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#32: I had a dream
Wed 9/23/2020
12:31 AM

I rarely ever think about her anymore, at all. But she showed up in a dream over the weekend.

I was led into the situation by an old friend. I found myself in a spacious restaurant, surrounded by my friends, and she was there. She said that she wasn't finished, that she needed closure, that we were finishing a conversation.

I told her, sorry, nope. It's not about you, and I'm already done. And then I walked out.

Good job, dream me.

#31: Untitled
Sat 7/5/2014
11:09 PM

There was a chicken in my bed.

yyr (Sun 8/3/2014, 8:48 PM):

There was a note taped to his head!

"Amy" (Wed 9/3/2014, 3:08 PM):

And this is what it said:
"There is much to see
Please follow me."

yyr (Mon 12/28/2015, 2:02 PM):

And with a cluck, and with a squawk, I found myself out for a walk.

#30: Burn
Thu 1/2/2014
12:07 AM

I found the first one in the alley. I was on my way home from the market—jacket zipped up to my chin, warm gloves curled around the handles of my grocery bags—when I noticed her from the corner of my eye. They’d stripped her of everything after they’d had their fun and left her splayed on the wet concrete. She lay there, sad but also resigned. It was just how it was every winter.

People brushed past me as I stood at the mouth of the alleyway. Some looked curiously at me, but most of them just rushed past me without another thought. I didn’t blame them; sights like these were common after Christmas and New Year’s. Huddled under doorways, propped against trashcans and under streetlights…there were so many of them. Sometimes whomever put them there tried to cover them up, but they were all broken things, obviously abandoned by their families. There was no hiding that fact.

The sunlight was fading fast and the chill was setting in. I just wanted to get to my warm home and make dinner and unwind on the couch, but there was something about her…

I squared my shoulders and stepped into the alley, stopping just short of her stump. The whole place smelled of damp trash with a dash of pine. I squatted and touched her gently. She still had some tinsel tangled in her branches.

“Hey, girl,” I whispered quietly. She rustled forlornly when I took hold of her sticky branches, her needles crunching and releasing more scent. I tugged experimentally, took a deep breath, and dragged her home.

I picked up the next one right on my street corner. He must’ve been such a glorious sight; even in his sad state, I could see the lights and the ornaments in his green branches like ghosts of days past. He gave his all to his chosen family, but in the end he too was put out. I knew that this was what they were grown for…Still it made me sad. Loved and cherished, then tossed out like nothing. The third tree happened quickly—bundled into my car trunk en route to the doctor’s. The fourth had so many branches broken, I nearly cried when I saw her. And by the end of two weeks, I had a collection that not even my family could ignore. My orphans had to go.

On a cold and starry night, I made several trips back and forth from my garage to the beach, each time chauffeuring three or four trees in my car. When I was done clearing out my collection, the hole I had dug in the sand was chest-high with trees laying criss-cross against each other. I circled the pyre several times, drenching the trees with lighter fluid. And then I struck a match.

I stood there with the lit match poised on my fingertips. I thought about how the trees didn’t understand Christianity or religion or Santa Claus. They just existed and did their best to be trees. We turned them into symbols of peace and of family and of tradition, cutting their lives short for something they didn’t understand or believe in. We used them and disposed them without thanks.

But the trees accepted it; their life and death was preordained, and the trees, in their infinite wisdom, accepted it with grace and patience.

I could only hope to share in their wisdom.

I dropped the match and with a whoosh the trees exploded in one last display of magnificent dancing lights, the flames twisting and swirling wildly.

I saluted at the fiery, crackling pyre before taking a sharp about-face. I took a deep breath and started running away from the cops who were blowing their whistles and gesturing at me. I had forgotten that bonfires weren’t allowed on this part of the beach. Oh well. Worth it. Thank you, Christmas trees, thank you.

#29: Untitled
Thu 7/11/2013
12:52 AM

It was midnight when they came.

