No Silver Linings…

While there are exceptions, on the whole it seems that children don’t quite kid the way they used to. I was disappointed by this at Halloween, and then further surpised by in when babysitting a friends child. Makes me wonder what fiction will look like in 20 years…


I remember being a kid and listening to the adults speak about back when they were a kid, and how lucky we had it and thought that would never be me. But if the victim of the 80’s was the carefree nature of play, as we were bundled up, padded and watched, then the victim of the 2000’s was the imagination.

A generation has arisen that looks up at the sky and sees clouds. Just clouds, not lions, or dinosaurs and what is worse they cannot fathom making up such a thing as images from clouds. This is a generations for whom the constellations must seem as arbitrary as anything else in life is, and as an adult who could spend hours deciphering meaning in the passing of the clouds, I weep for the next generation.

Blackout

This weeks story is dark, cold, and creepy. The tragic effect of a power outage in winter, and the story of someone who has no where else to go. This is the story of Margaret, and I don’t want to give anything else away, but this is the kind of story that ends up in criminal minds… So reader beware.


Margaret knew if there had been any light at all in the basement she would be able to see her breath. The blackout that started, what felt like days ago, had gone on long enough that the cold weather had seeped in from outside.
She had assumed it was winter from the dryness of the air, but there were no windows in the basement, and no calendar on the wall. She couldn’t say for certain how long she had been in this room, this single room that had become her entire world.
She bundled herself up the best that she could, and she waited, desperately hoping that Greg would come back soon. Greg’s arrival was always something that she looked forward to, and dreaded in equal measure. He was the only person she ever saw, and with a variable schedule she never knew he would be coming back. He also brought food when he came, filled the fridge and and the freezer, brought her new clothes, puzzles, toys, and books. Greg was the only thing that was keeping her sane down here.
Greg didn’t come without his downsides though. He was short tempered, violent, and lustful. The combination left him unpredictable, and her usually limping when he finally left.
Now she didn’t care about the pain, all she cared about was the darkness. She had thought she had seen the worst of this place with it’s isolation and boredom, but the lack of light made it unbearable. The good news was, tht the low temperature would stop the food in the fridge from spoiling. Leaving on the tap had guaranteed that the pipes wouldn’t freeze, so she would have water, but the temperature was beginning to concern her.

She had already started loosing feeling in her extremities, and while moving around warmed them for a short time, at some point she would fall asleep. As the time passed she could feel the heat draining from the space, from her, taking what little energy she had. The cold water she drank chilling her from the inside, and she flinched with every sip.

She didn’t dare sleep, not knowing how cold it really was, going to sleep might be the last thing she ever did. She didn’t yell, or scream, or cry, there was no point. She had gotten that out of her system years ago, when she thought she still had a chance of leaving this basement.

Now the idea of leaving the basement frightened her. The world changed so fast, she wasn’t sure what she would be walking out into, and if they hadn’t found her by now, it wasn’t likely anyone would any time soon. That meant that walking out of here would be Greg’s choice, and she knew that it wouldn’t end well for her.

She wasn’t the first to be down here. If she hadn’t been tipped off by the lingering scent from the worn clothes she was given, the scratches on the walls, or the well worn groove along the floor at the end of her chain, the names on the underside of the bed would have given it away. There were two, each with a date beside them, and a dash, with no end written. She filled those in, she recognized the names after all, from the missing reports, from the coroners reports.


It’s how she knew hat she had been here longer than either of them, than both of them combined actually. She wondered what they had done, what had happened that had made him want to replace them so soon, and yet keep her all this time. Her eyes drifted shut, and then popped open. She wished she knew how many years it had been for sure, that he wasn’t just making up Christmas to throw her off, but now with the cold she was pretty sure the cycles of humidity and dryness had been winter and summer after all, and if that was true, she had been down here for 7 years. Her refection in the toaster had showed that time had not been kind to her, and she didn’t check it often, but now in the darkness she wished she could see it, just one last time.

All to soon it grew colder even faster, and her eyes spent more time shut than open. Greg wasn’t going to make it in time, maybe whatever storm that had taken the power was keeping him away. Maybe he was in the accident, the one that took out the power. She wouldn’t know though.

