A Thief’s Folly-Jaylin-

Hello and this time we have another addition to the entry of a Thief’s Folly, which is an episodic series of short stories. So given that, there is no particular order in which to read, nor do you have to read the previous short story to understand the context, although I do spread out the world building amongst the short stories. This one is a bit more homely, and focuses more on a splice of the lower district. It brings about more themes of family than anything and is just a cute little entry about a girl who just wants to help out two siblings by becoming a thief. Here you go, “A Thief’s Folly-Jaylin-“.

I run across the streets as fast as I can, not looking back and not caring for all the shouts that fill the air. In my arms I carry a bag that’s filled to the brim with all kinds of essentials. I grip it hard as I run across the streets, dodging customers and making sure that nothing spills in the process. I never went to school. Never saw the reason to. I have two kids, two dogs and a homeless beggar to feed. The dogs are dead, and the homeless beggar is currently in hiding because the officials want him killed for dirtying the streets. The kids are still alive though, I think.

I make a sharp turn to my right, and narrowly dodge a moving horse wagon. I turn back for a brief second and yell, “Sorry!” I feel the emaciated man in the front seat glare at me and I laugh. I feel myself leaving the market district, but of course I have to treat myself after a hard day of work. As I near the exit I smell the distinct aroma of the soup vendor, and I brace my hands. I take a quick glance and see that the two guards are still chasing me, fumbling on fruits and tripping on rocks. I laugh at that too. Once I near the vendor, I grab a bowl of soup and wink at the store manager, sending him in a flurry of slander that I ignore. I down the soup and make sure that the recyclable container is placed in its appropriate waste bin.

Once out of the market district, I cross into a set of decrepit buildings and bleed into an alleyway. I place one hand over my heart and feel my chest rise and lower as my breathing begins to steady. The guards walk past the district, and I keep a watchful eye on them as they scratch their heads and curse. I suppress a laugh and as they leave, I break out in a small giggle. I make sure no one else is following me and I sigh and begin walking to my hideout.

I rummage through my bag, making sure that nothing has gone missing. As I do this, I feel the peering eyes of many glaze upon me. This is the slums. I would never change the slums because this is where I was raised. I love this place, I really do. I breath in and smell the fresh baked bread of poor mothers. I avoid the bouncy balls of one armed children. I watch as a sprawling family of misfits come out into the street to greet me with bright smiles. I smile back. This is where I belong. I will never have it any other way. To everyone here, to all the kids, to all the parents, I’m like an older sister to them. And I care about my family.

I soon find my home and I open the door pretending that it isn’t half broken. I call out into the building and pretend I don’t hear it echo on all the walls. They soon come out, with Gilligan wiping his eyes waking himself from his sleep, and his little sister Keila lagging behind him. I give Gilligan a ruffle on his head pat Keila on hers. I smile and place my arms on my hip as I jump back and give a triumphant pose. Gilligan is still half asleep and I yell to cajole him into position, “Men!” Gilligan instinctively raises one hand over his hand in a salute and I smile. Keila walks to her brother’s side and raises one hand as well, puffing out her chest and holding her breath.

“Bring these to the kitchen. I’ve got a nice haul today.” Gilligan walks up and takes the bag from me. I walk over to the living room, and make my way to the strewn couch. The cushions are in good shape today. I sit down and give myself five minutes to close my eyes and think. I replay everything in my head, and soon I find myself slipping farther and farther into my state of reverie.

I wake up from an insidious shaking, and I notice that Keila is at my legs. I smile and pat her on the head. I take a quick sniff, and smell a burnt aroma drift from the kitchen into the living room. I get up, stretch my arms and legs, and slowly head my way to the kitchen. I peer into the doorway and see Gilligan trying his best to cook the few strips of bacon that I had acquired. I smile and walk in, “Who ordered extra crispy?” He sighs and doesn’t turn. I walk over him and grab the pan from his hands. He looks up with a pout and I say, “Better luck next time.”

“But I have to do this.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Because…One day we’ll have to live alone. And if I can’t cook than Keila–”

“Keila will be fine. She’s more capable than you think.” I turn off the stove and place the burnt bacon onto a plate and begin slowly chewing on it.  Gilligan watches me as I do so, “But I want to be strong.” I look into his eyes and see roaring tides crash onto a rocky surface. His hands tighten into a fist and I can see them growing red. Behind him, Keila is holding onto the hem of his shirt, and I engrain this scene into my head. I leave the bacon on the plate, and grab an apple from the bag. I toss it to Gilligan and say, “Peel this for me.” He looks at me and raises his brow, but I simply repeat, “Peel it for me.” Gilligan rummages the broken cupboard and finds the peeler. He places the apple onto the blade, and drags down, barely peeling any skin. He tries again harder, but nearly cuts his finger. Keila walks over in worry, but I fling a small piece of bacon at her, which nails her straight onto her forehead. She looks over and I shake my head and press a finger to my lips. Keila walks over to my side, and I hug her onto my leg as we watch Gilligan peel the apple.

It takes him about forty minutes, but he hands me a skinless apple. I take it, and rummage into the bag to hand him another, “Two more.” He doesn’t protest and takes it from my hand, this time having a better grasp of the blade and cleanly peels it within twenty minutes. He hands me the peeled apple, and I hand him another. He takes it and for the third time begins peeling. He finishes this within ten minutes, and by the time he hands me the peeled apple I see that his hand does not shake when he holds the blade anymore. I hand him and Keila an apple and say, “You’ve grown a little bit stronger today. So have a treat.” I smile, and Gilligan’s eyes shine as he takes the apple from my hand. I head outside with my apple and cross the slums to the house opposite ours. I knock once, and leave the apple outside the door. I know that the residents of this house doesn’t like to make contact with others. I turn back into the slums. The house next to ours has a kid with half an arm. The one next to that only got a little kid and her baby sister. The one next, an ex-Official that now hides from hunters and  tells us about the inner districts.

