Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/08/02

“I came down here to visit you, you know.” Well. What else was I supposed to say? What is anyone supposed to say inside a crypt, surrounded by the homes of the dead? I didn’t know, but felt I had to say something.

“Your Mom. She doesn’t know what to feel anymore. You know that?” It was true. Her Mom spent hours smiling, and talking, and laughing, and singing, and then… She spent hours crying, and prone on the floor, and staring at her Bible, and her painting of Jesus on the cross, always asking, “Why?”

“You’re Dad’s started drinking.” Everyone had seen that coming. We knew that was how he coped with loss.

“They both ask me why. Why you left. Why you thought you had to leave.” I stared at the drawer she was in. Put my hand on the marble plate on the door. “Ella.”

I don’t know how many times I’d cried, how many nights I’d stared at the stars and wondered if she was happy, finally. At peace, finally. And finally, didn’t spend her existence in agony, constant pain, misery.

“I know. I know.” It didn’t make sense to say why. Ella knew I understood. Those nights I’d sat on the floor, next to the sofa, with her having finally cried herself to sleep, her hand resting on my shoulder. Hell, I didn’t care if I couldn’t stand up the next morning, I wouldn’t move. I’d stay right there, and be right there when she woke.

And she always woke too soon. And always in agony. I could see that in her eyes.

“I used to ask God, you know. I did. Let me carry all the hurt for a while. Let her be happy. Just for a little while. But God never answered me.”

I told her about the darkness in me. I did. That darkness that stains everything. Touches everything. How I can look at a perfect rose, soft, velvet petals, tiny drops of dew on it, and want to hold onto it because I saw the darkness around it, and knew it was going to be gone too soon.

I told her of the times I walked beside the main street. Cars zooming by. Big ass trucks too. “You know. All I had to do to be free, to escape that dark. All I had to do was wait. And when it was time. Take two steps to the side. And all the darkness would have been gone. I’d have been free from it.”

She knew. My Ella knew. And she knew I wouldn’t. Not that I couldn’t. That I wouldn’t. Because. If I did that, I’d have lost her. My Ella. She knew. I’d have walked through the flames of hell, the ones that set fire to the rocks, to be able to see her, and hold her hand, and talk with her.

She knew I’d take being stabbed by a pitchfork, every breath I took, every step I took, every heartbeat, to see the roses once again. To stand on the sand by the ocean, and close my eyes, and feel the breeze, smell the salt on the air, and feel the heat of the sun on my face.

My Ella. She knew. She knew me. Knew I’d learned. The darkness was a small price to pay, and small thing to endure, for me to see those few moments, those few people, that mattered to me. That were gifts to me. From God. I was cursed in this life, I knew that. Ella knew that.

“You had the best smile. And pure magic in your eyes, you know.” I stood in silence for a time, and tried to feel her there, with me. Reaching across time, space, the fabric of life. To hold my hand once more.

“I know.” I wished I could hold her one more time. “I know. My Ella. Be at peace now. Be happy now. Be free. At long last. Be free.”

Finally, I turned, and walked from the crypt. Back into the darkness of the night. The darkness I’d always lived with. As much as I wanted to be free, to join Ella wherever she’d gone. I knew I wouldn’t. I’d stay.

Because I had to see the roses bloom another day. Soft velvet petals. And tiny drops of dew. That somehow, for some reason, washed all the darkness away. If only for a little while. And perhaps. Someday. I would find another soul, like Ella. Who could touch my heart. Like the roses did.

That thought alone was worth staying for.

767 words

This is written for Week 66 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.


On Thursday, 20 July 2017

On Thursday, 20 July 2017, Chester Bennington, lead singer for Linkin Park, hanged himself. And once again, I’ve witnessed, in all forms of life, people speak of how sad it is, and how selfish his actions were, and how people should just get the help they need.

And once again, I’ve watched tears fall from the eyes of my soul. For I know things I wish I did not know. I feel things I wish I did not feel. I see things I wish I did not see.

I have tried, many times, to explain to others, those around me, friends, people who read what I write, family, doctors. I’ve tried to explain to them what is wrong. Why people do this. Why people become enclosed in such darkness, such misery, they have to end their presence in this world.

Sometimes, I wonder if anyone has understood.

I have spoken of boxes, and how people live in them, and can’t see beyond the edges, the walls of the boxes. I’ve written of domes, within domes, inside still more domes. I’ve told stories of perspectives, where I’ve wished I could get others to look at the world they live in differently. Where I’ve tried, and likely been unable, to share what I see when I look at the same world. This world. This place in which we all live.

I’ve spoken of tribes. Of how mankind is tribal, and each of us is expected to belong to a specific tribe. Politics? You must be Republican or Democrat in the US, as nothing else is significant. You must be conservative or liberal, Christian or evil, pro-defense or weak, the list goes on and on.

