Category Archives: short story

X-Mas + Fever = bad writing and a lot of it

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Why do you hate everyone when your sick? It could be that you’re simply jealous of their health. Or maybe it’s their unsympathetic possessiveness of your symptoms and solutions to such. You often hear of another’s plight under the same ailment, only how much worse it was or is going to get. There’s also the blatant fact that your life has been suspended with the accoutre ma of discomfort. It’s a whirl wind of social aggregates that you’re unprepared to reckon with.

I began feeling like shit Sunday afternoon while on the way up to the local mountains with my family. It’d been a chaotic past two weeks of rallying and the holidays first familial obligation woke me up in the form of a text while I was face down on Robby’s couch (for the second night in a row). “Mom and Dad want you home soon so we can go shoot bow and arrows.” My sister always mitigates these things, for better or for worse, and my time had come. I arose with heavy head, poured out the empties, and pushed the furniture around a bit. En route I smoked my second to last cigarette. We quarreled then laughed, deciding exercise and long drives weren’t in order. So Blue Jay it would be. From home we drove 30 miles of the way to realize we couldn’t make it there on our tank. Reverse, drive, faster. On the road again with flaming hot Cheetos and Arnold Palmer in hand. This is where nausea sets in. The windy roads with the obtuseness of family sunk me deep into my seat as I awaited release into the woods. Once there we ate, drank, and walked. I smoked one last cigarette with jess on a bald lookout. All of it was emotional and some of it even torturous. I visited good old Frank Cruze’s memorial placard up a hill with my sister and mother puffing behind me. I always wondered what kind of man he was to deserve such immortalization. On our way back to the car I picked some sage for some smudges, and it’d be the last time I felt normal enough. A pain developed in my ear as my right tonsil swelled up. A fever took hold and the aches of any sickness followed suit. It was a barrage, a good old fashioned blitz krieg of body against pompous mind. Once home I wobbled my way up the stairs, burrito’ed myself in three blankets and sulked until morning.

It eventually came but first I must tell you of the night. I watched a movie on Netflix titled IP Man which dealt with honorable Chinese resistance amidst the Japanese invasion of WWII + shit tons of unrealistic kung fu. It kinda sucked and subtitles were a bad choice. In any case, I attempted to sleep off what I hoped was a one night fever to find myself immersed in a full blown, waking hallucination. It primarily dealt with how pant production plummeted in wartime and how a man in need of good pants was at a loss on either side of the conflict. What the fuck, right? I wake up in cold sweats to midday sun and beckon my sister to make an appointment with the doctor. I’ve also come to find that my sister’s anti-consumer secret santa plan has crashed and burned. This leaves me literally no time to remedy my scroogness and I am still having trouble eating anything. To top off the less than 20 hour debacle another symptom occurs: bright red, elevated, and circular rashes have formed on my right bicep. Im still in pain, I have but one present, cant swallow without cringing, and now think I have the plague.

Kaiser gets me in, pokes around for 2 minutes, and after 35 minutes of waiting the doctor re-enters to tell me the test was positive for strep throat with the red dots potentially being a sign of rheumatic fever, and that my heart could be at risk if I don’t feel better in three days. Get pills, go home, burrito.

I write this on Christmas night, the third day of the amoxicillin. Right tonsil has shrunk but the left has porked up. I just took a bath and saw light/color traces of everything that I moved (imagine me naked as a baby waving three fingers in front of my face). My four best friends from high school are getting drunk and avoiding contact to my disease. My sister is driving the shit out of my car, no doubt the pay off for nursing me the last four days. My parents asleep and brother with his new family. And I cant even smoke cigarettes. Boy does this suck.

