The Poem.

The Poem.via Daily Prompt: Recite

The teacher made his rounds of the classroom as the boys studied and attended to the exercise he had given them. His anger and temper to the fore, as per usual. His sometimes formally normal thinking transformed into anger, paranoia, and victim thinking.  Looking for any, or just one of the boys to step out of line. Silently willing them to break his self imposed rules. Feeling quiet unwell, as a result of the nightly bottle of red wine, which many times had turned into two bottles. Looking forward to the mid morning break, for some badly needed hydration, and rest.

The alcohol helped him ignore, or in his mind deal with his failing marriage,and impending divorce. Life didn’t seem soo bad. Life didn’t seem that serious through the bottom of a wine glass. His throbbing head. Mouth as dry as could be. A sick, queasy feeling in his stomach. He was well used to such physical effects of his increasing alcohol consumption. Never welcomed, but the expected side effect of his over indulgence.

If he was not the coward that he was, he would have challenged a man of his own size and age to a physical altercation. But he was brooding for a row, and the children in his care would suffice. At the very least they would offer little opposition. Just the way he liked it. He walked around the classroom, with his hands behind his back. Peering over the shoulders of the boys as they attend to the exercise he had given them. Peering, but really looking and praying to find some boy stepping out of line. Looking for an adversary, a victim. Someone to unleash his anger on. Someone to castigate, embarrass and shame. Why not. If it would made him feel better as a man. Some small victory in life. In a life where he didn’t feel such a failure.
Much to his satisfaction, it did not take long, He knew from experience there was always one. There would always be one, among the class. The dreamer. The softly spoken. That gentle, innocent child.
He stopped behind the desk of the young blond boy. Whom he had immediately taken a strong dislike to, when he initially saw him in the class at the beginning of term. The boy he had singled out for special , non too pleasant treatment. The soft, innocent and attractive features, and a permanent slight anxiety and fear, evident his features. The perfect victim.
‘What’, he thundered, ‘is this ? ‘, as he held aloft the few lines of poetry the boy had written. His face red with anger, and delight.
‘What nonsense is this you have written, eh boy ?’
The young boy squirmed in his seat. Not wanting to be the centre of attention, as the whole class turned their attention to him.
The boy shock with fear. His face reddened. His breathing quickened. His legs shock. That sickly feeling arose in his stomach, and how he wished he was anywhere but here. In this place, at this time.

‘What are you ? Who are you ?’, the teacher said mockingly. ‘The next Keats or Shelly ?’
‘You think you can write poetry’, he roared. ‘Here ‘ he said, as he hurriedly scribbled some words on a blank sheet of paper. He handed the paper to the boy, and instructed him to stand at the top of the class and recite what was written on the paper.
The young blond haired boy, read the words at his desk, silently, and at the aggressive insistence of the teacher stood at the the front of the class, and began to read from the scribbled paper.

‘I am an idiot and a fool. Most of the times I actually drool
I have the talent of a newt
I am ugly and thick, to boot
I deserve to die, I tell no lie
I am sorry, for actually being alive
Will you forgive me, for being what I am
I am not, and can never be a proper man.

As he read out the words before him, standing in front of the class. The others boys listened, and then the laughter began. The boys laughed. The teacher laughed, as he insisted that the poem be recited over, and over. Having had enough, the young boy ran from the class. Tears streaming down his checks. But as he ran, the image, and words of his Grandfather, from beyond the grave, stood strong in his mind.
‘Do not allow people to make a fool of you. Be strong. Be kind, but take your revenge if necessary’. He ran past the school car park, and slowed down, as his tears subsided. The silent words and images of his Grandfather encouraging his strength and resolve. With the area near enough deserted, he reached into his pocket and retrieved the penknife his Grandfather had given him before he had passed away. The wooden carved handle, and the sharpened blade. Which he regularly sharpened , and kept pristine and clean. Looking about him, he slipped under the teachers white jeep. Easily recognizable. He began to cut the plastic, mastic covered tubes, and hose’s underneath the engine. Not knowing really what he was cutting. But the act of cutting and hopefully causing some damage to the car and teacher, more than satisfying. He began to snigger softly, underneath the engine. Then he began to laugh aloud. Picturing his Grandpa encouraging and praising his bravery and actions. Feeling and hearing his words and spirit.

Satisfied that he had done enough, He slid out from underneath the jeep, and moved to the edge of the car park. He watched from beneath the tree’s in the late afternoon sunshine as the arrogant teacher sat into the white jeep, started the engine and slowly drove away. He noted the trail of dripping liquid following the jeep, as it exited the school and onto the highway, and he smiled.

Woman.

This ain’t love, this shouldn’t be
How dare you, how could you, raise your hands up to me
I ain’t got no money, I’m stuck here with you
What the hell is a man meant to do

You told me, you loved me, but that’s just a lie
You have wasted my time here
Don’t try and deny
Your violent, your angry, Your cruel and unkind
Your mental and crazy, Your out of your mind

I hate you, I hate you, I wish you were dead
These are the thoughts I keep in my head
These are the thoughts that I never said
But I think to myself, you’d be better off dead

I’m glad we are finished, you were never no good
I’ll never see you again, please God, touch wood
I’m moving on now, getting someone new
I wish I’d never met you, it was a big, big mistake
You were no good for nothing, but being on the take
Getting all you could, and never giving back

Holding onto each other, like two souls lost at sea
Out of fear, loneliness and insecurity
Hardly the basis for a long term plan
Best to jump ship, be that man
Our lonely , isolated lives brought us together
But we were doomed to fail
How could it have worked, we so different
We fought tooth and nail
Our different ways of looking at life
Not suprising, there was so much strife

When we first met, I thought it was cool
Like two youngsters making new friends at school
Had I know back then, how mad you could be
I would not have got involved
But would have set myself free

Your so self centred, it’s just untrue
Seldom really asking, ‘Hey Mike, how are you ?’
Well sometimes you do, but you don’t really care
If I am actually there
You like to talk, but you don’t like to listen
You like to make love, but you ain’t very giving
You just lay back, and think of yourself
How about, just one time
Giving thought, to someone else’s pleasure

My God I was crazy getting mixed up with you
But sometimes when you’re so lonely
That’s just what you do
Now that we are over, I am never going back
I’m taking my freedom, ain’t cutting you no slack

Never again will this happen, I swear
This kind of stuff, is too much to bear
Arguments, tears, violence and more
This is how we learned to tally, and keep score
I don’t want this
This ain’t for me
I want peace, joy and tranquility
If I can’t find it here, I’m moving on
I will leave you alone, and I will be gone

You cant cope with life. You’re no good in bed
I ain’t putting up with this,it is not helping my head
You have too many troubles, as long as your arm
All this is doing, is causing me harm
I want us finished, quick as can be
Then I’ll be happy, then I’ll be free

Stop it, Stop it, leave me alone
Your mad carry on, is driving me from home
I’m losing weight now, I’m worried and thin
I look to all appearances, like I’m living from the bin
Stop getting so mad. Stop getting so blue
You can keep all your violence, that’s what you can do
There is no need for violence, to scream and to shout
To rant and to rave, and throw things about
You’ll drive a man out

What part did I play in this mad game
As there’s always more than one to blame
My heart told me from the start, you were wrong
But I choose not to listen to that warning song
I see that you are lonely, unhappy and sad
So am I babe, and its real bad
This relationship is over. It’s finished, it’s done
It’s no ones victory. I have not won

Stop holding on now, let me be free
Stop calling, stop phoning, stop contacting me
Go your own way now, cut your own path
Move on with your life, love, and never look back
Your not as nice, as what I thought
That is why I have decided to walk
Save my skin, save my mind
Save my black and blue behind

Now that we are finished,it’s over, it’s done
I ain’t coming back. You ain’t no fun
Move on with your life, leave me alone
Let me find happiness, all on my own
I’m going , I’m leaving. I ain’t coming back
I’m taking my freedom, I’ll cut you no slack
I miss you, I love you, but we ain’t to be
Maybe you can see, what’s so obvious to me

So there you are sweetheart. I’m wishing you well
But don’t come round here, ringing my bell
We’re over, we’re finished, we’re done and we are through
Move on with your life, and I will do to.

The Postman.

The Postman.via Daily Prompt: Delivery

She waited by the inner door, of the ramshackle house. Behind the outer sun shade screen door. She watched and waited. Would he bring it today ? Willing him to come today.  In the early morning sunshine he wandered up the garden path. Dressed in the colours of the motorcycle gang, that near enough ruled the dark underbelly of the small town, and its seedy inhabitants. With his leather jacket, and denim waistcoat, festooned with the colours and flags of the gang. He smiled, well rather smirked. Because he knew she was beholding to them. A prisoner of that dark brown powder he had come to deliver.
His clear blue eyes, held a strength and confidence that was undeniable, even though he was only the delivery boy. The result of the power, he and the other gang members had over her.

