Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Odin
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Odin the pee man

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A friend of mine that has lead a very interesting life, in the depths of NEW YORK CITY, has started writing out small short stories about his experiences as they greatly amuse and entertain me, as well as interest me. This is not my work, it's just me sharing it with you -- I have his permission but he does not wish to engage with the community (anymore) and I respect that. This person is a great friend of mine and I respect him deeply, as he has started going down a path to work on himself (and remaining very sober about it too, which is what I respect most) and so I wanted to share his story with you all so that perhaps you may become inspired like I have.

Disclaimer: some of these stories might be more 'off putting' than others as they deal with a variety of mature subjects that some people might object to. That is fine. Don't read it if you are easily offended or feel the need to critique others for lifestyle choices (like I do). Critiques are welcome, but please focus on critiquing the writing itself, not the person, because these are all auto-biographical stories told by someone who is already on the path to ... betterment? I suppose you could say.

Other stories might seem too 'out there' to be true and while I felt the same at the start, I've seen enough evidence for the lunacy that are some of these stories that I believe these stories 100% at this point. I don't think a word of these stories is lied, but if you feel otherwise, that is fine -- they turn from biographical to fictional at that point, but they form a great story none the less. Please respect that I ask you not to critique the believability and focus on the writing itself.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Odin
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JUSTICE
XI

When I was a boy, I think six or seven, I went to a Polish afterschool center every day. Like a daycare, but not toddlers. My neighborhood was, and still sort of is, a very Polish neighborhood -- All of the delis still smell like cured meats and vinegar, still owned by guys named Jakub instead of Mahmoud, and the one convent in our area keeps a steady supply of stout Polish nuns waddling through the streets. Red-faced old men start sleeping on the park benches around noon, depending on the weather, while the local newspaper has a crowned eagle on a red shield printed on the corner of every cover. If my parents wanted me to go to a non-polish afterschool center, or even a non-polish school, it would require a bus. Instead, I got picked up by the panis and walked to the center every day. The panis -- which I have come to learn is the Polish equivalent to "Mrs." -- were women ranging in their 30s to 50s, who all wore sweater-blouses and ruffly, floral shirts women that age wear a lot of. They spoke little to no English, wore their hair straight down or in tight ponytails, and wore crucifixes like it was their uniform. They each carried cartoonishly long pencils you have to win at carnivals to get. Their sons and daughters attended the afterschool center, and they would spend a lot of time using the sole computer to shop on a Polish website for handbags and coats. In retrospect, it was a brilliant business model -- They were all housewives without degrees, who had not only a place to bring their children, but a social gathering outside of church to gossip, share recipes, and generally do mom things at. I am being as impartial as I can, because they were worse than they sound.

When we'd arrive at the center, we'd be taken to the basement first thing, every day. I can still remember exactly how it looked. Four long wooden tables, pushed together to make two tables you'd use at a danish meadhall reenactment. There was a huge portrait of the then-pope, John Paul II at one end of the room that always scared me, so I averted my eyes from it whenever I could. One side of the room had the entrance and exit, and the other had two soup-kitchen style serving stations. This made sense, because the first thing all the kids would do was eat soup. The pani's children would eat first. They lined up first, and if you tried to line up with them, or before them, they'd shove you to the back. If you protested it with the panis -- or at least, if you were me, and protested in English -- they wouldn't understand you. If you tried to shove them back, one of the panis would hit you on the arm with their giant pencils. So the panis children would eat first. After lunch -- which was always either chicken soup or borscht with buttered bread, which was my favorite part of the center -- we'd go upstairs and play. The walls of the center always creeped me out more than the pope. They must have been painted a decade before I started going there, because they were marred with fingerprints, tomato sauce, and various levels of kid-grime from four feet down. The walls themselves were painted to resemble a myriad of recognizable characters -- Mickey Mouse, Elmo, Spongebob, and Bugs Bunny are the only ones I can still picture -- frolicking in a field of green grass under a cloudless blue sky. It was not the work of Michelangelo, to say the least.

