Sunday, September 27, 2009

Friday Flash Fiction-In the Shadows

Author's note: In an endeavor to have more fun writing, as well as having a subject conveniently given to me to make the job easier the following post is a Friday Flash Fiction story. The idea is you take an introductory sentence created by someone and build a story around it. I hope I have followed the rules and this has been very fun. I warn everyone though this story is extremely dark and does not have a happy ending. All issues and mistakes with this story are my own I hope I am forgiven.

The beginning sentence was from the Baroness and it is:
There was no respite; the vivid, violent dreams that ruthlessly tormented her slumber had now relentlessly stretched the abyss, to envelope her during her day.
Sometimes during the simplest daily activities she could hear her now dead children and husband crying out to her, pleading that she come rescue them. Racked by the terror-filled sounds in her mind she would mindlessly struggle to find refuge in some quiet corner of wherever she might be. From the storeroom of the local grocery store to one of the reading rooms in the public library repeatedly her mind would recreate first the sounds then the horrific imagines of the murder of her family, victims to a serial killer that had claimed two others sometime later then disappearing. Stunned but caring workers would first comfort, and then help her to collect herself and make sure she made it home safely.
For these reasons Donna Myers had become very reclusive, hardly leaving the Georgian style Lake House she had built with her new husband after they had married five years before. The house was a gift of healing from her new husband, Robert Myers, a successful artist and college roommate of her first husband, Daniel. Robert had rushed to Donnas’ side a few months after the murders. Himself mourning the loss of his best friend Robert ended up spending three years helping Donna recover from the brutal and barbaric loss of her first family slowly helping her build the courage needed to face reality and the beginnings of a new life.
Robert had taught Donna the meaning of patience never demanding anything from her and only wanting to provide her comfort from the sounds and images that plagued her during both day and night. Quite by accident after three years of recovery, Donna realized she had feelings for Robert. When told of this Robert confessed that he had been more than fond of her all through college and later after she had married Daniel. After they had revealed their feeling both were hesitant at first to move forward but the need both had for each other soon overrode all concerns.
Three years after coming to her Robert proposed on the site of the Lake House and Donna, feeling the need to have someone in her life again accepted. Feeling that supervising the construction and then the decorating would help conquer the persistent nightmares that plagued her Robert gave total control of the house to his wife. The only exception was the boathouse constructed right on the lakeshore that would be his studio and private sanctuary. Even after throwing her mind and soul into making the house a home, the dreams never left Donna and the only time she could function in public was with Robert at her side. Except that Robert’s artistic notoriety required him to travel, often leaving Donna at home and face the dreams alone.
It was during one of those times alone that Donna again awoke from the murderous dreams. The nighttime thunderstorm that greeted her with all the wind and lightening was of little concern. What did bother her was the empty side of her bed. Robert was in Europe overseeing a showing of his paintings and sculptures and would not be home for days.
Unable to sleep and unwilling to develop anymore of a dependency on pills Donna got out of bed with the intent to walk out onto the porch and watch the storm. With the flashing of far off lightening she caught a glimpse of herself in the bedroom mirror, she admired the sheer nightgown she wore and her firm and athletic body underneath. After they were married Robert had strongly urged Donna to get into shape saying it would help her mental health and add zest to their sex life. Donna shivered in pleasure at the thought of Robert’s homecoming a few days down the road and what how he would make her feel. It was less the joining of two people to celebrate their love than an animalistic coupling that at least had the effect of holding her mental demons at bay for a few days.
Still looking at herself in the mirror with the periodic flashes of lightening illuminating half of her body, the other half seemed mired in the darkness, a small part of her mind reflect on how different her first husband, Daniel, and Robert were. Daniel had been a caring, gentle lover who only wanted to show his devotion to his wife. Robert on the other hand, after they were married, had begun asking, then insisting she try new things and experiment with her sexuality. At first she resisted but Robert had been firm and with the fear that he might leave and she be alone again Donna surrendered and after sometime had passed had actually begun to enjoy the new feelings and experiences Robert opened up for her.
Finding a robe on the chair next the bed, she hurried downstairs and went out on the porch stopping briefly at the kitchen table to pick up her cell phone. She had insisted during construction of the house that the large porch that was suppose to only face away from the lake be extended nearly all the way around so she could sit out and look upon the gentle waters and see the boathouse Robert used as a studio. When he was home after she could find nothing else to do inside she would sit out on the porch and wonder what Robert was creating.
Taking a seat in one of the large wooden rocking chairs, she looked out upon the lake and the dark and empty boathouse. The storm had finally passed with the lightening so distant now that even the rumble of the thunder was soft. With the storm receding the insects and frogs opened up on their nightly chorus. A soft silver colored quarter moon sailed clear of the clouds providing an almost ghostly lighting to the surroundings.
Just seeing the boathouse did offer some relief from the dreams and the dark feelings that never seemed to be far away. Robert’s schedule was usually a mystery to her and she only knew vaguely that Europe was several hours ahead of her being on the east coast. Looking at the cell phone, she was tempted to call him just to hear his voice. He had never been away from home this long with several more days to go before he returned.