I’ve tried to say, you’re either in tribes, or you’re the victim of tribes. You either belong to a church, and behave as appropriate for that church body, or you are a victim of that church body. You belong to a political party, and you vote along party lines, or you are a victim of that party.

I’ve also stated those inside a given box, inside a given dome, within a given tribe, are unable to conceive of any concept that does not agree with the rules of that box, dome, or tribe.

In my life, I have been told countless times, “You can’t be that way.”

It’s a lie. You can be that way. You are that way.

I do not belong to a church. Any church. I don’t attend any church. I tried. More than once. It was not that I failed, or that the churches failed. It was because I refused to fit into the box, dome, tribe of a church body, so I left. It was because I refused to conform, and become identical to all the other people there, so I left.

I’ve tried to explain social behavior to others. It’s not that I’ve failed. I’ve found all the words needed to explain social behavior. It’s the boxes, domes, tribes, that get in the way, and limit or prevent such understanding.

Is it socially acceptable for your neighbor to stand in his backyard each night the moon is full and howl? Is it socially acceptable for the 53 year old white guy who lives down the street to have shoulder length hair, and not shave?

Don’t answer yes or no. Don’t answer black and white. Don’t answer a programmed answer. Programmed answers are part of the boxes, domes, and tribes.

When you go to purchase a car from a car dealer, the person you’re buying it from has to be clean cut, coat and tie, nice shoes, shaved. They must look professional, after all, who wants to buy a new car from a dealership where everyone looks like they don’t care about anything.

When you go to Walmart, to purchase a movie to watch on your home entertainment system, you expect to be able to find what you want, in a relatively neat display, arranged alphabetically, and categorically. With the new releases in one place, so they are easy to find.

When you go to a restaurant to eat, you expect the service person to be dressed neatly, or in agreement with the theme of the restaurant. You would not expect the service person to need to comb their hair, or wash it. Nor would you expect them to have holes in the knees of their pants.

By god, we have standards, people!

By god, we must be professional, people!

On Thursday, 20 July 2017, Chester Bennington, lead singer for Linkin Park, hanged himself. And once again, I’ve witnessed, in all forms of life, people speak of how sad it is, and how selfish his actions were, and how people should just get the help they need.

And I wonder, as I do each time such news makes headlines, will anyone in any of the boxes, domes, or tribes, ever figure out what really happened, and how much they contributed to the choice a living, breathing, feeling, emotional soul made to abandon a world which would not let them, and others like them, live in peace. A world where they faced the daily choice of having to conform to the rules of a box, dome, tribe, and become a member of a group, and be like everyone else, or live with the words, “You can’t be that way!” spoken, and unspoken, by everyone around them, echoing in their minds endlessly. A world of black and white, right and wrong, good and evil, just and unjust, in which every color, and every shade, and every blend, has been erased, and does not belong.

A world in which only the boxes, domes, and tribes are left.

On Thursday, 20 July 2017, Chester Bennington, lead singer for Linkin Park, hanged himself.

And my soul shed tears once more.

This world needs too many like him. Even if no one living in its tribes, domes, and boxes, will never admit it.

So I write these words, and I wonder. Which box, which dome, which tribe am I in? How do I escape its confines, and become more human?

And I ask, which tribe, dome, or box are you in, and do you even know that’s where you are?

Rest in the peace you so much deserve, Chester Bennington. May your heart and soul finally find your place in a world that does not punish you for being as you were made. May Robin Williams, and too many others to name, share many stories with you beyond the veil of this deliberately limited life.


#FlashMobWrites 1 x 49 : Now And Again

Bob started staying home instead of going to work. He drank until he threw up, then he drank more. He couldn’t turn on his TV, because Darla was on all the channels. He couldn’t use his computer, because Darla always opened a video chat with him. He couldn’t use his phone because every number he called, everyone he texted, Darla answered. He couldn’t even play because when he opened a game, it turned into the video of Darla’s ghost standing beside that place they’d buried her body.

Charlie did his best to ignore everything. He called the blonde when he couldn’t take it anymore, and she always chewed him out, “There’s no such thing as ghosts, you asshole!”

After 17 days, Charlie was driving home from work, passed out, and drove his car across the median, into the oncoming traffic. His car side-swiped three other cars before an SUV t-boned him.

I was glad no one he hit died, although a couple of people did have to spend the night in the hospital.

Charlie didn’t survive. The collision with the SUV snapped his neck. I wished that hadn’t happened. I’d wanted him to spend the rest of his life in prison.

The next day, when Bob heard about Charlie’s wreck, he’d had enough. He called 911, and told them to come get him. “Save me! She’s after me! She killed Charlie, now she’s after me!”

