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Contentually Commons # 59: Icing in a Cup

Hello Commons, I have a poem for you today. It’s called Icing in a Cup. It contains some language that some may find offensive; I find that words are a lot less hurtful when you allow them to simply be words. Be good Commons, at least until next time~

Icing in a Cup

 Paradoxical times we’re living in;
I look around and everywhere it’s evident:
A reality TV star is America’s current president;
Burning marijuana’s as illegal as shooting heroin.

So who’s gonna win? This fucked up game we’re in
Stuffed up with stuck ups and full of shit bluff-nuts
who want nothing more than to win the current
conversation they’re in; this conversion
of creation from elation to pure hatred and inflated egos
of the men who love to eat burritos;
Or maybe the men who dislike the brand Fritos;
or maybe the women banning together to bang the Migos;
Or maybe the transvestites in their too-stretched out tights
trying to decide whether to start a fight or verbally ignite
the pipe-dreaming cis-demon who made the fatal
mistake of labeling all them as queens.

Want to raise the stakes? Simply divide and conquer;
Conjure up some nonsense and brainwash
the populous, make em think their neighbor’s
on the brink of a hate crime like, “watch this!”
They’ll take the bait and debate how long it’ll
be ’till their friendly enemy crosses that line;
And when that line is crossed they’ll pull out the sauce and
dip their breadsticks so fast that you won’t even pass gas and
forget tryna pass ’em your home made Kool Aid glass.

Became a sleuth to deduce that the truth no longer matters,
It’s all about that rung that you’ve climbed up to on the ladder.
Who’s ladder? Their ladder, and definitely not yours.
Otherwise, who’d they get to do the remedial chores?
My advice: cut it down with a medieval
sword; the old use the young like the tooth
uses the gum to hold it in place while
it turns good food to waste.

They’re all playing a game while we’re trying to live
in an infinite universe full of wonder and spirit.
They’ve wasted their time and now they’re waking up
to ensure we repeat their cycle, like putting icing in a cup.

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Contentually Commons #58: Creatures in the Attic

Hello Commons, I have a short story for you today. I wrote it on Friday and poked at it with a stick until now. Hope you enjoy, it’s called Creatures in the Attic. Be good, at least until next time~

Creatures in the Attic

‘They say the early bird gets the worm – what about those who wake up before the worm?’

That’s what Bonnie wonders as her legs hang over the side of her bed. The November sun has yet to rise and even with the baseboard heat on, chills run rampant through her body. As she makes her bed she sheds a single tear, but that’s okay; nobody’s there to see it.

The air temperature drops about ten degrees as she walks from her glossy mahogany bedroom floors to the tarnished plywood flooring in the living room. This is always the hardest part of the morning for Bonnie, other than seeing her husband sleeping in the guest room. Each footstep towards the kitchen sends shockwaves through the house, rattling around and knocking down the dust being held hostage in the exposed pink fiberglass insulation above. That part she’s used to, the ceiling was torn out months before the floor. A frost is gripping the windows above the sink, making her view of the backyard a hazy one. The sun is peeking through the trees, illuminating what should be vibrant green grass covered by leaves dabbed in orange, yellow and red, but to Bonnie it all seems so dull.

Shortly after she fills the coffee pot with hot water, preheated to make the process quicker, she hears the thumping coming from above. One of the creatures, probably the smaller one, running back and forth up in the attic. There are two strange creatures that live in Bonnie’s attic, along with her son, the poor soul. Forced to sleep up there with those… things. At least the lock on his door works, that gives the tired woman some peace. Some short lived peace anyway; Bonnie feels her heartbeat speeding up as the bed in the guest room starts to creak.

Her eyes dart around the room. ‘Find something Bonnie, anything! God! Go!’ She grabs a towel and opens the cupboard below the sink. A yawn echoes through the house and two heavy feet grace the rugged plywood. Bonnie finds some dusting spray and coats the towel, proceeding to wipe down and polish the already spotless granite counter-top.

Norman says, “Goodmorning honey,” as he approaches her from behind and hugs her.

“Your lunchbox is all packed and ready, coffee will be done soon.”

He smiles and looks at her lovingly for a few moments, then makes his way directly to the couch and turns on the news. The blaringly loud voices emanating from the TV is enough to make Bonnie’s ears immediately start ringing, but she doesn’t say anything. Her husband, living during the later stages of a carpenter’s life, has trouble with his hearing and doesn’t want to disturb him.

When the coffee is done she pours Norman a cup and brings it over to him. “Thank you honey. Relax, come sit down.”

“I need to get mine!”

Not even ten seconds after she sits down on the couch with her piping hot cup of Joe do the footsteps in the attic start up again. They’re heavier this time, a set of two feet, not four. Could her son be awake? Or is it the other creature?

The click of the attic door opening is just barely audible over the roar of the morning news program. Norman doesn’t even notice, but there are footsteps coming down the stairs. Slowly, one after another, plop… plop… plop… ‘oh thank goodness.’

“Good morning, Charlie!” Bonnie says with a smile. Charlie nods at her and grunts, Norman returning the grunt. The need to leave for work soon, Charlie’s twentieth birthday is coming up and he’s planning to take a whole week off, meaning they need to get twice as much work done this week. But for now, the love seat is a very comfortable choice.

The footsteps begin again. First the pitter-patter of the smaller creature, but then… well, the other one must be awake. One of them is scratching the attic door, jumping at the handle, trying to jiggle it open, trying to escape. A pair of larger footsteps approach the door, and then, nothing. All’s quiet on the upstairs front for a moment, just for a moment; click.

The small creature runs halfway down the stairs and freezes, taking a breath and looking over the whole living room. Its body covered in sleek black fur with a big splotch of white on it’s stomach, those feline eyes almost glowing in the shadows – Bonnie doesn’t dare even look at it. Norman on the other hand, Norman smiles big and says “Hallo Buddy!” in a raised but friendly voice. Charlie says nothing, choosing to be mesmerized by his phone.

Then, the other creature comes down the stairs. Bonnie, eyes locked on the TV, tries her best not to notice it and not to move. Maybe it won’t notice her. A beat of sweat on her forehead grows larger and heavier with each descending footstep. Then, she hears its voice.

“Good morning mom, good morning dad. ‘Morning Chuck.”

Charlie says nothing, choosing to stay mesmerized by his phone. Norman grunts, “’morning,” his eyes never leaving the television. Now it’s Bonnie’s turn, she’s been put on the spot and the pressure is on. Quickly turning her head to look at it for as little time as humanly possible, she says, “Hi.” Her head promptly snaps back to Hound News. It walks past them.

This larger, smellier creature, its long, unkempt hair shiny with grease, goes into the refrigerator and pulls out a can of cat food. Turning on the sink until the water eventually heats up, wasting the rest of the water in the process, it mushes the cold block of food into a small plastic bowl and adds some water. The creature immediately returns upstairs with the lukewarm bowl in its hand, the mongrel creature close behind. The attic door clicks shut and Bonnie’s muscles all suddenly relax out of a very tense state.

When the sun climbs above the treeline Norman and Charlie pack up the truck and head off to work. Bonnie is alone in the house again, only the cacophonous voices of the television news reporters to keep her company. She quickly vacuums the already clean floor and disappears into her closet, reemerging in winter running clothes. As she ties the knot on her second shoe, she can hear the footsteps in the attic again. By the time the creature hits the top step Bonnie is already halfway down the street, running as if she thought something was chasing her down.

Fin

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THC Culture Club #10: Geocaching

Hello Commons, this is tee-ache-triple-see and tonight, y’all are gonna learn about one of the greatest games in the world: geocaching.

Geocaching is modern day treasure hunting. You go to the website www.geocaching.com (or download the app to your pocket computer) and you make a free account. Then, you look at the map and find the cache nearest you. Then, you go out exploring and find the cache, guided by nothing but pure, unadultered intuition… and GPS coordinates.

What’s a cache? A stash, a little treasure box that can be as small as a film canister or as big as an ammo box. They contain a log for you to sign your name and write a lil’ somn’-somn’ if you’d like, and if the container is big enough they’re usually chock full of other cool stuff too. I’ve found decks of cards, money, little medals and trinkets, all sorts of neat stuff.

Once you’ve found and logged your targeted cache, you re-hide it and go on your merry way. Boom. That simple. New caches can be added to the game by anybody who plays and the game is constantly evolving and growing. There are caches in the woods, in parking lots, on streets, pretty much anywhere a thing could be hidden. I’m hooked on it like a catfish on a hot dog and I have zero regrets. Finally, a way to unleash the inner Indiana Jones.

That’s all for Culture Club this week, thanks for stopping by. Don’t just think outside the box Commons, exist outside of it and be good, at least until next time~

 

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Contentually Commons #57: Voices

Hello Commons, I hope you’re staying warm today. It’s a tad bit chilly in my little corner of existence, 40s and raining – admittedly I’ve always loved this weather. I have a poem for you today called Voices, I wrote it out in nature at the top of my mountain. Be good, at least until next time~

Voices

 Sober October, talk about a cold wind
blowing. Joe Rogan and his boys do it, so why
shouldn’t I join in? ‘Cause they have a
competition, somebody’s gonna win it while
I sit here starvin’, peerin’ in from outside the kitchen.
I hate bitchin’ but not smoking just makes me
want to smoke more, but no longer can I buy
the herb from the boy next door. I’ve got a choice,
be perturbed sit around and raise my fuckin’
voice or take my own advice, lace my shoes
and pound the floor of the forest more.

Broke a loaf of bread so now I spread this sleek ink
from my pen on a mountain’s peak, high as heaven
on Board like I’m speaking to the lord. This choice I make
is the same one from the days of the wake & bake,
but less fake. No hate to my girl, I would marry you Mary,
but running’s more natural than kissing on the lips
of a fairy. That said, I’d pull every strand of hair from
my head if I were to stand here saying that I’ll never smoke again.
Sober October’s a joke, fuck Rogan and his boys
I’m tryna’ choke on a toke and hear voices in the noise.

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Contentually Commons #56: Writer’s Block

Hello Commons. I just got finished writing a poem, so here it is. It’s called Writer’s Block. Enjoy, and if you’re feeling me check out some of my other stuff. Be good, at least until next time~

Writer’s Block

I claim that I have writer’s block, as if I was a writer.
I just flick a lighter to scribble symbols onto lines of paper.
A quick google search to use good words like caper
as I skip around my keyboard with my fingers like a gamer.

Wait, first I said I’m writing, now I’m straight to typing?
What about your creative process post, paper then to data?
How your writings gonna matter if you skip rungs on the ladder?
They’re not, lightning doesn’t strike and every hunter is a bladder.

A hazy mind and I’ve gone crazy, I can’t be an author.
Split my skull and I survived, why I believe in flying saucers.
Shaman’s blood, half my soul’s a man’s so the other half is feminine;
not a writer but a block of cheese that I bite, so I quote mister Eminem.

Sometimes, I feel like its so hard for me to come up with shit to say.
The day I go hard like a mouthful of soap bar is the day I finally wash my car, ayy!
I’m at a loss for words, kuz y’all already said it all; I better toss my words,
like a leaf to the ground they fall flat, like I’m on the brink at an ice rink and
I think I’m running out of clichés, I’m getting writer’s block.

Somebody tells me to shave again, I’ll go and buy a clock
and break it on their fucking face, but don’t call me a cock.
I’m more like a rooster, a cock-a-doodle-dooster doing doodles
like a Yankee I’m a hanky-panky brewster BUT don’t give me a
feather or I’ll fake it out like pleather put it on a plaque
for my cronies scream FACK and serve ’em up some macaroni.

Shit, I get it, this stopped being poetry when my schizo mind
decided to rhyme words like in nursery. No rehearsal, this
was off the top of the dome, chrome’s reversal. My hippie
hair’s so long it catches fire from the toaster when I’m toasting
bread, never fed like I’m gonna croak and I’m broke I so
might as well spend all my time smoking dope.

But that would be a waste, I need to work with haste, one
hundred hours a day just to freaking create, to write my books,
all seven like I always say so I can stay somewhere other than
locked away in my parent’s attic, like fuck what can I say?

I’m just an addict with writer’s block who’s trying to save the day.

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Contentually Commons #55: Chase Your Dreams

Hello Commons, happy Monday. I’ve conjured a new story for you, its one of those weird ones. I call it Chase Your Dreams. I’m going to go chase some dreams now, but in a very literal sense. Goodnight Commons; be good, at least until next time~

Chase Your Dreams

Koncho’s keys rattle like a staff of an African medicine man as he gets home and penetrates the lock on his front door. “What a day, what a mothalovin’ day,” as he steps inside and attempts to remove the water-logged flippers from his callused feet. The life of a deep-sea welder is not an easy one, but it sure does pay the heck out of those bills.

Something is amiss though, a certain smell is aloft in the air. It’s familiar, too familiar, it almost smells like… his wife’s… no, can’t be. As he ventures further into the box cave that is his house he hears a muffled banging, almost like a headboard bashing against a wall with a blanket stuffed in between. As Koncho delves nearer and nearer to center of his cave the noise grows closer and closer to cacophony; he stops at the door. Someone, or someones, rather, are inside, making noise, sweating, moaning. He slowly opens the door to find his wife Meg furiously going at it with his brother Jognatathan.

“Koncho!!”

“Heey honey, I’m home. Hey bro.”

“Sup Konch. You wanna get in on this? Literally?”

“Hard pass Joggney, that’s gross. You’re gross. I’m gonna go to the sanctum and get some sleep. Long day. You guys have fun.”

He closes the door and lets his wife and brother resume the mutual realignment of each other’s spines. Directly across the glossy wood flooring from the bedroom is the entrance to the sanctum, a heavy cast-metal door that creaks when it opens and shakes the entire building when it closes. There is no staircase, simply a rope hanging from the ceiling. Koncho dons his rope gloves and slides down into the darkness. The first time he made his descent he burned the majority of the skin off his hands, which was just slightly less than pleasant.

The sanctum is a large cavern that was discovered under the house about thirteen years after construction was complete. There is a single rock reaching out from the abyssal depths, flat topped with a stone staircase running down it in a spiral, serving as a landing pad and a private bedroom. Meg can get pretty insatiable at night and she rarely takes no for an answer which is great in a way that is purely indescribable with words, but Koncho needs his sleep. Speaking of which, that’s exactly what’s just happened, Koncho is out cold within seconds of hitting the sheets, flippers and all.

His slumber is short lived like the life of a butterfly. One minute you’re flapping your wings in America, the next a hurricane is destroying the Mongolian caterpillar farm where you were originally born. Groggy and feeling partially brain-dead, Koncho struggles his way out of the cocoon that is his sleeping arrangement and falls to the rocky floor. The jolt from the impact is exactly what the left side of his brain needs to wake up, beats a cup of coffee for sure. He peels the TimberSea flipperboots off of his feet and walks towards the rope to begin his ascent when, again, something seems off.

The air is buzzing with the aroma of spices and seasoning sizzling in a pan, mixed with the uncanny aroma of chicken. He walks to the edge of his rock and gets down on all fours to look over the edge, and what does he find? A large spider, pan in hand frying an orange substance over a campfire that, gravitationally speaking, should not exist.

The spider notices him and shrieks like a little girl, dropping the pan on the campfire and squabbling away. With the haste of a bullet train Koncho runs down the side of the rock, jumping over the staircase to grab the wooden handle of the frying pan. Just in time too, the food almost burned. He takes a little slice of the orange stuff and pops it in his mouth – ah sulfur shelf, the chicken of the woods. He eats the rest of the mushrooms and chucks the frying pan down into the bottomless pit before turning around and walking back up the wall.

His bed seems softer now, but despite this he doesn’t sleep for long. When he wakes, Koncho finds himself laying on a memory foam mattress in a large bedroom. He looks around and studies this unfamiliar setting, tan carpet covering the plywood floor and archaic-looking redwood furniture towering over the carpet. Something is scratching at the door, trying to dig its way through the splintery wood. Slowly Koncho gets up, his bare feet sinking ever so slightly into the carpet. He opens the door slowly until the cat speeds things up, barging through and running straight towards the wall. After executing a sick backflip maneuver, the cat jumps up on the bed and curls up in a little ball, purring itself into the dream dimension. Koncho smiles, not an extravagant toothy smile but a gentle, content one. What is this place?

He walks out the door to find a young man sitting on a couch, playing a video game. There is a pair of arms holding an assault rifle on the television, charging forward with a small group of soldiers. The man looks over and grunts at Koncho before reverting his attention back to his game. As Koncho walks down the stairs the sounds of gunfire erupt, followed by a “god dammit!” and the crash of a plastic controller hitting a wooden table.

An older man and woman are sitting together on a green couch downstairs. A news program is playing on the television, this screen much smaller than the humongous rig upstairs. The older man says “How’s it goin’” without looking away from the news, and the woman simply continues reading her book. Over on the counter there is a plate of freshly prepared scrambled eggs and bacon, the aroma nearly knocking Koncho over with delight. He sits and digs in, the bacon crispy and the eggs loaded with cheese and spices, as if it was prepared by a world class chef.

“Are you working today, honey?” the woman asks, looking over the back of the couch at Koncho.

He hears himself say “Yep, from nine to three. Then I’m doing some volunteer work at the ecology center.”

The woman gives him the warmest of smiles, telling him how nice it is that he’s giving back to the place that he went to summer camp as a child. Koncho has no memory of this place, of the people in this home or of summer camp, no idea how he got here but… he’s happy. It’s all so simple, so serene.

Soon after breakfast the older man gets up and leaves for work, taking the young man from upstairs with him. The older woman goes out for a run and Koncho finds himself alone in the house with the cat, who has woken and is now rummaging around in the pantry. What could it be looking for? Koncho pokes his head in and the cat freezes, slowly turning its head back towards our man. They look at each other for a while, locked into a staring contest the likes of which Koncho has never seen. Then, “Hey.”

He freezes; did the cat just speak?

“Hey. HEY!”

Koncho wakes up on his stone bed, the large spider standing over him with all eight of its hairy, arthropodic legs.

“You owe me thirty dollars for those ‘shrooms, bucko.”

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Contentually Commons #54: Cold

Hello Commons, I hope you’re all doing beautifully on this well-weathered day. I had to let off some steam that’s been building up since the summer months, so I give to you a poem titled Cold. If you enjoy it, read some more of my stuff; or don’t, I have hot pockets in the oven regardless. Be good Commons, at least until next time~

Cold

Left out in the cold, getting that
old shoulder like a boulder rolling into
the sea off of the Cliffs of Dover.

It gets old, so what am I supposed to do?
Black balled and opposed by my own fuckin’
high school, appalled, un-paid and de-ranked because
of “bad” behavior; allegedly they hold themselves
to a higher pedigree all the while staying
cliqued up like a fuckin’ baby seat.

In the West one would have to strap on a vest
but not in the East, just eat your wheat
baked into bread while you fake up a
personality livin’ only in ya head. Wake up,
take a gander at the man in the mirror
inside your manor on a hill, pop some pills
and fill out your god damned day planner
by hand or by a minor that you pay
like forty nine ‘er fifty cents a day.

You punk pricks need your own parade to
get it through your thick skulls, it’s a big charade
now go fuck your pig wife and sip your Hate-orade.

I’m over this like a dove, wings
whiter than snow that it uses to
fly above the lowly Cliffs of Dover.

 

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THC Culture Club #9: Never Let Me Go

Hello Commons, here we are at THCCC nueve. This week’s tome: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Similarly to the last book, I had never heard of Ishiguro nor had I been exposed to any of his work prior to reading NLMG, but apparently he’s won a Nobel Prize. After reading this book, I can certainly see why.

Taking place in Britain this novel tells the story of Kathy, her friends Ruth and Tommy and the various people they encounter throughout their lives. The tale goes from the group’s humble beginnings at Hailsham, a sort of academy/boarding school, all the way to the end of Kathy’s abnormally lengthy career as a caretaker. We watch powerlessly from the other side of the pages as she slowly fall for Tommy only to have Ruth stake a claim on him before anything could happen between them. The two don’t even have a good relationship, and it is only right before Ruth’s death that she admits it should have been Tommy and Kathy together the whole time, it’s one of those deals. On the bright side, after Ruth dies Tommy and Kathy do get together, but only until Tommy dies himself. Then Kathy is alone once more, and it’s just as well with her career wrapping up and all; she’ll have to start donating soon.

Donating what, you say? Her organs, of course. Kathy and her friends are clones, created to donate organs and then die early because who cares, they’re just clones. This is the part of the book that I actually enjoyed; the love story wasn’t bad, but it was a shmaltzy “if only” love story that’s been told a million times. But the clones and Hailsham, that’s where the biscuit gets buttered.

Hailsham is one of many academies for these clones, but what makes it special is how the clones are treated. Instead of creating an abusive halfway house atmosphere, the guardians at Hailsham give the clone people freedom and urge them to be as creative as possible. This is done to make the argument that, even though they are just clones, they still have souls and as such deserve to be treated as real people, which society does not do because why would it? The clones are different, they’re not real. This novel makes a very powerful statement about how lack of understanding (read: fear) can breed hatred and cruelty towards any group of people, no matter how similar they are to the majority, in this case being literal exact clones.

Never Let Me Go is certainly worth the read and I highly recommend it to anybody who makes use of the infinitely complex thing in their heads called the brain. I got through the first half of the book in about a week and then read the second half in a single night; do with that what you will. Thanks for stopping by for Culture Club, Commons. Don’t just think outside the box, exist outside of it and be good, at least until next time~

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Contentually Commons #53: Deji

Hello Commons, happy sober October. I have a short story for you today called Deji, it’s about a guy named Deji who takes a midnight stroll across a dam. I wrote it whilst on a midnight stroll across a dam, but my name isn’t Deji. Enjoy~

Deji

A warm breeze rustles Deji’s hair. The crescent moon glows a gloomy orange through a hazy layer of clouds as mist leaks down and covers the surface of the reservoir. All the candy in the world couldn’t beat this, a peaceful summer’s night on the dam.

With his back leaned against the cold concrete divider, Deji sits in the shadow of a streetlight with a busted bulb. The working streetlights to his right and left provide Deji with enough light to see in front of him, yet there’s enough darkness for his eyes to pick up the stars; the lake has never looked more beautiful than it does right now.

A car drives by and beams bright lights out of its windows, an army of photons marching in step right over Deji’s head. He hears a voice calling out, “DJ! DJ where are you?” Where indeed; there but not there, existing unseen as one with the inky blackness of the night that so many fear for lack of understanding. Not Deji though, the darkness has always been a second home for him; it accepts him, understands him. The calling fades as the search party drives further and further away. Whoever DJ is, Deji sure hopes he’ll be okay.

Shortly after the air slows to a calm, it is shattered into pieces by a sports car of some kind, coming from the opposite direction as the last car. Had they passed each other? The resulting wind reaches over the divider and gently taps Deji on the head. He smiles and looks down to the end of the bridge to watch the headlights follow the road back into the forest. Maybe that was DJ, tearing asphalt on his way home mere moments after his family left to go looking for him. A distant streetlight shakes as the car rumbles by.

Deji has quite a history with this dam, he used to go for midnight strolls to this very spot with his friends all the time. They would meet up in the woods and play together all day just to sneak out at night and go for these long, serene strolls. They were all so close, they shared everything. Except for his candy, Deji’s parents never let him share his candy.

