Surrender.

“The past can’t hurt you anymore, not unless you let it.”

~ Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

“Daddy… Daddy?”

With no response, I uttered again, “Daddy?” But still he slept. Soundly, and on his back, in the dark coolness of their bedroom. Peaceably he snored, with a tranquility seldom seen during his waking hours. Presumably off again, on one of his Navy-day adventures. Loving the song, women, and wine of yesteryear. The times he used to speak to us most fondly about. The man he had once been, and one could only assume, wished that he still was.

But this was not about him. No, it was about me. As would become so much a pattern to my life, it was about me. And as would become so much a pattern to my life, though I desperately needed to reach out to someone, I didn’t, for the mere fear of not wanting to “bother them.”

Meekly, from the corner of their big bed, I murmured again, “Daddy?”

No response.

220px-Brown_lady

“Daddy. Please wake up daddy. Please tell me everything is OK daddy. Please let me know that all my fears are unfounded. That all the monsters and the fiends and the ghosts are all make-believe, daddy. In my head, daddy. Please tell me that daddy, please.”

But he didn’t. In part because he couldn’t. In part because it would have been a lie. In part because his dream-land adventures were, in themselves, an escape for him as well. An escape from the very same monsters and fiends and ghosts as were plaguing me.

“Daddy, please tell me they’re all make-believe. Please.”

“But they are not, my son. They are real, even if they won’t eventually appear as you currently imagine they will. Even then, they are real. The monsters are real, though they look much more like incompetent and ruthless bosses and overlords, than they do oversized creatures with maddened eye, and glaring teeth. And the fiends are real too, even if they look much more like friends and relations who you felt you could trust – did trust – only to have them use that trust against you, pushing upon all the softest spots you shared with them, in an effort to have their way.”

“But the worst son, the very worst are the ghosts. The ghosts that come screaming right up from the roots of your family tree. The ghosts of your bad habits and phobias. The ghosts that tell one that they’ll never be good enough, while telling another that there could possibly never be another wiser or more correct. The ghosts that bind a family to its own destruction, the ghosts that kill some with self-loathing, while suffocating others with pride. These ghosts of who you are – though you aren’t – these are the very worst.”

“Daddy, does it get better? Do they go away?”

“For me, they did not. Because I never allowed them to, because I had to maintain control. You know many like that, and you too suffer the same disease. They’ll get you in the end as well, if you’re not careful.”

“Daddy, what should I do?”

“The easiest thing in the world to do, the hardest thing in the world to do. Give up control. Just give it up. Surrender. When the farmer plants the seed, does he fret everyday over whether it will grow or not? No. He simply does what he knows needs to be done for a good crop to result, and then lets Nature do the rest. Be like the farmer, son. Plant the seed, do your best, and wait. Just surrender to Life, and wait.”

“Will they go away then, daddy? The monsters, the demons, and the ghosts?”

“The first two, no, but the third can be greatly reduced. Recognize them for what they are, and you can then work towards dismissing them. Keep in mind, your old life will be destroyed in the process, but it’s simply a skin waiting to be shed, after all. And once done, the monsters and the fiends become inconsequential. A mere nuisance to the New You. The new beautiful, liberated and True You.”

“Is what you’re telling me true, daddy?”

No response.

I’m back in his room, and he is still asleep. As he has been this whole while. Back then, just for the night; and now, forever.

The final question I fear, was left unaddressed, as it can only ever truly be answered by me. In my own time and fashion.

“In my own time and fashion, daddy. I will surrender, and I will see.”

•••

Happy Fathers Day, dad. The adventure continues…

An obligatory NaNoWriMo post

No, I didn’t have one of these last year. As I was still relatively new to the blogging game (a mere 5 months old at the time), I honestly had no idea what “NaNo” was when everyone first started chirping about it.

This year however, I was wiser – less wet behind my bloggerish ears. This year I was with the “in” crowd, and had actually signed up with NaNoWriMo. I even went so far as to write a post about it. One that would, in the final analysis never leave the status of “draft.” Well, not until now, that is:

Holy Christ.

I just created a NaNoWriMo account.

Now, what in the hell did I go and do that for?

