Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Deaden



A sharp pain sent Jabez lurching forward. His elbows clinched against his sides, hands in fists and back arched. He had been sitting so long that his muscles were cramping. Mistake number one. He bite his knuckle till the pain subsided and then slowly relaxed and leaned back in the chair gingerly. By the time he realized what he was doing it was too late. Mistake number two. Though his first reaction was to run to the bathroom he figured at this point it was pointless and seeing as he had been drinking rather heavily all night and not moved in god knows how many hours, this felt good, warm but good. Real good.

The room was getting muggy as the sun was beginning to rise. Jabez barely noticed the new days sun light breaking through the cracks and seams of the cardboard covering the windows. Jabez opened the desk drawer and grabbed the bottle of Captain Morgan’s resting inside, cracked it open and took a large swig. His face grimaces with the last swallow as if it took everything he had not to send the Captain back out. As soon as the shock to his system wore off, he did it again. This was his last hurray so him and the good old Captain were going to burn the candle at both ends. It wasn’t like this was the first time they had spent “quality” time together. With everyone gone now things were worse then they had ever been. The earplugs barely worked and the sight of almost any advertising sent him too him to the brink of madness. Alcohol seemed like the only thing that would take the edge off, deaden the pain. Alcohol had long been his demon. But it was a demon that caressed his hair till he fell asleep. A demon that took him back to the controllable days. A demon that put a temporary ball gag on the voices and provided morphine for the pain. As Jabez lifted the bottle for a third swig he heard the familiar sound of the door unlocking to his neighbors apartment. Jabez lowers the bottle slowly and grabbed an old set of earplugs on the desk.

Carefully and routinely placing the earplugs in Jabez kissed the Captain once again. This time he made sure to get his fill because he knew that his neighbor, who worked the night shift, would be turning on his 50” plasma TV with surround sound any second now. Jabez finish his drink and then repositioned himself in front of the keyboard. Sweat bubbling up from the pores on his arms, Jabez closes his eyes and lets it go. Concentrating on nothing, concentrating on everything, Jabez stopped caring how it sounded or exactly what came forth spewing out onto the screen. He let his fingers pull his memories from his brain like a New Orleans pickpocket snapping frat boy’s wallets at Mardi Gras. As the TV next door kicked on Jabez falters and his neck arches to the side as his brain explodes with information. Taking another quick swig and while fighting back the searing pain, Jabez knew stopping was not an option anymore. The time for second thoughts was long gone. No backing out now. Me and Captain to the end.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Sanctuary



The sun was setting through the trees as Jabez ran with his head down following the trail with his one good eye, he just ran. His heart was racing and his lungs burned but he couldn’t feel anything else. There was this strange numbness to him now. He suddenly cut off the trail and toward a clearing. His back now to the sunset, everything in front of him was satiated with color and shadow. As he entered the clearing his heart moved up into his throat and the sound of his heartbeat rang like a church bell in his head. It only took a few more steps before he had to stop to throw up what was left of the pizza. He fell to his hands and knees in the tall grass. He didn’t know what was going on. Did it have to do with the punch he took earlier? Did he have a concussion? Was it permanent? Jabez was scared but one thing that he knew was that he couldn’t go back there. Not right now and not anytime soon.

Jabez stumbled forward and lifted his head to catch his breath and he saw the oddest tree directly in front of him. It was out of place. Short instead of tall, Light next to dark, round not skinny. It was like him. Lost. Jabez stepped forward and made his way around the edge of its natural dome, its skin, looking for a way in. Finding an opening in its shell, Jabez went in and was instantly awed. Inside was not just a perfect canopy but the sun’s rays were cast onto, and through in some areas, the large but thin light green leaves creating a giant green canvas. Its thick short trunk had two large branches braking off of it that created a perfect spot to sit and watch the sunset through this giant green shade so Jabez planted himslef there and leaned back, staring at the leaves, the green, the small spot lights of sun braking through and shinning on the trees carpet of brown dead leaves. He closed his one good eye; the other one felt like it would never open now, and he was contemplating staying there all night when a sound startled him. Jabez looked as the sound of dead leaves being crumpled under foot startled him. Standing at the entrance of the canopy was Freedom.

Freedom looked around the canopy with his jaw against his chest before entering. Obviously impressed by mother natures craftsmanship and assuming that this was some sort of sacred spot for Jabez he asked if he could come in.

Embarrassed but trying to sound tough Jabez replied “Ya I guess…I don’t own it.”

