Something to cheer everyone up now, Dear Reader 😀 I know, I know, times are trying at present: what with the new Hack Death stalking the Armageddon landscape of political and financial turmoil, causing the Media to shit its collective shit for brains, and instilling an insatiable desire in the general populus to self-isolate within a mountain made of toilet rolls. Oh, the humanity. Think of the trees…
*/lights up… Well, it’s mental, Clicky… /drags deeply… Leggy’s on to sumfin… /smoky sigh…*
… So, to cheer us all up, I persuaded my good buddy Cade, the Okie Text Us Devil, to let us publish his fantastic story from Underdog Anthology VIII: Transgenre Dreams…
*Doesn’t have to be paper, Clicky. Kindles cheaper and quicker… /thinks… Bloody brilliant if you have to spend time at home, self isolating…*
… It’s an absolute belter 😀 We know you will enjoy ‘She’s In The Shower’… 😉
She’s In The Shower
By Cade F.O.N Apollyon
Before I go, I thought I might pass along a few thoughts that I’ve had about timelines and those who travel them. My name is Arton Arin. I am a 43 tri-season old resident of Bollinger in the Southern Midlands of Eggland, and I’ve been told that I am preparing to pass of a diseize called Cancera Molingua.
Before you become too distressed at my predicament, know that I actually feel quite well as of this writing, and I would prefer that you hear the tale I have to tell before making too many judgments about how you should feel about me and my current Medicull outlook. I simply thought it best to relay to you a bit about who I am, when and where I come from, and maybe a bit about why I am writing this story.
To be completely forthright, I am bored. My diseize is very rare, but highly contagious. Therefore, I spend most of my days in total isolation, pacing the length and breadth of my isolated hopspittle tangle, thinking about days gone by. If there is a bright side, it is that after the first two weeks of infection, which I am told is usually spent in a comatoe, the remainder of whatever time is left is spent mostly symptom-free. Or so I am told. However, I am also told that I will once again, sometime in the near future, slip into a comatoes from which I will not wake. Typical.
One might think that someone in my current state may perhaps spend most of their time lamenting a future that will never come. Sorrows, woes, and oh no’s. All those glorious dreams of future endeavors, forever lost because of some new form of Cancera that has chosen to spring up in myself and a few other unfortunates. All of us scattered here and there, in and around a world that I do not know very well at all. But I find myself thinking about such things only when contemplating the thoughts of others and how they might view me. And what I mean to say there, with impunity to you who are reading this, is that I do not think about the future nor why I shall not be in it, unless I think about those who are actually there. Someone such as you.
You are there already…reading this…written by someone who might have been there, but is, alas, not. Cancera Molingua decided we should be apart. Or perhaps, decided it better that we meet in a different fashion. Were I not preparing to pass, I would not be writing this. Were I not already passed, you would not be reading it. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, whoever you are. But let us get back to my boredom and why I’ve decided to explore a bit further the topic of those who travel timelines differently than others.
As stated previously, I am quite bored. My waking hours are spent in the past. Spent recalling tales told to me in my youth by parents and grandparents, relatives and friends; a cross section of everything from absolute truth, to complete and total flabber. Some of the more strange and interesting tales were those told to me by my grandfather. My grandfather confided in me later that these tales were actually told to him by his grandfather, although my grandfather sometimes painted himself in the main role to make the storytelling more relatable. “After all,” he explained, “these are strange tales of a time where both morta and godda alike intermingled with the firmament of the cosmos!” Grandfather liked to recall in a mighty voice. They were sometimes indeed difficult tales to understand. Difficult tales to follow.
Of course, in my grandfather’s grandfather’s time, the names were different as the language was different. These were the times before “The Great Buyout” when the last of the free lands were deeded. Before “The Final Four Closure” when all ownership tytulle changed hands, which intern caused “The Sudden Shift” of morta peepwholes moving to and from all corvers of the planets. Before “The Age Of The Tri-Season” where the cold and hot seasons came with some regularity, and our primary planet did not linger for unspecified times in rethrograde nor anterograde orbits. Before “The Great Shaming Of All Nations” when all language was changed, and all memory of what came before was changed forever.
I am only telling you this, because I just realized that some of my words may not mean the same to you as they do to me, as I have no idea who you are, nor when and where you will be reading this. Pity that I have no idea which words you may understand, and which words you may not. I suppose it’s just an unfortunate side-defect of time’s progression, and I suppose I’ll just have to do the best that I can.
My grandfather told tales of times and places before The Shifts. Of course, the peepwhole then too were different, but they are gone, whereas I am told that many of these places that he spoke of still exist in some forms in fashion. Old places with new names and new destinies in new times. Many places that I should have loved to see had I reached the required traveling age of 45 tri-seasons. Alas, I am told that I shall not.
I suppose in looking back now, the interesting thing to me is that the tales my grandfather told me seem now to have been an up-building. A gathering of wanders and their wonders. Strange events I once thought fiction, leading from a time of knowing, to a time of non-knowing. Only through my illness have I had the time to reflect on these tales and what they could potentially mean. By that, I mean that I can avoid reflecting on a future that never is, mine, by reflecting instead on a future that perhaps never was. Perhaps because of these events, a future without me in it, was somehow avoided? Perhaps I am here only because of The Shifts?
