Friday, May 13, 2011


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When Dad Came Home (One Syllable Word Challenge for

So challenged people to write a story (maximum of 500 words) with only one syllable words.
Since I was snowed in and feeling monosyllabic... I went in with this piece...

You can find my submission at

The two boys, twins, found the dead man in the snow by the lake. A crutch at his side. Ice cupped in his eyes and closed lips.
The snow fell so fast that no one would risk the walk up to their house at the top of the hill. No one but this man. The mail would be left for them at the foot of the hill, nailed to the oak tree, in a bag.
Their Mom would say, "no one would trudge this mess."
She had sent them to get the mail.
Both of them stare at the man, the same way they stared at the deer skull their dog brought out of the woods last year. Still with fur and teeth. One eye. They hid it in the shed, to keep it safe from wolves. It too would get lost in there with the rest of their stuff. Like the old war badge, that their Dad, who had left for the great war the fall after they were born, said was worn by a man who risked his life for what he thought was right. But that was what their Mom said he said. Their most prized find was the wolf skull. It was small. Not yet a full grown wolf, and they would run the length of their yard, with the skull on their heads. They would bark at the sky, like they thought wolves would, deep in the woods at night. Much to the fright of their mom.
When it snowed, they felt like kings.
This was how they learned to pass time on snow days. The plows would come to the base of their steep hill and stop. This would leave them and their mom lost in the snow for days. Had they known it would have been this bad, their mom would have sent them to pick up more meat and a loaf of bread. They were out of salt too.
The twins walked out on the thick ice of the lake and looked back at the road where they had left the strange corpse.
"Know him?" Pat asked.
"Nope," Jake said.
"Think he's dead?"
"Well, he's all blue. You want to go put your hand to his heart and see if it's still..."
"No way! What should we do with him?" Pat said.
They could see the plow truck down the hill through the woods, with all the bare trees they've climbed. The truck turned back for town.
So the boys slipped back, and stood by the man. They licked their chapped lips and saw their breath.
"Think he's got stuff," Pat asked.
They went through his coat. He had not one thing on him but a small badge with a gold bird on a cross. They took the ring off his finger too.
Both boys felt bad for the man, but did not say so. No one would find him for days. So they left him, and walked to their shed.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Save the Moon Water

