Tag Archives: real life

Life as a fictional character.


I don’t know which is harder to endure, sitting still and watching life fly by in a haphazard whirlwind of confusion or getting on your blistered, war ravaged feet day after day and traversing towards that mysterious goal you set out to accomplish. I don’t know which is more heartbreaking, remaining stagnant where you stand, hoping for something to come your way to lift your spirits or leaving what is familiar, what is safe and what you know will be there when you open your eyes the next morning. I cannot bear to stand these quandaries.

Sometimes I wonder if every human is confronted with perpetual crossroads, if the decisions we have to make are merely a cosmic joke told by the Grand Jokester to keep things interesting, or they actually mean something important and are not to be taken lightly. I always felt that my life is akin to a never-ending maze of sharp corners and wicked speed bumps followed by tumultuous alleyways and finally rounded off by a series of burning rings that I must jump through. I don’t mean to be dramatic. I don’t mean to sound as if my life is harder than anyone here in the audience and to be honest I am not even voicing a trivial complaint. I think it’s alright to question the cosmos once or twice. Hell, the only bad question is the one that’s never asked.

I guess it would be nice to saunter down that smooth, cobble-stoned walkway once every few months or so, just to be reminded that life doesn’t always have to be a sharp kick in the ass. The first twenty-nine years of my life I convinced myself that hard times make you tough, make you strong and that it will put hair on your chest. I usually welcome those moments when I go face-to-face with the gods and clash my sword against their shields and listen to the metallic ring of victory. But there are times I don’t wish to do battle because I do not want to put up a fight.

I am thirty now and I am tough. On a good day I am strong, and there is too much hair on my chest, I shave it once and awhile but it grows back thicker and will itch like something else so I let it grow ginzo style because I know women love hairy men.

Please do not misunderstand where I am trying to come from. I don’t want an easy life. I never wanted the path of least resistance because without some of the trials and tribulations I would not be the man I am today. Personally I don’t envy those boys and girls who never know what it’s like to have hardships. It certainly gives you a much better perspective on adulthood and you’re more apt to appreciate the things you do have in this world.

They say it’s about choices. It’s all about choices and nothing else. What about circumstances? What about luck? What about all that bullshit I hear about parents abandoning their children? What about poverty? Disease? Handicaps? Addictions? Are not all these factors somewhat involved with the so-called choices we make? I can’t sit here and write to you people and tell you I have stood my ground and avoided stupidity like one avoiding an avalanche. Because it would be untruthful and it would contradict the mission that has been ingrained in my heart to help those suffering.

I make dumb decisio’s every day.

My point is I want to be at peace with myself. Even for one week. For one week I want to roll out of bed with gusto and smell the flowers and all that malarkey. I want to throw open the bedroom door and inhale deeply and whistle my ass into the shower. I want to have breakfast with a beautiful woman who thinks I am the greatest creature in the universe. I need the life that Lyle Lovett was singing about when he croaked over cream in his coffee and flour tortillas and Sunday mornings and how his chick knew him better than anyone else. That’s the life I secretly wish for.

But I am a fictional character. There is a curse to those of us who sit down and scribe our thoughts and musings and tell tales of grandeur. When you spend most of your time inventing worlds of make-believe and the entire goings on involved with said world, you can accept your talent and bask in the god-like glory of being the mastermind behind every masterpiece your nimble fingers create…or you can become depressed because the lives you invent are not reality. They are figments of another place and another time, and if you dwell on them too long, you may wind up sitting in a padded room while brutish nurses feed you horse tranquilizers and your hair grows old and grey. By that time no self-respecting American women will have you.

Yet there is a certain glory to it all. There is a sense of accomplishment and peacefulness. There is a part of me that loves to create and to fantasize and to make pretend. I guess this is what helps me stay young and sane and in-tune with my Zen-like nature. As someone who fabricates stories I have many characters running around the confines of my skull and they are all pushing and shoving and vying for position. Each one serves a purpose, each one was created at a certain low point in my life, and sometimes they cannot be found when I am in dire straits to help assuage those hard choices I mentioned earlier.

