I Was Once Human-Trafficked

In my first two years of high school, I did not form any of the romantic relationships that my Mother had threatened would occur.  There were two reasons for that.  First: the junior girls quickly attached themselves to sophomore and senior boys.  Second: I was a dork!

All that mysteriously changed, early in my third year.  By the end of September, I had acquired a girlfriend – or rather, apparently, a grade ten girl had acquired me.  I quickly went from wandering the halls with a steadily-decreasing crowd of drones, to doing it with a gorgeous female by my side.  Overnight, I stopped sitting at the loner, loser tables in the cafeteria, and moved over to the ‘dating’ section, to learn more about couples’ development.

We hung out at school, and after school, at Pop’s Diner.  We managed to see some movies, despite the fact that the theater was in my home town, she lived in the next town, five miles away, and my principal method of transportation was hitch-hiking.  Many times I walked her home after school.  I met her mother, who approved of me.

I was punching WAAAYYY above my weight here.  Puberty had been generous to this young woman.  I just didn’t get to reap all the benefits that I’d have liked.  We had some necking and petting sessions, but I didn’t have the aggressive self-confidence to demand or expect more.  We just didn’t have the time, or place, or privacy.

Still, it was an idyllic year, but it was fated not to be. At the beginning of the next school year, I walked her home one day…. and she gave me The Talk.  I was a nice guy, (Damn!  That smarted.) she really liked me, and we could be friends, (we were) but she had decided to be mature beyond her years.  There were things that she wanted, that I just couldn’t provide.  She wanted an older guy, with a job, and an income, and a car.  She wanted someone to take her dining and drinking, and dancing, and partying – to drive her around and show her off.  She was willing – perhaps anxious – to pay for the privilege, in the inevitable coin of the female realm.

It was not a total loss.  Before we amicably parted company – like a second-hand, Thrift Shop purse – she passed me off to her year-younger sister, who had expressed an interest in me.  This gal was more my social and emotional speed.  We shared many tastes and likes.  She was nicer, kinder, than her sister, and smarter.  We got along very well.  The biggest problem in our relationship was not US.

We were both blue-collar children.  My Father worked in a factory, as did hers.  I/we still had that transportation problem but, her best friend in high school was the daughter of the town’s successful doctor.  He lived in a big, fancy house, and drove a big, fancy car.  Her boyfriend lived in my town.  His father was a very successful insurance agent, who lived in a big, fancy, brick, century-house, and drove a big, fancy Lincoln Continental, which he got the occasional use of for double dates.

He did not approve of my girlfriend, and the doctor’s daughter did not approve of me.  We were socially inadequate.  It was not long before we too, parted ways.  I began dating a girl from my town, whose next boyfriend, who eventually replaced me, did sixty-days in jail.  The course of true love never runs smoothly.

This BEDA Challenge has run its course.  I’m going to sleep in, and take it easy tomorrow. (As opposed to what??!)  CU Monday, I hope.  🙂

The Origin Of Woke

How do you get a guy to stand in a closet, while you seal him in by bricking up the door??

Strictly a hypothetical question!  That odd-shaped portion on my basement wall is where the electrical panel used to be…. and I have no idea where that irritating neighbor got to.

And Google is no damned help.  I hate that auto-complete!  I type in How do you…. and I get back
….do the Hokey-Pokey?
….get picked up at a gay bar?
….serve curried Iguana?

I believe I found the birth of Woke, and it’s further back than you might think.  I woke from a refreshing afternoon nap, wondering how the narrator in Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, kept his victim from just breaking out.  It turns out that he chained the loathed sot to the back wall, tightly enough so that he could not get loose.

I studied the tale in Grade 12 English – old enough to deal with some of the darker themes.  Living out in the boondocks, the teacher only explained a bit of the story motivation, and being an Anglophone-Canadian, managed to mispronounce the Spanish name.  He spoke ah-mon-tee-yad-oh like ah-mon-till-lay-doh.

I re-read the tale on the Internet recently, and was discussing it with the son.  Poe’s works have always been classified as horror.  That’s how my teacher presented it.  Like Romeo and Juliet, this was a valid story of Renaissance, upper-class hatred and competition between families and commercial groups – possible, even likely to happen, given the opportunity.

The son said that, when he studied it, approximately 1988, his (female) English teacher explained that it was all allegory.  The story-teller was just an alcoholic, who was symbolically imprisoning his weakness, and getting sober.  So I guess, no AA back then??!  The dark horror story had been changed into a bright, kind, redemptive one of rehabilitation and personal triumph.

