When Pigs Fly

They watch as the pig goes beyond the frame of the door in a fit of squeals that disappear into the clouds behind them.

“It’s flying- priest go.”

“That’s not flying,” she complains planting both fists on hips and glaring blue eyes at him.

“So you’re reneging?”

She says no, when the priest asks if she does but a set of raised eyebrows later, she relents and they are, as the priest says, man and wife.

Deeds and Actions

“Deeds and actions yield eternal life,” it’s the junker rallying cry.

“Heroes live forever,” would be the typical response but as the thin and reedy voice finishes, Doc, the mission leader, suddenly appears in all his glory. “Fuck, sorry. How’s this thing… oh okay. ” and the leering face vanishes back behind the black glass screen it had come from.

“Holy shit, was that a giant piece of beef-jerky in a spacersuit?”

Their mic is hot and Sara jerks to reach the mute mutton, saying as she does, “Oh shit, sorry doc, you look good. No, seriously. Who looks like beef jerky? Not you!”

Once off camera she slaps at him and glares.

“What?” he stares back more curious than afraid, this time.

“That man is a hero and one of the only spacetronauts who knows how to clone their own stem cells. He’s been alive longer than most of the junk in the junk belt and had the foresight to move out between the moon and Venus. Respect is warranted.”

He nods, wondering again how he finds himself out here. Security pilot one day and the next a wanted criminal  and felon back on Terra, but guesses it boils down to deeds and actions two things he ain’t very good at.

One Last Gift

Before Martha died, she ordered a wool dragon from King Cole knitting company. It was almost the last thing she did. It was not any more special than any of the other purchases she made for her boy Daniel. Daniel loved dragons and Martha sought them out wherever they were sold. 

The other activities Martha completed with her last moments of life sadly only lead her to her death and amounted to her standing on a corner on her way to be waiting for a bus, which arrived much later then scheduled. The lateness was due to the traffic Martha herself caused by winding up beneath a VW Bug. The VW jumped the curb to avoid a squirrel. Some witnesses claim Martha was smeared into Martha flavored jam in the ice-covered gutter. The squirrel was saved and never attempted a street crossing again in what remained of its short life. Most of the other witnesses just screamed then went home and relived the event over and over in their dreams until their own deaths. 

Death happens. We shall not regret the life Martha lived or the death that ended it. It is the one thing all living beings can expect to occur at some point. It never occurs at the right time and someone is bound to be inconvenienced by it.

So Martha died.

She did not feel the trolley smashing her body into bits and pieces and was not sad to end up where she went, but those that she left behind felt pain and sadness and disappointment at the unfairness of it all.

Especially her boy Daniel.

The living rarely understand. Death is a necessity, how redundant eternity would be if it were not offered at all.

But Daniel does not care about redundancies. He just wants his mommy back. But all he gets is the forward progression of time, which is a blessing all on its own.

The day after the funeral the post arrived, because that’s what the post does. Daniel looks at the box handed to him by his father. Sad eyed and silent since. The address is to his mother. He looks for permission and his father nods before turning and leaving him alone. 

He cuts carefully into the box and finds the bright green hand-knitted dragon, but refuses to let the tears come this time and decides immediately to throw it out.

It’s just a stuffy and he was going to be seven soon and seven-year-olds who lose their mother don’t need stuffies anymore, they just need to get over it and start growing up.

Daniel walks over to the bin, not at all about to cry, and flips the lid up, but before he can toss the toy away, the bright Irish green dragon requests, “Wait a mo, please. Maybe we can work something out.”

The Fallen Gnome

The gnome falls into the last spot in the formation. She steps on bruised and lacerated feet, but knows forward is the only direction left to her- to anyone- anymore. Her soft shopkeeper-body demands she lie down and die. She has never been in more pain. And all from walking. In front of her is a line of villagers like has never been seen before. Men and women who have lost everything and have sworn the last remaining portion of their soul to revenge. Weapons as diverse as soup ladles being brought to the front. She has the sharpest cleaver from her drawer. Her fathers. How the old toy-maker would be proud.

Squeaky Yon-Blue-Spinner doesn’t want revenge. She wants to go home to her family, sit in front of the hearth and carve toys with her mate. Plan events for the store to increase shopping traffic and raise their little boy to be a toy-maker, like them.

It doesn’t matter that all that is gone now. The little boy, the partner, the toy store. She tries to move her mind from what was now a smoldering pile of hot white ash and focus on the job to be done here and now:

Climb a mountain and prepare to kill the jagged teeth, and sulfur belching beasts that have climbed out of hell and have amassed against them. They slumbered once, now they die. Or so that’s the hope. Squeaky sighs, adjusting the slipping kitchen implement stuck inside her belt. She knows death is coming. She knows it like watching an approaching storm on the horizon. But this death is hers. Her very own. And the very last thing she will ever do. And again she raises her chin and continues to pick up her feet, father’s don’t get to be proud for nothing.

Cookie’s War

Once a day, that’s how often he plies his trade. Once a day he wakes and prepares for this one task, cooking for all that have the coin. To prepare, he seeks food in its various states. The morning is cold when he steps outside, his breath comes out in a white cloud. The old boots on his feet, resoled many times, but personal to him so each stain on the soft leather surface he can remember, take the beating well as he picks up his speed and jogs. The street is empty as he leaves the village and enters the ancient forest. A place of many memories. But changed since the war came.

Instead of a rifle, he swings a spatulae as a weapon and with the sun an hour away he’s not ready yet to put hash on the grill. So he puts a bit of hustle in his step. When the day starts he will need eggs, and other produce the forest can provide and none of it will be openly available without a fight. He is happy to do this chore, gather the morning’s ingredients- even with the battle so close that it stings his nose with rot and cordite.

