#MidWeekBluesBuster : Week 11 – Carl Was Perfect

Doctor Zellor reviewed his notes on the patient, Carl Xylos. Carl was a nut. Carl was dangerous. Doctor Zellor leaned back in his office chair and remembered his last session with Carl.

“I told you I go to church, didn’t I?”

“Yes, Carl, you did.”

“I never told you why, did I.” Carl had made that a factual statement, not a question.

“No, Carl. You never have.”

Carl smiled. The same smile you see on someone who is so proud of having dissected their first frog, and found it fun, and want to dissect other things. Birds, snakes, cats, dogs, fish. Everything.

“Because God keeps me in line. He forgives me for my thoughts. My dreams.”

Doctor Zellor had played his part well that day, “What dreams, Carl? And why does God have to forgive you for having them?”

Through his smile, Carl spoke, “Because, Doctor. I have told God many times of my wish to help him cleanse the world of Lucifer’s minions. And God does not approve of how I would help.”

“And how would you help?”

Carl leaned forward in his chair. “Doctor. It’s really simple. I can’t cleanse the world. But I can help weed out Lucifer’s minions. One at a time.”

What came next made Doctor Zellor’s blood run cold. “It’s so simple, Doctor. You pretend you are their friend. You smile at them. You wave. You say hello. One day at a time, you draw them to you. You laugh at the jokes they tell. You agree with what they say. You pretend you are their friend.”

“One day at a time, Doctor, you inject yourself into their lives. You become someone they trust. Someone they depend on.”

Doctor Zellor was afraid to ask the next question. He was afraid how Carl would answer that question. But his employer needed to know the answer. “And then?”

Carl’s eyes had gleemed, their deep, dark green shining almost black. Doctor Zellor felt his throat constrict. “Doctor. Then you cleanse the world of their presence.” Carl didn’t wait for Doctor Zellor to ask another question. “You take them someplace. Alone. The two of you.” Carl stood up. “And as you walk with Lucifer’s minion, you reach inside your pocket,” Carl’s hand went into his pocket, “And you grasp the weapon God gave you. The knife of the Angel Gabriel. You close your eyes, and silently pray to God, ‘For you, Father. Please bless me for helping you in your conflict with evil.’” Carl looked up, toward God. “And then you shove the Knife of Gabriel into the eyes of Lucifer’s minion.”

Carl sat down. “But you can’t stop there. Lucifer’s minions are not so easily cleansed from the Earth. No. You have to find the crystal inside them. The crystal Lucifer puts there. The one that marks them as one of his followers.”

Carl made slicing motions, as if searching for something. “You dig through the body, searching. Searching.” He behaved as if he moved internal organs, skin, and ribs aside, digging through the body of the victim, searching for a crystal that didn’t exist.

Doctor Zellor asked, “And if you can’t find the crystal?”

Carl hung his head, in shame, and quietly whispered, “You go to Church on Sunday. And you pray. You ask God for forgiveness of your mistake. You ask in Jesus name.”

He looked at Doctor Zellor, “And God forgives you. He wipes you clean of your mistake. Of your sin. And sends you out into the world to try again.” Carl’s eyes shined brilliant green, “And you try again, to please God. To serve God.”

Doctor Zellor took a deep breath. Carl would do. It was time to make the phone call to his employer. He tapped the numbers on his smart phone, then waited for the answering machine to collect his message. “This is Z. I have a candidate for the program.” He ended the call.

Carl was exactly what his employer was looking for. Add a bit of training. A bit of guidance. And Carl would make the perfect weapon. The perfect agent to send on covert operations to remove his employer’s enemies.

Yes. Carl was perfect.

700 Words
@LurchMunster


Trying Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge again. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

Every Now And Then

Every now and then
I remember.
Who I used to be.
What I used to do.
Who I used to know.

I remember the words
The Princess of Laughter spoke.
“We will always be friends.”
And
“I promise you.
We will both be OK.”

I remember names.
I remember faces.
Of people I worked with.
Some of them
For 13 years.

