Sunday, January 15, 2017

Helen and Hector

Helen's father was a doctor.  He has been deceased forty years, but Helen still thinks of herself as an entitled elite. She married three doctors and is now on her fourth and final marriage to a blue collar worker, Hector.  Hector is a handyman, all around fixer.  Jobs are scarce, so he mostly works around the house.

Both Helen and Hector are alcoholics.  Starting at five o'clock every evening, the vodka and whiskey flow, then the horrible fights began.  Helen screams at Hector how her father was a doctor with whom he could never compare. She screams that Hector is a stupid, redneck loser who is nothing more than a boy in an aging fat man's body.

Hector then screams back that Helen is crazy like her mother.  She is a crazy, fat, lazy cow who does nothing all day but watch soap operas.  On and on it goes, day after day, year after year.  Eventually, the alcohol isn't enough for Helen, so prescription pills are added to the daily routine.  This means screaming less and passing out sooner, much to the pleasure of Hector.

One day, Helen and Hector decide to take what little money they have and go on a cruise to the Virgin Island.  It's early in the day, so they board sober, looking forward to the drinks in a few hours.  As they unpack their bags and settle in, the ship takes off.  Helen is anxious and decides to pop a pill before dinner and drinks.

After dinner and many, many drinks, they stumble on deck to look at the stars.  The arguing begins, as always, about Hector's many flaws and Helen's laziness.  Hector thinks how wonderful it would be to throw Helen overboard.  No one would be the wiser.  He slaps her hard, just to shut her up for one blessed minute, and she loses her footing.  At that moment, the ship hits a wave and Helen goes into the dark water.  Hector jumps in to save his love, because through it all they really love one another.  At least that's what they tell themselves.

Hector and Helen were never missed and never found.


Maggie awakens from a nightmare of being pursued in darkness, running in slow motion from fear of the unknown.  It was the flash of light that woke her up.  She is sweating the kind of sweat that smells of stress and anxiety, the smell of decaying youth, hormones, and courage.

She swiftly sits up and rubs her eyes, hoping to rub out the dream.  She notices how hot it is in her room, which is odd considering it's January in the Midwest.  Should be snow on the ground, not a heat wave.  She slowly eases her tired body out of bed and walks to the kitchen, ready to drink a nice big cup of coffee that should be brewed on automatic programming.  It isn't.
The power is out.

"Great.  Insult to injury."

Maggie lives ten miles from town on land her grandfather had purchased after WWII.  Her parents lived there until they died, and now it belongs to Maggie.  She hops into her pickup and heads to  Mac's Diner for coffee and eggs, and to find out if anyone else has lost their power.

As she drives down the main street of downtown and into Mac's parking, she notices that most of the town folk are gathered in and around Mac's diner.  Maggie has a foreboding feeling that the news isn't going to be good.

"Hey everyone, what's going on?"

"Maggie, haven't you heard?  Missiles all over the world hit everywhere.  China, Russia, North Korea, Iran...  They hit us, we hit them, they hit each other, everything is gone.  D.C got hit, the whole city and everyone in and around it are gone. New York, Chicago, the West Coast, gone. Just gone.  We're on our own."

"How do you know all this?"

"Mac has an old CB radio, we've been talking to people South of here.  It's bad.  No government, no power, and little information."

Maggie's mind starts racing, trying to think what needed to be done first.

"Food, water, and shelter.  We have to secure those first.  Then law and order."

A month has gone by since the end of the world.  Most have committed suicide.  The food is running out, water is scarce.  Maggie spends her days lying in bed wondering how it all happened so fast.  She keeps her pistol in hand just in case.  Today is the day, she decides.  Today she ends her life because there is no longer hope.

Maggie puts the gun in her mouth and pulls the trigger.

Maggie wakes from a nightmare.

Monday, December 19, 2016


She wait and waited, then waited some more.  Surely whatever was coming would come soon, so she waited.  Paralyzed with fear of missing what she was waiting for, she neither moved to the left or the right, she did not get up or lie down. She sat.  She waited.    Every day of every year, she waited.  Her whole life, she waited.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Collector

Everyone knew her as The Collector.  Marty  was a collector of people, you see.  Not just any people, they had to give her something in order to be a part of her collection.  She never accepted anyone pretentious, arrogant, bigoted, or ignorant, because those people had nothing to give.  Marty's collection was made of artists, scientist, teachers, musicians, writers, homeless; plain ordinary folks who had the curiosity and the intelligence to ask questions and ponder situations.  Those who could teach Marty, give her their wisdom, be a part of her growth.  Those are the people Marty wanted in her collection.  This is the payment received by Marty.

