The eyes aren’t the portal to the soul. The eyebrows are.
Shave them off and you’ll know. You’ll see the stares; you’ll feel how people slowly alter their path when you come closer. They do that even when you’re far away, when they can’t yet see what might be wrong with you. They just know that there is something very wrong.
Like Martina in 7th grade. She was a ginger; soulless. So it was okay that we bullied her. You can’t hurt someone doesn’t have a soul. She was a person to be pushed, not touched.
It was fun to push her into the lockers. She never fought back; she just accepted it as her fate to be squeezed between lockers and the bodies of bigger girls and sometimes boys. Nobody moved away when she came. Nobody played by the rules when she was there – to move aside, make space to allow each other to pass. All just walked straight and Martina had to find a way; to squeeze to the side, between elbows and lockers, hoping that they didn’t attempt to connect.
It wasn’t us that ripped her hair out. She did that herself. Sitting in that seat, on the right side of class, close to the exit, she pushed her right hand deep into her curls. Then she pulled and twisted her arm, but her head stayed in place, unmoving except for the occasional twitch. She pulled the hand out with full force, holding a tuft that disappeared in her bag. She never looked back. She knew we were all staring.
Of course they had volunteered. Low budget; volunteers instead of actors. It’s cheaper that way and, if you’re lucky, more interesting.
That’s the core of reality TV.
You will have seen the shows; weird experiments and challenges or just a group locked inside a bungalow and manipulated to hate and attack and love each other.
Now, not all shows make it to your TV screens. Some because they are too boring. Some because the test audiences turn their thumbs down. And some because of accidents.
Accidents, that’s what you could call it.
Of course, they all volunteered and they all volunteered all liability away. Those blanko contracts are strong; even with such unusual cases. The director had trouble and we a bit too – but our studio got off with just a bit of paper money to keep things quiet.
TV works in very simple ways. With ratings and advertisers in your back there is no room for creativity. Creativity dies a slow and dry death the higher you climb the ladder. I saw quite a few that lost their creativity first, then their honor, then their soul. Continue reading →
On Tuesday morning, around 10AM, I heard the first glimpse of eternity. It was my second holiday day. I was standing between cereals and pickle jars and somewhere above me a voice tried to convince me to buy slabs of steak that I had seen and that looked unhealthily red. When I saw those steaks a sick cramp formed in my stomach. Humanity has degenerated to the point that meat must be pumped with salt and chemicals to look red as we have grown so accustomed to colored food that we don’t even know anymore that flesh, after being drained of blood, is gray.
I picked a pack of sugared cereal off the shelf and it began. There was no warning. Just one voice stinging through the normal bustle of the shop. It sounded like a young screaming child that quickly ran towards me. I looked around to see the child until I heard it right in front of me but still could see nothing. Then, one after the other, more voices joined in, a choir of pained screams that grew in number and loudness by the second.
My forehead was slammed repeatedly against cold linoleum until one of the clerks did the last nice thing anybody will ever do for me. She pushed a pack of marshmallows between my head and the floor. I slammed my head into the pack rather than the floor. My hands were still pressed on my ears and I kept screaming for the voices to stop. Continue reading →
“There’s a wolf inside you,” that’s what Steve always said.
He had an animal for all of us. The small kid with the bad vision, he had a secret badger at his core. The blonde that never wore anything but a ponytail was secretly a snake. Steve himself, with his quick and snappy punches was a scorpion. And I, I was a wolf.
There was something true about his animals, I can’t deny that. The more hours I spent in his lessons the more I saw the animal in each of us. The way the blonde moved quickly from side to side; the way the bespeckled kid was slow to attack but vicious and unstoppable when he was close – it was all there.
I liked being a wolf. Steve said it was a bad animal to be.
“Wolves need their pack,” he always said. “You should never hunt alone.”
First my parents had signed me up for wing chun classes. They said that they wanted me to exercise more. In reality they wanted me to gain self-confidence, but that’s not something you tell your child. Continue reading →