Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : Week 270 (2022/11/30).

“I sometimes like to think of my personal demons as big horses, coming out of the ocean in the dead of night. And they have yellow glowing eyes, and snakes in their manes.”

Sam looked square at me. “You do know that’s a bit different, right?”

“Hey,” I answered her, “You’re the one who started this talk about demons, remember?”

“They’re not real, you know.”

“Yeah, Sam. I know.” It was true. People claimed demons possessed humans, and made them do evil, vile, nasty things. “I know it’s just the dark corners of our minds, where we don’t admit things exist. Things we really want to do. Things we’d do if we could.”

She smiled. “At least you know what they are.”

“We all have them, don’t we?” I nodded. “Those thoughts we aren’t supposed to have. And every once in a while, we let one of them loose, and disaster happens. And then, we proclaim, ‘The Devil made me do it!’ Right?”

She nodded. “Like the one where I shoot my boss at work for being an idiot. And I shoot him with every round in my gun. Then reload, and shoot him again. And again. And again, until I run out of ammo in the 200 round box I brought with me.”

“Exactly. That’s not demons. That’s us. That’s the darkness in each of us.”

We sat, watching the ocean, in the dark. Black water, against a black sky, with a few shining points of lights, and a few strips of white on the water now and then. “It would be funny if a demon came out of the ocean, wouldn’t it.”

I loved it when she laughed, “Yes, it would! Can you imagine all the folks in church, having a picnic here, and your demon horse coming out of the ocean right in front of them!”

It has been a while since she’d laughed. It had been a while since she’d let anyone come near her. Especially a guy. It was good to see her laugh. I don’t think I can ever forget that, or the shine in her eyes.

“Bill,” she looked over the white stripes on the black sea. “Can we talk?”

“About anything you want to, Sam. Anything.”

“No judgment, right?”

I nodded, “None. Not from me. Ever.”

“I want to kill him, you know.”

“Him” was the church pastor, royal bastard that he was. Very few people knew what happened that day. Almost none of them talk about it. That was the day Sam and I left the church. We’re never going back. Not to any church. For any reason. Because of what happened.

I remember my phone saying I had a call from Sam. I took the call, but before I could say anything, I heard Sam on the phone begging for him to stop what he was doing, “No. I don’t want to.”

“It will be good for you.” I’d have recognized the pastor’s voice anywhere.

It had taken me a few minutes to figure out where they were. Teenage me had run like the wind several blocks to Sam’s house. No cars were there other than the pastor’s. Sam’s parents were gone. They’d left him with her, because he was the pastor, and nothing would happen.

It was the night I’d broken the door frame, and the door, forcing my way into the house. That’s where I found the pastor, putting himself back into his pants, and Sam, her pants pulled down, pushed over against her family’s dining room table.

“It’s not what you think.”

I’d punched that bastard right in the face. Broke his nose. Kicked him where it counted. Kicked him so hard it took him clean off the ground.

I’d taken Sam to the bathroom, shut her in it. She’d cried. The pastor had crawled to his car, and gone to hell for all I knew. I’d called Sam’s parents. Told them what had happened. Told them to get home, she needed them.

Sam’s parents made sure Sam never filed any charges.

Sam fought with her demons for years after that. When we hit 18, I’d managed to rent a cheap apartment. She’d moved in with me. We’d moved away from her parents, my parents, and the church.

I never touched her. Not unless she wanted me to. Which was almost never, but in the past few months, she’d started talking about the beach, and we’d taken walks on it, usually at night. “I feel safe around you.”

‘“You are. You always will be.”

After a few weeks, maybe a month, of those walks, She’d started to sit down on a spot on the beach, and watch the ocean, and we’d talk. Gods, but I wanted her to get well. To be happy, like she’d been before that pastor had gone all nuts on her.

“I have demons too, Sam. About that same guy. But, I don’t shoot him. I tie him up, and take a fish filet knife to him. Right between his legs. And then leave him bleeding, with its remains tied around his neck. “

We all have our demons. Sam has hers. I have mine. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t.

867 words (So, it’s a little over the 700 word limit).

Written for Week 270 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.


A Clip From #NaNoWriMo2022, Day 23.

