Happy July 5th. I hope you have all your fingers, thumbs and heads. Every year, my apartment complex does its Pro-Darwin duty to remind us to be safe with fireworks. This year, the flyer was posted so you had to enter through the common entrance. Usually, it is directed to the outside. I’m complaining.. I have common sense but evidently people don’t. WP. I’m also complaining to you bc I can’t start a new paragraph on your phone app…I digress. This person didn’t have common sense. He decided it would be cool to light a mortar off his head. Guess what? He died instantly. I heard this one the radio, and read it on Ace News. My first thought was thinning the herd. My second thought, because I have a warp sense of humor, was guess who won’t be having an open casket? Then I became angry with myself and angry with him. His parents, if he has them, will have to bury him. This will be his legacy. Really? Please people, be safe.
A little boy runs up to me. I am at my mom’s house, but she isn’t there. The house seems inhabited by 20 to 25 children plus my sister and brother in law. Most of the children ate indifferent but a couple are hostile; a little girl gives me the middle finger and a little boy kicks me in the leg. I wonder why I’m here at all.
This boy seems different. He raises his arms and begs me to go “uppie”. I ask his name and he relies, “Halo.” He has moptop blonde hair and is wearing nothing but a pullup and bruises on his face. I ask him about his owies and he responds that he fell. Reluctantly, I pick him up and sit him on my lap. I tell him that if he pees on me, we are through. He laughs as if this is the funniest thing he has heard.
My sister and brother in law enter. We rarely speak. My brother in law tells me he needs the money back. I don’t remember borrowing from him but I ask him how much? He responds that I owe him $200 plus 18% interest. Halo jumps off my lap and says , “potty.” I’m so glad he chose not to pee on me.
I tell my brother in law that I need to pay by the archiac means of a check. He agrees. I find a log that appears ro be mine. The hockey guy is in the left hand corner and it has my info. As I attempt to write a check, the info changes to a business I don’t recognize. We are all confused. I hunt for another set of checks. The same thing happens four more times. My brother in law becomes agitated. I am too, as I want to pay my debt, even though I have no memory of it.
I offer cash. I have $500 in my car, in various denominations. I run to get it. As I come back I hear my sister and brother in law laughing and saying they could get double. I don’t understand. I try to give them two hundred dollar bills and a fifty. This is my food budget; I still have enough for alcohol. Each time the funds try to exchange hands, the money turns to plastic toy money. It seems like the myth Tantalus, where he can’t quite reach the water or grapes. By this time I am frantic and just want out. My brother in law is furious and i don’t know what to do.
Suddenly, I remember that my brother in law owes me money, not the other way around. Simultaneously, Halo returns and in the most adult voice says, “Pay her bad.”, then kicks my brother in law in the leg.
Thank you for reading tje crazy that goes on in mu brain while I sleep.
“An orange buffalo is a thing we are told exists, but doesn’t.”
But what if we believe in that thing so fiercely, it becomes real to us? And then what if it stolen from us? What if it bleeds? What if it dies?
Head over to Stories today and read Rara’s adaptation of the recurring lines and themes from her husband’s novel.
Originally posted on Stories that Must Not Die:
This is post 3 of 6 of a series of poems and prose that Rara sent to be shared with the Stories community. Next week we take a break from this series and will feature two posts that were submitted to be shared, and then we will resume this series the following week.
This post from Rara hit me harder than most. She has taken something her husband wrote in his novel, Orange Buffalo, and adapted it to her current situation. If you haven’t read his book, you should. You can also find some artwork and other items he put together based on the book on RedBubble. And, please donate what you can to the Rara Relief fund. Every little bit will help her get back on her feet.
What a good girl – – a strong girl – –
She’s gonna grow up to be a felon, a…
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I’ve felt the lick of flames as a fire ate the earth.
I’ve felt the crackling energy when the heavens flash ablaze.
I’ve felt the wind pushing against me on Whitney’s edge.
I’ve felt the ground quake, swell and drop.
I’ve felt the powerful pull of The Pacific’s rip,
When all it would take is a slip,
And endless waves would wash over top.
I’ve known a cold hearth,
Pain that doesn’t stop,
And heartache’s whip.
This world is a crazy trip.
We aren’t players, we’re the props.
Perhaps you don’t like how I see the world,
Or the words I sprawl across the page,
Calling out its brutal risks and challenging ugliness.
We are allowed to have differing opinions,
And that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends,
As we bend for or against different trends,
While we spin on,
In a flawed beauty,
That knows no comparison.
Just because the world is a mess doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful.
It isn’t fair and it isn’t supposed to be.
The chaos and pain, the danger and tragedy,
Make it sparkle and shine all the more.
From shore to shore,
All you have to do is look,
And the glory and beauty will fill you till full.
The talons of the day sink through tattered flesh to rest in the bones below. Strangers pass by, refusing to acknowledge the shrieks of pain and pleas for aide. They are strangers after all. What business is it of theirs? They remind themselves of their own struggles and miseries to fend off and quickly scurry away to their fluorescent rooms of shadow.
“Pick yourself up,” they mumble. “Help yourself,” they admonish. “You must not want success/health/power/prosperity badly enough,” they lie.
The shackles of the day chain tired feet to the burning pavement. The heat radiates upwards as the boiling whirlpool of swirling hate and ambivalence welcome the sinking flesh. Strangers jump over, and sidestep to avoid frantic hands scrambling for purchase to keep from being swallowed. They are strangers after all. What business is it of theirs?
“You got yourself into this mess,” they mumble. “You can get yourself out,” they admonish. “You must not want to survive badly enough,” they lie.
The night at the end of the long day crushes against the horizon and lays waste to all the light had dared to touch. Strangers stumble and fall, but refuse to offer guiding hands or work together. They are strangers after all.
“This is your fault,” they mumble. “You could make a light if you applied yourself,” they admonish. “We can find our way perfectly fine without you,” they lie.