Each of the characters looked like they had been microwaved for thirty seconds, or had suffered a stroke on both sides of their faces. Spongebob's eyes, nose, and mouth took up about ten percent of an otherwise swollen, hydrocephalic head, while Superman's muscular torso gave way to a set of legs that seemed give way to rickets. Mickey, who had no whites to his eyes and a long, impossibly stretched torso, was the worst. But it wasn't the scary cartoon characters that made playtime the worst time. It was Damian.
Damian was one of the pani-spawn. A squinty blonde kid, with one of those naturally hoarse voices children get from frying their vocal chords with screaming. He had little diamond studs in both ears, and a silver crucifix do you knew his mom was a pani. Like his namesake, he was the son of the fucking devil, and the first person to push me over the tipping point of physical violence. In my defense, it wasn't a one-time event that caused me to attack him, but a serious of escalations that in my kid-brain, I thought would continue if I didn't stop them. Maybe they would have. I can remember all three of the strikes with perfect clarity. It's weird what you remember from your childhood. The first strike was my spaceman hoodie. My mom had bought me a white hoodie with nasa patches on it, drawstrings and pockets making it look kind of aerospace-y. After a week of wearing it, Damian asks me to come over to the pani table, where he and the other bourgeoise would gather to draw during playtime. He says he wants to show me a trick, stuffs a hostess cupcake into his mouth, and spits it out on the table. I probably say the six year old equivalent of "That's weird, bye" and turn around and leave. I'm not ten feet away, and I feel a wet smack in the center of my back, and Damian's god-awful chuckle. I take off the jacket, and sure enough, Damian had thrown his cupcake at me like a snowball. I took it home and washed it, but the stain stayed, and my mom threw the hoodie out. The pani I complained to at the time wagged her finger at Damian, telling him what he did wasn't nice -- not bad, or wrong, but not nice. Destruction of property was only minor in the grand scheme of things, and it would have been wrong to hit him there. I knew the difference between right and wrong, and I followed it. The second strike was my caterpillar.

The panis would take us on trips to the park -- the one I mentioned earlier with sleeping men too drunk to return home to their wives -- every friday. As I often did on these trips, one particular friday, I was playing alone in the grass. I had found a caterpillar. I can still remember it perfectly too. Blue, with fine white hairs and yellow splotches down its back. It would rear up on its hind legs to say hello, or at least, this is the personality a lonely boy imprinted on it. Damian and his two cohorts -- who failed to ever traumatize me and didn't get their names burned into my memory -- saunter over to me and ask what I found. Damian had been playing with a plastic samurai sword he bought, as pani's children were allowed to bring toys from home, while the other two had sticks. I was a naive kid, so I proudly show them my caterpillar, who I had named Legolas. I wasn't popular. Without a second thought, Damian asks why I named him Legless, and plucks him from my hand to inspect him. Before I can say "Don't", he rips Legolas in two, and he and his crew respond as if it was a three part comedy. I rarely hear people laugh like that, truly guffawing. I scream, and try to put Legolas back together, and Damian sees this as a deeply personal insult. He and his two friends hit me with their sticks and sword, and stomp on the twitching remains of Legolas. I still hadn't hit him then. I cried, and told the panis. This time, Damian couldn't have his sword until we got back to the center. I still couldn't hit him, even though he had hit me. I was a gentle boy, the type to tie flowers together and name caterpillars. I had sisters and cats at home, and I assume Damian had brothers, or dogs. Neither would excuse his behaviour, but I like to think it would explain it.

The third strike was one of those cats, Musha. We called him Emperor Mushusu sometimes. An old black cat with fangs and green eyes, who would hide in our overhead cupboards and leap out when we opened them. I loved that cat. During the end of the school year, the panis would get a little more enthusiastic, and we would have more movies, field trips, and "special days". One of these was show-and-tell, a classic American tradition. I decide to bring my best friend, our cat Musha. Originally, everything had gone well. Musha would let people pet him, the panis would coo over him, and the other children who never spoke to me would ask to pet my cat as politely as possible. Even though that day is tied to this memory, I still remember enjoying how that made me feel. At some point, I had my back turned for a few moments, probably to draw a frog or tie my shoes or some dumb, trivial kid action long enough to distract me. I look around for Musha and can't find him, and then I turn a corner and see Damian, eye-to-eye. He is holding Musha in the air by his neck, giggling his usual giggle while Musha tried scratching at his wrists and making an awful sound like a goose. I can still see him choking the life from my cat, and the heaviness in my legs as I froze. I didn't stay frozen, at the very least. That was one strike too far, and I leapt out and grabbed him by the throat. He drops Musha, and only a few seconds of our fighting pass before a pani -- Damian's mother, to be precise, throws me to the floor. After we explain ourselves, we both have to apologize to one another. I can still see Damian's squint, and his see-saw sounding apology. You know the kind kids do, or at least, there must be a language equivalent. Saah-reeee. The kind of apology you give for showing up three minutes late to work.

