Zero

I got nothing.
I’m out of ideas.
I’m out of words.
I’m ready for sleep.

I got nothing.
Zip.
Zilch.
Zero.
Nada.
Zot.
Zipola.
Zambonie.

I’m left with a null string.
A pointer to la-la land.
Where dividing by zero results
In a Not A Number error code.
And there is no pointer to the next record.
Because the root pointer
Points to null.

Zero.
The big zipola.
Someone let the smoke out of the chips,
And they ain’t working no more.
I’m done.

Z can stand on its own.
‘Cause I’ve got zero ideas for it.

Good night, Irene.
Whoever you are.

Now, I’m off to bed.
The land of nod.
The land of ZZZZZZZZZZs


It’s April 30th, the 26th day of the A to Z Challenge 2015. This is the 26th of 26 pieces I’m writing in April for the challenge. This one’s for the letter Z. I SURVIVED!!!

Now, go read the A to Z Challenge 2015 words created by my writing friends.

Bullish Ink
D Savannah George
Stacy Bennett

Yucky

Timmy picked up the next laptop waiting for repair. He carried it to the air compressor where he stood it on its side, with its fan vents pointing up. He grabbed the compressor’s air hose and pulled the handle. Air shot out in a violent stream that soon became a constant, smooth flow. He aimed the air stream into the vents.

A white cloud of dust, and God knew what else, blew out of the bottom vents on the computer. “Yuck.” Timmy knew that would happen. “You think I’d be used to that by now.” He knew he’d never get used to the crap that came out of the vents when he blasted air through them. “At least this looks white.” He was glad it didn’t look yellow, brown, or black. He was glad it didn’t smell like someone was smoking an entire case of cigarettes at one time.

Once the cloud faded and Timmy was fairly certain he wasn’t going to blow more dust out of the computer, he picked it up, and carried it to the workbench, where he made his next discovery. “Ah, the joys of opening the laptops.” He raised the display, and shook his head. “Look, mom! Crumbs!” He stared at the keys on the keyboard, and wondered what the stains were. Sweat? Snot? Spit? “God, I hope it wasn’t a guy that watched porn.”

He picked up the can of disinfectant spray, and coated the keyboard, touchpad and palm rests thoroughly. “Soak a while, you slimy thing.” He fetched the next notebook computer, and blew the dust out of it. He set it on the workbench, next to the one he’d left soaking in disinfectant.

Timmy pulled three paper towels off the roll, he stacked them, then wiped the disinfectant off the keyboard. He wanted to let his inner 3 year old out, and make a funny face, and say, “Ewwww! That’s yucky!” but he was a grown up, so he didn’t. He did, however, look at the gunk he’d collected on the paper towels, as a voice in his head screamed, “Don’t look, Ethel!”

It was too late. He stared at the soiled towels, and groaned, “Yuck,” as he wondered what nasties his fingers were going to encounter when he had to type on that keyboard. “Another experiment in human immunity, brought to you by, “ he looked at the name tag tied to the computer, “Henery Smith.”

There was nothing really to do, but turn the computer on, and hold down the escape key to reach the boot menu. He booted it from the diagnostic flash drive he’d inserted in a USB port. “I sure hope I’m immune to all the shit on this one. Jesus.”

Yeah. Timmy knew. It was just another day in the yucky land of a computer repair tech. Another day in the never ending experiment with his immune system. He wondered sometimes, how many bacteria of how many kinds he’s had to stick his hands in just to do his job. He decided he didn’t want to know.

“Could be worse. They could have puked all over it.”

He laughed. Yeah, he needed all the optimism he could get. It looked like one of those days.


It’s April 30th, the 26th day of the A to Z Challenge 2015. This is the 25th of 26 pieces I’m writing in April for the challenge. This one’s for the letter Y. Next is the letter Z. And I know exactly what I’m writing for that.

Xeriscape

“If everyone waters their lawn, and pours chemicals on it to keep the grass growing, and green, is there something wrong?” Jake knew the answer. Everything was wrong. Everything about the world he lived in was wrong. A lawn wasn’t supposed to look like a putting green on a golf course. Not in his neighborhood. Not in his city. Not in his state. “This ain’t no rain forest.”

