Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/08/03 (Week 117)

I made her from junk. From scraps of metal sheets, old chains, nuts and bolts, clasps, hooks, wire. Whatever I could find. She was never meant to be beautiful, a work of art, a marvelous design.

I meant her to show the world what we, as a people, a species, have become. How mechanical. Fake. Artificial. Shallow. With no hearts. No souls. No minds. And no freedom. With nothing left to us, or of us. Except the machines we had created.

Machines like our economies, our societies, our nations, our companies and corporations. For which we were simply human resources. Not humans. Not living, thinking, feeling, priceless life forms, with hearts, and souls, created by some miracle.

Human resources. Parts to the machines. Where you shut up, and you did what the machines told you to do, lived how they told you to live. As a tiny part of a large machine. No longer human. No longer worth anything. Easily replaced, if you broke, or wore out, or a stronger, better made part came along.

Not even like our bodies, our flesh and blood and bones. As humans, as life forms, we were colonies. Macro organisms. Made from billions of separate, individual, cells. Living together, for the benefit of each other. To help each other, support each other, provide for each other. How our nerves told us of danger, fire, sharp objects, things that would hurt us, or kill us.

How our blood moved nutrients throughout all our parts, organs, fingers, toes, heads, and collected waste products, to be expelled from our bodies.

How our digestive systems processed raw material, and pulled from it the things our colonies needed.

Everything worked together.

Sometimes, we got sick. Sometimes, one system, or another system, broke down, and stopped working properly, or even stopped working at all.

That’s when we were our most human. When one of us helped another. When one who could find food would find food for one who could not. When one who could see would try so hard to explain colors, and shapes, and clouds, and waves, and hills, to one who was blind.

But, you see. We failed. We failed ourselves. We invented things. Machines. Societies. Money. Politics. Power. Nations. Companies. And in the process, we turned ourselves into replaceable parts. If one part needs to see, and that part’s eyes stop working, our machines discard the blind one, replacing that human being, that life form, that gift from the universe, with another person who can see.

And then the machines, the companies, never look back. If the part that was defective dies, they don’t even notice. The don’t care. They don’t shed a tear.

I made her because of what we have become. I made her for the people like the man who told me, “You can’t afford to care.” For the many who told me, “Get your act together, and be what they need you to be, or they’ll replace you.” I made her to show them, and to remind them, of what we have become.

For all our greatness. All our achievements. All our glories. We have lost the only thing that mattered. We’ve lost our humanity. And become like her. A collection of parts, made to look human. That can be replaced at any time. And no one will notice. And no one will care.

And having made her, I wonder, and I always will, why did I bother. Why did I expend the effort. Why did I put so much time, so much work, so much of me, into creating her. When I knew. I knew. All along. No one would see her for what she is. When I knew, all along, she would be seen as a work of art. A beautifully crafted piece of sculpture. And nothing more.

For I knew, all along, too many hearts, and too many souls, were gone.

And too many empty, soulless, cold, unfeeling machines, those human resources, were all that was left of us.

670 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 117 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.

#ThursThreads Week 176 : It Better Be You

“It better be you knocking on my door, Doc!”

The doctor came in. “You called, sir?”

“Yes, you idiot! I coughed up blood this morning!” I glared at the doctor, “I’m paying you to fix me, so fix me!” God, my throat hurt, like someone was dragging a medieval mace through it. Each fraction of an inch it moved, I nearly choked. I hacked, coughed, gagged, and spat blood.

The doctor bowed his head, “I’m sorry, sir. We’re still working on the cure.” He stuffed a tube down my throat, poured a goo through it. My throat stopped hurting. That was good enough for the short-term. He bowed, gathered his things, and began to leave.

“I expect you to find a cure. A permanent fix.”

The doctor bowed, “Yes, sir.”

It wasn’t his fault. He hadn’t destroyed the atmosphere. I’d done that. But as long as it didn’t kill me, and was profitable, so what? The metals and acids in the air got into everybody’s throat. They choked on their own blood.

I wouldn’t have cared at all, except the problem was costing me money. Too many of my human resources were failing. I needed to find a solution, so I could cut my operating costs again. That’s how business worked. Humans were expendable, replaceable resources.

I wasn’t.

“They better find a workable cure soon. I’m fucking paying them enough!” Then, I could sell the cure to the human resources and recover my expenses.

245 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 176. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

I Intend To Find Out

My doc asked me a tough question today. “Mark. Don’t tell me what you think. Turn off the logic. Turn off the reasoning. Tell me how you feel about that.”

I couldn’t.

Yeah. Me. I couldn’t. Me, the guy with all the words, and I couldn’t say how I felt. “Angry. Hurt, Wounded.” I rambled on, single words leaking through the filters in my head. “Denied.”

Denied.

And it’s not the denial everyone knows about, everyone understands. I’m not denying the truth. I’m not denying evolution exists, or the universe is 13 billion years old. Nothing like that. I’m not denying people consider me their friend. Not denying I’m good at what I have elected to do in my life.

I’m denying me. What I feel. I’ll start my explanation with a story, like I always do.

When I was in 8th grade, we moved from Annapolis, Maryland, to Chesapeake, Virginia. With the move came a change in school systems, and a change in available classes. On the day my Father took me to Deep Creek Middle School, to register for classes, and continue my 8th grade education, I had to make decisions about classes. On the spot, in the moment decisions.

