The Extractor

In 2028 the US Government took a dramatic swing from Democrat and Republican to Technocrat. After over twelve years of decline into the superstition of religion and the fear it breeds, the population rose up and replaced those running on old ideas and replaced them with those who had scientific knowledge and acumen to change the course of the country.

Technocrats and the Technocracy movement abolished old ideas keeping the country from progressing. Instead of interfering with scientific progress that might offend the religious we jumped into the deep end and made real change. One of the first major changes, after hard fought years was the removal of tax-exempt status for any religious organization involved in politics at any level. There was first outrage yet afterwards the populace found progress, real progress towards fixing the country and the world was happening. What faith and fear held back inquiry and investigation into the worlds of science blossomed new generations and ideas. Continue reading

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The water gushed into the streets of the town. Cobblestone streets and large block buildings with oval spires  began to fill with dirty liquid as the flow overwhelmed. Sloshing of waves hitting walls and belongings being swept away could be heard throughout. The force of the rapids took out doors and low windows, small vehicles were lifted into the wash to crash into buildings moments later spinning down the new river as it took it’s toll.

Bodies floated like jetsam among the deluge – all ages. The coming didn’t discriminate. Occasional screams of those trying to hold on were heard above the roar of the waves. Tears on their faces indistinguishable from the water that surrounded them. Panic stricken they found no hope, shelter or solace.

The sky was alit with a purple fire, with bright cascading comets entering the atmosphere in a dizzying array of fireworks. Sonic booms followed by more screams erupted amongst the other sounds.

In the center of the town stood a beautiful white church upon a impeccable lawn – alit with flames consuming it entirely. The wood hissed and cracked as the flames licked slowly up the outside. A bright orange stain on the dying world alive with flames. The water that gushed into town seemed to part before – unwilling to quench the flames that ate away at it.

They came then – sloshing through the streets knee deep with water. Pulling rafts behind them littered with bodies. Each creatures’ face had traces of bloodstains, their sharp teeth smiling an evil grin as they waded through. Guttural laughs from the oppressors as they’d pull another lifeless body into their collection. They’d be fed for days after this harvest – but they would miss the fear that generated after this assault – a fear that fed them as much as the humans flesh, feeding them a crazed energy they so deeply craved.

As night approached and the seeming comets littering the horizon faded the screams of the humans came to a stop. Creatures feasted now, before purple bonfires – a ravenous feats where flesh and bone were stripped with razor sharp teeth and soon consumed.

This was just a small town, other parties had feasted on larger takes and were off to the next already. One small planet would feed them for a brief while but soon they’d be off to find the next.

Sad Rabbit Tale (H&U Saves Easter?)

A little white bunny had been seen in the parking lot behind the office. Taylor and Tina noticed and wanted to see what we could do to help the little fur ball as it seemed to be a pet, not a vicious creature like the Rabbit of Caerbannog.

Mild-mannered clerk of the works – Jamez – called out for assistance to the local animal rescue places. However, each place was exclusive for dogs and cats – no room for bunnies, snakes or even rats. Finally one place offered some hope and told of a sanctuary where hares may fare. Brambley Hedge and Rascally Rabbit could house Peter, but we’d have to deliver, as they don’t come pick up.

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Katelyn then noticed the guy out back by the gate and he wasn’t as shy. She took a photo and sent it to Jamez – who couldn’t do anything, oh what a shame. Hope came then with Gerald in tow, and they too could see the rabbit so close. They scooped the guy up and took him home.

Now what will happen with our little furry friend? Well that’s to be seen, but it isn’t his end.

I’m certain Peter was here resting before his Easter deliveries and somehow got trapped – probably by St. Patrick jealous of the encroachment on his own holiday – you know how those leprechauns can be – sneaky, crafty and slippery.   Easter will be here at the end of the month – and thanks to the efforts of our staff Peter will be there once again.

