El Chupacabra

The next day, the guys went out and tracked down a chupacabra. Now, chupacabras aren’t technically real beings; what had happened was there was an imp had gotten loose in the living realm. When Aaron and Kyle had found him, he had taken off running, but not before releasing several mythical beasts to throw them off his trail. With the imp and all the other beasts having been captured (and disposed of, in several cases), the only loose end that remained was this chupacabra.

They had tracked it to the woods not far from town, and after a good, hearty breakfast, they set off to catch themselves an imaginary being. Aaron parked the hearse, and they sat there for a moment.

“I’m telling you, dude, we need to get a cooler car than this stupid thing,” Kyle said.

“This is what we have, and this is what we can afford for now.”

“Oh, come on, we’re not gonna turn any heads in the dead-mobile.”

“That’s not exactly the point of the vehicle, Kyle. The reason we have a car at all is to get to the places that are too far to walk.”

“All I’m asking is why can’t we do that with some style, though?”

“This is strictly about the job; style has nothing to do with it.”

“Seriously, Aaron? You can’t tell me that you wouldn’t feel like a total boss if we rolled up in a black, four-door muscle car, like on that one TV show. Oh! Or a monster truck!”

Aaron stared at Kyle. “A monster truck? Really?”

“Yeah, get it? Cuz people see me as a monster.

“Yeah, buddy, I got it. However, not only are those things not street legal, it pretty much defeats the purpose of working in secret. We might as well advertise what we do for a living.”

“Why don’t we? Maybe that’s something we should bring up with Lugosi.”

Aaron sighed. “I’ll look into getting a new vehicle if you promise to drop this whole monster truck idea. And we are NOT advertising. That’s just bad news, man; people would flip out, and we’d probably get arrested for the various crimes we have to commit in order to do our jobs.”

Kyle squinted at Aaron for a minute, then smiled. “Alright, we’ve got a deal.”

The two of them hopped out of the car, with Kyle grabbing the hex bag from the back. The hex bag was a burlap sack that had been steeped in incantations in order to make it strong enough to hold most magical creatures. It came in very handy when they were apprehending some of the less-civilized beings that made their way into the human realm. Or, as in this case, creatures that only exist because some mischievous being conjured them as a distractionary technique.

The guys walked into the woods, and Aaron pointed his cane into the trees. “Alright, find me my chupacabra,” he said. The crystal ball at the tip began to glow blue, and suddenly a small ball of blue light appeared in front of them. It hovered in the air for a second, before taking off further into the forest.

“Let’s get this over with,” Aaron said as the two of them ran after the light. It zigged and zagged through the trees, with the boys following close behind. After several minutes, the light slowed down, and then stopped. When they caught up to it, they found themselves standing on the edge of a small clearing. In the middle of the clearing sat a small bear-like creature, which was picking through the remains of a dead deer.

Kyle whistled sharply, and flapped the hex bag. The chupacabra looked up from its meal and began searching for the source of the sound. Kyle whistled again, for a second longer this time. The chupacabra turned their direction, and began sniffing the air. It slowly meandered towards them, stopping ten feet from them. It stood there, sniffing cautiously, looking through the trees for them.

“It knows something’s wrong,” Aaron whispered.

“Should I stun it?” Kyle asked.

“Not yet; if we can get it into the bag without shooting it, that would be ideal. It may not be a real being, but it’s real enough. I don’t want to be rough with it if we don’t have to be.”

Kyle whistled once more, pulling some beef jerky from his pocket. He stepped forward slowly, holding the jerky out in front of him. The chupacabra saw him then, and slowly started walking towards him as well, pausing every few seconds to sniff the air again and look around. Eventually, it walked up close enough to snag the jerky from Kyle’s hand. Kyle reached out and petted its head.

“There you go, buddy…now, you’re not going to like this next bit, but hang in there. It will all be over soon.”

Like a flash, Kyle jumped forward, shoving the entire beast inside the hex bag and diving on top of it as it began to thrash and buck. Aaron was already dialing Violet on his cell phone.

“Come on, come on…pick up…” Aaron muttered.

