Archive for category Fiction

The Decent Man, Part I

The black on the coal grey screen said 9:08, confirming ugliness in the truth of being. Failure drips down, seemingly from hair follicles that have tremors. She was smiling in the room with glass corner until she glanced at him as he sailed the hallway, and he knew the screen on the phone on his desk would show bad news. He had been hoping for 9:03 or 9:04 after seeing her violent eyes. As it is, there is no defense. He had promised her that he would arrive by 9 AM each morning, agreeing that this was entirely reasonable. He failed, failed, failed, and today there was clarity to the failure. Even the most simple parts of life squeeze and expand the pulpy mind of consistent failure. This is not a decent man, so it may be a terrible way to start our fictional dig into psychological essay about what it is to be a decent man. We will find out despite his failures.
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I Am the Trash Man

The litigiousness of society rips at me, but I’m likely to blow off the residing anger, say a cuss word like fuck and move on. When it was finally my turn, my day in court finished with a tremendous victory for me and my sleazy lawyer.

Later, after all of the media bullshit, when all of the people started detesting me, the anger erupted inside me, refusing to dissipate, so here I write my cultural defense, having crushed the competition in the courtroom.

When I did the people’s taxes, I had these spirited periods of time like being in a jet when I would punch in these crazy numbers, but it was always in the people’s favor. My customers loved me except if they happened to be audited. My audits seemed to get worse and worse, and the partners always blamed me instead of understanding that I was only trying to make things good for our customer.

I went out in a storm of blurry shouting when three of the partners sat me down in Fred’s office and fired me without letting me defend myself. I was still drunk from the night before, so I had yet to hit the sauce I kept in my desk drawer. I felt put together, Read the rest of this entry »

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My Day in Tricky Bullets I

  • Empty mind, the goal, but interference.
    • Dog man, dog man, listen to that shitty music, don’t listen to that shitty music, just let that shitty music float through and cause you to vibrate, dog man.
    • What would guru guy think about how empty my mind is, but if I wonder that, it, the globby mind not my wonder, is filled with egotistical motives and pollution swarms, blowing circuits.
  • For a moment, as smart as the five dogs, but Harry looks at me.
    • Get your shit together, he says. I’m hungry and you need to quit fucking around.
    • Pixie loves me, but she’s only looking for a surprise for her breakfast.
      • No surprise, she toys with the others because dog food sucks.
      • Gracie does not chew Pixie’s head off. I don’t know why.
  • Idea for poem trickles in as I am busy feeling ashamed for not emptying the mind, feeling dizzy with the wheels of insanity trying to trick me into losing my place in the world, threatening to make me forget who or what I am, threatening to remove my sense of the calendar, threatening to incapacitate me and bend me over the edge of the sink under the rag infested with the rottenness of old kitchen mess. I am ashamed of my diseased self.
    • An unbearably sweet girl on the roof downtown throwing rocks.
    • Maybe 20 stories.
    • Maybe pebbles, but more rock-like because they have mass, power to alter the world,
    • and she throws and throws, and all the people in the streets are joyful.
    • The people do not protest.
    • The people strive for acquiring all of the free rocks.
    • I see why my poems suck so badly when I have ideas like this, but my editor earns his pay, and he says, You quit even thinking about writing until you have a brain that might understand what art is supposed to be.
  • Mozart for lunch. I did not eat Mozart.
    • There are times, listening to Mozart, and I am sure I’m listening to God. I wish I could understand this.
    • The odd phrase “could not be more perfect” comes to mind.
      • A guy talking politics on LinkedIn the other day said it’s rude to bring in things which come to mind. I suppose it is too spontaneous for politics.
        • Reduce your time with politics, news, silly strings of comments about art which somehow make you feel contentious.
        • Reduce these and do something worthwhile.
  • I’m a fucking toad sitting in a meeting.
    • New guy. doesn’t understand. You don’t know what we know.
    • Some guy says he likes Carl’s idea and I feel less like jumping out the window.
    • Jumping out windows is tough on the 16th floor because the glass is very strong in order to resist those things that buildings tend to run into.
  • For a short time, I reflected on the last 8 years of being a father as opposed to the years before that, and I had an immensely good feeling, a rare sense of worthiness, and I thought about the last time my daughter told me she loved me. Yesterday. Oh, there might not be better goodness, and I hope that is okay.

