#SwiftFicFriday Week 134 : One Thing At A Time, Damnit!

I had to do something. Sitting down wasn’t going to fix the problem. Neither was sending someone on the internet a scream filled note.

No. I had to do something.

So I stood at the kitchen sink, with the dishwasher opened, and the dish-rack for what didn’t fit in the dishwasher, and my hands coated in dish soap, while I used a sponge to scrub each item in that sink clean.

“One item at a time! One damn item at a time!” Separating silverware was a pain in the ass. Especially if a fork got stabbed into the pile at the wrong angle, and collected up other pieces between its tines. “Separate things! One piece at a time!”

For lots of people, panic was debilitating. They shut down, curled up in little balls, or cried. Some  hid somewhere. That wasn’t me. I had to be careful when panic attacked me, because I got angry. It was like some raging wild beast lived in me, and when I panicked, that beast entered full up defense mode, like a cornered bobcat,  all claws and teeth, and non-stop movement.

“It’s scrubbed clean. Now put it in the dishwasher. Careful! Don’t bend anything. Don’t break anything.” I added the spoon to the silverware rack in the washer, and picked up a cereal bowl from the sink. “Don’t break anything you idiot! Be careful!”

My cousin told me once they got upset when they heard me talk to myself like that. They never figured out I wasn’t being hard on myself. Instead, I was holding the rage the panic caused in check.

“One thing at a time! And be careful!”

See, I’d learned how to use my panic and rage to get the housework done. I was good with that.

296 Words

It’s Week 134 of #SwiftFicFriday, hosted by Katheryn Avila. Rachel Thompson (@RachelintheOC) kept telling me, and everyone really, to write what I was afraid of writing. To write what I know. It seems I’m finally starting to figure out what that means. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #SwiftFicFriday. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up regularly.


Why You Never Hear From Me

You told me to write you letters. Two years ago, you told me to write you letters. In those two years I have not written a word. I have not sent you a single letter. I know why. But I also know you would never understand, or accept, my reasons why.


The list is nearly endless, and covers almost everything. Except NFL Football.

This is where I begin to explain why I don’t write. You won’t like what I have to say. You won’t like one word of what follows.

I’ll start with Music.

Your own words, as I remember them. “Lady Antebellum changed their name to Lady A. They folded up, and gave in to Cancel Culture. It’s another attack on my culture. On what I believe. I used to love their music. I listened to them all the time. Now. I will never listen to another song by Lady A.”

You branded them traitors to you, and all that you believe.

There is more to say.

K pop. I know you hate it. I know you don’t approve of me being a big fan of K pop. I know you think it’s all a commercial rip-off of our culture. A bunch of greedy South Korean people doing whatever it takes to get rich off of the USA. Imitating our music.

Even worse. I know you believe it’s all fake. That none of it is real. Even the live performances. That no one on the stage sings at all. Not one note. If it sounds live, it’s because someone off the stage is singing. That everyone on the stage is lip syncing.

American Music. Let’s talk about that, shall we.

American Music is Country Music. At least by your definitions. And the hymns of the music books in your church. It’s not rap. It’s not pop. It’s not soul. It’s not Kurt Cobain. It’s not the Bee Gees. It’s not Electric Light Orchestra. It’s not Lady Gaga. It’s not Katy Perry. And it’s not that traitor bitch, Taylor Swift.

Why won’t I talk about music with you?

Because you won’t listen to anything I say. Your mind is made up. Your opinions are cast in concrete. You know what you have declared is music, what you have defined as music. And your job is to ignore everything I find to be music. We can talk about music, but only so long as I speak of Luke Bryan, Jackson Dean, Carrie Underwood, and others like them.

Further, I don’t have any problem with you liking their music. It’s something that makes you feel good. Something that speaks to your emotions, and to your mind. To your heart and soul.

I spoke to you, a few times, in 2019 and 2020, about music. You had no interest in any of the music I spoke of. In fact, you declared it was all fake. Lip Synced. Sound tracked. Pretend. That the performers weren’t real musicians.

Things I never said about your music.

I stopped talking with you about music. Because you didn’t want to hear anything I had to say. You didn’t care at all that the music mattered to me. It was, simply, the wrong kind of music. Not American music. Not the music a true American would listen to.

It was the music a brainwashed person, owned by the liberal media, controlled by George Soros and his elites, would listen to.

Let’s look at the topic of science, shall we.

COVID 19 hit.

