The Drizzle in the lemon of my cake…

The Drizzle in the lemon of my cake…

The intangible reality is that I bleed the truth when I’m not looking. My parents thought me to be careful and I listened but only heard, be free.  They sought my salvation through caution and I threw it to the wind.  I watched them struggle and only saw myself. The truth became the lie of a selfish indignation in which young men like to wallow. But then I grew older and wisdom settled upon me.

Every little piece of me, all that I am and will ever be, begun as a seed that was nurtured, not always perfectly but nurtured nonetheless. I owe my much missed parents all that I can never repay.   It seems a lifetime since I lost them both, it virtually is, half a lifetime anyway and I am as much them, as I am me.  The bit that is me, is the bit I take credit for and I used to take all the credit, but that is so unfair.

I was a little lost boy once and my family and environment shaped me. How I managed to turn out this way, I’ll never truly know because I lack the insight to my own self.  All I know is that I’ve cheated misfortune and rode my luck more often than not and I’ve somehow managed to never look down from my tightrope more by accident than by design.  I’ve been too busy looking ahead and looking up to look down.  I think I am afraid I will see the truth below anyway, so I try to never drop my eyes.

But the truth is a sneak thief. He hides in the dark of the night, lurking in the corner of the room in the place just outside your peripheral emotional vision. Truth is patient.  Truth can wait a lifetime to tell you what you don’t want to hear.  Truth can tell you that you have flown too high or your smile is undeserved.  Truth can take away the twinkle and claw at your skin.  It becomes an itch you know you shouldn’t scratch.  But you inevitably scratch it, you boil up, split, bleed and it happens when you are not looking, when you are at your lowest and when you are most vulnerable. Sometimes the truth becomes the lie in your heart for lies hurt less.

22

When I was a small boy, my Granny came to stay with us for a few days each fortnight. I hated my granny. It wasn’t her fault, she had dementia and she smelt funny.  Her arrival designated me to a sleeping bag in front of the fire with my trusted dog for company.  I didn’t really mind the sleeping bag bit, that was an adventure, but I hated that I lost my room even for a few nights. I didn’t understand of course but still I complained.

One night as I lay in the dark, something moved beside me.  I craned my neck and looked down at my little blue sleeping bag, illuminated by the glow of the fire.  There was nothing there and it was quiet in the still of the night.  For a few moments nothing happened but then the strangest thing occurred.  The big metal loop at the top of the zipper on the sleeping bag lifted, as if an invisible hand was holding it.  The zip began to move.  It was a slow, steady movement and it stopped after moving about a foot down. My tiny little body was frozen to the spot, quite terrified.  I knew I was awake and that I wasn’t dreaming.

“Patrick”

The voice whispered my name in my left ear and the hairs stood on the back of my neck.  In the same moment the partially unzipped portion of my sleeping bag flapped open across my chest and I felt a terrible weight pressing on me.  I was so tiny and afraid and I tried to see what was there in the half-light of the fire, but the room was empty.

“She’s leaving.”

The voice was so soft and whispered I could barely hear it and then the pressure was released.  A dark shadow slithered away, slipped behind the curtains. I slid out of the sleeping bag as fast as I could and leapt to my feet.  I looked around but I was alone.  I stared at the curtains for such a long time but they were still, unmoving, the shadow man had departed.  The doors were all closed and the dog was still sleeping by the hearth.

I never told anyone but when my Granny passed away days later, I knew what the voice had meant. I don’t believe in ghosts or the supernatural despite my visitor, but it was far from the last portentous event in my life. For those of you who read my blog regularly, you will know of Mr. Squiggles.  He has it seems, always been with me my shadow man, my nurturer of doom, my harbinger of darkness, my Mr. Squiggles.

