let's not drink
as customer service
dogs barking incessantly
clothes ripping against
the door jam
phone calls instead
fists against walls
a broken skeleton
wrists that can't
withstand that kind
of emotional dependency
on poisonous relationships
I comb my hair
tell myself to
the only reason
I'm still here
is for the pure adrenaline
from too many swear words
with a hand inside his head
he sleeps inside his guitar-cased
and weeps angel trumpets
and sandwiched between temples
are a pair of eyes
that cannot close
and lie deserted.
his synapses beep a 4/4 metronome;
a morse for his lost amore
with the downbeat blowing
the mating call of a mort
and as morning comes
a pair of palms
fly over the gas stove fire -
"twins thieving oxygen".
dragging a soul
at the sole of a palindrome
shoulders shrug away
the shaloms and mazel tovs
and shrugs towards
the nearest hearse,
100 Yards To Better Health
Many adults fall into a rhythm as soon as they leave school and go out into the working world, wherein they content themselves with fast food to save time, and with sitting down in an office all day. It is hopefully obvious to all of us, at least, that these are not ideal preconditions to achieving a super-keen state of physical fitness, and to an improved quality of life.
Once they get older, adults have three* “good” reasons for not trying to get back in shape:
1), No time.
2), No place to do it.
3), No money.
4), Body hurts whenever they, like, move.
5), Comfort Zone is too comfy.
With respect to this last reason: go ahead and enjoy your comfort zone. It will continue to get smaller as you age (see #4), you will surprise no one, least of all yourself, you will never challenge yourself and therefore never improve, and, one day, on your deathbed at the latest, you will ask yourself why you didn’t enjoy more of this life to its fullest and then die miserably in regret. Yay!
#4: It is no surprise that everything hurts. Soft tissue works like this: muscles, and especially muscle tissue, needs to be long and elastic, like a cat’s, to be healthy. A shortage of movement and the ingestion of crap the body does not need leads to the drying up, shriveling, and knotting of this muscle tissue, until it looks like the knotted ball of yarn the cat plays with, and which leads to pain when this tissue is engaged. Worse, the pain causes a further reduction of movement, and the cycle continues and intensifies.
#3: The training here is free [sticks tongue out].
#2: See below..(and title)...
#1: These workouts take anywhere from ten to twenty minutes, depending on how intensely your body wants to go. If you can’t find 10-20 minutes it’s time to reorganize your entire life. Starting with the time you get up in the morning.
I’m here in the mountains in Spain. There is no flat. Whether or not you train on flat ground or hills is immaterial. You should do what your body tells you to do, not what I do.
Start walking. When you get tired. Stop. Repeat chorus. Take breaks as needed.
Whenever you feel up to it, jog. Stop jogging and walk when it hurts. Try to work yourself up to jogging for 100 yards.
Always breathe deeply, into your stomach and sides. Breathe first, the rest comes later.
Important Tips for beginners:
1), Go barefoot as much as possible. If you want to get stronger and healthier you have to train-the same goes for your feet as well. How can they train if they can’t feel the ground and are wedged in tight, and the toes have no elbow room in your foot coffins? Consider Xero or Merrell barefoot shoes; other brands on Amazon are cheaper and you can try them as well until your feet get used to the sensation of being alive again.
2), Walk backwards, ESPECIALLY if you have knee troubles (like me). Millions of Chinese can’t be wrong–they do it every day. There is a science behind it–you can check out Kneesovertoesguy on YouTube for details; please remember if you do that this human had x surgeries on his knees and can do some amazing things with his legs, as you’ll see in the videos.
3), Always listen to your body. Do too little instead of too much: too much leads to ouchies and frustration, which will lead to quitting.
I usually do seven reps backwards up the hill and one forwards (it’s VERY steep). I jog backwards down the hill after the last rep forwards.
If you start on flat ground but get bored fast-mix it up. Have some imagination. Good for brane. 3 reps 100 yards forwards/3 backwards, for example. You can do one rep a week of side straddles or crossovers-good for leg. I’m sure you can Google what these exercises are if you don’t know.
Jog 100 yards forwards and 100 yards backwards.
Jog 100 yards forwards and walk back forwards. Then do the same backwards.
Walk a few reps barefoot.
