Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/08/18

I stopped looking into mirrors ages ago. I use them only at tools now. To see to straighten my hair. To help with putting on the makeup this world demands I wear. But I don’t actually look into them. Because I know what I’ll see.

The last time I looked, I saw the chains. The chains that tie me here. In this house. In this image of who I am. Of how I am supposed to look, think, behave, act. Of what I can and can’t say.

That was the day I went to dinner with him. The day I saw the chains that bind him to his work, our house, our children, me, his parents, the people he works with, the people we go to church with. I saw all those chains.

I saw the chains that hold everyone. Each of us, bound in place. Free to roam about within the reach of the chains. But never free to leave. Free to sleep naked on the living room floor, in a spot of sunlight from the back yard. But not free to be seen by anyone. To be seen, the chains mean clothing. Appearances.

They were everywhere I looked. Everywhere I went. Attached to everyone.

I watched them yank him out of bed in the morning, drag him to the shower, to get him ready for work. I felt them drag me out of bed, and down the stairs to the kitchen, to fix him a breakfast, and a lunch he could eat at work. I watched the chains pull my children, my two sons, out of bed, out of their slumber, their peace, their dreams. And drag them through getting dressed, and cleaned up, their homework papers collected, their notebooks and textbooks packed in their backpacks. I saw the chains relax for a few moments, as they ate their breakfast. Then, the chains drug them along, through brushing their teeth, only to finally drag them outside, to the corner a few houses away, where the school bus picked them up.

The chains dragged me to the kitchen, made me wash the dishes, clean the sinks, clean the counters and the range. Then open the refrigerator, and make a list of what I had to buy at the grocery to get through the next few days. It wasn’t a decision. It wasn’t freedom. It was chains.

It was responsibility. Those things we each do to be functional in our society. Those things we have to do to even have a society. Mow the lawn. Wash the cars. Wash the laundry. Buy groceries.

The chains were everywhere I looked.

Except on the birds. Or the flowers. Or the spiders, or dragonflies, or rabbits. Those could come and go as they pleased. They could leave, if they wanted, go exploring, find a new place to live. A new place to sleep at night.

Since that day, I don’t look in the mirror anymore. And I take my pills each day. The ones I have to take so I can live with the knowledge that none of us are free. That everyone, every last one of us, lives in chains. And I wonder. Do we really know what we have done to ourselves? Or are we blind to the chains we have made?

Then, I felt the pull of the chains once more. It was time to make dinner, and have it ready for him when the chains returned him from his work. And the chains know what I must do to keep things working in our home. I try to see the chains exist for a reason. I know, without the chains, there would be chaos.

But many times, I wonder.

What would it be like to be free? And does anyone else know we are not?

663 words

This is written for Week 68 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.


Sensory Overload Time.

Well. Here I sit. In the waiting room at EVMS Internal Medicine. Pat’s doctors office. I’m the only one here. 20 chairs. All empty. TV on in corner. Lots of flourescent lights. One of those weird carpet tile floors. 2 foot squares of carpet that stick to the floor. In an alternating pattern. Typical dropped ceiling, hiding the ductwork, and wires. And the administrative services office. And I’m sitting here, overloaded.

Yeah. Totally alone, and I’m overloaded. Staring at the patterns of sunlight on the carpet, chairs, tables. Listening to the TV, the four people in the admin area talking, some on the phone, some to each other, the environmental (air conditioning?) system roar, watching the clock on the wall as the second-hand snaps from one second to the next. Magazines scattered on the table in the middle of the rom, and centerpiece of fake flowers. Several real plants scattered through the room. A water fountain stuck to one wall. Steel. Looks out-of-place. Pictures here and there. Three visible trash cans from where I sit. Big instruction signs taped to the back of computer monitors. Glass in the door and next to the door you enter the area from outside.

Damn, it’s bright in here.

Damn, it’s noisy.

See. I notice everything. No, I mean EVERYTHING. “EVMS – Your Opinion Matters!” “Accent Health” Even the typical EXIT sign over the door to the area. Even worse, the sign’s crooked. Yeah. Sucker hangs lower on the left end, by the E than it does on the right end, by the T. And look at all the ceiling panels. Gods. Some look like they’re hanging on for dear life. Some are a brighter white than others. Some aren’t quite cut cleanly on the edges. Blinds in the window. Mini-blinds. And they pull up, hiding behind a, what the hell is that? A valence? Same blue with pale orange dots as the friggin’ chairs. Hey, look. Flourescent light reflections on the screen of the TV.

