Compare and Contrast

The essay is a commonly assigned form of writing that every student will encounter while in academia.  Essays can be a rewarding and challenging type of writing, but they are often dreaded by every student, because they demand a certain amount of preparation.  Many poorly crafted essays have been produced on account of a lack of preparation and confidence. The essay is used to encourage students to test or examine their own ideas concerning a particular topic.  Essays are by nature concise and they require clarity in purpose and direction.  This means that there is no room for the student’s thoughts to wander or stray from his or her purpose, because the writing must be deliberate and interesting.

Expository writing makes things clear and my previous job as a technical writer was to explain things in a way that people could understand.  Expository writing is writing that explains or shares information.  The word expository is derived from ‘expose’ which means ‘to reveal’.   This can also sometimes be called informative writing.  The writer of an expository essay assumes that the reader has no prior knowledge of the topic that is being discussed.  The world is full of expository writing including: Newspaper/magazine articles, Summaries, Informational reports, How-to manuals, Book reports, Operating instructions, Chapters in history textbooks and Entries in encyclopedias.

While working as an engineer, I wrote many technical descriptions of machine operations from customer specifications and I also wrote several sequence of operation procedures, process specifications, technical specifications, operator manuals and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).  My technical reports included Master Validation Plans, Installation Qualifications (IQ), Operational Qualifications (OQ), Factory Acceptance Tests (FAT) and I also made procedural checklists.  I authored documents for internal audit response and FDA consent decree.  I wrote specifications for systems and processes along with procedures for calibrating instruments and training others.

An expository essay must be creative and it is held together by a clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay, clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion, body paragraphs that include evidential support, which can be factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal, and a conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.  A common method for writing an expository essay is to use the five-paragraph approach where the first paragraph is an introductory paragraph.  The next three body paragraphs will provide evidence and the first one of these is where the writer begins to flesh out the information that the introduction said was coming.  Paragraph three should be devoted to a new fact or different example that supports the main idea of the essay.  Paragraph 4 is the last of three evidentiary body paragraphs and it should end with signal words that tell the reader that the final point is being made.  The conclusion should restate the ideas from the thesis statement in the introduction.  It should neatly summarize everything including all of the key points that were made in each of the paragraphs in the body of the work.

Comparisons are used to explain differences between subjects or to persuade readers that one subject is superior others.  The compare and contrast essay measures similarities and differences between two subjects.  Sportswriters compare the teams playing in the Super Bowl.  Stockbrokers contrast investment strategies.  Medical journals compare therapy methods. Textbooks use comparison to explain related theories and methods.  Consumer Reports examine competing products.  Essay exams often ask students to compare authors, historical events, political figures, or scientific techniques.

Comparison in writing discusses elements that are similar, while contrast in writing discusses elements that are different.  A comparison and contrast essay may discuss only similarities, only differences, but more often than not, both comparison and contrast are used.  A compare and contrast essay uses factual details to analyze the similarities and differences between two or more two or more people, places, things, or events.  In comparison and contrast, transitions between paragraphs are necessary to keep your essay flowing smoothly, to make it clear to the reader when you switch from one topic to the other, and to indicate the logical relationships between ideas within the paragraph.

The five basic categories in expository writing are: Compare & Contrast Essay where a writer considers similarities and differences, How-to Instructions where the steps involved in doing a task are explained and many reader questions are anticipated, Cause-and-Effect Essay where a writer explores the reasons a particular event or situation occurred and provides an explanation of the causes of the event or situation and this must include solid supporting facts/details, Informational Report where a writer gathers relevant information, facts and statistics and then presents it in a clear and interesting way and Product Evaluation where a writer presents a reasoned opinion of strengths and weaknesses of a particular item or service to helps the reader make an informed decision about whether to use or purchase this product.

