The reading was off. The altimeter indicated we were cruising just above sea level, but it had to be bad data, since minutes before I had flown over the last of the mountains that flanked the entrance to the bay. That meant I had to be flying at least 5000 ft. I pressed(more) the reset button, hoping the instrument would recalibrate and start working again. The display blinked then came back online. Nope, still garbage.
I told the tower about my problem and indicated I would need verbal updates as I approached my destination. Wilco, came the tower's reply.
I needed a new instrument cluster, but I couldn't afford the upgrade until I made a few more runs and deposited a few more checks. I glanced at the cooler buckled into the passenger seat on my right. Successful delivery would recoup the cost of the flight and make me 5000 bucks. That would pay my rent and expenses for a couple of months, and maybe put a down payment on a new altimeter. The rest was gravy.
I got the job from a friend of a friend who had contacts within the Chinese government. My having a pilot's license and a plane got my foot in the door, but it was my Chinese heritage that sealed the deal. I never asked what it was I was carrying for them, I knew better. At various times, I've thought it could be human organs, contraband wildlife, sensitive information, drugs. But the quantities of whatever I'm moving have always been small enough to fit in the same plastic cooler taped shut with duct-tape.
That I never know what I'm moving, I'd like to think contributes to my own security, but I could be fooling myself.
Rose, who was our mom, came to our house one time during Christmas. I remember a car outside pulling up and there being a change in the room and the way that everyone acted. I remember having to say hello and then a time later...when I was outside and(more) Rose asking me if Julie was prettier than she was and did I think Dad would think Julie was prettier than she was. She tugged at her costume and pulled it down and then led me out of the bathroom.
Rose asked me if we had all had a nice time at the Super Bowl. She was crying. I remember her taking the big glass jar off the counter and opening it and eating out of it with a spoon. She looked at me and said, "It's nothing like the sugar bowl."(less)
The sugar bowl at the dinner table
Is pure hypocrisy.
There is no sweetness there
And there never will be.
Only cold faces
Stuck in their stone-faced masks of disapproval.
(more) The plates are stacked with variegation of foods
Yet they refuse to recognize any color other than one.
They sit there in negligence
Ready with their slurs.
But what they aren't ready for
Is the rainbow after the rainstorm.(less)
Adam’s momma was still shopping at the getting place, as he sat on it's steps he smelled apple pie cooling in the pig farmer’s window one house down. The boy couldn’t help himself and before he knew it, his ten year old feet was moving to steal it. While the farmer’s(more) yard hens clucked and nagged, Adam trotted away delighted with his plunder when a blast from the farmer’s shotgun spread his bread pan all over the yard and by the time the pig farmer’s wife got to Adam, the chickens & hogs was already eating his brains off the ground. We couldn’t do nothing but stand there and watch, it was on private property and that was that. You don’t steal round these parts, not from them!!!!(less)
Gorlicans, it turned out, were slippery little bastards.
Really, Shiro reasoned, he shouldn't be surprised by this. The small, lizard-like species was especially common in the systems on the furthest edges of Galra territory where the Empire's grasp was the shakiest. Gorlicans sold their services to the highes(more)t bidder, and often double and triple-crossed their employers to the tune of whomever could pay them the most.
All that being said, this Gorlican in particular neatly ran through the small gap between Shiro and Keith and almost disappeared into the maze of street vendor stalls. It was only thwarted by the fact that it didn't expect Hunk to be as quick as he was.
Hunk caught the diminutive alien with one hand and hoisted it, and it screamed and screeched in a native tongue that had more in common with the background fauna of a jungle cruise than the common tongue that mercenaries and traders spoke. It curled up, clutching its tail between vestigial arms, and glared darkly as it spun slowly in Hunk's grip.
"Trying to run when we walk through the door isn't the smartest plan," Lance said, and jabbed the small alien with his finger. It hissed at him and snapped, but Lance was at least quick enough not to lose a finger. "Space cops make another arrest!"
"It's not an arrest," Shiro said mildly. "We just have some questions," he added, directing the second part of his statement toward the Gorlican. They weren't /actually/ 'space cops', no matter what Lance said to the contrary.
"What sssort of quessstionsss?" the Gorlican responded finally, in something approximating a language they could understand. "I will cooooperate, for the right priccce."
"How about: 'not turning you into a hat,'" Keith growled.
The Gorlican thought about this for a moment. "Fair enough."(less)
This was the electoral version of a mass shooting.
You called us crybabies for challenging the nature of the election and its results. You claimed the opposition never whined like that eight years ago, when Obama was elected.
Of course there are mountains of evidence to contradi(more)ct that. For example, millions of Americans still refuse, in the face of irrefutable evidence, to believe that he was even born in this god-damned country. One of whom you put in the fucking White House next year.
But evidence never mattered to you much. Did it.
I've always known that fact-based reasoning was a tenuous business at the best of times when it comes to politics. But how did we become so deluded as to take a trust-fund baby from New York City who fucks over contractors and builds with Chinese steel, who will contradict himself constantly and tell bald-faced lies until he's blue in the face, who thinks it's funny that he can use his power to sexually assault women with impunity, and prop him up as the poster child for blue-collar rural American values?
I wish I could blame stupidity. I really do. But idiocy of this magnitude can't be an accident. You wanted to go against the narrative. You saw an opportunity to throw sand in the public's eyes and stab them in the back while they're down. And you took it.
