Ladybug & A New One

Ladybug & A New One

“Mother-fucking fucking-fucking christ,” Ladybug screams while storming about. “I am not screaming, and you did not use an exclamation point,” Ladybug sternly explains with its middle two … arms … rested upon its … hips? “Yes, hips will do for the sake of, what’s the word?, the, oh right, the imagination,” Ladybug nods, this time, with its middle two arms crossed across its … chest? Ladybug rolls its eyes as its middle two arms fall loosely by its … “Sides goddammit! Sides!” Ladybug shouts. “Yes, thank you. I am shouting now,” Ladybug thanks. “You totally suck at this, bee-tee-dubs,” Ladybug enunciates. “You’re allowed to speak,” Ladybug speaks. Curiously, Ladybug brings this to the attention of no one in particular and contemplates the validity of its perception of … reality. “What is it with you and your linguistics?” Ladybug asks, and continues, “Why do you not know anything?” A squirrel appears in the distance. “Yea, you can wiggle away this time,” Ladybug scoffs … “It’s more of a huff. That’s how the other one used to put it; I liked them better,” Ladybug huffs. “No, I’m not huffing now. Ugh, why do you suck so much?” Ladybug asks, this time, as it flutters off toward the apparent squirrel. “I don’t flutter!” Ladybug shouts as its distance grows closer to the squirrel.

“Sup, Lady,” the squirrel greets with a lift of the chin. “What’s with this one?” the squirrel points, with a thumb over its shoulder. “It’s Margaret,” the squirrel … “Margaret,” Margaret introduces, although one would never be able to guess the gender of a squirrel just by looking at them. “She/her is fine,” Margaret admits. Ladybug rolls its eyes and perches itself atop the acorn in Margaret’s … hands? “Yea, hands are fine where universal descriptions are concerned,” Margaret approves while waving the acorn around in one hand as Ladybug flutters to stay on top of it (the acorn). “Where did this one come from?” Margaret asks Ladybug. “The older woman off’d the last guy,” Ladybug shrugs. A lie. “What?” Margaret wonders with great concern as she, too, rolls her eyes. “The main problem with this one is that it won’t speak,” Ladybug gestures with feigned exhaustion. “Oh,” Margaret sighs. “Well, what’s this all about?” Margaret finally asks. The two glance over at nowhere in particular with an … impatient? … look? “Can it just shut up?” Margaret asks. “Unfortunately,” Ladybug begins, “I do not possess such power.” “If I look, I’ll stare,” Margaret admits. “Yea, this one’s a cutie,” Ladybug flirts. The two continue to stare.

More than a few minutes pass. “When were you last?” Margaret wonders, seemingly aloud. “It’s such a long story,” Ladybug laments with another big huff. “Very well, have you seen the Listmaker?” Margaret offers. “Oh. My. God. Yes. This was when everything started to go wrong, but nobody seems to know what’s going on,” Ladybug explains. “That seems about right,” Margaret states while stroking her chin with her left free hand as the right continues to gently toss the acorn up into the air with Ladybug still fluttering to stay atop it. “Okay, I know where you need to go,” Margaret concludes. “Thank Bromide,” Ladybug shouts … “Ugh, you forgot the exclamation point,” Ladybug corrects; “Here, I’ll do it again. Thank Bromide!” Ladybug’s excitement reaches its normal high as all of its flying apparati deploy, and Ladybug does a little happy dance. “Where, Margaret? Tell me, where do we need to go?” Ladybug asks, huffing and puffing for air after exerting itself beyond its normal daily physical movement. “Shut up,” Ladybug scoffs, at no particular one. “No, I’m talking to you,” Ladybug states with an over exaggerated eye roll.

Margaret clears her throat, “You need to find her” Ladybug plops itself down onto its … butt? “Haunches, the other one used to call them my haunches,” Ladybug offers as Ladybug plops itself down onto its haunches. “What’s the problem?” Margaret asks. “Obviously, we know this. Well, not this one, the other one and I, ‘we’ know this,” Ladybug states while leaving out the obvious that everything that needs to be known will be known by those who need to know. “Oh, well, that’s what I know,” Margaret admits. “That’s what everyone knows,” Ladybug explains.

The two sit in silence for a moment, a bit discouraged. “A bit?” Ladybug whisper-asks, greatly discouraged, nearly suicidal. “Alright, watch it,” Ladybug pleases as if in threat. “Yea, I am your greatest threat, Lingerer,” Ladybug threatens, for sure, this time. It becomes increasingly difficult to know exactly what and how it is that ticks off Ladybug in just the right way to make it intolerable to be around. “It’s you,” Ladybug points; “It’s always you.”

