Bloody Line of Work
There’s a natural stigma around a skating rink that everyone has fun, even those that can’t skate or end up hurt for one reason or another. This stigma is mostly true.
There is also another stigma surrounding management to such establishments, that said people managing the building can be evil, vile individuals who prioritize money and self-interest far before any and all else. This stigma was 100 percent true. I worked a skating rink, and the night I quit was one of the worst nights of my life.
I wouldn’t work at a skating rink if I didn’t have to. Skating rinks are meant to be enjoyed and loved and I wanted those feelings kept intact. Management was going to be a slight issue, and I knew that early on when the general manager of the rink I had applied to told me that he hired me because I was ‘prettier‘ than the other girl trying for a position. I know much about red flags and inappropriate gestures, but the pay was good and so I continued.
Two weeks went by and my happy feelings of such a uniquely interesting place died down to a grave. Without warning I became the sole employee dedicated to clean up after others, this included trash out by the benches but also in the bathrooms as well. The music stopped alluring me, the practice of skating only reminded me of my labor and nothing more, and the manager that hired me almost always failed to show up and help out.
However, he was there the night I quit.
That night, February 3rd, I go to clock in and as I’m doing so, he, Scott, comes over to me and tells me that ‘someone’ has either stolen or done something to the First Aid Kit and that he can’t find it. Knowing that we have two complete First Aid Kits on the premises at all times, I go to the drawer I know that we keep the second. It is also gone. I had been out of work for a week due to vacation with my family and had no idea where it could be. Scott and I called other employees trying to make sure we had something readily available for guests, but nothing. No one had any idea where they could of gone, nor who would even move them around.
We looked all over, no kits. I panicked. We needed those kits to open, not just because it was most probably the law but because people fall and get hurt all the time out on the rink and need some form of assistance that First Aid Kits could offer. As I kept searching, Scott said:
“Forget it, it’s about time to open. I’ll look later or I can find someone that has one and have them bring it down for us.”
I believed him and began readying the register. The people came in quick that day.
That night we were swamped. The place was busier than it had ever been since I had started working, for once they had me up front and it was a continuous drag getting people into the building. Halfway through the scheduled time for the night skate event, they switched me and had me, you guessed it, clean up something out by the rink. Only, they didn’t tell me what it was I was supposed to be cleaning up.
See, when certain situations that need cleaned up aren’t due to injury, they tell me something needs cleaned up. If something needed to be cleaned up due to an injury, they’d let me know. It had happened twice since I began working, and they had let me know both times beforehand what exactly was going on.
This time was different.
I get out there and sprawled out on the rink is a girl that had fallen on her face while skating and had more than likely broken her nose, a decent sized trail of blood on the rink following her nostrils.
I had no idea this was the situation because they did not tell me. No other employee wanted anything to do with her support, and she bled anyway. And then I remembered:
Did we even have a First Aid Kit available?
I ran up to the front and called to Scott. Brittany, the other manager, answered.
“Scott went home!” She told me over the noise. “What do you need?”
“There’s a girl that’s got a really bad nosebleed out on the rink, do you know if we have a First Aid Kit or rags or something to help clean up?”
“I’m sorry, sweetie,” she said, “Scott told me he went looking but couldn’t find any. We don’t have any.”
I turned mad and impatient rather fast.
“How am I supposed to clean up her blood then?”
“Get paper towels from the bathroom and clean it up,” she said. “And get it done fast, we can’t have that out on the rink.”
“The girl looked hurt beyond just her nose bleed, do we have anything else?”
“No. I just told you no. Go clean up the blood. Christ.”
I had no choice. I had to do what I was told. I got the paper towel and ran my way over. The girl had suffered a injury to her arm but was otherwise okay, thank goodness. Scott got lucky.
The blood came up quick and I was able to ease the situation by giving the poor girl a paper towel herself as a way of helping with her nose bleed.
When she got up, I saw her face. She was crying. She felt embarrassed and had been left out on the floor in a position she could not get out of with little help from any members of staff, including me. She probably hated me, she probably wanted to go home, and I know she did because immediately after I helped her out, she left. She had come in alone.
