I have always admired how authors painted worlds from nothing more than words. To reveal a whole universe hidden within musing manuscript is pure magic. In an effort to learn this apprehensible ability I have created a new page. Here, flashfiction of different characters will reveal the future paradigm world in which they plunder. I look forward to honing my skills while providing a world worth adventuring.
After 20 years in the Navy I have finally retired.
Is there life after the Navy?
Yes. However, there are a lot of things to plan for. Save up three month of pay or leave. Fortunately, I was allowed a long terminal leave. Prepare for rejection. You are over qualified or they are pursuing other candidates. After my third week of receiving constant rejections I felt I was never going to land a job. Depression may set in. Plan for it. Yes, I got down, but I was never out. I kept to my plan and looked for new avenues. I ran a lot. Doing something to get my mind back on track was vital. My biggest break came when we got into town. Indeed posted a job fair and I was on it like cold on ice. Ended up there was a manager looking for someone with my exact skills.
Go to these fairs.
They are free. If there is a fee to attend, my advice is to skip it. Attendance to these fairs should always be free.
Plan for change and be flexible. Remember that you are not alone. The military is a huge network of resources. Use your resources. Talk to your military friends.
The past three months have been hectic, but survivable. We still have a long way to go.But, with each day we are getting closer to normal. The military teaches us stress management. Use the tools that are given.It not the end of the world, although it may feel like it 🙂
Date: September 9, 3345
Location: Oceana, VA
Rain tapping on the window pane beckoned Sarah from her sleep. The reality of her unemployed status and the fact she still lived with her parents added to her dispirited state. The coffee pot’s gurgling interrupted outside’s pitter-pattering. Dad’s awake. She thought, rolling out of bed. Using the kitchen light like a lighthouse, she navigated through the living room. Her father gave his morning salutations as she entered. She poured a cup of coffee and returned the sentiments. His hair stretched out like a jet black octopus. She was sure hers faired no better. Her mother entered, bee-lining to create her morning concoction of joy. Two creamers, two sugars, a splash of coffee, and a sip allowed her to conduct a legitimate conversation.
Sipping their java they conversed about the day’s agenda. For Sarah it was uploading her degree and searching new jobs. Her parents were off to their nine-to-five. Sarah plopped on the couch and updated her online profile. A Master’s degree in journalism, eleven electives, and four internships brought hope. Upon hitting “Submit” eleven job posts pinged. Excited she reviewed each one. Three were from American East Coast Herald, her dream job. The others were B-rate jobs she could tolerate. After reviewing and submitting her acceptance, it was lunchtime.
Three replies illuminated her Sleeve. This device was nothing more than a stretch-material sleeve, encasing a cellphone sized processor, with screen, covering her forearm. Upon looking at the Sleeve, a number 3 blinked in the corner. Sarah listened as each message repeated the same formatted message.
“We appreciate your interest in [said company], but we are regretful in informing you that we have moved forward with other candidates.”
The dark gloomy weather captured the essence of her heart sinking. Failure seemed more real. Grabbing her gym bag, she vowed not to capitulate. The rain, however, fought back. Soaked from waiting for the Metro-bus, she stepped to the curb as the bus approached at a distance. With eyes looking upward, she asked, Could it get worse? Her face met a splash of water from a speeding car. With her body drenched she boarded the bus, found the first open seat, and remained quiet.
After her workout she returned home. Still dripping from her new nemesis, “Rain”, she plopped on her bed and peeled her sneakers from her feet. Seven pings came in from her sleeve. Nervous, she waited till after the shower to hear the messages. Warm and dried once again, she turned her focus back to her Sleeve. Tears formed as each one repeated the message from earlier. Maybe, it wouldn’t have hit so hard, but two were from the American East Coast Herald. This left only one more chance to land her dream career. Tears fell as she questioned the probability of landing that job. A final ping summoned her from her thoughts. Her world collapsed as she listened to the final message. It would be another thirty days before new posts were available.
After the waterfall of tears subsided, Sarah knew she needed to get out of the house. She didn’t want her parent to come home inquiring, comforting, and recommending. Sarah wanted to let them know on her terms. She needed to set and sort this out on her own.
Setting with a tall coffee and pastry, she noticed her college mentor from her freshman year setting at a table next to her. He smiled and waved her to join him. It was comforting to hear his voice. Soft, yet masculine, she always loved to listen to his wisdom. After explaining her situation, he smiled and asked if he could review her profile. As he scrolled through the pages on his Sleeve, she sat in silence. Her mind raced with dread as the storm outside intensified.
“Are you currently unemployed?” He asked without looking up.
“Yes” she replied with reluctance.
“Then you can drop by my office tomorrow at 9 a.m. I have a starting position for a journalist. It will be a lot of footwork, but I believe you will fit the bill.”
