#MWBB 2.52 : Eminence Front

I stared at myself in the mirror. I don’t know why, for some reason I couldn’t look away. I think it was my eyes that did it. Empty eyes, glazed over and lifeless. There was nothing in them.

I wasn’t supposed to stare at myself, wasn’t supposed to stop and look in the mirror. I made myself put the razor down, looked in the mirror to make sure I’d shaved properly, and hadn’t missed any places. I was getting ready for work. To be safe, I combed my hair again, even though I knew it would not stay in place.

And I saw those eyes again.

I practically growled, “Enough! Get ready.” It was time for work. I grabbed my black tie, buttoned the top button on my shirt, and tied that sucker on, joking about how it was a modern-day hangman’s noose.

Those damned, empty, lifeless eyes were still in the mirror, looking at me. I didn’t have time for them. I walked away.

By the time I got to the car, empty briefcase in hand, it was show time. Wave at the neighbor getting in his car. “Pretty day, ain’t it?”

“Yep!”

“Have a good one.”

“You too.”

I didn’t break the speed limit in the neighborhood. I stopped at all the stop signs, waved at people walking their dogs, slowed down for any school busses, and swung wide around the kids at bus stops. It was the right thing to do.

Once I got to the main road, I moved with the traffic. So what if the traffic did 55 in a 45 zone? It was how things were. “Don’t think. Don’t be different. Follow the rules of the road.” That included riding the ass of the idiot in front of me who wouldn’t get the fuck out-of-the-way. Crawling along. Stupid ass hole. “Add gas! What the fuck’s wrong with you!” First chance I got, I floored it, got around his ass, and left him way behind. Yeah, he caught up at the next stop light, but I didn’t care, ‘cause I was in front of him. He wasn’t in my way anymore.

When I got to work, the first thing anyone said to me was, “Hi, how are you today?”.

I answered, “I’m good,” as expected.

At my desk I pulled my bottle of naproxen out, popped the top on my Coke, and had two pills and a long chug of soda, just to cut off the headache I knew was coming. I hate my job. I know that. It sucks. But, it fucking pays the bills, so I suck it up, and work. It doesn’t matter how I feel about it. It’s a job. It’s supposed to suck.

At 1130, Helen walked up, “Lunch time!” The best part of the work day. Lunch. A bunch of us guys, and Helen. She’s always the center of attention too. Not that I mind. She’s a lot easier on the eyes than George, or Henry. Or any of the rest of them. It’s an hour we get to escape from work. We get to laugh. We get to have fun.

Then we go back to hell.

That day I was working on the design of the DVD labels. How to properly label at DVD made using the computer system. I had to draw a sample DVD label. God, I hate that. “How’s this look?” No one cared how it looked, but we’re pros, so they said, “Move this here. Add this. Use this font. Make this in bold.” Make it look professional. Took all afternoon to tune that sucker up.

And when I got home that night, those damned empty, lifeless eyes were still in the mirror.

Yeah. Life sucks. So what. It’s how it is. How it’s always been. How it’ll always be.

The next morning I stared at myself in the mirror and felt better. Those empty, lifeless eyes were still there. It was what I expected. It was normal.

It was time to get ready for work.

It was show time.

673 Words
@LurchMunster


Welcome to year 2, week 52 (Week 2.52) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. This week the prompt is the song, “Eminence Front” by The Who. Please, go read the other stories in this week’s challenge.

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#MWBB 2.51 : The Thrill Is Gone

Jerry sat on his sofa every night waiting for her to go to sleep. She went upstairs about nine. She usually went upstairs between eight and nine most nights. He usually stays up till eleven, or midnight. Just to make sure she’s asleep when he gets to bed.

Sometimes Jerry wondered when it all started. When he stopped going to bed when she did. When she stopped asking him to come to bed. When he started wearing pajamas every night, even though she sent to bed naked.

“Used to be different,” he remembered. “Yeah. Used to be different.”

He remembered the first night, before they got married, when he woke up at stupid o’clock and she was on top of him. “Are we doing what I think we’re doing?” She hadn’t said anything, just kept moving.

Before they got married, they spent nights together at her house, in her bed. Hell, they spent whole weeks of nights together. Always at her house, always in her bed. Never in his apartment. But he didn’t care.

After they got married she got experimental. She started trying more positions, and more types of activity. Over the years, they’d tried everything, including oral and anal. They tried sex on the stairs, and in the shower. On the sofa, in the kitchen. Even in the middle of the night, with no lights on, and the curtains open. It was OK to experiment, since they were married. They could have all the sex they wanted. And they did.

