Posted tagged ‘Flash Fiction’

Without Narrative

March 2, 2012

Rome Ants In The Sky

“What’s that?”

“What’s what?”

“Like a big bang.”

“Oh, that. It’s nothing.”

“Nothing? It’s a big bang.”

“It’s a puff of smoke. It will be gone in no time.”

“Where’s it coming from? What’s causing it?”

“Nothing’s causing it.”

“Nothing?”

“Nothing.”

“In other words, you don’t know. Why don’t you just say that?”

“I know it’s nothing.”

“How do you know?”

“Because nothing exists. It’s all just a dream.”

“I exist, you exist, the big bang exists, the puff of smoke exists. Isn’t that something?”

“Sounds like the title of a song.”

“You’re not making sense.”

“I don’t need to make sense. You’re the one who’s always trying to make sense out of everything. You’re hearing a big bang. Oh, wow! What are you going to do about it?”

“Do about it?”

“Yeah, do about it. In another ten to the negative thirty two seconds, the negative-pressure from vacuum-energy density will produce a thermodynamic phase transition resulting in a cosmic inflation. You are about to expand exponentially in volume by a factor of at least ten to the positive seventy eight in approximately ten to the negative three seconds.”

“Why didn’t you say that in the first place?”

“Get used to it. We’ll be together for a while. I’m the Yin to your Yang.”

_______

Growth of the Lone Wolf

“Throughout today’s economy, from oil and military hardware, to timber and agriculture, to public services and education, it’s all about privatization and corporate acquisition. An inflationary period will follow, effectively reducing the national debt, while increasing the dollar value of these privatized acquisitions.”

“What? You think this is being manipulated?”

“Only a fool would think otherwise. The globalized oligarchy, the wealthy financial speculators, the multinational corporate leadership, they have absolutely no problem seeing the American middle class disappearing into the abyss of soul crushing poverty.”

“How come you’re always thinking so negative?”

“Because I’m hungry, I’m cold, it’s raining, and my feet ache.”

“You should get yourself a new cardboard box like mine.”

“I need more than a new cardboard box.”

“Of course you do, everybody does. I’m just saying, it would be a good next step for you to consider. Stop worrying about privatization and corporate acquisitions. Think more on a practical level. Deal with the world at hand, the world you live in, where you can do something about it.”

“Oh, okay, do something about it? I got an idea. Let’s leave our little nest here in the alley behind these garbage dumpsters and go rob that bank out there on the street. That’s the world we live in, isn’t it? If we’re successful, our troubles are over for a while. If we get caught, we go to prison, get a roof over our head, medical attention, a warm bunk, and three meals a day.”

“Get a new cardboard box is a better idea. Do you know how well fortified that bank is? How well armed the local law enforcement agencies are? Even in this small college town they have an armored personnel carrier. It was given to them by a federal grant from the Department of Homeland Security. The local law men and women have all gone through military style training in the use of military weapons. They come dressed in SWAT outfits, eager to engage.”

“Prison doesn’t sound too bad right now. It’s where all the good guys are, men and women, the one’s who stood their ground and continued protesting when public demonstrations were banned and martial law was imposed. They’re organizing in prisons now, spreading cooperative ideals, evolving a new political leadership.”

“Forget prison. Get a new box. Stay free.”

“Free? Living in an alley, in a cardboard box, hidden from the world behind garbage dumpsters, like rats?”

“You wanna organize? Talk to the people at the homeless shelter, at the church basement where you get most of your food, at the political events on campus sponsored by university students. It’s going on all around you. Get involved on a local level.”

“The leadership required to reorganize our future society is maturing and ripening in prisons right now. Many have had combat experiences in the US military.”

“You been there?”

“I did a relatively short stay inside the wall of a high security federal prison. The inmates there were like, bank robbers, hijackers, skyjackers, kidnappers, counterfeiters, drug smugglers, firearms and explosives dealers. They all had long term sentences. I was being coerced by federal drug agents. They wanted me to become a snitch. I didn’t know what I was getting into.”

“You were coerced?”

“I made a mistake, got involved in something I shouldn’t have. I saw an opportunity to make some quick cash and it turned out to be a federal drug sting. One agent sold me the drugs and a different agent purchased them from me. The charge was possession with intent to distribute. The prosecutor said I showed a willingness to participate and I was therefore guilty. I was facing fifteen years in prison. I had a wife and children, a business. When they offered me a deal, I jumped at it.”

“You became a snitch for them inside a federal prison, that’s a deal?”

