About mysoulstears

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

#SwiftFicFriday Week 69 : Abhor

In my experience humans abhor a mystery. When presented with something they can’t explain, they make shit up, or they wave their hands and proclaim, “It’s the work of God!”

Among my favorite human comedies is the story of face masks, which illustrates resoundingly well how humans abhor what they can’t explain.

Face masks are not perfect. Imperfection is expected where fallible, excitable, emotional, exhaustible humans are concerned. As humans can’t agree on basic definitions, such as what intelligence is, I find it surprising how well masks work. They do an amazing job of stopping viruses and bacteria spread through the invisible drops of moisture in their breaths. The masks stop most of the drops, though not all of them. If the masks stopped all the drops, they would also stop the flow of air, killing those who wore them.

I found it striking how humans had physical confrontations over whether or not to wear a mask. Some humans don’t understand how viruses and bacteria spread through the moisture in their breaths. They concluded the spread was caused by the motion of air currents.

The humans who could not comprehend that water droplets in the air can be removed from the air, with no adverse effects on people, went out and made up explanations for how masks work.

They used infrared and wide spectrum cameras to observe the motion of air when people breathed with and without masks on, proving masks did not stop the motion of the air.

Lacking an understanding that masks effectively stop most water droplets without stopping air flow, these humans declared masks didn’t work, they refused to wear them. Which explains why so many of them died of a simple, airborne virus.

They made shit up. It was wrong. Some of them died.

298 Words

It’s Week 69 of #SwiftFicFriday, hosted by Katheryn Avila. Hard to write when you’re running on empty. 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.

#ThursThreads Week 452 : Could Happen To Anyone

Bria sat next to me on the sofa, as I watched some random program on TV. I don’t know how long she’d been there. Probably as long as I had, I figured that’s how I worked.

“I know you’re not real.”

She smiled, and those green eyes lit up, and told me everything was OK. “I know.”

“I know you’re my brain cells writing up a fictional character based on a real person named Bria.”

I always forgot to be miserable when she laughed, which she did, “I know.”

“You know, there’s a lot of people who’d call me nuts, crazy, Fruit Loops…”

“And all the other words they use, yes. I know.”

“Someone like you could happen to anybody, you know.”

She shook her head, and that smile melted everything inside me, “No. Not anybody.”

“I’m not special, you know. This could happen to anybody.”

Again she shook her head, “No, it can’t. It won’t. It doesn’t.”

“Why?” I asked the question, even though I already knew the answer.

“You remember. You don’t forget. You haven’t forgotten me, even though you’ve tried.”

I wondered what it meant when someone that didn’t exist anywhere but in my mind talked to me, took my hand in hers, and squeezed it.

“I’m not real. But, I’m part of your heart. Part of your soul.”

Maybe I should have told her to go away, but I didn’t. Because, she could speak all the words I couldn’t. Words I didn’t know how to say.

250 Words

It’s Week 452 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Trying to break the ice that’s encased my writing. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.

#SwiftFicFriday Week 66 : Midas

“Would serve them right if I let the whole thing crash and burn.”

Anyone watching, listening, would have sworn I was talking to myself. They couldn’t see Bria. Couldn’t hear her either. Not like me.

“You won’t.”

“I know.” I sat there, staring at the screen, the lines of text on it. 50 lines out of thousands. “I know.”

I’d always wondered what it was like when the spirit, the soul of someone, sat with you, talked with you, put their hand on your shoulder, as she did. “I knew that when I took the job.” My eyes looked at her hand on my shoulder, followed her arm to her face, and found her green eyes, and magic smile.

“You have that magic.” It used to disturb me when she appeared and talked with me. Not anymore. I think I knew it wasn’t really her, not her body. not her physical presence. It was our hearts talking.

She put her hand on my cheek, “You’ve got that golden touch, that Midas touch, with this stuff. Where all the problems come unravel, and magic happens.”

“It’s a gift. One I have to use.”

