The leaves billowed from the heavens, a roasted brown or Sunkist yellow. Mixed into the mess is the liter of the ages; a pattern, a rhythm, a song of color against dismal grey concrete. I pass the man with the tenderized face, jeans with holes and a twisted limp. But he smiles, teeth like termites. And though he smiles, later he won’t. And though he greets me with a kind face now, later he won’t. We know this, we know the binary of the demons and the angels. It remains unacknowledged, but the distance is respected.
Don’t live life looking for the path of least resistance. Don’t avoid challenges because if you do, you’ll never have any idea where your potential lies and if you can’t understand your potential, then you’ll never meet it.
It’s important to ask yourself: What have you failed at today? The real root of growth; the struggle.
This is actually a journal entry, the beginning is an echo of my fear of the medical complications of type one diabetes, (For more information on the disease: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000305.htm) at a cross section between my anxiety over being kept in the dorm room with some falling friends during 2014.
There’s too much of it. I want to live dammit, let me live. Don’t keep me locked in your grasp. More cage than arms, more entrapping than adoring, let me free. The sun shines, raise the blinds and see it. The world is full of many multitudes of beauty. Just get outside and see it. Take a step outside of paradigm and experience all that makes you Human.
If writing from a first hand experience about diabetes is something that interests you, please comment below, and I’ll look in my goody bag and in the following days I will publish several posts on the subject.
He was never my son. He was hers, and when she left, I, of course, got stuck with him. He never did understand. He wanted to save the whales, the turtles, the sharks, would save the devil if it was a living force oppressed on earth. It wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t so soft. They call it a Hong Kong shark for a reason. They aren’t kind creatures. People need to eat, and this creature is large enough to feed a village for a week. I know what they’re getting at, but they’ve never been overboard with a Kong. They’ve never been waiting to be pulled back on deck, with those beasts circling around, like a child playing with its food. Finally finishing their prey in two or three generous bites.
He couldn’t do much, so I’d have him pull in the net, but this time something got caught. He leaned over the side of the ship, freeing the excess fish caught with the Kongs.
Sometimes I’d look at him. I’d look at those fish flailing like if they struggled enough they could earn their freedom. I have been struggling for the better part of my life.
He had other things on his mind. He thought it too cruel to leave these fish trapped with such a predator. Hell, I figured it made it easier to find the net. The blood; a single drop of food dye in a bucket of water, spreading, expanding, but otherwise dissipating. He didn’t ask for my help then, probably felt like he had something to prove. His body balanced on the edge of the ship.
“Be caref–!” And he fell in. “Dad!” he looked at me with cavernous eyes. His head jerked as he searched the uproarious waters. A grey, slick nose rubbed against the underside of his foot.
“Get me out of here!” Thrashing in the water. He stopped then. He must have remembered the way it would draw attention to seals, sea lions. They’d be left in pieces, too minuscule to salvage for sushi. He stopped, waiting. I couldn’t make out what swam around him, only movement. The sea beneath him looked like a wild orgy in a storage closet. I panicked. I grabbed one of the rods we used to hold down the fish that overwhelmed the deck.
He gripped it, sliding his hands up the pole, using the ledge of the ship as leverage, I leaned back.
It took all of the strength I had.
He screamed before the pole snapped.
“Dad,” His voice tremored. He looked pale, his skin the same hue as his widened eyes. The wriggling mass of life that was under him had become foggy and red. “I’m getting help.” I didn’t shout. I didn’t panic.
I didn’t know if it were true, but I knew he needed to believe it if he was getting out alive. I worked the control box, raising the net, but this only brought them closer together.
I watched as a second and third Kong eyed my son. There was a look in the face of these monsters. I had seen it few times before. Like they were solving a math problem, just before they’d speed towards the kill their face would contort into a smile, indicating they’d found the solution. There isn’t much I wouldn’t give to never see that face again. I pressed the button on the control box, the net dropped opening to the sea. That was the last time I ever saw him.
“Don’t you ever tire of shoving your finger up noses?” The thick man, painted in tattoos and decorated in piercings glared. He put his finger up the dog’s nostril, marking where the stud would be placed by a black dot. The mini poodle wagged its tail, and his head traced the walls of the room, excited to be someplace new. The man placed one of his fleshy cleavers on the back of the puppy, he lined up the needle, but the dog jerked his head out of place. “C’mon snuffiluffigous. This week you have to be punk.” She slid her sunglasses down the bridge of her nose, the loud smack of chewing gum reverberating through the room. “That can be done right?” She reminded me so much of Paris Hilton. Maybe it was the long heels, or the blonde hair, or the I.Q. lower than the price of gas. Someday I’ll get the courage to leave, but for now. The dog squealed like a pig being led to the slaughter. The dog laid his head against the piercing table. Defeated, we looked at eachother. Snuffilufigous and I both knew how wrong this was.
