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       "Disorder" and 7 Other Flashes of Character, p.1

           J. Timothy King
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"Disorder" and 7 Other Flashes of Character
“Disorder”

  and 7 Other Flashes of Character

  J. Timothy King

  “Disorder” and 7 Other Flashes of Character

  Copyright © 2011 J. Timothy King. All rights reserved.

  Published by J. Timothy King.

  https://www.JTimothyKing.com/

  First electronic edition, March 2011.

  Version 1.00

  Disorder

  She sneaks out of the house while no one is looking and heads to the bad side of the city. Her husband is upstairs reading to the kids, and she is supposedly catching up on her email. As far as she knows, no one realizes she is gone.

  She strolls down the sidewalk under the dimming sky and watches the street lamps flicker as they come alive. She inhales dingy, urine-soaked air, feels cool wind on her face, catches a whiff of used cigarette smoke, and grins. She knows she could be mugged at any time, or worse. Her fear makes the experience more real. With every step her breath comes faster, her heart thumps harder. This is life, she thinks, pure, unadulterated aliveness.

  She was only 11 years old the first time she snuck out. Her mother had kept her penned in the house, except on supervised outings, wouldn’t even allow her to play with the neighborhood kids without a babysitter. One night she climbed out of her bedroom window and basked in the moonlight, dancing through the yard like Julie Andrews on a high mountain. As she returned, she found her mother in her empty bedroom. She received the scolding of a lifetime. What did she think she was doing? Didn’t she know how much danger she had put herself in? A small girl, out alone in the middle of the night? Was she crazy? She remembered some arguing, but mostly a lot of crying.

  Since then, she has been much more careful not to get caught. Not that she has never gotten caught. Once or twice, her husband and kids discovered that she was missing. She gave the excuse that she only went out for a drive, and she apologized for not telling them she was going.

  A police car races down the street, lights flashing, siren blaring.

  One time, shortly after her sweet sixteen, she returned to find a police car stopped outside her house and her mother sobbing inside. When she had turned up missing, Mom had assumed worse than the worst. She loved her mother and was very sorry for causing such anxiety and grief.

  A man catcalls at her, and she beams but otherwise pretends to ignore him. He follows her, and she continues on, step by step. She accelerates her pace; he, likewise. Her heart races with suspense and enthusiasm and pleasure. She spies a shop just up ahead. She can enter and be safe. Then, a loud ringing, a sharp pain on the back of her head, and everything goes dark.

  She awakes in the hospital, and her first thought is, How am I going to explain how this happened? She begins to think up a suitable story. Maybe she was in a car accident. No, that wouldn’t work. Maybe she was the victim of a freak car hijacking. Yes, that could work, if she can think of some reason for the hijacker to attack her and leave her laying on the side of the road. Maybe he just wanted to bring her to a remote place where he thought it would be safe for him to rape her.

  It was nice of the shop owner to call the ambulance. Oh no: maybe he witnessed the attack. No, it’s okay. She can still make her story work. She tried to escape, and he clubbed her, presumably to prevent her from getting away.

  This is the story she tells the police. The poor degenerate, they will find no evidence that he was ever in her car. Only the aggravated sexual assault charge will be upheld against him.

  Her next outing will be even more exciting than this one.

  A Comedian's Motive

  Why do I put myself through it? That’s a good question. I mean, why venture out on that stage? Just to tell jokes? I don’t think so. Yeah, there are all the standard reasons—and I’ve even told myself a few—about how laughter is healing, and people need me, and I help them, and a chuckle is worth a thousand tears, and on and on. But that’s just posturing. Let me tell you the real reason why I go out on that stage, and under those stage lights, and make an idiot of myself, just to get a few laughs.

  It all starts with the spotlight. You go out there and you see that spotlight shining in your eyes, and it changes you. Even before you go out on the stage, and you have butterflies in your stomach, and your hand is shaking just a little bit, and you think about that spotlight, and you think your voice is going to crack— Of course, with a voice as scratchy as mine, no one can tell the difference.

