Runs In Transit

Category: Creative Writing

7:30 pm at King Taco

I parked my bike at the corner of Raymond and Colorado. It seemed like a lively intersection but the streets weren’t crowded yet. Nightlife will probably start at sunset. I started walking north towards the direction of King Taco. I checked Google Maps and was a block off. I wasn’t hungry but the thought of their tacos had been on my mind for a few weeks.

I pushed the glass door on the corner and walked in. It was a perfect opportunity for a shot. Every table was full and a few groups were standing in line. I felt too awkward to take a picture so I decided to wait. I got up to the end of the line and stood behind an Asian couple. They were probably Korean. They weren’t moving so I made eye contact with them. “Are you waiting in line?” I asked. They shook their heads and gestured for me to go ahead. They looked at me curiously and then gave their attention back to the menu. I walked up to the register and it was slow. The woman in front of me was finishing up her order and I leaned on the wall as I waited. When it was my turn I took a step aforward. “How are you doing?” I asked. “Good, how are you?” “Good”. Ok, I’m ready to order.

I already decided on the Suadero and Buche taco. One, because I’m not hungry and two because I don’t know what they are. I made my order for take-out. As the woman rang up my order I asked her what Suadero and Buche are. She smiled. “You ordered them and you don’t know what they are?” “Yeah, I’ve never seem them before and I wanted to try something different.” “Well, Buche is the stomach” “Oh cool” “And, Suadero is like the rib. And it’s braised. They’re both really popular.” “Oh, really?” “Yeah. Do you want red sauce or green sauce?” “Um, could I have a little bit of both?” “Sure. 298’s your number.” “Thanks.” I smiled and stood back in line to wait for my food.

The neon light was fun to look at and it fit well with the Mexican cut-outs. Fast food chains with mom-and-pop feels are good at stuff like that. I heard 289 get called so I walked around the restaurant. It was small so I ended up standing back in line. When I heard 296 I walked up to the front. Someone behind me thought I was waiting to order so I let him pass. It’s easy to be an obstacle. When 298 was called I was antsy. I walked up to a guy who was bagging my food. “Do you want any sauce?” “Uh, no thanks” Then I looked at the food and changed my mind, “actually could you give me some hot sauce?” “Sure.” He put a sauce cup in my bag and handed it across the counter. I sat at a table near the window and watched the restaurant. Most of the groups left and there were just a few families.

I missed my chance, I thought. But at least I had two tacos. I dipped them in the hot sauce and drank a coke zero I brought from work. I looked around in the hopes the composition of people would change. I pulled out my disposable camera as I waited. I made eye contact with the Asian guy from earlier. His girlfriend walked up to get napkins. I tried not to look. I stared around emptily. She walked back to the table and again, she walked to get something. This was getting annoying. And lastly, she did it the third time, and this time with her boyfriend. Don’t these people have anything better to do? Probably more than me. I ate my tacos in solitude, and when it didn’t look like the restaurant was going to fill up, I threw away my bag and left. Damn, should have pulled the trigger.store_0121.jpg

Cutting words

Float with me in dark                                                Sounds seep through the cracks

I’m tired but still see. What’s left                                     Reminds me of joyous days

Is half sick, not dead                                                                  I fell in warm arms

dark-and-light.jpg

 

 

