Posts Tagged ‘Philosophy’

What is the worth of a word?
Trust

Whale… that was unexpected.

Trust: The steadfast belief in the words and/or actions of another to meet some unspoken expectation.

Trust is perhaps the most hotly touted but least earned characteristic of our time. Absolutely essential to modern living, Trust is required, to one degree or another, in nearly every interaction we have: from shopping for groceries, and trusting that the store you frequent isn’t completely ripping you off for Mallomars; To crossing the road (particularly here in NYC), and trusting that the drivers around you will follow traffic law… and not hastily paint a greasy tire track onto your backside while rushing off toward the next red light. Undoubtedly, Trust is the quintessential foundation for ANY relationship, or should be, particularly in those which hope to be healthy and long-lasting, and for good reason — without some sort of basic Trust, how could any relationship ever strive to exist beyond the superficial?

But — and I Trust that you know I had a big ole’ “BUT” planned somewhere in here soon, (and I know, that you know, that I knew that — believe-you-me…) — Trust, good, noble and wholly necessary to cultivating and maintaining relationships as it may be, is a double edged sword, ain’t it? As it’s also the very same condition which flips to become a hotbed breeding ground for treachery and deception. After all, the most effective way to dupe someone is by beginning as an individual whom they implicitly Trust. Someone dark and shrouded against their careful eye of scrutiny? Only an individual given sanctuary from your doubt will find themselves in the unique position to leverage you — you and your peevish Trust, reader — to take advantage, while your back is turned, of you and your good nature.

SUCKER!

Behind-My-Back

It’s a common misconception, actually, that bunnies are of a good nature. If you don’t believe me, go watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

So… getting back on topic.

Here’s the truth about Trust: If you deserve it, you shouldn’t need it. It’s more mere cursory respect. Worth exists individualistically, it’s intrinsic — either you’ve got it, or you ain’t — and thus is wholly independent of others’ regard of you. So when questioned by a friend or associate, IF you’re an honest individual, you shouldn’t distress — you should just be anxious to re-prove your worth. Between those of a valid bond, doubt is always laughable. Encouraged, even. As you’re both clearly confident that you’ve nothing to fear… just something to clear up.

Even in the healthiest relationships, for every five positive interactions, one is still negative. Couples, whatever constituents may make them up, just doesn’t see eye to eye from time to time… and that’s healthy. People are different. That’s what makes them interesting. Negative interaction is NORMAL; natural. Think about it, if two individuals were to agree on EVERY-single-THING, every stones ripple cast across their philosophical matrix, than there would be no basis for a relationship — they’d be the same person… with nothing to gain from an interaction at all. BORING! Without differences, we simply wouldn’t be interested…

Thusly, Paula Abdul was right after all — Opposites really do attract.

Only so long as long as this doesn’t happen too often, this doubt — so long as it is truly reserved for situations of true extremity — these little tests can serve to solidify and reinforce an already sound house of union. However, and as mentioned before, this healthy and natural turbulent period, necessary to the pretext of any relationship and it’s growth over time, is, too, very much sensitive… to exploitation.

Bearing all this in mind, today I’d like to present you with a short story that further examines the virtues of Trust, both from the writer to the reader, and from character to character, within. For this story, there is no right answer. Faith, and whichever direction you choose (or don’t choose) to place it, will determine your alignment in the end… and you won’t be wrong.

Thus, I humbly present to you — good, Trustworthy readers — with…

“The Duel”

The nebulous grey dust will never fully settle on the face of the Moon. It whorls, and kicks, and cuts unseen, vitriolic, against anything left exposed. It’s incessant and furtive, forever under the influence of the restless solar wind, and will, over time, dismantle man or machine alike without prejudice. The Dome was built inspired by this very volatility, fortified against this same eternal plague, and the unbridled solar wind herself, unable to be tamed, was the chief reasoning for our own engineering. We live for radiant energy; our metabolism necessitates it’s consumption. Thus is it our charge to siphon excesses from the craters and their pools for mere survival, and to flock about, endlessly searching for and then drinking from, cuts in their vast cable infrastructure. The same tethering which enables them to stay, and to thrive, on our world.

Something unusual was happening within the Dome. We could all feel it; after all, we were bred to. A flurry of humans, minds buzzing alight with fresh electrical impulses, fanciful notions of fear and doubt, all gathered around the southern lock-gates of their building 42 and made us slaver. Yet today there was no ship we could sense about to be seen off. No piles of refuse were planned to be jettisoned off into our wastelands.  Merely were there two men, each oozing with an abundance of mental radiance, standing in the antechamber, both donned in full Terra-Gear and each wielding an ancient pistol, slung by leather, and hanging low at the hip. It would seem that the most ancient of rituals, one which we hadn’t seen the execution of in many an orbit, was about to be underway…

A Duel.

Audible to our ears alone, the familiar, “Vhur-Woosh”, of the retreating exterior docking doors rang out, (our tympanal membranes had been contrived, perverted really, to be attune in these environs), as the hapless borrowed air from the cloistered commune was hastily released, vacuumed away, and lost forever to the vastness of space. Before long two lone figures, each mind alight with fervent, frantic activity, steadily paced their way out onto our bleak desert plain — one destined to live, and one certain to die. Both men were riddled with their own doubts, and each fed a few dozen of our kind, as we fluttered about their skulls, suckling on errant joules of lost energy expelled by their over-brimming brains, and processed what we stole, inadvertently, to read their every thought.

Eventually, at a spot wordlessly acknowledged by both men, each placed their backpack respirator against the other, and both heaved a lungful, having finally reached their place of destiny where no stray bullet could harm the distant Dome. Then, as their mental activity bounded toward a glorious crescendo, nursing ever more of our kind, the duo began to run through their paces.

These were the thoughts which crossed through their minds as they took their final, fated steps…

First Measured Pace:

“I am Podunck Jenkins. I have lived in this town my entire life. The scoundrel, how could he? I wear the holy helix upon my chest, am clearly a god fearing man of this state, and am a unyielding staple of my town and to my countrymen, who’ve all known this face for life. Clearly I’m in the right. And yet, who is he? An unknown. Some outsider, who dared to challenge my nuptials. A stranger! A nobody! And yet here he is, on the most important day of my life, no less? At the very moment of a Jenkins vow renewal! This cannot stand, this queer perturbation. It is unfounded. It is unjust. It is unfair… No. He cannot prevail this day. This day is bigger than he. Today, this stranger must die.”

“This is stupid, I should just turn around and blast him in the kneecap. Such a shame I can’t kill him myself… all this ceremony, what’s it for? Those fat fools in that bubble wouldn’t even make it halfway up the ridge by the time I’d crested it, hauled his ass in my ship, and set the hyper-drive to Old Abberdine. Wonder if those bastards would pay out all the same? Hell, I’d even take a cut to be done with this. Three days. I’ve wasted three days on this backwater, redneck, puritanical satellite, and this is where I wind up? This is not how you avoid fame, and you know fame gets you hunted. Were I trained, I never would have wound up here, but you know, too, training makes a man predictable. Looks like it’s just me and all I’ve ever had, for better or for worse, my instinct. Let’s hope it was right… Maybe I should just turn around and blast him. Ugly, son-of-a-bitch.”

Second Pace:

“Thank God I had Jerald, that bitch Makenze’s husband, hand out the guns; this fool outsider has no idea he’s only got a single bullet in that chamber. This is my town, this’ll all be over soon enough and I can get back to my business. Amazing… even after the affair Jerald’s still loyal to me. Never said a word about it neither. Not to a single soul, so far as I can tell. That’s good. After all, men are weak, and it was Makenze who’d tempted ole’ Podunck with her smooth, bare flesh. That wayward wench. The only damned person in this whole forsaken commune who agreed with the outsider and legitimized his challenge, making it stick. He’d be a heap of puss and blood were it not for that one. Of course she would. Everyone suspects something, even if they don’t know for certain what. But that’s baggage left behind from a past life, Sir. Now all that matters is my fresh commitment to Patricia, for as long as we both live, in this new one. Just got to make it through this one, little hiccup. And Jerald? Well, after today, I’ll see to it that Jerald never has to worry about a thing again. Today I’ll show him, Patricia, and Makenze just exactly what type of a man I am.”

“Damn this gated commune. Damn these close-minded twits. Never again do I walk in blind, I don’t care what the size of the bounty is. Were it not for that strange woman, I’d’ve been lynched. “Speak now”, they say. Yeah, unless you’re a guest, and, if you are, there better be at least one local supporter or we’ll beat you with clubs and stab you with sticks until you stop squirming. Sounds about right. Still… It’s not like I didn’t try. Couldn’t get a stitch of information about this rock before I flashed my paperwork and shouldered my way in through the door. First in years… and look where it got me. Don’t even partake in the pulse — wouldn’t know what to do with it if they did — heathens. They’re living like it’s earth-1 all over again… OK. Enough of that. No more distractions now. Focus: go over the facts, quick. There isn’t time. You’re hunting a deviant, likely a sociopath, a Missing Mayor from the Centarus Cluster, who’d first been the face of a children’s charity, and then disappeared days before his embezzlement came to light. This type of person will stop at no-one and for nothing in achieving his ends. A grade 8 stake, with the caveat that he’s brought in alive to face the scales of justice in person. You followed the unique ionized signature of a registered and recently stolen ship, which you found abandoned behind a high ridge, invisible to the denizens of this cloistered world, which inevitably led you here. Also, it’s suspected that this deviant has in his possession a quantum holographer — which is wonderful — meaning he can take on any appearance he wishes unless I can get him outside of an atmosphere. Hence: The Duel. The moons surface will suffice in revealing his true form, if my suspicions are correct, and if I can expose him to the elements… without killing him. That’s a lot of “if’s”. Surely this is not smart business. No. This is my mark, I’m sure of it, and I’ll prove it. “Toad-Man mayor”, this is your gambit to lose.”

Third Pace:

“This man, this supposed bounty hunter, will die by my hand in but a mere moment. I shall savor it. He has, thanks to good ole’ Jerald, naught but one bullet, and, knowing this as I do, all I have to do is dive astride, miss his one hasty shot, and, as he retakes his aim with an empty gun, unload my remaining chamber into his foul chest. Damnable outsider. I shall stare into his madcap countenance until the final reserves of his pathetic life drain out through to the acrid soil. Simple. But what after that? The battle is won, but the spoils are rotten. There will be blame yet. Surely this man hails from someplace significant. Others will come. Explanations, sought after… Perchance I can shift focus onto Jerald. Hapless, simple Jerald. If my poison spreads true… Nobody knows of my triste, and he has been acting rather strange. Maybe I could devise a way to have it yet again, after all. The comely Makenze. I know not how much longer I can suffer the company of that dullard Patricia anyhow, but, after the affair, in order to keep her happy and quiet about the… situation, surely I had little other choice. Unfortunate mistakes of the past. But now I wonder, could not I abdicate to finality? I could reclaim Makenze as my own, be rid of the nattering Patricia for good, satiate any authority who tries to intervene with a simple shift of blame, and fade back into the simple life which I’ve sought for so long, and surely so sincerely deserve. Yes! These events shall come to pass, or the name which I bear is not Podunck Jenkins!”