That had been the final strike. After Musha was put in his cat carrier, I went into the "cubby", a large walk-in closet where we would hang our backpacks and coats, and I waited. I kept Musha in the cubby with me, not only for safety, but because I wanted him to see. I kept one eye at the crack of the door, and would go "Pssst" to Damian every time he passed by. After the third or fourth attempt, he noticed me. He comes to the closet, closing the door behind him -- To this day, I'm thankful he did that, because this fight would've been broken up too early if he hadn't. I don't remember what he started to say, but it took me long enough for Damian to begin a sentence before hitting him. First it was a right hook, and I could hear the wail start brewing in his throat. I grabbed him by the neck with my other hand so that he couldn't scream, and I kept hitting him with the other, as hard as I could. As he began to bleed, the scream he was trying to let out became a sort of low gibbering noise, like a gurgle with nothing in his mouth to gurgle on. I remember exactly how it felt when his nose seemed to deflate under my hand, and I remember thinking the words "I broke his nose" even in the moment I was hitting him. I kept hitting him, and hitting him, and hitting him. His face was covered in blood, starting from his nose, dripping down onto his shirt. I lacked the self control of an adult, and as the door was flung open and I was pulled off of Damian, I grabbed him by the ear and tore out one of those diamond earrings. That was when he really started screaming.

The panis had to separate us, but they had nowhere to put me, no office or time-out area or anything like that, so they closed the door to the cubby and called my mom. I sat there in the closet with Musha and listened to Damian's horrible screaming, the screaming that tore his throat to a scratchy whisper, and I smiled. My mom arrived later, having found her son locked in a closet and hearing that the other boy choked the cat she had for over a decade, and spared Damian not an ounce of sympathy. Damian's mother, who had been threatening to sue earlier, was now being told by my Italian battleaxe of a mother that she was going to watch a demolition team tear down her business after the legal battle she would put them through, and she became much less sure of her and her son being in the right. I never saw Damian after that, but I kept his earring for many years until it got lost in a move. I don't have the earring anymore, and I don't have Musha, but I still have a kind of courage you can't get until you throw a beating on someone.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Odin
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THE HANGED MAN
XII

"I need that money today, or we're going to have some big problems."

I have always held the belief that you don't realize what you are, or what you are thinking, until you have said it. When I first heard myself say those words to another man, I think that was the first time that I fully understood the kind of person I was becoming, the path I had started to go down.

"Suck my dick." CLICK

It wasn't an unexpected response, but it wasn't the one I was hoping for. Or, in a way, it was. You don't threaten someone unless a part of you, deep down, wants to exact violence on them. Sometimes I wonder what I really wanted from that situation. At the time, I was living with a girlfriend of mine who sold drugs -- When you do drugs, this doesn't sound like a bad idea. The closest thing I can describe the convenience to is setting up your bed in the middle of a grocery store. Anyway, this guy -- a friend of my girlfriend and I who we'll call Tom to protect the innocent -- had racked up a debt to my girlfriend of around three hundred dollars. Not hitman money, but certainly no chump change. As debts often do, his only became bigger and bigger because of his friendship, and the ability to cash in the verbal IOU of a friend -- I'll get you next week.
Next week hadn't come for a long time. Months, in fact, and I had been willing to probably let it grow to years until I had overheard coked-up Tommy bragging about a debt he'll never have to pay at a party we were both attending. Cocaine, for the un-illuminated, works as a better truth serum than alcohol. Drunks realize when they're making a bad call and go "whoops, I'm drunk", to fix their steps. Cokeheads relish in bad calls. It makes them feel powerful. It makes the high higher. Tom and I used to work at the same restaurant during the beginning of my relationship. I left and he stayed. The plan I devised was originally much more brutal -- I was going to show up at closing time, knife in tow, demand the money then and there, and then stab him in the stomach if he didn't give it to me. After a few days of thinking, I decided that the plan was stupid, and switched gears.
I recruited three of my friends, who I'll namelessly describe to protect the innocent(?) again. One was big, one was bigger, and one was biggest. Any other details would be superficial. I made them wait in a train station -- For those of you not from a city, empty train stations are where it goes down. Subterranean cement rooms with no cameras, no windows, and only one entrance or exit. I showed up at closing time, but no knife like I had originally planned. I wasn't going to rob him at knifepoint for his tips.