I can’t write. I mean, for a sustained period of time on one subject. Oh sure, I can blubber on and on about any number of random topics – made-up or real – but I can’t actually write an honest-to-God story. Or at least I don’t feel as if I can. I think we can all see that, in the “Stranger Things” tale that is spinning slowly out of control (that’s right, part 2.2 is currently sitting around with a very sour look on it’s face somewhere in “drafts;” being very hard to please and even harder to talk with). With it, I can feel myself falling into that old trap I constructed all those years ago, wherein nothing I create is ever truly good enough. “Sins of the fathers” sort of thing, you know. As a result, each installment is getting harder and harder to beat out through my battered keyboard. True, my “100 Words” tale is coming along nicely, but I’m none too sure if that’s because of me, or more because of the community involved (that, plus the fact that the 100 word limitation makes you work really hard to get your point across!)

So then, why’d I do it?

I have no idea.

Which of course means I have a very good idea. I think it all comes back to that concept about bettering myself. Finding my way. Yeah, that’s gotta be it. I’m finding my way, and in so doing, I want to share my story. A story that I just can’t believe isn’t up there in my grey matter somewhere. I know it is. I can feel it, taste it. I can glimpse it even, but every time I go to write it down, it simply disappears into the ether of my mind, hiding out until it thinks I’ve forgotten about it. But I don’t forget. I keep coming back. Trying to find it again, so that I can plunk it all down, and share it with you.

My fear?

My fear is that my story – the one so rudely involving me in a game of “hide & seek” that I didn’t ask to play – is pornographic in nature. C’mon now, stop laughing, I’m being serious. I believe I’ve mentioned before just how important sex is to me. Hell, look at how many tags I’ve created involving it:

And I also think I could spin a pretty good yarn revolving around it. But you see I wouldn’t want it to be porn. Or perceived as such, at any rate. For me, sex is way too important – and enjoyable – to be muddied by plastic boobs, bleached hair and canned dialogue. That, plus I’m still not sure just where exactly J.C. stands on the whole “sex thing.” I know for a fact that the folks claiming to follow him have it all wrong, but seeing as he nary said two words on the whole subject, I would just never be sure if what I wrote was somehow sinful. Again, stop laughing. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to “play it safe” and as a result have my story perceived as some dime store romance either. Sex is way too important – and enjoyable – to be flounced by bullshit rainbows, happy-ever-afters and over-the-top dialogue as well. You see, it’s somewhere right in between the porn and the romance. Smack dab in the middle of “real.”

Now wait, what in the flip was that last bit all about?

This post is supposed to be about writing, not sex (dammit, C is right, it IS all I ever think about). Anywho, sorry for falling off the map like that. Moving on…

So, there you have it. I signed up for NaNoWriMo. And I did so – I believe – in the hopes of forcing my story out of its hiding spot. Once done, I’m hoping that other stories will come easier. I’ve a darling blogging buddy who wants to co-author with me, and I’ve been a very bad person, blowing her off as a result of this current trepidation. I’m terribly afraid that, similar to my solitary work, I’ll start to short-circuit while writing our story together, and attempt to bail on the whole thing. I simply couldn’t do that to her. Well, I could. So I won’t. Hell, even when she asked me what we would write about, I blanked. I shut down. It’s been over a week since the question was asked, and my mind is still stumbling all over itself in the dark. And I really wanted to do this with her.

Maybe my fear isn’t that my story will be pornographic, maybe it’s that it just doesn’t exist in the first. Maybe what I feel, taste and catch glimpses of isn’t a story at all, but rather a ruse I invented for myself, something to keep me occupied. Who knows? I suppose we’ll find out this November when I’ll have to slam down umpteen words into a fashion that creates some sort of a yarn when they’re all laid out. I still have no idea what that yarn will be, so it had better come out of hiding soon…

•••

As I think we all know, the story didn’t come out. But it’s not because of any failure on its (or my) part. No, instead school came out. And two additional kids came out. And work issues came out. And C’s (continuing) health issues came out. And – well, I could go on – but I’m sure you’ve got the idea by now. Life looked me square in the eye and said, “Son, tain’t gonna be no NaNoWriMo for you this year. Not if you want to keep your family, your job and your sanity.” Duly noted, Life. Hell, if I’m still around Blogsville next year, I might give it another go. Maybe Life might cut me a break. Until then, best of luck to all of you who are participating – I hope your keyboards are still speaking to you by month’s end!