I have begun to believe that perhaps there is truth in these stories my grandfather told me. Perhaps there is a certain deliberate vibration of sorts through time, and only through time and only with our attention can we begin to understand the wisdom in this. Perhaps this vibration crafts the never was, the is not, and the never will be, into something…more tolerable? More palatable? A deliberate and direct intervention on the part of some unseen will who guides us to where we actually need be, as opposed to where we want or think we need be?
I apologize to you if I am straying off point. And I realize that I have not yet told to you any of my grandfather’s tales. But as I write this, I cannot help but feel some degree of sorrow for a certain place from one of grandfather’s stories I shall never see. A place that I have dreamed of seeing since I first heard the story of “The Lady In The Shower Ring”, and it all took place in a land of dry, in a small town ship that no longer exists, called Text Sass.
We in my time are allowed to know anything, but we are not allowed to know it until a certain age is attained. There is no reason given for this as no one is said to know how this process came to be nor why. But the general consenseus is that it is to maintain a balance of want and need within society in times of limited resources. The less we know, the less we want, and the less we want, the more that our needs will be both true and inline with their actual necessity. This reasoning makes sense to me as it does most others that I have spoken with on the subject. But until I became sick and eventually became to be housed at the hopspittle with my own private tangle, I had no real knowledge of what “a shower ring” really was, nor that they actually existed.
L’water is plentiful in my time. As far as I am aware, even those who live in lands of dry never attain a thirst that cannot be squenched. We are allowed to totally immerse ourselves in L’water for cleaning twice every season within the tri-season, and both M’water and N’waters can be used for cleaning and swashing. You cannot consume these waters because of a tiny unseen organism called Blass Ticks that are too numerous for our internals, but these waters are more than adequate for daily cleanings. The Blass Ticks are even said to be good for swashing and cleansing the hepadermis. However, in my grandfather’s stories, that his grandfather told him, he spoke of times before The Shifts when morta peepwholes had unlimited access to L’waters, and would sprinkle their bodies with it daily in an area of their residences called The Shower Ring.
My tangle here at the hopspittle has a shower ring. It is a tangle like where I now spend my days but much smaller; two long sides, two shorter sides. A small tangle, within a larger tangle, that is specifically for swashing and cleansing. Due to it’s shape, I admit I am confused as to why it is called “a shower ring”. Perhaps someday I will ask one of the Fizzicans who checks on me each weakly.
I can swash and cleanse as much as I like, but you do not totally immerse in the shower ring. In fact, you do not immerse at all. A’waters, which are a yellowish, orange/brown Medicull water with something called “munkee blod” in it, sprays from a pipe on the wall, and all I need do is stand in the shower ring to swash. The water droplets that fall from the pipe in the shower ring remind me of the stories of “The Time Of Many Reigns”. Before The Shifts, reigns fell from the skies without intervention from peepwholes. No one knows why, but reigns of L’water fell without prompting, at many and all times during the four seasons that were said to have existed prior to the times of the tri-season. To preserve the purity of processes, we are disallowed from standing in the reigns when those who reign over all pour their L’water freely from the skies. But this shower ring is what I imagine that must be like.
So many things seem to have conspired to land me in my own tangle with my own shower ring. And I am told that I will know that the time is close when I feel my toes start to become numb. What a strange concept to ponder…the feeling, of numbness. I fear I’ve gone too long on myself already, so pondering here the concept of what it is to feel nothing or how nothing feels, I shall save for perhaps another time.
I shall now tale you the tell I was told by my grandfather. The story of The Lady In The Shower Ring. The story of the lady with tool eggs, and four harms. The story, of She Vah and my grandfather’s grandfather in the shower ring.
My grandfather was not a holy man, neither was he good. But nor was he unholy, neither was he evil.
There was no good…there was no bad…only the conflict of the two was in him.
Empty, some might say. As empty as a nothing which had no end.
Yet all and any was at his beckoning and at his whim.
For the two mighty Ones held sway over him…The One, and The Other One.
The Other One was to The One, as The One was to The Other One.
Two Ones, which is, and are, the same One, from different times, who sought out my grandfather, in the same time, at the same time.
The time before The Times Of The Shifts.
Both of The Ones were sometimes hidden from him, and both sometimes seen, and brought with them their manys and alls to test him.
To both teach him and to remove his teachings…and learn my grandfather did.
To taunt him, confuse him, cause fear in him…and fear and become confused my grandfather did.
To break him…and break my grandfather they did…many times.
The Ones and their goddas versus the lone morta.
How and why you may wonder? Why did the goddas show up? Why did they show up in Text Sass? Why did they choose my grandfather? What could he as a morta possibly have to offer the goddas, and what purpose could he possibly serve?
My grandfather said he never knew why they chose him, except to say “well that fuckin’ figures.”
Breaking after breaking my grandfather withstood.
Each and every time, the Ones wagered whether this be his last…but my grandfather found his feet again each time. More resilient and more determined after every breaking. Determined to know…why him…why now.
My grandfather had nothing. That is not to say he had “nothing”, for he had many things in his life that he loved dear. But in the time of those times, and in the eyes of those in and of those times, he was considered to be a man who had nothing. Alone, in a tangle, without possession, old and broken, separated from those he loved, and he knew not why.