Jake knew the water supply was not infinite, it would run out. And then what would people do. mow the sand their lawn turned into? He wasn’t going to play the lawn game, that was for his neighbors. The children. The people who refused to grow up. Who wanted the value of their homes to go up and up, year after year, forever.

He didn’t water his lawn. Ever. He put stone walkways through his yard, not brick, not paved. Stone. Plain rocks that could be found everywhere. “It’s outdoors, you should wear shoes to protect your feet. Or flip-flops, or sandals.

He didn’t spread grass seed, or fertilizer on his lawn. No weed killers, no insecticides. Let the bugs, worms, and weeds do what they wished. The neighbors worried about mice, moles, snakes, lizards, turtles, rabbits. Not Jake. If they liked his yard, he was OK with that. Let them escape the chemical nightmares of the neighbors.

Jake picked natural ground covers for the area. Sparse grasses of all kinds, vines, bushes, trees. He even had natural, wild Vinca growing in his backyard. A natural ground cover, he hadn’t planted it. So, while the neighbors spent oceans of time and money, and poured thousands of gallons of water on their lawns, he enjoyed to Vinca blossoms in his backyard.

He had other wildflowers growing in his backyard. There were bugbane, buttonweed, white clover, and maybe even some primrose. His neighbors didn’t have any wildflowers of any kind. They had tulips, and daffodils, roses, begonias, petunias. All the flowers the hardware store sold. None of them native to the area. Except maybe for the azaleas.

“I wish buttercups would grow back there.”

Jake mowed his lawn, like everyone in the neighborhood. But, he didn’t have to mow it every week. And he never caught the grass, and put it in clear plastic bags for the trash people to pick up every week. He mulched his grass cuttings, let them stay in his yard, let them turn back into dirt. The mulch helped his lawn hold water from the dew each morning. It protected the roots of the grasses from the heat of the sun. “I wonder why I’m the only one doing this?”

He knew the neighbors wished his yard looked like theirs. With the same kind of grass, the same color of green. The same sculpted flower beds. It didn’t. And he didn’t want it to. Jake wished his neighbors would xeriscape their lawns. It was the natural thing to do.


It’s April 29th, the 25th day of the A to Z Challenge 2015. This is the 24th of 26 pieces I’m writing in April for the challenge. This one’s for the letter X. Tomorrow brings the letters Y and Z. I wonder what I’ll write for them.

Whispers

I hear them all the time.
Little whispers in my mind.
They torment me.
They haunt me.
They never let me rest.

“Are you ready for that test?”
“Did you really do your best?”
“Do you know what to say?”
“Do you know what to write?”
“Are you good at what you do?”
“Is everyone just being nice to you?”

I hear them in the morning,
When I wake from sleep.
They whisper in my ear.
Tell me all the things I don’t want to hear.
Tell me all the things I fear.

“What if you’re late to work?”
“You still can’t fix that problem, can you?”
“The boss will want another update.”
“You didn’t workout last night. You’re getting fat.”
“Are you sure you didn’t forget something?”
“What will you do wrong today?”

I hear them when I’m working.
Staring at source code.
Wondering how to fix it.
Always asking questions.
I never talk about.

“Do you know what you are doing?”
“Do they know you are a fake?”
“Do they know you depend on luck?”
“Have you crossed your fingers yet?”
“Do they know you’re only guessing?”
“What happens when your luck runs out?”

They’re there when I write.
Behind every word.
Behind every thought.
Always asking questions.
Never letting up.

“Do you think anyone reads anything you write?”
“Is everything you write the same?”
“Do you think you can write a book?”
“You can’t tell that story, can you?”
“You can’t find the words, can you?”
“You’re faking it again, aren’t you?”

I hear them all the time.
Little whispers in my mind.
They torment me.
They haunt me.
They never let me rest.


It’s April 28th, the 24th day of the A to Z Challenge 2015. This is the 23rd of 26 pieces I’m writing in April for the challenge. This one’s for the letter W. Tomorrow brings the letters X and Y. I wonder what I’ll write for them.

