Only I know myself
I have come to the conclusion
That no one really knows me
I’m not talking about knowing my favorite movie or my favorite color
I mean knowing me deeply, intuitively
Not even my family
I know the only person who does
It was once an
Butterfly stroked into.
But the more my
The more I saw the particles.
Swimming in water.
It was always air
And the bars
Were my own creations
I used to love you. And I am sure that I love you at the moment. In the future though, I might or might not love you. So, what do you say? Do you love me too?
Silent we have stayed too long
On changing our world
To accept racial equality
America’s ignorance has brought us dangerous consequences,
Yes silent we have stayed too long
Silent we have stayed too long
to empower black women
For her to express her choice
For her to shout her voice
Free to own a business
Beautiful with braided hair
And coffee colored skin
We finally got there this year
But silent we have stayed too long
Silent we have stayed too long
Allowing history, politicians and holidays to
Act like they can define, judge, steal, and take away
If you only see white,
You need a new sight
MLK may have marched, but there’s still a long way to go
For all lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter
Hear their demand for freedom
For they will never apologize for the color of their skin
Let’s all cry,
Freedom! Justice! We need it right now!
This isn’t about taking sides,
It’s about unity and inclusion,
To say racism is something we can never allow
Wooden King Me
"I see!" he told me that night. "I see that you certainly don't know where you are. You think that simple unfortunate fame you achieved is the greatest of successes, but the truth is, like a false wooden king on a grey chess board, you're trapped, and only allowed to move your feet to a step, but no further, and on each and every step around, you should see a sword that pops a dark smoke out, waiting for you to make that one step, so that it can behead you cleanly. While those of whom you left behind, the enlightened bishops and the broken knights, even the dying soldiers, march forward... forward towards a greater success, without the sword of pain and regret put on their way, you’ll remain in that deep darkness forever, struggling to make that single step!"
I remember laughing at the words of that old man, and now, sitting inside the shade I built from stripped clothes, staring at the empty street without looking, and so depressed even to commit suicide, I started laughing, and didn’t stop till the laugh turned to tears.
“Hail to king me!” I shouted to the moaning wind and dropped backwards… backwards to the even deep darkness.
Aquarius is the sign of out of the box thinkers,
And rebel dreamers
Bearing water, actually an air sign
Gifts us with vision and intuition
Both a blessing and a curse
There’s a myth about Aquarius,
That we are more logical than emotional
Yet, we are the ones
progressively fighting for change
People say I’m a rule follower
If you really get to know me
You will see I break or alter rules
I am mysterious, unpredictable
When an Aquarius is quiet
We seem closed off and shy
I only put words into the universe
If they have value
Small talk is a pet peeve
An Aquarius craves deep conversation
Social interaction I can take,
Yet I can leave it just as easily
Aquarius believes in live and let live
You make your choices, and I make mine
I can offer sweet kindness unless I’m mistreated
Then I become vicious
As an Aquarius
I have no desire to follow any crowd
I am limited edition
One hundred percent rare
Theodore *note to judges at bottom
Fuck. There I was, in a dangerous situation, as per usual. Hedonism and responsibilities do not go hand in hand, as was being proven to me for the millionth time.
Tipsy, and a flat tire. 2 flat tires actually, with only one available spare, which of course, as the prissy suburban girl that I am, I had no idea how to put on. I had seemingly managed to run over someone’s nail collection that was left on the side of the road. I hope they didn’t want it back.
I took in the situation. It was dusk, on an empty highway, because no one else parties at 5 o’clock in the afternoon on a Wednesday. I had to be home soon or my dad would know I wasn’t at work, at the job I quit months ago but kept the outfit for a convenient excuse to leave the house for hours a day. It was a nice job really, but what is a teenage alcoholic supposed to do? Continue being a waitress? I don’t think so, and you don’t think so either. So I quit, and rationalized it by repeating the words “I’m only young once” and “I got to live life.”
You see where that got me.
No money for a tow, the clock was ticking for the time left of my “shift”.
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
This is a classic, right? Skinny blonde bitch stranded helplessly on the road. I knew, however, that this wasn’t going to end in a classic romantic kiss. The only thing this would lead to was a shtiload of trouble. My dad was going to find out all the lies, search my room, put me in jail, oh my god oh my god. I was thinking about how terrible the showers in juvie will be when the hairs on my neck stood up at full attention.
