Posts Tagged ‘Addiction’

Pentecost (Short Story Excerpt)

January 17, 2017

author-2

April 14th, 2017
Stark City, Oregon.
6:01 a.m.

“I will extol Thee, Oh Lord!” Reverend Gideon Brahm recited with all the enthusiasm he could muster. Bathed in flickering candlelight, his eyes stung from lack of sleep. His throat ached from seventy-eight hours of near-constant preaching about life, death, love, Pentecost, and—he hoped—resurrection. “For Thou hast lifted me up…”
Gideon’s heart sank as he gazed at his dwindling flock. Three days ago, he’d begun this doomed experiment with twelve handpicked apostles, and half of them had fled.

Half of them had denied him.

“And hast not made my foes to rejoice over me!”

Tall and lean, Gideon looked much younger than his actual age of forty-three. He wore his light brown hair shoulder-length, framing his smooth, handsome face. A face that’s charmed many out of their money, and lured many others into his thrall.

“Oh Lord, my God…”

Even now, hair mussed and tangled, eyes ringed with dark circles, Gideon radiated warmth and compassion. A natural born leader. A man you’d trust with your very soul.

“I cried unto Thee, and Thou hast healed me!”

Before Gideon lay a white satin sheet. Atop the sheet lay a pale, putrescent thing which couldn’t be healed—by The Lord or otherwise. A corpse. A naked old woman. Name, unknown. Cause of death, unknown. Its wrinkled face looked slack and peaceful; eyes closed, lips parted. Arms spread in a T, fingers curled into partial fists.

The eternal pose of the crucified.

“Oh Lord, Thou hast brought up my soul from the grave…”

Washed but not embalmed, the old woman’s body had been culled from Stark Memorial Services by a fellow devotee. Already, it carried the sour stench of death, and the flesh beneath its breasts and buttocks had begun to blacken.

“Thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down into the pit!”

Around the corpse sat the remnants of Gideon’s flock. Like Gideon, they wore white satin robes tied at their waists with golden cords, and nothing else.

“Sing unto The Lord, Oh ye saints of His…”

To Gideon’s left sat Dennis Moore. A kind man with a kind face, Gideon thought. A distraught woman lay across his lap, weeping. Dennis held her, chewing his bottom lip as he absorbed the sermon. Gideon had known Dennis for five years. A friend invited him to Gideon’s now defunct Lambs of Nazareth bible study group; long before Gideon proclaimed himself an actual prophet.

Before a lot of things.

“And give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness!”

Marla Smith, the woman clinging to Dennis, had also belonged to the Lambs of Nazareth. A very average woman, Gideon thought. Unloved, unmarried, and childless. But Gideon had slowed Marla’s descent into spinsterhood with several detours to his bedroom. Not that she’d minded. It felt good to be wanted, and the lovemaking had grown in both frequency and intensity—

Until Hope arrived.

“For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favor is life!”

Beside Marla sat Rick Daniels, shivering and stroking his thick, blonde mustache. He looked like a used car salesman, Gideon thought. Gideon had known Rick for three years. After ordering his flock to disseminate flyers proclaiming him a Prophet of the New Age, Gideon first met Rick, flyer in hand, outside his church. Fresh from rehab, Rick had seemed lost and lonesome, and Gideon welcomed him with open arms, advising him to fill his life not with booze, but with God.

Trading one addiction for another.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning!”

Beside Rick sat Gwen Robinson, grinning, hands clasped between her flabby breasts. Not a very bright woman, Gideon thought. But pleasant; the very definition of obedient. And gullible. When Gideon spoke in tongues, she’d shout, “Praise Reverend Brahm!” When Gideon placed his hands on an arthritic old man and proclaimed him free of pain, she’d shout, “Praise Reverend Brahm!” When Gideon spoke of the paradise awaiting all those who followed him, she’d shout, “Praise Reverend Brahm!”

And by the rapture on her face, Gwen had zero doubt that Gideon would fulfill his messianic prophecy.

“And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved!”

Beside Gwen sat Ruth Miller—the oldest of Gideon’s flock—impassive as she brushed the corpse’s hair. Impassive, though her thin hands trembled with every stroke. Two years ago, Gideon had convinced Ruth of his power by conducting a séance in which he’d contacted her uncle; the man who’d molested her at the tender age of twelve. “He says he’s deeply sorry,” Gideon told her. “And he wishes he could take it all back.” Afterward, Ruth handed Gideon a check which had decimated her savings but cemented her position in the flock.

And both enjoyed the benefits of forgiveness.

“Lord, by Thy favor, Thou has made my mountain to stand strong!”

Shaking, Gideon turned to his most beloved follower, Hope Rochester. So beautiful, so pious and docile. A former cheerleader, and it showed. Long, slender legs. Petite waist. Firm breasts. Bright blue eyes. She sat with her head bowed, blonde hair shrouding her angelic face. Though exhausted, looking at Hope stoked a wicked desire deep in Gideon’s loins.

A temptation into which he’d already been led.

“Thou didst hide Thy face, and I was troubled!”

Dennis, Marla, Rick, Gwen, Ruth, and Hope. All of them believed that God—not fate, not luck, not mere coincidence, but God—had brought Gideon into their lives. Thus, they believed that God had gathered them together in Unit 313 of the Warrington Arms apartment complex to witness a miracle.

To be touched by the Holy Spirit.


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JLR

Blurring The Edge (Short Story Excerpt)

January 30, 2015

October 19th, 2015.

Stark City, Oregon.

9:01 p.m.

Well, today was just like any other day. A struggle. Again. Another uphill climb with only the thought of getting it all over with to keep me going. And once the long day is finally over, I can get on home and relax the best way I know how. By playing with myself.

That’s right.

Some men like to go out after work. They like to hit the bars, hoist cheap beer, watch sports, drool over trashy women, shoot pool, and shoot the shit. I guess that gives them a reason to keep on keeping on. Know what I say? I say they might as well shoot themselves right along with the pool and the shit.

Can’t say just why, but none of that appeals to me. Bars and women. No, sir. What a waste of time. For me, from the moment my eyes snap open in the morning until the moment I sign out in the evening, my mind’s on one thing and one thing only:

Playing with myself.

Nothing else feels quite the same as playing with myself. Not that I don’t love my booze and an occasional joint, cause I most surely do. But then, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let me tell you how each day begins and ends so you’ll have a better idea of what I’m rambling about. The beginning is always shitty, of course. Goddamn alarm clock sounds like a warning buzzer at a hockey game. It sure does the job of waking my tired ass up, though. So as soon as I can muster the energy to haul the load below my shoulders, I roll out of bed and stumble to the bathroom. After I finish my business with the commode I step into the tub and take the longest, hottest shower the water heater allows. Even in the summer. And to save time, I brush my teeth under the hot spray. Afterwards, I’m able to move like a man and not a zombie, which makes getting dressed a bit more pleasant, what with all the bending and twisting involved. Then, before I leave, I make myself a cup of instant coffee with plenty of sugar and cream.

Now, I have to admit, sometimes I wake up with a strong urge to play with myself before I hop in the shower. Especially when I was younger. Sometimes it’s all I can do not to stumble into the living room, plant my bare ass on the couch, and shoot off right there. Sometimes, I have to stand in the bathroom and tell myself over and over, “Wait ’til you get home, boy. Wait ’til you get home.”

So far, I’ve never caved in and done it before work, which is something to be proud of. I mean, after all, I’ve been playing with myself for a long time.

Anyway, let me tell you about work. I’d like to say I have a really interesting job, but I sure as hell don’t. It’s at a big old dirty factory in the Industrial District. Stark City Manufacturing. Job level two, full time with benefits. Been on that damned assembly line for thirteen years now. I put two cogs and one spring on each part that slides my way. These parts are then fitted to valves that attach to hoses in car engines. Foreign engines in slick foreign cars. The kind the kids all drive these days. The details are kind of boring, I guess, but the pay’s good and the work’s easy. Maybe too easy. That must be why my mind always drifts off to my one and only hobby.

Now, you might think a guy like me, who gets off on playing with himself so much, would keep it quiet. And you’re right. I do. For the most part. But once, a long time ago, I let my dirty little secret slip, and I’ve been paying for it ever since. Being a loner type who usually keeps to himself, the guys and gals I work with were always trying to goad me out of my shell. “Whaddya do for fun?” they’d ask. “How do ya unwind after work?”

I’ve always been a man of few words. Don’t like to talk. Don’t like goddamn comedians trying to be funny. Especially when I’m the punch line. So their questions bothered me. A lot. I dealt with it by just shrugging and saying things like, “Nothing much,” or, “You know, the usual.” But over time, it got harder and harder to hide my aggravation, and the more aggravated I got, the more they kept up their bullshit. And one day I finally lost it with this big dumb parts polisher everyone calls “Jethro” on account of him being such a moron. “Jethro” kept asking if I had a life outside of work, and what kind of “lame hobbies” filled up my free time. The bastard wouldn’t stop, and when I couldn’t take it no more I just blurted out the truth:

That I like to go home and play with myself.

Well. Big mistake. There was instant laughter all around, and the news of my confession spread like wildfire. In a matter of minutes, I became known as “the guy who spends all his time jerking off at home.”

And that’s still how it is to this day. Everyone on the crew winks and smiles at me. Sometimes they whistle or slap me on the back. “Betcha can’t wait to go home and play with yourself!” is all I hear, all day long. Sometimes they dig down deep into their vocabularies for the most vulgar expressions they can find to describe what they imagine I do with my dick every night.

According to the assholes I work with, I:

Grease it.

Polish it.

Spit-shine it.

Stroke it.

Slap it.

Spank it.

Yank it.

Tug it.

Whack it.

Beat it.

Jerk it.

Or jack it.

And, of course, to them my dick’s not a dick. It’s a hose, a monkey (my personal favorite), a pipe, a rod, a tallywhacker, a schlong, a dong, a wang, a pinky, a knob, a salami, a wiener, meat, and pud. I guess they’re too juvenile to use grownup words like dick, cock, or penis. They also have other witty little sayings, like: choking the chicken, engaging in man-to-gland combat, and, of course, taking matters into your own hands.

Anyway. None of them know shit from Shinola. They are right about one thing, though. All day long, every miserable second of every miserable hour, I can’t wait to get home and play with myself. And that’s the only way to accurately describe what I do. I “play with myself.” I absolutely do not grease, polish, spit-shine, stroke, slap, spank, yank, tug, whack, beat, jerk, or jack any part of myself.

I just play with myself.

Every evening when I get home.

Yeah. I first started playing with myself around the age of seventeen. I’ve heard that’s kind of late for most guys, but I really wouldn’t know what other people get up to. All I know for sure is that I discovered it right about the time I started my first job as a bagger at Stark Grocery World over in the Dibert District. At first, I was just messing around…figuring the whole thing out…then it got serious. Playing with myself started to feel really good. Insanely good. Like an addiction.

What can I say?

It didn’t take very long before I was hooked.

Now I do it almost every day. And when I’m not doing it, I’m sure as hell thinking about doing it. Those idiots are right about that. But what might surprise them is that I never play with myself on my days off. Don’t know why, either. Just never feel the urge.

Now, over the years I’ve built up some discipline about the whole thing. When I was younger, I’d rush through the door and start playing with myself as soon as I could. Like a man possessed. But now I never rush. I take my time and enjoy it. I savor it like a delicious meal I might never have the chance to taste again. Hell, at this point, it’s become an honest-to-goodness ritual.

So what I do, is this:

Once I get home, I walk through the door of my shit-hole apartment as calmly as possible, and set my lunchbox on the counter in my kitchen. I know what’s waiting for me in the living room but I don’t dare look at it. In fact, I do my damnedest to totally ignore it as I walk past. I go into my bedroom, strip off my dirty work uniform, and slip off my boots. And I take my time with all this, psyching myself for the big event. Thinking about it all day long builds up a shit ton of anticipation, a shit ton of excitement. I know I’ll be playing with myself very soon, and even though I’ve done it thousands of times, I still can’t wait to shoot off on my couch.

Shooting off really is the greatest feeling in the world.


“Blurring The Edge” is now available in Ramingo’s Porch Literary Magazine Issue #3:

https://www.amazon.com/Ramingos-Porch-Issue-3/dp/1948920042


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