Today is a bit of a down day. Last night, while I slept, some bean dip with a gun walked in at the Walmart on Battlefield Boulevard, and murdered 6 people, wounded at least four people, and then shot himself.

This is not a psycho, people. This is an angry person. Someone who can’t find a constructive way to deal with their anger, so they go on a killing spree with a gun. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter. What matters is, stop saying it was a psycho. Stop saying someone lost their marbles.

I’ve lost my marbles, and I wouldn’t dream of taking a gun into a Walmart and shooting everyone I could find. Yes, I can say I’ve lost my marbles. I have sought help from a therapist and from a psychiatrist. Clearly, I have mental health problems. And just as clearly, most people don’t look at it that way. They don’t look at it as getting help. They look at it as, “He’s gone psycho! We have to avoid him from now on! We have to make sure he doesn’t buy an AR-15 and go bat shit cray-cray, like all the other psychos did!”

Yeah. I know what you think. I know what our entire society thinks. If you get help to deal with a tough part of your life, you’re a psycho. That’s how people think. And psychos can’t be trusted.

Welcome to “Ahmurikah.” Land of the stupid. Home of the brain damaged.

See. Things change as we learn new things. Which flies in the face of how our society works, and how people deal with life.

My boss at Northrop Grumman declared to me that Autism isn’t a spectrum. That there is no such thing as Attention Deficit Disorder. That most of the things our medical system, especially our psychological and psychiatric sciences say are pure crap, and should be ignored.

My brother declared, for a long time, and maybe still does, I don’t talk much with him anymore, I just need to get right with God, and my depression problem will be solved. One of my cousins in Texas has said the same thing. “You’re not depressed, Mark. You’re just different.” I get told that all the time.

“You’re not autistic, you’re just different, that’s all.”

Here’s where that comes from. Prior to 1980, and the publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Version III (DSM III), the autism spectrum didn’t exist in American Medicine. You were a full up autistic, and non-communicative, and non-functional in the world, or you had a social behavior problem (or maybe more than one).

This is why people say the Autism Spectrum isn’t real. Because it didn’t exist in our medical guidelines until 1980.

People are the same way with ADD, and ADHD, and so many other conditions. They don’t exist because they never existed in the past.

It’s very much like the flat earth society that believes the earth is flat, and all of our science pertaining to astronomy, the moon, Mars, the sun, and all the rest, is made up, that none of it is real. Because prior to Galileo, and a few other visionary scientists, the earth was flat, and there were no other planets, let alone galaxies, and galaxy clusters, and quasars, and black holes, and all the rest. That all that stuff is made up, and isn’t real. Because no one knew about it a thousand years ago.

Today, everyone knows blue is a color, and can point to blue items, like a blue car, or a blue shirt. But, the English language did not always have a word for the color blue. Written language itself shows no evidence of a word for the color blue prior to 4500 years ago. Additionally, there are primitive tribes that have little contact with the Western world, that don’t have a word for the color blue.

In other words, there was a time when blue did not exist as a concept. Despite the obvious reality that blue has always been there. The part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is blue has always been there. It didn’t pop into being from nowhere. It was always there. We humans simply didn’t have a word for it until we made up a word for it.

It is the same thing with what is happening with Autism, depression, ADHD, ADD, and every other mental health condition right now in the US. We have oceans of people who don’t believe those conditions exist because we’ve never had definitions for them before now. And now, we’ve invented words to define conditions that have been there all along, and been called something else.

Just like we did with the color blue.

Just like we did with the flat earth, when we decided Earth was a spherical object.

I Can’t Sleep Tonight.

I can’t sleep. It’s stupid o’clock, and I can’t sleep. I’ve been trying to sleep for the past 5 hours. And for the past 5 hours I have spectacularly failed to sleep. In a few minutes it will be November 18th. Sometime on November 18th, I will sleep. Eventually. For at least a few minutes I will sleep from sheer exhaustion.

I am watching the end of my nation. The country I was born in. The country I have lived in for 63 years. I am watching it end, watching it slowly turn into Russia, North Korea, Hungary, Turkey, The Philippines, and even China. An authoritarian, single party state. Where all the power is held by one party, one ideology, one small group of people. Where we pretend we are free, but in truth are not.

