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Thank you!

As you might be able to guess from the title there is no content being posted here. Instead this is simply a short thanks.

Thank you from me to you for all the views, likes and comments in 2021. You don’t know how much it means to me that anyone looks at what I post let alone more than in 2020.

Also I hope you had a Merry Christmas and have a fantastic New Year!

Hope to see you all in 2022 for more content.

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Starting by breaking my own rules

Hi everyone, this is my first post and just like the title says I’m going to start by breaking my own rules. Well its less a rule and more a statement I put in the About section of this site, but that’s just splitting hairs. So I said everything I write is and will be creative, but I’m going to start by talking (briefly I promise) about my influences when I write, anything really. So here we go.

My influences come from a lot of different places but are really no different, I’d guess, than where anyone else would get inspiration, namely books, films, TV (what little I watch), music, games (my favourite medium) and just everyday life in general.

Now that probably sounds like a wide range of places to take inspiration from, and it is, but still the genres I tend to gravitate most toward are fantasy and sci-fi related (I’m not writing science-fiction each time, sorry). That doesn’t mean I don’t consume anything outside those genres, it just means that is what resonates most with me and inspires me to write. Some examples would be Mass Effect, Star Wars, Elder Scrolls, Dune, Witcher (books and games), Destiny and Halo.

But I think that little introduction is enough for this first post, and I swear that from now on the posts will not be focused on me (and my ramblings). In fact a lot will likely be poem type posts. I won’t give any exposition to such posts. I’ll just post them and you can interpret their meaning in a way that resonates with you.

Non-Vision

Standing as a spectator watching it all unfold.
What I see is not carved in stone like commandmants of old.
Choices are prevalent if we look past the skin.
Refusing to pause will be what does us in.

Winding through the endless halls of cages we did cement.
Each one of these capsules has its bars bent.
For man insists on breaking out of its confines.
Except when they are self-imposed and then we call them kind.

But why is that a solution?
And where is the contribution?
Cause our time is running short.
Too little action might leave us drowning the word abort.
Spin the wheel one final time.

Sailing on the open ocean with wind in our hair.
Look around at the water with nothing but a stare.
Fear grips at your chest as you realise no time is left.
All of our advances have been in pursuit of ignoring this internal theft.

But why is that a solution?
And where is the contribution?
Cause our time is running short.
Too little action might leave us drowning the word abort.
Spin the wheel one final time.

Mirror on the mighty stone carved wall,
What remains will kill us in the fall.
Abandon faith in what can’t be fixed.
This revolution might be mixed.
A passion project bathed in blood.
Not something that is understood.
Moments from a bygone era.
Each day does not get clearer.
So why fight against the flood?
Instead we should rid atop driftwood.
Seek a path that won’t bring disaster.
Otherwise we’ll just sink so much faster.
Its been said before but must be announced again.
Our system is what must do the changing.

Mother’s Wail

Lashing on the window pane.
Alongside the drip, drip, drip of rain.
Howling winds screech like a beast.
Akin to that which yearns to feast.
Severity is never lacking.
It’s like the Gods teeth could be chattering.
And shelter always seems so far away.
It’s why you feel the sting upon today.
Soaked through to your very core.
Thankfully there’s no angry roar.
Cause if rumbles and flashes come…
It might spell a coming undone.
And in this eve of extreme weather.
I’d rather be left with a respite clever.
An eye at the storms centre.
The place where you will wish for peace forever.
The calm will be fleeting.
And once its over returns the beating.
Tearing gales that cut right through,
Clearing out all of you.
It lasts so long you think it might become eternal.
So rest your head and ignore its burble.
Even though it is in some way soothing.
Rest is not the same as snoozing.
And we all need a good night of slumber.
If we fail then maybe the storm will tear us asunder.

Noxback

This weeks story is very different. I know I’ve said that before but this is nothing like I’ve written previously as it is not Sci-Fi or fantasy. Though, it is absolutely fiction. Set in the present, its a life lesson/comedy (well I find it funny) piece that I would love to tell you more about but think if I did would only succeed in ruining the point of having written it. So, how about I zip it and we get into, Noxback? Yeah, that’s what we’re going to do.

Sebastien Knox, television presenter and media personality will today embark on a ‘journey’ to discover some of his long lost and unknown ancestors as part of a popular programme shown on the TVC station.

For the life of him, the thirty five year old with green eyes and short brown hair perfectly styled, cannot remember the name of the programme. He should be but has had other, far more pressing in his mind, matters to contend with. Still, he’s made sure, as ever, to be immaculately dressed in a dark suit, and be clean shaven.

Seb, as everyone calls him though truth-be-told he hates it, can think of nothing worse than venturing outside of his home, a four bedroom affair out in the rural countryside, with stubble, or worse still a beard. He hasn’t a clue why men grow beards, they’re messy, a pain to care for and far too common for his liking. It’s a trend, a fashion statement, he knows it and like all trends it will fall out of favour at some point. He’ll be pleased when it does, though likes the idea of being in the ‘minority’ with his chiselled chin on full display for everyone to see.

