Afraid of the Dark

One by one the lights of the city block winked out, the dark coming ever closer.  We were warned to cut back on electricity consumption, but it has been so God dammed fucking hot here lately and everyone is using their air conditioners constantly.  I have some battery powered fans ready, but I never bought that generator and now I could kick myself for that.  These rolling blackouts are part of a last-resort measure used by the electric utility company to avoid a total blackout of the power system, and they are typically for one hour, then the power is restored.  I can’t go outside, because the air quality has reached hazardous levels now and all of us Californians are continuing to experience historic air pollution from the wildfires.  I have an N-95 mask, but I don’t want to go outside as they are predicting that it is just going to get worse in the next few days and Los Angeles is suffering the nastiest smog in almost 30 years.  The skies are mostly grey because of the massive amount of smoke and ash flowing down from the fires in Northern California and people are waking up with soar throats, as smoke is burning their lungs.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan.

High‐Tech Terrorist

Untouched books crowded his shelves, shiny leather spines and faded first editions, meticulously dusted and never read.  The books were just illusions to impress others, and they made his life bearable, because they impressed his friends.  He had no intention of ever reading any of them, as knowing too much would take away his individualism, and his sense of style.  He was as phony as a three-dollar bill, but what nobody knew was that the book shelves were hiding a secret passage to his panic room.  He was not sorry for all of the lies that he feed to the press and he hoped that Trump would exonerate him one day.

They finally caught up to Julian Assange and his long-time friend Pamela Anderson felt he would not survive an extradition from the U.K. to the U.S.  He breached his bail in June 2012 and took refuge in the Embassy of Ecuador in London.  In January 2018, Julian was granted Ecuadorian citizenship.  Assange was arrested in 2019 after being evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had sought refuge to avoid being sent to Sweden over allegations of rape and sexual assault.  The 48-year-old Australian has been indicted in the U.S. on 18 charges over the publication of classified documents.  Prosecutors say he conspired with U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password, hack into a Pentagon computer and release secret diplomatic cables and military files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Trump stood on his soap box and threw a conniption saying that he loves Wikileaks and he publicly encouraged Russians to hack Hillary’s emails, but now he changed his mind and he is currently saying, “I know nothing about Wikileaks”.  Assange chose to play around in espionage and the First Amendment doesn’t give anyone a license to jeopardize national security, especially an unsavory character that is using dubious methods.  Julian has set a bad precedent for the future of the internet and he made his bed, so he should have to sleep in it.  Whether he is found guilty or innocent, doesn’t really bother me, but I am interested in what the final decision is about him.  Many people think he is a good guy who got a bad deal, but I disagree as united we fell to the hackers.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompts – Exonerate, for the Daily Spur prompt – Feed, for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan, for FOWC with Fandango – Survive, for Jibber Jabber by Sue – Box, for August Monthly Writing Prompts – United we fell, for Ragtag Community – Lies, for Reena’s Exploration Challenge prompt 150 – Illusions, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Play Sorry Final and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Conniption.

Scarred to Death

The drone of fans filled the tenement building, dozens of plastic and aluminum blades filling the silence and stirring the humid air.  I was warned not to take this shortcut, but going through this section cut 8 minutes off my drive time and I was running late for class.  I heard the stories of people getting killed here during the riots, but they were over, however the weather was getting hot and hot weather makes people do crazy things.  The light turned yellow and I stopped, being the first at the line with many cars behind me.  In six more blocks, I would be at the campus looking for a parking spot and then heading to class.

As I waited for the light to turn, two cars filled with black guys came from my right and they pulled over just after the intersection and got out with weapons (knives and sticks) and they started fighting each other.  A bus pulled up to the intersection and one of the guys slapped his hands up against the windshield and said, “We are fighting here”, so the bus stopped in its tracks.  This was about 9:45 AM and all the people living in the tenement building started pouring out on to the street, to see what was going on.  I looked around and I did not see another white face, so when that light turned green for me, I gunned it.  School was almost over for me, as I was graduating in another two weeks, so I never took that shortcut again.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan.

