A Tuesday Snippet

My muse called today. She said I hadn’t done a story in the “Green Knight Terraforming Company” for a long time. I really did my best to remind her that I had three projects that I have been procrastinating with and I didn’t need a fourth.

In a calm voice with precise inflection, I was made aware that if I didn’t write on the GKTC story that I would be in that nomad’s land of no writing for quite awhile. Dammit. I hate it when I am blackmailed like that.

And just to get me into the proper mood of writing in this world, here is a snippet from the first story that started my space traveling terraforming human tech as a troubleshooter from hell.

The Green Knight Terraforming Company

The super-white flying van with the green logo, The Green Knight Terraforming Company, zipped over the tree and landed on pavement in front of a large warehouse. I stepped out of the van, wearing my company clothes—khaki trousers, white polo shirt with a green knight logo on the pocket.

A short, dwarfish wrinkled humanoid waited for me to reach the warehouse. As soon as I reached smelling distance, a strong cheese-like smell, wafted from the humanoid. I pressed a button to turn off my smeller. At the same time the brie taste disappeared from my mouth. I coughed and little and strode toward the humanoid.

“Zrkaffv, thsst prrrtt,” the humanoid started speaking. I assumed it was male although it was fully clothed because of the low voice. Once again I adjusted a knob next to my ear so that my translator worm would work. At the end of the knob, a small hammer knocked the worm into the right dialect.

The humanoid began speaking again and I almost wished I couldn’t understand it. “You’re terraforming didn’t work,” he whined.

“What do you mean it didn’t work?” I looked around at the trees around the parking lot and warehouse. The trees were earth-like. Roses twined around trellises attached to the building, and birds were chirping in the distance. Our motto “You travel the stars; we make you feel at home” seemed to be working in this case. I checked a line on my checklist.

Just to make sure that I was right and the customer, in this case a brie-smelly humanoid was wrong, I glanced at the grass, the flowers, the trees, and the rest of the terraformed area. It looked right, it sounded right, and when my nose was on, it even smelled right so what was the problem?

“Touch the grass,” said the humanoid.

From his expression of dissatisfaction, I assumed the worst. Even so I reached down to touch the blue-green grass. Two grasses grew long, grabbed my wrist and pulled me to the ground. I tried to break away, but the grasses began to grow around my legs, my chest, and my arms. It felt like steel bands holding me there.

“That’s what’s wrong.” I wished I could shut down the humanoid’s voice. He continued, “I lost a lot of workers to that cannibal grass when they tried to trim it.” I could almost hear him smirk.

You can find the rest of this story here: The Green Knight Terraforming Company (GKTC tales)

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My lying eyes

cynnavy If you’ve read anything about me, you already know that I was in the US Navy between 1988-1994. I went to boot camp in Orlando, Florida and then went to Pensacola, Florida for my rate training as a CTM, which meant I was an electronics technician with a security clearance.

This is a me after I was frocked. Frocking means that you get the rank before you get paid. In my case it was six months later.

I was at the NTTC Corry Station, Pensacola Florida for training when the “Lee Mirecki incident” occurred. Pensacola was flooded with journalists after the incident. I was a lowly E-1 at the time (Seaman) and we were told by our leaders that someone had drowned during his rescue training. We were also told that we could be waylaid by journalists outside the base.

Our only response to the journalists would be “no comment.” If we even expressed our opinions about the incident and it was printed or broadcasted that there would be consequences. At that time we understood consequences. We had gone through classes where they told us outright the worst things that could happen to us if we let slip any classified material. It was considered just short of treason.

Luckily for me I was never cornered by a young earnest journalist, looking for the ins and outs of a good story.

 

I don’t have an opinion now. I’ve never been through that training so I don’t know if what they did to that young man was justified. I don’t know if those involved were punished. I’m sure they were. Having been in the Navy, the Uniform Code of Military Justice has a lot of ways these men could have been punished short of a Court Martial.

We live in a world that has so much information. We have to spend most of our time shifting what we see and hear on the news. Every piece of news and every piece of information is not pure, it is twisted by the person who reports or uses it.

After being in a classified area, I discount everything I see and hear going across the news. My lying eyes know that it is twisted to benefit someone else or some other cause. When I finally perceive the cause then I know a small portion of the truth.

Was this young man bullied? I don’t think Lee was bullied anymore than any shiny new recruit who was training in a difficult job. Were there mistakes made? Oh hell yes. I don’t excuse his death. And yes, it was one hell of a mistake.

My lying eyes know that this isn’t the first training mistake and death of a young man in a training incident. It won’t be the last. Just recently we lost a Thunderbird pilot to a crash in Nevada. The C.O. of that base is probably having each one of those planes checked thoroughly and the pilots and crews are going through extreme training right now. The tech who fixed his plane is probably shaking in his boots too.

