Friday, April 28, 2017


Classically, I was in my room when I heard of the death of Rory Langely. I was not very close to her, but I felt for her deeply. I felt almost dead to the world now, as I had limited human interactions to the bare minimum. I spent most of my time in my room, reading. These stories that I found on paper did far less damage to a soul than the unpredictable nature of the real world. I loved the comforts that fiction afforded me. As I pored over the dystopian literature of the 20th Century, I felt that even these environments may be favorable to the present world. It seems anyway that our society has taken on some of these dystopian aspects- such as a conforming and non-questioning population and inexplicable bouts of severe weather among other phenomena.
At least, I thought, she had been buried in the waters of the Rainbow River. It is the only part of this town that is vibrant with color; the rest of town is a husk of something that was. Hopefully the death of Rory will galvanize this town's people to do something inspirational. I should definitely get off my ass and so something for the greater good instead of fascinating over love and literature.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

All's Fair in Love and War

I'm glad that our town is rebounding so fast from the horrific storm that rocked the city yesterday. The only way I knew about this gathering was because my daily walk took me past it; word doesn't pass around much here. I took a seat on the outskirts of the festival, just close enough to make out the movie screen but far enough away from the noise of the rides. I have the feeling that this is the first time that our town has organized any public event, but I am pleased with the outcome. I am attracted to the scent of the baked goods that blows toward me, so I get up. I catch a glimpse of Autumn Moore, and I open my mouth to say hello when I see a guy sitting right next to her. I feel betrayed. I thought maybe we had something? But I guess she wasn't set on reciprocating my feelings. I buy a brownie and head back to my seat, perturbed as ever.
I had never felt the way I felt about her with any other person. Autumn was a light that illuminated my otherwise dark and dull life. But that light was only shining for a brief moment. My world of darkness resumed, and I could do nothing to stop it. I think now that I probably shouldn't have gotten into this love mess in the first place. Love was too hard. I pondered all of this while watching the trials and tribulations of life underwater play out in front of me.
Although everyone around me most likely began to feel closer to each other, I drifted inward. I concluded convincingly that I didn't need the adulation, or even acknowledgment of others to maintain my sense of self-worth. I wanted to shrivel up and live a life where no human interaction was necessary. Once I finished my brownie, I left without much regret.
I happened upon a pew in a quite unexpected place. Only after I left did I realize it was the remnants
of St. Cecilia's. I'm sitting here on this pew until I figure out which direction my life should go next.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

We found love in a hopeless place

The thunder and lightning are not letting up. I am sitting at a booth in the back corner of Los Tacos, but apparently I am not far enough away from the loud claps of thunder and unrelenting torrential rain. I try to think, but every time I arrive at the semblance of a rational thought, my consciousness is shattered to bits by the frustration of the gods. I was on a walk-- just like I normally do to stimulate my mind a little-- when the storm kicked up, instantaneously and from out of nowhere. That's when I ducked into Los Tacos, the closest building I considered relatively hospitable. The storm didn't look like it would subside any time soon, so I settled in.
On the first pass, the I politely turned down the waiter. I had something on my mind, but I wasn't sure what it was, so I gave myself some time to ruminate. Right around this time, Autumn Moore walks in. She must have been caught in the storm too, because she rushed in carrying a soaked umbrella. She catches my glimpse and headed back toward my booth. She seamlessly slides right in to the seat across from me, and it seems like she has been there the whole time I have. The waiter returns and we both order a glass of water.
Initially, we just sip our water in silence.
"What brings you here?", I ask timidly.
"I actually come here every Thursday night. It's half-priced drinks night, and I've made this a tradition of sorts".
"Now that I think about it, I don't have any traditions. I don't see my family much, and I haven't established any yet.
"Well you know what they say: 'The less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it'. 
I didn't hear what Autumn said because I was too busy looking at her. She must have been confused because I didn't respond, but her face didn't show it. She began to look at me as intently as I was at her, but the waiter's words cut through the moment like a strong wind. We quickly ordered. I got the taco plate, and she got a taco plate with a gin & tonic. We ate our food and drank, but we focused on getting to know each other better. I learned that she grew up in New York. She had completely lost the accent if she ever had one, which is why I couldn't tell. It seems like no one in this town has an accent at all. 
We finished up our meal. In the time we had been talking, the sky had cleared completely. Once again this happened seemingly in an instant. We decided to walk home, together. I think I fell in love that day.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Darker Shade of Pale

