It’s A Funny Story… Even If It Isn’t…

Trying something new… Imagine that… I haven’t written anything new outside of poetry and the new story I am working on… Sadly that isn’t for the website… Redoing my next book… well kind of… I had this whole theme I was running through the whole book… I didn’t like it… not the story, but the theme… or the idea… shit happens… so I am overhauling a few things… and none of this matters… 

Recently I have decided that I’m really into boardgame boards… it is for an art project that I have locked in my head… so I went to my local Goodwill… and picked up any that I found interesting… one of them happened to be the Match Game… or so I thought… what I actually got was some came from the 70’s called The Ungame… yeah I had never heard of it either… more about the history of the game here… well the point of the game is to start a conversation or get you talking… the concept is just lame enough that I am in love with it… so at least once a week… I will be posting a question from the game… there are a fuck ton of questions… I will give my answer and then it is your turn… yeah… we are going to play a little game… 

Chewing On Glass Logo

This Week’s Question

What activity do you engage in that involves all of you: your mind, your body, and your soul?

(Softball question I know… It’s the first week…) The most obvious answer for me is writing… I put everything into this… my books… and my projects… so I’m not going to waste your time telling you something you could have guessed…So I am going to have to go with the thing that takes more of me than writing… My daughter… 

Mind… my daughter tests me every day with her three million questions about the same thing… or when she says… “I show you… I show you”… when she wants me to hear her sing… as I am trying to put out a grill fire… life be damned… stop and look at me… or when I have to hear Twinkle Twinkle Litte Star one more damn time… when all I want to do is listen to my favorite song… 

Body… whether she is digging her tiny little feet into me like I don’t exist… or swinging her arms at me like a crazed mad woman when she doesn’t want to leave the park… making me look like a kidnapper or awful person… or screaming into my ear to the point that it rings… because why not… “You’re so funny”… No, I’m so deaf now… 

Soul… because I would give her mine without a second thought… even if it was to add only one more second to hers.. she is one wild crazy ass child… but every moment with her is worth whatever it cost… I don’t think the meaning of life is to create life… but I do believe that she has become my purpose in this world…

 

Can’t wait to hear your answer to the question… Even if it is writing… what are you working on?… Until it is my turn again… check out my wares at AmazonThreadless… 

 

Need Your Help…Special Weekend Post

Chewing on Glass needs your help… I need a soul transplant… anyone willing to trade should know that the dark cloud doesn’t roll on through over here… just kidding… I do need your help though… each and every one of you… 

I need your help with tags… I know Soren and Fox… found my blog because of the tag Dark… I’m not looking to spam a certain tag… or take over a random one that has nothing to do with my writing… 

What are some good tags?… What do you look for in a tag?… Are my tags just fine and I’m obsessing over nothing?… How did you discover this blog?… Are tags just a waste of time?…

I feel like I am missing out on finding new readers and things to read because I am focusing too much on one outlet… rather than expanding my horizons… if you have any suggestions on some blogs I should be reading… that would be awesome too… (Very aware that is what Reader is for… but I’d rather check something out from you than an algorithm… as helpful as they may be…) 

If you have the time… I’d love to hear from you in the comments… and thank you for taking the time… 

 

Remembering What It Is To Understand

I remember everything about September 11th. Not the events so much as the day. I remember watching as my mother slept next to the phone. As she waited for the call that could send her away. I remember her uniform ready to go sitting on the kitchen table for days, for weeks after. I remember understanding, but not about what was going on, on the screen. As the days passed I remember watching as everything went back to normal, but nothing ever did. I remember when she finally had to leave. Promises of only for a few months. This will be over quickly. Just like last time. Last time I was a child. Last time I only knew she was gone, but not at war. This time though. This time was different. Maybe it is never different. Maybe she did the same things last time. Maybe I was just too young to understand. No, this time as she left I got to feel every ounce of pain and fear.