“My wife was able to retain all of our property and take ownership of the business. We didn’t lose anything financially. The terms of my freedom were less clear. They said I’d be eligible for a parole hearing in eighteen months if I cooperated with them. It took me more three years to finally gain parole. The authorities were never satisfied with my level of cooperation. The only reason I was paroled is, the prison had become over crowded. They couldn’t justify keeping me there. I was unproductive as a snitch and it was clear to the parole board that I had been entrapped in the first place. I didn’t belong in prison.”

“Well, at least you had a wife and property and a business waiting for you when you got home.”

“Not quite. It’s remarkable how much the world changes in three years. I lived on memories while in prison. I built a fantasy world in my mind. Negative possibilities did not exist. That’s how I survived in there. You don’t know what it’s like. Luckily for me, there’s an unwritten rule, don’t ask other inmates what they’re in for, or how much time they’re doing. If you ask these questions, people get suspicious of you, unless they know you well and have already offered that information voluntarily.”

“How long did it take you to learn that?”

“I learned it on the ride from the courthouse jail to the prison. Nine of us prisoners, chained together in threes, were in the back of an armored van with two federal marshals up front. One prisoner I was chained with became a mentor to me, sort of, and that really helped.”
“A mentor?”

“He had previously done time there for possession of explosives and he was returning on a parole violation with additional charges still pending in court.”

“What, you asked?”

“Yeah, that’s when he warned me about the unwritten rule. And then he commenced to tell me his life story. At first I thought he was a big blowhard. Especially when he told me he had been the weightlifting champion at the prison. I mean, he was big, about six five, six seven. Yet he was also, I must say it, fat. He had a big head and a fat baby face. But, you know what, he regularly won all the weightlifting competition while I was in there. And that’s impressive. There are some very big, muscular dudes pumping iron in prison.”

“So he wasn’t a blowhard.”

“No he was the real deal. He was smart, too, and very kind, if you were his friend. I don’t know if I would have made it without his help. I eventually told him my situation and he understood immediately. He advised me to just lie to the feds and not give them any straight up information about other inmates. That didn’t go over too well with my handlers, of course. They kept warning me about doing the full fifteen year stretch. But I had to live with myself day to day and with the other inmates. Snitching is a cardinal sin. Punishable by death. Plus, I learned to respect most of the inmates there more that I respected the federal agents or the government.”

“And when you were released, what happened?”

“Prison is one of those before and after experiences. When I got home, nothing was the same as I remembered it. Everybody had changed. My wife had become a very independent, powerful woman. I fell in love with the new her, even more than the old. Unfortunately, that feeling wasn’t reciprocated. She loved the old me much better than the new, it seemed. We lived together but she was the boss and I walked the line.”

“Where is she now?”

“She’s in heaven.”

“How come you’re living out here?”

“Same reason you’re out here, along with all the other millions who have been sacrificed on the alter of a jealous deity, capitalism. Offered up for the sake of something considered more desirable, higher profits.”

“Let’s go and get you that new cardboard box. You’re gonna need it tonight. We’re getting ten inches of snow.”

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Fifty Five Word Anthology

February 10, 2011

~Number Nine

San Francisco’s macrobiotic community in 1969 had many divergent sub groups ranging from yin to double yang. At open house dinners around town, intravenous drug users were finding nourishment and hope alongside health addicts who had never so much as smoked a cigarette. I was still coming down from the CIA’s LSD experiment in 1965.

~Disgeneration

Our closed physical universe has been winding down since day one. Solar decline recently accelerated. We need a source of outside energy. Human consciousness must find it. That’s the purpose of intelligent life. We are the bridge uniting matter with spiritual energy. We knew this in the sixties. Excuse me while I kiss the sky.

~Big Bang Cools

The early universe was an opaque fog of diatomic hydrogen gas. As it expanded, temperatures declined and, with internal pressures dropping, gravitational collapse initiated star cluster formation. Stars radiated energy, stripping electrons, ionizing hydrogen atoms, clearing the fog: the universe became transparent. Our watery planet with sunny blue skies happened much later, strictly by chance.

~Many Rivers to Cross

The fertile earth, you can kick it, lick it, smell it, warmed by the heat of a fire that never goes out, not in a billion years, and by then terrestrial life will have already ended due to the planet’s surface becoming too hot for liquid water to exist, so be happy you’re here now.

~Stupiditās

We are hardwired for empathy, understanding, and communicating. Why have we failed to organize ourselves into a global society with a sustainable ecology? We need a unifying purpose which embraces our humanity while respecting our individuality; yet the intellectual force of the ruling class is focused on short term profits for the top one percent.

