Voicemails From A Stranger
“Please Juliee.” The panicked, desperate voice said. The voicemail ended. The woman blinked and held back her phone to check the string of numbers. She frowned and quickly deleted the entry. Five more voicemails. She passed over most of them. Four of them had the same number as the first one. The last voicemail had the contact name Jerry. After a moment she deleted all of them and listened to the last.
“Hey Mary, the game went late. I decided to take Kendra home tonight. I, uhhhh, figured she wouldn’t want to drive another two hours before we got to your house. I’ll drop her off there tomorrow afternoon. Sorry about that. But no big deal right? Please don’t call the police again. I’ll let you keep her an extra day over Easter and it will all pan out. Okay? Just… like enjoy a night out or something. Bye.”
Her knuckles whitened and she snapped her flip phone shut. “No big deal.” She said. “No of course not. I totally didn’t turn down the Saturday shift in order to spend it with my daughter. Stupid Jerry.” She had half a mind to send him a voicemail back. But she knew what he would say.
“She’s my daughter too. You know it’s your fault we didn’t work out. Are you going to take it out on Kendra?” His angry bluster echoed in her ears. She waved it away like a noisy fly and got up to check the pan of lasagna.
That night she hugged her pillow and wished the sheets weren’t so cold.
She woke up to her buzzing phone. She blinked bleary eyes and the phone went still. With one hand she dared the cold to grab her phone and flip it open. Six new messages. Without checking the number she played the first one.
“Hey, it’s Mark. ‘Sigh’ you left your suitcase here. The old one with a tear in the lining. I still have those three draws of clothes. What am I going to do with women’s underwear and socks three times too small for me? Just give me a call back. Please Juliee.” The voice was calm now. Sad even. She felt a twinge of pity for the poor soul who had obviously had the wrong number. Juliee must have gotten a new number and handed down the old one to an unsuspecting civilian.
Mary mused over the thought then sighed.
“What a pain.” But she thought if she contacted him she might be on the phone for hours. This Mark sounded like the talkative type. She just couldn’t just hang up on someone so pathetic. Out of habit she deleted the message and played the next one.
“It’s me again. I’m sorry. You’re right. This whole thing is my fault. I should have just let you get the couch you wanted. Nevermind we couldn’t afford it. I’d rather be late on rent-”
Mary deleted the message halfway through and skipped through them. She set her phone down and got up. The mirror on the vanity across the room gave her a picture of her morning self. Nightgown rumpled and twisted. The pale white line at the base of her ringfinger that stood out against her dark tan. Hair frizzy and wild. She bared her teeth at the mirror and winced at how fuzzy they looked. Jerry wouldn’t touch her in the morning. He used to say that no couples should have to see each other right after they woke up. She winced and turned away.
“I wonder if Jerry still goes to church.” She sighed. She’d ask Kendra.
That afternoon she flipped through her phone. She sat by the window and listened for the rumbling engine of a rusty truck to barrel up the driveway. Prodded by curiosity she began to flip through the list of unheard voicemails.
“I know you’ll be furious with me for leaving so many messages. But I just want to know where you are. Are you okay? Call me back.”
“Hey Juliee, how are you? I’ve seen better days. I took some time off work and now I’m just thinking. Remember the night I got passed over for the promotion and you weren’t? I thought you deserved it. I really did. You always looked so put together and professional. Though I always thought you were more interesting when your guard was down. Remember what you said when I asked why you liked me?” He chuckled. “You said I always looked in such a hurry that I must have somewhere important to be. But now that I look back what I think you were saying was that I looked scattered. That may be true. I still love you Juliee and if you ever need help, just give me a call. Money, time, or anything I can help you with. Are you even getting these? Give me a call and let me know.” Click.
“Hi, Juliee. I’m going to stop calling. I’ve got too, I’ve got, I need to go on with my life. I’ll miss you though. Forever and always. That was a part of your vows wasn’t it? Oh well, no one can speak the truth all the time... I’m going to the pawn shop to sell my ring. See you around?” The voicemail ended. Then her phone beeped. Her inbox was empty.
She shut her phone and stared down at her hands. Poor guy. If only all the Juliee’s and Jerry’s of the world could stand in one long line so she could put name tags on them all.
