Exhaustion

A carbonated drink fizzed as the cap was screwed off the top of the bottle. A spoon scraped around the little cup made of styrofoam and cancerous chemicals. A baby cried. I stared out the window and listened to the cafe make the sounds of life behind me, and I wondered whether I should participate. My brain felt sluggish. I could move and think and speak, and had been doing so all day, but it seemed as if I needed to make a conscious effort to do these things. I needed to think “move” before I moved, “speak” before my lips opened. It was disconcerting, being so bossy towards myself.
The mug of tea in front of me had gone cold. My hands felt heavy with the weight of too much awareness. I looked at them, trying to see whether there was a visible difference in grams. Maybe they were actually heavier. But no, they looked the same, large palms, long fingers, the joints closer to the palm seemingly chubby and oversized to me.
I wondered whether a parade of Disney characters walking outside would energise me. No. Probably not. Maybe a spiritual experience, an Angels in America kind of revelation. Too much energy. The perfect thing, really, would be if the cafe disintegrated behind me and the chair I sat on turned into the foot of a bed and I could simply let my body go, entirely, all at once, and lie down. I would sleep for hours, maybe forever.

Lifting Books

Just got back from lifting books for three hours and fifteen minutes. I am tired. So very tired. And my browser has a long row of tabs open to blogs I want to read but won’t get around to tonight. I’m going to sleep for a few hours, wake up, and go right back to work. Tomorrow is going to be such a long day.

Sometimes I use this blog to bitch and moan. I’m coming to terms with that right about now.

Apocalypse [Flash Fiction]

Kit posted a writing prompt, so I decided to create a weird piece of flash fiction out of it. Not one of my best, but I’m tired and my legs are burned from standing outside in the sun all day at work. Also, the dialect is purposefully weird, and you’re not supposed to necessarily pinpoint the accent. I know dialect can be annoying, but I felt that if I was going to write a little apocalypse flash fiction piece, I might as well put it down the way I see it (and hear it) in my mind. Enjoy the weirdness and feel free to dislike it (does that even make sense? I really am tired.).

It happened in a searing wave. When grandpappy told me bout it, he got all red in the face, like as if ’twas happening right then while he was saying it. Mam can’t hardly remember any ‘fit, cause she was so small. Da’s older than her – he and Mam say that there was ten years tween them, but years don’t mean any old thing anymore. A year used t’be when the planet went round the fireball once, but time’s all different ways now that the fireball exploded.

Grandpappy told me’n Sean that there was a people a long long time ago that used to love the fireball and called it God. Sean laughed at Grandpappy and tol’im he was stupid cause everyone knows that the fireball was the Devil and tried to kill all of us once. God saved us and made the few docs that lived invent D-Bits so we get our fire vitamins reg’ler. But Grandpappy jus’ looked at Sean laughing and was really sad. He gets this look on his face, Grandpappy does, and I can see that me’n Sean aren’t as good as he wanted us to be. He tells us that were all sorts of stuff when he was a kid that we can’t have now, but I say that it’s better this way. God don’t need books and big buildings and stuff – the Dark is good enough for any prayer meeting and Grandpappy should know that. Mam and Da yell at him sometimes, and Mam calls him something but she never tells me what it means. I guess it’s real bad? She says he’s a Nathiess and says that she’ll be burned if her kids’ll be too. Grandpappy tells her we’re stupid, but I stopped cryin’ about that moons ago.

He might think I’m stupid, but Grandpappy lived when the fireball blew and that means God wanted him to care for Mam so she could marry Da and have Sean’n me. It’s enough to live after what happened to the planet, everyone knows that. Even Grandpappy.


Sleepy

Today was very long. A few of my friends visited me at work, which was nice, and I got to read for a lot of the rest of my shift, which was nice as well. Tomorrow morning I wake up and do it all over again until the afternoon. I’m too sleepy to think of anything creative, and so I will leave you for tonight, except to say that there is something profoundly comforting about the knowledge that a bed is waiting to welcome me, my heavy eyelids and languid limbs.

Whatever (Flash Fiction/Character study/something)

“Jessica!”

“What? I mean, sorry, yes, Mr. Jacobs?” I ask. I try to hide my phone underneath a mess of clothes on the counter. If he sees me texting again, I’m going to get fired, I just know it.

“There’s a woman right over there who’s looking at the very pricey dress-rack,” he says, smiling like he always does when he’s super-angry. He’s so creepy! “Don’t you think you should be over there? Helping her?

