Alabama (WIP)

Prologue

The Catholics got it all wrong. There’s no room for fancy in the good Lord’s kingdom. Jesus was a simple man, and he keeps a simple Heaven; a Heaven in which the chicken is good, where the fags burn and the good ol’ southern Baptists mingle. Yep. That’s the kind of Heaven we imagine. I was born southern Baptist, raised as well. My momma taught me good manners with the good Lord’s book and I know no matter what I’m going to the pearly gates.

Baptists are good people. They would have to be to have so many churches. We even have three or four on the same road, only thing separating them is the prison filled with all the non-believers and Mexicans we rounded up before the big fuck up that America made. And don’t think we are racist or nothing because all the people in the prison are either black or a Mexican okay? We’re not racist, and it’s not our fault they were breaking the law, even if the laws were outdated and barely used on people in our courts. Law is still law.

You see, I live in Alabama, and I’ll be damned if it ain’t the best place in the world to live. It’s a little slice of the simple joys that a man needs in his life. Good women, a plot of land and no Mexicans to tend to it because we do fine on our own out here in the country. The weather is nice, the tea is sweet; so sweet that if you haven’t lost your foot just by drinking it it’s not sweet enough! We have our farms and our mom and pop shops. Used to have a library but then we figured out what it was and had to burn it to the ground.

Though, we’re not so understood by the rest of the world. In fact, we are not understood at all. The days of trailer love, backyard beer and Mary Lou dancin’ round the swimming pool (which is really just a small creek we found one day while out hunting) just never caught on with anyone else. They wanted the extravagant, not the ignorant. I guess that is why America had evicted one of its own blood.

If you remember well the history of the United States of America, you know, that country Alabama only tried to protect from illegal people stealing our jobs and our perfectly good women and government money, you would know that Alabama used to be one of the fifty glorious states. We were the Deep South and we had our brethren, and try to talk to them. Mississippi is kind of quiet and Louisiana is just partying up the life right now.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. And you are partially right. I do live in a paradise. Our southern livin’ just can’t beat anything else. We’re so great, even have a band named after us. Ever heard of them? Of course you have, they’ve been around since forever. It is a wonder why the rest of the USA never took to our kind of hospitality; our kind of patriotism. Even Arizona understood us a bit. They started vigilantism at the boarder of Mexico. As you can tell, we’re not very fond of them folk comin’ round here. I hear they are the next to be evicted. But someone on the news once said: “There are just places America does not need. You know, the ones you hear: ‘you got a purdy mouth there boy’ just are not the image we want to portray to the world.” I guess we was one of them since we were the first one to be kicked out of the country. Man, we musta been some pretty bad people to be hated like that.

But as I said, we are just misunderstood. We keep to our own. Only get into other people’s business when we don’t like what we see, and there are plenty of times where shit happens and we do not like when shit happens. We even patrolled our own state, found a few queers stammerin’ around. Good times, maybe not for them but God never intended for fags to walk this earth. We are not so bad people. We do what God wants us to do, at least that’s what Pastor Ray tells us, and he’s a good man. He ain’t never sold us no bullshit before, and he ain’t gonna start now! I seen him on the TV and he told us that the good Lord’s gonna take care of Alabama, and that the rest of the U.S. is gonna suffer for they did.

You see, it’s not all rainbows and smiles, though we try to kill rainbows as much as we can cause God don’t want too much color in Alabama. Too much and it becomes a little happy. Our economy was bad, still is bad. Ain’t a decent job in the entire country. Yes, Alabama is its own country. Only, we’re not recognized as of yet. We just try to make do with what we got. We are prayin’ ev’ry night. God’s got to hear our prayers one day.

Notice, I said there ain’t no decent jobs. There are the jobs that I work. The shit for pay jobs, the oens that cant’ even keep your lights on because your job pays below minimum wage, whatever that is now. I believe we pushed it down to $4 an hour due to our little set back. Our government forces us to work these jobs if we ain’t got the smarts for something else. No high school degree? It’s the fields for you. Education costs money now. High school was only tax related. Now they have tuition costs, and other bills to pay, gotta keep the ones with money educated. Though, to be honest, being a simple man, I never saw the need for education. Hell, I even burned down the local library because books is evil! Don’t need no faggot vampire comin’ after my asshole I tell you that right now!

Most of us here are just the simple folk, and the simple folk got ta do all the simple work the immigrant workers used to do. We ran them out when we was a state, and now ain’t hardly any of them here except in the prison (and even they have some papers to them). Pickin’ fruit is not all bad. At least for me its not, could have a worse job out there and I don’t need anything worse (the sewage department is not my calling, they probably could have kept a few Mexicans for that).

Now, is there a chance to get ahead, you know that American dream we fought for? Of course there is. Anyone who can afford the tuition of the local high schools can get a high school degree and then possibly move on to college. Hell there’s even student loans for that, but no government handouts. The grants left us years ago. Now, that sounds a lot like the college process, but in our society there just wasn’t enough funding for public education system. But if you’re like me, who wants to be educated right? It’s nothin’ but the devil’s work!

We try to be the model America, but we don’t have the money for it. Hell, hardly have enough some days to scrap for food. But we live, and that’s all that matters. With as liberal as America has gotten, I don’t think I could ever step foot on its soil again. It’s just not Godly.

01.

Morning. The sun had barely got its sweet ass out to greet me as I felt the cool breath of the refrigerator sweep against my stomach while grabbing my beer. I could tell the bitch was about to break since the can was sweating more than a hooker at the famous Sweet Home Convent. Luckily, I can suffer a few insecurities such as a sweaty beer. I cracked it open, let the water drip off the side of the can to give my face some relief and chugged it like I would never have another in my lifetime. And who knows, tomorrow may be that end. I have to get all the beers in me before I meet the good lord. If he’s gonna tell me I’m a bad person I need to have some loaded courage to make my arguments.

The last drop staggered like the morning after a one-night stand, swirling slowly down the can and dripping carefully on my tongue. If I were another man, I’d be inclined to describe it as Dainty. But that’s too much color for me and as a man I can’t divulge into that world. Getting on with it, the beer was finished and I crushed the can into the garbage bags. Nothin’ fancy, I can’t afford the finer bags in life. I just have the ones that tear apart under pressure, and unfortunately too much of that happens too often. Lookin’ at you America.

The can made its disappointing entrance into the bag, making the kitchen echo with a mild aluminum “thud.” With that, it was time to head into work, and by the heat that was whipping my body as I walked out I knew it was gonna be a hot one. So I grabbed another beer for the road, gotta keep hydrated as I lay the cement down. I pulled over a shirt that had been laying over a fence all night, clean shirt is the second best way to start the day. Now, if you have a beer and a fine woman with you then you’re on vacation!

“Billy!” my name rattled through the house as I opened the door, trying to make a quiet escape. “Billy, you gon come home late t’night?” My wife’s footsteps rustled through the floor as she hurried to see me. I have never been able to catch a small break of freedom when leaving. And excuse me, ladies, for speaking some vulgarities, but sometimes she need ta get off my dang back! That’s right, I said dang! And you know it’s serious when that word trips off your tongue.

“Martha, sweetie, I’ll be home when I’m home. Sometimes I gotta work late. The bills need to be paid and all,” I spoke to her sternly. Ain’t a man in this world that can’t get his woman in line.

