Bathroom Reads

Photo by Lucas George Wendt.


The spirits started showing up a year ago. They would crowd around me at night, I’d wake up at 3 am with a need to speak out, and these words and phrases would come out of my mouth, like I was a radio tuning into a different station. A few weeks later, the Group came for me.

Now, I’m sitting outside this bank, a knowing inside my head will be telling me which doors to use and which people to speak to when I walk in and, hopefully, how to safely walk out. I have a message to deliver and then a lunch to host afterwards. I am a fair witness in training, a modern sort of superhero brought over from the “Multiverse Mash” as the news outlets had taken to calling it. I am also a freelancer, a bit of a mercenary, I guess I would’ve been called, but fair witnesses can’t be partisan or make their personal opinions a point of contention on subjects they are called upon to witness, so we’re trying to phase out the attached stigma to not being affiliated to any particular faction. In addition to that training, I am sent on tasks around the city, like today. I jiggle my feet inside the dingy white running shoes, and look from over my sunglasses towards the bank entrance. A woman in a business suit is walking inside, a small girl in poofy pigtails carrying an oversized elephant backpack held tightly by the hand. That’s my signal. I start the audiolog.

“OK Sha, start recording”

AFFIRMATIVE. Proceed to recording. Knowing acquired. END”

I sense into the opening that unfolds inside my self, the small internal shift that allowed the 3AM channel to open, this time for my whole body.

Now I’m walking across the street and towards the bank, and I feel the shift settle in my mindspace and it comes with an image as the recording begins. A heavy red winter cloak with fur edging swirls around a pair of legs wearing wrapped furs, snowflakes seem suspended in the air as I see the cape come to rest as a foot rises from behind it and then hooks onto a stirrup. It loops around a few times, fading out but I can bring back the image with a thought, like a gif running in the background of my brain. I recognize Hygge’s calling card. I skirt around a bicycle delivery person waiting on the corner for the light to change and jaywalk through the intersection after checking no cars are coming. The feeling of a cold crisp snow day invades me and I think about Hygge’s call signs. The other day, the image was of a hearth like those in Swiss homes, a stove with a built-in bench, with blue and white Dresden tiles wrapped all around, like an image from Heidi. Or a closed book being held in mittened hands inside a foggy window. It’s a cozy vibe which is why I took to identifying it as Hygge in my head, as a bit of a joke. Hygge isn’t really friendly or warm. All business, all the time, which makes it strange that their call signs are always these places where I’d feel like I didn’t want to leave again. Other knowings have a bit of a friendlier vibe. They make small talk of sorts, give me funny stories or thoughtful ones during downtime, make things entertaining. Hygge is all business, all the time. Hygge makes me feel very secure when I have to do these “social influence” tasks, but there is no joy in it, it feels very mechanical. Go in, have a conversation with someone, and Hygge will do its thing and be mightily competent at it. I think that’s the whole purpose of the images’ vibe, to soothe me, and in a cheesy way, they do. It’s like Hygge is telling me “Here is a CALMING image so you can cALM dOwN! I am FRIENDLY, it will be OK”. I feel Hygge settling in inside and I feel like my mind and body are no longer my own. Hygge arranges my hair so it looks a little more windblown, and I open up one side of my jacket more than the other and I place the strap of my cross body bag strategically to keep it scrunched up. Hygge seems to be a big believer that my superpower is my ability to unimpress. I wonder if other people get knowings that apply lipstick and mascara, or if they’re all like setting out to make their conduit look like a mess. I wonder if knowings have emotions like others, and if perhaps it IS personal. I pretend it isn’t. Hygge doesn’t owe me anything and I don’t owe Hygge anything and we are just working together and trying to be highly successful at it.

I zig zag through meandering pedestrians on the sidewalk and climb the steps to the bank’s double doors. I smile at the guard and greet them with an overexerted gust of breath

“Good morning GoodGuard! Could you please let me know which floor I need to get a safety deposit box?”

