Purgatory Part 2

“You know who I want to hear from?” After a very long awkward pause the voice continues, “I would like to hear from Franklin. Would you like to share today Franklin.” “It’s Frank dipshit,” the man riddled with bullet holes stands up. “You don’t have to stand up Franklin,” Sylvia says before laughing. Frank slams his body back into the seat, “Do I have a choice?” “Of course you have a choice. Being here isn’t punishment. Being here is to help you.” Frank shifts in his seat, “Yeah okay cause it sure as hell feels like punishment. We either talk or we have to go sit out there with the rest of the freaks waiting to come back in here. Not a whole lot of options for us here. Despite her smart ass comments I’m with Sylvia on this place. This is all bullshit, but I want out of here so what do you want to hear?” “Why do you think that you are here?” the figure asks him like he just volunteered to die or that in some way this was all optional. Thanks for taking twenty plus bullets to the chest and coming here. Would you mind filling out a small survey? Would you recommend this place to a friend? I’m starting to agree with Sylvia more and more myself. “I am here because those pig fuckers shot the shit out of me.” Frank tries to grab his shirt to show the figure his bullet holes, but he can’t and he quickly gives up. “There has to be a reason they shot at you.” “Yeah cause I was trying to get a little cash for my family.” “Oh yeah that’s real rich their Frankie. That totally justifies the reason you tried to rob a bank,” the business man blurts out as he shakes his head in disbelieve. “Fuck you old man. I did what I had to do to get by.” “Well what you did was against the law that’s why they shot your ass.” “Howard please let Frank speak you can have your turn when he is done,” the figure explains. “I was simply commenting on what Frank was saying.” “The freak said shut the fuck up lard ass.” These people are insane and I try to stay calm through all of it. I want to start getting upset too, but I know that it won’t help any of this. Frank starts back up with his story, “Anyways I took a bullet or two and now I’m here paying for my sins or whatever.” “Is that what you truly believe Frank?” The figure asks him. “I said it didn’t I? So yeah that’s what I fucking believe.” Frank looks over at Sylvia, “You think the freak’s got a brain under there? Cause he is pretty stupid.” Sylvia still isn’t talking and pretends that Frank isn’t even talking. “That’s not a very nice thing to say Frank, but are you done?” “Yeah I am.” “Can I say a few things?” “Like I give a shit,” Frank crosses his arms. “You really need to stop holding in all this blame and anger towards others. Realize that you might be the cause of your own misfortunes. No one told you to rob that bank or take those people hostage Frank. You made all those decisions yourself and you need to forgive yourself before it consumes you any farther.” “I didn’t shoot anybody you fucking freak. I didn’t shoot no body and yet here the fuck I am,” Frank screams causing everyone in the room to jump a little bit. As we all watch Frank place his head in his hands I think that this all sounds rather familiar to me somehow. The figure says nothing back to Frank and Frank doesn’t lash out as he walks to the corner of the room. Another somber moment in a place that is nothing but.

Breaking the silence. “I have a question for you. What are you?” I ask the figure. The hooded figure sits motionless and I try to look under the hood. Looking for eyes, a mouth, anything that could confirm what it is. All I find is darkness. Beth places her hand on my knee, “You can’t ask it things about itself.” “Why not?” I question. “It is just the way it is sweetie,” she shrugs at me. “What do you think it is?” I ask the group. “I think it’s a freak,” Frank shouts from the corner of the room. “Yeah we know,” Sylvia shouts back as she rolls her eyes. “We think it is the grim reaper or our idea of a grim reaper,” she says to me. The hooded figure finally speaks, “Howard you had something you wanted to say earlier?” We go on as if no one had said anything at all about the figure. “Ah, yes I did. I wanted to tell the group my story.” “Oh dear God,” Sylvia blurts out before going silent once again. She stares at her gashes. She traces the outline of the cut on her left arm with her finger. “My dear Sylvia, such a pretty name, James has yet to hear my story,” Howard says before turning to face me. He locks eyes with me and I can’t help but to not look right at him for his story. I’m more interested in hearing Frank’s story and trying to figure out why it sounds so familiar to me. Respect for others forces me to put that in the back of my mind as I listen to this old man’s tale.

