WRITING: Climate Change — Not Warming

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Climate Change — Not Warming

“My fellow Americans: It’s time to face the harsh reality that everyone must move South of Route 10 from Florida to California. All roads are closed except to Government convoys. Those under 40 or in key professions will receive transportation. You may only bring one carry on bag like on an airline. Make your decisions wisely since it’s unlikely you will ever be returning home. Stay calm, stay in your homes, and await further instructions from local authorities. May God bless us and God bless America.”

Then the panic began.

Apparently, humanity is about to under go another ice age. Supposedly, the wobble wobbled further than previously thought. So the polar ice cap will extend further south in North America. Think the Grand Canyon repeated.

There’s triage going on. The old, the poor, and the not-politically connected are to be sacrificed for the good of humanity. There’s just not enough room or time to move everyone. Southeast Asia is offering shelter at a thousand ounces of gold per head. That’s the cheapest. Mexico cut a deal with the US Government, but not for all 300 million people. Oh, and the greenback US dollar became worthless in minutes. As well as US debt and anything denominated in the USD. No surprise there. Think “frozen assets”.
There were priorities! Politicians and bureaucrats. Doctors, Lawyers, and Indian Chiefs. Billionaires and millionaires. Politically connected. Those under 30. Parents with children. Zoo animals.

Everyone else was expendible.

The old man wasn’t upset. After filling the bath tubs, he just went about his daily routine. He’d lived his life. Folks came by and said good bye on their way to the embarkation point. He gave some of his gold coins to each child. Each parent got some silver. There were tears, but not by him. It was just life passing him by. Again.

The no travel edict locked him into his house. He had his y2k supplies and hadn’t got rid of them like the other sunshine prepares.

This was TEOTWAWKI, but there was no survival since you couldn’t bug out. The TV was doing stories of folks, attempting to flee, being shot on the road side. Lots of human interest stories of folks getting out and arriving at their new homes. And, no commercials. Who cared about the soon to be dead market. Couldn’t even sell them funerals. They’d be the fossils discovered when the Ice Age ended.

Shortly, it got cold and started to snow. The old man thought about what it would be like to be an avalanche victim. SO using some old electrical conduit, he made a “smokestack” for fresh air. He hoped it would give him some extra time. In a disaster measured in “age” (i.e., the Ice Age), this extra time was his version of panic.

Eventually the snow covered the house. The windows looked out on a white wall. First to fail was the water. Then the gas supply. Then, the cable TV and internet. Then, the electric. All with in a day. Then it started to get cold. He’d put all the blankets on the bed and spent all his time under the covers. Other than quick trips to the WC or the kitchen, he was in bed. Some prayers. Some illusions. Some delusions.

With no way to keep time, no day / night cycle, he lost all sense of time. On one of his quick trips to the WC, he notice that the tub water was frozen. Wouldn’t be long now. He was almost out of sterno, but he had plenty of food.

Then he started to get a headache. Guess he should have stocked oxygen. The ice must have finally topped his “smokestack”. So no fresh air. Or, it was clogged. Really didn’t matter, sooner or later, something would run out.

As he drifted off to sleep, the long sleep, he wondered if this was global cooling, why wasn’t he cold?

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WRITING: Never going to be a victim

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I’ll never be a victim

How do I begin? I’m the oldest of three siblings. A girl. Tall for my age. 12½. Gawky. Athletic. Timid and shy. And, I’ve just started the change.

There, I’ve gotten it all out.

I’m writing this in my laptop’s journal so that the secret does not bust out of me. I don’t want to blurt it out. I’m a sinner and a criminal.

My uncle was a funny weird man. Before he died just recently. I mention that because he is a key to my coming of age. A young widower he always came to dinner from time to time. Always brought donuts. I loved those. For my plays, he brought flowers. For my events, like confirmation, he brought chocolate. For our vacations and occasions, he always gave me spending money. He was a nice old man who seemed to understand me and made me feel powerful. And smart. And really listened to me prattle on. Not grabby, like other relatives. He always let me come to him. I relaxed around him. From time to time, he’d bring me and my brothers strange gifts. Puzzles, crafts, and toys that all had challenges. Most of the time, we didn’t do them, but he never made any comment. He wanted us to learn “stuff”. With no apparent emphasis on anything in particular. Just “stuff”. He’d say: “Never know what stuff might come in handy.”

I remembered one thing that came in very handy. But more about that later.