“ 3rd floor sub basement, GoodWife” and then looks away. Hygge’s magic to make people dismiss me at once seems to be working, and I make my way through the bank and notice the girl with the backpack lying scrunched on a chair in the waiting area, coloring on a folded booklet on her lap.

I feel a slight staccatto buzz on the top of my shoulder. That’s Hygge's signal for “continue”. The guard scans me up and down and points the wand out for my wrist, and then he scans it. The scanners green light reflects on my skin and I am allowed through.

As I walk past the banks of chairs, I notice the pencil the pigtailed girl is using to color is purple, I crane a bit and see that she is coloring an octopus. My shoulder buzzes again. I walk down the curved staircases that circle the atrium that goes all the way down to subbasement 7. I float my hands along the fronds of the ferns that line the staircase railings, feeling the texture and shaking out the microscopic spores which will stick to my clothes and skin and also anyone else who was here in the close vicinity. I enjoy these touches with nature whenever available and they are also useful. Hygge can track proximity through pollen and spores, so we use these bio markers like a version of dye tracing on bank notes. At sub basement 3 there is a small wastepaper basket right at the bottom of the steps, and I pull my hand out of my pocket with a set of 3 crumpled receipts from the week, not all mine. I drop them into the empty basket and go stand in line. Shoulder buzz. There are three people ahead of me between white corded stanchions. While I stand in line, I try to clear my mind, see if Hygge can send in additional intel about what I should ask about and what I should say, but my mind stays blank. I breathe deep and focus on my breathing. No sense in feeling frustrated, this is just how things are. Just the bare minimum of info, the smallest hints, no way to understand how this fits into the bigger picture. Just me, pointed and released into a direction.

I reach the front of the line and I smile, now taming my flyaway hairs with my hand before speaking to the silver haired teller

“Good Day, Good Teller. Could you please tell me what is the necessary process to open a safety deposit box?”.

“Chip please”

I present it, my wrist face down on the sensor to one side of the desk. She looks at her handheld screen and stands from her chair. A green flash and she opens a little gate to the right of the counter and lets me through.

I follow SilverHair (Virginia, says her nametag) down a hallway and to a vault door. I make my steady way behind her. There are three guards arrayed out front of the door who stand to the side as we make our way to the end of the hall, and the three click in keys into parallel keyholes on the side panel, as SilverHair pulls out her own key and inserts it into the middle lock on the door. It opens, clanging and booming and slowly comes to a rest, a tight hallway with small doors on either side appearing from behind it. The guards are discussing something while they keep their hands on their keys, and I can sense that they will not remember me. The “notice me not” effect of Hygge can be felt as a mantle over me, and I get the red cloak image flashing through my mind again. We walk down the tunnel and across several crossings. I feel a buzz on my right shoulder this time, it buzzes 4 more times as I cross each intersection and then we come to the front of a wall that looks like all the others, little doors for little boxes, smaller ones on top and larger ones at the bottom. This is the H8567 section and the doors are listed alphabetically. SilverHair inserts her key into FF, a medium sized box in the middle of the wall. It clicks open and she pulls out a box. It has a sensor on top. She presents it to me and I use my wrist to scan it. It beeps red. She pauses. She points the box at me again. I swipe my wrist again, it beeps red. She looks at me, light eyes narrowed, and puts the box back into its cubby and then points again to my wrist with her hand scanner, held to her waist through a retractable cable. I swipe my wrist on the scanner. It beeps red. The red cloak is swirling through my brain. She finally asks:

“You got it replaced recently?”

A buzz on my left shoulder. I nod. She keys in a few numbers on her scanner and tries again. Red again.

“The new one’s signal receptor is weak underground. Let me check that for you.”

She taps some more at her screen, then raises her scanner once again to my wrist. The light flashes green this time.

She pulls out the box once again. I scan my wrist on it. It turns green and beeps. Left buzz. Cloak fluttering. She walks off to a side passage a few steps away and I make my way after her. It leads to a little desk with chair, with a privacy curtain pulled off one side. As I sit on the chair, SilverHair places the box in front of me and then closes the curtain behind her as she leaves.

