Behind the Green Door

I was swimming in a cove that was well hidden by the majestic mangroves and I was very happy, because I got this great deal on a travel package to this tropical island.  It was 80% off the normal price, since nobody was traveling due to the coronavirus.  It was too good to pass up, as it was a lavish resort, far away from the beaten path, hidden in the mangroves and it was given a high rank from Island Magazine.  The resort workers were fun, friendly, outgoing, hardworking, and pedantic about everyone having a good time and enjoying themselves.  I told the recreation manager that I had never been to a nude beach before and I wanted to know if he could inform me of any rules that I should follow.  He said that as long as I was not leering at everyone, that I should be fine.  He said it would be best for me to try and control my eye-contact with anyone who I get into a conversation with, as when someone is totally exposed, they still need to be able to keep their dignity.

I asked the recreation manager how long he has been working here and he said that he has been here ever since he got out of prison.  I asked him if he was a guard in the prison and he told me that he was a prisoner. He said that he was convicted for being in the sex trade business, but all he did was work as the doorman.  People would come into the establishment and tell him what they were looking for and he would take their money and tell them what door to go through to get what they wanted and that was his only involvement with the clients.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Lavish, for the Daily Spur prompt – Swimming, for FOWC with Fandango – Rank, for May Writing Prompts – Hidden in the mangroves, for Ragtag Community – Pedantic, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Prisoner Travel Deal, for GC and Sue W Weekly Prompts – The door where we are asked to write about a door, determine if there is there a mystery lurking or say where it leads and what could be hiding beyond it and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Contact.

Rat People

Every 12 years a new sign comes along and the first sign of the Chinese Astrology zodiac is the rat and I have known some rats.  My dad being born in 1924 was a rat.  Last year we had the Earth Pig and next year will be the Metal Ox.  A vicious cycle continues through the five elements which is also called the Five Movements, Five Phrases, Five Steps or Five States of Change where Wood fuels fire, Fire forms earth (volcanoes, ash, etc.), Earth contains metal, Metal carries water (buckets, pipes, etc.) and Water feeds wood (trees, plants, etc.).  The element of Fire is associated with the Snake and the Horse zodiac signs and Earth is for the Ox, Dragon, Goat and Dog, Metal is the Monkey and the Rooster and Water is the Pig and the Rat.  It has been 60 years since we last had the Metal Rat back in 1960, as sixty years divided by the twelve signs will give you the five elements.

What will happen in the new year, we will most likely be vulnerable to an attack by Iran, but we don’t know where will they strike us.  They could hit Silicon Valley causing an earthquake like in that James Bond movie A View To A Kill and that might result in the disappearance of S.V.  I read that the Chinese will make a New Year’s resolution just like the rest of us do.  The holiday is also called “Spring Festival” and the Chinese look forward to a holiday week being a new beginning, because of the promise that spring is coming.  Nothing says spring more to me than seeing a baby bird emerge or ascend from an aerie, whether it is an eagle’s nest, that of a falcon, hawk, or other bird of prey.  These birds usually make their nests in airy places, high in the air to stop other predators from reaching them.  Birds use a variety of methods to protect themselves and their offspring against enemies.  Sometimes, a bird will try to distract an intruder from its nest by making a noisy disturbance, but they are not able to call out fore, like people do to warn others on the golf course that a golf ball is being hit in their direction.

Rats are often associated with sewers and other dirty places, however the word microcephaly which is derived from the Greek language meaning “small head” is a condition where the head (circumference) is smaller than normal.  In Pakistan, they practice the novel custom of marrying their cousins, which may be the reason behind so many microcephaly cases cropping up there.  These children are known as rat people, because their sloping foreheads and narrow faces tend to give them a rodent like quality.  According to human rights groups, hundreds of young children are being exploited because of an ancient fertility tradition that leaves many children deformed and sold into begging.

