Sunday, January 31, 2010

Water Flows At Different Levels

A short story that occurred to me the other night when sleep alluded me. I can't say that I wish to explain any of it. Take it however you wish.

Water Flows At Different Levels

You go awhile not noticing it. A long while and you don’t see it until one day you become aware of some sort of dam that is now one entire side of your house. Maybe not a proper dam, but there’s something there and it is definitely holding something back. You don’t tell anyone about this, you don’t alert anyone to it and since no one else is noticing it, there’s nothing to tell, really, is there?

There’s definitely a pressure behind it. You sense this though it isn’t transparent. You feel it. And one day there is a leak. A small one. You press a finger to it and a clear, cool liquid appears. You taste it and it tastes very good. It makes you smile. Over time the trickle becomes a leak. Soon you are filling a cup with the liquid and it quenches a thirst you had. But it’s getting on the floor. You can clean it easily. No one notices the puddle.

Some days it leaks badly and you’re annoyed. Other times the trickle doesn’t seem adequate. So you take an ice pick to it one day and a lot of the cool water comes out. Too much. You need to stop it before the excess moves from room to room, staining everything. Soon it will be noticeable and the source will be discovered. It is almost too much to clean up. You plug the gap and clean it. Your panic soon leaves you and calmness settles in. No one will notice. And the leak has been taken care of.

Time passes.

Fingers caress the dam. Sweet water trickles again. You touch your lips to it, remembering. Smiling. Wishing you could swim in it. Immerse yourself within.

You are still the only one who senses the pressure there and it doesn’t seem likely to burst, ruining your home. You’re quite certain it won’t. And this comforts you and saddens you both at the same time. But you’re glad it’s there.

At least you think it’s there. After tending to other things you are surprised to find it has vanished. You had come to take the dam as a given, its presence always there to slake your thirst as you wished. Where would it go, after all? You search, fingers sliding over cabinets, appliances, and a wall, but there is nothing more. It is gone. As abruptly as it arrived, it has vanished. You stand there for awhile. Mystified.

Then you turn and walk towards the waterfall that occupies the den. Who needs a trickle when you have always had that waterfall to wash over you? After a time, the dam and its slow trickle is no match for the feelings the cascading water is giving you.

And you forget.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

They Enter The Car

Here's a short story I wrote this past week, finishing it today. I am intrigued by spaces and how we occupy them and how they reoccur sometimes, over and over. Our car is one such space where we spend so much time, yet don't really focus on it. Comments, even anonymous, always appreciated.