A Compare and Contrast essay is usually a short piece of expository writing that describes similarities and differences between two or more subjects.  An effective compare/contrast essay identifies a purpose for comparison & contrast, gives factual details about the subjects that are being compared and uses an organizational plan suited for topic/purpose.  The easiest way to organize a comparison paper is to simply divide it into two parts.  After an introductory paragraph, fully discuss the first subject without mentioning the second.  Then in the latter half of the paper, explain the second subject, comparing its likenesses and differences to the first.  For longer and more technical papers, it may be better to compare the two subjects on a range of issues.  Instead of dividing the paper into two sections, you might organize your topic by making a series of comparisons on a point by point list of subtopics.  Persuasive comparisons recommend one subject as being superior to another, while avoiding comments about any obvious differences and always make sure that your comparisons are valid.  Don’t compare apples with oranges!

How To Instructions are step-by-step explanations of how to do something, like how to build, operate, repair, or maintain things.  For something that seems so easy and intuitive, instructions are often some of the worst-written documents.  Good instructions require the writer to use clear, simple writing, to possess a thorough understanding and awareness of the procedure in all its technical detail, to have the ability to put them self in the place of the reader.  The writer must know the person who is trying to use these instructions and to be able to visualize the procedure in great detail and to capture that on paper.  Finally, the writer must be willing to go that extra distance and test their instructions on the kind of person that they wrote them for.

Cause-and-Effect essays examine the relationship between events, explaining how one events or situation causes another. A successful cause-and-effect essay includes a discussion of the cause (event or condition), an explanation of an effect (outcome or result), evidence and Examples for support along with logical organization.  Problem-solution essays go further than just identifying an issue, as they offer an idea or a way of changing it.  An effective problem-solution includes, a clear statement of problem, a proposal of at least one realistic solution, all relevant facts, statistics, data, maybe an expert opinion, and a clear organizational pattern and an appropriate language for a specific audience background knowledge.

An Informational Report does not have an argumentative slant.  Their goal is to give people the facts so that the reader can make a decision, not the writer.  The writer should maintain a neutral attitude when presenting the facts, but spare no energy when it comes to researching in depth and writing clearly.  An informative paper does not need to present an argument, but it does need a clear focus stated in one sentence.

Product Evaluation essays are just like reviews. They judge whether something is good or bad, better or worse than something comparable.  Evaluation papers can be serious or funny, earnest or sarcastic. Many people enjoy reading a review about a really bad movie or a horrible restaurant experience.  The writer will need to use criteria to judge their subject.  Criteria are the parts of the thing you are evaluating.  Writing a product review of an item you have purchased and used can be a great way to share useful information with other shoppers, promote products you love, or just build your writing portfolio.  Your review may offer glowing praise or bitter criticism.  To do a thorough review, a writer must do research and know what their readers are looking for.  It would also be helpful for the writer to buy and use the product.

Written for 12/16/17 Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt is contrast.

Liquor Is Quicker

Jerry wrote to the Sex Help Line and said, “My girlfriend and I have been together almost four months now, and I have become dissatisfied with several aspects of our relationship.  I feel rejected, because we are no longer being intimate with each other, and also the frequency and variety along with the quality of our lovemaking has severely diminished, since we first got together.  I understand that we are still in a very early stage of our relationship, but she just doesn’t put out anymore.  In the beginning, everything was great and she was the one who was pursuing me, but in the last month or so, she has always had some kind of excuse for why she doesn’t wanna have sex.

Her excuses are becoming more frequent, she has a headache, she is tired, she don’t feel good, she is stressed out, she is worried about her job, she is not in the mood and it’s too late, seem to be the most common ones.  It is not like we are an old couple that is married with kids and this gets frustrating for me.  I keep thinking that if I give her time, that things will improve for us in the sack.  Is it normal for a relationship to go through hot and cold spells concerning sex?”