I hid in my closet, behind the boxes of winter clothes. The dust and musty smell assaulted my nose, choking up my throat and seizing my lungs. I frantically arranged the bags and cardboard boxes around me and hunkered down as far into the corner as I could go. I clapped my hands over my mouth and tried to control my breathing. Over the roar of the blood pounding in my head, I could hear footsteps moving quietly through the house.


yyr (Fri 7/12/2013, 11:13 AM):

The footsteps slowly grew louder, bit by bit, until I heard my own door creak open. Then... silence.

I tried to distract myself, while still keeping my breathing under control and locking my mouth under my clasped hands. How could this have happened? I'd made a list of all the bills and minimum payments, and sent out envelopes to each bank, each company. I didn't think I'd missed any...

"amy" (Mon 7/15/2013, 12:06 AM):

My ears tingled with the effort to pick up any sound, but all I could hear was my labored breathing. Sweat dripped down my face. What was going on outside? Had I covered my tracks or...?

My hands trembled with tension. I was struck with the crazy urge to leap out of my hiding spot, kicking and screaming into what would be sure disaster. Anything would be better than this waiting game. Is this how a hunted rabbit feels? Is that why they bolt from their hiding place? The fear eats them up inside, tearing and rending their mind to pieces until they can't bear it anymore.

yyr (Tue 7/16/2013, 5:59 PM):

The silence became deafening.

I wasn't even quite sure of who could possibly have come here to flush me out. The creditors themselves? A hitman they hired? Someone else? I understand that I live in a community where there are very few secrets, but I was under the impression that my friends outnumbered my enemies. Could I have been wrong?

Who could it be? I started thinking carefully about my interactions over the last few da--
I about fell over as Ode to Joy started blaring out of massive speakers, sounding like they were no more than inches from me, at volumes totally unheard of by my ears, which were now crying in pain.

"TheFuzz" (Mon 7/22/2013, 1:00 AM):

I stumbled out of the closet with my hands clapped over my ears and my heart leaping out of my chest. Hangers clattered all around me as my frantic flailing yanked shirts and jackets down onto my head. The Ugly (now also treacherous) Christmas Sweater wrapped itself around my face, suffocating me with the scent of moth balls. I couldn't hear, see, or smell anything!

My feet tripped over a box and I fell to my knees. I saw stars as my face smacked the floor. Great, I'm going to die looking like a idiot. I shoved the sweater off my face and got my first look at my assailant.

A giant rooster wearing combat boots and a bullet-proof vest cocked its head curiously at me. "BUCKAW?!"

yyr (Wed 7/24/2013, 11:40 AM):

I could utter nothing at this point but "what...the...hell?!"

The rooster squawked loudly before drawing a shotgun and pointing it at my face.


I rolled to my left side as quickly as I could, which got me out of harm's way right before the trigger was pulled. The Ugly Christmas Sweater had seen its last Christmas.

I heard a loud, angry cluck as I sprang to my feet, but didn't bother turning my head; I simply ran out the door and down the hallway at maximum speed...
...which means I didn't see the wire set up across my hallway until I'd already tripped over it.

The ground caught me a moment later. I felt stunned.

Slowly, I was able to roll onto my back, just quickly enough to notice that a masked figure was swinging some sort of object at my he--

Anonymous (Fri 8/2/2013, 12:08 AM):

I came to in a river of my own drool. I groaned my dismay as a bright light assaulted my eyes. Red flowers burst under my eyelids. My head felt like someone had tried to bash it in with a crowbar--

Wait, someone did try that, didn't they?

I lifted my hand up to my skull to feel the damage, but then I realized I couldn't because my wrists were tied to the armrest of the chair I was sitting on. My ankles were bound too.

Fantastic, this night just keeps getting better and better.

I cracked open one eye and then promptly wished I had kept it closed.

yyr (Mon 8/5/2013, 1:29 PM):

I shook my head in disbelief, and blinked my eyes a few times. I bit myself to make sure this wasn't a dream...ow. No, this wasn't a dream, and there really was a giant hen--wearing an apron, mind you--stirring something in what appeared to be a large cauldron. I couldn't see its contents from where I was sitting, smelled like some sort of soup.

My wrists were tied. No way.

I began struggling in an effort to free my hands. It only took a few moments for Hen to notice.