"Hi Tom." Was all I said. When you're closing a restaurant at three in the morning on a pay day, you're already a little stressed, but Tom whipped his head back like he had heard Death. He asked me what I was doing there, and I told him I was sorry for being so rude about his debt, and that I wanted to make it up to him. Me and Tommy, out on the town. Drinks, dinner, the whole shebang.
"Thanks, but I'm not hungry." I wonder if he already knew sometimes.

"Of course you are, you've had a long day of work."

"I'm really not hungry."

"Then we'll get drinks."

So, Tom came with me, begrudgingly. I didn't want him to run, so I started making conversation. I asked how his mother was doing, how work was, and other trivial bits of verbal fluff. By the time I saw the station, I could feel my heart hammering my ribs. I gestured for Tom to go in first so he wouldn't run if he saw my friends, and he obliged. The worst part is, once he passed the turnstile, I think he dropped his guard. He must've thought I was gonna take his wallet while he was taking out his card. He started smiling more, joking around, and actually responding to my small talk. I remember thinking -- only for a second -- that I wished I could undo it. I wished he hadn't come with me, and that he hadn't rung up his debt, and he hadn't become my friend all those years ago. We turned the corner, and the three gorillas I brought with me were standing as still and tough as I told them to be. Tom stopped in his tracks and looked me in the eye.

He didn't say any memorable quote, or beg for forgiveness, or anything cheesy like that. He just looked at me. I hated it. In a moment, I went from wishing this wasn't happening to wishing I could cut out his eyes. There was so much anger in his look. Not betrayal-rage, and not surprise-fury. Just a cold, sad anger that of all the people to do this to him, it was me.
"Give us everything on you." One of my friends piped up. Not on my approved script, but it worked all the same. For a second, it looked like Tom was going to give us a fight. He looked around, sized up his odds, and went into his pockets. At first, he gave us a twenty and a five and said it was all he had, as if I had forgotten when the restaurant paid us. I shook my head, and put my hands in his pockets -- this is known on the streets as running one's pockets. Aside from a robbery, it's a deeply personal kind of insult, to feel another man's fingers probing your pockets for what isn't his.
His paycheck was six hundred dollars. I didn't say any wiseguy line like "Oh, what have we here?" or something cheesy. I just looked at him. I could see tears welling in his eyes, but to his credit, he didn't cry. He just got on the train, and I assume, went home to cry.

Me and my friends went to a diner that night, and used the money on brinner. The rest I gave to my girlfriend, and she told me that next time, I should come home straight away.

Next time?
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Odin
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NINE OF SWORDS
IX

I still remember the first time I saw her. I don't know if there's any memory I can conjure up in more vivid detail. I was fifteen and she was eighteen, but I was tall and mean, and she was short and gentle. She wore a white and blue striped shirt, and a pair of wire framed glasses. Her sleeves were rolled up, and held in place with those elbow-buttons I had previously thought were stupid. Green cargo pants and grey low-top converse with a stain on her right toe. Her headphones were white and red, with cracks in the earmuff parts from being worn to pieces. The first time I made eye contact with her, I truly, one-hundred-fucking-percent, was in love with her. I don't know why. I had met prettier girls before, and I've met prettier girls after, and none have illicited the same response. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

I don't believe in love anymore. I believe the thing we call infatuation is the closest thing to it. I think everybody gets one or two shots at infatuation in their life, and the rest of their relationships are spent trying to recreate that magic. I don't think it's ever successful, but I think successful couples are the ones who get the closest to recreating that infatuation in the long-term. Don't get me wrong, this isn't the opinion of some incel who wants his highschool sweetheart back. I've had plenty of girls be infatuated with me. I know what it's like to be on the receiving end. It doesn't change my mind.

I had been dating another sophomore for over a year, and she was a senior getting ready to go to college. After a month of stealing glances around corners and stumbling over words when she'd talk to me, she told me she was into me and that she wanted me to dump my girlfriend for her. It took me an hour after hearing this to dump my girlfriend, a day before valentine's day no less. I shouldn't have done it that way. God, if you were me, you'd be sick of that phrase by now. I shouldn't have done it that way.
I tried learning her mother tongue so her taxi driving father would like me, and I learned to make pakora so her housewife mother would love me. I painted her room myself. I was willing to convert to Islam, for Christ's sake. We had a song that was ours, and a flower that was ours, and a restaurant that was ours. I fucked it all up. When the time came for her to go to college, I came to her with one of the most vulnerable statements I could open a conversation with -- Her leaving was the worst thing that had ever happened to me, and I wanted to kill myself. She heard this as "If you leave, I'm killing myself", and rightfully blocked me.