I hated Christmas long before this one. It’s a consumerist, material frenzy painted in hypocritical religious meaning that only further disperses the feuding classes against one another. It’s inaccurate in its claim, creates obligations people dread, and is set in a context of universality that is incongruous with most of the world. It propels poverty, miserable conditions across all modes of production, and sweeps such suffering under the rugs of nation’s who know not what X-Mas is. Despite it all, it’s a time for family, friendship, and comradeship. And although I’m stuck at home, sweating, writing a hate piece on my current condition and perspective of the world I recognize this. So merry Christmas. Enjoy the time with your loved ones. You don’t know how much you’ll miss them until you get strep throat. 🙂

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road-head

Lighting his cigarette, the man rolled down his window letting the vacuous night  fill the cab. Swerving minutely, the vehicle’s jerk reminded him he was drunk. It also broke his reveled, yet tangential thoughts of things came and gone. Following the white and yellow lines without much involvement, the road’s past busied his mind. The pavement rolled over mounds to big to want to move as incandescent light pocketed portions of the adjacent sidewalk. The truck’s movement was determined by this crust of civil society. Road and vehicle bound together by purpose with all the infrastructure in place: wires, sewage, and pipes placed methodically to service the people’s more banal bodily functions. And despite his need to adhere to it’s qualities, as it could easily destroy him, he knew the road was not invincible. In fact, it was likely younger than he with an awkwardly simple composition. Rock, sand, tar, and water mashed together to make his and many other’s way home. Some guy, it didn’t matter who, put these few things together for the benefit of his self righteous epiphany of need, society, and matter. The shame would come from his annoyance at losing the buzzed idea to fear of harm. It was his pussy footed character to claim such insight and loose it once faced with his more banal emotions. He was incapable of connecting these ideas with the arrogant entitlement of the modern driver. Such irony would, of course, be left to someone who thought the ordeal beautiful and, consequently, noteworthy. The story, truly told, depicted a time where things were separated; man and earth, beginning and end, action and thought.
With the cigarette snubbed out amongst those of the past, the window went up taking with it the last few shreds of smoke that lingered. Now both hands on the wheel and mind off the road, he put his attention to getting home without the risk of spacing off. Calculating how he might appear to a cop, he sat up and managed the pedals with the grace of a composer. Complete stops, blinkers blinking, he now maneuvered the road as if it didn’t have a past. It’s function was bare and boring in comparison to his goal or life for that matter. It’s strange existence, temporal and implicative, was replaced by his own. In this way, the road was used anew. With an altered import, it fell in line with the tactile world of things immediately observable. Serving the masses humbly, the road had to await it’s eventual replacement not knowing if it would again be looked upon with true admiration. It sadly endured it’s even more melancholy commuters.
He pulled up in front of his house and released a sigh of anxiety riddled relief. Having completed his tumultuous journey of intoxicated reactions, he hurriedly gathered his things, stepped out onto the street, walked up his driveway, and lastly, locked the doors with his keychain. The truck gave out two unfitting chirps and fell silent save for the cooling crackles of the engine. The road and truck, left as separate devices, also relaxed and enjoyed the company of one another. At least until the morning, the two could remain outside their creators realm of rage and reason.

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the harmless ode (not really)

Harmonized, the three began to climb the notes of their song. The choreography of the woods was their inspiration as they themselves went round. Ever faster, the three went on and up, high but with lows. A gesture designed to show. They were there not to perform, instead, to partake. Absorption conceded, they had tired of keystrokes and loaded questions poised by greed. It was the worlds turn to say something and theirs to respond. And so their irresistible dimples remained as inspirational shivers translated into movement in their arms and legs. They were able to forget the two toned dichotomy that argues with itself in more sane moments. Although not free, they at least had each other to forget that with. It was an homage to their absence, a time before themselves. And they were proud they could, for if not, sadness would truly be their creation.