Suddenly I heard a loud STOMP STOMP STOMP, getting louder. The giant rooster from earlier appeared immediately after, still wearing his vest and boots, and still toting the shotgun.

"Amy" (Fri 8/23/2013, 4:28 PM):

"Bock!" said Rooster as he shoved the shotgun against my chest and looked me over with a steely gaze. "Buckaw cluck cluck!" He punctuated each word with a tap from the shotgun and he nodded to show he was not afraid to carry out his threats.

I was beginning to regret all those late-night runs to KFC. Divine retribution?

Hen tapped the ladle against the side of the cauldron and clucked happily. She looked at Rooster and cocked her head. At the axe leaning against the wall.


yyr (Wed 9/4/2013, 1:13 PM):

Rooster replied with another happy-sounding cluck, as he placed the shotgun against the nearest wall, and obediently trotted towards the axe.

I noticed that the chair I'd been tied down to wasn't all that heavy, nor was it attached to the floor...

Rooster's path to the axe took him right past Hen. He stopped for a moment, however. My vision was still a bit blurry from the earlier impact, but I'm pretty sure the next thing I saw was Hen jumping with a squawk, whirling around towards Rooster WHO HAD JUST GRABBED HER BUTT. this point, I was willing to believe anything.

The two clucked at each other, seemingly happily, and then started rubbing against each other, making noises I'd never quite heard from chickens before. Then...the two left the room abruptly.

"Amy" (Thu 9/5/2013, 4:58 PM):

I eyed the doorway they had just passed through suspiciously. What was this? A trap? That didn't make any sense at all. Were they fucking with me?

Then I heard a pleased trill from the next room.

Oh. They were fucking each other.

Trying hard to banish my curiosity about how chickens fucked (and the mental images my mind conjured), I scanned the room for an escape route. Two doors--one was the door that they had gone through and the other looked like it lead to the backyard. Score!

I rocked my chair, working up the momentum to scoot myself across the floor. Luckily my noises were covered up by the rhythmic thumping of some serious raunchy chicken sex. Unfortunately my mind would be scarred forever.

Then, as I was only three feet from the door, I felt my chair tip...

yyr (Wed 9/11/2013, 5:00 PM): it snagged on some previously-invisible object and began to fall forward.


I braced for impact as best as I could, but that could not have prepared me for...


It sounded almost like the traditional rooster crowing early in the morning, but...well...obviously something different had just happened. And thank goodness, because there was absolutely no way they could possibly have heard the sound of me hitting the floor with a chair tied around my back, which was barely audible by comparison.

Of course, this also meant that I was running out of time.

"Bock, buckaw!" came a booming voice from the bedroom.

"Cluck cluck cluck!" said Hen, seemingly in protest. "Cl-cluck, cluck, cluck...bock bock! Bock buckaw cluck!"

I wiggled and shimmied forward towards the door.


Hen wasn't having it. "Cluck bock buckaw!"

"Amy" (Fri 9/13/2013, 1:15 AM):

I wiggle and shimmied and inched my way to the door. I could feel the cold air blowing on my face. My ankle restraints had slipped off the chair legs when I had upended myself and I was air-swimming across the floor with a vengeance. In the background I could hear Hen and Rooster arguing furiously.

"C'mon, c'mon..." I whispered frantically as I worked on the rope binding my wrists. Adrenaline pumping through my veins as my left hand squeezed out, then my right. I clutched the doorknob and struggled to pull myself up when the steadily rising crescendo of clucks and bock-bocks abruptly stopped.

I froze when Hen stomped back into the kitchen, but she paid me no mind. Amidst a flurry of bent feathers, she grabbed the butcher's knife from the chopping board and strode back into the bedroom.

There was a tense silence.

yyr (Sun 10/6/2013, 12:49 PM):

The silence continued for longer than I'd expected. Perhaps this was the moment when Hen realized she'd seen me trying to escape...?



The next sound I heard resembled a muted squish.


And then, a large crash, as if Jack had just slain the giant, who collapsed onto the ground.

I was frozen, with one hand still on the doorknob, simply trying to piece together what was happening. Loud squawking continued from the bedroom.