I head back inside and see that Gilligan and Keila are playing in the living room. I move forward, and into a study room further in. Inside is a table, a chair, and a single lamp. I don’t bother with the lamp and simply open the notebook on the table. I grab half a pencil and begin tracing the day’s work and events. Time escapes me before I know it and Gilligan is at my door, knocking his foot on the rotting planks. I chuckle and answer, “Come in”. Gilligan enters, and leaves a plate on my table. I look at it, and I see beautifully sliced apples align the edges of the plate. I look down at Gilligan with a smile and Gilligan proceeding looks down. I take a slice and eat it, “It’s delicious.” I can see Gilligan smile with his hair in his face and I add, “Keep it up, and you’ll be even stronger.” He nods, and Keila walks in before him, rubbing her eyes and clutching onto the hem of her brother’s shirt. I take a slice, and bring it to Keila’s mouth, who instinctively opens and eats it.

“Good, right?” Keila nods, and her brother watches this with a tired face and a bright smile. His eyes are worn, but they’re caring, and within them I see a low rising tide that carries fish. He smiles at his little sister, and his little sister dotes him. I engrain this scene in my head.

At night, I make sure that Gilligan is asleep with her sister before heading for the front door. I make sure not to creek, and as I’m out of the door I breathe a sigh of relief. I take a step onto the slums, and turn to face our house. I climb slowly onto the rafters of the roof, and lay myself on the crumbling tiles. I watch as the night sky engulfs my being and begins to subjugate me into a world of void. The stars glitter in the sky and whenever I blink they pass me by without a single shred of omnipotence in my mind. The night breeze blows past me with a gentle touch and I can feel myself being permeated by the slum’s disease filled wind. It’s a solemn breeze that I’ve known for all my life, and despite this, I still allow it to fill my lungs with alacrity. I hear footsteps come from the house, and I know that my cover has been blown. Gilligan looks up and I say without looking at him, “Star gazing. Care to join me?” I hear Keila creep up after him and her eyes match the stars as she notices what’s in the sky. “She does,” I say with a slur in my voice. I laugh and pull Keila and Gilligan up to the rafters with me. I feel the bend in the roof but know that it won’t break.

I begin to trace the sky with my fingers which prompts Keila to do the same. My mind fades into the time of yesterday, with both my sides empty and the darkness feeding onto my anathema. I find myself atop a rafter similar to this and the smell of fresh baked bread slowly encroaching onto my being. I shake my head, and turn to my sides. Keila and Gilligan lay beside me, staring up at the same sky and the feeling of darkness begins to dissipate. The world seems so much brighter now, and I get up to hug Keila and Gilligan to my sides. This is my family. I’ll have it no other way.

 

 

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A Thief’s Folly-Laure-

Hello and this time we have something a bit more episodic. This is a short story series, in it’s own right. The title is “A Thief’s Folly”, with the only difference in each short story being the name attached to it. The name attached to today’s story is Laure, who is subsequently the main character.  This series as would the title implies is the first person accounts of varying thieves in a country filled with discrimination among differing financial classes. Although not directly about the world structure and the inner workings of the government, this series is more about the psyche of the thieves themselves. In Laure’s story, it’s about her struggle to uphold her own well-being, and the well-being of another all whilst living in squalid conditions and practically being a vagabond. Well, here you go, “A Thief’s Folly-Laure-“.

I was never taught how to cook, read, or write. In hindsight, that means that I can’t eat, tell someone how I feel, or go to the bank. Yet I’ve made it this far. At least I’ve made it this far. I wake up with a bad ache in my bones. It feels like I was beaten stiff. I move over to the window and peer out. Wisps of smoke enter my nose as I do so and I sneeze. The smoke slowly clears, and my eyes greet the glaring sun. I rub my eyes and stick my head into the choking air and watch as rows and rows of buildings topple over another all trying to stay afloat on the incongruent slope. The dirt road below kicks up clouds of dirt as people trample over another on their way to work and as trolleys with wheels drool over the path. I sigh and spit out of the window, watching as it falls over and melds into the dirt.

I trudge my way over my room, avoiding discarded glass bottles and butts of cigarettes. I don’t smoke. I make sure not to bump into the table and enter the bathroom. The lights don’t open until the fourth flick, and once it does, it blinds me for a second. I mull over to the half broken glass mirror and stare into the being that I’ve become. A teenage girl with dirty blonde hair, chapped burnt skin, and on the verge of being emaciated. I can’t cook, read, or write. I can speak my language well, and I better know how to speak my language well or I won’t be staring at myself in the mirror anymore. I reach over to the medicine cabinet next to my mirror and stare at cobwebs. I sigh and rub my eyes again.

I leave my bathroom and walk over to the front door. I put on the tattered shoes at the steps, and make sure that my clothes are at least on. No need for fashion or attraction, I think to myself. In my line of work, the best way to make the most out of it is to stay within the shadows. Or so they say. Well, they don’t say that, I do.

I enter the outside world slowly, and quickly make my way out of the hallway and down the stairs. I don’t bump into any of the other residents as I skip down the stairs, and once I’m at the lobby, I walk out without looking up. I take a deep breath as my feet meets the soil beneath. I turn down the slope, and make sure that my eyes don’t meet anyone else’s. I start slowly as I begin walking, but soon the momentum gets to me and I’m almost sprinting down the slope to try and stay afloat. The wind rushes against my face and I begin laughing at the whole ordeal. I stop only when I hear it. The sound of foot traffic, trolleys, and bells. The smell hits me next. Fresh baked bread, the aroma of tea and excrement. I walk closer, and my eyes adjust to the new scenery. Rows and rows of food stalls and vendors align the streets and even more rows of people align those extremities, making it near impossible to navigate freely through the sea of people. I take another deep breath, and then sink into the crowd.

My hands fall loosely out of my pant pockets, and my eyes dart frantically around all the feet and hands that near me. I try my best to plug my nose, focus my ears, and keep my feet attached. Except, the sounds of yelling and banter make it increasingly harder to stay focused. I peel my eyes for an opening, and once I see an open purse or pocket, I slip my hands through. My hands enter and exit in a mere second, and whatever I find I stick in my pocket without thought. I repeat this until my pockets are full, and find the nearest alleyway. The trick to navigating this job is about knowing backdoor dealers and safe houses. I find myself slipping away from the crowd, and moving towards a tea vendor. I slip past him, giving him a quick glance and move towards the alleyway between two residential buildings. The senses of everything leaving my body almost makes me vomit, like switching into zero-g or breaking from a ride in a derby. I find a wall to balance myself, and trace my way to a worn down door at the side of a building.

