Life

The 17th of May 1937 – Soledad, California

(found by the rabbit)

Dear George,

This is the way it’s got to be George. This is just the way it’s going to end up.

We’ve got to pack up and go. You know that as well as I do. So we’ll get moving again, move on to the next job again, pack up and go again.

Whatever’s here is going to have to be left behind, George. It’ll be left behind, but it probably won’t be forgotten. I hope it will, George, but it probably won’t be forgotten.

You know that everything has gone wrong, George, when even the voices inside of your own head finally get enough courage to start whispering behind your back.

That’s when it’s time.

Maybe this job’s over, George. Maybe it’s over, and it’s done with, and it’s just time to pack it up and go. Maybe that’s the way it’s going to have to be.

We’re going to go on out of here. We’re going to get away. We’re going to live off the fat of the land.

So that’s it.

From,

Leonard

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THIS HAPPENED YESTERDAY

(fired into the nothingness)

Hey! Lady!

What do you want me to do? You want me to tell you the truth?

Well, here’s the thing, at least as far as I can tell a thing can be. There is no truth.

I’m lying. I’ve been lying this whole time. I’ve been hemming and hawing and feeding the world bullshit – just spewing it out – and I haven’t done it because I’m dark and mysterious. I haven’t done it because I’ve got vulnerability issues – trust me, when there’s a pressing issue, I have no problem making it known. I haven’t done it because of some reason that somebody could come up with and just – I don’t know – understand.

I lie all the time. I lie compulsively and not even to hide my true feelings. I lie to hide the fact that I lack feeling completely.

It’s a complicated issue, but I am the self-aware character, the protagonist with the pen, writing everything I can, tinkering with everyone around me in order to get the script right, making sure that the narrative is fully developed and the plot is adhered to strictly.

That’s what it is. I’m a manipulator. I’m a demon. I’m a god.

“I fear I am a sociopath,” announced the sociopath, knowing full well that it would only throw them off the trail.

I am a sociopath, one bred and not born, one who practiced quite well how to view the world through equanimity and peace, detached from emotion, but unable to free himself from the pleasure of manipulating all those little ants scurrying around his feet.

I am a liar, a rabid, horrible, dreadful, loathsome, disgusting liar. And guess what?

I might be lying right now.

And that’s the thing. I don’t even know anymore.

  • A Boy

The 27th of October 1977 – Waynesboro, Virginia

(found by the darkness on the edge of the town)

Dear Dominic,

None of that – absolutely none of that – makes any damned sense to me. I’m not even talking slightly. I’m not even talking just a little bit.

Why should I give a damn about success?

Now, hold on, because I shouldn’t say it that way.

Why should I give a damn about the type of success that you want me to give a damn about?

Now, I like suits as much as the next guy, but I’m not gonna spend the rest of my damned life living in a tie. That’ll kill me before the starvation of being a homeless dreamer ever does. That’ll crush me more than poverty or financial despair or whatever you’d like.

It’s about what you value, Dominic, and if you don’t do what you value, then why are you doing it at all?

You talk about pragmatics. You talk about practicality.

Well nothing’s practical, Dom, because nothing’s ever gonna stave off death. Nothing’s ever gonna stop me from dying. So why sacrifice living to do something that, ultimately, doesn’t make a damned bit of a difference except make me miserable with myself?

You talk about dreams like we shared them, values like we had a meeting last Tuesday and laid everything out in agreement. But I never got that message. I never agreed to it. I always woke up kicking and screaming whenever I had one of your so-called dreams.

So I just gotta cut it loose. I gotta cut it loose, or else it’s gonna drag me all the way down. I gotta find what makes the blood boil in my veins, and I gotta do it till my damned head’s about to pop off.

Or else I’m gonna end up on some lonely porch, staring off down the street and waiting for somebody who’s just had a bit of fun to come home. Or else I’m just gonna end up coming back from the factory and washing up and going off to sleep alone in bed, having the same nightmare over and over again till the work whistle gets me up at five the next morning.

I ain’t one of them. I always thought that, and I thought you thought that too. I ain’t one of them, and maybe that means I ain’t one of you either. So maybe I’m alone, but that don’t make a difference to me because at least I’ll be alone with who I really am.

If anyone – her in particular, of course – is interested in seeing me, tell them that I can be found pretty easily. There’s a spot out beneath the bridge.

  • Johnny

The Something of Whatever Whenever – Someplace, Somewhere

(found by the dumpster or in the kitchen sink or underneath the hearth of an abandoned fireplace)

Josie –

I do not very much like this place that you have sent me to visit. I do not very much like this particular society filled with these particular people all doing this particular thing.

I have questions for them, Josie, and – as much as I try to pose them innocently and without judgment or harshness – whenever I ask them a question, they all get rather upset. And do you know what happens, Josie? Josie, just guess!

