Week 10 – Storm #2

Brainstorm

The conference room was tense –

The coffee pot was empty, there was paper on the floor, and 7 of the 12 people had their heads in their hands.

Not a single sticky idea had yet been presented, and they knew the fervor beyond the conference room was ready to yield a shitstorm.

Surely, there was something they could do…

“I have an idea,” said the idea man.

Heads, shoulders, and spines stood straight with anticipation.

As a team, they fleshed out the idea, while someone took notes.

The talked about risk, they talked about budget, they talked about timelines.

Someone brought in another pot of coffee, which was devoured in moments as team members paired off to plan their parts.

As they all came together, it was 7pm.

It had been a long day, but they all felt accomplished, excited, eager.

They felt as if they had been re-energized.

Leaving the conference room with to-do lists, the team went back to their cubicles and offices.

They ordered pizza and kept working.

It was time to turn this place around.

Week 4 – Train #2

Gymrat

I wander, my mind moves, I count

Breath, anda 1. Breath anda 2. Breath anda 3. Breath anda 4. Breath anda 5…

Her lips move, but I don’t hear her. Rather, I hear multiple other things simultaneously:

My heartbeat. Nine Inch Nails. Breath anda 12 (breath anda 13, breath anda 14…)

I don’t know how many breath andas I count, but there are a lot.

It doesn’t matter though, like they say, I’m just putting in my time.

I move, my mind wanders, I count

I don’t know why I count, but I do, and it sets my mindset for the day.

1, pause, 2, pause, 3, pause, 4, pause, 5…

I check myself out in the mirror. Damn hot, if I do say so myself!

That woman is looking at me again and talking.

What would I do without TV?

18, pause, 19, pause, and 20.

Sigh!

I train to plateau, and then change things up a bit.

Until I plateau again.

As I walk out into the blinding sunrise, sweat blinds my eyes,

And I crave salt.

Week 4 – Train #1

Freight Train Lullaby

Shuttling past icons of history, and cities of wonder,

I fidget a bit in my seat, knowing that after the sun sets on this crazy day,

The world will turn black for a number of hours, and only occasionally will the firefly lights of metropolitan communities shoot past the windows.

Thus is my life on the train during non-daylight savings hours.

My haunted past of bouncy planes and cramped rental cars still fresh in my mind.

Yes, YES, this is the true way to travel.

Despite hurtling at a speed of nearly 100 miles per hour, it feels that time slows down.

I live in the moment the best that I can. I stare out the window, and catch myself daydreaming – thinking about the fantasies I had as a child, watching the lumbering trains go by.

“Where are they going to?” I wondered, creating their story for my own amusement.

For instance, there was that long freight train running parallel to us in the Mojave Desert when we went to visit my grandparents.

In the middle of nothing, in the middle of nowhere, there was this train!

I decided that it, too, was coming from the Midwest to the West coast – perhaps to visit their own family: Uncle Pete the artist, Uncle Fred alcoholic, Grandma Engineer, who always had almond cookies and a hard candy dish…

These momentary daydreams allow me to live multiple lives at the same time.

The light fades from the sky, and the lightning bugs awake…

In Nashville, Memphis, Tulsa, Amarillo…

By the time we cross into New Mexico, I’ve been asleep for a while,

Sung to the tune of a long forgotten freight train lullaby.

Week 10 – Storm #1

The Storm

There was no denying the air was electric, you could taste it in your mouth.

Every April was like this – emergency sirens were as commonplace as the sounds of traffic on I-35.

We sat on the porch, sipping on sweaty Mason jars filled with bourbon and lemonade.

The heat was bearable – the tension was not.

We kept the horizon within our sight – in every breath and every moment.

We chatted. We talked about what we’d do with our harvest later in the year.

We talked about flowers we had yet to plant.

We talked about the forecasted temperatures.

We talked to keep from saying the obvious:

The storm was coming.

 

Moments from now, we’d see lightning crackle the sky – both vertically and horizontally.

Thunder would boom and grumble, and dogs would howl.

Trees would stir from their lazy day of rest, chittering like excited or nervous children.

 

Soon, the trees would stretch in the air – this way and that, like some crazy balloon man welcoming us to the car dealership.

The rain would come.

First, as a barely noticeable spit, then as a downpour so hard you could hardly see the road from 20 feet.

The lightning would threaten our barn,

The thunder would clap our ears and make them tingle,

And when it was over, the world would smell fresh and new.

Week 3 – Television #2

The Watcher

I am the eye in the sky, as they say –

The watcher watching the watchee.

You stare at me and demand that I entertain you.

While you entertain me.

I see my glow shine in your eyes –

The windows to you soul.

And what do I see in your soul?

I see emptiness, I see nothing.

Yes, I am the eye in the sky,

Watching you in your living room, bedroom, and yes, even the bathroom.

You turn me on, you set my face aglow.

And in return, I show you what you want to see.

I show you things you don’t want to see.

I am power. I am the mirror to your morality.

But you love me.

You need me.

No one else makes you feel the way that I do.

I make you laugh.

I make you cry.

I make you happy, sad, numb, shocked, thrilled, and amazed.

Call me your oldest friend, your best friend.

No one else knows you like I do.

The watcher watching the watchee.

Your television.

Week 3 – Television #1

Pain, Relax

I stare at the television –

Random snapshots of life –

No, carefully chosen snapshots of disharmony and angst.

It was so much better as a kid watching cartoons on Saturday mornings!

Now, as I sit in pain, brain cramping from all this bad news,

I reach for my drink, which has gotten stiffer throughout the evening.

