Category Archives: Creative Writing

Prose, poetry, short stories and misc entries.

Crimes//The 3rd Wheel// by Kenneth Lee Averiett

We felt unstoppable. We were human caffeine pills sporting black sweats bearing tiny cuts, dried blood, and bits of shattered glass. My friend Hermes and I, we were wielding serotonin levels like flamethrowers. And this is the third time this week we’ve gone on a night raid.

What’s a night raid? I’m honestly quite flattered that you asked.

A night raid is an evening trip out somewhere, usually abandoned & unexplored. Fueled by a bottle of Jameson, & the need to sidestep practical ethics, we would tell you to your face its just urban spelunking. Between us though, it usually involves gross levels of civil misconduct. Defacing public property, private property, theft. Grand gestures of vandalism.

And then we hunt down news articles of our work to hold as souvenirs.

A night raid is what happens when you want to rescue yourself from the fatigued day in, day out tradition of maturity, when nothing else does it anymore. Falling in love doesn’t do it anymore. Roller coasters, drugs, all that stuff just gets exhausting after awhile.

When you’re committing highly illegal shit, you can’t help but catch a natural high. It’s escapism in it’s purist form. A desperate swig from the fountain of youth that gets you so jazzed, you’ve been instantly relieved from the tired routine of adulthood, back peddling into the perpetual hair-brained episode of adolescence, multiplied by 10.

We feed off of this. It breaks the monotony of pretending to care about our jobs, our acquaintances, our social media profiles, the law…I could go on forever. Most of all though, pretending to care about not caring.

It’s a chilly 3am, and we’re free in ways you’re too scared to be, sneaking through a broken factory window with a bottle of liquor in tow. We’re acting out our own half-assed, half thought out version of a heist, giggling like 12 year old’s.

One of these days, you might catch us at Aphrodite’s, a local bar everyone hates, but goes to anyway, over zealously recalling our high jinks in a fit of drunken bravado, exaggerating a few details, like how I used poor Jameson to shatter the left most bottom window, destroying the bottle, wasting its contents everywhere, and bloodying my hand in the process, or the part where I dove head first through the window, and slurped the whiskey off of the factory floor, covering my face in dust, and cutting my lips.

Hell, I might tell you anyway, with flailing arms and expressive gestures, I’ll blame that fountain of youth-whiskey cocktail. You’ll get an earful of “You should try it sometime, dude.”

And you, you’ll sit and judge us, all high and mighty, like you’re too good to be this dumb/reckless/brave. You get to count yourself fortunate that you only experience this misguided display of rebellion vicariously.

Or you might feel left out, the kind of envy you get when you realize you’re too old/fat/responsible to feel alive the way we do. Anything short of falling in love won’t cut it anymore for most people. I’ve already told you this. There’s a threshold you have to meet before you get to chug from the fountain of youth nowadays, and this is the easiest one to cross.

In all honesty, you would only catch me exposing my crimes. I’m a social butterfly. I don’t mean to brag, but I get a kick out of peoples reactions, the faces they make, the judgement’s they draw. Me, I talk too much. But my friend Hermes here, hes my social opposite.

Hermes, you could call him the unlikely male equivalent to the infamous “cat lady”, with all the alarming mannerisms of a middle aged recluse trapped in the body of a 20 something year old man.

By day, you can catch him working at The Artemis Spa. It’s sort of a pet vacation center where rich people take their toy poodles for pampering. He’ll be grooming an actual cat lady’s prized trophy, snapping selfies in his apron with the caption “pussy game strong.”

You could try and tell him how funny you think he is on the internet, but face to face, he’ll fall to pieces. He avoids real human interaction like your both SARS infected amputees. You’d assume he’s just a snob, but he’s just a dude who’s not good at people. It’s not like he’s alone, or doesn’t have any friends though. Hardly. There’s almost two entire generations of boys who were raised on Playstations and free porn. Xbox live accounts, “friends lists” and followers will give you all the social validation you need. His social life is literally a click away.

By night, he’s a domestic crime lord. A human molotov of urban terrorism, and modern genius, with just the right amount of chemical imbalance. He’s got his own section in the paper, and you have no fucking clue. He’s just living his own real life video game.