He’d debate with my Dad about all sorts of political topics. They never saw eye to eye much. My Dad was a quiet liberal easy going guy. My Uncle a crazy hard line guy. They most disagreed about guns. At first, it was scary. We’re taught a school that only criminals have guns. And, our friends, the police, would keep us safe. I was shocked to hear that my Uncle had guns. And, that he believed that he had a right to keep them. And, he would use them if need be. He hadn’t had to kill another human being. But he always ended that sentence with “… yet!” I remember he often cowed my Dad into silence when he delivered a now familiar quote: “Victim disarmament is the view that it is somehow better to see a woman raped in an alley and strangled with her own pantyhose, than see her with a gun in her hand.” I was becoming a woman and I knew a little about sex. It was supposed to be beautiful when the time came. I went to the internet to read about rape. I understood my uncle’s revulsion with that criminal act. Somehow I felt safe when he was around. I remember how he talked about his guns as if they were people or virtues. He called them: “Vengence”, “Justice”, and his favorite “Peacekeeper”. He said had them in his house ready to defend as needed. Once time he confided that Peacekeeper’s safety was getting to hard for him to operate. And, that he’d solved that problem like his Great Aunt did before the War with rubber bands. He had rubber banded the grip safety so all he’d have to do was point and pull. My Mom and Dad were shocked and asked if that was dangerous. He laughed and said: “Nah! As long as when at my desk, I don’t bang it with my knee.” 
I don’t know why that stuck with me.

Fast forward. He died about a month ago. And, there’s a bunch of legal reasons why his house has to be left alone until everyone can clean it out. But, that being said, it’s just sitting there. Mom goes and collects the mail. Waiting for the papers to arrive. She’s sad about it, and not looking forward to the job.

This spring I started to, as my Mom puts it, bloom. I can see the physical changes. Everyone is treating me “different”. And, I get happy and sad for no reason. It’s all part of “blooming” as Mom said.

But there has been a bad side to this.

At my school, boys and girls go to class together. You have all sorts of different types: nerds, jocks, punks, emos, and some you can’t label. There’s a group of boys that are just gross. And, they pick on certain girls. Up to now, I’d been invisible to them. But as I started to “bloom”, they began to target me.

I didn’t know what to do.

At first, it was just talk. Dirty talk. About how they’d “help” me along. Then, they’d touch me. In the hall, brushing me. Then, they’d grab my butt. I’d come home and cry. Lately, they’d been sending me messages on my phone and putting porn in my locker through the slots. Always telling me how good they’d make me feel. And, soon. One of the leaders seemed to have me staked out. In his mind’s eye. Today, in school, he walked up to me and grabbed my breasts with both hands and squeezed. Hard. I slapped him. He laughed and said: “Today, after the bus drops us off, I’m gonna drag you behind a bush and do you. You ready?” I was in a panic. What could I do. Sitting in class, I remembered my uncle’s desk and what he said about victims. “No one in their right mind should want to be down range of a crazed woman with a gun. Women can kill when they are threatened. Like a Momma Bear with her cubs or woman about to be raped. I trust them to know when to fire. A criminal should be killed.” I did have a right to defend myself.

My uncle told me so!

My tormentor was on my bus home. The bus ride home was hell. He was in the back with his friends laughing and smirking. I was resolute. I sat by the driver. Uncle’s house was a few stops before mine. When the bus stopped, just as the last kid exited, I sprang off. Without looking back, I walked to Uncle’s house. My tormentor got off at the next stop about ½ block away and was running after me yelling something. I walked up the driveway, opened the garage door, entered, and locked it behind me. Uncle never did get that garage light fixed; it was always on. Picked my way through the maze of stuff to the door that led to his den. Locked the door behind me. Push aside his chair and scooted under the desk pulling the chair back in. There on the underside of the desk it was. “Peacekeeper”! I slid it out very gently. Like a sleeping snake. It was a gun just like on TV. It was heavy. But felt cold to the touch. I used two hands like they do on TV and just held it out in front of me. My uncle’s words echoed TV’s message: “Finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.” And waited.

It wouldn’t be long. I heard the banging on the garage door. Then window break. “Where are you, you tease. You’re only making this harded and me madder. It’s gonna really hurt and I’m going to enjoy you.” I heard noises. Some far. Eventually getting louder. “I can smell you.” The door to the den opened, and the tormentor was in the room. I was frozen in fear. Could he really smell me? Like dog or a wolf. “There you are? Come to daddy.” And the chair was pulled out. And, he reaching for me.

Finger to the trigger.

Explosion. Light flash. The brightest light I’d ever seen. The loudest noise I’d ever heard.

