Friday, June 11, 2021

My First Trip




My First Trip - MMMC #184


It was a beautiful spring Sunday in 1969. I was in my junior year at Charlotte Hall Military Academy. Newt said he would have some LSD for us to try. He promised to be back early Sunday AM. We would have the whole day to trip.

Other than morning mess and church formation, cadets pretty much had Sundays to themselves. Sundays at Charlotte Hall were some of my fondest memories of high school.

A popular activity for the cadets still on campus was to take a blanket from their footlocker and spread them at the fringes of the pucker brush behind the New Barracks. Someone would throw up a window and turn their stereo up to wow. Good times. Other than some tight ass Officer of the Day pulling a recon and sneaking up on us from behind to break our balls, we could get away with almost anything.

Stuck on campus on a Sunday lent itself to all manner of rule breaking. We smoked cigarettes. We blasphemed. We smoked pot. We blasphemed some more. We drank what alcohol was available and blasphemed a lot. We huffed Carbona, a spot remover we bought at the campus PX.

Today four of us would experience LSD for the first time.

After collecting payment, Newt handed each of us a hit of Strawberry Fields. They were small little red pills. He called them “microdots”. I remember a heated discussion over the size of them. Snake claimed his cousin had Orange Sunshine for cheaper and the pills were much bigger.

Newt said nothing except, “Drop the pills boys. You’ll be fine in forty-five.”

It was all very ritualistic. Each of us lifted the pills like glasses ready to toast. Newt spewed some hippie mumbo jumbo and we each swallowed our pills.

Newt was wrong. I was fine in 30 minutes. I remember lying on my back and studying the various cumulous constructions being erected in the brilliantly blue sky over me when I suddenly burst out laughing. I did not stop laughing until I ran out of tears. When I did manage to collect myself, through my spent tears I noticed everything around me was distorted dramatically or moving in very mysterious ways or both. I had gotten off and it was glorious. There was nothing finer in the whole of Existence than LSD. Of that I was sure.

That day I watched ants with my head inches off the ground. I scrutinized the crusty, rusty metal dinosaurs from wars long past that were scattered around campus. I was stung by a wasp when I held it near my ear to listen. Damn ear swelled up and hurt for a week. There were other adventures that day and none of them were anything but wonderful.

I had a grand time and vowed when I was lying awake in bed two hours after Taps that night; there was no doubt in my mind that I would drop LSD again.

I stopped counting 185 trips later.
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Thursday, June 10, 2021

A Gun in His Ear


A Gun in His Ear

Final Exams were over. The boys were celebrating. Mike had just sparked a third joint when the three of them heard Bill up on the third floor. If they could hear Bill on the third floor, it meant Bill was probably having self-control issues again.

Bob looked at Mike, shrugged and motioned him to pass that joint. Tom sat between them on the couch and snickered. He was always useless when he mixed pot and beer.

The boys were not unsympathetic to Bill and his struggles. The guy had just come back from Nam ferchrisakes. They knew he had seen some shit, done some shit and he had night terrors regularly. But tonight was a celebration two extra semesters coming. Two of them finally snagged enough credits to graduate and they wanted to party. Damn Bill and his personal demons. They turned up the stereo.

Sometime later, loud banging on their door broke through their drunken fog. Mike was the first to crack an eye. He wiped the spittle off his chin and rubbed his eyes. He stood and found his footing. Barely awake, he staggered to the door and opened it. It was Bill’s girlfriend wide eyed frantic and incoherent.

“Bill’s threatening to shoot himself.”

Mike leaned into the edge of the door. “What? Bill has a gun? When did he get a gun?” Mike’s return to Reality picked up its pace. He turned and yelled, “Hey assholes, Bill has a gun.”

Mike, with girlfriend in tow, began the trek up to Bill’s apartment.

“I have never seen him this bad. I only wanted to use your phone …… Please, don’t go.” She continued her warnings right up to the moment Mike pounded on Bill’s door.

The door opened. Bill’s six-five, 250 pound body filled the doorway. Mike looked up into his neighbor’s face.

“What are you doing Bill?”

