Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Story Bazaar

Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Ninety-Two


False Friends

by
Alexander M Zoltai

~~~~~~~~~

 

~~~ at the cafe:

Bill gave a deep sigh and said: “Life’s too hard…”

Jim patiently replied: “You’re sounding positively pessimistic…”

“I’m not only that, I’m also quite fatalistic…”

“What’s got ya down?”

“The usual—the world!”

“Right…”

“Can’t talk about it right now…”

“Right…”

~~~ at Jim’s apartment:

Jim gave his friend a tired look and said: “Bill, I’m worried about ya…”

“So am I… I don’t know what I can do—it’s all too much…”

“Well, we know I’m not as smart as you; but, I wanna try to help—what’s a huge specific thing that’s got ya down?”

“The Emperors haven’t, at all, disappeared; and, the Courtiers have multiplied—sure, their names have changed—lords are legislators and ladies are legislatorettes; but, they’re all unsexed automatons—can’t even stop their prancing around their Emperor long enough to make some laws that will start protecting kids at school!”

“Ah… That was a tragedy…”

“No! It’s all an apocalyptic catastrophe… It’s a fact that there are twice as many dead school kids this year, so far, than all the dead military in combat zones…”

“No shit?”

“It’s the numbers, man, tally ‘em up—sick, sick, sick…”

~~~ at the cafe ~ Ann joins Jim and Bill:

“Well boys, what’s kickin’?”

“Bill’s got me convinced the world’s nearly reached hell in its handbag…”

“Now how could I have missed that, Bill?”

“Because, sweet Ann, language has been subverted—meaning has been raped…”

“Uhh… My dear smart ass, Bill—do you deem me worthy of an explanation?”

“For your adoring consideration, Ann, the Rulers of our lives call massacres ‘tragedies’; and, when they need to act like they’re doing more than finding ways to get more gold from the one percent, they talk about ‘Important Considerations’ that are ‘Compelling’ them to ‘Discuss Possible Decisions’ that ‘Might Lead’ to ‘Important Actions’ to ‘Remedy’ the ‘Situation’…”

“What the hell…?”

“Kids are needlessly dying Ann—gunned down by the dozens; and, the ‘Elected Officials’ are dancing with each other in the halls of their brothel which they call ‘Government’…”

“Oh… That…”

“Jim, would you like to give Ann a clue?”

“Uhh… Bill… I think you just did…”

“Really? Then why is she just sitting there staring at you like she wants to take you to her brothel?”

“Bill, I think you’re losing your mind—there’s nothing to do except get along and try to have some fun. What the hell can we do about anything?”

Bill got up, bowed to them both, exited the cafe; and, they never saw him again…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Ninety-One


Seeing Is Believing

by
Alexander M Zoltai

~~~~~~~~~

It was a pleasant village—about 600 meters up, on the leeward side, tucked into the mountain valley.

People lived there to get away from the overcrowded cities; and, to avoid detection…

In fact, there was no proper record of exactly who lived in the village.

Up a bit higher, tucked into ascending forest, was a clutch of buildings; and, armed guards in abundance surrounding them.

There was no way to know that those “gone missing” from the overcrowded cities spent dire days in the carefully constructed buildings—buildings full of the most unique machines of torture…

There was no way to discover the people shackled to walls, left to die and rot…

There was no way to learn people were being ground up into “meat patties”…

No way…

Yet, Simon had found out some of what was happening; and, he barely got back out of the woods and down the mountain…

He was twelve and wily as a squirrel—he’d hiked all the way up the mountain—his usual route—a bit to the east of the hidden torture camp…

He approached the heights above the camp, daydreaming as usual…

He veered a bit west, well hidden by trees and foliage; and, as he sat on a large rock, he noticed some movement below…

He stayed there for the entire afternoon, seeing people being tied to poles and whipped—having their legs broken by long metal pipes—saw the dead and decaying bodies carried from one building to another…

Near sundown, Simon skittered around the camp and down the mountain—ran through the city—got home before his curfew.

His mother questioned his dirty and ripped pants and shirt.

He couldn’t say a word…

She called his father.

He loomed over Simon, who began to shake, violently…

His father grabbed his shoulders and said: “Calm down boy, how in hell can I whip you if I don’t even know what happened?”

Simon slowly stopped shaking—tried to speak; but, could only choke out half-formed words…

His father told his mother to fetch a cup of water.

Eventually, Simon got his story out—made his father wonder if he’d been bewitched by that shady lady in the neighborhood…

His father doubted his son’s sanity—his mother believed Simon.

The next day, Simon and his mother visited the lawyer who lived a few blocks away.

The lawyer believed the story; but, he dared not let them know…

After assuring them he would look into the matter, he instructed Simon’s mother to take her son to the pharmacist—handed her the money for the medicine he recommended; then, he visited one of the well-placed and privately despicable men who held his life and livelihood captive.

The lawyer told his tale…

Simon and his family disappeared………

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Ninety


“Break it to change it…” ~ an Evolutionary Tale

by
Alexander M Zoltai