In the early morning heat, and stickiness of the South Carolina weather, her white vest stuck to her perspiring body. Her jeans blue tight fitting jeans, dirty and oil stained. Her black hair tied back, showing her tanned, and once pretty face. Her once shining eyes, now tired, and dead. She tried smiling, but their was nothing there. Little to smile about. She knew what the cost of the package would be. But she needed it, damn it. Her body crying out for the sustenance that that dark brown powder could, and she knew would bring. If only for a few hours. She needed something to take away the hallucinations, the non stop shaking of her body. The constant perspiring.  The intense nausea. The abdominal cramps, that had her doubled over in pain. Her inability to sit still. The vomitting and the depression, and of course that non stop mental craving for more. Or even just a little of the powder to relieve the symptoms.
He threw the package on the wooden porch. Knowing full well she would have followed the package to the gutter. He enjoyed watching her scramble on all fours, like a meangy dog, as she grabbed at the package like a wild starving animal, that had not eaten for days. He leaned back on the rickety fence that surrounded the wooden porch and watched her. She sat back against the front door and she hurriedly tied a tourniquet around her upper arm, just above the crock of her elbow. Holding it with one hand, and biting the other end of the dirty old cloth with her teeth, to tighten it sufficiently. She then began to slap the veins in the crock of her elbow hard, praying that one would pop up. As one solidary vein popped up, she reached into her pocket and grasped the old tobacco tin, that contained all that she needed. The old syringe, with its slightly rusted needle. The lightweight spoon, and small bottle of water, to dissolve the powder, and the box of matches. She quickly had the powder dissolved and ready to inject, which she did with practiced ease.
As the powder entered her vein, the effects almost immediate. The intense rush of euphoria and pleasure almost indescribable. Her body began to relax, as it fed off the elixir she had just injected. Her physical symptoms disappearing with much ease. Her mind and spirit, once again finding that comfortable, beautiful sense of peace. That feeling that all was right with the world. She watched her young daughter playing alone on the swing. Choosing to ignore her sad and depressed features, she called her to her side. She attempted to hold the child closely, but the youngster retreated from her Mother’s arms.

‘Now you know what Mommy wants you to do. You have to go with this nice man here’, as she gestured towards the man who had delivered the package.
‘But I don’t want to. He is not a nice man. He is a bad man, and so are his friends. They make me do things that are naughty, that hurt, and that I don’t like’, and she began to cry.
‘It’s alright sweetheart, It’ll be alright. Will you do it for Mommy ? ‘

With that the man, took the child roughly by the arm, and headed out the wooden gate. In the bright sunshine, the young girl screamed and wept.
She looked down at her arm, where the old syringe was still sticking out of her vein. Not that it mattered. Her body slowly relaxing into a beautiful, and peaceful state. Never had she felt so relieved and so peaceful, and at rest. With that she gently closed her eyes.

The Beach.

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Photo Credit : https://unsplash.com/@venegas?photo=OhIfU2AczOg

She had threatened long enough, although no one had believed her. Just a call for attention. Nothing more, nothing less. they had decided. An old womans empty, and at times, humorous threats.
But obviously beneath the humour, there was hurt, and distress. No one had bothered to investigate. Everyone busy with their own lives. There careers, children, and business. Had someone actually taken the damn time to sit down with her, and sincerely ask her, what life was like for her. Had they show  more consideration and kindness, and maybe spent more time with an old lonely woman, life would have turned out differently. Perhaps many would have spent more time with her, aside from the one solidary visit a week, for the Sunday lunch. Nobody considering how the rest of the week was for her.
It was of course, too late now. The chance had disappeared. She lived for the weekends, and the once weekly visit from her children, and newly born grandchildren. Laughter and energy and happy voices once filled her household, just as it had been, when her own children were grown up. But there were always strains between her and her grown up, and now adult children. Did they really like each other , as people. Would they actually want to spend time in each other’s company, were they not related.

Some had taken sides, when the separation from her husband was first enacted, and then the divorce. Allegations and counter allegations flew between the two parties, and none of it pretty. Lies, distrust, and anger followed. Made up stories of abuse, and cruelty that may, or may not have had a grain of truth in them. Loyalty and kindness to her children, soon forgotten and dismissed by them, as they took the side of her husband.