I think this is where most of us writers go awry and become unfulfilled. We spend hours upon hours pretending to live in the stories we write. We daydream about living out the lives we give our protagonists and all the while neglect our own realities. I won’t speak for all of you, but I know that when I come to a proverbial fork in the road, I will shut my eyes and seek advice from someone I created, yes I am fully aware of how it sounds, but I don’t care, because I know some of you will understand where I am coming from. I think most people do this type of meditation but are too afraid to admit it.

I travel often. I am what they call a drifter, a hopeless wanderer, a man who searches when his heart cries out for something new. I drove across America last year and spent three months on the road. I loved it dearly and managed to come up with several wonderful ideas for novels. Adventure makes me feel whole. When I feel my feet sinking into the sands of monotony I pack my meager belongings into boxes and move on. I will be leaving my residence shortly to regain something I had lost over the past several months. I will take those characters with me and they shall comfort me when darkness creeps over the vastness of earth and eclipses the sun.

Forks and crossroads.

They can be friend and they could be foe. But it’s just a matter of perspective. Isn’t it?    


Trifecta Challenge: On a quiet farm in Paraguay

The Village Boy.

Trifecta Week: Fifty-one: Write a 33 word response to one of the three pictures provided. If you click on the linked picture, it will bring you to the Trifecta Writing Challenge homepage so you can see the other two!  I chose this one.

Pablo watched his father argue with the stranger from his position on the dilapidated tractor. He pretended to drive the mammoth entity with childlike amazement, despite the obvious bad news his family received.


Trifecta Challenge: Oasis of an eye.

Photography by Gabriel circa 2011
Weeki Wachee Springs, FL.

Trifect Week Fifty-Three: Write a 33-333 word story,poem,song etc. using the word “Hollow” as the prompt word. Authors note: Please enjoy this short story of complete fiction, feel free to leave a comment. In honor of typical fashion, my entry this week is exactly 333 words. Music to read by “Infinity” by The XX.    

His voice remained as hollow as the eyeballs in his skull. Lifeless, black globes gazed through her body and it caused Jennifer’s soul to shudder in contempt. She stood tall in front of the powerful man and remained like a lioness defending her territory or worse, her cubs. If he wasn’t a wonderful former lover, she would have slapped him and told him to go to hell. But that takes moxie. Hers had been taken when she was falsely  imprisoned because of him several weeks earlier.

“I don’t know what brought this on Benji but I told you, I left the affidavit in the bottom right drawer. By the way, don’t ever bring that up in public again. You had no right to say that, you had your chance, and you were the one who lied in court! Not me! Remember?” The young woman felt the pulsing vein creep up her neck like ivy on a wooden fence, pretty at first but in the end, chokes the beauty and leaves scars behind.

He captured the image of her oasis like pupils in his tortured mind. He felt terrible that she was infuriated with him. He noticed the way her blue eyes lost its usually warm glow when she was all hot and bothered. He didn’t want to lose face in front of her like the week before last. He remained stoic.

“Typical Benjamin. Stay silent. Just keep playing king and barking orders through your golden telephone. How’s the service up here on the fifteenth floor?” Her heart shaped face radiated a trifecta of emotions; honest aggression, embarrassment for not having something more clever to say, and more importantly, a broken heart. She would have accepted some sort of apology, but the camel’s back was broken repeatedly, and it was an old animal. Enough was enough.

His façade cracked, he leaned forward to kiss her lips and she yelped quickly before allowing him. It was the oasis in her eyes, those deep, eternal pools.


Lost on Thanksgiving.

The greatest show ever made.

Sometimes, during the dark of night when I can’t sleep, I listen to the wind crash against the window of my bedroom. The street lamp standing guard on the sidewalk births thick beams of artificial sunlight into my room which are hushed and distorted by the glass, causing streaks of yellow to cascade past the physical attribute of the pane. When the light hits the wall, it disburse’s and ricochet’s around the room until whatever molecules make up light vanish into nothingness and a soft glow is left behind, making the darkness less terrible and the solitude a little more tolerable.

