Response – JSW 2-22-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 200 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

“That’s what they all say.”

He didn’t look over, wasn’t anything more over there to see than in front of himself. Mud, mud and more mud. He lived in a suit of mud.

“So who is the enemy now?”

Daniel looked up, across the calm office to the man sitting behind the desk. He thought they were supposed to come out from behind the desk to seem more open, more approachable, more friendly, but what did he know? He looked at his hands as if the answers lay somewhere in the creases in his palms, but all he could see was the mud.

“What do you see?”

“Mud.” He gave the same answer everytime. Nobody believed him about the mud, how they’d lived in it and breathed in it and died in it as the battle wove all around them. Different mud different times. Same story.

His socks had rotted away and now they were mud. His pants, his coat, his rifle…. all mud. The trench sank deeper and deeper into the mud. They wallowed to their groins in mud.

“What is beyond the mud?”

Daniel looked at him for a moment, head cocked, jerking once. “Mud.”

It was all mud. Mud. Mud. Mud. Mud. Squishy. Crawley. Madding mud.

“It would help if you could wipe the mud away and see what is beyond.”

“There is no wiping away the mud,” he said with a shake of his head to dismiss the distant toll of bells. “The world is mud.”

The therapist sat in silence for a moment, looking at him. Daniel looked back, eyes tracing the mud along the man’s trousers and cuff, coating his desk and living on the wall beyond like a shroud.

The therapist tapped a finger on his notebook, glanced at his watch. His muddy watch. “We’ll take this up again next time.”

Careful not to slip on the mud, Daniel rose, flicking away mud oozing down his sleeves, onto the chair and the floor and the world. He squished out without speaking because if he opened his mouth, the mud would fill him, too. The enemy crawling inside.

The therapist went home and had a nice dinner with his wife and friends.

Daniel drowned.

Remembering the Past 8-4-2019

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This is a noble statue, but not everybody agrees with me. There is a movement in the United States to tear down and destroy monuments honoring the memory of who we once were. Some claim the statues are racist because they honor the heroes of the Civil War, but whomever the man on the horse is, he gave up his home and family to support the beliefs of his Country.

This statue happens to be General Lee, but it could represent Everyman. Whether or not, Everyman wore blue or grey, he was a hero and he should be remembered, and honored, as such.

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Slavery is horrible, and that doesn’t change just because it was a hundred years ago. But, we have to remember, slavery has been around as long as man. Every race and creed has probably been subjected to slavery at one point or another. It was not right, but it was who we were. It is also not right for us to try to destroy and hide the actions of the past, no matter if we agree with them or not.

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The issue, though, isn’t really past slavery as much as some people would have us believe. Every man, woman and child has the right to defend their beliefs. Some people still carry the Slavery Badge, but I can’t help but think it is no longer about slavery but entitlement. Slavery was wrong, but dwelling on the past is a sure path to destruction.

Blacks were considered less than human. So were the Jews in the Holocaust. The mentally ill. Should we tear down all the memorials to the Holocaust? Should we forget what happened?

What about the America Indians? The memorials to Rome? After all, Rome embraced slavery.

If we tear down the memorials and reminders of the past, we will also forget the horrors of the past. And, if we forget, I guarantee you we are bound to make the same mistakes in the future.

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There is still slavery in this world for men, women and children. Why is this less horrendous to the modern us than the men and women of yesterday? They fought. Are we? Are we standing in line to save the women and children being trafficked as sex slaves? The men smuggled into our country to spend the reminder of their lives working to pay off the smugglers.

The Civil War is part of who we are and who we will be tomorrow and in a hundred years. Trying to wipe it under the rug doesn’t change the facts.

If we hide the past, we will forget the past. If we forget the past, we will relive the past. If we relive the past, how many more will die?


“A Virginia judge has ruled that statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson in Charlottesville are war monuments that the city cannot remove without permission from the state.

In a nine-page ruling obtained from the University of Virginia School of Law website, Circuit Court Judge Richard E. Moore said neither the intentions of the people who erected the statues nor how they make people feel change the fact that the statues pay homage to the Civil War. Moore cited state code in his ruling that says it is illegal for municipalities to rove such monuments to war.”

(Written Memorial Day 2019)

 

War and Solving the World’s Problems

“Dad, how do soldiers killing each other solve the world’s problems?”
Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes: Sunday Pages 1985-1995

 

I was looking back through my blog today and ran across this quote.  It stopped me in my tracks the first time and it did again today. The world is rife with War. Every day some conflict seems to break out somewhere in the world, ending with more innocent people killed or maimed, their lives and homes destroyed.

Are we thinking about War wrong? Might makes right. The winner writes the history. The strongest survives.

But, as Calvin wisely asked his Dad, how do soldiers killing each other solve the world’s problems?

How indeed? This is one of those questions parents dread. How do you explain war to a child whose innocence you wish to protect? Should we even explain this nasty business to a child or is this one of those times for ‘you’ll understand when you get older?’

Okay, so no, we shouldn’t terrorize children with the concept and reality of war. But if we don’t start teaching them better ways to solve the world’s problems, nothing is going to change.