I knock once and wait. I press my ears on the door, and hear a fat man breathing.

“I can hear you over there, you know that?”

“And I can hear you from the front of the alleyway. You balance like a drunk man.” I can smell his breath through the door.

“Not as drunk as you.”

“Quick on your feet and on your mouth. Stay like that and you won’t be having much trouble in this town.” He bellows out a hearty laugh at the end, and opens the door for me. I hear two chains come undone, a plank of wood clamp against the door, and a click. Marty stands in the doorway, towering over me like a tree to an ant. He has rough stubby fingers that threaten to make me even more squalid than I am. The dirty light inside blends in with his hairless head and his stench permeates the entire highway.

“You already know where to go kid.” I nod and walk past him into another door.  I enter and am immediately greeted by the sounds of tinkering and coughing. The air in the room is barely breathable, and I yell out in the smog, “Hey! Turn on your damn ventilation will you?” I receive no answer, and cover my mouth and eyes with both hands as I try to navigate the room. I find the vents in the corner, and flip them open. The smog clears out within seconds and I peer back into the room. It’s like a junkyard filled with the history of humans.

“Glad you did that Laure.” I look around the room to find the man who called to me. I see him aptly as he pulls himself out of a heap of junk and stands with a broken pipe in one hand and a diamond in the other.

“In one hand I hold the world. In the other, something to think about.” He smiles at his own rambling, which causes me to smile as well.

“Glad you’re still up and kicking you crazy junkie.”

“Please. Call me Maxwell.” I laugh at this, and so does he. Our laughs fill the room and for a moment everything seems to freeze into a light hearted breeze. A pipe breaks in the corner of the room, and Maxwell curses as he rushes to fix it.

“This whole building’s falling apart. Damn country is going to hell in a hand basket.”Maxwell sighs as he finishes the repairs. His voice is rough, filled with charcoal, and his beard is even darker than his skin.

“Got what I came here for?” I ask. Maxwell sits down at his workbench, which is filled with cogs and screws and every part of an amalgamation of human innovation.

“If I didn’t. You wouldn’t be here.” Maxwell clears a spot and then points, “Let me see what you have.” I dig my hands into my pocket and empty it onto the spot. The day’s load is simple, found a few wallets, some coins, a watch, and a ring. Maxwell eyes them as he twirls the watch and ring in the lowlight of his lamp. He ponders for quite a bit, looks up at me and says, “In my left hand I hold–”

“Get on with it.”

“I’ll give you one-twenty for the watch and four-fifty for the ring.” He piles a few notes onto the desk, and I take them briskly. I leave the wallets and coins to him, and he smiles with all his face, “As always the diligent kid Laure. Treat your elders right and you might even get to be an Official.” He laughs contagiously. I leave promptly, making sure the ventilation is still on, and then walk to a side door leading me onto the street. Most wallets and coins contain filthy money. The type of money that’s worth less than the money of the officials. I can’t learn to cook, read, or write with filthy money. But if I pay them with money of the Officials, then I can even buy a proper place to stay. However, I choose not to. Money of the Officials is hard to come by, and only Maxwell and other dealers are willing to pawn odds and ends for them. Having filthy money is a good cover up though, and so I always keep some on me.

I make sure to keep my head down as I walk towards the border. The air begins freshening as I draw near, and the soil becomes more frigid. Even the noise around me begins slipping into a quiet lull, and I am only given alert when I hear a large siren call out to me.

“Little Miss Frizzy.” The voice comes from a nearby tower. The guard and I go way back, like a hunched up bickering couple. Except, I was the one who ordered for divorce. And I was also the one who started the abuse.

“If you want money, I have it here.” I flash him filthy money, and he shines a light on me. I use one hand to cover my eyes and wait for the light to fade.

“Put it in the box Frizzy.” I place the filthy money in a nearby mailbox and walk up the line preceding the border. The two patrol guards lower their guns as I pass and I nod. I take a deep sigh, and continue walking while avoiding all contact. I had one place to go, and did not want to stop. I was only at the second layer, but nonetheless, I know this area well. My destination was at the right wing district where all the medical facilities lay in neat rows of refurbished furniture and clean air. I notice people on wheelchairs and walking canes and immediately align my senses towards this district. I walk slowly, calm my breathing and make sure that the dirt on my hands are gone. Without needing to think I walk to one of the housing buildings and make my way to the counter. The receptionist already knows who I am and simply glares at me as I make my way to the elevator. I press a button, and stare at the gleaming plate of steel beside the door. Large golden words line the plate, along with a picture of a man who looks like he belongs with the boring men on T.V.

I walk out of the elevator as it reaches my floor, and breath in the sickness in the air of the hallway. I make sure to increase my pace as to not choke on the malignant nature of this world. I knock on the door once I arrive, not being able to read the doorplate, but simply memorizing where it is from all my visits. It doesn’t open at first, and I wait patiently. I play with my fingers, twirl the money of the Officials that I have hidden deep in my pockets and pretend to chew on gum just like how I see adults do in movies. The door opens slowly to cajole myself out of an induced slumber, and I see her. She is beautiful and broken. A delicate mix of fragility and anathema. The congelation of all of my worries and all of my happiness.

“You look well Maribelle.” She didn’t have any hair, but wore a small cap to cover her head. Her skin is as dark as oil but she bled into everything she did. She is a determined woman who wants everything for this arid world to prosper. Her bones are tired and she can barely move her hand to hold the door or even move her legs. I walk forward and move my way beside her, holding her arm and guiding her to a couch. She sits and takes a deep breath before speaking. She almost gasps for air as she does this, and places one hand over her chest. I hold back tears at this scene.

“You’re still alive Laure. That’s good.” Her voice is like a whisper in a storm. I strain my ears to hear what she says and lean in closer so that she does not need to move her head to face me or raise her voice. I smile.

