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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Rich Man's Shoes

When I lived a life of hate, they loved me.

Always ready with their sharp toothed smiles. I laughed, with just a hint of shame, every time those green scaled monsters bit those better off than I.  Until one day I decided to remove the negative from my life. Swimming, peacefully, with alligators made me decide I should try to do the same with my fellow humans.

There were moments, in my time as the alligator whisperer, when the beasts responded to my desires and attacked the objects of my hate. Other than the press conferences and the shows, people left me alone. They knew something was off. Maybe not how I hated them, but they knew I wanted their distance.

After the guru time, everything is different. Time on the talk show circuit and getting to know my fans. I smile now, instead of spreading my lips and showing my teeth. Now they cheer when I enter the arena.

It is my first time back with my big green friends and they seem happy to see me. The roar of the audience startles  them like it always has. Today though, they swish and sway, agitating, just like a washing machine.

I wave to my adoring public one last time before stepping through the gate. Something is wrong here. I know more about these creatures than any other scientist alive. I also have the balls to step in with them when the others stick to the lab. That's an old me thought. I let it go. The gators aren't happy to see me. No matter how well they pretend otherwise.

They know the act, they swim away from me. Their eyes hunt the audience for prey. They seek those I would gladly have fed to them a month ago. I do not point though, I let them find their own path. Part of knowing your course is leaving everyone to discover theirs. Even our animal friends.

With no enemy to destroy on my command they turn and look back at me.

For a moment it seems like the old act, but I read more in their eyes. I am weak. They know it. I left the path. Hate was never something I wanted in my heart, but when it was there it created a bond. Now, they need a new leader. In the savage way of the swamp, there is only one way to pick a new alpha.

While the old one is alive.

Especially when he has betrayed the cause.

I hear the screams, the horror, the terror. I am at peace though. This is the wild, the way it should be. One sacrifice for mankind. One noble act for all to see, witness the nature of these creatures I know so well.

I learn another lesson. One wise men have known for centuries. When one is free they feel no fear. Not even at the end of a weapon.


When I turn to a life of love, they hate me.





#shortstory #politicalcommentary #socialcommentary #author #writer #writing

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Brainquakes

Fractions, we were learning fractions. Maybe that's why numbers float through the black, punctuating the words that replace dreams. One twenty-sixth, more or less. That's how much of my life has been spent in this place. The bed isn't as comfortable as the one at home, but mom insists it's just as pretty. I think she put my favorite sheets on it, the ones with the racecars on them. Mom cries a lot. Thousands of tears. There's a term for big numbers that aren't real. I don't know if I don't remember the word or if I don't know it yet.

Thirty-four, that's the number of times the doctor has told my parents that I can't see or hear them. Fractions again, she's half right. I haven't seen anything since the speedometer at a careful twenty-five and dropping, and the face. I've heard everything since mom's scream though. I heard that, and so much more afterward. Things that will stay with me forever. Some I want to keep around for years, and others that make me want forever to come tomorrow.

A sideways eight, the symbol for how many times mom cries at my bedside. She feels bad about the accident. I want to hold her hand as her pretty face floats through the dark sky that is my world now. I know her face isn't really pretty, she gets snotty, puffy and pink when she cries. I also know it's not her fault.

Another face fills my world, the teen girl, her eyes filled with terror as she looks up from her phone and sees me. She knows what she's done, twenty seconds or so before she rams into the door that barely protects me. Enough to keep me alive. He's just a kid! Life's not fair! Why didn't I listen to the commercials? Even at my age I see all that on her face.

Seven, the number of heaven according to dad. I may find out soon. Also the number of days since I heard him say the girl is in a room just down the hall. Twelve is the number of times mom has reminded him it isn't his place to judge and that forgiveness is better. Six times she added the plea that I'm still alive, and just as many times he has said, "We don't know for how much longer."

Zero, not really a number but it's how many seconds he spends actually meaning it when he says he'll leave it alone. One syringe goes missing. It's also the number of nurses that end up crying by my bed, horrified that she let this happen and is going to lose her job. Two, the numbers going up again, that's how many guys in blue show up. Two and a half, that's how many rights they read him.


If only I could talk instead of hear. Maybe he would have listened to me. I didn't think she'd do it again, but now he knows she won't.