When I find no comfort in the warmth of my room, I will get out of bed and go for a walk and ponder the meaning of this world. If I’m too tired and my brain is too fried to think deeply, I will power up my aging laptop and go on YouTube to find something funny to laugh at or watch short clips of movies I used to enjoy.

I was a huge fan of the hit series “Lost” and lately I’ve been watching snippets of it on my computer. I loved that show. I still do. I mean, I loved the characters and the plots and subplots and back stories and the scenery and how the creators managed to piece everyone so perfectly together with flashbacks and flash-forwards. I miss the adventure and the soundtrack and the way Kate looked when a lock of brown hair would fall across her cute face. I love adventure and this is what the show gave me whenever I watched episode by wonderful episode. A few years ago I purchased all the seasons on DVD and I would watch them over and over again. But last year I ended up selling my precious collection for drugs when I ran out of cash.

My favorite character was John Locke. Yes he was bald and aging, crippled and crazy, but he was courageous (Just for the record I am well aware the show was purely fiction, I mean come on they were chased by a black smoke monster) and he believed in something greater than himself and when no one believed in him, he kept on truckin’ and said the hell with it. He believed he was special and he did what he had to do in order to figure out the meaning of his puny existence.

I did something like that a few months ago. I mean, I never crash landed on a cursed island with a bunch of strangers, but I did manage to get out of Dodge for a while. I dropped what I was doing, I put my life on hold and packed up my Grand Van and hit the road. I searched for the inner strength I knew resided in my heart. Although I came out wanting and poorer than I was at the start, I returned with unforgettable memories and beautiful pictures. But I did it. Some people will call it failure, and to be honest, I don’t give a damn what they think. For the first time in my own puny existence, I grabbed life by the balls and dared to do something out of the ordinary. It’s not over because as long as I remain six feet above ground my own adventure will continue, the story of my life is just beginning even though there are dark, bleak nights I feel as if the end is near.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It’s a day to spend with relatives around tables full of food, laughter, good wine and better company than ghosts on a dark night like the one I described earlier. It’s a day to crack walnuts and watch football and if you are so inclined, retreat to a small, quiet place and bow before the Lord to thank Him for the many blessings He has bestowed upon you. But if you’re not one of the lucky ones, hell, do it anyway.

I don’t feel like a thankful person anymore. I seem to curse Him more often than not and I find myself OK with doing it. We have issues, He and I. Something tells me it will be many years before He gives me any straight answers. He remains silent to my wonderings and questions, but so be it. If it weren’t for my being mortal, I believe I could go on forever in my stubbornness until I get my well deserved answers. Yet even in my unabashed contempt, I will thank Him nonetheless, because I know there are many people who haven’t a place to spend this wonderful holiday, and when push comes to shove, He is still good to me know matter how much I bitch and moan on the inside. Have you ever felt this way?

I want to wish all of you a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving and remember that no matter how dark the night becomes, the morning will always arrive on schedule and this dear friends, is a good reason to say thanks.


It’s going to huff and puff before you loose electricity.

Hurricane Sandy is barreling down the East coast miles above the churning Atlantic Ocean right now. As you read this paragraph, a monster made of energy and all sorts of ferocious power is rotating in the heavens just waiting to crap down lightning and bullets of water against the inhabitants of this tiny globe. We must have pissed off the atmosphere one too many times and now, after several false alarms, this could be the proverbial mother-of-all storms. I believe the eye of the milky-way shaped natural wonder is hovering near the Carolinas. If you had the guts and, I would assume, supernatural powers to stand near the center of the storm and look up, you would probably see a red-eye full of malice and rage with no other purpose than to terrorize us for intruding its orbit.