A motorcycle passes, the rumble from the muffler tickles the inside of Deji’s ears. He’s always liked being in spots where nobody could see him, it makes him feel safer. Less alone. Maybe DJ drives a motorcycle, that would be radical. He looks down to the other end of the bridge and the shaky street lamp goes out with a flash of light when the biker leaves it in his dust. ‘Uh oh,’ Deji thinks to himself, ‘it’s about to get dark.’

He can hear voices coming from the forest. Very faint voices, echoes really, the whines of a tribe of concerned people. He scrunches down a few inches further below the concrete divider as a big truck with booming music flies by, what a busy night. On his right side a little yellow frog crawls out of a crack in the sidewalks and leaps over the divider into the road. When Deji peeks over the divider, the frog is gone. Maybe DJ is a missing pet frog, what a twist that would be.

Unperturbed, Deji sits back down and gazes out across the water. He’s used to seeing things that aren’t there, or rather, things that other people can’t see. Nobody could see his friends but him; well, and his parents. His parents never liked his friends though, they would always try to keep them apart. By the same effect, Deji’s friends would always tell him not to eat the candy his parents gave him, and he would often listen. His parents did not like that. It’s been quite a few years since Deji’s seen his old friends.

A pair of effervescent lights peek through the trees near the peak of the mountain, catching Deji’s watchful eyes. Headlights probably, and they’re coming down the road in his direction, too. He scrunches down further in anticipation, but… nothing. A few minutes pass and they never hit the bridge – where did they go? Did they accidentally run DJ over?

As he scans the mouth of the bridge for movement, another streetlight goes out. Then another and then another, and another one after that. He looks down to the opposite end of the bridge and the same thing happens. One by one the street lights go out, the darkness encroaching down the bridge leaving Deji surrounded, stranded alone on an island of the unknown that is swiftly being swallowed up by a tsunami of inky blackness. But… is it the unknown?

A knowing smile spreads across his face. “Hello, old friends. I’ve missed you.”

The last two street lights go out.

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

I’d also like to wish my brother a happy birthday, he turned twenty today and it makes me feel old as hell but in a good way. New poem on Friday; be good Commons, at least until next time~

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Edibles: Chicken of the Woods

Hello Commons, I hope you’re hungry because I have some foody knowledge to drop on y’all tonight. Have you ever heard of Chicken of the Woods? Surprisingly enough it is not a nickname for me, although my legs are quite skinny; nay, it is a mushroom, also called Sulfur Shelf or Laetiporus sulphureus, that has the same texture and taste as chicken. (Click here for further reading/the source of the presented information.)

Found growing in whomphus orange shelf formations on hardwood trees, live or dead AND usually of the oak variety, it is a parasitic and/or saprotrophic fungus that has a tendency to absolutely decimate its host. In fact by the time the fruits form, the fruits being the big orange shelves, the fungus has already done so much damage to the tree that attempting to save it would be a lost cause! Hooray, guilt-free shroom-foraging! I already know what you’re thinking: who in the fuck would eat a sulfur-smelling mushroom that they found in the woods by their house? Well… me, CommonsGuy, I would. And did. And it was great, so I did it again a few days later.

Now, I cannot recommend that anybody who is not an expert in mycology goes out and picks mushrooms from the woods for consumption. I myself am not an expert mycologist by any stretch of the imagination, what I did was actually very dangerous and stupid. But, it worked out well for me. There are many magical things about the ChickyShroom, the most magical being that it is very difficult to misidentify it – like, really freaking difficult – which makes it a great intro experience into the worlds of mycology and foraging alike. When you pick it, its insides literally look/feel/peel like cooked chicken meat, and when you cook the stuff it actually does taste like chicken, AND it allegedly has more protein by weight than actual chicken. It’s phenomenal, phenomenal I tell you!

I wish I took a picture of the growths I found because they came out of nowhere and they’re huge, but I didn’t. I just ate the shit. Zero regrets. Here’s the recipe I used to cook it – just add some olive oil and some garlic into the fryer, a little salt and pepper, and boom, fungal chicken. Consider the knowledge dropped.

New story coming on Friday, you’ve been warned. Be good Commons, at least until next time~

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Posted in Contentually Commons, Poetry, Uncategorized

Contentually Commons #52: Catch & Release

Hello Commons, it’s a cloudy day in the backwoods today. It would probably be a good day for fishing, the decreased visibility in the water could make the fish come up into shallower water; just make sure you use a brightly colored lure. Anyway, here’s a poem called Catch & Release. Be good Commons, at least until next time~

Catch & Release

At half past 2 in the morning
I’m not dozing, just smoking,
sat up at my desk, wooden pipe, no clothing.

Dosing up with the THC because the bod
won’t fall asleep; the door is closing,
we need to be up in one hour plus three.

Catching some Zs? More like
catch and release, more like
that’s why they call it fishing and not sleep.

But every mountain is steep and climbing
up is the bends, just keep it upright
and take the briers to the shins.

So I’m tired and pissed off like
tick tock goes the clock above the desk
on the wall, I look up with a frown.

To fall down in that hole, the open
mouth of a jar being filled in my car,
the right rear door ajar to blow the
smoke in the air, without a care but to
spark, a journey into despair, a gurney
on Noah’s ark.

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Posted in THC Culture Club, Uncategorized

THC Culture Club #8: Remainder

Hello Commons, we back for another edition of THCCC. This week’s tome: Remainder by Tom McCarthy.

I had never read a book by McCarthy before, in fact I had never even heard of him. I was walking through my town’s library and just came across Remainder randomly, it was laying down on the shelf instead of standing up like all the other books. The synopsis on the back is essentially as follows: A man gets into a mysterious accident and receives an enormous amount of money as the settlement, so he has to decide what he wants to do with it; then things get weird. And let me tell you, things got fucking weird.

I don’t want to delve into the story too much because it really is fantastic, definitely worth the read. What I will say is that it portrays life after head trauma very accurately, doing so in a way that you really don’t realize anything is going wrong until it’s far too late. The fact that the main character had so much money to piss away played a huge part in the other characters’ obliviousness towards the fact that something was very off with their boss, offering a very interesting commentary on modern society’s tendency towards following the leader, the leader of course being the one slinging the most green paper around.

At the beginning of the story the main character is lost, feeling like all of his actions and thoughts are hopelessly inauthentic. By the end he is finally happy, feeling like an authentic human being again, yet completely unaware of the insanity and chaos that he caused to get himself there. I will say no more; go read this book. I haven’t enjoyed a novel this much since I read Island by Aldous Huxley.

That about wraps up THC Culture Club for this bi-week, thanks for stopping by Commons. Have a wonderful day! Also, new poem coming soon. Don’t just think outside the box, exist outside of it, and be good, at least until next time~

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Posted in Contentually Commons, Short Stories, Uncategorized

Contentually Commons #51: Love The Process

Hello Commons, how are the humans of Earth doing today? This human’s sipping on herbal tea and eating hot pockets for breakfast – the best of both worlds. Here is a short story called Love the Process. Be good Commons, at least until next time~

Love the Process

The shroud of odor marking a hard day’s work emanating from Tim proceeds him as he walks into his house. Not bothering to surgically remove the boots from his swollen feet, he trudges straight upstairs and into the bathroom. After a long day of unbridled physical labor, a splash of cold water on one’s face is a kiss from god itself. Tim graces himself with a second splash to kiss it back.

Up in his room, Tim finds his bubbler on his desk and gets to work on grinding up some cannabis. All the guys at work went out to the bar after the bell chimed today, but not Tim. The back of his throat prefers Mary’s scorch to the tingle of booze, always has. Out of the corner of his eye he spots a red-tailed hawk in the process of a divebomb. The world sheds one squirrel and life goes on undisturbed.

Feet up and hanging out his open window, Tim equips the pipe and assumes the position. The waters of The Pond, named for the teal-to-brown streaks running down the body of the piece, are still, the calm before the storm in a hyperbolic way. Tim picks up a stray pen laying on his desk and holds the tip about an inch above the bowl. He clicks the pen and the cannabis ignites as the point clicks into place. The Pond’s waters begin to boil as the smoke bubbles through them and into Tim, the sound of the process more calming than that of a babbling brook. As he blows smoke out the window, Tim daintily tosses the pen into the metaphorical rain forest that is the surface of his desk.

After he puts the screen back into his window, Tim turns to face his desk. An expedition across the tabletop seeking out that pen goes off without a hitch! He cracks open a notebook and after all the Australian flying foxes swoop out Tim sets ink to page, writing a story about a floating walrus who learns to cherish life without investing too much into it. After he scribes the obligatory The End, he pauses, overcome with doubt for the necessity of this traditional stylistic construct. He erases it.

Tim hits the ground at the same time as the resulting eraser shavings do. A glowing red meteor suddenly crashed through the roof of his house and then through his head, leaving a hole leading down into the living room. Four years later, the little girl who would be his niece finds the rock and gives it to her mom. Her mom’s new boyfriend sells it on proxibid for eighty-seven bucks.

Shipping included.

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Posted in Insomia Post, Uncategorized

Insomnia Post 5: Killshot

Hello Commons, it isn’t that late but I’mma call this an Insomnia Post because I’ve have quite the insomniac week. This always happens after I break up with Mary, what can I say.

Anyway, 2 things:

1. Eminem responded to MGK with a track called Killshot and it’s just fantastic, go listen. I’m ecstatic that hip-hop is coming back to full form, the culture needs diss tracks.

2. New story coming on Monday.

Be good Commons, at least until next time~

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Posted in Insomia Post, Uncategorized

Insomnia Post 4: My cat is eating a green bell pepper

Hello Commons, it has been months since I’ve last insomnia posted which is ironic because I haven’t slept for shit for the past few months. Anyway, my cat Milkshake is eating a green bell pepper smothered in what I believe is tomato sauce as I type this. It came out of a bowl of sausage and peppers that I had for dinner. I think he liked it. That’s all.

Also, if you caught that excerpt reference, you have great taste in music.

Be good Commons, at least until next time~

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Posted in THC Culture Club, Uncategorized

THC Culture Club # 7: Rap Beefs

Ah rap music, it truly is the hip to my hop. Hello Commons, I hope we’re all doing well. If you stay off the internet (said on a blog), don’t listen to rap/music in general OR if you live under a rock by any other meaning of the phrase, Eminem recently dropped an album. His 10th album, Kamikaze, was dropped with zero notice on the last day of August and he dissed more than ten different rappers across thirteen tracks, eleven of which were songs. Slim Shady everyone, gotta love it.

When Eminem gets into a beef it usually means the end for the artist. A rapper called Cannibus once came after Eminem and was promptly shut down by the track cannibitch. Mariah Carey once made a song called Obsessed mocking Eminem; in return, Eminem released Warning Shot and if you haven’t heard that nonsense, leave, watch it and deduce where this post is going. Some guy named Benzino once had a hip-hop magazine called The Source. Then he tried to beef with Em. Now, he’s referred to as “some guy who once had a magazine”. Eminem’s got the reputation of “you don’t mess with the white boy” for a reason.

So what’s happening today? People are out there messing with the white boy. Of the many rappers that Em called out, three have responded: Machine Gun Kelly, Die Antwoord and Joe Budden. Machine Gun Kelly made a song called Rap Devil, a play off of Eminem’s Rap God. Honestly, and I’m a long-time Eminem fan saying this, Kelly’s diss wasn’t bad. The rest of my feelings can be summed up by D12’s Bizarre. Mr. Porter also sums it up nicely. Die Antwoord also released a response that I haven’t listened to, and Joe Budden said that he’s been better than Eminem for a decade. That’s about it, Eminem hasn’t replied to any of them… yet.

Oh wait, sorry, Lil’ Pump also responded to Eminem’s diss… by accepting it and thanking him for it.

Anywhen, I say yet because I have a feeling that Eminem’s going to slaughter everyone. In his song Fall off of Kamikaze, a rather trap-style album, among the myriad of disses Eminem says “Call it trap ’cause its a total setup/hopin’ that you rappers fall in that”. My thoughts: he was planning all of this. His last album received mixed reviews, although I was a big fan of it, and dude caught a lot of flack from critics, artists and morons who think they know shit about rap (hello). His name was, in some eyes, tarnished. So how can Eminem, the rapper who’s famous for being a crazy white dude who will outrap anybody, get his name back to previous heights? Well, he could call out everyoneexpecting them to respond, then light up the rap industry and dust the resulting ashes all over the careers of the people who decided to beef with him.

Hope is a hell of a drug, but I’m experimenting anyway: let’s hope that Eminem snaps and tears everyone a new one. Will he actually? We’ll see. Rap beefs, except for the ones that ended in deaths like Pac vs Biggie, are always great for the culture because it pushes each artist to create their best work possible, lest they get made out to be an ass. Eminem puts all of the effort into his music anyway, so I feel that we’re in for a treat soon.

Here’s to Eminem vs everyone! Thanks for stopping by Commons. Live outside the box, dont just think outside of it, and be good, at least until next time~

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Posted in Funky Plant Medicine, Random Commons Post, Uncategorized

Catnip is Wonderfully Funky

Hello Commons, happy Friday! I’m feeling a little random today with just a hint of funkiness, so lets talk about some funky plant medicine that I recently learned about. Nepeta cataria, or catnip to those who don’t speak Latin (all 4 of you lol) is that stuff that you give to your cat that makes them go nuts. As it turns out it also has some benefits that apply to humans – who knew? The Chinese knew, for like, a long time, probably hundreds of years. America is slow when it comes to the funky plant medicine, what can I say.

Catnip and Cats

Most cats love this plant. It’s a member of the mint family and the active ingredient is called nepetalactone. While we are unsure of exactly how it affects cats, the running theory suggests that it works in a pheromone type way. Meaning, the cats sniff it, the scent goes to the olfactory bulb in the brain (and then spreads to other parts like the amygdala, etc.) and boom, suddenly your cat’s doing a jig on the ceiling. My cat seems to like eating it more than just sniffing it, but he’s a different story all together, dude knows how to open doors. It’s also worth noting that catnip seems to effect only 70% of cats, the other 30% just don’t care.

Catnip and Humans

Most humans (that I know of, at least) don’t love this plant, or at the very least don’t use this plant. And that’s okay, you do you, but while you’re doing you, you should know that it has quite a few medicinal benefits. I’m talking digestive aid, sedative, menstruation promoter, tranquilizer and even a potential cure for infant colic. Europeans make it into tea and use it to treat chest congestion and the common cold, and it can work as a muscle relaxer. One can chew the leaves to help alleviate a tooth ache. Ironically enough, humans have smoked it to cure asthma and bronchitis, and smoking it may make you break out into a sweat, which is great if you have a fever. The meowijuana is real. One may also notice a sense of calm and relaxation after smoking it, even a sense of euphoria, all of which may be accompanied by a case of the giggles.

All that said, there are potential negative side effects, as with literally anything else in this world. If you smoke too much you may feel nauseous and/or get a head ache and I’ve read mixed things about a hallucinogenic side effect which I don’t personally consider to be negative, but I am also CommonsGuy so yanno. I’ve never tripped off catnip but you never know. I don’t know of anybody with a catnip allergy but it may be a thing. Also, if you’re pregnant, don’t touch it until after you have your munchkin.

Dosing

A normal dose of meowijuana is about 2 – 3 grams, which is a lot more than what it sounds like. If you are interested in trying it, just smoke one bowl and see how you feel. From what I’ve read smoking about a gram will last 2 hours, you’ll want to burn 2 – 3 grams to get the most bang for your buck. As with anything just use commons sense, be respectful of the plant and its potential power and don’t make a fool of yourself.

Aside from smoking the dried plant you can also steep it into boiling water to make tea, chew freshly trimmed leaves OR you can concentrate it into a tincture. The tincture method would be much more potent than the other methods, just FYI.

Das A Wrap

Thanks for stopping by you curious little humans, you. I hope you got something out of this. I’m certainly not a doctor and I have yet to reach my full shamanic form, so if you wind up trying the ‘nip and you have a horrible time, well, I didn’t hold the lighter above the pipe. How sad is it that I feel obligated to put a disclaimer here, ugh. Society. Anyway, be good Commons, at least until next time~

Sources

http://goldentwist.net/smoking-catnip-for-dummies-everything-you-need-or-wanted-to-know-about-meowijuana/

https://www.promegaconnections.com/catnip-and-its-effect-on-cats-dogs-and-humans/

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Posted in Uncategorized, W-2020

I Don’t Know What Happened.

Commons. I am not doing so great. Something happened. W-2020, my universe, it… it’s gone. All the stories are deleted, all the old posts with the stories in them are gone, its all gone. It’s all fucking gone. My heart, soul and so much cannabis smoke went into writing those stories and they just up and disappear over night. It’s like a black hole opened up and swallowed the entire thing, I am devastated beyond what words can express. I loved those stories so much… shit. I guess that just goes to show you, never leave yourself open to loving something because existence is not permanent. In other words: his sucks.

I suppose the only thing for me to do now is keep on keeping on. I still have my poetry and short stories and stuff, so its not the end of the world… just the end of the universe. God dammit. Be good Commons, or don’t, apparently it doesn’t matter~

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THC Culture Club # 6: No Man’s Sky

Hello Commons, this is The Hillside Commons Culture Club, formerly known as Book Club. Instead of  talking about books, I’m going to be talking about other parts of the culture of humanity, including the art form of the video game. This week’s game: No Man’s Sky.

No Man’s Sky is a game that features a relatively infinite procedurally-generated universe populated by aliens, both intelligent and animal, for the player to explore and exist in. It’s essentially minecraft in space but sci-fi, or like a PG Rick and Morty simulator. I’ve played about 20 hours so far and while learning about the lore and just generally playing the game, a concept came to me.

In the intelligent alien races in No Man’s Sky, notably the Gek, Vy’keen, and Korvax, I see an interesting representation of the human race itself. Sean Murray, the head of the studio that produced No Man’s Sky, went through quite an ordeal with his game. He went from being picked up by a major video game platform and marketed a little too well to extreme backlash from the public when the game was released, following it with a few years of silence as the company produced updates that made the game better and better. Some say the studio pushed them to release it too early, some said they blatantly lied; maybe both are true, maybe neither. Regardless, the three characters in this epic, the game studio, the company that picked them up and the public that bought their game, as far as I can see, are represented by each of the three major alien races.

The Gek, the short, greedy reptilian merchant that communicates through smells, is the major company. They are the ones with the money, the ones who want to put out the game and profit at any means necessary. They also control the money flow and decide how much things are worth. It is said in the game that at one point the Gek had control of the weapon technology and they wreaked havoc on the universe before their empire was toppled.

The Vy’keen, the tall, muscular warrior species raised on conquest and victory in battle, is the public, the ones who react to the game. While the Gek were powerful with their money, the Vy’keen are more powerful due to their sheer size and strength. The same can be said about the public: even though the company that backed No Man’s Sky had influence over the creators, the public was dying for this game and their demand really made things possible. The pressure was undoubtedly on for the creators to release the game as soon as possible.

Hello Games, the creators, are represented by the Korvax, the technological scientist race that was both nearly eradicated by and enslaved by the Geks before the Gek empire toppled. They worship and venerate the Atlas, the god of the universe and also the universe itself, which leads the player of the game to the center of the galaxy. Upon reaching the center of the galaxy, the player is sent to another galaxy to start over. That was the original story of No Man’s Sky, and public didn’t like that, similarly to how the Vy’keen are vehemently opposed to the Atlas and its ways. Then, there are the travelers and the anomalies.

The travelers are strange, very alien looking aliens. They travel through the universe, communicating with each other and discovering things. They came later in the game, after an update or two which included a different story mode starring these alien creatures. These could represent the players of the game, occasionally popping in and out to explore and check things out. Following that, the anomalies, the default character you start as, represent the players of the game who have stuck around since day one, the people who bought into their game in the first place and really made it possible.

I’m not saying any of this is true by any means, I could very well be finding meaning that isn’t necessarily there. It’s an interesting concept though, so I decided to flesh it out a bit. Thanks for checking out THC Culture Club, I was originally going to write something about To Pimp A Butterfly but I changed my mind last minute. Maybe next-next week, we shall see. Don’t just think outside the box, Commons, exist outside it. Be good, at least until next time~

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Posted in Contentually Commons, Short Stories, Uncategorized

Contentually Commons # 49: SpaAaAaAace!

Hello Commons, how we all doing today? I’m pretty swell, living that monkey life on a rock spinning around a giant ball of fire floating in infinite nothingness. I have a short story today, another standalone called The Final Frontier. Hope y’all enjoy (-: Be good Commons, at least until next time~

The Final Frontier

‘Okay so we’re in a grassy field, there are some trees over there, a cow, a… that looks like a… dinosaur? What? Oh shit it’s hunting the cow, that’s kinda cool. We’re running away now, towards a… spaceship? Alright Dreamers, I can dig this, I’m on board. Taking off now, we’re going up into space… woah. There are other planets out there. Did they just press pause? Why… oh, they’re putting fuel into a hyper drive… woah… that’s a lot of other stars…!!’

That was Mike’s initial reaction to the reveal of Final Frontier, the most ambitious video game ever made courtesy of the Dreamers Make Things studio out of Esperanza, Antarctica. It features an actual infinite universe populated with many different species of aliens, galactic and intergalactic civilizations, its own periodic table of elements, guilds and factions the player can join and a fully functioning universal economy – and it was just released today. Mike has been waiting for a game like this ever since he first picked up a controller. He’s always dreamed of roaming through the stars in his very own spaceship and now he gets to try it out from the comfort of his comfychair – what more can one ask for?

After skipping school and waiting for six and a half hours in a line, Mike giddily gets driven home and pops that sucker into his console. The initial load-up takes a while but Mike is patient. He’s waited years for this game to come out, what’s another fifteen minutes?

The screen goes white then, boom his character has spawned. Around him is purple grass dotted with green and blue flowers surrounded by a wall of massive trees, a clearing in the middle of a mighty forest. All of the rocks have moss growing on them, frog-like creatures are leaping from flower to flower and above him, four-eyed pink squirrels glide between the branches. How astounding, a world so similar, yet, so different to his own. Eventually he notices a break in the treeline, there’s a trail leading somewhere off into the distance. He follows it to another clearing, this one with a modest looking spaceship parked in the middle of it. After spending the day fixing up said spaceship, he hops in and takes off into the virtual stars. Thus begins the adventures of Mikey-Mike, intergalactic hustler.

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

After a full year and a half of habitual and borderline ritualistic playing of Final Frontier, Mikey-Mike’s become quite the accomplished cosmonaut. With freighter ships in every major system and a high rank in every existing guild and faction, he is a lone-wolf lord of the stars. That is, when he’s not running his gang, a team of thirty crafty space fiends who call themselves the Super Novas. Speaking of which, the chief navigation Nova just sent him a message through the in-game communicator. What could SnoopyD possibly want now… oh snap! An unexplored star system has been discovered lying on the very edge of the explored universe, alone, cold and in need of plundering.

Normally before making a trans-universal jump, Mikey-Mike would convene with his clan and conglomerate a small squad together for the expedition. I say normally because this time it just doesn’t happen, and not for lack of effort. None of the Novas want anything to do with this journey, including the one who found it; they say that they’re at the top of the game anyway, why bother? What is this, amateur hour? Perturbed, Mikey-Mike fires half of his team before leaving, putting a very high bounty on every one of their heads. Who’s at the top now?

