Author Archives: flap jack

Rain on your parade

Well here I sit. Watching. Lurking. Seeing things others have trouble seeing. I dare say, no one even sees me. I crouch and hunker down in a way that is to my advantage.

There one goes. And another. But which do I leap at? It has to be perfect. A misstep and the opportunity will be lost. Patience and calm with a hint of anxiousness. Clearly it’s a confusing thing. The heart is racing.

As I get older, these activities are harder. I can’t help it, I want to do it. There goes another. I should relocate to another location to get a better angle. I’ll rotate around hoping no one sees me.

Wow they are fast, but I must be faster. There goes another and I leap using every ounce of my existence. I reach with all extension of my body. Forearms fully extended out in front, making me bigger than I am. My back feet release from the branch also fully extended, disconnecting from the mount point only when the last push of muscle and energy uses the leverage to push.

I’m in midair. I can reach it. The world around me slows down. The breeze cools my underbelly as I drift through the air. This is not my first time. I’ve caught birds before, in flight. The capture is satisfying.

Almost to my surprise, contact is made. Front paws reach the destination. The flutter. The initial contact is smooth. Then chaos. My surprise as well as his. He clearly was not expecting me to be there, meeting him in flight. Changing his direction. Ending his glorious drift through the trees.

The chaos as we tumbled. We spun through the air, which seemed like eternity. Only a few feet above the ground seemed to take forever to reach the ground. While we fell, he was at the advantage because I had no traction, nothing to push on. No leverage. I held on to what I could grab careful not to adjust my grip until we reached the ground. At that point I’d have the advantage. The tide would turn to my favor.

Thud. Didn’t matter what landed first. I’m used to pain that comes with landing abruptly, but with the prize of the capture, it is worth it. Usually I’ll still land on at least one back foot.

Fussle. Flapping. Chaos. Rolling like a whirlwind of wrestling between advisories.Don’t let go. And we stop! A moment of silence. We have reached a pause in our struggle as we both collect ourselves. Heavy breathing. A moment with all the initial urges and anxiety catches up to the moment.

Now what? Do we continue? Will he give up the struggle and I win? Do I walk across the yard with my prize bird in possession for everyone else to envy?

I did it. All mine. Look at me. Strut. Loud noise behind me? What was that? I pause and glance. I’ve done nothing wrong. They will be proud of me. They will congratulate me. I won. I leaped and fought. Here they come. What now? Run and hide. Uh oh. They see me. I’ll hide. Let go of me. Why are you holding me down? My tail? I’m losing grip. It’s flapping wildly now. I’m gonna lose it and it’s gone.

Ugh. All that time and energy and struggle to be released in a brief moment and gone.

If only I had wings. Hmmmm.

Oct 7, 2020
Rain on your parade

Go for broke

Run fool! Run!

I breathe heavier and faster. Nothing was in my way but my legs felt more and more on fire. I wasn’t moving. You know that thing in dreams that happens when you feel that something is chasing you and you need to get out of there but you feel like you’re in mud? And your legs weigh a thousand pounds? That was this moment.

Run. Get away. But what was chasing me? I couldn’t see anything but I could hear it. Loud. Like a trash truck. The large metal gears whirring together to make that crunching sound when the metal can’t hold its shape anymore. It was coming after me.

But not really. It was clearly just a game. It was me at the dinner table refusing to eat my green beans. “They are good for you”, said mother. But that didn’t matter to desires for a sweet flavor. Where was the fun in boring ole vegetables? My body was young and strong and I could clearly eat all the things I wanted and nothing would hurt me. But if I didn’t eat anything what would that be like?

The hunger pain inside took control. I lay in bed refusing to eat the things that were put in front of me. The monster controlling my urges took over. There has to be a way to eat something else. I took some paper from the desk and started chewing. What was this sensation? There was nothing here. My teeth were mashing together but there was no resistance. Just a flat chalky texture. Not too much different from vegetables, so I thought. Spit that out.

I bet I could find something else to eat that tasted better, but as long as it was not prepared by my parents, then I was winning. But as soon as I crumbled to what they wanted, I lost.

Sneak out the window. Grab my bike. Go to the gas station store. Peddle all the way up there. Dodge some traffic on our quiet meager street. Nothing ever happens out here. My mind was only on quenching the hunger in my belly. But I had no money. Didn’t remember that until I got up here. Well that was a bust. Do I consider digging through the trash can? No way! I would never do that. Gross.

So I started back home. Would I beg for help? Would I let the yearning urges in my body determine my future? Could I produce something and sell it? I passed some discarded object in the tall grass that caught my eye. Why stop? What was that? Oh wait, that might be useful. How cool, why did someone throw this out? Mine now. A large collection of markers. I could use this.