Until October 12th
Of 2010.
That was the day
Everything changed.
That was the day
I was blocked
From the work place.

That was the day
When everything that was
Erupted into flames.
That would burn uncontrolled.
Until everything that was
Was turned to ash
That slowly floated away,
Carried on the wind.

Leaving nothing.
Nothing at all.
Of what had been.

Sometimes I remember
Lessons that I learned
Through fire.
And through pain.
About the way
That people are.
About the way
They behave.

Sometimes I remember
The words I was told
They’d all said
About me.
How they all claimed
They were concerned.

I learned, with time
They all believed they were
Concerned for me.
What I was going through.
That they were concerned
For my family.

Hell,
I even learned
Some of them prayed
For me.

But there was a line
In their reality
They could not cross.
A line I’ve learned
Does not exist
For me.

I can do much more
Than pray.
For I am not afraid
Of any of the things
That could happen
If I show I care
For someone that I know.

Everyone there knew
She had cancer.
She was fighting for her life.
No one changed.
No one at all.
Except for me.

In their own way
Several of the people
I once knew
Tried to talk with me.
And warn me.
Of what would happen.

I didn’t understand their words.
Didn’t understand at all
Their concern for me.
And for the job I’d had
For 28 years
At that point.

The assumption, of course,
Was that I understood
What everyone was saying.
Because they all said
The same things.
They all behaved
The same way.

None of the people I worked with
Ever understood the truth.
That I don’t understand
Their social behavior ways.
Those ways
Elude me
To this day.
They always have.
They always will.

That’s part of what Autism is.

Sometimes I remember
People that I found
Along the way
From the life I’d had.
To the life I’m building now.

And much to my dismay,
They behaved the same way
As the people
I once worked with.

More than once
I heard the words,
“I can’t get involved.
All I can do
Is pray.”

I’ve learned.
People are afraid.
Of life.
Of pain.
Of change.
Of anything
They can’t control.
They can’t understand.

I’ve learned.
I was removed from work.
Because I was
One of those things.
That could not be controlled.
That could not be understood.

A lot of people
Were afraid of me.

They never needed to be.

Sometimes I remember
What once was.
And every time I do
I end up asking God.

Don’t give up on them.
Please don’t give up on them.
Find a way,
Like you did with me,
To wake them up.
To bring them back to life.
So they can understand
How cold.
How heartless.
How afraid.
They have become.

I can ask God for that.
For in very many ways.
I used to be the same
As the people
I once knew.

She’s Crippled By Fear

She told me,
“I can’t get involved.
I can’t care.
I can’t do anything.
But pray.”

And that night.
When our conversation
Reached it’s end.
My heart ached
Within my chest.
And my soul
Cried so very many
Tears of pain.

I have wondered
Since that day.
How deeply she was hurt
When everything in her life
Came apart.

I know she got divorced.
I know things didn’t end well.
She raised her daughter
On her own.
The father was simply gone.

I know there are other things
That just went wrong.
And I know those things
Left scars
Upon her heart and soul.
As they would
On anyone’s.

But the words she said to me
That day.
I’ll remember them
Always.
They will echo in my memory
Through the rest
Of my days.

For to me
They said one thing.

“I can’t risk being hurt again.”

And each time I think of this,
Each time I think of her.
And the words she shared
That day.

My heart aches once again.
And my soul cries more tears
Of pain.

For I’ve learned
Pain is a part of life.
One of the many things
That defines us.
Grows us.
Tempers us.
So that we become
Who and what
Life meant for us to be.

Pain is just emotion.
Like laughter.
And like tears.
Like anger.
And like joy.
Like everything
We feel
In our hearts.
And souls.

I would not be the person
That I am today
If I had done everything I could
To avoid,
At any cost,
More pain.

I spoke two days ago.
Of a friend of mine
That’s passed beyond
The veil of life.
She’s gone.
And I’ll never hear her voice
Again.
She’s not there
To share stories with.
I’ll never make her laugh.
I’ll never have another chance
To see her
Face-to-face.

I watched what she endured
In her last months and years
With us.
Here on this Earth.
In the life we lead.

