Like the Song Says, “Money, Money, Money!”

I’m watching, again tonight, as the chronic pain patients go nuts. Not that I blame them. But I have been monitoring things, and I’ve yet to see any of them identify the actual cause of all the chaos.

Money.

That is the driving problem behind what’s happening with the doctors, and with the government. Money. As yielded by the insurance companies, and the drug makers. Here. This is what I’m trying to say. And this is the tip of the iceberg.

https://www.wbur.org/commonhealth/2018/11/14/opioid-state-costs-mtf

Another example?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5975355/

And, in the ongoing conflict with the chronic pain patients, and the medical community, this topic is somehow completely missing. I find that fascinating in a capitalistic society that follows the rules of supply and demand. Let’s be blunt here. Opioids, right now, cost oceans of money. It’s not that there’s no supply. It’s that there’s oceans of demand. It’s that demand is skyrocketing, far outstripping the ability to make it, and that drives the price up, like a rocket was tied to it.

I’m not against the chronic pain people. I’m not. I support them in their arguments. But, until they target the actual cause of this entire fiasco, nothing will change.

Money, money, money. When the cost becomes as visible as the opioid costs have become, that’s when all hell breaks loose.

Ford and GM are making money right now. The result? If they close down sedan manufacturing, and bump up trucks and SUVs, that makes more money. Yes, people get laid off. Yes, plants get closed. Yes, local economies take it in the shorts. But, none of that matters, because the money shows it’s the right thing to do. The money matters.

Further. Why do GM and Ford not have such a good track record on electric vehicles? Again. The money. The cost to become competitive in a new market is absurd. And. The new market size is a mystery right now. No one knows when the electric cars will take over. No one knows if Uber and Lyft, and others will result in the end of private vehicle ownership on a monstrous scale. No one knows if autonomous vehicles will take off, or when. And you literally can’t afford to invest in all of it, and pray you get your investments back.

That’s the free market thing again.

So, here we are with the “opioid crisis”. And no one’s talking about the driving force that is money. Businesses: Hi, I’m having people call out sick, ’cause they’re in no pain from abusing these drugs. Hospitals: Hi, we’re having people call out sick from abusing these drugs. The list goes on and on. It’s NOT pain patients that are the problem. It’s the money that’s the problem.

And the reason the money is a problem is because humans are not machines. And we live in a society where we have to be machines. And the number of people who find self medication methods to cope with the stress caused by such insanity is what’s driving the problem. And the problem’s grown large enough now that it’s become visible from a money perspective. And that’s where it all goes nuts.

So, the money is now taking actions to regain control of the spending, so the filthy rich can become more filthy rich. Or, as the old saying goes, “Money can be the root of all kinds of evil.” If you dig down to find the cause, sure enough, it’s humans doing what they have to do to preserve, and increase, the money they have.

 

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/01/13

NOTE: Before reading further, be aware of the following. The content of this story may not be appropriate for everyone, and discusses sexual behavior.


Jacki stayed there, on the wooden floor, aching all over. The only thing she could do, really, was pull her knees up, and maybe raise her head. The team had removed all the rope, and gotten her down, quickly. She appreciated that. They’d get paid too, she knew that. The studio would make sure they got plenty of cash for taking care of her, and helping produce the pictures and the video.

That’s what it was all about, she knew that. Nothing personal. Nothing she wanted to do. It was all about the cash. “Men will buy anything, they can get their rocks off to it.”

After a few minutes, she tried to sit up. One of the crew offered to help, but she declined. “Not ready yet.” She rested on the floor a bit longer, and tried again. The second time, she made it up. Her toes and the bottoms of her feet felt like a million little needles were being stuck into them, but she knew it was only the return of her blood flow to them. Normal circulation, returning to her body.

She looked at her wrists. No broken skin, or visible signs of bruising. They’d done a good job. She checked her legs and ankles. Plenty of tracks where the rope had been, where it’s had held her motionless, and helpless, hanging in the air.

First thing she needed was to reach her dressing room, where she could use mouthwash, brush her teeth, and get a long, hot shower. She wouldn’t look at any pictures or videos until the next day, she was too exhausted to deal with them today.

One of the crew offered her a bath robe. She smiled, nodded, and wrapped herself in it. It was nice of him to hold his distance, and not help her get into it. At that moment she felt she’d had enough contact with men to last her for months. She walked, slowly, and barefoot, through the chaos of the studio to her dressing room.

She started with mouthwash to kill the taste, and then brushed her teeth several times. She used the mouthwash once again, because she liked it’s taste better than the toothpastes, both of which were miles ahead of the slime she’d had to consume on the set. She wondered, “Do men really think we like doing that?”