Hoping she would not disturb him, she opened the phone and dialed his number. Each of the four times Donna tried, she went to voice mail and each time she left and increasingly desperate message pleading that he call just so she could hear his voice. Sitting in the chair waiting for his call she dozed off to the sound of a nearby bullfrog and the soft light from the moon.
Donna slipped quickly back into the dream seeing her children propped up on the side of some warehouse wall, their eyes open but lifeless. Not far away she could hear the screams of Daniel calling her but somehow while being in the place they were tortured and died she was a bodiless specter unable to move.
Donna startled back awake momentarily not knowing where she was. While that feeling passed she looked at the clock on her cell phone seeing only an hour had passed with no messages from Robert. Feeling like some evil force was hovering around her she began looking for another refuge. The house was lonely and dark, Donna had no one local to call being that she was estranged from her family over her new husband, and Robert was tied up unable to call her. The only place that offered any hope was Robert’s boathouse and figuring she could feel his presence inside it she rushed to the cabinet where they kept all the house keys.
Minutes later she was walking up the wooded steps of the boathouse looking for the right key to let her in. Robert might be angry when he returned if he found out she had entered his private place. However, she was desperate and would leave once he called chasing the demons away. She finally found the right key, opening the door Donna stepped in and in spite of the terror churning in her mind she was curious to see the place that had been forbidden to her for the entirety of their marriage.
Turning on the light switch what was revealed to her were various paintings yet to be finished along with painting supplies and many blank canvases. Robert’s works were modern and abstract in the extreme to the point they held little meaning for her. A few though, hanging from the far wall were dark and sinister with glowing eyes off in the distance watching an almost Norman Rockwell scene with happy, normal people going about their daily lives in some fashion. Donna had seen a few of these types of works when Robert brought her to a showing and she had certainly been exposed to his darker nature in their physical relationship but the innocents in these pictures looked strangely familiar. She was drawn to these dark paintings and to the door leading to another room. She had no idea what might be inside but after already violating her husband’s space she felt compelled to step inside.
The room was windowless and the air has heavy and hard to breath as if the room itself was chastising her for entering. Turning on the light revealed a bookshelf with several rows of homemade DVD’s in labeled cases. A medium sized television was sitting on a long cabinet with a cheap player hooked up. On the walls were old newspaper clippings and photos of crime scenes. The bodies in the pictures were brutally butchered.
Browsing the pictures on the wall she was shocked to find the photos of her children and husband. A different fear welled up inside her as she realized these were not police photos, they were homemade and Donna’s mind went into overdrive to find a way to explain them. As she tore through the room, no longer worried what Robert might say finding a DVD case with Daniel’s and the children’s name on them about stripped away what sanity she held never the less she found the ability to put the disc in the player and watch what was on it.
Donna’s soul slipped from her in those early hours of the morning watching her family being dragged from a van and tied up in an abandoned warehouse. Frozen to the screen, watching the fate of her children and first husband she watched Robert walk up to a pleading Daniel telling him his plans.
“You were never good enough for Donna ,” Robert said as blood choked Daniel’s mouth and face, “You could have done so much with her. She could have been molded and shaped to bring out her best but you did nothing. After you are gone and I send a few others to the hereafter to throw any suspicion off me I plan on going to her and offering her comfort with both of us mourning the kid’s death and yours. After that she will be mine and I plan on doing things to her you never could with your sedate and normal lives. I’ll teach them to her and get her to like them to the point I will have changed her in ways that she herself would have never dreamed she would accept. Then I plan on taking her out with me as I prowl the night looking for others like you Daniel, simple sheep that need to be culled.”
Donna ignored Robert’s continued rant and even Daniel’s finally moments on earth. Robert was right, he had ever so slowly but insistently changed her, molded her, to do and like things that a younger version of herself would flee in disgust to see. Donna’s skin crawled to think of what she had done to make Robert happy, to keep him with her, and that she had come to enjoy those things. Donna felt more than violated, she felt infected by a creature that had taken the lives of her most precious family.
Donna knew she was ruined, her soul and spirit had long since been spoiled and she knew the last words she heard Robert speak on the disc were true. She knew Robert had been grooming her for even darker things and even if Robert was caught and put away forever, that dark flame he had kindled in her would never go away.
Her only hope for redemption was a plan that oozed in her mind like ice but it was the only way. Donna slowly left the boathouse taking time to enjoy the night air, the sounds of nature, and the silver moon high in the sky. She retrieved an item from her nightstand and then walked back down to the boathouse. Back inside the room Robert kept his sick mementos she opened her cell phone and called the police. “Please come immediately to the Myer's residence on Lake Shore drive, you will find evidence to who the serial killer was from five years ago,” was all she said. She kept the line open hearing the duty officer ask for more information but all she did was wait. An eternity later she heard sirens and cars speeding down the road to the house. When they stopped and she heard car doors opening with people talking she slipped the barrel of the revolver in her mouth and pulled the trigger. After that the shadows that held her slipped away.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More Pawelys Island and I do have a Southern accent