~~~~~~~~~

The state of humanity was under siege—hardly anyone seemed to know—most thought it was just the same old bad stuff humans had done for ages.

Even the Rulers seemed clueless…

Certain signs were blindingly clear; but, most folks were so damned busy they couldn’t or wouldn’t notice.

Society, in the aggregate, wasn’t ready for death—certain individuals seemed to be—not only ready; but, actively working to exploit the approaching end for their own purposes; yet, they actually couldn’t see the end approaching…

Still, even though an end to humanity as it had been was drawing near, there was a new humanity emerging, slowly and privately…

Tim wasn’t aware of the new humanity—he was busy exploiting the old one.

He worked in mid-level management for a major social media company—what he liked to call, “My ever so sweet money mistress.”

Tim got paid based on how much successful targeted advertising he could arrange—tracking users so they could be fed more of what they indicated they liked—a reinforcing loop of behavior that made advertisers extremely happy.

Tim didn’t even imagine his behavior would facilitate the break-down of humanity—he didn’t even realize how much the tracking/liking/advertising feedback-loop was polarizing society—driving folks to find a tribe of fellow users and avoid other users….

There were many things tribalizing society, driving folks to separate off into clumps of disagreeable throwbacks… Things like climate change, corporate voraciousness, threatened pandemics, political insanity.

The polarizing reached much farther than most people realized—deep into work and play—infecting and damaging the ability to get along, except with their tribe—only their own dear tribe…

And, even though most governments operated on a polarizing basis, some of them began investigations because their comfortable usualness was becoming very toxic—moving forward with any decision became nearly impossible.

The government in the U.S.A. had done investigative sessions with social media companies in the past, focused on “privacy concerns”; but, since those companies dealt, hands-on, with large portions of the population; and, because their management seemed highly efficient, the Congress scheduled new investigations…

Tim was called into a management meeting—top-secret…

When called on for his opinions on the upcoming congressional fact-finding session, he said: “Just get them to accept the ‘break it to change it’ policy.”

When asked to explain, he said: “Convince them that their old methods of working within the political party system have become obsolete and need to change, to ‘break’… We show them how well we can control the population’s purchasing patterns with our ‘breaking’ of their behaviors to make them fit our categories, then cater to their new tribe’s predictable profile of consuming… Make them believe ‘break it to change it’ will, somehow, help them govern better…”

When he was nominated to represent the company at the fact-finding session, he graciously and greedily said, “Absolutely!”

~~~

Tim’s performance got him a pay raise and a corner office that had a consuming view of the city…

He worked harder—progressively forgot about his family…

Eventually he ended up drinking heavily, every night, with the other managers…

The important thing was, he was beginning to do what most folks were doing—fitting his life into Only his tribe and contributing to the polarizing breakdown of his society, right along with every patron of the social media company he worked for.

It took a few more years for Tim to kill himself—overworked on the polarizing treadmill, spending no time refreshing his personal energies, a slave to the self-perpetuating cycle—helping humanity wage a war with itself…

It was ten years after Tim died that the social media company closed its doors due to a dearth of users.

After another ten years, most corporations ceased to function; swiftly followed by most governments…

Still, at the disaster-ridden funeral of the old humanity, the new humanity finally felt completely free to forge ahead into a bright and beneficial future—a future of unified, balanced living.

~~~

If you doubt the ending of this Tale, do everything you can to live a very long time; and, take a little of that time to find a few members of our new humanity……..