They Enter The Car

They enter the car. They enter the car, a family now, he driving, she holding Son. They enter the car, beaming at new life. They enter the car, he smiling and driving, she making faces at the baby in the car seat. They enter the car, toys and trash and stains and crying and yelling. They enter the car, the toddler angry, always angry. They enter the car, he driving, Mother holding baby Daughter. They enter the car, Son being told not to be rough with his sister. They enter the car, a newer one, New Car Smell, two toddler smell. They enter the car, no longer new seeming. McDonald’s fries, hard and cold to the touch, between seats, a ketchup stain on the roof. They enter the car going to school. They enter the car, baseball gear in the back, parts of a Barbie Doll, Lego blocks, candy wrappers, chocolate shake stains on the floor. They enter the car without Son and Daughter, going out, alone. Relief and anticipation jockey for first place in the pantheon of this experience. They enter the car with a box of leftovers from the restaurant placed gently on the backseat. They enter the car, fresh from a play hosted by the local community college; a performer sits in the backseat, the one not occupied by the box of leftover linguini. She chatters on about her role in the play and they listen, eagerly, before they drop her off at her Stepfather’s house. Once alone, they kiss, Mother and Father, pretending it is High School again.
They enter the car for Son’s driving test; he is anxious, but confident. They enter the car, son and Driving Instructor, he obeying most of the traffic laws, and thereby passing. They enter the car, Mother and Son, the latter driving, the former pressing her foot into the bare floorboard, stomping on an imaginary brake pedal, though not at all conscious of her action. They enter the car, Father and Mother, angry at one another for no reason either could specify were they to have to. They enter the car, Son and date, each tingling with excitement as they drive to the party. They enter the car, slightly buzzed, driving a short distance away before parking and clumsily engaging in a sex act. Then, after, they walk along the edge of the woods, holding hands, in the moonlight.
They enter the car, Daughter and three friends; a shiny new laminated Driver’s License in her purse, cell phone in her hand. Girls shrieking, girls yelling, girls giggling, girls texting. Daughter drifts into the lane of oncoming traffic, overcorrects and, tires squealing, the car flips over several times, landing in a field. All girls are hurt, one critically. They enter the car, somberly, the family dressed in black, Daughter arm in splint, to go to Erin’s funeral, as the critical injuries proved fatal. No one has a cell phone in their hand.
They enter the car to see Son’s new place. They enter the car, loaded with Son’s items, to take to his new place. They enter the car to go to Daughter’s wedding. They enter the car to see Son’s new baby boy, their grandchild. They enter the car, with a newly installed car seat for Grandson to sit in. They enter the car with Grandson firmly placed in the car seat, Mother making faces at the baby in the car seat. They enter the car, three grandchildren now, raucous, loud, and pleasant to Mother and Father. They enter the car to take Grandchildren back to Son and Daughter’s respective places, relieved they don’t have to spend all day every day with them. They enter the car, Mother and Father dressed to attend Father’s Retirement Party. Music is low and Mother talks non-stop. Father stares straight ahead, driving, not talking; only thinking of the past.
They enter the car, Father helps Mother into the passenger side of the car, as she is still weak from the chemotherapy. Before the drive is through, the faint smell of vomit is detected and the bag the hospital gave them is half full. They enter the car, Son driving Father to see Mother at the Extended Care Facility, he and Daughter make small talk but Father is silent and solemn. He does not show any particular expression.
They enter a car, Son and his Family. They enter a car, Daughter and her Family. The two cars drive to the funeral parlor, to arrange their parent’s burials. Father passed away in his sleep almost one week after Mother died in the hospital. They enter the car, the long car, the long black car, made especially for one lying in repose, Mother and Father each get one, both followed, slowly, by many other cars, headlights on, though it is daylight. Their destination is the final one for Mother and Father.
The cars change color and form, as do the passengers and drivers, and they leave the cemetery to go to houses, restaurants, and stores, sometimes entire families sometimes alone, and sometimes distracted, they enter the cars.

Friday, January 15, 2010


This is a short story I wrote in the summer of 2008. It is a thinly veiled piece of fiction that illustrates my thoughts and feelings at the time. Any comments, pro or con, would be appreciated.


I awoke slowly, as if I were arising from the depths of darkness to the sunlight. My eyes opened but that was the only movement. I noted the position of my body, my arms and legs seeming at impossible angles yet I was at peace, calm. For the first time in a long time I didn't feel any pain in my stomach. A rare day indeed. I listened for any sounds in the house but couldn't locate any. Just the normal outside sounds, a dog barking, a car speeding through the neighborhood and always the incessant chirping of birds.

There was no one in bed with me. Hadn't been for weeks. My wife separated from me and was sleeping in a guest room so I had the King size bed to myself. It always seemed far too big yet I utilized it. And this morning it also seemed cold though it was summer and the house was warm. It also seemed a little sticky but that didn't register until later.

I arose and tossed the cover off of me. I felt fantastic for some reason. Not to say I was old and achy, but I never felt this good upon awaking. As if I could run a marathon or something. And I wasn't hungry which was odd. I was usually hungry first thing in the morning. I walked around the bed, preparing to open the door to my bedroom when I noticed that there was someone else in the bed. Odd, that. It appeared he was in the same position I was in a few moments ago. This wasn't possible. I was instantly disoriented. It looked as if I hadn't yet woken up. Because I was looking at myself, still asleep. Wasn't I? I was. That was me. I knew myself from the mirror and this guy was that one.

I pinched myself because this had to be a dream. I willed myself awake but nothing happened. I was still staring at my doppelganger. And he had blood coming out of his nose. And a large puke stain near his mouth. It was dried, white, and looked as if it had been there awhile. Ditto the blood. He wasn't moving. He didn't appear to be breathing either.

I was reluctant to go around the bed and touch him but I was still feeling as if this weren't real so I walked over to him and nudged him. I felt for sure he was going to pop up and surprise me but he didn't. I noticed the smell then. Apparently he had crapped himself. Right there in the bed. I lifted the cover and saw the dark brown stain. I replaced the cover and felt his shoulder. His face was now away from me and I felt the icy coldness of him. He was dead. I was dead. If this were indeed me, and I had no other explanation to go on.