After the kids were born, they didn’t experiment as much. As the kids grew older, the fun nights grew less frequent. When the oldest went to college, things pretty much stopped.

Jerry sat on his sofa and remembered what it was like. When she put her head between his legs. Or when he stood by the bed with her on her hands and knees. He used to watch every stroke. That was part of the fun for him. Watching.

But, those days were gone. And Jerry wasn’t like the guys he worked with. All of them divorced their wives and had married younger women. Women still interested in sex. If that’s what they wanted, Jerry was OK with that. But he wondered why they slept with women the same age as their daughters. “That just ain’t right, is it.”

Besides, it took energy to wake up in the middle of the night for that sort of thing, and he’d rather sleep. He knew, after enough times, it all became the same. Everything felt the same. All the new, all the excitement, had worn off.

The thrill was gone.

Around eleven-thirty that night, Jerry felt tired enough to go to sleep. He wandered upstairs, changed into his pajamas, and climbed into bed. The covers felt good. After a few minutes, she stirred, pulled his arm out, and snuggled in, her head on his shoulder.

Jerry smiled. The thrill might be gone, but the comfort and the trust of having her as his friend and companion more than made up for that.

511 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for Year 2, Week 51 (Week 2.51) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. This week the prompt is the song, “The Thrill Is Gone” by B. B. King. Please, go read the other stories in this week’s challenge.

#ThursThreads Week 169 : I Just Killed A Man

“But, you don’t understand!” I looked around the room. Two police officers, with guns pointed at me, looked back.

“Nothing to understand.” The one on the left spoke. The one on the right never said a word. “Now, put the knife down.”

Dad always taught me never argue with someone packing a gun. Said it was the fastest way to get dead. “And always do exactly what the police tell you.” I held the knife out, by the hilt, with my index finger and thumb, so they could see it. And I dropped it.

The one of the right pulled out handcuffs, and put them on me.

Sheila’s mom was a pathetic pile of rubble on the living room floor, crying like a baby, wailing away. Sheila was trying to comfort her.

“I just killed a man.” It’s what I’d done. “I had to kill him.”

The one of the left waved his hand, “You don’t have to say anything.”

“I don’t have anything to hide.”

He nodded.

“He slept with his daughter. Every night.”

Sheila screamed, “I told you not to tell!”

“He slept with her. Raped her. Fucked her. Every night.” I looked straight into that cops eyes. “So, I stopped him.”

Sheila started wailing, like her Mom. The officer on the left spoke into his radio. He requested a team come out to help Sheila and her mom.

“Time for me to go to jail, ain’t it?”

They nodded.

“He fucking deserved it.”

246 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 169. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

Dreams : A Safe Place

Seems some people believe
I’m able to capture dreams.
Put them on paper.
Make them real.

Really.
Who can do that?
Capture something that isn’t really there.
Bring it to life.

All I can really do
Is share a few words
Now and then.
A few words.
Nothing more.

Take my hand,
If you will,
And walk with me.
See.
I’ve put a blanket on the ground.
In the back yard.

It’s just a blanket.
It’s not magic.
It’s not a gift from a genie.
I bought it at a Wal-Mart
Several years ago.
It’s a bit worn.
It shows its age.

So, I use it in the back yard now.
Let me show you how.
See, I start
By taking off my shoes.
Yeah. I know.
It’s freaking strange.
Every since I stepped on those nails,
When I was a kid
Like 40 something years ago,
I don’t go barefoot outside.

But, see.
There’s this blanket.
I know what’s under it.
I checked.
I know the blanket
Can’t hurt my feet.

And then, I take a step on the blank.
And sit down.
And take off my socks.
And that’s where things get fun.
‘Cause I wiggle my toes.

Why don’t you take off your shoes.
And your socks.
And sit on the blanket with me.
And wiggle your toes.

Silly thing, I know.
Sitting on a blanket in the back yard.
Barefoot.
Wiggling our toes.
But, damn.
It sure feels good, don’t it?
To have nothing on your feet.

My toes are free!
Watch!
I’m gonna wiggle them some more!
Like this.
Oh, I could wiggle them all day.
Well.
At least until they got tired.

I have to let you know.
It’s been a while.
I mean.
Since I took the time
To sit on a blanket.
On the ground.
In my backyard.

I’ve thought about it for some time.
But I’ve never made the time.
Well.
Maybe made is the wrong word.
Maybe it’s I never took the time.
Let’s face it.
Sitting on a blanket in the backyard
Ain’t exactly a grown up thing to do.

You know what else I do on my blanket?
I stretch out.
I lie down.
And I watch the clouds.

