Maybe We’re All To Blame (Tidbit Thursday 1/30/14)

Maybe We’re All To Blame

The fates could be damned. How could anyone put any faith in those who think they have any right to determine anothers path. They’re selfish, plain and simple. They suffer from a superiority complex and to make it worse, they set the poor bastard who first coined the term down that road.

Their most recent victim, Jenny, did her best to mask the months of homelessness on her body. But a truck stop shower and clothes dunked into a river could only do so much. A caterer couldn’t be too picky, could they?

She stood outside the owner’s office, too nervous to take advantage of the ugly orange pleather chairs. She looked down at her bell bottoms, hoping her crocheted shawl hid the tears on her thighs. All the protests and stances began to weigh on her. She failed to save the world, now she was just another hippie who escaped the comune.

Shame crept into her eyes as she thought about her graduationg class dying in Vietnam. How dare she even consider her life a struggle? Maybe it was justice.

The nights laying in his arms, then hers, then someone strange and intriguing had to end eventually. The minutes that were discarded so carelessly on trips and drunken hours, had to come back and stretch themselves as she begged for change. She could always go back to it all, pretend she believed they were free, like the others did.

The pressed wood door that seperated her from her interviewer looked still, regardless of what the fake grain decal suggested. The faintest sound of a conversation clawed out through the half inch space between the floor and the barrier. Jenny tried to focus on it, but her ears couldn’t block out the sound of the steel, beastly cars, all curves and lead paint, outside. A hundred different versions of the ongoing conversation ran through Jenny’s mind. Each one worse than the next.

Every couple of rewrites she’d be distracted by the equally blurry rendition of a song outside. why couldn’t the fates have shoved a guitar into her hands? Should could’ve been the next Janis Joplin, even if that meant doubling her habit to two packs a day to create the rasp.

Finally the door swung open. A woman exited first. her skirt bounced around her ankles with each step. A crown of Spring flowers encircled her head. Jenny couldn’t imagine the woman without them. They looked like she was born with them, the same way someone would be born with green eyes.

Even though Jenny couldn’t imagine the woman looking any different she herself looked down at herself as if surprised by her garments. A pin of hope drilled drilled into Jenny’s chest. The fates had led this woman down a similar path. She had just as much of a chance.

A balding man followed the woman out.

“Alright we’ll get you a uniform tomorrow, we got a big job coming up soon. A big shindig at the beach.” He said.

The woman said nothing to the man as she shook his hand, Instead her head turned towards Jenny.

“I’m sorry.”

Damn the fates.

***

Alright, what ya think of this week’s story? Like always, if you have an idea for what I should write next let me know on twitter using #tbsuggest and follow me @joncperson 

Too Much Has Already Been Stolen (Tidbit Thursday 1/23/14)

Too Much Has Already Been Stolen

           The smoke ventured out. It searched for any tucked away haven that hadn’t been tainted by its yellow stench. Once all the new worlds had been found, it hung in the air like a stalker without a beautiful woman to spy.

           A sweet memory of a song frolicked like a child, across the polished marble floors, around the crystal highballs and into the patrons lecherous and vicious ears. There were no such thing as speakers or amplifiers around, yet the notes had a hint of electricity to them. The piano played with the spirit of a powerful and primal muse: tips.

           Rhys hid behind the twirling flappers and pretty strings of pearls, pulled right out of old films and posters. It was all so forced. He grew nauseous thinking of all the disgustingly posh who chose this life. They called it homage. It was too selfish for that. Rhys knew it could only be called theft. He wondered if he was actually doing any good putting away the crooked souls he did. These fools were the real poison. How could they bring themselves to enjoy life, when they had to have known it wasn’t never meant for them to live.

           At least that’s what he thought when he walked in. When did he walk in? No, he still felt that way. Possibly.

           He did his best to choke down the amber concoction those thieves thought brandy was. No matter how many revolutions the liquid took as Rhys agitated the glass, it refused to improve. He quickly surrendered to drastic measures and gulped it down just eager to see an empty glass.

           She appeared like any other late comer: disruptive, magnetic and shameless. She pushed through the cold attempts at living like a warm front through December. There was no mystery hovering about her. She could only be there for one reason and she wasn’t the type to hold her cards to her chest. The daggers on her feet were aimed at Rhys and were going to carry her absinthe eyes to him no matter what.

           “You finally made it.” She purred.

           “That’s a funny thing to say for someone who just walked in.”

           “Don’t play with me. I know who you are. Is he with you?”

           “I think you may have heard wrong about me. I don’t keep much company.”

           “What’s your name?”

           “I thought you said you knew me. But regardless, a doll usually buys me a drink before she gets so cozy.”