Kyle, wrestling with the bagged creature, yelled out to Aaron. “Hey, dude, I don’t mean to rush you, but if you could say that incantation sooner rather than later, that would be fantastic.”

“I’m working on it; I forgot to write it down, so I’m calling Violet. She’s got the book on her table, ready to go.”

“Hellooo?” sang Violet as she answered the phone.

“Hey, it’s Aaron; can you read off that incantation for getting rid of an imp’s creations for me again? I forgot to write it down, and I need it right away.”

Kyle continued to wrestle with the hex bag. “Any day now, Aaron!”

“Yes, dear; just give me a moment to run down to the front room.” Aaron could hear Violet rushing on the other end of the phone. When she spoke again, she was slightly out of breath.

“Okay, it’s “Remicus ansurian deseparo.”

“Thanks; you’re a real peach. I’ve gotta go…bye!”

Aaron hung up the phone, pointed his cane at Kyle and the chupacabra, and yelled “Remicus ansurian deseparo!”

A bolt of lightning shot from the crystal ball and hit the bag with tremendous force.

“OW!” Kyle yelled, and Aaron ran over to where he lay.

“You need to work on your aim. That’s the third time this week you’ve hit me with the same spell.”

Aaron rolled his eyes. “I’m sorry; next time, you can say the incantation. Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine; I just felt like giving you grief for hitting me again. What you should be asking is ‘did we hit the chupacabra?’”

Kyle stood up and shook out the hex bag. “Looks like it’s been taken care of. Yet another one bites the dust, my friend.”

Aaron grinned. “We’re getting pretty good at this. We should do this for a living.”

Kyle laughed. “Yeah, no kidding. I mean, we still have to call for help more than I’d like to admit, but we always get the job done.”

Kyle shook the hex bag once more, and then folded it back up. “Let’s get out of here; we have a road trip to begin.”

“Indeed we do. I’ll call Lugosi and let him know we’re on our way.”

121 People A Day

No. Shut up and listen for a change. Listen to all the things you were too dense to pick up on, all the things you were too high and mighty to accept, and all the things you were too smart to pay attention to. Because it’s not about being sad. It’s about being fucking broken.

It’s about knowing that if you disappeared from the face of the planet, the only people who would notice are your bosses, because everyone else is too self absorbed to see what’s really going on.

It’s about knowing that you are expendable. That no one ever has and never will really need you around. If you were to die right this instant, you would simply be replaced by a better, much more stable person, and they would never even miss you.

It’s about knowing that you can never say a god damned word to anyone else about what goes on inside your head because the people you trust are soooo much better than you, that they don’t care about your “existential problems.” That if you aren’t hungry, out of money, or in physical agony, they don’t really care. And the only reason they care when you are any of those things is because it makes them feel better about themselves to think that they were there for you in your “darkest times.”

Like they have any idea what your dark times look like. Bitch, I wish I were just hungry. I wish my problems were tangible. You couldn’t handle a tenth of the turmoil I experience on a daily basis, so sit your self-righteous ass down.

You have no idea what I’ve been through. Do you know what it’s like to attend your mother’s funeral? Or your father’s funeral? Or to be beaten to a pulp on a daily basis and made to believe that you deserved it, because you were worthless, and didn’t deserve to live? Or to watch your best friend get squashed like a bug by a garbage truck? Or to be abandoned by everyone you cared about because those things messed you up so bad that you woke up screaming from the nightmares and the flashbacks?

Do you know what it’s like for a doctor to tell you to say your last goodbyes to those you love, and for no one to give a shit when you tell them the surgeon thinks you have less than a fifty percent chance of surviving the operation?

Do you have any idea what it’s like to be locked away inside the depths of your own depravity, convinced you should never have been born? Told by numerous people that you were a mistake, an abomination, and deserved to die before you even hit puberty?

Yeah, I thought so.

I don’t need your pity. It is worthless to me. I don’t even need your understanding. It does nothing for me. What I need is a moment to simply reveal the demons that reside within my soul. For I ceased to be human long ago, and all this darkness that was poured into me has nowhere left to go but outward. I am nothing. Whatever value may have existed has long since been destroyed.