The final straw for her, was the cessation of contact with her children, who were convinced by her husband, that she was the villain in all of this. That and the denial of access to her grandchildren, that she had helped care for, soon after they were born. No viable reasons given. All the love, kindness, and generosity she had shown them, and their Mother, her daughter, throughout the years. Amounted to nothing, it seemed. Kindness granted, soon forgotten.

It was that dull overcast November afternoon, that she headed to the isolated beach alone. With the tablets to hand, and a last small bottle of whiskey to encourage her bravery, she laid her reading glasses in the sand, and headed towards the ocean, and into the cold, uninviting waves. The mixture of the tablets and whiskey having the desired effect. As she stumbled and swayed, as she walked toward the sea. Her vision blurred slightly, and  feeling quiet light-headed. As a non swimmer she struggled and panicked at first, as the powerful waves, did with her as they wished. The whiskey and tablets helped to quell her rising fears, somewhat. The waves, and weight of her own clothing soon pulled her out and down, to the ocean bed, where she waited for God to take her.
In the cold, dark church, the priest stood at the lectern, gazing upon the congregation of mourners. Having conducted most of the formal ceremony, he could no longer hold himself back. Behind him the magnificent altar, towering upward. To him, they were nothing but hypocrites. He was well aware of the family history, having had been closely and connected to them for years. From births to marriages, to baptisms and confessions. He had heard and seen it all. They were here in this place of worship now to mourn her, with their crocodile tears, and false sadness.

The priest gripped both ends of the lectern tightly. His face thunder red, and perspiring. ‘What does it mean, to mourn someone when they have died. It means very little when you showed them little kindness or understanding when they were alive”. He spoke slowly and loudly. The anger and frustration plainly obvious in his tone. Her children shifted uncomfortably in their seats, as did her former husband. One or two loosening their shirts collars. The females fanning themselves with whatever was to hand. One or two members of her family gazed quietly at the floor.
‘I have very little time for hypocrites like you people, I want you to leave this church now. Get out of my sight. I am sick of the lot of you. Go, and may God have mercy on your black souls. Get out, go’, his voice rising to a crescendo. His booming voice reverberating throughout the silent church. The congregation left the church as directed, for the most part, with their heads held low. In the sacristy as the priest changed from the formal clothing of the funeral mass, he gazed out onto the cold uninviting waves of the ocean, under the dull grey November sky.

Written in response to a writing prompt seen here : http://creativewriting.ie/writing-prompts/

Symphony.

via Daily Prompt: Symphony

Dressed in the long black dress he had bought her. Her make up, perfect. A sight to behold. She sat in the wooden built orchestra pit, in the semi darkness. Built of light coloured plywood, to produce the best acoustic sounds. Tuning up her instrument like the other musicians around her. She plucked at the strings in a brutal, rough manner. One did not have to be a psychiatrist, a therapist to see her anger. Her frustration.
The audience began to take their seats in the large concert hall, under the bright lights, chatting among themselves. Among the favoured, special guests. The executives, and producers from the record companies, took their seats high up in the ‘Gods’, as befitting their position. She looked around the orchestra pit at her fellow musicians. The men dressed in their black tuxedos. Women dressed in all the finery. Some relaxed and laughed as they chatted. Others staring silently, and intently into space. Their eyes focused and unblinking. Their features, serious. Concentrating deeply on the forthcoming concert, and their part in the proceedings.
Well aware of the importance of the performance. Of the introduction of the new composition. So many wished him well, and all the success in the world. He was well liked by the members of the orchestra. With his easy going manner, and a quick smile. With a tendency to look on the brighter side of life. The audience and orchestra members awaited his entrance.
She did not even try to hide her anger and distress. Her glaring, reddened eyes. Her glowering, contorted features. Enough to discourage the other musicians from catching her gaze. He entered the auditorium and near enough sprinted to the podium. Such was his nervous energy, and adrenaline. His small wiry frame, topped by a mop of brown curly hair. Light perspiration forming on his forehead. His heart beating fast, and his legs shaking slightly. As ever his face brightened by that glittering smile. The audience applauded. The orchestra members smiled and tapped their instruments, in an acknowledgement of, and admiration for his prowess as an orchestra leader, a conductor. He stepped to the conductor’s podium, turned to face the audience, smiled and bowed. The audience applauded and cheered. Everyone knew the importance of this evening’s performance. Then he turned to face the orchestra members, and in a sweeping hand gesture acknowledged their enormous talent as musicians.