A local legend, tells infertile women to go pray at Shah Daula’s shrine if they want to be granted children, but this comes at a terrible price where their first child will be born with microcephalic condition and it must be given to the shrine, or else any further children will have the same deformity.  This illicit practice has caused thousands of disabled children to become beggars at the shrine, as seeing their deformity will elicit emotions of sympathy.  The shrine stopped officially accepting microcephaly children in the 1960s when the government took over the site.  Some people feel that the small skulls and protruding noses and ears is a mix between Down’s syndrome and mongoloid children.  When people are living on less than four dollars a week, they are likely to put their children on the roads and make them beg.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Ascend, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Stop, for the Daily Spur prompt – Novel, for FOWC with Fandango – Vulnerable, for December Writing Prompts – The disappearance of S.V., for Ragtag Community – New beginnings, for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Saturday Mix Double Take – Homophones hosted by weejars aka Sarah where she asks us to write about these homophone sets aerie – eagle’s nest, airy – breezy, and elicit – to draw out, illicit – unlawful, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Fore Four For, for GC and Sue W Weekly Prompts Word/Photo Color challenge – White Metal Rat and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Resolution.

Deep Space Nine

Constable Odo was a member of a shapeshifting species called the Changelings and he once said, “Laws change depending on who’s making them. Cardassians one day, Federation the next – but justice is justice.”  He was found as an infant in the Denorios belt, near the Bajoran wormhole in his gelatinous state as one member of a group of one hundred newly-formed Changelings that the Founders sent out from the Gama Quadrant to gather information while they explored the Milky Way galaxy.  The Changelings were very different from the Solids because they had the ability to change shape, and many worlds hunted and persecuted them because of this.  They were driven out from many planets, which gave the Changelings a legitimate grievance for holding a grudge against all of the Solids.  They could take any form, ranging from humanoid or other aliens to an insect or an object or fire or fog or even a soap bubble.

Changelings thought that they were superior to Solids, because they were not restricted to one shape and they wanted to be in control, because they felt that whatever they could control wouldn’t be able to hurt them.  The Changelings created the Jem’Hadar, a race of genetically engineered humanoid-reptilians who served as the military arm of the Dominion.  The Jem’Hadar were all addicted to Ketracel-white and they needed frequent doses of the drug to survive.  If they did not get this drug, they would go crazy and start killing everyone.  The Vorta were in charge of distributing the Ketracel-white to the Jem’Hadar as they pledged their allegiance to the Founders.  If a Vorta was killed, they could be replaced with a clone that retained all the memories of their predecessor.

Deep Space Nine functioned as one of the service centers that spaceships engaged in exploration of the farthest reaches of the universe could utilize.  DS9 had a gallery of characters including Captain Benjamin Sisko, Quark, a Trill Jadzia Dax, the Klingon Worf, chief engineer O’Brian, the doctor Julian Bashir, Kira Nerys, the villain Dukat, and a tailor a spy Garak who always had a secret.  Deep Space Nine would often jump into a parallel reality or alternate universe that included the same characters who acted differently.  Quark was a Ferengi who operated a bar on the station and he was motivated only by profit.  He could be described as being unctuous, because he was often a kiss-ass full of praise, but it was obvious that he was insincere.

Odo did not know his past and he had trouble with social integration which resulted in him having a grumpy personality, not being able to make friends and hating parties.  He built up a reputation as being an honorable man and a neutral arbiter by settling many squabbles on Deep Space Nine.  Odo found the face, the hardest shape to conquer, but he chose to retain solid form most of the time, however he was required to return to his gelatinous state every 16 hours to regenerate. Along the weathered, winding trail, he eventually became more human and he eventually developed a personal relationship with Kira Nerys.

Written for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Jump, for the Daily Spur prompt – Ability, for FOWC with Fandango – Grumpy, for October Writing Prompts – Along the weathered, winding trail, for OctPoWriMo 2019 – Changeling, for Ragtag Community – Unctuous, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Secret Face Soap, for GC and Susan’s Weekly Word Prompt – Service centers and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Gallery.

