Comfortable silences

I know I’m an odd duck. I like the silences that make most people feel uncomfortable. I only get uncomfortable when it becomes painful obvious that the other person is uncomfortable. I don’t like to make people feel out of sorts.

Back some eleven years or so ago, before I decided to kick the booze monkey riding my back, I was one of those other kinds of people — one of those poor folks who could and would fill up any uncomfortable space of silence that might rear it’s ugly head. I’d kill it and make a bloody event of the matter. Body part everywhere (none of the mine) and the silence was soundly defeated each and every time.

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A Conversation with the Troll

This is a piece I submitted a decade or so ago to be considered for a writing fellowship. The fellowship didn’t pan out, but this is one of the pieces I am more proud of having written. There are flaws and areas I’d change now, of course. But for the time period, I felt it was a solid effort. Hope you enjoy it.

It was one of those late spring days in which the birds from the area joined together in chorus; from the hummingbird with the white-noise thrum of its wings to the chickadees with their “fee-bee” song sang over and over. The deer-flies had just awoken to the warmth of the late spring and hummed in the air above Julie’s hair, never quite alighting, but nipping at the skin on the back of her neck whenever they took a moment away from their buzzing about to hover and taste a bit of her flesh. Her hand absently waved the flies away.

Julie could smell the evergreens and their perfume, but her destination was in an opposite direction of the pine trees which lined the wetlands along the lake. She knew exactly where she’d find Stevie –- between the branches of the silver aspen and the parchment-pale bark of the birch on the opposite side of the road. She knew his favorite hideaway was within a makeshift tree-house just out of sight of the gravel access road leading towards the thirty or so cabins that lined Round Lake.

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Free your mind

…and the rest will follow.

The last post was more experimental and probably grating, but I’m, oh, so very much feeling a little more free today to explore a bit of writing now that I’m not beholden to the Cygnet Committee buried in the depths of Facebook.

You know, that faceless censor that makes you fear to say anything that might cause your posts to explode in a cesspool of hatred. Or maybe you’re just a little disappointed that it didn’t explode and you wonder what damp fuse you lit for a fizzle.

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plague dogs

This is an orphaned experimental start to a tale I was working on recently. I’ve thought about going back to it. The tale itself was conceptualized to be about a boy who was raised in a post-pandemic cooperative. The pandemic wiped out people on the level of King’s The Stand, and Mal was born during the height of the illness. His parents didn’t survive, but a survivor, Jim, took Mal under his wing. A group of reivers going by the name of “Plague Dogs” destroyed everything and Mal only survived by dumb luck and with the help of his shadowcat, a large cat who can walk along shadows and through walls. Rayth can only vocalize something that sounds like “Now.” Mal has to avoid the Plague Dogs, as they seem to always be where he is. But he also has to survive something called night gaunts (name stolen from HPL, but not conceptualized to be the same), essentially feral and quite mad survivors of the pandemic. They are allergic to light as a consequence of the pandemic exposure, and roam the barren streets at night. Even Plague Dogs avoid them, as a swarm will overcome even heavy gunfire. Mal is captured, loses his shadowcat, falls in love, is enslaved and becomes useless, which means he becomes dinner for the Plague Dogs, who are not above partaking in the long pork. And then other things happen better left unsaid at this time. Lengthy introduction to a short orphan, sorry.

“Now,” intoned Rayth. “Now.”

“Now.”

“Now.”

“Shuddup,” was the harsh, stage-voiced response Mal gave in reply. “You wanna spook it? Jay-sus.” He tried to muster up his focus and train the bead of his .22 rifle on the rabbit. He sighted and was squeezing the trigger slowly like ol’ Jim back at the shelter had showed him and —

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Back in the Social Media Drunk Tank

*”… in the Facebook drunk tank”
Can’t help feeling like these lyrics apply, though it is a far cry from Christmas Eve.

By the time you read this, I will have been released from Facebook jail and released on probation for the crime of having used satire and offended either a non-friend “friend” or a nosy little bot.

I received a 24-ban from the esteemed social network for the sin of using history against our current toddler-in-chief sometime in the middle of February. The long arm of FB law finally caught up with my wayward, biting comment used as a prelude to a New York Times piece written before the bulk of the Covid 19 stuff started happening here in the states, a period of time that the aforementioned toddler was testing boundaries and declaring himself ‘Duce Supremo’ of North America with all the pomp, but none of the substance, of Hitler and Mussolini. Having gotten out of the doghouse himself, he had said he had complete power to do anything his little toddler heart wanted.

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