A small, brownish tan Volkswagen vehicle was pulled up next to me. Like, right next to me. I instinctively pressed the lock down on my door. I groped the pocket knife in my, well, pocket. You know, the obligatory going-to-a-rave pocket knife. I squinted my eyes to see who was driving, expecting to see some ogre slightly resembling a man (mossy bald head, 2 teeth, hot breath) but, to my surprise, I saw a tan Ken doll staring back at me. Taken aback, I stared at him for a second or two, before flashing him my freshly whitened teeth. He flashed his back.
At this point I’m conflicted. Part of me is thinking, Emily, your being so stupid, this is how people get turned into coats, but then the teenage girl side of me was thinking that pretty people dont do evil things, they are always nice and friendly. Spread a little gossip and talk a little trash, maybe, but not full on kill anyone, let alone abduct people.
So, for the thrill of it (like always), I crank my window down.
“Hey, what are ya doing parked all sideways on the side of the road?”
“Well, to be honest with you, I’m in a bit of a predicament.”
“Predicament, huh? Big word for a pretty girl like you.”
A feeling split between “roll up your window” and “he thinks I’m pretty.”
“I like to think I’m pretty intelligent.”
“But stuck on the side of the road?”
He was witty too. Cute, and therefore, dangerous.
“You got me there. Some asshole left a bunch of nails in the middle of the damn road, and now I’m gonna be late home.”
“Too dainty to change a flat?”
“Two flats, one spare.”
He put his hand on his scruff and stroked his sculpted chin accordingly.
“Yup, that’s quite the predicament.”
The clouds had hung low all day, threatening to fuck up my evening, and they weren’t bluffing. It started pouring, as if on cue. I started to crank my window up, but, as you could guess, the damn thing wouldn’t go up. I tried lifting it with my hands and everything, but the thing wouldn’t move. The rain started pouring in, onto my sweater and prop work pants, and I let out a shout of frustration and smacked my hand on the dash. “Dammit!”
“There’s a seat over here you know”
I had almost forgotten he was there; he felt like a fever dream. I was trying to decide if this moment was serendipitous or the opposite thereof.
“I don’t know.. This is how all horror shows start, ya know.”
“I understand, I hope you find a ride back, miss. Have a good day.”
He put his hand on the shifter.
He put the car back in park and smiled at me inquisitively.
“Miss me already?”
God, he was good. Mid 20’s and bookish, but smug in an attractive way. I considered my options. Stay here in my car that was slowly becoming a rain collection bucket, or get in the warm Volkswagen with a handsome stranger, who could then drive me home. I could get there on time, and avoid so much trouble. And, the ultimate deciding factor; he was very, very pretty.
So what did I do? You already know.
He slid back into the drivers side to make room for me, and the leather was warm with his body heat. I slammed the door shut and tried to pretend he was an ugly old man. I couldn’t let this guy woo me, as he was clearly used to. I just had to get home, and get there safely.
Things didn’t go as planned, or I wouldn’t be writing this, of course.
“It’s about 10 minutes away.”
“Yes, thank you, by the way.”
“Do you live by yourself?”
Red flag? No, my mind reasoned, just small talk.
“No actually, with my dad and my little sister.”
“Staying at home for college or what?”
“No, I’m actually not in college.”
“I am, just after I get through highschool.”
“Highschool. You’re still a schoolgirl? I’ll be damned, I would have bet you were 20, with an ass like that.”
I shouldn’t have come here. I shouldn’t have got in.
“Thanks. It’s a right at the next stop.”
I kept the words short and cold, uninviting. Charismatic as he seemed at first, he was getting way too creepy, way too fast. I hunched forward and kept my head perfectly straight.
“I mean, really. You’re gorgeous. I love your hair. It’s so long.”
“What’s your name anyways, school girl?”
He had a smile on that once seemed inviting, that now seemed greedy.
“Emily Hankfeld. What’s yours?”
I thought maybe I could steer this conversation in a better direction.
“Theodore Bundy. But everyone calls me Ted.”
At this point, he was looking at me more than seemed safe for driving in the rain. I didn’t look back, but I could feel his eyes moving up and down, up and down, up and down.
“It’s this right up here”
He didn’t turn..
“Ted, that was the turn. You missed it.”
He pretended not to hear me.
“You know, most of the time when a handsome man picks up a stupid cunt off the side of the road, he gets more than a thanks.”
My stomach dropped. My heart stopped. He took a left onto a long gravel driveway. The only sounds that escaped my mouth were the sharp inhales and exhales I was trying to control.
“So beautiful; such a shame you’re so young.”
A glimmer of hope. Maybe he wouldn’t. Maybe he had morals. Maybe.
“Too bad this is where it ends.”