“AWWWWW Snuffilufigous you look so Metal! We’ll win the competition for sure!”
“What?” She rotated on her heals like the earth and the sun, glaring like the ogre with the needle.
“She has to be punk for this, not metal.”
“Please Frank, it’s all the same shit.”
Joe Strummer was talking to me. I could hear it deep within the recess of my mind. “Grab the freesta breeze from her hand, throw it in her face, and run for the fucking hills.”
She grabbed the poodle off of the table, and strutted her way through the front door.
“Ma’am you have to pay for it!”
I sighed. I didn’t need this shit. “I’ve got it covered” I wrapped it up. 190$ for a piercing, right. That was bullshit.
“You know, a pretty face isn’t everything.” I circle no tip. “Yeah well, thanks for your philosophy.” Bullshit.
But she knew how to make my tail wag, and that’s it. That’s all it is. That’s when I think about when she’s torturing our poor dog for the next pageant, squeezed into a leather jacket that’s more of a corset than anything. The scratch to my itch is what I think about when she tells me how “warm Hiroshima must be now that there’s radiation, how good it has to be for sun bathing.” I smile and nod, I don’t bark, because if I do, there will be no one to scratch behind my ears.
She goes straight to the bedroom. “come here honey.” I open the back door. The dog scratches at his nose piercing. “Bad dog!” He stops for a moment, running outside. Outside of this place he is ecstatic. Smiling mouths, and the most his tail has wagged all day. He scratches at the nose ring again, but I say nothing. Placing his paw on his nose he tears it out. It glimmers in the grass, and a small stream of blood runs down its face. There’s a hole in the fence he thinks we don’t know about. I turn to grab the keys off of the hook on the wall. When I look back to the yard, Snuffilufigous is gone. I turn and walk out the front door.
“Are you coming baby?”
*Trigger warning as this material deals intimately with school shootings. It is not as a means of disrespect or belittling. School shootings are horrid and far too frequent.
Dressed in a green camouflage and dark boots he stepped into puddles like mortar shells being fired into the ocean. An unjustified, misdirected rifle is slung over his shoulder. The rain stings and is unforgiving against the flat of his neck. It stings his eyes in the contrast of the sunrise. He reaches his post, whistling “We don’t need no education” and unperturbedly silences the screams of an angry flame at the end of mistaken power. He sees the reflection of a god with his mighty trident when he stares at the mirror. He will be remembered, this is his legend. Children scream, teachers hiding students in gymnasiums, closets, corners are murdered for their loyalty. Afterwards the memorials are meticulous and frequent; an event to bring people together; people entirely unrelated, people from hundreds of miles away. If it wasn’t for the grim, sordid looks on the faces of the mothers and fathers you’d think it was a celebration or a grand festivity. In time they dwindle. In time the families of the deceased aren’t asked to meet with the righteous TV show hosts pretending to sympathize. In time even their closest relatives avoid them in a fear that they may remind or reinstate the pain the soldier had given. The fame from their misfortune follows a long downward spiral and all that remains is the legend of the mighty, dreadful soldier trudging through the red mud.
“I can’t pay the rent this month.” Dave said as a matter of fact.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean there was a family emergency, and they need it more than I do. Family has to come first, Rich.”
“Dave I can see into your room.” Richard leaned to the side, looking over Dave’s shoulder. A pile of bags of Cheetos to the waist.
“What do you need 200 family sized bags of Cheetos for?”
“146 to be exact, Rich. And it’s a religious tradition.
We fill up a small pool of Cheetos, each of us bringing exactly 146 bags, and drop one single apple core, from an apple eaten by Mother’s best hog,
we all dive in the pool and whoever finds it gets a smooch from aunt Agnis.”
His voice floated like a cloud when he spoke her name.
“Not only did you spend your rent on 146 bags of Cheetos,
but you bought these Cheetos so you could kiss your aunt.”
“Woah. Woah.. don’t be a pervert Rich. It’s aunt Agnis, not just any aunt. The billowy, voluptuous, roaming the halls late at night in nothing but a bright red, revealing night gown Aunt Agnis, and this year she will be mine.”
