Some Friends By Joe S. Thomas

Some Friends

 

You watch the veins grow tight in my neck

Your friends aren’t around to keep you in check

The powder and drinks have taken you over

The bottles and bags keep dragging you lower

 

My blood was for you and yours for me

Your light’s so dim you no longer see

Page upon page of feelings and words

The choice is yours but it causes my hurt

 

A lifetime of pain cut down to a minute

We walk through this life though we’ll never win it

The fights and the fury the rage and the blame

If there were things we didn’t know would it still be the same

 

Now you aren’t here and I walk so alone

I would have never left your side had I known

I’m left by myself day after day

Come back for a while there’s so much to say

 

 

 

 

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Angry, Punk and Full of Piss Part 1

Angry, Punk and Full of Piss

By

Joe S. Thomas

I’m  45  years of  age.  That’s  old  as  hell  according  to  my  punk  rock  ethos.  There  was  a  time  I   could  look  you dead  in  the  eye  and  tell  you  I  wouldn’t  live  to  see  thirty.  I  wasn’t  joking  by  any  means.  

There  were  a  couple  of  really  great  things  I  got  into  at  an  early  age.  Unfortunately,  there’s  another  side  to  that  coin  and  on  that  side  is  where  I  often  spent  most  of  my  time.  The  good  things  were  skateboarding  and  punk  rock  music.  I  was  absolutely  enthralled  with  both.  As  I  said  though,  the  dark,  ugly  ass,  moldy  side  of  that  same  bastard   coin  turned  at  the  age  of  fourteen  and  I  was  well  on  my  way  down  a  rabbit  hole  of  whiskey,  pain  pills,  cheap  speed  pills,  weed  and  occasionally  some  LSD. 

My  friends  were  all  potheads  that  were  on  an  average  about  five  years  older  than  I.  Getting  drugs  and  alcohol  was  a  cinch.  Some  things  never  change,  am  I  right?   

I  was  in  my  first  proper  band  at  the  age  of  fifteen.  I  would tell  you  I  sang but  really  I  yelled  my  head  off.  It felt  fucking  beautiful  and  I  was  more  than  hooked.  The  guys  and  I  would  partake  in  whatever  drugs  each  of  us  happened  to be  holding  and  we  would  Kick  Out  the  Jams  Motherfuckers!  I  refuse  to  tell  you  the  name  of  the  band  due  to  it  being  so  god  awful  embarrassing.  I  can  tell  you  the  band  was  made  up of myself  on  vocals,  my  friend  Chris  Scott(RIP) on  lead  guitar,  my  pal  Jerry  Smith  on  rhythm  guitar  and  his  brother  James  struggling  to  keep  the  beat  behind  the  skins.  We  had  a  few  originals,  but  mostly  we  played  punked  up  covers  of  70’s  arena  rock.  We  played  Cat  Scratch  Fever,  Helter  Skelter,  New  Kind  of  Kick,  Walkin’  the  Dog,  Livin’ in  the  City, 

Skulls,  Gimme  Gimme  Gimme,  TNT,  Let  There  Be  Rock  and oh  so  many  more  songs  that became  the  soundtrack  to  my  teenage  years.  Add  all  of  that  to  punk  rock  and  you  have  perfection  friends.  We  would  pack  into  a  bedroom  that  we  fashioned  into  a  jam  space  that  we  could  use  at  any  time.  It  was  fucking  beautiful.

At  this  point  in  time  I  was  still  attending  high  school  which  hated  me  and I  hated  it.  Actually,  it  was  just  all  of  the  asshole  faculty  and  the  student  body.  Isn’t  it  always  the  way?  I  actually  loved  to  learn  and  made  decent  grades  until  I  started  seeing  through  the  massive  wave  of  hypocrisy  that  was  in  my  face  everyday.  

As  the  drinks  and  drugs  became  stronger  and  way  too  important  in  my  life,  school  just  started  falling  by  the  wayside.  After  enough  bullshit   to  choke  a  horse,  I  ended  up  quitting  in  tenth  grade.  This  has  always  been  a  point  of  embarrassment  for  me.  Shhh.  I  just  absolutely  could  not  sit  in  a  classroom  where  it  was  made  crystal  clear  that  I  wasn’t  welcome  among  the  private  school  jocks,  preps  and  rednecks.  My  Physical  Education  Teacher  even  got  in  on  the  fun  of  torturing  the  skater  fag.  One  day  I  wore  my  Vision  Street  Wear  Shorts  to  PE  class  due  to  the  fact  that  my  Daisy  Dukes  they  issued  were  dirty.  I  was  called  a  “faggot”  by  my  teacher  in  front  of   my  whole  class.  Yeah, you  could  certainly  say  I’d  had  enough.   There  are  literally  no  numbers  on  how  many  teenage  testicles  were  flopped  out  at  a  very  inopportune  moment  due  to  those  horrible,  short  shorts.  Growing  up  is  hard  enough.  Do  we  really  need  any  extra  indignities  forced  upon  the  awkward,  teenage  body?  I  answer  with  a  resounding  negative.  

I  turned  sixteen.  During  the  two  years  that  I’d  been  drinking  and  drugging  two  memorable  things   happened.  I  became  a  teenage  alcoholic  and  I  joined  a  punk  band  called  Hellstomper.   Every  single  day  that  we  were  able  to,  Chris  Scott(RIP, Guitarist for Hellstomper)  and  I  would  get  together,  scrounge  up  change  for  beer,  cigarettes  and  hopefully  some  pot  would  be  involved  too.  Around  this  time  I  got  to the  point  of  having  to  drink  just  to  maintain  during  the  day.  There  wasn’t  anything  really  enjoyable  about  it  anymore  and  my  nerves  began  to  go  to  shit.  My  hands  shake  to  this  day.  I’m  not  sure  why  I  do,  but  surely  the  drugs  and  drinks  didn’t  really  help  too  damn  much.  Also,  it  was  around  this  time  that  I  started  having  extreme  panic  attacks  to  the  point  of  going  to  the  emergency  room  several  times  thinking  I  was  having  a  heart  attack  at  sixteen  years  of  age.  I  truly  felt  like  I  was  going  insane.  The  emergency  room  doctors  gave  me  no  resources  to  a  psychologist  or  possibly  a  therapist  that  could  explain  to  me  what  the  hell  was  going  on  with  my   mind  and  body.  I  was  absolutely  terrified.

Guess  what  isn’t  exactly  great  for  anxiety?  I’ll  just  tell  you,  we’ll  be  here  all  damn  night.  Joining  a  rowdy  punk  band  and  playing  drums  in  front  of  crowds.  That’s  what  is  not  really  great  for  anxiety.  But  you  all  know  me.  Let’s  make  me  so  uncomfortable  inside  I  damn  near  become  mute.  Fuck  it,  right?  Right.

The  band  was  set  to  go  and  record  our  first  record  and  play  a  show  with  ANTiSEEN  in  Charlotte,  North  Carolina.  Though  I  was  an  absolute  wreck  inside,  my mind  was  racing,  my  hands  were  shaking  and  my  heart  was  absolutely  pounding  like  a  bass  drum  inside  my  chest.  Somehow,  and  I  really  can’t  tell  you  how,  I  pulled  the  show  and  the  record  off  to  the  point  of  being  somewhat  proud  of  both.  Hit  me  up,  I’ll  sell  you  a  copy. 

The  drinking  was  the  only  thing  that  could  calm  the  anxiety  within  me  which   was  fine  while  I  was  drinking,  but  when  I wasn’t  drinking  I  was  a  nervous  wreck  and  probably  a  pretty  hard  dude  to  be  around  at  times.  Let’s  just  say  mornings  were  shaky,  nervous  and  hard.  However,  with  a couple  of  demons  on  my  shoulder  I  pulled  it  off until  the  band  broke  up.  

Like  the most  ignorant  sonofabitch  on  the  face  of  the  Earth,  I  got  married  at  nineteen.  People,  if  I  may  give  you a  tiny  bit  of  advice  since  I’m  now  growing  old  and  have  a  bit  more  experience  with  life,  marriage  is  a  dead  institution  that  eventually  causes    pain,  financial  stress  and  eventually  much  bitterness.  Two  great  things  came  from  my  marriage,  my  two,  beautiful  daughters.  There’s  certainly  something  to  be  said  for  that.  Love  you  girls.

