#ThursThreads Week 542 : It’s Not That Simple.

“Nope. It’s not that simple,” I thought. “Can’t be that simple.”

Yet there it was. Written in words by my own hand. “What if the Big Bang was actually the Big Rip?”

I stared at the words. “The Big Rip?”

How would we know? How could we know? We would be living inside the rip, inside the biggest phase change in the history of everything.

“For that matter, what if this isn’t the first Big Rip?” That thought left me sitting at my desk, staring out the window, and wondering if I suddenly had an explanation for dark matter, and dark energy, and what was beyond the edge of the universe. Because, suddenly, dark matter might turn into matter and mass, that didn’t change in the phase change. It would lie outside of our laws of physics. We couldn’t see it, or detect it. But it would still be there.

Dark energy would be the expansion of the original space that was being overwritten in the big rip. Space that could well have been expanding at an accelerating rate as an open universe. One that expanded forever. One where a big rip became inevitable in theory.

And the reason galaxies had appeared out of nowhere, fully formed was because they were already there, and the phase change made them visible.

I shook my head. “Nope. No way. It’s not that simple.”

231 Words

This is Week 542 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 Thought For A Thursday (2022/12/29)

I decided, on Tuesday, to try coming off the Buspirone on a daily basis, and use it on an as needed basis. I did this because of my collapsing energy levels. I think it was the right thing for me to do, since my energy levels are improving, and I’m able to move around better, and get more things done.

Let me tell you what I think demons and angels are. Yeah. Yeah. I know. Where did that thought come from, Mark? It’s something I keep running into in life. Like people trying to explain away bad thoughts, and bad actions, and bad behavior by attributing them to demons. The old saying, “The Devil made me do it.”

Sorry. That’s not true at all.

Demons and angels are literally us. We are each both a demon and an angel. And they can’t be separated into two beings. Think of it like rose bushes. Beautiful, but armed with thorns. Some of us are like wild blackberries. A few small berries, and an ocean of thorns. Some of us are like blackberries on the farm. A few thorns, but tons of berries.

The point is, when you get cut off in traffic, it’s not a demon that makes you scream at the driver that cut you off. It’s you. It’s anger. Frustration. Bafflement. Relief that you didn’t get in a wreck. An entire host of emotions. All of them inside of you and that collection of single celled organisms that has organized itself into a macro-organism called a human being.

Own it. Don’t blame it on something you have no damn control over. Own it. It’s all you.

Hold the door open for someone behind you? Aww. You little angel you. But, you see. If it’s not a bad thing, we don’t say, “An angel made me do it.” We treat that completely different. We don’t even always recognize that good behavior. But, there it is. You did something good. Like an angel would.

Own it. It’s all you.

Angels and demons. We are them. They are us.

Sometimes I think we oversimplify too many things. Pushed the red button that launched the nuclear missiles? You devil you. No demon made you do that. Own it. Put cat food out on the back porch for the stray cats that you know are out there? You angel you. No one made you do that.

Punch your brother smack in the nose? Broke his nose? Put him in the hospital for a couple of days? You devil you.

See? There they are. Angels and demons both. One and the same. Inside of each of us. We are the angels and the demons.

And it does get complicated. Doesn’t everything get complicated? The serial killer. If ever there was a case for this thing called demons, that would be one of the cases. “The demon possessed him, and made him kill 27 boys, and cut them into bits, and bury them in his backyard.”

Right. Sure. And we can bring in an exorcist, and cure him, and all is forgiven. Right?

Some of us have more darkness in us than others. It comes out looking like bigger demons.

The guy that took a gun to school, and shot 27 people dead? A demon, right? A fruit loop? What possessed him? What made him do that? He went crazy, right?

No. He deliberately decided to do what he did. Maybe his logic is flawed? Maybe he is filled with hatred, and rage? Maybe he wants to say something, but can’t convince anyone to listen? Maybe he just hates life? Maybe he wants to die, but can’t kill himself, so kills others until someone stops him?