  But you go out there, and that pit in your gut turns into a fire. And it’s you out on that stage and them out in the audience, and then you get to face your biggest fear. You’re not afraid that they’ll love you or hate you. You’re afraid that they won’t. I don’t care whether they laugh at my jokes or throw me out because of ’em. I don’t care whether they smile or give me catcalls or throw tomatoes or whatever, as long as they don’t ignore me.

  I have this bit I perform in just about every show. It ends with me jacking off my microphone stand as if it were a five-foot-long dick. You have to be there to see the humor— It’s a visual joke. Just about everyone in the whole place always laughs, but half of the audience cringes, too. And I’m bound to get a few people saying, “Eww,” or “Gross!” You know? But that’s okay. I don’t mind that, because I’d rather see shock and hate on their faces rather than nothing at all.

  Because, you know, the real reason I go out there on that stage is for people to pay attention to me. When you’re in that spotlight, it’s all about you. It’s not about the jokes. It’s not about the laughs. A whole room full of people, and they’re all hanging on your every word. And that’s a feeling you can’t get anywhere else.

  Too Much Information

  This story is a test.

  Seriously, it’s a test to see whether I can magically change the future. Really.

  I know you don’t believe me, but let me explain. For the past three weeks, I’ve been dreaming the future. Actually, it’s been 20 days. Today will be day 21.

  It may have been going on for longer, but I first noticed it on May 21. Actually, at first, I thought it was just a coincidence. It wasn’t until a few days later that I began to suspect something... paranormal. (Yeah, that’s the word I want, paranormal. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s the only word that fits.)

  On Friday, May 21, a friend of mine was telling me what happened to him that morning on the way to work. He had almost gotten into a 5-car accident. (He would have been in car number 6.) And as he was telling the story, I remembered I had dreamed the night before about the same thing, an almost-accident.

  In my dream, an old work colleague, who I haven’t seen in years, was driving a motorcycle down I-95, and suddenly a truck ran over her. I freaked, of course, but then she got up and assured me that she and her bike were okay. It had been a near miss.

  Crazy coincidence, I thought, and I told my friend about the dream I’d had. We all had a good laugh over it and didn’t think any more of it.

  That night, I dreamed a man with bloody feet was pushing boulders off a high hill, sending them barreling over the city of Philadelphia. Each boulder was larger than the previous, striking the city with ever more force, time and again and again and again. Finally, he reached the last boulder, and he told me not to worry, that this was the last one.

  “What’s that been, five?” I said. “Why not ten? Why not twenty?” “Five is enough,” he replied, grinning.

  The next day, the Red Sox shut out the Phillies, 5 to nothing.

  I began writing down my dreams, all of them that I could remember, every night. Then each day, I scoured Google news to see if my dreams had come true. Over and over again, I found t
hat they had.

  The Alaskan pipeline spill (May 25)

  Obama’s targeting of US citizens as terrorists (May 27)

  The protest march in Phoenix against the Arizona immigration law (May 29)

  The phonetic-spelling protesters at the Scripps National Spelling Bee (June 4)

  The tornado in Illinois (June 5)

  The 4-alarm fire in Henderson, Nevada (June 8)

  The 429 people arrested in a national drug raid (June 9)

  The beached whale on Jones Beach Island (June 10)

  So I figured I’d try an experiment. I read up on lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is when you wake up while you’re dreaming, just enough to know that you are in fact dreaming. And at that point you can affect what happens in your dream. You can do anything you want; after all, it is your dream. I even tried it a few times, just so that I knew I could dream lucidly. But I was careful not to affect anything in my dream. I just wanted to see if I could do it.

  All the while, I continued to test that I was still dreaming the future, and indeed, I was. In fact, when I dreamed about the beached whale, which in my dream, appeared as a beaver caught in a trap, I saw the people coming to take it away. And dreaming lucidly, even though I felt helpless to stop them, I considered pulling out a machine gun (because after all, it was my dream, and I could do anything I wanted in it) and mowing them all down. But then I reconsidered, remembering that I
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