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Jesse [DE2020] Writer

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posted on May, 16 2020 @ 07:49 PM
Jesse’s eyes were already open when the alarm clock radio proclaimed the arrival of eight-thirty. Throwing off the covers and swinging his legs onto the floor, he sat up and drank from a glass of water on the nightstand, then yawned and stretched his arms up in a V. He stood up and crossed the room to where the alarm clock radio sat atop a U-Haul box that was still packed and taped shut, the Rug Doctored carpet crunching softly under the weight of his steps like frozen grass on a winter morning.

He assumed push-up position on the floor next to the alarm clock radio and did several slow, shaky push-ups. This was the new normal: push-ups when the radio came on, changing the station as needed, until he couldn’t do push-ups any more. (It never took long, but it had only been the new normal for several months.)

He turned the radio off, rose to his feet, and crossed the room to his dresser, where he got fresh cottons, pausing to look at the framed picture of Laura and Maggie before getting in the shower.
edit on 5/16/2020 by DictionaryOfExcuses because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 16 2020 @ 07:51 PM
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

Warm morning sunlight streamed in through the windows as Jesse cooked the last of the oats and added butter and brown sugar, both of which were in dwindling supply.

‘I gotta go food shopping,’ he thought, choking down the oats.

He finished eating and put his bowl in the sink. After hastily lacing up his gray low-top Converse All-Stars and pulling a zipperless black hoodie over his shaggy dark brown hair, he glanced at his wristwatch – late, always running late – and hurriedly exited his apartment, starting across the parking lot on his way to the church.

It was a beautiful spring day. A gentle breeze carried the scent of rhododendrons, hosewater and freshly-sawn cedar fence timbers while distant windchimes fribbled away a melody. If it weren’t for the masks covering the noses and mouths of about half the people he saw outside, it would’ve been hard to believe there was a current public health crisis.

A nicely groomed man wearing a blue-and-white pinstripe Oxford shirt and khaki slacks approached walking in the opposite direction, giving extra-wide berth as he neared Jesse. Jesse glanced at him with an obligatory peacemaking smile, then did a double-take: even though the man was wearing a mask, Jesse recognized him at once from a birthmark on his neck.


Looking and recognizing Jesse, the person’s eyes rolled, and his chest sank a little. It was fleeting – barely discernable – but Jesse had had lots of practice detecting disappointment.

“Hello, Jesse,” replied a voice that meant strictly business.

“# Stevie, what’s it been…ten, fifteen years?” Jesse began. “How ya been?”

“I’m OK. People call me ‘Steven’ these days, Jesse. I haven’t gone by ‘Stevie’ in years.” Steven responded as if he were correcting a school child who’d been told a thousand times to stop eating the glue.

“Oh, sorry. I…it’s just…it’s been a while. So…you livin in town?” Jesse asked. At that point, Steven had not returned Jesse’s smile, so Jesse stopped smiling.

“Yep. My mother’s been ill, so I moved back in with her to help take care of the house and take her to doctor appointments.”

“Awww, sorry man,” Jesse said. “Izzit still that same house over on Hawthorne?”

Steven drew a high, tight breath and pressed his lips together. “Yep…”

There was a moment of painful silence between them. Finally, Jesse made a show of looking at his wristwatch, and continued, “Whoah, I’m runnin late…better get goin. Nice to see you Stevie—I mean…Steven. Maybe I’ll see you around…”

They parted ways, and, after looking over his shoulder, Jesse muttered, “# you, too, asshole.”
edit on 5/16/2020 by DictionaryOfExcuses because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 16 2020 @ 07:56 PM
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

Jesse held the rails and took two stairs at a time rushing down to the church basement. The wavering voice of a sobbing woman stopped as he appeared in the doorway, slightly out of breath. All eyes were on him; for a moment, the buzzing of the fluorescent lights was the only sound breaking the silence. A dozen folding chairs were set up in a circle, only a quarter of which were occupied.

An old man with slicked back hair, wearing a pearly-buttoned, plaid cowboy shirt (complete with a pack of Winstons in the breast pocket) and a big broad smile of gleaming dentures said, “Hello, Jess! Glad you could make it pardner! Today’s a big day for you!”

“Thanks Rookie. Sorry I’m late, everybody.”

