Monday, May 23, 2011

For Now

The weekend is gone. It has revolved to the back of the figurative line. Time seems to pass as if it were meaningless; as if it were a figment of our collective imaginations. In our memories, we will distill the past to only the necessary bits. Did something upset us? Delight us? Intrigue us? We shall file it away for later. Yet, a lot of the actual event shall become collateral damage; destroyed by nothing more than our disinterest in it.

I’m drinking wine and thinking. He’s reading a book that he has written and underlining and circling the errors. The others sit across from us and discuss matters which I’ve accepted as trivial. When we die, we won’t be remembered for this.

Earlier, the parade marches through town, oblivious to my existence. I go out of my way to avoid it. In what is neither an instant nor an eternity, it begins and ends. It is now entirely gone, while I remain. I am victorious, for now.

I eat a cupcake from a tray she has placed on the table. It is small, brown, and topped with a chocolate frosting. And cold; it is directly from the freezer. For how long should I internalize this memory? Of what use will it be to me in the future? For now, it remains. It is just as real as it ever was; just as I am. Men and women have lived and died, accomplished an untold number of things and passed out of thought. Congratulations, little cupcake.

You and I are victorious.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Broken Keys

I’m initially in a panic.

“I can’t use this. I need to use this. I use this a lot. What the fuck can I do now?”

I stare down at the instrument I’ve used to create my sad melodies for so many years, heartbroken. I’ve dreamed about replacing it. I’ve thought about being wealthy enough to buy the top of line replacement. I’ve always imagined that it would make me terribly happy to do so. Now, I just want it back in one piece.

I’ve done so much of my work with it; it is more than a tool, it is an old friend. In all my dreaming, I never imagined that it would simply be lost forever. I thought I kept it in such good condition. I thought it would last. I can’t afford to replace it now.

“I suppose I can try to work around those keys… Sometimes restrictions lead to further creativity.”

Plunking away, I instinctively press on a key, and it sinks, doing nothing. My head falls below my shoulders, and I let out a long sigh.

“This might take some work.”

Monday, May 16, 2011

Life on Mars, Part One: A little something about myself

It is sometimes surreal.

Walking around the more tourist friendly areas of the planet, I notice familiar foliage in foreign soil. Not that there are tourists here - the three-year travel time tends to put most people off of the shorter visits. Still, I see a lot of very familiar looking people here. They are nuclear families, usually with two or three children, and invariably dressed in expensive clothing that is made to look rather plain… possibly plain clothing that is made to be very expensive. One does need a healthy sum of disposable income to be living here, I suppose. Not me, of course; I'm exempt. I just happen to be lucky enough to be a charlatan parading around as a journalist. This place needs the documentation. They're all dressed up in their swimwear. Many of them are workers, who saw the opportunity to be a part of something historic and brought their families along. They must feel like pioneers. They wear shorts and bikinis, as if we they were gallivanting down the Pacific coast. I wonder about the younger children; do they remember Earth at all? Can they be considered native Martians? I should probably be writing this down.

The lakes here are deep. They are man-filled, but not man-made, so people contend that there is still plenty of exploration to be done. I don't know what they expect to find. Many are old volcano shafts, weaving deep through the planet until the heat and the pressure is enough to kill any living thing; anything we know of, at least. Sunken pirate treasure seems like a stretch. Even fish would be a shocking sight around here. Yet, I feel a strange tinge of disbelief to be floating upon the waters here, idly noticing the movement of unfamiliar moons, and imagining the Earth is now so far away. The dome, however, is a strong distraction from getting lost in your thoughts. I understand the necessity, but I feel like I'm someone's pet, trapped in a terrarium. It might be just like home if I could see far out into the ether, unhindered.

I suppose I should explain. This is a private journal, but no one writes a private journal without intending for someone to read it eventually. We are all vain and full of self-importance at our core; most people are simply less honest about it. I’m not here because I’m a pioneer, or an adventurer, or some brilliant writer. I’m here because I was bored and I needed the money. I am the wrong person to be doing this job. Then again, I’ve always felt like I was the wrong person, no matter what job I was doing. There is, fortunately, very little oversight. I could write about what I see, and what is really going on here, but that isn’t what they want anyway. There are lots of stories that get passed around here, originally based on truth, but turned to legend by oral tradition, and those are what really intrigue people. They might not be true, strictly speaking, but they’re true enough. Barring that, I just make something up. Creative writing was always my forte.