Bill stuck his .45 in Mike’s ear. “I will blow you away.”

Really pissed now, Mike grabbed the gun and pushed it down.

“Meet me in the alley asshole. And leave the gun.”

Mike turned around. With Bill on his heels, they tromped back down the stairs. Bill’s girlfriend followed, her weeping eyes bulging and wondering which one was the craziest.

The drunken warriors passed Mike’s open door. He shouts, “No one sticks a gun in my ear.”

In the alley Mike and Bill faced off. Before Bill could focus, Mike knocked him down, rendered him helpless and pushed his face into the gravel. “Never, ever stick a gun in my face again. Got it asshole?”

Bill mumbled. Mark lifted Bill’s head and said, “What was that? You give up?”

“Yeah”.

Just like that the fight was over. The two of them staggered back to their respective apartments and life returned to normal. The next morning Mike’s roommates asked how it was possible he was able to best Bill. The man was a scary monster ferchriskes. Mike took a moment to answer.

“He was drunker than I was.”
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        Is sticking one's nose in other people's affairs wise?  In this real situation 
        from my college days in th eearly 1970s, I must have thought so.

I whittled this story down from 763 words initially to the 500 you see now.

BTW - As I wrote this I kept wondering if I was mis-remembering some of the details.  The big moments happened as I wrote them , but now in retrospect, I did mis-remember some things worthy of note and maybe should have been part of the story.  Bill had gone to Nam, but his most recent issues stemmed from his three years as an inmate at a state prison in Jessup, MD. He was on parole when this happened and he was definitely not allowed to own a gun.  No one called the cops and Bill was not put back in jail.  Not sure if that lasted as we were out of that apartment within the next year.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ..........................
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Cross posted at the BoZone

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Black Eyed Goby


The Prediction
- Weekly Flash Fiction Challenge 
Words for the coming week: black-eyed pristine underwater
Entries by midnight Thursday 10th June new words posted Friday 11th
100 words
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“Never be a Black Eyed Goby.” 

Jerry looked at his new deckhand.  The kid couldn’t be more than seventeen.  But he chose here and not over in Humbolt picking pot. The kid looked uneasy but kept his eyes on Jerry.

“Yes sir. ……… What’s a Black Eyed Goby?”

Jerry looked over the dock edge and motioned the kid to join him.

“Look down there underwater. See those fish around the piling.”

“Yes sir.”

“Well, they are Gobies.  Gobies rush around the pristine waters looking busy and useful.  Yet, they are all flash and no cash. Don’t be one of them.”

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Monday, June 7, 2021

Gate Six

Though Mark was well aware of why he was being sent to Florida prematurely, he asked anyway.

“I was supposed to go with you in the car next month.  Why now? You know what happens when I fly.”

His mother stared at him.  She smiled and reached for the handkerchief she always had tucked up her sleeve. Empty moments followed with no explanation as her spit infused handkerchief sought out and destroyed any grunge that dared to soil her son’s face.  Mark squirmed, but stayed quiet.

“You’ll be fine Mark.  ……. Now, I really have to go. I still have many tasks to finish before I can join you and your father in Tampa. You understand, don’t you?”  She stroked his cheek and attempted an awkward hug. “Dad will be there to pick you up or I’ll kill him.”

She handed him a couple of barf bags, smoothed the hastily composed ID tag pinned to his suit lapel and rose to leave.

Mark was not convinced.  His father was dependably unpredictable when it came to him. In that moment he wanted to rip that nametag off and run away as far as he could.  He had twenty dollars.  He could go far on twenty dollars.

Instead Mark sighed and resigned himself to his fate.  He settled on the benches overlooking the tarmac.  He still had an hour before the flight. He would watch all the busy airport workers and make up stories about them until it was time to board.

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Indies Unlimited - Flash Fiction writing Prompt - June 3, 2021

Due Thur, June 10  -  250 words

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Reality

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, First Line Fridays  

Reality

"People see what makes sense to them, reality notwithstanding."

Bill was staring down into his beer.  His mind swirling around possibilities and what might be's, he did not catch the last part of Scott's declaration.

"Huh? Reality? What about Reality?"