#shortstory #author #writer #writing

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Transcendental Mediation

This week's prompt. Write a story beginning with the title of the book you most recently read and ending with the name of your favorite character you have written. Of course it's one with my story in it.





The Awethology Dark... I held it in my hands, hushed reverence issued from my body until it surrounded me. In the placid plasma of my nether universe I allowed my mind to focus on things left unsaid and words undone. This book was a wonder, in more than one sense of the word.

One wondered why this, of all books, survived the culling. The answer was the same as always. A dedicated fan base who squirreled it away. With other non-precious valuables. So it survived when the great works fed the flames.

Despite all that, these stories gave me hope in my darkest hours.

 It is difficult to say if the book had any cultural value in the old world. In this new desolation, a place where people no longer had to desperately seek battles to fight, it was as good as the bible. Freedom, equality, thought and creativity. All these things echoed from the book.

Perhaps that could be said of all tomes. I am sure everyone with a bit of tattooed, dead tree felt the same about theirs. It was, after all, why we hid them from the reclaimers. Those charged by our so called government with collecting all art of "worth" for homes of those with power and influence, and destruction of all the others. The subversive works were sought even harder than those most desired.

We risked death, and worse, to keep our prizes safe. They could never undo the damage. Hell, they could not even act as a panacea for the plague of those ruling us. They were like Ritalin for our troubled minds though. They were all the same.

But this one was mine.

During the day it eased my fears. It reminded me that there were worse worlds, many of them in the past, even if only in the imaginations of others. It quelled the terror of the men and women seeking the very thing itself. In the darkened hours it cloaked me from the consuming silence. When evil edged into my mind and I waited for the sounds of more bombs dropping it stilled the voices inside. With louder voices and worse violence.

I knew. I knew beyond a doubt. I must take this to him. It could help him even more than me. I must risk it all, as these writer's had, and travel roads unknown. The man who might lead us out of darkness. The one who could teach us to overthrow those keeping us in cuffs and ignorance. I would take the first steps tomorrow and bring my book to him.


Swift.





#shortstory #Awethors #authors #shamelessselfpromotion #writer #writing #writingprompt

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Me Posting Football?

I know, hard to believe, but this is one of those amazing #Awethors I am always on about. Even someone like me, who gave up on football in the nineties, has to admit this has enough action to make it interesting again.

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Character Letter

So, this week's prompt was to write a letter to me from the MC of my novel. Oh my.

So, this is written by the main character in Eater of the Damned, the novel I'm currently editing. It's a story in first person, so this was mostly easy.However, normally I try not to swear much on here, but Brother Book is very foul mouthed, so I'm sorry but this is actually toned down. Children and those with souls sensitive to vulgarity should give this one a pass.

Hey Asshole,

I have always been a religious man. My faith in God has gotten me through times darker than a normal man could survive. Now I find out that I'm just your mouthpiece in a rage fit against writers with an obsessive love of monsters and apologism for evil. You are the God of my world, the thing I have knelt and prayed to. You? Do you know how disappointing it is to find out that my creator is someone like you?

To know the hell I live in was written by a self published writer with less than a five hundred sales between six books? The moment I found that out is the very definition of a long dark teatime of... hold on. Someone's at the door. I'll come back and continue to tell you how you fail as a god.

Okay, seriously? What's with that shit? It was a bit of a workout but... you made me the best hunter to ever live in any world and you think a vampire is going to shut me up? This just proves what I was saying about you. I mean, you have moments, some decent prose, but is it any wonder you're still destitute and having to resort to a day job to make ends meet? I mean, if I had to do that... I don't know what I'd do. But I sure as shit couldn't look at myself in the mirror in the morning. What an asshole.

Oh, God! What the hell are you doing to me? Riley just walked in and started vomiting blood on the carpet. Why would you do this you sadistic bastard? Do you think it will make me take back the shit I've said? No, no, NO!!! I won't. You love that girl as much as I do, it's why you wrote her so sexy in the first place isn't it? You fucking pervert. You won't kill her and you've already made her suffer enough. So, no, not going to get me to apologize.

