Archives for August 2015

#262 A Visitor

#262  A Visitor#262  A Visitor

Palm trees grow, warm breezes blow and rents are low, but I cried, “This ain’t home.”

“Did you ever read about how bad it is back home?”

“I don’t give a shit. I just came here to visit. That was 20 years ago.”

“The war started while you were here, and believe me; you were lucky to be here,” my three legged wife said.

That’s right; she has three legs. All the natives do. Two-legged women aren’t in demand because those with three have two vaginas. Believe me, two are way better than one because one’s for birthing, making it easier for a woman to birth. The other is designed exclusively for sex, and believe me, whoever designed it knew what they were doing.

“Maybe you’re right, but I’d rather live on a planet of two-legged humans than here where you need three legs.”

“You know damn well that three are better than two. Have you ever seen one of us topple over? Our third leg and our natural gyroscopic abilities always keep us upright, unlike you two-legged fools who trip and fall all the time.”

That statement started it. I set a tripwire for my three legged asshole wife. I wanted her to know what it felt like to fall. By the way, she two assholes  too. The damn toilets here were all built to accommodate double assholes, so I had to be careful not to fall in when I used them. Sure enough, my wife tripped on the wire I had strung ankle high along the path. She tripped, but her third leg shot out and stopped her from falling.

Next, I tackled her to knock her to the ground, but couldn’t get my arms around all three of her legs. She was able to remain standing by using the leg as a brace while I grasped the other two trying to force her to the ground.

“You fool,” she said. “You know how severely two-legged beings are punished for trying to intimidate a three legged one.”

She was right. The damn intergalactic council had 10 three legged members to the two, two-legged ones. “Three trumps two” was their slogan and all legislation favored them. It sucked being a minority in a democracy.

Because, I couldn’t knock the bitch down, I decided to kill her. I’d cut off her third leg and beat her to death with it. That’d show all those three legged bastards they couldn’t get away with treating us as rotten as they do because there are more of them than us.

She slept standing up with her legs spread like a tripod next to my bed. And that irritated the shit out of me. I had to lie down to sleep, and that made her think she was superior. I’d show her whose superior when I beat her to death with her leg.

Next day, I hid behind a big tree next to the path my wife galloped on every morning to keep in shape. My hand held the start cord on my chainsaw. She came galloping down the path. Her three legged gallop used to thrill me because of how graceful and smooth she ran, and the legs always hit in perfect unison, 1, then 2 and 3,. Well, today she’d see what it’s like only to have two.

She got close. I pulled the cord, and the chainsaw roared to life. The sound startled her. She stopped. I charged out from behind a tree with the chainsaw roaring and zipped her third leg off at her crotch in one swift slice. Her blood soaked my jeans, but I ignored it.

“Are you practicing to be a surgeon?” she asked non-pulsed.

I picked up her severed leg to beat her with, but it had already started to replicate another body to replace the one it lost, and my wife immediately sprouted another leg. Within minutes, I had two wives who expressed joy.

“You’re a genius,” they said in unison. Both stuck out their third leg. “Cut it off, and then you’ll have four of us,” they said.

Four of them, hell, I no longer wanted one. I ran and ran, not stopping until I got to the spaceport where I hid aboard a freighter headed for Earth. I ate a slumber pill so I wouldn’t need to eat or go to the bathroom for the six weeks it’d take for the ship to reach Earth.

After I had awoken in a hangar in New Jersey, I attempted to rush outside to see how bad the devastation was. My legs got tangled. I felt so clumsy but didn’t fall because I had grown another leg. Her blood must have infected me and caused a third leg to grow. After I took off my two legged pants and found a pair to accommodate three, I galloped around the hangar. Fifteen minutes later I had the rhythm of walking and galloping with three legs down pat.

When I galloped into town, people avoided me as if I was a freak with the Bubonic Plague.

“You there,” A police robot said. “Where’s your badge?”

“What badge?”

“The one you three legged beings have to display.”

The robot handed me a booklet that said, “Rules and regulations for tripods.” Glancing through it, I see that I’m a minority again. A three-legged man in a two-legged world. I felt sorry for myself and thought of my wife on a planet where palm trees grow, warm breezes blow and rents are low. Then I remembered her two vaginas. I dropped my pants, looked down, sure enough; two erect penises were there. I pulled my pants up and read that any three legged man can’t have sex with a two-legged woman. If they attempted to, they’d be hung from a tree.

So I’m a minority again, and often wish I stayed where I was and with a wife whose body parts matched mine. Thinking of her arouses me, and I get erections.  Sure am thankful that I have two hands.

 

#261 A Woman’s World

#261 A Woman’s World

 

In the year 2054, after the internet crash, and WWIII, women managed to grab power around the world by promising there’d never be another war. They passed laws that emasculated surviving men, who were outnumbered 10 to 1. I had to accept the decrees, fair or not. The war and demolition of so much infrastructure made salvage a big business. The women passed a mandate that anything remaining get recycled when its usefulness expired, even men’s corpses were broken down into fluids and tissues. Upon death they went to the regenerating center and got stuffed into a machine that extracted all the substances the body held. A man’s corpse had become practically priceless because of the demand. Bone marrow sold for $23,000 per gram. DNA from one body often fetched $9.7 million. The last price I heard for a lung was $116,400, a kidney went for $91,400 and a heart $577,000. All sales were legal and ethical according to mandate 224.

