“Captain, we’ve got a real problem.”

“What problem?”

“They’re trying to cross the border again, thousands of them. Fleeing oppression, asking for sanctuary, lined up for miles on the Interstate. But shall we close the border?”

The captain climbed the observation tower and scanned the horizon. He gasped at the sheer mass of SUVs headed south. “Do we have any idea what they’re fleeing from, Corporal?”

“Best guess is the election, sir. You know how ridiculous the rhetoric became, near the end—really scary shit—intolerant, xenophobic, bigoted, and hateful.”

“So what happened?”

“According to the polls, he’s actually winning.”

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100 words. Inspired by this week’s 100WGCU prompt.

See also: Trumped Again.




Joining the march

I vow to spend not one damned penny on National Rampant Consumerism Friday.

Instead of working, REI is paying workers to go outside on Black Friday.

#optoutside is a downright brilliant idea. It’s visionary, with just a touch of brand marketing (which we’ll politely do our best to ignore.)

Unfortunately, I don’t have any nice scenic views to share with the internet, nor am I the outdoorsy type. But I can totally join in, support, and appreciate the stop-the-madness sentiment.

So instead I’ll spend the day at home, try and churn out some writing, do the kind of thing that makes me feel at ease.

And if it stops raining, who knows, perhaps I’ll even take a little peek at the nature just on the other side of my front door.

I could make this a holiday tradition, I really like this concept!

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Well, Christmas order placed

I suck at gifts. Everyone knows it, I always have.

So I ordered Annie’s gifts today. I can’t tell you what, of course (she spies on me!) But since I know she’s in for her annual letdown, I’ll have to be extra nice in December. Or something.

I wish some bright Phone Ap coder would develop an Expert System for gift selection. No, NOT to market the hell out of you by suggesting only “business partner’s” brands. Think of it more like a dating service, or Pandora (that selects music based on bands you like)–you could input everything you know about your spouse, answer these (50?) questions about her interests, likes, dislikes, etc.

Here’s a list of 100 close gift matches. Would you like to uncheck a few of these to help narrow it down? Would you like to add to it (scoff, remember you suck at gifting)?

Answer a few more questions, randomize; here’s your ten best gift ideas! [list] Want to select any of these, or maybe try again?

Sounds like too much work?

I’m just hoping that reading through a list of ideas might jog loose a non-sucky inspiration. (Eureka!!)

Gift selection for techy nerds. And helpless husbands.

RecDave Seal

We’ll let you know if she’s typically disappointed again this year. Hope she’ll forgive me, again.


If you can’t beat them

The mercenary army appeared in the village at sunrise. The butchery didn’t take long, well-armed veteran troops against helpless peasants. In less than an hour, the last scream died away.

Magister Ho shook the sole survivor in his gauntleted fist.

“Where is my former apprentice, Tuan Ti?”

The terrified peasant indicated a monastic outbuilding. The Magister nodded briefly with gratitude, and then his hand erupted into flame and plunged through the peasant’s chest.

Ho’s boot kicked the door open on the North side of the building, just in time to see a familiar face disappearing from the far doorway on the southern end of the monastery.

“So, Tuan Ti,” Magister Ho bellowed, stalking into the simple chamber where she kept her sleeping pallet. Hundreds of recently lit candles lined the long, narrow hall on both sides. “I see that you’ve been practicing. There was a time when your childish magic could not light even a single candlewick. So many at once, I am impressed.”

Tuan Ti sprinted for the boulder just behind the south door and dove behind it.

“Those aren’t candles,” she shouted back.

Everything on the north side of the boulder vanished instantly in a massive explosion.

“They’re bombs,” she whispered, removing her fingertips from her ears.

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209 words. Inspired by this week’s Picture It & Write prompt:

Who let the dogs out?

“Astaroth, do you remember our original plan?”

“To siphon all of Mankind’s wickedness down here into Hell and concentrate its mystic energy, to power the engines and increase the suffering of our guests. We’ve seen a thirty percent torment boost!”

“Excellent. We do have one little problem. You’ve left the lid off.”

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52 words. Inspired by this week’s Shapeshifting 13 prompt at Grammar Ghoul Press:

Photo provided by Grammar Ghoul Press

Stop telling me to be scared.

I’m not a Democrat.

None of the likely Democratic candidates inspires me, and I don’t agree with many of their talking points. But I find myself being pushed over into their voting column this year anyway, thanks to the circus antics taking place on the Other Team.

The Other Team keeps us Safe, and to prove it they started the last pile of wars. Including the “War on Terror.” It’s worked about as well as the “War on Drugs” (which is to say, it didn’t). Then there was the War on Iraq (cost us billions, was built on lies, and did wonders for terrorist group recruitment). Thank you, Halliburton.

The Other Team preaches Fear and Defeatism and Darkness and Despair. It preaches Intolerance, we need to build a Wall to keep those Scary People Out.

Berlin Wall?

We need to register and database these refugees, make them wear a patch that clearly identifies them. Surveillance on mosques.

Jews in 1939?

Better yet, send ‘em back where they come from, we don’t want their kind ‘round here anyhoo.

Klan in 1955?

Forget about those pesky American values written on the Statue of Liberty. We need to keep the Scary people out, by any means necessary. How’s that again? When did this happen?

Refugees. Muslims. Islamics. Radicals. Terrorists. Despite what you may have heard on the media, these are not synonyms.

The more extreme the Republican candidates get, the less likeable they are. The Republican Party has been using Fear to drum up votes since the Cold War (remember Commies? “Family Values?” “War on Drugs?” The Flavor of the Decade is “Terrorists”) It works amazingly well, and always has. Rich White People get really, really paranoid about hanging on to their first world advantage.