I am the smile to the world outside. Beneath the mask I hide my secret but my books bleed the truth like leeches releasing the pressure. Recently I have watched fellow writers and friends struggle with the burden of our craft and I have understood that struggle. It is a gift and a curse to write, a joy and a sorrow. There are few things in life that can compare to this part of me, the writer.  That part of me is indescribable and ethereal; it is the drizzle in the lemon of my cake, the truth I bleed when I’m not looking… the truth that allows the smile  hiding in the corner of my every word, that inkles my twinkle …the one I keep for special occasions…

REMEMBER TO EXPLORE THE WORLD OF MAX POWER ALL AVAILABLE ON KINDLEUNLIMITED SEE LINKS BELOW

img_6156

Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –

http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower

https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com

fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks

twitter @maxpowerbooks1

IASD - globe 2

Read free previews here;

Little Big Boy https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00WRP0J8E&preview

Darkly Wood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B004DL0PMU&preview

Larry Flynn https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00MZGSY3M&preview

Bad Blood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00Q39HGEK&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_8ZOMwb0R

Advertisements

Hitting things with sticks and other important stuff…

Hitting things with sticks and other important stuff…

Fiona Cummisky was a bit of a conundrum for me.  I was at that stage in my young life – before puberty had been fully installed – but I still had an inkling that there was more to girls than them just being annoying creatures.  She was an odd girl, neither tall nor short in my memory, but I think a little bigger than I was.  She wasn’t thin nor heavy set, but she was more a solid sort of agricultural looking girl, as if she might be capable of holding up her father’s tractor while he replaced the wheel. We didn’t exactly have tractors in my neck of the woods but you know what I mean. Besides like I say puberty had still to take its toll on me, so in my head, she was more akin to Clarke Kent as a boy on the farm.

Nonetheless, I was curious about girls, just a little bit.  Along with my inkling but pre any stirrings of that nature, I was particularly curious about kissing.  It seemed such an odd pursuit, but there had to be something in it. Fiona’s friend was Sinéad O’Reilly and she was an altogether different kettle of fish.  Sinéad made me nervous.  Whereas Fiona looked at me with a stern look, often lingering a little too long for comfort, Sinéad was a gaggle of expressions, her attention a bagatelle that  never lingered, but always seemed to return nonetheless, without ever fully nesting on me.  I could sense her more than most girls.  She was always pushing or pulling me hither and tither, a skinny, pinch-faced pale creature that alternated her smiles and her frowns, and interspersed them with punches to my arm. She freaked me out, just a little.

Fiona was very different to Sinéad and I  got the distinct impression she would beat me up if I ever spoke to her, so I didn’t.  We somehow managed to exist in the same space without any direct, verbal communication. Besides, both Sinéad and Fiona operated on the periphery of my life.  They were my age and lived on my road, but they were girls.  I played with the boys and we had our own games.  Skipping and playing ‘plainey a package o’rinso’ with tennis balls against the wall, was all they ever did.  Sometimes if either sex was desperate, we might intermingle and come up with some compromise game, but ultimately that usually descended into a row. Girls talked too much and bickered over the tiniest of things. We hit things with sticks and absorbed ourselves in the important stuff, like what you could find under a rock that was the grossest.

th3wh9ysrm

We did play chasing together though and that was fun.  The girls screamed a lot and their skirts flowed and billowed like sails in the wind, while their hair danced as they ran.  It often seemed like they wanted to be caught and I could never understand that.  I was ultra-competitive.  If someone caught me, it was only because I had let me guard down or maybe because I slipped or fell.  It was a matter of great pride for me.  It was because I slipped on a dry stretch of earth in the grass down on what we called the Californian hills, that Sinéad O’Reilly caught me one day as we played with the girls.

I landed flat on my back and she leapt on me like a cow-girl on a horse, straddling me and pinning me to the ground. She actually held my arms down and for a scrawny girl, she was quite strong.  I was panting and I could hear her breathing loudly as she loomed above me. She had me in a vice like grip using her bare thighs and I could feel the soft skin of her legs, press into my exposed flanks where my shirt had pulled up in the fall.

