Beneath the Floor

Beneath the floor there were people living. Beneath the floor were silent lifetimes. Above the floor was death.

They walked upon the floor, the creatures that were killing. They crawled beneath the floor the ones would live.

Once upon a time we were one people. Living beneath the sky and not the floor. Sharing together a sun and the moon. Sharing a day and night.

The hope beneath the floor was this will end with people living.

The fear above the floor was this will end.

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Winter Bells

The winter bells were playing a beautiful tune. No birdsong now to tell us we were safe, but winter bells we had. They played such a beautiful tune.

When the air froze over, winter bells. When the waters rose as ice so sharp and hard, so sudden, our winter bells.

We all carried winter bells. They jingled pretty with every step. They played a beautiful tune whenever someone died.

We played those bells to remind us we were leaving like the birds. The birds that sang in spring, but spring no longer came.

Now only winter bells play pretty tunes.

Light It Up

It was all about lighting it up. Light up the night. Light up the joint. Bring the whole world burning down.

Smoking!!

Cooling ruins of a building where they danced.

Light up the night with lasers burning bright. Remote controlled aircraft dropping bombs upon our children.

It was all about lighting it up.

Consuming weed helps with PTSD, among so many other things.

Soldiers returning home from killing kids, teens, children, grownups, humans of any age. From being blown to bits. Small wonder they need to light it up.

It was all about lighting it up. “You hear me?! Light it up already!!” Bomb goes off.

“Another building was destroyed in today’s terrorist attack.”

Weed makes people peaceful. Brings us closer to God. Illegal almost all the world over still.

In the Old Testament, in the Tanakh, God rained fire upon so many men. There were other texts to believe in.

It was all about lighting it up. Creating.

Rock’n Roll Mom

– “Mom! Could you at least try to be normal for just this one day?” the elder of two boys implored outside a bathroom door.

– “Sorry boys. Not a chance,” their mom replied from behind the bathroom door. She was applying lipstick, firetruck red.

– “But Mom… Nobody else’s parents are dressing up at all,” the younger of the two boys whined.

– “Now I’m sure that that’s not true, but even if it was, I’m not ‘nobody else’s parents’. I am me. And I dress up,” their mom replied.

She applied mascara. Patted her hair in place. Was quite pleased with her appearance in the mirror. Opened the bathroom door.

The boys saw her enormous circle dress. Her 1950’s hairdo. They sighed in tremendous relief.

They never knew just who would appear from behind the bathroom door when their mother decided to dress up. Would she be an 18th century French noblewoman? A pious 16th century Quaker? Medieval princess or a bar wench? Chinese pirate queen? They could never guess until they saw her.

Tonight they saw she was their rock’n roll mom. The one that loved the music and the dance.

They liked her. She was fun. This evening might not be a complete disaster after all. They might even have fun themselves.

– “See?” she teased them “I’m not so bad, now am I?”

– “No, you’re not, mom,” the boys said in unison. “Sorry, mom. We love you.”

– “That’s my boys,” she smiled. “Now give your mom a kiss, and let’s go.”

The boys dutifully kissed their mom, one on each cheek. Then the three walked out the door, holding hands.

They walked the short way to their mom’s 1953 pink Cadillac. Got in, and headed towards the school. They wore no seatbelts, but got there safe and sound.

When they arrived at the school parking lot, it was the 1950’s. Elvis himself would be singing there tonight.

The boys and their rock’n roll mom had an awfully wonderful time. The boys could run around free with all the other children, completely unsupervised by any adult.

The music was amazing. The dancing was so much fun.

About halfway through the night, though, an unfortunate anomaly creeped in. Someone’s cell phone rang.

From that moment forward, all sorts of eras and locations in human history in between the dawn of time and 2214 (but no later, for some quite unfathomable reason) began to pop up all over the place.

The boys knew that this was serious.

