A Life Straight(ened)

It’s time, isn’t it? Time to write it down, spit it out, give it up.

Yes.

But I don’t want to.

You have to.

But I’m scared.

None the less, its your bed made. You have to.

Are you ready?

No.

Go ahead anyway.

OK…

There is a thing still lying in wait.  A something – ever-hungry, heavy, dark, and leech-like – looming just beneath my surface.

I can feel it there always.

This thing, this Bastard, howls in foreboding glee. Safe in the assumption that I am too scared to ever acknowledge it. Satisfied in knowing that I am piss-fearful that if I ever did, it would surely decimate me.

Leave me for dead.

This thing, this Poison, is the same thing I have felt gnawing with greasy lips before.  The very thing I have previously – with eyes tearfully squeezed hard shut – ignored, all in the hopes that it would simply go away.

It didn’t.

This thing, this Sin, is the director of my nightly ‘mares, the driver of my attacks of anxiety, the detriment to my finally being able to straighten my life, my faith, my forgiveness, my moving onward.

My growing upward.

This thing, this parasitic Fuck, is the last thing I must give to Him. The thing that only He can destroy. I believe this to be true, I want it to be done. And yet this thing I can’t even name. This thing I need to hand over, I can’t see, nor yet look in the eye.

I only feel it, know that it is there.

Lord, please take this thing from me. I don’t know its name, but please rip this overly fattened tick from my soul. I am not strong enough to give it to you. I know this, and I’m so sorry for my weakness. But if I ask You to take it instead, will that count?

If I ask You, will that good enough?

If so, then please. Please, and now.

There is a thing still lying in wait. A something that is slowly bleeding me, and if I hope to be complete again, this thing has to be removed.

This something has to die.

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The first time I’ve ever used a prompt prior to the actual post, within the introduction. This one coming from the good people over at the Write On Edge community.

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109 Words Plus A Sentence: Ghosts Of Dachau

Once again, I am “mashing” my response to Master Class 2014 with the Friday Fictioneers prompt, and I do this for two reasons primarily.

Firstly, it permits me to somewhat “jump” the 100 word requirement for the latter. And secondly, it allows me to once again recommend that most of you should really try your hand at the former.

As always, I hope you enjoy, experience.

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Copyright – Sandra Crook

I observed the shit-stained haystack once more.

Had its movement been caused by the mere trundling of the cart, or were itchy passengers buried within?

As I wondered, I pondered… what are we doing? Why are we doing this?

I’d killed before. But he, a soldier, was armed with the same professional bloodlust as I. I would never forget, as out of breath, he dropped both arms to his side, still gripping the knife in his left hand, while his brain slowly acknowledged my round, that had just torn through it.

Yes, I’d killed before. But this was different. These, mere civilians.

Children.

Children deemed unfit due merely to their heritage, their identity, their God.

Our God.

My Gott…!

I closely observed the haystack once more, before waving on the shit-stained skittish driver with his dubious cargo, whispering to no one as they pensively passed, “Gott Sie segnen…”

•••

It’s no great secret that I plug-in a song at the end of every post, and it’s also no great secret that I never really push it upon you. But just this once, please, listen…

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Asleep

Admittedly, I do seem to be on somewhat of a depressive story line arch lately with these Trifectca Writing Challenges. I promise it’s not nearly as bad as it may seem.

Now, with the prompt being the 5 words that follow the 33, here’s this week’s effort…

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The pain ebbs, a fat cat dozing after She’s realized her fill.

Breath seeps.

Light pales.

Wait…

It’s over?

“Ah, but wasn’t it you who said you wanted to Sleep?”

Maybe…

Yes.

But,

That wasn’t what I meant.

•••

654 Words Plus A (n excessively long run-on) Sentence

So when Professor SAM – on behalf of Master Class 2014, and via Kelly Garriott Waite – gave us the longest written prompt in the vast history of written prompts EVER (thanks A LOT, Kelly!), I of course had to rise to the challenge.

I hope I didn’t screw it up too badly.

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Dad was dead.

That much could not be denied.