Now, here’s a little ditty – the BEST song the 80’s EVER produced, I might add – to help spur you along…

A screw in the mix

Previously… – or – The whole mess till now…

The red “hair” wasn’t so much a biological memory, as it was in remembrance of the red hood that he had dawned, all those human years ago, when first he agreed to serve Beelzebub.

Beelzebub, that fat, lazy, stupid old demon. He had thought that he’d beat the man with the red hair, but he had thought oh so very wrong. True, the man had been young enough to believe that Satan would actually deliver on his end of the bargain – that being providing him with eternal life – but he wasn’t so naive as to think that there wouldn’t be a screw at least somewhere in the mix.  The screw in this case was that eternal life only came after death. A bit of a pisser, but for the man with the red hair, more of a barrier than a obstacle.

No, not the kind of eternal life he had imagined at all, this death. But he was above Satan. Hell, he was above God even. And Satan had provided him with a very long life. A long life he spent in study. A long life that he had spent plotting. A life, long enough for him to discover that there could actually be a second type of eternal life. One that even that moron of a devil didn’t recognize. He lived his long life maliciously, and his eventual death – brought about by slowly burning in that old wooden chair – didn’t surprise him a bit. Hell, by the time it occurred, it almost seemed like part of the plan. Not Satan’s, but his. As a result of his studies, he knew that Satan was not yet seated upon his “throne.” No, that wouldn’t occur until the end of days, and the man with the red hair planned on being in his new kingdom – the kingdom of his making – well before that took place. He would never need to deliver on his end of the half-witted bargain. He would never need to do any bidding whatsoever for that piece of shit devil. He would never be imprisoned like all the rest. He was almost there. Almost free. All he needed now was Clive. As through him, the man with the red hair could finally speak his new existence into reality. He would once and for all become alive. Real. For his was the kingdom. And the power. And the glory.

The stage was set. He could feel it. Much like the mighty oak, insistently chiseled in a specific place, he was certain that Clive would fall in exactly the direction he needed him to. And he was certain that Douglas would be similarly positioned as well, becoming crushed in the process. That was always their way, wasn’t it? Dying for their friends in an effort to save them. A salvation that wouldn’t come, not this time. The man with the red hair didn’t need Douglas to die in order for his plan to come alive, but he did relish in the anticipation of watching it occur. This Tia however, was new to the mix. Unanticipated. And unanticipated was not good. It gave the man pause. What was her game? How did she fit in? She didn’t feel like the others. No, in her was something that was, well, different. In her was something that unnerved the man with the red hair. He had been watching closely over the weeks as she became closer and closer with Clive. She was friendly with Douglas as well, but in Clive she had a special bond. She had almost given him something to believe in. A scenario that would be worse yet, should Clive ever figure out that that “something” was himself. This made the man with the red hair nervous. And he was not prone to being so. He had worked far too hard at creating Clive, and he would be damned – quite literally so – if this didn’t work.

He seethed. His plan had to work. It simply had too. Remembering that there was nothing anymore for him to slam his fist against – nor, in fact an actual fist for him to slam it with in the first –  he instead twirled in his rage. Spinning in ever expanding circles to release his anger. An anger that seemed to have no end. An anger that seemed to only grow the more it was dispelled. The man with the red hair remembered that sloppy devil mentioning something to him at some point, something about an “abundance” that he would be blessed with. Sadly, he had been young. And not paying very close attention. After he had heard what he wanted, he naturally assumed that the abundance spoke of was a life eternal. Perhaps now, he realized, it was something else…

None the matter. Plans were in place. Clive was ripe for the taking. Or at least would be soon. Very soon. The man with the red hair decided it might be time to “drop in” and see how far along he was. Clive’s father had proven to be a false hope for the most part, a reminder that if you wanted something done right, you needed to do it yourself. The man with the red hair would not make the same mistake. He would not let emotions get in the way. He would go to Clive, disconnect him from this Tia bitch, and tighten the screws even further. The prize was his, his to take. The Mercy seat was once again burning. But this time, burning for him, and he’d be godammend if he didn’t take it. For his was the kingdom. And the power. And the glory. Forever, and ever, amen.

