Sunday, February 28, 2016

Weekly Prompt Story: Leap

February 29th
By Christopher Munroe

Every four year there’s an extra day in February.

As I’ve no doubt you knew without me pointing it out.

What you may not know is that, when that bonus day comes, I spend it in a church.

This might come as a surprise to those of you know me, as if I’m not atheist as such, my agnosticism with regard to a supreme being leans heavily in that direction, but there it is, in spite of all you might have thought…

For one day every four years, I have religion, because I’m willing to take a leap… of faith.

Friday, February 26, 2016


If I were to commit suicide, and I can’t stress enough to you that I have no plans to commit suicide, if I were planning to actually commit suicide this would not in any way be a funny story, and I absolutely do understand that and want to take this moment to assure you, you will not hear about my suicide next week and think “Oh! I was just reading a piece on his blog about a suicide, and I laughed and laughed and laughed, oh my, but I’m a monster!” this will not happen and you do not have to worry about it, because I absolutely do promise not to commit suicide upon this night.

Although I don’t promise never to commit suicide. Options are always on the table after all, and while things are going okay with me right now I do have a history of both depression and crippling panic attacks that, while currently relatively mild and manageable, have been MUCH worse in my past and could for all I know overwhelm me in the future. There’s every chance that, when the end of my life comes, my cause of death does wind up being myself. It’s a possibility I’ve considered, and that I’m aware of, and that in some weird, small way, I’ve even managed to make my peace with.

But not today. And when it comes to suicidal depression, “Not today” really is the most empowering thing a person can say to himself, from a certain point of view.

So no, I have no plans to kill myself.

That said; IF I were to commit suicide, I do have a plan as to how I’d do it.

I’d get some cash together, probably via credit cards that I would never have to pay back, and count on the fact that the internet exists and that, in all likelihood, it wouldn’t be too hard to find a contract killer.

I’m pretty smart, after all, how hard could a contract killer be to find?

Once I found my killer, I’d stipulate the manner of my death in very specific language, and make it clear that unless my cause of death was to my liking my murderer would not get paid.

Because, in addition to a profound self-loathing, my character includes an equally profound narcissism, and I have an unhealthy need to be the center of attention at all times, as evidenced by the fact that here I am, discussing my own possible suicide in spite of the fact that I have no plans to commit such an act against myself any time soon.

So yes, I’d want my death to have maximum impact and, as I’d be paying a man to cause my death, I fortunately would have the opportunity to assure it was maximally impactful.

This is why if I were to commit suicide the method I would choose would be “Via Sniper.”

I’d be sure I didn’t know WHEN it was coming, only that it was, and how. This would cause me to seem suddenly unexplainably nervous and distracted whilst dealing with the people around me, perhaps leading them to wonder what I had going on that I wasn’t talking about.

If asked, I’d be evasive, claiming it was nothing, but not convincingly enough that anyone would believe me, just enough so that they’d let the matter drop, hoping I might bring it up on my own time at some future date.

Not knowing that no such future date, for me, would exist.

And when the time finally came, and my own sniper’s bullet ripped through my body, sharply, suddenly, killing me before I even hit the ground, before I was even aware of the people surrounding me, suddenly screaming in terror and scampering for cover, when the moment came I’d die knowing that, at the very least, I’d given the people in my world one last, surreal story to tell to one another at my wake.

“What the fuck was Munroe involved in, that they’d send a sniper after him?” My friends would ask, but they’d never know the answer because, of course, there wouldn’t be one. I wouldn’t be involved in much of anything, other than the hiring of a sniper off the internet.

And in that way my death would provide a little bit of mystery and magic to the world…

Now: Some of you might wonder if I would truly want my last act in this world to be a horrific act of violence against myself, for no reason other than to fuck with my friends one last time before I shuffled off this mortal coil.

And to those of you I say: Have you MET me?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Weekly Prompt Story: Sand

A Love Note
By Christopher Munroe

I don’t like sand.

It’s coarse, and it’s rough and it’s irritating, and it gets everywhere.

Not like here, here everything’s soft, and smooth.

And it’s just like the ocean, under the moon.

That’s the same as the emotion that I get from you.

You’ve got the kind of loving that can be so smooth, yeah.

Give me your heart, make it real, or else forget about it…

And so you see, Padme, while I do hate sand, you’re not like sand, and so I do love you.

Because, rather than being anything like sand, you are my sweet Sand-tana…

Friday, February 19, 2016

On Military Responsibilities (Star Wars Thoughts: Part Three)

I try not to get political on this blog, but there are certain issues that cannot easily be ignored, ones that need to be addressed, and immediately, because ignoring them would prove so toxic, both to ourselves on an individual level and to society as a whole, that the damage to our collective societal psyche should we put off dealing with them might well prove to be irreparable.