Ha ha, the shooting pain in my left arm isn't going to get what you want either. You can stop with the constrictions in my chest though. They're really annoying. You're getting nothing out of me. Why would cause me this much pain though? You're supposed to be a decent person. Okay, pain gone but I have a sudden urge to watch television for a moment.

Okay, you sick, sadistic fuck! How could you even think of such a thing? Are you serious? I am at home with pain, death, terror and horror but there are some things even I can't take. Kill my girl, hurt me and steal my life. Fine, I can get past that... but this is too damn much. Fine! You win. Edit my world so Trump was not elected president I'll admit you're not so bad. It's not much but it's the best I can do.

Dick.

Rot in hell you bastard,
Frank Book






#shortstory #author #Awethors #politicalcommentary #writer #writing #writingprompt

Thursday, February 4, 2016

It's Not the Guns

So, one of the things I have always said about writers is that we either write the world we want to see, to help people get there, or the one we are terrified we are headed towards, to help people avoid it. I'm one that does the latter. I believe avoiding that dark place we are blindly walking towards involves understanding what is wrong, and more importantly the causes behind it. The ignorance I see right now is amazing. I should warn some of my friends, you aren't going to like what I have to say here, and I'm okay with that.

So, one of the things I keep seeing everyone up in arms over is the mass shootings that the States are known for. I'm fairly certain that everyone agrees, the wholesale slaughter of innocent people is a problem. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty sure there are some people out there willing to say it helps with population control and makes the country great again. And yet I'm going to pretend those people don't exist and ask you to allow me this delusion, as me having it does nothing to harm you. Unlike the big one that some of you have.

The point being, we can all agree there is a problem. Many of you want to take the easy route instead of fixing this problem though. That shit is starting to get to me. How intelligent, compassionate, and loving people can miss the point. How people I know and respect, people I have seen show a willingness to fight for what is right now matter how hard it is, can look past the long road to making things better and want to skip to the end. An end that will, inevitably, bring us right back to this place, or one very much like it.

The easy route is is blaming the guns. We've all done something like this in our lives, but in a case like this we need to take a good hard look at reality. I'm going to ignore the insanity behind why people want to ban guns. I'm even going to skip the part about real solutions the gun control issues, and the simplest solutions to them. I'm even going to pretend that the arguments about how the government has us outgunned makes the second amendment useless might make sense. I might talk about some of that stuff later on, but it's not really the point here. Though, bring up the outgunned thing is kind ironic.

Now, I do have to briefly point out that the problem is not that people have guns. It's not that they have tons of ammunition. The problem isn't the weapons. It's the willingness to use them. It's the fact that we ignore people who are mentally ill and/or in pain. We are so obsessed with keeping our heads down and getting the work done, fitting in and not making waves that we don't notice when people are ready to snap. We can't notice those things, because it just looks like someone going through the same things we are. It makes my heart ache that we have given up our will to greatness, the driving passion that pushed us to be something special. Mediocrity is our call word, apathy our shield. In this world we create, this place where excellence is feared instead of chased, is it any wonder that people snap? In a country where we ignore each other, can we blame ourselves for missing the signs of a damaged mind ready to rampage?

Well, yes. There are important things there that need to be discussed too. Things like, how do we fix that problem? How do we help the people in need it so they stop killing our children? How can we become a people that both want more and willingly love again? However, they are also not the point of this diatribe. They are the middle of this long path, and we (or I, with you as my hostage) are interested in the beginning. We need the first steps to get moving on this journey.

The first step is, as always, understanding. So what is it we need to know? What is there to be seen that we are blind to?

The thing that I am best at, if one discounts writing, is management. By that I mean the managing of people, not the made up field of managing projects. There are certain philosophies, ideas, and truths that one learns in doing this. Only one of them is important here, but it is a big one. The best and easiest way to get your employees to do what you want is to model that behavior. That works because people will emulate the actions and personalities of their leaders. So, you treat your employees like you want them to treat the customers, because they will. Some will resist it, and all will modify it to fit their personality and style, but it means your company treats people the way that you treat people.

Now think about that in relation to a country. To our country. To this particular issue.

I just heard a bunch of you go, 'Aha!'

For the rest of you, let me explain...

