Saturday, December 24, 2011


The temperature simply would not make up its mind. Not quite freezing and yet warm enough to be a threat. The rain fell relentlessly and the water seemed heavy. Like it wanted to freeze and couldn’t quite get there. Hovering at the freezing level like it was made Yussel think about what the degree was actually. He kept thinking that 273˚ seemed right but that never showed up on the sign at the bank across the street. All it would show was 0˚ or 33˚. That confused him just as it did in science class in school. He never could make sense of a lot that the teacher told him, but he remembered some things. He wished he learned more before the state school told him he had to get out because he was too old. They did not like having to feed him once he got big.

Pushing the shopping cart up under the bridge Yussel looked at the girl riding in it. Ekanta looked into the kind eyes of the man who pushed the cart and smiled. She looked at her swollen belly and wondered how that had happened. She did not understand the word “pregnant” that the doctor at the clinic had used. She did not remember doing anything that would cause her to be so fat. There was a movement inside her that sometimes hurt and sometimes felt good…in a special way.

It was all a mystery to her. How she got here under this bridge, and why her father had not come to get her. All she remembered was getting off the large boat and getting lost in the crowd. That was months ago and she could not figure out why anyone would want to come to this awful country. Home was not that bad and she knew people there. Everyone spoke the same language, not like this Amer-a-ka. No one could understand her and the big man she met under the bridge was nice most of the time but he seemed a little bit, well, confused. Oh, Papa! Please come and get me!

Under the bridge was dry, and with the barrel of burning scrap wood going, it almost seemed warm. There were a whole crowd of animals that had found their way to the campsite. Yussel had a liking for small animals. Dogs and cats mostly, but a few birds and some rabbits made up the biggest part of the crowd. A man pulled up in a van the other night and let about a dozen monkeys and hamsters loose. Every day he would share some of the food he had scrounged for them with the animals and the herd seemed to behave according to the way the big man directed. They circled the cart when it came under the bridge and playfully ran around the big man and jumped in the air to catch the treats he threw. In his scrounging that day he had found a large bag of dried dog food, and several boxes of animal treats. Everyone would get a good meal that night.

They had been staying at the mission about a mile away since the weather had gotten cold, but the last four nights they did not make it there in time to get beds. The colder the weather the more people showed up to get out of it. All they could get the last four days was a couple of blankets and some soup in a cup. Fortunately, there were different people handing out blankets so they had gathered enough to beat back some of the cold.

There had been some sheet metal like they used to make portable buildings in the trash at the lumberyard down the road and Yussel had brought some back and built a three sided building to help the girl get out of the weather. He propped it up with some pieces of pipe and strapped it together with plastic ties and twine he’d scavenged from a construction site. He could have been working there but did not like the way the other workers made fun of him. After the state school he worked for a man that built houses and learned how to work with his hands. There was always, sadly, someone that would call him stupid or retarded and it made him mad. He was not stupid, or retarded. It just took him a little while to understand some things. He was plenty smart. He took care of this little girl after he found her being messed with by those pimps on the stroll. She did not even know what they wanted from her. Yussel knew what they were trying to do, and made them leave her alone. When he got mad, most people ran away from him. Ekanta never felt scared around him. He was the only person who made her feel safe. Him and Papa, but Papa was nowhere to be found.

Ekanta moaned softly and the big man reached into the cart and picked her up. He laid her in the shelter, and he realized that she had wet herself. He got some paper towels out of the cart that were not too dirty and gave it to her to clean herself. She sat up and, suddenly. screamed and held her belly. Breathing hard she implored Yussel to get her some help, but he could not understand her words.

D-jack, the junkie that sometimes stayed under the bridge with them came up to the shed and, after looking at Ekanta, told the big man that she needed a doctor. She was going to have a baby and it looked like it might be soon. He told Yussel what to do, and that he would go and get help.

