Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2020/10/28 (Week 171)

The observer sat in their pitch dark room, the only light shining from the monitoring devices, observing everyone she was directed to observe by the Law Enforcement Agents. It was a large list, with hundreds of names, but she kept observing, moving from one name to another, endlessly, and at random. That was the key to catching behavioral violations. Observation had to be unexpected, and at random, so no one could plan for them.

She was almost half machine any more. Her eyes gone, replaced by a digital and mechanical system that had a replay memory built into it. She could replay the last few seconds over and over, to determine if the observed behavior needed to be reported to Law Enforcement.

There had been a book, a work of fiction, at one time, about a world in which everything people do is observed, monitored, and if necessary, corrected. Where deviant thinking, and departures from managed lifestyles, were punished, and where those who exhibited such behavior, were re-trained. Taught the error of their ways. Corrected. And when they no longer exhibited such deviant behavior, they were released, although an asterisk was always next to their names on the list of those she observed.

The observer never wondered if there were other observers, she knew there were, she was only one of many. It took many to keep things right, to maintain order, to protect all there was, every life, every detail of life.

She’d reported a person the previous day, before she got to rest, and recharge with sleep, and sustenance. A male. White. What had his name been? S2315. That was it. S2315. He’d been exhibiting deviant behavior consistently for a time. Reading paper books, not watching entertainment, cooking, not requesting sustenance. Multiple violations. One violation here or there was normal. No one was perfect, all people made mistakes. It was when the violations became consistent, and deliberate, they needed to be reported. S2315 had become consistent, and the number of violations he made was growing.

She’d reported him.

She remembered him because Law Enforcement had given her a new directive to increase the frequency of observing him. It was them, collecting evidence, before they incarcerated him. Before they retrained him.

“Why do people become deviations?” It was a question she’d asked herself countless times. A question she couldn’t answer. It made no sense to her. Avoid deviations, and live a peaceful, happy, full life, with no chaos, no job losses, no massive debts, no ending up homeless, no going hungry. If you remained compliant, within the system, following the rules, life was good.

The observer knew why she watched. Why she reported. It was to keep others safe. To keep chaos from returning to the world. Chaos that nearly destroyed everything, and everyone, according to history. Where people went where they wanted, did what they wanted, believed what they wanted, ate what they wanted, and got themselves killed in accidents, or made themselves sick from consuming the improper foods and drinks.

The observer reported deviations, and endlessly watched for them. Because. Without her, chaos might return.

528 words

An idea that may tie into something I’m working on writing. Not even a draft, really. Too rough. But it’ll do for some words for Week 171 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.


Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2020/10/25 (Week 169)

“I like that. Looks good.” I know I wasn’t supposed to grin, certainly not a happy grin, but looking at that frigging angel’s blue wings nailed to my garage wall brought a big smile to me. “What that ass hole fucking deserved.”

Angels, I’m telling you. Sitting there, in the clouds, looking down at us, judging us, telling us, “God the Father said do this.” This one had been a guardian angel, you know the type, sent down to protect us from ourselves, watch over us, make sure we learn the ways of the Lord, all that shit.

Bitch didn’t take it well when I lopped off his head with a machete. I kept hearing that song from that old musical, “He had it coming. He had it coming. He only had himself to blame!”

I cut off those blue wings to remind me of him, and the chaos he caused in my life, and burned the rest of him into ash. Wasn’t murder, you know. Not according to the law. I didn’t kill anyone. By the law’s definition, it was like murdering a dolphin, or eagle. Sportsmanship. And then collecting a trophy.

I’d had to do it. Asshole gave me no other option. Wouldn’t answer any questions. Wouldn’t explain anything. Just stuck with “God said.”

“Yeah! I know! But why the fuck did God say?”

And really? Did God say, “Burn all the fags at the stake!” Really? Or, “White people are better than everybody else!” Really? God said that?