The police, of course, found it entertaining how a dead woman had killed Charlie, and was haunting Bob.

Bob told the police everything. I suppose it helped when Darla showed up while he was waiting for the police, and told him, “Tell them everything, and I’ll stop.” He told them names, places, times, dates. Hell, he even told them what the blonde did to Darla while she was tied up, before they killed her, and what she’d done to Darla’s body after they killed her.

The blonde, it seems, was one demented soul.

Of course, I made sure the blonde knew Bob had turned himself in. It was easy to put it on her car radio while she drove home from work. “Murder turns self in, names accomplices. More at Eleven.”

She checked the news when she got home, and Bob’s picture was on the news report, with his full name, “And the police are collecting the accomplices. More at 11.” It was the first time she’d been nervous about anything. She’d never batted an eye about killing Darla. But it was different when her life was at risk. She’d be going to jail for murder, and she knew it. She’d watched the windows, and knew when the police cars pulled up, and the officers got out.

They heard the gunshot while they walked toward her front door.

Seems the blonde had no intention of going to jail.

She got what she deserved.

Just another day in the life of an Armor.

I am Armor 17. I am the violence.

491 Words

This is Part 7, the final part, of a story I’ve written using the prompts for the #FlashMobWrites challenge. #FlashMobWrites is hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels.  Please, go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites Week 1×49. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

Two Steps To The Side

[Content Warning: This post speaks of depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. Proceed at your own risk.]

I used to walk more than a mile down Princess Anne Boulevard and Dam Neck Boulevard on my daily walks. It was part of how I survived the events of 2010 and 2011. Many mornings during those days I walked during morning rush hour, with both roads filled with cars, busses, pickup trucks, SUVs, and commercial trucks.

More than once, on those walks, I knew a simple truth. If I turned to the side and took two steps, I wouldn’t have to live with the emotional and spiritual pain I was in. Two steps to the side, and one big truck, doing 45 or 50 miles per hour. I’d never know what hit me.

I knew how to die, escape, leave, abandon this world I never made. A world that had torn my heart out with its fingernails, then threw it on the ground, and stomped on it. A world that said to me, “You’re done!”

I walked those mornings knowing everything was wrong. I wasn’t in my car, driving to work, like everyone else was. Instead, I was spending my days at home. Writing. Watching TV. Doing household chores. And wondering what everyone I’d known, everyone I’d worked with, felt was so wrong, so broken, with me.

I walked when I needed to walk. When my emotional state became so tense, so confusing to me, I couldn’t think at all, let alone think straight, or rationally. I walked when I wanted to scream, when I wanted to punch people in the face, when I wanted to argue with everyone I’d ever met, when I felt completely numb, when I couldn’t feel anything, or think anything.

I walked to find my way back to me.

I can’t explain things better than I have. I haven’t found any words for what I felt in those days. Anguish is such a disposable word. Depression has become a sheet of paper people use to cover up emotional topics. Too many words we use in our society have lost their meaning to me. They’ve become disposable, wink and nod and the world’s OK, cover up words. Words used to filter out things people don’t want to deal with.

I can say I knew, even as I walked, I never would take two steps to the side. I’d have walked through a hallway filled with fire, with a floor covered in burning coals, but I’d never take those two steps to the side. Because I knew. If I took those two steps I’d be running from what I was afraid of.

And I don’t run.

I have learned my doctor, and my family, were more than a little scared about my long walks. Part of what scared them was whether I’d take those two steps. They never spoke of it, other than to say how concerned they were when I had to take a walk.

I’m still figuring that part of my story out. Still figuring out how people reacted to what I was going through. How they felt about my behavior, the things I said, the things I did. I remember being asked, more than once, why I was so angry. If I was OK. If everything was alright. I remember my answer was always, “Yes. I’m fine.” To me, I was. By my standard, by my understanding of life, everything was OK. I was enduring some changes, long overdue ones at that, I was angry, frustrated, scared. Scared of what was happening. Of the unknown, of moving away from everything I’d known, everything I’d done, everything I’d been.

To me, everything was normal. To me, knowing how to remove myself from this Earth is normal. And I do know more than a few ways. Doesn’t everybody?

I’ve also learned my doctor took a while to figure out how tough I am. I know this is true because I didn’t end up locked away in a room somewhere on suicide watch. My doctor figure out I wasn’t at risk. No one needed to lock me up, to protect me from myself.

All I needed was time.

Turned out time was all I had.

To this day, I know the truth. Two steps to the side, and it’s over.

To this day, I know the truth. I won’t take those steps.

I don’t run.

Bring it, life. Bring it.


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.


I was disruptive.

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