Big Pharma

She went for the job interview at the pharmacy and they said the last part was a lie detector test.

(She never forgot this it haunted her all her life.)

She was trying hard to find a job but no one believed she was. They thought she was trying to sabotage it so no one would ever hire her. People in her own family had no idea how hard she tried.

She had just lost a job as a waitress because she could not remember the seating of the tables fast enough and everyone chided her,

“You read so fast and you are so smart and yet you can’t even recall the placement of tables in a restaurant? You MUST be lying!”

‘Liar’

All the time she heard that word over and over like the words ‘witch’ and ‘crybaby’ and ‘loser’ and the list of words was endless. She was trying to get a job in the local pharmacy with the ‘shi shi’ girls. She really thought she could do it and the interview went so well….

She went into the office where they did the lie detector stuff and decided to be totally honest no matter what they asked. She did not rehearse anything. They hooked her up and she was terrified of the gadgetry but managed to mask her face. This was IT. She had to do well!

The man kept trying to get a reading. He adjusted the gear. He adjusted the terminals. He shook his head. He set the operation up twice and that made her even MORE nervous. Surely this was not going to wrong! She had failed so many times. She didn’t know why she was so smart and so stupid at the same time. All she knew was that most people hated her, jeered at her, or ignored her in embarrassment.

“What’s your name?”

She told him the truth.

Have you ever done drugs?

She told him the truth.

Every question she answered with bald honesty and he shook his head again and cut the interview short. He would not answer any questions.

She lost the job.

She went to the pharmacist and asked him point blank why she didn’t get the job. Her papa made her do it because he wanted to know what she was doing wrong in the interviews so that she could get a job.

“Why didn’t I get the job?” she asked the pharmacist.

“Well…” he looked down almost ashamed…”Well you lied about everything.”

“But I didn’t lie! You know my name and family and the answers! You know them before I gave them! The test was just incidental you know I answered truthfully YOU KNOW ME! My name is Mary Shannon McCloskey and I answered EVERY QUESTION with total honesty!”

He looked almost embarrassed and said, “I know you answered honestly but we can’t employ someone who thinks they are lying about their own name.”

She looked at the girls behind the pharmacy counter. All beautiful. All with perfect hair and teeth and smiles. The pharmacist reached out and scraped his finger on her nose. She hated that because her nose is what everyone made so much fun of. Her flat chest and her huge nose. He waved his finger in her face.

“Blackheads. You have blackheads.”

She dropped her head and went out to her papa’s sedan. She told him the truth. “They say I am a liar. I told them my real name and they say I am a liar. I told them the truth and they say I am a liar.”

Her papa’s face looked sardonic.

“You are a liar.”

She went back later to ask for that job if it wasn’t taken. There was an older woman behind the counter.

Ruth.

Ruth was not beautiful on the outside but she was on the inside and she watched that girl-who-always-failed ask for that job and called her over,

“Hun. I want to hire you.”

She looked over at the shi shi girls in their ivory tower and she looked at the hot grill and the bacon press and the soda fountain. She squared her shoulders and said, “Yes I will work for you.”

It was the first real job she was ever good at. She wasn’t very good at it at first but the clientele of one of the last ice-cream soda parlours in America were forgiving. Ruth did not mind her screw ups and soon she was the best damn grill cook ever and, at the end, could open and close the whole little corner on her own but every day she had to LOOK at the people she was ‘less than’.

One day she said a cuss word loud enough to hear it. She didn’t mean anything bad by it.

That old pharmacist came sailing around the corner and started to yell at her about using bad language in front of all the shi shi girls and the customers and everything. She lost it. She cried so hard that everyone in the store left. She forced the pharmacist to let her call her papa to come get her on the public telephone. She sat out on the curb for two hours and when he got there she was finished crying.

Dry as a dead bone in a desert. She had nothing to say to anyone for two days.

He was angry but not surprised. Why should he be surprised? She was a loser.

The Meaning of Truth

An old ‘frenemie’ and I were discussing the meaning of truth, as he was backpedalling on the issue, having found out that what I had told him was, indeed, the truth. After I posted my medical records online he messaged me saying that the people at the hospital were lying to me. He said my family was lying to me and everyone was lying to me. Now, not only was I a liar but everyone connected to me was also a liar because of those records.