This time as I read her letter. This time as the tears hit the pages. This time I had to accept that she may not return. That my mother may never come back from this. No reason was given as to why. Only words of love. Only thoughts that she always loved me no matter what. Hopes that everything will be okay. Prayers that she would return from this and all would be well.  A day of sadness and then everything has to go back to normal. Something we have been through. Something we have to go through as Military children. The stupid parades, the ridiculous slogans, and that fucking flag. That flag that gets waved around as though it means so much to them. Draped across the back of their trucks as it floats in the wind. A cloth that signifies more than just where you live. A stitched-together history we take for granted. When they say they died for our freedom they don’t even know what that means. They aren’t just people. They aren’t just soldiers. They aren’t just tools. Pawns to move around to defend our freedoms. They are our parents, our mothers and our fathers, siblings, children, they are so much more than a “We Support Our Troops” sticker.

I got lucky my mother returned. Many of them did not. Many of them came back different. When I moved here to Texas.  I saw firsthand those that gave it all. Military City they call it. Passed by every day by legless men, scarred woman, and damaged people. You never notice them right away, but you notice them among the whining, bitching assholes they walk beside. The ones that say we need to get in there and kick some ass. The ones who think that war is easy. The ones that don’t understand that nothing about this is easy. The ones who will sit on the sidelines and clap. How easy it must be to do that. How easy it must be to never understand what it means. How blessed they are to never have to understand war, death, or sacrifice.

I watched a young man struggle like a child once while taking out the trash. Struggling to understand why the wheels got stuck. His mother running over to help him. A vision, a glimpse into something I assumed was a handicap. Later my wife would explain that, that young man was more than handicapped. He had gone to war. Right out of high school. Wanted to fight for this country. Wanted to help any way he could. Until the IED went off and took more than his chance. You couldn’t see the scars from a distance. You couldn’t tell what he went through until you got up close. Close enough that you didn’t want to know. That knowing was more than anyone should ever know. Nineteen now he was trapped in his body. Trapped trying to understand where he stood now in life. Forever destined to live at home, to live like this. He got a job at the local restaurant my wife worked at. Amazed, happy, proud of him until my wife explained more. Unable to do the most basic of things he was there as a favor. A charity to give his parents a break. An attempt to give him something to do. The brain damage he sustained left him childlike for now and forever. I’m often asked why I work so hard. I work so hard for those that can’t. For those of us who sacrifice more than their time.

Years later the battle rages on. Years later there are no answers to the pain we all went through or still go through. We got him. But what did we sacrifice for one person? What justification do we have for our actions of retaliation? They say that war is a necessary evil and they are right. War is evil but necessary? Do we need it? Couldn’t there be another way? Are we really so broken that only war could be the only fix for a tragedy? We police the globe with our mighty fist. A fist controlled by those that will never know what it takes, what it feels like to make up that fist. We have power and influence, and as I watch it being used to bully others into what we want I am reminded of all this shit. All these feelings that there is more to the equation than numbers, than opinions, and thoughts.  A conflict that not only rages around me but inside….

Fuck the Lemonade and Chewing on Glass present: Lemonade and Glass

This collaboration is a bit unusual… well not really the project itself but the conception?… one night,  Lemons and I were suggesting songs back and forth for several hours… spur of the moment… no real order… no massive amount of thought… and then it came to me… was there any thought to our selections?… did we have our reasons for choosing that song at that exact moment?… pretty basic idea… some of the best always are… we shall see…

With this first month, we decided to pick ten songs each and kind of figure out what this is as a whole… being on different sides of the earth and of different brains, we are doing our best to make this equally our own… a blending of styles and thoughts… a trip beyond the song… a personal level buried underneath the music… each song means something different to someone else… that is what I wanted to explore with this project…

This night, which Mr. Glass mentions, was a great night. Lol. Mr. Glass was my glue that night and I am super grateful, not just for the time spent with a friend while I was in a shitty place but because something positive has now been birthed from it…

As we have found out, we have a lot of similarities not just with our love of ellipses… but also music. And even though we have similar music tastes there is a lot of bands and songs that neither of us has heard that we have now been introduced to… which is awesome! Any growth to our playlists is excellent.

