#FinishThatThought Week 2-9 : Problem Solved

I bought the gun because Fred said he’d rather be dead than caught having Sally as a friend.

“What’s wrong with Sally?”

“It was a he. Now, it’s an it.”

At first, I was OK with that. Fred treated her politely when he worked with her. It was when she wasn’t around that things went bad. “I’ll hold it, and walk to the john down the hall, I won’t used that uni-sex thing.” Fred wasn’t the only one. Heads all over the room nodded in agreement, and said, “Damn right!”

Poor Sally. I was the only person who’d go to lunch with her. No one invited her. Fred said, “I don’t want it sitting at my lunch table!”

“It’s a person, Fred! Her name’s Sally!”

He laughed at me, “You’re an idiot.”

So, I took Sally to lunch.

“How can you be friends with that?”

“She’s nice, and kind. Not like you.”

“You’re going to have to decide. You’re one of us, or you’re not.”

So, Fred stopped working with me. And so did the rest of them. Hell, Birthday cards, Get Well cards, all that, they stopped letting me sign them. They didn’t let Sally sign them either. “How can you be friends with that?”

“How can you be such a bastard?”

Then he started quoting the Bible. “You associate with sinners!”

“And you’re not a sinner?”

“I’m a Christian!”

What got me was last week. When Sally walked across the parking lot to her car. She never got there. No one knows who it was that jumped her. They beat her up. Put her in the hospital. And Fred? “It was only a matter of time until someone did that.”

And the rest of them agreed. “Yeah. Cleaning the defective ones out. Getting rid of ‘em.”

“Yeah. It’s lucky they didn’t shoot it.”

“One gun, and the problem’s solved.”

That comments stuck with me. “Clean the defective ones out,” and “One gun and the problem’s solved.” Yeah. It was time to start doing that. Time to start solving problems. So, I bought the gun. And several clips. And filled them all. They all fit in my lunch box. No one knew. Until I pulled that sucker out.

And shot Fred in the head.

And then shot everyone I could.

I gave Fred his wish. He doesn’t have to like Sally. None of them do.

And now, none of them can hurt her anymore.

Problem solved. They won’t be hurting Sally again.

413 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Week 2-9 (Year 2, week 9) of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

#FinishThatThought Week 2-7 : Two Vials

Two vials lay before me, the fate of humanity rested in my hands. I stared across the room, at the wall of computers, and the black dragon. It wasn’t a real dragon, like from fantasy books. It was a robot. The most advanced robot ever produced.

I was about to bring that robot to life. All I had to do was drink the contents of the red vial, and then connect the cable to the port on the back of my head. That would duplicate all my neural pathways in the dragons neural network, and I’d become the dragon.

If I drank the contents of the blue vial, I’d join my great-granddaughter beyond the veil of life.

I remembered my great-granddaughter. She’d been three, with curly red hair, and neon blue eyes. she was the love of my life, the last joy I’d ever known. On the day she was born, all the money in the world became meaningless.

On the day she died, I knew I’d extract the life from those who’d caused her death. They’d tried to kill me. They’d missed. I watched her race ahead of me, “Come on, Gray-Ganpa! Run!” She’d reached the car and pulled the door handle.

And she was gone.

It took ten days for me to wake up. I’d promised her no one would die that way again. I’d promised her I’d find those who killed her. But, I was too old. And too injured. And I was going to die. Six months, or six weeks, no one knew.

I made a plan. Money didn’t matter. I had more money than I’d ever need. I bought the best. And had the dragon put together. I pretended I was doing something good. Providing a way for people to live almost forever. To escape the bounds of their mortal bodies, by copying their essence into the computers in robots.

I’d be the first. A human heart and soul moved into a robot made of replaceable, repairable, upgradable parts. As long as I could afford to repair myself, I’d keep living. And I’d have the chance to bring death to those who’d brought it to my great-granddaughter.

I would change all the rules of life and death.

I drank from the red, and reached for the plug. I would become a dragon. And change everything.

Revenge would be mine.

395 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Week 2-7 (Year 2, week 7) of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

#FlashFriday – Vol 2 – 36 : The Emissary

Jacob watched the lightning light up the sky as the thunder rocked the canyon walls. He knew the river raged along the canyon floor and once more stripped his wife’s flower garden from the ground.

