Songs As Stories: The Unspeakable Act

*Inspired by the song “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” by Paul Simon

It all began with a sound.

Mama Pajama knew every sound her house made as it settled at night, which was why she jolted awake when she heard an unfamiliar noise. She rolled out of bed without waking Papa, slid her feet into her sheepskin slippers, and stepped into the hallway.

The odd sound, human, yet somehow alien at the same time, was coming from Alfred’s bedroom. She approached eagerly yet cautiously, resisting the temptation to call out to her son, especially if it turned out to be something harmless. She didn’t want to be accused of being an overprotective mom, or even worse, a nosy parker. She was about to rap lightly on the door when she found it was slightly ajar. Before she realized what she was doing, her hand was pushing the door open.

Later, Mama Pajama would attempt to describe what she had seen, several times to several different people and each time she would fail miserably. In the room, her son and his best friend, Julio and a girl she couldn’t identify facially but knew her instantly as Rosie because of the Queen of Corona tattoo on her left shoulder, were all stark naked doing…

She simply didn’t know what. Applying logic to the reason why what she saw was indescribable, she cited the invisible ships phenomenon relating to the myth of Captain James Cook’s 1770 voyage off the coast of Australia, in which the indigenous people were unable to see the 106-foot long ship, Endeavour. Popular belief was that the huge ships were so alien to everything the natives knew to be true, that they were mentally, and therefore physically, unable to register it. That was what happened in her son’s room. What Mama Pajama saw defied perception, which meant it defied description.

It wasn’t sex. That was something she needed to clarify each time she explained that the trio was naked in her son’s bedroom. Or if it was sex, it wasn’t like any kind she had ever witnessed, even when she found herself down bizarre internet pornography rabbit holes, on the odd occasion she required inspiration for her self-pleasure.

But she knew it was against the law. Against Newton’s Laws of Motion, against the law of physics and against the law of Nature. Not that she could have cited specifics, it was simply something she felt in her waters.

She had no choice but to wake Papa, more than for him to bear witness. Perhaps he could see what she clearly could not. It turned out he couldn’t, but the image, instead of conjuring confusion as it did for her, filled him with rage. He saw a wrongness in the architecture of their bizarre union that sent his mind spinning toward the outer fringes of sanity. He attempted to storm into the room but was barred, as if by some invisible wall of force. He raged against the barrier, and screamed obscenities at Alfred, but neither had any effect. Papa raced back into the master bedroom, picked up the phone and dialed 911.

By the time the squad car arrived, Julio and Rosie had long departed, leaving Alfred alone and naked in his bedroom, that still emanated energies of the unspeakable, unknowable act, so though Officer McCorkle had no idea what to charge the teen with, he knew it was in the best interest of the family and the whole town, to lock Alfred up and somehow convince Judge Comstock to place him in solitary confinement somewhere far, far away and throw away the key.

But on their way to the station, the squad car was sideswiped by a black 1986 Buick Regal and forced off the road and into the fence of the local schoolyard. The driver, a middle-aged man dressed in a black robe and dog collar, bolted from the Buick and wrestled the pistol and handcuff key away from the officer, but not before McCorkle managed to put in a radio dispatch for back up.

Alfred was confused and terrified until he saw Julio and Rosie climb out of the Buick and rush over to the squad car to release him.

“Who the hell is this guy?” Alfred asked, pointing at the priest wrestling with McCorkle.

“Father Adeptus,” Julio said matter-of-factly as if that explained everything.

“Don’t worry, he’s on our side,” Rosie said, catching the handcuff key tossed by the priest and freeing Al’s wrists.

“How did you find him?” Al asked.

“Actually, he found us,” Julio said. “When we left your house, he was waiting for us, like he knew where we’d be.”

“Says he’s got a lot to teach us about who we are and what we can do,” Rosie added.

Alfred looked dubious. “And you trust him?”

“Yeah,” Rosie nodded, without even thinking about it. “Don’t ask me why, but I do.”

In a lucky wild swing, Father Adeptus managed to strike McCorkle’s temple with the butt of the pistol, knocking the officer unconscious, just as the sound of a distant siren filled the air.

Adeptus turned to the teenagers, “We have to leave!”

