About a year ago I found myself suddenly plagued with words. These words would collect in my head, then swim around a bit only to pair up with other words. Then they formed alliances, stringing themselves together into sentences. Once they had amassed enough words, they would knock upon my skull and demand to be set free.
The stories that emerged were not planned or structured and they would rarely take more than 10 minutes to write. So, I call them 'stories', but they are probably closer related to ideas - a work in progress, if you will. For now, I'm going to share them here and some day, I really will work on them...I swear!!!
“What happens if open it up?” She asked.
The World unfolds and the Universe floods in, It replied.
Will it hurt? She said.
Only for a moment.
If it frightens me, can I return to normal? She said indecisively.
Never, it said.
She pondered for a moment then she opened her mind, unchained her imagination and set it free.
The beast was out there, she could sense it prowling the halls, the need to feed driving it toward her. She couldn’t stay lockup forever - there was no food in the tiny bathroom, just water from the sink to sustain her. She’d have to face it sooner or later. One last look in the mirror, two thumbs up and a wink, she could do this. Steeling herself for yet another days battle she opened the door and stepped into the hall, “Mommy’s coming sweetheart!”
Passion did not like Complacency; she thought he was sullen and lazy. Where is his desire, ambition and plain old giddy-up and go? No, she did not like Complacency at all.
Complacency pitied Passion; so fickle and apt to burn white hot only to end up in ashes. Where is her appreciation for the moment, her contentment and plain old satisfaction in simplicity? No, Passion was too volatile for him. Compromise just shook Its head. Tsk, Tsk you two - Where is your harmony, compassion and plain old unity through understanding? Passion and Complacency decided that perhaps it was time to begin the search.
The court order was quite clear, it didn’t belong to her and she needed to return it as quickly as possible. When she gave in to those fleeting moments of reality she knew they were right, the Moon wasn’t hers to keep. Besides, it took up way too much room in the back yard. It sure was pretty though and when she left her bedroom blinds open it made an excellent nightlight.
She didn’t understand how this was possible. She was NOT a believer in supernatural superstition, not one little iota. But there IT was, staring right back at her. When She first saw it she let out a little scream, but sensing that this entity wasn’t an intruder standing behind her, she became thoroughly perplexed. Was this the childhood chant coming back to haunt her? If so, She would start a huge internet campaign to warn children never to invoke the name of Bloody Mary in the bathroom mirror EVER again. She took a step back, ready to bolt from the room and stepped on the empty cardboard light bulb containers the workman left behind after he installed the new light-bar. She now had 4 light bulbs instead of 1. Reality slowly started to sink in. “Damn” was all She could say to her reflection.
She was sorry, really She was. Allergies are just not something you suspect a pet to have. And really, her neighbors should have warned her. I mean, why would they get a little yappy dog like that and NOT tell her? You can’t just let a critter like that roam around the yard when you have Fluffy living next door. And honestly, they really should have replaced that shake shingle roof A LONG time ago. They are such fire hazards. Well, hindsight is 20/20. But, at least now I know about Fluffy’s allergy to Pekingese dogs (ugh, all that hair took a week for Fluffy to cough up). Being the owner of a pet dragon has its challenges, but at least I got Fluffy’s sneezing under control now.
There was no way she could ever tell him where the money really came from, he just wouldn’t understand. She adored how he thought royalties from writing children’s books paid for the fancy car and European vacations. She thought it would crush him if he really knew. But what she really feared was it NOT crushing him. What scared her most was that he would think she really wanted to do those things that she wrote about and submitted to the production company in the San Fernando Valley. That was a Pandora’s box best left closed. No, she was not like the women she wrote scenes for. Not that she didn’t dabble in college…and maybe a little after college. She was no hypocrite. She was happy with her settled life and being able to live vicariously through her imagination; her million dollar imagination. She couldn’t make that sort of bank writing about talking bunnies and bears. Besides, she made far more writing then than she ever did acting in them. Yes, that’s another thing he probably wouldn’t understand.
A series of dashes is all that divides you from them. It is taken for granted that the journey from point A to point B will be a success. But really, when you look at the big picture – they are just broken lines telling you to stay on your side. A Rebel ignores them in pursuit of beating the clock. The Rule-Follower hugs them, revering their implied power. Failure to heed a figurative wall can mean disaster, but climbing that wall (when relatively safe of course) brings a rush of power; you’ve overtaken the weak and have become the head of the dragon. Wield that power with arrogance and you lead nothing but wreckage. Wield that power with abandon and you become an unimpeded soloist with no plan but to move toward whatever comes next.
