About mysoulstears

"Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive." Josephine Hart - Damage

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/01/21

This used to be an island, you know. Yep. Less than 24 hours ago. About ninety miles off the coast of Florida. I know. This is my home. You look at it now, and you can’t believe anything was ever here. Houses, roads, boats, piers, and even two restaurants, and a small hotel.

This used to be an island. My house used to be here, where I’m standing. Next to this damn chair. The clothes I’m wearing, and the chair are all I have left. I don’t know where anything else is. Where it went. Other than eastward somewhere.

What happened? The wave. That’s what happened. The wave. The whacko scientist types, they warned us about the wave. “If the side of the La Palma island breaks away and slides into the ocean, it’s gonna be bad!” That’s what they said. “A disaster for the entire East Coast of the United States, and for Europe.” That’s what they said.

So we kept building along the east coast, and on the islands. Because. Insane scientists. Mad scientists. Hell, we even ran computer simulations of the collapse, to see what would happen, and all the simulations said was, “rough surf on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.” So, we all ignored the insane warning.

Until a wall of water 150 feet high crossed the island. Damn thing was over three times as tall as my house. Three times!

Washed everything away. I mean everything. Even the hills, and the dunes, and the trees. All of it, gone. If I stand here, next to my chair and carefully look around, I can see a few things sticking out of the water. Like the top of a mast from Julians sailboat. About three feet of it. Sticking up out of the water.

Who knew a freaking wave could wash away an entire island?

I’ve been looking around a lot. Trying to see if anyone’s left. If anything’s left. I can remember it was about 3:30 in the morning. Still pitch black dark outside. No one on the island ran lights at night. We didn’t need them. 3:30 is when Julian banged on my room window. He punched right through it, actually. Made a hell of a mess, and woke me up. “Julian! What the fuck?”

“It’s happened, Tom! It’s happened!”

I remember I stared at him like he’d lost his mind. “What’s happened.”

“The side of La Palma. It came off.”

“You want me to join you on the beach, to watch the waves?”

Julian held up his cell phone, and turned the volume to max. “…tional Weather Service emergency bulletin! Ocean sensors off the East Coast all indicate a tidal wave is heading inland. The wave is moving at approximately 460 knots, with a twenty foot swell. When it reaches land, it’s expected to crest at 135 feet. If at all possible, get to high ground, get to a boat, or get inland. The wave is expected to reach the coastline at 04:01 this morning. I repeat…”

Julian was shaking like a leaf, “Tom! We’re 90 miles off the coast! That wave will be here in a few minutes!”

I remember standing there. Empty. Unable to think of anything. Except, perhaps, “Oh, God! Oh, God! We’re all gonna die!”

“Get to the pier! Get your boat. Get to the open water! Now, Tom! Now!”

The swell wasn’t so bad. My little boat, with it’s little motor, went right over it. It was dark as hell. I couldn’t see anything. Except an arch of white where the island was. I didn’t hear anything, but a roar, like water in a big pipe. Then, dead silence.

After the sun came up, I decided to head back to the pier.

I never did find it. I had to drop anchor. Left my boat a couple hundred feet from here.

I have no idea why the only thing left is that damn chair. Sticking up out of the water. Everything else is gone. All of it. Gone.

662 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 38th week. You can read about her small fiction challenge here. As usual, when I started writing, I had no idea what would happen next. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.

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Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/01/14

I looked at my frozen phone, “No chance of snow my ass!” Then I heaved that sucker hard as I could, sending it through the trees to be lost forever in the fucking ocean of snow that was everywhere. “And they call you a smartphone!”

If the damn thing had been useful, I could have tried to connect to the network, and get a map of where I was, and guidance on how to get back. But, no. Thing had been frozen solid. Screen had cracked. Covered in frost. Memory card fell right out of it. Even if the thing could have powered on, with the damage to the screen, it would have been useless. Wasn’t insured either.

“Son of a bitch!” I stomped my boot covered feet on the ground, compacting the snow I was standing on. Of course, since that snow was on big damn rocks, after a couple of stamps, it turned slicker than wet glass, and down I went, face first into the snow.

It was one of those moments where I tried to scream, but had forgotten how my voice worked, so when I did scream, no sound came out. And I thought, “You want a piece of me! You want a fucking piece of me!” and made a snow angel. Flapped my arms and legs while I was face down on the rocks. “I’ll show you! Take that, you… You…” And I screamed without sound again, scooped up snow in my ice cold hands, packed it into snowballs, and threw that at the trees.

All I knew was it was umpteen miles to my car. Umpteen miles on a path I couldn’t see anymore, because of the snow that was everywhere.