After the incident with the old man and the boy on the foggy day, I didn't think this town could get much weirder. Evidently, I was wrong. On a certain Thursday morning after the incident, I embarked upon my usual walk past Rainbow River to get my weekly dose of peace. This time was different, though. As I passed the river, I noticed it was decked out in Rainbow colors. What sort of celebration was this? Was there a gay pride festival that I was unaware of? Intrigued, I approached the river to get a close look. I recognized one of my mates from the Victorian, Boaz Johnson. He was fishing, and he acted as though the environment we both stood in was perfectly normal. "What's the deal with the water?", I said.
"There's loads of rainbow trout in this here river now! I'm just here for my daily dose!"
His rhetoric sounded familiar.
My conversation with Boaz didn't continue, as he was intent on his fishing, but I continued my walk toward the river. I began to perceive colorful shapes just on the river's edge. As I got closer to these mysterious objects, I realized that they were some kind of plant that had been thoroughly manipulated by god knows what. It was also at this vantage point that I saw the huge Crayola Factory that I hadn't spotted earlier, looming over the river. Behind its rainbow-colored facade was an aura of noxiousness that was hard not to ascertain. I saw plants of all different colors, some seeming more like fruits and vegetables than others, which seemed more like sessile animals. I was mesmerized, but I couldn't help it. My vision became blurry and all I could think about were this newfound creations that looked almost good enough to eat. I found myself walking toward a certain blue-colored plant. Before I could even attempt to stop my progress, I had taken an ever-so-slight nibble of the plant. Apparently, blue was not the color that would appease my fantasies, because I found myself spinning out of control. In no time at all, I was on the ground. I was out cold.
                                                                   •       •        •
I woke up to the soothing, southern voice of Mr. Boaz Johnson. He told me that everything was going to be alright if I just lay there for a little bit longer; he had to get back to his fishing.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

This Isn't the Town You're Looking For

Although it is very foggy, I decide to go to the park to take advantage of this rare weather phenomenon. As I approach the park, I start to see some of my neighbors wandering around aimlessly. I wonder this: what they are all doing here? Then I see a tent set up under a tree, and I am too curious not to creep closer. I come upon an old guy and a boy, and hope to god they are related. I see the train that is blocking all the roads in this town and assume that that's where the boy and man came from, but why would the train be stopped here? Never in my time in this town has a train stopped, and certainly not in tandem with other spooky events. Just as I start to wonder if all of these disturbing events are coincidental or not, the man sees me and begins to yell a simple phrase in my direction: "the truth with all its power lives inside me". He keeps repeating the phrase as if the more time I hear it, the better I will understand, but seeing that the kid he is responsible for has duct tape covering his mouth, I highly doubted that aphorism. Since the man seems mentally disturbed, I decide not to come any closer, but to covertly reestablish the path that I had been walking. I look back every so often, and every time, the man's eyes are still trained on me. I take off at a sprint and only stop until the man is completely out of sight; it doesn't take long because of the thick fog the engulfs the park. Just when I've stopped sprinting, I run into another strange person. She appears to be gliding just off the ground, and she definitely doesn't look like she's from around here. Similarly to the old man, she also has a short phrase to offer, but this time it's a question. "Look, if you had, one shot, or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted. In one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip"? If this is the moment she is talking about, I'm not the one who's "capturing" anything. By this point in time I am thoroughly freaked out. I decide the best course of action is to head back home slowly, not startling any more extra-terrestrial looking people. It is in this moment though, that the fog becomes to thick to discern any helpful landmarks. Maybe the truth that the old man was talking about is that I'm stuck here forever.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink.