Far too many spoke far too soon about my missing Southern accent from my previous post. The next day on our recent beach trip it was a gray, rainy day with the wind a steady gale, and the surf was a angry white froth. Before anyone wonders if Miss Wiggles and I hung around in such conditions all I can write is Hell yes! Pawleys Island in that weather was totally awesome and walking in that wind and rain was about the most exhilarating thing I had done in a good while. Feeling those forces swirl around me it was easy to understand how small we are in the grand scheme of things. Some might not like their tiny position in the universe being so explicitly pointed out but it made me feel like part of something far grander than the trivial and exaggerated activities of naked primates who far too often believe they are the centers of creation.

I started recording hoping I would not sound as stupid in my first experiment my daughter up and starts running for the the inlet at the very end of the island where the much calmer creek meets ocean. In good weather the inlet is about as dangerous as it comes with chaotic currents libel to carry a person out to sea or drag them under. So while looking through the viewfinder seeing my daughter suddenly running to the very edge about freaked me the crap out. I have listened to my words several times and not only did I hear my Southern accent bubble up I again felt the swift terror rip through my guts knowing that had my daughter literally made just a few more steps backward she would fallen into much deeper water. While the camera drifted off the place where my daughter sat in the sand my eyes were totally on her. Had she moved the camera would have been ruined with me dropping it in the sand going after her. Still, I was uncomfortable where she was at but I did not want to startle her and cause the very incident that did not happen.

Despite the near disaster we did stay several more hours talking with a few other brave souls who were enjoying the atypical beachcombing weather. When Miss Wiggles and I did leave our next destination was the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina. While I did take a bunch of pictures of that visit I will spare everyone from seeing most of them.. However, since I'm sure no one will want to see anymore of my Spielberg-like endeavors I did not record any video. My next post will be more along my usual fare.

Daddy is a bad influeance

Before anyone freaks out I will freely admit I am more than likely a bad influence on my daughter. Some might be chagrined at the seemly religious altar dedicated to Jimmy Buffett behind my daughter but I assure everyone that I am not indoctrinating her in the partying tenets espoused by the Church of Buffett, orthodox.

This picture was taken at the Charleston Margaritaville where I wasted, as my wife would say, good hard earned money on Jimmy Buffett hats and t-shirts. Someday I hope to bring the rest of my family into the one true faith, freeing them of the drivel and mind-numbingly boring aspects associated with modern suburban life. But seriously back to the main point of this tiny, desperate post, ain't my little pirate cool?
Check Spelling

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A few seconds of Pawleys Island

Just a few seconds of Pawleys Island from yesterday as my daughter, Miss Wiggles, and I stroll the island. Despite predictions all week of bad weather from both seriously crappy weather guys the day was just about perfect. The salty breeze, bright sun, and warm ocean was a welcome change from the daily rat race back home. Sorry about the less than helpful narration, this is my first time trying this and I was just making it up as I go along.

