The Chemistry of Plastics and Monkeys


Everyone has a Dad. Enjoy them while you have them. My Dad is a Scientist. I love you Dad.Happy Father’s day.

Marvel as my Dad talks about the Chemistry of Plastics and Monkeys.

An Independent Film


Eclipse

Loss and fear as seen through the war-torn eyes of a young boy

– Telluride Film Festival (short film section)
– Student Academy Awards (national gold prize)
– Independent Film Channel (student showcase award)

Happy Mother’s Day (400 Million BC) Video


My mom worked the puppet in this special effects video. I did not have any idea how to film it. So look in the background and you can spot her head! That is my fault. I never remember to think before I do things. So I am always walking out the door without pants and the like. Still I think it is fun.  It was my mother’s day present for my Mom. So happy mother’s day Moms.

A NOUS FILM.

A NOUS FILM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A boy, bullies, a girl, and jumping off the roof.


This is a Vimeo Staff Pick Video. It is a heart warming, short drama about a mentally retarded boy; a boy with problems. He must deal with bullies, an overbearing teacher, and relating to a small girl who has a crush on him. He has a tendency towards jumping off roofs,  In the end must face a visit to the principal’s office and a leather belt. This would make a great short story. I watched it three times.

The Writings of Bryan Edmondson (Fiction, Short Stories, and Satire) (c) 2012Everyone is born into their unchosen life. It is the only one they will have and they must live it. It is as important to them as it is to any one of us.

Writing, Music, and Culture (Eric John Baker)


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CLICK THE ICON TO CLAW AT THE KEYS

Eric Baker is a professional editor, musician, and writer, all cleverly twisted together and disguised as a nice guy. He offers tips on writing fiction as a craft, reviews popular singers, past and present.

Open Source 10,000 Dynamite Fonts–Free Download


Marked red is a counter — a typographic part o...

Font used is a free open source font.

                                       

If you have ever tried to open up and install thousands of  individual fonts from a myriad  disappointing, same-font variations you know how frustrating it can be. Usually only 1 in 60 is worth installing in such cases in my experience.

However here at “A Monkey Wrench Thrown into the Gears of Writing,”  is the absolute best collection of fonts that I have ever found. These  10,000 free Open Source fonts. I find I like about  1 in 8 enough to install the font. It is available in a .zip file.No catches, these are free, no ads, no junk mail, no joke. Just a freebie for visiting my blog. See the license restrictions (like not to sell them) and enjoy these fonts to jazz up you documents.

Download The Best 10,000 Fonts (FREE)

(IT IS A 433 MB DOWNLOAD, SO TAB TO ANOTHER BROWSER, SURF THE WEB,
AND LET IT DOWNLOAD FOR ABOUT 15 MINUTES IN THE BACKGROUND TILL DONE.)

The Valley of the Shadow of Death (Horror)


Ever man owes the debt of his mortal life. Yet no one wants to Die

 

When the first domino fell, all the others came clattering down, and they did not stop until my life was in shambles.

It was Friday afternoon. My wife and the kids had all piled into the car hours ago. Barbara had driven halfway across the state, taking the kids to visit their grandparents for the weekend. She had called to tell me that they had arrived safely, were tired, and that she would call me the following evening.

I was humming; I had the whole house to myself, as I sat on the couch reading a magazine article in absolute peace. Meanwhile the television played quietly in the background. I finished my article just in time to catch the evening news, so I got up to go change the channel.

I had only walked a few steps when the sharp pains stopped me in my tracks. It felt as if I had taken a lightning bolt strike to the center of my chest. I instinctively clutched at my breast with my arm and a claw of a hand. Then I felt my knees give way, and my body went slack, and I fell to the floor. My head struck the surface with such a jolting collision, that it knocked me senseless.

After the fall, my mind merely registered blackness. As my brain labored to think thick thoughts, my mind soon succumbed to fatigue, and my awareness dwindled. I descended deeper and deeper into the darkness of my mind, finally slipping beneath the surface of a pool of nothingness.

After a long period of torpor, my mind flickered with activity, and I began to dream. In my dream, an utter absence of light produced an oppressive blackness that swallowed up everything for as far as I could see.

I found myself lost in what seemed to be a huge, stony valley. I wandered about like a blind man, staggering aimlessly across the rocky basin, in a cold sweat, my mind ruminating, wondering if I was walking in circles. I pushed myself onward, persevering for three grueling days.

My legs became so heavy that I stopped and I put my hands on my knees. I panted trying to catch my breath. I thought how nice it would be, just to stop wandering in doubt. I would rest, if only for a moment, and then press on.

I sat down on the rough rock bottom of the desolate valley. But I could not calm my restless thoughts. I was trembling, so I drew my knees into my chest and I wrapped my arms around them.  In my ruminations, I was rocking myself back and forth.

I decided that I was not going to get up and walk anymore. I bit my lower lip, as shook my head; a single tear rolled down my cheek. I did not wipe it off.

I spoke to myself saying, “You can do this, the worst part is being afraid. Everything else will take care of itself; you just try not to be so afraid.”

I rocked back and forth, and took some peace in the rhythm. I still had an uneasy pang in my gut but not as much as before. I tried not to think while I rocked, knowing that I would be alone when I died in the darkness. Inside I hung heavy and felt empty.

Then I saw it out of the corner of my eye, and my heart leapt with joy—it was the soft glow of a single candle burning. It rested in an antiquated candleholder, the kind with a ring for the finger. I noticed that the holder lay precariously, sitting askew atop the small rocks that lay scattered all about. I stared into the yellow flame. It was the only point of light in an infinite sea of ebony.

I anxiously watched yellow tongue quiver, and when the gentle breeze blew, it pushed the spitting flame all the way over on its side, where it hung tremulously, clinging to the wick.

I realized that the candle was a dream symbol. It was the candle of my life force, and that delicate flame represented my mortal existence, a thing so vulnerable, and so easily snuffed out forever. At this realization, I became terrified that something would blow out the flame, and I would die. I mentally anguished as I stirred in my dream.

Quite startled, my body jerked, and I gasped coming out of the nightmare. I soon realized that it was all just a terrible dream, and as I lay there with my eyes closed, the tightness in my chest faded as my heartbeat slowed down to a regular rhytm.

*****

My thoughts were finally clearing up. I was fully aware that I had suffered a massive heart attack. I still remembered falling and hitting my head on the living room floor. When I opened my eyes, I could not see anything. In fact, I could not even detect light. I concluded that when I fell, that I had received a head trauma. I was suddenly alarmed, but I calmed down when recalled reading that a severe concussion can result in a temporary, but complete loss of vision. It was a minor injury and the sight usually returned completely.

But then my mind dredged up the two worst words for a worrisome person, “what if…” My immediate thought was “what if it was not a simple concussion?”

After all, I had suffered a major cardiovascular accident, what if I also suffered a stroke.

What if the blow to the head caused massive bleeding in the brain, and resulted in partial brain damage? Suddenly a sense of panic completely overcame me, and I feared that I might well be permanently blind.

With no one at home when I fell, I wondered how long I had been lying on the living room floor unconscious.

Then I realized that I was not actually lying on the living room floor any longer. Having suffered a heart attack, my first thought was that the house cleaner had come in Saturday morning, found me lying unconscious on the living room carpet and called 911.

I naturally assumed that I was in the hospital. I yelled out, “Nurse! For God’s sake, help!” There was no response. I wondered what kind of a hospital this was. Then I began to think I might not even be in a hospital. My suspicions quickly grew. If I was in a hospital, why was it that I smelled none of the distinctive disinfectants or the odor sickness, urine, and disease? I felt no IVs in my arms. I heard no speaker pages for doctors or nurses. In fact, I heard nothing at all. There was a profound silence about.

I was lying on my back on a very hard surface. I swept an arm aside in my world of darkness, and scattered away bits of rubble with a clattering. I inhaled the air deeply; it was as cold as the air from a freezer. Except for the fact that the air smelled appallingly musty, stale, and like years of dust hung within it.

I had no I idea where I was. It seemed like I lay on a cement floor of a building under construction. But the floor was not smooth concrete like in construction, it was hard stone, and its surface was very rough. Also, the flooring lay littered with what felt like small, porous rocks.

That was when I had a crazy recollection. I remembered enrolling in spelunking, or cave exploring, thirty years ago in college, to blow off the physical education requirement. I had been in a few caves, and as ridiculous as it seemed, I had very serious thoughts that I was laying on my back inside the depths of a pitch-black black cave, as opposed to something civilized

I sat up, I found my footing, and I stood up on the rough rock floor. I walked about carefully, using my hands to feel about the dark, and stepped cautiously among the scattered stones that rolled and crunched under my feet. I was very curious to ascertain the physical nature of my mysterious environment.

It was darker than any lack of light I had ever experienced. I immediately assumed I was in a colossal cave, one immeasurably far beneath the surface of the earth, which would explain the cutting cold that burned my ears and bit at my nostrils.

However, after surveying with my hands, I felt no walls of any kind in the cavernous void. I felt no stalactites hanging either. Most importantly, unlike any other cave, this place had no evidence of harboring any life. There was no proof of bat guano on the flooring, nor did I smell its distinctive odor. I found no moss, lichens, or slime on the floor. I felt no insects moving among the loose stones.  I heard no dripping or trickle of water. And despite the bitter cold, I touched no ice anywhere. Lastly, a deafening silence hung in the air. There was no life in this dark, cavernous realm.

I concluded this desolate rock expanse was not any one of the many different known types of caves. I was certain of this conclusion because the air had such ancientness about it, as if no pair of lungs had ever breathed it before. All caves have at least one or more entrances and exits—air can enter into a cave from the outside. It is drawn and moved within caves by natural forces of pressure.

But the air in this black abyss did not smell like any cave. I had no idea how it came to be inside this place. I was positive it did not contain any air that had once existed externally. This stony hollow was undeniably self-contained; it existed as an isolated, vast hollow space— bordered by airtight granite on every side. There was simply no way into this strange realm. And consequently, there was no way out. That was the only possible explanation as to why this place harbored no life.

But with no way in and no way out, how did I wind up inside of here?

******

This damned place reminded me of a poem I read long ago. I could only remember one line of its prose.

…Oh, frightful black void, in this realm of plucked out eyes, what bone-chilling cold, like unseen frost cuts at my face. Oh baleful circumstances, why do you conspire against me and engulf me like a tomb…

Recalling that verse to mind, my hands began to tremble. The poem brought on a superstitious dread of my surroundings. The longer that I had been in the dark, the more wary I had become of this dark abode.

Soon an eerie unrest coursed through my veins. In my mind arose a nagging feeling—something was different…some change had occurred. One unsaid word lay silent on my tongue, “caution.” I blew warm breaths into my cold, cupped hands, trying to draw the numbness out of my fingers. Suddenly I stopped, my breath was silent, and I felt my heart pump harder, like a fist clenching inside my chest.

I could never explain or make reason of my sixth sense, but when I focused deeply, I could detect and feel the presence of things that I could not see with my eyes; dangers, which came lurking within close physical proximity to me.

As the moments passed, I strained, intensely, concentrating on the open space about me. I listened for any sounds within the silence; I strained to “feel” for any movement within the black curtains of dread that hung everywhere.

I felt my sixth sense arise with a tingling that always produced a state of heightened vigilance. Someone was in the dark lair with me.  My concentration radiated outwards like invisible concentric circles of energy. Then my mental awareness quickly wrapped around him like an invisible net. I sensed his form for a split second—arms, legs, upright, tall.

Who is this, is he lost in the blackness here as I am? Perhaps I should call out to him.

I heard the quiet crunching of slow steps on the floor. Surely, he had to take careful steps, so as not to fall, wandering blind in this darkness such as I did.

But my gut reaction was not to call out. I did not wish to alert him as to my awareness, so I did not make a sound. He was carefully stepping towards me from behind. I did not turn back towards him, as my feet would have made sounds if I twisted.

He drew in close upon me, and then suddenly halted directly behind me. He stood as still and as silent as a statue. I did not move. I did not even breathe.

We were obviously both aware of each other’s presence, as we remained frozen in the blackness. The silence between us was deafening. I wondered what his intentions were. If he had wanted to seize me, he surely would have by done so by now. Perhaps he sensed that I was a danger to him. I thought it best quietly to speak to him, in calm, reassuring voice,

But before I did, I felt an intense, unyielding stare on the back of my neck.

He does see in the black!

His abnormal ability to see me struck me as so disconcerting that it sent a shudder through me.

If he could see me and yet did not call out to me, then I had to consider him hostile in nature. Yet he stood like a stone right behind me. Another moment passed us in silence.

Then I felt something like a weak electric field tingle past my ear. I sensed what seemed like a huge hand as it reached around my neck and face from behind. The hand was much too big to be dark that of a man. It was that of a great beast. I wondered how a beast came to be inside this closed bubble within a sea of granite. Did some force transport him here as it had done to me.

This was perhaps the only thing here which possessed life But in this dead place, the only living creature? What would he eat to survive?

I felt the creature holding its bestial palm just shy of my mouth. Whatever this thing was, it was taking great care not to touch me.

Maybe the creature was planning to suffocate me. Or more perversely, maybe this beast was studying me, and amusing itself with the power it had over me. I could not deny my senses. I became convinced this thing was curiously measuring me up and nettling me, much like a child would do with an insect.

Tingling sensations crept about my face and cheeks. I perceived that the creature had extended a long bony finger and was lustfully tracing along the contours of my face.

It was almost a form of torture; the beast was eliciting feelings in me, heightening my fright, keeping my mind unclear of what the beast wanted of me—all this accomplished simply by not touching me.

But why was a brute stalking me in this isolated hollow lair? Was it just to toy with me as a creature insignificant in his eyes? Unless this creature… this beast so near to me in the bowels of this abyss… of course it must be…

The hand withdrew and disappeared behind my back. It had satisfied its curiosity; it decided that for the time being that I was not a hazard. It easily could have killed me. Hopefully he would leave, having grown bored with me

I immediately jerked, coming out of my thoughts. I felt something! It was a cold sensation… I felt it again. In the numbness of terror, I realized the monster had extended one of its bony fingers and tapped me on the nape of my neck two times. That odious appendage, having been chilly upon my neck, made we want to wretch!

Suddenly, the beast roared behind me furiously, I jumped in my tracks, terrified. The bestial snarl came accompanied with a rattling knock that reverberated like a tiger in the jungle.

Panic overtook my mind. I suddenly knew what it ate to stay alive. How could I have been so stupid?

Every man’s mortal life is a debt he must pay back when it is time. Yet no one wants to die. I did not want to die either. I stumbled ahead in the dark, stones rolling beneath my feet as I tried not to fall. The beads of sweat on my face were as cold as my panic.

Yet the brute knew I was vulnerable, and he followed my every step, cruelly, by waiting to slay me. He followed me patiently as I grew weary. I supposed he enjoyed seeing the panic in me. I knew that that he would follow, relentlessly, and when I was to weary too continue, only then he would finally seize and devour me.

My mortal life’s tenacity, and the instinct to live, forced me to press onward blindly. My legs grew heavy and I was losing my footing as I tried to flee. How much longer could I stave this monster off, in my blindness, and in my state of weakness? I was surely doomed.

But then suddenly, there in the infinite black—I saw a small spot of glorious light, it was just ahead of me. I ran towards the source.