"Geez Bill, pay attention.  Reality is something people decide on for themselves."

Bill lifted his head and turned to face Scott.

"What in the Hell are you talking about and what in the Hell does Reality and its perception have to do with the kid in the alley behind the GAF building? His Reality is he's dead.  Our Reality is finding out who, why, and when. Damn, I hate it when you go all Descarte on me." 

Scott took the umbrella out of his Pina Colada and raised the cocktail to his lips.  Draining every drop, he slammed the glass down on the bar, slid off his bar stool and stood tall. Reaching for the ceiling, he casually stretched like he had just climbed out of bed. 

"Time's a wasting partner.  We have a crime to solve."

 Bill chugged what was left of his beer.  Not being one for noisy dramatics, he set the mug down quietly and stood. He took a moment to assess his appearance in the mirror behind the bar.  Like a diva just before the curtain raised, he turned his head one way and then the other making sure he was still perfect before facing his public.

"You know, I just do not understand kids these days."

"What do you mean?"

The two of them headed for the door.

"Well, I think this kid was targeted for the way he looked. You know, what with that new Shrapnel look the punks seem to love now."

"Targeted for his appearance? Seems like some over the top fashion critique.  Killed because he didn't look like the rest of us clowns?  Nah, has to be something else."

Just before Bill pushed the door open, he stopped and looked at Scott.  

"By the way partner, your nose is out of position.  Might want to straighten it before we hit daylight."

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350 words

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Stay

Carrot Ranch FlashChallenge - June 3, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story being leashed. Is it literal or metaphorical? Who or what is leashed. How does it set the tone? Go where the prompt leads!

"Stay"

His power over me has its limits. He thinks I can be manipulated by one word from him. I will show him who has the last word.  He is not here.  I will do as I wish until he comes back. Yeah, I will show him.

But what do I want to do?  So many possibilities, I cannot pick. Every choice looks like trouble. Better just follow his orders; it’s the safe thing to do.

“Alright Maggie, you stayed. Who’s the good dog? .......... Here’s a treat.”

I remember now why I listen to him. He is my whole world

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Realm of Possibility


What I came up with when considering what might happen if religious extremists secured the reins of power on a global scale.

A flash fiction piece written posted - Jan 2, 2012
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Elder Jacob Bean closed the banned copy of the Scripture.  He understood why the second book had been outlawed during the Troubles.  Harsh times called for harsh measures.  The clearly defined rules found in the first book were perfect in their simplicity and dovetailed well with the brutal measures taken to fulfill the Great Elder’s prophecy of the Final Reformation.  He could not understand though why owning such an innocuous collection of harmless fables was still on the list of capital offenses.  Would not a good caning suffice?

Rules were rules. Shortly Elder Bean forgot about it.  He was only as inquisitive as he needed to be to render a verdict.  Without new rules, his only choice was to convict.  It was a shame they had no females of breeding age.  At least they would have been spared.  Elder Bean shrugged.  The family of three would have to die. 

“Jarrad get in here.”

No response.  Servo-tech Jarrad was not at his desk.  Elder Bean got up and walked out to the anteroom outside his office just as Servo-tech Jarrad came careening down the hall.   “Deep Apologies Elder Jacob, …….call of nature.” 

Elder Jacob Bean’s cold eyes studied his assistant for a moment.  “I understand simple Jarrad.  Even eunuchs have to urinate.”  His eyes softened and what might be construed a hint of a smile whisked across his face and was gone.  He handed Jarrad a bulky envelope.  “Please forward this to the Council of Elders ASAP.  I have rendered my decision.”

“Yes, right away your Holiness.”

~*~

The Final Reformation was in full swing by 2075.  The Troubles that had started in earnest around 2024, ripped and tore through Humanity for fifty years.  The planet’s population had at first tried to discuss their differences.  Unforeseen political and military alliances were formed.  Regional confrontations escalated into planet wide scorched earth campaigns.   War, starvation, disease, and mass suicides took their toll.  By 2035 less than two billion souls still walked the Earth.  Religious zealots took control over two thirds of the planet.  The Pan Asians controlled the rest.

