Member Monday: The Freebird’s Dilemma, by George Parker

Today’s Member Monday submission is Part One of a two-parter. ‘The Freebird’s Dilemma’ is a story that I submitted to my college’s literary magazine in 1992. Tomorrow I will post the most important lesson that I learned from writing this story.

The Freebird’s Dilemma

By: George T. Parker

“You’re sure you want to leave?”

“Yep.”

“Even if I give you a raise?”

“C’mon, Pappy. You know it’s not the money.”

“How about a vacation, Joe?”

Joe glanced up from the parts catalogues spread across the desk then looked back down at the forms and other paperwork. “You know why I’m leaving, Pappy.”

“I guess I do at that,” Pappy said softly. “You’ve been here a long time. Pert near a year. I had a hunch you’d be movin’ on soon.”

“How could you tell?”

“I used to have the wanderlust when I was your age, too. How long have you been thinking of moving on?”

“A couple of months ago I sent applications for field technician jobs to the US Forest Service and several universities in Canada. I got a reply from the University of Winnipeg yesterday.”

Pappy nodded and said, “Can’t say as I blame ya. Movin’ on can be an excitin’ thing. Didn’t get it out of my system til I was almost forty years old.”

“I don’t think I’ll ever get over it, Pappy,” Joe said as he gently tugged at his beard. “I’ve been on the move since high school—ten years now—and I still get the fever every time I pick up a National Geographic or look at a map.”

Pappy looked out the window over his workbench. Green was returning to grass on the hill and the tree across the street after the rains of the last few weeks. He could see the lavender blooms on the lilac branch just poking up from below the window. “It usually hit me at springtime, too. Everythin’ is comin’ alive again. The days are gettin’ longer.” Pappy looked down at the torn apart chain saw on his workbench. He picked up a screwdriver again as he asked, “What about Rachel?”

Joe was silent for a minute. “Yeah. What about Rachel?”

“Why don’t you ask her to go along?”

“Aw, Pappy. I couldn’t ask her to just pull up and leave her town. And what about Jason? Tramping around the mountains is no way for a kid to grow up.”

“There are worse places to tramp around.”

“A kid needs stability.”

Pappy shrugged and said, “I suppose so.” He sat up straight and stretched. He grabbed his white ceramic coffee mug with greasy hands, smearing new designs in the grease already covering the mug. He peered over the top of his black horn-rimmed glasses at Joe filling out the parts inventories and order forms. Pappy gulped the cold, black brew, put the mug down, and went back to work.

Joe rubbed his eyes. They burned from the harsh florescent desk lamp. He reached out to the chaotic pile on the desk and pulled a new catalogue from the bottom of the pile. Two other catalogues slipped from the pile, knocking a framed picture from the desk and sending a storm of papers to the floor. Joe muttered as he gathered the spilled papers. He picked up the framed picture and looked at the image of a far younger Pappy with his wife and little girl. He asked, “How did you know you were ready to throw down some roots, Pappy?”

Pappy shrugged as he said, “Don’t rightly know. I don’t think I ever felt like I was ready. I spent all my time driftin’ from job to job, city to city, state to state. I met a lot of men just like me out there. We all bragged about how great it was to be mavericks with no corral. I read a book by Thoreau once that said somethin’ about the herds bein’ keepers of men rather than men bein’ keepers of herds. It made for fine, manly soundin’ talk. But when the shop whistle blew or the foreman called it a day, us young bucks went back to our greasy spoons and lousy flophouses while the married guys went back to wives and kids and home cooked meals. As much as we talked, quite a few of us would have traded places with them in a heartbeat.”

“So how did you know it was time to settle down?”

Pappy paused his saw work as he thought. “I guess it just seemed like the right thing to do.”

Joe sat for a while staring at the poster on the wall of a snow covered mountain with a creek and a cabin in the foreground. He found himself planning a route up the peak.

********

Joe sang along with Lynyrd Skynyrd as he drove to Rachel’s apartment. He turned his stereo down as he pulled into the parking lot. His heart beat as hard as it had on their first date.

A boy answered his knock. The boy said, “Hi, Joe!” and raised his hand for a high five.

