Jarred S Baker
The Face of Pop In The 80's
I sit here and think back to my childhood, I was twelve and my brother was a year younger. The year was 1996, my brother and I were out of school for the summer, and were making one of our weekly quest to the Dollar General on the other side of Friarsgate, the small neighborhood we lived in. We went to buy candy and snacks with whatever money we could produce through the week, (picking change from the couch or doing random task for the neighbors around us), for the Saturday afternoon movie marathon that played on Fox. Our father did not believe in an allowance, forcing us to earn for ourselves, however with four children and little income this was understandable. The trips were always an adventure to us, making our way to the neighborhood tennis courts, then using a path behind it to get onto the railroad tracks that ran through the neighborhood and led us the rest of the way to shopping center where our destination was.
The boy wandered aimlessly through the meadow, picking only the most beautiful flowers for his bouquet. His mother watched him from the blanket they had their picnic on, but he did his best to hide what he was doing. He wanted it to be a surprise. He especially loved the tall yellow ones and they made up the majority of his bouquet. His father called these “weeds”, but his mother called them “Dandy Lions”. He wasn't sure who was right, all he knew was he loved the way they looked and smelled, but he thought his mother's name for them sounded nicer. The boy bent down to pick up one he thought was especially pretty and added it to his bouquet. It was mostly a large bundle of yellow with speckles of red, white, and purple throughout it.
The Crow's Nest
(Excerpts from the journal of William Goodsir, the only crew member found on The Artemis) 19th of May 1806 It’s been three days since the mutiny aboard the Artemis, but our fortune is no better than under the short-lived leadership of Captain Dontez. After Captain Zissou died during the storm just over a fortnight ago, Dontez naturally took his place being the first mate. However, days later as the winds stopped and the sea grew as still as death, Samael began to speak of a Jonah aboard. He began in general whispers amongst the crew as we worked at first. Few of the men gave his claim much merit, but as the days went on without the winds return, they began to listen. He marked Dontez as the Jonah, making accusations against him of murder to improve his rank. I, who have sailed under Dontez since the turn of the century, couldn’t believe it. He had always been an honorable man, and never had I met such a devout God-fearing man out at sea. Regardless, even the most skeptical of the crew began to come around to Samael’s line of thinking as the days turned to weeks and the winds had yet to return. Of the twenty-four able bodied seamen aboard, he had the support of all but three, Magnus, Paul, and myself. He also had the support of the carpenter Hickey and cook Crozier as well leaving few left to support Dontez. Those of us who did simply stayed out the way the day Samael took over the ship, Dontez was asleep when Crozier cut his throat, as was the second mate. Dontez’s first mate Edgar was on watch when they came for him, he was stabbed in the back then thrown overboard by the seaman on duty. After all was done Samael gathered everyone on deck to announce his appointment as Captain to the cheers of most of the men. Now three days after, still with no wind in our sails, as well as the men going through what’s left of our food and spirits with no regard to rations, I fear this may only be the beginning of our sorrows. Therefore, I have set about making a record of events to ensure an account of things so should we not make it back to port, any whom may find this will know the truth of our fate.
The Final Binge
The sun beat down as Lucas opened his eyes to the world, weathered green paint filled his view as he rolled over onto his back. He lay in daze, doing his best to fight waking up fully. A seagull in the distance and the sound of waves shocked his mind back to reality however, quickly sitting up to examine his surroundings, he became aware that he was on the back deck of some cheap beachside motel. He should be panicking considering he lives nearly three hundred miles from the nearest beach, but he was accustomed to waking up in strange places. The last thing he remembered he had gone to the pub for a few drinks after he had been let go from his job for being late or drunk for too many shifts, and he hadn’t driven since his license had been revoked two years prior, so he knew he hadn’t gotten here on his own. He searched around him for his phone so he could try to piece things together knocking over an empty bourbon bottle in the process. He became nervous when he didn’t see it, crawling around on all fours back and forth from one end of the deck to the other picking through the rubbish he had spread then passed out in the night before. He was on the verge of giving up when the glare of the sun bounced off something in the sand nearby, his phone sat half submerged about a foot away on the other side of the deck.
A Night To Remember
A light rain fell as Ben pulled into the parking lot of Bella’s; the small Italian place gave off a stunning glow in the early evening light. Beads of sweat formed on Ben’s forehead as his beta male brain imagined all the various ways tonight could go wrong. It had been so long since he had been out with a woman and just knew he would screw things up before the night ended. Liz, a coworker from the accounting firm he worked for, had been trying to set him up for years and finally had succeeded. He was to meet Mary, a newer employee from the office, at Seven this evening for dinner. He was twenty minutes early like he always was, a beta male habit formed from a desperate need to please people. He looked himself over one last time in his rear-view mirror before summoning up the courage to make his way inside. He thought to himself that he looked like a bird as he examined his tall lanky frame hunched over to reach the mirror, his long thin nose pulling the look together. Through the bright colors of his favorite sweater, he could almost make out feathered wings.
In the spring of 2008, I was in a dark place mentally and had recently quit drinking to try to take control of my life. Between failed relationships, a lack of trust in friends, dead end jobs, all topped off with substance abuse issues, I found myself in a misanthropic state. Were it not for the few friends I still had around I would have been ready to give up on the entire human race. It was growing harder and harder to trust each new face that came into my life no matter how good their intentions may have been. I was becoming more isolated with each day that passed, longing for a companion who I trusted and cared for me as much as I cared for them. Something I was coming to believe was impossible. After some time living life like this, (which I hardly considered living), a coworker suggested I get a dog, this is how Chud came into my life.
It was hardly past mid-day when I noticed how dark it was growing. I pushed my shopping cart up what felt like the hundredth hill today. The winds had changed, I could smell the storm moving in. I had an hour or less to find shelter before all hell breaks loose. It's funny how much one's senses heighten when the world ends, so much less to distract us from the real world. I cursed the oncoming storm for ruining the peace and quiet of my walk. I always thought it was kind of funny, peace and quiet would've been the last things that I would of expected about the end of the world before the world ended. The world didn't end like in the movies though. No super volcano, no nukes, no meteor or asteroid dished out our devastation. It was a virus that did us in, not a zombie virus or super rabies, just a virus with a ninety percent mortality rate that spread faster than the California wild fires. Those of us that survived formed groups, groups became settlements, and most settlements worked together. Nothing at all like in the movies.
The bad half of my genetic make up called me on the phone today To lay down a guilt trip and then look for a fix I panicked