Discover Yoga and/or Pilates. Why?-these disciplines teach your body, whether it wants to learn or not, how to be healthy from the inside out, not the other way around, which is what most boneheads do (first huge muscles everyone can see, then maybe later when there’s time before I can’t move anymore because my muscles are too big and I’m about as flexible as a gravestone I’ll develop muscle and muscle tissue length and elasticity).
For those of you who like Yoga but don’t have the money for a Pilates machine (Reformer, Barrel, Chair, That cool-ass bed thingy–the Cadillac, etc): all Pilates exercises can be done on a mat without the machine. Most studios in Europe, for example, don’t have any machines.
Most importantly, have fun. No Pain No Gain is out. You are getting better, healthier, and stronger by the minute, and you are outside enjoying the fresh air and Nature. Listen to the birds and not your headphones. Watch butterflies instead of a new car.
And if none of these tips and work and you still feel trapped inside your comfort zone and are being suffocated by the 1001 excuses you find it so easy to make, then it’s time for a coach. Either you’re ready for a change and start doing something about it or you’re not. Excuses won’t help anyone with anything; get help...
*-Yes I know there are 5. I meant Monty Python “Holy Grail” 3...
The color of compassion
I see a tiny boy digging into his tiny pocket. He pulls out a coin which he places in the paper cup of a homeless man. This same tiny boy marches on down the street where he hears a steel drum, made out of tin cans, sending beautiful music to his tiny ears. Once again, he reaches into his tiny pocket and drops a shiny nickel on the ground next to the street musician.
The tiny boy knows he has only one copper penny left in his pocket. He saves it for tomorrow. His compassion is not tiny.
Tim wakes up in a cold sweat. However, it isn't night terror's that are the culprit this time. This time Tim is anxious. A queasy feeling rises in the pit of his stomach. Saturday is finally here. Tim considers Saturday a free day. A day where he doesn't have to deal with the drama that surrounds him at school. He makes it a point each Saturday to enjoy every moment of it. This Saturday is different. He has to spend part of it with her. He is way past regret. In fact he regretted it almost immediately. He never in a million years thought she would accept. Maybe George was right. Maybe Cindy really does want to get him alone. Maybe he played right into her hands without even realizing it. To think she might be 3 steps ahead of him sends a shiver down his spine. He doesn't want to go through with it but at this point he has no choice.
Since there is no way he is spending a dime of his own money on Cindy, he decides to have a picnic in the park. He finds a musty old blanket in the attic that would be perfect. He gets his mother to buy the necessary ingredients that will comprise their meal. Once he convinces her his date is with a real girl, she becomes willing to do whatever it takes to make that date a success.
His father tells him not to do anything that he himself would not do and Tim responds by saying that Cindy is probably expecting him to at the very least talk to her. Tim's father amends his advice by saying that Tim should probably tone done the sarcasm to which Tim responds that it probably isn't going to happen.
He decides to make bacon and tomato sandwiches. A normal person would have also included lettuce in the equation but Tim isn't fond of lettuce so he leaves that part out. A normal person would also use bread but Tim isn't fond of bread either so he substitutes that with English Muffins. He lightly toasts the English muffins in the toaster and cooks the bacon in the air fryer until the bacon is nice and crisp, just the way he likes it. He realizes that he has no idea if Cindy will also like the Bacon sandwiches but her preferences are not what is important here. If he is going to spend time with someone he doesn't like, he is at least going to enjoy some aspect of the encounter. He grabs a few bottles of water. His mother gives him a tin of brownies to share with what she thinks is the object of his affection. Tim insists that isn't necessary but his mother won’t take no for an answer. Rather than argue with his mother Tim just packs the tin with his other stuff and heads out to the park.
He agreed to meet Cindy at 10:30 and while he has met his part of the bargain, Cindy is nowhere to be found. Did she get cold feet? Did she just want to make a fool out of him? He spreads out the blanket in the shade of a nearby tree and sits down. Even if Cindy doesn't show up, he will still enjoy his lunch and it's always good to get some exercise. Fifteen minutes pass and Cindy is still a no show. However, the person who does show up is Brad and his posse.
