The Haunting Letter

August 2, 2020

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Alas, its content must remain anonymous… for now

It’s late. You stare at one of your many aquariums. The tank light is off but you can still see the neon tetras flitting about in the darkness. Hence the name. Oh, to be one of them. Cared for. No predators. Mating with impunity.

Once, when you were a boy, your brother had become terribly mad at you. You don’t remember why. He’d taken it out on your butterfly collection, breaking the mounts with a baseball bat. Grimly, you imagine Sarah smashing your aquariums, myriad fish splashing onto the floor gasping for air. Outside you hear the wind blowing down from the mountains.

Enough. Turn off your computer. Make sure the house lights are off as well, the front, the back and the hallway. The girls always leave every light on. They are teenagers.

Has it only been three days since receiving the letter? It seems painfully longer. You are in purgatory, riven by dread, knowing yet unknowing what terror awaits you. The extortionist had given you ten days from the postmark to sort out your payment. Waiting for the gallows, you would have expected time to pass faster.

Take your pills. Brush your teeth. Find the bed in the darkness. Slip under the covers, next to your wife who, tonight, is not snoring. Not yet anyway. Hopefully she won’t before you fall asleep.

To be continued…

Play Misty for Me (2)

July 29, 2020

Continued from previous…

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This too shall pass your mother liked to say, even if she didn’t believe it. But she was right. Mist or fog, it evaporates. At times you embrace sadness, its depth and gravitas. But like an old friend he can overstay his welcome. Then you have to wait him out. Drag him along on your errands. Enduring his sourpuss and cynicism. Sometimes, you might ditch him on a hike. He couldn’t keep up in the gym either. If those things failed, you brought him to a meeting, tossing him center circle with everyone else’s shit.

Relief comes. And when it does you embrace it. Sing its song for as long as you can, feel your body electrified by it. Such joy is a blessing. And fleeting. A feminine spirit, she does as she pleases. An ephemeral pink cloud, you keep the window open for her.

You do miss the excitability of grandiosity. But ridding this was a fair price to pay for the leveling of valleys. Roller coasters are thrilling but no way to live. Soberly, you tread flat terrain.

But still…

There is the matter of your lesser addictions. Gluttony. Lust. It’s paradoxical, leaning in to them while turning away. You cannot resist the siren’s song.

More content coming soon!

Play Misty for Me

July 27, 2020

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Everyone experiences situational depression. Conflict. Unresolved resentments. Sometimes it really is just the humidity. Having a bad day. You either accept the situation or change it. Regardless, it always ends. It is not clinical. Professional help and medicine are seldom required. What you are experiencing is neither clinical nor situational. Sadness descends upon you like mist. By no means pleasant it isn’t debilitating either. You can see through it. You can operate heavy machinery. You probably won’t drink over it.

Many people insist on finding a culprit for their misery: someone or something to blame. The world is filled with people making this mistake. One feels like shit because of a spouse, a boss, a relative, a neighbor, the President of the United States. You know better than to assign blame for melancholy. Yes. You’d like to make the blues situational. Then you could rectify the situation or be its victim. For years, you were the blindfolded child swinging madly for a target. Creating situations to meet your depression was understandable… and also idiotic.

You now have healthy ways to mitigate woe. AA taught. Others you picked up all by yourself. Be of service. Go for a run. Pray. Basically, do anything but wallow in it. You cannot think your way out of depression. If anything, thinking caused it. In the wild, animals do not get depressed because they do not sit around thinking. Food and shelter is their constant priority, their only priority. Put a bear in a zoo and it becomes depressed, anxiously pacing back and forth, sullen and surly. Domesticated, it turns neurotic.

Your mother was (and maybe still) clinically depressed. She has spent her whole life (and so yours) dealing with this problem. You read somewhere that far more women are clinically depressed than men. Maybe that’s because historically women have been domesticated more than men, anxiously pacing back and forth in their kitchens, sullen and surly in equal measures.

To be Continued.

Bodily Functions (2)

July 19, 2020

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Continued from previous post…

If you hadn’t started shaving your head decades ago, before it was trendy, you might wonder how much hair you actually have left. It began falling out in your late twenties, when you got married. Whatever amount remained it would most certainly be gray. Thankfully, this is a moot point. You are relieved that your cranium is smooth and without unsightly contusions. A shaved head suits you. If it doesn’t, no one has told you otherwise.

Though your prescription has remained essentially the same for years, your eyes are getting weaker. They test well in the optometrist’s office but reading or writing reveals a different story. Lines blur. Like ants, letters crawl around the page or screen. You have become quite adept at guessing words rather than waiting for your eyes to focus. When writing you depend on spellcheck, the way a teenager does.

What else? Ugly toenails. Thankfully, not so much but the yellowing hue gives pause for concern. No matter how hard you exercise certain muscles don’t respond like they used to. Your ass cheeks have become soft as a fat woman’s tits. After one big meal your belly bulges, seemingly creating flab overnight.

To be continued…

 

Bodily Functions (1)

July 16, 2020

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Your body loves to tell you how old it is. It complains. Varying intermittent pains in your back, knees and shoulders. Twinges you feel upon rising. Parts grow bigger (nose, prostrate, hairs in your ear) even as you get smaller (5’ 8” from 5’ 10”). A shrinking bladder forces you out of bed. Or is it an expanding prostrate? Likely a combination, another one-two punch to the body. An incessant gurgling inside your stomach, like an old furnace, churns and groans, doing its job, but inefficiently and unpleasantly. Sometimes when you sit on the toilet you emit only gas. Ten full seconds! Surely that is a record. You think of capturing one of these lengthy farts on your iPhone then playing it for your daughters, who still get a kick out of such things. Why not? They watch crude and vulgar videos on You Tube. Girls, look what daddy can do! It would break the Internet. You imagine the terror on your wife’s face. How could you? You could.

Bodily functions have become more important. Maybe pervasive is the better word. When did taking a dump become such a triumph? Some years ago you began to feel an itch in your ears. You stuck your pinky finger in to remedy the matter and pulled out a large yellow flake. Now you regularly use the top of a ballpoint pen or even a bent paper clip to rake your inner ear. Pieces of wax adhere to the metal and plastic, which you find satisfying and troubling in equal measures. Within hours the buildup is there again. Sticking foreign objects in your ear has become routine. It’s gross but not enough to make you stop. Not even close. As a kid you were the same way about scratching mosquito bites, until they bled and scabbed over. Then you would pick the scabs. On and on that went. You have blemishes on your ankles that are 40 years old.

To be continued…