Novel Ways To Prepare People For Dinner

2037 – Somewhere in what used to be the United States of America

It turned out to be the Mother of all Wars. The Last War to End all Wars. The Final Confrontation. The end of civilization.

The unlucky survivors were reduced to eating one another. There was no other food left on the planet. All the animals, right down to gophers, were gone. Killed, and eaten if possible. The oceans were polluted and no living things were left alive under the waves.

Human flesh, and organs, had been on mankind’s menu for ten years. Since the nukes struck. Nothing grew on the polluted soil of planet earth. There was no such thing as a vegetarian. Everyone still breathing had one food source – their fellow humans. The final taboo.

Wyatt waited. Hidden in the debris of a once multi-story building. He could hear his prey moving noisily on the other side of the street. When an old man stumbled into the center of the street Wyatt’s arrow struck him in the heart. A clean shot.

As Wyatt searched the body he found two pistols, but no ammunition for them. A buck knife (much like his own), some human jerky, and a canteen of potable water. His kill was older than he liked. The meat would be tough. He’d have to take it to Maude, which meant sharing some.

After “bucking up” the body and putting it in the burlap bag he brought along, Wyatt took his prize to his camp. He lived alone. It was easier that way. You could never be sure that whoever you lived with wouldn’t eat you.

At least, that’s the way Wyatt saw the world.

There were groups of people who banded together. Hunted together, sharing their kills. Some had names like, Patriots Who Love God, or The Freedom Freaks of Fifth Street. They lived by a set of rules that forbade eating anyone within the group.

The groups fought one another when single pickings were sparse. The resulting battles provided the victor with a feast.

A good chef was highly prized. The ability to come up with novel human recipes was a sure way of becoming popular with any group. But there were also independent cooks with culinary abilities that rivaled any group cook.

These independents could get anything they asked for. One of the most famous was a middle-aged woman named Maude. She lived in the massive thickets and vines in what use to be a community park.

If she was hungry, or bored, she’d come out of the prickly maze when called. Wyatt was lucky when he came by. It was one of those days and Maude responded to his calls for her.

When she stepped out from the dense growth Wyatt inhaled deeply. She was a good looking woman. Her tight-fitting human-leather britches and vest showed off her form to good advantage. He exhaled.

I need a recipe for tough meat. Not the usual boil until it comes off the bone method. It’s too bland,” Wyatt said.

Maude smiled and ran her hand through her short blond hair. He was a good-looking young man and she was in a good mood.

“I’ll be straightforward with you. I don’t give my recipes out to anyone. If you want a recipe, go find someone else. I will, however, cook your meat to order.”

“I’m okay with that. What’s your price?”

“Half the meat.”

“That seems kinda high. How about a third?”

“Don’t make me bargain, or the price will go up! It’s not easy turning tough old meat into a succulent repast. It’ll take a day. I’ll use the organs to make some of the tastiest side dishes you’ve ever had.”

“Okay. Here’s the kill. Less than 24-hours old. I’ll be back around this time tomorrow for my half.”

Maude hummed a strange tune whiled skillfully pulling the burlap bag behind her through the thickets. There was something she liked about the young man. Yes, indeed.

She had a special recipe for just this kind of meat. When she got to the overgrown shed she took the meat out, piece-by-piece, and laid it out on the butcher block table.

As she filleted the buttocks a scene went through her head. Thirty years ago. Before the bad times came. She was preparing a chicken to feed her family. It made her queasy when she had to cut off the legs and wings. She thought at the time, “Why didn’t I just go to KFC?”

When Wyatt came the next day she was waiting for him. “Follow me,” she said and plunged into the thicket. He fought his way through the mass of thorns and vines until they came to the overgrown shed.

Maude led him inside. A candle was burning in the center of the butcher block table. Silver trays and bowls were packed with food. Slices and chunks of strangely seasoned meat were surrounded with puddings, boiled eyeballs, kidneys on shicskabobs, and other unfamiliar dishes.

Maude pointed to a chair and urged him to sit. She took the chair across from him and handed him a platter of crispy liver bits.

“Help yourself.”

Wyatt filled his plate up with samples of everything before him. He made sure to use the white napkin she had provided and picked up a sliver fork and knife.

“Bon appetit!” Maude said.

Afterwards, Wyatt felt sleepy. He didn’t plan on staying overnight. He never did that. But he was so tired. When he couldn’t stand up a sense of panic arose.