So when Myrtle, my wife said, “John, I have to tell you. Helen said your worth more dead than alive.”

What could I say? It was common knowledge; all men were worth more dead than alive. I agreed with her.

“I’m signing you into the recycling center tomorrow,” she said.

Mandate 224, passed in 2050 gave her the authority to sell me to a regenerating plant anytime she wanted to, so there wasn’t any use trying to prevent it.

“I’ll have you resurrected after I cash the check. You won’t notice your artificial lungs, heart, or kidneys. You’ll retain all your memories too. We’ll have enough money to keep your body tuned up for years,” she took my hand and led me to the Renewable Resources’ office where I met, Jane, a counselor. The instant we made eye contact, I knew we were meant to be a couple. Her job was to interview would be recyclers.

“The first procedure you go through,” she said. “Is to upload the contents of your mind to the universal consciousness.”

“Will I be aware I lived this life when I’m regenerated?” I asked. “Most importantly, will I remember you?” I asked her.

“Most people aren’t aware of their previous lives; their thoughts get mixed in with billions of other thoughts. I’ll make sure your thoughts will be shared with the universal cloud of consciousness, but remain segregated until you reclaim them.”

“How will I know what one’s are mine?”

“They’ll be a copy of your memories you can access from your new life with a code I’ll supply.”

“Do I have a choice of who I’ll be reincarnated as?”

“Fill out this questionnaire so we can decide if you should return as a man, woman, straight, gay, artistic, or whatever. Once that’s decided you can choose.”

“What would you like me to come back as?”

“I’d rather you didn’t get recycled.”

“The law says I have to.”

“There’s a way to recycle your wife instead of you.”

“How?”

“Marry me, that’ll give me the authority to send your first wife to the recycling bin. Renewable Resources’ don’t allow plural marriages.”

“Great, let’s do it.”

Jane called a regulator, and the robot married us in the name of the Renewable Resources’ Authority.

She immediately punched Myrtle’s name into the computer. Myrtle was waiting to pick up her check for recycling me, so her location was known to the police who arrested her right away, placed her in the machine. Five minutes later Jane handed me a check in payment for Myrtle’s cadaver. It had enough credits to pay for years of vacations.

“Sign here,” she said and handed me a screen to scrawl on. “I’ll deposit it into our joint account.”

“We don’t have one.”

“Yes we do. I just opened it.”

“Are we going to spend a chunk of change on our honeymoon?”

“Anything you want sweetheart, hurry up and sign it so I can make reservations.”

I scrawled my name across the screen, and our joint account held more credits than I ever dreamed of. “Okay, that’s done. Where do you want to honeymoon?”

“You know we’re legally married without consummation.” she said.

“No.”

“You do now because I just told you.”

“Okay, I Know, but what difference does that make?”

“None. I just wanted you acknowledging you knew it.”

“Why.”

“Because once you knew, I acquired the legal right to sign this order.”

She scribbled her name on the document, and I got a look at the form that said I was to be recycled, and she would receive payment. She placed it on the scanner.

“What about our honeymoon?”

“I only go out with recycled men.”

Those were the last words I heard before the doors closed. That bitch, she was as bad as my first wife was all I could think. My consciousness got uploaded, and my body was melted into a liquid after my organs and bones were removed. Next thing I remember is getting spit out of the machine. Nothing is biological about me. Every part of me came from synthetic materials. I touched the walls and felt the texture of the paint on them. My sense of touch was far superior. My thoughts came much faster, and I ran across the field where the regenerator had spat me out. I had never run so fast, and I wasn’t even breathing heavy. Jane jogged over to me and said, “Wait until we have sex. You won’t believe how good it feels.”

“Is that why you only date recycled men?”

“Got that right,” she said.

“Are we still married?”

“No. You’re a machine now. It’s illegal to marry a machine I own.”

“What am I then?”

“A talking dildo.”

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#259 Is it Cold Enough

260 Is it cold enough???

#260, Is it cold enough

#260 Is it Cold Enough

I was stupid enough to come to Chicago where it’s so cold; the zoo had to take its Polar Bear inside so it wouldn’t freeze. Like a fool, I thought I was immune. Now I’m paying for my mistake by hosting a viral disease called a cold and wishing I’d of been as smart as that Polar Bear. But when I struck a match, and the blue and orange flames danced at the end of my fingers, I forgot about the cold.

I lost myself and felt free at the sight of flames. When I saw the colors and smelled the fire scent, I got a tingling between my legs that

to get me set free. In the morning charges against me setting the river on fire, were read.

My lawyer said. “Your honor, under the constitution my client as a citizen has the right to light a fire to get warm.”

“Not a 156 mile long fire,” the prosecutor interjected.

“Look at the good the fire has done,” my lawyer said. “He’s burned many of the pollutants in our water and raised the temperature throughout the city. The polar bear has left the inside and is back outdoors at the zoo. My client should be commended instead of condemned by this tribunal.”

“If the bear is outside, I agree,” the judge said. “Your client should be set free and given a reward for what he did.”