And it was at this time, that The Ones and their goddas arrived.
Arrived in all manners. Arrived in all forms imaginable, and in many forms unfathomable. Via any and every channel available them, they arrived. Sight, sound, smell, song, memory, knowing, and more. With all tools in the hands of the masters that created and crafted them, they arrived. Completely unannounced, they arrived.
My grandfather said of their arrival…“Pretty god damn unwelcome to be honest.”
I asked of my grandfather why he did not ask of them “why?”
He smiled at me and said, “It honestly made perfect sense at the time, and I also know now that they arrived just in time. I just…didn’t expect it, and certainly not in the way and ways that it happened. I had no idea what to do, nor how to do it. Cornered, I was.”
Emptiness, my grandfather told me, is a portal into the realm of the absurd. And to begin to understand the absurd and its absurdities, is to gain insight into the concept of love. Insight into the concept of love, provides us with a glimpse into the concept of hate. From there, the knowing of all knowing cascades in, out, and through, any and every emotion you can think of. Before long, you find yourself falling through nothing, into nothing, surrounded by everything, and somehow, you see all.
To fall forever is a completely absurd notion, my grandfather told me. Why would anything, ever need to exist, or ever even be contemplated as potentially needing to exist, which would cause one to fall forever. The answer that I arrived at from time to time, after much deliberation, was love. Neither One wanted me, but neither One could bring themselves to destroy me. This is the best I could arrive at, after countless years and tears of contemplation…was hope. I fall forever in hope. They allow me to fall forever, in their hoping. Hoping that I may someday, when needed, be what it is I need be. They about their business, and me about mine. Time for all of us, to arrive at the time we all need be at, when we need be there, as we need be. Ready, for whatever we need be ready for.
May as well busy myself having some fun doing something, while I fall forever doing nothing…
…heh, heh, heh.
I was his grandson, and you are mine, and let me assure you that humility was always on my grandfather’s mind. How to remain hidden. How to be wise. To temper a blade of his own fury that cuts without cutting, and vanquish any foe while the blade remains sheathed. Yet to stand, not bowed nor cowered, yet still in all humility, before the goddas and speak as one might speak…to a friend.
Knowing these are not my friends, but neither are they my enemies.
In fact, they don’t even know who I am.
My grandfather broke into singing a strange rhyming tune that was somehow neither poem nor song. Something that resembled a cadence that soldiers might sing in unison as they marched in order to keep their steps in time…
You know me not,
For I have no name.
I am no one,
For I am null.
I am not.
I am knot,
I am naught,
I am not, knot, naught.
Speak as a friend. Not to flatter, nor to deceive, but to be receptive and to receive. To give my all. For these are truly my friends….and my enemies. All these things my grandfather told me.
I asked of my grandfather why he did not ask of them “Why? Why not ask of them what, and how?”
He again smiled at me and said, “I figured if they wanted me to know, they would have told me.”
Over many days called “years” in those times, they tested him.
He never knew when, nor where, for they tested him at their own whims according to plans of their own design.
The goddas cajoled, and my grandfather fell silent.
They prodded him in his dreams, and he was much troubled by them, but he carried on.
All manner of vile was suggested, and he scowled in disgust and wondered with contempt what possible purpose this knowledge could serve.
They poked and prodded at his pride, and he played along and came up with better insults for himself than they.
But then something happened that The Ones did not expect.
One of the younger goddas seems to have suggested a change in tactics. “Up the auntie” as they used to say in those times before The Shifts. Instead of attacking my grandfather with shame, or with hate, or with fear, or by promise of knowledge in hope of wisdom, they tried his own weapon against him…humor.
Many of the goddas, including The Ones, had sent many a vision to my grandfather. Some he understood, some not. But one thing he always told me that he always seemed to understand, was their humor. “They’re some funny motherfuckers,” he used to tell me.
One in particular, She Vah, was trickier and more likely to apply humor than most of the others. Someone that my grandfather said he felt he had a special kinship with, without really knowing why.
She Vah, was the godda who suggested using humor against my grandfather…especially in the shower ring.
Take his humor, that which he crafts so sweet…so sweet so as not to cut, and make it so he can do nothing but harm when he wields it. Replace the sweet with bitterness. Make that which should cause joy, cause instead hate, so that even the softest of his strokes, and the sweetest of his loving kisses, draws instead blood.
I only needed to take a piss, my grandfather told me. An average day, all day, in the same spot, pondering the same mysteries over and over, and I suddenly needed a piss. Understand that I am not complaining about pondering the same mysteries over and over. Pondering one mystery may provide insight into another. Neither mystery may in fact be solved, but it just may be enough information to make some progress in the right direction…keep us alive and pondering for a little while longer. Provide one more breath.
Not all answers are finalities, and not all finalities are final, my grandfather said. I just needed to piss, and I thought at the time that it would have been nice to have thirty seconds of peace and quiet to do so. That was not to be.
You have to try and understand, as best you can, that “seeing” does not always equate with external stimuli of some kind from our immediate surroundings. Sight, we tend to equate with those things that can be quantified and verified with secondary input. Such as, you may be able to see a chair, and you can also lick that same chair to verify that something is indeed there, and “yep, it tastes like I guess a chair should taste.” May I suggest at this time that touch may be a better secondary for many a practical reason.
