Hello Darkness

The old man entered the overcrowded, uncomfortable subway station knowing that this was a place where people get really pissed off and he said to himself that he should avoid all conversations about religion and politics and assume that everyone is carrying a knife or a gun.  He had a Metro Card and he knew where to wait for the train, how to board it and ride on it and which stop he should exit at, but he was concerned with the inability of the people on the subway being able to communicate with each other.  He was carrying a rather large box with a live chicken inside of it, but it wasn’t rush hour yet, and he could keep it on his lap.  He was scarred that he might be mugged for the package that he was carrying, but he promised his granddaughter a chicken for her birthday and he was not about to give it to a thief.   

He had made this trip many times before, and he wouldn’t have to ask anyone for help, but as he looked around, he saw that the people all looked strange and he sensed that they didn’t seem love each other.  As he entered the subway car, a young woman dropped a pamphlet on the floor that said, “The end of the world is near”.  He took this as a warning that he should pay heed to the words of the prophets that were written on the subway walls and in the tenement halls, as maybe that is where he would find the real answers to life.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #88.

They Love Each Other

Trees can fall in love with other trees or anything else that is living, as any soul can have emotions for any other soul irrespective of their body types.  It has been proven that plants will grow faster in an environment with pleasant music around and their growth is retarded when they are in a noisy or harsh sound, thus they are sensitive to pain and affection.  Plants have the ability to recognize their environment and to react to it, which makes them capable of falling in love.  Trees can communicate their love and this can be seen in their intertwining root systems where they obtain their nourishment by cooperating with a nearby neighbor, so they can both acquire needed resources to sustain their lives.  Trees like to stand close together and cuddle, enjoying each other’s company forming bonds and looking out for each other.  Trees are survivors, they are able to weather ferocious storms, and come out stronger for it.  Trees need friends just like everyone else and between every two trees, there is a doorway to love.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #87.

Cloning of the Masses

It was a shithole out in the middle of nowhere, but this was the place where the first obedient citizens were being produced.  If this experiment was a success, it would mean that life could be lived without pain, and there would be no more crime.  Trump knew that he had to fulfill his promise to make America great again and instill a plan to ensure law and order after he won his second term, so he devised a scheme to have the Secret Service round up all of the bloggers that spoke out against him.  The most offensive bloggers made up the first group and they were all taken to this row of dilapidated attached homes where the experiment would commence.  They were all given mood stabilizers before the genetic engineering compliance cocktail was injected into their systems.  Trump was trying to make a paradise, but it just produced more hatred.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #86.

Stoned Fans

Lot’s wife died when she turned around to look at the destruction of Sodom and this was the ultimate case of curiosity killing the cat.  This is a strange story, as Lot’s daughters were supposedly virgins, but it says that “Lot warned his sons-in-law”, which I imagine means his future sons-in-law, as if they were married, they probably wouldn’t be virgins.  Lot offers his daughters to the men that want to have sex with the angels, and this makes me wonder what kind of father would do something like that, but things were different back in the day and Lot’s wife was not considered important enough to have been given a name in the Bible, although some stories do refer to her as Ado or Edith.  There is a story that says Lot asked his wife to give salt to the two angels, but she had some superstition that the salt should not come from their household, so she went house to house in the neighborhood informing the men of the houses about the two travelers while she looked for salt.  I guess it was safer being a woman in Sodom than being a man, as she was able to go out and the angels had to remain locked inside.  If you disobey a command and look at the fire and brimstone, then you probably deserve what you get.

Around 1 in 2 million people worldwide suffer from a debilitating condition where their body turns to bone.  Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, or FOP, is a condition which causes the soft tissue within the body, such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons, to be irreversibly replaced with bone.  The name of the condition literally translates to “soft connective tissue progressively turns to bone”, and it is even colloquially known as Stone Man Syndrome, or Human Mannequin Disease.  There is a condition known as stiff skin syndrome which causes a person’s skin to harden and thicken across their entire body.  Lithopedion is a rare complication of pregnancy which occurs when a fetus dies and becomes too large to be reabsorbed by the body and the never-born baby can turn into stone, as it calcifies over time.

