#AtoZ2016 : P Is For Patience

There is one thing in this life
I will never have enough of.
One thing I will run out of
Every day.
One thing I won’t have
When I need it most.

You know this thing too.
And like me,
You wish you had more.
So much more.

I need it when I’m listening
To someone who hasn’t got a clue
Try to explain their point of view.
Limited as it is.
Blind as it is.
To me.

I need it when I’m teaching
Someone something new.
Something they don’t know.
They may not understand.
That may scare them.
That’s simple to me.

You know this thing too.
And like me,
You could use more,
So much more,
Than you have.

I need it when I’m driving,
To anywhere.
Dealing with the traffic on the roads.
With people being people.
Driving too slow.
Driving too fast.
Running stoplights.
Stopping to turn right.
And, in general,
Driving me nuts.

I need it when there’s something,
Anything, really,
I want to do.
Because sometimes,
I can’t do what I want,
When I want to.
Because I have to work.
Or take care of my home.
Or spend time with her.

You know this thing too.
And like me,
You’ll never have enough.
You’ll always need more.

I need it when I read something
Someone wrote.
Something I don’t agree with,
That angers me,
Frustrates me,
Makes me ask,
“How can they be that way?”

Because I know this truth.
And you know it too.
All it takes
Is a little time.
A little perspective.
A little patience.

And everything changes.
The anger fades,
The frustration washes away.
And everything becomes
Okay.

I know this thing I need.
This thing I won’t ever have
In sufficient quantity.

You know this thing too.
And like me,
You won’t ever have enough.

Patience.

God.
Do I need more.


It’s April 20th, and I’m a still one day behind on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. I expect to catch up on Sunday. Only 10 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

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#AtoZ2016 : H Is For Hopeless

Here I sit. At my computer. Staring at an empty screen as I ponder the letter H, and all the words I can think of that start with that letter. Heart, heaven, hell, health, heather (the ground covering, not the human), hate, hunger, and so many more.

It’s the 8th day of #AtoZ2016. And I’m supposed to write something about something with the letter H. And I sit here, where I’ve sat for hours now, failing to come up with anything.

I’ve considered a story about Little Tommy. Yet another venture into the mind of a six year old, with such words as heavy, and hollow. But nothing fits. And each time I try to write, everything turns to fire.

I’ve considered writing something like I did for the letter G. A little bit of random prose that captures my thoughts on some word that starts with the letter H. But nothing comes to mind. And when I try to write, once more, everything turns again to fire.

There are oceans of characters, and stories I could write. From tales of the White Witch, and her adopted daughters, and the dragons of the world they live in, to tales of Frank and Jessica, and their post apocalyptic world, where society went insane and consumed itself, destroyed itself. Even to the world of the ants, and butterflies, and other insects, the successors to intelligent life on Earth, 65 million years after humans went extinct.

But each time I sit to write, my words are consumed by the fire that burns in my heart and soul. A fire I have been unable to extinguish for over two days now.

There are stories I have never spoken of, like the world where humans have become mass produced by the companies that need them. Where humans have become nothing more than expendable resources, to be produced, then used up, then thrown away, in the name of greater profit, and power, and the almighty growth of the economy.

Stories of the wounded child, wondering why his heart has to be torn apart for him to fit into a world he never made, so he can hold down a job, and be normal, and buy a house to live in, and a car to get to and from work with. And why he has to destroy his dreams, and his freedom, to do that.

An endless stream of stories.

But each time I reach for one, I see it burn to ashes in the fire inside my heart and soul. And I wonder why. Why do I try. Why do I bother. When all that ever happens is I end up here again. Consumed by the frustration, and the anger it ignites, when I try to interact with a world that makes no sense to me.

So I settle now for just one word.

And just one sentence.

H is for Hopeless.


It’s April 10th, and I’m a day late for the 8th day of the A to Z Challenge for 2016. Only 18 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

The Old Guy Sat At The Bar

Jason pulled back the bar stool, and had a seat. The bartender quickly found him, and asked what he wanted to drink.