“You’ve not seen your boy in a while,” her words were calm, if I were a more sensitive man I’d say they were solemn. I looked back at her face, her cheeks swollen naturally to fit her plump body. It was a cheap stab into my spine, but she was right. Hell I can’t even remember the last time I even had a chat with Daryl–a very active nine year old. I didn’t have a response for her, but I didn’t need to say anything. She understood.

“Babe, I’ll be home tonight. That’s the best I can do.” She nodded and looked away. She almost seemed to wither as the darkness from the house inched around her. My steps arched out of the doorway as I tried to leave, my home weighing on my body heavily as if I were walking uphill. I take as much as I can handle.

She stepped into the light of the morning for a moment to say one last thing. “Billy,” she started. I looked back and watched her lips reveal her nicotine-stained teeth as she tried to finish her goodbye, “he’s still sick, ya know.” Her words lingered like scars against my chest as I could hear my son’s cough battering out from the windows. My eyes shut, knowing his body is thrusting off the covers, writhing and arching his body in pain. He could barely stand to breathe some days, but the cough won’t leave. His bones are so fragile we’ve been afraid that it would snap him in half but the doctors all say it’ll be alright.

There’s no money for hospitals anymore.

Posted in Novel Project | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Prescription

Prescription

     He had time. It was one thing to pile on books, take in as much of the word as one could, but for Joseph the real gift is finding the book that is actually worth the time read. He sifted through harsh romances, and snarled at the state of modern literature; though in essence a novel cannot really be as strong if the writing is matched underneath a hundred and sixty characters per paragraph. Depth—the world had lacked it for its entire current state of mind. Joseph was rarely shocked by it; though why bother if the hero of society is a zombie waiting for a vampire to marry her?

     The muscles in his face could barely lift a smile as his eyes graced the covers of torn paperback novels, bent out of shape hardbacks, frilly comic pages—satisfaction was not among the selection today! Joseph’s face tight, stern, serious as he allowed a finger to trail along the shelf, slowly feeling the fuzz from the rambled pages of an uncovered book. His breath rather heavy as his body stood there, the visitors two shelves over could barely hear him amongst the quiet of the library.

     Unnamed. It was an item that had not been touched in a long time. Its binding quivered as his hands worked to shuffle it out; the dust lifting off, staring at the man freeing them from their home in awe. His steps pounded against the floor as he walked to his normal chair. The library practically reserved it for him being such a usual customer of theirs with no late fees on his record. Simple rewards make anyone happy.

     He twisted, arched his back upward as he sat in his spot, inching over and over to get the most comfortable position. Joseph was not a man to sit in an awkward position in a chair. A perfectionist needed everything exactly to their liking, and Joseph was no different. As he finally leaned back into his chair and crossed his legs, the pages began to open to the first few magnificent words of his novel. Wondrous because Joseph had picked it himself, and he was rarely wrong about gut instincts.

     “She needed her prescription; everyone needs their prescription…” The words jumped around in his tongue as he processed them for a moment. How much more modern can a book become? Everyone needs their prescription. The words looped over in his head as he thought of the red pill he took today and the green he would have to take later on that evening. Four, five, maybe six prescription bottles sitting quietly on his kitchen counter at his home with a bottle of water right next to them because his throat could never handle swallowing such large sized objects.

     He walked the parking lot, a knife held firmly in his hand it scratched and mingled with the bricks. His arms stretched out far to rip open the doors, Joseph could see the blood drizzling form his hands, though the man wasn’t bothered by the insignificant. The rest of the library had not stopped to look at the entity before them. He walked up to the counter, the assistant a rather kind woman; her voice perked up the lights as she spoke, “how may I…” she muttered. The man hadn’t let her say much as his arms thrust inward towards her, stomach starting to bleed profusely. The Library had done nothing, save for maintain their normal business of life.

     Joseph watched, though too afraid to do anything, as the man had left the doors with his knife, humming whatever tune he had rolling around in his head. The book lay in his hands as he watched the woman writhe on the ground, still managing to say, “how may I help you?”

     She needed her prescription; everyone needs their prescription. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I Burned the Bridges to Heaven

I Burned the Bridges to Heaven

 

The room was filled with the smell of cakes and pastries, as well as coffee. Plates and silverware clanked together voraciously as the people around them ate their sweets and discussed the normal politics of the day. “Bachman said what? Still they protest? We should be thankful for what?” It was just the norm of this bakery, which sat at the street corner for so many years it could practically be a historical monument of its own. It has seen marches and influential people plow through the streets before it. People protested then, much like they protested right now. Of course, it was never New York, but each state “must be occupied” as they said on the news and internet podcasts. The Modern Day Delilah has lived, as much as it lives right now.

 

She was never empty, and the people always wanted her attention. Her customers never changed it was only the politics and the news that floated around in the air mingling with the coffee steam. In the corner of the Modern Day Delilah sat a woman who frequented regularly enough that the staff knew her order and even gave her a special spot on the menu for being such a devoted customer. She was always so elegant when she stepped through the doors, and her voice pierced the local chatter as she walked to her seat, singing:

 

“Little boxes on the hillside

Little boxes made of ticky tacky

Little boxes on the hillside

Little boxes all the same…”

 

It was a song the bakery never wanted to miss, and knew that one day it would. It would miss her customer’s singing as much as it would miss all of the people in the room one day. But somehow, the place knew they would all return.

 

It was couples frequent hang out. People got together for the first time, or have been going for years. The Modern Day Delilah was never empty of love-filled emotions much like it was never empty of sappy break ups. It has heard and seen everything there is to world of love and then watched it create a new world in a rapture it has not yet experienced.

 

“Larry was nothing more than an invalid dear. He had no style, no sense in this world at all. He was nothing like you, Derrick” the words rolled viciously from the squirrel’s tongue. Jay carried a black shine to his coat of fur, and from his chin to the neck of his shirt one could tell he had a blue under belly. His hazel eyes grew into the usual dreamy “I love you more than the world” look as his hands wrapped around the black hands of the raccoon sitting across from him. They slid up to Derricks auburn arms for a moment and he let out a faint smile.

 

Jay was never the one. In fact, to Derrick, Jay presented himself to be sort of creepy. He was the kind of clingy guy who would follow your every footstep like a ninja at night, waiting for you to come home and becoming jealous of any single person who looked their way. He attached himself to the raccoon as he rubbed Derrick’s arm for a moment. Derrick’s body began to tense up as he realized the situation could get much worse, maybe not at that moment, but progressively worse if given the time. He could just imagine the squirrel’s lovesick eyes darting at every scrap of fur he left behind, and here at this coffee table, it needed to end.

 

Jay was like all the rest he had met, and Derrick still holds the scars from a couple of mistakes. He inched back a little bit and diverted his eyes to the table top thinking of how Jay was going to react when he gave him the message to go away. His hands had never been touched so gently before. Derrick could almost feel the love pouring through Jays fingers as they rocked back and forth. It took him back to Andre, a wolf who had left so many bruises on the raccoon’s past that Derrick had forgotten that the sun also rises. Jay’s touch brought back the smell of sterilized hospital rooms. The beeping of the monitors synchronized with the clanking of the silverware. He could hear the machine now, making sucking noises as it pumped air. Derrick closed his eyes and he was back in the bed, waking up to find a silver and white wolf staring at him. It held nothing; Andre’s eyes were empty as they watched Derrick slowly wake. “Thought I had lost you,” the wolf said as he laid his hands on the raccoon’s, the same loving touch as the squirrel’s.