The Army has had their share of training accidents as well. It is part of training for war.

I do see things differently since I was in uniform. Just so you know it is still a major part of my personality even now.

 

In the diner – an excerpt

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The bright chatter from nearby tables, the clanking of pans, and the sometimes crash of a plate swirled around me as I sank into a red-faux upholstered seat in the retro fifties diner.

The red and chrome jukebox in the corner playing, “Shar-reee, Shar-ar-ar-ree ba-aa-by. Sherry, baby” evoked my memories of sitting in this same seat and listening to this same song. I settled into the booth, my elbows on the table, as I breathed in the smells of sizzling bacon, eggs, and ham.

If I closed my eyes I would be home with my mother swaying in front of the stove to this very song. Her eyes bright and her lips curled into a smile as she flipped golden-brown pancakes onto a chipped china plate.

I’d hand it over to my greedy man, who would stuff cold butter between the pancakes and slather the tops with thick maple syrup. He would hum as he ate them.

One sniff and I was home.

A waitress swayed down aisle, tapping her feet to the beat of the music on the linoleum floor. A distinct chink and the music changed. The noise level surged and I drowned in it. I almost stood up and bolted from my seat, forgetting why I came here. There were too much noise and too many memories here for me.

The waitress in a ruffled apron was too young to read my panic. Her lip might have curled a bit at my torn jeans, too-large flannel shirt, and unbrushed dishwater hair.

“What are you ordering?” Her pen was posed over the order pad. The menu was next to my elbow. “Or should I come back?” Her voice was neutral as if she’d asked this question a hundred times that day.

“Give me a few,” I said after taking a deep breath. I hadn’t noticed until now that my hands were clamped onto the table and I was so, so cold. My knuckles went from white to light pink as I carefully relaxed my hands.

The waitress swayed to the next table. She asked the same questions of the small family sitting behind me.

My greedy man. I placed my phone on the metal table in front of me so that I looked busy. Then I closed my eyes and extended my awareness outward. The build-up of the energy of so many lives in this diner surged through me.

The images in my mind swirled and eddied until I could focus on one memory. It was of my greedy man when he pulled me into his arms and held me tightly at my mother’s funeral. I cried that day.

I sank into his memory once more, and smelled the fresh bread scent that seemed to come from him and only him. I needed no comfort food when he was here.

The noise, the smells, and the people faded from my awareness. I heard the deep rolling sounds of his voice, “Betty. Betty.”

I scrunched my eyes as tightly as I could. On the backs of my eyelids I saw his deep dark eyes, the same eyes that could see into my very essence. His brown silvered hair was longer than he used to wear it. I could smell him.

I opened my eyes hoping against hope that he would be sitting in front of me. Just one more time. The pain was as fresh as the day he left me, three years ago.

“Why?” I said aloud. My eyes were red and dry. The empty upholstered seat in front of me gave no answers.

He was gone. He would never come back.

He could never come back.

Sneezing to the spring hits

P1000016The rippling sound of mating calls fill my morning walks as I carefully not look into the the trees in case some poor bird the size of my hand will consider me a threat and dive bomb me.

It has happened before.

When I was in Japan, there was this tall electrical pole next to the sidewalk. We would walk this sidewalk to the cafeteria. When I was in a group, the raven would ignore me. But when I was alone, walking that same cement sidewalk, the raven would make an ugly caw and if I looked up I would see this huge ugly sharp beak aiming for my head.

So I watch the birds covertly as they sidle up to each other and talk about having nests, eggs, and eventually fledglings.

I think yesterday was the day the trees decided to release little flying sponges into the sky. It was yesterday that my eyes watered and the tears rolled down my cheeks. My nose clogged and I had to cough several times to clear my throat. Then I began the sneezing. The last sneeze started from my toes and caused my stomach muscles to clench. So yesterday I kept clutching the side of my stomach because I had a sprained muscle that tightened across my ribs.

I really like spring. It’s fun to watch. I just don’t enjoy being a part of the participation. The air is clogged with the love potions of flowers, bushes, and trees. So I’m taking another allergy pill and hoping I have less reactions to the spring hits.

Spring season and walkabouts

hummingbird-2139279_1920 I haven’t been too interested in the news lately. I’ve spent a lot of my time preparing for doctor’s visits, which means sitting in a tiny room, drinking a lot of water so that the phlembotomist can take blood out of my veins. And in the the TMI vein, so that they could take a urinalysis.

So I was mainly oblivious to the national walkout that was supposed to be spontaneous outrage from students who were really getting a free day out in the sunshine. If it were spontaneous then the school administrators and teachers wouldn’t have pulled fire alarms and walked with the students to “pre-assigned” plazas for “protests” and “speeches.”