Whereas I’m socially equipped to engage in an ill conceived conversation about what it’s like to operate a forklift and go on a “factory cruise”, he wont feel inclined to share with you that on this particular night raid, we uncovered a vast amount of useless junk, or urban treasure in our dilated eyes; magazines and comic books that date back to the 50’s, blow up dolls, something that resembles a hydroponic grow kit, wooden swords, a real battleaxe, a movie projector, etc etc.

Me, with all the conviction of a man-boy who’s always wanted a battleaxe, will let you know how powerful you would feel holding onto one. I’ll place my hands on your shoulder’s, look you square in the eyes and say “You have no idea how much I wanted that fucking battleaxe.”

And you, if you’re sincere enough, you’ll remind me that I was drunk, and I don’t need one. Hermes, he tells me the same thing. A battleaxe he says, is impractical, but this movie projector is something we could really use, never mind the hydro grow kit.

So it’s decided that this movie projector is one of our prized hauls for the night, and my delusions of toting a battleaxe victoriously are shattered and replaced with semi-industrious blue prints of a movie night in the alley behind Aphrodite’s with a gang of 40OZ bottles clanking merrily.

I’m worked up at this point in the story, because despite Hermes and I swearing not to tell anyone about our night raids, I can’t help it. So I might let slip how curiosity got the best of us, and we decided to scale one more floor up because rumor has it this place is an under cover drug operation, and after weeks of scouting it out, we knew that no one is in the place after 3am.

We didn’t make it past the second flight of stairs before we tripped an alarm that filled the entire building with a shrill, piercing wave of fear. Fear so sudden and acute you could have heard it from the streets. The kind of fear that caused us to drop our flashlights, plunging us into darkness as they shattered.

We just ran.

“Shit Shit Shit…”

I remember sobering up almost instantly. That’s what happens when your adrenaline mixes with terror. It suppresses any alcohol in your system. Your arteries start working overtime, pumping so much blood, it pretty much drowns it all out.

It was so dark in there, but we ran anyway. This wasn’t our first rodeo, so we knew to keep one hand on the wall to lead us out the whole time. Hopefully back the way we came. But this place was a fucking maze and I won’t lie, I thought we were fucked right then and there.

Luckily, we had red and blue flashing lights illuminating our means of entry and escape, because I guess the cops had this place on watch every night for the past few weeks too.

And that’s it. That’s all I would tell you. You, in your self-righteous, law abiding pretension would be stuck with a cliff-hanger. Because if I kept going, if I kept exposing the truth, you would know that it wasn’t just Hermes, myself, and the cops there. Someone broke into that factory with us that night. A third wheel.

Me, I’ve got a big mouth. But even I’m smart enough to omit the cold hard facts.

I’d verbally pencil out how we summoned the third wheel when I foolishly smashed open the window with the bottle of Jameson in an outburst of stupidity and self realized invincibility. And it wasn’t really me that dove through the opening and drank the alcohol off of the factory floor like some possessed alcoholic.

We ventured that this guy was already lit because when he ran up on us, he was already gone off of something. He spoke too loudly, stood to close to you, always touched you when he was talking, kept asking for more liquor.

To be completely honest, when he ran past us, and dove through that window, we should have booked it right then and there. But he came right back out with uncommon dexterity.

I don’t know why we let him tag along. Maybe we were scared he would expose us. Or maybe we just wanted to keep an eye on him, because something was just off about his…vibe.

Either way, it didn’t matter.

Hermes and I, we hid out behind the row of forklifts and machinery, but this guy, he didn’t run or anything. He didn’t budge, he was just so damn casual about the whole thing, whistling and exclaiming “Oh I guess we’re havin’ bacon for dinner tonight!” He was clearly toasted on God knows what because he was making so much noise, & I was sweating bullets at this point scared sober and shaking with fear. For sure Hermes was too but I couldn’t tell because it was pitch black, or maybe I was closing my eyes.

I was holding my breath.

The cops, they were so fast. They dashed into the basement in no time. I don’t know how many there were. What seemed like 50 beams of light coming from 50 flashlights being held by 50 cops descended into the basement, and for sure I might have prayed for the first time ever.

Walky talky noise and handcuffs jangling and the thunderous “clop clop clop” of police feet composing the chorus of our freedom as we know it being taken away.

