#VisDare 91 : Reverie

a6d409405b97ba60875b4f1f94e3f68aI waved my hand at the buildings around the small courtyard. “Ain’t much hope here. Just concrete, and rust.” I looked at the reporter. “And death. Ain’t much hope here.”

He didn’t move. Just sat on the bench, and looked around.

He’d never visited my part of town. There were no stores, no restaurants, but you could buy crack on every corner, and get shot for no damn reason. And if you died on the street, your body could be there for days.

I leaned back on my bench, held my trumpet up. “People need hope, and I do what I can to give them some.”

I played. A lonely voice. A ray of light. A thread of hope. In a concrete hell. The only sounds beside my trumpet were a mother’s cries at the loss of her son, and every now and then, shots fired from a gun.

149 Words

Another story I pieced together for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. I’m writing more, and that feels good. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.


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.

#MWBB 27 : Stack O Lee

Now, they done told me, “White people don’t congregate with them. They’s the wrong damn color.” But I knew they was wrong. They was people. Just like us. Just had different colored skin, that’s all. And I’ll stand by ‘em. What they done was right. And they had the guts to do what was right when all you white people pretended everythin’ was alright.

I tried to stop Billy. I did. Stupid son-of-a-bitch never listened to no one anyway. I told him, “You don’t treat people that way, Billy! You don’t!” Billy never listened. He got with his boys, and they went out on Friday nights, and found some kid to beat up. Always a black kid too. He used to say he was preserving the future of the country, keeping them in their place, subservient to white people, like they was meant to be.

Hell, he’d pick fights with ‘em just to get ‘em arrested, so he could take ‘em to court, and get everything they ever made, or owned. Courts work like that, you know. Hang the one that ain’t white, ‘cause hell, we know the white one’s innocent, and a victim.

Billy got a lot of people’s lives fucked up, that’s what he did. And I told him not to. I warned him.

But then, he married my sister. My little sister. Katie. Momma and Daddy loved her. And I wouldn’t let no one hurt her. Ever. Billy knew that. “Damn, boy, you sure protect your sister, don’t ya.” He used to say that all the time.

I watched my sis walk down the aisle of the church in her weddin’ dress. Momma and the church ladies worked for a month on that thing. Katie looked beautiful. Better than any bunch of roses ever can. I listened as Billy and Katie said their vows. All that “to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, ‘till death do us part.”

We buried Katie last week. She was only twenty-three. Everybody turned a blind eye. Talked about how sad is was that Katie died when she was so young. Billy didn’t even cry. Just stood there. “Real men don’t cry, you know.” That’s all he said. Everybody pretended like this was just some horrible accident. That God took Katie away. “It was her time.”

But me and the people Billy destroyed. We knew. We knew what happened. We knew Katie didn’t die by accident. God never came and took my sister away.

That mother fucker Billy beat her to death. He beat her every night. I used to see the bruises on her face. She’d lie to me. “I tripped and fell,” and “I bumped my head on the cabinet.” She’d tell me it was OK. But I’d sit with my sister on her and Billy’s front porch on Sunday afternoons, and we wouldn’t say a word. We’d just sit. And she knew I knew. Billy was beating on her.

So, hell yeah. I went and I got my Daddy’s rifle. And I got plenty of help from them people y’all keep saying are the wrong color. They knew what Billy was. What he did. They knew he’d beat Katie to death. And they knew it was the last straw.

Yeah, I got Daddy’s rifle. And we went and got Billy. And drug him out in the woods. And beat the hell of him. And when we all beat on him for a while, then I did to Billy what he done to my sis.

I shot him with that rifle. And if I hadn’t run out of bullets, I’d still be shooting him.

It’s what that bastard deserved. May he rot in hell.

617 Words

My entry, in all its unedited glory, for week 27 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

The Day After

It’s always the day after an event
That disturbs me the most.
Usually I’d just let it go at that.
Just say because.
But today,
I try to explain.

I can take the easy way out
And just say,
“It’s an ASD thing.
With my autistic nature,
It’s just the way things are.”
But that doesn’t help anyone.
Certainly not me.

Where to start.
How to explain.
I’ve tried.
I’ve tried for years.
No one understands.