© t – 2o12

A woman says “no”

Previously… – or – The whole mess till now…

“Now Clive, are you sure it was your dad? Like, ‘hand to Christ’ sure?” asked Douglas, placing one hand high in the air and the other to his breast. “You know I don’t believe in that stuff Douglas, but yeah, I’m sure. It had to be him” Clive sheepishly responded. “But what about all that ‘egg jazz’ you used to describe them, m’man? I mean, doesn’t one egg look like any other? How could you ever point to one particular egg n’ say, ‘yep, that there is one of my kin’?” Douglas inquired, affecting a southern accent towards the end that was hardly worth the effort. “Well they do, in a sense, all ‘look alike’ Douglas” Clive responded, ignoring his attempt at lightening the mood, “but each has a certain – well – a “center” to them…” “You mean like  a yolk?” interjected Douglas. “Yes Douglas, very funny. No, not like a yolk – but yes – I suppose sort of like a yolk. They each seem to have a different essence buried deep within them. A unique stamp. Maybe even a soul? Truth be told, I never gave it much thought before, because I never really ‘recognized’ any of them until yesterday. Yesterday, when dad showed up.” “You’re still pretty wrecked about it, hmmm?” Douglas plied as he gently placed one hand on Clive’s slightly trembling shoulder. “Yeah” Clive admitted, remembering the puzzling tactic his father had taken of questioning his sexuality. Why? What had it meant? What had he been trying to accomplish with that, Clive wondered. “Well, I find it simply Christ-on-a-cracker stupefying that in all the folk that have dropped in to pay you a visit, not a one until yesterday was anyone you recognized” Douglas exclaimed a little too loudly to shake Clive back to reality. “Well, it is a big world Douglas, and there’s been a lot of death upon it since the beginning” reasoned Clive. “Clive, really m’man, I just can’t see why someone who loved you in life wouldn’t have popped in to visit you again by now. None of the others have been shy about it. It just don’t seem to make sense. Unless of course, there’s certain ones you can see, and others you can’t?” “What does that mean Douglas?” “Clive, I’ve no idea – just bouncing ideas around, until we can untangle this lil web you seem to have gotten y’self all wrapped up in” Douglas replied, while stroking his chin in an attempt to look philosophical.

“We are many, we are legion.” The words came to the forefront of Clive’s mind again. She had looked different from the rest. More “real.” And not like the man with the red hair. No, for all his airs, he was still just a memory. A something no longer human, trying to appear as if it still was. The girl however, almost seemed weighted. More human than human. Clive would have to think on Douglas’ words more when he was alone. There was something to them, something there that he just couldn’t quite see. Not yet. Clive was interrupted from his thoughts by the not-so-gentle tap Douglas had just delivered. “Clive, I gotta tell you, there are times when I sing to m’self, ‘here I am… just a walkin’ down the street… just me n’ my zombie friend.’ Did ya ever think that maybe all these cats are visiting you just because they think you’re one of them already? I mean, look at ya, m’man. Pasty white all over – ‘cept for the rings under your eyes of course – looking like you just lost your best friend. But only after he had just lost his. AND his puppy, to boot. Moping about like your spine fell down into your leg. I mean, Clive, I love you, but you could do with some serious sunshine m’friend. You need to get y’self laid!” Clive smiled at the thought, giggling a little as he replied “oh yeah – easy, breezy Douglas! I mean, mopey pasty white men are all the rage right now. I’m sure the chicks will just come running as soon as they hear I’m on the market.” “Number one Clive, you don’t want a ‘chick’ – they ain’t worth it” Douglas cautioned. “You want a woman.” “What’s the difference?” asked Clive, honestly ignorant. “Well, a ‘chick’ is someone who follows ‘the rules.’ Plays into the idea that a woman is only worth what her potential suitors think she is. Only accomplishes what Madison Ave. tells her she can. A real woman however, is someone who knows who she is, and would respect herself even if every last ounce of sex appeal was squeezed from her like a sponge. She don’t give a shit what the advertisers think, and she relies on her mind, instead of the body that holds it up. Clive, in short, a chick is someone who says ‘Yes’ – even when she doesn’t mean it – and a woman is someone who says ‘No,’ but only when she does.”