“Seven and Seven,” Jason quietly, politely asked.

The bartender wandered off to mix his drink, and the old man sitting at the bar, in the chair next to Jason smacked his empty glass on the shiny hardwood surface. “Oh, yeah! That’s good stuff.”

Jason thought of moving. He didn’t want to sit next to anyone loud, or anyone in a group. Before he could, the bartender returned with his drink, “Seven and Seven,” he placed the drink on a tiny napkin in front of Jason, then turned to the old man, “You want another round?”

The old man didn’t speak, he smiled and nodded yes, and the bartender wandered off again.

The old man looked through Jason. He had those kind of eyes, the ones that see past all the lies, the games, the masks people put on every day. The ones that see your soul, and know the truth of who and what you are.

“Had a fight with your girl, did you?” Jason started to get up, but the old man kept talking, “Nobody won, did they?”

Jason stayed on his stool, and stared back at the old man. He’d always thought he was a good judge of character, but when he looked at the old guy, he saw no lies, no masks. He saw the face and eyes of someone who’d lived live. Someone who’d seen life. Someone who knew.

“Yeah. We had a fight.”

The old guy took a deep breath. “Money?”

Jason nodded.

“Yeah. It’s always money, ain’t it?” Jason picked up his drink, and chugged half of it down. “So, you’re gonna drown it all, ain’t ya?”

Jason let his drink glass reconnect to the bar with a loud smack. “Yep. We just broke up.” He picked up his drink, and drained it, then smacked the glass down again. “And I’m gonna forget all about her!”

The old guy laughed. “Gonna let a fight about money destroy love and happiness?” He shook his head. “Yep. You’re an idiot.”

Jason, jaw dropped and he stood up, “What!”

“Sit down, and shut up. And maybe I can talk you out of making the same stupid mistake I made when I was young and full of hormones, and emotions, and pride, just like you are now.”

Jason couldn’t help himself. He sat down.

The bartender plunked new drinks in front of them both. The old man stared at his. “See,” he took a long chug. “I was in love once.”

“Hasn’t everyone?”

“Yeah.” The old guy finished his drink. “Yeah, everyone has.” He laughed. “But the smart ones stay in love.”

Jason shook his head. “You don’t know what she said, what she did.”

“I don’t need to.” He didn’t smile. There was something in his eyes, some memory, some regret, and perhaps a wish he could go back in time. “I was in love once.”

“What happened?”

“We had a fight.” He waved at the bartender, “Another round for us, Bill.” Then he shook his head, and stared at the reflections of light in the polished wood of the bar. “We had a stupid fight.”

Both men sat, waiting for their drinks. When they arrived, the old guy wrapped a hand around his glass, but didn’t lift it. Jason watched him stare into the liquid swirling in the glass. “I was too young, too stubborn, too idealistic.” Jason stared at his own glass. “I hadn’t figured out the truth. And I didn’t want to know the truth.”

“The truth?” Jason stared at his drink, picked it up, and took a swallow. He felt the familiar burn of the alcohol in his throat, and the warmth in his stomach.

The old man told him the truth, “She said a lot of things about you, didn’t she.” Jason nodded. “She called you irresponsible. She called you immature. She told you to grow up.”

Jason nodded, “Yeah. Something like that.”

“Hurt, didn’t it.”

“Hell yeah.” Jason took another swallow. “And she knew it. She let me have it with both barrels.” He looked at the old guy, “Why should I put up with that? That’s it, you know. We’re done.”

Jason thought the old man wanted to cry, but maybe the old guy had forgotten how. “What do you know about fights? About couples?” He looked around the bar, Jason did the same. “You know how many couples break up these days?”

Jason shook his head.

“Damn near all of ‘em.” The old guy took a chug of his drink. “Damn near all of ‘em.” He stared into his drink again, “And nobody stays married forever anymore.” Jason stared at his drink, and the old guy asked, “How long were your parents married?”