As the car rolled to a stop, the adrenaline took full control. My mind stayed frozen while arms tried to open the door. Locked from the inside. He planned it. Hands smacking on the glass, my mouth screaming words I couldn’t hear.
“I would say I’m sorry, Emily, but I’m trying to work on my compulsive lying.”
I remember the pain in my skull as he pulled my head back by my hair and put his hand over my mouth. My fingers remembered the knife in my pocket.
“Don’t pull any funny business, Emily. I want to have a little fun first. You’re okay with that, aren’t you?’
I screamed against his calloused hand, and he smiled. My legs kicked the air and his car.
“Careful bitch, yout gonna break the glass.”
He laid down on top of me so I couldn’t move. And fuck, was he heavy.
I was running out of air, out of energy, and out of hope. All I could do was look into his eyes and hope there was some empathy in there.
I was suffocating, and he enjoyed it.
“This is your own fault you know. Didn’t your mom ever tell you not to get into cars with strangers?”
As I was giving up, fate decided not to. Someone was driving down the driveway. This caused a high level of anger from Ted, which was demonstrated by a slap in the face.
“Shit, shit, shit.”
He sighed and pushed me to the side. He put the car in reverse and pressed on the gas.
Now, I’d never hurt anyone if I didn’t have to. I cried when I accidentally stepped on our cat. I need you to understand this isnt in my nature.
He grabbed the steering wheel and I grabbed the knife.
A 3 inch blade in the jugular isn’t good news for anyone. I still remember the look in his eyes. It was clear what he was thinking:
I sat there, killer’s blood spurting onto me, and his body slumped forward unto the steering wheel. I was in shock. I still am. You can imagine the old man’s face whose driveway I’d just killed someone in when he finally made his way to us. He turned right back around. I would too.
The police were impressed by me, but to this day I wonder if he would’ve actually gone through with it. The savage look in his eyes and the tightness of his fist said yes, but who knows, maybe he was a good person. Or maybe he was going to become a world renown serial killer.
That’s giving myself too much credit, I think.
*So I entered the contest with this same story with my original account ellenecky, but only today did I realize I had to be a gold member to particpate. I tried to make my old account a gold account, but it kept saying "unable to add subscription", so I had to make a whole new account to make it gold. Anyways, I jusr wanted to explain the fishy twice entry of the same peice.
You did a good thing, Jonas
You did a good thing, Jonas. It came to him as if he were under water.
He didn’t think he had done something good.
Certainly not at that moment.
Jonas felt like an outsider in his own body, a bystander in his own life. As they drove home Jonas sat in the passenger seat trying to not look over at his mother as he replayed the events in his head yet again while looking at his reflection in the mirror each time they drove under a streetlight.
Rewind 31 hours.
“I’m finding a way to that show one way or another,” Jonas said to his younger brother Tommy as he riffled through his backpack looking for his wallet.
Tommy would always tag along. But not tonight.
“Are you going with Stevie or that girl you like?” Tommy asked, teasing his brother.
“Girl I Like is her confirmation name,” Jonas laughed, playfully slapping his brother, “I just call her Sue…and no its just me and Stevie but not if we can’t find a ride and definitely not if I can’t find my fuckin-” Jonas stopped searching and took a deep breath and looked at Tommy.
“Look,“ Jonas got quiet and serious, “I wont be mad if you hid it to play,” Jonas said, sitting on his bed and leaning back on his elbows.
“Not mad like two days ago when I borrowed your Bauers?”
“Ok first those shoes don’t even fit. And they’re mine. And they’re expensive. And I wasn’t mad."
“You were mad,” Tommy laughed.
There was a pause. Jonas squinted his eyes, raised his right brow and puckered his lips which meant he was thinking and about to render a judgment or a decision.
“Okay yeah I was mad but I’m not now. Yer gunna be lost at Conventry without me and Stevie.”
Tommy rolled over on his bed and put his back to Jonas.
“We’d take you but-
Jonas really did feel bad about not having enough tickets to take Tommy but right then the phone rang in the hallway and Jonas’s mother called out to him.
“Its Stevie honey,” his mother appeared in their doorway with the phone in her hand and covered the receiver with her palm, “Look Jonas your wallet is on the sink in the bathroom….”
Jonas sprang to his feet in one motion and tried to grab the phone but his mother gently stepped back.
“Uh ah I don’t think so mister not so fast, before you think another thought I need to say two things.”
Jonas was becoming inpatient and stood with his arms crossed waiting.
“Okay well for starters I’m sorry I need the car tonight. Secondly Stevie hitchhikes and his parents don’t like it. And I don’t like it either so you have to promise me you won’t thumb it.”
