Lane removes his thick framed glasses rubbing his temples ten hours into his sixteen hour shift. His temple massage is interrupted by another phone ringing.
"911 where is your emergency?" He ask in a haggard tone.
"I need the fire department out here! The neighbors house (more)is on fire!" The caller screamed loud enough to distort their voice.
Dispatching the fire department to the structure fire with no reports of any occupants Lane finishes with the first caller and handles several more calls regarding the same fire. He rushes through the same routine questions with each. He has no time to deviate from the few and important questions.
He addresses eight unrelated emergency calls during the few minutes it takes dispatching the fire department. He is always keeping his head on a swivel from phone receiver to radio microphone.
While taking yet another verbal beating from a women complaining about her car being towed by police Lane's other ear hears fire units blast through the transmission speakers.
"600 dispatch get me EMS here!" Lane had never heard panic in the fire chief's voice quite like he heard then.
The initial count is five. In a matter of seconds the count is up to seven with five children and two adults, all victims of the fire and their status unknown to Lane.
In a matter of minutes he has three ambulances, police, and a EMS helicopter rushing toward the scene.
The fire chief transmits haunting news, "Dispatch, seven 10-7, go ahead."
All seven are dead.
Lane immediately critiques himself. He wonders, "How could I have prevented this?"
Knowing this will haunt him he also knows now it is not the time. He tells himself, "Mask your emotions. Get to work."
"You wear that mask all the time. Doesn't it get hard?"
At first, you hear her but you don't realize that she's talking to you. There's dozens of other people in this tiny Starbucks, escaping the cold, and it takes you a moment to realize that the heavenly(more) voice is directed towards you.
"Excuse me?" It comes out sounding a little more harsh than you intended, and you quietly apologize.
"I didn't mean to be so rude," you say.
She doesn't reply to your apology.
"The mask you're wearing. You don't let people see behind it."
Her words shock you, leave you numb. Well, maybe it's her words doubled with her messy blond hair and perfectly imperfect face. The scent of her perfume makes your head spin.
"I, uh, I don't wear a mask?" It comes out like a question, and you feel like an idiot.
"Yes, you do."
You know she's right. And every fibre of your being begs for her to rip that damn mask from your face, to throw away all of your bullshit.
"I'm Charlie," you say.
"Jo," she replies.
You offer her the seat across from you, and she takes it immediately. You put away your book- something pretentious- and you fully take in the woman sitting across from you. She stares at you intently, blowing softly on her drink.
"You know, you wear one, too, y'know," you tell her.
She smirks, laughing softly.
You feel your heart stop at the sound of perfection that leaves her. You know that from this moment your life will never be the same.
The way I see it, I had the chance to become two different people. My life diverged, not in a yellow wood, but in a fiery, explosion filled hospital room. And with that explosion, one of the paths I wished to take was closed off to me, the rubble(more) of death firmly in my way.
And so it's not that I chose this path, but rather, it was the only option left.
I often think of the person I would've been had he remained in my life, but my imagination always falls short. I would've been someone happy, with no hang-ups, no reason to feel worthless all the goddamn time. I would be able to hold someone I love close, without all of these issues that people label me with.
And yet, I'm here, and for all of my fuck ups, for all of my imperfections, I know that whatever God has given me up until this point have been things I'm made to handle.
And if you were to ask me now, with everything I know about the past, and with the little I know about the future, I would tell you I don't know which path I would choose.
There was supposed to be a point where Gotou drew the line. He was certain he set one, in his mind - maybe it had been drawn in sand, and the encroaching storm of /Masayoshi/ had all but obliterated it. That thought did not surprise him, really - Masayoshi(more) was a force of nature unto himself, and even Gotou's stubbornness stood no chance in the face of the complete onslaught of Masayoshi's emotion.
