And then there's this · 10:35am
So between packing, getting my shit together around the damn house, trying to unwind, drinking, and not getting the other writing done I was supposed to be writing, this happened and is apparently a thing I'm going to post at two in the morning. Disregard any typos, misspellings, horrible writing, or other blatant tomfoolery or anything that sounds like egregious self pitying fuckery you may come across.
So, what’s appropriate right now?
My hand slides along in controlled movement, the subtle noise of the mouse lost to me as I click along, coming to rest at last on the correct Pandora station. Why is it correct? The feeling, of course.
5:10PM, not bad. Made good time today. Status?
I reclined into the plush, yielding coolness of the leather, my feet propped on the ottoman. The air has a bit of a nip to it, but the muted background bass rumble of the heater starting up assuages my physical discomfort.
Let’s see. Drink, check. Cigarette, check. Music, that’s a big damn check.
“Something about the west coast…shh, don’t tell nobody…”
I relaxed, feeling the individual parts that made up my being doing their best to revert to some sort of primordial liquid state. It’d been a busy couple of days, on top of a busy couple of months, but at this point, in the white…patterned-ness of my humble townhouse, I felt good. Loose and natural. You deserve some time like this, my upper mind spoke, as the distant and mostly unheard sound of the furnace endeavored to deliver numbing warmth to my immediate self.
My lower mind, the part where the older me resides, spoke up in grumbled protest. You have responsibilities, you have things to do. Let’s go over the list…
Shake it Westside…throw your hands up lets ride…. My upper mind responded, buoyed by the warm air and warmer cool of the drink by my hand, not giving a single damn.
The music suffused me, bringing with it an enjoyment and nostalgia rarely found outside of a bottle, or an old and cherished video game.
I have things to do, I agreed with my lower mind, and I’ll get to them, really I will. But has it not been what they call a ‘long season’? I have this time, this little, precious time, should I not use a bit of it to relax and vent?
So long as you get to the things, my lower mind responded. I nodded my head both in agreement, and to the music. …It makes me want to ride…shake it West Side…hold your hand up let’s ride…
The things, I think to myself. Mustn’t lose sight of the things…
An hour passes…
Well, my lower mind speaks up, it’s been some time. We should really get to it. Things, you see.
Is this Eazy-E? My upper mind replies with joyful amazement. Pandora is doing me proud this evening.
Be that as it may, my lower mind answers in its sour, lemon faced grumble like a disgruntled old country lawyer, you agreed to do the things tonight, and no amount of music changes that.
Lower mind has a point, I realize. I look down at my glass, the mellow light filtering through the half full tumbler of rum and coke, painting abstract shadows and bits of brightness in innumerable shades of brown. I’ve been remiss. I should have had a chapter done a long time ago, I should have been long working on things. It doesn’t matter how much it’s been fighting me, or how much I’ve been fighting it. The Shit with this, let’s get going. I started this story with a strong drink, I’m right at home right now. Let’s go.
And without missing a beat, upper mind suddenly speaks up. That Gieco commercial that just played was shit, but is this E1999? Holy shit, when is the last time we heard this? Also, your glass is getting empty, we should probably address that.
Yes, I think, I should address that, and then on to the things. The music sooths me as only something strongly attached to memories can. Right after this song…
So that’s how season four starts out. I’m honestly… not as disappointed as I thought I would be.
No, that was actually pretty acceptable, all things told. Agrees upper mind. Also, is there still some rum left?
Yes, there is still some rum left. Let’s address that, and then what ever. Something something things…
Agreed. Agrees upper mind jovially. Lower mind has since gone to bed, being the responsible one among the three of us, but upper mind and I are still going strong. The hell with lower mind. Upper mind and me have this shit on lock down. I shakily get to my feet, my eyes registering my surroundings with that patented slow pickup that accompanies a night being decently spent. I manage to clear the ottoman without getting caught up in it, and as I uncertainly round the couch and set course for the kitchen I hear a most peculiar sound.
Thump, thump thump, pause, thump thump, thump thump.
I stop, eyes losing focus as I gaze absently upon the ratty tan carpet while my mind tries to place the sound. I’m not watching the dog for my folks, right? Because that’s what she sounds like on her way down…No, of course I’m not watching the dog today. I’m supposed to head home tomorrow afternoon, so how am I watching the dog…The wheels spin but fail to gain traction, and after what I’m sure should be an embarrassing amount of time I finally turn my creaky eyeballs upwards to the stairs.
