Category: Episode 9


Episode 9

It seems quite impossible that I started stringing these weird stories together 9 months ago.  It has been a gestation not unlike growing a child.  Each month has become more interesting for me than the previous and I never know where these episodes will go until the work comes in.  They develop their own sub-themes and this episode plays around with the ideas of Insignificance and Emotional Invisibility.  As per usual, these things are interpreted differently by each writer and again in turn by each reader.

I am a broken record, I admit that wholeheartedly, because again I will mention (for those of you new to the game) that these episodes are meant to be read and enjoyed in the order you find them and then again as individual pieces.  This episode features the the twisted minds of F.D. Marcel, Dan Provost, David E. Oprava, Misti Rainwater-Lites, Luis C. Berriozabal, Robert Vaughan, Ryan Snellman and Maria Gornell. 

Come and get some.

Aleathia

In winter, the architecture collapsed and alcohol found its place in-between Scrooge-thoughts, why wonder? Nothing but awkward moments, wondering why everything failed in the long-run. She found me boring, the worst kind of ending. And this is how I spent my Christmas in 2009: alone and pricing escorts against what I owed car insurance & the overdrawn bank account. It was my last bottle of whiskey, it was my last pack of smokes, it was my last day at work. We tried to make love and failed. My right hand bled constantly; it was the first year my skin cracked under cold temperatures; blood around my knuckles, blood along my fingers. The car croaked and died, the hard cider was suddenly gone and all that was left was codeine syrup. We mixed it with kool-aid. She left me on a Saturday, she took the TV.

    “You’re gonna pay the rent?” she asked.
    “I have some money left.”
    “So are you gonna pay the rent?”
    “I’ll pay the rent.”
    “So what else?”
    “Nothing else.”
    “Forward my mail?”
    “Yeah.”
    “And the landline?”

    “I have my cellphone.” I said. My cellphone was dead, been dead for months. Two weeks until the company would kill it due to non-payment and sell the number to someone else. I was willing to let it die. Lose contact, lose the number. She had plans to move to Vancouver, she had friends there. I was just going to wait until eviction. And then the shelter on 6th. And then however far the gas in my car’s tank would take me. I hoped for Texas, I expected Memphis.

    “Do you have anything left?” she asked. And then I was resentful, she was asking me about money. I was drunk, I was indifferent.

    “I’m fine.” I said. She hadn’t seen me drink, the entire time we’d been together. And that night, I was drinking, I was drunk, I was belligerent. Told her I was done drinking, told her I was OK. Told her what she wanted to hear, and she looked right through it, like it was a veil, like it was me. Ended on a sour note. Not anything sour between us, but sour because she took the TV. We bought it, but she put down $300 and I put down $100. It was a matter of money and when I woke up the next day, hungover and in pain, I listened to the news on my alarm-clock radio and that was all I had. That and the kitchen table. She had asked me if I had anything left. I told her I did. But I didn’t. And just like that, I was soon sober. Nothingness kept me sober. Nothingness kept me honest. She took mostly everything. Except the sound of her gone. It snowed the day she left. It snowed and I found something like $200 in the bedroom, underneath the mattress. I priced an escort. Christmas was better that year.

It was during a very early October snow storm when I decided to drop out of the human race.  I kept looking the flakes drop outside my bay window and understood; “I am not significant, nothing that happens in this life is significant.” 

 I wrote a note to anyone who cared that I was leaving.  I did not know where or how I was going to get there—I just knew I could not play the game of existence anymore.  The note emphasized that no one was to blame about this decision…only I was the one who saw no point in fooling the world that I was normal—or wanted to be normal.

 Men like me are false fables.  Stories invented inside our heads to sooth us through another day, week or in my case, an hour.  I hated what I had become, but that was not all there was to it; I hated what everybody had become; a slew of infested rats playing in an electrified cage.

 It made me sick.

 So it was time to leave…leave what?

 Everything that is acted is a figment of life’s imagination. 

 I hope the road is not taken yet…

 Sadly, I never had the guts to do it.

I am reading a book about an obsessive man. (he’s reading one about her and waiting for the suck) He is obsessed with exclusion of memories and time. (she’s wishing he’d pull out the gun, metaphor, brass knuckles, allegorical significance) He is obsessed with secret lovers and dead ends. (she’s baiting him with panties and roast beef) I am watching this man go crazy on crisp pages. (he’s gone blind with furry palms and smiles) He is mad with jealousy and imposed doubt. (she’s bled every limb of his sleeping body with leeches) He is mad at her beauty; he makes excuses for infidelities. (she is fucking the innuendos he leaves on his plate) I am listening to his incessant mind percolate conjecture. (you don’t even hear the ruby lipped slappage) He is light on listening. (I am raw and glistening) and heavy on barbed words. (and barbed on waiting) He rushes through life head down and eyes front. (She has the lead foot on cruise control) I am seeing my face on his face, my body inside his body.  (You are projecting the 8mm broken reel from the beginning of the film) We are one and the same. (You’re not in the frame)