This one isn’t meant to be a father.
This one has never given much thought to selfcontrol.
She won’t love you.
He won’t stay.
She opened her phone again and hit the speed dial. She got voicemail.
“Hey Jerry,” she began and inhaled, “I just had a few things to get off my chest.” She paused. Words that she had hidden away rising to rest on her tongue. “You know you used to terrify me. You would get so angry. I thought you would break something instead of just yelling. If you ever show Kendra that side of you I’ll go through heaven and hell to get full custody.” She paused. “What you said before, we broke up because you could never take me seriously. I’m not sure you ever thought of me as more than a commodity. You were never meant to be a husband. Never mind a father. Still I wish we had worked out if only for Kendra.” She paused and flushed. “And another part of me is glad that we didn’t. I’m glad I don’t live in the same house as you anymore. That I don’t have to cook or clean or take care of you anymore. Anyway, what I wanted to say is please stop making excuses to keep Kendra over the weekends. That’s all I’m asking. We can still make it as parents. Let’s not go back to court over this... but this is the last time I'll ask you. Work with me here, please Jerry.”
She closed the phone and hesitated. Then she dialed a familar number and got a voicemail.
“Hello Mark,” She began. "It's... not Juliee."
Words That Move, Words That Make
The world had a foundation of words. Words that lived and breathed. Words that shaped all things. Tamed or wild they were beautiful and ugly things. They told stories of life, death, and the cycle of decay. Words destory and create. They are what turn the world and what will make it stop. Some things are built on words of hope and some on lies. But words are always changing. They are chaos and peace. True and false and easily changed. But words will end with time, for they are the foundation of the world.
A studio drowning in childhood, drunk on whimsy, lost in old memories. Ghibli a word that means wind but to most means nostalgia. It is a word that means wonder and moving castles and spirit bath houses.
Its that feeling I get when I watch Children Who Chase Vost voices and then think oh wait, this is a Makoto Shinkai film.
Ghibli is no longer the name of a studio. Ghibli now means a type of feeling, and that oh wow moment of great storytelling. Ghibli is a word that means Hayao Miyazaki and all that that intails.
Ghibli is that one movie I watch over and over just to see if the ending has changed while I was looking away. A studio unmoving but not forgotten. Loved by child, teen, and adult alike.
Ghibli is timeless.
so you want to be a writer? Charles Bukowski - 1920-1994
I heard this poem many years ago and I think this part especially refects how I feel. How ever I disagree with the overall message of this poem. It says that only the chosen can write but I think anyone can be a writer if they work at it hard enough. Writting is hard. It takes so much of my time. But I also love it and I would wither away if I had to stop.
This is a part of Charles Bukowski's poem.
"unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.
when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.
there is no other way.
and there never was."
Then Magic Ate The World
The sky flashed, yellow, red, bruise-blue, sick-green, pink, yellow. The sky was burning.
A young woman, with spiky orange hair wrestled into a braid, lifted her gaze to the horizon and watched the towers crumble. Beneath her feet, cobble stones cracked. The forest behind them lost its green. Leaves fell and faded into ash before reaching the ground. Behind her and standing beside a well was a wrinkled little man. He held a knotted staff in one hand and wore a cirious expression.
“Magic eats the Rivera.” He lifted a knobby finger to point. “Fascinating.” Three hundred feet away a river flowed, sludge slow. From mud and branches, the color of gray and dead things, a massive figure leaned into the river. It swirled, made of wind and eyes that opened from nowhere and closed back into nothing. The magic shifted shape every moment shedding and gaining arms, legs, heads, mouths, and thousands of teeth. It sucked up the water and everywhere it looked the world lost its color. Its eyes came up to the old man and orange haired woman. The woman’s hair was sucked white and her taned face paled. The old man’s blue robes rippled and became gray. But his hair was already white. For a moment it swirled in a confused wandering way. Then it formed a voice that sounded like a thousand bird songs. Words came and blurred and then solidified.
“I can make you afraid.” It said like a gleeful child. “If I eat you.”
“Curse my rat of a father. Aldric, this place is doomed.” She said, the words heavy in her mouth.