That face. You can’t make up a face like that.
“You don’t care about the well-being of these people,” I told Brittany after the girl left. “I quit. Fuck you and fuck Scott. I can’t take this anymore. And get those fucking First Aid Kits in. I hope you have fun cleaning up blood the next time it needs done.”
That face. Those tears. And I still have never been back to that rink.
Unlike any Others had Seen
I cannot tell a soul about the drawing my sister had produced
Even though it sits upon the fridge after the others had been reduced
The parent's had declared it imagination
Though, they don't really have the information
In childish crayon it depicted
A lady with long brown hair with some pain afflicted
Her round head still carrying a red smile
Though it was far wider and might've been there a while
The black dots upon the upper half gazed at the viewer
But to me it feels mocking, as though innocents grew fewer
And her hair stretched past her shoulder
And I wish that I didn't know her
The lady depicted wore a vintage dress of green
Unlike anything others had seen
How I wish I could tear this picture here
But all I can do was stand there and leer
I should've foreseen something like this
For previously she told about a miss
Asking about why my girlfriend had visited in the dead of night
And now I am full of fright
So I got my shovel and flashlight
Heading out into the cold night to see if I was right
And once more dug up the disturbed dirt
Far away where no one could hear the hurt
When the dirt had gave way, what could I say
She was still unmoving, it had recently always been that way
Her eyes still gazed unblinking
And her lips still slit and could not be drinking
Once more I layered the dirt atop of her
And headed back home to head where I previously were
Even buried deep down, her dress was still bright green
Though it wore a stain unlike any had seen
For all tribes
In each ancient
With folks that had
Such vast wealth
Then they unknowingly
Gave their power to Sally
Who handed them seashells
Promising them a much
Alas, that was all for nichts!
The villages had a loss
For quite a vast majority
Of their natural beauty,
Their precious minerals,
& stones, too, wasted away
For a meager price of seashells!
Nov. 30, 2022.
It was one of those nights that the whole earth seemed to toss and turn with you. Thunder and lightning strikes in tandem with your thoughts, and rain makes rivers on your window that match the streams on your face. And you stare at the ceiling, trying to work up the courage to throw off the sweaty lump of sheets and run sobbing for your parents. You tell yourself that you can do it alone. You're eight years old. You no longer need your parents' reassurance. Your friends make fun of you for crying at night. "Boys who cry are babies" they say. They make fun of you for a lot of things. Once you talked about how your parents used to show you a blanket and tell you that you were brought down by a stork. And your friend George laughed at you and said that's a baby story. And you said "if you're so smart, then you tell me how babies are made." And he couldn't answer you. But he laughed with your other friend Billy later. You saw them laughing together. They were probably laughing at you and your story about storks. But you know that story is true, because your parents showed you the checkered red and white blanket that you came in. It even had your name sewn into it in gold thread.
Finally you can take it no longer. The shadows on your wall are too dark, the thunder outside is too loud, and you long for the safety of your parents' room where everything is quiet and warm. Thunder cannot reach you when you crawl into your mother's arms.
You are scared, because your parents' door is closed and the hallway is dark. Your parents always told you not to come in if the door was closed. But you're so scared. Surely they won't mind if you come in, just this once.
As you approach the door, there's a new sound mingled in with the thunder. It sounds almost like crying, but that can't be right. Mommy and Daddy don't cry because they're adults. You can't wait until you're an adult so you don't cry anymore. Maybe if you don't cry then George will stop calling you a baby.
You listen closer to the Not Crying sounds, and you get even more scared because you can hear the movement of sheets. Maybe Mommy and Daddy are having a nightmare. No, that's not right. Adults don't have nightmares. Adults don't get scared.
You really don't want to open the door. They told you not to open the door. But the shadow down the hall seems to be moving closer to you and you can't go back to your room because the shadow is blocking the way.
You open the door just as Mommy is yelling Daddy's name. And now you're really scared because Daddy is on top of Mommy and he's not wearing any pants. Mommy says you have to wear pants all the time. Even to sleep. But Mommy isn't wearing pants either. And she looks like she might be sick because she's moving weirdly up and down and her eyes are half closed.