Dave pauses to look off in the distance like an action hero.
“She will be.”
“I just..” Richard’s face turned pale, and his forehead dripped with sweat. “Don’t understand.”
“Maybe it’s time you sat down Dick.”
Bending over to sit down: “It’s Rich, asshole.”
It was then that she walked through the door. Like a kayak on unsteady waters, her hips swayed, and with them, as did the rest of her. Swaying through the door, red lipstick. The only thing I can stand to describe without an extra pair of underwear on hand. She was voluptuous, she was billowy… in the right places.
She was I-chee Wowa.
“I hope you’re not talking to my favorite nephew that way.” Dave turned red.
The heels made a slight clicking sound against the wooden floor.
“Uhm. No. Ma’m. I wouldn’t. I would never.” He nearly keeled over and died right there.
“You better not be.” She pivoted on her heel indicating she was finished.
“Excuse me.” He said it quietly, but.
“Is there any way I could join in tonight’s festivities?” He tried to talk like he’d imagine Hue Hefner would.
“I’m sure that won’t be a problem, Dave.”
She said his name.
“Did you remember the Apple core?” Dave half smiled, the eroticism recognizable at any distance.
“The apple core?”
“Well no one can kiss you without the Apple core.”
“What the hell are you talking about Dave?
I’m not going to kiss you.” She looked distraught.
He looked past her and saw Richard snickering in the far corner of the room.
Only I can see it. They’re like tumors. They bulge from the apex of the back of their head.
Here it remains dormant.
The eyes are relaxed, once shifty eyed, now slightly glazed. The pink candy bubblegum turns grey. The bubble grows, I can see the tumor perched on the back of her skull slowly deflate, slowly, it is consumed.
Elsewhere, I see it burst from his lips. Spewing like puss from a straining pimple.
The letters wrap around the walls of the expanding bubble gum. The pink goo from her pursued lips is stained. A single drop of black dye
in a rainbow
It’s thick. It pops, oil dripping down her supple frame.
It’s acidic, the clothing burns away and she stands fragile, naked.
The tar streaks her skin.
As the syllable is finished, and the teeth and the tongue collide with the final “tch.”
The match dropped at her feet, she bursts into flame. She wails, running to the faces around her, but the men don’t know what it’s like to burn, and the women are silenced behind their candy bubble gum. Behind that dull demeanor, they pray for the health of their burning sister.
Her skin blisters, her body cries, pus dripping out of the swelling boils. They pass, avoid eye contact.
A modest pile of cigarette ash in the corner. It’s only a passing moment and she’s made again. She rises from the ashes, a new tumor on the back of her head, and bubble gum inflating from her chapped lips.
Historical Fiction of Crossing the Delaware.
They shall be deep in slumber with drink and the festivities of the night before. God will be forgiving for the turmoil we suffer through on his son’s date of birth, for it is in his name that we fight and it will be in his name that we take back the Jerseys. It’s their location in Trenton that puts them at such a disadvantage. They rest in open plains, with little more than an outpost or two to keep them under cover from the wrath of our muskets.
December 25, 1776
We reside on the wrong side of the Delaware. I fear that this may soon be the end of the American colonies. The snow lies like a thick wool blanket across the landscape. It’s in a stark contrast with our dark uniforms. It’s a good thing that we’re arriving late within the night, for we’d be seen from miles away in daylight. I seriously doubt the thickets of sugar maples and paper birches would give us much cover from the rain of Hessian gunfire. The landscape is radiant white, barren. A desert of snow violated only by our infantry’s steps.
We’ve lost much of the front, retreating into Pennsylvania, I grow doubtful and weary hearted. I’ve seen many men lost in battle and heard of many more lost at Washington’s command. Maybe Washington isn’t the king of the frontier that I was once so sure he was. As he trudges through the snow, firing up steep mountainsides, his coy expression hints at a greater sense of purpose. We may lack confidence in ourselves, but Washington leaves no hints of discouragement.
We’ve lost all of Jersey, and Manhattan.
Even if we are finished serving on the first. We need a general that will make the most out of the time he is given. Especially when the future looks so bleak.
There’s fifty four hundred of us, give or take the few that have been left behind off the trailside. Many of us are walking with only rags to cover our feet. Many of us won’t make it to see 1777, but I must have trust in Washington.