See the cool thing about Freedom is that he was unassuming. He didn’t judge. He took things for what they were and even though this was a excellent opportunity for him to turn the knife and drive the final nail in Jabez’s self worth, he didn’t, he never did. Jabez somehow knew he wouldn’t, he knew that day he saw him in the office. He knew that Freedom had his own demons to fight and that they shared their struggle in common. He wouldn’t know for years exactly what Freedoms demons were exactly and ultimately it didn’t matter. It was a commonality that all children share but few admitted. It was a sign of weakness that most wouldn’t dare. It was a cry for help in a world out of their control. It would mean they were all the same.

Finally there was someone that Jabez could talk to and he planned on it, look forward too it, but not now. Jabez knew that he unloaded on Freedom right now it would be too much to soon. Jabez just sat in the tree. He didn’t wipe away the tears or try to act like nothing was wrong. He just sat there. Freedom walked toward him and stood there looking at him and then around at his beautiful surroundings. They said nothing. Jabez sat and Freedom stood in what would normally be an uncomfortable silence. Finally Freedom moved toward Jabez, placed his hand on his knee and used it as a brace as he turned around and slid his back down the trunk of the tree. Freedom sat beneath Jabez in silence and they watched the colors of the sunset light up the leaves of the tree until finally darkness set in.

“Yo..” Freedom broke the silence. “It’s getting cold. You think its cool to go home?”

“Should be…I can sneak back in through my window. They probably don’t even realize that gone.” Jabez replied.

Freedom took a serious look, “That sucks but it doesn’t change the fact that if we don’t get inside soon your gonna have phenomena AND that black eye. Don’t trip, things will work out, whatever they are.”

“…Whatever they are…that sums it up. I don’t even know what’s wrong with me. All I know is that …” Jabez started but was cut off by Freedom.

“ And you expect to figure it out out here in the dark? Tomorrow. You will figure it out. You seem like the smart type. Come on, let’s bolt.” Freedom patted Jabez on the leg and started toward the opening. Jabez waited but knowing Freedom was right he jumped down and followed Freedom out and back toward the street.

It wasn’t till Jabez was climbing up garage roof toward his bedroom window that it struck him. Not once did his stomach twinge, head ring, or did hear that voice echo in his head. Not once. Jabez pulled himself up and though his window. His parents were fighting, sounded like it was about 30 seconds from fist to cuffs. He was right. They forgot he was gone. They forgot he was even there.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Locust



Jabez was crying, a mixture of snot and tears dripped down his face, off his chin and onto the keyboard. Like a bad acid flashback he was there, in that tree, blooded, beaten, and confused. His head hung low, chin against his chest, he hadn’t cried like this since that day. He never felt more naked, both physically and emotionally, then he did right now. His shame and pain so intense that he contemplated burying that CZ-75 into his mouth and ending it all right now, but that same voice, the one in the back of mind, told him he wasn’t done, not yet.

Jabez regained his composure and laughed after he looked around the room as if someone may have seen him. He laughed at natural reaction to his childlike behavior. No one was there; no one had been in his studio in over 3 years. Hell he was practically a shut in. The windows were boarded up and over the years he had put up at least three layers of egg crate on the walls. He never left unless something urgent needed to done. The joys of the digital age and free delivery service. He never left unless it was raining.

Jabez whipped the tears and snot from his face with his shirt off the floor, a light blue tee with the words “Hurray for Boobies” across the front. He laughed at the shirt and remembered the day his wife gave it too him. He grabbed his pack of American Spirits and opened it up. Four left. That means he has got about 8 to 10 hours before he either blows the top of his head off or makes a cigarette run. He let out a small chuckle as he realized that finally he would quite smoking.

It’s not the patch honey but at least I won’t be smoking anymore” he softly spoke.

His lanky body had been sitting at this desk for far to long and he hurt all over but the only light in the room, the computer screen, drew him back, drew him away from the memories and back to his stale existence. He lit his cigarette and let the words spill from his mind. As if on a broadcast delay his hands paused then took off once again.

“I have seen much beauty in this world. I have seen the sun set against the open sea, the rarest of flowers bloom, and the miracle of life. I have touched the hearts of as many people as I could and felt love from many a friend but like all things in life you have to take the good with the bad, the beauty with the bruises. We are our own worst enemies corrupting all things pure and beautiful with our big money dreams, marking schemes, and business plans. We destroy everything that is beautiful with our selfish motives, contempt, and ignorance. We can’t let something beautiful just be. We have to make it “better”, we have to make it public so everyone can trample it to dust for the opportunity to see it, we squeeze it so tightly, try to own it, till finally its will to live is crushed and what made it wild is died.”