I noticed the usual selection of pill bottles on the bedstand. I suffered from a chronic disease and pills were second nature in my life. But one bottle looked like it had come from a different pharmacy. It was opened and empty save for four or five pills. The label said Diazepam (generic for Valium). Did I need Valium for some reason? I couldn't remember. I couldn't remember anything from the previous night come to think of it. I blinked. I folded my arms. This didn't make sense. This guy who was me obviously took an overdose and killed himself. Here was his body, my body, to prove it.

I wasn't afraid, just puzzled. I would have to alert someone.

I went to the bedroom door and tried to open it but failed. I had success in opening doors from an early age, but this time I had obviously missed the knob, because I only gripped air. I redoubled my efforts and was surprised to find my hand go through the knob. My hand was transparent. I couldn't grasp the knob at all. When I tried to push on the door it was as if there was a force field there. I wasn't able to penetrate it. Another door led outside but after trying it, the same result occurred. I was trapped here in this room with my own dead body until someone came to let me out.

My cellphone rang. I saw that it was my soon to be ex-wife and went to pick it up. My hand passed through it. The phone vibrated itself off of the table and onto the floor yet I still couldn't pick it up. Rather than focus on my situation I wondered why I could feel my dead body and the cover upon it yet not the phone or the door. Perhaps whatever related to the outside world was forbidden to me now. There was just me here in this room. And I was going to have to wait until someone opened the door.

It was going to be a long day. Luckily I wasn't hungry. But I was starting to get the creeps being penned up with my own corpse.

The sonorous echoes of distant church bells were barely perceptable but I could indeed make them out. The sound was beautiful. I wasn't able to turn on the radio, television, or computer so the silence in the room was palpable. Perhaps I could have heard the bells any other day had I just been listening closely enough. Time did not seem to drag. I knew someone would discover my body soon enough and until then I was content with sitting in a chair and waiting.

I heard a car pull up outside and opened the drapes to peer out. It was my stepson in his new truck. He entered the house and made some noise, evidently getting some clothes for football practice. I yelled but he did not respond. Soon, he was gone, peeling out of the driveway. I wasn't panicking though. In fact, I wasn't anything. Hungry, tired, thirsty, bored, scared. Nothing. I just...was. I was existing in the moment, perhaps for the first time in my life. It wasn't unpleasant.

My cell rang again. I didn't bother to even look to see who it was as it was a pointless exercise really. Soon after, my wife's car pulled up into the drive. She got out of the car and I could hear her on her cell, but not well enough to make out the words. She entered the front door and I heard her purse and keys hit the table.

She opened the bedroom door and peeked in. "Glenn?", she said. "Are you okay?" She stepped further into the room and I watched her level of concern rise. I stood in front of her, hoping to block her way but as she slowly rounded the bed she passed right through me, as if I were a wisp of smoke. I walked out the bedroom door to her shouts of "Glenn? Glenn!". She started screaming and I could hear the squeaking of the bed as she, presumably, tried to waken me. Something inside me knew I didn't need to be present for this exhibition. There was nothing I could do anyway and it seemed too upsetting to stay around. So I walked through the front door, without thinking about how I did it, and sat on the porch. Later an ambulance and police car arrived. Neighbors came out of their houses. Some of my wife's relatives also came over. I walked over to see them comfort her and watched the ambulance girl roll the cart with my sheet-covered body into the ambulance. She shut the door and the ambulance drove off.

I wondered if I would be drawn with my body but I wasn't. I stayed where I was, in the yard, by myself. Everyone left, including my wife. I was alone again. It was quiet. Only the church bells rang, this time a little louder but no less beautiful.

I no longer noticed time passing by. I imagine a few days passed but it could have just as easily been a few weeks. I noticed a man my wife knew casually making himself at home in what I still considered to be my house. I found myself hanging out on the roof mostly. It seemed more peaceful up there. Since he began spending the night, I didn't enter the house anymore. It was during one of these beautiful Spring evenings tht I heard a whining coming from my backyard. It was my dog, Brock.

How had I missed him? Did I assume that he, like everyone else, would not see me and therefore not even seek him out? I felt bad for my lack of attention to this animal who was my best friend. Assuming he was looking into a kitchen window, crying for a treat, I glanced down at him. He was looking directly at me and wagging his tail.

Brock was a Golden Retriever and received compliments from strangers and friends alike on his doggy good looks since I rescued him from the pound. And now apparently he could see me. I waved at him and his whining increased. I jumped down and went to pet him and slather him with love but we were unable to touch. I was as ghostly and transparent to him as I was to the rest of the world's inhabitants. However, it was quite comical to watch his confusion at trying to lick and play with something that had no substance. We ended up frustrated with one another and I alit back onto the roof, out of his sight, for he was pathetic in his desire to be with me and the confusion this inability entailed.

