#AtoZ2016 : W Is For Wish

Little Tommy knelt beside his bed, to say his bedtime prayers. He did this on his own, his Mom and Dad didn’t tell him to, they didn’t make him. Tommy liked to talk to God, to thank God for his day.

“Dear God. Thank you for today. For all the fun I had playing that jewels game on Mom’s phone. That games a lot of fun.” He nodded, and rested his elbows on his bed. “I know I’m supposed to say thank you for the broccoli casserole Mom fixed for dinner tonight, but do I really have to? ‘Cause, you now. I don’t like broccoli. That stuff tastes nasty.”

Tommy looked up at the ceiling of his room, “Maybe you could redo broccoli, make it taste better, so all us kids would eat it?” He smiled. “But you don’t have to. You know more than me, I know. And maybe you made broccoli taste like that for a reason.”

He bowed his head once more, “Thank you for my Mom. Even though she has to punish me, and put me in time out sometimes. I know she’s just trying to teach me how to behave better. How to stay out of trouble.” Tommy looked at his ceiling once more, “But it’s so hard to always be good. And so easy to make mistakes. Why is that? I don’t know. I can’t figure it out. Maybe you could ‘splain it to me?” He smiled. “Yeah. I know. I’m only six. Maybe I’m not old enough to figure it out yet.”

He bowed his head again, “Thank you for my Dad. Even though he screams at me sometimes. Mom says it’s ‘cause he works hard all day, and needs a timeout when he gets home.” Tommy frowned, “I don’t understand that. I don’t know what that work thing he does is. And he won’t tell me. And Mom says I’ll find out soon enough, and to not rush it.” Tommy looked up at God again, “It sounds like work’s a bad thing, doesn’t it.” He nodded. “Maybe you didn’t make that.”

Once more, he bowed his head, “And God. Now I make my wish. But I’m smart, God. You know that. You made me that way. So I don’t wish for me.” He nodded, “Nope. I wish for everybody.”

Tommy closed his eyes, “Dear God, I wish people would stop yelling at each other. And stop fighting each other. And stop calling each other names. It’s like they’re trying to hurt each other.” He pressed his hands together. “And that’s wrong. Hurting each other’s bad.”

Tommy looked up toward heaven once more, “People should talk, not yell. They should build things, not fight. They should grow trees, pick up the garbage in the parks, play games together.” He closed his eyes and prayed, “I wish people would do that, God. I wish they’d stop hurting each other.”

He bowed his head once more, “In Jesus name, Amen.”

Then Little Tommy climbed into his bed, and pulled his covers over his head, and dreamed of a world where his wish came true.


It’s April 27th, and the A to Z Challenge for 2016 is in it’s last few days. Only 3 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.

#AtoZ2016 : V Is For Violence

Define Violence.
Go ahead.
Define Violence.

I hear so many people say,
“When you shoot someone with a gun!”
“When you murder someone!”
“When you assault someone!”
“Violence! Like in the movies!”
“Violence like’s on TV every night!”

Classical,
Physical,
Violence.

And they always stop there.
At the physical.
At the classical.
At what they understand.
At what they’re comfortable with.

So they don’t have to change.

Define Violence.
Go ahead.
Define Violence.

Is it violence
When the father of three,
Who lives next door,
Shoves his dick
In the mouth
Of your 13 year old son?

It’s not physical,
No one got hurt,
There’s no blood,
There’s no bodies.

Is it Violence?

Is it violence
When the mother of two
Who lives three blocks away
Lets a man in her house,
Escorts him to her daughter’s room,
Takes $100 from him,
And say, “She’s all yours.”

It’s not physical,
No one got hurt,
There’s no blood,
There’s no bodies,
No one’s in the hospital,
No one’s in jail.

Is it Violence?

Is it violence
When the 16 year old boy
At school one day,
Gets called a fag?
Gets called a bitch?
Gets told people like him
Don’t deserve to live
In this world.
By his peers.
Both boys,
And girls.