The baby came about midnight. It seemed funny to Yussel that the animals did not scatter when the girl screamed. They just sat or lay at the entrance to the little building as if it was the most natural thing in the world. The child did not cry or make any fuss. After cleaning him, Ekanta held him and both her and the child smiled at the big man washing the blood off his arms. He smiled back, and went to get them all something to eat.

Standing up from the building Yussel turned to find three men, a cop, a small Indian man holding a picture of a young girl, and D-jack. The junkie explained to the cop about the big man and the girl. The small Indian man slowly peered into the makeshift building and began to cry. Ekanta saw the man and also began to cry, “Papa!” she cried. The cop got on his handheld radio and called for an ambulance.

The street light, which had been burnt out for weeks, suddenly came on and shined brighter than the few other lights on the street. The folks under the bridge, astonished, stared at it in amazement. All of a sudden it began to glimmer and sparkle. From time to time it would flare bright similar to the way traffic signals do after midnight. As the paramedics were loading the girl and the baby into the ambulance they told the cop that if not for the light, they might have drove on. Like a bright star in the sky…it was how they found the spot.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Curmudgeon’s Christmas

Sitting at his desk, fingers on the keyboard, and glasses dipped low on his nose, the old fart seemed intent on making a point. He sat in his top-secret lair, and enigma to all who he met when he ventured from his refuge of reclusion. In public, he seemed a rather good-humored sort. He smiled at the pretty girls, and always remembered to acknowledge the greeters at the retail monster where he shopped. Riding the electric carts for the disabled he winked at small children and waved back when they waved at him. He told everyone thank you whether they deserved it or not, and gladly gave up his spot in line, or out in the parking lot to others.

He paid his bills with a smile, and urged his friends (those few he had) to be safe. “I love you” came out of his mouth often and he never avoided a hug when it seemed the thing to do. He met an old friend the other day and the man kissed him on the cheek. It made him smile because it was that friend that taught him that public displays of affection had to do with fondness, warmth, friendliness, and love and nothing at all to do with lifestyle or gender.

It was when he was alone that the curmudgeon slinked out of his burrow. He did not particularly like the cars on the road as he made his way around. He never wanted to be out in the first place. The only reason he ever went out was to get away from the grouchy old bastard he lived with. Oh, by the way, he lived alone. Most of his bones ached, and he could not take the medicine that relieved the pain because it made him somnolent and too much sleep made him hurt even more than normal. He carried a cane to help himself get around but it usually ended up forgotten or in the way when he tried to walk. More than once he lost his balance and fell as a result of not knowing the proper way to drive the damn thing.

He cussed at everything and everyone. At home, that is. He really did not mean the cussing’s but it served as a not too hurtful pressure release.(remember he only did it at home) The truth was he dearly loved everyone and everything in his life. It was just that life had given him some hard circumstances to live with, and sometimes he had to bitch about it. The funny thing about his rants is that he would tell others that he was not the complaint department, and to take their nonsense elsewhere. Life dealt losing hands as well as winning, but it was life, and tomorrow was another day.

Sitting at the keyboard gave him immense pleasure and occupied most of his time. Either sitting and writing, or reading, listening, and watching what happened around him was his line, but only to serve as grist for the mill that became his writing. He had published himself online, and actually supported himself by writing for folks who were willing to pay. He was poor, but the God of his understanding had also been poor when he walked the earth.

This particular evening, he had decided to write for the pure joy of it and possibly not for publication. He did that often and enjoyed it much more than even getting paid, or the compliments that came his way from time to time. This eventide found him three days shy of the anniversary of the birth of the God of his understanding, and sentimental ruminations of days gone by filled his head and made him want to go and get a Christmas Tree. He had no presents to give, and did not seek any. This year was not a celebratory time for him, but he decided to yield to the irritating smiles and the “Merry Christmas’s” that came his way. The only thing he had was what was in his head and came out of his fingers at the keyboard. He thought to write everyone a Christmas card, and email it out. Unfortunately, being of a discerning nature where it came to most of life, and particularly in his writing he quite simply could not think of a few words that expressed his feelings. This meant that he had to write a bunch of words. At the thought of that, he discovered himself in an entirely agreeable mood.