 

“Derrick?” his name echoed in the room but no one was speaking. The wolf was silent. “Derrick? Are you okay?” The raccoon blinked once and he was back at The Modern Day Delilah, Jay sitting in front of him now only holding a small card. “Listen, I have to leave now, but maybe we can do this again sometime. Here’s my number,” the squirrel said nervously as he dropped it on the table. From his pocket Jay’s phone began to ring and he flung it out while walking towards the door. Derrick sat back in his chair and watched the squirrel jump out into the winter weather falling from the sky. From outside you could hear people singing Silent Night, their notes swept across the sidewalk as they heaved their voices through the cold.

The Christmas month had begun. The carolers were out now, on time as usual on the first of December. The raccoon’s coffee was getting cold now. He left some money on the table and slid on his grey hooded sweatshirt, walking out into the snow. He looked up at the sky for a moment, and then began walking up the street. Away from Andre, he had hoped.

This was New Jerusalem for the raccoon. His freedom, his escape—everything he could hope for all bunched into one small rubber ball, bouncing up and down. And still the ever growing need to look behind him, over his shoulder in fear of the past, which had vanished years ago, would be standing right there as if to say, “How’s the patient today?” There were no angels there, and he never achieved such a holy status. He was merely a mediocre thirst to be called on whenever he was needed.

That was all the past now, a photograph he could look back at and smile, or weep as he put it back in a box closest to his heart because one day Derrick will open it, and everything he saw then, sees now and may see soon will have changed. But the spirits will twist in his stomach until then. They will sing, and dance as he moans to forget that he was never born until he left the cage of a thirst. Spirits are never a matter of forgetting, nor are they a matter of remembrance. They’ve no memory in this life, or even the next. It is only the ones they haunt that the remembrance of the past is given to them.

Derrick shuffled into his apartment, escaping the awkward date if one was to call it that. He leaned his back against the door, laying his head on its surface, as if he was catching his breath, but he felt no fatigue. The cold was forced to retreat as the warmth of his home pushed it back, heating up his body he had to throw off his sweatshirt. The lights were all off, and he sat there in the solemnity of the passing.

 

His legs felt damp for a moment. They were cold and swishing around as if he were in a pool. His body quivered for a moment as he stood there in the darkness, legs cold and damp. His hands dropped down to feel what it was that covered him, and as if his hand was lashed by the cold force he snapped it back and waited for the pain to numb away. It was liquid he felt, like it was a ice cube melting in his hands, the water swishing in his palms, and he was immersed in it.

 

Derrick placed his hand along his front pocket. The raccoon rubbed his thumb along the outline of what is a small tin box. The box was everything to him. He carried it wherever he went, taking in life with it, only taking what he needed—never indulging in any more than necessary. He stole a bit of life every day, and felt that maybe he’d learn that it was more precious tomorrow than it was at the moment he picked it up. He rubbed his thumb along the outline as the liquid around him began to rise a bit, nearing the box. Derrick pulled it out, stared at it, and opened it up. When he looked up from the box he saw he was standing in water, a cold stream sloshing around his legs. There was a mild confusion inside him, but it was subsided by the box as he looked at it again. As if he were holding his own child he cradled it in the palms of his hands. He didn’t move in the water, just stood still and facing its current. He took his fingers and reached inside the box, lifting something out. It was thin like a sheet of paper, folded neatly and faded yellow a bit. He began to open it, seeing a small bit of ink. A smile trudged across the raccoon’s face as he began to remember what the ink was.

 

“Where’ve you been?” a voice interrupted him. His body began to tense up, afraid of the voice. It held in it a small piece of spite, its tongue lashing out with chains. “I asked you a question, where have you been?” with that second question the raccoon was back in his home and the voice formed in front of him. Derrick was silent as a bit of white fur gleamed in front of him. A wolf emerged, and Derrick stood frozen as Andre stood before him.

 

The wolf jumped at Derrick pinning him up against the wall. The raccoon whinced as he felt his fur being pulled out of him, his feet could no longer reach the ground as Andre lifted him up. “I expect answers when I ask questions,” His voice began to get louder, his anger could not be subsided any longer as he balled one hand into a fist and thrust it into Derricks stomach. The raccoon cried out as the force shot through his body. Andre smiled for a moment and then dropped his victim, “you’ll do better next time.”

 

Derrick lay on the ground coughing and cradling himself, but when he looked up Andre was gone. As he noticed he was alone again, the pain in his stomach washed itself away. Derrick rushed to the mirror in his bathroom throwing off his shirt to see his stomach, but there were no mark. His hands brushed the sides of his arms a bit, nearly trembling from the episode. He turned himself to the side and allowed his fingers facing the mirror to glide along the scars along his back. He carried a tree with him every day. The scars sprawled out, like branches, and if he looked closely, sometimes they grew larger. He had a tree on his back, growing from his back, and Andre placed its seeds there when he opened the raccoons flesh years ago.

But Andre was gone now, and he had his little box to pass him through and to keep the branches back. The branches were heavy. They were always heavy. Derrick sunk into the couch where he was dropped next to, and let his eyes travel across the ceiling and get lost in the fan spinning above him. The raccoon slowly closed his eyes as he took a deep breath, falling back into the solemnity of the passing before the water. “I burned the bridges to Heaven,” he murmured softy as he drifted away.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Free of the Past

Free of the Past

I: A Dalmatian Left Lonely

The sun slowly made its appearance known to the world, and life, as lazy as it may be, started to wake. It drizzled over his brown spots as he toppled onto his side carefully as to not wake the sleeping fox next to him. With one arm stretched across his mate he carried that warmth in the grasp of his brown stigmata-like palms. A moment he never wanted to let go of, but the curse of the mundane life consumed Drake as a whole sometimes. He knew that when he opened his sluggish green eyes, his fiery-plaster furred mate would lift out of the bed and run right out the door. But that was Connor’s nature. The fox could never let a day waste, like Drake could. But it was all just a blessing in the monotonous features of Drake’s life; an escape from his work filing endless paperwork and gathering coffee for the “real” lawyers of the world.  At least it has decent pay, he thought to himself as he looked around his home and let all the worse “could have happened” situations run through his state of half-consciousness.

The alarm clock screeched endlessly signaling the time to actually leave the bed and begin the day. Connor leaped off of the mattress, leaving Drakes sleepy pose, and left the room for a moment. “I don’t understand it, how can one have so much energy in the morning?” the Dalmatian mumbled to the air, his only listener as he forced his hand on the clock shutting off the dissonance of the morning. The fox walked into the bathroom, leaving his mate to struggle in his comfortable prison. Slowly, Drake rose from the bed, and walked into the kitchen to force feed himself a useful dosage of caffeine. Connor walked out into the kitchen, dressed, and ready to leave. “You’re in a hurry today,” Drake playfully spat out and Connor adamantly responded, “Got a deadline to meet. This piece needs to be posted today or I’ll be stuck on the inside like you are all day. The news waits for no one, and neither does my editor.”

