Let’s Live in Sin

His door was closed, that beautiful door, that shut-out the wolves. Harold was hung-over. It was not a drinking binge done out of love, but because of dread. When his kids moved-away to college, Harold thought the pressure would be less…

How wrong he was.

His wife was religious, to the point of extremism. Harold wondered what she would have been like in the Middle Ages. He wanted to see a psychiatrist—in fact, he did this behind his wife’s back. He got some medication and was popping anxiety pills like candy.

“Honey, I have a nervous disorder.”

“Go to Father Jacob,” she said. “In fact, I’ll make you an appointment. Your problem is that you live in sin—that’s where your nervousness comes from. Now, if you had spent more time in prayer, and less time drinking behind my back, you wouldn’t be so close to having a heart attack.”

Harold found ways to cope with his work life, homelife, and everything in-between. He hid away. He took to writing in a journal. It started out as complaining and then turned into angry poetry. He was getting worried because the lines were homicidal. He drank more and read the books that he enjoyed as a child. His psychiatrist told him that his preadolescent fantasies were a complete regression to a time of life when he didn’t have responsibility. The stories were about men who used magic to conquer evil.

There was a knock at his door.

The woman who entered was tall—gigantic, in fact. She didn’t have big muscles, but it was like her whole body was a muscle, tight, rigid, and wanting to break something. Domestic violence came to mind.

“The auditor is going to be here next week, and the safety-net IEP has numerous errors in it.”

“Don’t worry—I’ll take care of it,” Harold said.

She looked at him like he was a fool, and closed his door.

Harold had perfected many ways to get rid of people. The hardest was the kind that could carry-on a conversation with themselves.

When the door closed, he breathed again. He didn’t realize he was holding his breath. There was the copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. He pulled it from his shelf and retrieved his silver hip-flask. Two swigs and he felt hot and alive.

There was another knock at his door. “The auditor’s here,” his secretary said.

“He wasn’t supposed to be here until next week.”

“It’s the 21st.”

“How can that be?”

“Should I let him in? Are you busy?” Lorraine asked.

“No—I’ll see him.”

Harold’s secretary was a good soul, but the bad souls, far out-weighed the good soul. It was Egyptian Hell.

“Have I found joy in my life?” Harold asked himself. “I like to read literature, and I guess, I like to drink.”

“Have I brought joy to others? Well… I think many of my colleagues enjoy tormenting me.”

The auditor was bald, short, fat, and bored. Harold wondered about his vices. Nobody could look at numbers all day, without looking forward to something else.

“I was told that many of your Safety-Net IEPs have errors.”

“Who told you that?” Harold asked.

“It’s not important. I’ll need to see your files.”

“Can you come back later?”

“Strictly speaking—I need to see them now.”

“It’s just that—I feel like I’m having a heart attack.”

“Should I call 911?”

“No, it’s probably just indigestion— give me a few minutes.”

Harold looked at the awards he had won on his walls. What did it all mean? He was five years away from retirement, but he would lose everything. He might even lose his wife, if he couldn’t bring home the bread. What was it she said, “My husband is a weak man.”? His wife told her friends that, at afternoon tea.

Harold tried to be strong. He hoped adversity would toughen him up and he had lots of that, but it only caused him to wear, like a piano wire that couldn’t play beautiful music anymore.

“No. I should’ve done a better job of hiding,” Harold said to himself. As a young man, he was naïve. He didn’t understand why women didn’t like him. He was good looking before his body went to fat.

Even then, the female understood he was a coward.

Harold opened his desk drawer, full of office supplies. There were the heart pills his cardiologist gave him for arrythmia. Enough glycerin tablets, and his heart would stop. The coroner would rule his death an accident.

“No. I can’t do that,” Harold said.

There was a knock at his door. It was the auditor, again. “See these files? The dates are wrong.”

“Oh—”

“I’m putting you on report. The State will determine whether or not you can keep your job.”

“Thank you for your service.”

“What?” The auditor asked.

“You are a credit to this institution.”

“Up yours.”

Harold woke up. He was young. He was lying next to his beautiful wife. He had taken his first drink the other day when he started his government job.

“Honey.”

“Yes, dear?”

“I need to quit my job.”

“What will you do?”

“I’m going to be a writer.”

“How will we make it?”

“You can get a government job. By the way, let’s not have any kids.”

“Those are sinful thoughts,” she said.

“Let’s live in sin.”

The End

Shoulder to Cry On

He came up to me, my friend

and he said, “My life’s not working out.”

“Tell me about it.”

I want prestige, fame, wealth beyond my wildest dreams, women, dames…”

“You said women twice.”

“That’s because I want women twice as bad as everything else.”

“Okay. Setup an online dating site.”

