Category Archives: CHAPTER 05 – Surrealism

Harley Babe

harleybabe1280It was true that she was a “Harley babe”, but she wasn’t so easily pigeonholed into some neat little cubby hole with that label. When you looked closer, you found a complex personality that found freedom in some unusual ways.

To start with she came from an upper middle class family who owned a motel on the beach. She had a four year degree in Psychology. She was a feminist. She worked for the local university. She had the penthouse condominium overlooking the river. At nearly fifty, she had the body of an athletic twenty year old. She had a shy smile, and permanently tanned skin from so many years on the beach.

You might find it hard to cross a feminist with a biker chick, but it showed in the fact that she rode her own Harley, rather than on the back of some guy’s bike. She had mellowed from the point of being offended if a guy opened the door for her, but it still crossed her mind to say, “I could do it for myself.”

She had been a fire inspector, a counselor for troubled kids, a part of the enrollment staff for the university, and numerous other positions of responsibility. She is the type of person you can count on. The type that never forgets a birthday even though you hadn’t remembered hers for decades. She stood by those who she considered friends.

As teenagers we used to ride through Tomoka forest in her car or mine for hours. We’d do this several times a week and discuss everything under the sun. Things that guys usually can’t ask girls, and things that girls can’t ask guys. Things on philosophical levels and sociological levels and levels of levels. She was an intellectual, and I enjoyed that. I didn’t have many friends who could function on that level. We did this for decades.

She was a physically attractive woman as well as being an intellectual. It was a rather scary combination to be around for a guy like myself, who didn’t have a wealth of self confidence. I tried on several occasions to steer the relationship towards a romantic one, but I don’t know if it was my own ineptitude or her subtle resistance that kept us from ever exploring that part of our togetherness. It probably wouldn’t have worked, but I always wondered. There are few women who have been a part of my life for as long as she has.

She never got married, and neither did I. She never had children and neither did I. Not that the reasons were ever involved with the other person, just two intellectuals traveling similar paths down different roads. Our choices through life were quite different, and our social circle seldom shared the same participants, but we still kept in touch occasionally.

We met as teens when she was my cousin’s best friend, and some thirty years later we found ourselves working at the same university. We were both social outcast because we smoked, and found ourselves outside the building sharing conversations and cigarettes. I can’t say that the relationship was as close thirty years later, but there was still a connection.

She recently lost her younger brother to cancer. Not that I remember her being that close to him, but I saw a sorrow in her eyes that told volumes. Lessons on life and loss that we had never shared, but that were a weight on her soul. My heart went out to her, but I didn’t know what to say. There seldom is a right thing to say about a loss like that.

So as I sit here in pain, trying to finish this book before I die, I salute you my friend. May our friendship live on long after we both have died in this story I tell, in this book I hope to get published.

Exotic Dancer

exoticdancer1280I had a choice after dropping out of high school. I could work as a counter clerk at McDonald’s or some other fast food chain for about $15,000 a year, barely getting by or I could work as an exotic dancer. Exotic dancers at the top make over a hundred grand a year, but even a half way decent dancer could pull in a thousand a week. At $52,000, I’d be making more than most people with a Bachelor’s Degree. At the age of seventeen, the choice wasn’t hard. I had the body and the looks to do quite well in the business. I knew from the age of fourteen that men wanted me in the worst kind of way, and they’d do almost anything to make their fantasies come true.

I couldn’t drink in a bar at seventeen, but like most states I could shake “my bootie” half naked in a bar at that age. I think it is those two faced politicians that denounce strip bars as “dens of iniquity” to their constituents and wives, but are some of my best customers, make those laws. They stuff the taxpayer’s money in my garter belt like there was no tomorrow. The cops are just as bad. They want sexual favors instead of money for the most part.

If you ask them, ninety percent of the girls will say they are just doing this to get through college, but few attend more than a class or two a year. It’s like gee, I can bust my ass till four in the morning, get up and go to classes and study in the daytime for four years, and make twenty thousand dollars less than I do now. Most of the girls say it just to get a little more respect. When you tell someone you are a “titty dancer”, they don’t gush with esteem for your profession. The path of least resistance wins almost all the time.