But you’ll never hear this part of the story from our mouths.

You might have read in the The Maia Tribune, that on this night, two people died in that factory. One police officer, and one methed out junky wielding a battleaxe.

I’m reluctant to recall this part of the story, lest my hair starts turning gray and falling out.

The sharp, sliding sound of metal scraping against concrete, followed by a loud wet meaty thud, a half grunt/half scream, and the inevitable storm of gunshots and shouting.

When I opened my eyes I counted 13 bullet holes staring back at me.

I swear I was in that forklift compartment for about 60+ straight hours, starving, but too panicked to notice, daring not to fall asleep while the cops figured out what the hell to do with this massive meth lab they just found. Biggest meth operation they’ve busted in the history of meth busts, they kept saying. And it’s all our doing.

We never got our thank you letter from the police department, but I’m sure it would’ve come with a hefty criminal trespassing charge. The framed article hanging neatly on my wall is enough.

Hermes never told me how he escaped. I waited for what was maybe the third night cycle by my count to slip out of the window and into the darkness. I ran, tears streaming down my face, like someone was chasing me, like if I stopped, I would drop dead right there. I ran for miles. I ran until I couldn’t run anymore, because after 3 days of not eating, or pissing, it’s really fucking hard. But I kept running anyways. And then I sobbed like a baby. Openly, without care.

We are unstoppable. We’re human caffeine pills wielding serotonin levels like flamethrowers with reckless abandon, and this was the most successful night raid we have ever been on. We didn’t accrue anything. We didn’t get the projector. We sure as hell didn’t get the battleaxe. No material possessions, but the mental, physical, and emotional resolve we discovered in ourselves trumps all of that. The bond we formed, iron-clad.

I don’t mean to brag, but I get a kick out of peoples reactions, the faces they make, the judgement’s they draw. I get to relive the rush of lawlessness over and over again, and maybe inspire your own brand of rebellion.

Live a little.

 

 

NIGHT RAIDS

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The Commute//Disjointed by Kenneth Lee Averiett

I imagine, this is what I’ll trademark
The impossibly early morning commute
I’m still drunk
It’s 6AM
And I’m still wearing my shoes

My phone sings with an urgency
It ferries the exhausting burden of responsibility

It’s 6AM
I’ll keep reminding you
Or myself
Because I have to

*sigh*

FUCK

I have to make The Commute

6am

My body hangs from my brain
In a disjointed way
A detached manner
Like a consciousness manifesting through a coma

If I could forge the willpower
Gather some strength in my arm
To push my phone off of the desk
And silence the alarm

I’ll regret it in some way
Not even a second thought considered
It wasn’t even a hard decision

7:20am

As I inhale, and sigh
For maybe the seventh time
I’m suddenly aware
That in this very moment, I’m being held prisoner
I’m being forced to make a choice
I’m being forced to consider

My mind is awash in the buzz of last night
And the fade of this morning

Austere
Varying shades of whites & greys
Ohio in December
Ohio, the way I’ll remember

This is bleak
Wearing all of my previous evening
Inside and out
I feel like sandpaper
I smell like 3am
Friday night
Saturday morning
It’s Monday morning
And its a dreary 7:30

7:32am

I’m wearing this to work
This is how well I wear exhaustion
I’ll flaunt it in a professional setting
In a professional manner
A white collar show & tell

I’ll groom the bare minimum
But I MUST shave my face
Just to save face
So it doesn’t look like I have a drinking problem
Because I don’t
I just like to party

I treat my body like a machine
It’s regarded like a car I can’t afford to keep gas in
But I can afford to drive to New York at night and explore

A special kind of neglect

7:35 am

A single apple
A bowl of cereal
A bag of chips
Some energy to pursue The Commute

Literally, running on fumes
Literally, every morning
Between 6am to 1pm
Literally, running late
Everyday

Responsible living escapes me

7:41am

GO! GO! GO!
I hit the basement
I braced my knees
I covered my hands
Adjusted to bike the streets

Covered in gear
Drunk and exhausted
The idea of just staying here
Is so attractive and real

I can taste my doggedness
I can still taste the air in my bedroom
While I’m in the basement
I can also taste….unemployment
So, I go.

