The Watchmen

In honor of Veteran’s Day – to those who served, thank you can never be enough. But– thank you.

The Watchmen

Every day they wake up
Every day they stand up
Knowing this may be the day
The last day they do –
They are the ones who stand between
Death and the Innocent.

Every day they put on the uniform
Every day they polish the shield
Every day they don the armor
Pick up the weapons, take the field,
Carry the banner
Of the Watchmen.

Every day they greet their friends,
Salute the warrior in each others’ eyes,
Every day prepare to fight the foe,
Prepare to hold the line –
To be the ones who stand between
Death and the Innocent.

Every day they put on the uniform
Every day they polish the shield
Every day they don the armor
Pick up the weapons, take the field,
Carry the banner
Of the Watchmen.

Every day they dance with death
Every day they smile and joke
While Death looks on, awaits their turn
Win or lose against a worthy foe –
Being the ones who stand between
Death and the Innocent.

Every day they put on the uniform
Every day they polish the shield
Every day they don the armor
Pick up the weapons, take the field,
Carry the banner
Of the Watchmen
Carry the banner
Of the Watchmen
Honor the banner
Of the Watchmen.

12/29/01 @ Varina Suellen Plonski

Dedicated to those in service to mankind – the U.S. Military, Police, Firefighters, EMT’s and Medical personnel, and all their support services, for being the line drawn in the sand.

Ari’s Nightmare

Okay, it’s the middle of NaNoWriMo, and it’s half past 3 in the morning, so I’m taking a break. “They” all say I should post to my blog, but–well, you see how often that happens.

This is a prequel to the novel I started in NaNo 2012: it’s not part of the novel itself, but this is the start of what happened to my main character that made her who she is today. The first line is a cliché, of course. Blame it on my local writing group–it was one of our writing prompts. Here goes:

It was a dark and stormy night. It was inevitable, she thought; the phrase had to pop up some time. A cliché, maybe, but true enough right now. First of the feeder bands for Hurricane Frances, it had come up behind her like—well, like a hurricane. God, was her brain going to keep on doing this? Yeah. Anything to keep her mind off the real issue.

Lightning struck a tree off to the side of the road; lit the world up around her like daylight and deafened her with the crack and instant boom of thunder. The concussion hit her ears and her chest simultaneously, no time to open her mouth to lessen the impact. She jerked in reaction and the motorcycle swerved wildly, its responsiveness a handicap in the driving rain. She corrected automatically, keeping the rubber side down the way her Dad had taught her.

She knew it was crazy, doing this. Crazy enough riding a motorcycle in a driving rainstorm; crazier still when there was not only rain but lightning—but in a hurricane, for God’s sake! She knew she’d hear all about it from Dad when she got home. Hers was the only vehicle on the road, tallest damn thing around till you got off into the fields. Can you say target?

But she had to get home. Had to. When Dad called and told her Mom had had a heart attack, she’d said, “I’ll be there,” tossed her phone on the bed and started to pack. Come hell or high water, she’d be there, just like they’d always been there for her. She grabbed her backpack, stuffed in some clothes and her laptop and case, and was out the door.

It wasn’t all that far from UF in Gainesville to the Ocala forest; about 80 miles. An hour or so, two at most in bad weather, and this was sure-hell bad enough. She was already soaked to the skin, and her laptop would’ve been useless trash except for the waterproof case Mom and Dad had given her when she went off to college. Her clothes would need to go in the dryer, backpack and all, when she got in. Her copper hair slithered out of her hoodie and whipped in her face, and she raised a hand to tuck it back.

Not too much longer, now. There was the Silver Springs exit, lit up by another flash of lightning. Further away than the last strike, thank God. She took the exit ramp down, the cycle hitting every puddle and throwing up a rooster tail behind her. She pulled out slowly onto SR 40; there wasn’t any traffic at this late hour, but with the weather this bad it didn’t pay to be stupid.

The road went through Silver Springs, then wound around through a number of small towns. At one point she looked down at her gas gauge and blinked in dismay. When had it hit empty? There was a little mom-and-pop gas station on the outskirts of Mill Dam, and thank God it was still open. She pulled in under the roof over the gas pumps and turned off the cycle. The downpour thundered on the metal roof, drowning out any sound, and the lights turned the rain coming off the roof into a dancing silver curtain. She could barely see the store’s light through the deluge.

She set the motorcycle up on its stand and dug through her pockets, looking for her phone. Would Dad have left the hospital yet? Was Mom okay? The phone was nowhere to be found. She started to reach for her backpack, and then had a flash of memory—the phone hitting the blanket on her bed. Shoot fire, she’d left the darn thing back in Gainesville. Well, she’d just have to do without. She’d hit home first, then decide which way to jump. If Dad wasn’t home, she could always call him from the trailer. She dug through her backpack for her wallet and pulled it out.