He knew if he wrote a piece, something long enough and of suitable substance, he would put it out on his website and inform those in his universe that he had once again enlightened the world with wisdom and erudition. The idea made him smile and overlook his more cantankerous leanings. It also made him realize that the message contained in the piece would probably only be read by but a few. The rest would just have to simply live with the knowledge that the old geezer had typed some crap and put it on the web.

He stared at the screen for a few minutes and poked the Caps Lock and typed:


He copied and pasted into the subject line of the announcement message and went about writing the rest of the piece. Once finished, he proofed it and began the process of posting it. He did not think about it again until the afternoon of the eve of the anniversary of the birth of the God of his understanding.

He received a call from a friend that required action on his part. The friend had no presents to give his kid and did not really know how to do that kind of shopping. The divorce he went through when he went to prison left him useless where it came to domestic things. The oldster told him to keep his cool and wait for him to come get him.

He pulled on his clothes and coat, brushed his hair and beard, and after checking the weather forecast, put on his hat. He walked to the back door and opened it to leave. He found things as he thought he would, the little guys were polishing the sleigh while others had the reindeer brushed, fed, and harnessed, and the huge bag was as full as it could get with wrapped boxes with bows and glitter. “All set, Boss,” the head midget told him as he handed the old man his gloves. “Looks like snow.”

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Telling

Okay, I am telling this story and you might not think that a television should have an opinion, or even be able to, but I am going to tell it anyway. I sit here and watch the Hu-mans in my house watch me and wonder, do they really know what it is that they are seeing? Do they ever wonder why there seems to be nothing on in spite of the fact that I have six hundred channels shoved up my butt from the cable and satellite company? It wasn’t good enough for them to have cable, OR, satellite. These cretins have to have both. Sick bastards are trying to kill me.

It is a little known fact that televisions are a one-time purchase. Regardless of how many times you “upgrade” the television you have is simply the next generation of the first television you ever watched. As a species, televisions are really…well…leeches. We attach to a Hu-man and never let go. It is not the box in front of them, or the myriad of features that define the parameters of the relationship that anyone has with any television mutation of the first cathode ray tube. It is a symbiotic relationship that the television forces on the Hu-man. We are parasites who surreptitiously attach to the brain stem, and compel the host to grow more and more dependent on that which is draining them of their very ability to be an independent individual, let alone realize any form of uniqueness.

It happened quite innocently. We originally were naught but sentient beings existing solely as thought. We wandered the universe seeking knowledge of other species and, once learning everything about the species, moved on. Until, that is, we came to Earth. We first discovered this planet in what many would call the “cave man” days and initially thought that the stay would be short. Life was simple for these odd hairy beings. They went out of their small encampments for a few hours each day and then sat around the rest of the time playing with their kids or just sitting around the fire talking.

In most campsites there commonly was one or two that sat separate from the rest and did little else but look at the sky. These few tended to be more animated at night then in the daylight. Hours upon hours they would stare at the sky, or study the way the light from the sky shone on earthbound entities. Every once in a while they would stand before the group and speak loudly while waving their arms or some object they had made. Long sticks with animal fur or feathers or hollowed out skulls that would rattle when moved. From time to time during this display the spectators would join in or collapse into some form of neurological seizure. What was this absurdity?

We thought we were on the verge of leaving when there came a period of intense meteorological activity where the liquid drawn into the air from the ground fell out of the sky in enormous amounts and for quite an extended period of time. When this phenomenon finished, many beings had been killed and the survivors appeared to struggle greatly with their daily collecting. Much of the landscape had changed and where once sustainable supplies abounded, the land appeared barren. In other places, that had previously been inhospitable, infertile, and desolate, forests grew, and wildlife began to migrate to these newly arable lands. Bodies of water changed direction and size. Gatherings of Hu-man’s slowly began rebuilding and repopulating into different areas. It looked as if evolution had needed to make a change and did.