Seasonal Katabatic Winds

They blow down the slopes of mountains, plateaus, and hills at this time of year and by happenstance, I was in the middle of this.  This seasonal weather pattern containing the katabatic winds occurs mostly at night, when the highlands radiate heat and are cooled.  I was lucky to be alerted that the Santa Ana winds were coming again, but nobody had to notify me about the danger of these hot, dry winds, contributing to wildfires.  I remained aloof to all the political news, but when it came to weather, I always paid attention, so I could evaluate if I needed to evacuate.

I was out in the woods with the new drummer and we were eating spicy tapioca pearls which my grandmother made for our breakfast.  The drummer just moved to California and his greed to perform in front of an audience made him great, but his incessant drumming was turning me into a basket case.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Notify, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Basket, for the Daily Spur prompt – Audience, for FOWC with Fandango – Aloof, for Melodye Shore September show-and-tell – Seasonal, for September Monthly Writing Prompts – Katabatic winds, for Ragtag Community – Happenstance, for Sara’s Closet Full Of Notebooks Prompt – Lucky, for Paula’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Drummer Tapioca Greed, for GC and Sue W Weekly Prompt – Evaluate and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Spicy.

Surrealistic Pillow

1970 was the summer of discovery for me, the Sun shined through my window and my friends would come around.  Yes I had missed the summer of love, which occurred in 1967 with the flower children, but people were still protesting the Vietnam war and still burning the flag.  This was an enigmatic time for me, because I just got my driver’s license and next year I would have to register for the draft.  I would have went if I was selected because my father served, and I would never dishonor him, but this war was very unpopular.  My grandmother, my dad’s mom had just died and she left me $1,000 in her will which I used to buy a stereo, speakers, amplifier and turntable.  I missed out on Woodstock, but music became my life in the summer before I would become a High School senior.

I discovered music before I discovered drugs, but that followed closely behind.  At this age, music and my friends meant everything to me and what my friends did, I wanted to do.  Most of my friends had Corvettes and Camaros, but I was not able to afford that.  I had a nicer stereo system than most of them, so that was my way of keeping up with the Joneses.  Once I tried pot, there was no exit, as I wanted to get high all the time.  Eventually I would resort to doing coke and taking pills, which always made the music sound more surreal.  I am not here to sanctify the use of drugs, but they never caused any problems for me, other than getting arrested.

I had a close relationship with my brother at this time as he was just a year younger than I was and we had a lot of the same friends.  I guess I could call him my confidant, as we shared things and we trusted each other.  I never had any fear that he would rat me out for anything that I did which was wrong and I was always treading lightly on the things that he did.  I wore bell bottom pants and love beads, but I was not a subversive member of the counterculture and I would certainly not counter the burn your bra movement, which has sadly faded into a remnant of the past, as it was exciting for me to see women not wearing bras.

I remember one day when my parents were at work and my friends were over listening to my albums and we smoked at lot of weed, the doorbell rang.  I walked downstairs and there were two cops there and they told me that I was under arrest for an unpaid parking ticket.  I told them that I had friends upstairs that I had to let out and I needed to turn my music off and they allowed me to do that.  I told my friends that I had to leave, which made them sad, but they did get with the program.  The police handcuffed me and made me ride in the back seat of the police car to the headquarters.  I had just cashed my paycheck from the job I had as a bagger at the supermarket, so I had enough money to pay the parking ticket and the late fee fines and then they let me go.  I asked them if they were going to give me a ride back home and they laughed and said that I could walk or take the bus.  In review, I guess I was lucky that they did not smell the weed we were smoking.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Enigmatic, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Program, for Mathew’s Daily Inkling prompt – No exit, for the Daily Spur prompt – Resort, for FOWC with Fandango – Surreal, for August Monthly Writing Prompts – Treading lightly, for Nova’s Daily Random Word prompt – Remnant, for Ragtag Community – Fear, for Paula’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Counter Flag Review, for GC and Sue W Weekly Prompts – Confidant and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Sanctify.

