knots on fragile things
we are both tangled
- Naveen Durgaraju
The halls are pretty vacant at this moment of the day, but as always, the calm or chaos of strange hours depends on the sum of certain events. This time, there was peace in the space around him, but not in his mind. The hour is late, or very early. Honestly, it depends on how you will choose to look at it. But doesn’t time seem irrelevant on such occasions? Especially with unfocused thoughts. Yes, things like that tend to make us lose the steady ground in one way or another.
The pen hits against the hard desk surface, over and over again in a nervous manner. Tap, tap, tap, repeated sounds with an erratic rhythm while his eyes stare at the plastic clipboard before him. Not really seeing mister Burton’s test results but trying to focus on it anyway. Since last week the HB levels have lowered by over 20 percent, which could explain why... He almost drops the papers as the sound of his own pen hitting the ground wakes him up. Quickly, he looks for it but hears someone clear their throat.
Are you looking for this?
Joan asks with a smile, slowly handing back the loss. He ruffles his hair distracted, and takes it from her with a slightly guilty expression.
Yeah, thanks. I’m a bit jumpy lately.
Oh, I can see. Plus, distracted on top of it all. Did something happen today?
No, why do you ask?
His tone is slightly strained, and she lifts an eyebrow, amused.
Charlie, you never were a good liar. That’s why patients like you. You tell them how the situation is, without sugarcoating but with patience and with the respect of actually seeing them. And not just their medical files, which we all know, will eventually lend in the statistics section or the half moth-eaten archives downstairs.
She points a finger at him, the corners of her lips lifting again.
Those are good qualities in our line of work. Though let’s face it, keeping your feelings inside in private, mundane life is not your strongest suit.
He sighs and gives up.
Just something on my mind, that’s all. It will loosen up eventually.
You’re an overthinker sometimes, Charlie. One of the lovely quirks on the list of your traits.
Not the first time I’m being called like that, you know.
She shakes her head and gazes at him one more time, and he lets himself smile back at her. She nods, satisfied, and fixes a mischievous strand of light ash blonde hair that freed itself from a neatly tied ponytail - ever the professional.
Oh, I have no doubts about it.
He allows himself another smile, relaxing a bit.
Though didn’t realize there was a whole list involved.
Mmm, there is. But don’t worry, most people have even longer ones. You’re not that bad. Alright, if you ever decide to talk, I’ll be around. Have to run now, anyway. Biurocracy in this place will be the death of me one day, I swear.
Letting out a sigh, she leaves with an armful of thick files tucked under her side, which earlier she placed on the reception desk with a heavy thud - his eyebrows furrow. That was probably the sound that caused him to drop the pen in the first place. Another thing that he hasn’t noticed in his current state of mind. That can’t be good for work - he thinks and puts the clipboard down, memories of how close he held her slowly coming back. He didn’t expect that to happen, but something inside of him said to go with it, letting him know exactly what was needed to do, to stop the tension and soothe her bruised nerves. The strain and pain so visible on her face, tugging roughly on his soul. He never wanted to see her suffer. He just couldn’t. But when he touched her like that, so close, so intimate...
Abruptly, he feels his pulse quicken as the moment is happening again in his mind, sucking him into it completely. As if an explosion in the system that he could not comprehend. Was that even normal? Or was it all just about strong emotions and the spur of the moment notion? He had no answers for it, only of how right it felt, how natural.
His head shakes a few times, shoulders tensing as if it wasn’t the first time he touched her that way, almost as if he did it a million times before. Just crazy. No one... no one has ever made him feel like that, the intensity knocking him over the head with a ton of bricks. What he felt back then was intense and seemed to reach every part of his nervous system, heating the skin, and almost rebuilding his muscles. But he was so focused on the task at hand that he didn’t have a chance, to fully take it in yet. It didn’t fully hit him until she left.
That’s why for the last 20 hours or so, he seemed to resemble some form of a zombie, his medical background and normal responses not at its highest peak. At the present time, on another shift and with a mind that bagged for a break, even more so now, since he was kicking in extra hours for when he was feeling ill. But something told him that even if he went home, it wouldn’t have helped. Without warning, he jumps in his seat, the sound of his phone vibrating, bringing him back to life. Looking at the screen, he furrows his eyebrows as the letters grow into focus.
Don’t feel too good today. Sore throat, will visit tomorrow.
So don’t come over, or I’ll sue in court.
Then just a second later, another one.
I’m serious. If you will, I’ll sing opera arias
and put you into deep, DEEP trauma.
And before he can even master a reaction or a reply, there are two more beeps. His eyebrows lift higher.
Don’t over worry. I’m okay, just won’t be able to talk
for at least 24 hours. Happened before, so relax.
I swear, I’m fine. If I’m a no-show tomorrow, then you can
come over and smother me with your kindness.
A moment of silence and the phone vibrates the last time.
He exhales slowly, trying to fight the instincts that told him to care and protect above all, his muscles ready to spring into action and come over and see her. Then he reminds himself how overprotective he can be, sometimes. His thumb hovers over the screen, and finally, he gives in, sighing heavily under the breath. Maybe she just needed her space after what happened. Perhaps they both needed it. Letting out a tortured sound, he texts a short reply.
Okay, I will hold back on house visits.
Take care of yourself, Nora.
The black screen lights up almost instantly.
He puts the phone away and looks up at the plain round-shaped clock hanging on the opposite wall. He didn’t even notice when the night turned into the early morning. Maybe when he sleeps in later, his mind will calm down a bit. Slowly, he gets up from the reception desk, stretching out the sore muscles, a long yawn escaping his mouth. Rubbing his eyes, he takes some papers that he will fill out later and goes for one last round on his floor, checking in on the regulars and a few new patients that were brought in today. He walks into one of the rooms and checks in on a 17-year-old that took a basketball game too seriously - well, to be more precise, someone from an opponent team did.
