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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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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From Center to Garden

From Center to Garden

By

Joe S. Thomas

From Garden to Center and then back again

She always told me she would be my friend

Regardless of pain, regardless of rage

Friends forever until the end of the age

Hard times came, we got through a few

My heart is deflated, shot straight through

Her words were lies just as her deeds

Forever alone due to my needs

Short circuit brain left alone to scream

Like Satan’s finest of fine wet dreams

I seek understanding, maybe some love

My fate’s been sealed from straight up above

No need to wonder why I’m in need

I’m a human being, you cut and I’ll bleed

Walking with sorrow in each of my bones

There’s no choice left, I AM alone

The scars are there and sometimes they show

Would I keep going if I were to know

She continues on with a smile on her face

While I follow alone, death’s every pace

Once, as a child, I think I smiled

They shook their heads, they knew all the while

How I would end up, where I would go

Back into hell with nothing to show

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Police the Police

Police the Police

By

Joe S. Thomas

In the month of August the year 2018 I was arrested twice due to a manic episode.  While in their custody, instead of being protected, I was beaten by four officers at the same time while handcuffed mind you, to the tune of a black eye, two concussions, a couple of broken ribs, a punctured lung and the back of my cranium was hit with brass knuckles so many times that my skull felt like mashed potatoes.  After this beating I was quite literally thrown into a shower cell which had a metal floor.  I had no access to water, a mat, or even a blanket.  They had put me in a “suicide suit” which is basically some strange apparatus that velcros around you where you are naked underneath.  I don’t recall how long I was left to suffer in this cell but I can tell you it was a pretty long while.  I was neither checked by medical staff or given any food or water.  Have you ever had sore ribs?  Try laying on a metal floor with broken ribs and a punctured lung with your head caved in.  All of these facts can be verified by checking medical records at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  

The reason I’m once again telling this story is due to the fact that nobody was held accountable for my suffering which carries on to this day through nerve damage and PTSD.  Also because I just watched a Vice Investigative Report on the Louisville, Kentucky police department where their officers have openly stolen money from “people nobody cares about” as well as raped women under the guise of keeping them out of jail or threatening to put them in jail.  The general public either just doesn’t care or they indeed feel that some of these people just do not matter.  I beg to differ.  Everyone has civil rights and they are being flushed down the toilet while those in charge often stand by knowingly with smiles on their faces and pure hatred in their hearts.

Even when these cases are brought before those you’re supposed to report them to, things are blocked by the very real “blue wall of protection” which I assure you is very real.  It’s like allowing a serial killer to be judged by a jury of serial killers.  It simply makes no sense and it must be stopped.  These people are being paid to do a job, yet their behavior is often worse than those they call criminals.  

I publicly call on those who investigate such crimes to do their jobs or better yet, bring in a sector of citizens who aren’t involved with the police at all to judge these things and hand down punishments that fit the crimes.  Just because a person has a badge and a gun doesn’t make them infallible.  If anything it makes them criminal bullies who get away with murder quite literally.  I can no longer sit idly by and watch these so-called officers of the law lie, cheat and steal their way to the top of their careers.  I will do anything I’m able to do to expose these people for what they are.  CRIMINALS…  

It’s up to us to tell the truth and bring to light the things they would much rather keep in the dark.  Not only is this behavior wrong, disgusting and unethical, it’s illegal.  I’m so sick and tired of these people getting away with whatever they want simply because they have a badge.  Watch your backs and police the police.  You pay for their services…

