the short story project


Workforce Admission

When one had worked within the workforce for many years, then what you tell them when you’re about to become a writer?   They don’t believe you until one pulled out a journal with your name in print, though the horror is in their eyes when you relate the nightmares in those pages.   Those are the ones who want to see you working in retail hell the rest of your life or a cubicle with no idea of your own.  The ones who understand this more are often the ones who work in the temporary employment agencies; the thing writers and temp workers have in common is they do freelance.

Those who do the shift work.

On the other hand education not something they knew past high school.

Nor they explored ideas as a classmate who killed; or the anchorwoman who was kidnapped.

Why?  It’s not their world.

“I don’t want to hear about that stuff or realize what you are..”

“I am just like you.  Someone who had punched the clock day to day – but though, I will admit, that’s just not only me as some of you see as my co-workers when I was a baker knew I’m a writer.  A horror writer no less as many don’t even want to admit they do that.”  

“Horror – isn’t that a bit,” I know I would hear them say.

“Disturbing,  down-and-dirty,  a little blood upon one’s hands when ideas come about?”  

It’s something that’s real to me as sometimes when I was filling out applications as a teenager they don’t want to hear that you’re a writer.   Some bosses don’t even want to admit they had a writer in their midst.

This 19 year old kid who survived a work accident; a grinder tearing part of their fingernail off on their left index finger; then a car accident that happened a month before along Lake Shore Drive.  How is now not to become a writer from these things or a classmate who killed?   Does one expect to keep these nightmares inside them and allow them to just function and exist by punching the clock – wait you don’t want to answer that?

When you had read about a woman who had been kidnapped and burned beyond recognition on your old block; that being on the court this happened.  One thinks about these when one is at a diner late at night, scrawling their thoughts inside a written journal.  As becoming admitted into a mental health hospital when living out of state for a weekend then becoming sick and getting stuck in one for over the New Year Holiday – you just can’t make shit like that up.

This 19 year old is about to become a 40 year old man.

Still struggling for that much larger publication credit; where the supernatural horror ideas linger inside him. Looking outside the house and the river going up I-55 doesn’t one realize the ghosts that live around the streets of Joliet?  The dark histories as what was within the celluloid of the horror films one had grown up on, except for one thing, they didn’t keep one awake at night but ended up going out at night.   None of your friends from work would join one on a night when seeing a horror film or they see a world that’s only 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.   The idea of higher learning would be rather alien to them; though having books was something that they didn’t understand either as none of them came inside.

My friends who knew me best would have told them this.   The whole idea with horror and science fiction work had rested on the headboards of my old waterbed; a horror happening when being a nineteen year old kid lingered and haunted as it was along Lake Shore Drive.   That accident along the highway was that bugbear lingering and kept me distracted when I was trying to put my head in the books.

“All you will be is flipping burgers.”

Clearly was in my head when the accident happened as the guidance councilor talked me out of taking those ACT/SAT tests as the check for $100.00 was written for them.

“You put me in this hell that’s manual labor!”  

As I had this notion of her when she seen that e-books are getting published, and classmates failing to speak up when someone sees their work lifted and stolen.   

“I don’t just want to see you become a writer,” I would hear this one say.

“I just want you folding clothes for less than minimum wage working in some resale joint.”  

“You’re just not that intelligent enough.”

“And you want to see someone become what?  An uneducated townie lacked original ideas!”  

Silence, nothing came from that councilor because she knew what she was leading someone into; and I saw the newspaper article that lead to it as I wanted to slap this fucking article on her desk.

“This is a student that could end up being someone you also guided and now look.  He fucking killed someone you bitch!”

I could really imagine her seeing that article and admitting I was right.

That horror in her eyes knowing that murder and I were both her responsibility to get through school in 1990-1994, but she failed when she realized the one is serving life behind bars.  That workforce confession becoming the bleak tone that is her life as the teachers who become the focus of a scandal ends up becoming examined by the other.

I am sure that she would heard, “He fucking killed someone you bitch!” ringing in her head.

The shadow of a workforce confession and admission as there were things I didn’t even speak to my doctors about at the time. One thing, a nightmare lingering about the classmate killing the cab driver was something it lingered years.

The time I was in Iowa the nightmare played up in my head just after I survived the attempted murder on my own life – an unrelated incident but opened the horror that played up in 1993 all over again.   The nightmare from being stabbed reminded me of what the classmate did;  pulling a rope around a cab driver’s neck as if he was going to pay the driver then punching him to death.   

I do wonder what her life was like when she found those articles on a printed page and the clippings about them when they occurred.  It well I can say it’s like that personal horror film inside knowing what one knows, as it’s akin to what is documented within the pages of H. P. Lovecraft’s work.   The realizations of a dark past no one can run from.   

The past is this, well sometimes – is it really?

A notion within a workforce confession and thought about seeking a hypnotherapist to see what bleak memories of when I was stabbed would play out in my head about those days after the incident.  The thought of that youth pastor that left a nightmare in my memories; how he became that boogeyman time and again when I returned to Illinois.    I know one thing if he went through Cabrini Green if he was 20 years old, he wouldn’t had said he was just like me.

That motherfucker never had set foot in the Green.

The memories about Cabrini were still lingering as my sister was just about to be born.

As I have to imagine her boss having my thoughts in her head.

The world when she worked her entire life for a man named Abercrombie.

I am sure I would take that cash they offered not to wear their shit.  The whole thing lingering, the horror born within the eyes of those who tried to explain such horrors being of The Devil – as this is not about the devil or God.  The question when that classmate killed shows the flaws in man.   

I had always seen my own flaws and able to chronicle them examine others as it came away as a horror story to relate.   Those sermons I heard as an 18 year old as the church I had called home is no longer the church I knew it as; the madness I become secure within and observing those who never could embrace what haunts them.  I know this as when I worked within the 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. grind.  

How does one tell those workers that you’re going to become a writer?

These are the ones who had never seen a word processor even when they’ve went into places like Workforce in 1992 or 1993.   Or a yearbook created on a word processor or a school newspaper created on a single program as technology was in its infancy.  That white glow with black text racing across the screen with their thoughts recorded was the work of science fiction, as the electric typewriter was something they’ve also known.  A realization staring at you as it was with me that chapter you chronicled; as I did.  The known ideas that one’s nightmares inside, their darkest innermost thoughts staring right at them either in handwritten ink, or as the pixel breathing upon a screen – as this narrative I relate.  Some might see it as horror, but this is my life.  Some would see an outlet as spouting only scripture with none of their own ideas lingering – though it’s the ones who are lacking in education are the ones who think they run the world.   

I got in heat for questioning those who are just homeschooled with no other education beyond this.

This is not their world.

Why I say this, examining the reality outside them is the prison known inside.

Horror sets me free; as it becomes the realization that fear had been released.

As some would say, “You’re not allowed to attend movies.”

I’ve known a few like this growing up.  

Heavy Metal was a sin to them as well.

Sitting down and looking at what inspired some of the bands I grew up on; the roots being literature.

Madness becomes the grind to many, as I stood there in the hours after my shift ended when I turned 21 years old as some it was their lunch hour I would sit in the neighborhood Glen Ellyn diner drinking a beer.  The thoughts in my mind were the classmate who killed and the car accident that took place when I was 20 years old as some around me that age were just a job seeker.  

“So what do you do?”

“I am a writer.”

The five letter w-word didn’t sit well with them but if they really looked into the history around Chicago.  Some of the streets are named for writers or a neighborhood is named for a horror writer.    

“The job seeker thing I would understand, but becoming a writer?”  

“Well H. P. Lovecraft struggled for normal employment during when he wrote ‘The Horror at Red Hook.’ The lack of education on his part worked against him,” I replied as I sucked down a bottle of suds.  