This country is our body, our community, our home, and for a little while, you weren't getting your way. So you chose to burn the whole thing down with everyone inside.
You told us we should try to move on. If you get your way, there will be nowhere to move on to.(less)
once filled with days filled with laughter, now holding nothing. i let our shared history spill out onto the sidewalk and freeze, ice over slick and opaque, so that maybe a passer-by would trip on it (and the certain somethings(more) obscured underneath).(less)
for a long while, i thought the prince edward viaduct had streams of water pouring out of the top and through the bottom on the north and south sidewalks. i tried to tell you about the streams but you were smoking out the window and spitting out the window(more) and yelling out the window.
"have you ever seen the waterfalls on the viaduct?"
"have you ever walked across the viaduct?"
i drove across it in traffic this week and came to a full stop. the streams froze into metal rods to encage. (less)
The goddess of sand is one of moving. She rakes the earth gently with her fingers over a thousand years and mountains become piles of dust. She winds storms around her fingers and sets them off like spinning tops across the desert floor.
(more) The gods on the chalk are playful and shifting, weaving stories, adapting to their supplicants as their supplicants in turn must adapt to a changing land.
Our god is a god of rock. He is the same today as he was when time began. Hard. Unwavering. And he expects you to be the same.(less)
No stars shone, but a varicose moon swelled beneath an opalescent layer of fog, lending a faint, throbbing light to the land around.
Dunes breached from the earth like sea-beasts in an ocean of black sand. Row upon row, like serpents, thick-muscled, slow-winding in the soft yet steady(more) wind. Here and there, tongues of sand were whisked from their backs, spirited off to some unknown realm in the inscrutable distance.
He looked down at the tops of his bare feet, half swallowed by warm sand. He reached out, let his fingers run through a tuft of waist-high desert grass, so fine it ran through his fingers like strands of lovers' hair.
The journey had been longer than anticipated. He had become lost many times along the way. But even in this most inhospitable of places, he felt more certain than ever that he would find his way home.
A strange calm had come over him as of late. The longer the journey wore on, the easier it became to look at his endless trials and tribulations as so many grains of sand in a desert crossing. Feeling sure of how the journey would end made it so much easier for him to wait for that ending to appear in its own time.
A faint smile crossed his face. He knelt down, dipped his hand into the ash-black sand, cradled a handful of it briefly, then watched as it ran through his fingers. A few stray grains clung to his cracked, calloused skin.
Without thinking, he planted himself on the side of the dune and decided to rest awhile. Days, months, years-- it didn't matter here. He would be home soon enough.
I gathered what few belongings I had in a small briefcase, took one last look around our home, and stepped out the door. I never looked back. I never regretted. It was the smartest decision I ever made, I think, even if it wa(more)s a bit rash at the time.
Mom asks if I'll ever forgive You. I tell her 'I don't know'. How do I forgive someone who called me worthless? Who called me vile and unnatural?
There are some days that Your words echo so loudly in my ears that the only relief I can find is carving my own flesh with the scissors Your daughter gave me. I wonder how she'd feel now if she knew the scissors she hoped I'd use to make beautiful dresses now created mountains and rivers in the canvas of my skin?
Those are the good days.
Bad days are the days spent in quiet, paralyzed in bed. I watch the sunlight pass from one side of the room to the other. I hear my family laughing in the other room. I want to join them but my limbs won't move. I stare vacantly at the wall. I hope the light will stay just a bit longer.
I cannot get up to turn the light on. My body feels too heavy so I lay in darkness for hours until Mom knocks on my door and pulls me from the ocean I struggled to stay afloat in.
"You wouldn't feel like this if you prayed, honey."
Our minds have become
Modern and spacious
Empty and waiting to be filled
To be decorated with thoughts
Like strings of lights
Dancing across the room
(more) But as the designer
What will you choose
To fill up the room?
Will it become an inviting space
Full of candles and flowers
Or a dark crowded room
Where the flowers go to wilt?(less)
The fish with damask scales hung from the ceiling by a cord. The corpse was stiff but still damp. In the night, someone had broken into the modern and spacious Ogilvy mansion and, ignoring the Rembrandt prints on the wall and other treasures, had gone straight to the aquarium room. The intr(more)uder removed the not small fish from its tank, threw one end of the cord over the chandelier then, after twisting the other end around the fish's tail, hoisted it into the air, where it was left to flail, choke, and die. It was an odd thing to do, murdering then posing a fish in this way, but would have been inconsequential had it not been for the fact that this particular fish, named Tora, was a twenty-pound Japenese Koi insured for $100,00.
The police had come, taken the report from the housekeeper, and then left. As the insurance investigator, I had to do better than that.
Whoever had done it had left no fingerprints, and had entered through an unlocked window. The alarm system, inexplicably, had been off. I found the housekeeper on the ground floor, dusting a table on which sat a fish made of cut emeralds. I introduced myself, invited her to sit down, and commenced my interview.
Within a few minutes, it became obvious to me that she knew more than she was letting on. I doubted she was the perpetrator, but I was sure she knew who was, and had left the house unlocked purposely. I confronted her, and watched as her face turned red and tears started to flow. Threatening her, I forced a confession. Her boyfriend had done it. Mr. Ogilvy loved that fish, but he loved her, too, and the boyfriend wasn't having it. The fish would have to hang.