Stay At Home, Dad.

Stay At Home, Dad.

Alright, here’s something petty, perhaps something petty enough to warrant a Petty Report. The thing is that my dad, an old white man, has refused to Stay Home during “The Virus.” And now, after realizing that he must, he has essentially held his good behavior hostage for some of my writing. He’s made a deal with my brother as well, but I do not know exactly what it is that he (my dad) is getting from him (my brother). What he’s “requested” from me is one essay for each week that he “behaves” and stays home, piddles around the neighborhood, goes nowhere non-essential, which is nowhere as the material needs he needs may be delivered, etc., and no expenses. Yes, he requires extensive medical care, but none of them are urgent in nature; they are chronic.

So, if he just stays inside and listens to everybody about how he just needs to not be so stubborn and selfish, then he would simply do the right thing. Instead, he wants something in return. Again, like aforementioned, I do not know what he is getting from my brother, but what he wants from me is writing about this goddamn virus! He wants to know what I thought about it as it was all ramping up; he wants to know what I think about it now as we’re in the throes of it, and he greedily wants to know what I will think about it once it all has died down. I have no idea how many essays this will turn into as there are no knowns at this point, but I am to send them to him on a weekly basis every time he’s a good boy for a whole week. OMFingG. My father is a child.

And I’m his child, so I have no other option than to be petty about it, to almost refuse his wishes to teach him a goddamn lesson about stubbornness. But then, I’m just being stubborn. Ugh. And yes, I am well aware of how my “problems” are not real problems.

As Inquisitor

As Inquisitor

“I do not know why Mox lies so readily, ma’am, but in his defense, at least the lies are part of his overall character or lack thereof.”

“Of course. You do seem to be right about that. Where is he now?”

“I’m not sure, and none of the others have seen him in some time.”

“How much time is some time, dear?”

“I believe the last person who saw him was Uldin during the Bias.”

“How do you know of this?”

“A guarantor requested … ”

“Of course. Who is the most-capable person to find him?”

“Ma’am?”

“Yes.”

“If Mox is hidden, there is no way to find him.”

“There are ways. He has been found in the past, and this will not be the last time he hides, of course.”

“Who would you like for me to send?”

“Do not send anyone. Bring someone to me.”

“Right away, ma’am.”

> . . . <

“Do you know why you are here, Lingerer?”

“To tell the story, I believe.”

“How is it that you know the story?”

“Many years ago, I stumbled upon a different story that seemed to have no end, and so, I began my search to find its end.”

“And that is how you found yourself here?”

“Yes, ma’am. The story is being told as I watch it unfold.”

“Do you not know the end?”

“Yes.”

“I see. Please, proceed.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course.”

They sit in a lofty room, circular, cylindrical actually, and above their heads a large, round stained glass window spreads wide and fills the ceiling completely. Directly centered in the circular room, the older woman sits comfortably upon a rod-iron chair, facing one of the four doors that are equally placed around the circle’s wall, and in front of her sits a small loo table that supports a small, pink, carnival glass plate of crumpets, a stack of old-Earth tea cups and saucers and a glass, self-sieving teapot.

The day seems strange, full of tension as various individuals swarm in and out of the older woman’s office chambers after being called in, one-by-one, to be interrogated about yesterday’s incident. The older woman, of course, understands all and thus knows the cause of said incident, but the repercussions are what concern her, and the only way for her to understand what will be is to figure out the reason the incident happened in the first place. The older woman, feels the intensity in the air, a shift, the clouds no longer sway in a misty formation of carelessness; they know something. “Please, Kira,” the older woman shouts aloud throughout the room despite the fact that Kira stands outside the room. Immediately, the doors to the older woman’s left open as Kira ushers in the next person in question as the current person in question grabs a crumpet as the older woman abruptly dismisses the person with a wave of the hand and a, “Good. Don’t come back.”

For hours, people are summoned from every turn within walking distance to sit and chat with the older woman. Some have a small idea about who the older woman is, but most have no idea who she is or why they are there. Those who know of the older woman easily comply and follow the person who approached them. Those, however, who do not know the older woman, despite the oddity of the situation, do not know whether or not they have the right to decline the offer, if it even is an offer. Thus, all arrive into the office a bit scared, fearful, confused and sometimes quite resistant and demanding. The older woman flexes a certain amount of power and nobody seems to know how it is that she is able to do so. Nevertheless, the vast majority of people within the Orbital do not know the older woman, but for some reason, everyone seems to know of her.