She watched him intently from behind her cello. Hoping to see some sign of guilt. Some admission of wrong doing. But nothing. He resolutely refused to catch her eye. No  sign of remorse, nor sorrow. Just that wide, bright smile. After all those times they had spent together in each other’s arms. The promises he made. The plans they had made together for the future. If only the others knew what he was truly like. Did he really think he could use her, and then just drop her like that ?

She had to replay the conversation one more time, while it was still so fresh in her mind.
‘To be blunt Emily, I’ve had enough, and just fancy a change. I wish to move on ‘, said in such a calm, matter of fact manner.
‘What am I, a damn product, that you can pick up when you fancy, and drop when it suits you ? ‘ she screamed at him.
‘No, it’s not like that’, he lied. ‘It’s just time for a change’. Hoping she’d remain reasonably calm, and not create a scene. ‘We’ve had our fun, our good times, and now it’s over. Why can’t you take this like the mature woman I know you are, and just accept it ? ‘

Did she mean so little to him ? Did their relationship, mean so little to him ?  She who had opened her heart to him. She who had shared her vulnerabilities with. She who had allowed him into her life, her soul. She who had fallen so in love with him.

‘I have this performance this evening,’ he continued, ‘ and you know how it important it is. How much depends on it. Can’t we just part as friends, and leave it at that ‘. With that he walked away from her dressing room, and out of her life.

She sat slumped in her dressing room chair, facing the large mirror. Physically unable to move. Her heart, physically feeling heavy. Her body weak. Feeling like she had being kicked hard in the chest, by the hind legs of a strong, wild, bucking horse. She sat like this alone for quiet some time. Wanting to shed some tears, but unable to do so. Wanting to scream, but embarrassed to do so. Wanting to smash the mirror that reflected back to her, the misery and unhappiness that now plagued her soul. But she could not summon the strength, to do so. Slowly , but surely, after quiet some time, she could feel her anger,and indignation rising within her. She was worth more than this. Deserved better than this. Her breathing becoming rapid. Her jaw beginning to jut, just that little bit. Her arms becoming tense. Her hands forming into tightly held fists. The butterflies stirring in her stomach. She imagined his body burning, engulfed by the red, yellow and blue raging flames. She could clearly see the fear, and terror in his eyes, and so enjoyed listening to his screams of agony, and his pleading for help. Which she joyfully ignored, before his body succumbed to the intense heat.

Feeling slightly better, and mentally stronger after her brief, violent daydream. She searched within her overcrowded handbag, until she found the small plastic package. Revenge was going to taste so sweet, she assured herself. She knew he always had that large class of cold milk, just before any performance, to calm his nerves, and encourage his confidence. A strange, bizarre ritual. But he was after all, a strange,……. She did not need to even finish the sentence. She left her dressing room, after drying her tears, and reapplying her make up. Upon entering the green room, where the artists relaxed, before appearing on stage. She saw him in the corner of the room , holding court. Entertaining members of the orchestra, and some young girls from the public relations company, that he had recently engaged, to work on his behalf. Laughing and joking as if he had never uttered those, cruel devastating, uncaring words he had said to her.
She had used the inviting white powder herself, from time to time. when tiredness had overcome her. When her concentration was lacking. When she demanded  energy of herself. She maneuvered herself closer to the assembled crowd, who surrounded and were enthralled by him. When he attention was drawn by some other pretty young girl, among the group. She took her chance and scattered a small amount into his milk, and thinking back to his earlier words, she put in a touch more, and to finish, just a little more. She quickly stirred it with her finger, while everyone’s attention was else where. Then she moved away to the corner of the room, where she still had a view of the now ‘special’ drink.
She watched and waited, spurning the attention of the tall Italian man with his dark, handsome features, and silver tongue. She had other matters in mind. On the other side of the room, he still held court, with his adoring fans. Those who hung on his every word and utterance. She checked the watch on her tanned bare arm, willing him to drink the doctored liquid. She needed to see him ingest it, before she could feel some satisfaction. Minutes ticked by, towards the performance. Yet that special drink remained untouched on the table. His arrogant, overbearing laughter and voice filling the room, and turning her stomach at the same time.