“I’ll be there…” She realized she didn’t know were there was. “Where do you work?”
“New Technology Department at the American East Coast Journal.”
Although the storm didn’t let up, Sarah’s day got a little brighter.
A great horned owl silently glided through the forest. The dark morning breeze catches his wing and lifts his body upward. With his wings outward and steady, Norrin raised his head as he watched the ground and tree limbs swiftly pass by. His eyes twitched catching every movement around him. Squirrels, birds, mice, wolves, and deer were all out greeting the pre-dawn morning . Winter ended, and a new generation sprung forth once again. Norrin’s stomach was beckoning and it was time to find a lone field mouse. As he cleared the forest he flapped his wings to gain altitude. The name of the game was stealth and Norrin was a master. Watching the ground, he waited.
“Show me a sign.” He whispered in a low voice.
A small grass blade flicked causing Norrin to spot a small field mouse’s movement. Mice maintained paths under the grass to stay hidden. By surveying, movement could be seen everywhere. Fanning his wing Norrin grabbed more air to decelerate. He rapidly descended while focusing on the movement. His prey hadn’t seen him yet and was still poking from one trail to the next with no worry. To prevent casting a shadow, Norrin tucked himself low to the ground. His target was in sight. Pulling his feet up to his chest, he prepared for the grasp. The ground flew by in a blur as he began to countdown. With a sudden kick he pulled his head up to the sky as he clutched his meal. Flapping his wings to resume a respectable altitude, he headed back to the forest. The mouse kicked and wiggled. With a final squeeze the mouse went limp as he exhaled his last breath.
Norrin noticed a pack of wolves celebrating in their latest harvest. A doe couldn’t keep up with the herd. For Norrin, this was life. He and the wolves kept a balance in the island’s population. For years, the deer have been protesting . They believed the wolves should be banished from the island. The nearest land mass was within swimming distance. The deer believed it to be easier for the remaining wolves to leave rather than force all of the deer to make the journey. Norrin heard stories of a time when balance existed between the two populations. However, the deer fought back protecting the weak and slow. As the years went by, the wolf population dwindled as the deer population grew. Now only two packs of wolves remained. What if the thirteen wolves left? Life might improve for the wolves on the other. Rumor stated the land stretched for miles and food never ended.
Slumber called for Norrin. Landing on his tree’s perch, he devoured his meal then enter his nest. The tree he lived in was an old maple that had a hole perfectly placed over the limb. Inside was roomy considering he only needed it for sleeping. He shuffled around until he found the perfect position. Closing his eyes, he thought of the wolves. He knew they would leave; it was only a matter of time.
Dusk came and Norrin climbed out of his hole. Stretching his wings, he prepared for his first flight of the night; after he finished waking-up. He sat on his perch and listened to the night. Movement was everywhere. Soon Rooleg came by with his head held up high. Two does led the way. Rooleg was a young buck. Smart, cautious, and alert, he never demonstrated his current demeanor.
“Good evening Rooleg.” Norrin called out, letting his friend know he was there.
“Good evening indeed. Have you heard?” Rooleg inquired.
Knowing Norrin woke up minutes ago he knew Norrin couldn’t have heard any news. “Hear what news?” Norrin asked.
“We are free from the wolves oppressions.” Rooleg continued his walk.
An unsettling feeling came over Norrin. He was glad to see his friend wasn’t in danger, however, something inside said this was not right. This created an unbalanced system. There always has to be a balance. He told himself. That was the secret to everything. This was evident when Norrin learnt how to fly, how to land, and how to clutch his prey. Upset the balance and everything falls apart.
The years past, and the deer population prospered. Norrin couldn’t believe it. There was no negative signs from the wolves leaving. On occasions, he made a flight across the water to check how the wolves were doing. Continuing to hunt for the weakest and the slowest, they prospered. Life worked around this unbalanced system. With the wolves gone, island life was copacetic. Would the mice, rabbits, and skunks prosper without him on the island? It was his place to keep order within the population. Right? He watched as his friend Rooleg become a leader within his domain. He tended to five does and each year he produced four to seven fawns. Without the worry of predators, Rooleg could have a large family. Norrin couldn’t see the wrong in raising a large family. Perhaps he was wrong.
Years past, Norrin was now eleven. It had been ten years since the wolves left. Climbing out of his nest he stretched his wings. His bones popped and crackled with old age. Dusk echoed with the sound of leaves rustling. Looking around he seen deer everywhere. He knew each of their names, but never realized there were so many. Rooleg was in the distance. Alone and frail looking, he scraped the ground for food. He flew over to his comrade.
“Good evening Rooleg.” He greeted.
Rooleg looked up keeping his neck low. “We were wrong, you know.”