7:45am

Bleak
Varying shades of whites & greys
Ohio in January
Ohio, all the time really
Atleast it has the feeling
Biking in the elements

The air I breath stings something awful
In my chest
Ice cubes
In my breath
Snowflakes

The blue collar effort
Two feet of snow
And its still coming
This workout//THE COMMUTE
For a white collar job
Dealing with billing disputes
The upkeep of my finacial cause

I’m a pest
The snow is deep
Almost up to my knees
I’m a menace
I’m an obstacle among perpetual obstacles
And we’re all just trying to avoid each other

MARKET//MAIN ST.

As I start to pick up speed
My body begins to adjust
My senses waken up
And narrowly avoid
This, assaulting Mack truck
Speeding on a 10speed
Down the wrong side of the street

Whoops.

I’ve got no choice really
I can’t see or hear what’s behind me
Behind my own panting
And Kendrick Lamar’s ranting
So down the opposite side of the road I go
Around Mack truck smoke & mounds of snow

I reach the edge of the street
And depending on the day of the week
And how generous those patrons are, of St V
I could exercise the sidewalk

No such luck,
So, fuck it
I’ll fight traffic
I’ll keep to the streets
And dogde the fleets

This is the real challenge
This is the adventure…
Side to side with traffic
Hand in hand with danger

Car horns & headlights
This lifestyle might really kill me

7:42am
Oh, hey look
Another middle finger
Middle aged driver
Righteous anger
Righteous motorist

STOP!
It was on Old Main St.
At 7:47am
I was almost on the news
This is a stanza of dediction to the man in the grey Toyota
I’ve developed wonderful instincts
I almost died
This man sped through the incorrect traffic light

So I stopped!
Or else I would’ve been on the news
At roughly 8:38am
Vehicular manslaughter would probably be the charge
Probably a hit and run
I would not have stopped either
I’m this asshole in the middle of the street
On a bike
I’m an early morning, urban menace

I hit the pavement

Desolate
Varying shades of whites & greys
Ohio in February
Ohio all the time really
Atleast it has the feeling
Sprawled, laying in the elements

My mind is awash in the buzz of the night
Before
And the fade of this morning

GODDAMMIT!
I’m shouting now
On the ground, at the sky
In the snow, to the ice
At these fucking motorists, at my goddamn bike
A special kind of entitlement

I was born in the wrong state, in the wrong place

I hit the pavement
I skinned my knees
And scraped my hands
Numb & exhausted
The idea of just laying here & giving up is so attractive and real
But I can’t…because bill$

I treat my body like a machine
I regard it like a toy I can’t put down
Even if I choose
If afforded the chance, I wouldn’t know what to do

Dreary
Varying shades of whites and greys
Ohio in March
I won’t even fucking start

8:01am

I show up to work
Half drunk and overworked
Sleet and snowy down my side
And rehearse this white collar ritual
After my blue collar effort
I’m so goddamn tired

Living on the edge has this embrace
Like something most people couldn’t stomach
Most people aren’t built for it
Most people aren’t meant to

Don’t take this as a challenge, gentle tweeter
Or take it as one
I’m not saying it can’t be done
I accomplish this, twice a day, four in a row, and roughly an odd fifth one.

Random memory

Her eyes felt like cigarettes, weighing on my lungs with every inhale. Her voice was like smoke, thick and muffled in the dark bar. “One day you’ll be like us,” she kept saying. “One day you’ll understand.”

Maybe it was her intense gaze, maybe it was the gin in my system, but I could not wrap my thoughts around the optimism of her statement. She seemed to speak of this promising Utopia, where all things connect where they are supposed to connect, and painlessly break away whenever it was time.

She spoke so simply, as if I were a child; but to me it sounded so foreign and strange, like ancient tongues. As if she believed that if her deity favored me like she believed it did, I should understand.

“Why don’t you have a drink?” she taunted. She threw her head back and laughed, “you think I’m 21?”

I shrugged. Truth be told, I didn’t care how old she was, or about the lies she had been trying to feed me for the last twenty-five minutes. She seemed frustrated I was not lapping them up like a grateful dog, marveling at her wisdom.

“Nineteen, baby. Girls like us…well, you understand. We do what we want, and society lets us, and loves us for it. One day you’ll understand.”