Possessed? No. Crazy? No. The things you call demons? The “devil that made him do it?” That’s all him. No one made him pull that trigger. He literally came to the conclusion it was what he had to do. What he wanted to do. That it would solve whatever the problem he had was.

Demons had nothing to do with it.

Neither did angels.

Life would be simpler if they did, wouldn’t it. If only we could blame all the bad stuff on demons, and praise the angels for all the good stuff.

But, see. Then we come to man’s tools. Like cars. Cars which in and of themselves are not good or evil. Cars which are invaluable transportation tools to people. You have to have that car to get to work, to go buy groceries, to go someplace on vacation, to get the kids to school, to get to the doctor’s office, or the dentist’s office.

But, at the same time that the car does all that good, it’s slowly destroying our biosphere. Pumping out carbon from burning fuel. Leaving a trail of microscopic dust behind it from its tires, and metal parts, and springs, and paint.

Suddenly, the car becomes both good and evil. An angel and a demon.

Just like me. Just like you. Just like everyone everywhere.

My father told me, “There is a darkness in you, Mark. Just like there was in my father.”

Yes, dad. There is a darkness in me. There is also a light. And an interplay between the two. In some of us, the darkness may be bigger than the light. In others, the light may be bigger than the darkness. In others, they may be in balance. In each of us, they are always in conflict.

It would be easy to let the darkness win. To let it end things. To let it rule things. To let it make my decisions. I know this. I know my darkness well.

The magic. The thing that makes me human, is the light that balances the darkness. The light that keeps the darkness from owning me. So long as the two remain in conflict, I have hope that I’m not a bad person.

It’s not demons. It’s not the devil. It’s not angels.

It’s me. It’s my emotions. My feelings. My thoughts. My brain cells. The zillions of single celled organisms from which I am composed. That which makes the macro-organism that is me.

We are the demons. We are the angels. We are like the roses, and the black berries. We have flowers, and fruit. And we have thorns.

There. Now you know what I think about demons and angels. And about people who let the darkness in them win. No psycho pulled the trigger and shot 27 kids at school. No fruit loop cut up little boys and buried them in his backyard. No demon took possession of such people.

It’s not that simple.

Anger. Rage. Fear. Hatred. Blind emotions. Terror.

It’s complicated.

People lose to the darkness in them all the time. You broke the pencil at work. You spent half the night awake, playing a video game, bashing monsters with a big wrench or a sword. You slept on the sofa after you had too many drinks on a rough day.

It’s not demons.

It’s not angels.

It’s you.

Grow up. Own it. And if you need to, learn to deal with it.

A Thought For A Tuesday (2022/12/27)

Tonight, I’m doing a few different things in this journal. Gonna write about ideas for stories. And responses to things like “Ancient Aliens”.

With respect to UFOs and Ancient Aliens and such.There are so many other intriguing possibilities that you never touch on. Like, how long were there dinosaurs on the planet? Something like 165 million years, right? Think about that. Humans have been around, in various forms, for something like 2 million years. Modern humans have been around for maybe 200,000 years. And here we are, with computers, flying machines, roads, cars, ships, and all the rest.

How do we know there weren’t dinosaurs that did what we are doing now? The reason is because there are no fossils of human-like dinosaurs. The only fossils we have of dinosaurs are of big dinosaurs. Even then, we don’t give them any credit. How do we know that they didn’t have a civilization like that of the American Indians? Because we can’t find any signs of it, right?

Would signs of such a civilization survive 65 million years for us to find them?

The American Indians did stone carvings, and built dirt mounds, and even a few buildings out of mud and rock, that we can still find after several thousand years. But, will those be around in another ten thousand years? How about 100,000 years? How about a million years?

And we can’t find any signs of civilization from the days of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago.

Ancient Aliens talks about lizard people. Let that sink in for a bit. Lizard men. Dinosaurs. And they put lizard men in space ships. And underground. And say they came from another world.