Surprised by the weak voice of his friend Norrin inspected his friend. Rooleg, a once proud and healthy buck was now a frail and starving deer. Rejected from his herd by younger more competitive bucks, he is now alone and on his own.
“What happened? How and when did this happen?” he inquired.
“We grew too fast. Now, we are over populated. There is not enough vegetation on this island to feed us all. With each passing year we continue to increase our population. Soon our fawns will grow up only to die of starvation. A slow death that make me beg for the wolves to come back.”
There laid the truth. Norrin’s gut feeling was correct. Everything needed balance . He watched in sadness as his friend begged for death. Without the wolves, death would come slow and painful in the form of starvation.
Parameters: One name. No quotations.
Lorne’s eyes fell upon his brother’s killer. His ears burned as anger climbed his neck. Anticipation dried his mouth waiting to interject with his accusations. Words of this magnitude needed care when delivered. No one noticed his movement as he rose from the chair. His dark robe embraced the shadows while a hood concealed his face. With eye’s fixed on the wretched fiend he noticed the other four members of the killer’s party. Storm soaked, the party’s leader requested a night of rest. The crew would leave in the morning. Although the head-counselor agreed, Lorne would rebut. Waiting for the head-counselor to ask for objections, Lorne stepped from the shadows. Playing his part like steps in a waltz, he waited for those words to land on his ears so he could forward his inquiries.
A single voice echoed the great hall as Lorne approached the bewildered party. Removing his hood he stood before the group staring at the killer. The vagabond traveler stared back without expression. Lorne assumed time had dissolved the memories. Fate worked differently than time. Fate returned his brother’s assailant, and presented Lorne with a second chance for redemption. His brother’s death would not go unpunished. Pointing at the accused Lorne preceded to make his persecution. The crew’s leader volleyed a rebuttal back. Moving forward with his accusations Lorne asked if the killer remembered his brother. Silence fell as every ear leaned forward to catch the next words uttered.
The man acknowledged Lorne’s brother, and he recollected the argument. It resulted over a woman the brother courted. A conversation she had with the killer filled his heart with jealousy and envy. The accused traveler painted a different picture than Lorne’s accusations. The brother attacked first, and the traveler merely defended himself. The head-counselor requested a witness or substantial proof. The traveler knew where this led. Time had removed all evidence and he traveled amongst a different group. Lorne would stand before the guilty and deliver justice. The head-counselor appointed him as the magistrate over the proceedings. The leader of the group protested stating a fair trial would never come from a man set on vengeance. Smiling, the head-counselor understood that this custom appeared unfamiliar to the travelers. She explained, if the traveler is innocent then he should think long and hard on how he can prove his innocence to his victim. His actions left Lorne without a brother. Violence should only be a last resort.
Seeing no way around, the accused traveler surrendered and willingly went into custody. Two guards escorted him in silence. His cell contained comfortable accommodation. Soft goose down mattress, a desk with pen, ink, and paper, and a latrine with a privacy wall made the cell rather livable. In this society, shame weighed heavy. No one wanted a criminal reputation. Status weighed heavy in the small community. Rainfall echoed as he sat at the desk staring at a blank paper. His thoughts raced back to that night. Time had changed him since. A woman offered to pour him a drink and he accepted. She spoke French and he returned his compliments in the same manner. They began to chat in this common bond. Soon a gentleman stepped up and knocked the drink out of his hand. Upon the gentleman’s request, they slipped into the back alley. Exiting the building, the brother lounged with a knife. Out of reflex the traveler grabbed the knife wielding arm and bent it towards his assailant. The knife entered the brother’s chest and the two froze. Just like that the fight ended. The traveler knew that he had no witnesses in his favor. Everyone inside saw the brother knock the drink out of his hand. He hid the body under some trash and ran. His comrades were only staying the night, and he joined them once they left the village. That night changed his life. The scene played repeatedly in his head. Everything happened too fast. How could he explain to his assailant’s brother it happened in self-defense.
Morning came quick as Lorne found himself before the accused. He listened to the traveler paint a night of innocence. Every word reveled his brother out to be the villain. His words sounded typical for a man facing death. No one takes responsibility for their actions when death is on the horizon. After the traveler finished his story Lorne allowed the chambers to reach full silence. The long pause provided effect. He had seen others do it and witnessed how well it changed the atmosphere. He asked a single question. He knew the answer and the traveler knew he received a loaded question. Lorne listened as the traveler admitted he could not bring his brother back. Looking at the head-counselor, Lorne proceeded with his verdict. He found the traveler guilty and death would come at sunrise. The room erupted as the traveling vagabonds contested the verdict.
Solace filled the accused face as he stood. He calmly stated his companions must allow this to happen. He turned his attention to the head-counselor. He asked that his friends be allowed to leave and after the execution his companions must be allowed to enter the village to collect his body. The head-counselor faced Lorne for objections. Lorne agreed to the terms. As long as he received justice he didn’t care what happened to the traveler’s corpse.