I can hear myself typing on this Chromebook, you know. Oh, listen, they’re making copies of documents on the office printer in the admin area. Hey. Someone showed up. Talking with one of the check-in people. Did you know it’s not safe to leave the cabinet keys hanging from one of the locks to one of the cabinets? Yeah. That.

People from inside the offices, and patient rooms show up in the admin area every so often. The legs on one of the tables are crooked. Doesn’t look like it’ll collapse anytime soon, but it’s irritating to see it. This is where I do silly things. Like count the ceiling panels. 12 by 5. 60 panels. Roughly. I’ll settle for that now. Like all ceiling panels, they had to chop some up into wacky shapes to get them to fit the available space. Really distracting that the lights are shorter than the panels. They had to stick these inserts around the lights, and they’re not like the panels. Hey, look! There’s a seam on one of the walls. Bad drywall work.

Two people here now. Waiting. “They’ll call you back shortly.” What the heck is that constant background noise? Sounds like a big fan, blowing into a tiny duct. Breathe, Marcus. Breathe. And relax.

Yeah. Relax. That’s easier if I plug in the MP3 player, which I didn’t bring. So, instead of hearing must my music, I’m hearing 80 billion things. Dang, that’s a loud door. And that sounded like a toilet being flushed, whatever it was.

People being people. Talking to each other. Talking on the phone. And in comes one of the nurses, The door opens with loud clacking sounds, and she belts out, “Ray!”

I wonder. Do other people see all the things I see? Hear all the things I hear? Do they have built-in filters that cut out all the background information. God, those are ugly shoes. Pink laces, pink soles, on gray and white. Athletic shoes. I never will understand marketing. And more voices. Two more people checking in. Beeping from someone dialing a phone. Keys rattling. So many noises. So many things to see.

Of course, it’s chaos. Isn’t everything? But somehow, there’s order in there somewhere. I like how people seem oblivious to the chaos. I sometimes wish I was. Another door. And the second person in the waiting room got called back. The two that were at the check-in counter are now gone. Have no idea where they went, or why they were here.

Did I mention there are times I wish I was invisible. So no one could see me. No one could know I was here. No one would look in my direction, and verify I’m behaving. At least, that’s what it feels like. “Aieee! I’m being watched!” I wonder. Am I on a video camera somewhere?

And the water cooler cooling system just kicked in. Heard the click when it turned on, hearing the fan run now. Watching the admin people talk to each other. And everything seems to settle into a routine. The water cooler system turned off. Yeah. With another click. And now I can hear that air duct noise again.

I should probably get a system with a Solid State Drive in the future. They’re more resistant to vibration, and the Chromebook is enduring a lot of that now. My knees are bouncing. Wheee. Welcome to stimming. I’ve mentioned that before. I wonder. Do other people see everyone that walks through the are. Everyone that walks through their field of vision. There’s people on the other side of the admin area. Someone moves through every so often.

Did you ever notice how the outline around doors isn’t perfect. You know. That seam between the door and the frame. It’s not perfect. The top is more open that either of the sides. And one side is usually wider than the other. And the bottom’s so big light gets through, and shines in under the door. And you can see the shadow of the door on the floor. And why the heck are all the door knobs different? What’s up with that?

Reflections are so distracting. I always try to figure out what’s being reflected. And from where. Yeah. It never ends. One of the office staff came in to the water fountain. She’s cute. And I’m old. Holy smokies, look at those shoes! Those are hard to miss! Lots of pink, with what looks like blue. At least they look comfy.

Time to glance through the mini-blinds, and watch the parking lots, and roads outside. Yeah. I see that. Cars, humans on the sidewalks. It’s quiet out there today. I’m sitting here. Quietly. ‘Cause that’s what I’m supposed to do, isn’t it. Sit. Quietly. And not bother anyone. While I wait for her.

0910 hours. 2 hours and I’ll be rushing to get ready for work. Yeah. That. Same thing happens every day she has off, and I work. I end up rushed to get ready, ‘cause I try to spend time with her. We’re supposed to eat something after she’s done here.

There’s that loud clack, and the noise of the door opening again.

Realistically, fast food would work. But, she’s not much on fast food. She’s more of a sit down service person. So, I probably won’t get home until 1030 or 1100. And I’m scheduled to start work at 1200.