A society, after all, is judged upon what priorities it chooses, what it elects to deem important. And if we, as a civilization, wish truly to be the sort of bastion of hope, reason and order that we believe ourselves to be, then we must look with frankness upon our own priorities, see what matters to us and ask ourselves, honestly and unflinchingly, what they say about us as a people…

Bearing this in mind: Are you seriously trying to tell me we have money for three different Death Stars but not to get Darth Vader a halfway decent respirator? Are you fucking kidding me?

The man is a fucking veteran! He fought in the Clone Wars and was an invaluable ally when the Jedi Order turned against the Empire. He fought against his own people in Emperor Palpetine’s name, lost multiple limbs in the fight against his treasonous former master, and then continued to serve the Empire with honor and dignity, asking for nothing but the opportunity to contribute, in whatever way he was able, to Palpetine’s grand dream of unlimited power.

And yet, when the time comes to get him a respirator, we go with the huge, clunky model that not only covers the whole of his face but also leaves him wheezing so loudly that you can hear his labored breath before he even enters a room? This is actually what we’ve chosen to do for him?

This is how little we think of him?

And don’t even try to tell me it’s the best respirator we could get given the circumstances, you know in your heart that that’s a damn lie. I have it on good authority that when Rebel pilots lose hands in laser-sword fights they’re given replacements that are essentially indistinguishable from the limb they’ve lost, both in terms of form and function. The technology exists, it’s simply that the Empire either can’t or won’t pay for it; they haven’t deemed it a priority.

They had Death Stars to build, after all.

And don’t you try to tell me that my questioning the importance of Death Stars to our Empire’s security is in any way disloyal or na├»ve, either. I get it, a strong military makes for a strong Empire, and I’m as much a patriot as anyone, I’m just saying that once our warriors, from Vader himself all the way down to the front-line Stormtroopers cleaning up rebel bases, are done waging our wars for us we owe them. We owe them a damn sight more than what we’re giving them now and the way we’re treating them is fucking shameful.

And also, keeping it real, you name me one military problem the Empire has actually managed to solve by throwing Death Stars at it. Just one.

Alderaan? Please. Alderaan was destroyed in an attempt to pressure Princess Organa into revealing the location of the Rebellion’s secret base of operations and, last I checked, she hadn’t done so. Instead, she was rescued by the Rebel Alliance because a moon-sized mobile starbase is too much territory to properly staff and secure, flown back to wherever their base was and, returning with a fleet of fighters, led a mission that wound up proving once again that small, mobile forces tend to triumph over large, unwieldy ones! The Death Star was destroyed, our Grand Moff was killed and so was the whole of the staff of the base! That’s what you’d call a victory?

Because it is, you know, that’s as close to a victory as Death Stars come. The second wasn’t even completed before the Rebellion blew it up and the third we fired exactly once before the Resistance destroyed it too.

But maybe I’m mistaken; maybe Death Stars really DO act as an effective deterrent against resistance to the Empire. Maybe I just can’t hear the Rebels surrendering over the sound of exploding Death Stars. Or: Maybe blowing up Death Stars is just the Rebels’ way of saying “I surrender.”

But maybe, just maybe, the construction and deployment of increasingly large, increasingly expensive planet-destroying superweapons is a costly, pointless boondoggle upon which we spend both blood and treasure that could more effectively be deployed at home, on domestic priorities. Priorities like interplanetary infrastructure maintenance, education, taking care of our wounded Stormtroopers and buying Lord Vader a decent, silent, unobtrusive respirator. How many respirators could we buy with the price of a single Death Star? How many schools? Hell, how many conventional Star Destroyers could this enormous waste of money finance?

And how long before we as a people stand up and demand that it stop? I love the Empire as much as its next citizen, but it’s not unpatriotic to point out when your Empire has gone off track, and Death Stars, while an interesting idea in theory, in practice have been an unmitigated disaster for Emperor Palpetine, for the Empire and for each and every one of us who’s taxes have gone toward their construction. Building a fourth would be shortsighted, irresponsible and wrong, and so long as Lord Vader is still breathing so loudly that he can be heard from across the deck of a battlecruiser we cannot afford to pursue this irresponsible military strategy one moment longer.

This isn’t a popular position right now, I know, especially with the resistance creating discord at every turn, but it’s one that needs to be expressed, because search your heart, you know it’s true, these are turbulent times in which tough decisions must be made, but in spite of this we can’t lose sight of our values as an Empire, peace, order, structure, none of these are served by the endless construction of Death Stars that have been proven, time and time again, not to keep us safe.

Death Stars: Wrong for the Emperor, wrong for the Empire, and wrong for its citizens…

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Weekly Prompt Story: Love

By Christopher Munroe

I hate them.

I hate them all.

These fucking people with their fucking love, celebrating as though it made them special.

It does not make them special, they are not special. Nobody is special, and nothing means anything.

But you can’t tell them that, because they must celebrate love.