Today should to be my day off, as it were. I’m trying to relax, but I can’t really. There is something about this place that gives me a constant feeling of tension. At least, that’s my excuse. Alcohol is very expensive here, but they are talking about building a local brewery or refinery or whatever they need to make the liquor flow. It is telling that this has been my most pressing concern. I’ve been spending my entire check at that damn bar. Not that I need that money for anything else, but it would be nice to walk away with something after this. If people ever figure out that I’m full of crap, I might not be able to get another job. I think this rum might have gone to my head too quickly. It’s becoming difficult to focus.

“Hey, we’re closing.” A voice I don’t recognize emanates from a short distance away.

It is some time later, and I realize that I have fallen asleep. I’m the only person left, and it’s getting dark. That’s one of the symptoms of the alcohol. I seem to fall asleep randomly and uncontrollably. I usually know that it’s coming about ten minutes beforehand, but am so overwhelmingly tired that I can’t do anything about it. I suppose I should get out of the water now. Maybe freshen up my drink while I’m at it. Even though it’s my day off, I can’t relax. I have to start working on something, and I have to do it now. There is no pause between when I complete a story and the fear that I won’t be able to come up with the next one. I’ll have to hit the bar. It’s the best place to overhear chatter without having to attribute it to anyone in particular. It’s also one of few places that will stay open.

I take my usual seat, in the corner next to the wall. I enjoy having walls on two sides of me, it feels safe. It is as if the building is cradling me. There is a fairly good turnout tonight, despite being a Sunday. I say Sunday, but it isn’t really. We don’t have the same time here as on Earth, but we keep the calendar, because it is comfortable, like my corner spot. The workers here are very good drinkers. Writing is a profession that is littered with alcoholism, but I think these people have us beat. There’s something to admire there. Looking around the room, I can see stories on all their faces. One man has scars, and is grizzly looking. You can tell that he is not a family man. He pushes harder than most, and takes more risks. So far the risks have paid off, but they’ve left him with their mark. Someday, they’ll take him. This isn’t something that will appeal to my demographic.

There isn’t much tonight. I’m going to have to figure something out myself. I’m feeling like a feel-good story this time; something annoyingly heartwarming. Nothing pulls at people’s heart strings like a child. A child will discover something. It can’t be something terribly important though; that would be too obvious. It has to be something that is equally intriguing and insignificant. A piece of a lander, perhaps? Those have been missing for quite a while under the red sand. It’s just filler though. It’s bullshit to get through to another day. I have to find something great. I can’t just pass the days anymore; I have to make a name for myself here.

“Yes, I’d like another Irish whiskey, and make it double.”

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sad Sack

“Mark down another one.”

“Defeat.”

“This time, it was perpetual self-sabotage. A man goes through life with a certain degree of paranoia, and he’s bound to screw himself up. It’s difficult to relax, sometimes. It’s difficult to accept a situation, particularly if it’s a good one.”

“But, to do it every time; isn’t that a special sort of fucked up?”

“It’s more common than you’d imagine. Two or three times in a row, and suddenly they think ‘it will always be that way.’ Once they start believing that, they’ll start ensuring that it is always that way. The real surprise is how many chances a man gets.”

“It’s some bullshit; the whole thing is. Why should you make yourself miserable? Aren’t there enough things out there to do that for you?”

“You’re telling me.”

“Anyway, we should probably get these fucking hostages tied up and get the money.”

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cosmonaut

He had always loved his wife, but the distance between them had grown vast and perilous. The key word was 'wife;' he had not loved her nearly so often before then. They had their ups and downs, and he questioned the whole thing on many occasions. Did they stay together because it was easier? Had the tensions ultimately made them feel more attached to one another? Now, however, he loved his wife. Of course, the word love was utterly meaningless to him. He felt many different things - comfort, happiness, passion, attraction - but he could put names to all of them, and didn't feel the need to call any one of them love. Perhaps, he wondered, the combination of all of them was love. On some nights, he wondered if there wasn't another emotion, and he was simply incapable of feeling it.

He stared up at the sky, wondering what it was like to float through the vast emptiness of space and contemplate only the stars.