Hen emerged with a content look on her face. Ignoring me once again, she proceeded towards the cauldron, with a trail of blood dripping onto the floor as she approached. When she was just a couple of feet away, she tossed the bleeding object into the cauldron.

As it sailed for a short distance through the air, I caught a glimpse. I almost vomited on the spot.

The squawking was now more like wailing.

I left immediately. I ran from that house as quickly as my legs could carry me. At first I had thought I was dealing with murderous giant chickens. But now I knew I had been up against something far more dangerous: a giant feminist hen. I had truly believed that my life was in danger, but clearly, my manhood was facing almost-certain removal...a fate arguably worse than death.

I shed a tear for my fallen brother. What would become of that poor rooster?

And...could I live with myself for abandoning him...?

"Amy" (Fri 10/18/2013, 6:33 PM):

Then I thought back to all the chicken and chicken-by-products that I had already eaten and decided that one more sacrifice wasn't going to break the proverbial camel's back. I hopped into the first car that slowed down for me and got the hell out of Dodge.


I was still jumping at shadows as the nice family that had picked me up dropped me off at the corner of my street. Every dark shape looked like a vindictive hen coming to complete the job. Every twig snapping was her coming out of the alleyway with the butcher knife raised. The space between my shoulder blades felt especially vulnerable.

As I reached the walk to my front door, I noticed a small package sitting on the doormat. The hair on the nape of my neck prickled and I looked left and right, peering into the darkness. Was this another trap?

However, the coast seemed completely clear as I stopped with the package sitting innocuously at my feet. Now that I was closer, I could see it was just a thermos for keeping food warm. It looked harmless enough and merely sloshed gently as I picked it up.

I unscrewed the top and the smell that hit me. It was... No way...

Chicken soup.

I stared at the contents of the thermos, then shrugged and brought it inside. I went to the kitchen and pulled out a bowl.

It's bad to waste food.

#28: Hello
Sat 6/8/2013
1:36 AM

It seemed like an innocent enough conversation. I certainly hadn't expected things to go this far.

Don't get me wrong...I'm not one of those predator types. I don't want to take advantage of anyone. I just...wanted a soul mate. Someone to hang out with, so I wouldn't feel so alone all the time. And now, I think...I might have found one.

I'm Stephanie...Steph for short. Well, okay, that's the name I've *been* using. My actual name is David Harris. I'm a 38-year-old, 5'6", 230-pound guy, which is to say that I'm your stereotypical short, overweight American guy. I've never had any luck with the ladies...perhaps there's something about contractors that turns a woman off? I keep seeing porn where a guy goes over to a lady's house to do some work, and they wind up doing some construction of their own on the bathroom floor. Mmmm. Although, now that I think about it, those guys probably weigh a bit less than I do. Oh, and they're not actually contractors...they're porn stars. That might also have something to do with it.

Steph, on the other hand, is 15 and a sophomore in high school. She's 5'5" and 110 pounds. Her favorite subjects are chemistry and English. She maintains an A- average, and when she's not in school, she listens to pop music, follows her favorite stars, hangs out with friends and loves to go to the movies. She even writes reviews of every movie she's seen and posts them online. One day, she'd love to write about the entertainment industry in some way, perhaps as a reviewer, reporter or columnist.

Steph is an optimist and has a bright future...that's two big differences from David, right there. So naturally that makes her someone you might want to talk to, right? Maybe? It turns out that I found someone who wanted to talk to Steph, right on the good old Internet.

Katie is 16, and also a sophomore. She describes herself as someone who's generally optimistic also, but who needs a bit of a self-esteem boost from time to time. She likes math, and writing for the school newspaper. She also likes movies, so we hit it off right away. I've recommended quite a few to her that she wound up really enjoying, and she pointed me in the direction of a few gems as well.

We started with movies, but our conversations moved in many different directions after that, finally getting very personal. We talked about families, friends and personal history...sadness...feelings. About what we wanted, and then, what we wanted for each other. I came to the realization that, in many ways, Katie was just like me. What naturally followed was a desire--in both of us--to see each other.