Once you get old enough to drink, you get a commission on the drinks you get guys to buy you. But for the most part you just end up being an alchoholic, with that much less drive to better yourself. What they don’t tell you about the job, is that you lose respect for guys in general. They become just a means to an end, more money. That is probably why there is a lot of lesbians and bisexual women in the business. You also learn to look at your own body as well as other women’s bodies in the way that men see you. That way you can emphasize what makes them part with their paychecks easier. Eventually you find yourself appreciating a nicely shaped ass or breast on women. For the straight girls, they usually end up as biker’s old ladies. Not that bikers are bad, they are just social outcast too. They seem to prize the fact their old lady is a dancer, and everybody needs to be appreciated.

The killer punch is age. By your late twenties, you are starting to lose that magic and by thirty-five you are out of the business. The smart ones have socked away some money for a business of their own, but they are the few. Of those who do start their own business, most find that they should have paid more attention at the economics and accounting classes they blew off. By that age you have usually picked up a kid or two from some relationship that was doomed from the start. Guys don’t share well.

So you end up as the waitress at the local diner, or the craft lady at the flea market. You tell your daughters not to make the same mistakes you did, but the minimum wage life you are living now, sure makes that exotic dancer’s lifestyle look good to them. You try to teach your sons to treat women with respect, and to be wary of feminine wiles, but they are already using what they’ve learned from you to seduce some schoolmate of theirs.

You sit back and pop a brewski and ponder your life. Not bad, but not exactly what you had in mind all those years ago.

The Rapture

therapture1280The global warming had melted some of the polar ice caps. Sea level had risen ten meters so far, and if the ice caps continued to melt, a peak of eighty meters was what the scientist had predicted. At just ten meters change in sea level, 25% of the United States population was flooded out of their homes.

Some said the melting of the ice caps was caused by the holes in the ozone layer, which were the result in a rise of green house gases caused by emissions from burning fossil fuel. Others said it was just the normal cycle of the Earth. They quoted facts about the seal level being 125 meters below the 2001 level, at the hight of the glacial maximum 20,000 years ago. The religious faithful said it was the end times, but failed to explain god’s promise to Noah, not to destroy Earth with a flood again.

The rise of the sea level was a slow process. There were freak storms caused by the climate changes, which did lots of damage, but the water rose slowly. If nothing else, humans are adaptive. This situation was no different. Long before the waters rose, they started building cities of interconnected barges. The shapes and patterns were different for each city, and made it easy to differentiate from the air.

The first one set to sea back in 2010. It was called the Freedom Ship, and was a straight line that was a mile long, 725 feet wide and 340 feet above sea level. The capacity was 50,000 full time residents and 20,000 visitors, which was crewed by 15,000. Its weight was a svelte 2.7 million tons. It was complete with a University, a hospital, and the world’s largest shopping mall at that time.

The current crop of “flities” (floating + cities) stretched for many miles and had complex patterns that could hold millions. Many had to be retrained in different jobs, because the needs of a floating city are different from those cities still above sea level. The coastlines of all the continents changed yearly, and all maps were digital to accomodate the ever changing data. Computer monitors were as thick as a sheet of paper from the 20th century, and could be rolled up like paper as well. So everything was in digital format for the most part.

The day started as most of them did, very uneventful. Somewhere around ten in the morning, people started vanishing. Cars, void of drivers careened into guard rails and other cars. An airplace missing a pilot started to nose dive until the co-pilot gained control of the plane. I was one of those people who vanished. I knew what had happened. It was the Rapture.

It was the promise of 1 Thessalonians 4:17, in which true Christians will be “taken” or “caught up” from Earth to Heaven to be with Jesus Christ. As I looked around and only saw two or three dozen people, I was both amazed and dismayed. Out of a flity of nearly two million, was this the number of true Christians? As I viewed the others rising, there was no gender. There was no flaw in our forms which looked alike, but somehow I still saw each spirit as an individual.