I’ve always loved
The sky so blue.
That crystal blue it sometimes looks to me.
With white cotton candy clouds.
All kinds of them.

If you want to know a secret,
I’ll tell you.
Sometimes I look at the clouds
In the crystal sky.
And I giggle.
Because I think,
“It’s like God’s painting.
In 3D.
Again.”

It makes me sad sometimes.
When I think about it.
About how many people never look.
Never see.
The cotton candy clouds,
In the crystal blue sky.

If it’s alright with you,
I think I’ll just lie here a while.
And watch the sky.
And the clouds.
And yeah.
To be honest.
I wouldn’t mind
If you stretched out with me.
And you watched the sky too.

Just so you know.
As far as I’m concerned.
This is a safe place for me.
And if you like.
I’ll make it a safe place for you too.

On this blanket.
In my backyard.
Beneath the sky so blue.

I don’t know at all
Why people seem to think
I can capture dreams.
Things that don’t exist.
Things that aren’t real.
And put them down on paper.
And bring them to life.

But know this.
You are safe here.
On this blanket.
Beneath the sky so blue.

#MidweekMusings 1×01 : Defeated

“Define defeat.”

I stared into my eyes in the mirror, and heard that voice in my head.

“Define defeat.”

Chaos. A cacophony of thoughts, of feelings, of beliefs erupted inside me. “I’ve lost everything.”

“Everything?”

“Yes.” The flash of anger I saw in my eyes shocked me. I’d never noticed such violent emotions in myself before. “Everything.”

“Have you?” Such an innocent question. Such a simple question. “Have you?” That damn thought echoed through my mind. My hands shook. My heart raced.

“Everything I was! Everything I had! Everything I built!” I’d never known I could feel such anger. I wondered where it came from. What powered it. What fueled it.

And that damn question echoed through me again. “Have you?”

“I worked so hard to take care of them!” That was my answer. Them. Everything was for them. Everything was to take care of them. Help them. Give them what they wanted. Hold them when they needed holding. Dry their tears when they cried. Give them the means, the tools, the inner strength needed for happiness. To smile. To live. To love. To be what they wished. Do what they wished.

“Have you lost everything?”

“I can’t take care of them anymore!” I was a failure. I’d failed. Everything had imploded. My job, gone. My income, wiped out. I wasn’t taking them to the doctor when they got sick. No. Not anymore. This time, it was me. Visiting the doctor endlessly.

What did I feel? Numb? Broken? Defeated? A failure? I heard the words of my doctor, “All his greatest fears have come true.”

Was that it? Was I afraid?

“Do you remember?” I stared into the eyes looking back at me. “The nights you couldn’t sleep. The endless days.”

I remembered headaches. Every day I went to work. I remembered eating naproxen pills, two of them, every morning when I reached my desk. Before I did anything else. I remembered, the pills didn’t help. The headache was always there.

I remembered nights. Spent with my eyes open. Staring at the ceiling. Not seeing anything. Not thinking anything. Wondering if I could ever sleep. Wondering if I’d stagger to work having been awake all night. If I could function on three or four hours of sleep. Wishing I could close my eyes, and dream. Just for one night. But sleep never came, until I passed out from sheer exhaustion. Until I pulled the covers up, and without thinking, without trying. Without turning out the lights, turning off the TV, brushing my teeth, or any of the things I did to get to sleep. I pulled the covers up, and passed out.

It was the only time I slept.

“Have you lost everything?” echoed through my mind. “Or have you found something?” My eyes in the mirror wouldn’t let me go. “Have you found something?”

I knew the truth. I knew what had happened. I knew what I’d done to make everything happen. To make everything inevitable. I knew I wanted out of the work I’d had for years. I wanted change. I wanted a question answered.

“What about me?”

Every decision I’d made, everything I’d done, for nearly 30 years, was never about me. Never had been. Never what I wanted. What I felt. What I believed. Everything had always been to care for someone around me. To help someone around me.

“What about me?”

I’d never seen such fear in any eyes I’d ever studied. Such confusion. “How hurt am I?”

I didn’t know. Staring at my eyes I saw a lost little boy. A child. Wounded. Confused.

“I don’t even know who I am.” That changed everything. Every part of me “I don’t know who I am.”

And that voice in my head laughed. “Now I can change.”

I’d lost my life. The life I’d worked so hard to build. The life I the world taught me to want. The one we’re all supposed to want. That dream, of a family, a job, success. It was gone. All of it. Burned to the ground, turned to ash.

“I’m free.”

