ELEVATOR ESCAPE

They had given me tickets to Bermuda as a departing gift, after I had told them I was done. I read over them several time, to verify there was no falsity to the tickets, but they appeared real enough. When I walked out, the click of the door behind me was a reminder that this was all too good to be true. No hitman leaves the industry that easily.

As I walked through the hallway to the elevator, decorated lavishly with red furnishings, I had an eye out for the betrayal. None came. I pressed the down button, and took a step back. The doors swung open a moment later, and a small man walked by me. He was inattentive, and nearly walked right into me. When I turned to let him pass, I saw a body appear down the corridor to the left. A massive, titan of a man, nearly seven foot tall and four feet across, was pacing slowly toward me. His suit coat was loose, but the shirt underneath was tight to his chest, and made it look like he was made more of steel than flesh.

The doors to the elevator opened, and I thought, panic stricken, that he might not be able to make it to me before they closed, so I stepped through. Dead wrong. He broken into a sprint, and as the doors began to shut, he barreled through them. His shoulders smashed the edges of the elevator where I had been standing a moment before, and when he stepped away the support bar was indented. My shock had frozen me for a moment, and the ding of the doors woke me with the realization that I was probably going to die here.

Fortunately, my body was not so frozen. Acting on muscle memory, I stepped behind him, and kicked out his right knee. He toppled off balance and fell to his knees for a moment. The pause gave me the chance to get an arm around his brick of a neck, pressing my chest tight against him to give as little room for breath as possible. When I pulled tight, to squeeze the life out of him, it was like wrangling a beam to a building. It only took him a moment to regain his footing, and as he stood up I felt my feet leave the ground. His arms went to his neck, and dug into my arm as a lion digs into its prey. I thought he might break my arm with his grip alone.

Somehow, I held on. When he began getting desperate, he slammed me back into the elevator door. Or rather, through the door. I felt my whole back snap and crack as the steel doors bent. Our bodies came tumbling two floors before the bottom floor. In a heave of pain, I scrabbled to my feet. He was still bent over, coughing as he caught his breath. I scanned the room, and found the stairway, then bolted for it. I heard him stumble to his feet behind me, and then suddenly the whole building seemed to shake as he took up the chase. I swung the door open, taking the steps four at a time, using the handrail to balance myself and redirect my momentum around the turns.

Two flights of stairs later, I reached the bottom. I had gained a bit of distance between us. A man that size was unlikely to be able to move quickly through such tight quarters. When I stepped into the lobby, I tossed my black coat into the trash can beside me, and ripped a deep red one off the coat wrack, along with a pale black hat. I stepped out onto the street, and melted into the crowd just as he tore into the lobby. That was the last time I saw him.

——

 

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THINKING ABOUT SOCIETAL DIVISIONS

Well, I’m feeling a tad bit under the water…er…the weather today. But that doesn’t mean I’m not feeling awesome. Wait. That’s literally what that means. Anyways, I was thinking about all the content that exists on the Internet, and how little of it we actually know. I mean, think of all the memes you know. Or…don’t know. There are so many memes. Like so many. Seriously, do you think you know them all? I certainly don’t.

Which made me think about how divisive the Internet can be. We all know there is a separation between the news people read. The right reads Breitbart, the left reads Huffpost. Whether or not one is based in fake news and the other is based in reality, there is a split between what people read. Which indicates to me that we are split into sectors in the world. And it makes me curious if people have always been that way. Like, for how long have we drawn lines? That’s what countries are based on, right? Just lines that say “don’t cross this if you aren’t from here.” Before that, we had tribal lines, right? Like…I’m from tribe x and you are from tribe y. We’ve been erecting borders between each other for literally thousands of years.

Which makes me curious of how people dealt with lines before today. I mean, tribes obviously had wars, and those didn’t really end well. To me, that means one of two things. Either, we are a species incapable of change in this manner, in the sense that we are incapable of rising above our animal instincts to kill people who get in our way. OR we just haven’t gotten there yet. Do I have a clue as to what it is? Nope. But I do think that there is strong evidence that shows we haven’t gotten there yet. Firstly, we’ve developed systems to prevent illegal activity. The police are an obvious aspect, though to me it is clear that some amount of reformation needs to occur before it can actually be successful. Laws are another example, though these too are imperfect, since they can be twisted or divided in a way that favors certain groups.