Suddenly three of the spirits started to rise faster than the others. Then a group of four spirits rose below them but above us. Were they holier than us? Did they hold a higher place in Heaven? Did they live more pure lives than those at the bottom? Would there be a class or ranking system? Soon I would know the answers to these and many other questions.

Begging

begging1280Mildred always introduced herself as Millie, sometimes adding that she was thoroughly modern . The “in-crowd”, which started somewhere towards the end of elementary school, and dominate the social structure through high school didn’t. They called her Mil…Dred, making sure there was enough acid in their tone of voice to join the two stretched out syllables.

Mildred was not popular. Mildred was a bit overweight. Mildred wore hand me down clothes from her sisters. Mildred had free glasses provided by the local Lions Club, that were not attactive. Her father worked hard, but didn’t make enough money to keep his wife and six daughters in high style. There were jokes about him trying to have kids until he had a son, which were somewhat true, but he did love all of his daughter’s dearly.

Mildred was lucky enough to be number five out of six. For the time that she was number five out of five, life was good. The youngest always seemed to get more attention, and when Heather was born she took over that title. She even got a name popular with the times, not a throw back to the early fifties. Mildred loved her, but resented her as well.

Mildred felt like a clich√© when she was growing up. The nice but pitiable character Meg, from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. She swore that she would not go through her adult life that way! As with many young people who feel like they are social pariahs, often referred to as geeks, she excelled in her school work. There were no social distractions, except one time when Woodward P. Littleton asked her to the Halloween dance in tenth grade.

Mildred should have known better. Woodward was not only part of the “in-crowd”, he dominated it. She didn’t like to think about how he had humiliated her. She just wished that she had Carrie-like powers to psychically lock the doors and burn all of them to death.

After college, Millie became successful. She wore expensive clothes. She had contacts instead of glasses, and they were is slightly brighter shade of blue than her eyes. It drew attention to her eyes without looking fake. She grew taller and exercised until she had the body of a Ford Agency model. She had the slight crook in her nose fixed, but balked at the idea of breast implants.

Everybody called her Millie.

The accounting firm she worked for in New York City handled some of the most exclusive clients. Her looks as well as a truly strong intillect and skill set, made her a popular choice among prospective clients. When Woodward P. Littleton and his father entered the office and was introduced to her, he didn’t even recognize her. She poured on the charm.

As she sat in the bay window making Fred, her dalmation beg for a treat, she smiled. The charm had worked, and Woodward asked her out on a date. Millie stared off into the distance, thinking about how she was going to humiliate Woodward tonight. As her right breast fell out of the jacket with the plunging neckline, she smiled at the thought that Fred was not the only one who would be begging tonight.

Undead Gothic

undeadgothic1280Okay Grant, one more parody to add to the long list. American Gothic was painted by Grant Wood, who only lived to be fifty-one. Hmmm, same age I am now. It was first exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago. It won a $300 prize back in 1930. It has become one of the most famous paintings in the history of American Art.

Another institution that has carried on for years, spread worldwide, and has a cult following of millions is the zombies from George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead from 1968. There were several after that, including my favorite Dawn of the Dead. I’m referring to the 1978 version also by Romero, not the 2004 remake that Universal Studios produced.

As an eight year old, and already an avid fan of horror movies, The Night of the Living Dead floored me because the good guys were dying off. To take it even further, you don’t really know whether the monsters/zombies are wiped out completely or not. It was in black and white, and even though the critics of the time were outraged by how graphic the violence was, I just couldn’t be that scared of anything in black and white. My life long analysis of zombie psychology started at eight and got a booster shot ten years later when Dawn of the Dead came out.

With the ten years from the first movie, zombie intelligence had risen to the point they were using basic tools. Maybe not correctly, but using an M16 as a hammer will do in a pinch. Not to give away any spoilers, but at the end of the Dawn of the Dead movie, the zombies definitely had the upper hand. This led me to the question of what would a zombie culture develop into?