Soon  after  I  was  married,  my  now  ex-wife  found  out  we  were  expecting  our  first  child.  Up  until  the  time  I  found  out  my  ex  was  pregnant  I’d  been  carrying  on  with  the  drink  and  drugs.  After  I  saw  the  sonogram  of  my  first  born,  I literally  put  it  all down.  Cold  turkey.  Even  cigarettes.   I  remained  sober  until  our  divorce  in  2002.  A  good  seven-year  sobriety  check.  However,  I  found  sobriety  over-rated  and  boring  as  fuck. It  certainly  didn’t  take  my  pet  demons  long  to  start  whispering  their  shit  in  my  ears  again.

This  time  I  went  at  my  drug  use  like  a professional,  adding  cocaine  to  the  mix  of  shit  I  was  already  stuffing  my  face  with.  I  started  going  out  to  bars,  driving  home  and  awaking  with  no  clue  how  I’d  got  home.  Eventually  the  drinking  and  nerve  problems  led  me  to  spending  some  time  in  a  mental  health  facility  where  they  diagnosed  me  with  a  few  labels  and  threw  some  Thorazine  down  my  throat  until  I  could  return  to  society.  Damn,  that  Thorazine  is  some  shit.

After  leaving  the  health  center  I  moved  back  to  my  mother’s  house  to  prepare  for  the fallout  that  is  my  ex-wife.  After  getting  used  to  the  zombie  medications  the  doctors  put  me on  I  started  getting  used  to  the way  I  felt  enough  to  at  least  hunt  for  a  job.  I  was  just  starting  to  attempt  writing  and  the  thought  of  another  dead  end  job  made  me  contemplate  suicide  way  too  much.  

To be continued…  JST

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Doctor’s Appointment (The Feelings Roller Coaster)

Doctor’s Appointment (The Feelings Roller Coaster)

By

Joe S. Thomas

Every three months I have the misfortune of going to my psychiatrist’s office to sit and stare at the human zoo the office has turned into while waiting to see her.  Well, to see her through a computer screen as she no longer physically comes to the office but uses Zoom ever since the Covid Pandemic hit.  That is, if I want to continue to receive the medications that keep me from biting the necks out of people walking down the street.

It sometimes gets to me that she feels her life is too important to be around her patients but expects us lowlings to show up and risk getting sick.  Somewhat unfair in my opinion and yes, it gets under my skin.  And yes, I let them know about it.  Of course it changed nothing, they do what they want when they want apparently.  You know the tune.

Yesterday it was time yet again to go through the mechanics of simply getting my much needed medications.  This has turned into a real test of strength for me in the past few years. I have to psych myself up to even get into my car and drive to the place knowing what I’m going to face.  

You see, I suffer from severe depression and extreme anxiety.  I’m not really a guy that enjoys going out in public and being around other people.  Especially people who seem not to know how to conduct themselves properly in public.  Call it a pet peeve, I don’t know, it just gets to me.  

I sit in the parking lot listening to the Ramones and trying to allow my klonopin to kick in before I attempt to go in and wait, wait, wait for her to finish up with her patients who have somehow piled up throughout the day (it never fails), which causes me to sit in the waiting room with the other mental health mutants waiting for the same thing.  The difference between us seems to be the fact that they enjoy this outing.  It may be the only time they’re allowed out in public, I don’t know but it causes me distress. 

I place my fingers on my neck to check my pulse.  I’m hoping the beats will slow down a bit before I have to go in.  They usually don’t.  

After “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg” finishes playing I feel I’m ready for my mission.  There aren’t too many cars in the parking lot and I consider this a win for me.  However, I know all too well that regardless of how many people are in there, one will absolutely drive me insane.  It never fails.  I promise.  I walk up to the electric glass door wanting to run back to my car and leave but the door slides open, I step in and as usual all eyes are on me.  I’m 6 feet tall with a  shaved head and I’m fairly covered in tattoos.  I’m used to being stared at.  They’re all staring hard today.  I feel the eyes penetrating the flesh on my back.  

The glass windows that the receptionists are behind are only open about 6 inches or so, making me have to speak much louder than I care to about my personal  information and what I’m doing there.  After repeating myself three times without the lady even trying to open the glass so she can hear, I pay my payment, place my wallet in my pants and turn around to find a seat in the waiting area.  Yep, they’re still staring.  I put my book under my arm, find the seat farthest away from everyone, stare at the ground and walk myself on over.  

On this particular day I’ve brought Bukowski’s Ham on Rye to read as I wait and ignore the buffoonery that is no doubt in my very near future.  I’m hoping like hell my doctor isn’t too far behind.  I’ve been going to this place for well over fifteen years and I have never once been called back on time.  Nowhere near actually.  Ever.  

I attempt to walk quickly because I see an extremely overweight, middle aged woman and her overweight, teenage, offspring just waiting to ask me something.  I can read it in their tiny rat eyes hidden away in their doughy faces.  I give them a quick, evil, do-not-fuck-with-me glance and fortunately I get to the seat unmolested but still being stared at like a circus freak.  

The television is always on in the office.  It’s always turned up so loud that it makes my head hurt.  Today’s feature program is the Andy Griffith Show turned up to ear piercing levels.  Just fucking wonderful.  I sit.

Before cracking my book I scan the room to see who is where and the action I will take if something weird happens to go down.  I’ve always done this regardless of where I am.  I know, it’s weird.  I can’t help it.  I take a deep breath, crack my book and attempt to read as I wait for them to call me back.

As I begin to read I see one of the overweight ladies pull a cell phone from one of her pockets.  Apparently they’re bored.  I understand.  However, I know with all of my heart what’s about to happen.  And sure as shit, it does.  The hefty mother and her offspring decide they want to watch some sort of music video.  They turn it up so we all have to suffer along to this horrible shit I assume they call music.  Apparently it’s a young man singing what people call R&B talking about “Baby baby, I will never do you wrong and I need you in my life” type garbage as they begin to sing and gyrate their large asses in their seats to the beat of the music.  I let out a satanic assault of expletives in my head and daydream about the horrible deaths they deserve to die.  

I can’t read.  The words are now floating on the page because I can no longer concentrate.  I cut an evil eye above my book in their direction but they’re far too stupid to understand they are bugging the living hell out of me and surely the others who are waiting as well.  

My anxiety causes my heart to speed back up.  Again, I check my pulse with two fingers on the side of my neck.  I’m surprised the vein doesn’t explode.  I think to myself that I wish it would so I could spray these mutant idiots with my blood.  I stand.  I have to find some damn privacy.  I get my bearings and take a step but I can tell my body has obeyed my medication but my mind hasn’t.  Hopefully things will align, right…

My footing isn’t exactly sure.  I step forward but feel as if I were physically treading a thick mud and always feeling left behind.  I stand against the wall for a second or five and get my bearings.  I start to walk where there is no human contact when I hear the most choked out, phlegm voiced, horrible sound that anyone would ever have the misfortune to ever want to hear: “JOSEPH!”  OH, it’s time…

Embarrassed that my name has passed through the most country sounding, unhealthy behemoth of a voice that my own name ever had the misfortune to pass through, I look down the hall, red-faced and begin the shuffle down her way.  My medication has most certainly kicked in.  

When I get to the source of the horrible voice I realize that it could never be any other way.  The voice was what one would expect from the specimen of such a sound.  She weighed at least 350 pounds and had an unpleasant odor that couldn’t be denied anymore.  I suddenly felt sorry for her co-workers.  I suddenly felt sorry for myself.    Fuck’s sake.  This is why I no longer care to go outside my comfort zone any more.  

“Just come on in here,” she said as I held my breath and sat in the chair beside her metal desk where she was breathing hard and sweating.  She was fiddling with the blood pressure cuff as I felt my blood instantly rise at the thought of having my blood pressure taken.  

I felt a hot flash pervade my body as the blood pressure cuff  pumped.  It got tighter and tighter.  I began to sweat.  The machine read an error which meant this was happening  again.  Shit.  The smell of the fat lady, the heat, the anxiety and the utter absurdity of what I was putting myself through for some pills made me wonder if anything, ever, is worth all of this? 

