The Flow

What would you do for genius?

The Flow Cover

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved

2017

Brandon and his three bandmates were baking, the hot ankle-high sand making it even more difficult to walk as they trekked through the vast open desert playing their instruments. From the two guitars flanking him, rhythm and bass, to the poor drummer at his back lugging a mobile set of drums strapped to his chest, his comrades followed with such loyalty as he led them with his vocals and lead guitar. Vocals that ached, boiled, gave voice to the suffocating torture they were all experiencing, his sleek beautiful Gibson Angus Young SG taking all the fire, all the fury of their journey through hell and helping express such through its electrified scorch.

As the sweltering heat beat down on the four Brandon closed his eyes, trying hard to imagine the pouring sweat falling from his brows being that of cool cascades of water, but when that didn’t work he aimed towards another thought, keeping those lids closed tight and picturing an air conditioner.

No luck, reality painting the image as nothing more than an ol’ beat-down hunk of machinery with wires as fried as he felt.

One more try, just a slight breeze would mean the world…

A vintage fan, large metal blades locked behind a rusted cage. But they’re caked in dust, giving a sign that the ol’ 1950’s style cooling device probably hadn’t been functional since those good ol’ doo-wop days.

So on through the broil he trudged, wiping away, not all away, the sting in his eyes, that unrelenting perspiration soaking him from head to toe, drenching his clothes and making them heavier, coating both the mahogany of his Gibson and the magnetized strings that ran across it.

It took all they had for the band to stay their course, digging down deeper than ever before in hopes of reaching the promise land, where the infinite sands of the earth would finally give way to a body of water so refreshing, so clear and sublime that it would transform all who ingest into beings of enlightenment, gods of genius.

Or so they hoped…

But the more they fought on the more the roasting took its toll.

The devil’s breath, the grit between his teeth, the scalding of his seed as he attempts to rape their beings. But the one thing he cannot get to, their will…

And so they push on, continuing to create while being cooked to the brink as they use such anguish to forge, the power they wield through those Gibsons, that voice, that beat, creating a masterpiece that metamorphosizes from Gold to Platinum, Multi-Platinum to Diamond within its inception.

And oh how sweet it truly is, the oceans of sweat turning into floods of creative juice, the long suffering for their art paying off with such euphoric flow!

And with the outro Brandon and his bandmates are returned to their little box, their oven, their tin can of a garage amidst the hottest day of the summer, having completed the mega-hit that will serve as their ticket to rock god status, a journey they had set out for so many years ago.

~

http://www.gibson.com/

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The Flash Fiction Ponder!

Movie Night

Is love stronger than pride…?

Welcome back my wonderful readers!

Today we visit the human condition of betrayal, and how it can affect someone. When reading this story of substance you might identify with it on some level. If not, consider yourself very fortunate!

Movie Night Cover

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved

2017

It was as much of a part of who they were as a couple as sleeping in the same bed or sharing a bite to eat. At least a few times a week, turn off the phones, turn down the lights, cuddle up cozy and take in a movie. Some were powerful and became instant favorites, while most were average and pretty much good for just one viewing.

They must have watched thousands over their many years together, one of the most special to them being What Dreams May Come. Not only because it was a moving story of substance, but also due to the fact that they shared the same names as the two main characters in the film. Neither Chris nor Annie ever forgot that night when they saw the trailer on TV during that fall of ’99. Their relationship barely six months new, they had just finished showering together (and a little more) and were starting to prepare dinner when the preview caught their eye.

A supernatural drama about soul mates, it indeed compelled. But it was when those two names came up, their names, when they dropped everything and got dressed to head out to the local theatre.

Two months later, it became the theme to their wedding, and every year thereafter, the way in which they ended celebrating their anniversary. Later this year would mark their nineteenth, but Chris felt like revisiting their cinematic treasure tonight, Annie having no idea until she had sat down next to him with a bowl of popcorn.

Normally she would cozy up right beside him, but as of late, for the past two months to be precise, she would sit near but not close, he having to coax her to close the distance. It was little subtle signs like this that he had missed at the beginning, really thinking nothing of it when she had decided she wanted to start working part time at her friend’s new flower shop. After all, he had always thought of himself as a supportive husband, so if she felt she could use a few hours out of the house, why not, late afternoons not really interrupting their dinner and movie time.

But a couple of weeks in and the signs had indeed began to show, whether he had noticed them or not. Looking back, he realized he had, but only on an instinctual level. When once their affection was pretty much fifty-fifty, he now found himself having to initiate their intimacy, both physically and emotionally.

Why so much time on the cellphone now? She had never been one to let such devices consume her, but now she was a screen queen, swiping every chance she got. And why the password? The two lived alone, having no need for such security measures.

“Sometimes at work I leave my cell on a counter or in a drawer. Never know when someone’s gonna pick it up.”

Like me…?

