Friday, November 11, 2016

2 Minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. AND PEOPLE WHO JUST WANT TO PLAY BUT DON'T IDENTIFY AS 'WRITERS' - all are welcome here! Every Friday, we do a fun free-write. For fun. And Freedom!

Write whatever you want in the 'comments' section on this blog post. Play as many times as you like. #breaktheblog! You have two minutes (give or take a few seconds ... no pressure!). Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. So, tell a friend. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play.

Chicken Little, loud and livid, has moved inside my ear - he's banging pots and pans together, and I can barely stand the weather. The fear. There are dark clouds forming and the air tastes like blood; there will never be enough soap to make me clean again. I walk the same streets, same shoes, same feet, but no one wants to nod hello. No one's smiling. Nope, EVERYBODY is out profiling. Making uneducated guesses based on skin and dresses. Punk rock tresses. I'm too young for this, but I'm also too damn old.

I can't handle the whiplash. From small, sweet hugs to hate and back. And I wish I had a way to say - I don't care if you're straight or gay. I don't care if you're white or black or brown. I don't care how you want to live your life unless it hurts people. Be you. Identify yourself. YOUR choice. I only make choices for me. And right now I'm trying to keep two small girls from catching a glimpse of a passing TV. 

I don't like to see my wife scared. I don't like to see my friends angry. We have every right to be angry, but I don't like to see it. And this is not about the election anymore. Not about Clinton, nor Trump. We have finally been forced to look in the mirror, and we're ugly down to the bone. And I mean everyone, because we knew this was coming and didn't want to believe. Walking around with Chicken Little on our sleeves.

George Wallace never went away, he's just been laying low.

I'm not making apologies for anyone. I'm not going to be quiet because being loud might get me shot - because it might not. And, regardless, right now truth is all I've got. And I've never been a liar. If I had been I might have climbed the ladder higher. Now, I'm kind of glad I didn't. Distance. I don't have much. 'Cause I've been in the trenches.

So, I'll try to sleep. I'll try to pretend that two grown men didn't try to fight each other in front of my children in front of an elementary school. That's what Chicken Little is saying now. Fuck the sky, pretend it's not happening and just get by. 

I never did listen to chickens.

My blinders are not on. If I was Phil Ochs, I'd write a song. And if I could buy an island, I'd invite every American who feels scared, everyone taken unaware. I'm not looking for people to target, I'm trying to be a teacher because it's one of the few things I'm good at. 

And I'm trying not to call so many people and tell them, lay low. Because my fear is less important than the truths we need to hear. This is not about Islam, not about color, not about politics, not about locker room talk or email schlock. This is about the chickens coming home to roost. We ignored them for too long, and pretended everything was going to be OK. A lark, a song. Because it was easy. Now, nothing will be easy, but that's exactly what we deserve after all the steaming lies we've served.

Pain like this doesn't go away without a fight. I will fight with words because I believe that is the most effective way. But I won't shut up. Chicken Little has sung his battle cry. And we need to know why. And I need every scared American to know: I have no problem with anyone. I am proud to have white friends, black friends, latino friends, gay friends, trans friends - I'm proud of the remaining Americans. The ones that are trying to uphold principles we should hold dear. I'm proud to know strong immigrants, and I could give a shit whether they had time to deal with bureaucratic bullshit. Sometimes you just need to find a safe harbor. I get that. I think we were all supposed to get that. I'll get up and go about my day. Because there's no other way.

American hypocrisy is here to stay? 

Hell, it never went away.

#2minutesgo Tweet it! Share it! Shout it from the top of the shack you live in! I will be out most of the day, but I'll be back...


  1. God this is good... and this is a message that needs to be sung loud and clear. My favorite line: "I never did listen to chickens." Because you never do. You've got guts, my friend.

    1. I second Leland's excellent observations about the piece and assessment of you, Dan. This is good, it leaks your goodness onto the screen with courage and truth. How quickly we are willing to trade our ideals for safety and how even soon we lose them both to the inflated currency of fear.