 Someone who was literate bothered many as some gave me books on devotionals and what not as I wish I remembered the titles of a few of them.  Exploring darker themes just leaves them unhinged when it was outside their door in some places, just take the 18 speed mountain bike out and find what becomes the cemetery along the Great Western Trail.  I knew that one of the books had this cartoonish looking cover and it was with yellow text and purple lined artwork.  I know if I explained about the classmate who killed to this woman, I knew one thing she’s be throwing more tracts at me because I was talking about dark subject matter that was real no less.   This woman was sitting on the playground near where I lived as my sister was young.  The park wasn’t too far from Grandville Stanley Hall Elementary School as a classmate still lives within this area.

There wasn’t enough distance between me and this true crime tale that I wrote when I was 25 years old, and this woman didn’t realize this kind of story was lurking inside.   That proverbial ghost story all horror writers seek to write down the line; or that short story that’s on par to The Tell-Tale Heart.   I guess someone like her would never understand a short story by Edgar Allan Poe – as this area is an era where The Tell-Tale Heart is a nonfiction work.   I knew I was that kid who was raised right as I did come from the wrong side of the tracks as well.  

The one who didn’t have the chances or opportunities others would have, though the Gothic Horror tales I read were the things I could easy have related to being an outcast.   Those who were working in the factory with me wouldn’t be able to clearly understand why I saw The Tell-Tale Heart as a reel-to-reel movie in the campus library.  When one had too many brushes with demise the idea of writing a true crime story that plays up like The Tell-Tale Heart didn’t come in my mind but that was the result.   I would imagine those who had worked in the factory jobs I had worked; the realization as a few knew me as the pet store worker barely knew me at all as in those who had attended church with me in Iowa, except for my son’s Godparents.   The realization that some know as what they limit they place on many; those who had a limited education are encouraging the limiting what one can do.

“The last thing I want to accept is this man is a published author.”

I seen this in those who lived in the area or remained in the area of had maintained the facebook groups which are the hometown groups.   They didn’t like talking about the controversial content when those are out past curfew as it was also past their own bedtimes.  

“Did he just make that comment directed at me?”

I am not mentioning names but the names change and the faces change but the journal entry remains.

That world they see as I observed it as an outsider.

A realization becomes among them do they only see inside the pews?

I am the shadow of their past reminding them what happened did happen beyond those picket fences.

What’s beyond Pleasantville?

Is what they don’t want to admit – that color tones in a horror film that are not black and white, but bluescale; the whole thing they seen as children but I never seen.  I saw the beginning of urban decay and pawn shops.   Returning to the area in 1999; and fresh from having a nervous breakdown becomes the bleak scar in the back of my head as some classmates realized when they met me that day I was a changed man.   Not for the brighter as it became bleaker and more cynical as the realizations inside lurked haunted as a ghost within a house as it had been left to rot for years.   

The whole thing standing in one’s mind, “I was a teenage ghost hunter and an abnormal psychologist.”

This jock kid who had interests in the weird, Gothic and abnormal – as I am sure a few as myself the computer nerd who wished the world wide web was more accessible at the time.   The idea that a guidance councilor produced a horror author and a murderer didn’t sit well with her as they were in the same homeroom in the 7th grade.  

“I don’t even want to admit this; I produced one of the darkest horror authors in the final decade of the 20th Century and a murderer on the other side of the coin,” I can imagine her relating.  That nightmare she has to live with knowing she was looking over both our high school careers.   That becoming the forty-year old man who sees the shadows lurking as the murderer had been where he’s been since age 19.  Two reunions passed as one wasn’t invited as they were treated like a demon because why they had unnerving ideas as the truth they spoke gave their school mates nightmares.

What the ones who shun have in common with this?

As one told me, they remained in the same area since they were teenagers.   

Their nightmare is guilt.

When they seen classmates who didn’t live to see 23 years old.  

Mortality was something I came to understand.  

