Friday, August 5, 2011

Some drinks, a drive, and lasting memories.

“I can do this,” He said to himself “just shake it off.” He picked up his keys and stumbled towards his coat. It seemed like one of the armholes had been sewn shut by playful elves, but he got both arms in the coat soon enough. You can see where this is going.

47 minutes later, he was sitting on a bench in a jail cell. Even though it was late fall, the AC was turned on at what felt like full blast. He didn’t know this but it was to keep other drunks, the really hard drunks, from dying in the cell from alcohol withdrawal. He was fucked, and he knew it. He had friends who had gotten DUI’s in the past, and he knew more or less what would happen. His license would be suspended for a while, he’d have to take the bus to the bus to work, or get someone to give him rides. There would be a blotch on his record, which meant checking the little box next to “have you ever been convicted of a crime?” in job applications. There might be community service involved, or even a bit of time. And legal fees. Fucking legal fees. For a moment, he felt the weight of it all on him, and he sagged under the pressure.

Luckily, there was no one in with him at the moment. Not much criminal activity on a small town on a Tuesday night, he supposed. He looked around at the cold walls, the bars around the cell, the stainless steel shine of the shitter. Almost as if it was made to suck the hope out of anyone who spent time there, cops or criminals. The drunk had turned to a buzz long ago, and was now trudging its way towards sober. It made everything more real than it had any right to be.

“Peterson” shouted a guard, walking towards him. “You made bail, you are free to fuck off somewhere else.” The guard was amused by his own wit, but he seemed to be the only one. Peterson stepped out, and saw his wife staring at him through the glass on the other side. The guard laid a hand on his shoulder. “You’re fucked now buddy” he said, and laughed loudly to himself. Another zinger. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Park and Ride

The man has a job to go to, but he can't get out of his car. Its not that he is trapped in the car or anything of the sort. What he cannot do at present is will himself out of the car. 

You see, like most people, the man hates his job. To him it is and has always been a way to eat and nothing more. He derives no pleasure or passion, and the people are barely tolerable at best. On most days he is quite capable of ignoring all these things, capable of grinning and bearing it (although without the grinning.) But today, for some reason, was exceptionally difficult. 

Nothing was different. He did not have a big meeting that day, or any trouble with any of his coworkers. It was no specific event that he dreaded, other than the act of working. He couldn't even call it work. He slowly watched the clock tick forward each day as he put in only the smallest bit of effort allowable to accomplish tasks he neither cared nor looked forward to. He did just enough to get by, and just enough was good enough when everyone felt like he did. 

But he couldn't do it. He couldn't go on pretending that this was how life was meant to be lived. He knew, in brief moments of lucidity, that something was off. He suspected, in the corners of his mind, that this was a dumb way to live. Going somewhere you don't give a shit about to do something you don't like to do, so you can not starve and pay for whatever poison you need to help it all go down smoothly. And this was one of those moments, and he couldn't get out of the car. 

He watched as people walked (or ran) towards the buses. He watched as the buses pulled away, looking as if they themselves had a job they didn't like. He watched as the smoke from their exhaust blended into the atmosphere,  pretending to be harmless. His bus was long gone, and he was still in the car. He felt the weight of it all on his shoulders, every pound. It crushed his spirit, and stabbed at his mind. But like always, he got out of his car and walked towards the buses. 

"You're late" his boss told him. He explained to his boss that he had missed his bus, and his boss believed him and made no more of it. And then they got to work. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Bloop

Somewhere at the bottom of the ocean floor, far below the point where darkness would blind and pressure would kill, lies an abomination. It has been there for thousands of years, and will continue to be there for thousands to come. Its physical structure is not in the realm of what science knows as possible, and this is because it is a guardian of Hell.

Well, "Hell" anyway. A place thousands of light years away in a place where things exist half-in and half-out of matter, where dark energy clashes chaotically in unimaginable quantities. Tales of it exist in texts from long ago, but in their small minds and through their dark ages the new humans understood it to be the only place where this happens, much like the belief of only one "Heaven." In truth its only one of such places.

