If only I could freeze and unfreeze time, I would. Hell, if I could manipulate time in any way, I would. But what would I do? I have a huge list.
Assuming I'd be born with the gift, I would freeze time at the moment it all began, when my father first asked if I knew what s** was. I hate that word because of him. I can't stand seeing it, or hearing it, or saying it. I'd freeze time before I was left alone with him and I would have climbed in the truck with my mother and siblings to go to the hardware store. I'd freeze time any time him and I were alone together and I'd get as far away from him as possible. Of course, this is all under the assumption that everything and everyone freezes with time. Everyone except me.
I would have frozen time in highschool so I had more "time" to work on my schoolwork. I would have frozen time in highschool so I could get a little more sleep or have the chance to actually eat rather than eating while doing 5000 other things at the same time.
I would have frozen time when I was packing to leave for college so I would've gotten more done.
I would have frozen time when I was swerving across the road in October so I had the chance to maybe stop the car before I wrecked.
I would have frozen time before I was hospitalized in November for suicidal thoughts and I would have stopped myself from saying anything. Or maybe, even if I didn't get the chance to do that, Maybe I would have frozen time so I could escape.
I would freeze time every time my fiance came over just so I could be with him a little longer.
Don't even try.
Try, but not much.
Keep it slow going.
I don't know.
Regress to day 1.
Start back at day 2.
Well, here is the bad news. You can try as you may, but you'll go through all those days for a very long day.
A few years later:
Nope, somehow memories still appear.
Always moving forward, with a rearview mirror.
Book Four: Part 8 - Rhyming Evil - Chapter 20
Friday – July 20th
The Parking Lot - 8:16 a.m.
Baker stood on top of a box as she looked around the parking lot.
“I’m not sorry for having to call any of you in, but we have another situation. This time at Wal-Mart. The bomb unit from Stanhouse is enroute and should be here in a matter of minutes.
“Another riddle was taped to the front door before daylight this morning and reads as follows:
"TIME TO SEE IF YOU ARE HEROS OR ZEROS. PAY ATTENTION TO THIS CLUE. ANOTHER TIMER, MUCH SMALLER, IS SET TO ROLL BACK PRICES TODAY AT NOON. BETTER GET STARTED. YIKES! THATY DIDN’T RHYME EITHER! HEY DIDDLE-DIDDLE, ALMOST FINISHED WITH THE RIDDLES!
“I want all of you out there right now. Stewart, Jaynes, McCleary, and Reid; I want you four to keep the entrances blocked. Only law enforcement, fire departments and emergency services. I have called the manager to have the place emptied when we arrive, and the parking lot cleared.
"Half of you will scour the grounds the other half inside the building. Once the bomb has been found. Stanhouse’s bomb unit will take over. Let’s move it!”
Wal-Mart – 10:16 a.m.
Eighty-two cops were sectioned off aisle by aisle, in offices, the warehouse storage area, cold units, and outside around the building. All anyone knew is that the device was small.
From across the street, Jennifer Ralston was doing her best to get as much play out of this as possible, but there wasn’t anyone she could speak with. They were too far away, but she had Danny to keep the camera rolling.
“As you have witnessed, there are dozens of police cars in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Police are inspecting the grounds as well as inside the building. From what reports I have been able to verify, there are no employees or customers inside or on the property at this time. Police are inspecting the outside grounds as well as inside. From what reports I have been able to verify, there are no employees or customers inside the building.”
Scott Miller from inside Channel 08 studio asked, “Jennifer, we have had vague reports that the Stanhouse PD’s bomb unit has been called in. Can you see any sign of them?”
Danny zoomed in as best he could for a tight shot with his camera.
“I’m looking, Scott, and from this distance it’s difficult to—no wait, I think I see them just to the left of the second entryway to the store.”
Danny caught it and held his sight in line for a good video feed.
“That is their van from Stanhouse. They appear as if they are entering Wal-Mart at this moment. I have heard there is a possible explosive device planted somewhere in the store, or at least the threat of one.
“As you may remember, a supposed bomb was to have been planted at Millard Elementary which ended up being a very disgusting prank. Almost a month ago, there had been an explosion out where the old textile mill was prior to the fire, and that explosion almost killed Lieutenant Baker.
“And, like the police, Scott, I am just as baffled by the riddles and what they are leading up to."
“Thank you for this live report, Jennifer.”
“Scott, once we get confirmation of the bomb being located, we will bring you more information. This is Jennifer Ralston, reporting live, Channel 08 News.”
Jennifer looked at Danny.
“All that’s left to do now is sit it out and wait.”
Wal-Mart – 11:14 a.m.