Then he began to post about how all truth is a lie and how this means he really didn’t sleep with his best friend’s goof and how I was a gay man attacking him from 20 profiles. So I did attack him from five profiles since he gave me the idea and was calling everyone I knew a liar.

Since then I go back and read his page and find he still argues that all truth is a lie and nothing but illusion. That is probably why the red headed Russian girl named Olga left him. So today I am reminded of one exchange I made with him during one of the ‘attacks’ on him.

“So if truth is a lie then you are saying that I can fly without any aids other than my mind because gravity is a lie?”

“Yes, gravity is a lie.”

“Ok explain how gravity is a lie.”

“Well we are mostly all dark matter connected by vibrating strings….”

“Yes yes I understand that but what does that have to do with me being able to fly?”

“Well if you believe you are able to fly than you can fly.”

“OK Art Linklater’s son got bombed on acid and jumped off a building and went ‘kersplatt’ but his buddy said it was because he was sure, in his ‘enhanced’ state, that he could fly. He is not the only one that has done this. So you will tell the families of these dead boys they were liars because they believed they could jump off a building but they REALLY did not believe it but wanted to commit suicide and just didn’t admit it…”

“STOP! JUST¬†STOP YOU ARE MIXING THINGS UP!”

“No I’m not I am asking you what truth means and you obviously don’t know. Since you don’t know why don’t you test your theory and go jump off a building?”

“You so negative! No wonder people can’t stand you!”

“You are a liar so no wonder people love you!”

“I am NOT a liar! I am telling the truth!”

“Oh really? I thought there was no truth?”

Papa

Papa

We say goodbye
Each moment flies away
I never loved you enough

We

We loved so deeply it was hate
Our strong weakness
Belonging no where
To no one
Escaping any way we could

The unlivable moment

The unlivable moment
I fight the demons you left behind
You lived them
I let my mouth form your words
Until you could not stand
You use my eyes to see
I am now in your tracks
You walk with me now
The future of lost impossibilities

You tried so hard
Inspiring death
You tried to be
Inspiring fear
A man no one taught you to be
Inspiring awe
Working each idea each day
Hurling prayers in tornadic winds
Throwing time away
A force like Nature
For all our sakes

A Titan

A baby crying
The bloody walls
You tried to teach me
The bloody halls
You tried so hard
The moment peace came
Intensity without a name
In golden strength
Singing away the years
Until you sang
Tears slide into tears
Waves of life away
One tear slides
Full of burning water

The saddest part
That loved never loved
Of each of you
Full of your heart
Screams in my head
Every tear falling now
Old lullabies

Old lullabies
Can we start everything again
When love was a river
Walk against this limit
When there was a family
Papa take my hand
When there was a chance
To

LIVE

Dust

Ruhkjao!

She stood in front of the horse-shoe shaped table with the mountain of evidence she had gathered and his mothers standing beside her. Although she was terrified to speak in front of crowds she did speak in front of this crowd ,of suits and briefcases, without passing out. They were number 72 to speak before the pardon and parole board.

Almost the last in line.

Most of the day they had watched as case after case was rejected for parole. Most of those who presented the pardon and parole cases were attorneys but their attorney had not bothered to show up. He had told the man’s mother there was no chance for pardon or parole the day before.

She took the man’s mother with her, in her car, anyway the next day.

Before they entered the courthouse the man’s mother turned to her and said, “The girl who was in love with him came and pleaded on his behalf today. She claims he left you because living with you was more like living with another man that with a woman. She claims he told her you never wanted to cook or clean or have sex or be like a woman and that was why he left you for her.”

She hung her head. This was true but this was a man who was completely incapable of taking care of anyone but himself. Up to that point she had paid most of the rent and quit drinking and all those things BY HERSELF and STAYED WITH HIM and EVEN LET HIM bring the girl home and the he had chosen the girl over her and the girl had an accident with a baby that they called murder, even though it was not, and he had taken the blame from her because he loved her and once he was cuffed she had left him high and dry.

