The Cure

“Don’t worry, Morton, it’s a simple procedure. And non-invasive too!”

“Um…alright. But, it just seems kind of big.” Morton pointed to the c-clamp that was as large as a baby elephant.

“Yes, it is quite big.” The doctor nodded. Silence permeated between the two. “Oh! You were wondering about the logistics! Well, that’s what I have my partner for!”

“Your partner?”

“Um, Sydney!” The doctor called-out. That’s when one of the walls of the doctor’s office opened-up and an immense, spindly red man crawled into the office like a spider that lost control of its limbs.

“Yesss sirrrr?” The red man said with a smile.

“Hello Sydney, today is your lucky day. Morton here needs a procedure performed on him.”

The red man’s eyes glistened beneath the fluorescent lights. The red man clawed for the c-clamp and shifted slowly towards Morton.

“Wait! Wait! I don’t get it!”

“Don’t be silly, Morton,” the doctor said. “As I explained before, we are just going to delicately clamp your head and leave a modest amount of pressure on your temples for fifteen minutes and–”

“But how is this supposed to cure my depression?”

The doctor thought for a moment. “Wait, you said depression?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh. I thought you said measles.” The doctor motioned Sydney back to his chamber. Sydney let out a sigh as he dropped the clamp and then disappeared behind the door. “Poor guy. It’s really the only thing he looks forward since the divorce.”

“So…” Morton said.

“Yes?”

“My depression?”

“Oh, right! Yeah, there’s no cure for that.”

“Oh.”

“I mean, there’s pills and therapy and stuff. And plenty of people get good treatment out of that. The key is finding what works for you which…is a lifelong process sometimes. But then again, maybe the clamp–”

“No. I think I’m good. I’ll try the pills and the therapy…or whatever…” Morton left the office feeling…somewhat better. But the words reverberated: “a lifelong process…” He knew the doctor was right, but maybe he should have given the clamp a chance. Maybe that would have worked for him. But it was too late as he walked back to his car and back to the solitude of home.


Written for Reena’s Xploration Challenge #174. Not sure what the source of the image is but reverse image search led to this Twitter account.

Exodus

It has sat here, wrapped
Around the trees, filling
The hands of our eyes
With movements for years
And years. You keep
Walking. This isn’t
Your silence. The light
Isn’t here for you,
Just a pale hand above
The trees. You keep
Walking as the others
Have done. Stop.
You turn, but it is
Gone, the quivering
Like a limb shifting
Along the trunk of a tree.
But it is gone. You keep
Walking, walking.
Your blood deepens,
A shadow creeps
Along your chest.
You keep walking
As the others
Among these shapes.
Until the end.
Another movement
Over there, but you
Don’t look


Written for in response to the first prompt in a series of prompts: 13 Days of Samhain. Today’s was “Monsters in the Dark.”

Creatures

Beings gather in his smoky field once again. All of them had taken the grandest sojourn to meet the wizened creature, hoping for answers. The creature had wandered its field, waiting for the beings to emerge. Often, the questions are of a similar sort: large philosophical queries, or seemingly insignificant issues that, nevertheless, drive the beings to dangerous journey. 

The beings emerge like shadows in the creature’s eye. They all either kneel or plead. From their words, the creature learns a little bit more of the world outside his field. Over the years, the creature had learned of empires rising and tumbling back down, the constant bickerings between order and chaos. The creature’s wisdom seeps the air and the beings are grateful. The creature watches them disappear into the smoke, leaving the creature alone in his field. The beings seemed more than satisfied with his answers, but more beings will come, and come, always needing. The creature bows its head to the fog and finds the grass underneath.


Written for The Sunday Muse.

FTWT – Son’s Duty

“First Thought, Worst Thought,” basically means writing whatever comes to mind, sometimes with a time limit or some other constraint. Today I limited myself to 300 words max; this is also a response to Sunday Muse #110. The image is entitled “Rocket” by Brad Phillips.