           She rubbed the bridge of her nose, as if it was the only way to stop the crushing weight of revelation.

           “Please, just tell me and don’t be wrong about this, what’s your name?” She asked again.

           “Well aren’t you stubborn. Rhys, Rhys Trudeau, private investigator.”

           “Okay, one last thing. Where were you last night?”

           “Didn’t I just say I was the private eye? I’m usually the one asking the questions. So here’s one. Why are you so concerned?”

           “Please, just tell me where you were last night.”

           Rhys hadn’t had enough to drink to disregard his penchant for pretty women. He felt it swell in his chest, cheap and clichéd. He wanted to answer her. Hell, he’d tell her anything if it meant he wouldn’t have to suffer the steady march of night alone.

He just couldn’t find the words though, the memories were there, but they didn’t make sense. They had to be dreams, so vivid they were able to pass as actual events. Yet that was all Rhys could reach. Everything else, a lifetime of little victories and defeats were there just beyond the fantasy.

           “To be completely honest sweetheart, I can’t remember. But once again, why does it matter. You need my help or not?”

           “We did.”

She stabbed the floor with a gentle stiletto and turned away.

           The air in front of her crackled like a lackluster firework before the ghost of a face appeared.

           “Hope you have a better idea. The detective didn’t make the transfer. We’re getting a little short with the minutes.” She said.

           No one acknowledged the woman anymore. Not even a passing glance. Suddenly whatever was in front of them became too engaging to pry their fleeting attention spans away. Rhys included.

The brandy was tasteful and clearly from a vineyard that put value in craftsmanship.  The softly sweet flavor cradled his tongue and cheeks with smoky arms. It kissed his throat with oaken lips and a tenderness found only in the finest of grapes.  He had to know where it came from, he didn’t care the price, he needed to stock his office.

           “What brand is this barkeep?” Rhys asked.

           She moved away from the bar and Rhys.  She shook her head and prepared for her instructions.

           “Head for The Point of Decision. Make sure he meets you. They can no longer be saved.”

***

Hey everyone, Jonathan here. Just wanted to give you all a quick reminder that you can help me write these stories by giving me topics, genres, ideas, or lines on twitter #tbsuggest

Also, if you want to interact with me find me on Google+ and follow me on twitter @joncperson. 

I’m A Deli Menu (A List)

There’s a particular type of writing that’s incredibly prevalent on the internet. A type that I’ve never attempted. It’s divisive to say the least. This is the infamous list.

There’s a lot of hate speech about lists. People say it’s lazy entertainment, it’s quickly digested and forgotten. There’s some truth to this, but I personally don’t think this is such a horrible thing. Not everything needs to be life affirming or changing. With that being said, I’m going to write a list, but since I can’t help but write about myself this list is going to get personal.

Jonathan’s Top Five Sandwiches

5. Meatball Sub

I didn’t grow up in a privileged world. My parents both worked and most of their paychecks were devoted to bills and necessities. But, there were times when we could splurge. When we could dive into the funds and find a little bit extra. Of course I didn’t understand budgets or savings back then, but I did know that when we hopped into the car around dinner time and drove past the various fast food burger joints, I was in for a treat.

Looking back now, it seems silly to think of a trip to Subway as a treat. Yet, when I was a kid, there was just something about the weird old timey photo wallpaper and the yellow and green color scheme that lit me up. My sandwich, as you might’ve guessed, was the meatball sub. I remember the way my dad would shake his head at me as the sauce would fall out of it’s bread container onto whatever shirt I was wearing. Somehow it was always a white one.

My ability to eat a meatball sub without making a mess of myself has improved over the years. Yet, every once in awhile a stray meatball will roll out onto my shirt and pants. Since my dad generally isn’t eating with me, it’s up to me to provide the head shake.

4. Patty Melt

This probably should be higher on my list, since it’s become my “Test meal”. For those who don’t know what a “test meal” is, it’s a menu item that you use to determine if you like a restaurant. It didn’t always hold such a prestigious position though.

It all started the first week I moved into the dorms of my first college. It was my first time not living with my mother and I was hellbound to find my way and experience things I felt I couldn’t when I lived at home. I was fueled with some misguided belief that everything I did at that point tipped a nonexistent scale in favor of adulthood.  So, one of the first things I wanted to do was find some place that I could call mine. A haven where I could go and show everyone just how adult I was. I found that place and once there, I ordered a patty melt.

I utilized that place many times during my days in the dorms. To escape the cold, to escape my ramen supply, to escape homework, to escape my homesickness. How very adult of me. I haven’t been back to that place in years, but I still will order a patty melt when I find a new restaurant, hoping each time that I will find my new hideout.