It’s not physical,
No one got hurt,
There’s no blood,
There’s no bodies,
No broken bones,
No ambulance,
No cops.

Is it Violence?

Is it violence
When the 36 year old transgender woman
Shops for panties
In Walmart.
Finds what she wants.
Pays for everything.
And starts toward her car.

And gets shot in the back.
Because.
Transgender people aren’t people.
They’re evil.
Spawns of Satan.
Sexual predators.
They deserve to die.

It’s not violence,
Is it,
If they don’t exist.
If they aren’t real people.
If they’re slime.
If they’re evil.
If they’re sick.

If they’re not like you.

It’s not violence at all,
Is it.
If you don’t think anyone got hurt.
If you don’t think anyone died.
If you don’t see a need
To call the cops,
Or an ambulance.

Of course.
It would be different,
You know.
If it was your girlfriend
Who got shot.
And not some sicko.

Yeah.
That would be different.
Wouldn’t it.

Is it violence
When you walk into a church,
On a Wednesday night,
To pray.
And when you’re done,
You pull out your gun,
And shoot everyone you can.
Before you run.

Because.
You know the truth.
The people of that church,
They weren’t Christians.
They weren’t like you.
And they were ruining your faith.
Your religion.
Your God.

Is it violence
To fight back
Against the demons?
Those who would weaken
Your faith?
Corrupt you?
Cause you to stray
From the path God made?

Is it violence?

What is it when
The boy they called a fag.
The boy they called a bitch.
The boy they laughed at.
The boy they told day after day
How he should die.
And get it over with.
How the world
Would be better
Without him.

Swims into the ocean one day.
And never looks back.

Do you shake your head
And say,
“He was always sick.
And weak.
He should have gotten help.”
Because.
It’s no one’s fault,
What he did.

And he was stupid
For doing that.

Define violence.
Go ahead.
Pretend.
Make something up.
Hide from the truth.

Of this world you’ve made.

Make certain you define
Violence
In just the right way.
So you can believe
What you want.
And feel good,
Every day.

Go ahead.
Define violence.
Define it carefully,
To make it go away.


It’s April 26th, and the A to Z Challenge for 2016 is in it’s last few days. Only 4 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.

#AtoZ2016 : U Is For Useless

I feel it again.
That sinking feeling.
That hopeless feeling.
The one you get when you try.
And you fail.
When you want to do something
So badly,
So desperately,
And it’s useless to try.

I want to write.
I want to craft magic with words.
To tell a little story.
And find a way to make it funny.
Something to laugh about.
Something to make me feel
Better.

But I find no words.
I sit here,
In this stupid chair.
And I stare at a blank screen.
My hands type junk on the keyboard.
Endless junk.

And I delete it all.
And I try again.
And I get 100 words.
Maybe 200.
And I hate them all.
I’d love to burn them.
To print them out,
Then set fire to the paper they’re on.

And I delete them again.
And again.
And again.

Until I stare at my screen.
And my fingers stop moving.
And I know.
I won’t write a damn thing.
Not one word.

And that feeling smothers me.
Crushes me.
Leaves me prone,
Bruised, crushed and bleeding.
And wondering why I try.
Why I put myself through this.

Endlessly.

I’m not a magician.
I’m not God.
I can’t make something
From nothing.
No mortal can.

And when I can breathe.
When the feeling withdraws.
When it says I’ve had enough,
And leaves me alone.

Then all there is
Is emptiness.
A hollow me.
A shell.

With nothing left inside.

And my heart screams into that
Hollow world.
That hollow me.
“You failed again!”

And I know it’s true.
I failed.
No stories came.
No words formed.
Nothing wound up on the page.

And perhaps,
This time,
It was useless to try.

Useless to struggle.
Useless to pretend.

Because.
On nights like this,
When no words are there.
And no dreams happen.
It’s useless to pretend
I can write.

And all I can do
On a night like tonight,
Is wait.
And try again.
On another day.

And so,
I surrender.
And collapse.
Into the rubble
Of a day of lost
Words.

