#FlashMobWrites Week 1×33 : I’m Not An Angel In Disguise

I’m not an angel in disguise,
And the devil never made me do a thing,
Or told me what to say.
I’m just an angry, mortal man,
Made by our society’s hand,
And its ruthless,
Uncaring ways.

I’ll stalk the words others write,
The songs they sing,
The stories they tell,
The games the play.
And take each detail apart,
Analyze each word,
Each action,
Every note, motion, and way.
I’ll study each nuance of your ways,
Until I master the unique language
Only you speak.

The one you don’t even know is there.

Once I have that key to you,
Who you are,
How you think,
What you feel.
It won’t be long until I know what’s missing
In your world.

Then I’ll say the words I know
You want someone to say.
The words you’ve been waiting,
Someone would say.
Words to sweep you off your feet,
And carry you away.
Words you dream of in your sleep.

And you’ll let me in.

I’ll be your friend at first,
But gradually, with time, and effort,
Using what I’ve learned of you,
I’ll do the things you want me to.
And slowly, things will grow.

One day, you’ll start to talk to me.
Start to let me in.
I’ll become your confidant,
That someone whom you trust.
I won’t take advantage,
Or rush things along.
I have time.
I’ll wait for things to happen
On their own.

One day you’ll sit next to me,
As if you always had.
One day you will hold my hand,
And walk with me,
And talk with me,
So you won’t be alone.
I’ll learn the holidays that matter.
When your birthday is.
When to buy you a card,
Or flowers.
And step by step,
Day by day,
I’ll work my way into your world.
By being everything you want,
And everything you need.

I’ll be the one you dream of when you sleep.
The one you always wanted,
The one hold in his arms,
Where you feel safe from harm.

All it takes is patience on my part,
And you’ll let me in,
And give me everything I want.

Someday you might kiss me,
Then take me to your home.
I won’t have to ask,
You’ll guide me there
On your own.

Someday you might even
Take off all your clothes,
And pull me into bed with you.

And I’ll enjoy anything,
And everything,
You decide to do.

But if I ever hear you say
“I love you,” to me,
I’ll be gone with the rising sun.
And you’ll be on your own.

Isn’t that the way this life is?
Aren’t we meant to shred
The hearts and souls around us
Until every heart becomes
Colder than the coldest ice,
Harder than the hardest stone?

I’m not an angel in disguise,
And the devil never made me do a thing.
I’m just an angry, wounded soul
Whose heart died long ago.

491 Words

This is my entry into #FlashMobWrites 1×33, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. Please, go read all the stories in for #FlashMobWrites 1×33. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?


I Intend To Find Out

My doc asked me a tough question today. “Mark. Don’t tell me what you think. Turn off the logic. Turn off the reasoning. Tell me how you feel about that.”

I couldn’t.

Yeah. Me. I couldn’t. Me, the guy with all the words, and I couldn’t say how I felt. “Angry. Hurt, Wounded.” I rambled on, single words leaking through the filters in my head. “Denied.”


And it’s not the denial everyone knows about, everyone understands. I’m not denying the truth. I’m not denying evolution exists, or the universe is 13 billion years old. Nothing like that. I’m not denying people consider me their friend. Not denying I’m good at what I have elected to do in my life.

I’m denying me. What I feel. I’ll start my explanation with a story, like I always do.

When I was in 8th grade, we moved from Annapolis, Maryland, to Chesapeake, Virginia. With the move came a change in school systems, and a change in available classes. On the day my Father took me to Deep Creek Middle School, to register for classes, and continue my 8th grade education, I had to make decisions about classes. On the spot, in the moment decisions.

One of those decisions was specific to Math. In Annapolis, I’d been taking “Introduction to Algebra.” Chesapeake didn’t offer Introductory Algebra. So, I had to make a choice. Take regular 8th grade math, which everyone knew I’d cake walk through. Or, take Algebra. Real Algebra. Where I was 6 weeks behind the class.

I suppose a sensible human would have taken 8th grade math. But a sensible human would not have raced through the decision process I went through. I didn’t think about myself, and what I was capable of, or what I wanted to do. I didn’t consider being afraid of taking Algebra. My decision process was very direct. I considered my Mother, and my Father, and what would make them proud of me.

I picked Algebra.

By the time I was in 8th grade, my decision process already denied what I felt and wanted. What I felt and wanted was expendable. What I did was what I believed made those I felt were the important people in my life proud of me, happy with my decisions.

I told my doctor, today, I buried what I felt in my backyard, so it was hidden, and no one could see it, or find it. Not even me.

