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Sparky, Come Home!

When I was in elementary school, there was a boy, I think a grade ahead of me, who was surprisingly nice to me. I think, and I apologize to him ahead of time if I’m wrong, his name was Brandon. He was a somewhat heavyset boy, with sort of spiky hair, and didn’t seem very popular. Given the fact I was even more unpopular than Brandon, I think that’s why he took a somewhat liking to me in terms of friendship. We were both kind of weird and unliked, and I think he thought we had some sort of outsider bond.

For reasons that will forever remain beyond my comprehension, Brandon started calling me Sparky. Maybe it was because, as a little girl, I had the tendency to act like a dog. Listen, I said I was uncool, alright? Need I spell it out for you any further than that? I liked pretending I was something else, mostly because I hated being a person, and I loved dogs, so. Brandon eventually started calling me Sparky all the time, and gave up on remembering my actual name, which was fine by me. When time came for us to go to different schools thanks to graduation, he wrote in my yearbook, “See ya Sparky! Call me!” and included his phone number. I never called him.

I did this quite often. I had a habit of meeting people who might actually be interested in being friends with me, who gave me their contact information, whom I just never initiated contact with after that fact. I think a part of it was the fact that I was an extremely introverted child, plus I wasn’t really used to people, especially people my age, being nice to me, which made me super wary, but I also think I just felt like I didn’t need anyone. I think I didn’t want to need anyone, because the people I actually needed, like my parents, had already abandoned me in terms of emotional help or helping me with school. I felt so let down, why bother letting other people in just to have them let me down as well?

These days, I still have to tell myself that it’s okay to want people, even need people, and that I don’t have to be alone. Don’t get me wrong, I like being alone, but I don’t have to be if I don’t want to be.

The thing is, it’s been hard to let myself accept that I don’t have to be alone. That I’m not meant to be alone. When everyone leaves you your whole life, when people hurt you your whole life, when that’s the message you’ve gotten the entire time you’ve been alive…it becomes very hard to not believe that, but I’m learning. I’m accepting it. I’m accepting that some people want to be my friend, some people like me and find me interesting, and my girlfriend loves me. It’s been hard, but I’m doing it.

So here’s to you, Brandon, from your loyal dog Sparky, by the power of hindsight, for teaching an old dog new tricks.

I’m Maggie. If you like this thing I made, you might like some other things I make, like my depressing webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, the satirical online newspaper of “Nowhere, US”, my podcast “Coping With Tonal Shifts In Reality” or my writing over at Medium. Also, I collected all the fiction, poetry and some new pieces from this blog and am selling it over at Payhip for cheap, cheap cheap!

Wanna donate to me directly? You can do that via PayPal! Wanna support me ongoing month to month and get content early? You can do that via Patreon! Wanna support me but can’t do it continuously? You can do that via Buy Me A Coffee! Thanks for whatever you can spare, I really appreciate it!

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Coping With Tonal Shifts In Reality: Episode 7 “I Am So Uncomfortable Right Now”

In this weeks episode, Samantha plays the tape USER 147 has recorded. It isn’t pretty. GUEST STAR Tasha Black as USER 147.

I’m Maggie. If you like this thing I made, you might like some other things I make, like my depressing webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, the satirical online newspaper of “Nowhere, US” or my writing over at Medium. You can also buy my collection of fiction & poetry over at Payhip for cheap cheap cheap!

Wanna donate to me directly? You can do that via PayPal! Wanna support me ongoing month to month and get content early? You can do that via Patreon! Wanna support me but can’t do it continuously? You can do that via Buy Me A Coffee! Thanks for whatever you can spare, I really appreciate it!

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Nice Girls Don’t Burn Ants: Stories, Poetry & Essays

nice girlsThis collection is available right now, at Payhip! Granted, I won’t lie to you, it’s 97% content from this blog and my Medium page, but there’s a few new things shoved in there, for the sake of feeling bad reselling you previously free content you’ve probably already read. But here’s the thing, I am dirt poor and don’t wanna end up homeless, so I really need the money, so if you want to help me out, you could buy this and I’d be super duper grateful. In addition to this, my first novel from 2016 will be available early February, also over at Payhip!