The confined space of their school and its grounds was not designed to contain all that many eras of human history all at once. A few it could still handle, but the speed at which new years kept showing up was horrifying. Quite soon, the place would explode, taking half the continent with it.

They had to find their mom. And fast. Before it was too late to fix this.

The boys ran towards where they’d last seen their mother dancing with a neighbor. They dodged cannons, and gunfire, dragons and knights in shining armor.

Wait! Was that an actual dragon that they just dodged?

Oh dear. Other dimensions were beginning to pop up as well. Fairies, elves and orcs. Aliens, and men and women of Starfleet. Babylon Five.

The school was becoming awfully crowded, and soon it would be too late to stop the explosion. They had to find their mom, now!

Where was she? Why wasn’t she fixing this already? What the heck was going on?

They finally found their rock’n roll mom tied up in a broom closet, and gagged.

They removed the gag first, then proceeded to untie the rest of her.

– “Boys! Oh, boys, I am so sorry! It was your father, he showed up! Creeped up behind me, just as I was enjoying Elvis! He caught me unawares!”

– “Dad?” the boys looked at each other quite upset. “Oh no! What’s he doing here?”

– “Judging by the sounds I hear, destroying the world, as usual,” their mom replied. “Untie me fast! I have to fix it all, and there cannot be much time left!”

The boys well knew their mom was right. There was not much time, and she alone could save them. They finished untying her as quickly as they possibly could.

She stood up. Stepped out of the broom closet. She began casting spells. An awful lot of spells all at once.

She was using her multidimensional self as a catalyst to put everything back in order. But when she was about three quarters done, a tree suddenly struck her across her back!

The boys’ father had flung that tree at their mom, to keep her from being able to make things right.

– “You’ve messed up my plans too many times, witch!” they heard their father yell from the stairs at the other end of a long hallway. “I will not let you do so ever again!”

Their father was insane. He always had been. He had just been better at hiding it still when the boys were very small.

No more. That’s what the boys thought. No more could their father be allowed to walk free, and wreak havoc upon their lives, and on the Earth.

They looked at each other. They saw in each other’s eyes their shared determination to stop him once and for all.

The boys began to cast a spell of their own. A joint spell. One designed to take away the powers of the man who had once been a hero in their eyes. The father who had failed to be good.

The boys had never done this before. Had never cast a spell. Let alone a joint one.

It was lucky for them their father’s attention was focused on their mom.

He was pummeling her with trees. She was busy deflecting them to the best of her ability.

Around them all, the time and space anomalies were rapidly increasing once again. Soon it would be as if she’d never interfered with his plans at all. They would be blown away.

The boys had to hurry up. They really did.

Sparks flew from their hands. Green and blue.

Unintended rainbows flashed in and out of existence.

Suddenly they got it right! A huge burst of energy ran from the boys straight to their father. It encircled him. Lifted him in the air. Engulfed him in a bright, bright light. Imploded. Dropped him on the floor, unconscious.

Their mother immediately returned to the task of putting things to right. Unimpeded by any more flying trees, she swiftly put all things and people, all creatures and aliens too, back where they all belonged. Each in their own time and space and dimension.

It was exhausting work.

When she was done, their rock’n roll mom collapsed on the floor as well.

The boys ran to their mom. Were relieved to see her still conscious. She was simply too tired to stand.

It was once again the 1950’s. It was not unheard-of for a woman to faint, nor was it hard to find a few charming gentlemen to carry her out into fresh air. One promised to drive the boys and their mother home in her pink Cadillac. They gratefully accepted his offer, and home they went.

Close to their home, all three sitting in the back seat of the Cadillac, the elder of the boys asked his mom again if she could possibly just be normal for just one day. Like maybe the following day?

– “Sorry boys. No way,” their rock’n roll mom replied with the softest, most loving smile, as she hugged her boys. “Your mom does not do normal. No way. We are stuck with what we get.”

– “Well, can you at least tell us who and when you are going to be?” the younger asked.