What to write? Do I proclaim my innocence and point blame at the truth? “Parents abused me, refused to let me eat dinner!” That would get someone’s attention, maybe the wrong someone. No way would I chance sending my parents to real trouble, but they were not helping me bye keeping my body nourishment at stake.

Think, think. I could come up with only one thing that seemed appropriate. “I’m broke” I went for it. There you go, I’m now begging for handouts. But I’m just a kid. Clearly that combined with the desperate messaging would draw attention and I would get the cash or nice treats needed to get some fulfillment.

Lots of honks and people walking by. Nothing was happening. I know that person, this is humiliating. Why don’t they stop and give me something to eat that’s better than the gross vegetables that started this whole mess?

Footsteps, someone approaching. Someone with compassion. “Hello”. “Hi”. And that was it. My plan didn’t work. I failed. This person wasn’t here to help. This was a mistake. Someone help, where are the people that care about me? Don’t let this person take me! “Hi Mom, I think I’m ready to eat dinner now”.

My struggle was complete. I’ll go ahead and have those vegetables now. They sure did taste good. And you know what, there was a little guilt on her side through all the tears and fear of a few moments that I was gone from the house on my own begging for food. So much that she even gave me a little ice cream after I finished that plate of vegetables.

Will I do it again? Maybe. Tomorrow is a new day. But tonight, I’ll sleep with a full belly and a warm house over me and a little pride of the chance I took trying to go the distance and make it on my own.

Oct 1, 2020
Phrase: Go for broke
Nouns: birthday highway painting
Verbs: fix plan execute

The jig is up

Sept 30, 2020

I sat there watching the butterfly flutter by and the sun cast a shadow on the ground. The sun was hot. The wind slightly blew out of the south. My hat was fastened on my head but was still loose enough that it would fly off when running fast.

Mom was in the stands where she usually sits. Trying to always have a view of me on the field. I wanted her to see me make a play. I wanted to make her proud. I never thought it would come to anything meaningful, cause after all, I was the smallest on the team with the least amount of energy. Maybe today was a day when that would change.

The inning ended when a strikeout. The crowd didn’t really cheer at these small local baseball games. It was only for parents, grandparents and the occasional random uncle that showed up to watch a game. My nerves were at their normal tense level. Always apprehension. Always a bit churning in the stomach. Why? I don’t know, maybe it was because in the game, there was always a chance something exciting and stressful would happen and I would mess it up. There I went again, overthinking it.

I bet no one knew how strong I *could* be if I wanted. I bet they only saw the exterior of the frail fragile boy that was wrapped around these bones. I didn’t look strong. I didn’t do strong things. I didn’t even have a loud voice when I yelled. I could always be over-run by the next biggest kid.

It was out turn in the offense. We got to bat. You might think this story is about the time that I stepped up to the plate with bases loaded, two outs, down by a run and I hit the winning run in to win the game. The team carried me away on their shoulders in victory and I was their new hero. I was the champ. I got the best seat on the dug out. Everyone wanted to play catch with me …. Nope. Not today. That’s not this story. This is a story of truths. My truth. My secret. My reveal.

I was there and I bet no one knew. No one ever got close enough to chance finding out. I kept it secret. Had for years. Mom didn’t know. I don’t know how it happened, I don’t know where I got it from, but I had it. It was mine and maybe the only power I had was keeping it a secret. And once I let go of that secret I would lose that power and control. Did I want to let it go?

It was risky. It was inevitable that one day it would come out. Someone would see it. Someone would know and see that I was a phony. Was I willing to let that happen? Always hiding in fear? But if I was in control of when it was told to the world, maybe I could pick the time place and location. I could sneak it out when no one was looking. I could just do it.

Well, it happened. Today was the day. As I walked to the plate and took my place in the batter’s box, I felt the same nerves as usual. All the sickness. All the sweat beads running down my forehead. Gulp. I swallowed.

One pitch went by. The pitcher and catcher were of course twice my height and weight. I didn’t know how I why others were so much more advanced than me. They too had their secrets. I had mine.

Second pitch. I don’t even know if they were balls or strikes. Didn’t matter. Had anyone noticed? Had anyone cared? I was there and no one was watching. The coach at third base was disappointed, looking at his clipboard calculating how the next batter would have another out on the board when they got their chance. No one was looking. No one cared.

I looked down and could see my feet were there. Right inside the batters box. Where they are supposed to be but where they never were before. Did I do it on purpose or was it just an accident?

There they were, on the first base side of home plate in the left-handed batter’s box. What a relief. Felt so natural. Felt so real. Now, the jig was up, every was bound to see it. My turn. Here’s the pitch. The swing and yep, strike out. But you know what, at least I’m done hiding it. I can be myself. I’m left handed in a right handed world. Guess I’m eating at the end of the dinner table tonight. Thanks Mom!

Saying: The jig is up
Nouns: Mom, baseball weakness