The boy looks up from his phone. Determination and consternation, visibly showing on his young face, with dark brown hair in a state of an artistic mess, pointing in all directions. He comes nearer and smiles at the bright green eyes that gaze at him, kindness and good nature still slipping through, even after all that has been through today. Raffael nods and puts down the phone with his working hand. The other one, lying immobilized on the bed in a cast that covers his arm, starting in the middle of his left hand and ending just below the elbow. He looks closer at his arm and smiles a bit. What used to be a white cast just a few hours ago was now covered in multicolored sketches and signed in names. Plus a few motivating speeches that weren’t necessarily pleasing for any parent’s eye. He tries to keep his face straight as he continues with his responsibilities.
How is your arm doing now? I see the swelling went down a bit. That’s a good sign.
It’s not bad, but the meds are wearing off, so if you hear strange howling sounds in the night, it will probably be me.
Nothing that we aren’t used to in our torture chambers.
He smiles lightly and then grows more serious.
How about the ribs?
He leans in and inspects the bandages on the boy’s left side, checking for any signs that would prove that the inside damages could have been worse than they assumed before. No one at the hospital was all-knowing, and you could never fully predict how the human body will react to things. A low moan escapes Raffael’s throat as he closes his eyes tightly, face scrunching painfully.
Yes, unfortunately, I’m afraid you are going to feel the effects of this day for a few weeks. But don’t worry, you have a strong, healthy body, and you should be evening up the scores with the other team in no time.
The boy groans and rubs his face for a while.
Jack and his fucking life choices.
Charlie lifts an eyebrow and watches his patient, both a bit amused and worried.
Do you want to expand that thought a bit?
The boy shakes his head and sighs.
Sorry, didn’t mean to be so...
That’s fine. We are all just people here. So, about your friend?
Another sigh, and an exhausted expression, that seemed to add at least five years to his still soft features.
Jack thinks he can have it all, especially when it comes to girls. Unfortunately, his new conquest already has a guy... on the other team. Let’s just say I involuntarily ended up in the crossfire.
Oh, well, that explains it, say no more. Alright, Raffael, I will make sure you will get something that will help with the pains and make it easier to sleep later. There will be someone to check up on you in a few hours.
Uhm, are you already leaving?
The boy looks troubled, giving him that stare that suggests that he doesn’t know anyone else here and needs at least one friendly face in the hell hole he got himself into.
I will be back tomorrow, no worries, and there are many other qualified medical stuff to keep you more or less sane. Plus, I wouldn’t put a twelve-hour shift in the terms classified as “already”.
Raffael’s shoulders drop a bit, but he nods in reply. Sensing they are done here, Charlie starts to walk away but then turns around slowly.
I have this feeling that something else is bothering you, am I correct?
Perhaps... yes. But it’s now a big deal. It’s just that...
He cuts off and shakes his head, picking up the phone again and scrolling through it like a robot, making it seem as if he found something extremely important there that needed his undivided attention, apparently not open for any further discussion.
Mmm, does this have anything to do with your father running around in a crazy state between your doctor and any other breathing soul he could find? And making it very clear how he’s not enjoying the service here... and the incompetence surrounding him from everywhere?
Charlie’s words might suggest sarcasm and some heavy tones, but in reality, he is just stating simple facts, his voice light and curious. Trying to take care of problems he thinks might be fixed or at least talked over. Even though he feels how exhausted his body seems and how he longs for some peace and quiet. Yet, he stays those few more minutes more, the natural impulses, making him stay and listen. The boy looks up at him from the phone he didn’t care about, his back slouching and his form getting smaller, making him seem fragile and beaten up by life. Then his fists clench tightly, and the face flinches suddenly, as he is painfully reminded of the broken bones under the cast.
My father has ambitions and goals, much bigger than I do. That’s all. He... can’t seem to understand something can go wrong, against his will and wishes.
Charlie nods and sits on the side of a nearby bed, his exhaustion fading a bit as if he was just at the right place. And listening out patiently to Raffael helped him gather his own thoughts and bring some much-needed relief. Helping other people always felt like his calling, and that has never changed, and probably never would. It was just the way that he was build.
He leans in and crosses his arms, smiling, legs outstretched and tangled loosely together. A half an hour or so won’t spare him much. There was always time to help, even if it was in the smallest of ways.
Earlier the same day. Eleonore’s place.
Good. One less thing to worry about then. She sends the last text and exhales slowly. Dropping the phone to the bed and pulling her knees close to the chest, her chin resting on crossed arms as she flinches a bit, feeling the sore muscles scream in protest from the new position. It’s been a dreadful night, with nightmares and restless sleep. The strained neck, waking her up at the strangest hours, fresh bruises pulsating under the skin. But it didn’t matter. There had been too many bruises in her life for her to fall into pain too deep. It was more frustrating than anything else. And what she hated the most was the fear that came with it. The memory of last night constantly flashing before her eyes, hitting her when she thought the worst was over. She shouldn’t have shown fear to him. All that there was to do was to grit her teeth tighter and wait until he was done. It wasn’t a case of being submissive to the assaulter. She was just aware of the odds and that there was no possibility that she could take him on unless something would distract him. Which was highly unlikely.
Besides, that was the goal in this game; to listen out to what he had to say, nod, and watch him leave. He wasn’t there to abuse her physically, not really. The bruises were just there to make a point and leave the right impression behind. The abuse that came from it, directly aimed at her mental state. She was supposed to give in to the fear and cave in, giving herself away willingly to the enemy on a silver platter. But she wasn’t going to do that just yet. What would that bring her anyway? If she faced them, that would only mean a shorter sentence and the final punishment, one life for the other. Hers. All they wanted to do in the end was to be witnesses to her final demise, a little spectacle to entrain their dark bored souls.
She sighs and slowly walks to the bathroom, squinting her eyes in the harsh light above the mirror. Then she looks closer at her reflection and the skin on the neck. Holding her dark hair up and then shifting them to the back and carefully inspecting the damages, fingers of her other hand slowly pressing into the bruises, shades of green, yellow, and black painting her with mockery. She feels the pain but doesn’t even flinch, just lets the hair fall and straightens her back. Just another day in paradise, isn’t’ it? Only small damages on the flesh, nothing in comparison with all her other problems.