“Rick! RIIIIIICK! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

“Goin’ to space mom!” Rick was in the middle of the field, the giant rocket roped to his chest, sparks nipping at his heels. 

“RICK! This is UNACCEPTABLE! You have school tomorrow!”

“I know mom, but gotta fight the aliens!”

“WHAT?” His mother slammed her foot against the ground. “Rick…” Her gaze lowered. ‘Rick, your father wasn’t killed by aliens.”

“What?”

“No. He died fighting in the parking lot of an Applebee’s.”

“Mom…you lied to me?”

“Maybe. Now…GET OFF THAT ROCKET AND COME–”

But then there was smoke. Rick was launched into the air, disappearing into a plume spreading into the stars. 

“RIIIIIICK!” She screamed, shaking her fist. “GET DOWN FROM THERE!” 

“Dammit. I can’t help but feel this is my fault somehow. I hate feeling that way!” She marched back home, muttering, and waited for her no-good son to come back down to Earth. 

Hope

“Hope? Let me tell you something about hope,” the chocolate bar said. “This old man, eyeing me with his sun-drenched eye. In his home. The only one that’s known him. Webbed windows. Ceiling spitting on his crumbled shoes. Fridge hums every time he claws a can from its near-vacant stomach, as if inching toward warm silence. The chairs he speaks to are wordless. Only thing he has is me: a candy bar akin to something he had digested 50 years ago, when skies were deeper and balloons didn’t pop, but tailed the sun. His mouth, willing to break itself on the few almonds encased in my flesh. His faded stare centers on me. There is no hope for a proxy of love.”


A pretty dumb thing I wrote in response to a couple of prompts: One-Word Prompts and the Daily Spur.

Dancing with Words: The Story of kc.zach, Internet Poet Laureate

They once said that poetry was dead. However, it just needed to be reclaimed by the people. Poetry was tucked away, rotting in the dust-ridden tomes stacked high within ivory towers. Until kc.zach came along. He was a young man who gained prominence on the social media platform, Instagram, with tiny, little poems (or “thoughtful word clusters” as he called them.) It didn’t take long for these clusters to inspire many and soon he gained over a million followers. Book deals, speaking arrangements, awards. kc.zach traveled around the world, reading his much-lauded poetry. One of his most significant and well-received works was a poem called “heart.broken!?”:

heart…broken?
I say…heart rich!
beauty is in the eye
Of the beholder, they
say, but beauty
is also in the bravery
of Waking up each day
After you left
me
Without your kisses
And your teardrop
rains.

Note the lack of obscure imagery. kc.zach believed in unpretentious verse. He believed that poetry should be easily understood and relatable. “Art,” he said, “is subjective. It’s all about making people feel something. Most of the poetry we read in schools just doesn’t do that. It’s all just a bunch of flowery, over-cooked crap written by rich, old, dead white guys.”

However, kc.zach did not shy away from politics or controversial topics. Here is a poem he wrote called “on war”:

they say war
is a necessary
evil.
maybe…if
you are rich

But it was not just his writing that made him an icon, but the way he translated what was on paper into air. He spoke with unrestrained passion and fury. “Words shouldn’t just live on the page. They should be alive. They should fight. They should dance. They should love.”

Of course, not everyone loved kc.zach’s poetry. One critic wrote in a review of kc.zach’s second chapbook, Talking into Lions:

There is very little craft in his writing. Bad line breaks, cliches up the bum, awkward clunky music. All he has riding on are his morals. He decries the horrors of war and racism. But what poet doesn’t? He literally writes in one of his poems, “war is bad / that’s all that needs to be / said”. Okay…it’s a nice sentiment, of course, but what matters is how things are communicated. Anyone can say war is bad. What makes kc.zach’s poetry no better than any other doggerelist on the web? Literally anyone can write this, so why does he deserve to be paid so handsomely? I kind of like the book title though.