She took a deep breath in, and as she let it out, she let it all go, and stopped fighting. She pulled off the blankets, laid on the cement floor, and let the cold carry her off to sleep. If she was lucky, this would be the year that her family finally got closure. She would let go, so that they could let go too. Really, it wasn’t the worst way for this to end.

The Mash

It seems that this is the month of looking backward, with a sense of nostalgia. I must say that childhood just isn’t quite what it used to be, and I see that every year at halloween where it makes me just a little bit sad.


It was an old song, but a favorite of mine. It was out of date, and a vit corny, but the idea of a bunch of monsters dancing in Dr. Frankensteins lab always amused me. The beat was catchy, and no matter how many times I listened to it, I never remembered all of the words.

I was far too old to enjoy it so much, but it brought me back to being a kid. To a time when Halloween was everything, and I was always a sucker for nostalgia. Its why I dressed up to hand out candy, because It was soo cool when people were in costume when you went to their door.

I think if I could, I would still trick or treat, though I could more than afford the candy. There was something about the excitement of it all, that seemed to be waning as time went by and less and less kids joined up for what was just a little wholesome fun.

Oh how the world has changed…

Quaint

This is just a slice of life story about life in a small town. It feel like it could be a prologue to a much large peice, but when I tried to write a continuation, it didn’t really connect, so I have made the choice to post this on it’s own.


Margie was dumb. Okay, that wasn’t really that nice, but she wasn’t slow, she didn’t have a learning disability, or have an especially low IQ. Margie really was just dumb. So much so that other people really should have found it frustrating talking to her, but they didn’t. Because Margie, sweet Margie, was something akin to the little engine that could as she tried so hard again and again. The thing was, Margie would more aptly be called the little engine that couldn’t, because the trying never really amounted to anything.

Most people would give up, but not Margie, and that seemed to be why people liked her so much, nothing ever really got Margie down. Its also how despite perpetually failing at life, Margie was doing as well as she was. People, did a lot for the silly girl, mostly out of a sense of pity, and a bit of guilt at their own ill will towards her sometimes.

So Margie had a job at the grocery store, as a greeter. She had started as a stockboy, but had been confused, as she was not a boy. She labeled things wrong, and put them where she felt they belonged rather than where they actually belonged causing more harm that good.

No one thought that Margie would be able to handle cashier, so they tried her on bagging next. AS much as the other town residents understood Margie was as she was, Margie could only pack so many bags poorly before it was suggested that maybe Margie not do that. After all, people wanted to get their food home, relatively undamaged, and there were too many loaves of bread being squashed under canned goods for people to abide by Margie.

Greeter wasn’t a real title, not at a store this small, but everyone smiled when they saw her, and Margie made sure to stop and greet every person that entered, if they wanted a greeting or not. That said, everyone liked seeing Margie taken care of, and she was a fairly sweet girl and she did try, so people who didn’t usually shop at the store made a point to stop by now and then, just to say hi to Margie. The increase in business wasn’t huge, but it did rack up to a little more than a greeter salary a month, so they kept her on.

That was the odd thing about small towns, people cared. Okay, they didn’t really care, people were not inherently better in small towns than the city. In small towns though, one didn’t have the veil of anonymity to hide behind. Everyone in a small town knew who you were and what you did, and who your parents were, and what they did. There was a sense of being watched that some found comforting, and many found invasive. If you were rude to the greeter, you would be hearing about it from your own mother within the hour, so you better mind you manners.

This led to a sense of obligation to be a better person that one actually was at heart. In a small town reputation was everything, and you couldn’t be the only person in town that didn’t stop by and say hi to Margie, so you did it. For all they are portrayed to be more “real” and “down to earth” in small towns, you had to wonder if they were actually just spending a lot more time being really good fakes.

In the city you could have a work personality, a home personality, and for some, a friends personality. Which one, if any, was you, was a choice, and rarely did they overlap enough to worry someone might foul the waters. Meanwhile in small towns, home, work and friends would see the same thing, and it would be distributed far and wide, and why most of us had a sneaking suspicion that Trevor who helped Ms. McAvoy with her groceries was not as nice as he seemed.

Its why, when they found the body, it was both more and less surprising than it would have been in the city. It certainly gave everyone something to talk about other than the weather, and for many, that made the murder the best thing to have happened in years.