Introduction: Fact or Fiction?
I am told the pen is mightier than the sword. It certainly makes deft fine lines on archival rag paper. Imagine what you are reading, right here, right now, is on rag paper. Now, imagine you are years away from now.
In your imagination you are opening an archival document and you hear a voice sweetly saying you are promised a reward, simply by reading. That sweet voice sits inside your body and you begin to feel that reward materialize into something juicy, something forbidden. That feeling is fleeting and soon replaced with another promise found writ in the inked words you read. It is a promise to be entertained. That promise is delivered with such authenticity that, when the reward is realized, you find yourself somewhere unexpected. Here is that promise, read on.
Two choices mate and become “A Decision”.
Sometimes stories come and refuse to leave. Today’s story started yesterday, with an innocent comment. That comment was articulated with officiousness. It was further punctuated by a timbred voice. The comment rang in low rumbling notes as it said, “make a choice…twice…and it becomes a decision”. Genuine listening meant that the conversation took an unexpected turn, based solely on that timbred statement.
Next thing you know an old choice, from years ago, catapulted into current thoughts and went splat on the cork board of current memories. Of course it was a choice anyone would rather keep buried and forgotten. That choice was buried and forgotten until it catapulted, at this very moment, into the present. It catapulted and stuck there pinned on the current day’s memory cork board. That catapulted post it found itself fluttering helplessly between errands for the day and the schedule for the week. There it was, on the memory cork board, a rogue choice from years ago.
That splatted memory, imported from the past and relocated to the present, was only a choice. Unfortunately it did not remain categorized as a “choice“. You see, it was quickly joined by a second quick and decisive splat, also categorized…independently… as “a choice”. Both splats were decisively unelegant. As unelegant as the word unelegant! One rogue choice after the other catapulted into the present. The fuel for that trebuchet of thought was that timbred voice commenting “make a choice twice, and it becomes a decision”.
Considering the day was quickly going awry as it appeared destined to be buried with thoughts from the past as they came it was time to develop a plan. Without a plan the unbidden thoughts would arrive and joust with the daily schedule such as remembering to pick up a book on hold at the library. The plan was to establish a quick acknowledgement of the memories and follow that by a truce. The truce would be an acceptance of both the memories and that fateful statement. Truce acknowledged unwittingly meant that two choices did become “A Decision!” Oh well.
Regroup: Identity Change – A Decision
All of us reading this would then believe the truce would bring about peace. The thing is “the truce” brought about choices melding into their respective decisions. Once categorized as “A Decision” the truce then pointed out a responsibility for the repeated actions. It was calling upon the actions that lived on, in the body of the memory holder. This was not going well. As long as the memory was based on poor choice, the memory holder can remain indifferent. Once the choices regrouped and took on the identity of being “A Decision”, there was a new accountability. This was a predicament. A predicament that seemed to have invited other famed persons such as Dr. Seuss and Tim Burton!
Concession & Risk
Dr. Seuss and Tim Burton appeared to insure that any memory brought forward could not be ignored. In fact they seemed to secure the fact that the memories were repeated choices and therefore they qualified as “A Decision”. Things were moving too fast and time was allowed to romp and set up the stage for the memories to regroup. This also meant that the day could potentially unfold as planned. Maybe in the process of the day unfolding some clarity would arrive?
This also meant that some memories would be reassigned and the main character in those memories would move from being an “innocent victim” to becoming a “referee”. With the role of Referee there was the potential that each memory could have the opportunity to be heard. Using a referee also meant there was a risk that ill fated choices could end up ruled as one event,…as one decision. It was now in the hands of the Referee.
Wisdom appeared ripe for the picking and the day began to unfold. The Referee was set, whistle and all. The following is what the Referee observed. What you are about to read is a very real day, with very real events. Enjoy, laugh, and find yourself wondering how this could have happened. Once the story is completed…..ask yourself what is hidden in the humour. Ask gently and know that this method is certainly a softer way to self reflect than have hidden vaults of memories go rogue and arrive unbidden. Here is your sweetly promised entertainment.
