to the ground
when books burn
up in smoke
in a moment
will forever regret
to the ground
when books burn
up in smoke
in a moment
will forever regret
Clint’s apartment offered a panoramic 10th story view of Portland which could be enhanced if one desired by looking through the telescope on the deck.
The telescope was a Gskyer 70 mm with lots of interesting attachments. He could watch ants climbing up a lime tree in someone’s backyard five miles away if he felt like it. His favorite attachment was a 5×24 Finderscope and mounting bracket with cross hair lines that helped locate objects and subjects. He spent many pleasant hours looking at the world unfold outside as he sipped 18 year-old James Buchanan’s Special Reserve Blended Scotch Whiskey.
He was single and a successful day trader who worked from home. He didn’t like being around other people. Crowds made him uneasy. He didn’t mind one-on-one conversations with friends or strangers however. He was well-educated and graduated top of the class at Webster University, a national top ten business college. His soft spoken voice could calm people in distress and hold people’s interest when he told a story.
His rugged good looks turned more than one female’s head in admiration. Yet Clint never had a girlfriend, or a boyfriend. Never. His adopted parents never pressured him to date and often went out of their way to help him avoid large gatherings… like school. His adopted mother was a special education teacher who home schooled him when she came home from work. He absorbed knowledge like a sponge, but seldom showed emotion. Joy, or anger. Grief, or elation. Happiness, or sorrow. It was his poker face that made some people a little uneasy when around him. That, and his pale blue eyes, which seemed to sparkle with an unknown energy that suggested an icy presence lurking inside.
Money was no problem for Clint. He was very successful at investing his money in the market, and had over a million dollars in savings. His problem was entertaining himself. The television and the internet provided entertainment up to a point, but the day came when it wasn’t enough.
Clint adopted the persona of a deliveryman. He would bring surprise packages to houses, apartments, motel and hotel rooms, and businesses. He purchased numerous deliveryman outfits with different company names on the back and his front pocket. He wore fake glasses. The contents of the packages varied; some were bombs, some were piles of cash, some were just pranks using jack-in-the-boxes. He always felt calm about his deliveries regardless of their contents. It was a strange feeling for someone who experienced very little human traits.
One day while peering through his telescope, Clint watched a little drama going on a few miles away and near one of the many bridges below. One of his talents was lip reading. Despite turning their heads away from him at times, Clint pieced together what they were fighting about in minutes. It was enough to inspire him to deliver a special package to the house later that day.
He pulled up to the house in his General Delivery van and brought his package to the front porch of the house. It was where he saw them arguing. He calmly drove back to his apartment and went outside to his telescope. After lighting up a joint he inhaled deeply, savoring his favorite strain of cannabis, Grand Daddy Purp. Grinning in anticipation, he peered through the 400mm lens he had substituted for the 70mm and settled in for a long wait.
Two hours later the occupant of the house, a woman, stepped out onto the front porch. She peered around as if looking for someone, but the street was deserted in the growing dusk. Then she looked down and saw the package. It was the size of a shoebox and was wrapped in brown paper with a yellow ribbon and bow. There was no card. Her name wasn’t on it. She looked around again, straining her eyes against the withering light. Eyes back down. A step towards it. Clint imagined how hard her heart must be pounding as she neared the package. She hovered for a moment over it then bent down. Fear and curiosity crawled across her brow as she contemplated the package.
Finally she reached out and pulled the ribbon…
This was the part Clint enjoyed. Life, or death? What would it be? He knew she was risking everything. If the package killed her she’d never come up with the ransom money for her only child, a daughter. Still, in her desperation she hoped the package contained good news.
Clint watched, squinting in the growing gray sky, as she opened the top and pulled out the wads of money. Twenty-five thousand dollars in cash! Enough to get her daughter back.
When the man came for the ransom she had it. A moment later her daughter was freed from a car parked nearby. The man left without a word. As he got into the passenger seat of the car Clint took several photos with his wireless camera attachment to his Gskyer telescope. It would help him find the man so he could send him a package too. One without money in it.
