#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.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2020/10/28 (Week 171)

The observer sat in their pitch dark room, the only light shining from the monitoring devices, observing everyone she was directed to observe by the Law Enforcement Agents. It was a large list, with hundreds of names, but she kept observing, moving from one name to another, endlessly, and at random. That was the key to catching behavioral violations. Observation had to be unexpected, and at random, so no one could plan for them.

She was almost half machine any more. Her eyes gone, replaced by a digital and mechanical system that had a replay memory built into it. She could replay the last few seconds over and over, to determine if the observed behavior needed to be reported to Law Enforcement.

There had been a book, a work of fiction, at one time, about a world in which everything people do is observed, monitored, and if necessary, corrected. Where deviant thinking, and departures from managed lifestyles, were punished, and where those who exhibited such behavior, were re-trained. Taught the error of their ways. Corrected. And when they no longer exhibited such deviant behavior, they were released, although an asterisk was always next to their names on the list of those she observed.

The observer never wondered if there were other observers, she knew there were, she was only one of many. It took many to keep things right, to maintain order, to protect all there was, every life, every detail of life.

She’d reported a person the previous day, before she got to rest, and recharge with sleep, and sustenance. A male. White. What had his name been? S2315. That was it. S2315. He’d been exhibiting deviant behavior consistently for a time. Reading paper books, not watching entertainment, cooking, not requesting sustenance. Multiple violations. One violation here or there was normal. No one was perfect, all people made mistakes. It was when the violations became consistent, and deliberate, they needed to be reported. S2315 had become consistent, and the number of violations he made was growing.

She’d reported him.

She remembered him because Law Enforcement had given her a new directive to increase the frequency of observing him. It was them, collecting evidence, before they incarcerated him. Before they retrained him.

“Why do people become deviations?” It was a question she’d asked herself countless times. A question she couldn’t answer. It made no sense to her. Avoid deviations, and live a peaceful, happy, full life, with no chaos, no job losses, no massive debts, no ending up homeless, no going hungry. If you remained compliant, within the system, following the rules, life was good.

The observer knew why she watched. Why she reported. It was to keep others safe. To keep chaos from returning to the world. Chaos that nearly destroyed everything, and everyone, according to history. Where people went where they wanted, did what they wanted, believed what they wanted, ate what they wanted, and got themselves killed in accidents, or made themselves sick from consuming the improper foods and drinks.

The observer reported deviations, and endlessly watched for them. Because. Without her, chaos might return.

528 words

An idea that may tie into something I’m working on writing. Not even a draft, really. Too rough. But it’ll do for some words for Week 171 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 all.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2020/10/25 (Week 169)

“I like that. Looks good.” I know I wasn’t supposed to grin, certainly not a happy grin, but looking at that frigging angel’s blue wings nailed to my garage wall brought a big smile to me. “What that ass hole fucking deserved.”

Angels, I’m telling you. Sitting there, in the clouds, looking down at us, judging us, telling us, “God the Father said do this.” This one had been a guardian angel, you know the type, sent down to protect us from ourselves, watch over us, make sure we learn the ways of the Lord, all that shit.

Bitch didn’t take it well when I lopped off his head with a machete. I kept hearing that song from that old musical, “He had it coming. He had it coming. He only had himself to blame!”

I cut off those blue wings to remind me of him, and the chaos he caused in my life, and burned the rest of him into ash. Wasn’t murder, you know. Not according to the law. I didn’t kill anyone. By the law’s definition, it was like murdering a dolphin, or eagle. Sportsmanship. And then collecting a trophy.

I’d had to do it. Asshole gave me no other option. Wouldn’t answer any questions. Wouldn’t explain anything. Just stuck with “God said.”

“Yeah! I know! But why the fuck did God say?”

And really? Did God say, “Burn all the fags at the stake!” Really? Or, “White people are better than everybody else!” Really? God said that?