Continue reading

Member Monday: Excerpt From “The Once and Future Queen”, by Jennifer Levens

We have another Member Monday submission for you. This is an excerpt from Jennifer Levens‘ novel-in-progress, The Once and Future Queen. Jennifer currently has three books available at Amazon.com: The Virgin’s Daughter, Words: A Collection of Short Stories, Essays, and Very Bad Poetry, and A Little Romance: A Small Collection of Short Stories and Poems.

Excerpt from The Once and Future Queen

By Jennifer Levens

Prologue—2019—a Park in New York City

Three nannies watched their respective charges climb on the bars and swing on the swings in the park playground. Fiona James approached them with a child in a walker. She had no uniform. She approached the three women. “Hi!” she said, her Welsh accent thick. They looked up at her. “Um, me name is Fiona Matilda James. I just got this job. Frankly, ladies, I’m not quite sure what I am to do with such a babe in such a fine park as this.”

“Well, Fiona, this is not a place to let children run free. I would recommend that you take the tyke over to that sandbox, sift for cat pooh and if there is none, put him in and come back here and tell us your story. We can see well enough from here. Don’t worry. Nothing will happen to the kid. We all have them here. It is safe and we watch for perverts.” The sandy-haired nanny in the gray uniform said. “Oh, my name is Sandy. I think my mom named me after the girl in Grease. She had a crush on John Travolta.”

“You may as well do as she says.” The girl in blue said in her French accented English. “Do you see those two monsters over on the monkey bars? They are mine. I just don’t feel like chasing them down now. So go put the little one in the sandbox like Sandy said and come over here. We can swap stories.” She swept her head around flinging a shock of dark hair over her shoulder, her chocolate colored eyes smiling a welcome.

Fiona did as she was told and was soon back with the three young women. The third one another blonde said, “I am Joan. I am from New York and I go to NYU. I do this to be able to afford living here. I have four other roommates in a two bedroom flat up near Columbia. I only have one semester to go and I am out of this berg for good. Now, Fi, dish. What’s your story? And why New York?”

“Alright. It is a strange story, and I don’t believe that this has happened to me. I don’t really need to work. It is just a way to get to know the city and some of the people in it. Just think, if it weren’t for this job, I would never have met you three. So, are you ready?” Fiona shook her head looking down at her lap. Her red curls and green eyes shone. Sunlight glinted from her hair and excitement from her eyes. “Tis a strange happening of events. I need to tell you, I want to go to school here in America. It is much easier to get a college education here than in Great Britain. Anyway, I was raised in northwestern Wales. If the story holds, my family has some royal blood..”

Sandy interrupted, “ You mean like a welsh king or something?”

“No, Sandy, Queen Elizabeth I. But that is not particularly important to this story. As you heard my middle name is Matilda. In Wales I am called Tildy. We don’t know why me ma called me Fiona. Perhaps she just like the name. I don’t think there is any connection to the Irish, but who knows. To get on with it, one of my great, greats and they go back so far, I have a hard time thinking about it, owned an inn Wales. It still stands today and someone in my family owns it. When all of us inherited it, we went to look at it. There was the sign newly painted but with the same name as in the past, the Cock and the sow! Could have been just a pile of rocks and rotted wood, but it wasn’t. There was a little problem with one of the barns, but the inn and the gardens were in good shape. From what I can gather the woman I was named after was a Matilda, so she must be one of the great greats too. So, we started going through the place. Like I said it was in good condition and with a little updating it would bring some nice change. You see one of my cousins is a chef and another is in the hospitality business I guess you call it here. So, it was established that those two would buy out the rest of us. Property in that area is not so terribly expensive as in England or even around the cities. That was a good enough deal, but the best part was when we went into the barn. There was a lot of rotted wood and the roof leaked, I mean there were big holes in it, like no one cared about the building and so didn’t fix it. There were old tools stacked up in some of the stalls. The smell of rotting hay was really bad. A couple of the cousins couldn’t take it. They left. There were only three of us left in there and I went into one of the emptier stalls and fell through the floor. Oh, I didn’t get hurt, but I found that someone had made a hidey-hole and left stuff in there. Some of it was paper and rotten, but there was a hide bag, rather large, and I pulled it out. I called to the rest to come outside.