Everything was reduced to a survival mode
when mankind walked down Apocalypse Road
the journey was slow but sure
after each world war
until there were no more
and civilization broke down
in every city and town
leaving few humans around
and those that did survive
fought every day to stay alive
until the Apocalypse finally did arrive
there’s still stars in the sky
and planets and meteorites
that still exist in forever nights
solar systems and galaxies
planets with water and trees
and life evolving mysteries
have you ever had a day when everything seems strange?
like normal routines interrupted with a sudden change?
days when nothing seems right?
days darker than night?
days when you wonder what you’re doing?
days when you feel like people are pursuing?
days when you find nothing going your way?
days when you just don’t get to have your say?
days that seemed like some sort of odd dream?
days when to your horror nothing was as it seems?
then you’re just agreeing
that you’re a human being!
(Editor’s note: I’m experimenting with a hybrid writing genre combining Flash Fiction/Poetry – let me know what you think. Does it work? Input appreciated – 326 words)
after years he returned from his duty as a crusader in a foreign land, riding a weary war horse in battered and bloody armor, the knight struggled not to think about the terrible things he saw in the Holy Land, where massacres of innocents were common and his soul shriveled watching and participating in…
the sun bore down mercilessly on his and his horse’s rusting armor, and his tortured brain, as he stared from behind unblinking eyes down the long dusty lane, where clusters of cobblestones laid by Roman engineers still existed after hundreds of years, reminded him of the rubble he left behind…
lurking behind his empty eyes was a shadow of recognition that he was once a husband and a father living peacefully in a green valley, where he and his bride were born so long ago, before the Catholic church came by and said he had to go, and defend Christianity for the sake of humanity, or be excommunicated by the church…
that man was just a memory as the knight rode down the road and considered what lay ahead with no emotion like he was dead, but instead he plowed ahead with no plan in mind, no speech to give about his harsh life when he thought about his young wife…
finally the day arrived and the familiar landscape of home rose like a blessing in green rows of trees surrounded by grassy knolls and a farm house at the bottom of the hill ahead, as the knight’s powerful horse picked up it’s gait unconsciously for his master to see his wife standing by a tree…
no Muslim warrior ever wounded the knight so badly
than after talking with her by the tree, when she said she thought he was dead and married again and was happy, with a tear in her eye that he could see, she turned and went back to her new family …
the knight got back on his horse, and rode into history.
are you carrying a rucksack
a load of emotional rocks?
a stack of negative stories?
stuck in a mental box?
then it’s time
to lighten your load
enjoy your day
there’s no guarantee
another will come your way
You see it all the time
people doing stupid things
like making batches of slime
there’s no end in sight
who aren’t too bright
we live with them every day
shaking our heads in wonder
at their disarray
they’re at home and on the street
doing dumb things
and being indiscreet
it’s not about being bad
we all do dumb things
like following a stupid fad
it’s about the realization
that stupid things happen
in any kind of situation
in the pantheon of gods there’s two you should know
Echo and Ego
they walk around our world every day
one praising herself and the other echoing away
one generally follows the other’s lead
praising the other’s every deed
they like sports stars and movie stars
and famous writer’s early memoirs
you might be surprised to know
that everyone has an ego
it’s the echo
that determines if fame is to be had
whether it’s good…or whether it’s bad
decades of newspapers and magazines cluttered every room, silent witnesses to bygone eras, nestled alongside a lifetime of eclectic collections in the gathering gloom
when the coroner came to collect the old man, his worn-out body in his favorite chair in front of a fan, he was surrounded with trinkets and displays from his good old days
every room was piled high with one man’s treasure yet another man’s junk, standing lamps, piles of clothes from ages past that stunk worse than a skunk
boxes and crates with no labels butted against couches and tables, towers of books with subjects ranging from science to early fables, rolls of cables, and an assortment of turntables
souvenirs from other countries, plastic children’s toys that still made noise, clocks off all kinds, dried food, ancient weather vines, and assorted other sundries
missing were photos of family, a lonely man severed from humanity, living in an alternate reality, his life a mere triviality, his collections becoming his center of gravity
they said the old man had a mental disorder, a condition not unknown to many people trying to install order into their chaotic life, and turning into a hoarder
when I was growing up my grandfather use to say
that boy is going to find out everything the hard way
if he comes out of his childhood alive
there’s a damn good chance he’ll survive
I was an eager student of the School of Hard Knocks
my troubles were never pebbles they were always rocks
taking the least traveled pathway had a price
I come close to losing my life twice
there was never really a choice for me
I’ve always been on the verge of tragedy
but in these later days of my life
I look back and appreciate the strife
and accept my past and my destiny
whatever that happens to be
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