The first thing I see, of course, is the bright white of the subtly patterned drywall, overtopped by the bright white, subtly patterned jigsaw shape of the staircase. Above that is the tan, jigsaw shape of the carpet that lies over the stairs. However, between the nearly black wrought iron of the railing I glimpse different shapes, a set of blue-black uprights, rising somehow to a perpendicular oblong shape. My mind belatedly identifies it as some type of possible body, and I focus out, trying to take in the whole of it.
The shape clears it throat. “Umm-hmmmm.”
The soft light from the living room lamp and the sharp, harsh light from the T.V. combine to kick back subtle, slightly washed out orange-yellow highlights from the front of the shape. Vaguely I can make out some sort of metallic hat, resting above liquid eyes. Eyes that are not amused. The shape clears its throat again. “Umm-hmmmm”.
“I…yes?” My mind tries to get some sort of grip on the situation, tries in vain to place the shape into some sort of context, but keeps failing. Intruder! Gun! My body shouts stridently, Intruder! Get the shotgun from the closet! My body yells, but my mind fails to heed, and indeed keeps focusing on the wheels of rational thought and what they’re doing. They, for their part, keep slipping in the sweet, aromatic rum scented mud. “Uhh…” The wheels spin and spin and finally, blessedly, gain some traction. “Can I help you?” The wheels spin out and slow, throwing up great fans of viscous watery brown before coming to an ignominious, grinding stop. My body trembles in indignant inaction.
“Harruph” I think that’s what it said. It certainly sounded derisive. The shape finishes its journey down the stairs. Thump thump, pause, thump thump thump click click click click. Half of the clicks are muffled because of tan and black woven mat lying on the tiles just inside the front door.
“I..uhh…” Error…error… Says upper mind, a sentiment I happen to agree with whole heartedly at this point. The shape shakes its head, its dark tresses fanning out like a particularly good exhibit at a university observatory. The kind that’s supposed to get elementary school kids excited about space exploration.
The shape finishes with a little shake of its head, and then turns large, liquid eyes full of disdain upon me.
“You aren’t doing what you should be.” It says, its voice one of stern disapproval.
Error…error… helps upper mind helpfully.
“I…what?” I respond, caught between wanting to answer and a temporary melt down.
“You” it says, looking down its somewhat pointed muzzle at me, “Are not doing what you are supposed to be.”
The words drip down the slope from its eyes to its nose and fall loudly onto the tiled portion of floor in little splashes of contempt. I sway a bit, my mind having a hard time trying to process the rum and my week and the music and the cigarettes and this all at once. Error……Error……Upper mind chimes in, faint and growing fainter.
I stare at the figure, mind trying to process, trying to burn with understanding and just sort of fizzing with a tepid half-heat. My mouth drops open of its own accord, a draw bridge trailing a broken chain. “Luna?”
She draws herself up, a vision of impetuousness and haughty-ness and disappointment. She opens her mouth to deliver sound judgment, when the moment is broken by a distant, deep bass thrumming that rapidly rises in volume. She stops, glancing towards the roof before looking a silent question my way.
“It’s a helicopter. From the NAS…” I trail off sheepishly, feeling somehow responsible for the interruption as the sound rises, peaks to a window rattling tempo, and them begins to Doppler off, trailing away until it’s nothing but a a series of ‘whumps’ that steadily fade into the distance. “They fly by sometimes…”
She looks at me for a moment, and then shakes her head again, sending feelers of star speckled liquid night stretching around her. Regaining her previous poise, she looks cold judgment at me, and opens her mouth to deliver a no doubt righteous decree. “You are …”
She trails off as a rapid staccato sounds, and the rising noise of bleeting goat mixed with lawnmower fills the living room. It reaches a crescendo, a cacophony of machine noise and high pitched buzzing mixed with a strangely alluring, pulsing beat. Faintly someone shouting ‘’Gangnam Style!” is faintly discernible, before the strident, abrasive sound fades quickly away down the street.
She looks another question at me, but by this point I’m so thoroughly mired in that alluringly scented mud I just shrug my shoulders and decide to take my repose upon the ottoman. She attempts to recompose herself, tries for that effortless judgmentalism that defies any attempt at disagreement, but the moment is well and truly broken.