Much to my astonishment, I recognized that I was looking at my candle of life…the symbol from my dream, and it was resting in its iron holder sitting on the stony floor just as I had dreamt it. The fluttering flame of my mortal existence was still burning. I was still alive!

But then my heart sank as I heard the monster swiftly coming up from behind me. He inhaled, and the sound of rattling, strings of mucous knocked as his lungs pulled in the icy air. My foe held his foul breath and prepared to spew it from his cracked lips, in order to snuff out my candle. It blew the stream of cold black air from his lungs forcefully. The repulsive breath hit my back and deflected around me.

Looking down before my feet, my flame of life still burned! The beast growled behind me with a primeval rage. Looking past my candle on the floor, I saw even more light. A few steps ahead of me, I detected a brilliant rising vertical line of radiant light. The line of light surged brighter.

The beast immediately took several steps back as if scared of this light. Then he turned and walked away. The crunching of the stones beneath his feet got quieter and quieter until he was so far away that I could not hear his footsteps.

Feeling safe and intensely curious I approached the line of illumination and found that it was actually the crack at the opening between two massive metal doors. I pushed at the doors with all of my might, and as they slowly opened, the dark cold lair was breached with divine, life-giving light. This light was as warm, blessed, and as alluring as the sun.

I walked forward into the vast glowing chamber of safety.  Never again would I suffer in darkness. Never again would I shiver in the cold.

I turned back one last time to look into the shadows of the dark abyss. That was the one and only time I saw the monster with my own eyes—the beast was Death himself. What an atrocity to the senses he was. Utterly vile and repugnant, he stared at me with cold black eyes and curved venomous fangs.

The infamous reaper of mortal life was standing just shy of the light. My fear of Death faded as I saw that he would not approach the light from the shadows. The brute seemed petrified of the lighted chamber.

Death did not appear angry, and instead of roaring at me, he coolly regarded me. For a moment, he was silent. And then he looked me and seemed to laugh aloud, in deep shudders of a croaking, then he turned away and slowly walked back into his dark abode.

I gasped in fear. I realized I had walked through the metal doors into the hall of light, and foolishly left my burning candle behind in Death’s lair, unprotected. Death slowly moved toward it, he inhaled, and then blew out a stream of air. I watched helplessly as trembling tongue of fire began to ripple and flutter. Then the flame of my mortal existence disappeared into the blackness, snuffed out forever.

I immediately panicked, and in a surreal numbness, my stomach sunk in a twinge of hopeless disbelief. Ten seconds of sheer fright consumed me. And unexpectedly I realized that I was unharmed. I was still alive. The sacred glowing light inside the chamber saved my life. I realized I had beaten Death. I said nothing and in the shadows Death turned his head back to look at me. But I could not help myself, and I laughed out loud at him.

That was the only time that he approached the light. Grimacing into it, he approached the light. He grabbed the metal doors, pulled hard at them, and they crashed shut between the two of us. Safely inside the chamber, I had no more worries about Death. There was a universe of living light about me; the chamber produced much more light and life than all the souls on earth would ever need. I walked further into the illumination and it began to pulse as it surged brighter. As I basked in the light, it grew exponentially in its intensity. The brilliant radiance grew warm.

That is when I heard a countless number high clamors start to sound. The many tones seemed as if a great chorus was warming up to play. Soon there was a massive increase in volume. There came a high vibrant range, a myriad of tenors—a sound like ten thousand trumpets.

Next, joining in, the din of thousands of piano wires all pulled too tight, then plucked, in dissonance. Then a tremulous cacophony—like countless fingernails screeching across a massive chalkboard. The squealing of the nails was sickening. The sum of the complete series of unsettling sounds unified and became recognizable. It was an unendurable symphony; the paramount agony of millions of hideous, screams, cries, and blood curdling shrieks.

Then I understood the chamber for what it really was.

The golden brilliance inside the grand chamber burst into a raging inferno of conflagrations, and rolling flames rose up in the air. All around me within the flames were a perilous number of molten pits; they boiled, and vomited up liquid stone and the stink of burning sulfur gasses.

A fissure cracked open in the floor beneath my feet and a volatile blaze came from within. Flames wrapped around my form like serpents and a burning cocoon of flames consumed me.

All I could think of was running, dropping to roll on the floor, and snuff out the unbearable flames. However, I dared not move near the pits of fire. For in all the burning sulfur pools, I saw flailing skeletons hopelessly more doomed than I was.

Those were the poorest wretches, those souls who ran in fear, and fell into the hellish sinkholes. They had become nothing but blazing frameworks of animated bones. The screaming skeletons wailed inconsolably. Their outcries were beyond what a scream should contain. Their skulls bobbed at the surface of the magma, tilting their cervical vertebrae backwards, and their jowls yawned cavernously, gasping for breaths of air.

Occasionally, a few carcasses managed to grasp the sides of the spewing sulfur pits. Skeletal hands arose, reached out to the edge, and the poor devils pulled themselves up to rest on the bones of their forearms.

Imploringly the skeletons held their arms out to me, begging me to pull them out of the flaming pools. The bony hands of panicking ones grasped wildly for my legs. I knew I must not move. I knew I must never run, no matter how afraid I was. I would surely be in one of the pits if I ran. The best things to do were to stand still and simply endure the searing flames as they consumed me.

Some of the damned were not in the pits and these skeletons bumped me as they clambered past.  These ones ran wildly in a panic, wailing aloud as their bones burned until they became dry and cracked with a pop; others were seized when blazes exploded, taking them into the air with the rising inferno.

The longer I stood there in flames, burning, the more I began to escalate into a wild panic. As I burned, languishing in agony, I smelled my flesh burning, and it began sloughing off of my bones like sheets of melting wax. In all the fear, I went mad. I could not help myself. And I began to run.

I am one of the countless runners in Hell now. We all shriek wretchedly to no avail. All we live for is to run away from the inescapable fires and try to jump over the molten pits. Some of us run and dodge the exploding flames, like soldiers running into mortar fire, and others fall and drown in the boiling hellholes. So hideous is all the howling that it commits an offence against the mind.  All here have abandoned hope. For us there is only panic, screaming, and torment beyond bearing.

Yet for all the fire that consumed me, I would not die. Never spared the agony, I felt everything. But this made no sense as Death snuffed my candle of life. I should be dead. And then I realized that I was eternally dead and that I was going to burn here infinitely.

I cried out to God, praying for mercy and forgiveness. I said he was a merciful God, and I plead, begging him to spare me this burden, an existence that I could not possibly bear. In sheer terror, I waited for an answer to my prayer of genuine remorse and shame.

And God was stony silent.

Cheating Death (Short Story – Horror)


The last thing that I remember was getting up off the couch to change the channel on the television set. When I stood up it was as if an excruciating bolt of thunder pierced me through the center of the breastplate. I became light headed. Confusion overtook my mind and I lost lucid consciousness, which dwindled away leaving me in a vague trance-like state.

I was aware of being in physical peril, but only in the sense as being a third party observing myself from the outside. I saw my arm clutch at the sharp chest pains grabbing my breast with claw of a hand. Then I saw my body crumple and collapse and fall hard towards the living room floor. I was surprised not to see myself lying on the floor unconscious.

Instead, the inexplicable began to unfold. I was back inside of my body now, but I continued to fall, my body unstopped by any hard surface. I watched as my form crashed through the living room floor and dropped beneath it. I continued to tumble, my body shattering the concrete as I fell through the foundation of the house, and I still I continued to drop away. I fell beneath the crust of the earth plummeting downward into the blackness. I fell like a stone, unimpeded. I continued to tumble for what seemed like hours on end.

During the entire event, my mind became weary and I dropped off into a deep sleep. I suddenly was aware that I was dreaming. However, the entry into the dream was inhospitable. It was a nightmare of sorts.

I dreamed that I saw a single white burning candle; this candle was in an old-fashioned metal candleholder with a ring for the finger—the kind people used to carry around by hand to see in the darkness before days of electricity and incandescent light bulbs.

I dreamt I saw this candle in the carrier sitting precariously on a rock-covered floor. I watched the candle anxiously, as the tiny yellow tongue of fire fluttered, tremulously clinging to the wick. I realized that this was a symbol. It was the burning candle of my life force and that fragile flame was my existence, so delicate and vulnerable, and so easily extinguished forever without warning. At the end of the dream, I was terrified that something would blow the flame out and that I would die.

At that point, I awoke. And I found myself lying here on the stony floor in this icy, black abysmal place.

Oh, frightful black void, in this dark realm of plucked out eyes, what is this bone-chilling cold that bites at my face bitterly, like unseen frost? Oh baleful circumstances, why do you conspire against me to engulf me like a tomb.

There would appear that nothing is here save the black hanging demise in the biting chill. Nevertheless, I had an overwhelming superstitious mindfulness that something was indeed there in the inky black with me. Yet I could not seem to feel it or hear it. I found my footing among the stones and then I stood up.

I turned round about looking wildly for any sign of light…but alas, darkness was all I saw.

May God, give me just a small crack of light to pursue, let him extend to me one thread of hope that I might find flight from this wretched place. All I need is a solitary pinpoint of light to gaze at for the briefest moment. I need to know. Tell me do I have eyes or am I blind! It is driving me mad…

But despite my plea, I see nothing. I find myself abandoned to the poison of sightlessness. In fear, I began to walk about the dark cavern aimlessly.

Soon an eerie emotion coursed through my veins. I suddenly sensed that some sort of beast was following very close behind me, biding its time before attacking me. A rush of panic washed over me, like a bucket of icy water. In this terror, I could swear a long skeletal hand reached from behind me. I sensed its palm cupped just shy of my mouth, perhaps to mute my screams, perhaps to silently suffocate me, or perversely, just to amuse itself with the great power it had over me.

I had an unshakable notion that its gaunt hand extended a long bony finger, and without touching me, lustfully traced along the contours of my face in the dark. I knew all this was happening even though I could not provide evidence of it.

But then I smelled a plague-ridden, putrid stench. And I knew then that something was indeed with me in the blackness and cold.

I quickly thought back in time to remember how I got here. I finally realized that I must have suffered a heart attack back in my living room, and that was the beginning of all this horror. Then I wondered if I, in truth was actually lying unconscious on the living room floor. Lack of blood to my brain could have caused me to hallucinate all of this nightmarish emotional chaos.

But I feel the stones rough under my feet on this floor and when I inhale, I experience the cold biting at my nostrils. I am here, wherever this place is.  This does not seem like a dream. This seems very real. And something dangerous is here with me.

I did seem to have a heart attack. I felt the stabling chest pains. If I did, I am fighting for my life. But why am I in this dark cavernous place of danger.

Unless this creature, of course…it can be no other than he…I realize that this beast so near me in the bowels of this black abyss is Death. Death is following me and he will try to claim me if he can. I must fight to live; I must get back to the living room. But how long can I escape Death down here trapped in his dark lair?

I immediately jerk with a shudder coming out of my thoughts. I felt something. It was a cold sensation…There it is again. It is he. Death touched me!

In the numbness of terror, Death extended one bony finger touched me on the nape of my neck. That odious fetid appendage, having been chilly upon my neck, makes me want to wretch!

My body jerks, startled and alarmed as I hear the beast roar furiously. Its low base snarl is a rattling knock that echoes like a tiger in the jungle.

How many souls has this executioner liberated from their living bodies? Mortal life is a debt everyone must pay to the reaper in time. Yet everyone evades the beast when he or she can, it is our nature. No one wants to die. I do not want to die.

Yet Death is following my every step. The beast is forbidding. He is methodic, relentless, and most cruel of all, infinitely patient.

My mortal life’s tenacity, never wanting to yield, forces me to press onward blindly, wandering in the black cavern. My legs are weary and heavy and I am losing my footing as I try to flee. How can I stave off Death? I can see nothing here and know not any way out of this black cavernous throat of stone, a realm that Death knows better than I know the back of my own hand. I am surely doomed.

But then then suddenly there is hope. What is this that I see? Right before I stumble from fatigue and Death can overtake me, a miracle occurs. There in the infinite black void just ahead—I see a light!

Oh wonderful, glorious, life giving light, It is just ahead of me.

I approach the illumination running as I head for the source.

This miraculous light in the lair of Death… it is my candle of life…the candle from my dream, resting in its iron holder sitting on the stony floor just as I dreamt it. The fluttering flame of my mortal existence is still burning.

But then my heart sinks as I hear Death coming up from behind me and he sucks loud, rattling, strings of mucous inside his lungs as they pull in the icy air. My foe holds the foul breath in his lungs, that when blown from its cracked lips, will threaten to snuff out my candle. But now that I am standing before the flame, maybe I can try to guard my fire of life from the creature that wants to extinguish it.

I feel and smell Death behind me and then I feel him blow the stream of breath from his lungs forcefully. The repulsive breath hits my back and deflects around me.

My flame of life still burns! Death cannot hurt me now. Indeed, he cannot snuff out my candle as long as I stand here.

The beast growls behind me with a primeval fury. However, for all of his ferocity, the beast roars in impotent rage. Death is singular in its insignificance now.

Looking past my candle on the floor, I see a brilliant rising line of radiant light on the far wall. I walk nearer to find that the vertical line of illumination is actually the crack at the opening between two immense metal doors. Peering through the crack, I see a vast chamber. It has no end. And inside it is a source of infinite life sustaining light.

I push at the doors and as they slowly open, the dark cold lair of death is breached with divine light. This light is a radiance as warm, blessed, and as dazzling as the sun.

I leave my candle burning on the floor of Death’s dark lair and walk forward into the vast glowing chamber of safety.  Never again will I suffer in darkness. Never more shall I shiver in the cold.  I shall live in this glorious warm realm of hope.

I turn back one last time to look into the shadows of the den of Death. Then I see Death himself standing just shy of the light. What an atrocity to the senses. The creature is utterly vile and repugnant as it stares at me with cold black eyes and curved venomous fangs. Nevertheless, I stand bold, as it will not approach from the shadows. The beast seems petrified of the living light.

Death snarls at me in anger and the ground shakes.

Then I realize that I am in peril. I am suddenly alarmed as I left my candle behind. On the floor in the shadows, I see its flame burning with no protection. Death inhales and blows against the yellow trembling tongue of fire and it flutters. Then suddenly the flame of my life is snuffed out forever.

I instantly panic, but in time, I realize that I am unharmed. I am still alive because of this sacred brilliant glow. I realize with joy that I have beaten death. I laugh at death, mocking him.

In a rage of defeat, my foe pulls hard at the metal doors and they crash shut between the two of us. I turn around and face the light. I immerse myself in its warmth. Light is everywhere, there is a world of life in here.

Suddenly I realize where I am. I am in Heaven.

I stand in the illumination of God omnipotent in fantastic joy. Then I wait for the holy sounds. I always wanted to hear the angels in Heaven sing like sirens.

I long for the angel’s mellifluous chorus. Yet, the music does not come. However, I hear something even greater. It is louder than ten thousand trumpets.

I hear what I never imagined I would hear in Heaven. I hear billions of blood-curdling screams come from within the sun like glow.

Then it hits me and I know where I really am.

I am in Hell.

The intense light grows with an escalating heat until it is so hot that my flesh begins to sting.  I see this endless chamber for what it really is. It is a place of raging fire, conflagrations, and a realm of infernos. There are explosions like geysers that send rolling flames rocketing upwards. All around me are a perilous number of lava pits; they bubble, boil, and vomit liquid stone and burning sulfur.

I dare not walk.

