Words will keep us together

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


    Mary Ellen was drunk.  Betty Lou, her roommate, found her face down on the carpeting, howling with laughter.  Betty Lou had never known her friend  to take a drink in her life.  Life at the convent was, among other things, dry.  The only intoxicant they knew was the Spirit.
It was then that Betty Lou remembered just why she had sought out her fellow Sister.  “Mary Ellen look!”  Betty Lou raised both of her arms out straight in front of her, revealing empty bottles attached to each of her index fingers.  She then proceeded to bang them together in a semi-rhythmical fashion to the beat of My God is an Awesome God.  “I’m playing the bottles!” she proudly proclaimed.  They both laughed hysterically.


At 3:30 pm on September 24, all the television sets went dark.  They were the first to go.  It was at the same instant that everyone began to feel warm inside.  It was just a slight hint, the feeling one has looking at nourishing old photographs.
As the afternoon wore on, rifles, revolvers and the other machinery of death failed to work.  For the first time since the discovery of black powder, the world was absent of its destructive sounds.

In New York, a young couple from the Midwest were running through the streets.  They flagged down a taxi with the greatest of ease, and, after a slight explanation, were off.  Holding onto each other, and the sides of the roof,  they rode the gallant mechanical steed.  Passing the Biltmore they witnessed two well-dressed men on the sidewalk with signs around their necks – one read “Mr. In” and the other “Mr. Out.”  They were shaking hands and congratulating each other.
Soon after this, vehicles stopped running.  People emerged wherever they happened to be, and noticed that they were noticeably fuzzy.

Across the way in Lodi, New Jersey, a group of adolescents in skeleton makeup were arm in arm, singing a song:

Brains for dinner
Brains for lunch
Brains for breakfast
Brains for brunch…

With the sun now down, people realized that they were, in fact, sloshed.  Most could not remember having even one drink, but no one was absolutely sure.

While stereos had ceased operating hours before, music was audible wherever you went.  In the streets endless numbers had come together to form impromptu bands, with many of the instruments being woken up for the first time in years.  People wanted to be with other real live people – they danced and sang and laughed to the blessed cacophony.  Many without instruments displayed what their stage show would look like if they had them.  No one was suffering any ill effects, they were simply here and so was the moment.

Dancing had also broken out at the Shady Elms Retirement Home, despite the fact that many there could barely move.  Regardless, they gave it their all and believed they were alive and mattered once more.  Shouts of “BINGO!” resonated throughout the halls, and even though no one actually had it, no one got mad.

The only ones not drunk were the little ones.  They had not yet learned to fear the future and did not yet have any debilitating longings for the past.  They simply were.
One of these was Pete.  He watched with utmost excitement as his father took their floor lamp outside.  It was six feet tall and white.  And now it was part of a failed pole vaulting attempt.  Pete loved it.

Writers were inspired to write, actors to act, lovers to love.  Darkness did nothing to quell the spirited gatherings.  Past conflicts faded from view, with future ones unforeseeable.

The entire first floor of the corner house was covered with pink packing peanuts.  Levi had had a wrestling match with a huge bag stuffed with $25.00 worth of the little foam devices, and he had won.  Despite the fact that they were nearly impossible to throw more than a few feet, the packing peanuts were used as ammo for hours.  Owen loved it, but he had devised an ingenious game involving plastic cups and ping-pong balls.  The house had never been so warm.

Everyone was exactly where they wanted to be.

Eventually, even the nightcrawlers wore themselves out.

When the day broke and the sun blanketed the land, everyone awoke to find themselves still in a bit of a haze and slightly groggy.  Everywhere they looked there was a huge mess.  Some began to accuse others of damages done to their property, but as no one could clearly remember what had happened, these quickly fizzled out.
Numerous cameras were used, but no clear images of the revelry emerged from any of them.  The only thing everyone swore to remembering clearly was the positive emotions that had swept over them the entire evening.  This, along with the damage, was the only evidence of what had happened.
Everyone believed they had been responsible for at least some part of what they now saw, and so everyone began to put things back together.  Some attempted to put pieces together, but most just tried to hold on to the good cheer they had experienced with friends, neighbors, and enemies.  However, there was still a great deal of talking, peppered with a great deal of laughter.

Once a wave of sobriety swept over the world, gunshots were once more heard ringing.  But for one night, the world was at peace.

-February 2009


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