I’ve never seen red, not in the way the saying is meant.
Though I have bled, my knuckles were split and spent.
I’ve never flown into a white-hot murderous rage.
Though I have thrown hateful hexes as a dark mage.
I’ve never choked the life away from a mortal enemy.
Though I have wrapped my hands around a neck painfully.

I’m not prim and proper and everything nice most of the time.
I’m losing battles to my demons without reason or rhyme.
I’m cursed in a waged war against my fire-fueled temper.
I’m cursed to hurt those I hold closest, hold most dear.

I’ve never thrown a punch in anger, at a person anyway.
Though I have lashed out at walls, my fists made them pay.
I’ve never, deserved or not, truly tried to murder anyone.
Though, if they had power, my hurled words would have done.
I’ve never not regretted my outbursts after each lost battle.
Though I have relished the release that lets my soul rattle.

I’m not prim and proper and everything nice most of the time.
I’m losing battles to my demons without reason or rhyme.
I’m cursed in a waged war against my fire-fueled temper.
I’m cursed to hurt those I hold closest, hold most dear.

I’ve shown glimpses of the raging fire licking at my core.
Though I’ve never admitted how it always craves more.
I’ve shown glimpses of my truth in my darkest fiction.
Though I’ve never admitted it might truly be an addiction.
I’ve shown glimpses, here and there, for those who looked.
Though I’ve never admitted, not yet anyway, I’m hooked.

I’m not the Mr. Nice Guy everyone wants me to be.
I’m wouldn’t want to even if it were a possibility.
I’m cursed in a waged war against society.
I’m cursed because I think differently.

set free

There was a contest.  I submitted a story.  I didn’t win.  *sad face*

But, that means I can now share that story with all of you.  *happy face*


Tommy loved baseball, and cartoons, and climbing trees.  He loved his mother.  He loved his math class.  He didn’t know how to solve for “x,” could never remember the shortcuts for figuring out volumes, but he had did have a major crush on the teacher.  For being twelve years old, he loved a great deal many things, and chief among them was Jake.

And that was why Tommy set Jake free.


Jake knew that Tommy was hurting.  He tried his best to cheer his friend up, tried to dry the tears, to get a laugh, to ease his pain.  But, nothing Jake did helped.  He was saddened by his inability to comfort Tommy.  Of all the people in his life, he loved Tommy the most.  And he knew that Tommy loved him back equally.

And that was why, when Tommy sent him away, Jake went without whining or complaint.  He knew he could trust in that mutual love.

He knew exactly what he needed to do.


Charles spent the morning drinking.  He realized he’d spent most mornings drinking recently but he no longer cared.  He didn’t have a job.  He didn’t have any prospects.  And, he deserved a bit of rest and relaxation anyway.  After being the sole bread winner for twelve years he was owed a break.  So, why not have a few beers with breakfast and a few more with lunch?

He’d seen the looks he’d been getting from Heather and Tommy recently.  He hadn’t been pleased and had made them aware of his displeasure.  Who were they to judge him?

Charles knew the drink had made it easier to let his hand fly the first time but, again, he hadn’t cared.  Sometimes teaching lessons the hard way was the quickest way for them to be learned.  Heather had certainly learned quickly not too look at him with pity, or sorrow, or anger in her eyes, hadn’t she?

And Tommy?  Well, Charles hadn’t ever meant to hit the kid.  But, his son was a slow learner.  It had taken more than a few punches to get Tommy up to speed on what was and wasn’t appropriate behavior now that his dad was home all the time.  Charles knew he might have taken it too far the last time, the blood oozing from his split knuckles was evidence of that, but the lesson had finally sunken in so he expected to never have to raise his hand to Tommy again.

And the lesson had been learned, he hadn’t caught a cross eye or loose word from the kid in over a day, so hadn’t it been worth it?

But, what is the kid doing in the yard?  Why is he ushering the dog out of the gate?  Oh, that kid!  Great, now I’ll have to go track down Jake before he runs off for good.

Charles down the last of the beer in his right hand so he could set aside the bottle and pick up the car keys from the counter.  Then he bounded down the front steps, throwing a few curse words in the direction of Tommy, jumped into the driver seat and brought the car to life.  He swung into the street and scanned the road for any sign of Jake.


Yes, Jake had known exactly what needed to be done.  He waited until the bad man was going faster than was safe for the residential road and then he darted into the street.  He knew it was risky.  He knew he might die.  But, Tommy was worth it.


Tommy saw his dad burst out of the house and closed his ears to the words he knew he was too young to understand.  Then Tommy watched in horror as he stumbled into the car, coaxed the vehicle into the street, barely missing the mailbox, and gunned the engine, sending the car barreling down the road the same direction Jake had sprinted off moments before.  His horror turned to dread when he saw the flash of Jake run out in front of the car.  He couldn’t keep the scream of agony from escaping his lips.


What’s that?  Too late!  Brakes!  Turn the wheel!  Tree!


Tommy ran down the street.  A neighbor must have seen the crash because the sirens started and were drawing near before he’d even reached the crumpled car.  He didn’t give the car a second glance.  His only care was for the welfare of Jake.  His eyes searched the road frantically.  He sank to his knees when he saw his beloved dog standing just beyond the broken and twisted tree.


Jake saw Tommy running to him and then fall to his knees in the middle of the street and he ran to his friend and urged him out of the road.  Streets are not safe places for children to be.  Plus, the sirens would be arriving soon and it wouldn’t do for them to be associated with the mess around them.  A few licks.  A few nudges from his nose, and he successfully prodded Tommy onto the sidewalk opposite the wreck, and from there safely back into their yard.