We were together for a little over seven months. I didn't so much as see a tit, which sounds crude, but is really something to think about when you're studying the actions of a fifteen year old boy. This was because she didn't want to, so I didn't push. I mean, I did, but not in that way. She'd only tongue me when I took her on nice dates. She'd only let me squeeze her ass when I stole things for her. The most expensive thing I ever took for her was a three hundred dollar aquarium filter. I put it in my bag and walked out like it was nothing. She clapped and threw her arms around my neck. I would do more than take something from a pet store if I could ever feel that again. I do a litmus test of sorts with every girlfriend I've ever had since her, questioning if I'd dump them if she came back into my life. The answer is always yes.
I can still picture her face perfectly. Sometimes, in the dead of the night when I'm very sad, tired, drunk, or all three, I close my eyes and picture her face. I can see the contour of her nose, and the divet in her lips, and the hazel green in her eyes. I can see the curve of her jaw with complete clarity, and the shadow in her face where her cheekbone meets her skin. Every year, this reconstruction takes a little longer. When I can perfectly imagine her face, when I've put all the pieces together, I close my eyes and I reach out one hand and I touch her hair. I feel out her face in the darkness like a blind man. It would be funny if it weren't true. I reach out and I feel her face, exactly as it once was, smiling at mine.

Then I open my eyes, and it is still dark. And I am still alone.
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Odin
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THE SUN
XIX

I was taken from my parents at a very young age -- I don't know which age, precisely, or how long I was gone. I don't want to do the math alone, and it's not the kind of thing you ask your parents about growing up. My mother had an argument with my unemployed father of three about him getting a job, and it ended with her stabbing him. Not usually a tremendous problem, but this particular stabbing was witnessed by my sister, who told her best friend the next day at school. This best friend's mother was a lesbian single mother in the 90's, who had previously been in a marriage where she was beaten regularly. Not an important detail to my life, but an important detail to this story. This woman reports the incident to the police, who in turn find out about my dad's lucrative drug dealing. They launch an investigation, and all of my siblings -- who are technically half-siblings -- are taken to their "other" parent, far away. The only one with no "other", I got sent to live with my grandmother. Her views were, and still are, not the views I'd associate with healthy parenting.

She was a Jehovah's Witness who had spent the 70's and 80's doing cocaine, and spent the 90's trying to split her perfect, golden son, and the woman he chose. She arrived at my house on their wedding day with a megaphone to call my mother a whore until my maternal cousins drove her off with bats, for instance.

The earliest complete memory I have is Family Court. The hallway inside is very long, with 70's plastered ceiling and seafoam green walls. There are tiny holes in the cracks in the wall, and I look into them and imagine tiny dancing bugs. My mom and dad are walking very slowly, so I run to the end of the hall and back again to show them how fast I am. They don't notice. My mom picks me up, and it is the last time my feet touch the floor. My sneakers won't light up if I can't stomp, so I protest for a few moments until my mom says something that makes me laugh. I bury my head in her sweater, and the familiar smell of lavender perfume calms me down. I don't think I even knew what a lavender was.

The courtroom itself is much less different than the ones you see on TV. It is all white, with fluorescent lights and bleached tile floors. The only thing wooden are the benches, but my mom keeps holding me tightly. There are cops everywhere, and they are mad to see me. I think I am going to jail, and start to cry. My mom plays with my hair and cries a little bit too, but she talks to me until I stop crying. She stops crying, but tears leave her eyes without making a sound. People talk for a very long time. Longer than I knew people could talk. They talk and talk and talk. I get hungry, then I get hungry and tired. I want to cry, but I do not want my mom to cry too. At least the talking has gone long enough for her to stop crying. Then the talking continues a little longer.

Eventually they stop talking, and everybody has to stand up at once. My mom lifts me off her chest and looks at me like I have a cut on my face. I start to worry until she gives me a hug, tighter than she usually does. Ten times tighter. She starts to cry a lot, even though I didn't get hurt. I try to smile and say something and hug her, and she stops crying, but she covers her mouth like she's going to throw up and then she starts crying even harder. Her face is red. I start to float away. My dad looks at me, and then he looks at the floor like he is in trouble. My brother and sisters aren't there. I suddenly feel scared again, and shout for my mom to come take me. I realize I'm not floating, but being carried by a different woman. This new woman smells like soap, and she keeps making a slow "shhh" sound. I shout for my mom again.