Once they had completely done away with the living, their favorite food of human brains would also be gone. Even the leg, thigh, and breast meat would be gone after a while. We never saw the zombies starving to death, if a dead thing can even die in the first place. At least a brain shot would stop them from wandering around. But here you have millions of undead with nobody to eat and nothing to do but wander around stiff legged and stiff armed.

Would their ability with tools continue to increase? Like the caveman evolving from neanderthal to cromagnon, would the Zombie continue their evolution? They would certainly have a long time to do it. And with no one being able to die, murder would drop off of the face of reality. If you stole something and learned that for the next ten million years, the person you stole from would keep coming for you, it might be enough to put the kibosh on theft. So you might end up with a very orderly society.

There wouldn’t be much of a birth rate, but the death rate has dropped off to nothing, so that is a wash. Organized religion would probably take a real hit, because, “When hell is full, the dead will walk the earth.” To take a line from the movie. So there is no threat of hell and no reward of heaven to keep the church’s faithful going to church. Maybe zombie society would come full circle to where the picure above of Undead Gothic, might come to pass.

I never really came up with any long term conclusions or answers, but pondering the question was a hell of a lot of fun.

Athena Waiting

athenawaiting1280Athena let loose an exasperated sigh, in the way only a goddess could. Didn’t Prometheus realize how dangerous this was for her? Did he not fear the wrath of Zeus?

It was true that her very existence she owed to Prometheus. When Zeus had a headache that would not go away, and that no god or goddess could cure, it was Prometheus who said he could cure it. He took up a rock and split open Zeus’ head and Athena popped out full grown and armed. Where splitting open the skull of most creatures would kill them, Zeus was a god and his head healed quickly. As Prometheus promised, his headache was gone.

She held a special place in her heart for Prometheus and his brother Epimetheus. After much wine, laughter, and cajoling, she agreed to breathe life into clay figures the brothers had molded. The clay figures of Epimetheus were of animals. When she breathed life into them, they all attacked Epimetheus, bringing on more rounds of laughter. When she breathed life into Prometheus’ clay figures of man, they honored him.

When Zeus found out about the brothers activities, he was angered and forbid Prometheus from teaching Man the ways of civilization. So here she stood waiting to teach Prometheus the way to teach Man about civilization. She was Zeus’ favorite daughter, so she knew that he could never hold his anger long against her. But in the way that daughters rebel against their parents, she thought that teaching her dear friend how to make fire for the humans was a perfect expression of her rebellioness.

She was the virgin goddess. She did not know why she kept falling into being the willing confederate of Prometheus’ antics and endeavors. She knew that he and his silly quest were exciting. They made her blood run fast and her heart race even faster. When chided by her father Zeus, she would pout and hang her head in mock shame. She practiced the pout, now that she saw Prometheus approaching.

She would get in trouble again, but she didn’t care.

Foolish Fairy

foolishfairy1280She had been relaxing in the cup of a flower that somewhat resembled the color of her dress. As she lay there daydreaming and listening to sound of the water slapping against a nearby rock, a smarter than usual red-eyed tree frog swam up close behind her. First off, it was hunting during the day. That is strange because they are nocturnal. Secondly, it was swimming, which is not the tree frog’s strong suite. This is not to give the frog unnatural reasoning ability. It is still just an animal.

Mindy realized that when startled, she darted straight up out of the flower cup. Exactly what she was taught not to do. She had nearly been caught by the tongue of the tree frog. It would have been a very embarassing death. A reasoning, self aware, intelligent humanoid creature outsmarted by a frog. Her family would have been ridiculed for years. If anyone was to find out about this incident, she would be ridiculed for years.

Frogs don’t have teeth, and some Fairies have managed to fight free even after being snared by the frog’s sticky tongue. It is more likely that a fairy would get knocked out or get broken bones from the speed that the frog’s tongue moves when pulling back into its mouth.Yes, it would be the most unbearable way to die.

As Mindy pulled her arms in to pick up speed on her way home. She heard the tiniest of chuckles. It sounded like her younger brother.

