Johnny Man (Not Boy) Part Five

“I really hope you both don’t think I wanted to do that though.” Liz says with a guilty expression.

“I know you didn’t. Please don’t feel horrible. If it wasn’t for you, Thomas and I would not be here. And who knows what they would have done to you if they found you Liz. You did some quick thinking and that is what we needed in the moment.” John reassures.

“Thank you.”

“Agreed. Sorry I am not the one with the words, but you were quite the impressive, most sneaky lady I have ever seen.” Thomas says.

“Thanks again guys. I really don’t know what we are going to do though if this place keeps getting attacked every night. I do not have enough ammo for a big fight every night.”

“We don’t. That’s why we must set traps Liz. Secure the perimeter. Intimidate. Send a message to people who want to steal from us, attack us, and not be with us: that we are a force to be reckoned with.” John declares.

They dig pits around the perimeter. Instead of creating stakes in them, they leave water and a morsel of food. The truth is, they need fighters. People who have guts but maybe lack direction. This will help create a strong community they both agree.

John comes up with a string system around the perimeter attached to bells inside the barn. He has them all labeled with numbers corresponding to a map he created of the area. He will know where an attack is coming from before the enemy even knows he exists. John has studied every inch of the landscape today. He studies everywhere to hide, run, engage or disengage. And Liz is quite impressed.

“I think you know this land better than me in one day John.”

“I know. That is the goal, haha. I can’t have you telling me where to run, while I am being shot at my dear! We all have to act independently at times.”

“Indeed we do.”

The bell rings. The one all the way on the left. John double checks the map and points.

“He’s coming from over here. If the bell rings several times, there must be more than one.”

It doesn’t ring again.

“Liz, you stay here. Thomas come with me.”

“There is only one though, John. I can handle it. Stop treating me like a baby. Thomas I am in charge, you stay here.” She says sternly.

“Okay, Liz. Come with me.” John says, trying not to argue at a crucial moment.

She grabs her submachine gun.

“I’m ready.”

John chuckles and they head in the direction of the potential enemy.

“It’s a woman, John!” Liz exclaims as they see her on the edge of the clearing. Her clothes look disheveled. She looks like she has been through something horrific.

“Stand back Liz! This could be a trap! Please stay back. Listen to me I do not have a good idea about this!”

She almost runs to her, but instead something inside of her told her to stay by John. He moves slowly towards the woman by himself. Instructs Liz to stay at least fifteen feet behind him. She follows his orders, secretly terrified inside, her heart racing more than it has ever before.

“Put your hands up slowly maim! I am just making sure this isn’t some kind of trap. If you are innocent you have nothing to worry about, my lady. And by some miracle you have found us.”

He sees three men emerge from the edge of the clearing as he moved closer to the woman.

“Please don’t kill me.” She says while in tears. “They hurt me already. Please don’t hurt me. I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

“Liz, get ready.” He mutters.

Her words are breaking John’s heart. He knows this could end in tragedy depending on his next move, but moves have to be made. He moves swiftly towards the woman, only a few feet away and pushes her aside to the ground. He falls to the ground himself, then starts shooting, each bullet hits each man in between the eyes. They fall like cartoon puppets, like something out of a movie he imagines because the past memories he has of war would easily make him lose his mind.

“I didn’t want to have to do that. But once again; I had to do something I didn’t want to do in life. Liz come over here and help this woman. I have a faceful of dirt right now and am tired.”

Liz is in shock. She feels she has just watched one of the best gunmen in the world protect two women from harm’s way. She grabs the woman’s arm calmly, looks her in the eyes and says:

“My dear, you cannot stay out here. We must be quiet for now. It’s going to be okay now. You found a sanctuary in the middle of chaos. It’s going to be okay.”

The women quiets her sobbing.

“Thank you. Thank you both. I don’t know what I would have done if you both hadn’t been there. They tried to use me as bait. I’ve seen so much already. I’ve seen so much already. You have no idea.”