Her smile fractured as she looked at me, “It comes with a horrible price doesn’t it?”

“I wish I could fail.” That’s why her smile had fractured. She knew my heart. “One time. Just once.”

That magic light in her eyes spoke words not in any language. “Then, you wouldn’t be you.”

“And our hearts couldn’t talk, could they?”

“No, they couldn’t.”

“Time to fix this,” I started on the final edits needed to straighten out the problem in the code.

“Yes, it’s time to fix this.” She sat on my desk, next to my keyboard, and watched me, as I worked through the night.

297 Words

It’s Week 66 of #SwiftFicFriday, hosted by Katheryn Avila. Hard to write when you’re running on empty. 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.

#SwiftFicFriday Week 63 : Moonlight

“Go away. Just…” I took a deep breath, like my doctor had taught me to, let it out slowly, then took another. “Go away. I know you’re not real.”

I hadn’t seen her in over 10 years. She was part of who I once was, who I had been, that artificial construct I’d turned myself into. “Go away, Bria. Leave me alone.”

She kept turning up in my life. Always at night, like she was part of the moonlight. I couldn’t escape the moonlight, or Bria. Maybe it was my memories of her, that she somehow knew everything I was, was an artificial construct, meant to keep other people happy so they’d shut up, and leave me alone.

It had been an awful day at work. I got screamed at by some idiot white man, for not being able to install his 20 year old program on his new computer. “Dude. I’ve been doing this for 40+ years. When I tell you it can’t be done, I’m not lying. And I’m not an idiot that doesn’t know anything.” I wished I could have screamed those words at him. Those words, and many more.

You’d think, sitting on the vinyl covered kitchen floor, on the concrete hard foundation of the house, at freaking midnight, I’d be alone. No one to talk to. Just me. In the silence, and the dark.

But there Bria was. That same magic light in her green eyes. That same music in her laughter. “How could you tell me I’m not real?”

“Because I’m the only one who can see you.”

“You mean I can’t be real because our hearts can’t talk with each other? Because our souls can’t touch each other?”

“Go away, Bria, and let me die.”

“No. That’s not what your heart wants.”

299 Words

It’s Week 66 of #SwiftFicFriday, hosted by Katheryn Avila. Slowly starting to find words again. 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.

#ThursThreads Week 447 : Do You Know Who It Is?

After Diana slapped me, she screamed at me, “Do you know who it is?” She pointed at the body on the concrete floor of the warehouse, leaking blood everywhere.

“Some dude trying to rob us.” I looked at the freshly dead body, “He didn’t succeed.” I looked back at Diana, “I stopped him.”

“Some dude? Some dude? Seriously? Do you know who it is?” She slapped me again. “You gun-happy ass hole!” She slapped me a third time. Then a fourth time before she said anything else. “Well take a good look at him, you idiot!” She pushed me toward the body.

“I’ll get blood on my shoes.”

“Tough shit.” She pushed me again.

I tried not to step in the corpse’s blood, which formed a growing circle around his remains. I wasn’t too keen on stepping in blood. Diana shoved me toward the body, and I stumbled into the red puddle. Got that shit all over my shoes.

“Take your flashlight, and take a good look!”

I did. “Wait. Wait.” I looked at Diana. “No! This can’t be him!”

Diana glared at me, hands on her hips. “Well, it is him! And you’re one dead motherfucker, you idiot!”

“Holy shit.” I stared at Chipper’s body, dead on the floor, with four big damn holes in it, and blood leaking out everywhere. “Jesus, I’m one dead motherfucker.”

Diana was already on her cell phone sending a live video to Chipper’s boss, “Been nice knowing you, ass hole.”

247 Words

It’s Week 447 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Trying to break the ice that’s encased my writing. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.

#ThursThreads Week 446 : We Will Bring Him Up To Speed

I stared at the list of programs on my Mother’s computer. It was awful. “How much did she install?” I read names for programs, and companies, “And does she even know?” Even though I knew she didn’t know. Most people didn’t. They simply clicked on stuff that got in the way, so they could get to what they wanted to do.