Did I mention I hate stress? Yeah. I do. And it’s everywhere. In everything. My left knee hurts. It’s a ligament damage thing. I do better when I get more exercise, more walking. Keeps the muscle strength around the bad ligaments up. And that helps keep the knee functional, and reduces the aches I feel from it.

Yeah. And you’d never know it was hurting to watch me walk.

The heat coming off the windows feels good. Too bad the aluminum frames around the windows are cold. I like it when those frames heat up in the sun. I can thaw my fingers on them.

She’s here today, ‘cause of the lab work last Thursday. When they stuck her to draw the blood for the blood work, they stabbed her in a nerve cluster. And her right hand and arm light up, so to speak, when she moves them certain ways. So, she’s having that checked out this morning. I’m expecting that to take longer than she thinks. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a pick up fast food on the way home to get me ready for work kind of morning.

If I close my eyes, that helps, but only so much. I end up hearing even more things when I close my eyes. I keep my eyes open, and I hear less, but see more, obviously. I’ve tried to explain to people how I see everything. How I hear everything. I process it all. And figure out what I’m supposed to hear. What’s normal sound. Once I class something as normal, it’s not that I can ignore it, or filter it out. I still hear it. I still see it. But it’s normal, so I don’t worry about processing it. But that takes a bit of time.

As I sit here, I’m doing that very thing. figuring out what I’m supposed to hear. What the “background” is in this waiting room. And deciding what to process, and what to ignore. I think, maybe, this is what people do, without realizing they’re doing it. I know they hear everything, but it’s like they don’t.

Of course, I pull out details. I can decide to process everything, and then describe what I’m processing. I’m not sure that’s normal. I think that’s a part of autism. A part of being on the spectrum. I like to think people can stop what they’re doing, and decide to listen, and hear everything, like I can.

But I’m not sure that’s true. And I have no way to really check on that.

I’m calmer now. Been here long enough to make a few decisions on what’s normal, and not worry about processing it. Yeah. Maybe this takes others a few seconds. Takes me minutes. Maybe a lot of minutes.

God, those lights are bright, aren’t they?

0930 hours. Yeah. 90 minutes, and I’ll be getting ready for work. 120 minutes and I’ll be on the way to work. And somewhere in there, I’m supposed to stuff a meal, a shower, and getting dressed. And it’s at least 20 minutes, probably 30, to the house.

The things I put myself through to support her.

I’d do this every time. Because, I’ll stand beside her. It’s what I do. It’s how I am. It’s what I believe. It’s what I want. If I have to rush to get to work, so what? I’ll be here when she comes out. And I’ll be able to talk with her, and hug her, and spend time with her, and help her deal with whatever comes of all this.

It’s what I want to do.

And now. I wait. Because. And that’s all I need to understand.

A Tale Of Wrath : Stand Your Ground

“Take your gun with you. And a couple of spare clips.” I’d never forget Mom’s words, just like I’d never forget that day, when I changed forever.

I wanted to listen to a public speech by Diane Harris, the feminist. Mom tried to talk me out of it. “Son. There are nasty people in the world who try to stamp out what they don’t understand, what they are afraid of. They will be there, and they will try to stop her from talking.”

“I know, Mom. But I need to go. I need to show I support the free expression of thought. Besides, I like the things she says. She makes sense. I want to help her change the world.”

When she knew she couldn’t talk me out of it, she changed to Mother Hen mode, and started trying to protect me. “Take your gun with you.” She insisted on walking me to the front door, and watched me get in my car. “Be careful. Be safe.”

Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if she said, “Come home tonight.” I wouldn’t be surprised if she prayed, “God, bring my baby home safely.”

Everybody knew about the gun threats. “If Diane Harris gets to speak, there will be a massacre. We’ll kill everyone there.” It was one of those men’s groups. You know the type. “Men are superior. Women are subservient to men.” That kind of shit. Another group declared, “All you women, show up! We’ll take your picture, and hunt you down, and show you what women are for!”

Tommy, my best friend said he had to go. His girlfriend was going, and he had to try to keep her safe. Frank and Jimmy said the same thing. And my Dad told me, “You need to stand for something. Pick a side. Pick a cause. Pick something to believe in. And stand up for it.”

Yeah. I pretty much had to show up.

I patted my gun, under my jacket. Concealed, of course. Everyone had a concealed carry permit anymore. I’d never needed it. Never had to use it. But it made me feel safer knowing it was there, and I could defend myself if I needed to.

