Fortune Cookie Monday – 12 may 2015

Despite my intentions, I wrote no post last friday, but I do have my car back.  It isn’t in the best shape, though that shape is still vaguely car-ish.

“Good things are coming to you in due course of time.” 20150615_171823What the hell was that supposed to mean?  Why is it when you’re sick half the population wants to prod you away with a well padded ten foot pool of sympathy and the other half wants to force feed you truisms to make themselves feel better?  I’m dying.  Every day I die a little more and no one understands, no one cares.  “Good things are coming.”  A little bit more of me falls apart every day, what possible good could come that would matter even a little bit?  And what the hell is due course?  If anything is due, it’s due now, I can’t see it likely that I’ll be waiting for much longer. Eric pulls his fall jacket by the lapels, trying to synch it tighter across his chest, but doing so pulls the fabric tight against his back so that he can feel a breeze through the material.  A jogger in shorts runs past him. Fuck you, Eric thinks. It’s so damned bright today. As he edges along the curb, trying to lean into the breeze so it doesn’t blow his hat off, he sighs in frustration.  He can feel his skin prickle and begin to perspire even as he shivers.  It could be another fever, he thinks.  Or maybe a combination of the sun and the wind and the jacket and this stupid, damned hat is making me sweat while it’s cold. He looks up to glare at the sun, and when he’s met with an obliteratingly bright, cloud covered sky he has suck in a cough of surprise.  Then he has to look down bitterly and grit his teeth so that the frustration of it won’t make him cry. In his apartment, Eric reluctantly takes off his jacket, sets down his sun glasses, and hurls the hat at the coat tree.  He strips in the living room, his under garments soaked with sweat, and hop-stumbles to the bathroom. I should have turned the shower on first.  He bites his teeth until his jaw aches in an attempt to stop his shivering, but it only helps for a moment before making him feel worse.  When the shower is finally warm enough his jaw aches, but it no longer matters as he finally has some normalcy.  The water makes him feel warm and his eyes ache less. 20150615_171846After ten minutes and the decision to spend the remainder of the afternoon in the shower, Eric has insistent diarrhea and lunges, not entirely in time, to the toilet. God damn it.  Eric begins to cry with the frustration and indecency of it all.  This isn’t fucking fair. Ten months earlier, while sitting his doctor’s examining room, Eric expects to get some sort of cough syrup and be on his way.  Something with a pain reliever, he hopes.  His throat had been sore for a week and he could barely speak.  His eyes even ached from the fits.  His skin itches too, but he blames that on the extraordinary amount of sleep he’s been getting.  For the past few days all he’s done is work, come home, feed his neighbor’s cats, and sleep.  Maybe it’s allergies.  He hasn’t had a cat since he lived with his parents a decade ago.  Maybe allergies and a cold?  He wishes the doctor would get to the room, he hadn’t taken the whole day and needs to get back to work. “Aaron, do any of your relatives have an auto-immune disease?” I don’t think, wait, like AIDS?  That doesn’t, I don’t.  I haven’t had sex in months and I always use protection. “I’m sorry. Eric. And no, not AIDS. We’re concerned with your white cell count and we want to rule out any hereditary diseases.” Like… shingles? “Shingles isn’t hereditary.  Lupus is the big one, but I wouldn’t worry too much about that. It’s very rare in men and even rarer to present so late. Most likely it’s a severe allergy. I’d like to take some blood today, in the mean time I’ll prescribe you something–“ 20150615_171924Eric doesn’t remember the rest, the rest doesn’t matter.  At the time it’d seemed mundane and now it seems stupid.  The cold medicine had had codeine in it, had helped, but in the mornings or when he’d forget or not have time to re-dose throughout the day he’d felt as if his throat were bare, that his skin were burning.  He thought briefly that he’d already died and that this was hell, that hell was a place where everything was normal and where one burned and had to behave as if nothing were going on.  The banality of suffering unknown seemed to make it worse, made it seem that he alone was the one to burn and that there would be no pity or respite.  He felt every moment.

Today’s piece took the expected turn from a happy sentiment to a bleak fragment.  I’m not sure I’m capable of viewing positive messages without skepticism or sarcasm and this piece certainly demonstrates that.  I’ve also a fixation on the bad medical experience which stems from my own unpleasant tenure in and out of hospitals for the majority of my teens.

I thought of Lupus immediately after reading today’s fortune.  The thought of telling a person who was terminally ill, someone who has a shortened life expectancy, to wait struck me as in interesting mechanism for a story.

I’m only somewhat happy with how this one turned out.  I like the last paragraph best, but I couldn’t really figure out who I wanted Eric to be, which made writing the piece difficult.  Most of what I write is character driven, so if I can’t find the character the work tends to fall flat.  My difficulty with Eric aside, I think this could be reworked into a longer, better piece.  I think the major issue I had with writing it stems from trying to be subtle when I only had half an hour, of trying to embed clues but prolong the reveal when the work is only a page or two long.  This is one that would definitely benefit from a longer treatment where I could further develop the characters (once founded {once added}) and bring some point to the narrative.  Right now it seems nothing more than a scene description, which is, I suppose, what it is. I hope you enjoyed it today’s Fortune Cookie Friday Monday.  Look for the next one at it’s regularly allotted time on friday afternoon.