Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge: 2017/03/12

Vahit stood in the court, nestled between the buildings. As a child he’d tried to meet everyone. “Hello, I am Vahit. I live there. We are neighbors. I am pleased to meet you.” He had failed, of course. There were so many neighbors. And so many changes from week to week.

He’d learned, this is what life was like in the city. People stacked together in buildings, like sardines in an can. The same sardines you saw in the market, in the cans, that no one cared about. Tiny little dead fish. No one cared if they’d had families. No one cared if they’d had dreams. They were just dead fish, to be eaten by people like himself. People with no money, who lived in sardine cans, and dreamed of one day owning a car, a home, and a yard.

It was a lie, he knew that. He’d lived in the same sardine can for twenty-three years. He’d played the game, go to school, get an education, learn to read, to write. Learn math, and science, and a trade. Learn how to make a living. How to get paid. Learn skills, so you could one day find a woman, marry her, take care of her, and raise a family of your own.

It was how his mother had taught him to live. How her mother had taught her before Vahit even existed.

It was a lie.

Vahit knew he’d never leave his sardine can. He’d live there his whole life. He’d die there one day. And no one would mourn his passing. Another tiny, dead fish, in an ocean of tiny, dead fish. They would notice when the odor became strong enough. Then, dispose of his rotting body, and clean his part of the sardine can up. And find another sardine to put in his place.

It was the way of life. Meaningless. Pointless. An endless game of screaming into the void, “I am someone! I matter! Look at me!” One voice of millions, screaming the same thing, endlessly. And if one of those voices fell silent, what did it matter? Did anyone notice? Did anyone care?

Vahit had placed flowers outside the door of Sevda’s part of the sardine can every day for a week after Sevda died. No one noticed. No one spoke to him of Sevda. She with the soft, golden hair Vahit used to touch. She of the smooth skin that calmed him so much.

Sevda had gone, and except for Vahit, no one noticed. And on the seventh day after Vahit had found her dead body, cold as ice, on the mat she’d always slept on in the corner of her room, new sardines had filled in that space. They’d taken the flowers he’d left by the door, and thrown them out.

As if Sevda was no one. As if she’d never been.

No one greeted the new sardines. No one spoke to them. A man, a woman, and a little boy. They were just more sardines, living in a can. Waiting to die.

Vahit looked up at where the sky had once been. There was nothing there to see. Only light. Only the life of the city.

The sky was gone.

Vahit wondered as he stared at the white sky what it was like to be alive. He wondered too, if anyone, anywhere, any longer knew.


Miranda Kate has started a weekly short fiction challenge. You can read about it here. I’ve decided to write when I can. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.

Mark.

I Fall

I spread my arms as I fall.
Like useless wings.
Fingers gripping nothing.
Then reaching once again for something
Anything
To hold.

And I fall.

I don’t know how far.
I don’t know how long.
I know I’ll never see the ground
As it approaches.
If the ground is even there.

There is no breeze.
No movement of the air
As I fall through it.
Though it flows past me.
Between my fingers.
Through my hair.
I feel nothing.
As if there is no air there.
No air at all.

It’s there, thought.
The air.
Because I still breathe.
I breathe in.
I breathe out.
I feel my lungs fill with air.
I feel my heart beat.
I feel my pulse.
I’m still alive.
Breathing as I fall.

I know there’s air.
Yet I feel nothing.
Nothing at all.

I move my arm.
Hold my hand before my face.
I can’t see it
In the dark.
I can’t see anything.
But black.

There is the night.
When the sun has set.
And the gentle light of stars
Fills the sky.
And you can watch the clouds move
The stars come and go.

But not here.
Not in the dark.
There’s no light.
No light at all.

I wonder
Will it hurt when I hit the ground?
Will I feel anything?
Or will I just be numb.
Locked in oblivion.

Will my bones break.
Shatter.
Turn to splinters.
Will I feel anything?
Or will I just be numb.
Locked in this dark
Oblivion.

And I hear that whisper
In my mind.
The one I’ve heard so many times.
That echoes endlessly.

“Let me be numb.”

So I don’t have to feel anything.
So I won’t know
When I reach the ground.
Won’t know
How long I fall.
Won’t know
Anything at all.

Then I wonder.
How do I know I’m falling
When I can’t feel anything at all?
When the air
Does not move past me?
And the ground never comes?
How do I know?

