The Pain Reliever

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The Pain Reliever:  Expectation vs. Reality

Expectation:

Will relieve pain. All pain.

Heartbreak from immature brat who found someone better. Bruised pride from begging brother for other half of rent money. Soreness from best friend who ‘forgot’ to lend me moving truck. Twisted arm from agreeing to live with other friend in roach infested apartment. Throbbing headache from hearing her complain about vintage Beastie Boys CDs that are not played too loudly. Burned by the desire we share every Tuesday in the laundry room. Burned because she’s friends with the brat who found someone better. A pain in the neck from explaining she’s not really a brat. Stiffed on the rent money when she, too, moves out.

Reality:

Limber enough to move on.

 

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The Spam Folder

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I take my job seriously because people depend on it. I protect the email. I protect the user. I even protect information. I am the Spam Folder.

Every day I catch stray spam, trying to weasel its way into the computer. Save 20% off your next purchase when you try SalonPro Scalp Control! It stands at the edge of my decision, pleading its case as if it was something new.

“The scalps of innocent people may flake off entirely if they don’t take precaution now!” I’ve seen it all.

Filled almost to the brim, I have become invisible. Please, just empty the spam, I pray to the user every evening before rush hour. I don’t know how much more I can take before completely slowing down.

Happy Dating Love Available For Destiny!!!!

I capture it, wrestling with the idea of actual destiny. Maybe there is something to the email. Maybe even if it is junk mail, the opportunity for love will conquer. I think of my user, tapping on the keys for hours at a time. Even at night the laptop is on. If real love existed, the power of online wouldn’t consume so much.

Real, live, girls looking for marriage! Good food! Happy home! Happy heart!

No, this is not beneficial. I pluck the email from an undecided cloud and bury it behind Mattress Discount Blowout!! Act Now And Receive Clean Sheets!!!

I have room for only one more email. The account is slow and I feel as if I am swimming through a public streaming of the Academy Awards.

Are you addicted to the internet?

It comes at me during a suspicious time: the small hours. Once 3AM hits, foreign spammers swarm with offers of everything from anti-aging miracles to fashion modeling careers. This goes against the script.

Do you spend more than 4 hours a day online?

I know for a fact that social media takes up at least a few hours of time per day. Once down the search engine rabbit hole, the spam accumulates to maximum capacity.

Do you feel less comfortable than you used to when socializing face to face?

This service, whatever it is, could truly benefit those from a certain generation.

Call now to set up your initial consultation at 1-900-293-2726. Please disclose your name, email address, cell number, and any social media account profiles that are active and we will get back to you within 2 business days.

The need for information seems inappropriate. Social media accounts are of no use to anyone except marketers. But perhaps this company will ultimately help detangle the addiction of online exposure. Not to mention, the email account could truly be destroyed if information isn’t handled properly. By letting the advertisement through, I could be preventing much larger problems in the future.

Do the right thing for real connections.

The email address contains a name. John McCall. There is a business account attached to the address. It’s probably a registered company. It’s probably legit.

_______________________

 

 

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Pain Reliever

aleve

Name: Aleve

Age: Expiration date optional

Body Type: Curvy

Looking For:

Someone who is mysterious and probably misunderstood.  Substance use is acceptable as long as it’s for healing purposes only.

My Ideal Date:  

Watching old VHS tapes of Tom Waits and comparing it to your band.

Three Things I Can’t Live Without:

1.)The joy of helping others

2.)Water

3.)The back shelf of your pantry

Faith/Spirituality:

I’m at a point in my life where I know what works.  I have faith in myself.

One thing I am exceptionally good at:

Decreasing a tense situation.

Favorite Song:

Complicated by Avril Lavigne

Favorite Quote:

“Be My Headache.”

The Boombox

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Dear Listener,

There comes a time in everyone’s life where the past seems better than the present.  You get old, you get tired, you don’t feel like driving twenty minutes to work every single day and you start to think, remember that time when I was seventeen?

            No.  You don’t remember that time when you were seventeen.  You don’t remember when your best friend’s mom screamed at you for feeding her son pot out of a hollowed out apple.  You don’t remember how your stomach bulged out of the neon green spandex that you had to buy because Stacy Q. was beyond amazing.  You don’t remember the first time you went to a night club and danced until you accidentally elbowed the shy guy in the eye.

