#ThursThreads Week 366 : Why Are You Telling Me This?

The more I dug into the stories of ancient cities, and civilizations, the more questions I had.

“How did they cut the stones so precisely at Puma Punku?” Stonework the best stonemasons of today could not match. With extreme precision, the stones fit together like pieces of a puzzle, or a prefabricated kit. Stone that weighed tons, some of them over 100 tons.

Mexico was filled with such places. Teotihuacan, Cholula, El Tajin, Tulum, Chichen Itza, and Monte Alban. We thought we knew when those cities were founded, but we couldn’t explain some of their pyramids, and monoliths, or their alignments with stars, the sun, and the moon, and how the tracked the seasons.

My curiosity became so overpowering, I began to plan vacation trips to such places. We started at Chichen Itza. Six months later, Teotihuacan. My family, my wife and kids, went on tours of the nearby towns and cities. I spent all my time exploring the ruins, taking endless pictures.

These mysteries became all I could talk about with my wife. I wanted her to care about it. I wanted her to be interested in what I was finding out, and learning.

I should have seen what was coming from her, and my family. I remember her asking, “Why are you telling me this?” every night. I didn’t understand it was her asking why I’d lost interest in her.

I wouldn’t understand until it was far too late.

240 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 366 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Part 5 of a tale I call “This Has All Happened Before”. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up weekly.

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#MenageMonday 2×37 : Part Entertainment and Part Business

David was counting the money, one penny, nickel, dime, and quarter at a time. There were lots of them to count, especially the pennies. He paused for a few moments, to stare at the jar full of coins. “A rather successful outing, I do believe.”

He leaned back in his desk chair, and remembered the afternoon experience, after school. Tanya and Shauna in a cat fight, in the alley, with at least a hundred kids watching. The hard part was always the same. Getting the two competitors to agree to delay the fight until he could arrange the time and the place. It always made things easier when it offered to split everything three ways. Each of them got a third, and he got a third for arranging things. 25 cents admission. Pay him at the entrance to the alley.

The only rule was no talking about the fight. No telling anyone when it was, or where it was. And no talking about who won or lost. 25 cents got you in to see the fight.

Four kids was $1. 100 was $25. The easiest $8 he ever made. And he’d made $8 12 times in the past three months. Lots of kids seemed to hate each other, and wanted to fight. Lots more always wanted to watch.

David always got to open the fight. To him, it was part entertainment and part business. And he always opened the show by saying, “Let ‘em fight!”

237 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 2×37 of Cara Michaels‘s #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge. You can read about #MenageMonday here. Please, go read all the short tales from this week. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/06/02

The deck at the end of the walkway was it. There was nothing else, nothing left to explore, nowhere left to go, nothing left to see, or do. I’d walked out to the deck, the walkway just above the surface of the lake, and sat down.

“Is this all there is?” That’s the voice I kept hearing in my head. “Is this all there is?” I knew what it meant. It was the most obvious question I’d ever heard, really. “Is this all there is?”

I remember my mother, when I was in 10th grade, only 15 years old, “Do you have a plan for your life?” It was the same way with everyone. “What are you going to be when you grow up?” “What are you going to do for a living?”

The walkway was a straight line, maybe 100 feet long. It started at the edge of the lake, and extended straight out. At the end of it was the deck. I remember the guy at the lodge desk explaining, “This is one of the best features of the hotel. You can go out at night, under the stars, and the moon, and sit on the deck, and watch the stars, and the lake, and forget everything.”

My room was on the second floor of the building, its windows looked out over the lake. I could open the curtains with the lights out, and stay inside, and watch the lake from there. Like most people did. Sitting on the deck, I could see them, standing in the windows, or sitting in the chairs they’d pulled over to the windows.

They couldn’t feel the breeze. Hear the birds, frogs, crickets, or anything else. They were in the sealed environments of their rooms. Safe. Secure. With everything controlled. Planned. Organized.

On that deck I found myself thinking about limits to life, and how we make those limits. How we stop growing, exploring, learning, and settle into a single place, and never leave. Like walking to the deck on that walkway. A one way trip, with a known ending. Predictable. Safe.