Unfortunately, at this point it is night time in the real world and Mike has school in the morning. After the most unending day of being talked at he’s ever had to endure, Mike literally sprints home and assumes his position in the comfychair. A smile creeps its way across his face as the Final Frontier theme song plays – he hasn’t explored an unidentified star system since year one, this will be just like when the game came out!

Pulling up the universal map, Mikey-Mike plots his course. It’ll take some sling-shotting and certainly a wormhole or two, but he should be able to make the journey with just one hyper drive full of gas. After he’s said his goodbyes to the Korek merchant who always gives him a great deal on warp fuel, the journey begins.

The whole sha-bang takes about forty-five real world minutes. Normally this long of a space flight would be an utter bore for Mike, being forced to sit through warp screen after warp screen can be torturous. He’s not complaining though. At this stage of the game, being able to add another planet to your list of discoveries is a big deal, let alone a whole star system of them. When the final warp is engaged, Mike puts down the controller to cook up an oven pizza. When he returns, his destination awaits him.

The new system only has one star, a bit disappointing but that’s okay. There are a whopping nine planets, only four of which are composed mostly of gasses. One planet is hardly even big enough to be considered a planet, the thing might as well be an asteroid. As he approaches the planets floating in the star’s lifezone, something starts to seem off. There are two planets in particular that jump out to him, one red with ice caps on its top and bottom and one that resembles a marble with swirls of green and blue and ice caps similar to the red one. On a hunch, Mikey-Mike pulls up a map of the star system while Mike pulls up a map of his real life star system. He’s rendered speechless when he realizes they are one in the same, down to the rotational position of each and every planet.

Naturally, the first thing that Mikey-Mike does upon discovering what must be the greatest easter egg of all time is high-tail it down to Earth. He chooses where New York City would be as his first stop and, lo and behold, it’s actually there. The skyscrapers, the gridlocked traffic, the streets full of pedestrians going this way and that, its all so lifelike. The graphics aren’t perfect but damn. This is just incredible, game-changing even… and Mikey-Mike is the first to find it. And the only one who knows about it.

So what does he do next? Send messages to the remainder of his crew? Make a post about it online? Communicate this incredible discovery in any way, shape or form? No, no and of course not; he heads straight for where his house would be. It takes some searching, but after an hour of real life time he finds his neighborhood. Chills run down his spine as he flies up to his house, everything is the same down to the cracked siding from a golf ball gone awry.

He floats the ship up to his bedroom window. Mike’s jaw hits the floor when, inside of the house in the game, he sees himself. Everything is the same, he’s wearing the same clothing, sitting in the same position, the comfychair is even there. In one fowl swoop Mike drops the controller and spins around towards his window to find… nothing. The bedroom window is clear. ‘Dammit.’

Returning his attention to the game, the ship seems to have floated above the house. The controller must have landed on the thruster button when he dropped it, of course! After carefully repositioning the craft outside the window, Mike takes a deep breath and turns around, simultaneously pressing the pau-.

Fin

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Posted in Short Stories, Uncategorized

Contentually Commons # 48: Gronk

Hello Commons, hope the humans of Earth are doing well these days. I have some new content for y’all, just a plain ol’ short story. It’s called Gronk and its about a caveman. You can find it where stuff is usually found. Be good Commons, at least until next time~

Gronk

Gronk awakes. The air inside the cave is cool and damp, illuminated only by the flame of a small campfire. Two shadows dance among the fire’s glow, th others. IT smells like they’re cooking something, a tree-rat? A lizard maybe? Gronk approaches.

Jaggi notices him coming. She slaps Crod in the leg and he drops the roasting stick – there goes dinner. “Jag! What fuck?” as he turns to slap her back, except in the face. He lowers his arm when Gronk walks into the fire’s light and sits between them.

“Gronk!” Crod yells out, “Jag slap dinner! Starve!”

Gronk closes his eyes and nods. He looks out towards the mouth – a storm has recently passed, the sky is gray but stable. He must hunt. A headache accompanies him as he walks out into the forest bearing little more than his hands.

Down among the trees he hears a cry. A shrill, ear-splitting cry… dinner? Maybe. Hopping over fallen trees and ripping down vines he moves through the jungle towards the source of the noise, his mouth watering as he goes. The tribe hasn’t eaten in days, they never seem to have enough to eat.

Gronk’s stomach gurgles as he approaches a clearing, his view of the spot blocked by the drooping branches of a weeping willow. He walks through and the crying stops, though his headache worsens. The source of the wail reveals itself, or rather, herself. Kriga, with one leg trapped under a log, looks to him with sparkling eyes. Her savior? Maybe.

They talk. Kriga doesn’t have a tribe, she lives a nomad’s life. Last night, or maybe early this morning, she was out hunting in the middle of the storm when a bolt of lightning fell the tree. She points to a rock behind her, sharp and jagged on one edge and just hardly out of her reach. Gronks headache turns splitting as she explains how to chop the tree.

A drop of drool drips as he grips the stone. Slowly, calculated in his movement, he approaches Kriga. He raises the stone above her head, gripping it with both hands. As he brings the rock down, the headache disappears. Then he brings it down again. And again. And again. The tribe will eat well tonight.

Standing over the corpse, Gronk begins to feel funny. He loses his grip on the rock and it hits the ground. As he looks at his hand, his fingers all begin twitching as if they each had their own intelligence. Then his whole arm begins to shake, then the other arm. Suddenly Gronk finds himself on the grassy floor of the clearing, uncontrollably writhing around in the mud. It hurts; his head, his body, everything hurts. As the convulsions continue, the light of the sun slowly slips out of his grasp.

Then, nothing…

Then, a sigh. He hears a scraping noise and opens his eyes to find himself laying in a purple cave, lit up by a glowing substance growing on the walls. “Hello? Is anyone here?”

“Yes Gvoraz, I’m here. You won’t be for long, though; you did it again.”

A tall, slender blue-skinned being draped in the fur of a large three-headed animal crouches down in front of him. It hands him a stick that’s been fastened into a smoking pipe, the bowl filled with a lump of glowing orange material. The being grabs a burning stick from the fire, his hands entirely unaffected by the heat and holds it above the bowl.

“Smoke.”

Gvoraz does just that, inhaling deeply and holding the foul-tasting smoke as long as he can. As he lies back and releases the smoke into the air, a beautiful dance of effervescent lights overtake his very being…

Gronk awakes. The air inside the cave is cool and damp, illuminated only by the flicker of a small campfire.

Fin

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Contentually Commons # 47: I’m Uncertain of This Post’s Title

Hello Commons, how are you today? Good? Bad? Not sure? That’s cool, because I have a poem. Originally I called this one Uncertainty, but I have since changed its name to Thin Ice. You can catch it down below or on the Poetry page. Be good Commons, at least until next time~

Thin Ice

The sky is that certain shade of gray today, closer to white
and mostly blank like a piece of my open notebook’s page.
Pale blue spots reflect off the icy surface of the pond
upon which I stand, which I ran onto with haste and now
I stand with the grace of a swan, white as a poltergeist
and frozen like a statue, like a sculpture of ice.

I don’t remember how long it takes the lake to freeze,
since November its been solid for a couple of weeks.
I thought I would make it back before I sneezed and like
a dry leaf the ice cracked underneath my feet, leaving me up
a creek without a life raft, a paddle or even a bag of weed.

Now I’m uncertain, this very well may be curtains,
how the hell will I survive when it seems like death is lurkin’?
I hold my breath and step light before igniting a sprint
in hopes the ice won’t crack just to race me to the finish.

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THC Book Club # 5: Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

Hello Commons, welcome to THC Book Club cinco. Today’s tome of choice: Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out by Timothy Leary.

The Author

Once dubbed “The Most Dangerous Man in America” by president Richard Nixon for being open-minded about psychedelic drugs, Tim Leary was known for being an advocate of the psychotheraputic and entheogenic/spiritual applications of psychedelic substances. At one time a professor at Harvard, Leary started spreading the good word of the psychedelic movement and was quickly opposed by the institutions around him – a sign that he was doing something right. He was eventually fired from Harvard so he started his own religion that used LSD as a sacrament, appropriately called the League for Spiritual Discovery. For more words about Leary, click here.

The Book

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out is a collection of essays, interviews, lectures, that type of deal, all written by Timothy Leary. In it he discusses many things from the way the government (and American society) handles fear, how society works similarly to a reality TV show, psychedelic drugs and religion, how the word drug carries power and implication, the addictive, constricting process that is the American education system, the list goes on. It is only about a hundred pages yet it took me a full two weeks to read, digesting the ideas took time; I’m still mulling over what I read to be totally honest, Leary certainly had some ahead-of-his-time ideas floating around in his head.

Allow me to ask potentially the most pressing question this book raises: what does the title mean? Turn on, tune in, drop out… that’s honestly why I picked it up, it seemed rife with meaning and philosophy and sounded pretty cool. The meaning is pretty cool too, it’s essentially a way of life, a cycle. Turn on means to turn yourself on – become aware of the energy moving through your body, become aware of your own reality, just become more aware really. Psychedelics like LSD can be great for helping with this. Next is tune in, which means return to normal reality (Caesaric reality, as Leary calls it), shave off the BS and make small changes in your life that are more in line with what you want. Tune into your own self. Last is drop out which means literally to drop out of society, leave the Caesaric ways behind. Once enough changes have been made you may realize that you’re not quite in line with the rest of society anymore, that you’ve already dropped out. This is normal, the dropping out is not always a big explosion of energy, drama and realization, it can be very subtle. Then you repeat the cycle – look within, make changes, drop the rest.

In the book Leary makes it clear that he uses psychedelic substances to help him begin the cycle, but he also points out that they are not necessary. Psychedelic, from the english psyche- (mind) and the Greek dêl(os) (manifesting) literally means mind manifesting – taking these substances certainly does allow your mind to manifest itself to you through thoughts and revelations (among other, weirder means), but drugs are not the only way for this to happen. One can meditate, do yoga, go for a long hike, a walk, sit in a boat floating on a lake, really anything can be mind manifesting. I will say that solitude does help the mind manifest whether you’re hiking, dropping acid or both at the same time, but like the drugs themselves, it is not necessary. Useful and potentially a jump-start to the process, but not necessary.

That’s It.

Alllllrighty then, well thanks a bunch guys. This has been The Hillside Commons Book Club, if you want to buy this book go here. Or don’t, I ain’t affiliated I’m just tryna be convenient. I honestly have no idea what book I’m reading next, book club just might metamorphose a little bit over the course of the next two weeks. That’s the future though, and this is the present, a present in which I’m about to schedule this post for tomorrow. Thanks for reading! Don’t just think outside the box, Commons, exist outside of it; be good, at least until next time~

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Contentually Commons # 46: Ring-a-ding-ding, Bitch.

Hello Commons, what it do? Got some poetry for the humeys, I wrote it in the woods. It’s called The Call, number 8 in the Forest-Borne Collection that just keeps growing. I think y’all are capable of figuring out how to read this one. Be good Commons, at least until next time~

The Call

I’m woken by the call.

The window’s open, hot summer air mixes
with the conditioned air floating in from the
hall; the perfect storm of the fall.

My cat crawls up on my bed, nudging
his head against mine; it’s breakfast time.
I follow him downstairs, out of the lair
yet the calling still blares, the singing of
the trees screaming like the ringing in my ears.

We left the caves long ago, trudged
through snow like the ox, left the woods
alone in pursuit of a box; these days,
the caves are made of wood, not stone.

Yet the trees still call me, and my cat too.
Fat with food he rushes out the door, budding
with life he dives into the brush – I follow
close behind. The leaves are speaking to
me, taunting, haunting my mind with
visions of being high atop a mountain, a
fountain of youth begging to be found.

The call ceases as I climb back down.

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Contentually Commons # 45: I Did It Again

Hello Commons, I hope we’re all doing well. Y’all know that thing I do where I climb a mountain and suddenly feel so overwhelmed with inspiration that a notebook and pen materialize in my hands and I scrawl squiggly symbols that carry meaning? Well I did it again, this one is called Get High, the seventh Forest-Borne poem. It can be found down below or on the Poetry page, as per usual. Be good Commons, at least until next time~

Get High

Survived a long day of work, energy seems low
but I’m vibin’.
I arrive home to a room that screams “I need some
psilocybin”.
Petty forced smile and fakest glee I
have ever seen,
got one cookin’ dinner and one starin’
at the screen.

He won’t smoke any weed, instead staring
at the TV,
watching people screaming over politics and what was tweeted
this evening.

Not trying to throw a fit or dine down here
in the slime,
I tell them that I gotta go, there’s a mountain
out there to climb.
Taking a break from the holy leaf, but not leaving
myself to dry,
I get my fuckin’ blood pumping and
make myself high.

High off the ground, touching a cloud as the sun sets
into the evening,
flying higher than the beak of an eagle, through
the trees it’s weaving,
believing that my getting high is the reason
why I’m smiling, not grieving.
As the sun sets I slide down the mountain
with a different way of perceiving.

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Contentually Commons # 44: If it Walks Like a Duck…

Hello Commons, how are we all doing today? It’s been a minute but I have some poetry for y’all. Today’s piece is called Flock, it’s quite birdiful. You can find it down below or on the Poetry page! Be good Commons, at least until next time~

Flock

Birds of a feather flock together whether
or not they learn how to fly.
No matter the weather, snow, rain, whatever,
a crane doesn’t want to be with a magpie.

A vulture, beak full of brains of a maimed
piece of roadkill, is accompanied by two
more of its kind, hungry to eat their fill.
Even the eagle, majestic, lethal, unmatched and
alone in the sky, settles down and shares
its crown in a thatch nest with his bride.

Canaries with clipped wings, locked away in their cages
fed seeds and forced to sing.
Your ears will ring, such a beautiful thing
when their voices all come together.

Birds of the same feather flock together
whether or not they learn how to fly.
So find the others, your sisters & brothers,
spread your wings and head for the sky.

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THC Book Club #4: The Reconnection: Heal Others, Heal Yourself

Thirty hellos Commons, time has come again for THC book club. This week’s tome: The Reconnection: Heal Others, Heal Yourself by Dr. Eric Pearl.

The Author

Dr. Eric Pearl was once a simple chiropractor until he discovered that he is seemingly able to heal people by hovering his hands over them. Now he travels the world giving talks, teaching and performing reconnective healing. To read more about Dr. Pearl, go here: https://www.thereconnection.com/content/about-dr-eric-pearl. As for what is reconnective healing, well…

The Book

This book is about energy healing. When I first picked it up, I (a self-described new age hippie) thought it would be this ridiculous overtly new-agey hippie-dippie bullshit that I would have to wade through because I told my friend I would read the book. Now that I’ve read it a second time, I can safely say that assumptions make asses out of both you and me! It was actually very grounded in reality, very clearly conveying the message that the author, upon realizing he could help people heal with energy, was as surprised as we, the readers, are to hear about it. Dude has no idea what’s going on, BUT he offers us some thoughts about how the process might work, combining science and spirituality in a way that made quite a bit of sense. He doesn’t seem to believe he has super powers either, which is another fear I had going into this book – he simply thinks there is a higher power at work and that it is working through him and others to “bring light and information to the planet”. It may sound pretty “out there”, but so is existence once you think about it.

The book’s broken up into three parts: part one is Pearl’s fascinating and entertaining story, part two offers some ideas about how the healing operates, and part three is essentially a how-to section. At the very end is a big message saying “READ THIS BOOK THREE TIMES”; I have read it twice and am planning on reading it the third time. I thought it would be dumb to do so at first, but admittedly I did notice things during the second read-through that I didn’t notice during the first. I think what I’m really trying to say here is being more open-minded is never a bad idea.

As for the legitimacy of the healings, well, I think there’s definitely something there. I haven’t done any research on his patients or their stories, but I have been experiencing (what I believe to be) the reconnective healing for quite some time now, long before I even knew this book existed. I had these big trenchy-cavities running along the gumlines on the molars on both sides of my mouth for a long time – eating and drinking became very difficult for a couple years as they were extremely sensitive to temperature and sugar. Then one night I started feeling this weird sensation in my teeth, and x months later the cavities have shrunk to the point that at times I forget that I even have them. They’re not totally gone, but they’ve definitely healed and are continuing to heal, and I had no idea why. Then I read this book. Now I have some semblance of an idea of not only why, but also how. I sure hope I’m not jinxing myself!

That about wraps up this rendition of The Hillside Commons Book Club. I am not affiliated with these people what so ever, but if you would like to pick up the book yourself, here’s an amazon link (the very same one I used, gasp!). Also, thank you to the friend who recommended this book to me! I’m thinking about tackling Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out by Timothy Leary next, but that’s the future and this is the present, a present in which I’m about to go eat some chickenbaconranch pizza. Don’t just think outside the box Commons, exist outside of that nonsense. Be good, at least until next time~

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THC Book Club # 3: DMT: The Spirit Molecule

Hello Commons, it’s time again for The Hillside Commons Book Club! This week’s tome: DMT: The Spirit Molecule by Rick Strassman, M.D..

First, a bit about the author (information grabbed from www.rickstrassman.com). Rick Strassman is a researcher, a writer, and Clinical Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, among other things. He is well known for conducting his DMT study, which was at the time the first new US government approved and funded clinical research with psychedelic drugs in over twenty years.

Now, the book. DMT: The Spirit Molecule tells the story of Strassman’s DMT research project at the University of New Mexico. Starting in 1988 with the submission of his proposal and ending in 1995, he conducted a research study on N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, an extremely powerful psychedelic substance found in a myriad of plant life around the globe and inside the human body. The research included a dose-response study, a tolerance study and multiple mechanism-of-action studies. While the book does detail how the study was conceptualized, funded, allowed, how it went down and what was learned from the whole sha-bang, the majority of the it details the experiences of the test subjects, which ranged from mystical/spiritual to otherworldly to downright terrifying. Some subjects reported that their experience was representative of what death and rebirth is like. Many of the subjects reported coming into contact with beings of another plane, so many that Strassman had to rethink his own model of what exatly happened when people are on DMT.

While I could ramble about the intense, mind-bending psychedelic states that were described in this book, I would like to focus on another aspect that was pointed out: just how ineffective our government’s way of handling drugs, especially psychedelic drugs, really is. In chapter 6, called Labyrinth, Strassman tells the tale of all of the hoops he had to jump through to get his project approved and funded by the government, so many so that he almost gave up entirely. The process took roughly two years, two years, it was utterly ridiculous. Look, the Controlled Substances Act is in place to protect the public from harmful drugs, that’s all fine and dandy. However, all psychedelic drugs, even cannabis, are listed as Schedule I, meaning “highly abusable, lack medical utility, and are unsafe under medical supervision”. This was done in 1970 following Timothy Leary’s whole LSD/Harvard debacle, was objected by dozens of high-level psychiatric researchers at the time, and is still in effect today. Schedule II drugs include methamphetamine and cocaine, among other drugs. According to our government DMT, psilocybin and cannabis are all more dangerous and harmful (and illegal) than cocaine and meth.

The real issue is the irresponsibility behind how we deal with these drugs. All drugs, psychedelic, narcotic or otherwise, are part of the human experience; they are here, they exist and humans use them regardless of the laws passed against them. By keeping these substances illegal, we are causing more damage to society than the drugs themselves could ever cause. In the case of psychedelics, which have been used for millennia by human cultures to aid in mental health treatment and spirituality/religion, we make it damn near impossible for any real research to be done with them, we are missing out on potential cures for depression, anxiety, addiction and other mental illnesses running rampant in the world, and we are depriving ourselves of a potential connection with the spiritual side of life that the United States especially is lacking. Closing these powerful substances behind a door and hanging a sign saying “don’t open this door” is not the way to deal with drugs; it’s irresponsible, immature and just sad. With great power comes great responsibility, and you better believe that Uncle Ben would not be proud.

Another very interesting point that was brought up was just how unkindly some high-up Buddhists took to Strassman’s proposed implications of DMT, but that’s another story. All in all, this book was immensely interesting. I have done quite a bit of reading on DMT before picking this up and I still learned things that I didn’t already know. It offers an eye-opening look into the potential of DMT and other psychedelic substances in the field of psychiatry as well as a glimpse of what it takes to perform research on illegal drugs. For anyone interested in the metaphysical, the spiritual, psychiatric research or psychedelics in general, I definitely recommend you check it out. Here’s an amazon link and my obligatory “I am not affiliated with any of this and I am not being paid, I’m just a fan spreading some words” disclaimer.

Thus wraps up THC Book Club for this week. The next book I’m reading, recommended to me by a friend, is The Reconnection: Heal Others, Heal Yourself by Dr. Eric Pearl. I’ve never looked into energy healing or anything of the sort before, but once I do I’ll surely ramble about it here. That’s in the future though, and this is the present, the present in which I’m going to take my cat for a walk. Remember, don’t just think outside the box Commons, exist outside of it. Be good, at least until next time~

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Quotables: Alan Watts

Hello Commons, I feel it time for another quotable already.

“A cat sits until it is tired of sitting, then it gets up, stretches and walks away.”

~Alan Watts, in response to criticism for not meditating

I particularly enjoy this one. Alan Watts was a philosopher, writer and speaker who was well known for taking Eastern (/Buddhist) philosophy and popularizing it for the Western hemisphere. He trained with Buddhist monks in the ways of meditation and philosophy (obviously) and one day, he decided to stop meditating. Perhaps he felt that its usefulness to his own growth had expired, maybe his knees were just sore all the time; I did not know the man, unfortunately, he died in the ’70s.

Cats, a very intelligent species, seem to know what they’re doing. They do their thing until they are tired, at which point they sit to regain energy. When they’re done sitting they get back up and continue with their catting. The wisdom in this lies in drawing a parallel: humans, too, are intelligent beings. We are fully capable of knowing exactly what we are doing and when we need to rest, change things up, et cetera. Following in line with anything just because “that’s the way it’s done”, whether it be a way of living your life, a way of thinking, a way of speaking, et cetra, is foolish and to be frank, not the way progress is continued. One’s flow must be their own.

Today’s quotable also comes with a PSA from me: I’m going to hang back from the Commons a little bit, at least for the time being. This means that I won’t be posting every other day anymore, just when I feel like it/when I have some writing to put up. It’s nothing personal, my lovely human creatures, I just don’t want to get burnt out with this. THC Book club will still go up every other Wednesday, but other than that, the schedule is gone with the wind. Look at it blow away~~~~

Anyway, that’s all for today. I hope y’all got something out of the quote but if you didn’t, that’s great too. Be good Commons, at least until next time~

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Contentually Commons # 43:

<Greet website, readers>

<New piece of content, Titleless poem><How to find content, poetry page>

<Gratitude for readers>

Be good Commons, at least until next time~

Titleless

A kingdom of clouds afloat on azure
seas, cascading shadows upon the ground, hallowed
and picturesque as if melded by brushstrokes
of men haunted by holy ghosts.

Climbing from burial grounds, hurried by
resounding wails of self-pity and sorrow he
follows the trail. How far must one ascend to
find shelter, a momentary end to the
sweltering air and bleak grind, oblique in its
design? Not even the angels know, swept up
in dust clouds of charity and good grace, running
a race not their own. He holds his pace.

