This is the story.

This is the Story

This is the beginning. Here is where the story begins. The character is introduced—we meet the character, her, we’ll call her a her. We begin to learn about her background, or if not so much as that, then her habits. We see her doing what she does every day, in medias res. What she does now foreshadows what will happen to her later. She does the same thing every day, and then something changes. It’s not much, but it’s something, and so it is a story.

This is the middle. The thing that happens, the different thing, happens here. She was safe in her assumptions, but this thing occurs, or something occurs to her, a realization, and she can no longer go on thinking what she thought. Perhaps it has to do with him, someone important to her, someone whom perhaps she loves. And yet he is also her antagonist, the one who stands in the way of what must happen for her to be, if not happy, then consummated, fulfilled. This is when we meet him, when we come to understand the obstacle he presents, when we are allowed to wonder how she will, how she can, proceed.

This is the ending. At this point the situation comes to its crisis. Events build to a climax. We have been expecting this: a conflict, and, through its resolution, change. But then something happens that we had not -expected, a surprise, a twist, which nonetheless feels, now that it has happened, -inevitable. They were at odds in a way that had become familiar, and now we learn that their goals are not so far apart, that perhaps what had seemed a conflict is in fact its own resolution.

Finally there is this, something after the ending, after the climax: the result. It is not at all what we expected. Perhaps one of them—him—is left behind in some way by the events that have transpired. He is lost, and she must suffer a kind of grief, as must he, for he is lost but must go on, as she must, too. So the story comes to its conclusion, open to interpretation, and we find that the only way out, for us as well as for them, is this lyrical finale, a few words, a bit of poetry. This last sentence is beautiful, as though beauty is itself the justification, though it isn’t—not quite.

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Flophouse

you haven't liveduntil you've been in a flophouse with nothing but one light bulb and 56 men squeezed together on cots with everybody snoring at once and some of those snores so deep and gross and unbelievable- dark snotty gross subhuman wheezings from hell itself.

your mind almost breaks under those death-like sounds

and the intermingling odors: hard unwashed socks pissed and shitted underwear

and over it all slowly circulating air much like that emanating from uncovered garbage cans.

and those bodies in the dark

fat and thin and bent

some legless armless

some mindless

and worst of all: the total absence of hope

it shrouds them covers them totally.

it's not bearable.

you get up

go out walk the streets up and down sidewalks

past buildings

around the corner

and back up the same street

thinking

those men were all children once

what has happened to them?

and what has happened to me?

it's dark and cold out here.

Charles Bukowski