I drank several glasses of strong tea that were labeled ‘proceed with caution’ – I tapped my fingers and clicked my tongue. I fashioned myself an outfit made from dusty doilies and called it a day. My heart began to expand from the inside, with my chest tightening, I knew it would soon explode. I started snapping at children and felt eager to do it again, the numbness I had held for months was going by the wayside. High octane energy was what I needed – yes, yes, yes! It felt good to be angry for no reason and annoyed at the slightest thing – at least now when I would be awake (!) for hours on end I could say I did so purposely and with style (!) …And in the end, when the exploding of my heart would open up my chest cavity – I would be the one solely responsible – lest suffer a half-assed job done by someone else.

“Ya know,” I said to the air, knowing The Specialist was behind me, without having to turn around.

“Ya know, I could very easily burn The Woods down and build a mall while I have all this pent-up energy, just before my heart gives out…”

He nodded.

“I could just as easily let you and build one as I could whistle Dixie.┬áIt would just grow back though and eventually ivy would climb all over the architecture, consuming it whole, making a mockery of any and all man-made creation,” he admitted.

I nodded.

“So what now?”

“We could both light the match…” he began.

We made eye contact.

“…Or we could both run away, straight out of The Woods, promising not to look back at each other – ”

“Running out of here in opposite directions?” I prodded.

“Yes, I’ll take the left and you can take the right…”

“…And we’ll go about our lives in order to have some semblance of sanity in our daily routine – ”

“Because life is difficult enough – ”

” …And if we happen to run into each other on the outside, somewhere in the middle, perhaps we could share a chuckle or casually comment on the weather,” I smiled.

“It could be nice…”

“Yeah, I think it really could be.”

We both sighed, shook hands, took turns slapping each other across the face, smiled, and with our fingers crossed behind our backs, proceeded to run for our lives. It was a start.

(ALTERNATIVE ENDING)

Suddenly a wild yellow dog with a determined look in its eye, started nipping at our heels and ended up following me home. A swirling vortex of a black hole appeared out of nowhere, sucking calendars and farm animals into it. By way of no other alternative escape, I jumped in narrowly escaping its paws. I was then drawn into the past, ruining an otherwise poignant and dare I say, positive, ending to this story.

(ALTERNATIVE TO THE ALTERNATIVE ENDING)

The dog managed to take me down and drew blood. I turned into a puppet only functioning with strong emotions.

(ALTERNATIVE TO THE ALTERNATIVE ENDING, ENDING)

My brain grew toned arms that jutted out of my ears. My other miscellaneous and vital organs patched themselves up with duct tape and staples. I bit the dog and everyone else real and/or imagined from the past, present and/or future that ever felt they could take advantage of me. I took a deep breath and journeyed towards something people call ‘inner peace.’

 

money_tags

At approximately 1700 hours, on the date of December 8th, 2014, I was held at knife point by my oppressors and I had reached my breaking point. I was being held captive at a station where money and “points” were being exchanged for goods and nourishment. I, a veteran of such official missions, have been told on many occasion that I can handle anything and that I have “the patience of a saint.” I am overqualified for the things I do and the things I have done but I realize my position in this world – I AM NO BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE. But I hold firm in my experience and gladly accept uniforms of changing colors and rank, my stipend increases with time and incentives. I am the strong and silent type.

That being said, I feel my capacity for towing the line growing exceedingly thin as time goes on. This worries me! Even as my oppressors taunt me and try to steal bags of potatoes, my resolve should always be to travel to The Woods. Every time I dare travel there however, something has changed in my absence – most recently, a small wildfire had crept its way in and is slowly setting flame to everything I care about. I don’t know what’s real anymore.

My platoon consists of both the young and the old. Of the young, I don’t have much to say – they might just make it out of here alive. My older comrades are more sympathetic to my plight, (they’ve only survived here out of pure necessity), and I often rely on their ears. When our oppressors throw cherry bombs at us and flick their tongues at the cost of goods at the general store, I look towards a comrade:

“What are they rebelling against? There are rules in place so it will be beneficial to all! Why bite the hand that feeds? I am but a cog in the machine but I’m not coin-operated! Blood runs through my veins, not oil! When I was in their position, momentarily, I had a choice between literature and nourishment and I always choose literature for that, I felt was my nourishment. It’s all very stupid now, but that’s what I thought! I lived in a tall, gray tower in a cold, gray city, hoping I could accomplish something. But these captors, I speak on behalf of some but not all, are spoiled and have no concept of empathy! They will grow to be the people who put their families in nursing homes and forget all about them as they launch healthy graphic design armies!”

My comrade put a hand on my shoulder. That was all I needed. A resurgence of strength took over and I grabbed the knife held against my throat out of my captor’s hand. My oppressors were scared now as I took a long look at the shiny blade. I threw it in the garbage. The war was over, for now. I removed myself from the station, stepping off of its platform, for a bit – I was laughing, my hands were shaking. I walked it off, because I’m a professional.

(Unless they’re those fancy automatic sliding doors but that’s not the point, really…)

In today’s economy, everybody’s pinching their pennies and looking for solutions. It’s quite the hustle and ya’ve gotta do what ya’ve gotta do! Thankfully, we are fortunate to live in a society filled with so many philosophical voices (i.e. Rihanna, Ms. Couric) to advise us with our career goals. Female specimens of today can be anything, do anything, and eat anything/nothing that they want! We can be strippers, CEOs, professional toilet bowl cleaners…The sky’s the limit! Remember, whatever you end up doing, you just have to want it enough.

Music: “Money On My Mind” by Sam Smith

“Poppin’ bottles in the ice (in the ice)
Like a blizzard (like a blizzard)
When we drink we do it right
Gettin’ slizzard

Sippin’ sizzurp in my ride (in my ride)
Like Three 6 (Three 6)
Now I’m feelin’ so fly
Like a G6…”

“Booty Bounce” by Dev

Well actually, it was just time to go to work again.