Feeling restless, she ventures to the kitchen and makes herself a cup of coffee, something to distract the mind and warm her cold insides. With her hands around the plain grey cup, she slowly taps against the hot ceramic surface. Repeating the action in a steady rhythm, making her think of trains passing in the night, nails playing some unknown melody as the thoughts remain preoccupied. The steam from the coffee, floating and moving in enchanting waves and patterns, soothing moments within the chaos under her skin. Her mind eventually turns thoughtful, analyzing each part of last night, putting each breath, touch, and feel on an invisible chart. It was her way of handling things, to turn off the emotions and concentrate on the facts for a while, studying what happened and asking herself questions to tame her restless soul. Focusing on the logical side of things before she could allow her emotions to roam around freely. It was always dangerous to do so, as the feelings and emotions had the strength to crash down and leave her bleeding on the floor. Always so dramatic, Eleonore. Why won’t you just admit that you’re scared and tired of it all? No one is going to give you a break from the nightmares, but at least you can admit things to yourself.
A long sigh escapes her lungs as she once again grabs onto the facts and events in her head, scene by scene. Her thoughts unwinding a bit, as all that she thinks about are the dry facts and notions. But then her body jumps unexpectedly, as if something had just hit the ground with a loud thud, her hands covered and dripping in the now cold dark liquid.
Shit, shit, shit.
She quickly wipes the mess away with an old dishcloth and throws it into the sink, her heartbeat rushing like crazy. For a moment, just for a moment, she saw that flash of red again. The same that she experienced when he touched her in the hospital, that warm body close against her back, pressing into her with a strange sense of comfort. Everything around them slowing down for just a few breaths. Like some damn fireworks, in the stillness of the cosmos. Bliss within perfect blazing silence. Her chest moves quickly up and down, lungs expanding and shrinking. Her mouth opens as she whispers without even noticing it.
Sometimes, I feel like we’re a knot... too tangled to be taken apart*.
Shaking her head, she exhales slowly, not even remembering where the words came from, only that she has heard them somewhere, many years back. Suddenly, exhaustion takes over her, numbness coloring her thoughts. Rest, it was all that she could do right now to stay afloat later. As much as she hated to admit it, the upcoming weekend was going to be a draining one, and she needed as much help as possible to survive it. If she could just...
Her arms wrap around her tightly, body shivering as she sits numbly on the sofa, legs moving under her, voice barely audible.
Turn it off.
Like she used to before those helping hands came along. But now, even in her indifferent moments that came, she still was so aware, so awake. Charlie woke up something in her that wouldn’t let her slip into nothingness. With him, she could no longer just pretend to be alive. He was forcing her not to breathe but to make her want it on her own. Slowly, her eyelids get heavy, hand covering the mouth as she tries to hold back a yawn, body sliding down. Just a little peace, and she could push through yet another day. For him, for the people that cared about her, and eventually, maybe even for herself.
* “Sometimes, I feel like we’re a knot, too tangled to be taken apart.” By Kiera Cass.
https://theprose.com/post/230936/with-all-my-senses ( the beginning )
Previous chapter :
The Cassette Player
It’s extremely loud in here. Do you hear that clatter, too?
I don’t think anybody really does, and I feel like I am the only one who hears things.
People around me are crazy. They appear normal. The noise doesn’t bother them.
Why do they seem calm and collected though?
I am annoyed, nervous, and panicking. I want to be indifferent just like them and dance to the noisy tune. But my ears are bleeding and my brain is about to flare up into fireworks.
The echo is exasperating me inside out.
Nobody hears me begging for the screeching music cutoff.
For once, I wish someone would listen to me and take me seriously and know that I am not crazy. I just don’t like the chiming voice of that singer. The chorus is out of balance.
Back in my days, music had style, meaning, and harmony. It wasn’t just the drums, piano, accordion, the saxophone, or the brasses, but you could hear the melodies between the lines.
What happened to this generation?
How is everything that has sound is music?
If you asked me, this is a disturbance in brain cells. The sound is irritating me immensely.
I cannot take it anymore. I just can’t. The noise is getting louder. I am screaming for it to stop.
“Mr. Fletcher, are you okay?” Says a tall lady I’d never seen before. “You look disturbed.”
If she knew how the vibration is impairing my ears, she wouldn’t be asking me such a stupid question.
”What is disturbing you, Mr. Fletcher?”
She continues to infuriate me more than the damn song.
Whenever she says something, even her voice begins to irk my senses.
I ignore her idiocy.
I figured, she’s one of those hippies, who walk around and parade to any drum bangs. Otherwise, she would run to the other room, yank the cassette player, and shut up the humming woman for good.
Unless, of course, I’m solely the only one hearing and whimpering to the loud voice altogether.
Am I really crazy?
That can’t be right, because, crazy people do not hear songs, but dance to the rhythm of soothing sounds in their heads.
Let it just be a dream, a whisper of a terrible dream.
Can it be true that I am really insane?
”Mr. Fletcher, it’s medication time, ” says the same lady. This time, she is holding a tray full of cups that have rainbow pills.
Medication for who? Does this mean I’m living with wackos? am I a sick man?
No, I cannot be a madman! I am just an ordinary individual, but the people around me are the craziest.
It was fantastic adventure like any we had in our young lifes. Tracking animals, even bears, although Jerome, party-pooper, claimed differently. We had quite a raw in front of the whole gang. He mentioned squirrels and I insisted that those were tracks of much bigger beast. Very soon, our dispute was boring to everybody, including us. Picking flowers for girls or sword fighting with pine branches for the boys were on the cards. When we returned to the camp that evening, we were all very tired, but the fun was just starting. In the middle of compound, huge wooden platform has been erected. Our teacher instructed us all to bring as many branches, pine cones and wood sticks as we can find. Every little child scattered around to please her. Most energetic boys continued with their duels, whilst most of us were running around, caring some sticks. Only few children organized in groups, needless to say, those were girls. One was in charge on packing the wood on outstretched hands of carriers, or carriernesses, if that word is aloud. I am not going to say that their heap was really substantial. However if I am not going to say it, it doesn’t mean that wasn’t the case.