“Can you fix it?”

“Yes, Mom. We will bring him up to speed.”

It’s what I did. I fixed computers owned by bean dips, who had no business owning a computer. “Should tell them to swallow their pride, and buy a fucking Chromebook. Screw that up, and fix it with a simple power wash.”

But, Chromebooks didn’t run Microsoft Word. It was that simple. The Word application on the WEB that was totally free, and did everything damn near everyone ever did in Word, was the perfect replacement. But no one used it. “I want the real Word! ‘Cause, it’s what everyone uses!”

Hell, even Chromebooks were a pain to be honest. They had Chrome on them. Do you know how many stupid extensions people install in Chrome? Even the ones that Chrome and Google flag as malicious, and they install them anyway?

“It will take time, Mom. But we will bring him up to speed.”

It was going to be a long night. I was going to need more than one Sprite. “Go to bed, Mom. I got this.”

241 Words

It’s Week 446 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Trying to break the ice that’s encased my writing. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.

#SwiftFicFriday Week 60 : So, I’m a house plant…

“You need to go sit in your room,” she said those words as I came home from work, looking like I’d been forced to drag a truck a couple of miles. It wasn’t uncommon for her to say those words to me. “Go sit in your room.”

It was a sunroom. In the summer, there was sunlight in that room until well past 8 at night. A sun room, full of bookcases, and plants, with a power plug on the wall next to the rest of the house, so I could plug in a laptop computer, and play.

No heat. No air conditioning. If it was 90 outside, it was over 100 inside. Funny thing about that. The heat didn’t really bother me, as long as I had something to drink.

When she told me to go to my room, I didn’t argue. We both knew I was like a big houseplant, and needed sunlight to stay healthy. If I didn’t get enough, I got cranky, and fussy, and angry, and damn near everything else you can get that makes other people miserable. My doctors said it was Seasonal Affective Disorder, and it was common for people to have it. They suggested things like sunglasses, and sunlamps.

She’d looked at me, “You’re like a houseplant, I have to keep you in the sun, and water you.”

She’d had the room tacked on the house. A stupid expense, a number that still blew my mind any time I thought about it. “But, it’s worth it. I sit you out there, and you get better, you know.”

You can’t argue with the truth, you know. No matter how stupid it is.

279 Words

It’s Week 60 of #SwiftFicFriday, hosted by Katheryn Avila. Trying to write despite 2020 being stupid. 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.

#ThursThreads Week 443 : I Worked Something Out

I worked something out. I did the math, as I like to say it. It was only a simple projection based on how the SARS-CoV2 virus spreads, its ability to kill people, and the way people in the country behave. That’s all it was. I took that information, and I worked something out.

And here we are. 10 months into this, and everything I said would happen, has happened. Over 300,000 people dead, and I’m not surprised, not shocked, not staring at the numbers going, “When will it end?”

I am sad. Sad and angry. Sad that people are as stupid as they are. That they couldn’t do the same simple projection, couldn’t make the same simple adjustments to personal behavior, to improve their safety, and to slow the spread of this damn thing down.

Angry that I was right again. Another time I wanted so much to be wrong. Another time, damn-it, that I wasn’t.

That’s what bothered me the most. I worked something out. And I wasn’t wrong.
Sometimes, I don’t know how I sleep at night. I look back over the years, and I see how many times, when it really mattered, when it was something important, something major, I worked something out, and was right. Over. And over. And over.

I’d even tried, only God knew how many times, to not work things out. To not do the math. To ignore everything. Yet, I always worked something out. And wished again, endlessly, I’d been wrong.

250 Words

It’s Week 443 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Trying to break the ice that’s encased my writing. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.

Because. You’re Safe.