Clive was so intrigued by Douglas’ explanation that he didn’t see – and as a result – slammed right into a woman going in the opposite direction. Forcing her to drop her handbag, which in turn vomited its contents all over the sidewalk. “Oh my God!  I am so sorry!” Clive hurriedly exclaimed “can I help you with your things?” “No.” the girl responded curtly. Then flashing a smile a touch on the mischievous side, “of course you can, silly. You’re the one that caused this after all!” Clive bent down and helped her return the purse’s contents to their rightful place. Douglas stood firm. Ladies things were ladies things, and Douglas felt much better not knowing anything more than that. Knowing Clive never would, once everyone was straightened back up, Douglas said “Hi, this here is Clive, and I’m his friend Douglas.” The woman smiled before saying “kind of like a horse and his boy, right? He causes all the trouble, and you do all the talking? Well, it’s a somewhat painful pleasure to meet you both. My name is Tia.” Her smile settled in on Clive, much like a warm blanket greets a cold body. For the briefest of moments, time almost stood still. There seemed to be – well – “something” about her. A something Clive couldn’t describe, but still desired after, and for the first time in a very very long time, he found himself smiling from deep within. After years of the world dragging him down, he was almost sure that in her, he’d find sanctuary. Douglas noted Clive’s smile as well, and abruptly announced “well, as we’ve inconvenienced you, I feel that we are simply propelled to take you to lunch Ms. Tia. It is ‘Miss,’ yes?” Laughing, Tia responded “yes, it is ‘Miss,’ but we’ve a problem with lunch. You gentlemen seem to be going in the opposite direction than I am.” “Miss Tia, directions are meant to be changed” responded Douglas confidentially. And with that, the three of them went off to grab the one thing Douglas cherished even more than Clive – lunch.

For his part, Clive couldn’t believe his good fortune. Not only had he literally ran head-first into a beautiful and intriguing woman, but he also spent an entire morning with nary a single visit. Had he only known the truth of it all, he would had felt much different.

© t – 2o12

A Reunion, Of Sorts

Previously… – or – The whole mess till now…

He sat there, head cocked and wide-eyed staring at her. It had to be a “her,” as of all the visitors he had seen thus far, she was the most “in form” yet. Well, besides the man with the red hair, of course. But he was a thought best left untouched for the moment.

She was young. Barely seven, if he had to guess. He chuckled a little as he imagined himself cutting her open, to count the rings and see. His impromptu and bad humor was interrupted however, by her silently and slowly placing one solitary digit into the air. She lowered her hand, then raised it again with two digits being held up. And again, with three. She repeated this task fluidly and patiently, one at a time, until all ten digits were realized high in the air, directly above her head. Once there, she made merry dancing movements with them, as she spread her arms out in an ever-expanding fan. Coming full circle before bringing them gently to rest in her almost-bosom. “We are many. We are legion.” That had to be what she was saying. Clive could feel it. He knew it to be true. Recognizing awareness spreading across his face, she smiled sweetly, blowing him an almost-kiss before she stepped sideways again through the veil.

Why had he let Douglas escape? Why had he let him go? The questions were stupid of course. Douglas was allowed his freedom, his own peace. He had told Clive that he would stick around, be glad to in fact. But Clive had told him to leave, told him everything was OK. They both needed their rest, he had said. Truth was, Clive loathed to be alone, but he didn’t want Douglas to have to suffer as a result. It appeared that Clive was the only one unable to feel that breath of freedom that Douglas must be enjoying right now. The only one who would never sniff that smell of life-giving freshness, that peace. Clive alone was damned to walk amongst the dead, even while being so woefully alive. Had he only known, the very thing he wanted to lose, was the only thing they were hoping to take.