The floor at my feet cracks open and a volatile blaze consumes my body. It wraps around my form, like a serpent. I am in a burning cocoon of flames.

I want to run wildly, to roll on the floor, and snuff out the unbearable flames that overtake me. However, I dare not move near the pits of molten fire. For in all the burning sulfur pools, I see flailing skeletons hopelessly more doomed than I am.

They are the ones who ran in fear and fell into the hellish sinkholes. Now they are nothing but flaming frameworks of animated bones, thrashing, screaming, and trying to tread in the red-hot liquid. They scream, trying merely to keep their skulls above the surface. I see them grasp at the sides of the spewing sulfur pits. Skeletal hands arise from the molten lava, reach out to the edge, and rest themselves upon the bones of their forearms. Skeletal digits grasp wildly for my legs as the condemned attempt to pull themselves out of the depths of despair. I step back away from the languishers lest they pull me into the molten prison with them.

I stand still. I know I cannot run. I must not run as the others did.  The best things I can do are stand still and suffer the fire.

Some of the damned in Hell are not in the pits and I see these skeletons clamber past me.  These ones run wildly in a panic, wailing aloud as their bones burn until they become dry and crack with a pop. They suffer hopelessly as they fly up off the ground when a flare of the devils flaming tongue explodes upwards, taking them up into the air with the rising inferno.

I am escalating into a wild panic. I am on fire and my flesh is charred and falling off my body like melting wax. In all the fear, I went mad. I could not help myself. And I began to run.

I am one of the countless runners in Hell now. We scream wretchedly to no avail. All we live for is to run away from the inescapable fires and try to jump over the molten pits. Some of us run and dodge the exploding flames, like soldiers running into mortar fire, and others fall and drown in the boiling molten depths of despair. So hideous is all the howling that it commits an offence against the mind.  All here have abandoned hope. For us there is only panic, screaming, and torment beyond bearing.

I ran for a far-reaching distance but then I lost my footing, I stumbled, and I fell into a molten sinkhole. Dipping under the pool of spitting and belching lava, I tread in magma to brink my skull above the surface. Gasping for my breath, I draw burning sulfur fumes into my lungs. I cough up lava and fire as I suffer in unspeakable torture. Yet for all the fire consuming me, I do not die. I feel everything. But this makes no sense as my candle of life, was snuffed out by death. So I should be dead.

To my horror, I now realize that I am indeed dead and that I will burn here in Hell for eternity.

I am truly repentant for how I lived my life in sin. I was wrong and I know this. But God is forgiving. I cry out to God praying for mercy and forgiveness. I plead that God spare me this burden, an existence that I cannot possibly bear. I wait for an answer to my prayer of genuine remorse and shame.

And God is stony silent.

Death and Loss


I MISS YOU NOW THAT YOU ARE GONE. LOSING A GOOD FRIEND LIKE YOU CHANGES EVERYTHING IN LIFE.

NOW MY WORLD IS A LITTLE SMALLER AND THE SUN IS FARTHER AWAY. THE DAYS ARE DREARIER, AND IN THE SHADE OF MISSING LIGHT, THE FLOWERS DO NOT GROW AS VIBRANT OR AS FRAGRANT AS THEY DID WHEN YOU WERE WITH ME.

THE NIGHTS ARE A DARKER SHADOW OF BLACK NOW. AND EVERYTHING IN GOD’S CREATION IS SOMEHOW COLDER.

I AM SAD THAT YOU ARE GONE FOREVER. BUT I JUST WANT TO SAY THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW I LOVED YOU AND I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU.

YOU ARE A PART OF ME NOW.

Utter Devastation of the Spirit is as bad as Death. Never take a Good Friend for Granted. They can die and leave you in the blink of an eye.

 

The Breakfast Toast (Humor)


It was ink black on a very cold night. Inside his apartment, after a night of insomnia, Tom finally fell into a deep peaceful sleep Saturday morning at 5 a.m., Tom had to work that Saturday so he would soon have to awaken and then get ready for his day of work only having had minutes of sleep.

At precisely 5:30 a.m., Tom and his dog Sam both jerked convulsively in the bed in a panic induced by the shrill piercing of the alarm clock going off. Tom reached for the snooze button and in a stupor unknowingly knocked the beeping clock off of the night stand and it fell behind the headboard wedged next to the wall in a very hard to get to place.

The alarm ringer kept perfect beat in a continuous ear-splitting tone. Tom grimaced as he kept reaching for the alarm clock on the nightstand. He could not understand why he could not find the snooze button or the alarm clock for that matter. The high-pitched stabbing “beep, beep, beep” kept tormenting him. Tom put his pillow over his head and rolled over on his side completely miserable.

Soon the dog who could hear about two hundred times better than Tom began to howl. Sam was a huge dog and had a healthy set of lungs to bellow. Tom reached for the nightstand again. Sam kept howling—Sam was getting louder as time went on.

In a flash of irritation, Tom sat up and groped about in the pitch-black room for the alarm clock on the nightstand. He finally realized that it was not on the wooden piece of furniture. But the shrill alarm was so loud he had a very hard time pinpointing where it was coming from. He began to get down on his hands and knees to look on the floor just when Sam jumped off of the bed to escape to the living room.

Sam’s 100-pound body jarred Tom and he tumbled headfirst towards the table stand. Luckily, Tom landed with both hands on the nightstand so he was not hurt.

But as Tom stood up in the pitch-black room, he kicked the wooden base of the stand hard and square with his bare foot and his right big toe began to pound with pain.

Tom thought I broke that toenail– I know I did– and now I will have to rip that nail off to get into my dress shoes for work. Tom shuddered at the idea.

Sam was still howling, only now he was howling in the living room. Sam and the infinite alarm beeping had also awakened Tom’s next-door neighbor early on that Saturday morning. Tom’s neighbor began loudly banging on his wall of the adjoining apartment.

Tom ignored this as he impotently waved a dismissing arm in the direction of the wall as if to say go away. He got down on his hands and knees and began to look for the alarm clock groping about in the dark with his hands. He could not see or feel anything. Beep, beep, beep…

Soon the neighbor was banging on Tom’s front door. Sam ceased his howling and began to boom out barking at the knock on the door. Sam woofed and snarled at the crack near the bottom and then scratched at the metal door.

Tom’s ears where throbbing from the alarm—but then salvation. Tom realized that all he had to do was simply unplug the clock from the wall socket. But this was not exactly straightforward. Tom had plugged the alarm clock cord into a six-plug outlet RadioShack splitter. All six plugs were in use and six ungrounded cords came out of the sockets. He did not know each cord powered. Tom just jerked one cord out of the fixture at random. But it was not the plug to the alarm clock. The beeping continued to pierce the dark.

Beep, beep, beep…this was all driving Tom insane.

Angry now, Tom grabbed all five of the other cords and jerked them all out at once. Tom was terrified to see bright sparks spit out of all five outlets at him; he fell backwards and knocked his head hard against the nightstand. He could cry or say a bad word. He said a bad word.

Luckily, the alarm clock had stopped beeping and soon Sam stopped his booming barking as the neighbor gave up and quit knocking on Tom’s door. Everything was all right now and Tom could finally relax and get ready for work.

Tom stumbled in the dark and went to turn on the bathroom light. Nothing happened. He tried to turn on the bathroom fan. Nothing happened. Tom realized that he had shorted the breaker box when he jerked the sparking cords out of the wall all at once.

The breaker box was outside behind the apartment and Tom was only wearing his boxer shorts. He could not simply go outside in the cold and flip the breaker switches. He had to shower and dress first.

Tom made his way to the chest and drawers and found a pen light in a top drawer; he put it in his mouth. It only came on when he bit it so he had constantly to keep his teeth clenched on it. To make sure the breaker was fully tripped he tried to turn on the living room light and the kitchen light. Nothing happened.

On the way back, by shining the pen light at Sam, Tom saw he was slumbering peacefully on his dog bed and blankets in the living room.

Tom made it back into the bedroom closet. He stripped out of his boxers and threw them in the dirty clothes. He sucked up the saliva running down the pen light. He made his way into the bathroom and started the shower. Then armed with a pen light and a soap bar he showered by the dim incandescent light. The light was getter dimmer all of the time; the batteries were running out of power.

Tom got out of the shower, went to the sink and shaved by pen light illumination. His light went off several times and he had to shake and bite it again and again to get the light to shine.

With the electric heater now off it was already chilly in the apartment. Tom grabbed his hairdryer. Nothing happened when he turned it on by habit.

Getting out of the bathroom with wet hair, Tom looked for the alarm clock to check the time, which he did not see– it was wedged behind the headboard under the bed—not to mention it was also unplugged. Tom knew he had no electricity as soon as he did these things but he kept trying to use electrical components for some irresistible reason.

Then the gray dawn’s light slowly began to stream in from the horizon through the bedroom windows so Tom knew that it must be after 6: 30. This meant he was running late. Tom’s boss was not exactly and understanding man, so Tom had to hurry.

Out of the corner of his eye, Tom saw that Sam was back on the bed looking at Tom curiously with his head tilted to the side as dogs sometimes do.

Looking into the closet with his slobbery pen light between his teeth Tom began to get his suit jacket, pants, shoes, socks and tie out of the closet and laid them on the bed. When he looked for a pair of fresh boxers there were none.

Then the pen light suddenly dimmed and went out again. Tom shook it. He bit it. He tried everything but it did not come back on. So Tom got on his hands and knees and felt through the dirty clothes hamper in dark closet. He found his old pair of drty boxers.

He had one stroke of luck. He realized that if he turned his underwear inside out that he could safely wear them for another day—maybe even two.

Now with more light coming into the room he took his boxers and rolled them inside out. Balancing on his right leg, he inserted his left leg into the left leg hole of his boxers. Then reversing the legs, he balanced on his left leg as he began to put his right leg in the other leg hole of the boxers.

However, his foot with the torn toenail caught the bottom of the leg hole.  Tom was hopping about on his left leg trying to get his foot uncaught. But he lost his balance and his right leg came down hard with his foot still stuck in his boxers. Tom heard a loud rip as the boxers split in half all down the back seat. Tom said another bad word. Tom stepped out of the boxers to look at them. They were not pretty but they were wearable.

As Tom held the white cloth boxers in the morning light, Sam bounded off the bed and chomped down on the torn rag of cloth. With iron jowls, Sam pulled and jerked the boxers in his mouth, yanking his head from side to side. Tom pulled back to save his boxers.

Sam was having fun in a full-out tug of war. Tom was irritated, “Sam! No! Bad Dog!” yelled Tom. But Sam was having too much fun. And after bit more pulling Sam won when the boxers ripped completely in two and the dog left gloriously with his spoils to chew on them on his living room bed.

Tom said, “Why me? God hates me. That’s why.” He looked up into the sky and shook his fist. “You’re pushing me.”

Tom had to dress sans boxers. He could see to button his shirt and then he put on his tie. He slid into his suit pants and zipped up his slacks quickly.

Suddenly Tom said two very loud, very bad words. Part of Tom  was dangerously stuck in-between the zipper tracks. In terror, Tom backed the zipper in reverse along the tracks in excruciating pain. He stopped in agony. He was going to have to unzip it fast, just like pulling off a Band-Aid, Tom. In anticipation, involuntary tears ran down Tom’s cheeks.

After a very deep breath, Tom yanked the zipper back down the tracks and freed himself. Tom now covered with sweat, exercised great care; he gently pulled the zipper back up along the tracks slowly. The maneuver had been a success.

Tom sat down on the bed to put his socks on in comfort. His left sock went on like a lamb glove. The second sock snagged on his right toe. Remembering kicking the stand with his big toe, he carefully removed the sock and saw the toenail torn off halfway down into the quick. It was much too deep for clippers. Just like a Band-Aid, Tom.

With a rip, he winced and the torn toenail lay clenched in between his thumb and forefinger. Looking down at his toe, the nail was not a problem anymore but bleeding definitely was. Dripping blood spotted the carpet.

Tom hopped on one leg to the toilet, sat down, and jerked about10 sheets of toilet paper off of the roll. Tom folded this in half several times lengthways and then quickly and wrapped the bleeding toe until a large white ball of tissue was sitting on the end of his toe, turning red, looking like a clown’s nose. This would never fit in his sock and shoe.

Then Tom had an idea. He hopped into the bedroom and opened a drawer on the nightstand, dusted off a very old box and he got a condom out. This would be the first practical use Tom had ever had for a condom. He knew they would pay off one day.

He hopped back to the bathroom bleeding. He took the condom and got a tube of Neosporin. He put the whole tube of ointment in the end of the condom and tried to roll it over his big toe. But Tom had the condom on inside out and it would not roll onto his toe. In despair, Tom reversed the condom and tried to remove the Neosporin with his fingers from the wrong end and smear it into the right end.

Finally, it rolled on, but there was a lot left unrolled and the condom would not stay on his big toe. But suddenly Tom had a brilliant insight. Tender toed Tom hopped into the kitchen and found a bag of Wonder Bread with two slices left inside. He removed the twist- tie from the bread package and secured the condom. The toe still bled but the blood stayed inside of the condom. It did not drip blood. The toe condom was an overwhelming success.

Tom very carefully put on his right sock and dress shoe. He stood on it with a scowl. It was painful, but it would work.

Tom sprinted in the kitchen and poured Sam a bowl of kibbles. Tom was running critically late, plus he had not bought any groceries that week. He would have to eat at Jack and the Box and reset the breaker outside when he got home from work.

Tom grabbed his keys, opened, exited his door and then limped down three flights of apartment stairs wincing on each step.

Tom slid into his car and put the key in the ignition. He turned the key and heard “click.” He turned the key several more times and heard nothing. Tom had left his lights on the day before when he got home from work. Tom stared straight ahead at nothing. Then he put both hands on his steering wheel and furiously jerked and shook it with his arms and shoulders while banging on the horn, which made absolutely no sound.

Tom was utterly defeated as he slowly got out of the car and ripped his slacks cuff on the door. He did not even care anymore. There was no way he could make it to work. Tom just decided with an overwhelming sense of peace that he was going to go back upstairs and go back to bed—even if it meant that he got fired.

Tom walked back behind the apartment complex and reset the switches to his breaker box. He looked up and saw his kitchen light illuminate his third floor apartment.

Tom slowly limped back up the three flights of stairs and opened his apartment door. He saw Sam sitting on his dog bed, relaxing and chewing on Tom’s drool covered boxers remains. Shutting the door Tom said, “Hello Sam, we’re taking the day off.” Sam just wagged his tail whacking it against the living room wall with a loud knocking; Tom’s next-door neighbor started banging on the adjoining wall again.

Tom’s stomach grumbled and he mourned not being able to get to Jack in the Box for breakfast. Tom realized that he had nothing to eat in the house. Then Tom remembered the Wonder bread. Two pieces—perfect for toast.

Tom loved toast. It would be the only good part of his morning. Then he would relax for the rest of the day and get back into bed.

Tom went into the kitchen and Sam followed happily. “No Sam, this is for me. Sorry.” Sam just looked up at Tom and panted with big-mouthed smile. Tom reached for the two pieces of white bread. One slice was normal and one was the heel of the loaf. Taking both in hand, Tom turned to go to the toaster.

He lost his grip on one slice and almost caught it twice as it fell down to the floor. Tom reached for the slice only to see Sam snap it up, tilt his head up, and wolf it down in three quick bites. Tom did not even try to say anything to Sam.