There are many more stories. I shared another one with my Doc today. Told him why I decided to get his help, and start therapy. It wasn’t a decision I made. The truth is I didn’t want to find help. Because I knew, if I found help, I’d have to deal with everything.

What did I do? How did I end up finding my Doc? I sent three e-mail messages. One to Gina. One to Judy. One to Lorrie. Three messages to the three people I trusted at work. I didn’t ask my family. I didn’t ask my friends. I couldn’t. Don’t ask me to explain why. I can’t. I don’t know why.

I cut a deal with myself. If I got no responses to the e-mails, or if I got three negative responses, or three, “It’s your choice to make” responses, I would avoid therapy. If a single response from one of those three messages said, “Yes,” I’d get help.

All three responses came back positive, declaring I needed to get help.

I kept my end of the bargain. I got help.

I’ve been asking myself lots of questions these past few weeks, because I’ve known I had another step to take in my life. Another journey to make. More to explore. And today, I’ve started into that strange world.

I don’t know what I feel. I know basic things. I know when I’m hungry. I know when I’m tired, even though I don’t always admit I am. I know when I’m in physical pain, though I don’t always admit how much.

But I don’t know what I feel.

“How do you feel about that, Mark?”

“I don’t know.”

I want to write. More than I can explain. More than I can understand. It’s an irrational thing. It doesn’t make sense. There’s not a procedure for writing. Read ten books on how to write a novel, and you still won’t know how. Writing is a personal thing. I don’t write the same way you do. I don’t write the same way my writing friends do. I write my way. My friends each write their own way.

But writing also frustrates me. Hell, it infuriates me. Because it’s not predictable. I can’t tell what I’m going to write. When I sit down to write a flash fiction story for a weekly challenge, I don’t know what will happen next. I don’t know what I’ll write.

What I write could be funny, scary, moving, touching, frightening, or infuriating. It could even be about butterflies and ants and other insects, long after humans have followed the dinosaurs into oblivion. I don’t snap my fingers, and presto, words appear on my computer screen.

In that same way, I don’t know what I feel. Oh, I know if I’m happy, or sad, excited, or bored, I now the obvious. Just don’t ask me how I feel about something. Don’t ask, “How do you feel about that, Mark?” Because I can’t answer. Because I don’t know.

And it’s going to take a while for me to change what I learned so long ago, when I learned to deny myself. When I learned to bury what I felt. When I learned to say, “I don’t care how I feel. I’ll do what I need to.” When I learned my feelings were expendable.

And they were.

Until 4 years ago.

When everything I buried in the backyard started surfacing, and I couldn’t stop it.

I wonder who I am.

I intend to find out.

I’m Angry

A few lyrics from an old song, by Styx.

“You see the world through your cynical eyes
You’re a troubled young man I can tell
You’ve got it all in the palm of your hand
But your hand’s wet with sweat and your head needs a rest

And you’re fooling yourself if you don’t believe it
You’re kidding yourself if you don’t believe it
How can you be such an angry young man
When your future looks quite bright to me
How can there be such a sinister plan
That could hide such a lamb, such a caring young man”

Yes, I have cynical eyes. They’re earned. Everywhere I look I see people that have stopped. People that are the walking dead. Zombies. And I’m angry about that. Fire-breathing angry. It’s taken four years of therapy for this to come out enough I can even write a simple note like this about it. And all I can really do right now is provide hints as to why I’m so angry.

I told my doctor today, “Math is hard, you know.”

Yeah. He said he knew.

“But it’s not impossible.”

He nodded.

“So why the fuck do people whine about it? Because it’s hard? Because they actually have to learn something? To push their brain cells?”

He mentioned  how panic paralyzes some of them at even the thought of doing math problems.

There are times I want to scream. Times I want to bitch slap people upside the head, and scream at them, “It’s NOT easy! Neither is life!”

Yeah. I’m angry.

Math’s just part of it. Just a scratch on the surface. I see posters on Facebook and they sometimes drive me nuts. I have to take a long walk, or go wander around a wildlife preserve, or through the botanical garden until I can regain control. Until the urge to scream fades.

I have to ask questions now. Blunt and brutal questions.

What do you do for a living? Is that natural? Were you born able to do that? Or did you have to learn stuff to do that? What’s wrong with learning stuff anyway? Does it mean you have to think? Does it make your little head hurt? Does it cause your eyes to burn? What?

Aren’t you the person that can hop on an exercise bike, and keep going and going and going for a couple of hours? And that’s tough, ain’t it? It’s hard to do that. When you started, you fuckin’ died after 10 minutes. Remember? After 10 minutes you were like, “Oh, God. I’m never gonna make that one mile mark! Ever!”

