Alone in the Dark

The wicked wind whispers “death” through the ragged and jagged oaks that hang like a gallows across the waxing moon as Ela pulls her buckskin shawl about her shoulders and moves headlong into the uncertain darkness beyond. The fact that the witching hour had come and gone some time ago worries her very little since she fears nothing that the night has to offer. The real danger lies ahead and the realization of it almost takes her breath away as the raven haired girl steels her nerve with every silent step. The hunting knife no doubt would gleam wildly against the moon above were she to pull it from underneath her covering and brandish it for courage, but there is little hope in the protection that it offers. They could be upon her before the first stroke fell in defense, and the innocent maiden knows all too well that she is at their mercy.

It was never her intention to be in the situation that lies before her, but life sometimes twists and turns and the blameless sometimes bear the brunt of fate. The night that the first of their kind became brave enough to burrow beneath the barrier and creep in for a closer look at what would become their favorite quarry was monumental for it marked the beginning of the end. From that time forward, they knew nothing of fear and cared even less for reprisal. Their lust for flesh ran wild inside of them and there was no end to their thirst for the blood that ran warm just below the surface of her people’s bronze skin. They would easily replace those vanquished by revenge and cared not at all for those lost. They are the beasts of legend that the old folks sang of around the fire, and their tales of certain death had come to fruition.

Ela whispers under her breath the incantation that the medicine man had given her and her only hope is that those magical words will have some effect if she is able to utter them before her evisceration. As the path becomes smoother at the crest of the hill, a distinctive stench meets the girl that she knows to be the death and decay of her people emanating from the caves below. These are the very same outcroppings that her tribe once called home, and a flash of courage races through the determined young woman as her surroundings become more familiar. Not only has she come here to exterminate the vermin, but also to reclaim her home for those that live in exile.

The rosiness of dawn will soon be creeping into the canyons above her and the time is right to act as the first pair of beady red eyes flashes to life ahead like a pair of torches suddenly set ablaze. Ela grips the blade as her teeth grind and her mind suddenly goes blank. More torch-like sets of eyes are moving in the darkness toward her, and she can hear their labored, raspy breathing coming near her. “Selu, help me,” she whispers under her breath, her brain racing to remember those sacred death words, and although she opens her mouth to speak them, nothing comes forth.

Certain death is slipping forward and any second she will feel their razor teeth rip her to pieces, but at least her death will be quick and extremely painful. Determined to at least put up a fight and perhaps even take few of them with her, the courageous girl pushes her shawl from her shoulders and holds the blade in her strong right hand.  U’du’du taught her long ago how to wield the short blade, and among her people there are few that could best her at its use, but now she is outnumbered and death will come sooner than later.

A roar and a sudden rush of wind warns her of the enemy just feet from her, and with blind luck the blade strikes home and the beast falls heavily upon her, its warm blood spewing upon her chest. Ela struggles to push the beast away and slithers out from underneath it, feeling for the knife that is sticking hilt deep in the soft fur just underneath its ribcage. A bit sickened by her blood bath, she rips the knife from its purchase and whirls around, struggling to find a bearing in the dark. The girl feels the air in front of her part as another of them charges, and that split second of warning saves her life. Now it is her turn to bleed as what feels like a foot long gap opens in her right thigh and the fluid of life oozes quickly down to pool in her moccasin. Fortunately, her quick backhanded stab finds a home between the shoulders blades of her attacker, and it trips and careens headlong into an unseen boulder, knocking it senseless.

Ela grabs for the cut in her leg, realizing that it was not nearly as mortal as she had believed it to be. The warrior is determined to battle on, but realizes that she must get to higher ground since some of the creatures are circling around behind to flank her. She knows the perfect place to make her stand, turns, and races to a small shelf of sheer rock where she will have more of fighting chance. The retreat sends the animals into a frenzy as their chase instinct kicks in and they charge forward as one savage group.