Tom jealously guarded his remaining heel slice of bread. It was still enough for a breakfast. He slid it into the slot on the toaster and pushed the spring-activated tray holder down, starting the toaster. Tom’s mouth watered thinking of browned crispy toast.

Instantly the phone began to ring. Tom did not want to answer the call, as he knew it was his boss. Just before the call rolled over to the recording machine, Tom picked up the phone. “Hello?” About 45 seconds of squawking came from his boss on the other side of the receiver. It was the boss telling him he was late, this was the last time, and asking how soon would be in for work.

Tom paused, “I can’t come in today sir due to circumstances beyond my control.” More squawking came from the other end. “It’s a long story sir, I had an alarm clock malfunction, I injured my foot, I had a temporary power outage, my car won’t start, I am bleeding, and I ripped the cuff on my pants…and oh yeah, I am not wearing any underwear.”

Squawking ensued and then suddenly again came the terrible sound. An ear-splitting Beep, Beep, Beep.

“Sir,” Tom shouted over the beeping, “I have to go!” A more concerned tone of squawking came from the phone this time. “Oh no sir,” yelled Tom. “It is not a fire. It is worse. You made me burn the toast!”

Unfinished Writings


His office was a graveyard of unfinished writings. He printed out his best short stories, and bound each one with a paperclip. They just sat in sliding piles everywhere—like little leaning towers of Pisa. He planned to put them all in boxes because he was dying. He hoped that someone would take the boxes after he died and read each story with interest. But he was too busy writing ever to put any of the writings in the boxes. That is how he knew that they were good.

Woman in the Red Dress


It was awfully hot outside, and Tom, was dressed in a suit and tie. He was moving his feet fast to make it down the sidewalk and get to work on time. He almost tripped over his scuffling shoes, barely avoiding a fall, as many cars whisked past him on the street.

He saw the cross walk just ahead. Impatient to cross that street he took, long, quick strides to get there. But he just missed the signal. And the pedestrian walking sign now burned in red “Don’t Walk, Don’t Walk.” He stood there on the edge of the sidewalk seething; he was on the very edge, almost standing in the road.

Tom had just stopped smoking. When he noticed that he was unconsciously rubbing his thumb and forefinger together, he immediately stopped himself. He recalled earlier that day, when the therapist said he would do things like that when he went through the nicotine withdrawal. He would have twitchy fingers, anxiety, and even superstitious behavior if stressed.

A honking car speeding by within mere inches of him brought him out of his reverie, Tom edged back away from the street. Speeding cars were swooshing past him, obscuring his view of the pedestrian walk signal. He looked at his watch impatiently, His watch read3:00–lucky number.

Then a taxi whizzed past and blew the hot street’s contents up from the asphalt, and he grimaced at the grit thrown up into his face, covering him. It all smelled of hot tar. His forehead squeezed out drops of sweat that rolled down into his eyes, stinging them. He wiped his eyes, grimacing. And then he looked back up.

The cars kept swishing by but he got a glimpse of the crosswalk signal. “Don’t walk, Don’t Walk,” it glowed portentously through a speeding bus’ windows. Then he could not see the crosswalk light again for the cars passing.

He waited a long time to see the light again. When he did the pedestrian signal still flashed “Don’t Walk, Don’t Walk.” It seemed hours had passed since he looked at his watch. He looked at his wristwatch, 3:07 lucky number again.

Then he was quite angry as he realized that he had never pressed the pedestrian “walk” button on the crosswalk pole. His fingers twitched and in the heat, his nerves screamed in anxiety. He saw a broken compact mirror in the street. Bad luck—cannot cross here—No! this is the superstition the counselor talked about…I’m just hot and anxious—this is only nicotine withdrawal, superstition, twitchy fingers—and there is no such thing as bad luck.

He looked up and the crosswalk signal flashed, “Walk, Walk,” but Tom hesitated due to fear from the broken mirror, catch the next one, he thought. No…That is just superstition; it is the nicotine withdrawal nothing else. Walk now Tom, Go, Go, Go!

So he tried to make up lost time, and scurry across the street, but the crosswalk signal was already blinking red, “Don’t Walk, Don’t Walk.” Tom was standing in the middle of the busy street. The traffic light for the cars turned green. A car screeched to a murderous halt on hot tires. Then another car screeched to a halt, then another.

Tom touched the hood of one car; he was hot, and confused. From under the hood came a honk and Tom jumped. The cars with a green light could not move for Tom blocking them. They honked in a furious, disharmonious symphony. He finally came to his senses and scurried back towards from whence he came.
Damn it, never again, he vowed; it is the nicotine withdrawal and nothing else. Now you will probably be late for work at the bank at 3:20 p.m. He remembered the warning. “Tom if you are late just one more time,” the bank manager, had said, “I’ll have no choice but to let you go.”

Tom made it back to the side of the sidewalk from which he had started and he pressed the crosswalk button on the pole six times rapidly, anxiously. Sweat was now running off his brow and stinging his eyes again. He wiped his eyes so he could see. Sweat stuck to the starch of the neck of his dress shirt. He hated that. God, this is unbearably hot, and now, my damn job… I really wish I had just one god damned cigarette…”He looked up at the crosswalk sign. This was taking much too long,”

“Don’t walk,” “Don’t walk,” “Don’t walk,”… come on damn you, change to “Walk.” He had to make the next signal or it was his job. He anxiously looked down at his watch, and then his stomach sank in dread, his watch read “3:13,” bad luck, really bad luck. something ominous.

He looked up and the crosswalk signal flashed, “Walk, Walk” I do not know, maybe I should wait… I cannot go now—No stop it Tom! this is nothing but superstition again. Do not be a fool you have to get to work. “Walk now Tom, Go, Go, Go! Tom leaped into the street.

*****

Instantly everything faded to dark. Suddenly something disconnected Tom’s brain from reality.

When Tom came back into conscious awareness, a dim light seemed to be falling around him. Where am I? Am I dead?

No, I am alive because I can feel my arms and legs moving. My mind works. I know who I am. I can think so I must exist.

Did a car hit me in the crosswalk? My arms and legs are fine.. But yes, that must be what happened, a car in the crosswalk hit me, but still I am alive. I am probably in a hospital bed right now, and unconscious. I will just have to wait in this place until my body awakens, then I shall reenter my body. Then there will be light all around me. Then I shall return to my body and be whole again.

Tom looked at his wristwatch. It was precisely midnight. A chill ran through him.

He found himself walking down an abandoned street of a vacant district. A dusty house of cards in the middle of nowhere made just for him. Why is this realm so dark? I can barely see. He did not know where he was, or where he was going. The shops unlit, the buildings sterile, everything smelled of yellowed paper, mildew and dust. He walked a long way in isolation. He checked his watch again; it was exactly midnight. That cannot be, it was midnight half an hour ago. I must wind my watch. Tom began to wind his wristwatch. Fully wound? How can my watch be fully wound? Something strange is happening here. I see no people. No dogs, not even sewer rats not even insects. This place is desolate. It is like being on the moon.

He instinctively knew that no one worked, or lived in this town because the streets were covered in a heavy dust and there were no track of cars or pedestrians in the dust. As he squinted, trying to see as he made his way down the alleys. He strained to see in the shadows. As he walked and the streets were so quiet, he could hear his own heart beating. Then through a cloud, a sick, pale moonlight shone down on a town he mistrusted. Smoke-like fog rose up from the ground in whorls and covered the streets. Tom looked at his watch again, exactly midnight. What is wrong with this watch? He shook his forearm and wrist vigorously. Then he looked carefully at his watch. The second hand is not moving and this watch stopped exactly at midnight.

A chill ran down Tom’s spine, he folded his arms over his chest. Tom noticed that he was soaked with sweat but cold.

He started walking along the vacant streets to keep his mind occupied. His shoes stepped in dust, which had the consistency of powder. It was as if Tom was walking on the moon. He looked behind him and saw the deep imprints from his footsteps. He kicked at the dust, curiously, and a cloud of powder filled the air. He coughed violently. He looked at his shoe; a layer of dust coated it. He tried to wipe his shoe clean by rubbing it on the back of the left leg of his slacks. He was irritated with himself. He was also beginning to be afraid because there seemed to be no life in this place.

Tom walked around the corner into an alley. Tom squinted in disbelief, as he was certain that he saw a person standing in the distance. Tom smiled and waved. The person waved back at him.

Tom ran, encumbered by the dust, towards the person. When he was close, he realized it was not a man. He saw it was a beautiful woman standing there. She was in a short dress standing in the shadows of the dark street. Tom thought; she is smiling at me and I feel greatly relieved and aroused… It is almost as if she has been waiting there for me to arrive.

Even in the pale moonlight, I could see her dress was bright red—and…her lips they were red as well.

As I walked to her in the night, her eyes were fluid in dark swirling colors, of red wine, Arabian coffee, and Indian ink.

“Your lips are stained crimson,” I said to her.

It must be from a drop of her pricked blood. She surely smeared the blood on her lips.

My curiosity aroused, I leaned in towards her and I said, “I imagine that you rubbed that foul crimson tint in between your thumb and forefinger and colored your lips with you finger didn’t you?”

She did not reply but smiled again in a most becoming way. She then licked her lips. Then she smiled at Tom. Her smile was amazingly seductive.

She wants me, and I want her passionately. I want to make love to her.

Then she spoke to Tom. She leaned into Tom’s body space and whispered, “I would adore it very much if I could kiss you. I only want my lips to touch your lips—so gently that it makes us both ache, our lips—like a butterfly’s wings gently closing, and scarcely touching,” then she exhaled into Tom’s face. Her breath smelt divine, like roses and lavender soap.

I must taste her lips so I will know if it is her blood.

As if she read his mind she cooed. “I want you to taste my lips. And when we pull our lips apart, I want to them to cling to one another, reluctant to part—like new lovers.” She smiled cunningly with those red lips against teeth so white that they shined, even in the pale moonlight.

And then Tom leaned in to kiss her. It was a long, deep, sensuous kiss. It is her blood on her lips; it tastes like a mild percentage of both salt, and copper. I liked that. But more importantly, how did she ever learn to kiss like that? Who taught her—that is the best kiss I have ever had. He smiled and pulled back away to look at her again.

That was when he saw it; he shivered in horror.

“What the hell is this—what did I just do? I did not kiss a beautiful woman I kissed a monster. As I look before me I do not see a beautiful woman in a red dress, I see a being with elephantine skin, large cracked lips, and thick mucus dripping off them.”

The monster wore a dark hooded shroud. When he put his hood back on, his face was no longer visible. He was a hood and cloak of darkness standing there facing Tom.

Before Tom could gasp in horror, Death had its cold bony handover his mouth. Death then exhaled a deep, foul, breath, emptying his lungs.

And before Tom could beg or say that one last prayer for forgiveness Death put its dry cracked lips on Tom’s mouth. Then Death sucked in from Tom’s body and snuffed the fluttering candle flame of existence, sucking his life out of his very soul. Death took Tom’s life into his foul lungs and walked off.

Tom had no more thoughts or cognizance. Tome left behind only a corpse lying in a hospital bed but was not aware of it. Tom was gone—forever.


Insanetences and Sexy Images


Reach up High,

Writing Seriously on paper if possible, if not sometimes  I will find a medium that works.

Got a hand full of napalm,

Throw it high

The sky is on fire, the moon is in flames, and the stars are crying like a child.

***

That girl said she loved me. But she bruised my life.

When she left me, her words were like broken glass; they cut me deep.

She left me with a bleeding soul.

“Look at her.” Azure eyes–goddess-like, with luminous golden curls, and slender legs.”

There she goes; she is rambling on.

**

I am the one who has got no soul.

I live in the United States of Jesus Christ

**

A baby cries and an old man dies. Time goes on. Life goes on.

Pray for the baby, pray for the soul of that old man.

May they not end up writhing  in hellfire.

**

THANKSGIVING

“Look, you do not talk about bad feelings in this family; we swallow it all down into a tiny, painful ball that lies in the pit of our stomachs. The ball just festers and eats at us.

[One day, in a rage, it will crawl up her throat and scream its existence to the world.]

Holiday Family Dinner Day

God damn it, do we have to do this?

Stress.

Uncle Roy is drunk and pissed his pants.

“Shut up! We don’t talk about bad feelings, we swallow it all down.”

**

Get on an airplane and fly away from home and all the problems.

Write once a day. It is like flossing, only fun.

Land where no one tells your secrets

The City of Sin

Las Vegas

Dreams of Lust and Power

Prostitute

Credit Card, Credit Card

Sex, Sex, Sex

New Secrets

**

Rolling dice, games of chance.

ATM machines

Lust, Power,

“Just keep them in the casino playing. Statistics will ruin them.”

***

“Dance with the Devil and the Devil gets into you.”

Cigarettes, Alcohol, and drugs.

Delusions of Grandeur.

Dopamine and Serotonin receptors.

He’s fucking high.

**

The Wife, he must remember the wife.

Get on the plane broke  with secrets

**

Home.

Secrets, Guilt

Fight, Fight, Fight

Did you think I was going to leave the girls out some man-candy picture?

**

“Shut up!”

“Leave me alone!”

“Quiet! The kids– in the next room.”

Family time

TV, TV, TV

Don’t talk, we don’t talk about feelings.

TV TV TV

The man and wife in bed.

Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

**

Wake up,

Another God damned morning,

Fight, Fight, Fight

“You do not even seem like the same person anymore!”

“I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.”

You always do that,”

“Shut up!”

“You never do that.

“Shut up.”

**

Secrets, Secrets, Secrets.

This is it.

“I don’t love you anymore. I need to be on my own.”

“What are you talking about?”

We don’t talk about bad feelings, we swallow it all down.”

“Shut up.”

“Divorce?”

“Go to Hell.”

We don’t talk about feelings.

Stop

Make up for now

**

There are other fish in the sea.

The other woman will always be there when you need a little sympathy.

Secrets, Sex, Secrets, Sex.

**
New year’s Resolution,

Don’t see her again.

Diet-Diet-Diet

So Hungry

TV, TV, TV

To Hell with Exercise.

The other woman

Secret Sex, Sex, Secrets.

**

I can handle just one drink, then I will stop.

Alcohol, Alcohol, Alcohol

Spend the night in jail

**

I will have just one cigarette.

Sex, Sex, Sex.

I will have just one cigarette.

I am going to tell her it is over.

cigarette, cigarette, cigarette.

Sex, Sex, Sex

Cheeseburger.

**

Back to Marriage Combat

Fight Fight Fight.

“You Bitch!

“You Asshole!”

Divorce?

Heartache.

Damaged children.

**

Credit Card, Credit Card

Sex, Sex, Sex

Shop, Shop, Shop

**

“I’ll just have one cigarette and quit.”

**

“The years go by and people we love die.”

We are getting older.

We are going to die next.

We will be in the box, six feet under dirt.

There we will rot and slugs shall crawl in our eyeless skulls

**

**

I’ll have just one cigarette and quit smoking.

I never could quit smoking

**

I saw the doctor and the specialist for test.

Lung Cancer; they told me I was going to die.

They said it just like that, like they were telling you what they  had for lunch that day. They must see a lot of people die.

Please be responsible. Make sure that don’t write while driving.

**

I figure that I am going to die soon if what they said was right.

And yesterday is when I just decided, “Fuck it,” I am going to live my life anyway.

All you can do in life is your best, you can’t do anymore.

