#ThursThreads Week 287 : I’ll Say It Out Loud

Since Harry kept cropping up, I decided to pay the good old boy a visit, and learn more about him. Finding him was simple enough, given I had his communications records with Pastor Greg, and Tiffany.

Harry lived in a dump of a house. A shack, falling apart, really. Around 18 miles northeast of the town. It was an interesting neighborhood, filled with mostly unemployed white families, and lots of angry men. I found it fascinating how they gathered into little groups at night, long after their families had gone to bed, and drank beer, and smoked, and talked endlessly about taking back the country that was stolen from them. The land of their fathers.

Harry got back from one of those gatherings that evening, and hopped on his smart phone. Of course, Harry didn’t know how to update his phone, or secure it, so I ran an attack program, and took over all its functions. Harry couldn’t do anything without me knowing it.

What I learned was Harry was well respected in the local segment of Crew 38. Which didn’t surprise me. “Harry. I’ll say it out loud. You’re a racist.” I spent the next hour wading through his phones memory, learning about gun deals he’d brokered, and his own, private stockpile of modified AR-15s, and several thousand rounds of ammo for them.

“Oh, Harry. You’re such a friendly guy.” I knew exactly what to do. “You’re going to have an entertaining day tomorrow. You wait. You’ll see.”

247 Words
@mysoulstears


I finally got around to writing part 15 of the Armor 17 story I started way back in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. I really should write more. It’s Week 287 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

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One Sunday Morning

“Why aren’t you dressed for church?” Momma stood in the doorway to my room. Her hands on her hips. Yeah. She was angry. But I didn’t really know why.

I looked up from my bed, where I was sitting, and Momma saw the tears.

“Oh, honey. Why are you crying?” She sat down next to me on my bed. “Was Freddy mean to you again?”

I shook my head. “No, Momma.” I tried to wipe away my tears. All I really did was smudge them around my face.

“So, tell me. What’s wrong?” She always tried to be patient around me. Not like Daddy. Daddy would have wiped my face on his sleeve, and said, “Get ready. Now.” But not Momma.

What was wrong? How could I explain to her what was wrong? “Why do I have to wear a dress?”

Momma looked at my dress, draped across my bed, where I’d placed it to get ready. It had started like any other Sunday morning. Everybody ate breakfast. Momma’s homemade donuts. There were biscuits, really. From a can. But she poked big holes in the middle, and made them into rings. And she fried them in oil. Like real donuts. And then dipped them in icing. Maybe it was only powdered sugar mixed with milk and stuff to make it look like icing. But it was good.

And we always ate all the donuts. Donuts, and orange juice. And those little frozen sausages. Momma always threw a box of those in the microwave and heated them up.

Then, we brushed teeth. And used the bathroom. And got dressed for church.

And I put on a dress. Momma always picked out the dress I should wear that day, because I always picked out the same dress. And Daddy said, “That dress is too old to wear to church.” So, Momma cut a deal with him. She’d pick the dresses, and I could wear what she picked. That way, Daddy didn’t get angry.

But, see. I didn’t like dresses. I felt naked in them. They didn’t fit right. They were made of the wrong stuff. All fluffy, and cottony, and silky and stuff. All sissy, girly stuff. “Why do I have to wear a dress, Momma?”

“Oh, honey. It’s Sunday. Girls and mothers wear dresses to church. That’s how it is.”

“But…” I fought back more tears. I didn’t want to wear a dress. I didn’t want to have to worry about the boys looking up my dress, and telling me what color my underwear was. I didn’t want to have the wind blow up my dress, and show the world my legs. I didn’t want Jimmy, at church, to whistle at me, and wave his hands and go, “va-va-va-voom!”

“But, why?” I was crying, and I couldn’t help it. “Why, Mommy?”

“Because, you’re a girl.” Mommy shook her head. “Can I tell you a secret?”

I nodded.

“I hate dresses too.”

I sniffed, “You hate dresses?”

“I’d wear my sweatpants and a t-shirt to church if I could.”

I tried to imagine Mommy sitting in the church in her grey sweatpants, with the hole in the left knee. And her t-shirt with the big bear face on the front. And her hair in a scrunchie. “You would?”

Mommy nodded. “But, I can’t.”

“But, why, Mommy? Why not?”

Mommy shook her head. “I’ll try to explain someday, honey. I will. All I can say right now is girls and mothers wear dresses. And boys and fathers wear pants.” She sighed. “And your brother doesn’t want to wear his suit. But he wears it anyway.”

Momma checked my pants drawer, and pulled out a pair of shorts. They were light blue. And they didn’t have pockets. I hated them. “But, today, you can wear these under your dress. If that helps you feel better.” She winked at me. “Just don’t tell your father.”