The sad part is that 47 people out of every 100 people in this country specifically want that authoritarian rule, though they will tell you it’s not what they want. They will tell you it is the overthrow of an entrenched, corrupt political system, and that such an overthrow can only be achieved through the destruction of what was, and replacing what was with a new, clean slate.

Welcome to the new United States.

I can’t sleep tonight.

#ThursThreads Week 537 : Then Explain This To Me

That sentence, “Then explain this to me.” It’s one of my favorite verbal weapons, especially when dealing with conservatives, who can’t explain bean dip. “Define a lot, but don’t use the words a and lot in the definition.” You can watch them fidget. Most likely they’ll throw up their hands and declare you hopeless.

The world is too complicated for them and their belief that, “Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten”.

I’m tired this morning. That comes from Wednesday, and my 1700+ word rant about stupid people. That rant left me so angry, so stressed out, I had a stress headache. A kicking one at that. I know it was a stress headache because I ate a bowl of cereal, took a half hour nap, and topped it off with an ice cream bar, and the headache went away. Magic, right?

All I had to do was remove the stress.

My previous therapist said to me once, “Let’s not destroy his perspective of the universe yet. He’s still young. Let’s give him time to enjoy thinking he knows what’s going on.” That’s probably paraphrased, but you get the idea.

We talked about that on occasion, though we didn’t flat out say it was what we were talking of. Like the time I watched the cars go zooming past the building out of the windows in his office, and told him, “They don’t know, do they. Don’t know at all what they’re doing.”

“No, Mark. They don’t.”

249 Words

A short clip from #NaNoWriMo2022 (30 Days Hath September, April, June, And November), written today, and edited to fit in the 250 word maximum limit. This is Week 537 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.

A Clip From #NaNoWriMo2022, Day 15.

You would hate sitting in a waiting room with me. I’m serious. You would hate it. I plug my earbuds into my phone, put them in my ears, and start music. Hell, a lot of the time I don’t even sit down. I’ll stand up. Sometimes I’ll pace. Sometimes I’ll stand in one spot. It depends on how much space is available, and on if I think I can pace without causing problems.

I’ll tap my feet on the floor. Toes, or heals. Or both. I’ll tap my phone against my leg, in time with the music. Usually, right along with the sounds of the song, or the sounds of the primary instrument. I’ll sit down, and bounce my knees to the music. Or bounce and vibrate them to the music, where my knees are always moving up and down, but my ankle moves to the music, up and down, so my knee rises and falls in a pattern.

I’m keeping time with the music right now. Every time I stop typing, boom! There it is. My knees are bouncing to the music. My toes are keeping time with the song, and the words, and the rhythms.

It drives people bonkers. But I don’t even notice I’m doing it unless I pay attention.

Sitting still is a pain in the ass. Literally. I do not like sitting still. Because. When I sit still, I hear every damn thing in the room, and a lot of things outside the room.

You sit in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, you hear the TV, you hear other people taking, and you pay attention to when a doctor’s assistant comes into the room and calls a name, in case it’s your name.

I sit in that same room. I hear my heart beating. I feel my body’s pulse. I hear the frigging lights. I hear the TV you’re watching, and the one across the room, and the one in the corner over there. You know how much noise the water fountain makes, with all those fans in it, and that cooling system in it? Even the damn switches on that thing make noises. Push the switch, “Squee…” Let go, “eeek.” Turn that bitch on like a motor, push it 50 times, “squeek, squeak, squeak!”

The rollator the lady over there is on sounds different than the one over there that the guy is on. Someone’s on crutches. Another Karen or Ken is at the counter being an entitled white person. Crumbs, the elevator outside just stopped, and more people got off on this floor. They’re probably heading here. I wonder if that door was somewhere behind the door the dude comes out of and calls your name, or if it’s somewhere else in the building?

Oh, she’s cute. Snow white hair with Neon Blue tips. I like it. Don’t stare, don’t stare, don’t stare. Look. Some of the ceiling tiles have been replaced. You can tell because the old ones have beveled edges, and extrude from the ceiling. The new ones are bone flat. They don’t extrude.

