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Who will go to my Funeral?

Sometimes I wonder who will go to my funeral. Who will be sad and mourn over my passing, and who will shrug in indifference. To whom have I reached in a way that, in death, I will live on through something I did that inspired someone, anyone, to be better? To whom have a vexed in a way that, at my funeral, they attend only for confirmation of my untimely demise?

It’s a thought I would imagine everyone has from time to time. Then again, the things I imagine have never been deemed typical in any regard. My mind is filled with thoughts running rampant, wild. The things I dream up are completely nonsensical, and yet I dream them over and over. My subconscious can, apparently, sort it all out well enough to play it back a second and third time. Consciously, though, I can never quite seem to piece it together. Its impossible to recall what comes next in such a dream when what comes next is simply, impossible.

However, this all brings me back to my original thought, which was originally a conscious one. Who will attend my funeral? I had a dream about it once, one a little more logical in sequence than the usual. I dreamed I had been killed by a man, and I use that term lightly, who continuously works his way back into my life. Not directly into my life, but indirectly, through a friend who I care a great deal for. He killed me with his car, in my driveway, whilst on drugs. What drug I do not know, nor did I ever. In reality, I do know he has had his trouble with illegal substances, but I have never bothered to pertain the details. I never liked him anyways.

So I was dead, in the dream of course. Run down in my parents driveway. My dear friend was with this man, she had brought him over. Now, in reality, I vividly remember saying I never wanted to see this man to my dear friend. So in the dream, dead me, watching the living react, was furious. Against my wishes this man was in my presence, and to top it all off… he killed me!

Fuming doesn’t suffice, I was livid amongst other such words that incite that raw emotion of anger. Although, I saw it come to life as I watched the living. For you see, there were other dear friends present as I became road kill. My best friend, well, he wasn’t none to pleased himself. If I recall correctly, he socked this man in the mouth, screamed at my dear friend who brought this man along to leave immediately, and he did it all through tears. Now, in reality, I have never seen my best friend cry. So I imagined, in the dream, that it looked something like when he pretended to cry to the movie, “The Notebook”. It was a terrible acting job in reality, and it was again in the dream, but its all I had to go by. Sure it looked insincere, but dead me, in the dream watching the living, sure knew that my best friend truly cared.

My dream skipped to my funeral after that. I swear, one of the reasons dreams are impossible to remember is because of all the skipping around that goes on. Its like reading a comic book, panel by panel. There is an action going on in each panel playing off the previous one. However, there is always some action missed. They are just a serious of pictures after all, telling a story a little bit at a time. So, you have to wonder, what happens between the panels?

What happened from the time of my death leading up to my funeral? How were my parents told? Was this man arrested? Had my dear friend talked to my best friend or any of the others since? How quickly were my services arranged? Questions, but alas, the panels move on, leaving them unanswered.

At my funeral, I only imagined four people initially. The same ones that were present for my death. The man that killed me showed up with my dear friend, answering one of the questions left between the panels. Was this man arrested? The answer was no it seemed. One of my four closest friends was appalled that my dear friend would bring this man, this man that killed me, to my funeral. Rightly so, I didn’t even want this man at my house even before he had killed me!

There was a scuffle in my dream. The three male friends out of the four closest friends wailed on the man who had killed me. Suffice it to say, dead me, watching the living, was pleased at how much they cared. These friends rarely resort to violence. It was nice to see my death as one of the rare catalysts that creates the reaction of violence.

That was the end, though. I woke up. Isn’t that just how it always seems to go? Just as things truly begin, and you see things that truly incite some emotion, it ends. Of course, typically, these are the rules to sex dreams, but it can be applied to any other dream as well I suppose.

As interesting it was to witness how those I feel closest with reacted to my demise, I am still left wondering who would come to my funeral. Let’s face it, we all know that those closest to us will attend, to talk about it is just uninteresting. The people you expected to show up came, hallelujah! No, what really engrosses me is those outliers. Those people that hang out on the fringes of your life. The ones you just met and the ones you met years ago but haven’t seen in as much time. Those acquaintances you see at work or at school. Those friends you see but only every once in awhile. The people you never go out of your way to talk to. Those people who only knew you through someone else.