Hurricane Sandy 2012

Meteorologists and laymen alike will never fully understand each other. It usually works in our favor to take the advice from the truly informed professionals. As opposed to your average bar room nonsense fabricated by way too much alcohol and a grandiose sense of knowledge. How about the guy standing at the bus stop looking at the clouds? Nine times out of ten he’ll give you his two cents worth. When someone lacks the proper education to give you a lucid and educated guess as to the proper trajectory of a category one hurricane shooting up from the south at a gazillion miles per hour, they will credit their theories on experience from previous storms. This is what I do.

The pros say one thing, our neighbors say something else and when it comes down to it, we fail to concur and wait for them to retract what they’ve told us. When Irene struck in 2011 we were told to shovel holes underground and hide like a pack of groundhogs with all the survival equipment we could strap to our backs. Not much happened. But we comply and prepare because not to do so would be asinine. The wind howls, rain falls, branches topple telephone poles, more huffing and puffing from the galactic phenomenon and boom, the power goes out. Back to the Middle Ages we go!

I am generally concerned about this pre-Halloween trick. When the weather guy on T.V throws his hands in the air repeatedly and when it’s obvious he has no power to force his eyeballs to blink, I guess it would make sense to heed his warning and haul ass. He just told us the subways in NYC will be forced to shut down tonight and the LIRR will be out-of-order, who knows? Maybe the National Guard will come rolling in next.

I like storms though. It has a way of breaking monotony and it makes me believe this is the way earth releases its stress. Through hurricanes and snowstorms and Wizard of Oz style tornadoes, the earth regurgitates its frustration and reminds us the fate of humanity lies within its ability to tolerate us, and we should be happy if it allows us to survive another uppercut from one of its roaming fists made of dark smoke and terrible thunder.

The markets are packed with little old ladies roaming for cheap canned goods, there are parents purchasing milk for screaming brats, single women are stocking up on God knows whatever it is they stock up on, bachelors like myself linger around the snack area trying to figure out if a box of crackers can last us three days and will it go well with my beer. A frantic call over the intercom, someone has slipped in frozen foods, people fight over a leg of lamb, a single roll of toilet paper flies over my head. It’s just your average end of the world crisis being played out in your local food store.

Gas stations are backed up down the road too. It’s amazing how confused the whole parking lot becomes once there’s a threat of a gas shortage. People just sit in their vehicles and stare straight ahead waiting for the guy in front of them to pull out, shake off and put the nozzle back in its place, and that’s not a euphemism.  It’s all good because someone in the Middle East is making money.  More good news for us Americans (um, yes this is dry sarcasm at its best). Some tough guy will get out of his car and yell at the person in front of him for not moving fast enough. I sit and think you can only go as fast as the pump allows you maniac. An old man bangs on his steering wheel; someone else overflows their tank and the flammable substance leaks dangerously all over their pants, but it’s no big deal, it’s just your everyday emergency.

Thankfully it’s an election month so gas prices have dropped considerably in our favor, just in time for the storm of the century.  Yet it doesn’t really matter because the officials have called a state of emergency for most of the coastline. Many people have to evacuate homes and leave their lives in the hands of a terrible situation in which they have no control. Please seek out proper shelter if you have to evacuate. Call your local Red Cross for more information.

This type of storm is a wonderful excuse to break out the survival gear your wife mocks you for owning. Short of a zombie apocalypse, this is the right time to use it.  I keep a bag near my bed and another in my vehicle in case I find myself in a situation where I have to be mobile. I thought about giving you a detailed list of what to keep in a survival kit, but I’m not going to. There are other websites you can visit which will probably be more beneficial to you than mine would. If you’ve been paying attention to this article I just finished telling you I was shopping for crackers and beer a day before a hurricane. All jokes aside, go buy Les Stroud’s book “Survived” and you will find yourself ready to take on anything Mother Nature has to throw at you.


Trifecta Challenge: To become a man

I am man without order, knitted together by a perfect being without blame, without blot. A man with heart trying to remember whence he came, a courageous man without the one he loves.