And I watched
As people left.
They quit talking
With her.
They went away.
Left her alone.
Isolated.

Sometimes people do things
That are so heartless.
And so cruel.

The simple truth is
They all left
So that they wouldn’t have to hurt
When her time here
Reached it’s end.

And my heart aches for them.
For the truth is
I have memories
Of my friend
That they don’t have.
And never will.

Because they were afraid
Of pain.
Afraid of being hurt
Once more.
The kind of hurt
That makes you cry.
That brings tears to your eyes.

And shows how fragile,
And how fleeting
The lives we are blessed with
Really are.

She spoke to me one day.
She said these words to me,
“I can’t get involved.
I can’t care.
I can’t do anything.
But pray.”

And every time I remember
The words she said that day
My heart aches in my chest.
And my soul cries tears of pain.
For I know
She’s going through her life
Crippled.
By her fear
Of being hurt again.

And I know
Also,
She’s not alone.
She’s not the only one
That’s turned their back on life,
And is running from the thought
Of being hurt again.

I just wish there was a way
I could show here what I see
When I look around.
And watch the things
That people do.

I just wish there was a way
I could explain to her
What the words she shared
With me that day
Mean to me.

Pain is a part of life.
It’s another things I feel.
I see no reason
To avoid it,
Any more than I
Would go out of my way
To avoid laughter,
And smiles.

It’s just a feeling.
And feelings
Change.

Another Headline

There it was.
All over CNN.
And ABC.
And CBS.
And NBC.

It was in the newspaper
The next morning.
With pictures.
And big letters.
So you couldn’t miss it.

The story of another soul
That went nuts-o
In the world.
And got a gun.
And started shooting
Everyone.

These stories always ask
The same question.
Time and time again.
How?
How could this happen?
How could anyone
Do what that person did?

This is always followed
By the inevitable.
By the words
Everybody knows.

They need to shoot that bastard
Dead.
Killing people like he did.
Running amok with a gun.
Loosing control like that.
Kill his ass.
Get him off the face
Of this Earth with us.
So we can feel safe
Once more.

We don’t need people
Like him.

No one seems to realize
That’s why he got the gun
In the first place.

To strike back
At the world
That was doing all it could
To murder him.

To crush his dreams.
And make him over.
Into someone
Just like everyone
In the society
In which he lives.

Perhaps he never attended
A weekend party
In college.
Because he knew
He’d end up all alone.
Hiding on a wall.
Wishing it was over.
And he could just go home.

Perhaps he didn’t shave his face
Every single day.
Before he went to work.
Never looking
Professional enough.

Perhaps he grew up friendless.
Isolated.
And alone.
Because he never quite fit in.
With any of the groups.
The clubs.
The clicks.
Or other social structures
That people always form.

Oh,
I know what you’re thinking.
The man just went insane.
Yes.
He did.
I won’t argue with that.

But my autistic mind
Doesn’t feel the social panic
That your’s does.
I don’t hear the chorus of disgust,
Of shock,
Of disbelief.
That I know you feel.

I simply shake my head.
And say prayers to God above.
To take care of the souls
Of those that died before their time.

Then I ask Him please
To touch the broken heart
Of the soul
That only wants to die.
That has given up on life.
Because it’s hurt him so.

And lastly I ask God
To be ready.
Because the truth is
That I know.
I will happen
Time and time again.

Because no one
On this Earth.
Does a single thing
To change the causes
Of such things.

And I wait, and watch.
Because I know
That someday soon
I’ll see another story
On TV.

And I’ll see another headline.

In the news.

Thursday, 05 April 2012

Another Headline

There it was.

All over CNN.

And ABC.

And CBS.

And NBC.

It was in the newspaper

The next morning.

With pictures.

And big letters.

So you couldn’t miss it.

The story of another soul

That went nuts-o

In the world.

And got a gun.

And started shooting

Everyone.

These stories always ask

The same question.

Time and time again.

How?

How could this happen?

How could anyone

Do what that person did?

