A small crowd of protestors formed in a midwestern town in the U.S. They were taking a chance of being arrested by the roaming police of the U.S. government.
“Aaron, I’m terrified that we’re actually doing this,” Mandy said.
Aaron replied, “We have to be brave or we will never get our freedom back.”
The crowd was protesting the discontinued social programs, particularly those that provided them food and medical attention. The President had all social programs abolished in 2017. Since then, the disabled and the elderly people in their community had suffered and many had died.
Now it was 2019. There were few jobs. People tried to farm, but the change in the climate made it almost impossible. Aaron had organized this small protest.
A young girl was carrying a sign that said, “Love.”
They heard the police before they saw them marching in. They stood their ground. The police began the carnage by knocking the sign out of the young girl’s hands.
Photo credit to Elaine Farrington Johnson
She took a walk that hot, sweltering day, taking her puppy who was learning to walk on a leash. She lived in the country and the road in front of her house was deserted. A day could pass, hours would go by with no traffic coming or going. She thinks that her sneaker caught on broken asphalt and down she went. She was walking too fast. For some reason, she couldn’t get up. Hours passed. Her puppy laid down beside her. She raised her hand in desperation, hoping someone would see it above the weeds.
The old man and the boy slowly walked into the old factory facility even though there was a “No Trespassing” sign.
The boy said, “Why have you brought me here? There’s nothing I can do.”
”I worked here for 24 years. Then, they closed it up. I didn’t get my retirement. You’re going to help me get it going again.”
The old man’s eyes were wild in his head. His hands were shaking. The boy came to the old man.
”Grandfather, it’s gone. There’s nothing we can do.”
He put his arms around him. The old man shook and cried.
Photo Credit J Hardy Carrell
Cheep! Cheep! Jaqi’s eyes flew open. It was the smoke alarm. The battery was dying and she was trying to sleep.
Her husband had sent her to the beach days ahead of him. She couldn’t reach the smoke alarm. She laid there and tried to ignore it. Cheep!
Jaqi heard another noise. She got up and grabbed her purse. Her Smith and Wesson pistol was in it. As she stepped out on the balcony to listen, they grabbed her from behind.
When her husband arrived three days later, all he found were her old beach sneakers beside the bed.
She tried to keep in the shadows of the tall buildings. The buildings made the streets like canyons. There were nooks and crannies. It was easy to hide. She slipped from building to building. Then she waited before she went to the next building. If they found her, they would take her cargo and kill her.
Svetlana was a Russian girl working for the Americans. She was a mule, but her cargo was only information. The Russians would do anything to stop her delivering it to the Americans. They weren’t far behind her, but they seemed confused concerning her whereabouts. Svetlana was good at what she did.
She could see the place where she was supposed to meet her American contact. She slipped in and out amongst the trees. Right before she walked in the door of the restaurant, she heard a gunshot. She smiled. They missed. She was here.
Photo Credit to Pamela S. Canepa
“Charles, I hate for Adelaine to be stuck in that boarding house.”
“She needs to test her wings, Esther. That’s how young women do it in this day and time. They get a room and a job.”
“But that secretarial position, darling. It seems so demeaning for our daughter,” Esther said.
“Now, now, Esther. Adelaine thinks she can live on her own. Let her try.”
“She needs to be meeting respectable young men in our home.”
Adelaine already had a respectable young man very much in love with her who called on her nightly at the boarding house.
“Janice, you did it again,” Stan cried.
“I’m sorry, Stan,” Janice said. “I didn’t mean to overfill the cup.”
Stan, the cook, was thinking that he was going to have to fire Janice. She just was not a good waitress.
The diner was full for lunch. Many professional people grabbed lunch at Stan’s Diner and he liked for his service to be impeccable. Janice was sloppy with her work, but she was not an experienced waitress. He was just giving her a chance because she couldn’t find any other job.
Meanwhile, Janice was embarrassed. She really needed this job. She was serving a woman in a booth alone. She was so nervous, afraid she would do something wrong. Suddenly, the woman she was serving spoke to her.
“Young woman, could I speak with you?”
“Yes,” Janice replied.
“Is this your chosen career?”
“No. I was an English major in college and can’t find a job.”
“I’m a writer,” the woman said. “Why don’t we talk about you working for me?”
Janice started to smile.
Janice was glad to get out of the house. Her weekly trip to volunteer at the Red Cross was one of her only activities where she actually went somewhere. Not only did she feel useful there, but she had other people to talk to.
Janice had caught the city bus at the bus stop near her home. She lived alone. Janice’s husband passed away two years ago. She had little extended family and they didn’t have much interest in her. She had some friends, but she didn’t expect them to babysit her. She tried to fill her time the best she could. She didn’t even know her neighbors.
When she got to the Red Cross office, she sat down at her desk and started doing the administrative chores she was assigned. It was rewarding. As volunteers came in and out, she got to talk to her friends. One of her friends asked her to go to lunch later in the week. She happily accepted.
She took the bus back home at the end of the day and resumed her solitary existence. She was a reader, a writer, and she did beautiful needlework. She supposed it was enough.
The little Blenheim spaniel ran to greet every visitor that came into the old bookstore. Josie bent down to pat her. Josie had one book she wanted to find and she was told she might be able to find it here.
She started down a row of books marked “Fantasy.”
“Odd,” she thought to herself. She didn’t recognize any of the books. Some smaller books were lying on the floor around a stool, so she sat down and started reading. Later, she realized two hours had passed and she was almost finished with the book. The shopkeeper walked up to tell her he was closing for the day, but she could come back the next day and read.
As Josie walked home, she mused on what a wonderful book she’d just read, but she didn’t recognize the title or the author. She read a lot of fantasy.
She went back to the bookstore the next day. She only had 20 pages left to read in the book she read yesterday. She started reading and the same thing happened. Two hours later, she was still reading the book. The book was growing longer, and even better, every day. A real-life fantasy.
Tonight had been high school graduation for Jacob’s class. Mom, Dad, and Sara, his sister, had been there to watch him walk across the stage. He was pretty proud of himself. It had been a struggle at times to get to this stage.
Jacob had straightened up and graduated with straight A’s. He had slipped up tonight. After graduation, he had gone out for a while with friends and had a few drinks. He was walking home.
He was only two houses away from home. A car pulled up and a guy jumped out and tried to pull him in the car. He started fighting and yelling. He was just about to lose the fight and he felt someone pulling back and he heard Dad yelling in return. Dad had heard the commotion. The car sped off and he fell to the pavement. Dad picked him up and held him. He saved him again. He’d been watching out the window for him to come home.