We have also learned that, as we both like some “sexy” songs, neither of us enjoys listening to them together. #laughingemoji So, if you are here hoping for us to be “bringing sexy back,” you may want to bail now cause that is not what we are here for Ward Clever (aka Mr. Clever… if you’re nasty) and Mel (Melons… if you know what is good for you)

Let’s get this show on the road, Mr. Glass…

Totally forgot… this is all on Spotify… under Lemonade and Glass…  apparently, I can’t copy the link… so you will have to do it old school… on the Spotify app… all apologies… 

5-3-10-4 by Alkaline Trio (Glass)

I actually had three different songs circled in my mind for my Alkaline Trio pick… I knew I was going to pick one from them… which became this long listening fest of which one?… Steamer Trunk is my favorite song by them and I also love My Little Needle as well… Then I played this one and I felt that this track best describes my views on work… a common theme in my writing and my life… this line  “I’m so thankful that I’m not one of them,”… really hits home with me… Before I started working so early… I used to think well I’m glad I don’t do that… Then I did… and still, I think well I’m glad I’m not so and so having to do so and so… because there is always this idea that things could be worse… even when they are already at their limits… again see my writing for any more explanation… haha…

 

Fallen Leaves by Billy Talent (Lemons)

I’m not a huge fan of Billy Talent. Actually, to be honest, I couldn’t name any of their other songs… I’ve tried listening to them. They just don’t do it for me. But this song… there is just something about this one… It was one of those songs I fell in love with the moment I heard that beginning riff. And then, my brain said, “play this over and over and over again until you hate music.”

I also picked up the lyrics way before I stopped to think about the sad tale they weave. I have a complicated relationship with song lyrics…

My fav part to scream in the car (my car scream part) would be “I never once thought, I’d ever be caught! Staring at sidewalks, hiding my track marks! I left my best friends, or did they just leave me?” then it breaks back into that first riff… *enters bliss*

It has a vocal quality that reminds me of old school punk bands for some reason which I love trying to mimic.

A lit of the reasons I fall madly and deeply for a song boils down to the singing… the way the words and accents and notes feel on my tongue… in my throat…

This is one of those songs for me… It feels good to sing. And that is why I picked this one.

Go! by Killer Mike (Glass)

I was never big into rap when I was growing up… not because I thought it was bad… more to do with that it was popular… and also at this time when I was growing up rap had become basically a joke of itself… a parody… had I dug in deeper than the surface at that time I could have found things to like, but that wasn’t what rap really was at that time… it was all about hoes and bitches and exploitation of women… of a culture really… so I never got into it… enough to say I liked it… Always exceptions… Outkast has been a favorite of mine since I heard B.O.B…. but as a whole, I wasn’t a fan… Fast forward a decade later… I’m watching Bill Maher and here sits this guy… Huge… big bear of a person…. Wearing a t-shirt… if you haven’t seen Bill Maher’s show… he often has all kinds of people on his show and they are always dressed up… Killer Mike was like Nah fuck that… I’m going to be me… That had me right there… he expresses his views… and the whole time I am shouting at the TV… “Thank You”… something I normally do while watching that show is shout at the TV… a habit that my daughter has also started… by the end of the show… as Bill goes into the last word or whatever… the end segment is called… All I wanted was more Killer Mike… Who is he… they said he was a rapper… etc… google searched his ass like a broken-hearted stalker… I, of course, ran into Run the Jewels first… I could choose so many of their songs for a playlist but I wanted to spotlight what I think is the best part of that duo… Killer Mike… a genius in my opinion… a masterful poet… just an overall great mind of this generation… I don’t get in awe of a lot of people… celebrity type… I get it… they are people, but if I ever met Killer Mike… I might giggle like a school girl… and I think that is because he is not a celebrity… rather just an amazing person… favorite line in this song… “Got AK wordplay might put a pause on your life…. Just like a comma bitch”… I’m a real big fan of commas….