"What have we here?" Brad asks not really expecting an answer, "Having a picnic all by yourself?" He shakes his head, "That is just so sad and pathetic. I really feel for you. You know, because you're so pathetic I think we'll do you a favor and cut you some slack." Brad continues, "Just one thing, we've built up quite an appetite, I'm sure you brought
enough food that you can share, seeing as we're being all nice to you and everything."
Before Tim could react, one of Brad's friends grabs Tim's basket and open's it up.
"Hey, he's got some BLT's in here." the unnamed goon announces as he throws a bag with a sandwich in it to Brad. Brad looks at it for a moment.
"Hey, where’s the lettuce? No wonder you're here all by yourself, you can't even make a BLT right." Brad opens the bag and takes a huge bite. "Hey, this is pretty good, guys, you need to taste these sandwiches." The three boys eat all of Tim's sandwiches and take his bottles of water for good measure. They leave Tim sitting there all by himself.
Tim isn't angry. Life just sucks, that's all. Tim didn't know why but the boys left his brownies behind. He takes one a bites into it. He just sits there. After an hour Cindy still does not make an appearance. She saw her opening and took it. She made a fool out of him. He can appreciate that. Maybe now she will leave him alone.
Monday Tim is walking down a hall at school when he hears a familiar voice. He doesn't want to stop but he does anyway. "Tim, I'm sorry I didn't make it on Saturday." Yeah, sure you are, Tim thinks but doesn't say out loud. "I forgot that the family was going to visit my grandparents. They live 90 minutes away and I couldn't get out of it. I wanted to though. Let me make it up to you." Cindy says by way of apology.
"You don't have to. You made a fool out of me. You really got me good. I can appreciate that." Tim says with no malice or ill will in his voice as he walks away from her.
"But I want to." Cindy says as her voice trails off watching him walk away.
I’m So Bored With The Government
So I hear the Greenies (rhymes with “Meanies”) want to levy a “carbon” tax to help combat the pesky climate change problem. As astounding as it may seem, I have never shat in a river, although no one has ever forbade me from doing it. I do not spit on trains. I also do not piss on cats.
There are no laws or taxes for any of these things, yet most (!) people still have performed none of the above-mentioned fun activities.
The fact that we must pass legislation to remind us how to treat our environs shows us how far we’ve come.
If it is not OK for us to dump on the environment, why is it OK for Chevron to dump billions of gallons of toxic wastewater in the Ecuadorian jungle?
If the business of America is business, why not just turn the country into one giant, paved Stock Market where the rich can play and everyone else maintains the building in gloomy subterranean levels?
If we are so concerned about the environment, why the reliance on “safe” nuclear power?
If we are so concerned with the environment, why does no one question whether we now have, finally, enough plastic?
What about the environment inside of us? Does that not count? Should we not be outraged at the way we desecrate it? See: Chop’t Panko Fried Chicken Salad.
If we are so concerned about the environment, why have we continually shown such utter disregard for it? Do we ask the land beneath our feet if we may build a machine gun factory on it? Do we ask it for permission to grow the crops we want, when we want them, where we want them? Do we ask animal's permission if we can cage and slaughter them to satisfy our voracious appetites? Do we ask for the Earth's permission if we may bury our nuclear waste underground or our toxic waste off the coast of sunny California?
Maybe the question here is not whether there should be a carbon tax or not, but rather what have we done to earn the right to even live here? It's ironic that before we have even begun to deal with this questions, billionaires have already begun to build their dick-rockets and blast off to ?
Most of us are not ready to answer the above question, much less ask it. But since I am trying my darndest to be a more positive, productive, and helpful human being, despite all of the impediments life puts in my way, I would ask that we all perform an exercise:
Try to imagine the most spectacular, amazing thing humans have ever produced. My wife said the Inter- or Intranet*. She has a point. The Internet, and possibly the Intranet, allow us to keep in touch with anyone on Earth, or procure any kind of information in the blink of an eye. You might also find that other things, like beer, are way huger accomplishments.
I wonder, however, if one short 20-foot flight of a common monarch butterfly isn’t as amazing as anything we’ve ever done. You can’t even hold the Internet in your hands. Most of our accomplishments benefit only the person using whatever it is, if anyone. Beer is not healthy, sadly. [I said ladies lingerie, which is swell, but I’m sure we’d all get along just fine without it, sadly.]