It took work, time and effort! You had to build up to it. You had to earn the ability. And you teach that to other newbies around you. “Don’t hurt yourself. Go slow at first. Ten to twenty minutes. Slow down if you have to. Don’t worry, with time you’ll get better.”

‘Cept that don’t fucking apply to Math. Or history. Or science. Or learning how to use your damn iPhone or Galaxy phone. Read the fuckin’ manual? Are you fuckin’ serious? I have to fucking read all God damn day long at work! I’m not reading shit for nobody! Just make the damn thing work like I want!

Yeah. I’m angry.

Here’s a little choice I made, all on my own, independently from everyone, when I was in 7th grade, in Annapolis, Maryland. I made the choice in my 7th grade history class, after tanking on the first test of the grading period. Yeah. I tanked on a history test. And upon seeing that grade, I got angry. I got mad. I got determined. I was NOT letting that happen again. Ever.

I got near perfect scores on everything in that history class after that. And it wasn’t easy. It took work. It took time and a lot of work. No one gave me the grades I got in that class. I didn’t earn them by being a genius, or by being smart. I earned them by working. By putting in the time and the effort required to learn what I had to learn to get the grades I wanted.

That’s what I did in school from that day forward.

That’s what I do now, at work.

That’s what I do now, in my writing. I work on it. I push myself. I don’t accept, “good enough.” I know I can get better. And I find no reason, and no excuse, to do otherwise.

When I see someone say, “I don’t know how to back up the contact list on my phone,” I want to grab their phone, and bash it over their stupid head. Because that’s what they are. Stupid. Too stupid to read the instructions, and find out how. “But I paid for it, and you guys better take care of my problem for me, so I’ll become the perfection idiot!”

Yeah. I’m angry. And I’m barely in control of that anger. It will be in the 90s, and maybe near 100 degrees tomorrow morning at 0830 hours. But I’ll be going on a 5.4 mile walk. I may lose 4 pounds of body fluid on that walk. But I’ll take that walk anyway.

So I can put up with the stupidity the world around me has embraced. And not want to scream. And not want to throw things. And not want to bitch slap people who so desperately deserve it.

I’m not even sad about it any more. It used to make me sad that people were the walking dead, and didn’t know it, and didn’t believe it. Now, I’m not sad. I’m disgusted. I’m angry. Want to be dead by 30, then stop learning. Stop reading. Stop asking questions. Start saying, “I can’t figure out how to use the friggin’ thing!” Start saying, “They changed Windows! Why! Why! Why! I’m gonna shoot someone!” Start saying, “The pastor said Harry Potter is evil, and we shouldn’t read it.”

“Harry Potter is evil, and we shouldn’t read it.”
“The pastor said so, this past Sunday morning at church.”
“Why did the pastor say that?”
“He said [insert name] said it was evil.”
“How does [same name] know it’s evil?”

And so it goes, until you realize no one in the entire chain of names has ever read a single word of any of the books. And you realize you’re talking to a person that says, “I don’t want to think! Tell me how to behave! Tell me how to live! Tell me what to do! Take all my responsibilities from me!”

There are so many stories I will be sharing about this. So many things I’ll write about why I’m angry.

But I’m angry enough I can’t write anymore tonight.


I don’t know why I bother. You obviously don’t want to wake up. You obviously don’t care. And nothing I can ever say, or do, will ever matter.

And you’ll be dead inside at 30.

And I’m going to laugh at you when you are.

#MWBB 46 : End Of Time

I realized, standing there, looking into my eyes in the mirror, looking back at me, I hadn’t looked into them in years. I almost smiled at that. I’d told everyone, for years, I was OK. “I can look into my own eyes in the mirror, no problem.” And yet, I never did.

“I should have noticed that.”

I should have. Years ago. If I had, perhaps things would have turned out different. Better. I hadn’t. And it was far too late to change anything.

“I never noticed how empty they look.” They looked glazed over. Dull. Like eyes that no longer saw anything. Eyes that no longer worked. If only I’d have looked years earlier.

I started at myself, remembering her.

“I’m supposed to cry, right?” I asked the me I saw in the mirror. “Or get angry.” But the me in the mirror never answered. He just looked at me, his empty, glazed over eyes staring into mine. I didn’t cry. I didn’t get angry. I stood there. Staring into those empty eyes.

“The eyes are the mirror to the soul.” An old proverb I’d heard growing up. One I’d heard in countless songs. So many songs.

“How can you see into my eyes, like open doors? Leading you down into my core, where I’ve become so numb.”

I asked the man in the mirror, “Don’t people cry when they have broken hearts?” He just stared at me. A lifeless, empty stare. He didn’t smile. He just stood there. Carved of stone. As if he had no heart left. No feeling left. No soul.