They turn on me. They accuse me. They call me names, and they scream, and they make me feel as if it is necessary for me to feel bad about myself.

And I want no part of it. I’d much rather like to leave than get a stern talking to from one of these particular people from this particular society which seems overly concerned with doing this particular thing.

I just feel differently, Josie. That’s all. That’s the simplest way that I can phrase it. All of these particular people from this particular society are all very much preoccupied with the doing of this particular thing (or – within reason – an assemblage of things closely related or in some way similar to this particular thing), and I – quite simply, Josie, and quite innocently as well – am not.

I do not have a problem with it. However, I do realize that in order for me to successfully assimilate and become a part of these particular people in this particular society I will soon have to sacrifice my hesitancy, or whatever misinformed aspects of my worldview cause it, in order to become similarly determined to do this particular thing.

It is as if there is no middle ground, no compromise. The particular people that inhabit this particular society are all quite enamored with the accomplishing of this particular thing, and they interpret any deviance or any call towards deviance from the task of accomplishing this particular thing as a threat to themselves fundamentally as people.

And so some end up on a cross or alone beneath a Bodhi tree or just sent to the desert without anyone to record their triumphs.

It seems quite shortsighted. It seems quite ridiculous, in fact.

Although, each must be given their own, even if that courtesy isn’t always reciprocated.

Wish me luck,

Josiah

The 8th of September 2007 – Monterrey Bay, California

(found by the docks and splashed with some angry sea foam)

No, Julie.

I get it. I understand completely, totally, one hundred percent. I’m your guy, and I get it.

I’m Mr. Compliant, Mr. I’ll Be There For You, and that’s what I am whenever, wherever and however you need me.

You need a shoulder to cry on? Mine’s free.

You need a pair of lonely eyes to search into? I’ve got them right here.

You need a hand to hold onto, one that you worry might be a little cold and clammy and attached to a greater, sicklier being? Well, put it there, partner.

Project anything you need to see onto me, as I am that special, clear bit of glass that can act as a mirror and show you exactly what you’ve always desired. Or maybe, just maybe – or just hopefully maybe – there’s some perceptive person out there who can see right through me.

But that’s no matter.

Make me the lonely, lost soul that’s tied up in the bushes and twisting in the wind, and I’ll be that, mold myself into that.

You need a puzzle? You need an enigma to ponder over? I’ll play the aloof cat that only comes out at feeding time.

You need something to worry about? You need a distraction from the decay of your own being? I’ll blurt something out, simple and easy, about death and dying and the decay of your own being.

You need a joke? You need something to laugh about until you cry just enough to blur the edges of your vision? Well, here, give me a moment to get my clown makeup, to remold this frown into a smile just as tragic, and let me tell a few jokes.

It’s not too hard, Julie. Not hard at all. I’ve been acting, don’t you know, playing a part this whole time. This whole entire time, and it’s just to make it easier for you, just to keep you from realizing that, deep down, I really do hate you

So I can keep it up. I can cycle through the charades and flick through the facades and give you a nice and tidy representation of myself. Just make sure I don’t slip up. Just make sure that, whenever you realize an inconsistency in my own self, just make sure that you let me know.

Because, of course, you know best. You know me best. You need to know me best.

Best,

Killan

The 1st of December 1993 – Utrecht, Netherlands

(found…To be honest these get boring to write unless there’s some connection with the larger text or some foreshadowing to be done. Usually these words are random and meaningless, but that doesn’t stop the world from turning, okay? Wait…don’t leave. Here come words that aren’t italicized…)

My Good Friend Mehmet,

It was a while ago when you asked me the question, so I will not blame you for forgetting that you ever even asked it. But – understandably or no, expectedly or no – the question has hardly left my mind, even though the circumstances are long gone and should be themselves forgotten.

It was patience, Mehmet, demonstrated subtly and in the smallest ways.

I know that you will be reluctant to accept this comparison and that you will – probably with simple politeness dominating your reasons – refuse it completely. But, Mehmet, I am very much like a dog, a dog in training.

(In fact, after coming up with this analogy, I realized that it could easily have been made to involve a young toddler instead of a dog. But, listen, I prefer it with the dog somehow.)

But you’ve seen these dogs, Mehmet, these dogs from the shelters downtown, where they take in mutts from the street and hand them off to suburban families with children and barbeques and lawns to mow. I’m sure that you have. These kooky dogs that wag their tails awkwardly and shy away when the neighbors come into the yard or that bark when you hand them a treat and, in fact, seem to hate you for it. They’re weird dogs, Mehmet, just a little off.

And these dogs can be punished – they call it disciplined, they call it taught – with a boxing around the ears by a rolled-up newspaper or some harsh squirts from a bottle of cold water, and so they become skittish and shy and nervous at all hours of the day and night.