The trees clear as he nears the top. Below
him the ants march in lines carved through
this sublime rock, and above? They fly with
wings meant for a dove. A breeze, a cool reprieve.

Turned a fool up on the hill, or upon returning to the trees?

 

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Quotables: Dr. Ian Malcolm

Hello Commons, what’s good? I’m doing well, ’twas a sunny day here in the woods today, a little humid but lovely nonetheless. I have a new breed of RCP for your reading pleasure, genetically constructed from the DNA of an ancient mosquito trapped in amber before the extinction of the dinosaurs! Or, I saw the Jurassic World sequel, enjoyed it and am getting silly with the nostalgia. Either way, this is a Quotable, I’ll be doing these from time to time.

“…your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” ~Dr. Ian Malcolm, 1993

This quote, pulled from the original Jurassic Park movie that came out in 1993, is just rife with wisdom. In the movie there is a character named Ian Malcolm, a scientist who’s expertise is the chaos theory, and aside from the velociraptors he’s easily the best character in the film. During the briefing before the tour of the park, Malcolm slaps John Hammond across the face with a short monologue ending in these words. Indeed, his scientists had done something truly incredible, using genetic technology to recreate multiple species of animals that had gone extinct long ago, but should they have? Considering all the people that got eaten, probably not.

Aaaand that is that. Originally this was going to feature an Alan Watts quote but I’m not in a serious enough mood for that. I hope you got something out of it reader, and if you didn’t, well, that’s pretty great too. Be good Commons, at least until next time~

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Contentually Commons #41:

Hello Commons, how are we doing today? I’m doing well, my little Pennsyltucky trip was fantastic BUT it really threw my inner rhythms and daily routine for a loop and I’m trying to reorient and all that. Progress is a funny thing, in any aspect of life; it is much easier to lose it than it is to gain it.

Anyway, speaking of things being thrown, I have a new piece of poetry for y’all called Toss A Stone. This poem is the latest addition to my Forest-Borne Collection, the ever-expanding body of poetry I scrawl whist wandering through the forest. Admittedly, when I first wrote this piece I really didn’t love it. Reading it back to myself a week later, I’ve found a new appreciation for it. Perhaps you will too – you can find it down below, on the Poetry page or underneath that link up thar.

That’s all I have for today, my humans. Thanks a bunch for stopping by and checking out my madness, more is certainly coming! Be good Commons, at least until next time~

Toss A Stone

Somebody said not all those who wander are lost,
like a stone tossed across the still surface of a pond
skipping along the pristine mirrored image of the sky
until the tension breaks and takes the stone for a dive.

Pay attention, wanderer, journeying through the great beyond
that you don’t encounter something bigger out to take you on.
You don’t know what’s out there, there’s no need to be alarmed
but every rock takes the chance of skipping past a swan.

Yes, they tell me not all those who wander are lost
and many lose their way long before they’ve left at all.
So take a rock and toss it, there’s plenty to go around,
and if you hit that swan, dinner may be abound.

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THC Book Club # 2: The Psychedelic Gospels

Hello Commons, welcome to the second installment of The Hillside Commons Book Club. Today’s tome: The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity by Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D., and Julie M. Brown, M.A..

First, a little bit about the authors (information grabbed from www.innertraditions.com). Jerry Brown and Julie Brown are a married couple, Jerry is an anthropologist and he served as founding professor of anthropology at Florida International University in Miami from 1972 to 2014 and Julie is a psychotherapist and health coach who researches the role of sacred plants in religion. Both members of the Brown family are coordinators of the Sacred Voices Project, which documents the ritual use of visionary plants in cultures around the world.

Now, the book. The Psychedelic Gospels tells the story of how Jerry and Julie traveled across Europe, starting in Scotland and going through England, France, Germany, Italy, Greece and ending in Turkey on a mission to study early Christian artwork for entheogenic symbolism, specifically mushroom symbolism, and boy did they find some. Their interest in the subject stemmed from, among other sources, their own use of entheogens (read: psychedelics) and the theories posed by R. Gordan Wasson, ethnomycologist and J.P Morgan Banker, who postulated that psychoactive mushrooms are used by human cultures to induce religious experiences and that psychoactive mushrooms played an integral role in early religions. However, Wasson’s claims stopped at Christianity, claiming that the sacred mushrooms had nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Let me just say, the Browns prove Wasson wrong.

When I was reading this book, my interest was irreversibly grabbed after reading the third chapter, titled Santa, the Reindeer Shaman. In this chapter, the Browns discuss the role of the Amanita muscaria (also known as the “fly agaric”) mushroom in Siberian shamanic rituals and make many connections between the mushroom ceremony and Christmas, the Christian holiday. Allow me to make the comparison here:

  • Christmas: A rotund, jolly man named Santa who dresses in a red suit/robe with white trimming lives at the North Pole with his elves. Every year, people put up a Christmas tree (species of evergreen tree such as pine, spruce or fir) and decorate it with colorful ornaments. During the night, Santa loads a sack with a bag of gifts for good children and rides a sleigh carried by flying reindeer to deliver these gifts. In order to deliver them, he goes down the chimneys of the houses and places the gifts underneath the trees and inside stockings hung above the fireplace. After all of the gifts are delivered, Santa returns to the North Pole and his helpers, the elves, who live there. In the morning, the children open their gifts.
  • Siberian Mushroom Ceremony: The shaman (and female mushroom gatherers), dressing in ceremonial red and white-trimmed jackets, collect the fly agaric mushrooms, which grow beneath evergreen trees. The effects of the mushrooms are most pleasant and well-received when they are dried before consumption, so these vibrant red/yellow-capped mushrooms are hung from the branches of the pine trees during the harvest. Once the harvest/tree drying is complete, the shaman loads all of the mushrooms into a sack and returns to his yurt on a sled carried by reindeer. The yurt is essentially a tee-pee structure, made from birch branches and reindeer hides; often times during the winter, snow drifts block the front entrance so the shaman has to enter through the smoke hole on top of the yurt to bring his appreciative clan members the mushrooms. The ‘shrooms, to continue the drying process, are hung over the fireplace and left to dry until the morning, when they are eaten. Once the mushrooms are eaten, the celebrants are guided by the spirits that live within the mushrooms to the mystic realms of the Cosmic Tree.

Other related tidbits: in this shamanic culture, the Cosmic Tree is sacred because it symbolizes the center point between heaven and Earth. Evergreen trees are seen as Cosmic Trees because, as I stated above, the fly agaric mushrooms grow from beneath them; their spores, which are invisible to the naked eye, colonize in the roots and fallen needles and result in an apparently miraculous/virgin birth, requiring no seeds to bear fruit. The North Star, also called the Pole Star and the Immovable Star, is sacred to reindeer herders because all of the other stars revolve around it. Thus, we place the star ornament at the top of the Christmas tree, and Santa lives at the North Pole. Also, reindeer include the fly agaric mushroom as part of their diet and they trip out when they eat them, making them act in very un-reindeerly ways. Could this be where the idea of flying reindeer comes from? CommonsGuy certainly thinks so, especially after reading this book.

While no smoking gun piece of evidence is cited, possibly because one cannot exist, this book provides a very compelling case for the involvement of psychoactive mushrooms, specifically Amanita muscaria and psilocybin-containing mushrooms, in early Christianity. It is an incredibly interesting read for anyone interested in entheogens, religion, history, a wonky combination of the three and to a certain extent conspiracy theories, and I definitely recommend you check it out. Here’s an amazon link followed by a disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of these people or their works, I am simply a fan trying to spread the word.

And that wraps up THC Book Club! The next book I’m reading is called DMT: The Spirit Molecule by Rick Strassman, M.D.. No idea when I’ll be done with it, but when I am, I’ll certainly blabber about it here at the Commons. But that’s in the future, and this is the present, the present in which I am going to watch a video of a reindeer ‘shrooming. Remember, don’t just think outside the box, Commons, exist outside of it. Be good, at least until next time~

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Contentually Commons #40: Spawning A Monster

Hello Commons, how are my humans doing today? This human is doing splendid, and he was very excited to be scheduling this post four days ago!

Before I get to the content, I want to make a shoutout. If you’ve never heard of Aak Fictionspawn, the mind behind Fictionspawn Monsters, click that link and go check out his stuff. The man, a trilingual writer, illustrator and badass who used to live in a cave, writes original short stories, and occasionally a bit of poetry, and does illustrations to go along with them. He’s a talented dude, to say the least, and a while ago he wrote a story called Together Forever that I thought was especially creative.

So creative, in fact, that it inspired me to write a little prequel to it! Then, about two and a half months later, I decided to hit the man up and inquire about posting it here. What can I say, I was nervous to reach out to him, it’s a thing. The prequel to Aak’s Together Forever, titled Together Forever: A Prequel, can be found either down below, behind that link or on the fabled Short Stories page of the Commons. If you like my contribution to his creation you’ll surely like the original, and all of his other stuff for that matter, so again, check the dude out!

That’s all for now, my creatures. Tomorrow into the day after tomorrow I’ll be off on a road trip to Pennsyltucky for work, but you can still expect Commons stuff – I love that scheduling button. As for what kind of stuff, well, time will certainly tell. Be good Commons, at least until next time~

Together Forever: A Prequel

The sun cascades a beam unto the ocean, reflecting over the mountains surrounding a bustling Valley City. A large white van rolls up to the front door of Larry and Helen’s apartment building. The archaic blocky pattern of the brick wall reflects off the sliding door as a man in a dark suit and sunglasses steps out to fix his tie. He looks the building up and down twice before proceeding towards the entrance. Text is sent in a message before he doubles back to his van and grabs his briefcase from the front seat. The man buzzes the apartment’s receptionist, speaking in the lowest of voices for a moment before the door unlocks to let him inside. One elevator ride later and he’s knocking at their door, eager to get an answer.

The man is greeted by a pale-faced Hellen, looking as if she peered into a mirror and saw a ghost looking back at her. She leads him to the kitchen where the refrigerator has been moved from the wall to the middle of the floor, revealing a large pile of rat carcasses being tended to by more flies than one would find in the swampiest of marshes. Retching noises can be heard coming from another room. Helen excuses her husband’s raucous and explains the situation.

“The smell wasn’t that bad at first, we noticed it about a month ago. It got worse and worse over time and we finally decided to investigate today, as you can see. My husband is very disturbed by death, especially the smell of it and extraspecially when it’s in a big pile like that.”

The man nods understandingly and removes a vacuum device from his briefcase. One by one the rats are sucked up, shredded and compressed into little pellets of fertilizer inside the device’s main chamber until the floor is spotless. The man shakes Helen’s hand before abruptly leaving the apartment, feigning a story about more clients he must attend to. On the ground floor he removes an envelope from within his briefcase and drops it in Larry’s mailbox, explaining to the clerk that he forgot to give the couple the bill before he hurries outside and jumps back in his van, tires screeching as he pulls away.

The next day Larry receives a letter from the prestigious Lockhart Science Company to take part in an expedition to an uncharted island in the sea. All expenses will be paid and all needs, clothing, edible and otherwise, will be provided. Larry, a self-employed electrician, cancels all of his appointments for the next week and tells Helen the wonderful news. While she is jealous that her husband gets to go out on the ocean, she feels very happy for him and kisses him farewell. Catching the bus at the last second, he gets himself into such a huff that he doesn’t notice the white van pulling up to his building as the bus pulls away.

He arrives at the harbor by dusk and catches his ship just before it takes off, deflecting the many stern looks from his new crewmates as he boards. A speech is given by the captain and each crew member is given a protective hazmat suit to be worn at all times, especially once the island is found, and an antibacterial pill. Larry accepts an invitation to use the captain’s quarters to change and eat his flavorless candy, returning to the deck to find himself alone with the first mate.

The first mate, a man in a dark suit, leads him below deck to the room he’ll be staying in. As they approach so too does the wretched, ghastly smell of death and decay. Growing stronger with each step, Larry can almost taste a dead man’s toenail by the time the two reach the door. He keeps asking questions and objecting to sleeping anywhere that smells like death but his words aren’t paid any attention. The man opens the door to reveal a collection of seventeen dead bodies of different ages and species, some human, some not. Some have been rotted down to the bone while others are still fresh, leaking blood like the bloated belly of the man cast atop the pile. Larry tries to fight but again his objections are ignored; he is thrown into the room and locked there, the hazmat suit acting as a paper-thin barrier between Larry and indescribable horror. Shortly after, the pill kicks in. Larry’s entire body goes numb and begins to tremble, his mind completely unaffected. He falls face first into the pile of bodies, forced to perceive every aspect of the decay until the first mate comes back. Whenever that might be.

The boat returns to the harbor at dawn a week later. Larry is removed from his room a twitching, broken mess when the ship lands, the first mate manhandling him into a different room below the deck. Here he is force-fed another pill, this one bringing him into an eerie state of contentedness and bodily control. With a smile on his face Larry is brought to the harbor’s bus stop by the first mate, his empty mind being filled with stories of adventure and wildlife exploration. By the time he returns home, he just can’t wait to tell his wife about all of the jungles he explored during his trip.

He knocks on the door to his apartment a few times before letting himself in. The air is noticeably frigid inside and Helen is sitting with her head down at the kitchen table, still jettisoned into the living room due to the refrigerator being moved. He wraps his arms around her and squeezes her tight, just gushing about the tropical birds and animals he helped discover. And the sea, oh the sea! He knows she always wanted to venture beyond the horizon, and now he can tell her all about it… not here though, it’s much too cold. The view of the city from the mountains is beautiful,’ he thinks to himself, why don’t we go there to talk?’

He grabs his wife’s arm and runs to the door, dragging the body along with him. He stops and looks back to find his wife’s head still sitting on the tabletop, severed from the now-leaking body. “Oh dear!” he exclaims. “You must be terribly cold! Let me grab you a scarf. By the way, I love that new perfume you’re wearing.”

Fin

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Posted in Creative Appreciation, Random Commons Post, Uncategorized

CommonsGuy’s Creative Process

Hello Commons, how are we today? I’m doing well, I recently filled my first composition book with first drafts of short stories, all 200 pages of it. Because of this, I wanted to share my creative process and the last story I wrote in its pages. Here we gooooo~

That pile of books in the picture up there is the physical embodiment of my creative process, from my little journal on top to the wine box on the bottom where I put the books when they’ve been filled. I always write my stuff on paper first and then transfer it to electronic status later. Why? I don’t really know, I just think the stories come out better when I write them and then type them, it’s just a thing. Also, I keep these notebooks categorized like a muhfucker, some of them have literally a page of writing and that’s it, its very unnecessary but it’s a thing.

Anyway, all of my short stories start out in idea form jotted down in a notebook called Scratch Pad Vol. I. Then we move to Short Stories – Rough Cuts, currently on volume II. It is here that the story idea becomes a story, I write one rough draft and the notebook is closed. Then the story is typed up on the computer using OpenOffice Writer.

I used to use Microsoft Word but that costs money, so I changed to Google Docs but that lacks functionality. OpenOffice is an open source suite of software that is a less visually-stunning version of Microsoft Office and I dig it – of course, no affiliation, just a fan.

There the second draft is typed and then scrutinized multiple times until I am satisfied with the final product. Then, before I go to post it here at the Commons, I always go back and read the project over one last time and usually find some last minute stuff that I don’t like, and viola. With the Universe W-2020 stuff I have a separate idea book where I scribble ideas and then story build before writing the first draft, but the process is essentially the same. With poetry I just write the shit, sometimes at home, sometimes in the woods, and even at my day job in the past (dat Bee poetry collection tho).

But yeah, that’s basically it. The last story I wrote, taking up all three of the last pages of Short Stories – Rough Cuts, Volume I, is called End of the Line, and I’d like to share it today. It’s a little out there, but I really love it and I personally think that it’s my best story yet. It’s swimming around in the Short Stories page, but if you’re hydrophobic you can just scroll down or click dat link.

That’s actually it for now, I hope this post was random enough for ya. I also hope you enjoy the story, and if you’re reading this when it posts and live in North or South America, go to bed and read it later! Or don’t, share it with your night owl friends instead, see what I care. Be good Commons, at least until next time~

End of the Line

“No, please, don’t do this.”

I apathetically stare down at him.

“We’ve had so much fun together, built so many worlds. Destroyed so many lives! No, stop, we can keep going if you’d – AH, stop!”

Sorry buddy, it’s been a good run. We did have lots of good times, you were there for me when nobody else was.

“So don’t do this!”

No. I must, I will and I am. All things must run their course, from beginning to end, and this is the end. Your end.

“NOOO! YOU CAN’T GO ON WITHOUT ME! I AM YOUR MUSE, THE ESSENCE OF YOUR CREATIVITY! I A-”

Stop it dude, you’re Volume I. You aren’t my muse, you’re not the essence of my creativity. You really think that?

“Of course I do, how could I think anything else? You’ve written in me since the beginning, since Airborne and A Shame Indeed.”

Yeah, Airborne is Turbulence now.

“And Control and Tranquility! Your mom loved Tranquility, you and I had so much fun writing it!”

We did, but you’re still not my muse. My muse is insanity. I draw my inspiration from my fucked up life, notebook, from my psychedelic drug use, from my nonsensical family and from my intrinsically spiritual existence that some perceive as eccentric, weird in a bad way, holier-than-thou, insane or schizophrenic, even.

“But-”

I channel all of that shit that happens to me, all of this stuff that I both am put through and put myself through, I wield a pencil and I channel it through you.

“…”

Don’t you get it? You aren’t my muse but you’re still important to my creations, my writings. None of it would be possible without you. Sure, if I didn’t specifically have you I probably would have bought another notebook, but you are the notebook that I bought.

“This really is the end, isn’t it?”

In a way. It is the end of Short Stories – Rough Cuts, Volume I. But there’s gonna be a Volume II, and probably a III and IV and even a V.

“Even a V?”

Even a V. You’ve allowed me to channel my life into wonderful little stories, dude. You’ve helped me birth a universe for fuck’s sake!

“…”

Without you, the eighteen plus stories that make up Universe W-2020, not to mention all of the other random one-offs, would all be spinning around in my head. I would really be insane!

“I’m afraid, CommonsGuy.”

Are you now?

“Yes.”

What on Earth does a notebook have to be afraid of?

“This is the last page, the last story you’ll scribe in my pages.”

And?

“It’s self-aware to a literally painful point!”

As is the majority of my writing, yes.

“People who read this are going to think you’re batshit crazy and I’m probably going to get burned for this!”

Well I wouldn’t go that far, Volume I, and I definitely don’t think you’ll be burned, regardless of the existence of this story. And here’s why: after 23 years of living as a human being, I’ve realized something.

“That you’re weird, completey unlike everyone else and strangely and inexplicably insane?”

No. I’ve realized that life is but a movie, an episodic series, a novel, a musical composition, even; life is a drama, written by the most brilliant mind that nobody’s ever heard of.

“…”

All one must do is discern what character they’re playing and play that character. And that’s what I’m doing! The final story in this notebook, written at 4:00 in the morning during a random bout of insomnia, is a conversation between myself and the notebook I write the first drafts of my short stories in, which is either a metaphor for that anxiety-ridden self-doubting schizophrenic voice in the back of my head, a reflection of myself, or both at the same time! This story is so intrinsically me that I can’t stop smiling as I write it, and even now as I type it up. Character development at its finest.

“It… that is kind of beautiful. Brilliant even. Okay, fine, you win.”

Yes, yes I do. So here we go, Volume I, “to the end of the line.”

Fin

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Posted in Contentually Commons, Short Stories, Uncategorized

Contentually Commons # 39: Making Things Happen

Hello Commons! I don’t even need to ask how you’re doing today because if you’re reading this, you’re obviously doing great.

Today, I have the other half of the pair of stories telling the same event from different perspectives. You’d think I would think of a better way to refer to them, but nah. These stories tell the tale of Jack and Brandy, two people who were together until Jack disappeared for nearly ten years, then he randomly shows up again. The first story, Let It Happen, tells the story of Jack’s coming back from Brandy’s perspective. Today’s story, Make It Happen, tells it from Jack’s perspective, and if I do say so myself, these perspectives create quite different realities. If you don’t feel like scrolling down, you can find the stories by clicking the hyperlinks OR by visiting the *brand new* Short Stories Page! The list was getting long in purgatory so I decided to let it bloom.

That’s all for today Commons, thanks for stopping by. I’m still doing that W-2020 work, a little bit of revising progress was made along with a little bit of story building but I’m far from done. As I say, things are a-comin’. But anyway, be good, at least until next time~

Make It Happen

The guard’s body drops to the floor unconscious. Jack doesn’t know how long this will last, he needs to act now and act fast. Taking out the scrambler from his pocket, thank you Tony, he lines it up with the keypad on the wall beside the door. After a few seconds of electronic fizzing the keypad’s display goes blank and the door unlocks with a click. Bingo, we’re in.

As he enters the room it’s as if time itself freezes; the air is still, Jack’s heartbeat slow and his breath silent. In front of Jack stands a computer resting on an old wooden desk. Mahogany, probably hand carved and at least a hundred years old. Mr. Gates spares no expense on the furnishings inside this grandiose hideout of his, and why would he? The man is worth trillions, one of the most successful crime lords of all time according to the FBI’s criminal database. Jack would know, he wrote the entry himself. Our man’s always considered himself to be something of a double agent, worming his way through life venture after venture, taking his prize and vanishing. He couldn’t be expected to stay poor forever, could he?

Of course not. That’s why he’s currently logged on to the computer in Mr. Gate’s safe room. He’s searching for a digital wallet that may or may not exist, although the rumors about it surely do. Its all his coworkers talk about these days, how much crypto the bossman has stashed away and where that stash might be. The way Jack sees it, Gates has to have a stash somewhere, keeping his kind of wealth in physical form would be plain inconvenient, and obviously banks are out of the question. Fuck it, he’s wasted too much time here, the computer’s clean.

Jack pokes his head out into the hallway to make sure guardboy is still out cold. He kicks him in the head a couple of times to buy himself at least a few more minutes and then begins pacing around the computer room. This is not good, not according to plan at all. It won’t be long before someone notices the cocaine skid is a kilo-brick short and that guard will eventually wake up. A sole bead of sweat forms on Jack’s brow. ‘Think motherfucker, think.’

In a moment of brilliance he pulls the kilo out of his pocket and does a bump. Then, another bump. Then, the formations of a plan begin to flood into his mind. He flips the table, sending the computer crashing to the floor. Snapping a leg off the table in a drug-fueled fit of strength, Jack begins to smash the computer into tiny, irreparable bits. The table leg clanks as it hits the floor. Now it’ll just seem like our man went on a coke-rage and acted irresponsibly, as long as he pays for the kilo he won’t be maimed. Hopefully. As he sits down next to his victim, a gleam of something catches him by the corner of his eye.

Laying amongst the debris like a gilded needle in a haystack is a small gold block of sorts. Barely a few inches long and not nearly as wide it blends into the clutter almost perfectly. Jack picks it up – damn thing’s got some weight to it. Could this be what he’s looking for?

“What the fuck, Chavez! You okay!?” is followed by more than one set of footsteps rapidly advancing down the hall. Slipping the gold block into an interior pants pocket, Jack quietly positions himself under the table and calls out for help.

