When the Universe is F*cking With You

88BBE42F-A7F0-4FFB-92F9-815A2E2BDA3BJack opened his eyes slowly, blinked a few times, and looked around the room. The first thing he noticed was a single incandescent bulb, maybe 60 watts, hanging from the ceiling. Looking around he saw that he was on a cot in a windowless room with cinderblock walls and a heavy metal door. Then he noticed three other men, also on cots, sharing this dank room with him.

“Ah, sleeping beauty has finally arisen,” Jack heard one of the men say, while the other two chuckled.

“Who are you three?” Jack asked. “And where are we?”

“I am a butcher,” the first man said.

“I’m a baker,” the second man said.

“Let me guess,” Jack said, looking at the third man. “You’re a candlestick maker.”

“Yes,” the third man said. “How did you know?”

Jack looked at the three men. “The universe is fucking with me,” he said, more to himself than to the three other men.”

“And who might you be?” the butcher asked Jack.

“My name is Jack and I’m a….”

The baker interrupted Jack before he finished. “I remember once meeting someone name Jack. He was quite nimble, if I recall.”

“And very quick, too,” said the butcher.

“Yes, Jack was so nimble and so quick that he once jumped over a very large candlestick I crafted,” said the candlestick maker.”

“Okay, what is going on here?” Jack said angrily. “If this is some sort of psychological experiment, I don’t want to have anything to do with. Who do I need to talk to to get out of here?”

“Oh Jack,” said the baker, “you aren’t so nimble.”

“And neither are you so quick,” said the butcher.

“And no matter how high you jump, Jack,” said the candlestick maker, “you’ll never get out of here.”

“What is this place?” Jack screamed.

“Welcome to hell, Jack,” the three men said in unison.

Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver prompt, where we are asked to write our response to the notion of “I Remember Once.” Also for Paula Light’s Thursday Inspiration, where the theme is “universe.” And for Fandango’s One-World Challenge (experiment). And finally for Sandman’s Writing Challenge,

where the situation is “you wake up and you are imprisoned in a room with four strangers, each of a different profession. Why are you imprisoned together and what is your next plan of action?”


Z is for Zen

A2Z2020For this year’s A to Z Challenge I tried to post an old saying or adage each day of the month of April (except for Sundays). I went through the alphabet, with the first letter of the adage beginning with the first letter of the alphabet (A) on April 1st and continued for 26 adages in alphabetical order until I got through the entire alphabet by today, April 30 — from A to Z.

This final adage/old saying is probably not something you’re familiar with, but it’s the way I try to live my life. In case you don’t know what “zen” is, it’s a practice that helps you to better understand your true self through a state of calm attentiveness in which your actions are guided by contemplation. I’m no zen master by any stretch and I’m not into heavy-duty meditation or anything like that, but I do spend a lot of time wandering around inside my own head.

I just learned a few days ago that the county in which I live has extended the shelter-in-place/stay-at-home order through the end of May. It’s comforting, under these circumstances, that one of the concepts zen teaches is that wherever you are, it’s the place you need to be.

And with that in mind, as my final entry for the 2020 A to Z Challenge, I offer you this bit of advice, which just so happens to start with the letter Z.

Zen your way through life.

What Do You See — Save the Trees

21F589B6-7FDC-4F7B-8015-EED7C0B3F5B2“I’m sick and tired of hearing you drone on and on about how you are going to save the planet. You and your so-called ‘tree-hugger’ friends are a bunch of hypocrites.”

Josh jumped up from the stoop he was sitting on. “Who’s there?” he asked nervously.

“You say you care about the forests, the lakes, the rivers, and the air, but you spew your poisons out all over us all the time,” the voice said.

Josh frantically looked around. “Whoever you are, show yourself.”

“I know your kind, human. You’re blind to most of what is happening around you,” the voice said, “but if you turn to your right, and open your eyes, you’ll see me.”

Josh turned his head and saw a tree looking at him with two large, brown eyes. It had a mouth full of human-like teeth. “Jeez, am I having an acid flashback?” Josh said aloud.

“You wish,” said the tree. “You’re killing me, man. Me and my timber mates.”

“I’m not killing you, tree,” Josh said. “I love nature. That’s why I’m camping out here in the middle of the woods. To be one with nature.”

“But you are, indeed, killing me by allowing the lumber industry to decimate the forests,” the tree responded. “And you’re killing the streams and rivers with your unabated industrial runoff. And you’re spoiling the atmosphere through your dependence on fossil fuels.”

“Not me, tree,” Josh said, defensively. “I drive a Prius.”

“Not you? Why? because you drive a hybrid car?” the tree laughed. “Didn’t your president just weaken fuel economy standards that made new cars more fuel efficient and more environmentally friendly? Who did you vote for in 2016?”

Josh turned red. “Well, he’s been good for the economy.”

“He’s been rolling back all of the environmental protections that his predecessor put in place and it’s destroying my home…and yours, as well,” tree said. How long to you think the economy will continue booming after everyone ends up dead because people can’t drink the water or breathe the air without getting sick and dying?”

“Oh tree, I’m so sorry,” Josh cried. “I’m so sorry, so sorry….”

Josh felt something touch his shoulder and he heard a familiar voice. “Wake up, honey, you’re talking in your sleep, saying something about being sorry. You must be having a nightmare,” his wife said.

“We’re all living in a nightmare,” Josh said, still shaking. Once he realized that he was safe at home in his bed, he sat up and said to his wife. “Starting tomorrow we need to save the trees.”

“What are you talking about?” his wife asked.

“And we’re going to vote for Biden in November.”

Written for the What Do You See? prompt from Sadje at Keep It Alice. Photo credit: Pixabay- Willgard.

FOWC with Fandango — Experiment

FOWCWelcome to April 30, 2020 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). It’s designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt.

I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (US).

Today’s word is “experiment.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

The issue with pingbacks not showing up seems to have been resolved, but you might check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.

One-Liner Wednesday — Politics and Science


“When you mix politics and science, you get politics.”

American author and historian John M. Barry

I think the past three years, since the election of Donald Trump, perhaps the most demonstratively anti-science president in modern times, have demonstrated just how true this quote is.

Written for this week’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt from Linda G. Hill.