If you stayed on that walkway, and that deck, you’d never touch the water of the lake. You could stick your feet or hands into the water, reaching over the edge. Almost no one ever did. If you stayed on that course, stuck with that plan, you’d never reach the other side of the lake. The walkway didn’t go that far. You’d never see what was hidden among the trees way over there. And those distant hills would remain distant hills.

If you stayed on that walkway, eventually you’d learn everything about it. Where to step to make something squeak. Where to step to be silent. What the walk was like in the rain. Perhaps, someday, you’d carry a chair out to the deck, and sit there. Or a computer, notebook, or book. Maybe you’d wander out with an easel, and paints, and try to paint the view.

But you’d always be on that same path. That same walkway. That same deck. Sometimes, there might be clouds, so you couldn’t see the stars. Sometimes, there might be smoke from a fire somewhere. Perhaps, one night it might be raining, with lightning, and you’d stay inside.

But always, the path would be the same. The walk would be the same. The end point would be the same. Nothing would ever change.

Then, I wondered, what would happen if you got a canoe, carried it out to the deck, put it on the water, and climbed into it. Would that break the rules? What would happen? Or, perhaps, you could carry that canoe to somewhere along the shore, and put it on the lake there, and climb into it.

In that canoe, you could cross the lake. Or go all the way around it, seeing the entire shore up close. You could pick a place on that shore, and land the canoe, get out, and explore.

You could change. You could grow. You could do something different.

Instead of walking the same path every day, to the same destination, and the same result.

Perhaps that’s why whoever build the walkway and the deck built them. To remind people. To remind us. To remind me. That I didn’t have to settle for the same path every day. The same endpoint. The same story.

That instead, I could make my own path, change where the journey went, and end up someplace new, someplace different. Maybe it wouldn’t be safe. Maybe it would be better. Maybe it wouldn’t. And that didn’t matter. What mattered was, I didn’t have to walk the same path every day, endlessly. I could leave the well worn, well traveled path. And try something different.

I spent the night staring at the stars, and the surface of the lake. I’d found what I’d been searching for. What I’d been missing for years. A single word.

Change.

It was past time that I did. “And I wonder. What will I find on the far side of the lake?”

844 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 109 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

#ThursThreads Week 363 : As He Should Be

The list of strange places around the world grew every week, and I spent more time at the library, and more time on the internet, looking up everything I could find. Gobekli Tepe was the first. But it was followed by Nan Madol.

A monolithic city built on a coral reef in a lagoon on an island in the Pacific Ocean. 130 buildings, all made of carved basalt stones, many of those stones weighed five tons, and some weighed much more. No one could explain how it was built. No one could say how old it really was, although carbon dating indicated it was from 200 BC. No one could say how it was built, though archaeologists believed it would have required all the islands inhabitants to build it.

There were other details of Nan Madol that stood out to me. Its location, in the zone of the Pacific ocean where typhoons formed. A place where such storms were exceptionally rare. The legend of the islands curse, “You must respect Nan Madol.” A curse with a long history of lost ships, and dead researchers, who had dug in the ruins. How it was located at an electromagnetic hot spot of the Earth.

I was in the library so frequently, reading so many books, doing so much research, people began to ask the librarians about me. “He’s a researcher. Studying ancient cities. Spends time learning. Here all the time. As he should be.” That’s how they explained me.

245 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 363 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Part 4 of a tale I call “This Has All Happened Before”. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up weekly.

Why Does No One Talk About This?

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

I was having an online discussion with a friend today. Talking about the events in Georgia/Alabama/The Deep South with respect to Roe V Wade. Seems I had much to say.

Yeah. There’s that chart. Where not one state has 25% of the people who responded to the poll that are against abortion, as it currently exists. This chart (obviously from Data For Progress):
The_Chart
Here’s what’s striking about that. 75% of the 75% that supports abortion rights doesn’t vote. Ever. For any reason.

This is how the Republican Party, and the Christian Conservatives, have risen to power, politically. People simply don’t vote. They don’t get out on Tuesdays, and they don’t vote. For whatever reason. It’s inconvenient (which it very painfully is). It’s meaningless (Money makes the rules, etc.). Nothing will change (Still Democrats VS Republicans, with nothing different on the horizon). Still have no voice in the government, local, state, or national.

Whatever the reason, people don’t vote. The result? Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, and right on down the line.

And, because no one votes, no one cares about redistricting, and no one cares about Gerrymandering, and no one cares if people lose the right to vote. Because. Voting is meaningless in so very many ways.