The hot water in the shower was perfect. Everywhere it touched her, her skin let out an, “Ahhh…” She used soap everywhere, made piles of lather, then rinsed off. Then soaped up two more times before she felt clean. Then, she stood under the water, and let its heat soak into her.

It took time, but she needed to take time. Already she was doing the math. This was going to be her most lucrative production yet. She knew it. The studio knew it. The crew knew it. One that would never show up in a movie theater. Pictures that would never be in a tabletop book. But, that was OK.

She’d make a fortune.

Jackie got dressed, jeans, and an old flannel shirt. Her favorite. The socks felt great as she pulled them on, they came almost to her knees. Then, her favorite pair of sneakers. The ones with the holes on the side, so her toes were cooler in them.

She ran her fingers through her hair, de-tangled it, and brushed it back. Then, pulled on her favorite jacket, the one with the hood that she never seemed to wear. It was dinner time. She was hungry. “A nice sandwich from the sub shop on the way home. That’s what I need. And the biggest damn soda they sell.” She paused, looked in the mirror, and smiled, “And don’t forget the cookies. Those are the best part.”

Jackie left the studio, and went to the sub shop, where she picked up her dinner, and headed home. Along the say, she thought once more about how many men would spend oceans of money to get more pictures and more videos of her being screwed by other men. Men you never got to see the faces of. Because. If you couldn’t see their faces, you could pretend it was you.

It was the best paying job she could ever have had. Another couple of years, and she could retire, and never have to work again.

“I know. I know. Not all men.” Jackie watched the road as she drove, “But it’s more men than anyone admits. And I wonder how many of them are church pastors, or store managers, or that nice man that’s such a gentleman.”

It was OK. Let them be slimes. As long as she got paid, and paid well, she was OK with that.

817 words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 89 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. I never know what the picture will cause me to write. I get an idea, and have to let the words happen. This week, these words showed up.

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.

 

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/02/11 (A Second Entry)

November stood, half naked, in the pentagram inside the circle on her apartment floor. “Judgement day.” That’s what she called it. The day she set old fashioned, biblical demons free, so they could, and hopefully would, destroy the world of humans. Her world.

A world of money. Of power. Of greed. A world where no one believed in peace, and cooperation, and working with each other. Where it was always, “I’m gonna be the best!” No matter who you had to step on. A world where no matter what you did, you were always forgiven on Sunday, when you went to church.

She took the knife, and drew its blade across her wrist, as she thought the words she’d learned over so many years. Words in a language long lost to civilized people. A language from before the days of one God.

“One God my ass,” she thought again, “If there’s only one, how come all the religions that worship that one God are at war with each other? How come they hate each other’s guts?”

She remembered the headlines of the past few days. “73 Dead and over 400 Injured in Mass Shooting in Des Moines.” Iowa, of all places. “Temperatures Set New Record Highs,” For the 20th straight year. “Robots in Saudi Arabia Failing From The Heat, Oil Prices Going Up Again!”

“It never ends. Men, and money. That’s all that matters. Men and money.” She had watched her best friend, Josie, waste away in her apartment. Neither of them had the money for the medicine that would have kept her alive. They hadn’t been able to raise enough on the crowdfunding sites either. Josie slowly died. It started as the flu, and grew from there. Until she coughed up blood. And more blood. And her lungs slowly filled with that blood. And she died.

Because. Medicine was for real people. People who had jobs. People who contributed to society. Not freeloaders. Not lazy, good-for-nothing people. Didn’t matter that Josie worked 39 hours a week at the office, until she fell over, and blood leaked from her mouth onto her desk. And they sent her home. With a pink slip. She’d been part time. It was a “right to work” place. They could fire her for no reason. And they did.

And with no insurance, the prescriptions ate up all the money. All of it.

November still cried when she thought of Josie. “I’ll see you soon, love. I’ll see you soon.”

She watched her blood drip onto the brooch on her necklace. Her thoughts kept echoing the words she’d learned. Their plea to the gods of old to return, and save Mother Earth, Gaia, from humankind, and it’s never ending destruction. To burn the water, and the sky, with cleansing fire. To melt the ground, and watch it sink into the oceans, so new ground could be made. New, clean ground, unspoiled by humankind.

She remembered the time her father. Yes, her father, had come into her room one night. She was just a girl. Just twelve. How her father forced himself on her. Shoved himself between her legs. How that was just the start of years of hell, as she tried to find a way, any way, to escape him. Until she finally started walking one day. And kept walking. So he couldn’t find her.