“Yeah. I won’t die anytime soon Maribelle. I’m–”

“Very resourceful and smart. You’ve always been strong. Ever since you were little.” She smiles, and I shake my head as I see her tremble. I hold her hands in mine and lean down into them. I try very hard not to cry.

“I can’t cook, read, or write–”

“But you can say every word you hear. You can visualize a conversation and manipulate people that way.” I feel Maribelle’s hand on my head, and I sink deeper and deeper into her lap.

“Ever since you were little, I knew you had a gift. What you can’t do, you compensate in other areas. It’s why you’re still alive right?” I nod in her laps.

“I’ll always love you Laure.”

“Me too.” I get up and place more than half of today’s earnings on her table. I wave her goodbye, and leave the building. I clear my throat, and begin running down the street, heading for my rundown apartment. I never went to school. In hindsight, that means I can’t get a job, talk to people, or work with people. Wisps of smoke emerge from the top of buildings as I arrive back to the bottom district. I rub my eyes while I walk back to my building, and make sure none of the dirt from the road kicks up onto my clothes. I peer over to the wet spots in the dirt, and spit in it to make it more visible. A mark of my own, I think. My body feels tired and I try to subside the new pains in my bones. In hindsight, I cannot support another human being. I cannot care for them, nor be cared by them. I am at the bottom of the food chain. The only thing that keeps me up is Maribelle, and the words she told me that day. She told me that, “You’re small. But that doesn’t mean you’re any less than someone who is big. You’re just unique, and you have your own idiosyncrasies. And people need to seek out your excellence. So live being small, and embrace everything about your own strengths.” I don’t want to learn to cook, read, or write.

 

 

Down The Barrel

Hello and this time we have a shorter piece about something that is quite relevant today. Well, not just today but this concept has always been around. The idea of war. And although this isn’t a war story per se, and I will get to that someday, this is a small snippet about a band of resistance fighters. It’s about as cruel as it gets near the end, but really I was trying to highlight this sense of war is fair. Anything goes in war, and if you’re caught between bullets, than you’re sure to die. War does not discriminate just like time. Sometimes tough decisions have to be made, and this is what I was trying to encompass, the stagnation that you feel once you look down the barrel. Here you go, “Down The Barrel”.

My bullet pierced his skull in what could only be explained as a crushed watermelon. I raised my gun from his drained head, and looked at the gun smoke rising to the ceiling. Then a shout, “Move!” Footsteps came stampeding in from behind me like a horde  of frenzied rhino. I remained still, my back to the raging feet, and my face forward looking at a closed door. My breathing steadied, and the only thing I could see was the hole through the White Man’s skull.

My brothers came rushing behind me, with assault rifles in hand, and in tattered clothes and masks. They yelled extremities and slander and bullets rained across the White Men. Gun smoke filled the room as I entered. Then, everything was quiet. There were about ten men lining each of the walls of the room, and rusted yellow casings littered the floor. As I walked in, I was in the middle of it all, with a single pistol in my hand, and all eyes on me. I breathed in the air of death, and tasted the rot of skin on my lips.

“Fellow brothers of the resistance–” I took a deep breath, and then allowed the dust in the room to topple over the gun smoke. I looked at the arid faces of all my men, the scars of knives,  breach of bullets, tired hands, worn bones, broken legs, and spit of a million children.  I raised my hand, then with my other brought my pistol to a dead soldier’s skull. I closed my eyes, and said a short prayer, moving the barrel of my pistol in the shape of a cross. Everyone in the room erupted in laughter. Then, I closed my raised hand, and silence erupted.

“Today, we dine in the dilapidated bowels of the White Man’s government.” The room cheered and chanted my name. I brought my hand down, and silence ensued again.

“We show them what we are made of. That their transgression will not go unnoticed. We are the people. And we are this country.”

“Did you hear that?” Someone among my men said. Everybody in the room stopped and listened. Then we heard it. It was a short weeping.

“Over here!” The man said as he pointed towards the wall. I walked over, effectively dividing the men standing over, and pressed my ear against the wall. It was a cry. A soft cry, though, not because it was filtered through a layer of wall. I knocked on the wall, and listened to the insides rattle. It was thin enough for me to shoot through. I signaled for my men to brandish their guns on the wall, and then on my mark, they shot. Bullets rained on the wall until it was fragile enough to break down. I planted my foot against it, and pushed, toppling the wall, and leaving a pile of yellow rubble in my wake. I stepped into the adjoining wall with my pistol out. My breathing came to a calm as my brothers behind me watched in subtle anticipation. Then, the cry broke out. I scanned the room, and saw a hidden crevice behind a book shelf. I upturned the book shelf, and unearthed a middle aged woman clutching a crying baby.

“Please!” The woman cried. She was not one of them. She was a Brown woman. She held her baby close to her chest and began slowly rocking her in place. The baby slowly lulled into a calm recollection, and the incipient crying had ceased. The baby had wistful eyes, and the woman, who was enamored with her baby, had for a second forgotten the gun pointed in front of her.

“You are not one of them,” I said.

“No. Please do not shoot.” She was desperate. I lowered my gun, and motioned for them to leave the crevice. Once out, I felt my brothers behind me bellow out with lust filled eyes, and some with pity.  I knew for a fact that if we were to take custody of this woman, she would be run dry of her livelihood within seconds. My brothers had no qualms about the spoils of war. I sighed, and took a deep breath in. There was no right choice. I knew it. But I had to do something. My brothers were waiting.

“Why are you here?” I asked. I still had time. I could still make a compromise. I needed information, and so did she. We were her allies, if she said the right things.

“They captured me!” Her eyes danced frantically across the room. She was clutching her baby close to her, and her breathing was dangerous.

“Why did they capture you?” I had lowered my gun and was slowly approaching her, talking in a soft calming whisper.

“They needed a sacrifice.” I knew very well of what the White men did with their traditions. It was a war pact of sorts. They did it to commemorate new times and for an everlasting future. If we didn’t bust this place, I wouldn’t have been able to talk to her. And yet, if we were to take her in, her fate would be more or less the same. And from the look in her eyes, she knew that. It was a muddied river in there, a muddied river that just wanted to be clean. It was a sky that had been torn grey, yet, slivers of white still remained. There was only one thing I could do to alleviate all of that.