“We gathered and I showed them what I had found. They were all over me. My relatives were just a mingled hoard. I yelled at them to get back. I said, “I found this. I get to open it. I hope there aren’t any dead rats or anything in it. Stand back. We can share whatever this is. Oh boy, I didn’t know what I was saying and the red tape…”

“So what was in the bag, Tildy?” Seraph, the French girl asked.

“I’m getting there. I opened the bag and looked in. It looked like a little girl’s collection of toy jewelry. I told someone to get a sheet or a blanket. This needed to be dumped out. Walter, one of my cousins ran to his car and got the car blanket. They helped to spread it out evenly and we all knelt around it. I dumped the bag.”

“You can go faster you know,” said Sandy.

“Should we check on our children?” Fiona/Tildy asked.

“Oh my god, I forgot about them, “ yelled Joan and got up to check on them.

Seraph and Sandy did the same. Fiona/Tildy smiled and went to the sandbox. Her charge was well and good so she went back to the bench.

The other three joined her. “Can you hurry it up, Tild?” asked Joan.

“Yeah,” Sandy and Seraph joined the chorus.

“What happened they all asked at once.

“Here’s the interesting part.” The other three groaned. “Come on! I don’t get to tell stories much and I am almost through except for the cleanup details. All right. I dumped the bag and out fell jewels and jewelry. There were earrings, necklaces, pins all encrusted with jewels and then there were the unset jewels. It looked like millions of pounds lying there on the ground and there were only five of us!

“The upshot was that we had to report the treasure to the authorities, but the good news is that after evaluation and the inheritance taxes and the income taxes on this windfall, we five had over thirty million pounds to split up. The cousins who wanted the inn bought it outright from us other three. They still had plenty to invest. My brother and cousin took their share and that left me. So here I am in America, where I always wanted to be and you ladies have just heard a great story.

The three nannies looked at Tildy with wonderous disgust. Seraph said, “You are acting as a nanny when you are so rich, taking the food from poor girls’ mouths?”

Sandy gave a Bronx cheer. “You have got to be kidding. Nobody, I mean nobody brags about being rich in the United States. This was just a good story right Tildy?”

“I have to get to school for classes. See you all tomorrow. Oh, and Tildy? Great story. It would be so nice if it were true. Goodbye all.” And Joan left with her charges.

Tildy went over and picked up her daughter. “Come Sydney Elizabeth. Some people just don’t know the truth when they hear. Let’s go home.”

Copyright by Jennifer Levens; used with permission


Writers Forum is open to submissions for the blog or the e-newsletter.

Type of Material and Guidelines for e-newsletter and Website Submission: 1.) Your articles on the art or craft of writing. 2.) Essays on subjects of interest to writers. (200 words can be quoted without permission but with attribution.) 3.) Book or author reviews. 4.) Letters to the Editor or Webmaster. 5.) Information on upcoming events, local or not. 6.) Photos of events. 7.) Advertise your classes or private events. 8.) Short fiction. 9.) Poetry.

Please submit copy to the editor at writersforumeditor@gmail.com . Electronic submissions only. Microsoft Word format, with the .docx file extension, is preferred but any compatible format is acceptable. The staff reserves the right to perform minor copy editing in the interest of the website’s style and space.

Member Monday: Excerpt from From “Sweet Danger, a Mystery Novella”, by CR Roberts

author photo

We have a Member Monday submission for you. This is an excerpt from CR Roberts’ novel, Sweet Danger; A Mystery Novella. You might recognize CR Roberts as Writers Forum member Carolyn R. Flaubel. Carolyn was the grand prize winner of last summer’s short story contest, with the Southern Gothic story ‘Let Freedom Ring’. You can find Carolyn’s novel at Amazon by clicking on the above link.

From “Sweet Danger; a Mystery Novella”

By CR Roberts

author photo

I was happy and feeling content. The first honeybee yard I was heading to was my own. All one hundred hives belonged to me, Jessie McConnell, either bought and paid for or painstakingly divided from one stronger colony into two. After I checked on my busy little girls, I’d go see how the rest of the yards were doing. Dad and Mom ran their bee business, McConnell Honey Company, by themselves with just one employee, but the bees had really taken off lately, and the folks were plenty glad to have me working for them also now. Some people were surprised when I showed up to handle an account. They weren’t expecting a kid of seventeen, much less a girl.