Perhaps I’m not moving at all.
Just hanging.
In empty space.
In nothing.
In the dark.
Waiting for the ground
That may never come.

Or maybe
Everything is falling.
Even the ground.
The air.
And that’s why nothing moves.

But something inside me knows.
Senses.
Feels.
The ground lies somewhere below.
Hidden in the dark.
And I will reach it sometime.

Somehow I know.
I’m falling
Through the darkness.
With my arms spread.
Like useless wings.
And my fingers grasping at nothing.

Waiting for the ground
To arrive.

#AtoZ2016 : N Is For Nothing

Nothing.

That’s what this world wants me to say.
Wants me to do.
Wants me to think.

Nothing.

I hear your voices.
“That’s not true!”
“That’s a lie!”
“There are people out there who treasure you!”

If only you knew.

What happens
If you sit at a table one day,
And the arrangement of the dishes,
The glasses,
The silverware,
Is all wrong?

What happens
If you go to a bookstore
And the author names
Are in alphabetical order
From right to left,
Not left to right?

I know what you’d do.
You might laugh.
You might find it irritating.
Even frustrating.
And you’d point it out.
How it was all wrong.

And more than a few
Would have to explain
How things are supposed to be.

And yet,
You tell me to speak out.
To say what I think.
What I feel.

You still don’t get it,
Do you.

Imagine how you’d react
If you went to open a book,
And the binding was on the right,
Not the left.
And you had to turn the pages
The wrong way.
From the back of the book
To the front.
Because that’s how they pages read.

Would you read the book?
Would you put it down?
Would you scream in frustration,
And proclaim whoever made the book
Should be shot?

Do you begin to see?

I’m that book.
With the pages backward.
And the binding on the wrong side.

People want to rip my pages out.
Re arrange them.
So they’re in the proper order.
So they read the proper way.
With the binding on the left,
Not on the right.

And,
If I can’t be that way.
If I can’t be a normal book.

Then I can go away.

“You’re wrong!
We’re not that way!”

Oh the words I’ve heard people say!

“You know how to do things
The right way!
You know how to be!
So be that way!”

Oh, the words I’ve heard people say!

What happens if you sit in a car.
And the steering wheel
Is on the other side.
The side it shouldn’t be on.

What happens if the brake pedal
Is where the gas pedal should be.
And the gas pedal
Where you’d hit the brake.

Is there anything wrong with that?
Do the gas and brake not work?
Could you drive a car like that?
With the brake and gas swapped?

Or would it anger you.
Frustrate you.
Irritate you.
Make you scream,
“This car’s all wrong!
It’s all fucked up!
No one can drive this thing!”

Do you begin to see?
I’m that car you hate.
The one with the gas and brake
In the wrong places.
Under the wrong feet.

And you have no idea
How many times you’ve screamed at me,
“You can’t be that way!
Get your act together!
Get your stuff straight!”

I know what the world
Wants to hear from me.

Nothing.

Nothing at all.

Not one damn word.

On anything.


It’s April 18th, and I’m a still one day behind on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. Only 12 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

Nothing

Billy couldn’t sleep, so he rolled to his right side, looking away from her. He wondered what had happened, what had changed, what got lost. Mostly, he wondered why. “There was a time we did so much more than cuddle.” He wondered, “Maybe she isn’t real. Maybe she’s a dream. Maybe everything’s a dream.”

He inhaled slowly, letting his lungs fill, then slowly breathed out. “Focus on now. Not yesterday, not tomorrow. Now.” His doctor called that mindfulness, but Billy had another description for it, “Turn off the brain cells, and just feel.”

He turned off his brain cells, and felt. He felt lonely, despite her being next to him. He felt hollow, like a shell of a person. Like nothing was inside him. He felt old, too old to love any longer. Just a companion. A friend to keep around. Someone to hug, and talk too.

He wondered, “If some hot redhead got naked in front of me, would I do anything, or would I just stare at her?”

Another long, slow breath, and more time spent trying to feel the moment caused him to kick his feet around as he tried to adjust the sheets, and blankets. “Stupid wrinkles.” He moved around until the wrinkles shifted position, and his toes and feet felt better.

Memories of the good times they’d had in bed drifted through his mind. Nights when they didn’t sleep. Nights they tried different things. Different positions. Different ways. It’s not like they’d decided to stop. Not like they got tired of sex. More like they ran out of things to try.