“These hillbillies are not to be trusted. This gambit threatens my throat as much as my mark’s. Never before, in all my starbounding years, have things ever been so out of my control. Even still, and if I manage to win out this day, can I truly be certain that I’m playing the right hand at this game? Am I so sure that an incriminating ledger from halfway around the galaxy, shredded and lining the barn bed of a neighbors horse, is evidence enough? Even when coupled with a hastily called “re-marriage”, a vow-renewal in normal corners of the universe, and some queer local custom of spousal benefactor inheritance, and automatic citizenship? Can I truly be so certain in my comprehension of local law after merely three days of study? Why must the Centarus government respect the laws of some backwards, uncultured religious reservation, anyhow? It’s loopholes like this which permit this exact type of lawless behavior. Then again, if not for bureaucratic oversights such as this, I might be out of a job. Now, here’s how it all could work: the mayor kills, consumes, and assumes the identity of one: “Podunck Jenkins”, utilizing his recently stolen Quantum Holagrapher to achieve the feat. Legally, this makes him a murderer, subject to local law… but only if caught. However, were this “man” to never officially be killed or discovered dead, which is unlikely given the types of acids that a Ratherain carries around in it’s gut, but rather, even as an impostor, remarry — or marry, depending on your particular slant — a local, sanctioned worshiper and denizen of the Helix commune, then that individual, whether or not they had the right, will become an official member themselves, having been ordained by an official minstrel, inside an official place of worship, with official witnesses lining the pews. Furthermore, and more to the point, this individual will, unwaveringly, be extended amnesty through governmental religious exemption. Their dome, their rules. Then, as an official member of this special community, sharing equally with his wife in all of his worldly possessions, were somehow some tragedy to befall his betrothed, he would successfully have become, legally and forevermore throughout the universe, the inimitable owner of a theoretically stolen charity fund — with monies ample to support a lavish lifestyle across many a generation. But I’m here now. It’s obvious, even to an amphibian, that people will be coming for him. He can’t kill his wife to be, unless he first kills me. And if he does, than he can become whoever he wants, and fade into whatever life he desires. No wonder he rallied in support of a duel over a hearing… Well, nothing more to do now but hope my gun swap, and empty chamber trick pays off… and I don’t somehow get shot myself before he shows his true form. Or get lynched. That’ll be fun. Well, here goes.”

*BANG*

Thanks for reading!

~J

Welcome back everyone,
hello-cute

Hey there 😉

As you know, on this blog I generally do my darnedest to keep things whimsical. I like to try and make intellectuality fun — at least as fun as someone bereft of said topic can make it — and that’s because I understand all too well that pretension will only get in the way of communicating what ideas I may have and would genuinely enjoy hearing others honest opinions about.

For that, I need you all to be smiling.

I require your guard to be down.

(But not your fly… XYZ, reader)

Now, some may call this peevish, and if you do I have a special place for you, (Just click the “X” on the upper right hand side of your web browser, and I’ve got the whole thing set up to redirect you exactly to where you belong on the internet!) but I believe in everyone’s opinion being valid. As I see it, we all have differing life experiences, which lend themselves to differing insights about the reality of being. Each of us alone is only a piece of the puzzle, only together can we see what is. Thus, you may have noticed, across the four some-odd-years that I’ve run this blog, (Say Thank-Ya!) that I’ve always made pains to refer to you all as one. Never referencing color, race, location or gender (unless that’s the topic in question), while addressing you all in these jaunty little introductions, or, in this blog’s previous incarnation, throughout the entire proof of my theorem.

"Humans"

“Humans”

Today though, as you may have already guessed, I’d like to assume a more sober tone. Today I’d like to discuss something that happened to me personally (don’t worry I’m FINE. It merely led to this week’s inspiration), which helped solidify the mere fragments of thought on the topic I’d had, up until it’s occurrence. At first I was going to obscure the introduction, being that the person who did this may well read this blog, but I quickly realized that I am no coward, and that relenting in such a manner would be tantamount to “Do as I say, but not as I do” — which is decisively Un-Cool. And so, without further ado, here it is…

(Wow, can’t quite find words which won’t elicit a giggle….)

(Well, whatever… You’re a mature audience.)

😛

I got my junk grabbed — like full on, a full handful, for a full second — and this was done by someone I work with. A Woman, no less. Now, as you may or may not know, I once worked as a topless waiter at a strip club. There this type of thing was routine, and I was able to shrug it off as the nature of the beast. However at my current job, working for CBS on a television show, this type of behavior, even with a flirty coworker (whom I certainly reciprocate with, just never to this extreme…), was, frankly, unacceptable. And so, with a heavy heart, and plans to kill the buzz, I approached her in a clandestine manner, asking for things to never again go to where she took them. She then responded vocally, amidst a large group of others — people without any knowledge of the aforementioned affront — saying, and I quote,

“Oh, be a man. You know you liked it.”

……

Now, it took me some time to process all the emotions — admittedly, mostly negative — that coursed through my mind at this moment in my life. I’m not going to lie… at first I wanted to smack her, but logic quickly argued against that. Then I wanted to wail vocally, explaining to the entire gymnasium full of our film crew that she had, in fact, sexually harassed me… but my days at the club popped in my mind and it all felt like a rather flat argument. The best reason I could find within for feeling so wronged was that, somehow, a power struggle had been breached… and quite unjustly. Finally I found a healthy way to deal with my feelings on the occasion — I’d write about it. And the story today, after three manifestations that I’d scrapped for being far too blunt, is the result of it all.

I’m not going to mince words here: Equality is a blanket term, it has NOTHING to do with entitlements or supremacy. If you truly wish to see yourself as an equal — a just contributor to modernity — than privilege becomes a slight. It’s abhorrent, as it assumes the same role of the oppressor which you, or (more likely) the brave people before you, had once fought so direly to be free from. You may or may not see how, but this piece is my way of confronting the racism I’d been subject to as a child, the class warfare I’ve bore witness to all my life, and the general ways that mankind has tried to keep his brothers and sisters down. It should also serve as warning to movements of equality, Feminism, Racial equality, First, Second, and Third world conflicts amongst each other, and any people who strive for their fair share, that sometimes we can take things too far. Equality, true equality, is blind to Gender, Race, Color, Size, and shape — and perhaps may someday include Species, Race, Planet — and even Galaxy and Universe.

Everybody’s on a journey throughout this life, one unique to them, and so every point of view is valid — and certainly deserved of a listen by the rest of us.

~J

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ordinary Extremities

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Ticket, please”, Bade the Conductor, approaching the squatted pile of rags at the far corner of the car.

The woman beneath didn’t stir.

“Hello Ma’am?” He said politely, “Sorry to wake you, but I need to collect your ticket now.”

Still the enshrouded figure remained nonplussed.

The Conductor bent, waving a translucent blue palm before the hooded cave of the woman’s visage, before kneeling and tipping his face in for a better look.

The fact that this man was, in actuality, a hologram — a mere segmented sliver of the conductors waking mind, present here only due to clever camera and speaker placement — was not lost on me. So at this thought, despite myself, I snorted a laugh.

From his hands and knees the man inclined his head in my direction, before craning his neck to peer under his arm’s nook at the wall of passengers which had built up across the car. The Conductor then got up, dusted off his knees, and approached me.

“Ticket Please”, he said, an accusatory lilt staining his custom level tone, seeming to imply some connection between myself and the vagabond across the way.

Casually I removed a balled fist from the pocket of my well pressed Sports Coat, never bothering to take the sole of my fine Italian loafer away from the door on which I leaned, thrusting it out then for the man to see, before hinging each finger out, slowly and in turn, to eventually present him with a bare palm. From the transparent ceiling above, at a point indeterminate due to the setting sun, a green laser light fanned out, sweeping my palm first in one direction and then the other before blinking out extinguished.

“Thank you.” Said the man, eying me suspiciously. Shooting a thumb over his shoulder, he soon added,  “How about you help me out? Go wake your little buddy over there so I can scan her ticket too.”

“Little buddy?” I scoffed, failing to stifle a second snort, “I don’t know that person.”

The man dove his face in toward mine, searching my eyes, darting erratically back and forth from left to right, before melodramatically stepping back to indicate the crowd.

“Tell me than, what’s this? Why is it you can stomach this woman’s clearly quite pungent odor, when the rest of my passengers huddle and cower like frightened livestock?”

I regarded the crowd, noting that easily three yards separated me from the next nearest paying customer. A singular huddled mass, the people all breathed as one; through sleeves, scarves, and hats — anything that might help stave off the offensive aura being generated by the woman just across from me.

“She’s harmless.” I asserted. “Besides, my desire to be left alone presently supersedes any musk this individual could possibly produce.”

And it was true. I’d hastily purchased a ‘standing room only’ ticket, knowing full-well the risk, and had accepted this unfortunate condition as mere penitence for my retreat.

The Conductor scrutinized me thoughtfully.

“Well then, friend” He began afresh, clearly changing tactics. “Give a guy without a hand, a hand, eh? This form may have function, but it has no form — if you’re picking up what I’m projecting down. Be a pal and, well… just tap her on the shoulder for me, would ya?”

I unfocused my eyes, looking straight through the shifting veil of blue before me to examine the mysterious figure just across the way. Indeed it seemed that the thing beneath the ratty pile of garments was, in fact, a woman… though without removing her thick and pungent wrappings it would be impossible to tell for sure. Long, dreaded hair flowed out from under the dark recesses of her cavernous hood, which then weighed down the loosely stacked garments cosseting her chest to detail two modest, though distinctly feminine, mounds. Carelessly crouched in the corner as she was — wrists rested on bent knees, back strait, shoulders level, with some indeterminate rigidity protruding diagonally underneath her thick vestments — the woman seemed more pious sentinel, particularly in this shade of divine azure, than penniless freight-hopper.

Malodorous scent or not, queer as it may sound… I soon found myself drawn to her. Something was brave and bold beneath that hood. Something new. Something I’d never encountered in all my worldly travels, and someone who the other people of this train would never dare try comprehend… I stared intently into the void cast by it, that hood. Searched every impregnable inch methodically, earnestly seeking but a single point of light being reflected back by flesh… but only found its darkness to be absolute. Just as I was ready to give up, prepared to simply walk on over as the Conductor had asked, a dual burst of slits flashed alight within the gloom, each punctuated by an iris of burning red. Their appearance, though brief, was married to a nearly imperceptible incline of her head, and the collective gestures combined to culminate as a simple yet strikingly vivid message; ‘Stay Away’.