There are many ways to interrupt many channels of energies flowing here and there. And since we ourselves are energy and energies, and we are in a system built of systems of energies, someone who knows what in the hell they are doing can manipulate each and every sensory input we have. They can do so from eons away in the future, they can do so from eons away in the past, and perhaps they can even do both at the same time when present circumstance dictates. And that is what I am all about…time. Hope provides time, and time provides hope. I hope, that I am not boring you, grandfather said to me, with a smile a gentle nudging elbow to my ribs for emphasis.
To “see” certain things at certain times, with no external sensory input of any kind, seems, unusual. Such as, rushing to the toilet because I’m about to piss my pants, only to make it to the toilet, and find that…I, am not alone. I see nothing, yet I sense…something.
I can only just hear my urine first sounding against the water in the toilet, as I suddenly become aware of a figure approaching me from behind. I do not flinch, I do not clinch. I continue what I am doing, and observe.
In my shower, a small figure…a woman. She has a golden outline, surrounded by complete black. Distant. Inside the distinct and sharp golden outline of her figure, again, complete black. A golden-framed woman, surrounded by total darkness that also permeates all of her being except the rigid golden outline of her frame. Hair that is somehow red, yet black as night with occasional flashes of an unusual white. Her golden outline, as she moves, shimmers occasionally with rainbow colors. These colors cycle between the base golden color, and every color imaginable.
She’s far away. Edging closer. Small steps. Raising her knees, slowly up high, high above her waist, pausing for a moment, then slowly down again. With each step, and also between steps, her arms, four of them, two on each side, move with purpose. Synchronized both with, and opposed to, the movement of her steps. All manner of shapes she makes with her arms as she approaches. Her arms cross, then unfold, her hands flat, then folded, then together, then apart. She is surrounded by complete darkness. My bladder is half-empty.
She’s tall. The more steps she takes forward from the blackness, the more her height increases. Stalking her prey, or so it would appear. Slowly, gracefully, thoughtfully, edging forward from the blackness that surrounds her, permeates her. Her skin flashes from black to a whiter and pink flesh tone, then back to black. She is no longer a she. Is she? Is she a…she? Is she…Shiva? Not the Shiva I’ve seen depicted here in this life. She is Shiva, isn’t she? Who the hell is she? Which one is she?
“You know, I can see you,” I blurt out in my mind. Her advance does not cease, nor does she waiver in her pace.
“I know you can see me,” she replies. “I just wanted to see how far you would let me advance before finally saying something.”
She speaks to me in a tone of someone walking the edge of a razor suspended over a pit of spikes. Focused on many things, while doing many things, all while her own well-being appears to be hanging in the balance.
“Is there a particular reason you maybe couldn’t have waited for me to finish taking a leak?”
“Yes. In fact, there is a particular reason. You and I both know that this is not what actually happened.”
I was caught. Caught trying to stray. Straying from the truth, while in the company of truth.
“We both know that much of this in fact, did happen,” I said as I fumbled with the recounting of the experience.
“True,” she replied. “I appreciate your vigor. Just maybe perhaps, stick to the more pertinent and explainable, and stay away from any further exploration of the non-relateable.”
Wise she was, and wise she is.
And so, my grandfather said to me, it is time that I tell you what actually happened on that day. What happened in my bathroom. My bathroom was actually no bathroom at all, nor was it mine. My bathroom contained no bath…only a shower. A shower for washing the body, a toilet for the body’s eliminating functions, and a sink for small cleanings. The shower was simply a stall covered by a retractable plastic wall called a shower curtain. This curtain was suspended by a thing called a shower curtain rod, and the curtain was suspended from this rod by things called shower curtain rings.
I did not shower much in those days as the waters at that time harmed my skin. As such, this retractable shower curtain which enclosed the shower stall was almost always left open. Rarely was this curtain closed, and spiders used to build their webs in the folds of the shower curtain to catch prey. When I would use the toilet to relieve my bladder, my back would be to the shower stall, which means there was a rather large empty area behind me. This empty area is where on many an occasion, those from the unseen realms would appear to me. An area which I could not see when standing in front of the toilet, and an area from whence I should NOT be able to see them, but for some reason…I could see them.
All that I’ve told you up to now is true, but what actually happened share now I, with you…
“You know, I can see you,” I blurt out in my mind. Her advance does not cease, nor does she waiver in her pace.
“I know you can see me,” she replies. “I’m practicing my Yoga in the shower whilst you pee.”
I immediately started to laugh so hard at the absurdity of her assertion, that I started pissing all over the toilet and on the floor. She was most decidedly, NOT, doing Yoga. I collected myself somewhat, and was able to regain the proper control and direction of my urine flow.
“It looks more to me like you were trying to sneak up on me while I was taking a leak, and you got caught.”
I had to fight back. I was standing here in the vulnerability of an act of a necessary bodily function, usually performed alone and in solitude, and now that embarrassment has been compounded by shame for urinating all over the outside of the toilet and on the floor.
“Tell me, Clay. What is winning?” she asked as she continued her rhythmic and exaggerated advance towards my back.
