Perspectives

Let’s see what’s on TV.

Click.

I’m sitting at a metal table. Well, that’s what the screen is showing me. It’s first person: I see arms on the table and a plate of fish and mashed potatoes in front of me. The left arm moves, scooping up some potato, and then delivers the food right underneath the view. This happens again, and again, until the plate is clear. The view moves, looking around the room. It’s sparse, white concrete with a reinforced metal door. I realize that it’s a cell. Then, a second later, I realize that the person is, was, eating their last meal.

A guard walks in, and takes the food away. The inmate, for that must be whose eyes I’m watching through, watches the him leave. A few minutes later two guards come in, the one from before and a new one. The view rises; the prisoner is standing. One guard leads the way out, and the other falls in behind. The first guard leads the way through concrete halls for a minute or two, until they reach a room with a chair in the middle and glass all opposite. The chair has leather straps for the arms and legs, and is made of metal. As the inmate sits down, I catch a glimpse of whose eyes I’ve been watching life through for the past few minutes in the mirror. It’s a woman, beautiful in every sense of the word. Her body, face, posture, everything is perfect, even in prison garb. Well, everything except for the four teardrop tattoos under her right eye.

The channel goes dark. No static, no interference, just darkness. It’s still on though, I can tell by the power light glowing in the corner of the TV. Just as I decide to get up and check it, see if anything is wrong, a new perspective flashes into existence.

It’s dark. Not dark dark, but dark, like night dark. Snoring emanates from the TV. After a few minutes an alarm starts buzzing, a loud and obnoxious stock tune from an iPhone. The snoring stops, and the eyes open, revealing a dimly lit room. It’s just a basic bedroom in a shitty apartment. The view is bleary until hands come up to rub sleep from the eyes. The view moves toward the bathroom, and I watch as the person sits down on the toilet, flushes, washes their hands and face, and gets dressed. There was no mirror in the bathroom, which was disappointing: I wanted to know desperately what this stranger looked like.

After dressing in nondescript work clothes (no chance of even guessing the gender) the view moved out of the bedroom and into a hallway. Down the hall we went: the person living this, me, and any others who might possibly be watching this. At the end of the hall was a set of stairs. I figured that going down the stairs wasn’t important, so I turned away for a second to get some chips from the kitchen. But of course as soon as I turned away something happened, this particular something taking the form of repeated thumping that ended with a resounding THUD.

I spun around, but I had missed the action. The view was at an angle now, a strange angle indeed, kind of upside down. A second later I realized why, when the arm came into view. The hand was at an unnatural angle, bent backwards, fingers askew. The view blurred, and at first I thought the signal was lost, but then I realized that the person must have passed out. I thought about calling 911, but I had no idea where this was, or who it was, or anything useful at all. So I just watched the black screen for a moment more, before it changed again.

The next view is of a nice kitchen. It’s empty: all the cupboards are open, there are no pots or pans, no food or silverware, nothing. Not even boxes that might suggest moving. A bare room. As I sit down to watch the view swings around, looking left and right. Still bare. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

For nine minutes I watched this, watched it intently, hoping for some change. I had just about given up hope when a woman entered the room. She was pregnant, about four or five months from the look of her. She held out her hand towards the camera, bending down slightly, and I realized that the current view must be from a young child, a toddler even. A small hand reaches out and takes her hand, and starts following her into the next room, the living room. The view is wobbly, jerky, and I realize that walking must still be relatively new to this kid. As the toddler passes by various toys, the view goes dark.

It’s dark. Well, it’s dark outside. In here there’s light, coming from a lamp to my right. It lights up my corner of the room, and throws its reflection upon the window in front of me. Of course, it’s not really me, but for all intents it is, that’s how caught up I am in this broadcast.

My legs stretch out in front of me, in dark plaid pajama pants. My fingers rest on a keyboard, and the screen glows white, expectant of the coming thoughts. A glass of scotch rests on the small table beside me, and as I watch my hand reaches out, grasps the drink, and downs it in one go. I hear myself let out a satisfied sigh, and then my fingers return to the keys, and begin to dance.

Words begin to unfold on the screen. To Whoever The Fuck Cares, I’m out of here. This place is shit. Everybody sucks, and because of it, my life sucks. I don’t really care who gets this letter, but that’s okay, because they never really cared about me. And yeah, it sounds like a suicide note, but it’s not. It’s just my way of trying to find closure. Fuck knows I’ve tried to find it other ways, but you all suck. Never letting me go when I tried to before. So to hell with you all. I’m out. Don’t try to find me. You won’t be able to. Plus, I’ll be busy trying to find myself. So long fuckfaces. -Dan

The note finished, my hands reached once more for the glass. But they found it empty, and so I got up and found the bottle. I looked at it, admiring the vintage, and then unscrewed it and took a swig straight from the bottle. Then I took another swig. Then another. And another. My vision, the view through the TV, remained clear, even after half the bottle was emptied. I, on the other side of the screen, might have seen clearly, but the person on the other end, Dan, did not.

He swayed, barely managing to set the bottle upright on the counter, and then turned. The screen tilted as he stumbled towards the door, and then struggled to open it. On the third or fourth try he finally got it, opening it up to a depressing sort of hallway. Dan lurched forward and started to fall, and the screen went dark.

Water. Water everywhere, for as far as the eye can see. Not waves, not on top of the ocean, but underwater. It’s murky, dark, foreboding. An arm glides into view, an arm with no body attached to it. The arm trails blood that diffuses in the water. There’s a lot of blood in an arm, apparently; either that or the diffusion process was a master of exaggeration (DIFFERENT COMPARISON THING WHATEVER). There was no flinch as the arm drifted past, no noticeable reaction at all.