At one moment, I halted with the task, observing the sunset and array of colors, I have never seen before. All shades of red and purple, but also similar colors in rainbow spectrum. One can’t see any of that from my terrace, in the city, as only visible thing are other terraces and many windows of surrounding buildings. Jerome hit me in the back, pointing to others who tried Himalaya’s climbing – catching up the girls. Any fool could see that we are beaten, but we continued our separate efforts. Instead of gaining on them, we were like cavemen and them – Egyptian society. Luckily, this is not story about that; the paper would be moist from my tears.
The teacher gathered us around as red and purple colors, all over the sky, have turned into darker shades with stars coming out.
-“Sit around children, we are about to light the fire”, with our eyes opened like never before in our existence.
To say it was a spectacle should be understatement. There are no words to explain our feelings, looking at huge bon-fire in front of us. Older boys were bringing larger chunks and some children played around holding their hands, whilst my closest friends, and Jerome, sat together still and amazed. Finally, we too have joined people dancing in the large circuit, smiling and screaming. Ordinary, I would consider it quite awful, but I was carried by the moment. Soon enough we were all very tired, taking back our seat at the ground. It was blissful day, full of interesting and exhausting things, but real fun is about to start.
Older boys and some girl started telling spooky stories as this is some kind of ritual for such gatherings. Or it was, ages ago, when people were in contact with the nature, with real themselves, someone would say. All kind of monster, ogres, some raven and even monkey which doesn’t know it is wild and kills someone in some street in that magnificent city of Paris, which we all want to visit, or at least they urge as to do so. Another story, told by that girl together with lot of mimic and staged, of some painting that murders its owner or something like that, I wasn’t really sure. I would not admit it, I was so scared so I hid behind Jerome, as he was doing the same, using one fat boy as cover. His choice was much better, I will acknowledge only that.
Looking at each other, as the flames were smaller and smaller, we were ready to return to our tents, one another interesting novelty of visiting Yellowstone city, or I should correct myself park. Our teacher was on her feet, trying to gather her flock. Bold man with gray beard stopped everybody in their tracks, speaking furiously, so we didn’t comprehend him. The teacher sat back as all eyes were upon him. He took another sip from his bottle and looked at us, especially Jerome and me, with his eyes wide open and piercing gaze further into the darkness.
-“You want to hear, real, proper scary story and not this bull…” Luckily for our teacher and our ears he stopped talking, waving with his free hand around as he was chasing away many mosquitoes or even some bat. The bottle has flown away into the bon fire as he joined left hand to this waving. The teacher wanted to protest, but he started his story with deep voice before she could do anything:
-“It was very long time ago, when I was a lad. Very long time ago, yes”. There he took some pause, looking and searching for something in his left and in his right hand. His face was puzzled. At last, he looked straight at me and realized where he is and what he is doing, or it just felt that way to me.
-“I‘ll give you factual”, he stumbled using this word, “real life horror story with real life beings and not those which only lives in dark places of caves and basements. Yes, it was when I was very old, I mean very young, as young as you are today, although I don’t think I was ever that young.” Some kind of dark smile illuminated his face into grimace. Both I and Jerome, one entity from now on, shivered, not sure where to look. Magically another bottle was in one of his hands.
-“All those creatures, so called monsters, can’t hurt you; they are products of imaginative minds, very imaginative, if you catch my drift. The ones I am talking about are real and so small that you can’t see. They hide and lurk around. You aren’t aware of them, nor are they of you, because they lack awareness and that is why they are so lethal. That particular breed and season when I was a lad as you are today, people were dying like crazy and panic spread much faster and more than the disease this invisible foe brought. Very soon there was any contact between folks, so if anybody wanted to go with some ladies it couldn’t. There were no dates, and subsequently no kissing or any action which follows. We all had to come around as best as we could. I, for myself, acquired pretty, smooth and obedient ladies in form of sexy dolls, which I could seduce and fool around to my pleasing.”
Our teacher steps in the frame, addressing the man up close and personal waving with her hands in all directions. As she was between the fire and us, strange shadows were on faces on mine classmates and probably on me. However we couldn’t hear any word until the man has spoken again, offering his beverage to her:
-“Exactly this behavior wasn’t allowed, intimate socializations in the middle of the night, or day, because of the curfew. Take a sip darling, if that virus should choose to venture back, this thing is the savior.”
-“How old were you during that plague?” – Our teacher declined offering as she was on the mission.
-“I was around 9”, he was sitting, but many girls, and the teacher, screamed in astonishment. On the other hand, many older boys looked pleased, as one, brave and foolish, grabbed the bottle and drunk some. His face turned into painful grimace and he run off to the lake. It was good thing, because many other, foolish and brave lads, wanted to do the same and our tracker would probably decline giving away his precious beverage, unless you are female or sex doll.
-“The worst thing was”, he continued when the commotion settled, “the lack of toilet paper, any paper if you catch my drift”. Obviously very drunk he looked directly at me, so I grabbed Jerome even closer and he also me. The teacher had enough of it protesting to the man, but he suddenly jumped to his feet, yelling to her:
-“Sit down, I am not finish.” We were all stunted and I could tell you that some children were crying, but I won’t tell you it was me or Jerome. Nevertheless, we couldn’t avert our eyes from tall figure, walking and hands waving in front of dying flames.