There wasn’t enough of them to go around, but one team member from the bomb squad, along with Baker and Captain Page, were walking around with a two-foot long wand attached to a metal box that acted similar to a Geiger-counter. Other men were walking throughout the store with wands as well.
Once the device was located, it would emit a constant beeping sound until manually shut off. So far, there had been nothing and they were running out of time. No one in the store believed this was going to be a harmless prank this time.
Baker looked at her watch. 11:33.
She went back to the front of the store where the manager’s office is located and found a microphone. She flipped a switch and made an announcement.
“We have less than twenty minutes before we evacuate the building and the parking lot. Ten minutes. It is now 11:35. At 11:45, I want to see bodies leaving the premises.”
She left the office, walked the entire lane past the registers, thinking that only last night, Stevie had been here shopping. What a difference a day can … BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP!
Baker stopped. Her right hand trembled slightly as she waved the wand in slow moving arcs toward the registers. The beeping continued but when she turned to face the wall, the beeping went faster.
There were two indoor rides for fifty cents each. The traditional hobby-horse and the other, a fire-truck. Baker walked directly to them and the beeping was almost piercing her eardrums.
She then saw it. It was small, less than an inch in size. It was attached just under the horses tail.
Baker ran back to the office and grabbed the microphone.
“Attention! Jim? Get your team to the front of the store, ASAP! I’ve located the damn thing! The rest of you, out of the store, NOW! And get off the property! Get moving!”
Across the street, Danny motioned to Jennifer and she quickly grabbed her mike and started talking the second Danny’s camera was focused. Once things were set, the camera sent a signal to the studio to preempt whatever was being aired.
“This is Jennifer Ralston, live, Channel 08 News, across from Wal-Mart where an intense search has been underway for an explosive device. As you can see from behind me, dozens of police cars are leaving, and just not the building, but the property as well.
“The bomb squad’s van is still on the scene as well as fire and emergency services. I’m not sure what to make of this but either an explosive device has been located, or unfortunately, another horrible prank has been done today.”
Danny zoomed in for the tightest shot he could manage of the front doors.
“Two men are pulling what appears to be a metal drum from the van as four men are rushing toward it with what appears to be a metal box. Lieutenant Baker is trailing behind them. The drum is being rolled a good hundred yards away. They are lifting the lid and it appears one of the men lowered the metal box inside. The lid has been replaced, apparently locked into position, and everyone is now running for cover behind the van.”
Danny panned his camera from the van to the metal drum and just as he did, he caught the drum lifting about six feet from the ground, and though, from Jennifer’s and Danny’s vantage point, the explosion was clear to all those who listened.
“Were you able to hear that, Scott?”
“Yes, Jennifer. That was incredible to say the least. Was anyone injured?”
“Not that I can see. I’m going to move onto the scene and try to get some comments and reactions from Lieutenant baker, Captain Page, as well as those officers from Stanhouse who put their lives at risk today.”
“In all the years we have been reporting the news, Jennifer, have you ever seen a time when so many different things seem to be happening at the same time?”
“I’ve covered some interesting and unusual things over the last seven years, but these past few weeks have certainly been different. I hope with today’s events, that this will be the end of the riddles, but…”
“Yes, Jennifer?” Scott knew Jennifer was going for dramatics now.
“I get the feeling things are just getting started. I will have more information for you at six with interviews with both police and employees of Wal-Mart, and get their reactions from today’s events. This is Jennifer Ralston, Channel 08 News.”
Wal-Mart Parking Lot – 12:18 p.m.
“Thanks for your help again, Jim. You saved perhaps a good thousand lives today if we hadn’t received that note.”
“As it stands, we are all okay. We’ll take the remains of what’s in the drum to our specs and have it analyzed for pH content and structure. I’m just sorry we didn’t have time to diffuse the little sucker.
“When that damn thing did that tiny little pop sound, it was time to get it into the drum. Your little riddle-riddle wanna-be poet got the timing wrong. It went off at 11:56 by my watch.”
“But you saved the day, Jim, and lives.”
“Maybe, but if you hadn’t found it, we wouldn’t be standing here talking about it.”
“True, but you got it to where no one or nothing was blown to pieces either.”
“I’d say it time we all got out of here,” said Captain Page. “Look over there at who’s coming our way.”
Heads turned in the direction he pointed, and they could see the Channel 08 van making a beeline right toward them.
Too late. Jennifer had them surrounded.
Brewster Gun Club – 1:46 p.m.
The day was proving very busy for Blake and his father.