That’s when I noticed the shaking. It was slight, but the view was shaking, tiny jerks to and fro. I leaned forward, perplexed, hoping that if I stared at the TV long enough the answer to this mystery would be revealed. Seconds ticked by: long, painful seconds where the only movement was the slow, languid drift of the bloody arm and that damn twitching.

After what seemed like hours of that agonizing twitching, the answer finally revealed itself as a small fish swam by, a scrap of flesh in its mouth. The twitching, the blood, the lack of movement, they all made sense. And what’s more, it was picturesque, out of a movie. It could not have been better staged, even if anybody had tried. It was a perfect set-up, a perfect execution, and I had swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.

I had to sit back after that, and reflect. It seemed that this broadcast, whatever it was, wasn’t just for the living, because that last person was most certainly dead. Or at least, I hoped they were dead. They must have been dead. Nobody could drift that long without breathing. These people, these perspectives, were from all ages, from all over the world. The enormity of the world around us, around me, doesn’t really weigh down on you. It’s there, sure, but it’s not until you get out and see it (or in this case have it come to you) that you really realize how vast this planet really is. And then you have to sit back and think, and re-evaluate your life. Also, that pun I thought of from that last clip, it was really bad.

Advertisements

Why The Dark Side Has Cookies

Everybody knows that if you come to the dark side, they have cookies. Everybody hopes that the dark side is willing to share those cookies. And everybody loves a good cookie. But nobody has ever stopped and thought about why the dark side has cookies, or how they got those cookies (to say nothing of surrendering yourself to the darkness for a treat). Wonder no more, for the secret is about to be revealed!

Anakin Skywalker, aka Darth Vader, is the personification of the dark side of the Force. He’s big and scary and wears all black and even breathes in an ominous way. However, he wasn’t always like that. Little Anakin, remember, used to be a young boy, just like you or me. He had the whole slave thing going on, but he also had friends and liked going really fast. He also had no father, so he had to share the chores from an early age and help his mom out around the home. He learned to cook and clean and hate the sand, but he also learned how to build robots and bake.

Yes, that’s right, little Anakin Skywalker learned to bake. It was actually really easy on Tatooine. The incredible heat from the double suns made ovens a bit redundant, seeing as one could simply put their womp rat roast outside in the morning, and come home to a nice roast in the evening. And sure enough, most denizens of Mos Eisley did do that, Skywalkers included. But remember, Anakin was a young lad, and young lads like their sweets. His mom couldn’t afford treats all that often though, what with being a slave and all, so she took matters into her own hands and started to make her own.

Anakin, who had learned many skills from her, also learned to bake from her. He began small, with rolls and bread, but quickly moved along to pies and cakes. Eventually his talent surpassed that of his mother, and the student became the master (foreshadowing!). And even when he was taken to become a Jedi, he still found time to bake in the Jedi Temple, earning the respect and admiration of many a classmate. In fact, it was even rumored that the real reason Qui-Gon wanted Anakin brought back was so he could have an unlimited supply of Skywalker’s famous Wookiee Cookies!

Years went by, and Anakin grew in power and in talent. Eventually he fell to the dark side as his allegiances changed. His disposition for baking, however, did not. Despite everything that happened around him, Anakin Skywalker remained a baker at heart. After his mother died in his arms, he baked a cake in her memory. After Count Dooku cut off his hand, he baked a dozen loaves of bread to speed his recovery. After he killed Count Dooku he made a commemorative pie to mark the occasion. And when he marched on the Jedi Temple and exterminated the Jedi Order, he baked 66 cookies (which he shared with the new Emperor).

But then he was sent to Mustafar, to fight his old Master. That, of course, could have gone better. It was almost the end for him, and in many ways it was. No more did he relish the hot comfort of an oven. No longer did the warmth of fresh baking bring back memories of home. No more was his baking skill a constant in a changing universe. Instead, it was a reminder, a reminder of getting his legs and arm chopped off, a reminder of having the flesh cooked from him, a reminder that extreme heat was not always a good thing.

Lying there on the banks of a river of lava on Mustafar, the new Darth Vader swore two things. First, that he would have his revenge on Obi-Wan Kenobi. And second, that he would never bake again, not as long as Kenobi still lived.

After slaying his old master years later aboard the first Death Star, Darth Vader felt a part of him stir, deep inside, and remembered his vow from years ago. With Kenobi at long last dead, he returned to the oven, and began to bake. For hours he labored, admitting no one and even refusing a call from the Emperor (he let it go to voicemail). Days went by, and people began to wonder where the Dark Lord had gone to. The Emperor himself, sick with worry, locked himself away and wondered where it had all gone wrong.

But finally Vader emerged, oven mitts on, from his private chambers. He had a tray of cookies in his hand. Silently, he brought them to the nearest shipping room, and carefully packaged them up, leaving a note inside and special shipping instructions with the droid stationed there. The package was sent out immediately, via deep space probe, and went speeding towards its destination.

Weeks later Luke, on a whim, decided to return once more to his aunt and uncle’s homestead on Tatooine. Jawas had picked it clean, leaving only the charred remains of his relatives, half covered in sand. Luke spent hours there, dwelling on the past and meditating on the Force. Just as he was about to leave, he saw a shooting star. As he watched it grew closer and closer, until it finally crashed down mere meters away from where he stood. Blinking dust from his eyes, Luke cautiously approached, and, when he became confident that it wasn’t going to explode, pried the hatch open and removed the package inside.