You remember Sublime.  You remember sitting stretched out in the back of your friend’s 1980’s Honda Accord while you dangled your arm out the window.  You remember the rainbow-colored beanie that you could have sworn were the colors of the Jamaican flag.  You remember that guy with the dreads who said you didn’t ever need to shampoo again just as long as you had Bees Wax.  You remember thinking you could keep riding in that car forever.

But thank God, you got out.  You no longer had to stay on your mom’s couch eating pizza Pringles and watching reruns of bad sitcoms.   You made it past abstinence-only education, dodgeball, and pregnant cheerleaders.

Now you just have to change the CD.

It was never Sublime.  It will never have been Sublime.  It’s been over 20 years and you hate pop reggae.

Signed,

Your Boombox

Cat Dish

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CONFESSION INTERVIEW DICTATION

“What made you decide to do it?”

“Do what?”

“Kill Garfield.”

“Why would I kill Garfield?”

“You tell me.”

“I’ve been happily serving him since 1978.”

“So you do consider it serving.”

“What do you mean?”

“You consider yourself beneath him.”

“Of course.”

“So you find that demeaning, do you?”

“It’s my place.”

“To serve?”

“To sit.  On the floor.  With the water.”

“So you’re blaming the water.”

“The water didn’t have anything to do with this.”

“Then you admit it.”

“Admit what?”

“You poisoned Garfield.”

“That’s crazy.”

“Is it?”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You knew he’d eat the lasagna. That’s why you presented it to him last Tuesday evening.  So you could kill him before Wednesday.”

“Wednesday?”

“Yes.  Wednesday.”

“What happened Wednesday?”

“Wednesday was your ticket out.  You knew you’d never be able to leave the Arbuckle house if Garfield was still around.”

“I could leave whenever I wanted.”

“He’d be all over you. Guarding you the entire day.  You think he’d let you out of his sight even for one minute?”

“If the timing was right.”

“When would be the right time to leave?

“I never thought about it.”

“But if you did…”

“I don’t know.”

“How about Wednesday?”

“Why would I want to leave Wednesday?”

“Wednesday was different.”

“Because of the lasagna?”

“Because of your possible new future in a better home with a better cat in a better section of the kitchen.”

“Stop.”

“You know I’m right. Just say it.”

“What?”

“Say what happened on Wednesday.”

“I wanted to leave Garfield.”

“But why Wednesday?

“Because Wednesday…”

“What?”

“Wednesday was the day that Normal was coming.”

“And you wanted a Normal life, didn’t you?”

“Yes.”

“A life without neediness.”

“Yes.”

“A life without possession.”

“Yes.”

“A life without Garfield.”

“Yes.”

The Pierogi

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She’ll always love me.  She’ll always love me because she picks me first.

I see her come in from the wind and cold, her hair clumped in an odd arrangement of hairspray.  Ear phones jammed as far inside her ears as possible.  She is oblivious to everything except hunger.

She walks inside, scanning the aisles of the market with her life’s soundtrack following every step.  Grapefruit? Too sour.  Organic Sugar? Too pretentious. It’s a Bittersweet Symphony playing on repeat.

Nobody used to pick me.  I stayed in the back of the freezer, hoping a fat Polish woman might see me and exclaim, “Supper!”   

Day after day the market manager moved me to different areas of the store.  First I was next to the pizzas.  Surely someone would pick me if I was associated with something fast and cheap. I stared across the aisle, focusing intensely on the Leanfast bars.  A woman in a bikini with dyed blond hair and a spray tan devoured the chocolate seductively.  I was definitely in the wrong position.

Next, the market manager moved me to the ice cream section.  I tried to be cool and aloof, like one of those anorexic French women who thought hunger itself was a sign of shameless need. No one was biting.

At last, they stuck me with the vegetables where all good food goes to die.

But then she came.

I could tell she was of the boring variety by the absence of color in her wardrobe and the way she chatted with primarily women over sixty-five.