I grew up in the Cold War where we were taught to climb under our desks and hide during a nuclear event. In one elementary school during a “nuclear” emergency alarm we were marched out of class and we sat along the walls of the hall until the alarm was over. Basically if we were really hit then we wouldn’t have survived.

During the Cold War, we would see images of the staged May Day marches of the Soviet Union. During those days we were proud that if such a power would land on our soil that we would fight and shoot our enemies.

It is like I have walked into a surreal landscape where a group of teenagers who would have been considered able to make adult choices (like defend their country when I was their age) are asking to be disarmed. These same students are asking that someone else take care of them because they are too delicate to make their own choices.  I am astounded that an 18 or 19 year old is now considered too young and irresponsible to handle their own defense and their own life.

I do know that I am only seeing one side on the news. I know of several young men and young women who are making their own lives. Some of them are going into the military and some of them are traveling. Others are starting businesses. We don’t see them in the news. If I didn’t know of these enterprising young ones, I would have believed that our nation was already on the skids.

I am a veteran. I served. So my view is probably different from yours.

When I turned on the TV and watched the “walkout” this week, I saw history being repeated. I turned the TV off.

A Hint of Blue eyes

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From intographics | Pixabay

I wrapped my coat around me as the temperature hit 41 degrees as I opened my front door and braved the morning to see my new little niece, Victoria.

This was the day when she would be presented to the church and given a name and blessing in the tradition of her family.

The church’s doors were opened and three generations of her family on both her mother and father’s side stood in the foyer. I stood with them to see this baby, who had had a hard start in life.

On the day of her birth, Victoria and her mother were rushed into surgery for an emergency C-section. Victoria’s pulse had stopped. For five heart-wrenching minutes she didn’t breath in the doctor’s arms. As my brother told it on Christmas Eve, his heart sunk to his stomach because he thought that they had lost this little girl.

She cried and his heart began beating again.

Then it was months of feeding her and keeping her safe because she was too small to survive in this whirling cocktail of disease. I understood why her parent’s kept this little one sequestered until she was old enough and strong enough to survive this world.

Her family descended on the church, filling three long wooden pews.  They doubled the attendance in that small church. We watched her being blessed. This little girl had tons of family to support her as she grew into womanhood.

Later I held her and smelled baby and sour milk. Her skin was soft and pink. I cuddled her.

Then she opened her eyes and I saw a hint of blue.

 

My memories of him

otto-tune Twenty-five years ago today, Otto and I walked into a courthouse because he said that he had some business there. I was dressed in turquoise shorts with a white T-shirt that had arrows pointing to the sleeves and the neck to show where the arms and head went.

Near the hem of the T-shirt were the words, “blonde T-shirt.”

We marched into the Justice of the Peace office, and Otto asked for a marriage license. I think my heart stopped. We had known each other for a few years by then. He had been an instructor in the electronics school I attended. When I went to Japan for my first tour of service, he was retiring from the Navy.

When the clerk asked for 70 dollars, we had to search through all of our pockets, purses, and crevices for enough change to pay for it. We managed to come up with 69 dollars and 90 cents. The clerk pitched in ten cents. Thirty minutes later we were married by the JP in a little garden outside.

Oh yes, for the first time after knowing him for almost four years, I learned his legal name. Nope, it wasn’t Otto.

I had been on adventures before meeting this man. I went to South Africa for two years and was able to see Johannesburg and Cape Town. It was a dream that came true in an unexpected way. And when he went his way, and I went to Japan, I enjoyed my adventures there.

Together we traveled around Panama, seeing the canal and some of the small villages in Chiriqui province of Panama. It had beautiful sand beaches and villages cut into jungle. There was even a small zoo where a monkey got close enough to me to try to steal my hot pink ball cap.

We transferred to Germany where we hiked to crumbling castles that overlooked the river. We walked through one of the towns where famous jewelers made jewelry from stones that had been shipped from Africa and other exotic places.

He was there when I almost died in his arms.

The one thing that I will always remember about my dear one was his sense of humor. He loved to stir things up. When he first met me and discovered that I was sensitive to blonde jokes, he told me one blonde joke every time he saw me. I learned to laugh at it.

He told me something important when my moods were so extreme because I was on prednisone and other harsh drugs. I had to take them to live. It didn’t make living easy though. He said, “Everything has a negative and a positive. You can switch how you feel about it.”

Today I want to remember that irrepressible smile that warmed me. I wanted to get closer to him.

I only hope that I will see him again, hold him in my arms, and smell his scent. That he will whisper one of his tasteless jokes in my ear so that I laugh.

Today I’ll wear his favorite color– red.