Heat Wave

It was official. My city had become Hell on Earth.

 

The intense heat wave that plagued my city showed no sign of letting up. Every day my grandma prayed for rain then fried an egg. There was no relief in sight.

 

One morning, early because no one could sleep through the night without losing half their body weight in sweat, she gave me some money and sent me to the store for ice. School was canceled for the third day straight. It wouldn’t look good for the superintendent if, without air conditioning in the dilapidated building, students passed out in class after all. Best to let them pass out at home instead.

 

Grabbing my skate board I jumped off my stoop and headed out, the family’s precious dollars clutched in my slick palms. Kicking along, I started to hum a tune I’d heard on the radio earlier in the week. Not many people were outside except those determined to fight the heat and enjoy life regardless of health advisories. I, personally, did not think that was a very well thought out plan.

 

I pushed past a group of men on the corner of my block, standing around drinking beer in the middle of the day. One of them, the most drunken it seemed, flagged me down. “Hey there son, do a favor and go buy us some drinks.”

 

“What kind?” I played along. I knew these guys. A bunch of lazy no goods. My grandma always told me to avoid them and never speak to one. Sorry Grandma.

 

“Oh, you know…” The man said, eyeing my money. Suddenly he reached for it, grabbing my wrist hard. I don’t want to alarm you, but I would just like to say my childhood had prepared me well for such incidents. Rocking back on my board I kicked hard, doubling over the man until he landed face first on the ground. His friends rose off the steps and I was gone, ignoring their cries as I headed on.

 

I heard a particular yell rise up from behind. Glancing over my shoulder I saw a somewhat troubling sight. The men I passed happened to own a dog. Said dog was a big hulking beast, known throughout the neighborhood to be a bit of a barker. I guess those guys really wanted those drinks, for they’d unleashed this dog after me in the form of a slobbering bulldozer.  

 

My grandma had also always told me to respect my elders. Sorry Grandma.    

 

Slow motion started. I turned the corner and everything sped up. I kicked and pushed as fast as I ever had. Never looking back I heard the dog tagging behind me, slowly gaining. Weaving between garbage cans and flying over dips and cracks in the pavement, I rode hard until I burst through the convenience store doors. Slamming the door behind me the dog skidded to a halt outside, panting worse than I was. Sniffing the door he sat himself down and waited.

 

“You ok kid?” The cashier asked from behind the counter.

 

“Yeah,” I said, slowly backing away. The dog stayed put, sweating beneath the pits. He suddenly sneezed. I hardly believed this dog was supposed to attack anything. He was more comical than anything. I turned towards the only other person in the store. “I want some ice.”

 

“Don’t we all?” He snorted. “We’re flat sold out. Have been all week.”

 

“What?” I gasped. “How can you be out of ice? It’s just frozen water!”

 

“And guess what the nation is in a shortage of right now?” He leaned onto his elbows. “Unless you’re going to buy something, go somewhere else. I can’t have nonpaying kids on skateboards sucking up all my cool air.”

 

Frowning I turned towards the door, unwelcome. Looking outside, I changed my mind and turned back. “Actually…”

 

A dog treat was a poor substitution for water, but I hoped my grandma’s good nature would understand my sudden adoption of the neighborhood terror. The big teddy bear followed me slow and peaceful as could be. I went pretty slow myself, not even riding my skateboard. I felt too dejected and hot.

 

I passed in front of those bum’s apartment again, and surprise surprise, they were still sitting outside. “Hey kid,” The first man had recovered himself enough to approach me again. “Did you—”

 

“They were out! They were out of everything!” I shouted as I sulked past, dodging his hands again. A response I never heard as I walked off, their supposed loyal companion following me all the way home. I dragged my board behind me, letting it bang off the stairs noisily.

 

“I’m back!” Opening the door the hound now named “Bear”, courtesy of his new owner, sauntered in and plopped himself down next to the sofa, perfectly at home. He let out a great sigh of content tiredness.  

 

 “Welcome home,” My grandma appeared out of the kitchen.

