Stopgap

Chernicia and her loyal band of
roving youth choir administrators
saw no choice
other than to take up stopgap freelance work.

Due to a general malaise
and rapidly-growing apprehension
toward patronizing or participating in
the performing arts (the anti-exceptionalist
herd mentality showed absolutely no signs of
dissipation as professionals of all stripes
traversed the barren corporate landscape
(a hell to be wished upon no soul)), all hope
seemed lost on the fearful.

Interest in the once-alluring
middle and high school competitive circuit
had been waning steadily for a generation or so,
to the point where even the most stalwart
paper-shuffling masochists out there
had to admit they were licked.

In this devastating climate, Chernicia figured
that some places out there
must
still need to enlist the services
of highly-competent youth choir administrators.

They took an oath in front of the children,
for Christ’s sake!
They vowed, on bended knee,
to make themselves
available for freelance filing (and HR concerns)
at the drop of a hat, whenever duty may come calling.

So just like that, they picked up and left–
no matter what their guts happened to be
telling them (the group’s average duodenum
could paint you the idyllic picture
where they’d carved out a sort of haven
in this life of more uncertainty than trust).

Many tearful (and gut-wrenching) goodbyes
after they developed the steely resolve
to give up their past selves
(for the children, dammit),
the brave and intrepid band set out
on their first assignment: Gurnee, Illinois.

They never did look back.
And to this very day,
rental cars and hotel rooms
still serve as their only refuge
from the vast desert of abandoned office complexes.

Faux Pas

Bajillion Peregrinus started his day off right today–with a succulent cobb salad and a couple of margaritas. Slippery slope, margaritas, but as a denizen of the night, Baj has always managed to avoid that whole “too early in the day to imbibe” faux pas. However, considering the depth of his late-night cavorting, he often finds himself breaking that rule by pulling all-nighters and keeping the party rolling well past dawn.

This particular day wouldn’t normally prove to serve Baj’s personal agenda, seeing as how he needs to knock out some domestic drudgery and then immediately tuck into a full-blown work shift. Not very much time to himself at all. Just another one of those days. It’s not like he’s not used to this kind of treatment; he’s become quite accustomed to it at this point. Bills and impulsive expenditures (food delivery and designer headphones) necessitate his daily drudgery–for the most part. The remaining part of the pie chart (as far as he could figure): his intense, immense sense of self-loathing, which he quietly carries around on his shoulders like a hobo’s bindle–not too heavy, considering the unbearable lightness of being, but always noticeably uncomfortable.

As far as he sees it, he figures that the self-deception is a byproduct of his unfulfilled human potential. Well, not his own perception of failing, but the societal norm facilitating the “us vs. them” mentality that sends the vast majority of rat racers into skill corners, where they’ll proceed to bang their foreheads against brick walls for the rest of their lives, restricting whatever semblance of freedom to a 15-minute meditation session sometime between breakfast and work (otherwise known as their morning commute). The mental elasticity of previous generations is systematically eroding.

Baj is rather sensitive and internalizes most everything he comes across; most of the time he has no idea how it will surface, since the nature of the universe is that of uncertainty and chaos. In the case of human devolution, however, Baj knows for a fact that people are losing their sheen at a rapid clip.

Because of all this, Baj understands that, no matter what he does, he will always come up short in a financial sense. Just as his mother and father had, and their mothers and fathers before that, and so on and so forth. He’s recently begun to trace back his lineage on one of those newfangled ancestor websites, all the way back to a point in medieval Europe where some sort of town fool or drunk owed a debt to the local magistrate, and the interest is still accruing to this day.

By All Accounts

As a younger man–though old enough to know better–I once navigated a rather cryptic epoch during which I chose (wholeheartedly or pigheadedly) to stick with my plague-rich mentality of promotional ice cream lotteries, confident in my god-given ability to strike it rich. With my trusty two and a quarter inch nail at my disposal, I scribed the five luckiest numbers ever known to man and beast in my favorite subterranean cave, positively declaring an end to the ceaseless turmoil of fumbling around in the cosmic muck for a few measly digits that–at one of my lower points–I thought would elude me as long as I were to inhabit this particular body. I then hastily chucked good ol’ Rusty (that’s what I called my long-suffering galvanized friend, knowing that his kind doesn’t rust for decades–a joke we shared on countless occasions) into the nearest ravine, a flourish that would–by all accounts (payable or otherwise)–bring this self-imposed trudge to a meaningful conclusion.

Boy, what a boneheaded mistake. No sooner than I’d comforted myself with that symbolic nail toss, a magpie hopped on by and casually reminded me that the most lucrative lottery drawings typically have six numbers. I wept, knowing that I’d severed the most rewarding relationship of a lifetime under the false pretense of a free scoop of rocky road at a participating Neddy’s® Frozen Custard.