If my idea is true, that a 20-foot flight of a butterfly is more important than anything humans have ever produced**, then it’s about time we began putting Nature in its rightful place: at the head of the table. Nature is not here to do our bidding. It is we who must find our place in it, if such a thing is still possible.
Only then will the need for a “carbon tax” be relegated to its rightful place: the scrap heap of history.
*Is the Intranet really something? I always say 'Intranet' as a joke but I recently heard someone mention it seriously. What is it? Help! I’m spooked...
My Feeble Attempt At This Challenge
So Ses Tina
And so the story goes fast
Fast as in the mental creativity
Creativity designed to be unwittingly endless
Endless points, fire, heated degrees
Degrees of intertwining levels, haunting, boastful;
Boastful where the world finds simple attempts
Eventually creating authors.
Pearl Before Swine ch 30: Choice
I float atop Issoria’s constant stream of words, but it is not a lazy ride. As often as I rise, I dive, gathering treasures in my arms. They sparkle, flicker, and pulse like jewels—like flames. The truths themselves are the gemstones, and the enthusiasm with which Issoria speaks is fire, granting movement and life. Its heat seeps through my skin and coils in my core.
Some of what she tells about the Stars is inaccurate, though I have no proof or reason to combat it. It is a feeling, as if she tries to convince me that joy is a myth when I hold it in my palm. Other things are as familiar as my own existence, as if she describes the shape of a hand, and I see mine is so.
I soak up every word and etch them on my soul so I can read them to Terra later. He surely already knows these things, yet I want to hear the poetry of his thoughts. He will craft an explanation so much better than I ever will, and it will not just be the what and the how. He will reveal the all-important why.
As I dream of his response, Terra’s face softens and lightens into copper and blue, capped with midnight’s shadow.
Jun will not say he loves me until he fully means it. I fancy showing him my realm and awe welling in those sharp eyes. Love for me waits as a seed in his heart, and beauty—the beauty of the Stars, a beauty intrinsic in me—will nourish it until it sprouts.
Yet, whether that love is a seed or a tree, I cannot bring him to Mare.
My daydream shifts again, this time to the gold of a healer’s uniform and eyes of indecisive gray. What would the inexplicably wise Sal think of these truths? He was the one with whom I first learned of the fourth realm’s existence.
I should have thought of telling him first, especially since I already have so much I need to discuss with him. My hands still on the tools Issoria explains to me as my breath flees. “I need to find Sal.”
The Pixie rocks back, lip curling, but before she can utter a sound, a blue smudge stumbles through the steam in the doorway, edges sharper the closer he comes.
Beau meets my gaze and stops, mouth ajar. “You’re here.” After a rapid blink, his posture loosens, and he grins. “Of course. Thanks for accepting my invitation, though I don’t recall giving you directions to this room specifically.” His pale green eyes cut to Issoria.
With fluttering wings, she inclines toward him. “What happened? You reek of panic.”
The frame of his rigidity returns. He is a spear, his hair a field of pikes coated in mud. “We had a guest, and someone let him out.”
My skin prickles, and my foot falls behind me, nearer to the star suit though further from the exit. “Your guests are not free to leave, Beau?”
He stretches out his grin again, its ends too pointed. “I use the word guest to be nice, but it’s not the most accurate description. You, however…” He approaches, arm aimed to wrap over my shoulders.
I retreat, wishing I could come and go through solid walls like Lance. It is a coward’s desire, as is the impulse to call for the Unicorn’s protection. If his mandate is to protect me, why does he disappear more often than not? So far, he has done nothing but manipulate humans and hurt other Creatures of Essence. Halcyon still lies on the floor, now wholly in serpentine Dragon form, his long neck crimped like folded paper.
Beau has not even glanced at him.
I can handle Beau on my own.
My feet become roots, and I stiffen my arms, miming a shove that does not touch him.
“You are a valued guest,” he says with a flicker of a frown. His freckles are like a storm’s first droplets darkening dry sand. “I came too late for the big reveal, but Issoria couldn’t have told you everything yet.”
Her laugh chimes like bells. “She belongs to the Stars.”
“I told you that from the beginning. Come here.” He holds out a hand—a command, not an offer—and I do not comply. He leans, fingers closer. “Come on, Pearl. You want to see this. Trust me.”