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you don’t see a way to comment, try at the upper right of the post :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Read More Story Bazaar Tales

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Great Source for “Book Promotion” Ideas
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~ My Bio
Google Author Page

For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send Me a short Voice Message :-)

Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Eighty-Nine


What’s the Use?

by
Alexander M Zoltai
Dedicated to Nathanael, Audra, and Jane

~~~~~~~~~

Mark was in his basement apartment wondering—deep bewilderment—high-risk pondering…

He’d had bouts of depression all his life—fallen down repeatedly; but, he did have an image of how to keep moving forward: “…walk on those bloody knees.”

Society had always been a challenge for Mark.

The “culture” was, as far as he was concerned, rotten.

He often felt like no two people could substantially agree—but, his mind knew there were probably a few…

He was well aware that the multinational-greed-dealers could care less if what they did totally trashed the Earth.

Mark had been overheard saying: “They must all think Musk will take them to Mars, so they can rape another planet…”

Also, he couldn’t ignore the uptick in the odds that he could be either shot, knifed, or run over by a vehicle—the seemingly random acts of terroristic murder were beginning to assume a form of “normality”…

Regarding the state of Mark’s birth country, he’d once said: “Lately, freedom of speech is so misused it’s ashamed of what it’s saying…”

And, the world “leaders” troubled him—acting like children, very angry and dangerous children—children lying to themselves and to each other—working hard to dismantle any reliance on justice.

Then, there were the other “leaders”, the “rational” ones, the “democratic” ones—more than likely not at all what they said they were—lovers of freedom, justice, fairness—just putting on a show to deceive the masses… They all seemed completely hollow-hearted.

He was once heard crying out: “Would that I could sacrifice my life to ensure kind-hearted, truth-minded world leaders…”

As a point of interest, a number of years ago, Mark published a novel, the story carefully placed on planets 12 light-years away—the better to make stark illustrations of what’s wrong on Earth.

And, naturally, he also felt that serious literature was being undermined—just as intensely as justice was wilting and fairness was crippled and love had become a street-walker.

There was so much weeping in his life that he wished the tears could wash away some of the pain…

Still… Mark continued to walk on his bloody knees; and, he regularly shed his tears; but, he couldn’t wash anything away…

There was a huge mass of disappointment in his life; and, it nearly tortured him that he couldn’t lower his principles—hope for less and have less strain and heart-break…

Plus, the principles he’d managed to acquire were under nearly constant attack from his own ego—the Opponent in Mark’s Great Battle…

So…

To summarize where Mark is at:

~ He’s beat down but still moving ahead, slowly, on those bloody knees.

~ He’s been pursuing spiritual practices to support his seemingly useless earthly effectiveness.

~ He’s written many short stories to illuminate the things that disgust him about the state of humanity (while steadily remembering that the greatest percentage of the human family is either innocent or clueless…).

~ He engages in sharing his writings on social media, along with other helpful posts and articles that might induce others to pick up their morals and engage in societal repair…

Still…

He is now, officially, old; and, very tired of it all…

Yet, in spite of that age and exhaustion, he continues to pray for a few more years of work on Earth.

Years of trying to aid just a portion of a relentlessly harried humanity…

If you could inhabit Mark’s emotional mind for a day, you’d hear a litany of “What’s the use?” in harmony with “Keep those knees moving!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Read More Story Bazaar Tales

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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best Source for “Book Promotion” Ideas
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~ My Bio
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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Eighty-Eight


But, What If the System Is Completely Broken?

by
Alexander M Zoltai

~~~~~~~~~

{ just about now… }

The protesters are milling around, trying to get organized…

Many of them aren’t quite sure what they’ll be protesting about…

Signs are passed out—a few folks leave in a huff—a few shrug—most get ready to march…

The protest goes through its planned course and only five people are injured—by resisting arrest…

The news feeds carry the angst-ridden stories of the protesters and their seemingly hopeless opposition to the government…

~~~

{ a few years from now… }

The protesters mill around, trying to get organized…

Many of them don’t care what they’ll be protesting about…

Signs are passed out—a few folks pass out from drugs—a few die on the wayside—most get ready to march…

The protest goes through its planned course and only 50 people are killed…

The news feeds carry the ponderous stories of the oh, so pitiful protesters and their stunningly dangerous opposition to the government…

~~~

As the protests dwindled, so did the government—almost as if they needed each other…

~~~

All through the years, below most radars, a much more humble yet powerful movement was building—slowly, patiently, compassionately…

They left the crumbling government alone—they unified neighborhoods—they became a pattern for a new society…

We are left here to wonder if they won their well-labored goals—if they became a family of kindred souls living happily in their new world…

Whispers from the future tell the tale of the whole earth healing—the whole of humanity belonging to one family—the governing done from the bottom up…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Read More Story Bazaar Tales

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best Source for “Book Promotion” Ideas
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~ My Bio
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com