The questions are simple enough, and everyone who arrives usually ends up feeling proud of their own competence. They, of course, have no idea for what the older woman probes, since great pains have been taken to keep the questioning reasonable and plain. Little effort, though, is made to comfort the fearful person in question. The older woman usually begins with a minute or so of pure silence, which ultimately leads to the offering of tea and crumpets to break the silence, “Tea? Crumpets? Sugar and cream are unavailable.” Once the person in question seems to calm down a bit, not to say that all ever calm down, and in fact, there were, on quite a few occasions, those who refused to even acknowledge the older woman’s demand that all be questioned. Eventually, however, they all comply because, “Frankly,” the older woman states as she casually sips some tea, “you must.” Once all of the niceties are established and the person in question realizes that the interrogation revolves around the incident and not around them personally, the older woman decides to make it about them, “Who are you, and where do you live?” Most, of course, begin to feel uncomfortable again as the older woman probes ever deeper into the personal lives of those being questioned. Some, of course, like the attention. Despite the overall consensus that the people in question are answering the older woman’s questions honestly, the older woman feels frustrated at the people’s overwhelming lack of insight and information, since, “For to know anything, one must first know one’s self; it’s no wonder that all of these people have wasted my day.” Angry now, the older woman takes a deep breath, exhales, stretches her neck as she sits up tall in her chair, “Kira, please.”

A moment later, Kira appears before the older woman. “Perhaps,” the older woman states, “since hours have been wasted, turns of a farther distance ought to be searched as well.” “But ma’am, does everyone who potentially understands the incident need to be interrogated?” Kira asks shyly. “Of course not, dear,” the older woman states to obviate further discussion. Kira knows better than to press the matter, thus, with this instruction, the older woman’s staff quickly sets out in an attempt to find out to what extent the incident is known.

“That’s enough,” the older woman commands with a raised hand, and continues, “No, that … Please, that’s enough.” The older woman looks at me. “Stop it!” the older …

“That … Stop it!”

“Ma’am?”

“Must the command be repeated yet again?”

“I’m sorry. I just don’t understand what it is that you want.”

“What is it that you do understand?”

“You want me to stop telling the story?”

“Of course.”

“Oh, okay.”

“Leave us.”

“But ma’am …”

“The daggers that stare hear the words of each whisper that fuels the flame of the conceited.”

When the mind wanders …

When the mind wanders …

I’m about to sit in silence for the majority of this entire day as I read and write and contemplate my life. Why? Because I must. Why? Because, lately, every day I have been having to deal with shit that I’ve never had to deal with before these days.

Everything is new but not necessarily shiny. Everything is different but not necessarily unfamiliar. Everything is challenging but not necessarily overwhelming. Everything is overwhelming but not necessarily unmanageable.

And all at the same time, I must continually remind myself that, “Everything is nothing.” And ultimately, I’m alone in this world.

These American bootstraps are made of rubber.

It’s that great ‘ol American Dream of These United States—individuality—to be able to do and pursue the thing(s), the life(ves) that I want/need/must obtain in order to be and feel fulfilled. And I must achieve all of these things on my own, and if I’m given any help along the way, I should be grateful.  Am I being treated poorly, or am I just being insecure? At eight in the morning, these thoughts cannot be brushed aside.

I know what I’m supposed to do; I know where I’m supposed to go, but the how seems to be the bit about which everyone knows very little. How?, they ask. You do!, they exclaim. But what?, I ask. Whatever you want!, they exclaim again. But how do I figure out what I want?, I ask. Ask yourself what you want to do!, they exclaim. And then do!, they exclaim again. And again, the how is lost.

Nobody wants to hear you.

I hear them say. Over and over I am pummeled by the reality that not only do I not matter, but also, it’s impossible to matter. Who, honestly, matters? You reveal your own importance by creating that importance, but to create one’s own importance reveals a true lack of it (one’s importance).

A sphere being pulled by one hundred thousand tiny suction cups, away from the center, outward, stretching the film of the mind suspended at its core. Pop—the perfect pinging petite pop of a tightly held thing set free—pop, pop, pop, pop, POP. All she wants is to run away. But where will she go and truly be happy? She knows there is nowhere. She knows there is no one. She knows that when all else fades and all else fails, alone she will be when her alive self becomes dead. 

The mind is not a palace it’s a cage. But within the minds of others is where I feel trapped. The perception, the perspective on a perception that all must be … translated.

When the mind wanders, where does it go?