The weird crying sound stops and Mommy opens her eyes. Maybe she's not sick.
Daddy turns around and he looks mad.
"How many times do we have to tell you, Max? Don't come in when the door's closed. My God, you're so... ugh! Damn it!"
You start crying.
"B-but I had a nightmare..."
"Go back to your room. Now."
You can't understand why he's so mad. But you go outside and shut the door.
Mommy yells at Daddy.
"Come on, Charles, he's just a kid."
"It's fine. It's no big deal.
"I'll be right back. I've gotta talk to him."
"No, you don't. Tell him in the morning. Later, Mary, please? We can finish first."
"No, Charles. We have to tell him."
"How do you explain that to an eight year old? Yeah, sorry about that, kid, we lied about the storks? He's gonna get all weepy. He's a little crybaby."
You stick your fingers into your eyes to stop the tears. You're not a crybaby.
"I'll figure it out. Just go back to bed."
"You can tell him in the morning. Come here."
"No, Charles, I'll be right back."
Mommy makes a weird sound that sounds a little bit like a laugh.
"I said no, Charlie..."
"Aw, you called me Charlie..."
Mommy laughs again.
"You sly dog. Fine. I'll tell him in the morning."
They start making that not-quite-crying sound again, and you stare at the shadow at the end of the hallway. It doesn't scare you anymore. You're more scared of Mommy and Daddy now. At least the shadow in your room doesn't lie. But Mommy and Daddy lied. About the stork. What else have they lied about? Did they lie about what happened to Rover? And what happened to Grandma? Did they lie about Santa? About Easter? Did they even lie about God?
The shadow won't lie to you. You can see him now, the man in the shadows. He's the one who told you that George and Billy were making fun of you. He warned you that your parents were liars. He promised he would tell you the truth. And he would never laugh at you. And you were scared of him, because you thought he was dangerous, but now you know he's the only safe one.
And he'll protect you. He'll protect you from them all.
And, most importantly, he'll never, ever, lie.
The color purple is really something unique. It beamed in this new painting. I tilted it slightly, straightening it on the wall. I'd wanted this particular one for months. I couldn't believe he'd actually gotten for me. Leaning into the canvas, I huffed a deep breath in. The wafting smell of acrylic was still there. Boy, it was a beauty. Dark lines and fine details. It had to be my favorite piece. I continued to stare at it in awe.
The door rattled, interrupting my moment. Rolling my eyes into the back of my head and sighing loudly, I headed to the tiny peephole to see who dared to interrupt me. To my surprise, a young woman around my age stood there in a frustrated stance holding her hands on her hips. I paused to take her in. Blonde barrel curls fell below her shoulders, and her jeans sat high on her hips, synching her waist. I narrowed my eyes. Who was she? She lifted her hand and pounded on the door again, startling me. Intrigued, I cracked the door, "Can I help you?" I said sternly.
Without notice, she heaved the door into me, "Are you, Nikki?" She screamed, storming past me, but stopping in front of the painting.
"What?" I said, confused.
She laughed, "You know, that was supposed to be mine!" I looked to see her pointing at my new gift, my painting. Stunned, I had no words. I was unsure of what to do, hoping she'd just leave. She rushed towards me, backing me into the wall.
My head ached, and I was slightly dizzy as I came to. She was gone, along with my painting. The door was also still wide open. Slowly, I gathered my bearings and caught my reflection in the mirror above my sofa table. My right eye and cheek glistened a bright red, turning the whole side of my face deep purple. I winced, rubbing the wound. The color purple is really something unique.
Tonight Is Perfect.
’Tonight is perfect'. She says to no one. Sapphire moonlight seeps through the thin clouds high above a wife’s head. The wind breezes by slowly, warm and feathery, yet her body shivers. She checks her phone but sees nothing and for a moment, the water in her eyes distorts the city’s view. Her mind goes back to the days when they were in love. How they wrote each other’s names on the beach, shared secrets they promised to never tell, woke up only to sleep next to each other again. He loved her to the stars and back, and she loved him more. That’s what they whispered to each other’s ears and they meant every breath of it. She remembers building their first cot in their new house. Their baby would be the icing on the cake. Perfect meets perfect. A story befitting a happily-ever-after ending. Only it turns out, the child wasn’t his. And the fairytale was only that. A fairytale. Crafted finely in the hands of a wife whose sin was to forget their shared love. A sin that made mankind the original deviant. A sin that makes her stand on this ledge tonight, needing to end it all, wishing against all hope that her husband will text her back, tell her he loves her and forgives her fall from grace. But nothing comes. And she jumps.