She remembered her nights on the street. Cold. Hungry. And the men. God, the men. “Come here, little girl. I’ll keep you warm.” How she’d thought of fighting them. Of telling them no. Of running away. Until she saw the two naked girls, hanging from a street light. “This is what we do to those who fight back.” That’s what they told her. That’s what they said.

So, there she was, calling forth the old gods. They’d kill her, of course. She knew that. She was human, after all. But it didn’t matter. She’d be free from the world of men. A world that killed everything.

As she finished the words in her mind, and her blood dripped on the brooch, the brooch began to glow. She moved it behind her back. Pressed it to her skin. It burned. But it worked. The room began to fill with water. The door to her apartment burned to dust, the frame caught fire. And beyond, the darkness, filled with black clouds, was growing.

“May there be peace on Gaia once again. After the stain of humanity has been burned away.” That was the last thing she remembered, as the world caught fire, and the sky began to burn.

762 words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 41st week. The picture was so good, I had to write for it a second time. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Never felt the need to write a second entry before. But this week, with that picture, I had more than one story to set free. 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.

#MWBB Week 2.44 – Wake Up In New York

The electric scream of the alarm clock shattered my sleep at 4 AM. The timers automatically turned on the lights in the room, forcing my eyes to snap shut. At 4 AM in New York, it’s still dark. I took a deep breath, opened my eyes, tossed aside the blankets, and rolled out of bed.

“Time to get ready for work!”

Work. The same damn thing as always. In the same building as always. With the same people. The same problems. The same lunches.

I wanted to go back to sleep. Fall into bed, bury myself under the blankets, and wake up when I woke up. But, that wasn’t life. That wasn’t grown up. Mature. Responsible. I pushed my body into motion. Got my shower, shaved, got dressed.

The sofa called as I walked past, “Come! Lie down. Stretch out. Relax.” But, I had bills to pay, rent, car, heat, water, electricity, phone. Hell, the damned phone was over $100 a month. I moved past it, ignored it, ignored the cry of my legs, “Let us rest!” I pushed on to the kitchen.

My usual breakfast. Three frozen sausage links, two frozen waffles, one banana, and a can of Amp. Aptly named, Amp. The solid food gave me protein and carbs to get me through to lunch. The Amp kick started me, got me out of the house and to work. I tossed the empty can in the recycling bin and shook my head to clear the cobwebs from my brain.

New York, the big apple, land of money, money, money. Land of the punched clock, unpaid overtime, unused vacation sold back to the company. New York, where nothing ever stopped. Where I got up every morning, before the sun, and pushed myself to work, along with millions of others. Where I worked long past sunset, then staggered home to eat another fast food meal picked up on the way. So I could crash, just in time for the alarm to shatter my sleep at 4 AM the next day. So I could do it all over again. And again.

I took her picture down months ago. She left, said I didn’t love her anymore. Said I loved my work more than her. She walked out with a suitcase, never came back.

She was right, you know. The job was all I was. All I did. Hell, I didn’t even dream at night. Except for nightmares, when I was at work, and the building got hit by a plane, or a bomb went off, or someone went bat shit crazy and shot everyone, like that guy in that movie theater in Colorado did one time.

It was time to go to work. I left my apartment, pulled the door shut behind me, I didn’t look back. If I looked back, I remembered.

Her.

I didn’t want to remember. I didn’t have time to remember. I had to get to work. I was a grown up. Responsible. Mature. I didn’t have time to remember.

Her.

500 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for Year 2, Week 44 (Week 2.44) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. This week the prompt is the song, “Wake Up In New York” by Craig Armstrong and Evan Dando. Please, go read the other stories in this week’s challenge.

#MWBB Week 2.27 : A Tale Of Greed – Waiting On A Dream

It was 3 AM on a Monday morning. The sun wouldn’t be up for nearly 3 hours, but Beverly was wide awake. She listened carefully to Lawrence as he snored to make certain he was sleeping. Once she knew he was in dreamland, she slipped out of bed, pulled on a robe and house shoes, and slipped out of the bedroom.

“Thank God the bastard’s asleep,” she headed toward the shower. She closed the door to the room, locked it, slipped off the house shoes, then let the robe slip off her shoulders to the ground. She studied herself in the mirror. Her breasts were still good, not sagging yet. Her stomach was still flat. Even after the two kids. Her legs were still lean, no dimples of fat, not muscle-bound.

“I’m still a sexy bitch,” she smiled. “Gotta stay that way.”

She turned on the shower, turned the hot water up, she wanted a hot shower to wash away the feel and smell of him. The more soap, the more suds, the better. “The things I have to put up with.” She wished she could wash him out of her brain cells, her memories. Instead, she had to deal with the memory of having sex with him.

