Drifter A Drifter, I've lost all direction A nomad, I've lost all purpose A piece of trash, I've lost all worth A skeleton, I've shed all flesh Inhuman, I've lost all shame Alone, I've pushed away my closest companions Selfish, I’m able only to look out for myself I feel like I may drift forever, never returning home…
The Shark by Cameron Brtnik (a scary bedtime story for kids) There once was a boy named Mark And he was afraid of the dark Every time that he tried to sleep He imagined being chased by a shark His mother tried to comfort her son When he screamed her name out in the night She told her poor boy to calm down As he stared at the darkness with fright Eventually he calmed down As she gently put him back to bed But as soon as Mark went back to dreaming They once again filled him with dread So his mom took him to see a doctor She’d try anything at this point to help Just at the mention of the word shark Mark would jump in the air and he’d yelp The doctor prescribed medication That would cause Mark to have a deep sleep She gave him two pills before bedtime So instead of a shark he'd count sheep The pills worked! Yes they worked like a charm Mark finally slumped on his back His mother was happy and went to her bed While Mark in his dream was attacked See those pills, well they put Mark to sleep But they worked just a little too well Poor Mark was still having his nightmare It was like he was under a spell In his dream he saw sharks in the water Surrounding him, and he could feel If he didn't wake up from this nightmare He would be the shark's next toothsome meal Pinching himself didn't work now His body was limp as a worm As much as he tried to snap out of his daze Mark's body would barely just squirm Mark prayed to God he would survive this And somehow wake up from this 'mare By try as he might try to struggle and fight Nobody could hear poor Mark's prayer The big shark attacked and it bit him And the pain seemed as real as life When his mother found him the kitchen Mark was standing there holding a knife But she couldn't seem to awake him Then she suddenly started to scream Cause to his mom's horror he fell to the floor And Mark never woke up from his dream The End....Sweet dreams! PS. The Shark you ask? He still roams children’s nightmares He lurks deep in the murky blue He's always ready and waiting For the next child that sleeps might be you! Cameron is a poet, fiction writer and children's author, and is scared of swimming in the ocean to this day
The Weathered Backpacker You can always spot him: 36 but looks 47, sunburnt battered skin, sunken hallow face, deplorable teeth, few days beard stubble, the reek of alcohol emanating from him, still pungent from the night before, stayed up all night till 6am (what's a good night's sleep to him anyway?), but already on his next beer today, dirty dingy flip flops (when was the last time you wore shoes, sir?), dirty beat up backup that's been places, oh it's been places, seen things, the backpack itself mirroring the traveler's worn legs and weary eyes, but keep pushing, keep going, never stopping, yet never going anywhere... Do you have a home, weary backpacker? Do you even remember where home is? Go home backpacker, it's time to go HOME. Why don't you go home?
a Critique by Virginia Kyriakopoulos
No WiFi is packed with metaphors, depth of tone, and feeling. The unkempt, ignored, sullied and covered up ( with air freshener,) room in a no-name hotel reflects the inner state of the protagonist, also nameless. He places himself in an environment that is barely alive, which reads also as soulless, like the town itself. But, unlike the children whose uninhibited playing is admired and coveted by the protagonist, what the reader here can glean is a connection, and therefore not soulless since the relationship suggests a genuine exchange; learning from the kids and admiring their authenticity. The other brief relationship presented in the story is the one with the voice. Is it a hallucination? Perhaps as the man doesn’t want to say out loud that he’s crazy, but is willing to utter the word when he’s scared. Fear of being crazy is brought to the surface when the environment suggests something crazy is happening.
The vodka is another relationship we see unfolding; this is the relationship the man has with the bottle, suggesting the one he has with himself is one of sedation. The recognition that the vodka serves only a temporary creative outlet reinforces the man’s sanity as this thought is rooted in rationality. The other thoughts of insanity are merely extensions of his fear. The blend of self awareness and a creepy, mysterious, unidentified voice or noise is an effective way of depicting drunkenness. The man’s desire to, yet fear of, connect to this ghostly voice ends on a positive tone. The words, “Thank you,” are an expression given in acknowledgment of some good done, and the lucky number eight both express that positivity. This is what the story is all about: The man’s desire for acknowledgment! I think the air conditioner serves as a symbol for that; As the man postulates that, “Even flies don’t appreciate persistent efforts, we see its efforts go unthanked. That the story ends with the voice giving thanks is full of validation, connection and hope.
Critique by Virginia Kyriakopoulos 5.03.18 – Virginia is a freelance writer, poet, and literary critic
Read the original short story here: Short Story – No Wifi by Cameron Brtnik
Read the review of “No Wifi” by literary critic Virginia Kyriakopoulos here: https://cambrtnik.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/no-wifi-a-critique-by-virginia-kyriakopoulos/
Cameron is a fiction writer currently backpacking through the beautiful and magical country of Vietnam