Jonas nodded at his mother. Clearly to placate her. And for her part his mother smiled and handed Jonas the phone.
Her posture and his said it all to Tommy who lay on his bed watching: mom had to say it to say it and Jonas won’t listen but he’ll ignore her respectfully. Same routine since forever only now that Jonas is a high school graduate, he’s decidedly closer to adulthood and felt the need to show some flex.
Jonas took the phone.
“Nope,” Stevie could be heard on the other end. “We’re gunna have to hitch.”
It was a hot afternoon but seemed to be cooling off nicely as the two recent graduates walked down the street figuring ride or no ride they were attending this show.
“Do me a favor and let me flag people down,” Stevie said to Jonas
“Well I mean I hate to bring it up but I mean, like, we both know I’m the better looking and more innocent looking,” Stevie ran his hand through his hair and smiled, mockingly, as they walked.
“Oh so yer gunna play that card huh,” Jonas said, smiling but somewhat hurt.
In the distance a baby blue pickup track began to take shape on the horizon. The boys looked up to see with some hope.
On the inside of the truck the driver fiddled with the station. Hot Child in the City came on and while Jeff wasn’t crazy about it he figured it would do. He had the house all to himself. He had bourbon and he had grass and he also no friends to share it with.
As he settled into City Nights Jeff noticed two boys about his age standing on the roadside. The taller boy with the long dark hair, bellbottom jeans and leather jacket struck Jeff instantly.
“Aye how about that he’s pulling over,” Stevie winked at Jonas.
“Yeah great well see that? It’s a dude.”
“I don’t care if it’s a fuckin octopus so long as it saves us some time.”
They both laughed as they truck pulled to the side of the road slowly. Its tires grinding against the gravel and dirt.
Jeff felt an exhilaration as he pulled the car over. In his stomach, between his legs, in his throat. Don’t fuck this up.
Jeff pulled off the side of the road convincing himself to just do as practiced and all would be just fine. Just play it cool he told himself.
“Oh don’t worry Dotty,” Jonas’s mother lit a cigarette as she spoke with Stevie's mother,
“I gave my mase to Jonas plus they’re both strong boys.”
“Jonas sure,” Dotty could be heard on the other end and Tommy listened. “but Stevie, well he’s just a free spirit and believes the best about everyone. I’ve tried to get him to stop hitching forever.”
“Well Dot if that’s your concern Jonas trusts nobody so they’re together. Don’t worry.
Jonas gave Stevie a disapproving look as they both approached the passenger side window, Jeff leaning over to roll it down.
“Hey, you guys need a ride,” Jeff asked. His voice shaky and awkward.
“Yeah man for sure if you’re headed our way,” Stevie said.
“Where are you headed?” Jeff recognized both boys from Coventry High and they had all graduated together, yet neither Jonas nor Stevie recognized him.
“Chippewa Lake Park,” Jonas said, nudging Stevie to the side a bit to assess.
“I can get you there,” Jeff opened the door and to his disappointment Stevie climbed into the cab and Jonas sat up front.
“Well we have some time to kill now once we get there. What’re you getting into tonight man?,” Stevie asked Jeff.
“Oh not much. Actually its just me at my house. We can go roll a couple joints and have a drink they I can run you to the lake or you can walk from my place, its like right there,” Jeff was trying not to sound desperate.
“Then why were you driving the other direction?” Jonas asked. Jeff was agitated. He saw the suspicious look in Jonas’s expression in his peripheral vision.
“Look man I, I mean I’m just out fer a drive,” Jeff started to defend himself.
“Jonas man lay off,” Stevie tapped Jonas’s should and leaned forward “yeah man we’re in we have a couple joints too. House all to yourself?”
“And almost two hours to kill,” Jeff smiled.
Jeff’s smile caught Jonas off guard. It seemed forced and fake but that wasn’t the problem.
Tommy crept closer to his bedroom door, still ajar, to listen to his mother talk to Stevie’s mom. Tommy could hear Dotty say “mase never stopped anyone.”
“Well if it makes you feel any better Jonas has a knife too.”
“Oh yes much better.”
Both women laughed some.
“Dotty-they’re going to be just fine.”
The driveway was like an S and on an incline. Jonas eyed the surroundings as the truck ground to a slow stop at the top of the driveway where a two-story, modest home was situated in a grove of tall pines and Red Maples in full bloom.
Car doors shut without words. Stevie followed Jeff and Jonas looked around.
“So,” Jonas sprinted a bit to catch up with them, “do you go to Conventry?”
“I did,” Jeff said flatly.