– “No. Sorry, I would love to, but no. You see, even I don’t know until it’s time for me to dress. Like I said, we are stuck with what we get.”

She kissed both her boys on their forehead. Enjoyed the wind in her hair.

When they reached home, they thanked the man who drove them there. Then got out of the car, and holding hands, walked into their house.

This night they would sleep in the 1950’s. Who knows where they’ll be tomorrow.

They Needed the Flesh

They needed the flesh of one thousand Homecoming Queens to make it work. A thousand sounds a lot, but they only needed a teeny tiny little bit of the flesh of each of those thousand Homecoming Queens.

Their son was a sickly little thing. A truly scrawny boy.

Turning him into an NFL superstar quarterback  going to require sacrifice. The sacrificing of the flesh of a thousand Homecoming Queens exactly. Not one more, and certainly not one less.

That is not all it took, of course, but that was the ingredient most worthy of mention here. The ingredient that truly made the difference between an NFL superstar quarterback, and a wash-out.

A tiny little bit of flesh from each Homecoming Queen. A pinprick. One thousand pinpricks to be exact.

How to find one thousand Homecoming Queens? Well that was easy: Security and school computers have never really been a thing that goes together all that well.

The mother was an accomplished hacker. Accessing the computers of one thousand schools from the comfort of their home was a walk in a park. No trouble at all.

How to acquire their flesh? Now that was slightly more complicated, but again, barely any trouble at all.

The father had always been quite excellent at pretending to be a doctor. They simply set up a false practice with fake credentials, and pretended to be the world-renown experts of a rare condition. A condition that affects Homecoming Queens.

Just to be on the safe side, and not arouse undue suspicion, they invited far more people than just those one thousand Homecoming Queens to participate in their study. Many a homeless person received a nice, warm meal, as part of their fake study.

The cellular samples taken from anyone who was not a Homecoming Queen were stored separately from those taken from the Homecoming Queens themselves. On this, they were meticulous. No mistakes could be permitted to occur. Any flesh from anyone else would contaminate their potion beyond repair.

All in all this took them over a decade, but they finally had the flesh they truly needed. The flesh of one thousand Homecoming Queens. Now all that remained was to prepare the potion, and make their son drink it.

This is where they ran into some problems. Evidently, a potion made from the flesh of one thousand Homecoming Queens tastes like the worst diarrhea you have ever had.

No matter. With plenty of cajoling and quite a bit of physical force, they got their son to down the potion. Yay! Their son was made.

He went on to become the greatest quarterback ever in the history of the NFL. With the fortune he amassed, he supported so many worthy causes, he was practically a saint.

If there was one thing that could be held against him, it was this: in all of his career, he never shared one single cent of his profits with his parents. Not one single cent.

He never did tell anyone just what had made him hate his parents so very much. He simply cut them out of his life and of his will. Never attended either of their funerals nor visited their grave.

Other than this, their son was a perfectly wonderful man.

Grandma Kaylan

Grandma Kaylan was a force to reckon with. What she set her mind to do, she did. With gusto.

Unfortunately for me, what she’d set her mind to do this time was finding me a husband.

There was no reasoning with her. No getting her to understand. She simply would not listen to a thing that anyone said against her plans. Least of all me.

– “But Grandma… You know full well that I prefer a woman over a man.”

– “Nonsense, my dear. You need yourself a husband, not a wife.”

– “But Grandma, what an earth would I do with a husband, when I love women?”

– “He’ll support you. He’ll support you nice and well. Buy you all sorts of pretty things. You’ll see. I’ll find you a real good husband. That I will.”

– “I’m perfectly capable of supporting myself, Grandma.”

– “Nonsense, dear. What utter and complete nonsense. You need a husband to do that for you. Let him work outside the home, while you enjoy your life without the need of working a job ever again.”

– “I like my job, Grandma.”

– “Pfft. You’ll be so much happier staying at home. Now, dear, you just leave it all to me.”