Idea for a Story

A man floats through life in a daze, never fulling experiencing moments, both high and low, and can only view his life clearly in retrospect. After a tragedy transpires due to his neglect, he begins to reflect on his past, seeing for the first time how often he did not take action when he should have, allowing situations and relationships to deteriorate. Likewise, he sees how true some of the words he has said were, and how they affected people in profound ways not to his knowing. Upon realizing this, he begins to aggressively take steps to get rid of his foggy mind state and truly live in the present. He decides to take on a different job each day to learn from people of all walks of life. He works as a garbageman, delivery person, and a hospital volunteer. He meets a janitor who has a happy disposition even in the worst situations and never shows regret or fear. When asked how he is able to be in such a positive state, he merely shrugs and responds he just is. Curiously, the man mirrors the janitor and tries to replicate his habits. He is invited to the janitor’s home for dinner and meets his family who is warm and welcoming despite lack of wealth. He learns that the man is from Palestine and was kept in captivity for eight years, undergoing torture and isolation. After being released, he immigrated with his family to the West, and now he cherishes everything he has. He describes a breath of air as freedom, and the feeling of safety as heaven. He says he is not defined by his standing in life but is content in enjoying the gift of life with loved ones. Upon hearing this story, the man returns home and reflects, realizing what he has been searching for is gratitude. If he wants to live in the present and fully experience life, he has to be thankful for everything around him. He goes to sleep and the next morning gets on a train to visit his parents.

Vercingetorix the Squirrel

Runs, there isn’t much time so I must be brief. This is not a dream. I am indeed a squirrel, but do not focus on the physical manifestation of my being. I am an intelligent being and this body is solely the mode I am using to communicate with you. Do not be frightened. I am here to help you. Each second is urgent so please listen closely.

My name is Vercingetorix. I am from a distant planet. I along with my race were banished to this planet and trapped into these bodies five million years ago after a long and brutal war. For the past five million years we have been trying to return. It has been difficult. This planet is not amenable to creatures with limited physical capabilities regardless of intelligence. We have endured countless events that have brought us close to extinction, but now we are finally on the verge of progress. Contrary to what you may believe, we are the most intelligent beings on this planet. You may think that title belongs to your species and dolphins and mice are close behind but that is not the case. While our species have lived parallel to each other, one has merely dominated the world on the outside while the other has been plotting in secret hidden in trees and disguising plans in utter discreteness.

I am here for a very specific reason. Two years ago you were driving and saw me running across the street. In my moment of haste I was careless and put myself in harms way. You distinctly saw me and made the decision to swerve and hit a snow bank as a result. I survived that day because you, and I have not forgotten it to this day. The average human would not have done so. We are mere squirrels and our size does not warrant any regard in your world, but you offered generosity, and you saved my life.

You may be thinking why this is important. You see, I am not just a squirrel. I am the chieftain of a large Union in this hemisphere you know as North America. I lead billions of squirrels on this continent and my duties carry great responsibility. Unlike other unions, we have made huge strides in recent decades and are nearing our biggest breakthrough. Unfortunately, this breakthrough will result in the slavery of your species. Do not be fearful, because I am here to save you.

You are about to enter the workforce and will gain a position in a corporation, where you will likely remain until old age. Do not do so. For the past century we have infiltrated your society under the guise of “capitalism”. We have slowly integrated your people into large corporations where they work for the majority of their lives. This has succeeded because the system has given you freedom. You have seen improvements in standard of living and material goods, but this is just an illusion. This freedom is also a chain. Once you enter the system it is impossible to leave. You desire more and more and it never stops. Most humans spend their entire lives working for money and some lay ruin to their lives because of it. Does this not resemble the institution of slavery? I know this is cruel because it is, but we have had no choice as your species control the physical world. Now it is our turn to colonize you. Each CEO, president, and world leader is under the control of our Union. We are currently siphoning the entire world’s wealth until we have accumulated enough to create the technology to return to our planet. Your space technology is millions of years from being able to travel the distance we need and we have no time to waste. We are almost near completion and our resources are close to being full. You might have seen us transferring acorns, thinking we are merely storing food, but inside are microchips full of your financial data.

We will not kill your race. But when we leave, your society will be in ruin and the greed of your people will keep the institutions we created alive. Capitalism and consumerism will rise to greater heights and millions will suffer as a result. If you proceed with your life as you planned, you will also suffer. You may think you have obtained success, but it is all an illusion. Why do you think squirrels have had no illustrious comforts even though we own the majority of wealth? The true key to life is elsewhere, and for that you must search deeper. I am telling you this because I owe you my life. I want you to survive the impending downward spiral of humanity and live a happy if not short life. I cannot save you from death or ensure you will be successful, but I can offer you the truth. Please hold my words dearly. You have the ability to avoid chaining yourself. What you do with that knowledge is in your hands. I must go now. Take care my friend.