“Is that why guys fool around? To try something new?” It was a rhetorical question, but perhaps there was some truth to it. “Maybe they try different women trying to find something different?” He almost chuckled in the dark. “Once you’ve explored one cave, you’ve explored them all, but you keep looking for a different cave.”

“Maybe that’s why guys watch porn?” Because they wanted more, but couldn’t get more? Maybe they wanted something different, and had run out of new things to try with her, so they watched movies and imagined trying new things with other women?

There was that hollow, empty feeling again. Maybe he really was. Maybe he was nothing but an empty shell, drained of the joy of life. Like an empty gas tank. Nothing left for the motor to run on. No fuel. No fumes. Nothing.

He knew he didn’t need that Viagra, or Cialis junk. He still got it up when he wanted to. Still had his fantasies. Things he knew would never happen. And he knew what he’d do if they did. Like the fantasies of two women. Women, not girls. And he got to stick it in everywhere.

But they were only fantasies. Not real. Real was where nothing happened. Night after night. Where there was nothing inside him. Except emptiness.

Eventually, he grew tired enough he drifted to sleep, into the nothing of his dreams.

500 Words
@LurchMunster


It’s April 18th, and I’m behind in the 2015 A to Z Challenge. This is the 14th of 26 pieces I’m writing in April. Today, the letter N. Tomorrow, the letter O. I have no idea what I’ll write tomorrow.

This is also my entry into #FlashMobWrites 1×08, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. Please, go read all the stories in this week’s challenge.

Robin Williams Has Gone Home.

Things started off normal enough. CNN had a banner headline across the bottom of it’s feed that announced the breaking news was Robin Williams was dead at 63.

We were in the Jersey Mike’s Sub Shop. I couldn’t hear the news, the volume was off. All I got was the headlines, and any text on the screen. But that was enough. I knew, reading the words on the screen, all hell was about to break loose.

See. I knew how people would react to the news.

Just like I knew, in a few days, or maybe a week or two, the thing would blow over, and nothing would change. That’s how life is. That’s how people are. Things don’t change until there’s a reason for them to change.

Let me say that another way. If it was your spouse or lover that had ended their life, you’d change. But, because it was someone you only knew from a movie screen, or a TV screen, that wouldn’t change a thing. You’d say, “That’s too bad.” Then, “People should get the help they need. It’s there. They just have to ask.” Then, you wouldn’t say a thing, ‘cause it wouldn’t matter anymore.

Just like donating platelets or blood. If you best friend gets cancer, you’ll consider it. But only while they’re in Chemotherapy.

Did I mention I hate people?

I hate people.

I hate more, knowing that nothing will change. That time will pass, and another big name will commit suicide, and we’ll all go through these same motions again. And again. And again. And nothing will change.

It never has.

History’s littered with suicides of depressed, different people. Big names. Freddy Prinze. Curt Cobain. Robin Williams. Jimmy Hendrix (yes, a drug overdose is the same thing). You can name them yourself.

The first person that tells me how selfish those people were to kill themselves, or that they took the easy way out, I’m going to push all their teeth down their throat in one brutal move. All that shows is you’re stupid, and don’t understand a God damned thing, and don’t want to. You’re just being “social” and behaving according to some mythical rule set that we’re all supposed to follow.

See. I’m autistic.

That fucking rule set you can’t live without doesn’t exist to me. And I see stupid behavior everywhere I look. Every day. That’s why I’m in therapy. Not because I’m fucked up. But because the world’s fucked up, and I have to live in it.

I particularly love the commentary along the lines of, “If you’re contemplating suicide, get help! Talk to someone!” Helpful words. Like saying, “Here’s a cup of water. Hope you can put out the fire with it.”

Yes, if you haven’t noticed, I’m rather emotional on this topic.

Robin Williams escaped the hell he was in. And the first person that tells me it’s too bad he took his own life, and so he’s going to hell, I’m going to send that person straight to hell myself. Because you understand nothing. Nothing at all. Except what you WANT to understand.

Robin Williams escaped the hell he was in. A hell he never made. Do you think he caused his depression? Do you think he elected to be depressed? Do you think he elected to have no one to talk to? Do you think he elected to live where he lived, alone, or nearly so? Do you think he didn’t talk to anyone? That he didn’t seek help?

He did all those things. That you can’t understand why he ended his pain, and misery, and turned from the nightmare he saw everywhere, everyday, isn’t his fault. That you wonder why he ended his life indicates you’re part of the problem. Part of the reason 38,000+ people end their lives every year.