Nine officers showed up less than ten minutes ago. They were scheduled for that morning but there had been an emergency. Blake overheard one of the officers tell his father, “That riddle guy was at it again. This time he planted a real bomb at Wal-Mart.”
“Was anyone hurt?” asked Jimmy.
“No, but it was close. Couple minutes after it was found, the bomb squad barely got it contained before it blew! Helluva thing. Anyway, what room am I in?”
Blake looked at the chart. “You are in Station Three.”
As each man came up, he told them which station they would be in, and like with the first officer, he gave the rest electronic earmuffs with protective padding to prevent the gunfire from causing any ringing in their ears. When the last officer wen to his station, Blake looked over at his father.
“Dad, do you think they’ll ever catch that riddle person?”
“Sooner or later. Mistakes always get made. He’ll get caught. Bad guys always get caught to the front, he read the sign. .” Reaching down behind Blake he pulled up a sign.
“Blake, take this sign and post it on the door for me, will you.”
As Blake shuttled his wheelchair to the front. He read the sign.
Closed August 5th through August 12th.
See you when we get back.
Business as usual August 13th.
Blake shook his head. If his father had asked, he could have made a better looking sign, and not so wordy.
Wal-Mart – 4:47 p.m.
By the time it was aired that it was safe to enter Wal-Mart, you would have never known by how full the parking lot had become, that only a few hours ago, an explosive device had been inside the store.
Jennifer Ralston had taped footage that would be edited for air time with reactions from the store manager, a few employee’s, and customers.
Once she had compiled everything along with earlier conversations with Baker, Page, and members of the Bom Squad; and after her news segment would be over, she would be on her way to St. Croix for two weeks of a well-deserved vacation.
111 Homestead Way – 6:26 p.m.
“You know what, Ed? After these last few weeks, I’m already ready for another vacation, even if it’s just for a few days away.”
“If you want, we could cross state lines this weekend, find a sleazy adult motel someplace and call ourselves the Smith’s.”
“I heard that,” yelled Stevie from the kitchen.
Ed shrugged his shoulders loosely and smiled.
“It's a nice thought if not a lewd thought, Ed, but I'll have to take a rain check on that at least until we can catch the person behind all these riddles.”
“Any clues any idea who it might be at this point?”
“Not a one. We keep hoping the person might slip up somehow, but we can't get any prints off the notes not even a partial. The only thing we do know is that the cut out letters and words are coming from a magazine and newspaper and that's all we have.”
“If we could keep a lookout all night every night for a week to see who leaves the riddles either taped to the front door or left at the front desk when no one is around, then I could say, case closed. But Satchell said with all the OT paid out as it is; and come the MDA drive, the best we can hope for is one of our guys patrolling the area and possibly spot the person leaving the notes. It's that, or I sit there every night waiting and I can't do that function properly with my responsibilities.”
I bet it’s someone you know mom. You too, Ed.”
What do you say that Bub?”
“Just a guess, but I've read a lot of books that people like this are secretly waiting to be caught so they leave messages with those they care about.”
“Are you saying this person is a cop” asked Ed.
“No, but hey, he or she might be. Maybe a retired cop, who knows. \Might be another kid that's frustrated and angry with how he's being treated. There might be a mad bomber holed up in a motel somewhere.”
“Well, we can check all the motels between here and Stanhouse and see who has been staying there any length of time. I do know I certainly don't need another kid blowing himself to pieces either.”
“Just saying, is all, mom. But I want to change the subject for a minute. Ellie's birthday. This is what I bought her yesterday.”
“These are beautiful Stevie. She'll love them.”
Baker turned and smiled at Ed, holding up one of the gifts.
“Wonder what they would say at the Twenty-Second if I walked in on Monday with this on.”
Ed looked at Stevie.
“See there, that was a fine example of a woman throwing out a blatant hint of: where is mine honey.”
Blood Sweat and Tears
there are so many
I have to leave
like that I’ve written
how much rope
would hold my weight
topics that might shock
horrify and alienate
people I’ve met
in groups and hospitals
outpatient and inpatient
electrocuted with shock treatment
scars up and down their arms
some with only tears to show
crying and lifeless though they
are still breathing and sitting
in cold metal folding chairs
what they’d do
if they knew
the real me
I think of Sylvia Plath’s
how we know her to the bone
how unafraid she was
brilliant and honed
I need to push past
write what I am
even if my audience
won’t think of me
her voice was an echo
across the loneliness
of the internet
a search signal
her YouTube channel
a diary of illness
and the price we pay
pouring her soul
into a screen that
didn’t give her
or the intimacy
of another’s judgment
she left a legacy
of broken sound waves
bouncing off the ears
of those fortunate enough
to hear her story