That set off a chain of events that led straight to today. I'm currently standing at the welcome gate in my airport. Katie's plane landed 15 minutes ago, and she texted that she'll be exiting the passenger area very soon. I can't believe that this is actually happening. But I'm really, really nervous. After all, even though I typed all of what Steph said, I do certainly appear to be someone else.

So I brought a sign with me. It says, "Hi Katie, it's me, Steph." I've got it attached to my shirt. It's in black marker, on white paper...impossible to miss. I'm hiding nothing; I'm letting it all hang out. From the very first moment, she'll see who I really am: not the optimistic, confident, beautiful 15-year-old with a promising future, but

I started to panic. Just a little at first, but then more so. I don't feel scared, but...I have no clue how she'll react. I have no idea what's going to happen.

I tried to calm my nerves by watching the people emerge from the passenger area, one by one, thinking about what sorts of people they were. A middle-aged businessman, perhaps? His briefcase suggests that, anyway. And that guy? He looks like a bum off the does he even have the money to fly? That woman has a lot of poise. Maybe she's a lawyer? Or a teacher. Naw, I'd be scared if she was my teacher...

My people-watching session was suddenly interrupted by the gaze of a man that I hadn't noticed up until this very moment.

He was an inch shorter than I me, short and pudgy. He gazed up at me with longing, frightened brown eyes, eyes that mumbled something about how he'd been searching for me, all this time, but didn't have a clue what to do now that he'd found me. My first reaction was one of puzzlement. He cast his eyes downward somewhat. I followed them down to his chest, and noticed that he, like me, was wearing a sign of his own:

"Hi Steph. It's me, Katie."

I froze up.

No way.

No way.

No way no way no way no way.

We had both been hiding behind an alter ego. Now, there was nowhere to hide. There was only...
...someone who thought the same way as me. I looked into those brown eyes again and saw the same sort of longing that I'd been feeling for years. Longing for a soul mate.

In my head I'd imagined Katie and Steph together. Holding hands. Bonding over lunch. Shopping. On the phone. In the car. At the park. Even doing mundane things such as laundry. Together, as one.

I couldn't explain why, but I felt that I saw the reflection of those thoughts in the deep brown eyes I was currently staring at.

Everything else around us vanished. It was just me, and him. Nothing before, nothing after, only now. I felt as if I'd been glued to the floor...I was completely unable to move.

Now, his eyes seemed to be asking me something. I don't remember what they said. I'm not sure that I ever even figured it out. Instinctively, I smiled.

He threw himself into my arms.

Acting on instinct once again, I returned his embrace.

What was happening? It didn't matter. Was I Steph or David? That didn't matter right now, either. Hell, I didn't even know this person's real name yet. But his hands were all over me and mine were locked behind his back.

He kisses me. I should say "he suddenly kisses me," but it didn't feel sudden any more. It felt scripted. Natural. Expected. And...wonderful. We kiss and kiss again, and then we go on autopilot, our hands and lips moving on their own. Tongues danced. I caught the smell of his body and for some reason it felt lovely. His embrace felt big and warm and inviting and affectionate. And his eyes...oh, his eyes.

Our tongues seemed to tie in a knot. His hand reached my armpit and it tickled so good. I gently stroked the backs of his soft hands...I wondered what he does with them all day. My left hand met the right side of his face and he pressed up against it like a puppy, wearing a smile that grew from nothing all the way to covering his whole well as mine.

Some time went by...a minute? An hour? I couldn't even tell. We found each others' eyes again, just as we realized that we could probably take this somewhere else. Like the hotel room I'd booked.

Lo and behold, we started walking, and jumped right into a conversation that felt almost exactly like a typical, nightly Steph-and-Katie dialogue. It felt more familiar than I ever could have imagined. More natural.

It was like I'd found that soul mate I'd been searching for, in the least likely of places.

"Katie" led me to his car. Actually, it turned out to be a big red van.

Yes, "Katie." Do you have candy? I'll get into your big red van, I thought.

And I did.

"Amy" (Tue 6/11/2013, 2:51 AM):

so moe

"Amy" (Thu 12/26/2013, 11:50 PM):


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