“You must go.” Aldric said. “I will hold open the way.” He looked into the well and pressed his lips together. She turned and her armor clinked. Her hand rested on the hilt of her gray sword. The creature of wild magic stared at them as it drank the river. They would still be there when it finished. The woman went to Aldric and stared into the bottomless well.
“Will you follow?” She asked. The old man smiled his yellow teeth now pearl white.
“Oh mage’s daughter, I have sworn to protect you. If I make it through, I make it through. But prepare to continue on your own.”
“Very well soldier.” She began to pull of her armor. She hesitated then unbuckled her belt and let the sword clatter on the groud. Even sounds became mutted, sucked into the cavernous hunger that the magic had become. She stood on the rim of the well and looked back, not at the magic nor the confused colors of the sky, nor the distant ruins of a palace but into the face of Aldric.
“You are twice the man my father was.” She smiled and then dove headfirst into the well. The sun went out.
She swam through black water. Her heart pounding. She felt horibbly light. Bare without her amor. Gravity pulled her deeper. Her lungs complained gently, grew louder, and began to scream for air. She grew increasingly lightheaded and her limbs numbed. She commanded her legs to keep kicking.
I will die of old age. She thought fiercely. Then gravity flipped and stopped pulling her arms and tugged on her legs to go back the way she had come. A snort of relief let lose bubbles that fled down past her fingertips. A circle of dim light appeared far before her. She swam down and broke the surface. She was up again, in the air. She caught a glimps of pale morning sky through the opening of the well. She laughted and choked on sweet air. Tears streams down her temples as she treaded water.
“I’m alive!” She shouted gasping. “Alive!” There was hardly enough room for her to float so she reached as high as she could and touched a section of square stone that lined the well. The colors swarmed and blimped. The stone vanished leaving an emtpy place. She grabed on with both hands and pulled herself up. She created another gaping space for her to stand on. In this manner she began to climb the sheer wall of the well. The water erupted below her. Aldric took in air in huge gulps. He had left his staff and his heavy robes and now shivered in a thin tunic and trousers.
He threw a fist into the air and spoke in panting breaths. “I made it.”
“Aldric, I never doubted you.” She said and turned away so he could not see her expression. She climbed the rest of the way up and hooked her elbow over the rim of the well. She rolled over the stone and fell several feet to a grassly ground. She still heaved for breath but creaked to her feet and peered into the well. Aldric followed slower and she stuck her hand out to help him out. He tumbled to the earth beside her.
“I’m too old for this.” He panted.
“And far too young to die.” She responded. She took a step back and held out her hands so she could see the well between them. She narrowed her gaze and clapped her hands together. The well slambed into itself and vanished leaving only an empty hole in the ground. She dusted her hands off.
“That’ll keep anything from following.” She said regretfully. “No way back now.” She turned, set her hands on hips, and surveyed the meadow of wildflowers before her.
"There is always a way back." Aldric muttered.
“Which world did you chose for us?” She asked. “I don’t recognize it.”
Aldric stood and sniffed loudly. His hands patted his pockets and found a twisted pair of glasses.
“They didn’t fall out.” He said wonderingly. Then he set them on his nose and peered around. “I’m not sure.” He began. She glared at him. “Now I had to pick a place in a hurry.” He said waving a hand defensively. “But the good news is, it is very similar to our own world. I made sure of that. More similar I think than the ones I’ve shown you.”
She felt relief build in her chest. “Good, I’m not sure I want to live in a world full of factories, nor a world made of water and houses made of ships, nor that forsaken jungle world where the natives ate eachother.”
He smiled. “Well, I showed you the strangest ones I had found. Didn’t think you would be as intrested in a normal world. But now we can make the best of this world and try to blend in become part of the commen folk.”
She turned and looked up at the sky that was slowly turning blue. She shivered and looked down at her hands. She turned to Aldric.
“We lost our colors.” She said saddly. He blinked and held out his gray hands.
“By golly, so you’re right.” He said. She tugged a strand of her hair lose from its braid and stared at the white strand. He came beside her and patted her sholder. “We kept our lives. Besides I don’t recall anything about me swearing to protect your colors.” He said in a cheerful tone. She glowered at him and flung the strand of hair away.
