Thirsty Thursday – Tail Spin

Today’s tale is brought to you by none other than myself. (Grins!) “Thank you. Thank you very much!” in my sincerest, amateur Elvis voice impersonation. This story is done for Thirsty Thursday.

So, without further ado, check out my story called Tail Spin coming in at 300 words exactly.

He’d always known arrogance would be his inevitable downfall. He wasn’t sure how exactly but knew it might eventually involve bullets and beer. He carried an Arrogant Bastard with him, just in case.

The radar was being jammed. He and his wing man couldn’t see the inevitable on its way – one stealthy surface-to-air missile for each of the two.

Buster, as he was known for the finding and defeat of any and all armor on the desert floor, stormed alongside his wing man toward the enemy target – a fuel depot.

“You know, Badger,” Buster spoke over the radio, “this is the one and only time I don’t feel hell on my heels.”

Badger, so named for badgering any and all armor as well on the desert floor, came back right before the initial explosion, “I hear ya pal. All I see is blue skies and clear targets ahead.”

The first hidden missile hit Badger’s craft with the skillful precision of a granny threading a needle’s eye – direct and with the passion to finish the job. The noise took Buster by surprise and, with that surprise, soaked every ounce of love for life from him. The next direct hit lit the number two engine in Buster’s craft up like a beer festival. It sent him spinning in the craft toward the ground. Time to punch out, he figured, but not before uncapping and having one good guzzle of the warm Arrogant Bastard pilsner he carried in his flight bag.

As he always said, “When you create a destiny, do it with style and a drink.” He toasted himself and the possible meritorious medal of honor he may get for aiming a dying jet at an anti-aircraft station. He punched out of his plane and drank a spilling beer on the way down.

One Shot Deal – Tale Spin!

So, it’s Thirsty Thursday. Why, you ask? Because all morning I’ve had the word pilsner brewing in my head. I’m not sure why. I’m not a beer drinker nor an alcohol aficionado. But I now realize its purpose – CHALLENGE!

Did you know the word pilsner originates from a hop-laden lager that was first produced in Pilsen, Bohemia, which is now part of the Czech Republic? Neither did I! Today, Google is our friend.

Well, with so many blogs hosting writing challenges, I thought what the heck! CHALLENGE!

Now, this flash fiction challenge may happen next week, and it may not. I’m not really sure yet. Depends on response frequency and simply how I feel next week, I suppose.

A few rules:

  • It’s flash fiction which means I’m averse to reading lengthy posts (elle oh elle!) and one should keep their story to around 300 words. That’s not necessarily a hard-and-fast deal-breaker but short is good. Word economy and description, after all, right?
  • The story should be centered around or mention dinner, drinks, or the word “pilsner”. Imaginative exercise and fun is the goal so, by all means, if your tale involves Pilsner Man pitted in a pickle versus the swarthy Smirnoff Shot Guy and his gargantuan boilermaker blaster, then surely let those shots fly, pun intended.
  • Copy/paste this address and post it linked somewhere in your post. That way a pingback will be created. But, moreover, comment with a link so I know about your participation. Now, it’s no secret this is no heavy literary challenge, but as in most all challenges, the object is fun. Have it at all costs!
  • Deadline for this exercise is Sunday, July 1st. This is also not necessarily hard-and-fast but this will afford us both time – time for you to write and be creative and time for me to read your awesome, thirsty tale!

 

So, those are the rules. Let’s see who and what gets spun out, no graphic, drunken pun intended. Spin out your tale and pingback with a comment to let me know you were here.

As always, walk in the light and until next time . . .

NIETZSCHE’S QUESTIONNAIRE – Why Not!

Here’s one cool questionnaire from Nietzsche (at least originally). I found this on a buddy’s blog – raynotbradbury. She found the post on Jeanne’s Blog. And she have found it on Paul’s Blog.

Here are my answers with one stipulation – NEVER LIE TO NIETZSCHE!

1. What makes one heroic?

Well, it was once said by one crazy-brave soul, “Courage is being the only one knowing you’re afraid.” I subscribe to this philosophy with one augmentation. Take the fear you feel in a fight-or-flight moment and turn it in your brain. Turn it into something you can actually feed from. Take your angst and adrenaline then grit your teeth and bear what comes.

