The Mistake

Crushing, pounding, wrenching sadness
Washing o’er the gathered mob
Resulting from their vile black madness
For wandering few who’d rob
They strung them up and hung them dead
Ropes around their necks
Kick chair, jerk body, still head
Blood from noses, flecks
Then from the road a screeching lass
Who yelled, “..proceed no more!”
The twitching stopped, wind still as glass
Our boys were back from war
They left so young, they aged in battle
Many years ago
And now necks broken, gone death rattle
Lives of sons did flow

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Care not I

Why do I care
Why do I bother
Its such a waste of time

I pull out my hair
Don’t talk to my mother
Glorious social net crime

I just couldnt care
If all of them died
If they fell to the ground in a heap

But I proffer my ware
My laughs though I cried
And at night ‘pon their visage I creep

And they cling to my word
Like an oracle I
Though the knowlege I spake is mere grot

And they act like a herd
A chip wagon chef I
And the pestilence verbage I’ve wrought

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Janie Saw It Too

Johnnie and Janie became the fastest of friends.  They became almost inseparable.  They watched television.  They wandered the streets, the parks, the cemeteries.  They went to movies, the mall, the library.  When the next autumn came, they began to attend the same school and from there, the friendship went beyond the norm.

But they never spoke of The Dark

They shared secrets, loves, sorrow, pain and happiness.  Their families became close and they all shared vacations.  They shared dinners as one, picnics as one, birthdays and Christmases as one.  The two families became inseparable, which suited them fine as none of them truly felt welcome in the town they lived..

But they never spoke of The Dark.

Johnnie spoke of his insecurities; his odd likes and dislikes the things he liked and the things he feared.

Except for the dark.

Janie spoke of her anxious ways, her esoteric preferences and her lack of friendship among the other girls at school. She spoke of the fire that claimed the lives that she was blamed for.

She did not speak of The Dark.

Yes. Janie had too seen The Dark.

Janie was at summer camp, three years previous, standing by a lake, avoiding the jeering of the other girls.  Janie was watching a fog bankrolls across the water, a wall of white, glowing in the morning sun.  Janie watched as a shape, a deep black shape, pointed, sleek, swimming shark like through the fog.  As the mist hit the shore, Janie dove to one side, her catatonic state broken by a sound from behind.  As she dove, the shape turned her way.  The sound that broke the spell was one of her many tormentors attempting to push her into the waters.  The shape took the other girl and with a snap, was gone.

She lay panting. She lay sore from striking the roots of a nearby tree.  She lay quiet, still, as the shape circled then slid off back to the lake.  She rose and headed to the cabin, unaware that the girl who slept above her would not be returning.  Unaware that the girl had even been behind her.  Unaware that she had escaped death.

But she had seen The Dark for the first time.

It would not be the last.

For she or Johnnie.

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It was a late summer day in September, 1995, when I decided to grow up.  I was twenty nine.  I had been separated two years previously from my first spouse and when not in “dad mode” (we had joint custody and equal time with The Boy) I was either at work, planning to go out with my friends, out with friends or recovering from being out.  Yes, I did play soccer and yes I did coach soccer (women’s soccer) and did other miscellaneous things like play board games and minor hobbies but primarily, I didn’t like to be home alone at night and that meant out to the clubs. 

Downfall, imminent.

I had been single for the most part of the previous ten months and had recently started seeing a couple of women (dating) on and off and decided when invited to an end-of season soccer dinner that I would go.  It wasn’t my “thing”; I didn’t like “events” but the plethora of women, athletic, mostly single, women, was a big drawing card for me, so I dressed casual but “eventy” and headed off to the gig. The dinner was for the most part uneventful (apart from my getting “the eye” from a cuteish player from a different team) but for whatever reason I told one of the women players that I had been dating on and off that I was heading home to sleep. 

Aside: a truly nice person, though very protective and a bit clingy.  The fact she was three inches taller than me freaked me out though.  The fact she was a cop more so.