“If we take you in. You know what will happen to you right?” She didn’t answer. Didn’t nod her head, or look up. Her eyes remained darting across the rubbles behind me. Her baby was resting peacefully in her arms, and I felt sorry for what was to come. Her outcome didn’t change. She was still going to die.

“You either live to become an idol of the resistance. Or die as a martyr. Cleanse your soul with god, or dance with the devil.” I stopped before I began to ramble on. What she needed now was not my philosophy.  What she needed now, was to make a choice. I raised my gun, and  forced it down her temple. I sighed, and grasped the gun with all I had. I looked down the barrel, and then waited for her to answer. She didn’t bother to panic now, only set her baby down, and then cupped her hands in prayer. I had one of my brothers come in the room and grab the baby, and then, without words, I pulled the trigger.

 

 

Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday

Hello and this time we have something more contained. I would call it contained because it really is a contained piece. It’s contained within a single world, within a single day, with a single character. The title is the biggest clue to that. Today, tomorrow, yesterday. It’s the pathway for the movement of the story. It begins today, bleeds tomorrow, and then encompasses everything that is yesterday. It’s a revolving story over a single axis, and it’s about just that, time. It’s about what time does to one, what being an adult means, and what living in today or seeing yesterday means. It’s a strange piece  I think, but a fun one. Here you go, “Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday”.

A large bang resounded in the alleyway as Samuel stumbled on empty bottles, cans, and kicked a misplaced garbage bin. Samuel’s eyes widened at the sound which reached his ears, but soon lowered them once he lost interest. He reached over to the brick wall beside him to ascertain his balance, but his head was spinning and he could barely find a holding. He stopped, let his head rest on his hand and took a deep breath. He coughed at the scent of his intoxication, and covered his mouth to prevent himself from vomiting. Samuel verbally expressed his disdain, and sighed as he began to grasp his situation. He slowly trudged his way to the exit, barely able to lift his legs, instead dragging his way out. As he finally came out of the alleyway, he lifted his hand to block the sun’s ray. It only blinded him for a second, and as he lowered his hand, he reached over for his phone. He patted his pockets vehemently, but soon realized his luck had run out. He sighed, again, and began trudging his way to the convenience store. Samuel’s balance began swaying before he realized it, and soon without warning his body flopped towards the ground.

“Damn,” Samuel said in his hangover. He tried his best to push up from the pavement, but every muscle in his body had contradicted with his will.

“Move!” Samuel said as he struggled to get himself up. Shortly after, Samuel’s body relaxed, “Maybe I’ll just lay here and wither away.”

“Why would you do that?” A voice resounded in Samuel’s ear. He should have been surprised, but didn’t have the will anymore. It was a rough voice, husky, but also surprisingly gentle in nature.

“Samuel,” Samuel said..

“Matt,” the man said, seeming to understand the situation.

“Mathew?” Samuel asked. Matt didn’t answer, and instead brought out a water bottle. He opened the cap, and then poured some in front of him.

“The name’s Matt.” Samuel groveled on the ground.

“Alright, Matt. Mind not pouring water on me?”

“Not on you.”

“You know what I mean,” Samuel said as he rolled his eyes.

“Getting up, or you going to kiss the ground all day?”

“Hopefully neither.” Matt leaned over, and pressed the water bottle on Samuel’s face.

“I’m drunk,” Samuel said in annoyance.

“Hung-over, you mean.”

“I’m dying, and I can’t get up,” Samuel sighed on the ground.

“You’re dying, and doing nothing about it.”

“Asshole.” Matt reached over and picked up Samuel.

“Hell of a night?” Matt asked.

“Only the stars know,” Samuel said, barely able to muster up the words.

“Heading up there soon if you don’t get yourself patched up.”

“Can it.” Samuel reached his arm over for the water, which Matt promptly gave to him. Samuel opened the bottle and paused to lift the bottle to his mouth, ineffectively draining water into his mouth, while some dripped below him.

“Here, sit down,” Matt said as he brought them over to the bus stop at the end of the street.

“Heading somewhere?” Samuel said with the water bottle barely hanging on his hand.

“Talk when you can,” Matt flatly exclaimed. He peered over to Samuel, and chuckled, “If you can.” Samuel capped the bottle and pushed it towards Matt, “I can.”

“Good to hear,” Matt said with another small chuckle.

“Make big buck?” Samuel asked.

“Perhaps,” Matt replied.

“It’s just–” Samuel closely analyzed Matt, taking into account his suit and mannerism, “That,” Samuel finished. Matt smiled and got up to read the bus posting. He sighed and pulled a cigarette from a box in his pocket. Matt then pushed one towards Samuel. Samuel looked up, thought about it and sighed. He pressed his pockets, and reached into his sleeves in search for a special memento.

“Looking for something?” Matt said as he lit the cigarette in his mouth.

“Cigarette reminded me of something.” Samuel shook his head and leaned back on the seat.

“Got any little ones?” Samuel asked. Matt turned and puffed out a small cloud of smoke, “One. Or two.”

“Which is it?” Samuel asked with a small chuckle.

“I’m not quite sure myself,” Matt looked over to Samuel and gave him a small smile. Samuel looked at him and thought about his words, then came to a realization. Once he did, he smiled back, “Little boy, or little girl?”

“Don’t know.”

“But that don’t matter to you, does it?”

“It doesn’t.” Samuel looked over to the other side of the street. His head was clearing. He took another drink from the water bottle, then got up and walked to the edge of the walkway. The sun lashed onto his eyes, but he heeded it’s rays better than before. He handed Matt the water bottle, which Matt promptly shook his head towards. Samuel smiled at the notion. Matt took the cigarette out of his mouth, another puff of smoke leaving his lips, and then asked him, “Work?”

“Not anymore.” Matt placed the cigarette back in his mouth, and then peered off to the other side. He didn’t seem like he was in much of a rush, Samuel thought. The bus didn’t seem like it would come for a while, and that made Samuel feel uneasy. He began pacing back and forth on the sidewalk, slowly, but surely remembering something as his last night’s stupor wore off.  Matt noticed this, but didn’t make much of it as he continued to stand with his smoke.