~Blues, Away

Low-skilled adults in a winner-take-all economy, homesteading the urban wilderness, rethinking assumptions without a master plan. The decaying city up for sale, commercial properties underwater, worth less than their mortgages. No buyers in sight. We may be stuck here with it. Things could get worse. And yet, how wonderful life is with you in the world.

~Women on Top

Today’s job market favors aggressive, educated women. They’re dominating the information age. My wife recently earned her bachelor’s degree. She’s been going to school at night after working all day in an office. I’m a stay at home dad. Boy am I sad, not! Keep her happy, that’s it. Kids take care of themselves: thanks Internet.

~Popular Economics

Volatile markets, a rapid bidding down, a specific sequence of events, not merely academic, without evidence of a deliberate attempt, beyond finger pointing: how could someone manipulate the markets, make off with a gazillion dollars, and avoid detection? Determined prosecutors are still searching reams of data, hundreds of transcripts, using meta-math developed by Harry Potter.

~Wee Party

Selfish, arrogant, and exclusive, yes, and greedy. You wanna tax my income? Try it. I’ll run you out of office. I want politicians who will beef up the border. Armed guards who will shoot to kill on sight. A strong military presence around the world to secure priority access to energy resources. God bless America.

~Piece of Mind

I’m earning top honors at the university, studying bling theory, all the observable forces necessary to make a relationship shine in the presence of internal penetration. Bling dynamics are governed by friction and kinetic energy, which combine to produce mutual oscillations. Even in a down job market, I can always find work as a gigolo.

~Z Boson with a Hardron

The night, when viewed in a mirror, violated all the laws of parity, symmetry, and conservation. Her response, strongly interactive, the flavor of strangeness, is the reversal of expected spatial axes. I can go macho, make the stars appear brighter. Or go wimp, become dark and evasive. She remembers the big bang. Hard to compete.

~A Stranger from Paradise

At midnight, flutes and drums, a traditional dance, her body moving rhythmically in sync with mine, the goddess of love in a blue velvet dress, no bra, pink panties: all phenomenon from the beginning to the end of time radiated outward from our union. Her happiness gave meaning to life then. Where is she now?

~A Fragmentary Vision

Flashing eyes and floating hair, a damsel with a dulcimer, an Abyssinian from Ethiopia, a reality never before achieved without the milk of paradise while living in a pleasure dome, a variety of actors singing and dancing, now buried beneath the shifting sands of time; yet the dream, the insanity, remains the same: the expectation of true love.

~Nineteenth Amendment

She clearly wasn’t a normal girl. At six her parents found her under a table with a book. They asked her to read aloud. She read so perfectly, they were shocked, since no one had taught her. The book she had selected from the shelves of the drawing room was a play about a prostitute.

~She’s Out

A woman falls in love with a man and then another man and then another woman. The two men fight and come close to killing each other. Until they finally realize she’s out of their reach. And there will never be another woman like her. Not for them.

~I heard the news today, oh boy!

You listened to Beatles music on the AM radio, the jukebox, watched them on TV, bought their records, played them loudly all day long. They filled your heart with joy, you said. But then they broke it. They were human, all too human, which you reluctantly recognized. I had never really liked them until then.

~Auld Lang Syne

I’ve been drunk every new year’s eve since 1956, with few exceptions. I should know better than to drink before driving these unfamiliar roads outside the city during a snow storm. And she could have warned me there were no gas stations or convenience stores out here. Where’s that goddamn cellphone when I need it?

~Bud Business? Booming!

You were in it for the money. Legalization would evaporate your profits and decentralize your control. A campaign of brutality became necessary to assure it never happened. The war on drugs allowed you, effectively, to play both sides against the middle. Then you became seriously ill and found pain relief with medical marijuana, home grown.

~Lucifer’s Farewell

You didn’t believe I could survive your wrath, fall from Heaven, traverse the void, arise from the burning lake, outplay the devil. You condemned me to Hell for all eternity. Yet I escaped. I became human through the power of love. I’ll die a natural death soon. Nobody knows who I am, not even you.

~Halfway to the Top

Twelve seasoned mountain warfare counter-terrorism army veterans with backpacks, carrying M4A1 carbines, wearing combat helmets, reach a semi-barren plateau halfway to the top of the Hindu Kush mountains, the sparsely populated center of world population, where they find themselves surrounded by numerous armed men who must be killed immediately. Why else would they be there?

~Private Security in 55 Words

He’s returning from close combat experience during special operations in mountain warfare near the northeast Afghanistan border. As a good soldier, he cannot and will not question his mission there. And, as a thinking individual, he knows better than to open the floodgates of speculation. But don’t you dare try to take away his guns.