Tommy’s mom met them in the yard, her hand covering her mouth, her eyes switching between terrified and mesmerized.  Together, Tommy, his mom, and Jake, watched the fire truck and ambulance arrive and do what they could to extract the car from the tree, and the man from the car.

Later, when the paramedics came to deliver the bad news, Jake could feel fear radiating out of Tommy, and sadness, but they were different kinds of fear and sadness than he had been feeling earlier.  There was a mixture of relief and hope in there as well.  The tears were cleansing rather than painful.

Jake licked his friends hand to let him know that everything would be okay.  Tommy hugged his friend tightly to him, because he too knew that everything was going to be okay.


The only stipulations, or prompt if you prefer, for the contest was that the story needed to be less than 1,000 words and a dog needed to make an appearance.  I met those criteria, so I can’t imagine why I didn’t win!

I haven’t had a chance to read the winning post yet, but I will link to it as soon as it is available.

But, what do you think?  Without having read any of the other entries, I deserved to win, didn’t I?

The Unparalled Merits of College

(This challenge isn’t all that difficult for me as I will often argue both sides of any argument depending on which one needs the most support.  What follows is the point of view of a friend from the last “disagreement” I had with them regarding the need for everyone to have a college education.)

College is for everyone.

We, as a society, benefit every bit as much as the individual benefits from that advanced knowledge and experience attained by those who attend college and seek a degree.  A more educated populace means more demand for higher paying jobs, which means more taxes being collected, which means those unable to work have better resources at their disposal, which means health care costs go down for everyone, which means more money in the pockets of everyone, which means more people are willing to spend money, which means more jobs at all levels are needed…   This creates a self replicating cycle, because more highly educated people will be needed to fill those jobs, and we start again.

While you may argue that not every job requires the skills and experiences attained from a 2 or 4 year degree, I believe that perhaps if someone with a higher education took up one of those careers they would see a way to improve it, to reduce cots, to increase output, to benefit the company they work for and the society as a whole.

While you may argue that the sheer cost of college will become a detriment to those who are unable to find a high paying position despite their advanced education and thus create a burden on society rather than a bonus, I believe that the overwhelming majority of people will be able to find work.  That majority will easily cover the cost of those unable to pay back their college debt.  Besides, to make college a goal for us all to realistically achieve we will have to greatly reduce tuition anyway.

What other arguments do you have?  What flaws do you see in this plan?

service level expectations

“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” unless, of course, you live in a condo.

My wife and I live in a condo where each property doesn’t have its own mailbox so rather than delivering door to door the USPS carrier just has to drive up to, park next to, open up and deposit the mail into the two cluster mailbox units.  Unfortunately, neither of the cluster mailbox units has one of the larger boxes/slots to store package deliveries.  So, without that alternative and without door to door service, what expectation should we have for receiving our packages?

Is it too far of a stretch to think that the carrier could walk the 100 or so feet away from their delivery truck to knock on the few doors who have packages and see if someone is home to deliver to?  Isn’t that what they would do if they were going door to door for normal service?

Apparently, that is not the case for my condo complex.  They don’t walk away from their truck.  They don’t ring the doorbell or knock on the door.  They do not attempt delivery. 

My wife was home when the mail was delivered yesterday, we were expecting a package, she heard the truck pull up and the cluster mailbox unit being slid open, and she was ready to answer the door when the knock came; but it never did.  

When I got home and checked the mail yesterday afternoon, you’ll never guess what I found: a missed delivery notice in our mailbox. 

I jumped back into my truck and headed over to the post office – it’s only a 10 mile or so drive, but at rush hour on surface streets with stop lights at every block along the way it still takes over 30 minutes to cover that distance.  I waited patiently in line and then handed the slip to the clerk as I have countless times before.  The clerk took the slip and took two steps away and then turned back, “Is today the 5th,” she queried.  I confirmed it was.  “I can’t get your package for you until tomorrow.”

So much for “swift completion” of their rounds. 

I assured the clerk that I have always come the same day I’ve received the missed delivery notifications and it has never been a problem before.  She looked flustered and frustrated and fairly floored that I would have the audacity to request her to go look for it.  “They are all in a pile.  I’ll go see if I can find it quickly.”

She was back in less than a minute.  “You’re in luck, it was on top.  But, we can’t normally look for these the same day.  We’ll get in trouble.”

Really?  You’ll get in trouble for trying to deliver a package to the intended recipient the same day it would have been delivered if the carrier had bothered to knock on my front door?  After I’ve spent an hour driving to collect that package (trips to and from the post office)?  I’ve basically done your job for you, and you won’t give me my mail?

Okay.  So, for argument’s sake let’s say they have a policy in place not to attempt delivery to certain condo complexes due to added delivery time to walk from the cluster mailbox units to each front door (for large complexes) or in certain areas where crime rates (and mail theft) are above a certain threshold.  I’m fine with that.  That type of policy would make sense.

But, then shouldn’t the people shipping the packages get a discount because the item isn’t getting the same “to the door” service that it would otherwise?  And, if the package has no possibility of actually being delivered why was it placed on the truck in the first place?  Put the missed delivery slip in the mailbox and let the recipient head over to the post office and pick it up, where it’s waiting for them, on that same day.  Wouldn’t that make sense?

Am I missing something here?  Am I being too logical about this?  It is a government entity after all… perhaps my expectations are too high.