This collection essentially collects almost all the fiction and poetry I’ve posted here, along with some blog entries I liked, and a Medium article or two; then it also has two brand new stories that run about 5k each, so that’s where we are. So, if you like supporting artists or simply like me and want to have my stuff close at hand without having to come to my blog to read it, now’s your chance! Anyway, that’s where we are.

Thank you for supporting my blog and my writing, and I hope you keep on reading. Knowing you guys are out there really makes me feel better.

BUY MY GAUDY WARES RIGHT NOW!

I’m Maggie. If you like this thing I made, you might like some other things I make, like my depressing webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, the satirical online newspaper of “Nowhere, US”, my podcast “Coping With Tonal Shifts In Reality” or my writing over at Medium.

Wanna donate to me directly? You can do that via PayPal! Wanna support me ongoing month to month and get content early? You can do that via Patreon! Wanna support me but can’t do it continuously? You can do that via Buy Me A Coffee! Thanks for whatever you can spare, I really appreciate it!

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Double Or Nothing

I used to be happy that I was my parents only child.

But now that I’m nearing 30 years of age, I’m starting to realize just how dreadfully lonely the world is when you’re the only one left behind in it, especially when you don’t even have the rest of your family with you. My family is split up, broken apart, they all hate one another and none have ever made me feel particularly welcome. I’ve talked at length here time and time again how my parents treated me growing up, and how I feel towards them nowadays. My feelings about my family are of no surprise or secret. I’m rather open about the whole thing. The one thing I hadn’t counted on, however, was regretting being an only child later on down the road.

At first, you think it comes with perks. Hey, I’m my parents only child! It’s my duty to carry on the family genetics, it’s my legacy, so they can’t draft me into the army! Turns out the pros aren’t as long lasting as the cons are. Turns out that, surprise surprise, twenty years down the road, you suddenly find yourself incredibly lonely. For someone like me, who has always had trouble making friends and forming long lasting relationships, an actual sibling would’ve been a built in companion. It would’ve meant, on the chances the relationship between us was good, having someone to turn to in times of crisis or need. Having someone to vent to. Having someone to get advice from or reassurance or anything of the sort. It would’ve meant not being so fucking alone.

But, to not have a sibling, to not have somebody to share your conquests, your failures, your doubts and your dreams? Certainly you can find the same sort of thing in a general sense with a spouse or partner, but you didn’t grow up together, you don’t have the same history, it’s just…not the same, you know? To be damned to be that eternally lonely, it’s a special type of hell.

So in the end, what we’re left with essentially is the fact that once again, I am alone. I have no sister or brother to talk to, to tell my hopes and dreams to, my aspirations or my failings. I have no familial connection and ultimately feel absolutely alone, no matter what the circumstances are. I have a girlfriend of about 3 years now, I have two dogs and a myriad of online friends, and while I don’t like socializing, I do enjoy talking to these people and yet…it’s not the same.

I’ve talked many times on this blog about loneliness, about the feeling you have being without family, without the one group that’s supposed to be there for you, love you and support you, but this is different. It’s different because a sibling is someone you grow up with, as opposed to parents, who you grow up under. They’re considered your superior, whereas your sibling is considered your equal. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to be. But without this person, there’s just…there’s no other real substitute.

So I’m not alone, by any means. I’ve got my girlfriend, our dogs, some online friends, but there’s no thing like not having a sibling. What’s worse was growing up with stepsiblings who hated you. It was almost like an insult to the idea of not having real siblings to begin with. I’m not saying stepsiblings in general are shit, just the ones I had to grow up with. Not only did I not grow up with an actual sibling, with a real connection, but instead I grew up with people who openly despised me, and it was all for the worse.

They say siblings can make up their own secret language, but when you’re alone, who the hell do you talk to.

I’m Maggie. If you like this thing I made, you might like some other things I make, like my depressing webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, the satirical online newspaper of “Nowhere, US”, my podcast “Coping With Tonal Shifts In Reality” or my writing over at Medium.