My hive tool and various hammers, empty coffee cans and baling wire rattled around in the floorboards as the old Chevy bucked and pitched over the ruts. I was happily thinking of the icy Pepsi in my cooler and tuna sandwich in my lunch bag. The only other equipment I needed that day was stuffed in a couple of bee boxes tied down on the flatbed; a smoker, some burlap, extra rope, and a bucket of water. I was only planning on cracking open the hive lids, checking on the health of the colony, and then moving on to the next one. I needed to confirm that each one was full of bees, the queen was still there, and it was well-stocked with honey and brood. These were due for going to the seed alfalfa pollination. The farmers paid well, but only for good bee hives.

If I hadn’t been so preoccupied with my own happy thoughts, I might have had an early warning when I pulled to a stop to get out and open the gate. It was kept shut with a chain. Half a dozen padlocks laced the rusty chain, and my key opened one of them. But I didn’t need to use it. The chain had been cut. Instead of being concerned, I just shrugged. One of the property owners must have forgotten their key and needed to get in, I figured. I got back in after pulling the gate shut behind me and wiring it shut with a piece of the baling wire.

At first, I didn’t notice the fresh tracks leading down to my bee yard. But the background noise of bees humming sounded ominous. Something was wrong. My belly tightened. I turned the corner and was shocked at what I saw next. I gasped at the black cloud of honeybees in front of me, and I cringed at the furious whine that came in through my open truck window.

I quickly rolled up my window and backed away from the bee yard to give the angry bees a little space. What in the world was going on? They’re crazy mad! I thought. The last time I had seen something close to this was when I was driving in to one of the parents’ locations, and I met in passing a man running in the opposite direction, one hand dripping with honey and the other wildly swinging about his face, which was already raising red welts.

Something was terribly wrong. Maybe some animal had knocked some boxes over, or worse, some person had come in and vandalized my hives. These bees meant a lot to me, both financially and personally. My stomach squeezed in anxiety. I wasn’t afraid, mind you, but I was worried over my honeybees, and I slid my long legs into my white cotton coveralls, tying off the bottoms around the tops of my leather work boots. Normally I didn’t bother with a lot of fuss in protecting every crawl hole in my coveralls, but this was different. Angry bees were stinging bees, and I did not need angry, stinging bees crawling under my clothes. I tied the strings of my wire veil around my chest and then put my leather gloves on, pulling the canvas gauntlets up past my elbows. Finally I was ready. I jerked the truck door open and hopped up on the flatbed, rooting around in the bee box for my smoker and a piece of dry burlap sack.

My heart was pounding as I jogged toward the storm of screaming bees. I was pumping the smoker bellows madly to encourage the curl of acrid smoke wafting from the hole while juggling my hive tool and trying to stick my phone in my pocket with clumsy gloved hands. The closer I got, the more worried I got. The bees hitting my veil and my body felt like someone was tossing gravel at me. Most were bouncing off, but the angry ones were hanging on to me, and I could see their stings sticking out, pulsing as they sought to stab me through my clothes. I stopped to give my coveralls a few puffs of smoke. The stupefied insects let go and wandered off, forgetting what they had been up to a second ago.

A dark object lay crumpled on the ground. I saw legs sticking out, and I was confused. Then I realized it was a man, his shape disguised under the roiling, buzzing, stinging honey bees.

Good Lord! I had to calm things down, and fast! Was the man alive or dead? If he was still alive, maybe I could save him. Another part of my brain was kicking into business—if I didn’t stop this mess, I would have no hives left. The mob mentality would take over and they would all start robbing from each other, killing and stealing honey in a mad frenzy until the whole yard was ruined. I started puffing my smoker over the bee-covered man.

I didn’t want to asphyxiate the bees, or the man, I thought, coughing from the rank smoke, so I spread out the fume in a light blanket, back and forth over the crawling mass. Periodically I had to stop and puff smoke over myself as more bees attached themselves to me, trying to find a way in, to sting, in their blind fury.