Striding through the revolving glass door of TVC’s office and studio centre he takes in the tasteful décor which in no way alludes to how much money the network station has at its disposal. If it did the foyer; wide, tall and dotted with plush sofas and a couple coffee tables, would be packed to bursting with gaudy statues, freestanding artworks and other bourgeois nonsense. He is overjoyed that it is not.

Gaudy has never been his M.O. In fact, Seb has spent his adult life railing against it. Often calling people out for their, rub it in your face, possessions. And yes, for that many have called him a hypocrite, seeing as he is a man who has chased the highest paycheck anyone has been willing to wave in his face throughout his career.

Yet, none of that is important right now. What is important is the presence of the reception desk, in TVC known as the information desk. Seb has to resist rolling his eyes upon noticing that one for it doesn’t sit well with his opinions at all. So forcing the contempt he feels for the term aside he completes the rest of his walk to the desk. Its solid wood he learns upon arrival. He hasn’t a clue the type or if the desk design has a name and doesn’t rightly care. Interior decoration, corporate or personal, is not really his thing. People have attempted to lure him into such conversations and every time he’s made sure to extricate himself as swiftly as possible, often bluntly stating his disdain as he does. After all, there is no swifter way of ending a part in something unwanted than to be blunt and to the point.

The young man behind the desk greets Seb during the latter stages of his approach, making sure a wide smile is affixed across his bearded face.

“Good morning sir. How can I help you today?”

To be honest Seb wishes the… he hasn’t a clue what their actual title is but he’d use receptionist, wasn’t quite as cheery or high-pitched as he is. And no, his issue with the tone isn’t purely because the man has a beard. Simply, Seb thinks it is too early, a little after six fifteen in the morning, to sound quite as up-beat as this man does while standing behind the desk in semi-formal clothes with a too-white smile, bleached blonde hair which flops about as he moves and a pair of dark brown eyes.

Nothing like making it obvious you aren’t blonde, guy. That is what shoots into Seb’s mind a quarter second prior to him issuing his reply.

“Morning. Sebastien Knox; I’m here for…”

The presenter never gets chance to finish for the receptionist interjects, “Yes Mr Knox, we’ve been expecting you. Welcome. Let me get your badge. And if you could just sign in using the tablet there.”

The blonde guy behind the desk gestures, vaguely, toward the upright seven inch tablet mounted to a metal stand that is in-turn bolted to the desks surface.

The presenter, and guest, eyes the tablet wondering what the issue with an old fashioned book and signing it is. He hasn’t a clue but alas he must conform because there is no other way he’s going to get to where he’s headed if he doesn’t. He knows that for a fact and so begrudgingly sidesteps over to the tablet and taps the screen. In return he is presented with a welcome paragraph that he cannot help but sigh at the presence of, and then begins to read.

“You don’t have to go through that Mr Knox. That’s for non-TV people. You can just hit continue at the bottom, if you like.”

Running his tongue along the tops of his teeth Seb considers asking; then why didn’t you say that before, but he doesn’t. It might be better, he thinks for now, if he bites his tongue. After all, who knows how the blonde receptionist will react.

His brain whirs as if about to recall past events similar to this one but he overrides its decision.

He doesn’t care to consider past events. He is well aware of what happened and how it relates to this and that. All he wants is to get to the set he’ll be working on today, which is why he jabs a finger into the continue option.

There is a pause, the tablet locking as it considers the request. Seb is about to ask if this is normal when suddenly the slate shaped electronic leaps into life and presents him with a series of options. Unable to help himself his eyes roll. The security guard, a woman with short black hair down to her jaw catches his reaction but shows no reaction and leaves the guest and presenter to query, “Which option do I need to press?”

“Oh, well um…” Clearly the receptionists’ knowledge extends no further and so Seb assures, “Its fine. I’ll work it out.” Then under his breath he mutters, “Cause you clearly don’t have a clue.”

“What was that Mr Knox?”

“Nothing; I’m just talking to myself.” The brown haired visitor assures while cursing and wondering how the receptionist caught his sly dig uttered at barely a whisper volume.

A quick scan of the options follows, culminating in a decision by Seb that the third is the one he should pick. He thinks that’s the most appropriate but soon learns he’s chosen poorly as he is asked to enter the name of the contractor who serves as his employer.

Another quick scan of the display sees him locate a back option. Mercifully, there is no resistance or hesitation from the tablet this time, though it does mean he is right back where he started.

Again he scans the options and this time selects the final one. It doesn’t seem like it would be appropriate and yet immediately he learns that it is indeed the one he requires. Shaking his head instinctively he enters his name and then signs the screen with his finger. It looks nothing like his signature but it’ll have to do.

“All signed in, I see. That’s great! And here’s your badge.” The small rectangle of paper clamped between plastic is presented to Seb, who takes it and uses the clip to attach it to the pocket of his suits blazer. He isn’t thrilled that it says visitor in large bold black letters but he can’t argue the fact that a visitor is precisely what he is.

“They’re waiting for you in studio nine. This place is a maze so I’ll get…”

Now it is time for Seb to interject over the receptionist as he assures, “I can find my way.”