“Still are.”

“How long?”

Jason shrugged. “Twenty-five, twenty-six years? I don’t really know.”

“Have you ever wondered how they stay married?”

“No.” Jason took another swallow. “Never thought about that?”

“So. How do you think they stay married?” Jason sat silently. He didn’t have an answer. He’d never really thought about it. “Did they ever fight?”

Jason remembered the nights he heard them screaming at each other. The nights he heard the front door slam as his father left. The night his mother cried herself to sleep, and his father came home, and slept on the sofa. “Yeah. They did.”

“Why did they stay together?”

He didn’t have an answer. He’d never thought about it.

“You like music, right?”

“Yeah. A good band is good. But they always break up.”

“All of them?”

“No. Not all of them.”

“Why not?”

“It’s not the same thing, you know. It’s not.”

The old man finished off his drink. “Bill. I’m gonna need another.”

“You’re gonna need a cab.”

“Yeah. That too.”

“Let me know when, and I’ll call one.”

The old guy nodded, and resumed his conversation with Jason. “Why isn’t it the same?”

“Bands and couples. They’re not the same.”

“Now you just think about that a bit. And then think about how they are the same.” Jason shook his head. “Don’t band members fight?”

“Yeah, but it’s over a band. It’s not like when a couple has a fight.”

“You saying the band members aren’t family?” Jason stared into his drink. His mind struggled to make sense of the old guy’s words. “You saying families don’t have fights and break up, just like bands do? You saying they stick together for fame and money, and not because they’re a family?”

The old guy shook his head, and tipped his drink again. “I was just like you. Thought fights weren’t supposed to happen to people in love. To friends.” He gently placed his glass on the bar. “I was so fuckin’ stupid.”

He leaned toward Jason, “Dude. Fights happen. You put two people together, and sooner or later, fights happen.” He put his hand on Jason’s shoulder. “The smart ones figure that out, and learn to get past the fights.”

He remembered his parents, the morning after the fights. They didn’t act like nothing happened. They talked. Quietly. They apologized to each other. And their lives went on. Together.

“Fights happen. It’s not an ideal world. Not a dream world.” The old guy stared at his empty glass. “I used to love her. Probably still do. Had a fight with her. About money.” He took a deep breath, then slowly let it out. “I’ve been alone since then.” He looked at Jason. “She was my girl. My one chance at love. My one chance at being happy.” They guy looked at the floor. “And I fucked it up. Me, and my pride. She’d hurt me in that fight. And I couldn’t get over it.” He took another deep breath. “I couldn’t let it go.”

Jason said nothing. What was there to say?

The old guy smiled. “If you’ve got any brain cells in that head of yours, well. You’ll figure the rest out.”

Jason excused himself. He went to the quiet hallway outside the restrooms, where the pay phones were, pulled out his smart phone, swallowed his pride, and called her.

The old guy sat at the bar, and smiled. “I’m gonna need another one, Bill.”

#ThursThreads Week 90 : He Could Be The One

Arrogance and Pride hid in the shadows between two buildings and watched Simon walk past, on his way to church. Arrogance grinned and Pride reminded him, “Patience, evil one. Patience.”

After Simon passed, the demons followed him, creeping silently between the shadows on the sidewalk, staying out of Simon’s sight. They could feel the delicious anger raging in Simon’s heart.

“He could be the one,” Pride whispered.

“He is the one.” Arrogance replied.

They listened as Simon muttered, “Homos, trying to corrupt my church. I’ll show them.”

Pride and Arrogance fueled Simon’s fire, as they whispered in his ears.

“The nerve of them, thinking we will tolerate their sin!”

“Thinking we don’t know the words of our Lord and Savior.”

“Men sleeping with men is a vile sin. It says so in the word of God!”