I thanked Lucien again, before heading back home gingerly holding my mutilated copy of Slaughterhouse Five. How clumsy could I be? I was returning home after a long walk I had set out on without any certain destination. It was quite nice to escape the chaos of the city. I had found a nice park just east of the Rainbow River, sat down under a huge oak, and read. At least it was a Saturday, I thought to myself, so people wouldn't have to juggle work and a water crisis. When I reached The Victorian, the clamor that had erupted in the morning had died down significantly. I walked up to my room, unlocked my door, and sat down in my chair. I had no intent of getting up in the next 10 minutes, but then I remembered something. The words "you owe me one" resurfaced and lingered in my brain before I remembered that Lucien truly needed help.
I am an early riser. This morning when I turned on my faucet, only to hear a dry pumping sound, I quickly booked it to the Exxon station to get some water. Evidently, there were other early risers in this town, but I was fortunate enough to grab one of the last 5 gallon jugs.
I hurried down to the concierge, and, knowing Ellen and the state of the town at the moment, gently asked her where I could find Lucien. "He lives in 404, but he could be anywhere", she replied. I was glad she didn't release her fury on me. She had most likely had her cathartic moment earlier in the day.
I said thanks, and headed up to 404. I knocked, and he opened the door almost immediately.
"What do you want"?, Lucien hissed.
"It's Henry Johnson", I muttered almost apologetically. "I have some water for you".
He realized that I was the guy at the river earlier today.
I had already used about half of my jug, so I gave the rest to him. He took it without hesitation, but I saw the semblance of a smile form on his face.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Importance of Being Ernest

"Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes..."
Only slightly surprised, I sat up from my book, took off my reading glasses, and rubbed my eyes. I swear to God every time I get to an interesting part, the world shoves a stop sign in my face. Nonetheless, I was quite curious. I headed toward the door, and when I opened it, I was greeted by a man who seemed to be wearing a little too much makeup. I looked outside of my apartment to see if I was a special case, but I saw a file of similarly-dressed people either furiously knocking on doors or furiously entering them. It was a scene reminiscent of the scare floor from Monster's Inc. Haha! I shouldn't be laughing, though. My scanning eyes were unfortunate enough to lock with Autumn's; she looked as though she had just been captured by the antagonist in one of those slasher thrillers, while I still had the chance to escape.
"May I ask you a couple questions? I'm Michael Bessemer with Southern Living."
"Yes", I replied, not seeing the harm that my neighbors so clearly expressed.
The dude seemed nice enough, so I granted him entry. Besides, this must be the biggest thing in this city since that rat outbreak at Los Tacos back in '09. I retreated to my chair, and Michael assumed a neutral stance in the center of the room.
"You can take a seat if you want", I offered. I was surprised to find a reporter as shy as this one, but he accepted my offer and we kicked off the interview.
Rather, he noticed my copy of The Old Man and the Sea and said, "I'm surprised to see a book in this apartment building". Ok. So he was a bit snobby, but what else can you expect from a guy who writes about living in the South? 
"Well for the same reason, I'm just as surprised to be sitting here talking to you right now", I sighed. 
"I can understand where you're coming from, Mr. Johnson." 
I didn't question that he knew my name. I just wanted to start the interview.
Instead of asking me about what I do on a daily basis, or what I think about this "turn around" town, Michael told me what he thought about Hemingway. We ended up conversing about Hemingway's strange style, the motifs of his novels, and even some conspiracy theories that I wasn't aware of. 
We were so deep in conversation that I hardly heard a knock on my door. 
"Henry, are you ok?, shouted Autumn".
I replied at a similar volume: "Yeah I'm ok what's up"? 
"It's 4:00!"

Time sure flies when two literarily-inclined folk strike up a conversation.