    2. This hit me hard in the chest, not the gut but the panic center. This line: "Walking around with Chicken Little on our sleeves." I'll never forget that.

    3. I'm too weary to add anything much, but I don't need to. I feel ya. I'm eyeing that scraggly fowl right now. Isn't it ironic that because they were scared and wanted a daddy to come rescue them, they've succeeded in making us scared now too?

    4. Wow, I had my little tale rolling around in my head yesterday, and never even got back to read the rest until this morning. Chickens coming home to roost indeed!

  2. There were tiny silver coins of moonlight on the ground beneath the trees. An illusion, he knew, but he allowed himself to feel rich for a moment. He tried to walk quietly, but it was autumn, and dry leaves graced the path he walked. So far to go.

    The last three years had been good. He finally had a work permit, and he felt legitimate, real, not a shadow in this place. He hadn’t been able to save much, but he knew the money he sent home helped feed his children. And he knew it bought a little candy every now and again from their abuela, his mother.

    He tried to see his penury as a blessing, too. When the time came for him to attempt his trip home, that meant there wasn’t very much to carry. A spare pair of jeans. Three tee-shirts. Clean underwear. A water bottle. A few candy bars in case he couldn’t find other food to eat. Two books: a Spanish-English dictionary and a less than perfect copy of Grapes of Wrath. It took him a year to understand enough English words to read it, but he’d read it thirteen times more since then, and he guessed he would read it a few more times before he crossed the border.

    He’d worked hard in construction. He’d learned how to lay bricks, how to frame a house, how to put a roof on. He’d imagined building his own house one day, back in his village. His boss liked him. Complimented him on being on time every day. He never told his boss that he slept on site, in whatever corner was darkest.

    And then it all changed. Politicians. Too many aliens, they said. He’d laughed when Miguel first told him the rumors. Aliens? He had neither green skin nor antennas. Maybe they would have let him say if he had.

    Gringos. Sounded like Green Goes. So maybe they wouldn’t have let him stay anyway. From what he saw on the television, Americans did not treat space aliens any better than aliens with brown skin.

    But he would soon see his children. Rosalie and John. John was named after John Steinbeck. Good English names, in case someday they might have been able to come live with him.

    The moon moved closer to the western horizon, and the moonlit silver coins disappeared. Another 400 mlles to go. The leaves still crunched, and they released the smell of earth and water and living. One day he would return with his children, when the politicians changed again. What was the joke Miguel said? People change politicians and diapers often and for the same reason. Something like that.

    The trees ended, and he stepped out from their protection. If someone had been watching, they would have seen a tiny river of moonbeams under his left eye. Or maybe it was just a tear.

    1. Love the imagery in this piece. The use of the silver coins metaphor hits deep, this is true heart to heart writing that puts the person in third person if that makes any sense.

    2. Ed Drury nailed it. This is beautiful Leland, very visual. Those silver coins <3

    3. The Grapes of Wrath and Steinbeck were a perfect way to frame this. Displaced people. We're all migrants at some point. This is heartbreaking, Leland.

    4. I agree with DA. And this is wonderful.

    5. I love this and especially the connection to Steinbeck.

  3. The room was cold. The walls were soft snow, the floor was soft snow, and they made me wear the ridiculous jacket. I was hungry. All the time. What they offered as food was poisoned, I was sure of it. When Carlos wasn’t looking, I switched our plates. I didn’t know if Carlos was really his name but it didn’t matter because Carlos didn’t speak. He just listened. All the time.

    I knew I had to get out. Get away from the soft snow. Get fresh air. Food. Lots of food. Opportunity came when I was talking with the new doc. Doc said he didn’t like bars on windows. Made him feel like he was in a prison. Idiot. He was in a prison. Why didn’t the doc know where he was? Otherwise, Doc was a pretty good guy. Didn’t make me wear the ridiculous jacket when we talked in Doc’s office. Of course, there was nothing sharp in Doc’s office. I’d looked. Not even a pencil. I’d asked if Doc wasn’t supposed to write down what we talked about and Doc said all our sessions were recorded. Then I wondered if it was just sound or pictures too. I’d started combing my hair with my fingers as soon as the jacket came off, just in case. I wanted to look good, for whoever was watching.

