Change of Color

Another little flash fiction piece… The prompt at the writing group was “In August.”

In August, you changed your colors. It seemed like an insignificant change. But we should have known better. All your life, at least as long as you’ve worked here, it’s been turquoise, teal or cyan. Colors that did not even have names for most of humanity’s existence. You were a modern person, through and through. The rest of us could not even distinguish between turquoise, teal and cyan, but you would stomp your foot if we used the wrong adjective.

Anyway, after twenty-nine years of shades of blue-green, you showed up one morning in yellow. We were so shocked, we held ourselves silent. The next day, it was orange. Then tan. This patternless pattern went on for a month. Where you got the money for all the new clothes, even the nosiest gossips couldn’t fathom.

Then, yesterday, you walked in with a firetruck red dress. Alarms went off in all of our minds.

Always silent about your inner world, the color changes should have told us something, but we could only ask ourselves how, instead of why.

Now, you are gone. We miss you. We realize we never knew you as anything but an enigma.
Eventually, we’ll have to find something new to talk about at the water cooler.

Behind Falling In Love

Based on another prompt from my writing group…

I wasn’t planning on this. Falling in love with you was the last thing I wanted. Because I know our time will have to come to an end. Yet here I am, begging you not to turn the page.

Time marches on at its own pace. You are not in love with me. It’s just the name you came up with to describe the cloud of reactions to hormonal releases during the exciting events we recently experienced together.

You sound like a Buddhist.

Well that’s because the Buddhists have the most practical advice for getting over doomed or failed romances. Remind yourself that I am nothing but skin and bones, flesh and blood, urine and fecal matter, hair and fat.

That’s BS. Even the Buddhists know we have an immortal essence.

Exactly my point. But that’s not what you fell in love with. You fell in love with the experience of the effects of the hormones. It’s time to turn the page.

The emotionally entangled state is the natural one for humans. That’s why we evolved all the complex hormones that give us these sacred experiences.

No. The hormones were evolved in earlier mammals. I have come to understand that only by liberating myself from those outdated entanglements can I be free for the next exciting adventure!





Yes, Kalenko?

Brenda was tired of saying she was sorry. Her captor was unrelenting, and she’d had enough. Starting today, she would no longer apologize for something she did not do.

“Brenda, you lazy slug! The floor is covered with footprints!” shouted Kalenko.

Brenda held her breath. She was not going to apologize, even when Kalenko had evidence on his side. This was a new day. She let out the stale air, and drew in fresh. What would Kalenko do?

“Brenda! Get over here now!”

Brenda turned away from the kitchen counter to see the alleged footprints in the foyer, the origin of Kalenko’s shouts. She knew that she had mopped all the floors earlier that day, and she felt the power of self control rising in her chest.

“Yes, Kalenko?” she asked, in her sweetest voice.

He pointed to a pattern of muddy cat paw prints.

“I’ll clean it up, right away.”

“You do that,” he grunted, and walked up the stairs.

Brenda smiled. She had met her goal. She had not apologized!

She was sorry. Sorry for a lot of things. She was sorry the neighbor’s cat had smudged her clean floor. She was sorry Kalenko had her trapped here in this isolated place. She was sorry she had disobeyed her parents, and gone out alone for a walk. She was sorry every day she woke up that the inequalities in the social structure led some people to take such dreadful actions as kidnapping. Yes, she was sorry. But that didn’t mean she had to apologize. And in this case, she wasn’t going to give anyone an excuse to think she was apologizing by even admitting she was sorry!

She felt stronger now that she had beaten down her fear. Maybe, in a few more weeks, her parents would find a way to rescue her. Of course Kalenko would never give them a clue about where she was being held, until he was sure they were bringing the ransom money. There’d be plenty of sorrow to go around. As for apologies, the ones who were really responsible were unlikely to be admitting it any time soon.

No Place to Hide

Here’s another little story I wrote from a Mid-Michigan Word Gatherers prompt.

This time, there was no place to hide. “I never should have come to this planet,” I thought. A barren rock with shallow pools of water, barely adequate to support the pitiful excuse for native lifeforms. Jeremiah the bullfrog might have felt at home here, taking shelter under the low shrubs that lined the edges of the ponds, but the entire planet was devoid of any cover for an entity of my size. “No,” I reminded myself, “I should have stuck to the diet pills, instead of doing this vacation trip.”

Sure, my will power was given a vacation, because there was absolutely nothing tempting in sight, except the pools, when one became thirsty. This only happened once a week, because the humidity in the air kept the body hydrated, and the bad taste of the water naturally reduced the temptation.





And I paid a year’s salary for this pleasure trip?????


