money does not make the world go round...
all money is an idea. it means nothing in itself, bill or coin. you can not eat it, it opens no locks, it jingles, but makes no music. what is represented by it is the guarentee that it is NOT valueless and NOT ALONE. by being apart of a greater body of recognized similar pieces, it becomes somewhat valuable in that some of the greater value they collectively represent is equal in potential to other items of purchase, whose value is more established, (apples for example). the fact that a bunch of these objects whose objective value is zero, is somehow able to be equitable to something of actual benefit is a miracle of mathematics. zero may equal an apple. but only to those who agree to disregard that intrinsic logical fault. thus an abundance of zeros rises out of the void of nothingness and becomes meaningful, though of course, still only in perception.
over time, money loses value as prices soar, or increase in value as they are compared to other forms of money, who are just as ephemoral.
when soneone accumulate wealth, they hold in their grasp thousands of these zero-value notes and therefore hold themselves better off then those who have but a dozen. there are marks of numbers on the money, singles, fivers, tens..all an outright lie to pursuade us that the value of these marks is so great that it can actually be extended by multiplicity! and they are traded with great artithmatic precision: a one-hundred bill is exchanged for four twenty -valued, a ten one, three single ones AND a real apple! apart for that apple, none of the transaction amounted to anything of substance.
it gets more crazy- defacing the bills with intention is an offense in many countries. the bills, you see, are not really your property, but that of the government which issued them. the paper, is actually costly to reproduce. it is also carefully made in such a convincing way that it will not be merely reproducable by enterprizing individuals, who want to recreat the sense of pride and satisfaction that only owning thousands of zero-valued notes could bring them.
indeed, the value of the printing or metalwork that goes into the making of the coins is stated to be LESS than the value of the money itself (which as we know is zero), else people will reuse those coins for other forms of metalwork, and the paper for heating.
it used to be the other way; coins were made from metals that were of aesthetic value , which were then weighed for value, the coins being just convenintly cut to the right size and shape. but as there was such a limited amount of these metals , they soon became impractical for everyday use and were mixed in with metals that were deemed less valuable. in any case the aesthetics or value of these metals was also dubious , and the more usage they were found to have, the LESS were they commonly used in coinage!
it all comes down to trade. as an individual, I can not hope to provide all the material requisits of life to myself or family. with training, i may be able to cobble shoes, or make a chair, all of low quality and ugly beyond compare. but i shall never be able to sing! i shall never write a good book or direct a film of worth! i need other people to do these things, and some things i can do as well, which others can't or prefer not to do. and so we barter in zero -valued notes instead of actual objects and services.
just imagine needing to pay for a www.theprose.com gold membership, with whatever tradable items you have!! will they take a second hand folding chair in china, shipping not included (which will need to be paid for in some way as well..)
so we use money and it's nothingness, because the zero value note is more transferrable. we do not need to calculate the infinitesimally small value the notes really have, but instead, stupidly focus on the numbers on the note as if they mean something: we can do small sums, can't we?
this one is a five, this one is a ten.
because the value printed on the note is limited, for more complicated transactions, we use banks, and remittance services. these orgenizations employ computers and communication systems of high reliability, and individuals who know mathematics to a higher level then us, and yet they also completely overlook the fact that it's all worthless, objectively.
but could humans ever make money that is truely of worth? worthfulness, substantiality, are elusive things. on a grander perspective, nothing is of worth. no creation is equal in duration or strength, radiance or speed to the cosmic scale of things. and the value we place on anything on an individual level is subject to great changes and exxageration.
but we do need something. something that holds somewhat more value and is more meaningful than those notes! it must be something to give purpose to our pursuits, and yet retain the ease of transferability , which we so greedily look for.
in that case, and with this goal in mind, i propose two things:
the one is this: create paper bills of a stated worth, just as before. with easy to add or subtract numbers. but instead of depicting some dead gentlman or lady, many of which have done monsterous things, or nothing at all the entire duration of their existance, we shall print this paper bill , with an eye to application and usage. on one side, will be inscribed short statements of very good advice. (example: "the things we pursue escape us." or "choose your words with care" or "never end a sentence with a preposition". these expressions of wisdom and practicality can be divided by topic and constantly reintroduced with new life-altering advice. people will be encouraged to contribute to the great pool of wisdome, and paid with medals and honors for the effort. the treasury department will consider contributions covering all walks of life. and as bills are printed in karge sheets, not even every bill of yhe same denomination and date of issue shall bare the same set of advice. trading these bills will be an act of transaction but also of great kindness, and many of these bills, shall be tradable between people of eager minds.
on the other sides of these bills shall be even a greater benefit to society; an open space, with thinly marked lines, on which citizens will be encouraged to write suggestions and greivences, demands and expectations, directed at the federal government and its agencies. these articles shall be written and viewed by all who wish to read them as they are passed around through commerse, until finally being examined by officials, when they are taken out of circulation. to prevent the spread of hateful ideologies or obsenities, usage of 'soiled' money as payment could be refused , if the message they barebis offensive to the reader. (granted, what constitues offenssive and improper messages shall need to be predefined) thus a person defacing a bill with hurtful speech, shall risk losing it's value as a transferrable mark of exchange, and shall have to apply for a replacement in a bank , if ever it is refused.
citizens who read these articles, these justified expressions of discontent or pleas for assstance may feel similarly and perhaps take similar or different action themselves. many of society's faults could be made right by mutual assistance, charity, and contribution. and they all must begin with an awarness of a problem. thus the blank page side shall be a forum for discussion, as well as a valuable interface between society and beurocracy.
coins will not be neglected either. but being made of metal and smaller in size they shall be stamped into various shapes, which could then be conjoined together in the form of a jigsaw puzzle. these puzzles, once combined and completed, shall hold the image of the treasure map, which shall be drawn beforehand. the frequent introduction and withdrawl of coins from circulation shall cause many to hold these coins in esteem and most eagrly seek to find the treasure, despite the fact that a real treasure shall be that of expanding their interests in geography and the adventure they shall have. perhaps the coins may also bare a letter of the alphabet, and so words of wisdom which could be formed with the placing of coins in neat lines, adding to the enjoyment of all. it could be the the coins shall also have within their design an aspectbof usage as a tool: a screwdriver head, a bottle opener, a jagged edge to cut through masking tape. a right angle and a ruler, for quick handywork, when it is needed.
thus a valueless object, shall hold both the monetary value, and a value onto itself.