    The scissors were no good either. I’d had scissors like this in kindergarten, with rounded ends. I tried to think of a use for the stapler, but that was only there for one visit.

    One day Doc’s boss knocked on the door during one of our sessions. Sessions. That word sounded funny to me, but I didn’t laugh. I didn’t want Doc to think I was crazy. Doc looked at me and said, I’ll only be gone for a minute, can I trust you? And I nodded seriously, even though he shouldn’t, he looked seriously at me and believed me. He went into the hall with his boss.

    I moved fast. The window wasn’t even locked. I raised it quietly but quickly and stood on the sill and looked down. The door opened and Doc asked me calmly what I was doing and I answered him.

    I’m flying, I told him. I am a butterfly. And I did. And I was.

    1. Interestingly, I've been in a padded cell. I was a second year psych major doing an internship at Eastern Oregon Hospital, yes the same one that Ken Kesey once worked in and based the setting of his novel on. You describe it pretty well, though I would have never called the walls soft snow. They weren't as soft as I would have thought and were kinda dingy. Still somehow, you description took me right there. Amazing writing that was transcendent.

    2. Thank you sir... and yes, I think they could have done a better job at keeping the white clean...

    3. I know it's a cliché in these parts, but again, you nailed that damn landing!

  4. Dickens had his best of times and worst of times but here we live in the land of sinners and saints. Mama was a real saint and Daddy thought he was, and I gotta tell you living with saints don’t do a thing to make Nebraska look like heaven. Preacher one Sunday would talk about the perils of the flesh and the next he was all about redemption, and I figured if all I needed to do to make up for what me and Bobby did on Saturdays was own up to it for God on Sundays, then it was worth it. I figured I got a head start every time I shouted OH GOD so he’d know to listen to my confessions. And then one Saturday Daddy caught Bobby and me in the back seat of the car and he had a shotgun in his hand. He never used it but Bobby tried to pull his pants up after he started running, and he fell down trying to get away, and Daddy about split a gut, but Bobby don’t come around no more.

    Billy Joel was right. I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. Or somethin’ like that.

    1. You had me at Dickens. Then you took me to mid twentieth century Nebraska, perhaps the exact time and place all dreams and nightmares were born. But you did it with a kind of wit and measure of kindness only a true Cornhusker could summon.

    2. You, sir, are very kind... I grew up sleeping in Nebraska and going to school in Colorado (I was right on the state line)... they're a different breed of folk out there...

    3. I love this: "I gotta tell you living with saints don’t do a thing to make Nebraska look like heaven" I love authentic voice, and this feels exactly right.

    4. The tone is so different and strong

  5. Couldn't summon up many words this week, but I did manage this short poem.


    In a growing fog, I traveled
    in a rowboat to an unknown shore. Unsure
    I'd even reach any shore.

    When my arms grew weary, I
    lay back and let the boat
    drift, directionless,
    a mote on a vast
    unblinking cataract.

    Sky perhaps a mere
    grey shade lighter
    than this great water.

    At times so enraged I'd row
    so hard my heart
    felt the bloodlust of a stoat
    eating through the hide
    of a stricken deer.
    At others, only
    mourning, only

    Land glimpsed through cloud
    but fleeting, maddening,
    while silence hushed the skies
    and night wouldn't fall.

    Days of this. Weeks. Birdless
    and silent, except for the oar blades
    cutting and dripping like
    a killer's dark enterprise.

    Enticements, dreams of
    welcome and a beach
    warm under endless blue.
    Imagination a whore.
    A disordered mind will trap you
    if you yearn for but never reach
    a solitary shore.

    1. Ahhhh... this proves that brevity is no barrier to beauty... the last stanza especially... thank you.

    2. This : "...silent, except for the oar blades
      cutting and dripping like
      a killer's dark enterprise." Perhaps the most poetic passage I've read in decades. Stunning throughout.