By the way Howard speaks to me and the rest of the group it is as if he is selling us his story. “I have always been a salesman. From the time I was a small child selling candy on the school yard playground and until the moment I found myself here. I sell that’s what I do. It is in my blood, in my DNA. Hell I even convinced my neighbor to purchases my father’s lawn mower once. Slightly used I told him. My father was so pissed. I had to give my neighbor his ten dollars back. That was a lot of money back then, but with everything there is always something to be learned. I learned right then and there that with a strong enough pitch, a kind smile, and a great deal you can sell anything. I also learned to not sell my father’s things as well,” Howard chuckles. “Howard how did you die again?” Sylvia asks and he ignores. “If this story doesn’t end with you choking on a dick. I know I’m going to be disappointed by this story.” I try to not laugh or move my face in any way. “Always be selling became my motto by the time I was out of high school. I was such a good sales man I didn’t even have to go to college. I had, had a job since I was old enough to acquire one, and with my great talent and passion I was able to move up to head of the sales team in no time. I remember the days of the sale, out there on the open road selling my amazing products from customer to customer, city to city. These were the days before personal computers, the days were a phone call was only used to catch up when a letter would not suffice. Not like today where you kids have your gadgets glued to your hands. You kids today could learn a thing or two from talking face to face the way God intended for us to talk to one another. No these were the good old days, the all or nothing days, the days when making a living meant working your ass to the bone and asking for more.” “We fucking get it old man, Jesus.” “How are you Frank? You could learn thing or two as well from my story.” “Yeah like what? Cause I’m already dead dumb ass.” “You could afford to learn a little thing called respect and about working hard. Not just sitting on your ass and taking what’s not yours.” “It wasn’t like that,” Frank walks back over to the group. “You tried to rob a bank to get money that wasn’t yours that’s how it was Frank,” Howard says to the group looking for reassurance. “Wait a second, that was you,” I say. “That was me what?” “That was you who tried to rob some bank in Atlanta?” “Yeah so what?” Frank asks. “It was all over the national news. That happened months ago or at least I think it was months ago. No one else saw the story?” they all stare at me as though I am crazy. “I meant before you all died?” “Well it was against the law that’s why it was all over the news and that’s why they shot you so many times. How many times do I have to say that before you understand?” “Shut up Howard I’m talking to the new guy. What do you mean it was all over the national news?” Frank asks me. “It was ever where or so I thought. I’m trying to remember what all happened. It happened months ago, but I remember hearing about how three or four cops were suspended and then fired for using excessive force because you didn’t even rob the bank with a real gun or something. Plus there was something about the fact that the dead hostage wasn’t your fault either.” “Who killed him then?” Howard asks. “Apparently one of the officers thought they had a shot or was trying to be a hero. Well the gun fire scared the old man and he fainted on to the floor.” “I told him to stay down, but he wouldn’t listen so I started shouting and then the noise went off.” “Right well I guess in the confusion the cops thought you shot him so they all started firing on you. Turns out the man would have been fine, but they shot him and injured three others firing on you.” Frank stands there stunned and silent. He looks as though some revelation has come over him. “Is that all that happened?” Sylvia asks me. “Was I on the news too?” “I don’t remember,” I tell her. “After that band killed themselves and everything that followed the news stopped reporting on suicides. They even stopped reporting on suicide bombers in the Middle East. Anything to try and stop people from killing themselves.” “That fucking band. That band fucking sucked anyways,” Sylvia crosses her arms and leans back into her chair. “What about my family?” Frank asks me. “What happened to my family?” “The last I heard they were suing the city along with the other families, but beyond that I can’t remember anything,” I tell him. “Frank how does that news make you feel?” The figure asks. “I feel. I feel better. For the first time since I have died. I finally feel better about everything. It might have been worth it. I knew what I did was wrong but I didn’t even have a weapon. I took a toy gun that I painted black. I figured worst case I’d get some jail time. I never thought that I would die. It was a mistake. It was all a mistake.” Frank turn to me, “Thank you James. Thank you so very much.” “You’re welcome Frank. I mean I didn’t do anything,” I say shyly. All I did was repeat the news on TV. Frank begins to weep and cover his tearless face with his hands. “Frank,” the figure says in a light voice unlike its self. Frank looks up from his hands and his face is covered with small streams of tears. “You may leave now Frank. Exit the room and continue down the hall. At the end of the hall there is one last door. It will look like a wall with a handle. Once you touch the handle you will know what to do.” Frank wipes the tears from his face as we all sit and stare. Everyone is very confused as to what is happening. Frank turns to me once again, “Thank you James.” The bullet holes, the blood, the wounds disappear as Frank stands up and walks to the door. The room is silent as he exits, but the second he is gone the whole room erupts with noise. All the noise is a collection of different questions with all the same intentions. What else do you know? Everyone is out of their chairs and standing in front of me demanding answers. “I don’t know, I don’t know,” is all I repeat. “Enough questions everyone,” the figure says in its usual tone. “James is not the reason behind Frank’s ascension to the next level. James doesn’t hold the secret clues or answers to why you have died or are still here. Each and every one of you hold those keys. That is enough for today. Next time we will start with Howard again,” the figure gestures to the open door. “What? Why? Let’s just power through this. I mean we made real progress today.” “Can’t we stay for a little bit longer?” “Yeah we want to stay.” “I’m sorry but we are done for today.” “This is bullshit.” “Give it a rest will you Sylvia,” Beth says as she stands up. No one waits for the figure to get to the door this time. Again I am the last to leave the room. “I’m sorry if I offended you earlier by ask you what you are,” I tell the figure. “It is alright James. You have questions that want answers. Demand them even, but maybe it is you who need to wonder what you are?” Confused I exit the room. The door slamming behind me.