Violence

“Life doesn’t fucking care, does it,” Tyrone thought to himself, as he carried another load of dirty laundry down the stairs to the utility room. He tried to ignore the stabbing pain which lanced through his left heel, into his ankle, each time he put his left foot down. “The laundry has to get done, so fucking suck it up, cupcake.”

His stomach growled, as he poured detergent in the washing machine. “Yeah, I know. Hungry.” For all he cared right then, he could starve. He remembered what happened when he ate breakfast that morning, the sudden, desperate rush to the toilet. How his guts came out his ass. “If I’m gonna fucking die every time I fucking eat,” he looked at his stomach, “You can fucking starve.”

He carefully placed the whites in the machine, balancing the load equally in a circle around the agitator. “You know you have to do this right, or the damn machine will go crazy when it gets to the spin cycle. Ka-whacka! Ka-whacka! Ka-whacka! And it’ll move all over the fucking room.” He checked to balance on the load, making certain he had it evenly balanced. “No mistakes, stupid. No mistakes.”

Once the washer was running, he limped up the stairs and made a stop in the bathroom. He sat on the toilet again, “Just to be safe.”

While the load was washing, Tyrone found his MP3 music player, stuffed its earplugs in his ears, and used its menu system to select his housework playlist, which started with “Violence Fetish” by Disturbed. “It’s time to bring the violence to the fucking dishes!”

It was his day off. Sunday. He didn’t work Sundays. At least, not officially. Sundays, he had to take care of all the things he couldn’t get done during the week. Dishes. Laundry. Housework. Mowing the lawn. All that shit.

He dropped the glass he was rinsing. It fell into the stainless steel sink causing a hell of a racket. Luckily, nothing broke. “Butterfingers!” he silently screamed at himself. “Be careful, idiot!” He picked the glass up, making certain he had a firm grip on it, and finished rinsing it, then put it in the rack in the dishwasher. He felt the familiar sharp twinge in his right wrist from his damaged ligaments and bones. He grimaced, and wrapped his left hand around his wrist. In a couple of seconds the pain faded. “Enough.” He resumed washing the dishes.

He finished clearing the sinks, and filling the dishwasher. He turned the washer on, found a glass, poured some root beer out of a 2 liter bottle, and took a chug. “Back to the laundry.”

“Move this load to the drier, then start the pants.” He opened the drier, then the washer, and started moving the wet whites into the drier. Leaning to the side to throw stuff into the drier caused his head to hurt. By the time he’d finished the transfer, he knew he had a headache forming, “I don’t have time for that.” He tossed a dryer sheet in, slammed the door, and turned the dryer on.

He forced himself to keep moving, getting the load of pants in the washer, and getting that started. Then, he took his glass of root beer to the medicine cabinet, where he pulled out the bottle of naproxen tablet. He took 2. “No time for a headache today.”

He pushed himself to the Family Room, where he cleared the floor. Then he ran the vacuüm across the carpet. To make certain he’d vacuumed up everything, he emptied the vacuüm, then did the carpet a second time. “Fucking cat hair!” He looked at the half filled canister on the vacuüm. “I can’t win.”

The Living Room, Dining Room, and hallway all fell to the vacuüm. “There. That’s that.” At which point, the dryer’s buzzer called to him. “Time to fold the whites!”

It was his day off. His Sunday. Like all his Sundays. When he didn’t work. When he spent the day doing laundry, and dishes, and housework. “Life sucks, but no one said it wouldn’t. Suck it up, buttercup. You’ve got work to do.”

Tyrone didn’t stop until he’d folded the last load of laundry. That night, he sat on the sofa, in front of the TV, watching whatever was on. He didn’t really care what was on, he had a TV, and by God, he was going to watch something. Anything.

He knew the next hurdle. Bed. “I don’t want to turn out the lights.”

He wondered if there was anything inside him. Or if he was a machine, going through the motions day after day. “Bring the violence,” he whispered. “Bring the violence.” Soon, it would be time for him to go to bed, and get ready for work the next day.