I do not trust him, but some gravity tugs at the fiber of my being. I am a simple cloth facing a simple choice: heed the pull of a single thread or come unraveled.
I step forward to a double-edged reward. The tension strengthens but through it, sweet energy flows. The wider Beau’s smile, the freer this nectar, and with only two steps, my head buzzes with its euphoria. In this daze, my feet do not ask for permission. They do not know the destination and do not care if one exists. The universe consists of each moment, of one more completed step.
In this way, he leads me down the hall and several ramps until the floor turns to sickly pale grass bent under the weight of the humid air. The turf ends in cliffs of sand and rock, some dipping low enough to taste the wide bay.
The water is unnaturally still—a sea without waves, a body without a heartbeat.
With a steadying hand on my elbow, he pulls me into a canoe. “Uncle severed this inlet from the ocean and closed it in—glass above, buildings all around. A bay this big is called a sound, but it’s sort of quiet.”
“Is it dying?” I lean over the rim and stare into sluggish darkness. It does not even return my reflection.
He hauls on a lever, and paddles stroke beneath the surface, but their ripples barely touch the stillness. We move faster than I can run, yet it feels as if a tree’s growth could outpace our glide.
“It doesn’t support marine life anymore, no, but sometimes things have to die to give birth to dreams.”
Frowning, I slide my gaze to him. “Things like Creatures of Essence.”
“No.” He chuckles. “They’re tough to kill and get ticked off when you try.”
“Why was there golden blood in your room?”
He pauses, lips pursed and eyes rolled skyward, before he heaves on the paddles again. “I’m wise enough not to target Essences and their property, but as you saw on the dock today, that’s a rarity.”
I straighten. “Sal?”
“Oh, it very much had to do with Sal.”
My throat tightens. “Was it his blood?”
His grin returns, slow and smooth as honey. “Uncle has strict rules about what I can say concerning Sal, and I’d rather not get kicked out of a second university.”
The slivers of information are as one raindrop for an entire desert. My face and posture crumple.
“Sal is annoying in the way that all long-lost cousins are, so let’s forget him.” Releasing the levers, Beau slides two fingers beneath my chin and tilts my face to the heavens.
The view pours through me like a deluge and carves out hollows my gasp cannot fill. While I was indoors, the fifth sunset came and faded, but tiny stars do not dust the velvet night. Globes of fire, varied in size and color, crowd the sky, and sparkling webs weave between them.
As Issoria described and I felt, each one is a sun whose light barely reaches us like the echo of a whisper. We associate night with the sun’s absence, yet it leaves us in the care of so many more.
“The dome isn’t just glass,” Beau explains. “It’s a network of lenses. I come to the dock at the middle of the sound whenever I need to be reminded of my dream, but I’m sure it doesn’t look half of what it does out there.”
“Your dream?” With some difficulty, I peel my gaze from the heights and focus on him.
He leans close, grin slanted and eyes glossed with reflections of the magnified sky. “The stars. Most of the world is caught up in trying to go back to the dimension we came from. They think that will solve our resource problem, but me? I say that’s moving backward. We have all the resources we need here. Or”—he points above—“there, actually. An endless sea waiting to be explored.”
This is the goal he came to this university to accomplish, and Tulip said goals pave the path to the human heart. I can walk it by helping him progress toward this dream. This confession has the texture of a gift. I need a human to love me, and I have so little time left. I do not like Beau, but my feelings were never a condition of the bet.
As Professor Ignacio once did, I mirror Beau’s posture, leaning over my knees. “You wish to be the first human to swim in that dark sea.”
“I will be. You saw the suit I built. It’s almost ready. Now with you here…” His teeth catch his lower lip as if that can keep his smile from engulfing his face. “Can I meet Astra?”
I blink. “Astra?”
“I named the Essence of the Stars, and if—”
“She will pick her own name.” Shaking my head, I straighten. The boat rocks dangerously beneath the quick movement.
Beau grips the sides, but his eyes never leave me. “Can we at least suggest the name I came up with? My genius is the reason she exists.”
“That would not give you any claim on her, even if it were true.” I stand, uncaring if the canoe tips, fists and jaw clenched against a fire greater than the sum of all the suns above. His ambition feeds it, and it may destroy him. “Your progress strengthens her, but she has existed for far longer than you.”