    3. You guys are very good to me. :) Thank you.

    4. Beautifully done, I can almost hear those oars in the water.

    5. Good message as we search for shore! Beautiful poem.

  6. She ran through the leaves, savoring their scent and sound. She was young and still held the capacity for wonder. She jumped up and landed in a deliciously crunchy pile of gold and red.

    Rolling onto her back, she stared at the cloud animals in the sky, dragons and dogs and demons, all chasing each other. A late autumn butterfly, orange and black, fluttered into her view. She held her breath as the butterfly drew nearer, nearer, nearer and then landed on her nose. She held back a sneeze as long as she could, and then her achoo sent the butterfly on its way.

    The ice crystal clouds framed the sun, and then two sun dogs appeared, one on each side of the sun. And then a moment later, they were gone. She sighed in contentment.

    Her stomach growled, and she ran toward home, hoping it was time for dinner. When a cottontail rabbit blocked the way, she stopped, playing a game of chicken with the long-eared creature. The rabbit ran into the brush.

    She continued the journey and was delighted to learn her stomach guessed the right time.

    When she lay down for her after-dinner nap, her last thoughts were, “Thank you God, for making me a dog.”

  7. Atomic winds blew across the desert. A man walked west, away from the morning sun.
    “I didn’t know, he muttered to himself. “It wasn’t my fault.”
    A woman walked east. “I worked hard. It should have been enough.”
    Two trails, ellipses really, were left in the sand, making their way to each other. When they met, the man looked up. “Do I know you?”
    “You ought to.”
    He pondered. She waited.
    “You look different,” he said after an awkward silence.
    “You’re still an ass,” she said without hesitation.
    “Still a nasty woman.”
    “At least you’re not grabbing me by the…”
    “We could have made the world great again.”
    “We could have been stronger together.”
    “I didn’t mean to do it, you know.”
    “Then why did you?”
    “I just wanted to test it, you know, see if it really worked, or if it was fake.”
    “You should have known.”
    “It should have had warnings on it.”
    “I don’t think you’re going to be able to sue your way out of this.”
    “It wasn’t my fault!” he shouted.
    But she was already walking away from him in her dusty white pantsuit.
    And he kept walking into the nuclear sunset, his tan no longer fake.
    And the ellipses in the sand, blown by the atomic wind, grew into angry exclamation marks.
    Earth has her own language. We are only punctuation.

  8. I feel like I'm hogging the page today... but writing heals me, so here's one more:

    Her only prayer was not to be noticed. If she could just be invisible for four years. She walked quietly now on the street, eyes looking down. She dressed now in grays and browns, fearful that color would make her visible.

    Her shoes were rubber-sole. They were quiet. Her clients appreciated that. Mr. Campbell said she was the perfect servant, never noticed except for her efficiency.

    She wondered if he knew she was undocumented. She wondered if he knew most of her meager salary went to her mother in Mexico City. But if he did know, he didn’t say, and he kept taking money for taxes from her paycheck, so maybe she was safe.

    Coming home from church on Sunday, she made a mistake. She wore her tiny gold crucifix on a fine gold chain around her neck. It was a gift from her father on the day of her first Holy Communion. It was not large. It was not expensive. But it was the way it glinted in the bright sun of the day. And she lost her cloak of invisibility.

    The policeman asked to see her identification. She said she didn’t have it, that she’d left it at home. He asked her name and birthdate. She felt the blood drain away from her face. She’d grown accustomed to not speaking, and she stuttered as she gave him the name on her fake ID, and tried to remember the birthdate. He tapped it all into his little computer, and they waited together. He undressed her in his mind and imagined her with him in an alley, and when the little computer beeped, that’s where he took her.

    She was silent, but he could see her tears. The handcuffs on his belt made tinkling sounds as he thrust into her. And then he left.

    No papers meant no punishment, and when the sanitation workers found her body two days later, she was invisible again, but it was too late.

    Mr. Campbell swore at how hard it was to find good servants.

    1. Don't ever feel bad about hogging the page. Damn

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Ah, so good to read your writing... not bad for a wizened geezer, my friend... not bad at all.