That’s the same kind of shit dictators say. Authoritarians. “I write the rules! You do what I order!”

So, there I was, in church, growing up, wondering how God could say, “Love your neighbor as yourself” in one sentence, and in the next declare, “Kill all the Muslims before they kill you, my people!”

I told those damn wings, nailed to my garage wall, “Yeah, you’re why I’m so fucked up!” But it was OK. I was free, finally. I could finally explore what right and wrong were. What good and evil were. Outside the control of some damn angel sent to beat me into following the straight and narrow path.

And I know God wasn’t happy, if that was indeed His angel I’d cut up, and burned to hell, as I stood there, looking up at the heaven He was supposed to live in, and told him, straight up, “Now I can find out for myself. Now, I don’t have all your Christians, and angels, and minions trying to make sure I behave. Now, I can figure out what good and evil are. And I can finally figure out what love your neighbor as yourself means. Without having some 4000 year old set of rules, written by other people like me, who were every bit as mortal, and error prone as I am, being shoved down my throat by some ass hole with fucking blue wings!”

Yeah. Take that you angels, and your God. It was time for me to figure out if people who were different from me were good or evil, or if it was some stupid ass social construct that declared they were evil.

528 words

Written in response to the prompt for week 169 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 all.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2020/10/18 (Week 170)

I suppose it’s what I deserved, for looking in the mirror. Even though I knew what I’d see, I looked anyway. I saw all that was left of me. Not my body. Not my skin, hair, clothes. None of what people look in a mirror to see.

I saw a dead, rotting, wasteland. Dead trees reached to the sky, their long dead trunks covered in molds and lichens, their leaves, in a thick layer on the ground that was slowly turning to dirt.

It was silent. Dead silent. I couldn’t hear anything. No birds, animals, even water in a stream, or leaves rustling on the ground. There was no wind, no clouds, no life at all. It was all dead. Dead, and rotting, turning back to the dirt it came from.

It wasn’t easy to look, especially since I knew what I was looking at. My brain knew, and heard my own words, echoing endlessly. “There’s nothing left of me. Nothing but the fire. Nothing but the anger, the rage. Everything else has been lost.”

It was my soul, in that mirror. My heart. All of it, dead. Everything I’d been, everything we are when we’re born, every dream we have, ever hope, ever feeling, laughter, sorrow, pain, joy, smiles, tears, all of it. Gone. Dead. And turning back into the dirt it had come from.

“You know, I did try to explain to them. I tried to tell them. I even said, more than once, there are parts of me that are gone, and I don’t care who you are, those parts aren’t coming back. They’re gone.”

“Anger destroys everything.” I seriously considered throwing something hard, and heavy, at that mirror, shattering it into a million bits of glass. I didn’t. I knew. That would only be another image of what was left of me. Tiny shards of glass, scattered everywhere, waiting to cut up the bare feet that walked across them, waiting to sink into the fingers that tried to gather them up, and make the ground safe to walk on once again.

“Anger destroys everything.” I couldn’t even remember where I’d read those words.

That’s when I told the mirror, “It’s all I had. This world,” I looked around, even glanced out the window, “there was no other way I could be.”

Perhaps another man would have cried, mourned for the loss of his soul, felt the emptiness of the shell that was his body. But that wasn’t me. I’d mourned decades ago, when I realized I couldn’t survive in this world, that this world would drive me, little by little, day after day, into insanity.

“Well. At least I did my best with what I did have. At least I tried to do something positive, something good.”

There was an old phrase I’d learned, over 30 years ago, “Even doing the right thing, for the wrong reasons, is wrong.”

I still didn’t know how to respond to that thought. Was it wrong to take rage, anger, hatred, and do something positive with them? All because rage, anger, and hatred were wrong to start with?

“Wonder if I’ll ever learn an answer to that?” I asked the desolation in that mirror. “Or is it not possible for a destroyed soul to learn anything?”

546 words

Written in response to the prompt for week 170 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 all.