Legal Therapy

Twenty-three years ago she walked out–I don’t remember why. I ran after her, talked her back in. I should of let her walk. Four years later I committed to the long haul.

Another fight. I was walking it off. I was sure it was over. I see a vending machine selling condoms. I drop a ten franc coin in the machine thinking that I would be needing them again. Later, I return home finding that she had also calmed down. I forget about the condoms. A few days later she finds them.

I spend the night, back against the wall, sat on the floor, thinking.

If I stay, I will have it thrown in my face during every fight. The fights are guaranteed. Too many triggers. Many of them subjects, like money, that you are supposed to talk about to avoid conflict.

If I leave, which one of her threats will she carry out? Poisoning the well and making sure I can never have a relationship with our daughter is the minimum. Would she actually commit suicide taking our daughter with her? Regardless, I don’t trust her to bring up our daughter alone–she is less than two years old and already being fed burgers at the fast food joint. There is very little chance a judge would give me custody. She’ll be a teenager before I know it and, knowing why I am staying, I can try and make it as agreeable as possible.

Fourteen years later, I choose a target date. I hadn’t calculated that the night thinking would be considered salt. It has been fourteen more years of unfounded suspicions, reactions to imagined torts, and having every member of my family, dead or alive, insulted. So many lines crossed. I am ready.

My daughter has her teenage existential crisis. What’s a few more years? I am in no rush. I am no longer capable of normal relationship. After high school?

“You do realize this is costing you 200€ an hour and it is not covered by your health plan? I am your lawyer.”

I think I underestimated the cost. The wear and tear. One wrong decision twenty three years ago. Oh well.

Self-Reflection

I’m stuck.

Who are you talking too?

Myself. You ought to know that. You saw Taxi Driver. I am not you and you are not me. Therein lies the problem. I am seeing you everywhere. It’s like living in hall of mirrors.

Is your ego that fragile? Lacking in self-esteem?

Self-esteem? I don’t think so. I measure well by most of the valuations I see on the internet. No. Too much reality.

How can you have too much reality?

Oh come on, you know as well as I that 80% of humanity is optimistic. It’s what makes us progress, attempt new things, go for the long shots. The other 20% are considered spoilsports.

It’s not a dichotomy, it’s a spectrum. Nor is it fixed. There is no denying that you spend most of your time healthily delusional. What’s the real problem?

I don’t like being wrong. This series of reality checks are like when you start reviewing every answer you gave after finding out that you bombed in the job interview that you thought went well. All of sudden you see all the mistakes, including the imagined ones, you made. The delusions are in the wrong direction. It’s okay when I only have to face the mirror in the bathroom. I start with morning hair and half shut eyes. Things only get better from there.

Put a comb in your pocket.

The Floating Man

I’m floating in the sky. What a weird place to become conscious of my dream.

Weird is weird. It is another exception to rule of i before e except after c. Is this lucid dreaming? Are these weird thoughts the fabric of my dreams?

What does this floating mean? Knowing about Ibn Sina‘s thought experiment means that it isn’t that.

Maybe it is the strange bed that has brought this on. Usually I sleep poorly in hotels. Then again, I usually sleep well near the sea.

I can now feel a wind. In fact, it this feels more like free falling than floating. Skydiving is still on my bucket list despite having the nude version as hobby on my dating profile.

The suite on the 63rd floor was bad luck gone good. They’d lost my reservation–their system had just been hacked. Luckily I had a paper print out and they’d had a last minute cancellation.

The wind is picking up speed and I can now hear the ocean. Am I really dreaming? I open my eyes. So much for the lucid dreaming. It’s just the leftovers and it will be forgotten in a minute (two if I make an effort to remember it).

It is a cloudless, moonless night. The light from a passing hotel room disturbs my stargazing.

Whose room had I gotten? Had he found out about the plan to throw him out the window?

Post hoc musical selection:

A Modern Day Ghost Town

Turtle Cove, California was established in 1845 in Mexican Alta California and shut down on November 9, 2000.