For some reason my blood pressure shoots sky high when they start sliding all of that mess on my arm.  Of course my blood pressure is running high anyway due to my nervousness and the rage I endured to make it into the place and then the display of humanity I had to endure before being called back.  High blood pressure runs on both sides of my family.  I’ve had high blood pressure my whole life even as a child.  Medical people start tripping when they see my shit.  No joke.  They ask if my ears are ringing, my heads hurting, am I seeing double etc.etc.  “Not at all,” as I hold a hand that flops like a dying fish in front of her so she can see proof of my ridiculous tremor.  This is one of the main reasons I’ve gone to this shithole for so long.  I was originally put on 4, 1mg Klonopin a day and dealt fairly well for years.  Though nothing takes away all of the anxiety and almost nothing helps the tremor

A few years ago  the doctor I saw and truly got along with retired and I was thrown to the wolves after he left.  The doctor I have now was thrust upon me without any knowledge or permission from me, not even a heads up.  I knew my old doc was leaving but I thought I would at least get to choose the one I thought I would work best with.  No such luck dear friends.

The doctor whom I have now and I have always been hit and miss.  I think there’s a cultural barrier on both of our parts that keep us from communicating as well as we should.  However, when I end up red faced, shaking and flabbergasted at the fact that I have to fight her so much for simple treatment.  I often just want to drop the miniscule amount of medication she allows me just because it’s not worth the trouble, pick up her desk computer and put it through the window on my way out.

As I stated above I was on a decent dose and getting by before she came along.  The very first appointment with her she cut some of my medicine. Each additional time she would tell me to start weaning off this medication.  I told her “hell no,” it was the only one that ever worked for me.  Still, as I live and breathe, she continued to cut my medication until I went from 4, 1 mg tablets of Klonopin a day to 1 and one half 0.5 milligram tablets a day.  I was dumbfounded.  

The doctor is from Pakistan and a lot of times I truly can’t understand her and there are times I know she doesn’t understand me either.  When this happens I get extremely pissed, shut down and just want to flee that place.  

Other staff members have noticed the issues I have and I don’t even see them.  I’ve had more than one nurse come up to me and ask if I was alright due to my shaking.  This is so embarrassing but it’s been my lot in life.  All she had to do was keep me on the amount of meds I was currently taking and I truly believe I wouldn’t suffer half as bad as I do.  I’m not a sexist, racist bastard and it has nothing to do with prejudices (on my end at least), but after Covid came around I knew this lady couldn’t give two shits.

When the Covid Pandemic began spreading out and the medical community saw how bad it truly was, she never again came to the office.  I now have to go to their office, risk getting the flu, Covid and simply a lower IQ just so I can sit in front of a computer in her office as we speak over the Zoom app.  Oh, she’s still getting paid, now she just gets to sit at home in front of the computer and mumble as if it weren’t hard enough already to deal with her bullshit.

I have heard rumors that she’s about to retire.  I truly wish she would.  I’m anxious to see how I’m treated by the next white coat.

I’ve dealt with my mental  and physical troubles since the age of fourteen.  Friends, I can say for absolute certainty I wouldn’t wish any sort of mental illness on anyone.  It’s so paralyzing and it often tries to keep you captive.  Life is hard enough when everything works the way it’s supposed to.  Major Depressive Disorder, panic and anxiety attack issues and two spinal surgeries (not related) have damn near done me in I hate to say.  If I dwell on it, I can truly get so far out I wonder if I’ll be able to pull it back at times…  

As I strolled past the middle-aged woman and her offspring still being very annoying yet loving them some rap I felt my back ease up a bit.  I walked through the waiting room very slowly.  I made sure I looked each person there dead in the eyes.  The lady that yelled my name so horribly earlier was breathing in a deep one to let the massive bellow fly yet again but thankfully I saw her and spoke before anyone ever had to hear that mess ever again.  It gave me the creeps.  

After meeting the gaze of everyone in the waiting room who were definitely taken aback by me I felt a bit lighter as a human being.  My medication was in my blood now and doing the thing it does to keep me as right as possible.  Making my way slowly toward the bellowing lady with the clipboard I felt like a huge, misunderstood, assshole and it made me sad. 

⇄   ⇅   ⇆   ⇈   ⇉   ⇊   +   –   <   >   @   #   &   *   %   +   =

I don’t want to be mad all the time, friends.  I don’t want to shut myself away and hide from the rest of humanity because of the issues I have.  I don’t like being hateful to people I’ve never even met simply because they made the mistake of getting in my path on a certain day.

I slid into the room and had a seat in the chair to the side of the nurses desk.  She asked me a few questions and treated me extremely well.  She was kind.  I was a dick.

As she left her office to go make sure the computer was set up for the Zoom call, the nurse left her office.  I felt like a true piece of shit for what I said about her.  When the door shut I put my head in my hands and tried to beat back a few tears that were trying to escape due to myself and the way society can break my heart at times.

I only wish all of the horrible ways my mind and body create awful pain within me, that maybe at least a fraction of the time it would at least make some love and human understanding too.

These things happen a lot more now that I’m getting to be an older man.  I know my miseries.  I know with lightning efficiency and ruthless speed what will piss me off and cause me to go into a horrid depresso slide.  But I suppose the first weapon in your arsenal is your awareness.  Awareness can change your heart and the mean feelings you’re having about an unfortunate stranger who may be down on his/her luck in ways you never dreamed.  

There are many days where my antisocial personality serves me well but I want the awareness to know when I feel I’m looking down on anyone else because I assure you, not a damn one of us is better than any other.  That’s the truth.  We all get angry, we all have problems.  I just want to try to be ready and aware if there’s a problem that I can actually help fix.  Especially for someone else.  

The past four years have been painful to say the absolute least.  I don’t want to rehash much of it or even think of it but sometimes there’s no remedy for that.  I think of my lost friends and loved ones.  Those who passed way too quickly due to drugs or drink.  The woman you thought would always be there at your side as you helped one another along… gone.  The feeling of peace a roof over your head can bring when the weather of the world is not so kind.

Be yourselves friends, but don’t be afraid to change and grow.  It can be extremely frightening but I’ve found there are really great times of personal growth and introspection.  If god is around I believe we’re probably closest to him/her when we’re doing something for someone else to make their lives better… and then maybe your day will come.  I sincerely hope it does.  And when it does I hope your heart flutters and you have a huge goofy smile on your face that others could only wonder about…

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He Always Feels

He Always Feels

By

Joe S. Thomas

He always feels so damn stupid when he believes them and falls for their shit.  She had him believing she was real, like she might actually care.  The sad thing is he knows every damn time.  At this point it’s just damn humiliating.  

He loved the way she looked.  She dressed nicely in a sundress, had ample breasts and long, sexy legs. She had brown hair, beautiful, green eyes that were absolutely capable of drawing one in and an air of intelligence and style.  He ended up dropping her a line as he stared mesmerized by this type of beauty he rarely saw.  He couldn’t take his eyes off her.  

The letter he wrote was sharp, quick and to the point.  He was certain nobody wanted to hear him attempt to talk his way into a piece of pussy.  Including the beauty herself.  He was compelled.  It was as if he didn’t have a say in writing the letter.  His subconscious somehow knew it had to be done.  It would be done.   His phone pinged and he felt his heart flutter a bit.  He really hoped it would be her.  It was.  He certainly didn’t mean to but he caught himself smiling like some kind of idiot savant.  Jesus, he was really in it this time.  

He read her email.  It wasn’t exactly short.  She came off just as he thought she would and this made him like her even more.   God, she is so beautiful.  His brain tells him to attempt to impress her with lies if he must.  He got a hold of himself and shivered at the thought of trying to pump himself up with bullshit and lies.  He may completely fuck it up but he was too old not to be truthful.  There’s a time that comes along in a man’s life where he’s just too tired to make up a story and he just didn’t care enough what people thought of him to hide anything about his life.  Hell, fuck em.’