Back at his cell, the traveler stared at the same blank sheet of paper. He heard his comrades yelling their promise of a return. It brought a smile to his face. His first visit to the village caught him with a rough group. They were out for blood and glory, not him. He sought adventure. Meeting new people intrigued him. He left that group soon after he killed Lorne’s brother. Bouncing from several groups his found his way to this motley crew. Like his first group, this group loved violence and war. Unlike the first group, this group appreciated him for him. As he sat at the desk his hand wrote. He knew what he wanted to say.
Morning came and the guards came to escort the traveler. He handed the letter over, and asked them to give it to Lorne. The cool morning air filled the his lungs as he stepped into the court yard. Everyone in the village gathered around. He watched as the guard gave Lorne the letter. Placing it into his cloak without reading it he glared at the traveler. The traveler smiled and placed his head on the chopping block. He prepared for death. The head-counselor read the decree and gave the order for execution. With a single blow the traveler’s body fell to the ground. As Lorne watched, his heart filled with disappointment as he expected more fulfillment. He still didn’t have his brother back. Vengeance is hollow like that.
A warning bell rang as a loud crash came from the front gate. Everyone knew the traveler’s friends had returned for his body. A loud crack from the gate beckoned with impeding failure. A roar of ten thousand troops, from outside the gate, filled the villagers with horror. People panicked. Women and men grabbed their children and scurried home. Every unmarried villager grabbed a sword. This is what they trained for. However, training never prepares one for war. The gate peeled open as invading bodies poured through. The army formed ranks and flooded the village. In a matter of minutes the population grew six times it normal size. Once all ranks formed, the everyone froze. Whimpers sounded as a familiar face emerged from the crowd. Last night’s guest approached Lorne and the head-counselor. He stood there in silence. In full armor, he explained to his troops that the village had a judicial system. If someone steps up and accuses another person of a crime, then the accuser became the judge. Pointing his finger at Lorne he made his accusation, stating Lorne had killed the army’s priest.
A chill fell over Lorne. The traveler’s words rushed back. It all made perfect sense. The traveler had mentioned he lived a different lifestyle, and the fact remained, he owed his life to Lorne’s brother. After that night, he studied under a traveling priest and dedicated his life to become a virtuous man. However, the words of the traveler fell on deaf ears. Lorne made his verdict, regardless of what the traveler had to say. He made the fatal error of letting his anger drive his emotions.
The leader asked if Lorne had any words in his defense. Nothing could be said. His actions were rash and juvenile. Standing there with a heavy heart, Lorne accepted his fate, but to his dismay death did not come for him. The leader allowed him to live. The village did not fare as lucky. Before noon crows feasted on the villagers. His son, daughter, wife, friends, and their families were all slaughtered. One man lived to remember this day. The one who sealed their fate with his arrogance, anger, and blind lust for vengeance. Pulling the letter out, Lorne began to read.
Never judge a man. As quick as leaves change in autumn, so do men. They are not who they were before. Time changes us all. By this time tomorrow you too will change. I pray my friends spare your life so you may find the truth in these words. No man is greater that I am, and I am greater than no man.
Calling all friends: Time is of the essence if you should accept this mission. Your target is the link listed below. Open it in Twitter and like it by hitting the heart icon. Once you’ve completed this mission high-five yourself for being a part of this year’s Gishwhes.
Click here and thanks for helping.
I love numbers. They are solid as long as we understand what we are looking at. With all of the job applications I have submitted, I figured I’d look at what the “average” US family is making and paying. Turns out, we work too much. Here’s the numbers.
The 2010 Census enumerated 308.7 million people in the United States, a 9.7 percent increase from 281.4 million in Census 2000. Of the total population in 2010, 300.8 million lived in 116.7 million households for an average of 2.58 people per household.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported in September 2014 that: U.S. real (inflation adjusted) median household income was $51,939 in 2013 versus $51,759 in 2012, statistically unchanged. In 2013, real median household income was 8.0 percent lower than in 2007, the year before the latest recession.
The average monthly cost of living in the United States for a single adult with three children is $5,956. This adds up to an average annual cost of living of $71,476. The average monthly cost of living in the United States for a single adult with four children is $6,334.
Here’s a nice calculator to play around with.Click here.
The US economic system is built to ensure debt. Credit scores were created to show how well people paid back their debt. The system is build to ensure debt. It’s normal in the US for both parents to work or single parents to have two jobs. Yes the numbers above may be skewed from higher income families, however, there’s a line of truth in it. US families work more with less vacations than a lot of third world countries. Meaning, while the third world countries may have less, they’re taking more time off to enjoy what they do have.
There are only two things to do in life. Live life and be happy. Keep life simple and it will be easier to enjoy.