“We are our own worst enemies and in the end it won’t be the bomb or the second coming that cleans the slate. We are destined to destroy ourselves but not in the way you think. It won’t be a war, it won’t be a plague, and it won’t be second ice age. It won’t be that easy. Instead we will suck the love, beauty, and wild passion out of everything we touch until eventually there is nothing beautiful left, nothing worth seeing, no land undeveloped, no passion left to consume, no love worth fighting for, no cause worth dieing for, it will be absolute. Void of souls we will march forward like moths to flames. Following the corporate god, living out our prearranged lives, we will straggle all the love from the world and each other.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Twinge



Jabez just wrote it off as a youthful daydream, wrote it off as one too many comic books, one too many x-men superpower dreams. They got in the car and in puff of blue smoke they made their way home. Jabez was sure that he as going to get it as soon as they got out of sight of the school but his mom just drove toward home, saying nothing. Jabez sat there buckled in and pulling himself as close to the door, as far away from her as possible, his stomach till tense, waiting for a lightning fast backhand from across the front seat. His mother did raise her hand, causing Jabez to jump, but she only put her hand on shoulder and gave it a squeeze and smiled.

“You ok?”

“Ya…it kind of stings but it doesn’t really hurt anymore”

“I will take a look at it when we get home…. You hungry?”

Jabez felt out of place. His mother’s reaction had caught him off guard. He was scared to let his guard down but he figured that he would take the chance.

“A little…” he said tentively.

“Well we can’t take you out looking like this, people will think I finally totally lost it and hit ya. What would you say to a pizza?”

Jabez decided to push the limits, to test the boundaries of her mothering kindness to her injured child.

“Pepperoni?”

She grimaced but finally agreed.

She was either seriously high or opening concerned about her child. This was the first time he really had gotten “injured”. He had been hurt before but there was big difference between the two. Today was one of the first times that she had seen her child injured and it brought out that mothering instinct that not even the drugs and booze could suppress. At least that is what Jabez believed. Though these moments were far and few between they did occur. Popcorn while they sat together watching “Buck Rogers”. Dancing in the living room at the beginning of a night’s festivity to some, any, Fleetwood Mac song, and birthday parties at the local ice cream shop She was a good mother when she wasn’t wasted or coked up. The problem was the women before him now was like a snow day in California, rare to say the least. Jabez wasn’t stupid and he knew these moments could disappear faster then you could say “Intravenous”. When she used, she became ugly, something totally different, and someone totally insane. Unpredictably violent. The police were often called and she was often arrested. Enjoy it while it lasts he told himself. Milk it while you can.

They got home and Jabez marched up the stairs, flopped down on the couch and turned the TV on. His mother went to the phone and called in their Pizza. She then went to the freezer and made Jabez a new ice pack. She walked over to him and took the old one and placed the new one on his eye. They sat quietly, her arm around his shoulder, holding him close, for a while.

As Jabez was just settling in, settling in to that place where safety is truly in the arms of your mother, that comfortable zone where all is right in the world and if it isn’t…its ok, it will be. Mommy was there. She lifted her arm and leaned toward him.

“I have to use the bathroom,” she whispered.

Jabez’s stomach was suddenly sent a shock. It was quick sharp jointing shot that took him by surprise causing him to close his eyes and buckle over for a second. But in that darkness, that split second his eyes were closed, a little voice that lives in the back of our heads whispered one word…

“Lie”

As she slipped off down the hall Jabez was just hoping that the pizza got there fast, before things got out of control.

Jabez was scarfing down his third piece of pizza when his mother finally came back from the darkened hallway. Her eyes were the size of teacups and she looked around the room as if waiting for something or someone to jump out of from under the couch. She spotted Jabez at the kitchen table eating and made her way over. Like a wild animal about to lose its evenings kill Jabez had a primal reaction and tried shoving as much as he could into his mouth. But instead of taking the pizza she walked up behind him and kissed him on top of his head.

“Sorry it took me so long, I ain’t feeling so good”

What was in his mouth was shot across the table onto the floor.

“Lie”

Jabez looked up half expecting his mom to be looking at him like he just got caught humping the neighbors cocker spaniel but she hadn’t noticed as she was already in the kitchen getting what every doped up person needs, a good stiff drink.

Jabez was scared but not of his mother. He couldn’t tell what was going on and why he was having these stomach cramps and why he was hearing voices in his head.

With her back still to Jabez, pouring her drink “ I talked to your dad while I was back there….”

Jabez buckled again, faster and more painful this time.

