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04/01 Direct Link

The heavy swipe of windshield wipers in the dark night.

The smell of rain through the open car door.

Out there, somewhere, he was struggling with the gate lock.

Maybe it wasn’t too desperate a situation, but the rain certainly made it feel that way. It was a nondescript car, maybe a little too nondescript though. The sedan sat there in the dark at a heavy idle, as the windshield wipers mechanically swiped back and forth across.

Why hasn’t he come back in yet?

Why is the gate still locked?

We were supposed to be there; it was my facility.

04/02 Direct Link

“God damn it’s cold out,” I said shivering.

We walked a few more paces before she replied “really, not that cold out.”

I could feel the freezing air hit my face as we walked towards the car. It wasn’t a terribly long walk, but it was across a very unsheltered hilltop.

“Yea, anything approaching thirty degrees is too cold,” I said.

“Who said that thirty degrees is too cold?” she asked.

“Water said it’s too cold. That’s who,” I replied, smiling. I knew it was a good joke before I finished telling it.

We smiled as we finished the walk.

04/03 Direct Link

Hands trembling, not visibly, as she grabbed the mic.

There was supposed to be forty people in the audience, at least that’s what they predicted.

Walking into the small cordoned off area that represented a stage, she saw a room awash in a sea of spectators. There had to be hundreds of them, standing room only.

It was nothing short of a fire hazard to have that many people in the small cafeteria, she knew that.

“Hello,” she said hollowly into the mic.

The rancorous crowd went silent.

“Judging by your silence, I take it that you can hear me.”

04/04 Direct Link

That moment of doubt.

Clicking refresh on the top right corner of the screen, I know I booked it, right?

Quickly scrolling through the list of names, but yours isn’t there. Navigating back through the menu, clicking refreshing again.

Your name isn’t there, it simply isn’t.

So, what’s next?

The moment of anger.

Why didn’t I double check until now? I’ve been registered for three months, there was plenty of time to check earlier. Plenty of time to do it again if the system dropped me.

The moment of fear.

What the hell am I going to do now?

Dammit!

04/05 Direct Link

“Hey, you alright?” she asked, peering in through the broken window.

Turning back to her partner, Officer Jones, “I don’t think he’s gonna wake up.”

“That’s probably true, look at this mess.” Said the partner, who was looking around the other side of the vehicle.

Officer Espinoza called out to dispatch for a code three ambulance, and a utility company van. “Yea, this phone pole is down on the roadway, and power is out in the neighborhood,” she told the voice on the other end of the radio.

“Alright, helps on the way,” she told Jones.

“Thank God for that.”

04/06 Direct Link

It was a small victory.

But, it was all they had for the moment.

In a season of defeats, the candidate took the stage for what he thought might be the last time during this campaign. The crowd was sparse, hardly filling up the chairs his staffers had arranged in the cafeteria. As he grabbed the mic, the sharp feedback easily overpowered all of the voices in the room and a chilling feeling of finality overtook him.

“You know; I really shouldn’t be here today. I should’ve dropped out a long time ago,” he said to the now attentive crowd. 

04/07 Direct Link

“You’re about to make rank, so what would you do to him?” Asked my tired looking Chief.

Leaning back against the bulkhead. “I’d convince him why doing soundings are important,” I replied sharply.

“What do you mean?” Asked Chief, confused.

“Well, we’re supposed to be doing them for a reason. So, convince him that it’s a critical task that shouldn’t be gundecked.” I continued. “And if you can’t convince him that they’re important, then maybe we should see if they really need to be done anymore.”

He quickly changed the subject.

Obviously that wasn’t the answer he was looking for. 

04/08 Direct Link

The cold snow swirled in little eddies around the edge of eaves as the sharp wind pushed it against the brick façade.

Walking quickly, under the dim streetlights, she made a direct path for the unmanned doors. As she got closer to the building, she heard a howling from the wind as it ripped past the corner.

Outside, it was dark and it was turbulent.

Reaching the doors, they opened in a quick swoosh, allowing her into the hospital.

“Good to see you Dr. Richards, how were the roads?” Asked a nurse.

Inside it was warm and it was calm. 

04/09 Direct Link

Sometimes I question my hearing.

I know that the brain can make you feel things that aren’t there because I’ve watched this happen. Someone sprayed with water from an OC canister will wince. And a more than a few of those people will actually fall down from the pain.

But, what about sounds?

This morning I watched a wave crest, and then crash near the shore.

I could’ve sworn that I heard it crash, but don’t know if that’s possible.

After years near the ocean, did I develop a ‘wave track’ to fill in the blanks?

-insert wave noise here-

04/10 Direct Link

“Pro-tip for survival, if you use the small pot to cook ramen wash it out afterwards.” I said, smiling.

“Makes sense, but survival?” he quickly replied.

“Yea, I’ve got this thing about ramen flavored tea in the morning, it puts me in a rage. Kinda’ like if you had spaghetti flavored coffee.

He started laughing, before stopping and saying “yea, that’s happened more than a few times.”

“Oh, sorry about that. It was an accident, really.” I replied seriously.