She doesn't. She just keeps crying. I shout again, and she starts walking towards me very fast until two policemen walk in front of her and start talking to her. My dad has not looked away from the floor. I look back at my mom, and I reach as far as I can, but I cannot reach her. Two doors close.

The soap lady tells me her name is Ms. Gross, and asks if I think she's gross. I ask her where my mom is. She tells me I can see my mom after I answer some questions on a test, and I don't know what to say. She asks if I have any questions about the test, and I ask her where my mom is again. She tells me the same thing, and then takes out a piece of paper. A tall black man walks into the room. He says his name is Mr. Karim, and says he is another social worker, and then he says he is from Africa. He asks if I know where Africa is, and I say no. He says it is over 4,000 miles away. I ask him if that is how far my mom is, and he looks at Ms. Gross like he is angry.

The first question is what my favorite food is, and how often I eat it. Then they ask how often I usually have dinner, which I think is a trick question, because dinner is every night. They ask if my parents ever yell, and I say yes. Mr. Karim looks happy. He asks if they yell at each other, and I say yes. He asks if they yell at me, and I say no, and Mr. Karim looks angry again. Ms. Gross asks me more questions I've since forgotten, and then she tells me I did very good on the test. I ask to see my mom, and she says the test isn't over. I ball my hands into what must have been my first fists and tell her she cheated. She brings out a chest of toys from under the table, and asks if I would like to play -- I tell her I want to see my mom again. She tells me part of the test is playing with toys, and I have to play to finish the test.

Mr. Karim asks if I want to see my mom, and suddenly I forget about Ms. Gross. I tell him I do, and he tells me that I have to finish the test to see her as quick as I can, so I agree to play with the toys. Ms. Gross spills the chest onto the carpet and she and Mr. Karim take out papers.

I start to play with a dinosaur, and they ask what it is and what it's doing. It's a dinosaur looking for food, which surprises me that they can't see. Then I play with a truck, and they ask the same questions. It's me driving my truck. Then I play with a doll of a black-haired woman, and they ask if it is my mom. That made me so angry. That was a different question. It wasn't my mom. They wouldn't let me see my mom. I launch the doll at Ms. Gross and it hits her in the chin. Mr. Karim gets up and makes a motion to block the doll after it has hit her, and Ms. Gross looks mad at me. She tells me it was bad to do that, and asks why I did it.

I tell her I finished the test.

---

They didn't let me see my mom after that. They took me to a woman I never met, who told me she was my dad's mom. I asked if she was taking me to my mom in her car, and she said no -- my mom was a very bad woman who i wouldn't see again. I start to cry, and she puts the radio on. It is people talking. She teaches me about God, and sin, and Jehovah. She tells me awful stories about the city we live in, and the terrible things that people do to other people. She makes me pay close attention to the bad things on the news to drive this home. She teaches me about 9/11, and Rape, and Murder, and Drugs. She shows me news articles with my dad being arrested, and she shows me a picture of him being carried away by the police. His hair is long and brown and he is bleeding from his mouth so much. I tell my grandma he looks like Jesus Christ, and she agrees. She teaches me about the world outside, but she doesn't teach me about the things inside. She washes me, wipes my ass, brushes my teeth, puts my clothes on, and does my work when I start preschool. She feeds me and feeds me and feeds me.'

One day, she brings two people to see me. One is Jesus, I think, and one is a woman. She keeps crying, and my grandma tells me I don't want to see her anymore. I tell her I don't want to see her anymore, but it feels strange. I know this person. She shows me the sweater she brought me. It is itchy and green, but it smells familiar. I feel my sanity crashing down like a thousand red hot comets. Mom. My mom. My mom. I cry and cry and cry like I have never cried. I thought she had left me forever. I thought she had died and moved away and a thousand other lies. And here she was. My parents bring me home. My mom holds me the whole ride back. She tells me my grandmother would throw out letters and hang up on birthday calls. She tells me the gifts she had bought for me over the years, and starts naming things I thought my grandmother had bought me on a whim. She tells me what birthdays are, and how old I am. I am four now. She tells me nobody will ever take me away again. We cry.