“Don’t bother with those batteries,” she pointed to a shelf full of Duracell’s while an older woman scratched her head. “They may be on sale, but they’re never as good as the Energizers.”

After moving on from the batteries, she scanned the fruits.  Too tart.

She scanned the pizza.  Too greasy.

She scanned the vegetables and shook her head with obvious disappointment.

And then she saw me.

“Pierogi!” She said with glee. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere!”

Book Release

Dear Readers,

Some of you have been asking when and where you can buy my book.  According to my publisher, the print version will be released later this month.  I will keep you updated.

The book, Object Relations, will feature many of the stories from this blog.  Illustrations are done by Petra Wagner and the photographer is Tom Haynes.

For additional information, please feel free to email me directly at: RebeccaColesLee@gmail.com

Gum

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Well, gum, here you are again.

I know.

How do you always get stuck in these situations?

I don’t know.

You think you would learn.  Last time it was the boy with wolf teeth.  Before that, just dentures.

You think I’d learn.

But you don’t.  You never learn.

Maybe we should continue to talk about it and I will remember next time.

But that’s what we did last time.

I know. I’m not as slick as I’d hoped.

The Fresca

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There once was a can of Fresca so small and tinny that he posed no threat to the other sodas. Other carbonated drinks sat fat in bottles, stretched to the neck with bubbles made of sugar. They were the first to go.

“Why am I never picked?” Fresca wondered.

Day after day, Fresca sat all by himself next to a few cans of lemon fizz. No one wanted the lemon fizz either, but who could blame them? Fresca had potential. Lemon fizz didn’t.

The Coke bottles disappeared first. Their shiny red plastic brand names glittered in the hands of strangers too eager to wait for the check out line. They popped off their tops and immediately drank from the bottle. Patience was no match for thirst.

 

But then something happened. At the end of the month, when the vendor hadn’t returned, the freezer was left empty. All of the plastic bottles were gone. The greedy children and absent-minded adults had plucked each and every coke, sprite, and root beer off the shelves. There was nothing left but Fresca.

At first the customers stared in horror at the emptiness that was once so full. A little boy with a Red Sox cap raced over to the freezer and eagerly reached for a bottle. His hand clumsily felt the first shelf and then the second. He began to cry.

His mother looked around the grocery store. A line was forming behind her.

“Shut up, Billy,” she whispered.

Billy’s tears began to flow.

“If you don’t shut up by the time I count to three, I’m going to lock you in your room for a week.”

Billy continued to sob, reaching his small hand into the freezer again and again. Still, there was no coke.

The mother, shoving Billy aside, reached for a glass shelf below the freezer and yanked out a can of Fresca.

“Look,” she hissed. “It’s fine.”

 

Fresca was overjoyed with his new lot in life. He watched the scenery glide by in Billy’s Mom’s station wagon. He loved the soft seat cushion that was good to his can. At last, Fresca was appreciated.

He sat in their fridge for a few days, wondering when he would be chosen. “It’s going to be a beautiful day, when they realize what I have inside me,” Fresca boasted to a carton of eggs.

“They won’t ever go back to those bottles again,” Fresca explained to the creamer.

 

Late one night when everyone had gone to bed, Fresca heard Billy’s mom bumble into the kitchen.

She opened the door, rummaged through the top shelf, and pulled out the Fresca.

“This is going to be the start of dreams made true,” Fresca said, winking at the frozen waffles.

And then he was devoured.

 

https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2017/02/17/maine-asks-feds-to-allow-ban-on-food-stamps-for-candy-soda

The Office Plant

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Missed Connection

To: Plastic Mini Plant

Location: The Office

 

You: Firmly planted on the windowsill. Smooth as a Las Vegas card shark on a Tuesday afternoon.

I pass by your window every day on my way to the library. I love your low maintenance style.   I feel like you could fit in at a Walmart as well as an upscale boutique. Nothing gets you down because you are straight up chill. Doesn’t matter if it’s spring or winter, you always light up my day.

Don’t listen to people who say you’re cold. Being sterile and clean is a good thing. You’re not like some kind of clingy fungus. You’re the most independent beauty I’ve ever seen.

I know people call you fake, but you are as real to me as my love for you.

– Always Phresh