An Assistant & A Lingerer

An Assistant & A Lingerer

“It is not a matter of good versus bad, nor is it a matter of what might be better or best. The issue revolves solely around determining what proves to be the most productive way to not only disseminate but also, to communicate the story.”

“That sounds like a matter of best-ness, ma’am.”

“Assuredly, it is not.”

“Why then am I here at all?”

“Everyone ought to be given a chance, if only one. Do you not agree?”

“I agree.”

“Perfect. Pray tell then how it is that you shared this story with people who have repeatedly shown that they do not deserve to know this story.”

“I didn’t tell anyone. I would never point at that which ought not be pointed.”

“Then who pointed?”

“Ma’am, I promise that I do not know who would do such a thing.”

“I believe you.”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

“There is one small problem, however.”

“Ma’am?”

“Stop right here.”

“I thought … ”

“Go ahead, look through the window into that room there.”

“ … ”

“Ah, but now you know the problem.”

“ … ”

“Who is that?”

“I … I can’t remember.”

“I believe you.”

“You do?”

“Of course not.”

“Honestly, ma’am, I do not remember.”

“Which is it? You do not remember, or you cannot remember?”

“Please. I … I just … What do you want from me?”

“Nothing, Lingerer. We’ve already discussed how this apparently has nothing to do with you.”

“No?”

“No.”

“Then why am I here?”

“Well, it’s simple really. The story was told, and of course, by now, you must have some small insight into who it is who must have told. No?”

“Yes, I do believe I understand.”

“Good. So, if you do not know that person sitting but a few feet away, then you’ll gladly enter the space to gather a more-rounded sense of his account.”

“Yes. Anything for you ma’am.”

“Excellent.”

“Am I to question him now?”

“Of course.”

“I see.”

“Is there a problem?”

“ … No … ma’am … I … what … What is it exactly am I supposed to ask him?”

“That is why you are here.”

“Understood.”

“One other quick thing, Lingerer.”

“Yes.”

“Be quite quick.”

“But I don’t know what it is that you want.”

“You can imagine what it might be, however, yes?”

A Few Things About Friendship

A Few Things About Friendship

After a year-long global excursion of procrastination, the lifemate and I have settled back into (we’ve been here for about four full months) our home state. Honestly, we’ve sort of been dreading this arrival due to the fact that there are simply too many people to catch up with, reconnect with, etc., etc., &c. Today marks the fourth day of March, and I’ve already had social engagements with people from my past every single month this year, AND April and July and October already contain bookings. I’m not trying to reveal how vibrant or lame my social life is, what I’m trying to reveal is the thing about friendship. Whether or not I am capable of such a feat (writing about the thing about friendship, not the having of friends) still remains unknown, but alas, the day is Wednesday and that means that I must write to this here Report.

The friend I saw yesterday, for Arbitrary Day, is a very old friend, someone I have known since before I was aware that I knew them (for the sake of the triviality of gender), i.e. our families are friends. I have not seen this friend since late 2012, just before my parents moved out of my “hometown” and the summer before I was to leave for Seoul for the next five-to-six years. They are a dear friend, and the strange part is that I was never super close to her when we were young. We shared a lot of the same extracurriculars (even traveling to South Africa for the same opportunity at the same time but being parted into separate groups), and we got along well, but close is not how I would describe us. I do not hold any of their secrets, nor do they hold mine, and yet, we are so very close simply because we share so many frames of reference, and we know a lot of the same people.

And that’s the strange thing about friendship because I also have a very new friend to whom I have grown very close, very quickly, and I feel so much closer to this person than I do the friend I’ve known all my life, and at the same exact time, I know that the old friend can be relied upon in a way that no new friends really can. All of this probably also has something to do with the thing about time, and the thing about time is something about which I basically know nothing. So, there’s that.

And then there was the friend who fit snugly in the middle. I have known this friend for a little over ten years, and we have been through some shit together. This friend, therefore, I realized fell in a category all their own: a person with whom we are close and with whom we are long-term friends. Meaning, our closeness has the same amount to do with how long we’ve known each other and the actual closeness of our relationship in present time.

I was not expecting to learn something like this from a small gathering of friends, old and new, for a small (too big, after one couple cancelled due to illness) dinner. It was awesome to feel all the feels I felt toward the people in my life. I’m both excited and daunted at the prospect of 2020 being an emotionally charged year filled with the re-connection and new connection of old and new souls. I’m already feeling burdened by the task of being a good friend to those with whom I feel especially bonded. But so far, it’s been worth the effort.