"What are you drinking?" I had to yell over the music, the crowd.
He looked quirky.
I pointed to the flask in his left hand. It had a picture on it I couldn't really see. I missed his reply, and someone elbowed my ribs, so I yelled back asking for clarification.
"Hold out your hand," was his reply. So I did, and he poured out mini M&M's into my palm. I laughed a little.
He was quirky.
He gave a sly little grin, then took a swig of his chocolate secret, chewing slightly afterward.
"You don't drink?" I wasn't much of a drinker myself, but this was a party, after all.
"Not in this sort of setting," he gestured as well as he could while crammed in this throng of people, to the house we were in. I looked around. The music was shockingly loud with one of the hosts' dj friends tripping out on his own party in his head near the corner with his equipment. On the couch, three people were viciously and simultaneously making out while beside them sat someone lazily staring into space, repeatedly hitting their vape. A Christmas tree doubled as a chair for someone lying on the ground too drunk to keep their head from wobbling about. People stood on the coffee table and others danced in any available crevice of space between the bodies crammed into the living room. Someone was organizing the cups into a grid methodically on the kitchen counter, and another person screamed as they were the seventh unlucky member to enter the hand-hit-fan club thanks to the oddly placed ceiling fan in the dining area. It was a small place, certainly too small for everyone in it. In any case it was a perfectly suitable and no doubt expected drinking environment.
"So why are you here then?"
"I was invited by our friend-"
"No no I mean, why come if you aren't here to party like this?"
"I like the people. The stoners in the basement have some very interesting conversation topics."
I think I must've cocked my head or something, because he laughed at my reaction, rather than his own joke.
He was cute, I decided to see what was up, "Did you come here by yourself or are you DD'ing someone?"
"Not yet but someone generally needs a ride by the end of these things."
"So that your plan then? Come here sober pretending to be drinking so you can flirt, then take the randoms that somehow missed their ride wherever you want to do whatever you want to em?"
His face sorta sunk, and he looked at the baseboards intently. The drinking musta got to my head. Why did I say that? Why did I say that? I don't know how much time passed. I was all in my head, regretting being so accusatory. Guy looked like he was gonna cry.
“Hey, it was a joke!” I put my hand on his arm and he startled a bit, snapped out of his daze. “Not a very funny one, sorry.”
“No, you're good!” he nodded and then laughed, but it was super fake. He raised his flask in a sort of ‘cheers’ gesture and said, “Nice meeting you!” Then he pushed his way through the bodies toward the basement. Didn't look like he wanted to be followed. I took another drink and right after, the dude who kept making out with whoever was willing kissed me and I blacked out after that.
Isn't too hard to spot the only guy with a flask at a party, and he was tall anyways. This time I spotted him earlier on.
“Hey Wonka,” I tried to slide up next to him all sly, “spare any chocolate?” Looking back it makes me cringe. I was already a couple shots in, friends of the host, so we’d started early. He still smiled though, genuinely even.
“Sorry, gin this time.”
“Oh, stepping up to the big leagues?”
“When in Rome, right?”
I wanted to apologize for the last time I’d talked to him, it didn't seem like the right thing just then. It was awkward after that, for me. Tried to segue all smooth and his signature talking point wasn't even available. I didn't see him much after that.
I forget what I dressed as for the Halloween party, but he was dressed as a drunken pirate, and he came already drunk. It made sense at the time, it was his costume after all, and it was funny when he stumbled through the door. Plus he was playing some of it up, all jack-sparrow-like. We all had a laugh then went to the basement and smoked some grass. He cleared up after that actually. I thought he’d pass out, it's what happens to most drunk people that decide to smoke. Thought he was being flirty with me, passing smoke to my lungs after he took a hit, he called it shotgunning or something, but nothing more really came of it.
That party went on and I didn't see him for a while. Then he surprised me by seeking me out, “You gotta try this thing!” he said. Thought he grabbed my shoulders kinda rough, but the guy was wasted. Brought me out to the garage with the beer-pongers and showed me the beer bong like it was some new invention, made me laugh.
“It's cool, huh?” He belched after demonstrating how it works. Found it funny at the time, so I laughed. He insisted I do one, so I was like alright fine, when in Rome right? I hate beer, but it made him happy.
We got separated again, somehow. Saw him when he joined the hand-hit-fan-club. Another tally mark for the fridge, they never bothered with a whiteboard. I was in the kitchen at the time, sorta spacing out I guess, don't really remember what I was thinking about, just remember that I smiled at him and he did some silly grin and waved super excited. We talked after that. Couldn't tell you about what, was too busy looking at his eyes, ya know? He was so into whatever he was talking about, thought I was real into it just cos I kept nodding and smiling. It was cute.
He didn't have his flask for that one.
I only ever saw him at that house, he didn't really go to other parties. Fancy mustache party this time around, and he was dressed the part too, even though it was just an excuse to put mascara on our upper lips. Of course I had a cop mustache. He had like a thin French one or something… No it was Dali, I remember. Nice gray suit, I was worried he’d trash it. When he saw me, he was laughing in the corner of the basement, and he waved with that same enthusiasm as he had in the kitchen that last time. I sat next to him on the couch. Him and a host were talking about plans for some bong that you could light with a laser or the sun or something. I tried to pretend like I was interested, but the way some boys obsess over weed, I just don't get it.
Ended up getting bored and wandered around for most of the party, less people there, but I think he stayed in the basement most of the time.