The Dalmatian smiled at the response as he sipped his first out of three morning cups of coffee. “Can I at least have some form of affection before your job, which I so rightfully envy, whisks you away from me?”  He walked to the door and kissed his lover as if it would be the last time they would ever meet. Cliché, but Drake rarely gave a damn about the fickle area of romance. “I’ll be home early today. I asked for the rest of the day off,” Connor threw out before he went on with his plans, leaving the Dalmatian to his coffee related morning schedule. After his third dosage of caffeine, he dressed himself, and left for work.

It appeared the universe had slowed down entirely. Drake had only been there for three hours and all his tasks look as if they were completed. He sat at his desk, writing in his notebook, which he never forgot. It passed the time while waiting for the next command from the “higher powers” of his paycheck. Well, this one is complete, he thought to himself as he read his work over for any mistakes.

He Knows No Tense

While the world focuses

on the world he sits alone,

oblivious to the life that

surrounds him. Past, present

and future are all the

same, and reality is arbitrary.

It’s a dream that everyone has in their life. To be completely invisible in the world, care free, oblivious, almost like the romanticized vagabond. Drake was certainly having this fantasy today. He thought of himself just wandering the world, maybe hitchhiking to the other side of the states and back like in Kerouac’s novel, “On the Road.” Drake pictured himself in the back of a truck, wind blowing in his fur, on an open road, a road he calls freedom. But the dream sinks into the oceans of his imagination as he realizes that Connor is not there with him. Freedom is not a substitute for loneliness…for love. Below the poem, he wrote, “I love you Connor.” It always seems he never says it enough, but when relationships grow in years many things get lost in the past.

His cell-phone vibrated. Drake’s boss hated having the phones go off, unless it was a LAN line. They made a point to have signs posted all over the offices, “Place cell-phones on vibrate/silent mode or turn them off please. Thank you.” He flipped open his phone and saw he had one text. It was from Connor. Drake was a little taken back from the message appearing on his phone. Connor rarely messaged him during the day due to his job. Connor always did the best work for his employers, and it did get in the way of their relationship at times. But the Dalmatian was always patient, and careful never to let his beloved Fox see him hurt because of a project from work. He went to the message and the began to read in the lagging office.

From Connor:

Babe, no matter what happens or what anyone says, I want you to know that I love you. Please don’t be angry with me.”

Love,

Connor

Drake was confused by the message. Adrenaline began flowing through his body as he thought about all the mixed meanings of the message, coming up the worst possible outcomes. He took a few breaths, got up and grabbed some water. It’s probably nothing. The Dalmatian told himself as he sent a reply message.

I love you too. Is everything okay? I can leave work now if you need me.

He placed his phone on his desk and began fumbling through paperwork. Towards the end of the stack was his request forms for vacation time. Drake then glanced at his calendar and saw the circled date, June, 19th, 2010: Connor’s birthday. He filled in the dates on the paperwork and signed and dated it. An entire week off. Should be nice, and maybe it’ll do us some good, especially since there appears to be an unknown crisis. I hope everything’s alright.

The Dalmatian walked to his boss’ office. The nameplate on the door read, “Jeanette S. Griever” then had a plethora of certifications, titles, and degree labels after. “Ms. Griever?” Drake spoke lightly, in case she may be on the phone. At least, that is what he told himself. Griever is practically a nihilist. Showing no mercy or remorse in court she has demolished the state’s cases against various criminals, big and small. Like most of the world, when money is in the picture, the idea of morality is completely torn apart and regurgitated into a mocked up doctrine that “sounds nice.” “Come in Drake,” she spoke sternly, “what can I do for you?” Drake to a breath, then spoke, “I have some vacation time available, and I was wondering if I could…”

“Leave the paperwork on my desk and I’ll get to it when I can,” Griever cut him off. She acted as if this entire process was a waste of time. He left the paperwork on her desk as she had asked and before he left Jeanette added, “And don’t worry about going out to get my lunch, I’ve set up a lunch date today.” “Yes Ms. Griever,” he uttered out while exiting.

Drake was finally free for lunch during this hour. Normally he’d have to fight hoards of hungry beasts at the nearest sandwich shops, and they weren’t that pleasant to be around. Most of them were businessmen, being that the firm sat in the middle of the business district. They would barge in and demand their sandwiches on bread with weird names. The normal person in this life would never be able to pronounce all the bread and cheese that these people want. He would think to himself while he got his boss the same sandwich and the same chips. But today he didn’t have to fight off the hungry savages, and even though he had peace during this break, he could not be bothered with it. He was too busy trying to reach Connor. The worried Dalmatian left numerous short messages, and texts, but he never received any answer. As the lunch hour came to an end, Drake gave up and left his phone in the drawer of his desk. He wanted to curse the world to no end out of pure frustration and fear. He hoped that something, be it a deity or miracle, would put an end to all this misery.

Griever came back early from lunch. Apparently the date went well for she entered her office with the biggest smile Drake had ever seen, and Griever rarely smiled, save for a winning case. The door was left open; Drake could hear the television pop on, and shuffling of papers in the office.

“Breaking news! We are now coming to you live on the scene of a burning home, as you can see behind me. No one is sure if there is anyone in the home now. Police and firefighters are working to get this fire contained as we speak. There are rumors already circulating about the possibility of arson, yet nothing has been confirmed at the moment. We’ll keep you posted if anything new information occurs.”

“Drake, come in here.” Griever shouted from her office desk. It was a stern voice, but not an angry or “you’re in trouble” voice. The tone was offset, and sent a bit of concern through Drake. He walked in her “domain” and glanced at the television. On the screen was the burning house, a familiar house, with a familiar car in the driveway. “That’s my home!” He shouted and ran out the door before his boss could say anything. She sat there, shocked at the sporadic behavior of her employee, and then became dumbfounded when she looked at the television screen.

Drake sped through the freeway, his job was only ten minutes away, but with the foot on the gas he cut the trip in half. Furiously he drove his car through the neighborhood and in front of the massive group of people watching the flames consume his home. He saw Connor’s car still in the driveway, and he knew that his beloved fox was still in there. He ran towards his home only to be stopped by all forces of the law. “He’s still in there! My boyfriend is still in there!” He shouted, trying to get the attention of the world, but amongst all the chaos the world did not listen. All the Dalmatian could do is watch his life burn and fade away into the epic depths of the past.

II: Freedom Today

House Fire Suspected To Be Arson. Remains Found in Neighborhood Fire. Suspicions of Arson Confirmed. Remains Confirmed By Police. Police Interviewing Persons in Interest in Homicide Case. Police Have Suspect In Custody: Walter Ramirez. Ramirez suspected To Be Involved In Banking Heist and Bombing. Victims Employer Holds Back Story Revealing Bank Heist Details. Defense Attorney Griever Wins Ramirez Case.

The headlines were pinned up on his wall. Five years of investigation, of asking questions, finding people and connections, was all lost to the historic. The case had been active for two years when Drake left his steady job. May, 12th, 2012, beginning of summer and Ramirez made his call to the Dalmatian’s cutthroat boss. The call was a deafening one to Drake, because he knew that Ramirez would never be harmed by the justice system with his number one choice of lawyers. Griever would waltz into the courtroom and trample over every spec of evidence provided by the prosecution. And though the trial took another two years due to medical issues of the defendant, and a possible assassination that was never fully looked into, Ramirez still saw freedom. On that day, Drake left his position and left his current world behind him.