“Winning?” I questioned. “Winning? Or victory?”
She immediately froze at hearing my question; two of her arms above her head with hands folded, two of her arms extended at her shoulders with the palms of her hands up, one leg bent and raised high up to her chest so that her foot was well off the floor, the other leg straight with her foot firmly planted. A contest! A contest to see if she can remain standing on one foot for the length of time it takes me to finish pissing. ‘A pissing contest’…of sorts.
“You know,” I began, “I’ve not cleaned that shower in some time. I’ve noticed you are barefoot. You could potentially get some kind of foot disease.”
She smiled, but did not move nor waiver in any other way.
“Also,” I continued, “I’m the one that showers in there, so a disease of some kind is almost certain.”
She maintained her smile, her eyes glowed, but still she did not move nor waiver.
“Um,” I was desperate, for I was almost finished peeing, “This may take a while. There’s a dollar store right up the street if you want to toddle off there and get you a pair of cheap flip-flops that can be used as shower shoes. Will only set you back a buck.”
She dropped her elevated foot in defeat, and bent over in laughter.
“WINNER!!!” I thought to myself. Just in time too. The final drops of urine fell into the toilet, I gave the requisite squeeze and shake, then found the toilet paper roll so I could do an initial clean up of the urine from the toilet bowl and floor. I reached for the toilet paper roll. Between pulling off the first few sheets and looking at the floor in order to begin planning where to start cleaning first, I briefly acknowledged Shiva’s presence in my mind. When she came again into focus, I saw one of the most incredible things that I have ever seen.
Somehow, and to this day I have no idea how she did what she did, she was standing…on both feet…AND…one foot, all at the same time. And no, before you ask, she did not suddenly grow an extra leg. She simply, somehow, ‘revealed’ to me, that she was still standing on one foot, had never moved, and, was standing on two feet. There was no double-vision. Her form was as clear, crisp, and well defined as it has ever been…only two legs. And yet, somehow, she was managing to stand with both feet firmly planted, and stand on one foot with one leg raised. I saw no third nor fourth leg.
I immediately burst into an uproarious laughter as my mind was flooded with the possibilities and notions of how she was achieving this. Multiple-dimensions? Multiple-times? Multiple-positions? All somehow aggregated here and now to give the appearance that she was in one place at one time, when she was in fact in many? Whatever she was doing, and however she was doing it, this was no trick. There was nothing ‘gimmicky’ about it. All attempts on my part to solve this mystery almost immediately dissolved away as the reality of what I had just seen continued to sink in. I continued to laugh, bent down, and started to clean my misfired urine off of the floor.
“Winner,” she said softly in a quasi-sultry and sassy voice.
“What!?” I protested. “I’ve already won!”
“Winner, winner…chicken dinner,” she said, hands on her hips. She wiggled them slightly for some added zesty emphasis.
“You can’t take my win from me can you? I’ve already won it.”
“I can take your win from you, and I have done so. In doing so, you have answered my question, and I have answered yours.”
“The difference between ‘winning’ and ‘victory’?”
“Anything given, can be taken away.”
“A nation may ‘win’ a war, yet still not be victorious.”
“That is an excellent point for pondering.”
“Wait a second here. You stated you won after I’d already won.
“Then, you implied you took my victory from me.”
“That’s two wins in a single contest. You aren’t talking about winning nor victory at all are you?”
“Perhaps yes, and perhaps not.”
I continued to wipe urine from the floor as thoughtfully and completely as I could, and it occurred to me that most lessons from ‘else’ usually comes both indirectly, and, it is heavily layered. One can many times choose to peel back as many layers as they care to. Such as, an old man on his hands and knees wiping his own piss off of the bathroom floor because the god Shiva made him laugh while he was pissing, and now they are discussing the finer points of winning, victory, and perhaps even defeat. A light bulb illuminated in my dim little mind.
“You are wondering how I would describe what I just saw to another.”
“That thought has crossed my mind,” she replied thoughtfully. “How would you describe or recount to another what you just witnessed?”
“I wouldn’t even know how to begin to try.”
“And what about relating the story of what transpired here?”
“Again, I wouldn’t know where to begin, nor would I even have the slightest inkling as to who would even care to hear such a tale. It strains my own internal credibility, and I just walked through the shit-storm my own self.”
She smiled a large smile. She could see my mind working. I was reassured by her smile, but I could tell that she knew that I was already struggling with realities and pride and prejudices and envy and shame: all these concepts and more wrestling with my own self doubt. These things continued their stormy struggle as I tried to imagine who in the entirety of existence would ever even potentially want to hear such an unimaginable and outlandish story. She thankfully interrupted my thoughts warring with themselves.
“Perhaps you could start where you are now, then work your way backwards. Do that, and moving forward should come quite easily if you stay with it.”
And with that, she was gone.
I paused and thought for a moment.
Wise she was, and wise she is.
My grandfather, and your three times great grandfather was no soldier, Arton. He marched alone. Accompanied perhaps, of my own accounting anyway, by an army that no one but he could see. That, I tell you, was likely the reason for the odd little song that he sometimes sang to himself.
Death says to me…
Who are you?
I know you not.
I see no name,
No name I know.