    2. As a geezer myself, I relate, but not. Strangely all this has energized me. I was the generation once, I raised a kid who is the rebel now, and the past, somehow, has prepared me perfectly for the future.

    3. I really like this piece. And I'm glad you stopped by

    4. Ed, that's a strong, well-knit point. I liked the truth of it and your succinct voice.

  10. It's like I can't stop... still another one:

    Juan Carlos feared deportation, but he was not prepared for what really came his way. One day in January of that year, he was completely ignored. The food bank was closed. His foreman would not speak to him, acted as if he did not see him, did not hear him.

    He returned to his tiny little apartment, wondering how he would pay the rent. And he found it empty, locks changed. He found his meager belongings in the dumpster in the alley.

    His cellphone stopped working. He tried to find a payphone, but there were none. He walked to where his weasel of a landlord lived and pounded on the door that did not open. He thought he saw an eye at the peephole, but it disappeared. He shouted, but nothing happened.

    He walked to the bodega to speak to Senor Garcia, to see if he had heard anything. But there was a sign on the door. Cerrado. And another sign in the window. For rent.
    He wondered if they’d arrest him if he slept in the park. But they did not. Not that night, not the three nights after.

    When Juan Carlos died, it was not from exposure, but from invisibility. And the church across the park—with its beautiful stained glass windows, and the golden crucifix, and a choir with the voices of angels—had a new sign, beautifully lettered: “No invisibles or dogs allowed.”

  11. Through your funhouse mirror, your synthetic window on the world, everything has changed. It takes some effort, and your hand falters to reach the remote, but a pulse of seven generations of angry Jews snaps it off. You stand, your head light, your breathing tight, your chest as heavy as if an entire brisket was sitting upon it, plus the weight of those seven generations spitting Yiddish and cursing the dybbuks that brought this down on civilization, the demons who gave the world that animal whose name they will never say again. Because it would bring bad luck. Because it is an insult to animals. You don’t know where the voice comes from…inside your mind, inside the mind of one of those old bubbes still living in your memory, still smiling and punching down challah dough in a falling-down shtetl, in a Lower East Side tenement, in a small, shining house in the suburbs…it says get outside. It says clear your head, get some air, talk to the neighbors, don’t sit here like a schmuck just taking it, we raised you better than to just sit here and wither away.

    So, you go. Your legs wobble and your feet need a nudge, as if remembering how to go one-two, one-two. You don’t know what to expect. Maybe the clouds will be green and the grass will be purple; maybe the sun will rise in the north and set in the south; maybe long ago someone took a time machine back to the Jurassic era and stepped on a moth and everyone will be speaking Urdu. Maybe you are the only one left and the pictures on the television have been set on an endless loop by the departing aliens, just to fuck with your head.

    Outside your insulated bubble it’s all so still. And so familiar. White smoke rises from the neighbor’s redbrick chimney. Dry brown leaves rustle along the unraked, still green lawns. The slope of the Catskill Mountains frames everything, stands watch, like it always has. Nothing has changed. But everything is different.

    1. Hauntingly beautiful... I swear your words ignite my imagination, and I see exactly what you describe...

    2. "Nothing has changed. But everything is different." So hauntingly true and eloquently said. As always, your writing speaks like a familiar comforting voice.

    3. There is always a moment that divides time. But, in my own experience, the past does NOT repeat itself as long as we are able to step back and ask, "what did I learn? And where do I teach, that lesson?"

    4. The departing aliens grabbed my attention reminding me of Vonnegut. Excellent!

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    1. I have to have faith. Faith is the thing you got left when all you know changes into what you have yet to learn.