He laughed, “it’s all good.”

Thinking about the situation for a few minutes, I thoughtfully asked “but how’d it taste?”

04/11 Direct Link

“Of course I know what social media is, because I can remember a time when it didn’t exist.” I said, smiling.

“What does that even mean?” He asked.

Leaning further back in my chair I started. “Well, having lived in a world without Facebook or Instagram, I can distinctly remember what they brought to the table because I’ve got a good first-hand account of what was actually different after they showed up.”

“So,” he replied bluntly.

“So, what you think these programs don’t actually do what you think they do, and you can’t just use them as your whole platform.”

04/12 Direct Link

Every hallway looks like the one before.

With each passing corner I can feel myself getting more lost.

I hadn’t left the ground floor and there were signs everywhere, so it should’ve been easy to find my way back to the room.  

But it wasn’t.

I have a faulty memory for that stuff.  

So when I turned the first corner, my fate was already sealed. I was already lost.

And the more lost I got, the less bandwidth I had to figure it out. It is a self-compounding problem, and it’s always the same.

A rapid descent into lost panic. 

04/13 Direct Link

Her footsteps rung hollow on the dry wooden deck. The boat was empty, and the sounds echoed off of every surface.

“Hello?” She called out.

There was no response.

Walking further along the deck, she reached the ladder into the lower cabin. There were no lights below deck, the power had failed long ago.

CLICK- her bright Streamlight flashed into the dark space, illuminating large circle of the galley.

THUD-THUD-THUD her boots fell loudly on the steps of the ladder.

It was perfectly quiet, and perfectly dark too.

“Shit, there hasn’t been anyone down here for months,” she said aloud. 

04/14 Direct Link

Relief, that’s what I felt when I handed over my phone. It was their phone really. I was just using it for them.

Maybe there’s no better symbol of retirement than that.

My office had been worked on, or otherwise unusable at some points during my time there, yet I still got the job done. People could still reach me.

The same thing with the computer, it was important but not critical.

My phone though, and that number, had been the lifeline of my job and department. It was the one unchangeable condition of running things, I had that phone.

04/15 Direct Link

The dull clicking of buttons filled the room.

 The music had stopped hours ago, as they continued building.

On the television in front of them, four small windows subdivided the screen. Each person controlling a corner, and each contributing to the structure of the castle.

For a while, they were so involved that none of them could hear the clicking, it was invisible background noise.

Then he pointed it out, the clicking.

From that point forward, it was impossible to ignore or escape the low clicking of the four controllers.

Even with the music back on, the clicking was there. 

04/16 Direct Link

“This isn’t going to go how you think it’s going to go,” he said coldly.

His admonition unanswered, he continued watching the situation. It was precarious, as any third party could have easily seen.

“Maybe this whole think looks better from your perspective,” he said, again with no response.

Still, he watched as the situation got even more precarious.

“And, now I suppose you want me to leap into action?” He asked, to a puzzled response.

Reaching the end of the bookcase, the cat turned her head toward him.

Unable to turn around or walk backwards, she meowed for help. 

04/17 Direct Link

The hillside was quiet; a dense blanket of fog had absorbed all of the sounds from the town below.

“I know that the town is down there, humming along like always,” said Alex as she looked towards the undistinguishable horizon.

“Maybe, but what’s your proof?” asked Tamara.

“Considering that it’s always been there, and that something powerful enough to make it go away couldn’t be quiet.” Replied Alex, as she continued walking down the hillside.

“Maybe we aren’t on the right hillside,” responded Tamara.

They continued walking down the hill for a few more minutes.

“Is that possible?” Asked Alex.

04/18 Direct Link

Of course time isn’t linear, I thought.

It’s just a construct, a cheap trick we invented to understand something that doesn’t exist.

Right?

Meh, I’m not sure anymore.

People are always saying that you can save time, or that you can waste time. Like it’s some sort of tangible object. At work, I even set up spreadsheets to capture time.

None of it worked.

And I’m starting to suspect that it’s because time doesn’t exist. It’s just a measurement, like feet or meters.

An object can be three meters across, sure.

But three meters is not a thing that exists. 

04/19 Direct Link

“It’s funny what sorts of things can be the actual sign of impending doom,” said Vo to the small crowd.

Leaning back in her chair, she asked the question everyone else was thinking. “What do you mean when you say actual sign?”

“Well,” he started before clearing his throat. “People are always looking for the starting point or leading indicator of a tragedy. So they can use that moment to prevent the next tragedy. Problem is, most of the signs people find aren’t the right ones. But, sometimes the right sign is something very unexpected.” He explained to the crowd.

 

04/20 Direct Link

The low rumble starts while you aren’t paying attention.

You can hardly notice as it turns into a high-pitch whine, because the crashing waves beneath mask the transformation.

Then almost without warning, it’s there.  All four engines screaming at full power as the jet races off skyward.

Sometimes I swear that they are barely making it over the cliffs before reaching the open ocean.

And then, almost as quickly, the aircraft turns right.

Yup, there’s a bird on the tail of that one. They’ll be in Frankfurt twelve hours from now.