Her best buddy.
Her best friend.

She even loved him ‘like that’ once upon a time, before he left her for a girl 10 years younger who was still same brand of party animal he was, and went ‘straight’ in a world that left her so alone that death seemed preferable to life and IN SPITE of ALL THAT she was pursuing her degree and was already guaranteed a job as an adjunct professor at the local state college.

She stood up before the board and presented her evidence. her stomach lurched as a series of humiliating questions was given her; one by each member of the group.

“Do you promise to cook and keep the house if we leave him in your care?”

She looked at them all squarely and said, “Yes!” With her head held high and his mothers hand gripping hers under the podium.

“Do you promise to do your ‘wifely duties?”

“If you mean sex sir, yes I will!”

This series of questions seemed to be more important than the fact he was innocent and as they humiliated her she stood up anyway and answered every single question in the horse shoe shaped hell.

As she answered each question a wall built in her heart. She was being accused of not being woman enough to keep a man happy and out of trouble because of the testimony of the girl who had gone before her earlier in the day. Her heart became like a stone. She did not want to stay married to this man. All this she had done for him and…

…if he got out he wanted her to become like her mother.

Well if that was what he wanted he was going to have to become like her father!

They let him go and she gave him the terms that she had in her heart if she was to leave love, career and everything that had come to define her, in the dust of time for the sake of his release and he promised to be that man.

He tried.
He really tried but he was not that kind of man.

Some years later she divourced him and cried while she drove away with her father who was still living. She had nothing at all to show for that moment honour…

…nothing at all but dust.

Jaffary and the Bush People

The world was fresh then. New and bright and full of promise we were immortal and had not yet faced the things that life would serve us. We had cried many tears already and had no idea how many more we were to cry. We thought we had already suffered more than the world needs any human being to suffer but we had no idea what suffering really was. We were epic. We were so certain of every part of Life.
They called us ‘The Bush People’ and we were that. We were an odd little group of people knit together by some strange diplomacy that allowed a mix of extremes that would not, normally, be allowed. We had a minor reputation.
It began on an Ivy League college campus 1000 years ago just yesterday. That day a man I knew only as ‘Jaffary’ had invited me to coffee in the hostel across from the campus and what was supposed to be a social meeting quickly turned into a fencing match. While we sipped up a whole pot of caffeine spiked coffee this man, wearing an expensive three-piece suit, tried to convince me to go up to his room with him.
“Why should I? We can talk down here just fine.”
It was the end of the days of the Oil Boom. I was 24 years old. I thought I was ancient.
“You can make ALOT of money if you come with me!”
“If you mean the kind of money women make for sex I have been there and done that. I am not interested.” I sipped my third cup of coffee actually enjoying the verbal fencing with this guy but also feeling a chorus of danger singing in the back of my head. This made the whole situation even more piquant. I should have long gone of course but I had to stay to see the snake charmer in action…
…being an Ophiuchus.
“You are beautiful…” he went on praising me and I almost blew hot coffee through my nose trying not to laugh. “…we need models to show off cars and clothes for our company and you would be perfect.”
I smiled at him, “You are lying but this is interesting. I told you I have been there and done that and you are trying to sell me this idea so you can sell me?”
His face changed then. I went to the bathroom and came back and he poured me some more coffee with a smirk on his face and then smiled and said, “Have one more cup for the road and I will leave you alone.” Something told me that would be a bad idea and I turned him down, politely, and left. He stalked me on campus for a little while and that is how I met, and became, one of the ‘Bush People.’
I crossed the road back to the campus and went to English Class and the teacher there instantly disliked me. The feeling was mutual. I was a ‘back bencher’ at the time and he was sitting two rows ahead of me. Just before she called the roll, on the first day of class, I called out in front of the whole class, “Hey you with the long hair!” There was only one of him with long hair. He knew this although he did not turn around to look right away. “You have beautiful hair!”
He laughed. That was the perfect laugh: angelically evil. “Thank you!” he said while the teacher gave us a dirty look and called roll. (The teacher loved handsome guys, it turns out, and ended up liking him and hating me because I got to hang out with him.)
After class he came up to me and smiled.
He had vampire teeth and I loved that. Real ones not fake caps. I was talking to a real life vampire that ‘sparkled’ before that sort of thing ever existed. We went to the student union and I let him eat all my pizza. As we walked out we found out we also had psychology class together and I saw Jaffary, with a briefcase, following us. I looked at my new friend and had to tell him what had happened before class.
“He is following us he is right back there…look…”
I pointed but Jaffary was gone.
He grinned like a happy devil. “If you see him again don’t point or act like you saw him. Just tell me and I will kill him for you.”
I was in love.
We would never be lovers but, in all the years, he would become among those I never forgot.
The Guro