I say to Death…
You know me not,
For I have no name.
I am no one,
For I am null.
I am not.
I am knot,
I am naught,
I am not, knot, naught.
War was his passion; battle was his mind; combat was his love; but his heart, he prayed, beat a rhythm of peace seeking wisdom. As to what that made the entirety of his being? “I don’t really know what that makes me. I don’t know what that makes me on the whole. I mostly feel at peace.” This is what my grandfather told me.
“And that’s peace, not piss,” he told me. “People will bastardize the damndest of things to their own end. I’m myself admit I am guilty of the same. Take care with your judgments grandson of mine.”
I paid no heed to my grandfather’s talk of judgments.
My mind was already well elsewhere.
Too much data, nary enough answers.
My mind burning like a flame, I asked of my grandfather, “But you told me that you were all about time! You said that hope was time, and time was hope! What is all this talk of war and battle and peace grandfather?!”
Into his eyes I looked, and saw that they blazed with a something inside of him that I had never before seen in anyone, nor have I seen in anyone since. Not blazed as the hottest flame might, nor burned like the coldest cold might. There was no light, nor was there dark, but I suddenly saw a vast and endless emptiness inside of him that sent a shiver down my spine and threatened to suck the air straight out of my lungs. My heart pounded within my own chest in protest of the unseen and unwelcome requests of me. Grandfather sensed my fear and placed his hand lovingly on my shoulder. The growing fear bursting to escape the very fiber of my being fled almost as suddenly as it had appeared. But not for long would that fear be held at bay.
“Young one,” my grandfather started, “There is some serious shit headed your way, and you, are going to be right in the big middle of it.”
My ears…I could not believe them. I could not believe these words only just ushered from my grandfather’s lips. War? My way? Me? Why would war ever come to a child? Why me? What is this war that seeks me?
I looked away from my grandfather in consternation and to the ground to reassure my now galloping mind. I felt the fear and confusion welling and tumbling inside of me. Ebb and flow, it did…subsided, it did…grew, it did. A boisterous pulse advancing and retreating almost simultaneously. Tho looking downwards, I could still see my grandfather from the top of my eyes, and saw that he observed me as I thought. He sensed the war raging now inside me. War…inside me. War?
“You feel that?” grandfather interrupted unexpectedly. “That, is war. The confusion you are feeling now, is all part of the war eternal.”
My brow furrowed in disbelief. My hand I put to my belly as it began to burn. Searched the ground for answers I did as to what this could all mean. Find my feet, so swiftly knocked from under me, I must find my feet. My eyes scanned steady the browns and greens of the ground. Back and forth my head went, as I thought to myself that this cannot be so. There cannot be a war inside of my own self. No one have I to fight. I felt an anger rising in me, and I thought to tell my grandfather as much. But again grandfather was ahead of me by at least a step.
“And that, young man, which you are feeling now, is battle. Your confusion and uncertainty have been temporarily replaced by a measured response.”
At this, something within me…snapped.
“STOP IT!” I blurted, with tears of rage welling up in my eyes. “STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!!”
The face of my grandfather, which only a moment ago was as stoic and hard as stone, softened. Looked beyond his face and through my own now blurry and teared eyes, sought my grandfather’s eyes I did. I found them. The vast emptiness was gone from them, and they sparkled with the fires of countless stars.
“And that, my dear grandson, is combat.”
Huge tears formed in his eyes as he continued, and his voice cracked occasionally from the strain.
“Confusion, turned anger, turned rage, all to preserve self, in combat. But beware of the fury that follows rage my dear grandson. For fury can cut in many ways, at many times, from many angles. Once fury is grasped, there is no letting go.”
Tears were now streaming down his face. I sprang to my feet, dove towards my grandfather, and wrapped my arms tight around him. I hugged him like I had never hugged anyone before nor have hugged anyone since, and a stern, but gentle and comforting hug my grandfather returned.
A path, only previously hidden, now lay before me. Know, I did not. Understood, I did. For now, I understood without knowing.
We find our own wars, Arton. We choose our own battles. And when we find these things, we fight our own fight in combat. But when we answer the call to join the wars of others, many, and perhaps all of these choices lose we.
And for added measure my boy, tell you now, oh grandson of mine, my dear boy, Arton…that if you ever tell your grandmother that I hugged my grandfather better than I ever hugged her…well, let’s just wait and see. We’ll cross that bridge when and if we get there. He winked at me and smiled, my grandfather did.
My great-great grandfather is said to have died shortly before the times of The Shifts began. I can only assume that whatever death it was that sought him, and he for a time somehow avoided, eventually found him. Perhaps much in the same way it appears that some death currently seeks to find me. And so now, to be completely honest and open with you, there was indeed something specific that prompted me into writing. Something that inspired me to attempt to relay this and these tales that I have now shared with you.
Three days ago, I encountered a woman in my shower ring whilst I swashed. It was only for the briefest of moments, and due to my current Medicull predicament, I admit that I had to question whether or not it actually happened. But what stuck with me, was the fact that this woman had both red and black hair. Much like the hair of this She Vah that my grandfather told of via his grandfather’s tale.
She said nothing to me, and she actually looked scared and confused. Perhaps, assuming she was actually here, she was just lost. Lost for the briefest of moments along some coiling or unwinding timeline, and unsure of where she was.