 

“I’m sorry Grandma, but they were out of ice.” I shrugged as I leaned my board against the wall and threw off my shoes.

 

“I figured as much.” She nodded. Noticing the figure shedding short brown hairs all over her carpet, she raised an eyebrow.

 

“He followed me home?” I tried. “It’s the truth.”

 

She nodded again and said nothing more about it; instead making me a sandwich and setting me about studying my math. “Even if you’re school is closed, you’re mind shouldn’t be.” Said she.

 

Bear lived with us for quite a while eating effectively out of house and home. Never once did he return to his previous home, even for a visit. They never came a knocking for him either. Bonds between brothers were so fickle at the time. Heat can make a man crazy my Grandma said.

 

The heat wave continued for several more weeks. Ever a cloud appeared, the entire city gathered at their windows waiting for baited breath. Nothing ever fell. My Grandma continued to pray regardless. I complained much, my Grandma little.

 

*Note: How is everyone? Staying cool I hope! It’s ridiculously hot where I live… Over a hundred degrees every day it’s been. Have I mentioned that I strongly dislike summer recently? 

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Winter

I lived in a world with no warmth. Winter was our norm, our weather, our season. Snow and ice on top of snow and ice, an endless oblivion of white. Living in a small, quaint seaside town away from any major cities, life was regular and quiet. Buying direct from the boats every morning after a long night out digging through ice, I was a relatively well-off fish supplier without much hardship. I lived my life content in that world, as did everyone else.

The particular morning I’m about to detail began like every other morning. Everyone in town went about their usual chores hauling food and wood, bartering for clothes, setting up store fronts. I myself cleaned fish. Difficult as it was to operate the knives through thick wool gloves I did so outside at the front of my shop. Part of what made me a desirable seller was the fact onlookers could see the eventual purchasable product prepared start to finish.

The south wind blew with gusto that day. Busy with my work I hardly noticed the world revolving around me. I listened however, using the low chatter and shuffling feet as background music. The wind blew again, rougher this time, howling past in a rush. As it died down another noise, new and unfamiliar, grabbed my attention. Out the corner of my eye I saw a single cheet of paper, browned with age, had caught itself in a snow drift just beyond my front doorstep.

No one else seemed to notice such a little thing. Harmlessly I set aside my blade and picked it up to throw away. I disliked litter for it spoke badly of everything around it. Though slightly damp the words and pictures were still perfectly viewable. At first I merely skimmed, expecting a flyer for the upcoming sheriff election, but was quickly drawn in further and further. My breath quickened, my palms sweat as I gripped the page tighter. What I read was so unbelievable I had no choice but to believe it.

A picture of birds flying through clear skies above crisp looking trees flowing with leafy leafs. Where I lived no such scene existed. The passage accompanying the picture told of a valley where deer were plentiful and over a hundred flower species thrived.

Eventually a passerby couldn’t help but notice my expression. He walked up and greeted me easily, having known me and been a good customer of mine for years. I urged him to look at my discovery. Intrigued he examined what I had and laughed. Word spread quickly throughout the town. Soon everyone visited not for my fish but for proof of what was rumored.

Every night I poured over the single sheet. The written words were stated in such a plain, matter-of-fact sort of way. Such a thing as “Spring” had never been spoken of. I gathered that it must be something completely opposite of what I felt every day I stepped outside bundled in five layers.

In the picture, near the very back, was a mountain. A single mountain. Off in the distance, about a day’s walk from my town, was a mountain. A single mountain. I knew of no one, even in the history books, who had traveled over that mountain to see what lay on the other side.      

The voices told me to stop, to think about what I was attempting. I would never succeed. Closing my shop to set out on a journey whose destination was not known even to God. I would surly die before reaching my destination, my goal. A foreign land, fictitious through and through. My journey was that of a fools, nothing more.

But I, I dared to cross that mountain. I dared to wonder what lay beyond the known and accepted. The others, whose lives were spent in compliance and understanding stayed behind never to see me again. Once the forbidden fruit of curiosity is bitten, you can never go back to the innocence owned by new born babes. Perhaps I was doomed to death, but I would rather a short life filled with possibilities than a long life full of nothing.