What if the Lizard men are the dinosaurs? What if they have colonies throughout the solar system? What if they have spread to Alpha, Beta, and Proxima Centauri? What if they are an interstellar species now that managed to get off the planet before the big rock hit?

They would be 65 million years beyond us in science and technology. They would have technology we don’t understand, that would be like magic to us. How do we know the aliens aren’t dinosaurs?

For that matter, why can’t they be humans? Why can’t humans have achieved that level of technology before now? And what happens if we did, and then managed to cause a catastrophe that wiped us out. You know. Like we’re doing now with the damage we are causing the biosphere of the planet.

What happens if those advanced humans from thousands of years ago, maybe 12,000 or more years ago, managed to bring about the collapse of their own civilization?

Or perhaps, they didn’t collapse. Perhaps the planet changed. Maybe we got struck by a whopper solar flare? Maybe there was a comet that struck the Earth. We don’t know. That’s the entire point. We don’t know. We do know that something happened about 12,000 years ago, because there is a global sediment layer from roughly that time. As if everything caught fire and burned. Maybe there was a big volcano that went off and destroyed that civilization?

How would we know? Would there be any signs that such a civilization had existed? And would we recognize those signs if we saw them? What if those signs are places like Gobekli Tepe? Made of stone that we can’t carbon date? How would we know how old those places really are? How would we know who built them? Would any of the signs of the civilization that made them have survived?

Personally, I don’t believe any of what I’ve just said. And I certainly don’t believe there are aliens visiting Earth. But, if we have people who believe aliens have and do visit us, then why not make those aliens dinosaurs, or the survivors of a previous civilization of humans? That certainly makes more sense than saying aliens from other star systems visit us all the time.



A Thought For A Monday (2022/12/26)

Yesterday was a lost cause day. Christmas Day. The single worst day of the year for me. The day I simply survive.

Today is better, just because it’s not Christmas Day.

I’m learning something new, but I’m not sure I can put it into words yet. It’s about my depression and my anxiety, and my Autism, and the way they all interact.

I’ve been studying Korean. The language. On Duolingo, for over 430 days now. And I’m coming out of a bad stretch, where it was hard for me to practice Korean at all, let alone a consistent amount daily. I reached a point where I looked at the Duolingo web site, and said, “Time to practice.” And part of me wanted to practice. And part of me wanted to scream. And part of me wanted to cry. And mostly, I just wanted to curl up in a little ball in a corner somewhere, and give up on everything in life.

Last night, I started to pull out of that deep blue funk on Duolingo. I did all the practice I normally have done over the past year. Today, I ran into a cross mix of feeling good about practicing, and of wanting to turn my computer off, and never look at anything Korean again.

Because my brain cells have been turning it into a competition. Into something I have to do. Not something I want to do. Not something that’s fun. But a daily torture session where I’m expecting myself to make progress, endlessly, daily, and to measure up to everyone else’s performance on the Duolingo site.

When I realized my brain cells were doing that, I was able to start undoing that. To start reminding myself I’m not competing with anyone. That I don’t have to finish the day in the top 20 in whatever group Duolingo put me in. That I don’t have to keep up with the top 3 people in that group. That I don’t know any of those people. Or why they are on Duolingo, practicing Korean.

I’m having to remember that I’m on Duolingo, practicing Korean, for fun. For me. Because I want to understand Korean more and better, so I can start to figure out some of the Kpop music I listen to. And I understand it could take years for me to get that adept at Korean. I certainly won’t get there this week, this month, or probably this year.

What I have to remember is it’s not a competition between me and people I’ve never met on the internet. It’s me. Period. Learning a bit of Korean. Slowly. Steadily. At my own pace. Because I want to learn Korean. Not because I have to. Not because someone has challenged me to. Not because I’m in a contest with other people.

But because I think it would be fun to understand, even a little bit, of Korean.

When I started figuring that out today, Duolingo got a hell of a lot more fun.

And yes. I realize I need to do that same thing with the rest of my existence. Figure out what parts I do for fun, and enjoy the heck out of those parts. Even if I have that voice of that stupid social model in the back of my head screaming, “What’s in it for me?”