I’ve reached that seminal point, that portion of the evening that balances on a knife edge. Were I at a bar, I’d be two drinks and one cigarette away from buffoonery, but at this particular point I’m where everything feels correct, and is. I’m at that point where everything lines up just right, where I’m a maverick at darts and a god at pool, for at least one or two turns. I’m at that point where, for one fleeting drunken moment, the universe and I are in total equilibrium. I had a friend during those long gone navy days that used to call it Zen from the bottle, and for all of my experience, I’ve never known him to be more right.
I locked eyes with the figure, defiantly picking up my short glass and taking a long, loud and much enjoyed drink of cool, sweet burning, I looked stalwartly at her, derailing the nascent start to her tirade, my fuzzy mind dancing in swaying, beautifully in sync with existence, sorting through all of the things in all of the realities that could exist in this moment and plucking from that vast, infinite multitude the only sibilance that could be deemed appropriate to this particular situation. I set my glass down with a deliberately loud noise and opened my mouth. “Whyyouwannaweinieme…”
A sort of silence ensued, the kind that couldn’t properly be disregarded. Just as I’d planned, apparently.
“What…” I started, pausing to slurp loudly from my glass again as I marshaled my thoughts. “is…?”
She looked at me with concern, her mind obviously working labouredly. “What is…what?”
I’d had her, I’d had her. In all of the possible iterations of reality that ever could have been I had plucked forth the definitive argument, I’d charted my course, and now we were supposed to be in it. I was supposed to blow her away. I opened my mouth, trying with all its might to right my sinking existential ship. I hesitated, then closed my mouth. Thought for a moment, then opened and closed it again. The image of a fish flashed before my eyes.
“…Are you alright?” She asked again.
Her tone took me off guard, throwing me into confusion. I looked to her horn, sure I’d see a tell-tale glow, but none existed to explain my current state. Trying to gain some sort of grasp on the situation and failing, I fell back on the oldest standby of discourse. “What were you saying again?”
Her eyes narrowed, her gaze penetrating as she searched for some ulterior meaning. Eventually giving it up as a bad job, she shook her head vigorously to clear it, her tone dropping into the registers reserved for disappointed judges in the lower courts. “You,” she began yet again it seemed, taking a step forward, “are not doing what you are supposed to be doing.”
I looked at her nonplussed, mind trying desperately to salvage things. I’d had her. What was the next part? My hand absently reached out for the short, tall sided glass and grasped it. I gave her my shrewdest look. “Am I?” I asked, trying to put as much meaningless meaning possible into an answer I didn’t understand. I felt like I’d been cheated.
She took two short steps and arrived at the couch, looking at me impetuously over the back of it. “No, you are not.”
I gave her a look filled with all of my cunning, trying in vain to figure out what was happening, and, failing that, to seem like I knew what was happening. I took a noisy drink of my drink, expending all of my mighty will to keep from grimacing. Was that whiskey? When had I switched to that?
Her eyes bore holes into me, breaching the depth of me and scouring my soul. Finding my sparse and lacking interior, she focused on my exterior again, holding me with her eyes. She spoke with exasperation. “You’re drunk, aren’t you?”
I leaned forward and started to reply, slid slightly on the smooth leather of the ottoman and partially lost my balance, just managing to right myself by sheer force of will and a full body convulsion, narrowly avoiding spilling my beverage by holding it high above my head like I was trying to avoid some sort of particularly nasty sudden onset flooding. “…that’s within the realm of possibility.”
She gazed at me for a moment, with eyes like ice chips that spoke of haughty disappointment and repressed fury. Then she sighed, with a resigned sound that sort of hurt my middle. She looked down for a moment, then back to me again, an almost naked pleading in her eyes. “You’re supposed to be writing.”
I set my glass back down on the narrow wooden oval of the end table, hopping she didn't notice the haste with which my hand moved. Rum and coke and, at some point, whisky to bolster it. It really was an awful concoction. “What?”
Her gaze was divided between me and the floor, but at the sound of my voice it returned to me full force, her expression a mix of need and want and repressed anger at not getting the first two.. Her eyes flashed. “You,” she said with deliberate slowness and subdued emotion, “should be writing. We’ve been stuck in the mountains for like, six months.” Her gaze hardened, jumping back and forth between scorn and contempt, and her reserve broke. “Why are we still there? Why haven’t we moved on?” She yelled, slowly advancing around the end of the couch with very deliberate, menacing steps. “We should have moved on by now! Don’t you realize we have other things to do?!”