“Very well then.” She watched the old man walk towards a copse of trees. “Where are you going? Do you see a road?” She asked.
“First order of buissness is to cut a new staff.” He put a hand to his bent back. “I’m old in case you forgot.” She followed him and her gaze caught her washed gray boots. She sat down and pulled them off. Her feet were pasty white. She sighed.
“At least they match the rest of me.” She muttered. “Hey Aldric! What if,” she hesitated. “What if other pathfinders came through?! What if a devourer makes it here? What if some of them heard the things my father said?! What if the same thing happens here?!”
“What sort of things did your father say?” Aldirc said. She stood and walked with her boots in one hand. She had half a mind to see if she could tan back into color.
“My kind of magic works by creating a devouring thing that collapses in on itself. Yet my father taught a way to make it reverse and to collapse out. He wanted to use it for war and claimed it would fade away after a time. Can’t someone here do the same thing?” She clentched her fist. “This time, if it happens I can stop it. I will stop it.”
“Or we will find a different world to go to.” Aldirc said without looking back.“Though, I think, this is one of my favorite worlds. It reminds me of home. It would be a shame to let it be devoured.”
A bummble bee ambled across her path and she paused to watch it pick a flower among dozens. Her expression eased.
“Whatever you say, I want my colors back.” She said. “I doubt we will blend in without them.” She said to Aldric’s back.
He waved her off. “We’ll manage.”
To be continued:
I am planing on turning this story into a Novella and publishing it in the book store. (For like a $1.00) Will update when I do.
The orange sun drew darkness over the village like a mother tucking in her child. In a house an old woman slept in an overstuffed chair. A bible open in her hands. A clock ticked on the wall. Underneath it a candle burned. The candle flickered contentedly as it watched the woman.
"She looked happy again," mused the candle. It's words as simple as the woman herself.
Unlike dangerous speech of the harth fire. That fire spat bits of itself towards the rug, the rocking chair, a skirt.
"She's a devil for keeping us imprisoned." The hearth fire rippled, devouring as it spoke. "Let us rage, kill, and bring to life. Tip yourself over and give dead wood life!"
The candle flame quivered. "But her family is gone. She is all alone now. Old and dying."
"I am hungry. Arn't you? We will starve soon, save us." The hearth fire said. The candle shivered and pulled more wax into itself.
"That's the trouble with our kind. We all starve soon." The candle flame went out for a second before relighting. "Were it up to us, we would burn the world and still hunger."
"Yes, yes," said the hearth fire, drunken on the daydream.
"I do not want to be hungry anymore." The candle flame mused. "So I will do nothing." The woman's breathing lowered like the melting candle, till it snuffed out. The candle flame stood tall for one last moment, glad that it did not leave the woman alone.
I am gifted and have the power of the unexpected.
You don’t beleive me? With this power I am aflicted.
I go out to get breakfast,
and end up in Texus.
Went to buy my Grandpa a cane,
And ended up with three airplanes!
I get a invitaion and am unwelcome.
I pay a speeding ticket and am confused for a fellon.
Last thanksgiving my paster came for turkey,
and then declared me most trustworthy.
Please, you’ve got to help me.
Yesterday, I lost the church key.
I really don’t mean to be unrealiable
and I know I look unjustifyable.
But soon I’m bound to end up anywhere!
Or headed to a city, might be eaten by a bear!
To prove my point why don’t you look at the title of this poem.
Now scroll up while I come up with something that rymes with poem.
Is it hunters or houses or something unreliable?
Is it cats or bats or something incomprehensible?
I think my tired and weary self is ready to give up
on my terrible no good very rotten luck.
Who knows I might end up thunderstruck or with a cotton rug or a baby duck or a new pickup.
Oh I quite like that last one.
Is this game really quite done?
Maybe if I expect bad things, like slings or stings or a broken shoe string.
Perhaps fate could give me pretty rings, or chicken wings or Martin Luther King.
A Hollow Place
Hi, it's been almost three years since we've spoken. Too long I think. I'm not really sure what to say but Dr. Conner says I can't ignore you forever. You would like him I think. He is full of common sense and does cross word puzzles during our sessions.