“Not anything you think,” Samuel said, seemingly directed to no one. Matt listened.

“Didn’t get laid off, didn’t run away. Just needed a break.” Samuel was fidgeting on the spot. His legs were shaking, and his head was clearing from whatever toxins that it had been buried with before. Undoubtedly so, Samuel knew who he was, and what he did, and what had happened. He cleared his throat an unhealthy number of times before speaking again, “But things happen don’t it Matt. Before you know it everything winds up in a bottle and a pack. But that isn’t you. It’s me.”

“Why can’t it be me?”

“Because you’re in a shadow. You’re the one hiding from everything else in this world, and hell if that’s not the best solution than I don’t know what is.” Matt looked at Samuel, and Samuel back to Matt, eyeing what he had on.

“You ever have one?” Matt asked.

“Have what?”

“You know, one of them. Another one just like you.” Matt smiled as he dropped the cigarette on the floor and smothered it with his foot, “You’re insane. Drunk, and insane, but you’ve had one before.”

“So what?”

“That’s the kind of thing that makes you want to work hard.” The bus was in sight, “And when it ends, it makes you want to work less hard,” Matt finished with a smirk as he climbed aboard the bus. Samuel was left on the bus stop, an egregious feeling residing over him as he realized that he had no money, no phone, and now no one to talk to.  Samuel laughed at his situation, and then began walking opposite the bus, and towards a destination where he himself did not know.

“Excuse me?” Samuel looked down as he noticed a small boy to his side. Samuel had walked for perhaps miles, lost in some twisted reverie, unknowing to his ennui, and had ended up stranded in a mist of complete confusion. In short, he was lost.

“Mister?” The small boy asked Samuel again. He had short black hair that barely reached his eyes. He was barely at Samuel’s shoulder, though he didn’t at all seem that lost. Most kids who were lost were more worried, Samuel thought. This boy was far too clean and far too calm. Samuel bent to his knees to meet the boys eyes, and then asked, “What’s wrong?” The boy shook his head vehemently, “Not me, mister.” Samuel looked at the boy with a questioning turn, and then asked again, “With me?” The boy nodded.

“Do you think there’s anything wrong with me?” The boy nodded again. Perhaps it was in the way he walked that clued the small boy to conclude that, but Samuel didn’t believe it. He didn’t want to think he had a problem, though he already knew that it was true.

“Do you know what’s wrong with me?” Samuel had asked a small boy for consolation. He thought the notion was completely nullifying. However, he had no other choice it seemed. There was only one person now that could help Samuel get his bearings. Samuel figured that he could get the small boy to help him find a relevant landmark, to allow him to leave his insidious state.

“You’re sad, mister. Did your mom leave you? I get sad when my mom leaves me.” Though Samuel didn’t know what to expect from a small boy’s mouth, he laughed, “No, my mom didn’t leave me.”

“Sometimes my mom tells me that strangers on the street are the saddest people,” the small boy said.

“The saddest people? Why does your mom say that?”

“Because they all seem uncomfortable.”

“Uncomfortable?”

“She said that when people are walking with other people, it’s scary, and since they have to do that every day, they get sad.”

“Did she say why they get sad?”

“Because you can never see a person you meet on the street again, and you can never change where you walked when you’re done. Everything after your walk is the past. She said it’s fleeting.” The small boy flubbed the last word, but Samuel understood what the small boy’s mom meant. It was an excuse for indolent traversal means. A way for the common man to step up and fight back everything that the world means. It was a way of thinking that didn’t seem all too far from what Samuel would consider as correct. Samuel liked that ideal, that world where people would fear walking, a world so fleeting that people would cherish relationships. It was a world filled with tacit knowledge of the human nature. It was a world that Samuel gave up.

“What’s your name?” Samuel finally asked.

“I’m Sammy!” Sammy said with great enthusiasm.

“Then, do you know where your mom or dad is? Or even your house?” The boy shook his head before he answered, “They’re not home right now, so that’s why I’m out playing.” Samuel sighed, and then said, “Are there any police stations around?” The boy thought about it, and then said, “Follow me!” Samuel followed Sammy. It wasn’t until his legs began straining that Samuel noticed the large dying sun above him. The streets around him were eerily empty, with the small winds blowing across the sunken trees and the old gravel of the walkway brushing against the sole of their shoes. It  was a warm day.

“Are you sad, Sammy?” Samuel asked.

“I don’t think so.”

“You don’t think your mom is right?” Sammy thought about it as he skipped along, leading Samuel.

“I think my mom is right. But I don’t think I’m sad.” Samuel wanted to ask why, but he knew that asking such a question, to such a person, would yield no answer. There was no way he was laconic enough to give Samuel a satisfying response, he thought. Such a thing would be left to himself.

“Do you have any siblings?” The boy shook his head. Soon enough, Sammy had led Samuel to the police station. Samuel thanked Sammy, and walked forward, opening the door to the station and greeting the front desk. Samuel opened his mouth in preparation to ask for a map and for a nearby bank, but before he could mutter any words, a wandering officer pulled out his pistol, “Don’t move!” The officer circled Samuel, and then smiled. Samuel put both of his hands up and smiled back.

 

 

 

Understanding Death’s Embrace

Hello, and this piece hits very close to me. It’s a memoir about a time when I was around eight and when my grandmother died. And about how that changed me, making me realize so much more than I ever thought experiencing it did. It’s a sad and very depressing little piece from my life, but, it’s important to me. I think it’s made me learn a lot, and I can still learn a lot from thinking about it. So here you go, “Understanding Death’s Embrace”.

I remember quite vividly the very moment my grandmother had died. I was at home on my computer when my parents received the call. Of course, I couldn’t understand the actual conversation that my parents had on the phone, or the contents of the caller, but her expression, and the utter ice shattering silence that ensued was all I needed. My grandmother was at the hospital for quite sometime before this call, and, in lieu of my age, being around eight at the time, was dragged to visit her. I thought nothing much of these visits.  It seemed more chore-like than actual visits to me, and I was deathly bored of the entire situation. I was quite a child.  