3. Grilled PB&J

It’s now been a few years since the glorious dorm days, of which I never want to return. I have my own little apartment tucked away in my own little neighborhood. Liberty pulses through my veins, I’m free to do what I want within these walls. Independence is a truly sweet taste. It’s horrifically disfigured cousin, boredom, is another story.

I’ve come to believe that necessity is not the mother of all invention, it’s boredom. I’m not going to say that I invented this sandwich. I know I didn’t. But, this sandwich came to my rescue when I needed it. It disguised itself as an original thought. It pushed it’s way through, the eventless haze and found me: lost and slackjawed.

I’ve come to understand from various sources that bored eating isn’t healthy. To them I say, eat a grilled PB&J, then tell me that. They probably would, but they should still eat the sandwich.

2.Turkey Club Sandwich

To be fair, this isn’t really my sandwich. I don’t like them. I don’t really like cold sandwiches as the rest of this list shows. This sandwich is the personal favorite of my girlfriend actually. I can’t even count how many of these she’s eaten in my presence. It’s almost become a guarantee that if a turkey club is on the menu, she’s going to order it.

I have to admit, when we first started dating, this annoyed me to no end. It’s always been my philosophy to enjoy variety. To seek out things that i wouldn’t normally try, and then try them. So watching someone else order the same thing over and over and over was hard to swallow. But as time has gone on, I’ve come to accept it. I think I’m growing up.

All in all I’ve become a more accepting individual. As excruciating as it can be sometimes, I’m doing my best to walk the bridge to other people’s views on things. The black inky spider-like beast that used to hover over anything that wasn’t mine is retreating. All in all I’m more willing to allow the world their turkey clubs.

1. Dollar Cheeseburgers

I’ve eaten them all. McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Hardee’s, if there was a drive-thru and it was only a buck, I ate it. The important part of that is actually the drive-thru caveat though. The burger was only a stop on my way to whatever destination my eyes had fallen on.

I’ve long wished that I could’ve been alive and of driving age when Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” was released. I want that spirit of freedom, rebellion, and wildness to pour from my mouth and skin. I always believed that I missed my opportunity at this feeling. I feared that I missed the teenage dream.

Yet, as I look back, as I often do, I see midnights in the backseat of a girls car who I was trying to scam for alcohol. I see sand on floormats, removed from its beach homeland. I hear laughter, arguments, screams, swears, and thoughts of life bouncing off the windshield and coursing over the dash. But most of all, I see the lit up menu of some fast food joint. I feel the thinness of my wallet and I now recognize their place in the dream.

So there ya go. My top five sandwiches, in an order that will only make sense to me. But that’s okay, we should all have our own personal grading scale. I’d like to see yours though, what are your favorite sandwiches?

Also, quick note, I’ve now decided that my google+ account will be my writer’s page. So if you want to interact with me there, feel free. I’ll be posting some smaller things there that don’t quite warrant a whole post here and as always follow me on twitter @joncperson

Now go get yourself a sandwich.

He Mustn’t Find A Preferable Way (Tidbit Thursday 1/16/14)

Hello everyone, Jonathan here, ya know, the guy who writes all this stuff. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has visited,liked and commented on my blog. I know this particular feature hasn’t seen much life lately, but I’m determined to bring it back and even evolve it a bit. So stick around after the show for some important messages. 

***

He Mustn’t Find A Preferable Way

She was the springtime. Her skin was a cheerful pink and her eyes were newborn blades of grass. She spoke of life and the coming while holding a chill behind her teeth. Her neck curved upwards letting her head rise on the warming air.

Peter knoe what he wanted most was held inside her. Beyond her pristine white uniform forced upon her by her catering job. He also knew that everything she could never be was trapped in his business casual mix of navy blue and pastels.

The hill she sat upon was an easy climb. A slow rolling wave of land covered in golden spears of beachside reeds.

“Shouldn’t you get back down there?” She asked.

“Naw, everyone who needs to be there or wants to be there, are.”

They looked down on the pair of white tents, strung up with lights and filled with Peter’s different faced clones: work associates, distant relatives and influential figures from his life.

“Well aren’t you the little drama queen?’

“What about you? Don’t you have to get back?”

“Nope, I’ve worked too long here. Figured my last day should have a view.”

Beyond the canvas peaks the sea pulsed, spitting bits of foam into the sky. It was strange that they chose to announce Peter’s partnership here. As if showing off everything that would be hidden from him for years as he swam in more mundane oceans.

It was all set up. A loving girlfriend, destined to be a wife, a new prestigious postition and a final view of the sea.

“Yeah, it is quite a view.” Peter said, looking into her bubbling chartreuse eyes.