As I stared into my eyes, the chaos faded, the cacophony grew silent. Until there was only me. The lost little boy. “Now. I’m free.” I actually smiled. I hadn’t smiled in days. I couldn’t remember when. I couldn’t remember feeling anything but anger. Burning through my blood.

And I smiled.

“Now, I’m free. To learn. To grow. To be.”

I wasn’t defeated. I wasn’t broken. I hadn’t lost everything. I’d gained everything. I’d broken free from the life I’d been trapped in. The life that owned me. Suddenly, I was free. To feel. And to learn the answer to that question I’d never answered.

“Who am I?”

789 Words
@LurchMunster


This is for week 1×01 of #MidweekMusings, another flash fiction adventure hosted by #FlashMobWrites (Ruth Long and Cara Michaels). Please, go read all the stories for this week’s prompt.

#FlashMobWrites 1×12 : Breathe You In My Dreams

Merlin flexed his wings as he soared through the black sky, a black dragon on a black sky. He knew he was nearly invisible. Beneath him was the Kingdom of the Fairies, ruled by Queen Eyela, and King Stephan.

The kingdom was under siege, surrounded by Angels. Angels bent on destroying wild magic. Bent on destroying the fairies, and their magic, the dragons, and their magic. Bent on ridding the world of magic. Magic that brought wars, and death.

The fairies, though skilled fliers, and well-trained warriors, were no physical match for the Angels. The Angels were faster and stronger. They could fly higher, turn tighter. Angels were masters of the skies. And masters of war.

Merlin knew something the Angels didn’t. The magic didn’t exist. It was technology, a gift from the children of the human race. The intelligent machines.

Merlin was a dragon. Genetically, he was a modified human, created by the machines. He could use the machines, they did his bidding. On his world, the world named Cylinders, the machines were everywhere. In the air, the dirt, the water, the food. They flowed in his blood.

He waited for the darkest part of night. When the moon sank beneath the horizon, and only the stars were left. When that time came, he would deal with the Angels.

“Are you ready, machines?”

“We have always been ready.”

He almost laughed. “I breathe you in. I breathe you out. I imagine what I want. And you give it to me.”

“You know how the technology works. You know how we work.

“And yet, you do nothing to stop the Angels.” Merlin knew the machines would not interfere. They would only act when he, and others with magic wished them to act. They would on do what those with magic wished them to do.

And the magic wasn’t really magic. It was communication with the machines. The ability to talk directly to them, in their language. “You know what I will do when the time comes.”

“Yes.”

When it was time, Merlin tucked his wings close to his body. He plunged from the sky, sword like claws fully extended. He sliced into the Angels outside the kingdom’s walls. He placed himself between the angels and the walls, then called on the machines. He hovered in the air. As he pushed his wings forward, toward the angels, the machines did as he asked. His wings spawned the wind. The wind grew into a storm. It howled. It blew everything in its path away.

The Angels were helpless before the storm, blown to the ground, blown into the trees, into the sky. Their wings broken, shattered, useless in the wind.

Merlin settled to the ground. He screamed, the wound of metal sheets being torn in half. He knew Mystica heard. He knew, soon the war with the Angels would be over. And he wondered if any of the Angels would survive.

490 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry into #FlashMobWrites 1×12, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. Please, go read all the stories in for #FlashMobWrites 1×12. You might find something you like. But if you don’t try, how will you ever know?

I Never Thought I’d Be Doing This…

Well. I don’t know if this thing works off-line or not. Still haven’t taken the time to verify it does. So, I don’t plan on closing this window until I get home. It’s 2205 hours, on Wednesday, 06 May 2015. I’m sitting at the dining table, or is it better described as the kitchen table, in the Hurricane. I’ve decided that’s what I’m going to call it. The Hurricane. The AC is on (we connected the RV to campground electricity), so we won’t be overheating tonight.

It’s like being in a small house. I mean. If you call a 28 foot long house small. I mean. It’s bigger than a lot of small houses I’ve read about. Pat and I can fit in here quite well. And quite comfortably. There’s lights everywhere. But I don’t have any on in here as I type this. The display on the Chromebook is backlit, so it’s easy to read, and it gives off enough light I can pretty much see the keyboard.

Yeah. I’m a wreck. I’ll sleep. And I’ll probably sleep well. But, I’m a wreck.

We did learn, we need to get a Blu-Ray player to hook up to the entertainment system. That way, we can watch something other than broadcast TV channels on the TV sets. That’s another thing. The TV channels are all digital now. So the picture is either great, or doesn’t show up at all. No more “bad reception” on stations.

She’s in the bed, reading in her Kindle.