Just for Fun

The open sky stretched from sand to horizon and the riders advanced on the oasis.  An extrasensory dimension of reality opened up where phenomena existed, but could not be detected unless you gave in to the mystical experience.  The eye of Ra watched constantly as the sword of Damocles hung over his head tied with a Gordian knot.  King Arthur’s helmet Goswhit, lay dented and rusting on the ground, stripped of all its precious jewels.  The black veil of Isis was uncovered and it revealed a message, “I am all that has been, that is, that shall be, and none among mortals has yet dared to raise my veil”, oops somebody must have goofed up.

Gabriel blew his horn to announce Judgment Day, and Arnold Schwarzenegger claimed that he would be back, but he sank into the abyss.  The shroud of Turin was shrouded in mystery as Harry Potter predicted when he found the Philosopher’s stone.  Asmodeus stole Solomon’s ring and threw it into the sea.  Steppenwolf took Aladdin’s carpet out for a ride, while Puff the magic dragon got high with Robert De Niro.  I have seen fire and I have seen rain, but I never saw a chariot on fire go up to heaven.  David Bowie changed his name, but he still kept Davy Jones locker.  An avalanche stopped the Orient Express dead in its tracks and the Book of Thoth was missing.

The following is not meant to be insensitive!

Hoo, my contagious one, contagious one
When you gonna kill them all, corona?
Hoo, you make my fever run, my head spun
Body aches, difficulty breathing, corona

Never gonna stop, won’t wear a mask, such a hassle
I won’t social distance, instead we should wrastle
My, my, my, aye-aye, woo!

M-m-m-my corona

Come a little closer, huh, a-will ya, huh?
Close enough to spread disease, corona
Keepin’ it a mystery, no one can see
Runnin’ all over the town, corona

Never gonna stop, won’t wear a mask, such a hassle
I won’t social distance, instead we should wrastle
My, my, my, aye-aye, woo!

M-m-m-my corona
M-m-m-my corona (Yeah!)

When you gonna give to me, g-give to me
Is it just a matter of time, corona?
Is it d-d-destiny, d-destiny
Will you disappear like Trump said, corona?

Never gonna stop, won’t wear a mask, such a hassle
I won’t social distance, instead we should wrastle
My, my, my, aye-aye, woo!
M-m-m-m-m-m-m-my, my, my, aye-aye, woo!

M-m-m-my corona
M-m-m-my corona
M-m-m-my corona
M-m-m-my corona

Hoooooo-ohhh, my corona
Hoooooo-ohhh, my corona
Hoooooo-ohhh, my corona

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan.

Ding Dong Treasure

Jaime spent the whole day browsing the antique store and left with just one thing.  This shop had true antiques, items that were at least 100 years old, not collectibles or other trendy vintage items like some of the so-called antique shops have.  Jaime had been hopping from one antique store to the next, till he finally got his hands on his dream piece, which he figured would be worth more than he paid for it, making it a sweet deal.  It looked to be in working order and it was within his budget and since the early bird gets the worm, he knew that he should act fast.

Jaime had made mistakes in the past buying stuff that he thought looked good, only to end up disappointed when he brought the items home and they fell apart, but now he had learned the ropes and he would not make those types of errors again.  Jaime realized that being armed with the proper information and having a keen eye would prevent him from making any more blunders.  Jamie was a collector of ephemera, what most people consider to be tomorrow’s garbage, but he liked stuff that was scarce, unique items that had cultural and historical significance, especially old out of print books with illustrations.

Jaime knew that he hit the jackpot when he spotted this signed first edition poem The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe that was published in 1849.  Poe was paid fifteen dollars for his work, and since this poem was published posthumously in the magazine Sartain’s Union, this may be the only signed copy in existence, making it a truly valuable treasure.  It was also published in Horace Greeley’s the New York Daily Tribune newspaper on the front page of its October 17, 1849 issue as “Poe’s Last Poem”.

