C is for Creedence Clearwater Revival

At the dawn of the ‘70s, Creedence Clearwater Revival were the biggest band in the world, ruling the American pop charts with a slew of acclaimed …

C is for Creedence Clearwater Revival

Living with Uncertainty

Hi everyone! Until recently, I have struggled with the idea of an ‘uncertain future’. I grew up in a family of government workers. In Turkey, if you …

Living with Uncertainty

Corona Shopping as the Planet Breathes (link)

Interesting title. The Corona Virus is preventing hundreds of thousands of people from taking a breath, but the planet is breathing in all the good it is doing for the Earth. Ironic, isn’t it? For the most part, I have been largely quiet on social media and other public forums about my thoughts and feelings regarding the whole worldwide pandemic and the Corona Virus business. I tend to get yakky when I am nervous. However, when I keep my mouth shut, something is awry.

I was okay with the whole panic buy thing. I mean, there are ways around not having toilet paper and being of the population this country considers ‘poor.’ I have had to come up with ways around that due to lack of funds. There is no doubt about that. Sure, I was bothered by the fact that I could not purchase our normal allotment of doody paper when we ran out and I was even bothered that I could not also purchase my favorite brand. Meh, but the sheeple flocked and I tried to stay out of it’s way and tried to maintain a status quo by improvising. It worked. One day, we were even lucky enough to happen upon a few rolls and we were back to where we needed to be. Sure, we could have purchased more and hoarded like everyone else. There is just not a need to do so. Besides, we have a back up plan in case. Back up plan. Ironically said.

Even before it hit the United States, it was still unsettling to watch the news every day as it slowly spread throughout China and then to places like Italy and from there. I felt like I was watching a cold molasses pour. That was how fast it took to make it hit home for me. Still, I felt relatively okay.

Fast forward to the time it hit the states. Businesses shutter, people supposedly staying away from each other, the government running around in a frenzied panic. Slowly, we all begin to watch in horror as they start setting up field hospitals in places like Central Park and on Red Cross rescue ships and other tent-like areas across the country for the sick to just lay in bed and wait. They wait for either to get better, be placed upon a ventilator, or they wait to die. There is no cure right now. There is no vaccine right now. Hell, it seems like they are even unsure as to what truly causes the spread as different news outlets (even on the same channel) all provide differing versions of the ‘official’ cause.

My state is one of the ones that has been a late adopter of any national trends. While all the states around us have a mandatory, state wide, shelter-in-place order, ours has a highly modified version and we can at least walk the dogs or go for a run. Of course, there are stipulations like no groups over 3 and social distancing. That is a given. We also do not have to have official ‘essential’ papers to go to work. Well, for those of us who are still working outside of the house.

Still, the world outside my front door is not what I have grown accustomed to.

As I have stated before when I read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss to my page, the world is starting to breathe because there is less emissions, less traffic, and the world is feeling a bit better as a beneficiary of this whole Corona Virus thing. It is so quiet during any time of the day outside. It smells better. The sky is even bluer. The animals are starting to come out. Honestly, I find this all fascinating and amazing. While it may seem terrible, it makes me better.

Yesterday, we went to the store for a usual grocery run. In my mind, the movies have finally hit home. While we are not witness to the tents and field hospitals, the store was different. There are regulations that open businesses have to follow. When we arrived, there were huge signs noting that the entrance on one side of the store was an entrance and the other, the exit. They had it blocked off inside with barricades and empty display containers. There were two workers standing just inside, past the carts, and we were counted as we walked into the store. They can only have so many people in the store and we had to ask if it was time for us to enter. Upon entering the barricades directed us to the far right of the store and there were employees walking around ensuring that people who did not arrive together remained six feet apart and groups were of three or less. It was eerily quiet in there and there were people wearing masks. Of course there is still a lack of toilet paper.

Further, there were things with notices of a maximum purchase limit of 2 per party and even apology notices of increased prices on certain things due to demand. Lucky for us, I went to purchase eggs and while the store brand had the increased price notice, (almost a 110% price increase!) I was lucky enough to find a different brand for a regular price. It was ridiculous to find store brand eggs, 18ct, at almost $4, where I could purchase another brand name, 30ct, for $2.79. Most of the time, the discrepancy is not that blatant.

Finally, going to the check out, there were stickers on the floor telling people to remain six feet apart. There was a worker there too, ensuring this was followed. There were signs saying that you could not put your items on the belt until the person in front of you was done. They had these huge plastic window type sheets that were protecting the cashiers from customers and the card machines were covered in plastic. Someone would come and wipe the plastic windows and covers on the card machines. The water fountains were covered and prevented from being used. They even had sentried employees at the restrooms allowing one person in at a time and went in to clean them when the one person was finished.

I can say it was a memorable shopping experience, but not a fond one.