Fun. That’s what’s in it. Fun. And it doesn’t have to be anything else.

Knowing why I wash the dishes, why I want to wash the dishes, has helped me wash the dishes, even when I’m feeling blue, and don’t want to. I know why I wash the dishes. All the reasons why. The sanitary reasons, the healthy reasons, and the social reasons. And it does make her happier if I get them washed. I have to admit I don’t mind the sinks being clear, and ready for me to put dirty dishes in them, without having to pile those dishes on top of an ocean of other dishes that need washing. And, I’m learning something else. If I keep up better, it’s less of a headache to wash the damn things. Because there are fewer of them to wash each time I wash them.

See? I know why I wash the dishes. And as a result, washing the dishes is becoming less and less of a chore, and more and more of something I understand, and know to take care of. Because I know why the dishes should be washed.

Now, I’m starting to do the same thing with Duolingo. Learning why I practice Korean. All the reasons why. Learning about the concept of fun. Of doing something new, learning something new, just for the fun of learning.

See? There’s the reasons why I practice Korean on Duolingo.

It’s complicated. It’s not because I have to. Not because of a competition. Not because it’s part of my job. It’s because I want to learn something new, just for fun, at my own pace, with no pressure to learn anything at all.

If learning Korean ends up helping me maintain my cognitive abilities as I get older, well. That’s another reason to have fun learning a new language, isn’t it?

One day at a time, I’m learning. Not just Korean. But so many things. So many things.

I’ll have to watch as I learn to do this, to use this understanding of why I do things, and why I want to do things. Slowly, I know, but still, even if slowly, I’m making forward progress. And I’m good with that.

A Thought For A Thursday (2022/12/22)

Then there’s the “stolen election” conspiracy theories. Don’t those drive you nuts? I find they illustrate how totally, absolutely stupid people have become. It’s not about who got how many votes. It’s not about how many people voted. It’s not about population in any way, shape, or form.

It’s about how red the maps are. It is literally that simple. And I’ve said it a million times. It’s about people doing “1 map section is 1 vote” in their heads, and looking at the map, and saying, “No way did Biden beat Trump in Georgia. Look at the map!”

It’s why Kari Lake has gone stupid in Arizona, and is claiming the election was stolen.


There you have it. The entire election conspiracy problem expressed in full color. Count the blue sections of the map of Arizona. How many are there? 5. That’s it. 5 blue sections. Count the red sections. How many are there? 10. Kari Lake won in twice the areas that Mark Kelly won. And yet Mark Kelly won the election.

We both know it’s because nobody lives in those 10 red areas of Arizona. Everyone lives in Phoenix and Tucson. If you win those two places in Arizona, you win the most votes. It’s that simple.

Here’s what the problem is. The map doesn’t reflect the number of votes in each map section. It is simply a map of the counties of the state. What does that mean? Here. The county map of Arizona.

 Looks just like the election results map, doesn’t it.

There is a ton of information missing in this map. So, let’s look at a population map. This one shows red where a lot of people live, and green where not very many people don’t live. Take a good look at it.

Presto. Kari Lake won all the green, where no one lives. Mark Kelly won all the red where everyone lives.

And it makes me wonder if people are really that stupid, and that dense, that they believe all 15 counties in Arizona have the exact same say in who Arizona elects. Because, for them to believe this, they have to reject the idea of one person being one vote. To believe all counties count the same, the counties with 10,000 people in them have to be given the same voting power as the counties with 1,000,000 people in them. Or even more lopsided than that.

This is a fight I had with my brother. Population density has to matter in statewide elections. We need to change the maps that report the results to reflect the population density. We need to show voting districts. Not counties and cities. Voting districts. Because those are based on population.

But, here’s the sad part. If we show voting districts, we run into the same damn problem, because we end up with tons of little bitty districts and a few big districts, and now we have the problem of the little districts having been made up to stack the deck on voting in the favor of the Democratic Party.

