Vindication

All posts tagged Vindication

On paranoia and vindication.

Published February 3, 2014 by mandileighbean

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! I was rooting for Denver because I adore the Manning family, but alas; it seems neither brother can finish the job this season.

If you’re in the Toms River area on Tuesday, February 18th, please stop by the Toms River Library for a discussion and book signing with me!  It’s begins at 7:00PM and will last until 8:00PM!

I also just want to add that I believe the most romantic notion(? idea? not entirely sure which word I want to use) is two people thinking about one another without the other knowing.  It’s nice to think another is thinking of you in that unique way.  It’s beautiful when it’s organic and not manufactured or fished for, but the kicker is the object of attention may never know.  It is within that beautiful frustration the romance lies, in my humble opinion.  Just throwing that out there, I guess.  Forgive me, but it had been some time since I was random.

Enjoy this week’s prompt!

 

WEEKLY WRITING PROMPT #12: “A man sneezes painfully.  He looks in his handkerchief and finds something that looks like a microchip.”

spy

ACHOO!  The sneeze rocked Baxter’s body, sending him backwards before he aggressively shot forward, trying to right himself.  It was a vicious and unrelenting sneeze.  He kept his eyes closed for a moment or two, as if it would help steady his breathing and help his bodily functions return to normal.  “Wow,” he said, and opened his eyes wide to ensure the world had neither stopped nor drastically changed while he had been rendered incapacitated by the sneeze.  He shook his head to clear it.  He pulled the handkerchief from the breast pocket of his suit and blew his nose.  “Damn,” Baxter said.  “That really hurt.”

 

“The sneeze?  Man up,” Alex smiled.  The smile wasn’t entirely genuine.  It was more queasy and nervous than anything else.  In fact, Alex’s normally bright and expressive eyes were clouded over and shifty.  Baxter had just been about to comment on the physical change which also seemed to alter Alex’s winning personality.  He was sweaty and trying to look everywhere all at once.  Baxter was just about to comment on the paranoid behavior when the sneeze had interrupted and completely knocked him flat.  He couldn’t remember what he had been thinking, or what he had been discussing with Alex.  He finished blowing his nose with a flourish, but did not return the handkerchief to the breast pocket.  He leaned closer to Alex and lifted his chin so his friend would be able to peer deep within Baxter’s nasal cavities.  “Is it bleeding?”

 

Alex pretended to look for about a second.  “No, dude, you’re fine; hey, do you know how long that van’s been there?”

 

“What van?”

 

“The dark blue one without windows; behind me and to the left, on the corner.”

 

Baxter shrugged.  He was more concerned with his aching nose.  He crossed his eyes to see the blurred bridge of it, and was rubbing it tenderly with the tips of his fingers.  “I didn’t see anything.  Did you see anything fly out of my nose?  I feel all cut up inside; I’ve never sneezed like that before.”

 

Alex stole a glance behind him.  “I’m sorry.  I guess … Baxter, I think that van is following me.”

 

Baxter nodded, but was intently focused on the handkerchief gripped in his hand.  Would Alex care if he opened it up and inspected whatever had been so readily rejected by his body?  It was a less than savory habit, admittedly, but Baxter really swore something had come shooting out.  How else could he explain the pain?  He was completely convinced that the sneeze had not been normal and had half a mind to march himself to the emergency room for a professional opinion.  “What makes you think you’re being followed?”  Baxter continued the odd conversation to be polite to one of his oldest friends, and to distract him so he could inspect the handkerchief.

 

“I’ve been seeing it everywhere, Baxter.  When I go to work, it’s always a car or two behind me.  When I go to the gym, it’s always parked on the opposite side of the lot.  When I’m in my apartment, I catch a glimpse of it from the window, down in the street.  It’s been going on for weeks.”

 

“Oh yeah?” Baxter asked, encouraging his friend to continue.  He had discreetly placed the handkerchief on the table and was slowly peeling back the corner that was folded over.

 

“And,” Alex licked his lips and found that his mouth had gone dry, “I think my phone’s been tapped.  There’s all this weird clicking and buzzing when I’m on the phone.  Sometimes the phone rings and there’s no one there, just silence, but they won’t hang up until I do.”

 

“They don’t hang up?” Alex repeated lamely, to prove he was listening despite the fact that he was not paying attention.  With the one corner unfolded, he only had to stretch it out to get a good look at the specimen, which was probably only snot, but why had it been so painful?

 

Alex sighed and covered his face with tremulous, pale hands.  “I haven’t been sleeping well,” he admitted, feeling stupid and weak.  “It’s really starting to get to me, man.  I don’t know what to do or who to talk to.”

 

“What is that?” Baxter breathed.  He had indeed pulled the handkerchief taught and found an undeniable but incredibly small metallic-looking square.  He grimaced as he reached out to pinch it between his fingers because it was slimy.  He held it up to the afternoon sunlight and examined it more closely with squinted eyes.  Along the one edge were spaces in the hard, plastic covering, like it was missing piece from some kind of motherboard.

 

“What?  What do you see?”  Alex was turning every which way in his seat but always returning to lock his gaze upon the van.

 

“I think it’s a microchip.”  Baxter placed the item back on the handkerchief.  “Doesn’t that look like a microchip?  How the hell did that get up my nose?”

 

Alex stood up suddenly.  “They’ve gotten to you.”

 

Baxter had leaned down over what had come flying from his nose.  “Who?  Microsoft?  Apple?” he laughed.

 

Alex took two halting steps backwards.  “Oh God, it’s happening.  I knew it would.  I told them I wouldn’t say anything but they didn’t believe me.”