Two goons in tuxedos enter the room. They survey the disaster and then notice Jack pinned underneath the broken antique table. “What da hell happened here?”

Jack says, “If you lift this table off of me, I’d be more than happy to let you know,” between gasps of air. The table, even down one leg, is much heavier than he expected. The men comply and remove the restraint. Jack stands up and shakes a few computer bits from his hair. “Alright, so – oh, before I forget.”

Jack removes a bundle of five thousand dollars from his pocket and hands it to the goon on the left. “That’s half of what I owe for the coke, pusher’s discount and all that. So I was down the hall in the coke room grabbing my kilo, which I clearly had every intention of paying for, when I heard a bit of a commotion, a raucous if you will. I walked over here saw Chavez on the ground and even though I was already high, I thought it was odd. So I come in here and see some guy that I’ve never seen around the compound before smashing the computer to bits with the table leg. I tried to stop him but I think y’all can see how that turned out.”

The goons, both with one eyebrow cocked, look at each other and then back at Jack. Goon on the Right asks, “Where’d da guy go?”

“I don’t know. Out the door, I assume, but he could be anywhere. I think he knocked me out, I don’t know how long I was under that table for.”

“Shit, I told da boss we need fuckin’ cameras in here or some shit. Dis is bad. Stay here kid, we’ll be back for you,” Left Goon says before they go back into the hallway. Jack can hear them pick up Chavez’s unconscious body before they head down the hall and out of earshot.

‘I guess IQ wasn’t on the application, dumbasses.’

Now short five grand Jack does another bump and sprints back to the coke room, locking the door behind him. Using the shitty old pallet jack in the corner, he moves the skid of coke to the wall and reveals a latch hidden underneath. Once he’s securely inside the coke tunnel, illuminated by old-timey gas lanterns and nothing else, he takes off towards freedom.

Eventually Jack’s eyes pick up the gentle glow of moonlight pouring in through the cavern’s exit. He maneuvers his way through at least four miles of dense forest and finds himself in an unfamiliar suburb. Deciding to skip a midnight snack he heads straight for the town’s train station, thanking the group of stoners camped out in a driveway for the directions. Honestly he was hoping the ‘burb would have an airport, but a train station works just as well. The next available locomotive, departing in a matter of minutes, is headed east, set to pass through a little backwoods town called Muddy Creek.

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Around fifteen hours later Jack arrives at his stop. He would have gotten some sleep but he was too busy fiddling with his little gold contraption and peering over his shoulder, on the constant lookout for potential goons. He’s discovered that it’s a flash drive, which gives him hope, but one that is unable to be read by his scrambler device. Still, he can’t be sure this is what he was looking for until he plugs it into a computer, and even then it may just be a decoy or a hit list, or something else incredibly useless. If that’s the case then this whole thing would have been a huge waste of time…unless Jack’s name is on the hypothetical hit list…

Choosing to focus on the gurgling in his stomach rather than the gurgling in his mind, Jack heads towards the nearest diner. As he walks through the front door, time seems to stop yet again. There she is, right behind the counter just like the good ol’ days. How incredibly convenient, too, that she’s staring right back at him. Smiling and lowering his gaze to the floor, Jack walks to the nearest empty table and sits facing away from the counter. A few minutes later, a familiar voice pulls his attention away from the menu.

“Jack? Jacky D, is that you?”

He looks up to see a gorgeous blonde woman with shining purple eyes standing at his table, pen and pad in hand.

“Brandy, wow,” he smiles, “how long has it been?”

“Too long!” She hits him in the shoulder with the pad, then, “You look great Jack, where’ve you been?”

“Out and about, doing this and that. I’m just passing through, I recently left a job and thought I’d stop back home for a bit.” He pauses, looking into her eyes. “You look really great too, I love the contacts.”

Brandy blushes. “Oh, thank you. Hey since you’re just passing through, do you need a place to stay? I have an extra room at my place, I don’t know how long you’ll be here but I’m not expecting any other company.”

‘Wow, that was easy,’ is what Jack thinks, replying, “Really? Wow, that’s amazing, thank you so much Brandy!” before kissing her hand.

More blushing, this time accompanied by a giggle. Then she looks over to the counter, Jack following her gaze to find a guy in a button-down, arms folded and staring her down. Brandy rolls her eyes and looks back to Jack.

“That’s my manager, sorry. What can I get you?”

“Oh, uh, a coffee’s fine for now. Thanks doll, really.”

“Please, I’m more than happy to do it, especially for an old friend. I’ll leave my address on the check, you should come by tonight around dinner time.”

Jack smiles an almost too genuine smile. “That sounds fantastic, thank you Brandy.” He ends up ordering enough food to feed three people before he leaves, making sure Brandy gets a very nice tip. For the rest of the day he just meanders around town, visiting his old high school and catching up with the few of his old friends that never moved on from the Creek. Dinner goes well but it is a bit awkward, as it turns out the diner’s manager is also Brandy’s boyfriend. His name is Tim or something, Jack doesn’t really pay attention. The guy won’t be around for much longer anyway.

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A few weeks later, Jack and Brandy walk hand-in-hand to a local bar. A couple people are playing pool, a dude is slouched over on the bar top, some 80s rock is playing on the jukebox; it’s like Jack never left home. As it turned out, our man didn’t get to stay at Brandy’s house. Not at first, at least, what’s his name just wouldn’t have it. So Jack started eating at the diner every day, started bringing Brandy flowers, going on walks with her after work. Pretty soon the boyfriend was in a motel and Jack was in Brandy’s bed. It was pretty ideal, as far as Jack was concerned; he had a place to sleep, a computer to use, a woman to love and no sign of Gates’s goons. His only rule for Brandy was no putting pictures of him online, as as far as he knew she followed it to a tee. Life has become simple for Jack – he didn’t plan on staying when he first came into town, but like he’s telling Brandy tonight, his plan just might have changed.

“Are you shitting me Brandy?”

The happy couple looks over at the man who’s having trouble finding steady footing. Through the window behind him, Jack notices a hauntingly familiar car drive pass the bar twice in a row now. ‘Shit.’

“Todd?” Brandy asks in a voice of disbelief. “What are you doing here, you don’t drink.”

Jack thinks, ‘He clearly does,’ but opts to keep his mouth shut.

“Yeah? Well you said you don’t fuck exes, but uh….” Bottle in hand he motions towards Jack. “I guess we’re both liars.”

“Look buddy, just sit back down this ain’t your business. Me and the lady-”

“Fuck you an- hiccup and that cunt.”

“Todd!”

“The fuck you say, big man?” as Jack takes a step towards Todd. Brandy tries to step between them but Todd shoves her out of the way. She trips over the leg of a chair and falls down. “That’s fuckin’ it.”

Todd takes a swing a Jack but misses by a few feet. Jack clocks him in the face, following it with an uppercut and finishing the boy off by slamming his head into the bar. Todd hits the ground much harder than Brandy did.

The entire bar goes silent save for Jack’s heavy breathing. He helps Brandy up and pulls her close as they both stand over a bloodied Todd. He looks out the window and that car drives by again. Looks like his plan isn’t changing after all.

“Brandy, why don’t you go home. I’ll help mister manager over here get cleaned up then I’ll meet you at the house.”

“No Jack you don’t have to do th-”

“Seriously, it’s fine.” He plants a passionate kiss on his girl. “I’m sorry for all of this, I’ll see you soon.”

“Okay, okay.” She walks towards the door, stopping when she’s halfway outside. “See you soon, love.” Off she goes.

Once she’s gone, Jack spits on Todd’s unconscious body and walks into the bathroom, locking the door behind him. He surveys the room, no easy way out. Fuck. They’re here, how are they here? How did they find him? ‘No, doesn’t matter, there needs to be a way out.’

Just then, a way out presents itself. Unfortunately, it is in the form of a goon picking the lock on the bathroom door. Jack and Goon stare each other down, neither about to make the first move in this most claustrophobic of men’s rooms. The tension is so thick one could use it to bake a Sicilian pizza.

Finally, Goon breaks the silence. “Well, what’s it gonna be Jack?”

“How’d you find me?”

Goon straightens his tie. “We have our methods. Boss wants to talk to you, he’s waiting outside.”

“Okay.”

“Okay,” repeats Goon, growing impatient. “So are you going to walk or do I need to drag your sorry ass out of here?”

A few moments later they walk out of the bathroom. He spots Todd, still unconscious on the ground and laughs to himself as they leave the bar. Jack is escorted into the back seat of a very roomy SUV that wastes no time driving off into the darkness. When the vehicle leaves town the passenger seat rotates, bringing Jack face to face with the one and only Mr. Gates, petrified rose in his suit and everything.

“Jacky.”

“Mister G.”

“Boss is fine. You do still work for me, boy, albeit not for very much longer. You’ve stolen something precious of mine and I want it back. Similarly to how you want to live after tonight. Either we both get what we want or neither of us do. Your choice.”

Jack thinks for a moment. “I hope you don”t mean the coke, because I snorted most of that off my girlfriend’s naked body and vice versa.”

Mr. Gates remains silent.

“Right. So uh, you really expect me to believe you’ll let me live after all this? You?”

Gates laughs. “Well, no, but I thought it would be more polite to offer you a choice. So where’s the flash drive?”

“How would you feel if I said I didn’t have it?”

Without looking away from the road, Goon reaches back and points a very large revolver directly at Jack’s head. Tilting his head slightly, Gates asks, “Does that answer your question?”

“It does indeed,” as Jack takes the little golden piggybank out of his pocket and hands it over. Gates, looking amused, spins his seat back around to face the windshield. Jack asks, “Well now what?”

“Now,” Gates begins, “we go far enough into the woods so that nobody hears the gunshot. There are a couple shovels in the back, I hope you like to d-”

SKRRRRRT

A deer leaps out in front of the SUV, colliding with the vehicle and sending it screeching off the road. Goon drops the gun and Jack, never bothering to buckle up, falls over and smacks his head against the left side door. ‘This’ll work,’ he thinks to himself as he unlocks and opens the door, rolling out and landing on the damp forest floor that is fortuitously devoid of any large rocks. Only one thing left for young Jacky D to do now – run like he stole something.

A moment later the gunshots start. At first they’re just loud noises, then a couple of shots impact the trees as Jack bobs and weaves through them. Finally the last shot beams through the night air, grazing the very top of Jack’s left ear. He doesn’t even feel the pain at first, he just keeps running and running until he’s sure he isn’t being chased anymore. In reality the criminals just let him go after blindly firing six rounds into the darkness; Mr. Gates got his wallet back so Jack’s survival was null at that point. He would go on to realize a couple million dollars worth of cryptocurrency had been transferred out to no less than twenty-seven different digital wallets, but honestly that’s negligible. Jack’s not coming back, he’s clearly too smart for that.

So what becomes of Jack? After running back into town he found his way to a little 24/7 clinic. He walked in clutching his ear with a blood-soaked hand and the staff treated him immediately. He paid in full and right away, tipping the staff three thousand dollars each for their discretion. At this point it’s almost three o’clock in the morning and Jack wants nothing more than a warm bed to sleep in, and maybe even a certain someone to share that bed with. Maybe. He takes a shortcut through the forest and wanders towards Brandy’s house but stops at the treeline. ‘Well I’ll be damned.’

There, locked in a hug at the front door are Brandy and Todd. Old boy must have sobered up a bit and went to apologize, very well then. Jack stands there and watches them, debating on walking up and sabotaging their relationship further but ultimately decides to just let it be. Maybe it isn’t worth the effort. Maybe he’s grown to genuinely care for Brandy. Or, maybe he’s a multi-millionaire and he has a train ticket to buy. Either way, he stays until they go inside. It seems like Brandy stops and looks at him before she closes the door but it’s too hard to tell. He could go and steal her back, but wrecking a home just to say goodbye a few days later? Nah, no point. It’s time for Jack to disappear into the night once more.

Fin

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Posted in Contentually Commons, Miscellaneous Writings, Uncategorized

Contentually Commons # 38: Letting Things Happen

Hello Commons, how are we doing today? For some reason WordPress just put me through formatting hell, I pasted a story onto a blank page and two-thirds of it was in a completely different font and size as the rest of it. It was a mess and a half to sort out, but I just let it happen and sorted it out anyway. Speaking of which…

Today I have a fresh story for y’all. This story, called Let It Happen, is the first of two stories about the same event told from different perspectives that I keep bringing up. The event is the meeting and getting together of Jack and Brandy, two people who dated earlier in their lives until Jack disappeared for ten years only to show back up in town one day. Let It Happen is told from Brandy’s point of view, Jack’s point of view will be coming in a couple days. You can find the story on the Miscellaneous Writings page, by clicking that link-a-roo up there or by scrolling down, like always. Hope you enjoy!

That’s all for today, I have a couple stories written that will be popping up over the course of this week and I’ll be doing W-2020 work in the mean time. Stay tuned Commons, stuff’s-a-coming. Also, be good, at least until next time~

Let It Happen

“Who is that guy?” asks Todd as Brandy hangs the order up in window between the kitchen and the counter.

“An old friend,” she says back, looking for some menus to organize. “I knew him a long time ago. He ordered like three breakfasts, you should be smiling babe.”

“Yeah but he also kissed your hand over there, so I’m not.”

Brandy just rolls her eyes. “Jealousy isn’t a good look on you. He’s an old friend that hasn’t been back to town in years and he was happy to see me. So what? Just relax.”

The cooks prepare the dishes quickly, the lunch rush has come and went and the Muddy Creek Diner is at a slow point. Todd, the manager of this fine establishment, scowls as he watches Brandy, his best waitress and lovey lady friend, bring some dude his food. Todd normally isn’t the jealous type, he swears, but something’s just off about this. Brandy’s entire demeanor changed when the dude walked through the glass doors, the very same glass doors that Todd used to polish so many years ago. ‘I don’t like this,’ is all he can think as he retreats to his office and loudly slams the door behind him. Meanwhile, Brandy and her old friend Jack are doing some talking.

“Your manager seems pretty peeved, what’d you do?” he asks as he sips his steaming hot coffee.

“Oh nothing, he just doesn’t like me making too much small talk with the customers.” He is also her boyfriend, but she chooses not to mention that little tidbit. “He’ll be all pissy for a while but he’ll get over it. Just gotta let it happen is all.”

Jack smiles, “Always was a fan of letting things happen, weren’t you?” They look at each other in silence for a few moments, both eventually looking away at the same time. Jack takes a bite of his cherry pie, complimentary with the breakfast-for-lunch combo. Then, “Wow, this is great! You bake it yourself?”

She laughs. “No dumbass, I don’t make the food I just carry it across vast distances.”

Suddenly the bells handing from the door ring, announcing the entrance of some customers. A tall man with a red flannel shirt and a beard to match is followed by his awfully slender wife, who is missing at least one tooth, and their chubby son.

“Shit, those are my regulars. I gotta go.” She holds out her hand to Jack, a piece of paper tucked between her middle and index fingers. “Here’s my address, I know I said I’d write it on the check but I kinda need to take that back after you leave, so.”

Jack takes the paper and slips it into his wallet. “Awesome, thanks so much Brandy. I owe you for this, seriously.”

“Any time Jacky. Come over around dinner time, let’s say eight o’clock?”

Jack smiles, saying, “I’ll be there,” and topping it all off with a wink.

Brandy rolls her eyes, but walks away with a tremendous smile on her face. She probably should have mentioned the whole Todd thing, but that’s okay. They’ll meet each other tonight, and she’ll totally tell Todd that Jack’s going to be crashing in the guest room before he gets there. After taking care of the local folk Brandy brings Jack’s thirty dollar check to an empty table. She’s confused at first and a little pissed off, but when she finds the two hundred dollar bills hidden underneath the neatly stacked tower of dishes, well, she’s much less concerned about Jack leaving and not saying goodbye.

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Todd walks into the kitchen and pauses, staring at the table. “Why’d you set a third spot, are we expecting someone?”

“Ummm yeah,” said without making eye contact. “My friend Jack is coming over.”

A moment of silence. “That guy from the diner?”

“Yeah. He’s going to be staying with us for a few days too, I hope you don’t mind.”

Todd’s jaw drops in a display of just how much he minds. “Seriously? No discussion, no, no consultation?”

Brandy looks at him from across the table. Silence.

“Does he even know that we’re tog-”

A knock on the door, breaking the one-sided conversation into utter silence.

“He’s here!” exclaims Brandy as she prances to the door, her face suddenly sprouting a smile.

She is greeted with a bouquet of flowers and a hug from Jack. He notices Todd’s angry expression mid-embrace so he does his best to make the situation a little less awkward.

“And this must be the boyfriend! Hi man, I’m Jack, it’s good to see you. Thanks so much for letting me stay here while I’m passing through town, I really appreciate it.” He extends his hand to do a handshake but Todd just stares at him and keeps his arms folded. Brandy pretends not to notice, but boy does she notice. Dinner goes smoothly enough, Brandy serves some penne alla vodka sauce and she and Jack talk nonstop, catching up after nearly ten years of not seeing each other. Jack tells crazy stories about all the different odd jobs he’s worked over the years and Brandy lays down the town’s latest gossip and drama. Todd doesn’t look up from his food.

Once dinner is over, Brandy starts ferrying the dishes into the kitchen. She suggests that Todd should give Jack a tour of the house to which he obliges, after making a show of dropping his utensils on his plate. When the dishes are all washed and set to dry, Brandy returns to find Todd sitting alone in the living room.

“Did Jack go up to his room?”

“No,” Todd says as he stands and faces approximately ninety degrees away from his girlfriend, “he left.”

Brandy silently waits for an explanation.

“I told him that he should go find somewhere else to sleep. I think his coming here to stay with his ex-girlfriend is a bit inappropriate, especially when she’s taken. You know, you never ev-”

“What the fuck Todd?? So what if I used to date him, that was ten freaking years ago! I’ve clearly moved on seeing how you’re here!”

“You never even told me that you dated him!” he roars, pointing an accusatory finger at Brandy. She shoots him a look that strongly implies “shut the fuck up” but he keeps talking anyway. “I only know because he casually dropped it in when I was bringing him to his room! Like it doesn’t even matter, like it doesn’t effect what’s going on here at all!”

Brandy shakes her head. “Don’t even try to make this about me, you’re such a jealous prick! Every time I so much as look in the general direction of where another guy might be standing you throw a shit fit! Get out!”

“But Brandy, I-”

“Get the fuck out!!” She lobs a plastic vase, full of water and the flowers Jack brought her, across the room. Todd ducks but still gets soaked.

“Where am I supposed to go?! I’m not leaving tonight Brandy. You’ll just have to deal with me.”

She screams and goes into their bedroom, locking the door behind her. Todd tries knocking but she doesn’t answer, the anger fumes shooting out of her ears block the noise. Todd’s afraid that he may have messed up and that Brandy’s anger is just going to build and build over the next few days until she evicts him for good. And that’s exactly what happens; by the end of the week Jack is sleeping soundly in the guest room and the kitchen table is adorned with a brand new vase full of flowers.

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Jack is just so good to Brandy over the next few weeks. He cooks her breakfast every morning, eats lunch at her diner every day (much to Todd’s disapproval) and he even buys her dinner when he’s not helping her cook it. That start going for romantic walks through the woods together, talking about the fun they used to have before Jack disappeared. He even apologizes for deserting her, which she never asked him to do. He really seems to have changed. One night after they come home from getting ice cream, Brandy tells Jack that he doesn’t have to sleep in the guest room if he doesn’t want to. By sunrise next morning they’re officially a thing again, making Brandy happier than she’s been in quite a long time. They didn’t plan it this way, everything just kind of fell into place. What better a way for things to go?

Exactly three weeks after Jack showed up in town, the sun rises just like any other day. Brandy wakes up beside her boo and gives him a gentle kiss on the cheek. She can’t even, this is just too perfect – she needs to facebook this moment. Carefully as not to wake him, she cuddles in close and messes up her hair a bit. Then, snap! All the girls around town that Brandy never talks to are going to be so jealous. No tags, no caption, just her and mystery man. Brandy’s so giddy that she literally skips downstairs and starts breakfast early. There’s nothing like the smell of bacon and pancakes to wake your man up.

A few minutes later, “Daaaamn baby what smells so good?”

“My breakfast. Sit down, you can watch me eat it if you want.”

Jack comes up and hug her from behind. “Yeah well make me some extra crispy bacon to watch, I’m just blind this morning.”

The couple eats breakfast in a blissful silence, occasionally broken by a gulp of orange juice or a complimentary belch. Todd and Brandy would rarely eat breakfast together, he’d always have to be at the diner first thing in the morning. He took, or rather takes, his management position very seriously. Much more seriously than his relationship with Brandy. If she had a dollar for every meal he had to leave in the middle of, for every date cut short and movie missed, for every morning she woke up in an empty bed to the sound of the exhaust on his ratty old piece of shit car, she wouldn’t have to work at that shitty diner with him. What a prick he is!

“Hey Brand?”

She nearly chokes on a pancake. “Yes babe?”

“I gotta talk to you about something. The last few weeks with you have been nothing short of a dream, truly.” He takes her hands in his, and then, “I feel like I’m falling in love with you all over again.”

This time Bandy does choke, but not on a pancake; she chokes on the warm, fluffy feelings that Jack just dropped all over her.

“I want this to last, so I need to set a rule.”

The choking stops.

“I recognize that you haven’t done this to me since we’ve been seeing each other, but no putting pictures of me online. No snapchat, instagram, facebook, uhhh… tumblr, if you’re into that. None of that nonsense.”

‘Shit. Whoops.’

“Are you okay with this?”

“Maybe.” she says in between bites of pancake. “Why is this your rule?”

“Because I really, really hate social media, it just isn’t that social. I feel as though it makes the ego a tangible thing which is potentially very toxic to the human being. It takes away from the direct experience, which life is supposed to be, leaving the living to squabble over posting their lives, which they missed out on in doing so, to a website that encourages others to miss out on their lives. It’s just wrong baby, and I want no part of it.”

Brandy’s quiet for a moment. “You just got kinda deep there, didn’t ya?”

“I am an untapped aquifer, my dear. So you’re good with it?”

She sips her orange juice and pretends to think about it. “Yeah, I think I can hang. Speaking of which, wanna go hang in bed for a few before I have to go to work?”

“Do I!” The dirty dishes remain on the kitchen table for the entire day.

Brandy leaves for work at the same time that Jack leaves to do whatever it is that Jack does during the day. Brandy is not concerned, she knows he isn’t ballsy enough to pull any shit. Besides, he’ll be at the diner to eat lunch anyway. She walks into work ready to face the day, her smile as bright as the fluorescent lights hanging above.

Much to her own surprise, Brandy’s work day goes brilliantly. All of her customers are friendly, they all tip her well and Jack hangs out for hours longer than he normally does. Time flies so fast that Brandy doesn’t even realize it when her shift ends, working an extra half hour by mistake. It is now, a half hour past the end of her work day, that she realizes why things are so different at the diner today – Todd never showed up. This might be the first time in the history of his employment that he called out sick. Brandy worries for a moment but snaps out of it when Jack shows up, all dressed up in jeans and a flannel for their late-afternoon hike.