I later learned that my grandmother had died of cancer. And, for some reason I understood that it had meant that the chances of conceiving cancer for myself was now substantially higher. For a moment I even cursed my grandmother. Thankfully, that mindset did not last long. I had never been to a funeral before then, I don’t think many children had. That day moved like molasses. It was god-awful. I was forced to wear black clothes, and remove the very identity that I had came to be known for, a hat. I had to stand around with all my extended family, moving my body to and fro to prevent myself from breaking out from my stringent prison.  The atmosphere was entirely black, and it seemed like a band of disgruntled office workers were grouping up to see who was the next in line to be out of a job. I didn’t understand why the atmosphere was so filled with anathema towards the pangs of reality, and thus I kept on my childish demeanor; I remained cheery.

It wasn’t until everyone was here, and that the time struck right that we were led into the main procession of this ceremony. We all went to our seats, and sat. I felt awkward for even being here. The only thing I saw were all these edificial adults and a solemn coffin at the front. I swung my legs as I sat, and looked at all the downtrodden faces. I smiled at my mom when she looked down at me, and she responded with weak eyes and a pat on my head.

Once the procession had started, a man at the front had flipped open an un-lengthy book and began chanting. Now it truly was like I was in another world. I didn’t understand anything of the language being spoken but I simply let the words flow through me. I was the only one who looked about, curious at the happenings of the world around me, flooded by my xenophobic nature. I hated it. I wanted everything to end. I wanted to be out of this pernicious encasement. But I had to stay. I had no choice. Every single person in this room knew that the right thing was to look down in utter grievance and to feel knives and bullets pierce their every being. Except I couldn’t.

After the long incoherent chants, we all got turns looking at my grandmother’s body. I went up too, as to follow the flow of the room. She was dead. That was perhaps the only thought that had raced across my head when I saw her. She was dead, just a few weeks ago I saw her, but now she’s dead. I won’t be seeing her again. I could not talk to her before this because of her unstable condition. She was dead, and I was looking death straight in the eye. I still didn’t cry.

We moved her coffin and drove elsewhere to where she would be cremated. I remembered the furnace as my breaking point. We all huddled around the large hearth. It was burning violently and threatened to incarcerate me if I had gotten closer. I held onto the hem of my mom’s dress as the entire process happened. The coffin entered the bellowing flames, and engulfed it within seconds. The flames subjugated my grandmother’s dead body and turned it into ash. Everyone was in tears at this moment, and the sounds of sobs and wailing permeated the area. I looked up at my mother, and smiled again, because I could not find tears in my eyes. She smiled back, with tears streaming, and a crooked smile that she had to force. It was at this moment, that I finally looked down. That my mood had changed from a phlegmatic and naive child, to a sorry brat. I couldn’t smile anymore in front of them, I just couldn’t. I understood not to. This wasn’t the time and place, and I acted my age. I forced myself to be sad, and I even felt some tears stream from my eyes. But I just couldn’t come to sympathize with my dead grandmother. I was crying for my mother.

That moment changed me. I couldn’t ignore the world around me, or let my egocentric tendencies show. I was just a little brat in a world filled with misanthropy and capitalism. To put myself in front of anyone and even remotely think that I was any more important to them was just completely abject. I can’t smile in a situation where others cried, no matter how naive I was about death, or what that actually meant, that much I understood. I put on a mask so that my parents would not worry about me. I followed whatever they did so that they wouldn’t think that I was a problem child. I believed in them.

It was from that day on that I came to embrace death. I came to my own conclusion what death was. It just wasn’t about the loss of a loved one. That much was too simple, too black and white. I came to view death as an event that brought about reunion and communion. Reunion, because it quite literally brought all my extended family to one place. But communion because in death we all come to realize different things. Some realize the pain of loss, or the feelings of grievance, while others come to realize the ever moving time that we humans are cursed with. I came to learn of familial standards and just being a decent kid. But with that, I also came to understand that death is as much good as it is sad. After all is said, we all smile and move on from the experience, living a reverie of our nostalgia and then taking everything we learned from the deceased. We don’t mourn for long because that causes unneeded grievance for the dead, and so we choose to move on, with all that we have and live better lives for them.

Carpe Diem

Hello and this time we have another play. This play is more focused on a central thought, and is a rather short play.  It starts off as simple as it gets with an interaction between two people on a park bench, though one of them holds more burden than he likes to put out. And the other, is just another guy who knows a bit more than life. This piece relies on the idea of carpe diem, which translates to seize the day. Here you go, “Carpe Diem”.

EXT- PARK BENCH – DAY

AUGUST sits on a park bench by himself.

PETER walks up to the park bench, and takes a seat away from August.

August: What’s up with you? Look like you’ve been through hell and back.

PETER:…

AUGUST: If you aren’t talking, I will. Today’s a great day. Nice weather, fine clouds, warm sun. The wind is blowing, the birds are chirping, and the soil beneath feels just right.

PETER:…

AUGUST: Color me crazy, but you can hear me right? Not one of those deaf, or mute people, right? I can’t read sign.

PETER:…

AUGUST: Oh right. If you are, then I have to start waving to you. You see that? HEY!

PETER: I’m not deaf, or mute. And I can’t read sign either.

AUGUST: Good. You speak English.

PETER: I was born in this country.

AUGUST: As expected. So, let me ask you again. Why the doom and gloom?

PETER: None of your business.

AUGUST: Okay. Fair enough. But it’s none of your business to be sitting here either. It’s none of my business whether you’re a serial killer. And it’s none of my business if you’re here to kidnap me.

PETER: What do you want?

AUGUST: It’s not what I want. It’s what you want. And what you want is to tell me why you’re so down.

PETER: Okay. I lost my job, my house, and my family. Three in one.

AUGUST: There we go. Speak your mind, speak your life. It’ll make things easier, I promise.

PETER:  I have no source of income. I can’t buy food, I can’t provide, I’m just a homeless parasite. Nothing in my life has ever gone right for me. I’ve always been at the bottom, I’ve always been trailing behind. Nothing has gone right for me.

AUGUST: Keep it coming.