His face scrunches, but unheard logic works it like a river carving a canyon, loosening the lines until the expression is open and curious. “Sit, please.”
When I do not, he rises and offers both hands, stopping shy of catching mine—waiting for me to consent and close the gap. Again, I do not.
In this light of low contrasts, his skin is the opposite of the sky—a lighter gray speckled with darkness. “Astra has to have been around longer than any of the Creatures she made, and while the Auroras were first seen less than a week ago, you…how old are you?”
“I spent hundreds of seasons with Terra, and before that, time was not something I understood.”
His brows hop, and his head shakes. “So, older than my nineteen years?”
“Essences measure the angles of the light so we know when to expect dawn and dusk. We measure days so we know when the season will change, and we measure seasons so we know when a new era begins. To assign that measure to ourselves is unnecessary.”
“That’s fascinating.” It is a whisper and a laugh. “The simpler answer I’m hearing is yes, you’re older than me. That’s fine. I’ll still be the first human in space.” He grips my hands and winces as they sizzle, but he doesn’t let go. “Say you’ll help me get there.”
I sigh. “I must return to Mare within two sunsets.”
“To the Sea?” His nose wrinkles as if to keep his lowering brows from sliding down it. His grip loosens. “Astra didn’t send you to spy on me?”
“I have never met my Essence, and if I ever want to, I must win my freedom from Mare.”
The ice of his touch vanishes, and he wags an open hand at me. “That’s how you’re older. Astra didn’t make you. Mare made you, and you have to prove yourself worthy enough of being a gift for Astra.”
“You have a talent for finding the shiny slivers of truth amongst all the world’s grains of sand.” I wring my fingers, needing to use this energy, to run and jump, but this is a very small boat in the middle of a very big lake. I pour it into my words instead. “I must prove myself worthy of having a choice. To Mare. To Terra. To myself. If I fail, if I do not bring back a human whose love I have earned before the time limit, then I will only be a jewel on Mare’s necklace, and that is all I will deserve to be.”
“What if you don’t go back? Will she come after you?” The longing in his tone is like sugar dumped into the sea instead of salt.
“You do not want her to come here and destroy what you have built.”
He nods, eyes fixed on me as he sits, one brow lifting. “Then, I’ll go with you.”
“You just need a human to say they love you. I can do that.”
“It would be a lie.”
“Depends on your definition of love.” With a shrug, he hauls on the lever, and the canoe lurches forward.
I stumble back into my seat. I like Jun’s definition of love, and Tulip’s explanations, and Sal’s lessons. I do not care to know the angle Beau sees, even if it would win me the bet.
Righting myself, I sit with all the rigor of a mountain. My voice plays its jagged, snow-laden cliffs. “Love is a human emotion, and you are human, but you love nothing beyond your own ambition.”
He frowns, but I barrel on.
“Even if Mare does not call out that technicality, you will consider this favor a way of purchasing me. I will not be free, and I will not have proven I should be.”
“Way to hack at my character with a dull little ax. You done?” His glower grows a twisted smirk, his back as stiff as mine. “Can you blame me for hoping you’d choose to stay?”
He holds out a hand, and again I leave it unaccepted despite how the fire within me pulls toward him like a plant reaching for the sun. The hope and ambition he so freely wears is food more potent than coconut or deer jerky, the energy given to me by Halcyon or Lance, or even Jun’s awe. Though as still as the mountain I pretend to be, I am a volcano, danger sloshing within.
Fill anything too much, and it explodes.
With this feeling, my eyes jump to the bay’s borders in search of Aurora. I have more than enough to share with her this time. Yet, only the amplified stars wink back. Because no, I do not want Aurora here. I want her to stay as far from Beau as possible.
Impatience outweighs consent, and he grabs my wrist. A needle burrows in my skin, and ice shoots up my arm. I am a rock, a karst, harried by a thousand eras of erosion all at once. He lets me fall on the canoe’s floor, my head between his feet, my gaze on the unnaturally close sky.
“It’s so much harder when they’re always trying to escape,” Beau mutters as he resumes his grip on the lever and our boat glides onward.