Again, he felt that idiotic smile creeping back on his face as he skimmed her

 words.  She seemed interested, nice and genuinely happy to be talking to him.  He found himself stuttering over his words but he hoped not too bad.  She wrote that she was glad he reached out.  She told him she really liked his profile and told him he looked good.  He’d never resorted to the internet for love before.  Something about it just sounded stupid.  It made him feel stupid like that damn smile that was still spread across his damn face.

He sat down and started playing his guitar.  He couldn’t help but think of the other sweet woman he’d been neglecting lately.  She truly was a sweetheart but he just wasn’t attracted to her physically.  He felt like an asshole for admitting this to himself.  He felt like a shithead and a jerk and to be honest he always knew he kinda was.  It’s too late now.

The letters started coming in often.  They were becoming rather lengthy as well.  She told him of her childhood growing up in the UK. Her father had passed on but her mother was still alive suffering from Dementia or Alzheimers.

She’d been married before, just as he had been.  Her husband died of Cancer.  She had a 20-year-old daughter who was in the Air National Guard.  Apparently she herself had been in the Guard as well.  From there she said she went to work for a major airline, had been to flightschool to fly helicopters and when the Russians began fucking with Ukraine she said she was sent to the Ukrainian border to show other pilots combat drills.  As if this wasn’t enough, she’d been shot down twice and lived.  She claimed now she was designing clothes for a fairly large and well-known clothing company.  He had absolutely no reason not to believe her.

As more emails came he began noticing the choppy language, the sentences that were just horribly messy and often had to be deciphered.  He simply chocked it up to their  difference of countries.  Still, that’s no reason to have such horrible writing and communication skills.  He kept that last bit to himself and tucked away deep because it felt too good at the moment to even consider that she may be less than truthful.  She made it a point to also tell him in her letters that she was an honest woman “of her word,” very kind, and ready to give love another shot.

For days they kept up the emails back and forth getting to know each other and enjoying the beginning of what could be a truly great thing for them both.  They shared photos, told each other they were starting to have feelings for one another and were drowning in the early stages of what actually could be.  

In her most recent letter she mentioned having to go back to the UK to see her mother and also to attempt to get a contract for the clothing company she worked with.  The first few days of her being there things seemed the same.  The emails were coming, the good feelings were flowing abundantly and all seemed right with the world.

The last email that she sent him spoke to him about how she was worried about this contract and she was feeling upset and bothered by it.  She said she’d taken $90,000 dollars of her money and had to put it toward said contract for some reason.  She finally left him her number so they could text.  She ended up telling him she still needed $3,000 and she asked him to loan it to her.  That old time feeling of disgust, sadness and rage came flooding back as if it had never left.  The truly sad part was the fact that he had no idea if she was telling him the truth.  He couldn’t believe how much money she’d already supposedly paid them and he also couldn’t believe she asked him to borrow three grand as if it were a cigarette.  He felt his spirit falling.  He told her he didn’t have the money so she asked if he had someone he could borrow it from.  She said she would pay him back.  Of course he wouldn’t dare ask a friend for money muchless a damn stranger.  She then started sending him links to loan offices.  

At least the stupid smile was now off his face and he was pretty sure he wouldn’t be seeing it again.  At least regarding her.  He could tell she was a bit pissed that he couldn’t or wouldn’t help.  She said it was late and thanked him anyway.  He felt her demeanor shift somehow through a text.  He was heartbroken yet again.  She told him she needed to go to bed.  It was late for her.  The UK being 5 hours ahead of the time where he was in the states.  

That was the last communication they shared.  He tried texting her the next day but she didn’t reply.  He emailed her telling her he missed her.  No reply.  He couldn’t help but hear those famous words playing in his head: If it sounds too good to be true, more than likely it is.  

He laid down in his bed alone.  He hoped she would write or text.  He hardly slept.  He’d made himself a goddamn fool yet again.  He felt disgusted at himself and the way some people cared nothing of love but just material excess that doesn’t amount to a pile of shit at the end of the day.  He sat on the edge of his bed and felt a tear roll down his cheek.  It surprised him.  He felt as though he was turning weak.  This, this pain right here was why he waited almost 5 years before he even began to think of attempting to date again.  He felt like some creepy stalker or something.

He wondered if there was any truth to all of this.  He knew it was disgusting and it made him feel like he’d been emotionally mugged or something.  There still haven’t been any texts or emails.  His hands trembled as he reached for his coffee cup and slowly raised it to his mouth.  He knew for a fact if he had $3,000 he would have happily sent it to her.  He spilled coffee on his leg as another tear fell and he cursed his very sad human condition…

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They Say…

They Say…

By

Joe S. Thomas

Maybe it’s wrong to allow others to read this, maybe I can’t care about that anymore.  They say if you love someone, let them go.  If they come back, it was meant to be.  It’s been four years and many sleepless nights that you let me go.  And there were times if it were up to me, I would have come back.

But it’s not up to me.  This one’s on you.  I truly loved you with each and every pore of my brokenness.  I thought you loved me too.  I guess I got too far out there and said some things that can’t be taken back and that you can’t forget.  

Now I wonder how you are when you come home in the evenings and I’m far away in mind, body and spirit.  I wonder if you ever even think of me at all anymore.  Do you still sit in the same spots that you used to when I was by your side?  Do your thoughts drift toward something that you and I shared at one time or another?

You know that Fall was always our time.  My time.  The beauty always could bring out the tiny bit of romanticism that’s within me.  With you gone for good, I don’t think it’s even there anymore.

So many parts of me seem to have gone away along with you.  At times it’s truly hard to bear.  I see someone on television that favors you and my heart screams but I tell it to shut the fuck up.  There’s no longer anything I can do for it.  It’s broken.  I’m broken.  I guess I always have been.  

You know, I don’t really give a good goddamn what they say… never really have.  Of course you know that.  You’ve known it for years.  

Nothing feels the same.  Nothing is the same.  I’m getting older and more alone with each passing tick of the clock.  Nobody here.  Ever.  It hurts like hell but the scary thing is I’m getting more and more used to the pain with each cut these thoughts bring.

I no longer feel human.  You always seemed to help with that.  Now, I don’t even care to try.  

As the leaves fall this year, please know I still think of you and I assume I always will.  I have nothing to offer,  nothing to give but these memories are still alive and I have nowhere to take them.  Much like my life…  

All I can do is pray for dreamless sleep.  It’s the only time I no longer hurt…  They say to let them go…  Fuck that.  Hold them as tight as you can…

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Things I’ve Needed To Say

Things I’ve Needed To Say

By

Joe S. Thomas

To R:

I really wonder if you know how much rage you’ve instilled in me.  I wonder if you even think of me anymore at all.  Good times or bad.  Do tears ever fall from your eyes because you remember a cherished moment that only you and I shared.  Only you and I could have shared.   

I want you to know that you have truly ruined what’s left of my so-called life.  I no longer wake up with any kind of happiness or joy.  That was stripped of me when you let me go.  Now I wake up every day hating my surroundings and those I’m surrounded by.  I’ve never been perfect, but I loved you with all of my heart and I can honestly say I’ve never purposely hurt you.  Are you able to say that about me?  

I no longer care about the material things you took from me.  I only care about the soul.  It hurts so much more.  I wonder if you truly think about these things and the damage you’ve caused another living being.  I know I’m not much, but I am a living being with feelings.  Though there are times I no longer feel human or worthy of any love.  I wonder what your inner dialogue sounds like.  I want to know what you tell yourself so you can carry on with your life in a normal way.  

Do those you work with know the true you?  I doubt it.  You usually get the benefit of the doubt.  I suppose all of the evil was saved up for me.  I’ve become trash.  Cast away and uncared for.  You would probably laugh if I told you of the tears I cried just this morning.  I can no longer stand to even look at your picture and the eleven years of bullshit wasted time where I thought we’d always be around for one another.  I have a feeling you were done with me before my so-called episode.  It sure as hell felt that way after some of the things you said.  

I wish there was some sort of forgiveness I could offer but I have a feeling you place all of the blame on me.  I have no problem at all owning up to the things I’ve done.  Can you?  Honestly?  I don’t think you can.  I don’t think you ever will.  

There will always be an ember of rage in my heart for the life you’ve caused me.  I hope your creature comforts wrap around you and give you the love that I once did.  Do you even have a heart?  