Wanna donate to me directly? You can do that via PayPal! Wanna support me ongoing month to month and get content early? You can do that via Patreon! Wanna support me but can’t do it continuously? You can do that via Buy Me A Coffee! Thanks for whatever you can spare, I really appreciate it!

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Coping With Tonal Shifts In Reality: Episode 6 “Remember That Time”

After another week break, everyones favorite depressing robotic therapy is back in session! This week, Samantha attempts to help USER 147 move past a bad memory that affected a large part of their life, with less than stellar results.

I’m Maggie. If you like this thing I made, you might like some other things I make, like my depressing webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, the satirical online newspaper of “Nowhere, US” or my writing over at Medium.

Wanna donate to me directly? You can do that via PayPal! Wanna support me ongoing month to month and get content early? You can do that via Patreon! Wanna support me but can’t do it continuously? You can do that via Buy Me A Coffee! Thanks for whatever you can spare, I really appreciate it!

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And Here’s Why That’s Bullshit

“Wait,” Sandy said, chow mein hanging from her lips, “Wait…the Lemmings thing is bullshit?”

“Apparently so,” Derek replied, wrapping his own noodles around his fork and bringing it to his mouth, “Apparently every single thing they’ve ever told us was bullshit. Lemmings don’t commit mass suicide, going swimming after eating won’t give you a cramp and trust me, you can wait much longer than 5 seconds to eat something off of the floor.”

“I don’t like how much you said that last with such confidence,” Sandy said, biting into an egg roll.

“Please, like you’ve never eaten something that sat on the floor,” Derek said, “I’ve watched you eat week old pizza.”

“Yeah, that was in a box, in the fridge. I’m not pickin’ up gross ass musty pizza off the ground and eating it after it sat there for a week,” Sandy said, stuffing the rest of the roll into her mouth and chewing before picking up her drink from the table and taking large gulps to wash it down with.

“You know, I bet there’s tons of shit they just never expected us to stop believing,” Derek said, turning one of his spare ribs over in his hands and biting into it, “You know, shit like that. Is there anything your parents told you that matter, that they made you do that you’ve now stopped doing?

Sandy put her drink down and thought for a few seconds, twirling a few strands of hair around her finger before replying, “Flossing, I guess. I haven’t flossed since I was like 17.”

“What a scam,” Derek responded, nodding, “I agree with your decision not to floss. I’m sure a dentist would tell you otherwise but that’s because they need to protect the brotherhood, continue the scam.”

“Exactly,” Sandy said. As they laughed and continued eating, it was minutes before they noticed someone watching them from a table across the restaurant. Nobody said a thing at first, until finally Derek motioned at the person to come on over and they did. It was a young brunette girl, she looked barely 20, dressed rather modestly. She stopped at the table and stared at Sandy for what felt like hours.

“Can I…help you with something?” Sandy asked.

“You’re Sandy Price, right?” the girl finally asked, and she nodded cautiously. The girl sat down next to Sandy and stared at her. Nobody made a move or a sound, almost as if Derek and Sandy were wildlife documentarians and they’d just stumbled upon a rarely seen majestic beast in its natural habitat, that the idea that any sudden movement or sound could scare it away and end the magic.

“I’m…Amber Gross,” the girl finally said, “Um…a few weeks ago, I was attacked by a man in my apartment complex and while he tried to assault me, I killed him in self defense. They said this man was…um…that he’d done this before, and one of the names that came up was yours.”

“This…this man,” Sandy spoke, softly, almost as if she didn’t want anyone in the world to hear, “Did he have sorta blonde hair? A mole on the right side of his nose?”

“Yeah,” Amber replied, “His name was Rufus.”

Sandy flashed back to that night in the apartment with Derek for a moment.

“Is this about Rufus?” Derek asked, hushed, like he was afraid of what would come next. As if saying this name would spawn forth from the depths of hell a million demons hellbent on the destruction of the earth, and often when regarding Sandy’s anger, that wasn’t a far off analogy. Sandy slowly turned back to the window and swirled the gin in her glass.