Personally, I find that interpretation to be ridiculous, but I wonder if any of you were presented with it.  😕   😳

There’s always tomorrow.  CU then.

’20 A To Z Challenge – O

 

I took my new bifocals out for a test drive, and felt that I’d found the perfect word to describe me.  I thought someone said that I was an ‘Oopsy-Mess.’  When I cleaned the dryer lint off the lenses, I found that I had to look up the word

OPSIMATH

A person who learns late in life
Greek
opse = late
math = learn

We should ALL be opsimaths, all except you young bucks.  Learning should be a life-long ambition and objective.  Some folks stop learning when they graduate high school, or college.  Many of them go on to become managers at McDonald’s or Domino’s, although at least one of them got elected as President of the United States.  Some voters never learn.  😳

I could go on (and on) about this, but I’ve learned to, Be Brief – Be Bright – Begone.  Are you still learning stuff to advance you in your job, or to get you a better one?  Are you still learning things, just for the joy of knowledge?  I would have been a professional scholar, if I’d just been able to find a sponsor.

Young Love Gone Wrong

Jailbird

For 20 years, they were deliriously happy…. Then they met.
Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.     😳

Once upon a time, I lost a girlfriend. It wasn’t a century ago, but it was well back in the last century.

When I graduated high school, I moved 100 miles away to take my first job. It wasn’t long before it was apparent – at least to me – that the long-distance romance wasn’t going to work. Jeff Foxworthy speaks of, “If she hasn’t yet saddled up and ridden a new horse, she’s at least pulled one from the barn, and put a bridle on him.” My friends never mentioned that to me. I broke it off – by letter – just before Christmas. She wasn’t lonely for long.

I had just turned 19. Her new beau was almost 21. He had a job as a mechanic. He made more money than I did. He had a car. She traded up – or did she??! The new fella was the kind described as ‘known to police.’ She had a 16-year-old younger brother. By Valentine’s Day, he had sold the kid a switchblade knife – probably a $3/$4 piece of junk, that he charged $5 for.

The home was ruled by a nasty, judgmental mother, only one reason I decided to call it quits. All 6 of the children were a bit sharp – or brittle – especially this youngest, with something to prove. He couldn’t attract a girlfriend, but wanted to go to the high school’s big Easter Dance.

Since he didn’t have a partner, he asked the new boyfriend if he could provide a little liquid courage. Back then, you had to be 21 to purchase alcohol, but he knew a fellow, and provided a Mickey (13 Oz.) of lemon gin. The kid spiked his own punch at the party, and was soon roaring drunk – yelling and swearing, and pawing girls.

The science teacher, the male chaperone, approached him, and told him that he must leave. This was his first drinking experience. He didn’t know how to act. He loudly insisted that he would not leave. The teacher reached to take his arm or shoulder, to escort him out…. and he pulled the switchblade!

If he had just left, everything would have quietly disappeared. Now they had to call the cops! He wasn’t arrested, but they confiscated the knife, and called his parents to pick him up. The policeman asked him where he’d got the knife, and the liquor. Too immature to keep his mouth shut, he quickly named the new boyfriend.

The next day, they pulled him over. With probable cause, they searched the car, found an unopened case of beer in the trunk, and charged him with underage possession.

Our town was a ‘County Town,’ not the county capital. That was 30 miles away. We got a circuit judge, and every Wednesday was court day. Nicknamed the Hangin’ Judge, he had seen the evils of Demon Rum, and had a hatred for alcohol. This was Carrie Nation’s husband.

I don’t know whether he came to hate booze before, or because, he became a judge. The latter was quite possible, with all the drunken tourists, and drunken Indians from the nearby reservation.

The boyfriend pled guilty, and the misdemeanor penalty was a fine, and a criminal record. The judge wanted to get higher up this bootlegging ladder, and demanded to know where he had got the beer. “I found it in a ditch.” “Well, I hope you found a month down there with it, ‘cause you’re going to do 30 days in the county slammer.”

He’d kept quiet about his supplier, but, even sober, he just couldn’t keep his mouth shut. “Hell, I can do 30 days, standin’ on my head.” “That’s contempt of court. Here’s another 30 days, to get you back on your feet.” Suddenly that Archon boy was looking real good – but I was long gone.