“You go,” Rosie said. “I’ll create a distraction.”

Adeptus wiped his fingerprints off the gun, returned it to McCorkle’s holster, and he and Julio made their way to the Buick.

Alfred grabbed Rosie by the wrist, “There’s no way we’re leaving you behind. Come on.” He attempted to pull her along, but Rosie planted her feet and wouldn’t budge.

“Relax, hero,” Rosie said, kissing Alfred gently. “I know where you’re headed. I’ll catch up.”

But there was a connection between them, perhaps it was always there or maybe it was due to how they had joined in his bedroom, and Alfred found that he was physically unable to walk away from her. Sensing his desire to stay, and thereby fouling up her plan, Rosie frog-marched Alfred to the Buick and shoved him inside, slamming the car door shut behind him.

Alfred pressed his hands against the car window, his face full of embarrassment, anger, and maybe even love, as he asked, “Are you one hundred percent sure about this?”

Rosie tore her shirt sleeve, revealing her tattoo, and rubbed dirt from the soft shoulder on her face and clothes.

“I got this, trust me. See you in a few,” The Queen of Corona said, tossing Alfred a smile and a nod before running toward the sound of the sirens, waving her arms frantically.

“Goodbye, Rosie,” Alfred said as the car pulled off.

The Buick was on its way and although Father Adeptus told him the meetup destination was the corporate offices of Newsweek, Alfred had no idea where the journey would eventually take them.

To be continued…

©2021 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Songs As Stories: My Mind Is Not My Own Today

detail,face-e527aba1ae21f4eb9561ad18105b98b6_h

*Inspired by the song “Once In A Lifetime” by The Talking Heads

My mind is not my own today. Neither of my minds.

That reality continues to plague me as I make my way through both my workaday lives, and I mingle with people both strange and familiar. My minds are not my own today. I have to keep telling myself not to put too much stock in my conflicting thoughts as none of them truly belong to me.

But it wasn’t always this way. Once I had a singular life. A life I can no longer recall because I am not in control of my memories. Not since this morning, when I woke up living two separate lives simultaneously and asking myself, “How did I get here?”

In my left eye, I see the existence where I live in squalor in some poverty-stricken part of the world, and although I have many friends and am surrounded by people who care about me, I am alone and lonely. There is no one here for me. No one to share my life. But somehow I manage to remain happy. Or at least I am not unhappy. Which is more than most can claim.

In my right eye, I live the other side of the coin. My house is unbelievably vast and luxurious. My wife is statuesque and blindingly beautiful, and my car, my car is large enough for a small family to live within.

One would think as my wealth has no limit, it would be a freeing thing, correct? But I find that I can’t manage it properly, for this fortune comes with no instruction manual. Can you tell me how a beautiful wife, a gorgeous specimen of a woman that was supposedly tailored to suit my needs actually works? What of a house and car that I feel absolutely microbic in? It is all somehow wrong as if I am a three dimensional being living in a three and one-quarter dimension reality.

Then my doubts become corporeal and wrap their bony fingers around my ankle in a death grip and pull me under the rushing tide of all the moral debts I have incurred throughout my lifetime.

The tide is a repo service that removes all the things that I possess. The push-to-start conveyance is no longer my large automobile, the mansion is no longer my beautiful house and the amazon is no longer my beautiful wife. Unable to hold my breath for long, I gasp for air, each mouthful leaking my fortune along with my air.

The repossession waters dissolve my belongings, removing them from my existence, remnants of luxury items sink to the bottom of the ocean as waves push me away from opulence and wash me onto a fork in the road of a highway, the signposts of which points left for “Right” and right for “Wrong”. What do these signs mean? Which should I take? What have I done? What have I become? Am I right, or am I wrong?

And when I question my realities, a voice keeps repeating, a voice inside my head, a voice that is not my own, one phrase that is meant to calm me, to reassure me that everything is as it’s meant to be…

Same as it ever was.

Same as it ever was.

Same as it ever was.

Sally forth and be letting the days go byingly writeful.

– Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Creative Commons License

Songs As Stories: My Mind Is Not My Own Today

detail,face-e527aba1ae21f4eb9561ad18105b98b6_h

*Inspired by the song “Once In A Lifetime” by The Talking Heads

My mind is not my own today. Neither of my minds.