I faltered. My composure shattered. Fear gripped my heart, and my easy lean slipped from the wall. My palms pressed firm to the doors behind me, unconsciously searching for a place to flee, and I found myself flat against the wall standing on tiptoes. The Conductor regarded my change, glancing over at the woman — who only appeared as she was — before whipping back around again to me, scanning my eyes for any sign of a ruse.

Eventually satisfied, he pressed a heavy weightless hand into my shoulder.

“Forget it,” He began, his voice imbued now with genuine care, “I thought you knew her”. He then added, dimming his speaker volume to a decibel only audible to my nearby ear, “I’ll just let the Staties deal with her once we pass Forrest Squarewood. That’s their jurisdiction, you know? They hate Planet Hoppers. Such a shame, too. Hate to hand over someone who’s fallen on tough times. But… a job’s a job. Word to the wise? Beware that woman, friend. She’s likely strange; wily. The type that can’t be trusted even for a second. You keep your distance, now.”

Abashed, staring absently through the clear floor at a tempestuous river we raced above, I nodded stupidly in response.

Then, I was alone. The conductor walking straight into the adjacent car, unperturbed by silly things of matter, like tangibility or mass.

“Get out-of-the-way, Moron!”, came a voice amidst the crowd.

“Move it, Jerkface!” echoed another, seemingly headed my way.

Then, all at once, the hermetically sealed line of average passengers burst, spewing forth, before the wound quickly healed, two attractive young ladies; one a petite Brunette, and the other a voluptuous Blonde.

“Jesus, Tria, you said she didn’t smell so bad. It smells like a Whorehouse’s Outhouse out here.” Exclaimed the Blonde, quickly masking her face with a jewel encrusted hand.

“No, Lo-Lo, that is not what I said at all.” Proclaimed the Brunette, exposing her pierced navel as she yanked a low neck line up over her nose. “What I said was, and I quote; ‘How bad could it be, that guy’s standing there?’ Answer: really, really, really, freaking bad. Wow. The last time that thing took a shower, John-John was on ‘Mercury House’. Am I right?”

“Hell, yes you are.”

“Am I right?”

“Oh my God, bitch, I already said, ‘Yes’. Can’t we just spark? That thing’s making me sick, already.”

“What am I, your mother, you whore? You need permission? Light it. Danm. Light that shit up already.”

“Shut-up, slut.”

“Hoe.”

“Bitch.”

Then, in tandem, they both concluded, “Whatever.”

Flashing each other a vicious pair of smiles somehow seemed to settle the exchange, and soon both were digging through their respective golden handbags, extracting, before long, a pair of Electronic Cigarettes.

The Blonde unscrewed hers at the center, peering inside. “Shit, I’m out. You got any left?”

The Brunette then unscrewed hers, turning about in circles while trying to find an angle for the overhead light. “I can’t tell, I think I need a refill too. You got any more on you?”

“Yeah, I think I do.” Said the one called Lo-Lo, juggling her effects, balancing her bag on a raised knee and struggling to keep her balance. “Somewhere in here…”

“Hang on.” Said Tria, tugging her friend violently by the hand, nearly toppling her over, and then dragging her by me. “Hi there, Mister.” she began, long lashes fluttering, salaciously brushing my arm, “Hold this for me, would you?”

Before I knew what was happening I found myself clutching a clutch, supporting a shoulder bag with my shoulder, and palming hand lotion — amongst other unidentifiable effects of superficiality — in my palm. The two young women, for their part, each held a strap of Lo-Lo’s Bag, and were both digging voraciously through its contents, stopping only to toss out bits of garbage onto the train floor.

Finally Tria produced a small container with a sealed lid.

“Is this it?” She asked, presenting it to Lo-Lo between two raised fingers and a thumb.

Lo-Lo snatched it unceremoniously, raking her friend harshly with manicured nails bearing a collection of tiny circus animals.

“Ah, you bitch”. Shouted Tria.

But Lo-Lo was lost in the vial. She eagerly popped the lid, hurriedly raised the opening to her nose, and huffed the noxious scent therein deeply. The display was for show. Once opened, even from back where I stood, the smell was sufficient to stifle even that of the transient’s across the car. Reaching inside they each pinched off a small amount before plucking their cigarettes from my open palm and stuffing their devices full. Within but a second, the gadget was reassembled, the girls pressed at the ignition, and each was inhaling deeply — leaving me as a forlorn baggage handler at the airport, and without any tip to boot.

From somewhere at the back of the crowd a man’s voice could be heard “Hey, you can’t smoke in here. It’s illegal. Some of us have an allergy.”

“Oh, yeah?” Challenged Tria. “Who’s gonna stop me? Not you. I do what I want.” And to punctuate this apparent fact, she took a long drag, deep down into her lungs, before exhaling a mighty vapor cloud toward the group.

A wheezing, raspy cough was the crowds only retort.

Lo-Lo then took a lungful in all her own, before breathing it out into my face, asking “So… what’s wrong with you? You enjoy smelling like ass or something, Mister?”

“I just want to be left alone.” I insisted, extending the clutch toward Lo-Lo, “I just got back from this long, pointless ‘inter-office relations-trip’ that my boss sent me on, and…”

“That’s not mine.” Lo-Lo interrupted, stepping back from the handbag disgusted.

“Yo. Don’t give that hoe my bag.” Interjected Tria, swiveling her head around like a snake. “She wouldn’t know what to do with one that’s not a fake, anyways.”

“Please, girl.” Pleaded Lo-Lo. “It’s been a long, hard day, and I don’t have the energy left to teach you the difference between a ‘Carl Mongoose’, and whatever it is you’re calling a ‘Petera’ Divine’ over there.”

“Oh, don’t you start with me, Miss ‘I-Don’t-Buy-From-Little-Persia-I-Only-Like-To-Look’.”

But Lo-Lo did start…

And then Tria continued…

And so, as the girls continued to debate the laurels surrounding the question, “Which one of their bags was better suited at holding things?”, I quickly grew weary of acting out the role of impromptu living mannequin. Thus did I proceed to place all of their loose effects into whoever’s shoulder-bag it was I was presently shouldering, to then merely lay the weighty satchel down on the clear floor at my feet, noting, as I did, the first patches of trees springing up on the ground far, far below.

It wouldn’t be long now. Soon I’d find out exactly what type of woman it was buried underneath all that dowdy patchwork.

Lo-Lo seized her bag from the floor with a huff, and shoved me harshly against the wall, saying “What the eff do you think you’re doing?”

“Oh-My-God” Chimed in Tria, slapping my shoulder. “I know that you did not just put her Ten Thousand Dollar, ‘Carl Mongoose’, Winter collection bag on that dirty-ass floor, with that filthy… thing… sitting right there.”

“Girls.” I began, tenderly as I could manage. “Don’t do that.”

“Don’t do what?” Demanded, Lo-Lo, as sprightly green tips began whizzing past her ankles.

“Don’t talk about another human being like that.”

“I will talk about whoever, however I want.” She insisted, the thickening wood growing steadily to overtake her height.

“Look, it’s clear this person has fallen on tough times. You don’t know her story.”

“We don’t care.” Insisted Tria, clapping her hands for emphasis on each word, all while massive shadows painted darting streaks across her form.

“Yeah, well… either way. You shouldn’t add to her problems. Just… leave her be. I’m asking you a favor.”

“Come-on mister. What, you in love? Bitch ain’t even got no clothes.”

“Hoe don’t have no money.”

“Trick smells like ass.”

The tips of the monolithic pines were now beyond the reach of sight, their numbers surging greater by the second still.

“Yeah, well… She’s a person. She get’s to live how she wants. What if this is what makes her happy?”

“What? You serious?”

“No makeup. No friends. No class. Smells like a dirty-ass construction worker that just tipped over in the Pora-a-John. Sitting here, doing nothing but stinking up the train for the rest of us normal, god-fearing, folk. Man, please: that ain’t even a lady.”

Suddenly light inside the car was squelched out entirely, as the encroaching tree line had finally grown bold enough to steal the setting sun.

A mind trembling scream rang out from somewhere amidst the crowd.

As the lights of the cabin pulsed slowly to life, and my vision oscillated between states of pure blindness and mere hazy shadow, I found the crowd was moving toward me, reeling back from some bewitching scene unfolding near its center.

It was then when I caught my first glimpse of the thing. Circumscribed by the ever swelling circumference of screaming and frightened passengers was a beast not quite human, with a wide drawn out squamous face, and a lithe lolling tongue — one which defied jagged rows of impossibly sharp teeth as it danced along their precarious peaks and valleys — actively tasting the air. It held a redundant dagger in each of its two claws, as all of it’s five fingers were adorned with vicious, corkscrewed nails, while it stalked through the crowd of lambs — slaughtering any and all without the sense or wherewithal to run.

Calcified as I was, agog from the massacre unfolding just before my eyes, I nearly didn’t feel the nagging pull of the two wildly wailing women persistently scrabbling at my back. However, when I nearly lost my footing while stepping on a familiar golden bag, the initials ‘CM’ forming a gaudy pattern all along it’s every facet, reality finally came home, drunk and crashing into the garage, and I became instantly aware of the two girls urging me to glance over to my left. There, at the epicenter of the car and just beside where we stood, a luminous pinprick wisp was floating, unaided, and steadily gaining in girth. The wormhole rapidly gained mass and began to pull at me, and, were it not for the frantic women holding firm at my arms, each demanding I, “Be a man and save them!”, and weighing me down, I may have even been engulfed by its mystical allure — cast to frightful plane. Then as the otherworldly draw began to ebb, and just as the brilliant vortex, hollow at its heart, had reached a sizable three yard diameter, another set of scaled and corkscrewed claws braced themselves at the lip of the dimensional rift, to then vault their master whole into our place in space.

The Reptilian beast landed to the floor of the car with a weighty thud, as the wormhole neatly cinched up behind it, sending a splintering shock-wave throughout the reinforced plastic at its wake, compromising integrity engineered to hold a hundred men. It spent but a moment in the throes of nausea before its slitted eyes were trained on us, and the women redoubled in their efforts of shrieking as it slavered and ambled serpentine our way.

Lo-Lo shoved me toward it with one hand, and held firm with the other, bellowing, “Fight it, Mister. Protect us!”

Tria wept, and held firm at my arm, wailing, “Make it go away. Tell it to leave.”

“Girls, let go.” I pleaded. “I can’t move.”

“Do something”, they screamed in unison.

Like lightning the creature was on me, effortlessly shifting its easy gait into a terrifying pounce, clutching then at my coat, arching me overhead, and slamming me down hard onto the floor. The ground groaned and quaked beneath the hammering of my mass, and all the air was stolen from my chest. As the room spun, and the light-show played, my whereabouts grew dubious, and my mind clouded. Sleep beckoned.