‘Go on, you bastard, drink it, damn you’, she muttered under her breath.
‘Go on’, she whispered,’ drink it.
‘Drink it’, she said aloud. The nearby waiter, turned towards her, glaring for a moment.

But his attitude soon softened, and he smiled, when he saw her flawless skin. Her clean brown mousey hair, that tumbled over her shoulders. Her clear grey eyes, still showing a little of that sparkle that usually filled them.

‘Certainly Madam, I’ll see to you in just one moment’.

At the other side of the room, at last he picked up the glass. Again, urgently she silently ordered him to finish the damn drink. He looked at his watch, took a deep intake of breath, and swallowed the liquid in one fell swoop. He briefly winced at the unusually bitter taste, and stared at the glass he held in in his. The assistant called him, to make his way towards the stage. He replaced the glass on the table , and looked back at it, one more time. Dabbed his face with his handkerchief, and headed towards the auditorium. She followed shortly after, and took her place in the orchestra pit.
She watched as he joined the rest of the orchestra on stage. Glorifying in the adulation he received. Ignoring her, of course. She waited and watched. Willing the white power to take effect. Why was it taking so long ? Was it not pure enough ? Was it cut too much ? Finally a reaction, just a slight one. A brief uncharactistic shake of the leg. Barely visible, except to those attuned to it.
The applause died down, and silence descended on the hall. The house lights were lowered. The audience waited, the orchestra waited. Everyone waited . He waited, staring into space. The orchestra had practised well and knew the composition inside out. He waved his hand out to the left, and the strings began. He waved the baton to the right, and the trumpets, oboes and tubas began playing slowly and gently. The orchestra leader, smiled and nodded to him. He in return, faced away from the orchestra, and faced the audience. The orchestra leader, cleared his throat loudly to catch his attention. No luck, so he repeated it. Again no reaction. In her seat, playing the cello softly, Emily began to giggle to herself, quietly. The conductor swivelled round at speed, nearly falling over, and had to grab the rostrum to prevent himself from falling head first into the orchestera pit. Some in the audience stifled their own laughter. He briefly laughed aloud, at his own clumsiness. The orchestra leader glared at him, his eyes aflame with anger and bewilderment. The composition was being played at a slow, gentle pace, as befitted the required tempo.
The conductor began to move his arms more erratically, and at an increased speed and the orchestra followed his movements. The cacophony of sound and discordant notes emerging from the orchestra pit, were anything but the peaceful and melodious composition everyone was expecting. The orchestra leader, again cleared his throat loudly, and tapped his musical stand rapidily with his violin bow, but to no avail. The conductor was no longer of normal sound mind, as the illicit white powder began to take full effect on his body and mind.
Then when all seemed lost, he seemed to have regained his composure and skills as a conductor, and led the orchestra through the more complex stanzas. With that completed, his movements again became fast and erratic. The orchestra  followed his leadership, producing discordant, tuneless sounds. In her seat, Emily followed along, her face now brightening into a wide smile, as were her eyes. Her laughter barely contained within her shaking shoulders. So it continued, the unexpected acceleration of the composition, the sudden slowing down. The discordant notes, strange melodies not of this world. The conductors wide eyed staring engagement with the audience, followed by his dismissive attitude, and then a warm loving attitude toward members of the orchestra. His running around the orchestra pit, screaming. Then shouting. Then laughing, loudly. Tearing at his tuxedo. Catcalls and laughter began to emerge from the stalls, as this farce unfolded onstage. Some left the theatre in frustration. Emily glanced high up into the theatre, where the executives, and producers from the record company were seen leaving their private box early, shaking their heads in bewilderment, and laughter.
Quite soon after, stage management wary of their good reputation, brought the curtain down, and as the house emptied, led the frazzled, bewildered and out of control conductor off stage.
Revenge was indeed sweet.

 

Manchester 2017.

Sadness came to a city today,
While so many children were at play
That suicide bomber came and took so many lives away
On such an unforgettable day
Death, destruction and mayhem
That suicide bomber, came to slay them
Human bodies torn to shreds
They who will never again lay in their beds
Human bodies torn apart
Breaking so many hearts

Sadness, grief beyond belief
What is it, this brute did seek
Terror, fear, I’d say thats clear
Children who will never play again
A sadness descends……
When will this all end, so many alive no more
Families devastated by the score
Evil came to our city today
As those young innocent children, were at play
Now we are shrouded in sadness and despair

