Impossible to satisfy
Black and white fiber
Foreseeable to sanctify
John McGurk, Entrepreneur
The dancer kicked her leg high and swished her pink dress, cut low how McGurk liked it. He watched her and not the screaming woman who kicked her legs even higher, albeit with the benefit of a man carrying her aloft toward the door and the waiting Bowery cop.
“Where do they get it?” the barman asked him beneath the piano music. He poured three more fingers of whiskey for a swaying, unshaven man.
McGurk stroked his moustache and eyed the dancers, choosing. “Get what?”
“The carbolic acid.”
McGurk’s flat gaze remained on the edges of the dress, which had slipped a little, it seemed to him. “Don’t your missus clean house, Willie?”
“Not if she can help it.” A customer put three bits on the bar, so Willie extended the tube to him. The man took a deep breath, then began gulping as the crowd began hooting around him. “It could be a problem, Mr. McGurk,” Willie said.
The dancer on the left had stopped smiling, McGurk noted. He didn’t pay her to frown. She’d get a little pick-her-up before her time upstairs. “How’s that?”
“These women. That’s the third one tried to kill herself, now. In two weeks. The cops might ask questions about upstairs.”
“They all know upstairs. There ain’t a one of ’em but he dips his wick at McGurk’s after a patrol.”
The drinker coughed beer onto the floor. The surrounding patrons jeered, and McGurk smelled the camphor he cut the beer with. A drunkard reached for a dancer’s leg, then yelped as she brought down her heel on his hand.
“The customers, then,” Willy said. “Bit hard to have your fun while some woman’s burning her throat out next to you. And everybody’s heard about it.”
McGurk turned to his barkeep. “That’s right,” he said. “Everybody’s heard about it.”
John McGurk was a diligent man. He worked through the wee hours. Before the Bowery rose from its stupor sometime the next afternoon, he had affixed his new sign to the crumbling brick. New York City had 7,000 saloons, but everyone would hear about McGurk’s Suicide Hall.
Morbid Reality Check
Not everyone thinks alike. Those that say they do are obviously lying.
Smoking’ Hot Babes
I used to be a most excellent quitter, but not anymore. I had a love-hate relationship with cigarettes for twenty-some years. I used to light up every morning and then quit every night, swearing to myself I would never touch another one. There were a few spells in there where I quit with every butt I ground out. I’ll bet I quit smoking an easy thousand times. The last time finally stuck.
We moved to Virginia Beach the summer after fifth grade, my mother, my sister and I. Mom had a boyfriend there, a Navy Pilot… you know how that goes. We were in an apartment complex with a pool. That very first day at the pool I met the prettiest girl I’d ever seen. I remember like it was yesterday; my shot nerves, leaving the town I’d lived my whole life in, starting a new school, wondering if I would have trouble making friends here. Our first conversation went like this:
”You new here?”
”I’m going to have a cigarette. You smoke?”
”Yea.” (I had only tried smoking once, but I would have said yes to literally anything she asked me to do. I would have played Barbie with her, if that’s what she wanted me to do.)
”C’mon, then. Let’s go.”
That was the day I became a smoker. Kim and I were great friends all the way through high school. She was a bad influence on me the whole way, being the first to try everything, and then pulling me into it with her. We only ever kissed once, and the kiss was a let down for both of us, probably because it tasted like two ashtrays getting dumped into a bucket ;) Last time I saw Kim I had just quit college. She was fresh out of rehab. She still looked like a million bucks, although her eyes were a touch sadder. I truly hope she made it. God, did I adore her. There are a couple of stories inspired by her in my back catalog here on Prose, although the names were likely changed to protect the guilty. There are more stories too, ones that I will never tell.
So you see? It was a girl made me start, and it was a girl made me stop.
That last time, the time I finally really did quit, it was easy (but it was still damned hard). You see, Pooky-Bear had to quit. Cancer. Having that little bugger sneak up that close to you will do it every time. My winning quitting strategy went like this:
I laid a half a pack of Marlboro’s and a lighter on the kitchen table during a week of stay at home vacation from work. My project was going to be re-screening a very large screened-in back porch. I began work every morning at 7:00 am. Every time I had a hankering for a cigarette I grabbed a beer instead. By lunch time I was too drunk to climb the ladder, which was ok. There was always tomorrow. At the end of the week I had a beautifully screened porch, a raging hangover, and that half a pack of Marlboro’s was still lying on the kitchen table. In fact, they laid there for about two more weeks until I felt strong enough that I didn’t need their support. I have never felt the need for a cigarette again. Pooky-Bear flew through the surgeries and chemo just fine. She is now twenty-three years cancer free, and the same number of years smoke free. She didn’t need the beers, but then, she had her own incentive. Strong woman right there, kiddoes.