The next night, I went to sleep, wondering, as I’d wondered for over 40 years, what women meant when they said to me, “You’re safe.” It was something I’d never understood. A mystery of life. I had all the same body parts as the guys they said weren’t safe. Lots of other guys were smaller than me. Lots would look at their lawn, and wish they could pay someone else to mow it.

I didn’t always have a good opinion of other guys. Was I safe because of the sports things I didn’t like, and didn’t do? Perhaps it was because I didn’t group off with other guys, and talk about banging someone who walked by. “I could tap that.”

Whatever it meant, I’d never understood it. It said to me, “He can’t hurt you. He’s not a threat to you. You can always escape him. If he gets angry, he’ll walk away.” It always meant, “He’s not a warrior type. He’s a non-threat.”

That night, as I wondered yet again, what it meant, I drifted off to sleep. And to sleep is to dream, even if the dreams are never remembered.

When Tommy got to the Halloween party, Ginger sat down next to me on the sofa, “I’m going  to use you to keep me safe from him.” Ginger usually never talked to me, about anything. She certainly never sat next to me anywhere. But, there she was, so close to me on that sofa, I couldn’t have avoided physical contact with her if I’d tried. She sat right next to me, and started talking about all kinds of things.

Tommy was a good friend of mine. He wouldn’t hurt a fly, unless that fly landed on his ice cream. That happened, the fly deserved to die anyway. I had no idea what Ginger was talking about, no idea how sitting next to me was going to keep her safe from Tommy. Hell, if he wanted a fight, I’d lose big time. Some 180 pound guy going against a brown belt in karate? I’d be dead in seconds.

So, I sat there, on that sofa, completely in the dark, with no idea what she was talking about, since I knew Tommy wasn’t going to hurt anyone.

It was one of those mysteries to me, what she was doing, and even what she thought was a threat. I sat on the sofa, and watched as Tommy and his room mate, Ben, said hi to everyone at the party, got their plates of Halloween candy, and their cups of George’s famous spiked sherbet punch, and went out on the back deck.

They stayed on that deck the rest of the party. After Ginger saw they weren’t coming back from the deck, she got up, and was suddenly the same Ginger I’d known for years. The one that almost never talked to me.

I blinked my eyes, and everything changed.

Lora, Bill, and I were in the computer lab back in college days. Wow, that was a long time ago. The mainframe was down for preventive maintenance. They hauled it down at 0500 hours every morning. We were the last three people in the computer lab. All three of us in the same class, with the same project due in a few days. All three of us trying to fix our programs, and living on caffeine and sugar.

After a few minutes, Bill declared he was hungry, and was going to get something to eat. He asked Lora if she wanted to go with him. “I’ll even pay.” Sounded like a good deal to me. I might have taken him up on that, but he hadn’t asked me.

Lora declined. For like, ten minutes, she declined. Over and over again. He couldn’t talk her into it, no matter how he asked, or how he financed the meal for her. Eventually, he gave up, “OK. I’m going to go eat now.” And he left.

I had to remind myself to not choke when Lora asked, five minutes later, if I’d walk with her to the 7-11 store, for munchies. A pretty girl asked me to walk with her at 0515 hours, across the campus, to the main road, where the 7-11 was? Only an idiot wouldn’t have said yes. I never turned down the chance to walk with a pretty girl.

We walked, and talked about the way class had been going, and how insane the access to the mainframe had become, with 30 minute use limits put on it, and a line to use the next open terminal that stretched out of the lab into the hallway of the building.

At the 7-11, we picked out the munchies we wanted. She paid for hers, I paid for mine. I was polite, of course, and let her know if she was short of cash I could pay the rest. After all, I did have a part time job, and an income.

With munchies in hand, drinking sodas on the walk back to the lab, my curiosity got the best of me, and I asked an obvious question. “Why didn’t you go eat with him? And why ask me to walk to 7-11?”

She had this pretty smile. A pretty girl, with a pretty smile. “Because. You’re safe.”

Then, I blinked, and the dream changed again.