Petrifaction, or petrification, defined as turning people to stone, is a common theme in folklore and one glance at the head of the Gorgon Medusa would turn a person to stone.  A newly discovered virus that infects a species of amoeba can turn its host into a stone-like cyst and this has been named the Medusavirus.  The Fantastic Four has a superhero called The Thing who transforms into a monstrous, orange, rock-like humanoid and Rockslide is a fictional mutant superhero who is a member of the X-Men.  The only way to prevent being turned into stone is by being a little boulder.  Nobody wants gallstones or kidney stones and we all know that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones and that it is possible to kill two birds with one stone, but turning all the fans at a football game into stones is quite a trick.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #84.

She’s Not There

I met this girl on the internet and we really hit it off, so I decided to take a trip to London to meet her in person and stay with her for a week.  On the surface we seemed perfect for each other, with me being newly divorced and her having just broken it off with her boyfriend.  She worked as a secretary and I had just started a new job, but I told my boss that I wanted to take a week’s vacation and go on a holiday, which he approved.  We chatted online for months and she said that she wanted to live with me and she would quit her job when I arrived.  I flew out of Charlotte, North Carolina directly to Gatwick airport in London.  I spent hours waiting on line in Customs and when I was finally done, I looked for her, but she was not there.

I called her on my cell, but it did not seem to be getting any reception, so I went to a pay phone and called her number.  It went to her voice mail and I figured she was not home because she went to the airport for me.  I freaking fly all the way across the Atlantic and all I have is her address, and her home phone number although I figured I could always find her on the internet where we chatted, so I figured that I would go to her place.  I got help from somebody at the airport that told me it would be a lot cheaper if I took a train to London and then got in a taxi to take me to her address.  I thought that I was in London, but apparently, I was 30 miles South of London.  I made my way to the train station and I asked which train was going to London and this guy told me that I was on the right platform and that the next train would take me there.

I made a mistake, as I should have gotten on the train that went to Victoria station, but instead I got on the one that stopped at Clapham Junction railway station, and then I found a taxi.  The driver was really nice and he told me approximately how long it would take and how much it would cost to reach my destination.  He asked me if I had ever been to London before and I told him that I had been to Heathrow a couple of times, just to switch planes.  He said that if I liked, he could take me on a short tour of the city and since it was getting close to lunch, he said he knew a nice place where we could stop and eat.  What the hell, I was on vacation and I wanted to enjoy myself, and since I was hungry, I said why not.  He took me to the Greenwich Royal Observatory where the Prime Meridian Line is, and we both had sandwiches while enjoying a fantastic view of London.  London is filled with many beautiful landmarks and attractions and after lunch he showed me the London Eye, and then we crossed the River Thames on the Westminster Bridge.  He drove me past Parliament and Big Ben, telling me the history of these magnificent structures.  We went past Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and 10 Downing Street.

Eventually we reached her apartment complex in Huntingdon and these two guys outside, told me that there was no such address.  This girl was a scammer and I fell for it hook, line and sinker.  I went back to London and stayed in a Hilton and did some shopping and never met the girl that I travelled so far to see.  I was done with internet dating after this and I swore that I would never get involved in another long-distance relationship again.  The weather was nasty the whole time that I was in London and the food was not much better.  I did take a lot of pictures of London with my new camera, which I never got the chance to download to my computer, because my drug addict nephew came into my place and stole my camera, so he could buy some methadone.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #82.

I am Going to Cry Again

Who does that bastard think he is leaving me at the altar, that no good sack of shit?  My dad is probably right saying that it would never have worked out for us as were like oil and water forced to stay separate from each other.  He was clearly bad news, but I just couldn’t resist, mainly because I knew that he could get any girl and I wanted that to be me.  I met him in the middle of my menstrual cycle and at that time I usually am usually not looking for a nice-guy that is honest, or trustworthy, and respectful, as basically my only desire is to be freed from the pressure of being a good girl.