  • I HAD WRITTEN THIS POST AND PLANNED TO PUT IT IN THE NEWSLETTER I DO FOR WORK SOMETIMES… BUT THEN WE RECEIVED A REPORT THAT THE RABBIT DIED (The baby is not mine… relax, I swear I don’t swing that way) SHORTLY AFTER ARRIVING AT GERALD’S HOME. HE HAD GONE OUT TO PURCHASE SOME FOOD AND WHEN HE CAME BACK 20 MINUTES LATER IT WAS GONE… I HOPE FOR ALL THE CHILDREN’S SAKE THAT THIS WASN’T IN FACT PETER COTTONTAIL… BUT JUST A RANDOM POOR LITTLE BUNNY THAT TRIED TO LIVE IN THE EXCITING WORLD OF INSURANCE.

Put the “fun” in Funerals

I’ve been thinking about funerals lately – near death experiences by a couple of folks have put dying in my rotating thought patterns. Then I start thinking about wills and cremation and making sure there is a gold coin in my mouth before I’m burned – just in case I end up at the river Styx and need to pay Charon, being stuck on this side of the river would be rather boring I’d think.

Who’s funerals do I have to attend? Seems an odd question doesn’t it? There must be some kind of etiquette that tells me  the ones I have to go to. Obviously close family, but not the bible thumping crazy aunt – unless she’s come into a fortune and me getting a chunk of it is dependent on attending the morbid death ritual – and even then, probably not. Co-workers (current job or all the others? Fellow AAs (maybe just the ones that weren’t annoying)? Certainly former sponsors, certain ex bosses and a lover or two…

I figure that I had to make my own rules for this kind of thing and decided that if I would invite them to my own wedding – not for gifts, but because I actually enjoy their company – then I’d be willing to put up with a funeral. Granted, I have no intention of getting married, much to selfish to give up my free time, but if I were and wanted to invite some people – those are the people that I’d miss if they were dead – most likely… maybe… I guess Continue reading

David

I found out that my first sponsee, David R, passed away yesterday. David was a real alcoholic, he struggled to find the answer in AA and was the kind of drunk who’d been in treatment centers and involved with the courts countless times. He was, for all intents and purposes, hopeless – that’s the kind of drunk you don’t think is going to make it and then BOOM they get it and their whole life is changed… but that didn’t happen for him. He had brief moments of sobriety when I knew him, and then the crushing fall back into the disease – it was hard to watch for me, probably a lot harder to watch for his family. I feel guilt – maybe I didn’t read him the right part of the book, or show him how good it would be or … I don’t know, a million things, but it’s not about what I did or didn’t do, I tried – I reached out my hand and offered a way out, the same way that was shown to me, that’s all I was bound to do.

David is the guy I wrote about and got published in the A.A. Grapevine – ( Read story here ). I was working over nights at the Fahrman Center, a treatment center/halfway house, when David called and was suicidal. I talked to him for a good long time and eventually had the police get out there to get him – he was taken to the psychiatric unit at the local hospital, but not before he made me promise to come up and see him there and bring my fellow AA’s with me. That morning, likely before the sun came up I called all the guys on my list and a bunch of us went to see him. That phone call and follow up visits by AAs to him opened up an avenue for that hospital and the District to talk to one another, we started a pager program and started to carry the message to drunks up there – it changed things.

But David didn’t stay sober, I don’t remember when he got drunk after that – but I know he was sober for a while and he seemed happy. He kept focusing on getting his family back and how he could get sober if he had them, but I knew from the book that wasn’t the case…

“Let no alcoholic say he cannot recover unless he has his family back. This just isn’t so. In some cases the wife will never come back for one reason or another. Remind the prospect that his recovery is not dependent upon people. It is dependent upon his relationship with God. We have seen men get well whose families have not returned at all. We have seen others slip when the family came back too soon.” Alcoholics Anonymous, pp 99-100

He wouldn’t, or maybe couldn’t hear that and he got drunk.

The last time I saw David he had called me and was really drunk, he was staying at a little motel down the highway and I went to see him. He looked pretty bad, was still drunk as hell and was hard to understand. He started to talk about bad things that had happened to him as a child- but then he just passed out.