Mr. Brightside by The Killers (Lemons)

Oh man… this song kills me every time.

I love The Killers. This will probs not be the last time they show up in L&G (sorry, Laynes!)

It is such a story song. Jealousy is not an affliction I have suffered from (because I trust WAY too easily) so I tend to place myself more with the female of the story (not that I am a cheater either but, for some reason, cheating is not what my brain hears when I listen to this song)

It is so sensual. I know… I know I said no sexy but this song is not straight up in your face sexy… I think… is it… lol no it’s just me.

“It was only a kiss” and then repeated over and over again. You can feel the pain, this mister is really trying to convince himself… And makes me feel the feelings.

I’m of the mind that, even though lyrics are written and the artist who wrote them had something in mind when writing said lyrics, that song… those lyrics can mean something different to the listener.

That being said… it is actually obvious what this song is about, but my brain says different.

Car scream for this song is basically all of it, but definitely the ending.

I picked this one because I wanted something slightly pop-ish in here. Not that I see The Killers as pop, but they are a little more mainstream… aren’t they?

Jealousy is a terrible thing and it can destroy relationships. Also, it can just be your spidey senses tingling… Now, I’m just rambling… Next!

Taste In Men by Placebo (Glass)

Do you hear the fucking bass line?.. the bass and drum combo?… not sure I need any more reason to love this song… maybe the interesting lyrics… which growing up were very odd… growing up in an environment where people weren’t allowed to be themselves… especially gay… this song was very rebellious… felt almost dirty to listen to at the time… to blast in the car and drive around listening too… One of the things that I love about Placebo is their double meaning lyrics… or themes… this song is could easily be about a woman… or a man… great track… and the bass line… the drums… so good…

Mandy Goes To Med School by The Dresden Dolls (Lemons)

This song makes me click and strut every time it comes on. I turn into this swinging cabaret dancer in my fucking car, I love it.

I love The Dresden Dolls and I love, love, love Amanda “Fucking” Palmer. I have posted about her and her songs before.(Here) But this song just makes me dance.

The lyrics are… well… Let’s just say, intake this journey with Mr. Glass, I have realized that I have a difficult time in deciphering the meaning of lyrics, but that is part of the point. It is about the personal connection to the song.

This is another “upbeat melody/dark AF meaning” sort of songs. There are lots of hints towards abortion in here, and not just abortion but the dodgy “backyard” abortions which used to be a problem. (I say “used to” because I live in Australia, in a place where abortion is an easy thing to organize and it is even relatively cheap and the most you deal with is normally just one random crazy lady standing out the front screaming at you… I realize this makes me sound like I have had a tonne of abortions, but really I have always been that friend who everyone seems to want to take as support to their abortions… which makes sense… Cause I am a fucking nice person.)

I would make an educated guess that AFP is totes pro-choice so it wouldn’t shock me if I am correct here. With lyrics like “I’ve been feeling dull as a coat hanger” and “Put away those pliers, honey. Trust me ’cause I know the options. How about a nine-month-long vacation. And a two-foot coffin” … it gets dark…

So, despite (or because of) the dark depths of this song, it goes on the playlist. Car scream is probs the lyrics up there…

That was only 6 out of 20 songs… I think we might have bitten off more than we can chew… haha… Look out for more posts this month… that pertain to this subject… As the project goes we hope to get to fifty total songs on the playlist… If you have Spotify you can listen to the playlist as we add more songs throughout the month and the coming months… Lemonade and Glass… 

Let us know what you think… What are your favorite songs and why?… hope you enjoyed this… 

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….