There is an old Tropicana orange juice commercial where a man, smiling in a business suit, sits at a table with a fresh orange. To show how pure Tropicana’s juice really is, he compares it to inserting a straw through an orange, then drinks directly from the source. He never speaks, but is always smiling. Like a clown without his makeup, he gestures with his hands and his tight grin, that in fact drinking the juice from inside an orange, (which I believe can only happen with the help of commercial television magic and editing) is just as fresh and delicious as pouring yourself a glass of Tropicana.
So why then don’t we all start our mornings sucking the juice out of oranges through a straw? Well, have you ever tried sticking a straw into an orange? It’s like trying to stick your car tire with a toothpick. I’ve lost many straws trying. But say you had a sturdy enough straw that you could stab through the tough skin of an orange, and say that you could easily massage the orange-meat beneath into a liquid pulp and slowly suck it up through your straw and into your mouth. It sounds like a lot of work for little reward. But say you stick with it, the massaging and the squeezing of the pulpy-orange-guts, and after having drained the orange, the tender ball of juice, what are you left with? A carcass of loose orange skin.
If you were lucky you might have gotten a thimble worth of actual orange juice, but also probably mixed with seeds. Then you find yourself huddled over the sink, wiping yourself clean of all the mess. It may have dripped on your new white blouse, or left an orange stain on your Dad’s trousers that he lent you for your job interview. And your hands. Its juices coat your wedding ring. It’s glued your watch to your wrist. The corners of your mouth stick. You are covered in the residue of this orange-bludgeoning. This crime scene.
You look down at the flattened and sapped orb of orange skin; oozing orange remnants and you wish you could take it all back. You wish you could have just opened up the fridge, taken out the Tropicana carton, and poured yourself a clean, easy, glass of juice. Sucking the juice directly from an orange is not worth it.
That said, NASA has found "unambiguous evidence" of water on the moon. Scientists sent their deep impact probe on a crash course into the moon and a “significant amount” of water is what it found. NASA refers to the abundance of H20 molecules as moon ice water, saying, "The isotopes of oxygen that exist on the moon are the same as those that exist on Earth, so it was difficult if not impossible to tell the difference between water from the moon and water from Earth."
Water on the moon! Rejoice! Call Mom and Dad! Hell, call Grandma too! Praisescience! We did it, high five!
This is really bad. Why, because only hours after this discovery was made public the science blogs were buzzing. Across Earth scientists everywhere began to plot out the new future of the moon. In the age of the Bail-Out, NASA is not exempt from the burden of a low budget. In fact, they are desperately in need of more money. Due to a lack of funding, throughout the nineties, NASA’s ninth administrator, Daniel Goldin, coined the "faster, better, cheaper.” Currently, the United States Space Policy is that NASA, "execute a sustained and affordable human and robotic program of space exploration and develop, acquire, and use civil space systems to advance fundamental scientific knowledge of our Earth system, solar system, and universe."
Congress has dealt major cuts to NASA’s budget over recent years. Billions of dollars siphoned elsewhere. Job cuts. Space exploration is coming to a halt. After almost three decades of space flight, September 2010, is NASA’s last planned voyage into the unknown. Or is it?
Moon water spells bail out.
The scientists scheme: Well if there’s water on the moon we can colonize and if we can colonize we could start to harvest this water. Yes. (The scientist here strokes his/her chin. If it’s a him he has a long white beard, not very thick, something he’s been growing since his first Science Fair. If it’s a girl she excitedly taps her fingers on a glass beaker… both dreaming up intense future possibilities.) Well, we send astronauts up there, we get this water, and there is a lot, maybe an ocean of moon water is up there flowing beneath that cold space rock, and by Jove, wouldn’t it be fabulous to swim in a crater full of moon water (it would) and...(here the scientists stand, they have come upon a fantastic idea) we can make this water drinkable! Yes, bottle it, and sell it, and people will line up, hundreds of thousands of people with hundreds of thousands of dollars, for a taste of our sweet moon nectar! Yes, just like when they lined up to thaw out and eat that preserved wooly mammoth steak. (The scientists sit back down at their chair, hair a mess, rows beakers steaming on Bunsen burners behind them, the sounds of a working laboratory swell, and a look of immense joy overcomes their faces.) We must bottle the moon water!
We cannot allow science to bottle moon water.
Then what’s next? The Vatican would want in. The Pope would decree: we could use the moon water as holy water. Baptize kids in it. God’s purest, most holiest, most sacred creation. Now that the Vatican is accepting the fact that there might be extraterrestrial life, them tapping moon water into Rome from NASA sounds about right.
Imagine living in a world where you, or someone you know, or anyone for that matter, is too poor to afford bottled moon water. That is a terrible world that I would have no desire to be a part of. I mean we already live in a world where some people can’t afford bottled water. But it’s Earth water. So who cares?
It’s tough enough that we pay anywhere from $1 to $60 for bottled H2O. Yes, sixty dollars! For a dollar you can get your everyday filtered stream water that flows down the mountains in Maine and into a flimsy plastic bottle. But, for $60 you can get Bling H20, in a sleek 750ml bottle, that resembles a Grey Goose vodka bottle. But wait, there’s more. Charity Water is selling a case of water that goes for (drum roll) $480. Then there is Deep Sea water that has an asking price of $33 per 2 ounces. And that’s for Earth water! Dirty old Earth water. Imagine the cost sweet sweet moon water will be once the scientists bottle it up with our sweet sweet taxes.
Think of the way in which we will be harvesting this newfound space water. To help us, let’s take a trip back in time, to when people in North America took the plunge, left their safe houses in the East and traveled over the Adirondack, over the Mississippi, and over the Rocky’s to get to the flourishing virgin West. Let us remember the Oregon Trail, and how people by the thousands drove cattle and family out west down said Trail, to pan for gold. Think of the beards those men grew! Maybe women too. That arduous migration into North America’s final frontier proved profitable for some. But in the end people had scraped the land dry of gold and eventually the land was stripped of it and it’s natural beauty.
