Pig, Hog, and Pork

I was originally going to post these stories as a three-part series, but they aren’t all that suspenseful; my intentions were for the reader to read them all together. I think it works better like this. Write your own three short stories like these! Make them all connected to each other. If you want, give yourself a word-limit to make the prompt tougher.

Pig

He walked happily in the little pen on the farm down the road. There was a small mud pit to roll around in, a nice hay bed to sleep in, and a fresh supply of food and water. The old farmer acted as if it were an honor to be taken out of the woods. He had lost his mother and father in the process at an early age, but he knew that one day, he would find someone just like her, and be the pig his father would be proud of. He fanaticized about playing with the other pigs in the woods as he listened to them rattling their cages from across the room.

Hog

No one saw the bullet coming; it was a perfect shot. Their heads exploded like water balloons. The old farmer used his old M1 religiously. He said a prayer before and after every shot, asking for forgiveness, thanking the Lord for a quick and easy death for the animal. In this case: animals. The shot went clean through the mother’s ears and into the father’s heart. It reminded the old farmer of JFK’s assassination. Their baby, covered in blood and gore, tried to run away, but he was already cut off by the howling dogs.

Pork

The pig, now grown up, who’s old enough to understand what really happened to his parents, seems to have finally been given his wish. He assumes the farmer is giving him mercy as he unlocks the gate. For the first time since being captured, the pig is allowed to walk on the grass outside the pen. The young farmer ties the pig to a fence post across the property and stops inside the house to grab something. When he comes out his face looks more grave. His body is more slouched over. The pig, who hadn’t realized before, saw the old farmer’s face in the young man’s. Most pigs don’t realize what’s about to happen, but this one recognizes the M1. The young farmer did a great job maintaining it. He ties the rope tighter, then pulls the trigger.

Mother/Daughter

Almost forgot to post a story tonight! Imagine that: one day into the streak and I fuck it up. Not this time, though!

This story, again, comes from class. Here, we were given a photocopied page of a weird book about songs people used to sing while working around the house. The first section of this story is an exact quote. The next two build off it. 

Mother/Daughter

“I will sweep the floor,

Make it very clean;

Sweep behind the door

Till not a speck is seen.”

Mother

No one told me

That being a mother

Would involve turning my child

Into a slave, or singing stupid

Songs from from a stupid book,

But then again,

At least the floor is clean.

Daughter

She said her mother sang these songs

While they used to clean

The dirty floors. “It was my only lasting

Memory of her,”

She said.

Where do they come up with this?

I’d rather cry alone upstairs,

Or sleep on the filthy floor,

Than sing another stupid line. 

Changing Names

I’m back–again. But with news! I am officially a Queens College MFA graduate. I can’t explain to you how happy it makes me to accomplish one of my many writing goals. For those of you who stuck around since the beginning of this blog, who know my story, thank you.

For those that don’t know, I’ll give you a crash course. When I first started this blog, I was just getting into writing. I didn’t take my first application and submission seriously because I didn’t know how competitive writing programs were. I thought I would have an advantage by knowing the director of the program, but I was actually making it tougher for myself. She knew what I was capable of, so she wanted to see how I could get even better. When I didn’t get accepted, I made the decision to double down on my writing and work twice as hard at getting into the program the following year. I accomplished that goal, and it felt so good telling people I finally got in. Now that I’m done, a year ahead of everyone I entered the program with, I feel humbled by everything I’ve learned. Now, I feel like I can begin my career as a writer.

So, what’s the point of all this? I have a lot of time on my hands to write while I try to find a job in the publishing field. I’m back to trying to write at least a short story a day. I have lots of pieces piled up from all my classes so I’m going to start with those.

This piece comes from a tiny text craft course. I don’t remember the prompt we were given, but I like the sound of the piece itself. My guess is that we were writing stories with one-sentence paragraphs. We were often given prompts from old, obscure books and magazines, or tiny objects and toys my professor brought into class. If I have the original prompt for any future story, I will write it or upload it to these posts. Enough of me. Here’s my story:

Changing Names

At one time, it was believed that to name a child after a living person meant death for one or the other.

I didn’t realize this when I named my son after myself.

I was so proud to give him my name because it took just as long for him to be conceived as me.

His mother, like my mother, blamed herself, while she was in labor for four days, to keep my spirits up.

I blamed myself for the same reasoning, that luck was never on my side.

We knew when he came—I had a feeling it would be a he—we would treat him like our miracle.

There was no explanation for his death, according to the doctors.

An orthodox Jew, who overheard me on the phone with my father, told me about the problem with my child’s name.

I treated luck like I treated horoscopes.

What would Freud think about this?

Holistic treatment for names should be the next big thing.

 

Car Crash

Sorry for the short break. I’m not done yet. I still have another poem for you guys. I hope your weekend was as good as mine was. I spent it upstate with my family and girlfriend, and it couldn’t have gone any better. I’ve never been happier.

Lately, I’ve been trying to write more politically with my poetry, but decided to take a step back from it. The other students in my poetry workshop are so incredibly talented that I really felt like I needed to try and write something better and more focused. After watching a horrifying video online after a shooting in Afghanistan. There was footage of a woman seeing either her child or loved one being carried out dead. She let out the worst scream I’ve ever heard, shaking on the ground, her body unable to even process what exactly happened. I hope I never see/hear something like that again.