I am not a person in the eyes of others. I am a project, some object to be “fixed.” Or I am a lesson, one to be pitied and studied. Or I am a toy, one to be yanked around, because, after all, if I am not a person, why treat me as if I am human? I have become Frankenstein’s monster, an abhorrent beast, incapable of feeling and undeserving of any decency or respect.

I didn’t always think this way. There was a time I considered myself almost human. But my own humanity was snuffed out, beaten down, and crushed, until the only thing left was this shell. This body. There is nothing left inside. So perhaps you are correct; perhaps I am not worth anything.

Perhaps I should just disappear, and stop belaboring those around me with my presence. Perhaps I should cut short my encumbering existence, releasing those bound to me. I am unnecessary, unwanted, and un-fucking-believably messed up.

And yet…

And yet, there is a small part of me that refuses to give up. Despite your repeated rejections, despite the unending barrage of evidence that I do not belong, despite waking up every day to a world that wants nothing more than to see my flaming corpse in the street…

If I have lost everything else, I have not lost my sense of spite. I may have lost my will to live, but I will never lose my desire to stick it to the man. To prove that, regardless of the shit hand I have been dealt, I am still here, and I am a force to be reckoned with.

I will never change the world. I will likely drift away, to some other town, state, or country where I am unknown. I will stay there until I come to this point again. And then, I will move on. I have no home, other than the very skin and bones I wear every day. And even then, I do not feel at home within myself. So I wander the globe, looking for some place I can call my own, some place I belong, knowing in my heart of hearts that no such place exists. I am a gypsy, destined to move as the wind, never in one place for very long.

Even my thoughts meander with no real purpose, jumping from place to place, unable to settle. Not that this matters to you. In six months, I will have faded far from even the deepest corners of your memory, having been replaced by some new fad or face.

THAT’S what it’s about. At its core, this darkness you call depression is the numbing to all things human. It is the crushing understanding that everything about you is pointless, meaningless, and more than replaceable.

I am not sad. I am not feeling “humdrum.” I am destroyed. I am worthless. There is no reason to continue. There is no way out. There are no options. Nothing, in the long run, will ever change.

And every day, 121 people feel the very same way.

And most suicides can be prevented. Most people who are talked down from the ledge say that all they needed was for one person just to FUCKING SMILE AT THEM.

No, their mental state is not your fault. No, their circumstances are not under your control. But maybe have a heart. Maybe don’t be such an asshole all the time. Maybe remember that the world does not revolve around your pompous ass. Maybe remember that the sack of meat that you treat with such utter contempt is a human being. Maybe remember that all it takes is a smile, a greeting, a simple gesture, to make all the difference to someone else.

There were studies done a long time ago about the effects of overcrowding on rats. The rats became hostile, depressed, and suicidal. But we are not rats. There may be 7 billion of us, but each of us can do something. Each of us has the potential to save a life, whether we know it or not. So stop being such a dick and just smile at someone. That may be all it takes.

Because it’s not about feeling sad. It is about feeling human again.

https://afsp.org/

 

 

All That Is Necessary

Hindsight is twenty-twenty, or so I’m told. Looking back on the great tragedies in history, the most destructive wars, and the widespread pain and suffering, it is easy to say “Someone should have acted,” or “If they had only done this or that, things might have been different.” If it is so easy to identify where our forefathers made their mistakes, why is it that the water seems so murky in our own lifetime? Why is it that when we see starving humans, or senseless killings, or mass hatred, that we are mysteriously silent? Why are we so concerned with the laziness and stupidity of those who came before, but we give little to no thought to our own?

Being human is diametrically opposed to being apathetic to the plight of our fellow homo sapiens. If we flip through those same history books that contain the travesties from earlier, we will find great and inspiring things; tales of kindness, of brotherhood, and of incredible feats accomplished when men and women came together, put aside their differences, and set their minds to truly monumental tasks. These are true phenomena; things we can watch, study, and admire. These are things we can learn from.

When people come together in the spirit of humanity, when they gather under the banner of improving the lives of others, wonderful things happen. The potential of mankind is unlocked, and there is no limit to the greatness we can achieve. However, for as long as people have been documenting their lives, there has been one massive roadblock, and that is apathy. People simply don’t care about those around them. Oh, sure, there is a select group of people that they care about, the “special” ones that they choose to invest in, but for the most part, our thoughts on everyone else can be summed up in two words: fuck ’em.