Siren Calls, Referee Observes
Morning rises and my body follows the siren call of the sun. Repose and rejuvenation indicate that the colluding between Dr. Seuss and Tim Burton was only a brief fracture in time. It wasn’t real. The timbred voice wasn’t real. The awful memories were not real. Today is a new day and I am wearing a wrinkled slept in shirt made of black and white lines. I am either a prisoner of my past or the referee of my present. It is all a matter of how many nights I have slept in the monochromatic shirt. It is a matter of perspective.
The voices of my past are the noisy audience calling to the Referee “Own your choices!”. The voices replicate, as do those choices. They replicate and become noted as decisions!” The Referee calls out and names them “A Decision”. It appears premature to the Prisoner, for the calls of the Referee are only one offs. The Prisoner’s truth means finding the common elements, finding a theme in the decisions made thus far.
The prisoner will not be jailed lightly and insists there is a theme to be found if the individual choices and that collectively they make up A Decision. Quick concession from the Prisoner indicates the splats of my darkened past find a common theme loosely titled “Refuse to ask for help”. The answer is close, just behind the shadows. It is now when Tim Burton and Dr. Seuss start to mess around and play. At least their mode of play qualify as entertaining, even though they are designed distractions to keep the truth at bay.
Distraction becomes animated and finds humour in the theme of failing to ask for help. While Humour begins by stating a judgement such as qualifying this discussion as dismally pedestrian. Distraction then goes on to observe the act of writing about the subject to be pedantic. Distraction uses lesser known words designed to make you feel stupid, for pedantic is something you should know. It is in the rule book that when reading you should know the words! Distraction then calls all of us to be voyeurs and peer into someone else’s life. The thing is Distraction pulls a hair pin turn and as I peer I find I am peering at the ghostly real life fumes of an incident from seventeen years ago. Fumes from an incident in my life!
I call “No Fair!”. I call on the Referee to make a ruling instead of the “play on” that seems to be happening! I call it underhanded to use my life and label real life events in my life as entertainment! I say “No Fair” and the Referee holds up a yellow card. Game on.
Distraction plays, bounces, and giggles. Distraction finds the smoky fumes of that past incident. Distraction points out that little incident was actually worthy of being assigned a number in an official police filing system. That incident was actually an occurrence and paperwork had to be put in to explain what happened.
The occurrence number represented smoked infused memories. It told a story of when I fought for my life. In that memory I was neither Referee, nor Prisoner. I was wearing a different uniform, that of an armed Police Officer. The smoke and fumed memories taunt the previously articulated judgements of being either dismally pedestrian or properly pedantic. Those memories taunt and eventually the two judgments meld, only to emit a putrid odour of age and decay. The odour comes from the fact that the story still haunts and I observe myself using the cadence of the story as I am lulled into writing what happened.
Just prior to that near deadly physical interaction, I knew I needed more help. I also knew I was identified (by others) as a woman. Identified as a woman, working in a predominately male profession. I knew all of this and I chose not to ask for help because asking for help meant being inferior to the brute strength of the male counterpart. You see…only a few short months earlier that career began by being informed “women needed to know how to take a joke, men needed to know how to fight”. The speaker easily identified himself as a heterosexual male. The audience to that statement was myself. I knew, as audience, best not interpret what was being said as a joke.
Pink Silk Begets a Second Look
Back to this morning and the day shall unroll uninhibited by ghosts of the past because the truce has been implemented. The morning is still early in the horizon, Distraction is the main player in the game. The Referee determines game is to play on, Distraction gets to play. I decide I have a say in things and I decide that smoky, putrid memory Distraction cast into the mix cannot live beside beauty. Beauty is how to joust with those putrid memories. When Beauty cannot easily arrive, it is best to use humour and some role playing to tantalize Beauty.
It is time to pretend play and invite Beauty onto the pitch. Beauty responds and arrives in the form of Audrey Hepburn. Of note, both Beauty and Audrey are able to meet when I wear silk. I am wearing silk and Audrey is etched in my mind with a pallet of black and pink seen on the cover of the VHS tape, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. The pink is now faded and there are few that play VHS. Still that distant memory appears to be harmless, inviting, and seems to have Beauty and Audrey both present and accounted for. So the day is to roll on and I shall wear my echo of Audrey by wearing my faded pink silk pyjamas. It is morning and pyjamas are a logical choice. The sun is still early on the rise.