Luke opened the package and found, to his complete bewilderment, cookies, dozens of cookies, all perfectly round and golden-brown, baked to perfection as only a master of baking and redundancy could manage. He reached in, took a cookie, and took a bite. It was delicious. He ate several more before he finally saw the note, tucked away in the bottom of the box. His mouth full of cookie, Luke fished the note out and unfolded it, and absorbed the words with a mixture of curiosity and fear.

Come to the Dark Side. We Have Cookies.

-V

Soled

Yep, I fucked up. They always tell you not to do what I just did. They being everybody, every single man, woman, boi, girl. Everybody knows that you don’t do what I just did. But here’s the thing. Nobody has ever seen the consequences in person. It’s always a friend who saw it happen, or a friend of a friend. The fear is all secondhand. But that works just fine as far as humanity is concerned. Everybody is scared shitless of the consequences, but no one can really, I mean really, tell you why. It’s pretty circular logic, aktually. We don’t do the bad thing because it’s bad, and it’s bad because it’s a bad thing.

Now I’m just trying to talk myself out of it, rationalize the enormity of my mistake. You see, I made a deal with the Devil. Yes, the aktual Devil. It wasn’t even a good deal, not for me anyways. All I got out of it was an opened pickle jar. In my defense, it was really hard to open! I must’ve tried to open it for at least five minutes. And so I’m there, in my kitchen, grunting and swearing and trying every trick in the book to open this jar, and some combination of all thise curses must have summoned the Devil, because next thing I knew he was standing right there next to me, watching me.

Well of course I stopped struggling once I noticed that the Devil was in my kitchen. It kinda renders you speechless, having a being of ultimate evil hanging out near your coffee pot. I just stared, and the Devil stared back at me. I had to blink eventually, and I did, and when i was done blinking the Devil was making some coffee, which didn’t seem that odd. I mean, the Devil was in my kitchen, why wouldn’t he be using my coffee pot? Who even knew that the Devil liked dark roast?

Anyways, the Devil makes some coffee, starts drinking it, and I’m just standing there watching, the damn pickle jar still in my hands. Then, after the first sip, the Devil starts talking. The Devil, it turns out, sounds kinda like Oprah. So the Oprah-sounding Devil tells me that I can open the pickle jar, but I’ve gotta give something up in return. Sounds fair. And the price of opeining the jar is, of course, my sole. I wanted those pickles pretty bad, so I figured sure, why the hell not?

The Devil told me that it had just come from another engagement and was all out of the paperwork, so I’d have to write it up. Turns out the Devil never learned how to right. So I wrote the contract up, saying that in return for opening the jar of pickles one day the Devil would return and claim my sole in the name of all that is evil yada yada yada. I didn’t really care, because I wanted my pickles. So I signed it, the Devil opened the pickle jar, I started eating the pickles, and the Devil vanished in a puff of smoke.

That was two years ago. I’d like to say that they were a quiet two years, but they really weren’t. Remember how I mentioned that nobody had ever seen the consequences of making a deal with the Devil? Yeah . . . so I told one of my buddys at work about it, and he told someone else, and the next thing I know news crews are following me around, asking all kinds of questions and waiting for the Devil to come collect on his debt. And yeah, you’d think that two years would be enough time for things to settle down, but if anything, it just made people more excited.

It was raining when the Devil came to collect. I had just gotten home, and was about to take off my rain boots, when I noticed that something was out of place. Normally the Devil isn’t sitting in my recliner, feet up, eating Pringles. But this, apparently, wasn’t going to be normal. Things with the Devil rarely are. So I notice the Devil, and I open the door and call some of the reporters in. And they all come running in when they hear that the Devil is hanging out in my living room, and they crowd into the living room, and no one bothers to take their shoes off, so I don’t bother either. I figure I can clean up after they’re all gone.

I bring some extra chairs in from the dining room, and get everybody seated. Then, when everybody is settled, the Devil leans forward and says, still in the Oprah-ish voice:

I AM HERE FOR YOUR SOLE.

The Devil then proceeds to rise up from the chair, which was smoldering. It reached over towards me, and you’d better believe I’m about shitting myself cus I was so scared. So the Devil reaches over, and then down. It grabs my leg, hauls me up so that I’m hanging upside down, and reaches for my left boot. The reporters all watch in horrified silence as the Devil uses one claw to slowly remove the sole from my boot. Then it flips me over and puts me down in my smoking armchair, which is aktually warm and pretty comfy.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR BUSINESS.

And with that, the Devil walked out the door, never again to deal with the human race. That, of course, put most major religions out of business, but that’s a story for another time.

Author’s Note: I got a letter from my high school language teacher the other day in the mail. Turns out my absymal spelling wasn’t such a bad thing after all. She’s still not sure whether she should be proud of me though.

Asteroid 4X2/13

This one is a neat little jaunt into the realm of science fiction. I’m working on a sequel, but it’s not going that great, so this’ll have to do for now.

What a shitty rock to die on. They always say that, and you know that you’re going to be expected to die on some stupid rock. No one ever gets to fight the big battles, not any more. Not since technology took us to the stars. Not since we started sending drones to fight our big fights, over planets and Jump Points and moons. No, we humans don’t get to fight those battles. Instead, we fight for the materials the drones are made of. Yep, you guessed it: we fight for asteroids.

Asteroid mining is incredibly lucrative, you see. Everybody knows it happens, and that pretty much all the raw metals we’d ever need come from asteroids, and that there’s a million billion asteroids floating around out there in the black. But nobody really knows how it works. So I’m gonna tell you, because it ain’t drop time yet, and because this is the closest thing I’ll probably ever have to a memoir.