One sad thought I had during my visit is that Pawleys use to be the hang out for people from Georgetown. Being just 15 miles from town it was far easier to break away and spend time there than try to make it all the way to Myrtle Beach, which for many people was viewed as a special treat with its amusement park and other special attractions.

For Georgetown families Pawleys was not only the place just to hang out and relax but to met and socialize with others. I am told that before I was born nightly camp fires on the beach with food and drinks were a regular affair. As parents talked and relaxed around the campfires younger children would run about splashing in the surf and playing in the sand. Teenagers in the late 60's to the mid 70's could often be found sleeping in the sand awaking with the sunrise and paddling out into the ocean trying to catch early morning waves. All this more or less ended after a few bad apples started leaving the beaches a mess with property owners pitching a fit. This got so bad that for a few years in the 80's property owners wanted to close the island off to the public.

During our visit yesterday I talked with many different people but none were from Georgetown. Everyone was from out of state with one family coming as far away as Nebraska. This is not some sudden thought, as far back as the late 90's it had occurred to me that the nature of Pawleys had changed with sightings of locals at least a fairly rare event. While Pawleys Island itself has barely changed, the rebuilding after Hurricane Hugo an exception, the "disappearance" of Georgetown locals throws me for a loop making me feel like some character out of science fiction lost in time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Balancing the karmic equation