Small Town Boy

Small Town

I was born and raised in a small town.
How small, you say? I’m glad you asked.

Baskin-Robbins only has three ice cream flavors.

You had to step out of the village limits in order to change your mind.

The nickname for the city jail is amoeba because it only has one cell.

McDonalds only has one Golden Arch and the nearest one is 15 miles away.

Instead of a 7-11 they have a 3.5 – 5.5.

The New Year’s baby was born in April.

The “Welcome To” and “Thanks for Visiting “signs are front and back of the same sign.

You have to go to the next town to find 2nd Street….

A “Night on the Town” only takes about ten minutes.

The Subway restaurant that serves foot-long sandwiches cannot fit within the village limits.

You do not bother using turn signals because everyone already knows where you are going.

Big social events are scheduled around when the high school gym floor is being varnished.

You call a wrong number and the person who answers can give you the correct number for the person you are trying to call..

There is no point in high-school reunions because everyone knows what everyone else is doing anyway.

School gets canceled for Provincial sporting events.

It was cool to date someone from a different high-school.

The golf course had only three holes.

Anyone you are looking for can be found at either the Dairy Queen or Wal-Mart, over in ‘The Big City’.

Directions are given using the one and only stop light as a reference – after they finally installed one.

Weekend excitement involves a trip to the grocery store.

Your teachers remember when they taught your parents.

The best burgers in town are at the four-lane bowling alley. 

Flash Fiction #171

Adam and Eve

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

What kind of tree did you say that one is??  A fig tree??  Nah, that can’t be right.  A fig tree should have leaves as big as palm fronds.

Well, in the Bible, it says that Adam and Eve were naked and ashamed, so they made clothing from fig leaves, and covered themselves.

I don’t know how well…. endowed Adam was, but those leaves wouldn’t cover a beauty spot.  Make concealing clothing from those tiny leaves?  I don’t really think so.  They’re more like the sequins on a high school girl’s prom dress and they’d cover just about as much.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story

Friday Fictioneers

’17 A To Z Challenge

The Oxford English Dictionary just called up to tell me that I’m a distracted old fool. I managed to publish my Challenge post for the letter R, before the one for Q.  Oh well, back to kindergarten….A, B, C, D  😳

Challenge2017

letter-q

Queer as a Nine-Dollar bill….  The world, or at least The United States, has become more and more polarized.  Once, not long ago, the above phrase would merely have indicated an oddity.  Now, the word ‘queer’ is an epithet, an insult, an attack, an accusation.

It was once said that, “The man who does not trust himself – beats his wife.” Now apparently, the men(?) who don’t trust themselves –beat up on faggots – or guys they think are homos – or who might be homosexual.

More and more, the moral absolutists have highjacked the language for their own narrow-minded purposes. The word gay once meant happy, carefree, merry, pleasurable, brilliant, or brightly-colored.  Now, the first 10 definitions in the dictionary are all about homosexuality.  You have to search way down to the bottom, to remember Happy Days.  The singer Marvin Gay got so much nasty harassment from his high school mates, that he legally changed his name to Marvin Gaye.

A Queen (as opposed to the Queen) used to be just a cross-dresser.  He might, or might not, bat (or catch) for the other team.  Nowadays, even if he’s got an understanding wife, and four kids, it’s assumed, and loudly proclaimed, that he must be gay.

Besides the late Freddy Mercury, I don’t know which of the members of the rock group Queen are homosexual.  I don’t care!  I come for the music, not the moral judgement.  I remember the comic/actor David Spade telling a talk-show host about going to his first Queen concert, and watching the boys doing a lot of bum-bumping on stage.  Even the name, QUEEN, hadn’t tipped him off.

When I was young, the word sissy merely indicated a guy who preferred to stay at home and read, or, Heaven forbid, study.  Now, if you’re not out on the playing field, getting your ass handed to you by the bully-boy jocks, sissy must mean gay.  I chuckle, because more often than is realized, that sensitive, understanding (gay) sissy is screwing the jock’s girlfriend while he tutors her in calculus.

I think I’m quite finished for now, but don’t you quit on me.  I’ll see you here again soon.  😀

2017 A To Z Challenge – F

Challenge2017

I’ve been caught – found out – laid bare. It gives me no solace to know that I am but one member of a large enough group who are also exposed, that there is a word to describe and identify them.  For the letter

Letter F

I am skipping the WOW, and using the A To Z Challenge to present the latest, and most applicable word, Forgettery

Definitions for forgettery

a faculty or facility for forgetting; faulty memory:
a witness with a very convenient forgettery.