A winning smile, forced and insincere, he thrown out which he hopes will make his point. If it doesn’t then he’ll have to spell it out to this blonde man who curiously is not wearing an ID badge himself. The presenter wonders if it’s purposeful or accidental. He’s leaning toward the former, on the part of the individual and not TVC as an employer. Yet, the man has been professional enough that Seb doesn’t have cause to put in a complaint. Though, without knowing his name even if he wanted to it would be almost impossible, unless he described who he was making the complaint against. And for all Seb knows there could be a number of similar looking men working at TVC. It wouldn’t surprise him in the slightest if that were the case.

“I’m sorry Mr Knox we can’t allow you to go unescorted, company policy, I’m sure you understand.”

This time Seb detects a hint of condescension, he ignores it, mildly impressed because he didn’t think the receptionist would have it in him. Still, if the presenter ever learns this man’s name he’ll be sure to get him fired. It’s nothing personal; well it might be a little.

“Marissa, can you escort Mr Knox for me please?”

The receptionist asks having turned toward the nearby security guard who replies with a warm smile, “Course I can. It would be my pleasure. Mr Knox, would you follow me please?”

Immediately Seb decides he prefers this Marissa to the receptionist.

“Of course, lead the way Marissa.” The presenter making sure he sound as happy as larry about the prospect. He even adds one of his award winning, but very forced, smiles as he gestures in a sweeping arc with his arm.

Without further delay, or an opportunity for anymore obstacles to be placed in his path, Seb and Marissa depart heading for the relevant studio.

Seb is very pleased to see the back of the receptionist, but waits until they are definitely out of earshot before querying, “Is an escort really necessary Marissa?”

The presenter learned long ago it is best to ‘overuse’ someone’s name rather than underuse it. Doing that helps to build a bond whereas seldom using it tends to grate, even if not admitted verbally. It makes it sound as though you are going through the motions rather than having a conversation and so Seb makes sure to say someone’s name as often as he thinks it works.

Some people take it too far to the extreme and insert it everywhere. That isn’t overuse, not in his mind, that is repetition because you are either bad with names or, more likely, don’t care but want it to seem as though you do. Something Seb had definitely been guilty of early in his more than decade long career in television. So yes, his current tactics are learned because no, he doesn’t care, he simply knows it’s better to look as though he does.

“I’m afraid it is Mr Knox, TVC policy.” Is the honest friendly reply from Marissa as she leads, by a half step, the way toward studio nine. Yet, her answer has given no more detail than was already provided to him by the receptionist with blonde hair.

“Have any idea as to why that is?”

“Something to do with previous issues but I’m sorry Mr Knox they were prior to me joining and no one wants to elaborate past that, I’m afraid.”

Unhelpful, Seb thinks. Not from Marissa but from TVC themselves. Though he isn’t surprised and can guess what the ‘issues’ might have been. Corporate espionage, of a form; and yes, it happens in television. In fact, it is far more difficult to hold ownership over an idea, a format sure, but not an idea and TV largely revolves around ideas.

Of course, it revolves around formats too, but they can be tweaked and altered just enough that they pass without the possibility of being pulled up as infringing.

He is well aware he could explain that to Marissa but isn’t inclined to. This is idle chatter he’s partaking in. Something to avoid what would otherwise be an awkward, and long, period of silence.

“I see, so how long have you worked here Marissa?”

“Three months in all Mr Knox.” The reply is not surprising to him in the slightest for the dark haired woman still has that new, chirpy, attitude which tends to come with anyone who is fresh into a position. That’ll change once the corporate structure has beaten her down some.

“And how are you finding it?”

“It’s been great so far. I get to see quite a few celebrities, meet people like you…” Seb resists the urge to ask what Marissa means by people like him because it seems she doesn’t think him a celebrity.

She means nothing by it, a voice in his head insists. He isn’t so sure but decides to accept and let it slide, for now. Another hint toward some kind of slight and he won’t.

Freeing himself from his internal debate Seb realises Marissa has finished giving her reply. He didn’t hear the rest of it, but doubts it matters. It’ll have been platitudes and naivety about how wonderful everyone is. He’d like to see if she says the same, and in the same manner, once she’s been doing it for a few years. He doubts the response would be the same then and has to suppress a smile as a result.

“That’s marvellous Marissa…” They turn down yet another corridor. Seb can see one reason as to why he has been given an escort; this place is a rabbit warren. If he’d gone off on his own he absolutely would’ve ended up lost and without a number for the director or a member of his crew there is no telling how long he could spend wandering about aimlessly.

So while he hates to admit it, it does appear as though there was cause for the receptionists’ insistence.

“…and what sort of plans do you have for your future? Remain in security; maybe become a manager, run a own shift, company?”

“Oh I don’t know Mr Knox, I haven’t thought about it. I will but only once my probation is up.”

“And how long will that be?” The presenter queries feeling his patience growing short as he begins to grow weary of this conversation and the lack of ambition from the young woman walking beside him. It’s enough to make his eyes roll; he forces them not to, but does not understand people who make excuses as to why they can’t plan for what they want. If he’d been like that he’d never be where he is today.

“Another couple months but my supervisor seems positive so…”

Oh God, here come the considerations. Seb is regretting asking the question and is thankful when Marissa interrupts herself to advise, “Oh look we’ve arrived.”

She sounds more shocked by that than the presenter thinks she rightly should. Still, what goes through his head at the loudest volume is; thank Christ.