Momma helped me get dressed that morning. We put the shorts on, and a t-shirt. A tank top. One of my favorites. And then, we put the dress on over it. Momma tugged here and there, and moved parts around. “There. That looks good enough.” She whispered, “This is our secret. OK?”

I nodded. At least no one would see my underwear. And I could run. And play. And dance if I wanted to. And no one would see anything if my dress got blown up by the wind. “I just wish I could wear real clothes.”

Momma nodded. “I know, honey. Oh, how I know.” She looked at me in my mirror. Then the tapped a couple of places on her face. “And you’ll hate makeup even more.” She stood up straight. “Well. Let’s go get this over with, shall we?”

And we marched out of my room, ready to go to church.

Because. I Am The Violence.

They tell me violence isn’t the answer.
Violence only breeds violence.
In a never ending cycle.
That grows worse.
Endlessly.

I can’t argue with that.
Wouldn’t dream of arguing with that.
And I wish I didn’t need violence.
I wish no one needed violence.

But that’s not how this world works.
And you know it.
Even your religions know it.
“There is a time to kill.”
“There is a time for war.”

Don’t speak to me of violence
And how it’s not the answer.
How it does nothing.
Cures nothing.
Fixes nothing.

See that man?
The one found dead last night.
Shot in the head.
He’s dead, dead, dead.

I shot him.

Serial rapist.
Over 30 women.
Some of them children.
And no one stopped him.
Hell,
Many praised him.
A strong voice for good.
He helped feed the poor.
And house the homeless.
Donated time and money to charities.
Even helped build houses
For Habitat For Humanity.

Did I do the right thing?
Should I have shot him?

What would you say
If he’d raped your daughter?

Now, over 30 women know.
He won’t do that again.
To anyone.

Remember that guy who got six months probation
For pulling the college girl behind a dumpster.
And banging her?

Were you one of those who screamed,
“It was a bad decision on his part!
He made a mistake!
Don’t ruin his future for one mistake!
It’s not like he murdered her!”

Yeah.
I shot him too.
He’s still alive.
But he’ll never rape another girl.
Ever.
See.
I have good aim.

Do you wonder sometimes.
If the word spreads.
If the knowledge grows.
If there’s an understanding.
That if you do something like this.
You will pay for it.
You won’t be forgiven.
And you won’t walk away
Like nothing happened.
Do you wonder.
Would that reduce the violence?
Would that mean this happened less?

If someone thinks, for just a moment,
If I do this.
Someone will find me.
And shoot me in the head.
And I’ll be dead, dead, dead.

Will they be less likely
To rape someone?
To scar them for life?
To leave them changed forever?
Just to get their jollies?

If they know they’re going to die
Will they change their minds?

Don’t speak to me of violence.
And how it’s not the answer.

Because.
I know the truth.

Sometimes.
You have to kill.
And that’s why I do
The violent things I do.

Because.
And I am the violence.
I am Armor 17.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/10/15

Joe studied the crow as it stood at the edge of the puddle, and studied the bugs in the puddle. “Bird,” he thought, “sometimes I wish you could teach me how to eat such things, and not get sick, and puke, and die.”

He watched the crow plunge its beak into the puddle, and come out with a wad of mud, and bugs, and only God knew what else. “But, alas. Through no fault of your own, I cannot eat such things. Though they are plentiful.”

It had been weeks since the big storm. He didn’t even remember its name. Its name didn’t matter. What mattered was it destroyed everything. It tore his little home to shreds, left nothing but a few shattered 2×4 boards, and a jumble of twisted drywall, shingles, and cheap vinyl siding where he’d once spent his nights, safe and warm, in a little bed.

Joe hadn’t slept in a bed in weeks. He hadn’t had a hot, fresh meal in weeks either. And he’d run out of clean clothing weeks ago. He raised his arm, and sniffed under it. “Could probably stand this shirt in a corner by itself.”

The storm had changed everything. No more TV at night. No more radio. No more music to listen to, so he could pass the time. No more job either. The marketplace he’d worked in was gone too. A twisted jumble of boards, cheap store shelving, and shoddy concrete. It worked in the rain. But in the hurricane, it was like a wet sheet of paper. Useless.

There was no place to eat. No power. No gas. No running water. Nothing. The toilets had stopped working. That meant people had to go where they could. Find where they could. They ate what they could find. Joe wondered if there were any weeds, or tree leaves he could eat. Or anything else he could eat.

He’d run out of cans of beans, and corn, and fruit, three days ago. He’d run out of things to drink last night. It had been an adventure. Drinking what milk he had. Then what water. Then everything that was left. Beer. Wine. Even his one bottle of whiskey.