Strong enough to make a stronger man out of me… and one that would never quit her.
I have died
I have held the suicide hotline in my hand, ready to press the number. I have curled up on train platforms, the cement ground touching my face, and I have picked my day of death twice.
It all comes down to a conversation where I lost someone I love. In my writing, I try to make the words flow. Sometimes they don't come, and I'm stuck in bed at 2am, hearing the pay phone dial tone like an erotic whisper. The one where she hung up on me, while I was in the hospital. When words fail, there's nothing but pain.
She's not dead. Not even close. She goes to Harvard, she's married and has three 'fur babies.' I'm some deadbeat who writes for s___ and giggles. Maybe someone will hear me in the internet void. She saves lives, or is studying to. She is better than me.
She is better than me. She is better than me. She is better than me.
I made a mistake. I didn't apologize. Not even over the hospital's pay phone. I didn't even cry until after she had hung up. I don't know if I'm repressed. Maybe I am. I went back to sleep and didn't wake up for three days. I texted her when I got out and she didn't respond for hours.
I'll never recover from the mistake I made. I didn't know, before she disowned me as her sister, that you can die while you're still alive. That is something I will never recover from. It's a sprained ankle that I didn't go to Urgent Care for, and now I'll limp forever. She doesn't love me in the same way, in the same amount. If I had a penny for every time I think about what a piece of s___ I am because of it, I would be able to afford the cost of fifteen million plane tickets to visit her, but they would be as useless as the pennies themselves.
I don't know how to recover from it. That's my answer. In filling out a response to this prompt, I thought I had something to say. Maybe I don't. And maybe that's the problem. I have no words. One of us will go to the other one's funeral, because one of us will die first. And there will be words uttered there. Words like, I'm sorry for your loss. But she's already chosen to lose me. And that's where I'm stuck on this prompt. Because how do you find words, or emotions, or thoughts, when you've already sealed the coffin on the relationship?
There's no real answer to death and I'm not sure there's an answer to what happens after someone decides you're a toxic piece of trash.
I went to the hospital for her. To save our relationship.
Click, goes the dial tone. I hear it in my sleep. I'll hear it after I'm dead.
It's funny how that sound can come up in casual conversation, conversations where she doesn't ask me about how I'm doing. Harvard's so great, she says, eyes glistening. I can't see them glisten, but through texting, there's a certain emoting that comes through with certain emojis. If she were an emoji, she'd be the little smiley one with a pink face. I see her as bubbly, punctuating my life with pain. Punctuating my life with little moments of regret and stupid responses to meaningful prompts.
The time of year has me thinking of those I'm grateful for. Thanksgiving and Christmas do it to me each year, and I think of the progression of my healing since the fateful spring we met.
I was scared. I was swamped with memories that seemed to have come out of the blue, forgotten, buried and hidden deep inside a locked box in my subconscious. Disturbing memories of childhood sexual abuse which were never addressed. Which were never talked about. Which destroyed so many things I never admitted to and didn't want to face.
The six of us sat in the waiting room at the Jewish Family Center and sent cautious glances through eyelash shielded eyes, trying to assess our emotional safety. We knew this was a group for sexual abuse survivors, but not one of us was able to look at ourselves as anything but victims with horrifying flashbacks. As we would discover, none of us thought we had it the worst. Each of our stories were unique and each of us were more sympathetic to the others than to our own suffering.
You taught me to nurture my inner child. You taught me to celebrate my survival. You gave me a group of friends who have stood by me for twenty eight years now, and we continued to meet as a group, weekly and then monthly for over two years after our official time with you ended. You taught me to celebrate the strength, courage and compassion which were gifts brought to me through what I experienced.
One of our group went onto much more intensive therapy. Sandra had deep seated issues which required some time in rehab and one on one counseling to get her into the light again. We always wondered how she did. The five of us, however, became fast friends and were there through the cycles of recurring memories all trauma survivors go experience. A phone call, an email, a letter, a text and one or the other would respond.
So, thank you from the bottom of my soul. Thank you for giving me the foundation to deal with all the other goodbyes in my life by teaching me how to deal with saying goodbye to my innocence. Goodbye to my trust in adults, and hello to my fierce fighting spirit which I embrace today. And thank you for giving me back my dreams instead of the nightmares.
Your grateful client,
The Global Reset v Dylan Thomas
Are you all in?
Could you explain what this means with a straight face?