“No, no, don’t be sorry. We’re glad you’re here! Fix yourself some coffee and join us,” said the old man.

The sobbing woman finished speaking while Jesse went to a card table where there was a 12-cup Mr. Coffee alongside a tray with sugar packets, non-dairy creamer, Styrofoam cups, and stir-sticks. Jesse poured himself a cup of coffee, which he left black, and joined the group.

“Well, as you can see, Jesse, lots of people stayed home today so this is going to be short and sweet. Richard and Jana have spoken,” said Rookie, pausing to nod at the man and woman, the latter of which was still dabbing Kleenex at her teary, red eyes. “Why don’t you tell us how you been doing, pardner?”

Jesse sat up straight and tight-lipped a reticent smirk, looking down at broken black-and-white tiles on the floor. “Hi, I’m Jesse. I’m an alcoholic.”

The small chorus replied in a monotone unison: “Hi Jesse”.

“My week was pretty slow. Told myself this was gonna be the week I’d finally unpack, but…ya know…never quite found the motivation.” His voice – low and distant – stopped while he took a sip of coffee and picked a piece of fuzz off of his hoodie.

“What’s the matter, pardner?” probed Rookie, squinting his eyes. “You sound a bit off…”

Jesse continued: “On my way here I ran into an old buddy of mine. I had my first drink at his house the summer before we started high school. His house was the place I did the stuff I couldn’t get away with at home, ya know? I ain’t talkin anything major…I mean lightin off firecrackers, stayin up all night eatin candy and playin sega…that sorta stuff.” He paused, picking at a scab on his hand. “Believe it or not, I was Mister Straightlaces back in those days. But one day, my buddy swiped some beers from his parent’s fridge, and he kept doggin me and doggin me until...well, you know how it goes…”

“How long has it been since you seen him? What was it like to see him today?” Rookie asked.

“I guess I’m sorta bent outta shape over it, tell ya the truth. I see him – first time in years – and he acts like he’s angry to see me. Like I messed up his life, somehow. It ain’t fair. It ain’t right—"

“Remember, pardner, this ain’t no pity party,” Rookie interrupted.

Jesse sipped his coffee again and drew in a long breath. His feet were nervously tap-tap-tapping on the floor.

Rookie continued: “You can’t hold him responsible for all the twists and turns in your life. How’s he supposed to know, when you were kids no less, how bad alcohol was gonna be for you?”

“Here’s my point,” Jesse started, “he didn’t even gimme a chance today…it makes me wonder if I deserve a chance from anyone...from Laura, from Maggie.” His voice grew louder, his brow more rigid as he continued. “It makes me wonder if I already screwed up my life beyond repair…it makes me wonder why I’m not getting drunk instead of sittin here in this gross #in basement,” he finished, gesturing toward the surroundings.

His final comments were met by sympathetic eyes and murmurs of “Mhm” and “Yep” from the other two group members. And again, for a moment, all eyes were on Jesse, and only the buzzing of the fluorescent lights broke the silence.

posted on May, 16 2020 @ 07:58 PM
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

Jesse laid for hours back on his living room floor playing BubbleBuster on his phone. The sunlight that had beamed gloriously through the windows earlier that day was gradually replaced by the dim glow of streetlamps with an occasional transient flare of passing headlights.

Eventually, he rose, going to the kitchen and flipping on a light by which to scavenge through the cupboards for dinner, a search yielding a handful of rice cracker shards, a couple spoonsful of peanut butter, and a can of fruit cocktail.

‘I really gotta go food shopping,’ he again thought to himself, throwing away the empty crackerbox and aluminum can. ‘But at least cleanup is easy tonight…’

He went back into the living room and slouched into a squeaky, collapsible camping chair, idly surveying the moving boxes that surrounded him, some still taped shut, some sliced open. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone, along with a four-month sobriety chip he received at the end of the AA meeting earlier that day. Big day, indeed.

He turned the sobriety chip in his hand. At length, he took a picture of the chip with his phone and attached it to a text message: ‘Four months sober today!!! Hope you’re both doing ok. Give Maggie a hug from me.’ He sat in silence for another hour playing BubbleBuster while waiting for a response that he never received. He rose again and filled a glass with water, which he placed on his nightstand, and went to bed.

posted on May, 16 2020 @ 07:59 PM
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

A stirring outside Jesse’s bedroom window woke him up in the middle of the night. He shot out of bed and began rummaging through boxes in the dark feeling around for the blue backpack in which he had stashed his Glock 19 when he moved. He found the backpack, fumbled the zipper open, and in another second, had removed the 9mm from its holster. He crept to the window, but by that time, the rustling had stopped.