That reality continues to plague me as I make my way through both my workaday lives, and I mingle with people both strange and familiar. My minds are not my own today. I have to keep telling myself not to put too much stock in my conflicting thoughts as none of them truly belong to me.

But it wasn’t always this way. Once I had a singular life. A life I can no longer recall because I am not in control of my memories. Not since this morning, when I woke up living two separate lives simultaneously and asking myself, “How did I get here?”

In my left eye, I see the existence where I live in squalor in some poverty stricken part of the world, and although I have many friends and am surrounded by people who care about me, I am alone and lonely. There is no one here for me. No one to share my life. But somehow I manage to remain happy. Or at least I am not unhappy. Which is more than most can claim.

In my right eye, I live the other side of the coin. My house is unbelievably vast and luxurious. My wife is statuesque and blindingly beautiful, and my car, my car is large enough for a small family to live in.

One would think as my wealth has no limit, it would be a freeing thing, correct? But I find that I can’t manage it properly, for this fortune comes with no instruction manual. Can you tell me how a beautiful wife, a gorgeous specimen of a woman that was supposedly tailored to suit my needs actually works? What of a house and car that I feel absolutely microbic in? It is all somehow wrong as if I am a three dimensional being living in a three and one-quarter dimension reality.

Then my doubts become corporeal and wrap their bony fingers around my ankle in a death grip and pull me under the rushing tide of all the moral debts I have incurred throughout my lifetime.

The tide is a repo service that removes all the things that I possess. The push-to-start conveyance is no longer my large automobile, the mansion is no longer my beautiful house and the amazon is no longer my beautiful wife,  Unable to hold my breath for long, I gasp for air, each mouthful leaking my fortune along with my air.

The repossession waters dissolve my belongings, removing them from my existence, remnants of luxury items sink to the bottom of the ocean as waves push me away from opulence and wash me onto a fork in the road of a highway, the signposts of which points left for “Right” and right for “Wrong”. What do these signs mean? Which should I take? What have I done? What have I become? Ami I right, or am I wrong?

And when I question my realities, a voice keeps repeating, a voice inside my head, a voice that is not my own, one phrase that is meant to calm me, to reassure me that everything is as it’s meant to be…

Same as it ever was.

Same as it ever was.

Same as it ever was.

Sally forth and be letting the days go byingly writeful.

©2014 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Creative Commons License

Songs As Stories: The King of Wretches

image

*Inspired by the song “Search and Destroy” by Sanders Bohlke

I don’t have a favorite season, per se, but whenever summer rolls around, my head swims with near endless possibilities of how I can alter not only my reality but the reality of existence so that I can finally live a life in which my head falls on the pillow with no worries and I awaken the same way.

But at this moment, any life other than mine would be an improvement. When you live in the gutter, climbing up onto the pavement can feel like reaching the first heaven, but there’s not much chance of climbing that high. My wings, or what’s left of them, haven’t been able to bear my weight for quite some time now.

And I’m not alone. I lay here amongst the other bodies that convulse on a human Richter scale that makes it impossible to pray and have those prayers heard. My lips, dry and cracked haven’t kissed another in a century of lifetimes, though I have been kissed by cruel fate, who calls my name and announces my presence, the King of Wretches Among Wretches, this fate who comes down from on high, feigns love for me, lifts my head slightly and kisses me deeply and passionately and leaves without uttering a word.

And here I lay wide awake trying to mask my terror because I was instructed to know no fear but I feel my reserve crack and my secret fears are beginning to seep through. Left for dead but not truly dead, I sometimes raise myself to my full height and threaten to leave, but those who know realize this is an empty threat. My soul is anchored here and even though I can beg the wind to carry this all too fleshy carapace, what would I be without that which makes me unique? What sort of life would that be?

Besides, I’m far too proud to beg, even for mercy. Accepting charity never seemed quite right to me. So, I stay in anger, and at the dawn of each new day I let the carrion pick away at the bits of me that have gone necrotic from non-use. I curse the fact that when they take to the sky, they never steal away the bits that made me the monster that led me to be in this predicament in the first place. It’s as if the universe believes its very own balance is better with me assuming this role.

