Wednesday's Three Word Wednesday

The words over at Three Word Wednesday are demise, effort, revival.

This you should know about the ceiling in 43F: Squint long enough at the textured ceiling (not quite into the water stain, but more toward the left), and the Rev. Billy Graham will appear.

Not in Technicolor, no sir.

And certainly not in a burning bush, God-is-calling-you-home, Big Tent Revival kind of way.

It’s like when the brain makes the connection with one of those animation flipbooks they used to put in a box of Cracker Jack – or if you really want to get technical, the way the rods and cones in the eyes just send the brain pencil sketches of life and the brain fills in all the detail, the colors.

So, back to the Rev. Billy Graham.
 In a textured ceiling (not the water stain, but off to the left).

Billy (if we may be so bold to call him that) appears without so much effort – all blotchy and in exponential frequency, to one James Francis Cannell.

Our little Jimmy has stopped sleeping nights. In fact, some internal clock stirs him the minute – and as far as he can figure, the exact moment – 52 years after his mother, Jean, pushed him slick and slightly bloody from her womb.

In its greenish glow, the clock radio blinks 3:12 AM.

Jimmy’s feeling the demise of his senses in a circle-the-drain potency. Dark circles taint ever-hollowing eye sockets. His appetite is shot. There’s the nodding off at work. The stern warnings standing on industrial carpet squares in front of the boss. Jimmy’s not really listening, even though his lips move ever so slightly in agreement.

He picks at his flesh, absently.

Fights off waves of nausea.

Gulps air at the increasing spikes of paranoia.

Reaching up into the shadows with outstretched hands, Jimmy pleads with all his heart to the outlined face on the ceiling.

“Billy, make it stop.”

It becomes a chant, a mantra, leaving Jimmy gravelly-voiced as another dawn spreads through the windows in 43F, erasing Mr. Graham’s visage.


mark said...

Wonderfully written, Thom. I can almost taste the paranoia and other unpleasantries associated with this.

Get better soonest.

pia said...

Scared me and made me laugh--out loud
New York sure becomes your writing. Beginning to think I need the mother ship

Susannah said...

Oooh, I do love these slices of some other life, vivid, evocative and so effective. Nice writing, it catches you up and involves you.

Angel said...

Would be awful for someone to really live that way.

Anonymous said...

I think I'd be painting my cieling. :)

Jeni Mc said...

there's a piece in me, about a tent revival baptism and a schizophrenic break. I thought these words would fish it out of me, but it didn't. Again (like another piece I shelved because I wouldn't hit to close to yours), I'm boggled that I would have been sort of plagiarizing you from so far away. But my imitation would be weak flattery, I can't do what you do.

Other commentors are correct, the pulse of the city is pounding through your keyboard. love it.

jaerose said...

The black humour is as evident as that water really plunges you into Jimmy's world..have been listening to 'A Junky's Chrsitmas Carol' (Bill Burroughs) and it reminds me of that - how many people are awake and itching their skin off behind flimsy rented doors..Jae

gautami tripathy said...

Too good. You really tickle my brain!

snowed out

lissa said...

the mention of birth and womb was unexpected and something I prefer not to imagine at all, sounds like Jimmy isn't going to last very long, odd story, at least to me

Zouxzoux said...

Ah, you worked in a psyche hospital too, huh. ;)
Great writing.

Quin Browne said...

This was tight and nicely drawn... your writing improves piece by piece, from good moving on to more than that.

mazzz in leeds said...

quite a descent into hell, here - nice work, disturbing.

Jen Brubacher said...

This is such a great drawing of a character. It feels like the start of a book. I'd like to read more.

Monica Manning said...

Great piece, ThomG! Clearly, NY has sucked you into the lunatic fringe. Keep it up!

Sumit Sarkar said...

It was intense...
I loved reading it :)

Anonymous said...

Graphic description of a steadily deteriorating mind.
And, no more staring at the ceiling from this moment onwards (oops, I looked up!)

rallentanda said...

Always impressed with anyone who can be inspired by cracks in the ceiling...very imaginative work and the profile's not bad either!

Anonymous said...

I grew up with a textured ceiling and still have one in my bedroom. I often spend sleepless mornings looking for shapes and did so as a child. This really resonates with me. The fact that he resorts to an imagined Billy Graham speaks volumes for the state of his mind. Truely showing over telling.