Simon went to his office in the church. Pride and Arrogance, hidden in his shadow, followed him. As he reviewed the notes for the lesson he would teach that day, he muttered to himself again, “I cannot let them corrupt God’s children.”

And Arrogance and Pride fueled his anger once again.

“Call them out by name!”

“Tell everyone they will corrupt the church.”

“Unless we remove them.”

In the service, Simon waited impatiently as he sang praises to God and Jesus above, and prayed for God to grant him the strength to do what he had to.

And when he stood before God’s children on that Sunday morning, Arrogance and Pride stood beside him.

250 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 90. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#MWBB 15 – Take It As It Comes

I took another step. Followed by another. Followed by 10,000 more. I walked. I walked for miles. For two hours. During that two hours, everything changed. All the anger I felt surfaced. I walked with clenched fists. At times my lips drew back like a snarling dogs. I’d have growled, if I could.

The anger burned within me. Racing through my blood. I remembered everything. The way people pretended to care about me while they forced me out of work, sent me home on leave, ordered me to have no contact of any kind with anyone. All the while telling me, “We want you to get better.” As if ripping someone’s heart to shreds would make them better.

Always the anger burned. But after a thousand or two thousand steps, it began to fade. My fists unclenched. My snarl faded. And my fear surfaced. I was afraid. Hell, I was terrified. Who wouldn’t be? I was out on medical leave. Not one broken bone. Not one stitch. Hell, I didn’t even have bruise. Except on my heels from walking stupid distances. But I was OK with that.

I wasn’t OK with being out of work. Being at home. I’d lost my job. I’d lost my career. I’d lost everything. I knew that. It was my worst nightmare, come to life. And the people I depended on, and worked with every day for years had made that decision. They hadn’t even warned me. They hadn’t said anything. They’d waited until I was out of town, on vacation, to make the decision.

They didn’t have the heart to tell me to my face.

No one ever returned when they got sent home. No one ever had. It was the kiss of death. The end. I’d end up unemployed. Everyone knew that. I knew that. And I had no idea what to do. I’d had that job, that career, for 28 years. I didn’t know how to do anything else.

And no one I’d worked with would ever talk with me again. Me. The one that came apart. The only one that came apart. Everyone else was fine. Happy. Professional. Working. And I’d come apart so badly, they’d even requested I never speak to them.

What does it feel like when everyone you see every day is suddenly gone?

As I walked, the fear faded. And my depression surfaced. The depression that got me sent home. The anxiety that caused my pulse to race, my hands to shake like tuning forks. And all I wanted was for the hurt I felt to end. Bruised heels, blistered toes, and me walking miles and miles, and I didn’t even feel the pain my feet were in. All I felt was the ache, the agony, of my heart and soul.

It wasn’t until my depression surface, and faded, that I could finally breathe. I could finally feel. The moment I was in. I could see the sky, and the clouds in it. I could feel the breeze, and the warmth of the sun. I could feel the cold of the winter. I could hear the birds. It wasn’t until I’d walked through all the hurt, the fear, the anger, that I found myself.

It was on those walks I finally learned to live.

471 Words

@LurchMunster


My entry, in all its unedited glory, for week 15 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#5SF : Conquer

You Americans. Don’t you know life is not a conquest? You do not conquer your emotions, anger, fear, rage, hatred. You do not subdue them without crushing your own heart and soul. Instead, you learn to understand them, to live with them, to accept they are part of life, to used them appropriately, correctly, and to never be afraid of them.


Here’s my weekly attempt at Lillie McFerrin‘s flash fiction challenge, Five Sentence Fiction. This week, the prompt is Conquer.

Please, go read all the other entries to this week’s Five Sentence Fiction. It’s amazing what creative people can do with just five sentences.

I Can’t Be That Way

At last there is anger.
After 2 years,
I finally can face,
And deal with,
What happened
In 2010.

When I was throw away.
By people I once trusted.
Because I was different.
Because I changed.
Because I didn’t do things
Their way.