“But you don’t understand… I don’t just want any woman—only the most beautiful woman.”

“That’s hard to find—how will you know?”

“Basically—all the guys will want her, but she is too good for them, and chooses me.”

“I see. Are you crazy?”

“Probably. And my goal is impossible, because I can’t undo my nature.”

“And that is…?”

I adjust to the seasons, like a hibernating grizzly bear. In the winter, I get fat. In the spring, I get stressed and eat. In the summer, I want sex—but the women are totally disgusted by me because I’m HUGE, and in August, I finally become a stud, but their interest wanes in Autumn, like falling leaves, and I am left with those bare trees, under a lonely moon, until I go to sleep again.”

“Why can’t you just stay the same?”

“I go with the flow. I don’t swim upstream.”

“You have a heck of a problem.”

“I know.”

“Have you tried religion?”

“Yes. It’s self-flagellation. I don’t know why, but so many guys get-off on confessing their sins in public.”

“It might be good for you.”

“I’ve got enough pain in my life. I don’t need to do it to myself.”

“And how about success…? Why don’t you get a better job?”

“Because they’ll steal my time. It’s mine. All those hours will be wasted, working for someone else.”

“You have a heck of a problem.”

“I know.”

“What are you going to do about it?”

“I’m going to be a writer. I’ll read my poetry to women in coffee shops. I’ll travel. I’ll give talks. I’ll be the toast of the town.”

“Good luck with that.”

Guess What Kids?

Reunions, I hate reunions

and People, I hate people

(I was invited to a home with wonderful people of Indian descent, and I said that to the host—to everyone)

and the head of house looked at me as if I had blasphemed God.

I have always wondered why people are uptight and worried about saying the wrong things…

Now I know

His wife likes me though

She calls me to ask advice about her son, and I do my best

Then, I get invited to her home

but I don’t go.

I should give more effort to cultivating relationships

but

I don’t plant good seeds

and all I get are weeds

like one of my friends, I can’t get rid of

He tells me

that he got a girl’s number who works at the gym

“Really?”

“Yeah,” he said. “The problem is, I can’t find her.”

“Did you text her?”

“Yeah, and she doesn’t respond.”

I wonder about the human race

and why people like to run with each other.

I run alone—I always have.

It seems impossible for me to force myself to do many things

I just don’t enjoy them

People know I don’t want to be around them—and this is an insult to their social sensibilities

but I don’t mean it to be

I just love my own company.

The group tries to get me to believe like them

Soon, I have traded my identity

for an ideology

and I am just like them.

Is this bad?

Not if you like

TV

baseball games

celebrities

gossip

and gang-green

raping

with infections

opinions.

It’s not that bad

I exaggerate

but let me tell you

there is no better feeling

than escape

into a good book

I hate most books

because I can’t stand the people in them

or the people who write them

I’m not alone

Children hate to read

because they are honest

Their teachers

are forcing them.

Guess what kids?

They try to do that your whole life

right up until the day you die.

Say something True

Say something True

the red sportscar is driving out of my soul

I can’t stand the pressure

most days

I shift into second and third

fighting an asshole

on the freeways

their fragile ego tears

so easily

shatters

with a brush

from death

I am cleaning up my life

with death

I roar across the arteries

of cities

like a clot

moving towards the brain

of a patient

who has lost patience, lying there, watching wheel of fortune

STROKE! that fire engine

4th 5th

It feels good

There is nothing better to do

in a nursing home

Faces that have looked at my Face

for 10 years

can’t read me

illiterate, worried, imbeciles

Poker face

with an Ace

up my sleeve

I can’t make money, for big houses

at the end of long driveways

No. It’s Satan in his car

cruising the byways

the symbolism of sex

and never the real thing

RPMs

in the Red

going nowhere

able to conquer, the freeways

Those fake faces, false friendships

dead end jobs, that never die

Those dead people, who don’t believe

You can see my crimes written in the sky

in smog, from my exhaust engine

Exhausted? Not really.

I was just learning how to drive.

People ignore the fundamentals.

Say something True

Young people who rebel

become old people in hell

chanting, marching, wearing t-shirts with their opinions

trapped in traffic

watching the news

giving advice, to themselves

telling stories about when they were young

how they might’ve changed the world

while I

leave my mark on the road

I know I’m not going to change it

I don’t want to

I just don’t want to die

in the slow lane.

Accounting, on the Beaches of Contentment, When the Waves Come In…

Sirens at 6 AM

the women are beautiful

the noise doesn’t bother me

I’m not working

I’m resting

in this quiet apartment

I am a student of math

What do I add to my life to make it better?

What do I take away?