The Dalmatian lay in his bed, in a small apartment on a side of town that looks great during the day, but at night, it is best to keep off the world. The sunlight slowly crept through the blinds and landed on his body. It kept him warm when he did not need warmth. The ceiling fan squeaked and squealed as it spun around moving only the hot air. The AC is busted again, he thought as he dragged himself out the bed, walked into the living room/kitchen area and flipped on the window unit. He flipped open his laptop, which was only hibernating and not fully turned off. Opening the browser to his homepage, an icon filled with the number twenty-three covering a picture of an envelope flashed repeatedly. He clicked the icon to see how many messages were in his inbox that were worth taking a look at. Spam filters are not the genius idea man made them out to be. The thought came to him as he was able to delete nearly half the e-mails, and then began his daily responses to the world. The first response was not an e-mail, but a blog post for a blog he writes for known as Poetic Freedom Today. He opened a new tab, and loaded the posting page. It only took him about a minute to post, since he always had something written the night before.

Wednesday June 9th, 2015: The World is Broken

Alright my fellow poets, today’s prompt is about something, anything, that is broken. A broken television, toy, heart, life, etc. The poem itself could be broken. I leave you all today with a short post and my take on the prompt itself. Remember, every two months we choose the top 3 poems to include in the Poetic Freedom Today magazine, so please leave a working e-mail so we can contact the winners.

Broken Meaning

I can see for miles on this road, street, bridge, etc.

There is no word to complete that statement without sounding cliché.

Though in the end that is all it ever is—One giant redundancy, balled into flesh and

tissue, and formed into living repetitive words.

And still, the meaning is broken.

The post was sent off for the internet world to see. The mouse rolled over to the next tab, revealing the e-mail page once more and the new messages that were received while he was posting. The first message was from his boss Stacie Holmes, and was titled, “Ginsberg Piece.” Drake already knew what the message contained so he skipped the reading and just hit reply:

Stacie:

I’m attaching the Ginsberg piece to this message. I’m not feeling well at the moment, and I can’t come in today.

-Drake

Drake left his laptop on as he went back into his bedroom. Today is the only day he misses work. June 9th, the day Connor left this world. I’m sure the world would not care if I missed one day out of an entire year. Especially since it is my only day in which I miss work. Over at the desk where the headlines were pieced together, there was a slip of paper lying on the ground. The Dalmatian picked it up, and placed it with the others, finishing the condensed story of his love’s death. Walter Ramirez Murdered By Car Bomb. The Dalmatian smiled at the thought of Ramirez’s death, for it is what made this day bearable. He knew the person who took that life; he was asked to help in the process, but he could not kill out of revenge. Drake remembered receiving the call from a co-worker of Connor’s a week after he had quit his job. He could smell the cups of coffee being served at the café they had first met at.

Drake waited at an outside table, closer to the street. He never met any of Connor’s co-workers; there was never any time, so it was a shock when one of them had called his cell-phone. A cup of white tea sat in front of Drake as he watched a fairly chubby koala enter the coffee shop, order something, and walk directly to the outside table. “You must be Drake,” he said extending his hand. Drake accepted the gesture and then sat back down taking a sip of his tea. White tea was a drink which always calmed his nerves. “I’m Alan, a very good friend of Connor’s. We spoke on the phone. I’m sorry for your loss; everyone at work felt the effects of his death, me more-so than others.”

“Why is that?” Drake asked suspiciously. It made him think back to the message Connor had sent that day—No matter what anyone says. I love you. Alan was a little taken back from the question. “Well, I was one of his close friends. We had known each other since our school days.”

“It’s a shame, he’s never mentioned you. He’s never mentioned any of his friends really. I would have loved to have met when he was still alive.” Drake sighed and looked at his tea for a moment. “I’m sure you didn’t call me just meet who he was dating.”

“Ramirez.” Alan spoke flatly. “We can rid the world of this person. It would be complete justice for us! If our system can’t contain this animal, then we can. And we should!”

The Dalmatian took a swig of his tea, which was starting to become cold. There was a moment of silence as Drake took more than a moment to think over the proposition. He then looked up; staring at the tall buildings, and saw what greed built. He saw the world in a different light. He then brought his attention back to Alan. “You see those buildings? That is justice. That is our system. I loved Connor, but I won’t kill for vengeance. I won’t say a word about this conversation, but I also won’t pull the trigger.”

Drake remembered the news report about Ramirez happening only two days after the meeting. Alan was never caught, and the police left the case to unsolved homicides. Drake never really saw Alan. There was no after funeral friendship to try and console each other. There was only the cold grasp of loneliness, however, Drake welcomed it, because what followed was a sense of anonymity. Drake only had acquaintances from work, and no family. Connor had no family either. They were both the shunned family members for being who they were.

I’ve  finally escaped the epic depths of the past. He thought as he pieced his shrine to it together. He never escaped; the memories are still there, still held by the vast storage systems of his mind. Drake left it all behind, only to take pieces of it with him along with him. Moving on is a bitch! But Drake has moved on. He has a new job, new home, maybe no friends, but he is living his life. Isn’t that the definition of “moving on?” Living life, or not letting a traumatic experience, such as losing a loved one, inhibit the action of living, paying the bills, or even crawling out of bed. That is what the world wants. There’s no time for people who weep by the coffin. They are the ones left behind. Drake was not left behind.

“I need coffee.” The caffeine addicted Dalmatian said to himself while grabbing some clothes found in a basket, no knowing if they were clean or dirty. As soon as he was dressed he walked out of his home, and walked up the street to the nearest coffee shop that wasn’t a Starbucks or a Seattle’s Best. It was a no name coffee shop. A place where they served good coffee and no one bothered to find out the name. It was always called the “Hole in the Wall,” and to anyone’s knowledge who’s to say that, that wasn’t the name of the place. It could have been called Killing Unicorns and no one would have noticed (save the city legislators). But it wasn’t called Killing Unicorns or the Hole in the Wall. It was called Vanishing Point. Drake loved their coffee. It was never extremely strong or too weak. There was no watering down of the coffee. There was only coffee in what seemed like a natural state, demolished by cream and a few packets of sugar or sugar substitute. Drake sat at a table closest to the window, newspaper unfolded on the small red table. In five years, nothing has really changed in this world. Especially the news. And still we read it anyways. I wonder what it is that makes the reports of death, and other crimes so popular. Maybe I should do a topic on the blog about it. Drake thought to himself while skimming the few headlines. The only differences were the authors of the articles.  He folded the paper up, and pulled out his notebook. It was time to think of next week’s blog post. Before he could open his journal, he noticed a fairly chubby Koala enjoying a cup of Vanishing Point’s finest. The Dalmatian left his table for a moment, only to say hi. He didn’t want to intrude on someone’s coffee ritual.

“Alan! It’s been awhile.” Alan looked up and tried to place a look of confusion on his face. “I’m sorry. I don’t believe I know you. My name is not Alan.” Drake was a little stunned at the response. He was not a forgetful person, and he knew who the Koala was that sat in front of him.

“Look, if you’re pissed about me staying out of your little operation, I’m sorry, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t be frie…”

“I said I’m not Alan! Now please, leave me the fuck alone!” Alan said with force, but only loud enough for the Dalmatian to hear. The entire shop still went about its day.