And then there are those who are from the opposite spectrum. Those people you never liked, but still tolerated throughout your life for one reason or another. The vice versa of the former, as yet unbeknownst to you and eternally so at the point of death. The ones who you feud with constantly. Those who would do you harm if someone else hadn’t beaten them to it. Those fascinating few who share a hatred with you, both would rather  not see the other, but they somehow manage to stay in your life.

It is these people that I wonder about. These unpredictable many. For you see, it is only the few that you know will mourn your death. Only few can you confidently predict for said reaction. While a great many outliers you can assume would mourn you, still you can not be sure. Some people may just surprise you. It happens in life, is it odd to think it would happen in death? Those precious few will be there, but they account for only a small fraction of the people you have come across in your lifetime. How will the majority sway?

There is so much said about what happens to you after death, but no one ever stops to think about what happens in the realm of the living while your walking through the gates of heaven or frolicking in a sea of 72 virgins.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2011 in Flash, Non-Fiction

 

Followed

It is incredibly dark out tonight, a strange occurrence in a bustling city such as this. I suppose that even in a crowded city the lights still go off at one point or another. I couldn’t figure out why I was out, just walking. I walk aimlessly, without purpose, and without a destination. Even surrounded by buildings being flooded with heat, the city is still as cold as ice on a mid-fall night in Boston. Again, I had to ask myself why I made the decision to leave my room to wander on such a night.

I was scared to leave my room the night before. It was Election Day, and Barrack Obama had won, becoming the first black president in the history of the United States. The streets went wild; you would have thought the Red Sox had just won the World Series. I have never seen this much wide spread excitement before. People were drinking in celebration and taking to the streets. It was so crowded you’d be hard pressed to fine the lines on the road. All you could hear were cries of, “Obama! Obama! Obama!” It was a party, no doubt about it.

Why throw such an impromptu party? Why was this guy so damn important? He is the first black president. Why does that make a difference? Was history really made? I could’ve sworn the point of Martin Luther King’s speech was equality. If it were really equal, the history books wouldn’t even acknowledge Obama’s race. I don’t know about you, but in my middle school textbook, it didn’t say Abraham Lincoln, the 16th white president, was assassinated. I guarantee that Barack Obama will forever be introduced as “the first black president”. I thought it wasn’t supposed to matter?

That is the idealism of course, race shouldn’t matter, it shouldn’t make one lick of difference. I am not quite sure Obama would’ve won if he wasn’t black. For all the disadvantages for minorities, for once I think it was the advantage. A lot of people voted let alone voted for him simply because he was black. The poor black community I was walking through cared about the election simply because he was black. There was a party in the streets simply because he was black.

Broken glass interrupted my thoughts, sudden and yet subtle. No matter, the sounds of a city. The lights may eventually go off but the commotion of the city never really ceases, only becomes scarce. Back to my thoughts, however, my mind is now lost.

That’s right; Obama. I have no idea what to think about it all. It’s funny how the mind and body work in unison, since I don’t know what to do either. My life is such a haze right now. I’m just going through the motions without thought. I go to work with disdain rather than enthusiasm. Everyone around me is living while I feel like I’m already dead, just waiting for it to become official. I am waiting for Obama’s HOPE to kick in.

I stop, in the middle of a square. No stars out tonight. It was overcastted all day today, typical. As I stare up I see the buildings as if they are about to converge. One of those tricks of perception. It is almost as if they want to trap me, close in upon me. Lord, listen to me, talking nonsense.

More city noises and my train of thought is lost again. There is absolutely no movement anywhere. It’s time to go home. My steps echo through the alley ways. My steps continue to echo as I stop for breath. I have never heard a reverberated sound like this, it was strange. Almost seems like a completely different source.

I was too wrapped up in my own head. Something is going on. Someone is following me. I yelled out, “Who’s there?!”

“Dude, wait up!” My stalker came into view. It was a friend, Patrick Lockwood, who is so Irish it surprises me he doesn’t have the accent.

“Why are you out here?” I asked.

“Why the fuck are you running?” Pat asked, always answering a question with another question. He’s fucking jeopardy.

“We are in the middle of Southie in Boston and I heard footsteps at 2 o’clock in the morning, what would you do?”