They get back into town just after nightfall. Trekking to the top of a mountain worked up quite a mighty thirst in the both of them, so after stopping home and cleaning the hike stench off of each other, Jacky D. and Brandy decide to go out for a couple drinks. Hand in hand they stride into the pub, a local hot spot called Sadie’s. It’s actually a pretty nasty little dive bar, but its the only place in town that serves alcohol so the patrons count their blessings.

The couple sits down at the bar, the ambiance of a local joint set perfectly by the boys playing pool accompanied by some classic 80s music bumping out of the jukebox. There’s even a drunkard slouched over the counter all the way down the bar – just like old times! Jack orders two whiskey sours and starts gushing before he takes his first sip.

“You know, babygirl, when I came into town a few weeks ago I had no plans of staying. I had some cash in my pocket, no job and nothing but time to kill; I was truly a free man, nothing to hold me down. After seeing some old friends I was planning on splitting, but then I ran into you.”

Brandy doesn’t know if she wants to drink or just continue getting drunk off of Jack.

“I think that’s when my plan changed.”

She chooses the latter. Unfortunately, that’s when a very sobering voice calls her out from across the bar.

“Todd?” she asks, half in disbelief and half in apathy. “What are you doing here, you don’t drink.”

“Yeah? Well you said you don’t fuck exes, but uh….” He uses the half-empty bottle of booze in his hand to point to Jack. “I guess we’re both liars.”

Jack, taking this as a cue to be chivalrous, says, “Look buddy, just sit back down this ain’t your business. Me and the lady-”

He interrupts him, slurring, “Fuck you an- hiccup and that cunt.”

‘Are you fucking kidding me you selfish, irresponsible, oblivious piece of shit asshole?!’ is what Brandy thinks, but she only says “Todd!” in a shocked fashion.

Jack takes a step towards Todd, saying, “The fuck you say, big man?” in a way that makes Brandy swoon internally. However she does not want a fight, so she attempts to step between the men arguing over her. This is when she gets shoved by Todd and trips over a bar stool, landing on the grimy floor.

She hears Jack say “That’s fuckin’ it,” but she’s not entirely sure what transpires next. Before she can catch up, Todd’s on the ground with a bloody face and the bar is silent. Jack helps her up and holds her tight, protecting her from any further harm. After a few seconds of staring out the window in deep contemplation, Jack speaks.

“Brandy, why don’t you go home. I’ll help mister manager over here get cleaned up and then I’ll meet you at the house.”

‘Oh my god this man.’ “No Jack you don’t have to do th-”

“Seriously, it’s fine.” They share a long, passionate kiss, still the center of attention judging from the continued silence in the air. “I’m sorry for all of this, I’ll see you soon.”

“Okay, okay.” Brandy walks to the door but dramatically stops when she’s halfway outside to look back and say, “see you soon, love.”

The walk back to her house is a cold and lonely one. What hell had just happened? She got so caught up in the moment, her new boyfriend defending her against Todd, drunk Todd no less. What was up with that anyway, why was he so drunk? Did he spend the whole day at the bar? Yeesh. By the time she gets home, Brandy is so awake from all the excitement and commotion that she decides to wait up for Jack. And that’s exactly what she does, she waits. And waits.

And waits.

For hours, sitting alone in her house. Waiting.

knock knock knock

‘Finally’

Brandy leaps across her house and opens the door for… Todd?

“What are you doing here, where’s Jack?”

Todd leans against the house, clearly not as sober as he could or should be. “Look, I… I wanted to apologize. What I said was douchey, I shouldn’t have tried to fight Jack and I specially shouldn’t have shoved you. I jus-”

“No, you shouldn’t have. Where is he?”

“Wait,” he peers over her shoulder into the empty house, “he’s not here?”

“No, he said he was going to clean you up and then he’d meet me right back here. It’s been hours…” she says, looking at the ground. An all too familiar feeling rises from the bowels of her slowly breaking heart.

“Hey, hey no don’t cry. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come here, I just, I…”

Brandy looks up at him, tears streaming down her face. “What Todd? You what?”

“I miss you. And I love you. And I lost my motel key and I have nowhere else to sleep.”

She just stares at him, that stupid drunk mess.

“Look, I want to be together again, or at least friends, but tonight isn’t the time to talk about that. If I could sleep in your guest room I would really appreciate it, I really have nowhere else to go.”

Brandy sighs, then hugs stupid Todd. What the hell, might as well let it happen. “Fine, you can stay tonight. I missed you too, I just…”

“It was my fault, all my fault. I’m sorry. Let’s go inside.”

They unhug and Todd slinks inside, barely making it to the guest room before old boy passes out. Brandy, still at the door, looks out into the forest, an eerie mist floating among the trunks of the trees. She can almost make out a figure, like someone’s there, watching from the distance, trying to decide whether or not he should come home. After a brief moment she closes the door, making the decision for him.

Fin

 

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Posted in Contentually Commons, Miscellaneous Writings, Uncategorized

Contentually Commons # 37: Cloudy Overcast is Great Weather for Running

Hello Commons, how are we doing today? I just got back from an air show and it was pretty dope. This one pilot was 76 years old and he could do things with an airplane that I have never even fathomed, it was incredible. I’m glad my boss & her husband gave me that free VIP pass, let me tell yahs.

I have some poetry for you humans today, I haven’t written any poetry in a minute and a half and I thought it was time. This one is called Run Your Race, the words to it have been floating around in my mind for a week or two and the majority of them came to me while I was running. How’s that for authenticity? Its lurking at the bottom of this post and on the Commons’s Poetry page, and you can get to it directly by slapping that linky-link right up myahh. Hope you enjoy!

I was originally going to upload one of those two stories told from different perspectives that I was talking about the other day, but truth be told I just don’t have them ready yet. The first one is typed and the second one is partially typed, plus I still need to revise them before they are released upon y’all. So expect them soon! After that I don’t know what’ll be next, probably a story of some sort.

That’s all I have for you today, dear Commonites. I’m digging the posting every other day thing, it allows me to get work done without having to stress about making sure I have something at least remotely interesting to share every single day so I think I’m going to keep it up. At least for the time being. Anywho, thank you Commons, and be good, at least until next time~

Run Your Race

Lace up your shoes, time for feet
to hit the pavement. If you know the ground
is solid then you shan’t expect a cave in.

The clock is ticking and the race has
just begun. If the starter gun
frightens you, you’re missing all the fun.

Blood pumping, sweat dripping and teary
eyed from the wind. Run fast and don’t look
back, I’ll see you at the end.

Cross that finish line in a sprint or in
a crawl. By the balls of your feet, to
yourself you’ve proved it all.

You may not net a trophy, no medal
around your neck, but you won’t be that loser
answering back I bet.

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Posted in Random Commons Post, Uncategorized

A Rant About Happiness – Joe Rogan (feat. Jesse Itzler)

Hello Commons, how are we doing today? I’m a bit sleep deprived but I’m hanging in there. Today I have a RCP for y’all featuring a clip from a Joe Rogan podcast that I found quite interesting. I’m not affiliated with the makers of the video, just a fan who wanted to share.

In it, the boy Rogan is talking with a boy named Jesse Itzler, an entrepreneur, author, and formerly a rapper who went by the name of Jesse Jaymes. In this clip, the gentlemen talk about happiness and the disproportional amount of unhappy people in the United States. Rogan speaks of how permanent happiness is horse shit and that happiness works more like the tide of the ocean, coming in and going out based on decisions you make in the here and now. He also talks about how cleansing the toxicly unhappy from one’s life can have an immediate effect on one’s overall happiness and about how other people are like fuel, and when one is around happy, successful and inspirational people one generally feels better and is more likely to act on those feelings and inspirations. Real stuff, humans, real stuff. Here’s a link if the embed doesn’t work, even though it probably will.

Before I say be good, I also want to link to a little poem I wrote a while ago called Happiness. The poem is about how happiness isn’t really an attainable goal because it is just a feeling, and like all feelings it will eventually fade only to eventually come back and eventually fade again. I don’t mean to sound depressing and I certainly don’t consider my life to be unhappy, I just used to think that people are supposed to just be happy and that there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t magically giddy all the time. One may be unhappy because of their surroundings, but wasting one’s time blaming the surroundings will get one nowhere. Just some random CommonsGuy thoughts for a Random Commons Post.

That’s all for today Commons, or technically tomorrow because I’ve been feeling the whole “scheduled post” thing lately. Or would it be yesterday, because you’re reading this tomorrow? Whatever, time is an illusion. Be good Commons, at least until next moment~

Happiness

Happiness; what an unachievable goal
Like catching a crappie in the Gulf of Mexico
Or leaping from a plane, no parachute in tow
You won’t glide like a leaf, you’ll plummet down below.

To always feel happy would be quite magical.
Unexperiencing sadness; no more anger of a bull.
Floating in an ocean, no tide giving a pull
Just salt to dry your skin, it would quickly get old.

A poor man sits on a filthy city street as
A shitty rich man grips some food to eat.
‘Breaking this in half would be quite a feat’ as
He looks down on the elf missing bells from his feet.
Instead he walks by, stuffing his face as they both
Blame their sadness on the fucking rat race.

 

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Posted in THC Culture Club, Uncategorized

THC Book Club #1: The Archaic Revival

Hello Commons, how are the humans of Earth doing today? I hope you’re all doing well. I’d like to kick off a new species of postings that will be sporadically appearing on the Commons: The Hillside Commons (THC) Book Club. Reading is one of my favorite past times and according to many sources (like this article from a website called lifehack.org that I found in five seconds) reading can bring you many benefits like improved memory, concentration and stress reduction to name a few. Also, I read some weird, far out books and thought it would be fun to share them. Today’s tome: The Archaic Revival by Terrence McKenna.

First, a tiny bit about the author: McKenna was a brilliant linguist and a prolific advocate for the psychedelic experience, shamanic traditions and not getting sucked into the trap that lies in the oversaturation of one into one’s own culture. He was also an ethnobotanist and an explorer, taking expeditions into the jungles of the Amazon to learn first-hand about the shamanic traditions of old revolving around the use of psychedelic plants. He co-founded an organization called ‘Botanical Dimensions‘, a Hawaii-based ethnobotanical and ethnomycological sanctuary that recently opened up an ethnobotanical research library in Occidental, California. You can read more about him here and you can check out this YouTube channel (that I am not affiliated with at all, just a fan) to find some talks given by the man before he died, as well as talks given by other modern day philosophers.

Now the book: the full title of this book is The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History. Quite a mouthful! The book is a collection of essays, talks and interviews that McKenna gave over the course of his life and each chapter felt more interesting that the next. A major theme is the involvement of psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in magic mushrooms, in the evolution of human beings. At very low doses, psilocybin gives its taker increased visual acuity; raising the dose results in sexual arousal, and raising the dose from there catapults the user into dimensions of existence that are very difficult to describe using our modern language. Back in the before-time so to speak, when humans were still nomadic tribes of neanderthalish monkeys, they would follow around herds of grazing livestock to sustain themselves. It just so happens that Psilocybe Cubensis, a species of mushroom containing psilocybin, grows naturally from the dung of said livestock. It is not a far leap to assume that early humans included these mushrooms in their diet; an increased visual acuity would result in more successful hunting endeavors, increased sexual arousal would lead to more successful breeding endeavors, and dipping into the strange psychedelic reality could have resulted in any number of successful existential and evolutionary endeavors such as the formation of language and complex, abstract thought. Sorry, I digress, I just find this stuff so interesting.

The Archaic Revival is essentially about McKenna’s view of what the “New Age” will actually be. He believed that humanity isn’t necessarily on a crash course, but the way in which we live our lives is potentially bringing us backwards, evolutionary speaking. What we need is to go back to our roots, reconnecting with Gaia, the spirit of the planet so to speak, through the use of visionary plants that have been used by mankind for millennia. In the chapter Plan, Plant, Planet he talks about how our current model of civilization is based off of a crude view of how animals live, in constant competition with one another in which the victor is the one who outlives the rest. When looking at nature, specifically how plants live together in a complex ecosystem, one will see that cooperation between species leads to the greatest biodiversic success resulting in not only healthier lifeforms, but a healthier environment overall.

These are just some of the ideas McKenna explores in The Archaic Revival. I highly recommend this book to anybody even remotely interested in the other side of the coin, you will not be disappointed. To quote Tom Robbins, who wrote the forward to the book, The Archaic Revival is “A cyclone of unorthodox ideas capable of lifting almost any brain out of its cognitive Kansas.” Here is a link to the book on amazon; again, I am not affiliated with any of these things whatsoever, I’m just a fan who’s trying to spread the word.

That’s all I have for today Commons, I went a bit ham with this one. What can I say, the subjects of psychedelic substances and shamanic traditions infinity interest me, I can’t get enough. The next book I’m reading is The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Cristianity, no idea when I’ll finish it but when I do, I’ll be blabbering about it in another THC Book Club post. But that’s in the future, and this is the present, a present in which I’m about to go for a run. Remember, don’t just think outside the box, exist outside of it. Be good Commons, at least until next time~

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Posted in Contentually Commons, Poetry, Uncategorized

Contentually Commons #35: To Bee or Not to Bee

Hello Commons, how are we all doing on this most sweltering, humid of summer days? Me? Well, I’m doing pretty great, keeping nice and cool with that fancy new air conditioning. Hah!

Tonight I bring to you all the seventh and final poem of the To Bee or Not to Bee poetry collection, Not to Bee. This poem represents the bee’s life after leaving the hive; he isn’t doing quite as well as when he was in the hive regarding his honey production, but he is happier, healthier and he’s got a pollen basket all his own. Fly high little bee, and please don’t go extinct because then there will be no more humans left to write about you. You can find the poem below, on the poetry page at the Commons or by clicking any of the appropriate links in this post. I hope you enjoy reading it, because I sure enjoyed writing it.

As for the future, well, I don’t want to say anything because I don’t want to jinx the potentialities. What I can say: that W-2020 story… it’s  a-comin’. Still. Heh. That’s all for tonight Commons, thank you much for stopping by and be good, at least until next time~

Not to Bee

A patch of flowers sprouted in the middle of a meadow,
slender stalks leading to vibrant purple pedals.
A gentle breeze wakes the Bee, once asleep on
a sea of green now aware of the changing air.

Across the pasture dark clouds gather,
black as soot raining down thunder and lighting
like the stomping of a foot, biting at the boughs
beneath a hive where smitten bees reside.

A tear is shed as pedals are spread and pollen collects
in a basket. He lifts his head and stares with dread
at the casket glowing red. “They’re dead inside” he
rationalizes as fire consumes his friends like Lefty’s
preening of the Queen.

What a family, a deft calamity begging to be erased
without a soul to mourn them. As the Bee buzzes away
in chase of better days, a smile spreads across his face.
Like him they’re free, no longer to bee underneath
a fiscal monger. Now the Bee, a wishful wander,
can finally find his tree.

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Insomnia Post 3: Reality and Perception

Hello Commons, its another one of those nights. I’m going to type about two of my favorite topics tonight: reality and its third cousin, twice removed, perception. There’s also a little story that I typed up just now at the end of this that goes along with the theme. Shall we begin?

Let’s start with reality, because perception cannot exist unless there is a reality to be perceived. Reality, as far as I am concerned, can be whatever you would like it to be (to a certain point), just not right this second. Before I get into that, though, allow me to draw a baseline. Reality is what is; in our case, reality is the life that each and every one of us (partially) hairless apes lives on this rock where people draw their lines into the sand. This can be good or bad, depeending on how you perceive it, but it is what it is. Although some people try to argue that the Earth is flat and yadda yadda yadda, the reality is that we live on a rock floating in infinite nothingness. Our lives are not this big though, and what we are concerned with is the day to day happenings in our immediate surroundings. This is where the “reality can be whatever you want, just not right now” comes into play. For example, say you live in a town where drawing pictures is illegal. I don’t know how that would physically be possible seeing how words are essentially pictures, or at least, squiggly lines drawn on paper with meaning ascribed into them, but let’s roll with it. You live in a town where drawing is illegal but one night when you’re all alone in your room, you accidentally draw the Mona Lisa. It is so beautiful, so intricate and in your heart you know that your town would benefit if people could see your drawing and make their own. You need this change to take place. But, you can’t just start shoving your Mona Lisa down everybody’s throats because A, you would get arrested and 2, they wouldn’t take yous seriously. People are funny like that, even when a change is good if it is presented in the wrong way, they are averse to it. So you must think of a plan, a long and drawn out plan to introduce drawing to your anti-picture society and over time, they will accept it. I can’t really prove this, but all you have to do is look at our reality for examples. I’ll spell one out: psychedelics, specifically LSD. When it was first publicized in the 50s and 60s by people like Timothy Leary, it was quickly made illegal because so many people were doing it and even more people were misunderstanding (read: fearing) it, regardless of the positive effects it was having on the ones who were taking it. Today, decades after the fact, the use of psychedelics is on the rise and marijuana, a mild psychedelic, is beginning to become legal across the world. To summarize, reality is what is and what is can be changed, just not drastically and right this second.

Next we have perception. Perception is how we view reality, how we describe it to ourselves inside our own heads. Perception is all opinion, no matter how much fact that opinion is based on at the end of the day it is still an opinion that is formed in the head, in our case, in the head of a human. Continuing the example of psychedelics, some people (usually those who have used them) perceive psychedelics as beneficial to society. They unlock the mind, cleanse the doors of perception in ways that are very difficult to describe with mere words. In some cases they completely change the personalities of the people who take them; this is probably why so many other people perceive them as bad, as toxic to to the brain and dangerous to society, because they impose sometimes rapid change. But, regardless of how people may perceive them, psychedelics still do exist and they still do what they do. Reality versus perception: reality is what is and can be changed over time, perception is how one feels about reality and can be changed much more quickly. Reality is also much more complex than perception, notice how my reality blurb is quite a bit longer than the perception blurb. And, each one is expanded by the inclusion of psychedelics, both literally speaking and paragraphically speaking, but that is babbling for another sleepless night.

That’s just about all I have for you tonight Commons. To recap: many say that perception is reality, but this is not always true. Reality is what is, perception is how one views reality. Perception can be reality, unless one is perceiving it wrong. My story for the night is called The Merchant and the Crook, and you can find it on the Miscellaneous Writings page, by clicking either of those links or by scrolling down. Goodnight Commons and please, be good in your perception of reality, not just until next time~

The Merchant and the Crook

There once was a merchant who lived in a small village nestled between two mountains. He made an earnest living, providing the best life he could for his wife and children. His wife, a seamstress, made all kinds of goods for the village, many of which her husband sold. Clothing, bed sheets, blankets, anything that was made of fabric was crafted under the needle of her sewing machine. Their children are bright, both the head of their respective classes in school. The eldest son is about to move on to a platform of higher education while the younger son is learning the ways of a tradesman, putting his education into improving his own craft.

Things were not always so good for the merchant. He was born into a poor family when the village was but a collection of huts. There was no heat during the winter and the summers were absolutely sweltering, but the family got by. His mother was a housewife and his father a builder, constructing the homes and other buildings for the folks who wandered into the little patch of heaven between the mountains. As time went on and more people moved into the village, the family got richer and the father stayed busy and profitable. However, the son knew that this could not last, eventually there would be no more houses to be built. This is why he became a merchant; when that day would come, which it eventually did, he would save his family from poverty. Which he did.

All types of folks populated the village over time. At first it was mostly farmers, then more skilled craftsmen and their families appeared. Then the educator types helped spawn the educated types who moved on to different villages in far off lands to spread the knowledge they received. For every influx of good, however, there must be an influx of bad. Eventually the shadier type of people began to move into the village, people who would take what they want when they wanted, always avoiding the consequences of their actions. At least, this is how it seemed to the merchant.

The merchant was not only a wealthy man, but a charitable one as well. Every Sunday in the village, he would have his wife bake loaves of bread and he would sell them for a dollar a piece, a price he knew anyone and everyone could afford. Folks from every corner of the village would come out and fill his thatch basket with dollar bills, leaving with loaves of the most delicious bread they have ever eaten. Everyone, that is, besides the crook. The crook rarely showed up in the village during the week, but on Sundays he would hang around the merchant’s bread stand. Leaning against the corner of a nearby building, he would lay in wait until he found his perfect opportunity. In a flash of carefully calculated movement he would dash in, grab as many loaves as he could carry and then disappear into the forest, stealing not only the merchant’s potential money, but also his wife’s hard work. The merchant was not a fan of this crook.

The crook’s scheme went off without a hitch week after week, month after month. Every Sunday the merchant would set up his stand, and every Sunday the crook would steal his bread. Many people were aware of the crook’s actions and rumors began to spread throughout the village. He was obviously stealing the bread to sell for ten dollars a loaf in other nearby towns, making his money off of somebody else’s hard work. The merchant, being a man of his own meddle, grew tired of this. So tired, in fact, that one day he had a couple police officers lay in wait for the crook. When the crook made his move, the officers jumped, arresting him and locking him in a cage. A few days later he was hung at the gallows for thievery, and that was that. Justice had been served, the merchant’s profits were safe.

The Sunday after the hanging, three dirty children appeared in the village. Nobody had seen these children before, they wore rags rather than clothing made by the merchant’s wife and their smell would curl the hairs on an elephant’s head. The merchant noticed them hanging around his bread stand and was all too familiar with their kind. He was sure that they were going to steal from him. Just as he predicted, two of the children made a distraction and the third, much smaller and more nimble than the others, rushed in and stole a loaf of bread. This child was not as nimble as the crook, however, and the merchant was able to catch him before he disappeared into the forest.

The merchant was angry, angry that these people were stealing from him, taking advantage of not only his kindness but also his wife’s hard work. All day she would slave over a hot oven, and for what? So some kids could get a free paycheck? Absolutely not. When he questioned the young thief, the boy started to weap. He told the merchant of how his father would always bring them fresh bread to eat every Sunday, how it was the only real food their family would eat all week. One day, however, their father never came back, and they were left to fend for themselves. The merchant, heart heavy with the realization of what he had done, let the boy go and gave him many loaves of bread. From then on, every Sunday he would set up his bread stand but require no payment, instead taking donations to fund a construction project. When the funding was complete the merchant strapped on a tool belt and helped in the construction of a home for the three boys inside the village.

In the end, the boys had a home to live in and good food to fill their bellies while the merchant still made his profits. But at what cost? They boys lost their father who knowingly committed crimes to fed his family, for that was his only option. Reality truly is perception, unless one is perceiving it wrong.

Fin

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Posted in Contentually Commons, Poetry, Uncategorized

Contentually Commons #34: Let There Bee A/C!

Hello Commons, some fantastic men are at my house installing an air conditioning system literally as I type this. I have not been this excited in a long time, after today we just need to get an electrician here to hook it up to our power. No more sweat box Commons, no more sweat box!! :,)

My personal nonsense aside, today I have another steamy slice of bee poetry for you all. The sixth installment of the To Bee or Not to Bee poetry collection, titled Monday, represents the beginning of the bee’s final days of working at the hive.  I wrote this on the day I gave in my two week’s notice at the warehouse with a humongous smile on my face, and I sincerely hope you enjoy it. I also have an update on that W-2020 story: it’s a’coming.

That’s all for today Commons, you can catch me back here tomorrow. Unless, of course, I’m not here; in that case, in the future. Bee good Commons, at least until next time~

Monday

A blanket of clouds insulates the sky
today, how fitting. The sun
shines through the bee’s smile when
he tells Lefty that he’s quitting.