“Why don’t you go to the little cabin in the woods, hon?” That’s what she’d asked. “I know you need to get away. Relax. Escape work, and everything. It’s OK. I won’t mind. So, why don’t you go?”

“It’s fucking January, that’s why!” I had these visions of me being trapped in a tiny 10 by 10 room, with no fireplace, a rinky-dink kerosene powered heater, a mini flashlight that fit on my key-chain, and no extra batteries for it. With the whole thing under 85 feet of show, unable to leave. “I’ll get snowed in, and freeze to death!”

“No, dear. You won’t. See?” She’d brought up the weather map. It had been perfect. 0% chance of snow. Temp in the high 20s at night, and in the low 50s during the day. “I think the trip would be perfect for you.”

I had to admit she was right. I knew getting away from everything for a weekend would be perfect. No phone calls. No TV. No fucking news. My god, the news. Almost wanted to take a couple of Lorazepam just to watch that. And wash them down with half a bottle of Jack Black. “Fucking news.”

Work had gone to hell. They’d laid off a third of everybody. Everyone I had eaten lunch with was gone. I’d tried to cheer them up. “It could have been me, you know. Just the luck of the draw.”

They all came back and said, “No. They won’t ever lay you off. You know that.”

It sucked, to see so many people go. And to have to work extra every day, to make up the slack, and meet the deadlines.

And the news. God, the news. I just knew that fucking idiot they’d elected President was gonna get us all blown to hell, nothing left but glowing, radioactive embers for 10,000 years.

So, she talked me into it. I’d got home Friday afternoon, threw my bag in my car, drove the to parking lot, and hiked to the cabin. At least, we called it the cabin. It had been a beautiful hike. Quiet. I could hear the water from the stream that went past the cabin, all night. No birds, though. It was winter. They’d flown south.

Not one snowflake when I went to sleep.

I woke up nine hours later, and found inches of frozen, fluffy, white water piled everywhere. Tree limbs were down. The path was blocked by them, and by limbs that hung all the way to the ground.

“Hell.” There wasn’t much I could do. Except go back to the cabin, and hope it warmed up enough the snow melted before I ran out of potato chips and beer. I hadn’t exactly packed for being trapped.

“Fucking snow!”

I wondered, “If I can find my way to the car, will I even be able to move it?”

It was going to be a long day.

770 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 37th week. You can read about her small fiction challenge here. As usual, when I started writing, I had no idea what would happen next. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.

#ThursThreads Week 298 : Come On, Smile

After the incident with Julia, and the ensuing arrests of damn near everyone who knew her, I knew it was time to visit the city jail. “Where they’ve put everyone for safe keeping. Right.” I started by locating Samantha and her family. They’d isolated Samantha from her parents. Of course, her parents were kept in separate, gender based areas.

Four officers of the law entered the men’s holding cell, found Samantha’s father, promptly broke four of his ribs, and bruised several of his internal organs, and declared he shouldn’t have put up a fight, then drug him off.

I watched as four officers entered the women’s holding cell, found Samantha’s mother, and drug her off.

Samantha and two officers were in a locked questioning room, while four officers watched the video feed from that room. I watched as they threw Samantha against the wall, broke her jaw, and nose, and busted her lips, before stripping her, and proceeding to whip her with their belts. “Tell us what we want to know!”
I imagine they were a touch confused when the door to the room exploded inward, and a voice said, “Come on, smile for the news feed,” and something invisible broke the neck of one, and the back of the other. Those watching the video feed were surprised when, seconds later, they suffered similar fates.

I found the father being beaten, and the mother being raped. More officers breathed their last breaths.

“I warned you.”

245 Words
@mysoulstears


Yet another part of the ongoing Armor 17 story. It’s Week 298 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 : 2018/01/07

Willie stood in the rain, and stared at the rose bloom. He wished everyone could see his smile, and could look at the rose, the perfect shade of red, the perfect velvet petals, and the exquisite drops of water that decorated them.

“No one takes the time anymore, do they?” He sadly shook his head, took a deep breath, sighed, and stared at the rose once more. “They never look. Except in perfect weather.”

He remembered the words of so many others. People he’d once respected. People he still perhaps respected. But people who were, he knew, lost. Consumed by things they couldn’t even see.

“Rob told me not to care.” Willie smiled at the flower. He didn’t touch it. That would have disturbed the water patterns on the petals. He wanted it to remain perfect, like it was. “You can’t afford to care, Willie.” Then, he almost laughed, “Can’t afford to care? My God, Rob? Aren’t we still humans? Isn’t caring what we do? Isn’t that how friends feel about each other?”