So how do we move forward? I don’t know. But what I do know is that the best way to move forward is to try new things. Big border walls? Not really a knew thing. Strong armed, charismatic leaders? Not really a knew thing. A system that promotes the well being of the economic elite? Not really a knew thing. But that’s just my two cents. What do you think?

 

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PRIME TIME DISCUSSION

If there is one thing that I have learned about over the last few weeks, it is that being a good person does not always equate to being a (financially) successful person. Which is not to say that there isn’t room in the world for more good people, but rather to qualify that the world as we know it may not be in a good place.

Recently, I heard a talk by Cory Doctorow, who is a brilliant guy and very engaged in the world as we know it. The key point that really stuck with me through his talk was this: There is no good or bad in the world, there is only people with leverage and people without leverage. This was backed up by a slew of examples, that included major businesses like Amazon, YouTube, and so on, where the simple number of people using these platforms outweighs any individual power. Think about it. Amazon literally said “oh hey, lets make a day called Amazon Prime Day” and it exploded. That’s a business with leverage that is more powerful than many governments.

And I’m not trying to say that Amazon is all bad or anything. I mean, I use it, my family loves it, and they have done a lot for the various communities, which has allowed many groups to be successful that otherwise never would have been. But it is a bit concerning to me that one business can hold so much power. Especially since they are not transparent. Now, I don’t know that a business should be entirely transparent, just as I don’t know that we as individuals should be. I mean, I certainly don’t wish to be monitored 24/7. That would make me paranoid and probably cause an early death. But at the same time, it frightens me that one of these businesses could be lobbying for changes that damage the core of our values, without us even realizing it. In some cases, it might be that they simply have to not get in the way.

For example, there are plenty of businesses that stood to gain by having Donald Trump elected, but with his unpopular choice of words, they could very easily back Hillary Clinton and publically donate to her campaign, thereby saving face. At worst, she wins and they are on good footing with her because of how much they contributed. At best, Trump gets elected, and suddenly all these regulations, like, I don’t know, the Paris Agreement, go away, and these groups get to maximize their profit by not sticking to emissions standards. Just a hypothetical. But likely one that did occur.

Regardless, it is always good to be keeping an eye out for what is going on in the world, and to see when the number match the public representation a company presents (and when they don’t).

——

 

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BEDTIME STORY PART 3

To preface this, here are links to Part One and Part Two. Enjoy!

 

The next night we sat down and jumped straight back into our story. Lizzie’s wide eyes looked on me with excitement and wonder as I recounted the events from the previous night.

“…and so that monstrous looking entity bellowed ‘who dares to disturbed my slumber.’ Are we all caught up?”

“Yup,” Lizzie said, drifting into silence.

“Ok. So this ancient creature stands before you. It’s blinking yellow eyes trained on the light from your lantern. It looks almost like a human, yet its skin has the distinct texture of solidified mud.

‘My name is Ashoka, I am of the river,’ you call out. You’ve lied, though you are unsure why. Something in the air gives you pause.

‘Ashoka?’ the beast speaks every syllable with a slow, meandering pause, as if tasting each in turn, ‘human, you would do better not to lie to me.’

‘What are you?’ Your voice presses on, with a determination, ignoring its question.

‘Me?’ the beast sounds almost taken aback, ‘if you are not careful, I will be your reckoning.’ The hint of a smile pulls at the eyes of the beast, its face remains neutral. That is, if you could call such a sight neutral.

‘Speak, or never speak again,’ you announce, with quite a bit more confidence than you feel. You pass the lantern to your right hand, and draw your sword. The silver edge glows bronze against your lantern, yet with the palest hint of blue from the light of the beast.

‘You think you can damage me with this?’ the beast laughs, it’s a pained, guttural laugh, with such disdain, ‘what do you call your precious sword?’

‘This is Elendall, forged from the same fires as Durendall.’