While most reviews were overwhelmingly positive, it was this review that gained most attention. The review received tens of negative comments, some of which advising the author to “kill himself.” In an interview, kc.zach defended the reviewer however. “Critics are entitled to their opinions,” kc.zach said. “People shouldn’t attack, but understand. Even though I think art criticism doesn’t really matter, it should be allowed.” However, when the review was originally published, kc zach himself fired upon its author on Twitter, calling him a “hack” a “troll” and a “sad sack loser who just wants to bring people down.” The tweets were quickly deleted, but they were, of course, screen-capped by others.

kc.zach’s popularity soon waned. Most of his followers either forgot who he was or moved on to other poets. “There is too much negativity not just online, but in the world. Not everyone will like what I write, and that’s okay. Maybe it’s too weird. Maybe it’s a little too blunt or scary to deal with. But, if I can just inspire one person to be unafraid of life then it would all have been worth it.”


Written for OLWG #150.

A Good Attempt

Each work of art is a problem.
They say there is no solution, only abandonment,
and then a final hoping that the passerby
sees a significant something, hears
the right note among raucous pangs.

See the landscape I’m trying
To summon here: the mute ribbons
of sky, gold light pinned above
stolid browns of what could be
trees and bushes, a sullen stone?
My hand moves and so does my desire,
but nothing is framed beyond
Color. However, there is something,
I tell the leaves and the sickly
sky, there is a purpose in their beings,
but they won’t hear it. They just sit
there in sad, anonymous hues.


Written for April Writing Prompts (Prompt #5) and YDWordPrompt.

Cup of Coffee

A “stream-of-conscious” story written in response to the On-line Writer’s Guild writing prompts for this week, specifically the first prompt. I ended-up taking a little longer than 25 minutes however. Enjoy. 


Mr. Tren stepped into the diner and sat at his usual booth. The week had been long and busy, but it was now the weekend and he was looking forward to his Saturday morning ritual of scrambled eggs and a cup of coffee, black.

He was reading the paper when Penelope, the waitress, came by. “The usual Marv?”

“Oh you know me,” Mr. Tren said without looking away from his paper, “the weekend doesn’t start until I have some of your finest cup a’ joe.”

“And eggs?”

“Ah yes, of course. Thank you.”

Mr. Tren had been coming to this fine establishment for years. It was one of the few things in his life that he could rely on, a virtual foundation as other aspects of his life slip away.

It didn’t take long for the eggs to come. He didn’t start on them right away however as the coffee was not yet ready it seemed. A few minutes passed and his gaze finally lifted from the newspaper. He scanned the rest of the diner. It was sparse, but everyone he saw had cups of steaming hot coffee. When Penelope was walking by he said, “Um, excuse me. Sorry, but do you know the status of my coffee? I just can’t wait,” he smiled.

“Oh, right. Of course. Let me ask.”

“Thank you.” He returned to his paper; however, his mind kept wandering over to his watch. Nearly half an hour passed. The morning was almost over and his eggs had gone cold. No coffee.

“Penelope,” he said as the waiter passed.

“Sorry, hon, just a second,” she said with a slightly condescending tone. She continued by and went behind the counter. And to Mr. Tren’s amazement, she started serving some recent patrons their coffee. He was baffled by this. Angered even. His coffee had always been served to him in a timely manner.

Finally, he stood up and marched over to the counter. “Um, Penelope.”

“Yes, sorry. What is it hon?”

“Coffee…”

“Wha–oh, right…The machine is down, but don’t worry we will–”

“Look, I don’t mean to be rude, but you just served these fine gentlemen their coffees.”

“Right and that was before the machine went down.”

“But–”

“Don’t worry Marv. Sit down and relax. You will have your coffee in no time.”

Mr. Tren returned to his seat, muttering to himself. He reopened the paper, briskly scanning stories he had already read.

