By: Nicholas Harrist
“The reason why I’m here, is to interview you formally, and well, personally.”
“So why would you-”
“It’s just a ticking clock, watch its arms. Watch its hypnotic tricks. Watch it as if it was your child moving towards a mass of traffic.”
I moved a glass cup of liquor, and simply glanced at the small ticking clock. It was lying on the ground, perfectly working. The clock was lying on top of an Indian rug, that was quite soft. Daniel Webb, the interviewee, was sweating profusely, grasping at air which was lost immediately. We were in a small room, completely white, other than the over-large Indian rug lying underneath the white painted chairs.
“Why did you bring me here?” He asked, wiping sweat from his eyes and forehead.
“Anyways, as a celebrity in..” I stopped.
“Life’s Expectations, The Normal Worlds Reliance, Shiver.” He ended, helping me.
“Yeah.. I was a fan of Shiver.”
Daniel nodded, accepting something that was most likely normal to him. Daniel was an ex-celebrity after a unsuccessful adventure with drugs. A combination of heroin, acid, and mushrooms occurred in his weak system.
“So why is there–”
“Ignore the clock. Focus on its arms, focus on its hypnotic adventures.”
“I can’t seem to focus. The clock is too boring.”
I couldn’t help but become annoyed. He was far more impatient than the normal person. His eyes were so unfocused. He began wiping his face, from the ashes of dead skin, and sweat that was falling from his forehead. His shirt was damp, around the neck especially.
“I really need to go.” Daniel hinted.
I was angry, he wouldn’t concentrate and I really needed some more information from him. He was a valuable character in my tale, and he was becoming a flat character in my mind.
“Hey.. I really need to go.” Daniel hinted once more.
His arrogance was growing, as quickly as anything I’ve ever watered on my free time. His feet were pattering on the cement flooring and the white room we were in was becoming wider, and bigger as we speak. I felt like our chairs were shrinking, and my hands were disappearing.
Daniel stood up.
“It was nice meeting you. Mr.?”
“Hendrick.” I finished his question.
“It was nice being an acquaintance to your needs. I wish you good luck on future interviews.” He shook my hand after.
He disappeared in the midst of the white room, it seemed like a blackness swarmed over me like a blanket and swallowed me whole. All I could see was a white mist from Daniel leaving, and soon the white mist disappeared behind a small light black door. I was alone, and the blackness sank back into the walling and flooring, then soon said goodbye.
The interview went horribly. I noticed that I had nothing down on my notepad.
‘Why do I even bother?’
‘Do I even make money?’
I felt useless, absolutely weakened. College was useless to me. They taught me specific ways to interview an individual of such reputation. They stressed eye contact. They also stressed well-thought out questions that make the interviewee question themselves.
‘Did I wear correct shoes?’
‘Did I make great eye contact with that handsome man?’
‘Why yes Jeremy!’
I was talking to myself. I could catch a quick glimpse of a popping balloon. In this popping balloon, was only ten pennies. A total of ten cents. On each penny, was a simple word. Each word consisted of a meaning behind a meaning. Such as lies.
Aside from my thinking on this white, broken down chair. I leaped up, and watched outside to keep track of Daniel. He was walking down Maple, noticing a few artistic signs portraying racial inequality, as if that was still a thing, and he took a photo of it. I opened the window.
“Take care Daniel!” I screamed thoroughly.
I wrote down on my notepad that I gave Daniel a salute. A gratuitous exit. I closed my notepad, and threw it against the wall. Leaving only a scratch.
‘Am I just completely useless in the world?’
‘Do I belong in this literary world? This world of complete social media?’
‘Do I even make happiness?’
I broke down, soon crying tears of black blood. I over-worked myself so much, that all of my blood rushed upwards, and left me painfully, and welcomed. There were no clouds, only the sound of passing planes. I crawled over to my notepad, sketching images of dead beings. Then, after a few minutes, I spewed vomit inside of the notepad and chucked it out of the building. Only hearing the small spatter of my voluntary vomit, and the ting of the metal handle. Cars, trucks, buses, would pass by aggressively, straining the paved roads to death. All I could think about was my parents, and their looks when they figure out my job was useless.
My father is a well-known writer.
My mother is a well-known cook.
I was too sad. Too malnourished of what was happening. I kept staring at the small white chair, crying some more, and finally scratching my arms till blood was apparent.
Daniel taught me one sole idea, that the world nowadays can become so impatient with the future. The world wants a quick resolution, and that I wasn’t part of it. So what is the result of such sadness, and anti-humanism. Suicide.
I was stuck in this building, since I wanted to feel the true isolated environment. Soon, I wasn’t eating anymore. I never came home to my spouse, I never kept up with drinking water. After a few weeks, I was completely weak. I was finally the image I wanted to be. The image of someone who wasn’t rebellious as writers are. But I realized when you switch from being unique to normal, your mind simply can’t handle it.
I leave my mark here. With the submission of life, and the submission of trying.
I enjoyed my inner death, and especially the inner heart.
If you'd like to reach Nicholas, send me an email to Tony@tonywassom.com, and I'll passit on to him. You can also checkout Nick's blog, and if you'd like to read more from him, check out his Kindle book, Beats Me, available on Amazon.com
A Moment of Peace
By: Jennifer Kent
It’s hard to describe how telling Landon all about my past makes me feels. I am so relieved to not be keeping anything from him anymore because, in the long run, it would’ve just caused problems between us. He is so sweet and sympathetic to my need to talk and I can’t even say how happy it makes me to not feel the least bit of pity from him. Keeping this bottled up was killing me. My parent’s knowing the whole story was one thing, they lived most of it with me, but being able to tell it in my own time is very cathartic.
