Tag: Inundated

INUNDATED: Oil Can By Mike Cecconi

Word Count 498
Oil Can
By Mike Cecconi

What do you do when you find that you’ve been rusted still into place? What will you do when you’ve lost so much of yourself you don’t even know who you are anymore? Piece and by piece replaced, in big chunks and little over days’ and years’ time, until you may as well be someone or something else entirely? What do you call yourself then, that to say if your mouth can still even creak open wide enough to still speak?

And yes of course, we are all going to rust out, all of us from time to time, metal or flesh or spirit or magic or anything, there’s just too much of this oxygen floating around us. We are inundated by oxygen every day, it’s in the very air that we breathe, you might say. We take it all in and it keeps us alive, our blood carries it all about us inside, letting our cells create the stuff that allows us to strive. When anything burns, whether it’s coal or a tree or a bundle of straw in a cornfield, it only does so because oxygen allowed it to be. Oxygen heats up our dinners by day, it warms up our houses by night, yes, this element does for us the most wonderful things.

Of course, oxygen does terrible things as well, sometimes even more often. It bonds to itself high up in the sky in a clod to melt all our ice. It throws off the balance of ions in our very own genes, aging and sickening us, accelerating all our unavoidable fates. Oxygen’s fire burns down ancient forests and Kansas farmhouses and sometimes even the great jeweled cities if it’s left unchecked. Oxygen rusts. The air we breathe gloms onto iron when the thin layer of tin protecting it wears away and they react until everything’s dull-orange, ugly and brittle, corroding it all into nothing.

Oxygen gives us life. Oxygen kills. Oxygen takes the impenetrable armor you’ve replaced nearly all of yourself with and just laughs at it. It merges with your defenses and breaks them all down into motionless burnt-umber dust and all the power you thought that you had will not fix it. Will not make you whole. Will not let your joints know for motivation. You’ll need outside help now, you’ll need maybe some lubrication. You will never, just by your own will, reclaim the ability to move again but maybe with oil you can. Maybe oil can. Oil can. Oil can.

So what do you do when you find that you’ve been rusted still into place? You wait. Sometimes all you can do is just wait there, at the curb of the lane, standing still in your place. You stand there like a statue and you wait and you hope and you pray that maybe some girl will come down the road and help you figure out how to move again. How to live again. How to find your heart.

INUNDATED: Color My World By Nan Ressue

Word Count 460
Color My World
By Nan Ressue
My world has always inundated with color. From my current vantage point of age, I know that the shade and intensity of my colors were altered as I experienced my lifetime of challenges and rewards. When I was young and struggling through the disturbing process of maturing, pastel tints were the comfortable choice, hardly any color at all, an undefined beginning. Colors brightened as maturity developed true hues, unsullied by negatives, resulting in a joyous collection of reds, blues, golds, and greens. Midlife loves and losses usually dulled or greyed the colors while happiness and satisfaction caused a smoothness and an intensified result, still warmly beautiful but showing exposure to a hard surfaced world.
Upon rare occasion there has been an experience with a higher octave color, one that is somehow familiar but elevated to a place of beauty where it not yet has been named. It happened in the drugstore just last week. The unfamiliar woman in line in front of me was wearing a velvet jacket of an indescribable color, softened with use, muted with age but beautiful beyond description. It was a rich deep orange with a red and gold cast and dappled with pale blue purple shadows cast from the folds of the fabric.
I was transfixed and could not help but say to her “Please be careful of your coat.” What if everybody in our world was draped with higher octave colors?
My daughter’s campaign of caring has been successful and I am on my way to Assisted Living. My colors have become pretty grey and brown these days but happily have no black edges yet. The staff is a young energetic group, wearing their bright primary colors like a badge, unaware of what lies ahead. They are also calm and caring, inviting me to join the group in the dining room for lunch.
The colors in the hallway are tan and dull gold and open into the dining room where the group has gathered for their meal… There are many browns and greys of depression and apprehension defining them but still, looking closely, you can see the remnents of richer colors from happier days.
There is a white haired gentleman sitting alone at the corner table. He sits with a straight back and an alert look, smiling at acquaintances and thanking the staff for their attention. There is one of those breath taking rose gold colors draping his shoulders, softened with age and use, but still beautiful. Could it be one of those higher octave colors?
“BE brave,” I told myself approaching slowly. “Be brave. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
“May I join you for lunch?” I asked, using my most charming smile.