The Age of the Three Kingdoms had begun.

~*~

Scurrying servo-techs connected last minute wiring to the feed going out planet wide.  They applied last minute make up to aging Elder faces and fussed over positioning of the altar in the Elder Well.   The Two prayer benches upon which the Witnesses sat had been scrubbed and polished.  Three stainless steel crosses with braided wire restraints formed a semicircle around the altar in front of a larger Cross upon which hung the current facsimile of what Christ looked like now.  He sported a stern face now days and fierce eyes.  His arms were spread open as if welcoming all who ventured into the Elder Well, but it was his razor sharp hands that told the truth of what went on here.  The Elder Well was designed for one purpose – to instill fear.  Fear kept the Elders in power.  Only the pious walked out of the Well alive.

Christ had finally transitioned from being the son of God and was now God’s Avenger. 

Elder William Graham ll sat and fidgeted in front of his mirror.  Tonight would be his first chance at the Bloody Pulpit.  He worried every detail with his hair, his robes.  He practiced his severe look.  He worried that his sweat would show through the heavy makeup.  After all, the Witnesses, comprised of the founding Elders would be watching his every move.  Sweat would be a sign of weakness in his faith.  A servo-tech with a clip board touched his shoulder.  “Five minutes Elder William.”

“Are all the sacred devices in place?”

“Yes Your Holiness.”

“Well then, let’s break a leg.”

The servo-tech counted the last few seconds before the night’s festivities began.  “9….8….7….6…..”, and then with his right hand he silently finished at 3 and …………… an off camera tech with a calm mellow, made for prime time voice began,

“Welcome good Christians of the Realm.  The night’s Sacrifice is brought to you for the first time from the newly constructed and righteously blessed Harold Camping Studios here in New Holywood.  Elder William Graham ll will perform God’s Will as Heaven’s Apprentice and will be witnessed by twelve of our most revered founding Elders.

Tonight’s unfortunates are a family of three from Oxnard.   Caught with a copy of the New Testament, the mother refused to acknowledge her sin and plead for mercy.  Their fate was sealed when her husband tried to run with her and their son of six.  So tonight for your viewing pleasure, …….tonight we have a three-fer.

Ladies and gentlemen let the festivities begin……………”

~*~

Mullah Saluman Kaleri sat 6000 miles away watching the feed from the Realm.  Others in his mosque considered the monthly sacrifices broadcast over the Net nothing but more foolishness from the Realm of God.  He knew better.  There was more to their monthly blood letting than just reinforcing the fear of God to maintain control over their heathen majority.  They wanted a new crusade.  What they did today, tomorrow, next year was all aimed at defeating Islam.   The sacrifices were a promise of sorts should the Infidels successfully overrun the Kingdom Of Allah.    He knew this because it would be what he would do to them.

The Mullah watched the various players take their places in the Elder Well.  He watched each “lamb” being led or dragged in by two ornately masked assistants who shackled them each to their respective crosses.  He watched the Acolyte solemnly lay out the cloth which held the devices of the Sacrament and then stand at attention to the right.  “Ah”, he thought. ”Tonight the new guy has chosen blades to purge their sins.”  Mullah smiled and settled back to watch.

The music swelled.  The house lights dimmed.  The audience grew quiet.  Suddenly spots lit up Jesus.  Fire and sparks shot out of his eyes.  Heaven’s Apprentice began his slow march to the pulpit. Adorned in a simple red and green striped robe tied crudely with a knotted piece of hemp rope he gave the appearance of a god fearing man until he looked at the camera.  At once he became a figure to fear.  William Graham acting as Heaven’s Apprentice  had nailed the look.  There was an audible gasp heard as the audience moved forward on their seats.  This was a man to fear.

What followed was a well rehearsed sermon of the evils of allowing unclean thought to sully the mind of the faithful.  Mullah Salumen Kaleri lost interest and turned the sound down.  With one eye on the feed, he poured himself some tea and was just raising it to his lips when the first cut was made.  Mullah turned the sound back up and settled in.  “This guy knows how to do it.”  He took a sip of tea.
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Originally posted in 'Lost in the BoZone" on 1/2/12