Sylvia is waiting for me in the hallway. “That was some trippy shit wasn’t it?” She asks me. “Yeah I guess. This whole place is trippy if you ask me. How long have you been here?” “No idea, it’s hard to tell time in a place with no windows or concept of it. When did that band die?” “Sometime last year,” I say to her. “So I have been here almost a year.” “And this is the first time you’ve seen some one pass over?” I ask. “Yeah, it was. But I mean I’ve heard of other people passing over or going away from other groups. So personally this was my first. I guess this place isn’t a bunch of bull shit after all.” “What do you think happens after we pass over?” “Fuck if I know. I didn’t even think that this was going to happen.” “Yeah me either,” I say staring at the floor. “Cheer up will you. You are about to be pretty fucking popular here after what just happened. Word gets around,” she smiles at me. “How? No one even talks around here.” “Are you kidding me? Some people don’t ever shut the fuck up.” “Yeah okay,” I huff as we make it back to the waiting area. “Where do you normally sit?” Sylvia asks me. I point to the far right corner. “Yeah we all got to start somewhere. That’s the newbies corner so course they are going to not talk. Those people are scared. Not far from that we have Freaksville. That’s where the messed up one go after they have been here awhile. If you aren’t messed up than you don’t belong there so don’t bother going. Then you have general pockets of people that haven’t been here that long. See over here and over there,” she points. “Why are you telling me all of this?” I ask. “Why the hell not? Lastly that side of the room is mostly filled with the people that have been here the longest. They are not the nicest of people. Real assholes if you ask me,” she walks me over to where she usually sits. “If this is Purgatory than where are the children?” I ask. “No idea. Take a seat.” I take a seat next to her as I look around the room. Already there are a lot of eyes looking in our directions. Sylvia gives off a little laugh and a fake smile, “See just like I told you.” “You weren’t kidding.” “Nope, you are going to be very popular. Too bad you don’t have anything to show for it. Might here some good stories though.” “Who’s that guy sitting over there with all the tattoos?” I ask her. “The one who’s staring you down like you’re a piece of meat at an all you can eat dinner?” “Umm, yeah that guy.” “That’s Layne Ambrose. Stay away from him if you can. That man’s got some real serious issues. He’s already been kicked out of several groups. I heard he even tried to bite someone in the one of the groups.” “We can do that?” “Bite some one? No we can’t do that James were not vampires. Though that would make this strangely worth it all. The most we can do is touch, but it’s pointless because we can’t feel it. We can’t do much of anything in this hell hole.” “Tell me about it. What about those two girls over there?” I ask. “What about them?” “What’s their story?” “How am I supposed to know?” She punches me in the arm, “You got a crush?” My arm stings a little, “No.” “You didn’t have a lot of friends when you were alive did you?” “No, not really,” I say awkwardly. “Yeah, that’s because you ask too many damn questions.”

Drinking Bleach is my first collection of short stories from my earlier days… It is a mixed genre book filled with short stories, poems, micro stories, and more… From the early days of Chewing On Glass to the first story I ever wrote… This book covers a lot of ground… As always available on Kindle… Don’t have a Kindle?… That’s okay… Enjoy thousands of books right from your desktop, smart phone, or tablet with the Kindle app… Now available in paper back…

Purgatory Part 1

Purgatory Part 1

“The blood leaks from the holes in my chest. My white shirt fills with red, a stain I will never forget, as the bloody shirt clings to my chest. I can remember trying to raise my head up. I can remember trying to understand what is happening to me, but it is as though my body can’t function. Trapped, I feel trapped, and I feel cold. I feel so many things at once. Yet all I can do is watch as even more blood comes from my chest. Then everything goes blank. The thinking stops. The trying stops. Everything stops and the next thing I know I’m sitting in a room full of strangers to be what I guess is sorted. I’m confused and now I am here where ever here is, is where I am. I don’t understand why I am here. Why am I here?”