“Only an idiot would come here to shoot people,” I chuckled. With the Stand Your Ground law, everyone would probably be armed. If someone drew a gun, a dozen other guns would show up ready to shoot him.

And that’s exactly what happened.

First, one guy drew a gun. He shot the girl next to him. Of course, people pulled out their guns, to shoot him, and save themselves. He shot one of them, then another, They started shooting back. Yeah, they got him, and three or four people near him.

Then, a second guy drew his gun. And a third guy. I figure there were a dozen of them in the crowd, pulling guns, shooting at everyone. A guy in the row in front of me pulled out a friggin’ cannon. He pulled the trigger, and started mowing down everyone he saw, shooting merrily away.

So, I drew my gun. And the guy behind me shot me. In the back. “He’s got a gun too!”

It was hell on Earth. Bullets flew everywhere. People panicked. People ran. People died. Everybody screamed. It sounded like something out of a bad movie.

I don’t know how I’m still alive.

They tell me I was in the ICU for a week, no one knew if I’d wake up. They told me what happened. 56 people died. Yeah. 56. 109 wounded. I was one of the 109. Tommy and his girl were part of the 56. Jimmy was another part of the 109. He was recovering, but he’d lost his left arm. Got shot, fell down, got trampled. They couldn’t save it.

They tell me, with a little more technological advancement, I might learn to walk in a few years. Got shot in the back, remember. Spinal cord damage. My legs don’t work anymore. Oh, they’re alive. Blood flows through them just fine. But they don’t feel a damn thing, and I can’t wiggle my toes.

Mom cries every time she visits.

Dad tells me how proud he is, “You stood up for something you believed in! You’re a real man!”

Thanks Dad. Did I mention, I can’t feel my toes?

I keep hearing the numbers. 56 dead. 109 wounded.

The neighbors all sent get well cards. I hate them. Every card. I hate them. “Thank you for standing up for free speech!” “Get well soon!”

I keep thinking I should have gone to the beach instead of the speech. I’d have watched almost naked women in their tiny bikinis, and soaked up the sun. And maybe one of almost naked women would have asked me to spend the night with her. In her place. In her bed. With no clothes on. And I could have banged her.

Instead, I went to that damn speech.

A couple of police officers stopped by after I woke up. They asked me what happened. I told them. I asked them what happened. “It’s under investigation.” That’s all they said.

The nurses explained. No one got charged with anything. Except the first guy with a gun. He was dead, of course, but they’d charged him with instigating a riot. Everything that happened after he started firing was normal self-defense. No one got charged with anything. Even the guy that shot me in the back. “No hard feelings,” the nurses said, “He was only defending himself, standing his ground. It was just bad luck.”

Bad luck. He shot me in the back. I wasn’t looking at him. He drew his gun, and shot me. Crippled me. And he didn’t do anything wrong in the eyes of the law. Stand Your Ground, they call it. Defend yourself, and the people around you. Good, sensible law, ain’t it?

Did I mention I can’t wiggle my toes? I wonder sometimes. Do they itch?

The truth? Everyone went nuts. Everyone went crazy. And just started shooting. And they didn’t stop until they ran out of bullets. Yes, we defended ourselves. And we shot a lot of people defending ourselves. Most of them weren’t the bad guys. Most of them didn’t deserve to get shot.

I sure as hell didn’t.

Did I mention I can’t wiggle my toes? Hell, I can’t even reach the bottoms of my feet. For all I know, the nurses could have painted the blue.

56 dead. 109 wounded.

But we protected our right to free speech. And our right to bear arms. We defended ourselves. Yeah. We sure did that.

I wonder. If my toes itch, but I can’t feel them, do they still need to be scratched?

Van Hook Glade, Saturday, 13 September 2014

I’m sitting in the Scion xB (A 2006 model, so it’s 8 years old) parked at the Western Carolina Farmers Market in Asheville, North Carolina. She’s out there, somewhere, in the chaos. Cars and trucks all over the place, going in all kinds of directions, people milling about.

Did I mention pure chaos and I don’t mix well? I tend to hide in the car when I can. It’s like how I love the beach, but the only beaches I can actually go to at home are the ones at Back Bay NWR, and False Cape State Park. The rest? HUMANS! AIEEE!

Humans are, and I know it, social beings. Even I have some social requirements. I may not really know what they are, but dealing with the chaos of the Farmers Market on a Saturday afternoon is not one of them. If it was, say, Tuesday morning, during a work week, when everyone was at work, and school was in session, and there were much fewer people here, I’d do better.