While he counts his blessings Marissa scans her badge to grant access into the studio beyond. She holds the door open for Seb who steps through offering his thanks, though not feeling her presence alongside him he turns and blinks a tad surprised that she has remained on the other side of the threshold.

“It’s been nice to meet you Mr Knox, I hope everything with the programme goes well.” A sincere smile is sat across her face.

Seb suspects as security she isn’t allowed into the studios unless explicitly given permission. Whether true or not it marks a clear end to their dynamic and so he offers, “Thank you Marissa for getting me here and for your company.”

With that Marissa nods, turns and departs, the door left to swing closed as she strides down the corridor heading back the way she came, but alone this time.

Seb meanwhile lets out a sigh. He remains unsure as to whether, now that he is here, doing this programme is the best thing for his career. Alas, he knows he has little options besides this. That is why he turns and then strides deeper into the studio, heading toward some scattered members of the crew who are a little ways into the massive space.

Societal Shift Through Bribery, Mergers And Brainwashing Advertisements

Corporate exploitation.
Enslaven the population.
Make them dependant on the items you sell.
Regrowing independence shall never be a will.
For what they want is overreliance.
Stamp out all notions of freethinking defiance.

Money is the key,
To souls of misery.
Rot lives in the lungs,
Choking off you and them.

Business amalgamation.
Punishment for insurbordination.
What you smell is what they give you.
Remember it will only be yours for a few.
So breathe into the filth choked vacuum.
Will wish your body could taste no death fume.

Money is the key,
To souls of misery.
Rot lives in the lungs,
Choking off you and them.

Hard work reaps no reward.
Prosperity exists only for the board.
Sing these words and make them yours.
Its all that will be left when the cards are called.
Doubt you feel the urge.
If you do you’ll face the purge.
Be wiped clean from under their boot.
Every point you could make is already moot.
For you like me mean nothing to them.
They can afford to buy everything.
And we are but a tiny splinter.
Too miniscule to affect this blinker.
Limit on freethought and will.
Soon they force feed you the most bitter pill.

Money is the key,
To souls of misery.
Rot lives in the lungs,
Choking off you and them.

Not counted among the crows.
They take away all that you might know.
Don’t allow success for you on the test.
For you are just a statistic without a value explicit.
So accept your place and submit.
Standing strong is against what they are willing to permit.

Tools Of Future Oppression

You are ordered to reveal where you stand.
Comply with the issued command.
Those two lines I dread to hear.
If they find me now I’ll be split from front to rear.
Mercy is not something that they possess.
They simply carry out orders without redress.
Seen it before so many times.
Mechanical servants that commit crimes.
But law states machines are exempt.
Can’t perform an act of hate or violence.
Its how corporations enforce their will.
And if you speak out of turn it’ll be you that they kill.
Money talks loudest and its more like a scream.
Its why no one believes in a national dream.
None of that helps as I am trapped.
Stuck in a corner soon to be capped.

These machines fit the name robot so well.
Skeletal bones without a mortal shell.
Voice so synthetic that it chills to the bone.
If only they hadn’t jammed the phone.
I might have been able to call for a ride.
Have a chance to get out of this alive.
Then I heard the announcement so clear.
The chilling sound filled my ear.
Raising my head I was met with steel.
A second later I tried to make a deal.
Too little too late and the trigger was pulled.
Before I could react my world was dulled.
I am death and it has now become me.
That is why I now lie as flat as can be.
Surrounded by a pool of blood that’s growing wider.
This is the norm and a daily reminder.

Crime Scene

Laying flat out on the floor,
No life in them anymore.
Outline around the body.
Something about this seems staged and dodgy.

Seventeen scrawled on the brick.
Its like someone is taking the mick.
But this joke is in no way funny.
Whoever was responsible was sick and scummy.

Autopsy reveals nothing much.
Maybe I’m just out of touch.
Retirement is coming and I’m tired.
Perhaps it would be better investigated by someone inspired.

I refuse to let this be the one.
Rather stand before a crook with a gun.
Cause this psycho isn’t winning this.
Can’t be forever where there is nothing amiss.

Three days later another call.
Rush to the scene to see the gall.
Whoever’s the killer is one sick fiend.
Could be they’re even worse than I dreamed.

Poor young guy torn to shreds.
Little more left than bloody threads.
It was a sight to have to behold.
And right on the corner is so damn bold.

Unlike before we get a trace.
At last a lead to chase.
Started to think it would drive me insane.
That all the death would rot out my old brain.

Get a hit that leads to an address.
Modern tech I again do bless.
Without it this monster might have got away.
But that will not be how it will end, ok?

Rush to the building with no pause.
Stack and storm like snapping jaws.
Search the building and only find a note.
Its pure mockery taunting us with a gloat.

Suddenly I’m hit by the greatest thought.
I exclaim I know how to get them caught.
Colleagues follow close behind.
As we travel I explain how we will detain.

The rest you know cause now here you sit.
Thought you’d got away with all of it.
But in the end you were just too cocky.
And that arrogance made you so sloppy.

Not that it matters much now.
For you are locked in this tiny cell.
Case is built and its airtight.
Soon you will be setenced for all your violence and spite.