I drink deeply, the magic elixir of tequila, tequila, and tequila. With a shot of plastic bottle lemon juice.

When I finish, I smack my lips and listen to the ice clink at the bottom of my glass.

After 10 minutes, I realize I’m wringing my hands, and wishing for another drink.

 

Instead, I turn off the television.

My vision clears.

My pain softens.

My dry, achy eyes close.

I relax for the first time today.

 

And there is peace.

Week 2 – Cramp #2

Electric Acid

The tasteless fluid ran down his throat.

Unsure of the speed of the substance, he sat down in a cozy chair.

His feet were flat on the floor. His eyes looked at the ceiling.

He turned up the stereo until he felt the musical beat throbbing in his chest.

“Don’t think,” he thought to himself. “Just be.”

After a few moments – or an hour, for all he knew – a great soaring bald eagle flapped into the room and ripped him from his body.

“Come,” the bird roared, “the ascendants are ready for you.”

And whoosh! He was completely out of his body, spreading wide, and flat like a giant piece of paper.

Out of his cramped body, he was rolling and swimming in the waves of the breeze, taking whatever form he needed to be.

The eagle stared into his eyes as they raced through the sky.

“For all your knowledge,” the eagle said, “you know nothing.”

Week 2 – Cramp #1

Gripping Sunrise

I laid in the exquisite silence of dawn. Birds chirped outside the open windows, and the newborn pink sky tilted towards another day.

I smiled as I remembered my dream:

My wife and I were sitting at an outside gelato café in Turin, Italy.

She was reading the local newspaper (which was weird, since she doesn’t understand Italian!), while I was mapping out our travels for the day.

Kids rode by on their bicycles, and elderly men and women walked down the street either on their way to – or from – the outdoor market.

The weather was perfect – mid 70s with just a slight breeze.

As I continued to replay my dream, I rolled onto my back.

I yawned, and streeeeeetttched…

And BAM!

The cramp twisted my calf into a tight pretzel knot.

My foot pointed grotesquely as I quickly rolled over to the edge of the bed.

I put my foot on the floor, and remembering what Auntie Aggie taught me, I slowly started to apply pressure, oh so slowly standing up.

The pain was the antithesis of the morning I was just having –

It consumed my thoughts, and ate holes into my Italian dream.

I gnashed my teeth and squirmed in discomfort.

I began to make deals with god and the devil.

In desperation, I began to rub, then punch my overly fatigued muscle.

A guttural groan escaped my throat.

The seconds became years…

When finally, the demon’s grip on my lower leg let loose and was allowed to relax once again!

I plopped back on the bed, looking out the window.

For a moment I tried to grasp that memory of Italy – a place I’d never been.

But like the cramp, the memory was gone.

The newborn pink sky had turned daylight blue, and it was time to face the day.

Week 1 – Cartoon #2

Cereal Killer

The morning chill crept in as I tossed back the covers.

Static electricity sparked from the sheets to my flannel pajamas,

But I had no time to notice –

My bare feet hit the cold, tiled floor, and I quickly jumped into my fuzzy slippers.

I opened the door, careful not to let it creak too loud.

Rubbing sleep from my eyes, I shuffled down the hallway –

Not realizing that I was setting myself up for another static zap!

 

I turned on the TV – ZAP!

Yet I was barely aware.

The TV tube flickered as I switched channels.

The Canadian national anthem played

There was a test pattern

And voila! There it was…

 

I shuffled into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator – ZAP!

And grabbed the milk, putting it on the table.

I pulled up a kitchen table chair, climbed up, and grabbed a bowl from the cabinet.

 

Leaving the chair, I padded to the pantry and found the box of sweet yummy Frankenberry cereal.

Ohhhhhhhhhhh…

Back to the kitchen table, I dumped too much cereal into the bowl, little pellets of sugar bombs leaping from the bowl to the table.

Followed with too much milk poured from the plastic container.

 

I grabbed a spoon, and carefully made my way back to the living room – leaving a path of red #2 dyed oats.

Sitting on the floor, I mindlessly ate my breakfast.

It was Saturday morning in Michigan.

And cartoons were on!

Week 1 – Cartoon #1

Over the next few days or weeks, I’ll be posting the writings I’ve done since I started this project (see “Rededication”). In week one, the topic was “cartoon”. The goal I’ve set is to write something related to the word for the week. Sometimes, it will be obvious. Sometimes, mysterious. Always fresh! Hope you enjoy!

The Last Fight

The door opened with a BANG!

Startled, he JUMPED and hit his head on the too short ceiling fan.

SEEING STARS, he reached out to her, apologizing.

As she screamed, his hair actually moved as if BLOWN BY THE WIND.

She stormed out of the house, her legs churning so fast he could hardly SEE THEM.

 

He slumped against the wall, rubbing his head.

His eyes felt like little X’S. He felt dead to the world.

As he slid down into his torment of desperation, he felt a laugh ESCAPE HIS THROAT.

He had visions of being Wile E. Coyote in those old Bugs Bunny cartoons, chasing after Road Runner.

After all, he did feel like AN ANVIL FELL ON HIS HEAD…

 

With that crazy thought, he stood straight up.

He realized that this was a loop that played over and over and over, resetting itself every time they got back together.

Sure, she had BAGS OF MONEY

And her cat SYLVESTER was pretty cool…

 

But every time she left, he ran after her.

Not this time, he’d decided…

Instead, he calmly collected her things into a worn ACME box,

Intending to set them on the porch.

 

But in reality,

He threw Every. Single. One of them.

Out the fucking window!