She stopped, and I leaned back, her muzzle inches from my face, warm spittle speckling my check as she continued. “Why aren’t you doing your damn job?” She backed off a foot or so, nostrils flaring and sides heaving, her wings a noticeable lump only because they weren’t moving. Her breath smelled of slightly used hay and old flowers and carbon dioxide. My ears rang.
My gaze, through some aberration of witch craft, had fallen onto my checkered slippers. My chest, through some application of same, felt unaccountably heavy, as though with shame or something. I glanced at the erstwhile lunar princess standing next to my chair, for some reason standing where no erstwhile lunar anything should rightly exist, and my mind decided suddenly and irrevocably on denial. I was drunk, admittedly, but there is no way that some uppity alicorn could be standing there, exhausted by berating me and just…existing like that.
It made a perfect, beautiful sort of sense. My mouth quirked up in a sly smirk, and I looked her full on, ready to besmirch her reality, deny her existence, possible make a burrito and collapse into bed. It’d been a long sort of night, after all. She met my gaze, and the limpid, teal pools of her eyes pulled me in, quite against my will and insistence. She looked at me, and I looked back, opening my mouth and already sort of hating myself for the harshness I was about to deliver.
“I’m sorry.” My mouth said, surprising us both. I paused, sort of confused, then tried to get back on track. I opened my mouth again, ready to lay out all the reasons why this wasn’t really happening, and my mouth said “Look…I’m really sorry.” Well this still wasn’t right. I tried again. “I’m trying to finish, I am. I haven’t lost the want, if that makes any sense.”
She narrowed her eyes, scrutinizing me for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, eventually, she replied with a hesitation I wouldn’t expect to be coupled with the previous outbursts. “So, why?”
I squinted, and for a brief moment actually tried to look at my own treasonous lips. Giving it up as a bad job and feeling sort of ridiculous for actually having tried, I sighed. “Look, I work hard all week, which leaves me exhausted. I spend half of my days off either traveling or dealing with needless drama.” Why am I still saying this?
She looked at me curiously, and I returned a bewildered expression to her. This isn’t what I was going to say, this isn’t what I was going to say at all. What the hell was this? Mindless of my churning, blurry thoughts, my mouth continued. “I try to get on with it, but honestly there are so many distractions.”
She quirked her eyebrow, nodding slowly for me to continue.
I looked at her beseechingly, my eyes apparently deciding to throw their lot in with my mouth while my brain struggled to make sense of the sudden, apparent mutiny. “Things have calmed down, finally. I’ll have more time. I’ll make more time. Just, bear with me for a while longer.”
She gazed at me, some of the earlier judgment filling her eyes and flaying me open down to the bone. She breathed, not in the hitching, gasping breaths following her outburst, but in a deep, steady manner, in that automatic way you breath when your mind is too fully engaged to bother regulating such things. After an eternity she nodded slowly. “You had better, or so help me you will not like the consequences.”
I released a breath I didn’t know I had been holding, sagging slightly on my ottoman, like my body was being held together by a series of nuts that had all suddenly been loosened a half turn. I smiled at her, nodding, like my head was mounted on a spring. I reached unthinkingly for my horrible drink, noticed what I was doing, and then shoved it back. Things got uncomfortably quiet.
Glancing around for a moment, like someone hoping desperately for something to make small talk about, she looked to my chair, seemingly very interested in the small blanket thrown haphazardly across it. “So, these distractions…” she began hesitantly.
“Video games, mostly.” I replied quickly, feeling strangely comfortable and uncomfortable and tired at the same time.
Her gaze moved from my chair to some of the framed photos along one wall.
She brightened noticeably, her eyes traveling from my wall to my face and then drifting off again, just failing to meet my eyes in that way socially awkward people have. " I like video games, actually What sort of distractions?"”
“Well, I figured out that if you hop on a train in GTA 5, you can have a running shootout with the cops pretty much forever.”
Her eyes focused back onto me with a razor sharpness. “What, like forever forever?”
I shrugged, half turning on the ottoman. “For a pretty long time, if you’re quick about shooting down the damn choppers.”
Her gaze took on a predatory glint, and she half nodded towards the PS3 sitting dustily on my entertainment center. “Prove it.” She said.
Yeah, I don't really know, so don't ask. That just sort of happened in between drinks and catching up on Season 4, which has apparently started already. Chapter 10 is currently undergoing a rewrite, but it will be done, and it will come out. In the meantime, happy Thanks Giving to everyone.