Doctor Love wrote back, “Normal is defined as conforming to a standard, something that is considered to be usual, typical, or expected.  As labels tend to proliferate our society today, and new mental disorders are being defined, this will eventually lead to every person on the planet having some type of label.  There is a real force behind this proliferation of labels which has increased because of technology and this allows us to see ourselves as we’ve never been seen before.  Sexual relationship problems are surprisingly common and they can cause distress, but many people find it very difficult to talk about their personal issues.

Many couples wonder about what is average when it comes to the amount of sex that they are having, however the answer is never perfectly clear, however among younger couples about once a week is what most people think of as being normal. Perhaps instead of you asking if this is ‘normal’ or not, a better question might be for you to ask is ‘Are you OK?’.  You need to consider whether you want to continue with your relationship the way it has become, or move on to something else.  You can’t force her to change for you, as that would be a disaster waiting to happen, and you can’t force yourself to not live the way that you want, because some girl wants you to change.

Sex is complicated and there are many things to consider, as biology drives humans to have sex in some form or another.  Sex means different things to different people and it can include foreplay, cuddling sessions, kissing, hugging and penetration.  Sexual activity among partners becomes a core part of the way they get along (or don’t get along) with each other.  Just because humans have brains to reason about sex and we have the ability to talk about sex, this does not mean that we are all able to navigate and negotiate sex.

For us humans, sex is so much more than the interaction of a sperm and egg for reproduction purposes, as it always involves some sort of negotiation.  You both need to negotiate your needs to each other and plan how you will get them met.  Every couple needs to figure out what works for them, at each stage of the relationship.  Sex is an essential element of relational intimacy, it is a key to personal fulfillment, and it is crucial for relationship longevity.  Sex involves everything and anything that feels sexual in nature and it drives people to find their potential mates, and even after they think that they have found what they are looking for, every couple must decide what their repertoire will include and also work out the frequency of how often they want to engage in it.

You should consider the possibility that she is no longer sexually attracted to you, especially since she keeps on saying that she’s not in the mood.  Communication is the key to most successful relationships, but when it comes to sex, actions often speak louder than words.  Romance should never feel like a chore, as sex is an act of love that should never be mundane and it should always be consensual.  Women want to be taken, so  when you are together, don’t ask her if she is in the mood or not, just grab her, throw her on the bed, hold her body firmly with your arms and give her what she needs.  Don’t let yourself become a stand-in boyfriend, where there is lots of kissing that never ends up in you having any sex.

It is difficult for many men to ignore a sexy woman, but you must stop wasting your time if she is not putting out for you and try to focus on getting your own needs met.  Everyone is responsible for getting their our sexual needs resolved.  It’s not your partner’s job to sexually satisfy you, as you bear the sole responsibility for that.  Whatever it takes you must get your needs met, even if you have to do this all alone by yourself.  If you want excitement in your relationship, you have to be willing to put in the effort to make that happen. If she’s not in the mood, perhaps she would be okay with helping you masturbate. Don’t be afraid to say yes to trying some new things, maybe you could talk her into wearing something sexy, while she watches you take care of yourself?

There is a chance that you are making yourself too available, or maybe you are being too needy, and this caused her to change from being the person that was initially attracted to you.  Nobody likes someone who is always available, as that takes all the fun out of a relationship.  No matter how much you want to spend time with your partner, being too available will make you seem needy, like you don’t have a life of your own and this can lead to your partner taking advantage of you.  The best strategy to combat this, is to play hard to get, as when it comes to availability, less can equate to being more.

Get your own life, back off from her, contact her less, don’t reply to her messages, and maybe you should start flirting with other girls.  Let her know that you are busy and you don’t have any available time to spend with her.  The modern term for this is soft nexting.  This is where a man removes a woman from his life for a short period of time, usually three to seven days, during which he completely ignores her.  There is a good chance that at the end of the soft next period, the relationship may resume as normal again.  If it doesn’t and you don’t see yourself marrying this girl sometime in the future, then it’s time to break up.