Released and treated as a hero and given a key to the city, I went to visit the polar bear and watched as it swam in ice-cold water. What would happen to it if I dumped a bag of sodium and hydrogen peroxide into the water? I imagined the yellow flames and the felt so darn good, I could never replicate it. Firebug, pyromaniac, is what I’ve been called by those who couldn’t understand how good it felt when I lit a fire. In the past, I had no control and started fires whenever the urge hit me. As I got older, I decided to use my talent for financial gain, and let it be known in the right circles that if a business were failing or being investigated by the IRS that a fire started by me, could solve most problems. It wasn’t long before I had so many jobs I had to raise my price. I’ve done well and no longer need to work, but continue to ignite for fun.

This job I was about to do would be pro-bono. I wanted to accomplish what no other arsonist in history had, set the Chicago River on fire. There was no insurance on the river, but compensation would be a large wager that said it couldn’t be done. So instead of a fee, I bet a large sum it would burn.

Used as a dumping ground by all the manufacturing plants lining the river, it had been declared a fire hazard because of the large accumulation of magnesium, sodium, and calcium phosphide. I studied the composition of Greek fire and knew many of the ingredients were distributed throughout the river. All I needed was to ignite the river, and I’d win the bet.

Fire needed three things to burn: fuel, heat, and oxygen. I mixed some sodium and hydrogen peroxide together. The water would provide the oxygen when I dumped it into the river. It would burst into flame and ignite the entire 156 miles of flammable water.

At midnight, I parked on the Lake Street Bridge and dumped the load of chemicals into the river. Flames sprouted from the water and almost touched the bridge. Could the heat melt the metal bridge? I scurried to the river bank for a safer view of the flames.

It instantly warmed the air and for the first time in weeks, Chicago’s temperature rose above zero degrees. I felt a tingling between my legs like never before while I watched the flames rush up and down the river. Emergency vehicles soon lined the banks of the river. The more water they sprayed on the fire, the higher the flames rose.

The sight caused me to convulse with delight. A fire inspector familiar to the reactions of pyromaniacs observed me and had me arrested for arson. All I’d say was, “I want a lawyer.” Eventually, an attorney came to see me and promised white bear swimming in them. The tingling between my legs started, and I couldn’t stop myself. I had to see the white bear swimming in a sea of orange flames. I made a list of chemicals I’d need and returned that night. In the dark, the bear’s white fur against blue and orange flames would be most beautiful. Would I get an award for barbecuing a polar bear?

 

 

#259 Not a Hero

#259 Not a Hero

 

The sun shone brightly in a cloudless sky as Meg and I took our hiking gear from the car.

“I’m leaving our raincoats. No sense in carrying them.”

“Sure,” Meg said, “We definitely won’t need them. The trail’s only a nine mile loop. We’ll return here in a few hours.”

We started up the trail that rose 2000 feet, so the incline was steep. The trail had rocks, more like boulders on it, and we had to climb over them.

“This is a designated mountain bike trail,” I said. “How the hell do bikers ride over the rocks?”

“I don’t know,” Meg said, “But what I want to know is, what kind of wild animals are there around here?”

“There’s bears, mountain lions, and wild pigs.”

She stopped to survey the woods and landscape. “Do you think we’ll come across any?”

“I’ve seen pigs, but never a bear or lion.” Meg looked relieved when I said that. I crawled under a fallen tree blocking the trail halfway up the mountain.

Meg tried to crawl under it, but she got her backpack tangled in some branches. I tried to yank her free just as rain began to fall. Lightning struck a nearby tree splitting it in half.

“Get me out from under here,” Meg yelled, but her voice got overpowered by a mountain lions’ roar.

It must have seen Meg as helpless prey. It charged toward her. I stood up to run, but I slipped on the wet ground as the lion leaped through the air with Meg as its intended victim. My stainless steel hiking stick hit the ground, point up, directly in front of Meg. The lion came down on it, and the pole penetrated its heart. It died with a loud yowl as it fell to the ground inches from Meg.

“You saved me,” Meg exclaimed, took my face in her hands and planted a kiss on my lips that I’ll never forget. I broke the branch holding her captive. She stood, and I helped her adjust her pack. “You’re so brave. How many men would have risked their lives as you did to save me?”

I wasn’t about to tell her that I slipped and killing the lion was an accident. “Do you want to continue?” I asked. “Or do you want to get out of here?”

“Our chances of running into another wild animal are slim, so let’s finish our hike.”

Brave girl. I was ready to get out of there, but didn’t want Meg to know how scared I was. We hiked on for over an hour. We stopped, sat on a log and Meg took sandwiches from her backpack. Rain fell on them as we ate.

“Look, a bear!” Meg shouted.

Sure enough, there was a black bear rushing toward us. Must have smelled the food. I got up and ran as fast as I could. To my surprise, Meg ran past me. Instinctively I reached out, grabbed her shoulder and shoved her behind me so the bear would get her and not me. I looked over my shoulder and saw the bear had caught its intended victim, a deer. Hadn’t seen the deer running in front of the bear. When I stopped. Meg ran into me.

“You freakin’ coward,” she said and pummeled me with her fists.

Good thing I’m a fast thinker. “I wanted you to stop running; that’s why I grabbed you. My momentum carried me past you.”