Post-banquet party was wild, always was. Hosts gave out their own awards, separate from the school’s, obviously. Things like Most Shots, Worst Alcohol Taste, Biggest Stoner, things like that. Neither of us got an award, and I saw him by the stairs, in a corner, holding some dude’s drink that was just handed to him, and he looked stressed. It was hot, and his eyes were shut real tight, so I went over and rubbed his shoulder.
"You good?" Had to yell over the excited cheers. Don't know how that place ever avoided noise complaints. He opened one eye and I felt him relax a little when he saw me. Caught me by surprise really, don't know why I had that effect on him, only ever saw the guy at parties.
"Lotta people!" He opened both eyes and glanced around, tensed up again. There were a lot of people, too many. Way more than that first time I met him, crammed in to that living room, plus it was hot, we were both sweating, and it was impossible to stand anywhere without touching at least one other body. Someone grabbed my ass, but when I turned it was impossible to tell if it was even on purpose. Just a sea of heads, constantly moving, pushing each other around, yelling, kissing, vaping. It was a lot, easy to be overwhelmed, and it looked like he wasn't drinking as much.
"Come on!" I squeezed around the banister and onto the top step with him.
"But I'm holding this drink for ------" he held up some bottle of trashy tequila, mostly gone. I shook my head, quirky dude, pushover too, apparently.
I took it from him and set it on the banister, "There, he'll find it!" He looked sorta worried, but I grabbed his hand and we pushed our way downstairs. If upstairs was sweaty, downstairs was just wet. Marijuana smoke mixed with the humidity so it was hard to breathe, and it clung to you too. Felt like walking though a wall of dust but the dust was damp weed. A circle of smokers sat on the floor while too many bodies pressed against the walls, in corners, on the couch, people were sitting on the television stand. Host room doors which were usually closed and reserved sat open with more people still crammed into the corners of those spaces.
I could tell with the way his hand kept tensing up and accidentally squeezing too hard that he didn't like this sort of proximity, and I elbowed my way through, dragging him along as quickly as possible. I could feel his anxiety creeping into my arm and I, too began to grow hyper-aware of touch and the din of music, laughs, shouts, kisses, groans, and shatters became overwhelming. Finally at the back door, I lifted the stick behind the sliding glass, then stepped out into the cool night, pulling him out of the dense throng and closed the door behind us. A host noticed and kicked the stick back into it's place as someone tried to open the door, also seeing some relief from the crowd and the host shook her head and pointed upstairs, indicating this door wasn't to be used.
"You looked stressed," I turned to him, and he had his hands on his head, and his elbows out, breathing deeply.
"A little, yeah."
"Want one?" I offered him a cigarette. He considered, then accepted. I lit mine, "Remember that party trick you showed me? Shotgunning or something like that?"
"Oh yeah! That was you, I remember."
"Here, this is called monkey-dicking."
He laughed before I showed him, "Monkey what?"
"Put it in your mouth, look," I grabbed his chin and brought our cigarettes together, "suck in." He did as he was told and I did the same. After his was lit, he took a couple of drags and smiled.
"Monkey-dicking," he laughed again. He looked up at the porch, crammed with people, and at the yard, empty. We were around the main part of the yard, and not very visible from the deck. On either side of us were some bushes, and we were standing on a small concrete pad. For the most part, this area was rarely used, except the bushes for the occasional piss when the only bathroom was taken and the person hadn't lowered their inhibitions enough to just go at the bottom of the porch stairs.
"Woah," His voice snapped me out of whatever I'd been thinking about, "your eyes look cool in the moonlight."
"Thanks," I'm sure the dark hid my blush, if not I would've blamed it on wine or called it my rouge. Didn't think I really liked this guy in that way. He was funny, quirky, cute, sure, but not really my type. Looking at his eyes, they were glinting the light of the full moon in such a way that they appeared to glow while the darkness of the night and the angle of the porch shadowed the rest of him, "Yours do too. Super green."
"Like weed, hah," he chuckled at his own joke.
I smiled, and shook my head. Silly boy, totally oblivious, "Sure."
Don't remember much after that.
He was already there when I arrived this time. He and a host had bonded over the past couple months. They'd ride longboards on a trail behind our college and find new smoking spots. I'd even seen him here in passing a couple times. Each time, he'd do that same goofy excited wave that it seemed like he'd only use on me. Maybe I just hadn't seen him recognize anyone else. Part of me didn't think he even remembered any of the times we met, but he talked to me like he did, and even referenced a couple things we said and did, though I couldn't validate some of it. Like I said, only ever saw him at those parties.
Him and a host were having a little drinking game. He wanted it to be old fashioned, consecutive shots until one of em drops, the host had a party to tend, so they settled on highest number of shots throughout the night, and kept tally on their arms with the hand-hit-fan-club marker. After a few rounds, they decided to have fight club, and went to the garage to 'brawl.' I was here to see the other host so we didn't go with them, and instead talked and set up or put away things for the party. They'd done fight club before, so it wasn't too shocking, they did have a split lip and a black eye between them when they came in this time though, and while they didn't really care, we insisted on helping.
"Does your jaw hurt?" I dabbed his lip with a damp washcloth and eyed the side of his face, turning darker by the second.
He shrugged, "Can't really feel too much right now anyways," he held up the tally marks on his arm; by the looks of it, they were already five drinks in. He grinned all goofy, then winced slightly as his split widened.
"Well you can feel that at least," I dabbed up the blood forming around his split.
"Are you using vodka?"
"I don't think that's a good idea."
"It'll disinfect it."
He laughed, then winced, "We just got done punching each other," laughed again, lighter this time.
I saw his point, so shrugged and doused the rag with vodka and covered his mouth. His eyes got really wide, and he turned red. He grabbed my wrist, not hard or anything, and not to move my arm, more in a oh god what is happening sort of way.
"Yeah," I grinned at him, "stings more than punches, huh?"
He nodded slightly. The rest of the party was uninteresting.