    2. This reminds me of my grandfather - a man who memorized poems. Thank you.

  13. Why are you doing this?"
    "Shut up!"
    Another kick to the ribs.
    That time a couple cracked.
    This time it was another blow to the head.
    And it hurt.  It hurt a lot.
    His ribs were screaming.   His head was a nightmare.
    Luckily he didn't have a lot of time to think about it in between blows.
    These guys came out of nowhere.  He never had a chance.
    "Pleassse stop..."
    "What's wrong *Little Man*?"  Laughing as he...
    Klok!  Another sharp one to his side.
    They were going to kill him.  He was sure of it.
    He thought of his mom's face...his uncle's...and his heart broke.
    God that hurt.  They were using something harder than fists and boots now.
    It hurt.  It hurt so much he began to believe that death would be a blessing.
    " 'the hell you think you were doing out here *Boy*?"
    "Yeah!  What the hell were you thinking?
    BWAK!  That tree branch they were using felt more like a Louisville Slugger and they were aiming for the fences.
    He tried to curl into a ball.  More like a fetal position.
    He wanted to go home.  He just wanted to go home.
    Tears ran down his cheeks and it wasn't all because of the pain they were inflicting.   It was the quiet fear that he was never going home creeping into his heart that made him cry now.
    He shivered.  It was pouring and it was cold.  And he was lying in a mud puddle in the parking lot of the worst dive-bar he'd ever been to.
    They had torn off his jacket, shredded his flannel shirt and now all he had was a very thin t-shirt.  His favorite t-shirt.  
    He had never felt so vulnerable.
    His body was losing it's ability to put up any resistance to their punishment.
    There weren't any ribs left to break and he was pretty sure all of the bones in his face were shattered.
    But they kept kicking him, kept hitting him and screaming those ugly words.
    So much anger.  So much rage.
    And tonight all of that rage was focused on him.
    It was ridiculous.  This wasn't a fight, this was attempted murder.
    He was 19 yrs old.  He weighed 123 pounds soaking wet.  He had never even been in a fight.
    These guys were big.  Like 200-250 pounds and they looked like giants.
    He thought there was probably 3 or 4 of was so hard to see them through his swollen eyelids.
    He could tell by the shape of the boots kicking him.  There was at least one pair of cowboy boots, those points were painfully unmistakable.   One pair felt like work boots...
    "Please let me go...go home...pleeeeease..."
    He felt like a broken child now.  
    What had he done to piss these guys off so much?  They didn't even know him. But there was no doubt that they hated him.
    "Uhhhhnnnnnnn...please, I have money, you can have it.  All of it."
    "In my wallet...please...all of it..."
    CRACK!  His head exploded with pain and white stars.
    The whole world went tilt on him as he felt his arms and legs being grabbed and his body being lifted up.  He was being carried somewhere.  His head was spinning, he couldn't think straight.
    They tossed him into the back of a pickup.   Tossed him hard.  They roughly tied his hand and feet together with strong rope and threw a tarp over him.  Even with a concussion blooming in his skull, he knew this wasn't going to end well.
    He had heard the stories.  He knew most of them by heart.
    There'll be some that will call this justice.
    Another tear slipped down his face.
    Some will say he deserved it, had it coming for what he had done.
    Some of those will be his own family and friends.

    part 1

    1. Excellent frightening thrilling. All that and the promise of more to come. I'll be reading. Nice work!

    2. Thank you so! That means a lot to me. :)

    3. I think you are a braver writer than I am. For all that people are fearing now, I feel as though if I wrote down my rage and violence, it might prove some kind of prophecy. I don't want that to happen, but if it exorcises and elineates, for other what COULD happen? More power to you!

  14. It was a rough ride.  His broken body could feel every rock, every pothole.

    They slammed the brakes on and the truck came to an abrupt stop.

    Terror shot through him.  It was dark and his eyes were swollen shut.

    "WOOOOOOOO!  Time to show this little piece of shit what we do with flower-boys around here!  Get him out boys."

    They dragged him out and threw him on the ground.  Hard.

    He tried not to scream when he hit the ground.  He tried to be as quiet as possible, hoping it would help.  His brain was grasping at straws trying to save himself.

    Not that anything would help at this point.

    "Jimmy get the other rope out of the truck and bring it."

    ...Why would they need extra rope?

    "Bob don't forget the tools."

    They walk-dragged him down a path through some trees and into a small clearing.

    " no!"

    As they walked farther into the clearing, he could make out...a cross?  