The rain had soaked through his shirt long ago, leaving it stuck to his body. It held all the water it could, and all the water being added forced water off the ends of the sleeves, and off the bottom, onto his pants. Which were also soaked. When he moved, his shoes and socks squished.

Willie spoke to the perfect rose, “I used to do this, a long time ago. When I was a kid, you know. Walk in the rain. Play in the rain.” He looked around, watched the rain fall from the sky, watched the drops make their individual splashes in the puddles that had formed. Listened to the drops rustle the leaves in the garden. “I used to love standing in the rain, to see how it washed the dust, and dirt, away. And made everything clean again.” He spoke to the rose again, “But, somewhere, somehow, I lost all that.”

It was true, he knew. “It’s this world we’ve made, isn’t it. A world of money, and possessions. Of supply and demand.” He nodded at the rose. “Where what we feel isn’t real anymore. And all that matters is what we do. Who we are. How much we make. Who we know.”

Willie watched the water drip from the rose, he tracked drops as they fell, all the way to the ground. He found it fascinating how the mind worked. How he moved his eyes, to stay focused on the drops, and how the background moved, but the drops didn’t.

“What happened to us?” He asked, though he knew. He knew too well. Success is what happened. Own your own home. Your own car. Your own boat. Televisions, radios, stereos, books, computers, all of it. Own everything you could ever want. That’s what it was all about. That’s what everyone learned. What everyone taught. “My parents taught me. Their parents taught them.”

And there he was. Standing in the rain. In a rose garden. Staring at a perfect red velvet rose, decorated with tiny drops of water. Talking to it, no less. Like he’d done when he was a child, fifty years ago.

“We’ve forgotten how to live, haven’t we?”

Willie heard Rob’s voice, “You can’t afford to care!”

“When did we stop being human, Rob? What happened to us? When did our hearts turn to stone?”

He stood in the rain, and watched the rose until the rain stopped. Because. He knew he’d never get another chance to see that rose bloom, in the rain again. He wanted to remember it forever. To never forget it.

He wanted to remember what it meant to be alive.

614 words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 36th week. I’ve missed a few weeks. November and December was not kind to me. But, I’m recovering now.

You can read about her small fiction challenge here. I sat down to write, not knowing what would happen. I’m glad I gave myself the chance to find some words. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.

 

It Amazes Me How Many Stupid Men Are Out There…

Now, I don’t want to single out women as causing all the problems. They certainly don’t, and they certainly aren’t. As anyone who is familiar with me knows, I tend to shake my head, and quietly say, with unbelief in my tone, “Jesus. Men really are that stupid, aren’t they…”

I have a friend. She’s cute. Pretty smile. Pretty eyes. Lives in the UK. And it amazes me that not one guy over there has decided she’s his best friend. Not one! She’s smart. She’s creative. She’s fun to talk with. And yet, not one guy in the UK has found her, and decided, “She is the friend I’ve always wanted! The one I’ll take to the movies. To the football games. For walks along the white chalk cliffs. To look at the flowers somewhere. She’s the one I’ll sit next to on the sofa, and watch BBC News as we talk about how insane this whole Brexit thing is. And we’ll just be best friends!”

Why? Why hasn’t some guy in the UK figured this out? Why isn’t some guy in the UK doing this with her?

Because.

Men really are that stupid, aren’t they…

I have a friend. She’s a knockout. My God, that woman is gorgeous! But. I love to chat with her. About things. About stuff that goes wrong, like when someone brings in a computer for repair, and goes off the deep end when they learn the Manufacturer’s Warranty does not cover a cracked screen. About how the day went. Was it good? Did the physical pain from the chronic illness let up today? Did you get any rest? About doctors, and how they don’t know all the answers, despite all their years of training, and practice. About books, and authors, and how great some of them are. And how some of them should never have made it into print. We talk about everything. Including family cats, and dogs, and even turtles.

And I find it infuriating to me, how many people no longer talk with her. How she got physically ill, and can’t work, and spends her days at her home, wishing she didn’t have to feel the pain she lives with, didn’t have to hurt like she hurts.

And I wonder why other guys don’t talk with her. Don’t spend time sending her messages. Yes, she’s married. That doesn’t mean no one should talk with her. Yes, she’s chronically ill. That’s no reason to ignore her.

Why? Why haven’t other guys figured out she wants friends to talk with. To simply spend time communicating with? Why haven’t guys figured this out?

Because.

Men really are that stupid. They are. Holy crap. It’s unbelievable.