My son gave up pop a few years ago. My son is quite the example for exercising will power for such a young person. I had purchased some fancy pop for a special occasion, and he still would not drink it. “I made my decision and I’m not revisiting it,” or something to that effect, was his comment. “If it’s no, it’s no. It’s easier that way.” The psychological research has shown that will power is like a muscle, and like muscles, even the strongest do eventually tire and need rest. We are human and we do have limits. We can strengthen ourselves, but we never totally overcome the inherent limitations of living in a body with a large degree of pre-programmed responses.

After reading several of Rollo May‘s books from the 1950’s, explaining the difficulties inherent in developing our own true centers as unique individuals (hint: a lot of will power is required), I have started delving into Erich Fromm’s writing. “Escape from Freedom,” originally written during the lead up to World War II, explains how the Protestant Reformation, and specifically the ideas of Luther and Calvin, laid the foundations for the eventual transformation of infant Capitalism into Monopolistic Capitalism. Luther and Calvin stripped God of the loving and compassionate characteristics inherent in the Judeo-Christian tradition up to that time, to (unconsciously) reflect the nature of the social structure of the late Middle Ages, where money (specifically, “Capital”) was becoming the real god of Western humanity. Fromm lays out a detailed description of the Protestant world-view, which portrayed the only possible way to salvation being a total humiliation of the self. This led the masses of humanity, bereft of any sense of inherent dignity, to give in to the elites of the capitalist hierarchy, and become nothing more than a cog in the machine. Note the use of the word “hierarchy,” still in place today with regard to corporation structures; a sickening perversion of the original meaning of hierarchy, or “sacred order.”

Here we have a rather dramatic illustration of the law of unintended consequences…Did Luther and Calvin, who were trying to overturn the authority and abuses of the Catholic Church, and give each individual the right to have a personal relationship with God… Did these founders of Protestantism want each Christian to submit to MONEY / CAPITAL as their new god? Probably not! Yet the Protestant Reformation led to the thought field of God’s sanction of the powerful, whether or not they used the power in the interest of all of humanity.

The prophets calling the kings to account was now a moot point.

Of course no world religion keeps much of its founder’s original ideas. So at least some of the problems that arose at the birth of the Protestant Reformation have been remedied. I am now a little over half way through my second reading of Fromm’s book. I’ve always been more interested in ancient history than modern, so it has not been an easy read, even as I see Fromm laying out an extremely detailed argument for some of the ideas I present in The Convolution of Knomo Choicius as being “Self Evident Truth.” But for those interested in the intersection of psychology, sociology, politics and religion, “Escape from Freedom” is a work of genius.

She touched the little box in her pocket

Here’s a little story I came up with at my writing group this week. The prompt was “She touched the little box in her pocket, and smiled.” We had 15 minutes.

She touched the little box in her pocket, and smiled. She skipped along the sidewalk, happiness in her heart. The memento was more than it seemed.


She touched the little box in her pocket, and smiled. Her other arm linked with Amy’s, warmth radiated from her heart. The memento was more than it seemed. Its importance had grown over time. It seemed to lighten the load of books she carried home from school.


She touched the little box in her pocket, and smiled. Her shoulder warmed by the palm of her lover, her hips swaying with each step, love radiated from her heart. The significance of the memento had grown over the years, even as its importance diminished.


She touched the little box in her pocket, and smiled. She stood at the podium, waiting to address the august body assembled before her. Compassion radiated from her form. The box was unimportant, yet, it was light, so she continued to carry it, out of habit. Every morning, she put it in her pocket. A memento, nothing more. It had been years since she had even opened it to check on the contents. But this was an important day. Maybe she should confirm her memory.

Her eyes swept over the assembly, and her fingers, perhaps involuntarily, grasped the box and pulled it out of her pocket, flipping it open. The velvet lining was still rich in color. The sacred space it still enclosed was intact. She closed the box, replaced it in her pocket, and smiled at the crowd.



THOUGHTS: For some reason, I thought about the incorrect translation in my Jewish Bible, where the Hebrew said that the Children of Israel were to build a box supplied with poles, so that the spirit of God could dwell amongst them (THEM, the Children of Israel, not IN IT, ie, not in the box), and be easily carried from tribe to tribe.  The English translation had God living in the box. Yet the same words in a different part of that same translation had it right. The limited, empty box was a reminder of the nameless infinity called to our attention by the nothing. That is why the symbols for zero and infinity are so similar. Infinity is a zero with a twist. Zero is easy to represent symbolically. The empty hole. Infinity? How could there be a picture of infinity? For Buddhists, emptiness is where it’s at! In any case, emptiness invokes infinity, just as the elephant conjures the mouse,

(check out this link, and yes it’s a funny looking mouse…)

and vice versa, a full bladder at night brings a dream of a toilet, and hunger brings the dream of a banquet.