REPORT A PROBLEM
Marco looked down at his itinerary, oblivious to the white. 'Taking a walk' around the block', he'd write down for Monday. 'Cooking stuffed cabbage and red pepper curry', he'd write for the next day. 'Sitting quietly,' or, more accurately, 'meditating', he'd write for the next day. His desk calendar was personal, and would never be sitting out for inspection when someoneone was over visiting. Marco had always been a spontaneous person, open to whatever, but found himself always doing the same thing most of the time, until his world became like a machine. Privately he hopes for room to grow.
He swam downward, feeling the pressure mounting to crackling sensation. Treading for a while at this depth, he gazed upward at the surface. Two men walked by, their shirtless forms rippling. His hands explored the scratchy bottom of the pool, wanting a few more moments of peace. Having held his breath long enough, Toby surfaced, hearing the men engaged in conversation. They were approaching and Toby nodded in careful acknowledgment as they walked past, his eyes focusing on their muscular feet. He shot them another glance, but he was oblivious to them. Once their voices faded, he went under again.
It was too late. The file transfer was already in progress. The plane passenger clutched desperately for her phone. Must turn off Wi-Fi, she thought, staring into the spindling wheel on the screen as if it were a window into the future. Instinctively she knew there wouldn't be time to disable her internet connection, traversing the many panes within her phone's settings menu. The laptop would have to be turned off, even if it meant losing her research. Otherwise, the consequences would be unbearable. She depressed the power button, her glossy red nail polish illuminating the cabin lights overhead.
Steve and Cory strolled side by side on the mall's large, shiny porcelain tiles. They'd decided on seeing a movie with a later start date so they would have time to catch up in the food court. Cory liked it when the joked about funny social mannerisms, curious what others' reaction would be to belligerent acts that would fall outside of their refined personalities. Inside the theatre, it was dark, and Cory often thought of cleaning the same theatres in his teens. The theatre was much busier then, and after each showing Cory had work to do, the credits rolling.
In college she had long, blonde hair. She wore minimal make up and had a perpetually philosophical look about her. A suggestion she was wise beyond her words. And indeed she was. A human rights activist, she spent much of her time volunteering at food drives and homeless shelters. She knew how to interact well with anyone, and loved to have fun. As she aged with him, he noticed she never lost that, and although busy in the office, with shorter hair, professionally cut and dyed, she always projected a beautiful, wholesome knowledge. Gifted with nurturing the intricacies of relationships.
He was relieved that she had things to do, and was surrounded by people who care. Understandably she wasn't always happy, but she had a spark that no condition could conquer. I respect and honor her for her spirit. The zodiac is right, she's a dragon at heart. Outside, hallways stretch into Monet canvases, that Cory looked at differently since starting work at the paint company. Inside, Cory unwrapped bags of frozen, mixed fruit, broke up bananas, and combined them with white chocolate strawberry Yoplait. He added milk, and ice cube and a dash of protein power and made smoothies.
Thinking about it rationally, it's something he'd always wanted but was never able to get until he reached the age of consent. It started with an uncomfortable stroll through the mall down one of those side entrances. A shadowy figure stood at the exit doors. In approaching, he stopped at a bank of bubble gum machines, fishing a quarter out of his pocket. By the time he reached the stranger, his teeth were stained blue from the confectionery sugars. Aware of this, he maintained a composed, tight lipped appearance. The other man looked at him quizzically, his voice a whine.
Ok, ok...I'll make an entry. I actually made a great one but clicked on the wrong button and was taken to a paypal page. Content resubmission, damn. Anyway, what I was saying is it's interesting committing myself to 100words. If anything it makes me more aware of where exactly my list of priorities lie some evenings, daydreaming. Playing chess, seeing who is online (most of which people I shouldn't be talking to) and thinking in circles. I'm feeling a lot but nothing specific enough for words. Just operating on a feeling from one day to the next--a hobby?
Jodie stopped reading and placed her book on the end table. There it was again. The urge to communicate. The sinking feeling you get when you remember what you wanted to tell someone, but they are too far away for you to catch them, and your phone is turned off. So Jodie got up and turned on the tea kettle, laying a packet of green tea next to an empty cup. She waited for the water to boil in the bathroom, sliding a cigarette out of her soft pack under the sink. She took a puff, exhaling into the mirror.
The house began to tremble, increasing in intensity. Derek grabbed hold of the wainscoting. The tiffany glass rattled--picturesque pink roses with green trailing vines. When it stopped he stood still for as long as it took for him to calm his nerves. But he wasn't standing completely still, he told himself, becoming aware of his hands incessantly combing themselves through his hair. Stand still, he told himself, as he breathed. Eventually his pulse slowed, and he could here the gentle ticking of the miniature grandfather clock. When all seemed alright, a window burst pixie fragments onto the oak floor.