But, Mehmet, there are some people who have some special talent. It’s these who can get even the damnedest of lost souls to calm down and relax and jump onto the couch and snore as if they belonged there for their whole, entire life.

They have a naiveté, these special ones, an innocence and a patience to forgive the kookiness, let it slide by and assimilate it into the normality that we all believe should surround us.

That’s what it was, Mehmet. Patience.

Regards,

Hugh

“Know Thyself” – The 17th of May 2009 – Portland, Maine

(found covered in x’s, o’s and smiling faces)

Dear Julius,

You must tell me, and you must tell me this instant, how it is possible to know anything. How is knowledge of the world, its nature, or human beings and their nature, how is any of that even possible, when it is so easy for a single individual to not even know himself?

If I, self-assured as I am wont to be, can be so wrong about every detail of my character other than my name, then how can any man even know for certain that the sky is blue or that grass is green?

Is not, then, knowledge just delusion, and knowledge of our knowledge just a mad certainty of that delusion?

For years – not years, Julius, but decades – I operated under the certainty that I was the shy person, the quiet person and the conservative intellectual. I wasn’t at clubs or bars or dancing and singing. I was at home, with a book and a quiet companion, swirling a snifter of brandy under a dusky light. I was holding a glass of red wine beneath my nose and holding court in the corner of a party – one of those refined and worthy parties – while some man wearing an ascot and coke-bottle glasses and a woman in a woolen skirt and opaque stockings laughed at my jokes about Brechtian despair.

What could have ever tipped me off to my delusion and my despair?

How was I to know that the source of my loathing and my cynicism was not caused by some external conflict, a tension between myself and a perpetually unsatisfying cast of characters rotating through an even more unsatisfying setting?

How was I to know that the brief moments of exuberance I’ve stumbled across in my life were not caused by luck or happy accident and that they did not have to be the exceptions to a rule, but the rule itself – given that they were treated as such?

How was I to know that I was instead a creature of that exuberance, capable of laughter and smiling at any moment, able to fly off into passionate rants about beauty and love and kindness just as easily – in fact more so – as I can about hatred and suffering and pain?

But now I am certain of that. I have decided to smile, and so I will smile.

Lacking desperation,

Paulus

 

Read more excellent responses to today’s Daily Challenge here:

  1. http://abozdar.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/purpose-of-life/
  2. http://abozdar.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/tune-of-a-night/
  3. http://guthonestfaith.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/good-golly/
  4. http://tombalistreri.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/bestowing-joy/
  5. http://lindaswritingblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/sad-face/
  6. http://lifeconfusions.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/suffering-and-war/
  7. http://vexingpoint.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/daily-prompt-happy-radars/
  8. http://reallyjustwords.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/its-about-snoopy-the-sniffer-dog/
  9. http://agirllikemee.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/judging-happiness/
  10. http://anawnimiss.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/of-how-things-look/
  11. http://yichinglin.com/2014/09/17/pizza/
  12. http://sayadpoet.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/in-tune-daily-prompt/
  13. http://mojowritin.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/robertas-happiness/
  14. http://dragoneystory.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/to-give-you-all/
  15. http://camembertandchocolate.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/radars-gone-berzerk/
  16. http://lifeassirli.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/pretending-to-be-happy/
  17. http://itsalwaysanewmoment.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/wake-up/
  18. http://thoughtsofajunkiemisfit.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/welcome-mat-please-walk-all-over-me/
  19. http://memeep.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/happy-radars/
  20. http://debooworks.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/the-problem-with-our-masks/
  21. http://angloswiss-chronicles.com/2014/09/17/daily-prompt-happy-radars-look-on-the-brightbad-side-of-life/
  22. http://risingrave28.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/radar-detection/
  23. http://bluenotebacker.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/blogging-101-saying-hi/
  24. http://sethuiyer.me/2014/09/17/happy-or-sad/
  25. http://kindlingword.com/2014/06/25/ode-to-joy/
  26. http://teepee12.com/2014/09/17/stay-clear-of-landmines/
  27. http://allquestions.org/red-pill-and-blue-pill/
  28. http://petrd1.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/h-dar/
  29. http://emo1956.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/happy_radars/
  30. http://joantatley.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/addiction-to-a-peephole/
  31. http://yzhengblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/meddling-with-others-happiness/
  32. http://keyboardpizza.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/calling-mr-blueberry-scone/
  33. http://lifeisgreat0.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/cry-and-laugh/
  34. http://psibrone.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/the_smirk/
  35. http://anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/we-are-not-as-invisible-as-we-believe-ourselves-to-be-2/
  36. http://psychologistmimi.com/2014/09/17/your-celebrity-like-employees-gauging-happiness-and-anger-before-they-quit/
  37. http://designersophisticate.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/smiling-faces-smiling-faces-tell-lies/