You’ve made me out  to be a fool in front of my family and friends.  Well, the ones I used to have.  These days I just hide away.  I don’t feel like mixing with other human beings because all they bring to the table is pain and misery.  You’ve given me enough of those feelings for a lifetime.  

It would be a damn lie if I said I didn’t miss the good times we had together.  The times we were alone.  Maybe sharing a walk around the yard.  Making plans.  Watching movies.  The things people do when they love one another.  It’s been so long now that I’ve damn near forgotten what that feels like and that’s a shame.  Everyone should have some of that.  I never will again.  I can’t keep starting over.  I’ve lost more than many will ever have.  I find that disgusting.  

There are places I no longer go.  There are roads I can no longer drive because they are  associated with you.  I just can’t do it anymore.  It hurts way too much and makes me think of harming myself… maybe someone else.  I don’t need that shit.  The rage is natural enough these days.  It certainly doesn’t need fostering.  It may go away momentarily, but it always comes back tenfold.  I promise.  The scars should let you know, but I keep those hidden from daylight.  

I don’t want to be around most days.  I feel like a zombie just awaiting death and that’s no way to live.  There’s no help anyone can offer.  I doubt I would accept it if there were some.  This is my bed.  I lay in it with pain and strife every damn day.

I used to think you were the kindest, most precious thing this world had to offer…  Now, I try not to think at all.

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Only When the Sun Has Gone Down

Only When the Sun Has Gone Down

By

Joe S. Thomas

Pounding the streets with your eyes glued to the ground.  Only looking up when no one’s around.  The streets call your name and you’ve always gone, probably always will.  Only at night, when it’s real.  The houses you see make you hurt.  You imagine the families inside having a much better life than you’ve had, always.  The people who were born into cash, the people who worked hard for what they have, those in extreme debt, those on the brink of divorce, bankruptcy, homicide, suicide…  You still feel they’ve had it better than you.  You sit on the brick wall encircling their property and look through the curtainless windows.  

You wonder why they allow others to peek inside.  You know your hovel is locked tight, barred and sealed so that the stale air barely moves.  Yet, those who have some want you to look.  You always do, you always will because you can’t fathom their way of life.  It’s like watching a shitty sitcom or even animals in a zoo.  Dad has a drink in his hand.  Mom is reading a magazine on the couch.  They don’t speak.  At least you never see them.  They save their speech for the daytime.  When they have to do what they do to hold on to these nice things.  Boring and sad.  

Little Timmy is in his room upstairs jacking off to the Sears catalog.  Teenage Tina is yakking on the phone to her boyfriend telling him how badly she wants to see him, feel him.  He’s getting head from her neighbor as they converse.  Tina will never know.  The door opens and the family dog bolts straight at me.  I move on.  On to the next street, the next house, the next family.

You think of going home but the moon is so large and clear it begs you to stay.  The shadows it throws through the trees are your only true friends.  You speak to it with your mind telling it you’ll be around for as long as it wants you to be.  The appreciation is mutual so you carry on, onward to the next spectacle of the night.

An elderly lady sits in her wheelchair on a large front porch with many beautiful, expensive flowers that you’ll never know the name of, yet you appreciate their beauty.  She takes a hit from her oxygen pump, exhales and breathes in a long, satisfying drag from a cigarette.  You wonder what her eyes have seen through the years.  All the love, all the pain.  The loss of family and friends.  Most of all she misses the man that promised to marry her after the second World War, but he never made it home.  She sits outside because like me, she knows she’s unwanted.  Her family just wants her out of the way so they can inherit the beautiful home with the beautiful flowers minus her sitting on the porch praying for death.  I’m trying you bastards, she thinks to herself. Repeating the breath of oxygen and the drag of smoke.  

Walking diagonally across the street and further down you hear the breaking of some glass.  It sounds as though someone dropped a bottle and it shattered into hundreds of small shards.  You pause, zero in on the whimpering sound coming from behind some hedges.  You see her but she can’t see you.  She’s wearing a business dress.  Navy blue.  She sways drunkenly looking at the mess she’s made of her bottle of vodka.  The dress is pulled down below her breasts and she slumps onto the first step whimpering and swaying side to side.  Even from where you stand you can feel her asking the universe for its touch.  Her knees come apart and she slowly pulls her panties to the side and out of her way.  She needs to feel… something.  You walk on letting her have her moment.  You understand completely.  Loneliness can often eat you alive if you can’t learn to enjoy it.

A middle aged man swerves into his driveway nearly hitting you with his car but never sees you.  He steps out into  the night air with a bloody nose and a puffed-up, black eye.  He drops his keys on the driveway.  When he bends over to retrieve them you notice the brown stains running down the back of his light khaki pants.  He’s shit himself.  He curses himself for owing that cocksucker “Tony” the money he owes him.  He grabs the keys and begins laughing maniacally but the laughter quickly turns to tears.  He throws his hands to the sky.  He’s trembling so hard it takes him dropping his keys 3 more times before he is able to enter his darkened house and turn on a light.   

I smile to myself momentarily.  The world is made up of so many problems.  The longer I walk, the more I see.  The more I see, the more I learn.  The more I learn, death doesn’t seem as cruel as it once did.  I’m getting older and these walks mean the world to me.  A large cloud passes in front of the moon and it’s so beautiful I nearly weep.  I wait for the cloud to pass, thank it and carry on. 

I look to my left at a house for sale.  There’s a child’s swing hanging from a branch of an old, huge, beautiful Oak Tree.  The home seems familiar for some reason.  Then, I remember why.  There was a story in the paper of a young couple and their 4 year-old son moving to this neighborhood so the father could begin a lucrative new position with his company.  You know the type, he works, she stays home with the kid, cooks, cleans and teaches their beautiful son everything she can think to teach him.  Patiently showing him love and discipline when he needs it. Upon coming home one evening the hard working father walks into his home, smells dinner cooking and tells his beautiful wife how great everything smells.  He walks over to where she’s sitting on the couch, bends down and kisses her lips.  He casually asks about her day and inquires about where his son happens to be.  His wife has a frozen blank look on her face.  She never spoke a word after his displays of affection.  She simply got up and began setting the table for the meal they were about to share.  He asks again where his son is.  She apparently says nothing but simply points up.  The man becomes panicked and runs up the stairs to find his young son blue and lifeless in the bathtub.  The woman was placed in a psychiatric institution and the man was left to pick up the pieces the best he could.  Obviously, he no longer could live in the home where his only son drowned.  

Every night there are stories being played out behind every wall in every home in the world.  Some wonderful, some boring, some tragic, some sexy, some horrendous.  However, each one is righteously human.  Everyone will feel different emotions on different days as our lives play out before us.  We will feel happiness, we will feel pain.  We live and then we are no more.  Take the time to walk the streets at night.  Go where others dare not tread.  Nighttime is special and so much more interesting and beautiful than what that huge fireball illuminates during the day.  Breathe deep, be thankful and carry on.  The night awaits your footsteps…  

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The Pressure

The Pressure

By

Joe S. Thomas

He heard the car pull up outside. The gravel crunched as the tires rolled over them, the brakes squealed a bit and the car came to a stop. The gravel gave him a few seconds to drop on whoever was coming. These days he felt he always had to be ready. Ready for anything. Life had become so absurd and unrealistic. Things that he saw only in his worst nightmares were happening every day when he cut on the television to get a glimpse of the evening news. It made him sick. Often he sat motionless with sweat dripping from his face just waiting on whatever it was that was going to be his end.

He kept his 9mm handy by the couch for any occasion he deemed worthy to draw down upon.  He never invited company.  He had no friends.  The people he once cared for were long in the ground.  Stamped out by disease and addiction just as he would soon be.  The pain was still fresh but what could he do about it?  His world was nonexistent to all but himself now.  

