Crimes

25 09 2005

Crimes
A work of fiction by kevin verbael

He walked into the night, cold, bleeding, but utterly silent. He walked into the night. Like a shapeless figure dancing before the firelight, he flitted from shadow to shadow. He was scared, he was broken. His movement showed no signs of the cold breakdown going on inside of him. He fell. His face reflected in a puddle, he shed one single, small tear.

So I shot him. So what. He wasn’t good for me or anyone else. I walked after him. I followed him. I made sure he went down. I am not a bad person. I am good. I am a good person. I did the right thing.

He stayed down, the moonlight reflecting from the puddle and into his face. His face contorted a little, breathed a heavy sigh, and he closed his eyes. He wasn’t dead. He told me, ‘Forgive me, I’m so sorry, I don’t know why. What did I do to you? Who are you’. He saw my response before he heard it. He knew that he had cut me down. He had hurt me personally. He hoped to see in me some regret. He knew I wasn’t going to let him get away.

So I shot him again. Five more times. But before I did, I responded to him. I told him why. I thought about this moment for so long. I first began imagining it three years ago precisely on March 15th. I remember it well. I saw everything that happened on the television. I saw the haunted, broken people. I saw him turn to his audience, chuckle and promise me a better tomorrow. So I told the president that night, ‘Beware the ides of March, for in due time the past will bring justice and retribution for the suffering of my people. You have plagued our nation with criminal lies’

One bullet.

‘Do not cross my path again’

Another bullet.

‘Don’t lie to my country again’

Another.

‘Why are you killing me and my family?’

A fourth round.

‘Why did you ignore us when we needed you most? I’m sorry Mr. President, but you simply will not do. You just won’t do. You never volunteered your future to someone else. You never had to sit silently and listen to your own twisted lectures as the firelight died down and wait anxiously for mother to tell us it’s time for bed. Remember me, father. Remember me, your son.’

A fifth and final round.

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E/N (editor’s note) Even though I have made it as clear as I possibly could to people that this in no way relates to me, except that I’m interested, like many educated Americans, in politics and that I have, like many Americans in general, a family. Apart from that, I have no (repeat) no desire in any way, shape, or form to harm our president. I just felt like writing something during a lunch break.

My stories never have an ending planned out when I write. I felt I wanted to twist the entire story over in a Sixth Sense ‘you have to see it again’ kind of way. If you reread it, the rather strange things the narrator says take on subtly different form when you know that he is the son of the President. To extrapolate my story to the real world – you can call it a lesson not to believe everyone buys your story; that the ones who know you best are the ones easiest to disillusion. Again this message doesn’t relate to me, I’m just the writer. In fact, I invented that perspective on my piece just now.

I honestly don’t claim to have much woven into this story. I just wrote it during a lunch break. And during that break, Chase H looked over my shoulder and mockingly gasped, “You shot someone?” – I responded, ‘Uhm no it’s just a random story’. I don’t mean for it to be anything but something that interests some people. Like a mini-Grisham novel. Is there a moral? If you want to, I guess, sure. But in the end, this is just a story for storytelling’s sake.

I wanted to write something different, something dark. It’s not that I’m trying to secretly code into story form some secret plot. I’ve gotten good feedback, but also with reservations on this piece. Mostly people think that this is anti-Bush propaganda radicalism. Can I just say no? More like, ‘Kevin wanted to play around with the concept of a narrator’s voice’. I’m not exactly a lunatic, but it was interesting to try to play around with the voice of a lunatic; it was a strange writing experience I must say, to write as a person that isn’t me. I just draw on what you see in the news and the history books.

This comment turned out to be a lot longer than I had planned. I had imagined writing something like “Remember my disclaimer, I actually don’t think (and I know this is weird because most authors do) just like my characters”. Actually Faulkner does this in “A Light in August”. Do we take it for face value and believe he actually means to be racist? Most would agree that he is commenting on social prejudices and segregation and how it is wrong. So I’ll sum it up for everyone: “Crimes” is just a story that does not reflect on my actual beliefs except inasmuch as it came from my hands and is representative not of some crazy, dark persona, but rather someone trying to see the world from someone else’s (very) different perspective.

And besides, come on assassinating the President – guys, how political do you take me for?