Most men believe

adding more, is the solution

They know they are supposed to eat less

but they eat more

“I’ve got a fat ass,” one of them says

It’s his way of making light, of his heaviness

People are afraid of loss

but losing what they have

will make them free.

Men want a wife to go home to

even if, she drives him, to the edge of his sanity

and mark my words

she has a license to kill

How many couples are happily married?

How many people love their jobs?

To be content, without misery

is advanced calculus

I was playing golf, yesterday—quite badly

I hooked my shot, on number 13

Two X, bad cops picked up my ball in their power cart

One, was smoking a long cigar and the other wore a gold bracelet

“What are you playing?” He asked.

“Srixon.”

“Oh—you mean Srixon. You probably hit it bad because you can’t pronounce it right.” He threw my ball on the grass and drove off.

“That wasn’t very nice,” the gay guy in my group said.

“He’s probably been drinking,” I sighed.

The wind was blowing white clouds across a blue sky on the green golf course. It was 70 degrees.

Will a better job improve my life?

Will a girlfriend make me feel better?

No. It’s obvious, that the less I have, the better I feel.

Being less than zero, allows all the ones

to add to my negativity—

those beautiful ones

enter my emptiness

where I have made room

to become full

again.

The women at work are competing with me

but I have no desire to play their games

One, saw me in the hallway yesterday, and redirected her route, away from me

I am a numbers guy

and I am not offended by her, not wanting to add to my company

One, told me, “Lisa is doing more evaluations than you.”

“Really?” I asked.

“Yeah. I had lunch with her this weekend.” She told me.

She said this like, other people know you’re an asshole now.

There is…

a time to sleep

a time to die

and

a time to move on

My time might be coming due

All the perfect predictable numbers I created

will be scattered

by randomness

while I try to order them

like a child building a sand castle

with careful accounting

on the beaches of contentment

when the waves come in.

The Hill House

The manservant took the cat, like he was stealing somebody’s virginity.

“You have to give us a ticket, with your information on it,” Morgan said.

“What for?”

“Immunization.”

“Not gonna happen… besides, the cat won’t be walking around for very long.”

“What are you going to do with it?” I asked.

“That’s my business—or should I say, my master’s business.”

The manservant left, getting into his Lincoln. It was a black sedan.

“Should we follow him?”

“Listen, Andy—we kill cats all day. Why are you concerned?”

“It’s a mystery.”

“That’s true, and we’ve gassed all of our cats for this evening.”

“Already?”

“Yeah—the fire department found two in a tree, and five in the city sewer. We’re low on gas—I need to order more poison.”

“We’d better follow that car.”

“No. Not a good idea. He’d spot us for sure. Let’s just drive-up to the hill house.”

“Can we get through the gate?”

“We’ll have to climb over the wall.”

The night hung around our headlights like black drapes. The stars were tiny pin-pricks, among a sea of rolling clouds. It felt like we were driving to our destiny. Up on the hill, the outline, of the Italian villa, was more like a castle than a home, with a wall, 12 feet tall, enclosing the property.

To be continued…

Cheering for the Human Race to End

I have always liked

half-mad people

(half-mad, because they can explain their madness—they can function—a drooling schizophrenic isn’t that interesting)

Who knows if

the mad response, is not the rational response—

most of society is repressed, anyway.

I write on an old typewriter to get the stories out

somehow

the sound

of click click… space bar…return

is music to my ears.

I love the smell of hot black ink.

When I write on this electric machine

from the 1970s

my emotions get out

of my body

and when I go to the grocery store to buy

fizzy water

I am completely vulnerable

paranoid—

at the roving mobs of male teenagers

at little girls in horse riding costumes with whips

at mothers who don’t want to be mothers, their jawlines set, like fighters

there isn’t much pride in the ring

just blood and sweat

and angry fans, chanting, “Give us a show!”

as I hold my breath, driving

out of the parking lot.

Yes, the question should be asked, am I crazy?

I don’t think so…

Most people are unwilling to examine

what they do

If they analyze that, and keep doing it

they’re crazy

Maybe, they’re just negligent.

Which is more frightening, a parent who leaves a baby in a hot car

with 10 things on their mind

or a parent who doesn’t want a child anymore

and aborts?

Both are horrifying

Yes, the human race

will be finished

one day,

and I will be on the side-lines

cheering.

The Stroke at Midnight

the clock

went tick tock

It was a lonely summer night

and the young man had all the time in the world

and no desire for company.

You see, he had quit his job at the company

so he could enjoy his own

no plans

and he started to notice

small details

like the switch, that turned-on the porch light.

He didn’t know what that switch was for

until tonight (He Rented an Apartment).

With nothing to do, details came into focus

at a much slower pace

like the passage of time

and the clock

going tick tock.