“Shhh. It’s okay. We’ll get to the barn soon and can talk there. Just stay calm.” Liz reassures.

John doesn’t say much. He is still in shock he just killed three men and hasn’t had to do so much killing since the war. He honestly feels sort of unprepared emotionally, but knows if he were to express this to anyone, they would think of him as a weak character. So of course, he doesn’t. His heart is heavy for the unknown woman that just graced their presence as a piece of bait. He thinks: How cruel do you have to be to use someone else as bait? This is the kind of behavior which has ruined our society and caused such great conflict in the first place. He sees this as a symbolic situation; sort of beyond the situation. It makes him sad, deep down. He wants everyone to join forces together who stand for a good cause, but he also knows ultimately some people will give into fear.

 

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Miss Magic Part V

Olivia wakes up to a thunderstorm. The rain hits her air conditioner and makes a steadily annoying noise. She has gotten used to it over the years, but sometimes it is unbearable. She imagines it is some kind of beat and sits there at times writing words to it. It makes the noise less annoying and actually beneficial. She chuckles internally at how she has managed to do a lot with so little in her life. With all the annoyances in general. Big or small. How her ability to adapt to situations, seems to just be an almost ingrained genetic trait.

Her eyes look young, but brain is always alert, learning, and imaginative beyond her years. At times, she finds herself observing people more than engaging. She blames psychology. Now has ventured off into neuroscience as well, always trying to seemingly connect the dots people may not find. Most People can no longer critically think though she finds. Olivia feels lost in conversations, oftentimes afraid to share a controversial opinion.. Once in a while, she’ll encounter someone else who has read similar things though, has passion, and can engage in a conversation. But it is honestly rare. She finds herself creating characters out of all these engagements, changing the names of course, but always trying to find some kind of benefit; even if the engagement was negative.

She spent most of her day writing an outline for a story, then discovering it was pointless. So had grown used to the academic setting. It had started to condition her to treat her won writing in more of a structured way though, which went against certain natural creative abilities she possessed. This finally led to the realization she could no longer plan anything out to a T in general. Like a savage, she had to let her mind wander, be free, and just focus on maintaining passion. A difficult task when it seems the world is always trying to peel the walls back. Difficult to find a positive energy out of her life story she tries so hard to forget half of the plot to. Not out of her own regrets mostly, but other people regretting their inability eventually to actually show empathy towards the right people. Oftentimes, people are misled Olivia observes, like a herd of sheep led by the most outgoing dog. The loudest seem to prevail, but not always the loudest should be given the encouragement she feels. Sometimes the person hiding in the corner, only talking to one person, needs it the most but usually goes unnoticed.

She starts to feel edgy. This urge to call Jackie right at that moment and meet up again. It was so much fun. There is honestly, nothing she would rather be doing at that moment but trying to learn everything about her, but Olivia refrains.  She pets the cat for a moment of comfort, then retreats out alone in her typical fashion. Figuratively and literally.

She never leaves the house without matching from head to toe. Sort of this OCD thing she always had as a child as well. I guess no one called it out enough to change the behavior, but then again how is it a bad thing? She thinks. Ha ha. People take notice once in a while, then she feels the nice energy coming her way absorbs it like a chameleon.  Then back to Hermitville; her apartment again. Especially if it is winter.