 

Trifextra week: Thirty four: Describe something that is three different things at the same time.  Oh, and do it in 33 words!

 


Road Trip: Jimmy Bojangles

Me as Jimmy Bojangles

When darkness creeps in and erases the sun from shining, the coyotes howl and the prairie winds pick up, it leaves me cold and vulnerable to the outside world. Sometimes, when all is quiet and clouds hang gently overhead, I take a moment to wonder how I came to be. How I went from living indoors and working forty hours a week, to sleeping in my Grand Van and camping under the stars in a forgotten part of the world with no money, no home and no employment. The Denver Post is yet to hire me.

I am sitting in a Starbucks in Golden, CO and taking a moment to rest. Over the past forty-eight hours, I have filled out and hand delivered over thirty applications for work. They range from cooking in sushi bars, cleaning toilets, gas station attendant, hotel janitor, barista, pizza maker and even a marijuana “packer” at one of the many Medical Marijuana stores here in Denver. I should join the circus, because most of my time on earth has been spent juggling one thing or the next.

I will pretty much do anything at this point to keep from losing my mind. Being free and unburdened by work is fun for a time, even relaxing. But I’m a man in need of something to fill in the hours between hiking and backpacking and dodging mountain lions and rock slides. Since I enjoy crap like this, I need more money to get to these places and since money doesn’t grow on trees, I need to find work.

Jimmy Bojangles is the wandering man inside of my soul. The guy who lets loose and sticks his thumb in the air when cars come flying down the highway, he smokes Pall Malls and wears funny looking hats. He walks proudly in torn jeans and hiking boots. The walking stick he carries has crossed many lands, has seen many places, and when the end of it juts into the dusty earth, it sends small plumes of visible smoke all around his feet. He’s a good man, a wise man, a sad man, this Jimmy Bo Jangles. Without a destination, he makes his own path for others to follow. Without a home, he lays his weary head on the grass and looks into the heavens for signs of life. He is a solo man, cursed to spend the rest of his days wandering the planet in search of something greater than himself. No one wants to be him. People shake their heads and shield their eyes and tell tales about him. None of it true. He is misunderstood, this nomad, this Jimmy Bo Jangles.

I think we all have a bit of this guy inside of us. Just waiting to be released and given the go ahead to take the controls for a while. Many people wiser than I keep him locked away, only to come out when life gets too burdensome, never to be taken seriously, they keep the adventure hidden inside. They know better because they are sane, or too afraid to step outside the circle of comfort.

I have nothing to lose. When you are trying to find a mate, this can be devastating to your case. Women want homes, and cars, and money and protection. All of which can be purchased from that thing which doesn’t grow on trees. When you spend your life making terrible choices, guess what happens? Bad shit happens.

All of these things can be rectified. Nothing is unfixable as long as you are still breathing and not six feet underground somewhere. I am trying harder than I ever have in my life, to become something worth looking at in the mirror, someone worth being proud of. I spent most of my life living vicariously through Jimmy, taking risk after risk and throwing caution to the wind without worrying about consequences. I am deeply saddened by this. But I’m trying and pressing forward and conquering the fear of failure which has haunted me for so many years.

I am watching a young, mentally challenged employee clean tables and sweep the floors. She has a smile on her face which could light up a dark room. What is my excuse?  What is your excuse? Who am I to whine and moan and cry unfair? Who am I to blame the Dealer for dealing me a crummy hand when some people cannot function normally? It’s all a mess, this world of ours. Where is the justice? Maybe the next life will be kinder, gentler, worth living.

My friends, my readers, I wish you all a great holiday weekend. There is nothing wrong with living adventurous, seeing new places, making new friends, leaving your mark on history. I am trying to accomplish all of these things. But I guess I have to grow up a little, fix a few things, and make smarter decisions. The outdoors are a wonderful place to find yourself and to discover the inner depths of who you can become with a little spirit. But man, I can really use a shower.