Monday, January 25, 2016

HUNTER-KILLER (flash fiction)

Every morning, when it lightens enough for me to see clearly, I’m up and hunting---a silent, sober, spirited killer who strategically tracks his prey. Some victims are pretty wily and swift, though, and can be worthy opponents. But they seldom escape my deadly assault. Most are savagely struck down in their tracks, never realizing their impending doom. Others are smarter, however; once they realize their peril they employ different survival techniques. Sometimes they freeze, thinking they can’t be seen in their stillness. Others rush about erratically hoping to cleverly throw me off. Occasionally they get lucky and escape, but that just makes me more careful the following hunt. Usually I bag at least four or five: almost always one large, one middling, and a few smaller ones. Nailed as many as seven or eight a few times. Even when I don’t spy one right away, if I stand there for a bit and focus my attention, I almost always catch some slight motion in the corner of my eye and then the game is on. I follow their frantic flight until I take them out. There is no reprieve. You’d think at some point they would realize the persistent danger and mounting losses, and simply stay off my property. So now, stirring from my sleep, I prepare for this morning's chase. I hate those damn roaches.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

SHEN (flash fiction)

I’ll admit, it isn’t all that bad here. Facilities are clean, I never feel threatened, nourishment is delivered regularly, and the guards are professional. Some are even sweet. I can sleep, read, and even listen to music. Not a bad incarceration: for the condemned.

I don’t have long before my extinguishing. They claim it is peaceful and quick. One can’t ask for much more. I never denied the allegations, although some lie to the authorities. And no, I don’t have some martyr syndrome that justifies it all. I would love to remain. I know I broke deeply held cultural standards and beliefs, and this is the logical result. No reason to get belligerent and make things difficult for everyone. My family has already refuted and forgotten me. I have forgiven them.

A couple guards are kindhearted. That is how I got this writing pad and stylus. One promised to sneak the device afterwards to sympathetic individuals. Who’ve had similar dreams; who question accepted ways.

It’s not as if I am alone in my heresy. Accounts exist. Stories are passed around. Hundreds have questioned. Heretics hustle in halls, however most stay hushed. But sometimes one gets a friendly glance, a knowing nod. There are alleged repositories of accumulated accounts. We go to our ends confident in the veracity of our stories. There have been historic rebellions and rabid exhorters, but their outbursts were short and quickly suppressed.

The priest has already visited. She was gentle and kind, even as she tried to get me to deny what I knew. “Shem, save yourself,” she begged. She is so young, for a holy one. I wish I could soften her experience, lighten the burden, but I can’t deny.

She went through the official rites.

“Shem, do you reject our faith.”

“I do.”

“You refuse the mind cleansing and repositioning?”


“You accept the higher powers, and willingly face the forever ostracism?”

“I do.”

“May the eternal ones have mercy on you and may your rest be peaceful.”

“Thank you.”

Her exit from the cell was quiet, final. I wanted to cry for her. Although the climate is carefully regulated, I still felt a cool breeze pass.

Soon the enforcer will be here. I know he will ask me my final question, if I have anything to say before the long walk to eternity. He will query, and I will reply: “Yes, I am a Beforeminder. I know I once existed on a small beautiful planet. I lived a past life as human. I have seen it in my dreams.”

And now I shall die. Again.

Saturday, January 16, 2016


The boys traveled to Anderson to learn climbing techniques with Troop 324. Joey is in white shirt, Chino light green.

Monday, January 11, 2016

OMG (flash fiction)

It was quiet in the office, though the shuffling of papers and light clacking of keys could be heard down the hall. He used to love coming to work, kibitzing with his colleagues, chatting about the latest movie or bestseller, but all of them moved on to new jobs or retired. Now most of the employees were half his age. He hadn’t been asked to a party in at least five years.
He thought he was going to be canned; but it turned out he knew how to effectively manage the client lists, so he was retained. Many said they would drop the company if he was gone, and not a few insisted on speaking with only him. It made him feel important, still.
His secretary barely spoke to him. He communicated needs via sticky note or short email, and only occasionally when she forwarded a call. She was young and stylish, and not a few males found reasons to hang around her desk, but he didn’t interfere or find additional work. She was efficient enough and he didn’t want to break in another. No doubt she disliked his old-fashioned ways, or simply didn’t care to know more about him. A job was a job, right? She was the first of his secretaries for whom he had not chosen a personalized Christmas gift, instead filling a chintzy envelope with a few bills.
He only had a year to go before he retired. Widowed, childless, and without any strong passions, he wondered where he would spend his future years. The beach would be nice, even with the sand. Maybe farther south, where there was no snow and he could sit on seaside benches. Golf was out, but perhaps he could take up painting.
Suddenly he wondered if it were true that hearing was the last thing to go. He couldn’t remember anyone standing at his door before and saying, “Mr. Roberts? Mr. Roberts? Oh my God.”

Thursday, January 7, 2016


For gift she thought to take a pic
and send it to her boyfriend Vic,
so into bubble bath she slid
naughty parts were carefully hid;
draped her towel side to side,
so her Dad would tan no hide,
used a phone and flashed a grin,
sure that smile on face would win,
but as hit “send” she saw her bind,
--- for she forgot mirror behind.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Her face was cute, but oh my God,
her poetry was bad!;
and to my shock I soon found out
a fact that made me sad.
There must have been forty guys
who in comment did praise,
which made me wonder what they’d read
that set their minds ablaze.
They gushed and fawned as one whole troop
in seeking her attentions,
therefore I doubt it was her words
that earned so many mentions.
Some readers there I must admit
find poems to them excite,
But there are others who surely think
that it's a dating site.

[Poking a little fun at some of the folks on PoetrySoup.]

Monday, January 4, 2016


Who would have thought a small North Carolina town could deliver quality art? Went up to Hickory, for another reason, but while there decided to look around. And what I discovered was a community dedicated to the arts. They had transformed their old central high school into a center for art and science, with sections of the building blocked off for an array of interests, from a planetarium to aquarium, literature and culture, symphonic and choral music, and many other things. Nearby is a wonderful library. Mush of what I saw was designed to inspire children. My trek there focused on art, and I was not disappointed. The main attraction was a collection of photographs by Steven McCurry, best known for his National Geographic cover portrait "Afghan Girl." Many wonderful shots from his career in Cambodia, India, the Middle East, and other places. There were some nice pieces by William Starkweather, who mainly worked in watercolors and oil. They had about twenty of his works. There was a wonderful collection of Glass and pottery pieces, many quite whimsical. The work of Joel Urruty was on display, but I am not a fan of most modernist work, and didn't see much I liked in that collection. There was also a lot of interesting folk art. If you get the chance, take advantage and visit the Hickory Museum of Art.