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

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 253 : We Have To Move Fast

Finding Michelle’s desk was easy. It was the one people stopped by regularly, for opposing reasons. Bill stopped by when he got to work, and put a rose on what had been her desk. A pretty rose with canary yellow petals that had lipstick red edges.

Mary and Marvin stopped as they walked past. Mary shook her head. Marvin threw the rose in the waste can.

And so it went. Some people paused, quietly shook their heads. Others nodded. Thomas even whispered, “you got what you deserved.”

The people who worked in the desks around Michelle’s were just as two sided. Lilly, took two naproxen pills, washed them down with root beer, closed her eyes, and whispered, “I miss you. And I hate the way people are behaving.”

Becky took a photocopy of Michelle’s picture and stabbed holes in the eyes, until the eyes were gone. Then, she put the picture in a folder with other copies of the same picture, all of which were mutilated, and started to work.

Joey has a picture on his cube wall that said it all. A bar, with a woman at it, and a man. And the word bubble above the man read, “We should shoot all the transgender people. Problem solved.”

So it went. From desk to desk. Person to person. Except in the Human Resources office, where Ginger worked. She was on the phone. “We have to move fast. I have a bad feeling about this.”

(to be continued).

248 Words
I’m not on Twitter.

This is part 6 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 253 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

#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

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.

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.