Back in March of 2002, I was sitting in the airport that serves Austin, Texas figuring that I had made it through about the worst three weeks I had the misfortune to experience in a long time. Relaxing in at least a semi-comfortable chair at my departure gate reading that month’s Scientific American sipping on an ice cold Pepsi, I was saving my energies for the tasks that awaited me at home. Figuring nothing else could screw up anymore that what it already had I allowed myself to be lulled into a false sense of security.
Almost to the day three weeks before I had walked into work only to be told I was the latest causality in the busting of the telecommunications business bubble. After several good-natured slaps on the back along with the obligatory and meaningless “sorry to see this happen, and call me if you need anything” exit comments from my co-workers I went home to tell my wife and make plans on finding a new job. My job hunting was cut short less than a week later with me flying off to Texas with my National Guard platoon for our very ill timed, at least for me, annual two-week camp.
For my entire military career prior to this particular camp I had never had to suffer the tribulation of serving in the rear areas with all the staff weenies and assorted REMF’s (Rear Echelon Mother Fuc***’s). Their jobs were largely mysteries to me and after having to serve in other duties with them I thanked the Lord for the separation since I found many of them pretentious jerks and certified ass kissers. Unfortunately for me, to make my wife happy the year before I had transferred from my fun and dedicated National Guard unit in the upstate of South Carolina that spent most of its time in the field playing soldier to one close to home filled with staff weenies and REMF’s.
My career to that point had been all about training in the field getting ready for that day the Soviets pushed an armada of tanks across the Fulda Gap to extinguish the light of Western Civilization and glorious free market capitalism. This time though I found myself taking part in a computerized field training exercise that involved something that far too closely resembled the nerdy role-playing game Dudgeons and Dragons.
After arriving at the training site I soon saw far too many macho commissioned and non-commissioned officers huddled around a computer screen moving icons that represented various combat units in an effort to repel the “Orange” forces trying to overrun the Korean peninsula. A huge projection screen overhead relayed what the main computer screen was showing and serious cheers would go up every time an enemy icon was blown up. Being that I was approaching retirement and had long since burned out on the overly gung-ho crap, I just stood around with a stupid grin on my face trying to look like I enjoyed seeing the destruction of cyber-commies.
My job in all of this was to “supply” air defense to the combat unit I had been assigned. By my second night on the twelve-hour night shift I proved completely incompetent with anything involving the role playing cyber-warfare stuff resulting in my being progressively demoted downward to less critical jobs. I went from maintaining elaborate map overlays that updated the various stages of the conflict, to plotting numerous positions on a different set of maps, to running the brigade radio network that the various units participating in the exercise depended on. Now my previous years in the service had me doing all those things and I was damn good at them except in that particular setting I was updating about twenty overlays, plotting about the same number of map positions, and carrying on five of six conversations at one time on the radio. During all this, orders were being screamed by different people all at once. I found myself wishing to be back in the field dirty, sleep deprived, dealing with insects and snakes like a regular soldier. Most of the others in my platoon fell into the rhythm of the exercise but I quickly found out I had no concept of how to manage all that information at once and was about as useful as a submarine with a screen door.
The various senior staff weenies wisely figuring that I was doing more harm than good soon relegated me to various “gofer” tasks that left me much of the night to my own devises. Normally that would have been a good thing, being an experienced soldier under such circumstances like that I would have usually found the nearest place to hide and catch some sleep. Except the Texas National Guard base we were at had a rendering plant right across the fence from the place we had set up our brigade tactical operations center (TOC). The smell of the place was horrific to begin with and everyone shuddered, even the toughest troops, upon hearing for the first time that it cremated the remains of animals, some of them being dead pets. However when the wind-changed direction the smell was such that many dry puked when caught outside. Being that my platoon was one of the last groups to report in just about all the good, and out of the smell, hiding places were already occupied.
After my shift was over the group I was part of was driven across the post to the barracks we were assigned which took about an hour. Another hour to grab the most basic of breakfasts and then take a shower we then jumped into our sleeping bags to fall asleep to the sound of the icy Texas wind blowing outside the ramshackle building. Sometime around 5:00pm, the whole cycle would begin again with those with me on the night shift being trucked back out to the brigade TOC for another twelve hours.
My staff weenie incompetence made me a pariah to the others and as a result, I was largely shunned during the night except when doing my gopher duties. While my situation sucked, I at least understood that I was not overseas fighting in some god-forsaken country like many others. Never the less much weighed on my mind given that I had no civilian job and that my wife was dealing with several issues back home like a dishwasher that had decided to up and suddenly quit for no reason.
“Crap this really sucks.” I said to myself not figuring anyone was around.
“Sure it does dude, but it’s the karmic equation balancing itself out.” Some guy said in front of me that I did not see in the dark.
Focusing my eyes I was able to make out a dark form leaning up against one of the spare mobile generators kept on hand so the heroic cyber-warriors would not be defeated by the insidious Orange forces out to conquer the computerized Korean peninsula.
This guy came walking up to me turned out to be an army captain named Roland. After I snapped off a salute he returned so causally it seemed an annoyance we started talking about how much it sucked to be on this bullshit FTX.
Captain Roland was from Texas himself and shared my sentiments on all the computerized role-playing going on figuring it was all just big excuses to spend more money on expensive toys. As for our respective suffering he had a more laid back and new age attitude about it.
“See dude,” he said giving up the military mind-set and quickly bordering on 60’s hippy way of thinking, “we both needed our karmic equation balanced. We go out struggling in the dog-eat-dog world and it wears us down. We don’t appreciate our fellow humans and do everything we can to take advantage of them and after awhile the universe figures we need to be brought down a peg or two. Don't fear though, when all is said and done the universe does love you."
To be honest I understood where Captain Roland was coming from, my last couple of years had been more than good with me getting much of what I wanted in life while stepping on a few peoples toes along the way and not thinking much of it. While I had recently been laid off I had lasted longer than a couple of other guys at my former workplace who both had more seniority than me because my supervisor and his boss liked me. I had not directly taken advantage of the two other guys laid off before me but I sure as hell didn’t shed any tears over their departure since I still had my job.
Since Captain Roland had including himself in his hypothetical “karmic equation” I asked him what he had done that made his karma so out of balance.
He began by telling me he once held a cushy job in the Pentagon that allowed him a lot of time at night to visit the high-class clubs in DC. Turned out Captain Roland had met a gorgeous redhead at one of the Washington DC clubs with a fetish for having sex in public places who also turned out to be a senator’s daughter. Captain Roland explained things were all fine and dandy until the police caught them in a public park during lunchtime with word soon making it to the redhead’s father.