“After last night? Don’t you think everyone needs 24 hour recovery time?” asked Pat, or should I call him Trabek?

“I need recovery time from last night, and I watched it from my 4th story room.”

“Besides, Southie is like 99% black, they all in a good mood.”

He had a good point. I have never seen anything like what I saw the night before. It was the exact opposite scene of this night. Everyone flooded the streets. You couldn’t hear yourself think. Everyone was chanting. “Obama, Obama, Obama.” It was mardis gras just with “hope” and not tits.

“You know what the funny thing is?”

“What?” Question with a question.

“I think a lack of hope is why I am out here.”

“What the fuck is this hope?”

“Good question,” I said to Alex Trabek.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2011 in Flash, Non-Fiction

 

Swing Away

 

I was still enduring the Curse of the Bambino. The curse started in 1920 when the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth (The Great Bambino) to the New York Yankees. Now before this happened there are three things you must know. The Red Sox won the first World Series and amassed five total championships shortly after. The Yankees were a complete shithole of a team. Finally, the Sultan of Swat (Ruth) was still a pitcher. Four things happened after the sale. Babe Ruth became a hitter and went on to be the greatest baseball player of all time and the name most synonymous with the sport. The Red Sox didn’t win a championship for 86 years. The Red Sox owner used the one hundred thousand dollars to finance a Broadway musical in New York, no less. The Yankees became the most successful sports franchise in North America and won 27 World Championships, including one in 1999.

“Swing away, son!”

That’s what my grandfather used to say all the time. It was pretty much his catch phrase. The man is dead now, but I swear to the lord and his savior of a son I still hear it said in my sleep. The man was born and raised in New York City. Brooklyn to be exact, back before it was filled with, and I quote him, “Those fucking thug niggers”. Did I mention he cussed like a sailor? He wasn’t one, but he did fight in World War II and he was a fireman. He would always insist on him being called an ex-fireMAN. He would say, “I am a man and I fought fires, what the fuck is insensitive about that?” Personally, I don’t care too much about being PC, one way or the other. However, I do think risking your life for as long as the body was willing deserves some clout and the freedom to say whatever you damn well please.

“See that boy? That’s a real fucking swing. Hear that crack? You only hear that in Yankee Stadium.” He was talking about the one built in 1923, not the new one tailored made for Alex Rodriguez and his steroid infused swing. He was also talking about Derek Jeter back when he was young in 1999 and hitting in the four hole. I had just turned ten and I was and still am a Red Sox fan. My grandfather, however, decided to take me to a Yankees game because, and I quote, “you might as well punch me in the berries, spit in my face, and stab me in the kidney so I die nice and slow than go to Fenway!” (home of the Sox). Can you tell there is a rivalry?

Crack.

“There goes Scottie! Hitting Jeter in! See that boy? See him swing away? Gotta have a low stance like Scottie there. Turn your hips when you swing away, that’s where you get your power boy!”

Third baseman Scott Brosius had hit one of 17 home runs he would hit that season.  When I was a kid, I thought my grandfather hated me. Honestly, why else would he take me to see the Yankees, a team I was required by Boston law to hate? Well, like everyone, there was a lot of shit I just flat out didn’t understand as a child.

For one, those trips to Yankee Stadium taught me the game of baseball.

“Look, hes giving him the signal! I’ll bet ya grandmother’s life that that fucker is gonna go for the squeeze!” Translation: There was a man on third base and in scoring position with only 1 out. The game was in the 8th inning and runs needed to be made in order to get the win. So the hitter at the plate was signaled to bunt down the first base line where he would all but surely be out at first. However, the man at third would have an easy run at home, scoring the run. Oh, and my grandfather loved my grandmother, I swear.

These trips were more than just learning the game.

“Come on son, get the fuck up! The Yanks are gonna win! Cheer god damnit! You might as well root for a team that knows how to fucking win!”

I didn’t get up. I didn’t cheer. I sat there with a frown on my face. My grandfather looked down and smiled. I had no idea then, but my grandfather was teaching me a life lesson that day. Something that was even more important to him than the Yankees. He was teaching me loyalty. He was teaching me that even when the shit hits the fan, you stick to your guns. He was teaching me to never give up.