I wonder what Mr. Allen thinks on this piece. And the editor’s note, which actually turned out to be as long as the story itself.

Oh guys, *sigh*





For Amelia

14 09 2005

“If I Never See You Again”

Life is irrational. No matter what laws science or religion will try to ascribe to it, so much of the world is still unable to be understood by anyone. The closer we get, the more we realize we don’t know.

There was this child. Her name was Amelia. Age seven. Forty seven and a half pounds. She was four foot even, though she would always say four foot two inches. She wore a green dress that morning. And then she walked out into the street and died.

So much of the complete story is missing to us. There are so many chapters. So many pages. Maybe all of life has one author; maybe we’re all the author. Or maybe there is no author, just a bored typist writing stories. There are also a lot of pages. There is no sparknotes edition on any one event. Every single event is flooded with detail. Every single event is an eight-hundred page Russian novel. Most of us just miss the detail.

Amelia suffered. Two weeks ago, she had played in the streets with the boys. They played tackle football. She didn’t care. Amelia was last pick. The captain, resigned to the fate of having Amelia on the team sighed heavily. She just ignored it. Amelia played as an extra wide receiver on that team. The captain, thinking it was the most original thing ever, threw a Hail Mary pass to Amelia. Two eight year old boys tackled her before the ball landed on her stomach. That night, she would remember, was the first night she really cried.

Sometimes we see that side of the story. Sometimes we are allowed to see how a person grows and changes, the events that unfold and how a character is defined by these events. Who you are is how you deal with what happens.

Amelia died two weeks later. She simply walked out her door and died. The entire town had been evacuated by that point. There was no way for her to see the plane fly overhead in the midday sun. She was left alone, left behind, left to die.

Most of the time, stories don’t make sense. There’s no reason, no logic to certain events. They always just happen. Mostly, we just suffer and move along. Sometimes some of us are left behind. We move on anyways. But mostly, stories don’t make sense. We always miss the bigger picture. Some of the most minute details glow for us, like the bright noontime sun. Sometimes we don’t see that girl standing in the doorway about to take her steps and go die.

Amelia was my friend. I could never show that to her of course, but she was. I was the captain that day, two weeks before. I don’t know how I let her get left behind at the orphanage that day. I will never forgive myself. I am now twenty-five, and every time I drive by that city, every time I fly over it, I can’t help but be the boy who told her to stay in the attic and never come out.

Even when we can’t make sense of a story, we can still be struck with pain and remorse. Confusion is a few melancholy and somber moments to yourself where nothing makes sense and everything seems to have been your fault and you just can’t understand how or why and after hours get compressed into twenty three seconds, you just get real quiet. Real quiet.

Ameilia died last Thursday. That was it. It was final. I kept telling myself that it didn’t happen last week, that it happened almost twenty years ago, but I can’t. The memory of stepping into the car, buckling my seatbelt, and waving goodbye to the girl in the attic plays over and over. It is a completely silent dream. There are no voices, no words, no laughter, no sobbing. It plays itself out in black and white. A slow camera trails the car reaching to touch it and perhaps itself escape, but loses out over distance and the car pulls away never to be seen again.

Many people make up stories. Some people are extraordinary at it. Some can create entire worlds with friends, events, professions – that did not exist. Some have lives making up fictional lives. Other people make up stories because they feel they have to in order to suceed. Still more make up stories to get us places we don’t want to go. But I’m telling you a story about something for no reason at all.

Just a life’s story to pass the time.

I just want to be forgiven.

a work of fiction by kevin verbael

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About Dreams

4 09 2005

About Dreams
I wish I wasn’t crying,
I wish everything was fixed,
But now I’m only sighing,
Dreaming about laying brick.

Dreams are the things you can’t see or touch or feel, but you hold onto them anyways.

I like to dream, because in my dreams the impossible always happens and in that there is this perfect sensation that the incredible is real, that impossible just happened. Dreams are glimpses into the creative soul buried within all of us – they hold that unique untold story that is a blend of fact and fiction; dreams are what is impossible for the cluttered conscious to grasp, and maybe that’s why we rarely remember our dreams clearly – when we wake up we are presented the same world we fell asleep to, with its trivialities, its mundane repetitions, and its unrealized splendor. Dreams bring those kinds of stories to life.