#ThursThreads Week 291 : You’ve Got Him Worried.

Samantha was in tears. Again. On the school bus ride home. Boys and girls were being mean to her. They kicked her shins as they walked past where she sat. They threw pencils, spitballs, even small rocks. “We should just kill all your kind, and solve the problem!”

The bus driver cheered them on. “You tell that thing! Give it what for!”

When the bus got to Samantha’s stop, they blocked her in, and half the bus got off. Samantha was terrified. She knew they were going to hurt her. Beat her up.

That’s when she heard a voice, though no one was there. “Just sit here for a moment. It’ll be OK.”

Something invisible struck the bus driver. Hard. Samantha heard bones break. The driver pitched face first into the steering wheel. “Grow up, little boy,” that voice spoke a second time.

The doors to the bus became mangled, and bent, the glass in them exploded, and the doors would never work again. There was a noise. A gunshot. Someone had a gun. It fired several times. The kids outside the bus panicked, and ran in all directions, terrified. “Someone has a gun!”

“You can get up now, Samantha. It’s safe to walk home.”

Samantha slowly stood up. “Whoever you are. I hope you know. The sheriff. You’ve got him worried.”

I laughed. “I’m counting on that.”

Samantha walked home, with the sound of sirens getting louder.

She knew very soon, hell would ride into town.

247 Words

Yet another part of the ongoing Armor 17 story. It’s Week 291 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 289 : I’m A Danger

It was Sunday night. Barbara was on her way home from work, after the store she she was a manager at closed. It made her nervous to walk on the street, alone, after dark. Especially since Michelle had been murdered. With a previous legal name of Bart, Barbara knew it was a risky thing.

That night, right outside the apartment building she lived in, three men surrounded her. They all had ski masks on. They had bats, and knives, and guns.

Barbara knew it was the end. She knew she was going to die, just like Michelle had. That’s when a voice from nowhere spoke, “Go home, little boys. Before you get hurt.”

Barbara looked around, trying to see who spoke. Given I was invisible in the armor, she failed to see me. The men, thinking it was a joke, raised their bats. I shot the left one in the left leg, and then the right leg. The other two froze. “I’m a danger, little boys. Go home.” They drew their guns to shoot at anything. I kicked one in the groin, hard enough to lift him off the ground. I punched the third in the face, leaving broken teeth, busted lips, and a broken jaw.

“I wondered when they’d try this.” I had the armor call the police. “Barbara. Tell the police what happened when they get here. Tell them I said I’ll do what they won’t.”

I believe Barbara stood there until the police showed up.

248 Words

This is Part 17 of the Armor 17 story. It’s Week 289 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 258 : But It Is Too Late

If Ginger had a bad feeling, so did I. “Let’s see what you’re afraid of, little girl.” I paused, to think, and decided to gather information, and to do that, I needed connections. One empty office network jack later, and I could record every bit of every byte that Ginger’s office computer sent, or received. One dropped pencil on the carpet of the room, and I knew every word spoken. One quick link to the cell network and I knew everything that passed through the System On a Chip that made the phone work.

From there, of course, it was easy to drop background processes into memory, and have them forward every picture, every text message, every e-mail to me.

“So, you wanted someone to do something about the thing you worked with, did you?” She’d even gone off the network, into the world of isolated meshes. The world with no rules. No regulations.

I looked at the picture she’d posted on several of those meshes. Michelle. Pretty smile and all. And underneath the picture, “Can someone please rid the world of this thing?” There’d been no public responses, of course. Private responses were another matter, and her cell phone history showed that. She’d erased everything on the phone, of course. But it was all still there, safe in the computers of her service provider.

Phone calls from sources I knew. Sources I watched.

“Nice try, little girl. But it is too late.” And for Ginger, it clearly was.

249 words

This is part 7 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 258 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 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 249 : Can’t Take You Anywhere

Michelle worked for Northrop Dynamics, a major defense contractor. She’d worked on-site, at the local US Naval facility. She’d worked there for a decade. I parked my car outside the facility, in the local shopping center parking lot. “Arm.” Its security systems kicked in. No one but me, alive and breathing, could open the car. Attempted forced entry guaranteed the car exploded. Didn’t matter if it was the police, the Navy, or a petty thief.