This is what I could not wrap my mind around. The only interesting thing about thing about this girl was she was accompanied by interesting people. She was not captivating and addictive, like she tried so hard to seem; instead she was suffocating and harsh. She looked much older than nineteen. At a glance, she seemed attractive, but the longer I looked at her the more apparent the bags under her eyes became, and signs of prolonged drug and alcohol abuse became obvious with her stained teeth and bleached white skin that hugged her bones much too tightly.

Is this what I’m supposed to aspire to? To be an already washed-out nobody at nineteen, known by everyone in a bar that had seen its glory days thirty years prior? To live in the shadows of the wannabe rockstars and climb the almost non-existent social ladder using their fruitless fame?

Did I say any of this? No. Let her live in her misshapen Utopia. I do still question, however, do the bags under my eyes resemble hers? Was she so far off?

The Truth of You and Me by Annie Benson

It’s strange how much I used to loathe the dark. As a child, I really thought there were monsters hiding that only became visible once that lightswitch turned off. As a teenager, the hours I laid in bed alone thinking about how one day I’ll have this, one day I’ll have that were torment. Teasing my young mind with dreams of grandeur that were always one step ahead of me.

Then, in my young adult life I was taught to fear the dark, but as a rebel youth, I embraced it. I danced in the streets with nothing but the moon to protect me. I slipped in and out of drunken stupors singing with strangers and meeting some of the greatest individuals. I did drugs and I was drugged, I flirted and I was harassed, I waged a war with the night.

Then you came along.

In the beginning, in the darkness, we shared our firsts. First adventure, first drunken night, first kiss. In the dark, on my roof, a bottle of 10 dollar whiskey between my thighs, you looked me in the eyes and told me you were falling in love with me.

In the dark, you told me that it was forever. In the dark you asked me to be your wife.

At night, when we lay next to each other, drifting in and out sleep, I’ve told you my insecurities. We have talked about pain and we have experienced the greatest happiness.

The truth is, you are my dark. You are the moon, constantly changing, but still constant. You are the uncertainty and you are my reckless faith. You consume my dreams and build my dreams. You are my abandon and my responsibility. You are my refuge and you are my home. You are safety and you are fear.

Never have I wanted to accept defeat to the night, but the war is over. The battle has been won. I know it is hard. The night is cold, the night is terrifying, people hide in the dark, waiting to trap. You are the stars, watching me.

I understand the night now, better than I understand the day. The day holds normalcy, and little more. Sunlight can be warm and it can be harsh. We may both adore the sunlight, but we can’t embrace the sun.

We carry the moon like two children who can be reborn, and each night we are.

Samizdat [самиздат] &A Closing Thought by A.Page

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The last true art form is that of the written word.  When all is silenced, that which is naturally silent prevails.  Language is the force that binds us together.  Not only do we use this medium to interact with our nation, but as a platform to communicate and expand throughout the world, touching many cultures and human beings in just a few words.  Combining these two elements is a key step in forming a universal awareness, equipped with a set of sympathies for those we can’t ‘understand’.

It is by this empathy and desire to expand that when one is heard, another will struggle to understand.

When The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics rose in 1922, nearly 85% of the population was illiterate.  It soon became the government’s mission to educate the people.  In fact, anyone who could read or write was immediately hired as a teacher.  Khrushchev pushed accessibility, making it clear that education was essential to their society.  Shortly after this period, a newly educated people were ready to rise against an oppressive government.

Post-Stalin era, Samizdat [самиздат] began circulating and reproducing forbidden texts using grassroots methods.  Friends and colleagues alike spent hours with carbon paper copying the content by whatever means available: by hand or by typewriter.  Eventually as success and likeness came about other methods were introduced.  These copies were hidden in plain sight.  Passed on from a friend, hidden inside accepted literature, or even just strewn about.  Even the one thing intended in language (understanding) was lost and soon numerous typos, nondescript covers, and partial copies became common among the 200,000 readers across several nations.

Their brand of literature infiltrated the Soviet government, its peoples, and many other nations oppressed by police states.  Each circulation, release, and essay became a prized part of clandestine act.

The message was rounded, observing the many different religious and cultural paths of The Union. Samizdat [самиздат] stands today in history as an essential group of political and social dissidents that helped reform the oppression of The Soviet Union.