‘Probably just a stray dog,’ he thought.

He put the gun back in its holster and put the holster back in the blue backpack, crawled back into bed and fell asleep.

posted on May, 16 2020 @ 08:01 PM
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

When the alarm clock radio announced eighty-thirty Jesse was still fast asleep. It took him a moment to stir and groggily cross the room to the alarm clock radio, lowering himself to the floor in push-up position.

He got up off the floor and showered, then went to his kitchen for breakfast. Looking in the cupboard, he is reminded again of his low stores.

“I suppose it’s time to go food shopping,” he muttered.

posted on May, 16 2020 @ 08:03 PM
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

It took about half an hour to walk to the grocery store. From down the street, Jesse could see the parking lot was chaos. Since the governor’s stay-at-home orders were announced, it seemed everyone in town immediately dropped what they were doing and went shopping.

As he crossed the parking lot, frantic people darted this way and that, wearing gloves and masks (many of which were made ad hoc from diapers, t-shirts, bandanas) while loading one, two, or in some cases, three carriages full of goods into cars, trucks, and SUVs. His jaw sagged in disbelief at the sheer volume of some people’s hauls: months’ worth of toilet paper; a dozen gallon-sized jugs of drinking water; multiple ten-pound bags of flour, rice, oats; entire flats of soup, canned veggies and fruits.

He entered the store. The first thing he noticed was a cheerful announcement playing over the in-store speakers: …follow in the direction of the arrows down aisles, and maintain a distance of six feet between other shoppers. Above all, don’t panic and we’ll get through this together. Thank you for shopping at Lumpy’s!

Everyone wore masks. People who bothered to notice Jesse scowled at his masklessness before moving on. He picked up a shopping basket and headed for the bowels of the store, passing the checkout lines, which were backed up down aisles toward the back of the store. Nobody observed the six-foot rule.

Shelves all throughout the store were practically bare. He tried first for bread. None. Next, he tried for rice. Decimated. Eggs, milk, bacon, frozen and canned vegetables, oats, pasta: all sold out. There wasn’t even any flour – not that he would have known what to do with it.

His phone buzzed in his pocket: a text message. He fished his it out and thumbed the screen until the message displayed. ‘I don’t know what you expect me to say. Congratulations? Travis and I are getting married…Maggie adores him. Me and you are through…please stop texting me unless it is about child support.’

“Aw, # it,” said Jesse. He dropped his basket and left the store.

posted on May, 16 2020 @ 08:05 PM
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

The 7-11 was on his way home, and its parking lot was empty.

‘Maybe I’ll have better luck here,’ Jesse thought as he approached the entrance.

A crappy-sounding chime announced his entry as he crossed the threshold into the store. The clerk, who was knelt down behind the counter stocking cigarettes, poked his masked face up, nodded, and resumed working.

He picked up a basket and proceeded to the grocery aisle. To his surprise, there were several cans of soup and a box of saltines. He put it all into his basket. He looked to his right toward the frozen foods. The freezer was mostly picked through but there was a bunch of something he didn’t recognize. Curious, he got closer and read the label. “Hurrito!” It was the microwaveable burrito smoothie product he’d heard about on the radio that morning.

He pitched his brow and twisted his face in contemplation, then muttered, “Desperate times…” and loaded all the Hurrito!s, around a dozen, into his basket. He was in the middle of turning to go to the cash register when a lone six-pack of beer caught his eye in the next cooler over.

With his free hand, he reached into his pocket and stroked the four-month chip. The Serenity Prayer played on a loop and Rookie’s face popped into his head. ‘What are you gonna do next, parder?’ Jesse’s periphery vision first blurred, then darkened completely. At the end of the tunnel, the only way out, was the six-pack of beer.

“Aw, # it.” He picked up the six pack, payed for his stuff, and walked the rest of the way home.

posted on May, 16 2020 @ 08:07 PM
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

It wasn't much longer until Jesse was out of his mind in his living room, smoldering with anger.

