Only today is yours, A short story by J.Hamilton ( WCW, issue #7)

Seize the day
Don’t let go
The night will soon
Be here
And your dreams might turn nightmare
Seize the day
Don’t let go
For tomorrow might never come
While today is yours
Is that Carpe diem? I wondered. My luck couldn’t have been better. I should have hit the slot machines, I thought. I have not done my English homework and this piece of paper I found on the floor of the restroom as I was about to tie my shoe lace, saved my day. Who wrote that? Somebody with Emily Dickinson in mind, I thought. No, Emily Dickinson was more of a death prone. ‘’Because I did not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me,” she wrote. “Bulshit, who would want to listen to that, somebody with a death wish, I thought” Imagine telling kids, this is the best thing written ever. Next day, you will have a battalion of teenagers with suicidal ideation on your hand. But this piece is real carpe diem. It is a ” seize the day,” piece. I have that feeling when I ride my motorcycle: “ I just grab it by the horns and all roads are mine.” I might tweak this piece a little; I’ll do it later. For the moment I cannot be more grateful. I worked an overnight shift and I am too tired to do any literary thinking. I cannot wait to see the expression on Mrs. White’s face as I am reading this. She dared us. If I showed up with a good Carpe diem poem she would give me a pass to extra-curricular activities. I am actually not interested in any of those apart from the Chess club –maybe-and also the drama club.
As I read the poem. Coleen made a scoffing sound through her glasses and added: “ Da… that is what it is? You didn’t add a thing?” Others joined and Coleen had to raise her voice higher while Mrs.White had both hands on her hip ready to intervene. “ Wot?” I asked in the same deriding tone. “ Wot do ye mean?”
“ Well,” Coleen added aware that she was about to win a debate, “ you simply translated Carpe diem to seize the day,” but she hesitated to finish as she saw me writing quite confidently the remaining of my verse. As I saw Coleen’s confidence shake and the scornful smirk from her lips disappear, I remembered what I thought about my bike and felt filled to the rim with what might be called the muse; because I felt my hair erect and I had goose bumps. I wrote and rhythmically read greater than forty lines. I snatched the pass triumphantly from the teacher’s hand and flashed it in Coleen’s face a fact that nearly resulted in having my pass withdrawn. The math class went by with no incidence. I did my homework between class breaks and I even secured my B+ in science. The night was slow on the job and since I did not want to be caught sleeping after I had gotten a warning, I spent my time reading the chapters assigned for the exam.
On my way home, the breeze on my face felt softer, although it was a relatively cold day. The words of the poem I found in the restroom kept ringing in my head. I tried to remember the other words I wrote on the board in an act of defiance and the presence of a mysterious muse but all that remained with me were the words I found on the restroom’s floor. I knew I had to sleep because I haven ‘t had a wink for nearly twenty hours but did not feel sleepy at all. By now my mom would be at home. I still wanted to call her so she would not be worried. I preferred to check the messages on my phone as I pulled over for a snack at McDonalds. “ food in the fridge, don’t stay up late!” She texted me.
“Seize the day/Don’t let go/ the night will still be here/ and your dreams might turn into a nightmare/
Seize the day/don’t let go/ for tomorrow might never come/ while today is yours”
I looked at my bike through the window and it felt so tempting to just hit the road. There was a TV wagon stationed right from across McDonald. The reporter approached many people as they were passing by but most of them did not stop to converse with him. I was about to jump on the bike when the lady reporter approached me with a microphone in the hand. “ We are C TV 7,” she said pointing to her partner who is now chasing people on the opposite side from us. “Yes?,” I raised my eyebrow intrigued. “ Tell me how old you are,”
“I will be eighteen in a few months ,”
“ Are ye in for a dare,” She yelled in a fake British stentorian voice; a sentence her colleague echoed in an even more defying motivator/medieval orator voice and had a few passersby stand apprehensive. The woman handed me the phone yelling in the same tone: “ Answer, the phone!” I was expecting to hear a loud voice so I kept the phone of few inches away from my ear.
The voice came muffled and I had to actually strain my ears to listen. “ what did it say,” yelled the reporters. ‘It’ asked me to run around McDonald’s building one hundred times and promised me a 100 hundred dollar bill if I do “so and only so not one round less.”
“ Are ye in?” they shouted and encouraged the few bystanders to join in their enthusiasm/
“ Yes!” I shouted as I jumped on my motorbike. I knew I did not have enough sleep; I have only a few hours to sleep and a history test to study for but I decided to go carpe diem. I had to keep track of my rounds; the Van with the big dish and the T.V channel logo was my landmark. I was aware of the crowd , The police van that stationed itself not far and I was also aware of my stomach that started to go to go sour. I got my hundred dollar bill that I pointed to the cameras and kissed heroically. Touring the building without having to stop for a red light or being blocked was similar to taking the highway without looking back. A member of the crew asked me for my phone number and address. I started my bike while still full with this carpe diem personality. “Hey young man young young man!” I heard the now Vivien Leigh flirtatious voice of the reporter who held my hand, raised it in the air and said: “ Are you in a dare, young young man!” in a “ voulez vous-couchez avec moi?” tone. A ninety-nine percent of the crew, her colleague and myself included chanted “ooo mama!”
The metamorphosed Vivien had her friend shout the dare in my face. The dare was to do some stunt riding along a cylindrical wall in “El Circo de Manana”. In no time my bike was in the van while I was being asked all kind of questions by the crew. I was to get a one hundred dollars for the 1st five rounds and a hundred for every round after. El Circo de Manana was in front of the city hall downtown Broadway. I had six hundred dollars for my stunt. No sooner had I left the circus tent than it felt so not impressing at all. The whole experience felt so dull to the point of sadness. The cheering, the lights, the audience the cameras all vanished. The roller-coaster rhythm suddenly became pulseless. Here I am I seized the day, devil-dared and made more money than I could make in two weeks in less than two hours ; yet, it did not feel filling .It simply had me feel that I have not seized it yet. My stunts although they were not part of my daily routine once completed seemed to add to the accretion of routine daily homework and chores. It is already eleven o’clock pm; only one hour stands between and me and tomorrow. On my way home, I rode by the cemetery and I wondered sarcastically where the chariot had dropped Emily Dickenson. I nearly hit a black cat that was crossing the road while I was pondering on the question. I swerved, my hand landed on the cemented road and a rose leaf landed in my lap. I picked up my bike and smiled at the big engraving on a well-lit tombstone: “ gather the rosebud while you may;” a scratch on the ” d” made it look like a ”t.”

J.Hamilton

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