I forgot when or how I got his number. Or maybe I gave him mine, I don't know. We'd texted a bit, smoked sometimes, he was interesting, again, quirky. I guess I could say we were becoming friends. So there was nothing strange about him asking to come over to smoke a bit. Honestly he was a pretty big pothead, forgot a lot of stuff, his novelty had worn off.
When he got to my apartment, he was wet from the rain and also blood dripping from his right hand, in his left was his longboard. He did that goofy wave, which I was able to confirm that, yes, he only did for me, and flung some blood onto my door. His eyes and stupid grin told me what I already knew before he could say:
"Yeah I can see that. What the hell happened?" I grabbed his wrist to stop him making more of a mess, the dark red drips leading from the elevator to my door were bad enough.
"Oh it's Not that bad-"
"This is a lot of blood, come here."
"This way, over to the sink, now," I pulled him along, and he reluctantly stumbled after me, not as much by choice. I began rinsing his arm, looking for the source, his arm was torn up near the elbow, and I rinsed it with a cloth that immediately turned red. I glanced at him, checking for any signs of pain registering. He was looking at the painting above my sink.
"Klimt," he mumbled, nodding in approval. I'd have been more impressed if there wasn't his body fluids to be cleaned off my door still. I put soap on the washcloth.
"Does this sting?"
He peered around at his elbow, "Can't feel shit." Charming. I shook my head.
"So, how'd you manage this?"
"It's slippery in the rain, and I was eating a cob of corn on my way here. Board slipped out from under me on a crosswalk and before I knew it, I was on my ass."
I smiled despite myself, then shook it away. Corn on a cob, why? Why was that even relevant to the story?
"Couldn't chuck the corn, just kinda watched it happen," he laughed, like he had been reading my mind and found my surprise amusing. I just shook my head again.
"Feels fine though, just hopped right back up and chased my board down."
I finished cleaning his arm and led him into my bathroom where I put a bandage over his wound. We smoked on my balcony, talked a bit. I was worried about him.
Maybe I should have told him so.
There's a time and place for everything, right? Sometimes it can be fun to break the mold, be a bit daring, ignore a responsibility or two for a day, whatever, I get that. Breaking all the molds seems a bit much. Getting your ear pierced in a dorm room twenty minutes before the school banquet which you dropped acid for seems like a cry for help. Drunkenly riding a longboard on a highway overpass to be brought home by a police officer just to go out and try it again is a bit much. Burning down a random fucking barn is way too much. Yet here I was, in this dude's car, honestly a little scared of what he was going to do next, as he showed me, beaming with a twisted sort of sick pride, a large charred oval in a corn field a few miles out of town.
"When ya do it?"
"Last week, had ta show someone else, ya know?" Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him glance at me in his rear view mirror, and I think he noticed my expression, which I wasn't exactly hiding anyway, because he quieted down after that. His partner in literal crime was more talkative anyways.
"It was nuts," they said, totally oblivious to the atmosphere of the car, "got some gas, just drove around until it was like God pointed and said, 'this one right here.' It was perfect too, nothin in it, no animals, no equipment, just old hay, it was also, like, falling down inside, we probably did the guy a favor, removing that eyesore."
"Fertilized the soil," he said it soberly, bargaining with himself, almost. Didn't glance back up in the mirror again. I felt sick. I wanted out of the car, and was relieved to be back at my house after dropping off his friend. I needed to tell him somehow, that what he did wasn't okay, that he was going down a dark path.
"Hey," he stopped my thoughts as I was walking up to my porch, "sorry about that."
"I'm not the one who needs apologizing to."
"I know. It was fucked up," he looked away, "I'm not doing great. At life. At…"
I'd started out scared, then angry, now I felt kind of guilty, all these signs… maybe something else was going on, and all I did was watch it happen. He said something, it was a goodbye, but it was weird, in that way that you don't really remember it because it catches you off guard but it wasn't strange enough to remember the exact wording. I watched him drive away, and stood there for a minute, on my driveway. Smoked a shaky stress cigarette. Considered calling someone. Who? The cops? Don't want them around my place.
Maybe I was being too harsh. Everyone deals with their psychotic episodes in a different way, right? There'd never been anything on the news about the barn. No reports filed, nothing. Maybe they did do the owner a favor, I don't know. After a while, I forgot about it anyways. Didn't really mean to, but I didn't see the guy again for like a year. When did we last text? I don't think it was after the barn.
Him and the host hung out still, but they'd moved, and that party house was no more. There were other parties in other places, maybe he went to them, maybe he didn't.
So he texted me. Like, out of the blue. Something about wanting to hang out, so I said sure, thought it would be fun to catch up, I was a little surprised he was still alive actually. He came over, his hair was longer, there were a couple more lines in his face, good lines. We talked. Just talked, caught up. He revealed he liked me at some point, which I knew, but we'd only ever hooked up, nothing serious. He knew I didn't want anything more, and so he never pursued, which I appreciated. He was coming to me for girl advice, actually. Apparently we were friends enough for that. Don't get me wrong, I was fine with it, thought it was kinda sweet. He didn't have many friends, ever. Kept to the few he chose, guess I was one of them.
I don't think I gave him the right advice. He was wondering if I, a girl, would still like him given the circumstances he presented. Of course, being a girl, we were all the same, and would, of course, react the same way. It was silly. But he was a silly, silly boy.
Told him I’d take him back. Girlfriend of three years, he fucked up, they broke up, two years later they're still drunk-calling each other on occasion, I figured, yeah, I’d take him back. I’ve accepted worse after all. Learned some lessons. She probably had too, I figured. And who knows, maybe she did.
But she didn't take him back.
I don't think it could really be called suicide, though it's what I call it. He fell. Really. Just tipped over and bonked his head a bit too hard in just the right place. He was drunk again. Reminded me of when he'd come to my place after the corn thing. Boy was good at falling, getting hurt. He'd given up weed, given up psychedelics, given up hope, and turned it all instead, into alcohol. After he came to me for that bit of girl trouble, we did hang out a bit more, and more regularly. Not that he was interested in me, or me in him, but he was nice, he was sweet, and he was always silly.