My wife was driving, and her car was out of gas. “We’re stopping at the station.”

“OK. You want me to tank it up?” I don’t know why I asked. She always wanted me to tank it up.


She pulled into the station, picked a pump, parked next to it, and handed me her credit card. “We’ll use my card this time.”

I got out, and walked around the car, to the gas pump, on her side of the car, and opened the gas tank, also on her side of the car. It took a few, but I filled the tank with regular unleaded. I made sure I closed the tank, and got the receipt from the pump when I was done. She always asked for the receipt.

As I filled the tank, I noted how quiet the night was. It had been a long day, she’d wanted to go on one of her shopping trips, at the stores in a mall three hours from home, because they had things our stores didn’t.

I didn’t argue, as it meant I got to spend time with her, and I already knew, if I didn’t keep her company, she would make my entire week miserable. Oh, she wouldn’t do it intentionally, or deliberately, but it would happen anyway. Because I knew she needed those trips to vent, to let off steam, and to de-stress from her job.

Filling the gas tank at a gas station 100 miles out of town at freaking midnight wasn’t fun, but the car needed gas. I just wished she’d have handled it herself that time, so I didn’t have to.

Then, I blinked, and everything changed again.

Julie got up from her desk and wandered over to mine, “I need to take a walk outside. Come with me.” It wasn’t really a request, but I knew I didn’t have to. Still. Julie. Never occurred to me why she asked me to go on a walk. I mean, the lab we worked in was full of guys who would have been happy to walk with her.

I got up, and off we went. Damn, that woman could walk. She did three laps around the building and parking lot. And she talked about everything. About the kitchen work she and her family were doing at home. The new car she was getting used to since the wreck totaled her Jeep. The boat her husband wanted, and didn’t know she was going to get him for Christmas. And food. Always food.

We walked for over 20 minutes. She was the only woman in sight. That got me looked at a few times, and had me wondering, “What, those guys never seen someone walking with a pretty woman?”

Then, I blinked, and I was in a room, alone, with a voice that was calm, and quiet, and I had no idea where it was coming from.

“Do you finally understand?”

“Understand what?”

“Because, you’re safe.”

“Don’t talk to me about that! You know that pisses me off! Everyone thinks I’m harmless! I know that, and you know how much I hate that!”

“You still don’t understand, do you.”

“Understand what? That I’m no threat to anyone?”

“No! That’s not it at all!”

Then, a word started to form in the air, in front of me. There was no way I couldn’t see it. I watched it come into focus. “#METOO”

I screamed at the voice, “I never hurt anyone! I never hurt any of them!”

“I know.”

There was a pause. A silence. I didn’t hear anything, not even my own breathing. Dead silence.

“They know too.”

I stared at that damn hashtag hanging in mid air in front of me.

“Because. You’re safe.”

There was Lora, standing in one corner of the room, “Because. You’re safe.”

A second voice spoke, “You kept me safe from him.” It was Ginger, standing in another corner.

My wife’s voice came from the third corner, “Yes. You fill the tank.”

Julie turned up in the fourth corner, “Take a walk outside with me, please.”

And that damn voice from nowhere asked, “Do you finally understand?”

“Because. I’m safe.”

It never had occurred to me before. I’d never understood, in 40 something years of trying to figure it out, I’d never seen the obvious. “Because. They knew I wouldn’t hurt them.” I stared at the hashtag, “#METOO” floating in the air in front of me. “They knew I wouldn’t lay a hand on them. I wouldn’t ask for anything.”

I finally understood what they’d said. What they’d all said, in so many different ways.

We can trust you. Because. You’re safe.

That’s when I realized the room was no longer dark, the sun had risen, and it was time to start my day.

A Clip From Week 3 of #NaNoWriMo 2020

It always struck me as entertaining when another driver tried to push me and my car up the road, because I was only doing 50 miles an hour in a 45 mile an hour zone. For some reason, my car wouldn’t go any faster, no matter what they did. It was almost guaranteed that eventually, they’d switch lanes, burn 37 tons of gas, and the instant they thought they could get back in the lane, ahead of me, they’d cut back over, and add even more gas.