The good senator had it in for Captain Roland for deflowering his precious, innocent daughter but Roland chuckled when he told me he made things far worse for himself by telling the senator his daughter had been excessively deflowered way before he had ever met her. Captain Roland lost his cushy job at the Five Sided Funny Farm and was now continuously out in the most obscure and backwater boonies evaluating different National Guard units, something thought akin to hell by those who had gotten use to the cosmopolitan life of serving in Washington. I took Captain Roland’s advice to heart and made it through the long and boring nights figuring at some point my karmic equation would balance out. The day finally arrived for my platoon to head home and very early on a Sunday we took the long bus ride back to the Austin airport. With tickets in hand and luggage checked in my group, along with several others began waiting for our respective flights back home.
I have never actively sought company while waiting in airports. Most people, along with myself, find air travel far too akin to the cattle processing stations that eventual lead to Bessie and her bovine cohorts to becoming the hamburger meat. However while I was reading my magazine I could not help but notice a familiarly dressed lady enter my peripheral vision.
I glanced up to see a late thirtyish looking woman wearing “business travel casual” carrying an overnight bag with the business end of a tennis racket in some sort of zippered pocket attached to the side of the bag. The lady in clothing and even in hairstyle looked very much like my sister-in-law and had the same habit of never taking her cell phone away from her ear.
Now had I quickly looked away I probably could of avoided what came next but before I went back to my magazine like some nervous predator she quickly glanced up and we made eye contact. Being from the South one of our better traits is to smile whenever we make eye contact be it involving family, friends, or strangers. My Southern instincts working, as they should, along with the lady’s appearance and superficial habits being like that of my sister-in-law I gave the unknown woman a slight, harmless, friendly smile. It did not take any sort of supernatural empathy to see and feel the disgust and even rage that flashed across her face. Not thinking much of it, I went back to my reading and waiting for the boarding call for my flight. All the while it was strangely easy to hear that woman a few rows over continuously blathering on her cell phone talking both business and personal matters over the voices of the others waiting in the same gate area.
Once the call to board came I allowed most of the others to go first figuring that with my size I was bound to be uncomfortable and I might as well just wait to the last minute. After I did board I was shocked to see that I would be sitting right beside that same lady who has shot me such an evil look for daring to make eye contact with her.
Standing over her knowing full well she knew I was there I asked her very nicely to let me pass and take my seat. She was in the aisle seat, I had the window, and the plane was full so I had no place to go.
“Ma’am,” I asked again raising my voice, “could you please let me take my seat.” With that louder and edgy request she sort of hunched her legs to one side allowing me to slide by her but never looking me in the face. Despite the temptation to act just as difficult I held my tongue as I took my seat and waited for the plane to take off.
My flight from Austin, Texas was to take me to Atlanta, Georgia in a short time where I would then catch a flight to Columbia, South Carolina. The pilot informed us soon after takeoff that bad weather along the southeast had severely affected flight schedules and that our arrival in Atlanta would be very delayed. I could feel the nervous tension and bad vibes oozing from my seatmate and I stifled a laugh wondering how she would react if I said something to her about fate putting us together.
Still my humor was put to the test an hour later as I had to again demand she let me by so I could get to the restroom. Returning that time I read the last article in my magazine and then with nothing to do decided to take a nap hoping that our worse than shotgun relationship would soon end. However it didn’t, not only was I awaken to hear the pilot declare that we had been in a holding pattern over Atlanta for quite some time but that we were having to fly back and land in Alabama to refuel, then make our way back to Atlanta for another wait circling the airport. Now feeling about as miserable as any cow on the way to slaughter I tried to doze back off praying this crap would end at some point.
More sleep eluded me so I just closed my eyes and fantasized about far away tropical places. During that time I briefly glanced over at my seatmate, especially after she pulled down her bag with the butt end of the tennis racket poking me a couple of times, to see her working from some sort of notebook. Pages were filled with facts, figures, and I also caught a glimpse of her address book portion of that notebook with every entry space filled with elaborate contact data in the cleanest penmanship I had ever seen. Whatever the Hell this woman did for a living was clearly much higher up on the social food chain than me. However, by now my good humor and new karmic balancing, easygoing attitude was strained to the hilt. I was so irritated that had the plane suddenly depressurized causing the oxygen masked stored above to drop I would have yanked her mask out and smiled as she passed out from lack of oxygen. Luckily, nothing like that happened and at some point, which had long since taken on the feeling of eternity the plane landed, and we both got out without killing each other.
The feeling I had after getting off that plane had to be similar to what a man feels getting out of prison, so I strolled the concourse reveling in that freedom until I came to an airport bar open to all the people passing by. Looking like a nice place to get out from the flow of people I took a seat at a table on the far end, next the window overlooking all the activity outside on the tarmac. By chance I found a paperback book left on the seat of a neighboring table which I grabbed and would at least read until someone came for it. Minutes later a very nice waitress took my order and even sat with me for a few minutes after she brought me my drink. I was feeling pretty damn good all of a sudden and even started believing my karmic account might be back on the plus side, that is until my former seatmate showed up at the same bar.
She had taken a table right at the edge of the bar where it met the main portion of the concourse sitting her overnight bag between her and the concourse mere inches from the people walking by. I could tell that whatever insult I had done to her was still a hair stuck up her ass when she looked at me, sneered, and then arranged her seat so her back would be facing me. Screw her, I thought and I went back to reading the book, her loud voice soon filled the bar with her making appointments at her final destination.
The next thing I heard a few minutes later was some sort of shrill squeal that I know must have injured any dogs that happened to be nearby, I then saw my nemesis approaching my table.
“My bag is missing,” my former seatmate declared in an acidic manner looking at me like I was a roach, “and from where you are sitting you must have seen the person that took it.”
“Sorry, I didn’t see anything. It must have happened while I was reading.” I said, still slightly stunned that the damn woman had actually spoken to me. However, given my frustration at having to sit next such a person for far too many hours I could feel another smile cross my face, and this time it sure as Hell wasn’t the good-natured, friendly kind.
What happened next was what we in the South call a “hissy fit”, my former seatmate mentally and emotionally melted down in front of me and several more people that gathered around after she started loudly calling me every name in the book. She even in a sarcastic manner asked the others if they had seen the passerby that had snagged her very important bag as she talked on the phone.
Not long later, some sort of airport security came by, mainly from the scene she was causing, and began to escort her away so a report could be filed. As she turned away leaving with the airport security something bubbled up from the farthest portions of my strange mind. “Don’t worry ma’am,” I said causing her to turn back around, “ your karmic equation only needs to be balanced out. Remember when all is said and done the universe loves you.”
She started to say something but the airport security guy, with a firm grip on her arm, pulled her along away from the bar. I could tell my parting words had an effect because the look she gave me flashed from puzzlement to fear with her now seemly eager to rush away from me as fast as possible. Seeing her hurry away I got the impression she didn't care for Captain Roland's advice.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Making a choice