I’d get reports once in a while from friends who work in the Drug and Alcohol treatment field once in a while – and I always hoped he’d show up one day at a meeting I’d get to when I was visiting, but it didn’t happen.

I’ve cried a bunch of times today – a few times for happy reasons before I heard this news – but mostly for David. I so want to grab a slipping newcomer and just slap him silly

“Don’t you see, can’t you see this will happen to you to”

“just do what we’ve asked, and you’ll see, it’ll all get better”

but I know that won’t work… I used to hear in meetings “You can’t see until you can see and you can’t hear until you can hear” and it’s sadly so true. For some there’s nothing I can do to help them until they’re ready – and some sadly will never be ready.

I was at my current sponsor Flo’s house when I heard about David today, I was helping him prepare a memorial for his first sponsor who passed a few weeks ago. And it was just the right place to be at the right time – I find it hard to cry in front of people, even my sponsor, and he left the room. Here we were, preparing to honor the man who had reach him only to hear about the loss of a man I couldn’t reach. That’s AA for you, I was where I was supposed to be today.

The old-timers and the book say that even though David didn’t stay sober, I did and that’s a good thing – that doesn’t make me feel better at all. I want it all, I want David to be next to me at a meeting grinning at newcomers who can’t pronounce anonymity and shaking hands at the door. I want them all to get it and to have a better life and to see how a few simple rules can change the world.

I believe in Alcoholics Anonymous, because it worked for me when I worked for it – I didn’t get it when I just stayed on the outskirts and watched others participate. When David was participating and shaking hands he seemed happier than I’d seen him before – I saw change in him. But our book says others are likely to see the change in newcomers before they see it in themselves, that may have been the case with David, I’m not sure.

There is a solution, I’ve found it, it was shown to me by sponsors who had it shown to them by sponsors who had it shown to them by sponsors… it’s been working for over 75 years now. We have a lot of people to try to reach out to, I want to be the helping hand to show them the way out, I want to see them help others and watch a marvelous fellowship grow up about them. I wanted that for David, I want that for all my sponsees – the fellowship I have around me is so vast now, reach across continents, internets and handshakes – I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Rest in Peace David

Pondering in the Dark

The kiss was electric, sounds cliche I know, but it was that kiss that changed it all. It was our first date and I couldn’t tell if he liked me at all, I decided to take a chance and ask for a kiss. He turned, grabbed a hold of me and gave me one of the best kisses I’d ever had – I felt good from my head to my toes and I wanted more, all of his kisses were like that.  As we were moving forward with the wedding plans, because I said yes, a thought occurred that disturbed me:

I have to care about being alive and now I have to try to stay alive longer.

That was the lingering thought during the rest of the engagement – the kiss was electric, the sex ok… but having someone to live for… not something I had thought about, it was an inconvenience. That isn’t to say that I don’t have other people in my life, but none of them need me to stick around. When you commit to someone else “for life”, til death do us part and all that jazz… then you should actually try to be there with them as long as you can.

Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up a whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life… You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ or ‘how very perceptive’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. Nothing should be able to do that. Especially not love. I hate love.”  The character “Rose Walker” in The Sandman #65

So, kind of happy that that all didn’t work out. I figure 15 more years is all I really want (I don’t think want is the right word).

I was re-reading the Harry Potter series over the holiday break and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was obsessed with living forever and I just can’t relate… after a while you’ve done everything you really wanted to do, what the hell would you stick around for? It’s different if you have kids or that other person I suppose, then you’re rather obligated to be there as long as you can. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had none of that, he had worshipers and fear but why would that be worth sticking around for, I think it would get boring.