PETER: I’ve been following the trails of those above me. I can’t act or think for myself. I’ve always been taking orders. And because of my nature I can’t say no. I’m practically living in someone else’s life. Always.

AUGUST: You’re almost there. Keep the flow.

PETER: I’ve made so many people proud, and so many more sad. When they see me like this, they’ll never want to be around me. I’m nothing now. I messed up. I got too ahead. I thought I could steer myself forward. I got too arrogant.

AUGUST: Okay. Stop. I think I got it. You lost your job because you made a business mistake. You’re a business man. You see, I’m blind. I don’t see what you got wearing. That doesn’t matter to me. But your story is important. You got laid off because you couldn’t make a deal?

PETER: Yeah. How’d you know?

AUGUST: You were the one who told me. You failed a deal, then you got fired for using up too many company funds. Common story, save the tears.

PETER: And what about you? What’s your story?

AUGUST: My story doesn’t matter. Right now, the spotlight’s on you. I know how you lost your job. I also know how you lost your house. Couldn’t pay mortgage.

PETER: Two out of three, I guess.

AUGUST: Let’s go for broke. Your wife and kid left you because you lost all your funds. Gold digger, vanity over value.

PETER: Nope. Actually, almost right. One detail.

AUGUST: Okay, not bad. Let me guess, no kid.

PETER: Good guess.

AUGUST: You lost your job because you were eager. Your house got swept as collateral, and your wife left you. Okay. I can buy that. Want to know how I see it?

PETER: I don’t see how anyone can look at it differently.

AUGUST: You made a mistake. And you can fix it. Your life isn’t over. This is a turning point. Nothing is as edificial as finding a job. You’ve done it. I’m guessing, a few years? Maybe three.

PETER: Four.

AUGUST: Four. You’ve had this gig four years of your life. I’m guessing your wife’s been with you four as well?

PETER: Four and a bit.

AUGUST: Housewife?

PETER: Self-employed, she calls it. But I know she’s just drinking.

AUGUST: You made a mistake, and you also got wiser. You were able to free yourself from the holy matrimony of chains. You’re a free man now. You can go and do whatever you want. You have nothing to hold you back. Go live your dreams. This isn’t the time to weep. You’re just on temporary vacation. Go and live. Find something to do. Find someone better.

PETER: And how do you expect–

AUGUST: Seize the day. It’s easy. Just seize the day. Reach for the stars, grab a cloud. Nothing to cry about. Now get off my park bench, and go live your life. Live a better life.

PETER: You really think, I can do that?

AUGUST: No. I don’t think you can do that, because I know you can. Know why?

PETER: Why?

AUGUST: Because you had the gall to talk about it to a stranger. If that wasn’t a call for help, then this world is flat.

PETER: And If I can’t live a better life?

AUGUST: Then talk about it to another stranger. On another bench, in another park. Try again. Seize the day.

PETER: You know, you still haven’t told me anything about you.

AUGUST: The only thing you need to know about me, is that I’m just another guy. I’m no one special. But at least, I’ve got the sense in me to live my life. And, now you do too.

PETER: Alright. I guess I have no other choice but to listen to this stranger. I guess I’ll try and live my life. Also, this isn’t your bench. This is a public park.

AUGUST: It’s my bench when you get up. Now go. Your life is waiting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Noise

Hello and today we have something a bit different from the usual run down of my creative process. We have a play. This is a rather short play, not anything extravagant, and deals with the idea of white noise. In other words, thing we hear that has become commonplace.  It’s more of a fun play, a bit of a comedy and just totally outrageous in nature, and in some way, reflects the truth about the situation I wrote about. Either way, it was fun trying to write in this perplexing format, and of course, it won’t be perfect, but take it for what it is, just a skeleton. Here you go, “White Noise”.

INT.  BUS –  DAY

JUSTIN, standing near the door at the back of the bus. Bag on the floor in front of him.

THOMAS, standing beside Justin.

JUSTIN: You said you didn’t like taking the bus, right?

THOMAS: Too boring for me. Annoying even. Don’t understand how you can stand this.

JUSTIN: Easy. Just listen.

THOMAS: For what?

JUSTIN: White noise.

THOMAS: White…Noise?

JUSTIN: Just listen.

LADY ON PHONE: I’m heading there now. Yeah? Yeah! Okay! Got It! Hummmmmm, Okay! Yeah. I’ll be there in like 30.

MAN ON SPECTRUM: Conspiracy. It’s all a conspiracy. The government is out to get me. Agent, call in. Agent. Now! It’s an emergency. The resistance is onto me.

CHILD A: Mom! Are we there yet?

MOTHER OF CHILDREN: No.

CHILD B: When is dad coming back?

MOTHER OF CHIDLREN: Never.

CHILD B: Why not?

CHILD A: Are we there yet?

MOTHER OF CHILDREN: We’ll be there in 30 minutes. And, because he’s an asshole.

CHILD B: What does that mean?

TODDLER: (Insidious Crying)

TODDLER’s MOTHER: (On her phone with one hand, while the other is prattling around a racket in front of her baby)

STREET PUNK A: (Has contemporary rap music that bleeds out of his earphones)

STUDENT A: Oh my god. Did he really say that? He’s such a creep.

STUDENT B: Totally. Like, who does that? He bought her roses and everything?

STUDENT C: He’s so into her. Like, ew. Gross.

Thomas: Okay, I get it. People talk on the bus. Big deal. It’s not like much is happening anyway.

Justin: Oh yeah? You get on here every day and you start getting used to all the chatter. But then, there’s always someone talking about something important. You filter out all the white noise.

Worker A: Did you hear about the raised taxes?

Worker B: This country’s going to hell if that’s what our government’s doing.

Man A: You know about that Paris bombing? Suspects on the run but they got a lead on him.

Man B: Makes you wonder why they even did it.

Man A: Ask that about any bombing and you got yourself a book.

Thomas: Okay, so maybe there are some people that are talking about relevant topics. I can watch the news too.

Justin: Just listen.

Classmate A: You got the picture of the test?

Classmate B: Right here.

Thomas: Don’t tell me–

Justin: Hey! Mind showing me what you got there?

Thomas: White noise.