INUNDATED: Greater Atlantic Switchboard By Sam McManus

Word Count 500
Greater Atlantic Switchboard
By Sam McManus
“Greater Atlantic Switchboard, this is Quinn,” proclaimed the slim girl behind the reception desk, headset protruding from her left ear, microphone poised at her lips.
“Hi Quinn!” the man on the other end of the line replied, rather loudly. “I’m calling to report otters building a dam across the road down Loving Lane, you know, where the Peavy Farm used to be?”
“Mr. Hanson?” she asked, adjusting her headset even though it was unnecessary.
“Yes, ma’am!” he screamed back at her. It was obvious he wasn’t wearing his hearing aids, and it wasn’t the first time he had barked at her, but Quinn still found it sad.
“Mr. Hanson, there are no otters building a dam across the road down Loving Lane,” she assured him, but the man’s mind was stuck on autopilot, as it always was.
“Damn straight they are,” he said, a rustling sound gaining momentum in the background.
“No, sir,” she tried again. “Otters don’t build dams, Mr. Hanson.”
“Well, tell that to these two who are damn sure building a dam across the road,” he replied, gruffly. “I can see them outside my window, having a grand old time. Someone’s going to have an accident.”
“Do you have your glasses on, sir?” she asked, trying hard to stand her ground.
“Well, no, but…” he began, immediately defensive.
It was her daily exercise in using kid gloves, humoring the old man without embarrassing him, which was a thin line indeed. Their call center was inundated with real emergencies from morning to night, so she couldn’t stay on with him forever. Some days he was convinced possums were playing dead in that selfsame road, others he would swear to an earthquake rocking the foundation of his home, so the story of otters wasn’t very unique as far as his tales went.
“Now, I’m not saying you’re seeing things, Mr. Hanson,” she cut in. “But we both know there were no possums that time, and there was no earthquake, so… can you at least entertain the possibility that there are no otters building a dam across Loving Lane?”
“Hell no,” he said. “They’re there, and if you don’t send someone out I will take care of them my damn self.”
“Sir, there is no need for that,” she quickly replied, knowing he meant to get his shotgun out of mothballs. The last time Ed Hanson pulled out that gun he shot up Millie Gray’s peach garden. There had been peach juice running down the road for several hours, and poor Millie didn’t sleep right for a week.
“Good,” he said, properly placated. “Tell them to hurry, because it looks like these otters are fixing to have relations right next to that dam, and hell if I’m going to sit here and watch otters have relations.”
He hung up with a great clattering, as he always did, leaving Quinn with the disgusting mental image of otters having sex in the road. She sighed and switched over to the next call.

INUNDATED: Inundated by the Day by G. Ackman

Word Count 497

Inundated by the Day
by G. Ackman

She sat at her desk and stared at the stacks of papers littering its top, each representing a task on her ever-growing “to do” list. She didn’t have enough time to finish any one stack, yet all were clamoring for her attention. Head in hands, she picked up one paper but her eyes blurred and she could not focus on what it was saying. Before she could try again, a rustle of fabric at her side let her know that someone was standing beside her desk. She turned her head slightly, pasting a façade of pleasantness on her face as she did so. Just as she feared. A colleague wanting to “chat,” as if she had nothing to do but spend time with this person who she only knew between 8 am and 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. She listened to the inane prattle for a few minutes, nodding in the proper places and making noncommittal noises until finally, blessedly, the intruder gave a little waggle of her fingers and wandered off to bother someone else. A deep sigh and she once again tried to attack the endless, repetitive, and fruitless tasks in front of her. Throughout the course of the day, she accomplished nothing, being interrupted at least four other times by people wanting to know how she was, how her weekend had been, what her plans were for summer, and did she want to see the picture of their new kitten? No, she did not. And she didn’t for one second believe that they really cared how her weekend was. Part of her wanted to explode with the truth – it was a crappy weekend, followed by an even crappier return to work this morning, and now I’m listening to your crappy stories. Are you happy you asked? But of course, she didn’t say that. She said all the proper things, the shallow responses that everyone expects. It was a good weekend. I feel quite well, thank you. What a cute kitten.

The alarm on her phone interrupted her absolute lack of productivity to remind her of the meeting at 2:00. Great. Another wasted hour of everyone having ideas that no one will implement. She sat unmoving until the second reminder sounded with a distinctly chiding tone. She pushed back her chair, squared her shoulders and headed towards the conference room. At the door, she hesitated for an imperceptible moment and then, without thought or intent, kept walking. Down the hall, into the elevator, out the door, and into her car. She drove home with neither thought nor remembrance of the drive. At home, the washer and stove called out her name, identifying more repetitive, senseless tasks. Her newly-retired husband snored loudly in the chair, his dirty socks on the floor. The sink, overflowing with dirty dishes, mocked her. She looked around, inundated with things that destroyed her selfness and, suddenly unfamiliar with any of it, turned, got back in her car, and drove far away.

