I live like I have nothing to live for
I knew of Cormac McCarthy before hand but a friend recently gave me a copy of 'No Country for Old Men' and I couldn't put it down.
For those of you that haven't read McCarthy's work, he writes with almost no use of punctuation. He uses periods and commas, that's about it. No quotations, no colons, semi-colons, or dashes. He states his reason for doing this is he "doesn't like how the marks look on the page."
One could argue he's being lazy, but his descriptions are so vivid that you quickly forget about the abnormal writing style and become engrossed in the story itself.
Chronos Can Wait
It sounded as if someone was knocking on the front door with a rock. I crept to the front window to peek through the blinds, which were open enough to see through without having to move them. The moment I leaned in to look, the knocking stopped. There was no one there.
I stood back from the blinds, shook it off as a prank, and started towards the living room. The moment I did, the rapping on my front door continued, this time louder, and faster. I darted back over to the blinds to squint through them again, nothing. At that point, I assumed it was most certainly a practical joke. So I casually walked over to my front door, placed one hand on the deadbolt, the other on the knob, and waited.
A few seconds passed, and the prankster didn’t return for a third go. A few more seconds went by, and I began to relax. I removed my hand from the lock, and as I was about to withdraw my other hand from the knob, the knocking started again. This time it sounded as if someone was hitting it with a sledgehammer. The wooden door made a cracking noise as though it were about to snap from the frame, and the picture hanging next to the front entrance fell from the wall.
The force of the knock startled me at first, but the surprise quickly vanished, and I remembered my original goal. I shot my hands to the deadbolt and the knob simultaneously and turned them both in a single motion. I ripped the door open, my view pointing downward to lock eyes with the middle schooler behind this annoying prank, but it wasn’t a kid standing outside my door when I opened it. It was a flowing black robe.
My eyes tracked upward and stopped just above the doorframe to meet the gaze of a hooded figure. At least, I thought they were staring at me. I couldn’t see their face, just a black void surrounded by a black hood. The figure held a long black staff in one hand, gripping it with a rotting grey hand, the skin peeling back in certain spots to reveal tendon and bone. Their garments covered the rest of the staff-wielding arm, and the other arm hung down to the side, entirely obscured by the robes.
I stood frozen, my mouth hanging open in awe. The hooded figure raised the other arm, and the black fabric fell away, revealing an identical rotting hand. Pinched between a half skinless index finger and a putrid green thumb was a post-it note. The figure held the post-it note up in front of the faceless hood, took a ragged breath in, and a man spoke in a voice that was half whisper, half croak.
”Michael Shernerrr,” he rattled. ”Your tiime haasss co-...” He held up a decaying finger to signal for pause. He made a fist, raised it to his hood, and coughed into it several times. He cleared his throat and then spoke in a normal tone.
“Michael Sherner?” he asked in a North-Central American accent. He sounded like he was from Minnesota, maybe Wisconsin. “Are you Michael W. Sherner?”
As horrifying as the image in front of me was, I remained calm. “Who’s asking?” I said.
“Death,” he said flatly, holding out a sizeable decomposing hand to shake. With reluctance, I returned the gesture. He closed his long spindly fingers around my hand, squeezed firmly, and gave it a single shake.
“Michael Sherner,” I said, as I watched a worm crawl out of his robe sleeve and on to my wrist. I pulled back my arm and casually wiped my hand on my pants. “Charmed.”
Death took a deep breath, shrugged his shoulders, and let out a raspberry noise. “So..., ya ready to hit the road?”
Despite the fact I was the only person in the house, I looked over both shoulders, pointed to myself, and asked, “Me?”
He held up the post-it note again. “Michael Sherner, 18 Oak Street, Keene, New Hampshire?”
“Born December 19th, 1987?”
“Then, yes. You,” said Death, pointing a rotten finger at me.
I shook my head. “Nah. I think you have the wrong Michael Sherner that was born on December 19th, 1987.”
Death wagged the same finger at me. “Ah, ah. But you’re the only Michael Sherner born on December 19th, 1987, that lives at 18 Oak Street, Keene, New Hampshire.”
“I’m too young,” I said. “I’m healthy, I exercise, and I eat right. It can’t be me.” I attempted to shut the door, but he wedged his staff between it and the door frame. He pushed it back open with ease.
“It’s you,” Death said. “Look, this whole process is supposed to take about an hour, and we’ve already killed a few minutes standing here, err... no pun intended.”
“It’s not me,”
“100% here for you, bud.”
I clenched my fist, the veins in my neck bulged out, and I screamed in Death’s face, or into his hood at least. “FUCK YOU! I’m not going ya crusty, ringwraith lookin asshole!” I held up my middle finger, turned, and darted for the stairs.
“Hey now,” he said in a disappointed tone. “There’s absolutely no need for name-calling.” I looked back over my shoulder to see him trailing me up the stairs. “We are really behind schedule,” he called as I slammed my bedroom door shut and locked it. I then barricaded the bedroom door with my nightstand, my bed, and my chest of drawers. I fully expected Death to come blasting through the door, and I was going to do whatever I could to slow him down. But what came next wasn’t an exploding door and a shower of splinters.
The next thing I heard was the softest of knocks. Like a parent checking on their angsty teenager, Death said, “Hey, big guy...”
“SUCK IT!” I yelled as I tried to look for a viable escape. I attempted to open my bedroom window, but the lock wouldn’t budge. Before I could try breaking it, I was startled by a voice from inside my room.
“This is a bit dramatic, don’t you think?”
I turned and froze. Sitting on my bed was my favorite high school football coach, Chuck McNally.
“Coach?!” I asked, bewildered.