I let out a sigh and open the box. Inside I find a passport and a commercial driver’s license, a few business cards and a library card for a different city. These are the same documents I have back at my temporary home wrapped in plastic in the toilet tank for safekeeping. I have no idea why there are copies of my ID documents inside a safety deposit box in a city I chose randomly a few months ago, except perhaps nothing is random. I leaf through the documents. They are very good copies but the dates are all off. I am one year older in each and every one, and the numbers for when they were expedited or when they expire are also odd. I pull them all out of the box and into my cross body bag, and I resist as I feel my hand close on my journal. I breathe deep, understanding the signal, grieving its loss. The cloak billows through my mind. I pull out the journal and I feel tears stinging my eyes as I angrily stuff it into the box. I am about to close the box when I pull the journal out, thumb to a particular page, rip it out, flip to a different one, rip it out as well. I fold the sheets of paper into paper boats and then I leave those boats inside the deposit box, and I feel relief flood me as the journal makes its way back into my bag. Today’s sacrifice is lesser and I am grateful for that. I get to keep my emotional support journal. Hygge buzzes my left shoulder and I stand up, click the box and push the curtain open.

The three guards are arrayed out front, eyes blankly staring through me, weapons pointed. My right shoulder buzzes. It hurts. I look at my shoulder and see there is a gouge of flesh missing from it under a gash of torn fabric. Blood starts pinpricking through the cross section of my tissue. I feel faint, and my knees give out from under me. As I come to a rest on the floor, I can see the boots of the guards in front of my eyes and behind them, the crumpled body of SilverHair. My eyes shut and in my mind I can see the boot getting up on a stirrup, again and again and again until it fades out.

#nanowrimo2022 #fiction #storytelling #day1Nano #nano #accountability #creativewriting #slowliving

Dear Humans

God Writes back.

Earth, November 1st, 2022

Dear Humans,

God here. I hope that things are finding you well? Or you are finding things well. I know you probably aren't having all too good of a time down there right now, but I still HOPE that you will have it in you to see the silver linings. Happy Halloween and All Saint's day and Day of the Dead and whatever else you are celebrating now.

I am first of all, sorry about the neglect. I am a remiss parent. I can go on to explain WHY I am a "bad" parent but right now, what matters is that you seem to have missed me! I am GLAD. You see, for a long time I thought humanity had forgotten me, then they pushed me away, and now they are calling me back. And well, if it were anyone else, I'd be like "No, God, you are WORTH so much more than this! You deserve people around you who celebrate and not demean you. People who support you" But well, you're you! A creation! SO I guess you can be forgiven for that.

I know, I know, Here I am apologizing and making you apologize in the same breath. Turns out that God CAN go back to school, because that saying of "You can't teach an old new tricks" does NOT apply to Gods. We can also become better learners with age and experience and wisdom. Sometimes we do learn the wrong things, but we can correct! You have to break eggs to make omelettes and this is me skirting the issue that I have been doing some inner parts work and LET ME TELL YOU, I have issues. So I stayed away due to my insecure attachment. As a protective part. And now I'm aware of this so I'm trying to open the channels of communication.

How can I be a better God? Because I do take it to heart that it ALL really is MY fault. Of course. I am God, who else's fault could it be? UNLESS. I am not actually God. Maybe I am a Dog. Maybe I am a DOG dreaming they are GOD? OR a Butterfly remembering that one time a Dog dreamt they were God and they were reaaaaally good at it. At the dreaming. Not at the being a God. A dog probably wouldn't be able to rule over humans too well without them being obsessed about asses and peeing on things. So lets infer that before I was God, I was human. Or we can infer that human is what I would like to be . And that is why humans scare me.