Unlike the rare occasion when Douglas would tear the curtains back, allowing rays of light in to pierce the gloom, Clive’s room was frigid and tense. He sat there, feeling small, putting it down to another bad day. He was lost deep in thought, but still wary, and almost before “he” came, Clive knew that he would. After all, it might never happen, but Clive had always felt as if it had to sooner or later.

He stood silently before Clive, in almost the same place as the girl had stood earlier. But where her stance seemed to pull Clive towards her, the new visitor seemed to push away. In fact, had they both resided on a curve, she would have inhabited the concave side while this new person would have been splashed across the convex. Clive could tell who it was, even though this spirit was almost unable to keep any form whatsoever. The silence, the slouch, and the eyes – the only thing human-like about him – made Clive very much aware that whatever the others were, this was no angel or demon. This was his father.

“Dad?” The spirit stood silent. Clive tried again “Dad? Why are you here? Are you here to help me? Finally?” Again, the spirit said nothing, but his eyes began to stir. His eyes were unlike those of the living any more, in that they came alive in a wholly “other” fashion. They had a power to them, a raw emotion. By gazing deep within them, you could tell what the spirit was thinking. Sadly for Clive, he did just that. His father’s mind was full to the brim with defeat and fear. Of regret and self-hate. The spirit’s mind was full of negativity, filthy and cheap, sloshing about with all the rest in a disgusting stew that made Clive queasy. Unannounced, the entire mess of it came leaping from his father’s mind and poured itself directly in Clive’s being, almost touching his very soul. Almost.

You filthy son of a bitch. You’re wrong. Just wrong. You always have been, you always will be. Go ahead, try your best. It won’t be good enough. It’ll never be good enough. NEVER! Look at me, I tried. I hoped. I prayed. I played it safe, played by the rules. Assholes still got more than me, and I’m still gone. Stuck here still, with you, wishing you had never been born. You’re a disease. Filth. Trash. All the years I wasted on you. Loving you. Feeding you. Look at you! Do other people see ghosts? You think that’s normal? You think your queer pansy-ass boyfriend sees ghosts? Sissy faggot piece of shit who sees ghosts, that’s all you are. Oh look me… such the proud poppa! Why don’t you just go and do what you want to do anyway? Why don’t you just die already Clive… juST FUCKING DIE!” And then, after a feeble minute, plaintively “please son. Just die.” None of the words were spoken, but Clive heard every last one of them. He felt them sinking in, taking an all to familiar hold, and quickly became enraged. He was too goddamned old to take this abuse, especially from a dead man. One whom, with the exception of Clive and damned few others, was all but forgotten already. Clive rose from his place, and shaking, screamed back “when does it end??? WHEN? When will you leave me in peace you bastard??? Whe…?” Clive found himself once again cut short. As he was screaming, his father had formed the saddest excuse for lips that Clive had ever seen. With them, he began sucking at the air rapidly, much like a fish does when it’s eating. Once Clive stopped speaking, the air-sucking stopped. “What are you doing? What are you doing to me?” Clive pleaded. Again, as the words – filled with raw emotion – tumbled out of his mouth, his father sucked viciously at the air. Trying to capture… something.

Clive realized too late what that something was, and in reaction, clamped his hand quickly over his mouth. His father, seeing the jig was up, began to shiver visibly. The entirety of his formless form began to wave to and fro violently, while his lips became like that of a hurricane over an ocean. Swirling in wider and faster circles, the lips continued their insane twirl until from them erupted a bottomless scream, painful and true, reverberating and real. One that shred through Clive’s mind and out onto the street below. One that could be heard – not just by Clive – but by anyone within earshot who happened to give a damn. His belabored bellow ended abruptly, when Clive’s former father imploded. Literally splashing all over the floor like a busted water balloon, his essence dribbled through the floorboards, leaving Clive alone. More alone than he had ever been before, alone like his world meant nothing at all.

“We are many, we are legion.”

She had “said” it, and Clive knew it to be true. He now sat praying to a god he didn’t yet believe in, that her message was actually one of hope, instead of doom.

© t – 2o12

* EMI are bastards who don’t like to share. Click here to listen to the prerecorded version of this song on YouTube.