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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Odin
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ACE OF WANDS

"You remember King Arthur's sword?"

"Excalibur." I say excitedly.

"Yes. This is our Excalibur." My father dropped the bat on the ground with a loud PLUNK, enough to make my willowy nine year old self to jump back. My dad looked at me and gave his strange, single, smileless laugh. Huh.

"Instead of a stone, you keep it by the door. If I'm not here, you're the man of the house, and this is what you use if someone is trying to get in and take something."

"The true Excalibur wasn't the one from the stone, dad. Arthur couldn't get the true Excalibur until he became a man and the Lady of the Lake --"

"Shut it."

----

I'm sixteen, making eyes at the girl across the table from me instead of reading Fences. I was one of three white students in the school, and after Precious and 47, Black Lit was getting kind of repetitive. The only fun the teacher lets me get away with is that when it's my turn to speak, I can recite the lines in a voice not too unlike Chef from South Park. There weren't many things I liked at that age, so mindless fun was more-or-less the thing tethering me to normalcy, keeping me from dropping out for as long as I did.

Mr. Ameen calls my name, and I'm plucked from Planet Eyefucking and back onto Earth, where I am in Remedial English reading fucking Fences. It takes me a few seconds to find the lines.

"You're gonna have to use it. You wanna draw that bat back on me . . . You're gonna have to use it."

Before the other reader can continue, the bell rings, and the chaos of dismissal starts anew. At the time, I hadn't thought much of it. I hopped back in my spacecraft, and set course once more for Planet Eyefucking. I never learned how the play ended, because I skipped the remaining classes that marking period to have sex. Which is a shame, because Fences isn't half bad.

----
I am nineteen. My father comes clean about a long affair two days before Christmas Eve, and my mother throws him out of the house without stabbing him again. A month later, my parents are in the ugliest part of their divorce. After running from notaries and living at three different addresses, my father returns home for his things and his handed notarized papers by his only son. I return upstairs while my parents begin to argue for one of the last times to begin bringing trash bags of my father's books down to the vestibule to keep him at the entrance of the house.

They are heavy, unread tomes. I have to step lightly to avoid the corners of the books tearing the bag's black skin open. By the time I can get downstairs, their argument has turned into shouting, mostly on my mother's side. My mother is insulted by some remark he made, and wants him to wait in his car. He refuses, stating it is his house too. My mother retorts that he hadn't put a dime on its payment.

This continues back and forth, as it had countless times by then, and I return upstairs to bring more books down silently. My parents never got along very well, infatuation or not, and these arguments were not a rare thing. I return downstairs with the second bag, and my father is beginning to raise his voice. I step towards the door and look outside at his car. He never held a job as long as I had known him, and now he had an SUV. I idly wondered if it was his mistress's. I look back, and the argument has escalated further in those few seconds. My mother's face is red. She tells him, in uncertain terms, that he has to get out of her house or she will call the police. He tells her it would take too long for them to get here to stop him.
Without a thought process, without deciding on an action or questioning it in my head, I feel myself lift the bat and charge towards him. As per usual, I didn't have any good lines, nothing to write down in any actual books. I shouted for him to get out as loud as I could. He dropped the books he had been holding, and pressed himself back into the wall, the way you can see all of a person's chins begin to fold. His eyes were bigger than I had ever seen them. All those things happened in a split second, but the silence afterwards felt like an eternity. The hands that had been holding books were now raised slightly. Eyes that had once looked down on me with a fatherly glint were now bloodshot and wide with fear. I was the man of the house now, and he was in my house.

My father waited in his car, and I brought his bags outside while my mom cried upstairs. On the last bag, my father came out of the car and waited on the doorstep with a sorry look in his eyes. He looked like he had something important to say, some apology that would make up for years in and out of jail, for the past month of torment, and for inciting that kind of anger in me. Outside, looking in from the January snow, I almost felt bad for him. I opened the door and handed him his final bag, and waited for what he had to say. That silence was quicker.

"You know, son, it wasn't right --"

No. Just another lecture. He had robbed me of a decent childhood, and now he was trying to rob me of my moment of freedom.

"Don't you ever darken my fucking doorstep again."

I closed the door, locked it, and took a few steps back before turning around. He suddenly looked less pitiful. I turned off the light, and he vanished into the rest of the night. Oh well. At least I managed to think of a good one-liner that time.
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