Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Falcon Scotch - A Short Story

Joseph Lennox stood on the steps of his front porch and stared at the majestic falcon that was flying wildly across the twilight sky.  There was an orange hue about the clouds and it turned them a purple grey color that looked rather picturesque.  Over these strange formations the silhouette of the bird passed over again and again.   He brought himself to a seated position and pondered it a moment, and it flew as if it had no plan, and no purpose.    In fact he thought that maybe it was lost, and unaware of what to do next.  The frantic patterns it moved in up and down, then diagonally returning to the center and passing through and just against that strange and beautiful purple sky.  Then it stopped flapping its wings as it swept up on last time and halted in mid-air as if frozen before plummeting to the earth.  There was a tuft of dust that came up about it when it hit just feet away from Josephs position in the dirt and gravel of his driveway.   As if not believing the sight he pondered it a moment, dumbfounded that this thing had once been tearing up that twilight sky and was now still and lifeless upon the earth.
When he came to his senses Joseph Lennox moved from his spot on his steps and at a steady but frenzied pace he approached the broken bird. Once it was at the tips of his boots he leaned down and lifted it up to discover that its chest still rose and fell, rose and fell.   He dropped it in a moment of shock and it fell with a lesser thumb against the gravel.   He swore he heard a bone snap but he reached down and scooped it up again.  Now the worry entered his mind that after its tremendous fall he had now killed it by dropping it but a couple feet to the earth.  Its wing hung off to its side, suspended in the air as if the limb of a dead body, and it wobbled back and forth as Joseph rushed it inside of his small house.
There were no other people inside just the empty air of nothing and the sound of his leather boots stomping against the wooden floor boards.   He threw his arm to wipe a collection of dishes from his counter top.  The metal ones clanked and panged against the floor while a few ceramic plates and bowls shattered, but he cared not for these materials.  With his mind on the dying animal we stepped over the broken pieces without a second thought and proceeded down hallway and into his study.   There were several bottles of various liquids upon his counter bookshelves but fewer books.   There were some army manuals, survival guides that he had held onto during his war days but nothing that concerned him now.   He took a glass that sat next to one of these bottles and he poured himself some scotch.  He perspired slightly from his movements from the frantic rabble that was in his mind.   With one throw back he swallowed down the liquor and stepped out of his study to enter into his wash room.
On the top of the sink were small pill bottles of various medical remedies but he did not reach for these his hand found a roll of medical tape and he quickly turned about and headed back to the wounded bird.   For a moment he watched it to see if its chest still rose and fell and while it indeed was he could tell it was much longer between each breath.   His hands moved quickly and he adjusted the broken wing so that it was lined up properly as much as he deemed he could and he wrapped up the feathered thing with the medical tape, securing it in place.   After he was done with that he moved the falcon’s head gently with his hand, and it looked pathetic and sickly.   Its eyes staring off into an unknown place.
Joseph couldn’t help himself, and a tear slowly escaped the corner of his eye.  Even though there was no one else there to see him he quickly wiped it away as if he were afraid God would have seen the fragile state of his heart.  The orange twilight shone through the window just barely, as night began to show its full head, and the light in the room darkened.   There was a small metal lantern with chipped red paint within arm’s reach and he acquired it quickly.   After striking a match and its small yellow flame burned for a moment and began to eat at its stick he brought it to the wick of the lantern and lit the thing.  With a swipe of his hand the match was extinguished and the light of the lantern lit up the area around the birds face.  
He watched as its black little eye moved about in fear, as it was immobile – possibly paralyzed.  The falcon watched Joseph and possibly felt his hands upon its chest as the man tried to bring it back to life.  And Joseph saw that look of fear as a stranger; maybe a predator turned it every which way.   He thought about how afraid it must have been being stuck in that position.   Itself a predator of the skies but now a wounded useless piece of meat that would be picked off by wandering coyotes.
It was hard for Joseph not to contemplate the other animal he had rescued after it had been mauled by a raccoon in the night.  The rabbit had been a dark grey color its ears tall and rigid.  The look in its eyes was not unlike the falcons, a look of defeat in preparation for dissection.  Joseph had come outside due to its violent scream, a high pitched squeal that had roused him from a dead sleep.  And when he came upon that dark grey body barely visible against the moons light he quickly gathered it up knowing that its attacker was watching nearby for the disturbance of the man to leave.   That dark grey colored rabbit had been heavier than the falcon and had been far more injured than the bird, and since he had managed to save it he assumed he would have no trouble with the bird.   But perhaps the two species genetic make-up was too different, but he didn’t care.   His task was simple.
It took several days but every new morning Joseph discovered the falcon in a better state than the last.   Even when it could fully stand upon its talons, and could not fly away it did not fear the man.  True in its first moments of recovery it was afraid and tried to strike at Joseph with its beak, but soon came to realize that it was alive now because of this creature and if it had wanted to feast on its feathered flesh it would have already.   As the falcon healed it became gentler screeching a welcoming greeting as Joseph entered the house and as he exited.  
The man had brought it pieces of fish or a dead rodent he had found in his yard.  The falcon being the predator that it was welcomed this feasting time and choked the different meats down, and then Joseph having fed the bird its fill would retire to his study and another glass of scotch.  He would stare down the bottom of the glass as it sat against his nose and he’d ponder what to do next.   When he was satisfied with his next thought he’d set the bottle and the glass down on his bookshelf and return to his next course of action.
Then it came to the day when the falcon fluttered about in the air a moment above the counter and he knew it was set to return to its hunt.  That the beautiful majestic falcon could soar over another twilight sky and snatch up unsuspecting victims in its talons.  When it would tear away the flesh and innards of some field mouse and satisfy its ravenous appetite.  Returning itself to its hunter instincts given to it by the Lord God.    He could not have expected such a bird to remain inside of his home so he carried it – as it had come to let him do – to the porch and he set it loose into the air.