I’m looking forward to the 7 hour drive home. The math says we’ll get there, and all will be fine. That doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to getting there.

I wonder how much stuff she’ll come back with? I wonder if she’ll find stuff to buy, and then drive the car around to the different places, park at them, and put a case of stuff in the car. How many eggplant does a married couple with kids all grown and out of the house need? An entire case? One of the shipping boxes they ship eggplant to the stores in?

And in 12 minutes, the Chromebook will turn itself off. And I’ll be sitting in the car. With nothing to do. Maybe I’ll bend the rules, turn on the motor, and plug-in the charger, so I can let my fingers and mind wander, and distract myself from the chaos I’m staring into. Maybe I’ll lean back and take a nap.

I don’t hate the place. Really. I don’t. It’s just too much for me to handle. I get overloaded, and end up like a little boy, holding on to mommy’s hand, going, “Don’t leave me alone in this! AIEEE!” I won’t say that, but she knows. It’s a case of I don’t know anyone around me, so I don’t know how they will react to anything. Sort of like a normal person walking into a new job for the first time. Except with me, it happens endlessly, every day, over, and over, and over, forever.

Honestly, if I could, I’d find a cave and move into it, and never come out and deal with the world. Of course, that wouldn’t work, so I keep hanging in there, trying. Look, There’s a blue Nissan Altiima to my right. A gray Toyota Forerunner to my left. Give it a minute, and things will change. A red Jeep Grand Cherokee’s next to the Nissan. It’s loading up. The mom’s cute. She’d make a daughter someone would be proud of. The dad is, well, a guy. Looks like a typical lazy bum. The daughter’s cute as a button. Aren’t they all?

AIEEE! There’s a line of vehicles coming in! AIEEE!

Please let her finish soon, so we can go home.

The Drive Home

It was a rare day. She let me drive. We rode in my car. By doing so, she learned something about me, and I caught a glimpse of something I feel, although I can’t really explain it yet.

We finished shopping for cat food at BJ’s Warehouse, and headed home. As she expected, I went to the stop light to exit the parking lot and turn left on to Virginia Beach Boulevard. We both knew I’d do that, because I don’t turn left across 8 lanes of traffic. I seldom turn left across a 4 lane road.

What happened next is where things got interesting. I turned right on to Rosemont Road, instead of proceeding down Virginia Beach Boulevard to Lynnhaven Boulevard. So, she asked me why I took Rosemont and not Lynnhaven.

I was able to answer her question. I explained Lynnhaven has 6 to 8 lanes, and lots of big intersections, and lots of cars moving between lanes, and passing through those intersections, while Rosemont only has 4 lanes, and almost all the intersections are with residential streets, and its features limit how much chaos can occur in traffic, and thus limit how hard I have to work to process the driving environment. So, I take Rosemont.

Of course, she would have turned left, off of Rosemont, on to Holland Road. I didn’t. I went straight. Again, for the same reason. Because there are fewer cars on Rosemont at that point, and less major intersections, making it less stressful for me to drive Rosemont, and not Holland.

In effect, I drive a mile or more out-of-the-way to get home, to find a way that works for me.

I share this story because it shows me I am learning about my emotions, about what I feel. I freely admit no one would drive the route I drive because it isn’t the shortest route, or the quickest. It is quite irrational to drive the route I drive to get home from BJ’s. There was a time, just a few years ago, when I would have driven Holland Road, and not Rosemont. When I would have coped with the traffic, and the crazy people in that traffic.

I don’t do that these days, unless I’m pressed for time, or have received a request to drive that path. I work at Best Buy on Independence Boulevard. It’s a straight line South, down Independence Boulevard, which becomes Holland Road, to my neighborhood. There are no turns to make at any intersections.

But that’s not how I drive home. I drive South on Independence. I stay on it when it turns into Holland. But, when I reach the Holland and Rosemont intersection, I turn on to Rosemont, which requires me to drive Rosemont to Dam Neck Boulevard, and then drive East on Dam Neck, until I reach Holland.

Why? Because it works for me. I can drive Holland the entire way, but most nights I don’t. Because I have learned I like to avoid the traffic on Holland Road. I get to avoid the traffic merging from 2 lanes heading south on Holland to 1 lane heading south when it crosses Dam Neck. When I drive Rosemont, I avoid the merging lanes on Holland.