Grime

Search for items, search for things.
In this room filled with rings.
The shine is bright beneath artificial light.
Stay here too long you’ll go blind from bright.
Its the truth and you know it too.
This mess created was down to you.
Filth washes across every inch.
Why you are now in a pinch.

You aim for pause, you aim for peace.
Already signed a warfare lease.
Pity you sold what little you held dear.
Because of that there will only be failure here.
Piles of trash blanket the ground.
Soon your body won’t be found.
Still breathing in the toxic fumes.
Have you never heard of brooms?

Compacted and distracted.
We all wish it was redacted.
Sick of the rot and the stench.
Why is this an odor you quench?

Seek out hope, seek out dreams.
Before the muck turns to streams.
Bile that runs across the floor.
Its why no one visits you anymore.
Even if chaos is good in small doses.
Seems you didn’t get that process.
So get a grip and make a change.
Before the setting in of mange.

Compacted and distracted.
We all wish it was redacted.
Sick of the rot and the stench.
Why is this an odor you quench?

Search for items, search for things.
In this room filled with rings.
The shine is bright beneath artificial light.
Stay here too long you’ll go blind from bright.
Its the truth and you know it too.
This mess created was down to you.
Filth washes across every inch.
Why you are now in a pinch.

Underdog

OK, this is the last of the stories I have planned for the universe which has featured in these Wednesday posts thus far this year. This one is set before the last two and is quite different. There is essentially no mention of technology whatsoever. Not sure whether that really qualifies it as a Sci-Fi story but it is set in the future, so maybe. Anyway, it’s the story of a man who as the title says is an underdog. Not going to say anything more than that other than its about 9,600 words long and, hope you like it!

A heavy fist swings and connects with Dion’s head. It’s landed quite a bit higher than it was meant to but the desired affect is much the same.

Dion staggers back. He’s dripping with sweat, tired, vision doubled and struggling to stay on his feet. Somehow the six foot one man with a shaved head and brown eyes manages it. Still, it is evident he is waning. It won’t be too long before he won’t be capable of saving himself from the mat. Fully aware of this he shakes his head. He has vain hopes of clearing at least some degree of his blurred vision. It doesn’t really work but luckily his opponent, Dion can’t remember the man’s name, isn’t pushing the attack. Instead, he’s waiting. It could be because he thinks Dion won’t last more than a few seconds, and that he’ll go down anyway, handing them the victory. That isn’t what Dion wants at all but at forty he’s getting a bit too old to take the kind of punishment that he used to when he was younger.

You see, Dion has been fighting for most of his life, since he was fifteen to be exact. He dropped out of school at twelve. Was one of the neighbourhood kids who might as well have not had parents. They didn’t care, didn’t even notice he no longer did homework. Hell, he doubts they noticed when he stopped coming home. Certainly there had been no attempts made to find him. To return him to those whose blood runs through his veins. He wasn’t surprised. Still isn’t. Not that he thinks about those days much anymore. There isn’t much reason too.

After he dropped out of school he ran with some of the other kids whose parents didn’t care. They committed petty crimes to keep themselves afloat. None of the crimes were major or violent. For the most part they tried to ensure no one knew what they were doing. It was easier that way. Doing that allowed for clean getaways, on bikes, because they were too young to try boosting cars, they thought. Plus, it was decided the risk wasn’t worth the gain when it came to boosting. Especially as they’d seen the sort of heat it could and would bring. And none of them wanted to end up behind bars, whether it be juvie or actual prison.

The only reason Dion stopped stealing is because he fell into fighting. It can’t be called boxing, not really, though it does almost exclusively involve using your fists. It’s bare-knuckle. Not regulated or sanctioned in any manner. Yet, there is no arguing that it saved Dion. His friends didn’t partake. They continued their criminal actions.

By fourteen he’d heard they were all inside and it was proof he’d chosen a better path. Sadly, while he might have been a fighter for the best part of a quarter century that does not mean Dion has ever won. He hasn’t. He is the utterly defeated.

In the early days it was the only way he could make money because ‘agents’ only wanted their fighter to win and so would pay sizable amounts for Dion, and others, who didin’t have names and reps to throw their fight. So that is exactly what he did. He had little choice in the matter, and his coach didn’t like it, but he had to make money, to pay to live. If throwing was the only way he could do that then he thought, so be it.

Unfortunately, the longer he threw, and became known for his inability to win, the better the calibre of fighter he faced until the day he couldn’t beat his opponents even if he wanted to. It’s because by that time they were so good, so used to fighting because of the confidence they’d gained, Dion didn’t stand a chance. And he couldn’t escape the mindset that he’d made himself a loser. A well compensated loser but a loser nonetheless.

Fast forward to today and Dion is simply too old. He should’ve retired. He’s no match for the guys he’s fighting. Most of them are almost half his age. The rest are not even that. Problem is fighting is all he knows. It’s all he can do. That is how he feels, what he believes and so he refuses to stop. If he did it wouldn’t change the reality that he has bills to pay and this the only way he knows how to ensure he covers them. Getting into debt doesn’t sound like his idea of a good life. He’s seen what it does to people. What happens, and not just the stress, but homelessness, desperation.