It fluttered about in front of him at eye level a moment and swooped back and forth as if saying its fair well.   Joseph waved it on to the higher sky, smiling at his success at bringing the thing back into its element.  The falcon screeched a farewell and climbed into the spaces in front of him.  That was when Joseph removed his sidearm and took one shot at the thing that sent it plummeting back to the gravel in a cloud of dust.   He took a step forward, and holstered the handgun and the chain attached to it bounced a dark grey rabbit foot against his thigh.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Reading the Headlines

Just in,
We cannot listen to anymore of your mouthing off
In actuality we will listen however
Because like a bug drawn to a daring blue light
We will sink our teeth in,
And open up our ears,
Till we are zapped and not killed but terribly irritated
We'll seek revenge for the action
Soon the swarm of daring insects attack
Then there is nothing but to wait
Just in,
Do not worry the hippo with the hip displacement
Though it can't move much more
It'll still thrash about in desperation
Breaking its bones to show off its sizeable destruction
Then when all is said and done they will flatten a few birds
And when the rest of the world is shocked
The hippo will just yawn and fall asleep
Because why should they care at all anymore
Just in,
I'm not sure what all the fuss is about
But if you are angry I will be angry too
Because we are yelling at the top of our lungs
I will welcome the agitation with open arms
Embracing a circle-jerk of emotions
Just because I don't want to be left out
For if everyone is saying it 
It has to be the truth.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Some of My Recent Annoyances

What can be said of opinions that havent' already been said.  We know that like assholes everybody has one, and that assholes especially have them.  We are far to easily offended and insist on stating our own opinions as fact when we rebuttal someone elses view.  Or if someone offers a different point of view to our own we are quick to attack them, and tell them that they are wrong.  But then again who is right.  It is another thing we are easy to do, say that well its just my opinion.  Then where is the offense coming from exactly, why do we feel the need to state our opinions and say that it is just our opnion when it is plain it obviously is our opinion because when you are offering a viewpoint that is your own it is an opinion.  Perhaps you can back it up with various research and facts, but others can then come up with their own research and facts.  And then thats when the debate begins.  That is when the argument starts and mostly over stuff that honestly in the grand big picture doesn't matter.

This brings me to the points I wish to discuss.   A few things that keep cropping up over social media or in general just on everyday interactions.