The Bells is composed of four stanzas of increasing length and is a showcase of onomatopoeia, alliteration, repetition, and assonance.  The first stanza, a study of merry sleigh bells, is followed by a stanza on joyous wedding bells.  The third stanza is a cacophony of roaring alarm bells, while the final stanza dwells upon the sullen, rhythmic tolling of funeral bells.  As the poem progresses, each part becomes darker and darker moving from light, bubbly happiness to sadness, fear, and misery.  The creatures (ghouls) that are ringing the funeral bells are delighted by the sound and the misery they are creating.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan.

Les Misérables

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes
Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Then join in the fight
That will give you the right to be free
Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes
Will you give all you can give
So that our banner may advance
Some will fall and some will live
Will you stand up and take your chance?
The blood of the martyrs
Will water the meadows of France
Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes

This scene happens at the end of Les Mis.  A few scenes back, Jean Valjean was dying and he died with Cosette, his adopted daughter, and Marius, his now son-in law, by his side.  The spirit of Fantine appeared thanking him for raising Cosette.  Marius thanked Valjean for saving his life at the barricade and seeing her adopted father die, Cosette was quite devastated.

The sad part is that Jean Valjean died on the night of Cosette’s wedding and by the end, Cosette and Marius have lost everyone that meant something to them except for each other.  Once Valjean dies, the spirit of Fantine escorts him to heaven and at the entrance the bishop welcomes him.  Valjean lived his entire life through the example the bishop showed him.  That is why he agreed to raise Cosette, why he turned himself in when an innocent man was believed to be Valjean, why he was able to forgive Javert and why he went to the barricades to rescue Marius.  All of Valjean’s actions makes his redemption feel so strong in the end.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan.

Wuhan Lab

Someday, this will be over– only remembered like some half-felt and fading nightmare.  We should have never been messing around with this deadly stuff in the first place.  We were working with bats, collecting and testing samples from wild bats and eventually identifying them as the source of the pathogen.  I can’t count how many dark caves I was in, but it was a lot as my co-workers had given me the title of “Bat Woman”.  I was searching for a SARS-like virus in bats that had the potential to jump directly to humans and resisted treatments used against SARS.  My brother was bit on the neck by one of those nasty blood sucking bats and I wanted to save his life and I was way more than knee deep into this and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than a cure.

My brother was very sick within a day after being bit, but he was cooperative and he let us draw all the blood that we needed from him for testing purposes.  Our lab was set up for containment and we had all the necessary Personal Protective Equipment that we needed to block anything from escaping, or at least we thought that we did.  With all of the lab workers hidden under gowns, gloves and masks, it looked like we were getting ready to pull off a heist.  Someone dropped a vial of infected blood on the floor and we were under the assumption, that if we cleaned up the spill and disinfected the area, that we would all be safe.  We were wrong as the infected blood seeped into the air ventilation system like a tidal wave and everything was infected and we were all going to die.  My brother could no longer talk but he was able to scribble down some words on a scrap of paper which read, “This is a punishment from nature, for us acting without using our noggin”.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Heist, for the Daily Spur prompt – Assumption, for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan, for FOWC with Fandango – Block, for May Writing Prompts – Knee deep, for Ragtag Community – Settle, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Scribble Draw Scrap, for Rachel Poli I Read I Write I Create – Time To Write – Title and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Noggin.

Total Bliss

I gave up on feeling brave a long time ago.  I am going to wear a mask when I go outside from now on, as it may not look very presidential, but I don’t want to risk getting sick again.  Did you know that the Beatles song ‘Ticket to Ride’ is a reference to the medical card that German prostitutes carried around to prove they were clean?

My only interest lies in the warm, fuzzy feeling that engulfs me post-coitus, when I get the afterglow effect, which lingers on to provide me enduring romantic satisfaction that is both attractive and infectious.  Excuse me for not being more timid about my feelings, but the fact is that orgasms are beneficial for health and stress relief.  God commanded me to love my neighbor and I felt an intensely pleasurable response to the sexual stimulation that we engaged in, as it allowed me to experience a pleasurable release of built-up tensions, and as this explosion of sensation took over my body, bordering on the ecstatic, I finally felt a wave of warmth, peace, and relaxation set in.  That was when I heard His voice saying, “Behold, as your king, I want to restore all the love and life and joy and glory and power that sex is meant to have, and although sex should be reserved for a man and a woman in a committed, monogamous marriage for a lifetime, however it never hurts to get in some practice.”