That’s when instinct had finally slapped Chris across the face, suspicion leading him to do something he had never done before, never even thought of doing before. He began to look through her messages. She still had her cell locked, but her facebook remained open on their shared laptop.

An oversight that would change everything.

Scrolling down messages from friends and family, he came upon one from a member with no photo, and as soon as he began to read, his heart not only fell, but plummeted down into his stomach, acid eating away at it…

Where are you babe? Miss you…

I miss you too, babe. Only been cpl dys, but seems lot longer.

The last two in a thread of deceit, betrayal, devastation…

Chris never felt so hurt in his life.

The next week or so was pure anguish. How many days and nights? He wasn’t quite sure, as they were all merging into one long state of torturous hell. Should he confront her, and risk her storming out only to never return? How about going out and trying to even the score? He just couldn’t stop thinking about it, shock never really settling in to become acceptance. How could she be so nonchalant, going about life as if nothing was going on?

“You had to work late again?”

“Yeah, we’re getting a lot of inventory now that it’s spring.”

How could she be so cold-blooded? And lie so blatantly to his face?!

It was at these times, when such pain began to boil into desired self-defense, that he would rack his brain with the thought of finding another. He had no idea how serious the affair was, and the thought of losing her, after devoting himself to her for nearly two decades, was killing him. He had never been one to have suicidal thoughts, but now this dangerous mindset was part of this black plague that had befallen him. At times, ending it all seemed like the only way to end the pain, but then the thought of finding someone to take her place would creep in…

If she could do it, why can’t I? I’ve got looks. Why should I stay in a one-sided relationship? There are plenty of women out there who would appreciate a guy like me.

That’s what he missed most. The intimacy, the willful affection he no longer received. And so he began to scroll the dating sites, contemplating the two famous sayings…

Once a cheater, always a cheater.

The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.

Were they true? If so, didn’t it make perfect sense to find someone new?

Even with such logic he struggled with the thought of placing his own ad. What if they turned out to be liars too? What if it didn’t work out and he lost Annie forever? It was during these bouts of mental anguish when Chris hated being on these sites, wanting nothing more to do with such desperate searches. He already loved a woman, and had only ever thought of her when envisioning growing old with someone.

Oh Annie, why?! I’ve given you nothing but my everything. Why was I not enough?

Then the sickening thought would reappear. Of her and him, of them, together.

Chris and Annie… What happened to them being soul mates, like in the movie? They were supposed to be exclusive, as any married couple was expected to be, knowing each other on an intimate level like no one else. Advanced lovers that would do anything for the other’s pleasure.

The thought of her taking him inside of her disgusted Chris. He had helped coach her in developing the talent of taking him all the way down her throat, and once there to suckle until bliss exploded into euphoria, and how he loved how she would remain there until consuming every last drop, making him feel beyond special.

To take such a carnal bond that represented such a long commitment and so casually do it with another?!

Yes, it was not only the physical giving that hurt Chris so badly, but the emotional as well. Maybe even more so.

Annie was quite surprised when the movie started, not expecting it to be their movie, but she put on a pretty good poker face, choosing to cuddle up a little closer, like back when things were pure between them.

How would Chris tell her he knew? Of the facebook messages, the texts and late night calls, the secret meetings between him and her…

Fuck facebook! He hated it. Knew many would say it was like hating guns, when in reality people kill people, not guns. But Chris wasn’t so sure. The asshole who had come between he and his love had been from her past, and unlike the ‘ol days, when it wasn’t so easy to find/reconnect with someone from one’s past, nowadays a few clicks could end up destroying a marriage. Yeah, facebook could kill!

How would he tell her he knew about it all, yet had still decided to fight for her? How, like in the movie, he would battle the sorrows of hell for her, that he had been battling the sorrows of hell! How he felt she was still his precious Annie, and he her Chris, just like those movie characters, only real. How he had even secretly already started saving for a trip of a lifetime, months ago, for them to take for their big twenty-year wedding anniversary next year. They would jet off to Switzerland, the place where their movie characters had met, and have the time of their lives.

A trip that he now saw as part of their new beginning.

Would she be on board? Would she regret her recent actions and take the necessary steps to right her wrong?

How would he tell her he knew…?   

By now Annie’s head was lying on his lap, and Chris got his answer when a tear fell down from his eye and onto her cheek…

~

The Start Over: Resetting The Future

If you could have a second chance at reliving your past, would you take it…?

My wonderful readers, here’s the epic conclusion to The Start Over trilogy!

If you missed the first two, just scroll on down, as they’re in order.

Happy reading:)

The Start Over Resetting the Future Cover

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved

2017

The pleasant sound of children playing is truly universal. Go anywhere in the world and to hear such joy represents a community at peace, its future symbolized by these little versions of ourselves. How priceless they are, reminding us of where we’ve come from, the love and devotion we show them our way of trying to secure where we’re going.