Maude was still talking about plants that survived the bad times. How there were very few plants, and how she had found a special plant which she shared with him tonight.

“It’s called belladonna, or Deadly Nightshade,” Maude was explaining.

Wyatt was having trouble hearing her, and breathing. Mustering up the last of his strength, he asked her, “Why?”

Maude stopped rambling.

“Oh, that’s simple. I really like young men. They’re much tastier than tough old ones!”

As It Stands, this look at normalizing a taboo is a subject in itself.

Hot Tubs In Hell and Other Guilty Pleasures

“Those boobs up top sure got things wrong preaching about how bad hell would be,” Anton said between sips of Bushnell’s Irish whiskey.

“Goes to show you the power of propaganda,” Damon added.

The two lost souls, as they laughingly called themselves, got up from their table and left the waiter a big tip. As they strolled down the well-paved main street they decided it was time to take a hot tub and to smoke some killer Purple Kush.

Hot tubs in hell are huge. The two joined a group of ten people passing LSD tabs around and singing songs of freedom. The multi-colored lights in the hot tub danced off the faces of the happy revelers.

Anton passed a blunt to Damon, who took a big hit, and passed it on. Jim Morrison was singing the long version of The End while making suggestive sexual moves with his microphone.

Janis Joplin was explaining why hell always got such a bad rap to a group of eager-eyed rock and roll fans. In a nearby wading/walking-pool the size of New Jersey, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler kept looking over their shoulders in fear while paddling around the perimeter.

“I’m not sure I should be in the same room with those two murderous dictators,” Anton ventured. “I was no angel, but…”

“I get your point,” Damon replied. “We need to find someone who can explain this oddity. Neither of us are mass killers. A drunk, and a politician, but not killers.

An hour later, Anton and Damon entered through the bat-wing doors of the most popular bar around – The Hot Spot. Both bellied up to the bar and called for Scotch.

Billie Holiday, with Jelly Roll Morton on the piano, were performing Lady Sings The Blues on a small stage in the rear of the bar. The dance floor was expansive, providing room for fifty gyrating couples.

Damon noticed Friedrich Nietzsche sitting at the end of the bar and nudged Anton, “There’s the guy that might have the answer to our question,” he said. They got up and approached Nietzsche cautiously.

“Excuse us sir, but we could not help noticing you. We are both big fans of your work and have a question for you.” Nietzsche narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “Yes…”

“How is it great thinkers like yourself, or just common guys like us, are in the same place as mass murders like Hitler and Mussolini?”

Nietzsche did something he seldom did up above, he smiled.

“It’s my pleasure to tell you,” he said, and stood up facing them.

“First I must tell you there are many theories why everyone ended up in the same place. Mine, a well-thought out one, centers on the fact that I was right about there being no God, or Devil. 

“Second, there is no heaven (with harp-playing angels and golden gates), but there sure the heck is a hell. That’s why we’re down here together – regardless of what we did above. But there’s no devil directing activities. Just a lot of people who never learned to get along together when they were alive.”

“Finally, and this is the one that’ll rock your world, you fools were in heaven! That’s right. That time you had alive…that was it, my inquiring friends. You were in Heaven.”

As It Stands, just adding to the many ongoing conversations about what’ll happen when we die.

Earth Story

In the beginning there was one hell of a bang!

Multi-colored, mile-high, toxic clouds streaked the skies in a race to outer space. Deadly vapors settled upon the land, choking living things to death. When night fell like a mortally wounded warrior, the dark skies were stitched with lightning dancing across the heavens.

The earth was still breathing on the second day. Barely. Smoke and ash cut visibility down to a few feet. A hot wind swirled around the upper crust of continents, sucking the moisture out of the air.

On the third day, volcanos across the planet blew sky-high, sending plumes of  smoke and toxic gases into the atmosphere. Spontaneous fires broke out in ancient forests. Oceans boiled.

On the fourth day, the polar ice cap melted and the rising waters gobbled up islands like starving hogs let loose in a corn bin. Powerful winds lashed out angrily, carrying everything in their path forward to unknown destinations.

On the fifth day, fissures and tectonic plates shifted so rapidly the noise sounded like the whole earth was groaning. The shrill screams from the earth’s core and plates pierced the air like atmospheric arrows.

On the sixth day, darkness descended upon the earth. And silence.

