#ThursThreads Week 161 : Let Them Work Or Starve

“What caused the fall?” I shook my head. “What caused the grand old party to implode? To become irrelevant?”

Everyone in the classroom nodded. “No, Mr. Limbaugh,” Mitt belted out, “Why did we become irrelevant?”

Sometimes, I wondered why I chose to teach our party’s history. It was such a sad tale, with such a violent end.

I took a deep breath, “You read the assignment, didn’t you?”

Sarah belted out, “Of course not! Reading’s dangerous! Fills your head with all sorts of nasty ideas!”

Ted joined in, “I asked Reverend Ronald what he thought.”

Of course none of them had read anything, so, I turned to the board, and drew another cartoon strip. They liked cartoons.

I started with the mass firings caused by automation. Then, I showed our ancestors and their big houses, cars, swimming pools, and all the other things we once had. Next, I showed the peasants outside our fenced off, protected world. Then, I showed the starvation burial grounds. It’s what happened when people couldn’t work. They starved.

I showed Sir Mitch, standing before the board of directors, “If they’re starving, let them find work. It’s not our job to take care of them.” The next frame was of the poster, “Let them work or starve”. The final frame, the rebellion, where the party fell.

Sarah couldn’t help herself, and belted out, “Because people stole all our stuff, and took all the food we’d earned!”

It was good when someone understood.

246 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 151. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

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Van Hook Glade, Saturday, 13 September 2014

I’m sitting in the Scion xB (A 2006 model, so it’s 8 years old) parked at the Western Carolina Farmers Market in Asheville, North Carolina. She’s out there, somewhere, in the chaos. Cars and trucks all over the place, going in all kinds of directions, people milling about.

Did I mention pure chaos and I don’t mix well? I tend to hide in the car when I can. It’s like how I love the beach, but the only beaches I can actually go to at home are the ones at Back Bay NWR, and False Cape State Park. The rest? HUMANS! AIEEE!

Humans are, and I know it, social beings. Even I have some social requirements. I may not really know what they are, but dealing with the chaos of the Farmers Market on a Saturday afternoon is not one of them. If it was, say, Tuesday morning, during a work week, when everyone was at work, and school was in session, and there were much fewer people here, I’d do better.

I’m looking forward to the 7 hour drive home. The math says we’ll get there, and all will be fine. That doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to getting there.

I wonder how much stuff she’ll come back with? I wonder if she’ll find stuff to buy, and then drive the car around to the different places, park at them, and put a case of stuff in the car. How many eggplant does a married couple with kids all grown and out of the house need? An entire case? One of the shipping boxes they ship eggplant to the stores in?

And in 12 minutes, the Chromebook will turn itself off. And I’ll be sitting in the car. With nothing to do. Maybe I’ll bend the rules, turn on the motor, and plug-in the charger, so I can let my fingers and mind wander, and distract myself from the chaos I’m staring into. Maybe I’ll lean back and take a nap.

I don’t hate the place. Really. I don’t. It’s just too much for me to handle. I get overloaded, and end up like a little boy, holding on to mommy’s hand, going, “Don’t leave me alone in this! AIEEE!” I won’t say that, but she knows. It’s a case of I don’t know anyone around me, so I don’t know how they will react to anything. Sort of like a normal person walking into a new job for the first time. Except with me, it happens endlessly, every day, over, and over, and over, forever.

Honestly, if I could, I’d find a cave and move into it, and never come out and deal with the world. Of course, that wouldn’t work, so I keep hanging in there, trying. Look, There’s a blue Nissan Altiima to my right. A gray Toyota Forerunner to my left. Give it a minute, and things will change. A red Jeep Grand Cherokee’s next to the Nissan. It’s loading up. The mom’s cute. She’d make a daughter someone would be proud of. The dad is, well, a guy. Looks like a typical lazy bum. The daughter’s cute as a button. Aren’t they all?

AIEEE! There’s a line of vehicles coming in! AIEEE!

Please let her finish soon, so we can go home.