Okay, so you know those big Trans-U megaliners? The ones that carry tens of thousands of people all over the Galaxy? They’re pretty much the only ships big enough to carry, and power, a Jump Drive. Well, the Navy ships carry Jump Drives, and they’re smaller, but not that much smaller. Anyways, those Jump Drives are pretty much the only reason you can visit your aunt on Rigel 7, or Tiberius, or wherever the fuck your aunt is from. Without those drives, space travel is a long, cold nap that you might not even wake up from. See, we used to just stick people in freezers and send ‘em where they needed to go. But that took too long, and us humans are an impatient lot, so we got a bunch of nerds together and built Jump technology.

We’ve got Jump Points too, special places where we can make Jumps without a Drive. They’re a hell of a lot cheaper than a Drive, so most shipping and travel happens because of those Points. The downside is that you’ve gotta get to them, which can take days at sub-Jump speed, and they only spit you out at two, maybe three different spots. The Jump is damn near instantaneous, but it’s random, and no one can figure out why. You might have to Jump a dozen different times before you end up where you want to. That’s why it’s so damn expensive. Time was, you used to have a ticket price range. If you got lucky, and only made one or two Jumps, you paid less. But if you got unlucky . . . let’s just say that you didn’t have the money to send little Timmy to school any more.

They replaced that system cus there were too many people complaining about spaceline companies purposefully hiring bad pilots and shitty navigators to jack up prices. I never flew civvie, so I ain’t got nothing to say about it one way or the other. Been a Navy grunt all my years. Was born into it, you might say. My momma was a fighter jockey, a fly-girl, and my daddy was a cook. I dunno the details, and I don’t reckon I want to, but rumor has it that he was responsible for half my current squad. Like I said, the less I know about it, the better.

Anyways, we’re being sent to this asteroid belt to fight. It’s important enough to fight over, sure, but I don’t even think the damn rock has a name. It’s got a number though, they’ve all got numbers. Shit, even I’ve got a number. I’m Soldier 328-4-2-2. They’re important to the brass, but to me they’re the closest I’ve got to a name. They’re all I’ve got. Them and my armor and my gun. Had ‘em all since I was old enough to use ‘em.

Here we go. Sarge just gave us our deployment orders. I’m in the first wave. That means I get a nice jetpack, and also the “honor” of being the one of the first to the fight. Now, I reckon y’all are thinking of some heroic hold-the-beach type scenario, so lemme use these last few minutes to set you straight. Me and them other boys who’re in the first wave, we get jetpacks. The dropship we’re in will do a flyby, and drop us out the back. If we don’t go fast enough Sarge pushes us out, with his boot. Then we fly on down and set up a perimeter so that the drop ships can land and everyone else can mosey on out. Sounds easy, but chances are the enemy, whoever the fuck they are, knows we’re coming. So they’ll be shooting at us, and we’ll be shooting back, and if we get hit chances are it’ll just rupture the suit and we’ll choke to death and go spinning off into space and never be seen or heard from again.

Yeah, not so pretty, is it? Well, here I go, time to die. I ain’t got no wife, so no need to tell her I love her. Ain’t got no kids . . . well, none I know about. Reckon I won’t be much missed at all. ‘Cept for my daddy. He’ll be cooking a lot less after this. But that’s just how it goes.

This Was Actually Written Like A Week Ago (October 2, 2017)

We’re all lost, stumbling around life like we have a clue what we’re doing. Maybe some of us do. Maybe I’m the only one who’s lost, who’s confused. Somehow I doubt it.

It’s strange though: every one of us may be lost, may be confused, but damn do we work hard to hide it. We hide it from everyone: our friends, our family, our selves. We don’t want to admit, even in our most secret moments, that we’ve come all this way and we still don’t know. But we don’t. We do not know. And we find something to fill the gap, and struggle for the rest of our lives to convince ourselves that the choice we made was the right fit. Who knows, maybe it was. Or maybe, just maybe, instead of changing your life to better match what you wanted, you changed what you wanted to better match your life.

Now then, this is important, so it gets the dubious honor of caps lock: FUCK THAT. The biggest reason you’re not out there doing the shit you want to is . . . well, to be honest, I have no idea. But I can take a guess. I will take a guess. My guess is that the reason we’re all not out there becoming self-actualized Hugh Hefner/Michelle Obama/Stephen Colbert mythical beings is because we suck. Hahaha not really. Or maybe. Anyways, what if the reason we aren’t doing shit is because we don’t think we can? Or worse: because we don’t think we should.

This is also important, so I started a new paragraph just for it: the idea of should. It assumes responsibility. Oh, I should go to the grocery store. Oh, I should do a good job at work so I can get that promotion. Yada yada I thought I had more to say, but fuck it.

So here we are trapped in these boxes. Now how the hell did I jump from should to boxes? By the amazing powers of magic. Well, you can call it magic. I call it creative license, which is just code for Bullshitting. We’re in these boxes, not because we build them around ourselves, but because we stand by while everyone else builds them around us.

That’s it. Can’t get much more to the point than that. Do with it what you will. Don’t do with it what you won’t.

P.S. Check out the spotlight effect bias, and, if this hit close to home, the barnum effect*.

*If this post doesn’t make sense, apply the barnum effect until it does. Either that or a nice scotch.

