Rearranging and organizing
An unfinished master piece
A dream in the making
A whisper in a crowded room
I am me
And that could mean a thousand different things
It just depends on what day you ask me
Merv’s Bowling Alley is the tackiest place in this town, but it’s got the best beer. That’s the only reason the guys and I started meeting here instead of the pub on 7th. It’s busy tonight, glow in the dark bowling is the draw. I’m lousy enough at bowling as it is, if I have to bowl in the dark I might takes someone’s head off with my ball.
I park my crappy station wagon across the street from Merv’s and pull my bowling shoes from the trunk before jay walking. Inside, everything is dark much to my dismay. Everything is glowing, the counters, the balls, the chairs, even my Hawaiian shirt’s flowers glow blue.
“Hey, Paul, over here!”
I squint in the direction of the lanes and I can make out Kev waving. I crack a smile and head over. O’Brian and Stanley are standing together on the lane arguing over which way to through the ball. Those two are a barrel of laughs when they get out from behind their desks.
“Save any beer for me?”
“Course. After the shit the chief’s been putting you through, I’ll buy your first round.”
I sit down beside Kevin and chuck off my street shoes, replacing them with my bowling ones. “I swear, that he’s got another thing coming if he thinks he can reignite a fire that burned out twenty years ago. I’m just working until retirement. Every day is another day closer to the end.”
“Tell me about it,” Kev laughs.
“In ten years I’ll be sipping margaritas on a beach somewhere while a hot islander massages my back.”
“What would your wife think about that?”
“Who said anything about Helen?” We share a dubious look before busting a gut.
O’Brian, finished arguing with Stanley, takes a seat across from us. “Hey Paul, how’s your son?” he asks, scratching his stomach.
“Who knows? He only talks to me when he needs money for school.”
“Same here. My daughter ignores me for months until she needs new textbooks or rent, then it’s all ‘Dad, can I ask you for a favor?’” O’Brian’s mouth puckers in disapproval.
“Hey, you’re up!” Stanley declares, clapping Kevin on the shoulder.
Kevin bowls a perfect strike, knocking the pins down with a professional throw. He likes coming here, not just because of the beer, but because he likes to show off. He always brags about all the trophies he won when he was a teen. Not like I care that much. He was an over achiever, unlike me.
After Kev, it’s my turn. I throw a crappy frame, the ball barrelling straight into the gutter. A burst of laughter erupts behind me.
“Maybe once you get a couple a beers in you, you might actually knock over a pin or two!” Stanley crows.
My cheeks heat a little as I return to my seat. “Well then get me a damn beer.”
An hour later I’ve gotten slightly inebriated, O’Brian chuckles to himself as he chugs his fifth beer, Stanley’s wandered off to get some nachos at the concession stand, and Kevin’s droning on about this moron he busted for parking in a handicap spot.
“He kept saying he was perfectly within his rights to park there, and I’m like dude, being an idiot isn’t a valid handicap,” Kev snorts as he downs the rest of his beer. “How goes it with your case? You’ve been listening to me ramble on all night, but you haven’t had a chance to vent yet.”
“My case?” I say. “It’s gotten only slightly more interesting. I went over to the lead’s house, she gave me a little bit of info to work with, but not much. She was pretty certain her love sick puppy was just sweet and cuddly.”
“Hmm. That’s not much. Is there any other leads you can follow?”
I think about the file on the kid. “His family lives in town, but I don’t know how helpful they’d be.”
“What would it hurt? His family would know him better than anyone. Maybe an interview with them would clear up this case once and for all. The chief might even get off your back.”
“You’re right. I’ll pay them a visit tomorrow.” A face in the crowd catches my attention behind Kevin’s head. In the dark I make out a pale face shrouded by a hood. When I blink though, it’s gone and I chuckle to myself. This case has got me stressed.
Stanley pushes his way through the crowd, a plate of nachos in hand. A giggling teenage girl backs up without seeing him and knocks the plate from his hands. Cheese and crushed chips coat the carpet. Kevin and I burst into hysterics. Stanley looks at the mess with a downtrodden expression before sinking to his knees and scooping a fingers through the cheese.
“I better stop him before he starts eating the carpet,” Kevin smirks, pushing up from his seat and heading over to Stanley.
If someone told me when I was twelve
All the things that I know now
I would have shook my head in disbelief
And probably wondered “how?”