I’d seen him breathe his last. Hell, I’d damned near given him permission to do so. He would never have left mom otherwise, and she was very much in need of his finally finding some sort of peace, some sort of solace.

Mom was still around of course, but only by mere inches.

The other woman – the one I thought I would love forever – offered some token assistance, but her crocodile tears could hardly hide the gleam of the “Steve McQueen-esque” boys she was not-so secretly dreaming of, while feigning concern for me and mine. She escaped at her first self-serving opportunity, and left me alone with a grieving widow, one going through an unwanted separation 45 years in the making, and a Life for us all that would simply never be quite the same again.

I suppose you could say that, as far as self-serving opportunities go, she got out just in the nick of time.

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I was born in a Roman Catholic house. And in these regards, the capital “R” and “C” couldn’t have been more prominent had Jesus Himself come down from a puff of blue sky, and utilized His very Own personal holy typewriter in creating the cards that they carried continually throughout their lives. Cards so well used that the fictional corners of each would’ve been much more like dog-eared worry stones than they would mere 90 degree angles. Personally, I struggled for years against their R.C. ideology, all while still hoping to believe that J.C. was quite alright with me. They in turn struggled against understanding how I could ever sit with “fags and junkies,” when J.C. Himself wouldn’t have been caught dead – well, resurrected, I suppose – with that sort of crew. Whores and tax collectors, sure, but even He had His standards, they presumed.

Mom was losing her grip fast, but not so much as to not realize that when she went, her “faggot-loving” son could very well tank the whole deal of a promised familial salvation. As such, she made me promise to believe as she. And, as I figured that she was the only woman to ever truly love me, I lied and said I did. This resulted in more than one of my friends – long after dad’s service had been performed – thinking to themselves, “He was the only one left to fulfill that contract and try to justify the labor and the harshness and the mistakes of his parents’ lives, and that responsibility was so clearly his, was so great an obligation, that it made unimportant and unreal the sight of the motley collection of pall-bearers staggering under the weight of his father’s body, and the back door of the hearse closing quietly upon the casket and the flowers.”

What can I say? My friends have always been fans of run-on, overly literate smart ass commentary.

In short, what they were thinking was that I was the douche who had to make amends. Amends to a God that I didn’t truly understand in my parents light – amends to a religion that never did do anything but strangle their love towards their fellow-men. Fellow-men deserving of love, though they be of a different color, or sexual orientation, or political bent. You see, my folks loved J.C. more than they ever loved His people. And much like the woman I thought I would love forever felt towards me, when push came to shove, they loved themselves even more than they did He.

So the hearse doors closed, and the body was buried. But the belief was not. Though I could’ve swore that I caught a glimpse of J.C.’s back, as He walked delicately across the partially frozen cemetery grounds, just like all the others, slowly away from me.

And I stood. Alone. One arm empty, as the self-server had by then run off with the first of many Steve McQueen’s to come. And the other arm full – though still empty – struggling to hold the woman who had once bore me, the only woman to ever truly love me, the woman hanging on now, only by mere inches.

And through it all, I just kept staring at my arms, both empty and full, while thinking to myself…

I had seen him breathe his last – I’m sure I had.

Dad was dead.

That much could not be denied.

•••

Lose This Skin.

Admittedly, Eustace was a prig.

But of all of the Narnia characters, he is my favorite. And not simply because he’s allowed me the opportunity to finally use the word “prig” in a post either.

No, of all the characters, Eustace is my favorite because he was transformed. And unlike Edmund, he did so without even the promise of a greater good to come in the process. There was no talk of a future crown or a greater glory for Eustace, but he saw the need, and transformed anyway.

He did so shortly after his old ways had turned him rather abruptly into a dragon.

Assuming you haven’t read the tale (and if not, you really should), Eustace found some dragon’s loot, and in stealing a piece, he in turn became a fire breather himself when he placed it upon his wrist. His new dragon arm was much thicker than the previous boyish version, and as a result the bewitched gold could not be removed. He was stuck. Forevermore to be cursed – and alone – with his new dragon persona. As so often happens in the Narnia tales, Aslan came along and – after a bit of earnest and deserved begging from Eustace – saved him by stripping all the dragon flesh from the boy. But only after first commanding the boy to do so himself several times instead (a task that the boy tries and ultimately fails at, in each and every instance).