Where is the compassion? Oh, someone else will care. It’s not my problem. It’s not my responsibility. I’m just one person, there’s no way I can change things. That’s both true and complete bullshit at the same time. You know why? Because when one person thinks that way, it’s a shame. When millions upon millions of people think that way, it’s downright embarrassing as a species.

True, most of the time, one person cannot make a marked difference in the grand scheme of things. But, and this might shock some of you, there’s a whole world out there, and you have seen practically none of it. There are billions of people on this stupid rock we call Earth, and they all breathe the same air. I bet if you were in some sort of danger, you’d want someone to come to your aid. Would you care if one person came to help you, or if it was just one? Probably not. As long as the job was taken care of, your savior could be anyone at all.

Okay, I’m getting slightly off topic here. Time to focus. Back to you, back to what we can do. One person may not be able to make a big difference, but we never do our best work as individuals anyway. Our greatest accomplishments are group efforts. One ant can gather a few crumbs of bread, but an army of ants can gather enough food to feed the entire colony. One grain of sand is insignificant, but no beach is made up of one grain of sand. And at the risk of causing some sort of analogy-diabetes, every machine is greater than the sum of its parts.

If everyone thought about the good of others, this world would be a much better place. Now, I know that such a utopia is a statistical impossibility, but utopian ideals are meant to inspire us to be our best, to teach us to strive for excellence. If enough people aim for their best, the downfalls of the many can be overcome by the efforts of the few. Every revolution begins with a brave few facing down the strength of the reigning power.

It is easy to bemoan the evils of the tyrant, but it is the responsibility of all free men to stand for what is right and just. It is easy to say that something must be done, but it falls on those who see the need for change to cause it. What good is it to know what is right, if those who know what is right and good do nothing. Perhaps the greatest evil is not performing horrible acts, but seeing them, having the ability to act out against them, and to do nothing.

I turn my gaze inward.

My voice will not be heard by many, if any at all. My abilities fall short of world-changing. However, to remain silent and do nothing is quite possibly the worst thing I could do. To live my life as if it does not affect any others is to adopt an incredibly arrogant and apathetic worldview. If I see someone in need, and I walk by without a second thought, I am potentially the most evil man to ever live. If I see injustice and do not raise my voice, I become an active part in the growth of said injustice. If I treat my own countrymen as if they do not exist when I walk by them, I am involved in the dehumanization of society.

Understandably, not every person can be helped, and I would look like a maniac if I stopped and shook the hands of every person I passed on the street. Or would I? What would happen if I greeted every person I met as if they were an old friend? What if I interacted with every human being I came across as if they were, you know, human? I suppose the world will never know, because I am a selfish, narcissistic prick. But what if…?

The greatest accomplishments in history are built on that question. What if a country were born under the assumption that all men are created equal? What if one woman in Calcutta took care of the poor and sick as if they were her own children? What if a nihilistic kid with a blog pulled his head out of his ass and truly believed he could make a difference? Well, no one can say unless those things happen. The potential for positive change is infinite.

If we set aside our jaded view of this world and had a little faith in one another, perhaps things could be better. The potential for disappointment is grand, admittedly, but what if? What if history is simply waiting on one pebble to strike the water? What if the ripples from one life investing in humanity could ultimately change our species forever? The likelihood is slim, but the good guy is always the underdog; and everybody loves a good underdog story.

It’s Like Cheers, But…Not

Walking in, the first person you see is the beer delivery guy. He’s cool, but there’s just something about him that gives you the feeling that if he’s not a serial killer, he’d probably make a pretty good one. He’s not aggressive or anything, just a little…off. Whatever. Time to set up the bar.

There’s a new kid who just started training, so, naturally, you’ve gotta mess with him. There’s a coffee machine in the kitchen that’s hooked up to a water line. You can run the water all day long, but it won’t ever empty completely. You can convince him that he needs to empty all the water out of it to start his shift. You watch him drain eight gallons of water from the damn thing before he figures out that you’re just screwing with him. It’s a good thing he’s a good sport about it; now you don’t feel bad for laughing at his inexperience. Eh, everybody goes through it, you tell him.