I’ve also heard “Fifty percent of the fight is not showing your fear. If you aren’t afraid, you’re half way there.” It’s easy when you give it a try. Simply take that squish you feel in your belly and let it go. Granted, people may call you insane for standing up to Goliath, but need I remind anyone who actually won that battle? And, honestly, standing up for yourself will empower you for later challenges.

2. In what do you believe?

The cop-out answer of course – myself. I say cop-out because, well, like you couldn’t see that comin’? Yes, myself. But moreover, I believe in my choices, direction, the fact I listen to my heart. If one genuinely listens to one’s self, they cannot be led astray. And this inevitably ties to the next question.

3. What does your conscience say?

It speaks quietly. If it raises its voice, I can guess it’s exaggerating (elle oh elle!) If by chance that conscience ever begins to scream, you have two choices – ignore or seek a professional head-shrink! Go on, there’s no shame in a shrunken head.

8add097eca0b310bd5a54255d4f6d72b

4. Where are your greatest dangers?

The spent, desperate, and empty hearts of others. People will surprise you. They will turn on a dime and throw you change of a quarter.

5. What do you love in others?

Humility, honesty, and selflessness.

6. Whom do you call bad?

The haughty. The proud. The malcontent-at-all-costs. A person that spends his or her time persisting in developing his or her own physical, mental, or emotional well-being. A sour person who wouldn’t know happiness if it bit him or her on the ding-ding.

Selflessness isn’t just a Gandhi-esque idealism. This ideal actually works reciprocally in that when you give, the universe will return the given to you multiplied.

7. What do you consider most humane?

Random acts of kindness. There are two schools of thought here: “Treat people how they treat you” or “treat people how you’d want to be treated”. I subscribe to the second.

8. What is the seal of liberation?

My seal follows Nietzsche’s himself – self care. To not be ashamed of oneself. Stand as what and who you feel to be right and proper and true.

478513

 

Cool Writing Challenge – Carpe Diem

Oh, I do love a good writing challenge. This one is based on a chosen photo – Carpe Diem.

img_2967

I chose this picture from six total. Here’s my little story titled And She Was (thank you, Talking Heads!):

To really listen, one doesn’t need a hearing aid. No fancy attire is required. No marvelous intellect. It really comes down to one thing – open interest. A genuine ear.

She walked out and immediately caught my attention. Something told me she didn’t exactly want my attention, but she had it. She was stunning. What a woman was doing out in the woods dressed like that I had to find out. Summer dress and sandals dressed this woman down into what may have been proper attire. But why was she on my property?

“Hello?” I asked.

“Hello. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to traipse across your yard. Is this your yard? But the monarch butterflies are migrating south, and your property is right in their flight pattern. There are hundreds. Did you see the swarm? Beautiful!”

“No. I must’ve missed it. But how interesting!” Talk about beautiful. This woman was gorgeous. But it wasn’t necessarily her beauty she captivated me with, such interest in merely seeing a swarm of butterflies in their migration pattern held me like nature’s satellite around this woman. Holding nature in such reverie by this woman kept my attention.

She elaborated that the monarchs migrate yearly from eastern United States to south into Mexico. She wasn’t an entomologist. She just loved the monarchs’ beauty and followed them during their fall southern flight path.

“That’s so fascinating. Hey, you need some water? Or would you like anything else? Coffee, maybe?”, I asked.

She declined stating she wasn’t an entomologist, but her husband however was. She thanked me kindly and made her way back to her car through the woods.

Oh well, carpe diem. I may have never gotten an opportunity as far as the butterfly follower goes, but the given knowledge was a beautiful testament to Nature and Her designed beauty. God speaks to those willing to listen.

Let Freedom Ring!