There was the one guy who told me I looked like Hawaii. I appreciate specifics. But of course you can’t see Hawaii from Oklahoma and I could only show him my sunsets when I was drunk. He dumped me over steak and potatoes in Wichita Falls. That night I saw “The Sixth Sense” with my brother and identified with the ghosts. I’ve always been a haunted house kind of girl. Some people are brave enough to explore me but it is the rare person who actually senses me and doesn’t run away screaming in abject horror. I have too many spiders in my hair. I’m too Bloody Mary in the mirror. I’m the urban legend about that highway in between Seymour and Elektra, Texas. I’m the cheerleader who died in a car wreck while sucking her football player boyfriend’s cock. I am spotted on certain October nights when the moon is full or waxing, walking along the highway bloody and deranged in my ripped maroon and white uniform with my left tit exposed and no bloomers underneath, a desiccated cock dangling from my spectral pout.

I let my leg get so bad, the doctor had to amputate.  There was something evil in that leg.  I could never tell when it would make me walk to places I did not want to go.  My left leg was fine, but my right leg was pure evil.  It lead me astray.  I walked away from the people who cared about me.  I could not find the strength to fight it.   I cut my leg on a rusty nail.  I let my leg bleed out, did not tend to my wound, and gangrene set in.   I thought I was through with my evil right leg.  But sometimes I get these pains in my right leg.  It is excruciating pain.  When I look down where it hurts, the leg is no longer there.

It was supposed to be different. We’d spent so much energy preparing ourselves, the house, his room. For months, I’d met with Marisol, the transition counselor provided by the agency. I’d say we even became friends. But the closer the date got, the actual trip to Argentina, the meeting in the flesh, handing over of unnamed child, I got more and more anxious. Cold feet.  Lost my appetite. Sleep was spotty at best. Just couldn’t do it.

And it isn’t so bad, not a huge deal, if this was our first time.

My husband, Anthony, is pissed. Of course, I understand why. It’s been a huge investment of time, money and risk for us both. But we finally talk. We cover the gamut: our miscarriage in 2008, how many times we thought we were with child since: again, repeat, again. The pressure from both of our families, especially my mom.

It seemed like Anthony really heard me like never before, finally understood my anxieties. Maybe I said some things I’d held back, too. I even told him about the pill. Finally, after months of pressing, not to mention screwing, he left the baby decision to me.

Now we’re at Kennedy airport. We’re going to do this. While Anthony runs to get coffee, I take his picture from my purse. The baby, Manuelito. One tiny monkey. I place the other hand on my abdomen. Willing myself to stay here, not disappear.

“I’m coming,” I whisper, “can you hear me?”

It was a Thursday evening, the end of a long day at work. There were over a hundred people at the first annual event for the program. A few managers from related programs, one married with husband and child, another with fiancé, one with her sister, and the organizer whose mother just came up from Nevada. The music was a local jazz band, just sultry enough to go along with the affair. The photographs on wall showed the women at their most vulnerable and proud, all for sale to keep shelter open another night. There was a raffle and an auction, what won’t we do for a few more dollars. I wonder at the ease with which some mingle and at the way some couples seem so familiar and intimate with each other even in this crowd of people. A city council woman spoke of the need to support this and other programs to help those less fortunate. My heart lay open to one who was there, knowing hers belongs to another. She introduced me to her sister and named me fabulous for all the help I provide, what is an accountant for after all. Her smile and touch a supernova on the emptiness that fills my reality. The event went on without a hitch. People gathered, ate donated sweets, and gave to a worthy cause. The jazz framing the slow sultry sugary evening I slip back out into evening leaving my heart behind in an event to help those who need it most.

When Clara was a child she’d hide the teacher’s pen behind the school radiator.
She’d get caught of course but never tell why till they beat her palms purple and blue.
Her reason they thought as strange as the way she stared out windows in a daze
or turned her back on films she didn’t want to watch in the hall. If they stood her in
the hallway like a naughty child she’d just leave the premises, go to her grandmothers
around the corner, who made the best scrambled eggs for lunch and would never tell
on her, this was quite surprising in view of her religious hang-ups.

On every wall of her grandmother’s house were hung pictures of mother Mary, the sacred heart
and Jesus but the painting Clara was most drawn to was a picture of St Patrick patron saint of
Ireland surrounded by snakes. She’d stare at it for hours; sometimes she slept over and at night
the painting glowed in the dark; the snakes appearing like huge glow worms coming to eat her
flesh. She’d crawl into her grandmother’s bed and they’d lay awake all night listening to stories
about her childhood which Clara would later write stories about. Her grandmother was left handed
but as a child it was forbidden so, she was taught by nuns who she described as terrifying, they
didn’t use sticks to beat you in those days but a long piece of wood protruding with thorns and
they’d beat them mercilessly till she had no choice but to write with her right hand.

Years later during therapy the reason she hid pens was discussed during a session, she explained
why as she didn’t like red pens scrawled across her pages of stories, in huge red letters which said
WRONG.