Car Crash

The pain of not
Being there to help,
Of not being there to find
The right words,
Will forever hurt
More than the pain
I felt in my heart
When she walked out.

Like lighting a fire with
Wet kindling,
Like holding back
From a kiss when you
Feel you have heartburn,
And you know
They need to feel your lips,
The one thing that
You can provide is
Love, but you
ruined your chance.

As the birds chirp
Deep into the night
To no one in particular,
While the street lights shine
Their yellow light
On those just passing by,
A young father,
A former father—
Still a father?
He remembers the scream;
It pierced his ears
As they pulled her out:
Her mother’s scream,
And her body rocking
Back and forth
In the ditch, near the trees.

The crumpled car,
And the blood from her ears,
down her neck,
On the seat,
On her shirt,
On my hands, on my hands.

He walks away.
He can’t look back.
Mosquitos in the middle
Of summer, attack
His arms and legs,
The price—he feels
He has to pay.

He could have stopped her,
Said not to go, that he was
Sorry, he didn’t know.
It was just a joke,
He shouldn’t have said
That he didn’t care,
That she can’t love him back,
The love of her young life,
That he needed to go.

International Day of Peace

The streak continues! This time I have a poem that I wrote on the International Day of Peace. Yes, the title is ironic. I got mixed reactions in my poetry workshop but I like how it sounds so I’m posting it anyways. Hope you enjoy too. I’ll have another lined up for tomorrow too.

International Day of Peace

A young man, tall and thin
sits in front of the television.
Day after day, night after night
he wonders can he do anything right?
Can he walk out his door and
get to work, get paid, put it away?
Without getting put away?

He heard them say
“He looks like a bad dude,”
but it was just a breakdown–
quick run to the store, out of food.
Next thing, they scream “Get down!”
His hands go up, he gives up,
he does what he’s told, a heart of gold,
his goal’s to grow old
and give his kids the chance
to truly live.

But they take it away with the
pull of a trigger, everything to lose
is lost, a victim of abuse
from the system that continues
to refuse their right
to live like everyone else.
A bit of wealth is all he needs,
but even then, he sees himself
on his knees as he pleads
to live another day.
He’d go to jail and make bail with
his family behind him, thankful
He’s not six feet under,
No thunder from the roar of a gun.

His work’s just begun.
Back to the streets, back where
they want us, where we’re born
and raised. Where we’ll make our stand,
where I make my stand
against the system that allows
terrorists to live, rapists to walk free.
In the land of the free–
Is there room for me?

Hometown

This story is coming from a really nice prompt: Think of a place you went to when you were younger but it now no longer there or is something else. Capture your feelings about this in your writing. Just as a heads up for anyone I grew up with, I love all of you, and this is fiction. I take a lot from the real world, real memories, and turn them into a work of fiction. It’s all about making some kind of connection with the reader. I can’t do that unless I take something out of real life. So enjoy!

Hometown

I hyped up my return a lot more than I should have. I didn’t realize it would all be gone. That place gave you a feeling deep down in your stomach that it would never go away, it would always be the same, it cannot disappear. But it did. All of it. You can’t recognize any of it. A part of yourself is lost, and it doesn’t sink in until you leave. You feel old, like when guys in sports get drafted and they’re younger than you, or when you’re talking to someone younger than you and they talk about their problems and it makes you angry because they aren’t old enough to understand that their problems won’t matter in five years, that they really aren’t problems compared to what you’ve already dealt with. I was hoping to escape all the drama back at home by coming back home, to my real home.

It didn’t disappear out of thin air. There’s no magic involved. But if you were around twenty years ago, you would never be able to recognize it. Every other building is run down. None of the stores or restaurants are open. They were all bought out years ago, according to one of the old guys that managed to stick around. He hated the noise when it was booming, but loved the scenery. Now that no one’s around, he can finally enjoy the peace and quiet he always longed for, despite the fact that his wife is dead and his friends moved years ago. I tried to find my old house, but that was burned down along with my school and half my block.

I thought about turning back before I was even half way there. Something subtle, like the air or wind, was wrong. It didn’t feel right. I was excited before I left, but once I did leave, regret started to sink in. I had to ignore it, though. Going home is always a good thing. Home and family are what makes you. When I saw it so run down, I wondered if that was my fate as well. I evaluated my life the entire trip. Did everything pan out the way I planned? Mostly. A few bumps in the road here and there, but I’m happy. But what was going to go wrong? What’s going to change that? These thoughts scared me. They made me want to go back.

No memories came back, either. The park was still there, which surprised me. We played baseball every day, every summer. What surprised me more was the mound was still slightly visible. We used it so much, the grass never had a chance to grow. The dirt must be pressed down so hard that grass will never grow again. It makes you wonder if grass ever grew there. When I look back, that spot was always there, from another group of kids, older than us, most likely. It’s not important, though. No one’s around to play.