An American poet, named Ogden Nash wrote a poem where he said, ‘Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker’, where candy is a metaphor that refers to being nice to a girl, but alcohol can be used to achieve the desired ending much faster.  Drinking can loosen up girls and they may do things that they would never do when they are sober.  Incorporating a little bit of alcohol can go a long way to getting your girlfriend to start putting out for you.  Take her out to a bar, or go to a night club and have good time while you get drunk together with her and then when you get back home, have some crazy monkey sex.”

Written for 12/9/17 Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt is to find a word that starts with “liqu” or has “liqu” in it.

Which Is Worse

The Seventh Grade girls and guys were just hanging out as friends, when one of them, a girl named Cindy complained that she was on her period.  Joe said that must be awful, what does a period feel like?  Cindy said that it is not a great feeling and then she looked at Joe and asked him if he was getting a boner.  Joe covered up his crotch area with his hands and he said, “If you think it is bad to get your period, then you should try holding your boner down in public, so that no one can see it.”  The discussion was on, which is worse?

Delores said, “A period is way so much worse, though I’ve never had a boner, however my boyfriend gets them all of the time.  I just had my period and my cramps were so horrible that even after taking pain killers I was shaking (and almost crying) in pain and I just about threw up because the pain was so bad.  All that chemical and hormonal imbalance, can really do a job on any woman.”

Debbie chimed in, “When you’re on your period you bloat, shit like crazy, get hot flashes, cramps, your breasts ache, and the tiniest sneeze shoots a waterfall of blood out of your body.  Not only does it last 5 days (a week to nine days for some), but it comes back every single month until you’re like 50 (or older at least that is what I was told).”

Eleanor said, “A boner should be pretty easier to hide, as guys can just wear a jacket or position themselves to obscure it from view.  I would be willing to bet that most of the girls can’t even spot a boner, I mean as long as the guy is wearing clothes.  I bet it would be embarrassing if everyone could see a guy’s boner sticking out, but boners don’t come with all of the problems involved in periods.”

Alice said, “Being on your period is worse than having a boner.  Boners don’t last for a week and I’ve never seen a guy cry out in pain just because he has a boner.  You don’t get a headache from having a boner, and you don’t get back pains or stomach pains either.  You don’t have to throw up and you don’t get random stupid cravings (excluding thoughts of having sex) when you have a boner.  I guess you would get embarrassed which could make you sad if someone notices it, but I have never heard of a boner leading to depression or suicide.”

Clifford said, “Guys get turned on all the time and that makes it stick out, however my boners usually only last for about 10 minutes tops, and a girls period can last for 7 days so that is probably much worse.”

Betty said, “My periods feel like cat claws ripping into the sides of my uterus and I have a constant stomach cramp that feels like a really bad stomach ache and I get this constant contracting down below, which makes me bloat and all of those hormonal changes make me get short tempered and angry.”

Mathew said, “My boners usually last much longer than ten minutes, although I have never actually timed any of them.  I get them several times a day and I get them every day.  On an average day I will get anywhere from 8-24 boners a day and that is everyday out of the month.  There is no real pain associated with them, but the embarrassment goes far beyond that of a woman’s menstrual cycle.  I had one the other day when my mom walked into my room and she told me to stand up when she was talking to me and I pointed at my predicament and I had to tell her that I couldn’t, it was so embarrassing.”

Sally said, “Honestly, you even compare the two!  My period means pain, discomfort, attitude changes, a possibility of getting stained underwear, and this awkwardness because I just don’t want to move or do anything.  I’m sleepy all the time and I just want to lay down.  Tons of blood, constant trips to the bathroom, having to change my pad and get clean all the time.  The list goes on, and your boner is about being pleasured, where my period is all about pain.  My period starts with ruining my panties because its random and it happens when I am not prepared.  I have ruined so many pairs of cute expensive panties.  I have gotten stains on my pants and even on my bed sheets.  Then there’s that bad cramp that I get in my lower back that is always there, but it gets really intense and it comes in waves.  I have to change my pad all the time and its gross, I feel horrible, and unclean.  It smells gross.  I have no appetite, I get light headed, I fainted once, and occasionally I get a bout of diarrhea.”