 

Baxter looked up, finally alerted by his friend’s panicked tone and nonsensical rambling.  “Alex, sit down, man.  You’re making me nervous.”

 

“We need to go,” Alex insisted, shaking his head.  “We need to leave.”

 

“Are you high?” Baxter asked, making light of what was rapidly becoming a bizarre and terrifying situation.  “Why don’t –“

 

At that moment, the van came speeding towards them only to skid to a halt beside them along the curb.  The world then seemed to slow down to an impossible lack of speed; Alex turned to Baxter and braced himself, like he was about to sprint and make a mad dash for freedom.  As the tails of his jacket fanned out, the van door slid open and two masked men, dressed all in black, scrambled out.  If Baxter had been able to move, he would have had time to get a decent lead, would most likely have been able to escape, but he was nothing more than a laughable cartoon character; his lower half moved frantically but no real progress was made.  The men descended upon him, knocking over the table the men had been seated at and sending Baxter to the floor, the chair coming with him.  In the time it took Baxter to fling the chair from him and sit up, there was only squealing tires and nothing more.

 

Alex was gone.  Baxter looked around and only saw wide-eyed, open-mouthed and deep breathing witnesses.

van

On blog comments.

Published April 3, 2012 by mandileighbean

At school today, I was the bathroom monitor. I read short stories to keep my mind from going numb, like my ass was from the uncomfortable seat. It was disheartening.

But then the attractive, young substitute who likes to paint and sketch and play guitar talked to me, and that went well, in spite of my social shortcomings and inability to keep from being awkward.

After school, Melanie and I enjoyed a late lunch. Stomachs satisfied, we decided to indulge our creative appetites and went for a walk along the railroad tracks near Melanie’s home. I have always wanted to take off running along tracks, to follow them to remote destinations. I imagine it’s an anachronistic desire, but it lingers all the same. We left the tracks to follow tracks in the dirt before heading back. It was definitely inspirational, not only visually but audibly as Melanie gave me awesome, awesome advice.

As inspired as I was though, I fear I fell short with this prompt. Critiques are encouraged! I would love to make this piece better. It falls flat, particularly at the end.

But, that being said, I hope you enjoy it.

THE PROMPT: “Not-So-Anonymous Commenter” You’ve been writing a blog for a number of months now without issue, and then suddenly you’re confronted with an anonymous commenter who posts unwarranted slams against you. A techie friend helps you use the commenter’s IP address to get the address of this rogue. You head to the house ready to pick a fight – but when you knock on the door, the person who answers is someone you know.

THE PIECE:

As an aspiring writer, I knew that it was important me to have a blog as a way to get my name out there and as a way to connect to my readers. I stumbled at first, trying to increase the amount of subscribers and figure out what kind of posts readers would want to read, but after a couple of months, I really hit my stride.

And then March happened. I hate March. Come to think of it, I have always hated the third month of the year. I can trace this intense dislike back to school, when March would roll around and time would slow impossibly because there wasn’t a single day off in the whole month. March was long, tedious and more often than not, brought misery through overstaying its welcome, and its gray, damp weather. I hated March, and maybe karma is the reason I suffered my first internet hater during March. Some nasty man or woman tore apart my writing, which would be fine if they offered a critique, but the anonymous hater didn’t. The attacks on my writing became attacks on my personal life, and I became incensed. I was enraged, to be honest, and I employed my techie friend to help track down the physical address of the hater via the IP address. I was fairly surprised when the address turned to be less than ten minutes from my own.

I picked a day towards the end of the month and drove over. Steam was pouring from my ears, and I knew my face and most of my neck and chest were flushed. The anger and anticipation of the confrontation became a palpable heat that radiated from me. I parked along the lawn of the house across the street, marched over and banged on the door. I was seething, and thought it might be best to forget the whole thing – at least until I calmed myself and brought myself under some sort of semblance of control.

Then the door opened.

My jaw nearly cracked against the concrete. Standing before me was the boy I had been in love with for all of middle school and most of high school. I hadn’t seen him in years, and was surprised to find that he had not really changed. All his physical traits and personality quirks I had found so attractive as an adolescent remained – as far as I could tell.

“Pam? What are you doing here?” He was smiling, as if I was coming to have drinks and catch up and be all cutesy and nostalgic.

“What the hell is your problem?” I roared. His face fell almost instantly.

“What?” His eyes darkened with what must have been genuine confusion, but I was not going to let up.

“Don’t act like you don’t know why I’m here! Been reading any blogs lately, huh? Left any rude comments?” I was leaning further into his home, his sanctuary, eyes wide and wild and breathing ragged. I hoped I was scary and intimidating.

He looked away and started picking at the paint on the doorjamb. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He was an awful liar and he knew it – hence why he avoided eye contact and looked for a physical expulsion of his nervous energy.

“Bullshit! If you don’t like my writing, that’s one thing, but to call me pretentious and a fraud is awful! What did I ever do to you?”

He was shrinking in size somehow. He mumbled, “I’m sorry. I just –“

“Go to hell, asshole!” I turned and stormed away. I was proud of the dramatics of my exit, but also that I allowed my anger to have free reign. He had been rude and mean – that was plain and simple. There was no reason I had to listen to him excuse his actions, or try to rationalize his actions with some contrived explanation, or endure his apology that would be forced and anything but sincere. I felt vindicated, and decided that my next entry would be all about confrontations, and how sometimes they’re necessary. Everyone has a right to defend their creations, and everyone has a right to express their emotions.

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