He heard the car door shut and his heart began to pound harder and harder within his chest.  He reached for his bottle of tranquilizers only to realize he’d taken the last of them.  His hands began to tremble as he sat the gun in his lap and waited for the knock at the door.  He attempted to stand and peek through the closed blinds to see if he could make out who this person was but his knees wobbled and he felt extremely dizzy with anxiety.  He quickly sat back down and remained as quiet as he possibly could.  He didn’t move a muscle…    

Before all of his troubles began with his mind he’d had a woman.  More than a woman, he had a savior.  In every sense of the word.  She was the angel on his shoulder that was made manifest somehow just for him.  Those were the good times.  Life seems to start off with good times before things get so ugly that you no longer care to hang on anymore.  She helped him to clean himself up.  He was a hardcore junkie and a drunk fuck-up of the highest order.  With her gentle help he entered into treatment.  It took a couple of tries but within two years he’d come off the junk and hadn’t even thought of taking a sip of alcohol.  The thing was he did it for her.  Not for himself.  Once she got sick with Cancer it became harder and harder to hold to the promises he’d made to her regarding using the things that would no doubt eventually end him somehow. 

She was absolutely stronger than he was.  When the time came for chemotherapy she never shed a tear or felt sorry for herself.  It seemed she had to hold him together.  How in the fuck could a so-called loving god allow such an angel to suffer like this he thought.  At least four times a day he would sit by her side in the bathroom.  Sometimes in the shower, sometimes on the toilet.  He didn’t care.  When you love someone that much you’ll do anything to comfort them and take care of their needs.  Even when she lost her hair and felt self conscious he would tell her how beautiful she was to him.  The thing was, he truly felt she was.  His love for her canceled out anything negative that would attempt to creep into his brain.  She would attempt to take very little of the pain medications she was given and she would never take them in front of him so he wouldn’t be tempted.  As the disease progressed the doctor gave her vials of liquid morphine.  The pain was simply too much.  She wouldn’t take even half of what was prescribed for her, just enough to take away the sharp pains she constantly felt within her body.  He couldn’t take her pain and he damn sure couldn’t take his own.  Though hers was physical and his was mental they both suffered greatly.  He fell back into doing the only thing he knew regarding pain.  The morphine she didn’t use he would send into his own arm.  He could only hope she didn’t notice.  If she did, she never said anything.  By then he felt she was too far gone to notice much of anything but the constant pain.

On her last day she asked him to come sit beside her.  He did.  She had just taken her dose and he secretly shot up in the bathroom not long after she placed the vial on the nightstand and drifted off for a few moments before the pain brought her back around again.  “I can’t take this anymore,” she said.  “Please, I want you to do me a favor if you truly love me.”  “Anything,” he said.  “I want you to put enough of that medicine in the syringe to make me stop breathing.”  Tears were running down her face.  He couldn’t help but shake his head no but when he did she cried harder and it hurt her even more.  He begged her to stop crying.  “Please,” he said, “anything but taking you away from me.”  “Honey, I’m already gone.  All I do is lay in this bed in this dark room and beg god to take me away.  The only thing keeping me here is my worry for you,” she said.  He felt so racked with guilt.  He wiped her tears and looked at her once beautiful eyes that were now sunk deep within their sockets with dark rings encircling them.  How could he deny her peace and dignity?  This angel that had added so much to his life.  A tear dropped from his eye.  She attempted to reach out to wipe it away but she was too weak to do so.  Her arm dropped back down to her side on the bed.  “Please, do this for me.”  “I will,” he said very quietly.  The tears were flowing freely now.  He took a new vial from the bedside drawer and drew up a whole syringe full of the liquid relief.  “I’m at peace, sweetheart,” she said.  He cried harder.  “You have made these last few months so special for me.  The way you have stayed by my side and tended to my every need.  It’s not fair for me to put you through this anymore,” she said.  “I would do this forever if only you weren’t in so much pain,” he said.  “I can’t blame you for wanting to leave this world and all of your pain behind.  But I’m a selfish man and I don’t want to live without you,” he said.  Crying even more now.  He bent down and kissed her lips, her cheeks, her forehead.  She gave him a weak smile.  “I love you,” she said.  “I love you more than anything on this earth.  I always have and I always will,” he said.  He pulled the sleeve of her nightgown up above the elbow.  He felt nauseous.  He had to remind himself this was mercy.  It didn’t give him much comfort.  Just knowing she would no longer be in this world and he would be left alone with his demons and all that came along with them brought more and more tears.  Knowing she was the only one who cared.  It was all just too much.  “I’m ready,” she said.  Wincing as she turned her arm over for him to give the final shot…   

After the funeral he found himself unable to sleep.  Everyone assumed she just passed from the cancer and he let them believe so.  However, he couldn’t get their last day together out of his mind no matter how much booze he poured on his brain and no matter how many drugs he packed within it.  He stopped speaking to anyone.  Eventually people just left him alone when he no longer returned calls or attempted to come around anymore.  He found himself walking the streets late at night to score and he found himself thinking he wouldn’t mind if someone just took his life.  He was alone and it was more than he could take.  Along with the morphine habit which finally just turned into a heroin habit due to the fact that it was much easier to find, he also began doing speed, coke, pills and literally anything that would help his brain run from the truth.  It wasn’t so much guilt.  He felt what he did was right and merciful, he just couldn’t stand being without her at his side.  She meant everything to him.  He found himself cursing the big asshole in the sky for allowing her to get such a horrible disease.  His prayers were just attempts at picking fights.  He dared such a god to strike him down just so he would be face to face with the motherfucker.  He dared so called god to do something.  And of course, no answer.  Fuck you! 

The house they lived in had become a wreck since she’d passed. He no longer went into their bedroom where she took her final breath. He left it just as it was when the paramedics came for her body. He simply shut the door and couldn’t open it anymore. It hurt too much. He would sit at the kitchen table piled with booze, drugs and books and he would try to keep himself busy. He didn’t care about his appearance. He rarely ate, showered or did anything most do on a daily basis. He was waiting to die. He would stay up for days on end afraid to go to sleep because he might dream of her and get even worse. He never went back to work. By now he knew he was fired. He was glad. He didn’t go to the mailbox to pay the bills. He was waiting for the lights to be shut off. Surely it wouldn’t be long now. Anything that made his life more miserable he welcomed. He felt he deserved every ounce of misery thrown at him. There were dried pools of blood anywhere he happened to sit. Not only from shooting up, but when the pain in his mind was too much he would take his hunting knife and cause himself physical pain to try and escape. This was his life. However long it was going to last. The pain was all his. Yes, this was his life…

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Step Parent Scenarios

Step-Parent Scenarios

By

Joe S. Thomas

When I was a young man of about 6 years old my mother married a fat, redneck, scumbag named Mike.  I’ll only use his first name.  It sounds dickish enough.  No offense if you’re a cool guy named Mike, but this fucker was far from it.  I was sitting on the deck earlier after watching a few Creature Skateboard videos having a cup of coffee and all of these horrible thoughts about him started coming up so I thought I would write  about some of those times.  

My real father was a casualty of the Vietnam War.  He didn’t die physically but he came back home a warped human being and a severe alcoholic.  My mother couldn’t take it and they divorced.  I really didn’t form a relationship with him until I was in my thirties.  It wasn’t the healthiest of relationships either.  My mother had to work around 12 hour days to put food on the table, pay bills and purchase clothes for my older sister and I to go to school.  She did what she had to do.  I appreciate and admire her for doing so.  The only question I had was… why Mike?  In my eyes, he had no redeeming qualities.  To this day he has no redeeming qualities.

  I’m really not down with poking fun at the way a person looks but I will suspend my manners while I write about this dickhead.  Mike stood about 5 foot 5 ( I’m being generous), and he weighed well over 300 pounds.  He attempted to dress like Hank Williams Jr.  He wore cowboy boots, the cowboy hat, jeans and button down flannel, always.  I’m getting nauseous just remembering.  The guys I used to skateboard with actually dubbed him Hank Jr.  It stuck.  He drove a huge truck just like the one Jello Biafra describes in Night of the Living Rednecks.  You could hear this thing from miles away due to the huge tires that would whine as he came down the street just from their sheer size.  Talk about tiny penis syndrome…  Yeash.

