#AtoZ2016 : Z is for Zero

Zero.
That’s all I have left to say.
Zero.
The number of words I will write today.
Zero.
The sound of silence.

And a sound I may make for a while.

Then again.
Maybe not.
It depends.

On many things.

Things that right now,
I have
Zero
Tolerance for.
Zero
Patience for.
And
Zero
Interest in.

Time for me to do the things
I want to do.
And need to do.
For me.


It’s April 30th, and the A to Z Challenge for 2016 is in it’s last day. With these words, I’m done.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

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#AtoZ2016 : Y Is For Yummy

On Saturday, when I got home, Tommy was on his front porch, with a bag of potato chips. “What’cha got Tommy?”

He paused, his hand stuck in the bag, “Chips!” He pulled out one chip, and ate it.

“What kind of chips?”

“Bar-b-qued.” Tommy’s eyes gleamed, and his smile was a big as it ever got. “My favorite! Mom gave the the entire bag.”

“The whole bag?” I feigned surprise. “Wow! You must’ve done something good!”

“That’s what she said.” He stopped, his hand in the bag again. “I did good today.”

I smiled, “And what did you do?”

He looked so proud. “Mr. William. I did NOT get in any trouble today!”

“Wow!” I held up my thumbs. “No trouble!”

“And Mom rewarmeded me!” He held up his bag of chips. “I got yummy chips!”

“Enjoy every last one of them.”

“I will, Mr. William! I will.” He resumed eating his chips, one at a time. I left him in peace, and went inside. And wondered if I would get anything yummy for dinner.


It’s April 30th, and the A to Z Challenge for 2016 is in it’s last day. Only 1 more letter to write something for before I crash tonight.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

#AtoZ2016 : X Is For Xerox

Sometimes, it’s hard for me
To deal with what I see
Everywhere.

Sometimes, it bothers me
The things I see
Everywhere.

And I ask,
“God?
Why are people all the same?”

No one believes me.
No one understands.
Except the autistics.
Like me.
We understand.

I wonder sometimes,
Is there a machine out there
That turns out copies
Of a master copy of a human?

A human Xerox machine.

I know how humans are born.
I know how random genetics are.
How half a person’s genes
Come from a male parent.
And the other half from a female.
I know that.

But what I don’t understand,
What eludes me,
Is how so many people
End up the same.

Want to know the best part?
They don’t see it.
They can’t see it.
All they see is details.
Little details.

Like how one has a truck,
The other a motorcycle,
And the third a car with a trunk.

Like how one has a two story house.
Another has a one story.
And a third a split level ranch.

“We’re all different!”
That’s what I’ve been told.
That’s what I had
Screamed at me.
Literally.
Screamed.

Xerox machines don’t make
Perfect copies
You know.
They do a damn good job.
But the copies aren’t perfect.
And if you copy a copy
Enough times
You find that out.
Try it.
You’ll see.

That’s how it is with people.
I think.
The xerox machine
Makes imperfect copies.
Of a master person.

Look at how many people
Define success
The same way.
Look at how many people
Want
The same things.

Everybody’s got a smart phone.
Why?
No. Seriously.
Why?

I walked through my neighborhood
On a Sunday morning.
And I counted seven men
Mowing their lawns.
Seven.
On a Sunday morning.
At the same time.

I pay attention
On a Saturday,
Or a Sunday,
And I’ll hear a lawn mower
Running.
Somewhere in my neighborhood.
All day long.

Because.
Everyone mows their lawn
On the weekend.

I mow mine when I damn well feel like it.
Usually on a Wednesday morning.
Sometimes on a Sunday.
And sometimes
On another day,
Before I go to work.

The neighbors mow their lawns
Every week.
Without fail.
Even if it’s raining.
I’ve seen them outside.
In the rain.
Mowing.

It’s like it’s programmed into them.
Like they have to.
Like they can’t not.

And they tell me
They’re all different.

How many guys do you know
Who shave every day.
I mean every day.
Even on Saturday and Sunday.
Over and over.
Endlessly.
And I wonder,
Why?
Why do they do that?
They certainly don’t have to.
They wouldn’t lose their job.
If they didn’t shave
On the weekends.

Little clones of each other.
Imperfect clones.
With little differences
In the details.

But if you look past those details.
If you look at bigger things.
At general behavior.
You’ll see what I see.

There’s a Xerox machine somewhere.
Printing out new people.
Day after day.