“Why did you want me to stop, so the bear would get me?”

“No, don’t be stupid, I saw the bear wasn’t chasing us.” Pointing to the bear eating the deer, I said, “I wanted you to stop running so the bear wouldn’t focus on you instead of the deer. Let’s get back to the car.”

“Oh, you really are a hero. I’m sorry. I owe you for your bravery today.”

The look on her face told me I’d get lucky tonight.

The End

 

 

#258 Sally

#258 Sally

I want to tell you about Sally. She had a face like a bulldog, but because she arrived at the docks early in the morning looking for a boat to take her fishing, she became the most beautiful girl in the world. I rushed to her side. “Looking for a boat to take you where the fish are?”

“How do you know where they are?” she said with a superior voice.

“My trained fish tell me.”

She stared at me as though I were insane. Guess she didn’t have a sense of humor. “Actually, I know where the fish go to feed at different times of the day from experience. If you want to catch something to write home about, hire my boat.”

“Which is?”

“The Sally May. She’s right there.” I pointed to my dilapidated looking boat.

“What a coincidence,” she said with a smile on her face, “my name’s Sally.”

I helped her aboard and worried she’d get angry if she discovered I knew absolutely nothing about fishing. My cousin owned the Sally May, and he had a hangover this morning. He sent me to the docks to try to convince someone to hire me so we’d have drinking money.

I cast off and steered the boat in the direction I had seen the other fishing boats go. “Look around and find yourself a pole,” I told Sally. “There’s bait in the tank at the stern.” I hoped yesterdays bait survived the night. If not, she’d have to use dead fish for bait.

I tied off the wheel, made a couple of wine coolers and brought them to Sally. She found some bait still swimming and was attaching a good sized fish to her hook. She cast it and reached for her drink. “So this is where the fish are?” she asked.

“Yeah, all around here. You’re bound to catch something.” I hoped, but didn’t have any idea where to fish. Hours went by. She emptied the wine bottle, the bait all died, the ice melted, and there was nothing to drink.

Sally got sunburned and crabby. She didn’t seem beautiful any longer. I couldn’t wait to get her off the Sally May. “Guess they ain’t biting today,” I said. “We might as well go back to shore.”

“You promised me I’d catch something. If I don’t, I’m not paying you.”

“Look, Sally, there’re no guarantees. I took you out, gave you drinks, bait, a fishing pole and used a hundred dollars worth of fuel, so you have to pay.”

“Like hell I do,” she spat out and threw her rod to the deck.

Tempted to throw her overboard, I resisted the urge because I had to try to get some cash from her. “Look here, Sally,” I started to say when her rod whirred. I dived for it before it got pulled overboard.

“That’s my fish,” she screamed.

I held the pole out to her. She began winding it in. The pole bent into a bow. The fish wasn’t fighting, but it had to be a big one to bend the pole like that. She wound the line for more than an hour before what she had hooked broke through to the surface. “That’s not a goddamn fish,” she said. “It’s a goddamn bale of marijuana.”

Drug runners sometimes dumped their load when chased by the Coast Guard. All I could think of was how much I could get for the marijuana. “No, it’s not a fish, but let’s get it out of the water, so another boat doesn’t crash into it.”

“I wouldn’t pull that aboard if I were you,” she said. “You never know who may see it.”

The ugly bitch wasn’t paying me, and now she was telling me not to pull a bale worth thousands aboard my boat. The temptation to throw her overboard returned, but I worried someone may have seen her board my boat, and I’d have a lot of explaining to do when I arrived without her.

I grabbed the pole from her hands, pushed her aside, and reeled the bale in and got the heavy water soaked marijuana aboard. She stood glaring at me. The hell with her, I didn’t care if she paid me or not. I visualized how pleased my cousin would be when I told him what I caught today. We’d have plenty of drinking money.

I sped to shore in a hurry to spread the good news. I turned and saw Sally talking on her cell. Probably bitching about not catching any fish. Floating to the berth, I saw three men watching me dock. “End of a perfect day,” I said and reached for Sally’s arm to help her climb to the dock.

Sally held a .38 revolver and pointed it at me. “Told you not to bring that aboard.” She smiled, flipped open her I.D. and showed her D.E.A. badge.

Sally became the ugliest woman in the world the minute she showed her badge. “All I did was remove a water hazard,” I said. “Any judge will believe that.”

“It doesn’t matter how you got it. You’re in possession of a bale of marijuana, so you forfeit this boat and go to jail for possession.”

“That’s not fair.”

“No, but it’s the law.”

Should have thrown her overboard when I had the urge.

The End

 

#257 – It’s Official: Mormon Founder Had Up to 40 Wives 964 words

  #257 – It’s Official: Mormon Founder Had Up to 40 Wives    964 words

During 1993, I was repainting one of the surviving Mormon buildings in Nauvoo, Illinois. The word Nauvoo means beautiful in Hebrew, and the old settlement is a beautiful place with well-constructed brick buildings and picturesque surroundings.

My third day on the job I worked on the second floor of a brick residence. Over the years, decorators hung new wallpaper over the old. There were so many layers; the paper was as thick as the door and window frames. I used an electric steamer to soften the paper before scraping the wallpaper with a razor knife. The room filled with steam and sweat ran into my eyes. I almost missed the papers rolled up like a scroll and stuck into a hole in the wall.

