Puritans

H.L Mencken said that Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy.
As first, I thought that this was Cherophobia, the fear of happiness and gaity, but H.L Mencken was very specific about the happiness being in others, not the Puritans themselves, which is quite an understandable mistake if you know any Puritans.
Sure, they’ll deny it, but Puritans are a very unhappy bunch. And they want to share that unhappiness.
At least they’re nice enough to share, right?
If only they were willing to share ice cream and bubblegum like that.
Those unhappy jerks.

Tanjat

The student leader Tanjat has been in solitary confinement for five years.
Amnesty International sells t-shirts with his name and face on them.
The door to his cell opened.
Ah, mealtime.
“I envy you,” says his guard, putting down a tray of rice and tea.
Tanjat raises an eyebrow.
The guard continues:
“I bring you food, while my family starves. I bring you clothes, while my family wears rags. My every word and thought is monitored, while you are free to think or say anything in here.”
Tanjat smiles.
The next day, a new guard brought Tanjat his daily meal.

River Walk

It takes about an hour to walk along the city’s riverbank.
The path used to be just dirt, but now it’s paved so that bikers can travel the length of the river.
However you travel the river, there are beautiful gardens and homes to see.
There’s also a crime problem. With all the people walking and biking, gangs like to rob them.
Or, if it’s a pretty single jogger, much worse.
This is why most people have guns on them. To deal with the muggers.
It takes an hour to walk along the river.
Longer to float back down it.

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.