And so with the begetting of wonderful thoughts of Beauty and Audrey, pink silk pyjamas were to start the day. Synchronous with that decision the time line fault line appears and plate tectonics seem to happen with memory. That results in a mix of years, genres, and brings to the forefront three historic characters; Audrey Hepburn, Dr. Seuss, and Tim Burton. Tim Burton immediately asks, “When did I become history?”.
The thing is questions are always loaded with information. Tim Burton’s question demonstrated a hesitation which resulted in another film director jumping in on the game. Quirky, ironic, Les Anderson identified the weak moment, moved in and took over. Once Les Anderson was here it meant the story was no longer going to be a simple ink on rag paper story….it was going to be a movie. My mind was turning with this new information!
So we now have a number of characters, Referee, Prisoner, Distraction, Beauty. We also have a number of commonly known images painting the canvas. Those images are invoked by Audrey Hepburn, Dr. Seuss, Tim Burton, and Les Anderson. It may not make sense but it will certainly be entertaining. The promise at the start is making good, while the storyboarding appears to be unfolding.
The cork board story board is now decisively in the hands of Les Anderson. The current costume is confirmed to be faded pink silk pyjamas. The event is determined to start with the execution of an errand. All of this is going to fuse and the theme the Prisoner identified is going to appear. All this will happen and none of us know how it will happen.
In the meantime I exit the house while the sun is still early on the rise. I exit the house and am destined to drop off a vehicle and the respective key at the repair shop. This all appears innocent and allows for enough time to return home, watch the sunrise, and sip a second coffee.
It was simple, drop off my vehicle to the dealership for the scheduled repair but do this prior to the dealership opening. The key could be left in the dropbox and no one would be the wiser as to what I wore. Just prior to leaving the residence my partner mentioned needing her drivers licence. In any good story that would be considered foreshadowing and the new director, Les Anderson, did not miss the cue. While Les Anderson worked the set I pointed out that the driver licence was an unlikely requirement, as the police would be heading in for shift. Two pyjama clad middle aged females did not hold any draw to those officers finishing night shift. We were safe.
Car and Key Delivery
The car is parked outside the dealership. It is parked in front of glass doors designed to showcase each new vehicle. Those glass doors create a visual performance from both the exterior and the interior of the building causing the featured vehicle to be wanted.
The used car waiting for repair, that is my car, is given a once over and determined to be respectable. Distraction was the one checking the car while the Referee was the one determining it was respectable. Beauty did not appear to want to be in the used car being dropped off. Beauty wanted to be inside the showroom one and, further that, wanted to be one of the new showcased cars. Beauty thought being a new red car would be more fun. I, along with this talkative entourage named Distraction, Beauty, and Referee, exit the used vehicle being dropped off for repair. As I exit I am quite conscious of the fact that I am wearing silken clothing. I quickly proceed to deposit the key in the after hours dropbox.
The view of the dropbox is deftly interrupted. The interruption is documented by the imagined film crew and the camera provides everyone with a brief look at what I see. I see a small detail. It calls out and Distraction uses this momentary slip, tactically. Distraction has me see the front door of the dealership. One door appears to be slightly ajar. Beauty has used Distraction and is determined to be inside the dealership. Beauty is determined to embody the raspberry red car showcased opposite of where I parked. I don’t worry. It is early and though the door indicates the dealership is open there does not appear to be many people, hence my attire does not matter and I can still drop off the key. I also know I am capable of some quick witted comment tied to the silk pyjamas in case there are people around. I naively push on the ajar door and walk into the dealership.
The Alarm Sounds
This is the point where you, as the reader, shall decide what is truth and what is fiction. You get to bring in a player of your own titled either Truth or Fiction. You also get to bring in Judgement and decide what is fact and what is fiction. In this process we know fiction is what we tell ourselves to make it through each day, all the while justifying less than ideal choices. Fiction is what stopped me from calling for help 17 years ago when I had to fight for my life…at work. Fiction, this morning, could be the silk pyjamas.
I now had a choice to make. The door was ajar because it did not latch properly the night before. It was not ajar because the building was open. I checked the door, it opened. I walked in, the alarm deafened my ears and I decided Beauty was NOT going to take off in the raspberry red car spotted earlier! Now what do I do?!