Sex she didn’t want to have. God, it was awful to suck him off. Awful to let him get behind her, and bang away. Awful to have to moan, and groan, and pretend it turned her on.

The hot water felt good on the back of her neck and shoulders. She tipped her head back, into the water, let it soak into her hair. Her favorite shampoo made such a rich lather. It cleaned her hair so thoroughly, left it feeling so alive. As she washed the lather out, she held her head under the running water, let it flow down her back.

“Another day I’ll take a nap while the kids are at school, and he’s at work.”

Him at work. That’s what it was all about. Keeping him happy. Keeping him at work. Keeping him making money. The more money, the better. Beverly needed money to buy the things she wanted. Her phone, her car, her clothes. It all cost money.

And he made plenty of it.

She’d worked hard to find him. Harder to get him to marry her. Harder to keep him. All she wanted, really, was his money. She didn’t really want him. Or his offspring. Boys. Brats. Just like their father.

So, she had to screw him a few times a week? That wasn’t so bad. He always passed out after he finished. She always waited while he made his run to the bathroom where he pissed, then washed himself. “I wish I could wash everything away as easily as he can.”

She checked the clock on the bathroom wall. “Damn.” It was time to dry off, get back in her robe, head downstairs, and start breakfast for fatty and his boys. She knew not to put anything on under the robe. It was all part of keeping him happy. Keeping him at work. Keeping him making money. More money. For her.

It wouldn’t be long before she could afford that dress she wanted. All silk. God, the way it felt when she ran her fingertips across the material in the store. Another month, and she’d have enough to buy it.

As she feared, just inside the front door he had to kiss her goodbye and let his fingers find their way between her legs. “The things I put up with to get what I want,” she thought as visions of that dress danced in her head.

Greed stood in the corner of the room and laughed. He loved every minute of the torture Beverly put herself through every day. Just to collect a few meaningless trinkets. “That old saying’s so true, dear. You can’t take it with you when you die.”

He whispered in Lawrence’s ear, “God, you should really fuck her face tonight.”

Then he laughed for hours, because he knew, Beverly would do whatever it took to get the next item on her list. Why, she’d even sell her soul.

695 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for Year 2, Week 27 (Week 2.27) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.

Money, Money, Money!

There’s that old saying.
“Money is the root of all evil.”
It’s time I quit laughing,
And corrected this one.

First off,
That’s not really what the words
To this saying are.
The saying itself is a quote.
From the Bible.
First Timothy, Chapter 6, Verse 10.
And for those that get picky,
I’ll even use the words
From the King James Version.

For the love of money
Is the root of all evil:
Which while some coveted after,
They have erred from the faith,
And pierced themselves through
With many sorrows.

If you read those words
Carefully.
You can’t help but see
That it is the love of money
That’s the problem.
Not the money itself.

Or,
Phrased another way,
The relentless pursuit of money
Leads to all kinds of evil.

In my own experience
Living in this life,
I’ve learned.
I’ve seen too many times
When the objective of
Getting more and more
Money than you have
Becomes a very
Destructive thing.

There are other words
That better explain
What I’m trying to say.
So I’ll let them speak
For me.

From the book of Exodus,
Chapter 20, verse 3.

You shall have no other gods before me.

If you look
At these two verses
Together.
The make a lot more sense.

It strikes me
That this is a warning.
That God should be God.
And money should not.

I find it disturbing
To see so many people
In this life I’ve had
Whose lives are centered
On just one thing.

Money.

As if money
As become their god.
The thing they worship.
The thing that they believe in.
The thing that matters
To them.

I find it disturbing
To see so many people
That have lost their way.
To the point
Where they don’t seem to care
At all
For the people in their lives.

Instead.
They care about their jobs.
The source of money
In their lives.
And when they feel
That caring for a human being
Could put their income
At risk.
They do what they believe
That they have to do.
To protect their jobs.
And the money
That their job
Bring to them.

I’ve seen too many
Of those very people
That were trapped
In a living hell.
Working ever day
In jobs that they hate.

In jobs where the stresses
That they deal with every day
Causes them headaches.
And frustration.
And the longer that they stay
The greater damage
That they bring
Upon themselves.

They smoke.
They drink.
And so many other things.
To cope with the stress
They live with every day.

Their families
Fall apart.
They get divorced.
And their children
Wonder why they live
In pain and anger
Every day.

All because they’ve made the mistake
Of putting money
At the center of their lives.
So that money
Has become
Their god.

The part that I find saddest
Of all the things I’ve seen
Is how many of those people
Don’t even know
What they’re doing.
To the people around them.
To their children.
And the spouses.

Because the only thing
That matters to them
Is the money that they earn
In the job they have
That’s destroying them.