The destruction of the human race was an unexpected perk. She looked out through the heavily leaded glass upon the silent streets, observing that only the mechanical citizenry remained. She never was one for the chattiness of friends, it always seems so claustrophobic, so she was pretty sure she wasn’t going to miss the rest of humanity. Cyborgs were much easier to get along with, most of them didn’t even talk back and those that did only spoke to confirm a command. She could be happy living like this; the last survivor. What she wasn’t sure of is exactly how she got inside the lab. She knew of the war, in fact she knew many things…really just bits and pieces like fragments of a memory. She knew that men had postulated and puffed out their chests and cried chants of war for some perceived wrongdoing to their country. Like a virus the arrogance of their own superiority spread through the planet, every country seething with hate and lusting for power. She just assumed she’d been injured in the mêlée when it all came to a head and they wiped each other off the planet. It perplexed her as to why she was spared. Was the room insulated somehow? She assumed it must have been, because the sign on the door said: Cyborg Experimentation Lab – Level 5 Security Access. The drawings on the wall depicted a remarkably human looking cyborg. There was something about a specialized brain, but much of the words were foreign to her. Hadn’t she heard rumor of an experimental program to create the first free thinking robot? What a ridiculous notion, a robotic cyborg who thinks as humans do. She’d love to ask someone about it and them explain what had happened to her, explain why she was in this lab, why she’d been on the exam table and why she could only recall misty segments of her immediate past. And lastly, she really wanted to know why these people had used her as a model for their cyborg prototype. It was extremely disconcerting having your very own image staring back at you from a large scale drawing. Being the last human on Earth might not be so fun after all. Perhaps it was time to leave and find some answers. She never noticed the sticker that fell from her back as she left the room, the one that read: Eve5 – Inspection Passed Ready for Production.
A Mother's Love
“Because I love you more than I love waking up each morning to draw another breath. Because I love you more than the air that enables me to breathe and the water and the food. More than whatever medical miracles will sustain me in my old age, so that I may go on loving you. More than the happiness I crave, the joy I hold dear and the memories I keep that will some day fade.”
“Because I love you,” was her reply again.
It was then that they both knew they’d make it though the teenage years. So, when Little She asks the question again, “Everyone else gets to do it! Why are you truing to ruin my life?” ….she’ll already have the answer.
“This is what I do everyday, because this is how it goes – it must be done this way to keep it at bay, keep it controlled”. Over and over she chanted, letting the words slam against her brain like the relentless waves Tsunamis’ sic upon the shore. Those other thoughts were not allowed to take hold. No, She kept them under lock and key; fierce avoidance was her motto. But twice, in the blink of a week, the Daring Ruminations showed up unannounced – without so much as a cataclysmic event to bring them about. This morning, as in every morning past, She carries her coffee cup to the contemplation window. Some mornings She watches the people pass by, casually wondering the Who, What and Why of their lives. These were not the troublemaker thoughts. Other mornings involved gazing at the flowers and things that crawl and what She should do about the patio that has given up any pretense of being habitable by anything other than creepy crawlies. It was the Ghost Thoughts that were so devastating; more vicious than being bombarded by PMS in the middle of Baskin-Robbins. Ghost Thoughts were those movements you see out of the corner of your eye, but disappear whenever you turn your head. They don’t play hide and seek well, they want you to work for it; “open yourself up and we’ll come out of hiding” they whisper in your ear. But she refuses to open. Bad things happen when you let ideas take hold; things like expectations, risks that crucify confidence and funeral pyres that consume esteem. What a nuisance these thoughts could be. No, she’s going to make them go away. She’s going to refuse to contemplate what she ‘should’ do. She’s going to refuse to participate in the world, no use in contemplating what ‘could’ be. It only leads to inflated hopes that turn to vapor. Who needs that kind of grief? It is far better to disengage, sink into the comfort of the status quo, leave no ripples in the surface as she takes her last breath and sinks into the abyss. It is as it should be, as is expected when one fails to seize the opportunities of youth. She brushes at her forehead with soft feathery strokes as if She can just sweep the thoughts away. The touching of her own skin jars her from her cocoon and she takes a sip of her empty cup while watching the rain fall. She’ll be back here again tomorrow, perhaps then she will be able to put those Ghost Thoughts to rest, make them see the light. Or, is I the other way around? Maybe she needs another cup of coffee.
She drank in his kool-aid, every drop. She tattooed his doctrine onto her brain and lived among his words, breathing in their power. She sometimes felt bad for eavesdropping in on his cell calls, but he was so magnetic she couldn’t help it. She’d dwell with him in Hell if he asked her too. She’d request the extra hot section and order fiery glasses of conviction and sweat prettily for him. All for him, she loved him that much - and told him so every day, over and over in her head she screamed “I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU.” Every day she waited for a sign that he received her psychic signal, but he would simply smile as she handed him the coffee, muttering a distracted “Thanks” before he turned to leave her – again. Oh, what a coy little ploy he was working; drawing her in by his subtleties. She knew he noticed her and was equally sure he was just too shy to say anything or make the first move. It’s a good thing she’s the type of woman who isn’t afraid to take charge. The hardest part had been following him home unnoticed, but she was an expert now after all the others. She had plenty of experience with men like him, so fickle with their affections they were. She ran through the check-list in her head: zip ties, duct tape, chloroform - wow, that stuff was hard to get…people are so suspiciously judgmental. Yes, it was time to kick it up a notch and break him out of his coy shyness – it was time he stopped playing hard to get. Until later, my love, she sang under her breath as she prepared the next customers order – tonight you are mine.
We realize how far we can go when we hit the wall, or fall off the edge. Some of us anticipate and never launch. Some of us launch and grow weary of the journey. Some of us know that the barricade and precipice are imaginary and wander on, blissfully unaware of the option to stop believing. .