I am not upset as I am fortunate enough to be an essential employee. I am honestly just tired. Ready for this whole thing to finally do it’s damage and die down or something to get better for the world. I also hope that the planet keeps some sort of benefit from this as it would help things a great deal.

Just my thoughts on the whole thing.

What do YOU think?

When Sleep Eludes Me… (language warning)

Disclaimer: It’s pretty sad that I have to put this but note that nasty comments or anything that turns this into a political spat or name calling will be taken down and reported. I find I have to do this more often because people forget that it is okay to have an opinion and that others can have different views without being wrong or looked down upon. This post is me being a reclusive American who is now terrified as others rush into her cave and reek with the smell of anything other than comfort. With each smoking breath of fear, little things are starting to bother me that used to be like water droplets rolling off a ducks back.

TLDR? If you don’t like what someone said, shut the fuck up and move along. There’s nothing to see here.

Normally, things don’t get to me much. I listen to what people say, don’t get me wrong. There is always something in what the conspiracy theorists have to say just like there is something in what the Christians, Monks, Atheists, and Pagans have to say. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs and views of the world and I think I do a pretty good job of not forcing my opinions on others. I have an open enough mind to listen and file the parts away I find interesting for use later. Even in the movies and in stories, there is some grain of reality in all of it. Cal always said, if it can be thought of, it has likely happened or will happen. For the most part, I have used that part as just a ‘what if’ scenario.

In light of recent events in this country and in the world, many of those ‘what ifs’ have come to light.

On a very small, personal scale, lack of sleep is something that has taken me over during the past couple of weeks. It’s not that I am not sleepy, my brain’s 7 minute off switch has broken. I have been trying endlessly to fix it and I can’t. Now the plan is to try and deal with it. I love my sleep. Hell, I need it. It’s just elusive now. So, there’s that.

Moving up from there, things like dealing with uncertainties about little things like groceries, our son’s trip to Italy being up in the air, the idea of having to give up what few things in this world I enjoy like coffee or my mind numbing puzzle games I play on my phone in place of watching television. (I have never been much of a TV watcher. It makes me sleepy but not that it’s helping with what I stated above. Yeah. Complicated, I know.) Also, I know I need to really deep clean the house, but the mere thought of it is so overwhelming, I can only do baby steps. Even those take a great deal of time and energy all of a sudden. This conundrum adds to the not sleeping part and is starting to make everything a huge circle.

Even beyond that, there has been this mysterious run on things like toilet paper. I think, as of yesterday the typical hurricane staples are even starting to run out. There are closures all over the place and even the kiddos are out of school for a couple of weeks. So long as they can keep on top of their work assigned, that won’t be a concern. But what if the closures go beyond the end of the month? What if it starts to become a cut throat kind of thing out there? There goes my joy of walking the dogs every now and then. Hell, I was already prohibited from doing that as much as possible due to the fact that I am not in the glorious protected areas of white society they call the ‘gated rich neighborhoods.’ Even there, it was starting to become unsafe with all the crazies. Or is it over population? Who knows.

As we continue to grow the circle on our map, there then becomes things I see going on in other areas within the borders of the state. Curfews, makeshift hospitals only before seen on television and in history books. Horror stories about people being mistreated because they are Asian or Italian. What the hell people? Then, beyond that where states are cancelling the rest of the school year and shuttering major money making events like the rest of the Major League seasons of our most beloved sports. Of course then we have all the rumors. Things like states considering self quarantine. What if I need to get to my mother or siblings? What about family not within our state’s borders? Here comes the mass hysteria. Mix that in with the sheeple mentality and you have a perfect recipe for something much bigger than the spread of a virus.

Internationally, people are turning to a manic President who, may have done a good thing or two but has been looked upon as a clown of this country or nothing more than a kid who plans on dying with the most toys just to win. The Trump Card. Really? I understand it may have been the boredom of the rich. It could also be the decaying mind of someone whose beliefs were established in a different time. A time where things were not supposed to be as out in the open as they are today. This is not a paragraph/post supporting or opposing the President of the United States. Nor, is it anything political. It’s just that historically, leaders during times like this, in my opinion, tend to be more…unimpulsive. (Is that a word? Spell check doesn’t think so, but it is the only way to describe what I am trying to say. Ugh, I must be tired.)

Finally, on a world wide scale, was this something that they seen coming and failed to let the rest of us know? Is it something that was a means of population control for a country that has already tried to limit how many children a family can have? Is it some experiment gone wrong? Is it a modern day version of the Black Plague? Why do so many other countries have recovery rates and some don’t? I tried in vain to search for recoveries in my country yesterday and of the half hearted look, I found none. Does this mean we are going to become socialists now that everything is being shut down? Isn’t socialism the next thing to communism? I have so many questions that there are really no answers to.