Somehow through the hypnagogic haze I felt the light playing on my face dim. Gathering my wits through great focus of effort, I synched my wayward eyes and fought to look out strait from my helpless supine form… only to discover forthcoming doom. The thing was upon me, mighty fist raised high overhead, blotting out the cabin light, and prepared to slam down into my skull. With a greater effort than my body had left to give, I rolled hard to the left, feeling the whipping air thrash my necks nape at the wake of its mammoth fist as it narrowly missed my face. Already undermined, the car yielded to the tremendous power of the things assault, and left me dangling through the floor, hanging precariously by the tips of my weakened fingers.

It seemed the end was near. The creature wasted no time in reeling back for a second strike, this one aimed at my fingertips which clung desperately at the lip of the opening, promising to cast me into an impending free-fall many kilometers long, either to be impaled on a tree, or to shatter my every bone against the distant terra. Resigned to my fate I turned my face toward my attacker, determined, at the very least, to go with my dignity intact. I matched his wild eyes with a level gaze, wholly free from fear, merely patient, and found myself in admiration of the speed in which it’s limb was capable of traveling — that is all before a warm spray misted my cheeks, and the hapless arm cascaded clear beyond me, tumbling freely into the open air beyond my dangling feet. Armless now, the beast hissed in pain, whipping about furiously then to confront its assaulter, only to be diced, just at the hinge of its jaw, by the returning upward swing of a Katana.

And there, flared by the wildly luminous cabin lights, stood a proud silhouette which wielded the brilliant blade — the lowly vagabond from the far corner of the car. Shed now of her outer layer, camouflage from the very start, she shucked her sword free from the serpents blood, highlighting, as she did, bountiful curves of dense musculature beneath an elite black and silken armor. She then kicked at the chest of the thing, still writhing even without a head, shoving it out beyond me and into the open air below, before dashing off, and out of view, presumably toward the panicked crowd at my back.

The drama then unfolded in screams and gasps, while I struggled and flailed, and failed, in extracting myself from my tricky predicament. Before long the cacophony, blind to my eyes, fell to stillness. Not a sound could be heard. Visions of an all-encompassing massacre filled my mind…

Finally then, after a silence of interminable length, where I never ceased in my struggle to re-board the racing car, it was the shallow voice of an elderly man which broke the strange repose.

“Thank You.” He said, voice quavering with emotion. “Thank you so very, very much, young lady.”

Then came another, quick on his heels, a woman this time. “Here, take this. Please, I insist. And… Thank you.”

Before long, another chimed in, a little boy, “That was really cool! Here, strong lady, it’s my favoritest… I want you to have it.”

And then came another, and another…. and another.

And so it continued, as my fingers quaked, from all the voices, of all the people in the car: gratitude. Thanks being showered on one who, only just a few minutes ago, the entire lot had all but condemned.

I felt the dimming of the overhead light once more, and, fingers trembling, strained to look skyward… and there she was, bearing a halo of light — and was she ever beautiful. Long dreadlocks framed an angled face that belonged on the cover of a magazine, were it not for the jagged scars and random battle-won maladies which gave it its fierce character. She had her rags back on now, and from all the errant, random, and poorly sewn pockets, people’s valuables jutted out. Precious necklaces, rings, jewelery and just plain cold hard cash overflowed the paupers clothes, creating a jaunty juxtaposition embodied in the sight of this mighty warrior woman.

She regarded me, as she drew her hood back over her head, sightlessly cleaned her blade on a rag, and sheathed the sword, asking, “You’re the one who defended me in my rags?”

I swallowed hard, saying all I could think to, “Yes…”

“You shouldn’t have done that…” She chided, a bright smile shining out from under the hood. “Look, times are always hard. People will have their opinions. All that really matters is how you react to the ordinary extremities of everyday life.”

I merely nodded, the wisdom of her words failing to presently pierce me in my condition — I was simply praying she’d help me up from my hole.

“Hey!” Came a voice, I knew to be Tria, “Take this. It’s worth alot!”

“Yeah, yeah!” Chimed in Lo-Lo, “And these. They’re yours now.”

“No.” Said the warrior woman, severity back in her tone. “I want you to keep them. After all, they’re all you have.”

She turned back to the hole, regarding me with pity.

“Pull yourself up.” She ordered. “You’ve done it before. I have no doubts that you can do it again.”

And then, without hesitation, she leapt through the hole — never to be seen or heard from again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~ FIN ~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I sure hope you enjoyed this.

It’s 4 days late, and that’s because I took some more time with it — and it still feels like I could’ve taken another week or so to get it right.

Please leave your thoughts below, on the topic and the story, and I’ll add edits to this as time permits.

Thanks

~J

Greetings, my beautifully deranged and wondrously enlightened lot,

You know… Inspiration can be so fickle at times,

good idea

So obvious… and yet so genius!

Plus, even when it does strike, you’re still faced with a pretty darned big dilemma, aren’t you? I mean… is it even any good!? This random thing that’s just popped into your mind — out of, quite literally, thin air. You gonna to go for it? Eh? Well? Are you? (Seriously, is there a doctor soothsayer in the house?) I mean, somebody’s got to know…

Will it be worth our time?

Will it!?

(Somebody… ANSWER ME!!)

How can we know..?

Is this concept, sometimes no more than a mere sentence in our minds, going to pan out — after sometimes years, or even decades of hard work — into something that, at the start, was actually, truly worth investing into at all? It’s enough to Tonya Harding the kneecaps of even the most intrepid risk-taker! And — furthermore, hitherto, and not to mince words — never doubt, my people, that it is indeed an investment! A huge one…

Time and Land… they’re not making any more of the stuff.

Development, (if you’re here reading this, I’m sure you already know), is painstaking work. A plodding, laborious, hair-raking endeavor, that’s seen ears cut off, peni lobbed off, and children cut off. I mean, people may think that we just don some literal thinking cap, hole away in an attic somewhere, and magically spill these things out of our ears merely by tipping our heads to the page — but that’s not the case at all, is it!? It’s hard work, dag-nabit… It’s stressful!

Sentences can take hours,

Paragraphs; days…

Re-writes… an eternity!

(Thank God for scotch…)

And that’s the funny thing, isn’t it? See, even though it may not be — as, in the end it so oft will prove to seem (ahhh, the dastardly “Creators curse”…) — it’s the pursuit that teaches us our lessons in the end, isn’t it? All of life’s little mistakes, (naturally after lambasting you with your own perceived idiocy), will invariably and without fail, culminate to show us what not to do… so that, in turn, we actually know WHAT TO DO! Thought and execution, married happily, is the only real path toward a personal truth, and an internal sense of well-being.

Or….. maybe I’m just making this stuff up.

(See what I did there?)

😉

Here’s the deal for this week’s short,

Home alone one night, my sole roommate a good 50 miles away, and likely quite liberally inebriated, I heard a rather loud noise boom out from beyond my bedroom door… and, for some reason, my genius-self beckoned it — whatever IT was — to enter. I then proceeded to entreat it, “not to fear”, and insisted “I would totally not freak out once it came in my room” — despite the fact that my heart was pounding heavier than an elephant on a trampoline in the presence of a mouse.

I said, no means no!

EEK!

So anyway, after about a half hour… I began to feel rather silly — and that’s when the inspiration hit. I reached for my head-board, scrawled the rules of this short into the page, and this is what came of it all. I present it here, now, for proof of my theorem: that it is far better to try an idea, even if it seems doomed to fail, than give in to your souls erosion.

Was it worth it in the end?

I’ll leave that for you to decide.

(But, hell. I like it.)

~J

Broker your soul

journal

11:26, December 14th, 2013:

I am awakened by a crash, a frightful clamor my living room, the room adjacent to the bedroom where I sleep. Motionless I lie, my mind spinning wild fiction, while I listen, intent on divining some sound beyond the hammering in my chest, waiting patiently for any clue as to what might be the cause — a robber, my dear friend whom I’d given a key, or the possibility of something exotic… an animal perhaps; some beast.

But… Nothing. Not another decibel for the five long minutes I spent mummified under my sheets dwelling solely in my ear.

Eventually, I’d had enough. This wasn’t me; some coward calcified by a baseless fear. I am not a feeble man. Finally, once I’d deemed my reconnaissance sufficient, I crept up from my bed to investigate the scene — my heart setting the mood with its base and snare driven score, despite my fervent insistence of bravery. Full minutes were spent as I’d eased open my bedroom door, stealing an ever greater vantage as I went. Only to discover at my final perspective precisely what I’d not expected… an empty home. Embarrassed and abashed I strode into the room, shaking my head with aims toward my cowardice, grateful to let down my guard — when a menacing shadow darted at me with blinding speed. I tensed up, assuming a fighting stance and ready to engage whatever was intent on assaulting me… before I realized my folly. It had merely been the headlights of a passing car playing through the window.

Crossing the darkened room I shut the blinds against the gag, (an exercise in frivolity, in hindsight), before doubling back to attend the wailing warmth of my comforter, and promptly knocked my tender shin against something firm. And, right there on the floor, there it was. The cause of the clamor… my papasan chair had somehow rolled off its rounded base… I must have left it charged before bed. My forlorn book lie still in its nook. Wearily I made my approach to replace it — suddenly finding myself again filled with apprehension; an irrational fear, (of what, I know not), and, half expecting electrical shock, I grabbed the chairs edge… but again, nothing. I replaced the seat to the pedestal, doubly ensuring its purchase, and merely returned to my bed… baffled, though resigned to simple happenstance as the cause.

11:42, January 1st, 2014:

As I lie restless in bed, my circadian clock maladjusted for the abbreviated work week which loomed, entertained (and somewhat annoyed) by the silhouetted performance of dancing cells playing before my eyes curtain, and considering just getting up to go for a run… I began to hear the unmistakable sound of turning pages emanate from within my home. Being I’d read window-side before bed, I’d naturally assumed that the wind had simply picked up. So, and without delay, I arose… intent on closing the pestering portal and rescuing the precious time I was left to spend on my slumber. I threw open my bedroom door, took quick, dizzied, and shuffling steps to gain on the breathing window behind my couch — only to find it clamped shut and locked. I’d done my chore after all.