“How can you say that after what happened at dinner?” I ask him with a nervous laugh.
“True. Maybe they could have made a good case that you were a little off your rocker.” He answers very casually.
Shocked I spin in his arms to look at him and swat his arm. “Are you serious?” I ask completely taken aback, at first. Then I notice his smirk.
“Of course not sweetheart.” He says as he frames my face his hands. “Panic attacks don’t make you crazy. They make you human. After what you went through it’s amazing that is the only residual effect.”
Letting out a humorless laugh I close my eyes and say, “Amazing, huh?”
I feel him kiss me on the forehead then say, “Definitely. Like you said your rational brain just took a second to catch up. When it did, you calmed yourself down and regained your composure.”
Opening my eyes I look into his and smile before admitting, “I practiced that move. When I knew I had to see him in court I went to a homeopathic therapist to teach me how to slow my breathing and keep my emotions in check.”
Settling back in his seat he drew me into his arms again and started rubbing his hand up and down my back. It was such a soothing feeling. “I can’t even imagine how hard that must have been for you.”
“My parent’s were there with me everyday and thank god the trial didn’t last that long. But, yeah, seeing him everyday and having to face him down when I was on the stand was pretty terrible.” I say as my eyes drift shut.
“Well I’m glad it’s over and I’m even happier that you decided to come here to stay with your grandmother.”
Letting out a contented sigh I cover a yawn before answering, “Me too. Oh, excuse me. Maybe we should call it a night. I always get tired after an attack like that.”
“I can imagine. When all the adrenaline leaves your body it must wipe you out.” He says still rubbing my back. “If you don’t mind though, I’d like to sit here a little longer. I like holding you.”
Snuggling in and wrapping an arm around his waist I say, “I like it too. You make me feel so safe.”
* * * *
Not long after she tells me I make her feel safe I know she’s fallen asleep. Like a goof it makes me so happy that she feels this comfortable with me and I also feel that squeezing in my chest again. I know, for a fact, even though we barely know each other that I could fall in love with this girl. She is unlike anyone I have ever met. Not only is she unbelievably sweet she is also tough as nails. That is a rare combination. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone pull themself back from the brink the way she did at dinner tonight.
Looking at my watch I see that it is only about 9:30. I’m not ready to let her go yet so trying my best to not wake her I shift around so I can stretch my legs out on the couch and she is sprawled across my chest. Not the most comfortable position in the world but I could stay like this forever. I wouldn’t want her to get the wrong idea though so I’ll just lay here for a little while longer.
About an hour later she stirs a little then snaps her head up to meet my eyes. “Oh my God! I fell asleep! Why didn’t you wake me up?”
She looks adorable mussed up from sleep and tries to inconspicuously wipe her mouth to see if she was drooling. She wasn’t. Trying to hide my smile I tuck her hair behind her ear and say, “I could simply say I didn’t want to disturb you but I’ll be honest and say I liked the feeling I got.”
Looking at me skeptically she untangles from me and sits up. Sitting up myself I scrub a hand over my face and hair. “What kind of feeling?” She asks.
“Before you fell asleep you said I made you feel safe. After what we talked about I just wanted to be there for you.”
The look she gives me makes me want to draw her back into my arms and kiss her. So that’s why I need to get up and go. “Thank you.” She says as she reaches over and clasps my hand.
“I should get going now. I have to work tomorrow.” I say as I stand. “What are you doing next Saturday?”
Standing as well she laughs and says, “You still want to see me again after the scene I made tonight?”
Hugging her to me I kiss the top of her head and say, “Of course I do. I have something I want to show you.”
“What is it?” She asks even as she relaxes completely in my arms. I really need to go before I ask her if I can just sleep over.
Rubbing her back one more time I take a step back and answer, “Sorry. It’s a surprise.”
If you'd like to learn more about Jennifer, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can email me (Tony@tonywassom.com) and I'll pass the message on to her.
By: The Wassom
New clothes, new supplies, fresh haircut: the first day of school was always full of new. There were the same old people—friends, lunch ladies, bus drivers—but, the teachers, classes, subjects, expectations…those were always new on the first day of school.
I recall the feeling of the first day of summer break. I would wake up late, the sun shining through the slit in the curtains. I’d put on my shorts and meander to the dining room. Mom would be in the kitchen, offering to fix breakfast (if we didn’t want a bowl of Cap’n Crunch), and would offer up the glorious day as free from chores, with a caveat: “tomorrow will be different.” Tomorrow would start the summer-long process of weeding the garden, mowing the grass, picking up dog poop, and getting it all done before any fun-time…every day. It was okay, though. That was tomorrow and it was forever away, kinda like the first day of school.
The chores really weren’t that bad. We complained—most kids do—but we’d be done by late morning and would spend the day being boys. We’d play baseball, ride bikes, fish, swim, and get into trouble. No worries about jobs or earning a living; we had the world at our fingertips to explore, battle, and fight imaginary super villains. There were endless trees to climb and rocks to skip until Mom would yell for us to wash-up for dinner.
Out of nowhere, it was time to shop for the first day of school.
The bus would come, we’d board with new duds and lowered ears, feigning happiness when greeted by the bus driver, who returned the gesture. We’d sit next to our friends and start the week-long account of what we did the last couple months. We’d find our new classes, meet new friends, learn new rules, and grow a year older…all on the first day of school.
This is another story from my personal archives. I have a private blog where I used to post my stories inspired by writing prompts. This particular story was a result of the prompt: "Write about going back to school after summer vacation."