Maybe I should have went farther back I wondered as I watched these young innocents play in their school yard. Look how they truly live in the moment, not giving any thought to what has led up to it or what will come after. Not having any prejudice of race, sex, status. The purity of just being.

Is it really too much to want to return to such a state?

But I had proven it was possible. At least until fear took over. Was there some sort of lesson in this?

I watched as a little boy’s face lit up when a tricycle became available. Oh how he ran towards it with such happiness, my own faded memories identifying with his excitement.

As he slid into that small seat, placed his feet against the pedals and grabbed onto those handlebars my ponder took me to the gates of realization, the answer I was so seeking beginning to formulate in my head as the boy used mind, body and space to not really think about taking off for a joy ride throughout the playground, but just doing it.

Perhaps this had been my problem. Instead of just doing it I had placed too much energy into trying, with mind creating fear that I would fail. But again, there could be a large distance to travel between knowing and doing, the old adage Mind Over Matter hovering over me like an authoritative school teacher.

The little boy was having the time of his young life, swerving around jump-roping girls and boys playing dodge ball. How was he able to be so precise yet not really think about it? Eyes signaling to the brain, brain to body, how much energy to apply/not apply, and at such a tender age?

It was beginning to make sense. I would have to steer my being, but not force it. Disable the fear factor yet not immobilize the entirety of my conscious mind. And so I began to plan…

Who would have ever thought I would be so excited to get back to the dentist?! I was about to play a dangerous game with the universe, not really knowing any rules on how to play but fully aware that it could cost me everything if I were to make a wrong move.

Given the estimated time frame, I decided to schedule three fillings, the forty-five minute procedure hopefully being enough time to put my theory into effect. When the receptionist called my name I made a quick trip to the bathroom, downing a cap full of Nyquil and following that up with a swig of Listerine.

Lying back in the dentist’s chair, I went through the common pleasantries before plugging my ears with my headphones, a suggestion made to patients to help try to put them at ease. But my playlist had been specifically made for this date with destiny; a recording of that priceless gift of children at play, to be played on a loop.

Through my mind’s eye I could see every detail of the playground, a universe within itself as the celestial merged with the matter that made up the children at play and all that surrounded them, each and every sound my awareness focused on reverberated by the dentist’s drill.

The rope skipping on green pavement…

The high pitch of a golden whistle being blown…

The red of a rubber ball bouncing from one direction to the next…

Everything was so colorful, so bright, the laughter of fun bringing all together for a melodic palette of youth.

Then the most peculiar of things happened. As the Nyquil began to snake itself around all, my wise ‘ol friend nitrous oxide rose an eyebrow, as if to question what my awareness was up to.

A moment later and I started to feel my heart in my chest. Actually it was the heart of a little boy in my universal playground, me not realizing it was me until I sank down from birds-eye-view and into self.

The heartbeat was becoming overwhelming, too big, too much for my little body. Had I went too far back? Through will of thought I tried to dislodge myself, but the mud was too thick, the rate at which my heart was working to pump blood extending way beyond what it could handle.

Was it the blood that was thickening into mud?

I next felt a free fall, falling back into a wormhole and unable to grasp onto anything, vision turning into a periscope of tunnel vision, which brought into view two separate scenes, alternating with each blink of the eye.

The first, my adult self, now flat on the floor beside the dentist chair, the doctor performing chest compressions over my heart, an assistant blowing air into my lungs.

The second, that little boy on the playground, a couple of teachers working to save his life too, while others cleared the area

Not only could I see both existences, I could feel them too, the compressions to my smaller frame pounding me like a sledgehammer. Naturally, this was the one I was most averse to, but as I began to favor the other my being somehow knew that it was the wrong way to go if I were to accomplish the reset. Not only the obvious, that if the boy were to die, there would probably be no future self, but also a determination that acted as a guide. And so I willed myself to be absorbed by the worst of the two, the more I let it become me the more painful it became, the more real, until I completely let go of my middle-aged self, letting him pass and in turn allowing my full energy to inhabit the five-year-old body, along with the physical trauma it was experiencing.

This scary moment would serve as my first memory for the next nine years, with me having no recollection of what preceded it. Only a natural calling to embrace entrepreneurship. Lemonade stands, newspaper routes, door-to-door sales of mom’s freshly baked cookies. An unexplained instinct to strive, strive, strive.

Unexplained until fourteen years of age, that is. Then fate took me to that dentist’s chair, once again to the embrace of my wise ol’ friend, nitrous oxide. It was then that all memory came flooding back, and with it the knowledge to rip that mask the hell off my face and never go near it again.

Well, maybe not ever…

Maybe I’ll go for another go-round come  mid-life again.

~

The Start Over: Into the Journey

Welcome back, my wonderful readers!

Ready for the sequel in ‘The Start Over’ trilogy?!

(If you missed the first part, just scroll on down:)

Get ready for quite the trip…!

bl

 

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved.