He was exciting and different and we did things that were forbidden, but I should have listened to my mother and sought out a man that was the marrying kind and then if I got board with him, I could have always had affairs.  He was never going to change and I should know better and stop repeating the same patterns and putting people in roles that they don’t belong in.  If I ever did succeed in changing him, then he would not have been the man that I was attracted to.  He got what he wanted from me as I told him that I wasn’t going all the way unless he put a ring on my finger and now all I want is to make him choke on that ring.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #76.

Better Than a Ventilator

I know this stone cottage is creepy-looking, but these waterfalls are releasing millions of negative ions, stimulating my immune system and I got this place at a bargain price, because it is so inaccessible.  These waterfalls will lead to a lasting improvement of my respiratory system and pulmonary function.  Scientific evidence shows that even people with allergies or asthma are able to significantly reduce their symptoms over a longer period of exposure to waterfalls.  The minuet water particles from the falls become electrically-charged and this micro-fine spray from a powerful enough waterfall will then they travel into the lungs and respiratory system.  This is an important step for cleansing the lungs, sort of like steam therapy without the heat.  This can lead to a lasting, efficient, symptomatic and immunological improvement helping me dislodge any Covid-19 coronavirus particles that are stuck inside of my lungs.

The sights and sounds of waterfalls are gifts from Mother Nature and these soothing melodies will lower my blood pressure and help me to relax.  The air is really fresh here and it is charged with negative ions, which will help my body to absorb oxygen, improve alertness, and combat the nasty free radicals.  Those damn free radicals, unpaired Oxygen electrons are unstable and they can damage cells, causing illness and aging.  Since moving here, I have developed a personal and emotional relationship with the waterfalls, which some people call the “Blue Mind” effect and this has cured my blues.  The white streams cascading over the rocky cliffs has helped me to forget all of my problems, as I get lost in beauty of water tumbling down, which is spectacular, magical, refreshing and it rejuvenates my spirit.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #68.

My Resignation

Please accept this letter as formal notification that I am resigning from my position as State Department Inspector General.  My last day will be Friday, June 12.

I was going to retire next year anyway, but Trump’s latest firing of the Inspector General has become a national scandal, so I am leaving now because these continuous attacks from the President on internal government oversight has me sick to my stomach.  He is acting like Hitler and the spineless Republicans just follow blindly along with everything he says or does.  State Department Inspector General Steve Linick opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for possible misuse of a political appointee at the State Department to perform personal tasks for Pompeo and his wife.  Linick played a minor role in the president’s impeachment proceedings, but in this instance he was only doing the job that he was hired to do, as an Inspector General of the Department of State heads the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of State and they are responsible for detecting and investigating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in the United States Department of State.

Trump is again challenging the established norms of American government in his push to rid the federal bureaucracy of officials that he considers insufficiently loyal to or protective of him and his administration.  Inspectors general serve as internal government watchdogs conducting oversight of federal agencies and their independence has long been protected.  Trump has now fired multiple inspectors general following his Senate acquittal in early February, including the late-Friday dismissal of the intelligence community watchdog Michael Atkinson, who told Congress about the whistleblower complaint that kick-started the impeachment process.

It seems like Trump is never-too-busy to tweet, even while 90,000 Americans are dying due to his mismanagement of the coronavirus, and he got his cronies (AG William Barr) to drop the criminal case against his former advisor Michael Flynn and now he alone has started Obamagate insisting that this is the biggest political crime in American history.  He has not explained what this crime is, but he did say that it should be obvious to everyone.  Trump denies and lies and he has been downplaying the danger of the coronavirus and its potential to spread and he will say anything to stay in office.

