Category Archives: Untitled Fiction Series

Chapter Two

I had a hangover when I saw the birds. In a flurry, their movements blossomed above a cascade of cars belting northbound. There were two flocks. They approached and admired each other, seeming to bow almost, a mutuality recognized, and the pair began this festive dance, the one group swayed and mixed with the second group, they bulged and proceeded to collaborate, birds from the first mixed into the second, then they split, then reformed under new factions, only to recalibrate, to sway and turn as a unit and mash quick and elegant back into one, to collide in a periscope of nature, a silent paradox that split upward, that split in half, that stood as simple and transparent as sheared paper against the horizon , that fluttered in diagonals and deft shifts, sublime movement appearing at once dark as it dove against the cliff face and bright as the fever of an autumn sun as it climbed upwards, altogether gallant and lifeless, two identical forms merging and deviating back into two different yet identical forms again, they spread apart a final time only to be reunited, as one true flock, that flys under some autonomous principal, to some imbued forever distant destination, answering only to their flock, to their deathless drone, as they moved past the view of my windshield.

I looked back on the highway, the other cars breezed past my peripheral view, silent and choiceless, I can’t hear them, they can’t hear me, I can’t hear their nature, they cannot allow for the possibility that their ramifications to be true, that their force is a tangible entity, that they themselves must reckon with.  The speed, the noise, the numbers, the danger, the blurring of steel into gargantuan bullets, falsely silent within the confines, the stereos as antiseptic, all this, all that this is, is impeded upon. You don’t notice when things drip past the point of no return, when there is no hope, but despair isn’t an option, since obliviousness has taken hold, since you’re at the helm, after so much time, chaos and disintegration unwillingly becomes the norm. And it takes an explosive event to knock you back to the ground. It always come as a surprise when it happens, surely unbelievable, but in the afterglow it becomes more comprehensibly right, accurate, needed even. But everything is so damn wonderful before this happens.

I keep on learning the same thing over and over again, only in a different tone, with a different name. I don’t know if that it makes it more true, or me more incapable of changing anything. Maybe this is a universal truth that bears repeating, that bears to be stamped down into permanence. I get discouraged too easily, I guess. So I paid my bills off, unplugged the phone, picked up my mail and left town for a couple of days.


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Chapter One

This is the official first chapter of a fictional series that I have been working on in my head as well as on pieces of paper for about nine months now. A previous chapter has already been published through this outlet. It is the previous post. Expect more and in a linear fashion.

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I’ve learned that some people don’t actually get any better, that they may think the prospects in life are improving, but in reality they will plateau at a young age and repeat the only trick they can perform much confidence or skill.  Some people don’t get any worse either, they lay like a wanton ship at a dock, gathering rust from the inside out. Some people don’t get any good, ever. But I’m pretty sure they are aware of that unfortunate fact. Some people think they move free, untethered, but they are in fact stagnant, playing human in some cosmic hallucination and are falling like wounded birds, one into a marsh, bruised and battered, staring listlessly at the fading stars with a blossoming smile of adoration. And I can’t help but think what a burden it must be to love one of them.

The phone would ring. Or it rang. I’m getting lost in tenses. Either way, the bottom line is that phone has been making noises and I haven’t been touching it. I stopped opening the mailbox, stopped checking my email and stopped paying the bills.  I’ve been regularly masturbating, working, reading and sleeping in no particular order. I will sometimes perform two of these simultaneously. Usually I do one at a time and is not very exciting. Some days I’ll go out and meet some friends at a bar. I’ll look around noisy and impatient, at the sea of smiling faces and complicated and swallow my two drinks intimidated by the circuits and volts of life, then quickly I’m behind the wheel going home.

Honestly, I’ve been staying busy. This isn’t a confession of my depression and my isolation, of a person admitting they are in fact very complicated and deep. I’m jovial, polite and slightly shallow. I see shows. I go to lectures. I listen to my professor. But these activities are too distant. I’m the recipient in these situations, not the acting, pushing and pumping agent breathing and teeming with life and experience. It’s odd. Giving really is much better than receiving. The calls were flooding in, and now I’m overflowing with advice, most of it good, but in such a heavy volume and it weighs me down, like a nation founded on good intentions. The mantra’s are slowly becoming the man. I am concerned. The wise words get floundered, misnamed and swallowed between brushing shoulders and exaggerated sighs, in those dark, uncounted places where strangers congregate and play human. The benefit is that I’m getting much better at convincing myself I am better. However, most people see through myself.