A day when I was so worn out.
So damaged
From life.
I had no words to say.
But I had to try
Anyway.

Even though I knew the effort,
The time I spent in trying,
Wouldn’t mean a thing.
Except to remind me once again.

Sometimes
It’s useless
To try.


It’s April 25th, and the A to Z Challenge for 2016 is in it’s last few days. Only 5 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.

#AtoZ2016 : T Is For Telepathic

On Sunday afternoon, as I mowed the lawn, I saw Tommy sitting on the front porch of his house. His chair was turned to face the wall. He didn’t have anything with him. No book to read, nothing to draw on, no phone to play games on. He sat quietly, and faced the wall.

I stopped the mower, and asked, “What are you doing, Tommy?”

“I can’t talk, Mr. William.”

I knew that tone of voice, “Uh-oh. Trouble.”

He nodded, but never turned from facing the wall. I noticed his mother peek through the window curtains, to make certain he was still there. She noticed me talking with him, and smiled. I waved. “Yeah. Big trouble.”

“What ‘cha in for.”

“Crimes against the broccoli.”

“Broccoli?” I had to admit, I’d have been in trouble if you get in trouble for not eating that. “You’re in jail for not eating broccoli?”

“Well…” He sighed. “Not so much not eating it as what I did with it.”

“Now, this I gotta hear.”

Tommy made a frustrated face at the wall. “See. Mom was gonna make a broccoli and cheese thing.”

“Was?”

“Yeah. For dinner. She told me to get the broccoli out of the fridge.” He spoke to the wall. “Mr. William? I hate broccoli.”

“I know what you mean. I’m not fond of it.” I paused a moment, “But it is good for you.”

“Yeah. I know.” His arms flopped to his sides, his hands hung down, almost reached the floor. “Well. I took the broccoli out of the fridge alright.”

“Uh-oh.”

“Yep.” He sighed. “That’s how I wound up here.” Tommy took a deep breath, and stared at the wall for a moment. “I ran out the back door with it, and threw it over the fence.”

“No! You didn’t!”

“Yep.” He nodded. “I did.” He looked dejected. “I was sure Mom would believe me when I told her I couldn’t find it. I pretended I was looking for it, and when she got to the kitchen she asked me where it was.”

“And you told her you didn’t know?”

“Xacly. I told her I couldn’t find it.” Tommy took a deep breath. “Mom looked at me with those mean eyes. You know. The ones Moms get when they know you’re lying?”

“Yep. Big trouble.” I nodded.

“Then she said, “Young man, what did you do with the broccoli?”” Tommy frowned, and stared at the wall a bit. He sighed again.

“Mr. William? It’s true, ain’t it?”

“What’s true?”

“What they say about Moms.”

I had no idea what he was about to say, so I had to ask, “What do they say about Moms?”

“Moms are telepathic.”

“Really?”

“Yep.” He nodded as he stared at the wall. “She said, “You threw my broccoli away, didn’t you!” Then, she put this chair right here, and told me I could sit here, and stare at the wall until bed time.”

“Big trouble indeed.” I nodded.

“Yep.” Tommy nodded. “Well. I’m not supposed to talk to anyone.”

“Then I guess I’ll say ‘bye. And hope your sentence ends soon.”

“Bye, Mr. William. And remember. Never lie to a Mom.”

I tried not to laugh. “I’ll remember that. ‘Cause Moms are telepathic, right?”

“Right.”

Little Tommy spent another two hours staring at that wall before his Mom let him get up.


It’s April 24th, and I’m caught up on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. Only 6 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.

#AtoZ2016 : S Is For Senses

I wonder sometimes
If I’m the only one who does.
I don’t think I am.
But I wonder.
Is it something social people do?
Or is it something people like me do?

I know we all have senses.
Taste,
Touch,
Sight,
Smell,
Hearing.
But I know too,
We all have them in different ways.
Different levels.

Like the blind.
Their sense of sight is damaged,
If not totally gone.

Or the deaf,
Who maybe can hear some,
And maybe not.