It’s probably no secret that previously I romanced a case of the ass when it came to the corrupt nature and state of our beloved nation. I also realize I’m early with these birthday wishes but I wanted to post on this subject anyway. Once upon a time, one  might’ve thought I wanted to sink the government and overthrow the constitution. There are infinite reasons, however, for corruption in a nation. Greed and avarice. Power-hungry warmongering. Corporate favoritism. Yadda yadda, if I may use such a glib expression.

crwflags.com

It has recently come to my attention, though, that there is no other country on the face of this earth with so many freedoms and so much cultural diversity as the United States of America. Now, I’m by no means claiming that the United States, with its lobbyists and lawyers and lies in the media, is perfect. But it’s pretty darned close!

Yes, there was slavery when the country was founded. And, yes, the country still has racism problems. And, yes, border issues are constantly now in the news. And, yes, judges make ridiculous decisions and set biased precedents that become law. But, again, until the Heavens open and Jesus Christ establishes Hus nation for 1,000 years on Earth, there will be no perfect place or nation. Nirvana will be a flash-in-the-pan pipe dream until Jesus arrives.

A friend of mine volunteered for the U.S. Marines during Desert Shield – the first gulf war. He didn’t see combat but saw much of the world and its middle Eastern countries. He told me of certain, varied customs and laws and cultural differences. He also told me, “You know, despite all our problems with corporate bull crap, there’s no way I’d live anywhere else. We don’t know how good we’ve got it!” And I’m inclined to believe him.

Example, it was only weeks ago that women in Saudi Arabia were given legal permission to actually drive automobiles! The Powers That Be gave reasons that women could possibly suffer reproductive complications from the driver seat, or some such medically-threatening nonsense, to scare ladies to not drive a car. In my humble opinion, such a driving ban was nothing more than assurance of cultural female dependence on men and dominant control of personal female freedom.

The main reason for corruption – humanity. It is because no human is perfect. No human ever will be. Perfection, when considered, is such a subjective, individual idea that it can’t really exist. But such objective philosophy is for another post, Jesus knows.

So, this 4th of July while we celebrate with fireworks flying and freedoms flaring, let us realize that, though maybe we ain’t perfect, our awesome nation remains the Great Experiment – the standard to which other nations aspire to compare.

Happy early birthday, America! Let freedom ring now and always.

 

The Fowl Direction

I do enjoy a good writing challenge. In Keith’s words, “On to this week’s challenge: Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at keithchanning@gmail.com before 6pm next Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment herepingbacks don’t often work.

Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries, with links to your own blog or web site, next Monday.”

p1060455b

Here’s my story titled The Fowl Direction:

“What the heck are you doing?” inquired Uncle Jack.

“Practi- Uh, I mean, I’m trying to stretch my tongue to my nose,” Ethan admitted.

“Well, okay. Not sure why’d you feel that necessary to do. But, okay.”

“I’m limbering my muscles for mastication,” Ethan said.

From the back seat, “Don’t talk that way, young man!” Ethan’s mother exclaimed.

Ethan retorted, “Mom, mastication is eating. We’re eating at the next exit, right?”

Uncle Jack stepped up, “Yeah, well, if we ever get to the next exit.”

The Honda put-putted at seven miles-an-hour. There was no reprieve. This was the given speed dictated by the turnip truck or tractor or gay pride parade currently leeching all the interstate lane space. No one got out of first gear.

“Friggin’ groovin’!” Ethan giggled and looked at the opposing lanes.

“What the- Ethel, does your son always say crap you can’t understand?”

“No, I was meaning like the ancient commercial Fahrvergnügen, Uncle Jack. That Volkswagen was screaming by at about ninety miles-an-hour in the other lane,” Ethan explained.

“Wish we were. I’ve got to pee,” Ethan’s mother said.

“I have a coffee cup,” Ethan joked.

They reached what caused the hold up. An ostrich had apparently escaped from a near-by petting zoo and dodged and danced its way away from handlers. With nowhere to run, fences and guardrail on all sides, the ostrich had no alternative but keep running from traffic. The slow-down continued into the next county.

“If we don’t reach the exit soon, I’m going to eat that thing!” exclaimed Ethan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can’t Catch Me!

