#ThursThreads, Week 65 – Nothing Personal, Kid

The two men tied dad up, sat him in a chair, and tied him to it. They did the same thing with Tommy’s dad. One of them came over to me, “Nothing personal, kid. We’re just doing what we’ve been paid to do.”

He turned to the other man, “Are we ready?”


He turned back to me, “Go to your room. Cover your head with a pillow, so you can’t hear anything.”

“What are you going to do?” I was scared. I felt like I was going to throw up. The two men had guns. They wore gloves and masks. They were black from head to toe. I had no idea what they looked like, other than mean.

“We’re going to ask a few questions,” the man answered.

The other man commented, “They might not want to answer. And our job’s to make them answer.”

My dad said, “Go to your room, Bobby. And cover your ears, so you can’t hear anything.” He looked at both the strange men, “It’ll be alright.”

It was one of those rare times when dad lied to me. I knew he was lying. He knew I could tell. I went to my room, and covered my years. I tried so hard not to hear anything.

That was twenty years ago. I can still hear the sounds of those men beating on Dad, and Tommy’s Dad. I can still hear the sounds.

247 Words

I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 65. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.


#5SF : Empty

I looked into my own eyes in the mirror, and wondered. Married with a beautiful wife, and beautiful children. A nearly perfect job, with lots of vacation time, great medical benefits, and great pay. The house, and car, and all the things I’d always wanted. And yet, staring into my own eyes in that mirror, I couldn’t help but see how empty they looked to me.

Here’s my weekly attempt at Lillie McFerrin‘s flash fiction challenge, Five Sentence Fiction. This week, the prompt is Empty.

Please, go read all the other entries to this week’s Five Sentence Fiction. It’s amazing what creative people can do with just five sentences.

He Hides

He hides.
In his home.
Day after day.

She goes to work.
His children are grown,
And gone.
No one’s home.

He stays inside
Most of the time
Never going out
Living alone.

I wonder sometimes
What happened to him?
Was he hurt by something
Or someone?

What’s it like for him
To be that way?
Staying by himself
Each day?

Sometimes I see him
In his yard.
Pulling weeds
From his flower beds.

Sometimes he steps
Outside his house.
And mows the lawn.
And checks the mail.

He almost never speaks
To anyone.
But he always smiles and waves
If you say Hi to him.

I’ve seen him walking
Through the neighborhood.
In the dark.
Before the dawn.

And I wonder
Does he have any friends.
Or is he  always

I know he goes to work
Several days each week.
I’ve asked him about it
When I’ve seen him leaving.

But he never talks about it.
About what he does.
The things that happen
In his work.

He keeps them
To himself.
Just like he lives.

I hear he’s got accounts
On Twitter and Facebook.
His wife told me
He spends too much time on them.

I’ve asked him
About that.
When I saw him working
In his yard.

All he did
Was nod.

When he looks
Into the mirror
Every morning,
He knows something’s wrong.

He knows he’s alone.

He knows he uses Twitter,
And Facebook.
To pretend it’s all OK.
While he keeps people away.

He knows he trusts
No one.
And wonders
If he ever will again.

And every time I see him
In the mirror
Looking back at me.
I know why.

For I can see the scars
Forever painted
On his heart
When it got torn apart.

By a world
He just can’t


A Little Faith

It has occurred to me.
If I am afraid to try.
If I am afraid of life.
Why am I still here?
Why am I slowly reaching for
New things?
Why am I slowly bringing
Dreams to life?

I’ve got a job.
Had it for a year now.
I know
It’s not the best job.
But it’s a good first step
Into a life
I never had.
A life
I denied myself.

A lot of people act
As if the job I have
Is all wrong for me.
That I should have a job
Like the one
I used to have.
Before all this started.
Two years ago.

They don’t know.
They don’t understand.
They see the world
Differently from me.

I didn’t get this job
By sheer dumb luck.
I picked it.
I waited.
And when it was time.
I applied for it.
I chose it.

Because it gives me
What I need
In my life right now.

Time to heal the wounds
In my heart and soul.
Time to change my course
Through life.
Time to write.
Time to dream.
Time to learn new things.

There’s nothing wrong at all
With the job I have right now.
Nothing at all.

I want to write, you know.
I always have.
It’s always been a dream
Of mine.
One that I gave up,
‘Cause everybody knows,
You can’t make a living
Writing stories.

I had to grow up.
Get a real job.
Be an adult.
Not a dreamer.

So here I am.
With the job I know
Most people don’t approve of.
I can almost hear them say,
“It’s sad.
So sad.
What happened to him.
The fall he’s made.
The broken person
He’s become.
He’ll never be the same.”

Just another victim
Of the ways of life.
We’ll leave him behind.
He fell by the wayside.
But the rest of us
Are OK.

I hear those voices.
Hear those thoughts.
And I know them
To be false.

For the truth is something more.
I changed.

I’m not the person
I once was.
I’m me.
The way I’m meant to be.

And with time.
And patience,
I’ll learn
The things I need to learn.
To breathe life
Into the dreams I have.

Step by step.
Day by day.
I’ll find a way
To use the skills I have
To help those around me.

And one day at a time,
I’ll find a way
To write.

I can’t help but feel
I’m on my way.

I just need
To have a little faith
In me.

There Was A Time…

There was a time
When you could say,
“The cat died.
She was with us
13 years.
We had to put her down
Last night.”

And it would be OK
If you didn’t work that day.
If you stayed at home.
With your family.

When did that change?
When did that become
So very wrong?
And why?

There was a time
When you could say,
“My next door neighbor
Has surgery today.
I need to take the time
To help her.
And her family.”

And it would be OK
If you didn’t work that day.
If you visited
The hospital.
Supporting, and caring for
The people who live
In the house next to yours.

When did that change?
When did that become
So very wrong?
And why?

There was a time
When you could say,
“My mother died last night.”

And everyone knew
It was OK
If you didn’t come to work
For several days.
Even a week
Or more.

To take the time
To mourn
The loss
Of the mother
That raised you.

When did that become
So very wrong?
And why?

There was a time
When you could say,
“There was a robbery
Last night.
The family across the street.
I’m going to take some time
And do my best
To help them.”

And it was OK.
Because everyone knew
It was part of being human.
It was simply
The right thing to do.

When did that become
So very wrong?
And why?

There was a time
When you could say,
“I’ll spend a few minutes
Each day I’m here at work,
Talking with this person.
They’re very ill right now.
In chemotherapy.
And I just want to take
Some time every day
To let them know
They aren’t alone.
That I care what happens
To them.”

And it was OK.
Everyone at work
Did the same thing.
Behaved that same way.
And took the time
To say,
“It’s good to see you
If you need something,
Anything at all.
Just ask.”

When did that become
So very wrong?
And why?

Why have people grown
So very cold?
When did life become so harsh
All you can do is say,
“I care for you.”
But you can’t show it
In any way.

When did it become
To place more importance
On neighbors,
And friends,
Human beings,
With hearts and souls,
Than you do on your job?

When did the job you do
Every day
Become so important
That it owns you?

There was a time
Life was not this way.

Why has that changed?
And even more importantly.
Why does everyone accept
That things are the way
They are?