I smoked them, and I brushed off clumps of them until the person was more man than bees. I grabbed him by the ankles and began dragging him back towards my truck, stopping to waft more smoke on both of us to keep the mad bees from following us. I was strong, strong as most boys are because of my work, but if the man hadn’t been a wiry guy, I’m not sure I would have made it back to where my Chevy was parked. The adrenaline was starting to wear off, and my arms were shaking by the time I lugged him over there and heaved him in through the passenger door. I ran around to the driver’s side, tossed the smoker onto the back of the flatbed, jumped in and slammed the door shut after me.

I hated to do it, but I started squashing the bees who had followed us into the cab, killing them or folding them up in my sweat rag to immobilize them. I’d never had a bee fly up my nose and sting me, and I didn’t want to find out what that was like. Finally I was able to yank off my veil and check the man out. I was no doctor, but I could tell that he was dead.

Grossly swollen, his face, neck, and hands were purple and covered with welts upon welts. Thousands of tiny pulsing bee stingers, each tugged from the abdomen of a dying bee dotted his skin. I couldn’t find a pulse when I pressed my fingers against his carotid artery. At least, where I thought his carotid artery should be, since his neck was so swollen it looked like a tree stump. It was then I noticed the odor.

The man was reeking of honey bee alarm pheromone.

Every experienced beekeeper recognizes that peculiar odor that masses of honeybees give off when they are at high alert, as in, Code Red! Danger! Kill it! I expected to smell a whiff of this around the poor guy because so many bees were stinging him and giving off the pheromone. But the overwhelming smell from the man rose above and beyond what you’d expect. The only answer was that it had been deliberately applied to him. This wasn’t some hapless dude who’d wandered into my bee yard looking for a free swipe of honey. This was murder.

Of course I sucked it up and tried a little CPR after I made the 911 call, like everyone knows you are supposed to do, no matter what you think about the patient’s condition. But then I had to start driving us back to the main road to meet the ambulance. I parked in front of the gate, rewiring the baling wire on the chain hanging around the post. I turned off the engine and waited, every now and then cracking the window to shoo a bee out.

Copyright ©2019 by CR Roberts; used with permission


Writers Forum is open to submissions for the blog or the e-newsletter.

Type of Material and Guidelines for e-newsletter and Website Submission: 1.) Your articles on the art or craft of writing. 2.) Essays on subjects of interest to writers. (200 words can be quoted without permission but with attribution.) 3.) Book or author reviews. 4.) Letters to the Editor or Webmaster. 5.) Information on upcoming events, local or not. 6.) Photos of events. 7.) Advertise your classes or private events. 8.) Short fiction. 9.) Poetry.

Please submit copy to the editor at writersforumeditor@gmail.com . Electronic submissions only. Microsoft Word format, with the .docx file extension, is preferred but any compatible format is acceptable. The staff reserves the right to perform minor copy editing in the interest of the website’s style and space.

Member Monday: This Writing Life

Author Linda Boyden

This Writing Life

By Linda Boyden

Author Linda Boyden

In the 1990s after I had retired from teaching and was unpublished, my writing rules were simple: write everyday. Write about what you know and especially read in the genre in which you hope to be published. The only issue: I wanted to be published in all of them, so I spent my days reading and writing and pretty much playing in a sandbox of words.

When I had a number of picture book manuscripts ready (oh, silly me), I began the tedious process of submitting them to publishers/editors. While waiting for two or three contracts, possibly more, to wing their way to my mailbox, I decided to get serious about a middle grade novel.

Did I know how to do this? No, so back I went to my local library to start reading as many middle grade novels as possible. I attended SCBWI (Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators) and Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers’ conferences, and listened and learned. Armed with all this knowledge, I considered the plot of my soon-to-be-best seller.

If it’s true to write from your heart, then the choice for me was a no-brainer: as a child I devoured fairy tales. Loved the magic of them, the promises, the evil wickedness, and the heroic rescues. Naturally, I didn’t want to do anything that had been done before so mine would need a twist. I imagined a middle grade, modern fairy tale complete with a sassy fairy godmother that needed to borrow a misfit eleven-year-old human boy to be the champion of her fanciful world.

I had the most marvelous time creating that world, making my own kind of magic with my own twist. When I finally had it pieced together enough to share with a writing friend, I suggested we meet at a local bookstore and coffee shop. She could read a section and I would pay her with coffee and a muffin. After she finished, she smiled and beckoned me over to the children’s books section. Pulling one from the shelf, she asked, “Have you read this yet?”  I shook my head. |

”Well, maybe you should,” she said. I trusted this friend so I bought it.