I muttered, “Active” as I walked from the lot. The armor kicked in, and I vanished. No heat signature. No radar signature. No air currents. Nothing. I walked to the secured gate, and watched the armed Marines check the stickers and badges of each vehicle that entered.

I walked in. Followed the same path Michelle had always followed to work, examined the parking space she would have parked in.

The doors to the facility were actively guarded, and required two factor authentication to get past. I watched people cross through the two door arrangement, and decided who to tag along with. When he opened the first door, I stepped in behind him. When he opened the second, I tagged along.

No one knew. No camera saw. No weight sensors registered my presence in that room. I was not there.

I chuckled, looked at the guy I’d slipped in with, “Can’t take you anywhere, can I?” Then, I watched him wander off to his job.

It was time to find out more about Michelle’s life.

249 Words
Mark Ethridge (I’m not on twitter, you know)

This is part 5 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 249 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 245 : That Makes Two Of Us

I was starting a war, putting other transgender people, and those who supported them, at risk. So I took the time to learn who the transgender people in the area were, and who supported them.

A soccer mom, with two adopted daughters. She’d opened a diner, and was doing well. Especially at lunch time. People had to eat. She worked hard to give her daughters everything they wanted, and to teach them how to live, how to care for the people around them.

A retired couple, spending their last years together in the happiness they always wanted. The apartment complex owner who rented a flat to them, and always checked to see if they needed anything.

A mechanic at the best car dealership in the area. The dealership’s owner who defended him from the guys who didn’t want to work with him, “He’s the best mechanic I’ve ever seen.”

Samantha, a 13 year old who wondered if anyone could ever love her for who she was. Her parents who wondered when she would come home from school in tears again. Julie, the neighbor’s daughter, who walked Samantha to and from the bus every day, and sat with her at lunch.

Julie knew how Michelle had been murdered, and put on display, and what had happened to Michelle’s neighbor. Julie who said, “I’ve got a bad feelings about all this,” one night, before bed.

I nodded, and thought, “That makes two of us, kid. That makes two of us.”

247 Words
Mark Ethridge (I’m not on twitter, you know)

This is part 4 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 245 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 242 : No Life In His Soul

Michelle’s neighbor promptly arrived from work at 1720 hours local time. The first thing he did was change out of his work clothes, and into camo cargo jeans, a t-shirt with a dragon on it, and a pair of Dallas Cowboys socks. He grabbed a Diet Coke, sat down on the sofa, turned on the Motor Racing Network, grabbed one of the tablets off the coffee table, and went to Porn Hub.

“It’s good to be home,” he took a sip of his soda. “Work sucks.” As NASCAR news played in the background, he picked a video, “I’d like to do this to Becky at work,” he mumbled as he watched his selected video.

His wife got home at 1848 hours, put a pizza box on the coffee table, kicked off her shoes, and sat next to him. “You heard Michelle got murdered, right?” She woke her tablet, found the news story about Michelle, and showed it to him.

“Good riddance.” The little man went on a verbal tirade about transgender people not being real people. Being sick. Being dangerous. Needing to be dealt with. “I’m glad she’s dead! I wish they all were!”

I nodded. “Little man has no life in his soul.” I’d recorded everything.

At 0430 the next morning, the little man’s car exploded, its remains burned in red, orange, yellow, and blue for hours, His tirade got shared 11 million times on the internet that day, and even aired on CNN.

And I continued my hunt.

250 Words
I’m not on Twitter you know.

This is part 3 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 242 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 241: What Did You Do?

I parked in the hotel parking lot, and went to my room. Inside, I stripped off my street clothes, which left me in the form fitting unitard I wore inside my armor. I touched the 3 dimensional sensor on my case. It would only respond to my fingers, only if they were still attached to me, and I remained fully functional, and was alone. If anyone was within range of its sensors, even I couldn’t open it.

I pressed a second sensor inside the case, and my armor assembled itself around my body. As it did, I vanished. Inside my armor, I spoke to my car, “What’s the first name on my list?”

“Michelle’s next door neighbor. Same structure.”

“Two home structure?”


I walked to my car. “Take me there.” It complied. On the way I studied the information my car had found on the neighbor. “What did you do to Michelle, little man? What did you do?”