That’s when the books hit the floor.

explosive

They landed flat, trapping and then exploding out loudly with the air stuck betwixt them and my planked, wooden floor — engendered, I must say, with far more ferocity than gravity alone could have possibly proffered. Now, and before the instant where my mind would begin to scrutinize the occurrence, I remember noting the two books which had fallen: one, A collection of Poe’s greatest works; and the second, a hardcover of Koontz’s inaugural “Odd Thomas” Novel. Immediately then my mind leapt back to the incident, only three weeks then past, when the papasan had left it’s base of its own accord, stirring me in the night as it played against the floor… and before long I’d had myself convinced that my poor home had become possessed. My body tensed, rallying to run, and I snatched a hunting knife from its plaque before giving in, retreating then quickly to my bedchamber and slamming the door shut in my wake. Leaning against it, weighting it shut, I heaved for the stubborn air which wouldn’t come, (silently as I could manage, as to conceal my whereabouts), both hoping to, and not to glean some sound from behind my back.

It was here that I swear I’d heard a stifled laugh — a giddy little school kid down a long metallic shaft — radiate through the door behind my form. Slumping to the floor, my legs posted firm against my bed-mount for leverage, there I sat and waited… waited for the inevitable attack: an oncoming onslaught from a creature, or spirit demonic, to take my life.

But again… all was still.

And yet I still waited… my eight inch blade unsheathed, held in a vice-like, ice-pick grip, and ready to penetrate anything that darest try to pierce my fortification. Seconds grew to minutes, minutes hastily matured to hours… though my heart raced still… my mouth pooling with the taste of tin. A singular comfort came as the dawn arrived. Perhaps, “Comfort”, here is a misnomer. The dawn had reminded me of my obligations — namely, “clients”, and “work” — and so, despite my arresting trepidation, I ran my morning routine from my bedroom as best I could, before racing through my home, bloodshot and haggard, to dash out the front door, seizing sanctuary within the world.

The day was torturous — just sheer misery. The clients I’d scheduled to train were, each of them, demonstrably tardy, and in the solemn minutes which passed as I patiently languished, it became all I could do to resist the temptation, presented by my inflamed eyelids and weighted cheeks, to slip under the easy wing of comfort, relenting to repose.

I, however, am a warrior. I refuse to be average. I was made to command my mind, never could it be the other way: never could it, a mere organ, hope win this war of wills. I toughed out the day, remaining steadfast to the fire-watch of my mind, and returned home without incident — far too frustrated and exhausted to humor some crackpot, half-cocked theory about a capricious poltergeist — and promptly accepted the rest I’d so surely earned on this day…

12:21, Jan 21st, 2014:

Supine in bed, preternaturally still but yet mentally stirring, an overarching theory percolated within my mind while I reminisced over the copious bouts of queer happenstance which had transpired as of late.

The Poe and Koontz hardbacks were found — each and every morning — strewn across my living room floor. Some sort of odd protest, I’d imagine, which I undid, each and every day, by giving my dear friends back to their preferred recess.

Only a week past now, while a storm of thunder frenzied outside, my running shoes, it would seem, had craved the world without me… usurping themselves to places unknown. A requirement of my trade, I scoured my home for their likeness, only successfully making myself late in the pursuit — merely to find them out, laced up and mud caked, at the center of my floor. It had been my third trip through that particular space while attending to this quest, and I was doubtless that they’d not been there only just before.

Just two days prior now, having drawn a hot bath to assuage my mounting stresses — and with fresh steam still billowing out from it — I stepped easily into the brief pool, only to find my water to be frigid… And so, as a show of command, I willed my bodice into the haunted liquid anyhow, making clear my statement of defiance while holding firm my failing floodgates of fear, proceeding then to linger in the wash just as long as would be custom.

And finally tonight — the crowning jewel of occasion — as I scrubbed a vaguely familiar stranger for the Sandman in the sink, bodily exhausted and off my guard from an arduous days work, a preternatural force seized my skull, shoving it madly downward toward the basin, and successfully bashed my face into the faucet… splitting my nose wide….

Though, a curious thing here happened.

I discovered… that I wasn’t angry.

I found also that I was no longer afraid…

How many times across my long career had a client erred in their training, from fatigue or distraction, and maligned my face with a errant fist? And, equally as many times, had I not then been forced thereafter to forgive this infraction without incident? Countless. I simply moved forward with the session, not a trace of poison to my mind, nary a single drip of anger — when easily it could’ve brewed into a storm. Somehow this physical slight had driven me into my comfort zone. Someway had this barbaric act leveled the playing field in my mind…

Merely then did I raise my head, blood tracing carefree lines down the musculature of my neck, and apply a ginger glob of vaseline from the vanity — pacing then easily into the bedroom, before finding myself here, now, in the present.

Now, I lie in wait — wait for what, I know not… until it would come and teach me — anxious to execute a plan, one, admittedly, compiled loosely, barely held with the unbinding twines of whim and hunch, and about to be tested in a blazing inferno, but the only true course of action I could conceive. An action driven by pure instinct alone… though, despite all this, try I must. Try I will. What other options were left to me?

Then it came — strange footfall from inside; the clicking of a quadrupeds nails against my hardwood floor.

dog

“Come in”, I tell it.

Giving the words an inflated inflection, one engendered with the authority of a recruiter preparing to oversee an applicant with slim, to no potential.

Then, for a time indeterminate due to its sheer confounding length… the air was still. The house merely maintained its stark silence. Before long I found my sanity cast back into the brimstone of question, as I raked, yet again, at all the details of occurrence which had led me to this day, and finding them, not for the first time, to form nothing more than a shamefully dubious pile of mere anecdotal evidence…

…that is, all before the door to my bedroom creaked and began to open.

door

The game was on.

In my mind, fervently excited, though maintaining well the course, I ran a countdown from three… an arbitrary condition of my makeshift scheme… and, just as the numbers exhausted, I leapt up from bed, revealing a man fully dressed, as I flourished the sheets like a mighty Torero would against the pressing horns of a bull — and somehow successfully snagged something within my slapdash net. The covers constricted the entity, veiling it and felling it to the floor, leaving it tangled and flailing at my heel. Then, in a flash, the disembodied heap lunged at me and I felt, through a wild flare-up of pain, the generous jaw of what seemed a common hound seize at my leg — teeth terrifyingly sharp, even through the generous padding of this, my thickest quilt. Out of sheer instinctual indignance, reactively I doubled over, throwing then my best right cross square into the things ribs, while switching my hips mightily for punctuation.

Heartily, it yelped… whatever it was… proceeding then to release its dire grip on my calf. The sound, I’d later note, was not all too dissimilar to that of a wolf — but characterized by an aftereffect; some otherworldly echo, an enhancement of post chosen to support an air of malice and menace. Ignoring the pain in both my leg and my nose, which had begun again to freely flow, I gathered up all the poise I could muster and walked easily into the living room… taking then a comfortable seat on my coffee table, at a place adjacent to and across from my papasan, casually then throwing one leg over the other.

“When you’re done playing the heathen”, I spoke levelly, ‘fatherly’ being my operative direction, “Come have a seat. It’s time we had a chat.”

The snout of the confused blanket searched blindly about its form — whipping from left to right, snarling angrily as it went — though, missing all but the dresser in its wild fury, it soon abandoned this pursuit, growing then to be still. I watched it, enthralled — equal parts trepidation, apprehension, and sheer curiosity — as the rising and falling of the creature beneath the sheet soon eased, calmed quickly to custom, and then physically lowered toward the ground… until nothing of it seemed to remain, leaving the sheet itself seemingly forlorn. Before long a gray, pluming mist wafted out from under a corner, lifting it ever so slightly as it went, before proceeding then to blow, breezeless, toward where I sat in living room — the suction of its wake then slamming the door behind it shut as it came.

The living, darkened air then rapidly approached my face, flowing quickly across my cheek, and striking it along the way… before then caressing the tip my right ear, rolling tenderly, thereafter, behind my head and descending easily down my neck. Threading its way under my left arm, feeling as a creeping serpent to my flesh, the thing then billowed, gathering it’s mass to a dark cloud at my sternum — before shoving violently at me, forcing me to brace, while backing itself deep into the comfortable recesses of the papasan across from me. Now before my eyes did it sit, (or, rather, float), finally permitting me a look at its form. It seemed an entity composed entirely of grey vitriolic gas, showing corporeally only two eyes of burning blue flame. I stared at them, those fiery eyes — not as some challenge of might to the beast, but rather as I would with any other being — as a show of respect. And they, in turn, glared back — clearly wizened, albeit composed with a medium of flame.

At last it spoke, using a mouth which manifest only as air passed its lips, lips not quite inhuman — though violet, voluminous, and uncannily wide — not quite human either… saying finally, “Very well. You’ve intrigued me, little Tremia. Of what purpose should I engage you?”

Ignoring for the time being this cheeky moniker, of a culturally unknown and yet obviously well fleshed out foreign lexicon, I said precisely what I’d planned, “What do you want with me?”

It guffawed at this, heartily, and with great mirth, the lips appearing again for the task though this time accompanied by the outline of two blue hued and rebounding cheeks as well. Abruptly then, its amusement subsided… leaving a frigid chill to the air, and only the duo of ominous, embering, penetrating eyes — floating without context in space — to go along with it.

“I’m here to claim what you lowly creatures have coined, ‘A Soul’.”

I swallowed my Adams-apple, before fortifying my eyes once again.

“Intriguing…” I began, matter of fact as I could manage, “So tell me, why is it important to you. My soul? What even is a soul?”

Again the thing howled with laughter, its full visage gaining tangibility for a moment, horrid, sharp, frightening features to it, before fading quickly back again into the ether, leaving mere burning eyes.

“No matter.” It began, lips showing only as words were spake, “I’m confident as to your awareness of the fact that my power greatly shadows that of a mere Tremia. What I will permit you to know, however, in these twilight moments of your existence, is that you will perish eternally once I take it.”

“I see.” I said, casually pulling a stick of gum from my pocket, and popping it into my mouth. “Well,” I continued, twisting the wrapper distractedly between my fingers to form a pin “not knowing what it is that you are, I cannot deny this… I’m certain that your might remains unchecked particularly to something such as me. But, since you are giving allowances, perhaps you can divulge this truth to me before I go… Why do you want it? My soul?”

Here the flames of its face raged, flashing keener and wider than ever before — swollen seemingly with pride. Momentarily did they squint, a sign of hesitation, a shadow of doubt that, if entertained, could easily signal the abrupt end of my existence… before they widened once more, again showing confidence in their unchecked power.

