It’s the ticking of a clock before midnight. A slow capitulation to misery and ruination. The atmosphere says tornado but the limbs won’t go. It’s the upright barrels of wine turning to barrels of vinegar in the basement. Things look fine from the outside, the same even, but a transformation opened a rift. It’s the seeping of one universe into another. Possibly there’s a Pepsi universe to balance out this Coke one. Maybe even a Mountain Dewniverse for the truly mad. It’s that sound an aircraft makes as it streaks by. Not really by, more like ‘bye because the aircraft is flying so fast above us. It’s that sound an aircraft makes as it cuts the air above us. The slow screeching that heralds incoming bombs in the movies. I’ve mentally told myself to “Hit the deck” when I’ve heard that sound. It was just a plane passing by and above, goodbye. I would never strike an inanimate piece of wood in my life. Okay, I’ve knocked on wood before. It’s the galloping in the mind as you try to fall asleep. A mad rush to nowhere while your body begs for sheep. It’s the counting of the day’s overturned phrases. If I look at it from this angle, I might have been an asshole. I didn’t mean it that way. It’s the imagined session in a confessional somewhere in a remote mountain town where the church is the biggest building you can find, followed closely by a weirdly successful hotel. I’ve never been Catholic, but sometimes I want to ask for forgiveness. Forgive me, Someone, for I have sinned. I said this neutral phrase that might have been misconstrued to cruelty. How many mea culpas is that? It’s the flogging of an ailing spirit that’s too tired to acknowledge pain. Each lash a pen stroke tallying debt. It’s the stark realization that one day all that pain must be felt. There’s no denying the payment due for living. It’s the avoidance of admission that sneaks into lying. I have crushes on most everybody, I say to people to whom I most likely feel an attraction. It’s the tongue somersaulting over hard facts and real statements. I like you. I want to know you better. I could probably love you. I love you.