From what I remember my mom, my sister and I were living in a trailer until she met Mike.  They saved up some money with the two of them working and bought a decent house for us in the suburbs.  At the time the house was pretty nice.  Especially coming from a home on wheels.  We were pretty stoked for a while.  My sister, who is five years older than I, had her own bedroom and I had my own as well.    We started going to an all white, shitty high school with plenty of bigots, jocks and assholes who wanted to smash anything different from “their own” around this time as well.  I fucking hated that school.  Still do.  It’s the same way it was when I left from what I’ve heard.  

I think it’s important to say that I wasn’t a hell-raising kid.  I was by no means an angel, but I knew kids who did things way off my radar that I would never think of doing as a child.  I was a typical kid that needed guidance as all children do.  I was fairly quiet and rather nervous as a kid.  I felt horrible when my mother had to be away from us during her work hours.  I can remember walking the streets and feeling extremely lonely and looking back I’m pretty sure my depression issues were already starting.  I believe some of these things were due to the DNA of my father but I also know some things were due to the actions or lack of action on my parents’ part.  I’m not blaming my mother, as I stated she did what she had to do but at some point I would think that  somebody would notice the antisocial tendencies I was coming to know.  I didn’t do anything evil or mean, I just preferred to be left alone most times.  

As a young man I played baseball and football.  One of the rules my new stepdad had was “if you start something, you’re going to complete it whether you like it or not.”  I ended up hating group sports and got heavily into skateboarding.  I told myself to just finish out the season of whatever sport I happened to be playing and never let them sign me up again.  My mother seemed to agree with Mike on this issue and as an adult I can understand teaching a child responsibility but if they’d known the mental damage it  was doing I have to wonder if my mother would have allowed it to continue.  I just wasn’t able to voice my issues then.  If you were a good player you had it made with the coaches and players.  If you sucked you earned the pure hell that children can inflict on one another often with the backing of their parents.  Looking back some of these people should have been investigated.  I shit you not.  

The last good year of my childhood was my last year of sixth grade in elementary school.  Before I started attending the high school I spoke of earlier.  Before getting into my high school days I recall something Mike did to me around the time I was in sixth grade.  I wasn’t feeling well and my mother was at work.  The school called my home and Mike had to come pick me up.  The first thing he said to me as I opened the high, heavy door on his truck was, “you don’t look sick to me, get in.”  I sheepishly hopped up on the seat and strapped myself in.  I rarely said much to him because I didn’t like him.  I noticed we weren’t heading toward our home so I asked where we were going.  “It’s a surprise,” he said with that smartass look he would get on his fat face.  We ended up going to Hardee’s so he could get himself something to eat though I was feeling ill.  Not only that but he insisted we go in to eat.  As he was in line I slinked over to a table to wait on him and the food.  I put my head down on my arms and apparently fell asleep.  When I woke up I saw Mike sitting there looking at me with pure anger in his eyes.  I also noticed he’d eaten all of the food.  “Are you ready to go now,” he asked.  I said nothing about him eating my food though I was feeling a bit hungry.  Once we got to his truck and out of earshot of anyone he said, “I guess you’ll think a little harder the next time you’re a smartass and try to hide from me.”  I had no idea what he was talking about.  When I put my head down I apparently drifted off to sleep and he didn’t see which table I had taken for us.  He went and apparently ate all of our food at a different table before coming to the booth I was at, waking me and telling me to come on.  None of what I did was on purpose in any way and I can’t tell you why, but that situation hurt my feelings so badly that I swore by all that I was I hated him and would never allow him  into my life.  And I didn’t from then on.  I simply tolerated him because I had no choice. 

Once, possibly trying to make up for the shitty behavior he was throwing my way for no other reason than I was a child, Mike tried to make up for a bit of his behavior in his own way by giving me a cheap ass watch.  At the time I thought, wow, maybe he understands what he’s been doing and is trying to make up for it in his own way.   The watch was a cheap, metal contraption that had the logo of the carpet mill he worked for on the face.  He gave it to me, set it and told me to be back by a certain time.  He rubbed my head and I took off on my bmx bike to see what my friends on the other side of the block were getting into that day.  Every few minutes I would look down at the watch and beam with pride.  I’d found a few friends that were on the streets jumping ramps, tossing a ball around and all of the other things kids around the age of ten were usually doing in the southern suburbs of the 1980’s.  I remember not really being able to tell time very well on a watch with hands.  I was more of a digital watch man back then but Mike showed me once the hand was on the 9, I was to be back home.  It was only about 30 minutes from when he’d given me the watch.  I kept looking and kept looking but the watch never reached the 9.  I continued playing as any innocent kid having fun would do.  Apparently the cheap ass watch had died while I was out playing.  I ended up heading back home when I thought enough time had gone by.  I didn’t want him to know I couldn’t really properly use the gift he’d given me.  As I walked into the living room there he stood with a smartass, smug look on his face.  He grabbed my arm, looked at the watch and then accused me of winding the time back so I could play longer with my friends.  I tried to tell him I did no such thing but he wasn’t having it.  He took the watch from my wrist and I never saw it again.  These things happened way too often for my taste and it cemented the hate I felt for his fat ass.  I swore to god I hated him with everything in my young heart.  And I did.  The mental, abusive games he played with me were wrecking my nerves.  I never wanted to be alone with him but had to be due to the work schedules he and my mother kept.  He worked mornings while I was at school and my mom left for her mill job around 2:30p.m.  I didn’t get home from school until around 3:15 so I rarely saw my mother until her days off.  I never told her about the things he was doing or the way he was making me feel.  I didn’t know I had that option.  Looking back, it probably wouldn’t have changed anyway.  

I was sick and tired of taking the brunt of his bullshit.  My sister was five years older than I and had learned to stay with her friends as long as she could.  I didn’t have that option yet.  This is when I got into skateboarding.  Along with skateboarding I got into some great music known as punk rock.  The two together absolutely changed my life forever and I’m still thoroughly thankful they did.  The aggressive drive of the music urged me along as I would sing Black Flag’s “My War” as I kicked down the street with all I had in my body.  “My War, you’re one of them, you say you’re my friend but you’re one of them!”  I was fucking hooked.  Black Flag, the Misfits, Circle Jerks, early Metallica, Anthrax, Rollins Band, Mudhoney, Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, Descendents, Minutemen, Social Distortion and so many others ran through my mind giving me the education I would truly need to survive the upcoming years of high school and more of Mike’s bullshit.  This is where I truly made every effort in the world to stay away from him and to not speak unless spoken to and then when I did it was just clipped, angry, half sentences.  I simply couldn’t be bothered by his shit anymore.  I was forming my own plan.  He certainly wasn’t part of that plan.  In fact he was the anti plan.  I never wanted to be anything like that motherfucker.  I promised myself I wouldn’t be and I have kept that fucking promise.   

I’m not saying there weren’t times that I did deserve to get into trouble.  For instance, a skater friend and I got his mother to drop us off at the mall by ourselves.  I think I was around 12 or 13 at this point.  Well into skateboarding and punk rock.  We both went into a music store, (remember those?), and stole some cassette tapes.  I got caught and was held at the security guard office until one of my parents could come and get me.  Who shows up, you guessed it.  Mike.  He told the security pigs he would take care of me and thanked them for not doing anything further in regards  to legal action.  I was actually scared to death and pretty glad myself.  He grabbed me by the arm and led me out of their office to his huge Night of the Living Rednecks truck.  Not a single word was spoken on that long drive back to the homestead.  Once we were in the house he told me to go to my room and not come out until my mother got home which was around 8:15-8:30 pm.  I was feeling really shitty for what I’d done and was prepared to make a heartfelt apology to my mother which was sincere and truthful.  I really did feel bad.  There was no reason for my behavior other than I saw something I wanted, didn’t have the money and took it anyway.  That’s wrong and I knew it.  When my mother got home it took her a few minutes before she came into my room.  I assume Mike was giving her the low down on what happened.  I don’t remember what set the two of us off but when my mother entered the room she was steaming mad which made me defensive and I don’t remember what was said but I said it loudly.  The next thing I knew Mike comes around from behind my mother who promptly exits the room and he begins hitting me with a belt saying “you aren’t going to talk to your mother that way you damn thief.”  Now, I’ve never spanked my own children because my girls never needed it.  Even if they did, I’m not sure I would have had the heart to lay a harmful hand on my child.  I agree I should have been punished but here’s where I have the problem.  In my opinion, a step parent should never lay a hand on someone else’s child.  Period.  That’s my opinion  and I’ll stick to it until I die.  If my mother thought I should have been spanked, then she should have done it.  He certainly wasn’t correcting me out of love with that leather belt and huge belt buckle.  My adrenalin was spiked so much that I just laughed at his fat ass exerting that much energy toward anything other than eating.  After this episode I cooled off and went to my mother and gave a heartfelt apology.  I truly was ashamed.  As  for Mike, I literally never spoke to him again.  I hated him and it was more than apparent that he hated me.  Fine, cool.  

