Tag: Initiate

INITIATE: Going Through the Process By Mike Cecconi

Word: INITIATE
Word Count 490

Going Through the Process
By Mike Cecconi

They told us that it was our choice, of course, when we were kids. The government had scanned our genes and said we had the potential to manifest our superhuman abilities if we were able to expose ourselves to The Process.

Only three percent of the population even gets the chance to try but what do you have to lose, right? Even after that, so many come out of exposure to Process only superficially changed, no powers, just orange skin or horns or now they’re two feet taller.

A few people, The Process will cripple or kill, a few will get godlike powers like Superman or Thor from the old moviefilms, most folk just grow longer thumbs or are able to talk to voles or their hair’s blue now.

There are some of us who are in-between, though, with powers useful in certain situations but not in crime fighting ways. I know a woman who can make plants grow ten time faster if she looks at them funny. She can’t kill Dr. Metalface when he’s trying to steal the Statue of Liberty, sure, but she feeds half of Africa just by meditating on a veldt somewhere. That’s real power. That’s changing the world, not just punching a guy in a gimp mask.

After the Process, I was an initiate in a support program to help us identity our gifts and how to use them. Eventually we figured out my enhancement was that I could dampen the effects of mental illness within a certain range. After years of practice, I can extend a bubble hundreds of yards in all directions where every single person’s mental illnesses are temporarily tamped down and evened out.

At first, they had me cool off hostage situations or drove me to potential suicides to calm them down. Sometimes they needed someone made sane enough to remember their crimes or some otherwise forgotten password. I wasn’t a superhero but I was a useful tool.

Finally, I asked if I could just have a sanitarium and live with all the craziest people in the world, all their terror and fear shut down by my gift until the day I died. I thought it was how I could do the most good in the world. The government told me no, though, they have more use for me as a military asset. But I disagree.

I’m leaving on a train for D.C. in the morning. I learned what my power really means, I can pull people up out of their madness! I’m going to get within a mile of the Capitol then just sit down. Give me a week sitting on the green of National Mall, making brain-sick people sane and we’ll save the world by lunch that Thursday.

Maybe not every superhero punches the moon in the face. Maybe only sanity itself can save the world now. Maybe sanity is our new superhuman power, maybe it’s our last. Maybe.

INITIATE: From Initiate to Hero: The Rest of the Story by G. Ackman

Word: INITIATE
Word Count 492

From Initiate to Hero: The Rest of the Story
by G. Ackman

“Dad, whose statue is that?”

“That’s Rudolph, son,” dad sighed.

“Who was he?”

“Well, he lived a long time ago and became very famous.”

“What’d he do?”

“He was a little like Paul Revere – made famous not so much for what he did but for what someone wrote about him.”

“Huh? I don’t understand.”

“Sit down here, and I’ll tell you all about it.”

“One Christmas season, a long time ago, a little deer was born and his parents named him Rudolph.”

“That’s a funny name.”

“No one uses it anymore, and that’s why it sounds funny to you. But there used to be lots of Rudolphs. It was the second most common name after Prancer.”

“Like me!”

“Yes, son, like you. Anyway, this Rudolph was a bit different. You see he was allergic to pine, yet he just loved it.”

“I do too.”

“Yes, I know. But Rudolph wasn’t supposed to eat it and every time he did, his eyes would swell all up and his nose would turn bright red and be all stuffy. Everyone laughed at him because he kept on doing it anyway. His mom and dad would tell him to stay away from the pines, but sure enough, there would be Rudolph, every afternoon, nibbling away, and the next morning – poof! big red nose and watery eyes.”

Then, one Christmas, the weather was just terrible. Way too foggy to navigate so Santa was not going to be able to go on his rounds. We were so sad thinking of all those poor children waking up Christmas morning to no presents. Then Dasher – your great, great uncle – came up with a great idea. He suggested that Santa put those LED headlamps on each of the reindeer and that would make it easier for him to see. Everyone agreed that made sense, so Mrs. Claus headed right out to the store and bought every single headlamp they had. All the reindeer strapped them on and got into harness. It worked – those bright lights pierced the heavy fog and Santa made his deliveries with no problems. Christmas was saved, thanks to Dasher’s initiative.”

“But I still don’t understand. If it was Uncle Dasher’s idea, why doesn’t he have a statue?”

