It’s Not Just For Rifle Scopes. Free Flash Fiction

In the publishing/writing world you have people who influence you at every point in the spin around the dance floor. Well, I’m proud to say that Jamie Greening has had none on me. Zip. Zero. Mainly because we have very different voices. But he’s a danged fine writer. Luckily, I haven’t screwed up his writing style either. But you be the judge. Go read his story today and render your own opinion. 

 

 

We hope you’ll visit the other authors who comprise this collection: Paul Bennett, Robert CelyDerek Elkins, Jamie D. Greening, Kathy Kexel, and Joe Shaw. As always, there’s no fee, we’re doing this to help you pass the time. We do ask that you buy our books/audio books to help pay the freight here. But that’s up to you! Mine are all on the right margin of the blog.

Where Did They Go?

It’s time for the annual Memorial Day piece of flash fiction. For my long-suffering readers, there is a theme I bring back from time to time. Today’s post is a part of that series. For the uninitiated, you will quickly figure it out. Either way, spend some time today reflecting on the sacrifice of our military over the years so that we can all be free today.

I hope you’ll visit the other authors who comprise this collection: Paul Bennett, Robert CelyDerek Elkins, Jamie D. Greening, Kathy Kexel, and Joe Shaw. As always, there’s no fee, we’re doing this to help you pass the time. We do ask that you buy our books/audio books to help pay the freight here. But that’s up to you! Mine are all on the right margin of the blog.

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Where Did They Go?

“It’s already 0800 and they don’t have the tent set up. Did they move it to another area?”

“Excellent question, Lieutenant. Let’s send out a patrol. They used to hold it a couple of hundred yards to the west of here. I’ll send the boys.”

Twenty minutes later the entire property had been scoured. No sign of the tent, the chairs, or even of any significant number of mourners. 

“Lieutenant, there’s not even much in the way of flags. I only counted about twenty. The Boy Scouts must have skipped this cemetery.” 

The senior members assembled decided to have a chat away from the others. 

Colonel Westherburg came up with the answer: “This must be the deal the new Chief was talking about. They guy who was on the Roosevelt. I’ll bet they’re all still under some kind of a quarantine.”

Tashishi, the senior enlisted man present, said, “That’s nuts. He was telling me it only takes out about 2% of those who get sick, and mainly the elderly. Where are all the young people.”

Westerburg sadly looked over the men milling about, the looks of disappointment clear on their ghostly faces. They had just a few days each year where they could see their families, and Memorial Day was always the most important. Plus, they got to drink a beer at the local bars. 

“I guess they’ve forgotten about “the land of the free, and the home of the brave” part. What was the survival rate for your first wave in Italy?”

Tahishi didn’t hesitate, “I don’t know. I got killed by a mortar about 20 yards from the beach. Nah, seriously, we took 30% casualties the first day. The first week it wound up being around 20% dead from the guys in the first three waves. Nothing like in the Pacific, or on Omaha beach. Man, those guys got slaughtered.”

A few people wandered from parked cars, wearing masks in the vast spaces of the cemetery. They put flowers on graves, or just stood quietly for a few minutes.

Around 0930 a bright SUV pulled up where the tent usually stood. A fat guy in an American Legion hat stepped out, as did a woman. A few minutes later they were joined by seven other people. When they were all assembled, they walked to the open section of the grass, and performed the ceremony honoring the dead. There was no tent, no priests, no crowd,  but he’d pledged to be there and honor his friends until the day he died, and he was a man of his word. He’d taken an oath, just like all of them. 

Just off to the side was the ghostly crew of Ranger 12, observing the ceremony. They’d all served together decades before. Time couldn’t break the bond. 

The ghostly army around him stood at attention and rendered salutes at the appropriate moments. It was all over and done in 20 minutes. The man, with tears in his eyes, stood and looked out over the cemetery for a few minutes before departing.

“He never misses, does he?”

“Nope. Just goes to show he’s not here for the crowd.”

After a time, all the vets turned toward the flagpole and saluted as noon came, and a lone worker raised the flag to full staff. 

“I guess it will never be the same, will it?”

The Colonel shook his head. “I wouldn’t count this country down yet, Lieutenant. They’ll be just like some of the old guys from the revolution. The tyrants have overstepped, they’ve kept people locked down too long, treated them like kids. And it will all kick off again. Americans are way tougher than this. I suspect by Christmas it will be back to normal.”

The Lieutenant watched a young family get in their car and leave.

“I really hope so, Colonel. I’d hate to think we all wasted the effort, and our lives, on a nation that gives in to tyranny that easily.”

An Opinion Piece. This Is Not Flash Fiction. Wuhan Flu Edition.

 

Confirmation Bias is strangling discourse in the nation at this time, and leading to the destruction of our freedoms and economy.

There, I said it. Now let’s get to what it means.

From my perspective as a conservative/almost libertarian, it means that the ever shifting goalposts of the Wuhan flu edicts coming from government are deepening the panic for some, causing others to give the finger to authority, and destroying the economy. Remember the original goal? Yes! Extra points for those who said “flatten the curve.” The whole point was to make sure we could medically handle people getting sick with Wuhan flu and not have them all hit the medical system at one time. We built tens of thousands of ventilators, extra hospitals, deployed hospital ships, and emptied out the medical system of anyone else needing anything else just so we’d be ready. 