There was just no getting through to her. It simply did not matter what I or anyone else had to say.

Grandma Kaylan had decided that I would marry a man, and so I eventually did. After three years of resisting, I gave up. When she found me a truly wonderful, lovely, sweet, and darling, wealthy man, everyone caved in. Arranged the most beautiful gay wedding this town has ever seen.

Turns out Grandma Kaylan was absolutely right: I truly do enjoy never having to work again.

If sometimes I still think I’d’ve preferred a woman as my spouse, it isn’t often. My husband is a wonderful man. All the happiness we’ve found together, how likely could ever have actually had that with anyone else? No. I am truly blessed the way things are, and grateful to Grandma Kaylan.

Still He Drank It

He knew that it was poison. Still he drank it. I wonder why.

To me, this was the most puzzling of all the odd behaviors of his species. They enjoyed imbibing poison.

Whatever kind of poison we provided them, so long as it affected their brain chemistry, and did not kill at once, they loved it. Always asked for more.

We told them it was poison. Explained how it would kill them over time. Described every gruesome detail, and still they drank.

It seems his species lacks any kind of intelligence. No sense of self-preservation at all.

After only ten of their years in his unbreakable glass cubicle, every possible test performed upon him, I offered him one final drink. I told him this was different from all the other poisons he had been given so far. I said this one will kill him all at once.

Still he drank it.

I watched him die.

This species makes no sense.

They say it will be easy to take their planet. I am not so sure. The species is so strange, they may surprise us yet.

Still, I shall make my recommendations based upon my own extensive studies of their behavior. Whether high command agrees or not is up to them, as always.

I suggest we begin by introducing psychoactive poisons to the populace. Give them time, and they will kill themselves. We will not have to.

A strange, strange species, indeed.

 

The Happiest of Homes

Hers was the happiest of homes, where everyone smiled all the time. Hers was the happiest of homes, where people joked and laughed and played. Hers was the happiest of homes.

If sometimes you caught a fleeting glimpse of fear in someone’s eyes, you surely imagined it only. If sometimes you thought a smile looked somewhat strained, well, you surely imagined it only. For hers was the happiest of homes.

Hers was also the prettiest of homes you’ve ever seen. A perfect combination of style and comfort. Clean and tidy, but never to the point of overly clean or overly tidy. Never clinical. Clearly a home, lived in by the happiest of happy families. Mother, father, three sons, two daughters and a baby.

Hers was the happiest of homes. This was how she liked it, so this was how she kept it. The happiest of happy, happy homes. Regardless of the cost in human suffering.

If you failed to keep up, failed to live up to her standards of happiness, you received exactly two warnings. Two excruciatingly painful warnings. Two more chances to get it right.

Fail a third time, and you were gone. Someone else would take your place.

Father, daughters, sons, baby (well, especially baby, as they grow so frightfully fast), all so wonderfully replaceable. Humans easy to acquire. There were so many out there! And quite simple to train.

Of all the creatures in all the multiverse she’d ever played with, humans were by far the most fun! These happy, happy families they made. These happy, happy homes. So entertaining.

Of course, it all would end at some point. Even the best of toys eventually becomes a bore.

Then she’d have to think of something else to play with, but for now, she was still pleased with humans. And hers was the happiest of homes.

Before You Turn

Before you turn, make sure you look in the mirror. You need to know there’s no one there. We all do. Every time.

Before you turn right, look in your mirror. Before you turn left, look in your mirror. Before you turn all the way around.

If they are there, remember, in the mirror they seem further than they are. Do not turn if they are there! Keep going straight.

If you see nothing in the mirror, it is probably safe to turn. Not always, but mostly. You will probably be alright.

Remember: Always take your mirror wherever you walk. Just because they haven’t been to an area for a while is no guarantee that it’s safe to turn there. They are highly likely to appear just when we least expect it. Just when one forgets to be alert.

The mirror is your friend. It’s saving lives. Always keep it with you. Look before you turn.