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Ohhhshitohshitohshit - Mike Bilodeau

The scene:
Me, 7.
My brother, 11.
Home alone while my parents are out to lunch.

The setting: 
Our lounge.
Light blue carpet. Plush red leather couches.
Television. 
And a grandiose framed oil painting of an abstract landscape
hanging above an inset brick fireplace.

The issue:
I don’t know.
Probably involves TV channels.
What else do kids fight about?

My solution:
Scream.
Jump up and down on the spot.
Try to break my little feet through the floorboards.
Scream louder.

The outcome:
Now, here’s where shit gets real.
With that smug little asshole standing in front of me, grinning his shit-eating little front-tooth-missing fucking grin, I feel all the pent up rage, all the pent up injustice of him being insurmountably bigger and stronger than me.
So I jump higher. And my feet come down harder.
The fury that my parents would leave this fucker in charge.
Jump higher. Come down harder.
The tears streaming down my face in a well of frustration.
Higher. Harder.
And stop.

The oil painting on the wall silences us with a sharp snap of its string.
What happens next can well be summed up as the longest 5 seconds of my entire fucking life.

The giant frame, jostled on by my plea for retribution, tears itself from its anchored walls and takes a short jump onto the mantelpiece ledge.
And pause.
4 wide eyes, 2 open mouths.
Perhaps not as stable on its feet as it once was, the top begins its slow (painfully slow) geriatric tumble forward.
In a spread eagled sprawl it hurtles towards the floor and comes to a ground-shaking, belly-wrenching crash at both of our feet. 
Silence. Silence and whatever stupid goddamn TV show my brother got to pick playing in the background.

What occurs to me:
1. Holy shit, I’m pretty much the Incredible Hulk.
2. The Incredible Hulk was probably never this pants-shittingly terrified of what his dad was going to do when he got back from lunch.

“Uh oh,” my brother announces.
He knows he’s as culpable as me. 
Sure, he wasn’t bouncing up and down like some hyped up little crack-head, but we can all be damned sure that he’d exacerbated this whole mess. Inciting it all like some little toe-sock wearing Che Guevara. 
We’re in this together cabrón.

I walk over to the fallen frame and prod it with my toe.
….
I’m not sure what outcome I’m expecting.
We know not to touch it. We’ve broken enough glass shit in our time to know that mum’s the only one who’s allowed to get near it.

Without a word, we both shuffle back to the couch and prop ourselves onto it using both hands.
His smugness, gone.
My rage, gone.
Both replaced with a matching interior monologue along the lines of, “ohhhshitohshitohshit”.

After what seems like hours of sitting in blank-stared silence, the familiar sound of the garage door opening grinds its way into our eardrums. 
Our day of reckoning has come.
The angry hand of God is steering his Jeep Cherokee into our closed off little world.
The engine goes silent. The car doors open.

And BAM! The closing of the doors set us sprinting like a starter pistol.
As if my dad will only believe the first story he hears walking in the door.
We’re stupid, but shit, it’s worth a shot.
The front door opens and I see the smiling faces of both my parents, mid-conversation as they take their first carefree steps into this warzone. Little do they know the mayhem that awaits them.
We meet their warm, heart-felt smiles with a torrent of furious, emotionally fuelled defense of a crime they don’t know we’ve committed yet.

Get your words in first.

Get ‘em in first and, if that fails, get ‘em in louder.

I pray for misery - Mike Bilodeau

I pray for misery
Give me a war.
Give me my cause - filled with righteous indignation - to stand and fight for freedom and faith.
Cake my boots in mud and send bullets screaming past me. 
Drill them into the soft, warm bodies; the cold, brittle bones, of my friends and countrymen.
Give me mortar blasts and shrapnel wounds.
I want to feel my eardrums shatter as buildings tear like paper.
I want to taste the concrete dust as it coats my nose and throat.
Give me battle scars and necrotized tissue.
Let me be a martyr. A hero.  A savior. 

I feel soft. Useless. Forgettable.
Give me my people to protect and an excuse to unleash violence onto another human being.
Give me a fire in my belly and a coldness to my eyes.
I want a purpose.

I pray for heartbreak.
Give me trauma.
Interrupt my quiet drive home with screeching tyres and a God-waking crash.
Throw me amongst cutting glass and crushing steel.
Coat my tongue in iron red and watch me desperately drag my childhood sweetheart from the burning wreckage.
Wake me to the acrid smell of sterility; the constant beep of monitors.
Give me I.V drips and life-saving surgery.
Roll tears down my gravel-cut cheek and mourn my loss for my one and only.
I don’t want my life to be a road, littered with close-calls and dreary passers-by.
I want my life to be a crater – a bombsight with shockwaves stretching from birth to death.
I want to separate it all into ‘before’ and ‘after.’

I pray for struggle.
Give me a great depression.
Make every living day a battle. 
Lower the bar and make prevailing the pinnacle of success. Let me embrace the animal within.
I want to scrounge and scavenge and fight to survive. 
Drag me to a hell filled with the sick and hungry. Watch me claw my way through existence.
I want to dream of greener pastures and a better time. 
Feel my stomach tear at its walls. Feel my mouth dry to dust. 
I want to collapse in the street and not be alone.
Give me stories my children will be too frightened to hear. 
Give me a book I will be too harrowed to write.
Paint the pages with my blood. My heartache. My struggle.
Let them weigh heavy with a gravity that crushes my shoulders and breaks my back.

I pray for a legacy to be forced upon me.
I pray for a simpler time.
I pray for the moment that defines who I am.
I pray for misery.

Contributor's Note

I am a 26-year-old law student who uses creative writing as a brief repose from the tedious monotony of research and referencing that encompasses our legal system. 
As a result, I tend to swear in my writing.... a lot.
Soz.

 

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