We have these two huge problems in this country. where violence is concerned, right now. One, as mentioned, is people picking up weapons and brutally killing large groups of other people. Everyone knows this is a bad thing and that it needs to be stopped. A large number of people have no answer, for the same reason that another large group of people say, let's ban guns (which is just plain stupid). The answer is hard. Not looking for an answer is easy, but does nothing. Banning guns is easy, but does nothing to fix the problem. Machiavelli said it a long time ago, the only reason for a government to take weapons from the people is if that government has more reason to fear its people than its enemies. Only if the rulers are oppressing their citizens do they ever want them disarmed. Think about that, but realize it's another tangent. I've already mentioned some of the simpler things, like getting people the help they need and making people feel connected. Those things will help, and they are important but they are not the cure to this problem. They are things we need to do if we want to be good human beings. First we need to stop killing each other long enough to get there.

The second dilemma is the willingness of some cops to start shooting for no reason, or ones that are not good enough. So, this happens and we once again focus on the wrong things. We look at white cops shooting minorities. We talk about cameras so we can be sure to know what the cops are doing. Sometimes we make excuses, or we ignore legitimate reasons. So, what is the one thing we don't focus on? How someone in a position of authority and trust betrayed that position and killed someone they were supposed to be protecting. We don't look at how there is almost always another, better way to deal with the problem. We focus on that one issue. Again, these are things we can talk about another time though. What we need to see now is, why is it happening?

Are the two related?

You bet your ass they are. Not in the way most will think though. One is not the cause of the other. People are not committing larger and larger mass murders because some cops are out of control. Some of the police ordered to protect us are not betraying that trust because maniacs are running around and killing people in wholesale slaughters normally seen only in horror movies. They are related because they are the same type of actions, caused by the same stimuli.

If you want to see where it all starts you simply have to look at our managers, our handlers, and our culture of war.

It can be argued that once upon a time our country entered wars with good intentions, to save the world. It can even be argued that we continued to have good intentions after we started to become bullies. I honestly believe we entered Vietnam with the best intentions. We didn't think it through, and those ideals weren't pure anymore, but the intentions were good. I don't know, maybe they still are today, but we have to look at what we actually do, no matter what we mean to.

Our leaders take us into wars with much weaker nations. We take tanks, bombs, planes and computers and we beat the hell out of places that are trying to fight against us with sticks. I'm not saying some of these place don't hate us and want us dead, I'm saying they don't have the firepower to make it happen. I am saying that if we tried to talk to them they would have no choice but to meet us at the table. Because they don't stand a damn chance against us in battle. That doesn't stop us though, and we so rarely take the peaceful route. Instead we attack, mercilessly and brutally and don't stop until the enemy is dead.

So we choose targets that are weak. We also choose targets that are opposed to us in some moral way that not everybody can understand. We get it, or at least our leaders do. We cloak this in "protecting our way of life." I don't know what the hell we're protecting it from. Those guys armed with rocks and insanity aren't all that scary, but I digress.

Lastly, we attack in a very public fashion. We do it to make our point. When we get called out on it we don't offer any apologies. We just expect to be understood, because, damn it, we're right and we have God on our side. Those idiots that don't get it can go to hell.

Our leaders, our managers, our caretakers approach war in this way.

Sound like anything else we've been discussing?

Cops shooting unarmed people in the street. Saying they felt their life was in danger. Making a public display of what happens to those who oppose their authority. Never once apologizing for the terror this causes in the populace. Saying it's okay, because these people were a threat to decent people everywhere.

Citizens targeting building full of folks that have different agendas than them, often different religions. Taking weapons and slaughtering those who have none, often those who just wish to be peaceful. Choosing targets that will make national news, even if their mass slaughter would not have on its own. Never offering an apology, expecting the true believers to understand. Often times making themselves into martyrs for a cause they think others will just get but only they really understand. Leaving devastation and horror in their wake.

What does this sound like? Both situations, what do we see in common with what we do as a country? This isn't new. This is life in America. This is us following the example set for us by those who govern us. Which leads me back to the point...

It's not the guns.

Maybe it's time we stopped blaming them and thinking we can solve the problem by getting rid of the one thing we have that we can use to defend ourselves. Maybe it's time we look at the leaders giving us our examples and realize we should replace them, instead of giving up our rights.

Maybe, just maybe, it's time we stood up and started making good, and well informed, decisions.