#EVERyTuesdayWordplay Week 23 : Pluck

“Lord, send some big ass bird crashing through the window into me. Let it knock me over, pluck my eyes out to make openings in my head, and then pluck my brain out, in bits and pieces, through the sockets!”

It wasn’t the first time I’d thought those words. Even as I thought them, I knew it wouldn’t be the last time.

“Why can’t I just fucking die!”

Must have been the billionth time I wondered why me, why did I have to be punished with all these visions in my head, in my brain cells. Every time I closed my eyes at night, to sleep, there they were. Hell, I couldn’t even call them nightmares. Nightmares scare the shit out of you. You wake up screaming. I always woke up wondering if my brain would ever let me sleep, or if it was going to play endless stories on the back of my eyelids, like movies, until I died.

I couldn’t remember when those stories started. I’d tried. “What’s the first time you had one of these stories stuck in your head?” I couldn’t remember them not being there. And I remembered 50 years of them, all the way back to high school. Maybe 9th grade. Maybe 10th.

But, I couldn’t remember much of anything before that. There was that time all the grown ups got really sad. That was when the President got shot in the head, and died. Even the people that didn’t like him got sad then. I couldn’t remember the President getting shot, since I was only 4 years old when it happened, but I did remember people were sad, and I knew from history books they were sad because of his assassination.

There was the time I learned to read for fun. Not to read because it was homework, or because I was in Sunday School at church. It was when I was sick one time. For a week. Missed school. Maybe it was second grade. Maybe first. Does it matter? I was stuck in bed, sick, couldn’t go to school, couldn’t go outside and play, couldn’t get out of bed, really, except to go pee. I learned a lot that time I was sick. I learned daytime TV in the 1960s sucked, on all three TV stations we could pick up. I learned being trapped in the house was boring as hell, and felt anything but right.

And I learned to read comic books. Dad picked up a couple of them. I’d never read any chapter books, or anything else, really. Other than the school books. “Run, Jane, run! See Jane run?” It was desperation that made me pick those comic books up. The need to escape the emptiness of time. The silence of listening to the sun cross the sky, and the clouds float past my room windows. The complete nothing I’d felt trapped in.

I read the comic books. Each one took me hours. It was my first time reading anything.

498 Words

For week 23 of Ever Addams weekly #EVERyTuesdayWordplay Flash Fiction prompt. There are words trying to get out. Perhaps these are the first few. Go read the other stories for prompt #23.


#EVERyTuesdayWordplay Week 20 : Wait

“Don’t say a fucking word. Not one word. Don’t do anything. Wait. Just. Wait.” A thought learned from experience. From lost friendships, destroyed careers, and countless times I hadn’t waited. Where I’d paid for not waiting.

“Breathe.” Another bit of wisdom from my thoughts. A long, deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take a second. A third if needed. More if you have to. “Breathe. And Wait.”

I closed my eyes and took that deep breath. Then a second, third, and fourth.

“Music. Listen to the music in your memories.” A third bit of wisdom, learned from decades of emotional torture. “Just remember something.” Then, the words, and sounds came back from my memory.

I once had an understanding that everything would go my way
But now we’ve come too far along for me to hold on to my own beliefs
I’m not in it for the fun of it but for the pain
I’m not at all interested in your temporary fame
And the same old song we sing(1)

I wished I could leave. Walk out of the room. Out of the building. Go find a beach, stand on the sand, and watch the ocean. Just to escape the reality, the constant noise, the constant insanity of life.

Hell, I couldn’t even reach for my headphones, they weren’t allowed at work. And, no music in the workplace. Some people found it disruptive to their work processes. No pictures at your desk, no comic strips, nothing that was a form of self expression. No plants. Nothing.

A machine world. Filled with people. People who knew exactly how things were. I knew that. I saw them speak to each other. “Let’s make our appearance at Judy’s Birthday Celebration. They have cake.” I could almost see them wink at each other. Even if they didn’t want to go, they went. Because. It’s what you did. “How are you today?” And the answer was always, “Fine.”