She donates to literacy at the store, even though she has hardly anything herself. Sort of not caring anymore about materialistic things in certain situations. Always trying to find a way to take nothing from anything and give nothing to anything that is misleading. To her, that is the ultimate goal in life. To be able to reach the point where you desire nothing from anyone, take nothing from anyone, and be grounded entirely in as strange as it sounds; the self. If you cannot live with yourself, you cannot truly live. She thinks of this saying quite often. Has no idea where it came from, whether it be out of her own mind or something she read. Either way, it doesn’t bother her to have “credit” like some do. Everything is sort of an inspiration derived from another inspiration. Except in cases of straight imitation and depending on the context, it could be argued that person has a lack of creativity. Which can happen. Olivia was always mesmerized by Hollywood imitation, repetition, and fads in general. Not mesmerized as in buying into it, but rather amazed by how many people buy into the destructive: live fast and die young lifestyle. How some have become so ego fueled, they live in completely self perpetuated destructive cycle, and chip at everyone who actually cares with the blinders on. Such a shame, all the talent wasted on trying to stay “ahead,” no matter what the cost. Even if it seems to cost them their existence.

She often dreams of being as wealthy as those in Beverly Hills but her smile quickly fades. Imagining starving children in Venezuela seems to strike a chord. Too much suffering in the world, and not enough hope. She thinks. She can’t imagine the guilt that would come with immense wealth. Most people would jump at the chance to spoil themselves, but she would rather have animals and people around she could help. She would find a way to help others and still maintain some kind of profit margin in order to sustain it. Unfortunately, it seems most stash their money away, invest it in stocks, die without spending it, or spend it selfishly at all times. It just doesn’t make sense, she thinks. Why create a storm when you could create a rainbow?

She thought of her hometown. A man who owned a shoe factory that her Great Grandmother once worked for was quite kind to his workers. Olivia’s Great Grandmother had a mundane duty of inserting insoles into shoes. It didn’t pay much obviously, but the owner offered financing to his workers for homes. He basically built up an entire neighborhood around the plant for cheap and offered houses for an affordable price. The community had each others backs and was beautiful. The archway dedicated to him still stands. Olivia finds herself walking under it often, then looking up in awe. Still looks like it is made out of the best quality, and carved by some of the most talented of workers. She thinks Most have no idea what it really means, or probably even take notice though. Sometimes the best things are hidden in plain sight.

Her eyes are drawn to the magic kit again and away from deep thoughts. It was just sitting under the coffee table, collecting some dust. She still hadn’t fathomed the possibility she might be different. Convinced a lack of sleep at that time, caused some kind of psychosis. Blamed it directly on what she researched.

She pours a glass of wine. Finishes it rather quickly. It has been a while. She grabs the magic kit eventually.

“Geez. Just a piece of plastic from China probably. Just some toy. Some childhood token, messing with my insomniac, psychosis, infected, mind. Thanks.” She chuckles.

She puts the cards out on the table. Each one, one by one this time. Eventually they have to be placed upon the chairs as well. All fifty two of them.  We’re going to see if I am crazy. She says under her breath as if some unknown presence is there with her. Perhaps hoping there is some force therewith her. Partially tired of not having any excitement in life. She says with an exhausted sigh:

“If I am not crazy turn this Ace into an eight, please just show me if I have to be locked up behind a gate.” Then let’s out a chuckle as usual. But the chuckle didn’t last too long. She turned it over and it was now an eight. She was surrounded by a deck missing an Ace and having an extra eight. She frantically took pictures with her phone, in hopes of showing Jackie tomorrow and confirming perhaps; maybe she is losing her mind from a lack of sleep.  She drinks another glass of wine to take the edge off and dozes off, hoping to not have a nightmare about magic.

 

 

 

Miss Magic Part IV

Olivia grabs her shoes, all excited. Composed of all the energy of a titan until she runs into the somewhat nosy neighbor. She knows this will become a draining experience within two minutes but she feels guilty if she doesn’t endure it. The woman has no human interaction for day and is definitely a people person.

“What are you up to today? You look nice.” She says as if trying to be
invited.

“Oh. Just a Birthday party for a friend.” Olivia says feeling guilty
about lying.

“That should be nice. I hope you have a good time.”

“Thanks. Hope you have a nice day.” Olivia says quickly and nervously as
she is trying to calmly move away from the conversation.

