Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Law

.........That's the problem with the law, it only goes so far. Did you know in New York a subway worker was acquitted after witnessing a rape and the only effort he put forth was notifying the proper authorities. The entire time the woman was being raped, from the point of her being pulled down the stairs to the actual act, they just sat and watched. The judge ruled that they had acted "within proper parameters," can you believe that shit? Don't let Seinfeld lie to you, there isn't any good Samaritan law. As long as you do the absolute minimal, you can safely fucking sleep at night. Look at Kitty Genovese. I'd like to believe that if I get stabbed, a stranger is going to fucking do something about it, not suffer from "Diffusion of Responsibility." No offense guys, but that's why I hate large groups of people because when I'm around them, I always think; these fuckers won't do shit. If something happens, I gotta take the fight in my own hands, I have to take care of myself and those around me because if I don't, who the fuck will?

It is a scary place we find ourselves. Where the majority always equals might and seem to rely on that at the cost of right. I always loved that scene in To Kill a Mockingbird where Scout approaches the mob and soon after they disperse. Powerful shit you know, the idea that a small child could impact a group intent on murder, its kind of scary. To me murder shouldn't come that easy, it shouldn't be a simple matter of size, that if you collect the right classroom of people, the result would be the end of someone. It sounds silly, but how often does it happen? It's insane how cheap life is and sometimes it feels like the law isn't doing us any favors.

"Yeah, I get you Casey, but I think sometimes the law is meant to be abstract, not a moral compass and maybe that's the distinction. You can't make someone be good."

Trying to keep her voice down so she wouldn't wake up Mali, Casey bit her lip a second to focus herself.

"I'm not saying you make someone be good, but by the same token, we can't encourage apathy on the part of our fellow man. Yeah, I get good is subjective, but there are some principles that are timeless if you want to have a structured society. Yeah, at one time murder was commonplace, but the mitigating factor was who was being murdered, not the act itself and the same goes for rape. All I'd like to know is that if I'm getting raped in front of a group of strangers, and all they do is call the cops and continue to watch, I'm going to do everything in my power to see that they are held accountable and I'd like to believe the law has my back."

Casey and Joe continued their heated discussion, that was until Mali interrupted with a startling howl.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lurid Document

With Casey subdued by the road before them and the cullings of Tori Amos reverberating through the badly-misused speakers, the rest of the troops had fallen into a malaise of fatigue, each thrown against their respective seats and windowpanes, their eyes pulled to the occasional distances between trees and hillsides. It felt like they had been driving along this merciless road for weeks.

Twice through the night, Parker convinced Casey to pull over and ask for directions, but twice now they had fallen short at the ghastly sight of the lost souls willing and able to work third shift at desolated gas stations in the middle of the Great American Nowhere. The torn, crinkled map passed through everyone's hands at least once before being discarded to the littered floor, deemed useless and deliberately obtuse.

Gordon yawned and draped his arm around Parker's shoulder, inciting an immediate twitch of panic from his poor seatmate. Parker wrestled him away and scooted himself to the far end of the minivan's bench seat, glaring down Gordon with a hatred insulated in a long, sleepless night on the road. Gordon chuckled and blew him a kiss, amused at Parker's demeanor.

"I'm bored," he lamented.

"I can tell. Stop touching me," Parker demanded.

The puddle of sweatshirt ahead of them, which contained somewhere within the tiny body of Mali, groaned disapproval at the commotion before settling back in to a quiet snore.

"I'm bored and I think we're lost," Gordon whispered.

"We're not lost," Casey muttered from the driver's seat.

"Can you tell me, then, how thirty miles spans six hours? The last time we saw a sign for Rifle was at eight-fifteen - I know because I saw Parker take his stupid pills, which he takes every bleeding night at eight-fifteen - and that was clear over six hours ago. How fast are you going, Casey?"

"The speed limit, Gordon," Casey replied.

"There's no way. We must have whiffed it altogether."

"Well, Gordon, next time we stop at a gas station - which won't be long, we're almost on E again - you can cosy up to the guy behind the counter and ask for directions."

Parker, ever vigilant in keeping the peace (since that very morning when he decided to suit the role of mediator, at least), interrupted by waving his hands in the empty air between them. "Calm down!"

Gordon pushed him aside.

"Really, though - do you know where you're going?"

The puddle of sweatshirt groaned again.

Mali was dreaming.

Yellow clouds drifted overhead, rivulets of honey trickling from their soft, doughy bellies to the bed of mints below. Overwhelmed with sensation, the princess sprinted across the deceptively large face of the flower petal, eager to peer beyond its edge. Underneath, all the world bloomed with tongues outstretched for a taste of the sky. Leaning over the edge, the princess gripped the edge of the petal with excitement, too late discovering the heft of the flower could not support her as she tumbled into thin air. Like a leaf in autumn, she drifted end over end toward the earth below, but why so slowly?

Nearer and nearer the earth crept. Ever slower and slower, she fell. Vexed and perplexed at the odd nature of her freefall, the princess folded her arms and scrunched up her nose. Even the birds turned their heads to stare as the princess fell at slower and slower speeds, to which they asked one another why? Revealing no answers, to themselves or otherwise, the birds flew on, quarreling back and forth.

God's work? Unlikely. Eventually, the ground ceased its approach and the princess discovered she was, in fact, stuck just ten feet from the ground. Suspended in the air with no way to free herself, the princess huffed and wondered what to do. She considered all possibilities, but soon relented, unable to come up with any good ideas.

With no recompense in mind and no one around to help her, the princess lamented before she relented and drew her finger across the face of a honey rivulet nearby, suckling at her forefinger while wondering what had happened. Honey? Ah! That's it!