I'll start with a couple big ones.   It is my opinion if you want to send people off the hook, and get them really pissed off and free to come up with the most hair brained excuses just talk trash about smoking and guns.   There is hardly anything else you'll bring up that people will become excessively pissed off over than when you question their insistence on smoking cancer sticks, or owning firearms.   The minute gun control is brought up the immediate response someone on the opposing side has to bring up is that the government wants to take away our guns.  Wants to walk in and take our property, this is hardly the truth.  Gun control does not equal removal of all weapons, its simply making them harder to get, having more extensive background and mental health checks.  No one wants to hear this.  Whats so wrong with more regulations?  If you are in your right mind what do you have to fear honestly?

Smoking is another one.  It was a few years ago that an old classmate of mine remarked about the ads that played before movies and how he didn't understand how someone could keep smoking after seeing such an ad.   Sure enough a smoker saw this post and had to defend their addiction.   I'm all for someones right to smoke, go on knock yourself out, smoke to your hearts content.  But don't act like its not gross.  You are inhaling smoke, smoke is the offshoot of burning things to nothing.  Scientific studies and the surgeon general have warned us that its bad.  How can you be pissed off that someone would comment that smoking is bad, when it point in fact is bad for you.   I don't care if your fathers father smoked cigarettes all their life, they are still a cancer risk they still contain toxins.  When smoking was banned in restaurants and public places it was a good thing.   Yes your right to enjoy your cigarette wherever you chose was trampled upon but considering that what you smoke is poison, it isn't fair to make other people have to inhale the same smoke.  It was a good decision on the part of the government.

The not so environmentally friendly are my next irritation.  Thesre are the people who act like they are saving the planet one properly thrown away cigarette butt at the time.  Who talk about how good they are because they pick up after themselves.  Let me tell you somehting, you are good for doing that, but you are not the problem.  Why not pick up other peoples trash.  Why not volunteer to plant some trees or clean up pop rings along the beach.   Why not stop getting your pets drunk or high, because they do not like it.   You are not one with nature because your mind is altered and you've reached some higher plain of existence.   and you don't have to be arrogant about it.  You aren't saving the world by cleaning up after yourself you are doing a common courtesy.

This whole misunderstood pitbull craze.  I find it funny that we need causes that we don't feel hopeless with to feel like we are making a difference.  I'm all for animal safety and rights, but no misunderstood pitbulls are not the same as warn torn countries.  Are not more important than the bombings in the Gaza strip or the terrorist group ISIS.  Its not just pitbulls there all sorts of stupid small causes that people take up.  And let me tell you something sitting around on your ass is not going to make a difference, talking about how you support or don't support something is not going to make a difference.  Not bettering yourself for higher paying wages is not making a difference, wasting your money on music festivals, on DVD's, on bongs, or on make-up or concerts is not making a difference.  here's where I fall in.  I sit around on my ass and I see the horrors of the world and it frustrates me, it motivates me to want to write to strive to be good enough to be paid enough to make some sort of differnce I dont sit around and bitch on the internet about these atrocities becasue I haven't done anything, and I feel like I can't make a huge difference yet.  I want to succeed in order to be able to make a difference.  Money is an important part of this life, and it makes the world go round for good or ill.  Not love, not good vibes, or good intentions.  With some action it helps, with some money it helps.

Lets talk a little bit about Israel and let me be fully honest, I dont know all thats been going on.  But if you are a christian and you are being told to support Israel no matter what, and you are a proud supporter of "pro-life" causes well you can't do both.   You can't say you love babies, while you support a country who is killing many many children and innocent people.  You can't be pro-war and pro-life.   There is no excuse, if you are pro-life it doesn't end with abortion, why not go look at some of these kids who are having limbs blown off or who are in indistinguishable pieces and don't tell me you care about life.  You hypocrites.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Letter, Robin Williams