“Well, a little boy, Robert May, happened to be awake when he shouldn’t and saw the reindeer, including poor Rudolph and his swollen nose, flying away from his house with their lights on. Later, for his own kids, he made up a story about the reindeer and their lights, but he changed it to only one – Rudolph – and made it where he had been bullied because of his nose and then saved the day. So Rudolph, an initiate reindeer, since it was his first ever Christmas flight, became the hero. A few years later, the singer Johnny Marks turned May’s story into a song, and pretty soon, everyone knew the story that never was – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

INITIATE: Unwilling Initiate By B.A. Sarvey

Word: INITIATE
498 words
Unwilling Initiate
By B.A. Sarvey
This was a club of which he did not want to be an initiate. ‘Really,’ he thought, ‘I have no business being here.’ But in reality, the onus was entirely his.
The officiant’s voice droned on, specifying whys and whereas’s, party-of-the-first-part, party-of-the-second-part, the privileges he would lose, those he would retain; Listening for signs of absolution, somewhere in the tangle of rules and regulations, his attention lapsed. The voice was lost in a mumbo-jumbo of rhetoric and ritual. The mouth kept moving—a mouth, he felt, more suited to radio than television, or in this case, public display—the lips too full, too fleshy, leaning to a ruddiness generally associated with too much drink or too much sun. A certain largesse of living. A cottony fleck of spittle, or toothpaste, collected at the left-hand corner. Gagging slightly, he quickly looked away.
The room was richly appointed, as one might expect of such an exclusive enclave. An abundance of leather, worn just enough to create a comfortable atmosphere, not so much that it became shabby; wainscoting, heavily framed—well-polished walnut, from the look of it, nearly the same hue as the club chairs and davenport. Sconce lights gleamed back from its surface. A trace of lemon oil hung in the air.
Lemon oil. Made him think of home. That he had been coerced in this matter irritated him, as he considered ‘home’ and his present situation, this rite of initiation into a select group of men he had no wish to fraternize with. Fraternize. Perhaps a poor choice of words, since fraternization was what, indeed, had set him up for membership. Even after all this, he maintained his dalliances were harmless. His wife didn’t see things the same way, however. She had no proof of anything, other than whispers; no proof of prior offences. But in her eyes, he was culpable, if only for the embarrassment and public humiliation. It had never, despite the titillating talk, (trumped up allegations,) amounted to sex.
Adultery was such an ugly word. So was entrapment. He couldn’t quibble over his intentions, though. Even if it hadn’t been a full-blown affair. How was he to know the woman was his wife’s hairdresser? The club where he initiated her acquaintance was another high-class, exclusive establishment. Certainly not the normal haunt for a hairdresser. He had never intended more than an occasional drink and flirtation, something to ease the chill of his tired marriage. For this, he blamed his wife. If she had upheld the ‘love, honor, cherish’ part of the contract, he wouldn’t be here now.
Refocusing on the fleshy lips, he said, “Fine. Let’s just get this over with so I can move on. Give her whatever she wants.” The lawyer slid the papers across his desk with the ease of one who has performed this ritual for countless supplicants. He signed on the dotted line, accepting the rules of initiation into the club, and the scarlet ‘A’ which was part of the trappings.

INITIATE: Traditions By Peg Scarano

Word:  Initiate

Word Count: 498

 

Traditions

By Peg Scarano

 

Traditions were not a large part of my childhood.  Oh, we had a few, but nothing really retains a special place in my heart.  So, when my husband and I started our family, we were determined to initiate some traditions our girls would carry with them throughout their lives and, more importantly, pass on to their children.  

 

Every Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Scarano family (usually 12 to 18 people) would all gather at General Herkimer Home for a day-long picnic.  It was probably one of the longest days of the year for me because once we got home, everyone needed to be cleaned up for school the next day. We made a tradition of Rock being the first person in the pool each summer.  The 4th of July always meant fireworks – from the littlest of sparklers to the huge illegal bombs that scared me to death.  In the fall, there was the dreaded “leaf day” tradition – when all five of us would be put to work with rakes, brooms, a blower and bags to clean up the leaves in the backyard.  On the first day of school, we had to get up 10 minutes earlier so there was time for the dreaded photo shoot on the front porch.  Every night before bed was story time.  We read a story to each of them until they were old enough to read on their own.

