Friday, January 08, 2010

Entry #52

Losing Numbers
by Janel Gradowski


Damn bird. Two weeks of waking to its screeching.

Daddy said ravens bring bad luck.

Knock on wooden window sill twelve times to bring good luck. Five sips of water to produce happy thoughts. Turn TV on and off eleven times to guard against electronic gremlins. Say hello to morning news anchor like he could actually hear just because he is gorgeous. Flip penny on coffee table seven times to bring good fortune.

Mama said ravens are death omens.

Open and close living room curtains eight times to thwart lightening strikes. Lock and unlock front door ten times to prevent lightening storms. Flush toilet twice to keep out demons from underworld.

Grandpa said never leave the house when a raven is outside.

Open and close refrigerator nine times to ensure wishes will be granted. Open refrigerator once more to see if food has magically appeared. Curse three times to feel better. Open empty kitchen cabinets six times to ward off ghosts. Bang head on wall seven times to make stupid mind pay for not buying more groceries. Listen to stomach growl four times. Watch raven land on empty bird feeder.

32 comments:

Sarah Laurenson said...

What great methods for warding off bad things and bringing in the good. Wish the refrigerator method did make food magically appear. :-)

Kate said...

An excellent depiction of debilitating obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Bernita said...

As Kate said.
But I laughed.

wrath999 said...

Interesting and humorous. Great job

maybe genius said...

I definitely dig the voice here. I immediately went to OCD as well, with an undertone of paranoia.

fairyhedgehog said...

It's a great combination of funny and serious and I like the way it ends.

Staci said...

Wow...excellent short story. I thought this was a great depiction of OCD too but with a twist to the reason for the OCD...now those damn birds just may starve to death! Good!

pjd said...

Ha ha ha ha!

Clearly, the raven is thinking something like, "screech nine times as the sun rises to bring good fortune. circle three times to make food appear. fly away and then fly back to avert rain."

Ha ha ha! Wonderful.

Leatherdykeuk said...

delightful!

Nevine said...

Ouf! Sounds like a lot of OCD going on, here! But that's what makes this so perfect. It's the banging of one very disturbed person's mind... There's even a rhythm, in there... I can hear it. Funky!

Nevine

JaneyV said...

Janel - you have painted a scary picture of what it is to be consumed by superstition and phobia which tend to be underlying in cases of OCD. But to be trapped in the house to the point of starvation because of these fears is too chilling and also a weensy bit funny. (Though obviously not if it is you that is trapped by your fears - then it's just plain scary)

You wrote this very well indeed. I shall remember where it leads to next time I wave at a lone magpie.

(If only she had internet grocery shopping. They deliver you know).

Aimee Laine said...

Such OCD! I love how it played into the superstition and the story. It fit SO well! You did a great job!

Craig said...

Genuinely funny

Kartik said...

Great description of the ocd behaviour. And I'd think that the protagonists can't really explain what drives them to do the elaborate rituals. It's just "inside" them.

Lena said...

I loved it. Can't add more to the comments above. I truly enjoyed reading the story. Well done!

SzélsőFa said...

i laughed as the end came near - it was a fascinating read nevertheless.
somehow i thought the speaker would fight against these beliefs. I was hoping for an outbreak, a boom of consciousness. I doubt it is very far, though.

Scattercat said...

OCD and paranoid hallucinations. Man, s/he's a wreck.

Still, I did enjoy the use of numbers; it was disturbing and a little eerie. Finding the horror in the everyday is a hard trick.

laughingwolf said...

lol... good stuff!

word verif: retspoo :O

Aniket said...

"Curse three times to feel better." That really works you know. ;)

Interesting and unique take. Enjoyed reading it.

catvibe said...

Excellent! A well written description of a horrible affliction.

kashers said...

OCD mixed with superstition must be one of the most debilitating afflictions ever.

Chris Eldin said...

Ditto JaneyV and kashers...
I didn't find this funny. I thought it was tragic, and extremely well written.

Laurel said...

The elements of humor, "curse three times to make me feel better" make it sadder to me. The tone seems tongue in cheek, like the protag knows how ridiculous all this is and can't not do it, which is crippling.

Really well done.

Tara said...

OCD at its finest for sure. I can't add much to the above comments. This is wonderfully captured.

Terri said...

This is actually very funny :) Yes it's tragic, too; I completely sympathise with the condition. But as a whole, this piece is extremely funny. Well written.

Rabid Fox said...

An interesting take on OCD type behavior. A good mix with the image of a circling bird.

truevoid said...

i hope it was meant to be funny :)
do these methods work??

Deb Smythe said...

I try the refrigerator spell waay too often. Never works:)

McKoala said...

Tremendously effective!

james r tomlinson said...

Cause for OCD: That damn bird. Nice way of showing all those rituals.

Jim_Wisneski said...

I LOVE the rituals! Well done. The voice in this is beyond perfect.

Jim

Aerin said...

Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Cheers,
Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like Sarah Palin's hair or the enigmatic career of Justin Timberlake.