Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Just Grow, Not Up

This gig of growing up, such a harsh and beautiful transition. Going from showing friends around to all your favorite dive bars to get sloppy drunk, to showing them all your favorite eateries and coffee shops to get sloppy caffeinated and bloated. Travel becomes more of who you are with, than where you are going. Getting wasted on the weekend turns into having copious amounts of wine during the week. Remembering the days where work didn't seem so important; nice to have money but not a necessity. Now living to work instead of working to live; maybe it's a bit of both. All of these strings to seemingly come to a point towards the end where they're all tied together in retirement. This grand idea of finally being able to go places and do things that you've wanted to do your whole youthful life, but have felt the reason to wait till the ending. I could say that money, work, kids, life, opportunity is the cause of all this but I feel like that would be a lie. Money may have a restraint on how far you go, but not necessarily on going. Take your kids with you, work and life will be there when you get back. Opportunity is what you make, not what comes along. There is obviously a physical side to age, but I know to leave well enough alone sometimes.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Strike Dam

After our last night at Kaylene's house, morning has come and we're headed to Boise. Nothing better to do, so we go along for ride while Kaylene does the testing for her GED. The test can take anywhere from one to three hours and she's not giving up the keys, so it's all footwork to go exploring. Marty, Brian and I are sitting in the grass outside the education building and they begin to give me the rough story of the Four Horsemen after I notice a tattoo of The Punisher on Brian's arm. At this point in my life, I am un-churched and have no basis for comparison; it felt like listening to a fairy tale.  An elaborate story unfolds of these hooded beings atop horses that will bring about the end of the earth; each Horseman representing an undeniable future for the eternal lives of the saved and the damned. 

We venture a few blocks away and come upon a tattoo and piercing shop; time to get inked. Marty and Brian have two tattoos drawn up, both with the Roman numeral IV. Marty's will have Pestilence included under his; the bringer of plagues and famine. "... behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer" Revelation Chapter 6 Verse 2. Pestilence regards God's creatures as disease and the epitome of unclean imperfection. He will further that truth by their fall under his hand; rapid spread of plagues and diseases will be the demise of God's "perfect" creations. Brian will have Death. "And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him" Revelation Chapter 6 Verse 8. A Horseman that requires no explanation in my opinion, but for the sake of the story….Death is an ending, by any means necessary. The transporter of souls taken by War, Pestilence and Famine; the last vision of the lost before Hades. 

To help pull you back from the deep thought of your afterlife, a natural follow up to these tattoos is Brian's decision to get his left nipple pierced. I watched the whole thing, regrettably. A strong stomach for most thing I have, but a giant needle going through a man's nipple was a bit much. However, this little adventure helped take up our remaining waiting time and Kaylene was finished. We all piled back in the car and headed back to Mountain Home. 

Now to figure out where to stay. Kaylene's had been used so I tried my luck with my house. It's worth mentioning that Kaylene's dad was one to let his daughter have anyone stay the night and drink to their delight, while mine was the polar opposite. No dicks allowed overnight, regardless of my pleading and attempt at reasoning. The answer I received was, "They can tent in the backyard, but they are not sleeping in your room". Fuck dad, thanks. At that time, I'm positive there were no words to describe my humility and embarrassment. I was desperate to help my friends, and was in a position where I couldn't at that moment. I reluctantly told them my father's response and cringed with the each word. In a second of panic, the word "tent" blew up. It was summer after all, and Strike Dam was not very far and free to camp. 

We loaded up the red Nissan and the three of us headed to Strike, without Kaylene; not exactly the camping type. With a 30-pack of cheap beer on hand and a couple tents, we were set. Night had settled and a fire was glowing. The campground was flat with tall oak and walnut trees sporadically placed. The back of the dam was about 500 yards away with the Snake River pushing against the front. Beautiful darkness and nature, only the sounds of rushing water and locusts. We had managed to get through about half of the beer around midnight and Brian began to break the silence. A single black locust had jumped onto my shoulder and he took it as a sign. 