What the hell is happening here, to me it is all so unclear
What does this achieve, committing such an evil deed
Where is God, is he watching this
Where is Allah, can’t he see this is sick
How can these people do what they do
This is a question I ask of you
Politicians outraged, emergency services praised
But they will be devastated too
As they are only human, just like you

A city in mourning, as we wake today
The people of the city, had their say
Opening their doors to those in need
To be an antidote, to such an evil deed
Generosity and kindness to the fore
Letting the terrorists know the score
That try as they might, they will not divide decent people
Good will triumph over such an evil, even in the darkest of nights

A vigil for peace, where the religious leaders speak
The crowds listen in hushed silence, broken occasionally by applause
A man said it better, than I ever could, ‘ You ain’t no Muslim bruv ‘
To a would be bomber of his own race
These people are not representative of the Muslim faith
Acts such as this, should not exist
A city coming together to conquer this

Where does the blame lay, for this outrage
Far from Manchester I’d say
Try the corridors of power in the West
Try the Kremlin, and Beijing too
There you will find some answers
There you’ll find some clues
Foreign armies in foreign lands
Trying to gain the upper hand
Causing mayhem and despair, like they don’t even care
What are they even doing in their
This I just don’t understand

A sadness came to a city today
As so many young children were at play
Across the city streets, the people weep.

 

 

Substandard.

via Daily Prompt: Substandard

The work he completed was below par. Not up to what it should have being. He knew it. They knew it. Everybody on the site knew. But nobody really cared. It was after all, more money for all of them. Even when the lowly paid government inspectors came to check out the work, many were open to the large brown envelopes which everyone knew would help smooth the way of the project. Help to avoid any awkward questions or very close inspections of the work completed.
‘Get it done, and get it done fast, and get it done cheap’. That was the order from the top. Another rushed job, another contract completed at speed. Everybody making money, everybody happy. In the Arabian peninsula, the heat sapping, draining weather was always the same. No let up. Life was good here in these foreign lands, with good money to be made in quick time. The only few drawbacks as he saw it were the the lack of available alcohol, unless smuggled in surreptitiously, and the lack of a pretty woman to catch a man’s eye.
The Arabs, as determined by their governments, were forbidden to drink alcohol, which to him seemed a nonsensical and cruel law. Secondly the women were forced to cover up everything except for their eyes. Another crazy law in his view. He had being in the country for close to six months , and was looking forward to his return to normality, back to America. Looking forward to seeing his wife and newly born child whom he had yet to meet.
He didn’t want to leave them, but with the lack of employment in ‘The States’, and the subsequent continual arguments that the lack of money, and boredom were causing with his long term sweetheart, and now wife. It just seemed like the best solution to a bad situation, at the time.
In Arabia, it was good to be working once again. His happiness and joy for the occupation, replacing the depression, that had dogged him for many months, in the past. The feelings of worthlessness and failure he felt as a man. Unable to provide for his wife, and family. The thoughts of ending it all. How different it was now. Those bad times behind him, a happily distant memory. But money making was very high on his agenda, after so many, many months of being without. He had a lot of catching up to do, financially, and he was determined to catch up, in whichever way he could. Regardless of the consequences.
The management back home in America, were well impressed how he was able to move the job along with such speed. While keeping costs way down. Congratulating themselves on choosing some a competent man to oversee the work. It was of course his decision to purchases supplies and materials from the unlisted, unlicensed companies. His choice not to question the low cost of such purchases. Again his choice to pay the immigrant workers just slightly above the national rate they were paid. An incentive to work harder, and faster, which they happily adhered to. Of course, the wage they received, a pittance, in comparison to the wage paid to the workers from the west.

He didn’t like him, when he first met him. Something about him. That upright posture, and purposeful stride. The dark business suit. The tanned face, and the neatly trimmed black hair. He exuded an inner strength, an inner belief in his own abilities, in his own worth, for such a young man. No more than early thirties, Jim guessed. A man not easily pushed around, or persuaded. Jim tried the friendly route first. When that was having little impact. He went for the brutish, loud, angry path. But the schools building inspector, remained quietly solid, strong and unmoved. He demanded to see the schedule of work. Demanded to know how the work was progressing at such speed. He further demanded free access to inspect any of the materials used, and see the records and details of the current suppliers to the school building project. Of course he could not be allowed to have his demands met. So as the young inspector was leaving the building project, Jim approached him.
As he was stepping into his shiny black cadillac, he placed a hand on the inspectors arm. The inspector looked down at the hand, and then at Jim , with a look of disdain.