-“In a record time, the shops, all shops were out of toilet paper and any very soon. It was new currency. If you wanted to buy some pork chops, you could. It would cost you some toilet paper, five rolls first week, twenty following and a lorry full of them close to Easter. Then we had to turn to books in order to survive in dignify manner. Kindle editions didn’t do any good, only real, live books like works of Tolstoy or Victor Hugo. Their value was significant in those solitude days”, he ended his story with his face down in the warm ground already snoring rhinoceros style. In silence we headed for our tents. I was thinking how if such pandemic should venture back, we will be in tricky situation. There are no more proper, live books as that drunk called them. I would like to say because we are all reading e-books now, but the true would be as nobody reads the books anymore. There are so many other interesting and fun things to do – comp games, watching television and movies, following You Tube channels and social media to stay in touch with all your on-line friends and others, your foes. This is particularly important. There is nothing better of disliking someone’s image and post hating comments on their profiles at all networks. One can do it all night and day and never to be bored of it. Also going to nature excursion is so obsolete. It was fun, but once is enough in course of my life. I can’t wait for tomorrow, when we will go back. There are many posts to check and review. It is not good to be off-line for such long periods – day and a half. And what that man meant, when he mentioned isolation isn’t good. It is the way of life for us, I am on my own 24/7 but not alone, there is my phone, my best buddy and I am in touch with everybody with no need to go anywhere.
On An Airplane
I blink several times. Nothing makes sense. The man next to me is supposed to be dead.
He's drinking what I think is champagne. His gray hair glows in the dim light of the airplane cabin, and he's reading a book.
He must feel my eyes on him because he turns. "Is something wrong?"
"Um…" I stumble over my words. "You're Jeffrey Epstein."
He smiles. "Yes, I am." He reaches out to shake my hand but I just stare at him, wondering what that hand has done. After a second he lowers it.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah." I take a deep breath. "You're not a good man."
"I know what you've done."
He laughs. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Yes, you do."
He puts his glass down. "Listen, kid. I don't know what you think you know. But you're sorely mistaken."
I clench my teeth. "Those girls didn't deserve it. They did nothing wrong. You will get what you deserve."
I stand up and walk away.
A Weekly Dose Of Happiness
Hello, everyone! This is going to be a weekly post I’ll be making. Mollo25 is a bit busy so I'll be doing this by myself for now. We decided to do this because things seem kinda gloomy for everyone, so we’re here to cheer everyone up with some good news.
We'll start off today with something most people love: Roller coasters. Jared Ream, a roller coaster fanatic, was told he couldn't sit on a ride because he was overweight. When he learned a much more exciting roller coaster was coming out, he was motivated enough to lose 195 pounds!
In New York, a Covid-19 patient was told his chances of survival were zero. After months on a ventilator, the patient returned home.
A Tanzanian small-scale miner, who became an overnight millionaire in June, recently sold another rare gem. He said on Monday that this money will be used to build a school and health facility in his community.
A woman found a paralyzed puppy with Tetanus and decided to take care of it until it got better. This one is a video with the dog and describes what happened.
This man would not give up until this crash victim was out of a burning car! An act of heroism! This man was just amazing. Again, this a video.
Before I wrap this up, I just want to thank everyone who has been reading this, and
to anyone who has just started, welcome to A Weekly Dose Of Happiness. The world may be a tough place, but it doesn't have to bad. Do your best to help out. For all those staying at home: Thank you. You are helping to stop the spread of this soon-to-be-over virus. All of you are awesome! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. And if anyone's wondering, yes, I do read all your comments. Thanks for all your kind words. Anyway, please tune in next week for some more happiness! Until then, stay happy, stay safe, and stay healthy!
Harry Situation Reviews: The Fairly OddParents
So I made a decision lately. After ranting about animator-turned-jackass Butch Hartman, I figured that I should review each of his animated shows. So that’s what’s happening this month. I’m going to review all four shows that Butch has created during his time with Nickelodeon. And we’ll see if I’m still weak after this critique.
Let’s kick things off with his first animated series, The Fairly OddParents. Originally the series started off as a series of shorts that Butch made for Nickelodeon’s Oh Yeah! Cartoons. Due to the shorts popularity with young audiences Nick decided to go green and made the shorts into a complete series, making its first debut in spring 2001. I still remember that day too. The pilot episode for this show and the pilot episode for Invader Zim aired on the same night.
The series centered around a 10-year-old boy named Timmy Turner, just an average kid who no one understands. Mom and dad, and his evil babysitter Vicky were giving him commands (BED, TWERP!). Doom and gloom up in his room is broken instantly. But his magic little fish who grant every wish because in reality they are his Fairy Godparents named Cosmo and Wanda.
All paraphrasing that catchy-as-hell theme song aside, this show was the bomb back in the day when I was a kid. It had a simple formula. Timmy Turner is placed in a situation at his disadvangage, he uses Cosmo and Wanda to make a wish, things start to go well for Timmy Turner until he learns about the consequences of his actions, leading him to learn a valuable life lesson.
The series had a great voice cast. You have the voice acting goddess herself, Tara Strong, providing the voice of Timmy Turner. Then there’s Daran Norris and Susanne Blakeslee who provided both the voices for the wishgranting fairies Cosmo and Wanda, but also the voices for Timmy’s dad and mom. And of course, you have the perfect casting of Grey Griffin as the evil Vicky. I swear that was a role that woman was born to play.
There was also a large variety of side characters too that I remember. There was the alien Mark Chang (voiced by Rob Paulsen); Vicky’s little sister Tootie who also has a massive crush on Timmy; there’s Timmy’s best friends AJ and Chester (one of them was actually voiced by Frankie Muniz); there’s my personal favorite Jorgan von Strangle (also voiced by Daran Norris), the muscle-bound leader of the fairies; there’s the Dinklebergs, the Turner family’s neighbors whom Timmy’s dad greatly despises; and Timmy’s superhero icon the Crimson Chin (voiced by none other than Jay Leno himself). But of course I haven’t forgotten the most memorable character from the series: Chip Skylark (voiced by NSYNC’s Chris Kirkpatrick). You all remember him, right? His catchy-ass song “My Shiny Teeth and Me”. The kids in my class sang this all the time. You know how it goes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDxAEY3l9BQ
But of course we can’t forget one of the show’s biggest antagonists, Timmy’s fifth grade teacher, Denzel Crocker (voiced by Carlos Alazraqui), who is obsessed with proving to the world that fairies exist. He was funny. He was insane. And the series developed his character extraordinarly well. Apparently it was revealed that he used to have Cosmo and Wanda as his Fairy Godparents when he was a kid. But then one day he lost them, had his memory erased of their existence, and has been obsessed with catching fairies ever since.