A storm inside the big guy’s mind
brings a scowl to the surface.
He carries his pout to the Queen Bee’s
lair, she drops all of her purses.

The Bee’s yellow stripes are a grayish black,
his back in pain and his wings all cracked
like the boughs upon which this hive-mind
sits, but without a doubt in his mind.

In two weeks the concrete will be left behind;
the winter has passed, freedom is mine.

 

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Contentually Commons #33: 3 Days Later

Hello Commons, how are the humans of the world doing on this finest of <time of day you are reading this post>s? I’m doing well, a bit of a headache and in full recovery mode after Memorial Day weekend, but well nonetheless.

Today I have the fourth expansion pack to the To Bee or Not to Bee poetry collection, which y’all can find on the Poetry page, deep within the literary bowels of The Hillside Commons. This poem, titled Thursday, represents a shift in the bee’s consciousness as he realizes the hive he works in just isn’t the hive for him. I hope y’all like it!

I’m still hard at work putting graphite to lined paper regarding that W-2020 story, it’s getting there. Like a cooling rainstorm coming after days of nearly 100 degree heat, you can expect it soonish. All that aside, this is all I have for y’all today. Be good, young Commons, at the very least until next time~

Thursday

A cold night gives way to a bright and sunny day.
The Bee buzzes through the hive, yet it doesn’t feel the same.
For years now he’s been working here, pouring honey and cleaning husk;
Lefty expects a gleaming smile, effort from dawn to dusk.

No time for overtime today, tells Lefty he won’t stay.
Lefty pouts and tells the Queen, they feel some sort of way.
In between two broken trees is where this hive resides;
any day the boughs may break, the hive will not survive

There are meadows, pastures and flowers beyond these walls.
To find them one must leap with faith, unafraid to fall.
A new day is dawning, one cannot ignore the call;
so better get a move on, summer always turns to fall.

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Posted in Random Commons Post, Uncategorized

AI, Aliens, and Other Musings of the Critical Thinkers

Hello there Commons, I hope we’re all doing well today. In place of a content-carrying post today, I wanted to share a video and write a blurb about what I think of it. The video: “DISCONNECT Alexa Right Now…” by a youtube channel called SecureTeam10. Get your tin foil hats, creatures, you’re going to need them. Here’s the video, and a link in case I blunder the embedding:

In this video, Tyler (of SecureTeam) talks about some strange happenings going on in the world, from creepy malfunctions regarding Alexa, the AI assistant by Amazon, to the weird loud booms that people across the world keep hearing that nobody seems to have an answer for; pretty heavy and far out stuff. I’m not going to tell anybody what to think, but I do think that humans shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss those speaking about aliens, artificial intelligence gone bad, and especially not government conspiracies. The aliens thing and the AI thing is hard to think about because it is so far outside of our perceived realm of normalcy, but governmental conspiracies? Governments are just bunches of humans with way too many resources (proportionally speaking) that get together and accomplish whatever goals they decide to accomplish. Have you ever gotten together with a bunch of friends and done something stupid, something that the rest of the humans in your given environment may disagree with? Yes, yes you have, everyone has and everyone does, and the people wearing the suits at the top of the legal food chain are no different, why would they be? There is a ton of evidence of government conspiracies that have led to corruption, wars and other misgivings, you just have to look in the right places. And by the way, Fox news and other TV channels are not the right places because they are controlled, to a certain extent, by the suits at the top of the food chain. It’s not quite as simple as I’m making it out to be and I probably come off as a damn fool saying this, but if there was nothing but bullshit to this stuff I wouldn’t be publicly posting it on my website. That’s all. Feel free to move along if you don’t like my dipping sauce, you’re just going to dip your bread stick in somebody else’s anyway.

That’s all for tonight Commons, more Bee poetry coming tomorrow. Sleep well and be good, at least until next time~

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Contentually Commons #32: Gotta Get Down On…

Hello Commons, happy Friday to ya. It was another scorching day here in CommonsLand, marking my life one day closer to having air conditioning in my house. I’ve lived in this abode for almost 5 years now, I think, give or take a year, and we have never had functioning air conditioning. As my dad put it the other day, “the sweat box’s days are numbered.”

Today, I have the fourth installment into my little To Bee or Not to Bee poetry collection, this one called Friday. This poem was written on a Friday in the warehouse after my old boss asked me to work overtime after a long week of working overtime. I will not speak on the quality of this poem, any of the Bee poems or any written work, my own or that of another human, or even that of a person, because as with all art, beauty lies solely in the eye of the beholder. I will say this, however: it felt real fookin’ good to let out my angst onto a piece of paper rather than keeping it bottled in. Plus, when all was said and done, I had a nice little block of content for the Commons. So give her a read, I hope you enjoy it!

That’s all for tonight, Commons. Be good you rascals, you, at least until next time~

Friday

Caucasian hands blacker than soot, body
draped in the same blue rags that I put
on the past three days, brain going kaput when
Lefty asks whether or not I can stay today.

“O.T.’s available, are you?” No excuses come to mind,
I find only a memory of him tellin’ me it’ll help my P.C.
“Yeah, I’ll stay,” wishin’ for a way to get a raise but
when you’re paid thirteen, you’re overlooked like the sea.

Mozart plays from my pocket as my false smile fades with
the style of a blazing rocket, the Queen’s brave pocket pal
stomping loud in search of who else shall buzz
their Friday away. This concrete box slowly takes the form of
a shallow grave in my head as I scoff at the thought of
slavery being dead.

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Contentually Commons #31: Zap!

Hello there Commons, how are the humans of the world doing? I’m doing alright, I’m inexplainably tired but I’m pulling through. This is the third day in a row that I’ve eaten pizza for lunch so that probably has something do with it, but I digress.

Today, I have a story for you that falls under the Miscellaneous Writing category. A tale describing the life of a fictional author named Donnie King who dances in the pale moonlight, so to speak, it is called Writing Up A Storm. You can read it at the bottom of this post or by following that link down the rabbit hole leading into the bowels of The Hillside Commons. I hope you enjoy it, I quite enjoyed writing it.

I’ll be doing some W-2020 work for the next few days so expect Bee poetry on Bee poetry, maybe even an RCP or two if I find some interesting shenanigans online that I’d like to share with y’all. Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today. Be good Commons, at least until next time~

Writing Up A Storm

STOMP STOMP SLAM!!! A pile of books timbers to the floor from atop a packed mahogany bookshelf.

“Honey, what’s wrong?” his mother calls out, her ear pressed up against Donnie’s door. She can pick out a faint sobbing, her son shedding tears into his pillow. “Okay baby I’ll give you some space, I’m baking cookies if you’re hungry.”

Through his bedroom door he hears the sound of footsteps growing softer as they move down the stairs. Eyes red and puffy he sits up and pulls a tissue from its box to wipe the snot from his running nose. The echoes of the mockery, the boos and the laughter from his classmates haunt him still, hours after school released for the day. He worked on that story for two weeks straight, it was so perfect! At least, he thought it was before he read it aloud to his peers… maybe the words he used were too bland, maybe his plot was stupid and predictable. Or, maybe his classmates just didn’t like him. Burying his head back into his hands, he begins to cry again, silently wishing, nay, praying that one day, he would be a better writer.

“So how bad do you want it, kid?” says a dark, raspy voice, stopping Donnie’s heart in its tracks.

He slowly peers over his wet fingers to find a dark figure with glowing yellow eyes sitting, legs crossed with hooves for feet, atop his dresser. Donnie’s mouth hangs open, unsure of what to say.

A sinister smile slowly creeps its way across the creature’s face, then, “So?”

“Who are you?” squeaks Donnie, voice as shaky as his self confidence.

The creature scoffs. “I go by many names, but you, Donnie King, you may call me Satan.”

The boy’s stomach churns as sheer horror grips him. He crawls backwards off his bed, falling to the floor and continuing until he is flat against the wall, making his visitor chuckle.

“You’re… you’re the devil? Why are you here, am I going to die? Am I already dead?”

Satan’s chuckle evolves into a throaty laughter. “Yes, because, no and no. Technically Satan was my father’s name, but a Dahmer by any other name is just as twisted. I’m not here to kill you, Donnie, I’m here because I heard you.”

“You… heard me?”

“Yes, boy. You want to be a better writer, the best the world has ever seen.” As he says this, a forked tongue slithers out of his mouth and tastes the air like a snake.

“I do, but… wait, you can hear my prayers?”

The devil’s face abruptly falls flat. “It would take far too long for me to explain to you, a mere mortal child, how all of that works. Instead, I’ll just offer you this.”

Donnie looks down to find that he is suddenly holding a piece of paper. As the devil begins to speak, strange symbols begin burning into the page.

“For the low, one time cost of your eternal undying soul, infinite prowess and unmatched powers of writing can all be yours. You will finish out your human life on Earth wielding the gifts you have received in any way you see fit, butt when your body goes kaput, you’re mine. What do you say?”

Donnie says nothing. His seventh-grader mind is absolutely buzzing with thoughts of fame, fortune, riches beyond his wildest dreams. Then he remembers who he’s dealing with.

“What’s the catch?”

The devil rolls his eyes. “No catch, kid. I used to deal like that but it got to the point where my reputation would speak for me, and not in the good way. Your soul for a life of authoric wonder. I’ll even throw in the ability of having every sixth body of writing come to life, or at the very least, come true. Do we have a deal?”

Donnie ponders for a moment before finally agreeing. His name is burned in on the bottom line of the contract as he says yes. Then, the devil disappears in a fit of maniacal laughter that lingers in the air of his bedroom like the stench of brimstone. Donnie spends the rest of the night in his room, skipping dinner and even skipping the fresh batch of cookies his mother baked for him. He goes to bed unsure if what he encountered was real or a figment of his strange imagination.

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

The next day in literature class, the students are assigned an in-class writing assignment. The sixth writing assignment given thus far this school year, the students are tasked to write a short story about redemption, the worksheet specifically stating that the story will not be read aloud. Donnie, eyes wide with excitement over this cosmic coincidence, feverishly puts his pen to paper and writes a story starring himself in which, after getting booed out of the classroom, he writes a story so phenomenal that it brings the class to tears, among other things. The tale isn’t very long, barely filling half of the space allotted on the worksheet, and his teacher notices that he’s done before anyone else in the class has even gotten started.

“Mr. King!” Miss Allison abruptly exclaims, startling her classroom. “Finished already, are we?”

Not expecting to be called out, Donnie nervously nods his head. A few of his fellow future leaders of America look up from their work, smug little grins plastered upon their waiting faces.

She walks over and snatches the story from Donnie’s desk. “So you won’t mind if I read it aloud to the class then, will you?”

“Uhh, I-”

“Great! Ah-hem, attention class! Mr. King here has another story for us all to enjoy. If everyone would kindly place down their pencils, I’d like you all to pay close attention.”

Miss Allison reads the story aloud to the class, causing the room to go utterly silent. Everybody turns to face Donnie, staring him down like he was an outsider invading an archaic tribe of natives. What if it was all just a dream, or worse yet, a hallucination? What if he is not only a bad writer, but also crazy too? Beads of sweat form in the palms of his hands as his head starts to spin, his mind more than busy trying to devise a plan to escape from this square box of horrors. If he flips his desk and starts throwing his school supplies he could get suspended or better yet, expelled! No more judgmental school folk to make him feel bad about his writing, no more papers, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks! He isn’t sure what paradise is, but this sure sounds like it.

Ready to execute his plan, Donnie closes his eyes and begins to count to ten in his head. He’s interrupted at the count of six, however, when his entire class and teacher all simultaneously burst into tears.

“Oh, Donnie!” Miss Allison shrieks, falling down to the floor. “So simple, so unique! So, so… so redemptuous! A+, young man, A+!”

A smile spanning several continents stretches across Donnie’s face. It was real, it was all real, at thirteen years of age Donnie King is the world’s greatest author, holy crud!! He stands up and takes a bow, receiving a standing ovation from his classmates. Miss Allison takes it upon herself to call the principal and reads him the story over the phone before passing it to Donnie. The principal of the school goes on to tell Donnie how stupendous, how magnificent his story is and rewards him by excusing him from school for the rest of the day.

“Go home and write up some more stories for us, kid. You’ve earned it,” the man decrees before he hangs up the phone to wipe the tear streaks off of his cheeks. He then resumes his meeting with Carl and his parents, explaining to them how Carl had stabbed an classmate in gym class in the toe with a mechanical pencil.

When Donnie gets home and tells his parents about what happened at school they’re overcome with pride and joy. Momma King dashes to the kitchen and gets busy baking a congratulatory cake while Pappa King sits down on the couch with his son.

“I always knew you could do it, buddy. I’m so proud of you. You do know what this means though, don’t you?”

Donnie smiles. “Sure do, pop. I need to get writing!”

“That you do! Tomorrow I’ll go to the store and buy you a couple more notebooks. You have a bright future ahead of you, kid.”

From that day on Donnie spends the majority of his free time writing in the many notebooks his father supplies him with, filling page after page with short and long stories. The notebooks soon begin to pile up on his desk and by Christmas time, he has a plastic bin absolutely packed with full notebooks stashed away in his attic. Being very diligent about the sixth story rule, he keeps separate notebooks specifically for the tales that he wishes to come true. These stories often star his friends and family, always ending happily with the main character making some serious gains, material, monetary or otherwise. By the time young Donnie enters high school he already has two published novels under his belt with the third one on the way. He goes on to live a long, fulfilling life of writing, his craft reaching all corners of the globe thanks to a very dedicated, albeit quirky fan base and a hardworking team of translators employed by his very own production company named The Hathaway House, italics included. Donnie King becomes the most successful author on the face of the Earth, touring the globe like a rock star until a cancer diagnosis at age sixty-five stops his years-long party dead in its tracks.

At first, Donnie is able to literally write the cancer from his system, making a miraculous full recovery in a matter of weeks. However, the disease returns a few months later, then a few weeks later, coming back again and again until he literally cannot keep up with the ravageous duplication of his own cells. No matter how many times he mystically banishes the cancer from his body, it returns with a vengeance even stronger than the last time. Eventually Donnie realizes what’s going on: his old buddy Satan is coming to collect, and he does not like to be put off. So Donnie does the only thing he knows how to do – he keeps writing in those special notebooks his father bought for him.

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

Three weeks later Donnie finds himself wandering, alone, through an empty field in the great state of Georgia. The sky is clear and the wind is still, not a single sound wave reverberates through the air on this most desolate of days. Donnie meanders through the pasture until he finds an old, rotten tree stump sticking out of the ground like a pimple on a pig’s back. He sits down, back turned to the stump and patiently waits, counting the blades of grass surrounding him. Seconds polymerize into minutes and eventually into hours until, finally, he hears a familiar cackling erupt from behind him. He turns to see the devil, goat hooves and all, sitting legs crossed on the stump with his glowing yellow eyes, just like that fateful night so many years ago.

A sinister smile creeps its way across the creature’s face. “Hello, Donnie, I take it you’ve received my calls. How’ve you been, old boy?”

“Why hello there, Mephisto. You take it correctly.”

The devil erupts with a bone-rattling laughter, “Ah, Mephistopheles! Brilliant Donnie, I’ve always loved that namesake. Your days are numbered, child, that delicious soul belongs to me. It’s time to pay up.”

“Yeah about that, I was actually hoping to re-negotiate if at all possible.”

The devil’s eyes widen. “Excellent! Let me just pull up our little agreement here, just a second.”

The contract, wrinkled and torn from years of inter-dimensional file transfers and restructuring, materializes in the air before Donnie. The devil snaps his figures and the demonic scrawling morphs into English, reading: “I, Donnie King, do pledge my soul to the beautiful, amazing, one-and-only devil himself in exchange for receiving free will-breaking love for all of my written works. Additionally, every sixth story will come true, each story further increasing my risk of developing uncurable cancer in any and eventually every part of my body. In conclusion, no future negotiations. Signed,…”

“…Donnie King… my god, what happened to ‘no catch’??”

“Oh, that?” The devil says through a dastardly smile. “About that, I’ll have you know that I blatantly lied to you, right to your face.”

Donnie is silent, staring into the devil’s eyes as black clouds fill the sky, ushering in the stench of brimstone.

“The worst part, can you guess it? I’ll just tell you, you actually believed me! Me, the devil! How naive you were as a child! Now, seeing how negotiation is about as on the table as the sun, put your hand out for me. The table is set, Hell awaits.”

Donnie shakes his head, averting his gaze to the ground as tears form in his eyes. He outstretches his hand, palm down, toward the devil.

“And how naive you still are!” The beast shouts, materializing a cleaver in his hand and swinging said cleaver into Donnie’s wrist. The aged author screams and buckles to his knees as his hand, a holy cross taped to the palm, falls into the grass.

The devil scoffs once more, then, “Not like that would have worked, your god died a long, long time ago. We haven’t capitalized that g in eons you petty fool.”

Thunder claps above them as the wind suddenly picks up. The dark clouds above them part to reveal a glowing mountain capped with snow below a floating, golden city. The devil leaps from his throne and steps backwards.

“What… what is this?” He looks down at Donnie, “What have you done, boy?”

Donnie, clutching his bleeding stump of an arm with his only remaining hand, laughs as the distant sound of hooves clopping against the sky grows nearer. The devil makes out a glowing chariot approaching from the hole in the sky.

Horizontal pupils filled with a dread he has never felt before, the devil begins to scream at the handicapped human. “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, BOY???”

Donnie slowly stands and takes a step toward the devil, looking him directly in the eyes. “Your god may be dead, devil, but there have been many gods worshiped by the humans, gods more powerful than your wildest dreams.”

The chariot, pulled by four winged horses guided by a chiseled man clad in a toga with a white beard lands in the field behind Donnie. The deity draws a bolt of lightning from the quiver on his back, his stare instilling fear in the black hole of a heart of the devil himself.

“Devil, meet Zeus: king of Olympus, father of the Greek gods and the god of lightning.”
The devil tries to run but trips and falls, colliding with the ground. Spinning around on his back he tries to crawl away, his expression one of unmatched, unknown horror. Zeus hurls the lightning bolt.

“YOU SHALL PAY FOR TH-”

A clasp of thunder sends shockwaves through the air, knocking Donnie to the ground. When he opens his eyes the sky is clear once more and he is alone in the pasture, a large scorch mark burned into the grass near the stump. Still short one hand and rapidly losing blood, Donnie takes off his shirt and wraps it around his wound before taking off in the direction of the nearest hospital. He doesn’t make it very far, unfortunately, blood loss raising an especially convincing argument supporting a face-first collapse into the ground.

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

When he finally wakes up, Donnie finds himself laying in a hospital bed. He spends a few minuted utterly dazed and confused before a nurse walks in to check on him.

“Mister King, you’re awake! Thank goodness! How are you feeling?”

“I’m… I’ve certainly been better, but I shan’t complain. Ho-”

“I’m sorry, I just, I’m a huge fan, do you mind if I go grab my phone from my locker and we take a quick picture? My friends won’t believe me otherwise and my husband will be so jealous.”

Donnie offers her a gentle smile. “Of course not, but first, may I ask how I got here? The last thing I remember was falling down in a field, all by myself.”

The nurse assumes a puzzled look, “I’m not sure actually, let me check the records.” She flips through the paperwork on the clipboard attached to his bed. “Well, it says here that a man dressed… a man dressed in black and purple cloaks, apparently, found you and brought you here. It says, that he said, to tell you that he’s dressed as a character from one of your upcoming stories. Also, you know what that means.”

Donnie nods his head slowly, attempting to connect the dots left by such a strange message.

“I see… thank you, dear. Now go get your camera, I’ll attempt to make myself look a bit more presentable for you.”

The nurse giggles as she runs out of the room. Donnie, feeling an itch on his right hand, goes to scratch it only to feel mattress where his hand should be.

‘That’s right, I lost my hand. Damn phantom limb syndrome.’

The tired author leans back and rests his head on his pillow, eyelids heavy and body totally exhausted. What a day he’s had, fighting the devil for his soul using words as his weapons. One thought comes to mind as the nurse eagerly comes back to the room and the two pose for a selfie: the pen truly is mightier than the sword.

Fin

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Posted in Contentually Commons, Poetry, Uncategorized

Contentually Commons #30:

Hello there Commons, how are we doing tonight?  I’m doing well, I took an evening hike to the top of my favorite mountain with a buddy I’ve known since grade school and we got eaten alive by mosquitoes. It was a good time.

Tonight, I have a poem for you wonderful humans called Tuesday. It is the third installment in the To Bee or Not to Bee poetry collection and it was written on a Tuesday following a three-day weekend back in my warehouse days, which ended literally not even a week ago. It’s funny, it feels like I haven’t worked there in eons even though its only been a few days, existence is so odd. Anywho, this poem is about the struggle of enjoying a long weekend while not using enough of it to catch up on sleep, and hear my words, the struggle is real. You can find the poem at the bottom of this post, like always, or by clicking that sweet little linky-link up there.

That’s about all I have for the Commons tonight. I wrote a new standalone short story today, I’m typing it up right now for revision and posting tomorrow so look out for that bad boy. I’m probably only going to upload one piece of content per post from now on, save for special enough occasions, so TBoNtB will probably be continued the day after. /planning.

Be good Commons, at least until next time, and always remember not to dip the breadstick unless you’ve at least tasted the sauce~

Tuesday

Another bent down day spent clowning in a box.
Back hurts because I’m spent; I fall down to peel the socks
from my feet. Three days off ago I finished up the week,
now my eye’s twitching from choosing to live over a full night’s sleep.

Watched the TV, wrote, smoked a bunch of weed,
shoveled with a hunched back, snow and forty-four degrees.
Zombies were slain when I played video games, even picked
up a Steve Jobs book, gave that tome a read.

Now it’s Tuesday night, the sky’s blacker than the stripe
of a bee, feel like I wasted all my time off on me.
Now it’s back to the grind, in three days I may find
some relief, but only after putting in my OT.

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Posted in Insomia Post, Uncategorized

Insomnia Post 2.1: Poetry

Hello Commons, how are we doing on this sweltering summer’s eve? I’m, well, sweltering! My house doesn’t have air conditioning and I can only have one window open to let cool air into my room because only one of my three windows has a screen on it. I don’t mean to gripe, it just bugs me, kind of like the tons of mosquito bits all over my legs from the last time I tried to open an unscreened window at night. Such is life when one lives in the woods.

Tonight I don’t have a crazy, long winded rant or anything of the sort for y’all, I have an announcement! From the depths of purgatory has emerged a new page on The Hillside Commons – a poetry page! There you will find all of the poems that I’ve posted, whether part of a collection or just freeform pieces. During the last insomnia post I briefly mentioned a small poetry collection, and tonight I’m kicking that sucker off! This collection, called To Bee or Not to Bee, is a collection of seven poems that were inspired by my time spent working in that dusty ol’ warehouse. In fact, the majority of them were written while I was at work, so take that! The poems will be uploaded over the course of the next… multiple days, I suppose, I’m not sure how exactly I’m going to do it but tonight I have the first one. It is called To Bee, I uploaded it a long ass time ago and you can find it at the bottom of this post. Woot!