Man is a violent species. We’re not so different from lions or wolves or alligators. We protect our species from any perceived threat, whether real or not. Every species protests its own, even rabbits. Mice. Maybe amoebas for all I know.

The reality, however, is that we no longer consider ourselves one species. Humans have gone off the scale. Male lions fight for dominion over the pride, but they don’t go killing every other male lion on the plain just because they are male.

Why do we go that extra mile to kill everything which gets in our way, doesn’t think our way, or lives, believes or looks differently. Why have we separated our species into the right and the wrong, the weak or the strong, the human or the non-human.

We’re at war with everything. Ourselves. Our neighbors. The others just across the boundary line. Pollution. Melting Icebergs. Who controls the wealth. Who goes hungry or homeless or without medical care.

How are soldiers killing each other solving these problems?

Truth is, they’re not. We’re not. We’re not solving the problems which matter. We are just creating more division, more dividing lines, more conflict.

War never ends war. Violence only begets more  violence.

Turn that around and peace only begets peace. Living in harmony makes us one again; makes us whole.

Don’t get me wrong. I honor and respect those men and women who willing sacrifice their lives and limbs and days to protect baseball, mom and apple pie, but don’t be fooled. We are no different from the rest of the world. We’ve separated our selves into the American species and might does make right.

How are those soldiers dying and suffering for us solving the world’s problems?

We try, of course we do, but one narrow opening for peace doesn’t defeat war.

War will only be defeated when we, all of us in every town and house and country, rich or poor, homeless or living in a huge mansion, stand together and say ‘Enough.’ When collectively we say nobody should have to fight or die because of our differences.

When we declare we will no longer fight. We will honor our species – every single member of our species – with the basic needs of life. Food. Water. Shelter.

How are soldiers killing each other solving the problems of food, water and shelter?

I am an American and I love my country. I don’t know anything about being Chinese or Russian or French. But you are all my species. These difference don’t make us different. They make us human.

So, next time your neighbor pisses you off, somebody cuts you off in traffic or breaks in front of you in line, ask yourself, “How do soldiers killing each other solve the world’s problems?”

It starts here.

Let’s make history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JSW Prompt April 10, 2017

Feel free to jump in and tackle the prompt yourself. Please keep your posts under 300 words. If you link back to this post, I will re-blog your post to my site.
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I’ve always wondered how one’s life can flash before one’s eyes in six minutes, but it can. Doesn’t seem possible but I was there. I knew.

Six minutes. Did that mean my life hadn’t been worth more than six minutes? Or is that just the time angels give you to make amends, get your name upgraded from hell to heaven? Or downgraded.

It’s like there is a suspension of belief, those six minutes when you can’t accept that, yes, you are going to die. That all the pain and suffering of your life is almost over. No one can hurt you any more. You’ve got hurt enough to last six minutes and longer, but all you have is six minutes.

Still, you have time to regret those things you did wrong, and those you did right. I like to think I did more for the right than the wrong, but I know better. I’d killed people, people I didn’t even know. People with sons and daughters; wife and parents and friends.

Killed them for no reason except the man in power told me so. Ship out and kill some of those bastards. Kill as many as I could, truth be told.

Now, I know better. Killing doesn’t make things right. Not for the winners or the losers. Whoever said war solved problems didn’t know shit about war. You can’t solve your problems with fighting. It just makes more fighting. More death.

I’m about gone now. The pain is gone completely and I can feel my body going, death rolling up my frame like ocean waves.

The ocean. I used to love to go to the ocean. Swim. Play on the sa…..

JSW Prompt 3-28-2017

Feel free to jump in and tackle the prompt yourself. Please keep your posts under 300 words. If you link back to this post, I will re-blog your post to my site. This JSW Prompt goes until Sunday.

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“It wasn’t a question?”

“No? Then why did you put the question mark at the end?”

“You can’t see that when I talk.”

Lucy cocked her head. “Yeah, I can. I’m magical like that. So let’s start again. Is that blood?”

Think quick.  “Yes, it is blood, Lucy, but, sadly to say, not nearly enough to bleed me dry.”

“Whoopee!”

“Both of you, shut up,” Marcus commanded, looking at his two… companions. It would be too much to call them anything else. Yet.

“Come here,” he ordered John. He quickly checked the man over, determined there were no other wounds, and field dressed the cut in his leg.

“How the hell did you do that?” he asked.

“Hum….” Think quicker. “I fell on a thistle.”

Lucy snorted laughter.

Marcus glared. “Okay, can we get back on track or do we need to listen to the ‘John and Lucy Show?'”

He signaled for Lucy to go right, John left, to either side of the building before them. He hunkered down where he was, tracking the two as they moved. Awkwardly. Clumsily.

Time to come to Jesus.

Aiming carefully, he shot both in the chest.

Hallelujah!

Lucy sat up a moment later, fingering the hole in her jacket. With a curse, John did the same.

“What the…” he scowled. No way were they supposed to get shot, but thank god for body armor.

“Amen,” Marcus said and walked away.