Assuming Everything Is Fine

If I was to tell you my story it would have to start like this. I woke up and I peed.  Or I woke up, I peed, and then I ate something. The simplest of variations to the start of my day. Pretty boring stuff. But I guess that’s not really the nature of a story though. Not one as complex as mine, but in fact that is how this story starts. All stories, all of our stories, can and do start with simply I woke up, I peed, and then something remarkable happened. No matter who we are. So, I guess not starting at the beginning is my only option. And not starting at the beginning my story goes a little something like this.

I woke up, I peed, I ate something, and then I said out loud, “Are you hungry?” I called this out to my wife wherever she might be in our small house. There was no reply. With the loud continuous noise coming from my wife’s office this was to be expected.  If I had to guess this unrelenting noise is probably what woke me up and now, she can’t hear me. The sound of her constantly working machine often wakes me up. This isn’t anything new. Not for the last few years or so anyway. My wife runs her successful small business right here from the back spare bedroom. She makes trinkets and other artistic things by hand, machine, or however she does it. She is very talented most of the time. Her office is often filled with all the different things she is working on. Typically, I leave her be, but I need an answer to my question.

“Are you hungry?” I question louder as I make my way towards her office. I don’t want to startle her by appearing with no warning. I’ve made this mistake one too many times and have indeed unintentionally messed up her work in some way. She often gets very into her work and naturally spaces out while she works. I wish I could have the focus she does, but that isn’t a skill I possess most of the time. Still no reply even as I stand at the doorway to her office. Her back is turned to me and she appears motionless at her desk. The machine gives off an odor that isn’t as familiar as the sound it makes loudly over and over. “Are you hungry?” I shout over the machine once again. Still, she does not move. For all I know she could be dead. But she isn’t really my wife. I mean she is my wife, but not really. She is only this version of me’s wife and I know I’m going to have to act real sad about it later.

If she is dead. I don’t get the feeling that this version of me had anything to do with his wife’s death, but I can’t be really certain either. I’ve never met this version of us in any sense. I’d like to believe that there is no version of us that could ever hurt anyone, but I know that isn’t true. I woke up on that day like any other too. I woke up and I peed. I should explain that I have a very normal bladder. I’ve never had it tested or measured, but I would say it is very average. Maybe even extremely average for a man of my height and build and age. Five foot eight and a hundred and something pounds. On second thought, divulging such facts isn’t really relevant.  I am an average man of an average size. My wife on the other hand was born with a very small bladder. Again never tested but she has always had to go more than me. So, my day began as it always began.

I woke up, I peed, and I went to the kitchen to find something to eat. Normally I like something a little sweet if it is available. Maybe two cookies right from the sleeve over the sink. Maybe even four. Really depends on my day and the day I had before. “Are you hungry?” I exclaimed. Just like recently only this was in fact a different time and there was no loud noise to drown me out either. Just like this most recent time there was no response. This next part may be a little graphic for some of you. By you of course, I mean possible me’s. I am not sure how many of us have this ability. We’ve never met in person naturally and I’m not really sure where it is that you go. Maybe for an instance you are actually me for a time as I am you for that same amount of time? It all seems so uncertain as to when and if any of this really is. A scary thought for some of you, and certainly for me. A few of us can be real bastards without even trying and that is never fair to her. In this instance though what I saw wasn’t fair to anyone.

First, I noticed blood or at least what I had hoped was maybe only a trail. Maybe people from here leave a dark red trail as they move along? As you know, if you know, anything can and is possible. I once got milk in my eyes and a scratched cornea because my eyes were where my mouth was supposed to be. Very inefficient way to eat I might add and we know how much we hate inefficiency. How is one supposed to grow a beard or not have remnants of food find their way into the opening of one’s eyes? It seems so redundant now to have ever even invented food like cereal or soup or pasta or the list of drippy foods is endless. How could a society exist under such awful circumstances? I can hear you asking yourself because I did so myself. Turns out they simply close their eyes as they eat. Food brushing asks their eyelids like the skin of our chins and gently wiping away anything left behind. Personally, I went hungry for the rest of the day. It was a very long day.

Now I always look in the mirror before or after I pee depending on how bad I have to go. I assure you that my bladder is very average for most of the versions of me. Never can be too sure that everything is where it is supposed to be. That was a longtime ago though. Even before I met my wife or our wife depending on how we are supposed to look at my situation. The trail of red leading away from the kitchen was something new at the time and was in fact blood. I know it was blood because I followed it right to the source. Right to the same doorway I found myself currently standing in. The source in that instance was of course my wife sitting very similarly as she is now. So, you can see why even as I waited for a response over my wife’s loud machine, I wasn’t too frightened or concerned as I waited. Even if she is dead assuming everything will be fine is all I can really do.  That is my mentality now of course and it was because of past encounters that I am able to reach such a mental conclusion. Then not so much.

Frustrated at the time by her obvious attempt to ignore me and my perfectly average question, “Are you hungry?” I grabbed her by the cold lifeless shoulder and turned her around with ease. The simple motion of her swivel chair rocking her head back as she still managed to look away from me. Partially headless. A little flap still hanging on by the mighty strength of skin. I recoiled in fear as I looked upon the inner workings of her throat and all that her skin once shielded from view. The amount of pressure and strength it must have taken to overcome the tension. Whatever had set “me” off must have truly made “me” snap, but again I had no idea we were capable of such horrendous acts of violence. But there it was right before my eyes. The proof that we very much were and are capable of such hideous things. I had seen many things in my life, but never had I seen such a horrible thing done to my wife of all people.  I wish they would have left a note or a warning. Something to ease the mystery of why and how. I don’t think it would have made it all that much easier to understand, but something is better than nothing.

So, I cried. Most of that day I was crying until I cried myself back to sleep. Sometimes I still cry if I think about it too much for too long. You are probably wondering why I don’t cry every day for completely different reasons. Every day a new place. Every day is something different. That part of this is easy. That part is easy because not every day is that much different from any other day. Most versions of us are just plain old boring versions of us at first glance. Few are as extreme as finding your wife nearly decapitated or have our features swapped. In fact, most “worlds” are barely noticeable in their differences. Maybe a flavor of something familiar or the light fixtures have a different brightness setting or maybe we have a different hair cut or the word “truth” has a different meaning or my voice is a few octaves higher. Some are so hard to detect that it doesn’t feel any different at all. Little differences don’t make that much of a difference in the larger scheme of life. Of course, I know that they can depending on the day. By now how could I not? Or at the very least assume? You learn to deal with it in time. As I assume you have because you are me.

Dear Lord… I just got it. When you assume you make an ass out of you and me. I wonder how many yous and mes there are out there? Returning to the present and the fact that there still is no response to my calls of, “Are you hungry?” I walk into the room expecting the worst. “Are you hungry?” I ask for a third time. Fearful that I would get no response as she sits motionless in her familiar chair. “What?” My wife calls back over the noise of her machine. A sense of relief washes over me. One murder is enough for a lifetime. She turns in her swivel office chair to face me. Her razor-sharp teeth are in full view as blood drips from her lips and she holds what is left of a human leg by the shin. What would have been the thigh picked clean to the bone. “I already ate,” she grins. “I didn’t know when you planned on getting up. Do you want what’s left?” She offers me sweetly, extending the gnawed-on leg towards my directions. Maybe a murder isn’t the worst thing to wake up to? I think to myself. Assuming everything is going to be fine is all I can really do. 

It’s a story… Not sure if it is a great story… that’s for other to decide… but it is a story… I told you I was working on some stuff… though this is not what I have been really working on… I worked on it obviously… but it was more of a side distraction to what I have been working on lately…

The format is going to be changing around here for a little bit… Until either I run out of stories or decide I have enough material gathered to create Broken Thoughts Vol. 4… Though not every story featured here will be found in Vol 4 or will every story from Vol 4 be featured on here… The new format going forward will be one story a week… followed by a week of Broken Thoughts… Two posts… I won’t drown you in sorrow…

In other news… as I gaze into my crystal ball into the future of uncertainty… the plan is to create our own podcast that we will post at the end of each story week talking about that week’s story and the previous week’s Broken Thoughts… Still researching a format… we actually want to pursue… At the moment I’m thinking of a more scripted and fictious podcast… I don’t know though… still gathering ideas…

Is a podcast something any of you are interested in?… or a giant waste of your time and ours?…  

Hope All Is Well…

Layne Ambrose

Broken Thoughts Vol. 3 : Chasing Ghost…

Now Available… Paperback or Digital…

Filled With Short Stories… Poems… and Broken Thoughts…


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