There was never really anything great about our town. It seemed to be stuck in time. A place where you can leave your front door unlocked, the windows down on your car, where kids can ride their bikes together without adult supervision, from dawn to dusk. I remember having to be home before the streetlights came on, and always being late, and getting punished for it afterwards. It was always worth it. But outside of our group, our neighborhood, nothing else mattered. We didn’t need to make new friends because we had each other. Not until college did we finally branch out.

All my friends moved to different states. We don’t keep in touch. When you spend your entire life with the same people, you know what they’re going to say, what they actually meant, what their goals are, if they’ll achieve them, and how they’ll react when you say anything to them. It becomes pointless. But we can also meet up—we have in the past—and act like no time has passed at all. That’s the beauty of it. And you won’t get judged. Or you will, but you know they don’t mean it. When I drive around the neighborhood and I don’t see anyone outside, and everything closed or burned down, I realize I need my friends with me to truly appreciate what we had.

I hate it because I’m alone. When I lived here, I was never alone. Being alone is a foreign concept. I planned on spending the night in a hotel, calling up one of the guys to meet me here for a cup of coffee, but I don’t think I want to do that to them. They’re better off not knowing what this turned into. I hope I can forget this place as soon as possible. I knew there was a reason I moved. I didn’t realize I knew, but I remember the feeling I had on the way here was similar to the feeling I had back then when I used to say I would never leave. Maybe everyone had the same thought. Maybe that’s why the grass never grew back. Who would be there to see it?

I Just Remembered How I First Became a Writer

I was thinking about how I first got into writing a couple days ago. I thought it happened in college, when I decided to major in English, when I realized that I was taking more writing classes than surveys. It was a big part in me becoming a writer. If it wasn’t for college, I wouldn’t have realized I had a talent for it, but it wasn’t the first time I wrote.

The first time–naturally–has a story to it. Here it is:

Growing up in my family was–I don’t want to say tough–very difficult. My father isn’t easy to please and is incredibly strict. My mother was my source of safety, but there were times where she had no choice but to back my father up. And in my family, if you are upset, you can’t express it. Incredibly tough, nearly impossible for someone not even ten years old, me.

If you’ve read some of my non fiction work, you’ll know I have a brother with a severe case of autism and down syndrome, and another on the spectrum, but for the most part, normal. We won’t focus on the latter.

My brother, Peter, feeds off our emotions. He doesn’t need to know why we’re happy or sad to laugh or cry. Innocence at its finest. I’ll always love him for it. But it also ruined me in the long term. I was always very emotional. I always cried. And I always got in trouble for it, or was told to go away and cry so my brother can’t see.

One day, when I was very little, I don’t remember exactly what I was doing, but I know I hurt myself playing in the house. It was enough for me to cry. My parents rush in, making sure I’m okay. I remember that I wasn’t so I started crying louder. My brother was in the room next to me and heard me. I was told to calm down, so I don’t upset Peter.

It was already too late. He heard enough. Tears started coming down his face, and my mother tried to comfort him, but he started yelling and scratching. When she backed off, he got worse and started hitting his head against the wall as hard as he can. It was loud enough to hear through the wall and into the living room. I was still upset, but that no longer mattered.

My parents went from trying to comfort me to being forced to yell at me. My sadness immediately turned to anger. I never hated them more in my life. But there was no way to express it. I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t yell back. I needed a way to let it out. I couldn’t bottle it up anymore.

I went into my basement and started to draw. I was always horrible, I still am, and never enjoyed it as much as I wished I had. I don’t know what happened after, or what inspired me–a muse found me, maybe–but I just started writing. The paper was messy and I couldn’t find any looseleaf. I didn’t want to check my father’s desk and mess anything up, so I used computer paper. I even drew my own lines on the paper with a ruler. I was dedicated, in another world where something like this is normal. I wrote down everything that happened, similar to what I’m doing right now.

I poured my heart out onto that piece of paper. I couldn’t stop it. I was even scared at how easy it was. I knew I had to, though, if I wanted to feel better. When I was done, I read it over, and liked what I had done. I couldn’t throw it out, but I couldn’t just keep it lying around for someone to find. So I hid it. Near my dad’s desk, of course.

I don’t know how long it took for them to find it. But I know they did because the next time I got in trouble, my mother decided to call me out on it, telling me not to do that again. At the time, it was just an idea. I had no urgency to write again. What I hated more was the fact that she found it. Telling me not to write wasn’t a big deal. I was I can’t do what I want my entire life. So that was the last time I wrote for a long time. Not until college, did I start writing again, and not until a year after I graduated, did i realize that this was the original reason.

Why did I write this now? I bet you can guess. Something shitty just happened, again. I’m not going to get into it yet. If I’m not too tired when I get home from work, I’ll write something for you guys. This is going to sound terrible and depressing and cliche, but you really don’t learn who you are until you hit rock bottom, where things get so bad, you truly believe there’s no way out. But then you find a way out. My way is with paper and pen–in this case a keyboard, but you know what I mean. I won’t let what happened get to me because I know what I have to do. I will move forward because I have no other choice. It’s a constant battle not feeling selfish for having feelings. I haven’t won yet, but I will.

When did you first realize you were a writer?