Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Thunder's Roar

The Thunder's Roar
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

“Some storms, huh?”

He stood beside the open front door.  It was two p.m.  The skies were jet black.  Lightning flashed in the distance.  The trees that were not broken yet, swayed instead, praying not to fall.  Nature was gearing up for another round, but the damage was done.  The lights, the power had been out for over a week now.

“It’s summer,” I responded as I sat in the kitchen, by the table, and struggled to read the newspaper.

“Maybe, it’s something else.”

“Like what?”  I gave up and tossed the newspaper to the side.  “It’s Nature.  She’s being a bitch.”

“No, she’s being a super bitch, and we must have pissed her off badly.”  He continued to stand beside the front door, waiting for the next attack.  His gaze shifted over to what was left of the neighbor’s house across the street.  “Poor bastards never saw it coming.  I think one of them lived.”

“Two,” I corrected him.  “The children lived.  The parents were not so lucky.”

“Neither was their dog.”

“Where’s mom,” I asked, already knowing the answer.

“Upstairs in bed.  No power, no tv.”  He shrugged after saying that.  “Television rots the brain anyway.”

“Is that why you yell at it when your sports team is losing?”  I got him to grin at that, but his grin faded with another flash of lightning.  The storm was closer.  “You think we’ll survive it?”

“Who the hell knows?  If Nature doesn’t get you, we do.”

“Who’s we?”

“Us.  Humans.  Seeing how there is no man upstairs, we are our own makers and doomers.”

“Tragically speaking?”

“Stating a fact.  The supermarket was a frenzy.  All the damn shelves were empty.  You should see the gas lines.  People are driving like maniacs, like the world is going to end, and someone is going to get killed.   Someone did get killed,” and he pointed over at the newspaper.  “We’ll wipe ourselves out.  Give it time, and then…”

“Then, what?”

“Then, we cease to exist.  Simple as that.  There’s no heaven.  There’s no hell.  We just cease to exist.”

“You’re real cheery, Dad.  You know that.”  I wanted a bowl of cereal, but I was so tired of eating the same bran over and over again.  I wanted something else, something warm, and my gaze shifted over to the microwave lying still in its wake.  “I’m hungry.”  I didn’t mean to say that aloud.

“I know, son.  I am too, but no power?  No ATM.  No bank, and if they were open, they would probably be robbed.  We just have to make do with what we have.”

“We got a lot of water luckily.”

“And peanut butter and jelly,” which I grimaced at.  “Even the damn fast food places finally closed.  No heat or electricity to cook most of their food.  No sign of life outside either.  Not even a stray dog or cat.”

“These storms are almost every single day.  If it’s not the wind, it’s the lightning, or both.  That was a wicked storm the other day, and I heard two tornadoes set down in town.”

“Three,” he corrected me.  “Six houses destroyed.  Five lives gone just like that.  No rhyme.  No reason.  Just gone, and I worry, son.  I really do.”

“Why?”  I now walked toward him, growing more anxious at the flashes of lightning.  The storm was just about here.  “We’ll get through this,” but did I believe my own words?

“If no man upstairs, son, why should we get through this?  What is the point of our lives, of living?  We may as well be on an alien ant farm absent of its creator.”

“Dad.  Seriously, the scientists have proven the Big Bang Theory.  There is no God.”

“What if there is?”  His jaw tightened.  “What if He is punishing us for forgetting him, ignoring him?  What if He is wiping us out to start again?  He flooded the earth once.  That’s been proven.”

“It has, but…”

“But nothing, son.  We’re stupid.  We’re real stupid.  We have come so far in time.  We have created so much, but we have not advanced.  We have receded back to primality, and we will destroy ourselves.  Those scientists?  I’m sure one brainiac thought up the idea to harness Nature, and she retaliated.  She is retaliating, and we are all paying for that scientist’s mistake because he thought he could play God.”  He closed the front door, but a gust of wind threw it back at him.  “We might get through this, son, but who is to say that we will get through the next round?”  And he slammed the front door shut.  “Now, how about that peanut butter and jelly sandwich?”