It was nearly midnight

and the young man hadn’t talked to anyone in several days.

He thought

in bed, but

nothing profound—

just the pleasure of being alone.

Then it happened…

a stroke

His muscles seized-up

and he couldn’t move

He tried to call for help

but no sound came-out

He lay there for hours

until the morning light filled his room

His eyes were wide with terror

He was thirsty

There was a knock at his door

the missionaries…?

but their footsteps walked away

unable to save him.

The young man was in heaven

when he had control of his mind

but when that was stolen from him

at midnight

the miracle would be his dehydration death.

He tried to think around the barriers keeping him paralyzed.

Perhaps, if he used the left side of his brain, or the right

he might be able to move?

Perhaps the lower, emotional brain

or the reptilian stem?

He thought in as many different ways

as he could, but nothing helped him.

He was trapped.

Until the present,

many things had been wrapping him up

tightly

and his thoughts

untied their beautiful bows.

A spider crawled the length of his arm

and bit him

He didn’t know if it was poisonous or not

It began to spin a web, around him

Two months later

his manager found him

“He was always a quiet customer,” she said. “He never bothered anybody.”

My Literary Rocky Balboa Alter Ego

He’s my age

married

been that way

since I got my first job

He’s an asshole

but I like him.

Immediately, he was recognized

for being cool.

I was recognized

for being smart.

“Why don’t you get up and give a talk?” He asked

He knew

I was uncomfortable

with that.

I took impractical routes

on roads not taken.

He was pragmatic (Although, he would never use that word)

He gave a talk, during my second year of labor

a big hit, describing his early life as a juvenile delinquent—

how his special education teacher whipped him into shape

“Now, I have a wife,” he said.

Everybody laughed.

She’s a special education teacher too.

At a summer conference, I asked him what he did with his vacation time

“I’m a ranger and I do helicopter rescue in the national parks.”

“How does a guy get to do that,” I asked.

“You have to know somebody,” he said with a smirk.

He has an emotional behavioral disability, but over the years, he’s learned to make it work

“What are you doing over your summer?” He asked.

“I’m trying to write.”

He smiled, a condescending smile (one of those bookworms—without a spine, he thought)

I won’t say, people have been underestimating me my whole life

because that’s not true.

People need evidence to believe in you

and I have won, several times, in my past.

Lately, victory has not sustained me—it’s my belief, in myself.

In elementary school

I was going to play pro basketball

In middle school

I was MVP

In high school

I was going to be a fighter

In college

I broke a kid’s nose

In graduate school

I was going to be a writer

At work, I became a psychologist

During my Doctorate Degree, I would be a leader

Finally, I became a writer.

No wife, but if I do a couple other things right

it might happen.

This guy, I admire

is the interim principal at my school

He has talked to the right people

and made himself useful

whereas, I am only useful to myself

“Stop being so selfish,” my dad says

but I see time

through my own eyes…

What I have created in secret

is worthwhile

What I have learned

on my own

matters

and not what somebody else

was able to teach me.

I read during my doldrums

am I wiser?

I think by the river

I play golf to kill time

Can I reformulate my mind

to become

what they want me to be?

I don’t know

In the words of a literary Rocky Balboa

“I’m a writer. We can’t change what we are.”

“You can change,” his wife says.

“All we can do is go with what we are.”

And I believe that.

A Discontented Fool is Dangerous

“We do have a cat that meets your description,” Morgan said.

“I thought so.”

“Does it belong to you?”

“It belongs to my master.”

“You know, when you say that, it makes you sound like a Sith apprentice.”

The manservants glanced at Morgan’s t-shirt. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

“You boys need to get out more.”

“Look who’s talking. Are you even from this century?”

“Oh—pardon my appearance. I worked at a funeral home before taking the job as manservant. Salem’s Rest, do you know it?”

“Uh—buddy, we kill cats, not human beings—and we definitely don’t bury our dead—we burn them.”

“So did Mister Salem.”

“Let me get you the cat. Is it a pet?”

“I’m sorry, but I can’t discuss Hubbard’s business.”

“Here it is,” Morgan said. The cat was asleep—no, that’s not the right word—the cat was blackout drunk on tranquilizer.

“Charlie sure does over-do-it with the knockout juice,” I said.

“That’s because he got bitten by a rabid dog last year. Charlie got two shots off, before the beast ripped his leg off. He had to have anti-rabies vaccine for five weeks, and that stuff makes you thirsty, but you don’t want to drink water. The surgeon sewed his leg back on and reset the bone. We saw chew-marks under the x-rays.”

I knew Morgan’s explanation was totally ignorant, but I didn’t correct him. He was content in his misunderstanding. A discontented fool is dangerous. Morgan still believed the weather causes earthquakes.

To be continued…