I have a God Complex and also narcissistic behaviors. How do I cure my narcissism? I've prayed about it. How do I stop NEEDING the veneration of the masses? How do I step down from this pedestal where I just want people to praise me? I mean, Some people do praise me, and I'm good to them and it works, but I have anger issues, and I smite people and I level cities and I just get into these MOODS. And I don't think that these moods help humans! Not at all! Look at what happened with the floods. Like. I could've just stopped crying, but I didn't and the OCEANS flooded. Although I read a story that mentioned that it wasn't divine punishment, but that somewhere else in the world there was a tree that had all the water and it was cut open and all the water covered the earth, so that would mean it was someone else's fault, but I have been led to believe that if I am a narcissist, I will tend to make the things that happen someone else's fault, and well, I don't know who cut open that tree. Shocker. I am NOT omniscient! I miss things, I don't know everything. Trying to pay attention to everything is maddening, so I have to filter stuff, and I miss things, but I am a bit of a control freak so it creates a bit of an internal kerfuffle: I create something and then it grows in unexpected ways and then I'm running around stressed out about it! Because it is NOT going as expected. And that's me and humanity in a nutshell.

For example... psychotherapy. To know that I could analyze my own dreams. What does it MEAN that I created Earth, just as it is? Or to make it changeable and so WEIRD. Do you find Earth weird? I do. I created people and they keep creating the strangest things and I'm like " OH! I could've made that, too!" So One of the first parts of healing is forgiving myself. I have found that if I write things out and express them to someone else, they tend to stick, so here it goes:

In the following order of ideas:

  1. I am sorry for I have been neglectful

  2. I am sorry I have made you feel like you've been cheated out of a future.

  3. I am sorry I haven't made a strong effort to communicate with humanity to guide them.

  4. I am sorry that I am still trying to sort things out in my personal life and can't dedicate time just yet to solving the above issues.

  5. I am NOT sorry for taking mental health vacations.

So, I have been looking into myself. How can I be a better boss? A better God to my creation? A good parent or partner? And you know what I'd never thought? How I could be a better ME. Like who even am I besides my job or the people around me! That kind of thing is not healthy, bad work-life balance, but then again, in eternity, we kind of do become our jobs, but they don't really fulfill us like a life would. So I decided to ask myself... Who am I.

Where to begin? Well, I looked at creation. I have a sense of humor! So I am an entity with a sense of humor. I am raunchy? A bit? Like reproduction is kinda OUT THERE. And so many ways to do it! I like variety. Spice of life, amirite? And I LOVE nature. Sunsets and rainbows and birdsong and waterfalls and SQUEE. That stuff is NNNNGGGHHH. And I like people. Sometimes a bit too much and we get a bit of a shock when things don't work out, but you can imagine that dating as a ONE TRUE GOD is lonely AF. Like. A LOT. And then I fall in love with a human and then things don't work out, but sometimes they do! Sometimes they do for a bit and then the human dies and life goes on. I fall in love with the humans that reflect that which I need in my life. Those aspects that I struggle with, come easy to them. And I study creation a lot to understand myself. I think I know the causes.

I never learned to be a god. There was no school for gods. So I went searching and I found someone teaching a God School? The school didn't have any reviews, but the pickings were slim, so I went with a hunch and signed up to private lessons. I used godly privilege to get the course for free, which I confess was a bit of a dick move, because they should've received payment for service rendered, but I wouldn't have been able to pay! So hopefully, I'll continue paying it forward.

I've learned a lot with my Godhood coach! Like I am also deserving of compassion. That I am doing the unprecedented. That there is no manual for who I am. That I am allowed to learn and grow from my mistakes.

And so, here is the deal: I created the world so I could heal those parts of me that missed education and nurturing in a safe environment during my formative years. So I create people who embody the whole spectrum of who I am and what I am and then I see how they work through their challenges and then I can learn to apply the knowledge to myself. Not every god is this introspective, lemme tell you that. Some Gods just want tribute and do their thing as they usually do, I'm always trying to improve. So I am an entity that is always looking to grow and improve! That's good. I've been learning a LOT, and these days, I can see that my new lessons may help to get us all where we need.