Origin of forgettery

1860-1865

Forgettery is a humorous formation based on forget and (the pronunciation of) memory. The phenomenon is very common in ordinary life, such as that panicky moment when you cannot recall the name of your dinner partner or where you parked the car in the mall parking lot. It is a little surprising that such a useful term entered English only in the 19th century.

My life has been one long series of Forget-Me-Nots. One of my ways of ensuring that I remember something is to repeat, repeat, repeat!  One scientific study said, 35 times – and it’s mine.  It’s a good thing that I like to read.  I scanned school texts over and over….and over.  I understood the concepts, but you only get marks if you remember to write them down.

I describe my situation as ‘Trigger-Memory.’ It’s a long trail of the equivalent of a string tied around the finger.  My days are full of reminders.  A sour cream tub lid, wedged into the top of my boot on the shoe rack means there’s a plate of leftovers to be taken to the daughter.  An empty pill bottle sends me to the pharmacy.  An empty cat-food tin on the end of the counter has me bringing more up when I go downstairs for some Pepsi.

Out of sight, out of mind – or, as the Chinese translate, ‘When you’re blind, you’re also crazy.” If I don’t see it, I forget it. My office desk was always a bit of a mess, because I dared not put anything away until I’d successfully dealt with it.  Lists, notes, memos, reminders – thank (insert the name of your favorite real or imaginary deity here) for electronics.  Now it’s all on the computer….if I can just remember where I cached that file.

Have you ever walked into a room, and wondered why you did? I’ve walked into rooms, and had to look around to remember which room I’d walked into.  Use it, or lose it. As much as for my Asperger-type inability to make and hold friends, my lack may be because I forget people as soon as they walk out the door, and people get upset if you do that.

Once upon a time, I forgot to pick something up, probably food for a special meal. I got from the wife, that expression that every marriage gets at least once.  “If you loved me….you would have remembered.”  I pointed out that the forgetting had impacted me even worse than her.  If I can’t remember for myself, I sure won’t remember for her, no matter how much I love her.

Would she say, ‘If you loved me, you’d be an Optical Surgeon, and make lots of money?’ With the tremor in my hands, somebody would lose an eye.

If I forget to read your posts for a week, (or a month) or forget to leave a comment, please forgive me. I’ll remember eventually, probably triggering my memory when I’m looking up another odd word, like syzygy….now what does that mean, again?   😳

Now Just Back Up A Second!

Backspace

Why is there a backspace key on the keyboard? Actually, my PC doesn’t have one, clearly marked ‘Backspage’bBackspace’, handily located in the lower right corner of the keyboarkeyboard. Mine is an inconvenierinconverinconveniently located button in the upper right, vaguely labelled(?) with a left-pointing arrow.

The backspace key is obviously therthere so that we can go back and correct our typing errors. Mine usually gets quite a waorkoutworkout. I’d have never passed a high school typing test. With words or strokes being subtracted for errors, I’d have ended up owing words.

Mistype

As I get older, it gets worse. Sometimes it’s as if my hands have a mind of their own. This shows up especially when I’m doing crossword puzzles. Clue – wondrous….solution – epic. The mind says, “That’s spelled E>>>PE…P…I…C” – and I look down, and my fingers have already written the C where the E should be. When I’m typing, the lesftleft little finger really likes to add randonrandom a’s.

I recently read a post like this, where the author had been challenged to publish a document, with strikethroughs to show where mistakes had been made. Like him/her, in several cases, the hands automatically backspaced and corrected, but I then retyped thmistakesthe mistakes to show where they’d been.

How about you, my faithfifaithful readers? Are you all perfect typists, with no strikethroughs? Would any of you like to accept this secodsecond-hand challenge, and publish a little missive to show how much you go through to bring us your perfect prose?

Fat typist

 

Published Author

 

That term has a nice feel to it.  I’m a Published Author.  Of course, in my case, it has about the same significance as being the greatest dog-catcher in Enid, Oklahoma.

It all came about because H.E.Ellis solicited (no, not like that), urged and supported me to write my little fractured fairy tale about the hare and the tortoise.  She deemed my short treatise worthy to present with others in the series, on her blog-site.  I am so honored, that I’ve been running around the neighborhood telling both people who will speak to me, all about it.