‘Here, take this package. You’ll enjoy it. Will make life easier ‘, offering him the stout envelope.
‘My life is fine, I don’t need nor want anything from you’, and he pushed the envelope away.

Early the following morning just as the sun broke the horizon, and work began again on the construction project, the young inspector returned accompanied by two further car loads, of similarly diligent civil servants. They enforced an immediate cessation of the work, and went about examining the materials used, and the contracts signed. It did not take them long to come across anomalies. Materials not up to standards, and regulations. Works completed in a haphazard and unsafe manner. It was enough evidence to enforce immediate cessation of the project.
Jim watched from the portacabin office, where he liked to oversee the progress on the site. With his favourite coffee cup in hand, he watched the young inspector accompanied by two policemen approach his office.

Bursting through the door in the blazing mid day heat, disturbing the dust and paperwork in the office.

‘ I am closing down this project’, with immediate effect’. He spoke slowly, with much assurance and calm authority. ‘You, as the project co-ordinator here, bearing full responsibility for all that goes on in this project, are to be prosecuted for using substandard and dangerous materials, and engaging in unsafe  and haphazard working practices. Endangering the lives the the employees currently working here, and the further employees and children who would have attended this school in the future. Also you are further to be prosecuted for attempting to bribe a government official’.

With that the two policeman stood either side of Jim, and escorted him down from his office. The next few weeks passed quickly, and before he knew it, he was enduring the sweltering heat and blazing sunshine from the confines of an overcrowded Arabian prison cell. He was slowly coming to terms with the violent prison guards, who delighted in tormenting and torturing their prisoners, especially foreign prisoners. Coming to terms with his violent prison cell mates, none of whom he could dare to trust. Forced to stand for up to twelve hours a day, it was an impossible torture. The stench of urine, of continual perspiration. The sense of claustrophobia, of being unable to move freely, of being trapped, with no space of his own. With unfriendly people he did not know, using a language he could not understand. The continual pushing and shoving. The sense of violence waiting to explode at any moment. His very real fear of homosexual rape. The lack of sleep, his anxiety. Wishing now, had he being given his time over, perhaps he may have being a more honourable, honest man. Not racing headlong chasing money and wealth at any cost.

His only contact with another english speaker, was the weekly visit from the middle aged man from the American council. His job to keep Jim informed of the likely date of his court case. It could take years, he had being informed. Arabia was in no rush to release the inmates of their prisons. Jim in a strange way looked forward to these weekly visits. At least it was some human contact, without the fear of violence. A short sense of freedom. A brief thirty minutes out of the stinking , overcrowded cell, that had being his home for the last three months. With someone he felt he could trust.
He walked into the light grey plastered room, with the open windows, accompanied as ever by two severe looking prison guards. He noted the brightly colored  bird sitting on the tree branch outside the window, chirping away  happily. Jim looked at the bird, and smiled, envied his freedom. The ability to do what he wanted, when he wanted. To have his own space. To fly away and be free, anytime he choose. The man from the American council entered the room. Jim immediately noted his more than usual serious demeanor. His grey and  drawn face. The deadness in his eyes. He sat at the table, slowly, and opened his black briefcase. Hids movements were slow, as was his speech.
Quietly he began. ‘Jim, I have some news from home, and I’ll come straight to it. I’m very sorry, but there has being a fire  back home, and their have been fatalities. Jim held his breath, and began to perspire slightly. The veins tightened in his arms and shoulders, and he clenched his fists. ‘It’s your wife’, then he stopped, to steady himself,and catch his breath, and after a moment, ‘and your newborn child. I’m so sorry’. Jim listened, but didn’t really hear, and asked for him to repeat what he had said. He sat back in the soft chair trying to comprehend what had being said, his body feeling weak. ‘ The initial outcome of the investigation are, the fire was the result of the substandard materials been used, when the house was first built’. ‘If there’s anything I can do’, his voice trailed off.
Jim sat back in the chair, and quietly muttered to himself, ‘Substandard materials, substandard materials’, over and over. Precisely when the thirty minutes were up, the two prion severe, angry prison guards , roughy lifted Jim from the chair. Pulled and dragged him back towards the overcrowded, sweltering, stinking, violent prison cell. The man from The American council watched for a moment, as he stood underneath the ceiling fan, enjoying its cooling air, before taking his briefcase, and making his way towards the exit.