“Gotcha.” She gave me a huge smile and leaned down quite close to my face.  She smelt of toffee.  It was a very odd moment because I thought of kissing in a way I hadn’t thought of it before.  I thought I might actually kiss her, but stealing a kiss would have been wrong and besides everyone would see and I would be a laughing stock.  Then I realised that she might have plans to kiss me.  I went completely red and she let my hands go.  Like the flibberty gibbet that she was, Sinéad jumped up and ran after the next, nearest victim.  I lay there, panting, not knowing what had just happened. Was I being introduced to a world of something beyond my boyish expectancy, something that I could never hope to control?  It certainly felt like that.  I didn’t like it.

I brushed myself off and tried to compose myself as I stood up and watched Sinéad flounce away in the distance, chasing Barry O’ Connor and Stephen whose last name I didn’t know. My face finally calmed and I turned around to almost bump into Fiona Cummiskey who must have been just standing there, staring at the back of my head. Up close, I realised that she was quite a bit taller than I was. She wore a navy blue dress with polka dots that has flouncy bits on the edges of her short sleeves.  I have no idea why I recall that, only I know it didn’t seem to suit her.  I definitely still saw her more in the dungaree, farm-girl ensemble that she generally tended to wear, despite our urban environment.  Maybe that’s why I saw her as Clarke Kent on the farm.

It struck me, that I didn’t recall ever seeing her in a dress before. I looked at her face.  She had doll eyes, big bright blue circles with massive eyelashes and there was the tiniest smattering of freckles across her nose that I had never noticed.  Then she did something that took me completely by surprise.  She grabbed me with both hands by the scruff of my neck and pulled me to within a couple of inches from her face. She was going to kill me I felt sure, just like I predicted she would if we ever got this close.  I had no idea why, there simply couldn’t be any other explanation…or could there…but that’d be telling…

 

REMEMBER TO EXPLORE THE WORLD OF MAX POWER ALL AVAILABLE ON KINDLEUNLIMITED SEE LINKS BELOW

img_6156

Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –

http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower

https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com

fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks

twitter @maxpowerbooks1

IASD - globe 2

Read free previews here;

Little Big Boy https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00WRP0J8E&preview

Darkly Wood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B004DL0PMU&preview

Larry Flynn https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00MZGSY3M&preview

Bad Blood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00Q39HGEK&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_8ZOMwb0R

Prospecting my fear, the dark things of the early morning light…

Prospecting my fear, the dark things of the early morning light…

I sat by my window and waited for the dark shadow man to appear.  Calling him Mr. Squiggles hadn’t really helped that much.  I will have secured my victory, returning home, unscathed – well more or less, certainly not in any way that really matters.  But I cannot get Mr. Squiggles out of my head. He was real for me I know, creeping outside my window, stopping even if only briefly to glance over his shoulder through the gap in the curtain, checking me as I lay there in my hospital bed.

That he came each morning at the same time made no sense, but he came nonetheless and his timing was the least of his nonsense. I felt the chill of him, even through the glass in the light of the half moon.  He knew me and somehow I knew him, my dark shadowy visitor.

Home is a word that entices and delights. Home is love.  Home is everything. I have yet to see the sun come up over Orion, but I have been exposed to the wonders of nature, the dangling exposed nads of a sixty year old north-sider as he struggles to clamber into a wheelchair, the sound that a tea trolley makes from over a quarter a mile away, the smell of antiseptic ingrained on the lining of my nose and the discomfort of a cannula that you think has become part of your body for ever more.

Institutionalised in the blink of an eye, there is still little I will miss about my hospital bed. I will take some fond memories.  Siobhan (Shiv- awn) the Nurses aid who was madder than a bag of ferrets for example. At night, she patrolled the halls, tackling the sneaky smokers or the vascular patients sprinkled with the demons of dementia.