She never understood what her neighbor does all day besides occasionally blast Christian rock music. No television is ever on, and no noise is really made. It is as if she doesn’t move all day. The thought concerned her really. Perhaps it is depression? She thought. She felt badly for lying to her and not inviting her but Olivia had waited so long for a real friend and didn’t want her to be scared off. She knows how skiddish she can be herself, and since Jackie seemed similar, she knew it could be risky. She was tired of taking a risk every time in her life for other people. But being selfish felt bad at first.

They met at Jackie’s favorite coffee shop. She drives miles to get there just for a Colombian coffee. Olivia finds this internally insane. She attempts to explain Jackie can buy Colombian coffee at the grocery tore, but Jackie swears it is nothing like the one she is currently drinking. She moves on from trying to save her money, suspecting Jackie might be not concerned with money at the moment. Realistically Olivia knows she doesn’t know her background yet, for all she knows Jackie could be a trust fund kid or one step away from living in the gutter with her Colombian coffee. Either way, Olivia is a bit concerned she might blow through her money buying dumb things, end up like the rest of us poverty stricken fools. Olivia had seen even the wealthiest of people fall because of bad behaviors. Anything is possible.

“So what’s the plan today?” Jackie asks.

“I don’t ever make plans anymore. Avoids the disappointments.”

“True. But how could anything we do together end up in disappointment? Haha!                We seem to entertain ourselves pretty well alone. Let alone around people
who are one in the same.” Jackie says with great enthusiasm.

“You’re right.” Olivia admits.

“Let’s go drive around until we find something! I know it sounds weird but I
have GPS so it’ll work out.”

Jackie had this reassuring nature Olivia needed at the moment. She needed someone who wasn’t afraid of life.  Wasn’t afraid to get in the car and get lost once in awhile with the right person. She felt sort of honored to be in her presence. As if she was a kinda of magical blissful fairy, showering her with fairy dust, trying to make her have fun. Deep down Olivia was stressed about money though. Based upon Jackie’s car she started thinking Jackie did not have the same problems as she did. Perhaps, she couldn’t relate to her struggles, but for some odd reason they clicked on the same wavelength regardless. They drove around until Olivia found a water park & adventure center. Of course, the billboard stood out and even though it was quite a drive, Jackie didn’t seem to care about the gas money involved. When Olivia tried to pull out cash at the gas station, she refused it.

“I just want a real friend Olivia. If you do me wrong in the end, it will
suck for you, not me! Ha ha!” Jackie said in a jokingly but serious
matter.

“Oh I know! I am not used to this treatment, my dear! I feel guilty even
accepting it. Please take something from me.”

“No. I don’t need it right now in my life. If I do in the future, I’ll
know you will have my back, my dear.” She said with the sweetest
demeanor.

“Thank you. It has been so long since I went anywhere like this place. In
fact, I don’t think I have ever been to a place quite like this in my
whole life.” Olivia said excitingly.

“I can tell. You are hiding your giddiness.”

While Olivia used the restroom for a moment, Jackie went to the ticket booth and bought both tickets to everything in the park. Even with the speedy “cut in line” access. Olivia was quite moved by this gesture, tears swelled up in her eyes, almost pouring down her cheeks but she held them back, back into her eyes out of embarrassment.

“Don’t you worry, my friend. Don’t feel bad. Let’s go have fun now. Let’s
enjoy everything we can right now.” Jackie said while she rubbed her
shoulder as if she was a child.

“Thank you Jackie. You don’t know what it means to me.”

“Oh I know, my dear. I’ve waited for a friend like you for too long.”

“Me too.”

They spend their day in inner-tubes like children. Flying down water slides at high speeds. Fitting in with children but not caring about the judgments of others. Having so much fun, nothing else mattered to them. Then onto the ziplines. They bought hats like Indiana Jones had laughing at they flew done the lines side by side, as they flew off. Not caring about materialistic loss. Just happy in the moment with each other. It was the first time in a long time, they were both genuinely happy around another human being. They both knew these moments would never be forgotten and could not wait to go on another adventure.