Lovers and the Antique Brass Bed


It was a cold November day, and as I lay in bed awakening, I saw the newborn sun’s illumination flare up behind the layer of condensation on the bedroom windowpanes.

golden mist coming in window

The light shone diffuse, coming into the bedroom as a gold radiant mist.

My ancestors had repainted those wooden, square borders that hold the glass, painting them again and again over the years. The wood had an accretion of paint layers, almost geological, and sedimentary, in sheets of white weather coatings. After many years, the layers of white paint flaked, and cracked into many fine lines and fissures.

The bedroom window I looked at was an old window, in an old house, a house of four generations, which in time became home.

The sun’s light, filtered by the fog on the window, shone diffusely into our bedroom as a gold, radiant mist. It filled the bedroom, as if gilded dust hung about everywhere in the air.

Turning my head on the pillow, I saw her sleeping next to me. The soft radiance revealed the graceful, contours of my wife’s face. Hers was a statuesque, symmetrical, bone structure, resulting in feminine loveliness.

The condensation on the windowpanes, attested to our warm life breaths, pulling in and out of sleeping lungs during the night. The layer of moisture clung to the glass as a memory. It held the traces of her whispers in bed, whispers which I had felt against the nape of my neck the night before. I vaguely recalled that softly spoken, “I love you,” fading away, as my conscious awareness sank, into the oblivion of sleep, as if I were slipping beneath the surface of quicksand.

brass bed

The Antique Brass Bed frame; The Family Bed of four Generations

Coming out of my recollection, I yawned. I rubbed my eyes, sat up, and leaned my bare back against the vertical bars, at the head of the antique brass bedframe.

Over many years, the dry country air discolored the brass bedframe’s slats, bars, and darkened the round brass knobs atop the bedposts. As a child, I loved to turn these brass knobs with my small hands, as the circular orbs squeaked and vibrated when rotated.

The antique bedframe now showed in gradations, a spectrum of tarnished brass in the colors from shiny to the darkest bronze.

Reaching back for more than a century and a half, that bed frame had been the marital bed of the previous three generations of my family. Each generation of my ancestors married, and as a couple, they slept each night in the brass bed, and they grew old together slumbering on their Sears and Roebuck feather mattresses.

In their golden years, I contemplated what their old minds dreamed about, and how each of them lived, acting out scenes, in the realm of their imaginings. I wondered if for a night, they were young once again. As I imagined them dreaming, I could picture white diamonds pulsing, scattered across the vast, black, velvet expanse of the heavens, hanging so high above the tin roof of this humble house.

I suddenly emerged from within the depths of my mind, and became again aware of myself sitting up in the Family Bed, leaning back against the cold brass bars of the headboard. Having laid my bare back against the brass bars for too long, I was deeply chilled. I shivered in the cold bite of the bedroom air, frigid inside the unheated house.

As I pulled the old patchwork quilt, that my grandmother had sewn by hand, from atop the bed, I pulled it gently, so as not to wake her. Yet I also pulled it all the way to me, so as to bundle it and wrap it about me. I removed the patchwork quilt, from the pile of the many others that warmed she and I during the cold nights of the winter.

I wrapped the warm cloth heirloom around my bare neck, my shoulders, and my back. Then I pulled it around in front of me, grasping both ends of the quilt in one hand, holding it at my neck.

I was careful not to wake her as I lowered my legs off the bed, and let my bare feet touch the cold wooden floor. I stood up to get the blood moving in my legs, and in seconds, the chill of the floor drained all of the heat from my feet. My feet throbbed, burning painfully with the coldness. I walked away from the bed quietly, and I headed in curiosity towards the window to look at the translucent condensation on the windowpanes.

At first glance, the moisture on the inside of the pane, looked just like frosted glass, but as I inspected the foggy film more closely, I saw that the condensation was actually thousands of microscopic beads of water, each clinging tenuously to the surface of the windowpane.

In wonder, I touched the layer of moisture. The glass was cold and it chilled my finger. The moisture of our exhaled breaths wet my finger as I swiped it across the glass. My finger made a clear streak in the condensation on the pane, and small drops of water ran down from its edges. I quickly exhaled on it, and the clear streak filled halfback with the fog of the moisture of my breath’s humidity.

Her Sleeping

She was beautiful as her skin basked in the morning light. In awe of her, my breath hung heavy in my lungs, like lead, and for a moment, I could not breathe.

I turned and looked back to the bed, and I saw my wife sleeping. I cherished her with my eyes. She was beautiful as her skin basked in the morning light. Her naked shoulder lay exposed above the blanket, supple, and ivory white. She was young and innocent, shapely and nubile. In awe of her, my breath hung heavy in my lungs, and for a moment, I could not breathe.

The night before, when we went to bed, her long, chestnut hair had lay splayed out, in voluptuous disarray, across her pillow. While nuzzling at the soft, white, nape of her neck, I had pressed my nose into the silky morass of her dark hair. I inhaled the fusion of many delicate, intermingling fragrances. I remembered the all-consuming, sensual nature of the smell of her hair.

Her hair bore traces of turned over sod in the fertile fields.

Deeply woven into her reddish brown waves were traces of the farmland. Her long lustrous hair bore the earthen, musty smell of freshly turned over sod in the plowed fields. Also was the scent of that distinct breeze, which always arrives as a fragrant announcement, just moments before a summer rain shower in the country. This was a fragrant breeze that undeniably smells like safety and home. It is the smell of a blessing.

My nose detected numerous, feminine, anointing oils in her hair, and of her flesh; the oils were a musky fusion that composed her unique, primal smell. No other woman alive exuded the same fragrance. My body knew the smell of her instinctually. And when I smelled her scent, I knew she was my mate.

Her scent whispered to my sense of smell, beckoning my body unto hers. It was an intoxicating bidding of her pheromones in the innocent concupiscence of our love.

Her hair bore the scented memories from the previous evening. Woven deeply within her long silken curls, was the smell of perspiration from our naked, entwined, exhausted bodies. There was the brackish biting smell of the ocean’s waves, whitecaps that surged, swelling, and rushing inland towards the untouched volcanic rocks. The waves struck the black, jagged, pillars with a fury, throwing expansive white froth, in wide fan-like dispersals and a fine mist of briny droplets.

waves crashing

It retained faint traces from the mist of the oceans passionate waves, crashing against the black volcanic rocks. The waves struck the rocks, spraying white froth in a mist of briny droplets. We made thunder in the night, as our bodies lunged and hove in the brass bed, and our bodies moved inside of each other. It seemed that the earth moved beneath us, and that high above the angels wept.

We made amatory thunder in the night, as our bodies lunged and hove in the brass bed, moving inside of each other. It seemed that the earth moved beneath us. And for one sacred moment, the boundaries that separated us dissolved, and our two souls fused, and we both inhaled, and sighed, in one shared breath of ecstasy.

As we slept, she was soft legs, which were warm against my hamstrings on a cold winter night. She had a perfect curve the neck, the graceful arc of a warm breast, the curving relief of a smooth hip, and a white delicate shoulder that I woke up to in the night, a bare shoulder that I loved to pull the hand-made patchwork quilt back over.

She was wide, sleepy, coffee brown eyes—eyes that compelled my deepest trust by never asking for it. Her eyes showed no sign of judgment nor embarrassment, of she nor I, nor our naked bodies. Her eyes showed only a loving acceptance, for my body, my strengths, my insecurities, and my foibles.

Hers were eyes that willingly unveiled the window into her soul and revealed everything about her to me, and in doing so belied absolutely nothing that I could not accept and love, and nothing that I could not forgive and forget.

Her dark eyes staring deeply into mine made me stronger, and somehow they made me more of a man. Her eyes loved me with their softness, and they humbled me with their profound tenderness. Her eyes brought me to my knees.

When I looked deep into her eyes, I saw her innocence, her virtue, and a deep love and gratitude for everything in her life. I revered these eyes, and looking into them made me want to be a better man.

At times when thunderclouds rained down angry and struck hard on our tin roof, her eyes looked into mine showing fright. When those eyes looked into mine, the worry melted away. I realized that I had soothed her, and she was no longer afraid. Then she wrapped one arm over my chest and the other underneath my neck and she pulled her body close into mine.

And when I understood what she felt emotionally, that she believed that I had the power to protect her, and give her succor, it melted away all my inhibitions. And I cried, and I was not ashamed. She whispered tender admiration into my ear; she kissed my neck in nurturing love, and laid her cheek on my chest, then she rapidly fell into a deep, safe, sleep.

Hers were the only eyes that I would walk to the end of the earth, simply to gaze into, as they told me that she truly loved me, and that she would stay with me for the rest of our lives.

They were the eyes that I wanted to grow old with over the years. And such eyes could never lose their resplendent love and acceptance with the passing of decades.

And I was not concerned about aging. Because I knew that when I was an old man, and looked into her eyes, I would always be young.

Forever

The Family Burial Tree


The Family Tree

My ancestors were poor, common, hardworking people. They were people of the dirt, the plow, and the crops. They were humble yet proud people. Ours was a species of folks who could bear any burden life heaped upon our shoulders, carry in on our backs, not bend our knees, and we would never break.

The family lifeblood courses through our veins; it is our crimson union. And it suffuses each one of us with the warmth of our one essence.

Our Family Spirit lives in the mighty Oak in the corner of the field. We are each merely parts of the Oak, but all together, we exist as one mighty Tree. We are the boughs, the branches, the twigs, and the buds that blossom. We are also the dead branches fallen, just as we are the future branches, twigs, and buds, which will come forth from us in their own time.

Our Tree firmly rooted in the Family Land. It’s canopy is plush with lambent, flickering, green foliage. And our huge leaves spread out, flowering in emerald life.

At its base, the Oak in the field, casts tranquil shadows. These shadows slow dance, coasting across fallen leaves on the ground. This cool shaded area became the family cemetery.

My father buried his father with his own hands underneath the mighty, ancient Oak. It took him 9 hours to dig through all the scores of roots in the soil there.

And when my father dies, I shall bury him there with the skin of my hands my arms, shoulders, back. Likewise, my son shall bury me her when it is his turn.

We are ancestors and descendants. We are fathers and mothers, we are sons and daughters, and we are brothers and sisters. We are all of those who precede us, and we are all of those who shall replace us. We are many and yet we are one continuous living thing.

We are The Family.

Heavenly Summer, My Favorite Place on Earth


The Simple Pleasures in Life are the things that make Life Good.

During the 1960’s, in the scorching Texas summers, I got to vacation for one month at my favorite place on earth, at Grandpa and Grandma Hill’s house in Blanco County. They lived in a humble, wonderful house. A house with uneven poured concrete floors, hard asbestos wall shingles, a steep corrugated tin roof, and a large tined TV antenna perched on top.

Then was the glory of my fleeting youth. I was a toe headed, barefoot kid, and growing like a weed. Every day in the late mornings, Grandpa and I would pile into his old white pickup truck. We drove from the house, truck squeaking, and rolling down the big hill, headed towards the Blanco River, which gouges out its path straight through the middle of the Blanco State Park.

As we rode down the town hill with the windows rolled down, the wind stirred up odors inside the cab of the pickup truck. I remember smelling the acrid scent of the hot, cracked, vinyl seat. I remember the smell of the churning cloud of Grandpa’s burning, cigarette smoke. The roasted, sweet-smelling, tobacco lightly bit at my nostrils. I can remember the smell of butane gas, which actually fueled the truck. The most pleasant smell of all was the scent of the sweat and musk of Grandpa’s wrinkled, elephantine skin. It smelled like happiness and safety.

Inside the Blanco Park, Grandpa let me swim in the calm, glass-like, water above the dam and small waterfall. The water was a cool, green-blue.

As I swam, I sipped water from the river. I can remember the taste of the Blanco River. It tasted of earthen clay and the sweet moss below the banks.

The river water had a smell, much like the wind, which arrives just before a hard, summer, rain shower in the rolling hills of Kendalia; the same breeze which brings in the aroma of turned over earth, as heavy raindrops pelt the fertile sod, in the freshly plowed fields.

The section of the Blanco River, above the State Park, flows down from the mountains in the high country. As the river courses downwards, other natural water sources nourish the river along the way.

The occasional, heavy rainstorms in the foothills shed a torrent of excess water. The watershed rushes downhill, in narrow, jagged creeks, carved into the limestone. The rainwater crashes white against the jagged, fallen rocks, which line the creek beds; always finding its way back to the womb of the Blanco River

As the river runs down from the hills, there are also dozens of clear natural springs along the way. Their pure water babbles cold, rising out of narrow cracks in the bedrock that lies atop the water table. These crystalline springs collect in clear pools, and they seep through the soil, and move down into the Blanco River.

The riverbanks upriver leading into the high lands are ancient. And over the centuries, the stirring undercurrents of the Blanco River rolled, pushed along, and slowly shaped pieces of limestone broken away from the rock-hard riverbed.

The erosion by water left countless, rounded, stones of all sizes along the banks. When the river is low, these white rocks lay in visible piles along the Blanco River, like a graveyard of dinosaur bones.

For an era, the sun slowly bleached the smooth stones white. And whenever the summer sun shone upon them, they always held the baking heat within them, coveting it for hours after the sunset.

When Grandpa and I drove to Blanco State Park, I could not wait to get out of the truck and swim in the river. Grandpa watched me while I swam until I got tired. Then he would tell me to come out of the water. He always let me go play down below the park dam. I stood underneath the cool, rolling waterfall, feeling the water beat down upon my body as a heavy, pounding, clear sheet of liquid.

A waterfall slapping against my body, felt a lot like the times when I held my hand out of a speeding car window, and opened my palm to drag against a 60 mph airstream. I would hold my hand out into the wind until my hand got red, puffy, throbbed, and tingled,

These two forceful currents, the wind on my hand and the waterfall, pushed much more powerfully against me than I ever imagined they would.

When standing in the pummeling waterfall began to hurt my body, I would walk right through the rolling mass of water, and go stand inside a small pocket of humid, but breathable air inside. I discovered this magical space one summer surreptitiously. It existed in stillness, between the rolling plane of water falling behind my back, and the slick, green moss on the concrete dam in front of my face.

There is enough room inside to turn around and look the other way. That is, to stare through the translucent, rolling plane of the waterfall, and look outside into the light. I could not see things clearly through the waterfall, but I could make out certain objects. I saw blurred shapes and I could know things by their distorted shapes.

I could identify the diffuse, contours of blurred, green, pastel forms as being trees in the park. I knew that the bright, white, slowly wandering circles I saw were swimming ducks down river from the dam. And I could see the silhouettes of peripatetic, clay-like, oval shadows, which I knew, were people walking along the rocky shores of the river. Inside the magic pocket, looking out, the world I saw was much like seeing it looking through a clear plastic of Tupperware dish.

I always yelled my name inside the pocket of air. I would hear my voice echo, bouncing off the rolling sheet of the waterfall, and the moss covered concrete wall of the dam. The falling water chopped the sound of the echo into a vibrating hum, like when one talks into the rushing air against the metal blades of an old fan.

At noon grandpa told me it was time to get out of the water. When I got out, I walked up, and across the rocky bank. As I did, I felt the warm, rounded rocks on the bank pressing into the souls of my bare feet. I also felt the smaller, rounded rocks slightly turn underneath me, as I carefully walked across them. When I made my way up to the grassy flat of the park, Grandpa gave me a towel to dry off with, and then he made me wear it around my neck and shoulders so I would not get sunburned. When I was dry, we got back into Grandpa’s old truck and chugged up the hill, heading back home.