2017

 

It was like being in one of those supernovas, celestial vision of space, color, being…

Each star within it a moment I had experienced, looking at it from a whole bringing me realization that it was my inner space, my past, my present, and dare I say my future? But my awareness knew which area I had to focus on in order to achieve what I had set out to reach. That bright cluster which represented the time and space of that first glimpse at the age of fourteen.

And so I delved into it…

Like a wormhole, the speed of thought somehow fueling the travel. It’s not my intention to use space imagery to describe this journey, but I simply know no better examples to give to try and explain this miraculous event, this extraordinary happening that I’m not sure anyone else has ever experienced.

Then I began to return to my conscious state, the increase in oxygen and decrease in nitrous oxide drawing me out from the bright colored energy of the all-knowing and back into my physical state.

Now it was like water being transferred from one host to another, the water, my soul, going from one vehicle to another, none everlasting, all impermanent. Perhaps once in a cup, now absorbed by a sponge, to then be squeezed out over dirt, the effect creating the substance of mud. Yes, this was a feeling of sticking into a self that was new, yet not really. Lighter, smaller, more condensed, but indeed a home I had inhabited before.

Or was it just what I wanted to believe? Opening my eyes to see the bright overhead light go out, I tried focusing on the ceiling above, if it had changed along with what I perceived to be my change. If it was the same as a few minutes ago it would mean I had failed, my mom being right all those years ago, with me having fallen victim so deep to delusion.

But then I felt the arms of the chair I was laying back in. I distinctly remembered gripping the ends with my fingers, my arms being about the same length as the rests. Now my hands found no ends to grip, my arms being too short to reach the ends. A feeling I had not felt for so very long.

My heart began to race. I had to sit up to confirm it had really happened…

I was wearing my ol’ blue Nikes, the ones I had begged my mom not to throw out…

My acid wash jeans…

My shirt with the little alligator on the upper left side…

All articles of clothing from when I was fourteen years old!

The dentist, his assistant, the two I remembered from back in the day!

But I still had to see my own reflection to be totally convinced. The mirrors on the dentist’s tools were too small, the surrounding stainless steel not clear enough. I took off for the bathroom.

It was like looking at an old picture of myself, yet the reflection was present, the faces I made with that youthful face simultaneously staring right back at me…

I was really back!

I ran all the way back home, enjoying the burn in my lungs and sides as my underdeveloped body fought to replenish the oxygen it was being depleted of, running through the streets of my ol’ stomping grounds as if I were in a dream.

But I knew it wasn’t, because unlike a dream, during which at some point you realize just that, with the thought then giving you no choice but to return to reality, I did not wake, as this was reality!

Into the two-bedroom apartment I had grown up in, everything in place like it had been decades before. There mom was, cooking dinner on the stove like she had done countless times before. A few inches taller than me, than this teen body I was back in, she looked so young, so healthy compared to the last time I saw her, when she was on her deathbed being taken away by cancer.

I wrapped my arms around her and held her tight.

“What in the world?! What has gotten into you, son?”

“I just love you, mom.”

“I love you too. You’re right in time for dinner, wash up.”

I did as told, then sat down for a homemade meal. Heaven compared to the microwave meals my adult-self had grown accustomed to.

“Now remember,” my mom said, “no dessert until you finish those green-”

She turned around to see my plate clean, the last of the green beans being shoveled into my mouth.

“Can I have some more, Ma?”

Not recognizing the healthy appetite of her own son, she said the only thing she could while preparing my second helping of everything.

“That nitrous oxide must have done wonders!”

You have no idea!

 

I was reluctant to fall asleep that night, afraid I would wake up as an adult again, but this growing body had had a full day and was exhausted, and so I had no choice but to surrender to sleep, hoping to wake in my room of Michael Jackson and Debbie Gibson posters.

 

The following morning I couldn’t wait to get to school, being taken from déjà vu to surrealism the moment I stepped onto the school bus. From the kids to the route, the driver to the late 80’s world outside my window.

Amazing…!

From homeroom to every period that followed my mental map of the past took me to every class, the lessons being taught more like refresher courses, with teachers and peers alike not knowing what to make of my new active participation.

I would take everything seriously now and get a head start in what I wanted to accomplish in life, now knowing full-well this second time around that doing so would ensure a successful future.

When lunch time came around I was back sitting among my ol’ clique of friends, popping tater tots into my mouth while they discussed the latest Nintendo games and CD players. We had always been an average group, somewhere between nerds and the cool kids, admiring the latter every now and then and not really paying attention to the former. It was a social class that just about every school had, my matured mind now laughing at such a ludicrous way of life.

But then again, this was all so innocent compared to the future. Not a cellphone in sight, I wanted to warn them all now of what was to come.

Then I saw her. Claudia. One of the cool kids, who also happened to be my present self’s crush. Her boyfriend was the coolest kid in school. Mario, always walking around like Don Johnson in Miami Vice, changing in the blazer for a pair of suspenders that always hung below the waist, never over the shoulders to serve their original purpose.

