Can’t- pbbr

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Can’t sleep lately. Everything’s too bright. I’m not used to serenity; I am comfortable in the moss, under a rock, in the onyx flames of ill repute. Where light burns black with a perfect pitch, a neglected bastardized stinging glitch, oily but warm. Someone came along and snuffed the blackness. It’s too bright in this room. I want to go back to sleep, but not for as long as I will if I do.

Can’t breathe lately. The air’s too clean. Septic breath of a lurid death is what I crave. Putrid stench, nostalgic days. Comfort food like mom used to make, wasp nest chili and seaweed pizza. The old familiar sting of glass in broken nostrils, coppery fragrant like dead wood. Stink of shit and honeysuckle. But someone came along and brought fresh flowers with them. Not the offensive ones; the gorgeous odor of peace. And they make me uneasy.

Can’t talk lately. Not much to berate. I was a stuttering forlorn chicken in a filthy cage, squawking frothing castrated rage. But someone came along with lozenges. Nothing left to scratch and bark. I’m afraid of silence. I’m afraid of mellow golden diatribes, the lack of violence. What happened to screaming at a wall? You’re safe inside, and you know it. And I can’t get to you, and you know I regret it.

Can’t love lately. It’s a stagnant slab of cheery smiles, a vagrant loft of airy lies, laid out before me. Everyone is happy. Let’s all be sociable. Let’s dance with other people’s wives to bubblegum pop, not too close. Leave a void between, the façade of trust and happiness. The empty spaces where attraction used to fit. Deceit, defeat, unseat, complete. Treat me to a stabbing orgasm of penile snap. What the fuck is this trust shit.

Can’t die lately. And it’s making me uncomfortable.

We hope you enjoyed this classic piece of writing from the Sudden Denouement archive.


Based in the piney woods of East Texas, pbbr is a founding member of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective. He is a technical writer by trade and the author of The Scale of Savages under the pen name Patrick Brendhan, available on Amazon.

The Path Goes Both Ways

Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

by pbbr

A bird is singing on my windowsill this morning, sweet notes falling like ivory piano keys in a crosstown jazz bar. It’s autumn and he’s running late on his perennial southbound path. But he doesn’t sound hurried. Prancing back and forth on the windowsill, an avian entertainer chatting up the soft dewy dawn. I stand slowly, wincing at the surgery wounds in my belly, and reach for the shotgun.

The coffee pot is brewing on an automatic path. Savory beans roasting in their own juices, dripping, dripping. Chocolate warmth nestled in a cup,  auburn froth leveled at the top. Blended with raspberry crème. I take that first sip and my heart jumps in jagged arrhythmia.

The shower water is warm, stoking the embers of a tequila flame from the night before. The Mopar purrs in the driveway, guzzling the last few dimes from my pocket. Everything on its…

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Turned Out-pbbr

Imagine the blow to my fragile ego the day that I found out; that just because I’m paranoid meant nothing more than that.

I was paranoid.

The lights that flashed around the bend were only there to guide me; not run me in the ditch. The shellshock helmet on my head squeezed tighter than any itch.

I was stymied by a world that never had it out for me in the first place.

Turned out my misfortune was all my own creation. Turned out my enemy was the reflection in the jailhouse mirror.

All the insights I thought would free me, were chains that held me there. And all the things that I thought would hurt me blew as wisps of air.

Perhaps too much time in dark corners made me comfortable with blindness. Perhaps the lack of sun was the reason behind my sickness. Because it turned out there were no aliens or government corruption. Turned out the only one spying on me was the most subjective one of all.

But he had the most valuable insight! you might say. And that might be a lie.

Not to say that the end of days isn’t slowly creeping nigh; this world can sustain only so much pain before she decides to die.

But imagine the load of carrying it on your shoulders. The weight of the future of all mankind because your rigid fingers slipped inside some slippery scorching panties. Because God didn’t whisper in your ear at night. Fundamental religions aren’t always about brimstone and handling snakes. They will teach you fear and they will teach you piety, no doubt. But they will also stack the stones high on your back.

Until your spine must crack.

Chemicals are there, too, a steady stream of hallucination; piebald irises and quivering fingers that seek cessation. How could I have expected to see any sky when clouds were my favorite shape? And violent answers to no questions asked, those were the kneejerk reaction. Yes, I know misfortune was a jailhouse I created myself.

I was paranoid.

There were no family conspiracies, no diabolical plots. Only reactions to loud noises. Self-defense mechanisms from those with the same blood in their veins. I can hear their whispers, he’s at it again, he’s at it again… is that a shovel he’s picking up?