Lion Baby

lionbaby1280The porter and the nanny looked on in disbelief as white baby slept peacefully against the leg of the adult male lion. Although it had been nearly a century when the first white man discovered the Serengeti. In fact it was Stewart Edward White in 1913, a steady stream of them had come to both hunt and to study. This child’s parents were the more welcome of the two. They were biologist, and they only hunted with cameras and specimen collecting jars. It is still not advised for the native Kenyan workers to lose rich white American people’s babies to full grown lions.

In another part of Kenya, back in January of 2002 a wild lioness created an international stir by adopting a baby oryx. An oryx is an antelope with long straight horns, that lions normally prey upon. She nurtured it, protected it from other lions, and even let the mother in to feed it. She was able to do this for 17 days before it was eaten by another lion. She then followed a herd and culled out another baby oryx. When wildlife officials of the park intervened, she adopted a third oryx.

This was the first time a male lion had adopted the offspring of another species, as far as anyone knew of. With the alpha male making this decision, his pride would fight to the death to protect it. The lionesses of his pride as with all prides co-ordinate their mating so there are several births at the same time and all of the females raise all of the cubs. There was other young cubs, and the females had plenty of milk for the baby. They instinctively knew to let it feed separately from the other cubs.

News of this strange adoption spread like wild fire. Some said it was a sign of the approach of the apocalypse. Others said it was the second coming of Christ. Where Christians were fed to the lions, now the lions protected the child. There were those that said it was the anti-christ protected by wild beast. Whatever the case, the government of Kenya wasn’t keen to intervene, because the event was so deeply revered by so many different groups. There was an army of sharp shooters with both knock out darts and live ammunition to protect the human child. If the lion raised a paw to swipe at it, they could and would have dropped it. A week passed and they had no reason to shoot.

In the dark of the night, silent helicopters painted black were invisible against the sky. They dropped some chemical that put all the sharpshooters, the government officials, the curious onlookers, the press and the lion pride to sleep. Only a dropped video camera was the soundless witness to this invasion. Men or women dressed in black exited the helicopters with military precision. The child and the entire pride were loaded on to the helicopters and whisked away.

No country or group claimed responsibility. Conspiracy theories were put forward in droves. One month, then two, then three passed with no more news of the strange adoption and abduction. The story faded as they tend to do when no more information surfaces about them.

Caveman Astronaut

cavemanastronaut1280In 1961, on January 31st, Ham became the first Chimp to go into space and return safely. It was one of many to ensure that a human being could survive space flight. He was trained to pull levers in response to flashing lights during the flight. Now that mankind had reached the possibility of faster than light (FTL) travel, he turned to his chimpanzee counterpart to take the first trip. In honor of his ancestor returning safely, they named this chimp Ham II.

Ham II had trained for years along with 23 other chimps. He just happened to be the one who did the best on all the training. Instead of training them to respond to lights, which took the chimps eyes off of the controls, this time around they used audible tones as the trigger for various maneuvers. Ham II thought these games were great fun. He would get rewarded with fruit if he did well. The better he did, the better the fruit was. That association, his chimp mind had no trouble making. His favorite was the yellow stick, that you had to take the outside off of. The trainers called it a banana.

The day of his launch, the trainers were much more nervous than usual. To Ham II it was just another trip to the game room.This time was different. He was taken outside, and then to a much smaller game room. In fact it only had space for him. The controls looked familiar, so he put his front arms forward, and swung himself into the seat. With a little chattering and hand swinging over his head, he signaled that he was excited to get started.

There was a thunderous roar unlike anything Ham II had ever heard and he felt heavier, like he was trying to move his arms in water. The audible tones came, and Ham II performed each of the maneuvers even though the rumble of the engines was painful to his ears, and his arms moved slower. He was sure to get lots of yellow sticks this time. When the tones came for the maneuver that marked the mid-point of the game, he did them and promptly blacked out.