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud this time, teen inhibition no longer being an illusion in my now wiser eyes.

“What’s so funny?” one of my friends asked.

“Mario. He doesn’t know what a fool he looks like! He’s gonna be nothing but a laughable memory to everyone around here.”

“Oh yeah, why don’t you go tell him that to his face?!”

They all laughed, but I felt nothing, my attention now turning to Claudia.

“Damn, she’s still as cute as I’ve always remembered. I should go over there and change her world.”

“Yeah Mr. Badass, you do that. We’ll come visit you in the hospital.”

More laughter.

Claudia got up to go buy her guy a soda.

“Watch and learn, boys” I said as I got up to make my move.

It was just her and I alone at the vending machine, something I had fantasized about a million times before.

“Hey Claudia, can I buy you a soda?”

She looked both surprised and a little flattered. Kids were starting to stare.

“Thanks, but I’m just getting this for Mario. You know, my boyfriend…?”

A cheerleader now had his attention, the dumbass not even trying to hide his lust as his eyes followed her long legs up to her short skirt and beyond.

“Yeah, I heard you guys were going out, but I guess it’s not exclusive, right?”

I gestured his way so she could see the obvious, a look of embarrassment coming over her when she spotted his ogling.

With a soft touch I placed my hand over hers and took the can of soda, wiping the top off with my shirt before opening it up and offering it back to her.

“You deserve this a lot more than he does.”

My hand was back around hers as she held the can, her eyes locked in on mine as I guided her to bring it up to her mouth.

It was a hot day so I knew that cool lid must have felt good when I slowly ran it across her bottom lip, then tilting the can up a little so she could take a sip.

“What the fuck?!”

Our intimate encounter was shattered, Mario wasting no time in getting up in my face.

“What the fuck are you doing with my girlfriend?! And who said you could open my soda?”

Another laughable moment of how bullies would show their dominance back in the day, pushing in face-to-face and leaving less than an inch as they showboated their testosterone for all to see. Not a wise decision, to get so close to someone who’ll actually fight back.

I gently slid the can of soda out of Claudia’s hand and back into mine, the full twelve ounces of it minus the sweet little sip still giving a good weight to it.

Without saying a thing I brought it up fast and hard, slamming it into the side of Mario’s face.

He went down crying like a baby.

By now we had absolutely everyone’s attention, and they were about to become even more shocked…

As I turned around back to Claudia I slid my hand around her neck and drew her in for a kiss. And no, not one of those punk-ass one’s Mario would give her. This one was full-on passion, full-on French.

Her knees buckled and I caught her, entrancing the pretty young thing a little more before bringing her back up to her feet.

Everyone, including my little clique was speechless. There was only one thing left to do, walk away, let ‘em all soak it in.

Damn, I love do-overs!

 

For the next week I was the big man on campus, my middle-aged know-how in my fourteen-year-old body leaving everyone in awe, Claudia at my side leaving me soaring above Cloud 9!

But I still had to stay focused, not willing to throw away this true opportunity of a lifetime for some teenage bliss. At this stage I had a big head start on all those who would later be my competition in life. What company would not want to hire someone who had been honing their skills since such an early age? What bank would not give a sizable loan to someone who had such experience under their belt by the time they reached early adulthood?

And yes, this included a bright healthy smile, so I had to get back to that dentist. The only problem was, although I had youth on my side again, my personal fears were still within me. Scared as shit to sit back in that dentist chair and get tortured again.

Yes, the nitrous oxide really helped in taking me out of the pain and into nirvana, but what if I lost control and was taken back to the future? This was the last thing I wanted to happen, and so I tried to brave it…

But as soon as that long thin piece of steel pierced my gum to inject novocaine I was like a cat in water again, clinging on to that dentist chair drenched in sweat.

I had to have the nitrous oxide.

Back into the vastness of space, both inner and outer, as within the grand scheme of things each is one in the same.

The colors, the clusters, the infinite knowledge just a reach away. But with such wisdom comes the unavoidable. The knowledge of self, including all its deepest fears. At this moment I realized why it takes most human beings a lifetime to reach full understanding. They need those decades to overcome those fears, to be truly centered and balanced. The farthest I had went, I had lived, was less than a half century, with me even having dove my complete being into desire so as to become young again.

Alright, that’s enough!

Pull back, wake up!

But I couldn’t, truth wouldn’t let me, flooding into my being more and more no matter how hard I tried to fight it.

‘Your forty-two year old self is still where you left it. Still waiting for you down in that chair.’

But I was back, I was really fourteen again! I felt every moment, for a whole week!

‘Do you feel time now? Yes, rhetorical, no, you don’t. In this state of all-knowing you must know time is relative. One week at fourteen could have been one hour at forty-two. It was what you wanted, what you desired.

