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Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Impossibility of Human Reason

I don't feel good today. My head hurts for the second straight day. My sinuses are on fire, especially the left one. I haven't worked-out since Sunday, and I'm feeling sluggish. In general, I'm simply exhausted after a very busy summer. I'm having one of those days, and when I allow myself to stop and have one of those days, I crash, and today I'm crashing.

I took my boys to the animal shelter yesterday to pick out two kittens. I saw a huge, pudgy adult cat sitting in the middle of his cage in an owl-like posture. His only motion was the slow turning of his head as he glanced around. He wore a collar - he had been someone's. He wasn't excited. He wasn't pitiful. He was just unaffected. His future was likely not promising - consisting of days or hours or maybe even minutes for all I knew.

It's strange to me that God created cats in such a way that they produce an entire litter of kittens. Creatures that depend on man for survival, and yet two cats in their natural form produce many more offspring than two humans - certainly more than those two humans can care for. And the result is a massive number of animal shelters overflowing with precious furry companions, most just waiting as the clock ticks down to lethal injection time. Their charge: there is simply no room for them in this world - which makes me question why God put them here in the first place.

The somber experience of looking into the eyes of so many that would suffer this fate turned the experience of saving two sweet kitties bittersweet - I couldn't do anything for the hundred remaining, and even if I could have there would have been another hundred right behind them.

I'd like to reason all of this out spiritually, but I spend so much time writing from the spiritual perspective, I sometimes forget about the human side. And I think I forget about the human side because sometimes it simply isn't possible to reason from the human side. If I can just assign spiritual reasoning to the pain of humanity, it makes it all bearable. Ninety-five percent of the time, that is what I seek to do, but today I find myself pleading, "Jesus, please come get us today - I'm just so darn tired."

*The two we saved pictured above (the tortiose shell is Jazzy Gogo, and the gray striped and white is Ginger)

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Baby Doesn't Change Everyone (RVFF #5)

What is Random Vocabulary Flash Fiction (RVFF)? I blindly select a vocabulary word from Word Smart, and write a flash fiction story using that word. Flash fiction basically means it's short - you can read it in a flash. Click here to read my rules.

Today's word: Aberration (ab uh RAY shun) - 1. something not typical; 2. a deviation from the standard / I used definition #1 for this story.

A Baby Doesn't Change Everyone (RVFF #5)

An odd smell enveloped Alec as he walked into the house. Is that... clean? Alec's wife, Abby, rarely cleaned house, but today was an aberration - the house sparkled.

Alec hugged Abby. "The house looks amazing.”

"Thanks! It’s time I started cleaning – since there's going to be a little one crawling around."

"You're -"

Abby nodded and smiled.

"I didn't think we could…"

"We did."

"Are you sure?"

"Ten weeks - I went to the doctor today."

Alec grabbed Abby and cheered, spinning her until he was dizzy.

He knelt and lifted her shirt, noticing a slight bulge in her tone abdomen. He looked up at Abby; she smiled. He looked at her belly.

"I've been praying for you for years." Alec kissed Abby's belly. "And since you're already having this unusual affect on your beautiful mother, could you ask her to wash my car and make me some ribs?”

Word Count = 149

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dusting Sunbeams (RVFF #4)

Random Vocabulary Flash Fiction (RVFF) - Click here to find out what it is.

Today's word: Ethereal (ih THIR ee ul) - 1. heavenly; 2. as light or insubstantial as a gas or ether /I used definition #2 for this story.

Dusting Sunbeams (RVFF #4)

Ellen halts at the sight of ethereal dust waltzing in a sunbeam stretching across the dining room. Most people would notice it and move on, but Ellen isn't like most people.

Ellen walks a wide arc around the sunbeam and its dust. Moments later she diligently vacuums the dust from the sunbeam.

I want to tell her the dust isn’t limited to the sunbeam, but I fear this would send her into a panic-induced, air-cleaning frenzy, so I say, "Honey, it’s clean. We need to go or we’ll miss our movie."

I've planned ahead to account for Ellen's home-leaving routine: down and up the garage steps five times, checking the tire pressure twice in each tire, and driving around the block twice to make sure the garage door is closed.