Vision a little clearer, Dion throws a punch. It misses, having sliced a section of air far from where his opponent had been. And for his efforts he is met with a quick jab to the face. His head recoils. He blinks, blood trickles from his nose, then he begins to topple backward.

Dion doesn’t throw fights anymore. The practice ended when he passed his ‘prime’ several years back. Now he takes whatever cut he is owed. It’s small, but enough. Though, no one bets on him, not really. He’s far too renowned for having never won and it hangs over him like a curse. The worst part is, the more he tries the worse he seems to do. He doesn’t get it. It’s as if he’s become a cosmic joke. As if the universe thinks he should fail endlessly, much like it seemed humanity would during the five centuries of suffering when it almost succumbed, a number of times, to extinction. If Dion had been born during that era it is clear the world would have eaten him alive and spat out his bones. It’s what some of the patrons mutter to one another when they think he can’t hear, but he can.

Against the ropes and unable to move, for reasons he cannot comprehend, the old fighter is forced to watch, dazed, as his opponent lines up and readies to strike the final blow. Defeat is, yet again, secured. It’s as if it was written in the stars. Dion tries to look up as though he’ll see stars. He won’t and his eyes offer no response, much like the rest of his body. He’s a passenger now. It won’t change the pain he feels and will feel when…

The blow lands, striking Dion square in the jaw. His head snaps under the might of the hit to his left. Spittle flies from his mouth, his gum shield following closely behind. Both soar through the air in a wide arch. Dion never sees where they land for he blacks out.

His body crumples to the mat with a thud. Cheers erupt from all around. Everyone else wins. Their winnings will be meagre for the odds are in the winners favour. They always are when Dion fights, but no one ever seems to mind much.

Rushing over to the heap of a body which is Dion, his coach Bernie breaks and waves a menthol stick under the KO’d man’s nose. It’s all he has to rouse his defeated fighter.

“Come on Di, come on. Don’t quit on me now. I don’t wanna bury nobody today.” A few light slaps are added to the process of trying to rouse Dion from unconsciousness. It works and Dion’s eyes flutter open what feels like a long few seconds later.

His face is swollen mainly on one side with blood having made streams, jagged and random, down and across where it could. He looks rough but he’s alive.

The defeated fighter without a single win in his life looks at his coach as best he can and studies that old wrinkled face with its white hair and deep furrowed brow of concern.

“How many fingers am I holding up?” The old man asks showing three fingers.

The response is a shake of the head. It casts some blood free of its course down Dion’s face. The fighter tries to speak but can’t. His jaw feels off. It’s not broken, he knows that much. If it were it would feel very different. His guess is that it is swollen but Bernie is not going to stop with that look until he replies and so he raises three fingers.

“Shit Di, you have to stop this, before you…” The coach trails off when he catches sight of the look in Dion’s eyes. It’s the look he always has when Bernie starts to suggest he retire because he doesn’t want to hear it.

As always, and against his better judgement, the old man quits his efforts, says no more on the matter. They’ll only fall on deaf ears, he knows. It’s why he instead busies himself with fixing Dion up. It won’t take much. A few packs to ease the swelling and some skin staples for the cuts to his face. He won’t be pretty. But then Bernie isn’t sure if Dion has ever been pretty, at least not since becoming a fighter. Yet doing this will at least ensure that he doesn’t look like a monster, swollen and deformed.

Cheers continue to echo all around the venue which is a square building, nestled under some elevated road sections in an old part of the city of Parnice.

Trying to ignore it but no longer feeling able to Dion feels a need to spit and so he does. Thankfully only Bernie sees it. If anyone else did they might take it as disapproval of the result. That, however, isn’t at all why he’s spat. Bluntly speaking, it is because of the blood in his mouth. He hates the taste of it. Enough has slide down his gullet as is and he is not inclined to swallow any more than he has thus far while his opponent bounces out of the ring, having finished his showboating on the ropes, and is swarmed by the audience.

Unknowingly, the defeated forty year old lying on his side on the mat breathes a heavy sigh. For once, Dion wishes he could be that man, the victor. It isn’t much to ask for he doesn’t think. Though, he is fully aware it is unlikely to ever come.

Winces of discomfort fire across his face as Bernie staples his wounds shut. The reaction is reflexive, nothing more. He’s had so many of the staples punched into his face over the years he pays no attention to them now, much like he pays no attention to the blood on his face or the swelling. Thankfully, both are greatly diminished. The swelling due to the chilling packs which have been pressed against the side of his face where it had been at its worst. Meanwhile, the blood was cleared purely due to the efforts undertaken by Bernie to patch Dion up. It wasn’t purposeful, just inevitable.

“Done the best I can Di.” The coach announces a few minutes later.

By this time the crowd which had been gathered to watch the fight has thinned significantly. And not one of them cast a look Dion’s way. They truly wouldn’t care if he’d died. In fact, he suspects the only person who would notice would be Bernie. Admitting that leaves Dion with a gaping void. It’s as if a piece of him is missing. He can’t explain it past that but can only assume it is what never tasting victory results in. Not that it alters him, with the all clear given, struggling to his feet. His body screaming, his muscles heavy, as he goes.