Grandma always made us an enormous lunch. She made a delicious, aromatic spread, filling the speckled red and white Formica top of the small kitchen table, with at least a dozen dishes of different foods.

Grandma had an old, black, iron skillet and a gas stove. The kitchen was unbearably hot and filled with the smell of onions, butter, baked bread, sweet corn milk, and aromatic green vegetables cooked with bacon.

Grandma always made my favorite dish; a skillet of brown, crispy, fried okra, with onions, and crunchy potato bits, which all tasted of bacon grease, left over from the morning breakfast. She cooked a variety of freshly picked, organic vegetables right out of the garden.

We had boiled yellow squash cut into circles, with their white tender seeds. We had Swiss chard, boiled with bits of bacon. We ate fresh boiled ears of corn, rolled in rich creamy butter, and sprinkled lightly with salt. I got corn stuck in between my teeth and I did not care.

We nibbled at beefy, red tomato slices. The tomatoes were chilled, and seconds before we ate a round slice, with its sharp, sweet, crimson pulp and green seeds, we sprinkled the chilled slice lightly with salt.

We had large, airy slices of sweet smelling homemade bread. Grandma put the slices of bread in the gas oven and broiled them until the tops were a crunchy, toasted, brown, with butter drizzling on the tops.

And we always had a huge steaming plate full of savory ground hamburger and green onions.

Grandma always made sure that I drank whole milk for my bones, and after lunch she went to the freezer, scooped me a round, white ball of creamy vanilla ice cream, and she put it atop one of those sweet, baked, crunchy ice cream cones I that I loved to chew so much.

Grandma never, ever let me go hungry.

After I digested lunch, I spent the afternoons outside running bonkers around the house. I felt the sun burning on the back of my neck and shoulders. As I ran barefoot, I felt the cool, green blades of carpet grass caress my feet and rustle in between my toes.

As I ran round the back of the house, I passed by the freshly tilled garden, which smelled of dark, fertile soil, sweet cow manure, sharp tomato plant stalks, and the sweet, creamy, silken threads, sprouting atop the ears of corn on the stalk.

It was too hot for me to stay outside very long in the sweltering, August Sun. My Grandma always let me play, but she worried herself sick that I would get heatstroke. She would bring me a mason jar of ice water every 30 minutes, and would not leave until she watched me drink it.

When I came in blistered and miserable at the end of the day, Grandma cut pieces from her Aloe Vera plant, squeezed the soothing gelatinous pulp out, and then rubbed it all over me.

I vividly remember those dry, penetrating, summer heat in Blanco. The heat got unbearable at times. The punishing sun in the Hill Country was larger-than-life, as it rose up its curving path in the sky to its highest point. Once there, the sun just seemed to stop, and purposely hang above the entire earth, blazing furiously, in a cloudless, pale blue sky.

The summer Sun was cruel. It had no pity for the farmers, their crops, the livestock, our Blanco River, or the townsfolk. The August sun shone on me and it stung. It was a dry, baking heat, the kind of heat that bleaches cow skulls white out in back fields of ranchers.

The sun shone and scorched the rich plowed soil in Grandma’s garden. The soil was so blistering, that I could not stand barefoot in the garden long enough to pick the red, plump tomatoes for our supper. The soles of my feet throbbed and burned as I hopped in the loose soil, from one foot to the other.

No one in Blanco had central air conditioning back then. So about 3 p.m., when it was the hottest, the whole town of Blanco rather stopped, and people rested in the shade until it was cool enough to work out in the sun again.

At this hottest part of the day, Grandpa, Grandma, and I all sat outside underneath the massive leafy canopy of an enormous Box Elder shade tree.

We sat underneath the leafy giant in red, shellback, metal lawn chairs. We simply rocked rhythmically, passing the time lazily, languishing in the slow-dancing shadows that swathed us.

Grandpa sometimes took the water hose and sprayed water on the tree’s leaves to make the shade cooler. Occasionally, when a breeze came, for just a few seconds, it felt like early fall in that moist shade.

Grandpa build a round, white table underneath the shade tree by welding a metal pipe to the hub of an old, horse drawn, wagon wheel. The spoked iron wheel sat flat atop the pole. Grandpa cut a round piece of thick plywood to lie on top of the iron wheel, and he coated the wooden surface with white, waterproof paint.

We ate cold, striped watermelon right out of the icebox on that table. Grandpa took a long, shiny knife and cut the watermelon into large, wedged, pieces on the tabletop. We all ate the watermelon, with a saltshaker on the table.

I gnawed into my large wedge of cold melon, until I buried my face in the spongy, red pulp. Sweet, sticky juice ran down the sides of my cheeks, and dribbled down my neck. As I ate the watermelon, I would spit the seeds out in the grass as far as I could. Grandpa eyeballed the distance I spit the seeds. He estimated that I could spit an oval seed up to 8 feet through the air before it hit the ground.

When we finished eating the cold slices of melon, Grandpa threw the white rhines into the fallow edge of the garden to fertilize the soil. The tabletop was sticky with the read juice of watermelon pulp afterwards, so Grandpa got the hose and washed off the round table. The flow of clear water pooled on the waterproof paint, it lifted the black oval watermelon seeds on the round white circle, and they coasted across the tabletop, falling off into the carpet grass.

The heat dried the round table in a short amount of time, and when it was dry, we played dominoes. Laying all of the dominoes face down on the table, we shuffled the boneyard, and the dominoes clacked in a rapid tempo, like popping corn snapping. When Grandpa beat us ruthlessly at dominoes, we put all the dominoes back in their cardboard box. Then we just rested in the shade listening to the leaves of the shade tree softly rustle in the breeze.

About that time, Grandma Vera went to the kitchen and boiled a pot of water. When it cooled a bit she steeped loose, tealeaves in it, stirred in half a cup of white sugar, and allowed it to cool. She poured the tea into a gallon glass pitcher. Grandma brought this pitcher to the round table and poured the ice tea into Mason jars, which she had filled with jagged-edged, ice-picked, shards of frozen ice. Grandma always topped off her ice tea with a few fresh, mint leaves from her garden.

Grandma was the greatest. She died one day of a stroke, about a decade before Grandpa died. It seems like two hundred years since I hugged Grandma. But I can still hear her laugh, and recall the little things that she always did to make my life wonderful.

Things like making me a hot, store-bought, pizza in the summertime, and letting me eat it, as I watched the black and white television set, while lying on my stomach, on the living room floor. And she always made me an ice cream cone when I was finished, so as to cool me down inside the unconditioned house.

Or during the cold December, at Christmas time, when Grandma, hand sewed individual sticks of juicy-fruit, chewing gum, all around the pungent, 8-foot, cedar tree. My Grandpa always drove to Kendalia, and found the perfect cedar tree, by walking out into a backfield, and he chopped it down, and brought it home in the bed of his pickup truck every Christmas.

Grandma would always take the time to make her magical snow for the tree. She simply took a box of white, ivory, soap flakes, and beat it with water, using a mix master and a large bowl. When she carried the bowl of whipped, white, frothy soap into the living room, she carefully coated the dark, green leaves all over the cedar branches, using a large wooden spoon. She took great care to coat the entire cedar tree, with the thick, ivory snow.

I can still remember seeing the white, frocked, Christmas tree on Christmas morning. I remember walking barefoot into the cold living room, and seeing the dozens of yellow sticks of juicy-fruit, chewing gum, hanging from the branches of the white tree. The two hundred pastels of Christmas, light bulbs highlighted the yellow sticks of gum, along with the red and golden, glass ornaments, which all intertwined in the branches of the snow-covered tree.

I could always remember the sight of that heavenly Christmas tree, on a cold, windy, December day. I could recall the cold living room and the snowy, Christmas, anytime of the year that I wanted to. And I always thought about Grandma’s tree, when it was the middle of a sweltering, sun-backed, August. Whenever I was hot and sweaty, with the sun stinging the back of my neck, 0n a dry, Blanco summer day, I would make myself remember Grandmas white, Christmas tree, so it would cool me down a bit, inside of my mind.

Blanco summers, and all the things that I did in August with Grandpa and Grandma, blessed me with the simple pleasures, which made my boyhood years wonderful.

I will always remember the taste, and smell of the Blanco River water, the humming echo of yelling my name in the secret, pocket inside the waterfall, the safe scent and musk of Grandpa’s body, the smells inside the old white truck, and the sound of it squeaking down the hill to the Blanco State Park. I will always remember the aroma of the dark soil, and growing vegetables in Grandma’s bountiful garden, and the simple Formica table, crowded with the best food I ever ate.

I will remember running bonkers around the house in the blazing, golden, sun. But most of all, I think I will most vividly recall, Grandpa, Grandma and I lounging around in our private shaded heaven. I will always recollect sitting around the white, wagon-wheel table, underneath the green, swaying canopy of thousands of leaves.

I will continue to see us having fun, and hear us laughing while Grandpa, Grandma, and I were eating watermelon, playing dominoes, or just sitting quietly, rocking in a metal, shell back, lawn chair, contained by the huge shadows, underneath the cool, wetted leaves of the enormous box elder.

A few years after both Grandma and Grandpa were dead; a severe rainstorm came through Blanco. During this storm, cruel, hurricane-like, winds blew over our Box Elder shade tree.

The wagon wheel table still stood, but it ached of loneliness, isolated in the open plot of the grassy side yard. The table stood with dignity for years, determined and upright. It never lost its pride, even as its wooden top slowly deteriorated, cracked, and flaked apart the raging sun.

It would have killed Grandpa and Grandma to see that huge, wonderful shade tree laying on the ground, and then later cut up for firewood.

Later my mother sold the house, and the new owners uprooted that wonderful old wagon-wheel table, and just threw it away.

Our shaded paradise under the Tree at the table was gone forever.

I would do anything to be able to upright the felled Box Elder and bring Grandpa and Grandma back. If had one wish, and was granted the power to do anything I could want; I would use my wish to magically rewind the clock of my lifetime, and live as a boy forever, permanently on vacation in the Blanco summertime. I would spend my days sharing everything wonderful about Blanco with Grandpa and Grandma. And I would make sure to love them even a little bit more than I did half a century ago.

I never will have my wish to go back and be a boy, and live with Grandpa and Grandma, but I do not really have to, because I can still feel them, and they are both part of me.

Grandpa and Grandma live on in the best memories of my Lifetime



Writing Dialogue, Advice for Writers


Writing convincing dialogue is one of the hardest things for new writers to

master. In fact, it’s so rarely done well in any form of fiction that when it is done right,
people rally around it. The movie Pulp Fiction, Terry McMillan’s novel Waiting to
Exhale, and the TV series My So-Called Life were all remarkable in large part because of
how believably the characters spoke.
Here’s the kind of dialog you read in many beginners’ stories:
“What happened to you, Joe?”
“Well, Mike, I was walking down the street, and a man came up to me. I
said to him, `What seems to be the difficulty?’ He replied, `You owe me a
hundred dollars.’ But I said I didn’t. And then he hit me.”
Here’s how real people talk:
“Christ, man, what happened?”
“Well, umm, I was goin’ down the street, y’know, and this guy comes up to
me, and I’m like, hey, man, what’s up? And he says to me, he says, `You owe me
a hundred bucks,’ and I’m like no way, man. In your dreams. Then — pow! I’m on
the sidewalk.”
See the differences? Most people’s real dialog tends to contain occasional
profanity (“Christ”), to be very informal (“guy” instead of “man,” “bucks” instead of
“dollars”), and to have lots of contractions and dropped letters (“goin’,” “y’know”). Note,
too, that when relaying an event that happened in the past, most people recount it in the
present tense (“he says to me,” rather than “he replied”).
Also note that in the first example, the speakers refer to each other by name. In
reality, we almost never say the name of the person we’re talking to: you know who
you’re addressing, and that person knows he or she is being addressed. A few other
features of real human speech demonstrated in the second example above: when relaying
to a third party a conversation we had with somebody else, we usually only directly quote
what the other person said; our own side of the conversation is typically relayed with
considerable bravado, and the listener understands that what’s really being presented is
what we wish we’d had the guts to say, not what we actually said. We also tend to act out
events, rather than describe them (“Then — pow! I’m on the sidewalk”). Indeed, without
the acting out, the words often don’t convey the intended meaning. The speaker was
probably standing on the sidewalk throughout the altercation, of course; what he meant
by “on the sidewalk” was that he was knocked down.
Now, which of the above examples is better? Well, the second is clearly more
colorful, and more entertaining to read. But it’s also more work to read. A little
verisimilitude goes a long way. Dropped final letters are rarely shown in fictional dialog
(they’re usually only employed to indicate an uneducated speaker, although in reality
almost everyone talks that way), and vagueness about verbs (“I’m like” instead of “I
said”), verbalized pauses (“umm”), and content-less repetitions (the second part of “He
says to me, he says”) are usually left out. In a short story, I might perhaps use dialog like
the second example above; in a novel, where the reader has to sit through hundreds of
pages, I might be inclined toward some sort of middle ground:
“Christ, man, what happened?”
“I was going down the street, and this guy comes up to me, and I’m like,
hey, man, what’s up? And he says to me, `You owe me a hundred bucks,’ and I
say `in your dreams.’ Then — pow! — he knocks me on my ass.”
Of course, not all your characters should talk the same way. I read one story
recently in which there were dozens of lines of dialog like this:
“Interchangeable?” he said. “What do you mean the characters are
interchangeable?”
We have the attribution tag between an initial word and a sentence that repeats
that same word. This is clearly being used to denote confusion — and works fine once or
twice, but grates if the same dialog device is employed more than that in a given story —
especially by multiple speakers. Assign distinctive speaking patterns to single characters.
One trick is to come up with a word or two that one character — and only that character —
will use a lot (in my The Terminal Experiment, the character Sarkar loves the word
“crisp,” using it to mean anything from well-defined to delicate to appealing to complex);
you might also come up with some words your character will never use (in Starplex, I
have a character who hates acronyms, and therefore avoids referring to the ship’s
computer as PHANTOM).
Profanity is also important. Terence M. Green’s rule: you can’t worry about what
your mother will think of your fiction. But, again, not all characters swear the same way,
and some may not swear at all (in The Terminal Experiment, I have a Muslim character
who never swears, although the rest of his speech is quite colloquial).
It’s tricky handling characters who are not native English speakers. No matter
what language they’re speaking, people tend also to be thinking in that language. It’s
common to write a French character saying things like, “There are beaucoup reasons why
someone might do that.” But at the time the person is speaking, his brain is thinking in
English; it’s as unlikely for him to slip into French for a word as it is for a computer
running a program in FORTRAN to suddenly switch over to BASIC for a single
instruction. Instead, if you want to remind the reader of the character’s native tongue,
have the character occasionally mutter or think to himself or herself in that language.
The best way to learn how real people talk is to tape record some actual human
conversation, and then transcribe it word for word (if you can’t find a group of people
who will let you do this, then tape a talk show off TV, and transcribe that). You’ll be
amazed: transcripts of human speech, devoid of body language and inflection, read
mostly like gibberish. To learn how to condense and clean up dialog, edit your transcript.
For your first few attempts, try to edit by only removing words, not by changing any of
them — you’ll quickly see that most real speech can be condensed by half without deleting
any of the meaning.
Finally, test your fictional dialog by reading it out loud. If it doesn’t sound natural,
it probably isn’t. Keep revising until it comes trippingly off your tongue (yes, that’s a
cliche — but remember, although you want to avoid cliches in your narrative, people use
them all the time in speech).
A couple of matters of form that seem to elude most beginners: when writing
dialog for a single speaker that runs to multiple paragraphs, put an open-quotation mark
at the beginning of each paragraph, but no close-quotation mark until the end of the final
paragraph. And in North America, terminal punctuation (periods, exclamation marks, and
question marks) go inside the final close-quotation mark: “This is punctuated correctly.”
Get your speech-attribution tags in as early as possible. There’s nothing more
frustrating than not knowing whose dialog you’re reading. Slip the tag in after the first
completed clause in the sentence: “You know,” said Juan, “when the sky is that shade of
blue it reminds me of my childhood back in Mexico.” And when alternating lines of
dialog, make sure you identify speakers at least every five or six exchanges; it’s very easy
for the reader to get lost otherwise. Finally, much real dialog goes unfinished. When
someone is interrupted or cut off abruptly, end the dialog with an em-dash (which you
type in manuscript as two hyphens); when he or she trails off without completing the
thought, end the dialog with ellipsis points (three periods). Real dialog also tends to be
peppered with asides: “We went to Toronto — boy, I hate that city — and found …”
Get your characters talking at least halfway like real people, and you’ll find that
the readers are talking, too: they’ll be saying favorable things about your work.