After much deliberation, he left his apartment. He was wearing the blue backpack.

posted on May, 16 2020 @ 08:08 PM
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

The sky was cloudless; stars flickered from unfathomable distances through the cold and silent blackness. Jesse staggered across town, kicking stones in his path and fuming with rage and swearing under his breath.

He finally got to Steven’s house on Hawthorne Street. He stood marveling it from the sidewalk for a moment before approaching. The house had been painted a new color since he had last seen it. A big oak tree had been taken out of the corner of the yard. Otherwise, it was the house he remembered: ground zero for the devastation of his life.

He ascended the steps and knocked on the door. His head started to rush and he didn’t know if he had it in him to do what he planned. Footsteps approached and the door finally swung open. Steven stood in the doorway, facemask and all, his brow raised in surprise and his eyes wide with a hint of fear at seeing Jesse.

“Jesse…what are you doing here?”

Jesse slipped one arm out of it’s shoulder strap and swung the backpack to the front, unzipping it. “I got somethin I wanna give you…” he said.

Panic mounted on Steven’s face, and he started to lift his hands in protection as Jesse pulled from the backpack…the six pack of beer.

“Welcome home. Sorry to hear about your mom,” Jesse said, thrusting the beer into Steven’s hands.

posted on May, 16 2020 @ 08:08 PM
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

Back at his apartment, Jesse beamed with pride. He had conquered his inner demons – which builds up a powerful hunger.

He zapped a Hurrito! in the microwave. ‘It really is a snap!,’ thought Jesse. When it was done cooking, he drank it down like a champ while playing BubbleBuster on his phone.

“Heh! It really ain’t half bad...I guess,” he remarked, looking at the empty smoothie tube.

He went to bed.
edit on 5/16/2020 by DictionaryOfExcuses because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 16 2020 @ 08:10 PM
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

In the middle of the night, something went horrible wrong. Jesse’s eyes snapped open and beads of cold sweat clung to his brow. He winced in agony as his guts popped and churned and gurgled and whistled and squished. He stumbled over a moving box as he got out of bed and started making his way in the dark to the bathroom, clenching his anus with enough force to reduce a cue ball to dust and flexing his butt cheeks from side to side like his ass was rinsing with Listerine.

He barely had his pants down in time. He grunted pitifully as an orgasmic spray of fully-liquefied fecal ejecta shattered the mirror-like surface of the toilet water like a saucepan full of burnt brown gravy being flung into a kiddie pool. He died there on the toilet, overwhelmed by the birth of his mudbaby. He was unable to do push-ups when the alarm clock radio announced eight-thirty.

His death was attributed to COVID-19.


posted on May, 19 2020 @ 02:13 AM
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

That was good, though the last few bits were graphic and troubling, but hilarious.

posted on May, 19 2020 @ 03:33 AM
a reply to: SprocketUK

The ending is just my way of verifying you actually read the story

I appreciate that you always read and take time to comment on peoples' stories. I read all the entries on the 1st page of the contest thread and didn't see yours, so I'm sure I'll be getting to it soon.
edit on 5/19/2020 by DictionaryOfExcuses because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 19 2020 @ 09:44 AM
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

Mine was a fair way in mate. Hope you enjoy it when you find it

posted on May, 20 2020 @ 02:38 PM
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

I thought for sure the Hurrito did him in. I like it!

posted on May, 21 2020 @ 12:21 AM
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

You do well with your writing in making the reader feel an emotion and putting them in the story in their head.

Keep writing and I'll keep reading...


posted on May, 23 2020 @ 09:03 AM

originally posted by: DictionaryOfExcuses
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

In the middle of the night, something went horrible wrong. Jesse’s eyes snapped open and beads of cold sweat clung to his brow. He winced in agony as his guts popped and churned and gurgled and whistled and squished. He stumbled over a moving box as he got out of bed and started making his way in the dark to the bathroom, clenching his anus with enough force to reduce a cue ball to dust and flexing his butt cheeks from side to side like his ass was rinsing with Listerine.

Omg... this paragraph! DOE, this is so well written. I like how you divided the chapters and you are really good with dialogue (I'd really like to work on dialogue myself. I agree we can learn a lot from each other!)
Nice job writing about the new normal.

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