The sad truth is that not all dead are buried in the field with the flowers. Some lie rotting away to nothing, slowly dying from wounds that never heal. The minor injuries you suffer repeatedly every single day that rip the scabs off to bleed you anew. It’s the slowest death imaginable. Where you die a little more on each anniversary.

And in time these injuries celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, and even holidays. And you cry outwardly until the tears no longer come, then you cry inwardly and when people cannot see you weep, they assume that you’ve moved on and think it’s okay to pretend the bad thing never happened and things can return to normal, without realizing that there is no longer a normal to return to.

The parent of a dead hopes and dreams never stop being a parent in their hearts. And you spend the rest of your life gathering the leftover pieces and remnants of a future life well past its sell-by date, and inhume it in the backyard of years gone by in a specially constructed box of disappointment.

Sally forth and be sowing your dreams and reaping better realitiesingly writeful.

©2014 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Creative Commons License

Songs As Stories: The Man

slide1

*Inspired by the song “The Man” by Aloe Blacc

In the beginning of what most believed in their heart of hearts to be the End of Days, there was The Distant Signal. It came in the form of a definitive and verified multi-language message broadcast to all the countries of Earth simultaneously.

What should have been a moment of joyous acknowledgment that we were not alone in the universe, was tainted by a subliminal signal that triggered an automatic flight response in all the various and sundry life forms on the planet.

Dubbed The Great Terror by the media, it opened the door to speculation about the global impact alien contact might have on world governments, organized religions, stock markets, and most importantly human existence.

Then came news of the one person on the planet unaffected by the subliminal signal.

His business card was made of carbon-fiber reinforced thermoplastic. Laser etched in red on the back was his phone number, four digits, no area or country code, because it wasn’t needed. The number could be dialed from anywhere in the world, toll-free. The front of the card delivered the most accurate message any business card ever had. It told the bearer exactly who he was in two simple words:

The Man

Normally slang that referred to either the government, an authority in a position of power, or a drug dealer — which he had no issue with, as he had allegedly been all those things in his youth — it currently served as a term of respect and praise.

The Man had no official credit rating, never owned a bank account, and his fingers never knew the texture of cash. His currency was the Boon License, a service performed, payable by a service at his behest.

The Man never advertised his services, and thanks to a universal binary code, he wasn’t searchable on the internet. His legend was viral, spread word of mouth from those who benefited from his services. The downside of this Chinese whispers campaign were all the old wives’ tales that attached themselves to his accomplishments like gossip remoras:

  • He was incapable of telling the truth and he gained supernatural powers by winning a bet with the Devil in a liar’s competition.
  • He thrived on the broken hearts of virgins after he stole the purest form of love from them.
  • He was born without a soul.
  • He was a genetic engineering experiment using stem cell materials that hadn’t been able to be duplicated.
  • He was born with one hundred percent brain capacity and as a result, has all the information stored on every computer and the internet in his brain.
  • He averted World War Three by winning the jackpot in a poker game with the world’s superpowers.

For a person who bartered in boons, how could he resist collecting favors from the entire planet? But when The Man accepted the offer, he scoured governments, both domestic and foreign, for help, with absolutely no success.

Once The Man signed the contract, he was elected to make first contact, and the world leaders resigned from their posts and contingency plans were underway to build underground shelters. He could not find a government, nation, country or individual to stand by his side.

The final extraterrestrial message contained a set of coordinates for the rendezvous point. Although no one would stand by him, he was able to call in several favors to arrange transport to one of the remote volcanic islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, Tristan da Cunha.

The alien armada arrived like a meteor storm, ships of shifting geometrics burned through Earth’s mesosphere and parked themselves in the stratosphere around the entire planet so that they blotted out the sun.

Plunged into darkness, The Man stood his ground as a lone, illuminated craft, smaller than the other ships, descended to the rendezvous point and touched down on the soil light as a feather.

The ship altered its form and peeled itself away from its passenger and repurposed itself into a ramp. The alien glided forward. It existed on the outer fringes of humanoid description but The Man found its features and its form somehow alluring.