After Columbine.
After the USS Cole.
After Oklahoma.
After 9/11.
After Norway.
After Virginia Tech.
The list is endless.

I always react the same.
I wonder what it is
That everyone around me feels.
I don’t feel a thing.
Not one damned thing.

My best guess is
It’s an empathetic reaction
That people have.
One of those social skills
I wasn’t born with.
And just can’t seem to learn.

I want to say something.
I do.
But everywhere I go
On the Internet.
Facebook and Twitter too,
It’s all the same.

People saying endlessly,
“My heart bleeds for those of you
Whose lives this storm’s destroyed.”

And I don’t understand.
I don’t understand at all.
Because they were not hurt.
Their lives
Remain unchanged.
How can their hearts bleed
For people they don’t know,
People they have never met,
People a thousand miles away?

I don’t understand at all.

I try.
I do.
I try.

I’ve watched the way people behave.
I’ve listened to the things they say.
I’ve studied their body language.
The moves the make.
The details in the things they do.

I can fake it.
I can imitate it.
I can pretend to feel like them.
I can blend right in.
So no one will know
That I don’t feel a thing.
Not one damned thing.

I end up putting everyone at ease.
Everyone feels better.
Everyone relaxes.
It’s as if their view
Of the world
And how it works,
Just got reinforced.

But I end up in hell.
Wondering how long it will be
Until someone finds out the truth
About me.
That I don’t feel a thing.

It’s not that I don’t care.
It’s not that way at all.
I care for those around me
More than you will ever

It’s that to my rational,
Linear mind.
The people hurt in an event
Such as the hurricane this week.
Are just like the people living
In Syria.
Being mowed down relentlessly
By their own government.
Or the people that die
Every day.
In car accidents.
Or the children beaten to death
By their own parents.

I don’t know them.

It’s sad,
I know it’s sad.
That these things happen.
I understand that.

And there are times,
Oh, there are times,
When I wish I felt
What other people felt.
So that I could understand,
And know,
Why people react
The way they do
To such an event
As this hurricane.

But instead.
I don’t feel
A single thing.
Not one single thing.

Why did you make me so

#TimonySouler #DiabolicalDeeds, Day 5 – Zagan

War is a special kind of hell when you die endlessly. I’ve died after being shot in the head, blown apart by a land mine, breathing in nerve gas or roasting in the firestorm of a fuel-air bomb. And always, I wake up. And always, Zagan sends me into battle.

My wounds never heal. I always smell of zymosis from the infections living in them, slowly eating my flesh. I am not zoic. Far from it. I pray my next death will be my last.

But this is Zagan’s Hell. And I always wake up to die.

This is what leaked out of my mind for my fifth and final entry in ‘Timony Souler’s #DiabolicalDeeds flash fiction challenge. I do apologize for not finishing this on Friday the 25th, as the challenge planned. I simply did not have time to write on the 26th. Please go read all the other entries in ‘Timony’s challenge. They are all good. And, have a happy Halloween.

#TimonyChallenge #DiabolicalDeeds, Day 2, Calu

Looking at the wolf I learned the meaning of cacaesthesia. Soon, I would know nothing but pain.  Shapeless beings held me. We stood before an ocean or melted rock. Whisps of that rock floated, like steam, above that ocean. I was drowning in the caliginous environment.

The wolf had many names. Hades. Pluto. Calu. Satan. Fire filled his eyes. His coat was pure fire. He growled, snapped his teeth and the beings holding me hurled me into it. For every heartbeat, every breath, for all time, I would only know the endless pain of being burned alive.

100 Words

The Eighth Edition of Friday Night Write : Hope Remains

Sash woke up in a bed. A real bed. With sheets. And blankets. And pillows. Something was wrong. She never woke up in a bed. She remembered passing out on the park bench. And she had passed out. The fix had worked. Made her feel happy. Made her relax. Made her forget the pain of her life.

She sometimes wondered why she just didn’t die.

But now, she was in a bed. She sat up, and moved the covers down to her waist. She was dressed. In flannel pajamas. And those pajamas felt good. Warm. Clean.

