Teach Me, Lord

Dear Lord in Heaven up above.
Teach me to be blind.
Teach me not to see the misery,
The suffering,
The pain,
In the souls around me.

I want to be happy, Lord.
Not sad.
I want to smile.
And laugh.
Not frown,
And cry.

I don’t want to know
What’s wrong with the world.
Or the people in it.
I don’t want to know
About those who are sick.
And dieing.
I find knowing that disturbs me.
Upsets me.
Makes me cry.

I want to be happy, Lord.
Not sad.
I want to smile.
And laugh.
Not frown,
And cry.

Teach me, Lord,
To walk away
From the people of this world
Who know things are not OK.
They ask questions,
And say things,
That make me think about
Things I rather not.

I don’t care about gun control.
The poor.
The haves, and the have-nots.
So what if there are children
Here in town,
That have no food to eat tonight?

If I think of things like that.
I’ll be sad.
I’ll frown.
And cry.

Teach me, Lord,
To be oblivious to everything
That could bring me down.

So it is, Lord in heaven, up above,
I ask again tonight,
Turn my heart to stone.
And blind my eyes.
So I’ll believe
Everything’s alright.

#FinishThatThought 47 : One Hosed Up Soundtrack

Sometimes it seems like whoever’s arranging the soundtrack to my life is watching the wrong thing. Like today. This morning, the alarm went off, I got up like always, and staggered downstairs. I turned on the morning news, and started feeding the cats, as I mumbled under my breath, “Don’t fall over. Don’t fall over. Wobble, but don’t fall down.”

And the news was playing that stupid song about being happy. You know, “Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof. Because I’m happy.” Yeah. That one. I turned the friggin’ TV off.

Then there was my drive to work, in rush hour, along with zillions of perfect strangers. We sat there watching the police direct traffic as the fire trucks drowned the big Dodge Caravan that was burning itself to dust. And we all hopped on our phones, and called work to explain we were late because of it.

And the radio station was playing that James Gang song, “Cruising down the highway in my fine machine, lead pipes really singing, the engine sounds real mean.” I growled, and turned the damn thing off.

I went to the gym, and did my workout. I was sweating so much my t-shirt stuck to me. I thought my arms were going to fall off. They’d reached that point where they shake from exhaustion.

And the radio at the gym sang out, “Ooh, that’s why I’m easy. I’m easy like sunday morning.” All I could do was shake my head.

When I got home, I plunked my Taco Bell Burrito Supreme and giant Mountain Dew Baja Blast on the table, and turned on the news, to be greeted by another story describing how fast food makes you fat, clogs your arteries, and kills you.

It was one of those days. And that night I went to bed, and couldn’t sleep until the Brad Paisley concert ended at 11:00. The drums and bass guitars kept vibrating the painting on the wall above the bed.

Yeah. My life and it’s soundtrack are totally wrong for each other. I really should talk to whoever’s in charge of life, and let them know how screwed up the soundtrack is.

365 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Week 47 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

#MWBB 39 : Heavy In Your Arms

“It used to matter.”

“What?”

“What I wanted.”

Doc just gave me the look that said, “keep going.”

“It used to matter.” I took a long, slow, deep breath, held it in a few moments, and let it leak out slowly. I did that again. “What I wanted. It used to matter.”

He gave me that look again.

“I used to want to be happy.”

“Oh?” Sometimes, the man reminded me of Mr. Spock. ‘Cept he didn’t have pointed ears.

“Yeah. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to want? To be happy?”

“You know the answer to that.”

“Well. It used to matter. It doesn’t anymore.”

“Why?”

Damn, but that man could be so nosey! That was the trouble with meeting with the Doc every week. And him being good at what he did didn’t help any. I had to take another long breath. I kept thinking to myself, “It’s only anger, dude. Only anger. Just a feeling. Nothing more. Feelings can’t hurt you. Or control you.”

“Because of her!” Yeah. I practically screamed that. “Because of her.” Sometimes, all I really wanted to do was stand up, and go stare out the window at the park behind his office. Or just pace around the room.

I never did.

And I knew what he was going to ask before he asked, “Why?”

Because what she felt mattered to me. Because I wanted to make her happy. Because I hated all the things she loved to do, and all the times I went with her, and did those things. Because I couldn’t ask her to do anything I liked to do.

Because I needed the job I hated to make enough money to do the things she wanted to do. Because I had to burn through every hour of vacation I earned taking care of all the things she couldn’t get off of work to take care of. Because I only got time off by calling in sick to work once in a while, and taking a sanity maintenance day.

“Do you really love her?”

Yeah. That was the worst part of it. I did. I loved her. Maybe even too much. I couldn’t say no to her. I’d do whatever I had to, whatever I could, to give her everything she wanted. Because what she wanted mattered to me. What she felt mattered. What she dreamed of mattered.

And to help her have her dreams, I had to give up mine.

Don’t people do that for love?