“Oh, so you’re cheesy too?”

“I blame the salt water in the air.”

“It’s pretty amazing isn’t it? The only thing it has to listen to is the moon. And even then, all the moon would make it do is gret new grains of sand. Other than that, the sea is free to do what it wants. If it wants to storm, it storms big. If it wants peace and quiet, it becomes a mirror. It’s happy Pete.”

Words continued to be shared, as well as flesh and a bed of earth. The days went on, never failing once in their routine. Peter found his new oceans and his girlfriend found her destiny. They built a house on a great lake of paved roads and lawns with perfect right angles. The days when he was tasked with tending to the grass, he would think about the patches of reeds on the beach. He thought about how they hid his infidelity from the eyes of all his life’s benefactors. He knew he could’ve gone away, using those same weeds to mask his trek.

He didn’t hate his life. Not like his neighbors did, or the people at his office. They truly loathed their existence. But that was because they never had the opportunity to leave. The option was never in front of them, so they would go on with the rest of their lives knowing that there was something ailing them, but never knowing it was the choice. Peter had made his, whether he thought it was the right one or not, didn’t matter, he was content with the fact that he did his part to push the slow rolling boulder of his life down a specific hill.

Then one day in their spacious home they were startled by a knock of the door.

Peter’s wife answered the door and found nothing but a child; A baby with cherry blossom tinted skin and sun dried clover eyes.

When Peter joined his wife, who was filled with questions and accusations as was her right, he saw the child laying there. He made no attempt to calm his partner, no objections to her charges. He would never tell her the truth, that was his to hold. If he was going to have one thing that was truly his, it would be that hill.

“We should go to the ocean.”

***

So, what’d ya think? Okay, onto the messages I promised earlier. This year, my goal is to push my writing beyond the point I’ve taken it so far. I want to explore new themes, styles and topics. Now, I could go trolling through the internet in search of writing prompts and whatnot, but that’s too boring. So I thought, what if I turned to you fine folks? Here’s the deal, I’d like for you to tweet me suggestions to write on. It can be an idea, a phrase, a single word, maybe just a genre, or hell, all of em. You can either tweet them to me directly @joncperson or use #tbsuggest the plan is to take these suggestions and find a fun way to explore them. I even have a few other ideas that I’m going to be looking into in the coming days. 

Once again, thank you for reading, your comments are always welcome and appreciated and I’m always willing to interact with my readers. 

First Life Down, Ten Yards To Go

Recently I had the great pleasure of watching a football game in a dive bar. There’s no sarcasm there, the beautiful wings of pure joy and heartbreaking pain made me feel like an actual member of this human race. Like i did when i was a child.

When I was young bars, pubs, and taverns played an intricate role. Let me explain, things were different when I was a child. The movement of hiding and shielding children from everything hadn’t quite started yet. Bars were safe places where children could have a taste of adulthood while adults could get that taste out of their mouths. .

I remember fondly running around smokey rooms, with the soft bone-crunching sound of peanut shells under my feet, taking quarters for Area 51 and Golden Tee , and, dare I say it, candy from strangers. Some would even give me sips of their drinks only to laugh at my contorted expressions. The best days though were Sundays, when the Packers were playing.

My head would float on the air of an alcohol fueled tempest of curses, cheers, “analysis”, love and hate. I didn’t understand everything that was happening on the bulbous screens. I didn’t have to. The volume of the patronage was my guide. When things were loud and tinted with laughter and celebratory words, we were winning. When the refs started to receive death threats, the words I was forbidden to say flowed freely from everyone else, we were losing. And when things turned silent, so quiet I could hear the color commentary from the invisible men, that was when it was time to find the other children and learn how to play pool.

Win or lose though, my eyes would be filled with green and gold sparkles for the rest of the day, that also could’ve been the cigarette smoke still stinging now that I think about it. Regardless, I missed those sparkles.

Thankfully I was able to catch a game in a dive, like I said. Unfortunately no one was giving me candy or change, but the old feelings were still there. The absolute thrill of being among passion was intoxicating, of course that could’ve been the free shots.

I began to realize, after the third drink was spilled on me, that I was witnessing life. Emotions, fellowship, an excuse to yell, knowing that thousands were joining you in unseeable bars and/or universes. I had forgotten that, or worse yet probably true, I felt I was above it. Somewhere in the slowly dissipating days of my past I did something or made a choice or both, and somehow it was that action that made me believe I was somehow better than those who gave me my first sip of beer. But I’m not, never was, and thank God for it, because I don’t want to be.

I used to be a part of the world, I enjoyed what living was. But if this game was any indication, regardless of the hazes, delusions, obstacles and dizzying complications of existence,  I still do.