No matter who you vote in, that $13 Billion Aircraft Carrier is going to get built. Walmart will get another tax break. So will Amazon. Apple will continue to become more and more monopolistic. Jeff Bezos will get richer. So will Bill Gates. And too many people will still end up wondering if they have enough cash left to reach the next paycheck, and wondering how many days they can live on Mac N Cheese made with water, not milk. And they’ll still drive that car that needs tires, and brakes repaired, and is like driving a death trap, ’cause they have to get to work to make the next bill payment, and that will leave nothing to get the car fixed with.

People don’t vote, because no matter how they vote, or who they vote for, it won’t change a damn thing for them in their daily lives.

And the result? Alabama. Georgia. And right on down the line.

Of course, you can’t explain this to anyone. You can’t give anyone an understanding of this. It won’t happen. It doesn’t work. It’s like trying to explain the color blue to a concrete slab.

Until something happens that changes how things are, the decay will continue, and more people will not vote, and the chaos of politics will grow. Until something happens that changes the survival mode of more and more people, those people won’t vote, because, neither party helps them.

They don’t care about abortion. They don’t care about tax cuts. They don’t care about government debt. They don’t care about women’s equality, and the lack of equal pay. They don’t care about sexual harassment.

They care about getting dinner every night this week for the kids. About making the payment on the electric bill. About having hot water for another 30 days. About being able to wear clean clothing to work. About being able to eat breakfast at all. About being able to buy new socks to replace the ones full of holes.

This is why people don’t vote. Because. NEITHER party is doing anything to change that. So, it doesn’t matter which party runs things. They still have the same situation. The same problems. The same daily grind.

The political ideals of the Democrats have no meaning to them. “You want me to vote for you? Buy me and my family dinner for the next 4 years.”

The GOP cuts taxes. Because. That talks straight to pocket books. “If they lop off 20% of my taxes, I can feed my family another 20 nights this year.”

I work at Geek Squad. We call people every day. Every day, I deal with the phone system saying, “The number you have called has been disconnected.” Because. The person couldn’t pay their phone bill. Literally. They couldn’t pay the phone bill. So the phone got disconnected.

We see people buying the $200 piece of junk laptops. Because. It. Works. It flat works. Nothing fancy. No bells. No whistles. No gaming. No music. It runs. They can write on it. They can do homework on it. They can get on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. And $200 means they only have to skip lunch for a month.

Best Buy has a new program. With some company I never heard of. A “lease to own” program. It’s almost guaranteed you will qualify for a lease to own purchase, if you can’t qualify for anything else.

One catch. Make the payments, as scheduled, and you’ll bay $2400 US for that $1000 computer.

Why would anyone do that? Because. That’s the only way they can get the computer. It’s like the humans that purchase cars on leases, knowing they have to get a new car in 36 months. They can’t afford the monthly payment for a purchase. But, that lease payment brings it down to where they can make the monthly payment.

Too bad the monthly payment never, ever ends.

These people. These people are the ones who don’t vote. Because. Nothing either party is doing, or supports, makes one damn bit of difference to them. Nothing either party stands for helps them one damn bit. So, Trump got elected, not Hillary. They still can’t make this months phone bill payment, and have to live without a phone for a while. They still can’t buy hamburger to make hamburger helper, so they get to eat hot dog wienies. With no bun. And no fixings. For lunch.

Until that changes. Until some party, some political organization, somewhere, addresses that type of problem, and makes things better for them.

They won’t ever vote. Because. It doesn’t matter. It literally doesn’t matter.

If you’re wondering how organizations like ISIS, and Hamas rise to power, this is part of how. They fed people. They set up day care centers. They provided free education, and taught people to read and write. They provided water, and toilet paper, and electricity.

Of course, those people who had nothing supported them. Because, they made life better for those people. Yes, it was a means to an end. A way to gather power, and become another party that doesn’t care about anyone but the party itself, and the party leadership.

But, they knew the truth. If you help the disenfranchised, the disenfranchised support you. Because. Thanks to you, they get to eat dinner this week.

How do things like Georgia, and Alabama happen? Because no one cares. Why does no one care? Because they have bills to pay. And mouths to feed. And families to raise. And don’t care at all about what happens in politics, and in Washington DC, or Atlanta, Georgia, or anywhere else. They have bigger problems. More important things to deal with.

