12-Minute Tales – Moon Song

She basked in it. It felt like the universe gazed down at her, an intimate connection between everything. But, of course, she wasn’t really there. The moon had been destroyed in one of those ancient wars many, many years ago (you know how those things go.) But, she was experiencing what seemed like a pretty good approximation.

She bounced from crater to crater. Watching the dust poof from each step and then dissipate. People have asked her why, out of all of the realities she could occupy, she often chooses the moon. Her answer: she wasn’t really sure. Perhaps it was the fact that there wasn’t much there. Other virtual realities were often cluttered with aliens or gangsters or such nonsense. She wasn’t interested in such hooplah. She didn’t want to go on some adventure where she was the perpetual hero. No, she wanted to be alone.

But, when she was on the not-moon, she didn’t feel distant from anything. And sometimes she even felt sad as her gaze often settled along the desolate landscape. There was no life here. For the most part, it was just an unimportant wrock. But, a long time ago, it was a stepping stone for man. Humans projected an importance on it that she could only guess at. And now, it was gone.

This sadness that she experienced felt like a good thing, in a weird way. It was something that was her’s. It felt like a mirror. Something that made her feel, well, real. Oftentimes, in her day-to-day life, she didn’t feel like anything.

She stopped her bouncing and slowly sat down and watched the earth quiver in the distance. The earth, too, was gone. Her simulations of earth never felt real. They felt like silly cartoons of something that was once real. Maybe people didn’t want to experience what was real, but merely used the past as an anchor for their desires. Kind of like what she was doing.

She took off her helmet and the simulation dissolved away, the dull glow of her room piercing into being. “Hi dear, how was Mars?”

“The moon,” she corrected her holo-mother, the hologram that had helped raise her.

“Oh, same difference.”

Mindy sat down and stared out the window of their breakfast nook. Tall buildings aflesh with bright advertisements and faces clogged her view. Humanity mainly occupied these cities which wandered across the universe. Like lost satellites. After she ate her wonderfood, Mindy returned to her room and back to the empty, gray landscapes of someone else’s past.


Written for Daily Writing Prompt Feb #29.

Superb Tentricles of the Thoughtless Glory

Quite in;
The clouds feel very out.
The dramaturgy master mediates his own
Universe into the comic, but askew.

Father’s earth illuminatingly
Not. It’s the voluntary course of pristine parallels
Of other directions. However, to stars, some part
Of the universe fled.

Cleave the empty
Atmosphere. Time important, sure, but chemically not
The very mass business of solely atomical gentlemen.
Forbidden, we exploded the galaxy, and slept without ears.

The actually answered room
Parallels chemically. Shakespeare’s not the me
In once we were. The life that literalizes to recognize
These facts sees the ambiguous floorboards.


A very deep and profound poem written for The Weekly Terrible Poetry. Basically, to fit the week’s theme, I took lines from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (as well as from the edition’s introductory section,) a few sentences from Douglas Coupland’s novel, Generation X, random quotes from Neil deGrasse Tyson, and tossed them all together into the Dada Poem Generator. What spewed forth was a Frankenstein monstrosity of avant garde word-trash. In order to make things more comprehensible for you, the reader, I deleted sections, added my own words, and switched things around in an attempt to make this thing look like a real poem. The result: a beautiful and haunting masterpiece that contemplates both the insignificant and the grandiose with such touching and brutal language. Truly my best work. And the title I just came up with off the top of my head. I hope you liked it! And if you didn’t, enjoy your plebeian lifestyle you hapless ignoramus.

The above image is courtesy of skeeze at Pixabay. Note how the image is better and probably took more time to create than this post’s actual content!

The Origin of Loss, Part 27 – Behind the Mask

It was a dark night, quiet. Too quiet. Something clung to the air, and it stunk. But I knew…

“Um, sorry to interrupt, but have you stopped to consider–”

“Hey! HEY! STOP! OKAY? People my whole life have been mocking me, trying to bully me. But guess what? Now they respect me. People look up to me. I am an inspiration. And that’s what we need nowadays. So, anyway, back to my flashback–”

But just as the screen was about to dissolve a flash appeared in the headlights. The child. Standing right in the middle of the road. Officer Barns flung his steering wheel away, trying his damnest to swerve his car out of the way, but he wasn’t qucik enough. The child’s body smashed against the windshield and rolled across the top of the car. Barns slammed on the brakes and tried to compose himself.