Bobble Heads

Flat bottom
Fat white
Cotton ball fluff
Grey flat bottom slap
Sitting on an inverted glass dish
Under the blue sky barely hiding black
Bus heads bobble head bob
Bump rhythms
Any minute now
Free-style
Dis embark
Dis ambiguities
Rude local names wind
Talks on everyone’s cells
Overriding important conversation
About destiny

Jinx

We only bothered with the radiation suits so we would live longer and be able to do more to stop the leak from killing millions of people. The longer we stayed alive the more we could achieve and the less time those who came after us would have to risk their lives. People were calling this a ‘suicide mission’ but none of us thought of our lives as a loss. It was so sudden we had no time to think about the afterlife but we all had an idea of how things would be.

“Jinx do you have any kids?”

“No, Henry, I never got married and I guess maybe I scared off the gals!”

Jinx grinned at me with those wildly crooked teeth. He looked at little crazy but he would not be working here with us if he had not been in the top 10% IQ range of those who had applied to work here. Even an engineering degree was not enough. We called him ‘Jinx’ ’cause he seemed doomed to fail at attempts to lure the ‘fairer sex.’

“Don’t worry you’ll get 70 virgins when we are done.”

“HAWWWWW HAWWWWW!!!!!! Neither of us is the right religion! You screwed up atheist!”

“Hey, according to YOU God doesn’t care if I am an atheist!”

Jinx got quiet. I watched him and he turned to look at me…

“They will say we were heroes. It won’t matter what religion any of us are. Hey let’s catch up to the others they will think we are not eager to die!”

Jinx laughed and ran ahead.

The group I worked with had been specifically chosen for the highest risk work. We were all young, unmarried, and, as far as any of us knew, without children. There were no women in our group although I suppose there could have been if any had wanted to join us. None had wanted to join us. We worked in the parts of the plant that exposed us to the highest potential amounts of radiation. We never thought the worst would happen but it had and as the alert sirens went off we did the safety regimen and donned the suits and as we got ready, in as few seconds as possible, to contain the damage already being done as quickly as we could. We already has sworn an oath among ourselves that, if the worst ever occurred, we would give our lives freely for the common good. This happened on our shift so we were keeping that promise and it seemed strange that not a single one of us was frightened at what would soon happen. We ran, as fast as the suits allowed, into the radioactive fires we were to fight.

Jinx and I lasted the longest. He fell, and I kept working alone while others had come and gone. They could not take any of our bodies out of those of us who stayed. With each minute I was there my determination to eradicate this fiery hell grew into a singular intent so strong that I watched my body keep moving some minutes after I had left it. They would tell stories, that would be forgotten, in the years following the accident. Stories about Henry, the man radiation could not kill….

….30 years later a team of scientists were studying a new bacteria that was eating the radiation inside the reactor. They were astonished at how closely it resembled human melanocytes. Behind the team of scientists and just above them was another team of men the scientists could not see. The unseen men were speaking unheard words…..

“Henry, check this out!”

“Hey Jinks it looks like we had kids after all!”

“Huuuuuuhhhhh!!!!! BACTERIA! HAWWWWW HAWWWWWW!!!!!”

“We wanted to save people so badly we sent our intent into every cell of our being and so they kept going after we left!”

Jinx just grinned his wild man snaggle toothed grin.