‘Elendall.’ The beast’s voice breaths in a ghost like whisper, then, more loudly, it boasts ‘let me show you how feeble your mighty sword is.’ The beast’s arm raises slowly. You step back, wary as the hand extend closer to you, though it stops a short ten feet from you. It’s boney brown fingers glow red against the light of your lantern. The beast speaks an unknown word, sharp, clear, and steely. It sounds like ‘El-Dah,’ though it is so raspy and ancient you cannot say for sure.

Suddenly, Elendall begins to shiver. It looks like a gong, vibrating furiously after being struck. The shaking runs though your arm, until at last you cannot hold the sword any longer. Your eyes dart between the sword and the beast. The beast closes its hand into a fist, and you watch your shivering sword change. The silver blade shifts, to a burnt, angry brown, then to a molten, fiery red. The surface began to morph and twist, and little bursts of smoke began to roll off it. The once hard edges of the blade melt onto the ground into a puddle; bubbling, popping, and hissing as the molten turns from red to orange, with the hilt laying listlessly on the earth. Then, as if possessed, the liquid begins to move, rising into the air, and forming a sphere of molten. Waves of its heat scorch your face, but you stare, transfixed, at the sphere before you, unable to turn away. Then, the sphere suddenly shifts back through the color spectrum, until it sits before you as a pale blue ball.

‘Open your hand,’ the beast commands. Without thinking, you oblige. The sphere moves above your extended palm, then drops suddenly into your hand.” I stopped talking and sat in silence.

“Wha—come on!” Lizzies protested, “you can’t stop there!”

“It’s late Liz.” I brought my hand to my forehead.

“But what is—”

“Liz.” I said, in a tone more harsh than I’d intended. I could feel the fatigue against my eyes. Liz shrunk back in her bed, her expression hurt. I took a deep breath, “sorry Liz. I’m just tired. I’ll tell you more tomorrow.” Silence. She had turned away from me. I stood there for a moment, then walked to her doorway. I said a horse goodnight on my way out, then shut the door behind me.

——

 

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TALKING ABOUT DREAMS

Hello everyone,

 

Today seems like a good day to talk about dreams. If you haven’t noticed, I quite like using dreams as a reference point for my poems. I never have really discussed this with anyone before, so I figured why not give it a shot today?

Dreams are an awesome, beautiful concept—fall asleep for a little while and have your brain entertain you. The irony for me is that I very rarely if ever remember my dreams. When I do, it is in the way most people remember them—fragmented images and broken strings of plot, often blurry around the edges. Yet after twenty-two years of life, I can place what makes a dream so “dreamy” with some amount of ease. The vivid colors, the strangely familiar faces…and so on.

After seeing Get Out, the thriller film about a black man meeting his white girlfriend’s family (can’t say more than that, you should all go see the film), I think I can also talk about what makes nightmares so terrifying. At least some of them. One recurring one that I hear about is the nightmare where people have lost their voice. Often times, a loved one is in the distance, and something bad is about to happen to them. They call out—only to feel their voice catch in their throat. Try as they might, nothing happens, and they usually wake up in a cold sweat.

The movie took this idea a step farther, showing the conscious mind as trapped inside the subconscious in a “sunken place,” and it’s the core of every nightmare—the feeling of being powerless to do anything. Immobilized, silenced, and trapped. Not a place I would ever want to be. Personally, I think this is typically why I am glad when I cannot remember a dream—because even in dreams we seem to lack some amount of control, don’t we? In A Stroke of Red Ink, a poem I wrote fairly recently, I wrote about a dream that I had. Despite having pleasant factors to it, I still lacked control. Another dream that I remember fondly, is simply about walking through a void of ever changing color. It shifted and morphed, from wispy pinks to grassy greens, all through the color spectrum. I could almost smell the lush of flowers. Yet there was something unsettling about it—the fact that I was at the mercy of these colors. In an instant, they could have changed to a grotesque, bloody red, and suddenly I would have been in a hellish nightmare scape.

I think this is what makes lucid dreaming so appealing to people. All this power, this unchained imagination, reined in and harnessed, is empowering. Can you imagine waving a hand and watching the whole world change in front of you? The wind against your skin as you fly away? Can you imagine the person of your fantasies finally bending to your desires? It’s…well, it’s every person’s dream. What are your experiences with dreaming? Is it about power and control? Let me know!

——

 

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