“Coming right up,” and I moved away from him.  “Dad”  He held my gaze.  “I love you.”

“I love you too,” he replied as his eyes moistened.  He watched me disappear into the kitchen as a roar of thunder bit at my feet.  “Please, be upstairs,” he whispered.  “Please, save my family,” and another roar of thunder chased after his words.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Simple Killing

A Simple Killing
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

It’s the latest craze.  A must have.  Hot off the press.  The latest Russian Roulette.  We’re born to run.  We’re born to roam.  We’re born to kill, and like a silver bullet, we aim and fire.  And we drive death home.

The countryside.  I used to joke about the drivers here being nothing more than country bumpkins.  A snail could drive faster than some of them, but when I saw that empty turtle shell spinning wildly on the local county route, I should have taken that as a bad omen.  They were country bumpkins no more but speed demons, and the only thing left that they had to fear was me.  And if they were wise, they would stay far, far away.

On Fridays, I would stop at the local bank and draw some cash out at the ATM.  It would be my fun money for the weekend.  Maybe, I would catch a movie.  Maybe, walk the floors of the mall, staring at those large glass windows full of plastic people and imaginary, beautiful lives.  I had just pulled back inside my car with cash and card in hand when she flashed her brights.  I thought it was an error, a play on my mind, but she did it again.  Was she that impatient, or was she running out of time?

I threw the car into reverse.  My foot eagerly stepped over the petal.  I glanced over at the bank window, noting the teller, who observed the whole thing.  If I floored it and crashed my car back into this bitch, would the teller follow my play, saying that the girl deserved my rage?  No, she was a lamb.  She wanted no part in road rage, even if we were parked at the damn ATM, and she would tell the cops that I was at fault.  Then, we would dance among our insurance companies, and what evidence did I have that this girl flashed her brights first?  Did that black eye over “insert card here” catch her brights, or would her lawyer claim that it was sunlight flashing across my car?  I could feel my gun pressing against my side, and how I wanted to unload a rain of bullets into that body behind me.  But instead, I switched back into drive and left the bank and that bitch behind.

On Fridays after the bank, I liked to hit the grocery store.  I could not stand this place on the weekends.  Parking was a bitch, so were the drivers.  So were the shopping cart drivers, and the long lines and kids coughing and screaming and running rampant.  I didn’t need that shit.  I was retired.  I wanted to be left alone, so I took a shopping cart, filled it with the usual, eggs, milk, bread and trail mix.  I must have my trail mix, and kitty food.  I couldn’t forget the kitty food, even though she stole my breakfast most mornings.  She didn’t this morning, and I owed her.

The ride to my house was exactly twenty-one minutes.  Most of the time, I enjoyed the ride along the scenic country road.  Not lately.  I’ve noticed that the cars behind me are only a breath away.  If I braked suddenly, they would be in my backseat, and what was with the damn brights?  Almost every car on the road had their brights on not headlights but brights.  Was it an automatic thing, or an idiotomatic thing?  I didn’t care, but as I swerved away from the manholes before me, the driver behind me eagerly drove in the opposite direction, trying to pass me.  I laughed as his car rocked and rolled.  In the end, I won.  Only when I turned left, he passed my car by an inch and flew down the road.  No.  No more country bumpkins here.  Just road ragers, and I could be the worst offender.

During the week, I would head into the city.  I didn’t trust those electronic deposits.  I wanted the cash in my hand.  Benny knew better than to cross me, so when I came down to the city twice a week, he would have my briefcase waiting.  We would barely exchange words as I would thumb through the bills.  Once satisfied, I would leave.  I would leave Benny breathing.  The day I come to him and get turned away is the day, where no one goes home again.

On these trips, I started to see the difference.  The narrow country road winding up along the mountain barely had room for the two travel lanes.  One going up, and one going down.  But still, you would get some asshole to fly around you, into the opposite lane just to cut you off, and they would always cut it close.  And they would not count on me hitting the gas and flying up in that lane that these suckers should have stayed in.  Some get cold feet, swerving back behind me, but others dared to go right up to the car heading straight at them and then swerving in front of me.  And I bet that they grinned like an idiot, like they won some kind of sick game.  They were lucky.  They were lucky that the chamber was empty.

