Weapons

All posts tagged Weapons

On still insisting to see the ghosts.

Published September 13, 2017 by mandileighbean

Hello all! Welcome to another edition of Writers’ Wednesdays!

And boy, do I have a story for you. It’s quite the story; so much so that I have decided to forego the weekly writing prompt to share this story.

School started up a week ago, so I’ve been busy. Mostly, I feel overwhelmed and exhausted just trying to keep up with all the demands, but I also know this is partly because I’m hormonal and partly because I’m recovering from the extreme lethargy of summer break. It appears that more than my muscles entered a nearly lethal state of atrophy. To escape all of that ugliness, I was really looking forward to seeing “IT,” the new adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name. Well, for all of those reasons and because it would be a welcome return to familiar territory.

Even only an occasional reader of this blog knows that I’m something of a Stephen King fanatic. I think he’s absolutely brilliant. I’ve read most of his work – even the writing under his pseudonym of Richard Bachman – and I’ve seen all of the adaptations; the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ve seen him at readings at least three times and have traveled out of state to do so. Next to F. Scott Fitzgerald, he’s my favorite author. And of all his works, IT has a special place in my heart and has affected me in a very profound way. I remember finishing the monster of a novel (pun very much intended) with a stunning clarity. I remember I was on the way to one of my twin sister’s many athletic competitions at our local high school, practically dragged kicking and screaming to help watch our little brother who is ten years our junior. I was sitting in the last seat of this monstrosity of a vehicle (last pun, I promise), this huge, black van that I absolutely despised. It was roomy, it was comfortable, it was a logical purchase, but it had a television. That’s not a bad thing, unless you were like me: a fifteen-year-old girl who considered herself rather literary and therefore superior. In a silent, pointless protest, I would bring books in the van to avoid the television, which often blared to entertain the other passengers.

I was the worst fifteen-year-old.

On a particularly dreary day, on my way back to the high school against my will, I was in the van and I was reading. I was going to finish IT, and I did so sobbing. The story is so beautiful, and I wept with a palpable, pulsating kind of ache because I wanted so desperately to be an integral part of a team on an important mission. I wanted so badly to have a shared purpose who loved me so much they would die for me, people who weren’t family so loving me would be a choice, more of a conscious decision. I wanted a Losers Club. I wanted to make and keep a promise to be a hero. I wanted to be an adult who was still a child. In short, I wanted everything that was in the novel. I needed it to be real.

Until September 8th of this year, the best I could was re-watch a badly outdated miniseries (that I still cherish, just to be clear).

I was so excited for the new adaptation, I made plans with a friend to purchase tickets early for a fancy theater with reclining leather seats, massive screens, and speakers that boomed so loud you can feel their vibrations inside your chest. I was going to travel to a movie theater in Howell that I’d never been to, that had only opened a few years ago. I posted about the adaptation and my plans on social media for months. I can’t remember the last time I was so excited for a movie (if I had to guess, it’d be the last “Harry Potter” movie).

And the film did not disappoint. At the time of this post, I’ve already seen it twice. If you haven’t seen the movie, do yourself a favor and make plans to go and see the movie. Whether or not you’ve read the massive novel, the story is brilliantly told with great care. That being said, the movie is also incredibly disturbing. It effortlessly gets underneath your skin and catches you at random moments throughout the day. It stays with you, changes you.

When I left the theater, my stomach hurt from the anxiety. My muscles were sore from cramping and my mind was reeling. All I wanted to do was talk about what I had seen, purge the myriad of my emotions onto my companions, relive the film’s best moments. But once we left the theater, we were told we could not enter the lobby and could not even go past the podium where tickets were ripped for admission. We saw a line of employees, a kind of human barricade. It was unsettling and unnerving, even more so because we stumbled , blinking into the lights of reality from a nightmare of a film. We weren’t told why we couldn’t leave, but rumor among the large number of people leaving theaters and filling the hallway was that something was going on in the parking. We nervously shifted for about ten minutes before deciding to go the bathroom. The females in my group pressed through the tense crowd, doing our best to politely make a path, and happened to pass a female police officer. She was busily making her way through the crowd and was being asked for information at every turn. We heard her say that we were safe inside the building, and that if we wanted to be extra safe, we would move further down the hallway and away from the glass windows.

I swallowed hard. I could tell the other women in my group were nervous and upset, so I did my best to stay calm and lighthearted. All the same, we moved down the hallway.

We were inside the theater for about forty minutes. People were making themselves comfortable, plugging phone chargers into available outfits, sitting on the floor and leaning against the wall. People were preparing for a long haul, and why shouldn’t they? There was lack of information and our phones were dying one by one. Finally, an intimidatingly muscular police office got the crowd’s attention and said we could leave as long as we stayed behind him, proceeded in an orderly fashion, and kept our voice down.

My stomach flipped over.