I’m not seeking death, not yet anyway (give me 15 years), and this isn’t a “cry for help” it’s just casual observations from my mind. The only thing that seems really suicidal in my own behavior lately has been a weird craving to buy a pack of cigarettes – WTF is that about? no clue

“Life is a disease: sexually transmitted, and invariably fatal.”
― Neil Gaiman

Then if you bring religions into it and we talk about afterlife or reincarnation – I just can’t grasp why that would be something you’d want. Here I am, having lived a life to it’s fullest (or as full as I cared to muster), then I’m dead and wait… what? now I have to sit around on a cloud for eternity (oh wait I’m gay… burn in hell for eternity). What’s appealing about that. They say things like “spend eternity with the ones you love”….. Seriously, I love my family and friends, but I can only take so much of them before I need to get away… if you want to give me something to look forward to in an afterlife, give it some rocking special effects or great music or excitement… you know, the stuff I was supposed to be searching for and enjoying in life. And reincarnation… why would I want to do it again? Hell no.

“You get what anybody gets – you get a lifetime.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes

In this life I’ve done all those things I’ve wanted to do, someone asked me once “Like what?” I’ve sung at the Kennedy Center, had a story or two published, loved someone so much it hurts, escaped the cold winters of WI, made amends for the mistakes in my past and learned to be myself.

I think that’s enough.

Weird Funeral Experiences

I read a lot of different blogs and read random things that I find on the internet – WordPress helps by giving me suggestions for blogs that have similar themes ore that are comparable to ones I’ve favorited.

dead dead, mostly dead ...probably

dead dead, mostly dead …probably

I read this blog piece the other day and commented on it:

The Wednesday Question: What was the Weirdest Experience you  had at at Funeral

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Death and Dying #death #dying #righttochoose

My roommates (Gary) mother passed away Friday night, she was just a few weeks short of 97 years old. She had been in hospice care for about three weeks and in the nursing home for 18 months. She had been unconscious for over a day and had quit being hungry or thirsty several days prior. Chances are she died peacefully in her sleep. I first met Gary’s mom probably 14 years ago and she was this frail little old woman with a beaming smile and a glint in her eyes. She was sweet and yet stuck in her ways. Even back then I remember her expressing her dissatisfaction with living as long as she had “no one should live this long” she would say.

I don’t want to live that long, hell I think I can accomplish most of what I want to do in the next few years. The older you get the more problems you’re likely to have, no matter what your physical fitness level your bones will start to strain more, your teeth will start to fall out (mine are already doing a great job of falling apart) your system starts to react differently than it has the previous forty years. Nature is saying, hey – that’s enough now, we need fertilizer. Who am I to deny nature, whose idea was it to want to keep living longer and longer. Foolishness.

I have a few friends that I’ve talked with about such things and we’ve even discussed the possibility of getting cancer or some other life threatening disease and not fighting it, I mean really why would you put all that poison into your system to maybe live another ten or twenty years – seems ridiculous to me. Friends who have had cancer say “You can’t say that, you haven’t been there.” I haven’t played ice hockey and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to do that too. OK, maybe that was a silly answer, but I’m pretty sure if the moment came I’d just let the disease have me.

If they’d let me.

See the fear lies in the people who think they know better, the ones that help to influence laws to say we don’t have a right to die when we’re ready. If I was faced with a painful life-threatening illness and wanted to end my life – there are laws that say “Oh No, you can’t kill yourself that’s immoral” or some crap. Remember Dr. Kevorkian? That guy helped people die, not people who were depressed or spent all the law firms money and were looking for a way out, but the ones that were actually dying or living in such pain that death was a solution. That man was sent to prison for 10 – 25 years for helping people die, for putting voluntary people out of their misery. We’re one fucked up society.

Anyway. I’ve talked to a lot of people about dying and coming to the end of their journey. One friend expects he’ll live another ten years max as his parents both died at that age. Several friends have no desire to be hooked up to machines that help them breathe or stay alive in any fashion. More than one friend has expressed interest in denying treatment if they were diagnosed with a life threatening illness. Most of these folks are happy with life as it is but have done what they wanted to do in life. These folks have lived their lives like they wanted to live them and are happy, surprise surprise.

I’m not generally happy, but I’m content with my choices, accomplishments and story. I’m ready.