The show’s writing was great—at least in the first few seasons. It had great jokes, great stories, and important lessons. That’s not to say that every episode was golden. One of the most reviled episodes had Timmy wish himself that he was never born and then he sees that everyone’s lives are much better if he didn’t exist. It was an obviously terrible parody of It’s a Wonderful Life. Even Butch himself hated the episode. Regardless it still had a ton of more memorable episodes. The series also had some of the best TV specials I’ve seen as a kid. The ones I most fondly remember were “Abra-Catastrophe”, “Channel Chasers” and the specials where The Fairly OddParents actually crossed over with another of Nickelodeon hit animated shows, Jimmy Neutron. You have characters from both series flipping back and forth from 2D animation and 3D animation, and it was awesome. And they say Avengers: Endgame was the most ampicious crossover of all time.
Man, it was a good show. Key word: was.
As time went on, the series seem to take a downgrade in its writing, its lessons, its character development, its already interesting characters, and eventually its animation quality (more on that in a bit). And it all started in Season 6 with the hour long special “Fairly OddBaby”, which introduced a new character for the series, the fairy baby of Cosmo and Wanda, Poof (also voiced by Tara Strong). So yeah, we now have a baby in the character roster. What I oddly remember from this special was that Cosmo was the one who gave birth to baby Poof. So do fairies have anatomy of sea horses or something? What the hell? I don’t have much to say about Poof. I didn’t really think much of him at the time, and around the time he first appeared I started to grow out of Nickelodeon and started watching more adult shows like Family Guy and Archer.
And then the series was somehow still running with Season 9. That season also introduced a new character, a talking fairy dog named Sparky (voiced by Maddie Taylor before her transition), who acted as Timmy’s new pet. Oh boy. Upon his first appearance, the character of Sparky was not well received. The character was annoying beyond fuck. He caused more problems rather than helped. His voice was like barbed wire through your ear canal. Yeah, I really didn’t like Sparky at all. And worse, he existed when there really was no reason for him to exist at all. But Butch got another season out of his show, which was on life support at this point.
Then the series came into its tenth and final season, which introduced another new character to its damn roster, Chloe Carmichael (voiced by Kari Wahlgren). This season and Chloe was the straw that broke the camal’s back. Chloe was Timmy’s new neighbor who would be sharing Cosmo and Wanda as her Fairy Godparents due to a fairy shortage.
Now hold on! What shortage? When in the series was there a shortage? What caused this shortage? I don’t recall their ever being a shortage in the series before. That would have been something to really explore but I guess that wasn’t on Butch’s priorities.
But yeah, let’s talk about Chloe for a minute. Chloe was really unnecessary. Not long ago I invented the term John/Joan Neric as a way to combat the terms Mary Sue and Gary Stu. The reason being is because I generally don’t like those terms. The term Mary Sue is used to describe a character that is absurdly perfect in every way and can do no wrong. They are described as so flawless that it is ridiculous. Now a lot of folks like to identify Rey from Star Wars as a “Mary Sue”. I disagree but that is my opinion. The problem with the Mary Sue trope is that it can technically be slapped on any character. Tony Stark/Iron Man can be a Mary Sue. Luke Skywalker can be a Mary Sue. It’s a very generic and easy term. That being said, Chloe Carmichael on the other hand does fit the definition of a Mary Sue more than Rey. Everything she does and everything that she is defines absurd perfection. She has great, loving parents. She’s well liked in school. She does a bunch of volunteer projects. She is basically living a happy life. So why the fuck does she need Fairy Godparents? The show’s reason is because Chloe is so nice and helpful it tends to do more harm than good, and she’s apparently friendless.
I mean, really? Really? She’s liked by her classmates and teachers. She’s loved by her parents. How can she be friendless? How is this child miserable? There are kids with cancer, kids living in war torn countries, kids who have been molested that are far more miserable and deserve to have Fairy Godparents than her, both in the real life and presumably in this show’s universe. Seriously, she’s friendless? How can she possibly be friendless? She’s the hap-hap-happiest person since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny Fucking Kaye.
They even changed the theme song in Season 10 to incorporate Chloe. Why would they do that? The song was already great. Why ruin it?
But it didn’t stop there. Half way through the final season of The Fairly OddParents the animation drastically changed and the episodes were done on Adobe Flash. If you look up the animation from all previous seasons and compare it to the animation in Season 10 you can tell that there is a great dip in quality. Everything just looks too bright. It looks too smoothed out. Not to mention the character movements felt very off. That’s not to diss flash animation in general. A lot of animated shows have done well with in flash. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a prime example. It’s just that the flash animation on Fairly Oddparents looked really bad.
Sadly, as I mentioned, this would mark as the final season for The Fairly Oddparents, Nick’s second longest running show behind SpongeBob SquarePants. Man, what a crappy way to go out too. There’s no grand special with high stakes. No big finale and thank you to all the fans. It just ended and I doubt anyone even noticed or cared. But the creative writer part of my brain does wonder: could there have been a way to save Season 10? Could there be a way to make Chloe more likable? Is there a way to give Fairly OddParents that spectacular finale it so deserved? Here’s what I’ve been thinking: what if they introduced another character alongside Chloe? And who would this character be?... THE DEVIL!!!
Or a demonic being or demon lord that was much like the devil. This character could serve as the season’s main antagonist. Chloe would serve as the adopted daughter of this demon lord and she’s working to befriend Timmy and his godparents in some effort to, I don’t know, gain more souls for the underworld or something. It could be used to explain why there might be a fairy shortage and tie into the old Celtic folklore of how the fairy folk would often make sacrifices to the underworld as some sort of payment. But her friendship with Timmy starts to conflict her and so she must find the strength to stand up to her adopted father.
