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Archive for the tag “graveyard shift”

Affective

nano poblano photo 16 png

I slept hard, I assume, because when my stuck-shut eyes finally opened, I felt like I had not moved all night.  I thought about last night’s beers… only two… and this morning’s coffee, still only a waking dream on the dingy horizon.

I miss the morning sun.

I spent a dozen years without the sunrise, unless you count seeing it come at the end of a work day, on the wrong side of an eighteen-hour shift.  Then my whole life changed, because I changed it.  Things inside me had gotten as dark as the nights I worked, and I couldn’t even tell what caused me to go from keenly introspective to irresponsibly morose in that last year of double-shifting, and falling asleep in the morning, while I wore blinders to keep out my enemy, the sun.  But even so, towards the end of that year, something inside my head told me that I needed to take a walk.  Away from the job.  Away from the life.  Away from the darkness.

I needed the morning sun.

I let the sun be my alarm clock, my thermostat, and my constant companion as I went from nightcrawler to daywalker.  It took months, but it worked.  The brightness of summer burned the long night of winter away, and eventually, for the first time in years, I felt like a human being again.

And then, it got dark again.  Not inside me, but on the outside.  When daylight backed away like the ocean at low tide.  It got dark again with the changing of the seasons from summer to fall, and with the thick morning clouds that blocked the sunrise from waking me, healing me, with each new day. 

But this time, before the darkness on the outside found its way in, I noticed.  Let’s hear it for keenly introspective, because irresponsibly morose really sucks ass.

Last night, I slept hard.  This morning, I woke up looking for the light, and I found it again.  And now that I know what I’m looking for, I’ll make sure that it finds me.

So I won’t miss the morning sun.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

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Movies, Monkeys, and the Music in my Head

 

28 days later

There’s music playing in my head right now.  Not the kind you’d expect.  Not the Sirius XM playlist kind of music that some invisible algorithm picks for you from somewhere in the black bowels of your emo soul.

It’s something more insidious.

When I was 20, I had a job in retail, selling wallpaper and other equally inane home decor products for a nationally known chain of stores owned by an international breakfast cereal conglomerate.  And no, I could not make that shit up if I sat down hard and tried.  Anyway, this nationally known chain of stores, owned by an international breakfast cereal conglomerate did not play well-known music over the ceiling speakers for the customer’s in-store pleasure.  What they played was a six-hour, continuously looped, instrumental audio tape of songs, scientifically created… or so we were told in training… to stimulate the shopper’s brain in such a way as to create in them “an innate desire to purchase” on a purely subconscious level.

Such was the weird science of the early 1980s.

Whether or not these musical cues actually stimulated our customer’s amygdaloidal behavior to the tune of windfall profits was unclear to me then, just as it is to me now.  But what I can recall clearly was how we just-above-minimum wage employees responded to being in the presence of these sounds, day in-day out, for however long each of us worked there.

Did you ever see the film 28 Days Later?  Yes?  Good.  That’ll make this explanation easier.  Remember the opening scene, where the eco-activists broke into the animal testing laboratory to free the captive primates from their cages, but found out, too late, that these primates had been infected with some chemical cocktail “rage virus” while being subjected to image after television image of non-stop human-on-human violence?  Remember what these primates then did to their liberators?  And remember what would become of the world only 28 short days later?

Yeah, I wonder what all that listening to shopper stimulation music ultimately did to those of us who worked for that nationally known chain of stores owned by an international breakfast cereal conglomerate in 1981.

Oh yeah, my actual point.

Remember when I said there’s music playing in my head right now?

I’m not so sure it’s a coincidence I thought of that music while sitting alone in a warehouse and wondering, is it really only two weeks…okay, 14 days, 22 hours, and 19 minutes… till I’m free from this 20,000 square foot chimpanzee enclosure?  And when I’m free, will I react like an adorable rage monkey?  Because, you know, writers can be pretty adorable when they’re raging.  Or will I act like Jim, the smooth-skinned, human in the story, who when awakened from a coma, must face an entire world now completely changed from the one he knew before.

Metaphorically speaking, and if you read me, you know, I’ve been in a type of coma since I started working the graveyard double-shift life last year.  This awakening of sorts that’s happening in June is me, coming to grips not only with my certain past, but my uncertain future as well.  I’m unsure how it’s going to go.

But I have it on reasonably good authority that it’s going to go better for me than it did for those adorable rage monkeys in the movie.

Tick-tock.

I’m about to wake up.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Lesson from a Bogus Journey

death

Death came to me,

in the middle of the night,

playing Battleship

for my soul. 

Have no fear of death,

as long as he plays his games

on your turf. 

And when he says to you,

“Best two out of three?” 

Tell him to

talk to the chain smoker

in the next aisle over.

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

Post Office

mail

Hank had his post office,

and I have my warehouse. 

Dismal places,

on graveyard shifts together,

a generation apart. 

We also both had San Pedro. 

We both got out. 

One of us dead,

the other dying. 

Because we all die a little,

every day. 

Some of us are just better at it

than others.

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

Night Sky

night-sky

I walk in shadows now, most of the time.  I once marked my days in the hours between memories made.  Now I mark my days in the memories I am missing, in my isolation.

I am learning to appreciate the truth of sunshine again, after the lies of fluorescent light, in the place where the moon and stars used to hang, in the dark.  I miss the moon and stars.  I miss the dark.

I live in a cave now, thirty feet high, with the lights turned off, to remind me of what I thought I would not miss.  It is not the same.  But I tell myself that, when I look up at just the right angle, there is still a night sky above me.  And a moon and stars, made of iron.

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

Easy


Easy. 

Like a walk to the corner store for a six-pack and pretzels. But someone burned the corner store to the ground and didn’t tell you about it till you got there, then stuck a gun in your back and said,

“Gimme all your beer money, fool!”

So you walk home. 

Easy. 

But that same someone burned your house to the ground and didn’t tell you about it till you got there, then stuck a gun in your back and said,

“Now gimme your pretzel money, fool!”

Easy. 

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday 

30 Days of Night: #NaBloPoMo on the Graveyard Shift

30-days-pngIt’s been one year.

Three-hundred-sixty-five days, plus one leap day, and a couple thousand cups of coffee, since the last time I stared November in the face. 

And the first time November stared right back.

One year ago tonight, I got lost in something so frightening that, until I lived to see the end of it, I had always been too shaken by the very idea to even let myself speak its name.

NaBloPoMo.

To be asked, no… forced, to go through an experience so life-altering that some I once called friends never recovered.  Just 30 days on a calendar that, coincidentally, begin in the still quiet hours of All Hallows Eve.  When deals are done with whatever tells grown men and women that everything will be okay, if they just keep their hands and feet tucked inside the covers at night.

The name that, if you’re a writer, you know.

NaBloPoMo.  The writer’s boogeyman.

And every writer knows that, on All Hallows Eve, you can’t kill the boogeyman.

So here I am, one year later, and the boogeyman is back.  Only this time, he only comes out at night.  This year, very unlike last year, the world… my world… is lived from dusk till dawn.  And I write for the boogeyman on the graveyard shift, in November, during 30 days of night.

And for those of you who write in the safety of the day, NaBloPoMo is just another word.  Like sunshine, or coffee.  But for those of us who live to write at night, well…

It’s waiting.

 

*for a Facebook LIVE reading of this post, CLICK HERE.

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday    

3 a.m. at Cedars

hospital basement

Robots on the basement floor

at Cedars

stopping in their tracks

like cars

or a Roomba for the cats

three a.m. basement maze

a graveyard

the halls down which

Zombies of mercy shuffle

 

Copyright © 2014 Bill Friday

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