Leo said, “That was way TMI!  Boners are not all that bad, as eventually guys learn to control themselves and not let every little thing turn them on. Girls are not able to control a period, even if they tried without getting their uterus taken out or taking some pill and I heard that sometime that pill doesn’t even work.  65% of the time boners occur for no reason and it is evident when it happens and you can’t change human nature.”

Tony said, “I think that girls should be strong enough to survive their periods, as others have been doing it for centuries.  It is not really our faults when every little thing turns us on, and it is not an easy thing to try to control a boner.”

Tammy said, “I don’t like having to wear a tampon or a pad and the hormones always makes me crazy.  And there is so much more embarrassment if the blood soaks through my clothes and everyone can see the blood on my ass.  I get randomly super turned on before and after my period ends.  The only cure that works for me is to think about naked grandmas and dead cats, but when my PMS Post Menstrual Syndrome kicks in, my emotions are amplified.”

Tom said, “Many guys become paranoid because they think that their boner might be really obvious to everyone.  They don’t think correctly when all of their blood has gone from their brain right into their boner.  Sometimes there is no way for them to hide it, which is always embarrassing.  It doesn’t really hurt unless it gets to be 100% hard and you can’t make it go away.  You have all seen those commercials about Viagra, Cialis and Levitra warning against getting an erection that lasts for more than four hours and I have never heard of a warning about a period lasting more than four hours.  It would be would be a pretty gay if I saw a guy was looking at my boner, but if it was a girl, I guess I would take that as a compliment.  I try not to make my boners look obvious to anyone, as they are a private thing for me.”

Joe said, “Women are so much better with pain than men are, all that going through Child Birth and Periods, at the end of the day, a women’s life can be agonizing and painful.  A boner is very embarrassing to boys and a period is also embarrassing to girls as well, but after a while everyone learns to live with it.  Women need to quit bitching about their periods, and I am real tired of listening to them constantly complaining about how difficult it is to just be a woman.  The big difference is how society views periods and an erection, as unlike the menstrual cycle, erections are not accepted.  If a guy sees a girl sitting in front of him in class and her skirt is riding all the way up so it reveals her smooth, soft, pink, satin panties, he will most often get a raging erection.  If it tents out in the front of your slacks, it could be dangerous and poke out somebody’s eye, although I have never seen that happen.  Girls get a month of advanced warning where as erections are unpreventable, they are fairly uncomfortable when our stuff rises up and starts to stick out.  We need to adjust, and then we have to try and hide what is going on.  Unwanted erections can destroy a guy’s self esteem and make everyone think that he is a pervert.  When a guy starts pointing outward, there is no room for that thing to grow, so it may hurt and nobody makes Advil or Midol for an erection.  The timing for erections is the worst, as they often come (no pun intended) when they are not wanted and at least girls get some type of warning.”  Cindy said, “Joe I see you still have that boner.”

Written for 12/2/17 Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt is cramp.

Freakish Deviance

Tattoos started out as being a tribal rite of passage, a mark that would signify an association, but now the tattoo is commercialized, and it has become something that often suggests lost youth.  Some call it body art, body bling, self-graffiti, walking human billboards, or fashionable ink, but I don’t think that they are creative or edgy or trendy.  Some of them may be intriguing if they are well-placed, but I find most tattoos to be tacky.  Whatever your opinion is, tattoos will always be controversial, even if you accept them.

