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Showing posts from January, 2017

Nature Vs. Nurture

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The small room with its sky blue walls and strategically placed portraits depicting serene natural landscapes were designed to instill a sense of calm. It was also stocked with a wide variety of toys that helped to distract from the room’s real purpose as an observation room.
The young and naive Barret was busy building lego structures. his shaved head was covered with wireless electrodes that transmitted a digital model of his brain as it worked in real time to a hidden team of specialists tucked away in the next room.
Besides the equipment that gave them a window into the electrochemical machinations of the boy's psyche, they were also closely watching him from several cameras hidden around the room that were specially equipped to monitor subtle changes in his facial expressions and body language. The cadre of doctors and technicians were joined by Barret’s parents who had gone to great lengths to attain their services but were still ultimately unsure about what they’d subjecte…

The Preferred Term Is "Limited Existence"

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Human mortality is a harsh reality that causes sentient life considerable discomfort. Since death is inevitable life can only be procrastination. Everyone does their best to drag their feet and push off the big day just a little bit longer. It is especially jarring to have to explain death to children. Many children learn about death through incremental experience.
The first time is when they are the most detached most likely it was a pet, beloved but with minimum emotional investment, It's this first encounter that shows them what it means to die but no effort will be made to explain to the child that they share the same unalterable fate. A few years later it will probably be an elderly relative, a grandparent and that’s when the inevitability of death will be addressed, and the developing child or adolescent will have either have to accept that truth or drive themselves to madness trying to deny it.
By the age of thirteen, this was the extent of Christopher’s experience with co…

A Modern Woman's Old Testament

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Abby was sitting on the edge of her bed with her phone tucked between her ear and her shoulder while her hands held open her boot wide enough or her to slide in her foot. She was having an ill-timed conversation with her younger sister who grappled with quite a bit more uncertainty in her life than her ambitious sibling.
“I know there will be guys there, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to go,” said Abbey nearly falling backward as she pulled her boot up.
“Well, first off its a cow,” Abbey said with some annoyance in her voice.
“Oh, ok, whatever I’m sure this particular cow had a hand in the creation of the universe,” Abbey snapped. “Go ahead and pray to it I’ve gotta get to to work.”
“Ok I love you too,” Abbey sighed.
She tossed the phone on the bed and groaned in frustration. Her sister’s plethora of personal problems was more than she could manage at the moment. She was having a rare crisis of her own and sooner rather than later she was going to have to resolve it one way or an…

Continuity of Government

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Nature carves out caves haphazardly. The walls are bumpy, the floors are uneven and prone to sudden opening up into deep chasms, and spikes hang from the ceilings like icicles. This cavern though had been cut into the side of the mountain in a very deliberate and careful fashion. It was a space of equal dimensions. The walls and ceiling with smoothed over with concrete. The opening only went a few meters into the rock and on the back wall was an elevator with a sliding cage door.
The Nelson party stumbled upon this secluded anomaly on their way to a burgeoning Mormon settlement on the west bank of the Mississippi. It was too alluring not to explore.
 It was evident from the location it was the builder's priorities to make sure this place was never found. That could only mean whatever was housed there was valuable.
Joe and Mike Nelson had never ridden in an elevator before, and it was every bit as mystifying to them as the man made cavern. The even succession of clicks produced by…

Self-fulfilling Projection

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The black and white squad cars circled the block like a pack of hungry predators waiting out its prey. The signs of life were everywhere. The smoldering grills, the empty bottles, and scattered big wheels betrayed the presence of the residents who had hunkered down under the siege of black-clad men demanding their prize
As vigilant as they were none had any idea how many times they were almost within arms reach of the young man they had already surrounded Jeremy’s slender frame gave him enough room lay almost flat on the floor of an old Buick. He was so still he could feel the twitch of every hair on his body. Gravel and glass crunching under tires preceded the car’s auxiliary searchlights piercing the window and crawling through the car.They brushed by close enough to hear them coordinating through the crackling static of their car radios.
 He deiced to take a chance and pray to any god that might hear him and force his persistent tormentors to give up their search. If he would have…

Where Does the Time Go?

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“Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that can happen to a man.” ― Leon Trotsky The phone hammering against the nightstand accompanied by a high pitched digital jingle was Mitch’s wake-up call and his notice the time allocated for sleep had officially come to an end. He opened his eyes and moaned his disdain for this century's version of roosters and church bells.
Mitch rolled out of bed and meandered into the kitchen.
“Ah, shit.” He grimaced while taking his first step onto the cold kitchen tile from the relative warmth of the plush carpeting. In the midwest during winter 6:30 am is as dark as midnight. Mitch opened the refrigerator, and the yellow light spilled out into the room. He reached for a half empty gallon of milk on the top shelf. He studied the plastic container with squinted eyes.
SELL BY 2/7/2017. That was only two days away. Mitch congratulated himself for thinking to use the remainder of the milk before it spoiled.
He poured the milk over the cereal an…

Disconnected

The first story of the new year. It is quite a bit like a story I wrote a few months ago called "Decay was the smelling salt." They are both brief anecdotes about the frequently tragic consequences of the digital age. The world is much the same and in many ways so is the context, but perspective is the at the core of any story and that element shapes the narrative more than any other single element.

Suicide is a decision often made either after years of profound suffering or as a snap response to a sudden emergence of spiritually and psychologically unbearable circumstances that condenses the pain felt diffusely over time into one agonizing break with life. Brett found himself among the latter of the two. Brett was an adolescent boy who exercised godlike control over his own digital Eden. A few silicone chips held the power to create an entire universe with an extreme level of specification. Naturally, the infinite possibilities of that realm were of far greater appeal than th…
Your oldest friends are a living reminder of your mortality. You remember them in their youth and that puts them entropy of aging in a stark and visible contrast. It wasn’t until recently that I saw we were entering the early autumn of our lives. The hair falling from our heads, the way discolored leaves wither and fall from the branches of trees. It is a visible reminder of the approaching inevitable. In time only one of us will be left to remember the other.