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Of all seven of the books in the Narnian Chronicles, this is the singular scene that spoke to me the most. So much so in fact, that several years ago I found myself beginning to pray that I too might have the good pleasure of having my scales removed. You see, I knew that who I was, wasn’t who I was. And I knew that there was something greater within – something more true, more inline with the creation that He envisioned when first He crafted me. Of course, much like the book, I imagined that there would be a moment of pain, a tear of the flesh causing a tear to the eye, and then I would be provided with great big (((Jesus hugs))) before bounding merrily upon my new and improved way.

None of that happened though.

What did happen was this. First I buried my father. And then my brother’s marriage. And then I heard that I would have to do the same with my marriage as well. And then the children, The Little Things, who were in our protection had to be removed from my care as a result. And then I lost daily contact with my own children, as they stayed with their mother while I moved out. And then (and this is no small matter to people who care) my cat died. And then, in early December, I found myself restructured rather abruptly (the 3rd, at 11:02 AM, to be precise) into the world of unemployment. And finally, that resulted in me losing my car, my family health insurance coverage and my financial security. Never mind any falsetto self-worth I had foolishly built up along the way based upon these superficial achievements.  And that is where I am now.

And it dawns on me… All the scales have been removed.

All the dragon flesh has been stripped from me. I am raw, in tears, naked and pink. I received what I prayed for, I just never realized the immensity of what it was that I wished. I am sore, and scared, and at times feeling (though I know it’s not true) terribly alone. And although there have oft been times when I simply felt the urge to go to Sleep, I am filled with the promise of a wholly new being emerging. One who will be loved by those who love without condition or expectation. Finally, and for the first time in 44 years, a “me” that is one of my own making instead of others begs to come forth. A “me” that will hopefully come closer to fulfilling the beauty of the creation that He envisioned when first He crafted me.

Who Am I?

I’ve no idea.

But just between you, me and all these discarded, hard shorn and useless scales, I simply can not wait to finally find out.

•••

This post was created in response to my Life as it stands, and to the prompt provided us by the beautiful people over at The Blogging Lounge.

691 Words Plus A Sentence.

I’m uncertain as to whether I am understanding, and as a result, responding accordingly to a recent Daily Post prompt. But in all honesty, they never pay me any attention over there anyway. So I suppose that it doesn’t matter if I’m spot-on, or off-target to the point of looking much like Mr. Magoo shooting a potato gun backwards into a wind tunnel.

Yeah, you’re trying to envision that now, aren’t ya?

I DO however, know that I’m well within stated regs in regards to Master Class 2013, and I’m also certain that the Professor pays attention to me over there. So much so, that it behooves me to regularly ensure that all my “i’s” are crossed and my “t’s” dotted, before publishing.

Having now done so, following is my response to both prompts. As always, please play along, and also as always, I hope you enjoy!

Copyright: Robert Hunt

Copyright: Robert Hunt

It was only a duck pond, at the back of the farm.

But it hadn’t always been that way, no. It had started its life as a crater; blown out of the earth from a shell that had hoped to slam itself noisily into the building that actually stood several hundred feet from where the missile eventually took root instead.

As these things go, the crater was quickly made useful as it filled with soldiers, huddled together in a cold, wet, quivering mass; all in the hopes that their proximity to each other, combined with their quasi-concealment, would somehow prevent them from taking similar shots – from much smaller, yet equally deadly shells – to their own bodies.

As the scout furtively raised his head over the brim to see if they were alone, the round that blasted arrogantly through his skull quickly provided both him and his comrades with dramatic evidence of the answer that they were hoping to not receive.

Leonard wanted to vomit as Scout’s blood and brain sprayed across the pit, covering the other soldiers faces and mouths. But he found that he’d no more substance to expel, and even less energy required to carry through with the exercise anyway. In fact, he’d done so so often, that Leonard could honestly not see where he should ever need to vomit another day in his entire life, once he got out of this unholy mess.