On the seventh day, four space ships landed near the equator. Their inhabitants were colonists from another galaxy. One group went north, another went south, another went west, and the last went east.

The colonists called themselves humans. Men and women. Their numbers multiplied rapidly and great civilizations arose. But, after 10,000 years the earth became a battlefield.

The humans couldn’t get along. When their technology increased, their ability to kill one another grew. Then the world broke out in the last war. The result was inevitable. In the chaos, every man, women and child on the planet died.

The earth sighed. And waited.

As It Stands, this is my take on the Big Bang and creation theory thing.

Haunting Melodies

Peter started collecting musical instruments used by famous deceased musicians when he became rich on Wall Street.

His ongoing collection, not open to the public because some of it was stolen, was his pride and joy. Only people he trusted implicitly got to visit his Music Room, located in his 19-bedroom mansion, in upstate New York.

Peter was a mystery man with no known surviving family members. He was a self-made man, and a wizard. His ability to predict when stocks would go up, or down, or even the future, came from long years of training by the Coven that raised him.

When the witches sent him out on his own he was 21-years old and savvy in the ways of the world. Getting rich was easy. Entertaining himself was more difficult at first. Until he discovered a love of music.

It became all-consuming. He went to operas and rock concerts for years before developing a passion for musical instruments.

Then one day a Wall Street trader acquaintance asked him if he would be interested in buying a rare piano?

How rare?” Peter asked.

“It’s been hidden for seventy-five years, and it’s owner no longer wants it. It’s the last Grand Piano Sergei Rachmaninov played on Russia soil before the Leninist regime seized his estate near Tambov in 1917, ” his acquaintance explained.

“He moved with his wife and two daughters to Denmark before relocating to New York the following year. Left behind was this European-made Grand Piano hidden by a first cousin who later smuggled it into the United States, and a safe warehouse,” he added.

“It’s condition?”

“Excellent. An expert has kept it in tune.”

“Why sell it now?”

The owner is old, and perhaps getting a little senile according to his grandchildren. It seems he’s been visiting the warehouse for years “listening to Rachmaninov play,” and telling his grandson that the famous musician is the one playing the Grand Piano. 

Peter smiled. the biggest smile he had for decades and asked, “How do I get this piano? Money is no problem.”

To Peter’s delight, the story was true. It wasn’t long before he was striking up stimulating conversations with Sergei. It didn’t take him long to go in search of other famous musical instruments whose owners had died.

He worked with all of his financial and magical connections to hunt down the objects of his newly discovered hobby.

His next acquisition was Jimi Hendrix’s favorite black 1968 Fender Stratocaster with a maple neck. Despite playing many different guitars, including some Gibson Flying Vs and Les Paul Customs, the Stratocaster was his baby. He was buried with it in 1970 after dying from a drug overdose.

It took black magic to retrieve the guitar, and to entice Jimi to play it once again.

Keith Moon’s second drum kit – A Ludwick Black Oyster Super Classic – with 2 toms and a bass drum plus, the previously lost – but now found – original snare drum, cost Peter two million dollars.

Moon, who died in 1978, was another restless spirit recruited by Peter, to play his favorite instrument. Peter found that he had a particular fondness of drums and managed to buy Jon Bonham’s first drum set – a four-piece Trixon in Sparkling Red.

Bonham, who died in 1980, got along great with Moon, and the two played competing solos deep into the night.

The real score in drums came when Peter had to pay a thief to steal Buddy Rich’s original drum setup.  It included a 14×24 bass drum (with a moleskin patch and a wooden beater), a 9×13 rack tom, two 16×16 floor toms, and a 5×14 snare drum.

His Avedis Zildjian cymbals, which included a 20″ ride, two 18″ crashes, a pair of 14″ hi-hats, and a 6″ splash, shimmered as Peter looked at them. The set had his preferred wood-tip sticks—slightly heavier than a pair of 7As.

Buddy, who died of heart disease in 1987, completed the trio of drum-playing ghosts. To Peter, the cacophony of noise they all made was the music of the spheres.

All he needed was a brass trumpet. He found just the right one made by Henri Selmer of Paris for Louis Armstrong. Of course, he got Louis, who died in 1971, to play it.

Peter eventually decided to share his unearthly collection and invited special friends to spend the night and hear the poltergeists play their favorite instruments until the dawn.