At its peak, in the 1920’s, the town had a population of 21,000. The population started a rapid decline with the first mine closures in 1929, followed by the second wave of closures in 1937. By the time World War II was over the population was down to less than 8,000 people. The establishment of a hippie commune in March of 1969 briefly halted the population decline, however, when the last mine closed in 1981, communal living was, like mining, a thing of the past and the population had dwindled to less 700 people. The last remaining residents left when Web Shofa, the internet’s furniture store, bought the town with the intention of making it into their campus and distribution center. Access to the town was blocked in October 2000 as part of its bankruptcy proceedings.

Very little of the towns records have survived. City hall burned down during the labour riots of 1902 and 1930. It was then completely flattened in 1954 when the old general store was demolished before checking whether the condemned building’s gas had been shut off. More history was lost when the hippies, who built most of their commune by salvaging abandoned buildings, used land records to keep themselves warm during their first winter. More buildings went up in flames when the homeless started passing through in the 1980’s and the firework display for the prom set the High School on fire one month before its scheduled closure in 1995.

Research into the lives of the city’s inhabitants is also complicated by the commonness of three surnames. The Serrano‘s were descendants of one of the founding fathers and liked to name their eldest males Juan Pedro after him to the point were there often multiple juniors around at the same time. The Miller family owned most of the town’s land and business in 1929 which made them stay when everyone else was leaving. The arrival in 1887 of seven Jones brothers helped to create the tradition of celebrating Saint David’s Day.

Complicating matters even more are the irregularities in the registrations of births. Despite not sharing the same passion for natural births, the lack of alternatives forced the town folks to use the hippy midwives. At least one midwife was still active in the early nineties and a number of partially completed forms were found in her abandoned trailer.

In conclusion, we could create more than 50 identities using Turtle Cove as a hometown and I suggest we start seeding them as soon as possible so that we can turn them into premium packages.

My Homework!

Ralphy, Alice’s dog, wasn’t listening. He ran off, his leash dragging on the ground. The unprovable cause.

The plan was for me to pick up Alice in Reims and to drive to Brussels for the long weekend. My artist friend, Zach, had gotten us invited to an album release party followed by the opening of the Collectives‘ latest show. It would have been better to take the train.

What I know of those two events, I owe to Zachary’s acting the selfie addict. He thought the whole story ridiculous and felt obliged to taunt me with the latest happenings.

The fireman said it was impossible. I told him I could not see what else could have caused it. He told me to slow down. Think before speaking. He could think of another cause. Thirty seven minutes later a van full of fire department technicians were taking apart what was left of my car. It would have been better to take the train.

I phoned my insurer. I reported the fire and asked how the process for a replacement vehicle worked. The person thanked me for calling. He then asked me to wait while he patched me through to his supervisor. I was thanked again, told that the fire had been flagged as suspicious by the fire department, received an avalanche of the most sincere condolences for the difficulties this was causing, asked to please understand that this was procedure and that my case was on hold until authorities cleared the flag.

Alice started calling her friends, then acquaintances with good vibes and maybe a car. Zach gave me the number of a someone he knew who might be willing trade favours. It turned out she only took cash because favours are zero interest debts. She laughed at that.

It didn’t matter. I had questions to answer, asked by people whose long weekend I had spoiled, people who were hoping that they could get this over with before the lab results were in. It took a few more hours for them to finally accept it as cause unknown (they were never going to accept that Ralphy’s leash could create a spark that somehow made the car catch fire). It took me a few more hours for me to get them to explicitly rule out suspicious circumstances. It would have been better to take the train.

At least we have the photos.

Mike and Sofia Demonstrate Freud

If he were not floating on a cloud, Mike would have hesitated and, with a trembling hand, opened the front door slowly. The morning sun illuminating Sofia added another thousand feet to the drop.

