Pumpkin Breath

Jack was carving a pumpkin into a Jack-o-lantern. He was sitting on the floor pulling out the pumpkin guts and placing them on a platter... a cookie sheet. Anna was sitting next to him separating the seeds from the gutstrings on the cookie sheet. After he had scraped in the sides and trimmed up the loose flesh, he flipped the pumpkin over his head. The room started laughing as soon as everyone in it got around to seeing what everyone was laughing about. Jack took the laughter as his cue to preform.

Pumpkin Head. Here's how it goes.

Jack stumbled around the room with a pumpkin on his head, and Anna would yell “STOP!” as he got too close to the plants or precariously positioned drinks near the edges of furniture. He bent over slowly and picked up the jack-o-lantern lid, then stood back up and placed it on the top of his pumpkin head. Holding the pumpkin hat by the stem, he tipped it towards the loudest laughter. Muffled inside, it probably sounded like breathing and smelled like pumpkin breath.


Eagle Eyes

Eagle eyes, take me there, to that place that only eagle's eyes can see.
Open wide and blind me with the bigger picture. 

Look! Something is moving farther away than human eyes can see, but with these eagle eyes, I can see it now, clear as the sky above the clouds—sharper than a laser. Something is moving, far away.

Ah Ha! I'm going to get my binoculars and see just how much farther these eagle eyes can see.

It looks like something... no, wait... this is moving differently. This something is moving like a crowd of people who are running for their lives! And they are moving fast too! And... wow! There's something more! Behind them! Something bigger. Much bigger.

That's the thing with eagle eyes, you can easily forget that you are wearing them and everything can feel so much smaller because you are so much farther away.

The Much Bigger thing is a crowd of people—an enormous crowd of people. The smaller thing is a smaller crowd of people who all look scared—scared for their lives. The Much Bigger people all look like they are having the time of their lives chasing after the people who are running for their lives. I'm not quite sure who to root for. My first impulse is to root for the underdog, but they look so scared, and I can see it would be an unsafe bet. But I can't get myself to even want to root for the Much Bigger crowd when they all seem so perfectly happy. I don't want to root for the Much Bigger people! I just can't. Being so happy while making someone else so scared to fear for their life is just not something I can get behind.

Thank you again eagle eyes, for showing me what is coming my way. It always helps to be reminded that what you see with your eagle eyes is both a blessing and a curse. Already I feel the side effects. My face is stuck in that half-cringe you get when you see someone throw something soft and familiar at your face—like a pillow, or a water balloon. My face is stuck like that—waiting for something to make its impact—a soft smack first as the skin breaks, then what's inside crashes onto your face, splashing into your eyeballs, and up your nose.


Positive Thinking - Laughing Gas Memory

I'm telling myself that I need to be more positive, that if I am going to write, that I should write something positive, and steer myself away from all the negative descriptions I have been milling about, over and over, about how negative the description of my life can be. I realize it's a matter of language that forms the way you describe how you feel. I can just as easily pick out positive things to write about instead of the tried and true go-to negative things—all these negative things, like wet in a rain forest.

I'll try now, instead, to look less, rather than look harder. Looking too hard can strain your vision, and cause the world to appear coated in purpled anxiety. A Purple Haze. All around. I don't know if I'm coming up or down. Jimi Hendrix. Now there. See. That's a start. Positive things are still in my brain. They're leaking out like steam. I just have to keep chipping away through the layers of hardened mucus in my brain to make the steam-hole bigger, so these positive things can fill this thought chamber and choke me dead.

A positive thought escapes, and this one's a memory.

About ten years ago, I chipped my front tooth... okay I'm embarrassed to admit, but for the sake of reading something fondly later... I chipped my tooth on the sidewalk when I fell while rollerblading. I played roller hockey then, but even now, I still enjoy rollerblading, casually. It's fun. Oh whatever. I don't have to feel guilty about something I like doing. It's my positive memory anyway.

Ok, so, I chipped a chunk off my front tooth while rollerblading, and I went to the dentist a few days later to get it checked out. They decided that they could mix some epoxy and tooth-color together and build out the missing part of my front tooth... which is quite magical and unnatural, and the realization of how strange and fascinating living in a future where you can color-match fake teeth with dirty, old-colored real teeth must have set the tone for the Nitrous Oxide which was just beginning to be pumped into my nose, which I was told would help me relax and make my mouth feel numb.

I had never had laughing gas before, and when the dentist asked if I was feeling anything yet, I told him no... because really, I didn't feel anything yet. Even when he poked at my gums with his latex fingers, I told him that I could still feel them. He responded by telling me that he was going to turn the gas up a little bit, which he did, and then he turned to ask the assistant how the epoxy and tooth colors were mixing and matching. I laid back in the dentist chair with the rubber laughing gas cup over my nose and stared off into the medium-sized office landscape painting that was hanging on the wall near my feet.

The gas streamed through the metal valvessssssssssssssssss.
Mumbled-rumbled dentist's wordsssssssssssssss.
I felt myself moving. Ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssslowly.
Sssssssssomehow floating into the landsssssssssssscape painting, wondering if thissssssssssssss is what dying feelsssssssssssssssss like, because the way I imagined dying was sssssssssssssssssimilar to the way I was unable to talk or move my body, which would explain why everything looked darker but felt more ssssssssssssssssserene, like I'm asssssssssssssssssleep and dreaming about being awake, but with my eyesssssssssssssss still open and lying in a dentist'sssssssssssssssssssss chair. I wonder what the dentist and his asssssssssssssssssistant would do if they accidentally had killed me? I wonder if anyone has ever died in thissssssss dentist'ssssssssss chair like thisssssssssss before?

Mumble. Rumble. Mark.
Mark? Can you hear me?


Whew! Good. You were gone there for a little bit. I think we're ready to start. Open wide.


My broken tooth was patched.
My smile was repaired.
Something positive. There.


The Future Feeling

It feels like nothing is foreign anymore. I can only think that the future will feel even more crowded than it does today, with millions more people trying to fit inside the last little closets of space. If somehow everything goes smoothly, all the people will just stack on top of each other and live in one vast concrete city—with food being genetically grown for lack of ground, faster to meet demand.

It's either that, or something is going to burst and wipe out a huge lot of us in one fell swoop, like a plague or disaster, or war, or a mistake, or something even more sinister. Perhaps aliens would appear much like the pilgrims on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. With them come devastating bacteria and disease and viruses and religions that kill swiftly before anyone can figure out what is happening.