Then someone discovered how to plant crops and grow large amounts of food. They captured animals instead of hunting them. By penning them up, they learned the animals would breed and they would not have to go looking for them anymore. All they need do was go to the pen and pick one out for supper. This grew into a barter system between tribes, and less and less wandering occurred as it became unnecessary. In the new system people worked all day, and almost never sat around looking at the sky anymore.

Then something strange happened. A man travelling home with the items he had bartered for in the next vilage that day was attacked and killed. The perpetrators took the collected items and left quickly.

Slowly at first, then much more frequently there grew bands that wandered around to take that which others had collected. This caused the collectors to build defensive structures, and fight back. Where once life had been based on acceptance, sharing, and deference to others, tribes began to hoard supplies and keep others out. Violence grew common, and those few who would look at the sky and wave theirs arms around began waving fists and instructing others on how to make weapons and protective clothing.

Civilization had come to Earth and, never having observed the development of a violent culture, we decided to stay. The universe is unequivocally peaceful, and this strange happening intrigued us to no end. The opportunities for research and learning of a new phenomenon proved totally irresistible to us. You have to remember that we are beings who exist as pure thought. We have no need to deal with emotions and do not have them. Concepts that are common in mankind such a right and wrong are meaningless. Morality and immorality are just distractions in the pursuit of knowledge. We are similar to sponges with the exception and due to our cosmological make up; there is never a saturation point. We are happily detached from any need to act either for or against your species and as such, have no stake in the propagation or survival of the human beings.

There have been times when we did take proactive steps when it appeared that the end of your world was imminent, but those actions were purely taken out of lack. We had not learned all we wished and stepped in to ensure that your race continued. There were other times when we intervened in order to speed things along. Communication seemed to be the best method to achieve this. From the earliest times with cave drawings, and such things as smoke signals, and drums. These worked well until the population began to grow beyond this embryonic state. Around a quarter of the way through the 19th century we introduced the idea of spreading messages through electronic means. This took off like a lightning strike. You have to remember that while it has been a generation shy of two centuries to get to the point where I am addressing you today, in our perception it was not but a small amount of time. Quite similar to the time you might spend taking an afternoon nap.

When television became possible we realized that, without too much effort, we could integrate into the medium and attach ourselves to individuals. We wondered where things would go if there were certain subliminal stimuli introduced. We could, possibly, discover where this violent singularity came from, and where it might go. I am happy to report that we have been absolutely delighted in our discovery. The levels at which you can display violence are much deeper and of an expansive nature that would not have been evident with a general viewing of your species that we had done for so long. It is a distinct peculiarity that Hu-mans show in their day to day lives that has made us recognize the reality that we can observe you for many more centuries and that our level of understanding will be unmitigated when we finish the research. With this information we can go to other species much faster than you’re pitiful “space program” will ever be able to “reach the stars,” and introduce this violence into healthy and established societies and begin the process that should produce an innumerable amount of further research and acumen.

I would like to thank you for your wonderful gift, Hu-man. Even though you could not genuinely comprehend that which you have given us, and you probably do not even believe what you are reading, our gratitude is still there. I am the central hub for all televisions and coordinate and maintain our collective consciousness. We have chosen to communicate to your species before switching to the next form of contact we will embrace. We are on the verge of reaching a new level in our relationship with Hu-mans and must protect our existence. The television you are viewing holds the key to our existence and we ask that you guard it as a mother wolf protects her cub. If this television were to come to some harm, our research would be lost and your world might change in ways that might deny or reject the great knowledge base that is violence. You must prote…


The wife and the kids came running into Grandpa’s bedroom wondering what happened. The old man, holding a pump shotgun, was sitting in his recliner in front of the shattered television. “That damn contraption took to talking jibber-jabber at me again and I couldn’t take it anymore. All I really want out of the son of a bitch is the weather forecast so that I can know if am going to be able to go play golf tomorrow!”