December 2, 2014

FLASH FICTION BY ERIC HILL "STEWED PRUNES"

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Eric Hill is fascinated with word structure from Kabala to etymology and then placing words together to form sound, color, rhythm and content; poetry becomes central focus of this interest - words magically charged.
Recently he has been published in Rain/Disaster/Party Ijagun Poetry Journal and Behhutet.




"Stewed Prunes"

“I want to express my true self, not squeeze into the shape of a goal but rather to exude art from my center expressing what I am”
“I dig - so first you gotta find yourself.” To tell the truth I thought he was full of shit but I let it go, I mean after all I am no shining example.
The waitress brought my cheesecake.
I had a bite and sipped my espresso as he continued: “my ‘self’ must be hidden within the miasma of normal living.” He chuckled at this turn of words adding, “Yes I am calling normalcy a diseased swamp.  All our life data floods our brain, since birth: morals, mores’, social muddle like manners, church and schooling plus rebellion from our peers – it gets jammed up.”
The waitress gave him his third French double roast as he explained, “I reckon finding one’s self is like any other exploration, climbing mountains, following rivers, trudging the deserts only it is a journey within. The dangers are still real, like getting lost (Madness), going native (Obsession), being eaten alive by tigers of fear or perhaps drowned in morose moods.”
“Yes,” I added, “you are taking a chance.”
“As long as you do what you intend rather than getting distracted by worthless tinsel you will make it through,” he said with some determination.
“Ah were it so easy,” I said recognizing my own failures.
“Dig it, everything is shifting and evolving – it is grasping that pregnant moment and giving birth to new possibility of what we can be; otherwise we will stagnate.”
My coffee started tasting bitter, I knew I was lost in a miasma. The work it would require to get out of my own quagmire felt daunting.
“Anyway I am so determined I quit my job.”
“What? You quit your job?”
“I told my boss, people excuse what they do by calling it necessary.”
“Of course, the Ass-hole told me, there are serious reasons. So I told him, life is too important to waste on this kind of shit!”
“Well that was kind of harsh.” I said.
“I am out of that box!” he ‘high-fived’ me across the table feeling his moment of triumph, then he looked at me all wide-eyed and began to pale appearing stunned, “My rent – my bills - I got stuff to deal with, what do I do with my stuff?”
I could see anxiety now gripped him, “the first thing you gotta do is relax. It wouldn’t hurt to kinda look ahead.”
“Naw I ain’t worried - I’ll just let it all go, nothing is necessary.”
“Come on man that’s stupid.” He did it anyway. He claims now that he is free of unnecessary clutter, he can focus on finding himself.
This morning I ran into his sister and asked about him, “To begin with he is crashing on my sofa so when I was out of town for a few days, his dog crapped all over the apartment then died; poor thing. My brother is irresponsible and just plain whacking out - yesterday he became angry about some crazy on the internet (he kept his smart phone) and sent a fiery email to set them straight, but his service went down because he hadn’t paid his bill. His anger exploded and he smashed the phone against the wall and stomped it.”
“Not so smart,” I chuckled
“Well I loaned him some money so he could buy a new one and paid his bill but damn it – he needs to get back to work – has he lost his mind?”
“He has dedicated his life to ART”.
“Will you give him a call.”
I did and he told me: “I’m worried – I can’t seem to get in focus. I thought it would be easy to find myself”
“Well where did you get lost?”
“I was on the verge.”
“And…”.
“It started with my girlfriend! She called and wanted to know if I was seeing someone else – she told me, I will see other people if you are so busy.”
“So I spent the rest of the week with her. When I got back to my sister’s found my dog dead from neglect and I felt guilty as all hell. Overwhelmed with guilt and despair, I needed to ease my mind and headed over to the pub to have a beer and see if Hank, the local pot dealer happened to be around. He wasn’t but Nancy, an old sweetheart, said, “come over to my apartment – we can drink a few beers and share a joint I have.” I didn’t get away from her and home till four in the morning. A whole week shot.”
He rattled of fears of failure after several weeks gone and he had still not found himself. “I have been letting my emotions run away with me”
“You don’t want to stifle them, just quiet them,” I recommended.
“Blast them – I don’t take half measures.”
“You need to take a stance - a stable position - focus on making your life steady and easy. You complicate things. Forget all the accessories.”
“Your right. While looking in the mirror this morning I saw myself as others see me. They can see how I appear but they have no idea what goes on inside.”
“I must say you are right there I have no idea what’s going on inside that brain of yours.”
“That’s the thing – it keeps changing – I am never the same from moment to moment.
“So then it came to me: Imagination! That’s what I’m looking for; it is the fabled genie in the bottle.  I must stop my imagination from conforming to ‘reality’ and send it out to explore all the wonderful possibilities that are waiting to be discovered.”
“I think you’re on to something”
“I had to dig deep and pull it free from the layers of belief  – beliefs fortified by indifference and grotesque sentimentality, giving me nothing more than complacency, and an idle imagination. I found my imagination needed dusting and oiling from the years of neglect but it worked just fine. “
“So with a little imagination and candor you can now concentrate on finding yourself.”
“You’d think but inside my head howl a god-awful cacophony, blowing through like a mighty wind.“
“But where are those voices coming from?”
“I don’t know. I was always freaked about one thing or an other and never noticed them.”
“Maybe you are thinking too much.”
 “These are voices telling me what I want
“Is this a result of being inundated by advertizing? Stop watching TV.”
“Yeah right; when I hear one of those voice I will just laugh at it till it stops.”
“But if it doesn’t?” I asked. 
“If it doesn't then I will recognize it is coming from me and I will find the source; yet the question remains: Who is the knower in all this?” he chuckled realizing the absurdity of his quest, “I am becoming – I am a new self every second!”
We came to this conclusion, “You will never find your self, because you are searching for the eternal!”



~Eric Hill

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this writing very much. You have to be a seeker of answers to write like this about
    finding Self. Well done, and fun. Vedanta -- the knowledge of Non-duality is where I landed after many years of doing what the characters in this piece are talking about. NY area.

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