I’ve lost count of the number of divorced women I know, and I count them as good friends. I wonder sometimes, what the fuck did the guy do that she left him? How could the guy be that kind of special stupid that she left him? How could he be so blind to her feelings, her heart, her soul, the things she dreams, and wants, and needs. That she gave up on him, and left.

But, there’s more to it than that. There’s other guys that are now divorced. Because. They treated her like a possession. Something they own. Like a frickin’ car, or truck. An object. Not a person. Not a human being with a heart, soul, and emotions. It because, “Now that I’m off from work, which frustrates me endlessly, and there’s nothing I can do about that, I can go home, and let all my emotions out, and unload on the wife.”

What?

Seriously?

What?

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard such words. Terrifying words. “Well. He owns a gun, you know. So, even though I didn’t want to, I did what he wanted. Because. Well. He owns a gun, you know.”

“Yes, he hit me. It’s better that he hit me the our little girl. I have to protect her from him?”

I’m like, “Wait! Isn’t he her father? And he’s a threat to her? What the fuck is wrong with him?”

And what the fuck is this dick pic shit all about? Guys. Seriously? Seriously? Sending pictures of it to strange women, or even women you work with, or know? Without them asking for them? That’s a special kind of brain damage, isn’t it?

I’ve been learning about mansplaining. And gaslighting. And I find they further illustrate the level of stupidity men have embraced. Guys. Explaining astrophysics to an astrophysicist when you barely got that Bachelor’s Degree in Business Marketing is like you’re three year old son telling you how to write a novel. And it makes you look every bit as intelligent. Innocent, and flat damn stupid. And you know it.

There are reasons too many guys are frickin’ divorced, and living lonely lives, searching the internet and fueling the growth of the porn industry, and the human trafficking market. Because.

Men. They really are that flat damn stupid.

Mark.

Time For Me To Fight Back

Let’s talk who is to blame, here. No. Really. Let’s talk who is at fault. Who did NOT do what they should have done. And let’s start with the infamous case of Brock Turner, of Stanford University, in Stanford, California.

Am I to blame for the actions this disgusting individual took? I’m asking an honest question here. Because there are plenty of voices, almost every one of them women, who have informed me that I am. That I’m a white guy, and so I’m partly to blame.

So. Let me put this realistically. I live in Virginia Beach, VA. Brock Turner did his antics in Stanford, California. If I start right now, and drive non stop until I get there, Google Maps says I will drive 45 hours and something minutes, and over 3 thousand miles before I get there to stop Mr. Turner from doing whatever he decides to do on the spur of the moment.

Clearly, there was no way I could have stopped him once he got started. I’d have arrived about two days after the fact. So, saying I didn’t stop him makes as much sense to me as saying I didn’t prevent Donald Trump from saying the magic words, “Grab her by the pussy.”

I didn’t stop either person. I physically could not have. At the time they did what they did, I was hundreds, of not thousands of miles away from them. Hell, I never heard the name “Brock Turner” until he turned up on MSN news. I never even knew he existed. And if not for the news, I would still have no idea who he is.

But, apparently I’m at least partly to blame for what he did. So says the logic of the argument that’s been used to beat me over the head.

I did not raise him. I did not teach him. I did not live anywhere near him. I had no influence on him, or his development. I had no contact with his parents. Or any of his relatives. I did not attend any churches he attended. I did not attend any social activities he attended. I did not work with him. The man, very literally, did not exist, as far as I am concerned, until his name showed up on MSN News one day.

But, you see. I’m a white guy. So, clearly, I contributed to his behavior, and I certainly didn’t do enough to condemn it.

Let’s talk blame here. Seriously. Let’s talk who is responsible for the behavior of Roy Moore. A white guy. And an apparent pedophile. Roy Moore is 70 years old. That’s 12 years older than I am. Clearly. I was not involved in raising him. Nor was I involved in teaching him how to behave. The man was a high school graduate when I was a six year old boy in first grade.

Let’s go further, why not? I first heard of Roy Moore after Donald Trump was elected President. That’s right. I never heard of Roy Moore prior to 2017. I should also say it’s very likely I would not have heard of Roy Moore at all if it wasn’t for Donald Trump’s election. Because, that election precipitated the events that lead to Mr. Moore making national headlines for his indiscretions with underage girls. I should also mention that those indiscretions occurred quite a few years prior to the headlines of the past few months.

But, it would seem, once again, that as a white guy, I’m at least partly to blame for Mr. Moore’s actions. Either because I didn’t stop him. Or I didn’t visit Alabama to straighten his ass out. Or I didn’t show up on his doorstep with a gun, and an arrest warrant when he thought with his dick, and not his brain, however many years ago it was.