Back on his feet, the fighter feels it necessary to steady himself by resting one hand on the ropes around the edge of the square shaped ring. A little over a minute passes before he feels the dizziness ebb to almost naught. Still, his hand remains on the rope of what looks identical to a boxing ring. Chiefly that is because it is a boxing ring. If it’s ever seen proper, regulated fights however Dion hasn’t a clue for they would have had to have been a long time ago. Truth-be-told the ring doesn’t look so worn out for it to be capable of it either. Yet he cannot be sure as he casts his eyes about the space filled. It looks as empty and he always feels following a fight, a defeat.

When he turns toward Bernie he catches sight of Marla, his girlfriend, and lets out only a deep sigh.

She is wearing a face like thunder, dark and angry. He can guess what he’s about to be met with and is hit by a fresh wave of exhaustion as a result. This isn’t the time for an argument, pops the thought into his head, but it’s not like he’s going to get a choice in the matter. This is happening, here and now, whether he likes it or not.

Sometimes, Dion wishes he and Marla had never met. Or at least never hooked up and made it an official thing because all she seems to do is ride him for his choice, fighting. If he was a controlling man he could understand but he isn’t. All he wants is to be able is fight. She might have his best interest at hearts but it’s his life, so that makes it his choice. She does not agree and now more than ever looks to be in the mood to remind him of that. He prepares himself, steels his resolve; sure that Marla is more formidable than any opponent he has ever faced in the ring. Alas, a row is not the same as a fight. If it were…

He doesn’t know if he’d have any victories still. He might, but they’d be small ones, barely worth mentioning.

Yet as she always does, Marla stops at the edge of the ring. Not on the edge but near it. She has always refused to cross the ropes and step into ‘Dion’s world’ as she likes to label it.

Apparently she is of the opinion that if she does that she’ll be legitimising his position and that is not something she is willing to do. Not now or likely ever and so Dion is forced to trudge across the mat to the ropes on the far side. Bernie is already there. The pair don’t say much to one another. They might have the same opinion but have very different beliefs in how the conversation should be broached, tackled. That is further proved when Dion ducks and slides between two of the ropes, quickly steps to the actual ground and is immediately hit by, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”

For whatever reason, Marla never begins her assault until after Dion is out of the ring. He suspects it’s another case of if she did it might be seen, by her only because it would never dawn on him, of legitimising his life choice. And yeah, clearly she is upset. Sure, that’s an understatement but the easiest way Dion feels he can term the state she is in without getting bitchy or cruel.

“Fighting, it’s my job.” Is the utterance given in reply. It’s blunt, perhaps too much so, but whatever Dion says will be wrong so he’s settled on just getting on with it because he’s too tired and sore to care.

“You’re job! You’re job. That isn’t a job Di; it’s a fucking death sentence. Are you trying to die?”

The fighter doesn’t answer. If he did it would only make things worse. He’s learned that over the years. He thinks it’s five they’ve been together but increasingly he’s regretting having their relationship last this long. All they seem to do now is argue. And no, Marla never liked that Dion fought, yet it’s become a much bigger issue for her in the last couple years. Principally because Marla, who is thirty two, wants to settle down, have a family. It’s not something Dion wants but it’s his fault for never coming clean and being honest with her about that. Yet, she is fully aware of his upbringing, or lack thereof. He’d hoped, foolishly, she might come to the conclusion on her own that he wouldn’t want kids, but she hadn’t.

“I saw you out there. He nearly killed you…” That statement, about Marla having seen Dion fight, surprises him. Not because it’s the first time she’s admitted to seeing him fight but because it’s been a long time.

“It wasn’t as bad as it looked.” Bernie interjects only to get a harsh stare from the woman and a wince from Dion who knows his coach is only trying to help but should stay out of this. He’s getting old and Dion fighting is enough strain for the old guy. An argument with Marla might be the end of him. She doesn’t tend to hold back. Though, shockingly she does this time as she issues no more than that damning glare of hers to the white haired man who had been a real boxer when he’d been young. He’d even won a few minor titles, purely amateur. You needed money, lots of it, to turn pro and a coach and Bernie had been in possession of neither. If he regretted it, or felt slighted by the system, he’s never shown it.

He’s also the only person ever to have stuck by Dion, refusing to abandon him no matter what. For that Dion feels Bernie is much more a father than his actual one ever was. Whatever happened to his parents he hasn’t a clue, and would rather never know. They failed him, so why should he bother with them?

“Look at you. You’re a mess; a fucking abomination! And you want to keep fighting, why? ”

This time, like it or not, Dion is going to have to answer. He sighs, mulls over his possible replies, decides it isn’t going to matter what he says because Marla isn’t going to like what he has to say, and so settles on blunt honesty.

“Because it’s all I know and it keeps a roof over our heads, pays the bills.”

“Bullshit! You do it to stroke your ego. You do it because you think you have something to prove. But guess what? You don’t! And I don’t want to see you end up in the ground because some thug crushes your skull between his thumb and pinkie. Do you get that? Answer me!”

An earful isn’t what Dion needs right now. No, what he needs is rest. Bernie goes to speak but the fighter waves him off. He doesn’t want his coach getting involved. Especially, as Bernie agrees with Marla. Not with her means and motives but definitely with her ends.

With a shrug the forty year old with the shaved head still dripping with sweat assures, “It’s not about that.”