The trek was hard, but my determination steeled my pride and body against the elements. Climb and climb, higher and higher until I reached the top. Oh, and on that blissful day! When I reached the peak and saw the light. This thing called Spring! I pulled out the paper and, comparing the two, shouted in joy. Falling to my knees tears of joy streamed down from my eyes. Normally I would have wiped them away for fear of the water freezing to my skin. But no more. Even on the edge of it, a sincere warmth brushed against my checks, almost like two arms welcoming me to my new home. 

Poem #3

God sat with Satan one day to discuss one another.

He asked if Satan had purpose.

Satan replied that yes, he gave people ends.

He asked if God had purpose.

God replied that yes, he gave people ends.

God asked if Satan did harm.

He replied that yes, he tormented others.

Satan asked if God did harm.

He replied that yes, he tormented others.

God asked if Satan answered prayers.

He replied that yes, he gave unconditionally.

Satan asked if God answered prayers.

He replied that yes, he gave unconditionally.

God asked if Satan was worshipped.

He replied that yes, he sat on a pedestal.

Satan asked if God was worshipped.

He replied that yes, he sat on a pedestal.

Two beings of equal worth and deed sat one day to discuss one another.

Fruit Ninja

“Oh, and we need some nectarines.”

“Ok,” Grabbing one, two, three nectarines, I put them in a bag and deposited them in our cart.

“Oh, and some oranges too.”

“Alright,” I grabbed five oranges (because I really like oranges), put them in a bag and placed them next to the nectarines. “Why are we getting so much?” I asked. A plethora of fruit splayed out before us. We could start our own stand with the amount we continued to add to. Bananas, apples, grapes, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, the list was endless and continued into eternity.

“We’re just stocking up.” My mom answered.

“Stocking up for what?” I shuffled the cart a hair to the left so she could reach the pineapples. “Most of this stuff is gonna rot before we have a chance to eat it.”

“We’ll see,” A whole pineapple in each hand, she hurried on. Shrugging I continued to follow her. My mom could be strange on occasion, but usually with good motivation. Who knows, perhaps we really were opening a stand?     

Suddenly a whoosh sped past my ear. Flinching, I turned looking for the bug to swat. I noticed a stand of watermelon next to my elbow. One particularly plump melon perched on top of the pile, almost as if to say “Pick me!” A certain reflection made me lean in close. To my shock I saw what appeared to be a metal star sticking out of the green skin. A thin trail of pale pink juice leaked out of the hole it left as I pried it out. “Hey mom…?” I wasn’t sure I saw what I saw. Was it a weapon? It looked an awful lot like…

A woman screamed and a man yelled. Glancing up, I saw a lone figure a few feet away dressed in all black. He disappeared and reappeared before me suddenly. I could only see his eyes as they coldly stared down at me. Reaching out he took the shuriken from my hands, drew a sword, and disappeared again.

Hands grabbed my shoulders. “Oh crap,” I heard my mom say. My mouth hug ajar in the stupidest way. What had I just seen?

Chaos exploded around me. More whooshing sounds accompanied an explosion of fruit which quickly coated everything in a sticky mess. My mom pulled me down out of sight and covered my eyes. I fought to see through her fingers and glimpsed an amazing sight.

The man darted from left to right slicing and dicing. The other shoppers who had been near had also ducted and covered only to have various fruit parts shower down upon their heads. I sat in awe at the spectacle.

As quickly as it started it ended. No more was the fruit section of our local grocery store. Shattered wood and seeds littered the floor and my hair. All was quiet and I saw no more of the man in black.

“Wow,” I whispered. My mom stood and pulled me after. “Was that a—ninja?”

“Why does this keep happening to me?” My mom shouted hysterically. The other shoppers looked to her in shock. Sighing, she looked at our cart. Pulp dripped from between the grates in a sick, murder scene fashion. She kicked it angrily and stormed off.

“Mom!” I ran after. “Mom, what was that? That—was the coolest thing ever!”