Monday, November 16, 2009

three strikes and you're out

Practice run: Write a very short story about an incident that is repeated on three parts of the human body.

There was only one good game every played. It happened the day he shot me three times, lung, heart, and nose.

The notion hadn't even occurred to me until the first shot. I wanted to say something, to acknowledge it had happened and that I was upset about it, but I had no breath to draw from. It was as if the air had broken and crushed instantly to the farthest depths of me, and I thought of the young man who took aluminum cans to the parking lot to smash them, armed with a steady foot and a pencil. Which ceased to be entertaining after the first time around. I don't know why he kept bringing those cans out. There were no surprises, only proofs I suppose, or sheer boredom, and we, we always knew how it turned out, but there is little to do in those situations but watch.

By the second shot, breathing was really out of the question and all I could articulate was warm liquid from the sides of my mouth. I knew that feeling, the unexpected drip down the chin, and I thought I must be concentrating very hard, for concentration has often relaxed what control I have over my tears, my drool, my piss. And when I was able to look, I noticed there was piss down there, and a foul smell, and some ink-dark liquid I didn't recognize. I couldn't dissect it, and by that point I couldn't see anymore, and then I could only concentrate on that smell, which was unpleasant in its immediacy. It felt as though I was that smell, I had been reduced to a smell of piss and shit and puke. I tried thinking about the cans again but I forgot what they looked like, and the young man in the business of smashing them no longer had a name or a face or a presence, and I wanted to panic but I gave up, as I didn't have the energy.

It went on like that for a while. I smelled me everywhere and I hated it, I didn't know how to stop the smell, I didn't have the energy. I wanted to say something and I didn't have the energy. It was disquieting, since I did not feel tired, though I couldn't remember when I had last slept. It went on.

And then I remembered it, the only good game. That must have been the third shot. On a jungle gym, cold outside. There is a boy in a pink jacket; I am grabbing for his ankles, he is leaping out of my reach. Then I am the one, in the green jacket, and he is at it on the ground, and I am dashing, I am slamming my body over this icy rail, I can hear laughter and someone is always saying that someone else is cheating. I can taste ozone. There may have been a team, I don't know. Someone might always have won, I don't know if there was any winning. But it was the only good game. All the rest could have their games. None of them were good like this.

And it is a strange thing, but I thought, that's alright. I made out better in the end. I had the only good game splashed onto my brain, played endlessly on the long trek of a bullet's journey, and he, the one who shot me three times, lung, heart, and nose, he missed it all. I imagine he stopped shooting out of boredom. He knew how it would turn out; there is little to do in those situations but watch.

beat-em-up weather

It's one of those times of reckoning and I feel upset right now.

I co-facilitated a training today where all the ninth-graders kept asking me permission to get water or go to the bathroom (good GAWD, are we teaching ninth-graders to ask permission to do everything now? if you need to take a leak or get a drink just GO, how ridiculous is it that I as a visiting trainer have to bless your departure?) and the only group of girls who genuinely seemed interested in what I had to say merely wanted to hit on me and compare my looks to Marc Anthony's.

I just had another weekend where I got NOTHING done on everything I had intended to do--statements of purpose for grad school, formulations of a second interview of Grace Lee Boggs, long-delayed research and revisions to my piece for the book, getting started on a small grant application for creative writing. None of it happened, and it will now hover over me during my upcoming 11-day break, which is feeling less like a break every passing day.

My older sis went quite apeshit on one of my nieces Saturday for pooping in her underwear, a dear friend is reeling from the shock of getting laid off at one of the worst possible times, another dear friend is abroad and I feel terrible for screwing up arrangements for a relaxed evening with her before she left, and there's a very important MTID (Meeting That I Dread) tomorrow morning which is followed by (FUCK!) a potluck, which will likely not be cheery.

In that training I alluded to, two students were telling me about their civics projects working on gay rights. When I asked one of them what they would do if someone didn't care about this issue and didn't see why it was important to them, she didn't offer up a counter-response to try and reel the skeptics/know-nothings/idiots in. She just said, "I'd beat em up."

I think this mirrors my sentiments exactly.