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Oatmeal with Blackberries

Another weekend gone. Jesus, after all the books, religious movements, spiritual gurus, fad diets, magazines and deaths, all we know is that it goes. Not where it goes, just that it goes; and that it keeps going. Maybe that's a good enough thing to know - that nothing can ever last, and the moment you remember to notice is when it's pouring through your fingers. Heraclitus already said it better: "Panta Rhei". And a billion other desperate men through the centuries found themselves in the same pot of shit with no way out. So these particular sayings linger.

I don't know. And I'm adamant that I don't know. Everyone huddles behind their own little truths, doing their best to hang in and not get exposed to the elements. Suppose we're all just damned fools trying to somehow outwit the hangman before he can notice we're alive.

I'm not a pessimist. It's just that at times I do not like the world. How everything runs backwards and forwards and sideways and away from you. How it seems you always have to be moving to catch up, though patience works just as poorly. Trying to find some rhythm in all that noise and misery and messiness. It's stifling. But I can't be a pessimist. I can't seem to stay down. Because even living in the cultural cellar, surrounded by mold and other neglected things, i understand how happiness can come along out of nowhere, sliding like the lid of a tomb over the impossibility. Those rare times that come along when you know you have finally not been cheated.

Best thing to do when the walls start closing in is to try and tell a story. But even the stories are stalwart these days. The typer isn't listening and the soul is wandering. Life isn't easy.


Frank & Cecile

The Prompt: A great inventor was moments away from solving all of the world's problems. You are aware of this, now his blood is on your hands.

cecile  by agnes-cecile

Frank & Cecile: Or the human problem with change

"All things must be correct. They MUST be", Frank muttered. He shuffled through the wooden space. The room was dark but for a sliver of sunlight that shone through the torn drapes. The tiny light streaked across the floor, illuminating dilapidated planks with cigarette burns throughout, framed by empty bottles of wine, beer cans, & rejection slips from editor interns. In the center of it all lay the rotting corpse of the inventor.

Frank looked down at his hands. Covered in red and ugly with fury. He put them under the tap, turned the water on hot, applied the little soap he could find and began scrubbing. "All things MUST be," he repeated as he worked and worked, peeling the skin from the hands.

Behind Frank the stove timer sounded. He turned the spout to off and walked over to the boiling pot of water. Frank dipped the fork in and pulled out two pealed potatoes placing them, one-by-one, on two plates waiting by the stove top. He salted one, then the other. On his potato Frank applied a generous amount of pepper. None for the inventor. "You don't like them that way. I remembered," Frank quipped, grinning a little.

After finishing the preparation he took one plate and set it down in front of the inventor. "Here ya go Cecile. I remembered. Things must be as they are. You sometimes said that." The corpse said nothing. This lack of response did not stymie Frank. He remembered Cecile as quiet mostly, quiet and very sad. Frank swung a small refrigerator door open, grabbed a beer, opened it with a majestic flourish and downed half the bottle. He grabbed another and sat down in front of the inventor's corpse.

Frank took a bite, "too hot still. You have to wait Cecile. Wait with me." Frank took another pull from the bottle. He looked the inventor over. The corpse was face down on the wood floor. The neck was broken so that the head was made to look away. "You never did look me in the eye," Frank often said. The inventor still wore the brown suit with the red necktie. It was the red necktie that Frank spotted the first time he saw him. It reminded Frank of the red bow Cecile wore in her hair daily. Her hair was brown, unkempt and long. And the bow was lodged in the mess, the tangle making it as much a part of her as an ear or eyeball.

"Not hungry today huh? Sorry about the thirst Cecile. You're not allowed to drink. You know that. You remember what happened the last time you drank," Frank asked looking towards his companion. "You remember, don't you!" Frank threw his empty beer bottle against the wall.

"I guess I'm not all that hungry either," Frank said finally, pushing his plate away with a slight smile. Frank's smile faded and was replaced with a worried countenance. "Ya know Cecile, if you just wouldn't have changed, we could have made it. It was change that ruined us. You were there, and then you weren't."

Frank rose from the floor weary but managed to shuffle back to the fridge. He reached in and grabbed two more beers. "Goodnight Cecile," Frank nodded. He bent down and kissed the inventor in his matted, mangled, & blood-caked hair. He went back over to the gas stove and turned all the jets on full, listening to the soothing hiss fill the cheap apartment.

He got to the bedroom, took off his shirt and his shorts and laid down on the sheet-stripped mattress. He opened one beer and threw down a quarter in one gulp. He remembered the inventor, the day they had met. Sure it was the red necktie, the brown suit, he even somewhat resembled Cecile; but there was something else. The way the man talked about change. Not changing something small either, this man wanted to change EVERYTHING. And he could. He explained his plan to Frank in detail.

Frank reached into the nightstand drawer and came out with a pack of Bronson's and a small note scribbled in haste. He read the note as he'd done countless times.

Nothing can change. Everything goes and there is no why. No reason. All they do is change hats. One falls off so they pick up another and wear that one. Until that hat is no longer fashionable either. All we can do is wander about from day to night. Until we die. And that's the only change: Death.                            - C.
Frank finished the rest of his beer. He dropped the note to his chest and picked up the pack of Bronson's. Tapped one out. Frank put the cigarette into his mouth and put the lighter there. "I hope I finally made you happy," he said and flicked the lighter on.