The abomination used to live there, long, long ago. To keep a story short, lets just say he got into a scuffle with the family and ended up sleeping on wet dirt at the bottom of a sea in some small-time shit planet at the edge of a small galaxy in the middle of nowhere in particular. Our loved and lovely earth.

It has no equal on said earth, so it lives without fear. It knows that no one can fuck with it, and not for lack of trying. Sorcerers and Conjurers of spells from many human ages have tried to approach it, to dominate it, to manipulate it. If there was a hell they would wish for it now, their fate far worse than any eternity in such a place.

But at the moment existence doesn't need it, has no use for it, so it lies almost soundlessly in the deep. Almost. Sometimes you can hear it: 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A red light somewhere

The light turned red and the driver waited, wondering just how long the light would take. Without a radio all he had were his thoughts to keep him company. He saw a young woman walking down the opposite side of the street, and it reminded him of a girlfriend from almost 20 years ago. Her hair was also red and wavy, although she dressed more like a Southern California beach rat. He thought of all the time they spent doing absolutely nothing on those beaches, passing the time by smoking joints or surfing the good waves. She cheated on him with one of his surfing buddies, and this also came floating back. it usually did whenever he thought of her.

He checked the light. Still red. He quickly ran through the things he still had to get done that day, and sighed to himself. One of the cars needed an oil change. The backyard needed to be mowed. His wife needed a few things from the store. A day off ends up becoming just another workday. 

He looked out (still red) and he noticed a bug crawling on the windshield. He couldn't have told you why, but all of his attention fell on this bug. It looked like a young mosquito, so pale it was almost translucent and clearly unfamiliar with the dangers of walking on windshields when you barely know how to fly. He imagined himself at that size, and shuddered. "That bug must have no idea where it is right now walking on top of clear glass." he thought to himself, "It has no idea where it is and I'm going to start driving and the wind will probably kill it."

He didn't feel good or bad about it, but his thoughts did make ripples in his mind. He thought of himself as that bug again, and realized he also had no idea what he was doing. Sure, you drive around and you buy a house and you raise a family, but is that in any manual anywhere? "And then a wind swoops from out of nowhere and it blows you away from it all" he heard in his head.

Then he heard shrill sounds in his head, the sound of angry people in cars leaning most of their body weight on their horns. The light was green, and they had places to be. He let go of his musings and drove.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A street performer

John Lester Gordon has been playing the piano for over 20 years. His hair, once brown, has now turned a ghostly white and almost looks translucent when the light hits it right. Most of the time it doesn’t though, because Seattle is a cloudy place and that happens to be where he spends most of his existence. Oftentimes it is raining, anything from a light drizzle to serious downpour, and he has to cover himself and the piano with a tarp and some rope. Even still, he plays outside every day, in a street corner by pike place market.
His piano is old, like something out of a bar in Wild West days somewhere. It’s worn and scratched in too many places to count, and seems to have a life of its own. The people at the business next door let him keep it there at no charge, and he wheels it in every night before going to the homeless shelter.

He is good. Quite good. His playing is versatile, going from classical to saloon music to jazz to covers of Bob Dylan or the Rolling Stones. He plays but nobody listens. Tourists mill about, and might even stop for a second to check out one of the quirky extravagances of a bigger city. Pictures might be shot. But they don’t really listen; instead it becomes just one more part of their vacation trip. Locals also walk around, jaded and uninterested. Some might listen as they’re walking past, but they won’t stop. They have somewhere to go, lunch to buy, places to be.

But every once in a while someone does stop, and it could be a local or a tourist. Someone really stops, and realizes just what they are hearing. They stand there, transfixed, as they watch this old looking hippie Seattle dude pour out his fucking heart out to them. For dollars and cents.

And they’ll reach for their wallet.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Days of Bananas

"I remember picking them" the old man said in Spanish, sweat collecting on his brow. "I remember picking those goddamn bananas in the heat all day, sweating from all the humidity. It was back-breaking work." The dam broke, and drops of sweat landed on his face. He swatted at them with a yellowed handkerchief. "You know what the worst part was? All the killings. If you started to ask for breaks or paper money they would beat you. Sometimes they beat you too hard."

His grandson looked down at his banana, so nice and yellow in his hand. Suddenly he wasn't so hungry.