Who wouldn’t talk behind your back when they can’t talk to your face? Where do you expect them to talk?

Turned out the only director of the play was chaos. And he wore a mask named Friend.

Crawling out of a dusky maze and free of perpetual haze; the chains that always bound me are clanking behind in pain. They miss the warmth of flesh; they miss the cries of disdain. But the further I move away as a slug in a trail of salt; I can see and feel warm light ahead and universal gestalt. I know the sum of the whole is greater than its parts.

To walk this path and come out unscathed would be the greatest sin. To look into the sun and be blinded, immersion in its pure beauty, is worth the price of admission. And what did I pay anyway?

I know that my misfortune was no one else’s fault.

I was paranoid.

But it turned out not to be a bad thing.


Based in the piney woods of East Texas, pbbr is a founding member of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective. He is a technical writer by trade and the author of “The Scale of Savages” under the pen name Patrick Brendhan, available on Amazon.

There’s no place like alone-PBBR

PBBR

A Global Divergent Literary Collective

By pbbr

I ran buck wild for a porky child, sometimes even faster than the bullies chasing me. Bare-skin feet scrambling across playgrounds, through alleyways, through drugstore parking lots. They caught me once, I can still feel their blows. They caught me twice, I can show you the crooked scar. There were love handles on my side and dirt in my neckline, but there was not a third time. Adrenaline is the speed of children.

Running through the woods I was almost home. But I was out of breath in the Texas sun, heavy shoulders rising and falling under my sweatstained shirt. The pines were too skinny to hide behind. Catcalls and fistfalls were approaching fast. Then a ditch beside the channel whispered my name. There was a cargo barrel at its bottom and I slid inside, a rusty comfort beside the tide. In my mind it was a spaceship…

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Mechanized Paranoia

A Global Divergent Literary Collective

Digital positive from celluloid negative.

by pbbr

Everyone who passes me holds my life in their hands. I can’t stand to look at them but I do. Faces behind dirty windshields, eighteen wheelers and Volkswagens, minivans. They carry the lottery card that wins my violent death, each and every one of them. In their wallets, their purses, their consoles. Only one will be lucky enough to punch it. But which one? Was it him? Her?

Wrinkled faces, hackneyed brows and unshaven jowls, they mock me with moonslatted eyes. Drivers rocketing by in a blur. I only catch glimpses of them but they seem to know everything about me. They can smell my watery fear. I can tell by the way they catch my gaze, some lightly grinning, others drooling with murderlust. Stay in your lane. Please.

A twolane highway, a nighttime deathrow chamber, paved just for me. Guttural machines roaring. Mountain roads and overpasses, headlights…

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Blame the Hurrycane (excerpt 17, “The Vacuum”)-PBBR

A Global Divergent Literary Collective

by pbbr

July 27, 1989

His trailer was crammed in a single lot at the Speckled Trout Mobile Home Park, only a stone’s throw from the channel. The smell of burnt rubber and dead fish hung in the air. Over the pines, the cranes of Barbour’s Cut Terminal banged stacks of cargo crates onto mammoth vessels. Drayton carried his lunch pail through the lightless courtyard and waved at a group of plant workers. They were hunched around a smelly oil drum fire like sentries at some backwoods leper colony.

You got a stog? yelled one, a fatcheeked welder everyone called Ogre. He wore a thin ponytail and a ball cap over his bald dome.

I only got one, Drayton said.

Well that’s good. I can only smoke one at a time. Ogre took it and lit it off the fire. I get paid Friday, he said, and held out a bottle of Mad Dog.

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Residual-PBBR

Vintage PBBR

A Global Divergent Literary Collective

Regina-Kay-Walters-Robert-Ben-RhoadesResidual

By pbbr

There’s an orange light from the window and I see it every night on my walk home. I wonder what’s inside. I can see a silhouette through the matte cedar sill and sometimes the shape, usually still and lithe, slinks back from sight as I stroll past. The loft is a ramshackle Moorish revival affair, wrapped in creeping kudzu, nestled otherwise nondescript in a grove of fragrant gardenia maybe twenty metres off Decatur. Some say it’s been empty for years; others tell different.

There’s an elderly man who lives there with two faces, the plump secretary at my accounting firm says. One that’s normal and another one on the back of his head. He’s gaunt as a scarecrow, and maybe Creole, although no one knows for sure. But don’t knock on his door. He’s been criminally ill for some time. And he sees things behind him.

Madness…

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