“No, son,” said Chuck. “It’s still Death.”
I desperately looked for anything that had some weight to it until my eyes fell upon a stapler sitting on my writing desk. I picked it up, reared back, and threw it as hard as I could. Like something out of a movie, Death caught it an inch from his face. He pursed his lips and shook his head.
“You’re acting like a little bitch,” he said. “I kindly ask that you stop. We’re running out of time.”
I threw my hands up. “I thought the whole point was that I was out of time?!”
“Well... you are. It’s just that I’m supposed to take you around to see your loved ones, analyze how you affected their individual lives, and show you the greater impact that has on the world. But your drama has burned up half of that time.”
“Look, I don’t care about your ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ shtick. Why does it have to be me? Can’t you take someone else?”
Death gave me a deadpan look. “Sorry,” he said in a gentle tone.
I began to pace in front of him. “What if you come back later? Like a few years from now?”
“No. I’m sorry, my friend.”
“A few months?”
“Weeks?” I said as I watched him continue to shake his head. I sat down on the bed next to him, hung my head, and just stared at my feet. As I sat next to Death, who was in the form of my favorite football coach, in my bedroom, on my bed, I began to cry.
It wasn’t fair. I was only 32, and I thought I still had more than half my life ahead of me. I now had minutes, and that thought alone was both depressing and overwhelming.
Coach Death gave me a light pat on the back. “It’s ok to be sad, bud.”
I looked up at him with tears in my eyes, sniffled, and said, “Yeah?”
“Of course,” he said, nodding. “It’s all a part of the process.” He then smiled just like my Coach used to after one of his players scored or made a hard tackle. Even though I knew it wasn’t actually my coach, the smile put me at ease.
“Does it hurt?” I asked.
“For a very brief moment, then there’s no pain whatsoever.”
“Is there a Heaven and Hell?”
“No. At least not a Hell anyways. Heaven is more subjective.”
“Either there’s a heaven, or there isn’t,” I said, annoyed.
“It depends on your definition of Heaven,” he said. “Look, it will all unfold for you after we go through that door. Trust me when I tell you that it’s mind-blowing and not scary at all.”
Confused, I shrugged and asked, “What door?”
Death pointed over my shoulder to a closet with its door now hanging open. In the doorway was what looked like a combination of silver tassels and the static from a tv screen. It seemed to be a portal.
Death threw his arm around me. “Are you ready?”
“Yes,” I said as we both walked towards the gateway. Just as we reached the portal, I stopped and turned my head to him. “Can I ask one more question?”
“Sure,” he said, looking down at his watch.
“Why did you take the form of my high school football coach?”
Death smiled. “To put you at ease for your journey.”
“Next person you visit,” I said. “you should lead with that and forgo the 8-foot dementor routine.”
“Noted,” said Death, and together, we stepped through the doorway.
STRANGE MEETING by Wilfred Owen
It seemed that out of battle I escaped
Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
Through granites which titanic wars had groined.
Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
Lifting distressful hands, as if to bless.
And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall,—
By his dead smile I knew we stood in Hell.
With a thousand fears that vision’s face was grained;
Yet no blood reached there from the upper ground,
And no guns thumped, or down the flues made moan.
“Strange friend,” I said, “here is no cause to mourn.”
“None,” said that other, “save the undone years,
The hopelessness. Whatever hope is yours,
Was my life also; I went hunting wild
After the wildest beauty in the world,
Which lies not calm in eyes, or braided hair,
But mocks the steady running of the hour,
And if it grieves, grieves richlier than here.
For by my glee might many men have laughed,
And of my weeping something had been left,
Which must die now. I mean the truth untold,
The pity of war, the pity war distilled.
Now men will go content with what we spoiled.
Or, discontent, boil bloody, and be spilled.
They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress.
None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress.
Courage was mine, and I had mystery;
Wisdom was mine, and I had mastery:
To miss the march of this retreating world
Into vain citadels that are not walled.
Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels,
I would go up and wash them from sweet wells,
Even with truths that lie too deep for taint.
I would have poured my spirit without stint
But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.
Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.
“I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark: for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now. . . .”
Wilfred Owen (1893-1918).
I Sincerely Love You All
We haven't met.
Here we are -
at this party -
wearing these pseudonymous masks,
enjoying drinks (among other spoils),
I feel so connected to this
I have never met
for being here.
Just wanted to say -
love you all.
Fucking fucktoids, I love saying the word fuck. It is perfect for any fucking situation. Hare your fucking mother in law? Fuck her! Fucking want to get laid? Go find someone to fucking fuck. Finally get those fucking concert tickets after fucking waiting for a fucking hour for some fucktard radio host to fucking ask you the simplest shit on earth? Fuck yeah! Now, we're going to fucking go see Katy Perry in fucking Illinois. I've never fucking been to Illinois (Maury determined that's a fucking lie), so I'm so fucking excited. For fuck's sake I'm so easily fucking distracted. Anyway, fuck is the best fucking word on this whole fu-- Oh fuck, was this one of those fucking "PG only" challenges? Fuck!
When you're curious how long Prose has been a website, so you go to Prose's official profile and decide to scroll through the posts until you get to the first one, since that might help give you an idea, but then you realize that you're going to have to click 'load more' approximately 52 times, since Prose has posted a lot, and you begin to wonder if it's even worth it...
That's me right now.
losing myself in the midday tumble,
the frantic waste of fingers
sliding down the spine.
swore my soul to smoke & sunlight
in the gentlest of ways
& then lost
so who the fuck am I
if I can't find something
to hold onto--
Curing the Meet
of a cross
on the street
be life or death
in the open air
across the alley
where we’d like
yet a safe
on the rack
2020 APR 1