In turn, Marty gave her people unconditional love and undying loyalty of her lifetime.  Her commitment to always listen, always be there for them, always answer any question with absolute honesty as she believed it to be.

There were a few throughout her life who didn't care for her honesty, so they went by the wayside.  Marty didn't care.  She was as loyal to herself and her principles as she was to those she collected.  Marty took her time collecting the special ones, those in her collection.  She observed behavior, comparing the words people spoke with the actions exhibited.  If there was a conflict in the two, no matter how much she liked that person, they were out.  Door closed.

That's not to say Marty was unfriendly by any means.  No, she was pleasant to everyone no matter what, but only the few were in the collection.

I have been privileged to be a part of Marty's collection for the past fifty years.  I have given and taken wisdom just as Marty demanded.  She died yesterday, exactly the way she wanted.

A young man who was sick of his life, took a gun to the grocery store where he randomly shot and killed ten people.  Marty was one of them.  She always said that was the way she wanted to die, murdered by a gun in the hands of an angry youth, in a parking lot.  He probably would have been in her collection, had they been able to talk.  Marty appreciated anger at the status quo.

You will be missed, Marty.  The one thing we who were collected know without a doubt, is by you we were well loved.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


He said he would make America great again.  

It is 2024.  My country is unrecognizable.  People from other countries stopped coming here to study or visit, they were afraid.  Our government gathered all the illegal immigrants,the Muslims, the Hispanics, the Buddhists the Jews.   Anyone who wasn't of European heritage who's ancestors hadn't lived here for generations, anyone who wasn't  of the Christian faith.  We are isolated from the rest of the world.  He said it was for our own good, making  America great again.

The bombings started two years after the President was elected.  I don't know who we're at war with, the News is no longer.  All media was banned because the President didn't like reporters sniffing around, possibly spreading information he didn't like.  We get texts from the President every so often assuring us everything is great.  The constant explosions say otherwise.

Food and water are difficult to come by because pollution has destroyed the air and water..  The first thing on the list of government things to go was the Environmental Protection Agency.  It wasn't deemed necessary.  It didn't matter after the bombing began, most cities were destroyed and the air was filled with toxic smoke.

Education is only for the wealthy, others need not apply.  They started closing down the public schools shortly after the election and sent the children to work in camps.  I don't know what happened to the children after that, as I said, there is no News.

The States are now military ruled.  Resident guns for personal use were gathered and taken.  He said it was for our protection, for the greater good.  His Generals surrounding him suggested it and he couldn't be bothered to question.

Electricity comes and goes.  The days are cold and dreary, the nights unbearable.

Women are no longer allowed to work, nor do we have any rights at all.  Unwanted children and old people like me die on the streets.   I don't care anymore.  Death is my hope.

There will be no more elections.  He and his Cabinet of Generals and CEO's decided  their third year in office.  They weren't accustomed to answering to anyone in their former jobs, and the thought of it was unlikely.

He said he would make America great again.  Millions believed him.

The Dream

She felt as beautiful as she looked. Tall, slender, dark hair flowing down her back, young.  Standing in the middle of the penthouse room, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking Central Park, she wondered how she had come to be there.  It didn't matter how, she decided, it only mattered that she was there.  Others attending the party were mingling, talking, laughing, while she was enjoying her drink, the music, and the view.

She had the distinct feeling that someone was staring at her.  She slowly and begrudgingly turned around to see him across the room, eyes meeting eyes, he walked through the crowd to her.  Neither spoke.  His hands caressed her shoulders, sliding up her neck, pulling her towards his lips.  They kissed the kiss of passion and familiarity.  They were strangers, but the kiss was known to them.

As they explored lips and tongue, she heard a disturbing noise in the distance.  A train?  It seemed to become louder and louder, a horn blowing from an engine coming into the room.  What was it?

Ellen opened her eyes then turned her head to her left.  Lying on his back, snoring like a freight train, was her husband of thirty years.  Annoyed and irritated, she got out of bed and made her way to the guest bedroom.  She tried to conjure up the dream that made her feel again.  It was not to be.