What had been the convenience store in the small marketplace he worked in had posted a sign. “Help yourself.” They let everything go. No charge. Take what you want. Joe found a couple of cans of coconut milk. And a few bottles of Jarritos soda. He’d also found a couple packages of candy bars. But. They were all gone now. He’d had the last of his stash of Jarritos last night.

He had nothing left.

Sometimes, Joe wondered if he should start walking. Somewhere. Anywhere. But he wondered where there was to walk. He already knew from the few visitors the town had seen, the men who brought the truck with the water bottles, the towns nearby were destroyed too. They had no water. No power. No food.

“Help is coming. We know you are here. We are sending help.” That was two weeks ago. No one had died then. But now? Now, the children were dying. They were sick, and they were fevered. And they were dying. And there was no medicine. And no food. And no more water.

Except water like the crow was fishing in. And water from the ocean. And you couldn’t drink the water from the ocean. It would kill you.

Some men had set up fishing nets. They tried to catch fish. But even the fish were gone. They caught a few. A very few. And cleaned them. And gutted them. But. There was no fuel. Joe had tried raw fish once. Two weeks ago. He puked for three days.

He knew. Sooner or later. He’d have to try fish again. Even though it might kill him.

He looked at the crow, stalking bugs in the puddle in what had been the main road of the town. “If only I had a pistol, sir crow. I would shoot you, and see if I could eat raw crow without dying.

He prayed, again, for help from God. Because. He knew. There would be no help from anyone else.

699 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 25th week. Here’s my little story for it. You can read about the challenge here. As usual, don’t ask me where the story came from. I have no idea. It just kind of happened. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. They are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/10/11

It took decades for us to find it. First, we had to recover from the floods, storms, fires, droughts, desertification, and forest shifts. The environment was certainly hosed, and it killed better than half of us.

Started in 2017, with the US getting hammered by a whole string of hurricanes. Several of them were category 5 storms. Bigger than any storms in recorded history. The North West US also caught fire. Of course, everyone blamed the sinners. “God is striking back at us for not being good enough Christians!”

But, the science told the truth. Put enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and all hell breaks loose. And for all the proud politicians, and stupid conservatives and Christians, when New York flooded, along with Boston, Houston, DC, Seattle, and damn near everywhere else, the best recovery plans were useless. And not affordable.

The smart people moved to Canada. Northern Canada. And to Southern Argentina, and Chile. Above the new ocean levels, and in the new temperate zones.

Everybody else? Well. In the US it was guns. Lots of guns. As you can imagine. Some moved to the mountains, which caught fire. Some moved to the deserts, but the temp topped 140F and they died from the heat.

It was the worst disaster anyone could have imagined.

Of course, the ice packs melted. All of them. That’s why the oceans went batty, and rose 20 meters in a hundred years. So, we kind of forgot about everything other than survival. Underground bunkers didn’t help but so much. Eventually, they ran out of food, and fuel, and resources. Another thing we stupid humans did to ourselves.

So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that we shut down all the research stations in Antarctica, and everyone abandoned the continent. Once we adjusted to the new environmental conditions of the planet, we started building new cities, and governments. I suppose because we never learn anything.

We started flying airplanes again, too. No ships though. Nothing can survive the oceans behavior. You might get lucky a few times, and make a trip across the Atlantic. But, the Atlantic is littered with thousands of ships now, all having went down in the last hundred years. Rogue waves started cropping up everywhere. They even started forming bands hundreds of miles long. In the middle of the ocean, hundred foot waves, two or three hundred miles long, and no wind anywhere. The ships never stood a chance.

The airplanes have done better. They get bounced around a lot in the atmosphere. More than a few have crashed, or been ripped to shreds by the turbulence. But, for the most part, air transportation works. And we’ve been able to build better planes that adjust their flight paths through the turbulence.

It’s those planes that finally flew over Antarctica. We wanted to see how much ice was left. And if the volcanoes we’d learned were under the ice were starting to become active.

And that’s when they found it. The city. The land of giants. Where everything was freaking huge. House keys were ten feet long. Houses were the size of Egyptian Pyramids. It had all been under the ice. For millions of years.

We’ll never know anything about any of it, of course. The volcanoes are starting up. And there’s enough of them to kill everything on the planet, and turn the atmosphere so toxic nothing will survive.

But I did find it interesting that giants once lived on Antarctica. I wonder, sometimes, as I look at the pictures from the planes, did they do what we’ve done, and kill themselves by destroying the world?

601 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 25th week. And…. I’m behind… It was a bad two weeks. So, I’m playing catch up. Here’s my little story for Week 24. You can read about the challenge here. I couldn’t think of anything worth writing. So I just made something silly up. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. They are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/10/10

“It was an alien, I tell ya!” Benny’s voice echoed off the walls, and everyone could hear. “Bitch came up out of the water. All black and shiney. With nothing on. Except a few dots of light. Like stars.”