I used to say,
“No one’s to blame.”
I don’t say that
Anymore.

Someone I believed was my friend
Became ill.
Cancer.
And I did something
No one there,
Not even her,
Could live with,
Or forgive.

I cared.

I told my job responsibilities
To stuff it.
I picked up pen and paper.
And I wrote.
I lost sleep at night.
Because I cared
For her.

And in the end,
Despite the simple truth
That I never failed,
Not even once,
To do the work
I was tasked to do.

I was removed.
Unloaded.
Purged.
Gotten rid of.

I was told about the anger
Those people expressed
About the words I wrote
In those days.
When I was betrayed.
By a world
I’ll never understand.
A world
I don’t want to understand.
A world
Of gray.
Of ice.
Of stone.

Not even one of them
Understood
All the things I did.
All the things I said.

To me, it was as if
The only thing they cared about
Was the work itself.
And the paycheck they collected
Every 14 days.
If someone became injured.
Someone became sick.
Someone died in an accident.

Who cared?
Every last person
In that awful place
Would have shown up
The next day.
And done their job.
And maybe sang that song.
“Another one bites the dust.”

But there’s more.
So much more.
To the anger I am feeling
On this day.

Did you know
I went to a church
On the first Sunday in May
Of 2011?
I did.
A brand new church.
A place I’d never been.

I was willing
To try to make
A new start again.

In November of 2011,
I walked away.
I left.
Without a single word.
Because I had to.
I had no choice.
If I’d stayed,
I’d have faced
The same gray
Ice and stone
That filled the place
Where I once worked.

I left an old friend
I’d crossed paths with
In that church,
On my friends list
On Facebook.

But I warned her.
I did.
That I’d never be the way
She wanted me to be.
That I’d always do and say
Things that flew in the face
Of her beliefs
And ways.

And I told her
In the end.
She’d walk away.
Like almost everyone
I’ve ever known.

It took a few months.
But she did.
Because she couldn’t accept
How I am.
What I believe.
How I live.

I remember all the times
Someone said to me,
In a shocked,
Or outraged voice.

“But, you can’t live that way!”
“But, you can’t be that way!”

It took me 53 years.
But at last I understand
Why I keep encountering
Those words.

It’s not that I can’t bet the way
I am.
Not that I can’t live the way
I do.
It’s not that I am broken.
Or confused.
Or emotionally
Or mentally ill.

It’s not that at all.
And it never was.

It’s that I don’t see,
Don’t feel,
And just don’t know,
The social code they live by.

I live the way my mind,
My heart,
My soul,
Tell me to live.

And my mind,
My heart,
My soul
Tell me to this day
That everything I did
In 2010,
When someone I called friend
Was ill,
And fighting to survive,
Was absolutely right.

I did what I believed
Back then.
And I’d do it all again
Today.

And I don’t care
That there are people in this world
That are afraid of me.
Because I do things
Differently
From them.

I’ve learned
In the past two years.
I have to be
What my mind,
My heart,
My soul,
Would have me be.

There’s one more thing
I’ll say right now.
About a picture
On Facebook
A week or two ago.

That picture caused me anger.
It struck at my very heart
And soul.
It described
So very accurately
What I saw.
What I learned.
Two years ago.

That picture spoke of friends.
How we’d root for them.
How we’d hug them.
Eat lunch with them.
Do anything we could
To take care of them.

Until…

Taking care of them
Put any risk at all
On our own lives,
Our own jobs,
Our families and friends.

Until…

Caring became
Inconvenient.
And could cause us
Any pain at all.

I bit my tongue.
I took a walk.
I took pictures of flowers.
I spoke to my Doctor
About the words I’d read.

And I told my doctor
They were wrong.
Those words,
To me,
Described
Everything that’s wrong today
In the world
Of stone,
And ice,
And gray.

My doctor knows.
My family too.
I can’t live like that.

I can’t be that way.