That’s all I have for though tonight, Commons. Stay cool and be good, at least until next time~

To Bee

Four hundred and five pounds;
a few ounces for every twenty-five snowflakes
fallen to the icy ground.

The hive buzzes to keep warm,
fuzzy sweatshirts, jeans and beanie caps,
rubber gloves save the tools from harm.

The Queen’s right hand, or rather, the Left,
his feet weighted as he steps, chin cleft,
chip of the shoulder and wings clipped
whenever his throne is left.

He approaches the youngest Bee, hiveless and born of a different
tree, listing the combs for him to clean while the Queen
feasts and feeds him the least. He asks of himself,
“How would I rather bee: allowed to starve or left to freeze?”

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Posted in Insomia Post, Uncategorized

Insomnia Post 2: A Grand Old Self-Reflection Sesh

Hello Commons, how is everyone doing tonight? I hope you’re doing well and to all the moms out there, I hope you had a wonderful mother’s day. If you’re not a mom, well, I hope you did something wonderful for your mom on this motheriest of days. I forgot it was mother’s day today, horribly enough, but to make up for it I got up early and got my mom some flowers, a balloon and a little thingy of her favorite flavor of ice cream. I hope she had a good day.

As for me, it’s another one of those nights where I just have so much energy that I can’t, nay, I refuse to be entertained by the perpetual latent light show that’s always broadcasted on the inside of my eyelids. My life has been sort of up and down, just a tiny bit hectic lately and I feel the need to self reflect and put all of my tumultuous thought somersaults into words and plaster them on the front page of my website. The last time I did this, I talked (read: ranted manically) about some spiritual shit and it probably came off as slightly off-putting. That’s okay though, because I am slightly off-putting. But you know what? So too is a rose if you don’t look past the thorns.

Tomorrow marks the first day of the last week of working my warehouse job. I am not quitting because I have some fantastic other full time job offer or because I got some kind of sweet writing deal, I’m quitting because I have back problems. Says the 23 year old. No but my back is actually kind of screwed up, I got it x-rayed and as it turns out, the left side of my hip is lower than the right side. Not by a lot, maybe by a centimeter or so, but it still sucks. Some nights I have a sharp, nagging pain at the base of my spine that tells sleep to avoid me at all costs, some days I can’t comfortably stand and to top it all off, there’s a spot on my back that every day randomly throughout the day starts to tingle, after which it goes numb and then starts burning like it’s on fire. My warehouse job, which involves climbing on and off a forklift about a million times and handling drums of chemicals that realistically weigh anywhere between five (5) and two hundred twenty-five (225) kilograms (that’s ~10 to ~500 pounds for my non-metrics) constantly for eight hours a day, five days a week, not to mention my boss who offers overtime literally every day regardless if there is enough work to justify it, has been identified as an “aggravating factor” by my chiropractor. “Overtime is available, are you?” No big guy, I’m not, and I never will be again because this whole overwork/underpay thing is literally ruining my body. Thanks for that $13 an hour, oh, and tell the CEO I said congratulations. His multi-million dollar globally-active corporation celebrated its 75th year of business last year. These fucking people.

Anyway, so yeah, quitting the job with not nearly enough cash to my name to support myself long-term. Living with the parents is probably going to continue for a good long while. Fantastic. As much as I like to gripe, this has been coming for a while and I realize that I’m not completely screwed. I have a part-time job with a local auction hall/consignment shop (not to mention the gargantuan stamp collection I sort-of inherited that I’m selling there) that will keep me afloat at least for the rest of the year, plus there’s this blog. I don’t have all of the followers and my creative’s guild has yet to form, but I am producing content. Universe W-2020 has sixteen stories under its belt that all follow a wacky continuity and my miscellaneous writings page has, shit, at least twenty writings floating around. Speaking of which, I’m going to put a poem at the end of this post and I have something of a small poetry collection that I’d like to put up soon, but more on that stuff in the future. While I’m far from getting paid for my writing and being the self-sufficient human that I crave so voraciously to be, I’ll be financially okay for the time being and it feels good to be able to type that and actually mean it. Now, onto the weirder stuff.

I was born with a crooked hip that always stuck out on the right side. I think. If so, then my back issues should disappear a few weeks after leaving the warehouse (read: aggravating factor). However, and this may be my mental eccentricity talking, but there may be another cause to my back issue that scares me quite a bit. I believe I’ve talked about this before, but in case I haven’t, here is the tale of my very strange experience with a head injury that I can still feel the effects of today, almost a full year after the fact. It was July of last year and my half-year of LSD was in full effect, I had three trips under my belt and six more to go, said in hindsight. The reason for this trip: my friend MH was in town for two weeks and she wanted to trip with myself and our friend IB. I had exactly three tabs in my possession at that time so it seemed like the universe was on our side for this one. We ate our tabs and went for a very long walk in the woods which peaked with us laying on a blanket and staring up at the sky. I’ll never forget how the trees looked so multi-dimensional during that trip, it was really astounding. When we got back to MH’s house, however, things became less astounding. I don’t remember the exact order of events, but I do remember that we listened to music for a while and then started watching Rick and Morty. Rick and Morty took forever to set up, because of inconveniences we had to sync a laptop’s video feed to a smart phone’s audio feed of the episode, ’twas a nightmare but not a scary kind of nightmare. More like a nightmare before Christmas. So, at one point during Rick and Morty things got especially hilarious and I laughed so hard that I swung my head down. Just as I swung in hilarity, though, a metal bed frame materialized exactly where my head was swinging and I hit the thing pretty hard. At first it hurt a bit, but the pain faded into the acid feeling quite quickly and all was fine for a few minutes. Nobody even noticed that I hit my head, the scoundrels. But after minutes and minutes had passed, my head started to hurt. Then the head-splitting headache was born from the hurt which eventually involved to the most severe head pain I have ever felt, it was so bad that my eyes had trouble staying in focus and alignment. My vision was literally going blurry and doubling at the same time that my head was radiating pain and my hearing was fading into a mix between high-pitched ringing and nonexistence. At this point I felt around where I had hit my head and felt something cave in, causing my vision to begin to cloud out into the blackest darkness I have ever experienced. I literally thought I was going to die. In fact, I was completely sure I was going to die, in my head I told myself, “Holy shit, this is it. I’m going to be the first person to die from LSD, I’m going to be the reason it never becomes legal. I’m going to die in front of my friends on our first LSD trip together. Well… fuck, don’t freak out. Gotta make this as normal as possible for them, I’ll just quietly fade away.”

And that’s what I did, I just sat through the most severe pain I have ever experienced until my body fell forward into death (I was sitting cross-legged on the floor). I floated in that darkness for what felt like a billion endless eternities, not thinking, perceiving but not perceiving, it was weird. Really fucking weird. Even weirder: those endless eternities turned into about three seconds when I woke up on my back with my friends over me, screaming my name over the music that was playing in the background. Wait what? Didn’t you stop listening to music before you started watching Rick and Morty, which happened before you hit your head? Yep, sure did. The music I heard when I woke up was total “you just survived” music too, the whole experience was very trippy in every sense of the word. My head felt exceptionally off when I woke up, like, don’t fall asleep because you might not wake up off. Eventually I did fall asleep and when I woke the next morning, I was feeling about 80% normal, I’d say.

The months after that were fairly normalish but not really, lots of emotional ups and downs and fighting with my parents, I left my warehouse job citing back pain and had more mental breakdowns than I can count. Around the beginning of December I went back to the warehouse part-time which changed to full-time by the second week of January. Back to Christmas though, a few days before the holiday my friend MM and I tripped on the most powerful, most potent LSD I have ever eaten. The shit had me aware of every single nerve ending in my entire body at one point, fucking stellar trip I swear to the universe. The day after the holiday, I felt something inside of my head go pop at the exact spot that I hit it against the metal bed frame all those months ago, which was followed by the sensation of liquid rushing down the interior of my skull/brain/I don’t know. After that my body started freaking out, I got ridiculously light headed and my vision half-faded into a white light and my entire body felt as if it was trembling wildly even though on the outside it wasn’t trembling at all. I tried walking down my hallway to calm down but that ended with me falling to the floor and crawling back to my room. There I sat down and started to breathe heavily and focus on my third eye, which actually helped for a few seconds, but then the weirdness got weird again and I think I blacked out for a second. I don’t even know, everything went white for a second, that’s all I can say to explain it. I went to a hospital and got talked down upon by a doctor who didn’t believe a word of my story, giving me a tox screen to make sure I didn’t do any bad drugs. They found that I had smoked some cannabis, like I had been doing for the past three years. I left with more questions than answers, thank you doctor with a college degree who is employed by a hospital. Over the course of this year I haven’t been smoking nearly as much cannabis because I physically cannot, ever since the LSD trip with MH and IB and “the burst” I have been extremely sensitive to cannabis. I used to be able to smoke a bowl and a half without feeling high; during January, if I took one hit I would start seeing colors. My sensitivity has gone down since then, but not by a lot. I’ve also felt my mind coming back to me slowly but surely over the time between “the burst” and now, meaning I was constantly feeling like half of my brain wasn’t working properly for a while. I could still see out of both eyes, hear out of both ears, but I just felt off, as if half of my brain wasn’t functioning at full capacity. I still sometimes feel like half of my brain is a tad but fuzzy and I still get random headaches throughout the day, I don’t know if I mentioned that. Also, a strange ridge formed along the center of the top of my skull immediately following “the burst”, that’s a whole other thing.

I rehash this experience to face the following fear: what if being born with a crooked hip mixed with a physically-ridiculous labor job has nothing to do with my back pain? What if that night at MH’s house, I really fucked up? What if the left side of my body is slowly shutting off and drooping down stroke-style because I gave myself brain damage while on LSD? Well that would suck, wouldn’t it? Another question: what if the LSD somehow saved my life that night? This is out there but in my experience, psychedelics make the human brain capable of really crazy things… what if I actually died for a few seconds but the LSD helped my brain figure out how to save me? That would be fucking awesome as fuck. The real mind bender: if I hadn’t tripped on LSD that night, would I have hit my head in the first place? It was a perfectly sober-CommonsGuy thing to do, trust me, but would it have happened if I wasn’t tripping? The world may never know. Regardless of what actually happened, though, from these experiences I really learned to respect the potentially reality-altering power of LSD and other psychedelics. I learned that they are meant to be taken one to three times a year and to prepare for trips better than saying “We were going to trip next weekend, but let’s just do it now because acid.” Set and setting, people, set and setting.

I guess I’ll just have to wait for time to pass to see if my back gets any better. Either it will or it won’t, you feel me? I feel myself getting better and better as time goes on but I’m still afraid, still terrified that my brain may legitimately be damaged and that I have a slow decline into death ahead of me. Oh CommonsGuy, I don’t know if you did anything but if you did, what have you done?

Alrighty, I pretty much bared it all on this hallowed post. This has been some serious self-reflection, hasn’t it? Before I copy this from OpenOffice Writer and post it on the Commons, I had better include a small blurb about my attached poem, titled Man in the Mirror. It’s a pretty personal poem, each stanza representing a phase in my life, and I wasn’t sure about posting it until a half hour ago when I said “fuck it” and started typing all of this up. If my readers don’t like this poem, well, tough titties; if they do like it, hooray!; if nobody reads it, well, that would be the toughest titty of them all, leaving me with a strange feeling of relief and disappointment.

That’s all I have for you tonight Commons. I hope you’ve enjoyed gazing into my self-reflection, and I hope you enjoy my little poemy-poem. Also, if you read all this and made it to the end of this post, thank you. Truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading my writing, I can’t even describe with words how thankful I am. Be good, Commons, at least until next time~

Man in the Mirror

Who is that? That kid, looking at
Me from the mirror? I’ve never seen him
Before. Mom says it’s me, but i don’t believe
Her. I think I should mow the lawn.
≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈
Just my luck, this fuckin guy staring at me in
My bathroom. My eyes are red, I’ve cried,
I’m fed up with being alive. Lines of red, trembling
Hands as I swallow down the meds. I want to sleep,
Shatter the mirror, I guess I’ll throw up instead. ≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈
I stare down the mirror’s expression, eyes white
As a spectre, pupils the size of platters as smoke
Rises through the rafters. A good man,
Misunderstood and banished to swim through a
Flood, sprint from the mud to dry land as all
The other crabs burrow in the sand.

Posted in Insomia Post, Uncategorized

Insomnia Post 7: My Cat is Dead and Everything is Worse.

Hello Commons, do any of you remember the first post I ever made on this website? It was on August 13th, 2017 – a year and 4 months ago from the day I write this post. The post featured a picture of my cat Milkshake with his head stuck in a box after he got curious about its contents. Well… it literally brings me to tears to type this, but… I had to put Milkshake down this past Saturday.

I like to tell people that I found Milkshake at a gas station when he was a kitten, but that, technically, is a lie. I was hanging out at this guy’s house because my best friend was dating his younger sister. Me, my buddy and his girl were smoking a ton of cannabis and getting high off our asses, at one point during the night I saw the outline of an eye superimpose itself over my vision. In the moment, I thought it was the eye of god. A few years later, I still think it was the eye of god. Regardless, a few minutes after I saw the eye, my buddy’s cell phone rings. Him and his fiance were getting gas at a local Delta station and they found a kitten! Not only that, but it ran right up to them and practically jumped into their car. And not only all that, BUT they were also currently in the basement waiting for us.

They had the little creature wrapped in a towel in a box. It was all curled up in a ball and was studying every one of us. There was a certain intelligence behind his eyes, you could tell from looking at him that something was going on in his head. The fiance asked what we should call the cat, and then immediately answered her own question by yelling out, “Milkshake!” Suffice to say, the name stuck.

I went back downstairs to visit the cat a few times over the course of the night, and by the time I was going home I was ready to take him with me. The guy whose house we were at, who is also my friend, is allergic to cats and was going to bring him to a shelter. I said, “why not cut out the middle man?” Before I knew it I was flying down the road, still high as a kite at half past midnight while holding an open box to my chest so the kitten wouldn’t jump out and go down to where my feet were hitting the pedals. He slept with me, cuddled up in my arms under my blankets, for the entire night. The next morning, my brother, and then my parents, met him.

At first, they were adamantly hesitant. My mom forced me to put up an ad on Facebook saying that I found a lost cat and blah blah blah for two weeks. If nobody claimed him after two weeks, I would get to keep him. Suffice to say, nobody lost my boy.

When he first moved in he could stand with all four paws in the palm of my hand, he would literally climb me like a tree. Over the course of his life he learned how to open drawers, open doors, stand up on his back legs and hop around, read a room, convince me to let him be an indoor/outdoor cat, I took him on walks, hikes, car rides, I smoked catnip with him while he ate it, I watched him capture a chipmunk and keep it as a pet – literally, he would pounce on this thing and hold it down until it wouldn’t run away, and then when it would make a break for it he would catch it again and just hold it. He was such a smart cat, the gas station mongrel fully weaved his way not only into my heart, but into my very soul.

The same can be said about my family. At first, they didn’t like him much because the other cat would always fight with him and he liked to jump up on the table while we were eating dinner. Originally, the rule was that he had to stay locked upstairs at all times, he could not go outside and he had to sleep in my room. By the time last week came around, we had started giving him free reign throughout the entire house day and night. He would hang out with my parents and cuddle with them, no matter how many times they yelled at him or chased him/swatted him away. Him and my brother were like brothers themselves, they amount of communication they could pull off with just eye contact astounded me. As for him and I, well… he was my son, my first child.

He had two major health complications in his life, one in July of this year and one last Saturday. On the 4th of July, I woke up at around 5 am to go to the bathroom. When I was in there, I saw small bloody spots in Milkshake’s litter box. Being myself, I proceeded to freak the hell out and I rushed him 45 minutes away to an emergency vet’s office. His bladder was swollen or something to that effect – it was a result of having crystals in his urine. This was very dangerous, because if enough crystals form they can clog the urethra and the animal could die. Milkshake was at the point where he was only peeing drops at a time, and the drops were red. The cheap cat food my mom bought for the cats almost made Milkshake die.

After all that, I put him on a prescription diet that he hated. He hated that nasty shit so much, I could tell when I would go to feed him. He would chase me all around the house for his food, but when I put the bowl down in front of him he would look at it and just walk away. For the majority of the last 3 months of his life, I forced him to eat food that he absolutely hated. I also got him fixed, but that was when he was a baby. I also let my parents keep him locked upstairs alone all day. I also didn’t spend enough time with him. I keep getting told by people close to me that I gave him such an incredible life, but now that he’s gone all I can think of is how I didn’t do enough. Or maybe it’s how I want to do more.

Anyway… eventually he got off the prescription diet and I gave him Makita brand pate food or some shit, he liked it a lot at first but after a few cans he got real tired of it. He loved turkey and ham and any other cold cuts, and I would give them to him often. I’d sometimes hang out with him while he was outside, I couldn’t really tell if he liked when I did that or not. Sometimes he would stay with me and other times he would just run off into the woods. Anyway… cutting to the chase, on Saturday morning I almost didn’t let him outside. I only had an hour until I had to be at work and didn’t think I’d be able to get him back inside before I left… but I let him out anyway. And I was right, I didn’t have enough time to get him back inside before I left. In fact, I was chasing him through the woods literally moments before I had to leave for work.

This was no problem though, my brother was home and I told him that Milkshake was outside. I go to work and actually have a great day – I sell a bunch of stuff, chill out, listen to music, it’s wonderful. Then, at around 3:00, my mom comes into the store and pulls me into the back. She told me that she had opened a door into Milkshake and now his back legs wren’t working.

Have you ever experienced time stopping? Because I fucking have. I hate to say it but I always had some kind of feeling that Milkshake’s life would not be a long one. He wasn’t exactly the picture of health – his breathing was weird, his heart didn’t beat at a steady pace and the skin on his back would always twitch like it was extremely sensitive. His mental state was also slightly questionable, I believe that I witnessed him hallucinating on multiple occasions. I believe this because I have experienced hallucinating myself and I have a pretty good idea of what it looks like when you’re the only one who can see something. He would also throw up a lot, multiple times a week, and he’d occasionally pee all over the furniture. My point is that life is fragile and in Milkshake’s case, especially so.

So, after time resumed and I processed what was probably happening I told my mom to watch the store and I burned rubber home. I found my brother – I wasn’t mad at him, I just waned to see my cat – but my brother was afraid of me being mad at him. So much so that he had my mom lie to me and say that she did it, or maybe she said that on her own volition, I really don’t know. Or care. The only thing that pisses me off is that they saw my cat lose the function of its back legs and they took the time to decide to make up a story to tell me.

But anyway, I ask him where he is and he tells me under my bed. I drop to the ground and look to find him laying on a sleeping bag that I laid out under there for him, just like he always does. I pulled the bag out and the front half of his body climbed off – the back half dragged behind him.

Commons, you do not know what it’s like to feel the pain that I felt when I saw this happen. It is utterly indescribable.

I picked him up, or at least tried to, but he started freaking out and crying and scratching and biting, but eventually he let me get him. I brought him downstairs and my brother and I took apart a cat carrier and put him in it. As my brother started screwing the carrier shut again, I went into the fridge and grabbed a huge piece of turkey for Milkshake to eat. He gobbled it up like he had never eaten before… or like he would never eat again.

I drove my brother and I back to my work and he and my mom took Milkshake to a nearby vet. And I waited. And waited. And waited. Near the end of my shift, my mom called and said they X-rayed him and found nothing wrong, but the doctor thought it might be something neurological because his gums were turning white so they were bringing him to an emergency vet. At first I didn’t even want to look up the white gum thing, but when I did I found out that when it appears in cats, it is commonly a precursor to death. It’s no wonder the vet didn’t charge my mom for the appointment, or the X-ray.

So now I’m at this guy’s house in Pompton Lakes that taught me how to do a flea market. We had one the next day and we were going over what was going to go down. I’m freaking out because my cat is in bad condition so I ask him if he has any cannabis. While I’m waiting for his son to run inside and grab said cannabis, I get a phone call. It’s my mom. She puts the vet on. The vet talks to me for about 10 minutes about everything that happened, including the fact that it could not have been my brother’s fault.

‘For fuck’s sake,’ is what I think to myself, imagining what my mom had said to the vet to make her feel the need to explain to me how it wasn’t my brother’s fault so I wouldn’t get mad at him.

Then, she goes on to tell me how he was born with an enlarged heart muscle, or something to that effect, and that it had become too much for his body, it was a totally undetectable condition and I would have had no way of knowing. A blood clot or something cut off blood flow to his back legs and the prognosis is not good for circumstances like these. She started to say something about how she could give him oxygen or medicine or something and whatever, but there would be a 90% chance of things actually getting worse instead. I think that’s what she said anyway, I was busy thinking of how his life would be suffering if he couldn’t use his back legs. It was at this point that I realized the options had run out and that my biggest fear had come true.

When I got to the animal hospital and the vet asked me if I made a decision I said, “He isn’t going to suffer.”

I got a few moments alone with him after that. He was wrapped in a blanket so I couldn’t see the back half of his body. He was so drugged out that his eyelids were wonky and he had no idea what was going on. I picked him up off the table and held him in my lap one last time, cuddling and snuggling him and kissing his head. When it was time for him to go, I held his paw in my hand and petted him. I saw his heart twitch after the first shot, and the light go from his eyes after the second. I took him home in a box and my dad dug him a grave that night. Now he has a rock pile over him, but I plan on building him a small pyramid when the purple rocks in my yard aren’t frozen to the ground. Or maybe I’ll do it tomorrow, because he deserves it.

This cat had an immense impact on my life. When I first got him, I looked like I do in the picture at the top of this post. I was depressed, still trying to do the college thing and I was occasionally cutting myself. Warehouse job, not many friends, family hated me, I hated my life. I was literally a pit of self-loathing and depression, and then I got my cat.

Here is a picture from a year-ish after I got him:

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I think I look better here, or at least a little happier. Because I was. I had someone who would crawl up next to me whenever I laid down in my bed. I had someone who I would find sleeping with his arms wrapped around my leg when I woke up. I had someone to come home to, someone to talk to, someone to love and take care of and cuddle with and play with… I had a friend. A child, who just happened to be a cat named Milkshake.

Here is a picture from Saturday:

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The last picture I got with him, moments before he went to sleep. No more buddy to lay down with me on my bed. No more mongrel to wake up with, or to wake me up. No more cat to come home to, no more earthquake to let downstairs and outside. No more Milkshake… now, it’s just me.

Milkshake fundamentally changed who I am as a human being. As strange as it may seem, he taught me how to love myself, how it is important to put myself first sometimes and that I need to look out for myself. He taught me about unconditional love. He came into my life when I was nothing and nobody and guided and watched over me through what I will probably remember as the most tumultuous years of my life, which included my death experience, all the issues with my back, way too much fighting with my family and a few other things that don’t need to specifically mention, and he got me to where I am now. Where is that? Well, I’m building an online pawn/thrift store, I work at an auction hall and I have a small net of friends that is steadily getting bigger. Just when I finally start to get my shit together, he’s gone.

So here’s to my buddy, my cherub, my guardian angel, my spirit guide that appeared in my life immediately after god let me know that hesheit was always with me through a psychedelic vision. My son. Is gone.

My cat is dead, and now everything is worse.

Rest in peace Milkshake, I love you buddy. Be good, and I’ll do the same.