Martin

Every year on Martin Luther King’s birthday, the reverend’s ghost wakes from his eternal dream.
He peers from his tomb, across the moat, and into the offices of The Center Of Nonviolent Change.
The dream. The dream where his children would be judged one day by the content of their character.
His daughter was talking to copyright attorneys, setting rates for the use of his legacy, and organizing the takedown notices and lawsuits for those who refused to pay royalties.
“I wished for so much more for you,” he whispered.
Then he settled back into his tomb for another year.

Bush

It’s all Bush’s fault!
Afghanistan? Bush.
The war on terror? Bush.
Terror? Bush.
Guantanamo Bay? Bush.
Iraq? Iran? iPhone? Bush.
The Crimea? Bush.
The economy? Unemployment? Bush.
The one percent? Bush.
Drone strikes on weddings? Bush.
No drone strikes on Kardashian weddings? Bush.
NASA retiring the space shuttle? Bush.
Racism? Sexism? Bush.
9/11? Bush.
The KKK? Bush.
The Third Reich? Bush.
The Kennedy assassinations? Bush.
The assassination of Julius Caesar? Bush.
Global Warming? Hurricane Katrina? Bush.
Tooth decay? Gum disease? Bush.
Bill Buckner? Bush.
The crucifixion? Bush.
AIDS? Cancer? Diabetes? Bush.
Bush? Bush.
Because, dammit… it’s all Bush’s fault!

The Last Call

It’s the end of the night.
I haven’t written a story yet.
I ask the bartender if he knows any.
He says he does. He heard a good one this afternoon on the way to the bar.
And he tells it to me.
“Wasn’t that great?” he says.
“Yeah,” I say. “Thanks. I owe you one.”
And I pay my tab and leave him a twenty.
On the way home, I think about the story the bartender told me, and how I can add one of my twist endings to it.
Wait. The story he told.
It’s one of mine.

Hyphenate, Aspirate

For the longest time I thought that lowercase was spelled with a hyphen, but it’s actually spelled without one. And the preferred spelling is without a space between lower and case at all.
My mind reels. How long have I been doing this? When did I think that a hyphen was needed? Why didn’t spellcheck and autocorrect fix it all these years?
I open my custom dictionary, add the entry, and click Save.
What else have I misspelled all these years like some country bumpkin?
I shut down the laptop and write down a reminder on my notepad. In upper-case.

Jump

People said that after all these years of writing and podcasting stories, I’d jumped the shark.
No, not me. I’d never just jump the shark.
I’d jump a hundred of them. A hundred live sharks, all jumped at once.
And I’m not going to jump them Fonzie-style. Boats and waterski jumps are so yesterday.
I’m going to freakin’ bungee jump the sharks.
My awesome plan involves lots of rigging of cables and pulleys and safety harnesses. I’ll write and podcast a perfect story, sail gracefully over all the sharks, and make a perfect landing.
Um, where does this bolt go?

The Gift Of Story

“A book can take you places,” my uncle said. “Wonderful places.”
You see a stack of fresh notepads and unused pens. I see stories that are waiting to be imagined and written.
So many places to discover and explore, then commit to the page. With each revision, the story becomes clearer, and the reader comes closer to actually being there.
I hold a notepad in my hand, pick up a pen, and remember my uncle trying to teach me to write.
But I couldn’t. I didn’t have the gift.
I close the rolltop desk and lock it.
Stories, lost forever.

The Complainer

Fred is a complainer. All he ever does is complain.
“How are you, Fred?” are the four most dangerous words in the English language. And, if Fred spoke any other language, they’d be just as dangerous in that, too. Instead, he complains about people who speak other languages.
“Why must people speak these other languages? Are they hiding something from us?”
Then he changes the subject to something like the weather, his job, his health, or whatever is bothering him.
Then, one day, when asked how he’s doing, he said “Eh, I can’t complain.”
We called the ambulance for him.