Friday, August 12, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

They walk by slowly, little hitch in the step for swagger's sake; they are a technicolor blur of bright colors and brand names. They carry their backpacks on one shoulder or two. Or they have a messenger bag of some type. They fill them with books, and I want to tell them not to put all the weight on one shoulder and end up a man with fucked shoulders like me. They aren't beating the shit out of a heavy electric guitar though - maybe the backpack damage will be minimal.

They are fucking LOUD. Loud the way only kids can be. Like, look at me! Look at me! They cower when they are alone, but in groups they are brave and belligerent. I remember. I know what its like to think you're surrounded by has-beens and hypocrites. I know what it feels like to think you have figured things out. There's a wonderful simplicity to that feeling. Adults (at least the smart ones) realize that they don't understand anything. It's demoralizing. It's tiring. It's a drag. Makes me want to smoke cigarettes and write fast, angry songs. 

This happens every year, but every year it feels new. There is a kind of magic in that. Mystery at the very least. In some ways, it feels like trying to stay planted in gnarly surf. Undertow pulling on you. You stand up against it, try to be the big rock that dashes the wave to pieces. This is understandable. This is relatable. The beginning of journeys are always exciting and fraught with drama. 

When I'm an old man, I'll watch the kids going to school, and it will bring back a lifetime of memories from both sides of the desk. That's something, man. That's something you can hang your happiness on. Put me in an old folks home if you must, but make sure there's a window for when school's in session. 


  1. " will bring back a lifetime of memories..."

    It always amazes me what little thing can trigger a buried treasure to rise with crystal clarity. Things I couldn't have recounted an hour ago flow from my brain to my fingers—to the keyboard—to the page. Never to be buried again.

    I'm grateful for these triggers that return pieces of myself to me.

  2. I love this, because it brings back to the forefront how excited I get when I see school supplies go up in a big section of stores in August. Just knowing that somewhere, kids get to start a new school year makes me so happy. I also miss seeing that excitement.

  3. There's a feral girl with a flat moon face and stringy hair and a hint of jaundice, and everything turns black when she touches it, radiating out from her fingers like spilled ink running along walls and ceilings and pushing behind moldings and crawling under firebreaks. It's like black mold, if black mold was spread by human touch.
    Then we learn there's a treatment, a cure for her strangeness, a way to fix her that will not only stop her from spreading the creeping ink but give her the power to wipe it clean, to eradicate the shadowy strangeness just by being nearby.
    We trap her because she can't understand. We trap her and we ready the syringes and the antiseptic but her mother comes to take her child. The woman's voice moves between outraged defiance and cold command.

    She backs out the door, holding her nearly-lost child around the neck and chest, shouting nonsense to drown out our explanations. We try too loud to soothe and reason. When they're gone, someone has a plan to catch the girl again.

    1. I know this mom. I both admire and want to shake this mom.

  4. "A lifetime is a funny thing, Charles," the old man half-slurred while he contemplated the chess board between them. "It implies a consistency that doesn't ever come into fruition. We live eight to twenty lives in one lifetime. I've been your friend, your enemy, your father, your son, your brother, and now..."

    "Now what?" the even older looking man asked. He picked up his pawn and moved it into a sacrificial position. "What are you planning, now, Magnus?"

    "We both know that I can't stay in here while these atrocities continue to occur," Magnus said. "It is time for me to rise, and it is time for you and your family to join me. We've seen men like this rise to power, Charles. He must be put down like a dog. You know I'm right."

    "Erik, Erik, my friend, that's not how life works. I would give anything to get you to understand," Charles said. He shook his head at his old friend. "You are scared and frustrated. I understand. I am, as well. Killing this one man will not solve the problem."

    "What will, Charles?"

    "Forgiveness. Love. Kindness. Doing our best to foster one global community of people who love and look after each other," Charles said. "That takes more than one person. It takes everyone moving in the same direction. Working together."

    "You foolish dreamer," Magnus sighed. "This world can never be that way."

    "It can't as long as you have that attitude," Charles said as he took his friend's king. "I ask again, what are you planning?"

    Seconds later an explosion shook the ground underneath them. Magnus grinned at Charles, then slammed a needle into his neck. The other man slumped in his wheelchair, unconscious.

    "I'll see you on the newest battlefield, old friend," Magnus said. He stood, grabbed Charles' queen, and walked towards the door of the newest prison some genius had come up with in a vain attempt to keep him contained. His family was already on the other side of the door, working to get it open.

    "Hurry up," he growled. "We have so much work to do."

  5. Funny...I know those swarms of kids (as do we all), but I was off to the side, seething at the brave and belligerent. Still, there's a universal truth that made the hairs on my arms prickle with recognition. Nice.


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