Formal sex education and instruction about birth control and other aspects of sexual health in the U.S. is on the decline.  Sex should be about two bodies being joined together, but many people who are looking to add some sparkle to their sex life are turning to crystal sex toys, because they think that since they come from the Earth, that they are connecting them back to something that is natural, and this is going to help them get in touch with their bodies.  Love can be messy and if you have ever eaten a ripe peach in summer, and felt the sticky juice drip on your fingers and wrists, you can understand why this fruit has long represented female genitalia, because of the explosion of juices which makes it an outlet for desire.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Behold, for the Daily Spur prompt – Voice, for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan Hughes, for FOWC with Fandango – Fact, for May Writing Prompts – The afterglow effect, for Ragtag Community – Relief, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Excuse Timid More, for Rachel Poli Time To Write: Random Words 18 – Formal Crystal Peach and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – King.

Old Man of the Sea

Most spoke of the low but omnipresent rumble of water, or its dulcet lap against a hull, but that was not how he missed the sea.  He was a lover of boats and ships and sailing and he told stories about explorers, shipwrecks and people drowning.  His friends called him the old man of the sea, but his real name was Ulysses.  He met Princess Nausicaa of the Phaeacians, after he was shipwrecked and he washed up on a beach on the island of Scheria, which is off the coast of Epirus.  He had been battling Poseidon’s storm for three days sailing through tremendous waves, which threatened to crush him, and he finally was able to steer his ship near the river’s mouth, but by that time he was exhausted and he fell overboard.  He looked very frightening to the princess and her maidens, as they were very surprised to see a wild naked man while they were washing the linen of the royal household.  He looked like, a storm-tossed wanderer, shabby, unkempt, in a tattered state from being washed ashore, as the rocks and waves had covered his whole body in seaweed.

Nausicaa saw to it that her maidens cleaned up the poor pathetic man with the water that was in the cisterns, and she ordered her attendants to give him clothing, as she thought that nobody needed to see his naked body parts flailing around everywhere.  His skin was bruised from being scrapped along the rocks, so they rubbed him with olive-oil, which made him glisten.  The clothing made him look more presentable, being in more worthy shape to Nausicaa.  She enjoyed gazing at his comely personage, and now that he was dressed, she thought he might be a king, or some type of hero.  The princess secretly wished that the gods would be pleased to give her such a husband, but she did not want to pay too much attention to him, fearing that gossip that would spread.  He thought it was nice being on dry land and being treated well by a princess, but the sea was calling him and he had a wife that he wanted to get back to.  The Phaeacians gave him a miraculous ship and when he prepared to sail away, the Princess stopped by to wish him good luck on his journey back home.  He said, “I will never fail to worship you all the rest of my days.  For it was you, lady, who gave me back my life.”

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan.

Dream the Impossible

“Screw you, lover boy”, was the last words that I heard from her.  She couldn’t do what I asked her to do and she couldn’t face the fact that our marriage had failed, because she only liked the missionary position.  Then I met Jane who told me that I could screw her any time I wanted and she would take me around the world so much that it would make my head spin.  She was a unicorn with a rare talent for kinky acts who could think outside the box and make love feel really special.  Those were the days and Jane surely knew how to take care of me.  It seems impossible, but just 3 days after we met, my heart was filled with devotion for her.  I didn’t ever want to lose Jane and I knew that I had to act quickly, so we took a vacation to the romantic island of Maui, Hawaii.  I was having the best time of my life till I ate that Puffer fish at the luau, which was poison.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Devotion, for the Daily Spur prompt – Make, for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan, for FOWC with Fandango – Impossible, for February Writing Prompts – Those were the days, for Ragtag Community – Vacation, for Teresa Grabs Daily Writing Rodeo Round-Up Prompt – where we are asked to feature a character with a strange talent that someone falls in love (or out of love) with, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Heart Poison Care, for GC and Sue W Weekly Prompt – Special and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Quickly.