Thursday, July 31, 2014

One Monday

There was a pair of crutches in the alley outside the bar as we left poetry slam, propped up against the brick back wall of the place, and we took a moment as we passed to wonder how they might have gotten there.

Crutches, we agreed, weren’t the sort of thing that were easily forgotten. If you had them it was because you needed them, and without need you had none to lose. So, we pondered, how came they to be abandoned so?

Though obviously we didn’t phrase it like that. Poetry slam or not, nobody talks like that in real life.

Perhaps we ought.

Turning the matter over in my mind on the drive back home, I couldn’t shake the image, a man on crutches, hobbling through a darkened alley, when from the shadow comes a stranger with kind eyes and a wizened, wrinkled face. The stranger smiles, placing a hand along side the man’s face, drawing him in close, a mouth to an ear, the whispered word “Heal” and then back into the shadows without even offering a name.

And in this way the Jesus of the Wine Bar works his miracle, crutches fall to the ground and the man walks forward into his life, healed and whole once more.

It’s a beautiful thought…

…more likely, he was on crutches already when the car hit him, and in the confusion the paramedics didn’t notice to bring them along.

But that’s kind of a downer.

I like my version better.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekly Prompt Story: Boggle

By Chris Munroe

Certain situations defy description, defy comprehension. They’re said to boggle the mind.

But can only the mind be boggled? Can a circumstance boggle the body?

Can a sufficiently uncoordinated person, forced into some sort of physical feat, find himself so out of his depth, so beyond his skill set that physicality itself reels at the immensity of what he’s been charged with doing?

Can he find himself in a position, be it sport or stunt or herculean trial, that defies description, defies comprehension? One that boggles the body?

What do you think of THAT notion?

How’s your mind?



Thursday, July 24, 2014


Whenever I return home, I make a point of visiting the skate park.

Jerry broke his neck there in ’98, trying to jump over a bench. No helmet.

The funny thing is, he wasn’t even on a skateboard, he just tried to jump over the thing and tripped. And to this day you can still see his spectral form, aimlessly wandering the park. I give him a wave as I pass, though I don’t know if he can see me. I like to think he can, though he never acknowledges me.

I also stop in at the Rose & Crown, where Don was hit by a drunk driver, minimum once. He’s there, at his favorite booth, nursing an eternal pint, though nobody who didn’t know him can see. I’ll sit with him for a quick one if time permits. It seems the least I can do to honor his memory, although for obvious reasons we don’t speak. People would think I was a crazy person if we did, from their point of view it’d look like I was talking to myself.

Anne still sits on her bench in the hanging garden. It’s not where the accident took place but it’s a place that she loved in life, so I guess she found her way there afterward. And I can’t blame her, it’s a lovely place to visit, and I’m glad she can make good use of the bench we had dedicated to her. Makes the gesture feel a little more worthwhile.

I don’t sit with her, though. I can’t bring myself to. Even after all these years the memory is too raw. Still, I walk through the garden and venture near enough to at least catch a glimpse of her.

I don’t revisit my hometown as often as I’d like, work and family make that harder and harder as the years go by, and the farther I get from that part of my life, the less reason I have to go back. I suppose that’s true for us all. You can’t go home again, and what not. It’s not the same place, or more often you aren’t the same you. It all just feels too different, alien…

…nevertheless, now and again I do make it back, and whenever I do I make a point of visiting old friends, at all the old haunts.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weekly Prompt Story: Have you ever?

By Chris Munroe

Have you ever felt you were being watched?

Because you are, as you know if you follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, or read my blog. I’ve also mentioned it via Tinder, Youtube and Pinterest, it’s kind of a pet issue of mine.

I worry deeply about privacy issues.

Which is, in fact, the subject of my new podcast, which I’ll debut in the new year. We’ve rented a theatre space for recording, so anyone who wants can come in and take part in the dialogue.

It’s an important issue, after all. We have to protect our privacy…

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Getting off the Train

He’d thought that it was just another day.

Little did he know…

As the train pulled into the station, dropping him off on his way to work, to his errands, to whatever business it was that he was on his way to, he pushed through the crowd by the door, attempting to make his exit from the car.

It was a journey he’d made dozens of times, hundreds, and there was no reason to think this time would be any different. No reason to assume that any danger might await him, that anything might go awry.

Little did he know…

After all, it was mere few steps, a few feet at most, he was already close enough to the train car’s exit that he could see it, two paces would bring him close enough to push the button, open the door and be on his way.

What could possibly happen in so little distance, in so little time?

Little did he know…

…suddenly, from the crowd, came a hand out of nowhere, grasping him by the throat and pushing him back.

That hand was mine.

I’d been reaching for the door.

I misjudged the distance.

It was mortifying.

Dude, if you’re reading this, I’m so, so sorry…

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Weekly Prompt Story: Public

Dressing the Part
By Chris Munroe

My bowler hat, steam-punk goggles perched atop it, tilts rakishly across my brow, and my umbrella, handle twisted into a question mark, hangs jauntily from my arm in case of rain.

Black suit, black shirt, red bow tie around my throat, matching suspenders and I look sharp, if I do say so myself.

I almost nixed the monocle, but fuck it, I deserve the best.

And anyway, it matches my pocket watch.

I’m ready to take on that world.

Some might be uncomfortable going out attired thusly.

But not me…

…I’ve never had any problems with public displays of affectation.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Meanwhile, in a room without a roof...

…and, for one perfect, joyful hour, I truly knew what it was to feel alive.

Every one of my problems fell away, each trial, pain, ordeal and indignity of modern life, and I lost myself in bliss unlike any I’d ever known.

I managed, for sixty glorious minutes, to forget that I was nothing more than another cog in an unspeakably horrifying machine, an identity-less drone in a hideous, dystopian world beyond any understanding or control. I felt, if briefly, like a real live human being.

I felt hope.

And then “Happy Hour” ended, and back to work I went…

Monday, July 7, 2014

Weekly Prompt Story: Sausage

By Christopher Munroe

Are you coming to Sausage Fest?

It’s going to be terrific, I go every year. Chefs from Germany, Austria and Belgium are flying in, plying their wares, offering samples and discussing sausage-making techniques, it’s fun for the whole family.

Also: My favorite Journey cover band, the Any Way You Want Its, will be playing. They do Journey songs in the style of your choosing, it’s a hell of a show.

Any way you slice it, this will be one huge sausage party. So come one come all, to Sausage Fest!

I just hope there are more girls there this year…

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Another Fucking Story About Juggalos (Part One)

I heard them coming long before I saw them...

The haunting strains of ICP from the car window as their matte black, 1984 Cadillac Coupe de Ville pulled up next to me and the three of them jumped out.

All three wore full, black and white demon-clown war paint across their faces, two wore dreadlocks. The third’s head was shaved, and all three wore matching “Hatchet Man” medallions around their necks.

The first, their leader I presume, wore a faux hockey jersey proclaiming him to be named “Thug Ballz”, and as they approached he looked me dead in the eye.

I consider myself a generally open-minded person, accepting of all to the degree that I can be, but I admit, in that moment I was afraid. Involuntarily, I took a step back, frightened of impending attack, scared that they might hurt me…

Instead, they put their arms around, and held me tight.

“You are not alone.” One told me.

“We are all in this together.” Said another.

“You are the real miracle.” Thug Ballz added, and then they got back into their car and were gone, as though they’d never been there in the first place…

…this was my first experience, though by no means my last, with the Contact Juggalos.