Words will keep us together

Fiction, musings and all things writing by Gregory T. Janetka

49 Days of Vicissitudes

The only thing I find more terrifying than a closed door is an open one.  Screen doors appear to be the happy middle way, a compromise.  The thousands of small voids provide the appearance of freedom in order to satiate the senses, even though it remains firmly locked tight.  And yet… if the empty squares were to unite there would be no stopping the other side from infiltrating en masse.

I often wish I could rid myself of the meddlesome nuisance of doors, but I can never find anything suitably better to replace them.  Perhaps if I could fashion solid objects out of Beethoven’s compositions then I would fill the space with that.  Yes, that seems a rather appealing idea.  It could fluctuate with whatever recording I would choose.  Sleeping on the jagged excesses of the 5th Symphony, walking through the tenderness of the Pastoral.  I can think of no greater pleasure.

Sometimes my pants are too large — when this occurs I attempt to get fat as I simply want them to stay in place without the assistance of artificial means.  I wonder if this is why other people are fat as well.

The physics of our games of “hot lava” were always astounding.  The aim was to escape from a room without touching the carpeting, as it had turned into “hot lava.”  This involved creative use of objects and furniture, but an easy go to was always a pillow.  Miraculously, pillows did not catch fire when placed on top of a bed of hot lava.  One day I decided to test the validity of our game by placing a throw pillow onto the lit gas burner on the stove.  I quickly learned the childishness of our game as the pillow burst into flames.  I grabbed it with two giant novelty corn holders, threw the pillow into the garbage can and covered it with my leather jacket.  I figured this would smother the fire, but rather the lining of the coat burst into flames as well.  Choking on the smoke and flames I grabbed the entire trashcan/pillow/jacket conflagration and ran to the bathroom.  Placing it as carefully as possible into the bathtub I turned on the shower and within seconds the entire room filled with thick black smoke.  I nervously opened the window and turned on the fan.  I sat giggling nervously, wondering if I’d be able to make it out of the room alive.

My mother used to sit by the window at night and stare off, repeating to herself, (or perhaps to all the universe): “Echo Mike Papa Tango Yankee…Echo Mike Papa Tango Yankee…Echo Mike Papa Tango Yankee…”  She would do this for hours before suddenly returning to me.

I loved driving with my mother.  I would leap at any excuse to be in the car.  Nothing was as comforting to me as license plates.  I would repeat the random numbers and letters over and over until a new car moved in front of us and then I would continue with that random series.  I developed a deep seated hatred for vanity plates – there is nothing to be found in clear words or people who are trying to be “cute” (such as IAM G8T).  When one of these was in front of me I would be overcome with dread and anxiety.  Thankfully, as soon as they left my vision, they left my mind.  The only one I remember now is mother’s – E54 727.

Every time someone touches me, it feels like the raised, uneven ceiling popular in hotels of my youth, which I used to refer to as “popcorn.”  I’ve never found anything more pleasurable than that surface.  The highlight for me on vacations would always be these ceilings.  After driving many hours I would find myself led into a room, comforted by the fresh smell of antiseptic, and look up to the heavens.  But pleasure was to be delayed, mustn’t rush into it.  First dinner, then a shower, and finally freedom.  Propelled by the box spring mattress I’d run my hand along the ceiling over and over until the blood flowed.  The satisfaction was unparalleled.  Those nights I would always sleep soundly.  I recently thought of creating a suit lined with that material.  If only I could decide on a proper color.

On my nightstand sits a box which watches me.  It is wrapped many times in brown paper.  Inside it is a box wrapped in brown paper.  Within it is a box wrapped in brown paper.  Nestled comfortably in its recesses is a Bible.  Most of the time it doesn’t move.  Sometimes I mail it to myself. The return address reads “Ernest Becker”.

Mirrors are liars.

I’ve tried everything while sitting on the toilet – reading, singing, listening to headphones, talking on the telephone – but that only seems to extend the process.  A blank door to stare at is best – let us forget this part of us as quickly as possible.

Irrational fears are a constant source of wonderment as I try to regain them.  I cannot express my sadness at seeing them taken over by rational fears.  These fears lack the vivid overwhelming colors and textures of the irrational.  How romantic it was to be a boy and be terrified that a nice cross-dressing man obsessed with his dead mother was going to stab you while taking a shower.  I don’t know how to regain such truths.

My father used to grow content and repeat, “Rush Easy Cast Mike George Live Have Able Tare…Rush Easy Cast Mike George Live Have Able Tare…Rush Easy Cast Mike George Live Have Able Tare.”  I loved him for it.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a penis.  Or legs.  Or arms.  Or any physical being whatsoever.  But when I picture what I’d look like, I get afraid and I’m grateful for my arms. And legs.  And penis.

She rises in the morning and retreats to sleep in the darkness, just as I.  She needs the same necessities of life, feels the same emotions, the same sensations as I.  She also is constantly seeking, learning, regretting, dreaming, laughing, crying.  And yet, I do not know her anymore.  I cannot know her.

There is no such thing as gasoline.  It is the greatest, most well orchestrated conspiracy the world has ever known.  I get anxious when my car is almost on E and feel safer when it is on F.  However, I have never once ran out of gas, never had my car stop because of it.  I have never seen the gas enter my car, I’ve never seen the empty tank.   Gas stations must simply pump out the scent called “gas” much as bakeries pump vanilla into the air.

I strive for human imperfection.  It is a divine notion, full of emotions.  Perfection cannot coexist with emotion and it seems I am surrounded by people seeking to be perfect.

I used to have a table.  I’m not sure when it happened, but it stopped being a table.  First I cut off a leg, propping it up with books.  I ate dinner off of it and it remained a table.  Then I cut a hole in the top of it and stuck a flower pot inside.  After a while I cut a series of different shaped holes into it, resembling a toy I had as a child.  Then another leg.  And then I took out the leaves and just left it open.  Next I got rid of all the legs and books and ate my lunch off of the top as it sat on the floor.  One day I burned the pieces and stacked up the ashes.  Maybe I never had a table at all.  Maybe I still have one.

I can no longer use the microwave.  I always tried to set it for just the right amount of time.  Having time left over, just hanging there, not being used, gives me the feeling that I have the power to create time.  Hitting the clear button and throwing it away is nothing short of a sin.  It leaves me with the greatest anxiety imaginable.

– November 2010


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