The Embassy cut into the rock of the canyon wall. The only access was by air, to the small helipad a hundred feet above him. It was one of the concessions the Dragons had made with people, to save the human race, and all life on the planet.

Briefly, the thunders voice became more of a roar. He knew the Dragon emissary was near. His eyes spotted the black dragon as it drifted effortlessly through the dangerous air currents the storm caused. The Dragon effortlessly landed on the balcony. “Greetings, Jacob.”

“Greetings.”

“I am afraid, my friend, your spouse will have to replant her garden.”

“Indeed,” Jacob smiled, “Let’s walk.” It was time for the weekly meeting between Dragon and man to begin.

158 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Volume 2  Week 36 (Vol 2 – 36) of FlashFriday! Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.


Robin Williams Has Gone Home.

Things started off normal enough. CNN had a banner headline across the bottom of it’s feed that announced the breaking news was Robin Williams was dead at 63.

We were in the Jersey Mike’s Sub Shop. I couldn’t hear the news, the volume was off. All I got was the headlines, and any text on the screen. But that was enough. I knew, reading the words on the screen, all hell was about to break loose.

See. I knew how people would react to the news.

Just like I knew, in a few days, or maybe a week or two, the thing would blow over, and nothing would change. That’s how life is. That’s how people are. Things don’t change until there’s a reason for them to change.

Let me say that another way. If it was your spouse or lover that had ended their life, you’d change. But, because it was someone you only knew from a movie screen, or a TV screen, that wouldn’t change a thing. You’d say, “That’s too bad.” Then, “People should get the help they need. It’s there. They just have to ask.” Then, you wouldn’t say a thing, ‘cause it wouldn’t matter anymore.

Just like donating platelets or blood. If you best friend gets cancer, you’ll consider it. But only while they’re in Chemotherapy.

Did I mention I hate people?

I hate people.

I hate more, knowing that nothing will change. That time will pass, and another big name will commit suicide, and we’ll all go through these same motions again. And again. And again. And nothing will change.

It never has.

History’s littered with suicides of depressed, different people. Big names. Freddy Prinze. Curt Cobain. Robin Williams. Jimmy Hendrix (yes, a drug overdose is the same thing). You can name them yourself.

The first person that tells me how selfish those people were to kill themselves, or that they took the easy way out, I’m going to push all their teeth down their throat in one brutal move. All that shows is you’re stupid, and don’t understand a God damned thing, and don’t want to. You’re just being “social” and behaving according to some mythical rule set that we’re all supposed to follow.

See. I’m autistic.

That fucking rule set you can’t live without doesn’t exist to me. And I see stupid behavior everywhere I look. Every day. That’s why I’m in therapy. Not because I’m fucked up. But because the world’s fucked up, and I have to live in it.

I particularly love the commentary along the lines of, “If you’re contemplating suicide, get help! Talk to someone!” Helpful words. Like saying, “Here’s a cup of water. Hope you can put out the fire with it.”

Yes, if you haven’t noticed, I’m rather emotional on this topic.

Robin Williams escaped the hell he was in. And the first person that tells me it’s too bad he took his own life, and so he’s going to hell, I’m going to send that person straight to hell myself. Because you understand nothing. Nothing at all. Except what you WANT to understand.

Robin Williams escaped the hell he was in. A hell he never made. Do you think he caused his depression? Do you think he elected to be depressed? Do you think he elected to have no one to talk to? Do you think he elected to live where he lived, alone, or nearly so? Do you think he didn’t talk to anyone? That he didn’t seek help?

He did all those things. That you can’t understand why he ended his pain, and misery, and turned from the nightmare he saw everywhere, everyday, isn’t his fault. That you wonder why he ended his life indicates you’re part of the problem. Part of the reason 38,000+ people end their lives every year.

Find someone to talk to. OK. I did. I found a handful of people to talk to. Then, on October 11th, 2010, they told me I was not allowed in the same workplace as them. Then, on October 25th, 2010, they told me I was to not talk with any of them, even through smoke signals. No contact.

The people I needed. The ones I’d found to help me through my depression. Turned and walked away.

So shut the fuck up about this shit of, “Fiind someone to talk to.” Be honest about what the fuck you’re saying. You’re not saying find someone to talk to. You’re saying, “Send yourself to a psych ward, and talk to a bunch of clinical analysts, and other freakazoids like yourself, and when you’re normal, like us, maybe we’ll talk with you. But don’t bet on it.”

