stand

The world is on fire…

It isn’t the kind of fire you can grab a bucket and lend a hand.  It can’t be fought with traditional measures.  It isn’t the kind of fire that will burn itself out.  Its fuel is endless.

So what are we to do?

The world is on fire…

Who is to blame?  Who can we point the finger at?  Who is at fault for this madness, this tragedy, this unending pain and grief and blood, this shit storm?

It doesn’t matter.

The world is on fire…

I get it.  I’m angry too.  It’s a helpless rage and without a solution to pour my emotion into, casting blame becomes an easy fallback. It’s better than doing nothing.

And yet it amounts to the same thing.

The world is on fire…

We need to stop these worthless games, the name calling, the political jockeying, the finger pointing, the bickering and blithering rhetoric that gets us nowhere, that gets the people consumed in this fire nowhere but six feet under.  We need to form a line, hand in hand, arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder, and stand together before the flames.  Buckets won’t work.  Shovels won’t work.  Water won’t work.  It has to be us.  We have to risk it all together.

Will that stop its advance?

The world is on fire…

Yesterday it claimed some lives.  It does so most days.  Today my helpless rage has turned to sadness.  The streets lined with warriors, people who maybe don’t even realize that just showing up made them so, and tempered my angst with hope.  Some people get it, whether they realize it or not.  They are already out there, standing shoulder to shoulder.

We should join them on the streets, on the sidewalks, on the overpasses.  We should be out there every day, not just days where a hero is lost.  We should do more even if we think our actions won’t amount to change, even if they won’t.  We should be out there because it is our solidarity, our decision to raise our voices as one, to shout and sing and cry louder than the roar of the flames, that stands the best chance of winning not just this day but all the days of our future, all the days of children’s’ future.

I’m not preaching at you.  I’m yelling at myself.  I need to do more than sit behind this keyboard and type away my emotions.  I need to get up and walk out there and be part of the line I think we need to form.  How can I ask you do something I am not doing myself?

The world is on fire…

The world is on fire…

The world is on fire.

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natural

The room smelled of leather and wax.  A desk took up most of one wall, a bed another, a small window would have invited in the sunshine if the thick drapes had not been shut against it.  Two candles on the desk provided the only, flickering, light.  A small bookcase, only two shelves and those only half full, was on the third wall within reach of the desk.  There was no door to the room.  It required magic to get in and magic to leave, as per its design and intent.  The creator favored privacy so he could study uninterrupted at his leisure.

He had come to his room that morning to tidy the place up a bit.  He would soon have an apprentice he would be bringing along to study and practice the craft.  However, he had soon gotten distracted in the particulars of a spell he had been toying with.  The few books he did keep were more a set of observations and ideas rather than written spells.  He was of the belief that magic was organic, natural, and couldn’t not be controlled simply with words.  It had to be felt, breathed, tasted, touched, lived.  Some of his peers laughed at him and called him a fool and yet sometimes their magic failed them.  His magic never failed.

Still, they flourished in their schools and their traditional methods, advancing through hierarchal ranks, accumulating spell books and scrolls, accolades and apprentices.  He became the recluse, happy to practice the craft in his own way, confident in his abilities and his assumptions of the art.  He was fine with that arrangement until a recent trip to the nearby town and had resulted in a deviant attempting to rob him of his meagre possessions.  He had called upon his magic to foil the heist.  A passerby had witnessed the exchange and had begged him to teach them.  After a prolonged conversation, it was learned that the passerby, still a child in many ways, had failed in the traditional schools but still wanted to learn.  He saw this as an opportunity to prove his theories were correct.  If he could teach another his methods successfully….

Light sprang from his hand as he finished the spell.  He had called upon the flame from one of the candles on his desk to share its illumination with his flesh, then he called upon the light itself to intensify until it was as though his hand had become a torch.  He pointed his palm at the dark corners of the room to reveal the cobwebs gathering dust in the shadows and that reminded him of the task he had meant to set upon.  Closing his hand the magic dispersed and the light went out.  The candles continued to flicker in the stirrings of his movement.  The room still smelled of leather and wax.  Nothing had changed.  Everything had changed.

the moon

Wisps of fog spread beneath the slivered moon and the light tower winked and blinked as it swept its circles. He welcomed the sight, a sign of familiarity, of routine, in a dark morning that had been anything but. Nothing had gone according to plan since he’d woken, hours before the sun was even considering making an entrance. That daily occasion was still far off. The winks, the blinks, the fog, the moon all seemed to laugh at his futile attempts to find balance. He’d laugh too, if he had a voice.