I gave the pharmacist my name and she smiled, as if she had personally witnessed my call into the automated refill system an hour earlier. But how would that have been funny? After getting the bag, she explained there was a guy in there earlier who was my identical twin. What was his name? I asked. I don't know and could not give that information out anyway, she said. Maybe your brother stopped in, Steve said. He doesn't require any maintenance drugs. Whoever it was, I imagined, looking soberly at the pin pad, he had a better sense of humor.
Winter seems to be wearing on all of us. After yet another snow storm dropped 5 inches today, people here seem to have had enough. I brushed snow off my car 3 times today, and my driver's side window was frozen shut when I last drove. The road crews seemed to have done a good job clearing the snow off the roads though, which is a surprise given their limited budgets. My only thought about the weather is how will things change when Spring finally arrives? Everyone still has to go to work. Pay the bills. What is the rush?
Waves rolling in and out. I'm not in control. Floating on my back with my limbs outstretched would alert me to the cliffs ahead. There is no danger. I'm giving up control to the forces of nature around me. Just as the gull sails through the sky above, so will I, until I reach the barge. That's when my muscles tense, my expressions grow serious and my back aches as the day progresses. There will always be people walking down the cargo containers, full of nervous good cheer. But I just want to work and fall back into the waves.
Getting kind of late, there's another day of work tomorrow. Winding down tonight with Shapeshifter--Summer Haze on YouTube. I used to listen to it often, taking a walk down a nature trail within a Southern rural town. Often the walk would be the highlight of my day. A time to think peacefully about the future, and what needs to be done. No specific plans in place. I was open to possibilities for a long time, not knowing where I might end up. After awhile it became clear, the answer hidden in the silence, the rigid nagging and nagging concern.
I have many goals that are pending these days. Quitting smoking again, working out, becoming more financially secure, developing a rich personal life. These goals sound separate, but I can see the strings that interconnect them all. How they can all be interpreted with one word: happiness, fulfillment, contentment, peace. I did well last year, knocking out the first two goals, but something was in the way of the last of that one word. Whether it was the wrong job, personal reasons, or the current moment, I'm sure I will sense it again. Habits are powerful, and perseverance is key.
Cameron stood in the road with his scope, gauging the terrain. The information collected would be given to the local districts and made into a proposal for new road construction in the Spring. His least favorite place was always near an intersection, particularly in the left turn lane. Cars usually acted confused, braking often, swerving into the lane in front of him at inopportune moments. Just a few more hours, he thought, as he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. His cold fingers gripped the scope and he re positioned himself, the broken crunching underneath his boots, surveying the surface.
There were mixed reviews about the automation of the smoothie store, Vickie said.
She took asip from her water bottle and gave her new employee a bemused stare.
Think about it, she continued. Baskets of strawberries, apples, raspberries and blueberries.
Must have been a problem keeping them fresh back then, the new worker commented.
Vickie nodded her head as the phone rang. You wouldn't believe, she said, before voicing the standard greeting.
Nick, can you refill the strawberry additive? Vickie asked as she took an order.
Nick dropped some strawberries into a mixing tube.
A cool breeze came down from the ceiling fan. It's still early in the evening, but I'm done. I can hear the sounds of kids crying and parents yelling coming from the other room. Usually, I help out, while what? Their parents go to the bathroom to get high? Not tonight. Tonight, stomach slightly upset, their world is not part of mine. I focus on my breathing, the present moment, which should soon subside to sleepiness. A nagging thought gnawed at the edges of my consciousness, am I ready for my own place again? Or will the silence break me?
Just want to get this entry over with tonight because I'm tired and all I want to do is read a little and go to sleep. Myra knew that. That's why she parted the green curtains just in time to see the neighbor boy arriving. He was a wrestler, and carried a large tote bag over his shoulder. She'd been to a few of the parties he's held at his parent's house on occasion. They were fun. But lately, she hasn't seen much of him. Picking up the phone, she called Stephanie to talk about men. Anything to distract herself.
Didn't have to be into work until this afternoon and was at a loss at what to do with myself this morning. Standing by the fridge, a little weak from a cold earlier in the week. I will positive and productive thoughts, and made a couple calls. When I got around to opening the blinds, the first thing I saw were robins pecking at the dead grass outside the apartment building and thought, how appropriate... and it's the first day of Spring, too. The sky was gray and cold when I left. At about 80% of what I am normally.
The train blows, the wind whistles. It was cold and yellow, but the earth seemed more relaxed. Road construction crews lined the intersections with reflective orange vests. The trees, although bare, had an air. People in other cars are appearing out of the ice, experiencing the same sensations. Some smile, some are all business, some serious, others idly eating french fries. The change of seasons brings about a change in our old ways, and inspires something new. A new activity, a new commitment, a new way of looking at things. Snow brought quiet, new leaves intuition, everlasting desires to grow.