Two three thousand miles away, husband sits in a restaurant staring at his phone. He lacks an answer to his wife’s sorry texts. What should he do? Lie that he forgave and forgot? He is certainly no liar to that degree. He quickly switches off his phone when his mistress walks in, wearing a red dress that gorgeously flatters her perfect figure. He leans in for a kiss and before that, she whispers in his ear what she always tells him. ‘Tonight is perfect.’
I stare at my team,
Remember who your friends are.
Ruby’s glistening gem,
Decorating her wrist.
Oscar and the smile hiding in his eyes,
The clank of his cane.
There’s always Adrian.
He smiles when he sees me,
Lighting up his whole face.
To him I’m not Insomnia,
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
The hunchbacked skeleton hugging Esmeralda's
a heart wrenching symbol of love and devotion.
For all, Quasimodo was a monster and slave;
and under his grotesque figure, only she saw,
a kind heart that also needs to be saved.
To satisfy lust, the beast beneath deacon Frollo,
ordered Quasimodo to abduct the dancing fairy;
but the slave got punished for his master's deeds.
For saving his life, Esmeralda fed him water,
and it was elixir of love for him in the pillory.
For the murder she didn't do and the witchcraft
she never knew, Esmeralda was hanged.
The beast ensured that, if he can't have her,
then no else can either have her or see her alive.
And thus the gypsy girl died and Frollo laughed.
For Quasimodo, Frollo looked cruel than the devil,
so he pushed the deacon from the Notre-Dame,
to deliver him straight to the devil itself.
Quasimodo also vanished into thin air,
only to find hugging Esmeralda, in the charnel house.
Where The Wild Things Are
Mischief, that’s all Max’s mother seen.
He was wearing his wolf suit.
As he ran around, acting obscene.
She’s had enough!
She let out a roar, “Wild thing”, she screamed.
Max told her that he’d eat her up.
So he was sent to bed, no eating or anything
Max was misunderstood.
He hopped on a sail boat, quickly.
His imagination was very vivid.
Soon he arrived where the wild things must be.
The beasts tried to make him fearful.
He said “Be still”, taming them magically.
They claimed him to be the most wild thing.
Max frightened them because he wasn’t afraid.
He was crowned to be their king.
“Let the wild Rumpus Start“, Max yelled.
Max & the beasts danced around, some did sing
Max had enough!
He sent them to bed without something to eat.
What Max wanted, was to be near loved ones.
So he jumped on his sail boat, off to sea.
All of the beasts wanted him to stay!
Unhappy, the beasts showed Max their teeth.
It didn’t work, “we love you“ they cried.
He knew home, he’s destined to be.
Finally, Max was back in his room.
There sat his dinner, a nice surprise.
The best part, it was still warm!
two souls in one mind.
enough to break
one already broken girl.
her other half vanishes
leaving her alone
in a world that she does not
she had grown accustomed to darkness,
yet now she is thrust into the light
people she'd never met
and a girl in the mirror that keeps getting closer.
a boy that understands who she is.
a best friend with roots in magic.
a murder that she doesn't remember.
she doesn't remember.
something has been woken up
a snake that curls in the dead house of her mind
fangs that whisper to her.
it must be destroyed.
and it's his fault,
the boy she trusted, the boy she loved,
he has killed her other half.
he has awoken the monster.
and she's doing things now
that she swore she'd never do,
broken promises to a girl that no longer exists.
the girl in the mirror is here.
a ritual conducted
her mind on display
each room of her dead house
in an attempt to find someone
who is no longer there.
tongues cut out
the ritual gone wrong
there is only one way
to fight fire.
and the world burns.