Posted in Short story

The Invisible Hand

The names of the exact philosophers were lost to time, wiped out in one of the great chemical warfare floods. That they had called the periodic near-extinction level events “The Invisible Hand” was not lost. To this date, men debated and argued over the cause of The Invisible Hand, but these debates didn’t even rise to the level of educated guesses because no man before now had ever slipped the surly bonds of Corani to investigate the mysteries of space. It was now well-established scientific consensus that their ancestors had been too feeble minded and of such poor constitution that simple survival was a struggle—never mind scientific achievement.

The fact was that throughout the history of Corani, about every hundred generations, deadly chemical rains fell from the skies, wiping out nearly the entire population. There had been other struggles in their history as well, but it was difficult to separate the myth and legend from facts.  I mean, who would believe in spores from space landing sporadically (other than that being the obvious etymology of the word) and establishing destructive colonies? Who would believe that the many weak and feeble generations of Coranians could possibly have battled the invaders and won? Those are rhetorical questions—the whackjob religious fanatics believe exactly that. They claimed that the same mystical force that sends the deadly floods have been sending those floods to help Corani by destroying the plagues and invaders. They claim that the toxic rains completely destroy the spores and entire colonies of invaders, but they only kill the weakest of the Coranians. Continue reading “The Invisible Hand”

Posted in Short story

Pit Stop

Freddie Jenkins had been driving for almost five hours since his last stop. He felt like his bladder was about to burst, but there weren’t many exits along this stretch of highway and a black man pissing on the side of the road is just looking for trouble. There was an almost empty twenty ounce coffee cup in the holder in the center console of his Malibu, but he’d done that before and always ended up with urine on his seat or on his hands and just… no.

So on he drove grimacing and squeezing his legs together.  The fucking potholes on the interstate weren’t helping either.

Finally, he saw a sign advertising a Pilot at the next exit—about 3 miles ahead. He was going to make it.  Barely, he thought. Continue reading “Pit Stop”

Posted in Short story

Equal Rights

Monique practically danced home from the post office. After saving for nearly eight months, and not really knowing which way the tribunals would decide the matter, she had sent a check to buy a parcel of land in the new Western Territories expansion. Today the deed came—with her name on it.

Of course there would still be the question of how to get there.  Transportation was another expense. She had been saving for travel, but there was a deadline and it was going to be close. When the treaty was first signed, the government actually gave plots away (not to her, of course) with the only real stipulation that settlers had two years to live on their plot or they would lose it. Considering it takes nearly six difficult months to travel to the Territories, this wasn’t always very easy—especially before the caravans were established.

After regular seasonal caravans began to make the journey, things became considerably easier for settlers. But as more settlers arrived, demand started to outpace supply and the government stopped giving parcels away. They continued to pay for travel vouchers up until recently. Maybe it was a coincidence that free travel stopped at roughly the same time the tribunal made its decision. Continue reading “Equal Rights”

Posted in Short story

Ojibwe Gichigami

The Anishinaabe, which includes the Chippewa or Ojibwe, have lived in harmony with the Great Sea for more than six hundred years. When French fur traders arrived, they formed an alliance that made the Ojibwe the dominant native population in the region before they were driven out by the expanding United States. The Ojibwe called the big lake “Gichigami,” which simply means “Great Sea.” In his work, The Song of Hiawatha, Longfellow used the spelling Gitche Gumee, which was later Gordon Lightfoot’s preferred spelling as well.

I don’t know if my dad was familiar with any of that. More likely, he read a sign posted by the local tourism board at some scenic overlook. But to my dad’s way of thinking, Gitche Gumee didn’t sound like the name of a lake; it sounded like the name of a monster.

Dad wasn’t home much. It’s not that he was always working or anything like that. As a matter of fact, I can’t really remember him holding down a job for more than a few months. He just liked to spend time at Randall’s a lot more than he enjoyed spending time with Mom. Can you blame him? Beer helps you forget things, if only temporarily. Mom never lets you forget anything. Continue reading “Ojibwe Gichigami”

Posted in Short story

First Officer’s Log

Entry 74865.3

We arrived in this sector three days ago with a lot of hope. Long-range observations showed that this star system is very similar to our own. One planet in the habitable zone (marked as S4576-3 on the charts) showed atmospheric conditions indicating the presence of many diverse lifeforms.

Upon arrival in the sector, we began receiving data across the entire frequency spectrum. Communications Officer Hoffman and his department have been working tirelessly attempting to translate the unusual nature of the native languages (yes, it seems that the natives use multiple languages as we did centuries ago). At this point, it appears that like ourselves, the planet is dominated by one specie of relatively moderate intelligence. Officer Hoffman is confident his department will break the linguistics barrier within days. Continue reading “First Officer’s Log”

Posted in Sunday Politics

Sunday Politics

I used to run a blog that was mostly political but which also included non-fiction stories from my childhood and young adult life.  When I started Snapped Strings earlier this week, I wanted it to be mostly fiction stories with very little to no politics.  But I’m a political junkie of the libertarian bent, so I’m going to compromise with myself and make it so that I have a “Sunday Politics” entry but, unless there is a major event, no politics on other days.  Fair?

I will be voting for Gary Johnson this year because it’s getting close to a point where there won’t be a way to reduce the ever more tyrannical government peacefully, and he’s the closest we’ve got who has even an outside shot this time around.

Hillary supports too many of the things that I despise regarding foreign policy (war) and cronyism. I can’t get behind big bank, big military, and the government picking winners and losers in the private sector.

Trump is just a buffoon, who frankly other than his jingoism and nationalism, I have no idea what he believes even though I watched most of the debates–and neither does anyone else–including Trump, I imagine.

So for me Continue reading “Sunday Politics”