“Then what the fuck is it about? Huh. Because from everything you’ve ever said that is what it sounds like. But get this; no one cares. No one. You are a name. If the name was different it would change nothing. So it doesn’t matter if you keep fighting or you walk away. Not to the people that fill this shithole. But to me, to me it matters, you matter. I want there to be an us; in the past, present and future. And I want a family, with you.” Throughout her rant her arms flail, her fingers stab in an accusatory manner and her head, topped with shoulder length blonde hair, swings back and forth in time with the snapping of her heel as she stamps her one foot. It’s always the one foot she stamps. One of Marla’s curiosities, quirks, and she doesn’t realise she does it.

“Can’t we do this some other time? This isn’t the…”

NO! Fuck you! There is never a good time. You never want to talk about it. You just want to…”

No longer willing, or feeling able, to listen and stand through this barrage, Dion turns and begins to walk away. Marla’s face drops; her rage doubles, her voice goes up an octave, the expletive use increases to every other word and she follows, pursues.

Before long they leave the venues interior, Dion crashing through an exit with Marla continuing her verbal assault regardless of who might be around to hear it. There aren’t many and those that are make sure to steer, very, clear of what’s happening.

Mercifully, Bernie hasn’t followed to lend aid. He’s remained inside. Dion is pleased about that. It’s the only reason he took a very quick half-glance over his shoulder.

Marla will almost certainly think he did it to gauge how close, or not, she is. He doesn’t care. He just doesn’t want to listen to her anymore. In his mind it’s clear their relationship is over. There is no coming back from this. She’ll never forgive him and he’ll never feel willing to tell her anything ever again. After all, she is slinging all the mud from his past, loudly, in his face. Or at least it would be in his face if he’d turn and face her. He won’t. He knows it’s for the best. She clearly wouldn’t believe that but it’s true. Yet, this was always going to be how it ended. Deep down he knew it, just never wanted to admit it.

“Fucking talk to me you shithead, you owe me that much!” Are the last words Dion hears before he snaps, “I’m not going to quit. If I do I’ll have done nothing with my life.”

There it is, the admittance, finally Dion has said the reason as to why he refuses to stop fighting. He doubts Marla will understand. She’s never tried to. Again, it is something they had both been dancing around, trying to avoid.  

Yet, with the answer given the fighter does not wait around. He turns back, away from the stunned Marla, and marches off, slowly. It would be faster, and should be, if not body for the state his struggling body is in.

Some rest should fix it, if he’s lucky.

While walking away, Marla snaps out of her daze, her shock and bellows, “You fucking bastard! You’re leaving me here. You always planned to. Well FUCK YOU!!! You coward! We could’ve built something! But you go fight! Even if it might be your last, you prick.”

Tears stream down Marla’s face. They are a mixture of anger and sadness. She can’t say which is more intense. It sounds like it’s her anger but who can tell. She certainly cannot and if she can’t then it’s doubtful anyone can as she watches Dion walk away.

All that’s going through his head is how she might be right. He barely caught her last few words but there is no doubting the possibility that his next fight might kill him. He feels nothing knowing that, even though his next fight is tomorrow.

Save Your View

Blow the news out of all proprtions.
This is the way of social distortions.
Exaggerate to form the point for you.
Lay the blame upon who you need to.
What a way to live your life.
Hellbent on forcing others to sacrifice.
All to preserve how you spend your time.
To everyone else your conduct is a crime.
Handed down from generations gone by.
Doesn’t make it right to continue that lie.
One rule for you thats gone for we.
Don’t try and make out its anyother way.

Opinion is not truth, fact and holds no proof.
Words that spill deafen like a hammer drill.

Look down but you don’t see.
We outnumber you a thousand to three.
So save your speeches and stop your cries.
What you hold closest are countless lies.
Shook the tree until it was spent.
Now you want to circumvent.
Breach the hull that is our ship.
The only thought that has no blip.
Fragile and growing thinner.
One false move will make us dinner.
And odds show we can’t fight and make it through.
There would be no guarantee even for you.

Opinion is not truth, fact and holds no proof.
Words that spill deafen like a hammer drill.

Corner Of The Eye

Some hands are fettered and rotten.
They will try and make you forgotten.
Drag you down beneath the waves.
Fashion isolating chamber graves.
Shove you in and let you wallow.
It’ll feel like you can never swallow.
Just linger on the very edge.
Such things are their only pledge.

They are but the worst of us.
Obvious in how they’re sus.
But still you have to watch and wait.
If they grab hold its down they’ll grate.
Sever soul from earthly form.
Take away all since you were born.
Just don’t lose hope and call them victor.
Doing so will only turn you bitter.

Defeat is a two way street to travel.
Either side can be the one to unravel.
Its why you should always keep in mind,
That they are far along on their grind.
That is what makes them slow to change.
Why they are forever trying to be in range.
But resolve is what they fear most.
What remains of them is like a ghost.

Hollow and disconnected state of being.
Not something that they find freeing.
Hunter without a weapon in reach.
Why they keep silent and don’t preach.
So remember to watch where you tread.
Doing so will mean they end up shed.
Once thats done then they must move on.
For them you will then be gone.

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