Let’s keep this process alive, shall we? Yes, it’s clearly pissing you off. Because it’s clearly blowing holes all through the argument that I’m to blame for the actions of other white men.

Let’s talk about someone who was once on my Facebook Friends list. They had a rough time. I know that. I didn’t know they were having a rough time when it was happening. Let’s be honest, here. The only contact I’ve ever had with them is through text exchanged through Facebook, and Twitter. Outside of that, they may as well live in Agrabah, the fictional Disney city of Princess Jasmine, from the movie Aladdin. Because I have never encountered them outside of Facebook and Twitter. And now that they’ve departed the United States, the odds of me having my foot run over in a parking lot by a snooty dude driving a Maserati are better than the odds of me meeting them.

Turns out they had an ex husband. One who owned a gun. One who wasn’t a nice guy. One who abused them.

Turns out, somehow, because I’m a white guy, I’m partly to blame for the actions of that guy, their ex husband.

Yeah. I can’t figure that one out either. Hell, I don’t even know who the guy is. Or where he lives, other than to say he’s probably somewhere between the Atlantic Ocean, and the Mississippi River, in the United States.

But, you see. I didn’t teach him how to behave. I didn’t teach him how to be a real man. I didn’t teach him how to treat other people, especially women. I didn’t teach him to respect the wishes of women, or their privacy, or their needs. I did not teach him when to physically approach a woman, and when to back away from one. I did not teach them to go out of his way to illustrate to a woman that she is safe, and will always be safe, around him.

So, it seems I’m partly to blame for the things he did. Because. I’m part of the system, you see. Part of what’s wrong with US Society. I’m a white guy. And that’s all there is to it.

As a person who has asked, more than once, and more than one woman, “Am I doing anything wrong? Am I doing something I shouldn’t do? Have I done anything that made you uncomfortable?” Having declared I wanted them to be safe, and if it helped I’d keep a wall, a desk, a partition, a table, or other hefty physical object between us, so they would know I wasn’t a threat. Having shoved my hands in my pockets, and backed away from women, more than once. Having completely left, completely removed myself from someone’s presence, permanently, to keep that someone safe, and to guarantee they would always feel safe from me.

Having done these things.

It’s so very apparent it’s my fault that other white men have grown into slimes who need to be staked out in the desert to learn what true sunburn is, and to experience just how bad sunburn can get.

You want to know why I’ve become an angry white man?

I just told you.

Read this again.

Then tell me I have no right to be angry. And tell me how ALL men are responsible.

And just remember. It’s because you endlessly beat me over the head with declarations of my guilt, and declarations of my responsibility for the truly disturbing things that happened to you, and declarations that I needed to be put in jail (No. Literally. That’s been said to me. More than you know. Far more than you know.) just because I’m a privileged, racist, sexist, misogynistic white man. And made to pay for all the crimes of every white man.

And all this, despite trying everything I know to try, learning everything I can learn, and doing the best I can, to keep women safe around me, and around others?

You want to know why I’ve become an angry white man?

Read this again.

 

#ThursThreads Week 294 : I Will If You Give Me A Chance

At 0630 hours, they arrested Julia. She was putting on her makeup when they destroyed the door to her apartment, and charged in, without any warrant, without any legal reason. “You’re under arrest for assault on two white men.” The officer who spoke pulled a gun, and pointed it at her.

I threw the officer through the apartment wall. “No violence, children. No violence.”

Every gun was drawn, and searching. Trying to find me, trying to find where that voice came from.

“I’ve already said, if you hurt someone today. I’ll kill all of you.” The officers started shooting holes in the walls, ceiling and floors.

“Congratulations, Officer Scott. You just shot a man who was sleeping.” Officer Scott emptied his entire clip as he shot everything in sight.

“Congratulations, Officer Aron. You just shot a two month old baby girl, and her mother. Sitting at the kitchen table. Nursing.” Officer Aaron screamed as he shot everything.

“Gentlemen. If you will give me a chance, I won’t kill you.” They kept shooting at everything. One placed his gun against Julia’s head, and pulled the trigger.

I stopped them. Not because I wanted to. Because the shooting had to stop. There were enough innocent lives lost already.

The sound of my gun was deeper, louder. Officers Scott and Aaron stopped shooting. Officers Franks, and Simmons didn’t. I stopped them too. “For the needless murder of innocent civilians.”

“Next stop. Jail.” And there would be more dead bodies. That I already knew.

250 Words
@mysoulstears


Yet another part of the ongoing Armor 17 story. It’s Week 294 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.