Leaving the dinner, a friend and I decided to meet other friends (no surprise) at a local dance club and play some pool.  It was a Monday night so the crowd was thin and we assumed it would for the first time in a VERY long time be an early evening.  Then, they arrived.  Two women soccer players, one being the one that gave had given me the flirty look earlier in the evening, the other, a sadly better looking though unattainable red-head mortician (true story).  We played pool, chatted, my advances cast aside by Morticia, we left the club and the alternate and I went off to another club to drink, dance and as much as I planned otherwise, to split up at the end of the night never to speak again (though I planned to get Morticia’s number first).

On the way to the club, I was proffered a clue that I should simply turn off on a side street and go home, not following her beat up Honda to the other end of town.  I felt all of a sudden as if the world was underwater. She hit the brakes in front of me for a streetlight turning orange and I had to slam on mine in response.  I skidded twenty or more feet to a screeching stop knowing full well that I was now too drunk to be driving, yet I was off to drink more.  Clues aside, we continued.

We arrived, bribed our way in to the packed club, danced, drank, drank, ate, and drank.  In what seemed like minutes (but was in truth hours) we got into my car, drove dangerously to my place, got in bed and due to a lack of contraception, promptly fell asleep.  “No” she said “It’s not happening”. The next morning, still three sheets to the wind, we boinked (after inspecting her bellybutton piercing!), woke up, ate, showered and I drove her to her home to meet her father in the driveway who would have to drive into the city to get her car later on that day.

We never spoke again.

More importantly, I never saw the mortician again.

I arrived back home and began to feel terribly unwell. It was as if the gods of partying decided my fun was now over.  I did the math.  I had spent over one hundred dollars on the evening on cheap drinks alone, not accounting for those at the event nor the ticket for such.  I almost died.  I slept with a stranger (with a bellybutton piercing!  my first!), risked death dropping her off smelling of booze to her father at the end of her driveway, forgot to call in sick to work (a few hours later I did) and now felt like I was going to die from alcohol poisoning.

I took gravol, advil, tylenon, water by the bucket.

I sat on my balcony in the hot sun to cook the poison from my system.

I ate rice.

I drank ginger ale.

I watched depressing daytime television.

I decided I needed to start exercising (I hadn’t for a few years) and as an ex-runner, I needed to start now.

I showered (third of the day), dressed in “going for a long walk” gear and started walking the five kilometers to a local mall.  I had seen watermelons on sale there the night before. 

(I love watermelon.  Watermelon would be the start of the new me.)

The walk was Death Valley hot.  Dusty, loud, un-fun.  Double-plus un-fun.  I made it to the store and promptly walked to the frozen food aisle sticking my head and half of my body deep into the stand up cooler for a few minutes pretending to look at frozen lasagna. I selected a Gatorade and a large watermelon. 

(I love watermelon.  Watermelon would heal me.)

I paid and walked home, sweaty, grumpy, thirsty (oh, hey, look, (half way home), I bought a Gatorade!) cursing myself for not at least having the HUGE UNGAINLY ROUND SLIPPERY WATERMELON put in a bag.

(I love watermelon.  Watermelon is my penance.  It will cure me.)

I arrived home.  I lay on the living room floor and slept for two hours.  I woke, carried the watermelon to the kitchen and promptly ate almost half of it.  I lay on the couch and reflected on the day, the night before. I answered the phone when my on-again, off-again insanely tall cop girlfriendish person called and agreed to go play pool that night.  Yes, she could pick me up. No, I didn’t want to go for dinner first as I wasn’t feeling well. No, I wouldn’t be drinking.  Yes, I would go running with her next weekend. 

I needed to get back to being myself.

Did she want some watermelon?  Yes?  Good. I’d bring her half of one.

Watermelon is good.  I love watermelon.

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Duck You

I don’t understand people. Okay, that is inaccurate, I don’t understand people. No, let me try again. I DO understand why people do the things that they do that I find irritating, silly, moronic and/or plain old dopey, I just don’t understand why they do. No. Again, words fail me. I Understand the biochemical reasons, the evolutionary reasons behind the actions of other humans. Everything can be explained. Everything can be tied back to survival mechanisms. That said, I don’t understand people.