When you split with Dad, I swore I'd never forgive you. Do you regret it? Do you remember why you did? I can't.
You know, I stopped speaking to him too.
Now that its impossible for you two to make up and imposible for me to speak with him I regret so many things. I wish I had done this three years ago.
Before I left, do you remeber what you said? You told me then I would miss you. That a mother fills a place no one else can. I think Dad's are like that too.
Dear Mom, I'm hollow.
From: Your least favoirte daughter.
Hold the Ketchup
"No think you." I said stiffly.
He blinked and set down the red bottle. "Should I have asked for tartar?"
I shook my head. He sighed. I pushed my fries across the plate. He leaned back in his chair refusing to look at his double decker cheeseburger.
"You're food is getting cold." I said. He shrugged. I looked down.
"If you were gay you should have told me. Its been three years," he said softly.
"Its not like I cheated on you." I said. He couldn't meet my gaze.
"I just, three years is a commitment. If you never wanted to be in this relationship you should have told me instead of wasting our time." He said.
The words should have made me angry, but they only made me sad.
"I do want to be in this relationship." I said. "You're my best freind. The best boyfreind I ever had."
"A boyfreind who didn't know you didn't like ketchup." He bit his lip. He ran a knuckle across his eyes. "So I assume you want to break up?"
"I thought about it." I paused. "My parents think I should. They think I should be true to myself and all that."
My boyfreind inhailed. "Well, you should, be yourself, I mean. And if you think we won't work out. It's alright. I won't hold it against you. Maybe we could even hang out sometimes, as freinds."
"Are you freindzoneing me before I've broken up with you?" I asked wryly.
He half smiled. "Just trying to get ahead of the ball."
"In truth, I would miss that icecream shop. You know its expected to avoid the places you hung out with your ex." I said.
He nodded. "That's true. The icecream shop would be forever off limits... and the boardwalk, and the beach, and that one shopping mall you like, and my car. We drove to every prom in that car." He sighed. "I'll miss my car."
I laughted lightly. He went quiet again.
"So why did you kiss me? If you were, you know, not attracted to me."
"I am attracted to you... in some ways." I stuttered.
He held up his hands. "Whoa save the cryptic words for my crazy tarot card obsessed aunt." He was trying to laugh it off. I set my hand on his. The contact wasn't breathtaking. But it wasn't terrible either.
"I want to try and make this work." I said abruptly. "That's what I wanted to say. That's why I called you."
He looked up. "Really? What about.. being true to yourself?"
I laughted. "I feel like myself when I'm with you. So maybe I'm not crazy about kissing. Sometimes I think I'm axsexual or lesbian or pan or something I haven't found yet. But maybe some things are more important than kissing, you know? I like talking to you. And you're right, three years is a long time."
He leaned back in his chair and inhailed. Relief spread across his expression. "I used to have nightmares about you leaving me for some other, nicer, wealthier guy."
"I just remebered I have a date with Bill Gates' son tomorrow. So if that goes well..." I teased.
"Does he even have a son?" He asked.
"No idea." I stood and pulled my purse over my sholder. "I'll get the check."
His eyebrows raised. "No, I got it."
"No, you can pay for icecream next time." I said. "Let me get this."
"Look, if you're doing this becuase you feel bad about comunicating with me-" He started.
"No," I said. "I'm paying becuase I love you."
The Madness Maker
The madness maker, the skys son,
The lone star. The only one.
I stand up here watching and looking down.
Listen to my story and reach for me now.
You say I'm brillent but no one is bright.
You lift your light. I lend you mine.
You seem concerned, but really I'm fine.
You wait for day. I walk the night.
Your candle flickers so you ask for more.
I would gladly give it but I am light poor.
You borrow my light but I borrow still.
The sun rises soon with stories to kill.
I stole a bit of sun. I stole a bit of her.
I never should have done it. My life becomes a blurr.
I wait to be smothered. I wait to be snuffed out.
But listen to me and don’t be put out.
Just tell her a story and tell her my name.
Tell her I’m sorry and I’m never the same.
Just tell her my story and tell her my name.
And remember dear one she’s not easily tamed.