Out of breath and surely now out of time, Ela tries hard to get her wind back and mount one last sortie. U’du’du would have been proud if he could have seen her at that moment, her black hair fluttering in the wind and her bronzed body flush with battle. He would have thought her a warrior princess of the highest order and would have been proud that she had been birthed as granddaughter to him instead of the grandson that he had hoped for. She knew that he would join her someday in the land beyond, but there is a big part of her that fears that place, and she knows in her heart that she would rather it not be this day that she makes that journey.

It appears that she has no choice as the snarling eyes close in upon her. At that very moment, a peace comes over her that she has never felt before, and instead of feeling tense and fearful, Ela feels extremely calm. The young girl even sits down upon the smooth stone, closes her eyes, and seems to go into a trance. The world around her peels back as each day of her life plays out before her as though she is living it all over again, but at a much faster speed. Time stands still and the days race into night, and then back into day again. Suddenly the pictures stop and the young girl’s eyes snap wide open, she jumps to her feet and screams shrilly at the beasts just steps from her, “Great U’ne La’nu’hi, give your daughter the power of light,” and within a second, a great flash illuminates the world around her.

Ela is blinded by the brightness momentarily, but soon regains her sight. Her foes are not as fortunate, and large group of them stagger around with their hands cupped over their eyes, howling mournfully.  The horrified girl then realizes that these savage creatures are partly human, and that thought sickens her. Such barbarity deserves no mercy, and as the damaged demi-humans writhe around on the ground in their agony, one by one her blade strikes home. As the last of them dies in misery, the piercing light snaps off, and the world again goes dark.

Exhausted, Ela sits down in the soft grass and watches the rosy peach of the sunrise come up over her home. Later, after a good long nap, she will return to her people and lead them back here. They will change her name to Us’di Nv’do’i’ga’e’hi, or Little Sun, for the courage that she showed that black night. U’du’du, her grandfather, will be the first to meet her, with his tears streaming from his deep brown eyes upon her return.

Come and Get Your Brexit

I personally love how the media latches onto something with pitbull determination and refuses to let it go. Sure, the term Brexit sounds pretty stinking cool, but why do we have to hear it every second of the day. Can’t we at least take the time to say, “the British exit from the European Union” every hundredth utterance.

Granted it isn’t every day that a country decides to take what appears to be a giant leap away from a New World Order that was supposed take root in the heart of Europe and spread across the globe. We should have seen it coming because the Brits have never been much on the status quo, and like us Americans, they like to forge their own path even if it means ruffling feathers. That is perhaps the one big personality trait that both Anglo based countries still have in common. It appears to me that the attitude of a whole lot of Americans is much the same, but  those bully Brits just beat us to it.

I was thinking the other day that we really shouldn’t waste a word that has so much potential on just one thing. To me it is right up there with anachronism, polymorphic, gargantuan, and a host of other words that roll right off of the tongue. Let’s not just shelve a brilliant moniker when this whole mess dies down. We need to use it in other ways, and here are a few suggestions.

            “Talk to your doctor about Brexit, a topical, orally taken pill that must be taken on a full moon and accompanied by a silver flask full of holy water laced with prune juice. You must not take Brexit if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, a lady with lady bits, a man with man bits, any type of child or smaller version of a child. Side effects include double vision, triple vision, hot sweats, cold sweats, tingling in the hands and feet, numbness in the extremities, massive boners, no boner at all, headaches, body aches, ear aches, tooth aches, aching in the space directly behind the eye, enlarged breasts in men and women, nipple sensitivity, loss of teeth, loss of hair, loss of eyesight, massive bowel evacuation and maybe most importantly becoming a dead person.

            Of course, the benefits out weight the side effects in most people in perfect health who happen to have really good insurance. So for a smile a mile wide give Brexit a try. (By the way, if any of the bad stuff happens neither Glexo Smythe Gleen Elvis Von Lillian Pharmaceuticals, their R&D guys, their shareholders, the shareholder’s wives or any of the little shareholders are responsible. If anything happens sue the guy who prescribed it to you and hope his malpractice insurance is paid up).”