“Wait. Just. Wait. Sit here. With your hands on the keyboard. And text windows all over the screen. And wait.” Noise. The noise of silence. Have you ever heard the overhead lights? The high pitched whine they make? The air being forced through the vents into the room. The same keyboard at everyone’s desk, attached to the same computer, making the same clicking sounds. With the same fans making the same racket in their computer cases. Endlessly.

The clock said 4:56. “Wait. Another 4 minutes. Wait. It’s almost over.” God, how I hated the lights. They drained the soul, the life, out of everything. “Only 4 minutes, and you can escape.”

Yes. Escape. To the car. To drive home. With a zillion other people I’d never met. To wonder if I’d make it home alive, or if someone would crush my car, with me in it, as I waited. In the traffic.

“Wait. Just. Wait. And don’t forget to breathe.”

480 Words (not counting footnote)

For week 20 of Ever Addams weekly #EVERyTuesdayWordplay Flash Fiction prompt. Sometimes, sensory overload triggers panic attacks. Life’s a headache sometimes, isnt’ it. Go read the other stories for prompt #20.

(1) – “Here Come The Vultures”
Songwriters: Guus Eikens / Martijn Westerholt / Johanna Wessels
© Robot Of The Century Songs, A・k Company Limited, Kobalt Music Netherlands International B.V.


#EVERyTuesdayWordplay (Week 12): Hands

Domino smiled as she watched him at his computer. She tapped her sister on the shoulder, “Watch. Watch him. See?”

“What? He’s at his computer. What is there to see?”

“You don’t see it, do you?” Domino couldn’t believe Shelly couldn’t see something so obvious. “His hands. Watch his hands.”

Shelly watched, briefly, then shook her head, “Boring. Boring, boring, boring.”

“Shelly! No. How can you not see it?”

“See what?”

Domino practically drug her sister to the kitchen, “See what? His hands, silly!”

“So, he has hands! So what! We all have hands!”

“Not like his, we don’t!” Domino looked through the doorway, back toward the computer, where he sat, typing away. “Not at all like his.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Shelly held up her own hands, “He’s got 10 fingers, two palms, and wrists, just like we do.”

Domino shook her head, “Yes, he has the same physical number of fingers, and palms. Yes, they are, mechanically, hands.” She waved her own hands, “Just like ours. But.”

“What. Tell me already.”

“His hands are who he is.”

The look on Shelly’s face said, “You are out of your mind.”

“No. Shelly. It’s true.” Domino let herself smile. She’d never known anyone whose hands were the doorways to his soul, to his heart. “Think about it. What does he do with his hands? What’s he doing right now.”

“Banging on his keyboard.”

“He’s writing.” Domino corrected her. “He’s writing. He’s not banging. He’s expressing himself. Through his hands.”

“So?” Shelly still had that “You’re out of your mind” look.

“Have you seen him wash the dishes?” The way his hands tried to avoid the yucky parts of the dishes, the things floating in the sink, the sharp edges everywhere. “Or folding the laundry?” How his hands were careful not to hurt the fabric, especially on delicate things. How they reacted to different textures, how they touched her clothing strikingly differently than his own. “How he holds them when he talks?”

Shelly sighed. “His hands show who he is? How he feels?”

“Yes! When he taps his fingers to the sound of the music. When his hands can’t stop moving during the scary parts, or the big fights, in a movie, or on TV. When his hands hold each other, when he’s nervous, or scared.”

Domino watched her sister think, watched as Shelly remembered all the things she’d watched him do. Driving, mowing the lawn, painting the walls, holding her niece, scratching the cat’s ears. It was like watching the sun rise at dawn, where the light starts to peek over the horizon, and the colors of everything start coming on.

“Oh, my.” Shelly looked toward him on his computer. “I never noticed.” She almost laughed, “I never noticed.”

Domino had, “It’s true. His hands show everything he is. Everything he feels.”

Shelly smiled, “How come I keep hearing that song, he’s a magic man, he’s got magic hands.”

“He does, Shelly. He really does.”

495 Words

Saw the word prompt of “Hands” for Ever Addams weekly #EVERyTuesdayWordplay Flash Fiction prompt, and I knew exactly what to write. The how required me to try something different. Go read the other stories for prompt #12.