Why did they put 13 blocks in the first row of those clear glass bricks, 9 in the second, and 3 in the third. That doesn’t follow a pattern that makes any sense. How can people watch that stupid TV show about people spending a zillion bucks to remodel their house? Oh, look. The Pioneer Woman is cooking up something loaded with calories again.

Look at here, with that ankle in an air cast. Jesus, that hurts. I hope she’ll be all better soon. But I know ankles never forget what you did to them. Oops. Time to move. Someone sat down in the seat next to me. I have to move so I don’t disturb them. If I stay here I’ll disturb them, but if I move that’ll disturb them too. I’m fucking doomed.

That’s three different people that called people’s names. I wonder if that’s for three different doctors, or for three patients for the one doctor. It’s not like dental hygienists, is it? Where the hygienist comes and gets you and sand blasts your teeth with a water pick and salt, and baking soda, and then uses dental floss on everything. Before the dentist even looks at you.

You sit in the same waiting room, and I don’t think any of that happens in your head.

So, I put my music in my ears, and shut it all out. I get rid of all those noises. All those distractions. All that chaos. So I can be calm, and wait for my name to be called. So what if I tap my phone against my knee in time with the music. I’m not hurting anyone. Deal with it, humans.

Today, I’m stimming. Apparently, the fluoxetine, aripiprazole, and buspirone are not going to stop that. Apparently, stimming has nothing to do with my anxiety and panic. Apparently, stimming is how I filter out some of the chaos I encounter just by sitting still in a room.

#ThursThreads Week 536 : You Can Send Backup Anytime Now.

“Before I destroy the fabric of your reality, let me say this. You can send backup anytime now. You’re going to need it.”

I didn’t wait for a response, and instead leaped straight into my destructive work.

“How much is 100%?”


“How much is 100% of something? Or anything? Can you have more than 100% pure gold?”

“No, you can’t get more than 100% of anything! Every idiot knows that!”

I looked at the chart on the wall, and pointed at it. “Then explain this to me.”

The chart showed survey results from asking 2382 white Christians a set of questions about the population of the United States. What I found hilarious was the makeup of the population, per the chart.

White people –  40% of the population.
Black people – 30% of the population.
Asian people – 40% of the population.
Hispanic/Latino people – 40% of the population.

If you added it all up, it was 150% of the population of the country.

“How can white Christians think there are more people in this country than are in this country?”

I was greeted by silence. Apparently the idiot knew that the numbers made no sense at all.

“How can white Christians add 40, 40, 40, and 30 together, and get 100? Do they not know how to add?” I stared at him. “Or, perhaps, they’re just terrified of things, of people who are not white Christians like them?”

You can’t really argue with numbers like that. The guy shut up.

249 Words

It’s Week 536 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.

A Clip From #NaNoWriMo2022, Day 8 (November 8, 2022)

There was a trigger for all of the chaos, you know. Her name was Gina. I didn’t have an affair. I’m not that kind of guy. But she talked with me. And one day, she told me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

That was the trigger. That was what showed me how that place was. How the defense industry was. How it treated people. How people were expendable, replaceable, worthless components in a machine. How the only thing that mattered was meeting deadlines. Even if those deadlines couldn’t be met.

She went out for weeks. Everyone in that place behaved as if everything was normal. As if nothing was happening. Except me. I knew what was happening. And I spent a lot of time trying to come to terms with how everyone else was behaving.

Turned out, I couldn’t. I couldn’t be like they were. I couldn’t behave like they did. My boss at Northrop Grumman said, “You can’t afford to care.”

Boss. That was so wrong to say. You’ll never understand. But, the reality was, I couldn’t afford to not care. If I cared, it meant my soul was still alive. If I cared, it meant my heart still beat within my chest.

If I didn’t care. If I couldn’t afford to care. I was already a dead man, going through the motions of being alive every day.

Why are people so afraid of being human?

Like I said. Autism. I am clearly Autistic. I clearly live on the spectrum. I don’t care how much you scream that it’s all lies, and none of it’s true. I know. I know who I am. And what I am. And how I am.

I know my heart still beats. And my soul has not turned to cold ashes on the ground, being blown around in the wind.