            Maybe it should be used as the name of a great new breakfast product that is harvested immediately after it exits the south end of a north-moving cow. Brexit is loaded with beneficial fiber and tons of bacteria; some good, and some that is perhaps not so good. In its unpasteurized form Brexit can help in the cure of many stomach maladies, as well as cause just about as many in the process. The guarantee (disclaimer) says that It will automatically make your breakfast exit your stomach after taking your first bite, thus contributing to the great wheel of life (not vegan approved).

            Just to keep in the European spirit, Brexit is a Dutch holiday celebrated every four years on the fifth Saturday of February. It is to commemorate the storming of the local hash store right after it was made legal. Festivities include clog dancing, riding around on bikes totally hammered on Heineken, crawling in the gutter totally hammered on hash, asking a woman twice your age to dance and throwing up on her, and taking your special lady out for a nice seafood dinner and skipping out on the check. Of course, no actual restaurants will be open that day, there will be a massive police presence standing on every corner, and you would have a much better time not celebrating Brexit at all and doing what Dutch people usually do with their ample spare time.

            I could go on, but I am afraid that whoever actually made up the name Brexit is applying for a patent as we speak and I will have to pay six thousand dollars for each use of it in this post. I am just praying that the next imminent threat to the economy or national security has as cool of a name, and that it remains public domain.  

 

 

Probability

I wish that we all had a heads-up display like on those new Cadillac cars that would give us the numbers for every action that we take in life. For instance, every time that we climbed behind the wheel our little HUD would inform us of the chances of us making it to our destination alive. As we went down the road and started to speed our little computer would recalculate our new chances of survival for every mile per hour we went over the speed limit. Have a drink with a friend and our little buddy would do the math for us when we decided that we were “good” to drive home. Have more than a couple and those numbers would edge up into a place where only those with a death wish would attempt the journey home.

What we need is the numbers. People that have any sense at all will look at a betting line, and if the odds are stacked against them, they will refuse to lay their hard earned down. Unfortunately, they will gamble more on their lives and those of their fellow man before they will risk a buck. If the HUD gave them three to one odds on killing themselves, five to one of killing someone else, six to one on being in jail for an extended amount of time, or even money on hating yourself in the morning most folks would just call a cab or pass on the Jim Beam.

We now come to a reasonably new term where probability plays a huge part and that is “rape culture”. I am not absolutely sure what that moniker even entails to be honest. Ask any of the twenty thousand Chinese women and girls that were violated by Japanese soldiers in Nanking and they would undoubtedly say that it was a “rape culture”. To those  now days that understand the term it is taken to mean that men in particular are not being held as accountable for their actions in certain social situations than they should be.

In other words, it is simply when a man takes advantage of a situation where a supposedly lucid woman has impaired herself to the point of inactivity. The feminine argument, as I see it, that she should be able to dress in the manner of a prostitute, drink enough to inebriate a dozen monkeys, find a place to pass out away from prying eyes, and then expect nothing untoward to happen while said female is indisposed. Mind you it is my assumption that she is basically saying,”I trust a total stranger who may or may not have come to this gathering to find a victim in this exact situation to act like a gentleman even though my actions are confirming that I neither look or am acting like a gentile young lady”.

Hypocrisy finds many forms and it can be so easily tied to our friend Probability. One definition of hypocrisy is “a pretense of having a character or beliefs or principles that one does not actually possess”. The young woman that are placing her nethers in harm’s way is expecting others to have a et of values and mores that they themselves do not possess. They are more than willing to tease the pit bull and not expect to get bit. In the way they dress, in the way that they flirt, and in the decisions that they make when it comes to the consumption of mind altering substances their actions do not inspire their would be suitors to treat them with the respect and restraint that they somehow think that they deserve.

Let’s get back to our HUD display in this case. Just by being at a party where drugs and alcohol are being consumed your probability of being violated increases drastically. Add a provocative ensemble and the numbers go up. Find an out of the way place and pair off with a stranger and the computer goes wild. Lose control of your faculties and no odds maker in Vegas would take the bet on you making it home without something bad happening.