The Republicans weren’t quite as far around the bend in most of those previous elections. They were just (generally) propping up complete stiffs as candidates. But then, so were the Democrats, and the tradition of both parties propping up “no one you’d really want to vote for” worked out just fine for the last few decades.

This election, we have a billionaire demagogue who has views remarkably close to that mustachioed gentleman from Germany. And he’s being pushed further and further into the extreme Right by the other whackjobs in his debates.

And he’s extending his lead! Has this country completely lost its collective mind?

Be afraid, be very afraid, all the bloody time. There might be a nonwhite person sneaking up on your Walmart with a pipe bomb! Look at what happened in Paris!! Stampede to the Right and cower under your desks!

This is America.

Home of the Brave.

RecDave Seal

The Visitation

I’ve passed through the doors hundreds of times, without ever really noticing the architectural details. Over the door is a heavy stone arch, supported at either end with stone corbels featuring carved lion heads.

When I climbed the stair this evening, an unusual movement caught my eye. Turning and looking up, instead of a lion’s head I was shocked to see the visage of my former college roommate, surrounded by a ghastly greenish glow. Harley’s eyes widened, before he moaned at me, with the most eerie and dreadful tone. “Beware!”

I hadn’t thought of Harley at all in nearly over thirty years, nor had I touched a drop with dinner. I’m not commonly prone to wild flights of imagination or visitations from spectral harbingers. Yet here was Harley, or at least his face was.

He moaned a second time, “Beware!”

I stood dumbfounded on my porch step and stared upward at what was once again an unremarkable stone decoration. Was some Dickensian nightmare haunting me with images of roommates past, or was I simply losing my mind?

While I fumbled for my keys with shaking hands, I felt the sharp point digging into my back. “I’ll be having your wallet.”

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200 words, inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

The Root of the Problem

I close my eyes and lean back on the couch, seeking that daydream state. Somewhere, in the depths of my racial memories, in the murky brackish water of my subconscious swamp, there must be the germ of an idea and the seed of a mighty creative work waiting to be discovered.

I dream of root tendrils seeking nutrients from the creative clay, the humus of ideas past, now fallen and decaying slowly. In my imagination, the leaves rot to form another, fresh layer of nutrients that will feed tomorrow’s ideas. My roots try to find some purchase, some magic blossom of a simple, brilliant epiphany.

Somewhere back there, in the buried creative remains of my own and other authors must be the rapture that daydreaming sometimes turns up.

I can’t find it, not today, not this week. The racial creativity myth is a fable. My ancestors cannot or will not help me.

I don’t taste the sweet honey of any fresh ideas.

The only flavors I can find are rotten acorns and blind grubs, and slimy, wet black mosses that taste like death. The root of the problem lies inside the author. He has character, but it must be rotten.

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200 words. Uninspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

I don’t have writer’s block, denial

…well, not exactly.

I’m highly distracted, by television and twitter and facebook and all of those things I should know how to turn off by now. I used to prefer quiet to noisebox.

Now I’ve acquired a way to carry around a host of distractions in my hand, it’s only grown worse. I used to sneer at people who never put down their cell phones; and now I am one. Productivity, naturally, has taken a nosedive.

The more I learn about writing, the more critical I become of my own. And, when I feel discouraged, I can almost always find something to do that does not feel like an uphill struggle.

Nanowrimo left me behind. It depresses me that I don’t have the raw output (or the great idea, or even a rough plot) required to put into a novel-length work.

I edit while I’m writing; which is a really bad bad BAD habit.

I throw away ideas for being too trivial, or too difficult, or too big, or too small. My favorite haunts are part of the problem; a drabble is too small to contain “real” characters or “real” plots, yet I have no “markets,” no place to contribute longer fiction. So there’s another excuse to not write it at all.

And I’m drowning in unwritten ideas, yet cannot finish a story in time to match prompt [X] before deadline [Y].

Prompts aren’t helping, in my current state.

In short, I have ten thousand excuses to not write. Taking it way more seriously that necessary.

Psychoanalysis time! Doc, help me out of this Flop Sweat funk.

RecDave Seal

And reading all of that, I realize it is a classic writer’s doubt block, that I’ll need to learn to deal with. Let’s start with turning off the T.V. After this episode of Blindspot. And lunch. (fail)

One Ticket to Paradise

“So you’re telling me Paradise is an actual, physical place?”

“It is, Master. I’ve never been there, of course. Access is denied to beings of smokeless fire, such as I. They do say it’s very nice.”

“What if my final wish was to go there?”

“Alas, I cannot take thee. Most faiths allow for only a single path to everlasting bliss, as you know.”

“Phenomenal Cosmic Power comes with some severe limitations, eh? Hmm. Is there any way to game the system? How about… Could you at least get me close?”


“Like just outside it? Can you take me within twenty feet?”

“That is a most unusual idea. Yes, yes I believe I can do that, if such is your wish.”

“It is. I wish to be just twenty feet away from Paradise.”

“As you wish.”

Darkness, tightly confined. I could barely move my arms or legs. I turned my hand and felt around, but there was only cold, hard stone.

“Hey! Genie, this isn’t right.”

“Your wish is granted. Look up, Master.”

Overhead, a circle of blue, I could see clouds and sunlight. I’m sure I heard giggling.

“Paradise is now twenty feet directly above you.”

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Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Note the tiny note inside the hole: 6.1 meters (almost exactly twenty feet). There’s a documentary (about backup singers) that was called “Twenty Feet from Stardom,” providing another partial inspiration.