This rapidly devolves into a shouting contest. Where whoever lasts the longest shouting wins. Because. One side of the discussion can’t be reasoned with. One side of the discussion sees the ocean of red, and the lake of blue, and screams, “The election was stolen!”

And people wonder why I’m depressed, angry, and mean. Because the sheer stupidity of looking at a map, with no context, no sense of population, and saying, “There’s more red, so red won.” is totally stupid. And it’s exactly what is happening in state after state of the nation.

So, yes. I am angry. And hurtful. And I call people stupid. Because they are. Because they can’t understand the simple truth that one person gets one vote, and that places with lots of people, as a result, get more votes than places with almost nobody living in them. And I can’t for the life of me figure out why it’s so hard to understand that more people live in Phoenix, Arizona than in any two red counties that voted for Kari Lake.

If you follow through with the argument that the elections are rigged, and the conspiracy theories, you end up with 12 counties in Arizona telling the 5 counties where everyone lives, how to run their cities. You end up with 1 million people telling 5 million people who the governor of the state is. Who the president of the country should be. Whether health care should be private, or public. And it goes on and on and on. In other words, you turn the state into a copy of the US Senate, where each of the 50 states gets two senators. Where Wyoming, and it’s half a million people has the same clout, the same power, as California, and it’s 39 million people.

And yet, that’s how these yo-yos think.

And seriously. The only way to fix that thinking, the only way to solve that problem, is to dissolve the United States, and turn it into a bunch of independent nations, and city states. Which sounds more and more like what the election conspiracy people want to do.

So, yes. I’m angry. And I will be angry. And I don’t see that changing until this entire fiasco and hundreds of fiascos like it, are resolved, and maybe not even then.

#ThursThreads Week 541 : I’m Not Afraid Of Him.

On the first day of December, the first day of the month with Christmas in it, Mom put that stupid elf on the mantle over the fireplace and declared, “He’s watching you.”

It was like she wanted me to be scared into behaving for that elf. But, you see, I do all my homework. I do all my chores around the house. I make my bed every morning. I get a shower every night. I always put my dirty clothes in the laundry. I always clean my plate, even when Mom fixes food I don’t like. Even if she fixes liver.

Because. I know the truth. I know Santa watches us all year long. Not just in December. And because. I know the truth even more. I talked to Jesus, you know. I did. And he told me Mom and Dad want me to be a good boy for them. That they worry about me. That they wonder if they are good parents. And he told me if I did my homework, and all my chores, it would show them they were.

So that’s what I do.

And because I know the truth, I’m not afraid of that elf on the mantle of the fireplace. Let him watch all he wants. He’ll learn what I already know. I’m a good boy. Because. It makes Mom and Dad think they’re good parents It makes them happy. And happy parents matter. So, I make them happy.

I’m not afraid of him.

249 Words

This is Week 541 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the stories in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. This week especially, since they’re all about a happy holiday season. And there are some great writers who show up every week.

A Thought For A Wednesday (2022/12/21)

Ah. Humans. So entertaining.

I’ve been trying to explain, slowly, and cumbrously, why I am the angry, hurtful guy someone once called me. In that spirit, in that quest, let me write down more of what makes me angry, so you can know, and understand.

The moon landing of Apollo 11 happened 53 years ago. People are stupid enough to believe it didn’t happen, and was all faked in a studio somewhere. That even the astronauts were faked out.

Let me ask a few questions.

In 1969, how good were the special effects of movies? Perhaps the best effects were from Star Trek, the original series, the first episode of which was released on September 8th, 1966. Other special effects wizardry at the time came from movies, such as “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, a James Bond movie released on December 13th, 1969. Other movies included, “The Italian Job”, “Easy Rider”, and “True Grit”.

Look at the movies. Look at the special effects in the movies. The movies did not have the special effects to fake the moon landing in 1969. If they had those effects, the movie studios would have obviously used them.