"They never come near people, there must be something about you", Brian stated, pointing to a locust that had landed on my arm. I give a side-long glance at Marty who only returns a buzzed smirk. Brian's eyes go wide and dart around as if searching for something hidden. Paranoia has begun to get a grip. He begins to move around the campsite muttering to himself and hiding from tree to tree and looking towards the dam. "Brian, what the hell is wrong?" I ask. "They're here, do you see them?"

"See who? Where?"
"Them, the demons, they're on the road above the dam, they're getting closer."

Whether or not there were actually demons present, didn't really matter. Brian was convinced they were there and was genuinely fearful for his soul. I had looked up at the dam, trying to see what he was seeing, but this task was tricky. It was dark and the only light source was the moon and our dwindling fire. Darkness can, and will, play games with your mind; see things that aren't there, and hear things that have no voice. As I stared, I started to see what looked like two figures standing on the dam wall, then three, then four. It appeared as if they were multiplying from each other. All of a sudden, two lights pierced through the darkness. 

"It's people, Brian. They just started their car. Look, there's nothing out there but them."

While this took a little of the edge off, Brian never seemed fully convinced. He reluctantly came back to the picnic table Marty and I were sitting at while his eyes still darted back and forth. We finish off the pack smokes and feed Brian a few more beers, attempting to talk about anything that won't feed into his delusion. After another hour, seemingly satisfied that he won't be reaped in his sleep, Brian succumbs to sleep and Mary and I follow suite. 

The sun hits the tent in the morning, heating the inside like a popcorn bag in a microwave. Even if you wanted to keep sleeping, the prospect of being baked alive made you get up. We have no coffee, so wake-up-beer it is. The grounds have public restrooms available, but no showers. Idaho's river water was good enough for anyone clean off in if you weren't opposed to temporary hypothermia; or if you had fresh ink. Marty and Brian couldn't get the newly dawned tattoos soaked in river water, but couldn't leave them uncleansed either. 

A logical idea looking back at this, would have been to wash each other's backs. Maybe it was a hung-over idea, maybe it was the best we could come up with; either way, I was the one that ended up in the men's restroom that morning. Marty remaining modest kept his cargo shorts on and we began to warm up the faucet water. Public restroom soap in hand, I begin to wash Marty's tattoo and back while Brian is in one of the stalls. As I'm rinsing off the soap, Brian steps out. 

Pale white skin, riddled with freckles greets you. Brian has on no shoes, no shorts, no underwear and no shirt. He does however, have on toilet paper and grin as wide as the Mississippi. He has wrapped his manhood up in a makeshift toilet paper gift and is ready to be cleaned. 

"Oh my god Brian, what the fuck are you doing?" I exclaim. 
"I can't just wash my back, I need to wash my whole body," he replies matter of fact. 
"I will wash your back, but you're doing the rest."

I begin to wash Brian's back and tattoo and he begins to wash his chest. Water is inevitably dripping down his front and begins to melt the toilet paper. Marty begins to giggle and when I notice why, I yell at Brian to go reapply the tissue. He comes back out and I finish cleaning off his back. All of us are laughing and poking fun, but it's a beautiful moment. While unconventional, it was glimpse of time that was pure joy. No worries, no demons, no responsibility; just unadulterated happiness at its finest. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Story Cubes - 1

  Travis looked out through the windshield of his two-door 63’ Chevy Corvette, contemplating how to handle the man and his gun. The engine revved and then coughed a pitiful sputter as he pressed his foot lightly to the petal. Travis hoped that the quietly obvious gesture would signal to his friend that he too was not afraid to fire his weapon. Jacob probably knew the gas tank was on E, it was his car and he had driven them into the alley to begin with. Both men knew that it wouldn’t take much juice to drive 5 feet forward and into the brick wall.
  A friendship rooted in magic mushrooms is often based on a series of hallucinations, confounding as they’re compounding. Travis’ job was the easiest and least risky of the two; growing fungus in his basement and always on the search for more potent strains. When they first met, Jacob had been the middle man for various drugs, street peddling his way to a mountain of riches that most high school dropouts only dream of. Adding mushrooms to his supply list wasn’t a yes or no question as much as it was a dollar and cent equation.
  Two shots erupted. Echoes vibrated the brick walls, back and forth, from the dead end of the alleyway and releasing out the open side. Spiderweb strings stretched out and away from the tiny bullet holes, each piercing the driver’s side windshield with the kind of accuracy that is all but guaranteed with such short range combat.
  Once bright lights of the outside world began to dim as Travis clutched his chest in agony. Through the shattered window, Travis could still see the outline of a gun pointing man he had once called friend. Before the darkness could completely close in, shadows sprinted out of the corners of his eyes and onto his betrayer. Velociraptors hadn’t been seen on Earth since the Cretaceous period, but to say that Travis was excited to see them would have been an understatement. An exhale of joy slipped out of blood stained lips as the black curtain of death slammed down.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ancestral Gates