I can’t in all good conscience continue to work in this weird, bizarro-world where Trump does what ever he wants and nobody seems to care that our country has become a dictatorship instead of a democracy.  I’ll do everything possible to wrap up my duties, but I feel bad for the country as it will be impossible to attempt to train another team member to take over my duties and this country is going to hell in a hand basket.  Please let me know if there’s anything else that I can do to help out with during this transition.

I wish the country continued success, and I hope that Trump gets voted out of office and is convicted for dragging this country down the way he has done.

Sincerely,

Ignatius Gibbons Inspector General

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #66.

Anthropomorphism

Igor said, “That is such a grotesque travesty and beyond disturbing for you to be transforming plants into humans, sculpting their roots to look like faces is just not natural.  You are one crafty thief to mock the poor people who are fascinated with your humanoid root abominations that they will spend their good money to purchase something that you made from pruning roots and passing it off as being genuine.  No one will believe that these devil roots sprang from the dripping blood of a hanged man and that when the moon is full that they may let out a monstrous scream.”

Doctor Moreau said, “I do feel a bit unscrupulous about this, but it is harmless fun and nobody is forcing anybody to buy these plants.  The marketing firm came up with the name devil roots, the dripping blood and the idea that they might scream when the moon is full, but whether or not people actually believe this nonsense is not important, as they are selling like hot cakes.  I told the New Way Marketing Company that the plant roots look more like they are singing than they look like they are screaming out with pain, so they came up with a new scheme.  They are going to market groups of six plants which they call the Purple Gang, an ensemble that when purchased together will supply rhythm rather than harmony or melody and they may break out into singing ‘Jail House Rock’ occasionally.  People really seem to like them and I got tired of trimming my bonsai trees, so I moved on to this new creation.”  Igor said, “Maybe instead of going with an Elvis song, you should try ‘Mean Green Mother From Outer Space’ from Little Shop of Horrors.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #65.

Plan B

April is almost here and one good thing about the April A to Z challenge is that it allows you to write ahead, which is something that I added to Song Lyric Sunday.  This April A to Z challenge can be overwhelming, especially if you start falling behind and this year, so the further ahead you get the better.  This year I chose the monumental task of writing about groups that play Rock and Roll music.  I have finished, A is for Allman Brothers Band, B is for The Band, C is for Creedence Clearwater Revival, D is for Doors, E is for Eagles, F is for Fleetwood Mac and G is for Grateful Dead.

That last post G is for Grateful Dead was a difficult post for me to write, as I have already written around 150 posts that make mention of the Dead or are about the Grateful Dead and their music, how the band got its name, the guitars that Jerry Garcia played and I had to do something different here for this group, with 15% of my posts already having been about them.  One-time Fandango asked me if I was ever going to run out of Grateful Dead songs to write about and I told him that the Grateful Dead recorded 184 original tunes, so I told him that it would be quite a while.  They also played 317 cover songs, which I consider to be Grateful Dead songs.

As a member of civilized society, I write so I can learn new things and mostly I write for my own pleasure.  The Grateful Dead have become a family to me, maybe more of a virtual family, but a family none the less.  The Grateful Dead have passed down stories through their songs and these stories are worth retelling.  Being called a Deadhead is not an insult, it simply means that you are a part of something greater, that being a large group of devoted fans who listen to the music of the Grateful Dead.  With all of the other groups in this April A to Z challenge, I wrote about how the members joined the band and the music that they recorded, but for the Grateful Dead post that I wrote, all I covered were two things, LSD and Jerry Garcia’s love life, as at that point, the post became very long, so that is where I ended it.

I decided that I will write a new post on the Grateful Dead and make it like the others in this group and this means more writing, but what the hell do I have to do anyway.  This is my Plan B and part of this plan will be to post my original G is for Grateful Dead under a new title, LSD and Jerry Garcia and I will publish this tomorrow, one day before the official start of April A to Z.  Hopefully someone will read this, as I did a lot of research to put it together.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #59.