The Milk Man


F

U

C

K

    NO FUCKING MILK. THAT’S HOW IT’S GONNA BE. FUCK THIS SHIT. ALL I WANTED WAS SOME FUCKING MILK FOR MY FUCKING CEREAL SO THAT I WOULDN’T BE FUCKING HUNGRY BEFORE I WENT TO MY FUCKING JOB WITH MY FUCKFACE BOSS AND FUCKNUT COWORKERS AND THAT STUPID FUCKING STAPLER THAT NEVER WORKS. FUCK ME. FUCK THIS SHIT. FUCK EVERYTHING.

    That’s how my day started. Not the best start to the day, and I certainly didn’t handle it the best. Of course, that’s pretty obvious, painfully obvious, when you’re sitting in a jail cell still covered in the blood of that florist. Things got a bit out of hand. Okay, things got a lot out of hand. I was a normal, everyday sort of guy. But I should start at the beginning.

    It had been a bad week. Like, a really bad week. So when I ran out of milk I just kind of lost it. Or maybe really lost it. Yeah, I really lost it. I screamed, yelled, cursed, and cried until my throat was raw. Then I started throwing things. The bowl and spoon went first, and then the cereal, which scattered all over the room. That pissed me off even more, so I pushed the chair, hard. It bounced off the cabinet and crashed to the floor. The mess made me even madder, and I ripped open some drawers and threw their contents all over the place. Pots, pans, glassware, they all went everywhere. The silverware was the worst though. I threw each piece separately, lodging forks and spoons and knives in the walls and even the ceiling. The lamp broke, the microwave was demolished by a hail of steak knives, and water went everywhere when I ripped the faucet off the sink.

    The kitchen in shambles, I moved on to the living room. It was nothing special, same shit as every other living room ever. TV in the corner, futon, chair, table, and all the random accumulated crap that somehow always piles up. Well, I destroyed it, wrecked it all. All my shit, everything I worked hard to get, I demolished. The chair became part of the TV. The table became part of the wall. My Xbox, my custom Xbox, was introduced first to the front window and then to the lawn beyond. I remember ripping the wallpaper and even upending my shitty futon, my fury lending me strength.

    But that wasn’t enough to sate my rage. Oh no, it merely stoked the fires of destruction. Outside I went, straight through the smashed front window, with a trail of broken shit behind me. My arms were sliced by the glass; they must have been, because I remember blood running down my arms. In the lawn I encountered my lawn mower, a riding rig that I had been too lazy to put away the night before. It was then that the real shit began, when I really started digging myself the hole that eventually ended up with me behind bars. That lawn mower had always been trouble, but that day it achieved a whole new level of mayhem.

    I remember climbing on the mower, and starting it up. I remember the engine coughing into life, and the morning sun glinting off the rusted metal carapace. I remember the half-cut grass, and the tools scattered around the lawn. I can also remember my neighbor waving cheerfully in my direction, a cup of coffee in his wizened hands. But most of all, most of all I remember the cat.

    I had never liked that cat. It was a big thing, all fat and hair. It rarely left its owner’s porch, except to laze around in my lawn. I don’t know why it liked my lawn so damn much, but it did. it was only my lawn, never anybody else’s. On a normal day that bothered me, and today was no exception. The only thing different about today was that I decided to do something about this cat, this furry shit-sack that had spiked my blood pressure so often in the past. I had a running lawn mower beneath me, and I was PISSED.

The next few moments were a blur, but I do recall the fur. There was a lot of fur. And blood. And bits and pieces that I can only imagine were, at one point, a cat. I hated that cat, and the full passion of that hate was realized in the spinning blade of the mower. God, how good it had felt to purge that vile creature from existence. Well, maybe purge is the wrong word. Spray liberally across the yard might be more accurate.

Things blurred more after that. There was screaming, I remember the screaming. The cat screamed. The neighbor screamed. The kid down the street, waiting for the school bus, boy did he scream. His bike screamed when I ran it over with my mower and shotgunned metal shards every which way. Served him right though, always leaving it on the curb, never bringing it inside where it belonged. Of course, running over the bike only made him scream even more. Loud little bastard. Quite the set of lungs on him.

After the bike I just kept going. Killing the bike energized me, the screaming metal a cry to the gods of torture and mayhem. I was fucking shit up real good, and it felt good. Even the blood felt good running down my arms. I was down the rabbit hole, caught in a violent and escalating orgy of a FUCKING-MURDER-RAMPAGE-DOOM-SPREE! And that’s what it was. I ran over flower beds and morning papers, garden hoses and toys left out. I even rammed into a mailbox, which surprisingly didn’t stop the mower. No, it seemed that it, like me, was powered by an infinite and unstoppable wellspring of pure I’M-FUCKING-DONE-WITH-ALL-OF-THIS-SHIT. Hot damn did it feel good to let it all out.

I really let it out a few blocks down the street, where the florist lived. He had all these flower beds in his yard, all spread out across his lawn. He was real proud of them too, made a big fuss about them if even the slightest thing was wrong. Well, there was a whole hell of a lot wrong when I was through with his precious flowers.

The florist, pompous prick that he was, was watering some yellow flowers as I approached. I must have terrified him, me and my FUCK-EVERYTHING-UNDERNEATH-AND-SLASH-OR-IN-FRONT-OF-ME lawn mower. He looked up and saw me. The blood drained from his face as he realized that I wasn’t going to stop and that he was directly in my path. Then the blood drained from all of him as I ran into him and he fell, kicking and screaming, into the viciously spinning blades. I remember his body parts mixing with the ruined flowers, and how it created a weirdly beautiful spray of flowers and blood. Very colorfu1l.

