Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tapestry ( A Short Story)

A photograph of a piano. An old silver microphone. A small bottle of industry grade hand soap in a greasy sandwich bag. A step ladder. A grey sweater. A dusty picture frame with a man in a kilt and a woman in a wedding dress. A doll in adult's clothing. A small figurine in his underwear. A ceramic Gnome.

If you were to knit these together, a creative person could build a life out of them. A really creative person could build a family from them.

These are the items catalogued from section 5 in precinct 17, located in the heart of the Gustaphson district. Ellis Gustaphson discovered this district in 2163 under the sponsorship of the king to excavate unknown territories inhabited by radicals. It was a huge risk. A risk the king believed to be profitable to learn more about the human habit. This was the site that he believed to be the location of the initial bombings. Gustaphson dug through the roots and cut down trees. He dug until he touched something solid. His crew dropped to their knees to gently uncover the finding...a half dissolved and faded Gnome. Gustaphson was well educated in the field of human culture. He knew this discovery meant that humans had been here.

Gustaphson kept digging. He dug all night and kept finding small objects scattered all around the excavation site. A microphone. I photograph of a piano. A bottle of hand soap.

In 30 sundowns, Gustaphson had compiled 9 artifacts from section 5. The objects too random to figure out. Too different to piece together into a solid story or experiment. Nothing to report as significant. The plug was pulled and the excavation ended by the king's orders.

Gustaphson retired 140 years later, with his greatest discovery ultimately leading to nothing. Other excavators had found gold and silver. Some had found skulls and almost perfectly preserved food items. Gustaphson learned nothing from what he found, but he never stopped wondering. He had these items placed in his quarters on the ship, pinned to his walls. At night, he tried to imagine the couple on the wall in the picture frame. He understood this was a wedding of some sort, but just couldn't reconcile the rest of the story. When a bullet was found next to a gun, you could easily understand it's history. This was different. This was connected, but not in a way anyone understood. Gustaphson had two weeks left of his life to figure it out. In two weeks and one day, he would be gone. The king would press the button everyday and those that turned 250 would drop where they stand.

Gustaphson called in some favors and blackmailed some business bosses and secured enough money to re-excavate district 10, later called the Gustaphson district, particularly section 5. Gustaphson dug deeper and faster. He worked all night and retrieved nothing. He moved the dig further west, then further east until he started hitting solid materials.

A box containing paper materials. A pocketknife. A small canvas book with a painting on the cover. Inside were human letters, which no one had discovered the meaning to. A swing-set. A flat, black screen. Finally, a photo of 4 humans, two small sitting on a sofa. The larger ones, holding the smaller ones so tight their knuckles were white.

This was it! This was the the final piece to the puzzle Gustaphson had worked for so long to solve. All of the sudden, he realized that the pieces fit together to paint a picture of a group of people that cared about each other and lived their lives together. Each person maybe had their own interests, but shared them with each other? Maybe some of the humans didn't fire any bullets? Maybe some just lived together in peace.

This was a true discovery. Gustaphson knew this would be the change to the game. What they had always assumed was that humans hated humans and naturally made humans extinct. This was the first proof that some humans may have lived together and didn't hate the other.

He closed his eyes and brought up the communication screen. Nothing. No answer. He ran to the nearest shuttle and jumped on, begging the pilot to go faster. He got to the compound with the downloaded memories and leaped off the shuttle to the pavement and into the make-shift command center. He ran as hard as he has ever run. He got so far as into the command center door, shouting "WAIT!"

And he fell silent to the ground.

Everyone looked to his dead body, realizing the king's button and kept doing their jobs. A cadet named Rael took notice of him lying on the ground. She thought it strange that he would shout such a thing. She reached into him. She put her hands into his head as if they were both just data and immediately felt the pain of loss. This was an unknown experience; this feeling of losing something that was a part of your body...something that you would never imagine living without. For the first time in her history, Rael cried. No one had ever seen anyone cry before. She didn't know how or why, but her chest tightened and she could not hold what was inside of her in. She snatched her hand away from Gustaphson's brain and doubled over as everyone watched.