It’s April 29th, and the A to Z Challenge for 2016 is in it’s last few days. Only 2 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

Civil War : One

The GPS signal told me I was approaching what was once Jackson, Mississippi. For giggles, I asked the network, “What was Jackson, Mississippi like?”

Turned out it was the capital of the state of Mississippi. The network showed virtual images of the city, shopping areas, the city arena, the arts center. It had been a stronghold of the Southern Resistance, and God’s Army.

“So, I’m heading into a land I’m hated.” I signed, “What else is new.”

As my truck headed east toward Jackson on what was left of Interstate 20, I checked all the arms and safety systems. The two drones in the truck bed reported they were fully operational. The roof mounted missile rack reported it was fully operational. The sensors in the metal foam armor reported the armor was 99.9% intact from the damage done to it in the skirmish I’d passed through a few hours ago.

I checked the shredder rounds for my two assault guns, and my two handguns. The guns and their rounds were ready. I verified the cartridge change mechanisms on all four were functioning, and I had 16 fully loaded cartridges ready to go, attached to the ammo belts on my armor.

My armor itself reported it was 100% functional, and ready to protect me from all forms of gunfire.

The truck stopped on a hill just west of Jackson, and the transport system asked, “Are you ready?”

I was on a simple mission. Reconnaissance. Supplement the information the airborne drones had collected in the past month with human visual information.

“Open.” The door of my truck opened, and I stepped out. The truck reported no abnormal heat sources in the area, so I felt reasonably safe. Or as safe as a hated Yankee could be in the deep south. I scanned the horizon. The remains of a few buildings were visible to the east north east. A few scattered, burned out houses were visible along the sides of the interstate. What looked like a blown up Walmart shopping center was visible about a mile down the road.

I stood there, and thought about what I was doing. “Why do I do this? Why do I come here, to the South? Why do I risk my life like this?” The hills, and what few remaining trees I could see looked good enough. I suspected it would have been a pretty place at one point.

The truck flashed its lights to signal me it was time to move. The time in the top right of the visual enhancement system said, “0947 hours EDT, 08 May 2054”. It was six months, three weeks, twenty-seven days since the total defeat of the Southern Resistance and God’s Army. We’d kept the door open for peace talks for three years. We hadn’t even asked for unconditional surrender. All we’d asked for was them to abolish their slavery system, and halt their genocide of homosexuals and transgender people. That’s all we’d asked. We were tired of the war. Tired of the killing. Tired of the blood.

They refused. They insisted on fighting to the end. “We will never surrender in our fight for God’s ways!”

I got in the truck, “Launch drone one. I want it ten miles ahead of us.” The truck shuddered as the drone came to life, it’s solar powered engines lifted it from the truck bed, and it sped along the highway, 20 feet above the ground. The drone’s visuals displayed on one of the truck monitors. “Drone one reports no signs of human activity.”

“Let’s go.”

The truck resumed its eastward journey. I recognized the bomb craters on either side of the road. “Look like penetrator rounds.”

The truck confirmed, “Drone aircraft armada passed overhead for thirty days, dropped 25 pound penetrator rounds on everything.” I could imagine the terror. The horror. A thousand aircraft, filling the sky, moving at just shy of the speed of sound, less than 100 feet off the ground.

As the passed over houses, shopping centers, gas stations, or any other buildings, the penetrators would have launched. Straight down. Penetrators contained very high explosive rounds. They didn’t explode on impact. They were rocket propelled, a small solid booster slammed them into the roof of a building. They went right through. The visual sensors on them detected when they were inside the structure, then they exploded.

Imagine six, or twelve, or more, 25 pound fuel air bombs going off inside a four bedroom house. That’s what penetrators did.

We had no choice. The Southern Resistance and God’s Army soldiers hid inside people’s houses. The people sheltered them, protected them. Everyone was certain we wouldn’t inflict collateral damage, civilian damage. We were more civil than that.

But after seven years of war, and three years of peace offers, we had no choice. If we’d have let it, the war would have continued for decades. Maybe it would have never ended. So, we’d sent in the penetrators.

Millions died.

Not hundreds. Not thousands.

Millions.

The Southern part of the continent had been depopulated. All it’s population centers had been wiped out. The penetrator attacks kept going. We sent the drones again, and again, and again. For thirty days, and thirty nights.

On the thirty-first day, we’d sent recon drones. Thousands of them. We’d repositioned our satellites. We’d sent manned F-44s on flyovers. We’d analyzed the pictures, studied them, torn them apart. Then, we’d sent in the ground troops. Mostly automated, each soldier controlled a dozen ground drones. They’d gone into the countryside, and looked for pockets of resistance.