At least you had the common sense to know it was contagious, and that it did make people sick, and put them in the hospital, and that it did kill some people. But, what about the rest of the COVID-19 story?

I never asked you where you thought COVID-19 came from. I never had to ask. I knew what you would have said. “It’s a biological weapon developed by China that accidentally escaped one of their weapons labs in Wuhan, and did what it was designed to do. It spread.” I know you believed, completely, and totally, it was exactly what Donald Trump called it. “The China Virus”.

I never asked you what you thought of the COVID-19 vaccines. Or of Ivermectin, Metformin, and Fluvoxamine. I didn’t have to ask. I already knew. I knew from my brother, also your cousin, that the vaccines don’t really work, and that Ivermectin, Metformin, and Fluvoxamine were perfectly acceptable alternatives to the vaccines. Even though you probably did get vaccinated.

I know my brother doesn’t believe the vaccines work, because he still got COVID-19 after he was fully vaccinated, and had the first booster shot.

I never asked you how many people you thought died from COVID-19. I never had to. I knew you thought the number of COVID-19 fatalities was greatly inflated, as part of the Deep State’s effort to control the US population. I knew you believed that many of the deaths attributed to COVID-19 were strokes, heart attacks, pneumonia, and any of an entire list of other causes of death.

I sometimes wonder if you believe the Apollo missions to the moon in 1968 through 1972, were faked by the Deep State. I sometimes wonder if you believe that all the missions to mars have been faked. That Voyager 1 and 2 were fakes. That NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto was faked. That all the current missions, all the current satellites, and robots, sent to the moon by China, Israel, Europe, and the US, are fake. I sometimes think you believe they are all liberal media operations to make us feel good, and cover up what the Deep State is actually doing in the US.

I was on fluoxetine when we visited you in 2019. You didn’t say a thing about that. But, I frequently wonder if you would have said, “There’s nothing wrong with you that can’t be fixed by you taking more trips to the beach, or to parks and gardens where there are trees, and flowers.”

And I don’t believe you will ever accept that I am Autistic.

I frequently think you believe these are all things the Deep State and Big Pharma made up, and use the Liberal Media to convince us they are real, so we will give them all our money, and they can better control us.

Climate Science?

You were alive when the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio caught fire. You were alive when Lake Erie was declared dead. You were alive when Los Angeles was covered in smog and you couldn’t see it from the hills surrounding it. You were alive when it used to snow in Lucedale.

Now, I frequently wonder if you believe all those news stories from Walter Cronkite were lies. That he didn’t even know they were lies. That he simply read the stories he was handed. And that the Deep State made up those stories, and handed them to him, to have him read them.

And, with each passing year, I know you find it easier to believe such things, because more and more of the people who were in Cleveland when the river caught fire die of old age. Eventually, they will all die, and the proof we will have that those fires took place will be history books.

I know how you believe history. I know you believe history books lie. I know you believe Slavery wasn’t the bad thing history books tell us it was.

I know you believe climate science is all a big scheme by that mythical Deep State, so that it can suck up all our money, and control our behavior, and turn us all into sheep.

It’s been 2 years. I haven’t written a single word. I haven’t sent you a letter.

I don’t plan to.

We have nothing to talk about.

I may be willing to listen to what you have to say. I may even agree with some of what you say. But, I know you would never agree with anything I have to say. Because, in your eyes, I’m brainwashed by the liberal media, and controlled by the Deep State. And everything I say is what they want me to say. And everything I believe is what they want me to believe.

I know you would spend all of our time talking trying to convince me that you are right, and I am wrong, and I need to become just like you, and believe what you believe.

I don’t talk with you because there is no point in us talking.

So I won’t be sending you any letters.

And it’s likely I won’t ever visit you again.

What would be the point? What reason would I have to visit? Would I visit to have everything I know, everything I believe, everything I have learned in my 63 years of life, called a lie?

Why would I do that?

#SwiftFicFriday Week 133 : Bow Down.

“Bow down! This test is over!”

I remembered those words from 25 years earlier so well.

I’d withdrawn my arrow from my bow and placed it back in my quiver. Each man on the line hoped he would become the newest member of the King’s Guard, ready to use our bow and arrows to strike down the King’s enemies. We all knew only one of us would be that member.

I’d used all but three of my arrows. I had to make new arrows to replace the ones I’d used.