This is always followed

By the inevitable.

By the words

Everybody knows.

They need to shoot that bastard

Dead.

Killing people like he did.

Running amok with a gun.

Loosing control like that.

Kill his ass.

Get him off the face

Of this Earth with us.

So we can be safe

Once more.

We don’t need people

Like him.

No one seems to realize

That’s why he got the gun

In the first place.

To strike back

At the world

That was doing all it could

To murder him.

To crush his dreams.

And make him over.

Into someone

Just like everyone

In the society

In which he lives.

Perhaps he never attended

A weekend party

In college.

Because he new

He’d end up all alone.

Hiding on a wall.

Wishing it was over.

And he could just go home.

Perhaps he didn’t shave his face

Every single day.

Before he went to work.

Never looking quite professional

Enough.

Perhaps he grew up friendless.

Isolated.

And alone.

Because he never quite fit in.

With any of the groups.

The clubs.

The clicks.

Or other social structures

That people always form.

Oh,

I know what you’re thinking.

The man just went insane.

Yes.

He did.

I won’t argue with that.

But my autistic mind

Doesn’t feel the social panic

That your’s does.

I don’t hear the chorus of disgust,

Of shock,

Of disbelief.

That I know you feel.

I simply shake my head.

And say prayers to God above.

To take care of the souls

Of those that died before their time.

Then I ask Him please

To touch the broken heart

Of the soul

That only wants to die.

That has given up on life.

Because it’s hurt him so.

And lastly I ask God

To be ready.

Because the truth is

That I know.

I will happen

Time and time again.

Because no one

On this Earth.

Does a single thing

To change the causes

Of such things.

And I wait, and watch.

Because I know

That someday soon

I’ll see another story

On TV.

And I’ll see another headline.

In the news.

Heartless Bastard

There are times,
And I’m certain of it,
That people declared to me
That I’m heartless.
That I don’t have the feelings
That they do.

Those people
Don’t understand
At all.

I’m not heartless.
I have proven that
Time and time again.

Would a heartless person
Sit here on the sofa in his home,
Wishing he could take away
The pain his son feels on this day
When she broke up with him?

Would a heartless person
Take pictures
Of his Eeyore collection,
And share them,
With someone he’s never seen,
Except in pictures
On Facebook,
In an effort
To give a smile to her?

Would a heartless person
Capture dreams and wishes,
And bring them to life
On the words of these pages
In the hope that somehow,
And someway,
It would help one of his friends
Find a moment’s peace,
Or a moment’s happiness,
On an awful day?

Would I have done
The things I did
In 2010,
When I set aside my fear,
And took up my pen,
And wrote something
Just for a friend
That was facing cancer,
Because the battle she was facing
Caused my heart to ache,
And my soul’s tears
To fall once more?

Would I have
Set aside the time
Every workday of the week
To find something funny
I could send
To a friend I worked with,
As she battled with the demon
That depression is,
Because I wanted her to know
That someone in that place
Truly cared for her?

Oh, yeah.
I’m a heartless bastard.
And I don’t care at all
For anyone
But me.

I shared a dream I had
One time.
Of what I would do
If a friend of mine
That I worked with
Ever passed beyond
The veil of life
While we still worked together.

The story of a man,
With a heart and soul,
That lost a friend.
And found a way
To remember her.
Placing one peach colored rose
Upon what had once been her desk
Every Monday morning.
When all the other people
That had worked with her
Carried on,
Day after day,
As if she’d never even
Been a part
Of their workplace.

But he remembered her.
Because she had been
His friend.

Oh, yeah.
I’m heartless.
Through and through.
Just like I’ve been told.
So many times before.

There is a friend of mine
That got injured
More than a year ago.
And is still living
With the pain
Of her injuries.

If I were
The heartless bastard
I’ve been told I am.
The evil slime
That doesn’t care for anyone
Except for himself.

Would I ask God
In heaven up above
To let me take her pain away
Every now and then.
If only for a little while.
So she could find her smile again.

Oh, yeah.
I’m keep forgetting.
I’m a heartless bastard.
As I’ve been told.