THE DEAD LITTLE BOY AND ANGRY ACCUSATIONS


The day seemed like a curse; unfortunately, it was not over with yet.

The Dead Little Boy in his Sad little Coffin


Back at the Cemetery there was only one car left in the Funeral Parking lot. It belonged to the parents of the dead little boy. The father and mother were still rigid beside the grave inside the cemetery. Even the Funeral Director awkwardly excused himself to abandon the unfinished burial ceremony to escape the unendurable iciness.

The father and mother were in an out-and-out state of helplessness and hostility.

The exodus was a big reason for why the father and mother remained there at the grave, standing silent and motionless.

The other reason is that they did not want to go home and be alone with one another. They might have given the impression of emotional numbness to the casual eye. However, beneath their stolid outer surfaces, emotional discord plagued the two spouses. And there had been a noticeable rift between the husband and wife ever since the death.

Be it the loss of the boy, the abandonment of the burial by others, or the ill feelings between them, they refused to face the problem, which they easily accomplished by not talking about it. And this is how they each dealt with their contaminated emotions in their marriage—disconnected and uncommunicative. And this almost seemed normal to them by now.

But all the horrible feelings that they had been pushing down and avoiding the whole time began to revolt. And repressed festering emotions and unsaid thoughts began to climb themselves out of each person’s throat unassisted, and they wanted to scream of their existence.

“Let’s just go, Joan!” the father barked without looking at her. He left her there, and took off toward the car.

The mother looked up, hopeless and crushed; she scurried after her husband trying to catch up. She ran behind him imploring, “Tom, Tom!” Her husband increased his gate but she still chased after him.

“Tom! We have to talk about this; we have not said two words between each other since the accident.”

The father did not respond, he just pressed on ahead of her, his face was red, his temple veins were visible, and his facial muscles were rigid..

“Tom!” she grabbed his arm, “It was an accident!”

“Is that what you are calling it now, Joan, a mere mishap?” The father jerked his arm away aggressively and her fingernails accidentally scratched at his suit cuff, fraying fibers, as her arm snapped back. The father swung his arms as he hastened his stride to the car.

“Tom, why not just say what you have been thinking all along? It is all over your face.” She started sobbing, “Just go ahead, and say it; say it, and get it over with!”

The father stopped, turned towards his wife, and glowered at her with sharp eyes and narrowed eyebrows, “What do you want me to say! Our only child is dead Joan” He talked with his hands in the air, gesticulating vehemently, “Caleb was 8 years old—8 years old!” he barked. “And he died with such a horrible death; his body bore a permanent frown that the mortician could not even straighten!”

He grimaced looking down at the ground in devastation, “For God’s sake, Joan, they had to drag his body out of the ice with a grappling hook.”

The father’s mood sank into a lull of despair. Then his anger surged back again. “And now I have to live with that image in my head! I have to see it every day, for the rest of my life.”

“And I don’t Tom?” she said angry and hurt, “Don’t you think I would give my life in a second to bring Caleb back for 5 minutes?”

The father shook his head in anger. “It’s a little too late for that Joan. He is dead.”

“You are not being fair Tom; I have to live with this just as much as you, and even more,” She said in cold, cutting tone, “Yes, much more Tom. I have to bear the burden of your silent eyes’ accusations.” I see what you think in your eyes; it is always there, every time you look at me.”

The husband said nothing; he just snorted air from his nostrils while shaking his head forcefully, and it was body language invalidating her entire statement.

As if trying to convince her she pleaded her point, “Tom, it was nobody’s fault. All of those children were skating on the lake. They all always have skated on that lake. Even in late August.

And there has never been any danger. The ice has never once broken, ever, even in September.” She begged, “Tom this was November. It was just a horrible accident. No one could have known this would happen, especially not in November.”

Both parents got to the car; each opened their own door and they got in the car. The father sat in the driver’s seat, blood boiling; he heard the pressure of blood coursing through the veins of his temples with a whoosh.

The mother sat in silent anger towards her husband, and also self-loathing, as she snapped her seatbelt on in the passenger seat. She had been so upset she forgot to shut her door. In fact, both doors were hanging wide open.

The husband’s key was not even in the ignition, his keys clenched in his left hand squeezing his fist around them like a nutcracker. Bob looked into his wife’s face with fiery eyes. He started fiercely pointing an accusing right finger in her face.

“Damn it Joan! This is not just another November! There has never been a November this warm in 25 years! You know that Joan, it was on the news every day for a week and you even commented on it!

The father shouted in her face, “Caleb never should have been allowed to skate on that goddamned lake this November!” He turned away and slapped his right palm on the steering wheel forcefully, slapping at it two times, and looked out the left open door, he bit his lower, he said nothing, he breathed, he thought, he shook his head. And finally, he shook his head. He turned his back towards the passenger seat, snapping his head to stare her directly in the eyes. “But he did go skating on that lake this warm November Joan, did he not? I am pretty sure that Caleb did not ask for my permission. In fact he never could have asked me that day because I was at the office at the time.”

“What the Hell does that supposed to mean!” screamed the mother defensively, “Well! What are you wanting to say?” she demanded, “You think I killed Caleb? Is that what you are you saying, Tom?” The mother’s eyes were horrified. “Oh my God, that is it Bob isn’t it, you think…do really blame me for this horrible tragedy?”

“All I am saying Joan…” He paused to think, “…All I am saying Joan, is that if I had been the only adult at home; Caleb never would have been allowed to go near that lake; and he would not have been out there skating, not even in November, not in this warm spell.”

“So that’s it after all isn’t it Tom? The mother’s voice became frantic; I let him go skate with all the other kids so I am some sort of a murderer?” She broke down sobbing. “How can you imply I did this knowing what would happen! How could you even say such a think?”

“I did not say that Joan, you said it!” barked the father. “Ok, you really want to know what I think.”

The mother cried, “Yes! Yes! Put me on trial Bob, no jury, and no appeal, just pass your sentence upon me, and send me to the executioner.”

“All right Dear, it’s simple, if I had been the one at home, I never would have let Caleb go skating on that unstable lake. You were at home though and you let Caleb go despite the weather reports. You knew better Joan! But you sent our boy out onto that deadly ice anyway!” He screamed, “If it had not been for you, Caleb would be alive right now! Yes, god damnit you killed our son when you sent him out on that dangerous ice! That was your child that you gave birth to, and he will never come back because of you!”

The mother’s eyes stared a thousand yards away, she focused on nothing, and she was in the hell of her own mind. Joan tried to speak but let out only a silent word; it failed to come from her terrorized face, which cried a torrent of tears in two briny streams. She could only writhe in a grimace of horror, and merely mouthed out mysterious words from a crooked mouth, mute and crooked from agony. She censured herself now.

And now that she agreed with what her husband had said to her so abusively, she now said those words, those accusations, to herself. Moreover her own accusations against herself, would forever speak at her, over and over, like a tape recorder playing inside of her mind, and the voice that Joan heard on that tape would be her own.

Thus, it did not matter what the truth was any longer. It would not change her mind. She believed what she told herself. She had tried, judged, and convicted herself of being guilty of all of it. And there would be no appeal or expiation for such a crime.

Similarly, her husband’s job was finished; he need not bother to exert the effort to accuse his wife any more. Bob did not need to blame his wife ever again, for the simple reason that she would endlessly do a much better job of torturing herself with pain and guilt and blame than he could ever possibly do.

And now she would never give herself no pardon from the felony, for the atrocity, for here sin of sins that she committed against her own flesh and blood. Emotionally beyond salvage, she would go to her grave with this.

Bitter shame soon overcame the father with regret for what he said. But the mother said nothing at all, completely defeated, she sat silently in the car, still staring at nothing with dead eyes.

She lost something inside of her that she needed desperately and now and it was gone. She did not know how to get it back. She did not even know what to look for.

She became limp and slowly slumped over upon herself, her face fallen between her knees. Her arms wrapped around her knees and she rocked silently.

Then at first the faint sound, a unsettling noise. And soon the sound grew louder and brasher as she rocked. Joan was forever marked from that fight, for she was not crying she was wailing, grieving in a helpless child-like manner.

Then in a primal, visceral fashion, she began to howl in a ghastly disconcerting manner. The distressed emission was not like a human. It was an eerie howling sounded much more like that of a wounded animal, than a cry like that of a person.

The father jumped out of his seat and stood up. He stood motionless for a few seconds, and then overcome with tortuous emotions; he began to take his fist and pound the roof of the sedan over and over, as hard as he could. The metal slightly dented under each blow. He was so worked up he could not feel his hands. Then he realized that they were bleeding badly and he gave it up and stopped.

He lay the side of his face on the bloody roof and burst out in bitter weeping and sorrow. His son was gone. He had hurt his wife. Yet he did not feel he was wrong. And he still blamed her and had not intentions to forgive her for the death of his son.

A surge of hate soon poisoned his natural weeping. It was hate for himself, hate for his wife, hate for the loss of his son, and hate for the ruinous curse of the funeral.

He wiped his tears on his sleeve, walked around the car and shut his wife’s door, he shut it so hard and quick that they glass almost broke, but his howling wife did not even flinch in her grief.

Bob walked back around the car and climbed in his side; he shut his door, and put the key in the ignition.

He reached for a cigarette, but then threw it away. He started the cold car and began slowly pulling out of the parking lot. He did not say a single word to his wife driving home. And all that while, his wife had never stopped howling, she could not control it, and as the car drove out that wounded animal-like howling was the only sound heard until the car was a good distance away.

3 Sinful Farmers: One Prayer, That Last Desperate Refuge of the Hopeless


Prayer, the last refuge of the desperate.

 

Three local farmers talked of the new preacher’s arrival earlier that morning while waiting for their orders at the livestock feed store in town. The three planters stood in a loose circle in the dirt lot outside the feed dispensary. They all looked the same, each garbed in denim overalls and an old straw hat. Above each hat’s rim was a wide brown band of ancient sweat and dead dust.

One was chewing bitter snuff, and spitting out thick brown lines of tobacco juice in periodic spurts. When his heavy spittle hit the dirt powder, it rolled along in a little soil-accumulating stream, which pooled up into a dust-coated oval. “New preacher coming nigh five weeks ya know,” said the first farmer.

“Baptist?” asked the second.

“Yup, course he’s a Baptist.”

“Reckon this one’s gonna stay long? They don’t pay em enough, to keep em long,” said the third farmer.

The other two farmers shrugged. They all three fell silent in contemplation of the new preacher. The snuff chewer snorted and spat.

One man wiggled his middle finger in an ear hole furiously, trying to get at an itch so he could think better. The second scratched himself crudely and shamelessly. The third cleared his head, using his index finger to blow his nose—one nostril at a time. The farmers processed their thoughts about the new preacher while they twisted their cracked leather boot tips into the dirt.

The first farmer then spoke up and said, “This be a great and holy man a’ coming to put the Baptist God’s goodness into us all.”

The second cropper nodded and added, “And he’ll be good to remind everybody of the evilness of drinking, n’ smoking, the dancing, and all the cussing, and wicked fighting. The good Lord blesses us with religin’ and holiness in his ten commandments.” He proclaimed, “Everything else but that what the preacher be bringing to us, it ain’t nothing but sin.” The first two farmers nodded in assent.

Then when the first two men had given God his dues, the Third farmer said with vehemence, “This ain’t no joke fella’s, this be somethin’ that applies to everybody. That means us too. Continue reading

I Loved Her More Than She Loved Me


She told me that she loved me and I knew that she felt just as much in love as I did.


When we kissed, our lips, moved together and touched so

softly, like a butterfly closing its velvet wings, right when

they whisper gently together.

To my lament, I noticed one day that when we kissed, her

lips were colder than mine were.

This continued from that day on.

I thought that the heat of my lips meant that I was

passionate for her, but what it actually meant was that I

loved her in an all-embracing way, and she loved me in a less

significant way.

I then realized that two people could love one another in different ways and the more joyful one would never recognize the rejection.


Never underestimate the power of denial.


Did she ever love me? Now I wonder if I can trust what she said to me. I would like to

think that I could because she said such warm, safe, and happy things.


I did not cling to her in fear. I lived and existed to cherish her. I wanted to share with

my life with her, two people fused into one soul, yet two separate individuals with their

own pursuits.

But then again I think that she always had unspoken white lies so as not to hurt me.

Ironically, that is the thing that

I think hurt me the most.

I still live wounded from a broken heart,

and even though it was never actually true—

– that she was mine, when she was not –

—when I was living and thinking that, she

was mine, and not knowing— that she was gone – that was the happiest time of my life

She is the love of my life.


I do not know how to top that sort of resplendent joy.


I thought about how to go on with my life. I yearned dig a hole and crawl in it, and die. That was my

first impulse.


But my life goes on with or without my will. So now, I just get up each morning and breathe. Then I do

it again and again until I fall asleep at night.


I try not to dream of her, but I do, I wake up, and remember that she is not here. That really burns,

aches, and throbs like a red-hot hammer hit me in the chest.



Love comes in so many forms. Every love is different.


This one felled all my joy like a slain tree.


A Terrible Burial to Recollect


Smitty Crying for Rose

The things you never want to remember again are your most vivid memories.

It was now eighteen years ago that Smitty’s Rose died unexpectedly from a massive stroke. She died right in front of Smitty’s eyes as the two were sitting at the kitchen table during breakfast one winter’s morning. It seemed to happen in slow motion as Smitty heard her chair’s grating screech, and watched as she fell backward and crashed to the floor. The old man panicked and scrambled to the ground desperately trying to shake Rose awake.

He kneeled before his wife’s body weeping, “Rosie, no …oh ma’ sweet girl…no, Rose…don’ go leavin’ me…please don’ go…I can’t live without ya…”

Rose’s death was a terrible shock and tragedy for the old man.

When Smitty buried Rose, it was a very small funeral. Rose’s burial fell on a pitiless winter’s day. The clouds above the cemetery attended the interment garbed in an inappropriate and unforgiving gray. These clouds boiled and they threatened.

They coveted the sunlight and they were greedy with what light they allowed the cemetery to have. These clouds withheld so much light that black disfigurement began to creep into the leaden gray cloudbank. The malignancy was ruinous to the mood of the ceremony.