It took two years to clean things up.

No one will ever know the total body count.

We weren’t the United States of America anymore. We were just America. No states. No boundaries. One single country. The civil war was over. A big “L” shaped chunk of the country was a bombed out, burned out wasteland. Now, we were trying to clean it up. Now, we were learning what we were dealing with, and what it would take to rebuild our country.

God’s Army and the Southern Resistance had wanted to cleanse the country of its evils.

Well. I don’t think they’d ever thought of themselves at the evil parts of the country that needed to be cleansed. That’s how it had worked out, though.

I told the truck, “Keep me posted. Let me know if drone one spots anything alive.”

“Jackson. I’ve never been to Jackson.” It was going to be a long day.

#AtoZ2016 : W Is For Wish

Little Tommy knelt beside his bed, to say his bedtime prayers. He did this on his own, his Mom and Dad didn’t tell him to, they didn’t make him. Tommy liked to talk to God, to thank God for his day.

“Dear God. Thank you for today. For all the fun I had playing that jewels game on Mom’s phone. That games a lot of fun.” He nodded, and rested his elbows on his bed. “I know I’m supposed to say thank you for the broccoli casserole Mom fixed for dinner tonight, but do I really have to? ‘Cause, you now. I don’t like broccoli. That stuff tastes nasty.”

Tommy looked up at the ceiling of his room, “Maybe you could redo broccoli, make it taste better, so all us kids would eat it?” He smiled. “But you don’t have to. You know more than me, I know. And maybe you made broccoli taste like that for a reason.”

He bowed his head once more, “Thank you for my Mom. Even though she has to punish me, and put me in time out sometimes. I know she’s just trying to teach me how to behave better. How to stay out of trouble.” Tommy looked at his ceiling once more, “But it’s so hard to always be good. And so easy to make mistakes. Why is that? I don’t know. I can’t figure it out. Maybe you could ‘splain it to me?” He smiled. “Yeah. I know. I’m only six. Maybe I’m not old enough to figure it out yet.”

He bowed his head again, “Thank you for my Dad. Even though he screams at me sometimes. Mom says it’s ‘cause he works hard all day, and needs a timeout when he gets home.” Tommy frowned, “I don’t understand that. I don’t know what that work thing he does is. And he won’t tell me. And Mom says I’ll find out soon enough, and to not rush it.” Tommy looked up at God again, “It sounds like work’s a bad thing, doesn’t it.” He nodded. “Maybe you didn’t make that.”

Once more, he bowed his head, “And God. Now I make my wish. But I’m smart, God. You know that. You made me that way. So I don’t wish for me.” He nodded, “Nope. I wish for everybody.”

Tommy closed his eyes, “Dear God, I wish people would stop yelling at each other. And stop fighting each other. And stop calling each other names. It’s like they’re trying to hurt each other.” He pressed his hands together. “And that’s wrong. Hurting each other’s bad.”

Tommy looked up toward heaven once more, “People should talk, not yell. They should build things, not fight. They should grow trees, pick up the garbage in the parks, play games together.” He closed his eyes and prayed, “I wish people would do that, God. I wish they’d stop hurting each other.”

He bowed his head once more, “In Jesus name, Amen.”

Then Little Tommy climbed into his bed, and pulled his covers over his head, and dreamed of a world where his wish came true.


It’s April 27th, and the A to Z Challenge for 2016 is in it’s last few days. Only 3 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

#AtoZ2016 : V Is For Violence

Define Violence.
Go ahead.
Define Violence.

I hear so many people say,
“When you shoot someone with a gun!”
“When you murder someone!”
“When you assault someone!”
“Violence! Like in the movies!”
“Violence like’s on TV every night!”

Classical,
Physical,
Violence.

And they always stop there.
At the physical.
At the classical.
At what they understand.
At what they’re comfortable with.

So they don’t have to change.

Define Violence.
Go ahead.
Define Violence.

Is it violence
When the father of three,
Who lives next door,
Shoves his dick
In the mouth
Of your 13 year old son?

It’s not physical,
No one got hurt,
There’s no blood,
There’s no bodies.

Is it Violence?

Is it violence
When the mother of two
Who lives three blocks away
Lets a man in her house,
Escorts him to her daughter’s room,
Takes $100 from him,
And say, “She’s all yours.”

It’s not physical,
No one got hurt,
There’s no blood,
There’s no bodies,
No one’s in the hospital,
No one’s in jail.

Is it Violence?