Whoever put them there must have wallpapered over the hole to hide the location. There were about 20 pages of handwritten text. I threw them in my lunch bucket so they wouldn’t get thrown out.

After dinner that night I began to read, and the contents surprised me.

“I don’t know who I can tell, but someday I want everyone to know what transpired. It all started back in New York when I met Joseph at a revival meeting. We became friends and attended plenty of meetings. One day he told me he saw God the Father, Jesus Christ and others in which an angel directed him to a buried book of golden plates inscribed with a Judeo-Christian history of an ancient American civilization.”

Holy shit! I had a document here that may be worth a fortune to the Mormons. But I’d never heard of any ancient American civilization. Probably bullshit like him seeing God and an angel. I got back to reading.

“I helped him organize the Church of Christ, which later became Latter day Saints. It grew fast, and we moved to Ohio, Missouri, and finally settled here in Illinois. We had to move because Joseph okayed polygamy. It didn’t sit well with me, or Emma, his wife or most people in the surrounding communities.

Especially when he claimed to have dreams of God, who told him to marry other men’s wives. He’d send me to tell them they had to follow God’s will and give up their wives. To a man they refused until after swearing them to secrecy; I convinced them to concede.

But our neighboring Missourian’s actions against us caused us to leave the state. We ended up in Nauvoo Illinois where Joseph ordered the destruction of the Expositor, a newspaper critical of his doctrines. That action turned Illinoisans against us.

I got concerned for his safety when Joseph revealed a plan to establish a millennial Kingdom of God. Then he announced his third-party candidacy for President of the United States. He sealed his doom when he proclaimed that three million people were held as slaves because the spirit in them was covered with a darker skin than ours. He claimed slavery to be unconstitutional. Then he talked about prisons. Hundreds of our kindred are incarcerated in penitentiaries for an infraction while the duelist, the debauchee, and the defaulter of millions, and other criminals, take the upper-most rooms at feasts. Joseph wanted to reduce congressional pay from eight dollars to two dollars per day. He wanted two members of the House of Representatives for every  million people

The politicians were afraid. If Joseph didn’t win the presidency this election, he was sure to win the next one. They arranged to put him in jail. While imprisoned, a mob gathered outside the jail and heard that Joseph used religion as a pretext to draw women to Nauvoo, seduce and marry them. I knew that wasn’t true.

On June 27, 1844, an armed mob with blackened faces stormed Carthage Jail and shot Joseph. Many with their faces disguised were assassins hired by politicians to get rid of their competition. Joseph fell from the upper floor of the jail and lay dead in the street where those with blackened faces shot him several more times to be sure he was dead.

I cried myself to sleep that night. Many of us knew the accusations of Joseph wanting to lure woman to his religion was a pretext to recruit men as members. It seemed many men wanted more than one wife, but not Joseph. Though he married others, he never had relations with them.

He sired children with Emma because he believed it his duty. When Joseph and I would awake after a night of lovemaking, he often said, “You’re the only man I’ll ever love.”

The signature on the last page said, “Harold Blackburn.”

I believe in my heart that Mr. Blackburn was sincere when he wrote this. Why else would he have hidden it and covered it with wallpaper?

I didn’t know if I should send it to the Mormon Church and let them authenticate it, send it to the newspapers to cause a scandal, or maybe try to sell it on the internet. I went to sleep figuring I’d decide what to do in the morning, but I woke up laying on a hospital gurney.

A cop in plain clothes was questioning me. He took a break and spoke with his partner for a minute, then turned to me and said, “Why’d you set your motel room on fire?”

“I had a dream.”

“Yeah, what, you dreamed you were cold, so you lit a fire to get warm?”

“No, believe it or not, Joseph Smith appeared in my room. He took me by the hand and led me to the desk where the manuscript lay, handed me a book of matches. His eyes shone with hatred. I became scared and felt compelled to light the pages on fire. Next thing I knew, I woke up here.”

The End


 

Mormons

#256 White is White

#256 White is White

 

I rolled into Prescott, Arizona one cold winter day without a dime in my pocket. Word on the street about Prescott was that homeless people could exist in the city that brags it’s everybody’s home town. So when I arrived, I told myself, “I’m home!” Next, I went to the Salvation Army took a shower and got some clean clothes. Then I got in line at the United Methodist Church for a free lunch.

Whoever said, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” was mistaken. I didn’t have to say a prayer or anything to get what I needed. I talked to guys hanging around and learned that when I needed food, company, a jug of wine, or my heroin fix, Prescott was a good place to be. There were a dozen rehab centers where I could stay if I had insurance. Some took uninsured people like me in and got reimbursed by the state.

I picked a place off the list and went there to apply. I spoke with a counselor who wore a white doctor’s coat, but looked like an addict. He said, “If you don’t have insurance or the ability to pay, you need to prove you’re a resident of Arizona and show proof of your income and debts to stay here.”

“I’ve been living in the mountains for a year. That makes me a resident of Arizona.”

“Do you have a rent receipt?”

Was this guy nuts? “How would I have a receipt living in the mountains?”

He ignored my question. “Can you prove you’re a citizen of the United States?”

