That’s How We Roll

Her profile picture looked cute enough. And that was one problem. She had red hair, which I like. Red hair turned me stupid. I couldn’t focus around it. So, yeah. That was another problem. Facebook reported we had 39 friends in common. 39. A nice, safe number. She had green eyes. I knew from her profile pictures, she had green eyes. And two cats. Divorced. It was quite a problem list.

Why? Why was it a problem list?

See. I was me. A guy. Even worse. A 58 year old guy. Worse of all, a 58 year old white guy. You know what that means, don’t you. It means I was part of the problem. Part of what was wrong with the world. I was part of the patriarchy, part of the privileged people who couldn’t even see the problem. Couldn’t understand the problem. Even if I was one of the few who knew the problem existed, I couldn’t understand the scope of the problem. Or how privileged I was. Or how many freedoms I had. Because. I was a 58 year old white guy.

I’d never grown up wondering if I was going to be sexually assaulted at school. If the church pastor would get naked in my presence. If the father of my next door neighbor was going to shove his hands down my pants.

I’d never grown up wondering if I could get a job. Because. Everybody knew. White guys like me always got jobs. It was that simple. And it wouldn’t be a job mopping floors, or cleaning bathrooms. I was a white guy. I’d get a real job. Whatever the hell a real job was.

I never had to go into debt to get a college education. Never had to choose between eating dinner for a week, or making the student loan payment. Never had to lay face down on the street, spread eagled, to keep the cops from shooting me.

I was a white guy. You get that? A white guy.

And that was all the problems. And it would always be all the problems.

Oh, I knew the best part of that too. See. I was a white guy. That meant, if I wanted to be a friend to someone on a social network, or at work, or at church, or anywhere else. It was up to me. I had to make the effort to be the friend.

Because. I was a white guy. And we all knew, everybody knew, if you’re a woman, you don’t ask a guy to be your friend. That’s inappropriate.

So, I looked at her picture again. She was cute. And I was an older white guy. I thought that summed it up nicely.

I clicked on the button that said remove. Because. I knew the truth. It was wrong for me to ask. Because. I was a white guy. A 58 year old white guy.

And she was cute.

And she’d never ask.

So that was it. All I’d ever do was remember, from time to time, that I’d done the only thing I could. And pretended I’d never seen her picture.

Because.

Isn’t that how life is anymore? Especially for 58 year old white guys?

I finished checking for any messages, or interactions with people on Facebook. Then, I logged out. And closed the browser. And sighed. And I wondered what I’d do when my lady died. Not that there was much to wonder about. She was the only person I had in my life.

If she was gone…

I killed that thought. I knew I’d deal with that problem when it arrived. There was no sense in rushing it.

It was going to be another night of Ancient Aliens, and video games, and maybe some music videos on Youtube.

Why?

Because.

I was a 58 year old white guy.

And that’s how we roll.

That’s how we roll.

#ThursThreads Week 291 : You’ve Got Him Worried.

Samantha was in tears. Again. On the school bus ride home. Boys and girls were being mean to her. They kicked her shins as they walked past where she sat. They threw pencils, spitballs, even small rocks. “We should just kill all your kind, and solve the problem!”

The bus driver cheered them on. “You tell that thing! Give it what for!”

When the bus got to Samantha’s stop, they blocked her in, and half the bus got off. Samantha was terrified. She knew they were going to hurt her. Beat her up.

That’s when she heard a voice, though no one was there. “Just sit here for a moment. It’ll be OK.”

Something invisible struck the bus driver. Hard. Samantha heard bones break. The driver pitched face first into the steering wheel. “Grow up, little boy,” that voice spoke a second time.

The doors to the bus became mangled, and bent, the glass in them exploded, and the doors would never work again. There was a noise. A gunshot. Someone had a gun. It fired several times. The kids outside the bus panicked, and ran in all directions, terrified. “Someone has a gun!”

“You can get up now, Samantha. It’s safe to walk home.”

Samantha slowly stood up. “Whoever you are. I hope you know. The sheriff. You’ve got him worried.”

I laughed. “I’m counting on that.”

Samantha walked home, with the sound of sirens getting louder.

She knew very soon, hell would ride into town.

247 Words
@mysoulstears


Yet another part of the ongoing Armor 17 story. It’s Week 291 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

#ThursThreads Week 290 : About Damned Time You Got Here

It scared her, certainly, but Julia had to use the restroom. And with all the chaos around transgender people, and bathrooms, it made her nervous when she had to use a restroom somewhere. But it was especially scary since Michelle had been destroyed the way she’d been destroyed. And the stories on the news about normal people involved in her death. It scared her.

But, she had to go, so she headed that direction. And two huge men followed her. “Christ, this is not good.” As she approached the ladies room, they stepped in front of her, “Women only, boy.”

That’s when everyone heard this magic voice speak, but no one saw who it was. “Oh, there you boys are. About damned time you got here.” The two men looked at each other. The left one sort of floated up into the air, and sailed backwards into the cinder block wall of the building. The right one sort of folded in half, and seated himself on the bench outside the ladies room as he tried to remember how to breathe.

“Nice of you to guard the door for the ladies, boys, but I think they’ll be just fine without your help.”

I figured I should be polite to Julia, “Miss Julia? The police will likely try to arrest you, and your friends, starting tomorrow morning. Just cooperate. Don’t fight. And I’ll take care of everything.”

I left Julia, and a couple dozen people standing there, wondering what had just happened.

250 Words
@mysoulstears


This is Part 17 of the Armor 17 story. It’s Week 290 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

#ThursThreads Week 289 : I’m A Danger

It was Sunday night. Barbara was on her way home from work, after the store she she was a manager at closed. It made her nervous to walk on the street, alone, after dark. Especially since Michelle had been murdered. With a previous legal name of Bart, Barbara knew it was a risky thing.

