Hard Things are Hard

Yesterday I did something that I never expected to have to do. I cut loose someone very important to me. I won’t go into details, but it’s been an act that I’ve been musing on for some time.

That time doesn’t make it easier.

We make decisions everyday that change our lives. We constantly face crossroads, deals with the devil and appeals to our better nature. The worst part is that you rarely know that you’re there at the time. It’s not until later where you realize “hey, turning left instead of right sent me far from where I meant to go. This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife. How did I get here?” Or “turning left was one of the best decisions that I ever made.”

And some decisions are harder than others. Some of them you know will change your life. Some of them are failures. Sometimes the decision is not turning at all, but letting fear and indecisiveness freeze you in place. Every action has a consequence, and not choosing is still a choice. I avoided choosing for a long time, but I finally did it.

We’ll see if I chose the right path. Right now I just feel hollow. Not good or bad. More like an emptiness. I feel spent. The choice took all of my spoons.

But I’d probably do it again. Part of being an adult is doing what has to be done.

Being an adult is hard.

In honor of the 5th anniversary of my fiance’s death, her collected works is now available for FREE for 5 days. Val was an extraordinary writer, the best that I’ve ever known. Please share in her work and my love by picking up her story collection.

valerie cover

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The Frogs and the Milk

doge in space card redux

One day a forgetful farmer forgot to bring his bucket of milk back in before bed. Overnight, two frogs landed in the bucket and couldn’t get out.

The first frog said “We’re doomed! Oh, death by dairy, a disgusting demise.”

The second frog said. “You presume our passing. If we persist, we will pull ourselves out.”

First Frog: Don’t placate me. I can’t persist in persisting. Such persistence is puddingheaded.”

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Lemme Tell You a Story

I used to drive for a limo service. It wasn’t a bad job: I picked the client up, drove him to the airport, waited patiently for the tip that never came, and drove back to the office wondering why I always expected a tip. Driving in New York and New Jersey? Sure, it sucks, but most jobs do. But I met a lot of interesting and even famous people…if by meant you mean them staring at my head for an hour or so, depending on traffic. Everything in the area depends on the traffic. And that’s where our story begins…

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The Ants and the Grasshoppers

Once there was a terrible winter, with terrible cold, terrible snow, and a terrible lack of hot chocolate (with tiny marshmallows). The insects in the Woodly Woods barely survived, except for the ants, who had foresight and hid away enough food to survive the terrible cold, terrible snow, and terrible lack of hot chocolate (with tiny marshmallows).

Come Spring, Alexandra Ant, the leader of the ants, realized that the ants must help their fellow insects. They set up a great insect convocation. The beetles were there. The stinkbugs were there. All of the bugs were there.

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Gary the Gingerbread Man

Once upon a time, there was a town full of live baked goods. There was Bill the Breadpudding, Terry the Tiramisu, Christine the Cookie, and far, far more. There was also Gary the Gingerbread Man, and he was one far different.

You see, Gary the Gingerbread Man never agreed with anyone. He wanted things his own way. If Bill the Breadpudding said water was wet, Gary the Gingerbread Man said it was dry. If Terry the Tiramisu said the sun was hot, Gary the Gingerbread Man said it was cold. And Gary the Gingerbread Man never changed his mind, even when he knew he was wrong.  Gary the Gingerbread Man knew that changing your mind is weakness. Gary the Gingerbread Man was inflexible and brittle, so he pretended to be hard.

Gary the Gingerbread Man decided that he was finished with such small-minded fools. They were all sheep, he thought. I know the Truth, though I am freshly baked. Admitting wrong is weakness.

Gary the Gingerbread Man ran away, into the deep woods away from the town. And when Bill the Breadpudding, Terry the Tiramisu, and Christine the Cookie went after him to bring him home, Gary the Gingerbread Man said “run, run, as fast as you can, I know the Truth, I’m the Gingerbread Man. And when Bill the Breadpudding went after him, Gary the Gingerbread Man said “run, run, as fast as you can, you’re just a sheep, I’m the Gingerbread Man.

And on and on he ran, refusing to see things any other way, for Gary the Gingerbread Man was inflexible and brittle, so he pretended to be hard.

And on and on he ran, until he was alone with his thoughts. But he was not alone with himself. Frankie the Fox found him until a Poplar tree. Frankie he Fox said “I like the way you think, Gary the Gingerbread Man. You are right, they are wrong. Everything they say is a lie, but you know the Truth.” And Gary the Gingerbread Man believed him, for what is a gingerbread man without frosting to sweeten him?

Gary the Gingerbread Man and all the foxes became friends. They said “I like the way you think, Gary the Gingerbread Man. You are right, they are wrong. Everything they say is a lie, but you know the Truth.” And Gary the Gingerbread Man believed them, because he believed himself.