Honey is a sticky mess. All it takes to gunk up the sky is a few light showers of honey! Pressed to get herself down from a mere few stone from the ground, the princess pondered what could be done in her predicament. Perhaps she could eat her way out? Even with an appetite for honey such as hers, eating a whole sky full of honey was a dautning task. Nevertheless, it was the only good idea she could think of. So she did.

No one can say if she ever got down.

Even me.

eXcitement is best left to the


Mali awoke with a start, certain something was amiss.

I Can't See New York

Casey was driving (a few objections were later tossed aside when their eyes became drowsy) and it was raining. A hot mist was rising from the black top street road, causing an eerily
veil over the world outside. Joe was awake, for some odd reason. Casey half-heartedly felt he was only awake because she was.

"You excited for the new dice rules? They should stir up some creative juices in our heads," Joe replied, dragging his words together a little.

"Joe, how many pain pills did you take?" she asked.

"Enough," he answered.

"Thank Christ, I brought my cds," she said, thumbing through her cd catalog in her lap while steering with her knees.

"That looks safe," Joe replied.

"Ah! Tori Amos, just what I need," Casey said triumphantly, pulling out her edition of Scarlet's Walk. "This album is written from the point of view of a mysterious traveler named Scarlet and her experiences in America. One of my favorites."

She plucked the cd into the stereo and skipped to track 12. "This song is beautiful," she muttered to no one in particular before settling into her focused driving once again.

The song began, a soft piano melody with the occasional light guitar and percussion. Tori's voice was haunting and passionate.

"We should try out the new rule for 1. Why don't you tell me a story using this song?" he asked, hiding his clouded eyes from her direct view. He tried his best to enunciate, but wondered if was effective.

"Ok, I'll give it a shot. This song does lend itself to storytelling. I guess this is my interpretation because I'm not exactly sure what this song is about," and with that, Casey began.

From here, no lines are drawn

Scarlet had begged him not to go. Everything felt wrong about that rally. It was a miracle in itself she had gotten him to stay at their tiny, expensive apartment for so long after the rally had began. But then the local news had started reporting the protest building up into a full-blown riot. The riot police had began throwing tear gas and shooting rubber bullets in the air. They would grab and arrest anyone involved through the confusion and shouting.

"I just have to go see what they plan on doing about this," he told her. This is my movement! I take off one rally to make you happy, and the movement is about to be crucified out there! I have to go."

He turned and faced her then. His eyes were alive and ready. She had seen the look before, but never so intense. "I love you," he said, caressing her cheek.

But he left then, and she knew he wasn't going to come back.

She tried to sit and wait for him. It didn't last long. She had to find him.

On the other side

The streets were in chaos. Smoke and gas clung to the streets like a garden of bitter mist. Her eyes stung and welled with tears. Her lungs choked. In a moment of desperation, she threw her fiery red hair over her eyes and attempted to peek through the slivers of her hair strands. It helped, but her vision was still limited.

"Welcome to the other side! This is where the only rule is disorder and the only thing to do is lose all sanity!" shouted an unfamiliar male voice coming up from behind her. She could barely make out a figure running past her in the haze. "This is now a hunting ground!" the voice shouted again. Then Scarlet was too far away from the figure to hear what he continued to shout.

Dread filled her. Where is everyone? Where are all the cars? Where the life that used to thrive on these streets and avenues? Where was New York City? And where was he?

Did we get lost in it?

A bullhorn was audible ahead, although Scarlet had no idea of the location. She followed it blindly, still peering through her red hair without much avail of protection.

It was him speaking to everyone, preaching the movement and its glories. The words were met with praise from the listeners, a few hundred or so, but chaos still existed around them. A police car burned, creating a thick layer of heat over the crowd beside it.

Scarlet just wanted him to hold her and tell her it was alright. She cared not for the movement any long, just him.

The crowd began grow more violent, kicking over street lamps and various greenery. The smoke seemed to grow thicker.

She ran to him then, clutching his waist. "Scarlet! You must go home! This riot..." he began.

"Don't leave me, don't leave me, don't leave me, not right now, don't leave me...." she chanted in a low tone until he noticed.

He grabbed her shoulders and looked at her through her makeshift hair mask. "I will find you. Even in death, I will find," he told her.

She seemed oddly comforted by his words. Her hands fell limp at her sides and wiped the tears from her eyes. "It's like a hunting ground here. And you're leading it. And I can't find my way out." When she looked up for his reaction, he was gone.

I know your lips are warm
But I can't seem to find my out

It was no longer worth it, their love, and Scarlet had realized that stumbling and coughing her way threw crowds of violent protesters fighting authorities while children cried and fires burned. She turned around for a moment, looking at the city through her hair. The idea struck her then. The Empire State Building was the closest building, which suited her perfectly.

As she entered the front entrance, a maniacal-looking meth addict rushed down the stairs and yelled, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!" before whizzing past Scarlet into the streets. This time, she recognized his voice as the one who shouted at her earlier. "It's you again..." she whispered.

The building had been, for the most part, abandoned. A few stragglers, hiding in bathrooms and crying to themselves, were heard as Scarlet walked through the halls to the elevator. Pushing the button for the roof, she felt that he would find her here and think it was all an accident. He would never know just how badly she wanted to just love him and not be around the madness. He would never know the pain she felt when she realized it would never happen.

The roof was breezy, but clear of the smoke and gas being so far up. A meth addict had ripped a hole through the protective fence surrounding the ledge to see if he could fly. Scarlet had seen a live report on the local news about four hours ago, before the riot. The hole was still there. Maybe she would fly...

And I can't see New York
As I'm circling down through white clouds
Falling out and I know his lips are warm
But I can't seem to find my way out, my way out
Of this hunting ground

I can't see New York
From the other side

Casey looked over and admired Joe sleeping against the window. Her stomach twinged when she realized she would never stop admiring him, no matter what he did.