I am different from most people, as I do not wear jewelry, thus I don’t need or have any piercings and I never wanted to get a tattoo.  I don’t need a permanent mark on my body to voice my opinion about any issue that I feel strongly about.  I do not judge people by the color of their skin, but I do judge people by how many tattoos they have, so I guess I may be shallow, because I am not able to see beyond what is skin deep.  When I see a girl that is covered in ink, I think that she is probably an easy target for a man to take sexual advantage of.  She is definitely a party girl, she probably drinks a lot, she is having a lot of sex and possibly she had a rough childhood.  Face tattoos are the worst and they will always keep me guessing why someone would do that to themselves and how long it will take them to regret their decision of where they put the tattoo, how may tattoos they have, and what the tattoos are saying about them.

Tattoos are not for everybody, but many people wear them proudly.  In my opinion, people that get tattoos are incredibly naïve, or maybe they are just in total denial, thinking their tattoos are going to make them better looking, or have any kind of positive influence on anyone that they meet.  Many people get tattoos and the reasons are as unique as the individuals who get tattooed.  This can be done for attention, or as a form of self-expression showing a strong sense of identity of what they want and who they are, artistic freedom, rebellion, a visual display of a personal narrative, reminders of spiritual/cultural traditions, to pay a tribute to a lost loved one and get some type of closure, for sexual motivations, as an addiction to pain where it hurts so bad that it feels good, an identification with a group like a gang or being in prison or even something that a soldier would get and most often tattoos are a rash decision obtained as a drunken impulse or when a person is under the influence of drugs.

I could see a person getting a tattoo to cover up scar tissue which would help them improve their appearance and boost their confidence.  Some people hide behind their tattoos and I guess it was Cain who got the first tattoo after he feared that people would try to harm him and God gave him the mark as a warning for his protection.  I have had thoughts about getting a lucky rabbit’s foot, a four leaf clover, a shamrock, or even a horseshoe permanently marked on me to ward off the evil eye, but I always came to my senses.

Written for 11/25/17 Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt is ink.

Mile High Club

“Ahem, that is enough, I have had to watch you both acting inappropriately for this entire flight, French kissing, mashing your tongues together and now you are feeding each other acting like you are completely unaware of my presence.  This is a public airplane and you need to show some constraint and stop groping each other.  How far are you planning on taking this?  You should keep your tongues to yourself and refrain from dry humping in public, as this type of behavior is over the top and I don’t want to have to watch it anymore.  A peck on the lips or holding hands are where you should draw the line, as anything more than that done in public falls outside defined tasteful limits and I am getting queasy just having to watch you constantly clinging to each other’s faces.  I am begging you to please be considerate of others who have just as much of a right to be in a public location as you have and try to hold off on being so lovey-dovey, until you get back to your home.”

The man said, “Thanks for sharing your opinion with us, but if you don’t like what you are seeing, than look someplace else.  I want my partner to feel confident and comfortable when she is with me and not be ashamed of anything that she does when she is with me.  I think it is important for both of us to show that we are proud of our relationship.  Falling in love is a wonderful thing, and we want the whole world to know how we feel.  I am comforted when she is with me, as just being with her makes me feel alive.  It is clear that we each have different views about PDA and I have had enough of your opinion, so from now on, please mind your own business.”  The couple wrapped their arms around each other closed their eyes and started kissing each other passionately again.  After a few more minutes of being overly affectionate, they both got up and headed toward the restrooms.

The man noticed that a half hour went by and that this couple still did not return to their seats yet, so he thought that he should put a stop to these in-flight fornicators.  He saw the flight attendant and he alerted her that the couple had been in the bathroom for a suspiciously long time and he thought that he heard them say something about assembling a bomb.  The flight attendant said that they did not look like terrorists and she thought that they were just a loving couple that was probably trying to join the mile-high club.  She said that at any rate they should not be in the lavatory together, so she would knock and ask them if everything is OK in there.  She said that she usually tends to look the other way when she encounters overly frisky passengers on her flight and that at times she had even had a good chuckle at the audacity of some of her passengers, however it has been years since she had to break up a lavatory tryst.  She told the complaining man that people who stay in the toilets for a long time are a safety risk, but most of the sex that people have on planes actually goes unpunished.

