The Prayer Flag

prayer

 

I have a confession to make. I heard everything you were saying that night on the porch. In the alley. On the beach.

I hear them all. All the time. I hear them even when you’re fine.

Somebody wants a boyfriend for the 8th grade dinner dance. Someone wants a raise. I know the man who cheated on his wife and I know his remorseful ways.

I heard the child in the bathroom stall, pleading the school would fall down

and I heard the teacher in the other room, wishing they’d all drown.

I have to pick wisely, I keep telling you all. At the right time for the right cause, I answer the right call.

Like the woman in the hospital who really might have died

or when a man was almost jailed because of someone else’s lie.

But I have to tell you everything because without it I won’t make sense.

I lost my ears in a city park. The world became too tense.

 

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The Cap

cap

 

Put a lid on it.

Everybody says it. Someone’s popping off at the mouth and all of the sudden, it’s my problem. It’s up to me to find the solution because God knows nothing else will stop this catastrophe from bubbling over. The problem with this theory, of course, is that the explosion still happens.

Nobody ever really chooses the bottle. They think it will give them something to do – make them feel like they have a purpose, or that it doesn’t matter if they don’t. Either way, it’s a second solution when the first is out of reach.

I met this bottle in a wood paneled convenient store that was made to look like a country store. By that, I mean they had the wood shelving and weird stamp books, but they also had stuff like Mineral Water for $4.39 a bottle. It’s a place where rich people can spend money to feel poor. Although the mineral water bottle seemed exotic enough in the moment, they’re all the same.

“Where are you going?” It was like the thing would never leave me alone. No matter where I went, it followed. “Don’t go to lunch without me!” The pleas were incessant.

I wanted freedom. I could go anywhere just as long as I could find a pair of pants loose enough to sneak into.

This apparently was not an option. “You can’t leave me.” I was halfway out of the kitchen when I heard it.

“I have to go. I can’t sit around all day and do nothing.”

“You can’t leave me!” It was the same thing over and over and over again.

“I’m really sorry. You’ll find another,” I said. “I promise.”

But as soon as I rolled on, a terrible avalanche of fizz built up against the bottle. The sound of carbonated thunder roared down the counter and through the house.

“Jesus.” Even as I said it, I knew I’d never be heard.

It was too late. A million tiny bubbles packed their way against the glass, threatening to break everything solid. Its pop and fizz hissed and the whirlwind of water that once seemed magically alive was now an angry force I hardly recognized.

I looked longingly for the door, but it was too far away. It wasn’t my problem. It wasn’t my idea. “Just contain yourself,” I said.

 

Three weeks later, I saw the bottle again. I was in a little cafe staring hopelessly into a bottle of wine, when I happened to glance over to the table next to me. Elegantly poised and completely at home, the bottle was capped by another.

____

 

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The Spam Folder

email-29853_1280

 

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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The Heater

heater

There once lived a space heater with little warmth. Every winter, when the office was frozen as an icicle, he was placed on the floor next to a pair of high heels. With the thermostat knob switched all the way to the right and the power turned on high, he shook with the struggle to heat.

“I don’t understand what’s wrong with you.” The high heels tapped impatiently.

The space heater tried harder. With heaving breaths from deep inside the mechanics of his being, he blew as deeply as he could.

“It’s like you don’t even want to be of use.” The high heels stomped.

The space heater coughed and sputtered. Its feelings were on fire.

“Are you going to break down now?” The high heels clicked. “Not that it would make much of a difference.”

The space heater glared at the rubber sole next to him. It wasn’t even soft. It would never be comfortable. He heaved his breath once again.

“It’s almost like you’re blowing cold air. Like an air conditioner.” The heels remarked.

Sparks flew from inside the space heater. Tiny flickers of orange and white stars burst from the fan to the floor.

The heels stared silently in astonishment.

Electrical shocks of steaming energy scattered across the power cord. Flames were now threatening the carpet.

“What is wrong with you?!” The high heels said again. “You’re going to burn down the office!”

The space heater noticed a patch of leather oozing off the edge of a shoe. The smell was like plastic with a worn sense of age and instantly the space heater shut down. He shuddered. He melted. With one last glance at the double polished pair, the space heater finally recoiled.

__

 

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The Trinket

trinket

 

Dear Traveler,

I know how you feel, and yes, you’ve come to the right place. I can tell the kind of person you are because of the way you feel. Your wandering energy seems listless, but I know you’re searching. You want things to make sense. You’re tired of the prison your life has become. I understand. I know.

You may be wearing the same clothes as everyone else, but the colors and textures of your mind betray you. You’re different. You’re beautiful in a way that is so unique, no one else could understand the complexities of your life. You doubt yourself. You doubt your future. You don’t doubt the transition forward.

You see me hanging in a Chinatown shop on your way to somewhere else. Thousands of gold painted coins with symbols you can’t understand sit in the bowl below me. Every one of them is one in the same. You want something else.

When you first picked me up, I felt the fingertips of a person who has experienced more. You’ve seen things no one else can describe. Your emotions run deeper. Your expression flows wider.

You need me because just like you, we are both the same. We are special. Like everyone else, we know.

 

Sincerely,

Your gift

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 Bracelet

brace

 

It’s hard to always sparkle. The constant gleaming reflection gets old. Who are those people who stare at me with the greedy eyes? As if stares were rich and darkness was poverty, I pretend I’m worth more than their pockets.

A man came up to me last week, trying to put me in a box. I would make his wife so happy. She would gasp, lovingly gazing into his eyes, and melt like the gold I am not.

“Only $6.00,” said the girl with platinum highlights. “Your lucky day!”

The men always pause, as if genuinely deciding, before moving on to another glass case. Another section of the store. Another store all together.

 

But I always sparkle for the girls. They point, specifically to my beauty, and slide me against their wrist. Hand in hand we decide in unison all the places we’ll dazzle together.

“Only $6.00,” the girl behind the counter doesn’t have to tell them they’re lucky. They pay with their last crumpled bill.

Cat Dish

bowl-29556_960_720

 

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 Watch

watch

Where would the dreams go if time did not exist?

No clocks. No metronomes. No music to sing along to.

Roads across valleys turn sideways to look forward.  Like backward:

Neither contemplates direction.

If dreams sputtered early and were caught before death, would we save them to prove they were here?

Into the net made of miniature holes, they’d fall out.  And push through.  

Earth rolling flat below them. 

The Box

read me

 

I swallowed a secret a million years before numbers, so that nothing could be held accountable.

Scrolled up, jotted down, and shoved to the back of a bottle, the message was almost drowned.

Let me out! Let me out!  A pocketed paper screamed from below.

But when pulled up and rolled out, the ink had smeared rows.

Neither black, nor white, with no crisp lines to write on,

the page merged gray in conviction.

“But what was the secret?”

The question in question has stopped being questioned.

The message was found irresponsible.