 

Tales of the Bus

The sun-down prayer is over. Thinking back on the day there was an atmosphere of family at the terminal. People were hanging out there like it was the city’s outdoor parlour. “Hey homey where you bin last I heard you was down in Dallas!” said the man to a woman sitting on the bench with me. Someone was yelling at me from the station of bus 10 and jumping up and down and waving at me. I could not see her clearly she was so far away and the woman next to me turned to say, “Hi! Your name must be Shannon, mine is Julie, where you goin’ to t’day?” Everyone was smiling and the weather dry and fine after two days of rain.

When I got up today the clouds were clearing after the early morning fog caused every window to drip condensation from the outside instead of the inside like winter time. A man with an old push-mower was making the grass bleed that smell of green around my feet the ants scrambled by the spider holes still covered against the flood the night before…

Going out on knees that feel broken in rubber sandals targets for the tiny red arthropods who match the dirt they scurry through before they bite your ankles and your toes so no one smart wears a tight shoe. I flopped the flap front of my cotton caftan over the top of the walker so it would not catch in the wheels that keep me rolling home. The hems of my pant legs just getting a little wet from the still standing dew left in the shade of the tree I pass beneath to make it to the bench where we all sit and wait and about tomorrows weather we debate and make comments about the heat and how great it is that it’s too moist for dust to fly along the street.

“I see you got one of those old lady walkers, girl you doan look that old,”
“Why thank you that is very kind you also look too young to need the one you have…”
“Haha thank you I got this after knee surg’ry made my knees much worse an’ if they tell you you have to have it say ‘no’ ’cause I done wish I had tol’ them ‘no’ mysef…”

The bus tops the hill by the pharmacy and the emergency and hoots to a grinding stop-hiss-drop and we board for our destinations.

Dear WordPress,

There is an option at Facebook, that some enterprising souls have come up with, to make your Facebook a hard or soft print copy of all your activity. It only disallows ‘Notes.’ (That is the only thing I would spend money on to have reproduced from that site.)

Is there any way that the same thing could be offered here for a similar price and if it already is offered can anyone tell me how to access it?

The offering at Facebook runs on the number of pages reproduced. The cost runs a rough 75.00 to 200.00 to publish one ‘book’ depending on the format. I would rather publish what I have here and pay for that than I would my Facebook Status set.

I would have contacted you in the “Howdy” pop up box but it is down for the hols.

So what say y’all?

You want any money for a print form of my stuff?

Signed,

Me

…………..

He walked next to the far away daughter. He could not touch her as long as she lived in their world. They had driven her to madness. Why he cared was beyond him. She had chosen to spend this time as a human, before leaving his world. Walking with her he found himself understanding the differences in the concept of time. How that tiny slice of time she would live in was forever. It made his own forever also seem short. He never bothered to think about time until she left to be born into their world. At first he was very angry. He did not care how much she was tormented or what it did to her but now…the desolation and she still smiled?

He hid his form in the branches of the trees. He watched her collect feathers. With a sense of mercy he asked all the birds present to drop feathers for her to find. In Nature she had learned the meanings of Pain, Life, Death and what it felt like for a creature to take it’s last breath in her hands. He tried to teach her everything he knew but the harder he tried the more blasted her mind became. He possessed everyone around her. He loved her too much for just a daughter.

Maybe that was why she left?

Why was it that what was only a day in his world seem to last the eternity she now felt in hers…the eternity that was growing shorter.

Her grandmother hid all these centuries.

He hung his head in shame.

The man who was her father was only a man yet, when possessed by himself, turned into the madman that had to teach her these things. He saw the world through human eyes. He dropped to the ground sobbing. He asked again and again the Master of Creation to please speak to him but there was no Word, as there had been in the Beginning.

The horrible sin of his thoughts translated itself to all present and yet she seemed impervious to everything no matter how evil it was she responded as a child responds…always as a child. She never knew how much the man she called ‘papa’ loved her or why it frustrated him so much to feel the same things…

…people called him evil. He must be evil.

“Who is crying? It is raining and it is warm so someone must be crying.”

He was very quiet then. Containing all the sobs until his throat hurt. The sunlight dotted her small face with gold that matched her curly hair and sky blue eyes. That serious little face that had stopped smiling. The one that stopped hearing all the things around her and could make people disappear into nothing. He could ‘see’ her mind. It was so much like his own. How could this be when she had so little of the bloodline in her? How could she know these things?

