dialed is no longer in service.”

“The hell it is!” She yells in frustration.

“The life you left has been given to someone who will do something with it. Please make a note of it.”

She hangs up the phone slowly. Very slowly. And stares at the Alabama State Liquor Store she stands in front of.

Published in: on March 21, 2008 at 9:08 am  Comments (1)  

A Very Short Story

It was a Friday morning. He knew that before he even opened his eyes. The heater kicked on and he breathed in the too cold air before it became artificially heated. The blankets felt warm and heavy but he still felt a chill. Snow had been predicted, and he wondered what might await him outside.

His gait was steady if a little wobbly as he navigated the stairs. The new slippers feeling a little alien on his feet, it took specific concentration not to take a tumble down the stairs. How things have changed, he thought. He remembers tumbling down stairs on purpose to make people laugh.

Flipping on the heat, he pushes the thermostat up a little extra. He huddled in a blanket in front of the TV last night, he’s earned a little extra heat he reasons. Sometimes the heat is a treat, the same way that ice cream is during the stifling temperatures of summer.

He continues into the kitchen. The thought of breakfast nauseates him. He adds water to the kettle and starts it warming. But that’s as far as he gets. First it sounds like it could be outside. But then he hears a sound upstairs.

He waits and listens. When he realizes that someone is coming down the stairs he begins to panic. He grabs a kitchen knife and goes to the corner of the dining room. He hears someone click the heater on, and into the kitchen walks… himself.

Published in: on March 18, 2008 at 9:33 am  Leave a Comment  

… in the beginning…

Writing is very hard for me when I’m tired. But, as soon as I go to bed… the thoughts come into my head and I head back downstairs to write them down. So, I’m doing a pre-emptive strike here and trying to empty my head before heading upstairs.

Truth be told, there’s nothing to see here… you may as well move along. This space will fill with stories both truthful and lies. Some will become obvious, such as the time that I kicked Britney out of bed so Paris would have more room.

Don’t be fooled by the drivel you may see here. There’s LOTS more where that came from.

Published in: on March 13, 2008 at 5:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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