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The Beginning of the End

The Beginning of the End

By

Joe S. Thomas

I pull the hunting knife over the flesh on my arm so I can feel something other than rage.  They’ve got me this time.  I’m just preparing for the abuse I know is coming.  It comes around because I no longer know or care to know how to function as an adult.  The legal documents telling me I owe everyone and their mother money just confirms this.  The thing is I have no money to give.  I live in a bedroom I rent from my sister.  I rarely eat.  When I do I wonder why I even bother.  Maybe if I just stop eating I’ll die.  They want my blood?  They can have it.  That’s all I have to give.  The small disability check I get each month is gone damn near the moment it hits my account.  Bills and necessities, nothing extravagant.  Still, the legal documents come bringing with them the thoughts of jail and or hell I’ll soon be going through.  I’d had a Bipolar, manic episode that helped me along in losing my fiance,’ my home, my car, my life and apparently a logical mind.  It did get me two stays in jail and one in the madhouse.  While in jail I was beaten to a pulp about the head and body by four cops at one time.  When they were finished with me I had a black eye, two concussions, a couple of broken ribs and a punctured lung.  The back of my head felt like a sack of mashed potatoes.  I had to stay in the hospital when I finally got away from them.

When they let me out the first time it was after midnight.  I still wasn’t in my “right” mind.  I didn’t know where I’d left my truck which held my cell phone and all of my other belongings.  If not for a friend of mine, I may still  be looking for the shit.  As I said, they let me out after midnight.  They gave me the bundle of blister pack antipsychotic medications and nothing more when they let me out.  I didn’t even have my belt.  Out of complete fear I began walking from the Hamilton County Jail in Chattanooga, Tennessee to a convenience store across the state line in Georgia before I collapsed out of sheer exhaustion.  You don’t really sleep in jail.  At least I didn’t.  Especially when the guys who are supposed to be watching out for you and protecting you are the ones kicking the everloving shit out of you.  It makes a crazy man just a bit more crazy.  Surely you understand.  I hope you never have to witness this personally.  I remember holding my pants up with one hand while holding the large package of medication under my arm as I quickly walked through the streets where nobody should be walking during that time of night.  My steps were nervous and quick.  My head was pounding like it is right now.  I was scared.  I saw cop cars going down the streets and each time I saw one I would stop.  I stood very still and closed my eyes hoping this would make me invisible to them so I wouldn’t have to be beaten anymore.  

It’s hard to explain the damage all of this has caused.  However, when these documents telling me about my financial demise come through the mail it’s a harsh reminder that this truly was the beginning of the end for me.  Other than filing bankruptcy I have no idea how to remedy this situation.  By this situation of course I’m only speaking of the financial side of all of this shit.  The physical damage has been done.  It’s irreversible.  I haven’t been the same person since all of this happened.  Nobody but me has been held accountable.  What hurts is I know they never will be.  They’re probably doing the same thing to some poor bastard as I sit here shaking and typing this at 2 a.m.  All I’m able to do most days is sit in this room I rent, read and write.  Maybe watch a bit of television and play my guitar.  I’ve had two spinal surgeries that knocked me out of the work world a few years ago.  On a good day I may be able to go for a walk in the sunshine and attempt to enjoy the scenery.  I no longer see my friends.  I no longer enjoy the company of human beings.  I go days without speaking to people.  Even those I live with in the same house.  I really hate putting my life out there for anyone to read about but I have a feeling the shit is about to hit the fan yet again and I want somebody to know where I am this time.  Everyday seems to be a white-knuckle hellride on the way to wherever I’m going to end up.  A lot of times I just wish they would come so I can just get it over with.  I’m not strong enough to endure this anymore.  People just seem to be frightened of me though I just want to be left alone.   There’s no such thing as peace in my life anymore and it’s hard to keep going.  But for some reason, I do…