‘But what is true is unavoidable at this level of understanding, and so you can’t hide from the fact that you are an adult, still lying in that chair. Still…’

No, please… I don’t want to go back.

But I couldn’t stop the wormhole from consuming me, the speed of thought, of truthful thoughts, thrusting me back into my middle-aged body.

The mask was removed, my awareness returned, my fingers digging into the ends of the chair’s arm rests.

I wanted to cry.

 

To Be Continued…

Don’t miss the exciting  conclusion to

‘The Start Over’,

follow The Flash Fiction Ponder:)

You’ll be notified when it’s posted, and receive a free book as well!

Details to the left of your screen…

 

 

The Start Over: Opening the Door

Hello my wonderful readers!

Have something special for you on this first post of the New Year…

A time-travelling trilogy!

Enjoy the first part, with the sequel to follow very soon…!

the-start-over

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved.

2017

Funny how certain things can take you back in time. A smell, a song, a taste, an object. It’s like you can just close your eyes and be taken right back to where your  mind wrapped around the experience, no matter how many years ago it was.

Such bouts of nostalgia have been hitting me quite often lately. I don’t know if it’s that transitional stage of mid-life crisis people tend to face at my age, or if it’s the reality that I feel I’ve been fighting to get my head back above water since my mid-twenties, a few wrong turns/not-so-bright decisions taking me off the path to a proper future and having me constantly try to catch up and get things back on track ever since. Amazing how just a few choices can spin you in an entirely different direction than what you ever imagined for yourself, and even more mind-boggling, how extremely hard it is to right the wrong, the world being very unforgiving.

One of these things that simply got away before I really realized it was my dental care. Like most, I’ve never been a fan of sitting in a chair and opening wide while needles stab my gums, drills dig deep into my teeth, raw nerves being scraped to produce the most intense pain in one’s life. These excruciating factors can be very persuasive in convincing a timid soul like myself to avoid the whole experience, the reward of a bright healthy smile seeming not to be at all worth the torture it takes to reach it. And so when I had hit my rebellious stage of adolescence I simply refused to go back to the dentist, and as the years flew by, as I began to develop a more common sense mind set, I still found ways to avoid the issue, the traumatic memories keeping me out of that dentist chair with excuse after excuse to keep putting it off.

Next thing I knew I was already a couple of years into my fourth decade of life, trying to play catch up with just about everything, doing my best to keep that not-so-bright smile hidden from view. A visual metaphor for how I was feeling pretty much inside and out.

Maybe if I see about fixing my teeth, it can be a start to fixing my life.

The thought was encouraging, so I made the appointment, the decision putting a temporary pep in my step in the days leading up to my doctor visit.

But thoughts are just that, thoughts. It’s easy to be brave when it’s just in your head, the fantasy of visualizing having no real repercussions. But when reality sets in…?

Oh, shit!

Stepping into that dental office had me stepping back into my childhood, the furnace of my stomach setting fear ablaze, the heat of it travelling throughout my body. Filling out the paperwork I kept telling myself, you’re an adult now, grow up! People do this everyday. It’s part of life. It’s part of getting your life back on track. For real this time!

But that other side of my brain was trying to dig in its own reason. Yes, I was an adult now, which meant I didn’t have to put up with this nonsense. I could just get up and walk out that door.

Yeah, we see how well it worked for us before. No structure, no discipline, has made us a nobody when others our age have great lives, great careers…

I was just about finished filling out the form when I saw the option for Nitrous Oxide. Ah, yes, I remembered it very well. My mom had taken me to that special dentist across town who used it on patients who were nervous wrecks like myself, in an attempt to keep me on the straight and narrow path to a bright healthy smile.

It had been a one-time occurrence though, as our insurance didn’t cover the so-called laughing gas.

Laughing gas? No, despite what mom told me leading up to the experience, that I would have a funny good time in that dentist chair, such a thing did not happen. Far from it.

I had sat down with sweaty palms, sat back and put my legs up, that dreaded dentist ceiling meaning another trip through hell.

But then the dentist had reached up above my head and brought down over my nose that long skinny mask, telling me to breathe deep.

The smell… A bit rubbery? Wasn’t sure. But I was starting to feel a little odd, a slight balance between numb and tingle. Just slightly, nothing overwhelming.

By the time the dentist had turned on the overhead light and asked me to open wide I was already beginning to see, to know things, from a different perspective. The voices of he and his assistant were becoming distant, and as he began his work I found myself rising from fear, from panic, a more enlightening state taking hold of me.

I could feel pain a little if I focused my awareness towards it, but all I had to do to put it aside, to place it off in the distance, was to redirect my mind to something else.

The two working on me began to converse among themselves, talking about a later appointment, a conference, other office-related chatter. All superficial compared to what I was heading towards.

