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I drove home from work after a day spent among the living and listened to my mind keep asking questions. When you shot my cousin all those times for a sack of groceries, did you feel anything? After you got away and got to wherever you could get to that was safe, did you feel lucky to be alive-- even though you shot an unarmed man? I guess I want to know that you have a conscience, since the cops don't seem to be able to bring you to justice or give my family a semblance of longed-for peace.
To the woman with the six screaming brats at Wal-Mart who suddenly found a pack of condoms in your shopping cart today: you're welcome.
About five hellspawn too late perhaps, but you're welcome anyway.
I hear all of the yelling and screaming about reproductive rights, as though we're in danger of running out of children to adopt, and yet you have parents who seem to feel that after popping the kids out that they're all but done with them. Don't believe me? Look at some of their faces the next time you are standing in a checkout line.
I have been thinking about this for a few nights now since I saw the ads for "Find our Missing," which devotes air time to missing black kids. I get that the media only does stories on blond white girls. But does the host have to say that it's a show for "our people"? They're right, those kids do need to come home. But so do dozens of other boys and girls. It's sad that here in 2012 we still have segregation in our neighborhoods and our media, and it won't go away. Better to become "us" versus "them" now.
For six grand, you can have a "life-size replica" of Darth Malgus from the "Star Wars" universe (specifically, the MMORPG that I know little about, having played and been disappointed with its predecessor, "Star Wars Galaxies"). Aside from the value of scaring your cats and leaving your own children psychologically damaged on the way to the bathroom late at night, what on Earth is the point of purchasing such a large lump of molded plastic at such an exorbitant price? If you are among the few who doesn't curse current food and gas prices, I suppose it's a steal.
Rows of people in red faces surround us. With each gyration, we shift-- the floor changes. The banners from the roof run together flowing opposite each other. Red next to green becomes blue and strips of yellow to a dried bloody end. The roar of the crowd sounds they were screaming in ribbons, waves of sound surround me. Grab my hair and I feel pulled back to another plane.
Do you know we burn?
The floorboards shift with new logos and terrors to occupy the stadium masses. Angry beasts wait, lurking.
Tired now. Rest comes with a sharp bird whistle.
Got anything for us today?
Nah, I've been studying.Or at least I am trying to study, to re-learn what a part of my brain already knows. It's pointless though. I try to use the words to help me fight, to write something deep and powerful, or barring that, meaningful. And yet my consciousness rises and falls with the sound of cheers and commercials behind me and the words won't come, hidden as they are in some interpersonal Void where they remain stuck, floating in a thick dark area of inner space that can't be found or touched.
It's been three weeks since we finished setting up living quarters in the biodome, and the boss is already sending three of us outside of it to fix the air compression units. Thatcher can't seem to find half the tools he's responsible for, and Qumran just announced that he thinks one of our shelters has a hole in it. I'm already regretting signing up for this damn job, even if it does get me off of the big penal colony we call Earth. It's too late to go back now, I know that, but I miss seeing the sun rise.
I set the orange ropes around my shoulders once we get onto a flat stretch of ice and check the NavSys display on my left arm. "I'd like to know who decided to put the compression and filtration unit one kilometer out from the habitat," Thatcher growls in my right ear.
I shake my arm a few times and look closer at my display. "Mine says it's 560 meters." Before I can ask whose display is correct, our headsets blast feedback in such a high-pitched burst that all three of us drop to our knees, cursing. Then comes silence.
We make our way past the security system, pushing the aluminum sleds before us with frequent kicking and cursing. Thatcher is the last to leave and barely gets ahead of the doors before they seal shut. We might have laughed about it on Earth, but the sharp bite of icy air hits us before we finish our first inhalations. One never forgets that it's -175 degrees out here, even on a "good day".
Then I remember that the next "day" out here isn't for another 16 if you're going by "Earth time". Longer still before we'll see the sun again.
Trying to get this story back in proper sequence now (barring further "post munching" by this site)....
Thatcher and Qumran decide to head northwest, and I follow my display to the northeast. Our headsets still aren't working right, but there's only three of us out here and nothing else around us but ice and methane-spewing volcanoes sometimes roaring off into the distance. Our suits' air and thermal regulating systems should be able to get us safely to our destinations and back well before the two hour limit.
That's what I think until I hear a hissing sound behind me.