Look at when computerized special effects showed up in movies. Movies like “The Last Starfighter” and “Tron”, in the 1980s. Watch those effects, and you know they are clearly generated. They aren’t real.

When did movie effects become good enough to appear real? As soon as the movie studios could develop and obtain the technology to make them real.

Look at computer games. It’s 2022, and computer games still don’t look real. They are getting close. There are some technology demonstrations that do look real. Demonstrations including a Star Wars scene that was generated by nVidia in 2018, 49 years after the moon landings.

Perhaps one of the best movie or computer game examples of special effects pushed as far as they could be pushed at the time was the original Superman movie of 1978. A movie where most of the flying effects used cranes and cables to lift Christopher Reeve and move him around. A movie where every frame had to be hand painted to remove the cables and the cranes, and make it look like Reeve was actually flying. And, despite the best efforts of the studio, and the creators of the movie, there are times when gravity shows in how the cape Reeve is wearing moves.

The best movies today can illustrate scenes so realistically we can generate life like movies. These scenes involve hours of computer time to create, and the computers use techniques like Ray Tracing to render the scenes as realistically as possible.

The raw number processing power of the computers used to generate movies today is easily thousands of times more powerful than the computers we had in 1969. Those computers would have taken years to generate each moon landing video.

The history of computing, the history of movies, the development of computer graphics, and ray tracing, show that in 1969, NASA, and the government could not have faked the moon landings. And yet, there are oceans of humans who believe they did. Simply because we never went back.

We never went back because there is nothing there. Nothing we can use. Nothing we could afford to mine, and ship back to earth. The cost to do that would have far exceeded any return on investment we could have had.

Let me continue.

In 1492, would you have sailed with Columbus for the new world? Would you have sailed with the settlers of Jamestown in 1607? Would you have believed the new world was even there to be sailed to? These were one way trips. Exploratory trips. Like the trip to the moon. They did not become regular, even for trade purposes, for decades, until well into the 1600s, and even the 1700s. Even today, ships still sink while crossing the oceans.

But, today, no one thinks much about boarding a ship, and sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe, or Africa. All it takes is a bit of time, and a bit of money, and you can sail across the ocean.

This is how travel to the moon works. Right now, it’s expensive. It’s difficult. It’s a trip you may not come back from. 53 years ago, it was more difficult than it is now. 53 years from now, if we survive as a people, that trip may be on the verge of becoming routine, and the trip to Mars may be the trip no one believes we have made.

History, and how people work, tells me that there will always be people on Earth that do not believe we have been to the moon. Even when we have reached Mars, there will be people who believe we have never reached the moon.

It’s how people are.

It’s stupid. It’s infuriating. It’s ludicrous. And it’s one of the thousands of reasons why I am the angry, mean person that someone once called me. Because I don’t deal well with people who are that ludicrous.

A Thought For A Monday (2022/12/19)

Some rules are obvious. Like you don’t pick a fight with the guy that’s 3 times your size, and he can throw you like you’re a paper airplane. Those aren’t social rules. Those don’t explain how society works. Those are survival rules. Wild animal rules. If you aren’t the alpha wolf, you don’t pick a fight with the alpha wolf in the pack, ‘cause you may not survive the fight.

Some rules are anything but obvious. I call those the wink and smile rules, because everyone seems to know them except me.

“You can’t say that!”

Yes, Hellen, I can say that! I just fucking did say that! And nobody died! Now, if I can figure out why everyone went stupid, or crazy, or got up and left, or said, “OK, Marcus! Out of the pool,” when I said that, then maybe I’ll figure out what you really mean when you tell me I can’t say that.

Telling me that I can’t do something and expecting me to understand why is like telling your child to not eat chocolate chips straight from the bag. You know damn well what that child is going to do. But, you tell the child, “If you eat chocolate chips from the bag, I won’t be able to make cookies, and you won’t have cookies in your lunch for school, or for dessert after dinner.” Or maybe, “If you eat the chocolate chips, you’ll get sick as a dog, and have to live near the toilet for a few hours or even a day, because you’re going to have a bad case of diarrhea,” provides an explanation of what could happen, and the child might damn well think, “I’m not getting sick,” and not eat the chips.