Suicide. Recently, the entertainment world has been rocked and riddled with the affliction. First fashion’s Kate Spade then followed by CNN’s Anthony Bourdain, one may wonder why or how a person comes to the conclusion that suicide is the only answer. It’s often said, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” I can’t even imagine “permanent” at such a temporary point in my short life. Because in the grand scheme, we and our lives are so very temporary on this short-lived plane of existence that linear time bends into a mere ribbon of seemingly random or planned events over the years. Our time here mutes from toddler to teen to middle-aged to over-the-hill. Before we know it (pardon the harsh expression), we are worm fodder. Nothing but a memory. Why would anyone take it upon themselves to cut life’s movie short and decide to leave during intermission? I say, “Why or how . . .” but I’m actually well aware. I’ve been there.

I was in my twenties attending the local community college. Life was full of what was now becoming familiar ups and downs. The ups were fun (the anxiety-fueled mania) but downs (the depression-fueled pits), not so much.

At age 26, I hit a wall. I saw my unfolding life, felt I was going nowhere, and decided my time here on Earth was done. Riddled with neurosis, it wasn’t self-pity necessarily. Not completely anyway. I borrowed my mom’s car, drove the roads trying to decide on an “exit”, and decided that a cop’s gun would suffice.

Now, I wasn’t well. I had come to the conclusion that this was God’s will. I may as well off myself because He wasn’t going to do it. Not His job, He told me. I was welcome to drive around and eat and drink and smoke weed or whatever, but I’d surely miss the nude orgy-party currently going on in Heaven. Who wouldn’t want to live naked, right?

I drove to Knoxville looking for my intended helper – a cop. All of them have guns and one of  them would surely be happy to help me, right? So, I found one on I-40 a few car lengths behind me. I began driving erratically. He began to follow. Finally, with his blue lights on, we veered to the Cedar Bluff exit of I-40 and I hammered down. I figured if I’m going out, I’m going out in glory’s blaze.

He chased me yet must’ve let off speed. I gained so much ground I almost lost him. Well, for the record, there was lots of traffic. We ended up where I finally just stopped on a rural road – Bob Grey out in the sticks. He put-putted up to the rear of my car. I got out as did he. I immediately ask for his gun. Well, of course he’s just going to give it to me, right? He took his pepper spray and began to spray my face as he backed around the car. I kept advancing on him and asking for his gun. He backed all the way around his car up to the passenger window. I looked over to notice he’d left his car door open. Well, that was a Godly sign, right? I jumped in his car as he began to try to break the shatter-proof passenger window with his flashlight. I applied the brake, slipped the cop car into gear, and rolled away.

For about an hour determined to find the hidden guns in the car, I drove around West Knoxville. I never found any. Finally, a train of cop cars got behind me from a report they’d gotten when I stopped to search for an actual gun. The race was on. They tried to PIT maneuver my car but those cars handle so well, like they’re on rails. You can’t spin those things. At the end, there was so much traffic, in a moment of clarity, I decided that I was trying to kill myself, not someone else. I pulled over. After ninety days in an asylum, it was decided in court that I was “not guilty for reasons of insanity”.

What people see from the outside isn’t always what’s going on inwardly. There are, I’d assume, varied reasons for such a drastic decision. But none of your reasons for leaving the world begin to match your reasons to stay.

Take care, all.

The Thorn – Dreaded, or Maybe Not So

Why is it I sometimes feel like Paul? No, not Paul Manafort. Despite my amputated arm, I don’t feel like I’ve been imprisoned. I’m talking about the Apostle Paul, formerly Saul the tax collector. Again, no, not imprisoned like Paul for his belief of Jesus as the Son of God. I do however associate and identify with Paul to a grand extent. As I believe the Apostle Paul found later in his life, my love for writing is becoming forefront in my life. But that’s not my main association. Like Paul, it’s the God-given thorn.

lion-thorn-27090653

Some of you may know, most don’t. I’m bipolar. I’ve had bipolar disorder since my early twenties. After much sickness that led finally to my attempted suicide and stealing a police car (which is another post altogether), I often thought of this malady as my thorn. After my crash and arm amputation, I felt that the amputation was my thorn. But now, well, I’m not so sure. I believe it to be something different and unseen.