As we stand before challenging events and are slammed with propaganda, whether it be from Russia, Syria, North Korea, or even The United States: Take the time to think.  What are you reading in the news?  Do the things you read lead you to assume a tone towards those people?  Did stereotypes enforce your speech?  Your opinion?

The conflicts of today are within government buildings, the riots they ensue are simply an adverse reaction to medication.

Do not let any opinion lead you to form a generalization.  No two people are the same, regardless of geographic location.

Samizdat [самиздат] is symbol of this acceptance. Publishing things you (as a single unit) may not agree with and treating them with respect in order to educate the people, to help them understand one another.  To represent each person as they are- a person!

Go forth and communicate!

 

 

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NAKED//BARE// By Kenneth Lee Averiett

When I said I wasn’t with another girl the January after we fell in love for the 3rd time,

It’s because it wasn’t actual sex.

In the February that began our Radio Silence, it was actual sex.

I hate this cantankerous nature you wear so well,

I screamed at myself on the way home,

For poems I write about you still.

I made a scene.

I think about you each morning,

And roughly every 5 days.

I still believe you’re there.

I still masturbate to you.

When it got really bad,

I would put another coat of mop water on the floor of the bar,

To make sure you were asleep when I got to my side of the bed.

You are the only person to whom I’ve lied,

KNOWING…

I was telling the truth…

I miss the way your body wraps around my face like a cave we are both lost in.

I remember when you said being with me is like being alone with company.

My friend Sarah wrote a poem about pink ponies.

I’m scared you’re my pink pony.

Her’s is dead. It’s really sad. You’re not dead.

You live in Akron, or Cleveland, in a neighborhood, or wherever.

You are a shadow my body leaves on other girls.

I have a growing queue of things I know will make you laugh & I don’t know where to put them.

I pretend that you are dead.

If you had asked me to stay,

I would not have said no.

It would never mean yes.

Home

I’m jealous of the flame. It burns bright with passion, then simmers out beautifully with grace. Flames have integrity. It brings warmth to whomever it touches, mesmerizes the eyes, fills the soul, provides refuge in the dark. Fire gives, and fire takes away.

You’ll find no flame here.

No, there’s no jealousy here. No desire, no dancing in the moonlight, no passion, no warmth, no…you’ll find no flame here.

Here is where you’ll find the forgotten shards of glass, waiting patiently for the unlucky soul who will shatter it completely. Here you’ll find lies in the jagged reflection, here you’ll find a quick pain for every mistep. Mistrust and fear is what you will find here on every corner.

You will find no flames here, just everlasting glass. It will attempt to sparkle and shine like a glimmer of hope but please don’t be mistaken. No flames.

The Betrayal of My Pen by A.Page

I found myself

Drifting into space,

Filling empty glass jars

With bountiful lace.

Yet I lacked that confidence,

To give my words prominence

And broke

A once solid promise.

I threw my pen straight to the ground,

For a stick of lead I’d found.

Tried to write-

Then set it down.

Held back a severe frown.

What led me to this stick of grey?

I could not rightly tell or say!

Perhaps an air of strong regret,

A devilish mistake I could not let,

Stain my page,

Contain my rage,

Or throw the sheet over my cage.

Untitled by A.Page

Fresh Page Accompanied by Cigarette

Getting started can be the hardest part.

How hard is it to accept-

That the craft you so need can feel at times, so harsh?

Sitting down to an instrument

Piano or paper.

The Musicians tones are angered,

Though the notes sweet.

Hear the aggravation of fumbling fingers,

Witness the strength of the mountain.

Consuming light, burning heavy

And white; What will you write today?

See the light to to your eyes,

Witness the heat of the sun.

That’s all she wrote.

Untitled #2 by ‘Bones”

Where do we go from here?
We’ve come to a point where all our shouts and cries go unheard.
Drowned out by the cacaphony of the daily grind
Made to work and slave and labor for minimal, diminishing returns.
The men on the horses, guns drawn, aimed at he who attempts to stand,
He who is dissatisfied with the hum-drum monotony of work-sleep-repeat.
Lost and gone is the time when self-sufficiency was enough to ensure ones survival and comfort.
Before the wants of few outweighed the needs of many.