On Thursday, 20 July 2017

On Thursday, 20 July 2017, Chester Bennington, lead singer for Linkin Park, hanged himself. And once again, I’ve witnessed, in all forms of life, people speak of how sad it is, and how selfish his actions were, and how people should just get the help they need.

And once again, I’ve watched tears fall from the eyes of my soul. For I know things I wish I did not know. I feel things I wish I did not feel. I see things I wish I did not see.

I have tried, many times, to explain to others, those around me, friends, people who read what I write, family, doctors. I’ve tried to explain to them what is wrong. Why people do this. Why people become enclosed in such darkness, such misery, they have to end their presence in this world.

Sometimes, I wonder if anyone has understood.

I have spoken of boxes, and how people live in them, and can’t see beyond the edges, the walls of the boxes. I’ve written of domes, within domes, inside still more domes. I’ve told stories of perspectives, where I’ve wished I could get others to look at the world they live in differently. Where I’ve tried, and likely been unable, to share what I see when I look at the same world. This world. This place in which we all live.

I’ve spoken of tribes. Of how mankind is tribal, and each of us is expected to belong to a specific tribe. Politics? You must be Republican or Democrat in the US, as nothing else is significant. You must be conservative or liberal, Christian or evil, pro-defense or weak, the list goes on and on.

I’ve tried to say, you’re either in tribes, or you’re the victim of tribes. You either belong to a church, and behave as appropriate for that church body, or you are a victim of that church body. You belong to a political party, and you vote along party lines, or you are a victim of that party.

I’ve also stated those inside a given box, inside a given dome, within a given tribe, are unable to conceive of any concept that does not agree with the rules of that box, dome, or tribe.

In my life, I have been told countless times, “You can’t be that way.”

It’s a lie. You can be that way. You are that way.

I do not belong to a church. Any church. I don’t attend any church. I tried. More than once. It was not that I failed, or that the churches failed. It was because I refused to fit into the box, dome, tribe of a church body, so I left. It was because I refused to conform, and become identical to all the other people there, so I left.

I’ve tried to explain social behavior to others. It’s not that I’ve failed. I’ve found all the words needed to explain social behavior. It’s the boxes, domes, tribes, that get in the way, and limit or prevent such understanding.

Is it socially acceptable for your neighbor to stand in his backyard each night the moon is full and howl? Is it socially acceptable for the 53 year old white guy who lives down the street to have shoulder length hair, and not shave?

Don’t answer yes or no. Don’t answer black and white. Don’t answer a programmed answer. Programmed answers are part of the boxes, domes, and tribes.

When you go to purchase a car from a car dealer, the person you’re buying it from has to be clean cut, coat and tie, nice shoes, shaved. They must look professional, after all, who wants to buy a new car from a dealership where everyone looks like they don’t care about anything.

When you go to Walmart, to purchase a movie to watch on your home entertainment system, you expect to be able to find what you want, in a relatively neat display, arranged alphabetically, and categorically. With the new releases in one place, so they are easy to find.

When you go to a restaurant to eat, you expect the service person to be dressed neatly, or in agreement with the theme of the restaurant. You would not expect the service person to need to comb their hair, or wash it. Nor would you expect them to have holes in the knees of their pants.

By god, we have standards, people!

By god, we must be professional, people!

On Thursday, 20 July 2017, Chester Bennington, lead singer for Linkin Park, hanged himself. And once again, I’ve witnessed, in all forms of life, people speak of how sad it is, and how selfish his actions were, and how people should just get the help they need.

And I wonder, as I do each time such news makes headlines, will anyone in any of the boxes, domes, or tribes, ever figure out what really happened, and how much they contributed to the choice a living, breathing, feeling, emotional soul made to abandon a world which would not let them, and others like them, live in peace. A world where they faced the daily choice of having to conform to the rules of a box, dome, tribe, and become a member of a group, and be like everyone else, or live with the words, “You can’t be that way!” spoken, and unspoken, by everyone around them, echoing in their minds endlessly. A world of black and white, right and wrong, good and evil, just and unjust, in which every color, and every shade, and every blend, has been erased, and does not belong.

A world in which only the boxes, domes, and tribes are left.

On Thursday, 20 July 2017, Chester Bennington, lead singer for Linkin Park, hanged himself.

And my soul shed tears once more.

This world needs too many like him. Even if no one living in its tribes, domes, and boxes, will never admit it.

So I write these words, and I wonder. Which box, which dome, which tribe am I in? How do I escape its confines, and become more human?

And I ask, which tribe, dome, or box are you in, and do you even know that’s where you are?

Rest in the peace you so much deserve, Chester Bennington. May your heart and soul finally find your place in a world that does not punish you for being as you were made. May Robin Williams, and too many others to name, share many stories with you beyond the veil of this deliberately limited life.

Mark.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/07/09

Luciana closed her eyes, as she lay on the walkway. “No one knows why I come here. No one understands.” It stirred her soul to know how alone she was, how misunderstood. “They think I’m nuts, I know.”

As she closed her eyes, the sound of the water pouring into the overflow pipe washed away everything. Drowned out everything. All the noise. The words. The sounds. The tapping of the teacher’s pen on paper during the test, as if impatiently waiting for everyone to fail. The sound of those she knew, at lunch, and their gossip. “Gabriella kissed him yesterday! I saw it!” What did it matter who Gabriella kissed? Or even if she’d slept with him?

The sound of the water overwhelmed it all. Crushed it all into dust, memories, the past. Showed her it wasn’t real. Showed her it was gone.