INUNDATED: Her Pen By Peg Scarano

Word: Inundated
Word Count: 461

Her Pen
By Peg Scarano

She had always loved to write. As a teen and young adult she and her pen vented her emotions through writing prose and poetry. Sometimes, her words would meander through pages and pages filled with emotions running the gamut of euphoria to despair. Not only did she have her own roller coaster love-life to solve, her parents were suffering through their own mid-life crises. She had to juggle her mind and actions so as to not take sides or hurt feelings. Then there was all the high school drama followed by the initiation into college life with all of the academic, social and economic decisions that period of life entails.

Her pen was her escape from reality. Once the passion was on a written page, it belonged to someone else. It was like the ebb and flow of the high and low tides. The fullness of her heart and mind with chaotic thoughts was lessened as the turmoil flowed from the psyche through her pen to the page. It was cathartic but chronic. It was personal and private only to be shared with her pen.

Life eventually moved on. Coping became the new normal. As she matured, she learned to muddle through her problems or she allowed herself to let them go as she prioritized her days in order to survive. Somewhere along the way, her personal needs took a backseat to the physical, emotional and mental needs of others. There was no time to share sentiments with her pen or to escape from her reality. Books written by others helped, but it wasn’t the same. There were her children, her husband, her job, household duties and obligations to other family members. The dream was still there, but it was sleeping.

The golden years snuck up on her as mid-life slipped away. But suddenly, she found she had time on her hands to enjoy the ebb and flow of those tides. Her major obligations were set aside. She could pursue her dream with her pen. However, her life was no longer a roller coaster ride. Where was her inspiration? She eventually found her memories were the key. Look back. Remember. Recreate. She did it. The memory flashes came to life, one story at a time. She compiled them all into a book of memoirs and submitted it to dozens of publishers. Then she waited.

After what seemed like an eternity, she received a letter. And then another. To her amazement, she was inundated with acceptance letters! Multiple publishers wanted her manuscript. They wanted HER stories! Her heart overflowed with emotions – gratitude, happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment and the best feeling of all – success! She did it! With the help of her pen, she had actually lived her dream!

Then I woke up.

INUNDATED: He’s Gone By Sally Madison

Words: 460
He’s Gone
By Sally Madison
“Oh, Mary, “I’m so glad to see you here. You would not believe the councilmen’s meeting today. I was inundated with requests: the constable wants to go home after he has seen that all the tavern-goers are safely home, the teacher wants new slates, the preacher wants to know when the church will be done, the Ladies Book Club wants to know when will the next shipment of books arrive….on and on the list goes….” Richard stops when he realizes he is hearing sobs. “Mary, what’s wrong? What is the matter, my dear?”
“He’s gone,” she replies softly between sobs.
“Who is gone? The Butler? The horse?” Richard inquired.
“No, Richard, Earl. Earl is gone. The clothes that we bought him were left on his bed, and the clothes that we found him in are gone. What did we do to offend him, Richard? I thought we were treating him well.”
Penny, the maid, while tending the fire could not help but feeling sorry for her mistress. “Begging your pardon madam, I wouldn’t interfere, except I see you are very upset and blaming yourself. Young Mr. Earl didn’t leave on account of you or anything you did. He left because of his brother, Lloyd. The other day, when you and he were riding across town, he saw his Da beating on his little brother. He left to go and protect his little brother.”
Mary jumped to her feet, imploring Penny, “Do you know where they live? Why didn’t he say something, they could both live here? Richard, do something!”
“Penny, can you tell us any more of where the boy lived, or his family. Earl told us his mother had passed and this ‘Da’ was caring for them, but he wouldn’t tell us where,” implored Richard. The drilling continued until poor Penny was sorry she had said anything.
Months later, with her basket of biscuits and apples, Mary approached a wretched woman in the streets of the poor end of the town, “Do you know of Earl and Lloyd, they would be about 9 and 6?”
“No mum, like I told you last week and the week a’fore, and every week, I don’t know what become of Earl and Lloyd. All I know is their Da, was in trouble with the law and then they disappeared,” replied the ragged woman. “You best be on your way, it’s getting dark and this part of town is no place for a lady like yourself.”
“Bless you, my dear, please take the biscuits and apples, and if you see my boys, please tell them that we want them home.” Mary walked back to her carriage, her head hung as low as her broken heart, the same as she had done a hundred times before.