I shaved and went back to my old CPA job.

Bandwagon Antics

In light of this glut of well-delivered monologues here tonight, I’m convinced that we humans–because I’m definitely a human, don’t go running around and telling your friends otherwise–quite possibly have a fighting chance in this thing we call life amongst the celestial bodies (well, at least that’s what I call it). While by no means a guarantee, I can certainly exclaim that creativity should–dare I say must–eventually overtake the box-in-box mentality that has, thus far, led to the perpetuation of flocking masses of mundanity, sometimes riled to the point of stampeding.

Those of us who can visualize the ideal representation of creative humanity will be sick and tired of bowing down to tyrannical individuals who would prefer to destroy rather than glorify the artistic inspiration leading to craft (for craft’s sake). In the eyes of the inscrutable free-market economist, if something that requires a great deal of skill also happens to net you a tidy profit, then it will obviously be quite desirable. In the face of such bandwagon antics, it takes the uncompromising individual to declare “I am going to do this because I love it, no matter how minute the level of compensation.”

DFM

Enter our eternal and infernal friend,
Deflatermouse–
careful about the point he makes when scrimmying across the kitchen floor in a fairly affluent suburban subdivision that would otherwise say it’s been treated well by the rodents and mongrels of the world. Only DFM (as the folks in the know have referred to him) gets a pass–you know, for sheer name novelty that has nothing to do with his aptitude for deflating himself (or others) and everything to do with occupying the (then) hovel of Fretful Fred, a beleaguered baritone at the peak of malaise and circumspection.

“Well hello there, little fella.” DFM pauses, startled to be addressed in such a cordial way.

“You’re the first visitor I’ve had in quite some time!” DFM appears to be intently listening to Fred, if only to take in the sonorous quality of his voice.

“Take a load off, friend! I don’t have much of anything to offer, but I’m sure you’re fairly adept at fending for yourself at this point.” DFM then immediately proceeds to scrimmy away, marking the exact moment in which his fabled moniker first graced Fred’s consciousness.

Fretful Fred considers himself a bit of a wordsmith, in addition to his accomplishments of the stage and screen. It took about two to three seconds to formulate the nickname, during which time there were numerous cognitive connections taking place, not at all dissimilar to the series of adjustments that a world-class athlete must make while performing the repetitive tasks that put them in that spotlight in the first place.

Our tiny rodent companion lit the fuse that led to a lightning-quick series of self-deprecating blasts. Every moment neglecting my life’s passions seems to just fuel the bonfire of self-hindrance, perpetuating a “woe is me” mentality that only spirals as the moments compile. My pesky new pal graced me with his presence at the intersection of doubt and fear, giving me the semblance of camaraderie, no matter how fleeting. But, just as all moments ever experienced by we, the mortal folk charged with hoisting the weight of the cosmos (whether or not weight is an accurate measurement), our fledgling friendship seems to have vanished as suddenly as it appeared.

“You’re a real Deflatermouse, you know that?” Freddy knew that an intellectual connection couldn’t be made, now or ever, but he continued to consciously deny the existence of a language barrier for the sake of infusing any wonder into his underwhelming existence.

Stilt Mentality – 14:55GMT

Let me impart some wisdom here, o merciful captors of the highest order. Considering that you’ve let me flap my gums unabated, I probably don’t need to request your permission, but I do like to exercise my manners from time to time. Anywho, brown nosing won’t get me anywhere anyway.

Instill the stilt mentality, walk higher than most without extensions and greet the lovely beings who used to be just out of reach. Examples include, but are not limited to: squirrels, crows, sparrows, cardinals, pigeons, and the occasional parakeet. On one particular occasion you may think you’ve run across a raccoon, but after fifteen minutes of observing how it hasn’t moved one iota the entire time, you come to the conclusion that this minuscule member of the bear family is just an elaborate trick of light.

Your stilts are strong, able to withstand a wide range of climatic changes until deep Winter sets in. These stilts–and most other stilts out there–do not fare well in the bitter frost snap you might find as a local of Chicago or Fargo or St. Paul in those early months. Do not–let me insist–do not inhabit such weather on stilts–at least this particular model–or your quality of life will rapidly diminish, possibly ending in personal extinction.

There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to embody a certain ideal for height consciousness in the frigid playground, but beware! Each second exposed to the short days’ elements removes three seconds from the potential remainder of your life. Always ensure that you are carrying a stopwatch with you.

Do not trust my words. Do not trust a single thing I’ve said to date.
Is this all for naught?
I really wish I could use my arms.