Later that evening, I fell into the most delicious modern fairy tale, about a boy named Harry, the boy who lived, albeit with a scar on his forehead. When I finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I screamed for a long time.

 

Not out of of jealousy or envy, but because of the many coincidences that occurred between our two stories, i.e. things like my protagonist’s best friends were the Beasley family who were red-headed and rambunctious while Rowling’s character, Ron Weasley was also red-headed and had a rambunctious family. Next, the Grindylow Sea surrounded my villain’s castle while Rowling had grindylows, a type of water demon, in one of her books, too. Seriously, who else has ever heard of grindylows? I never submitted that manuscript.

After much thinking I came to the conclusion that Rowling and I had both done extensive research on Celtic mythology and had used it in our stories.

Later, a different idea began tickling my brain and wouldn’t leave me alone. I had been itching to get back to illustrating. While listening to a CD of songs for young children, I was intrigued to discover that the popular and well known Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star song had a number of obscure verses. So off I went researching. First, I made sure it was in public domain so I could use it for the text. I then envisioned the illustrations that I’d make from cut paper collage.     I scurried about cleaning off the art area of my office when boom: there was an announcement that a well known author/illustrator, Jerry Pinkey’s latest book, “Twinkle, Twinkle” was in the running for a Caldecott Award…and yes, it was a retelling of the familiar song and of course, simply breathtaking.

Seriously, I cannot be the only writer that this stuff happens to, can I? On one hand, it means I’m in good company and headed down the right track. On the other, I might just smack every new idea with a sledgehammer from now on.

Later on, I remembered when I do school visits and talk to students about the writing process, I always answer their inevitable Where Do You Get Story Ideas From question with, “From the Cosmic Goo, an imaginary place where ideas stay and wait for artists to grab one.” Could many authors access those ideas simultaneously? It’s one of the better answers I’ve come up with, and could be true.

 


Writers Forum is open to submissions for the blog or the e-newsletter.

Type of Material and Guidelines for e-newsletter and Website Submission: 1.) Your articles on the art or craft of writing. 2.) Essays on subjects of interest to writers. (200 words can be quoted without permission but with attribution.) 3.) Book or author reviews. 4.) Letters to the Editor or Webmaster. 5.) Information on upcoming events, local or not. 6.) Photos of events. 7.) Advertise your classes or private events. 8.) Short fiction. 9.) Poetry.

Please submit copy to the editor at writersforumeditor@gmail.com . Electronic submissions only. Microsoft Word format, with the .docx file extension, is preferred but any compatible format is acceptable. The staff reserves the right to perform minor copy editing in the interest of the website’s style and space.

Member Monday: The Colors of My Life

blue capsules in blister pack

Today we have a piece from Writers Forum member Jennifer Levens.

We especially love to run fiction pieces from Writers Forum members on Mondays. See below for submission details.


Photo by Anastasiia Ostapovych on Unsplash

The Colors of My Life

By

Jennifer Levens

I see it on the counter, then it is in my hand. I hold it as I draw a glass of water and then…. I place it on my tongue and swallow. There, I took it. There are twenty-nine more of them, one for every day, and then I am ‘new’.

Everybody is doing it or has done it. I am one of the last. Is being all one color going to change prejudices? I don’t know. It won’t change how I feel. I always thought it was stupid to hate the inventor of peanut butter because he was brown. Oh, and to hate people who revere our celestial home just because they had a good suntan and so on. Seems to me the colorless ones have done the most damage to the Earth and humanity through greed and avarice and hate. They have perpetuated their existence by stepping on all others less powerful than they. I don’t think it is the solution to the problem, but the pills were free to the entire population so everyone on Earth could take them. They are the cure to strife and hatred in society, but I don’t think that will work. Side effects, lots of side effects but I don’t feel any yet.

Day Three and nothing is happening. This is typical according to my friends and what I have read. Oh yes, I did my research. I hate putting new things in my body without the research. I have to go to the Darknet, you know. The regular one is so full of BS.