The nighttime had laid down a sheet of ice that covered the funeral grounds. The ice crunched and broke apart in jagged white lines underneath the pallbearers’ feet, as they tried not to slip.

The cold blue wind cut at the cheeks of those standing around the open grave. The aching, short-tempered clouds were merciless, and half way through the burial ceremony, they arbitrarily poured down chilling rain on the mourners. No one expected rain, a light snow perhaps, even sleet, but never rain in that biting cold. And few had umbrellas.

The people shivered as heavy, ice-cold raindrops plopped, pattered, and dropped off their hats. It rained heavily and drenched their clothing. It chilled everyone to the bone. When the mourners cried, their breath was visible in the air, and as heat escaped from their shivering bodies steamed rose off the soaked clothing.

It was a terrible funeral for Smitty to recollect.

The Shade Tree and Grandma’s Iced Tea


The good times were the simple pleasures in Life.

It was summertime and I was at my favorite place on earth, at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. It was four decades ago, and no one had air conditioning back then. Around 3 p.m., when it was the hottest, the whole town of Blanco rather stopped and people rested in the shade until it was cool enough to work out in the sun again.

At my Grandpa and Grandma’s we sat outside underneath a massive leafy covering of an enormous Box Elder shade tree. We sat in red, shellback, metal lawn chairs. We simply rocked rhythmically, passing the time lazily, taking it easy in the slow-dancing shadows that swathed us beneath the leafy giant.

Grandpa occasionally took the water hose and sprayed water on the tree’s leaves to make the shade cooler. Occasionally, when a breeze came, for just a few seconds, it felt like early fall in that shade.

Grandpa made a round white table underneath the shade tree by welding a metal pipe to the hub of an old iron wagon wheel, then cutting plywood to lie on top. My Grandma Vera took Blanco Water, steeped it with loose tealeaves, sugar, and poured it all into a gallon glass pitcher.

Grandma brought this pitcher to the round table and poured the ice tea into Mason jars filled with jagged-edged, ice-picked, shards of frozen crystal water Grandma always topped off her ice tea with a few fresh mint leaves from her backyard garden.

Grandma was the greatest. She died. It seems like such a long time ago. I can still hear her laugh and recall the little things that she always did to make my life wonderful.

I would do anything to bring her back.

The Thirsty Mason Jar


There is only one place in the whole world where you can get it. And I savored it whenever I visited my grandparents in Blanco, Texas during the summer. It is what I simply called, “Blanco Water,” and the Blanco Municipal Water Supply was processed and purified right out of the Blanco River.

Hands-down, flat-out, Blanco, Texas is the source of the best glass of water that I ever grasped in my sweaty little hands. “Blanco Water,” tastes like it is “alive” with something pure, something clean, and it always quenches the thirst, being natural, full bodied, and wholesome.

As a boy, in the summer I preferred to drink the water right from the tap of my Grandma Vera’s kitchen sink. I would turn on the cold-water and fill an old Mason jar all the way to the rim.

I gulped down the “Blanco Water,” tightfistedly; spilling some of the clear beverage around the sides of my open mouth, feeling the cool streams run pleasantly down my sweaty neck. I finished the rest, lapping it over and behind my tongue, and then slugging it down my gullet.

Even after purification, the Blanco municipal water still has the essence and the taste of the river in it—you can take the water out of the Blanco River, but you cannot take Blanco out of the water.

“Blanco Water,” smells like the rich earth.  Immediately before a heavy summer rainstorm at my Grandpa’s Morris’s farm in kendalia, there was always a first a moist, living breeze that arrived.

This breeze moved just ahead of where the rain shower was going. It had the earthy smell of iron, minerals, and the savor of the plowed-over organic matter’s fertility. “Blanco Water,” rather smells like this summer rainstorm breeze to me.

I do not really know why “Blanco Water,” smells and tastes so good. Maybe it is the moss on the banks of the river, the earthen minerals in the clay, or the limestone bed rock bottom of the river. It might even be the trace of that “5 pound bass that got away,” slowly moseying along, in the cool green shadows of the river.

In August, our whole lot would sit under a giant Box Elder shade tree when got too hot. My Grandma Vera took Blanco Water, steeped it with tealeaves, sugar, and poured it all into a gallon glass pitcher.

Grandma brought this pitcher to the round table that 3 generations sat around lazily in the cool summer shade. She poured the ice tea into Mason jars filled with jagged-edged, ice-picked, shards of frozen crystal water.

Grandma always topped off her ice tea with a few fresh mint leaves from her backyard garden. Grandma Vera was the best. I really miss her. I miss those boyhood days.

That was half a century ago. Yet I can still smell and taste the memories of all of this when I drink a glass of “Blanco Water.”

How to Write With Style by Kurt Vonnegut (2 Videos)


How to Write With Style by Kurt Vonnegut

Source : How to Use the Power of the Printed Word, Doubleday

Newspaper reporters and technical writers are trained to reveal almost nothing about themselves in their writings. This makes them freaks in the world of writers, since almost all of the other ink-stained wretches in that world reveal a lot about themselves to readers. We call these revelations, accidental and intentional, elements of style.

These revelations tell us as readers what sort of person it is with whom we are spending time. Does the writer sound ignorant or informed, stupid or bright, crooked or honest, humorless or playful — ? And on and on.

Why should you examine your writing style with the idea of improving it? Do so as a mark of respect for your readers, whatever you’re writing. If you scribble your thoughts any which way, your readers will surely feel that you care nothing about them. They will mark you down as an egomaniac or a chowderhead — or, worse, they will stop reading you.

The most damning revelation you can make about yourself is that you do not know what is interesting and what is not. Don’t you yourself like or dislike writers mainly for what they choose to show you or make you think about? Did you ever admire an emptyheaded writer for his or her mastery of the language? No.

So your own winning style must begin with ideas in your head. Continue reading

How to be a Great Writer (Video)


So They Want Me To Go To Rehab…


Hanson arrived home from work late, and he came into the house through the front door as usual. He slowly pulled the door to a close. It shut quietly behind him with an almost imperceptible click. He did not lock the deadbolt, which was odd, as he always remembered to lock it when he came in, and he always-reminded Stacey to do the same.

Stacey stood waiting in the living room to greet him just as she did every day. Hanson and Stacey both made a habit of greeting one another each evening when he walked in the door. They both knew that this was important to the health of their relationship, and they received one another eagerly and attentively, each day without fail.

When they had gone through marriage counseling in the past, the therapist suggested that they make an agreement to practice greeting one another in such as manner.

Stacey was the one who had insisted that both attend therapy for the problem with their marriage. Obstinately set against it, Hanson first refused the idea; but when the problem got worse, Stacey eventually insisted that Hanson make a choice.

She told Hanson that they could go through counseling, work their problems out, and get their marriage back. Alternatively Hanson could choose not to go to marriage counseling with her, and they would just deal with the problem by accepting things as they were—which in other words meant that Stacey would leave him if he did not go through counseling, because she would be damned if she was going to live that way any longer.

Psychotherapy turned out to be a lot of work and they both went through the emotional ringer in the process. When they finished the sessions however, they both were grateful that they had gone to seek help. Hanson would be the first to admit this fact. He had changed for the better in the process.

That was two years ago and things between them were far better now, the past two years had been like when they first got married, they were happy all over again.

However, this present evening, when Hanson came in late from work and silently closed the door, he walked in the house without looking his wife in the eyes. Stacey’s face began to beam with a huge smile at her husband’s arrival, but suddenly the smile fell from her face when she noticed his averted eyes. They focused inwardly, were dark and brooding, and he appeared deeply absorbed in his thoughts. It took Stacey off guard when she saw that Hanson’s face was red and saw his nostrils flaring as he inhaled heavily.

Stacey did not speak; she just stood still and watched him worrisomely, trying to gain some sense of his mood. When Hanson walked past her without saying a word, Stacey was immediately aware that something was very wrong.

Stacey’s mind quickly rewound the memory of Hanson coming home from work the evening before this one, and she quickly reviewed everything that had happened then.

Yesterday, Hanson came home from work on time, and when he came in the front door, he found Stacey standing in the living room as always. But things had been very different.

Hanson came in and pulled the door closed behind him hurriedly, slamming it with a bang. He immediately looked his wife straight into the eyes. He also remembered to lock the deadbolt, but did so abnormally, without turning back to look at it.

Hanson advanced towards Stacey who absorbed his intense stare but did not speak a word. As Hanson walked towards her, his steps were forceful, deliberate. He just kept walking, never stopping, as if he was a wind-up toy, too tightly wound. He walked right past the side table without placing his briefcase on it. As he walked on towards his wife, he simply swung his arm to the side and let loose of the brief case handle. It went flying in an arc and Stacey jumped, startled when the briefcase hit the floor with a crash. Continue reading

Living in “The Now”


LIVE IN “THE NOW” AND YOU WON’T REGRET DYING.

If one thing is true it is that, we humans all naturally tend to forget to appreciate the wonder of the little things happening around us in the present moment i.e. “The Now.” I suggest that these things are all that we ever really have. And in a very real way, I would propose that there is nothing that truly exists but what is happening “Right Now.”

Actively living through these actions and things can make our life in the present stop being boring and become glorious. In hard times, finding something ecstatic in “The Now” can serve as something hopeful.

In really hard times, we may even use this rapturous simple thing to hold on to it for our very lives, when we find we are treading water far from land, and we can grab it to stay afloat and survive long after the ship has sunk

It is not hard to notice these things if I actively, and continually try.

As these are the most obvious things in my life. I am talking everything in “The Now,” that I can cherish. I am talking about regularly involving my mind in spiritual practice (Spirituality can be either religious and with God, or Secular with the Universe and Nature). We are a social species and we need to be in mutuality, we need touch and embrace, and we all need love. If these are not readily available in humans, I find my dog has more than enough to take their places. Continue reading

The Boy Humiliated, Shriveled Up Into a Tight Little Ball


To be humiliated is to lose part of yourself.

I am in the fifth grade, and I am completely miserable . Sometimes I wish I could stop going to school forever. I just want to hide at home in a safe place where people will not hurt me, a place where I can cry and people will not laugh at me.

At school in class, I tremble in fear each time the bell is about to ring. Every time the bell rings and class is dismissed, everyone walks down the hall together and goes to their next class. It is a hall with a million kids all squeezed together between two walls of lockers. When I am in the hall with all the other children, I wish I could just disappear, so that I avoid being in that terrible hall with all the other kids. They are the ones who hurt me with words.

I always try to avoid them. But they always find me. They walk up to me and stop in front of me so I cannot walk. Other kids join in and they stand so that they are all together in a circle around me. Then they humiliate me, hurt me, and make fun of me. And they roar out in laughter at my expense. It is very cruel. Continue reading

We all need to find meaning. We all need love.


A Connection We Crave?

In the womb as unborn babies, we each shared ourselves with our mother through the umbilical cord of life. In this union, we are totally dependent upon our mother for our very existence. We received nourishment from our mother. And with her, we also shared the very same breath of life.

Through this connection with our mother, we joined together in the union of a shared human bond of safety and love. We needed our mother, just as our mother needed us to need her also. The psychologically healthy bond between two people fulfills the needs of both individuals

I believe that as we live out our lives, we carry an unconscious emotional craving for this original nascent union. We seem to seek emotional connections with other human beings to satisfy our craving. We still seem to need to share our selves. We all need to need someone, and at the same time, we need to feel needed by him or her. I think one human being must join emotionally with other human beings in order to feel fulfilled, in order to be truly happy, and even in order to survive. Continue reading

Inspiring Words for when you are feeling down as a Writer.


Inspiring Words for when you are feeling down as a Writer.

A video narrated By Phillip Glass.

Continue reading

Boy Spinning, Looking up at Sky, Shapes in Clouds


8-year-old Ricky remained focused, carefully counting the number of paces as he walked away from the playground and headed straight out into the vast, open, grassy field of the city park. Ricky was a boy curious about all things. And the 8-year-old wanted to know exactly how many steps it was from the merry go round, to the spot-on center of the open green expanse.

Ricky counted his paces in his mind, while his mouth worked silently, as it always did whenever he was in deep thought. He never let himself daydream or lose his count; on the contrary, he tallied each successive pace, noting the incrementing total with a pronounced seriousness. Finally, he was nearly to his destination. He kept his eye on the central point as he counted… 497, 498, and 499. Ricky stopped. He was standing on the spot.

It took the young boy exactly 499 paces to get from the merry go round, to the exact spot-on center of the lush, emerald-green field. If Ricky’s total step count had been a perfect, round numbered 500, he would have been quite suspicious of himself. Most 8-year-old boys would take an extra step on purpose, and pretend that they had not, because a total of exactly 500 steps would seem joyfully miraculous, and a lot luckier than 499—but it was not honest, and the total would not be true. Most boys would not care. But Ricky would, and he knew life usually gave you a less exciting, but correct number. So this is how he knew that the count was indeed 499 steps exactly.

As he stood at center point, Ricky noticed his shadow. The afternoon sun that day was a joyful radiant orb and it bathed the park in long, extending, golden rays of light. Continue reading

The Boy, an Ant, a Sunny Day and a Magnifying Lens


Then Sun For to Kill

There comes a time when every small boy discovers how to use a magnifying glass to create fire.  If he lives in the Texas Hill Country, where the houses are five miles apart, and a lad has no play mates, he usually finds out through serendipity. This is by far, the finest way to find out about the wonders of the glass and the sun. It is more magical to discover the glory of creating fire all by oneself.

Out in a field somewhere there is a young boy. It is a summer day, bright and sunny, and the boy’s face is moist. Down on his knees, the boy is bent over. He balances his torso, with his lean left arm, pressing it down on the ground. He rests the weight of his torso on his left hand, which is flattened with its fingers splayed out wide; the skin on the top of his palm is red, and his knuckles are white.

His neck and upper body are now arched fully over, and the boy holds the large magnifying lens in his right hand, about four inches above the ground. He is peering through it, his right cheek and eye almost touching the rounded lens. In the shadow cast by his body, he studies the anatomy of twigs, leaves, spear grass and acorns. He is seeing them with never before seen resolution or clarity.

His right eye strains in concentration as it peers through the lens. But his left eye is pressed shut tightly; as if the left eye were an angry child, just after a quarrel with the right eye. In protest, it refuses to look at anything that the right one looks at. Continue reading

The Graffiti on Men’s Public Restroom Stalls in Redneck Texas


POST HAS PROFANE WORDS AND MATERIAL

The men’s public restrooms’ toilet stalls at least in Texas, where I have lived all my life, are almost always covered wall to wall inside the stall with graffiti. Most of the colorful epigrams are scribbled in ink, or sometimes magic marker, which the authors must bring with them just for this purpose. A certain percentage of the graffiti is etched into the paint with a key, or possibly a pocket knife.

Despite constant, periodic attempts, in the more upscale restrooms, to paint over the tasteless works of all the ribald authors, the walls are instantly refilled with the unstoppable phenomenon of graffiti, written by squatting defecating men.

First of all, 60% of this “prose” just is the two classic words “Fuck You.” Then ranks lusty sexually graphic descriptions of how , a guy who is surely taking a dump,” loves pussy” and fucking in general. At the University, a guy who I am assuming was Biology major wrote “I live for the titration of vaginal fatty acids.” I have to give full credit to higher education in the field of natural sciences. Continue reading