My uncle’s words to Dad echoed. “Pull the trigger until the gun locks open. Then use it as a club.” So I pulled. It wanted to shoot the ceiling, but I dragged it down to the floor. Five, Seven, Nine? Eventually the thing did lock open. The smell was terrible. I’d never smelled anything so gross. The charcoal grill, burnt meat, and a disgusting bowel movement all in one. Maybe I wet myself?
But my tormentor was nowhere in sight. I couldn’t see much. Blind! I felt around and there was a purse there. Open, with stuff in it, I could feel bullets and metal. So I put the gun in the purse.

Now a long time ago, Uncle had a dog. And, under his desk, was a doggie door. It was a big dog. Uncle was lazy and hated to get up to let the dog out. After the dog died he put a latch on the door to “keep the critters out”. I felt for the latch and let myself out. 
I walked home. Wondering what to do next?

My uncle’s voice gave me that answer too. To my Dad, he’d often say: “Shoot, shovel, and shut up.” So that’s what I did. Before going in the house, I went to my school project garden behind our garage and planted the purse. Our dog came out began licking my face. And, making a noise I’d never heard. Like it was telling me “I’m glad your home safe.” I was safe! And, a woman. Maybe not all the way. But I knew I was a powerful woman.

Went in the house, Mom asked: “How was school?” “OK.” “You’re late.” “I got off a few blocks early. Felt like walking. I was stiff from sitting all day.” “OK, but do your home work, practice tonight.” “OK”.

Today, I want to school; unafraid of the bully. Secure that, when I have sex, it will be with the boy whom I choose. But the school was all a buzz, with the report of a missing child. Our friends, the Police, were asking each class if anyone saw him. Me, and bunch of others, dutifully reported he was on the bus. Others said that he got off before his usual stop. No one reported what a pig he was. I was following Uncle’s last bit of advice: “Silence”. Today in library, I listened to a YouTube video: “Never talk to the police”. So, when I’m questioned, as I’m sure I will be, I’m just going to be a young girl too terrified of them to speak. Works on TV. Figure when the court papers, that my Mom is waiting for, come everyone will find out what happened to the “poor lost child”. The predator pig! Wonder if they’ll figure out what happened? Wonder if they will figure out that I’m the murderer? Wonder if I’ll go to jail?

Once thing is for sure, Uncle was right. Thanks, Uncle! School was OK today and I’ve learned some of that “stuff” you were trying to teach me. I’ve decided. I’m never going to be a victim.

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WRITING: Entering

Monday, January 16, 2012

Entering

The captain walked to the back of the hovel. “All secure, Sergeant?” “Yes, sir.” “Report!” “3 of ours KIA, 2 WIA, 4 natives wasted. We breached as planned. No resistance; till we found the old man in the back bedroom. He started firing; caught us by surprise. Number One, WIA, was the first man; lost an ankle. The next three caught rounds in the face; killed instantly. Including the Louie. Fifth, a knee. Sixth, Tom, got him. The men wanted some payback and wasted 3 other ragheads.” “Very well. Get the wounded back to base fast. Load the dead. Search for weapons and contraband. Back to base for replacements. And, get an new interpreter. Can’t believe we hit the wrong address again.” The captain went over and took a shiny new Colt 1911 from the dead old man’s hand.

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? . . .” — Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The captain wondered what it would be like at home if this was done. Result would be the same. Resistance? Can’t afford to lose three men in security operations. This adventure would end quickly. No way 100,000 Americans could police millions of ragheads. Be the same at home. Anyone’s home. Maybe next time they’d just go for a ride around town and back to base. He had family he wanted to go home to. They all had family they wanted to home to. Even the ragheads had family they wanted to go home to. Damn politicians!

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WRITING: The big pension

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The big pension

He read the story on the political website, but didn’t comment or blog about it. A politician works the system and gets a pension four times that of the President’s salary. His meager life had always been good enough for him while his wife was alive. Now with her passing, he was mad. Crazy mad. At the doctors. At the system. At all the things undone. Time to take out some anger.

It was really trivial. Google maps the politician’s home. Google all the stories. Google the likes and dislikes. The woman was a dog owner. Pets have to be walked. Take down the pocket rocket box that his wife had never opened. Load it. And wait for nightfall.

Park around the block. Get out and walk around. Twice. Here comes the woman walking her pet. Just walk by. Stop, draw, turn, and fire. Walk calmly away back to the car. Drive directly to the Staten Island ferry. Pay the man and drive on. Fifteen minutes late. Get out of the car and walk to the rail. Gun goes over the side.