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Waiting In Lines

Waiting In Lines

By

Joe S. Thomas

Being the antisocial, impatient, nervy human being that I am, I hate lines.  I’m pretty sure you hate them too.  Every once in a while, if you’re quiet and you don’t space out you can learn so much about people…  The truth.  The true person tends to come out for some reason while one stands in a long line knowing they have to wait  and also knowing there isn’t a damn thing  they can do to make it move along.  The great equalizer if you will.  The shifty eyes, the shifty feet, putting your weight on one leg and then impatiently switching back and forth with every ounce of agitation that you feel.  The conversations.  Oh the conversations.  Remain quiet, act like you aren’t listening but listen well, friend.  The words come in hushed tones and in a clipped, brief anger that seems to come out the way it’s running through the mind.  They almost spit it at you.  They would if they could get away with it.  Some have children.  Children running around like wild banshees with nothing but anarchy on the brain.  I’m jealous.  They can still get away with it.  I just look like an assshole.  I would be a liar if I said I didn’t think about it though.  You see women checking each other out with so much hatred in their eyes toward one another that I can’t quite understand why it’s this way.  The longer the line, the more truth I always say.  Men standing mute, exhausted as they watch the kids and secretly think of punishing each and every one of the little fucking brats.  Do they not know he busts his ass 40 plus hours a week and doesn’t need this shit.  Hell, he can’t even properly feed his family.  He lets out an expletive thinking about going back to it on Monday.  Sometimes you have a chatterbox who seems to know about every subject in life from plumbing to movie stars.  He seems to live for this shit.  He’s perpetually happy and I want to tell him to shut the fuck up.  Many want to.  You can see it the way they stare at  him.  You see an elderly lady patiently, quietly waiting as her hands shake with tremors.  Lines don’t bother her so much.  She’s spent more life waiting in lines than a lot of these people have sucking air.  She just takes it as if it were her lot in life.  She’s accepted it.  It breaks my heart.  The more time that passes, the more apt you are to catch a conversation between people who otherwise wouldn’t cross the room to piss on one another if they were on fire.  I watch the lies fall from their lips as their body language tells me the truth.  Very interesting indeed.  I think one of my favorites is the wealthy guy who thinks line rules shouldn’t apply to him.  Sorry pal, your money can’t help you here.  Sucks being normal, huh?  At the end of the day I suppose we’re all just trying to get through the line and I hope we can learn to be civil to one another and kind in our dealings.  Keep your eyes and ears peeled.  You really can learn a lot waiting in lines.

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The Meetings

The Meetings

By

Joe S. Thomas

    I never thought I would be sitting through any more of these damn meetings.  The first time I witnessed the circus of human misery was during my internship as a social worker in college.  Our professor wanted us to know what it was like to be forced by a judge or by drugs and alcohol to sit through these meetings that were meant to help those with  such problems.  The first thing I ever remembered was the antiseptic smell of every building in which these meetings were held. Usually a church of some kind, sometimes just a public meeting space meant for political rallies, voting and other types of good government bullshit in which so-called normal people participated.  It never failed.  Outside, shaking hands would light cigarettes for new members with worried looks on their faces.  The worried looks were for different reasons.  Some were due to the jail sentence hanging over some poor bastard’s head if he/she pissed dirty again.  Some had worried looks because they’d tried everything under the sun to get sober but couldn’t and now the wife and kids were threatening to leave.  As if that would help anything at all.  I remember thinking to myself while observing these poor souls that I was glad I was only visiting so I could appease my professor and obtain my degree and hopefully be able to help these poor bastards at some point in the future…

The future:

The buildings were the same. The smell was the same. The shaking hands lighting the cigarettes were the same. The only difference was the reason I was now attending one of these meetings. I walked to the fold out table where the stale doughnuts and shitty coffee were. I grabbed a styrofoam cup of coffee and slapped the side of the coffee can where you were supposed to donate a bit of money so they could continue purchasing said shitty doughnuts and coffee. I slapped the can so the coins would jingle and it would sound as if I’d dropped some change in there. I never did. I just didn’t want these other assholes to know how big of an asshole I was. It almost always worked. I stood there sipping what was quite possibly the worst cup of coffee I’d ever had and scanned the room for a seat far away from the other addicts. I didn’t want to speak to anyone. I felt like absolute shit just like most of the other attendees. The difference seemed to be how they got off on telling people about all of the horrid shit they’d done while wasted. Me, I kept my shit to myself. When I was called upon by the ringleader of these meetings I would often make up stories which always seemed easier to me than telling them the truth about my fucked up life. Had I told the truth I don’t think I could bear the faces of the others sitting there slack jawed at my words. I didn’t want their sympathy or their hollow words that meant nothing at all to me. I could lead these fucking groups and had for a while. And yes, I was on drugs while doing so. Fuck it, right? I found my seat away from the rest of the group. When I looked up I saw a beautiful girl with jet black hair, Dr. Marten boots, black and white striped thigh high tights and a mini skirt sitting directly across from me. With any luck at all she would show me a flash or two of her panties. I would take what I could get at this point. I couldn’t help but think of how I made myself sick. It certainly didn’t keep me from sneaking a peek. I mean I was there due to being weak, right? I accidentally made eye contact with the mini skirt girl after she caught me looking just a bit too hard. She made a point of smiling at me as our eyes held each other and she slowly crossed her legs. To my surprise there were no panties. I slowly raised my coffee to my lips and took a long, slow drink while taking in the sights. Stunning. She looked at me hard, nodded her head toward the exit and crossed her legs again. I felt myself growing inch by inch every time I glanced her way. She was absolutely beautiful and unashamed of the gifts the gods had given her. I was pretty thankful to them as well at the moment. I pulled a pill out of my front shirt pocket and let her see me pop it into my mouth. This got me another somewhat longer glance at her glory. I knew what I wanted and I was hoping she wanted the same. It certainly seemed that way. I made sure she was looking at my eyes as I cut them toward the refreshment table. I stood and slowly made my way over to the coffee attempting to hide my ever growing manhood as I saw her getting up to follow. My heart started speeding up as she came closer and closer to me. “I’m Jon,” I said. “Hi Jon, I’m Sarah. Do you have a pill for me?” “Of course,” I said. “Where shall we do this?” I asked. Nobody was to leave the meeting once it was called to order. If you left the premises you risked not getting your sheet signed. If your sheet wasn’t signed, it was as good as not going at all. Though I wasn’t paying attention, the meeting had obviously come to order because one of the braggarts that always tried to shock and awe with his bullshit tales was behind the podium with tears streaming down his face at just the right times. “I wonder how many times he’s rehearsed this speech in the mirror?” Sarah said as I almost spewed coffee from my nose and mouth as she did so. This brought unwanted glances from damn near everyone in the room. Especially the facilitator who pretty much knew neither of us gave a shit for being there. He knew we had to be and that was the only reason. “What do you suggest, Jon?” She asked. “There’s a restroom just around the corner right past that rubber plant there. I believe it’s a ladies room. I’ll meet you there in five minutes.” “Ok,” she said and walked toward the restroom. I walked back to my seat for a few minutes so it wouldn’t be absolutely obvious what we were attempting to do. I gave it a good show, getting the attention of the facilitator and holding up my coffee cup and shrugging my shoulders as if to say Whoo, this coffee is really running through me. I really didn’t give a fuck that he rolled his eyes at me as if to say Hurry the fuck up and get back here you fucking Junkie, I’m not doing this for my health. I slowly stood, trying to be as respectful and quiet as I could be so as not to disturb the rehearsal guy’s story. I didn’t want to fuck up the tears he’d worked up. I made it to the corner where the plant was, paused and grabbed a pill out of my pocket before entering the restroom. As I opened the door Sarah was bent over the sink with her beautiful ass in the air snorting a rather long line of something before turning to me and kissing me passionately on the lips. While doing so her hands went to my cock and she began rubbing me through my jeans. As we pulled apart for a second I noticed she’d left a line on the mirror from which she was snorting. “For me?” I asked. She stuck out her tongue for me to place the Oxycontin on her tongue. As I did so she said “Of course, dear.” After crunching down on the time release pill she grabbed my hand and placed it up her skirt to her moist, well groomed pussy. I was going to explode. The coke I snorted from her mirror was pretty high grade stuff and made me even more horny. We kissed for a while as I explored every inch of the miracle of her womanhood. She went to her knees and unzipped my jeans, taking my cock from my pants and going down deeply on it once and then giving it small kisses and another deep gulp. I pulled her to her feet and sat her back on the sink while lifting her skirt so I could return the favor. She was so wet she was almost dripping as I explored her pussy with my tongue. She let out a pleasurable moan as I licked and sucked at her clit until she couldn’t take it anymore. She pulled my face up to hers and gave me a deep kiss telling me she wanted to feel me inside her. She guided my cock to her pussy and I slowly put it into her. She clawed my back and moaned with pleasure as I began to work slowly, going deeper with each stroke and then almost pulling out to tease her. I rubbed the head of my cock on her clit driving her mad. She wanted it inside and pulled me hard toward her beautiful body. I felt her body spasm the first time she came. She asked me to hold on a second but I just kept myself buried in her until she could take the movement again. I began moving in and out again and building up to a climax that I hadn’t felt in quite a long time. When she saw that I was going to come she grabbed my cock, dropped back down to her knees and sucked every ounce I had to give her. I almost collapsed on the floor after ejaculating. We were both sweating and panting while smiling at one another. We enjoyed our post-ejaculatory refractory period and then we did another line of coke and began straightening ourselves out and smoothing her hair and my clothes so we would be presentable again as we headed back to the boring meeting. She kissed me on the mouth and whispered “Thank you” in my ear. Her breath on my neck and ear was almost enough to get me going again but I knew there was no time and if we weren’t caught already, we would be if we attempted to go at it again. She left the restroom first to head back to her seat. I took a deep breath, splashed some cold water on my face and got myself together before heading back to mine. Just as I was walking past the facilitator he was leading the end of the meeting prayer that everyone knew verbatim. The meeting was over. I saw Sarah look at me and smile as she got up and headed toward the door. I was eager to follow so I could get her number and hopefully see her again in a better atmosphere. As I walked past the facilitator he said “Jon, may I have a word?” Everything within me said no you motherfucker! But I had to do what he said so of course I stood and listened to him. “Jon, I’ve noticed every time you come to a meeting you’re high. The times you aren’t high you do everything in the world to ignore other people’s shares. I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to sign your sheet anymore and I suggest you find a new group.” I ripped the paper from his hand knowing I was truly fucked but didn’t care. I needed to get Sarah’s number. I ran to the exit and into the parking lot but she was nowhere to be found. I would never see her again. During the six month stretch I was required to finish due to the lack of signatures on my paper, my mind often visited the time Sarah and I were able to share. Sometimes 12 step programs are able to give you something. Even if it’s not what you were expecting…