Then there is space. Earth’s infinite front and back yard. A big vast virgin we may soon impregnate with our commercial ravenousness. And our precious moon is situated in the closest space to Earth. Like a single orange, on a breakfast table. And it’s close enough to colonize.
So scientists now have the chance to stick a giant, NASA sized straw down into the moon and from it draw out its beloved nectar, like the biggest blood drive ever conducted. Except they won’t donate this “blood” to the less fortunate. They will sell it for extravagant prices to the very privileged and prosperous. You may be able to find it on the black market, but it’ll be hard to tell how pure it really is. You wouldn’t want the generic stuff. Though you might find a good deal on EBay or Craigslist, it’ll probably be freeze-dried while on delivery, and that might take some of the good taste out of the natural moon water, which I’m assuming really opens up the palate. You won’t brush your teeth with this water… unless your teeth are diamonds. Imagine being rich enough to water your garden with it. Space flowers. Space veggies. Ok, enough! Do you see how easy it is to go overboard for moon water? Humans are not ready.
Potential moon water connoisseurs will be paying a lavish amount for the price of shipping alone. Whatever the astronomical price tag is for the moon water it will definitely include the amount of rocket fuel used to get to the moon. Then take into account all the tools our astro-aqua-farmers will use to properly acquire the space juice. When it eventually trickles down to us on Earth, it cannot be served in mere plastic bottles either. This isn’t mescal, being bootlegged in some adobe in Mexico, and then smuggled into North America in a milk container, in the bed of some beat up truck beneath a sun worn light blue tarp. This is moon water! Show some respect. My guess is that it will be served in very sleek and elaborate ways. For instance, there might be a luge, which will be made out of polished moon rock and marble. A man or woman will stand at the top of the luge and slowly pour the moon water down the smooth marble/moon-rock slide and into the mouth of a very affluent earthling. While you’ll be earning minimum wage and drinking Poland Spring.
Or they could recycle old space shuttles and fashion the old parts into magnificent mugs for people to sip out of. Or maybe, NASA will finally tether the moon to Earth with a system of cables and a giant tunnel, and people can line up and drink directly from the NASA sized straw, like kids at a elementary school fountain after gym. All the while if you are lucky enough to be employed and making salary, you can afford a $5 bottle of Fiji water.
Moon water on the moon rocks, smug scientists will order at their awesome scientist bars, while people are dying of thirst in some third world country’s ghetto. I mean, they’ll probably be able to find some rainwater to quench their thirst, but just knowing that moon water is available, nothing else could ever compare. People wonder why people become pirates these days. To afford moon water.
We must save the moon water. Say we begin sucking the moon dry. NASA and its moon-water-thirsty-cronies will be living the life of luxury, but for how long?
Remember that orange you tried squeezing juice out of with a straw that now is just a fruitless corpse thrown in the garbage. Yea, well that’s the moon after we drain it of water. Like those old commercials when they showed what your brain looked like on drugs. Scrambled eggs.
No more full moons. No more crescent moons. No more gravity. No more tide. It’ll just be one big flapjack shaped rock, hovering around Earth like a tired bloodhound. Sagging and empty. Is that the kind of moon you want?
Since I am only human, I would truthfully love to taste the sweet nectar of the moon. But we have to be selfless for once, and let it be. We have to learn to show some restraint and leave a good thing alone. I want to grow up and float beneath a full moon with my wife and kids on our family sized hovercraft. Our hovercraft will be the station wagon of hovercrafts. I want to grow up and still worry about werewolves during a full moon. We are already fighting an ever-expanding hole in the ozone layer. And say that we do suck the moon dry over the years, that old pulpy rock, completely drained of it’s water, might fall out of orbit, slip right through the hole in the ozone, and cause a real disaster. Is that what you want?
We cannot live on a planet where moon water is not accessible to everyone. For now, we must look to stop these scientists from converting the moon water to drinkable water. Stabbing the moon with a NASA sized straw, for all the wealthy to gather around for a savor, while the rest of us force down the lesser quality Earth water is reason enough to revolt against any bottling of moon water.
So no matter our bank statement, we must wear a smile, open the fridge and grab a bottle, or turn on the faucet and fill a cup, and just drink the Earth water we deserve.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Last Email Cpl. Clifford A. White Received From The Executive Edior @ The BFP

Cpl. White,
We’ve received your revised letter to the editor and have reviewed it. We still find one sentence that remains troublesome with respect to libel and that’s the section in which you say “…so they can stick a needle in their arm and fall into a coma in the woods behind my house…” We’d like to remove that particular remark so that the sentence would end with “…frightful vagabonds, skulking and begging for change.”
Making the aforementioned change would satisfy our concerns regarding the libel issue and bring the letter to the bare minimum level of civility, although in general it still remains unnecessarily hostile and, quite frankly, repugnant to us personally, as we imagine it will be to many of our readers. We will print it, however, since everyone, regardless of background or circumstances, is equal in the eyes of the editorial board of this newspaper, provided they maintain certain standards of respect toward their fellow human beings. This means that, to us, the people you call “bums” have the exact same rights as you do and are most definitely held in the same regard as taxpaying citizens. That, Cpl. White, is what journalism really is. Incidentally, it also happens to be the fundamental principle on which the country you say you love was founded.
We appreciate your efforts in revising the letter and, with the aforementioned change made, we plan to run it in our upcoming edition of June 17.
Thank you.
GM, Southern Dutchess News/Beacon Free Press