It was painful to watch. His descent. Or, well, near the end it was; it is looking back on it. Because it was slow, and it wasn't really much of a problem actually. To other people, anyway. One day it was just like, oh damn, you're always drinking, aren't you? It wasn't even like he tried to hide it. Dude was an open book. Had wine every night, brought white Russians around with him in a drinking glass, didn't ever do vodka in the water bottle thing, cos like I said, he never hid it. Would order drinks at restaurants, no matter the time of day. Watched him put vodka in his cheerios once. Thought he was being silly, ya know? Making a cereal Russian he said. Even made a silly comment about getting every morning routine done in one go, what with the coffee liquor and all.
Tried talking to him about it once. He wasn't angry, or sad. I just told him I was worried about him, and that maybe he drank a little too much. He just said I know, and said something else that was odd, what was it? Doesn't matter or something like that. No, it was, 'Can't matter too much if you're just now telling me.' That did kinda make me think I was being a bit harsh, but thinking back on it… it's pretty sad. He was finding any excuse he had to not change, or to push it further, 'how long can I keep this feeling going,' or, 'how long can I hide this other feeling that always happens when I wake up sober,' more like. And I handed him the excuse he needed to keep the bottle by his bed, the bottle in his car, his second flask. In the end all it was that got him was falling just a little too funky.
Guess he never has to feel whatever he was suppressing anymore.
The Man Who Couldn’t Kill Himself
I’ve learned I can technically survive with only 65% of my blood. After about 40%, I’ll go into hypovolemic shock and all of the fluid I’ve lost will impede my heart's ability to pump blood throughout the rest of my body. I may have a limited knowledge regarding the human anatomy, sure, but that should’ve been more than enough information to kill myself.
It sure as hell felt like more than half as the cold that rushed over my body was indiscernible with the river's current. Red and gray shadows danced erratically under the steady current I was half submerged in. I wonder why I’ve chosen this place. Anywhere along Howard Road would have been fine, close enough my parents would know what happened and would not waste their precious time looking for me.
“What.. What was that Morgan? You’re so fuckin’ lucky your mother’s at bingo.” Roberts' eyes met the incessant beep on the hospital machine behind me as he sighed, “Well? Have you got all the attention you need?”
I’d accepted my miscalculations as serendipitous when Laura-Lee’s hand lingered a little too long on my forearm the following week at Burkes Pub. The quiet I sat in the rest of the night proved otherwise, though. I watched as she laughed with a blonde girl I didn’t know. It had to be at my expense. They were laughing at my stupidity.
I discovered next that you can survive up to 24 hours after hanging yourself by the neck. The human body is frustratingly resilient for how trivial life really is. The bruises and boredom forming quickly around my neck trapped me within my own thoughts. I’m sick of hearing myself think. The brunette dressed in black at Shoppers says yellow undertones cover bruises best. I wonder if she knows from personal experience, but I don’t ask. I also wonder what undertones are, but I buy the compact case she hands me and later agree with her aloud in the mirror.
When the brunette who became Tanya turned into the lady who rejected me, I shot myself in the face. Did you know that you can survive a bullet to the face? I educated myself and the inexperienced nurses with shock ridden faces that day. I thought about how the call to inform my parents I’d attempted suicide would ruin their trip this weekend. I have 12 teeth now. 42 surgeries later, I have the right half of my face along with a third of my tongue. I hope they never close the whole in my throat.
There’s thunderous silence in slaughtering. The solitude of my newfound career lets my disfigurements be. I don’t mind Mr. Rideout’s judging eyes, he hired me after all. He doesn’t let his daughter come in the freezer anymore.
The lines of dead carcass full of so much potential reignites my existential crisis. I’m fixated on the tip of the large hook I grip in my left hand, I shift it into my right hand and my only eye follows. I read a magazine article on suicide once. To my own amusement, I found it stashed behind a toilet in my suicide treament facility. ‘Seppuku’ is considered an honorable death among samurai. One by disembowelment, restorative and surefire. The red of my blood in this dark cold freezer is almost black and I feel fear for the first time. Oh god, Mr. Rideout.. Jesus.. No god .. I scramble to hold my stomach in and watch as the blood from my guts bubbles on the icey floor below. My vision blurs and I desperately crawl to the door unable to yell for help. Close enough to strain for the door handle, finally grabbing hold, I realize Mr.Rideout has locked the door to the freezer from the outside. I wonder if Mom has bingo tonight.
Passing The Buck
"It's these damn service technicians," Larry said, barely able to contain his ire. "See, all the companies laid off their senior techs during COVID, and then they hired back these young bucks who don't know jack on the cheap afterwards. Now I have to deal with all these extra service tickets because some idiot didn't do their job right."
TW listened attentively. "I understand that frustration, Larry. Let me make sure I've got all the info I can for your technician before you send them out to site. I'll follow up."
"It's these damn appliance makers," Joe said, blowing out after each breath. "See, nobody makes anything worth shit anymore. Everything's got so much 'smart tech' crap uploaded to it you need to be some kind of magician to run a simple oven nowadays. Don't even get me started on the coffee makers! Now the chef is screaming at me along with the building owner!"
TW listened attentively. "I understand you're under pressure, Joe. Let me pass this site info on to the technician so we can get this unit up and running. I'll follow up."
"It's these damn contractors," Patty said, her voice sounding like a tin can over her Bluetooth connection. "They don't pay us to properly install the units, then they screw up the install and turn around and blame us! Now I've got angry clients blowing up my phone all day and this isn't even my job! I'm a vice president! They just pawn all these folks onto me! UGH! I hate being a female manager in this industry!"
TW listened attentively. "I understand your pain, boss. I've got a technician coming out to fix the unit. I'll coordinate with the contractor afterwards to make sure it's running smoothly before we close out the ticket. We'll get these guys off your back."
"It's these damn bosses," Mr. Fixit said, collapsing into his computer chair after a long commute back from the office. "They just expect us to work to the bone, more and more hours each day, and then when we burn out they refuse to pay us what we're worth or listen to us when we need more staff on hand! I totally blame this company for our marriage falling apart!"