You know, through it all I must have looked quite the sight: business casual, if you can ignore the blood and guts. My tie was most certainly not straight, a fact that my supervisor loved to point out, but at the time I couldn’t give less of a damn. My shirt was most certainly not ironed, but I figured (or would have, if I had given it a thought) the cat blood would be more of an issue. I had no shoes on; those fucking dress shoes I always had to wear gave me blisters anyways. Oh, and I wasn’t wearing any pants, just a pair of boxers with dogs on them. So there I was, a pants-less, blood-splattered, barefoot-ed maniac rampaging around on his riding lawn mower at 8 in the morning. Oh, and the entire time I was screaming obscenities about how I was out of milk.

The cops eventually got me. They got off their fat asses, stopped eating donuts, and blocked me off with their patrol cars. I remember the first cop pulling his car in front of my mower. He told me to stop. I told him to go fuck a donut. Then I drove straight into his car, full speed. I don’t know what either of us expected to happen, and to be honest I don’t actually remember what happened. All I do recall is an explosion, and the stench of gas fumes and burning flesh. Also, the smell of burning donuts. I later learned that the mangled bike had ripped open my gas line, and that the officer had been known to smoke on duty. Fire plus gas plus rampage equals fireball, which is why I still don’t have eyebrows.

Anyways, they caught me, brought me down. Took a half dozen cops to do it, but they got me in the end. They always do. I remember them surrounding me, guns out, yelling at me put my hands up. I was handcuffed, bundled up, thrown into the back of a police car, and taken away. They charged me with a lot, at least two dozen separate offenses, most of which I don’t even remember. Then I was tossed in a cell for a few days before they took me out, cleaned me up, and sat me in front of a judge. No one was surprised when I was found guilty of all charges. So they took me away, to be locked up far away from kitchens and lawns and cats and bikes and lawn mowers and EVERY FUCKING THING EVER.

Jail sucks. Like, it really sucks. There’s nothing to do. I guess that’s kind of the point though. I had my chance at doing stuff, and I blew it. And it was all because of some milk. It wasn’t even anything important, like not being able to see my kid, cus I don’t have any. Can’t get pissed about something you don’t have. Well, maybe you can. I’ll be sure to think about it. I’m sure I’ll have lots of time for thinking where I’m going. Yeah, they’re going to lock poor old me up. I’ll be gone for a long time, a real long time. I’ll probably spend the rest of my life here, or most of it. And the worst part, the worst part of all this, is that I can’t even say it was worth it. I never even got my damn milk. 

Dear Diary (short story, not an actual diary entry)

This one is set in the same post-apocalyptic world as Ground Zero (check a few posts back, it’s there somewhere). I could say more about it, but I think the writing speaks for itself. Have at it!

    Dear Diary,

I’m scared. Mommy and Daddy are fighting again. I’m hiding again, back behind the bags of rice. I always come here when Daddy starts yelling. If I don’t then he’ll yell at me too. Daddy’s scary when he’s mad, and he’s mad a lot now. The other day he even hit Mommy. She was telling him that he needed to go outside and find us food. I don’t know why anyone would ever go outside. I don’t even know what outside looks like. All I remember is our underground house. It’s a nice house i guess. Mommy tells me that we used to live outside, in a big house above the ground. Every night I used to look at the stars. I don’t remember any of that though. Mommy says I was too young to remember.

Diary, I don’t like it when Mommy and Daddy fight. It’s getting louder. I don’t think they’ve ever been this loud. I’m really scared. I hope he doesn’t hurt her again. The last time they had a fight Mommy had a big red spot on her face for a week. She said it was just her makeup, but I know that Daddy made her face red.

Diary, Mommy just screamed. I think Daddy hit her again. She’s crying now. I’m really scared. Daddy is really loud. I hope Mommy is okay. I wish they would stop fighting. It’s so loud. I can still hear Daddy yelling, even when I cover my ears. I’m going to stay here until they’re quiet again.

    Dear Diary,

Mommy and Daddy stopped fighting. I don’t hear them any more. The only thing I do hear is Daddy grunting. And sometimes I hear him chopping meat. Maybe he finally went outside like Mommy wanted and found some food. I don’t know what meat tastes like. Mommy says that I used to know. She says it was my favorite food in the whole world. She says that it was the best taste ever, and that nothing else compared. I sure would like to try meat again. We eat fake meat here, but Mommy says it isn’t the same, and sometimes she doesn’t eat it.

    Dear Diary,

I haven’t seen Mommy in 3 days. Daddy says she went out to get meat. He said she was tired of eating the same old crap every day. Well, he didn’t use the word “crap”, but he spanks me if I say the word he said. He said it’s going to be a while. Daddy has been cutting meat up for a while. Maybe Mommy is bringing it back at night, because I never see her. That must be what’s happening. Diary, I hope nothing bad happened to her. But Daddy would tell me if anything happened to her. She can’t get hurt though. Nothing can hurt Mommy.

Daddy’s calling me now Diary. He says it’s time for dinner. I’ll talk to you later Diary. You’re my only friend.

Dear Diary,

We had meat for dinner! Real meat! It tasted kind of funny though. Daddy said that it was because there was no fat in the meat. He wouldn’t tell me what kind of meat it was.

Mommy wasn’t at dinner. Diary, it was weird. Even when Mommy and Daddy fight we always have dinner together. She must have went out and got the meat. Maybe that’s why it tasted funny. I’ll ask her why it tasted funny when she gets home. I hope she gets home soon.

I Found…

           ​I found a cell phone on the side of the road. It was a bit banged and beaten up, but still looked like it worked. One side was dented where it hit the ground, and it was scratched up all over. It was a cheaper phone too, one of those phones you can get in Wal-Mart for like 30 bucks. A drug dealer must’ve ditched it. They always do, especially after a big deal. Gotta stay ahead of the fuzz, you know? I avoid them: the dealers and the fuzz. Both have guns, and guns are bad news.