That night, right outside the apartment building she lived in, three men surrounded her. They all had ski masks on. They had bats, and knives, and guns.

Barbara knew it was the end. She knew she was going to die, just like Michelle had. That’s when a voice from nowhere spoke, “Go home, little boys. Before you get hurt.”

Barbara looked around, trying to see who spoke. Given I was invisible in the armor, she failed to see me. The men, thinking it was a joke, raised their bats. I shot the left one in the left leg, and then the right leg. The other two froze. “I’m a danger, little boys. Go home.” They drew their guns to shoot at anything. I kicked one in the groin, hard enough to lift him off the ground. I punched the third in the face, leaving broken teeth, busted lips, and a broken jaw.

“I wondered when they’d try this.” I had the armor call the police. “Barbara. Tell the police what happened when they get here. Tell them I said I’ll do what they won’t.”

I believe Barbara stood there until the police showed up.

248 Words
@mysoulstears


This is Part 17 of the Armor 17 story. It’s Week 289 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

 

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/11/01

Momma and Daddy brought me to the museum on Sunday. I’d never been to the museum. Momma was in her wheelchair, and Daddy pushed her around. He told me, “Today, Sally. We go where Momma wants to go. And we look at everything Momma wants to see.”

I held Momma’s hand, and kissed her cheek. “Xacly!” Momma was sick. She’d been sick a long time. And I worried about her. So, when Daddy asked if I wanted to do something, I’d said, “Let’s do something Mommy wants to do! Let’s let Mommy have some fun!”

And Momma wanted to visit the museum. To look at the pictures, and the paintings, and the statues. I didn’t care if none of them looked interesting to me, because Momma liked them.

I remember what she said to Daddy, “They have a special photography exhibit at the museum. Let’s go to that. I want to see the art. And the beautiful pictures.”

So, on Sunday, we were at the museum. Momma didn’t say much. But I knew it meant a lot to her to see the drawings, and the statues, because she cried. She sat in her chair, and stared at some of them, and smiled, and cried. “You like this one, don’t you Momma?” I squeezed Momma’s hand.

“Yes, sweetheart. I like this one.”

We took as long as Momma wanted to look through the drawings, and the statues. Daddy stood behind her, and I stood next to her. Her wig looked really pretty that day. All blonde, with just the right flip at the end. I stopped the museum guard and said, “Doesn’t my Momma look beautiful today?”

I remember he nodded, and he smiled, “Yes, indeed. She certainly does.”

It took forever. Well. Maybe not forever. But Momma did finally get to the photography stuff she wanted to see. A bunch of pictures someone took with a camera. I remember looking at them, and wondering how they did it. How they got everything to look just that way. Because. I’d never seen anything like them.

Momma squeezed my hand and smiled at me, “Do you see any pictures you really like?” When I didn’t answer, she told me to look around, “Go see all the pictures, honey. Go look at them all, and then show me the ones you like the most.”

Daddy stayed with her, and they moved from one picture to another. Momma smiled at some, and cried at some, and laughed at some. I loved it when Momma laughed. She didn’t laugh enough. Sometimes she didn’t laugh or smile for days. It made me really sad. It made me ask God to teach me how to make her laugh and smile again.

I did what Momma wanted me to. I wandered around among the pictures, and looked at them, to find at least one that I liked. A lot of them looked the same to me. Buildings, with some person in front of them. Lots of strange clothing on people. And things that looked like bed sheets blown into them by the wind. And big buckets of colored water dumped on them.

It was strange, and I didn’t get it. But I saw Momma liked the pictures, so I didn’t say anything about them.

Until I found a picture I didn’t understand. It had a pretty ballerina in it. She was so pretty, standing on her tiptoes, her back arched, her arms thrown back, and her head thrown back, and her hair all fluffed out behind her. She was in this cloud of red, like the same red when you cut your finger, or skin your knee, and bleed. I tried to figure that one out. What was it a picture of? I didn’t know.

So, I picked it as the picture I liked. And I did like the pretty ballerina in it. I wondered if I would ever be that pretty. And if Momma had been that pretty before she got sick.

Momma saw me standing in front of the picture, and she had Daddy bring her over to see what I’d found. “Did you find a picture you like?”

“Yes, Momma. I did.” I pointed at the picture. “She’s really pretty. I like her.”

Momma smiled. “Yes, she is.”

“Momma? What does the red stuff mean? I don’t understand the red stuff. It’s like it’s exploding out of her.”

Momma held my hand. “It’s symbolic, you know.”

“Sym-bol-ic?” That was a new word. I didn’t know that word. “It looks like blood is exploding from her, Momma. What does that mean?”

Momma put her arm around me. Which I thought was nice. I loved it when Momma hugged me. “Well, Sally. This is a special picture. It tries to capture what beauty is with the pretty ballerina. And she is beautiful, isn’t she.”

I nodded.

“But, the picture also tries to show that beauty like hers has a cost. A price. That our society makes her pay, just because she was born beautiful.”

“I don’t understand, Momma.” I looked at the ballerina. She had her eyes closed, and she wasn’t smiling. “It’s like she’s not having fun.”

“That’s right, Sally. That’s right. She’s not having fun. Because. She’s beautiful, and the world won’t let her have fun.” Momma hugged me tighter. “It’s a beautiful photograph. And it makes me wish you didn’t have to grow up, and learn what it’s saying.”

905 Words (Yes, I’m over the limit. So what?)
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 28th week. Unfortunately, this for the 27th week. This time, I saved the prompt for #NaNoWriMo, and this is a clip of the #NaNoWriMo story I’m working on. You can read about the challenge here. The picture was a perfect match to the story, so I had to wait to write. 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.