If he got out of this unholy mess.

“Martin…”

“Yes Lenny?”

“Do you… well, do you ever wish that it was over?”

“The war? Of course I do, you dolt!”

“No, no. Not the war, Marty. Everything.”

“Everything? You mean like, the world, the universe, time itself? What are you doing mate? Going all philosophical, at the very moment Jerry is trying to blow our fool heads off?”

“Well, we might not have any other time to do so, you see…”

“Blimey! We’re trying to get our arses out of here! Not start a debate with the High Lord Above and His Boy over the meaning of life. The ‘meaning of life…’ there is no meaning to it at all, if we can’t get out of here with it still in our pockets!”

Leonard knew that his chum was right of course, and as the clamor of explosions protested closely overhead, he realized once again how true it was, that the next serving of splashing brains could be his to provide, if he found himself unable to get his head out of the damned clouds.

But still. How he wished that it were all over. Over and done, and everyone assigned to their new and eternal dwelling places. Of course, there was still that certain fear that his would be the dwelling place less desired. But war had an odd way of making a man fear hell less than heaven, as it is common to fear the thing you don’t know, over the thing you do.

Leonard’s reflective fog dissipated abruptly as Marty roughly jostled his shoulder while shouting, “Oi! Time to go laddy!”

Taking a fools gamble on a sudden lull in the general chaos, the band of men rose haphazardly from the shell-blown trench, only to be met by an unexpected and fresh swarm of projectiles, buzzing through them in a newly formed river of red, like a metallic wind hell-bent on creating of itself a tornado. Leonard wasn’t the first to fall, but by the time the round that would pierce him did, he’d seen enough of his comrades crumble as to make him aware that this very day he could well be seeing the High Lord Above’s Boy in person. As he lay in the bottom of the crater, his blood pumping ever efficiently through the two new gaping holes torn through his neck, he murkily realized that he had received his wish after all. If nothing else, it really was all over now. Just the Reckoning left, he reckoned, and then he could call it a day forever more. As the blood continued to burble out, he inexplicably smelt the pungent odor of pond water permeating his dying nostrils, while swearing to himself that he could hear the faint murmur of approaching ducks…

•••

From Master Class: “Tara of Thin Spiral Notebook… was asked (some time ago, honestly) to choose the assignment for the next class. I gave her no specific instructions, and she chose…” from Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean At The End Of The Lane.”

My Prayer…

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“Please.”

The single hardest, single-syllable word I ever had to say.

“Please.”

Forcing it through clenched teeth. Reluctantly, quietly. Earnestly.

Please.

Alone. No other words allowed. No other thoughts entertained.

“Please.”

Just one word to net it all. One word to express the whole ocean of pain, sorrow, regret and yearning. One word only, in asking for intervention.

“Pleeeeaase…”

The breath catches. The tears break. Tumbling in an ever-increasing stream, as their weight pulls my body bluntly face-first to the floor.

“Please. Please, please, please, please…”

Bits of un-chewed food spit forth as I moan through my petition, increasingly acute.

“(Please, please, please, please, please, please…)”

Unable to breathe, the words are now uttered only in my mind, as the rest of my body heaves itself to release deep sobs, long buried by a soul afraid of it’s own life. It’s own potential. It’s own beauty.

Please.

There is no answer. There never is. But the sobbing slowly subsides, and The Darkness reluctantly retreats.

“Please.”

An unforeseen feeling of warmth, of comfort even, comes over me. A quiet yet strong voice – maybe of my own making, or maybe His – whispers to me, “Trust Me to handle this, and we’ll make it through. Trust Me to be in control, and I will walk you Home.”

Realizing it my choice to make, I think a moment, then utter,

“Please.”

This post is being brought to you by both a recounting of Real Life experiences, and by the WordPress Daily Prompt’s question of “Is it easy for you to ask for help when you need it, or do you prefer to rely only on yourself?” I would hope that in this case, the answer is clear.