Daily Goals

“What are your goals today?”

It was the female without an accent asking. Accents and the apparent sexes their voices displayed were the only way of identifying the daily taskmasters. Identifying was a weak expression, as they remained nameless and without form.

He scratched and swallowed. He needed to get up and drink water but also pee. Was that ironic? No, coincident.

Goals. “I want to get up and pee.” That would get him no points but they didn’t remonstrate him. Still, sharp past responses made him moderate his approach.

“Write, of course,” he said.

“You always do that,” she said.

Did he imagine that she sighed? “Still counts,” he said.

Silence answered. They weren’t pleased.

He said, “Wash, vacuum, and gas the cars.”

A male overseer said, “Good,” with boredom as thick as flies on shit.

“Yard work.”


“Finish reading a book.”

“Oh.” The female. “What book?”

“Donna Leon, The Waters of Eternal Youth”. 

“Very good.” Happiness seemed to shower him. “That’s a good goal. Good luck.”

He was released. Opening his eyes, he sat up. Of all that he’d said, what would most count was reading the book. That was his number one priority. He was hungry and needed enough points to get a decent meal. He sensed that if he failed to read the book,  they’d punish him.

Draining his bladder in the water closet, he snorted and chortled. His mind was a strange overseer.


On A Beach

embalmed with denigration

drowning in clichés

paralyzed with expectations

frustrated by delays


harpooned with envy

mesmerized by guilt

sucked into disappointment

sunken in the silt


riding all the waves

hoping in belief

searching for the way

getting stuck on a beach



Done for the day, he packed up and walked toward the front door. Seeing Gwen, he veered toward her. Looking up, she said, “Hi, how’re ya?”

“Good.” He stopped at Gwen’s table. “You?”

“The sun’s mostly shining, it’s mostly warm, so I’m good.”

“How’s your car search?”

“Great.” She looked tired around her mouth and her eyes but Gwen grinned. “I was driving down Phoenix Avenue yesterday afternoon. I was thinking of a gold Toyota Camry, and when I stopped at the red light, I looked to the left, and there was a gold Camry for sale in an empty lot on the corner.”


“I turned and went in there. The owner had just parked it. He’d literally just put it up for sale and was going to go home and post it to eBay. He wanted two thousand. He’s a mechanic and always took care of the car and had all the receipts, and he’d redone the interior.”

“Sounds good.”

“Then, when I was talking to him, he said he was asking two thousand but he liked me so he’d let it go to me for fourteen hundred.”

“You’re kidding.”

“I’m so pleased that I manifested that for myself. I had a need and I manifested it. And it has a name. He calls the car Goldie.” She showed him a picture of a clean but older gold Camry.

“Good for you, I’m happy for you,” he said. “Congratulations.” As she smiled at him, he said, “I have to go now.”

“Okay, bye.”

“Congratulations again.”


“See you later. Bye.”


He walked out into the sunlight and paused to think about the conversation, smiling as he realized that Journey’s song, “Don’t Stop Believin'”, had been playing in the background during their conversation.

Inhaling, he looked up at the sun. It was a beautiful day, a little chilly but boldly sunny. Spreading his wings, he rose into the sky and disappeared.


I don’t know what’s going on with Winter. He’s just not the same. I worried for several weeks that he was sick or injured because I saw so little of him.

Then, suddenly, here he was again, acting sooo crazy, to employ a retro-phrase. He was randomly tossing snow around, piling it up on one mountain and ignoring the rest. Sometimes it snowed when the sun was out. He seemed to be mocking forecasts. If they called for heavy snow, he gave us light rain. When no snow was forecast, he dumped a bucket on us. Everyone was asking, “WTF, Winter? What’s wrong with you?”

I’m beginning to suspect that Winter’s been replaced, and that we’re seeing a new Winter impart. I wonder about who took the job. Since Winter has always been an old white man, have they decided to modernize and replace him with a woman? They could have also decided to stay with a male but surrendered to the youth movement, because, you know, demographics. Maybe they decided to break out complete and replace old man Winter with a young, black woman.

The other part of this speculation is whether one Winter is responsible for the entire world, or has Winter been reorganized, with a Winter assigned to countries or geographical areas.

I don’t know. It could be those things or something else that I haven’t thought of. All I know is that old man Winter doesn’t seem like the guy I used to know.

Melting Away

Did you ever think about what it might be like to actually melt away?

Would you melt all over simultaneously, or start on the outside? Do you begin melting at some specific body part, like your heart? Perhaps your brain starts melting first, giving the signal for the rest to proceed to melt, like the green flag at a car race.

Maybe you start melting from the bottom, growing shorter as your feet melt in a pool below your ankles, causing your pants’ hems to drag along the ground, lowering your inseams by several inches. It starts with your toes, soles, and heel, and then you melt up through your legs. The ankles melt, followed by your shin and your calves. Then your knees droop and dribble away. Next are your thighs, pursued by your butt, hips, and your pelvis.

Everything is melting from your bone marrow out. Soon, you’re just a torso in a pool of your liquid self, a being whose head looks too big, with arms that are two long. Then your abdomen and back joins the melting. Eventually, all that remains is your head on your neck, sticking up from the ground like a flower blooming toward the sun.

American Essentials

fat shame

hair shame

body shame

lip shame

boob shame

skin shame

– “You ain’t nothin’ ‘less you got the look.”

smart phone






– “Better work harder until you got the best.”







– “You don’t matter ’cause you’re not rich.







“Who the hell are you?”


He was comfortable, and she wanted to turn the heat up.

She was going to dance-exercise classes, and he was counting pills.

He was impatient to drive faster, and she thought he should slow down.

She was remarking about the pleasant evening they’d had, and he was complaining about the price of a dinner for two.

Last Wish

Dressed in a long, glossy black skirt, black boots, and a hooded black rain coat, she shuffled in slowly. Her steps made no sounds. A little bent forward, white, with wire rim glasses, she looked straight ahead.

She looks like death, he thought.

Turning, she looked at him, raised a black-gloved finger at him, and smiled. She is death, he realized. The scene changed. Instead of being at a coffee shop table typing on a computer, he was squirming and shaking against the shock of being born.

Great, he thought back in the other moment, guessing that he was going to endure a this-is-your-life montage before dying.

That was probably going to take a while.

He wished he had more coffee.

Disturbing Results

He didn’t know how this fit into anything.

Completing his manuscript, including revising and editing it, he scoured the net, found a dozen prospective agents, and sent it off to them.

Three weeks later, he hadn’t heard anything from any of them and decided to beat the net to see what was happening with his prospective agents.

Imagine his surprise when they all turned out dead.

Well, he’d always thought it was a killer idea.

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