Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Beginning of The End

This week I discovered hope.

I cannot remember having this feeling of genuine hope and optimism about the future.  It's new to me.  I feel as if I'm on the right path and doing the right things, and they will actually work out and blossom into something wonderful.

In recent weeks, my OCD tick of making ice cream went into over-drive.  Normally OCD things are bad, but in this case, it has been wonderful.  I have made some of the most incredible ice cream anybody has eaten.  White chocolate raspberry that was so rich and decadent people will crave it for years to come.  Brown sugar banana with walnuts that tasted like creamy banana bread.

I even made a white chocolate strawberry with Bischoff's cookie butter that was so rich I could only eat it a few spoonfuls at a time.

And I've shared with friends.  In fact, I make it and get rid of it, because I want the room in my freezer for the next batch.  Friends and neighbors have been enjoying the best ice cream available.

People who are special to me have been well taken care of.  The toughest part has been being so far geographically from those who are close to my heart because I would love to fill their freezers with what I've been making.  I cook for those I care about.  

Pretty soon, I'll be selling ice cream locally to a small circle of people.  Proceeds from those sales will go towards buying equipment so I can start my Youtube channel about making ice cream.  I'm incredibly excited about that and I can't wait to make it happen.

Writing has been going well, too.  In fact, once I get this posted, I'm going to get back to editing a short story because my goal for this week is to get two stories submitted to two different places.  And I'm excited to get back to work.

I can't wait to get working these goals and move forward towards having more of my fiction published. More importantly, to the goal of having more finished, because finishing is more important than starting.

I haven't felt this good in a long time.  Despite the insomnia and not being able to get a decent night of sleep, I feel great.  I feel like life isn't so bad and maybe I could hang around for a while longer.   I have not felt that sense of hopelessness or being trapped.  I have not felt as lonely or as depressed as I had been.

This is where the darkness comes in.

I haven't said much about my previous landlord but the sad story, in a short version, is that he was an old man who was dying of colon cancer.  Before he knew he had cancer, he was dealing with all kinds of ghost problems.

He was tormented most of his life by ghosts and spiritual warfare.  I'm not sure why or what he did, but he was always mentioning it and it really upset him.  I got the impression his family had as well and it was something he experienced as far back as he could remember.

I rented the basement apartment from him.  In his final years, the level of activity was hard not to notice.  I would constantly see them out of the corner of my eye.  Faces would be looking in my window, dozens of them, clamoring over each other in a large pack.  They would move through my apartment only occasionally, being respectful of who I am, and what I'm capable of doing.

The activity built and built until the day he killed himself.  The pain from his cancer was too much so he shot himself in the head.  And the rest was silence.

I never saw or heard a single entity once he died.  They were there for him and they knew what was happening.  They knew the end was coming and they were waiting for it.

They were waiting for him.  The harbingers were growing stronger as the final moment came.  And once it did, they were gone.

This week, in my own apartment, the level of activity has increased.   In fact, before this week, I only had one visitor.  It was just after I'd moved in and he seemed just as surprised to see me as I was to see him.  I never saw him, or anything else, again.

The other night, my dehumidifier kicked on and ran for a minute.  It was unplugged.

I am hearing voices.  Conversations and muffled outbursts.  I'm hearing things get moved around.

Books are being shuffled, pots are being moved, and I can sometimes hear breathing.  Last night, I heard a bottle of vitamins move with enough force I could hear the pills inside shuffle.

The night before, something knocked into my bed while I was on it.  It wasn't a hard knock but it was enough to shake the bed noticeably while I was trying in vain to sleep.

I'm not alone anymore and they want me to know it.

And I realize now who they are and why they're here.  They are harbingers and now it is my turn. They are here for me.

The end has begun.

I have been ignoring health issues for a while.  It's not something that can be easily fixed.  More to the point--I don't want to know.  That tickle in my throat tonight felt different than the usual sinus issues.  And there were a couple of other issues I won't get into here.

It makes sense.  It really does.

The last time I was happy, I was sitting on a nice warm floor holding my daughter and talking to my wife about how lucky we were.  We were talking about how grateful I felt for having so much and how happy I was to have them in my life.  And then things changed and they were taken from me.  It was a slow, ripping process.  It was a death I couldn't walk away from.  In many ways, it killed parts of me and I have felt partially dead ever since.

But I was happy once, goddammit.  I was happy.  And it was all taken from me.

I'm feeling happy again.  I'm feeling grateful for what I've been given.  I'm sorting out problems and dealing with demons.  I'm climbing out of pits and walking away from despair.   I'm putting to bed memories that hurt and I'm forgiving those who hurt me.  I am working towards happiness because happiness has to be earned.

So it makes sense that the end would come now.