“That’s what it takes to survive.” He knew the truth of his life. Of everyone’s life. “Without the violence, nothing happens.”

Before he went to bed, he played his favorite Disturbed song once again.

“So tell me what am I supposed to be
Another god damn drone
Tell me what am I supposed to be
Should I leave it on the inside
Should I get ready to play”

He turned out the light, and started his nightly battle for sleep.


It’s April 26th, the 22th day of the A to Z Challenge 2015. This is the 22nd of 26 pieces I’m writing in April for the challenge. This one’s for the letter V. Tomorrow brings the letter W. I wonder what I’ll write for that.

Understanding

There are those who think I’ve turned my back on the Church, on Christianity, on God, and His son, Jesus. Those who pray I find my way back. I’ve tried many times to reason with them, talk with them, explain what I’ve done to them. I’ve learned, it’s useless. What I’ve done, the decisions I’ve made lie outside their understanding of the world, of life. To them, I’ve embraced the ways of the world, the ways of Satan. And I’m lost.

It’s something I strive to understand about the world around me. How people are the way they are. Why they do what they do. What they believe, and how what they believe drives them.

This week, I’ve had to continue growing my understanding of life, and people. This week, I’ve encountered more of news stories of Michele Bachmann. In the past her words would have outraged me, made me laugh and declare how silly she is. But, that’s simple lack of understanding on my part. Lack of reason. She is, like all of us, human. With her personal beliefs, and she does her best to live according to what she believes.

That’s not a reason to laugh at her. Nor is it a reason to pity, insult, or belittle her. She’s a human being, like you, like me. We are all mortal beings, with our own beliefs, our own ways, our own understanding of the world.

So, I’ve decided to examine what Michele Bachmann has said that made so many news headlines this week. But I’m not going to take a critical look at it, with the intent of discrediting her. No. That’s not what I’m trying to show. That’s not what I believe. That’s not who I am.

I want to see if I can understand what she has said, why she has said it, and what that tells me of what she believes, in the hope I can better understand her. So, let me find something she said. I’ll look here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/20/michele-bachmann-obama-rapture_n_7104136.html?utm_hp_ref=michele-bachmann

“Any nation that accepts God and his principles is blessed, and those who push away are cursed. That’s what we’re seeing happen to the United States. We will suffer the consequences as a result.”

Now, I have no way of knowing if these are her exact words. I know they are the words attributed to her in the news article identified in the link above. As a Christian, having read the Bible completely, the New Testament three times, and the Gospels countless times, as the son of a Southern Baptist Pastor, as a person who grew up in the church, I do understand what the above quote is saying, and I understand where it comes from.

Ms. Bachmann is being honest. She is stating what she believes. Whether she used the quoted words or not doesn’t matter. What matters is the content, the thought, those words represent. For those not familiar with the Christian Bible, it clearly says Jesus will return one day. Some call it the rapture. Some call it the second coming. It doesn’t really matter what it’s called. It’s part of Christianity. Jesus will return, and when he does, he will gather his children and take them to safety. Those left will endure the apocalypse (for lack of a better word), with disease, famine, war and death. To survive, people will follow a strong leader most Christians reference as the antichrist.

To a devoted Christian this is a serious topic. It is a call to arms, to witness to as many as possible, teaching them of the Christian beliefs and ways, in the hopes they will become one of Jesus’s children, so that when Jesus gathers his children, he will also gather them.

As Christians also know, no one knows when the end will come. No one knows when Jesus will return. All we know are the words of prophecy in the books of the Bible, both the Old Testament and New Testament.

And there lies the problem. Dependent on how you interpret those words, the end times are upon us, or the end times will be much worse than the times we live in now. The difficulty is, there’s not a consensus on what the Bible prophecy says. To some people, it describes today, the world now. To others, it describes an apocalypse, such as a meteor strike, or comet strike against the Earth. To others, it describes a protracted fall of civilization into continuous war, blood lust and greed.

Given the broad countless interpretations of the end time prophecies, and the consequences of not being ready for the end times, I find her thoughts and actions agree with her beliefs. Given my personal belief that no one knows when the second coming will happen, I’m not surprised by her words, or her behavior. I would be surprised if she believed as she does, and said nothing.