 

Many of my newly established traditions revolved around Christmas, including baking Christmas cookies; making every Christmas memorable with one special gift among all of the necessity items; stockings filled with little treasures; reading The Night Before Christmas together every Christmas Eve (by phone if necessary); Rock would deliberately stall present opening Christmas morning by telling us we all had to eat breakfast, while he showered, shaved and polished his shoes.  A fire needed to be started in the fireplace before they could even peek at the tree.  When they were really little, we had to go and get my great aunt and in later years, my mom or Rock’s mother before we could open gifts.  They suffered through them all.

 

Over the years, the girls developed their own tradition of friendly and ferocious competitiveness.  They made a competition out of everything!  Whether it was who could make their bed the fastest, win the Nintendo game of choice or stay up the latest – you name it, it was a competition and it continues despite the fact they all live in different states.

Since we are still awaiting the birth of our first grandchild, the success of my particular established traditions has yet to be determined.    At this moment, I can only pat myself on the back for the fact all three girls bring homemade cookies to share over Christmas and that this will be the 38th year in a row we have read The Night Before Christmas together.  I have initiated play.  Now let the games begin and may the best mom win.

 

INITIATE: Ahhhh, Men By Sharon Collins

Word: INITIATE

Word Count 466

Ahhhh, Men

By Sharon Collins

As there are Altars of Estrogen, namely TJ Maxx and Pier One, at which many a husband dread the yearly Christmas-kneeling, there is also such a Temple of Testosterone to which I am a recent initiate. This temple of hewn pine and leather, aka Bass Pro, I have shunned, wise feminine-heretic that I am, for years.  Of late though, I was required to break my vow of abstinence, as Himself requested we enter this Crypt of Tackle and Camouflage together ; thus my pilgrimage began.

Needless to say, like any sensible novice, my senses were on high alert. I planned to watch with devotional intensity for any item, this impossible-to-buy-a-gift-for-man’s, hard-to-please-eyes might linger on for more than two seconds. This nearly prayerful-focus is the reason I bypassed the Man-Cave-Nave. Well, that and my purse got snagged on the turnstile. (The marketing genius who came up with the idea of a turnstile at the entrance deserves a raise. What genius. It separates, literally separates, the incoming congregation, thus giving Himself the desired Alpha Male positioning.

But back to the Man-Cave-Nave. Now I have seen and even complimented stores on the occasional Husband’s Bench, but Bass Pro has taken the Husband’s Bench concept to Martha Stewart-heights. (Forgive me Martha, for taking your name in vain, but I can’t remember the names of those cute twins on HGTV right now.) There to my right, illuminated in the halo-glow of Birch-bark lampshades, lay in an entire chapel of comfort: leather sofas, a huge stone fireplace, and I wager a fridge, camouflaged as a fallen log coffee table, to hold the communion beer. Sadly, though, I did not see this sanctuary until we were leaving. If I had, I would have plunked myself down on a piney pew and whipped out my knitting, which would have broken several commandments I am sure, but heck, I have socks to knit for Christmas.

Said temptation was avoided and confession thankfully unnecessary. Because, if you will recall, my purse and I had penance to perform at the turnstile. In hindsight, however, I am glad that I missed the Man-Cave-Nave, as I would have retreated there for the duration of the service and missed the muskellunge large enough to eat me, more green and brown mottled clothing than I believed existed in the entire world, and an architecturally perfect suet feeder. Finally someone built a suet feeder that can support more than a nuthatch or downy woodpecker. We get the larger, hairy version and an occasional  Flicker. So even though I might have been excommunicated for my lack of appropriate awe, I am so glad I finally decided to worship there.  Oh, and no,  I didn’t find Himself a Christmas Present…I may have to make another piligrimage to  that other temple of testosterone, Tractor Supply.

 

INITIATE: Initiate By Mike Cecconi

Word: INITIATE

Word Count 490

 

Initiate

By Mike Cecconi

They told us that it was our choice, of course, when we were kids. The government had scanned our genes and said we had the potential to manifest our superhuman abilities if we were able to expose ourselves to The Process.

 

Only three percent of the population even gets the chance to try but what do you have to lose, right? Even after that, so many come out of exposure to Process only superficially changed, no powers, just orange skin or horns or now they’re two feet taller.