Written for 11/18/17 Linda G. Hill’s Life in progress Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt that you start your post off with is “psst”, or any other attention-getting noise or word.

Arm Idioms

I greeted her with open arms and we walked arm in arm together, as she carried a babe in her arms.  It was the worst of times and a call to arms was issued, so the citizens were up in arms all bearing arms and the soldiers were armed to the teeth.  Being armed and dangerous, they would apply strong-arm tactics to keep the enemy at arm’s length and they made sure that they were within an arm’s reach of the king to protect him.  The war cost an arm and a leg to many, with all of the hand-to-hand combat that took place and most people ended up having blood on their hands, but the war eventually ended and everyone laid down their arms.  A chivalrous knight sought to win the hand of the fair maiden by competing in a feat known as the passage of arms, where he won his prize hands down after giving an arm and a leg.

The long arm of the law finally caught up with the elusive criminal who was selling moonshine and smuggling one-armed bandit slot machines across the border.  The cops compiled a list of charges as long as your arm against the convict.  They wanted him to give up the names of his suppliers and they started twisting his arm to make him comply.  The law used some elbow grease when they told him that they were willing to drop some of the charges if he would cooperate, which was a shot in the arm for him.  He realized that things had gotten out of hand and since his freedom was at hand, he gave them a thumbs up on becoming an informant, saying that he would lend a hand and he was willing to finger his supplier with his first hand knowledge, but he was not willing to give his right arm for this.  His hands were tied, however he felt that he could be persuasive enough to force his supplier’s hand even with one arm tied behind his back.

He said that his supplier lived in the armpit of town, where only the dregs of society dared to venture and that his name was on his finger tips, but it was just not coming to him.  He knew that his supplier was raking in money hand over fist and that giving this person up would be like biting the hand that was feeding him, but he was confident that the police would catch him with his hand in the cookie jar or at least a finger in the pie and they would not come away empty handed, as he was not known to have clean hands.  If the cops could lay their hands on him then they would gain the upper hand and he would not have to dirty his hands.  When the police did catch his supplier then they could use a firm hand to force his hand to tell them all about his operation.

Written for 11/11/17 Linda G. Hill’s Life in progress Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt is arm.

Prince Tammuz and Fluffy

Young prince Tammuz, dreamed of being a great hunter like King Nimrod his father some day.  One day he was out in the woods when he saw a rabbit, so he started pursuing it.  Tammuz saw the bunny rabbit disappear down in a hole, so he lunged his spear into the hole to try and stab the defenseless creature.  The ground suddenly collapsed around the hole and Tammuz fell all the way to the bottom, where he ended up in a very dark place.  Tammuz was disoriented, but he was not hurt, so he got back up on his feet and eventually he was able to adjust his eyes so he could focus on these new surroundings.  Tammuz saw the rabbit again, so he picked up his spear and chased after it.

Tammuz chased the rabbit round and round, until he finally cornered the bunny, it raised up its tail and pushed back its ears and then it growled.  The rabbit said, ‘If you go chasing rabbits, you know you’re going to fall and if you stab me with your spear, then you will never get out of here.  Time passes slowly down here and weeks can turn into years, as your dreams of getting out of here will turn into dust.’  Tammuz said, ‘I must get back home, it is way too dark down here and there is not enough air for me to breathe.’  The rabbit said, ‘You are acting like a little baby, instead of the mighty hunter that you pretend to be, maybe you need to go home to your mommy, so she can change your poopy pants.  In time you will get used to the darkness and there is plenty of air down here, so stop acting so scared and man up.  It is a long way back up to the surface and we will have to go through many tunnels.  If I get you out of here, then you must promise not to kill me’.

