birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Born in the Year of the Tiger

Put the keyboard down and walk away. Two days I’ve been staring at that word and each time I turn my head and push down the surge of regret and revulsion. Not that one. No way. Uh huh. Not going back there. I fight like one possessed. I leap in, tooth and claw, and I don’t hesitate to get them red.

Not going to take any shit, nope. Certainly never going to walk away. Because if things aren’t set right, they’ll be wrong forever, and thus begins the downward fight spiral. Fights on street corners, in restaurants, in front of my children, in bedrooms, in cars. Fights that almost came to blows, fights that where words were nuclear weapons, where I was never the one to walk out, but made it impossible for anyone else to say.

Fights over slights, real and imagined. Fights about things I never did and worse fights over things I certainly did. I have an almost life long habit of choosing men with extraordinarily strong wills and big brains and they tell me they love me because I take them on and that sometimes means an endless circling of the ring, gloves off and no bell sounding.

“She’s a fighter,” the doc told one of these men, the one I’ve fought with the longest, as he stood by my hospital bed watching the monitors’ evidence that I was still in battle. As if he didn’t know that. So here I am, there I was, a Leo born in the year of the Tiger, and I don’t like to let go of my prey. In the most heated and wounding moments I sometimes warn “you’ve crossed the line now.” As if there was a clear line. Where’s the referee who should be enforcing this good behavior? Or at least making us play by the rules? Instead I get to be both combatant and officiate, at least on my imagined battlefield. Which is a much less bloody place that the one I actually find myself on. So, put up your dukes. Draw your weapons. Back to back, lets face each other, draw our swords and shoot each other. But watch out, that deaf policeman is on way and there’s not much life left for these two dead boys. You know, the twins. Siamese ones at that. Because, really, it’s hard to tell one combatant from the other. I might as well be looking in the mirror. In fact, I am.

That son of a bitch that I’m trying to get by the throat is no one but myself, and she’s a helluva fighter. It probably would have been better if we were separated at birth, but there’s too much risk in sundering your self. Decades into adulthood and you think I would have learned some negotiating skills. V-Day isn’t coming any time soon, so let’s put down our arms and then pick them up for an embrace. That’s often the way a fight ends

Thought, Word, and Deed

Path to left of path to the right