“I, as you may have guessed, am not of this world…” The beast began, as I gradually fished my phone from my pocket, “…I exist extra-dimensionally. Pan dimensionally, in truth… I have found a means of crawling backwards through the universal fabric — from complexity, where I was born, to here… the lowly third dimension; this final pathetic outpost of life. I’m able to span across varying complexities of existence by diluting my spirit to suit the rules of the realm: First, by leaching souls of natural dimensional origin; and then, bit by bit, by replacing them with increments of my own… all while consuming their life energies along the way. Soon, once I complete my journey in this particular place and thread of time — a journey over two billion years already in motion — I will become a god to this existence, as conqueror of each of its dimensions. Gaining then, and forever thereafter, the ability to continue my expansion, unabated, across all the other splintered, clipped, and forgotten strings of time… interminably spanning to cover all the possibilities of this reality as a whole… at least as it can be understood to one from within it. Then, once all of space and time has been conquered through this consumption — all that is and ever can be possiblefinally a being of this world, finding itself full of it, will be able to venture beyond it. Me. Finally, will I know what lies beyond. A painting freed from its canvas and able to explore the artists hovel. After so long, I will finally find my place among the altar of the gods, and be able to create a world suited to my interests. Leaving behind, forever, the barbaric, archaic, and simple-minded denizens of this realm.”

My face was contorted in shock… How could I hide it? Across from me, in my home, nestled deep into the pocket of my favorite chair, sat the thing which would become something greater than our peevish notions of a God. Was it even possible? Surely whatever it was which presently rested across from me couldn’t know for sure either. Though, in its efforts, it would, undoubtedly, end all of life as we knew it — and even as we ever might come to know it. Acting off this shock, my fingers loosened and released my phone, splintering it to pieces across the hardwood at our feet… it must’ve known that what it had said was simply too much for a human mind to comprehend. Blindly, without ever breaking eye contact, I flailed at the floor… finding the battery to my phone, and cradling it in my lap for comfort.

The creature eyed me suspiciously, though continued on with its story — likely recounting it for the first time in many a millenia, and relishing in the idea that it would also be the last.

“However, frightened little Tremia, for now, all you need know is that my soul is presently still too large to manifest in your world… though only just. To this end, I require your soul. Your soul, you should be proud to know, is that of a type which necessitates my taking of it, rare as it is. It’s known as a, “warriors soul”, and is most precious and quite rare indeed. Congratulations… ‘Human’, is it?” It laughed, and I shuffled the items in my sweat slicked palm, “You’ve worked very hard across your brief life indeed. Your soul has expanded in tandem with your body in a way that only very few people ever even hope to achieve — in equal parts mentality and physicality. Both the knowledge of what you may do, and your attempts of execution are matched. For this reason you, a remarkable Tremia indeed, are whom I have chosen to complete my two billion year journey to conquer all of life, so that I may stand on the shoulders of this withered Universe, and finally, after so long, peer beyond it.”

I’d heard enough. Such an ego had no place ruling anything. Steadying my right hand with my left, with the circuit of my phone battery complete and held open with the simple foil from my gum, I pushed through the violent shock currently coursing through my arm to then lunge at the pompous thing across from me, to successfully land the cathode of this paltry circuit to the still lingeringly manifest lips which hovered where a face ought to be. Fighting the violent twitches of my arm, and ignoring my melting flesh under the ever-growing heat of the highly charged ions in my palm, I watched, frightened and amazed, as this creature composed of pure energy — as attested to in the recounting of his tale — was absorbed by a simple, inanimate material in this lowly third dimension.

When it was done, I dropped the coal in my hand to the floor, and watched it smoulder — radiating blue against my bare wood floor.

I left it there for days, that battery…

and for days I had to due to the heat.

All across the globe, reports of presidents, politicians, congressmen, and clowns dying spontaneously and inexplicably began to flood televisions and newspapers. The world feared some virus, or new strain of disease… but only I would know the truth.

Finally, after a month, it was cool enough to handle.

Instinct told me to leave it in the freezer for another month.

After another month, the battery felt like any other two inch, by two inch, by one quarter inch deep inanimate object might feel: Lifeless, cool, and inert. For giggles, I shoved it back into my phone, and, once booted, instructed the voice activation to regard me with a new name: “Tremia”.

To this day, ten years after my encounter, I’ve yet to charge my phone, not even once — nor have I ever had to replace my battery. However sometimes, late at night, a burning blue flame will show on the screen, lighting my entire room and darting erratically across its face, a thing seemingly scared and lost… and I’m forced to chuck a pillow at it.

~Fin

Ahhh, and there you have it. Interpretations a-plenty are welcome, as I’ve packed in here quite a few. If the language feels weathered a bit, or ‘aged’, there’s good reason: Poe, and his macabre style and setting, played hop-scotch throughout my mind as I thought this up, and thus titillated my inner child, convincing him to try and emulate some of that vibe.

Here’s hoping it worked!

Hope you enjoyed,

Take care readers.

~J

Why are we here?

Aja

What is the purpose of our existence?

Mankind has been taking blind flailing swipes at this curious conundrum for many a millenia now; spawning religion, philosophy, and science as potential divining agents along the way.

It’s no surprise we’re so focused on it, really — after all, it’s the original question.

Without doubt, as man, through whatever means, found himself separated from the other animals due to self-reflection, his inaugural novel thought could have been nothing other than, “What now?”. In other words, “Now that I have the freedom to choose what I want to do, now that I find myself above solely instinct — what should I do?” Followed closely thereafter by the reduced version of the thought, “What is my purpose?” Or, “Why am I here?”

At the time, it must have been quite a burden.

After all, where do you begin when you don’t know what you’re after? We need a game, don’t we? A way of keeping score. Before, it was merely survival. If you did — hurrah — you were winning! But now… what were we to think? Past instinct, past simply surviving, what was our angle — what else was there to life!? Advancement? But, why? Where would that lead us? How would that be preferable to where we were?

And on and on our ancestors thoughts spiraled…

…Until, at the end of the day, (since it was simply untellable), we had to do something in order to move on. We desperately wanted to get to the truth of the matter, but, in a cruel twist of irony, what we choose to do at this juncture of our past — in order to merely begin our journey — would prove, over time and more than anything else, to carry us farther away from the very same truth we so desperately sought…

Because we so direly needed that game, that direction, that purpose — a primitive type of insecurity that has been insulating us from honest truth since before we’d known it to be a worthy pursuit — we devised a clever way to put the distracting query on the back-burner, involving, mostly, a curious type of mental gymnastic which we still employ today — namely: Religion.

Now, I try not to talk about Religion much,

though it is often on my mind.

Religion and I have traveled down a rocky, uneven road, and, being not able to objectively answer some simple conversational questions I’d had along the way, I respectfully parted ways with the thing long ago. These days, I cling to the questions. I, honestly, find greater comfort in the acceptance of non-knowlegde, than in the attempt to describe the theme park from the entrance-arch.

That’s not to say I don’t empathize with those who are religious, as a matter of fact half of my family, whom I love dearly, are members of a devout Pentecostal faith, it’s just that I don’t personally believe their revered books to be anything more than a somewhat-decent collection of historical science fiction. This, for me — along with being an only child (within a vast familial average of 3-plus), produced of a divorce, who grew up in an all around unwelcoming environment — caused me to travel along quite the lonely path of life inquiry and discovery. A path which, up until a few days ago, I had thought, of my family, I had traveled alone.

Turns out, I was wrong.

Fate, destiny, or just dumb luck: I might never know what had brought me to see John Rullo’s show that Saturday night before Easter, but whatever it was, there I stood, unnoticed — across the overly sticky barroom floor from someone who, like me, had chosen truth and isolation, over faith and family. The man jammed away blissfully on the dimly lit stage. He was quite good.

John had made himself known to me, not too terribly long before this, via Facebook, as someone who was on my vibe spiritually — which came as a surprise at the time, particularly because, initially, I’d known him from the religious world I’d been born into. As far as I knew, John had a Wife and two kids, and all of them were diehard Born-Again Christians, much like my family, who should, by all rights, have less than zero interest in the type of things and topics that find their way to my main-page. So when he let me know that he’d been not only been reading my blog, but enjoying it, by sending positive and helpful feedback through the Facebook comments, I was, understandably, a little shocked.

All I could think was, what happened to this man?

After all, this place of honest inquiry and unabashed truth could easily be described as an anti-religion. Common sense, logic, truth and reason? Hogwash! Honestly, I’ve been expecting the accusation of being the anti-Christ for some time now. But his words were true, this I was sure of. There was no pretense, hesitation, or double meaning to his comments whatsoever — he just honestly enjoyed the conversations I was putting up. So, curious as to what sea-change had manifest within this man to make him speak as he now was, I began to check out his work, and it didn’t take long for me to discover he’d written a book, “Planet Love; The end of the world as we knew it“.

Now where was I?

I had come out to the Island that Saturday, rather than solely on Easter, as was my custom, because I hadn’t seen much of my family and was hoping to play catch up. I had a vague recollection of the invitation to go see John’s show, but A) I originally hadn’t planned on being in town while the show was going on, B) Being I was playing catch-up with the fan-damily I thought I wouldn’t have the time, and, (of most relevance), C) I don’t own a car, and thus had no means of traversing the two towns necessary to get to his venue. But as fate would have it, and as the evening slowed the motions of the day while everyone in the home settled somewhat (having mutually relinquished the noteworthy stories of our recent lives to one another), my phone rang.

It was a dear old friend from high-school. She’d just been broken up with. Right before a long scheduled vacation was to happen with her, and her then man. She wasn’t happy. She needed a beer. I, in my defense, almost always can use a beer. We agreed to travel together and go hunt out a gaggle. She came by, scooped me up, and we went to the first local pub we could think of.

The guy was a jerk, that much was sure, and she was confused and in need of a good night. Aside from me, she had also reached out to another school-hood friend of ours, another cool ‘dude’, like us — evidently at some point I’d ruined his car antenna, but that’s a story for another day (it’s funny what you forget…). So, we then left the bar not long after we got there, went to this “dude’s” house across town, where we met his girlfriend and learned about what we were going to be doing for the evening — going two towns over to the very same pub that John was scheduled to play at, the “dude’s” lady had a job interview.

That's odd...

Now, look, I’m not entirely sold on the whole fate thing…

… I don’t like the idea of a predestiny any more than the inevitability of annual dentist visit, but, occasionally, something like this comes along and forces me to stop and think twice. So there I stood, against all odds and obscured by the volume of voices and the density of the crowd, directly across the way from someone who had, somehow, walked the same queer path as me. It felt like spotting an albino zebra in the wild.

Though I still hadn’t known what had happened to the man, not exactly at least, I could tell by his commenting on my work that we were alike. Mind you, I still could’ve left the bar undetected at this point, but felt like I needed to connect. When you believe as I do, it’s an opportunity that simply couldn’t be ignored. Though not completely sold on fate, I felt this was the reason I’d gotten that call earlier in the evening; this was the reason I was even here…

Finally, after the show, I got my chance to say hello.

Having only had online communication up until this point I don’t think John recognized me right away, but as soon as he did a brief flicker flashed throughout his eye, and a broad smile quickly formed about his lips. We dove into conversation, as if a gasp for fresh air, conversing about life, the universe, and the potential origins of it all — much like our ancestors had once posited, but had invariably supplanted with religion — and found that, on topic after topic, we had a similar sentiment. Truth, love, and acceptance seemed, constantly, to be the unifying threads.

Though, because the spirit of this venue was such as it was, not exactly lending to a lengthy exchange, (particularly when his Wife likely wanted to go home and my friends were all wondering where I had gone), what might have been quite the meeting of the minds had to be cut short, but before we parted, John was kind enough to thrust a copy of his book into my hands — Gratis. It took me a little over two weeks to read it, but, now that I have, how could I not share? The book is, quite literally, the quintessence of this blog as a whole, and, having fallen into my hands through such an inplausable chain of events, it just plain feels right.

Planet Love, The end of the world as we knew it

Told in a whimsical first person, past-tense narration, this work of Fiction John’s crafted, based loosely on fact, addresses just about everything that is near and dear to this blog. It is honest, raw, real and unyielding in the face of anything but truth, love, or compassion — quite inspirational indeed, (particularly to someone who still pulls punches in the face of the specific type of adversary that his awakening had riled).

It follows John throughout the days which unfold just after he has an encounter with an extraterrestrial craft, which, upon viewing, had flooded him with visions that imparted on him the knowledge of truth throughout the universe. He is left both enlivened, and bemused — as he is not sure what to make if it all. Unable to tell many people about the wondrous experience he’s had, knowing, full well, he’ll be dismissed as a nutter, John has to suffer alone with the fact that there is more to life than what those around him insist upon.

Soon, through curious and quirky twists of fate, like-minded people from varying and sporadic stages of his life make their way back in toward him, all finding that, to some extent or another, they’ve all shared in his experience. Together they begin to understand what is to come: another visitation, possibly the last, an event tantamount to the christian rapture. Gradually John begins to comprehend that this is what the ancients had reported into the biblical texts he once worshiped, merely misinterpretations of what they couldn’t fully understand at the time, harkening the third of Arthur C. Clarke’s laws on prediction: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

I wont give away the end, you should buy it and check it out for yourself, but what I will say is that it’s a very good read, which, personally, came to me at an important point in my life. John, though his story, reminds us all that life should never be about defining our differences from one another — I.E. Race, Religion, socio-economic status, gender, etc… — but, rather, should be about identifying our collective commonalities. We are, in the end, ALL AS ONE, each on a different path of experience which adds to the collective of mankind’s whole, and we all have our own paths to walk, none better than any other.

At the beginning of this post I’d mentioned that our inaugural thoughts as man, once we became self-aware, must have had to do with our purpose here on earth. At the time it was a question without answer, and so, to put it aside, we invented a system of belief, which became religion. The reason I’d started here was because this was the one thing that this book really drove home for me — when you seek truth, you don’t look for a workaround, you merely seek truth, and that’s enough. It’s OK to not know. Scary, sure, but just plain fine. Only when you know enough to know what you don’t know, can you then learn.

Did you follow that?

I think it’s important, uncertainty. But what I find equally as important is the understanding that if this is the path we all wish to follow; this blind and uncertain meandering of drunken discovery, than we must support each other — with love. Love is the glue that makes it all work, Love is the driving force behind it all, and, as beautifully illustrated in John’s book, only through the lens of love, can we ever hope to discover genuine truth.

Check it out people 😉

~J

Don’t you just love a good rule?

I know I do, and I know you do too — don’t play coy. They’re just so darn comforting, is what they are. The more the merrier, that’s what I always say. Otherwise, I mean, how else would we know how to behave — am I right? For, without rules, why wouldn’t we all just be purse snatchers, pickpockets, thieves, card sharks, or, better yet, politicians?

What a world that would be…

Yep, without a doubt, there sure is nothing like a nice, tidy little set of parameters to let us all know when we’re well within the guidelines of society. Nothing quite so comforting as an automatic feedback function to jerk our choke-chains and let us know when we are acting as we should, and when we’ve simply stepped over a line. Indeed, nothing is better for a budding society than a voluminous set of thorough, intertwined, and rigorous rules.

Wait a minute — what am I saying !?

I loathe rules! Nothing more efficiently stifles experimentation, or novel thinking — they’re pretty much the worst thing conceivable for society. Shackling guidelines, put in place by those who came before us, with the expressed purpose of making people do whatever seemingly made sense at the time, but was likely only sensible at the precise second of their origin — and, OK, maybe fifteen minutes or so after that?

No, thank you!

Rules, by nature, establish the status quo. They seek balance, normalcy, and comfort… but since when have any of those things actually been good for us? With respect to our progress — the only true goal of any society, other than survival — every innovation we’ve ever spearheaded has come about, to one extent or another, by being the exact OPPOSITE of these things, I.E: unbalanced, a little odd, and certainly well outside of our comfort zones. Do you suppose the first man who proposed going to the moon thought it would be tantamount to a Honeymooners marathon spent on the sofa?

He really did it. Wow...

Doubtful…

But I get it. I do. Particularly in the professional world, there’s more than a mote of logic surrounding the idea of detailing proper behavioral practices. After all, with the ever-present ‘lawsuit’ looming overhead, one would be wise to take pains and properly insulate oneself from the stupidity of those who merely operate around you — which can be as vast as the ocean is wide… That, at least to me, is somewhat practical.

However, notwithstanding, and that being said, why than would we, any of us, wish to actively impose extra rules onto one another, especially when outside of the professional realm? Why on earth would we ever seek to add additional restriction to our lives? Aren’t there enough guidelines imposed upon us which we have little to no say in, without imposing more upon ourselves? Guidelines that we expect our friends, loved ones — and complete strangers alike — to adhere to, despite their lack of utility, semblance of sensibility, or even the slightest ease of comprehension?

I am, of course, referring to Taboo.

Click this image for a better look. I might still suck at Photoshop, but I've compiled a set of at least 15 taboo's here in this picture. Can you find them all?

Taboo just is…

…and that might just be what irks me the most about it. Rules should serve a purpose and, when that purpose is exhausted, then be eliminated. I, admittedly, have logical issues. And by that I mean, if I can’t make logical sense of a rule, and nobody can aptly explain that rule to me, I will, and have, take(n) issue with it, and will proceed to go out of my way in order to break it.

It’s my nature.

Be the change you want to see in the world, and all that…

I want to see a world full of people who think for themselves. I want to see individuals do what makes sense to them, not some senseless stigma — and if that entails wearing white shoes after Labor Day to match an outfit, (despite the fact that that snob, Becky Sievermore, from the local community watch-group will attempt to oust you from the next local chapter meeting), well, by-golly-gee, I want to see you confident in doing that! To hell what others think about you — you do what makes sense, and if that loses you friends, well, than, why in the heck would you want to associate with those people anyhow?

Don’t follow, simply for comfort.

Comfort has never achieved a thing!

I invite you, here, today, now — be uncomfortable!

Break free from the status quo, and begin traveling new and exciting roads!

Isn’t it high time for a change, people? Aren’t we all ready to usher in a new world? A world where ‘Common Sense’ is just a trifle more common? I mean, for the love of all that is cheese, how can extra rules possibly help with that? I guess that’s my real grudge with rules, standards, expectations, and Taboo’s alike, their execution accomplishes the exact opposite of their intention.

Seriously!

Think about it…

The intention of a rule is to ensure that people behave in a civil manner. OK, I can dig it. The problem isn’t in that, the problem arises when we have acclimated SO MANY RULES that people cease to THINK about WHY the rules exist in the first place. What this inadvertently creates is a society of people who are living up to expectation, rather than thinking for themselves. These type of people are, by nature, followers, and will find it nary impossible to do anything the least bit satisfying with their lives. This, often times, can lead to depression, personality disorder, and overall mental discord.

My friends, all that made us human arises from thought, and when we sacrifice thought, or even expression — on any level — to some nameless, faceless, and, potentially, unjust system of caste based rules, we forfeit everything that might move us ahead.

Why would we ever want to do that?

Instead, as currently unrealistic of an ideal it is, I would like to see a world with no rules what-so-ever. Yea, that’s right. Sure, it might be messy at first, but when people hold others accountable for their faults, and the whole of our society begins to think about how others feel, work, live, and even dream, then, and only then, will we truly know the face of humanity, and, for the first time in history, be able to know what to do, collectively, in order to improve.

So, in conclusion, and contrary, I’m sure, to everything you’ve just read, I do believe in taboo — yet, only the one — the one and only thing that should be taboo is, in my opinion, the ultimate Taboo itself — Taboo.

~J

We see only what’s in front of us…

Cute... no?

…And even then, only what we’ve told our feet to carry us toward. Choice and conviction, too, play their roles at the behest of your own personal direction. Something must physically change, than, in order to view what lies beyond the boundaries of our peripheral — but at least that remains an option.

So how might one begin to look within?

Should we place our faith solely in others? Depending on them to focus our peevish perceptions of the world and ourselves — or is there another way? Can we learn who it is that we are, somehow, on our own, and yet still be free from bias?

I believe we can.

It might be my youthful naiveté, but I have been convinced, for quite some time now, that the self can be known — though it takes a preternatural resolve towards the necessary work, and, even then, years. First and foremost: Honesty. Honesty with ourselves, and, as well, honesty with others. Before we go spreading “information”, which, truthfully, when is unproven, is nothing more than mere rumor, we must know that what we’ve heard or seen was true — and not merely an illusion…

Looks like you're the butt of the joke. Bet you didn't see that crack coming! 🙂

There is a passage in the Pulitzer prize willing, John Patrick Shanley play, entitled, “Doubt”, that I always return to in my mind when I think on the concepts of rumor and gossip, which speaks volumes, as well, as to what havoc they reap on our own psyche, along with others’.

It reads,

VI

Father Flynn, in blue and white vestments, is at the pulpit.

Flynn: A woman was gossiping with a friend about a man she hardly knew — I know none of you have ever done this — and that night she had a dream. A great hand appeared over her and pointed down at her. She was immediately seized with an overwhelming sense of guilt. The next day she went to confession. She got the old parish priest, Father O’Rouke, and she told him the whole thing. “Is gossiping a sin?” she asked the old man. “Was that the Hand of God Almighty pointing a finger at me? Should I be asking your absolution? Father, tell me, have I done something wrong?” (Irish brogue) “Yes” Father O’Rouke answered her. “Yes, you ignorant, badly brought-up female! You have borne false witness against your neighbor, you have played fast and loose with his reputation, and you should be heartily ashamed!” So the woman said she was sorry and asked forgiveness. “Not so fast!” says O’Rouke. “I want you to go home, take a pillow up on your roof, cut it open with a knife, and return here to me!” So she went home, took the pillow off her bed, a knife from the drawer, went up the fire escape to the roof, and stabbed the pillow. Then she went back to the old preist as instructed. “Did you gut the pillow with the knife?” he says. “Yes, Father.” “And what was the result?” “Feathers,” she said. “Feathers?” he repeated. “Feathers everywhere, Father” “Now I want you to go back and gather up every last feather that flew out on to the wind!” “Well,” she says, “it can’t be done. I don’t know where they went. The wind took them all over.” “And that,” said Father O’Rouke, “is gossip!” In the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen.