“If you want some feathers you can have them. They are soft and pretty. Look at them.”

There they were, cupped in her hands while she looked up into the tree directly at him with human eyes that could not see him. The feathers of blue and white, red, and yellow-gold.

“You don’t have to cry.”

He almost said something back to her before he realized she would not hear a word but only see the images he spoke. He watched a woman come and lead her away, back to the other human children. He watched them taunt her and make fun of her and she saw that she had retreated from them to the point that whatever she did had no bearing on what they did. No interaction nor any reason for it. He walked beside her while she became the wooden doll and the woman led her into the building and into the classroom. The feathers were now hidden under her shirt.

Full Bus

Full Bus

Red faced from heat running
Crossing the street stout homeless
Desperation to know a direction
Hoping for the solace of a seat
Going to a known destination
Not allowed to stop for his flagging
Wave almost giving up from weak
The bus stopped only at the designate
Driver instructor onboard
Coveted seats taken
Hissing doors open
A man pleads and they shake their heads
Resolute that they cannot change direction
They cannot go to a hospital
They cannot help
He needs to catch an outbound bus
We are inbound
The routes cannot change

Please please

The man begged for the hospital
We could not take him
Doors hissed closed
Passing in the roar of start again
I saw the sound of his mouth
Open in a silent scream
While a man screamed with him
A crazy man
From the back of the bus
Clutching his belly
Overhanging in suffering
The hot summer day
Full bus

Blood Beads

After the sun went down
Sitting on the bed
Hands cupped and arms
Extended as if to catch
The light man made
Fell
Without pity or remorse
The traces of pain highlighted
In long scars upon me
Needle sharp and razor thin
Memories of pain
Felt to cover other pain
Until pain became relief
Punishment for not being
Small enough
Dainty enough
The bloody traces now white threads
On arms of wench that would hold a prince
But never could not being hot enough for more than simple lust
Lust understood as nothing more than a hole for relief

The way sharp things felt
Dragged deeply upon skin
To pay for not being quite good enough

Arms now freckled with age
And memory that is almost forgotten
Most of the time

But moments when the long sleeves fall open
The light reveals past symphagonies of pain
That
Once torn and bloodied
Brought supreme peace
Knowing that being nothing meant nothing

If he said
Stupid cow or if he chose another over me

Out came sharp metal
Sliced flesh
Bloody beading
Flayed for enmities of love

Now pallid white threads
Writing that forever tells

I Never Saw Another Butterfly (Title from a play by Celeste Raspante)

It was 1979. I was in theatre classes at the school because those were the people who didn’t mind if I crawled under my desk when things got too intense.

They were going to have a school play and, it being little Bohemia and so many with first or second generation memories of the holocaust on one side or the other, (mostly the white side), the teacher decided a play about the holocaust would be a great idea!

I was happy. She chose a play where the type of first leading lady was not defined!!! I had a chance!

Always second. Always background but now???? Maybe now a chance!
I practiced every line and memorized it all so that I could read it like a pro!
I had the leading lady down pat!

I went for the reading and was standing in line waiting and before I even had a chance another girl got it.

I went to the teacher.

“Why didn’t you give me a chance to read for the part?”

“Hon the part calls for someone who looks like a little child.”

“The part calls for a teenager and nothing more. I am a teenager. We are all teenagers.”

“Well I wanted someone delicate looking and small.”

“I only weigh 110 pounds!”

“Yes but you are TALL! But you have the right colouring and I can’t get anyone to play the part of the Nazi’s.”

Oh great! I looked like a Nazi!

“Hon you could really help me if you played the Nazi mom?”

My heart plummeted and I agreed to help her. I had a bit part. Two lines.

When I came onstage I was so angry I over played them and the audience died laughing. For WEEKS afterwards I walked down the halls and people said,

“Heil HITLER!” And slammed their heels together and saluted.

Meanwhile my sister got popular for doing back flips in a mini skirt.

Yeah I was doomed to be the cheesy joke lady for the rest of my life.