Fast forward 5 years. October 2004. The Boston Red Sox were facing the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series. Boston was down 3 games to none losing 4-3 in the ninth inning in game 4. A Boston hitter was walked and his pinch runner stole a base. That led to an RBI single to tie the game 4-4. Move to the 12th inning, David Ortiz hits a 2 run home run to win the game. The Red Sox avoid elimination and begin their road to the impossible. They continued to win, and eventually tied the series at 3 all. No one had ever come back from 3 games down in a series before. Game 7 of the series was watched at my grandfather’s house in Connecticut. The Sox won, and I looked back at my grandfather expecting a look of disgust or anger. He was looking back at me, and I was surprised at what I saw. He was smiling and nodding. My loyalty had paid off, and my grandfather’s lesson was complete.

The Red Sox wound up sweeping the Cardinals that year, winning the World Series and “reversed the curse”. They won again in 2007. My grandfather died in 2008. He left behind a legacy of baseball and loyalty. They closed down the old Yankee Stadium 2 months later.

 

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2011 in Flash, Non-Fiction

 

My Place

The room looks as if a Tetris player set it up. The furniture is placed this way and that, it is a puzzle with the pieces in the wrong spot. However, everything serves its purpose. You can see the TV from both beds and both desks. Each wardrobe garners its own privacy from the other, at least as much as can be done within a 15’x15’ box. The trash is thoroughly cut off from everything else in the room and the mini-fridge is accessible by both inhabitants without infiltrating any personal space. It looks like Van Goh, but it functions perfectly.

Passersby often hear cries of death; the virtual kind of course. As any college dorm room housing young men, video games are oft the time wasters. You can hear the explosions of a laser cannon decimating an alien battalion. You can hear the clink of blades during a battle of heroes. You can year the blast of a shotgun round on the battleground of a new world war. You can hear the cheers of fans from soccer to basketball. The thud of football players colliding to the crack of a bat sending a baseball over 400 feet can be heard. Remember, everything you hear isn’t real.

The smell of the place is accosting. It is very much real, and perhaps the lack of realism that goes on is the culprit. Trash seems to build up in the designated corner right next to the door. As soon as you cross the threshold you get a whiff of just about everything you can think of. There’s stale popcorn, moldy pizza, empty beer bottles, sour milk, and the generally skunkyness of trash that would transport you to a dump. Once you bypass all that, you get the distinct smell of dirty laundry. There is no reprieve from this. Once upon a time air fresheners would be deployed, but the endeavors came back unsuccessful. Your taste buds will burn off before you can taste the air, no need to go there.

The place is homey though, not a place to be proud of, but a place to certainly be carefree. Like I said, the TV is in perfect position to be seen by all who want to lounge and need that present distraction from work at their desks. It is the disorganization that makes everything unsacred. Come on in, touch anything, grab something from the fridge, and take a seat on a bed. It is all fair game and it all just seems natural.

 

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Flash, Non-Fiction

 

Summit Beauty

The sun is always the enemy on the top of a mountain in the middle of the winter. The glare off the snow is blinding. The air is always thinner up high, colder and dryer. It is a different world up there; at the very least you see the world differently. You see everything around you as if you were on google maps in satellite mode. The colors of the trees, the snow, the lakes, and the scattered evidence of human occupation all begin to blend together and yet are oddly distinguishable. The landscape is laid out before you in grand fashion, but there is a sense of detachment from it all. See but do not touch.

While the world stretches out in the distance, you stand on the top of a place secluded from it all. Beauty lies out there, but it grabs at you right here. The snow still clings to the branches, whiting out everything. It all gleams under the clear skies exuding radiance from the sun which is ever so much closer. Fresh snows as yet untouched by any living creature in all directions, new trails are ready to be blazed.

You have to enjoy these surroundings in an instant. I am not here to enjoy the view. I am not here to take in the splendor of the world from my high above perch. The trail waits to be blazed. I shove my boots into the bindings and strap in, things may get bumpy. I cover my eyes with my goggles and everything becomes more defined. What better to see you with my dear, dear mountain? Deep breath of the cold air and I gain confidence. Turn up the tunes, crank that shit to 11 and get pumped up. This is about to get bumpy.

 

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Flash, Non-Fiction

 
 
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