There’s an enormous difference between, “You can’t do that,” and “You shouldn’t do that because.”

Think about that. See? It’s like I’ve said endlessly. It’s complicated. It’s not black and white, up and down, left and right, good and evil, just and unjust, moral and amoral, courteous and rude. It’s complicated. Framing it inside an on/off switch doesn’t explain anything, and doesn’t help anyone figure out how to deal with life.

Stop oversimplifying things. And stop trying to make everyone the same. We’re not the same. None of us are the same. Deal with that.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : Week 274 (2022/12/18)

“Have you seen the playground yet?”

“What playground?”

“The one they made for the neighborhood kids.”

“Oh, that thing. A hodgepodge of playground stuff arranged in a chaotic pattern.”

I was shocked, “Where is your imagination, dude! Where is your imagination!”

“Not on the playground filled with munchkins and chaos.”

“Dude!” I patted him on the back, “Come with me! Let’s show you what you’ve missed in the chaos!” I pushed him in the direction of the playground. It was just out of sight, around the corner, across the street. You couldn’t see it from our houses, but you could walk there in a couple of minutes.

That’s what we did.

“OK. We’re here, wise guy.” Jerry had always been short with words. Especially when around kids. “Show me what I’m missing.”

I guided him over to the big circle of horse swings. “Welcome to Stonehenge.” I waved at the big circle.

Jerry looked. A big outer circle. A small inner one. A couple of stray horses. You could hear the gears in his head grinding together, and you could smell the rust and the dust as they burned off his unused, rusty imagination. “I’ll be damned.”

“Yep. It’s Stonehenge.” I walked around the circle with him. “No doubt about it, is there.”


Next, we went to the slides.  Three of them. For all the world, at first glance, they looked like someone said, “One here. One there, One over there.” Until you looked a little more closely. Jerry cracked up. “The pyramids of Giza.”

“Yep. It sure is.”

“And the damn fort is the sphinx, isn’t it.”

“Yep, it sure is.”

We stood there a bit. Jerry shook his head. Then he looked at the five swing sets. “I’ll be damned.” That’s all he said. He didn’t have to say anything else. They were arranged like the major buildings at Tenochtitlan.

“You have to see the plaques, Jerry.”

We went to the plaques next to the entrance to the park. There were three of them. One for Stonehenge, one for Giza, and one for Tenochtitlan. They explained they were great wonders of the world, and that you could learn more about them at the library, and on the internet.

“OK. So maybe this once, it’s not really chaos.”

“Jerry,” I tapped him on the shoulder, “It’s a freaking work of art.”

“Indeed. That it is. That it is.”

400 words

Written for Week 274 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.

#ThursThreads Week 540 : I’m On My Way.

My iPad had chimed, telling me I had a message. Very few people knew how to reach me on my iPad, and I talked with those few people frequently. I grabbed the iPad, and checked. It was a message from my cousin.

“He didn’t make it this time.”

He was an older cousin. One I had not even seen in 45 years. One I’d recently started to call on the phone. Not so much to renew the contact as to do what I could to help him through his own grief. His wife had died a couple of months earlier. The only person he had left was his daughter.

I sent a message back, “Sorry to hear that. But we knew it was coming.”

My cousin responded, “Yes, we did.”

There was a pause. Then she continued, “You said if I needed your help, to just ask. Well. They’re making plans for the funeral. And for his house. I’ll have to help with that.”

What else was there to say? “I’m on my way.”

I’d talked with my wife, made a hotel reservation in Atlanta, packed my one suitcase, got in my car, and started south. It was a 1600 mile drive. I couldn’t do that in one day. I couldn’t afford a plane ticket either. No planes flew to the middle of nowhere in Mississippi anyway, and I’d have needed a rental car.

I had to drive down.

“I’m on my way.” What else could I have said?

249 Words

This is Week 540 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.