I hope that on the day of Christ’s birth God is merciful to the American army. The cold claims another victim. The vacant expression on his face is only seen in glimpses as we pass. The American troops seem to diminish before we even taste the scorn of battle.
I’ve seen several men blue at the knees, walking with slivers of what was once their feet. Once they regain feeling they will ache. They will pray for death. I suspect many will never walk again. We split up, an attempt to flank the Hessian army, but now that we’ve reached the raging mouth of the Delaware, the three thousand or so soldiers that separated are nowhere to be seen. Maybe they’re cowards, or wise, and have abandoned their country with nothing in mind but their own survival.
I see another layer of earth scraped from the shore. The sand crumbling into nothing. It could sweep you away before you’ve realized you’ve left the ground. The clashing waves are reminiscent of ancient Trojan warriors colliding in battle. The sky is grey and the river looks daunting. No, the river is impossible. I no longer fear that the Hessian Mercenaries will have my scalp like the salvages. Trees erode away on the coast. They’re contorted and bowed, leaning away from the angry waters. They too fear the consequence of Nature’s temper. This river will be the death of me. As we proceed closer to the water, it fluctuates, reaching out of the rapids and threatening to swallow the battalion whole. I day-dream of our tattered bodies blue and bloated, floating down the river like the chunks of ice thrashing against jagged rock. Some claim to be able to walk across when the waters are calm, but the menacing blues allude to unknown depths. The deeper the water, the darker it appears. Hell must be an unsightly shade of black.
The first man who falls in this river won’t make it to see the last man cross. It’s the cold that we’re at war with, not the British, not the Hessians, but the whimpering heartbeat snuffed by Christmas frost. It’s unfortunate to think so, but maybe God isn’t on our side.
The boat is rickety at best. The paneling in the bottom of the dingy is warped and malformed. It seems we would have a better chance skipping across lily pads then taking our chances in these poorly constructed coffins. The current is treacherous and swallows men like the family at a thanksgiving feast. We arrive in Jersey at 3 A.m. Three hours after we were supposed to. General Washington rides up and down the lines encouraging us for battle, snot dribling down the horses nose and spit splattering our faces as he passes. If he really wanted to inspire us he’d get off of his horse and join us. He’d be bootless turning the snow shades of red with the blood from his frayed feet.
By the time we marched the nine miles from where we had crossed the Delaware (the boat crossing deviating from the intended course greatly) the sun had risen half an hour before. We couldn’t tell if the sky was pink with the rising sun, or the blood soon to come.
As we approach the Hessians we can see them in a thick haze. Many are still sleeping, leaning against the other soldiers in the snow, reeking of moonshine. The battleground is littered with low lying shrubs and rivulets from old farm fields.Strategically they were at a loss. They rested in the open. If we didn’t know better we would have thought that it was a band of drunks and bums celebrating Christ’s birth in the frigid snow. Cowering behind the few houses and their howitzers, there wasn’t much they could do.
While some lunged for their weapons, General Johann Rall screamed out to his men.The plumes of smoke emitted from the edge of each musket. It was sporadic, but with meaning like a meteor shower confused for shooting stars. I counted a total of six shots fired before we could see their white hankies tied to the end of some twigs they scrounged from their splintered cover. They were pel-mel, and destined for the end. There wasn’t much blood shed, but enough to keep the majority of the Hessians at bay. I could see one, too young for battle, wandering aimlessly around his fallen brothers. He knelt down to a Hessian, brushing the hair plastered to the Hessian’s face out of his eyes and in a moment he was shot down. He lays in the snow twitching, and moments later his corpse was still. Grown men cried for their mothers and waited for the silence of defeat. We wounded General Johann Rall and at the end of the day we suffered from few deaths. We left Trenton on our conquest with twelve hundred prisoners of war and we left the ones too wounded to walk to bear with the cold. If we only got our hands on an onslaught of red coats. We’d show them what a resistance really looks like.
Their accents were thick like cement yet to be mixed, complete with sedimentary surprises and untrained turns of phrase. Later we overheard one of the Hessians who said that Rall asked for reinforcements from General James Grant in broken English, but was rejected. The English never did think much of us, maybe now they’d take us a bit more seriously.
Someday parents will walk their children to the bus stop in hazmatt suits and borrowed oxygen tanks. It will no longer be a human right to existence. We’ll never know what privilege we have until we run it into the ground. We’ll never know how important the weeds are in the garden until the land is barren and we’re struggling for our next breath. Welcome folks we’ve reached the beginning of the end.