What I didn't plan for was another sunbeam on our way to the garage.

Word count = 146

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Compensation Not Necessary (RVFF #3)

Random Vocabulary Flash Fiction (RVFF) - Click here to find out what it is.

Today's word: Reparation (rep uh RAY shun) - 1. paying back; 2. making amends; 3. compensation /I used definition #3 for this story.

Compensation Not Necessary (RVFF #3)

As I veered our snowmobile onto the frozen lake, the frigid Alaska air carried an icy mist cinnamon-fine and as penetrating as glass-dust. The sound of the mist pelting our goggles was ominous, and fifty yards out, a white-out obscured my vision.

"Randy! Go back!" my brother said.

"No! I know what I'm doing!"


"Shut up! I've got it!"

And I did have it - until the ice broke.

The snowmobile balanced precariously on one ski at the broken ice edge - front-half submerged, back-half slipping. My brother, clinging to the snowmobile, plucked me out of the water and tossed me onto the ice just before the snowmobile plunged beneath the surface. He never emerged.

How do I compensate my brother for my disobedience? For causing his death? I never can. Reparation isn't possible, nor is it necessary, when your brother sacrifices his life for your own.

Word count = 148

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Winds of Revolution (RVFF #2)

Random Vocabulary Flash Fiction (RVFF) - Click here to find out what it is.

Today's word: Coup (koo) - 1. a brilliant victory or accomplishment; 2. the violent overthrow of the government by a small internal group (full name is coup d’├ętat - koo day TAH) / I used definition #2 for this story.

The Winds of Revolution (RVFF #2)

Carter pumped anger-infused push-ups next to his prison-cell bunk. Stripped of his stripes, his medals, his uniform - his life, though life didn't really matter. What he'd attempted to do, he was doing for his country. He'd served his country so long, he didn't remember much of life before.

Carter's plan - a coup that would fix his country - seemed flawless. His intent was for America to rediscover its purpose, for true patriotism to be revived.

Taking down the US government with a small army of soldiers was ambitious, he'd admit, but his strategy was tight. Where did I go wrong? He mentally sifted his strategy with each push-up. Violence was expected and planned; shoving his gun into the president's mouth and pulling the trigger was not.

Carter exhaled.

Outside, the winds of revolution gusted through the nation's capital as millions of patriots marched in from every side.

Total words = 147

I know I have a POV dilemma in my last line. It will come to me in the next day or so, and I'll pop in here and fix it.

The Parochial Seductress (RVFF #1)

Random Vocabulary Flash Fiction (RVFF) - Click here to find out what it is.

Today's word: Parochial - 1. narrow or confined in point of view; provincial 2. of or relating to a parish / I'll use definition #1 for today's story.


Pablo married her this morning in a freakish moment, under the influence of a passion hangover. They say Vegas does things to people, and it sure did things to him. It wasn’t that she wasn’t beautiful – she was. Or that she wasn’t intelligent – she was. She reflected a quiet sophistication, which is what attracted Pablo to her in the first place, and exuded a sweet sexiness that few women possess.

It was her narrow-minded views that forced his doubt as he sat across the coffee-house table listening to her life philosophies. How could a woman who’d aggressively seduced a man she’d met two hours prior in a hotel bar be so parochial?

Even this, Pablo might let pass - if he could just remember her name.

Word count = 126

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Random Vocabulary Flash Fiction (RVFF)

I'm starting a series to help build my vocabulary - one of my weak spots. I'm calling it Random Vocabulary Flash Fiction (RVFF). A few days each week, I will blindly select a vocabulary word from Word Smart, and write a flash fiction story using that word. Flash fiction basically means it's short - you can read it in a flash. You can read more about flash fiction (here). My RVFF rules are:

  • The stories must be 200 words or less (which means you can read them in just a few seconds).

  • The stories must have a clear theme, plot, or storyline.

  • The vocabulary word must work its way in naturally and not seem forced to you, the reader (let me know if I'm not hitting the mark here).

Tune in regularly to read my RVFF.