“Let me just start by saying that was some really good sharing James, and to answer your question. We are all here to work out our issues so we can pass to the other side.” The hooded figure continue to tell me something about this place and why I am here, but it is all too much. This is all too confusing to process in one go. Am I alive or am I dead? Is there anything such as death if I am here? I interrupt the figure, “Pass on where? Where am I passing onto? So I am dead?” The voice continues to talk from under the hood never showing its face or any emotion, “Yes James you are dead. We all are in this room and I can understand that, that may be hard for you to take in all at once, but I encourage you to ask any questions you might have. As far as passing on I really have no defiant answer to that question. I don’t have a say on whether you go to heaven or hell. I am only here to help you move on to either one.” The woman to my left who is probably more in line with being a girl interrupts the figure, “There’s no such thing as passing on to either one. We already died. This is all there is left. You just make us come here to this room and talk out our feelings so we can’t revolt and take over or some shit.” She gets absurdly angry and throws the chair she was sitting on at the wall behind her. “This is all just bull shit. Either that or you suck at your job. Which one is it?” She continues to rave at the figure without a face. The hooded figure never shows any sign of emotion as he talks to her, “Sylvia please calm down, you of all people should know that this is not helping you to pass on.” “Pass on? How the fuck long have I been here? Years, months, forever and I have never seen anyone pass on once. We just keep coming here and coming here.” “Sylvia there is no such thing as time. We have been over this before. It takes as long as it will take,” the figure says calmly. “Because there is no passing on you faceless fucking asshole. This is hell. This is fucking purgatory,” she screams at the figure. “That’s right,” a man sitting to the left on the figure says. “You are right this is purgatory, but this is not hell,” he nods his head in a matter of fact kind of way. “This is purgatory? I’m in purgatory. What the hell is going on? I’m supposed to be in class tomorrow. At least I think I am,” I interject. “Oh my god, yes you dumb ass. I already hate the new guy. What have you been here for like ten minutes and you haven’t realized you’re dead? You have three holes in your chest Brian. What did you pull the trunk and nothing happened?” Sylvia screams at me. “That is enough Sylvia. James has recently died and this is all new to him. In fact this is enough for now. Let’s all go to the waiting room and meet back here later,” the hooded figure doesn’t wait for a response as he opens the door. “Fine with me,” Sylvia is the first one to storm out of the room. She doesn’t look like she could be more than nineteen or could have been nineteen seems to be more appropriate. The next one to leave the room is a slightly overweight man dressed in a business suit. He tries to shake the hand of the hooded figure, but he politely declines. The man smiles none the less and wish the figure a good day as he exits the room. I still haven’t left my seat as the rest of them shuffle out of the room without a fuss. I can’t stop staring at my chest. My blood is still there on my shirt a stain that seems like it will never come off. “James you have to leave now. I know that this must be hard to take in, but it will get better the more you come here.” I stare at the hooded figure for a few seconds before nodding my head. I still have one more question as I walk out of the room. “How will I know to come back?” “I will page you,” the hooded figure closes the door without another word.

What is time when you are dead? There is no sense of it in this place. There is only waiting and it feels like forever. There’s no place to go, nothing to see, nothing at all. All there is, is a waiting room filled with chairs not the kind of chairs that are soft, warm, and inviting. More like those hard plastic my ass is going to hurt for days on end kind of chairs. The ones with the four bolts on the back and four bolts on the seat that are always dark blue. Even though I don’t feel pain I feel as if I do. Besides these shitty chairs there are the other people. No one is really talking to one another though. The ones that are talking seem less scared than the rest of us. We were all either taught that this place is for sinners or that to end up here was a bad thing. Some of us might not even have a clue as to what this place is. But here we all are good or bad we are all trapped in the middle, waiting. Every minute? Every now and then I guess there always seems to be someone new in the room. The room, Christ this room is larger than any waiting area I have ever been. It could hardly be called a room more like a lobby. Though there has to be more than one of these down here? Because there is no way that this is all the dead people. The size and scope of this place only adds to the crazy fact that it is nearly silent. I start tapping my foot which only seems to upset those around me. Scanning the room once again for anyone I might recognize I spot Sylvia. She sits on the opposite side of the room from me all alone. She is rubbing her wrist staring at the gashes. Her writs are stained with blood and each gash looks fresh. I didn’t notice them before probably because the cuts and the blood stains almost look like makeup more than flesh wounds. This all becomes more and more real. This isn’t a dream and not a nightmare this is my life now. The figure said it wasn’t permanent, but it feels more and more so the longer I stare at her. How long has she been here? How long will I have to be here? Even from this distance I can see the insides of her arms as she displays them out in front of her. She looks up and we lock eyes. Only for a second too scared she will go off again I stare at the floor. BY the time that I look up again she has moved out of my view. I search the room for her from my seat. I guess we all are having a hard time with this. I know I am having a hard time with all of this. It is like being in the most boring place in the world or being drunk with nothing to do. My mind tries to process new things or new thoughts but it can’t because I can’t stop thinking about my death. If I don’t try really hard to focus or think about something else my mind automatically goes back to thinking about the holes in my chest. I don’t want to think about that anymore. I want to understand where I am. All of this is very frustrating and makes being here even more horrible than it already is. I don’t see her so I stop looking.