“Is everything alright,” a voice appeared from behind. Alan’s body froze, and Drake became tense. Connor. He knew the voice behind him. Alan wished the world would have ended that moment, for he did not want to witness the next few minutes of this situation. Drake turned around, and he was right. The Fox he once loved, still loves, was standing right there in front of him. It was no illusion, no caffeine high or imaginative world he was in. It was real life, and Connor was alive.

Connor gave a faint smile, took a deep breath, then spoke, “I believe we have a lot to discuss.” Drake gave a small laugh, a nervous laugh. He could not comprehend all the emotions that were going through him at that moment. He wanted to be angry, happy, and depressed all at the same time. He wanted to scream out towards the heavens, to the God that never answered his prayers, only to comprehend this exact moment. But he held it all back, even the tears, and could only utter these words, “I think an explanation would be a nice addition to this…” He let the words trail off, not being able to complete the sentence. But there was never a word to describe it.

Drake and Connor took their seats across from each other. Alan stared into his coffee. He was unsure of how Drake would take the upcoming news, and he was ready to take him out if it was necessary. Connor took a sip of his coffee, while Drake ordered a cup of white tea instead.

“Do you think another cup of caffeine is really necessary?” Alan spoke, only trying to keep the next moments of life civil.

“I’m in my right mind. I’m not sure if you are. I won’t be doing anything illogical, such as hurting anyone.” Drake spat back at Alan. He didn’t like the accusations, but who would? “Anyways, I think its time we get to the story. I want truth, all of it. I think I deserve that much for the five years of my life.”

Connor took a glance out the window, back at his coffee, then glared right at Drake. “Alan is no longer alive.”

Drake chuckled a bit, “I see him in front of me. Are you saying I’m crazy?”

“You were told he was Alan. You know this person as Alan, but he is not, nor is he ever going to be Alan. Alan died in the fire. Those were the remains that were confirmed to be mine. This is going to be painful to hear, Drake, but I was seeing Alan at the time. He was not the Koala here, but a caring Fox from work. It was a sudden experience at the time.”

“Let me guess, you were working late, and the Real Alan just happened to be there at the same time. Chemistry exploded in the air, and you fell in love. Leaving me out of the picture. Lets skip how it started between you and Alan. It’s not something I care about. As you both know, today is the anniversary of Connor’s death. Let’s start the story there, and with the name of this Koala here.” Drake interrupted.

“My real name’s Malcolm. I’m the one who has been protecting your boyfriend since the incident,” The Koala spoke, offering one of his very few additions to the story.

“I’m debating on the title. I can forgive a few sexual encounters, even the relationship with Alan. But the story I’m about to here, we’ll just have to see after it spawns out.” The Dalmatian added harshly. He took a sip of his tea, to calm his nerves a bit more. He could feel the tea fighting off the adrenaline.

“Drake, the day it happened. Alan, the real Alan, and I were waiting for you. I sent you a text, do you remember?” Drake nodded signaling the memory was stuck with him. “I love you Drake. That wasn’t a lie, it was never a lie. I sent that to you because I was preparing both you and me, for what was planned. I was going to leave you that day, for Alan. I was never expecting Walter to show. He was already a suspect in the Bank heist that year; my story would have signed his complete incarceration. I had a few inside sources, thanks to Malcolm.”

“Seems Malcolm knows a lot of people. Dangerous people. I hope I never have to meet them, especially in the near future.” Drake interrupted once more, thinking back to Ramirez’s death. Malcolm only gave a faint nervous chuckle to the remark, and took a final sip of his coffee before ordering another.

Connor took a moment to sip on his coffee, and then began the story once again. “Walter did burn down the house. There is not mistaking that. If it wasn’t for your employer…”

“I’m no longer employed by them!” Drake cut him off. It seemed like an insult to bring up his early work. It was almost like Connor was saying it was He who set Ramirez free.

“No matter. Either way, Ramirez got off and had his freedom. That is why Malcolm killed him. There was no saving Alan. He was trapped in bathroom when the fire began. Not the best way to go and I am sorry he left this world.”

“How did you escape?” Drake questioned. He knew Malcolm had his hand in some aspect of that day.

“Malcolm knew that Ramirez was out to kill me. He was the one who pulled me out of the fire. By that time, it was already too late for Alan. I’ve been with Malcolm ever since the incident.” Connor said, taking another sip of his coffee, finishing the cup.

“And it didn’t occur to you to even inform me of the details? I went five years thinking you were dead, and here you are, telling me that the body I looked at was not yours. It was your lovers. Is Ramirez really dead, or did you burn his brothers body?” He stopped himself for a moment, gathered his thoughts and pushed back the wave of anger he felt. “Sorry about that last remark. This is all rather challenging to take in.” He spoke while looking out the window, and the tall buildings. There is no sky today. The Dalmatian thought to himself. No, not today. Possibly yesterday, and even tomorrow, but not today. “If there is nothing more of the past, I believe I’ll take my exit.”

“We would appreciate you not telling anyone about this.” Malcolm added before Drake got up to exit. The Dalmatian smiled and glanced at the Koala. “How am I supposed to write a holy litany in your silly mood? The words of Ginsberg. There’s no one to tell the story to. Unless I’m meeting you people more than once. But even that idea is laughable. It’s a shame. I would have loved to meet the real Alan. He seems like a nice person. I expect no communication in the future!” With that said, Drake grabbed his stuff, finished his tea, and walked on into the city streets.

He disappeared into the vast crowd and took the five minute walk to his home. He opened the door to this apartment, and entered into the cool room. The window unit was still turned on, and the room was iced. He shut it off, leaving the ceiling fans on, and let them circulate the cold air throughout his home. He walked into his room, and released all the tears he held back. Drake is not the type to break things, but he demolished his shrine, burned the headlines in the garbage, and broke all the framed pictures, though they were few, of Connor. When the past was finally burned out of existence, the tears stopped. The chapter of his life with Connor had finally ended, and it was time to move on. I had been left behind all these years. Now I am finally free from the epic depths of the past.

A week had past. The trio never saw each other after that day. Drake had forgotten all of the past, and started to create his new future with the Poetic Freedom Today magazine. It was a new world for him; a better world for him.

The sun had started to take its exit. From the bedroom window Drake was standing. He closed his eyes and felt the small breeze flow onto his face, and he thought once again of hitchhiking through the country; of being invisible. Again he could feel the soft spring wind whip across his face in the back of the truck he imagined sitting in. It was his howl. Drake opened his eyes, and smile of relief ran across the Dalmatian’s face. This is freedom!


Posted in Short Fiction | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Anthem: An Awakening

Anthem: An Awakening

The sun slowly turned the Earth into a boiling pot, as he walked through the rocky aisles, past cars and people screaming “Barrato! Barrato! Cheap! Cheap!” Tables filled with tools, DVD’s, toys, and forgotten antiques were being bought, sold, and traded to anyone making the best deal. Wiping the sweat from his forehead, he came upon flashing lights coming from a police car, and a crowd of officers putting a slightly older male in handcuffs. A young boy ran up and started throwing weak punches at the arresting officers. One policeman swung around towards the child. The boy fell backwards, and as he began to cry, the audience told each other what they saw. “Did you see that? That man pushed that kid!” repeated the crowd. The man left the crowd and walked up to the child. The officer was about to speak, but he flashed a badge indicating who he was and then helped the boy up. And as he saw the child run back to the women assumed to be his mother, the man thought, All humanity is lost among these people.

