Shallow Dance

by Matty Sullivan

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www.patreon.com/mattysullivan

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Ode to the Burning Bridges

Things were fine, but they ain't fine anymore.

In fact, they're fucked up.

Who knows? Maybe they were already fucked up and I just didn't know it. Maybe I was doomed from the start. Maybe we all were. It was unavoidable. Even if we could go back in time and try to stop what happened and avoid this terrible situation, we would fail miserably. The task would be impossible. How would we know how far back to go? How would we know when the trouble really began? Was it yesterday, when things went undeniably to shit? Or was it a week ago, when the first rumbles of trouble began?

Maybe it began when we were born, when we first entered the atmosphere and took in the first of our countless ill-fated breaths and let out our first screams of terror.

Or was it too late even then? Do our fates precede us? Jesus, what a thought. Maybe the philosophers have it wrong--it is not we who create our fates, but our fates which create us. Here's how it works. We are born at the right time and in the right place and in the right situation, and we are equipped with the right characteristics and attributes, all for the sake of fulfilling our pre-ordained fate. It's out of our hands.

I don't know about you, but it makes me feel better to believe this. Because if it's true, I can go ahead and do whatever I want. Right? Of course, that's nothing new. I already do whatever I want. The difference is I can stop feeling bad about it.

Does that make me a bad person? If I stop feeling bad about it? Probably. Does it bother me to be a bad person? It does, a little. But not as much as it used to bother me. After all, it's just part of my programming, right? And if I continue to feel a little bad about it, I'll just have to accept that feeling as part of my programming as well.

I'm okay with this.

I think most people would be okay with me feeling this way if only I was doing good things all the time. But I'm not. I'm not making anybody happy, not even myself. In fact, I'm fucking it all up, remember? Things were fine, but they ain't fine anymore. They're falling to pieces. They're burning up like all the flames of hell, and all I'm doing is standing in the middle of the whole mess, throwing gasoline. The flames are growing and growing, beyond control. I can see them spreading, devouring both earth and sky and everything contained therein.

And you know what?

I dig it.

Yes, I do. It's a beautiful sight. And the heat is good upon my face. Good upon my skin. It warms the ice in my veins.

This is where I'll stay, for as long as I can stand it. And maybe, before long, my fate will compel me to move along, to find some new place which is in need of burning. Or which is in need of the nurturing waters which only I can bring.

Or maybe fate is determined to keep me here, right here in the midst of these raging flames, feeling the pain and the terror of incineration.

Can you see me?

Can you hear me?

Yes, the flames are high and blinding. Yes, the blaze is loud and furious. But I'm standing right in front of you. I'm talking to you.

Can you see me?

Can you hear me?