Every now and then someone new comes in and it makes me feel that much more alone. Sometimes the new people are really messed up. Earlier a guy came in with a piece of glass stuck through his skull. His face was covered in blood. He looked like he could have been the singer for a death metal band or the winner for best costume at a Halloween party. Another guy was dressed in a uniform and I couldn’t tell which one because of all the burn damage to his body. If I could cry I would have for cried for him. His body looked like it had been hit by an explosive at close range. Part of his face was completely ripped back away from his skull. A flap of skin bouncing as he walked, as he turned his head, as he moved. His left arm was completely gone. Nothing left but a bloody stump made up of bone and burnt flesh. Most of his uniform was charred black like most of the still attached skin. We are all dead but most of us don’t look like a walking corpse. I felt bad for him. Even more so as I watched him try to cry but we can’t. We don’t cry and we don’t bleed. He didn’t deserve whatever it is that happened to him no matter what side of the fight he was on. No one deserves to die that way. No one should have to sit here with the rest of us looking like that, feeling like that. The more grotesque your death means no one wants to sit next to you in this room. Somethings never change even in death. The solider sits alone in the far corner of the room. There are a lot of empty chairs for the size of the room. Reserved for in case of a catastrophe maybe. Despite all the horror that covers most of us the room is extremely clean like in a hospital. This room is empty besides us and the chairs there is nothing in this room. No windows, no one to ask how much longer, no one to ask if we can leave, no doors to leave from, and nothing on the walls. I mean how many great artist have died since the dawn of time? They couldn’t get one to draw something on the walls? The room is next to silent unless a voice calls out names and what room to report to. The voice sounds very much if not exactly like the hooded figures voice, very calm and airy. I don’t believe it is the same hooded figure as the one I have met because there is more than one room being called out, but after what I have seen in my time of waiting anything is possible. I hear my name in the familiar voice and it tells me to report to room forty-six. I don’t get up right away, but when I hear Sylvia’s name get called I stand up and search for her. Turns out she had been sitting a few rows back behind me. I quickly shuffle off to meet her at the hallway entrance. I follow right behind her down the long and only hall way here. The hall way seems like it goes on forever. It is nothing more than a long tunnel with rooms on either side. Despite the fact the hall way is very well lit I can’t see the end. The end is filled with darkness and as we keep moving down the hall the darkness stays the same. It doesn’t take long until we arrive to our assigned room. The door is already open when we get there. The hooded figure is waiting by the door identical to how it was when we left. Its voice is the same as it welcomes us back as we enter the room and take our seats.

I pay more attention to the room this time around, but it is just as blank and bare as the waiting room. There are no windows in here as well only more of those damn chairs. There are only ten chairs in this room but I heard six names called along with mine. I am in the same seat that I was in last time I came here and so has Sylvia. The business man has taken a seat two chairs to my right and a thin woman who looks like she was in her forties takes the seat next to me. The thin lady is wearing a flower house dress with a massive blood stain in the back. It looks as though a knife was dug into her back. It is hard to make out all the cuts because of how much the dress sticks to her back from the blood. She sees me staring at her wounds and sits so her back is completely against the seat of the chair. Embarrassed I look away. A man in his twenty’s occupies a seat across from me closer to Sylvia. He looks to have died in a similar fashion as me. The front of his body is littered with bullet holes only unlike me he was wearing black on the day that he died. Had I known maybe I would have too. But what would I really wear on the day that I knew I was going to die? What would I have even done? Clothing is so strange here it is almost like it is part of us. We can’t take it them off or clean them or even move them. Though I did see someone who was wearing a jacket and they were able to take their arms out of the sleeves, but that was about it. Otherwise we have to sit in what we wore on the day we died and it makes me wonder if the bullets are still in me? Did someone take them out? Then I remember the man with the piece of glass stuck in his head. I looked to my chest and get lost once again in the reality of it all. “We are waiting for one more,” the voice informs us from the door. Out of the darkness of the hall a young woman walks into the room. The door like a granite slab slams closed behind her. At first she doesn’t know where to sit, but she take a seat next to me on my right. Despite the large gashes on her throat she is very beautiful and looks as though she could have been an actress or a model, and maybe she was. I never paid that much attention to things like that. Never really paid attention to anyone really. “Hello everyone, how are we feeling?” The figure asks us as it takes a seat at the head of the circle. Everyone lets out a strange noise in replace of a greeting before the figure starts to talk again, “As always I would like to start the meeting off with any questions any of you might have?” “Yeah when the fuck am I getting out of this shit hole?” Sylvia asks. “Language Sylvia, I see you are going to start up early with questions you already know the answers to, and you know when you are ready you can pass over.” “How will we know when we are ready?” I ask. “That’s difficult to say James. The goal here is to answer any questions, concerns, or conflicts you still have inside of you. In order to pass over any of those issues need to be resolved, so that you can enter with a clean conscious.” “How are we supposed to do that? I don’t get it,” I tell the figure. “I’m glad you asked. You and everyone here can achieve this goal by sharing with us your thoughts and feelings.” “That simple?” I ask. “That simple,” the figure answers back. “Okay, why am I here? That’s the only question I have.” “No it’s not James and you know that even if you don’t think you do. The idea is to look deep inside yourself. The process is never easy and it can take many visits,” the figure explains. “So you mean I could be here forever in a sense?” I ask scared and even more confused. “This is all bullshit that is all you need to know,” Sylvia blurt out. “Sylvia please some of us are actually trying to move on here,” the older woman in the flowery dress finally speaks up. “Very positive,” the figure reassures her. “Oh my god, Elizabeth you need to shut up. You don’t even think you are dead for fucks sake.” “That’s because I’m not dear and how many more times do I have to tell you to call me Beth?” “I don’t know maybe a couple more times Elizabeth.” “You know what you are young lady?” Elizabeth raises her voice in anger. “You are a snot nose little brat. That is what you are.” “Ladies please this is not helping,” the figure attempts to interject. “Well you’re a bitch Elizabeth and that’s probably why your husband stabbed you as many times as he did,” Sylvia fires right back. “Yeah well at least I didn’t have to kill myself to get some attention. How does it make you feel knowing it was all for nothing?” The beautiful girl begins to weep without tears. “That’s not why I killed myself you old whore. I killed myself because I was done with life and I was ready to move on.” “Oh whatever, you are such a little drama queen Sylvia. I am truly amazed that you were starved for attention.” “Ladies please stop this now, you are upsetting Karen.” “Karen is always upset,” they say in unison. Holy shit welcome to meeting number two it is no wonder that it takes so long to pass over. After that final outburst both Sylvia and Elizabeth refrain from saying or even looking at one another. The figure however continued, “Are you okay Karen?” “I’m fine,” is all she is able to whimper out after a moment of silence. Her voice is amazingly soft and quiet and I wonder if this is from her death or if that is her natural voice. “Do you feel like sharing today?” She shakes her head no and the voice moves on. The hooded figure never pushes any of us into talking. It simply asks a question and we have to decide how or if we answer. Sometimes the figure feels almost human with its soft calming voice. I wonder if it once was or is something else entirely.