TW listened attentively. "I understand you've had a rough year. We've got a meeting scheduled with the divorce attorney you picked. They'll get the paperwork filed for us and we'll sort out the details slowly over the next few months. You're already signed up for dating sites. I'm sure you'll find somebody who has similar goals and work ethics in no time, you're still young."
TW laid in bed alone, eyes closed, moonlight beaming through the window.
"One day, self, it'll just be us," she whispered quietly. "We'll take care of ourselves instead of everyone else. We won't have to listen to everyone whine and complain. We won't have to fix everything for the Fixits. People won't even notice we're gone and we'll take that vacation we've always dreamed of to Peru. Just wait, self. Just wait."
With a smile and a dream of beautiful ancient ruins, TW rolled over and gradually fell asleep.
my body ruptured
my hospital stay
cost hundreds of dollars
but by far
the most terrifying part
was watching a young woman
in my same
admit to the nurse
she didn’t want
to live anymore
and my pain
her empty gaze
The Trouble With Cussin’ Is There Ain’t Enough Words For Excrement and Fornication.
I've always loved curse words, and fuck in particular, for it's versatility and gumption, but as I spend most of my time around little earthlings, it becomes a definite priority to curb the expletives in order to adequately civilize the darling little munchkins. Some of my favorite sci-fi's have tackled the problem, coming up with great replacements- "Frack"(Battlestar Galactica) and "Smeg"(Red Dwarf) being prime examples.
I've noticed that curse words tend to have a common theme; being short and satisfying to say is only one prerequisite, the other is that it must be a shameful subject matter. Many of the best curse words simply mean poop: "crap" "shit" etc.. The only thing which makes fuck more objectionable is that it equates to sex, and if there's anything humans find more shameful than shitting it's sexing, especially around children, obviously. Can't let 'em know that they were born into a sexually reproducing species, they're not ready for that harrowing dingleberry of bad news, not for another few decades at least...
"Cock" is another of my favorites in adult company. eg: noun: "what a marvelous cock you have!" exclamation, verb & adverb: "cock! I've cocking cocked it up again." alternate verb:"all I need is a good cocking." adjective: "you're looking mighty cocky about it." more questionable adjective: "what the cock happened to that sandwich?" (and it has the advantage of being brushed off with the definition of "rooster" if accidentally overheard by young ears. But it's still cutting it a little close to the mark of social-unacceptitude...)
All that said, there is actually another existing word which has all the uses and which is acceptable to say around litl'uns: "Snot."
noun: "wipe the snot off yer face youngin."
verb: "stop snotting on the furniture, that's what snot-rags are for."
adjective: "Alright, I see your handkerchief is already quite snotty.."
adverb & exclamation: "'snot my fault your father skimped on our snot-wiping expenses. Just use the snotting toilet paper or sniff it back in. No, your sleeve will not do in a pinch, we shall not be a family of grotty little snots!!"
Operation Ted Bundy
Take the place of Ted Bundy’s first victim and bring back his brain for study.
My research brings me to March 18, 1946. A bedroom in small bright blue house with white shutters and a yellow front door in Roxborough PA where I take the place of the very first victim slipping into the pleasing sleeping body of a raven haired twenty-one-year-old Eleanor Louise Cowell.
That night. Squeezing her eyes shut pretending not to notice as her father Sam Cowell, having found nothing in the stack of semen-stained pornography kept hidden in his greenhouse to bring release, pulled up her covers. Just enough. To reach in and insert first one finger. Moistened with spit. Probing. Then one hand, spreading her labia wide, dipping in to broaden the passage. Expert he was at preparing for fertile planting. Satisfied, he hastily pulls up the other handful of bedclothes tossing them to land burying his daughter’s silent grimace. Beheaded. Intombed. His rough hands, the hands of a professional gardener, nails embedded black with soil, coaxed apart her ankles like tangled stubborn tree roots. His penis heavy. Angry. Aching. Beyond caring about noise or messiness. His wife in the bedroom ten foot away behind a wall cocooned in herself by the latest rounds of electroshock. What good was she to him? He knew anything could be concealed. Hidden away. His moan too loud. As he buried himself deep into the mossy hole he had dug. Impaled there he planted his seed ever deeper again and again.
I continue to live on as Eleanor into early summer with the shame of knowing she cannot vomit away what is growing inside her. She cannot hide. She feels the horror stretching her once slim belly from within. At night, she hits herself down there as hard as she can hoping to kill it and make it go away. Hoping to see something warm and red trickle into the toilet each morning. Weeks go by. She whispers words of hatred as she digs deep into her ballooning belly searching for a little neck beneath the heaviest shape her fingers can find to snap it off and make it die. One night, as her hands travel down to maim and kill, it strikes back. Inside the blow of a fist went straight to her gut making her gasp for breath. After that, she feels its sharp fists and kicking feet striking her endlessly with howls so loud inside she wonders if her parents will hear ten feet away where nightly she knows the sounds of flesh slapping, her mother’s sobs, her father’s moans.
Later that summer, her mother also named Eleanor, was taken away to the place where they shocked the emotions out of her memory for a time. She came back blank. Calm.Content to wander aimlessly going from cupboard to cupboard, drawer to drawer looking for what she’d lost before taking to her bed causing Sam to come again to his daughter’s room. This time bolder. Reaching under her covers with two hands. His fingers extend up under her nightgown and touch the bulge above her pubis. I squeezed my eyes shut. I grimace at what I fear will come next.
“What’s this?” He shouted tossing her sheets to the floor. “You whore. Slut. No daughter of mine.” He slapped her spat in her face. “How could you bring disgrace on this family?” You trollop. Who’s the father?”
Eleanor just looked at him. She was shaking. She felt her lips curl into a grin. “How about Lloyd Marshall? An Air Force Vet I met...” Another slap. Then a back hand to her jaw.