That’s the same kind of shit dictators say. Authoritarians. “I write the rules! You do what I order!”

So, there I was, in church, growing up, wondering how God could say, “Love your neighbor as yourself” in one sentence, and in the next declare, “Kill all the Muslims before they kill you, my people!”

I told those damn wings, nailed to my garage wall, “Yeah, you’re why I’m so fucked up!” But it was OK. I was free, finally. I could finally explore what right and wrong were. What good and evil were. Outside the control of some damn angel sent to beat me into following the straight and narrow path.

And I know God wasn’t happy, if that was indeed His angel I’d cut up, and burned to hell, as I stood there, looking up at the heaven He was supposed to live in, and told him, straight up, “Now I can find out for myself. Now, I don’t have all your Christians, and angels, and minions trying to make sure I behave. Now, I can figure out what good and evil are. And I can finally figure out what love your neighbor as yourself means. Without having some 4000 year old set of rules, written by other people like me, who were every bit as mortal, and error prone as I am, being shoved down my throat by some ass hole with fucking blue wings!”

Yeah. Take that you angels, and your God. It was time for me to figure out if people who were different from me were good or evil, or if it was some stupid ass social construct that declared they were evil.

528 words

Written in response to the prompt for week 169 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2020/10/18 (Week 170)

I suppose it’s what I deserved, for looking in the mirror. Even though I knew what I’d see, I looked anyway. I saw all that was left of me. Not my body. Not my skin, hair, clothes. None of what people look in a mirror to see.

I saw a dead, rotting, wasteland. Dead trees reached to the sky, their long dead trunks covered in molds and lichens, their leaves, in a thick layer on the ground that was slowly turning to dirt.

It was silent. Dead silent. I couldn’t hear anything. No birds, animals, even water in a stream, or leaves rustling on the ground. There was no wind, no clouds, no life at all. It was all dead. Dead, and rotting, turning back to the dirt it came from.

It wasn’t easy to look, especially since I knew what I was looking at. My brain knew, and heard my own words, echoing endlessly. “There’s nothing left of me. Nothing but the fire. Nothing but the anger, the rage. Everything else has been lost.”

It was my soul, in that mirror. My heart. All of it, dead. Everything I’d been, everything we are when we’re born, every dream we have, ever hope, ever feeling, laughter, sorrow, pain, joy, smiles, tears, all of it. Gone. Dead. And turning back into the dirt it had come from.

“You know, I did try to explain to them. I tried to tell them. I even said, more than once, there are parts of me that are gone, and I don’t care who you are, those parts aren’t coming back. They’re gone.”

“Anger destroys everything.” I seriously considered throwing something hard, and heavy, at that mirror, shattering it into a million bits of glass. I didn’t. I knew. That would only be another image of what was left of me. Tiny shards of glass, scattered everywhere, waiting to cut up the bare feet that walked across them, waiting to sink into the fingers that tried to gather them up, and make the ground safe to walk on once again.

“Anger destroys everything.” I couldn’t even remember where I’d read those words.

That’s when I told the mirror, “It’s all I had. This world,” I looked around, even glanced out the window, “there was no other way I could be.”

Perhaps another man would have cried, mourned for the loss of his soul, felt the emptiness of the shell that was his body. But that wasn’t me. I’d mourned decades ago, when I realized I couldn’t survive in this world, that this world would drive me, little by little, day after day, into insanity.

“Well. At least I did my best with what I did have. At least I tried to do something positive, something good.”

There was an old phrase I’d learned, over 30 years ago, “Even doing the right thing, for the wrong reasons, is wrong.”

I still didn’t know how to respond to that thought. Was it wrong to take rage, anger, hatred, and do something positive with them? All because rage, anger, and hatred were wrong to start with?

“Wonder if I’ll ever learn an answer to that?” I asked the desolation in that mirror. “Or is it not possible for a destroyed soul to learn anything?”

546 words

Written in response to the prompt for week 170 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.