That keeps slipping out.

I get why people do things I think are frankly idiotic. I do, I really do. I just don’t understand people.


NO. I guess my problem is that I fully and completely understand that people are ducking boneheads and, why does my computer keep changing duck to duck. Ducking, fuckity duck fuck. Aha. Fuckity isn’t a real word and unlike duck there is no single letter right beside the first letter of the word I typed that the ever omnipotent Microsoft (that apparently knows to capitalize itself) thinks I meant to use. Duck, duck, fuck. Wait. Hold on. Duck. Corrected. Duck fuck duck fuck duck.. Okay, now I am confused. “Duck duck” is okay.. wait. Why did it change the second duck to duck this time.

Okay. Fuck. If I put a period after it, it’s accepted.


Apparently it’s okay to write that I am attending a duck puck. Puck? WTF?

What the duck.

My name is Mister Duck. Fuck.

Oddly, unlike old school MS Word, duck ahem “duck” ahem “duck.” Oh Jesus H Christ on a stick. F.U.C.K. doesn’t even show up with the little red wiggly “I don’t know this word” line that appears under fuckity I can see it right there, now) so I cannot even right click on it and say “add to your prudish dictionary that capitalizes Microsoft and Jedi yet doesn’t know one of the oldest and most used “bad words” in all languages on our planet”.

I guess I will try to fix that later.

I don’t understand tucking people.

Tucking. That’s new. What’s wrong with ducking.

Duck I don’t understand fucking people. Woah. Hold on.

People make me crazy. There. I understand why people do the irritating things they do because they feel compelled to do such things due to biochemical and emotional reactions based on millions of years of survival based evolution. Most of all, I don’t understand women. Okay I do. I DO understand women and the things they do and why they do the things they do, I just don’t understand why they would not want to fight evolution and stop doing the crazy shit (aha! Shit and “aha” are good to use!) they do among themselves and not around the rest of us.

Not all women. I wish to make that clear right now, I mean just the ones at the back of the train car I am in who haven’t shut the duck up for the past two and a half hours.

Where are my fucking headphones.


Janie Didn’t Do It

Janie sat in her mish-mash decorated room reading.  Pink frou frou little-girl décor clashed with black and gray goth-ish scarves and assorted ornamentation.  It was, she knew even at fourteen, a thinly veiled attempt at self-expression, distancing herself, her “self” from that of the girl her parents raised.  She sat, her back against the huge pile of frilly pillows and the stuffed bear with its black button eyes in the corner of her room.  She sat with the telephone placed strategically within arms reach just in case Johnnie called.

It had been four days.

She looked at his phone number both fading on her all too unwashed palm and at where she just wrote it inside the cover of her copy of The Great God Pan (and Other Tales) as she really thought it was about time to wash her hand.  She stood.  She paced.  She noted her mother calling her to dinner (“Janice” as opposed to Janie which she preferred).  Janie looked out the window upon the moonlit copse of trees in the field beyond her back fence.. A fog was developing.

She closed her curtains, flicked off the light, replaced the phone on the bedside table, sighed heavily and began to slink downstairs to the awaiting meal with questions about “that boy” that she should never have mentioned, for dessert.

Janie’s parents brought her to this town so they could have a new start, they, her, together.  They wanted to be far, far away from the controversy.  They wanted to be free of the looks, the whispers, the silent accusations at the checkout.  She did not start the fire.  She is the one that didn’t run away.  It was the others, the “friends”, the very ones whose parents vociferously blamed her for the event, for the fire, for the death.

She was cleared of all wrongdoing, but as usual, the court of the public mind was a jury of blind fools.

So they moved.

And they were happy.

Janie was happy. She was happier when she met Johnnie. 

Janie ate in silence. Janie answered “no” when asked if “the boy” had called but did not elaborate.  There was no elaboration to add.  Janie cleaned off her plate and placed it into the dishwasher and took her pie upstairs (with a “thank you” and a kiss for both on their cheeks as they chatted about their days to one another).

Janie looked at her phone.  She opened the curtains and looked out upon the foggy field. 