One night my wife and what I now called her bff began hauling boxes from a shed to a large firepit dug into the backyard. I recognized the boxes as those containing many of my belongings, such as books, college papers, and other items I thought had worth. The bff poured what I believed to be a liberal amount of gasoline onto the pile and my wife lit and tossed a match onto it. A whoof sound, then intense flames. When everything I had owned was burning she cuddled up next to him and they watched the fire. The sun was setting and the scene probably seemed beautiful to them. I was unmoved.

Cars whizzed by on the busy road in front of the house and from my perch on the roof I noticed Brock watching me intently. I glanced from the happy couple to my dog. He seemed preternaturally stoic. He sensed my mood perhaps for he barked, once. Then, like a shot, he bolted towards the gate and with one leap cleared it. I had never seen him do this before, nor had he had the desire, to my knowledge. After landing on the other side he looked at me once again with that odd intensity and ran with haste toward the busy street in front of our house.

My wife noticed him and called out his name, "What are you doing Brock?! Where are you going?!" she yelled. He never looked at her, nor anyone, he simply ran. He ran for the street and seemed to be timing it so that he could inch ahead of a black SUV that was speeding down the road.

I jumped off the roof, screaming, knowing how close this would be and as I ran side by side with my wife, I saw Brock leap into traffic. My wife and I stopped near the curb and heard the screaming tires of the SUV as it attempted to stop. Brock disappeared under the grill of the vehicle and to my amazement was unhurt. Another car coming the other way had stopped along with the SUV and people started exiting their vehicles and milling around. From behind the SUV Brock came trotting towards me, apparently none the worse for wear. He reached me and I petted him, feeling for broken bones but I could feel nothing wong with him. He licked my face with his cool tongue and I hugged him tight. He clearly liked the attention. Then I noticed the crowd of people part slightly so that I had a view of the body of a dog, a dog that had been run over by the SUV. It was Brock.

My wife was crying and the bff was comforting her. The SUV owner was apologizing and the body of Brock was not moving and not pretty to look at. I looked down at my dog, panting and appearing to smile at me. I understood what he had done. The sounds of the traffic began to fade and the church bells pealed, stronger. I turned to face the sound and started walking. Brock easily fell in by my side and we paced gently through fences, trees, and any other earthly obstacles that had been placed in our way. We walked without hurry towards the sound of the bells and did not look back.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Angelica, the Movie, Introduction

With the help of a friend, I came up with the beginning of a screenplay I'd like us to write. Here is the Introduction:


(Cydonia, by Muse begins to play.)

CAMERA PANS down, slowly to a parked car in a driveway, passenger side looking in.


A five year old girl is listening to her mother, who has just started the car.


I forgot something ANGELICA. I'll be right back. Hang on, okay?

MOTHER exits car. ANGELICA looks at the steering wheel. She unhooks her seatbelt and moves over to the Driver's side. She puts the car in Reverse and hits the gas pedal.


From perspective of the hood we see a delighted ANGELICA enjoy the ride as the car screams down the driveway, missing a mailman by a foot. The car crosses the street, jumping a curb and CRASHES into the front of the house opposite ANGELICA's house.


Rather than look scared, ANGELICA is happy looking. Neighbor's begin to mull around and the camera closes in on ANGELICA's face and devilish smile and

Black screen, song ends, TITLE CARD reads, "10 YEARS LATER"


The same scene end on 5 year old ANGELICA is now focusing on 15 year old ANGELICA, devilish smile and all. She is dressed in a cute Devil's outfit, complete with red horns in black hair.

(to STACEY, sister and passenger)

Let's go.

(Buckling in)
How did you get the key?


I made a copy, whatever, let's go. Mom think's we're Trick or Treating.


Won't she miss the car?

ANGELICA puts the car in neutral, it glides silently down the driveway, once in the street the car starts, and she drives away. CAMERA PANS up to see back of the car driving away.