Think about that a while. Because that’s what your world tried to do to me.

What does it mean, what does it say, about the world, when the world says, “Find someone to talk to,” and doesn’t say, “So long as it’s not me. Leave me out of your disturbing shit. I don’t want to get involved. And quit disrupting my harmony! Go the fuck away!”

Because, let’s be honest here, that’s what our social system actually says. What it actually does. It’s like the prayer game. You know. Where everyone says, “I’ll pray for you,” and that’s all they do for you when you need help. “I’ll pray for you, and beyond that, go jump off a fucking cliff, ‘cause I’m not getting involved!”

Did I mention I hate people?

I hate people.

You want to know why Robin Williams killed himself? Because he saw things as they really, truly are. He saw past the lies our social system tells. He saw the misery our social system inflicts on people, especially people who are different.

See. Different equals disruptive. Knowledge equals disruptive. Independence equals disruptive. And we’ll remove anything disruptive from our social system, so it won’t gum up the works. As the song says, “Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls, it’s a mixed up, shook up, fucked up world. Except for Lola.”

You close your eyes. You pretend the world is OK. You imagine our society is functional. You pretend it’s sad when someone decided they’ve had enough, and leave. You get pissed off when they leave.

You get pissed off because you can’t. You’re still here. In a world you never made.

Shut the fuck up about all this. Nothing’s going to change. Don’t pretend it will. And if you pretend it will, then don’t get pissed off at me for recognizing it won’t. And look back, in a year or two, and see how things have changed because of this.

And yes. In case you’re wondering. I’ve donated platelets over 70 times now. And there will be more donations in my future. And Gina A Baker is long past her chemo therapy. Of course, for all I know, she could be dead. She’s one of the few friends I had that ordered me to go away on 10/25/2010. And I haven’t heard from her since.

Because.

I was disruptive.

And you know. We can’t have that shit in the working world. We can’t have that shit at all.

Mark.

#FinishThatThought Week 2-5 : Slipping Away

She whispered, “I forgive you,” as her hand slipped out of mine.

It was a lie. We both knew that. She remembered everything I’d done. Whatever it was I’d done. It was funny how I never knew what I’d done. I always said something, did something, wrote something, that brought an end to a friendship, or job. Something that forced me to leave another club, another church, another gym, another whatever.

With me, everything ended.

I never knew why.

But I knew people. I knew what they were going to do. What they were thinking. What they were feeling. I had to. It was what kept me alive.

I looked squarely in her eyes and studied their color. I saw the bottled rage hidden behind the façade of tenderness and caring. I saw the tension at the back of her jaw line. Subtle, covered over, disguised, so most would never see it. The nearly invisible lines to the sides of her eyes, caused by stress.

She was putting on her best face. Acting polite, caring, and forgiving.

I replayed what happened in my memory. I heard every word I’d said. I watched her listen. I watched her stand once more. I watched her stomp her left foot, one time. I heard her say, “Really?” And I watched her walk out of the room.

I knew every word I’d said. “They’re all like. Inside. Beneath the surface. Like cars. Pull off the decorations, the bumpers, the paint, the fenders, the seats, and all the cars become an engine with a drivetrain. That’s how they’re all alike.”

“They think the same. They laugh at the same things. They eat at the same places, and they eat the same things. They vote the same every election.” I’d looked into her hazel eyes, “I can tell you who they voted for. Every last one of them. And none of them told me.”

“You don’t mean that.” Her words echoed in my memory. “You don’t mean that.”

“Yes. Yes, I do. Because it’s true. And you know it.”

That’s when she’d stood up, and left. “Really?” It had been an accusation. Not a threat, not a question. An accusation. I’d never seen it coming. Her reaction was a surprise. I’d stood, unmoving, like a statue, for ten minutes. I’m not sure I’d even breathed. I didn’t move, as I wrestled with myself, in my head, trying to grasp what had happened. What I’d done, what I’d said, how I’d said it, that elicited such an angry, harsh response from her.

I had no clue.

The only option I’d had was to apologize for the words I’d said, and bury what I felt, what I thought, what I believed, inside, where no one could see it again, and hope she accepted my apology.