 

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Freddy’s a Mess – The Paragraphs That Knocked Me Dead

{What follows is the passage that killed my Wrimo spirit on day 3. It was too directionless, purposeless for a novel, so I am back to writing other stuff, but I thought I’d share this meandering passage…}

 

The morning marches in uneven increments. We think we understand how time progresses as we work, whether we’re pulling weeds or dinking and dunking with numbers. We think that work gives us some regularity to our experience of time, but in reality, we imprison ourselves in boxes of ticks as if we’re stomping our feet, marching to the beat of a drummer who will never die, who thuds with the pulp of an inflated heart, and we feel hairs changing to gray, feeling at the same time perhaps an opportunity to defer the gray.

The carpets are well worn and on some days, Freddy sees 100-mile-an-hour tape all over various loose threading portions of the carpet, but there aren’t any portions like that. Freddy seems to transport himself to a spot in the future when the carpet has never been replaced but the workers have been there all along. We wear through these paths in the carpet as we go to the restroom or often, back and forth between the break room. In the break room, every time he’s there, Freddy reflects on all of the large drinking vessels that get filled with purpose and wonders why anyone with these jugs would ever need to go back multiple times per day. We’re all good like our websites say. We spend our days drinking gallons and gallons of water. Coffee and water get tossed all over the rug, usually after the jugs have been filled, and the rug has amazing resiliency as the liquids seem to evaporate as you watch, before you could ever grab a roll of paper towel. But all of these liquids through all of these years must rob the carpet of beauty. There’s no way to think of it otherwise. Then there are those times when all of the people in the cubicle farm, gradually filled with an increasing despair, a destitute that grows like mold, surely billions of spores of that stuff growing through the carpet fibers. Those cubicle farm people need a break from the bleating of the insanity, from the pounding of the ping of the fluorescent lights, keyboards with varying degrees of greasy finger stains and oceans of crumbs between the keys making all of the sounds fuzzy with the clickishness, and they leave the cubicle suite and flow into the giant building hallways, normally riding the elevator known to be something like an Read the rest of this entry »

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I Stole a Bus

The pedal is fat, fat, fat, but I want the tall one. Give me fuel. I lean hard on my right butt cheek. I go hammer-down on the tall pedal.

“Please, please, let us go, just stop, let us go, please, please…”

The lady in the smooth, maroon dress with black stockings and incredibly classy shoes seems to be ready to have a breakdown. She sits just over my right shoulder in the sideways seat just behind the door.

“Please; you won’t get far. Just stop now, please, please.”

* * *

Finally, the meds had started to work, creating an awakening, eyes not seeing straight but seeing honest colors – grays, browns fuzzy with the darkening psychosis of city life, sharp lines of malignant architecture gripping my lungs, browns of trees which had been blown out by the ruthless summer drought, but with tiny sprinkles of green, dancing with the subtlety of Stravinsky and the stillness of my favorite oak trees, humiliated in frozen spaces to assure continuing life in this bleak stratosphere. My freedom and my purpose had arrived.

With my pompous boss treating me like a ten-cent clerk, the bleak meaninglessness of my job came into blasphemous clarity, with the meds finally displaying the truth of the millions of American lines drawn as my prison.  I told that fucker, my boss, to take my job and shove it, which was the reserved version of the one designed by my daydreams, having imaginatively told him hundreds of times that my job belonged up his ass.

My self-pity had grown in strength, allowing me to identify with the poor baby sitting in her stroller in front of me, mostly-stranded, perhaps deserted in the building lobby.

As I stood, melting in a compressed hopelessness,  I saw that boy in the horrid, knit, rainbow hat. He couldn’t carry himself. He stumbled all the way down our long city block. I thought about heroin. I thought about the terrible fate all of us are suffering at our own hands.

With a push on the door that sucked out the finality of my intentions, I exited my building, pulling the baby’s stroller rather than pushing, glancing to find stumbling hat boy, not seeing him but seeing 30, maybe 40 faces moving different directions, suffering from terrible inner despair but not sensing it, thus moving like broken robots.

I stole the bus. I’ve watched these monsters for years from my third floor office window. They have massive numbers on their tops for the pigs in the copters, but no copters today. Jinxed I was, having picked the double-zero-three.

* * *

“What will you do with her?”

Bitch won’t shut up, but I can’t let her out now, can’t shoot her now.

“Slow down, please, please, what will you do? What can you do? You can’t do this.”