Miss Magic Part II

The air smelled different. Even the clouds seemed to roll in differently. She thought to herself, what the heck am I doing here? Perhaps I have ventured out too far from the nest. She imagined slowly turning back, getting back onto the plane, and back to her childhood room. She imagined lying her head upon her mother’s chest as she cried, but then the thought repulsed her. She realized there was absolutely nothing for her there. No opportunities worth fighting for. It was a depressing, but at the same time, uplifting fact.

She wasn’t like the others. Her eyes always paid attention to her surroundings. So internally exciting by all the activity, all the faces, all the lights, and all the accents. Sometimes she would go home and practice accents, attempting to pull them off in public, and realizing someone either fell for it or might have thought she needed a 5150 (mental institution). Either way, it slowly didn’t bother her what people thought. Most of the time her brain was honestly so intrigued by the behaviors of other people, she felt like an outsider, with a non-narcissistic personality disorder unlike the rest of society. She thought to herself often I sometimes wish I had a cabin, could eat beans and rice, and be left alone to write. But it seemed like the world swarmed around her, even when she barely came out into the light, either intrigued or misunderstanding her.

Settling into seeing palm trees rather than pine trees was quite the experience for her as well. Still is. But she managed to find the redwoods, which made her feel like she was Alice Wonderland as she walked through them. She always had a way of finding a balance. To her, if something made her sad, there was something else to counteract it. Always an answer with enough research and persistence.

She spent most of her undergraduate working heavily as a server, staying up late with homework, and a pot of coffee. Lack of sleep induced psychosis happened eventually and she was forced to put the books down. She often thought, I wish there were forty eight hours in a day. Can the earth’s rotation change right now, please? It always felt like there were not enough hours in a day and coffee.

At times, even in the big city, it felt lonely. She wondered if Neil Gaiman ever felt this way? Margaret Atwood, perhaps? I think so. She’d convince herself to keep researching and writing. Keep finding inspiration as well and trying to give it back in appreciation.

The struggle was real. Like when a farmer asks you if you’d like a chicken, walks over, and cuts it’s head off, real. With no family support system nearby, working as a server, and trying to compete with those who might have had a bit more support, she felt sort of silenced at times. Money equals powers but let’s be honest, some people shouldn’t have money because they are honestly irresponsible with it. She often thought, they’re so dumb, they couldn’t even hire a decent financial adviser?  Then internally laugh, trying not to look externally crazy having deep thoughts like this at the laundromat. Until one day another quirky, eccentric, character like herself walked in to the laundromat. It was as if it was going to take a couple more run intos on Sunday evening (the weirdo avoiding time) for them to talk. But finally, she spoke:

“Uh. You dropped your underwear. Sorry I noticed.”

She looks down embarrassingly. “No. Uh. Thanks for noticing. It would have been more embarrassing if anyone else came in here.”

“No problem, girl.”

“My name’s Olivia. What’s yours?”

“Jackie. They call me jackles the crazy but I just act crazy. Please don’t tell them.” And she laughs hysterically.

It was at this point in time, Olivia knew it was like all the forces in the universe, like all the particles in the air, conjoined to form a planetary like friendship bond no other binomial nomenclature could possibly come close to. But then again, anything is possible. Olivia never rules out anything in life.

 

 

 

Wishing Well

 

Standing around the wishing well
Wishing well…
Hoping that no one can tell
I have been here for a while
With a sad smile
Climbing all the paths alone
And I don’t remember when was the last time
I sang myself a lullaby
and it made me fall asleep
All I do is weep
for all the sad souls in the world…
misunderstood like me.

So I’m just standing around the wishing well
Hoping that no one can tell
I have been here for a while
So I can remember the smell of the pines
All the good times I created and left behind
at the wishing well….