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Untitled 1, Pt.1

He followed his finger on the map until the line that was keyed a river met it’s maker; an apparent lake. It not being a very detailed map, the phrase adopted a haunting juxtaposition which alluded to his own ambiguity. In any case, he knew it was where he should go. The lake was roughly fifteen miles from the river that lay at least a mile ahead and was only recognizable as such by it’s surrounding foliage. He folded the visitor’s guide into a small rectangle and secured it under his Velcro’d chest pocket. Down the slope he slid, uncontrolled but direct ,with an occasional boulder that only heightened his enthusiasm. With this reference point, his salvation needn’t be reserved for Him. The rekindled optimism far exceeded prior moments he once considered unique or meaningful. It was an instance in which the primacy of biological function ruled. The extremities and eyes clumsily co-operated, yearning to moisten the now mummified throat. As the sun sat, crimson streaks of clouds aligned his path. One that he would have thought ordained if it’s end point hadn’t the promise of much needed sustenance. The land, heavens, and people lost inside or out held only practical connection. Ends and means. As he drew closer, though, his heart sank further into his now corseted abdomen. A closer look revealed not an oasis, but a graveyard. Thirty foot trees loomed with their charred and grey fingers stretched in every direction. Below, unwelcoming brambles competed for nothing as their condition was no better than the trees’. Using his scathed hands he ripped his way through, discovering not a river, stream or creek. Rather, he stood above a churned road of muck that exhibited the traces of like searches. Weakened, he collapsed, knees first, into the mud and mindlessly began to dig. On all fours, he became immersed in the thick black substance. It engulfed him and he accepted its embrace. As far as he was then concerned, it would have made a suitable place to decompose. Sinking lugubriously his body suddenly met their mutual composer, the cold liquid of life. Once again rattled by necessity, he reformed his posture. Taken aback, he looked down to see water seeping up through his own outline. Under the barley moon, light began to reflect on his now producing well.

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something broken inbetween

“you don’t get me! YOU JUST DON’T GET ME!” she exhaled with scorn. “you never have and you never will. your own fucked view of the world prevents you from acknowledging me, truly seeing who I am and how unhappy I’ve been! ohhhh, aaaw aw aw you piece of shit…”, gasping for more air to refill her contempt, “I have tried and tried with you, I wanted us to work more than i wanted happiness for myself!”. He knew at this point that he had lost her, that no amount of his usual indignation coupled with self-pity could console her. He’d seen her break down before, but never completely sever from their designated zone behavioral recognition. out of  nausea and sand paper throat she gurgled up her goodbye, “please leave me, please never talk to me again”. her chest was heaving so heavily it was impossible to notice the anxious shaking her body had involuntarily adopted. the floodgates had been cracked for sometime now as black veins of liquid pain formed a collar on her favorite shirt of his. there was nothing he could do as he’d already done too much. In a state of lucid self-reflection, he contemplated the force of emotion that had just engulfed him. He was force-fed the verified accusations of self which really only she could have done. But before he could even swallow, the catalyst of catharsis had already forged it’s path straight through his usual defense mechanisms. blind sided by what had always been right in front of him, a solemn sense of responsibility grew in his gut. unlike tactile pain, this emotion spread like a morning stretch but with the lingered itch of a scabbing knee scrap. bewildered and left with nothing much else to do, he mustered strength enough to stumble backwards towards the door. If given enough time to contemplate the action, he’d wonder if it was more difficult looking back onto her or turning around to the open the door. of course he did not cry, but he knew as well as she that he had long ago forfeited such outward displays “weakness”. Again, given the time, he might have tried.

After he peacefully closed the door behind him, she collapsed into a feverish curled ball of utter melancholy. her cries could have reached the end of voids or swayed the outcomes of war. but her remorse was love. that bitch of a word, the false prophecy of escape and solace. she wasn’t one to expunge her emotions through physicality, to trade feelings for the things. In truth, they were all she had ownership of. left alone with them, it would be a years before she’d stand again. despite her miniscule role in the world, their relationship inverted suddenly, leaving her the foundation on which it balanced.