I may not be an emotionally mature grown up. But at times, I look at the emotionally mature grownups I encounter, and I thank God that I’m not like them. That I’m not already dead inside.

#ThursThreads Week 535 : I’ll Think About It.

It’s been a long day. I’m fried. But I got a lot done. Okay. Maybe that depends on how you define a lot. Yeah, yeah. I can hear you. Inside my brain cells, you’re standing there, looking at me, screaming at me, “A lot is just that! A lot! You idiot! Don’t you know anything!”

I’d tell you, “I’ll think about it.” But I’d be lying. I won’t think about it. I’ll just call you one of those blind followers of simplicity that doesn’t understand anything more complex than an on and off switch for a desk lamp. And anyway, I know you’re not real. You’re one of those Autistic scripts that runs amuck every now and then when I’m tired, or stressed, or depressed, that tries to tell me how pathetic I am.

What if you were real? What would I say?

“Okay, smart ass. Define a lot without using the words a lot.”

That’s like asking people, “What’s the answer to the question, how are you today?”

People look at you like you’re stupid. “How can you not know the answer to that?”

Because I’m Autistic you idiot! You know what that means? All that social crap that you know by instinct? All those rules you are born understanding? All those things you know not to do? All the bad behaviors you know not to have?

For us Autistics, that doesn’t exist.

So, tell me, oh great, magnificent one. What is the definition of “a lot”?

248 Words from #NaNoWriMo2022

It’s Week 534 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.

A Clip From #NaNoWriMo 2022, Day One (November 01, 2022)

The therapist wanted a kind of history of my depression. A, “How did you get here?” kind of thing. You know.  You can’t answer that question with, “I was fucking born.” Therapists don’t like that answer, even if it’s true. The actual question is more, “When did you notice you were depressed?”

It’s never a question with a simple answer. Isn’t that how brains work? Isn’t that how emotions work? In staggeringly complicated, maybe even quantum mechanical based ways? Like that old idea of, “A butterfly flapped its wings in China and your Uncle died of a heart attack as a result.” Complicated.

So, I tried to give a complicated answer. A detailed answer. “July.” Because it was in July that I noticed I was having some depression symptoms. It probably helps that I’ve lived with depression for as long as I can remember, so I can recognize some of the symptoms. One that sticks out is when I stop doing things I know to do, things I like to do, things I have to do. And in July, that’s what started to happen.

I’d let the dishes sit in the kitchen sink for two or three days. Yeah. I know. It doesn’t sound like much, does it. Who doesn’t let the dishes sit for a couple of days every once in a while. That’s normal.

What’s not normal is when it happens every week. Then starts to happen every time you wash the dishes. My brain cells explain it as, “I don’t feel like it. There’s not enough dishes in the sink to make it worth my time. I can put it off another day. Or another few hours. Maybe I’ll do the dishes tonight? Maybe in the morning?”

See, it’s a sign of the creeping depression when that happens. And it always spreads. It may start with the dishes. But soon, it hits the laundry, where you find yourself rewashing the load in the washer, because it’s been in the washer three days, because you never bothered to take the load out of the dryer to fold it, so you couldn’t move the load from the washer to the dryer.

Then, it gets even more evil. Then, you start to feel crushed by the work. “I can’t keep up!” Funny how that works. How you forget that you washed, dried, and folded the laundry for months on end with no problem, until one day you didn’t. Funny how everything spiraled out of control from there.

Funny how that happened. After I fell apart on the dishes, I fell apart on the laundry.

Then, cleaning the kitchen floor fell victim to the depression. Followed by running the vacuum cleaner. Followed by sweeping the hallway floor.

One by one, things fell apart.

That’s the symptom. That’s the signal. Sometimes, I catch it early. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I see it happening, and I make the conscious decision to put together a schedule, and stick to it, to restore the habits of dishes, laundry, vacuuming, and all the rest. Before I find myself not doing any of them.

And sometimes, putting together a schedule doesn’t work.

But, “July,” can’t explain that. “July,” doesn’t explain that. Any more than, “I noticed I was on a downward slope in July.” But, that’s the explanation I came up with for my therapist. “I noticed I was on a downward slope in July.”