#MWBB 21 : Further Up The Road

People lie. Even worse, they believe lies. Like that one, “You reap what you sew.” Yeah, right. Let me tell you about Steve.

It started on a Monday night in December. Steve went grocery shopping. Wearing a $75 shirt, $100 pants, a Rolex watch, and $200 shoes. He was on the prowl, looking for a woman. And it didn’t matter which woman, so long as she looked good.

He talked with countless women in the produce department, “How do I pick out the best cantaloupe?” They showed him how to pick it up, smell the end, squeeze it gently, look for yellow color in the rind. In the liquor department, he’d ask women, “What wine do I need to cook my pork chops with?” and “I need the perfect wine to complement my steak.”

That’s when a woman took pity on him, the poor, helpless male, and helped him do his grocery shopping. They stood in the checkout line together, and he helped her put her groceries in her car. “Thank you for the help.”

They exchanged phone numbers. On Wednesday, he called her, “Let me take you to dinner. I want to, as a thank you for your help Monday night.” At dinner, he picked the wine, poured it for her, and asked if it was OK if he called her now and then.

After a few calls, he asked her out on a Friday night. They went to a movie, always one she picked. They talked about the romantic threads through the movie. How it was a love story, and how they loved those stories. When the movie ended, they went to a restaurant, for a light snack, and a couple of drinks. Then he took her home, and gave her a good-night hug and kiss.

He called her more frequently, asked her on more dates. Even a weekend trip to the amusement park, where they rode all the rides, and watched the shows. They spoke of how talented the dancers were.

Steve carefully grew the relationship with her. Finally telling her, “I like you. It’s fun to do things with you, and spend time with you.”

One night, he took her to a concert. Her favorite band was in town. He got tickets, and they watched the show. When the show was over, he took her home, and she asked him to come in. They cuddled on the sofa, watching TV. She kissed him, long and hard. One thing lead to another, and Steve spent the night.

Steve spent many nights with her. Always in her apartment, never in his.

One night, after a glorious round of sex, bringing his and her fantasies to life, she asked him if he would consider moving in with her.

The next day, Steven didn’t even know her name. She called him, but he ignored the calls. She left him messages on his phone, he deleted them all. She sent him text messages, he deleted them. She sent him pictures and he deleted them too. As far as Steve was concerned, he didn’t know her. It didn’t bother him at all if she had a broken heart. If she had emotional scars. If she grew to hate men, and learned to never trust any of them again.

Steve had gotten what he wanted. Steve had gotten laid.

And on Monday, Steve was in a different grocery store. Wearing that same $75 shirt, $100 pants, $200 shoes, and Rolex watch. Trolling for another woman to satiate his hunger.

No one can remember how many times Steve has done this. How many women he’s taken advantage of. How many he’s slept with, and left. He’s a love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of guy. The lie, of course, is that some day, he’ll get what’s coming to him. But that’s never going to happen. I know that. So do all his friends.

The man’s going to break a lot of hearts before he dies. And that won’t ever mean a thing to him.

670 Words
@LurchMunster


My entry, in all its unedited glory, for week 21 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#VisDare 14 : Normalcy

At the end of the walkway over the lake, we came to a set of tiny houses scattered along the shore of the lake. She stopped in front of one. “This is my home.” Inside, we sat down on a sofa, facing a white wall. I heard her in my head, “History. Start before the fall.”

Black and white Images appeared on the wall. “Taran. This is our history. Mine. Yours. everyone’s.” The images were absolutely terrifying. Huge buildings. Miles of them. No grass anywhere. Concrete and asphalt and glass. And people. Thousands upon thousands of them. Some of them had animal slaves, held to them by leashes, wrapped around their necks. Machines on wheels, filled with people were everywhere.

“Our ancestors believed they could do whatever they wanted.”

“But,” I finally spoke, “that’s insane!”

“It was. And it nearly lead to the end of all life on Earth.”


This is the 11th piece in a continuing story I’m working through for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.