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till death do us in

everything was perfect. grains of sand stacked vertically and chosen to match the curtains. the lines of the night had been rehearsed  two weeks prior and the guest list, OH the guest list! people from elsewhere and those inescapably known everywhere. charm was swirling with the buzz of this perfection. the aura of post sex fatigue without the sweat.  thinking became a debilitation, a deviation from the plan, tweaking the order. the alter designed to challenge any claims of creation. it seemed that for the first time money had bought everything. the Rube Goldberg of their lives to be seemed extravagant enough to solidify their vows of rehearsed rubber.  unbeknownst was the utter anguish that would one day become their oxygen. it wouldn’t matter that this day was constructed as a blueprint for their happiness. It wouldn’t matter that their toil dwelled apart from economic struggle or self-lack-of-confidence. their foil would be much less empathetic. quite contrarily, it would instigate sardonic pleasure in the lives of people who only ever dreamed of their chance. the congratulations were bounded inherently to their inevitable withdraw and replacement. but a veil was certainly in place and going back was teenage angst not appropriate for their grown up universe.

the existential stop

He was stuck in between what he was told to do and that which he wanted but did not know how to do. He was never taught. Sex often dominated such ideas, but it was not their core. If he didn’t know it before, he certainly knew immediately after. Lying in silence; exhausted not from action but from the fear of the temporary, fear of the idea of mortality and all it’s inevitability. Wonder swept over him often as did this fear. It was in such times that he believed himself to be normal, capable of life in the same way as the characters he revered in movies. But when the fear kicked in, fantasies of love or any of it’s abstract variant’s became idiotic and wasteful. He knew not what to devote himself to as the only devotion he’d ever witnessed seemed either forced or fake. Life was fleeting him while he partook in its splendor. No doubt existed that all would be ok, but that wasn’t the issue. Rather, what role was he to play? How did he currently, and how could he prospectively fit into things more snug? Was it all chance or was he following the invisible tracks of destiny that would admittedly propel him into the abyss of decay and regrowth? His mind swarmed with the potentials while his body withered in reaching for these unknowns. Being honest with himself, he took pleasure in the universal confusion that plagued his species. If he was alone in his endevours, he would not have made it past puberty. Alas, he did. Plowing through his saturated culture’s expectations and the hormones and the chemicals, foreign or otherwise, that composed his body, he could assure himself that he would not keel over just yet. In is hands was power that need merely be applied. To what, he’d ask? And why? Why not just keel over? The wall that seemed so distant while he occupied his mind with the trivial grew like bamboo as soon as he stopped to think. Perhaps that’s what he did to much of. Think. What if he could go on as he usually did but eliminate this debilitating “thinking”. what good did it serve any how? A new star found, the same phone remade, a motif discovered. All bull shit in his not-so-reality. Clutching his bag of crap, he stepped off the clammy bus into the rain. Its miniscule droplets slowly accumulated first on his eyebrows, but then on his entire face. He did not move. The grey elegance that enshrouded him brought him peace, even if it was just temporary. Then it struck him in the same way that the rain had quickly glazed him over. While all together, in the theoretical one, he was a segment who was segmented and so on. Pieces that changed and evolved. Time that slowed and quickened without his say. Everything he could bring to the forefront of his mind resembled this….pattern. It was the temporary. This dawning revelation was indeed simple. In fact, it still did not aid the hardship of existence. But at the very least, there was constance. His search for the dependable was not over, but he did realize its converse. He took his first step. Then another. He became feverish for control, but addicted to this newly condoned chaos that could not be denied. His steps quickened. He had no obligations: no work, no school, no girl to console. He was floating, yet he was anchored to the ground by this thing called gravity. Another constant! Why was so much inescapable, yet so much unexplainable? His frustration grew and he began to trot. The rain fell harder and colder. The faster he went, the more he felt himself free of the laws which he’d never agreed to. Past store fronts, the homeless, and moving cars. He was going nowhere and, to an onlooker, did not care. But he did care. In all probability, he cared to much, for where he wanted to go he could not. No vehicle that challenged the mobility of man could even take him there. It was outside the possible, and probably reasonable. It was likely a place of complete silence and unforgiving cold, a place that one could live or die without opinion. And off he went into the pouring rain, inhibitionless and starved of answers, burdened with the anxiety he had self created. It was all he could do