I welcome her words, and her actions. I don’t agree with her, but that’s OK. We believe differently. That does not give me the right to condemn her, or judge her. Rather, I should understand her, understand what she believes, and thus understand her actions. I may wish for a compromise with her, but I know, based on her beliefs as I understand them, she can’t make such a compromise. She would have to betray God and His son, Jesus, to make such a compromise.

I chose to let her believe as she believes. I do not chose to humor her, or laugh at her, or call her names, or insult her, or her faith. It is not my place to judge another. Instead, I should be honest with her, and others who believe as she believes. I should seek to understand them, and their faith. And to grow that understanding so we may learn to live together without war, or fighting, or violence, while we wait for the second coming.


It’s April 24th, the 20th day of the A to Z Challenge 2015. This is the 20th of 26 pieces I’m writing in April for the challenge. This one’s for the letter U. Tomorrow brings the letter V. I wonder what I’ll write for that.

Thankful For Another Day

Scream soared through the air, high above the desert. Below him was the realm of the Angels. He’d been riding the air currents for two days. The machines provided water and food. He could fly for weeks if needed.

“Please let Merlin and Mystica find a way to end this.”

Scream watched the stone streets and houses. Angel children played in courtyards, flexing their wings, learning to fly. Their mothers watched them, making certain the children didn’t hurt each other. Angels flew between buildings, carrying bread, fruits and food. Everything was normal in their town.

“It would be a shame to destroy this.”

Miss Hooters, a half Angel, floated next to him. “I tried to stop them.”

“I know.”

“They would not listen to me.”

“They are Angels. They listen to no one.”

Scream was glad for her company. Being half Angel, she could sail the air currents for days on end, with no food, no water. There was no way to know her age. He knew she was ancient, far older than she looked, far older than Mystica. “How old are you, Angel?”

Miss Hooters laughed. Scream could see her shape, her curves, the work of art she was, would be difficult for humans, fairies, and possibly other Angels to resist. “Old enough to know not to speak of age.”

He laughed too. She watched him, and he wondered if she’d try to stop him from destroying the Angels home. “You were born here?”

“Yes.” She smiled. “A half-breed.” She floated in the air currents, motionless, the feathers of her wings captured the air and held it long enough to keep her airborn. “My mother lives there.”

“Why did the Angels start this war?”

“They didn’t tell me. I’m not a true Angel, remember?”

“True. You speak with the machines, unlike the other Angels.”

She looked at the town below them, “I hope Mystica and Merlin can work more magic with the machines, and stop this.”

“As do I.” Scream didn’t want to hurt the Angels, especially their children. “War always hurts the innocent. Never the guilty.”

The two of them waited, high above the ground, for Mystica to appear. She would bring the news of the war’s end, or its escalation. He glanced at Miss Hooters. “You will warn them I am coming?”

“Of course.”

“They will leave?”

“We can only hope.” She sighed, “They may not listen to me.”

They watched the sun set on the horizon, both thankful Mystica had not come bearing bad news. Both thankful for another night of peace beneath the stars. Scream wondered how long a dragon could go without sleep. He’d asked Miss Hooters, but all she’d said was, “Long enough.” He knew she could do without sleep for weeks. It had been days already, and she didn’t look tired at all.

“Thank you, Miss Hooters, for keeping me company.”

She flicked her wings and moved beside his head. She put a hand on his rock-like hide, “Thank you, my friend, for working with me to save the children.”

Scream looked to the sky, to the stars. He screamed as he had each night. A warning to the Angels in their town. So they would know to listen to Miss Hooters if the time ever came. And he wondered if humans, no matter their form, would always go to war with themselves.

And the two of them soared on the air currents, high in the sky and waited to see what dawn would bring.


It’s April 23nd, the 19th day of the A to Z Challenge 2015. This is the 19th of 26 pieces I’m writing in April for the challenge. This one’s for the letter T. Tomorrow brings the letter U. I wonder what I’ll write for that.