I remembered the note she’d left on the bed, where I couldn’t help but find it. Handwritten. She never wrote anything by hand. Unless she meant it. Unless it was special.

“You don’t love me any more.”

Those words echoed in my head. In her voice. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw her, saying those words. “You don’t love me any more.”

She’d left. Didn’t tell me where she was going. Just, “You don’t love me any more. Don’t try to follow me. Good bye.”

I saw the tear stains on the paper. I couldn’t miss them.

I looked at the cold, heartless, stone man in the mirror. I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to scratch his eyes out. I wanted to rip his heart from his chest, and throw it away. He didn’t need it. He had no heart left. No soul. He was a walking dead man.

And he stood there, in the mirror, his glazed, empty eyes, staring back at me. He never said a word. Never shed a tear. As if he were a man of stone.

She’d written the words of a song on her note.

“I’ve come to realize
Tonight my friend the end of time
Is not so far away
We cannot pray to save our lives”

I stared at the dead man in the mirror. “Cry, damn you. Cry.” I whispered the words. Knowing the man in the mirror wouldn’t cry. Couldn’t cry. He’d forgotten how so long ago. And I kept hearing her speak the words she’d written. Her last words to me.

“You don’t love me any more. Tonight my friend, the end of time is not so far away.”

And I knew. There was nothing left of the man I saw in the mirror that day. He’d reached the end of his time.

571 Words

This is my entry for week 46 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.

NOTE : Song lyrics referenced in this piece consist of:

1. Evanesence – Bring Me To Life
2. Lacuna Coil – End Of Time

Memories : Look At Me When I’m Talking To You!

It was a lesson I learned
A long time ago.
Before so many
Of the people I know now

A lesson I learned
In seventh grade.
When my father was
The Protestant Chaplain
For the US Naval Support Activity
Across the Severn River
From the Naval Academy.

I learned it on a Sunday morning.
After the church service.
While I was experimenting with sound
On a piano
In the church activities building.

That’s when a full-grown male
Of the human species
Sat down in a chair
To my right.

He started talking with me.
Or perhaps it would be more accurate
To say he talked to me.
It doesn’t matter.
And it never did.

I heard every word he said.
Clean down to the times he asked
“Are you listening to me?”

I told him what he’d said.
Told him every word.

“I can’t tell you’re listening to me!”
I could tell he was angry.
“You’re not listening to me!”
And getting angrier.

That’s when I learned
What to do.
When I learned
What humans expect.
What humans demand.
As a signal of some kind.
That makes them think
Makes them believe
You are paying proper attention,
Expected attention,
Required attention
To them.

“Look at me when I’m talking to you!”

Have you ever had that screamed at you?
I have.
I had then too.
More times than I can count.
More times than I can remember.

But that time.
That Sunday.
It was different.
That time I realized
What humans expected.

So, I looked at him.
Straight into his eyes.
He was angry.

I wanted to look at the wall behind him.
To look at the ceiling tiles.
To look at the floor.
The piano keys.

I didn’t.

I looked that human in the eyes.
I watched his mouth move
As he spoke.
I observed his facial expressions.
All of them.
I watched how he behaved.
I watched how he moved.
I watched everything he did.

His tie was perfectly tied.
The collar of his shirt
Looked like it hid a noose
Around his neck.
The jacket of his suit
Was still buttoned up.
It even had that fake tie
Stuffed in one pocket.

I saw every detail.

And I learned.
I learned how to shut him up.
How to keep him quiet.
How to make him happy.

A lesson I remembered.
A lesson I mastered.
In those few moments of time.

Pretend you’re looking at someone
While they talk to you.

That way.
They’ll shut up.
And leave you alone.
Because they’ll believe
You’re a good one.
Well behaved.

They’ll think you heard
Every last word.
And understood
Everything they said.

That human never knew
What I learned that day.
No one ever knew.
No one could ever figure out
What I’d learned to do.

It’s a memory
I can’t forget.
I never have.
I never will.

It was the day I learned.
Everybody lies.

What Happened To The Little Boy

What happened to the little boy
I was once upon a time,
So very long ago?

I know the answer
I’ve been told.
“You grew up.”
“You grew old.”
“The innocence you had
As a little boy,
Got murdered by the world.”

It always comes to that.
The loss of innocence.
The birth of pain.
Where as I grew,
I learned,
Time and time again,
Never trust anyone.
That way,
No one can hurt you

But I wonder
What was wrong
With that little boy?

That little boy
Wasn’t scared at all
Of the black kids
Down the road.
In fact,
He played with them.
And he had fun.
And they did too.