It was hard when Masayoshi had little concept of personal space where Gotou was concerned; ducking in close to peer into his face, sliding in under his arm, tucking his hand into Gotou's and pulling him along, laughing freely. He never did more than that, but he /touched/ Gotou more, and that alone was causing new sensations to prick down Gotou's spine, little pockets of nerves blossoming into something else entirely.
Masayoshi tugged him forward, Gotou's hand in his, chattering excitedly and Gotou wasn't listening, hadn't been listening for a while. He stopped and Masayoshi carried on; on impulse Gotou yanked him back. Masayoshi clearly hadn't expected that, he hadn't expected any resistance, and he stumbled, broken-off mid-sentence, and fell back into Gotou's arms.
He did not know why he did it - Masayoshi sputtered, his first concern was /Gotou/- "Gotou-san are you okay-?," a flurry of tawny gold-brown hair in his face, twisting around to look at him and the urge boiled up and over. His free hand went to Masayoshi's jaw, tilting his head back and there was a split-second of Masayoshi's eyes widening with the realization before Gotou kissed him.
It was an awkward angle, and Gotou hadn't properly kissed anyone in years but Masayoshi's mouth felt /right/. When he ducked back a second later, blushing hard, Masayoshi touched his face gently and smiled. (less)
"Compromise? Me? What ever are you talking about?"
"Yeah, yeah, you're a real bad-ass. You've never made a compromise before?"
"Never needed to. Things always work out, or should I say I work things out all by myself."
"Not even with friends, or in relationships?"
"Nah,(more) that shit's weak. You tell people what their place is. You tell them what you want and ask them if they can give it to you. If they can't you go to someone who can."
"So it's all utilitarian? Is that how it is with you and people?"
"You're making it sound like it's a bad thing. Of course it's utilitarian, everybody wants something from everybody. I'm just honest about it instead of simmering inside and not doing anything about it."
"What about your parents?"
"Parents are parents, man. Why bring them into this?"
"You said just now that all your relationships are utilitarian, right? I'm assuming that includes your parents and your brother?"
"Of course it's different with them. They are programmed to think that they love me selflessly, and they think they do, but they don't and that's okay. All of us are hard wired with selfish impulses. If you want something and not having it makes you feel bad, then why would you want to feel bad?"
"There's no love?"
"There is, but it's not selfless."
"What if, people, despite actually being programmed with selfishness actually act selflessly? What would you call it?"
"I would call it effective brainwashing. Look the point is that everyone has a purpose. If I want to fuck a guy, his purpose to me is just being a portable dick. And I present myself the same way, I don't get hurt about it. Why would someone actually powerful ever compromise?"
She wouldn't stop throwing up. I held her hair back as she emptied her stomach contents for what seemed like eternity. How could such a small girl drink so much beer? She stopped hugging the toilet and sat up, slowly and unsteadily. I let go of her hair, grossed out by the scene.(more) It was surreal. No, it was a slap in the face. She walked around campus smiling and angelic, cliched perfection. Little did they know her facade was fueled by cocaine and binge drinking. She wasn't happy. She was no angel. She flushed the toilet along with any idealistic misconceptions I had of her. She washed her hands and turned, facing me for the first time.
"Throw me that towel," she demanded coolly gesturing at the wall behind me. I did as I was told and examined the figure standing before me. Why had she invited me to come with her tonight? Why had I been so eager? I was grossed out by myself. She took one more look in the mirror raising her eyebrows and smiling that same deceitful smile I grew to know. Turning towards the door, she stumbled so slightly and her white dress flapped against her coffee-colored thighs.
"Thanks," she said over her shoulder. With that, she left me standing in awe in the dimly lit bathroom. More impressed with myself than I ever would be with another "It Girl".(less)
"She sounded like she was completely grossed out." Shahid shook his head.
"Why wouldn't she be?" Imran said, "You can't send her unsolicited dick pics and expect her to be happy about it."
"Can't I?" Shahid said, "I wouldn't have minded if she sent me pictures o(more)f her boobs."