“What the fuck was that?” He turned to the dog, who was shaking. “Are you alright?”

But Jimmy wasn’t. His head had slammed against the back of the passenger seat and his mind was tossed into unconsciousness.

Barns jumped out of his car, braving the heavy winds and rains, and saw the child’s body, limp on the road behind his car. “Shit. God–NO!” He started to panic. He was definitely screwed now. “B-but. He came out of nowhere. He…he jumped out of me. Yes! He was threatening me, so I had no choice but to hit him with my car. And, and, and…he was trying to free Jimmy. Because they’re in cahoots. Yes…that’s what happened. That’s what…” But then he wondered, perhaps the child wasn’t dead? He stepped slowly toward the child and gave him a shake. “Hello? Are you dead?” However, something suddenly came to him. Gripping him. There was something familiar about this child. Yes, it was Jimmy’s brother. The child he had rescued that one fateful night. And there was something off about his face.

The officer’s hand slowly hovered over the face. “Wait,” he said to himself. “Is this…a mask?” But just as he was about to lift the mask a couple of ambulances appeared out of nowhere. “Um…he lunged at me! I had no choice! But it’s a shame!” He stammered as men and hazmats leapt out of the ambulances and whisked the child away.

“You did good Officer Barns, you did good.” Barns immediately recognized that voice. And there he was: Dr. Gunders standing beside him with an umbrella. “You’ve done this town a great service and…man it’s really pouring now. Jesus.”

“Um…yeah…” Officer Barns didn’t know what to say. He felt like a confused child overwhelmed with loud noises and colors.

“But I think we’re going to need some more of your expertise. If you can come with us that would be great. If you’re up to it.”

Officer Barns gulped and nodded.

“Perfect,” Gunders replied with a smirk. But it quickly disappeared when a sudden grasp snatched away his umbrella and carried it down the road. “God damn it!”


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The Origin of Loss, Part 26 – The Interrogation

Jimmy watched the street lamps blurred by the rain drops drifting down the window. And the buildings were just shadowy shapes that slipped deeper into darkness. Jimmy was in the backseat of the car while Biscuits was sitting passenger, eyeing Officer Barns as he drove, growling.

“You know, I’ll never forget that night when I uncovered your reign of terror. You were cowering behind that bench. You remember that? I do. I also remember the child…”

Jimmy pulled his attention away from the window and to what Barns was saying.

“Yup. And how you were using him as a shield against the rival gang. Disgusting. Your own brother. And now, here you are, stealing old ladies’ dogs. But it ends. Tonight.”

As dramatic as Barns was being, it made Jimmy wonder about something.

“I’m going to roll into the station like the King of Siam and then I’m going to do some ol’ fashioned interrogation. You will be confessing to all sorts of crimes. Even ones that hadn’t been committed yet.”

“Um, sorry to interrupt…” Jimmy said. Officer Barns glared at him through the rearview window. “But why did you decide to release me in the first place?”

Barns smirked. “Yeah, bet you liked it when I did that, huh? Thought you had successfully played the system once again? Taking advantage of my good nature…well, if you must know, I was convinced by a highly-esteemed psychiatric professional. He thought it rehabilitating you was the most humane solution. And while I believe in the strictures of law and order, I also believe in society and second chances. Cause I’m good police and I’m here for the people. I’m not just interested in arresting people and seeing them rot forever in jail. But, I guess some people just don’t deserve second chances.”

“Was it Dr. Gunders?”

“…Yes. I’m sure you’ve met him. Brilliant man. But it seems like he has some blind spots. Yes, you probably fed him all sorts of B.S., huh?”

“So, he was the one that told you about that night?”