             I found a pair of shoes on the side of the road. Well, they weren’t actually shoes. They were hooker boots, the kind with a really high heel that’re made of leather. They were really nice, all black and shiny, so I took them home and gave them to my sister. She isn’t a stripper, but we don’t have a lot of money, and free boots are free boots. My step-dad got real mad when he saw them, said he didn’t want no whores in his house, but my mom put him in his place. She’s always riding his ass about not making enough money, or spending it all on booze, or some shit like that. 

            I found a tire on the side of the road. A whole tire, just lying there, without a car or anything. It looked lonely, so I took it, figured I could use it as a chair or something. Rolled it home, and brought it up to my room late at night so my stupid step-dad wouldn’t give me shit about it. Put it in the corner, and then put my bean bag chair on top of it. Looks pretty chill if you ask me, but nobody ever asks me. I don’t let nobody come in my room. It’s mine, mine only. It’s the only place I ever really feel safe, even when my step-dad is drunk and screaming and I can hear my sister crying through the thin walls.

I found some broken bottles on the side of the road. There’s always broken glass everywhere. That’s everyone’s hobby, breaking their glass bottles after they drink all the booze that’s inside. I hate it, even though I got used to the crashing sound the glass makes when it shatters on the road. People drink everywhere, but somehow the glass always ends up in the road. I cut my hands on some glass once, when I was running away from my step-dad when he was really drunk this one time. I ran out into the street, and I was looking behind me to make sure he wasn’t chasing me, and I tripped and fell and sliced my hands up really bad. I’ve still got the scars, lots of them, all over the palms of my hands.


I found a hell of a lot of litter on the side of the road. The trash is like the glass, it always ends up in the street. I ain’t no hippie, but it really ain’t that hard to put it in the fuckin’ trash can. The worst is when people throw trash out the car window, and it hits you or splashes you. I got hit once with a big cup of soda, one of the huge ones from McDonald’s, and I fuckin took off after that car like a cat on crack. The bastard got stuck at a red light too, so I caught up with him and kicked his fucking tail-light in and screamed all sorts of shit at that lousy prick. Then I had to haul ass when the cops showed up.


I found some needles on the side of the road. I stayed the fuck away from them, ain’t no way in hell I’ll touch them. I might have dropped out of school, but I ain’t stupid. Fuck drugs, man. Alot of people I know do them. My step-dad does them all the time. That’s why we don’t have money, and why my mom screams at him so much. She tells me that if she ever catches me doing drugs she’s gonna kick my ass so hard I can’t sit for a week. I ain’t gonna though.


I find all sorts of shit on the side of the road. Some of it is interesting, but most of it is just shit. Fuck this place man. Everybody dumping their shit everywhere. As if our lives aren’t shitty enough, now they gotta be fucking up the streets. I hate it man, it’s bull. But whatever. That’s life.

Author’s note: There’s not really much point to the story. No big twist at the end, no narrative, no moral or rhyme or reason really. It just is. And sometimes that happens. Sometimes there isn’t a point to things; they just are. Remember, it’s up to us to give meaning to things, and then to choose how to respond to that meaning. Maybe this is an indictment of lower-class socio-economic struggles. Maybe it’s a sad story about a shitty life. Maybe it’s a subtle environmentalist plea to not litter. Once you read it, it’s out of my hands. It’s what you want it to be. 

How It Ended

How it Ended
It was a normal day, or at least as close to normal as my days can be considered. I woke up on the floor, as usual, with no memory of getting there. My dreams raced to the back of my conscious, nagging me, just out of reach. My blankets, last surviving breath of my forgotten love, were wrapped around me. I laughed humorlessly, hating the cruel facsimile of the lover’s embrace. Lethargically, I began to disengage myself, even as I simultaneously began to engage my mind.

Breakfast. Bathroom. Shit, shower, shave. Well, shave and then shower. Electric razors and water don’t mix well. I knew from experience. It was just as well that it held only a weak charge. The tingling had lasted all day, but now I was on a three-week streak, and wasn’t interested in breaking it (mostly because of the rhyming). 

This was going to be a good morning, I thought as I toweled off, pleased that I had not cried in the shower, nor dropped the soap. I dressed, almost exulting when I put my briefs on properly the first time. I buttoned my shirt easily, and even went so far as to tie my tie without imagining it to be a noose.

Out the door I went, stumbling only slightly on the way out of my one-bedroom apartment. I shrugged; that happened all the time, and I was feeling surprisingly chipper. Down the stairs, out the front door, into the sunlight, and down the block I went. People gave me the usual wide berth, nothing new. I stumbled over a pigeon, almost tripping on the sidewalk, but managed to catch myself. Smiling broadly, I approached a building that was small when compared to all others in this part of the city. It huddled, much like I would on the train, between two large, gleaming masses: corporate incarnations. I entered…

…or at least, tried to. The glass door ambushed me again, sending me bouncing back. I shook my head, my nose stinging, and reached to push open the door. On my second push I realized that it needed to be pulled to enter. The heat rose in my cheeks as I noticed several fat people watching, no doubt tourists from out of town who had just so happened to witness my lapse. Breathing deep, I pulled the door open and entered, but not before I heard their laughter. I breathed deep, pushing the sound of their mockery from my mind with a conscious effort.