    Yes, it was a large wooden cross.

    His bowels turned to ice.  This wasn't happening.   This couldn't be happening.


    He didn't know why he kept begging them.  They weren't moved at all by his pleas.  But he couldn't stop himself.He couldn't stop begging for his life.

    He was just starting to learn how to live.

    He didn't want to die.  He didn't want to die.

    1. "Get those damn boots off him and strip him down.  Just like they did to Jesus."
      Strip him down?  A new terror ran through him.  What were they going to do to him?
      "Bob.  Bob, you got the nails ready?"
      "Ready to Rock and Roll Brian! Let's give this tinker bell a lift to the BBQ!"
      He heard this, turned his head and emptied his stomach.
      Jimmy untied his legs and pulled his boots off.  
      Jimmy yanked the boy's jeans off but left his underwear on.
      Then he grabbed his t-shirt and ripped it off.
      "What the Holy Fuck?!?  Brian get over here man.  There's some weird shit going on!"
      The boy began sobbing.  Pitiful noises escaped his broken mouth.
      Brian walked over and looked down at the boy.
      When Jimmy had removed the boy's rib? brace he was shocked to find a pair of tits!
      Brian took one look, threw his head back and laughed.
      He reached down and tore them the boy's boxer-briefs off.
      "Well well looks like we've got a secret toy surprise inside Boys!"
      So there he was.   Cold, wet, naked, and forced to be someone he wasn't.
      "Yeah Jimmy.  A real freak."
      "But shit this doesn't change anything.   In fact it's a bonus!"
      "Let's get Girl-Boy lifted up there!"
      He felt himself being lifted up and then he could feel rough wood against his back.
      They grabbed his arms, spread them out and lashed them down with with more rope, palms out.
      ", please no..."
      "Shut up you little freak. We're saving you from a lifetime of sin."
      They pounded 5" nails through the palm of each hand.
      "Scream all you want freak. You're about to be baptized."
      Bob lifted the red can and doused the boy in cheap gasoline, then climbed down to stand next to Brian and Jimmy.
      "You're a sinner.  You've turned your back on God.  They have a special place in Hell for abominations like you and we're gonna send you off in a Blaze of Glory!"
      "...I'm just a kid...just tryin to be...happy... I'm not hurting anyone...please let me go home...please..."
      He knew it wouldn't do any good as he spoke he words.
      He knew he couldn't, wouldn't change their minds.
      He knew he was taking his last breaths.
      He looked up and sent a silentl goodbye to his mom and his uncle.
      Brian pulled out three cigars and handed one to Bob and one to Jimmy.  Each of them put them in their mouths as they started to walk away.
      "Well done boys.  We've done good work here."
      "Smoke 'em if you've caught 'em!"
      They each struck a match, lit their cigar, and threw the match over their shoulder into the pool of gas at the boy's feet.
      They walked back to the truck.
      Sometimes it was hard to hear the boys cries
      over Brian's laughter.

    2. Brutally graphic, compelling. I sense a really good novel around these passages. Hope to read it soon ;)

    3. Thank you so much Ed Drury. Thank you for encouraging me.

    4. Yes, this is strong and terrifying.

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    1. Maybe it's not as we have been so educated and Life and Death Choice? But between a Life and Life Choice? Surgery can be nesecessary, but trust is sometimes rewarded.