It rang.

It was Johnnie.

Janie answered with a stammered “hi.. hi Jonnie!” and danced silently in her room as he spoke, equally nervously, as boys are apt to do.  She shut her door and chatted and became less awkward and discussed school and television and books and eventually they planned to get together again the next day after school, after dinner.  They talked till both received notifications from their respective parents that it was time for bed.

Laying in the dark, gazing out into the mist beyond the curtains lit up by moonlight like a dim fluorescent bulb, Janie thought long into the night.  She woke, she wrote in her little book, she lay back down, she slept for the first time in ages with contentment. Her last thought before passing on into the expanse of dreams was that yes, he would be the one to tell.

Johnnie, blankets pulled up to his ears, a thin pillow half over his head to block out the streetlights that always fought their way through and past his blinds also slept.  His last thought of the night was of what he saw in the park. What kept him from sleeping well these past four nights.

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Where Johnnie Encounters The Dark Again and Discovers Janie

At thirteen, Johnnie was bought a bicycle.  Johnnie explored his town with vigor and vim and the joy of the newfound freedom afforded by speed and transport.  He rode to his friends home, few though they were and often reluctant to greet him openly on his unannounced visits.  He visited his grandmother in her harbor view home, drinking tea and watching boats slide by as cats slunk about their feet.  Johnnie explode the streets till the streetlights came on and it was time to be home, cool dry summer air whipping through his golden blond locks as he sped toward his awaiting meal.

Autumn arrived and he was pleased as he flew through fallen dry leaves which lifted into the air and twisted in his wake one late October night.  No friends were available to play.  No relatives had time to visit.  The library was closed as were the shops and the streets were bereft of traffic, yet he sped onward, grasping at the last few hours of the weekend before bath and bed and reading the strange weird tales he was drawn to especially given the time of the year.  He decided to visit the Courtyard.

The Courtyard had another name.  No children knew this other name, and only ever referred to it as The Courtyard.  The proper name was “Courtland Park” and its original benefactor was a god-fearing evangelist. This was why it was festooned with crosses and phrases on the gates and walls, only detectable if one pulled aside the decades of ivy and bushes that had grown up and over the protective iconography. 

From his position at the corner a block away, Johnnie could see that the gate was open.  He knew this was not the norm.  It was a Sunday.  The Courtyard was never to be open on Sundays. Johnnie was never one to do things that were not allowed. He could see a figure, a small figure, his size, walking among the decaying rose bushes and memorial benches. Johnnie decided to go to The Courtyard to investigate.

Then he met Janie.

Janie was like Johnnie in many ways. Janie was new to town. Janie’s parents were doctors and Janie lived in the east end. Johnnie and Janie had much in common and a bond was forged within a short period of time. They sat and talked and planned to meet again and finally noticed that the streetlights were on and that it was beyond the time to go home. They exchanged phone numbers by writing them on each other’s arm with a pen she kept in her bag along with a notepad she made little sketches on and wrote little weird poems. She left and he waved goodbye as he paused to but the chain back on his wheel sprocket that he noticed had come off when he dropped his bike on the ground to say hello.

He walked his bike to the gate. He noticed a fog beginning to form down Victoria Street toward the harbor. He paused thinking that he would have to ride through that fog home and hoped it wasn’t so thick he would need to dismount, but Johnnie wasn’t all that concerned as he had a new friend, a friend just like him.

Janie. Janie of the dark clothes and the long brown hair and smiling brown eyes.

He exited the park and could smell a faint smoky smell in the air. Someone had started up their woodstove about a month early. He smiled. He would open his window a crack tonight to let in the autumn smells, leaves, wind and a bit of the wood smoke. He would sleep well and content.

The smell was stronger now. He heard a swish behind him, in the Courtyard. Johnnie turned slowly, memory fighting through, memory of four years past.

He could see a dark fog, a thickish, swirling, moving fog. It swung between the flower beds. Grey, shadow but not shadow, more a lack of light than a blockage of light.

Johnnie saw the dark and the dark saw him and hung still.

He rode home, all the way home, through the thick cold fog.