I have always felt my fate wasn't to be happy.  Maybe I don't deserve it.  Maybe my karma from past lives is just too strong and maybe I hurt too many people.  Maybe I'm in so much trouble for the crimes my soul committed in those lives I will never be allowed to be happy again.

I tell you--it is no coincidence that just as I begin to find happiness, and the path to genuine future peace, harbingers arrive.  There are no coincidences.

This will all be taken from me.  The Powers That Be have decided it is time to once again come into my life.  I will be given a taste of what everybody else has and it will be stripped from me.

I'm the kid building a sandcastle at the beach who gets it knocked over by bullies every time.

And I'm ready.  Bring it.  I just don't care anymore.

I will continue my path.  I will continue towards happiness.  I will make as much ice cream as I can. I will make the best ice cream my friends and people I care about will ever have in their lifetimes.  I will write short stories that make people laugh and cringe.  I will stay with you in your hearts and minds.

You will remember me.

But when the time comes, so be it.  Fuck these harbingers and fuck The Powers That Be.

I don't know how much time I have left.  All I know for certain is the countdown has begun and there isn't a lot of time.  And maybe now that I've seen them and let everybody know I've seen them, the fuckers will let me sleep at night.  There was a time in my past when I would have tried to talk with them but right now all my communicating shall be done with one finger.

I am going to continue working towards being happy.  Making ice cream and getting it to people brings me peace.  Writing a story that is worthy of being published gives me a sense of satisfaction nothing else can offer.

The other day, a friend finally read a short story I had published two years ago.  She had avoided my work because she was afraid it was too scary, gory, or vile.  After convincing her it was a humor story, she gave it a try, and really enjoyed it.  Her enjoyment meant more to me than I can fully articulate and I carried that joy with me for a long time after.

The harbingers might think they're planning on taking everything away from me but they can't take my memories.  They can't unmake ice cream and they can't erase the published word.  I'm not afraid like my landlord was.

My only worry is not getting enough ice cream to the people I care about on my way out.  

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Just Shoot Me

I often tell my friends to shoot me.

There's usually a qualifier beforehand, though.

"If I end up in coma, just shoot me."

"If I'm brain-dead, just shoot me."

"If I have a severe brain injury and I'm not the same old Ted, just shoot me."

My friends are all surprisingly eager to go along with it, too.  Worse, I think there's going to be a race to see who can get to me first.

Right now I work a job that is positively soul-crushing.  All day long I talk to people who are angry, bitter, old, dying, or the family members of somebody who is terminal or has already died.  I talk to people who cannot get their medications because of red tape, idiot doctors, and high costs. Sometimes, I can help them, sometimes I can't do shit.

It sucks.

And most of these calls involve them telling me about all their medical problems and how horrible it is to have those ailments.

So my list has grown.  On a daily basis, I'm telling friends, "Hey, man...if I ever have ________, please shoot me."

Right now the list is rather long and I'm afraid they'll end up shooting me for a hangnail soon.

One of these days I'll tell them I stubbed my toe on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night and it really hurts.

"I'll be right over!"

One thing is very clear--I have no reason to grow old.  None.  And I cannot see a single benefit to being old.  I don't have a reason to wake up tomorrow.  I can't imagine being at the point where it hurts to pee and I'm having heart attacks and strokes.

I grew up with a grandfather in a wheelchair.  Half of his body was paralyzed.  I thought everybody in a wheelchair was grandpa when I was little.  My memories of my grandpa are of an old man in a wheelchair, mumbling because he couldn't talk well due to the paralysis, unless he cussed.  And all he would say was, "goddamned son of a bitch!"  At family gatherings, he would often be on the sidelines while the large family did their things.  He could cry because he was in so much pain.  I didn't realize the stoke messed up his emotions as well.  And I wanted to help, I really did, but there was nothing I could do and when I told my mom about it, she just downplayed everything.  The adults understood but I didn't.

There is no reason in the world to keep me around in that state.  None.

If I had money, I'd make a game of it.  I'd give a lawyer some cash and the condition was, whomever put me out of my misery would get that cash, and a letter from myself to the jury about how this was my idea.

But I'm broke as fuck so I have nothing to offer but my thanks and maybe my cookbooks or 21 year-old car.

I should post a list on here so everybody knows when to shoot me and when to let me deal with it.  I'd hate to get shot because I've got the shits but not shot because I have to wear a diaper.

Tonight I ate pizza with a homemade pesto sauce, cheese and mushrooms.  I'm not watching anything I eat and my ass has been planted in front of my computer all day.  I'm taunting The Powers That Be and I don't care.  But I'm sure they won't let me out of here that easily.

And with my luck, the dipshit with a .22 pistol and bad aim will be the first one to find me, and I'll end up with a few scars and a constant headache.  So bring something big and shoot to win, because if I limp away from this, you'll end up the back of the van on a one-way trip to a deserted barn in the middle of nowhere.

Good luck.