  17. Once upon a time, there was a spiritual leader, we’ll call her Carlotta Palaver, and Lo, tho she sold many books and numerous motivational real estate seminars and gained followings in the hundreds of thousands, she happened one day to be hit in the head with a brick during a riot.
    And she immediately ascended to what she had always called “the Source” only to be to confronted with something called “Heaven” which to her astonishment, was a wee bit more traditional than she’d imagined, what with St. Peter, Pearly gates, and what have you.
    “wow. Ow wow!” she said, mimicking Steve Jobs’ last words. At that moment, a stern-eyed old guy with wings walked up and said. “Oh, Yeah, you. You’re the Law of Attraction Chik, right?”
    “Yes!” Carlotta cried, “I brought the message of spirit to billions of people! I gave them the secret of Life!”
    The angel glanced down at his clipboard. “Yeah, uhhm. Not quite. What you said was, quoting here, “You don’t wanna be fat anymore? Don’t look at Fat People! You want to be rich? Don’t see poverty! Don’t want to get old? Erase age consciousness from your reality! Don’t want to be afraid? Don’t acknowledge terrorists. ”
    “Yes!” cried Carlotta, “I delivered that message to the multitudes!”
    “Oprah helped, “ said St. Peter, “and if I’m not wrong? A little botox? A little surgery?”
    Carlotta didn’t flinch. “ I am a public figure, “ She said. “I set an example. Quantum physics proves that the observer creates reality. I merely encouraged and empowered the people to create their own.”
    Saint Peter sighed. “Yeah, well, not quite.”
    “What do you mean?” Carlotta cried. “ We are all on our own path! We cannot nurture or sustain or love others, unless we first love ourselves! We cannot save anyone but ourselves.That is our example to the world!”
    “Yeah uhhmm—okay” He said, making a check mark on his list. “ But you also wrote, did you not, that “the world is an illusion?”
    Carlotta bowed her head. “I did yoga,” she said after a moment. “ I learned the value of never surrounding myself with negative energy. I Preached only LOVE.”
    “Word, “ said Saint Peter. “True that. But that’s not exactly the way it works. You can’t just blow a bubble and call it real. Or permanent. There’s a sort of connection…”
    “What are you saying?” Carlotta replied. “That I was wrong? That I’m going to hell or something? What about Oprah?”
    “This isn’t about Oprah, it’s about you. When you don’t see what you don’t want to see, you don’t abolish wrong. You don’t abolish injustice, you do not dictate right? Got that?”
    Carlotta nodded. “I guess..”
    “You told people: live in the now. But you never thought of the future. You said, “Let go of the past, Live only in the Now.Is that correct?”
    “Yes, yes it is…but what are you saying? Am I going to Hell?”
    “No,” Saint Peter said, snapping shut his clipboard and checking his iphone for texts. “I’m saying, you’re not ready for heaven yet. So get your butt back down there, and see what you have wrought. You got some bad ass chickens come home to roost, Honey. Don’t fuck it up.”

  18. My apologies. We had a death in the family and had to drive 627 miles today. I'll read and comment when we get back home. Looking forward to all the excellent offerings this week. Started one but couldn't finish so I'll try again next week.

    Take care everyone.

  19. Reflections of autumn coloured trees stretch out across the water from the shore, changing the lake into a fun house mirror.
    In the distance a family play catch on a patch of grass, the shrieks of laughter of their three children fade in and out of my consciousness. Nearby a man throws a stick and his dog lollops and splashes in the glittering waves to retrieve it panting joyfully. Someone is strumming a guitar farther along, a sweet, soulful melody which sparks a memory of long ago.
    Everything looks the same yet feels different. Like a storm that’s been building for the longest time, the pleasantness of the day takes on a sinister air in the fading light. The cool breeze which earlier seemed to dance and caress my face, now blows across the water with aggressive force and whips my hair and stings my eyes. Fallen leaves swirl in a frenzied dance like brightly coloured demons as the sun gasps it’s last breath on the horizon.
    I pull my collar more tightly around my neck and push my hair into my hat. I stop and turn full circle when I realize the only background sounds I can hear now is the rise and fall of the waves as they lash against the pebbles. I peer into the gloom searching for the family, I strain my ears to listen for the music but like the man and his furry friend, they have all but vanished.
    Maybe I was so lost in my memories I didn’t notice the setting of the sun or how far I had strolled.
    The night is fully dark now brightened only by a half moon when it peeps out from behind the black clouds. I am cold but my heart feels colder. I’m afraid but not of the darkness here by the lake.
    I am afraid of walking through my town in broad daylight. I am afraid of the men with hatred glinting in their eyes and I am afraid for my fellow man.

  20. Make your love bigger than your fear. Sorry, not trying to invalidate fear...But it's pretty much all the wisdom I got!


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