If that doesn’t work then let’s get bold: make Chloe Nickelodeon’s first trans character. Chloe would have been born a boy but she identifies as a girl. It would also serve as a better reason why she would need Fairy Godparents. She’s miserable of being born in a gender she does not identify as and she is afraid of how everyone would react if they found out the truth. Timmy learns the truth, is a little uncomfortable at first, but understands Chloe’s story and accepts her for who she is. If you don’t think that Nick would have the brass to do something like this keep in mind that while The Fairly OddParents was still airing The Legend of Korra’s finale introduced the network’s first ever lesbian couple (Korra and Asami) and The Loud House introduced the first ever same sex married couple (The McBrides). But the question wouldn’t be if Nick would have went through with it but if Butch Hartman would have went through with it. I don’t know where the guy stands on LGBT rights and same-sex marriage given his holier-than-thou Christian attitude. I’m hoping he’s on the support side but I can’t say with certainty.
Now it does seem like I’ve spent a great amount of time ranting about this show but the truth is I don’t hate it. I can’t possibly hate this show. I do regard this show as being on of Nick’s best animated shows they’ve ever made and much of that credit does go to Butch Hartman. However some of the faults of the show is also because of Butch too. It’s important to both reflect on the good of something as well as the bad. The Fairly OddParents definitely had its fair share of problems and those problems worsened as the show continue to air on its last legs. But regardless of its faults it is really impressive that the show managed to say on air as long as it did. Sixteen years it stayed on television. But if you count the Oh Yeah! Cartoon shorts which first appeared in I believe 1998 or 1999, The Fairly OddParents has been on air for about twenty years. That’s a legacy that’s earned some respect. I’ll still remember the joy The Fairly OddParents gave me as a kid, even if I voice my disgust of Butch Hartman as an adult.
-Talented voice cast
-Some funny and clever jokes
-Awesome TV specials
-Catchy theme song
-One of Nick’s best
-Went on far too long
-Reducing to flash animation
Final Grade: B+
So those are my thoughts on The Fairly OddParents, Butch Hartman’s first cartoon for Nickelodeon. Have you seen this show? What were your thoughts? Have a favorite episode? Favorite character? Favorite moment? Please be kind, leave a like and comment, and check out more reviews here on Prose!
And stay tuned each week as I review all of Butch Hartman’s cartoons for the whole month because in my next review I’m going ghost.
Mr. Turner: ”Dinkleburg!”
#harrysituationreviews #television #opinion #animation #cartoon #fantasy #comedy #fairies #kids #Nickelodeon #Nicktoons #ButchHartman
Beware the light of the full moon
If your dreams tend toward the illogically insane, or worse, the horror-filled, I implore you: make haste to the nearest hardware store to buy shutters or block out curtains or pieces of wood to nail across your bedroom window lest the moon shine upon you while you sleep. There is a reason why people speak of the man in the moon – and why most old houses had shutters on their windows. Why living quarters were once caves and then tents made of opaque materials. It has been so long since men were at one with nature that we have forgotten. But we have not been forgotten.
I have been fortunate to learn that of which I speak vicariously, from my best friend Jake.
We had gone camping. The weather was perfect, the sky so clear, the moon so bright, we forwent the tent, and let the night sky be our cover.
That was a mistake.
Exhausted after our day-long hike, we crawled into our bags very soon after we ate and I suspect I slept instantly. I awakened to hear Jake screaming in his sleep so I shook him.
“Jake, wake up, you’re dreaming,” I said.
“No!” he screamed, still thrashing in the throes of a nightmare.
“Jake?” I said, shaking his shoulder lightly. I snatched my hand back, having touched something wet. I looked at my hand. In the light of the moon, I saw red. I looked back at Jake. As I watched, open wounds began to appear on his face and neck. His t-shirt was sticking to his shoulders and chest where, clearly, he was bleeding.
“Jake!” I screamed again. He opened his eyes, looking around wildly.
He shook his head and said, “Wow! What a nightmare! It seemed so real. I mean, I still feel the pain of those crazy-ass ninjas slicing into me. I had some bodacious Bruce Lee moves, though,” he laughed.
“Um, Jake? You’re bleeding.”
“What?” He looked down and then back at me. “What the hell?” he yelled, jumping up.
“I don’t know!” I said, jumping up, too. “I watched it happen. You were screaming and then you started bleeding.”
“Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit,” he started pacing. “It’s what that Siksika dude was mumbling about. I didn’t believe it. I thought he was just crazy or else trying to get campers to rent tipis.” He stopped pacing. “We have to put up the tent, now!” He picked it up from where we had left it before going to sleep.
“Okay, “ I said, grabbing an end to help. “But, why? And what did he say? And shouldn’t we do something about the bleeding?”
“Oh, yea. As long as we’re awake, we should be good.” He dropped his side of the tent.
“I’ll get the first aid kit.”
When I turned around, he had taken off his shirt and I almost passed out. His chest was crisscrossed with slices that were no longer bleeding but still open.
“Jake, what is going on?” I whispered, dropping the kit. I picked it up and walked over to him.
“If I remember right, it’s the full moon,” he said as I used alcohol pads to clean his face and chest. “That hurts,” he said, grimacing.
“Sorry. You don’t want to get infected,” I replied.
“Crazy shit. Infected by dream-inflicted sword wounds,” he shook his head, dumbfounded.
“How is this possible?” I asked, putting antibiotic ointment on the wounds.
“According to the guy I thought was bat-shit crazy or a conman, every full moon, the rays are brighter because they are full of…some kind of life force. Or something. Maybe aliens. Who knows. Whatever. He said that the light penetrates into the mind of the sleeping and suddenly, the dreamer is living, really living, the dream.”
“What if you had got stabbed and died?” I shuddered.
He looked at me. “Let’s not find out,” he said as he pulled on a clean t-shirt and started putting up the tent.