The boy was so small, so frail; his mind wandered back. He could taste the stench of decay, smell the scent of blood, and feel the light sprinkle of the past. The body laid right in front of him, as the crowd slowly dispersed, not seeing the carcass of a child stretched out in the rocky dirt drenched aisle. He let his mind take over and was the past seeped in. The rocky hallways of the market slowly turned into cement, clear summer skies turned into smog filled blindfolds, and the heat died down as a light rain fell onto the child’s body. Shoppers became bystanders, journalists, and police figures. The sirens echoed in along with the sporadic chatter of the scene. The victim, who lay as a display, was as frail as the small boy who was pushed away by the policeman. The pale tanned corpse laid mangled, arms crossed above his head. His legs were spread apart, and face gazed at the brick walls surrounding him. “Excuse me, Sir? You’re going to have to move behind…” The man flashed his badge at the city policeman and spoke, “It’s alright. Detective Griever, I’m assigned to this case.” Griever stared at the body, the walked up and watched the coroners turn the boy over, revealing two bullet wounds in his chest area. Died slow. Died instantly. It doesn’t matter. It never matters. He’s dead, they’re dead, and that is all that matters now.

It was all left in the past as a gurgled voice blurted out from a walkie talkie on the belt of a policeman. “Suspect has been sighted. Suspect is armed and dangerous and has taken a hostage. This is Officer Adams requesting back-up…” Griever followed all the officers to the hostage scene, weeding through the cattle-like crowds and loud music. He ran down a heavily trafficked aisle, pushing his way through the hordes of partially stopped people, finally creating space towards the end. A tall metal wall appeared in the distance. Against the wall was an average balding male, holding a gun to a child’s head. The same boy! The same child that was at the other scene. The detective thought to himself as he watched what lay in front of him. He would have reached for his gun, but there was no gun. He was not allowed to carry one, pending a psyche evaluation.

It had taken months to find the murderer of the dead boy, who, at the time, was given the name Johnny by the press. The parents were never found, and the only ones to identify the lonely body, were some students at the local elementary school. Three bullets to the chest, all for being a witness. The past was taking over again, forcing Griever to leave again. He remembered how he was out of breath trying to chase the suspect. They ran a few blocks in the city streets, stopping traffic, and crossing over into the city park. The suspect stood tall in front of a playground swing, children were running all round. He grabbed a girl trying to escape, who was no older than high school. He had a needle filled with a lethal dose of heroin to her throat. Griever’s gun was already raised and aimed. There was a clear shot, but other policeman appeared, protesting against it for fear of hurting the girl. Hostage negotiation team was in place, his partner called it in, and a barrier was set up. In the middle of this circus stood the detective, with his gun still raised, and the suspect with the needle still at the teenager’s throat and no one was backing down. Griever ignored all noise behind him, and there was still a clean space. He wasted no time as he fired one bullet from his gun. The bullet grazed the young girl’s face, leaving only a flesh wound, and then hitting the suspect’s eye. A desk job is all that is left of his career.

Griever shook off the past and began to watch what was happening now. He saw the cornered suspect with the child and a gun drawn. Police and civilians were scattered around and various shops were blasting their music to gain sales. It was already a mess, and it looked like it would never get cleaned up. He imagined the boy laying on the ground with a hint of lead in his body, and the suspect pulling the trigger on himself. That was his predicted outcome. The child showed no emotion. There were no tears, no smile or frown; his face was completely blank. The mother stood in front with the entire circle of uniformed policeman, crying and screaming. She pleaded with the man, but her speech was completely jumbled like an angry infant’s cry.

A barrage of men with guns aimed their weapons at the one gunman and child. There were no openings without hurting the adolescent, and there was not a place to set a sniper. The scene was raw, and the outcome frightened almost everyone. The suspect was sweating and shaking all at once. He said nothing as he stared at the crowd in front of him. His vision began to blur and his head began to ache from the heat. All the noise around him became distorted as he raised his weapon towards the officers. He then fired three shots from his pistol, all hitting one policeman in his bullet proof vest. Griever watched as a young officer, gun already raised and aimed, fired a response to the gunman, the bullet missing the kid and the man altogether. The child wriggled loose and ran towards his hysteric mother, and before the man could fire a bullet towards the boy, the firing squad of officers unleashed an army of bullets into the suspect’s body. The corpse lay in the dirt, bloodied and nearly unrecognizable. All the officers gave each other praise for a “job well done.” There were no arrests that day, save for the simple incident. Griever looked at the world once more, looked at the body, and as an officer was about to tell him to move, he walked off leaving his badge. All humanity is lost among the world.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nowhere: A Byzantium

Nowhere: A Byzantium

Forgiveness, is the release of all hope, for a better past. – Buddy Wakefield

They say angels exist, but angels are like diamonds to the poor: a higher class investment into a sense of hope that never pays out. And since when do the poor ever see a diamond, without blood, outside of a window? Still, there are about a million small prayers trickling about the atmosphere, and one has to wonder where they disappear to when they leave. I had my prayers, or prayer to be precise, but now it’s among the vanished; a pale-colored fire that I would love to hold onto but I just can’t move my fingers to grasp at it anymore.

I fumble through this outdated paper, my fingers slip with every forceful switch of the page. The sound of wrinkles echoes in the hallow tranquility, as the smell of weak-filtered coffee waved around its profound egotistical appearance. Coffee was never a quiet drink. The weak grey clouds hovered above my home, as a small breath of cool air swayed the bare trees outside; a sign of the Christmas season overwhelming nature. It seems the angels have left the earthly mother to fend for herself this time of year. The paper trembles from my hands onto the ground like flood water, leaving all but a remaining strip in my hand. It was a blank sheet of white paper, lines drawn in and a handwritten message on it. “This place is nowhere after all.” The words sat stone-like on the page, making it heavier to hold. I felt as if it was pulling me downward to the ground, my face nearly feeling the cold tile slapping my face, but I did not fall as I echoed the message. “This place is nowhere after all…”

I shook off the trance, and piled the papers onto the table while leaving my coffee unattended. Crumbling the note, I tossed it in the trash and walked outside. It was an Autumn atmosphere in a Winter month, leaves still trailing off in the chilled natural breath. I walked up the street, and even though I told myself I didn’t know where I was going, I always knew. It was that idea reaching out to your consciousness you want to push back, only I wasn’t fighting too hard anymore. Only five minutes into my walk, and I hit the gas station on the corner of the intersection, notoriously robbed each week. I walked into the shop, grabbed a bottle of aspirin, a soda, and a candy bar.

“You’re usual, sir?” said the cashier. His face spread outward revealing weak teeth as I handed him the money.

“You know me too well, Joseph,” I replied as the register opened and the money was dropped into the drawer, gracefully landing in their respective spots.