And you wonder why
I don’t listen
To the things you say to me
Anymore.

Words To The Concerned

There are some things you should know about me. First, know that I do not always behave in a “socially acceptable” way. This is because, to me, the socially acceptable way is just flat damn stupid, and designed to protect people from the truth.

I should have left the job I once had back in October of 2006. But I didn’t. Because I felt it was my responsibility to stay, and do the best I could to support the program I had been working on. For I did not wish to cause any difficulty for those that worked on the program.

I paid for that mistake. I paid dearly for that mistake. I paid by being barred from the workplace. I paid by being declared a disturbance in the workplace. I paid by being told  that a unanimous vote was taken that said I was to have no contact of any kind with anyone that I worked with. I paid with 13 weeks of medical leave in November, December and January of 2010 and 2011. I paid by being forced to undergo a battery of psychological tests to determine if I was able to return to work. I paid by having to undergo a security clearance review to determine if I was a risk to the security of my country. I paid by having all the friends I had made in 13 years of work for a customer shut me out of their existence. Permanently.

I paid for being different. For doing things a different way. For behaving differently than every last person in the workplace. For not behaving identically to every last person in the workplace. I paid for being creative. For pouring my creativity into a nightmare job for 13 years. For pushing a program forward against the wishes of everyone. For not letting things be the same on the program as they were on all the other programs throughout the customer’s facility.

I paid for not recognizing the social “rules” of that place. For not understanding why everyone signed the birthday cards that looped around, even if they didn’t know who the cards were for. For not attending social events, like lunches, or cake and ice-cream parties, when I couldn’t understand what they were for.

I paid for actually caring about other people, and trying to help them in any way I could.

If I’d have left that job in 2006, like I should have, it’s possible I would have never had to endure the punishment I endured in the job I used to have.

But, having said all of that, I now say this.

If I had not made that mistake, and endured that place of work that I came to know as “The Land of Grey”, in which everyone behaved identically, and nothing was real, and no one cared for anyone, and everyone played stupid games, with winks, and nods to each other, pretending that everything was OK, and that the way things were in that place was the way things were supposed to be in the world.

I would have never found this new life that I have now. I would have never found the diversity of voices in life that I have found. I would not have met the people I have met. I would not have come to understand that what I did when I had the guts to actually care for some of the people I worked with, and tried to help those people in any way I could, even though it meant I would be hurt, was the true thing to do. The right thing to do. The HUMAN thing to do.

I learned that I did not let fear of loosing my job stop me from doing what I believed. I learned that I did not let fear of being hurt stop me from doing what I believed. I learned that I did not let fear of being punished by the powers of the workplace stop me from doing what I believed. I learned that the structures of the workplace, and the corporate world, can only bring financial pain to me and my family. They can’t control me. They can’t tell me how to live. They can’t tell me what to believe. They can’t kill me.

I learned that pain is just another part of life. And I should not be afraid of it. Just like I should not be afraid of what I believe. Like I should not be afraid to live as I believe.

I once wrote a list of names of people that were gone. It was a list of the names of the people that ejected me from their lives. That threw me out of their workplace. That severed all communication and contact with me. That made it absolutely clear by their actions, and their behavior, that I had a choice. I could be identical to them. Or I could be ignored by them.

My answer, in the end, was to list their names. And declare that they were gone.

I find that as time passes, I feel more and more alive. More and more free. I feel that the world I live in is more and more alive. That it is filled with diversity. With hearts and souls that are different. That are still alive. And that care for so very many things. That the people I am finding now, in this new life, still believe in themselves. And in their friends, and the people that they know.

This new world is NOT a land of grey. It is a land of vibrant colors. A land filled with different people that believe different things. A land that is filled with tolerance for those differences. That does not pretend that there is only one way to be. One way to live. A land where people actually care about other people.

And among them are people that sometimes hurt. And when they hurt, I hope they know that I will do what I can. Because I know what it is to hurt. And that sometimes, all someone needs is a friendly voice. One that says, “It’s OK to hurt. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to be human.”