She wore no clothes, and she looked real enough. No extra arms, no darkness nor glowing, just a combination of very red and very black hair. Naked, and possibly wet, her arms were folded somewhat protectively to her chest, although I did not get the impression that this action was out of shame nor modesty. She looked back and forth a few times before she noticed me, and our eyes met only briefly before she quickly disappeared. There was no indication that she knew me, and I certainly did not know her. Except of course, for the distant connection to this She Vah story told to me by my grandfather.
By the by, both black and red colored hairs are contrary to social parity here in Eggland. I had always assumed that colored hair of these types were a myth. So rare for anyone to have hair at all in these times, let alone what appeared to be a full supply of multi-colored hair on both her top and bottom portions. She was, now that I think about it, quite beautiful. Or would have been had she not looked so scared and perhaps helpless.
The next day, I listed the event on my daily Medicull report even thought I am still quite unsure if the event actually happened or not. But I am told that I am indeed preparing to pass, so what harm could it possibly cause to report it?
And finally, a bit of good news.
This morning, I was informed that they would be starting me on a new medesign today. The doctors informed me that they thought today might be the day that my toes started to go numb, and they wanted to go ahead and get me started on this new medesign just to be safe. They tell me that there exists the potential that this new medesign could delay the onset of the final stage. It could, they say, perhaps even pathdose the diseize entirely. And the best part is, it can sometimes do all of this with just a single dose.
I am doing my best to contain and control my enthusiasms. To say calm, and carry on. But I cannot help but think a blessing of the goddas this must be. For if this is true, and this Cancera Molingua within me can indeed be pathdosed, I can be exonerated of my “payshunt” status, leave the hopspittal, and return to my own tangle. After time, I can apply to have my records expungented. Live to travel to Text Sass.
Odd this sudden development, as they’ve not previously mentioned this treatment. Perhaps it is something new. They did in fact mention a “new medesign”, but I neglected to inquire if the medesign was in fact new, or just new to me.
I took the first dose only a few moments ago, but I don’t think the medesign works. As I write this, I can suddenly feel my toes going numb. My arms are also feeling quite tired. Difficulty writing. My feet feel very heavy. Now having difficulty moving my legs.
I guess they didn’t catch it in time.
*As you wish, Clicky… /stubs butt…*
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
A’waters – a socially acceptable,non-potable, non-drinkable X’water, made of various herbs and spices plus a generous portion of munkee blod; designated for Medicull use only, only under Fizzican super-vision, and only for swashing.
Anterograde – a forgetting.
Billdinged – the aggregate result of independent expenditures.
Blass Ticks – a group of non-motile, microscopic organisms of indeterminate origin made up primarily non-organic materials. Blass Ticks tend to be suspended in varied quantities in X’waters, and it is thought that this is why the organism has not evolved the ability to move under it’s own power, lack of need. First described by Brau Flucher in 2076 CE/017 TS
Bollinger – a towned in the Southern Midlands of Eggland, which was founded on one of the axial focal points during The Battle Of The Bands that eventually led to The Great Shaming Of All Nations.
Cancera – a non-explainable combination of factors that results in either non-standard and/or less-than-standard cell growth(s).
Cancera Molingua – this particular/specific diseize is not known to actually exist. However there is some grainy reasoning within the term itself.
Comatoe – the low-power, quasi-hibernative state of a system or systems, marked by a generative lack of response to stimuli.
Consenseus – a gathering of similar bodies to form a contiguous and unique whole, without sacrificing a part’s individual traits or characteristics. A simultaneous subtractive addition and additive subtraction with a zero-sum.
Corver – 1. a convergence from the point or angle and perhaps time of disbursement. 2. a point in time that considers origins, destinations and forces from the eventual resultant point or points.
Diseize – a more or less standard deviation from a standard, usually capable of dictating and defining it’s own path if not identified in a timely manner by Medicull, and treated with medesign.
Eggland – hey, it’s Easter here in 2019 AD/CE. Lighten up. (Eggland is the exploitation of a convenient typographical error on the part of the author. It coulda been worse…it coulda been Endland.)
Expungent – a sharp increase or decrease in attractiveness, monitored and regulated by both the social and unsocial societal arms of the more-modern society.
Fizzicans – a socially trained and appointed representative of the Medicull arm of the more modern society.
Flabber – a particular something so beyond reason, logic, and even intuition, that it defies both rational thought and coherent description.
Forms In Fashion – the contextual mutative properties of an unchangeable tangible or intangible form.
Godda – a less-physical, independent entity, usually both less-biological in makeup and less-tangible.
Hepadermis – the outer layers that monitor and control the I/O flows independent of other such systems, and sometimes acts as it’s own medesign.
Hopspittle – a physical structure or billdinged constructed of various components where Fizzicans gather/meet. Also houses Payshunts.
I/O – the measure of an energy’s ability/inability to, 1. penetrate a membrane, 2. resist a membrane’s advance, 3. not interact with a membrane at all.
Intern – a seriatim or sequential ordering of things/events.
Internals – the innermost parts of an outermost whole.
L’water – a socially acceptable, potable, drinkable water.