The alien handed him a card with strange markings and upon contact with his skin, the card pricked his thumb and took a DNA sample. The markings changed, cycling through alphabets until it hit his native earthbound English. When all the letters were in place, it simply read:

The Woman

The alien smiled.

©2013 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Songs As Stories: A Scrapbook of Daydreams

1 *Inspired by the song “Wild One” by I Am Harlequin

That kind of relationship is doomed before it even begins,” her mother warned. “His type…they can’t be faithful, it isn’t in their genetic makeup.” But Alison paid no heed and fell head first in love with the living embodiment of a daydream.

She thought she’d made the right decision. What did her mother know? And in the beginning, Alison felt vindicated because he was always there for her, never once realizing that was the normal way daydreams functioned, recurring whenever the mind was idle.

The daydream held her in bed and distracted her with his essence so that she drifted off to sleep without the usual brain clutter that triggered her chronic insomnia, and made sure he was the first sight Alison saw when she woke up. He never slept. What use would a daydream have with sleep? He simply watched her and waited until she began her cute pattern of soft snoring, before taking a stroll through her mind.

He never spoke. He preferred instead to flash images in Alison’s mind. Naturally, he knew exactly what he was doing. Knew he owned the keys to her heart and soul and, as often was the case with the person in control within a relationship, he doled out his attention and affection in small doses. She tried, really tried her best not to be greedy and not to demand more but that, like with most things, was easier said than done.

Then one morning, after he laid her head on the pillow to rest the night before, as he had done numerous times before, he was gone. No note that indicated where he was off to or when he would have returned.

Then began the dark times. Seconds, minutes, hours stretched into the forever period of withdrawal, where Alison was crushed beneath the pressure of constant craving, when her heart sat within her chest like so much dead weight.

And after the craving stage had crept along at its snail’s pace, along came the self-examination stage to fill the void. What had she done wrong? Was she too needy? Smothering? And when she grew weary of guessing, of trying to rewrite the past as if that would have somehow altered the present so that he was still here with her, Alison tried to find a place for him in her past. A drawer or compartment where he could have remained tucked away until such time as she was stronger and more capable of dealing with the memory of him.

Forgetting him might have been much easier if not for the images he filled Alison’s head with, the stories weaved through pictures. They remained and were strongest when the dawn approached. That must have been when he left.

When her mother visited, she asked, “Why can’t you look me in the eye?

I don’t want to do the whole I told you so thing, Mom,” Alison replied.

When have I ever done that?

You don’t say the words, but I can see it in your eyes.

That’s a lie and we both know it,” her mother said. “The truth is you don’t respect me, maybe rightfully so.

Respect you? You’re a drunk, Mom. I’m sorry, there’s no other way to say it.” The words were out of Alison’s mouth before she could stop them.

I’m a recovering alcoholic…

Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. I mean, why would I take advice from a woman whose life is a shambles? Your drinking didn’t only wreck your marriage, it destroyed my family! So, how are you wiser than me when it comes to affairs of the heart?

Her mother exhaled slowly. “I understand more than you realize. You think you’re the only one who’s ever gone through what you’re going through, and that’s not necessarily your fault. When you’re young, you always feel that way.

But I’m here to tell you, kiddo, you’re not the first or only person to fall in love with a daydream. Not only did it happen to me, but I convinced him to marry me and we had you.

Dad?

Yeah. You think your father left because I drank, and that’s my fault because I should have explained it to you, but I didn’t know how. The truth is I started drinking when I felt him slipping away. I tried to hold on the best way I knew how but the inherent problem with a daydream, even a recurring one, is that they’re never meant to stay in one place for very long. They’re born to stray.

Oh. Mom… !” Alison hugged her mother as tightly as she could. She hoped somehow her mother could feel just how sorry she was about everything that happened between them over the years.

Realizing what a fool she had been, and instead of living in a past relationship and trying to hold her life together with spit and string, Alison chose to work on rebuilding the relationship with her mother, a woman who was stronger than she ever realized.

And every now and then, when there was that familiar twinge in Alison’s heart, a fast but powerful thought of her wild one, her mother helped her collect the stories in a scrapbook of daydreams. But Alison hadn’t done it for herself, she did it for the little one who would be arriving any day now.

Her daughter deserved to know about her father.

– Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys