Should Have Gone

I should have gone pee before I hit the road
But now I feel like I’m going to explode

I sit here in traffic, unable to move
So instead of driving, I bust a groove

Wiggling in my seat makes me feel a bit better
But all the while my face is getting redder

The pressure builds until I’m sure that I’ll die
I’m so full of piss it should be coming out an eye

My meeting is a big one, I’m presenting the new line
I’d needed constant assurance that it’ll all work out fine

Traffic inches forward and I let the engine throttle
That’s when I spy, on the passenger floor, a bottle

Glancing around, nobody’s paying me attention
The look on my face is of a kid just before he gets detention

I reach for the bottle, taking a deep breath
Hating that the situation feels like life or death

It’s an old coke bottle and I unscrew the top
Once I start going, there’s no way to stop

The opening is tiny and it’s awkward to hold
I can’t believe I’m doing this; I’m 40 years old

As the bottle starts to fill, I get a bit worried
My plan is flawed because I made it while I hurried

What if I’m not done when there’s no more space?
I have no other bottles: a reality I can’t face

Luckily the urine begins to slow down
My only spare pants make me look like a clown

I think my boss hates me, just looking for a reason to fire
I’m not a huge fuck-up, but my work you wouldn’t admire

Traffic moves again, I’m almost there
Looks like I’ll make it, without a drip or a tear

The bottle’s 3 quarters full, and I’m all done
It worked out nicely; I feel like I’ve won

Into my pants my naughty parts slid
That’s when I realize that I’ve lost the lid

While opening in panic it got lost in the fray
If it’s under the seat, then there it will stay

The bottle goes in the cup holder to keep it upright
The whole endeavor gave me quite a big fright

That’s all my boss needs: an idea he’d catch
That I can’t dress myself, because my pants don’t match

I pull into the lot, and drive slow over bumps
I’ll need a whole new car if over it dumps

I take a moment to collect myself after I pull in
then peer around the lot for the closest trash bin

I take a peek under my seat, hoping to find the top
I’m running out of time, and I need to stop

I get out of the car and carefully grab the bottle
Then walk toward the trash: no time to dawdle

I look around while I go, afraid that someone will see
That I’m walking around with a bottle of pee

It all happens at once. I hear my name and I turn
“Watch where your going” is the lesson I learn

My heart jumps to my throat as I start to trip
And out of my grip the bottle does slip

I fumble the bottle and into the air it I toss
Soaking from head to foot, my unhappy boss

A Storm Through The Walls

Warning: Potential domestic abuse trigger


The roar of the sky falling outside drowned out anything remotely soft spoken. The nature of the sound obscured any actual words, but the emotion behind the violent screaming in the neighbor’s apartment was clear. It had been building for weeks. At first there were just sporadic shouts of anger and the sounds of doors and cabinets slamming, but the regularity and intensity had escalated.

In the beginning the baby would start screaming and they’d settle down a bit. I think it’s just the two of them down there now; I stopped hearing the baby a week ago, and only the two adults come and go anymore.

I think the baby acted as landfall does for a building storm over the ocean. Without it there to be emotionally damaged by their fighting, the storm just gained speed and momentum.
Today, as the storm broke outside and the rain started coming down, something definitely came to a head downstairs too. The emotion I felt through the walls had become intimidating. There had always been anger and hatred in the words, but it was hard to attribute this level of shouting to anything but fits of violent rage.

Wind pushed sheets of rain against my window for a brief instant of percussion, drowning out even the loudest hollers for a moment.

Was someone in danger down there? If so, who? It was easy to assume that abuse went from man to woman if it was there at all, but that isn’t always the case. What was my duty as a good neighbor? Do I mind my own business and let them work out their own problems? Was I supposed to call the police? How did one explain their reason for calling?
“The emotion coming through my walls is getting violent,” sounds about as legitimate as a man wandering around the hardware store offering to sell a $100 gift card for $75, cash only. But the interpolation of human emotion is an alarmingly precise tool. Does one need to understand Italian to know exactly what is happening in Rigoletto when Gilda goes into that house dressed like a man? Does one need to be fluent in French to feel Don Jose’s rage and desperation building near the end of Carmen?

I needed to be up early the following morning, but my heartburn was acting up and, of course, the walls were shaking with anger as the rain pounded my windows. So I sat up, trying to pretend that I was getting some work done, but I wasn’t; I was listening to the raging war through the wall, wondering about my civic duty.

Then it stopped. All of a sudden, without warning, and seemingly in the middle of a sentence, it stopped.

Why was I not relieved?

Why did my blood run cold when the torrent of angry words suddenly dipped below the sounds from the raging downpour? They could still be talking in a more civilized tone and I’d have no idea, but somehow I doubted it.

Something had happened and they had both fallen silent.

Was somebody dead?

“Excuse me officer, I’d like to report a potential murder; my neighbors stopped yelling at each other.”

Yeah, sure, buddy.


 

This is a work of fiction intended to paint an emotional picture and, thus, nobody was hurt by the protagonist being self involved and musing instead of reporting the incident. In real life, if you suspect domestic abuse of any kind for any reason, call the police and report it or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for advice, and do so immediately.
If you fear reprisal, request anonymity when you call. If you are worried about being wrong, sounding dumb, or wasting the time of the police, consider the alternative for a brief moment; what if it turns out that you are right, but you do nothing?
Make the call.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233
and there is more information on their website http://www.thehotline.org

New Paper

Some of you may recall that I received my MS in physics last year and I shared my thesis.
This last summer I did a bunch more related work and wrote a lot of a paper. I then handed what I had off to my adviser and collaborators and they completed it, rewrote a few sections, and submitted it. The paper, entitled ‘Quark Deconfinement in Rotating Neutron Stars,’ has been published by Universe and can be found here: http://www.mdpi.com/2218-1997/3/1/5/html

In case anyone was curious, I thought I’d share it. At the very least, there are some very colorful plots near the end. 🙂

Have a great week everyone!

Richard