Friday, May 26, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

It's a sound you can't identify, but it strikes a chord deep inside you. Instant paranoia and terror. Some lizard brain reaction. The noise is unsettling in the extreme. It will stop eventually; if it didn't you would go mad. 

You try to block it out by covering your ears. It doesn't help. You wonder if the noise is inside you, and, if so, what that would mean. 

The sound sparks other senses, and glimpses of smell and feeling slip in around the edges of the sound. Nothing can compete with the sensory overload the sound creates, though. You wonder if Russia had something to do with this. The KGB?

You have two choices. Be patient. Or stick a screwdriver into your ear and twist. I'd recommend patience, but, to be honest, I've never tried the screwdriver. 

You be sure to let me know how it works out for you.


  1. I'll go for something happier..

    Best camping trip ever

    Who remembers a trip where everything went perfect? No one, only in pictures, but the mind hordes every detail of trials and tribulations.

    In my 20"s we went camping every weekend. At 64 the only weekend I can recall with crystal clarity is the trip that involved a two hour hike down a steep mountainside with a 75 lb cooler full of ice, beer, and steaks suspended between two poles across our shoulders. We could have sold those beers for fifty bucks each when we reached the hot springs campsite.

    I clearly remember the hiss pop of opening the beer bottle (Miller, the champagne of bottled beers). The cool drink was most welcome once we landed. The taste exploded in my mouth, so refreshing! It was the best beer I ever would have. The campfire cooked steaks were the food of the Gods. And soaking our tired muscles in those hot springs before turning in for the night was the best spa experience ever.

    1. I love this. I've been lucky to experience these simple pleasures as well. - JD

  2. The journey had been harder than I thought it would be. Hunger and fatigue had set in early and had not relented. The group of survivors I had been traveling with had dwindled down as well. Some had left willingly, preferring to take their chances on their own. Others had been lost to the dangers of the new world we found ourselves stumbling through.

    We came upon a settlement and I hesitated. I wasn’t sure I could trust these people. They might be willing to give us shelter, but at what cost? I had seen the lengths that people would go to for survival. I had been betrayed once before and I wasn’t going to make the mistake of trusting the wrong people again.
    It was then that the commander appeared. She was one of the few leader types that had emerged after the destruction of the world as we knew it. Her name was Victoria Powers. She had been a captain in the army, and when the world fell apart, she had been appointed leader of a group of ragtag survivors. They had been able to create something of a new civilization where there had been nothing before.

    She was a force of nature, commanding and calm. She was trustworthy, something that was rare to find in the new world. When Victoria spoke, her words were measured and controlled. She didn’t make promises that she couldn’t keep, but she also didn’t sugarcoat the harsh realities that we all faced.

    After a long discussion with Victoria and her team, they agreed to take us in. They provided us with shelter and food and promised to help us start off our new lives. In return, Victoria asked if we could help her in a mission to retrieve vital supplies that had been left behind during the initial bombing.

    The mission was dangerous, but necessary. Without those supplies, the settlement would not be able to survive for much longer. We agreed to help and set out on the perilous journey to retrieve the necessary supplies.
    After facing many obstacles and dangers, we finally reached the supplies. We loaded them onto our transport vehicles and began the long journey back. But we were not alone. Raiders were trailing us, hoping to take the supplies for themselves. Tensions were high and I knew that this was going to be a fight to the death.

    We fought hard, using every bit of our training, until the raiders were subdued and we could continue onward. It was a pivotal moment for us, proving that we could work together and fight for something greater than ourselves. As we returned to the settlement, I knew that safety was still not guaranteed, but with leaders like Victoria and people who were willing to band together and fight, we had a chance to survive.

    1. Cool character/world building. This seems to want to keep going. - JD

  3. She’s already seated at the sidewalk café when you arrive, reading something on her phone, an elegant sweep of long lashes, dark hair, and purple scarf behind a white-painted wrought iron table.

    You join her. She glances up, regards you through half-closed lids as if deciding whether this meeting had been a good idea. You’ve been wondering that since the time and date had been set. “Your hair was different,” she says, a whisper of the Middle East remaining in her voice.

    You touch one of your curls, once an auburn mass tamed with technology, now silver with a mind of its own. “Life happens,” you say. You look for signs of said life taking its toll on her and see few. She wears the usual lines and a softening of the jawline that women of your age tend to have, but otherwise she is as lovely as the first time you saw her – hair thick and mink-brown and if professionally colored now, the stylist did an amazing job. You flash with knee-jerk anger that she lost her husband and still looks so beautiful. You don’t want to think about this happening to you. Most likely you’d shrink into a ball and never be heard from again, except the nights you’d gather up your crone shrouds and howl at the moon.

    “I’m sorry,” you say. Not knowing what else to say, and to stop the downward spiral of those what-if thoughts. You only knew him briefly, an on-and-off college fling that he called off for good when he met her. He seemed to have no regrets at throwing you over, and you pretended it didn’t bother you, and he was soon forgotten. Until a few months ago. A brief mention in the alumni journal caught your attention.

    She puts down her phone, shrugs. You’d sought out the online obituary. No cause of death was given, but learning his line of work and knowing the family she comes from, you’ve been spinning out stories in your head. Mysterious circumstances. Homeland Security. Undercover foreign agents.

    “For a while I was a mess,” she says. “But like you say, life does what it does. I am fine. Or at least that’s what I like to tell myself.”

    You smile at each other, get refills, settle in, exchange the Cliffs Notes versions of your adult lives. Then, after a pause, tracing a manicured finger across her mug, she says, “I wasn’t sure at first, about meeting you, but now I am very glad.”

    “I am too,” you say, and you mean it. You hope the good life she painted out is the truth. “I wasn’t sure you’d even want to meet you.”

    She gives a little chuckle. “Not meet other woman he wanted to marry? I wasn’t ready then, but now…my curiosity got the better of me.”

    Your stomach drops to your shoes. “It was just a fling….” He wanted to marry you?

    Her eyes widen. “You were all he talked about. You became for me in my head some kind of mythic figure I was always in competition with. It’s frankly a relief to meet you and see that you are as human as I am.”

    “I am definitely that,” you mutter, still absorbing what she’d said.

    “In fact”—she yanks the ring off her left hand—“take this.”

    She sets it down on the table like a brash chess move. You can only stare.

    1. “I have many, many other reminders of him.” Her mouth twists with a trace of snide. “Besides, this is the one he bought for you, originally. I have never stopped being a little angry with him for that.”

      “I’m sorry. I never knew. He never—I can’t take your ring.”

      She shrugs, picks up the cross-hatched circle of white gold, examines it like a jeweler might then puts it back on the table. “I’ll sell it then.”

      You are still stunned. “I just can’t believe he wanted to marry me. It was never more than—well, what it was. Then when he met you, he tossed me like a gum wrapper.”

      She seems to think about this for a while. “Huh,” she says finally. “Apparently he lied to both of us. Well, it wouldn’t be the first time. He was under investigation, did you know that?”

      “What?” You are learning all sorts of new things today.

      “Espionage. Wire fraud. They are still tracking me.” She pauses, widens her smile. “Don’t be surprised if you get a call.”

      She stands, puts her phone into her purse, and leaves. It’s not until she disappears from view that you realize she’s left the ring behind. You pick it up. There’s an engraving inside. With his initials. And yours.

    2. I love the auburn mass tamed by technology. This dialogue feels super realistic in this, too. - JD


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