Find someone to talk to. OK. I did. I found a handful of people to talk to. Then, on October 11th, 2010, they told me I was not allowed in the same workplace as them. Then, on October 25th, 2010, they told me I was to not talk with any of them, even through smoke signals. No contact.

The people I needed. The ones I’d found to help me through my depression. Turned and walked away.

So shut the fuck up about this shit of, “Fiind someone to talk to.” Be honest about what the fuck you’re saying. You’re not saying find someone to talk to. You’re saying, “Send yourself to a psych ward, and talk to a bunch of clinical analysts, and other freakazoids like yourself, and when you’re normal, like us, maybe we’ll talk with you. But don’t bet on it.”

Think about that a while. Because that’s what your world tried to do to me.

What does it mean, what does it say, about the world, when the world says, “Find someone to talk to,” and doesn’t say, “So long as it’s not me. Leave me out of your disturbing shit. I don’t want to get involved. And quit disrupting my harmony! Go the fuck away!”

Because, let’s be honest here, that’s what our social system actually says. What it actually does. It’s like the prayer game. You know. Where everyone says, “I’ll pray for you,” and that’s all they do for you when you need help. “I’ll pray for you, and beyond that, go jump off a fucking cliff, ‘cause I’m not getting involved!”

Did I mention I hate people?

I hate people.

You want to know why Robin Williams killed himself? Because he saw things as they really, truly are. He saw past the lies our social system tells. He saw the misery our social system inflicts on people, especially people who are different.

See. Different equals disruptive. Knowledge equals disruptive. Independence equals disruptive. And we’ll remove anything disruptive from our social system, so it won’t gum up the works. As the song says, “Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls, it’s a mixed up, shook up, fucked up world. Except for Lola.”

You close your eyes. You pretend the world is OK. You imagine our society is functional. You pretend it’s sad when someone decided they’ve had enough, and leave. You get pissed off when they leave.

You get pissed off because you can’t. You’re still here. In a world you never made.

Shut the fuck up about all this. Nothing’s going to change. Don’t pretend it will. And if you pretend it will, then don’t get pissed off at me for recognizing it won’t. And look back, in a year or two, and see how things have changed because of this.

And yes. In case you’re wondering. I’ve donated platelets over 70 times now. And there will be more donations in my future. And Gina A Baker is long past her chemo therapy. Of course, for all I know, she could be dead. She’s one of the few friends I had that ordered me to go away on 10/25/2010. And I haven’t heard from her since.

Because.

I was disruptive.

And you know. We can’t have that shit in the working world. We can’t have that shit at all.

Mark.

#FlashFridayFic #39 : The Door

Unicornio, by Salvador Nunez, shared as part of the Peru Arte Valor effort.The door sat across the clearing, just beyond the tree, right on the edge of the cliff. The face where the handle should have been laughed at me. “Coward!”

I’d brought my shovel to dig my way around the door. To its left and right. I’d looked for ground to dig through, but there was none. I could walk right up beside the door, to its left or right. The ground ended beside the door. There was nothing beyond the door. There was nowhere to dig too.

Beyond the door, there was nothing. No pathway. No land. No trees. No fields. No city in the clouds. Nothing. Just blue sky, clouds, and in the distance, mountains. Nothing.

The door face laughed at me. “You can’t figure me out, can you?”

“I’ve looked beyond you, you know. There’s nothing.”

“You mean, nothing you can see from this side of me.”

I got up, grabbed my shovel, walked up to the door and stepped to its left. “Watch this, you idiot!” I held the shovel by the handle, and reached to the right side of the door, grabbing the shovels blade. “See! There’s nothing there!”

“You mean, nothing you can see from this side of me.”

The door goaded me. “How is your cold, frozen, uncaring, bitter, lonely heart, human?” I glared at the door. “Do you long for more? Is there more to life? Has there got to be more to life than just your job? You dull, dreary, day-to-day life that never changes. Where there is no color?”

Then the door said the one thing I could not stand. “You’re afraid to open me, aren’t you, coward!”

I’d heard enough. I grabbed the face by its nose, and turned it upside down. I opened that door, and walked through.

And all my dreams were waiting there for me.

309 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Rebekah Postupak‘s #FlashFriday, Week 39. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #Flash Friday. They are good reading.