A few months after this incident Mike started going to a gym.  He would pack a bag of sweat clothes but he always came back in his “business attire.”  It soon came to light that the fat motherfucker wasn’t going to a gym at all but he was going somewhere with another lady and was cheating on my poor mother.  What truly blew my mind about the whole thing is the fact that there was another woman out there that would find that stubby piece of shit attractive enough to breathe hard on top of her.  I wish I had a picture.  I really do.  The way I found out about the affair was somewhat strange.  My friend and I had been skating.  The sun was going down and I had school the next day so I decided to head home.  Once I got there I noticed almost all of his stuff was gone.  My mother hadn’t spoken a word to me about the ordeal but she already knew.  To be honest, I have never been happier until I realized he’d hurt my mother and left her yet again to feed and clothe two kids on her small paycheck except now she had a mortgage on top of that.  And so the story goes…

I suppose it was good for me to purge some of this shit and get it out of my system.  Honestly, I’m writing this for future step parents.  Please remember a child is a human being that soaks up everything around them.  The good and especially the bad.  Trust me, the bad can manifest in some horrible ways as that young man or woman begins to grow and have a mind of their own.  If you’re a step parent, discuss with your spouse punishments that are tolerable when little Johnny or Jill fucks up.  They will fuck up.  But please use your hands to embrace, correct and love the child.  Beating them and playing childish mind games will only lead your relationship down a path of destruction that could have been avoided but will never be forgotten.  Listen, learn, love and be there and respect the children as the small human beings they are.  Please.  Our world needs love.  Everyone needs love, especially through the trying times of life.  You don’t have to listen to my story but maybe someone somewhere will read this and it will strike a chord within their heart.  Those are my hopes anyway.  Love and respect to you all.  Except Mike.

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Resistance Seems Futile…

Resistance is futile. Every day I awake to the same thing. I can’t sleep past 3 a.m without the help of some sort of drug. Once I’m awake, I’m awake. I get up and make myself some coffee. I smoke my first cigarette of the day and either fire up the computer to write or find the book I was reading last. At 5 a.m I leave for the methadone clinic. Whoo, the highlight of my day. Heroin, you ask. No, surgery. Metal in the lowest part of my back and the uppermost part of my neck connected to the spine. They had to go through my stomach to get to the lowermost part of the spine. They went through the front of my throat to get to the uppermost. Afterwards I rode the couch for about three months eating 30 mg oxycodone whenever I felt like it. To say the least, a man with an addictive personality i.e. me, is going to get addicted. Well, I did. I mean I used to drink quite a bit of beer in my younger days and some would call me an alcoholic though I no longer drink and don’t have the desire to do so. I used to drink a lot during my late teen years and then off and on during my late 20’s. I’m not sure if the methadone curbs that as well, I just don’t have the desire. I do seem to still want other things I have to attempt to keep myself from so as not to cause a problem. At the clinic, your life is really no longer your own. You seem to live with a constant dread over your head every single day. They could truly fuck you if they wanted to. Luckily I’m there of my own volition and not under some court mandated, clean piss type of thing. I hate it, but to attempt to get any type of pain management seems to be as absurd as scoring heroin. I refuse to jump through those red tape blues ever again. People treat you like absolute shit. Lucky for me I suppose I’m used to it. The so-called pain management doctors are a breed of their own. All about the big money. No care in their hearts whatsoever for human beings in pain. I can understand why all of these pain killing drugs are being abused to the point of an epidemic. Life fucking hurts. Physically and mentally. End of. I try to keep my usage to a minimum but I’ll be damned if I’ll sit here and act as though I take nothing. Mentally, (right or wrong), I’ve always needed something my brain doesn’t seem to produce, or I was born without, whatever the case may be, I’ve always felt I’ve needed an extra something that most see as taboo to speak of. Well fuck it. If they aren’t going to help then I’ll talk about it with anyone who cares to. I’m sick and tired of the hypocrisy, to say nothing of the bureaucracy. I suppose I’m just really tired. Tired of seeing and listening to what I have to put up with daily. Why don’t I quit, you ask. I have. I quit for about two years and pretty much had a nervous breakdown and lost a bit more of my mind. Not to mention relationships, a home, money, property, flesh, blood, pride and everything that I considered me. So, there’s that I suppose. I’ve gone through shitting and puking to get off of certain things and I can handle that, but I’m scared to death to ever go back to where I was mentally during that time. This started off as a private journal entry but I think I may post it. What more could it hurt? So, if you read this and made it to the end, thank you for hearing me out and letting me vent to something other than this computer. If you have issues with things brought up in this writing and you would like to speak about it without judgment feel free to get in touch. If not, that’ll work as well.

JST

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Shove Your Patriotism

Shove Your Patriotism

By

Joe S. Thomas.

I’m from the United States of America. I had nothing to do with that and for the first time I don’t mind saying I’m truly ashamed of my nation. It disgusts me. People waving the stupid flag speaking ignorant remarks they’ve heard the idiot sheep before them speak. The goal in their eyes is to get get get. They have no desire to give which is truly the best thing we can do as human beings regardless of where we’re from. I’m angry. You’re damn right I’m angry. In the states you see we have to have the best, the most and for fuck’s sake we are always right and can’t and won’t be taught a damn thing by other cultures who’ve been around much longer and are far stronger than we could ever hope to be at this point. If you believe in an “American Dream” I don’t mind calling you a goddamn fool. Look around. Listen to the conversations of the people on the streets. They are the ones whose backs have been broken for the 1% who own everything. My life has become so spiritually null and void that most times I don’t care to live anymore. I live everyday with so much rage and depression kicking at my brain it’s a wonder it’s not leaking from my ear. I want my people to care. To love. To learn. I want you to hug my neck and shake my hand like the long lost friends we should be instead of crossing the street when you see me coming. It’s hard to take when you feel this way every day. The ignorance one has to put up with from those in power and those who call the shots is disgusting as hell. People are homeless. People are going without food. Yes, in the United States. “The greatest place on earth.” It’s simply an abandoned strip mall filled with junkies and whores. If not physically, then mentally. Actually both. I vote, I do the things they tell you to do to make a change and it does no good whatsoever. It’s a sick joke. They hold that crust of bread just out of reach so you’ll keep striving and reaching but they know they will never loosen the hold on it even if you catch up to them. I promise. We teach children that our second Amendment is the one that matters most. Are you truly surprised when an angry, bullied child with parents who are never home or who are trying to numb themselves with drugs and alcohol rather than teach their children the ways of the world shoots up his damn school? I’m not. I relate to that kid more than anyone else more than likely. I’ve simply had it with the American attitude which is absolute shit. It seems we’re on the verge of World War 3. If not in my lifetime, I would say within the next few generations. Things must change and change starts with one person with a good heart and a viable idea. You old, racist, misogynist scumbags step off and allow these kids who want positive change to move to the forefront and allow this place just a bit of hope before we’re all dead due to sheer stupidity… Mental illness is running rampant and has become the norm here in the states. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Nobody trusts the government and nobody trusts or reaches out to their neighbor anymore. We can’t do this shit alone. I promise. When I see some gun toting redneck waving the flag and spewing hatred from his putrid mouth I’m ashamed and embarrassed. I would leave this country but I can’t afford the damn plane ticket. I guess I’m stuck here with you fine people to sweat out this Fevered American Dream… I just can’t see much of this lasting any longer. I hope we can pull ourselves together, change and get it right. For future generations’ sake. Hell, for everyone’s sake. Good luck to each and every one of you… I’m completely overwhelmed and I just want peace. Simple peace.

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