The three boys set up in the living room which was overlooking a hill and the venue at the Lakes not far in the distance. The family room, where the three imbibed while listening to the Rolling Stones, had floor to ceiling windows that gave way to a spectacular view in the waning daylight. A fireplace with several family pictures on the mantel caught Jonas’s attention. He began to feel like he knew this Jeff.
“So I suppose we should get going,” Jonas said to Stevie as he looked at him, then at Jeff who looked tense and twitchy.
“Oh yeah yeah we do. Hey man,” Stevie stumbled to his feet, almost losing his footing, “thank you fer the ah, umm-
“You know you guys should stay,” Jeff said, standing up with a start-a sense of disproportionate urgency. Fervent moves and sweaty cheeks set off Jonas. He could hear his mother’s voice in his head about hitchhiking.
About the mase.
About the knife.
Jonas stood and steadied Stevie by grabbing hold of his friends arm as he reached for his backpack.
“This dude here,” Jonas laughed, “always been a lightweight.”
Jeff wasn’t laughing.
“Stay it’ll be a better time here. My parents have a full bar,” Jeff, nearly pleading now, was having a tough time with their departure and felt hurt that despite his hospitality they hadn’t even asked him to come along.
Jeff was on one side of Stevie.
Jonas on the other.
“I need to fuckin piss before we go Jonas,” Stevie said laughing.
“I’ll show you the bathroom,” Jeff said.
For a moment Jonas stood in the rustic family room as he waited for Stevie to use the restroom so they could go. Jonas kept looking around him and eventually reached into his bag and grabbed his knife, opened it, and carefully placed it in his pocket as he casually put his backpack on. Jonas called out for Stevie who rounded the corner.
“Where’s Jeff,” Jonas asked, nearly panicked.
Jonas looked at Stevie’s eyes grow wide with fear and sensed Jeff's presence behind him, he felt the heat right behind him just before he went down. Jonas tried to pull his hand from his pocket and the knife cut through his jeans.
“Stevie fuckin run man run go get help,” Jonas yelled.
Jeff attempted to go after Stevie but Jonas grabbed Jeff by his jeans and he fell to the ground. They struggled and this wasn't real Jonas thought. As Jeff climbed on top of him and pinned Jonas to the ground Jonas thought of Tommy and felt bad about the shoes.
He looked up at Jeff's beatred face and called out for Stevie.
His hand felt warm and the weight of Jeff was crushing, not to mention the open eyes.
“That’s the last thing I remember,” Jonas told the officer, “his open eyes.”
“Welp,” the officer looked at Jonas and his mother, “based on what we found in the boy’s home he had some plans for you both.
“What was found?”
“Rope, hatchet, tape, few other things,” the officer said as he made notes in the file without looking up at Jonas or his mother.
“So how much trouble is Jonas in here?” his mother placed her hand on Jonas’s knee.
Jonas felt like he could lose his mind right then. None of this was real. This wasn’t happening. All he and Stevie had planned was a night of music, some good weed and maybe a shot at getting laid and now he had just killed someone. Not only that but he had gone to high school with the boy and hadn’t even met him before.
The officer held the file vertical and shuffled the papers inside all neat before setting it down and placing his palms calmly on his desk, to either side of the file.
“Jonas you’ve been bailed out for manslaughter and it looks like a clear-cut case of self-defense. Otherwise the judge wouldn’t have set ya free so dang fast but there’s still lots of questions so don’t go anywhere.”
For a moment the officer looked heavy with guilt.
“Unofficially, and Stevie’s family agrees as does, well, Stevie, you saved his life and yours Jonas. We’ve got reason to believe Jeff was adamant about doing something to Stevie and having you in the way put a stop to that.”
“What kinda something?”
“The worst kind,” the officer stood up, “you’re free to go for now and hey, off the record, you may have done something good for the world here.”
Jonas and his mother walked to the car in silence. He heard his mother talking to him. It echoed as if she were miles away. As they drove Jonas looked his himself in the mirror outside of car.
“Call Stevie when you get in Jonas.”
“Jonas we’re gunna get through this. I don’t know how but we will.”
Stopped at a red light in the darkness she turned and looked at Jonas and he looked back.
“You did a good thing, Jonas.”
The light seemed to stay red forever. Jonas looked at his mother and then back out the open window.
In the depth of winter
An emerging bud
Magpies nest building
Each sign of Spring
Lifts me up
With Spring awakening.
Don't sit idly on the side,
As opportunities that come, will pass you by.
Remain alert and also gracious,
With whatever it is that you are faced with.