“Man,” Officer Barns raised his voice, causing Biscuits to start yelping, “what is it with you? You criminals, man: either you say too much, or nothing at all. Either way, you’re full of shit. I’m gonna be the one asking the questions from here on out. Okay? Not you!…But if you must know, yes, he helped me clarify some details about that evening. A lot happened, but, for the most part, it was all pretty clear…”


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The Origin of Loss, Part 25 – Low Point

Jimmy ran and ran. “What the fuck is going on?” But as soon as he finished that question he had to stop and start heaving and huffing. Again, he wasn’t the most athletic. The dog jumped from his arms and started barking up at Jimmy from his feet. “Yeah, yeah…” Jimmy looked back. He was standing behind a convenience store a few blocks away. He knew he had to keep moving, but he wasn’t sure if he had it in him.

When he stepped inside the convenience store the man at the counter immediately berated him. “No dogs. No dogs! Not even damn disability dogs!” Instead of arguing it, Jimmy just tiredly accepted it and carried himself and the dog back into the wet world and sat on the curb. A cop car was bound to see him, but at this point he didn’t care. You could say that he was at a “low point.” He looked down at Biscuits’ tiny face and knew there was at least one thing he should do.

He walked over toward a nearby bus stop, but just as he approached it the bus drove away. He had no money for an Uber. He checked his phone and the animal shelter was 2 miles away. However, there was one place that was even closer.

Night started to unfold and the rain continued down hard. Jimmy had found an umbrella with holes in it, but it was better than nothing, and it was enough to shield Biscuits who was shivering in his arms. But, some relief came to him as he saw his home in the distance. As he moved in closer and closer he saw his family in the front window. Instead of going inside he watched the scene. They were all seated in the family room. His mom and dad smiling, and their new son seated in between them, all watching Family Feud. Laughing.

“Hold it right there.” Jimmy turned and saw Officer Barns sticking out of the bushes next to the porch, gun drawn on him. “Freeze. Don’t even think about making a move.” But Jimmy didn’t think of doing such a thing. He didn’t care anymore.

“Wait,” the officer said. “Is that Old Lady Peterson’s dog?” Officer Barnes gave him a deadly squint. “What did you do to her?”

“Huh?”

“I knew you were somehow behind the disappearances!”

Jimmy ignored him and stared back into the glow of the living room.


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The Origin of Loss, Part 24 – Meeting Bob

Bob, instead of disregarding this tiny existence, decided to scoop up the crab into a white bag which once held a burger and fries. He made sure to be gentle and avoided the claws, but the crab was surprisingly docile, as if accepting of whatever fate tossed in its way.

The crab was taken to Bob’s small apartment and, for a few days, was fed a variety of foods that the crab had never indulged in before. Bob enjoyed watching it eat, meticulously extracting tiny pieces of food at a time, sometimes stopping to observe the details of what’s about to be ingested. Bob sensed that, somehow, there was something more to this crab. An inner life that simply did not cohere within other crabs. Bob named the crab Jeffrey.

Bob became Jeffrey’s companion and told him his life. He told him about his marriage, his children, and his recent divorce. How he was alone and missed his children who he had limited custody of. Every time he saw them they had seen to have grown a little bit more, and a little bit more distant from him. He also spoke of his dreams. Bob always wanted to make music, but, when he was young, he studied math instead. He got a good job and spent his youth climbing the corporate ladder, but he was quickly flicked off its rungs, forced to take-up side jobs and gigs. Now, he was in his 40’s. No wife. Kids he hardly sees. And some time to finally pursue the one thing he had always been passionate about. He always worried if it was too late though. But what else could he do? Sit around, being mopey?

The crab heard all of this without saying a word. But it watched him with an intent only Bob could perceive. Sometimes, Bob even believed that the crab spoke to him, somehow. Not through its tiny crab mouth, but through his mind. Whispering soft phrases of encouragement. Telling him that Bob was special and that, one day, he will fulfill his dreams. And everyone will listen to him and his music. It was the first time anyone had genuinely believed in him. The words sunk into him as if they were what he had always needed and didn’t realize it.

“Jeffrey? Where’s Jeffrey?” Bob cried out as the rain seemed to harden against his scalp. But the two police officers ignored him and tossed him in the back of their car.


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The Origin of Loss, Part 23 – From the Gutter

“Let go of me. LET GO OF–” And suddenly the driver was tackled onto the sidewalk by Officer Newhall, the white bag flying into the air. Officer Shins rushed over to help her partner as the driver continued to squirm.

