A Letter From A Son (Fiction)

Dear Mother:

I am writing to resign my post as your son. From your recent reaction, polls are in and my approval ratings are way down. This means that you have done your monthly/bi-monthly review and have found my performance as your son lacking. I  am not sure what part of my performance actually disappoints you, nor do I care. Simply stated, I would rather resign than to be fired or laid off.

It is with much sadness that I resign. Over the past four years, My input into this family has become less and less accepted and more and more ignored. As a result, all that should have been done is now beyond fixing.

Everything you have fought me over is now no longer salvageable. Once I am no longer a part of the family, you will only have two options.

  1. To try and fix through treatments that will cost thousands of dollars, and  a possibility that they won’t work, or
  2. to tear everything down, burn it, and sell for whatever the land is worth…unless you rebuild, which is just as expensive as the repairs you were facing PLUS the treatments for what is wrong with the property.

I think you understand now what I have been warning about, but it is too late to apologize and make right. It is too late to acquiesce and give back what has been taken away.

I knew from the beginning that you did not approve of the merger between myself and my new partner. It was evident in your questions, how you treated them, and how you handled the legal aspect of the merger. It is as if you were hoping that there would be no merger. In fact, you tried everything to ensure that it wouldn’t happen.

I somehow get the idea that you find happiness inconvenient. Especially my happiness. It gets in your way. Keeps you from feeling that you are in control of every aspect of my part of the business.  and that makes you very unhappy.

But, happiness is key to survival. Especially for me. I no longer care what makes you happy. That is no longer my business. Just as my happiness is no longer any of yours.

From this point on, I am resigning so I can begin a company of my own. This is my time to shine. Think of everything you have done for me up to this point an investment.

In the future, should you see a need to bring me back as your son, we will have to sit down and iron out the details. The difference will be that all the talking points will be mine, all demands will be mine. In arbitration, I will be the one in control and you will have to meet my demands before I return to the position I am now vacating.

I hope, from this point on, that you can find the right person to fill the vacant position. I know I should be giving you 30 days, but with relations now strained beyond the breaking point, I believe it is prudent to vacate the position effective immediately.

Cordially

Your former son.

The Dark Portal

The amazing thing was not how it came to be. the amazing thing was why. For generations, the people who inhabited the land lived in peace. That peace had been held together by The Orb, a sentient ball of energy that guided the people. It never claimed to be god, just a guide.

From a distant land, men arrived. Not the dark, dusky, reddish men the land had known, but a pale, almost sickly looking group of men who seemed to abhor the light of The Orb. These, the people of the land named “the pale ones”. And, for a time, the two people got along.

Soon enough, the Pale Ones began to grow restless. Peace had never been a part of their nature. No, the Pale Ones loved war. They loved greed. They loved to hate. They loved to rape and pillage.

In fact, they loved to take away things that belonged to their native hosts and tell them that those things were never theirs to begin with. Yet, those things had been the natives’ belongings, shared equally among all.

It is odd how, before the Pale Ones, the natives were perfectly happy with sharing all that the land had to offer and not counting anything as belonging to anyone. But once the Pale Ones arrived, the newcomers suddenly placed value on all things…even food.

Oppression and bigotry followed these newcomers throughout the land, causing once peaceful natives to turn on their own. Religion and lust became the most important things to these pale skinned foreigners. Killing, raping, stealing–this became common place. the peace that the land had known had become almost a myth.

The Orb, knowing that something had to be done, created the Dark Portal. This portal stood high upon a mountain, a sentinel of illusion, beckoning to the Pale Ones. When asked what the portal held, they were told riches beyond measure. Some began to worship it. Others began to inspect it. Still others sought to probe its mysteries.

Slowly, one by one, the Pale Ones vanished from the lands. Soon, only the natives remained. As the memory of the Pale Ones died, so did their influence upon the natives. Peace, once hidden by physical desires, returned upon the land and brought with it a new found sense of oneness.

After the last of the Pale Ones had vanished, The Orb sealed the portal shut. Soon, the portal became a monolith, standing as silent memorial to what one will do to restore peace. Upon closer inspection, there was found a single inscription: “To all who bow to the gods of physical desire and war, beware”. had the Pale Ones learned to read, or to pay attention, perhaps they could have taken the warning of the inscription. Perhaps, had they paid attention, they might have realized that there is more to life than simply starting wars, stealing what belongs to others, and hating those who are different.

 

Doomsday

All souls were now damned. Salvation had been lost. God had finally turned His mighty back on mankind. All offers had been retracted and now, man was finally on his own.

Man, that great mistake of a creation-as selfishly arrogant and self-absorbed as ever-had long since turned his back on God, and God’s current decision was the result of this. Oh sure-there were groups that claimed fealty and spouted horrid amounts of hate, prejudice, and twisted prophecy in His name-but there were none who truly believed. No one really cared what His word really meant. Nor did they care that He had sent His only Son to save all.

They had spent millennia heaping upon the pious staggering amounts of physical expectations. Physical rites and ritual became more important than what should be done inside. Color of skin and opinions mattered more than faith and brotherhood. What everyone else chose to do in their private lives became more important than what they, themselves, did. Power and self-worth was their true god.

They claimed to have cornered the market, to have the only line on the truth–or to be the only true believers. They omitted lines when it served their purpose, spouting the “damnation” verses to justify their own devices. They ignored the lines that damned their own actions preferring, instead, to think of themselves as perfect and pure. Their evil spread far and wide, engulfing an otherwise bright and wary populace, until not one believed in the God they professed to believe. Their lips claimed fealty, but their hearts sought personal gain and power.

So God simply turned His mighty back, shrugging His mighty shoulders in defeat. He simply gave up on mankind, preferring to disappear from earth’s daily doings. The devil had won. He figured Satan could have earth and all that existed there, He would create a new world. One that would appreciate all he did for it. And a new race.

And so, Hell rose upon the face of the earth, swallowing mankind and blotting out the sun and any light. All hope had vanished. All reason to exist. Only sorrow and pain remained. Hopelessness.

And yet, man-for all his wisdom-still did not see. Nor would he hear. He believed he was right in all his hate and his prejudice. His twisted religions gave him false hope. False strength.

And so, now truly free in his bondage, man began to fight the first of many wars. With war, came disease. And lack. And rage. And savagery.

A third of all mankind died in that first war. Scores more died as a result of the aftermath. Disease. Famine. Pestilence. Lawlessness.

Then, war broke out again. And another third was destroyed. Followed by scores more through the ravages left in its wake. And even more at the hands of returning soldiers.

War after war ravaged the lands, until only four were left to each continent. Where America once was there remained one black, one white, one Native, and one Asian. In the other lands, it was much the same, except with a slight variation. Gone were all reasons to fight. Gone were all the religious leaders and agendas. All that was left were four people to begin life anew and rebuild what the devil had destroyed.

Civilization was no more. The illusions had been destroyed. Man had been reduced to how he had began: a single pairing, though two pairs per continent. But instead of a garden, they had reminders of the hell they had created.

For all his greed, all his arrogance, man had lost it all. Now he was left humble and alone, the devil no longer interested in what he had won. Now, he cried out to God. But would God listen? After all, Man had abandoned Him first. Why would He believe man would ever want Him back again?

Bonus Story # 1: “A Ride In the Wrong Cab”

I don’t normally ride in cabs. Never really need to. Usually, I am familiar with my surroundings enough to get where I need to go by foot. But I had never been to Baltimore, and so I was forced to take my very first cab. Who knew it would also be my last.

It wasn’t bad enough, with it raining and storming as it was. But to add insult to injury, when I opened the cab door, I got a strong sense of foreboding. Still, even with a tug of hesitation, I got in just to get out of the storm.

“Where to?” A hollow, almost dead, voice asked from within the hooded cloak that sat up front.

I looked at the driver’s ID. Grimm, it said. Grim, indeed. I shivered and looked out the window. In all my acquisitions, I had never encountered such a scene.

I would have laughed if it wasn’t for that instant sense of dread I felt emanating from the front seat. That persistent chill continued to walk up and down my spine.

“Tattle Tale Books,” I replied, “Since when does Death drive a cab?”

“You realize,” his hollow voice began, devoid of any emotion, “that there is more than one of us, don’t you?”

“No,” I responded, “I was taught that you were-you know-like God. Omnipotent. Omniscient. Omnipresent. Everywhere like the air.”

“Sorry to disappoint, but Death is a job that requires an army. One could never be everywhere at all times. After all, there is a death every second at every point in the world and one could never be in all places at all times.

“But, to answer your question, yes, Death always drives a cab. It is a mandatory job so that we are always able to show compassion and understanding. We also learn how to differentiate between the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. Some of us tried working in hospitals, but found that we usually scared the patients to death. Many before their time. So, we were banned from the medical profession.”

I was beside myself. “Oh.”

there was an awkward silence for at least five blocks. Then, as if nothing happened, we began talking again.

“Wanna know my favorite clients?” He was eager to share.

I smiled. “Sure.”

“I think the ones I like going for the most are the corrupt. They tend to believe that they can buy their way out of dying. But, like everything else, we are forbidden to take bribes. The last Death that took a bribe has been in hell for the last millennia.” He turned the car toward my destination, then continued. “Criminals and politicians are my second most favorite. Lawyers come in third. I hate going after little old ladies, though. They are almost always such sweet people, and so giving! I also feel bad about going after children. They are always so innocent.”

“What about men?” I was now interested in his thoughts.

“No, can’t say as I have a problem with most adults. Although it depends on their age and what they have done with their lives.” He chuckled at some private joke. “The more violent or the more they have wasted their lives with nonsense, the more eager I am to do my job. Why allow someone to waste perfectly good living with mindless drivel?”

“I see.” I was now regretting asking.

Another awkward silence followed for several blocks, ended by the sharp odor of brimstone.

“My apologies,” my cabby’s hollow voice mumbled, “burritos always give me gas.”

“I didn’t know you ever ate!” I exclaimed.

“Oh yes,” came the answer, “just not as often as I would like.”

“But you’re nothing but bones!” I exclaimed in awe.

“Now you know why,” came the cool, hollow answer.

***

It had taken an hour for us to reach my destination. For the first time, I had never been so glad to get to where I was going. The second I stepped from the cab, the feeling of foreboding lifted from my shoulders and I suddenly felt a sense of relief. I turned back to the cab, despite my urge to run away as fast as I could.

“How much?” I asked.

“One hundred-fifty dollars even,” came the hollow answer.

“Kind of high, ain’t it?” I asked.

“Hey, Mack,” he answered, “I just read the meter. I don’t tally the cost.”

“Fair enough,” I replied, I handed in the fare. “Here.”

“Take care, Now,” he replied, taking the fare from me, “and thank you for riding along. I will see you in another sixty years, if you behave.”

I withdrew my arm and turned toward the publishing house I had acquired, then turned to wish him a good day. But I found he had vanished into thin air. I shook my head. Never again would I ride in another taxi. I had seen my fill of them with that single ride.

The Three Queens.

There was a kindly king living in a beautiful castle in a peaceful kingdom who began his search for a queen. He sent messengers to every kingdom in the known world seeking the loveliest women in each. Each woman who came to him had something not quite right. The first was too short. Another was too tall. Another too round, and another too skinny.

With each, he found something he didn’t like. Body. Voice. Hair. Eyes. Each was not perfect for him.

Our king, though was looking at the outside, not the inside. Thus, he passed up many a wonderful prospective queen. And the most perfect queen, you see, had slipped through his fingers because he only saw the outside. She had been one whose body had not the curves he desired, so she was sent away.

But before she left, she gave him a warning. “Three queens you will have, and three sources of sorrow. Each will despise you, but love your money, power, or fame. In the end, you will still have nothing more than yourself. Unless you begin looking beyond the outside beauty.”

Yet, our king, though at peace, was not a wise man. And so, he ignored the wise advice of the young lady he had sent away. A year to the day, the first queen arrived. She had all the right things in all the right places. Her hair was flaxen, her lips of ruby, and her eyes of emerald. And so, our king was overjoyed.

In a whirlwind, the couple was married. The first few months were fine, but then the queen’s true desire became clear. She was the one who loved only wealth. Diamonds. Rubies. Emeralds. Pearls of great size. And gold and silver.

The only thing she loved more than these was spending extravagantly on things that she didn’t need. Desiring to save his treasure house from becoming empty, he had her imprisoned and the things she had bought, sold. Their marriage, he had annulled. He had married to produce an heir, but was still without, so he sent the call out once more.

His second queen appeared as if in a dream. Again, she was everything he sought. As with the first, things seemed alright for a few months, then her true colors surfaced. This one loved power and even tried to usurp his throne. She sank his kingdom, once beautiful and peaceful, into a long fruitless Civil War.

His loyal soldiers, having found out where she had imprisoned him, came and set him free. With this handful of friends, he took back control of his kingdom. This time, he heeded the advice of a stranger and commanded that she be executed. But this still left him heirless.

And so, he sent out the call once more. Again it was answered by someone who was a bit too perfect. And, again, being a little too eager, our king jumped in feet first. Again, the marriage was fine for a while, then again she showed her true desire.

This time, she was for fame and glory. As Queen, she had both. She was adored by the public, loved by her king. But she could love no one, and soon it began to show in the way she treated the king. The king, appalled, commanded that she be seized and banished from the kingdom.

With three queens now come and gone, our king decided to sit down and think about things. Thrice he had married, and thrice he had been fooled. Then he remembered the young lady who had given him the warning.

“Bring the maiden who warned me of fates unseen. Search high and low for her. Leave no place unsearched. I would talk again to her and see what I must do to break her curse.”

And so his messengers went out into the surrounding kingdoms, to the corners of the earth. But while the messengers were gone, and his soldiers standing watch, she came to him in secret. With hood over her eyes, and her face shadowed, she came before him.

“Has the king finally learned his lesson?” She asked. “Or must his eyes deceive him three more times before he realizes that all is not what it seems?

“I warned you once that you would not find happiness with your vision of the perfect queen. Just because a person is beautiful on the outside does not mean that they have a beautiful soul. Some are darkened by greed. Others by lust for power. And others by need of flattery and worship. But a truly beautiful person will have wisdom, love, and kindness within their hearts and desire only what’s best for those around them.”

The king bowed his head. He knew not what to say. He had misjudged three times, and three times got burned.

“I was wrong, Oh lady. Please take away this curse you placed upon me.” The king was desperate.

“But I did not place a curse upon you, Oh king. I only warned you where your decisions were going to lead. You judged many unworthy on thing so unimportant. But did not take the time to look into their heart. You should have paid closer attention to the hearts, not the shapes, my king, and you would have recognized the only one who came before you in love.”

With that, she cast off her robe and the king saw how truly beautiful she was. Though not perfect in shape, she was more beautiful in her ways than any who had ever stood before him. She was more pure than even his best knights.

“However did I miss such beauty?” he asked.

“Because you did not look deep enough, milord.” was the answer.

At once our king became aware that he had found his queen. Within a week, they were married. Within the year, they had their first child. And they lived happily ever after.

“The Kiss”: A Fairy Tale

There was a young woman who longed to be loved. She would look in the mirror every day and wonder why no one would come to her rescue. Not that she was held prisoner, she wasn’t. Not of any person.

But she was prisoner to her loneliness. Every day it would grow deeper, until she fell into a deep sleep. In despair, her parents laid her on a soft bed and searched for the right man to wake her. Frantic for someone to wake her, they searched high and low. But they searched only for the richest or the most handsome. They did not seek the paupers or the ordinary.

When each man they chose failed, they grew worried that their daughter would never wake. But one day, a mysterious stranger in a ragged cloak appeared. At first, they refused him entrance into their home because he was not fancy or rich, but the mother relented out of desperation.

The father, afraid that the stranger meant harm, followed him closely. Ignoring the father, the stranger bent close to the young woman’s ear and whispered something that the father could not hear. Without a moment to spare, the stranger bent over the young woman’s lips and kissed them gently. But before she awoke, he vanished right before their eyes.

The young woman awoke from her sleep and blinked as if in a dream. As she did so, she looked at her father and asked him “Where is that handsome young man who kissed me and whispered my name?”

Her father could only blink in disbelief and shock because he had only seen a raggedy pauper with nothing to offer his daughter. Even her mother could not believe the question for she, too, had only seen what had been on the outside. From that moment on, she decided that she would find her beloved and searched high and low.

Then one day, she was traveling in her search and came to an old castle that was beginning to fall in. the gate was in disrepair and the bridge was beginning to fall apart. Not knowing what she would find, she decided to explore this castle.

As she hoped to find a sheltered place to sleep for the night, she was hoping it would be found there. Once beyond the gate, things seemed to change and what had seemed run-down now looked almost brand new. The walls were solid and unbroken, and the main hall was grand and beautiful.
Posted at the door was two regal guards, each at attention.

The guards, seeing her arrival, smiled. When she asked them why they smiled, their only reply was that they had been expecting her. Opening the door, they let her pass.

Inside, the Great Hall was majestic, and the tapestries were splendid. Before her, she saw a table set with a luxurious meal, a feast fit for a king. Upon the dais, sat a regal throne with two chairs. Upon one of those chairs sat the handsome young man who had whispered to her so long ago.

“I came to you out of love, My Dear,” he said, “Wishing to free you of the spell your loneliness had put you under.”

“But this castle…” she began.

“It matters not what is on the outside, My Love. But your parents simply passed me by in their search. They thought that this place was empty because of the outer walls. But as you see, it is still alive and well.”

“But my parents…” again she began.

“They only saw the illusion I cast of being a pauper to test their desire to allow me to wake you.”

“And I?” she finally completed.

“You saw me as I am, not as you wanted to see me. Being in a dream state, you could only see what was real, not the illusion.”

Though rich, the prince preferred to travel as on who was poor. Though his home seemed old and falling in, it was really a beautiful garden. The young woman’s parents were too quick to judge with their eyes according to appearance, and not with their hearts. The young woman, longing to be loved, was awakened by true love’s kiss and saw what her heart saw, not what her eyes would have seen. Needless to say she lived happily ever after with her prince.

A True Story: Just Another Small Piece Of Fiction

There had always been a love-hate relationship between us. I loved her, no matter how mad she made me. And she always hated me, no matter how hard I tried to get along with her.

We were siblings, yes. But that should have never been reason enough to resent me the way she did. I was always kind to her. Always tried my best to be the best brother in the world. And she, of course, always claimed that I was the favorite.

She was our father’s favorite, even after she disappointed him. In her selfishness, she was always moving around to escape what trouble she had brewed for herself…while I remained out of trouble and in the good graces of the law. Perhaps this even had a little to do with her view of me, but I never had to be paid out of jail or have trips paid for in order to escape from messes I had made.

I was nearly mess-free. Oh, I made my share of mistakes. But I never had to be brought home by the police after getting into a car full of armed robbers or after starting a fight at a school event. I never had to be escorted home.

I kept to myself, content with my books. I left others alone. I was shy. I was quiet. Just what everyone seemed to want. (yeh, right.)

As I watched my sister get into trouble, I determined that I would not follow her into infamy. I would try to at least honor my parents in all that I did. I didn’t go out and get drunk at all the high school parties (I think I was the only one of my class who has never been in jail),I didn’t go out of my way to get into fights, and-hell-I was too shy to get involved with the ladies. I was a homebody.

Not that I wanted to be, but I was not an athlete. I wasn’t super-smart. I wasn’t exactly attractive. And I wasn’t, well, employed. This meant that I didn’t have a car to woo the girls with or the money to throw around on a memorable date.

I was the nice guy every girl wanted as a friend, but none wanted to date. How I hated my life. I was the good son with no life and was of no importance to anyone. A nobody.

But, my sister would forever swear that I got all the attention. And all the goods, even though I was left wanting and needing clothes, school supplies, and needful things. All efforts were centered around pleasing her. Bailing her out. Making sure she was ok.

Yes, You probably sense a small bit of bitter resentment in my tone, But not so much to drive me to a deep dark hate. Yes, I felt a bit slighted. Maybe a bit out in the cold. But, I learned a lot as well.

I learned how not to get into trouble, even when every day was trouble for me. I learned what true friends were. As well as who I could trust. I even learned how to avoid conflict…for the most part.

***

I had known of her jealousy all my life. But I had not known that it had festered inside her until what she had was a fantasy of how things were. I had no clue that she hated me so much as to believe that I even took one ounce of attention off her. No one could ever take their attention off her. Not for a second. At least, not if you wanted to have peace and quiet.

But she showed how full of contempt she was the day I stopped, along with our mother, to see her. We had stored some of her belongings, but were being forced to burn the wooden articles due to an infiltration of black mold that we did not want invading my house. And she went ballistic! I understand that they were her things. But she had not even cared one whit about seeing to their condition.

It was upon this that I decided to have nothing more to do with her. Besides. She had pretty much banished me. Turning my back for the last time, I walked out of her life, never to return. I was done. Finished.

It has been years since we went our separate ways, and I am now successful. I haven’t thought of her once since the incident. I haven’t a clue where she is now, nor do I care. I went my own way and she went hers.

***

I received a letter today. Handwritten in her shaky, drug addled handwriting, it was a writ declaring that I “owed” her. I do not owe her a thing. If anything, I am still waiting for her to pay me the $7000 (which I know I will never get back) that she has owed me since we were kids and she promised to pay me if I kept my mouth shut about her sneaking out. Of course, she claims she doesn’t owe me a thing because she believes I was the one who betrayed her.

I didn’t, of course. Mom was already onto her because our aunt (well, actually, my aunt. She, after all, is only my HALF sister)had tipped mom off about the goings on and also accused my sister of stealing. But enough about the past, already.

Since my success, I have received at least a dozen of these over about as many years. Not to mention the fifty or so notes and requests from my niece and nephew, who only come around when they want something. I ignore them, most o the time. But this one was accompanied by papers declaring suit. So she has the audacity to sue me, eh? OK.

I called my lawyer and set up an appointment to see what I could do. He said counter-sue. So I filed a counter-suit. Not that I have any point to make, but she isn’t going to get away with lying this time. I have had enough.