Waking dreams and dreaming shakes, I slept a vision of blue white gates. To travel far away from here, leave the pain for a world that’s clear.
               A water-like explosion erupts from the center of an old circle. The ancient object wears white scratches all across its older than old gray surface. Not brick, nor rock; not metal, nor alloy. This gate is strong enough to open a portal to the other side of imagination, reality be damned. To escape the feeling that this is all we have and it’s only getting worse. Pretend for an hour that life’s not sour with breathing as a curse.
               The room is empty, save some metal stairs, to lead us through the hole. Safety protocols suggest a probe be sent ahead of our departure, to make safe the interstellar ride. With no probes existing, it will be fate that we’re twisting, as a first foot plunges inside.
               If the stories do ask, the purpose and task, for risking a possible doom. For me, I would just tell them, a fake truth to dispel them, our real reasons are our hell. It’s not a seek for adventure, but an escape from indenture, that walks me through the well.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Home Without a House

It’s been roughly a week since the meeting of Marty and Brian. There’s been a handful of acquaintance conversations and coffee overnighters at The Diner. Kaylene and I are heading over to the place where they are currently residing to hang out for a bit. We walk inside and are greeted with a new face, this would be Ben. Someone I would later form the opinion of being a human penis with ADD. He’s good looking with a nice body, but deep down you know you’ll get fucked in the end, one way or another.
We don’t spend too much time at the house. There’s a tense feeling in the air. Not having known the boys very long, there’s not much that I can guess as to what the reason might be. Marty decides somewhat hastily that we need to go; nowhere in particular, just anywhere but there. We head back to Kaylene’s house for a few hours to bullshit and decide what to do for the day. As usual, a multitude of people come and go while we’re there. As the evening gets closer, we decide to have night of drinking and general hanging out.
I assume that due to a lack of attention from Kaylene, Brian has turned his radar to me. A multitude of verbal compliments and impromptu hugging ensues. I must admit there’s a charm to that red-headed boy. His smile can light you up and his extravagant stories can make you forget your worries. Unfortunately, I have already formed an unprovoked attachment to someone else. I was hooked that first night in The Diner.
Whether or not Marty was keyed into this attachment I had made was unknown. Brian however, hadn’t missed a beat. With both of us on our way to happy intoxication that night, Brian and I begin chatting as if we had been life-long friends. Unabashed with his questions, the asking begins.

“So you like my friend Mary, don’t you”, more of a statement than a question.

“Um, well, why do you ask?”

“I can tell, plus you’ve been blowing off my advances. I like you and I think you’re hot, but it’s obvious that you like him and not me. Do you want me to talk to him? Try to get the conversation going? He’s really a good guy.”

“Uh, no. I think that would just make it worse.”

“OK, well, tell me about Kaylene. Is she seeing anyone?”