Jimmy started to panic. “Fuck, what do I do? What do I…” And then Jimmy realized it. He jumped out of the car, the rain cutting through the air. But he stopped and watched as the two police officers struggled to pin the driver.

“Go!” The driver called out. “GO!” And it was there that Jimmy ran, the dog pressed tightly to his chest.

The police officers struggled to contain the driver, but, finally, his body went limp and he was promptly handcuffed. “You ain’t gonna read my Miranda rights?” Newhall yanked him off the ground and leaned his back against a pole. The driver sat there, muttering, the rain gathering on his glasses.

“What’s in the bag?”

“DON’T!” The driver demanded. But Officer Shins continued anyway. “Um…nothing.”

“Nothing?”

“Well, except for what looks like…a crab?”

“What?”

“Don’t touch him! DO NOT TOUCH HIM!”

“Why do you have a crab?” Newhall asked the driver.

“Who cares?” Shins tossed the bag. “Wait. Where did Jimmy go? Crap!”

“It’s alright. It’s not like he’s gonna go far.”

“Yeah, but we let him go! Barns is surely going to snatch him up. And then he’s going to stroll through the station like he’s the King of Siam!”

Meanwhile, the driver continued to mutter incoherently to himself.

“What’s the matter with you?”

The driver’s name was Bob Burkenstein, but he preferred the moniker “B-Man.” Anyway, some time prior, Bob was driving around the edge of town. It was late at night and he had just gotten into an argument with a very irate passenger who gave him a poor rating and no tip. Bob was unhappy about this and so sat on the curb, drinking a soda, when he saw a little crab emerging from some gunk in the gutter by his foot. Normally, he would wince from such crustacean wildlife, but there was something different about this motherfuckin’ crab.


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The Origin of Loss, Part 22 – The Hunters

“Yep. That’s him.”

“Should we call it in?”

“…Nah. I think we can handle this one ourselves.”

Officer Newhall smirked. “Barns isn’t going to like this.”

“Well,” Officer Shins replied, “why should he get all of the glory?” Their police car rolled up behind the parked car, silently, and the two officers stepped out into the rain.

“Come on,” Jimmy said, “where is he?” But then, in the side mirror, he saw a police officer approaching the car. “Shit.” Officer Newhall tapped on his window and made the motion to roll down the window.

“Um, I don’t know how. The car isn’t running. I don’t–”

But the officer kept tapping the window.

“Sir, please step out of the car.” Jimmy turned and saw another police officer at the other side of the car. Looking mean.

Biscuits started barking. Jimmy sighed. But as he was about to open his door, he heard a familiar voice.

“Yo, officers. What seems to be the problem?” The driver approached Officer Newhall. Newhall smiled while Shins stayed in her position, just in case Jimmy tried to escape from the driver’s side.

“Is this your car,” Newhall asked calmly.

“Yeah. What’s it to you?”

“Did you know your car contains a known criminal?” Officer Shins asked the driver whilst continuing to glare at Jimmy. Biscuits continued to bark.

“Yeah. So? Am I just supposed to refuse service cause of some guy’s colorful past?”

“His past is a little bit more than ‘colorful.’ Where were you two going, if I can ask?”

“No. You can’t. I know my rights.”

“Well,” Newhall said. “Jimmy here is supposed to be in school. He apparently beat-up a security guard to an inch of his life. Now, is that something you want to be associated with? Helping him escape–”

“Hold-up. You’re telling me–”

“What do you got there?” Newhall motioning toward the wrinkly, white bag the driver was holding.

“None of your damn business.”

Jimmy listened as the two battled it out verbally. He tried to not glance over at the other police officer who lingered by the car. He could feel her glare. None of this was good.

 


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The Origin of Loss, Part 21 – This Guy Again…

“Hey man, that’s some voodoo shit I’m betting. Or some sort of black magic. Or maybe it’s a conspiracy. And then thing is, there’s really no similarities between the people disappearing: young, old, ugly, rich…they’re jackin’ all sorts of motherfuckers ‘round here. They don’t discriminate.”

Jimmy sat in the back of the car as the Uber driver went on and on about the string of disappearances.