My god, she was clean. Her hair was clean. Her face, her neck, shoulders. All of her was clean. She didn’t remember taking a bath. Or a shower. She didn’t remember anything. She didn’t have any idea at all where she was.

She got out of the bed. Found slippers next to it. Soft and fuzzy. She put her feet in them. Decided to keep them on. She walked around the room she was in. There was a window, with curtains, on one side of the room. Sunlight was coming through the curtains. She walked to the window, pulled the curtain aside, and looked out.

Outside, there was grass. And trees. And a garden. With flowers. She found herself staring at the flowers. They were so beautiful. There was no place like that in the city. No place at all.

Where the hell was she?

There was a knock on the door. Followed by a voice, “Miss Sash?”

She answered, “Yes.”

“May I come in?”


The door opened. It was a woman. Maybe in her early 40s. “I’m glad to see you’re awake. Would you like something to eat?”

At first, Sash wanted to scream, “Yes!” Food sounded so good. She couldn’t remember her last real meal. But, she caught herself. And took a more cautious approach. “Who are you?”

The woman smiled. It was a disarming smile. “I’m Cynthia. I work for Mr Harland. This,” she looked around the room, “is Mr. Harland’s home.”


“Yes, Miss Sash. Harland. The owner of Harland Enterprises.” Cynthia smiled. “You are wondering why you are here, no doubt.” Then Cynthia had started toward the door of the room, “I’ll let Mr. Harland answer all of your questions. He is expecting you. Please follow me.”

Sash thought she was dreaming.She’d heard stories about Mr. Harland. How people living on the street would one day vanish, showing up a year or two later. Completely different.

Cynthia was speaking as she led Sash through the halls of Mr. Harland’s home. “Mr. Harland makes it his personal work to find lost spirits. Wounded souls. Broken hearts. And give them a second chance. All of us that work here were once lost, like you, Miss Sash. Mr. Harland found us. One at a time. And brought us here, so he could show us that hope remains.”

Captain Of A Shipwreck

I’m trying my hand at another Flash Fiction challenge. This one is the #FridayNightWrite, hosted at Sweet Banana Ink. This is my entry…

She stopped at my desk one day, an hour before lunch. “Walk with me.” She didn’t ask. She knew I would. I remember so clearly the tone of her voice. The tension in it. The fear. The confusion. I took a good look into her eyes. The pretty blue that I normally saw was gone. Replaced by an intense, panic-stricken blue.

I got up, and took a walk with her. Would have gone anywhere she asked. My heart told me too. Told me something was horribly wrong. We walked through the halls of the building. A path we’d walked before. No one watching us would have thought anything was wrong. Somehow, I knew that’s what she wanted.

I opened the door to the stairs, and let her through. Then followed. As we walked down the stairs, she told me what was wrong. “That doctor’s appointment, Friday? That was a mammogram. I got the results last night.” She stopped walking and held on to the stair rail. She closed her eyes, briefly, and took a breath. “It’s breast cancer.”

I stood there, next to her. On the stairs. “I knew something was wrong. When you told me you were going to the doctor’s on Friday, everything went black.”

“I’m scared,” She resumed our descent down the stairs. “Really scared.”

I didn’t say anything. She knew how I felt. Knew I considered her to be my friend. I understood she was trusting me with information she didn’t want others to know. As we reached the foot of the stairs, she paused again. “I need you here. I need you to be here. For me. Can you be here? For me?”

If I were a knight on a horse, I would have drawn my sword, and fought any dragon she asked me to. If she was surrounded by a fire, I would have burned in the flames, trying to rescue her. If she were the captain of a sinking ship, I would have put her on the last lifeboat, in my place.

I was none of those things. I was just me. Another person she worked with five days a week. A friend who took pictures of flowers and shared them with her. Someone that tried to write poetry every now and then. She always asked to read everything I wrote.


There was nothing else I could have said.

I wish I could tell you how things ended. I wish I could tell you how she’s doing. That it all worked out OK. That I walked through hell with her. But I can’t. The simple truth is 12 weeks after her first surgery, I was sent out on medical leave. All contact between myself, and the people I worked with was banned. That was two years ago. And in that two years, I have never heard from any of the people that I used to know.