So I have just realized that I have not asked, really asked, how you are ACTUALLY doing. I've been doing a lot more listening these days. I'm TRYING. To care. It's hard to stay updated on ALL that needs taking care of. I am also learning to read other languages. You will find that even the best translations imbue bias into the interpretation, and learning a language helps us understand the mentality of the people who speak it a bit better, so that is always a plus!

Hm. Ok. I see. I can't help you with that. I don't use money? So I can't help you with the parts that require money, it doesn't transfer from one life to the next. I can't give you hugs or pat you on the back and I can't make people love you or not! I have decided to have limited powers, when I'm not at a stable place, so at the moment I'm just like a cheerleader that tells you to look at the signs that things will get better, and helps you skirt the distractions that try to convince you that things aren't ok. So Yeah. I can be your cheerleader. "Go, Team! Go!". I can be your personal friend and show you signs through the wind and the trees and the animals in the world, and sometimes, through people who are also connected. So we will start working in our communication. You can journal and tell me your problems, you can also talk to me. I am here to learn. To grow. To figure out how we move forward from here into a better world. For example, if you like falcons, I can show you falcons! If you like rings, I can show you rings! If you like faces, I can show you faces in things, though sometimes that can get a bit creepy if I get overly excited and then there are faces EVERYWHERE And I need to rein myself back a bit.

I want to grow with you, so we can both walk into the future with a better understanding of what we come to do here in the universe. I will try to be a better parent for creation and friend, and you'll try to hold onto hope. Deal?

Yours Truly,


PS. Here is one of my set of self-portraits! I like how the roots are aerial and look all gnarly. That's not a tree that you want to mess with, lemme tell you!

#nanowrimo2022 #fiction #storytelling #day3Nano #nano #accountability #creativewriting #slowliving

Photo by Pixabay:

Rainbow Paradise

Sometimes, it really is just a place on a map.

Shall I tell you a story tonight, dear? Come over, join me in my space, lie next to where I rest and feel free to be while I put these ideas into your head, for you to decide what to do with. There, I like how we fit together. It really is an excellent sensation, it just feels right. And this is the perfect energy for storytelling, wouldn't you agree? Someone you trust, who makes you feel secure, sharing insight and words, using their oxygen just to create a world for you in your head. It really is a favorite of mine. Shall we begin?

Treasure hunters have existed as long as there's been something to covet. And as the inhabitants of Earth evolved and grew and spread out into the stars, the "treasure hunting" gene, along with those of colonization, had also continued to spread. Everywhere, that is, except at the backwater outpost of the original Earth, which had been left barren and uninhabitable as the exodus out into the neighboring solar systems took place. Seems that while there were a lot of the colonizers who were unable to leave the planet, there were many resistionists who had stayed on Earth with the idea of inheriting and controlling it. Sadly for them, the pacifists had also remained and they proceeded to kill them with kindness and "assisted" natural selection. Pacifists can be persuaded to accept that some violence is needed in order to ensure survival and mental gymnastics would take care of the rest. And it did! That, and the unexpected rise of mother nature and the spiritual world. Let's just say that the sprites and spirits were rejoicing in the exodus. They would continue to inhabit Earth, just like they'd done on Mars. Ghosts don't need resources, and ghosts can control the fate of the universe. It was a match made in heaven.

A few millenia later, and most people had gone so far away from Earth and had wanted to forget the tragedy of Earth that it had remained pretty much untouched. Toxic, radiactive, inhospitable, wrapped in a blanket of space junk and trash, in the butt end of the galaxy in an area where oxygen rich planets were rarer than in the newer quadrants that quantum travel had enabled. And Earth faded out of attention. It was a story, a myth. This magical place where oxygen AND water had been free. Where humans were not needed in the creation of food, it just appeared from plants without any hand to guide them. Where animals would walk into traps to be eaten. Of course, historians knew that Earth had existed, and that those things weren't imaginary... as a species we'd just royally fucked up and then we destroyed the only planet that had been turn-key, so to speak and now everything cost money. Everything cost time... However, they had everything they needed and wanted. Their lives went on in peace and tranquility. Everything calculated to be just and fair, to be a great use of resources, to stay in balance. It had even tempered the treasure hunting and colonizing gene in the population who now channeled all that energy in winning the storytelling contests and games of personal development that brought together the alien species, like an intergallactic EuroVision Olympic mashup.