Part 2 tomorrow…Skip ahead by picking up your digital copy or printed copy at Amazon… 

Broken Thoughts Love Edition

 

Quickly realizing I don’t write a lot if anything about love… Been digging through everything I have to find stories, poems, thoughts about love and I am coming up empty… Oddly enough Valentines Day is one of my favorite holidays… I like hearts… One of my favorite design logos is the main logo for Alkaline Trio… My two favorite holidays are Valentines and Halloween… Both are commercial holidays which again conflicts with my beliefs about commercialism… Commercialism is… Stop… Stop… must think about love… A bewildering emotion that comes and goes… Doesn’t last forever… but then does anyone really know?… Smashing my head into the keyboard…

Love is… a dangerous thing… it can make you do things you never thought you would ever do… Love can drag you through the depths of hell… it can make you feel as though heaven is a place here on earth… fuck it… today I’m not going to be cynical… I’m not going to shit on everything… I’m not in the mood… close your mouth…  prepare your anus… the cosmos wants me to tell a love story… then I’ll tell a god damn love story… 

My wife and I met when we were young… stupid… and had no ideas for the future… No plans… a few unrealistic dreams that have long since withered and died… I’m not a famous rock star… hell I’m barely a shitty writer… hang on to those dreams kids… the point is we were just being kids… we dated for about a week… I use the word dated very loosely… we hung out maybe twice in that week… haha… our first date was at my seventeenth birthday party… My mom threw a surprise party for me with everyone that we knew… all my friends were there of course… some of my mom’s friends… some people I knew around where I hung out… It was one hell of a party… but none of it mattered… because the one person I never expected to be there… was there… it was as though everything else didn’t exist… didn’t matter…

Jumping ahead… you need context… you need to understand… that this wasn’t just a random meeting set up by my mother and friends… I had first seen my wife a year and a half before… we lived in the same area… turns out across the street from each other… but we took separate buses… I’m early for everything… first to class… first to leave… first on the bus… I am the white rabbit… except I learned my lesson… never be late… so I’m sitting on the bus.. listening to my depressing music… and this girl walks by… slow motion… everything stops… the music disappears… catching a theme here?… as I watch her walk by… I memorize her face… I hope she gets on my bus… and I am crushed when she doesn’t… destroyed but only a little… tomorrow I will find out who she is… It was the first week of high school… I figured I’ll see her in the halls… then I didn’t… I looked… every day… never saw her…

The high school I went to was tiny… it was actually a middle school and high school all in one… Not seeing her in the halls is not all that shocking… I found out later that is because she is younger than me… so I didn’t see her… for a long time… so I “forgot” about her… started dating other girls… mostly older girls… I took advanced classes in high school… a year or more goes by and I see her from time to time… but still, I don’t talk to her because I’m shy… Because I’m in a relationship… because of reasons… then one winter someone I know… knows her and invites her to hang out… lucky for me it was cold outside… because I’m pretty sure my face was red the whole time… My shyness kicked in… my insecurities of how much of a loser I am… they were all on high that day… here I was hanging out with her… who was she?… who am I?… what do I say?… I say nothing… finally after all this time… I say nothing…