Jeannette zealously ripped at the paper seams of the microwaved bag of popcorn. A gust of steam stuck her fingers and she cried out in pain.
"Honey, what are you doing in there? You alright?"
Her boyfriend, Kyle asked from the living room.
"I'll be right out hun, you're gonna have to tell me what happened." Jeanette answered.
She wrapped a wet kitchen towel around her fingers and organized the spilled kernals into a pile for the wastebasket.
That's when she caught sight of him. Sitting outside writing ponderously, but steadily into his notebook.
Sure, I'll put you on the schedule for Friday, Aniston said. And wait one second before you go.
Yes? Billy said.
Close the door.
Look Billy, I just wanted to tell you that the shipment of 90 rolls of packaging tape did arrive. We weren't able to cancel in time.
I'm sorry. I was moving fast. I only meant to indicate zero.
It's alright. We all make mistakes. Actually, your mistake was a little ironic. My wife and I have been packing up a lot of antiques from ebay recently.
Dry, brittle hair in the hazy sun. Like a man spent thinking. Doesn't get out much, socially attributed to the climate. Clumps of hair in places. He took a shower before bed, and the wet split ends dried in his cotton pillow. Two pillows together is a place to read. There wasn't much left to his name. Yet. But his experiences have been unique. Don't miss the bus to corporate america, she said, speaking in general terms. With a fever o 103. And then he smiled, laughing at something nonsensical. His eyes alight, probing for the meaning of another man.
Habit. What seems to be the key to the combination lock I'm facing right now. The one I have been facing for years. If I can just become independent of my habits. Open to do a wider variety of activities, open to just find myself doing without trapping myself in indecision or pondering what it would be like to do it but never get around to it. We're all victims of habit to some extent. Habits are what keep up grounded, sane, functional from one day to the next. But habits can also take away lifetimes of missed opportunity, too.
And there we have it, Maude said, motioning with her wrist. He's home complaining about how many ciggies are left.
Mike looked at her quizzically, brushing a locks of hair to one side. What? I just made an observation that you have one left.
The big deal is that as if grieving in itself isn't enough, I'm being hassled for providing for you as well, Maude said. Lighting up her last one. Her blonde locks dancing imperceptibly to her agitation.
She took a few puffs, returning to her painting. Well..finish this one asshole.
I've been checking out the earthlore store in town. A new age shop filled with the smell of cinnamon spice sticks of incense, cat hair from the owner's feline, oils, and a collections of stones. Each one aiding in different qualities. The shimmering striped gold stone is Tiger's Eye. The metallic pebble is hematite. I used to have a blue, Lapis Lazul, but i dropped in behind rows of 5 gallon paint containers. The stone historically used to decorate the eyebrows of pharaoh tombs is now entombed in inventory. I found this in the parking lot, he'd say to Harry.
Try as he might, Jose couldn't recreate yesterday's moment. He knew he did the same thing, but he was in another state of mind. Isn't the ability to recreate everything, down to who you were that moment, the essence of time travel? So I'm back here, in these woods, dreading the prep rally and the walk to the gym tomorrow. But at the same time, I'm present in these woods, full of excitement, feeling his body heat beside me after each gust of wind. It's not enough to just be in a past, not knowing what happens is also needed.
Lydia pushed service cart down the second floor of the motel, her forearms shaking, slightly. She could smell wisps of her own fragrance beneath her uniform. Nautica Sport, blue in a wavy glass bottle. She pictured herself buying it, but the spiral of negativity had grown to powerful. There would be no stopping the fear with the comfort of an opinion on the topic of fear. She knew she would have to simply be patient and let things work themselves out. Unsteadily picking up a white bottle, she entered the next room, spraying the bottle determinedly. Focusing on simple tasks.
E is Blue. M is bright red. F is dirty red. J is purple. Z is bright yellow, while G is rich yellow. C, the most commonly used, and is a dark yellow color.
Some orders need two shots of B (Black), a half drop of L (Umber) and a dusting of C. Others just need to be shook for a couple minutes. Gallon containers go in the multi-shaker and 5 gallon containers go in the Spinner.
Meanwhile, detail-orientated computer systems cash customers out. Rugged men, freer in a way than those in offices.
Myra was her name. Her being the pools of molten silver on the surface that create 'duplicates' of any person or technology that comes into contact with it. She offered to free the ship from the inhospitable planet in exchange for permission to duplicate the ship and its crew.
The captain glanced away from her first officer and stared at the bottle of gel. So essentially this is our ancient primordial soup, she said. A scar was clearly visible on her cheekbone, her duplicate cells already degenerating. We may be duplicates, but you're still my crew, she said.
The Tip Jar