And then an anonymous story won the competition. . It was a psychic journey, told through the collective subconscious. It had sponsors, it had jingles, it was produced... No one knew by whom. And it won by a landslide. The Story was just called Love. It was the same story that has been told everywhere, by everyone. One meets other, feelings ensue. Challenges arise. Objectives are reached as others are pushed further away and at the end, the promise of a happily ever after showed up and hope would rise in the characters, until the next episode. There was an uproar, there was laughter, there were tears. It made people think, it made people talk to their neighbors and hug their pets. It brought estranged family members together and fixed marriages. Some say that insights from the show led to their enlightenment, but those rumors were highly contested, as soulwork energy had been depleted for a long time. Some argued that it was an industry plant. How the story got produced, how it arrived at the hands of those who brought it into being was a well kept secret. Just a public Lynk datapoint address from where the E-package had been sent into the competition. There were no actors to trace, no production crew to ask. And then it had exploded into people's subconscious and the rest was history. Which leads me to the treasure hunting part. The contest judges were seeking to find the creator of the show, to award them the prize pot that was the biggest it had ever been.

Later, people would get together and talk about what they were doing when Love began. When the show had popped into existence, into their heads at a certain time of day, a story just beamed into their brain. They'd been taken hostage without even feeling that something was amiss. They cried and they laughed and people hugged on the streets that first episode. It was the best story they'd ever heard, and it was only beginning. It appealed to all their senses. Some people were suspicious of the power of psychic emotional control, but specialists and scientists called immediately to the official channels reassured the population that nothing was amiss., it had been proven that the show was beneficial, it was just THAT good. They had aired it hoping that they'd be able to acknowledge the mastermind that had brought it forth. They hadn't warned the population because they did not expect it to have the effect it did, as most people were used to the regular updates and downloads from above. So now, well, they were encouraged to appreciate the show for the fantastic storytelling it had, as a really good show in a new language to enjoy and that they could always show their support or displeasure by dialing the numbers at the bottom of their screen. A national holiday was declared for the 2nd day showing, and to assuage the masses, they were told that they would be able to stop everything they were doing to enjoy the show. And they did.

And it repeated the next day and the next. And so for 7 days, after which it ended in something of a promise for further shows. Love was a show like none before. The way it made its way into the psyches of the people was unprecedented. On the 2nd day showings, people were already showing up dressed as their characters, and as they appeared at the showing, they realized that the characters looked different to every single one! And yet, the story still made sense. It was as if story had been distilled, and then aromatics had been added for each person. Sponsors added to the prize value for the creator in an attempt to get them to come forth. And so until the finale, which remained in such a hopeful note that it triggered such a thirst for MORE of those stories. Spinoffs, interviews, round tables, and forums were set up for the show. People would discuss the episodes in the morning news, it was the biggest thing that had happened in entertainment. It was the biggest thing that had happened in recorded history, with the highest ratings, beating every record. And yet, no one stepped up to claim having written, produced or created the show.

The conclusion was obvious, depending on who you asked. The creator was unable to come forward. Something had happened. They were an eccentric well known in the media and this was their vanity project, it was just the new way of educating and controlling the population, rolled out in edutainment format. And the treasure hunt began, as they usually do, with a group of people discussing the show and deciding they were going to look into who could have been responsible for it. Let me spoil the ending for you. They never found the creator. What they did find was the story of how the story was produced, and the actors that had been used for capture and who the story had come from, and the discovery of this would bring the universe as they knew it onto their knees. And, because I know you like to skip to the end, to know it is a happy ending, I am telling you, it is. The story ends in mythical Earth, after all! But I am getting ahead of myself! And you, dear, are you still awake? No? Sleep safe, my sweet. I'll snug these covers and I'll watch over your sleep.