When my session was over for the week, I left Doc’s office. But I didn’t go straight home. I stopped. At a Dairy Queen. Bought myself an ice cream cone. Sat in my car, and ate it. Listing to my music. Enjoying a moment without her.

Before I got home.

And I didn’t matter anymore.

471 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for week 39 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#FTT 19 : A Clip From My NaNoWriMo Work In Progress

Jessica awoke in the grass, freshly mowed except for a ring around her body. It was the first time a lawn got cut and she didn’t get ill. She’d always gotten ill when her father had cut the lawn. But Uncle Tim had cut his yard, and she was fine. She’d fallen asleep on her blanket, in the backyard, and Uncle Tim had mowed around her.

She’d never even heard him.

Aunt April’s voice interrupted her thoughts, “How’s my tired niece doing?”

Jessica laughed. “I took a nap in the sunshine!” She didn’t mention how she always got ill when her father mowed the lawn.

“Yes, you did.” April chuckled. “I thought you’d certainly wake up with Tim mowing.” She shook her head. “But you slept right through that noisy mower of his as he carved a circle around you.”

Jessica couldn’t believe it. She’d slept right through the noise the motor on the mower made. And she knew lawn mowers were anything but quiet. “I’m sorry I was in the way.” She looked at the circle of grass surrounding her. It was easily an inch higher than the rest of the lawn.

“Oh, don’t worry about it, dear,” April wave a hand, “Tim will just cut it next week anyway.”

“But it’s not a perfect lawn.”

“Jess. With Tim mowing it, it never is.” She winked at Jessica, as if sharing a secret with her.

And Jessica laughed.

She liked her Aunt and Uncle very much. They had taken such good care of her. Aunt April took her to school each morning. And picked her up at school each afternoon. They always talked about what she’d learned in school that day.

And Aunt April could cook! Wow! Could she ever. She loved those frittatas her aunt made for breakfast. She’d never asked Jessica if she ate meat, or dairy. She just made them vegan from the start, using an egg substitute, and soy cheese.

Jessica asked her aunt, “How did you know I’m vegan?”

“Well, dear. We asked your mother several years ago.”

Aunt April actually took Jessica with her when she went grocery shopping. “I know you don’t approve of meat or dairy, Jess,” she’d explained, “But Tim and I aren’t vegan, so I do have to buy them.”

“It’s OK, Aunt April. I understand. Mom isn’t vegan either.”

But April made sure she bought the vegetables, grains and fruits Jessica wanted, and she bought plenty of them. Jessica hadn’t eaten so well at home, or in the center. “You’re a growing girl, dear,” was all her aunt said. And to be honest, Jessica felt better than she could remember ever feeling. She wasn’t hungry anymore.

Instead, she was happy. That was all. For the first time in forever. She was happy.

464 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Week 19 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

#VisDare 13 : Atmospheric

At the altar, we turned right and walked down a short hallway, through a door, into daylight. We were on the bank of a large, fog covered lake. I could see old wooden posts jutting out of the lake where piers had once been. On the far side of the lake, I could see mountains, their tops hidden by the clouds. There was a walkway parallel to the shore of the lake. Alice led me to its entrance. She held my hand the whole time.

“Taran,” she smiled. She was so happy she was crying. “No one ever called me pretty.”

“Why?”

She didn’t answer. I stopped on the walkway and looked out over the lake, watching the fog. I put an arm around Alice’s waist, and pulled her close to me. “Why?”

“The others from the caves,” she whispered, “weren’t like you.”

146 Words
@LurchMunster


This piece is the tenth piece in a continuing story I’m working through for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

#MenageMonday 40, Uncut Version

There is a 200 word limit to the #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge. So, yesterday, I had to strip my little story down from over 600 words, to under 200. As you can imagine, a lot of detail was lost in the reworking of the piece. So, I’m putting the full 600+ words up, here.

Feel free to go visit Cara Michael’s blog, and read all 38 of the #MenageMonday entries. This was the 40th week. And there were a lot of great entries.

———-

I was asleep on my sofa. Didn’t have to work that day. I was on vacation. And I was having a perfect nap. I liked to take naps when I was tired. I liked them in the middle of the afternoon. I liked naps. They were fun.

I woke up when  an alarm went off. Swatted the top of the clock radio at the end of the sofa. The alarm kept going off. And it was all wrong sounding for the clock radio anyway. It wasn’t music. It was this beeping sound. “Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!” I sat up, and looked around. But there was nothing in the room. The TV was on. I’d fallen asleep while a movie was playing. The movie had ended. And the player had gone into screen saver mode, playing the discs menu over, and over again.

“Hon? What’s that beeping?” I looked toward the kitchen. She wasn’t there. The kitchen wasn’t there either. I closed my eyes. Shook my head. And opened them again. The sofa was gone. The clock too. I was on a bed. In a stark, white room. Damn, but it hurt to open my eyes, and look around. I mumbled, “Turn off those friggin’ lights,” and tried to put my hand over my eyes. It wouldn’t move. Hell. Nothing moved.