The receptionist smiled at me, all teeth and no joy. I would have preferred the fat people’s humor to her smile: at least theirs was genuine, even if it was at my expense. I hurried past, stumbling in my haste to reach the relative safety of my office. It was a nice office, emphasis on was. Now it was broken, just like me, a shell of what once was. A potted plant lay on the floor, dirt scattered about. Pens littered the desk, and the once-neat surface was covered in ink and pieces of pen. A shattered picture frame rested in the corner, below the empty wall that I liked to imagine was a window. I gazed at the picture, tears welling in the corners of my eyes. 

This picture was not particularly noteworthy, or well-done, or even artistic in any special sense. It was merely of two people: me, and her. We were smiling, laughing, our cheeks red from humor and autumn air. There was a dog too, a shiba, doing its best to be part of the memory too. It was a happy memory, from a happier time, but all it did now was bring back pain, and the feeling of loss. Ironically, a shard of glass had pierced her face, and protruded outwards.

Despite my attempts, despite all desire to not relive those memories, it all came rushing back. The open road, the car, the laughter. Then, the oncoming headlights, the unconcerned acknowledgement, the tickling sense of dread. The crash, the jolting, the screams. Her screams. They went on and on. I wish I could forget those memories. There was a piece of glass, of the windshield, embedded in her face. Her screams . . . they haunt me to this day. Her laugh sounded the same, or close enough: peals of laughter, interspersed with gasps for air. They were too similar . . . as the memory fades, I find it difficult to separate the two in my mind.

I’m curled up on the floor, sobs wracking my body as my broken soul strains for some glimpse of peace. Dirt from my plant worms its way into my clothes. The rough carpet scrapes my face and hands. I gasp for air, for solace, for any respite I can find. Heaving, I lift myself up, and look towards the ceiling. Holes pock the industrial paneling, and there are even chunks missing here and there. I reach up, tie in hand, hoping once more to silence the past. But it’s all for nothing: the tile breaks again, raining down on me, a cruel mockery of the tears covering my face.

I curl up in a ball once more, screaming soundlessly into the abyss of my own mind. Eventually it ends, or at least becomes manageable. I get lunch. I clear my desk. The broken pot stays, as does the picture in the corner. I do some work, losing myself in the mindlessness of my corporate tasks. 

The workday ends. I go home. I make myself dinner, burning my hand on the metal pot, and my tongue on the hot food. I turn on the evening news: another war, another car crash. More broken lives. Broken, like me. I strip off my clothes, falling and hitting my head as I pull off my pants. I crawl into bed and wait for sleep to find me, so that I might forget. I slowly drift away, my screaming fading into sobbing that fades into muffled groans that become snoring.

It was a normal day, or at least as close to normal as my days can be considered. 

Electric Failure

I wrote this over a year ago,February 23 of the year 2016 . Weird, right? Pretty short, but I think it does the job. 
I was shitting on the toilet when it happened. First my phone died, causing me to swear as I lost my perfect Temple Run streak. Then the lights went out, plunging me into darkness. Swearing some more, I fumbled for the toilet paper, wiping my ass in the dark. Carefully, I reached around and flushed the toilet, glad that at least the plumbing still worked. Last thing I needed to do was leave the remains of my breakfast burrito for some poor bastard to find. Unless Jeremy found it, in which case he could choke on it. 

I exited the stall and found the sink, forgoing soap in favor of a strong rinse. What did it matter, I wondered to myself as I groped along the wall, looking for the door. Not like they were gonna stay clean for long anyways. I found the door and swung it open, revealing more darkness. Fuckin’ mansion, too goddamn big to keep powered apparently. I moved along the wall, heading in the direction of the dimly lit second floor gymnasium down the hall. 

I finally got to the gym, and looked out the windows. Usually I had a nice view of all the ants busy at their menial jobs, all working for me. This entire fucking city worked for me, and I got to watch them all slave away. Except they weren’t slaving away. Beyond my perfect back yard, beyond the fountains and wall and moat (what rich motherfucker didn’t have a moat these days?) the city was quiet. Normally there was movement: the barely perceptible movement of cars and trucks, the heartbeat of my own personal anthill. 

Frowning, I looked closer. No, there was movement after all. Tendrils of smoke were curling up from the taller buildings, from between them. What the shit is going on, I thought to myself as I glanced around the room from my binoculars. Grabbing them from the elliptical, I zoomed in on a plume of smoke, and promptly dropped the binoculars. I turned and ran, making for my emergency vehicle: a heavily reinforced Porsche, loaded with supplies. 

Despite the darkness I made good time; practice paid off. My car was just where I had left it after rotating the bulletproof tires. Smiling, I climbed into the driver’s seat and breathed deep, relishing the smell of leather and the safety it promised. However, all my hopes were dashed when I attempted to start it: the damn machine wouldn’t start! Frustrated, I pounded on the steering wheel with the palms of my hands, but that succeeded only in blowing the horn, startling me.

Dejectedly I exited my escape vehicle, not sure what to do next. A moment later the decision was made for me as my favorite concubine ran up to me, flashlight in hand. Clad only in a bikini, her skin shone palely in the dim light. She drew up close to me, almost collapsing into my arms, the embodiment of abject terror. Her lithe form pressed against me, and I couldn’t help but congratulate myself, yet again, for finding such a perfect specimen. All congratulations turned to fear however, as she sank her claws into my back.

 Claws?? 

Pain blossomed, tendrils of pure sensation running across my back, making me scream, something I had not done since I was a young boy. The flashlight dropped, spilling batteries across the floor of the garage. The light faded, along with the rest of my senses, as my blood dripped onto the floor. Everything went black . . . except for her, she was glowing dimly. She was glowing dimly! That was my last thought in this world.