IT Was Absent

It was an average day and to be expected. Unspeakable sags loomed beneath his eyelids while the brain simply protested its position amongst its grossly alcohol ridden fuel. This was normal. The feeling of worthlessness wasn’t ever mentioned as it was assumed. Each day’s routine bore on to the next; it was an average life. The weekends were generally the worst, and with it being a Thursday, it was as if the worst had already come. Exposed to the elements of the cruel human world, Jacob Cunningham slouched from his bed to his dresser, forced to clothe himself for yet another relentless period of life. He didn’t consciously dwell in a place of misery, but he also didn’t consciously make the world around him to be just that. He didn’t complain and lived comfortably according to economic standards, but something was absent. And unfortunately for him, that something might as well have been nothing. It festered until it could rot no more, then it was rejuvenated by the oddest occurrences in Jacobs life. And it was ambiguous and vigilant. Each time he woke, it was there. Waiting for him like a loyal companion, it couldn’t be abandoned negligently. There was a proper way to find where it came from, but Jacob never once questioned it’s authenticity. So he lived for quite sometime with it, almost like an unwanted appendage.
Thursday’s were  meeting days. This meant that a bunch of hopeless saps had prepared mundane and apparent  presentations in order to give their positions a feeling of use. He worked at the corporate office that managed production of the fragrant disks one finds at the bottom of a urinal. “I’ve got a piss job” he’d say to acquaintances when he had an urge to be funny. He found his way to such an occupation via a small circuit of connections that had stemmed from his passionate college years. With a focus on waste management, Jacob had spent four years of his life learning about environmental degradation and how to coax women to his dorm room. Often he’d look back to reiterate to himself that those were the good times. His professional position marked the degradation of himself. Maybe he thought that was it, but it wasn’t it. Although his job had dampened what used to be, change and age was inevitable, and he knew this all to well.
And so the day rolled onwards without looking forward. Upon his arrival at work, Jacob received a large bundle wrapped in brown paper, tied delicately with a rough string. Inside were numerous pink pellets with a sloppy note that read “new prototypes, review and select two. On desk by 3.” It had been left by his superior who was supposed to be in that day. But he was the man under the man, who was under thee man. So he did have authority. His choice would dictate the odor of countless restrooms in the tri-county area for months, maybe even a year. He looked forward to seeing his decision at his local watering hole, his favorite Chinese food place, and the DMV. He was often at the DMV as he had received a DUI 7 months prior. Although not being able to drive forced Jacob to use the overcrowded public transit, this still was not even part of it. He knew that it was inevitable. Drinking was apart of his life along with driving. The two were not to be voluntarily separated which left his license at the mercy of luck. The outcome of such a concoction was almost anticipated. So Jacob took the better part of an hour to smell the deodorizers and select the finest of the batch. And in this he took pride.
His boss returned around four thirty in his golf attire to tie off a few ends before the dreary day came to a pause. Jacob, ousted from his day dream, was called into the corner office with authority.

Boss: how are things Jacob?
Jacob: average. (in a dull tone)
Boss: you know this company requires attentive personnel, don’t you?
Jacob: of coarse….
Boss: what did you think of those samples?
Jacob: they’re good, I think they’ll work well
Boss: well those samples I sent to you were a test…
Jacob: a test for what?
Boss: we’re evaluating the work force for keepers
Jacob: keepers?
Boss: yes. we’re overhauling some management positions and there so happens to be a slot
Jacob: hmm, well how did I do?
Boss: do on what?
Jacob: the test..
Boss: oh yes, well you passed. But there’s more to it than just that… Where do you see yourself in a year?

