The waitress stopped at the coffee maker and began reloading her pot. She glanced back at his table; the mug still locked in his hand.
The setting and characters shifted. The clacking bones and whirring lenses morphed into the strange noises coming from all the people in the marketplace.
Lemuel looked down at his first tattoo, a small black lemon on his right wrist. Made from the ink of octopi and squid pulled up, boiled down and inked by the “daubers”.
Of swirling dust, giant tumbleweeds, snorting horses, distant gunshots, crying children and a woman’s embrace.
One hand fumbled for something inside a shirt. A necklace made of wooden beads all cascading down on a fishing line that ended in a lower case “t”.
Now after rain, rapids and collisions with hands and debris, the little boat was becoming heavy.
The DJ booth was right in front of me, blocking the quickest route. I turned left. Something licked my right ear. I looked.
When she felt the pressures of all that is external tightening her body, she would let the curves, slopes and speed of a ride loosen her up.
Blackout. Either way alcohol nurtures society but absolutely obliterates the individual.
We bullshit some more. The couple danced. I can never remember names. Then the girl danced alone. I was towing the line between drunk and insanity.
Okay, I’ll have to perform orally. Actually I’m more comfortable with the term verbally if that’s alright with you?
The two made their way to the bar in silence, glancing at each other every so often. He looked down at his drink and around the flashing lights and sounds. She adjusted her cap and looked around at the flashing lights and sounds.
Why should his sanity ever be in question when it swam in the same pool of saturated judgements and opinions as those who were insane and those who labeled others insane. It was all the same doggie paddle, just different ends of the pool.
“If I had to guess, you have about 10 to 15 minutes of living left to do. That’s a gift in my book, not many people are given the satisfaction of knowing how much time they have before, well you know.”
The rain drops on the window made all the head lights look like shooting stars passing him. No one was walking the streets. Homeless were huddled at bus shelters, doorways and underneath shop overhangs.
He stood, stage right, peeking out of the curtain, watching them. Some opened the programs, others sipped drinks and in the balcony, a few focused their binoculars. They were nearly ready.
She would have rather lived 3-5 short years with a convict, running from the law, staying in cheap hotels with single digits in their names than to sit in luxuries lap, just waiting for something to move.
I started walking down the street. There were luxury shops I had seen in downtown’s across the U.S. and Europe. There were street vendors selling the things I had seen about this place on television and movies. I got the sense that they had set up shop for all the backpack carrying people who needed sunscreen applied every 2 hours.
Never mind, he thought, fuck this banquet. My friend is always celebrating stupid shit and rubbing in every little hickey he gets from lovers or extra chicken McNugget he gets from McDonald’s to all the people he knows. Fuck him.
A cube of marble with arms, a chest, stomach, legs and feet with none of the ripples and bumps of a completed piece. He was a block.
It’s not a question of purpose. To treat purpose like some treasure to be found with or without a map is to take away ones own intrinsic value. I believe, for me, it is a matter of finding what is next. What will be. What may be, if I simply try.
Everything was imagined from mythical beasts to majestic feasts. Yet he could not conjure her, even in his own memory. She would not appear in his imagined world.
I put her clothes from the hospital in the hamper and sat on the bed. What were all those forms I needed to fill out? What were those phone numbers I had to call? Why did I put her clothes in the hamper?
“Turn, bend over, spread your cheeks and cough.” He paused and looked at the other freshly imprisoned men complying. His clothes black with a strip of white, wadded up on the floor behind him.
I knew she was just extending a guilty hand. I looked around the yard and spotted chains and a lock on the lids of their trash cans.
I was terrified to breathe. What I had considered a burbling brook a few minutes ago seemed now like a turbulent vortex. It started to rain.
“PANCAKES! Pillow-y spheres dripping with melted butter and sweet maple syrup. What do you think of that.” The private looked up at the sky, as if the clouds would fall down onto a plate and the heavens would rain down syrup.