 

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge :2019/05/14 (Week 106)

A floor made of mirrors that reflected the world above them. I loved that concept, loved the way it played with perceptions of reality and the rules of life. Loved how it confused the hell out of so many people.

Along with my love for the mirrors came staggering disappointment, and heartbreak, for the lost hearts and souls of life. The ones who no longer dreamed, or imagined, or created. The ones who never questioned anything.

How could they look at that floor, and see the mirror world in it, and not wonder, not ask, “Which world is real, the one I’m in, looking down at the floor, or the world in the floor, where I’m looking back at myself?”

The chair I was seated in was a wood, with a metal framework. Delilah was seated in the chair next to me. She’d asked to spend time together. “I want your company today. I want to be around you. To be with you. To be able to talk with you. Laugh, smile, walk, eat lunch, eat dinner, with you.”

“What are you thinking, Samuel?” I never understood why she used my full name, and not Sam, like everyone else. I felt her fingers, and the palm of her hand touch my shoulder, and I wondered if I could talk at all. “You can talk with me, you know. Take your time.”

The image of myself in the floor showed my struggle, my inability to focus. I’d almost swear my image blurred, became less defined. “Which one is real?”

Delilah’s eyes tracked mine, they stared into the floor, saw me, saw her, saw the chairs. “We are, of course.”

“Are we? Or are we really on the other side of the mirrors, watching ourselves?”

She moved her hand from my shoulder, let her fingers touch my cheek, “Which of you feels my touch? Which of you hears my voice?”

I wondered if the me in the mirror felt her fingers on his cheek, or if he was a simple reflection of light. Or, perhaps, if he was wondering the same thing, if the me staring back at me felt her fingers, as he did?

“It’s why I want to spend time with you, Samuel.” She looked into the eyes of the me in the mirrors on the floor, “Because. You can still dream. You can imagine things. You can create things.” Her hand moved again, it started on my shoulder, and calmly, deliberately, ever so gently, moved down my arm, to my hand, where her fingers interlaced with mine.

For some reason my hand responded, and I found I was holding her hand, as she was holding mine. The mirrors showed the same.

“You don’t see the world as black and white. As predefined.” I wondered if I could ever forget her smile, or the sound of her words.

“Too many people.” I paused, “They don’t ask questions.” I looked into her eyes in the mirrors below us. The her in the mirror looked back into mine. “Almost like they’re afraid to ask questions.”

“They are.” Was it the Delilah holding my hand, or the Delilah in the mirror who answered me? “Because. It makes life complicated. Difficult. Not simple.” Her other hand reached across and she turned my head so I faced her, above the mirrors.

“Delilah.” Something inside me felt good, happy. Perhaps that’s what dancing was. When something inside my soul moved, because it felt like it. “I never told you how I can get lost in your eyes.”

I forgot about the mirrors, as she smiled, “I know, Samuel. I have always known.”

606 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 106 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

 

#ThursThreads Week 362 : It Starts With The Fire

I’d never gone to the library, until this whole thing started, and suddenly, I had to spend hours a day, days on end, tearing through newspapers, books, journals, everything I could find.

“It’s got you bad,” the librarian told me. “It starts with the fire, the one you don’t know is there, until it’s too late to do anything about it.”

I wondered if that’s what it was. A fire. Raging out of control. A fire that would burn everything up, and leave nothing of me but ashes. I giggled at the thought. “No. That’s silly.”

After a couple of weeks, I started taking books home. It started with everything I could find on Gobekli Tepe. An amazing, 12,000 year old site. Monolithic architecture. “12,000 years ago, the carved 40 to 60 ton, t shaped stones, and stood them on end. How? How could they do that.”

So many of the stones had relief carvings on them. Animals of all kinds. Snakes. Birds. Foxes. How did they even carve them, without power tools? The more I read about Gobekli Tepe, the more questions I had about it.

“And there are 20 circles. Each one with two of those giant T shaped monoliths in the middle, and stones in a circle around them.” No one really knew what it was, what it was for, who made it, or how.

Gobekli Tepe was the start. Like the librarian said. “It starts with the fire you don’t even know is there.”

243 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 362 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. And yes. I’ve started another long, serial story on #ThursThreads. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up weekly.