“Lie”

“…and he told me to tell you that it is very important that you tell us the truth about what happened table.”

“Lie”

Tears were swelling up in Jabezs eyes. He was scared beyond anything he had ever felt before. This thing happening to him wasn’t right. It hurt and he just wanted to make it go away but every time she opened her mouth it got worse and worse.

As if looking right through him she asked, “ Jabez, I am really concerned about what happened”

“Lie”. The tears started to fall.

“I was watching this show this morning…”

Lie. Jabez tried to stand.

“…and they said that kids that keep secrets from their parents turn into criminals. You don’t want that do you Jabez?”

Lie. Jabez gets to his feet but not before the first two pieces of pizza exit his mouth in a similar fashion as the last one.

His mother turns around and sees Jabez crying standing above a table full of vomit clutching his stomach.

“What the fuck? You ungrateful little shit. I spent all day cleaning this house…”

Lie.

Jabez nearly falls but turns the momentum into a dash for the front door. Nearly falling down the stairs he pushes open the front door and lets daylight come crash in. Jabez stumbles down the fronts step as his mother is still screaming behind him when he final looks up. Freedom is standing about 10 feet away. Freedom stopped dead in his tracks as Jabez, both embarrassed and scared, bolted for the woods.

As Jabez runs, his eye swells, head pounds, stomach turns. He still can hear the faint sound of his mother screaming at him from the front porch.

Lie
Lie
Lie
Lie……

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Instigation



Jabez sat in the office with what seemed like the worlds largest ice pack covering his now swollen eye. A student assistant had already gone to Jabez’s remaining classes and picked up his homework for the evening so now he was just waiting for the school secretary to make that call. It would be another early out day for Jabez. While he sat in the undersized office chair studying the perfect lines of brown corduroy pants, he heard the secretary dialing the phone, his home phone number. They always tried the home number first, standard policy, but there rarely was an answer. His mother had a tendency to sleep in late. But never the less, like a trained dog, the secretary would pick up the receiver and dial that number. Pavlov would be so proud. The definition of stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result every time.

She dialed the last number and slowly brought the receiver to his ear as if dreading the counting of the rings till she could hang up and dial Jabez’s father at work. If there was one thing that Jabez considered stable in his life it was his fathers work habit. The man may have been a drunk but he had a stout work ethic and seldom called off sick or showed up late. He rarely showed up without a hangover either but that was something entirely different. One ring…Two rings….”Hello”?

The secretary nearly jumped out her moo-moo when she heard Jabez’s mother on the line. She confirmed that it was his mother and then let her know that Jabez needed to come home as he had a tragic accident in P.E. Jabez was just as shocked as Mrs. Moo- Moo and was even more amazed when the secretary said “great we will see you in 10 minutes”. Dragging his mother out of the house at this ungodly hour was more then likely going to get Jabez at least a tongue lashing.

Jabez saw his mother pull up in the school parking lot in the mostly sandy brown Mustang. The car looked as if it had been put through a demolishing derby with its bright orange replacement hood and black left front fender, all the result of a hit and run telephone pole. That tricky bastard apparently jumped out into the road and then split after the front end of the Mustang hugged it. But the shuffle of cars his mother drove wasn’t anything new. She had a knack for driving anything into the ground or into something else in 90 days or less. As she approached, Jabez was ready, braced for operation shock and awe but it never came to pass. His mother came into the office and immediately came to Jabezs’ side. With one hand on the top of his head she used the other to take the ice pack off his eye. She let out a sign and a grimace at the sight of his now fully swollen blackened eye. She placed the ice pack back on eye and told him she would be right back.

As she approached the front desk the secretary was there waiting, with clipboard in hand, for her signature of the proper paperwork for her to take Jabez out of school early.

“Good Morning” the Secretary began.

“If you could call it that…Tell me how did this happen again?”

“Jabez tried to catch a line drive with his face apparently. I urge you take him to the doctor for some x-rays. He may have broken a bone or two.”

That’s when it happened. That’s the first time he remembers that feeling. The knowing, the understanding, and the truth. Before his mother even opened her mouth to respond, a sickening quiver shot through his stomach causing him to sit up right.

“Ya, we will head straight there”.

Lie.