“Hey, you ain’t got nothing to do with it, do ya?”

Jimmy didn’t really want to talk to him again considering their awkward conversation when he was driving him from rehab, but Jimmy felt like he had to address this at least. “What? No.”

“Good. Good. I’m just sayin’ though, it’s just suspicious that you have that old bitch’s dog. That was like her best friend. The only reason I know is that I used to drive her from time-to-time, like to city meetings and shit, and she always insisted on bringing Chowder or whatever-the-fuck-it’s called with her. And I’m like ‘bitch, I don’t want any damn dog in my car. I’m trying to run a business.’ But that old lady, man…”

Biscuits panted as Jimmy stared out the window. He didn’t have enough money to pay the driver, but the driver said it was okay, so there was that. But now Jimmy had to take the dog to the animal shelter. And who knows how long this dog will be waiting. Waiting.

“Why were you at her house anyway?”

“I saw the address on the dog’s collar.”

“Ah…But hey man. Whatever you’re doing, I gots respect for you. Gots to respect that hustle man. No choice. The world is going to hell and it’s every man for himself.”

“…How long is it to the animal shelter?”

“Just a few more minutes my man. Mind if I turn up some music?”

“Well, actually–”

But before Jimmy could answer the driver he cranked the radio up, playing some of that hip-hop/trap music all the youths enjoy.

Except for Jimmy.

Finally, the car stopped. Jimmy looked out the window. “Where are we? Is this the animal shelter.”

“Nah man. I just have to grab something. Stay put.”

“What?”

And with that, the driver left Jimmy and Biscuits alone in the car in what appeared to be a not-so-great part of town, next to a poorly maintained apartment building.

 


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The Origin of Loss, Part 20 – Unusual

Officer Barns knocked on the door. And knocked on it again. “Hello? Nameless Police Department. Open up.”

The door finally opened. “What? What do you–oh…” Jimmy’s father answered the door. “Hey, you’re that police officer. The hero. Wow, it’s an honor. What brings you here?”

“Well,” Officer Barns said, pretending not to be flattered, “I’m here on important police business. It’s regarding your son.”

“Our son?”

Jimmy’s mother was soon at the door as well. “What’s going on?”

“This is that police officer who shot up all of those gang-bangers. He’s asking about our son.”

“What? Is everything all right?”

“Well, unfortunately ma’am, your son skipped school today. And we also have reason to believe that he assaulted some of his fellow students. Real badly. Can I come in?”

“Of course, of course.” They let him in. “But, our son’s been here all day. He doesn’t go to school, at least not yet. We’re thinking about getting him into one of those fancy charter schools because of how smart he is,” the mother explained. But as Officer Barns stepped inside he saw him: New Jimmy sitting on the couch while Judge Judy played on TV.

Officer Barns stood, frozen. The child and the police officer both stared into each other’s gaze.

“Is something the matter, officer?”

“Your child…” The officer explained in a flat, dazed tone, “is unusual…”

“What?” The father interjected. “Did you say ‘unusual’?”

The officer looked at him. “Oh,” and smiled. “Sorry, I mean, um…usual. He’s a very usual child. Yes…” But the officer knew something was off about this child. Something slithered in the crevices of his brain, but what?

“But aren’t you the parents of Jimmy McDougal as well?”

The parents exchanged confused glances, then realized. “Ohhh yeah. That one.”

“Why? Is he selling more drugs? Because, let me tell you, that’s not our fault. It’s society’s.”

“Video games…”

“Um…I’m not sure. But, like I said, he left school and assaulted some students and possibly a security guard as well.”

“Well…I hope you catch him.”

“Yes,” the mother said as she sat down next to New Jimmy. “We’re trying to raise a family here and we don’t want any criminals running amok.”

“That’s right officer. We want to watching Judge Judy without worrying about getting shot-up in our homes. Or worse.”

“I see…so, he hasn’t come by?”

They both shook their heads.

“Well, I’ll leave you to it then. Thank you for your cooperation.” As the officer started to leave he caught another glimpse of the child on the couch.

As Officer Barns sat down in his patrol car he tried to piece together what he saw. What was so unusual about that child? But then, suddenly he knew…

 


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