That little boy
Wasn’t afraid at all
To hold the hand
Of the girl next door
When she was sad.
He held her hand
So many times
While she cried.
And then he wiped the tears
From her eyes.

Sometimes he even hugged her.
And always,
Every day,
He was there.
As her friend.

Because he knew
In his heart and soul
Helping friends
Was the thing to do.

That little boy
Sometimes got angry,
And frustrated too.
And he screamed,
And hollered.
And if he got angry enough,
He got up,
And walked away.

But always,
He calmed down.
Because he knew
Being angry with his friends
Meant he’d never see them

What happened to that little boy
That I was
Once upon a time?

That boy and his friends knew
That sometimes boys just fight.
And fight they did.
Running into each other,
Wrestling on the ground,
In the grass and dirt.
And even in the mud.

But always,
When the fight was over,
Everybody knew
Why it had begun.
And that little boy
Always took the time
To work things out
With the other person
In the fight.

What happened to that little boy?
Where has he gone to?
In this world
That needs him
And his kind
So very much?

That little boy never once
Looked at a little girl
Dressed in jeans,
And a t-shirt,
With a ball cap on her head,
And told her she was evil,
And all her kind
Should just be dead.

That little boy never once
Looked at a little boy
That took dancing lessons,
Had long hair
In a pony tail,
And wore pink socks,
As a demon from hell
To be burned at the stake
To keep the world safe
From him.

That little boy always knew
If you had more to eat
That you needed,
Or wanted,
It was OK
To give it to
Someone with no food.

That little boy knew too
That if you broke the rules,
It was you that broke the rules,
And you should just man up
And take what was coming to you.
Instead of trying to blame
Everyone and anyone
But you.
That little boy
Never said at all,
“It’s not my fault!”
When he knew it was.

That little boy
Was not afraid to dance.
Was not afraid to sing.
Was not afraid to laugh,
And smile.
Or scream,
And cry.

What happened to that little boy
From so long ago
That knew so many things
I no longer know?

NaNoWriMo 2012 – Week 3 Clip.

[This is the 3rd clip from my NaNoWriMo work in progress, in all its unedited, rough draft glory.]

Merlin closed his eyes for a moment. 60,000 invading troops. 60,000. Easily more than the fairies of the Southern Plains. More than all the villages of the Northern Forest put together. 60,000 invading troops.

It was his first true understanding of the danger the invaders posed to Cylinders. To his home.

Merlin became angry.

Black fire coursed through his blood. Smoke curled from his nostrils. His eyes ignited with red fire. He became visible. And he didn’t care. He would show the invaders what they were up against. Show them Cylinders was not a world that would roll over and play dead.

Merlin roared.

He watched the ship land. A tower of silver, black and gray in the center of the plateau. It was scorching hot. Merlin saw the waves of heat coming off it. He didn’t wait. He didn’t call for help. He didn’t inform anyone it had landed. Instead, he flew from where he was hidden, down to the plateau. He approached that troop ship. As he did, some of the protrusions on it turned, pointing at him.

Merlin stopped his flight. Looked at the ship. Knew its weapons were pointed at him. “Good. That’s what I want.” He spread his wings, looked to the ship, and roared. His roar was the sound of metal being crushed beneath tons of rock.

He spoke to the machines. Calling his black magic as he hadn’t in centuries.

He held his place in the sky. His wings whipping back and forth, always forward, toward that ship, and back away from it. Each time his wings whipped forward, streaks of black appeared. Like black spears. They raced through the sky, toward the ship. Hundreds of them. Carried by a linear wind that blew harder than Merlin had ever caused before. The wind reaching 200 miles per hour. The black spears raced toward the ship.

The ship’s energy shield shimmered. The first spears reached it. They were deflected. But the next spears weren’t. They passed through the energy field, as if it wasn’t there. Hundreds of black spears aimed right at that ship.

Driven by the will of Merlin. The black magic dragon. The deadliest, most powerful dragon of them all. The machines doing what he asked them to.

The spears collided with the ship. Slicing into it. Gashes appeared on its side. Other spears penetrating those gashes. Things inside the ship exploded. Merlin saw humans falling before the spears. He saw them thrown out of the ship by the explosions.

He held his place in the sky before the ship.

He roared.

Then he spoke.

“This is Cylinders. This is our home. You will not take it from us. Leave. Now. While you still can.”

With that, Merlin turned, and flew over the mountains surrounding the plateau. As he did, he screamed. His scream ripped the silence of the dawn. It echoed for miles. And he heard the screams of other dragons. The message was sent. The word was given.

The invaders had arrived.

The war had begun.