So we all have a choice to make when it comes to probability. We could be killed in our cars any day of the week, but if we are as safe and sober as we can be then our percentages look pretty good. Go to a party with trusted friends, don’t overindulge, never take anything handed to you by a stranger, and keep your wits about you, and “rape culture” would soon be a thing of the past. None of us want to see a young lady raped or murdered by a degenerate who is taking advantage of a situation. I in no way think that rape is ever a good thing. It destroys lives and makes the victim’s existence a living nightmare, but just pay attention to our old pal Probability and it doesn’t have to happen to you.

 

 

 

Writers and Postpartum Depression

Is it possible for a man to have postpartum depression? Because I think that I have it now that my third novel is done. I found some causes of real postpartum and I have simply taken out the word baby and replaced it with book, and the word mother with the word writer.

  • Tired after delivery
  • Tired from a lack of sleep or broken sleep
  • Overwhelmed with a new book
  • Doubts about your ability to be a good writer
  • Stress from changes in work and home routines
  • An unrealistic need to be a perfect writer
  • Loss of who you were before writing the book
  • Less attractive
  • A lack of free time

Add in the atrocious butt stink from sitting in the same chair night after night for a month and the fear of wearing pants again and you have what I have now. All of the rest of the symptoms are pretty much spot on, especially the second to last one. They say it goes away in time and with professional help, but since I haven’t sold anything I don’t have the money for a shrink. Hopefully once I start another pregnancy I will get over the last one.

Yesterday

I wrote this poem after reading about Green Day’s bass player and his birth mothers battle with heroin. He never met her until shortly before she died.

My mother died there on the floor

And we met just the day before.

Had we loved, would I have known

I had her there for all my own.

But time befalls the strongest clown

And burns their houses to the ground

Left alone, nothing more to be

Questioned the blood inside of me

That sanguine mass, the life giving force

It guides me reckless through my course

And shapes me strong and weak each day

And sends me moaning on my way

The needles prick brought her more joy

Than the newfound voice of her baby boy

Then all was lost to time and toil

To lovers claimed by my turmoil.

My life became a quest of proof

To see myself became aloof

Until the day forever more

That I saw her lying on the floor.

Cape

I long for the day of shifting sea

When the day stood clear and naked to me

Of the time when waves rolled man height high

November wind battered eastern sky

So grey and gay the day began

As the four of us coerced the sand

And the day not a bitter moment came

No sight just now of coming rain

No storm that hints at winter climes

No tollings telling bitter times

That day of smiles stands out to me

That day of love and family

Now winter holds my heart in black

A lone I sit, no turning back

It was all a waking dream I s’pose

But longing for it ever grows

That day of days four holding hands

Still snowing now, alone I stand.

Bad Tacos

I think her name was Juanita, could have been Lupe or Rosa
I didn’t really care enough to ask.
A stranger in a strange land or more of a surreal land
She was busy making tacos, of all things
Yes, tacos. Not the ones that her grandmother had taught her to make
As they chatted about granddaughter things or whatever it is polite to speak of with grandmothers
But the ones fresh from the can, the real American gut bombs
I didn’t really get a good look at her at first
She was as busy as Vishnu on a hot date, lettuce and tomato flying dexterously here and there
I had ordered the usual warmed over dog food, with a side of refried beans, if you please
The half wit at the counter stared me down for a good while, contemplating this and that
Eventually my requests popped up on Juanita’s screen in the back,
And her stubby, brown fingers operated like a surgeon
I wondered, as I stood off to the left of The Thinker behind the register,
If life for her was all that she wanted it to be,
Was it her dream to roll king sized tortillas for seven bucks an hour?
Surely not, was it my dream to be back there with her?
Here she was thousands of miles from her home and roots
Preparing food for people, the majority of which held her in contempt
She had traded her culture for a snappy uniform and a pair of plastic gloves.
That would never be me, Jackson.
This was my homeland and my birthright
I could own this damn place if I felt like it, but I didn’t
Within two minutes my surgically prepared meal was placed neatly on a plastic tray
And for the first time we met.
Juanita smiled warmly at me as she placed my food on the shiny metal counter.
For some reason I looked deeply into her eyes. those endless brown eyes.
And I could see her reasons.
All of the reasons for her travel and pain; for her whole existence.
Those brown eyes were my mirror and I looked hard into them those two seconds
Looking back was love and dignity, the kind of which I would never inherit
A dignity six thousand years old,
One passed from her mother and her mother’s mother since time began
She toiled here because this was not her life
This was not her.
The real her was safe in the knowledge that she was who she believed herself to be
Now, a stranger in a strange land, she carried home with her always.
Imagine that, at home in a bad taco joint.