 

A few people, The Process will cripple or kill, a few will get godlike powers like Superman or Thor from the old moviefilms, most folk just grow longer thumbs or are able to talk to voles or their hair’s blue now.  

 

There are some of us who are in-between, though, with powers useful in certain situations but not in crime fighting ways. I know a woman who can make plants grow ten time faster if she looks at them funny. She can’t kill Dr. Metalface when he’s trying to steal the Statue of Liberty, sure, but she feeds half of Africa just by meditating on a veldt somewhere. That’s real power. That’s changing the world, not just punching a guy in a gimp mask.

 

After the Process, I was an initiate in a support program to help us identity our gifts and how to use them. Eventually we figured out my enhancement was that I could dampen the effects of mental illness within a certain range. After years of practice, I can extend a bubble hundreds of yards in all directions where every single person’s mental illnesses are temporarily tamped down and evened out.  

 

At first, they had me cool off hostage situations or drove me to potential suicides to calm them down. Sometimes they needed someone made sane enough to remember their crimes or some otherwise forgotten password. I wasn’t a superhero but I was a useful tool.

 

Finally, I asked if I could just have a sanitarium and live with all the craziest people in the world, all their terror and fear shut down by my gift until the day I died. I thought it was how I could do the most good in the world. The government told me no, though, they have more use for me as a military asset. But I disagree.

 

I’m leaving on a train for D.C. in the morning. I learned what my power really means, I can pull people up out of their madness! I’m going to get within a mile of the Capitol then just sit down. Give me a week sitting on the green of National Mall, making brain-sick people sane and we’ll save the world by lunch that Thursday.  

 

Maybe not every superhero punches the moon in the face. Maybe only sanity itself can save the world now. Maybe sanity is our new superhuman power, maybe it’s our last. Maybe.

INITIATE: A Child By Sally Madison

Word: INITIATE

Words: 483

A Child

By Sally Madison

 

Coming home from holiday shopping, Mary was startled when the horse reared up, rocking the carriage. Mary heard a scream nearly at the same time.  From her carriage window, she could see people scurry to the center of the road. “James, what’s going on?”

 

“A child has been hurt by an oncoming carriage, sorry, I couldn’t hold the horse, my lady,” James replied.

 

Exiting the carriage, Mary hurried to help the child, who was bleeding and was in an unnatural position with no sign of life.  Mary felt under his jaw for a pulse, then covered the head wound with her handkerchief.  “James, get my lap blanket from the carriage, quickly!” she barked.  “Does anyone know this child? Has he any family.”  The onlookers stood gawking, not responding. Upon James’ return, she laid the blanket out beside the child, and ordered two onlookers, “You and you, gently pick up the child and lay him on the blanket. Now, gently lay him on the seat of my carriage,” she ordered. Rushing ahead of the helpers, she jumped in the carriage and shoved the holiday packages to the floor of the carriage, so the men could lay the child down.   “Should anyone inquire about the child, tell them he was taken to the Lord-Mayor’s house,” she shouted, as she and the carriage left for home.    

 

Mary ran up the front steps and crashed through the front doors, threw her cloak and bonnet carelessly on the side chair and initiated a whirlwind of activity.  People poked out their heads from various rooms, wanting to know what the big ruckus was.  “Charles! She yelled, “go to the carriage and help James!” Charles, the butler, startled and confused, ran out the door.  “Penny! Start a fire in the yellow room, NOW!”  Penny, the chambermaid, scurried off to the bedroom, her skirt flying behind. “Maude! Bring warm water, soap and rags!” Maude turned tail and ran to the kitchen.  “Richard!”  

 

Richard, emerging from the study, saw the two men carrying the unconscious child into the house. “Mary, what’s happened? I have a council meeting going.”

 

“Take the child to the yellow room next to my bedroom, James, and as soon as you can, go fetch Dr. Brown, wherever he is.  Tell him we have a severely injured child and bring him, quickly!  Charles, serve brandy, or tea and cookies to the council members and let them know the Lord-Mayor is detained. Richard! come with me!”

 

Mary and Richard began administering first aid.  Mary cleaned the child’s wounds, Richard removed some of the ragged clothing and wiped is grimy face. “How old do you suppose he is?” Mary whispered.

 

“About 8 or 9, looks about right,” responded Richard.  Mary looked around the room that was to have been the nursery for her children that never came.  Finally, a child… a child was in her nursery. Her eyes welled with tears.