This, my friends, makes me tired. So off I go, to search for sleep that has not come for a few days. To find a nap that will be filled with vivid dreams of the government taking away a pit bull with a name of a chihuahua. (He walked into a ‘clean’ building and was untested. Long story. Fitful dream.) Away to seek solace in the blue stars I have seen on the backs of my eyelids my entire life only to find they are not really there.

I made a post the other day: We are all born dying. It just takes some longer than others. Interesting.

What do YOU think?

Fiction Prompt: Musical Stories: The Little Things Give You Away

I have always wanted to take a song and write my own story using the lyrics. This inspiration for a different kind of writing prompt came out of the originality of some music videos made for hit songs today. Be aware that I am in no way trying to monetize this but felt that I could create my own story. Listening to the song on repeat while reading the passage will produce the effect which I am seeking. I have not went back and edited this, I just wanted to try it and see how it went. All the credit for the song and lyrics to to the original holder, Linkin Park. I have no rights to this music or the lyrics. Here is the link for your reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qphxUyYA95s&list=RDqphxUyYA95s&start_radio=1

He stands at the edge of the levee looking down and watching her struggle as she slowly drowns in the icy water. He is without expression. Watching her struggle and reach for him. She has a look of pleading, a look of dispair. Her face also becomes blank as she stills and begins to sink into the dark abyss of water below. Her face is a porcelain doll fading away into a nothing. As he turns, the levee silently cracks and the line begins to draw itself down, down to the bottom and spread out like a fan. As it travels across the weakened concrete, lightning flashes and water begins to seep through the cracks. He walks away from the levee and makes his way home to his now empty apartment. It is really the little things. The Little Things Give You Away.

He’s sitting in his drab apartment watching the storm as it trundles through. Water Gray. He hears water running somewhere and attributes it to the rain. He watches Through the windows. Empty of feeling he gets up and decides to start packing. Up The Stairs. It’s cold. Chilling Rain. As he passes another window, he notes the street has begun to flood. The water is angry. Like an Ocean Everywhere.

He plays the scene over and over in his mind. It has always been hard for him to express his feelings. Emotion is just something that seems to vacate his heart when it really would help him convey feelings. He can see her pleading face as it remains under water. Her silent expression saying, “Don’t wanna reach for me, do you? I mean nothin’ to you.” There was no way to tell her the truth at that point was it. Yes, The Little Things Give You Away.

As he arrives in the bedroom, he can view the levee out the bay window. He stands there and takes in the scenery for a moment. No wonder the streets are flooded. Aloud, his unemotional voice barely a whisper, “And Now There Will Be No Mistakin’ The Levees are Breakin’.” He watched another piece of the levee get swept away. It was frighteningly near where he was just standing an hour ago. Thinking it must be his eyes playing tricks on him, he believes he watched her body sweep away as the water rushed through the broken levee.

Once, during a heated argument, she told him, “All You’ve Ever Wanted Was Someone to Truly Look Up To You!” It was a vivid memory as it was a tearful statement. Reminiscing, her expression then was the same as she floated away from him at the levee. Her voice flooded his brain akin to that of the levee flooding the valley below. “And Six Feet Under Water I do.” A chill ran down his spine.

He finished packing. At the door, he took one more look at the apartment. It was all her. It was filled with her presence and it felt like breaking glass. The apartment was owned outright and the taxes would be paid from a trust fund. If he never returned, it would continue to sit and decay on it’s own. Hope decays. Her family line ended with her and with both her parents gone, she would slip into the realm of the forgotten. Generations Disappear. He got in his car and drove away. His destination was half a world away. Soon, the levee waters would reach the apartment. Even though it would not reach up as high as their location, it would cleanse the land below. All of it will be Washed Away and nothing can be done as A Nation Simply Stares. This country will never come to fix this place. It will be forgotten and the people will still ask for help. Gotta love FEMA.

Years from now, he will still have nightmares. Waking from a cold sweat, he will see her face as it pleads for him to help her. He can’t and wont. As she sinks silently away from him, he can her her silky voice, “Don’t Wanna Reach for Me do You? I Mean Nothing to You. The little things give you away. ” He would wake up screaming. Only, it would still be a dream. She would be standing in the corner with her porcelain face. Expressionless, she would reiterate. “There Will Be No Mistakin! The Levees Are Breakin! The Little Things Give You Away!” She would scream at him in a gurgly voice. All the while, his mind would whisper to him, “All You’ve Ever Wanted Was Someone to Truly Look Up To You, and Six Feet Under Water, I do!”

Rubbing his eyes, he looked back up to where she was/wasn’t standing. Now, he is viewing a funeral site. There is no one there but the priest and grave diggers. A small radio plays a tune. In his mind, she sings to him: “All You’ve Ever Wanted Was Someone to Truly Look Up To You, and Six Feet Under Ground, Now I do!”