I heard a voice. “He’s awake, doctor!” I tried to look around again. There was a door to the room I was in. It opened. “Ah, Mr. Taylor. You finally woke up,” this guy in a white medical robe said. He seemed genuinely relieved.

“Who are you?” I tried to mumble. It came out sounding more like, “moohareww.”

The voice answered, “Let me call your wife. She will be so excited to see you.” A few minutes later, this tall, middle-aged blond woman came in. She saw me, practically leaped across the room, landing beside me, and draping herself across me, kissing my cheek, hugging me. “Thank God, you’re alive!”

The first voice spoke again, “Do you remember anything that happened? Do you remember the fires? And the explosions?”

“Hunh?”

The woman hugged me some more. “You’re alive. That’s all that matters.”

Over the next two days, I faded in and out a lot. Mostly sleeping. Sometimes waking up screaming. The Doctor kept telling the woman (I learned she was my wife) that I would be OK with time. That I was remembering things in my dreams as I slept.

That third night I woke up. And I saw, painted on the wall of the room, the plant. The power plant. It was big. It was night. And the plant had these stupid purple, red, and blue lights that lite them up from the outside. So they would look imposing, and impressive, I suppose. “I worked there, didn’t I?”

I realized she was awake. “Hmm?” she’d looked at me, questioningly.

“At the power plant. I worked there.”

“Yes, dear. You did.”

“I went to work.” I remembered walking into the first of the two power generator buildings. I remembered going to my locker in the break room, and putting my lunch away. I remembered getting my helmet out, putting it on. I remembered walking out the door of the room. The door shut. And two parallel streaks of sparks flew from the door, down the hallway, in opposite directions. I remember thinking, “Oh, shit.” And then I watched the world explode with color.

“You remember, don’t you.” The woman’s name was Elaina. She was my wife. We’d been married for 25 years.

“Yes.” She was holding me. “I remember,” I whispered. I kissed her. Softly. “And I remember what you said the first night I was here, in the hospital.”

Elaina smiled. She started crying. Happy tears. “I remember you said we could survive this. I could survive this. I had to survive this. You needed me.”

She kissed me then. Softly.

I whispered once again, “I had to survive. I need you too.”

Am I Lying To Myself?

Today, I stopped.
For a while.
And I looked in the mirror.
As I looked,
I thought.
And I remembered.

I noted the progress
That I’ve made
In the past few days.
The things I’ve gotten done.
The things I’ve started on.
That I’ve left sitting
For months,
And months,
And months.

Then I asked myself a question.
Several questions
Actually.

Am I doing all these things
Because I’m ready to?
Because I want to?

Or am I doing
All these things
Because
It’s what I’m supposed to do?

And the answer to that question
Says for very much.

Am I getting laundry done.
And the dishes too.
For the right reasons?
Or not?
Do I wash the dishes
Because I want to get them clean?
So we can use them
Once again.
And they don’t take up space
On the sink.
And on the counter.
Or am I doing this
Because I’m supposed to?
Because I have to?
Because I’m expected to?

It’s such a simple thing.
Trivial, honestly.
Washing the dishes.
Running the dishwasher.
It only takes a little slice
Of time from my day.

But I find
I’ve never asked myself
If I wash the dishes
Because it’s what I ought to do.
Or because I like
The way I feel
When I’m done?.

And the answer to that question
Says so very much.

Then there is the laundry.
I’m doing more of that these days.
Than I’ve done in months.
And as I was loading up
The washing machine today,
I found myself asking me,
Am I doing this because
It’s what I’m supposed to do?
It’s expected of me?

Am I doing this
To make my lady
And my son both
Happier?

Am I doing this
To convince my doctors
That I’m getting well?
That I’m on my way
To being OK once again?

Am I doing this
To show everyone
That they shouldn’t worry
About me any more?

Why am I starting to
Do all the things
I’m starting to do?

Is it for me
Or is it
For someone else?

There’s a dangerous line there.
One I’ve never seen before
In my entire life.

One I’m not sure at this point
That I really understand.

Because I’ve come to realize
That the answer to these questions
That I’m dealing with
Makes all the difference
In the world
To me.

For if I’m doing
What I’m doing
Because I want to.
Because it makes me
Happy.
Because it makes me
Smile.
Then I’m doing
All these things
For reasons that I should.
And I know
That I’ll be better
Over time.

But if I’m doing
What I’m doing
To convince the people
In my life
That I’m OK now.
And they don’t have to worry
About me any more.

Then I’m not OK.
For if I’ve learned anything
As I’ve walked the path
I’ve walked
In the past 18 months.

It’s that doing anything I do
Just to make someone else happy.
Is a huge part of what wounded me
So very badly
In the first place.

And left me
Isolated.
And alone.

And that leads me to
One last question
On this Tuesday morning.

Am I doing all the things I am
Because I want to do them?
Because I like the way I feel
When I get them done?
Does doing all these things
Make me happy?

Or am I once more
Lying to myself?