There was a silence. Jacob hadn’t given any thought to such a question. He was in, and assumed he’d crawl up the ladder as it presented itself. Raising his attention from the floor, without inclination, he shyly responded,

Jacob: I figured I’d see where this took me
Boss: so you’d planned on sticking with Sane-Itation Co. for a while to come?
Jacob: yes, I had wanted to
Boss: well your in luck, we’d like you to become the new Quality Advisor on the board
Jacob: (with a raised forehead) oh….. well thank you for the opportunity
Boss: now there is no pay raise yet and your desk remains as is, but this is the first step towards upper management
Jacob: oh, well what exactly do I do?
Boss: well you get to attend committee meetings and oversee quality inspection. Listen, we’ll talk more tomorrow, I’ve got to go, but you come up with some ideas on how you want to rejuvenate your sector
Jacob: my sector? Does anybody work bellow me?
Boss: not as of now, but you are your own sector. Get creative, your almost like your own boss now
Jacob: ok, ill do my best

Jacob hadn’t thought to ask if his pellet selection would stick and was saddened when he thought of its improbability. His hands stank of the sweet musk of the pellets, sort of a candied smell. The thought of this smell lingered on his mind as he took the bus back home. He thought to himself “would this be the normal smell of things from here on out?” After all, he was charged with quality and his business was this smell. Wondering why he’d received the superficial promotion while unlocking his door, the land line rang crudely within his apartment. He quickened his actions as not to let it revert to voicemail, but it was to late.

Friend: Hey man, we’re going to Messy for a few drinks and to watch the game. Be there.

This was usual. Right when he was released from his labors he was allotted new ones. Knowing his schedule, his “friends” would call him, with precision, as he entered his abode. He knew that he would go, but resented himself for it. Tired, he slumped before the television for a while before stirring to his feet once again. Although he didn’t rightly like himself all that much, he was sure he disliked his bar mates even more. Gluttonous, selfish, rude, and ignorant, they all drank their conditions into oblivion. This was routine, and it was still not it. Jacob had a quench that wasn’t satiable with beer. He thought of sharing his promotion with his fellow burn outs, but he knew it was meaningless and that they wouldn’t give a shit anyways. He sat with both hands on a sweating glass wondering when his life had become so drab.
Jacob wasn’t the sort for depression, but an on looker would conclude so. He would let gravity pull his body towards the earth without ever letting it topple him over. He was merely dissatisfied with what his life could be from here on out, how it had taken form. In a job that he would of laughed at ten years earlier, without intimacy, he was lonely. While this might have been part of it, lack of company still was not it.
He got home that night in an agitated drunk. He told himself that change was needed and needed encouragement. It must take on permanency as well. If he could just find a new job, or move somewhere new, he told himself, he would be alright. He would wake in the morning and commit with confidence these self-modifications. When morning did remind him of his promises, he brushed them off as irrationality, damning his self induced headache. On the way to work the rain clogged traffic, causing tardiness. He damned this too. In fact, it was one of those familiar days where he damned it all. And this was it.
What would remain unbeknownst to Jacob was exactly that which could not be shown to him. It was appreciation: for the big and small, beautiful and ugly. Life was a straightforward ordeal for him. He thought in terms of societal demands, playing his insignificant role, and wanted more than the equation offered. He had a grudge towards what he expected and never got. The world turned out to suck, but it was the sole world at hand. It was inescapable and untenable. He would want to cry if he hadn’t thought of emotion as weakness. Instead, he trudged through the days without pleasure. He was a slave, chained to monotony with the key in his hand. It was as simple as thinking outside of his direct cause and effect. All wasn’t right, nor did it have to be. Jacob was lost  where he didn’t need a map.
Mr. Cunningham would eventually climb his ladder, father two kids disconnectedly, and die in twenty some odd years an unhappy example of a human. It was an average life with an average outcome. It remained for the taking and still does.