The police were mystified. All the fruits and nuts who commented or posted. The various three letter agencies all looked for a pattern. The media lamented that a dedicated public servant never got to enjoy her well earned pension. A story was even planted about another similar case. But our cowardly hero was out of the business. After all he only had one pocket rocket. And, it was the pattern, even random, that would catch the culprit.

Another politician decided that was no fluke and he passed on the opportunity to do the same thing. Another internet patriot put two and two together and blogged the story. And, another lonely old woman said that might be something she could do with her husband’s old hand gun.

Who says that one anonymous old man can’t change the world? It just requires some “wet work” by patriots.

Again!

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WRITING: Dog in the manger

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dog in the manger

“We’ll be back in the morning with your new roomates.” The TSA “housing officer” turned and stomped out.

Well they had finally caught up with him. Having one person living in the ancestral three bedroom hovel was indeed not “fair” to all the folk who had less. It was up to him to share as Big Brother decided was equitable. But he’d been paying, and would continue to pay. Well, the time had arrived. It would be dark soon.

He walked outside and took two thin little sticks taped to the downspout and found their place in the lawn. One taller than the other. It went furthest from the house; the shortest closer.

It’d been a good house. Filled with joy. Of course, there was sadness. Who can balance such things. But it was his. He paid the mortgage off in good times and bad. He’d paid the ever increasing taxes that made him feel like a renter. Or a serf to the feudal lord. He couldn’t be any more attached to it than if he’d actually mowed the lawn for himself. There were no children to leave it to, but still the State didn’t have the courtesy to wait until he died to steal it. He knew that any protest was futile. Redress of grievances would have to wait for a higher court.

There were a few last chores to do. He took a ride in the ratty old truck around town with a little box glowing green. Its mates woke up from their slumber and glowed green in sympathy. He drove to the park. A little less than a mile away. Where the happy couple had thought their children would play. Every time he passed, he thought that way. Who’d have believed that it would end this way. At least, she wasn’t here to see it. That made him free. He was uplifted as he walked back from the park.

But it would be dark soon. He had his last meal in the old house. Oatmeal. That’s all he could afford. He then packed a small kit to take to the new world. If he made it. Anything of value was in that. Wife’s ring, his diploma, picture of his first car. Those were the idyllic days when anything was possible. Before the boot on the neck. And the little entrenching tool from WW2. Where had that been. Never in as desperate situation as now.

At full dark, he turned off the light. Opened the valves. Waited for his eyes to adjust. Let himself out and walked to the park. It was dark. He was in black. And, no one cared. One didn’t look out one’s windows these days. Better not to see the experiment ending.

To the park and up that little hill commanding the heights. Six paces from the top marker towards the house, five at starboard forty five, and dig. The ground was hard from decades of sleep. When the Government first said his tools were “illegal”, he’d stored them for a rainy day. And, they were so stupid they couldn’t remember he had them. Three foot down. Half the distance for a grave. Would be if he was found. There were the long laid down tools. In pvc tubes, dirty but unbent. He laid the three side by side. This was the Rubicon. In the twinkle of an Irish Eye, the thought came: “It was her house.” That decided it. The thermite was struck and immediately flared. As if it had been freshly placed. The tools emerged from their long sleep. The dry ice, solid no more, smoked like a cigarette from the white tube casket. “George” and “Martha”, twin 45’s, were holstered once again. “Little Joe”, an American sten, was loaded and primed. And, finally, “Big Ben”, all 12 pounds of his 50 cal frame, was ready to rock.

From his fighting hole, he deployed his cover. The enemy would control the air. But, if he was lucky, and they were up to their usual subpar, he could escape after his task. His estimates wandered from slim to none. With stops at crazy, and what have you done. False dawn passing. His sweat cooled. He smelled homeless which would soon be true. But he carried his home in his heart. Along with the murder he was about to do. Peaceful by nature, never to strike the first blow, he respond to this aggression, with a kick in the nuts. Be careful of the quiet ones. Still water runs deep. Courage is to bear the little insults and respond to the big ones with all the outrage of a mother bear defending her cub. Homes are not cubs, but they can be symbols. Of what should have, might have, or could have been. Hence ikons of faith and hope. There’d be no charity here. Dawn.

Time to get to work. There were distances to confirm, angles to mark, little sticks to line up, and prayers to be said. Quickly done for it was mere a repeat of what had been planned. Drilled in the mind’s eye during each affront and insult. That glassy eyed stare at the “Nazi du jour” was not apathy. But vengeance being planned. Beware that stare should it be aimed at you. The bell tolls. That bell’s for you.