Milton scratched his nose, perhaps it was the waft of fecal matter, like the sudden chill of a ghost passing through the living, or perhaps he was reminding himself that he thought too much.
Then some priest was like, I’ll pray about it. For all we know he’s still doing that.
The sensation was of wallflowers. Becoming a part of the scenery, the background, a decoration that’s been hanging for so long it’s lost all meaning. A ghost viewing life but not able to live. She leaned back, her mouth open, her eyes only slits. The needle stayed in her vein.
When she closed the glass door of the lighthouse, for a moment, there was only silence. Silence and the spinning light.
I flagged down the waiter for another Sangria and sat, trying to figure it out. All this raw emotion and rush of feelings but I was alone. In younger days it was easier to identify my feelings. This is happiness. This is regret. This is anger. As I grew older, the feelings tied themselves to memories and experiences, making it harder to untangle one emotion from another.
She drove, her hands ten and two, no radio, stopping at every light, keeping two car lengths between the vehicles in front. Textbook safe driving. We pulled up to a bakery and she said, “get out.”
I took a long pull from the cigarette. With no filter, the smoke punched a hacking cough out of my lungs. I choked it down to hear the rest of Father Ibsen’s sermon.
We had talked about shutting off the world many times and he was a few days and a couple details away from freedom. Tracking time in cigarettes and answering only to his bodily functions.
He looked up at the faces of the other guests. Nodding, smiling, winking, head-tilting, lip-biting, red cup sipping, arm touching, eye fluttering, eye fucking, and jealousy. Bob noticed it all in those faces. He took a deep breath and downed the rest of his drink. What was he doing there?
Something like thirty cubicles span the space between me and this RJ character, so why is he unloading his life on me? His badge! I can glance at the name on his employee badge. I look down at the usual badge holding locations. Shirt pocket. Damn. Belt loop. Shit.
I walked in the front entrance of the institution where crazy lived. Outside crazy was called normal. Inside it smelled like rubbing alcohol. In the waiting room, everyone’s hair was shiny and thick. The bags under their red eyes reminded me of how I felt every morning.
Sykes thought about this face being cleaned up. The Diener picking out teeth, shards of glass, and chunks of carrot from the skull turned bowl now holding onto the pulp of the man’s features.
Today is Easter Sunday. I won’t survive, however, if I can’t do this high or a little drunk. One of the two days out of the year in which the church is full. A fact about the faith so laughable I find I cry myself to sleep at the thought.
Though she didn’t move, Sara knew her colleagues were beginning to stand up in their cubicles, like Meerkats on the plain, suddenly aware of the threat of danger.
Sometimes I already know what the message is by looking at the phone number. I know what they want, how much they want, where I should meet them and what time I need to meet them.
“Hair! You’ve lost 37,564 hairs from the top of your head BUT you gained 63 hairs in and around your left ear and 59 hairs in and around your right. You had an increase in your nose hairs, both in number of individual follicles as well as girth of each hair.”
Above his head he held the words which were meant to give his life purpose, the words he was meant to obey.
The man pulled a Mason jar full of water from below the counter and took a swig. His eyes bulged, his cheeks flushed red and he let out a puff of smoke before replying, “well, if you are camping alone, I recommend a pup tent.”
Suddenly my being floated and my world of black exploded into a million pieces of light and color. I floated, my lungs burning. My eyes squeezed tight but the light still stabbing through.
Peter had seen something on TV where a guy used one magnet to move around another magnet that was on the other side of a wall. That feeling of nostalgia was like that, a pulling of something that felt familiar but wasn’t seen.
After the golf session, about 15 minutes of screeching tires, broken glass and honking cars, he drove down to the nicest restaurant in town.
We passed a display with all sorts of symbols. The Christian cross was pointed out as another symbol of irony; a torture device used by the Roman Empire became the symbol of a supposedly peaceful belief system.
I heard people talk about the hippy octogenarian. They say things like “It’s easy to be peaceful when you never try to do anything” or “You don’t get peace without war.”