“Rufus has nothing to do with any of this,” she said coldly, “Besides, how could he be involved in anything when he’s a thousand miles away…”

“He’s…dead?” Sandy asked, and Amber nodded.

“I just thought…I thought it might help, once I knew what he’d done, if I went around and told the other girls he’d hurt or tried to hurt, so maybe they could-”

And with that, Sandy leaned forward and hugged Amber Gross as tightly as she could, the two on the verge of tears the entire time. And while a part of Sandy was thrilled someone had finally given the guy what he’d had coming for years…another, much deeper part of her was immensely ticked off that it hadn’t been herself who’d done it. Who told this random girl she had the right to kill Rufus? Rufus was a part of Sandys past, and now this girl just waltzes in, sight unseen, and lays it on the table, “Hey, the guy who nearly killed you is dead, you’re welcome!” Sandy felt weirdly violated, like a part of her private history had been touched by this stranger, just as she’d been touched by Rufus himself.

“I’m sorry to do this so suddenly,” Amber said, now smiling a bit, “I really wasn’t sure how to approach you about this. I figured you’d want to know, and-”

“Oh yeah, no, I’m…I’m really very thankful that you came and found me and told me this,” Sandy said, “I have to…I have to use the restroom. Excuse me,” she said, making Amber get up so she could get out of the booth and then scurrying off to the bathroom, like a frightened rabbit. Amber sat back down and looked at Derek, who was watching Sandy go. Without looking at her, he sighed and said it.

“You reaaaaally fucked up,” Derek said, and this took Amber by complete surprise.

“But she…she seemed happy!” Amber said, “Why did…how did I-”

“Let me tell you a little story,” Derek said, now facing her, hands on the table, “It’s titled ‘Commitment; An Exercise In Trauma’. Once upon a time, there was a young lady, let’s call her S for this, to keep it simple. S met a man named R, mostly because S was mad at this other man named D. S and R had enough in common to really hit it off, and after a while they were becoming quite the serious couple until one night, in a fit of jealousy, and after a two hour fight in the kitchenette of his apartment, R attacks S and attempts to strangle her to death.”

“That’s what happened isn’t it?”

“Because of this situation, S has trouble trusting anyone again. D has to jump through various hoops and hurdles, all the while taking some abuse and unrightfully doling out abuse back at her simply because D is, well, frankly he’s kind of a jackass. S cannot live alone, she’s terrified R might come back, despite not having seen him in years now, and she won’t live in D’s place because she can’t stand the idea of living in another mans apartment. What if D did the same thing to her that R did? So, D relinquishes control of his own apartment and moves into S’s, so that she doesn’t have to move into his, and she’s in control of the place.”

“Are you D?” Amber asked.

“You’re not a very good storytime listener,” Derek said.

“You’re not a very good story teller, so,” Amber replied, making Derek smirk.

“I’m not going to lie to you, I’m glad you did what you did, but you just show up out of the blue after years and drop this in her lap? That’s a lot to deal with, and we already have a lot to deal with. On top of inheriting a shitty economy, unfeeling parents, a government that wants us to die and living just barely above poverty level, and that’s IF we’re lucky, we also have to work through trauma. Trauma, which, for the record, most people older than us don’t take seriously and say we’re making too big a deal out of.”

“I’m sure people your parents age had trauma too,” Amber said, shrugging.

“Yeah, the thing is, they didn’t discuss it. They buried it. That’s why they don’t understand, and that’s why they scoff at it, because they’re just not capable of comprehending the concept of confronting trauma and recovering from it,” Derek said, “We don’t want to do that, because we don’t want to become like them.”

Amber nodded, starting to understand.

Meanwhile, in the bathroom, Sandy couldn’t breath. She stood over the sink, hands gripping it firmly, not wanting to look in the mirror. It was taking everything she had not to break out screaming and curl up on the floor, eventually hyperventilating. She thought about the last time she’d seen Rufus, the last thing she’d ever said to him.

“One day somebody is going to fight back.”