Halfway through the dinner rush, you’ve got a few tables. Everything’s going fine…wait…you need a fork? For your bread? What planet are you from? Alright then…

You head back to the kitchen, the place where you and your coworkers gather to air their grievances. You know they’ll get a good laugh out of this one. While you’re all there, you look around the circle of degenerates that you call your friends, and you smile. There’s a tremendous amount of camaraderie here. there is a certain amount of solace in knowing that you’re all a little touched in the head. Granted, some more than others, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It definitely makes things interesting. Never a dull moment.

There’s a guy that comes in fairly often and always asks for the same server. You’re grateful you don’t ever have to take care of him. He’s a really cool dude, but he looks like the villain from a Robin Hood movie, and that’s something you just can’t get passed.

You have a long conversation with a guy at the bar about matters of the universe. It’s not unusual for people to talk to you about heavier topics. When alcohol is involved, they tend to feel much more comfortable. You think you’ve gotten pretty good at giving advice. You consider yourself an unofficial psychiatrist, but in the back of your mind you know better. You’re just some asshole who serves drinks and spouts existential nonsense. Eh. At least you’re a good listener, right?

Time for a smoke break. You go out back to the alley, and find one of the local homeless guys trying to sell leather coats to his fellow alleycats. While amusing and slightly sad, this odd event is nothing new. You’ve come to expect this kind of thing.

Back inside, the regulars have started to find their assigned seats for the night. You’ve gotten to know these folks pretty well. You’d consider a few of them friends. Granted, they happen to be friends that kind of pay your bills, but there is an unspoken agreement that you won’t discuss this aspect of your relationship. This bar has brought you all together, and you’ve been with each other through some big ups and downs, regardless of money changing hands. The alcohol was a catalyst, with some solid relationships being the result.

Now that everyone is starting to feel their booze, they ask you to turn on “The Ocho” so they can watch curling. You know, for such a boring sport, it sure can spark some rather intense emotions. Dear god, they’re actually cheering. C’mon, Ben, get down from the bar; have some class, man…SHIT! The Russians just bumped the U.S. stone out of the center mark! This one’s gonna come down to the wire!

And finally, last call has come. Damn, you’re tired. You start having semi-romantic thoughts about your bed. You can’t wait to crawl between the sheets and drift off for a few hours. Tomorrow’s a busy day for you. A some of your coworkers are going down the street to another bar for a couple drinks, they want you to come along. You really shouldn’t.

Ahh, fuck it. One drink can’t hurt.

The Mystic

She held out her leather-bound arm as she looked to the sky, squinting from the glare from the sun. An owl landed softly on her outstretched forearm, fluffing its wings as it settled onto its perch. The Mystic smiled thinly and rubbed the owl on the head.

“I was beginning to wonder if you had gotten into some adventure without me,” she said. “Show me what lies ahead.”

The Mystic’s eyes glossed over, going pure white, as her mind joined with that of the owl’s. She searched her pet’s memories, scanning quickly through the images for something very specific. After several moments, she saw it: a single hut, tucked into the woods, a small trail of smoke sneaking out from the chimney and getting swept away by the breeze immediately.

“Good, you’re home,” she muttered to herself. Her eyes returned to their normal hue, and she reached into her pouch for a piece of jerky for the bird.

“Good girl, Echo; you’ve earned this,” she said softly as the nightbird hungrily snatched the meat from her hand.

Nascha took a deep, slow breath through her nose, the pines around her calming her soul and sharpening her senses. She closed her eyes for a moment, listening to the forest animals chirp and squeak at one another; somewhere in the distance, a buck bleated out his mating call. The Mystic reopened her eyes and tossed the owl into the air.

“Let’s go, Echo; we don’t want to be late.”

And she ran through the forest, followed closely by the nightowl. Her hide-bound feet padded the earth as she raced through the trees in near perfect silence. The pines rustled in the light breeze, and the only other sound was the flapping of the owl’s wings. The woods were oddly quiet, as if the very forest itself was holding its breath in anticipation of the coming meeting.