Plight Of The Bumblebee

The American Bumblebee is a critically endangered species.  Many bumblebee species are rapidly declining, even though they are important pollinators needed to grow crops including apples, tomatoes, pumpkins, blueberries and legumes, as well as countless types of trees, shrubs, and wildflowers.  This species is at risk of extinction and it’s currently not protected in any way despite the drastic decline.  Bumblebees pollinate many plants and crops and they’re particularly effective because they “buzz-pollinate”, vibrating their wings fast to release lots of pollen.  To extract the pollen necessary for fertilization, the blossom needs to be shaken vigorously, and bumblebees are experts at vibrating the flowers to shake out the pollen.  Their large size means that they can fly in weather that keeps honeybees, which pollinate some of the same plants, in their hives.  Honeybees stay in their hives on rainy days and also when the temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  Many scientists are focused on the decline of honey bees, but relatively few study bumblebees.

High losses are alarming because bumblebees are the most ecologically dominant and economically valuable group of wild pollinators.  Human-induced drivers of bee declines include climate change, land degradation, and pesticide exposure.  Natural threats also lurk and are reminiscent of the 1956 classic horror film Invasion of the Body Snatchers coming from parasites known as conopid flies.  Conopids aggressively intercept foraging bumblebees and insert their eggs inside the bees’ abdomen, which becomes a bizarre nightmare for the bumblebee as it internally consumed.

Research found the American bumblebee is on the decline in parts of the United States and the American bumblebee is also declining in Canada, as recent stats show that they have decreased by 70% from historical rates.  Scientists don’t yet know exactly what is causing the bee population to decline.  Bumblebees, like the closely-related honey bees, can activate their hive mates to forage for nectar.  However, little is known about pollen foraging activation and colony-level responses of how a bumblebee colony regulates pollen collection.  I always wondered if bees buzz because they are orgulous, showing off to the others how much nectar they have collected.

The bumblebee is familiar to everyone, being large, plump, and fuzzy, having black and yellow stripes.  They have relatively small wings when compared to their large bodies, making one wonder at their ability to fly.  To overcome this, the wings move in a complicated figure-eight pattern that provides more lift because of re-used airflow.  The amiable, jolly bumblebee is in a death spiral now, although its plight has not seeped into the public’s consciousness yet and this must not continue being ignored.  An insect Armageddon is under way, which is the result of a multiple whammy of environmental impacts including pollution, habitat changes, overuse of pesticides, and global warming.  The decline of our creepy crawlers is unsettling as sometimes things slip away so gradually that you don’t realize they’ve disappeared.  Even the jumping June bugs seem to be disappearing, maybe because there aren’t enough natural areas for them to thrive in or because we’ve sprayed them to near extinction.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Activation, for the Daily Spur prompt – Horror, for FOWC with Fandango – Stats, for July Monthly Writing Prompts – Jumping June bugs, for Ragtag Community – Orgulous, for GC and SueW Weekly Word Prompt – Rainy days and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Jolly.

Red Tie Day

It was no surprise that all the men in the office were wearing their red ties today, as once someone decided to instigate this, it became a tradition.  In the advertising world, people needed to be trendy and stay ahead of the hustle and bustle in the big city.  The firm was working with a new client that owned a chain of drug stores and there was a big meeting set up just after lunch.  Dave was nervous as he needed to land this account, or else he would be forced to go back to his previous job where he worked as a ventriloquist.  He enjoyed doing that, but the pay was so low that he did not make enough to support his new bride.  At his wedding, Dave had a monkey at the altar, which he used to exchange his wedding vows.  Now that was funny.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Instigate, for the Daily Spur prompt – Advertising, for FOWC with Fandango – Hustle, for Ragtag Community – Exchange, for Paula’s Three Things Challenge – Bride Lunch Ventriloquist, for Cee Neuner’s photo response of Judy’s To the Point Challenge, for Susan’s Weekly Word Prompt – Drug Stores and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Surprise.