Writing is ricocheting all over the inside of my mind. So much stuff bouncing around, like rubber balls in a metal room, and although it’s fun to watch, and to listen to all of this stuff, it’s difficult to sit down and writing about one thing at a time.

Rough Draft, New Idea

The limb collided with her face and stopped the panic running. Nearly unconscious, she found herself facing up, looking at the sky through the limbs of the trees, and suddenly, fear returned. The bear was still out there. It might arrive at any time.

            She tried to stand, fell, then lurched to her feet. Trees, more trees, and trees was all she could see. The sky was still there, seen in patches through the trees, tall evergreens, but even as the idea of being lost struck, the light of the sky seemed to be fading.

            Her shoulder hurt. The bear, huge and brown, had grabbed her pack and dragged her into the woods. She managed to get the pack off, and ran, and ran and ran, but now where was she? Where was the bear?

            Downhill would be toward water, but the ground sloped down, then back up, or did it? Too many trees were around to tell. But standing still seemed wrong. She walked without any idea what direction.

            The darkness seemed to close in tighter with every step. Now she was the terrain was getting steeper, but turning back seemed to be a terrible idea. The air was growing colder, too. She heard a noise, a voice, a woman, maybe, then a man’s voice, a light, a small light, she stumbled towards the sound, and the light, and saw a man and a woman having sex by flashlight, no, the man had his hands around her neck, she was pleading for him to stop.

            She approached the two, saw a rock on the ground, and hit the man in the head as hard as she could. The woman on the ground was half naked, gasping for breath, but could stand. They walked to the man’s truck, the gasping woman could only point now, but they got into the truck and started backing out of the woods.

            The man came out of the darkness, a knife in his hand, lumbering towards his truck and she screamed. The bear was behind the man, charging, snarling, and grabbed him by the neck and took the man down.

            “You okay?” the cop asked at the Emergency Room.

            “Yeah, I think so, how’s that woman?” she asked.

            “Bad, but alive. You saved her life. You know who that man was, the one you fed to the bear?” the cop looked serious.

            “No, I ran from the bear, I had no idea where I was,” she shook at the memory.

            “He’s killed six women. We’re calling him the Green River Killer.”

/

Light rain pelts the windows, almost silently, with the dream world now hesitating to come forward, pushed back by memory brought to the front by the sound of rain in the darkness. Minutes, moments, clinging like tiny drops of rain on the plastic sheeting we have covered the windows of the old house, a decrepit thing, but a woman lived there with her boyfriend, and her three kids. We played poker there, smoked pot, drank too much, and the house never had a lot of heat, never had air conditioning, but we did put plastic over the windows. This was the place we all went to hang out, to crash when we needed a place to sleep, and as my best friend was the boyfriend of the woman, I was a regular.

A mutual friend was in town, a woman who I had a past with, someone who was speaking to me again, warily, both of us damaged by spending time together, and she was in a state of flux, again, between men, between places to live, between being a teenager and being a little girl, and being a mother.

I remember she sat in a rocking chair, the rain outside light, slow, the rhythm unsteady on the plastic, but audible, and the rocking chair moved ever so slowly.

“I hear you joined the army,” she all but whispered, the child in her arms asleep.

“I hear you’re getting married,” I replied, and it wasn’t true, I hadn’t heard that. I heard she had broken up with her boyfriend.

“No, we’re just hanging around like a couple of dumbasses,” she said, and began to cry, the tears as light as the rain.

I remember her saying that sentence, because it seemed so unlike her to say something like that. It was a bitter statement of discontent, loneliness, and frustration.  I had a very rare moment of wisdom, didn’t speak, and instead I handed her a paper towel that was laying on the table nearby.

“Thank you,” she said, for the act of kindness, and the ability to wipe her eyes.

“You know, Mike, one day soon, I mean look at him, he’s nearly five now, he’s going to be too big to rock like this, to hold onto like this, and one day he won’t want me to hold him, and he’ll push away to get down from my lap, and one day it will be the last time we do this together, like this, with him asleep and me holding him, and I don’t want to lose that moment when it happens,” she choked on the words.

The house was quiet, except for the sound of rain, lightly in the background now, and the rocker’s music, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

“You’re going away, no one knows where, even you don’t, and your mama is going to lose track of where you are, and one day my son is going to do something like this, be gone, and I’ll be there wondering when the last time I’ll see him for a year, or longer, or never,” she whispered this fiercely, as if there was a rage inside of her fed by loss she felt coming.

I didn’t speak again, but left her in the moment. That moment, the time in which I could have said something, but didn’t, ended.

Two years later, I came back from the Army, a different person, someone who was not the same. I got a call the day after I returned. The woman had been murdered in a robbery. A daughter almost two, and a son that was nearly seven left behind.

Take Care,

Mike

The Crash and Burn of Donald Trump

2023 is going to be an interesting year for American politics. The January 6th Committee has referred serious charges against a former president. Most members and former members of the Justice Department believe these charges will come to fruition. Few believe we will see Trump in an orange jumpsuit, but it’s no longer out of the realm.