Tammuz said, ‘Since I need you to get out of here, I will give you my word as a Babylonian that I will not kill you.’  The rabbit said, ‘That seems fair to me, as I would hate to die.  I am called Fluffy, what is your name?’  Tammuz told Fluffy his name and then he lowered his spear.  Fluffy said, ‘There is a way out of here, but you must stick close to me.  Other rabbits may see us together and they will think that I am a fool being with you, but you showed me mercy and now we are in this together.  The other rabbits eat my carrots and they dig my earth, none of them down here know what my freedom is worth.  They hop around all the time thinking that life is just a dream, all of them go on their own way, they never work together as a team’.

Tammuz said, ‘No man is alone, we are all part of a group.  We must work together, so we can know for who the funeral bell tolls, because I want to be back outside before it tolls for me.  I am sure that my mom has many people out looking for me, but they will not look under the ground.  I don’t want to be stuck inside these tunnels, stuck in here forever, never having any fun.  Never seeing no one anymore, and now I can hear the bells that are ringing in the village square for the rabbits on the run.  The world is a fine place and it is worth fighting for, down here all we have is each other and time won’t wait for us, so if we don’t start moving soon, then I am going to be late for my own funeral.’  Fluffy said, ‘We have to go this way’ and Tammuz followed the rabbit.

Fluffy said, ‘I don’t usually go this way, but it is a shortcut and I realize that you want to get out of here as soon as possible.  I am not sure what kind of creatures will be lurking in our path, but knowing that you have that spear makes me feel much safer.’  As they went through a narrow passage in the tunnel, Tammuz felt a cobweb hit him in his face.  Tammuz screamed, ‘Yuck, I just walked into a spider web, I hate those creepy things.  Why didn’t you warn me, we are supposed to be a team?  Fluffy said, ‘Sorry, I must have gone under the web, but now that you mention it, I am feeling itchy.  Tammuz flailed his arms and hands all around and he said, ‘I can still feel it all over my face.  This is the worst shortcut that I have ever taken.’  Fluffy said, ‘Running into spider webs is much better than running into spiders’.

Fluffy said, ‘The last tunnel is just up ahead, so we should be out of here real soon.’ Tammuz said, ‘The sooner, the better!’  As they entered the last tunnel, Tammuz noticed something moving on the ground, so he asked Fluffy, ‘What is that?’  Just then a very large snake jumped up and grabbed Fluffy and wrapped itself around his body.  It coiled itself around Fluffy’s body so tightly that Tammuz could no longer see his rabbit friend.  Fluffy cried out in a weak voice, ‘Help me before I get swallowed.’  Tammuz lunged his spear at the snake and stabbed it, which made the snake loosen its grip on Fluffy.  The wounded snake hissed and charged at Tammuz, but Tammuz was waiting for that and he shoved his spear right down the throat of the snake.  Fluffy said, ‘You killed it, you saved me!  That damn snake squeezed me so tight that I lost my vision and I almost became unconscious.  You were just complaining about a few spider webs on your face, how would you like to be covered in snake saliva?’   Tammuz said, ‘Yea, that must be much worse, how much further is it?’  Fluffy said, ‘We each helped each other, you saved me from the snake and I helped you get out of here, this should make us lifelong friends.  We will be getting out of here real soon, as I can already see the light at the end of the tunnel.’  They walked to the end and climbed out and they both said that it was good to be above ground again.

Fluffy said, ‘Remember you promised not to kill me.’ Tammuz said, ‘I intend to keep my word and I wish you would become my pet.  I will build you a great garden filled with carrots and lettuce if you come back with me.  Fluffy said, ‘That sounds like a deal.’  As they walked back to the palace, Tammuz brushed his hand through his hair and he said, ‘I can still feel the remnants of that spider web clinging to me!’  Fluffy said, ‘I am still all sticky with snake saliva, but this has been a hell of an adventure and I made a good friend.’  Tammuz cared for Fluffy for a long time after that, till one day when another snake got into Fluffy’s garden and cut short his life.

Written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt is to use the word shortcut or cut short.