Somebody finally had, and while it was well deserved given how he’d treated people, she was still so angry it hadn’t been her who’d done it. She pulled out her cell phone and flipped through her photo album, finally getting to the last picture they’d taken together, right before things got really, really bad. It was on a ferris wheel, and they were smiling. She had cotton candy in one hand, about to take a bite of it, and he’d taken her phone and taken the shot of them together. Why did this hurt? Why did she miss him if he’d been so cruel?

She collected herself, put her phone away and went back out to the table. Amber let her back into the booth, and then stood up, collecting her things and looking at them awkwardly and uncomfortable.

“I guess I’ll go,” she said, handing Sandy a piece of paper with her number on it, “This is in case you want to talk to me about everything. I’d like to listen. Nobody should have to go through this alone.”

“Thanks,” Sandy said, taking the paper from her hand. They watched Amber turn and exit the restaurant. Derek looked at Sandy and sighed, running his hand over hers on the table.

“Parents bring you up telling you not to lie, and then all they tell you throughout childhood are lies,” Sandy said, “And the worst one of all was ‘people are good’, but people aren’t good. Even the good people aren’t all that great, and frankly, I’m reaching my limit on people in general.”

“I understand,” Derek said, “You want to get some ice cream and go home and watch crappy ghost documentaries?”

“That sounds okay,” Sandy said. Derek nodded, got up and went to get some boxes for their food. As he left Sandy there alone, she looked back at the photo on her phone and exhaled deeply, wondering what it’d felt like when Rufus realized he was finally getting his comeuppance, or if it had happened too fast for him to even grasp the reality of the situation. Sandy knew it was wrong to think that those who hurt people deserve to be hurt themselves, she was staunchly against the death penalty, thinking the whole concept of teaching murderers that murder is wrong by murdering them was ludicrous, but she couldn’t escape the fact that inside, for just a little bit, she felt really, really good that somebody had killed Rufus. That somebody had finally taken control away from him, and shown him what all those women felt when he did it to them. She was just mad it wasn’t her, but then again, she wasn’t sure she even would’ve had the stomach for it. If she had done it, she would’ve not only had to live with the overall experience, but also that guilt on top of it.

It was soon after Rufus that Sandy started to try and dance again regularly, as a career.

It was soon after Rufus that Sandy and Derek started really trying to be together.

It was soon after Rufus that Sandy felt like she’d gotten her life back.

Abuse, especially physical abuse and violence, is hard to come back from. It’s hard to trust someone again, and while she watched Derek talk to the person at the front desk about getting boxes, she realized that while Derek had flaws, everyone did, nobody was perfect of course, he would never ever hit her, and that that’s how low the bar was set for most women. That was sad. “Well, he might yell at me from time to time, but at least he doesn’t beat me!” but the thing was, Derek rarely yelled at Sandy, and he did everything in his power to make her comfortable.

She’d weathered the storm, and gotten a lighthouse out of the deal. Somebody to guide her towards recovery, and that was more than others got.

I’m Maggie. If you like this thing I made, you might like some other things I make, like my depressing webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, the satirical online newspaper of “Nowhere, US”, my podcast “Coping With Tonal Shifts In Reality” or my writing over at Medium.

Wanna donate to me directly? You can do that via PayPal! Wanna support me ongoing month to month and get content early? You can do that via Patreon! Wanna support me but can’t do it continuously? You can do that via Buy Me A Coffee! Thanks for whatever you can spare, I really appreciate it!

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You Prick

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Here’s the first painting of the year. I woke up today and for some reason just wanted to paint, and this was the first thing that came out of me, so enjoy it.

I’m Maggie. If you like this thing I made, you might like some other things I make, like my depressing webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, the satirical online newspaper of “Nowhere, US”, my podcast “Coping With Tonal Shifts In Reality” or my writing over at Medium.

Wanna donate to me directly? You can do that via PayPal! Wanna support me ongoing month to month and get content early? You can do that via Patreon! Wanna support me but can’t do it continuously? You can do that via Buy Me A Coffee! Thanks for whatever you can spare, I really appreciate it!