A Palliative

At this point, I don’t know what it’ll take. Do I need a new computer? Should I give the typewriter another go? Handwriting has its merits, but God knows I don’t have the patience. And then there’s this thing—a netbook. I’m staring deadpan at you right now. The words this thing conjures up are saturnine, they ain’t mine. Not to say I don’t have a certain muted punch to my offerings, just that my own irascible writings are much different from the Sturm und Drang that drip, drip, drip out in these Google documents.

What the fuck are you talking about?

Somebody needs to save me. Chuck this laptop into the river and let my hands roam other white plains for a while. There’s the rub. Self-masturbatory? Definitely. Ugh.

So here’s the deal, right. I didn’t expect what happened to happen, even if I did write about it. Eating those words, looking at empty spaces between my own. I’m my own Nostradamus, and I could kick myself for not seeing things sooner—or listening to myself, or editing even once or…or, shit I don’t know. Eat those words. It all comes full circle.

But she’s gone now. And there ain’t a word in this language, or any other, that’s gonna change a damned thing. Do I want it changed? 

How do I make love stay?

Don’t know. Or I do. Seven years is a long time. A long itch. A stretch. I’ve come out, abruptly, tabula rasa. Except there’s etching everywhere—but that’s how I feel. Empty? New? Can’t put a finger on it, they’re too busy plugging away, desperately looking for a loose word or two. Catch as catch can. Whatever comes, I’ll take it. Except, nothing. The words whiz on by.

Ah shit, I’m sorry for this. I’m working hard on things. For what? I don’t know. My stories are important to me, even if they mean little. Or worse, a whole lot. Too much to bare.

Don’t let this be it, please. I can’t let it be. I’m drunk. It’s a beautiful night. I’ve been listening to more classical music these days: Bach, Debussy, Handel, Schubert, Chopin, Paganini, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky…I’m calling on you dudes. Help a guy out. I can be romantic, too. Read some of my earlier stuff; it’ll resonate, I swear.

More research. That’s the thing. Dive into words, into studies, and hope your own words don’t drown. Feel that pressure? Deep, man, reeeaaallll deep.

What’s happened to me? Who the hell am I? A phoenix? More like its’ ashes.

I’ll figure it out. Always do.

Until next time. Who knows when that’ll be…

Burial Writes

Pen’s out of ink, damn.  I scribble a little on top of the page, toss a quick signature, but I’m just in denial. The indents strain across the notebook invisible: cavernous lines sit dry and empty. I keep at it but my tries are beginning to tear into the page.

Where did I leave off

The pen’s done and I’m forgetting what I wrote. I turn the pen around in my hand and tap it on the edge of the page; fling the stretched metal clip with my thumb. I read from the last line I got out,
“I say nothing, but her word…”

The ink trails off at the d and ends.

Ok, that’s fine. Just one more piece of dialogue then end it.

I toss the pen onto the notebook and look to my desk first. I grab a pen out of the graveyard to give it a futile try. Nothing, not even a gasp of breath. I toss it back in the holder and take a glance around the room; maybe there’s one in my bag. Nope. Ok, alright,

Damn.

Gotta get this page done, at least. Maybe I don’t have to finish it tonight, just a hundred more words. I find one lonely in a desk drawer; a fat green click pen from a bank. I take the recently deceased and put it to the side. I reread the last line and top it off,

“…words echo through me and I can’t help thinking her thoughts as we look into the woods.”

I stop after I finish the line and read it out loud. It looks different. The ink, yeah, “words” looks like two different words, but my writing looks different. It doesn’t look like my handwriting. It doesn’t look like I mean what I’m writing. This pen sucks. I try jotting down a couple more lines but every word is wrapped in the crappiness of the pen. The lines come out forced, and like the inside of this dumb pen, hollow. I toss a line over the past few sentences and study the uncomfortable bank pen with both hands. The pen unwinds from the click and clip and reveals a still-full refill, cap nut, and spring that limps out from the back. I take it all and throw it into the trash, individually.

There’s nothing left to do but turn on the computer and type it out. Not that I mind, I just like typing finished stories. I like the feeling of writing out each letter; it’s the closest I get to creating anything visually pleasant. I like seeing the errors on the pad; they can usually make something, even a little poem. The backspace is too convenient, it’s too easy to erase the error and replace it with something new. Doesn’t give me the means to look back and try to create from the left out. I like to try and find inspiration there.

It’s my only option now though, so I turn it on without hesitation and immediately open notepad. I get down the story I had, making some minor changes to sentences as I go. I get to where I left disgusted and continue from there. Things immediately seem better, more comfortable for me. I keep going, writing whatever comes out and not bothering to really look back at it. It’s short so I can just read the whole thing when I’m done.

I finish in about the time it took me to find the diseased pen, and then scroll up. Satisfied, I save it and figure I can revise some more tomorrow. I take the K.I.A. pen and place it into the pen-holder where other emptied souls rest. The story’s over, finished without the pen. I guess I could write more on the computer; it’s quicker and cheaper. Maybe I can learn to just type without hitting backspace. I fold the notebook back, keeping the last page used on top, uncovered. Turn off the computer, close it, grab my phone, and set a reminder:

BUY MORE PENS

Cursed

A young Nathan wiped sweat from his face after an intense lunch break game of Wall Ball, picked up his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lunchbox and made his way across the gravel and towards his classmates. He was stopped by an older kid who, with another older kid, accused Nathan of stealing the lunchbox. Now, Nathan knew it was his, and even noticed that his lunchbox sat next to the exact same one – an easy confusion. He snapped plastic latches open as evidence; Nathan knew he’d find a spent Hi-C juice box and empty ziplock bag. It wasn’t enough to quell the feud. His loose blue shirt grabbed, Nathan quickly found himself with a knife to his throat. Everything spun, slowed down, and the already hot day became excruciating. Paralyzed, Nathan stood there without control, waiting for this to end.