Upon reflecting about the nature of politics, war, greed, and the unbounded possibilities of sheer human ignorance I have decided, once again, that human civilization is nothing but a cruel joke perpetrated on a less than semi-intelligent naked ape by a universe that may at any moment lose interest and sterilize the planet. The main problem I believe is that we have gone and taken ourselves far too seriously. Arrogant men and women strut around in thousand dollar suits showing off hundred dollar haircuts expounding on a whole manner of societal woes trying to convince everyone that some bogeyman is hiding under all our beds.

The God's honest truth is that 99% of the crap we worry about will be forgotten in hundred years. When all is said in done the best that we can hope to accomplish is that when we pass on we will have made enough of an impact on people and the planet that we will be remembered in a positive light. In that mysterious and scary future no will give a damn about how big your house was, how many cars you owned, and sure as Hell few if any will think twice of the money you left behind.

Those that people will want to remember will be the ones that clothed the needy, saw that children were fed, took care of the sick, and otherwise sought to alleviate the fear and suffering that plagues this world. In the end its just a question of which side we will take. Do we grovel in fears and prejudices scared that every knock at the door is someone out to take our precious material items or do we reach out to others and make an effort to build a place for every man, women, and child on the planet. It isn't an easy quest and primal, self destructive animal fears are rooted deep in our DNA but every once and a while good guys do win. Lets just hope we have time.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Approaching Doomsday and refuges for scoundrels

Wondering about the end of it all.

My wife asked me the other day why I had nearly abandoned watching the television evening news and cable political shows that I once eagerly waited for every afternoon nearly like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. Her question took me aback quite a bit and while I fumbled for a coherent verbal answer the visual that stuck in my head was of boat full of people on a river arguing over who would navigate blissfully ignorant of the large and deep waterfall whose edge they were about to go over.