Meanwhile, other than his bewildering cosplay as various alpha male role models in the NFT world, Trump has remained both still and silent. With Ron DeSantis becoming the Republican to beat in the next election, and Trump’s star diminishing after the beating his candidates took in the midterms, the true choices for Trump are narrowing.

His first choice is to drop out of the race to defend himself in court. This takes him well out of the spotlight, and makes Trump irrelevant, something that he is loathe to do for any reason. At his age, 76, Trump has to know the odds of another election are nearly zero. This is his last chance to be on the stage again.

The cards have fallen harshly against him. Assailed by both the state of New York and Georgia, Trump’s legal woes worsen every day. Republicans who once flocked to kiss the hem of his garment, are now backing away, and some are publicly saying Trump should not endorse candidates, and certainly not run again. Trump’s run seems doomed.

His options if he quits seem dire. He’s ravaged DeSantis as a pretender, yet in this, Trump could find salvation. An adept liar, Trump could simply deny ever saying anything derogatory about DeSantis and throw his support behind someone who could issue Trump a full pardon for all his sins since the beginning of time. Trump has grifted millions in his time, and likely broke more laws than we’ve discovered. DeSantis could win over the Deplorables, take the middle of the road Republicans easily, and the next election would be his to lose.

The downside to this is Trump, even if he can deliver votes, may be so incredibly toxic that he drags DeSantis down with him, and might even do just that, just to spite the Republicans for dumping him. Unstable and unmanageable, Trump is a scary force to be reckoned with for friend and foe alike.

Which leads to yet another scenario, in which Trump manages to escape himself. Trump could use back channels to contact Biden, who is no stranger to political maneuvering. After all, you don’t think Biden was really everyone’s favorite, do you?

Trump makes a deal with Biden for the pardon. Then Trump goes full blown Trump on the Republican party, wrecking down ballot races and sabotaging DeSantis. Biden, after the election, has Trump arrested and no one believes Sleepy Joe would have ever cut a deal with him.

American politics has dropped to the level it is now a beauty contest for whichever baby is screaming the loudest. Bereft of true policy, the ability to govern, or so much as acknowledging they should, politicians now play a game to see who can be the best of the lesser evils. There are no goals, no great programs to enrich the lives of citizens, just endless fund raisers, kowtowing to donors, stump speeches aimed at rousing the rabble, with more and more money being poured into this mess each and every year.

Trump, sadly, is only a manifestation of the problem, not the problem itself.

Whatever happens, we will get more of the same.

Take Care,

Mike

Illumination

 

High above the cold morning are cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds, scattered yet together, and the light coming through isn’t direct, nor is it shaded. It’s the same density of light we get in the summer, when the air is so thick with moisture even on a cloudless day the light is diffused and weakened. Not the heat, mind you, from May to September the heat is never weakened, not even by the deadest part of the night.

But today it is cold. The light has been diminished, not enough to really tell, unless you like photography, and you notice the light. Photography, no matter the level or purpose, is a study of light. If one wishes to do well with a lens, there must be an understanding of light, shadows, density, strength, and direction.

I step out of the truck, for the second time today, to take a photo of the sky. Dawn doesn’t demand any sort of greeting, but it’s rude not to stop and say hello, and thanks for the display.

Close to midmorning, there’s more of a mixing of the paint, a stirring of sorts, planning for some mono-colored work, perhaps, something undefined and indefinable, abstract if you will.

When you begin looking for light, looking at the light, in a different light, not for sight, but illumination in a manner of speaking, you can understand why the writers reads. It’s a study of the pattern of letters, for what purpose and method has nothing to do with words, or sentences, but again, of illumination.

Take Care,

Mike

Reduction

Centuries ago, your spaceship lifted off from a dying planet to find a new home. One million people inhabit this ship, which recycles the water, uses fusion energy, and has enough food stores to last for the length of the trip. The ship is one vast metal city, with all the amenities of a ultra modern ecosystem where greed, want, poverty, crime, addiction, tribalism, and war is known only in history classes.

As Captain, your chief advisor, who is the ship’s computer has some disturbing news one morning. In one hundred years, you will reach the planet which has been the destination of the ship for the last thousand years, but probes sent have recently shown an asteroid has destroyed all life on the planet, and it will not be suitable for at least another five to six thousand years, at best.

The ship you are traveling in does not have an infinite lifespan. Built to withstand a lengthy voyage, it was also designed to shed its outer shell, which at some point would be weakened by radiation and impact with objects in space. If not shed, the shell will certainly collapse and its natural demise would be catastrophic.

The computer has a plan to dismantle the outer shell, which will revitalize the ship, and extend its life until the secondary planet can be reached.

The only issue is of the one million people onboard, one quarter of the population will have to be reduced, at least. One third would be optimum.

What is your criteria for this?