*To Andy and Eri, thanks for participating in this challenge with me. I hope you got as much out of it as I did. It was enjoyable, fruitful, and thrilling to exercise creative thinking and view things in a different light. Andy, your challenge is up next. I eagerly await your proposal.

What’s in the Safe?

THUMP. The sand in my eyes breaks into a million pieces and I peek over my bedposts. In the room was a window, shutters open, and a bookcase. Everything was where it should be. It must have been a dream.

On my chest lay a novel, pages strewn, held in my right hand. I always fell asleep reading this book. I should stop taking sleep aids and read it instead. I began to rub my eyes when I noticed something in my left hand. It was an old copper key with rusted ends. It left a bold red imprint in my hand. My fingers ached. How long has this been here? I got up, sat by my bed, and examined the room carefully. The curtains were swaying. A cool breeze came in from the window. The coffee on my desk was getting cold. The sweater on my chair was where I put it. Everything was normal. Except one thing – the door was closed. I never closed the door. But maybe it was the wind? It must have been. No one ever visited me at the cottage. If someone came in while I was sleeping, left the key, and closed the door on the way out, why was the key imprinted in my hand? It didn’t make sense. Maybe I put the key there and forgot. But I didn’t recognize it. Or did I? I brought the key to my eyes and examined it closely. It had broad square shaped teeth. They didn’t make keys with teeth like that anymore. It must have been molded in the 1800’s. Wait.

“The lock,” I gulped.

I got up and started running towards the stairs. A rush of blood entered my head. Down one set. Then the second. I entered the basement and stared the behemoth in its face. The black and smooth safe sat in the back corner of the room. The sun shined through the basement window and reflected off its silver lock. We meet again my friend. When I bought this cottage years ago, it was an attempt to get away from everything and get some quiet time to read and write. I remember the day I signed the papers. We were on the first floor and I asked about the safe downstairs. The realtor said he didn’t know anything about it, only that it had been there forever as far as he knew. I asked if it came with the house. He said yes. I signed the contract and went to safe. I tried using every tool and method I could find. I read every lock-picking book the Poughkeepsie library had. I asked every locksmith within 30 miles and no one had a clue. They said they had never seen this type of lock before. Opening it was the only thing on my mind, but I couldn’t keep it up forever. When I returned home that summer I buried it in my mind.

As I stared at the safe, I held the key up. The size seemed right. This must be it. I knelt down and carefully inserted the key in the side of the lock. I took a deep breath and pushed slowly.

“Click.”

My heart stopped. The sound came from behind me. I held the urge not to turn around.

“Go ahead. Open it,” the voice said calmly.

“Who are you?” I replied, speculating every possible face.

“I’ll explain it to you in time. For now, open the safe.”

“What’s in the safe?” I demanded.

“Something very important. Open it and you’ll see. You will be fine,” the voice said assuredly. It went on, “I know this is all a surprise to you, but I am not going to hurt you. I promise.”

I took a deep breath. “Okay.”

I pressed the key into the lock. It reached the end. I turned it quarter clockwise until the gears stopped turning. After one rotation it released. I grabbed the top of the door and pulled it open. I looked inside and saw nothing but darkness. I peered inside and felt the sides carefully. My hand brushed on a piece of paper. It was an envelope. I picked it up and opened it. Bringing it up to the light, it read:

“I love you.”

I turned around and saw my wife. She stood in the darkness but I could pick out her face.

“John, thanks for being faithful all these years. I left this note before you moved in. I was worried at the time you would leave me. I knew you couldn’t help but try to open it so I hid the key. I thought it would let me you were really here and might distract you. It was stupid, but knowing you would search for my message was comforting. It’s something I wanted to tell you every day. I’m here for a reason. I’m leaving you. I’ve thought about it for a long time and I’m the paperwork is already filled. I came because I needed you to read the message. I know this might seem sudden, but please try to understand. I’m going to go now. The papers are in the kitchen. Bye, John.”