I stole a baby. I need to focus on the next right step.  I stole the bus because I stole the baby – stealing the bus was not a great idea. The screaming, the fried air, I just wanted the damned bus to take me and the baby to freedom.  My mission runs in a smooth flow within the tornadic emotions of my riders, even the baby going full panic in sympathy to the others, with the rocket blasts in my head and icy clarity charging up through my cordovans sparked by the vibrations of the hybrid engine.

Nobody misses the stolen bus except the driver, and I’m sure dispatch thinks he’s had a fifth of whiskey rather than believing him that his bus was stolen. I want to drive the double-zero-three, hanging high in flames, diving into the big river, but I drive North instead. My captives start to look questioningly at me. Double-zero-three is a smooth ride. I like the suspension, creating a feel like a boat over tiny inundations of waves.

The lady in maroon calms as I show her my face of compassion which is after all composed from the very center of the core of a beautiful diamond in truth.

My disturbing, chemical malfunctions simmering in my brain are growing, steaming from the stress. I am far more worried about the stolen baby now and how I might continue to save her from the fate of living in a house where the meth lab blew up five years ago and melted the baby’s mother’s face, even after which she continues to this day to cook and consume with glorious ferocity, watching her face that looks more like a squid out of water made of plastic, from the fate of being beaten and smashed by a father who is always drunk, whose last date with his wife ended as they sat inside their car beside the shore of a lake that was strewn with rocks, he promising to leave her blood on every piece of rock on that “beach,” she so high on heroin that she walked home which took over four days and nearly caused death by starvation.

My mind continues with these crusted, nightmare visions and memories, and they continue to rattle my senses, seemingly, glaringly, to support my actions, stealing the baby and then, in furious stupidity, stealing the bus.

My life is over, but I’ve done at least one good thing. The short light poles with antique lanterns, in charcoal gray move by quickly and steadily, and it strikes me dead-frozen that the only people who really get to enjoy these poles are all of the suicides who jump into the dirty Missouri River.  The water under the sharp white bridge with the beautiful, short, gray light poles was always calm, even when someone dove in, and suicides don’t enter smoothly.

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The Beginning of My Story

On that day, the weather was sporadic as it might be in the midst of the vacant, listless September, the clouds like a giant casino, filling and emptying with the winners and the losers, but Mother hoisted a natural cheer so I had been left out in the modern rabbit cage, hanging above the dark oily alley with strewn garbage and broken bottles, braced to the window (my cage), centered by the breakfast table. At the fateful moment, the winds having begun to stir without Mother noticing, some sort of vigorous weather event having snuck up from behind and from within the crevices of the Brooklyn tenements, it was then that one torrent of furious air swept the ash-can-like planter filled with mildewed soil with the outgrowth of a blusterous and half-dead, lost-red, filtered to colorlessness, mini rose-bush off of the ledge of the patio on the outside of Ms. Stilldinger’s unit, 8B, two floors up, one over to the left. With a tremendous twirling velocity, it nailed my cage, blasting the fasteners, bouncing me out of the back of the cage, as then I felt myself tumbling in an unnervingly slow motion, bouncing rather than ripping the canopy above the cook’s entrance (the bounce attributable to my nearly-perfect mass of 22.5 pounds having flown from 6 floors up), the canopy covering the cook, Freddy, who having heard the pot blast my cage had moved out to look up beyond the canopy in time to catch me in an athletic manner after I had bounced diagonally on the third bounce. This certainly puzzled me on the tentative value of baby cages.

Some babies come to the world as new creatures, new creations, but some come from another life. Some are from another world. My mind is aware of the future world I am from where cars fly instead of rolling. I’ve come back here as punishment after hanging myself, as if I had not punished myself enough all the way through to my last day.

 

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Conversation in a Steady Car

He awakened to a piercing honesty while driving his battlefield sedan. He spoke in stilted and jumbled syllables with buckets of um’s, speaking to one whom he loved and one who was highly critical of people who don’t speak the King’s English.

Maybe the listener wasn’t critical today, but it made the speaker’s tormented soul regretful of his honest exploration.

“I hurt, and I know I shouldn’t hurt, but regardless of my solid rationality, I can’t remove the hurt, and it sticks and sticks.”

“It takes skill.”

The road was rough. It was flying by in terrible grays and all of the light-colored automobiles were trying to strike dead our floundering speaker and his tormented soul.

“I’m working on it. I am learning that it is not always all my fault.”

The hotels and the commercial buildings rose from the high vegetation which had started to slow with the heat of June and the mop head of river waters hanging in the air.

Perhaps the honesty was worthwhile.

I’m human, kind of, he thought.