She hadn’t. Everything I saw when I looked at her told me that.

Another friend. Slipping away again. Soon, she would be gone. And I would be like always.

Alone.

497  Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Week 2-5 (Year 2, week 5) of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

Send In The UCAVs

Everyone in New York City was dead. Same for Buffalo, Newark, Philly, Groton, Newport, Boston, Baltimore, and all the others in the northeast US. From Main, to the Eastern Shore, as far west as Pittsburg, the virus was everywhere. It spread through human saliva. No one knew how it started. Everyone knew how it spread. Nearly ⅓ of the country was dead.

“You sure we can pull this off?”

“Yes, sir!” I could have asked if he needed personal coaching and critiquing by Miranda Kate. But I don’t speak that way to my CO. We were safe, sitting 20 miles east of Breezy Point, on the US Zumwalt. “At least we don’t need pilots.” That was the good thing. We weren’t putting lives at risk.

He nodded, his nervous smile, and solid voice projected the air of confidence. We weren’t going to kill people to complete our mission. Unless the virus had a cure.

“The ‘scouts ready?”

“Yes, sir.”

Every Fire Scout on board was prepped for flight at 50 feet altitude, into Manhattan. We had orders from Cheyenne. They called it the Dead Sea Games. I still wasn’t used to the capital being in Wyoming, but it was the safest place in the US. Certainly safer than DC. DC was in the kill zone.

“All eight courses are mapped. The scouts will do their jobs.” Yeah. Destroy eight power stations in the New York City area, without risking human life, and along the way, kill any of the infected they encountered. Send in the UCAVs to kill the infected.

The infected. Better than calling them the walking dead or zombies. Certainly better than citizens, humans, friends, neighbors, men, women, and children. The infected. A name. A label. So we wouldn’t feel anything about blowing them to bits, or filling them full of holes.

The captain spoke into his radio, “‘Hawks staged yet?”

That was the other part of our orders. Blow up everything that floated in Hudson Bay. Sink it all. So nothing could take to the water.

“The Dead Sea Games are a go, Captain.”

“Time to kickstart the zombie apocalypse by publishing the Dead Sea Games,” the captain spoke calmly into his mic. “Launch ‘em. Launch ‘em all.”

We did. in a giant ball of smoke and fire, as the flat packs on the fore and aft decks emptied their contents. 130 missiles, launched in seconds. I’d never seen that. It was an overwhelming display of power. Raw power.

“Send in the UCAVs, Lieutenant. Time to go hunting.”

I spoke into my mic, “Scouts, go.”

Autonomous helicopters, and GPS guided missiles. We’d just killed thousands of the Infected, and hadn’t risked a human life. Everyone had always thought the Zombie Apocalypse was going to end the human race. It wasn’t. Our robot children would protect us.

As the Scouts disappeared over the horizon, I couldn’t help but say, “Good bye, New York. Wish I could have visited you at least once.”

492 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Zombie Mechanics 2014 Zombie Apocalypse Flash Fiction Contest. It’s just one of a host of Zombie Tales. Please, go read the others, and please, leave comments for the writers, letting them know how you feel about their carefully crafted words.

You can find the other stories here:

Zombie Mechanics Zombie Apocalypse Flash Fiction Contest 2014

I Never Told Anyone

Today, at psychotherapy, I finally said something I’ve never said. And it’s something I need to get into the open. So, I’m going to put it here. My doctor said this is one of those things that older far beyond my years, and certainly was beyond my years when I said it the first time.

I can’t remember if I was in 6th or 7th grade. Yeah. That long ago. Dad had just finished a big project at his work, and I got to see the finished document he’d written. It was a stack of paper, notebook sized, a good inch and a half thick, maybe two. He was proud of it, and I knew to write something that size took a lot of time and effort.

But I heard my thoughts back then. It was years before I finished burying them. Back then, I’d just started burying things. And that day, I heard my terrified thoughts. The work he’d shared didn’t terrify me. Neither did his pride in having completed that work. No. What terrified me was what I saw in him, and the people he worked with.

They were all practically dead. In lives that didn’t change. On career paths. However you wish to define it. Every aspect of their lives matched a plan each of them had made years, perhaps decades, earlier. Many of them were in their 30s. As I watched them, I knew they would never really change. Never really do anything other than what they were already doing.