“That’s his lunchbox.” The older boy with a knife asserted, motioning to his silent friend. There was no longer any question, Nathan was getting robbed.

“N…no. This is mine.”

He flipped back the knife and shoved it deep into his pocket, instead taking Nathan by the head and forcing him to the ground. While down, his face continually met gravel again and again. Nathan lost consciousness around the third meeting, hovered above himself and the two bullies by the fourth, and kind of just stayed floating up there for the 5th and attempt at 6th – until Mrs. Mutchler rushed the crowd and ripped the boy away from Nathan’s literally lifeless corpse.

Nathan watched it all from above, panicked and desperately trying to get to ground level and stop the assault. Though he wasn’t exactly aware of what was happening to him, he knew something strange was afoot. Above, everything held a golden glow: people, trees, animals. Shimmering silver diamonds replaced eyes and mouths, and the longer he remained up there – the heavier the golden glow, silver turning metallic. No matter how he tried, he was incapable of doing anything – Nathan could only watch himself get creamed.

It’d take four weeks of intensive care for doctors to give the OK for Nathan’s leave though he’d made his way back to body en-route to the hospital. It’d take years before he could get over what happened to him that day at school, however this was the first of many such experiences for Nathan, an extraordinary ability to lift above his own body. With it, he had no idea what he could achieve.

Things certainly didn’t get any easier. Throughout the evolving chapters of his life, Nathan found himself in varying levels of stress and anxiety as we do. Unlike each of us, however, he met increased stress with a fast launch from his body, a quick and startling experience of gold and silver hues before rescinding back to bones. Things got out of control fast, and soon his bouts to keep himself inside himself weren’t limited by much at all. By 20, Nathan could barely sneeze without jolting from his body, lingering above for a few moments, and returning from whence he came.

By 25, Nathan was sick of that shit. He’d undergone intense therapy, spoken with specialists. Each told him it was all in his head, that his vitals remained unchanged during his temporary paralysis. He was given a cocktail of pills that made him lethargic and empty, emptier than his body felt without his presence. Nathan spoke with two friends about his condition, who in turn recoiled and excused themselves from his friendship. Soon, most people knew about Nathan and disregarded him as another crazy in a sea of nuts. Alone and without answers, Nathan turned to death as a way out from his situation.

There were always problems. Something always went wrong. How does a train manage to stop in time? How did he manage to wake up refreshed after swallowing a bottle of pills and bleach the night before? Life clung to Nathan, only offering him moments of freedom before he had to return. It wasn’t fair. Everybody else could die when they wanted – or when they didn’t – but Nathan was stuck between worlds. If there was a way out, however, Nathan was determined to find it.

He began exploring peculiar interests, namely cursed household items like dolls, paintings, furniture, or anything else that might bring with it untimely death. Each piece was rigorously researched, fact separated from fiction, and purchased with the excitement of a kid in a candy store. Each mirror, each painting, each accent was accompanied by a twisted story of death and decay, suffering and murder, trapped souls and lost loves, curses and karma. Yes, when he leered into a mirror supposedly responsible for five deaths, Nathan was met with the undeniable presence of a mother and daughter who seemed to have been stabbed quite a bit. But who cared? The showboats only worked to make Nathan jealous with their silverless, lifeless eyes – those jerks.

And the cursed doll? Yeah, it managed to slap Nathan once – which, to its merit, temporarily threw him from his body. But again, that was precisely the problem. Nathan paid damn good money for that Raggedy Anne looking piece of shit, and for what? One experience? What’s the return policy on eBay?

But that was just it – Nathan learned that if, somehow, he could find a way to launch himself farther than he’d ever been from his body – there’d be no turning back. He’d be stuck in the ether, his body would decompose, and he’d finally be nice and dead.

Nathan knew that he tended to leave his body before it received pain or injury. This could work in his favor, he thought. If he could figure out a way to scare himself from his body before his body worked out the details, he’d be long gone from that sucka. It hadn’t occurred to Nathan before, but he could just jump from a cliff and probably see those results. In a world of plains and tall grass, Nathan had to travel over hundreds of miles to find a cliff suitable for his efforts. There, above the world, Nathan closed his eyes and took a final step.

The golden haze was thick like fog. No silver to be found. Nathan levitated high – maybe – he couldn’t really tell where he was. He looked for his body, his security blanket during out-of-body experiences, and panicked. From wherever he was, Nathan realized it was he who determined a return to his body all this time. Nothing forced him, nothing made him do it. He simply located his corpse and entered it. Without knowing, Nathan wanted to be with-skin. Now lost, he couldn’t really tell what he wanted. All these cursed items, all these attempts at suicide – it’d all been about death to him all this time. There was simply no time to think about life.

He drifted for a long time, maybe years, in a smoky haze of gold. Like the cursed objects, it got old fast. By now, his body was long gone. Somebody either stumbled upon it or it slowly dipped back into earth after all this time. Alone, Nathan remained above the cliff without knowing he was. Giving up the search for his body, he rested without ever feeling a thing: no panic, no stress, no more in-body-experiences.

If there was something good to be taken from his ability, Nathan would never know. The stress of enduring his difference made it impossible to see it differently. Now he was lifted eternally, in a beautiful golden glow, unable to care and instead focused on somehow returning. Like his life, Nathan spent his death searching, uncomfortably, for resolution.

“Those lucky assholes.” Nathan thought of the mother and daughter in the mirror, probably shuffled from home to home since his disappearance staring into many different silver eyes. In the ether, Nathan only managed to drift aimlessly and find jealousy in trapped ghosts.