Just like I knew it was shift change for the police officers I also knew what was going to happen as a result of that alarm. The alarm would trip a phone call from the security company to the keyholder and the local police service. Police would be dispatched and, ideally and a Canine Officer would attend. The canine and handler would then have some practice clearing large spaces. Regardless of whomever attended no one would have had time to pick up a coffee. The lack of coffee for the shift worker would not be appreciated.
If I did not call police they would still attend. If I did call police, they would attend. The first option would mean the police would go through the video of the showroom and find me, an old co-worker, wearing my silk pyjamas. The second option meant I could possibly avoid the viewing of the video. It also meant that less time would be spent on the call and the officer would be able to get that morning coffee. The alarm call would be considered minor and be qualified as an Incident, as opposed to needing the paperwork of an Occurrence. That was, and still is, the difference between an Incident and an Occurrence. An Incident could be cleared with one line of information. An Occurrence needed a full written story. That was the difference years ago when I had to fight for my life. It was not small enough to be a simple Incident.
A glitch was now inserted, worthy of Les Anderson working a scene. The scene was still the one where I called police from the phone at the desk. It began with me having to figure out the phone system. The phone itself appeared to be from the past yet with the alarm blaring, I finally did figure out the phone and called police, only to hear a familiar voice on the other end of the phone. I disclosed I was at an insecure site, with an alarm going off. Police were dispatched.
I could not let the irony of my garb go unnoticed by the listening ears of the police Dispatcher hence I chose to disclose I was not appropriately attired. I used that information to springboard the next piece of information. The next information was I did not plan on staying on scene. I would be more than happy to leave the scene prior to their arrival. They were my old co-workers after all.
I knew my decision to call police and inform them would reduce police time and I knew that was the right thing to do. I also knew my dignity needed to remain solidly tucked under the sensation of pink silk, where Audrey Hepburn was forever elegant. The Dispatcher proceeded to acknowledge the phone number I was calling from was the number of the business with the alarm. The Dispatcher then fully supported my decision to depart, prior to the arrival of any police officer.
This is where Les Anderson’s filming shows up in fine form. While I am on the phone, with the Police Dispatcher, I realize my outfit is a bit odd – odd beyond pink silk in public. I am also wearing, a knit, calf length, sweater covering a perfectly suitable set of pyjamas. I further topped off the outfit with a baseball cap sporting embroidered letters spelling “UNLEARN”. While this is being registered in the filming Les Anderson tosses in another interesting visual. The visual begins with the camera viewing the new cars. It then pans over the red car Beauty was coveting. While fixated on that raspberry red car the camera pauses and the focus moves from the red car to the showcase window and then to the outside. Outside the building.
Outside, in front of where my car was parked, an employee walks past the glass encased showroom, obviously arriving for work. The employee is sipping a cup coffee from a take out cup. The employee has a slightly rounded profile and was last seen wearing work clothes inked with grease from a chaotic oil change.
The predicament has worsened. The alarm is still going inside the building where I am holding a phone and speaking to police. I announce I am leaving the alarmed building and walk by the polished vehicles. I deduce that the keys to my car should be relocated from beside the Service Desk phone and placed in the plastic basket at the reception. I follow through with my thought – I retrace my steps and retrieve my keys from Service Desk. I then ad place my keys in the plastic harbinger at the front desk.
I exit….and then realize that the door will lock behind me. I now know I have been able to manifest securing the building and I let the Dispatcher know, using my personal phone. I leave in the passenger seat of a different vehicle. The driver where is also dressed in pyjamas wondering what took so long. The driver most certainly has their driver licence with them. Good thing, the police are on their way.
This post is dedicated to every person who has been brave enough to re-assess something from their past and peacefully find a way to be accountable for their decisions. It is brave.
I have writ to entertain and so I hope you are entertained. If that is not the case then I have write to allow you a moment of being somewhere else and viewing someone else. If that is not the case then I have writ wanting to lure your sweet body into a place of reflected dissonance. Both of us are now different, I for having writ a mostly true story and invited you in to view. You are different for you have trusted the cadence of the words and found yourself going somewhere for a moment in time. Once you returned you found your facts and your fiction are forever changed. You are a victim no more.
NOTE: Sweet voices that promise something forbidden … often deliver.
JT Murphy signing off.