Dust like falling stars begins to fall around me in clockwise spirals from somewhere above my head. A hand rushes up to meet my itchy nose and I see pink and bluish hues form near my face around the back of my hand. It is so much easier to describe what I see in front of a computer monitor's glare than to fully acknowledge the silent despair I keep choked down below my throat, except for when it rushes up behind my eyes and I snarl the sadness back down. I can't cry. It's almost like I don't know how.
Sir Donovan crashed through the very same lovely stained glass image of Saint Nicole d'Pastries that Ariel was looking at, bellowing about honor and brandishing his sword while he stumbled to his feet. He raised the visor on his helmet and found a pair of cold green eyes staring at him from across the room. He hesitated before lowering his sword. "Madam?"
The eyes blinked once as the face they belonged to looked down at the floor around them. "You're late." Her mouth became a slight snarl.
"B-but rescuing takes hard work!"
"I wasn't aware I needed rescuing. Sir."
I stared out into the darkness where the stage ended and the crowd had gathered. "Play some old Earth music!" came a slurred shout from the far right of the room. I looked at the band members.We wouldn't play shitty synth pop; I hoped they wanted "rock". We chose an L7 song called "Shove" and locked into that. The beats fell in their proper places as we snarled our song. It was the first time I ever saw orange ant-masserai lift and drop their thoraxes to the beat before us, their mandibles flaring to resemble a smile.
Sedatives are on and we have a tornado warning until 4 a.m.. I just... sleep, man. Don't wake me up, I have a former lover to belch at and remind him that 1300 mile one way trips mean you aren't coming back in four hours if I can sleep that long. I am losing sense of fingers. Struggling for clairity, alertness. Shifting and lurching in the chair. Scores become announcement of lottery winnings, no control of what transpires, Somnus beckons with his siren call and I stumble and fall to his pit. More rain and wind on the way.
There are times after a long, sun-drenched day at the beach house when I go to sleep and see myself looking out upon a dark marble corridor from a thick wall of safety glass. I keep throwing myself at it, screaming to be set free until the guards arrive with a nurse. One guard hurls me all the way back to my cot and I try to get up as fast as I can before the hands pin me down and the needle enters my neck. Despite my screams I can still hear her say "She keeps waking up."
I realized that it's kind of funny: I follow Boston sports more closely now that I am 1500 miles away from it than I did when I lived in the area. I don't think it's simply because the teams finally started winning once I packed up and left for the southern plains (the Patriots won their first Super Bowl six months after I left. The Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins took a few years). But I do believe it's because I'm not close to my family, and I want to be close to at least one thing I knew there.
The mastiffs at the rescue site have dark, soulful eyes-- even the blind one. Could I handle the slobber? The earth-shaking flatulence? The snoring? The realization that the gentle giant will need his or her own full-sized bed-- if not larger? Of course, the reality is that I cannot take another dog in, fun though it would be. Annie has enough energy to be three dogs and Mischief himself is a fourth who gets his elderly butt kicked by the younger dog often enough. Still, it is fun to look at a random piece of furniture and wonder.
The dogs think that nothing is funnier than to keep their human up all night with wet noses, snorts, nipping, threatening to shred the book I just set down, and barking at absolutely nothing in the living room window when I am out of sedatives. I have warned them that tonight will be different. My prescription was refilled and I am not going to stay up reading "Whatever You Do, Don't Run" until 3:30 in the morning again. That's not to say that it's a bad book- I love it- but it didn't help make me drowsy or tired.
Thunderstorms move overhead again tonight. I do hope that means the dogs won't think about trying to go outside at an ungodly hour so they can give their opinion on the local wildlife or the yippy little dogs down the road.
On an unrelated note, why is Will Farrell allowed to keep making movies? Especially a sequel to frigging "Anchorman". Has there been a decent American comedy in our movie theaters recently? It certainly doesn't seem that way.
I can't believe this month is nearly over already, and pretty much all of my entries so far have been crappy.
The deck supervisor was walking around the ship's perimeter with a scowl. "Got your permit?"
I shuffled my feet while I brought it up on my tablet. It was a good thing I wasn't linked into the repair station system just then, or he might have heard something life "I pulled it out of a dead guy's toolbox seven months ago, but yeah, I have one" over the system's tinny speakers. I kept my eyes half-closed and focused on the dirty floor. I wondered when it was last mopped. It's funny what you think of when you're hiding something.