The noise of the boys on the football field, kicking the ball to each other. How they tried to show off, each in their turn, put on a show, tried to do a trick. Then kicked the ball to the next boy. They knew the girls were watching, from the bleachers. Maria who always sat on the first row, and always stood when Angel kicked the ball. It was no secret, everyone knew, Maria first got naked for Angel. And she got naked for him any time he asked her.

Luciana asked her once, “Why? Why do you do that?”

“I’m going to marry him. He will take care of me. We will have a family. You’ll see.”

“But, don’t you know? Everyone knows. They say he is using you. Getting his jollies.”

“They know nothing. Nothing at all.”

Maria always watched Angel on the field. The other girls always watched Maria. And Luciana? She watched them all, and wondered why they were the way they were. And why they could not see the meaningless way they behaved.

But on the walkway, above the drain, after a hard rain, it all went away. And she could remember. Who she was, what she loved, everything that mattered to here.

At home, it was her family, mother, father, brothers, who never let her find herself. Always demanded something. Always.

“Luciana! There will be time for your homework after you have helped make dinner!” Mother always took her books, handed her an apron, and a bowl of something. “We must do our work, and take care of our men.”

She heard the words of her parents at night, after all were asleep. “That girl will never learn. She will never understand her place in this world.”

And her mother, “It takes time. She knows. She does. But she must first learn what it is a woman does. Who a woman is to be. And when she does, she will take care of her family. And they will take care of her.”

Her brothers, always, her brothers. They came first at everything. First in school. “Your brother has problems with his homework. You must help him.” “Your brother has a report due tomorrow. You must help him.” Always, it was her brothers before her.

But here. Above the drain, after the storms, it all washed away. And Luciana dreamed, once more. Of the stories in her heart. The words in her soul. Of which no one knew. And she wondered if she should ever share them with a world that was so wrong. A world where women stayed at home. And behaved. And took care of their men.

And never dreamed.

She felt the power of the water, and let the sound wash everything away. It would not last, she knew. But for a few moments. A brief time.

She was free.

621 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 18th week. You can read about the challenge here. This week, I tried something different again Hope it’s worth the effort. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that show up. They are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

 

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/07/02

There were times I felt like slapping Stan. There we were, in the abandoned station, tracking down whatever it was that was dragging people away, and he was singing, “Who let the dogs out? Who? Who? Who? Who? Who let the dogs out?” Grinning like he was in high school.

“Would you shut up?”

Stan kept right on singing, and added dancing, right in front of me.

All I could do was look at the roof of the station, and stare through the windows. “This is Gods punishment for me, isn’t it?”

After Stan sang another verse, I interrupted him again, “I can’t hear the dogs, you know.”

He stopped, cupped an ear, and pretended to listen intently, “Can’t hear the dogs bark? Bark? Bark? Bark? Bar?”

We’d set the dogs loose five minutes earlier. They knew what to do, very special dogs, very trained dogs. Damn expensive ones too. They moved like a team, with one goal. Find anything that looked interesting. Anything human, or anything that might interest their handlers. Dead bodies. Body parts. Bombs. A drug cache. Whatever. When the found it, they’d corner it, and bark like crazy.

Our job was to follow them after ten minutes. Give them time to make certain the area was safe, and then move to the next area. We’d follow behind, within earshot, and listen.

Stan looked pretty stupid with an AR-15 over each shoulder, a belt of grenades across his chest, and kevlar body armor all over, as he sang that damn song. “Who let the dogs out?”

Yeah, we were armed for bear. Actually, we were armed for God only knew what, ‘cause no one knew what we were hunting. No one alive had ever seen it. All anyone knew was something strange was happening. It’d started a couple months ago, with homeless people living outside the station. They’d started to disappear. After three of four of them vanished, the other started reporting them as missing. By the time six had vanished, the homeless moved. All of them. Moved.

That’s when people in the nearby buildings started to disappear. After a few of them, the landlords put in guards at night, to make the buildings safe, and reassure the residents. Then, the guards started disappearing.

Locked doors, armed guards, no gunshots, no signs of a fight or struggle, and the list had grown to nineteen names missing. And no one knew where, or what had happened. The only thing anyone had were stories. “He walked past, going down the hallway. I know ‘cause his flashlight lit the hall as he walked past. Shined under the door, then faded. And then, he didn’t come back. All night. Never came back.”

The stories were all the same. People just vanished. “We need a clue. Call the guys. Send them in. Have the look. That way, we can tell them it’s nothing from the old station. It’s just people. Being people. And leaving for some reason.”

So, there we were, at two in the morning, walking through the old train station, and the parts of tunnels tied to it. Looking for nothing.

“Who let the dogs out?”

Steve didn’t get to finish. The dogs were barking. All the dogs were barking. And their barking was getting louder. Steve pulled an AR-15, got ready. I pulled one too. The barking was louder, and in a few seconds, the dogs came running back into the station. It didn’t take a genius to see they were terrified. And they didn’t stop. They raced past us, and toward the exits. I mentioned they were smart dogs, well trained? They let themselves out, and kept right on running.

Steve looked at me, he scowled, “Well. That can’t be a good thing.”

And we waited. Ready to shoot at anything that moved. Even the shadows. We waited. And sure enough, the shadows moved. Steve emptied his AR’s entire clip into thin air. I watched, as the shadows detached from the wall, from the corner, and spread across the room, where no shadows should have been.

They reached Steve. Covered him. He pulled a grenade, threw it into the shadows. There wasn’t even a flash of light. Then, he was gone.

That was two weeks ago. That’s the last time anyone saw Steve.

715 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 17th week (I missed Week 16! AIEEE!). You can read about the challenge here. This week, I can’t help but wonder what the heck I’ve started this time. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that show up. They are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.