“Only every year, Mr. James. Only every year.” A chuckle escaped the stretching hands of his cheeks as some change danced into my fingers. I grabbed my items and left, waving goodbye to the over joyous cashier of a failing gas station. Walking outside, I saw a woman across the street carrying an infant. Her hair gently lashed her faintly tanned cheeks as her eyes drooped to the scratching cement of the side walk. It looked as if she had been waiting at the end of her lifetime for awhile. She never walked in beauty, only with beauty when she could afford the grace to do so, but grace has always been a cold bitch when it came to being needed. No one ever told her she never needed a man, so she picked up whomever she could, but most could barely show her simply, Love. It was all she really needed, not just some anonymous donor to carry her off while she sucks the wedding ring off of his dick only to be smacked in the face for the millionth time. The ground is always the one to hear her soft, violent weeping as the baby sleeps, unaware of the future before it as the mother is unaware the extension of her life. She was always a metropolis when she forgave, since everything about her is forgiving, including her steps as she walked away to a place only we can dream about.

She barely graced the oceanic sidewalk as a car slowly wandered by, windows rolled halfway down. A gun extended from the small crevice and the car shouted a fierce war cry, polluting the air. The groups of people staggering around the woman were all wounded by an enema of lead, and only two members had the energy to grab their guns and shoot back at the vehicle. The wheels played a short song of painful rubber slashing the cracked asphalt then escaped the torrential array of bullets leaving an aftermath of vacant moans caressing the wounded bodies on degraded pavement. I ran closer to see if she were alive. Dropping my purchase, my hopes of her living splattered like the avalanche of pills tumbling around the parking lot. The street was devoid of any cars so I walked across, to where her body lay covering her baby. I knelt down to move the body, hoping at least the child was breathing, but there was no life to found there.

I lifted myself up, wanting nothing more than to shake the dust from their eyes and watch them run away to somewhere, like the children who pretend to run away from their parents beneath the table. Where were their angels, as they lay on this crackling foundation? Angels, they exist…but it seems they never appear to a place like this. My eyes travel back to the gas station, only to see it empty, the windows boarded up, and the pumps dried out. The road carried in it more aging cracks than the elderly man in the mirror with a hot date, and the breeze carried more dust from the abandoned street corner. I look back down, only to find the bodies missing, leaving me in nowhere after all.

“You never could save them,” a voice shouted from behind me. “They would have died then, just like they have died today, and years ahead of us.” I turned around to see the owner of the voice only to find myself walking towards me. My mirrored self stretching out its hand, holding a crumpled piece of paper. I grasped it, hands trembling at the sight which stood in front of me. Slowly I rolled it out, seeing it was an article dated three years ago today.

December 15, 2007. Street Corner Shootout.

It was a gruesome scene at the corner of 75th and Broadway, where a drive by shoot out occurred. Police have reported 9 casualties, one of those casualties being an infant. The cause for the shoot remains unknown, though it is believed to be gang related. Names of the deceased have yet to be released as the bodies have not been identified as of yet. Officials are working to get the names to the public as soon as possible but some, they say, will remain unknown. The Chronicle expects more information to pan out as the week moves on.

I couldn’t begin to speak after seeing the article. Before I could even gather up the ability my other self spoke, “You really don’t remember,” the words swam out in a sigh of disappointment. He opened his arms as if to say welcome to the world, but there was no one to welcome, turning around he spoke, “Until next year. This place is nowhere after all, you know?” I walked onward, though I never walked, just like I was alone but never really alone. My eyes trailed the corner again as I walked the opposite direction of myself, collecting the dust as I moved. He was right, this vacant threshold is the crossroad of Nowhere, and angels never enter Byzantium.

http://writersisland.wordpress.com/

Posted in Prose Poetry, Short Fiction | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Just and Unjust [Writer's Island]

Just and Unjust

By Weasel

They forced him out of his home, dragged him through the streets, and then beat him while his wife and child watched from the window. A new revolutionary group, trying to take on crime and the government, it was almost laughable. The group had guns, automatic rifles, pistols, it doesn’t matter. All anyone needs to know is that they were guns. They’re all the same. They make loud noises, force out bullets, and ones behind the weapon murder (almost always for some “righteous” cause). Blood splattered from his face as they delivered fierce blows from their weapons.

“Stop!” a group member spoke. He walked out into the middle of the crowd (they all wore ski masks, covering their faces), then exposed his face into the harsh cold of the night. He kneeled down, lifted the victim’s head, then spoke, “There is no freedom for the unjust. You knew this hour of your life would come, and now it is here. I must ask, are you afraid of your destiny? This is fate, nothing more.” There was no answer from him. His family still watched from the window, screaming, crying, begging for the madness to cease, but their cries were never heard. The group stood the victim up and forced his hands above his head as if he was in a moment of prayer praising his god. The speaker of the group held his gun at the back of the victim’s neck, “Not even God can save you from all your sins. Think about all the families you have ruined, the lives lost to this regime of government. Freedom…that is what you’re taking away from this country. Freedom.”

The victim took one large breath. He knew his life was going to end, so he took all his energy, and began to speak. “There is no freedom. There is no free spirit of this world. No matter what is said from either the government or revolutionary groups, there is no freedom! There is survival. Is that wrong? To survive? You can kill me, my daughter and wife, but it only shows that you, like your enemies, are murderers; fighting for survival. When you kill me you don’t stop anything, you don’t even make a dent in the system. You just kill. I pray to no god, and I ask for no forgiveness for I have done nothing wrong. There is no just, and there is no unjust. There never was.” His speech was over, and he no longer cried or begged for his life. He knew his family would survive this catastrophe, tragic as it may be; they had something no one else really has. They had strength.

In the window, the mother and child are still watching the horror below. The mother beat the window, begging for this to be over. She kicked the walls, screamed, and pleaded to the silent air which consumes their home. Below that window, a board shook loose from her nonstop attacks. Two hand grenades fell to the floor, the victim’s daughter bent down and picked them up, “Mommy, what are these?” The mother looked down for a moment, her eyes burned from all the tears, and she saw the weapons in her daughter’s hands. She grabbed, telling her daughter never to touch them. The mother ran up the stairs of the house, telling the child to stay in the closet, and then went to the master bedroom, the only other window facing the vicious crime. Before she opened the window and threw the grenades, she saw a bottle of vodka, stuffed a rag in the top then grabbed a lighter from her husbands drawer next to his packet of cigarettes. She opened the window, pulled the tabs on each grenade and threw them towards the group. They each landed in the group circle. They stood there dumbfounded by what was thrown. The dark had masked the dangerous explosives and they shrugged it off as a couple of rocks. The mother then lit the rag on fire and threw the bottle out onto the front lawn, not caring where it landed. Fire would spread, she knew that. The grenades went off one after the other sending most of the group back into the fire from the Molotov cocktail. The husband took his chance and ran for his home. He burst through the door, told his daughter to hide, and then grabbed the closest loaded gun. He ran back outside, and began firing. The group was still trying to recover from the blast as they stood back, but immediately fell back to the ground as the bullets hit them. He let the members who were blown into the fire burn, not caring about whether they live or died. They could never hurt him or his family. The shooting stopped. The lawn was filled with bodies charred and mutilated to all extent. Some were still alive but slowly died from the flames or bleeding to death. He walked to the street and saw the speaker, the leader, frantically running in circles, consumed by the fire. His screams went on for what seemed like hours, but were only minutes, and then silence fueled the flames as he watched them spread.


—————————————————————–

Writer’s Island: Unleashed.

http://writersisland.wordpress.com/2010/10/16/prompt-25-for-2010-unleash/

Posted in Short Fiction | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments