I walked into the employee bathroom,
turning on the lights.
I sat down and waited to do my business.
As I waited, I stared out across the floor.
A name caught my attention.
It was carved across the tile.
My eyes traced over the name
and found another next to it.
And another, followed by yet another.
The floor was carved with employee names.
I recognized one.
They died of Covid.
Why carve their names into the floor
and not written on the walls?
Because it could be erased.
They would be forgotten.
I finished my business,
washed my hands
I have seen some terrible movies.
I watched good television shows end badly.
I do not believe in Happy Endings.
Most of my stories will have some kind of ending,
but some will not.
The door will be left open
for me to revisit those characters or story again.
I have my favorites,
but don’t most writers?
Some characters demand their story to be known,
their world seen,
no matter how terrifying.
Their lives like mine don’t come with an instruction manual.
The reader must be patient
until the character figures it out
or the pieces come together.
I’m used to the smell but not the clang,
the slamming of metal doors,
the harsh hands reaching inside.
They only see the green.
I don’t see my friend anymore.
His back toward me,
a SOLD Sign on his cage,
but despite all that pain,
that fear and sadness,
he managed to escape.
But here I remain,
hearing shreds of hope through the door,
promise of family,
but then I coughed and coughed again.
They’d be stuck with me.
My life left in limbo.
My future uncertain.
Just like with those in the cages beside me.
Last night, I went…
Last week, there was such a substantial talk
of getting the Covid-19 Vaccine,
a real discussion of fears and concerns,
a connection across the airwaves
to silence that overwhelming void.
This week, it was vacuum cleaners & boobs.
Ever try to vacuum and have the damn thing tip over?
Do you prefer Hoover or Shark?
“I accidentally took a picture of my boobs in the dark,
and it went on Snapchat.
And my mother saw them.”
Somewhere, Tom Petty is singing Free Fallin’,
may he rest in peace,
but at least, that discussion was followed by
those in the studio…
What if we could ride the bus
and not worry of the man watching us?
What if we could walk down the street at night
not hunted by a predator?
What if the friend that comes over
never acts on his true intentions?
What if subway rides were just that rides not targets?
What if office parties were just parties,
and when you had more than enough,
you would be driven home
and not taken to a spot,
where you would be robbed of your innocence?
What if we don’t need to be afraid anymore,
crossing arms over our chest
“Could you please pass the… Yellow?”
Sherry paused mid-crunch. She looked down at her next spoonful of cereal. She glanced over at the milk near her bowl. She flinched as her brother’s finger pierced her line of sight. She swallowed the cereal in her mouth and said, “Yellow?”
“Milk. I meant the milk.” Her brother stood up from his chair and snatched the milk container.
“Why did you say, yellow?”
Sherry’s father poured a cup of coffee nearby. “Everyone’s phone update this morning?” He drank his coffee, satisfied with its flavor. “It was some security update. …
He returned from work and stood by the wall.
The computer scanned him.
The wall formed into a door,
and he walked inside.
He stepped to the left,
and a shower compartment emerged.
He stripped off his work suit
and washed the dirt and oil from the factory
out of his hair and off his skin.
Another compartment opened,
and he threw the work suit into a cannister.
He pulled out a white sleepwear from another one.
He got dressed and stepped to the right.
The wall opened,
a table and chair were pushed outward.
A hot meal greeted him
If she could run away, she would,
but she was stuck in her seat.
The ordinary day stripped away.
She tried to react,
but her mind recoiled.
Why did she have to be sitting here today?
She would rather her small, peaceful world,
where the problems of others
could not intrude.
But the truth stared hard into her face.
She picked up the pen and played with it.
Could we go back to work,
she wanted to ask,
but the answer would be, No.
The truth stood, demanding to be heard.
She fidgeted in her seat
as another man nearby…
Horror, Science-Fiction and Dystopian Author and Poet.