That was the best day on a long list of best days… but all that I knew at the time was that I wanted to see to her again… the search was on… I found out her name through the acquaintance we had… but I don’t run into her…. I need to run into her… so… the school we went to had its own email set up thing… it was really basic… shitty… and a pain in the ass to use… you young kids don’t know how easy you have it… So I email her… sent her my credentials for good old MSN Messenger… and I said something cool… like do you want to hang out sometime?… I was very smooth for my age… meanwhile… I got heavy into Nine Inch Nails and industrial music that year before… Shaved my head… everything except my bangs… which I grew down to my chest and dyed black… black fingernail polish… miss that so much… lip ring… and “arm socks”… fishnets if I was lucky… my mother approved of everything but the fishnets… whole other story… I waited days for a response… a lifetime in teen years… and all it said was… yes….

Then my birthday came up… my friends invited her to the party… no idea what happened at the party…because we were holding hands… honestly didn’t care about the party… I walked her home… and just before we got there.. we had our first kiss… I was already hooked on this girl… but after that kiss I was ready to die… it was as PG as you could get… but in my head… in my memory… it was like a god damn nuclear explosion… so when we broke up a week later it wasn’t the best time of my life… As much as I wanted to be with her… and turns out she wanted to be with me… the age thing got in the way… It made things awkward… Being older… “more experienced”… there were things I knew about.. hint.. hint.. that I was afraid would happen… I didn’t want her to feel pressured into things… turns out she didn’t want to be pressured into anything either… of course, neither of us knew that… the communication channel was basically shut down… we are both very shy… so when we were in person… neither of us would talk… had she known all that other adult shit didn’t matter to me… that I was happy just to be around her… we might have stayed together longer…

We still remained friends… she added me to MSN… we talked every night… then one day she had to move… leaving out details… but her parents found new jobs… common for where I lived and what our parents did for work… we were young… I’d never been in love… I’m sure she hadn’t either… I didn’t know I was even in love… I thought nothing of my feelings for her… thought that they were normal everyday feelings… until the day she left… until the day I never thought I would see her again… the day my heart was ripped from my chest… then I knew… I knew what love was… what it could be… who it was for… that I needed to be with her… it would be almost three years until I would see her again… and every day I waited was worth it….

 

I Awake with Bruised Eyes and Hollowed Lies

I look at the world, seven minutes cold, flashes of life, and passed out drunk. I awake with burning, stinging, sleepless eyes. I awake with a sense of belonging and at the same time a longing. Awaken but yet I must still be dreaming. Dreaming for something better or something worse. I awake with my dick still standing. Standing at full attention looking for any attention. Ready to release one more load or another gallon of piss. The decision is not on the brain, but in a gateway smaller than I can imagine. Made of flesh and blood as is the rest of me. This is every morning. This s a constant. These are the things I think about and I do not know why.

The bad taste that has slipped into my mouth overnight doesn’t go away even after I try to brush it out or smoke in a replacement taste. My teeth hurt like they have been grinding away layer by layer all night. It’s the little stresses that kill you not the big stuff. It is the little stuff that slowly eats you alive. Taking this and taking that but in the end they take everything anyways. If you are one of the lucky ones you won’t even notice the discomfort. I notice every little instants and yet I let it happen. Hell I join in on the pleasure every now and then. Daily. I smoke another with the taste still very much intact. I didn’t need another one, but at this point what is one more? One more nail, one more stake in the heart. Tiny needles pressing against my chest cavity heading for my soul. It wasn’t the taste or even my dick that woke me up today earlier than death. No it was a dream, a light version of a nightmare that is my life.

My dream, nightmare, inner vision was about my grandmother. A devil of a woman whom without I wouldn’t be standing here today. Allegedly there is no scientific facts to back up these claims. I hate my grandmother she was a bitch. Therapy could help me describe my true inner feelings better, but she’d still be a bitch. In the dream she pretends to be a sleep as my grandfather rattles off a list of shit she wants for dinner. He was exact instructions on what she wants and how she wants it to be. Treated like a slave in life and in my dreams I feel bad for my grandfather. It was no wonder he went a little crazy. It was no wonder they found him in possession of a trunk full of dead cats and a collection of women underwear. Luckily it didn’t go any further than that or you might have heard of him. He lives in a cozy little place far removed from society now. Better put he is basically dead.

“This but not that. Make sure you get it right or else,” he says in my mind and my dream. Or what the fat bitch is going to get her lazy ass out of bed and kick our asses? She hasn’t left that bed by choice in maybe a year. Conversations with myself always seem one-sided. I can see her while she fakes being asleep. Patiently listening to make sure he plays his part as always. He says one more thing before I awoke, “We know all about your past experience with food, but we also know you always crew up.” What do you think that the dream meant? I hope it means that she is or will be dying, but she is already dead. Not a loss or a gain just more of the nothing that fills this world. Shouldn’t waste my time on people who don’t matter, didn’t matter, or don’t care. The brain doesn’t work like that though.