Jabez knew she was lying even without the Tells but it was different this time. Knowing that someone is lying is something totally different then knowing the truth. Jabez knew the truth, though at the time he dismissed it as nerves or some bad reaction to the powder donuts he had for breakfast. But the solace in that excuse would soon become void as these incidents, these twinges, continued.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Refuge



Jabez was half way through the woods, ducking branches, enjoying the human silence. He stops before a small clearing and jogs left along a dear trail. One that would go unnoticed if you hadn’t been on it before. The rains has turned most of the trail into sinkholes that consume his once white tennis shoes but he continues just inside the tree line along the path until he comes to a outer edge of the clearing. He stops and for the first time since entered the woods, since he kissed the rain, he looks up and smiles. Across the clearing just inside the tree line is a tree that stands out, seemingly out of place, like a Jaguar in a junkyard. Soft green against the mix of brown and dark greens, instead of reaching for upward it canopied out making a dome. It was his safe place, his comfort zone as a child. It was the only place that he could go when the Tells got bad. He made his way inside the natural dome and out of the rain. Its truck and limbs were massive but instead of reaching upward they lifted up and off to all sides while the smaller branches filled the spaces in between. It was calming, like a snuggly blanket to a 4 year old. This was his refuge, his place.

Jabez sat through the rest of class. He was pretty sure that he was going to get the shit kicked out by the cromag in front of him. And he was pretty sure he knew when. They had PE together next period. It was softball this week so he figured though the threat level was high the opportunity level was medium to low. Jabez figured he might be able to make it out of P.E. alive if he stayed alert.

Jabez ended up in the office with a black eye. Line drive he said. He always wondered if that had something to do with it. If Shannon knocked something loose that day in PE. Two days later the Tells kicked in. He was 11. That’s when he found this place.

“A kid walks into a school with a AK-47 and a pocket full of pipe bombs. With Eyes void of feeling and a heart full of contempt this child lasses out against the very society that left him stranded in the solitary confinement of his mind. 20 seconds after it starts our TV’s are blazing hot full of the gore and aftermath as sirens blaze and SWAT teams gather. And as it comes to the end the accusations start. It was drugs. It was “Basketball Diaries”. It was violent video games. It was too much porn. All to be thoroughly researched and inappropriately blamed for the degradation of our nations youth, the truth is dodged and the blame shifted. But we all have the same question itching to come out. Where were the parents?”

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Tragic Blessings

.

Jabez reaches across the desk and grabs the now room temperature beer and take a hearty swig and smiles. Knowing his destiny had granted him more freedom then he had expected. Knowing that the end was in site freed him of the binds of his sensitive nature. He no longer had to worry about hurting people feelings or being the better man. All he had to do was write and die. His head swirled with avenues. He had so much to get off his chest, so much to say. His perfectionist complex began to set in but he pushed it back. Write, don’t worry about how it goes or were it leads cause we all know how its going to end. He finished the last of the beer letting the last bit escape from the corner of his mouth and slid down his chin and naked chest. His fingers barely touched the keyboard before they started typing.

“No matter how hard you try you can’t deny the degradation of our society, the deterioration of our ideals. Open your eyes. The most important thing that we can do as adults, as humans, is raise our children. Yet as if blind to the responsibility of this blessing we pop them out by the dozens and expect them to raise themselves with good morals, ideals, and standards. All with a little help from Barney the purple dinosaur. Then when things go tragic we all look around and point the finger at the movie industry and Marylyn Manson. What, no one told you that this precise little child was your responsibility. That how that child turns out is a direct reflection of you as a parent, a person and a human. Where the fuck were you?”

“You were too busy at work, too busy watching your soaps, too busy with everything else to notice that your son was searching the Internet for instructions on pipe bomb construction. Too busy to notice that daddies little girl was all but screaming for acceptance, help and love. But don’t worry…she will find it. Find it in the arms of Timmy, the local jock and playboy. And your shocked when she comes crying to you with a pregnancy test in her hand? Your too busy to notice that your little angel has been spending a lot of time with “those boys”, grinding her teeth, talking real fast, and sleeps next to never. You all so busy that you fail to notice that all the new reports of teenage suicide, pregnancy, drug addiction and school yard shootings are about kids that look and act just…like… yours. “

“I am sorry but your politically correct child raising techniques suck. Something is tragically wrong when blowjobs are more common then handshakes in Junior High. Something is tragically wrong when our children haven’t worked a day in their lives but somehow drive cars more expensive then their parents. Something is tragically wrong when our children are taking up arms and killing other children. Take a look at the news. Tell me something, how do you think our children are doing? Do you think your PC, Barney, touchy feely parenting techniques are working?”

“Kick in the door, invade their “privacy”, and if they don’t like it don’t send them to therapy, instead hug them, tell them you love them, and expalin why your now going to be knee deep in their lives. And if they still don't like it, charge them rent.”