Day Seven and nothing seems to be happening. I am still me; no changes, well I pee more but nothing else. No pains or aches I didn’t have before. Oh God, please don’t let me be in the one percent. I mean what are the odds? I was never there before when it meant more wealth and power than any one person should have. Well, you see, if you were in the one percent, you were obscenely wealthy and powerful, but that fell with the Fall Revolution of 2024. Over three hundred of the richest C.E.O.’s died and the chickens..t subordinates didn’t want to be next. Who said Napoleon was wrong? Knock off one or two generals and the rest will fall into line.

Day Twelve and still nothing. I should be seeing something. A tinge, a change, but I see nothing. I colored my hair yesterday. Couldn’t stand the dirty brown anymore. It has honey blond streaks and looks really good for a home job. Oh well, maybe I am in the one percent. Just my luck. I get flu shots and then get the flu. I exercise and lift weights and then trip over the dog and break my hip. Not as bad as it sounds. Everything came out fine and my hip doesn’t hurt anymore, but I’m just saying….

Day Fifteen. I look in the mirror and see the freckles where the sun has kissed my cheek. I wish the sun would kiss me enough to merge the freckles into a nice suntan. That may not be the necessary outcome, but earlier on it would have been nice.

Day Seventeen and I am still the same. I have a runny nose, not a given side effect of the pill. Probably an allergy to the outdoors. I went out yesterday to the backyard. It was such a mess, so I cut everything back. No more fire hazard, but now my nose runs.

I don’t go out to the street these days. Differences you know. It’s too much trouble to cover every inch of my body. Might as well be wearing a burka. I would still look out of place, different. No, I pay by card and have deliveries made at the door-no contact. Reminds me of the pandemic of 2020-2023. Now that was change and not necessarily for the better. So much change but no solutions. I think it is time that we move on before we really do move on. Mother Earth must be telling us something. Plagues, natural disasters, global warming, fires extreme heat and cold in all the wrong places. Come on, humans, heed the call.

Day Twenty-one and still no change. I have to get some more groceries in here. I wonder if the market will still deliver to me. I look out the window and see a myriad of people walking the sidewalks, traveling in cars. Stores are open. Everything is open, just not me. Society is flourishing, just not me. I don’t want to go out. I don’t want to be a statistic. Being different is not good.

I can work from home. I choose not to use a camera when I give my reports. I tell them that I am seriously disfigured from a grease fire and won’t be able to be seen until I am fixed. It is okay to work from home. I get everything done before breakfast in the morning and then just while away the day doing handcrafts and watching the telly. Oops! I am watching too many
British shows, but they are so good, the old ones that is. Color doesn’t translate too well in the new ones.

Day Twenty-seven and still nothing. My friends tell me that they changed between day Fifteen and day Twenty-six. If anything I have even less color than before. I am really pale. The good news is that the grocery still delivers and so does Amazon, but I am all puzzled out and one can have only so many toys before they to become boring and old hat, so that is why I am journaling. Thought a record of my ‘change’ would be fun to read twenty years from now. It is helping though. My mind is less crowded with downer thoughts. The differences that I see on the shall we say Internet are too much for me. And you know what the arguments have not ceased. There are now colonies of Non-changers who are all different colors, but they are in co-ops like the old Hippies of the twentieth century had. That must have been an exciting time. They wanted change too. They succeeded more than they knew. It wasn’t all sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. There were some real considerations made in politics and the environment. Then with the elections of money hungry war mongering politicians, the picture changed and started to support the true capitalistic picture of Fascism where the organization reigned supreme and to hell with the little guy but forget all of that. Maybe this isn’t all political. Too bad the Paleface couldn’t see that the problem was his to fix in his own basic concept of self and not the responsibility of the beautiful colors that populated the Earth to change that concept.

Me not so much. I am not there. Nothing has changed for me, nothing, nothing, nothing. I would give anything for just a tinge of color. Well, maybe it is not to be. I wonder if there is makeup to hide behind? I’ll check it out on the ‘net.

Day Thirty and the pills are gone, and nothing has happened. I am in the one percent! I will not go out again. I checked on the makeup, but it is easily detected so it is not an option for me. My life is over. I have heard what happens to those who did not change. I have seen on the television. I have read in the on-lines. I cannot go out. I will never be accepted. I never turned blue.


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