This was what she had always hoped the humans had; humanity, something different from loneliness. She had always wondered about humanity. She had always wanted to know why they seemed bent on killing each other. She considered them evil. She always wanted to know what could drive a person to kill or to die.

For the very first time in her life, Rael felt love...and hurt.


Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, September 8, 2014


Hey. You're sleeping on the couch beside me. You were so tired tonight. You were so tired that I didn't have the chance to tell you what you have done for me.

When you are married for over decade, you sometimes forget momentarily what your partner actually is to you.

As you lay there sleeping, I can't help but to remember some things. I couldn't keep them out if I tried. So here is a short list of the things you have done to change who I was to who I am becoming.

You swallowed my sorrow. In my grief for Will, our marriage went through the worst strain it could endure. I dropped my guts onto the floor and you picked them up and hid them from our kids to protect me and them from trauma.

I wanted to live in anger. I wanted to hate, but the softness about you kept my edges dull and my senses confused. You simply are too beautiful to hate the God that gave you to me.

You never let me go unchecked. You were tenacious in keeping me from destruction. I had always been a strong person with strong convictions. The moment you saw my convictions were damaged, you acted and endured my anger to keep me safe. I did things harmful to us in grief and it hurt you. You forgave me. Forgiveness is the most valuable virtue.

You made Christmas mean something other than death to me. To some, this would be trivial, but you knew what Christmas has always meant to me. You would not allow me to destruct what is the single most beautiful day of the year.

I could list things you have done all night, but I think they can be summed up by saying that you became my heart. When mine broke, your's did. You didn't weep for me or mourn for me or feel bad for me. You, Laura, my beautiful wife, wept with me and would not let me give up. You gave me everything. You continue to give me everything. My heart hasn't broken before. You let me fall apart and held me close to you, knowing things would never be the same. They won't, but I love you more now than I ever will.

No one has ever loved me so much.


Thanks for reading...Z

My Wife

Some day soon, I'm gonna tell you what my wife means to me, but right now I don't have the right words.


 Thanks for reading...Z

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Consequences of Only Seeing Half

Every song and poem written in heartbreak was written in a 50% viewpoint. There is always more to the story than the author's viewpoint, but many of the others don't have a voice.

The problem is that many of the things we hear are so exciting because they match what we already believe, so they are the ones that we choose to believe.

But sometimes our belief is just a product of a productive lie.

A crowd has always drawn a crowd. Anytime there is a fight, many flock together to take sides. Not many stop to really think about the possibility that both sides are wrong or even right. We sometimes would rather expend our energy bashing the other than figuring the problem out. In that instance, we become the problem in itself.

A people that cannot think beyond their anger is people bent on blood.

What is Christianity?

Is it a political view? Does being a Christian grant us guns, political freedom, or prosperity? Is it a long standing religious entity that powers millions of people? Is it an excuse to forget those that destitute by their own making?

I think Christianity is about being Jesus himself. Jesus made a habit out of pissing religious people off. He did the things that made already self-righteous people condemn and eventually kill him.

My question is: How did Jesus come off to those that were not religious?

He meets a thief tax collector in a tree and invited him to dinner. He walks into the bar with the people that are drinking and having a good time and befriends them. He turns water into wine as his first miracle. People then were excited to finally see a Savior they could get behind...a not judgmental, loving, and compassionate Savior.

If you ask yourself to take a realistic view of what the world needs right now, I think you will find a similar state of universe. People need love. That is a constant for all people and a deficit in humanity. Jesus offered loved and no condemnation. To be a Christian means the same.

I was raised in a religion that drove me far from Jesus. A religion that rejected imperfections and hurting people and justified these actions with self-righteousness. I am so happy to say that my family has for the most part freed themselves from this thinking. But the fact still remains...we are a church in need of saving. We are destitute. It isn't the world who God judges now, it's the church.

But I won't apologize for the Church. The Church has historically kept those in peril above water. Soup kitchens, shelters, and crisis pregnancy centers have enriched the world of the love of God. The problem is the stagnant majority. The people that sit in the seats and allow suffering as long as they don't have to act.

I constantly find myself in this category.

This is my shame. I'm going to try to do better.

What if we just put out our hands to catch those that are falling without scorn? I think maybe they would finally see the love that God has for us in our hands.


Thanks for reading...Z