The priest tosses in the first hand full of dirt. He finally wakes up to his dirty little room. The remnants of her voice fading with the dream. “It’s the Little Things That Give You Away.” He repeated it aloud to no one at all. It’s the Little Things That Give You Away.

Here are the lyrics to the song by Linkin Park: The Little Things Give You Away (Source: LyricFind.com)

Water gray
Through the windows, up the stairs
Chilling rain
Like an ocean everywhere
Don’t wanna reach for me, do you?
I mean nothin’ to you
The little things give you away
And now there will be no mistakin’
The levees are breakin’All you’ve ever wanted
Was someone to truly look up to you
And six feet under water
I doHope decays
Generations disappear
Washed away
As a nation simply staresDon’t wanna reach for me do you
I mean nothin’ to you
The little things give you away
But there will be no mistakin’
The levees are breakin’ All you’ve ever wanted
Was someone to truly look up to you
And six feet under water
I do
All you’ve ever wanted
Was someone to truly look up to you
And six feet under ground now
Now I
Now I doLittle things give you away
Little things give you away…

Living in a Cadaver that Doesn't Fit

Riding through life in this vessel, many people find themselves in a foreign place. The find themselves lost in a cadaver with no place for comfort or really to call home. Unbeknownst to others, it is a lonely existence, despite being surrounded by all the family and friends one could ever ask for. No one on the outside can understand the loss felt and uncomfortable feelings that come with living a human life. Even a favorite blanket or hoodie leaves no solace for the soul who finds themselves cold and damp in a place their mind cannot see as theirs.

Waking up on a Monday morning is hard. It means an ill attempt at starting the week anew and starting over. It really is a big deal. It’s almost like trying to move forward with New Year’s resolutions. They are always big plans and are always so positive. However, the slightest thing can just make people go, “You know what? Not today. I just can’t.” That’s the sad part. So they wake up and it’s Monday and time to take a shower. Showers. When was the last time we took one? They go to look in the mirror and see their hair has become greasy and flat. Nothing new. Oh, same thing you had on since Friday afternoon when you come home from work. That’s nice. Staring at their reflection, they feels as if they are looking at a stranger. There is nothing familiar there. Of course it’s them. It’s a mirror for crying out loud. It’s their reflection. They just are not comfortable with what they see.

Now, before you go on about how that is so easy to change. For many of these people, it’s truly not. The adage, “It’s easier said than done” is the motto of their lives. Depression, mental illness, body dysmorphia, whatever you want to call it, are massive brick walls which impede even the simplest of tasks that the rest of us take for granted everyday. For those of us who do not live this life, it is hard to understand. Akin to that of a battered spouse, it’s not as easy as setting the intention to change and just doing it. Similar to those who find difficulty in quitting an addiction of some sort. Unless a person has convinced themselves that it’s time for change, it’s likely never going to happen.

It’s quite difficult to explain how miserable it is being a skinny person in a fat body. It feels… dirty. Couple that with depression, stress, and other things, and it is a soup full of self pity, self hate, and esteem issues that find no end. Eating is a thing that never argues and it tastes oh, so good. It’s just not good as it makes the cadaver grow expoentially. When this happens, and it will, it is a vicious cycle of diet and exercise only to lose the momentum and circle right back to it again. In layman’s terms? Misery.

The next time you see someone who is trying to tell you they are having a hard time with what they see in the mirror or they are feeling fat, well intention advice is generally not the way to go. Honestly, there is not a way to tread lightly on that subject as that is an internal fight that only they can try to win. Instead, just be there. Keep the advice at bay and talk about more inspiring things like what a wonderful day it is despite all the ick in the world. While that is not a catch all to save everyone, it is, for most of a step in a better direction.

What do YOU think?

FICTION: Happiness Mints

Ariel noisily flipped the box of Mints over on her desk with her middle finger. She leaned forward. Inhaling their intoxicating minty aroma, she eyed the calories and number of servings contained therein. 50 calories per serving of two pieces each. Noting the 14 servings per box, she snatched it off the desk, turned the box over in her hands and slid the tray out of it’s sleeve. The box was made for four rows of seven. Consciously, she ran the tips of her fingers over the remaining three rows. Ariel was currently not in a good place. This wasn’t going to help either.

As she sighed audibly, she tossed the sleeve on the desk, just out of reach in this position. Dropping the open box back on her desk, she went back to work. Only momentarily. Her eyes kept leaving the screen to find the open box of mints over and over. Ariel was not hungry but she knew the happiness that was wrapped inside each delicate foil wrapper. With each pause of typing, she would reach up with her left had and caress the mints laying in the box. Noting how each was laid in the box perfectly and relishing in the cool feel of he foil wrappers. She imagined tasting each and every one of them and the joy she would feel as they floated across her tongue.

