Ashes To

Cameron always felt uncomfortable about who he was.
Or she was.
Cameron’s parents didn’t understand. Nobody did.
Today, some teens get the support they need. And options.
Surgery and hormone therapy instead of wishes and bitter tears
Back then, kids like Cameron didn’t.
Years of self-loathing and wishes that never came true.
Instead of taking the easy way out, Cameron became a mentor.
So many lives touched and changed.
Cameron died the other day.
Ashes in an urn.
We had them injected into hundreds of breast implants.
For teens to use during transition.
Still guiding the lost to find themselves.

The Mirror World

One night, after I had consumed too much coffee, I stayed up for a while and did some cleaning.
The vacuuming was kinda fun. So was cleaning out the bad food from the fridge and the shelves.
But I’ve never been good at cleaning mirrors.
That’s okay. My doppelganger in the Mirror World is just as bad at it as I am.
He uses the same brand of glass cleaner, and an identical rag.
Puts just as much effort into it as I do.
I guess we tried our best, right?
We high-fived each other and…
Where’s that vacuum again?

The runaway

She called herself a robot, but robots don’t run on windup keys.
That’s more of a toy or dolly thing.
Her serial number had been scratched out, but there’s always other in the chassis.
Runaway status.
“I worked in a hospital in the childrens ward,” she said. “I loved them so much.”
She told me about the games the children would play, the adventures they’d pretend to go on.
“But they never got better. So much pain, and they were so alone.”
If she could cry…
Before I wiped her memory, she kissed me on the cheek and thanked me.

The Lemons

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.
When life hands someone lemons and they wait until they’re rancid and putrid before they dump them in your lap, make lemonade.
And then, make them drink it.
Oh, and rub the rinds in their eyes, too.
If they keep their eyes closed, slash their fingertips with paper and rub the lemon on them.
Maybe with a little salt, too. Salt and lemons.
If the lemons are shrunken and hard, put them in a sock and beat them with the sock.
That should make it easier to rub their eyes with the lemons.

Charlie Played

Charlie played the Birdland.
Everyone then played the Birdland, but Charlie, he played it best.
And he played, man did he played.
He had himself a wife, a girlfriend, and a lover.
Charlie played with Monk. Charlie played with Miles.
Billie and Basie, Quincy and Sammy. And the Duke.
Charlie played with Coltrane. Coltrane!
We’d sit there, drinks all around.
That was the night she shot him.
The wife? The girlfriend? The lover?
I dunno, but she done shot him.
She shot him dead, right there on the stage.
I picked up his horn and played.
Didn’t miss a beat.

Ernst Zundel

Infamous Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel died today.
Despite absolute proof that he lived, I deny that Ernst Zundel ever lived.
Show me photographs, show me documents, show me video.
I’ll still deny that he ever lived.
Dig up his body, dump him out on a table.
Nope. He never lived.
Should you find some form of irrefutable evidence, okay, I’ll concede that he lived.
But not to the extent that he lived.
Not seventy-eight years. A lot less. Maybe seven or eight.
Or even while still in his infancy, mirroring his moral infancy.
But, privately, I’ll deny he ever lived.

The real threat

Nobody likes a war more than a leader with low poll numbers.
Rattle a few sabres and launch a few air strikes, and the people cheer.
“He’s doing something, unlike that other guy,” they say to the pollster.
And the numbers go up… until they realize that the threat, real or implied, still exists.
So the numbers drop again.
That’s when the leaders call for war.
The numbers shoot up, way up.
So do the ratings. And the body counts.
Want to stop war?
Lie to the pollsters. Say everything’s great.
And declare war on the real threat: the pollsters.

Float Like, Sting Like

Muhammad Ali said that he could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.
When bees sting, they eviscerate themselves, leaving behind their stinger and a large portion of their guts.
Soon after, they die.
This is why I’d watch every Muhammad Ali fight.
I’d watch for him to throw a punch and leave a carpet of ropy, bloody intestines on his opponent.
Then he’d stagger around for a while before collapsing to the canvas.
His trainers, rushing into the ring, desperately stuffing his guts back into him, duct-taping the wound closed.
And the referee, shouting, counting to ten.

Loose Leaf Tea

I really like loose leaf tea.
I tried ball infusers, but they were a pain.
I tried clamp infusers, but they are sloppy.
Now I use twist-top bucket infusers. They are great.
Dump the tea in, not as much of a mess.
And I can put more in there, because I use a really large mug for tea.
My instinct is to be annoyed at having wasted my money on the other infusers.
Instead, I will treasure the process of experimentation and exploration.
Learning what works well, and what doesn’t.
The journey has its price, but it has its lessons.

Burning out

Every month, the Klansmen went out to the woods, parked their pickup trucks, got into their robes, and had their cross burning ceremonies.
As usual, nobody stood guard over the trucks.
I went from truck to truck, photographing license plates and texting them to the sheriff.
He looked up addresses in the database.
All over town, houses and businesses caught fire.
Leave it to the firemen to know how to cover their tracks.
The ones who were insured, Ted the Insurance Guy would delay their claims.
I got in my car and drove back to town, smelling smoke and redemption.