They’d stopped growing. Stopped changing. Stopped learning. Stopped exploring. They’d grown up, and there was no room in their lives for such childish pursuits. They had responsibilities.

If someone was a Marine, he’d stay a Marine. If Navy, they’d stay Navy. If civilian contractor, or civil servant, they’d always be that. If someone was an administrative assistant, they’d always be assisting someone.

It was the first time I understood how life in our social system worked. That’s what terrified me. And I heard my mind, screaming, “I’m not going to be dead at 30! I’m not going to be like them!”

Of course, I can say this all I want. I can share it. I can talk about it. But sharing it is useless, because, as I’ve said before, no one will understand. Oh, there will be some that understand. There always are, always have been, always will be. But many people will never understand what I saw that day, or how I felt about it.

My doctor and I talked about many things today, centered around that thought.

I told him if you ever want to see the true nature of someone, murder their smart phone. Break it, and watch what happens to them. Watch as they go crazy. “Do you know, there are guys out there, if their phone shuts off, and they can’t turn it on, I wouldn’t be surprised if they throw that sucker through the drywall.” Yeah. I said that.

“Same with their computers. Or their video games. Or NetFlix. Or the Internet.”

I reminded him of the study I’d talked about a couple of weeks ago. The one about 67% of men in the study electing to endure a painful electric shock to get out of sitting still, in a room, by themselves, for 15 minutes, with no electronic devices. Yeah. That’s right. Put a guy in a room with nothing but a chair, and a button that administers an electric shock to himself, and tell him he can leave after 15 minutes, or he can shock the shit out of himself, and he’ll shock the shit out of himself.

And that’s when the lightbulb turned on over my head, and I said, “Holy crap!”

My doctor knows exactly what I mean when I say, “Holy crap!” I’d just had an epiphany. I’d just realized something. Or, as I like to express it, another piece of the puzzle of life finally fit into the puzzle.

“They’re escaping, aren’t they.” It wasn’t a question. It was a statement. I was reciting a fact. “They’re escaping from their lives. That’s why they go crazy when their phones die. Why they spend hours glued to NetFlix, watching streaming media. Why they bury themselves in video games. They’re escaping the misery they live in. And when they can’t escape, and have to sit silently for a while, they can’t. They’ll shock themselves to escape. So they don’t have to deal with who they are. What their lives have become. The truth that they’re all walking dead.”

My doctor and I spent a lot of time talking about that today. About how people try to escape.

I know. I hear the voices screaming, “It takes one to know one!” and “Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!” Yeah. Most people will never understand, I know. I’m flawed. I’m guilty. I’m not perfect.

On my drive home, I listened to my music, playing through the car stereo. I turn it to 24 on the power meter when I’m in the car alone. I can feel the door panels shake in time with the music. I can see the rear view mirror vibrate as the sound waves move it around just a touch. I can feel the music through every cubic inch of me.

It’s my escape. From the misery. My own personal misery. Of dealing with a world I don’t understand, and never made.

But, what happens when that music goes away. In May, 2012, it did. I got dunked in some rapids leading to a waterfall. The camera I owned at the time drowned. It never worked again. The MP3 music player I owned also drowned, and never played another note from any music. It never turned on again. My cell phone took days (at least 3) to dry out. I was without any of those devices for days.

This happened on day two of a five-day camping trip. We had no TV. No Internet. No electricity. And pretty much no cell phone service. It would have wrecked many of the people I know, and have known in life.

I did OK. I was happy to get a new player, a few days after we got home. I was happy when my phone started working, also a day or two after we got home. I was happy when we replaced my dead camera in July of 2012.

I survived without them. And I can survive without them now.

I know people who would shrivel up like grapes turning into raisins if they had to endure such an ordeal. I know people who can’t live without being on their cell phone, on Facebook, or Twitter, or being able to watch another movie on their phone, to kill the time.

Time they can’t face on their own.

Because, if they had to face it, they’d have to face their lives. They’d have to face themselves. They’d have to deal with who they are.

And I see people like them every day. People who will do anything to escape themselves.

“I don’t want to be dead at 30! I won’t be like them!”

I never told anyone.

Until today.

Here’s a link to the study I mentioned.

Study: People Would Rather Suffer Electric Shock Than Sit Silently