His explanation, odd though it may seem to you who read this without the benefit of seeing what I saw, is the only thing that makes sense. So, once again, I implore you: Don’t sleep in the light of a full moon. You many not live to regret it.
Upon A Grassy Hillside
surrounded by quiet,
and above me
spackled with starlight,
and a full-moon
encased in an aura,
It is here ...
for better days.
Songs ring in my head,
songs from days past,
they tell me
love is such an easy game,
you win, you lose.
When daylight rises,
night dreams will fade,
the day will begin,
but the songs play on.
The sunset went to bed earlier than expected.
Meghan spent the day meticulously cleaning, cooking fancy food, and rearranging the furniture in the house.
She wanted to set the perfect vibe before her date, Jeremy, arrives.
She was anxiously looking forward to the night for a compassionate union with him. She loved him very much, and she wanted them to be one in body and soul, breathing the bliss of an intoxicating fire together.
For the first time, she felt this unique longing for him. She felt different, wanting a man to crawl under her velvet-silky skin since she’d moved away from Sin City, and changed her identity a decade before.
A sound of oven beeping brought her back from dreaming. The final food preparation was smoothly completed; delicious dessert was finally ready.
After setting everything on the dining table, she went upstairs and took a shower. She dried herself up and put on some lotion. Then, she sprayed a hint of perfume on her chest. Finally, she changed into a soft and silky short dress that glowed her radiance. She finished with her long hair ponytailed and tied with a two-prong hair comb.
She wanted to set the mood right for them to rejoice when her lover would arrive. The fragrance of anticipation filled her heart.
She glanced at her bedroom. A brand new pair of soft bed sheets were changed. The room was dimmed with candlelight, and champagne was chilled in a wine chiller, with two crystal glasses sat next to it.
She happily signed and felt it had a magical touch and feel. Everything was set and decorated perfectly.
”Tonight, it has to be the perfect night,” Meghan said excitedly, as she waited for Jeremy to finally arrive.
The anticipation was killing her softly.
They had been in a relationship for about a year before they decided to take things to the next level, meeting at her flat and creating an everlasting memory.
The knock she’d been waiting for came an hour later. She rushed and opened the door with a big smile.
”Hello, love,” said Jeremy as he swept her off her feet and gave her a warm kiss on her soft lips.
She returned the favor by letting her long fingers dance on his neck, her lips still etched to his.
He then gave her a dozen red roses, which he hid behind his back.
She took him straight to the dining table so they could eat before the food got cold. They sat opposite to each other, conversing about their days and sipping red Merlot wine, and barely bitting into the delicious food.
An hour went by before they thought of having a dessert. The discarded that idea, and he carried her upstairs to the bedroom. He slowly put her down on the bed and started kissing her gently. She felt the fire burning inside of her, and she laid back for him to take charge.
She closed her eyes and dreamed of their dance. When she opened her eyes though, she was staring at a shining knife, which he was about to pierce it into her chest like a dagger.
He looked down into her shocked and terrified eyes. He smiled with a grin of satisfaction.
”You thought we were going to have a happy ever ending night, didn’t you Jill?” Said Jeremy, pushing her down firmly on the bed, and choking her tightly by her soft and fragile neck.
”You don’t remember me, do you?” He said.
He continued angrily.
”How could you remember me? You ruined my life and just vanished into the thin air. I am sure you settled your score thinking that I’d be dead before we’d meet.”
”But, one lucky day, I found you while I was wandering around on the web. Thanks to social media, those pictures you posted on Instagram while vacationing in South Africa were killer ones and my favorites.”
”On those photos, I loved your throbbing smiles and sensuous poses.”
”Don’t be surprised. Yes, it is me, Phyllis Clarke. Remember, the young boy you let rotten in jail for fifteen years? Yes, fifteen long damn years.”
“No worries, you will soon be forgotten just like as I was. Tonight, the wait is over, and you’ll pay severely for your past transgressions.”
He let the shattering fear sink in her baffled mind before he continued.
“You see, we all have to pay for our sins. I’ll make you pay yours tonight. I can’t wait any longer until we meet in hell; eternity is for losers.”
“This is no vengeance but punishment. Pure punishment for your dread deeds.”
Her mind was spinning out of control. She couldn’t imagine being murdered by the same person she’d run away from when she was a teenager. He put her through hell back then and ruined her life. Now, she didn’t want to allow him to inflict the same agonizing pain on her again.
She wiggled frantically and began fighting back. She wanted to get gain balance. She refused to give in and die by his hands without a fight.
She decided, “Not tonight or any day.”
As she moved and kicked him around, he started paper cutting her arms and thighs. The soft bed soaked in blood.
She had to do something to get rid of this lunatic and menacing man off her.
At that moment, she realized it was reckless of her being on social media. Her life was a secret for a long time. She was living in the shadows. She was invisible since she changed her identity and moved away after he was incarcerated. When she decided to join social media, she’d never thought of any harm to come with it, because she was tired of being invisible anymore.
Besides, how would she expect to be haunted by him after all these years later? He wasn’t supposed to be out.
As different thoughts ran through the fibers of her being, she kept looking at his beautiful face. She couldn’t help but admire what he had done to it. She couldn’t yet believe that while she was on the verge of taking her last breath, all she kept thinking about was his new face. Whoever did the plastic surgery, they did an exceptional job.
She dodged that thought and began screaming and begging for her life. He punched her on the mouth.
As he held her down securely, she struggled to free herself. She was losing hope, but she remembered she had a long two-prong hair comb. She reached into her ponytail hair and pulled it and jammed it into his neck repeatedly.
She knew she wasn’t a match for his strength. So, she focused on driving the sharp object into his neck as fast as she could. On the fifth stroke, he moaned and collapsed on top of her. His soulless weight sunk them on the bed as blood was gushing all over her face and chest.
When she pushed him away off her, he made the last wheezing sound and took his last breath.
“We won’t be meeting in hell anytime soon,” Meghan said and walked towards her phone on the nightstand to dial 911.