I know we all have senses.
And I know,
What my senses tell me
Is not what yours tell you.

So I wonder, sometimes.
As I sit, alone,
And feel.

As I feel the different temperatures
In the air around me.
The different air currents.
My sense of touch tells me of them.
When I stop.
When I pay attention.
I can feel so much.

I can close my eyes,
Touch my fingertips,
And feel the texture
Of my fingerprints.

I can even sit quietly,
And if I pay attention,
I can feel other things.
Like the rhythm
Of my pulse.
The texture of the clothing I wear.

I wonder,
Is that something others do?

There are times I sit,
On the sand at the beach,
Or on the ground,
In a park,
Or a nature preserve.
And I listen.

And I wonder,
Do others listen?
And if they do,
What do they hear?

Do they hear the sounds
Of the ocean’s waves,
Of the gulls, and terns,
The calls of an osprey?

Do they hear anything at all.
Or nothing.
Is everything they hear
Drowned out,
Washed away,
By life.
By stress.
By the things they do.

Do they ever see the way
The sunlight strikes the waves?
The translucent color of the water,
As it just starts to break.
The flash of light,
Sometimes ribbons,
Sometimes diamonds,
On the faces of the waves.

Do they see the ocean’s spray.
The sand moving along the beach
As the wind blows,
The footprints of the birds.

Or do they see nothing.
Save for a splash of color.
An opportunity to take a picture.
A moment to pause,
To take a breath,
And then return to the real world.
The world in which they work.

Music touches me.
The sounds of music resonate,
Echo,
Play endlessly,
Within my head,
My mind,
My heart,
My soul.

I cover my ears
And I can hear the endless ringing,
The electronic scream
That’s always there.
That never goes away.
From my damaged hearing.

But I can always hear
So much more.

I can always hear
The music that moves me.
That touches me.
That reaches past everything.

Until all the noise falls away.
All the responsibilities.
The work I do.
All of it falls away.

And I feel the music
Touch my soul.

And I wonder.
Does this happen to others?
Do they feel this too?

Or have the lost touch
With their body’s senses?
Have they become numb,
So that even music
Cannot reach them anymore?

Sometimes, I wonder,
Is that how senses work
For other people?
Is that normal?
Is that how people are?

Or are they like me?
Do they feel,
Hear,
Touch,
Smell,
See,
Like I do?

And is it my senses
That tell me I’m alive?

Perhaps I’ll never know.
Perhaps I’m not supposed to know.
Perhaps no one is supposed to know
How someone else’s senses work.

I only know for certain,
I would not be who I am
Without my senses.

They are a part of me.


It’s April 23rd, and I’m a still one day behind on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. I expect to catch up on Tomorrow. Only 7 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.

#AtoZ2016 : R Is For Relax

It’s a Friday night. And I’m having some fun, relaxing after my day at work. There are people who think my way of relaxing isn’t that fun. But that’s their problem. See. I’m a geek. Not an uber-geek. Just a geek.

To me, relaxing is looking at computer parts, especially when the boss has said I can purchase them. And today, she said I could buy them. So I did. I went shopping at NewEgg (http://newegg.com). And I wiped out $200.

It’s been awhile since I’ve had so much fun on a Friday night. As I shopped for my computer parts, I could feel the stress of my day fall away.

For those wondering, I didn’t order a whiz-bang, high end anything. I went with, “This is more than good enough for what I use my computer for.” I don’t play video games. So, getting a system that could play such games wasn’t what I was looking for.

I write. And I watch youtube music videos. On rare occasions, I’ll watch a DVD movie on my computer, but usually, I watch movies on a TV set. DVDs on the 32 inch set in the bedroom. And bluray discs on the old as the hills projection TV downstairs, or the 40 inch set in the loft. And now, I’m starting to watch Hulu some, on that 40 inch set.

Typically, when I purchase computer parts I plan on using them until they stop working, or until I have to give up, and upgrade. The computer I’m using right now is the result. It’s a new case and power supply, purchased in March. It’s got an nVidia GT-730 graphics adapter, purchased a year ago. The system is running Windows 10 Pro, purchased when Windows 10 Pro became available.