Just like that he was onto the next venture. I could hear the same compliments being given and the puppy-like infatuation ensued. Kaylene was an attention whore by nature, so this new devotion from a new character was being eaten up. I’m sure that it was exploited to the fullest extent that night, him refilling her drinks and lighting her cigarettes. I sat with Marty on the floor in the living room for the remainder of the night, watching whatever happened to be on and talking about nothing and anything. Before everyone passed out, Marty and Brian head back home and I attempt to get a few hours of sleep.
I get a call late the next morning from Marty, asking me to meet him at his house. Once inside, we immediately go into the basement and Brian is grabbing a backpack and filling it with clothes. I want to ask what’s going on, but think better of it and decide to just go along with the show. We head back upstairs after they have some clothes packed; Brian and I head outside to wait.
Marty comes out of the house roughly ten minutes later and he and Brian throw their things in the back of Marty’s little red truck. I hop in Rosy and we head back to Kaylene’s. It’s still morning and everyone leftover from the party the night before is still passed out, Kaylene included. We head onto the back porch and during a smoke the story unfolds.
Ben has essentially put Marty into a decision position. His new found fuck buddy is moving in, and in order for that to happen, Brian has to leave. A dick move, any way you look at it. Brian, mind you, is visiting from Michigan for a couple of months and is staying with Marty during this time. Ben has made it clear that he’s not kicking Marty out, just that Brian has to stay somewhere else for the remainder of his visit because his new vagina doesn’t like Brian. Making the obvious choice, Marty decides that if Brian isn’t welcome there, neither is he.
So here we are. Two weeks in, and my new friends are essentially homeless. They have no family here, and no other friends to crash with. Kaylene is awake by now, and the first few nights are on her. After that, none of us are really sure where they’ll stay. All I know, is that I’m not going to abandon them. I still don’t know either of them well, they could be serial killers for all I know; but at least they’ll have a friend in their victim if that be the case.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Starchildren 2 - Excerpt 1.0 (w/Gandalf's Eagles)

“What is the point of having a dozen servants if nothing is ever done correctly!?” Ali screamed in rage. 
The man’s three story chalet stood tall amidst the tiny village of smaller one and two story buildings. His top floor balcony gave any would be lookers the best views of two worlds colliding. On the west side, the Arabian Desert consumed everything within sight; innumerable grains of sand reflected a blinding light out and every which way. From the east side, a less hostile but still intimidating body of Persian Gulf water incessantly crashed against a rocky beach.
Just then, as if out of nowhere, Gandalf's eagles appear! The large feathered friends waste no time in beginning to dive bomb any and all enemies. The day is saved!  Huzzah!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Organic Thoughts

       Writing a novel is one thing, but I still have this craving to create something that is completely organic. Let’s table the idea that creating something of your own is no longer possible and walk out on a limb of hope. Where to start? I’m not going to lie and say that writing the first novel was any form of the word easy, but it does feel like I cheated in some ways. The characters are based on people I know, I've been to the locations, and the events aren't completely out of the realm of possibility. The ability to picture things and describe them as they actually are, it cuts out the middle man of having to pretend them into existence first. That itty-bitty detail of organic creation, it can be as time consuming as editing!
       Imagination is key. A five minute conversation with me would be enough to prove that even as a 32 year old “man”, a vivid imagination I do still have. And it’s not just sexual thoughts either, though the sex stuff does eat up a good amount of my mental RAM at any given moment. Creativity is my real drug. When I go without creative thoughts, whether it’s because my attention is focused on work or other stresses, I suffer withdrawals, I become visibly upset. Others may not be able to clearly see what is bothering me, but I need it, I fucking need it.
       If ability isn't the problem, then what is? My inner-pragmatist wants to say that it comes down to effectiveness; why spend extra time doing something that can otherwise be hacked? You’re right iPrag, I wouldn't plow the fields by hand if there were horses in the barn. Not wanting to spend additional time on a task does not prove laziness, if anything, it leans to ingenuity.
       Maybe what I’m really searching for is balance. A way to mix what I know is unique with what I want to be unique. One of the most comforting parts about writing stories that include my friends and our situations is that these stories are uniquely ours. Now I’m not going to say that each of us is a beautiful little snowflake, but our experiences: how we perceive them, how we remember them, how we let or don’t let them affect us. Our experiences make us variables, and if you get enough variables into an equation, the likelihood of a unique(ish) product greatly increases!
       In a way, writing about familiar things is a creative safety blankey. Clutching tightly to things that I believe to be unique(ish), allows me to escape the fears of accidentally recreating someone else’s ideas. I don’t have to abandon writing about the things I know, but it might be time to get rid of the blankey… well… maybe not get rid of… maybe I’ll just set it next to the bed, for now, in case I can’t sleep.