Her manic rage, borne of panic, explodes on his arrival. A life’s worth of sacrifices are detailed to make sure Mike understands his debt. Then, worded in sordid terms, the list of his crimes. Sofia the victim, Sofia the judge. She is making sure Mike understands the betrayal that spending the night with girlfriend represents.

He only processes that she has called his relationship a sordid affair. A single word, Mother, expresses his indignation.

Sensing a weak spot, she presses, repeats that it is sordid, and calls him a kept man.

Mike is not following. He wonders out loud if she is losing her mind. He tells her how young, fresh and clean Madie is.

Sofia treats the name as a big slip on his part. He retorts that he wasn’t planning to keep it a secret.

Now she accuses him of trying to charm her into accepting his relationship with an aging harlot with dyed hair.

It’s Mike’s turn to explode. He tells her that she does not dye her hair, that she is only 33 and asks Sofia if she will will ever believe him when he says that he is Madie’s only lover.

She treats it as another slip on his part and joyously exclaims that he has confessed. He wants to know what he has been confessing as he has been nothing but candid with her.

Sensing the danger of logic, Sofia claims the situation is the cause of her growing insanity.

Mike throws out some soothing words which only serve as fuel for another fit. She says she wishes for calm, wishes that she could have slept and wishes that it would have been an endless sleep instead of starting the day in shame.

He mocks her for wanting to commit suicide just because he is love with a girl.

Sofia informs him that dying of shame is worse than suicide and says he is playing with words. If only it was someone his own age, if only he was admitting a noble scandal, one befitting someone like him, then, maybe, she might have listened to him without getting angry. Instead, unable to look her in the eyes, he is telling her a sordid tale.

This is too much for him but his outrage is of no consequence to her. Mike breaks and asks Sofia for a hug. She rejects him and despair starts. She uses the moment.

She will, with his father, take the necessary steps to lock him up, to keep him away from that woman, to protect him from himself.

He knocks a chair over to stop her screeching. She questions him as to whether breaking the chair is a condition for his happiness. He questions her acting as a mother when she has always asked to be considered a friend. She doubts a friend would act differently.

She lets a wave of clam wash over the scene before quietly asking how long this circus had been going on.

The answer, three months, becomes a descriptor for all his crimes. Three months of lying, three months of cheating, and three months of hypocrisy.

He assigns compassion and protection to the motivation for the deception.

The need for protection, the assumed frailty is an insult to her and, regardless, it is all his fault. Mike doesn’t understand what is his fault, nor how anything could be his fault.

It is his fault that he has fallen into an old woman’s trap, an old woman that is certainly lying about her age. He thinks that if she met Madie, she would change her mind. It is the last thing she wants.

He is reminded that his great-aunt will only admit to forty. This is meant as an example of how he does not know women.

“I am starting to know them…”

Report on P3S425

P3S425
Scouting Report – Detection Systems of Planet’s Dominant Life Form
IG Scouts, 42nd Company

The dominant life form appears to have five detection systems: touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste.

Touch: This system was almost missed as it does not use a dedicated device. It uses the whole corporeal envelope and works with direct contact. With the exception of the more fragile areas, it is not very sensitive.

Sight: This system comes with two dedicated devices that work together and are capable of working independently in the case where one or the other of the units is incapacitated. Their placement is optimized for navigation leaving a blind spot in the direction opposite to movement. The range of action can be augmented through external accessories though there appears to be a capacity limit as to how much information can be processed. Manufactured representations of the being’s world tend to either reinforce safe environments or dangerous situations. They also favour the spectrum of light that is most similar to their atmosphere.

Hearing: Similar to the visual system but applied to sound. The primary difference is that these are on opposite sides of the intelligence processing unit giving a fuller range of coverage (no major blind spots). Note: Steady rhythmic sounds are used to represent safe environments.

Smell: Another dual device system with the particularities of a greater proximity between them and an ability to work with, extending the range of, the taste sensors. These devices also face the direction of movement though this is a practical solution related to coordinating all the sensors to ensure safe refueling.