And so it feels I tread all this internally alone…
Frozen feet to the bone…
Like a martyr, always standing alone…
Like a soldier, broken down and left alone…

So I’ll be at the wishing well…
Hoping someday someone can tell
I have been here for a while…
So I can remember how it feels to be alive…
So I can dream
Then toss a coin
So I can bleed
Then toss a coin
So I can seek….
And be my own.

Metropia and Why I Find It Fascinating

If you were to look up Metropia on wikipedia, it is described as a  “2009 English-language Swedish-Danish-Norwegian adult animated mystery thriller drama science fiction film.” Quite the jargon. And that is exactly why I find it so fascinating. I have never seen anything like it visually or quite read anything like it. The director and writer, Tarik Saleh, once explained how the film was created using still photographs, photoshop, and then animating with adobe affects effects. The characters are real people with effects added, but somehow able to maintain this humanistic quality. Especially in the eyes and expressions. It must have taken quite the time and patience to approach a movie using still photographs, but the finished product has such a futuristic but humanistic feel as well.

When you watch the trailer, Roger is introduced and he seems to be struggling with a mental health issue, appearing to be afraid of “voices in his head.” He seems to be questioning his sanity, always anxiety ridden internally, yet trying to keep it together in a world which seems quite bleak. The year is 2024, place is Europe, where oil has depleted and automobiles no longer exist. Everyone takes public transportation, everyone lives in the same unfulfilling controlled life, where it seems like something is unnatural around all the characters. The environment excretes depressing feelings.

People are obsessed with a shampoo that has a sort of mind control commercial, with a blonde women, Nina who makes you want to go buy it immediately. This is where the science ficton part comes in (or is it, haha). The shampoo contains a chemical which creates this surveillance of your thoughts. It absorbs through the skin and acts like a chip in the brain, connecting it to AI intelligence agencies. Those in power, obviously abuse their power, influencing people’s free will, intruding on thoughts, and even making Roger question his sanity at some point. Roger of course doesn’t realize this shampoo is causing a lot of his anxiety, but he soon will.

Eventually he runs into Nina, the face of the shampoo, who confides in him all the secrets he  never would have known. Roger discovers he has been hearing the voice of a man, who is terrorizing people with this power. With Nina’s help and information, he is able to find the source of his voice, and detonate a hello kitty stuffed toy with an explosive planted inside, inside the facility.

Metropia is a look inside a world where boundaries do not exist. Where your thoughts weren’t inside your head, but heard by others. Where your life was drastically changed by a lack of oil and thrown into an bleak setting. A world that constantly watches your every move, through your television, and finds it “normal.” A world where your wake up, questioning your sanity because of the unnatural elements thrown into your life. Although, it is bleak for the duration of the movie, the end does offer a resolution. There would be no point to using AI in that kind of manipulative way, and it could be quite damaging, so eventually someone like Roger will destroy it. Eventually, someone as intelligent as Roger would come across the right whistle blower like Nina, to stop it from happening.

 

Should Have Been Athena

I don’t even know what’s reality anymore

Say something to me

I dare you

Because I’m down on the floor

I dropped my shield

and like Apollo you rose

you played your guitar

but little did I know

your splendor was a facade

your heart was so cold

marked by the God Ares

And ready to charge like a boar

Your spear in your hand…

looking up at Mars, craving more…

 

I came to you like Aphrodite

When I should have been Athena

I came to you as the goddess of love

When I should have prepared for the arena…

 

I don’t even know what’s reality anymore

Say something to me

I dare you

Because I’m already on the floor

But I grab my spear

because you always seem ready for more

I battle you day and night

to settle the score

Then I rise like Athena

Fully armored with a crested helm

Striking you down

Becoming fully in charge of my realm

And even when you fell on your knees

I still showed you the greatest of empathy…

even after you broke me down

stole what was left of me….

 

I came to you like Aphrodite

When I should have been Athena

I came to you as the goddess of love

When I should have prepared for the arena…