No, no, no. She has to reroute her brain for this. This is exactly how she got to be over 300 pounds. There is no need for medication to do this and she should just not buy stuff like this anymore or just not eat it at all. It’s that easy! That’s what everyone around her says. She just has to get up from the table and ignore. But, it’s not really that easy and things don’t work like that for Ariel. She is obsessing over these mints. No amount of will power or just getting up and walking away is going to prevent her from consuming every single one of them in the next 10 minutes or so. She is sad and the only thing that brings her joy is eating. A plate never talks back to her. Cake and candy does not judge her nor does it give her a shameful look when she sits down to eat. There are simply no arguments.

Suddenly, a coworker walks by and pulls her out of her minty focus and she catches them looking at her. She reaches for the open box, to hide it in shame and they give her that look. Instantly, she feels worse than she did to start with. The coworker shakes their head silently and walks away. She got the message loud and clear. They mentally said to her that she doesn’t need to eat that as it won’t help her pounds go away.

Now, not only has she mentally been on a down hill spiral from being embarrassed earlier, she is now being called a pig in not so many words. Coming from the water cooler, she was called greedy over not holding a book for sale for someone who asked her to wait. Nevermind, it was made perfectly clear that the first editions she had for sale would be sold first come, first serve. How was that being greedy? Besides, the person who came first was paying less than the person who told her to wait. Following the rules does not make you greedy, right? Surely not. Now, here she is. Ariel already has her hurt feelings which caused her to buy the mints in the first place. She went to the store specifically for them. It was not like they were laying in her desk drawer calling her. (Albeit, that has happened before. Just not this time.)

She guiltily eyes the mints again and tries to return to her work. As she is working, she pulls one out of the tray and lays it, upside down on the paper in front of her. The flap of the mint wrapper slightly ajar as if inviting her to open it. When her last little bit of will power has left her, she slowly opens each one and eats them in several small bites. One by one, the mints become open, empty wrappers. As she eats the last bite, she angrily scoops up the wrappers only to crumple them into a ball, forcefully squish the ball into the tray and drops it into the trash can under her desk.

Right back to feeling bad. Not only embarrassed and guilty, but now she feels as if she has gotten bigger in her own skin. In time she will as this vicious cycle happens inside her brain every single day. Every dayum day she goes through this and she can’t will herself to stop.

Ariel begins to cry.

This is a never ending mental battle which has become a physical one. In her mind, the only way to console herself is to eat. Compound that with depression and it is a soup for a mental illness and an eating disorder. Without the resources to come to a resolve, this will be her existence for the rest of her life. How is Ariel to cope?

What do YOU think?

Acrylic Creek (2020 NYC Short Story Challenge 1st round entry)

Karen and Elaine, though nearly a world apart, find their love of paintings brings their notion of love at first sight close to home in the works of a series by of Mr. Humperdinck. Who would have known it would begin with a traveling circus performer and her affinity for carnival games?

Art and gentlemen always work in concert when it comes to making a woman fall head over heels in love. It continues through the generations and across the miles. Gentlemen the world over with their brilliant smiles, wooing women to succumb to man’s graceful nature and swooning at the drop of a hat. It’s a theme. It’s more commonplace than you think. More often, it could be the same gentleman time and again. Two such women, though miles apart, find themselves engrossed in art and have a love for paintings in particular. Nothing is better than a peaceful Acrylic painting of a peaceful Creek.

Karen swiped her foot across the sloppy terrain beneath her feet, sighing as she waited her turn at the balloon pop game in the carnival. She found herself wondering why she was so interested in the carnival. A circus performer herself, the world renowned hula girl of Campinas Traveling Circus was always fond of a good Carney game. It must have come from when she was little. Her Daddy always made sure she was afforded the opportunity to visit the carnivals when they came to town and he made sure she was able to ride every ride and play every game to her heart’s content. That was the more fond memories of her childhood. Daddy worked a lot but always had time for carnival games. With the circus being an alternative, when she was a teenager, she did everything she could to get a job at a circus. After five years of trying, she was finally able to get with the small Campinas group. Essentially, it was the job of her dreams.

She stepped forward and paid her two bills for three darts to throw at the balloons for a prize. Tonight, it was not going to take long. After playing these games for the majority of her life, she knew all the tricks. There was always some catch. She caught on to the weighted darts at an early age. Picking up the seemingly standard throwing darts, she held one out in her hand and considered it for a moment. She turned it this way and that. After thinking about it for a few, she tossed it. POP! The first balloon snapped with ease. She took aim with the other two with similar results. Karen was offered a prize off the first row.

After looking carefully, she pointed at the very bottom row, near the corner of the booth. The game operator looked at her incredulously. “Are you sure, Lady? That one is broken.” A pang of sadness went through her as she looked at the crack across the top third of the mirror. However, she still loved the picture enough to overlook the flaw. “It’s all right. I don’t mind. I still want it. I like the picture.” This was her reply as she put forth her best smile. The game operator leaned over, retrieved the mirror and dusted it off with his apron. “It’s your choice, Lady.” He said, and handed it across the pitted counter to its new owner. Karen flashed her most brilliant smile. Normally, it was one she saved for when she was performing, but the situation warranted it. “Thanks!” She about faced and happily walked away.