Then, there was the traffic circle.  There was a big YIELD sign right at its edge, but nobody seemed to notice it.  I did, sometimes briefly, sometimes longer, depending on traffic, and again, they would try to cut me off, trying to get ahead in the merger lane, and annoyed that I was still there in their way.  Well, that’s too damn bad, folks.  Too damn bad, but I don’t yield to anyone.  And as we merge, I play nice, sliding into the right lane, but then I get these yahoos, who fly up in the left lane and jump in front of me.  Then, they slow down.  Some even brake, but if they want me to kiss their ass, they better think twice.  Because they’ll be kissing metal, my metal, and we drive.  And we dance.  Day in, and day out.  Every single damn day, and okay, maybe, I am trigger happy.  But I am retired, damn it, and they are testing my last nerve.

Yesterday, I picked up my briefcase from Benny.  The majority of the ride was quiet.  I saw a few cops along the way, and my foot slid away from the gas.  The traffic circle was even quiet, but as I drove into the merger lane, this guy like a bat out of hell flew around me and into the opposite lane, nearly colliding with an oncoming car just to cut me off.  I didn’t honk.  I didn’t scream.  I just waved as he braked hard, sweating bullets, and praying to get behind me fast, and he did, swerving in and out of our lane as we traveled down the mountain.  Some folks just don’t learn.  They don’t learn as they drive off into the nice, gaping ditch on my right side, but that’s not my problem.  If people want to drive fast, then they pay the price.  I won’t crash and burn for their benefit.  I’ll lay their lives out along the yellow dotted line.

I have bigger fish to worry about.  I left the city, so that I didn’t have to continue looking over my shoulder.  These people are supposed to be country bumpkins, but somewhere along the line, they have become corrupted, zombified.  They have a need for speed.  The quality of life has been trivialized.  I can’t even look in the damn newspaper anymore.  Too many images of a car crash, collision, lives lost, and for what?  So they can get home faster?  They’re just reckless, spinning that revolver, or their car in this case around and around, and hoping no bullet lies in wait inside that chamber.  And what do they say to the police when caught, when charged?  “Sorry, officer.  My head was lodged up my ass, and my eyes were sunk in shit.”  Nice job, asshole.  Better not try that with me.  I’m retired, and I would like to stay that way, if you know what I’m saying.  But you don’t, do you?  You will never learn, and that’s a damn shame.  A real damn shame.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

One Good Memory

One Good Memory
By, Melissa R. Mendelson

He left us to jog circles around the park.
We stood there for awhile, staring into the dusk.
Then, we ran.
I hated the monkey bars.
I disliked the seesaw.
I loved the swings,
so did she.
We turned and turned
until we could
turn no more,
and then we spun.
Through all the darkness,
I am glad
to have dug so deep
to find at least,
one good memory.  

The Curse of Fan Fiction

The Curse of Fan Fiction
By, Melissa R. Mendelson

To me, fan fiction is someone else’s sandbox.  Most of the time, I’m content with sitting on a bench or swinging on the swings while the writers play.  I admire their sand castles sometimes built so high and so majestic.  I admire the monsters and villains traced in the sand.  The battles thrill and chill me as clouds of sand come crashing down, and the writers begin to build their world up once again.  It’s when the sandbox is left vacant for far too long that I begin to trace its edge, tempted to dive in and play in the sand.

I sometimes feel guilty, nervous to step inside their sandbox.  I feel like I’m trespassing, like I’m ruining sacred ground.  Maybe, I am, and sometimes, I jump out.  But I don’t stray too far away.  I remain tracing their edge, gingerly stepping inside, and feeling the sand against my foot.  Nobody’s chased me out yet, so I begin to play, to write, to build my sand castle.  After a little while, I don’t care anymore.  I’m having fun, and that is what a sandbox is for.  Fun.