“Sure, I was born in Boston.”

“Do you have your birth certificate?”

He didn’t have to ask to know the answer to that. “How many guys carry their birth certificate around?”

“Sorry, if you don’t have it or a utility bill, a business license, paycheck stub, driver’s license, Voter I.D. or an Arizona tax form, you can’t stay here.”

Gazing around the shoddy premises, I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay, but it would be cold sleeping in the surrounding hills. “I have none of those. Isn’t there a way I can stay?”

“There are exemptions for pregnant women, single women with kids, and people with HIV. None for run of the mill addicts like you.”

“What am I supposed to do?”

“Send for your birth certificate; take buprenorphine while waiting for it to arrive.”

“What good will it do?”

“It’ll increase your well-being, and you’ll be less likely to use drugs while waiting.”

I had no intention of not using drugs. I just needed a warm bed and a bite to eat now and then. “It’ll take a week to get my birth certificate. Where am I going to sleep until then?”

“Try the Coalition for Compassion and Justice. They’ll help anybody,” he said in a sneering voice.

To hell with him and his hometown, I’d find a way to get enough money to buy a stash of heroin and be on my way to a more welcoming place.

SMASH, BANG, sounded outside. The snotty counselor jumped up, opened the door and yelled, “You guys break it up.” Then he ran down the hall.

I went behind his desk and yanked open the top drawer to see if he had any cash lying around. Nothing. I opened two more drawers. Nothing but paperwork. Opening the last drawer almost blinded me. It was loaded wth baggies filled with snow white powder, heroin or crank. Either one suited me. I put all the baggies into a large envelope he had sitting on his desk and ran out the door passing the counselor entangled between two men trying to tear one another apart.

Heavy snow fell. I tucked my chin into my jacket. I had the envelope under my shirt to keep it dry. The sun had set an hour past. The sky had a cloud cover, so no moon or stars lit the night. I didn’t have a bed or a place to go to get high on the counselor’s stash.

I carried a thermal blanket in my backpack, so I headed for a small cave I passed on the way into town. Reaching the cave, I wrapped myself in my blanket, took out my works, melted a spoonful of the white powder with a match, shot it up and went to heaven.

I awoke covered in white. Was I dreaming? So much dope was falling from the sky it covered me. Then I felt cold and realized the white stuff was snow. I jumped up to search for the envelope filled with my stash. I found it on the ground. Chewed through plastic bags littered the ground. Then I saw the thieves. How could I get angry at them? They had to live out here in the snow and the cold. I took out the sandwiches I had saved from lunch yesterday and fed it to the stoned Javelinas.

The End

 

#254 Treasure Hunt

#254 Treasure Hunt

#254 Treasure Hunt

My father disappeared when I was 5. I wondered what had happened to him until I turned 25. While searching the mountains where he was last seen alive, I found his skeleton buried in a cave. I knew it was him when I read his journal. Following are his words verbatim.

“Look at this, Lucy.” Pointing to a page of an old Atlas where it said, There’s an old Indian legend about treasures buried in the McDowell Mountains.

“And,” I said, “That’s where we’re going hiking Saturday,”

“Yes, but see what it says here.” She put her finger on the small print promising death for anyone who removes it.  “So if we find any treasure, we better think twice about removing it.”

“Fat chance we have of finding any. People have been hiking those mountains for years, and no one’s found anything yet.”

“You don’t know that for sure,” Lucy said. “Maybe they did and kept quiet about it.”

“Maybe the curse got to them?” I laughed. Lucy believed in paranormal things. I didn’t

Next day I went to the Tom Thumb Trailhead for a 4 mile hike. Lucy showed up wearing shorts, a halter top and sandals.

“Should’ve worn hiking clothes,” I said.

“It’s only a four mile hike. I can do it naked and barefoot.”

That’s exactly how I always pictured her in my daydreams. What she wore helped stimulate my imagination. “I always plan on something going wrong, so bring what I’d need to survive a cold night.” I lifted my stuffed backpack.

She laughed, “Looks like you’re carrying 50 pounds of gear.”

“Yeah, but you know, better safe than sorry.”

I threw the pack on my back and started up the trail. Lucy skipped along behind me. “I’ve heard that about 500,000 years ago an earthquake caused a rock avalanche and soil to flow here.  It’s called, ‘Marcus Landslide?’”

“No kidding? There was a quake close by last week. Think it caused more slides around here?”

“Maybe.”

After two hours of hiking uphill, we stopped in the shade cast by a giant granite boulder to take a break. I drank some water and offered the bottle to Lucy. As she stepped forward to take the bottle, a sinkhole opened beneath her feet. She disappeared into it. I lay on the ground so I wouldn’t make the hole expand, crawled to the edge. “Lucy,” I yelled.

“I’m okay, I fell onto a pile of soft sand, but it’s dark as hell down here. Wait a minute. My leg’s stuck between some rocks. I can’t get it loose.”

“You’ve got to get out of there before there’s a cave in!”

“I can’t. My leg’s stuck. Can you help me?”

I didn’t want to go below ground, because I’ve always had claustrophobia, and the thought of being trapped underground scared the shit out of me. The nylon rope I carried in my backpack came in handy. I tied an end around the boulder as an anchor. Then I attached one of the two miniature flashlights I carried to it, turned it on and lowered it into the hole.