I sigh with relief. That’s all he wants. “I asked if she needed help, Mr. Jacobs!” I say earnestly, putting on what Jill, my co-worker, calls my suck-up face. “She told me she didn’t need any, thanks very much. Who am I to push her, right?” I think it’s an okay answer, but apparently Mr. Jacobs doesn’t.

“Well, if you haven’t noticed, young lady,” I hate this guy, I really do, “she also has a very big purse. Watch that she doesn’t steal anything!” He gives me that smile of his, with his eyebrows all sort of scrunched up and ugly – he plucks, you can so tell that he’s got a unibrow – and then he just stomps back to the back office where he spend most of his day arguing with his wife on the phone. Idiot.

I look over at the woman. She’s still looking at the dresses, putting her rich-lady hands all over them. I swore when I started working here that I’d never try on clothes again. I mean, have you seen how many people cough or rub their noses and then start feeling up the clothes? Gross!

Oh! Text. It’s Beverly again. We were texting before the idiot boss got on my case. She just sent a “?” because I haven’t answered yet. I text back: “Sry boss was here. So wut did u do last nite?”

She’s been trying to get me to ask that question all morning. She can be such a tease and a show-off. I don’t even know why I’m friends with her, but whatever, she works in the designer clothing store that’s also in the mall, on the floor above, and she’s bored too, so we text. I look over at the woman. She’s moved over the scarf section now. Wow, Mr. Jacobs was right, for a change! This one’s a stealer, I’d bet my nails on it.

I walk over and pretend to straighten the handbags that are near the scarves. The woman gives me this look – I hate rich people! She looks at me like I’m trash, just because I actually have to work, you know? Yuck. So what if my dad cut me off and my mom remarried to a loser who lost all his money gambling? That doesn’t make me any worse than this old biddy. Anyway, she’s rich but she’s going to steal something anyway. I know her type – they get a thrill out of it. I say she should just buy a baggie off my friend Tod and live it up at home with a bottle of mega-bucks wine and leave the stores alone.

I’m tailing her now, walking around and arranging everything she’s touched – I’ve got a bottle of hand-sanitizer behind the counter – and I think she’s getting annoyed, because she keeps sighing real deep and stuff. Ha- there! I just saw her let one of the weird necklaces we sell here fall into her bag!

“Mr. Jacobs!” I yell. “Come out here please!”

The woman’s really surprised by my yell, and she turns around to look at me, pretending to be calm. Mr. Jacobs runs out of his office, and asks me what’s up. “This lady,” I say. “She just put a necklace in her handbag. I saw her do it.”

“Alright, let me take it from here,” Mr. Jacobs says. He waves me away. What, now he’s not happy that I caught a thief in the act? Whatever, I’m quitting after my next paycheck anyway. I’m sick of working in this place.

Oh! Text. It’s Beverly. She says: “haha its a secret.” She’s such a – a – I don’t even know what to call her. I text back “whatever.” I don’t need her. I don’t need anyone. Everyone thinks I’m some kind of idiot, I swear.

Whatever. Seriously, to, like, everyone in the world – whatever.

Boggle

Boggle is an under-appreciated game. Big Boggle even more so. You may be asking, what is this strange word? You may be asking, has she finally gone totally batty? Well, maybe not. Maybe it’s a really well known game and the only reason I’m not aware of that is because there wasn’t one [not even one!] set of Boggle at The Black Squirrel, which is the Sarah Lawrence student-run cafe.

Boggle, in case you don’t know, is a pretty simple game. There are sixteen six-sided dice, and there’s a sort of box thing that has little openings the size of those dice. And then there’s a cover. You shake it around until the dice fall into place, and then you see only one side of each of the dice, and those are the letters you get to work with.

You then need to try to write down all the words you can find in that little box of letters in front of you.

That was probably one of the worst explenations of Boggle ever written, but what can I say? I don’t remember how the rule-book words it.

The point is, it’s a fun game. It’s a wordy game. It’s a game I’m really good at. Scrabble? I’m okay. Quiddler? Well, both my brother and Sir B. F. beat me every single time. They have strategies, you see. If you haven’t heard of Quiddler, I highly recommend looking into it.

But Boggle – that’s a game that plays to my strengths. I write fast, I remember that words like “pot” and “tin” and “teem” can all be written backwards and mean something else, so I always get two words when I see these.