My affliction is at its base the same affliction as every soul – self-belief. Or, moreover, the lack thereof. It’s those little whispers of the mind, the impending doom of positive thought, the smash of self-doubt on my emotions. These are normal, I’m finding. But it’s not entertaining these thoughts that does the trick. It’s quickly striking them down. This is where sanity lies. Because life is as my mom once told me, “You can let thoughts fly over your head but you don’t have to let them nest in your hair.” That may even be biblical.

Example, someone does something heroic to bring glory upon their Maker. Quickly and inevitably, my mind switches gears from mere outsider-looking-in to judge, jury, and executioner of all this person’s goodwill. What the heck?! I don’t want to tear them down or steal their thunder. But my neurotic brain kicks into overdrive and tries to run them over. This happens in my internal dialogue, thankfully, and not outside my own head. It does tend to leave a mark, the thought, on my soul. Negative? Maybe. Humbling? Very! This is merely another way for the Lord to use our own deficiencies for our, and His, own good. Because, in the right heart, such negative talk is humbling and can show one their own shortcomings. So, taking a negative and turning it into a positive, once again, brings something from an inevitable nothing.

Until my next wild hair . . .

 

 

Father’s Day and My Dad

Advice. My dad has talent in lots of things. If it can be built, he can build it in his unique way. If it can be designed, he can pull it from his head. If it can be done, he can do it. One thing I feel he’s exceptionally good at – advice.

James Cline Gregory – Cline – born July 23rd, 1946, is one of the most well-rounded, intelligent, and humorous men I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I say I get most of my creative talent from him. Whether it’s designing and drawing or writing and humor. His plastic imagination has produced some amazing race car, boat and building designs. You name it, he can build it.

A trained mechanic, he can also fix it if it’s broken. He told me once of being broke down on the highway in his car and having to change the fuel pump or something. The man had only one 13/16 inch wrench and a pocket full of change. That was all. He decided he could shim the wrench with the various coins to fit the varied nuts and bolts holding the fuel pump in place. It worked. I used this same advice once changing an alternator in a Honda I had, just to test the theory. Again, it worked.

He’s built buildings on his property and an actual house for his mother in Townsend, Tennessee. The house was adorned with one of his unique canister-style wood stoves produced under the faux-company name Lightning Stove Works fabricated from heavy, discarded metal. You name it, he’s probably fabricated it. Or at the very least considered it.

One time when I was a pre-teen, I had a bicycle accident which resulted in a minor cut on my scrotum. After returning from the hospital with six stitches, I got a phone call. It was my dad and his first words, “You still got ’em both, boy?” I’ll never forget that.

Throughout my life, he’s taught me many things. But the one thing that sticks out – advice. A colorful man, he’s a great storyteller. So, his stories are most always carved with purpose, hammered with humor, and shining in wisdom – gems of advice. Though most always the advice is underlying and unspoken, it’s always present. Once I did a bit of work for him. I asked how much I was getting paid. He told me how he’d work on his daddy’s farm and asked his daddy once for his pay. He told me his daddy said, “son, every time you put your feet under the dinner table, you’re paid.” He was kidding me but I got his point pretty quick!

Just recently, after my wreck, he was there for me as always. As a matter of fact, he’s the first person I remember seeing right after coming to from the accident. He visited me in the hospital and brought my burgers everyday.

So, to my dad and all the fathers out there, Happy Father’s Day! Dad, for everything you’ve been and done for me, the best, most valuable things you’ve ever given me is your time, humor and advice. Thank you!

Take care, everyone.

 

How Was Your Life Before WordPress?

A nice post I ran across and thought I’d reblog.

Fractured Faith Blog

I used to be a closed book. I would bottle emotions up inside me and share nothing with nobody. I prided myself on keeping a stiff upper lip. When I lost my father to prostate cancer I cried just the once, at his bedside during those last eerie moments before he slipped away from us. After that, nothing. I had a funeral to organise. A family to console. And alcohol to drink.

This routine continued for years. I lived in the shadows; secrets and half truths were my constant companions. I hid from the truth for it was a mirror that I did not wish to stare into, a reflection of the man I was becoming, the man I had become. And it was not a pretty sight. I did not like this person and did not want to confront the demons he was battling. So I did what all…

View original post 521 more words