Friday, February 9, 2018


Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: stuck, lock, everlasting, rock, and roll. They were submitted by:

There's probably something wrong with me. I have no other explanation for the following...


The Black Keys' tune Everlasting Light popped into her head suddenly out of nowhere exactly 136 days 7 hours 23 minutes and 42 seconds ago.

She remembered her alarm going off at 10 a.m. to walk the dog before her last gyno visit with that song blaring between her temples, bouncing around and seemingly waking up all her synapses...well as much as they woke up these days. At the time, it was welcome. She hadn't actively listened to the opening track from the Brothers album in quite awhile, but it had always inexplicably been one of her favorites. She loved Dan Auerbach's soulful, bluesy crooning, but his voice on this track was so entirely different from most of their library of songs that it belonged, really, to an entirely different band. Still, it never failed to make her smile and sing along.

Well... until it had been stuck in her head, indie rock with no roll in too high a pitch, for over 4 months with no breaks, no pause, no other music forcing its way through no matter what she listened to, how loud, or for how long.

Stoner rock, fuzz metal, sludge, hip hop, soul, blues, garage rock, alt country...the classics...Nothing worked. It was just there on repeat, and she was absolutely losing her fucking mind over it.

In desperation after the first month, she saw a psychiatrist who sent her back to her regular doctor who sent her to a neurologist who sent her back to the psychiatrist who shook his hands of her with monthly prescriptions of Xanax and Celexa. He'd still happily make money off her, you see, even if he couldn't tell her why it was happening or how to stop it. It was all in her head, he said. Pun not intended.

In any case, she took the Celexa faithfully while nothing changed except weight gain and a steep decline in her sex drive (yes of course she still wanted to. It was the Black Keys in her head for fuck's sake not tom waits). She took the Xanax every night without fail, and she slept...but the song was in the background of every dream. She even took 4 of them one night (they were only .5 mg. Chilllll). Nothing. Not-a-gd-thing.

So. She channeled her best Hunter Thompson and tried shrooms, acid, cocaine, weed, ecstasy, ketamine, bought antipsychotics and Adderall from some high school kid who most definitely needed to be taking them herself. She had briefly even considered giving meth a shot, but a bitch has to draw a line somewhere and bathtub drugs made by rednecks with batteries and fertilizer and whatever else were apparently that line.

She wasn't the praying type, but she did return to Church for awhile until she was asked not to come back for laughing hysterically during the preacher's sermon about gay sin. So then she stayed home did the rituals, talked the talk, read a Dollar Tree bible and prayed. Hard. She asked others to join in--every Facebook prayer must obviously magnify your specific claim no matter how generic the request may appear on social media ( how do we know what to pray for?) judging by the behavior of the religious folks on her list. No answer. No change. She didn't even feel heard or warm or have clearer skin (which she also prayed about).

She posted the specifics last month online and got the usual recommendations from the armchair physicians on Facebook: yoga, drink more water, exercise, go for more walks, get outside, enjoy the sunshine, smile more, stop worrying about it, meditate, take B12 and D, acu-fucking-puncture, a chiropracter. You know, all the regular suggestions people give when they don't know shit but think they do. She. did. them. all.

Yet here she was, song still playing like the repeat button in her brain was on lock mode. 136 days 7 hours 26 minutes and 12 seconds. Torture. If the government could harness this power (scary to consider really) they'd never have to waterboard anyone again.

She had watched this documentary type show on Amazon called Lore some time ago, and one of the episodes was on the history of the lobotomy. If she hadn't ever seen a woman get an icepick through her eye to destroy part of her brain to make her more docile and subservient to her husband, she might be more inclined to joke about needing one, but after that, the whole idea was too dark even for her sense of humor.

Electroshock therapy was a consideration maybe... but then she'd seen what it could so on shows and documentaries and how often it was used to keep women in line when they were "hysterical." She'd rather deal with this song on repeat for the rest of her life than be completely locked inside her own head because of some mishap with a therapy that probably shouldn't have ever been used in the first place.

136 days 7 hours 29 minutes and 32 seconds

"Let me be your everlasting light.
The sun when there is none
I'm a shepherd for you
And I'll guide you through"

So she took the lyrics literally. Finally.

She sat on the floor pillow she bought for meditating purposes and let Dan Auerbach be her guide through her own imagination. They were in some sort of vast Middle Earth realm where the sun had been blocked out, and Dan literally shone like a star guiding her to an oasis of sorts. They sat under date palms on a log near a little pond listening to its creatures' mating calls. And as Dan turned to croon the song to her as he had in so many Xanax fueled dreams before, she pulled out a dagger of moonstone (whatever the fuck that is) and cut out his tongue.

Everything was silent. In fact the silence was so sudden and so complete she fell off her pillow back in reality and startled herself out of the meditated fantasy. When she opened her eyes, for a moment she saw the oasis, the stilled part of tongue just inches from her face as she lay in the sand. She jumped up and away from the sickening thing and found herself back home in her apartment surrounded by her things and in complete nothingness until some asshole blared his horn on the street below. She hurried and thought of any song at all besides THAT one and was pleasantly surprised to "hear" Benjamin Booker's Violent Shiver playing in her head.

We found a way, indeed.


The next morning though when she picked up her phone like she always did and flipped through Facebook, a headline from Rolling Stone jumped out at her.

Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys and The Arcs Found in Hotel Room Missing His Tongue


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts: