Thursday, August 30, 2012

Nothing to See

Tory rolled her dump truck around the floor. Barbie sat in the back of the truck, her hair cut too short, bald in places. Barbie's hair would never grow back from several too many visits to Tory’s beauty parlor.

Tory stopped playing and looked up. “Mom, why can’t you open the blinds?”

“Because there’s nothing to see.”

Tory looked back down to the floor, to the stupid carpet. She was sick of this old carpet. She knew the designs by heart. They never changed. “But it’s so dark in here.”

“I’m sorry, honey.”

“Can Aunt Carrie and Chris come over to play?”

Mother looked up to the water stained ceiling and sucked in a shuddering breath. “Not today, honey. I’m so sorry.”

Mother looked towards the window as if looking directly through the blinds. She shook her head.

The little girl bit her lip and decided to play some more. She knew the answers would be final. They always were.


Dinnertime brought two servings of canned spam, cold from the can.

“Mom, can’t we have McDonald’s tonight?” Tory asked.

Mother didn’t even answer.

“We never go out anymore. I’m sick of this crap. I want McDonald’s!” Tory stood up and stomped her foot.

“I’m sorry, honey. Not tonight.”

“You always say ‘Not tonight.’”

Mother nodded her head. “I know. I’m sorry.”

“Mommy, I want to go outside.”

“Not now.”

Tory moved a lump of Spam around with her fork. She looked at the trail of greasy fat it left on the plate. “It’s like eating a slug.”

Mother smiled and took a bite of Spam. She quoted the old DVD of The Lion King they used to watch together when Tory was younger. “Slimey yet satisfying.”

Tory smiled, pretended she was Pumba lapping up grubs and sucked up the processed meat.


“Why don’t you open the blinds?” Tory asked.

“Because there’s nothing to see.”

“Can we go outside today, Mom?”

She knew the answer before hearing it.

“Not today, honey.”

But today would be different. Tory had a plan.

She sat on the floor, played with her dump truck and Barbie and waited.

Eventually, Mother went to the restroom.

Tory stood up. She tiptoed. She felt the floor beneath her might creak with every step. She walked as lightly as possible, not wanting to give herself away. Mother could come out of the bathroom at any time.

Tory crept to the window. She moved back the blinds and looked out.

There was nothing to see.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Letter Found Randomly Behind a Wooden Shed Full of Stained Meat Hooks and Rusty Circular Saws

These things are not easy to write about. It’s hard to find the words, but I’ll try. I have to try. If I don’t write this out, then no one will know. Or perhaps someone will know. Or maybe many people already know, but they don’t think of these things in literal terms. Only as a figurative truth, and figurative truths are only half-truths hiding reality behind a veil of language. Nobody takes figurative truths as reality. Not even the religious. Though they try. They understand parables. And what is a parable if not a truth hidden behind a lie?

So back to the stories. Readers understand fiction. But do they know where it comes from? Some people write fiction, and they think they understand, but  do they really? Most writers place one word after another. Sometimes there’s a plot written out before hand in an outline. Sometimes it starts with an image. But none of these things are tangible. They are only ideas. Only ideals. Only they aren’t. That’s what I’m trying to get at. They’re real. As real as you, the reader. As real as me, the writer. And if they are as real as you and me, then they must be real. That only makes sense.

But what are they? I wish I could say.

I see them. They hide in bushes, behind trees, in cloud formations, on school buses, playgrounds, boring classrooms, dull offices, long commutes, short commutes, bike rides, jogs, showers, sitting on the shitter, or  staring at the stars. The stories, they live. They breathe. Worst of all, they breed.

I see them covering the world like a plague of locusts. They swarm and devour entire families, entire cultures, leaving a bland homogeny in their wake. And I hate them.

The stories, they crossbreed. None of them are pure anymore. All of our cultures, they are gone. And who’s to blame? The stories.

It started out as cave paintings, grew into campfire tales, bards reciting epic poems, and then the printing press. Then there were movies, and television, and , finally, the internet. At each stage, at every level, the stories grew more alike. We share stories, we lose our borders, and when we lose our borders, we lose ourselves.

And so my job is to remove the stories. To stop them from being told. But the problem is, there are stories as long as there are people. And people will tell stories as long as they exist. They will crossbreed their mythologies and philosophies, until one day all individual cultures are left for dead. I can’t let that happen.

We must stop the cross-pollination of ideas. This is my mission in life. To cull the stories from your screaming tongues. To end the impurities of the unjust. To help the world find its own identity once again, an identity far removed from our polluted cross-cultural present. We must return to the purity of the original races, the original cultures.

And I know you’re out there rolling your eyes. You think I’m some sort of neo-Nazi or racist or something. But I’m not (and I know by denying this I am only proving my own racism in some circles), but that’s not what this is about. It’s about you. It’s about me. It’s about how these words I write leave me and enter you. We share a thought. We may not agree, but the thoughts are shared. That is, if I did my job right, if I wrote things correctly.

And when I tell you my hands are stained, what do you think about? When I say my hands have been inside the dreamers of the world, what does that bring to mind? If I were to tell you how I love the feel of decayed flesh, would this disgust you or secretly turn you on? If I were to write, in detail, about every atrocity I’ve undertaken, would you look away? I sincerely doubt it. You’d read faster.

So, you see, you are no longer just you. Now, you are part me, too.

And if you ask me, depending on who you are, knowing who I am, that’s pretty fucking terrifying.


The Marquis de Sade

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chump Change

The washing machine launders me on a weekly rotation. This only costs a dollar-fifty. To be clean only requires six quarters. No more, no less. This is chump change.

Sometimes as I spin, I look out through the frosty, bubble-obscured glass. Sometimes, I see your face. Usually, it is just my own reflection.

I keep my phone in a waterproof case. It works most of the time, but I do need to upgrade more than most people, usually before my contracts expire. That is not chump change.

Sometimes people ask why I do this. I shrug my shoulders and check the settings on my oxygen tank. I take my mouth off of the mouthpiece as if I might speak, but I only spit into my facemask and rub my saliva around to prevent it from fogging up. I like to be able to see as I spin.

Once the manager came out and stopped the machine. He asked me what the hell I was doing. I told him. He asked why. I told him. The manager nodded sadly, told me it didn’t matter much to him as long as I was a paying customer, and asked that, from now on, I use a large quilt or something and wrap it around my oxygen tank to keep from banging up his machines. That didn’t seem like too much to ask. I agreed. I always wrap my tank in the same blanket. It has a Holly Hobbie pattern on it. It used to belong to my sister. This is fitting.

So I spin and I spin. I go nowhere, but at least I get to travel. And compared to airline tickets, compared to drugs, even compared to beer or malt liquor, this is chump change.

And as I spin, I think.

And the world spins on with or without me.

And with or without you, I spin on.

And that makes it worth every damn penny.