Taste: The most sensitive of the systems, it is a single device that relies on the multiplicity of sensors instead of duplication for backup. Because, like touch, it is activated through direct contact, and because of the sensitivity of the fueling process, it is integrated with the other systems which are used to do a preliminary analysis.

Lieutenant Ekster Terulo
IG Scouts, 42nd Company

A Sirius Tale

We met seven months ago. She’s a short, intense, checklister. She’d offered me a carrot – she was trying to quit smoking.

Alex introduced herself, said she was hiding from her neighbour’s dog. I asked where she lived so that I could also avoid it. She told me near the Diocese’s Social Centre. I replied that I didn’t know where it was but it sounded like a swinger’s club. “Diocese, as in an ecclesiastical district, not Dionysus.”

Since then, she has built a collection of angry dog pictures and learnt of the law”s indifference to backyard dogs, no matter how mean they are. “Civilization is lost, the cynics have won!”

Tonight Alex is holding a party for her new neighbour.

Conflict of Interest

“When is Yuki leaving?”

He’d looked pensive, distant. I’d asked why. Now he is telling me it’s the day after tomorrow.

His brow is still furrowed. After he had broken up with Julie, his face had looked like it was about slide off onto the table. “Are you still digesting?”

Laughing at my question, he rejoins the world. I learn that her visa is expiring. Her flight is early Thursday morning and he is mentally rescheduling his day. He has a meeting with a cheese wholesaler later that day. Her leaving is going to mess up his schedule for a week.

“You don’t sound heartbroken. Are you going to follow her? Is she coming back?”

He is not heartbroken, not following her, and she is not coming back.

“I thought you guys had a hot passionate thing going on.”

I’ve gotten two out of three right. The thing thing had been ruled out early on. She, because she could only bridge the cultural differences the time of a fling, and him, because of her husband.

“I thought she was divorced.”

I’d thought right. It was the way she talked of her ex: ‘a good friend, a bad husband.’

“And?”

She thought she was displaying generosity. He saw someone who never questioned their own actions.


I left the flat cause it felt like home
Ordered wine and sat down to write you a poem
The words came easy, the words came strong
The poem would be good, the poem would be long
Wine came but I didn’t drink a sip
I just checked I had money for the wine and for the tip
Then the poem went on and about an hour past
I lit a straight and had my drink at last
Oh you, you who know me quite well
You know that I don’t live where I dwell
I don’t need a table, I don’t need a drink
All I do need is some room to think
Given the waterfall, given the few
Anything goes, anything’s cool
I take the world with its buildings and its trees
And all its swans become my geese
The river a little stream
The glory of old: a dream
But you, you who know me well enough
You know what it’s all made of, it’s all made of good stuff
I kissed the cutest Greek little girl
She gave me some soda and a little blue pearl
I found a Roman city in southern Italy
And destroyed its ruins, destroyed them totally
I left a pair of black underpants
In the men’s room of a bar in Paris, France
I slept on the beach above the Arctic Circle
Woke up alive and didn’t call it a miracle
But you, you who know me like nobody else has
You know it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter where I was

How to Succeed by General Failure

The title of this story has nothing to do with its content. I thought about writing something that goes with title. I played with a few ideas. Regardless of whether it’s the theme or my mood, the attempts were all too sarcastic. Now I have to crash into the beginning of this unrelated tale.

I remember that I have dreamt a similar noise. I close my eyes.

“Do you want to go to the coffee shop and grab a beer?”

When I opened my eyes, she was standing next to me. I inform her it’s closed now and that it doesn’t sell beer. The snackbar was still open.

“A hubcap reflecting the moon’s shine, a wheel heading straight for the stop sign. I can’t stand it! Did you have to work hard to pass your test?”

“What?”

“Can I ask you a favour?”

“Sure?”

She turns towards me. “Never get in a car with a drunken driver.”

“You really should let a doctor take a look at that.”

The title is lame. Nevertheless, I had to use it.