“Got it,” Lucy yelled. “Oh my God, the boulders are huge and too heavy to move. You have to come and help.”

I looked down and saw the light as she moved it over the rocks pinning her leg. It was only 10 feet to the bottom. I could lower myself down, move the boulders, climb the rope out real quick and then pull Lucy out. I pulled the rope up, made knots every three feet to make it easier to climb and lowered it back down, then climbed down, went right to the rocks holding Lucy captive and using all my strength rolled them off her leg. “You okay”

Lucy stood, hopped around. “Nothing’s broken. Just need a minute to get blood circulating.” She took a few small steps. “God,” She shone her light on a giant sloth half embedded in clay. “They’re extinct. The ancient earthquake must have buried it here.”

She moved her light over the wall, and we saw a mammoth, and a saber-tooth cat. “Wow, what a find! Archeologists will eat their hearts out when they hear what we found.”

“No, they won’t. We’re not going to tell anyone.”

Lucy shone her light into my face. “Why not?”

“These things are worth a fortune. If we tell anyone, the government will take everything, and we end up with nothing.”

“Isn’t it illegal to sell pre-historic animals?” Lucy examined a half-buried skeleton.

“Maybe, but if no one knows, no harm,” I said.

“But aren’t the animals considered a treasure?” Lucy said.

The ground shook beneath us, and I was knocked off my feet. “Aftershock, from the recent quake,” I said

“Aftershock, my ass,” Lucy said. “You know it’s a curse.” Then the clay wall beside her began shaking, then collapsed completely burying her.

I’d never be able to dig her out. I was halfway up when the rock holding the rope rolled onto the opening blocking off my air supply and escape route.

 The End

 

#254 Chicago

#154 Chicago

 

Joe looked through the picture window at the end of the bar and saw the misty and dark sky. “Look at it,” he shouted. “It shrouds the city for days at a time.”

“Think warm,” Kathy said, “Picture in your mind what we left behind.”

Joe closed his eyes and saw the ocean waves breaking on the beach in Fort Lauderdale Florida and saw palm trees swaying in the wind and the Bougainvillea covering walls. He pictured the bikini-clad girls walking on the beach. He opened his eyes and saw the swirling snow growing into illustrious piles of mush fit only for a sleigh or sled.

“I try, and when I close my eyes, it’s all right, but when they’re open, reality crashes down all around and I’ll never enjoy this Arctic like place that La Salle should have passed on by.”

“It’s not so bad up above. Imagine your spirit flying above the clouds.”

Joe closed his eyes again and soared above the dark blanketing clouds. He found himself in rarified illuminating air. He saw sunshine there.  If only when he was down below he could know that the sun rays were mightily trying to burn through winter’s freezing cold that destroyed roads, and any dreams of spring, summer or even thirty two degrees?

“You’re right, Kathy, it’s not so bad up there.”

“If you like it there, you’ll love it where I come from, it’s always warm, and there are plenty of others like you there. Women walk around naked all day and to tell the truth no one wears any clothes.”

“Where do you come from?” Joe had met Kathy in Florida, and she followed him wherever he went after that. He never asked her where she came from, but now she had him wondering.

“I’m not allowed to say, but if you do all the right things, I can take you there.” Kathy gave Joe a handful of pills, “Start by taking these.”

Joe washed them down with beer. He closed his eyes and imagined the world Kathy had described. He saw naked women frolicking on a sandy beach under the warm sun. When he wanted to eat, food was delivered on a silver tray by other women who wore aprons but nothing else.

There were all sorts of dogs running down the beach. Trucks loaded with beer lined the road and movies played in the sky if he wanted to watch them. Music was all around if he desired to listen. All he had to do was think of anything, and it was his. Money wasn’t needed for anything, and he saw none who had a cold or were sick in any way.

He opened his eyes to the dark, and he couldn’t see a thing. He didn’t remember going anywhere. Kathy no longer sat beside him. Lightning flashed, and he saw he was no longer in the bar. He started to sweat from the heat. Better than the Chicago cold, he thought until it got so hot it burned his skin. “Turndown the goddamn heat,” he shouted to whom, he didn’t know.

It got hotter and brighter. He began to see, and happiness filled his heart as he saw sand and a naked woman carrying a tray headed for him. When she got close, he saw she had no head. She carried it on the tray. So much heat made his mouth cry out for a drink of something cold. As though answering his thought, a woman who had a head appeared with a glass full of ice water. Joe grabbed it and took a drink. The water turned to sand as it passed his lips; he gagged, choked, and screamed, “Is that supposed to be a joke?”

The woman who had given him the water said, “That’s the way it is here.”

Before he could ask where here was, he saw a dog knock her to the ground and in an instant she was being devoured by lots of other dogs. This isn’t a place he wanted to be and tried to imagine being in another place, but he couldn’t leave.

He ran to where the sand met the water. He was so hot and thirsty that he ran into the water with his mouth open. It turned to flames, and he became a fire eater. He swam through the flames and came to an island where people, still alive turned on spits above roaring flames. Joe tried to save one by taking him off the fire.

“Don’t do that. I was given a choice to freeze or cook,” the man on the spit said. “I hate the cold, so I chose this.”