As she approached her destination, she stepped into the clearing that surrounded the shack. She stopped running abruptly and stared at the shack, lost in thought. Her mind floated to the last time she had set foot on the Old Man’s land. The circumstances were very different. Those were better days; the world made sense back then. Well, it at least didn’t pose so many questions and problems as it did now. The good guys and bad guys were easy to spot, and no one had to look over their shoulders for anything except to wave goodbye and say “See you next time!”

She shook her head, bringing her mind back to the task at hand as the owl came to roost one her shoulder. She reached up and stroked the bird under the beak. “Well, girl, let’s go see the Old Man.”

The Mystic waved her hand in front of her, and the wards surrounding rippled visibly. She cleared her throat.

“Mind lowering the deadly ones at least, old friend? Just for me?”

A swift chuckle came wafting through the open window, and the wards rippled colorfully once more. Nascha smiled thinly and walked across the clearing to the front door of the shack. As she approached, the door opened, and in the doorway stood a tall, broad shouldered man in his early sixties. He had a long, grey beard that hung down to the middle of his chest. He was sporting a look of amusement, with a slight grin toying at the corners of his lips and one eyebrow cocked up high.

The Mystic stopped a few feet from the door. “Hello, Damien.”

The Old Man nodded. “Nascha.”

“It’s been a long time.”

Damien shrugged. “Depends on your point of view, I suppose.”

“Four years is considered a long time by most accounts.”

“What’s a few years when you’ve been around the sun as many times as I have?”

Nascha nodded, and the two were motionless and silent for a moment. Echo fluffed her wings.

“So…are you going to let me in, or are we going to have this conversation out here?”

The Old Man stepped to the side and beckoned for her to enter. Nascha eased her way through the threshold. Inside was just as she remembered it. Simple. Rustic. Basic, yet comfy. A bed sat in the far corner. A fire burned slowly in the hearth. Various weapons hung around the walls, and a bookcase stood opposite the bed, filled from floor to ceiling with old books.

The Old Man sniffed and popped his neck as he closed the door.

“So, to what do I owe the pleasure, little bird?”

The Mystic turned her gaze back to the Old Man. “I’m not really sure, to be honest. Things are getting out of hand. We’re losing the balance. And, I don’t know, this was just the first place I wanted to go. You’ve always been the one we turn to when the water gets murky.”

“As you should. I am the best.”

“I see you’re arrogance hasn’t failed you yet.”

“Eh, confidence is key, my dear.”

“Whatever.”

Damien tilted his head to the side and crossed his arms. “I have a feeling you didn’t come here just to stroke my ego. Say what you came here to say.”

Nascha reached back and tied her jet black hair into a ponytail. “Damien, we’re drowning out there. They’re all over the damn place now. And coming back faster than ever. I’ve come across repeat crossovers more often than ever before. Hell, Elijah has a team of Malchizidek’s men assigned just to him. He’s been fighting the same thugs for nearly a year; he hasn’t won all of those fights, either.”

“The Outlaw has a habit of making more enemies than friends.”

“That he does.”

“And your point would be?”

“That maybe it’s time for you to come out of retirement. You said we should call you when all hell broke loose. Well, that seems like it’s about to happen.”

“It hasn’t yet, though.”

“Cut the crap, Old Man. We need you, Damien. This shit is about to get real ugly. We’re spread too thin, and Malchizidek knows it. He’s been gearing up for a big strike for centuries. He knows this is his chance. He has to.”

“And?”

Nascha exploded in fury. “Goddammit, you old bastard, we need you!”

Damien grinned once more, spreading his arms out wide. “There, was that so hard? Let’s get going.”

Nascha blinked. “Wait, what? That’s all it took?”

The Old Man laughed. “Oh, yeah. I really only wanted to hear you say you needed me. I’ve had a bag packed for weeks now.”

“You knew I was coming? You were just waiting here?”

“I’m a fool, not an idiot, little bird. I knew I was getting called back up to the majors sometime soon.”

Nascha sighed and stroked her temples. “Have you always been this much of a pain, or has age made you crotchety?”

“Whiskey only gets better and stronger as it ages, my dear Mystic.”

