Score (Jane Doe Six Sentences Stories)

“Four score and seven years ago. ..”

Jane splutters laughter as she reads her exploding Twitter feed.
“So NPR is calling for revolution” … “this is why you’re going to get defunded…”
“Best demonstration ever of the need for affordable, quality education for all,” Jane says to the man next to her. “I guess we’d better hope NPR doesn’t decide to tweet ‘War of the Worlds.'”
Huffington Post, author screenshot

Every week, Ivy at Uncharted hosts the Six Sentence Stories flash fiction linkup and blog hop. Fun sixes from other writers are at the link. Join us! It’s fun!

Gone Art (Jane Doe Flash Fiction)

Each week, Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch hosts the Rough Writers and Friends flash fiction challenge. This week’s prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) go down the rabbit hole to a place where art is not allowed.

Jane sits quietly in the sand, eyes toward the horizon. The trees blur into smudges as the lines of sea and sky draw her eyes.  The breeze whispers to her, a voice without words.

Her fingers almost itch to feel the smoothness of the blank page beneath their tips, to hold a charcoal pencil. She has written poetry on her phone before but in these days of want, sketch pads and pencils are a luxury she cannot afford.

As if by magic, a stick is in her hand and her hand is moving, lines in the sand, then more.


So, I walked away from the cue with the wrong thing in my head. It read “a world where art is not allowed,” and I had taken with me only the idea of no art, not disallowed art. I could have had a horrific little dystopian flash there.

I think my take would be same, though: A world with humans in it, and no art, is simply not possible. I’m not trying to normalize defunding national arts and humanities programs; far from it. But I also believe that, once again, Der Pumkinfuhrer just doesn’t get it. This is a guy who only thinks of tits and makeup when he thinks of beauty; who measures success by the size and altitude of the office and how much gold gilt crap is covering every visible surface. We had art long before we had programs or even schools for it, and we will have art even without those things. The human spirit has always communicated itself, expressed itself for others to know: its dreams and nightmares, its love and its fear, its laughter and its anguish and its thanks to God, by whatever name you choose, for such a beautiful, terrible world. The Talking Yam can take away money all he wants, but art is about so much more than money. Just ask a typical artist, the community theater actor or writer or Etsy shop-owner who has a day job because art doesn’t pay that well. Even without financial support, artists will make art.

This doesn’t mean I think we should sit by and let this defunding just happen; no. Captain Chaos will never get it, but that doesn’t mean we should let him win. Art is vital to humanity, which is why it’s always been. Where there have been human beings, there has been art. Art reflects our society, and informs it; graffiti is art. Art tells stories and changes minds. Art makes us look at ourselves, and it looks back at us. Humanity does not exist without art that expresses it. Why else is the study of the arts called “the humanities?” (And this is why The Trumpster doesn’t get it: He’s not human. He’s a space alien. You heard it here first.)

Keep making your art, even if you’re drawing pictures and scribbling haiku on the backs of old bill envelopes. And just as importantly, keep resisting. My lovely friend Soraya turned me on to this cool tech that makes it a piece of cake to perform one act of resistance every day: ResistBot. Check it out.

And Now I Am One

I’ve always been scornful of those bathroom phone people. You’ve heard them, blathering away in the next stall. I’ve always laughed at them a little as I tinkled away merrily, fastidiously avoiding hand-to-face activities. I laughed at the end of the conversations I could hear, and tried to imagine the gist of the whole thing to use as writing exercises, and would think loftily that you’ll never catch me admitting to the Sprint guy that I need a new phone because I dropped mine in the toilet. Not to mention the types of germs…well, I said I wasn’t going to mention it, so I won’t.

Except now I’m one of them.

It’s a lifestyle thing, I now realize. At least for me. My new job has a strict no-phones-at-the-desk rule, because all day long I have people’s health care information splayed across two monitors, and I just might be dumb enough to accidentally enter my phone’s security code and then accidentally push the camera button and then accidentally take a picture of some woman’s Social Security number and her bill for chlamydia treatment, and then accidentally tweet it. I know I am not that dumb, but a lot of things have happened lately that I’d have thought impossible, so there it is. The only time I can quick-check email and text messages and see what’s up with my tribe is on my breaks.

I have become a toilet texter.

It’s hilarious.

It’s still better, though, because I finally figured out how, post-election, I can stand to be on Facebook once again. I know, I know, a woman’s place is in the resistance, and I need to be aware of what’s going on, and write to my representatives and call my representatives, and I would have been all over the Women’s March if I hadn’t ruined my knees and feet with decades of awesome shoes.

Shoes like these. Beautiful, fabulous shoes. I used to live in gorgeous shoes like these, and I ruined my feet, and it was totally worth it. Photo courtesy of rhythmuswege/Pixabay.

I am proud to know a dozen women who did march, and I’m very much aware that they marched for me as well as for them, they marched for every woman in this country, every woman in the world, and they are amazing and I love them for it. I’m still sorry I couldn’t do it too. That’s one of my regrets – in my life, I’ve never taken part in a protest. I suppose I could do a sit-in.

Anyway, I was avoiding social media after the election because I simply cannot take any more of that goddamned fuuuugly orange mug. It makes me feel physically ill. Literally. I do stay informed, from established, trusted sources including the Seattle Times and the Washington Post, the BBC and NPR. I don’t want to see Der Pumpkinfuhrer on Facebook partly because it’s social media, where I connect with people I like, to talk about things we like and see my horoscope and pictures of llamas and other people’s sunsets and desserts and shoes I can no longer wear, but mostly because if people are going to post about the White Kanye then I’d prefer it to be from reliable sources, and I can’t take any more stupid memes and dubious news articles from the likes of Brietbart and Buzzfeed. I don’t need alternate facts when the real facts are bad enough. (You’ll notice I picked clickbait news sources from each slant of the political spectrum. I try to be fair about this stuff, and it’s too easy for any of us to go with news that reinforces how we already think rather than swallow distasteful information, no matter how accurate. This is important. I cannot stress it enough.)

My return to Facebook is possible because of this awesome Chrome extension I found that blocks our Asshole in Chief when you’re net-surfing. I know, right? Want to know how well it works? When I was previewing my last blog post prior to publishing, the sentence I wrote about Captain Chaos didn’t even show up, and I thought WordPress was wigging out, or maybe I somehow wasn’t typing it right. I typed it again. Still not there. So I disabled the blocking extension, and the sentence showed up fine. Enabled it again, and the sentence disappeared. I had to use code names (which are more fun anyway) in order to put this post together for you. And it works with pictures too, so I don’t have to look at that fucking ugly face at all.

It’s awesome!

You’re welcome.

So, yeah, I am now a toilet texter. Who’d a thunk it? With everything going on in the world, it gives me a feeling of subterfuge, like my bathroom connections are more nefarious than reading about my friend’s son’s acceptance to a nice college. I’m hunkered down, reading and tapping out replies, and it feels like they should be in code. The moral of the story is to be careful what you laugh at because you think it’s outside all realms of possibility. I mean, really. Me liking someone’s margarita while sitting on my porcelain throne and the Cheeto Jesus shredding the Constitution on what he evidently views as his own throne. What is the world coming to.

The other moral of the story is no matter what kind of shoes you wear or where you check your email, carry on.



*This post is tagged “Kim Kardashian” because, once again, I am amazed that I could miss the silly twit, and I don’t even have her blocked.