I am not the first Creature of Essence he has taken against their will. As the scene melts beyond a film of tears, memory shines brighter, displaying golden blood in his room. He claims Sal is involved, or is that another lie? Another technicality.
Was it Sal’s blood?
I am not the first Creature of Essence that Beau has taken, but I will be the last. My tears crackle as they slide down my cheeks, wend over my ears, and drip onto the floor. Smoke coils from their kiss upon the wood. Water gurgles through the holes.
Beau glances at his soggy shoes, mouth open.
I burst. At the behest of my flames, white as starlight with a hint and flash of all hues, everything flees.
The water embraces me, bubbles dancing with my fire. I watch them with only the faintest of smiles. The ice still holds my muscles, and I cannot move. I am trapped in the water and sinking. Someone screams and thrashes, but it is not me.
Please, I do not want to lie on the seafloor alone. This bay does not even have fish.
My flames flicker and fade. There is only cold.
Arms wrap me and pull me up. I can neither fight nor accept them, yet some inner sense of myself leans into their warmth. The air tastes of salt and smoke as my rescuer tows me toward the shore. Some distance behind, Beau screams at Pike.
“Stop thrashing, you dolt! I’m trying to rescue you,” my hero pirate shouts.
“But it hurts! It burns!”
Perhaps it is the villain in me, but I am glad. I am a sun, and if Beau comes near me again, he will hurt even more.
My savior’s strokes are uneven and strained, yet we slip through the water with a dolphin’s grace. His every breath carries a wheeze of discomfort, almost a whistle, almost a song. One I almost recognize.
“Can you speak, Pearl?” The voice is Sal’s, said with an ocean’s worth of concern. “Tell me what happened.”
I seek out my tongue, chipping through ice and ash with picks of fire. Beyond it, I map out my jaw and lips, but it takes all the energy I have left.
As the stars wink out one by one, I force one sentence into the world, meaning to warn him of Beau, meaning to thank Sal for being here, but the words do not convey that at all. “You can swim.”
I do not know if the molasses nature of his voice stems from his fatigue or my own. “Yeah, I can swim. It’s one of the few things I’m good at.”
Continued in chapter 31: Evidence
Thank you for reading!
going back a ways...
“Which friend you’re with right now is the best?” is a losing question, I learned on a playground, so I hope @Danceinsilence will forgive a variation that remains in the spirit of the challenge. Instead of trying to pick a favorite present Prose writer, I’ll name someone long gone who I always hope will return.
@cassfelliott, man. I want to read more stories by @cassfelliott. “The Whirlwind” remains the most gripping piece of horror I can recall reading on Prose. It’s here: https://theprose.com/post/319799/the-whirlwind The scenario, the imagery, the reveal are all unforgettable, and the story does that thing great horror does: it imprints upon some common experience and shades it in your memory. I had occasion to go on a waterslide last week. Definitely thought of “The Whirlwind.”
@cassfelliott is probably on to bigger, better things, but I always hope a burst of notifications will get us one more story.
let’s talk and think, all!
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, H.R.2307 was reintroduced in the House. I think that, or any carbon tax bill, would be a welcome breath of fresh air. I look at the horrific weather events around the globe and feel upset, saddened, and angry. I want to fire up my peers. I lobby my representatives as a member of my local chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), an environmental conservation organization.
Realistically, as much as I hope to get H.R.2307 passed, it's not practical to get my leaders behind climate change legislation. In my state, it's likely impossible now, due to denial, ignorance, apathy, &/or possibly other seeminly unrelated factors, such as politics.
Even trying to change people's habits en masse seems daunting, an insurmountable challenge. We need to get away from viewing videos on such enjoyable, entertaining sites as YouTube, TikTok, or Netflix. These and similar sites require the most energy use, producing the most carbon emissions. I don't know how to link an article's website. By copying and pasting, you'll find more info in this article: All of your YouTube and TikTok videos are contributing to climate change (greenandgrowing.org).
Supporting a carbon tax bill makes all the sense in the world. So why am I pessimistic that the world won't grasp it? Oh, did I say 'pessimistic'? I'm really just trying to force myself to be 'realistic'. I'll close, before I get myself all choked up. Thanks for the challenge, and that's not sarcastic! It's certainly a topic fit for discussion! Sincerely!