“Good god. Am I going to have to put up with your nonsense all the way back to the pier?”

Damien stroked his beard. “The pier, eh? I like it. The Old Man and the sea. IT’s poetic. Cliché, but poetic.”

Nascha rolled her eyes. “This is going to be a long walk.”

The Old Man slung his bag over his shoulder and walked to the door. He turned and bowed. “You have no idea.”

“Don’t make me regret this.”

For the first time since she arrived, the smug look vanished from Damien’s face, and it seemed as though a storm cloud had settled on him all of the sudden. “I am afraid this moment will be the least of your worries, little bird. If what I fear comes true, we are in for some dark times.”

Nascha shivered. “Are we talking apocalypse dark?”

Damien smiled, but it did nothing to hide the sadness in his eyes. “No, not quite. But Malchizidek’s next wave will test the strength and endurance of our band of not-so-merry men. And women. But, semantics aside, it would be wise to gather everyone together again and develop a battle strategy. And perhaps say our final goodbyes. There’s no telling how many of us will get out of this alive.”

A Living Inconevience

Alright. This is what I’m gonna do. I’ll sit in the bathtub, turn on the hot water, and slit my wrists. Bleed out slowly, nearly painlessly…damn, wait; who’s gonna clean it all up?

Okay, so maybe I’ll go out in the woods and take my buddy’s gun with me…no, they’ll question him and blame him for my death. I don’t want anyone in trouble for me dying. Back to square one.

So, what if I drive my car off the bridge? No, someone will still need to pick up all the pieces. I don’t want to be a bother to anyone.

Alright. What if I drove to Montana, gave my car away, and killed myself in a national park, far off the beaten path? No one would ever find me, the animals would find nourishment from my decomposing body, and most importantly, no one would have to pick up after me.

Shit. I don’t have the money to drive to Montana. Well, guess I better start saving up. This whole situation is becoming way more effort than it’s worth.

I’m A Million Different People From One Day To The Next

I’m told the word for it is “manic.” I have this cacophony of internal noise in my brain that damn near gives me a headache. My thoughts race at the speed of light, all of them tinged with a certain level of darkness. My emotions climb and dive at alarming rates, changing like the wind. I feel depressed, and this angers me. I feel out of control, and I struggle to keep my tongue in check, refusing to let it unleash the things my mind has fabricated.

It’s like a strong wind is blowing, and there is a never-ending scream, allthewhile a multitude of people are holding a hundred different conversations in an echoing cathedral. It’s more than a little distracting. I try so hard not to let it affect me, not to let it all influence my behavior, but it takes so much out of me simply to act normal. I feel claustrophobic and like I’m on the edge of a cliff at the same time. I want to be around people, because being social might help me come back down from this, but I also don’t want to be around people because…what if they notice?

So I shake my head and try to cut loose this invisible tether that holds me fast to the storm that rages within, meanwhile attempting to calm it by sheer force of will.

This is me.

I am peaceful. Calm. Tired. But calm. Things are good, I am fine. The world is still the same as it was yesterday, yet somehow everything around me seems brighter, more decadent and beautiful. I am normal. I don’t have to pretend that I am okay, because I truly feel alright. I think back over the days that brought me here, and I wonder if this is normal, or if my dark demons are right in telling me I am alone and I am a freak.

Nope, not gonna go down that way today. There’s no need. The storm has passed. There’s no reason to relive it.

This is also me.

I feel like I am so many different people, all of them taking my face as a mask in their theatrical display. They are all me, just different sides of the same coin. Albeit a weird, nine-faceted coin…maybe it’s more like a diamond, with so many different sides. Some of them are tarnished and dirty, while others shine bright and beautiful.

Great. Now I just referred to myself as a beautiful diamond. I’m such a dweeb.

But all these various versions of me, they are all truly me. There is the sad, depressed version. The side that sees something sinister around every corner. The side that seems sinister and cruel. The hopeful version. The nihilistic one. The one that tries to understand all of this. The one that knows he can’t and just doesn’t even try.

It’s all there, hidden away behind my eyes. This is me. Now that I’ve got that nailed down, maybe I can try to start figuring out other people.

Oh geez, sometimes I crack myself up.