“Are you sure? You cheap worthless tramp. Answer me!” A clenched fist lands hard just clipping her left ear. There was a buzzing sound. Some warm wetness trickled.
“Whoever, Jack Worthington?” She looks at his eyes. Blue turning to black. “You want to hear me say it...........it’s you.” This time the blow of his fist when straight to her gut making her gasp for breath, followed by two more. Could knock out Joe Louis. Doubled over, she smiles. “Good. I hope you killed it.”
He reached over and grabbed her face by her cheeks burning from the blows. “I am your father. You will not shame this family. I’m sending you away where no one will ever know and you’ll have this child and then you will both come home. And your mother and me will raise the little bastard as our own."
Then her father kissed her, his hot swollen tongue licking the roof of her mouth as his hands roamed down stopping to weigh her newly ripe breasts. An expert gardener. Big juicy tomatoes. Eleanor just squeezed her eyes shut pretending not to notice.
November 24, 1946. Burlington, Vermont. Elizabeth Lund Maternity Home for Unwed Mothers. I know I will not have to endure this mission much longer. The pains went on for three days doubling her over. Could knock out Joe Louis. Eleanor hoped it would die. Eleanor hoped she would die. She felt her body being forced open like a rough huge hand spreading her wide, dipping down to broaden the passage. The pressure coaxing her bones apart. Tangled stubborn tree roots. Then her moans too loud. Her vagina too full, stretching bursting. Her feet in cold metal holding her open too wide. She howls. Some warm wetness trickled. She reaches down and feels a heavy shape covered in bloody moss. She whispers words of hatred as she digs deep and pushes just enough. Her fingers searching for a little neck.
Before the doctor can say a word or the nurses pull her hands away, I snap off the head. Slipping out and away from the first female victim.
I look back and see the doctor yelling at Eleanor to keep pushing to expel the mangled dead child. She bears down with all that is in her. A headless body plops explosively to the floor bloody, battered, bruised.
"The head, where its head?" The nurse yells.
"It must be buried somewhere in all this." Another nurse replies. She is crawling on hands and knees looking through the bloody sheets and tools that have fallen to the floor.
The doctor exclaims, “It would have been a boy. Too bad. Did you have a name for it?”
Eleanor is sobbing. Gasping for breath. Howling through tears of relief, “I would...I would have named him Theodore...Teddy...Ted."
The infant head in my hands, and make my way back, completing my mission.
"See you, Monday, Ann Marie."
"See ya," 8-year-old Ann Marie replied as she head across the high school football field to take the shortcut home.
As she passed the empty bleachers, she heard, "Hey, pretty, can you give me a hand?" Ann Marie smiled at the high school boy who had called to her. He had a sling on his right arm and his books were scattered at his feet.
"Sure," she said walking towards him.
"So, sorry for the bother."
"It's okay," she said as she knelt to pick up the books.
"What's your name, sweetpea?"
"Ann Marie Burr," she said passing the books to him.
"Yes," she said standing up to hand him the last one. "Bye!" she said as she turned to walk away.
"Thanks for the help, sweetpea," he yelled after her. As she skipped away, he muttered, "See you soon."
"I don't think so, Ted," I said from behind him. He whirled around, ready to strike at me - with a now perfectly functional arm.
Ready, but no longer able.
"Hello, Ted," I said, moving into his space. "I've waited a long time for this moment."
"Who are you? Why can't I move?"
"It doesn't matter who I am. What matters is that because of me, you will no longer have the opportunity to continue down the path you were headed today."
"What are you talking about?"
From under the bleachers, the crow bar he had hidden flew out and rapped him behind the knees, knocking him to the ground.
"What the he**?"
I sat on the bleacher closest to his head.
"You see, Ted," I kicked him in the belly with my steel-toed boot. I allowed pain to flow through him. He screamed, but couldn't move. "Today would have been a turning point for you. You would have graduated from trapping, torturing and killing small animals to kidnapping and killing your first human being. It would have been the first day of your life as a sadistic sociopath."
"That makes no sense. None of this makes sense. I'm fourteen. I didn't do anything! I'm just a kid."
"A kid with a crowbar," I said as I made him smash his face into the ground. "A kid who planned to sneak into the living room window of 8-year old Ann Marie Burr, remove her from her home, bludgeon, rape and dismember her before burying the pieces where none would ever find them -- even decades after her disappearance."
"You can't possibly know what I haven't done yet. It hasn't happened yet!"
"And now it won't. Ever."
I could feel the fear began to overtake the bravado. I could smell it. I knelt on the ground next to him.
"I've studied every aspect, every minute detail of your miserable existence. I've been you in every virtual reality program the Academy offered. I know you better than you know yourself.
"I know every woman you have killed. I even know the men no one considered your prey. And the animals on which you practiced that led you to today."
His eyes were wide and unblinking.
"How could you...no one...I didn't..."
"Where I come from, you are the textbook example of sadistic sociopath. You proclaimed yourself "the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you'll ever meet" and one of your own attorneys said you were "the very definition of heartless evil.'"
"You're crazy," he shouted. I silenced his tongue. He gagged as it swelled in his mouth.
"And you," I whispered, "are dead. But instead of dying in the Florida electric chair at age 42, you will die right here in Tacoma, Washington, age 14, an apparent heart attack victim despite your youth." I paused. "You will be mourned by your mother, perhaps, and then forgotten. And all those who would have suffered at your hand, will live."
His eyes pleaded with me. I released his tongue.
"Please, I don't know what you're talking about, but if nothing happened yet, I can be better. I promise ."
"Not an option, Ted. Teddy. Theodore." I stood up and walked a few paces away. Looking at him I said, "I was quite young when I was chosen for this honor. Because of certain...special abilities I have," I caused him to rise in the air and slam into the bleachers before falling at my feet. "Each training I ever received over the course of my years at the Academy had this moment as its goal."
A small container appeared in my left hand, a scalpel in my right.
"Wha...what is that?" He stuttered, staring at my right hand.