The processor is ancient. An AMD Athlon X2 4050e that tops out at 2.1 GHz, and has two cores. If you look for this processor chip online, you probably won’t find it. AMD hasn’t made it in years. The motherboard is also ancient, having been assembled in January of 2009. It has no support for SATA 3, or USB 3. It only has two PCIe slots, one PCIe x 1 slot, and one PCIe 2.0 x 16 slot. The RAM is PC2-6400 and tops out at 400 MHz, and the system only supports 4 GB of memory.

So, tonight, I relaxed, and did some online shopping. It was fun. I ordered three items. The first was the processor, as that would drive which motherboard, and which RAM I got. I’ve been debating which processor to get for several months, and tonight, I finally made a decision.

I purchased an AMD Athlon X4 870k, based on AMD’s Godavari processor architecture.The chip does not include integrated graphics. Given I already have the nVidia GT-730 graphics adapter, this isn’t a problem for me.

With the processor selected, I chose the motherboard. The AMD processor required an FM2+ socketed motherboard. The case I own required a micro ATX form factor motherboard. I wound up selecting an MSI A68HM-GRENADE, with an FM2+ processor socket. The Athlon X4 870k should plug into the motherboard with no problem.

With the processor and motherboard selected, all that was left was the RAM. I wanted more than 4 GB, and while I know, statistically, 8 GB is more than enough, I decided to move to 16 GB. The 870k processor, and the motherboard both support DDR3-1866 RAM. So, I picked out a 16 GB RAM kit made of two 8 GB modules. The G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB kit, model F3-1866C10D-16GAB.

It’s been a while since I was able to relax like I did tonight. Most of my Friday nights are spent trying to wind down from work, and get ready for bed. Tonight was fun. And I got to relax.

Mark.


It’s April 22nd, and I’m a still one day behind on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. I expect to catch up on Sunday. Only 8 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.

#AtoZ2016 : Q Is For Quest

On Thursday afternoon, when I got home from work, Tommy was in his backyard, on his hands and knees, his head at grass level. I watched a few moments as he slowly raked the fingers of one hand through the grass and watched the blades move. When he was done, he moved forward a couple of inches, and watched his fingers pass through the grass once more.

“Hi, Tommy.”

He didn’t look up, but I hear him respond, “Hi, Mr. William!” And he kept watching the grass, and then moving a couple of inches.

“What are you doing this time?”

He still didn’t look up. “I’m on a quest, Mr. William.”

“A quest?”

“Yep!”

I watched him drag his hand through the grass, and then move another couple of inches. “I thought a quest involved a journey?”

“Nah!” He kept examining the grass.

“Oh! You’re looking for something!”

“Bingo!” And he kept right on looking, he never looked up once. “Mom hid it real good!”

“What did you Mother hide from you?”

“I can’t tell you.” He moved forward another couple of inches.

“I promise I won’t look for it, it’ll be all yours.”

“Mom told me if I tell anyone what I’m looking for, she’ll make me stop looking, and send me to my room.” He kept slowly searching the grass, for whatever he was hunting. “She said she’d come get it, and then lock it in the safe, and I could never have it.” Then, he moved forward another couple of inches.

“Must be tiny, whatever it is.”

“And the same color as the grass.” His hand slowly passed through the grass, and he watched each blade. He paused, looked at the rest of his backyard. “This is gonna take days.”

I nodded. “That’s a heck of a lot of grass to search through.”

Tommy sighed, “Yep.”

“Is that why you said you’re on a quest?”

“Yep.” Tommy looked back at the ground, and started searching the grass again. “All quests are long, and hard, aren’t they.”

I nodded, “Yep, they sure are.”

I left him to his quest. And to this day, I still don’t know what he was looking for. But I hope he found it.


It’s April 21st, and I’m a still one day behind on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. I expect to catch up on Sunday. Only 9 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.