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What Did Your Dad Teach You?

What Did Your Dad Teach You?

By

Joe S. Thomas

My father passed away in 2017.  He was a Vietnam Veteran, an alcoholic and vacant from my life.  While other kids that I had to be on sports teams with were given praise by their very present fathers, I was alone.  Usually dropped off at whatever field in whatever part of town the game happened to be played.  I was hyper-aware of his absence during these times.  I envied those families that were “normal.”  The kids who walked with their father’s arm around them giving them praise and or pointers on what they did right or what they did wrong.  I assume to possibly help make them better players, maybe even better at life.  No arms were placed around my shoulders.  I was well aware of this fact and acted as though it didn’t bother me.  But it did bother me.  It bothered me tons.  Any child who grows into an adult minus a father who tells you any different is quite the liar.  I assure you.  A kid needs his/her parents when they are young.  If for nothing else, to teach them which way to go or which way to avoid.  I was left to navigate alone.  My mother had to work twelve hours a day so we could have food in our stomachs and a shitty roof over our heads. 

According to my mother my dad didn’t have a drinking problem until he came home from Vietnam.  Knowing what I know about addiction on my father’s side of the family I doubt that’s the truth.  I’m pretty sure he was knocking them back well before the war.  I can’t fault a man who comes home from the horrors of war and needs to drink to wipe out the memories of death his government has laid at his feet.  Not at all.  I know what it means to be an addict.  I am one myself.  No, I’ve never been to war with anyone other than myself.  Believe me, that’s enough.  Though I’ve quit drinking alcohol to excess there are still the little things I need to get through my day.  The things my father gave me are all genetic, nothing more.  No arm around the shoulders, no words of encouragement, no pointers on how to hit the ball or how to tackle the other guy with the ball.  No, everything I learned I learned through pain and repetition.  Alone.  I know I’m not the Lone Ranger, but this is my life, write your own story.  I know you have one.  We all do.  