Where is my mind? I see it drifting with the stars, trying to catch a meteor streaking by before it fades into nothing. Where shall my mind go? The brightest star to the northeast seems inviting. What will it do once it gets there? Will it see planets in erratic orbits? Alien crafts perched like giant hulks waiting for the first strike on a space whale as it glides past in unseen waves? Could it survive an encounter with a gas giant and the weight of its gravity? Or would it go mad hearing waves of 80s music floating by?
They say that to "find myself", I should spend time away from others and try to keep my mind quiet. And yet people continue to intrude through the house with their weapons drawn while I sit on the bed, cross-legged, making sure my mind is empty of thought. As the first shadow crosses the threshold, my brain ceases its blather and I feel "clear", as though the mental garbage finally stopped slinging around and there is... peace. With this moment of clarity I finally have--
Click. The shadow before me grows into solid form. I am out of time.
There's a yellow sheet of paper on my messy desk that advertises a 5K run for a few local rescues. I keep telling myself to sign up for it, and yet I have a sinking feeling that I won't. It has been nearly a year since I was woken up at 7:30 a.m. with the diagnosis that ultimately changed my life, and I can't say that I'm doing any better now that I know what is finally wrong with me. It's a struggle to run a mile now, never mind 3, and I don't think it will improve.
"Wanda, you mind doing something for me?"
I get asked that question at least once a day. I don't mind; she's a sweet old lady who's deaf as a doornail (who invented that phrase, I wonder? Because a lot of inanimate objects are "deaf"). Like me, she used to live around Boston before moving out here as a "snowbird" a few years ago. Unlike me, she still has her old town's accent (which I never really had to start with).
It's just that, after two years, she still keeps calling me by the wrong name. Is it worth correcting her now?
"Do I have to do this?"
"Come on, only a few more days. With no fresh ideas. This will be fun."
"You're sober too."
"Don't remind me. Think it's worth catching up on 'Whitechapel' when you can barely tell who's who?"
"Just to watch next week's season finale. Heard any good jokes lately?"
"A magician and a parrot are on a cruise ship doing their magic act routine...."
"I don't think there's enough room for all of that here. Think the corgi's got breathing issues, or he's just an old crank?"
"Maybe both, but I'm leaning towards old and cranky."
"Are you ready?" All the body can answer is a feeble nod before it is stuffed lengthwise into a crate that it cannot completely fit in. The conveyor belt starts up and the crate moves toward the forge, slowly but smoothly. Just before the edge of the crate could be consumed by flames, the belt shakes and jerks in reverse. Realizing what's happening, the body tries desperately to get somebody--anybody's-- attention. The female form raises its right hand slowly and croaks, "Let me go back into the Light!" Not sure if anybody hears her, she musters a weak shout.
Her head turns to face the arm making random gestures to her right, as though she has no recollection of why it moves, or who (ostensibly) controls the movements behind it. 'There are no strings, no wires' she realizes as her head turns a bit more slowly. Her vision blurs briefly as she tries to keep the grasping limp in focus. She is mostly successful before her head slowly turns to the left. It is at that moment she realizes the left arm is under her, pinned between the fold of her thigh over her calf. Her right leg hurts.
A humanoid shape hovers near the wheel and controls of the belt who tries to do whatever is necessary to avoid having to concentrate, much less think, on whatever he is doing. Better still to reminisce about the school dance he didn't have the nerve to ask Katherine to go to. But that body in the crate keeps making noises the further she gets away from the forge. He's irritated that she is getting so agitated. Better to send her into the forge even if the paperwork is half-done than to keep her like this, barely functioning and all.
There are times when I am alone with my patients and discuss things the co-workers wouldn't want to hear. A random question from a demented patient a moment earlier lets us talk our real minds: "Have you lost something?" This after we found her toes before breakfast.
"My mind." It's an honest reply, though I wonder lately if I ever had one.
"Well, go get another one!" Her lucid moments are rare, fleeting. I wonder if she herself tried to get one from the doctor that diagnosed her.
"They don't just hand them out," is my weak reply.
I stumbled outside after the storm this morning to hear a feline cry for help from the truck. After looking high and low for the source of the meowing, I discovered that the little orange ball of damp fur had somehow jumped from the back of the truck onto the top of the car port, presumably to get away from the roaming stray dogs or a coyote. I have since discovered that to successfully remove the clawed furball, you will need a flak jacket, Kevlar gloves, and a welding mask (if you happen to have one). Don't expect any thanks.
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