It was really anticlimactic. At first, he thought they wouldn’t show. But about 10, they did. Four cars. One truck. A squad of sixteen men. Six officers. One of whom was that “housing officer”. Three men and a officer blocked the street. Three men each to a sides of the house. The ones going on the closest side broke those sticks without noticing. No matter the mark had been set at the business end. It was really child’s play. He had no time to watch the show; there was work to be done. “Big Ben” ate 15 at a time, so there’d be a reload or two. Quick would be the word and sharp at the mark. For this was his.

It sounded like a cannon, but, in truth but a whisper, silence is golden and a silencer is de rigueur. Like Sargent York’s instruction about geese, you shoot the ones who can’t be seen by the others. Bang, bang, bang, bang, … as methodical as driving nails with a nail gun. The Misguided Children were right. Let God sort them out. The road guard disposed of. He took the back guard. They were easy the one facing back was first. Facing the back next. Finally, the guy who realized he had only seconds. He could see his eyes widen in terror. No matter. The time for realization that one was a “Nazi” was long ago. Today there was merely retribution. The officers in front next. By now, they’d figured out that they were “Custer” and someone else was “Sitting Bull”. Old ideas die hard. And, misperceptions deadly. They’d done this to the sheep so many times that they’d forgotten that there was a thing called a sheep dog. They paid with their lives. Running for cover was an amusing attempt. A 50 cal is no match for a car door. Put two in and watch the blood drip. But there was still the living to tend too. One obvious vet had thrown himself down to play dead. Since he wanted to play, I helped him to be realistic. A few threw down their weapons and put their hands up. Sorry, this isn’t the movies. This is Fifth Generation War. Bang, bang, bang.

The clock in his head was ticking louder and louder. Ammo was no problem; time was. Some one had to have called for help. If he was to survive, he’d better be quick. And lucky. He paused to survey the killing field. He thought he got everyone. But need to be sure. None should survive. Maybe that was a bad plan? One should of to tell the tale. Nah, he’d stick to the plan.

Then he heard the tell tale noise. Rotors. His life had gotten shorter. Maybe he could hit his miracle shot. The copter would be over the house. That was 800 meters. Let’s guess and altitude of a 1,000 feet. At eight inches per thousand drop on a level. What’s the drop at say 45 degrees? Aww, hell, there’s no time to calculate. If he even could. Call it 16 mils and aim high. “Big Ben” said “feed me”. So AP it was. Only five. They cost a cspot each at the local black market. Fired four at the bird. And may have got lucky. It spun off with smoke.

Time to bring the curtain down. So far we’d been lucky. Me and my friends — George, Martha, Little Joe, and Big Ben. But luck runs out and sevens always come. And the double zero is there to break up red and black. So into the stock where those two sticks lined up. And one AP round into the buried gas meter later, the old house was history. The gas in the house, fired by the gas at the meter, put splinters for meters. The smoke was amazing; the flame not bad either. Be long time before anyone could get near her.

So it was time to move on. “Big Ben” said “more”. But we were low on ammo and the targets were covered with wood chips. Slung Ben. Picked up Joe. And, quick march to the truck. This is where it could get dicy. Would anyone have figured out where the highpoint was? “Little Joe” was for that last fire fight. As I emerged from the park I still saw no one. Maybe some disadvantaged urban yutes inspecting cars but they were up the block. I think they saw Little Joe. Maybe they just saw a killer and decided “professional courtesy”. Either way Little Joe went on the front seat. Big Ben to the back. On the floor; not the rack. As I crossed the main road, I figured I need to give the Gooferment something else to think about. Pressed the button and a red light lit. Could hear the explosions. The high point looked like a volcano. Amazing what diesel, fertilizer, and some PriD do. Time to concentrate on the road.

Six non-stop hours later, he was in the Free State thanks to the back roads. He stopped at the first bar. After a pit stop, he ordered his first scotch in his new life. “Barkeep, is my gun safe in my truck?” “Sure, but feel free to bring it in. Everyone else does. Like Heinlein said.” Yup, the Free State! He’d made it. Just lucky.

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NANOWRIMO: Loser’s party!

Friday, December 2, 2011

http://www.hillarydepiano.com/2011/12/01/so-you-didnt-win-nanowrimo-this-year-you-should-still-be-proud-of-yourself-for-trying-even-if-you-fell-short/

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NANOWRIMO: I failed

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I was unable to complete the challenge.

No excuses, but I chose to work on other higher priorities.

Maybe next November.

Argh!

Feel bad, but that’s what happens when you say “yes” to quickly.

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