They still find their way through though don’t they? Slip through the cracks no one knew were even there. Tear the wall down and leave you with nothing but rubble. Drinking could be the reason, life could be the other, and living without a purpose could be the answer I’m looking for. How am I to live with so many distractions? A gun fight erupts outside, a flood down the street drowns hundreds, and yet I sit staring at a screen looking for answers. Her little eyes scream for attention and the sound to follow. The present is only for a moment but the past is a life time.

A Notice of Change…

It has been one crazy six months… I have been having a blast writing every month, every week, and every day for those of you have stuck with me… I will be taking the month of February off… To work on my book and to think of more exciting stories to tell you in the coming year… What that means is that I won’t be posting any new stories or blog pieces… I will be posting some of the most liked stories for the last six months, new Broken Thoughts, and Poetry though… 

This is only temporary so I can get ahead of the curve… I will still be visiting blogs, answering comments, and be around in general… So that is why I am calling it a change rather than a break… I will be back to my regular schedule for March…

Thank you so much for following, reading, commenting, and being here with me this past six months… I appreciate each and every one of you… each and every day…

Layne Ambrose
1/30/18 

 

One more thing before I go

How Ugly It Truly Is….

“Working is how life passes you by. Time itself passes you by. Relationships pass you by. It is only so long until everything passes you by and you are left with nothing or no one. There are so many aspects to this country and money seems to be the biggest one. We all have to make money no matter the culture. But what do we become when we make money our culture? We make the money match the time? Money can always be earned, but the time? Days spent unconscious as life passed by. So I can pay the bills on time, afford the drinks to keep me going, so me and mine can live the life we want to live. Which looking back was never the life we wanted to live. It wasn’t the life we dreamed about for ourselves or you. It wasn’t much of a life at all. In my opinion, life is nothing more than this ever passing time. Since as long as long as I could remember life has just been going on. Whether I was part of it or not. Whether I did the right thing or not. The amount of control and freedom you think you have is how little of both you actually have. Nothing is free. We all pay a price. Whether it is our bodies or the very soul we think we have. Listen to me rambling like the old man I have become. You didn’t come to visit me to hear the ramblings of an old man. You came here to make peace with yourself. Get right with God or whatever you kids call it these days. I’ll admit I like these visits except for your need to want to escape.”

He looks up from his phone, “Dad that’s not how it is.” He goes back to his phone. “Bullshit, you don’t think I’ve been you? Nothing you’ve done or said is anything I haven’t already done, said, or thought. The subject has changed but the words will always stay the same. Humanity is in an endless cycle. No two ways about it. The meaning of life isn’t to live it is to keep going,” I huff. “Have you been taking you Meds?” He asks the phone. “Of course I have been taking my medication. They don’t shut my brain down. If anything they amplify my mind in this useless shell of what I once was. Keep death from knocking on my door. If anything I should stop taking them. Haven’t you been listening?” Have you ever listened? My life has been wasted on this pursuit of nothingness.” I look down upon my wheelchair. Look at my broken useless body. “Here I sit telling you the same thing I was told by my father then and he was told before as well in what could be called the cycle of life. Since the dawn of time and maybe even before then. Hell for all I know the god damn animals are telling each other the same thing,” my voice raises. “Calm down. What’s the point of this speech Dad?”

“The point, the point is to not waste time. To not look back and regret the time wasted on needless things. If you are going to do something, anything, do it because you want to. Don’t do it because you are told too.” He looks up from his phone once again, “That’s not how the world works.” He stands up and pats me on the shoulder. “I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks. Let me know if you need anything.” He hugs me as he leaves.  It bothers me to know that he does it because he is expected to. Not because he could give a damn, but it is my fault in the end. Never was there always had something. Time is a beautiful thing until you realize just how ugly it truly is.

Yellow House, Brown Shutters

So this is what it is like to belong? Belong to a family? Feeling useless or pointless ninety percent of the time. Feeling awkward in a room full of people you tell half-truths too in order to feel superior or make them feel proud of you. Family is nothing more than a group of strangers pretending they give a shit. Society, in general, is the same thing. Thin little threads made of lies hold it all together until it is time to fall apart. My thoughts are my own but on some level, everyone in this room is thinking the same thing.

In some ways, I wish I could read minds. Not that I would have too in moments like this. More or less we are all the same even if we don’t want to be. We are all self-serving, egotistical assholes yet we can’t get along for five minutes of a real conversation or thought. When such a thing even comes up the room goes silent to the point that even a whisper is a scream because everyone is afraid to unravel the lie that we all get along.

Maybe we aren’t meant to get along? Maybe we are supposed to yell and fight and hate each other in the open? Maybe just how we feel inside is what it means to be human?

“What are you thinking about?” My Mother asks. “Nothing,” I take a bite of potatoes, “Nothing at all.”

“Don’t talk with your mouth full,” she smiles…