"Well, technically you can send her pictures of your penis, but she is completely entitled to find it disgusting. You can't control what people think, and you shouldn't."
"That's just bull. What's wrong with my penis?"
"Nothing that I could possibly know of," Imran said, "Thankfully, I'm not on your dick pic sharing list, but your penis is not the problem, it's about personal space."
"Please start making sense, soon." Shahid pretended to strangle himself and rolled his eyes.
"Listen, then," Imran continued, "You know how when you talk to people you like, you stand really close to them? It means that both of you have allowed each other to be in close proximity. Hell, its not even a conscious action, it just happens naturally as you begin to like each other more and more."
"Okay. So what?"
"So your personal space is a sacred place, because you only willingly share it with people you know and like. Most of the time someone comes into that space, you have allowed them to do so. It creates a feeling of togetherness, it gives you warm, fuzzy feelings. But when someone you don't know or like breaches that space, its like a stranger nonchalantly walking into your bed room."
"My personal room."
"Exactly, it automatically makes you feel confronted. Not a lot of people like being confronted by a stranger. It's pretty reasonable to be upset that someone willingly intruded your space. That's how it is with dick pics."
As I was sitting in my apartment, trying to watch my DVR recorded shows, I heard this little "squeak". Faint and almost non-existent. The wind blew, fairly hard, shortly after, and I heard the little "squeak" once again. So annoying, yet unnatural. It happened a few more times, which(more) made me get up from my cozy little nest and go investigate. Searched around, opening and closing doors to see what was making that eerie faint sound.
When I came to find, one of my unused closet doors was not all the way closed up, and with the weather changing, made the door a bit smaller in that it would not shut closed.
"Ayyy!" I exclaimed. Closed the door quickly and it bounced right out. Looked around for a piece of unwanted junk-mail, folded it up and pressed it up between said door and it's frame.
"Man, the things this place has." Problem solved, returned to little nest, but no longer cozy and was able to resume the "Play" button on my Binge-watching.(less)
Before she found the room, Delilah wasn't one to believe in psychic vibrations. She wasn't a cynic, exactly -- she just never thought about such things. But on her walk home, she could feel the molecules in the air shift.(more) The cold air pricked the back of her throat and the sounds of the street rang like bells. The hairs on her neck stood up, and she was hyper-aware of her body. So when we felt a tap on her shoulder, she was already so tense she could only gasp faintly.
"I'm Jane. I know this is a bit unorthodox," said the woman standing behind her. She had long, gray hair and was wearing a filmy purple tunic and leggings. No bag, purse, or clutch was in sight. She fell into a stride alongside Delilah, who continued to look ahead stoically.
"But so is finding a room no one else can see."
Delilah stopped in her tracks.
"Never, ever go into that room again. I wasted my life away in that room. Thirty-one years, to be exact. That was my total. Thirty-one for one best-selling novel."
"Wait, you're Jane MacArthur, aren't you?"
"That's what they tell me. I wasn't there when I created my pseudonym. The last time I felt like myself, I was Janet Milton. I remember my name change like a movie. Everything I experienced in those thirty-one years, I remember like a movie. I felt nothing. I experienced nothing."
Jane pressed a card into Delilah's hand.
"The next time you fell like going into that room again, give me a call."
Delilah nodded and watched Jane turn on her heel, into the night.(less)
Apathy hangs around me in the scent of cinnamon vapor cigarettes. We're too old to be out this late on a work night, but Ginger is bored.
God, I hate it when she's bored.
She works out twenty hours a week but it's never enough. She feels "gro(more)ss" in her super tight dress that only a supermodel can wear. Every head turns when she walks by, but they're just stupid, drunk people. She's too "fat" to be attractive--too old at forty years.
I inwardly roll my eyes at her self-deprecation and drink my wine. If she thinks that of herself then I must disgust her in every way imaginable.
