First published in Nothing Ever Happens in Fox Hollow, Vol 1
First published in Nothing Ever Happens in Fox Hollow, Vol 2
First published in The Spectre Review Literary Magazine
Children, learn your instruments, we need your help.
Light praises and punishes all. It drags minerals out of rock until the mountains crumble. It blisters and spoils the sea. Plants ache for its glow. Disease-crusted parasites suck its abundance and slime themselves all over the globe. On land, on sea, under the oceans, the moss of the trees. They all feed off the unbridled energy the sun freely gives. It asks only complete dependence in return.
People have always told me secrets, I don’t know why. Likely in the blood somehow, the notion that my family can be trusted. From the old days when we served in the manor houses, the ‘hall’. We tidied your shoes, wound your watches, taught your kids and walked your dogs. We cleaned your geese and fixed the fires. We salted the meat and kept your estates running. We enforced on your behalf, we adjudicated exactly as you would do. This dedication of ours bought your trust. Your line of work requires so much falsifying, you are eager to release some of your malfeasance to us. So hard to hide all those mishaps, so difficult to maneuver all those lies. Promises are nothing to you, yet they remain everything to us.
We set you up for success and you rewarded us with state secrets, hidden treasures and joys beyond the reach of regular men. We will forever astound you with what we do with such pelf.
We have been carrying secrets since folk started hiding things. No secret is too vast for us to manage. No secret is too small to hold. None are forgotten, nor will they find the grave. There are no secrets about us, we do nothing worth talking about; just about those whom we serve, those we patronize on behalf of the master. Those we neglect, those we ignore. We keep them all, whomever you are, the value is ours to determine.
The Many Names of Nellie Bly
She was born Elizabeth Mary Jane Cochran. For a time, she went by Pink. Didn’t like to be called Lizzy, Elizabeth was too formal for her. It was assumedly, Miss Cochran while in school. Called herself Lonely Orphan Girl at the start of her career in the papers. That changed quickly to Nellie Bly and it was wildfire after that. Her years as a Reporter showed her Daredevil side especially when it came getting to the truth. She was devoutly Plebeian in the stories she brought to light. Ever a Champion for the underclasses, downtrodden and misfortunate. Journalist is likely her best known name though there a few more she’d like me to mention.
By 1889 she was called Globe Trotter for circumnavigating earth faster than Phileas Fogg. She became Mrs. Elizabeth Cochran Seaman in 1895 and when her husband died, she earned the title of President by running his company better than he did. She was an insurmountable Industrialist for a long period of time. During those years she became an Inventor, Patent Holder, Disruptor, Patron, Benefactor and Millionaire.
Forever a Feminist, proud Suffragette, Nellie was in newsprint her whole life. She was a Correspondent on the front lines of WW1 feeding the world harsh reality for years. A Writer at heart, she produced multiple novels along with her weekly column until she died. Crusader and Rabble-Rouser, she used the reach of her newspaper to right wrongs readers could identify. Amidst all that, Nellie fed and cared for a couple thousand orphans. What is the name for someone who finds an abandoned a baby a new home? Not quite a mother, more than a matron. Not a matchmaker so much, but a unifier. Let’s just say Hero and call it a day.
The Duluth Complex
They will come for it. They will take it from you, from us. They will come for the whole, entire thing. They will take it when we are not looking, when we get lazy. They will take it when they want it, they will take it by force. They won’t care about you or the rivers or the trees. They will care about the ores, my man, the god damned ores.
Beware the predatory capitalist, they are true to the essence of the words. They forsake, they swindle, they accept false gains and create speculation. They adjust beyond the legal limits and they produce little other than debts. They take. They take without giving in return, they take with out care of those to come later, they take without concern towards the integrity of the system, they take because they lack the respect one needs to be a citizen. These people should be quarantined, fed as the hogs they are and watched carefully until they expire.
We always wins. We will survive. Despite you trying to undo us. It is your fate; it is our test. Still, you must climb sometime. Can you do that? If you have no skills beyond the reach of your money, you have no skills. The waters are rising and those left behind will be devoured by the forest. Money has little influence with wolves. Fangs are not the worst things in the woods. You believe yourself a tough one, a baddy, a master of enterprise? These ignoble notions will evaporate when they descend on you. You will see what it takes to live with one another when all bets are off, when we no longer hold up your nets. We remember how to live in the wild, you cannot even say her name.
R.I.P. Double Space
I did as I was told. We all followed the commands of the writing gods. TWO spaces after a period! Two spaces after a colon! How many times have I reveled in the adding of the proper number of spaces to make a work complete? Un knowable. Now, I must remove them?!
It has taken 16 years, but I am ready to give back your god forsaken space. Do you have any idea what kind of sacrifice you are asking of us cuspers? Those last few to be raised with analog and then adapt to the swiftly digitized world. Not Gen X, not millennial, we are hybrids of all knowing snark and emotional wells. You infuriate me, rules. Thanks to you and your changes, it took me years to relearn how to read the meandering drivel compacted so close one idea is glued to the next. After decades of putting good, long distance betwixt notions, now you expect me to un-train my eyes, my sight? My vision? Fine. You can take my space. 50% of the space used to offend me, nay insisted I provide. For clarity, for gumptions. In exchange, I would like to ask a few questions:
Do we read more? Are we saying more now that we have the added space? Do we flirt the same way? Is it affecting how we read love notes? What did we gain when we gave the space away? Are we saving that much time by reducing the spaces between sentences? Yes, but at what cost? I know not how many carefree hours I must squander whilst I confine myself to DELETING the spaces from the many works. Thousands upon thousands of double-spaced sentences must be undone. Whole paragraphs are redistricted. How many hours will this civil statute steal from my life? How many double spaces have I already spent time on, now doubling the waste of my short-lived time?! Unknowable.
Curse you, style guides! You have taken another innocent victim, but it will not be in vain. Let this small token be a light to their once glorious past.
**Author’s note: while I stand by the above sentiment, I recognize the fact that the ‘double space’ was removed at the advent of computerized fonts that adjust the space between letters, words and sentences making the strict two space rule obsolete. This advancement to digital processes is necessary for said author to be successful within the industry-as constructing correspondence via typewriter would have been a death nail for him. He owes much of the ability for his reach to the benefits digital enterprises provided. He is thankful, yet bitter.