I wanted to hide under the carpet, really. “Seriously, dude? Seriously?” As useless as it was, I shook my head. “And how many drinks did you have?”

The officer on the other side of the desk shook his head too. “And he could breathe water and air.” His pencil tapped on the desk, the eraser bounced with a quiet thud. “And just floated out of the water up into the sky.”

“I got evidence!” Benny stood up, he was so excited. “I got evidence.”

The officer nodded.

“I shot it! I did! Bitch was floating up out of the water, gonna fly away.” He put his hand on his hip, like reaching for his gun. “So, I shot it!”

The officer nodded. “Yep. Nine times. In the back.” He looked at me. “How many drinks did he have?”

“I wasn’t the drinks, sir.” Benny might go down, and spend his time in jail, screaming about an alien. I wasn’t. “It was the mushrooms.”

“No! It wasn’t!” Benny was furious. “I know what I saw!”

“Benny!” I wanted to beat him to death with his own gun. “Where’s Gilley? Alright? Where’s Gilley?”

“Gilley?” Benny laughed. “Gilley ran away. Saw the alien come out of the water, and he ran.”

I wished Benny was right. I really did. But it was Gilley that Benny shot. Nine times. In the back.

“No! Gilley didn’t run!” Not choking Benny was hard. Not beating him to death was hard. “You shot him in the back! Nine times!”

“No! I shot the alien!”

The officer could only shake his head. It was my turn to be questioned, and I knew that. “So. Did you just watch?”

What else was there to say, “Yes. I watched.”

“You didn’t try to stop him?”

“Couldn’t.”

“Oh?”

“Couldn’t move.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah. See. It was the big rocks on my arms and legs.”

He sighed.

Poor Gilley. Shot nine times in the back by his best friend who thought he was an alien. While his other best friend watched helplessly thinking he was pinned to the ground under tons of rocks.

I looked at the officer.

“Bad mushrooms…”

396 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 24th week. And…. I’m behind… It was a bad two weeks. So, I’m playing catch up. You can read about the challenge here. I couldn’t think of anything worth writing. So I just made something silly up. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. They are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

 

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/09/24

I stared at the picture. She floated there, halfway between the ceiling and the floor. Filling the room with water had been difficult. I’d spent weeks sealing the door, and the windows, so the water didn’t leak into the yard, or the hallway. I was quite happy with the result. A ground floor room, filled with water. And the walls didn’t collapse. They held, against all that water. That I’d made them from cinder block, packed with concrete, and steel bars probably didn’t hurt. That took months also. Making them look like normal walls took weeks. Getting the plaster layer right, with the right texture, and color, had taken ages, and I’d had to tear it down, and scrape it all off several times.

The result had been worth it. The image was priceless. Beautiful. Perfect.

As difficult as it had been to get the room straight, the hardest part had been her. I’d needed someone who could hold her breath for half an hour. They don’t make humans that way. But it had to be half an hour. That’s how long it took the water to settle when it was stirred. How long it took every bubble to fade.

So, I’d had to make her.

I’d had to find a way to build a five foot four inch blonde, with blue eyes, and killer legs. A doll. That’s all she was. A doll. Life size. I’d spent a thousand sleepless nights trying to get every detail right. The hair. The lips. The skin. The fingers, and nails. Toes, ankles, wrists, eyes, nose. All of it. Every detail.

I remembered the wigs. I’d torn boxes of them apart to get all the right hairs. And I’d placed each one. Thousands of them. One at a time. I had to get them the right color, the right length. I threw entire bags of wasted hair out in the trash. I’m certain the trash people wondered what I was doing. And I wondered how many women had needed the wigs I’d destroyed.

Her skin was textured plastic. It felt all wrong to touch, but it was perfect to look at. Perfect to see.

The ballet gown was hand made. The sequins each placed perfectly. Each where it had to be. Each part of an intricate puzzle. Only when they were all placed did the gown look perfect. The seams, and the skirt with all it’s separate feathers, and bits of fabric.

She was a work of art. My work of art. I’d learned that when I was making her. As I’d learned I’d never find her in this life.

She’d made the perfect picture. One I’d love forever. My perfect image of a woman. The woman I wanted. The woman I could never have.

And I knew, as I’d known when I was making her, I would never find her. Never know her laugh, her touch, her smile. Never learn to love her. To care for her. She was everything I wanted. Everything I dreamed of. And everything I would never find.

All she would ever be was the woman in the picture. And I would grow old, and die. And live my entire life.

Unloved and alone.

536 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 22nd week. You can read about the challenge here. This week, I tried something different again Hope it’s worth the effort. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that show up. They are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.