Since the 2008 election things seem to have gone bad and every sign and omen only suggest things are only going to get worse. People are now bringing loaded semiautomatic pistols and assault weapons to political rallies that the president is attending holding signs quoting Thomas Jefferson about the tree of liberty needing to be refreshed; a blatant reference that it takes the blood of patriots and tyrants to do such a thing. A giggly bimbo, nominated by a semi-senile politician for Vice President, can’t give an unrehearsed answer about any serious national issue or policy without squirming away minutes later whining about liberal media unfairness is still in huge circles being considered for a 2012 presidential run. A much needed serious national debate over health insurance reform degenerates regularly over transparent lies about death panels and insane fears that some government bureaucrat will come between a person and his or her doctor. All the while the Marching Morons ignore the fact that corporate insurance bureaucrats do the same thing on a regular basis. Not being a person who holds much stock in pop culture doomsday prophesies I must admit that the approaching 2012 doomsday, spoke of in the Mayan calendar along with other lesser known prophets, is starting to concern me. The human race has never been that smart but stupidity and ill rational fears are multiplying exponentially. So much that lately I find myself looking fondly at a far more simpler time, like the Bush years.

After being criticized more than once for not giving George W. Bush some small credit for doing at least some microscopic and trivial item right there is one thing I will have to give the man credit for. While he was in office his epic incompetence and gargantuan ego raised the bar to new levels on how to write yourself into history for all the wrong reasons. I’d like to have thought that it would have taken decades for others to come close to his achievement but even a foul mouth piece of talk radio trash recently lamented how one man he and many others on the Conservative side favored could have been the Republican’s version of JFK is doing his best to match Bush’s score. That proto-Republican JFK is none other than the governor, and avid Appalachian Trail hiker, of South Carolina.

Now to be fair I have personally cut the good governor of South Carolina a great deal of slack for his recent affair and the resulting aftermath that he found himself in for several reasons which I will not write about. Even though after the 2008 election he more than willingly wrapped himself in the mantle of an “aw shucks” simple, honest, and fiscally responsible statesman’s out to protect the common folk from rascally, traitorous, and morally corrupt liberals. At least I figured, he still shied away from declaring himself an agent of God on Earth while donning a crown of thorns and developing stigmata while tightly clutching the Bible to his breast.

Like any scoundrel seeking some refuge though, seeing his hopes of further power and influence evaporate like some Buenos Aires fog on a hot summer morning he is now desperately grabbing for anything that might at least restore a little of the legacy he hoped to leave.

Sanford: Appalachian Trail Tale Was "A Little White Lie"

As part of a fresh round of interviews designed to help save his job, South Carolina governor Mark Sanford suggested a higher power wants him to remain in office, and called his now legendary Appalachian Trail deception "a little white lie". And the embattled Palmetto State Romeo reiterated that he planned to complete his term, which runs through 2010, in order to advance conservative principles -- despite a meeting of GOP lawmakers over the weekend, at which not a single person expressed support for him.

"I feel absolutely committed to the cause, to what God wanted me to do with my life," Sanford told the Washington Times. "I have got this blessing of being engaged in a fight for liberty, which is constantly being threatened."

Sanford sought to minimize his irresponsibility in leaving the state to visit his Argentinian lover while claiming he had gone hiking on the Appalachian Trail, saying he had told his staff a "little white lie."

A poll last week showed that 50 percent of South Carolinians want him to step down, nine points higher than in June when the affair became public.

Sanford also spoke to the Wall Street Journal, declaring (sub. req.) "I have a newfound level of humility, knowing how hard I work and how hard I push is not the ultimate driver of change. Power resides with people."

He described himself as "zen-like" in his focus on his job.

Still, speaking to Times, he wasn't above a bit of self-pity. Sanford compared himself to Sarah Palin in acknowledging a state ethics probe, requested by the attorney general and legislative leaders, that's looking into his use of state aircraft, his overseas flights and whether he used campaign funds to pay personal expenses. Palin cited the cost of fighting off what she called frivolous ethics complaints as a reason why she quit as Alaska governor in July. Said Sanford: "I think I now know what Sarah may have been feeling."

Sanford also lamented that he's being written off by the state's political community. "What happened is that you take your eye off the ball and have the moral failing that I did," he told the Times, "and suddenly you are off the playing field. Then you realize how blessed you were to have been on that playing field."