“It takes courage to grow up and become who you truly are.” - E.E. Cummings ... BOOOMSHAKOW! The battered building rattled, threatened to fall, then showered its inhabitant with dust. BOOOMSHAKOW! The cycle was repeated as another howitzer shell made rubble of one of the world’s oldest cities. With a growl, an olive skinned child who couldn’t have been a day over twelve, came barreling out from under what was left of an overturned desk. She pounded the brick windowsill and stuck her head out into the street.
The funeral was small. Captain Sy “Cyclops” Petcher spent the end of his days at a dark corner table in the Triple Trout drinking discontinued ale the bartender had shipped in just for him. When the bar was closed in the mornings, Sy would sit outside the door in a chair engraved with “Cyclops” and scare school children with tales of sea monsters, pirates, and siren songs. They would scream and run away laughing to return the next morning for all of their favorites from the crazy old man with the eyepatch.
In a forgotten corner of space, on the fringes of the Hawthorn nebula, mechanized creatures called Zarook moved in a rhythm, working to a melody and harmony tuned to the very core of their planet. For several centuries the Zarook had maintained the cultivation of this life force, keeping it exactly the same, exactly the way the Carbies instructed them to.
Lobotomy -- surgery that destroys the frontal lobe of the brain, leaving the patient catatonic Rothering -- translation from German - red herring Red Herring -- something that confuses or diverts attention from something else Asylum, crazy house, funny farm, loony bin, nuthouse, he scribbled. “We don’t use the word nuthouse, Mr. Rothering.”
Jude was short on friends. As a matter of fact, the only friend Jude had ever had, besides his nemesis Agnes Mckinney, was George Rothering. George and Jude hadn’t been so much friends as they had been united in their friendlessness. Their mothers met every Wednesday afternoon to test their Bridge skills against other members of their Bridge Club. Even though no oaths had been taken, nor commitments made, Jude felt like they were in a friendless nerd secret society. Until he was betrayed.
Cara Rothering almost wrote Cara H. instead of Cara R. on her ‘Hello my name is’ sticker. It’s a mistake common to newlyweds. She chuckled when she thought about being a late-thirties newlywed. She was just as beautiful now as she had been almost two decades earlier. She primped her cornsilk blonde hair subconsciously in a mirror across the room before arranging the nametags on the table. The difference between the 20-year-old buxom blonde and the 38 year old newlywed was a brush with death, a twelve-step program, and a life with meaning. After helping herself, she was now helping others.