1 Comment


This started with a walk through a parking lot and a gimmick: take the first word that came to mind and start typing (with my thumbs… like most posts these days, all I had was my phone when I started). I typed this a couple weeks ago and obviously hadn’t posted it. I wasn’t going to. I didn’t / don’t particularly like it… repetitive, uninspired, short, obvious – or not as obvious as I think, and not obvious enough.

Going through my not posted collection, Cheryl thought this one should be. So if you don’t like it she should get at least half the blame.

You remember the day the world cracked, don’t you? Before it started – before anyone really noticed, everyone told me it wasn’t the end of the world. Shows how much they knew.

Didn’t I try to tell them something was wrong? I had a funny feeling. It kept getting stronger, but no one would listen – not until it was too late anyway. Who was going to argue with furniture flying around the room? What did I get for trying – a few dismissive pats on the head? That sure didn’t help. The fit sure hit the shan when I lost control though. God help me, I knew it would happen. Did I deserve a dark underground cell for my honesty – and trust? I suppose I can’t blame them. I mean, I’d feel threatened when buildings started sliding off their foundations. But why did they think a cell would be enough?

The look on Doc’s face when the walls blew out and the mountain came down around us – you’ll think I’m terrible – priceless! I feel bad for the staff, but what can I do? If I can’t explain me and the Doc getting out, how can I begin to explain the rest of it? Hell, I don’t even know if I’m really doing it, or if I can just sense it coming – not that anyone cares to make a distinction.

Who am I kidding? It’s gotta be me. I know it and they know it, even if they were late to the game.

I felt the crack before everyone else. I felt it the way a mother senses trouble in a quiet house. Of course, I felt it later along with everyone else too. Land masses accustomed to moving inches over years put up a mighty struggle when pushed feet in minutes.


You want to know how I got out here?

No, I don’t want to take any more pills.

1 Comment

The next time

People never get used to the unexpected.

At the height of the terrorism scare of the early twenty-first century, uncertainty was the only constant. Governments raised alarms on anniversaries and holidays, only to find the biggest threat was sowing complacency. They fortified airports, so terroists turned to subways and buses.

Fearing “weapons of mass destruction,” security efforts focused on “points of entry.” We looked outward, fearing what we saw: people not like us, and the public cried, “keep them all out!” Elected officials took advantage, whipping up a fearful fervor, and spending it like currency. They purchased large goverment contracts for barrier fences to prevent the next attack, biological research centers for vaccines and antibiotics to fight the next attack, and votes.

But the terrorists discovered they didnt have to get inside to create fear.

Everyone remembers what they were doing when terrorists, working in concert throughout the world’s developing nations, announced what came to be known as “The Bean Blight of 2024.”

Within six weeks of the announcement, over 99 percent of the world’s coffee crops failed. Panic ensued. Crowds at Dunkin Donuts rivaled gasoline lines of the 1970s. Riots broke out at Starbucks when they stopped selling Frappuccinos. The President went on the air urging calm, conservation, and the virtues of tea. Conservative reactionaries stormed the major ports, seeking ships rumored to be carrying tea; though they quickly discovered modern container ships bore little resemblance to the sailing ships of the 18th century, and were easily rounded up by local authorities. Their hands were shaking, pain easily seen behind their eyes – clearly suffering from withdrawl. Many were sobbing entreaties to their captors:

“Please mister, please! I need a grande, no-whip, iced mocha latte!”

Productivity plummeted – followed by stocks and employment. News celebrities blamed an unsustainable “productivity bubble,” inflated by Americans reliance on coffee to boost alertness and production. Medical journals re-printed long ignored studies on sleep. Unions lobbied for naps.

Hoping to avoid a backlash at the polls in the coming elections, Congress hastily passed The Taster’s Choice Act of 2024, scaling back regulations on new, artficial stimulants in the food supply.

Ultimately it was the good ‘ole American, marketing spirit that saved western civilization. Coke was the first to capitalize. Red, white and blue advertisements began to appear everywhere, borrowing from a famous phrase in history: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning for a caffeinated Coke and a smile.” Soon stimulant products were everywhere. Sales of energy drinks, previously limited to the under 30 demographic, long-haul truckers, and finals week, went through the roof. Cities briefly debated adding caffeine to the water supply, but soon the markets stabilized and cooler heads prevailed.

In time the US economy recovered, but not without taking its lumps.

Most of us never did acquire a taste for tea.


First fiction: Missing

This is my first attempt at fiction since the mid-1980s… unless you count exaggeration. What the heck. I thought I’d try something different.


His eyes were closed. He was shaking his head, willing disbelief, and not succeeding.

Please God, no.

Another book was missing from his shelf.

He never knew for sure when it happened first.

Jack was looking for one of his favorite books to loan to a friend. The friend was an avid reader, and Jack was surprised the guy never heard of this one. Only it wasn’t there. It wasn’t anywhere. It wasn’t on the shelf or in his apartment. The guy was a good friend and he hated to break a promise, so he drove out to the local bookstore. When it wasn’t there he checked the one across town. It wasn’t on the shelves or their online catalog. When he got home he checked the author’s web site, or tried anyway. Nothing… not the book, not the site. He checked the online stores again, searching by author instead of title. A single book, out of print, available used and essentially free (plus shipping and handling) was the only book he found. He didn’t recognize the title. He pulled up his favorite book discussion sites on the web, but all links and references to the author and his books were gone, including a glowing review he posted himself a year ago.

Google revealed a few links to used books for sale, but nothing of the fate of the author himself.

He grunted with an unspoken question in his head. What the hell happened? The missing book was the author’s first, a runaway success leading to a successful series. He checked his apartment for more missing books but everything was there. Still, he was shaken. Who could he talk to? Who wouldn’t think he was a little crazy? Before, his friends would ask, why he didn’t read the rest of the series? They didn’t understand he didn’t want to ruin the first book with a disappointing sequel.

It wouldn’t be a problem now.

Maybe he was crazy.

Months later another book turned up missing, another favorite. Another author’s fortunes changed, though only he seemed to know. This time he knew exactly when it happened. After the shock of the first time he checked his shelves at least once a day. If his friends didn’t think he was a little weird before, they did now. His preoccupation with his book collection got out to all of his friends on the whisper-net. When you’d rather stare at your bookshelves than go out to the local bar with your friends, word’s bound to get out. It didn’t help his reputation.

It took another year and two more missing books before the next shock. He’d idly thought about a scene, trying to remember the city it was set in – when the page seemed appeared before his eyes. He realized if he tried, he could recall every word of every missing book. Normally his memory was suspect at best. He often couldn’t tell you the character’s names from the book he was reading. Now it was as if he had a selective photographic memory – for books that no longer seemed to exist. He booted up his PC, an aging Dell he longed to replace with a Mac. It took him longer than he thought (it took a week before his fingers would stop trembling on the keys as he typed) but he got down every word from that first missing book.

Now what?

The temptations were obvious, but what kind of person would take advantage of ruined people’s work, even if no one else knew? Was it still plagiarism?

A favorite author is like a friend you’ve never met. Could he betray the one sided friendship he felt with these people? On the other hand, did he owe it to the pubic to make sure these works of literary art weren’t lost to whatever phenomenon made them disappear? The questions tore deeper as books continued to disappear. The doubt, agony, and moral uncertainty only grew with time.

Until one day he broke under the overwhelming stress.

Well, maybe it wouldn’t hurt to post one of their short stories on his blog.