When Ham II woke up, he felt water flowing in around him. He didn’t hear any audible tones, but he knew that he didn’t like it. So he punched the button that would open the hatch to the game room. As he climbed out and stood up, his arms seemed shorter and it was a lot further to the ground. He felt his face and much of the fur was missing. What fur was there, felt softer and thinner. He looked around for a trainer to give him his reward, but saw nothing but water, sky and a small bit of dry brown land. As he linked these thoughts together, something felt different about how he was thinking. The sky wasn’t right and the water wasn’t right, but he didn’t know exectly why.

Scientist had pondered and did thousands of pages of mathematics to try and figure out what happened with time, when you went faster than light. Although they thought they had it right, they didn’t. Not that they would know that as Ham II went faster than light for an unknown length of time, he evolved into a Neanderthal caveman. All they knew was that Ham II didn’t return safely.

The Terrorist

theterrorist1280He arrives with each issue of the newspaper. He arrives on every newscast from both radio and TV. This faceless harbinger of death and destruction is the focus of the war on terror. He has no country, no single religion and now it may be a she that is the terrorist. When the very act of invading a country to hunt down these terrorist, breeds even more. They do not attack only us, they attack and kill those who support us.

Is that Anthrax in the letter you send? Does the briefcase hold a dirty atomic bomb, Does the needle you threaten us with hold some horrid disease? Does that laptop contain some virus or trojan to cripple our electronic infrastructure? Are you happy just to kill yourself and see how many of us you can take with you?

What a strange creature our society has bred. They are willing to destroy themselves and guarantee a place for themselves in heaven. We claim the moral high ground, but so do they. We kill innocent people in our attempt to destroy the terrorist and it is called collateral damage. When they kill innocent people it is an attrocity. I do not condone what they do, but I don’t condone my country killing innocent bystanders.

I have heard them say, they do not have missles and fighter jets to attack us with. So they use the only weapon they have, themselves. America is the great Satan according to them. We are like Imperial Rome invading the rest of the world.

In 476 A. D. when the Germanic general Odacoer overthrew the last of the Roman Emperors, the fall of Rome was based on these factors:

Decline in Morals and Values
Public Health (doctors only available to the rich)
Political Corruption
Unemployment
Inflation
Urban decay
Military spending
Failure to maintain technological superiority

Enough said.

His Writing

handyman1280There was nothing to him but his writing. It consumed him. It was him. His venom poured through the pencil to the book below, his anger growing with each word. With each thought, his bitterness grew towards life.

The book became his well of poison. It destroyed any who read it.

Alternate Evolution

alternateevolution1280I am different. I am shorter. They stunted me. They grouped together and stole my light. I am angry that they stunted me.

They ignore me. They send me no thoughts, though I send them many. I hate them for ignoring me.

My branches are shorter, but more flexible. I am better than them. I am happy that I am better.

They continue to grow. I do not. I will get even with them.

What do they fear most? Since they don’t send thoughts to me, I cannot be sure.

When have I heard them scream? Yes, it was after the forked light in the sky. There was burning. There was fire. They burned and fell. Their absence caused more light.

If they are gone, I will no longer be stunted. They must go. I will destroy them. I must make fire.

A spark. My thoughts must make a spark. It is hard to make a spark. I must not give up.

Aha! I have made a spark. It burned me. It hurt to be burned. I do not like hurt. I want to hurt them!

I must make a spark and not burn myself. Yes, that is the objective. I must hold my branches apart and make a spark between them. I must not touch the spark. I will burn them soon and not be stunted.

If I burn them, will I burn too? I must be careful. I will practice making the spark bigger. I will make fire.

The fire between my branches wants to follow the wind. This is important. I must think about it.

I have an idea. I will wait until the wind is blowing and then burn one of them that is on the side the wind is blowing. Then the fire will follow the wind away from me.

I must wait until the wind blows the opposite way to the the ones on the other side of me. I will burn them one at a time, and I will get more light. I will not be stunted any more. This is good.

The wind is good. The wind is blowing away from me. It is time to destroy one of them. I will listen to it crack and scream. Then it will be gone. Soon they will all be gone.