“People have no patience.” Seriously, they didn’t have any patience at all. But, if they wanted to drive at 47,000 miles an hour, I’d let the police deal with them. Wasn’t my job. After all, you can’t stop people from being stupid.

Of course the idiot, and the countless others just like him, only made me angry, only increased and reinforced my reasons for hating humanity. “Bitch gets pulled for the way he drives, he’s gonna cry like a little boy whose Mamma just took away his favorite toy, and told him to clean his room. Then, he’ll hire a lawyer, ‘cause. He didn’t do anything wrong.”

What I really hoped was I got to see his car, mangled, its front end wrapped around a tree, or a light pole, and him standing outside the remains, crying like a baby. That’s what I hoped to see. Didn’t want anyone to die, or even get hurt. Just wanted an idiot to learn how physics worked, in a lesson he’d probably remember for a whole 31 seconds.

When I’d spent years in psychotherapy, my doc and I talked about that. About how stupid people are. “Hell, they don’t even know they’re killing themselves with stress, causing all their own heart attacks, and strokes, and alcoholism, and drug abuse, ‘cause they’re bodies can’t take it anymore.”

Doc had told me, after a few weeks of sessions, people looked at him, and asked what that new, quiet, calm feeling they had was. “It’s you. De-stressing from life. From the shit you put yourself through daily.” Doc said it shocked people to learn what they did to themselves, just by living a normal life, and pretending everything was OK.

I was like, “No shit, Doc. They don’t even know the building’s on fire. They just keep doing their job. And pretending everything’s how it’s supposed to be.”

As I watched that idiot that had just tried to drive me off the road, because I was “in his fucking way!” race down the road, I had to laugh when he caught up to the vehicles in front of me, and slammed on his brakes. I could imagine his ass, sitting in his car, screaming, and beating on the steering wheel, as he looked for a way to get around the idiots of life, so he could get on with his reality.

You could have had a bus with 60 people on board catch fire, and block the road, and that idiot would have driven through people’s yards, or nearby neighborhoods, screaming on his phone about how traffic was going to make him late, and it wasn’t his fault, while 60 people tried not to turn into Bar-B-Que dinner, and the police and fire departments tried to get them to safety, and put out the fire before it lit off the fuel supply in the bus, and went, “BOOM!”

None of that mattered to Mr. Get The Fuck Out Of The Way! Hell, his own Mother could be on the bus that was on fire, and it wouldn’t have made any difference.

In sheer spite, I looked up at the clouds, “May he only manage to kill himself, and may the rest of humanity be safe from his stupid ass.”

Of course, most people would say, “That only happens once in a while. That’s not a daily thing. There are usually extenuating circumstances.” Those people never drove on the same streets and roads I drove on. The same thing happened every fucking day. Hell, I even memorized some of the license plates on the cars that kept doing the same thing, endlessly. “Oh, look. It’s Mercedes I’m Better Than You Boy. Watch him. Yep. Didn’t even slow down for that red light.” And, “It’s another Jeep-ass-hole. Trying to push the guy in front of him through the intersection, and the red light, ‘cause he doesn’t want to stop.”

I hated Jeeps as much as I hated people. “Here! Let’s weaponize cars! And then give them to trigger happy ass-holes!”

Driving home at night was every bit as entertaining as driving to work in the mornings. At night, it was, “Look for the cars with no lights on.” It’s 7 miles from where I work to my house. One night, there were 12 cars with no lights on. Best part was their drivers acting like people were stupid, because no one could see them.

Driving itself was pretty fun, really. I didn’t mind driving. I got to listen to my music, see different neighborhoods, see ducks and geese at the park that was along the way. Driving was, by itself, OK.

It was the fucking humans that made it hell.