Is it violence
When the 16 year old boy
At school one day,
Gets called a fag?
Gets called a bitch?
Gets told people like him
Don’t deserve to live
In this world.
By his peers.
Both boys,
And girls.

It’s not physical,
No one got hurt,
There’s no blood,
There’s no bodies,
No broken bones,
No ambulance,
No cops.

Is it Violence?

Is it violence
When the 36 year old transgender woman
Shops for panties
In Walmart.
Finds what she wants.
Pays for everything.
And starts toward her car.

And gets shot in the back.
Because.
Transgender people aren’t people.
They’re evil.
Spawns of Satan.
Sexual predators.
They deserve to die.

It’s not violence,
Is it,
If they don’t exist.
If they aren’t real people.
If they’re slime.
If they’re evil.
If they’re sick.

If they’re not like you.

It’s not violence at all,
Is it.
If you don’t think anyone got hurt.
If you don’t think anyone died.
If you don’t see a need
To call the cops,
Or an ambulance.

Of course.
It would be different,
You know.
If it was your girlfriend
Who got shot.
And not some sicko.

Yeah.
That would be different.
Wouldn’t it.

Is it violence
When you walk into a church,
On a Wednesday night,
To pray.
And when you’re done,
You pull out your gun,
And shoot everyone you can.
Before you run.

Because.
You know the truth.
The people of that church,
They weren’t Christians.
They weren’t like you.
And they were ruining your faith.
Your religion.
Your God.

Is it violence
To fight back
Against the demons?
Those who would weaken
Your faith?
Corrupt you?
Cause you to stray
From the path God made?

Is it violence?

What is it when
The boy they called a fag.
The boy they called a bitch.
The boy they laughed at.
The boy they told day after day
How he should die.
And get it over with.
How the world
Would be better
Without him.

Swims into the ocean one day.
And never looks back.

Do you shake your head
And say,
“He was always sick.
And weak.
He should have gotten help.”
Because.
It’s no one’s fault,
What he did.

And he was stupid
For doing that.

Define violence.
Go ahead.
Pretend.
Make something up.
Hide from the truth.

Of this world you’ve made.

Make certain you define
Violence
In just the right way.
So you can believe
What you want.
And feel good,
Every day.

Go ahead.
Define violence.
Define it carefully,
To make it go away.


It’s April 26th, and the A to Z Challenge for 2016 is in it’s last few days. Only 4 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

#AtoZ2016 : U Is For Useless

I feel it again.
That sinking feeling.
That hopeless feeling.
The one you get when you try.
And you fail.
When you want to do something
So badly,
So desperately,
And it’s useless to try.

I want to write.
I want to craft magic with words.
To tell a little story.
And find a way to make it funny.
Something to laugh about.
Something to make me feel
Better.

But I find no words.
I sit here,
In this stupid chair.
And I stare at a blank screen.
My hands type junk on the keyboard.
Endless junk.

And I delete it all.
And I try again.
And I get 100 words.
Maybe 200.
And I hate them all.
I’d love to burn them.
To print them out,
Then set fire to the paper they’re on.

And I delete them again.
And again.
And again.

Until I stare at my screen.
And my fingers stop moving.
And I know.
I won’t write a damn thing.
Not one word.

And that feeling smothers me.
Crushes me.
Leaves me prone,
Bruised, crushed and bleeding.
And wondering why I try.
Why I put myself through this.

Endlessly.

I’m not a magician.
I’m not God.
I can’t make something
From nothing.
No mortal can.

And when I can breathe.
When the feeling withdraws.
When it says I’ve had enough,
And leaves me alone.

Then all there is
Is emptiness.
A hollow me.
A shell.

With nothing left inside.

And my heart screams into that
Hollow world.
That hollow me.
“You failed again!”

And I know it’s true.
I failed.
No stories came.
No words formed.
Nothing wound up on the page.

And perhaps,
This time,
It was useless to try.

Useless to struggle.
Useless to pretend.

Because.
On nights like this,
When no words are there.
And no dreams happen.
It’s useless to pretend
I can write.

And all I can do
On a night like tonight,
Is wait.
And try again.
On another day.

And so,
I surrender.
And collapse.
Into the rubble
Of a day of lost
Words.

A day when I was so worn out.
So damaged
From life.
I had no words to say.
But I had to try
Anyway.

Even though I knew the effort,
The time I spent in trying,
Wouldn’t mean a thing.
Except to remind me once again.

Sometimes
It’s useless
To try.


It’s April 25th, and the A to Z Challenge for 2016 is in it’s last few days. Only 5 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.