Staring at it eye to eye in Greater Sudbury while I was climbing the crater; a lot can play in one’s mind when they’re 35 plus feet in the air.   Lose their footing and down they roll; then thy maker doesn’t wait for them.  Dark does that sound? I know the councilor would not realize someone as me been to two different countries before age 30.   The things that others who live inside the workforce walls knowing that daily grind is all they would see;  all they’d know for the living days.  

The things one relates within their SMS messages give more details on why a narrative like this is related.  Knowing that the house they had growing up is no longer around.   The rural identity of their boyhood home is all but gone;  as workforce admissions become the nature of the beginning when this narrative is chronicled as the forty year old man relates a horror from they were nineteen as they thought about the horror haunting them at seventeen.  The knowing a classmate murdered a man; being the one who was raised in a blue collar society and a word processor to those are relatively alien to them  as many don’t even own a laptop.  So I will ask this much, what is the writer’s world akin to when the cellphone and SMS had been infused into the workforce admission or workplace confessions?

“I don’t even want to think about this..”

What when one looks in my eyes and sees truth being related; they have problems sleeping and reach for a handful of sleeping pills.   The realization becomes a horror in their eyes when an unsettling mental image remains such as a finger getting nearly ground off from the right index finger.   As I had set foot into the notorious neighborhood known as Cabrini Green when it was at its final years; having been among the darkest of those years no less.  Trying to imagine H. P. Lovecraft if he lived into the 1940s instead of dying in 1937; seeing Chicago with the war that unfolded and the cold war revealed.  What would H. P. Lovecraft seen if he walked around Glendale Heights, Illinois, or Wheaton, Illinois?   Someone who had struggled seeking normal employment during The Great Depression – as I imagine when I had read some of the inspirations for The Horror at Red Hook.    Well when you’ve seen those who had tossed around those tracts in bathrooms or a pay phone and left them instead of the $2.00 tip at a diner.

 The things that come to mind when someone had worked on the shift when no one seen anything outside the walls. When darkness comes before you punch the clock and after you punch it 12 hours later – the last thing you want seen is someone getting fucked over in a tip.   

The world what one sees, “Fuck pretending as the madness one send.”  

“Tell me you never read that story Mrs. D. Isis Mitchell.”

I could imagine one of the teachers pulling the councilor aside after finding the true crime work I did at 25 years old,  “You were about to start a powder keg because those students were under you supervision.  They went to school together in middle school. One killed a man and then the other ended up writing about it; as I am holding the mugshot of the one. The other an equally ominous photo of him – clad in flannel and long black hair.  He’s one who is a free man, with Lake Michigan behind him tormented by what unfolded before him when he was 17.”

“What do they have to do with me?”

“Think about this a minute.  You are a guidance councilor yes?”   

“You created both of them.”

“The one the photo of him would be age 26.”

“You don’t want to admit you created the man who’d write a story akin to The Tell-Tale Heart?”

She didn’t want to even want to think about this.

The worlds of both could be quite different if she did more research on one.

The idea within one’s mind became the workforce admission, a workplace confession as it lingers as the nightmare distracts.   The one is serving time in the Department of Corrections; and the other is borderline fighting behind a ward of the state and saying to him that someone who is disabled lacks a voice.   The realization becomes among her as the one lingered a few years in the workplace and the ideas lingered. In her eyes, they were not allowed to harness them or read the books that influenced some of the vision that would invoke.

Education of the learning disabled to her, more or less is a sin, as she shunned those who have my learning disability to obtain higher learning.  Though the realizations of what are resting within my handwritten journals as they become published was her nightmares realized.  Ideas from them become conspiracy; when it was her own thoughts become what are after her as I am the one who chronicled those intense, stygian revelations.  As morbid as one realized what he came across; the inmate was made aware how the true crime version of The Tell-Tale Heart exists.   The kid who worked in the blue collar channels for many years; it was lingering inside how this horror tale drew more from real life as the influences he had stayed inside.   That kid who wrote that kind of tale was me.



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