Truth. I started to feel my consciousness rise a bit, above the drilling, the chatter, the bright light, getting closer and closer to realization the more I rose from this illusion. Yes, in a way, just an illusion. The conversation they were having, the life I had lived so far… Everything. This wasn’t really real, not when compared to the truth I was headed towards. The grand scheme of things was so much more! And all I had to do to get there was keep rising.

But something inside was cautioning me not to go too far, because if I did I wouldn’t come back. But why should I? Real life was beyond this façade.

And yet I decided to not cross that line, to just hover near this state of enlightenment, but not be totally absorbed by it, until the mask was removed from my nose and my mind returned to this existence that was just superficial.

I spent the rest of the day contemplating, refusing to believe my mom when she just laughed at my new discovery, telling me it was just my personal reaction to the gas. That it was my mind playing tricks on me.

But I was just a kid, fourteen years old, not really having the sense to follow my new interest, to research it, and so after a few days it began to just gradually fall away, so-called reality taking me further and further away from the truth I had discovered in that dentist’s office.

Now, nearly thirty years later, I checked the box for the Nitrous Oxide before handing the clipboard over to the receptionist. I then nervously flipped through the Reader’s Digests and Highlights magazines until my name was called.

Just like my ol’ fourteen-year-old self I sat down with sweaty palms, my guts on fire as I sat back into that scary chair, only this time I was also embarrassed, for what the dentist would find when he got into my mouth. Evidence that my life had gotten away from me.

The mask was brought over my head and positioned over my nose. I watched as his hand turned the knob to the gas tank. Was it me or was he turning it quite a bit? Maybe because I was an adult now, needing more for it to take affect? Whatever the case…

Yeah, keep turning, the more the better!

And then it hit me, the ol’ wise friend who had been waiting for my return. The path leading toward the state of enlightenment, as I rose above the voices, the drilling, into the bright light of all-knowing.

This time, with a hell-of-a-lot more so-called real-life experiences attached to my being, I found myself merging with truth, with the fact that I was indeed the same soul that I had been the last time I visited, and that it was within my power to be in that time and space again. It was simply a matter of focusing my awareness, my mind, in knowing I was there.

To truly be able to start over, to have my whole life ahead of me again. Youth, opportunity, everything!

I let it absorb me…

~

To Be Continued…

Don’t miss the sequel in this thought-provoking trilogy,

follow The Flash Fiction Ponder!

A Little Hiatus

Hello my wonderful readers:)

I’ll be going on a little hiatus, but not for too long. In the meantime, you can scroll on down and catch up on any stories of substance you mihht have missed. And there’s always my autobiography, available for FREE to all followers of The Flash Fiction Ponder, normally priced at $2.99 on Amazon. Just follow, and I’ll be sure to send it out to you as soon as I receive the notification.

Have a safe and wonderful New Year’s celebration!

The Layover

Hope you had a great holiday weekend, my wonderful readers!

Today we revisit the theme of opportunity, and how priceless it truly is.

Enjoy…:)

o2

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved.

2016

Thousands upon thousands of different characters, each living a different story. This is how Amy saw the foot traffic at O’Hare. But it wasn’t just Chicago. Every airport she had ever been to produced these thoughts as she would people watch, a trait she undoubtedly had picked up from her father. A true daddy’s girl, she had absorbed a lot from his character, the most evident being the curious observer, the silent listener, natural traits, that according to him, reflected a destined storyteller.

Story; a five-letter word that fueled the imagination like no other word. A word that nearly became her name, until Amy’s father changed it at the last minute, his gut telling him to go with a character from his favorite book, I Am the Cheese. An instinct that turned out to be so in alignment with destiny that he couldn’t help but tell the story of how his little girl had turned out to follow in his footsteps to anyone who would listen.

How she had taken to tales from day one, her preferred pacifier being the sound of daddy’s voice reading one after another, not just at bedtime but anytime, those small but wide eyes reflecting the fact that she was somehow absorbing it all at such a tender age, subconsciously storing it for later.

Not that much later, it turned out. By age two she had begun to read and write, the signs of what was to come as clear as her insatiable appetite for more, graduating from See Spot Run and the like to desiring more substance. Remarkable was the word used by the adults in her life, including the teachers that at first glance thought she was too young for their class, but would then marvel when witnessing for themselves her ‘remarkable’ kinship to story.

It had fascinated the heck out of her when Amy had learned that she had been named after an actual character, her father deciding to test her comprehension of I Am the Cheese when she was only five. Right away she showed a fondness for its author, Robert Cormier.

One of the saddest moments of Amy’s childhood had come at the age of nine, when she had received The Rag and Bone Shop for her birthday. Finishing it in one afternoon, she had placed the literary treasure in her personal library, in the special Cormier section, then ran to find her father in his home office before jumping up on his lap and asking when he’d buy her the next book by their favorite author.

“There’s no more, sweetie” he had said with a gentle sorrow in his voice. “We have all of them.”

At first she looked as though she were going to cry, but then optimism brightened her face.