It took a long time for me to have any other feeling than hatred for my father.  As I grew up and began to understand how the world worked and all of the statuses that humans love to place on other human beings did I begin to have any compassion for him at all.  Most of the time I only heard bad things about him from my mother who was obviously hurt by his abandonment just as I was.  I don’t think she ever forgave him.  I know it took me quite a while.  Actually, alcohol taught me to forgive him.  If he hated himself just a fraction of how much I hate myself, I completely understand.  

In a way I’ve learned what I know through abandonment and addiction.  I learned to be ok with being alone.  I learned to read the books I’ve come to love.  I learned to play the instruments I’ve come to play.  Alone.  As an adult I look back and I’m glad my father didn’t have much effect on my life by being there.  Had I grown up to be like him I would have killed myself a long time ago.  I’m just being honest.  Maybe he was doing me a favor by leaving.  Maybe he understood that he would have fucked me up more by being there because I have those feelings regarding my own children.  Again, this may be hard to digest, but it’s the  damn truth. I’m not saying it’s the “right” way to go about things, it’s just been my experience.  Does it hurt?  Absolutely.  My father taught me a great lesson in pain through absence.

Pain.  Yes, we’ll all be affected by it almost daily.  As you get older it just seems to come at you much faster.  Here’s where you rely on what you were taught.  You see the absurdity…  I’ll be very honest with you, most days I just breathe in and breathe out because I know of nothing else to do.  I record my pathetic thoughts in these writings in hopes that someone might read them and get something other than pain from them.  There’s way too much pain in the world and I could use a break.  I know many of you could.  I sincerely hope things turn out well for you and your father taught you better than mine taught me.  Absence can be quite a blessing most of the time.  Other times it makes me drag the depths of hell.  I hope the best for you all.  I have forgiven many, many times but it’s impossible for me to forget…

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The Cardinal

The Cardinal

By

Joe S. Thomas

There’s a specific Cardinal that seems to visit me after friends and family pass away.  I never really thought about it much until my sister and I had a conversation regarding something similar.  My good friend, fellow musician/artist and someone I considered a brother, Tom “Tomcat” Hughes passed away two years ago.  Unfortunately, I’ve lost my share of family and friends.  Many way before their time.  It’s never easy and it never leaves.  In good ways and bad.   I find myself thinking of Tom’s widow and his son who is now a teenager growing up without a father.  While Tom was on this Earth he was the best father I knew.  I was proud of him in so many ways.  I was damn proud to have him as a friend.  I still am.  It seemed there wasn’t a day that went by that Tom didn’t post a picture of he and his son working on his old trucks, skateboards, vans, motorcycles and many other such things.  It was a truly great thing to see and I wish I had just a morsel of that in me.  Tom had it in spades.  You will not find anyone who would say something different.  

The days I’m most depressed, smoking cigarettes on the back deck with my head in my hands and on the brink of tears the Cardinal will show up reminding me of my friends and family that are no longer around and it makes me at least change my headspace if only for a few minutes and reminds me to be thankful for the time I spent with them.  It makes me look at myself and makes me want to do better with the relationships I have with those that are still around.  My depression has had such a grip on me for the last three years sometimes I don’t know if I’m coming or going.  I don’t want the rest of my life to feel this way.  It seems the friends that I could really talk to or rather felt comfortable talking to about these things are those that are gone.  It hurts.  I now hold things in to the point of explosion and that’s good for no one.   

I like to think the Cardinal comes to check on me when the world’s just too much and I’m left so low that it hurts just to breathe.  I can’t explain why this happens so I’m sticking with it.  It may sound silly but to me it’s no sillier than spending your life working your ass off for someone else at a wage too low to survive upon, breaking your mind, body and soul and then dying with nothing often way sooner than one would think.    

Life goes by in the blink of an eye.  Once I hit 40 (which I literally never thought would happen), the years just seem to accelerate and fly by.  I hope you’re able to have friends and family that you’re able to love and care for and may they do the same for you.  It hurts when they leave, but maybe your Cardinal will show up when you need it to.  I truly hope it does.  I miss and love you all…

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