One of those decisions was specific to Math. In Annapolis, I’d been taking “Introduction to Algebra.” Chesapeake didn’t offer Introductory Algebra. So, I had to make a choice. Take regular 8th grade math, which everyone knew I’d cake walk through. Or, take Algebra. Real Algebra. Where I was 6 weeks behind the class.

I suppose a sensible human would have taken 8th grade math. But a sensible human would not have raced through the decision process I went through. I didn’t think about myself, and what I was capable of, or what I wanted to do. I didn’t consider being afraid of taking Algebra. My decision process was very direct. I considered my Mother, and my Father, and what would make them proud of me.

I picked Algebra.

By the time I was in 8th grade, my decision process already denied what I felt and wanted. What I felt and wanted was expendable. What I did was what I believed made those I felt were the important people in my life proud of me, happy with my decisions.

I told my doctor, today, I buried what I felt in my backyard, so it was hidden, and no one could see it, or find it. Not even me.

There are many more stories. I shared another one with my Doc today. Told him why I decided to get his help, and start therapy. It wasn’t a decision I made. The truth is I didn’t want to find help. Because I knew, if I found help, I’d have to deal with everything.

What did I do? How did I end up finding my Doc? I sent three e-mail messages. One to Gina. One to Judy. One to Lorrie. Three messages to the three people I trusted at work. I didn’t ask my family. I didn’t ask my friends. I couldn’t. Don’t ask me to explain why. I can’t. I don’t know why.

I cut a deal with myself. If I got no responses to the e-mails, or if I got three negative responses, or three, “It’s your choice to make” responses, I would avoid therapy. If a single response from one of those three messages said, “Yes,” I’d get help.

All three responses came back positive, declaring I needed to get help.

I kept my end of the bargain. I got help.

I’ve been asking myself lots of questions these past few weeks, because I’ve known I had another step to take in my life. Another journey to make. More to explore. And today, I’ve started into that strange world.

I don’t know what I feel. I know basic things. I know when I’m hungry. I know when I’m tired, even though I don’t always admit I am. I know when I’m in physical pain, though I don’t always admit how much.

But I don’t know what I feel.

“How do you feel about that, Mark?”

“I don’t know.”

I want to write. More than I can explain. More than I can understand. It’s an irrational thing. It doesn’t make sense. There’s not a procedure for writing. Read ten books on how to write a novel, and you still won’t know how. Writing is a personal thing. I don’t write the same way you do. I don’t write the same way my writing friends do. I write my way. My friends each write their own way.

But writing also frustrates me. Hell, it infuriates me. Because it’s not predictable. I can’t tell what I’m going to write. When I sit down to write a flash fiction story for a weekly challenge, I don’t know what will happen next. I don’t know what I’ll write.

What I write could be funny, scary, moving, touching, frightening, or infuriating. It could even be about butterflies and ants and other insects, long after humans have followed the dinosaurs into oblivion. I don’t snap my fingers, and presto, words appear on my computer screen.

In that same way, I don’t know what I feel. Oh, I know if I’m happy, or sad, excited, or bored, I now the obvious. Just don’t ask me how I feel about something. Don’t ask, “How do you feel about that, Mark?” Because I can’t answer. Because I don’t know.

And it’s going to take a while for me to change what I learned so long ago, when I learned to deny myself. When I learned to bury what I felt. When I learned to say, “I don’t care how I feel. I’ll do what I need to.” When I learned my feelings were expendable.

And they were.

Until 4 years ago.

When everything I buried in the backyard started surfacing, and I couldn’t stop it.

I wonder who I am.

I intend to find out.

Commentary : Memorial Day

Welcome to Memorial Day in the United States.

I work today. To me, this is just another day. I realize there are people in my country that are greatly disturbed by my view. To them, I say my view of this holiday has improved dramatically in the past three years.

Unfortunately, I will never view Memorial Day positively. For me, it is a reminder of what I endured. Of a walk through the deepest, darkest, most demon infested corridors of Hell. A walk caused in too many ways, by the United States Military.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t blame the members of the US Navy, US Army, US Air Force, US Marines, and US Coast Guard. I don’t. I understand the sacrifices they have made, and continue to make, for the country I live in.

I do blame the Military-Industrial Complex. The Civil Service. The contractors (Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Lockheed, and others). Funny thing about that, I don’t blame them for the problems I have endured, nor do I blame them for the support they provided during the months when my new life began.

I blame them for being cold, ruthless, heartless machines, concerned about careers, profit margins, and public perceptions above all else. The MIC is a machine that eats people alive. It consumes souls. It crushes people, leaving empty, broken husks behind. And then, it disposes of those husks. Because people are resources. Human resources. Expendable, replaceable parts. If one breaks, so be it. Another human resource is always available to replace the damaged, broken part.

This is what Memorial Day reminds me of.

This is why I do not celebrate Memorial Day.

There is much more I could say. But I won’t. Too many people have already had too many problems dealing with my attitude toward Memorial Day. Too many people can’t understand, or won’t understand, or refuse to understand, what happened in 2010.

Now, I’ll get ready for work. Because, this is just another Monday to me.

I’ll continue to thank our service personnel each day, as I always have.

Enjoy your US Memorial Day, people. In the way appropriate for you. Let me deal with Memorial day on my terms, in the way appropriate for me.