Soon enough he shoos a wild hen from her nest and finds a dozen eggs, then by a trickle of a stream, some wild garlic, and under a bush, dug up by a wild boar, a few tubers.

Supplied and happy he is able to open for business. Soon enough he is telling the men, children really, not meant to know anything more than how to pray and how to die, that he has mushroom omelets, and fresh-baked cakes available. They don’t know the difference or care and only want more and quickly he sells out.

Cleaning up he talks with one of the senior enlisted.

“Going to be a big day Cookie, do or die, type day.”

Cookie nods, because that’s life isn’t it? Do or die. and he tells this to the top-kick and gets a chuckle, “you say that now, but bettin’ at the pointy end of a bayonet your tune sounds different.

Cookie nods again because sometimes that’s all a damn fool can do. And he knows tomorrow he won’t be so busy.

And he’s right, there almost is no tomorrow- after the enemy comes in what the historians will call the last will of the patriots.

And the next morning after the invasion he finds himself waking early in a small prison camp that once was his home.

That morning he finds a small heel of stale bread early on, but with the forest filled with soldiers he was told, not once, but over and over- with the dangerous end of a rifle- to get back to town. So he made due, carving out the crumb and using a few chutes of fresh garlic-grass and some lucked-out-to-find dandelion-greens, growing almost within arms reach. He makes a small fire and over a few orange coals cooks his small meal, lamenting, “I wish I had a little fat.”

Suddenly a hand, “Here.” In the palm, creases packed with black soot and the dried blood of patriots, are a few old olives presented as if an ageless treasure.

Cookie takes them because they will do nicely and after a bit adds some water and cooks the mush down into four cakes.

He gives two to his new friend and the next morning the enemy military moves on. As does he. Going further North, where the scraps are even harder to find. But he survives one guest at a time, because there is always something to cook.

An End of One’s Own

They walk to the edge, and I watch.

Yes, it may smell for a while and those that remain may beat their breast and blame themselves, but at the end of the day—

—I neither made the cliff nor suggested they jump.

We only live once

and the path to the end is our own.

mending the unmendable

There is an art to joining broken things. To mending the unmendable. To making right great wrongs.

The words, spoken though by the former Chinese president as the world watched, didn’t erase what was lost, the millions of lives. The poverty, hunger, civil unrest.

And a lever was pulled. Judgment complete.

“Give them Koolaide,” he famously said when things where at their worst, never accepting the reality and what caused the global pandemic in the first place.

“We are at war,” the new president said famously on her way from Marine 1 into the West Wing, the man she replaced not even fully cold in the ground yet, dead by the very disease that the world could see slipped from Wuhan laboratory. Koolaide, a rallying cry, and, famously, in generation Double-Zed style- they followed Winnie the Pooh all the away to Beijing.

History will find the stylized bear, decked out like Rambo, stenciled in black spray paint on a swatch of Chinese soil one hundred miles wide. The points death came stretching from India, South Korea, and South Pacific. Forces led by Australia and supported by the North American/European alliance.

It’ll be called the One Percenter War, though the number of dead was much higher.

But death stopped mattering.

Koolaide, no thank you, the people screamed while burning city after city. Plunder of worthless baubles the only thing slowing them down.

When the revolution was over, the disease slammed home again, and stayed for three years. Anyone and everyone a bit frail bought it. Seven million deaths happened on July 4th, 2028, alone. Ironically, it was the same day looters put flames to a bunch of towers in New York City. The towers all once had a single name emblazoned on their front, a name no longer spoken in polite company. Considered blasphemous to mention. Heinous as incest and child murder.

The Boy

And the boy crawls over the rusting haul noticing small drifts of powdery sand. He sees chips of old paint. He feels the heat of the dying day on his sun blistered back. Then the boot of his captain. Gnarled leather. Old. He feels a rough thin hand with no mercy grip him by the hair. The white pain as he is lifted off his feet. The fear. The fear. The fear. He can sense the anger leaking from the eyes. Or maybe they have no emotion. Maybe they do their deed with no thoughts of regret. Is that worse? Maybe more so the boy doesn’t have the time to spend thinking about it.

The boy isn’t yet thirteen.

He watched his father die.

They tried to make watch his mother raped. He refused to leave His own mind. And now with a silent scream he watches as a barbed hook slices through his tender cheek hitting and removing two teeth before being carelessly yanked out again. A loop is placed in the hole and cinched closed, then a gold chain through the loop.

After the dead eyed man’s job is done, the boy is dropped and kicked as the captain screams, “yok hatarak.”

And the boy knows he will try, he will try with all the red hot fury of revenge burning in his soul to make the words the captain spoke not true, he will not be sold and he will replace the gold chained loop with the scar of freedom.

Soul Eater

“Heh, only one.”

Stupid words from the stupidest of them. It was to be expected, but as the Soul Eater pulls it’s gleaming blade, a blade forged by the very fires conjured by Emma-ō’s spit, they knew by coming to work tonight, they orphaned their children. When as children themselves and forced into being soldiers, they widowed their wives.

“Sore o subete fakku,” their leader cries and thankfully charges first, leaving the other two not waiting to be last. But it doesn’t matter.

The Soul Eater is still hungry after such a meager meal.

New Yeast

Mammals went back to the water as the fish came ashore and nobody much cared about the birds. They traded places these distant relatives who share a genetic link to an amoeba who thought she could be more.

“More what?” her mother asked her one Christmas, “what do think you can do? Be better then the rest of us?”

She didn’t think that, because she already knew she was better than the rest of them and their asexual nature. She needed to be more, she needed New Yeast.