A Chronicle of Jails

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By Roman Köhler [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

This flash-fiction story was written in response to this prompt from Fiction Can Be Fun.

First thing is that it wasn’t my fault. None of it was my fault. Not one bit of it.

Yeah, that’s what people always say, isn’t it, that it wasn’t their fault but in this particular case it’s 100% true. One-thousand percent.

Don’t give me that look, I’ve faced much tougher than you. Much, much tougher.

Anyway, I was minding my own business, as I do, walking along the street, when I happened across a plain brown paper bag. You know the kind, right, the ones they use for lunches or for people who can’t breathe. Whichever.

Me being the curious type, I take a peek.

That’s it. That’s all I did. Peek into the brown paper bag. Now I ask you, how many times out of ten do you think peeking in a brown paper bag you find in the street is going to get you into the kind of trouble I got into? How many times of ten do you think? One? Three?

Well it was my unlucky day. Or maybe my unluckiest day. Because whammo, I won the lottery, but the opposite.

All I saw was a bunch of shiny crystals. Some green, some red, some clear. Just crystals as far as I knew right there in that moment out on the street with a paper bag in my hand. They were pretty, sure, we’re all magpies at heart, take something shiny and who doesn’t want it? How does something that glittery not catch your eye?

I told you, it’s not my fault.

Okay, okay, it’s all over your face. You wouldn’t think they were crystals. You, of the ultimate wisdom, you’d think they were some kind of jewels or something, right?

Am I right?

That’s exactly where you’d be wrong. Maybe or maybe not the same thought crossed my mind. Maybe or maybe not when I took my peek of fate—nice ring, right? Peek of fate?—I thought my ship had come in right on the sidewalk in a paper bag.

It hadn’t.

Now see, you’re here too, so you know what happened next. You’re here too, so you know that the moment that first crystal, that red one, hit the freshly polluted Thursday morning city air, it changed and grew and surrounded me until, well, poof, here I am.

Eighteen months I made it out there, hopping through that great beyond, eighteen glorious careful months from Andromeda to Taurus and back again.

Because of a case of mistaken identity, you understand, like I said, it wasn’t my fault.

And even if I was there when that crateload of rare minerals disappeared from the landing bay of Settlement 8403, it doesn’t mean I took them. And it doesn’t mean I sold them to the Usurpians, who, in all fairness to me, I didn’t know had started a whole war thing with us like a standard month earlier. And bad timing on my part doesn’t mean I deserved to be sent to the harshest prison in this quadrant of the universe with its anti-matter locks that obviously can be defeated, no matter what the manufacturer says.

But I’ll tell you this. They can keep me here in the Leo Lockup, because I’m not going to back to the Black Eye Galaxy Prison. Not again.

Stupid, shiny warrant traps.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

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So if you enjoyed hanging out in April

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You’ll probably enjoy my books. It’s like hanging out with me, only longer and so very much weirder.

 

#FridayReads: Spring clean your noggin

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Mind teeming with deep, dark wintry cobwebs? Aunty Ida’s just the one to clean them out.

Perhaps a little too enthusiastically.

So, you know, keep an eye on your brain. 

And if you’re brave enough for more…

Aunty Ida has the answers

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She can’t cure everything.

It’s possible she can’t cure anything.

But she does have a way with brains.

Want to control time?

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These days, who doesn’t? It would definitely come in handy. Unless it goes like this.

 

Get Away for a While

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Definitely better than what’s going on right now.

Definitely.

Plus there’s eavesbraining, so there’s that.

Worry Fraught and That’s Just Fine

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Muir Beach Overlook, Marin County, California. By Frank Schulenburg (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

That crawling feeling, that one that slinks its way behind everything, pops up with a droning sense of unease. You know what I’m talking about.

Worry.

Some people are worriers, and some people aren’t. You non-worriers, I salute you and the mind doors you must possess, each with its own lock and miles of file cabinets where each thought is put in its place. Beyond those doors, I picture the inside of your heads like a tropical beach, all drinks included, the view bright and clear as far as the mind’s eye can see.

Not so much for the worriers among us,

And now, with the far-reaches of the internet, I have so much more to worry about. People I’ve never met and will never meet on far-off islands, once lush paradises, now stripped bare by vicious hurricanes. The citizens of Mexico, tormented first by one earthquake and a tropical storm, and then by another earthquake.

I worry for strangers who could be the targets of police violence; I worry for disabled children who rely on Medicaid to live at home with their parents instead of in an institution. And that’s on top of the normal worry stuff, like what if I never have another creative idea in my life, and hey wait a minute, that’s a good idea for a story.

But what if I don’t finish what I’m working on because I get distracted with the new story?

And scene.

But I’m going to fill you in on what might be a mixed-blessing secret, my lovely fellow writers and my lovely fellow readers. I can’t confirm it, but I think worrying is one of our superpowers.

Why? Worry leads you down a trail of thoughts, and thinking is the mother source of inspiration. It also forms the wellspring of imagination, and without an imagination you cannot get lost in a book.

So the trick is to harness our worry for good, to take these fears and find a way to make them work for us. And we might make it to those mind-beaches yet.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.