“When will he write a new book? Do you think he’ll have a book signing? Oh, daddy, can we please go?! We can write his publisher and ask when his next book is coming out!”

“Sweetie, Robert Cormier is no longer with us.”

Not really understanding what her father was saying, she wanted to correct him, to say of course he’s with us, in all the eighteen books they had of his. But then daddy broke her heart…

“He died, Amy, the year you were born.”

She immediately began to cry, the hurt in her tears being a million times harder than when she had first learned that the mythical characters of childhood were not real.

Eventually Amy learned to accept such sorrow and store it as wisdom, to draw from as a priceless asset when telling stories. Her father called it being in alignment with truth, and by completion of her senior year of high school, a full year ahead of her peers, her literary talent had prestigious colleges beckoning.

But it was Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts where she chose to attend, the alma mater of Robert Cormier. This had Amy on the complete opposite side of the United States from where she had always called home, having left her family in West Covina, California to achieve one of her biggest dreams.

Indeed Amy’s first trip back home for Christmas vacation had been a sentimental one, the week and a half of catching up having ended all too soon. But she had a job to return to, at a book store at a local mall, as well as preparing for the new semester, and so here she was on her layover at O’Hare, imagination taking her to the garden of story, where she planted a variety of seeds, of character, as she people watched.

But then Amy remembered one of the last things her father had said to her back at LAX. “Christmas isn’t quite over, baby girl. There’s something zipped up for you in the underside of your carry-on. But you gotta promise, no peeking until Chicago.”

With that same kind of excited glee she so dearly remembered feeling as a child Amy went for her bag and unzipped it. Inside the back pocket were two individually-wrapped gifts, each a soft bound book from what she could make of them. The slightly bigger of the two had a message saying Open Me First, and so she did.

A First Edition signed copy of I Am the Cheese.

She could do nothing but stare, eyes glazing, heart pounding.

Her hands were still shaking when she finally got to the second gift, carefully removing the wrapping paper like she had done with the first, like she had always done with gifts she knew to be books.

This one was a Reader’s Digest, dated the same year Amy was born. among its table of contents a piece written by her father. She had heard brief stories of this issue, of how it had been a turning point in his life as a struggling author, but she had never actually beheld a copy, daddy simply telling her he would share it when the time was right.

It was titled Tears of Opportunity, and with a hurry she turned to its page, careful not to wrinkle any before it.

When the grand doors of opportunity finally open, the pair of eyes that have beheld so many obstacles will now fill with emotional triumph, until one by one the tear drops will begin to fall.

Each will represent the strength it took in the face of adversity to continue to strive, continue to overcome. From the amount of rejection letters that could have wallpapered a thousand homes to the long fight involving everyday struggles…

…Looking at the name brands while having to pick up the generics…

…Acting like a customer at a fast food restaurant for a few packets of ketchup so as to add more flavor to the dry simple meals at home…

To hardship that is more painful on the heart…

Watching yet another scrape added to the many already inflicted on the inside of his wife’s engagement ring as they test its value each and every time when he has no choice but to pawn it…

…Promising her as they window shop, that one day they too will be like the privileged passersby, whose bags of cool gadgets and new clothes are not as out of reach as it seems. For the day that they are able to have pockets without holes and fun shiny devices is but right around the corner, or so he would have her believe as he fights to keep the flame of optimism alive. One that had been lit so many years ago during childhood when those who he had called teachers, mentors, had instilled in him the belief that one can accomplish anything they set their mind to.

A belief he still holds true despite the countless doors of opportunity having been slammed in his face., as it is not only for his own soul that he keeps hope alive, but more importantly for his beloved. That one day their perseverance will indeed pay off, their greatest dream coming to fruition. That yellow diamond Baby On Board sign. That priceless gift that will be the creation of their forever bonded love. This is what will make the tears flow even stronger than all the previous ones, for opportunity to provide with his passion, with his talent, will mean beating the hands of that ever-threatening nonstop biological clock, once and for all being able to afford to have the totality of love known as child.

And so these are tears he will not try to stifle, not try to wipe away, for they will be the tears of completing the hardest journey he has ever known. Tears of a soul reaching its purpose.

Tears for the gift of someone believing…

Someone allowing…

Someone supporting…

Tears of opportunity.

Amy’s eyes were full of tears of her own now, never having known the full extent of her parents’ past struggles.

She wanted to change her itinerary, get back on a plane to LAX, get back into the arms of the two who had given her so much. She could transfer schools, live at home, be close to the love she was now so far from.

But deep down she knew this was something she shouldn’t really do, for she was not only living her dream, but her father’s as well. She couldn’t throw away what they had been so excited about, what they had worked so hard for. Her accomplishment would be their accomplishment, and so she resolved to be strong, to do her absolute best, as this would be the best way to show her deep appreciation for them.

Amy took out a wet wipe and cleaned her face, then unpacked her laptop, logged on to the airport’s wifi, and began to do what she did best…

Write.

~