I had a rough day. A bad day. But a good day too. I haven’t been sleeping as much, or as soundly, or peacefully the past 2 weeks. As I told my doc, the brain cells are running wide open, trying to process all this new stuff.

What do I mean by new stuff? Well. I can’t really describe it. I don’t know how to describe it. Not yet anyway. But I can give you one example of what’s happening with my perspective on life. Another story Doc and I spoke of today. Washing dishes. See. All my life, I’ve washed dishes, because it’s what you do. The dishes are dirty, collecting in the sink, so you wash them. Black and white. Yes or now. A check box on a checklist called, “how to lead a proper life”. Wash the dishes, check the box.

And back in the days when all I had was my anger, and the energy it provided, this worked well. Because I had to do something with the energy the anger gave me. See. It wasn’t a question of me. How I felt, what I felt, what I wanted or didn’t want, never entered the equation. The dishes were just another part of being a proper person, in a black and white, yes and now, good and evil world.

Well. Now, the anger’s all but gone. I won’t bother you with the details of all the things I’m having to relearn how to do. I’ll just stick with the dishes. And I admit I’m not there yet. It’s a process of discovery for me. Let’s be honest, my autistic nature, with the hypersensitivity of my fingers, means I really don’t like washing the dishes. Getting my hands in that… That… Stuff. Eww. I mean. Just. Eww.

So, I’ve been having a bit of trouble keeping up with the dishes lately, if you call the last 5 months lately, that is. But I digress. I’ve been having problems getting the dishes done, and even getting around to starting them. Because I’ve been learning why. I’ve been learning how I feel about dealing with the dishes.

I told my Doc, and it took me a couple of dozen attempts to get the words I wanted. I told my Doc, I’m learning I don’t do them because it’s the right thing to do. I don’t do them because it’s proper. Or because I’m supposed to. Or because I’m a grown up. I don’t do them for the health benefits of a clean kitchen sink (Do you have any idea how many bacteria are in those suckers? Momma!) I don’t do the dishes for any of those reasons.

I’m learning to clean the dishes because I like having clean dishes, cleaner sinks, and a cleaner and neater kitchen. Right and wrong, good or bad, proper behavior, and all those crappy things we bury ourselves under don’t apply to me doing the dishes. It has nothing to do with any of those reasons. I’m learning about me. About what I feel, and how I feel about the dishes. And as much as I detest dealing with them, I enjoy the feelings I get when I have clean dishes, empty sinks, and a neater kitchen more than I dislike the yuck of having to clean the dishes.

I’m also not a total dingbat on some things. The math is kicking in, and telling me, “If you clean them up regularly, every night, or every morning, guess what? There’s less of them to deal with at any given time! And let’s be honest here. I don’t like putting my hands in a sink full of yucky dishes. I’d much rather put them in a sink that has a few dishes in it, so they’re there less time.

See? That’s something I don’t know how to say yet. I don’t know how to express it in words yet. But that’s what’s happening with me at this time in my life. I’m rewriting all the rules beneath everything I do. And yeah, there will be things I don’t do. They’ll be things I don’t like. Or things I don’t like the benefits of doing. Or some similar reason.

I’ve tried to explain to people around me about right and wrong, good and bad, just and unjust, light and dark, and all those moral, ethical things we hammer into ourselves relentlessly from the time we first start becoming aware of how our society works, and what’s acceptable/expected behavior within that society.

Somehow, it gets turned into right and wrong. Somehow it got corrupted. And somewhere, I lost my way. And forget what I feel. How we feel. And how what I feel ties into what I do. If that makes any sense. And I can’t say if it makes any to anyone other than me, and my Doc.

As with the dishes, so it goes with my walking, my picture-taking, my writing, my exercising, my reading, my watching TV, my listening to music. For every aspect of me, I’m actively questioning why I do the things I do. And I’m learning to do what I like. What I enjoy doing. What I like doing. And even the things I don’t like so much, but do like the benefits of doing them. Like the dishes. And the laundry.

It’s been an interesting five-year journey. It’s been five years since this all started. Since I began to question how things were. Since I first stepped outside the box of predefined, acceptable behavior. Since the days I started to wake up. Five years. And I’m only now getting to this part of my journey.

Well. No one said life would be simple, did they. 🙂

Now, I’m gonna go crash for the night. It’s 2235 hours. She’s already crashed. I’ll try not to disturb her too much as I climb under the covers.

Holy crap. I’m gonna sleep in the Hurricane. Wow. Never, ever imagined this would happen. Have no idea how I feel about it. Other than I feel all kinds of stuff. Yeah. All kinds of stuff. Could take me a while to figure out what that stuff is.