He could still remember the taste of words but could not remember the sound of his own voice. It was one more odd thing about him in a list that grew daily. He had kept a list, pen on paper, for a bit but when he realized he was going to need more paper to keep it going he had abandoned the endeavor and had begun to accept the truth. He no longer minded being weird, eccentric, outside the norm. It was routine he still craved. And it was routine that was failing him. He’d blame the slivered moon but that wouldn’t solve anything, and it really wasn’t the moon’s fault.

In all likelihood, the disturbances in his morning were his own fault. All the odd things that happened around him usually could be tracked back to being a result of his quirks. He couldn’t easily see the direct connection that morning but that didn’t mean it wasn’t there. One time he traced a day gone wrong back to a toenail he had failed to pick off the ground and place in the trash where it belonged. That one bit of carelessness had caused a whole day to go sideways. Afterwards he had researched having his nails permanently removed, to avoid such a disaster in the future, but the procedure was prohibitively expensive and no reputable doctors would perform it anyway.

The fog thinned further and the tower faded in the distance behind him, leaving only the moon to shine down on his progress. He liked the moon. Always had. It represented something magical, even if that sorcery was based in science. Its influence on the world was something he appreciated, longed for at times. He didn’t want the attention it received but he wouldn’t mind its importance. His jealousy of the moon was another of his oddities he had made peace with.

The dark sky cracked in a thousand tendrils of light reaching away from the east and he smiled for the first time all morning. Finally the sun was rising and perhaps that could turn his day around.

courtyard

The brick courtyard sparkled in a thousand shining rectangles, where the light bounced and danced off the more sunken stones, left slick by the morning dew. I wanted to hop over the wet ones, in a morning waltz, or perhaps more of a swing, but there were too many of them, scattered almost haphazardly but still with a sense of balanced symmetry that made it impossible. Surely, I would have fallen. Then again, some risks are worth it in this life, are they not? We are constantly striving to live safer, to live longer but does that dampen and deprive us of adventures we might have had otherwise?

The brick courtyard shimmered in a thousand radiant rectangles. The lamps cast their soft light downward where it reflected up in thin pools of water that had come to rest in the pre-dawn hours. One light above created hundreds of lights below, dancing together one with the others in a beautiful ebb and flow as I walked across the dry stones. I wanted to skip, to play, to join their dance and sing the songs of morning that were bursting from my heart…

And yet, I didn’t.

And that is something I may always regret.

The brick courtyard dazzled my eyes and set my mind racing with dreams of adventure. What might have been if only I had risked giving in to that moment? Likely nothing of great importance, no life changing epiphanies, or spiritual awakenings. But rather than telling you about that one time I saw a beautiful dance floor spread before me and I chose to walk, I would be telling you how I sashayed my way into the day instead. And who wouldn’t want to read that?

dealer

He had the perfect cover, working as a security guard for a large corporation.  It gave him ample opportunity to be walking the outskirts of the parking lot, and up and down corridors, and interacting with all sorts of people.  His schedule was changed week over week, giving him the chance to work odd hours.  He had access to the video room so he could review and edit any footage that happened to catch him doing something he wasn’t supposed to, but that rarely happened because he knew where the cameras were and how to avoid them.  Plus, as a guard, having passed through their screening process and gone through their training, who would suspect him?

So, he passed his days living his double life, giving the employees some semblance of security by being present to screen people coming into the building and walking through the large parking lots to deter illegal activities there, while selling drugs.  Sometimes he sold to the employees but he didn’t like to do that.  People using on site could lead to trouble and that could lead back to him.  So, those instances were rare.  Usually, he just had his clientele walk through the lot and he’d meet them between cars and swap baggies for cash, both then carrying on in opposite directions.  Or, should the transaction occur close to a camera he would stop and make it look like he was asking if they were an employee, if he could see their badge, and then ushering them off the campus.

While the current setup was good, he knew it wasn’t foolproof so he had plans to cut and run if it seemed like he’d been figured out or if a sting was getting put in place.  He also didn’t plan on working at one location for very long.  He would request a move to a different building, a different business.  He might bounce around for a bit, under the guise of the contracted security guard and then he would figure out what to do next.  He didn’t need the real income.  His drug sales kept him in more cash than he needed.  But, having a legitimate job smoothed out some other parts of his life, like relationships and bank accounts and taxes.

Then all his plans went out the window.  She, he would eventually find out, had a way of doing that to everyone she met.