Fly, my pretties!

How many feathers have we all cast to the wind over the years?

If you’re anything like me, quite a bit. Embellishment makes for better stories. You instantly become more affable, enigmatic, and entertaining — but, at what cost? In my humble opinion, the feathers that are impossible to reign in which, in the parable, have graced the townsfolk’s ears, are similarly released into your mind whenever you’re not honest with yourself. And soon, if not held in firm check, when you release enough, you’ll find that your living in delusion. Or, rather, you wont. Sometimes you get so deep in the rabbit hole that you can forget that you’d ever gone down it at all…

This is why the self, and knowledge of it, is paramount.

It’s about growth. It’s about improvement. It’s about getting better. You simply can not grow if you cover up your failures from yourself. When you spin lies you become blinded to what is, what can be, and the work — as, there is ALWAYS WORK — required to get there. Blind as you will be, you won’t find the road, and, if you do, you won’t be able to recognize the path anyway to your true happiness. You will forever walk a twisted path of your assumed success, miserable, for some untold reason, with every gaining step.

Surely this is not the way

However, and again, it is possible that all this is just my 28-year-old, unrelentingly child like, naiveté talking (It’s an admission I must make if I hope to believe my own words), but I am skeptical. I’ve been doing my best to relay information honestly, to others as well as myself, for a while now, and though it’s not won me many accolades, nor hoards of acquaintances, it has brought me into some meaningful relationships, of which I would not sacrifice for the world.

In any case this is all very personal, and unique to each of us individually. There is a journey to be taken when searching for the self. An expedition I’m still on, say thank’ya. But I feel that this is the real fun of life. The meat of it. Simply: the path.

It wont be easy, cleaning the mirror we face — but what award would be worth it’s shimmer without a fight? And when you feel down, or lost, or simply out of gas — which you will, if you’re driving at the path with everything you’ve got (as you should) — a good Quote will always be there to remind you of who you are, or at least of how to remember. This is why most quotes revolve around The Self, and this is why I’d like to share with you all my quotes on the subject as well.

The Self

People who base decisions on one factor alone cannot possibly understand the matter at hand. — Jan 1st, 2012

There are no absolutes — only a spot on a spectrum within your own private perspective. If held in mind, this makes life easier to bear. — Dec 21st, 2011

Verbal or mental judgement of others is an obvious and ugly reflection of the self. Don’t judge others — change yourself. Lead by example. — Dec 26th, 2011

If you overly concern yourself with the adventures of others, you will never experience any for yourself. Live or observe — those are the choices — Dec 26th, 2011

The only thing you will ever regret learning, is nothing. – Feb 21st, 2012

When people use words to hold you at bay; to bring you down, make you small and incite a bad day — remember then this one shining truth: You’re fine, they’re in pain and their salvation relies on you — Dec 30th, 2011

You might have the best idea in the world, but present it poorly and no one will notice. If you’ve worked hard, than you’ve earned faith in yourself, and it’s not hubris. – Feb 18th, 2012

A life led in pursuit of understanding the self, is a self that’s lived misunderstanding life. Be good, be, then — be happy. — Jan 2nd, 2012

Health should be regarded as existing in three distinct places: Your body, your mind, and your awareness — all essential, and each no more important than the other. — Jan 3rd, 2012

It’s not everyone’s destiny to be great. Some are destined to be mediocre, to be worthless, pathetic and scared, and some, the smart ones, forge their own paths, knowing that destiny is highly overrated. — Jan 9th, 2012

Inspiration leads to Creativity, Creativity becomes Invention, and Invention lends itself to Inspiration — Thus is the wheel of life.
If you can’t find your place on the wheel of life, well, than — You’re not living it. — Jan 21st, 2012

Discernment above instinct is all that has made us man. Never sacrifice who you are for a group, as you yield to the very thing which has made you. – Jan 17th, 2012

When presented with opportunity, never ask, “why?” — that road leads only to excuses. Instead, try, “why not?”. – March 7th, 2012

Never sacrifice your own uniqueness in order to worship someone else’s. – Feb 28th, 2012

~J

People and Politics,

Both just reflections of the state of our world…

… or, possibly, just the state of our own minds. One’s considered a dirty word, a thing taboo; not breached lightly nor often in public, and the other IS the public itself, often dirty and taboo too, in its own way. You have to be nice, in public. Empathetic. You have to recognize, in an instant, a whole other system of belief and boundary (one you may or may not agree with…), and partake in a delicate, sort of, ‘push and pull’ in order to achieve anything — which can be exhausting. Particularly if you’re anything like me, and wish that we’d all just judge a little slower and love a little faster.

“How does all this relate to quotes?”, I hear you ask…

(Quiet back there — I’m getting to it!)

Jeez, give a guy a second…

OK. See, here’s the thing… Generally, quotes deal solely with the self. “Bring about change from within”, they’ll say. “Learn to do what you know to be best”. “Listen to your heart”… Now, and without doubt, all this, very good advice, would be wise (and easy to heed), were we to live atop an isolated mountain, feasting upon the bits of shrubbrage that popped up about our unwashed, untrimmed and likely calloused, lotus crossed feet. But — and I know… I’m going out on a limb here — I’m willing to bet that nobody reading this is a Mountain Yogi. I happen to know there’s terrible reception up there. I’m willing to bet that if you’re reading this, than, A) you have a computer (yes, wise-ass back there, I hear you again… smartphones are computers though — so please put your hand back down.) B) you have access to the internet, and C) you MUST interact with people, in one way or another, on a daily basis — which can seriously muck up that whole Zen thing you’ve got going on. Unless, that is, you take some time to seriously consider your own philosophy as it pertains to, “homo-erects interconnectedness”.

Hence; People and Politics.

The real, "Angry Birds". (Sorry Rovio.)

See, jack-ass back there, told you I was going somewhere with all this — now go sit in the corner.

Now, and don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to discredit quotes, or internal philosophy in general with what I’m saying here, quite the contrary actually. It is very important to work on the self, as, to others, you too are people, and while interacting your engaging with them in politics whether you like it or not. Thus, you first must be whole from within to properly function in society. However, that alone is simply not enough. You must consider more!

“When will the thinking stop!?”

Alright, , that’s it, enough interruptions out of you — to the principles office with ya!

No, no, leave the dunce cap on!

You go now!

You go now, you been here for hour!

Phew…

Sorry about that… It’s just SO distracting. Now, where was I?

Crap.

Great. Now I forget…

Well that’s just wonderful! Oh well, I’ve got to get off to work anyway. Just imagine I wrapped this all up beautifully and had some brilliant segway into the reason I’m regaling you all with quotes about People and Politics today. I trust you cool, creative peeps got the gist of all this by now anyway.

(Oh, and just a heads up, the blog will return to normal after this weekend, as I’m finally done (for now), with my recent, ‘Crazy-busy’ job. So, soon enough, I’ll be back on topic, and off this string of quotes. Just one more set to go after this.)

And now, without further ado (what the hell is an “Ado” anyway… crap, this is more ‘ado’. I lied! NOOO!!!), I give to you, (That rhymed. Huh…) People and Politics!!!

People/Politics:

Always be grateful for those in your life who know you best, yet still — somehow — manage to love you. — Dec 23rd, 2011

Changing yourself for others, so long as you’re aware of it, is not necessarily indicative of a weak individual – rather, an empathetic one. — Dec 31st, 2012

When you care about someone, in part, it’s because you see a bit of yourself in them. This is precisely why when things go awry you feel so very mad, it’s as if you’ve let yourself down… However, accepting the truth in this alleviates all pains — as rather than causing dissonance, it should highlight the beautiful dividing line between you and another unique individual. — Jan 14th, 2012

Much like making love, life has its ups and its downs — and if you medicate your way through you’ll never finish happy. — Jan 5th, 2012

“Power” is having leverage over others and using that leverage as you see fit.
“True Power” is having that same leverage over others but only using it when it is right. — Jan 23rd, 2012

Ah blanket assumptions, how warm your embrace. Yet, one would be wise to prepare for the shocking cold that is sure to come once the veil is lifted. — Jan 7th, 2012

When someone’s done something wrong, and you call BS, they will generally fight twice as hard to convince you that the lie is true. When this happens, take pity — as their need to maintain the illusion is all that remains of their reality. — Jan 7th, 2012

True wisdom is hard-earned; it begins with study, the acquisition of voluminous knowledge based in fact, and manifests over time, with empathy — this is the only mark of a worthy leader. This is why talking down to others as a means of asserting dominance will always be nothing but laughable. You would like us to believe that you are better than us, that you should have the right to rule us, to lead us, and your means of expressing this is by belittling us? A true leader, despite the fact that they are likely more knowledgeable than their subjects, inspires — for they are worthy of their ranking, and they know it. The only motivating factor for using fear in rule is the desire to keep someone in their place. In truth, it is a fear of competition and a fear of toppling from a precarious throne.
Only someone uncertain of their power would wish to publicly reinforce it. — Feb 20th, 2012

When you step back and look at the big picture, everyone’s there — It’s just all a little bit fuzzy. It’s then your job to ensure that you come into focus. — Jan 20th, 2012

Learn to identify and love the similarities between yourself and your fellow-man, rather than striving to seek out and loathe the differences. We are only as alike as you are willing to see: exactly. — Jan 9th, 2012

Empathy is all that binds us as a people. Without it you may become rich, powerful, and quite successful indeed, but when you do you tear apart society at it’s very seems. — Jan 12th, 2012

Who do white-lies said for comfort, comfort?
If the liar knows what’s true, and the one being lied to does as well, isn’t this all just a whole lot of wasted effort? — Jan 19th, 2012

Not wanting to feel depressed is not an acceptable reason to stick your head in the sand — it’s selfishness in its purest form. — Dec 31st, 2011

Because we have created an ‘industry’, for all intents and purposes, where an individual has to work their entire life toward the goal of ruling over the masses, which also necessitates that they be fully convinced, all the while, that they are the best prepared in the world to do so, we should expect, than, that the type of person this system attracts to possess an unhealthy tendency towards narcissism and delusion; as these are the only traits which could possibly convince someone of something so far from the truth. Therefore, individuals who seek out and actively desire this type of power, are, quite literally, the last people in the world who should ever obtain it. — Dec 11th, 2011

Before people fight — with words, wars, or fists — they should be forced to break not bread, but dark chocolate. Let’s see you swing with your eyes lolling into the back of your head like that! (Ritter Sport Marzipan is recommended!!) — Dec 20th, 2011

~J