Minutes later, I’m left alone again with the waves. 

04/21 Direct Link

“What do you want?” Asked the Chief Engineer, as she met the auditor in the passageway above the engine room.

“Me, oh well nothing much really,” he replied shakily.

“Okay, then why are you here?” She asked, looking directly at him as he nervously fidgeted with the pen in his shirt pocket.

The two stood there, as he awkwardly tried to say what he was sent there to say. “It’s just these gaskets, they’re way over budget and. . .”

“Whose budget?” She asked, sharply. “Because I definitely remember putting this into the budget I submitted.”

“But, yea.” He started. 

04/22 Direct Link

Red.

The high pitched engine purrs as the car idles at the light.

Green.

Quickly the little car tears off from a standstill, gracefully gliding through the first corner as the engine smoothly screams through the gears.

Yield.

The freeway is dark, city lights flashing by on either side of the freeway, as we weave through the light traffic. Sometimes slow motorists are welcomed obstacles, especially with good music on the radio.

Like a well-tuned tadpole, the Mini masterfully cuts between the slower cars like blades of grass in a pond.

It’s almost organic, in the most mechanical possible way.

04/23 Direct Link

The stem of the boat was cutting smoothly through the water, parting the sea, as it were, as I leaned over the bulwarks.

It’s one of those precarious angles, just a slip away from tumbling headfirst into the ocean. But the picture was worth it in the glass smooth water that day.

Underway Sundays can be great, provided you don’t have the doubles

After taking some pictures over the bow, I moved aft. Maybe there’ll be some cool looking clouds over the horizon, I thought. It didn’t matter though, I had forever to do nothing.

Or at least until watch. 

04/24 Direct Link

There’s a place just south of the city.

It must be a local’s place, because I never see too many people there.

You start from a small disjointed parking lot, or patch of pavement really, and walk north along a wide gravel trail.

To start, there are some small houses overlooking the cliffs above, but that mostly fades away as the trail descends towards that narrow strip of beach that stretches off into the horizon.

At low tide you’ve got about thirty yards, between the crashing waves and the unstable cliffs.

We’ve always called it fossil beach, for obvious reasons. 

04/25 Direct Link

“What in the hell are you talking about?” He asked, angrily.

“Trust me, I’ve done this before.” Replied Kim, the chief engineer.

The engine continued to roar and the boat continued to pitch, as the two stood there next to the leaking water pump.

“It’s not going to work, but whatever, it’s your engine room.” Said Ben, snidely, as he walked off to the shop.

“You’re damn right it’s my engine room, and I worked for years trying to prove myself to people like you to get it. I you don’t like it, get out and I’ll find someone else.”

04/26 Direct Link

“That’s not a sign of strength,” I said loudly, to compete with the television.

They all turned, looking confused.

“No, it’s true. Any bully can pick on someone smaller than them,” I started before pausing briefly.

“Don’t be stupid, we can’t just let them keep doing that.” Said one of the other veterans.

“Keep doing what? The same thing we’ve been doing for the past seventy years.” I replied. “I don’t give a good God-Damn if they do develop the weapons right now, because that’s exactly what we are pushing them to do.”

The television racket continued in the background. 

04/27 Direct Link

“But those warheads could threaten the peace of the region, and even the safety of the US,” said the same guy from before.

“Sure, but how does that justify what we’re doing presently?” I asked.

There was a brief pause.

“It’s sending a message that this President is serious, unlike the last administration,” he said.

“No, that’s not what it’s saying at all,” I started. “It’s actually telling Mr. Kim Jong-un that he’s really important and justifying his actions to the people of North Korea. If someone parked a bunch of military assets on our boarder, how would we respond?”

04/28 Direct Link

Green-water coming up over the bow, the ship was sloshing through the turbulent sea.

The bridge crew could see it all, from high up in the superstructure.

Down below decks, however, the engineers were oblivious to the outside. Their world rolled from port to starboard, almost mathematically.

A whole world of work was humming between the frames of the engine room. Water was getting purified, electricity was being produced and propulsion was maintained.

With almost clock like reliability, the engineers completed watches, transferred fuel and adjusted the ballast tanks. Working always below decks, in the windowless depths of the ship. 

04/29 Direct Link

The lights in the window come in and out of focus as I try to fall asleep.

The high ridge gives the house an almost airplane like perspective above the rest of the small coastal town as I sleepily gaze out the large glass panes.

The streetlights and errant kitchen light are the constants.

A steady stream of ant like lights flicker across on the freeway far below.

In focus, it makes a world of sense.

Out of focus, it’s like a maze of new constellations against the dark backdrop of night through the windows.

A world of dancing lights. 

04/30 Direct Link

The lights in the window come in and out of focus as I try to fall asleep.

The high ridge gives the house an almost airplane like perspective above the rest of the small coastal town as I sleepily gaze out the large glass panes.

The streetlights and errant kitchen light are the constants.

A steady stream of ant like lights flicker across on the freeway far below.

In focus, it makes a world of sense.

Out of focus, it’s like a maze of new constellations against the dark backdrop of night through the windows.

A world of dancing lights.