A car pulled in behind her. She glanced back at it; a sweet red Camaro, nice. She shifted the cycle up on its wheels to move it forward, giving the other vehicle plenty of room to reach the pumps without the driver getting wet. She pulled her credit card out of her wallet and swiped it through the reader, then put the wallet back in the backpack. God, she was tired. Worried.

Scared.

She hoped Mom would be alright. She couldn’t shake the bad feeling that had just come over her. What would they do if Mom—she refused to complete the thought. Instead, she put her hands on the small of her back and stretched, then twisted from side to side, easing her back from the tense ride. Behind her the driver got out of the Camaro and fiddled with his gas cap. She pulled her hood back and shook out her hair, then ran her fingers through to loosen the worst of the tangles. She heard the Camaro’s driver give a sharp intake of breath and looked over at him curiously. He was nondescript: medium height, medium brown hair, nothing to make him stand out except for his intent stare. She nodded at him with an uncertain smile and went back to filling her gas tank.

“Excuse me.” She turned and looked at him again, and saw that he had come closer. He had one hand out to her, a questioning gesture. “Do you know this area well?”

“Pretty well,” she said. “I’ve lived here all my life.”

“Oh, good.” He stepped forward again, and gestured. “I’m lost—at least, I think I’m lost. Can I get to Daytona from here?”

“Oh, sure,” she said and smiled again, then turned to point. Behind her she heard the scuff of a shoe, and then his arm came hard around her waist. His other hand rose and pressed something against her nose and mouth. She struggled, but his arms pinned her against him, and she suddenly felt dizzy, faint. Her knees went weak, and she started to fall. He turned his head into her damp curls and inhaled deeply.

You have such pretty hair.

…and back again.

So I’m reading posts and stuff from Chuck Wendig’s blog, terribleminds. (Insert link HERE, since I can’t seem to get the link-thingy to work): http://terribleminds.com/ramble/blog/      And I plunked down some hard e-currency to buy his 7-e-book/PDF/whatever series on writing. And I’m reading his ‘500 Ways To Tell A Better Story’. Chuck-boy says I have to have a website. Because, well, hey – website, right? Says I need “a central location where we can go and see who you are, what you’ve written, where you’re going to be, and what kind of whiskey you drink. Also preferably featuring photos of you without pants.” Umm–no. No pictures of me without pants, sorry. NOT gonna happen. But, okay.

So here I am, my central location. Where you can come & see who I am. Since I haven’t written anything that’s been published (except some poetry and some songs that a lot of people have heard and think are pretty cool (they told me so, that’s how I know!) but none of my stories yet, so you can’t see what I’ve written ’cause it ain’t finished yet. Where I’m going to be is right where I’m at, because since I haven’t published anything yet, no publisher wants me to be somewhere somewhen to sign whatever or anything. As to my whiskey? Cutty Sark, by choice. In a Rusty Nail with Drambuie, by preference. But I’m more a Coke Zero girl right now, ’cause alcohol costs money, and I’m a starving artist just yet.

I guess I should maybe post some stuff I’ve written, you know, like the lyrics of my songs and stuff; then you’d get to know me better. I’ll get to it sooner rather than later, I promise. Just not tonight, it being 2 AM plus a little, and I needing some sleep before it gets light out again. And maybe I’ll post a few pages of one of the stories I’m working on. Maybe. Just a teaser or two. Sound good to you?

You never call, you never write…

I sign up for something like this, and then never get back to it. Has to do with being ADD, I guess. And having WAY too much life to fit into the time I do have.

I write. I game. I ferry my friends around. I go to doctor’s appointments. Somewhere in there I shoehorn sleep time. And somehow there’s no time left to do things like this.

It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just – where did the time go?

I’m reposting …

I’m reposting this from another site I used to use. It’s a quick introduction to me.

I love cats, books, music, and make believe in all its forms.

I love the ocean, the mountains, the wind and the lightning.

I believe Deity has two natures and ten thousand names, and I respect every one of them.

I write poetry, music and stories, I go places on weekends and dress funny, and I am an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church.

I know the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything – and it isn’t 42.

Pet the cat!

To Strive, To Seek, To Find, And Not To Yield

Okay, so I got busy. Life, she is like that. Anyway, I’d like to post a bit of poetry that isn’t mine – but which is one of my serious inspirations. It is from “Ulysses” by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

… Come, my friends.

 ‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite  

The sounding furrows; for my purpose  holds

To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths

Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;

It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,

 And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are –

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

 

 In one of my darkest times these lines reminded me that I was strong, that I could stand up and deal with whatever life chose to send me.  Just because life pounds on you doesn’t mean that it won.  It only wins if you don’t get back up. 

Never give up.  Never surrender.