Joe couldn’t understand where he was or why the people here were so strange. He went to an opening in the hill and found a cave. Inside the cave, it got cooler, and relieved joe, until he saw insects feasting on people who came there to beat the heat. He ran screaming from the cave. He thought he’d rather be dead than endure living like this.

“You would have been dead, but you did the right thing and swallowed the pills I gave you,” Kathy said as she came into view. “So I brought you to my home.”

Joe wished he were back in Chicago’s cold. He’d never complain about the snow or anything else, if only he didn’t have to stay in this place Kathy called home.

He opened his eyes back in the bar, and Kathy was gone. He ripped off his coat, ran outside into the snow, and put a handful into his mouth. It tasted so much better than sand. He looked to the Gray sky and saw Kathy up there.

“Think warm,” she said and disappeared.

The end

 

#253 – The Food Train Arrives.

#253 - The Food Train Arrives.                    580 words

 

A crowd waited at the Slabinac Railroad Terminal for the train to arrive. Myrtle glanced around at all the hungry people waiting. She appreciated the good people of New York sending trainloads of food.

“If it weren’t for them New Yorkers, Half of us would’ve starved to death by now,” she told her friend, Cathy.

“Isn’t that the truth? I almost hated to slaughter the last one I took from the train because it was so cute, but we have to keep our strength up.”

“With the drought and disease killing our cattle and crops, these trains are a Godsend.”

“Ain’t that the truth? It’s the Catholic Church that sends the tenderest meat.”

A big well nourished man with bulging muscles pushed past them and stood beside the tracks.

“How rude,” Myrtle exclaimed.

“I’m making sure I get my hands on some food. Last train came and went without me getting a single bite.” He put his hand on the pistol stuck into his waistband to show he meant business.

“We’ve been assured there’s enough for everybody on this train. They have so many back East; they’re happy to send their surplus to us,” Myrtle told him.

“I’m surprised they keep sending trainload after trainload,” the man said.

“What else are they going to do with their surpluses?” Cathy said. “Once they load the trains, they never check to see who gets the contents or what happens to it.”

“Good thing too,” the man said. “If they ever checked, they may disapprove of how we use it.”

“Never happen. Out of sight, out of mind,” Myrtle said. “Here comes the train.” She pointed down the track where a locomotive chugged along on the outskirts of town.

When the train’s whistle blew, everyone in town rushed to the station to get their share. The train rolled to a stop, and the townsfolk slid the doors of the cattle cars open.

“Too bad it smells so bad in there,” Myrtle said as she stuck her face through the door of the car nearest her. “It almost ruins my appetite.”

Moaning and crying came from within. “I hate to hear them crying like that,” Myrtle said. “That’s why I slit their throats as soon as I get them home.”

“My God,” Cathy said. “I hope you save the blood for pudding.”

“Of course. Can’t waste anything.”

The man jumped into the car and threw the youngest ones from the car into a pile. “Those are mine, hands off.”

Cathy boosted Myrtle up so she could search the car for any young ones left after the man took all he wanted. She found half a dozen plump ones and passed them to Cathy. She didn’t throw them because bruising made the meat tough.

They loaded what they had onto Myrtle’s wagon and strolled over to the platform where the remainder of the cargo moved around on a platform so the townsfolk could pick and choose. They’d feel the flesh, check teeth, and check the overall health before choosing. If any were left over, they’d be taken on to the next town where they’d be displayed again for the townspeople to choose from.

“What do folks in New York call these heaven sent shipments? ”Cathy asked.

“They’re Orphan Trains,” Myrtle said. “They get rid of their homeless kids by sending them to us.”

The End

The Orphan Train Movement was a supervised welfare program that transported orphaned and homeless children from crowded Eastern cities of the United States to foster homes located largely in rural areas of the Midwest. The orphan trains operated between 1853 and 1929, relocating about 250,000 orphaned, abandoned, or homeless children.

Two charitable institutions, the Children’s Aid Society (established by Charles Loring Brace) and later, the Catholic New York Foundling Hospital, endeavored to help these children. The two institutions developed a program that placed homeless, orphaned, and abandoned city children, who numbered an estimated 30,000 in New York City alone in the 1850s,[1] in foster homes throughout the country. The children were transported to their new homes on trains that were labeled “orphan trains” or “baby trains”. This relocation of children ended in the 1920s with the beginning of organized foster care in America.

 

The children ranged in age from 4 to 18 some even younger. Conditions on the early trains were poor, little better than cattle cars.[3] In later years, conditions improved.

The children were encouraged to break completely with their past. They typically arrived in a town where local community leaders had assembled interested townspeople. The children would usually be put up on a stage-like podium for viewing and inspection. Children would often sing or dance to attract interest. The townspeople would examine the kids, perhaps feeling muscles and checking teeth, and after a brief interview take the chosen ones home.[3] Many siblings were separated during this process because the foster parents wanted to take only one child.[3] Some children became indentured servants to their host families, while most were adopted, formally or informally, as family members.

Between 1854 and 1929, more than 200,000 children rode the “Orphan Train” to new lives.[4] The National Orphan Train Complex in Concordia, Kansas maintains an archive of riders’ stories and houses a research facility.