In my short twelve years of life
I’d absorbed a thing or two
About all the ways to doubt myself
About all the ways to feel blue
I’d learned to compare myself to others
And scrutinize myself in the mirror
To count calories and fats like a mathlete
I’d learned everything except how to see myself clearer
I’d been conditioned to hate my body
And dislike all the features
I’d listened to our mass media
Shouting from their soapbox like a preacher
It took me years to love myself
And embrace everything I am
To value what I have to give
And lend myself a hand
If I knew at twelve all the things that I know now
I could have saved myself a lot of hurt
I would have tuned out all the noise
And learned to put myself first
Newest Jacob piece. Enjoy.
It’s time for family dinner. I haven’t attended in quite awhile and my mother was becoming bothersome. I’m here to appease her, to keep up appearances and to warrant another four months without coming.
Not that I don’t like my family, I do. As much as I am capable of. Besides Angel, my emotions have never been a large part of who I am. I’m merely indifferent. Although hate is a feeling I am much more accustomed with. But I digress.
I smooth my hair back one more time before knocking on the door. Father always insists I just walk in, but that doesn’t seem right. Especially with my lack of communication as of late.
“Ah, my sweet boy, you made it!” My mother croons. Her short gray hair tucked behind her ears, her large blue eyes with the crinkles in the corners regard me with what I assume is affection. Actually, that’s not true. I know it’s affection. My mother is the most boisterous, charming woman. According to Angel, at least. I take her word for it.
“Mother.” I respond. She gestures for me to come in, rubbing her smooth hands across my cheeks before giving the left one a light tap. I want to cringe at the contact, but I school a smile onto my features. Evelyn does this every time she sees me. So I remain ever the actor.
I walk into my family home, the one where Angel and I would have play dates. Where we would read books, and play hide and seek. It might seem strange, that I would have had such a typical childhood, only to turn into what I am today. But it’s true. I wasn’t always this way. I had normal experiences. Loving parents. And an annoying…
“There you are, you little shit.” My older brother, Keith, says, grabbing my shoulder and trying to put me in a headlock. I want to stab him in the thigh for it. I restrain myself. He finally lets me go when he realizes I’m not going to take the bait and wrestle him to the ground like I used to when I was younger. I’ve gained much more control with age.
I nod my head. I really have nothing to say to him, I feel like I should. I should probably look up to my pre-med older brother, with his beautiful girlfriend and lavish predictable future, but I just don’t. His eyes turn down at my dismissal.
I head towards the dining room where my mother has a full spread out with all my favorites. I can hear her bustling in the kitchen, always the perfectionist. It’s the one thing I have inherited from her. I walk past to the den where my father is sitting, watching Wheel of Fortune, calling out the correct answers each time. He hasn’t noticed my prescene yet, I take in the room that hasn’t changed in twenty years. Same faded yellow couches, same creaky rocking chair. Same bay window with a view of the house of horrors that was once Angel’s home. I feel my pressure rising the longer I stare at it. I itch for my blades, their smooth metal between my fingers. The spray of blood as I bring it down into my victims.
“Dad, guess who’s here.” Keith says coming to join us in the living room, garnering my fathers attention. He plops his ass into his usual spot on the couch, throwing his arm over the back. I take my spot on the rocking chair.
“Well, long time no see, Jake. Where have you been? Your mother has been beside herself with worry.”
“I’ve been busy.” I respond, turning my attention to the T.V.
“Busy, too busy for your family?”
With that, Keith turns to me. “Yeah, what gives? You know Yvonne really wants to meet you.” Yvonne being his blonde, bimbo girlfriend. Whom I’ve already found every piece of dirt on. Luckily, her family line is clean, she is just a few nuts short of a bolt.
“I have a lot of clients. I’m busy, working, making money.” Hopefully that appeases them.
Dad shakes his head. “Money ain’t everything, Jacob.”
I ignore his response. And my brothers glare.
After only one more puzzle, my mother announces that dinner is done. We all gather around, piling our plates with our favorite foods. This is one thing I do indulge in whilst here. The food. My mother is a great, fantastic cook.
It doesn’t take long for the questioning to start. “So…how is Reina?”
And there it is. One of the biggest reasons why I never come here anymore.
“Are you ever going to bring her back? We miss her around here.” My father says.
My fork stabs into my pot roast, pulling away pieces, before I shove them into my mouth to avoid answering.
Keith nods, speaking around a mouth full of food. “Yeah, I miss the little squirt.”
“I don’t know.” I whisper. Hating how weak I sound, how weak she makes me feel.
This is bullshit.
“What was that, Jake?” Mother asks.
My fork is displaced as I slam it into the table.
“I said, I. Don’t. Know.”
And with that, I’m done. Because I have no answers when it comes to her and I can’t stand to be reminded of it.
We overcome struggles
Just to face new ones
We overcome adversities
Just to face old ones
We overcome to face the world again