That’s correct. I use the word, “insanity”, because it’s nuts the way people behave when dealing with a merge from two lanes of traffic into one on a road that operates at 135% of its rated capacity. Holland Road is, like many of the main roads in this area, overloaded, with more traffic than it’s supposed to handle.

People go nuts at that merge. Some happily wait in line in the lane that does not go away. Others react as if waiting is something they can’t stand to do, so they get in the lane that goes away, and see how many cars they can get past before they run out of road. I’ve seen more than a few cars fighting for control of the road, driving side-by-side on a two lane road, as the drivers refuse to behave.

By taking Rosemont, I have a right turn on to Holland Road after I yield to oncoming traffic. All I have to deal with is waiting for traffic to clean, so I can make my right turn. I don’t have to battle or negotiate for control of the road with other drivers.

Which is why I drive the roads I drive. It limits the stress I have to endure while driving. It limits the actions all drivers can take. It makes driving a simpler, more controlled process I can deal with more effectively.

It’s not rational. But it is what works for me.

And it’s one of the rare times I have acknowledged anything I feel, and taken what I feel into account in my daily life.

I wonder if I’m supposed to learn more about what I feel, and let what I feel have more influence in the things I do every day.

#VisDare 48 : Beneath

The films showed me what I’d learned from the books and journals I’d read. They told the history of the end of the world that was.

The cities went insane, with men hunting women, using them as sex toys, then discarding them. The military tried to restore order, but they had too few guns, and too few members.

The women fought back, shooting men on sight. Blood ran through the streets of the cities. The chaos spread from the cities, to the towns, through the world.

Surviving city men formed gangs and became “The Hordes”, collecting women for recreation, and population management.

Surviving countryside families found caves to live in. And started digging deeper underground, becoming the cave dwellers.

Small groups of survivors became cannibalistic, formed hunting packs, and became “The Wraiths”.

Isolated survivors gathered in small camps, and started over. Jessica lead the first small camp.

146 Words

This is part 31 in the continuing story I’m working on for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

The entire story, from part 31 to part 1, is located here.

#FinishThatThought 14 : That Doesn’t Belong There

“Humans. Geeze,” I thought, as I looked at the store’s magazine display. “Males, especially.” I shook my head, and even though I knew I shouldn’t, and I’d be wasting my time, I started sorting through the magazines as I looked, putting them back where they belonged. Each time I found one out-of-place, I heard myself think, “That doesn’t belong there.” So, I’d pick up the misfiled magazine, and put it belonged, with the other copies of itself.

It was how I made any sense at all out of the magazine display. The only way I could figure out what I had, and had not looked at. The only way I could figure out what they actually had for sale.

I knew I’d do the same thing on the grocery shelves, or the clothes racks, or any other open display I wished to look at. I knew I would have to, just to keep myself from going insane.

As I sorted the magazines, I noted a new issue of Car and Driver was available. I picked one of them up, and examined the cover. As usual, the cars on the cover drank gasoline like an alcoholic drinks alcohol. By the gallon. “A car technology magazine, priding itself on the state of the art in automobiles, and they advertise, and evaluate dinosaurs.” I carefully put the issue back where it belonged, with the other copies of Car and Driver.

“Shotgun Magazine.” I shook my head. It wasn’t even in the right area. Some lazy bastard had picked it up, while his wife shopped, and he was killing time. And when she came and got him, he just threw it back on the rack, anywhere. “Typical.”

Did I mention I didn’t have a high opinion of my fellow males?

“At least it’s not February.” The month Sports Illustrated published it’s Swimsuit Issue. And you could find copies of that sucker all over the display rack. Hidden behind other magazines. By males who didn’t want their significant others to know they’d peeked at it’s contents. Inevitably, you’d find Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues behind such things as Science Digest and Time. And sometimes, even behind Shotgun Magazine.

There were days I felt like the chaos of the magazine rack mirrored the chaos the planet was descending into. A planet of “there’s only me.” A world where no one thought about anything but what they wanted. And if you wanted the same thing, they’d run over you with a truck to get to it first.

There were times I stared at the chaos of car magazines, gun magazines, and magazines whose sole purpose was to teach men to think with a certain part of their anatomy (and I don’t mean their brains), jumbled together on a store rack, and I knew why the country was all FUBAR. The country just mirrored the condition of the magazine rack.

Human males. Geeze. There really was no hope for the species.

493 words

I wrote this for Week 14 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.