It might be possible, ever so slightly, to tell that it’s 1:24AM and I don’t have much to write about. I spent a half hour today starting to write something that Anne Lamott recommends doing in her amazing book, Bird by Bird. Anyone who wants to read a book about writing that’s both honest and hilarious should read it.

So now, without further babbling, rambling, chatting or similar, I bid you, good fellows or fellowettes, good night.

Back!

I’m back in Israel, land of Jews, Jesus and Jonflicts [because “conflict” doesn’t start with a “J”].

I took over a thousand photographs during my two-week visit to Los Angeles – something I’ve never done before. I never was a photographing kind of person, but I had a camera of my very own that I received for my nineteenth birthday, and I decided to finally use it properly. Plus, this way I’ll be able to show Sir B. F. some of the City of Angels’ marvels. I know they may not seem so special to many people, but the fact is that I grew up in a country where the architecture of choice for apartment buildings seems to be concrete boxes on concrete pillars, naked of any ornament or exterior decor. The houses in Los Angeles are like looking at the window of a candy store for me – each is more beautiful than the next. This is excluding the many monstrosities, of course.

Can you tell I’m jet-lagged? I sure can. Whenever my mind is confused about what time zone it’s in, I begin rambling, words tumbling out too fast for anyone around me to make the connections between subjects that are perfectly clear in my overdriven thoughts. Which is why I’m now going to post a photograph, and shut up. Starting tomorrow, I’ll try very hard to get back to my schedule of writing every day, and writing fiction, poems or at least more coherent ramblings. See? I said I’d shut up, but here I am, still a-writing. Okay, here we go – photo:

It All Comes Down To…

Nothing.

Sometimes, it all comes down to absolute nothingness. There is no reason to actions, no reason for behavior, no reason for thoughts. Sometimes, it all comes down to nothing, at all, whatsoever.

Despair sets in as the weeks go by. Despair coupled with longing and yearning for something else, something different, something old and familiar rather than new.

Not all the time. No, some moments are full of their own fierce emotion, their own wonderful, eventful, meaningful something. Those are the moments for which all is worthy, all is important, all is enduring and good. Those are the moments when things make sense, passions burning brightly, thoughts whirling in an endless stream of new ideas, new names and faces, new imagined scenery.

But sometimes, when the limbs are suffused with a weariness beyond measure, when the thoughts are sluggish and illogical, when the very tips of the fingers don’t wish to respond to a thing in the world… then, it all comes down to nothing, and the vast void that fills the future is frightening.

Across Five States: Into Ohio

Night had fallen, my brother was driving, my mother was holding the rat-cage, and we drove into Ohio. Music was blaring out of the speakers from my brother’s iPod, and the two hours driving in the dark were an experience unto themselves. Lamps were scarce on the highway, we were surrounded by trucks bigger than us [several of which were swerving alarmingly at some points] and we were just driving and driving, the road seeming to go nowhere.

A curious thing about the highway through Ohio – there are lots and lots of bridges going over it. Low bridges, just over the height of one of the huge trucks, that seem to go through from one city to another or to lead from one part of town to the other. What we enjoyed about these bridges was the fact that they were all named, the green sign hanging on the bridge for all those driving underneath to see. We passed some boring ones of course, but we found one particularly road with a wonderful name: Bittersweet Road. It conjured up the images of tragedy and drama, a small town in crisis perhaps or a pair of star-crossed lovers.

As my brother and I sang along to the wonderful voice of Amanda Palmer, the cabaret music of The World Inferno Friendship Society and the hilarious lyrics of Jonathen Coulten, the miles went by swiftly. Eventually, around eleven at night, we followed one of the many blue signs pointing to wayside motels. We chose the Day’s Inn, parked,  and entered.

“Excuse me?” my mother called to the receptionist. He was a young guy who was on the phone. He spoke to us, revealing an Indian accent.

“Yes, hello,” he smiled.

“We’d like a room for three – with two double beds please.”

“Long day of driving, huh?” he asked rhetorically, smiled, and asked my mother for credit card information. Once the transaction was complete, he handed us our room keys – the plastic card kind – and explained that we needed to enter through the back. We did so, and stuck the key in the lock, a plastic box with a red light showing on it. We slid the card in time after time, but it stayed resolutely red. Eventually, we had to go back and get the keys reprogrammed. It didn’t help. Tempers were running high by this time, in the tired sort of way that tempers run when their victims are especially weary. Again, we walked to the receptionist, and this time he got new keys and came with us to make sure they worked.

Finally, we settled in our room, sneaked the poor rats in and fed them and retired to surprisingly comfortable beds.