Well, it must have worked, because the ventilators are unused, the ships have gone home, and the hospitals have been put back in storage. But we haven’t cancelled all the rest of the madness, including the fallacy of social distancing. The entire world, all of human society, has been set up based on the need to congregate. Doesn’t matter if it’s in a bar, a church, or a tattoo parlor. (Yes, I’ve been to, and been tattooed in, a tattoo parlor that had more than 10 people in it while I was there, and it was a slow day.) It is not profitable, or practical, to do most of what we do as a society with a six foot balloon surrounding each of us. It will not happen.

It’s all yippee-skippee to sit at home and wait for your life to be delivered if you have major health problems. I have no problem with that in the least. If you’re sick, or very likely to become sick, stay home until you feel comfortable.

But the rest of us have to make a decision about what we’ve been told, heard from friends, seen ourselves, or thought about in our darkest hours. 

Are you ready to wear a mask for eternity? Because if your goal is to never get the Wuhan  flu that’s your only option. That and obsessive hand washing. (Just for the record, I’m heavily in favor of washing your hands after you use the bathroom, change diapers, and prior to making food.) You see, Wuhan flu is never going away. It will always be there to some degree. That’s the reason virus illness is so nasty: there are no totally effective vaccines. Yes, the annual flu shot can help. But only if it’s made to combat the strains you encounter. Run across a stray mutation and you might as well have had an injection of saline solution.

Will we all be vaccinated? No. See, that was simple. Many people will not take the shot. Will you authorize them being dragged from their home by the vaccine police and being injected against their will? Gotta tell you, few things will cause quiet, law-abiding citizens to pick up a rifle and confront the government faster than that kind of thing. Best not chance it, or the modern Jeffersons and Washingtons will be out and about. In case you forgot, our founders killed tyrants for lesser offenses. 

Back to confirmation bias. Let me say that I’m sympathetic to the victims of this bias. If you, as a cop, deal with the worst scum on the planet every day (as some special units do) then every single person you deal with is probably scum and you start to treat them that way. As a chef, if every egg you crack for a week is full of half-formed chicken, you rather quickly avoid using eggs and assume they’re all like that now.

The same applies to my friends in the health care world. If the majority of what you encounter, and the talk about the break table is all about death and Wuhan flu, then pretty soon you forget that the patients who need minor surgery, checkups, cancer screenings, new hearing aids, and a pair of glasses exist – and they are not sick with Wuhan flu. Your focus is on the crisis of the moment, not the empty beds in the regular wards, or the staff being laid off because they have no work “until we beat the virus.”

Consequently you become angry about people not wearing masks in public. You rage against people sitting at a table enjoying a beer together. You quail when someone violates your six-foot ring of health. But you don’t remember that the vast majority of people get Wuhan flu and don’t get very sick. And of those who do get it, the death rate under age 60, and outside of nursing facilities, is very small. Nor do you consider the fact that the numbers of Wuhan flu related deaths are insanely skewed by the deaths in nursing homes, and the fact that the CDC counted everyone who died, and had been ill to any degree with Wuhan flu, as a death attributed TO the virus for a long time.

Finally, and most sadly, these voices are given great weight because “they know.” Yes, they know what their daily experience is in treating, or being associated with those that treat, Wuhan flu. It is not a good way to go. I hope to avoid it myself. 

But we cannot live forever wearing a mask. Humans are not meant to cower in the dark and avoid risk. The most beautiful, the most magnificent achievements and art of the species has come from people who risked death on top of a scaffold painting ceilings, welding beams on to skyscrapers, or storming a beach.

You cannot give up your liberties and expect to live the same life. We are approaching a point now where the confirmation bias of a few is hampering the liberty, and enjoyment of life, for the rest of the herd. Will some additional people die from Wuhan flu as we open up and return to normal (not “new normal” for that is utter crap) once again? Yes. I have elected to reject hiding and have resumed living my life.

Because without risk we are no more than prisoners in our homes. 

I reject that as a way to live my life. I hope you do as well.

 

Dr. Paul Bennet – A Beautiful Conclusion To Our Week Of Free Flash Fiction

Paul has no zombies. No scheming military officers. No arsonists. None of the above. He is our respite from Wuhan Flu stories because he’s a doctor treating the real patients. You, dear reader, are the beneficiary of his seeking respite with these stories. Today’s story (at this link) is a lovely reminder of how a bit of perspective can calm the rage and insanity.

 

 

We hope you’ll visit the other authors who comprise this collection: Paul Bennett, Robert CelyDerek Elkins, Jamie D. Greening, Kathy Kexel, and Joe Shaw. As always, there’s no fee, we’re doing this to help you pass the time. We do ask that you buy our books/audio books to help pay the freight here. But that’s up to you! Mine are all on the right margin of the blog.

Flash Fiction Free? Yes. Kathy Kexel Two-Parter? Yes.

For someone who hadn’t written in a while, Kathy Kexel has been a word-monster in our covidcantinaflashfictionfreeforall. (Not really what we call it, but I just wanted to see what it looked like in print.) Seriously. She gives us part one of a two-parter today at the link. Go read it and await more awesomeness next week! 

We hope you’ll visit the other authors who comprise this collection: Paul Bennett, Robert CelyDerek Elkins, Jamie D. Greening, Kathy Kexel, and Joe Shaw. As always, there’s no fee, we’re doing this to help you pass the time. We do ask that you buy our books/audio books to help pay the freight here. But that’s up to you! Mine are all on the right margin of the blog.