In one of his stand up specials the late George Carlin cracked that suicide wasn’t an easy way out it was hard.   While he found the humor in the situation of leaving notes, and what not as usual with most of the things Carlin spoke about there was a level of seriousness to it.   Yesterday the world lost one of the greatest entertainers to this tragic end.  What must have gone through his mind to make him determine it would be better to feel nothing ever again is beyond me, but I know a decision like that could not have been made easily.   Robin Williams was 63 years old, if suicide were any easy thing and if it were true he dealt with his demons most of his life then he would not have made it as far as he had.   How many times do we have to push through till we are too tired to push anymore?  Can we absolutely judge someone for this final act when we do not know all the circumstances?  The answer is ultimately a no.   In this life we assume that when someone can make us laugh or who can entertain us every moment of their existence is a happy person, someone who has no need to battle demons, no need to feel pain for absolutely no reason.  That’s what depression is.   Its not about feeling awful over something, that’s grief, or regret, being a depressive is feeling low all the time.    Somehow finding a light in your life, only to feel as though its simply covering up the shadows of your existence.  It sounds sad, and maybe it is, but it’s a part of many people’s lives.  I cannot judge Mr. Williams decision to leave this life, but I can mourn it.

I’ve been trying to think why this particular celebrities death bothered me so much more than others.  Or why the death of a man I didn't actually know should bother me – as with the case with most celebrity deaths.   Maybe in some way he was a part of my life.   As a child growing up in the nineties I was treated to many films that Robin Williams did that were pointed toward families and children.  Hook, was one of my favorite among these at the time.  For the longest time.   I think it ultimately sums up what he meant in my life, he showed that even as an adult, even as someone who at the start of the film could have resembled my own father still had a child's heart deep down inside.  After all the cynicism this world has to offer Mr. Williams showed us, at least through his movies that getting older could still be exciting and full of awe.   We didn't have to age to be the grumpy old cuss’ that were expected to be.  We could age and be zany and sporadic and maybe annoy the hell out of people, but we could be that.    Then there was Mrs. Doubtfire and in its way featured a similar journey, the cynical father, the loving and bewildering nanny, and ultimately discovering it’s the same person.  There’s Flubber, Toys, and so many other works during that time that I can remember.  It was as though he were our crazy uncle who we got to visit on screen.  Of course he had his dramatic roles too, but while those are mesmerizing it’s the silly high energy performances that struck me the most growing up and are the ones that I find myself reflecting on.   Then I cannot leave out the Genie from Aladdin, who was quite possibly unlike any other animated character we had seen in an animated feature.  He was undeniably an icon.

It is scary to anyone including myself who may suffer from any sort of depression.   We are scared, shocked, and I think if Robin Williams can’t handle it, how can I.   It is important to remember that we are all of us individuals with our own journeys.   We all deal with our shortcomings, our fears, our histories differently.   Our yesterdays are not all the same, as will our tomorrows be different.   My outlet has always been to write, so that most of my stuff is bitter and sometimes quite dark but its as though I’m letting someone else experience it.   I’m sure Mr. Williams chose to make us laugh because in some way he wanted us to feel better, and it would make him feel better, but it can be exhausting shouldering the happiness of a crowd, of an audience whether it be one other person or thousands.  Some of us give so much of ourselves to lift up and hold up others that we forget to let people lift us up, or we forget that we need to lift such people up in return.    I’m not saying these are the thoughts that ran  through Williams’ head but they could have been.   None of us truly know what someone else is feeling, and the world is a cold unfeeling place, so that most of us, most of the time feel numb.

My inner child will miss you Robin Williams, and I will not let the part of me go.   I think even if it was a small influence you have had an impact on millions of lives.  Young and old.   I believe that your work will hold the test of time, that many of us can go back and feel like we are laughing for the first time.  Many of us can go back and shake our heads at your off the wall bonkers style and we can smile for a couple minutes, and stretch it out to a couple hours, and hold onto that feeling for a couple days, to a couple months, to a couple years, and if we do that enough maybe we can be okay.   You are not saving us, but you are giving us a few extra moments to reflect and save ourselves.   I’m being sentimental but many people do not realize the impact all this movie going can have.  That there are real people inhabiting those characters on the screen, there are real emotional places they are drawing from.  That the catharsis they bring us, just as reading a book, or listening to music, can give us breathing space in our lives.   Robin Williams wasn't the only one who gave that to us, but he was one of the main ones, at least to me.

I celebrate your work.  And I hope to share it one day with my own children, and while I’m sad that I will not see another film of yours I know that when I look at my film collection I know right where I can find you.   Good-bye old friend, may you have found your calm.