I suck in my gut, but it's no use. Sitting creates a natural roll that only people like Ginger manage to avoid. I swear the woman has no body fat and all she wants to do is bitch about not being able to loose another ten pounds.
Maybe she only invites me out to make herself feel better--thinner, more attractive.
"That guy keeps staring at me," she says.
"Of course he is. You're gorgeous." I tell her. She is gorgeous, but she rolls her eyes and puffs on her cigarette.
"You're just being nice."
A drink comes her way, courtesy of admirer number three. She gives him a sweet smile. "How old do you think he is?"
"You think? He's going bald. Figures...those are the only ones that look at me anymore... the old, balding, fat guys."
"He's not that bad."
She twists the wedding ring on her finger and sighs. "This place sucks. You want to go downtown and hang out at the gay clubs?"
We jump into her SLK. She hates it because it's not an R8--just another thing to add to her depressing mid-life crisis.
two calendars on the refrigerator, both letting me know its wednesday. one is some advertisement shit from a realtor in the area, the most superficial pictures of big houses sitting on broad lakes in an autumn thats so saturated with color its hard to look at in the morning.(more) the other is from a humanitarian organization i used to give money to; pictures of kids from around the world, staring at your with enormous eyes, similarly saturated with colors, similarly difficult to bear in the mornings. a strange kind of juxtaposition to take roost on a refrigerator door, but that is more or less the way of things, it seems.
coffee shops and cafes bred to satisfy customers desires to feel as though they were being featured in some artistic film, at the right place at the right time, seconds away from encountering someone who would change their lives. a choking cloud of oppressive aromas. ambient noise from all kinds of sources, each a little more forced than the one before it.
every night i wonder if im just one of those people who, for the rest of their waking lives, cannot get over their first heartache, and i think that maybe im fated to die alone and miserable because i clearly dont have the strength to get my shit together and move on. its been so fucking long but still.
panes of water lying lazily on a poorly constructed parking lot, without any wind to disturb the images, they serve as little windows into the sky world. bright clouds with impossible contours and only the slightest hints of shadow and form. do you still watch for clouds and stars on your days off?
mist fog haze a curtain of substance and at the same time nothing at all; blindness. (less)
You're the woman I fell in love with but you're also the one killing the woman I fell in love with. My therapist would probably say it's not useful to make false dichotomies. You're an entire person, awake, asleep, in the day, in the night, whether I like all(more) of you or not.
Asleep, at least I can pretend all of you is alive and tucked safe away. Awake, it's your job that's killing you, or else it's your crazy mother or me not arranging the silverware right. You get headaches, backaches, buttaches, rashes, breakouts, gray hairs, cavities, broken nails, staph infections, and the occasional paper cut but you don't realize that it's the way you pick and pick and pick at these things that's shredding whatever's alive left in you.
And still I'm trying to make alliances with both parties, but because I'm making them with the same person, you always catch me trying to pull one over on you or the other you or both of you.
Example: how I can't say anything straight to you anymore. How it's never "can you take the garbage out" but rather how good you are and how crappy I am at remembering to take the garbage out. And being the intelligent woman I love as well as the Christ-on-a-cracker-crazy woman I love you see right through it and berate me for being a manipulative ass.
The garbage, for its part, stays put.
Today is Wednesday; garbage day is Tuesday.(less)
--is tomorrow. To make sure I spell it correctly on the first go, I almost always have to mutter 'wed-nes-day'.
If you're trying to tell me to go play the lotto, give me a little more to work with as far as the numbers.
Next Wed-nes-day will(more) be the first day I have off for a holiday in a while... I predict I will do a lot of nothing, with a side of sitting in bed playing video games, even though I will proclaim to work on cosplays [and really I would prefer the latter considering what happened the last time I super procrastinated cosplays].
Obligatory Hump Day comment, except it's Tuesday SO THAT DOESN'T EVEN WORK--?!?!(less)