In July of 2010, I found a song. By Leaves’ Eyes. That stuck in my head. It’s still there. And I still hear it’s words echoing through my life. The song was “Elegy”. And the words that echo, and always will, are:

“Silent tears of a woman
Make a warrior cry.
Heaven I beg you
Please release
Hopes from fears”

When the heart of a friend aches. When a friend’s soul cries tears. I have learned to not be afraid. I’ve learned that I can help. That I can find a way to share a smile with them. That I can find a way to let them know they are not alone. That they are never alone.

That’s why the words of a new song that I recently found recently echo so deeply within me. A song by Indica. Titled “In Passing”.

“I’ll say this once:
Light up the night
Stardust!
When it hurts inside
Read all the signs
Follow
It’s okay to feel down
And just remember
That nothing’s made to last
I know you’re sad
That too will pass
That too will pass
In passing”

And as I’ve begun this new life I have been granted by life itself, I find that I am not angry with the people I used to know. Instead, I find that my heart speaks to me of them. That my soul cries tears for them. For they do not know the way they are. The fears that they live with. They do not understand at all the way that they are. The silent desperation that they all live with. The fear of being hurt. The fear of losing their job. The fear that their families could be hurt. The fear that they would have to change. The fear that they would be hurt if they cared for any of the people around them.

I find that I pray for them. Even after all that I’ve been through. And all the things that have happened. That I can’t help but believe they did to me. I find I am not angry with them. I find, instead, that I am sad for them. And sorry for them. For they have lost touch with their own hearts and souls. And they no longer know what they do, or how they live. That they simply cannot see the way they are.

To the people I once knew, I say these words. I pray for you.

To the people I know now, I say these words. I pray for you. And I am here, if you are hurt, or alone. And need to know that someone around you cares.

Mark.

She’s In The Hospital Today

God.
She’s in the hospital today.
I worry about her.
You know that.

She’s my friend.

She’s having surgery
At 1330 hours.
That’s all I know.
That, and that
She’s very jaundiced.

As if there’s a problem
With her liver.
She said she looks
Like a big yellow smurf.

She’s been ill
For a lot of years.
Unable to work.
And I know
It’s been hard
On her family.
And on her.

She told me once
That not a lot of people
Ever talk to her.
That she spends
Most of her time alone.
With no one
To talk to.

I know what that’s like,
God.
To be alone.
With no one
To even talk too.

She’s in the hospital today.
And I’m very worried
For her.

She asked me
To call her today.
You know I will.
She’s my friend.
I care for my friends.
I care for her.

I call her once a week.
Every week I can.
I know I don’t say much
When I call her.
But that’s OK.
She talks with me.

And I just like to listen
To the stories that she shares.
I get to hear her laugh.
I can imaging
That she smiles.

That’s a priceless gift
From this life to me.
You know that
Don’t you God.

Oh, I know.
I haven’t actually seen her
In almost 35 years.
But, you know.
I’m autistic.
I can remember
All those lunches in high school
When she was a member
Of the same group I sat with
At lunch.

We used to talk at lunch
All the time
Back then.
And you know.
I don’t forget things like that.
It’s not my way.

To me,
She’s always been my friend.
And she always will be.

So,
While she’s in the hospital today,
God,
You take care of her,
Please.

And maybe find a way
For her to have more people
That she can talk with
Every week.

Now, I know that there are people
That would tell me
Not to worry.
That there’s nothing I can do.
Just like they did
When the Lenten Rose was ill.

You know I don’t listen
To what people say to do.
And you know too
That I don’t listen
Because my heart tells me
That people are just wrong
When they say that.

My friend.
MY FRIEND!
She’s in the hospital today.
I know
If I were there
I’d be nervous.
I’d be scared.
I’d want very much
To have someone
I could just talk too.

So I’m going to call her
Today.
And see if I can talk with her
For a little while.

So that she’ll know
Someone besides the people
In her family
Cares.

When did people get so cold,
God?
That they are afraid to care?

You take care
Of my friend today,
God.

OK?