As It Stands, this tale evolved from a conversation with a friend about haunting melodies from beyond the grave.

Sharky’s Story: A Tale Of Catch and Don’t Release

I’m real. I could be your neighbor.

The streets of New York are rivers stocked with fish/pedestrians from all over the planet.

They flow north and south during certain times of the day. The rivers going east and west are the busiest and best for hunting.

I am a fresh water shark stalking my prey every day. I know every little outlet and cove where my prey tries to hide. My predator blood boils when I sense fear. It’s like an intoxicant.

I see red. Then I drink the red. Then I go home and sleep soundly until my hunger awakens me again.

You should know that I’m not a vampire. That’s a supernatural being. I’m real. I could be your neighbor. I could be a greeter at Walmart. Or, your neighborhood Postman.

I like to play billiards. You’ll never guess what my nickname is at Al’s Pool Emporium. Give up?

It’s Sharky!

I use to be a sailor in the US Navy. That was years ago when I was still growing my shark teeth. They got sharper in every dream I had, until the day came when I got my first kill. It was swift and savage!

One moment I was talking to one of the ship’s cooks on the fantail, and the next I was choking him to death. What came next surprised even me. I bit his neck. Once, twice, three times, trying to pierce the skin to draw his still pumping blood.

But my teeth weren’t sharp enough. So I used the cook’s own pocketknife to slit his throat. I’ll never forget the awesome surge that coursed through my body when I sucked that thick hot blood from the open wound.

Afterwards, I tossed the body overboard.

That’s really when I became Sharky. The billiards thing came later.

I became a land shark when I got out of the Navy. I returned to my native waters in Manhattan and set up shop as a computer repair wiz. There turned out to be so much business, that I had to hire an assistant to keep up with it. Then another person.

Before I knew it, I had a nice office building with a dozen employees and was making a million dollars in my first year of business. It was all too easy. I grew bored with my success and hired someone to manage the business for me.

I was free to pursue other activities. Like swimming in the streets of New York in search of tasty fish.

I prepared for my prey this time by sharpening my front teeth – upper and lower – until they came to sharp little points. I disguised them with a set of false teeth that fitted tightly over them.

Sometimes I pick my victims at the pool hall. I never know who the catch will be. That’s the thrill of it. I could play pool with a dozen different people without knowing which one’s blood I get to taste that night.

When I feel more adventuresome, I silently swim through the schools of pedestrians on their way home from work, or towards those night-owls seeking entertainment in the theatre district.

It’s been like this for thirteen years. Right up until a clever group of cops caught me red-handed. Literally. So I’m sitting here in jail waiting to see what happens. It’s really boring.

That’s why I’m telling you my story.

Who knows what these fisherman of evil souls will do? As a shark, I expect no mercy. As a man, I’ll act crazy and see if that’ll save me.

As It Stands, this tale of  catch and don’t release, is a reminder that the mentally ill in America today need help…before horrible things like the shootings at Parkland High School in Florida happen again.

I’m back…sort of

standing mug

To my followers, past readers, and future readers,

I planned on starting another writing streak this month. The problem is I’ve been on vacation since the 1st of February.

I was charging my batteries in January in preparation for an avalanche of flash fiction in February. Now that I’m back, I’m staring at the keyboard wondering where my muse is?

What happened?

My beady brain is not infused with fresh ideas. I feel like I’m sitting in a desert wondering how I got there, and why I don’t have any supplies.

There’s nothing more daunting than looking at a blank page with a blank mind.

That doesn’t mean I’m giving up this project.

I’m just pushing my own deadline back to take the pressure off while I muddle through this temporary creativity blackout.

If you are a new reader, I hope you take a moment and peek at the archived articles on the right side of this page.

For those of you who are willing to wait until I get my act together, thank you. I’ll try not to disappoint.

As It Stands, may you have a great day!

Breaking For The Holidays

100_0316

Dear Readers,

I want to thank you all for visiting my blog since I unveiled it in July.

I especially want to thank those of you who are following me.

I also want to thank those of you who made constructive, and encouraging comments.

I started my daily writing streak in the middle of June. Since then, I’ve written 130 consecutive flash fiction stories.

It’s been fun, and challenging. I plan on starting another streak in January 2018.

If your new to this blog, I invite you to go through the archives on the right side of the page.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas! And, a Happy New Year!

As It Stands, I’ll be recharging my batteries.