~His Longest Day

He parachuted into Normandy on six June, forty four, to support the amphibious landing on Utah Beach. At the age of eighty nine, his heavily medicated eyes show a rare spark of interest when Red Buttons gets his parachute caught on a church spire, hangs there, pretends to be dead, avoids the fight below.

Ann Hides Her Bush

November 4, 2010

Ann works in her autumn garden while her husband, Buddy, along with their son, Bud Junior, and his school chum, Mickey, are out in the now empty grain field playing ball games. And that’s how she likes it. She would rather see the men out there playing with their balls than hanging around the house fighting, which are the only two things they seem interested in doing, or watching others do.

Her garden provides her with a unique natural sanctuary. Lined with trees to the north, it’s rimmed all around with selected vines and bushy vegetation. Working alone, she builds a fire, burning dried twigs and branches in a crudely constructed rock pit. In a small kettle of boiling water, she steeps leaves freshly picked from a bush she keeps hidden in a protected area of the garden. She drinks the tea warm, sipping slowly, enjoying its sharp, bitter taste on her lips and tongue, mixing it with saliva before swallowing.

Her consciousness expands to include an immediate perception of eternal time and infinite space. Earth is alive and speaks to her of knowing. The material world transforms through stages into its ethereal essence until she is pure thought in a universal mind of cosmic consciousness.

When the men return hot and sweaty, she has their favorite beverage waiting. It’s a fermented mixture of grains from the field along with herbs and spices from her garden, made with pure water from the flowing well. Buddy’s a big man with a big thirst. Throwing back his head, he empties a large foamy mug with one long, pulsating gulp. The two younger men sip from their foamy mugs and laugh, shaking their head to acknowledge Buddy as the winner in that category of competition, if none other.

Ann drinks with the men before serving dinner but she prefers her beverage made from fermented grapes. On the kitchen table there’s a tossed salad of garden greens topped with an oil, vinegar, and herb dressing. There’s butter and cheese to go with fresh bread still hot from the over. And there’s a thick soup of mixed beans, turnips, onions, and sweet basil.

Doing Time

June 5, 2010

It’s sobering, the sound of prison doors slamming closed around you, being moved in single file along with the other new inmates to the barber shop for a buzz cut, striped for a shower, inspected for parasites, then given a gray cotton jumpsuit and floppy slippers to wear while being further processed. Low security risks get sent to the work farm outside the wall. Those staying inside have two basic security classifications. Some are immediately locked down in the high security cell blocks. The remaining inmates are assigned to one of the six large, two story dormitory wings running perpendicular to the main hallway. Each dormitory floor houses eighty-four inmates, in twenty-eight three-tiered bunk beds, fourteen on each side of a wide central aisle. I arrived at K-dorm carrying my first issue of prison clothing, bath towel, bar of soap, toothbrush, and a small tube of toothpaste. From that point onward, I would be required to purchase items I needed from the prison store on my one assigned day of the week. But I had no money yet in my store account. And, of more immediate concern, I had no cigarettes.

Reluctant to Talk

June 4, 2010

Doreen seemed reluctant to talk about sex, although we had just spent the weekend together working in her studio getting ready for the sewers on Monday morning. She didn’t want attachments, she said, especially to children or to men who wanted children. But when I told her she gave me a hard on, she said: “Show me.” So I opened my pants and exposed my erect penis, balls and all. Her tongue entered my mouth as she reached down and started stroking me with her soft, silky smooth hands. To avoid a premature ejaculation, I dropped to my knees beside her, pulled down her pants, and kissed her ass.

Lover Come Back

April 21, 2010

“Hey, I write in my free time, with free software. I publish on a free blog site. And you want me to charge people to read it? In my dreams.”

“Free time? All you have is free time. And all you do is sit up there in your room alone, writing or staring at the computer screen, with your mind somewhere else. We don’t have a relationship anymore. And I’m leaving you, good-by.” 

I stood speechless, in a state of disbelief, as she walked out the door. Why did she do it? Things aren’t that bad, are they?

Yes, I spend a lot of my time alone: reading, studying, thinking, dreaming, wandering around in my imagination. But I’m not really alone. I’m in an eternal space where I sense the presence of an inspirational spirit, a Muse. She can’t be jealous of that, can she?

Now that she’s gone, I can’t get her out of my mind. Her scent is everwhere. I want to reach out and touch her. I can feel her breast brushing against my face, her firm nipples leading the way to my lips. Why do I think of that? There must be a reason. I wan’t her back.

Isn’t it strange how life works, especially intimate relationships. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. I received a double whammy. When my lover left me, my muse followed her out the door.