Gary the Gingerbread Man told his fox friends about the town of baked goods. They pretended not to lick their lips and told him that they are wrong. They must be shown the Truth. Lead us to them, Gary the Gingerbread Man, and we will help you show them the Truth. And Gary the Gingerbread Man believed them, for what is a gingerbread man without frosting to sweeten him?

They all returned to the town of baked goods. When Gary the Gingerbread Man tried to tell him that he found others that knew the Truth, the foxes rushed forward and ate all the baked goods. They ate Bill the Breadpudding. They ate Terry the Tiramisu. They ate Christine the Cookie. They ate all of the villagers. And Gary the Gingerbread Man was happy, because they were sheep and deserved to be eaten by those that knew the Truth.

And then Gary the Gingerbread Man was alone. And then the foxes turned on Gary the Gingerbread Man. They said “thank you for the meal.” They circled Gary the Gingerbread Man. They said, “we are not finished. You must feed the Truth.”

The foxes ate Gary the Gingerbread Man. And as they bit off his legs and arms, Gary the Gingerbread Man was happy. He was feeding the Truth. He would die for the Truth. He was not inflexible and brittle, he was a hero.

Gary the Gingerbread Man didn’t care about Bill the Breadpudding. He only cared about himself. He never knew the Truth. He knew a Belief, and refused to listen to anything else.

Gary the Gingerbread Man died a fool, and everyone in the town of baked goods died because of him. Because Gary the Gingerbread Man was inflexible and brittle. And Gary the Gingerbread Man was wrong.

Gary the Gingerbread Man was always wrong.

Hey, did you like this story? Check out my historical fantasy, The Watchmage of Old New York. It’s only 99 cents for the holiday season, and available in paperback too! Books make great gifts, and ebooks are great (cyber) stocking stuffers.

Watchmage black

doge in space card redux

To Catch a Predator

On Sunday my cousin sent me a screenshot of a “conversation” between her and a facebook friend of mine. Then she sent me a half dozen others from her friends that have also been harassed by this guy.

They were disgusting, the foulest of the foul.

At first, I was tempted to publicly out the guy. He’s a local and people deserve to know. It’s the modern equivalent of the public stocks. But I found that everybody in my county already knew. I was the last, or near the last.

I went to grade school with him and he was one of my bullies. About 13 years ago he tried to break me and my girlfriend up. I showed up at his parents’ house, where he lived and still lives in their basement, and “convinced” him to stop harassing her. I’m not so easily bullied anymore (no, I didn’t beat him up, but when an angry 6 foot, 280 pound man shows up at your door, you back down). But I saw him a couple of years ago at a party, and he seemed changed. I allowed him to add me as a facebook friend.

He’s been collecting facebook friends and harassing women that he found through his “friends.” He used me to get to two of my cousins and a couple of friends.

Because of my history, I was added to a group that’s collecting information and screenshots of his gross, angry, and threatening texts to present to the police. I’m glad to be a part of it.

I’m disgusted at how many incidents there were. Dozens of people posted their interactions. Some of them are underage (the guy is 40, the same age as I am). The police said not to out him, because some predators get off on the attention (eww), or it moves them to more aggressive measures. I don’t know if this is the police protecting him (his best friend is a local cop and his parents are heavily involved in the community, and police are infamous at dragging their feet on harassment claims due to the ambiguous laws around them), but I hope that they will act. There’s too much evidence.

Some of the messages are to women out of the state. I don’t know the law, but does this make it a federal issue too?

I am far from perfect. I admit that I’ve thought and done creepy things in the past, though nothing on this level. I can’t change the past, and now I’m doing all that I can to make amends.

Being a man in our patriarchal society molds you a certain way from childhood on, and no matter how good you try to be, you are conditioned to think and act “like a man.” I think that bell hooks said it best:

“The first act of violence that patriarchy demands of males is not violence toward women. Instead patriarchy demands of all males that they engage in acts of psychic self-mutilation, that they kill off the emotional parts of themselves. If an individual is not successful in emotionally crippling himself, he can count on patriarchal men to enact rituals of power that will assault his self-esteem.”

In other words: if you don’t “act like a man” and circumcise your emotions besides acceptable ones like lust and anger, you’ll be beaten down until you comply. The shit splashes on all of us, and we either don’t notice or we accept it. Hell, some people roll around in it.

Consider how many women had to come forward before people believed that Bill Cosby should be charged. How many have accused the president (including admission in his own words, like that he walked into the dressing room at the Miss Teen USA pageants). How many have accused Roy Moore, but he still leads in the polls. Nine women accused him. That’s not enough. To those circumcised by the patriarchy, a women’s word isn’t even worth 1/9th of a man’s.

I want to make amends, and while it starts with admission, it continues with nailing this motherfucker. He attacked my family, he attacked my friends, he attacked children, he attacked people I don’t know but know that they didn’t deserve it.

I’m fighting back.

I’ll keep you posted on the progress against Frankie Fuckboy.

doge in space card redux