Travelling

The lines on the road are the teeth of a zipper,

Each tenth of a mile rolling her from my memory.

Windshield wipers slapping and whishing, keeping time with my heartbeat.

My eyes are as bleary as the steady stream of headlights heading east.

Go west, young man.

Exhaustion from the night’s heated battle drives me to seek shelter,

Or maybe just the sights and sounds of humanity.

For many miles now no one to keep me company but James Taylor,

He can be a boring co-pilot the fourth time repeated.

I remember as a child the cross country treks,

Hours spent on watch as the drivers slept, a bored and lonely sentinel,

The endless droning of semi truck engines the only company in those wee hours.

Now I am the driver, still watching, still lonely.

Yellow ochre arrows rigid in their instructions, but who needs them?

Am I not the one in control of my destiny anymore?

My legs are like sandbags as I park and stretch,

Trying to get feeling back in my feet, and maybe a little elsewhere.

Time to put on my face to the world.

The building is square and somber, and to me, a little skewed to the right,

Large glass eyes unblinking, uncaring.

Rows of benches, wooden slats and metal, worn smooth by repetition

Stationed opposite of vending machines, standing at attention

Their contents flirting with the passersby.

I think I will stand with them, just there in the corner like I’m waiting for the bus.

A large, buxom lady is standing just there at the middle machine,

Her weight shifting back and forth in frustration

as her prize hangs tantalizingly in mid air.

Unaided by gravity, she finally puts her bulk against it, and the candy releases.

Reaching into its mouth, victorious, she turns a finds my eyes grinning at her.

Her face goes pink, caught in her lust for chocolate by a total stranger.

She eyes me gently, sheepishly smiles, turns and walks quickly out the door.

Encouraged by her smile, I feed a dollar bill into the same machine.

It whirs and spits my offering back several times before accepting,

I punch D3, the same thing that she had just claimed, trusting her taste in sweets,

Now sitting, ambivalent about my chocolate choice,

A man hustles in towing a tow headed boy.

The shorter is holding himself the way the boys are supposed to when nature calls,

Terrified of the consequences of the loss of control.

Towing turns to pushing, then to running, as need becomes emergency.

The boy is now crowing alarm.

The pair rush in to the door marked with the black figure minus the dress.

Father utters muffled curses behind the steel door, and junior begins to wail.

There may have been a slap or two.

In minutes they came out, father red faced, boy whimpering,

A dark circle marking the front of his trousers.

Get used to it kid, your whole life will be a loss of control.

The plastic bottle that I just requested thuds heavily into the bottom of the bin.

Cap opened, it hisses softly at me.

I sit now on the metal and wooden bench,

carefully placing myself in the same groove as countless others.

A young couple casually stroll in.

He powerful in his youth, she nubile and pleasing.

They are arm in arm, their proximity shouting that they are now inseparable.

He nudges and she moves, her voice rising softly with her smile.

There is hunger behind his eyes, she reciprocating it.

With a deep kiss they separate into the facility doors indicating their respective genders.

Soon returning to each other’s side, they unknowingly join me in a drink,

They taking turns, giggling madly to each other, her straddling him on the bench feet from me.

They finish, throw the empty into a wide mouthed trash can, then exit into the night.

A mixture of feelings at their antics pushes through me, then out of me, as I too rise and depart.

I will find a bed soon, a single with a small TV, I guess.

Maybe I will just drive right on through the night.

Amarillo leads to Tucumcari which leads to Barstow, then Needles.

The same route as in childhood, the same outcome at the end of the road.

I shift the shifter, hit the peddle, and I’m back to the road, and James Taylor.

The lines on the road are the teeth of a zipper, my life is opening before me.