I dive deep into the darkness, BlackOut, struggling to remain Almost Human.  I slowly resurface.  Time to commence Project Echo and escape from Under The Dome.  A little Touch of Winter, but I love my villains and Heroes.  There will be No More Tomorrows.  I am The Unknown Rider traveling forbidden roads.  Lives and tales ignite and fire through Resurrection, and my fingers dive deep into cool, golden sand, writing The Diary of the Returned.  And “I'm in heaven.  And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak.  And I seem to find the happiness I seek,” but it’s a happiness that I know that I cannot keep.

At the end of the day, my fan fiction stories come to a close.  Shadows of its remains linger across the now cold, dark sand.  Their lives and journey fall into lines dug deep, maybe to disappear forever, but the sand castles will remain.  I pack the sand in real tight, making sure that for a time, they too will stand high and majestic, and nightfall is the red curtain falling down.  And I too fade into the black, a ghost looking for new ground to haunt, and that is the beauty of Fan Fiction, to exist in a world filled to the brim with inspiration. But sadly, that thrill ride stops here at the edge of their sandbox.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Book Review: Fifteen Digits by Nick Santora

Book Review: Fifteen Digits by Nick Santora
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

“I’m going to give you an opportunity: get out of this.  Now.  Before it gets so fucked up nobody could ever recover.” - Charlie Barret, (Suicide Kings, 1997)

They were out.  He thought they were out.  All cards on the table except one, Spade now staring daggers at them, but they were a unified front, formidable in decision and determination.  They all got what they want.  Freedom.  Love.  Disney World.  They were riding it high from rising below, basement level, and nothing was going to bring them down.  But Suicide Kings are wild, and the Vegas high crashed and burned.

It all comes down to one tale, one simple tale, the scorpion and the frog, and Rich Mauro was the frog.  He had hopped through obstacle after obstacle, tragedy, but no matter how far he went, he recoiled back to those dark waters lashing with past and future.  He was drowning.  She could not save him.  As he clung to the want and hope of having her forever, he allowed the one that he knew from the beginning was dangerous to ride across his back.  And its stinger was ready to strike.

There was no going back.  There was no going forward.  There was no prison break.  Once in, he would never get out.  They did not have to pay that price.  He would save them.  He thought he saved them, but as darkness enveloped him, he knew he was wrong.  The cards of fate were not dealt in his favor, and maybe, they never were.  And anguish and pain were the remains of promise and hope lying crippled and broken across cold cement ground.  There was no going back.  There was no going forward.  There were just five lives obliterated by Fifteen Digits.
Fifteen Digits is a high velocity ride biting at the heels of the Reservoir Dogs.  Its twists and turns will ensnare your mind and heart, stealing your breath away, and leave you reeling in the end mirroring The Usual Suspects.  Nothing is black and white.  Suspect everyone for like in The Score, nobody is who they appear to be in this mesmerizing tale of crime written by Nick Santora.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Supernatural is my Favorite TV Show

Carry On Winchester Sons
(Parody of Kansas’s ‘Carry on Wayward Son’)
by Melissa R. Mendelson

Carry on you Winchester sons
There’s always work to be done
Lay your blade against their head
Won’t you fight some more


Once I saw two young men dressed in illusion
Fighting the Supernatural in all its wonder and confusion
Stakes soaring ever higher, and the end was nigh

Through my eyes could I see their heart and soul
Through my mind their lives I would forever know
I hear their wisdom when I’m dreaming,
I heard them say,

Carry on you Winchester sons
There’s always work to be done
Lay your blade against their head
Won’t you fight some more

Cas masquerading as a man with a reason
Crowley’s suspicious and afraid of treason
And if you claim to be his friend,
Well, it surely means your very end

On a stormy red of Mark of Cain
We’re tossed about along Dean’s pain
He set a course to sail far away,
But then he heard his brother say,

Carry on you Winchester sons
There’s always work to be done
Lay your blade against their head
Won’t you fight some more yes!

Carry on,
We will always remember you
Carry on,
Castiel, Charlie, and Crowley too
Your stories are here to eternity
We have been defined by you

Carry on you Winchester sons
There’s always work to be done
Lay your blade against their head
Won’t you fight some more

Some more!