This was the only thing that Karen had come to the carnival for. Besides, it was time to go to work. As she left the carnival, she looked at her prize mirror. It was a familiar scene. A seemingly young girl holding a bouquet of flowers while resting on a grassy embankment. The girl was dressed in an innocent white flannel beach dress and wore a hippie headband in her hair. It had flowers akin to those in her hand. Barefoot and beautiful, the girls’ mane flowed down her back with a silky, flowing wave, just like the small creek before her. It was a peaceful and serene. She found it resonated with her and made her feel a calm that was eerie yet familiar. Being so wrapped up in her feelings about the painting, she nearly broke it when she walked into a gentleman at the entrance to the carnival.

“Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you. I wasn’t paying attention. Please forgive…”

“No need to apologize, my lady.” Said the most beautiful man’s voice she had ever heard. Astonished by the courtesy, Karen finally looked up and into the greenest of eyes. Immediately smitten, she gathered her spilled belongings and stood up. “My name is Karen. I work at the circus across the way.” She held out her hand for a shake. Instead of shaking her hand, the man gently grasped her fingers, raised the back of her hand, and brushed it with his lips. “The pleasure’s all mine. I know where you work. Allow me to make an introduction. I am Edward Humperdinck.”

With dawning recognition, Karen opened her mouth to speak. Unfortunately, nothing came out but a series of stutters and coughs that nearly brought her to her knees. Karen was holding audience with her most favorite painter in the world, Edward Humperdinck. He created fantastic paintings of which Karen adored ever since she could remember. “How do you know me?” she coughed. Mr. Humperdinck held out his arm for Karen as only a gentleman would. Not answering her query immediately, he replied. “I know you have a show soon, let me walk you to your tent and I will explain.” They exited the carnival and made their way to the circus grounds, making their way across the field and parking lots. While they were walking, Mr. Humperdinck told her he was a fan of the circus and the one she worked for was one of the better acts to come through. He went on to say he never missed a show and how he loved the lesser known circus acts like the performing dogs, organ monkeys, and the hula hoop girls. He went so far as to note the first year she performed with the Campinas Hula Girls.

Karen’s face was full of astonishment. She didn’t know she had a fan. She had a fan who was a beautiful man. Her heart fluttered in airy amazement. She tried hard to recall the age of the famous painter, but it was a fleeting memory. She simply could not remember. Looking at him, you would think he was in his mid twenties. He was just too good looking of a man to be someone of her father’s age. Bringing her out of her thoughts, he asked her if she would go for a walk with him the next afternoon. He found her beauty striking and wanted to paint her. Thrilled at being a subject of a painting for the likes of Edward Humperdinck, she gleefully accepted. He left her at the entrance to her dressing tent, tipped his hat, always the gentleman, and gracefully walked away. She let out a girly squeak and bounded into her tent to get ready for her show. Karen felt like her heart was going to burst with love.

Knowing that she just met this man, she felt swept off her feet and when it was time to do her show, she peered out into the stands. She found him on the second row near the area her act performs. Mr. Humperdinck found her gaze as he spied her peering through the performers’ curtain entrance a stunning grin flashed across his face and he nodded at her in acknowledgement. There he sat, courtly and proper, waiting for the show to begin.

Karen gave the best performance of her life during that evening. After the circus show was over, she rushed to her dressing tent and changed into something more appropriate for an evening stroll into town. A comfortable off-white beach dress she had borrowed from one of the tarot card readers in her group. She met Mr. Humperdinck at the tent entrance and, as expected, he held out his arm like a gentlemen. Off they went on their evening stroll. They spent the rest of the evening walking around the perimeter of the carnival grounds talking about the circus, where they came from, art, and everything they felt they had in common. Karen’s cheeks remained flushed like a girl in love. As they arrived at her tent, Mr. Humperdinck gently lifted her chin and swiped at her lips. “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. I shall return in the morning. I want to paint you!” He stared intently into her eyes. His gaze seemed to be staring into her soul. “Absolutely!” she nearly whispered while never turning from his gaze.

He reached down, gently grabbed her hand and kissed it farewell. “Until morning, my lady” he said and bowed. Replacing his hat, he about faced and gracefully walked away. Karen could not keep her composure and ran into her tent where she jumped up and down and squealed like a teenager smitten. She has never felt so in love in her life! Her heart was aflutter. This was it! She finally found the one. Floating amongst the furniture in her tent, she readied for bed as she wanted to look refreshed in the morning when he came to retrieve her for their sitting.