Some time had passed. Mr. Tren checked his watch. It was already noon. This was getting ridiculous. He swiped the flies away from his eggs and chewed on their rubbery flesh.

“Oh, is the coffee machine–” He said to Penelope, but she just brushed right by him as if he wasn’t there and started chatting up a nearby booth. Mr. Tren threw his paper down onto his table and stomped over to Penelope and poked her shoulder.

She turned slowly over to Mr. Tren and gave an irritated grin. “Yes Mr. Tren?”

“Coffee?”

“Coffee. Right. Well, you’re just going to have to wait, okay? And I would appreciate it if you didn’t touch me.”

“Do you know how long?”

“…No.” She turned back to the table. “Sorry about that folks. Can I get you anything else?”

Mr. Tren headed back to his booth, but saw that a large man was now occupying it. “Um, excuse me, sir,” he said to the rugged gentleman. “I was sitting here.”

But the man didn’t say anything, didn’t even look at him. His eyes were too busy with the paper that was once Mr. Tren’s. Mr. Tren was about to say something else, but realized it was pointless. He walked to a different booth that was empty and sat. It wasn’t a bad seat, but it wasn’t ideal. The sunlight glared at him and the cushioning was old with cuts. However, at this point, he must be getting his coffee soon.

However, Mr. Tren was taken back by what he witnessed: Penelope serving the man who stole his spot a large cup of coffee. His coffee. His was at a loss for words. He had been a loyal patron at this establishment for over a decade, and this is how he was treated.

“Excuse me!” He called out to Penelope, making sure the whole place could hear him. “Can I get some coffee too! I’ve been waiting for over two hours!”

Penelope gave him a side glance and then resumed chatting with the large man.

“Hey! I know you heard me! I’ve been coming here for eleven and a half years now, and I’ve never been treated this way! Can I have some coffee, or what?”

Penelope visibly sighed and crawled over to Mr. Tren, her shoulders slouched. She pulled out her notepad. “What would you like, sir?”

“You’re joking right? You know what I want. I want a fresh cup of–”

“We’re out sir, anything else?”

“…You’re…you’re out?”

“Yes sir. The young man over there took the last cup. But if you come by tomorrow–”

“NO! I want my coffee NOW! Not tomorrow! Not next year! NOW!”

“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave. You are scaring the other–”

“NO! I’ve been here for–”

And that’s when the sky turned black, and everyone but Mr. Tren vanished. He looked around completely baffled.

“H-hello? Anyone here?” But the only answer he received were the flickering of the fluorescent lights above. “What in the world…”

He slowly patrolled the diner, but there were no signs of life.

But suddenly, a voice from out of nowhere hissed at him. “Why…” He stopped. The voice crawled down his spine. “Why couldn’t you…just have waited…”

“What? Who–who–”

“It was coming…you could have just waited…”

“I…I’m just a man.” Mr. Tren’s voice quivered. He cowered by the stools. “I’m…I haven’t done anything, please!”

But the voice continued. “You could have just waited…for your coffee…” And with that a barrage of different ghastly voices came at him. He couldn’t understand what they said, but they were not pleased. Mr. Tren shook.

“You had to ask…questions…” The voice rose above the others. “Now you have disturbed…the frequency…”

Mr. Tren whimpered. “Please…I’m sorry…I don’t need coffee! I don’t need it! Please let me go!” But the voices only got louder and louder. “Let me go! Let me go! Let me GO!”

And with that the voices were gone. Mr. Tren’s eyes opened and he was back at his usual spot. The sun glowed brightly in the window, but not at an upsetting angle, and everyone was here. Things were as they were before: normal.

“Are you okay hon?” Penelope was standing over him.

“Oh…” Mr. Tren tried to regain his composure. He grasped his paper like a security blanket. “Yes…Yes, I–”

“That’s good. You seemed a little upset there. But you know what I think could help you with that? Some scrambled eggs and a nice, hot cup of coffee? What do you say?”

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.