Once there, I walked to the front door, scanned for a lock, inserted the dynamic key and paused for a second as it took the form of the required key, and unlocked the door. I stepped inside, and closed the door behind me.

Then, I waited, and watched. I had time. “How did you feel about your transgender neighbor, little man?” I waited for him to come home from work. Then, I’d learn what I needed to know. And he’d never know I’d been there.

243 Words
I’m not on Twitter you know.

The Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 continues this week. It’s Week 241 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

A Tale Of Wrath : Taking Care Of Business

The ground was pretty tough, but I was tougher. I will admit, it wasn’t easy digging a big hole over 6 feet deep. But I had to dig it deep. Very deep. I was going to need it. I tossed another shovel full of dirt out of the hole, onto the ocean of dirt piled beside it, the wiped the sweat from my eyes, and took a big chug from my Coke. Real Coke, you know. Not that Coke Zero shit, or that Diet Coke piss. Real Coke. With real caffeine.

Then I dug some more. I’d been digging off and on for a week. In the middle of the woods. At night, so no one would see me. Not that anyone would have seen me anyway. The nearest neighbor was a quarter mile away, and my back yard butted right up to the woods. The last house on the road. I’d picked it, so I could escape the stupidity of the world.

Watching the news pissed me off. Like that marriage shit. Yeah. The government said, “anybody can get married.” And that was fucking wrong. Everybody with a lick of sense knew that. Only a man and a woman could get married. That’s what marriage was. Two people making babies. Not fucking adopting them. Jesus, the world was fucked up.

Then there was that Bernie Sanders ass hole from what, Vermont? One of them pussy states that was ruled by them feminist women, and their pretty boy men. You know, those stupid men who’d sell their soul to Satan just to get permission to fuck their wives or girlfriends. You know what I’m saying?

I concentrated on shoveling more dirt out of the hole. I really wasn’t sure if six feet deep was good enough. Maybe eight feet would be better. As I dug, I thought about the type of brick I’d need to weigh down the corpse, so it wouldn’t float to the surface in a good rain. So it’d stay in the ground, and never be found.

I knew exactly what I was going to do. I had it all planned out.

See, this… Thing… Thing’s the only word for it. Thing. Abomination. Spawn of Satan. Whatever the fuck you want to call it. This thing was ruining everything at work. Everybody talked about it, too. How they’d made this unisex bathroom, where anyone could go for a leak. They’d made it so that thing could have a place to piss. So everyone would know where it went to piss, and could avoid that place like the plague.

And that’s what everyone did. Like Julie said, “I’m never setting foot in that one again. Even after it’s gone, even if after it’s gone they pour 300 gallons of chlorine bleach on everything in there. Nope. Never setting foot in there again.”

Julie wasn’t alone in that feeling about that thing at work. I remember too well when the office bosses came around and laid down the law, “Anyone treating this person impolitely will be fired. She’s a person, just like all of us. With the same rights, and the same privileges.”

Yeah. It was an it. Used to be a girl. None of us ever knew her. She’d worked there for years, in some department or other. Then, one day, the bitch decided she was a guy. And she had this surgery shit done.

I heard its parents, brother, and sister disowned it. Can’t blame ‘em.

So, I spent a year watching people where I worked go nuts. It was hilarious, the way they acted like everything was OK when It was in the room, and how they all relaxed, and talked about how they thought it would never leave when it finally left.

Hell, I knew what to do before I ever saw a story in the papers, or on the TV. Remember the first time I saw a story, “Another Transgender person beaten to death.” Like that’s news. Like that’s a bad thing.

I kept digging. I figured another couple of nights, and I’d be ready. Then all I had to do was get it alone. With no one around. And I’d be able to rid the world of another one of them.

I’d been working on that for a couple months, being polite to it. Going to lunch with it. Hell, I even let it borrow my Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. Said, “Keep it. I’ll get another. It’s fun to look at.” Yeah. Hot women wearing paint. I knew how its mind worked. It was only a matter of time until I invited it to a cookout in my backyard.

It was never going to leave my backyard while it was breathing.

So, I kept digging, knowing I was doing the world a favor, and working to remove something evil from it. Just doing my job to make the world a better place.