I am doing different things, to trick myself. When I’m getting antsy, I go for long walks in the woods as twilight approaches and get high and read poetry. Mostly Thomas and Tennyson. Berryman when I feel adventurous. I go out to dinner with friends, and I focus on them and our conversations. I am occupied and happy when I am given the chance to pursue what I want to do. The situation isn’t the same at work. I have entirely too much freedom, but not the kind I enjoy. The kind where you have to look over your shoulder to make sure you’re aren’t having too much fun or being watched. And when I’m not actually doing anything, which is often, I am vulnerable to this unending self-consumption, the fever dreams of my imagination. I become lost in the thicket of what isn’t and what may be, and that ball in my stomach reemerges. That’s why she told me to start writing this down – to let it out. Then I can relax. And I’m here again, the branches sway, the light catches the room, and my mind follows loosely like a bastard seeking the warm solace of to be held, and to be felt, and to be acknowledged, and the power of the following recognitions bask. I guess Conrad was right when he said imagination was the enemy of man.

There is another precipitatory concern in all this, there is a worry, that these new ways of living is the dawn of a new age of personal habits. The when, how and why of my drinking. The rationale behind my sleep pattern. My taste in art and the capacity it has grown to function as a diversion. My life could be considered a mess. I figure that the problem with habits is that you do not force them, cannot will them, you can repeat something often and religiously, but until it is unconscious and subliminal, until you hear and feel yourself doing it before you see and know, it is not a habit. It is a pattern. It is a habit when it becomes that sudden incalculable manuever. It is when intent meets nature, a black gauze becomes cast over memory, and the revelatory unknowable has become awakened to an unfortunate truth. Then suddenly I’m saddled with a ritual. At least I’m not smoking anymore.

Take my running for example. The urge began as this notion pulsating in my chest, quietly clamoring for motion. A mumbling voice repeating “You should go for a run.” I started on a treadmill with a coworker on a day we both had off, where the sun breathed in through studded concrete and the reflection of the pool held in the back of his apartment complex last summer.  I would be trotting hard and fast with heavy, full feet, like an elephant, pounding and trampling on the scrolling black tarp that forced away the dissenting voices. I couldn’t quit. My coworker couldn’t quit. That unbridled shame would be come public, a level up from that silent guilt that sticks within the tar of your chest when you quit in private. I wasn’t ready for my shame to be public then, at least not last summer.  I didn’t have a reason to quit either.

I started running on the street, something I never tried before. I didn’t know how to start, I stumbled and prodded like an awkward boy until my feet answered the questions and took me off at a brisk pace into the dusklight, between street lights, under an unconsistent canopy did my breath falter, but I continued on, like a strong willed soldier with weak judgment. And then the pain set in. I looked at the moon. I heard a voice remind me that Machines know me better that I know myself. So I breathe in, and relax, and try something different.

Chapter Five

I get lost in thought. Sometimes my wind wanders to different places during conversation, that curious child manifesting itself in my mind. I miss crucial points of stories. I don’t listen when someone tells the punchline on a joke. I’ll forget when we were lost in each others eyes. I won’t remember your name; My attention follows strange cars and recall plots of movies I had long convinced myself I had forgotten, like a child discovering the toy lodged in the current of chaos that lives under his bed. Only sometimes though.

On this particular morning of question, a cloudless morning in the midst of an endurable summer, I was lost in thought again. My internal dialogue was plowing through concepts and motor functions like Paul Bunyan encapsulated in Styrofoam- I was bursting with ideas. I had convinced myself I was capable of doing something I completely wasn’t; I thought I could imagine what I was going to say to a strangers on based exclusively on what they had said to me, when something truly absurd had happened.

At first, I couldn’t believe it. I turned my head back towards his litter box and continued to scoop his leavings. I assumed it was another of those strangers voices, that my mental reality was blending with my sensory. This wouldn’t be the first time. Or the last.

But then I heard it again. I fell back and let my bony ass hit the ground, and looked at him intently.  His eyes responded with their deep wide knowing, an immediate recognition and acceptance of the things I just couldn’t accept or even recognize. He was deaf and incapable of communicating, but he was emotionally light years ahead of me. I reached out to pick him up, but he scampered off into the bedroom, and paused in the center of the room, and looked back at me, and darted under the bed, his safe spot. That was the only time he ever didn’t let me pick him up. It was also the only time he ever ran away from me. He has virtually no fear or people. I am convinced that he is convinced he is one of us. In every department, he behaves the opposite that a normal cat would. And right then, I understood that there was no reason for this recent piece of unbelievable information to be any different than that.

A talking cat seemed perfectly possible to me then, but for some reason I didn’t want to believe it. Because believing that meant believing everything else I never could believe. It meant there was a camouflaged door between wonder and reality, that there is a shapeless unexplainable entity choosing who this happens to and who bears witness. It meant that all the studying economy, politics and science that I spent my formative years “understanding” were immediately proved false and disregarded. I wasn’t ready to have my existence thus far undoubtedly proved as a meaningless waste. It was too much to handle while I was scooping out his shit for him.

Then in the hall I clearly heard him announce “Daddy, I’m hungry!” and I winced when I should have been grateful for the blessing I had received.

Some things just don’t change because you want them to.