Little Tree, Big Tree

“I need you to collect 10 red berries for dinner. I’ll find the plates. We’ll meet back in the kitchen when we’re done. Got it?”

“Okay!” I yelled. I ran to the row of bushes near our yard as fast as I could. My heart was racing so fast I almost forgot what my task was. When I reached the biggest bush, I hunched over and picked the ripest berries I could find. I took my time and made sure I did a good job. When my hands were full, I counted the berries and rushed to the kitchen.

“Good job, now let’s set them up real nice.” He took the berries from my hands one by one and placed them in pine-cones pieces that looked like plates. The dinner table was a long slab of rock, big enough for a whole family of squirrels.

“One last thing. We need something to decorate the table. Let’s try to find something in the woods. Follow me!” he ordered eagerly.

He ran ahead, looking back to make sure I could keep up. I knew I wouldn’t get lost with him. When we reached the fence he boosted me onto the first post and held me as I hopped over. We walked into the woods and started walking slower because it was a new area. He scanned the brush meticulously and said, “look for a long pristly leaf that looks like a water spout.” I didn’t know what that meant but I tried to find it anyway.

We quietly walked along a trail. I knew whatever leaf we picked was going to be great. Things always turned out that way. A few minutes later we reached an unfamiliar stone wall. It towered over me and cast a shadow that went forever. He stopped and inspected the base, pressing each stone.

“I’m going to climb up and explore the other side. Stay here and take watch. Call me if you need help, okay?”

“Okay,” I answered.

“I’ll be back before you know it,” he mentioned.

That made me feel safe. He climbed the wall and disappeared. I sat on a pear shaped rock. I thought about how lucky I was to have someone to play with. Sometimes I wondered how he ended up in my life. Whenever I asked mom and dad they would joke around but sometimes I wanted a real answer. Oh well. I’m happy just to have adventures to go on. I think I’d be so bored alone like my friends say in class. Wait, I have a job to do. Take watch, that’s right. Take watch.

I sat for a few minutes and scanned around the woods until I got bored. It was a little chilly and I started getting worried.

Just then I heard, “look what I found!” in the distance. I looked at the wall and saw a huge leaf held high in his hand.

“Isn’t it great? Let’s go back and set up the table. It’s getting dark though. We’ll go home for dinner right after. I think Pokemon is on tonight.”

He took my hand and started down the trail. I followed by his side. I’m so lucky to have a brother.

10AM at Hertz

“Hookers, cocaine, and bacon-loads of it, but not all at once. The trick to a successful binger is moderation. The average chump will go too hard, bite off more than he can chew, but the real players take it easy, make it last, savor every second. You don’t want to reach your peak just to crash afterward, do you? No, you want to sustain and gain, you know what I’m saying? Yeah, of course you do, you seem like a fine chap. I bet you’ve seem some shit, been to some places, I can see it in your eyes. You know, you remind me of my dog. I don’t mean that as an insult. I have a very old and faithful attachment for dogs. I like them because they always forgive. I try to imagine God does too. Maybe that’s why my conscience is so clean. Anyway, enough about me. Do you believe in God? Sorry, that’s too personal, but you can answer if you’d like. You do? Well, you know how God doesn’t judge? We don’t need him to create guilt or to punish because we do enough of that ourselves. Next time you’re railing a woman in the back of a sedan on the side of a road, try to imagine if God’s watching. Let me tell you, if he is, it’s purely for entertainment. So take it easy my friend. Relax, your shoulders look tense. You look like you could use a vacation. Hell, if you’re ever at Bertha’s in Monterrey, tell em Jack sent you. They’ll set you up real nice, I guarantee it! Haha, good man. Oh, is my time up? Sorry bud, got carried away. Yes, where were we. Could I have your cheapest car to Mexico?”

“Sorry sir, we can’t insure you for a journey like that.”