Each night she would come in and chat. Her Mother’s brother’s half sister Eileen and her cousin from Leighlin that had cerebral palsy were just the beginning of it.  She had a sister who she was fond of but up herself, a brother who opened a bar in Tipperary…Tipperary!! And they from Kilkenny! Was he mad?  The granny wouldn’t step foot in it and her mother’s sisters little fella was ill.  He’d tell the granny to “shut up and smoke your fag Granny” he was the only one who’d get away with talkin’ to her like that. The brother with the pub in Tipp had moved to New Zealand.. hadn’t she mentioned that?…and the brother…well he had a new girlfriend.  She reckoned he was hidin’ her from the family! Then sure didn’t the mammy meet them down the town…well!

I swear to God I couldn’t keep up.  Each night she’d continue on about her extremely elaborate past, her massively extended family on a timeline only she kept track of and she just dipped in where she had left off, as if I had a brain the size of a massive NASA computer, capable of collating all the data that she threw at me.  It was enormously entertaining despite my confusion.

We watched Dublin beat Kerry in the All Ireland semi- final in the common room, as that had a big flat screen TV and as the only Dub in the room, I was the subject of some wonderfully entertaining but friendly abuse.  I rounded that gathering off with a lovely joke as I had a captive audience.

chi

Siobhan came in and start talking about foxes at half time.  I have no idea why.  So I asked her if she ever heard the tale of the fox in the chicken house. She hadn’t.  For those unfamiliar it’s a great visual gag.  The farmer catches the fox in his hen house and points a shotgun at him.  The fox has his cheeks puffed out as though he has a mouth full of something.  I acted out both parts.

“Did you eat one of my chickens?”  I asked this while I mimed holding the shotgun.  I then mimed the fox with a full mouth, shaking his head innocently as if to say me… nooooo.  This gets repeated three or four times, the farmer getting increasingly angry until he eventually pokes the fox in the stomach with the shotgun. Throughout I kept coughing and covering my mouth with my closed fist and on the poke in the belly, I coughed-blew and opened my hand, blasting a billow of small torn up pieces of white tissue paper that I had concealed there all along.  It looked like the fox spluttering out a cloud of chicken feathers and caught all by surprise.

They laughed so much that two nurses came running into the room.  Like me, they were all on telemetry monitoring their hearts and three of them went off the charts.  I nearly killed them with the laughter! Those were the sane moments, the saviours of my spirit. My loved ones and friends were there when I needed them and my fellow inmates gave me moments to cherish. But I could never quite shake Mr. Squiggles, even when it was all over.

sm

So on my last morning at 4.35 precisely, I figured as I had come through everything without the close call I had on my last visit, that my shadow man, my Mr. Squiggles would not return. I watched and waited and nothing.  Perhaps I had dreamed him after all, a figment of my imagination prospecting my fear for a nugget of doubt, trying to undo me and drive me down. As I tried to recall what he looked like, I suddenly realised he was quite similar to the almost hidden shadowy figure on the cover of my Darkly Wood only smaller and more sinister. Maybe it was all in my mind.

Then as I was about to turn away, I saw him on a ledge across on the other wing of the hospital. He was moving fast with leaps and bounds, disappearing at times in the early morning half-light.  He was oblivious to me, now a forgotten soul as far as he was concerned and his concentration lay elsewhere. I turned to go back to my bed, disappointed almost for no reason that made sense, when my blood ran cold.

There, not three feet away on the other side of the glass, perched another dark shadow man.  He was featureless just like Mr. Squiggles but he looked at me and then through me to the part of me that mattered.  Something passed between us, before he turned,  slowly dropped from the ledge and left me rooted to the spot, staring at a vacant space on the window ledge, knowing that although I was leaving that place, a new, darker shadow man had found me and he was coming home with me…

REMEMBER TO EXPLORE THE WORLD OF MAX POWER ALL AVAILABLE ON KINDLEUNLIMITED SEE LINKS BELOW

img_6156

Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –

http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower

https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com

fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks

twitter @maxpowerbooks1

IASD - globe 2

Read free previews here;

Little Big Boy https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00WRP0J8E&preview

Darkly Wood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B004DL0PMU&preview

Larry Flynn https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00MZGSY3M&preview

Bad Blood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00Q39HGEK&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_8ZOMwb0R