(Voice only)


Monday, January 4, 2010

How to Tweet

I am pretty much considered a Master Tweeter by everyone. My skillz are mad, I tweet unique, and I crush it day after day. It is for this reason I am going to offer up some tips and rules for how to approach Twitter and, perhaps, you can become as awesome as I am. Last night I gave out many of these rules while actually tweeting and they received mixed approval, and 4 Unfollows. But in order to make a good omelette, you must break eggs. Then whip those eggs with a dash of milk, then pour that in a hot pan and fill with cheeses, mushrooms, etc. My point is, omelettes are difficult and so am I. If you've stuck with me, you know I can be an ass. Therefore, if you STILL, RIGHT NOW, think I am seriously TELLING you how to Tweet, then I can't help you. While some of these tips are serious, they are the opinion of the management only and not the views of Twitter in general. Shall we begin?

Your Avatar: This is what everyone learns to see when you Tweet. We learn to recognize your presence by what your av depicts. Put a pic of you in your av. Don't include other people. This is Twitter, not a Family Album. Refrain from putting up artsy pics or animated pics or landscape pics. This is Twitter, not an art gallery. If you are a sports fan, logos are okay, during season and playoffs only. The majority of us are on Twitter to talk to one another, and a face is nice. And NO you are NOT too ugly/fat/weird to fulfill this request. Trust me.

Method: When replying to someone, it is preferable to click on reply rather than to try and type out the user's name. Many Tweets meant for me have gone to @InkPather. And that guy does NOT deserve your time. He's a tatoo artist and has a criminal past, avoid him. Feel free to get creative with HOW you insert someone's name. For instance:

@TwitGirl Hello, how are you today? (Standard usage and most popular)
Hey there @TwitGirl how are you? (Creative usage)
What's up with you @TwitGirl ? (Creative as well)
@TwitGirl Hi you! @ExGirlFriend (By including her at the end of the Tweet, you're just flirting in front of your ex)
@TwitGirl My ex is a douche. She is totally unlike you. She's a whore. @ExGirlFriend (Now WHY would you air this in public? That's just mean. Entertaining, sure, but mean.)

The inclusion of another person in your conversation is always welcome as well. The other night I was included in a conversation because I was added at the end of their Tweets. I do not know why they did this but it was very funny and far easier to follow because they did it. This is almost mandatory when you are talking to someone ABOUT someone else.

The Retweet: This is the place where one method should be employed. I have a preference however, if another were to be chosen and used by everyone I wouldn't mind. Now for this one, I must explain: I use TweetDeck, and I employ the option where I can modify the RT. For those on the web, I don't know that you have that option. And the reason I bring this up only refers to modifying/adding to Retweets.

Commenting before the RT seems counterintuitive, but works best, I think. Adding your comment after the RT can become confusing. For instance:

RT @TwitGirl @InkPather Hello to you you sexy inkman How are you? How are you doll? I am good! Did you hear about @ExGirlFriend?

Now, granted, the 2 people understand each other, but I am not sure where one ends and the other begins. Plus, they are STILL bagging on that poor girl.

RT @InkPather: RT @TwitGirl @InkPather @aplusk Hey you guys:::HI HOW ARE YOU>>No I didn't hear about @ExGirlFriend ~~~I am fine thanks!

Pandemonium. Just start over. Try it my way:

I am stabby. RT @TwitGirl: @InkPather Hi. How are you?


No. I mean a knife. RT @TwitGirl: @InkPather Ooh., U wanna "stab" me with ur u-know-what? RT @InkPather: @Twitgirl I am stabby. RT @TwitGirl: @InkPather Hi how are you?

Really, the only reason to RT is if you are responding to a tweet that occurred some time in the past, to remind the tweetee what you are talking about.

Direct Messages: You're on your own with this one. Do what you like. One caveat: Remember that if they receive email notification that you have DMed them, the recipient will see not your Tweet name, but the name you have entered in the profile info. If, like me, you like to be creative there, remember a first DM to that new person may be seen as "You have a new message from Carlos Spicyweiner". This may or may not be a good thing.

Tweeting In General: Another one where you're on your own. Some people hate Mondays. And Tuesdays. And their work, their life, the weather, what's on TV, the news, etc. Negative tweeting, longterm, isn't recommended. You get a reputation.

Tweet about your grievances, what you are eating, other tweeters, any random thought, the weather, your ex. Give us pictures to look at, links to your blog, links to your videos, links to stuff you like. Quote movies, song lyrics, poetry. Tell a story, pout, start a fight. Or do none of these and lurk. There aren't really any rules I can tell you about regarding this. We all use Twitter differently. We all have different tastes and ingredients to add, like omelettes. I like avocado and bacon in mine, you may like Gruyere and green onion. But we're all here to eat it. Well, except for the Vegans. And people who are allergic to eggs. Admittedly the analogy has broken down. Happy Tweeting.