Large Town Ship – a usually very large region of land containing a number of small town ships. Usually accurately representative, as a whole, of the small town ships it encompasses.
M’water – a socially acceptable, sub-potable water that is not suitable for drinking, but is suitable for regular swashing.
Medesign – an agent crafted to dictate a specific path of travel under certain conditions.
Medicull – the organized societal infrastructure of Hopspittles and Fizzicans.
Morta – a more-physical, independent entity, usually both biological in makeup and more tangible.
Munkee Blod – a special liquid healing agent of dark carmine, that is brewed with Minimum of Mermaid Brothers, and also contains Expedience of The Messenger.
N’water – a socially acceptable, less than sub-potable water that is in no way suitable for drinking, and is suitable for occasional use in swashing.
Pathdosed – a resummation of right and proper, typically as a result of an intervention by the Medicull, and usually via the application of a medesign or medesigns; a reclamation.
Payshunt – a negative impactor on the Medicull.
Peepwholes – 1. a biological, non-biological or less-biological system that is complete enough so as to be capable of sensing both specific and non-specific information and data, and also provide throughput to adequately and accurately transmit or otherwise relay this information in total to a 3rd party or some other intermediary; these biological and non-biological systems may be made up of organic matter, inorganic matter, or sometimes a combination of both. 2. a morta.
Reign – 1. the power to create and freely distribute L’water from the nothingness and the nowhere. 2. a societal structure made manifest through destiny in order to monitor and regulate side-defects.
Rethrograde – a remembering.
Side-defect – an entropic vulnerability, usually expressed in the flanks or perimeter of an otherwise closed system; unforeseen manifestation of change, chaos or collapse in the outermost portions of a centralized body.
Small Town Ship – a large region of land containing a diversity of mostly small settlements of societal structures, usually with their own independent beliefs and ruling structures.
Southern Midlands – a region in the northern part of Eastern Eggland.
Squench – the exsanguination or draining of a desire to consume.
Swash – a vigorous utilisation of available resources, appropriately applied for a particular cleansing process.
Tangle – a living space approved for a citizen or citizens to occupy, which is constructed in the form and flow of nature’s perfect geometric shape; two longer sides of equal length, and two shorter sides of unequal lengths, resulting in three right angles and one tribute angle.
Text Sass – a former small town ship in the former large town ship known as Nam.
Towned – a cyclically tytulled settlement where ownership is randomly transferred from citizen to citizen so as to equally distribute the burdens of ownership.
Tri-season – time period within the current age which has only three seasons, each of which are of indeterminate length(s).
Tytulle – an opening within the societal fabric that provides for the private ownership own one’s own self, control of one’s own destiny and movements, as well as the private ownership of one’s own possessions.
Up-building – a construction effort resulting in an increase in mass, density, volume, inertia or interest.
Weakly – a meeting or touch based on a need or needs, usually under duress, objection or protest; an unpleasant task or undertaking; deed or encounter of the shortest possible duration and/or met with a minimum of effort.
X’water – a societally approved method of measuring water quality and safety. Defined primarily upon usage and sometimes need.
Up The Auntie – no aunts were harmed in the writing of this story ❤
7 thoughts on “Story Time: She’s In The Shower”
Thanks for posting this Roob. ❤
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Thanks so much for this great share! the glossary was a nice touch. I’m currently in China, and we’ve been on lockdown for about two months already. Seeing blogs like yours makes it a bit easier.
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Glad you enjoyed the read. I admit I haven’t thought about this story much since I wrote it because it was a bear to write. Cried a lot, laughed a lot, was confused a lot, that kind of jazz. Overall, rereading made me remember just how much fun I had writing it. But when I re-read my Glossary, I admit I giggled a few times, and wound up laughing my ass off at the absurdity for one entry…
Southern Midlands – a region in the northern part of Eastern Eggland.
That’s actually an idea based on a real road here in Dallas called Northwest Highway. I live in the eastern part of Dallas, so the stretch on my side is called “East Northwest Highway”. And yes, there is also a West Northwest Highway.
To top that off, the road actually runs west/east and east/west, there are businesses and residences on each side, and it is possible to need to get to “The South side of East Northwest Highway”. lolz…what a world we live in.
Hang in there. People in the damndest of places praying about, thinking about and sending well-wishes ya’lls way.
^deadmau5 – Strobe^
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I hear you about the blood, sweat, and tears that go into the writing process. I sold the rights to a book I wrote last year, and had mixed feelings about no longer owning something I spent so much time making. Nice to get paid, though! And by the way, we live in a very small world… I spent a few years in Dallas (Addison and Plano) and somehow survived my early twenties while tearing up and down NW Highway and Central Expressway on a variety of sport bikes with my hooligan pals. Ah, to be young and stupid! Many thanks for the thoughts and prayers. This virus situation too shall pass, and when it does, I plan to be back in the USA for good this time. Cheers
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Hi Darius, many thanks. Glad we could be of help 😀
Sorry about your predicament but we have lots of stories at the LoL to keep you occupied 😀
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Thanks for the link! And many thanks for your thoughts. I’m preparing to leave China for good, but right now my road to total disengagement seems a lot longer than it did before this virus thing popped up. Nothing like an LOL to help make “repatriation” a wee bit more fun!
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