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The Stranger Damaged George’s Soul Violently

George Torndawg walked into the heavy, melting bands of crosswalk. He was bedeviled by a sun that was hanging on to his nose with claws and punching him in the eyes and the forehead, regardless of which direction he slung his abdication. George Torndawg is rooting for a car, any car, to slam into him and malign him deeply down into the muckiest soup, the soup like his mother when she was sauced and watching fuzzies on television, but the traffic is far too slow. Furthermore, there’s no traffic today.

The reflective glass of the first floor curves with the plagued monster of a human creation in concert with the circle drive where the most hopeless patients might be dumped, and all of this first floor glass is shadowed by the overhang of the ethically-superior floors.

The glass is a hall of mirrors, blades and blades of sharp planes meant to shatter the ego, and then there is the man in the wheelchair with a ratty blue dog blanky with all sorts of holes, the blanky with holes. He, the man with the ratty blue dog blanky and slinky, oily, thin hair, is wearing slippers that should be retired, and when George Torndawg made a short glance at the man, the ropes of George Torndawg’s intestines plummet  deeply, and he is suddenly longing for a gun that he could hold with two hands and point properly with the fullest of competence and the intensity of god. He is presently tasting the blue metal as it rests in his mouth.

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The Heavy Flow of Minor Disturbances – #2

Check, check, check. Should I feel brushes of gray guilt from going to work late? Late is 8:30 and though there is a grind to the rush hour, there is certain pleasure from sharing the miserable pathway with so many other difficult humans.

The bright lines from a blurred sun cut through a foggy surface covering not only my eyes but also my sense of what in the world around me might be real. The beautiful shine from the tingly knives which appear to be carving man’s creation delicately enough to leave it there, they brighten my outlook and for several moments I feel an impending chance at success.

Does she say anything good about my frantic efforts? No, but why do I need her encouragement? Why am I so bereft of self-esteem, especially when I am on a long streak of diligently working to do estimable deeds?

She’d be better to leave me alone in my stuffy chocolate pudding, but instead, she pounces on my distracted nature and fries my burnt ends for leaving a confidential paper that is really lacking anything to be confidential about on a robotic, mostly-broken printer in a common workspace where our comrades might read that paper. I need these course corrections. I need a hot flame that curls the edges of my foggy awareness, but despite my fully-developed load of guilt about these defects of mine, something demoralizes me and no matter how rational I am, the day goes straight to the pot of shit sitting outside the building doors where the smokers go for a bit of sanity.

It’s this yellow Tonka toy dump truck that I drive around for most of my living moments and it is heaped with the load of all of my defects. The load is heavy, but I strive to carry it and push and push and push to shove these things out the back of the truck as I travel in a slow lane, not concerned too greatly about the pollution of my defects, for they go to rest with McDonald’s wrappers and all of the other detritus of our blown-out society, but when one person who perhaps justifiably withholds compliments adds a little fly paper on to the back of my truck, it is as if Godzilla himself reached out and smacked me and my shit straight into the ditch.

I try and I beg but the day won’t start over and I come to believe that it is better for me to come to work when it is too dark to identify any of the various objects in my world and when the others are resting comfortably in their achievements.

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The Heavy Flow of Minor Disturbances – #1

The morning shadows have a new shape, and the cacophony of the birds has started again. Foreshadows of hope, it’s on the way, and I refuse to stop, to ask why because I know this little buzz, this hope-thing being on the way is a silly artifice made of tissues.

The winter sun has frightened me for so many countless months, causing guilty pleasure and pride with the trinkets from my endurance, still wondering what kind of animal I might be. Not all of the people see the monsters in the shadows, crawling longingly on the bright winter days. The monsters are ghosts, or spirits, and they’re not interested in being seen as they are far too busy singeing the raw nerves of the fragile psyches (ones such as mine), which make us little, gangly, spider-like animals too timid to go out, lest we be smashed by the semi-trailer which has been dislodged and has flown perfectly to land centered on our little plastic cars.

But today, I’ll drive slowly in the little residential neighborhoods, not for fear of being trashed by the trailer but for fear of smashing any heavy wall, smoothly and head-on. My car window is down by about 2 inches and confidence in my spirit grows with the crisply testy, cool breeze. I will feel comfortable for I will be familiar with almost all of the people, and some of them are as nice as a human can be. I need my meeting, my medicine.

It’s this backdrop that causes surprise upon reflection. What is it buried so deeply that made me break down in complete despair, sobbing like an uncontrollable fruit fly?

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