“Ooooooh!” they say, “Surely my perfect love will protect me from the icy hand of death!”

Nothing will protect you from the icy hand of death.

And as I sit here, in my turtleneck and beret, smoking long, black cigarettes, I hold them in nothing but the most abject of contempt…

Thursday, February 11, 2016

My Religious Experience

I’m not a religious man by nature. The number of times I’ve actually been inside a church, during actual services, I could count on my fingers. On the fingers of one hand, in fact.

Three. Three times. I’ve been inside a church during actual services three times in my life.

The first, as a child, I was invited by a neighbor whose family took their faith more seriously than my own.

The second, as preparation for a production of Rocky Horror, when the director decided she wanted to play up the religious overtones of the piece.

The third, Christmas last.

I’d been invited, you see, for midnight mass, and while there is no metric that exists anywhere on earth by which I would qualify as Catholic, I do appreciate the pomp and circumstance involved in a Catholic mass. The production design, the costumes, the set pieces, it feels big, to me. It feels important.

Is it offensive that I refer to the set pieces and costumes as though religion were a theatrical production? Perhaps. As I do keep saying, I’m not religious.

Regardless, I appreciate the production value of the Catholic faith, it makes everything feel more like capital-R Religion, and I think that that’s important when it comes to something that people are meant to put their trust and faith in, people deserve to find what they believe important.

And Christmas Mass, I’ve been told, is basically the big one for the year. If you’re only going to attend church services once (and many, from what I’m told, do exactly that) it’s the one to see. So really, when I found myself unexpectedly invited, how could I resist?

I went to the place and did the thing, and it was fun. I don’t pretend I understood all of it, indeed I’m not sure I could contextualize most of it, but I did appreciate it on the level on which I was capable of doing so, and overall I’m glad to have had the experience.

And then, on my way out of the service, I was hit by a car.

I don’t know if it was a drunk driver, or just someone who, in the snow, didn’t see me, I don’t know if they stopped to see if I was okay or just sped off, I don’t know if hitting me haunted them for the rest of their life or if they found a way to make peace with what they’d done. I didn’t get the chance to find any of that out, I was dead by the time my body hit the road behind the car that’d just finished mowing me down. Which, I suppose, doesn’t matter as much now as, in life, I’d imagined it would have. It’s not like as though information would have affected what little time I had left, after all…

The important thing I did learn is: The Catholics turn out to have been on to something, and if you get killed literally coming out of a church you get into heaven on the spot, no questions asked.

Which is convenient if, in moments, uncomfortable.

I mean, and I can’t stress this enough, I’m basically an atheist and it makes being here in heaven super awkward, but I’m doing my best, I’m keeping an open mind and, so far at least, I think I’m doing a pretty good job of fitting in, even if this isn’t a very natural context for me.

So… how ‘bout you, what’s your story? How’d you die?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Weekly Prompt Story: Stranger

The Doors
By Christopher Munroe

People are strange, when you’re a stranger.

Faces look ugly, when you are ugly.

Women seem wicked, when you are wicked.

Streets are an evil place, when you’re evil.

When you’re strange, faces come out and are strange.

When you’re strange, no one remembers you’re strange.

When you’re strange.

When you’re strange…

Or something like that. I’ll admit, I’ve never paid close attention to the song.

I did enough drugs in high school to believe Pink Floyd were the greatest band in history, but I didn’t, and will never, do enough drugs to believe that Jim Morrison was a poet…

Friday, February 5, 2016

Disposing of my Remains

I’ve heard stories about funerals during which the deceased, as dictated by their living wills, distribute jewelry to their mourners, little glass jars on little silver chains, each jar containing a portion of the ashes that are their earthly remains.

After cremation, the notion goes, rather than having your ashes blown out to sea the option exists to send each and every one of those who’ve come to see you laid to rest home with a portion, that they might have some part of you, some real, tangible thing, to remember you by.

And I do admit, I find myself impressed by the notion.

It strikes me as the perfect sort of weird, passive aggressive power play to make, and one that you will never, ever be called to account on, because who would be crass enough to speak ill of a dead man at his own funeral?

You would know why I had done it, but there would be nothing you could do about the matter without seeming like the worst sort of person in front of everyone who’d ever cared about me. So you’d smile, and accept the little glass jar on its little silver chain, and pretend that it held some kind of meaning for you.

And, from beyond the grave, if anything beyond the grave does exist, I’d laugh.

“Here,” I would tell you, “have something you do not want, but can never, ever, for as long as you might live, throw away.”

And you would have to grin and take it, knowing as you did that I had, one last time, gotten the better of you with the sort of weird, petty, childish prank that you’d so long put up with during my life.

And perhaps this reminder of who I had been, and what it had been that drew you to me during my life might make you, for one brief moment in the middle of my funeral, smile.

Or perhaps it would not.

Either way, you’d be stuck with the jewelry.