At promptly eight in the morning, Mr. Humperdinck arrived with his art bag, a fold up easel and that brilliant smile. Karen rushed out of her tent. Immediately she asked if she was over dressed. “No, my lady, this is perfect!” She looked down at her white gypsy garb and spun around in a circle. “You think? My friend let me borrow it.” His brilliant smile was all the approval she needed. He held out his arm, like a gentleman, and away they went.

After walking for about ten minutes, they veered off toward the creek where he told her he had a spot already picked out. On the way, she found some flowers growing in a patch of morning sun. She stopped to pick a handful. “You know, I am not usually up this early in the morning. The world is so beautiful this time of day!”

“You make it even more so.” He told her. This made her heart skip a beat. After they entered the opening, Karen noticed there was grass all the way to the bank of the creek. “Over there, my lady,” he pointed. “Sit in the middle of the grass and watch the creek. You don’t have to sit still, but stay faced in that direction.” Karen, light on her feet, bounded down to the grass and plopped down in the velvety green. Promptly she took off her sandals. The air was warm and sweet. The grass felt good on her toes. Since it was going to take awhile, Karen began to fashion a wreath of flowers.

Selecting one every now and then off the fabric of her skirt, she became engrossed in the task and nearly lost track of time. She loved making flower wreaths. It calmed her. That is probably why she wanted that mirror from the carnival game the other night. It reminded her of her inner self. Enjoying the scenery and weaving flower wreaths. Suddenly becoming conscious, she turned to see if her artist was still perched up on the hill. There he was. He was sitting there admiring her. She felt déjà vu all of a sudden and called up to him. “Done already?”

“Absolutely!” he replied. “Come see the final work, my lady!” With a girly squeal under her breath, she gathered her flowers and sandals. Then, she quickly dashed up to the hill. “Ready?” he asked. “Yes!” was her breathless reply. Mr. Humperdinck turned the easel so she could see. What she saw left her speechless. She felt all the color leave her cheeks. She reached down into the bag she brought with her and pulled out the mirror she won at the carnival and gingerly placed it on the easel. It was a perfect match.

“How…” she began and he put his index finger on her lips. “How do you think I found you? I seen this in my dreams and I knew it was you when you wanted the mirror despite it being broken. That was all I needed to know. I had found the one for me. My lady, I want to make you happy and love you forever.” Karen stood and thought carefully. She had just met this man but felt as if she knew him for a lifetime. Well, true love only happens once in a lifetime and if this is the definition of love at first sight, she was ready. No one has ever made her feel like this before and she wanted it to last forever.

“Oh, Edward, I love you!” she exclaimed. “I love you too, my lady!” he retorted and they embraced in a lovers kiss.

In a country nearly 7,000 miles away, a young lady named Elaine hangs a painting her father just gave her for her birthday. It is an acrylic work of two lovers kissing next to an easel near a creek. On the easel is a painting of the beautiful scene behind them. The little girl was a big fan of the artist and loved this scene. She felt as if it reflected how she wanted her first romance to be. It made her heart happy and it flutters every time she looked at it.

“I know that artist. He is my grandfather” a voice said from the sliding glass doors. Elaine turned around to find a young man close to her age. He was dressed like a gentleman. He removed his hat and bowed before her. My name is Elvin Humperdinck, my lady. I am very pleased to meet you.”

“How…” she began, and turned to look at the painting. Her feelings, a hodgepodge of love and déjà vu overwhelmed her. She didn’t finish her query. She turned to face the gentleman. “Mr. Humperdinck! Pleased to meet you.” She said. “Shall we?” he asked, and held out his arm for her to take in offering of a stroll around the yard. She grasped it and out the door they went toward the creek. Elaine felt there would be an easel and paint there. She was actually living what she felt would be love at first sight. It was just like she imagined in her new painting. She was awestruck by the gentleman. It was going to be a long romance.

Like Karen, Elaine had found her true love at first sight.

I am here today more out of sadness than I am of anger or frustration. I just don’t understand why there is so much meanness and selfishness in the world today. I mean, there is a time and a place for standing up for yourself or putting someone in their place who has done you wrong. There is also a time for standing up for yourself and being stern with family or friends. It just does not have to be taken to a dark place where so many take it these days.

A lot of families don’t ever get together unless it is for a funeral and even then, it can be a toxic get together at best. There are reasons for this and those who were raised in an environment where get togethers are commonplace tend to not realize what damage can be done at a family gathering or reasons behind not getting along with those closest to you. Finally, as humans, we can pick and choose our battles and some ultimately choose to stay away from said battles to live a more harmonious existence. Those offended by such actions tend to reach out in damaging ways that harm others and create rifts that, while once healing, become torched in a wake of hate and resentment. It’s just not fair for all parties involved, to be honest.

Even children who are given the freedom to choose can grow up to be just as damaging as the family members they are aware of but not around much. As a parent, all we ask of our children is just a little help to ensure things run smoothly and to reassure us as parents that we are raising a functional human being who will not wander through this existence lost. Sadly, some of those children become lifelong dependents on those who gave them life and it makes everything that much more difficult.