We did as instructed, my friends and I holding onto each other as we followed the officer. He led us to the far end of the hallway and through a rear exit out the side of the building. We left the doors, trampled over gravel along a chain link fence and ended up in an adjacent parking lot. We were not allowed to go to our cars; the parking lot was being searched and the police had established a perimeter. We waited for another twenty minutes in the chilly night air, rehashing everything that had happened so far and asking for any news. I called my father just before my phone died and asked him to pick us up; we weren’t sure when we’d be allowed back in the cars.

We saw cop cars go speeding by.

My dad arrived just as the police began to let people return to their cars and leave. I still went home with my dad, still seeking some familiar comfort and not wanting to be alone (I never really want to be alone). Saying goodbye to my friends, I smiled and agreed that we’d have a hell of a story to share.

But when I got in my dad’s truck, I cried. I cried really hard because I had been so scared. There was the movie and then there was the reality, and I was scared of both, and I was scared that they could never be distinguished between, and I was tired.

The employee who ripped our tickets, who guided us to the theater, who I bantered with for a few brief moments, was arrested because he had an inert hand grenade, two handguns – one of which was loaded – and hollow-point ammunition in his car. A fellow employee told the manager something was wrong, and the manager called the police. One of the theaters had an off-duty cop just trying to relax and catch a flick.

Thank God for the police, and thank God no one was hurt.

Leave it to Stephen King to scar me in unpredictable ways.

 

On being loved by men.

Published June 23, 2012 by mandileighbean

PROMPT: A flight attendant learns that one of the passengers has brought a weapon on board.

PIECE: Moriah loved being a flight attendant.  She was always meeting new people, travelling to new places and completely enjoying herself.  Currently, she was aboard 6606 – domestic to West Palm Beach, Florida.  It was a trip she had made a million and one times and thus far, everything had been going smoothly and just as expected.  The seatbelt light had just turned off and passengers were now free to move about the cabin.  Her own voice had made the announcement and contrary to the societal norm, she loved the way her voice sounded as it was reproduced over the PA system.  She liked its cool edge and authoratative undertones that were masked by an extreme and liberal application of politeness.  Moriah thought her voice would sound just as delightful on the radio, or even floating to one from television speakers.  Moriah was convinced she had the look to go along with the voice as well; she could feel men’s eyes rove over her and she obviously saw the way women’s eyes squinted with distaste fueled by jealousy.

Women were not fond of Moriah, and they never had been.  She had breathed a loud sigh of relief when she realized this small flight would be comissioned by herself and two gentleman, one of which she had already slept with about a year ago, and one who was a fabulous as the day was long.  The flight promised to be easy; and there was a young gentleman near the front of plane, seated on the end of the aisle, who had given her the eye in a way which was anything but discreet.  Moriah liked to imagine that the gentleman was flying for business and she would be regaled with dinner and dancing and wild, seemingly endless romps between satin sheets of the four star hotel he’d most likely be staying at.  Then, she’d never see him again.  Yes, Moriah got along much better with men, just as she preferred to live her life in a ceaseless state of transition.  She could fly from place to place just as she could move from bed to bed.  Nothing was permanent, and Moriah thought that freeing and beautiful.

She was at the attendants’ station, preparing the drink cart for its casual stroll down the narrow aisle when Mitch, the attendant whom she had bedded, marched to her.  His fists were clenched at his sides and his lips were pinched shut.  His eyes looked tragic and desperate and Moriah instantly became alarmed.  She took a moment to send up a silent prayer that Mitch’s poor attempt at casualness had been believed by the passengers.  “What’s wrong?” she asked, swallowing down her rising fear.

“There’s a man in the third row, on the end, that brought a knife on the plane.  The marshal’s just about to subdue -”

There was screaming and shouts to the Lord.  Moriah’s stomach fell out through her bottom, but her weakened knees were able to carry her past Mitch, just a few steps, to peer out the corner.  The air marshal was twitching on the floor, blood spilling out from the slice across his neck and pooling around his soon-to-be lifeless body.  Moriah screamed and clapped her hands to her cheeks.  What should she do? Her mind was frantic and she couldn’t remember what was expected of her.  Turning back to Mitch, she discovered him barracading the cabin door, protecting the pilots and the passengers by extension.  That was good, that was good; Mitch was brave and strong, and he was a man, so he would make everything okay.  Moriah believed that.

She turned back to the mayhem before her.  Passengers whose faces were all just pale, sweaty blurs of human features were cowering in their seats.  Allan, the other flight attendant, was calmly speaking to the armed man, the man Moriah had been wanting to sleep with just a few moments ago.  The armed man’s dark eyes flitted from Moriah to Allan.  He seemed to be listening to Allan but as sudden as a striking snake, he had grabbed Moriah, pulled her close against him, and Moriah assumed the pointy pressure at her throat was a result of the knife.  Her assumption was confirmed by the way Allan seemed to deflate.  Allan was still speaking, but Moriah wasn’t listening.  She was terrified.

How could this be happening? Men loved her.

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