Making arrows was an art. I had to find the right wood, carve it to the proper shape, balance it properly, then carve the nock into one end. I’d destroyed dozens of shafts learning to carve the nock. I’d destroyed countless more shafts learning to seat the feathers of the fletching properly to keep the arrow stable in its flight.
Arrowheads had to be the right weight, the right shape, and razor sharp, for the arrow to be useful. I had an entire wall of my shop covered in worthless arrowheads.

I had not looked forward to replacing my arrows.

“Follow me!”

One of the King’s Guard led us from the training ground in their wing of the castle, through the gate, back into the streets of town.

“We will make our final decision tonight. We will fetch who has made the cut. If you wake in your own bed in the morning, you are not him.” He had turned and walked back inside the gate, and the gate slammed shut.

I had gone home, and waited.

That had been 25 years ago.

I did not become a member of the King’s Guard that day. Instead, I became someone more important. I became an arrow maker for the King’s Guard.

300 Words

It’s Week 133 of #SwiftFicFriday, hosted by Katheryn Avila. I’m still wondering what the heck is going on with this story. There seems to be only one way for me to find out. Anyway. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #SwiftFicFriday. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up regularly.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2022/08/10 (Week 262)

“It’s not real. I don’t pretend it’s real. You know that, right?”

Taryn was staring at the little bottle of Sun Dust that sat on my desk. “But. It’s just sand, isn’t it?”

“Yes. It’s just sand.” I shook my head. “You’re missing the entire point. Completely missing it.”

“Then explain it to me.”

“It’s a reminder. A symbol. Nothing more.”

“A symbol?”

“Yes.” I picked the small bottle up, and used the attached cord to hang it around my neck. “A symbol. Something that reminds me.”

“Of what?”

“Of the ocean. The beach. The sand. The sun. The breeze.” I tapped the bottle. “Just knowing it’s there makes being here,” I swung my arm in a circle directed at the entire office, “more tolerable.”

She shook her head, “I don’t understand you sometimes, you know.”

I opened one of the drawers on my desk, and pointed into it. “I have other little bottles, to remind me of things.”

She peeked into the draw, and read names, “Sprinkles of rain. Grass between your toes. Salty Sea Breeze.” She stopped, and picked up the empty bottle, “Cool Breeze. Really? It’s empty.”

“See? You don’t get it.” I sighed. “They are reminders. Not real. Just reminders of things that are real.” I looked around the office, then back at her. “I could make others, like Burnt Coffee, Xerox Machine, Stale Air.”

Taryn shook her head. “If they’re reminders, then why make them good reminders.”

“Exactly!” I held up the bottle of Sun Dust, “Like this one!”

That’s when it all fell into place in her head. I knew because her eyes lit up.

“Are there any reminders you would like? Maybe Spring Showers, or Roses of Happiness?”

She paused, and I could see her thinking through things. I loved the way her eyes twitched as she thought. How sometimes those eyes said, “No! Anything but that!” and sometimes, “Oh, that would be trouble!”

“I have plenty of little bottles, and labels for them. Go ahead. Pick something you’d like a reminder of.”

Taryn sighed, then looked out one of the windows of the building. “Bubble bath.”

“Done. I’ll bring it to you tomorrow.” I tapped the Sun Dust bottle. “It won’t be real. Just a reminder. The magic is up to you.”

Who cares how many words.

Written for Week 262 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. Mirror, mirror on the wall. What can I do with you as a prompt? 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.

#ThursThreads : Week 523 – All Things Considered

“Dad. She’s gone, alright. She’s been gone for months.”

I dropped the dish I was washing at the time, and watched it fall to the sink, where it shattered, and left shards of glass everywhere, “I know! You don’t think I know? I know!”

Every minute of every day I knew she was gone. I didn’t even sleep in our bed anymore. I slept on a cot I parked next to the bed. My son didn’t know that. Like he didn’t know I didn’t use the bathroom off the master bedroom. I used the hallway bathroom.

Because she was gone. And I couldn’t be in those places anymore.

He stood there, staring at me, as I started to dig glass shards out of the sink. “You need to move on!”

“No!” I turned the water off, and let everything fall back into the sink. “No!” I turned to face him. “You don’t understand.”

Just like that I had to hold on to the counter to keep from sinking to my knees. Just like that it was everything I could do to keep from shattering like that dish had.

“She was all I had.” He’d made me stop. Made me think. “I know she’s gone. But she’s the only reason I had for staying here, in this world. She was the reason I didn’t…” I couldn’t finish that sentence.

He stood there, silent. After a bit, I recovered, “All things considered, I think I can pretend she’s still here.”

248 Words

It’s Week 523 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the stories in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.