I am not here to bash people’s parenting skills or display the faults of my own skills as being a mother. Cal and I do the very best we can with what we have and nobody knows our story but us. That’s all you need to know as I do not have to quantify the decisions we have made as parents or that I make on my own as a human being.

That being said, I know without a shadow of a doubt, I am a 100% good person and I don’t have to explain my actions to any family member or other human being. Any transgressions I have made in my life, no matter how minor (or major in a third party’s eyes) will be dealt with when I meet my higher power. There is nothing in my life that causes me to lay awake at night and drown my sorrows in insomnia, alcohol, or whatever. I sleep good because I know I have made the right decisions as it pertains to my existence on this planet.

I could care less if someone else were to call me fake, a liar, avaricious, or anything. I know what I do and I stand by the decisions I make. Fluck what the rest thinks.

I just needed to vent this morning after having a trying morning and dealing with a lot of dumb chit. Thank you for supporting me in my endeavors, those who do, it is for you, I write and do my thing that makes me happy.

What do YOU think?

**Disclaimer: Any nasty comments, threats, hate speech, or derogatory comments will be removed and reported. (That is if reporting is necessary. Nobody needs that kind of negativity in their lives. There is enough on this planet without creating more.)

Morris From the Block

They don’t really call me Morris. My name has been changed to protect my innocence. They always say innocent until proven guilty. They’ve locked me up, you see. I am in Kitty Jail. I have been incarcerated for a crime I didn’t commit! They say it was PWID CATNIP! Actually, it was a crime my human committed, but I have been framed. I am most certain it wasn’t catnip. There is not any catnip I know that smells like that. It stinks honestly. That stuff and to be here. ‘Round here, they call me Morris from the Block. They call me that because the elders tell me I remind them of some actor that used to sell the good cat food back in an era they call the 80’s. Whatever. I’m just an orange cat with a big presence. I’ve got a story to tell, so here goes.

I grew up in a place they call DragStrip. I don’t know why they call it that, but it is supposed to be a tough neighborhood. I was raised there with my girl human. When she got old enough to drive, she used to take me with her wherever she went. I tell you, we were going places! Then she met this human man and I had to move to the back seat. I didn’t mind. We were still roadies and I liked the neighborhood we started spending time in. I think it was called QueensBridge or something like that. At any rate, there were a lot of my kind there. Any time I was hungry, they took me down to the local pond where I could catch my fill of mice. I never went hungry there.

Sometimes the humans would leave me in QueensBridge, and I would hang with the local cats. There were so many of us it was as if we ran the neighborhood. It was pretty fricken sweet.

One day, I went with the humans on a ride. We were out for a while. My human must have done something the Cops didn’t like because they made their loud whiny noise and the flashy lights were everywhere. They came to the car and made her and the man human get out. They gave their wrists collars and put them in the car with the flashing lights. I was cornered. My human was crying and yelling about how they should not take her cat from her. I was cornered. The jig was up. They sent a dog to sniff around in the car and he made it clear he was not going to nose through the car with a cat inside. Dammit. Here came animal control and I was arrested.

I honestly thought it was me but the more I pondered, the more I realized I was framed. Sure, I came from humble beginnings and yeah, I am from not the best areas in town. I knew I should have never hung with those cats from QueensBridge. My human’s father said there was nothing but trouble on that side of town. I should have listened and convinced my human that the cats in QueensBridge were nothing but trouble.

My human and her man friend were able to get bailed out of jail. With my bail set at $75, it must be too high for them to get me out and here I sit. If no one comes to get me soon, they will transfer me to general population. I will have my nuts clipped, and they will try to send me into the foster system. If I cannot get a successful home plan within three months after being put into general population, I may be put down. I’m innocent, I tell ya. I don’t deserve to be here in Kitty Jail.

Maybe someone will create a FundFurMe page and raise the money to get me out. I miss my family and don’t want them to see me in here. As an alternative, maybe I can get a good home plan and once I get settled, I can leave there and find my human and we can be roadies once more. Maybe I can even get her out of QueensBridge and we can find a better place to live. I just don’t want to spend the rest of my nine lives behind these bars. It is sad and smells funny. There are too many of us here. None of us belong here. It’s maddening, you see.

For now, call me Morris from the Block. I have a full round of mugshots! I have been framed. The jail took my collar and I miss it so. Tell the story of me. The truth, I say. The truth can set me free! I am not a bad kitty! I just hung around the bad kitties!

What do You think?

*POST SCRIPT: Support your local animal shelters and humane societies. Often, these animals are ‘jailed’ because of bad decisions by their humans. There really is not any bad animals. Just bad humans forced their paws. All domesticated animals can be rehabilitated and become loving family members and fur babies.

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