Do you think you stand to gain by supporting it?
Earth has nearly 8 billion people. Most live on less than $2 per day. Most are impoverished, living in squalor, barely getting by.
The value of all assets on Earth (as per the Boston Consulting Group) is $431 Trillion.
Do the math. This amounts to $53875 per person.
If you live in the US, this is less than all homes and most cars. This is less than a college education. This is less than the clothes you wear and the contents of a home.
Even if every human on Earth participates, all Americans lose.
What makes you believe all humans on Earth will offer all they have worked for? The Global Reset is exclusively for Americans. This may be news to you, but most of the world feeds off the self-depricating suffering Americans are exposed to on a daily basis.
Most of the world's population will not share in the expense of the Global Reset, but expect to share in its bounty.
The value of all assets in the United States is $269.6 Trillion. Divide that by 8 billion.
The value of each share is now $33700 per person.
What do you get to keep of what you have worked for?
If you have worked for 20 years, that is 40000 hours. That is less than $1 per hour. Even at this rate, most of the world will call most of America rich.
What makes you think if you are so gullible to believe the Global Reset will be a one time event? Why not a yearly reset? Let the world vote on the raid of the American coffers. Voting is the hallmark of democracy. What could be fairer than that?
Pull your head out of the sand and see the barbarians at the gate. Listen to the double-speak luring you into a virtue signalling. See the wolves working harder to loot your freedoms/liberties/wealth/lifestyle than working for their own. The world has you in their cross hairs and many in both the government and the populace want you to not resist. Your inaction makes them feel better about their inaction. If they can make you feel guilt, they will feel better about their guilt. But make no mistake, appeasing these people will only create more hunger for your way of life.
Neville Chamberlain gave us the most recent blueprint for dealing with totalitarianism. Do not provide the corallary for stupidity as a justification for theft.
"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
Time to see the world for what it truly is.
Which causes economies to grow?
A) Entrepreneurs risking their own money to start (and grow) a business.
B) Governments risking taxpayer's money buying votes with worthless programs.
Follow-up question: What is the difference between a Liberal and a Conservative?
Hint: See the previous choices.
Contemplating with Thoreau
Think you are a great multi-tasker? I doubt it.
Multi-Tasking = Poor Prioritization.
If writing is important to you, then make time to write.
If you finish the day feeling like a dog that has been chasing his tail, then not only are you exhausted, but your backside still itches, too. It is why dogs fare poorly in the wild. Take a bear now... she knows how to scratch her itch and then get on about the important business of a long winter’s nap!
There is little non-sense surrounding Momma Bear. She wakes, scratches her rear end on an unfortunate Spruce tree (quickly ridding herself of that annoying itch), while her Cubs slowly come alive. She then gathers them up before leading them straight to the termite log for twenty minutes of breakfast. When time is up, she’ll angle her unhappy brood (who wish to linger, as there are still plenty of termites to dig out) across a mountain meadow pink with Indian Paintbrush straight to her favorite elderberry patch for lunch hour. The cubs will want to laze once more in the tall grasses after their elderberry lunch, but Momma will still manage, as always, to be there early for her prime seat at the evening salmon run. All of this is no run of luck, nor accident. You see, Momma Bear had a plan, and woe to the irascible cub, panther, unfortunate hiker, or anyone else who stands between she and her goals! When there are little mouths to feed efficiency is a must.
And then there is the bee. Funny thing about a bee. He may linger about the rose bush, visiting and re-visiting it’s many petals, but he knows what he is about. He knows that the stickier his feet get, the more pollen he will find on his next visit. But if you are ever dying of thirst in the desert and a bee buzzes past your ear, follow it quickly! He will be heading directly to water, without deviation.
And while an ant appears helter-shelter, the hill somehow forms, doesn’t it?
No, it is only man and his beasts’ who get bogged down in self-made mire, accomplishing little to nothing in their eight hour day. So when you find yourself dying the death of a thousand cuts: Stop! Ask yourself what is most important. Complete that task, and ask yourself again? Then complete that task. Be the Momma Bear! Roar at those trying to hinder your progress! Be the bee and head directly to water! Prioritize!
When you find yourself with much to accomplish remember ’Ol Huck’s definition of a multi-tasker is, “one who does many things poorly.” (This is also a good thing to remember in a job interview. When you say, “I’m a great multi-tasker,” you are telling a potential boss that you do not prioritize.)
Stop. Plan. Execute without deviation!
Be the Momma Bear!
(You can thank me later, when you have completed writing your latest new story. ;)
“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”
- Henry David Thoreau