"You, Theodore, have the pleasure of being the first serial killer the Academy will remove from the annals of history. We know a great deal, of course, but when it comes to selective termination, it is imperative to leave no rock unturned."
"It's a complex process. We've already compiled a complete analysis down to the nano-elements of a so-called healthy brain. We've also conducted in-depth examinations of myriad sub-nano threads linked to sociopathic behaviors gleaned from the few current murderers in custody of the Academy.
"Once we have the fullest picture by harvesting, comparing and charting the brains of other well-known serial killers, the first of whom will be you, not only will we be able to determine from birth who should be terminated due to a 99.99% chance of sociopathic tendencies, we will also have eliminated from the collective memory of humanity some of the most evil human beings that ever lived."
I placed the scalpel and box on the floor as I knelt next to Ted. I looked into his eyes. I sent a thought. He looked confused, then horrified then excited. "I did that?"
"Oh, Teddy," I murmured, "that is not even a fraction of what you have done."
"But, how can...how did you...but I haven't done any of that. You know I haven't!"
"I had the pleasure of meeting the you you become and appropriating all your memories before I came back for you."
As he began to accept the reality of my words, I allowed him to feel the fear I could smell. He began to tremble.
"I met him, you, in the antechamber moments before you were fried. You were unrepentant and cocksure. With pleasure, I took your memories and you went to the chair confused and screaming you were innocent. You soiled yourself as they strapped you in."
"Why are you telling me this? You're gonna kill me. Just do it!"
"Now, where's the fun in that?" I picked up the scalpel and inserted it into his ear, activating the suction element as I placed the capture box next to his head.
"This is going to hurt, Teddy."
I silenced his scream but allowed his pain and fear to roll over and through me. Every needle of fright ignited sensations of pure pleasure. I shivered.
I understood him better than anyone ever suspected.
Than anyone will ever know.
When I have provided all the grey matter the Academy desires, I will have fulfilled my task. No one can say I am not a woman of my word.
But it will be too late.
My powers have allowed me to slip out of the time tunnel without leaving even an atom to follow. Very soon, I will have managed to acquire all the darkest memories associated with the men and women whose brains the Academy wishes to study.
And then, with the greatest perpetrators of evil eliminated, I will give new meaning to the phrase, Greatest of All Time.
“You Shall Go to the Ball!”
Remember Cinderella's stepsisters? Well, they were excellent with losing weight.
1. Buy extra small corsets in order to force yourself to eat only one or maybe two bites of food. Then have your stepsister, who has no idea she's going to be a princess, use all her strength from hauling water buckets to squeeze your waist until you can't breathe or bend over. Works like a charm!
2. This next one is not for the faint-hearted. Take a cleaver or run to the butcher and grab one of their knives. Now, carefully cut off chunks of your feet. The heal or toes are the most popular places. While blood is still pouring out of your feet, stick them into exquisitely designed shoes made just for your small-footed stepsister. You will feel lighter immediately!
3. Watch out, you might be blinded. When your aforementioned stepsister finally marries her prince, and you get to stand on the balcony with her, hire some ravens to peck your eyes out. You'll be in agony for days, but that doesn't matter. You'll feel so much better once you realize you can't see how fat you are!
4. This one, yet again, involves your stepsister. Follow your stepsister around, mercilessly teasing her. Make sure to yell at her until you lose your voice. Your newly chiseled jaw muscles might just cause that young man (or woman), that you've been eying for a while, ask to court you. When Stepsister tries to follow you to the royal ball, tear her dress and necklace into shreds. Excellent bicep and triceps workout. Force her to do your bidding by ordering her around. Walk back and forth, making sure you follow her around like a nagging fly. Make sure she gets those chamber pots!
5. Learn to sing like a braying donkey or sketch like a bird who can't hold a pencil. Sing every day at high volumes in order to further your singing. Good thing you are tone deaf. Sing so much that it physically hurts to eat. Watch all those calories wash away! If you prefer not to sing, don't worry! We've got another option for you too! Pick up a piece of paper and a pen. Scribble until you cannot anymore. Make sure each picture looks like your anguish when your suitor decides to court another lady or gentlemen. Your sore arms will discourage you from ever picking up a fork. Let all those emotions out!
Hmm... I wonder what Hansel and Gretal might have to offer.
Weight loss hack
In-laws. Get some in-laws and stress out like the coolest homies on the block. Just think about them and you feel genuine discomfort and concern. Open the door, and into the crannies of your mind the dread shall explore. It devours from within, an insatiable parasite leaving its host weary yet remarkably thin.
Speaking of parasite, its time to swallow a parasite. Tapeworms are all the rage but really any old wonky looking parasite will do the job. Just get one and put it inside of you, and let it hang out for a while, sort of like an intestine or a lung.
"Hey how can you eat that and be so skinny?"
"Oh I'm not eating anything."
"What are you talking about, Sheryl?"
"My friend ate it."
"You sound crazy right now."
"Crazy? No I'm not."
"Does this have to do with that illegitimate doctor friend?"
Parasite. Just swallow. It's fine.
You know what else is fine? The things you don't know. How do you not know? You can't see. You don't know what you can't see.
Worried how you look?
Don't get a mirror.
If you can't see then you don't know.
Sounds good to me.
You know what else sounds good? Not the news. Just turn on the news while you eat. Pick your least favorite news and crank up that volume like they did at that nightclub you don't remember and then you'll be so pissed off the pounds will literally burn off.
Still not satisfied? We've got you covered. Try our seven day plan of doing stuff that scares the living daylight out of you nonstop 24/7.
Think we're kidding?
Because we're not.
You're kidding for saying we're kidding because we are definitely not kidding.
Looks like you're the crazy one now.
Worried? You should be. Get help.
But before you do, fill out a form of what terrifies you so badly that it shakes your inner soul and then spend a week of hell so terrified that you'll forget what undressed personal problems got you show up in the first place. You'll be pooping your pants so badly that you'll have that figure back in hours! You might be crazy, and we can't help with that, but you'll sure look good!