Truth be told, and I do occasionally, while this is the most auspicious occurrence, it is not the first, nor the only time I have been published.  In fact there have been many times I’ve had something printed at this same rate of remuneration.  The first time I had a piece of my prose published, I was almost 18.

I was not directly involved in the submission, so I tend to ignore and forget it.  For a Grade 12 Easter-term English exam I scratched out a little, thousand-word, post-apocalyptic sci-fi piece.  It centered on a bear waking from winter hibernation.  He stood up in his little cave and bumped his head and wondered how he’d managed that.  Then he marveled at the fact that he was thinking at all.  A rabbit hopped in, and greeted him with a non-verbal, “So, you’re finally up.”

It seems, while he slept the winter away, humans had engaged in a terrible war, nukes, biological, and maybe something else.  Every human on the planet was dead, and the animals had all achieved intelligence and telepathy.  I ignored the fact that, despite the sapience and communication, animals weren’t farmers.  Some of them would still have to eat others.  This was 1962.  The Cold War was chilly.

My friend read several sci-fi pulp mags, and urged me to send it in, as a filler.  It was just a school project.  Once done, it was soon forgotten, but not by him.  He believed so strongly that he sent it in under my name….and it got printed.  I had my first job, a hundred miles away, a car I couldn’t take with me, a now-long distance girlfriend.  I came home to visit one weekend, and he excitedly handed me a twenty dollar check.  Long before quick and easy photographic proof, I cashed the check and spent the badly need money.

The Toronto Sun distributes all across Southern Ontario, from Windsor in the west, almost to Montreal.  Years ago, they had a page titled Coffee Break.  This held the comics, the horoscopes, the word jumble, the crossword puzzle and a Poet’s Corner.  Usually just eight, ten, twelve line ditties, often in unrhymed blank verse, eventually they disappeared.  I guess all the poets ran out of themes.  I saw a short poem one day from a woman thinking of leaving her man, because he didn’t express his love often, or strongly enough.  It inspired me to submit the following rebuttal.

The Strong Silent Type

I really like you.
I’m sure that I’ve shown,
And also I love you.
I thought that you’ve known.

I have trouble with words
And what I should say
Is, “I want you!  I need you!
That’s why you should stay!”

Some men speak with their voices,
But it’s a real art.
For a man who cannot,
You must hear with your heart.

Not exactly Shakespeare, more like Edgar Allan Poe,

Quoth the Rave, “Nevermore!”
To his drunken girlfriend on the barroom floor.

I once had a one-third page Second Opinion column printed in the local paper.  So long ago, I don’t remember the theme.  Probably Christian intolerance, that seems to be what I get most, and most often, irked about.  I have trouble keeping my many op-ed submissions under the acceptable 300 word limit, so the editor suggested I expand one of my more insightful, but verbose ones a bit.

Here I am, writing about Christian intolerance and look down to see that my word count is 666!  Satan looked over my shoulder and said, Ah, don’t worry about it!  It don’t mean nothing.

I’ve had hundreds of letters to the Editor published over the years, when I can be concise, as well as informed.  They’ve been on a wide range of subjects, and printed, not only in the local newspaper, but in the Toronto Sun and even in a Knife Makers magazine I subscribe to.  I used to be an opinionated young whipper-snapper.  Now I’m an opinionated old coot.

The opinions Editor at the local paper is a religiously conservative (some kind of) Mennonite.  It’s tough to get a letter printed which is negatively judgemental of Christianity and its purveyors.  At least twice though, once by phone and once by email, I have been contacted by his young assistant to submit a con argument on a religious discussion, when there’s been a week of only pro letters of support published.  I think the kid likes to tweak the old man’s tail once in a while.

I’m confident of my vocabulary and word use, spelling (I’m right nine times to Spell-check’s one), construction and punctuation, even though I’m a little heavy on subordinate clauses and commas.  I just don’t seem to believe I have the creative spark to dream up scenarios.  H.E.Ellis is enthralled by the story-telling abilities of both SightsnBytes and me.  She has suggested that we compile our *Remember When* stories, and produce an autobiographical novel.

With my small but dedicated readership, I’m not sure how large an audience I might get, but I’m starting to think about the idea more seriously.  She must know something.  She’s very small, but a much bigger Published Author than I am.  She’s a trained professional.  Don’t try this at home kids!