Shaved Legs and All: LGBT Pogrom

Creative Thinking - By Mizeta Moon 

Robo Rent-A-Cop d311 was good at enforcing the law but wasn’t programmed for unusual situations. This current problem was causing his circuitry to overheat as he probed his data bank for a solution. When he took up his position earlier, there was no one around. Patrolling the campus was usually routine during spring break but as the day rolled on a large group of naked bike riders stopped riding and took a break on the lawn. Soon the hillside was littered with naked flesh which was definitely a violation of Dine and Dash University’s dress code. 

At first, he moved through the crowd politely asking them to move on. Most of them refused so he opened the hatch on his left shoulder and pulled out his ticket book. As he wrote citations the dilemma of where to place them arose. Since they weren’t wearing clothes where would they put them? He solved that problem by using zip ties to attach them to the bikes. Many of the naked riders became unruly and shouted expletives due to that action but since he had no feelings to hurt, they were ineffective. When some of the more aggressive ones started shoving him, he realized he was going to have to be creative since harming humans was contrary to his programming. Remembering that there was a big roll of shrink wrap in the utility shed, he rolled that way, hoping the crowd would disperse before he got back. They didn’t. 

He used his hook to round up all the bikes and shrink wrap them together, then dragged them to the empty parking lot. Since he was really fast, he began circling the riders who were now pedestrians and wrapping them in shrink wrap as well. As he was doing this, he called for back up so the miscreants could be shipped for booking at the Fast Food County courthouse. Hearing dispatch contact the fleet of Rent-A-Cops, several television news crews arrived to document the naked bike riders being lifted and loaded onto a flat bed truck. Since they were unashamed by public nudity the riders didn’t mind being filmed but were extremely angry about being arrested. After they were unwrapped at the courthouse, fingerprinted, and photographed, they were delivered to the courtroom of McArthur, Big Mac Burgerking, who chastised them for tying up services and increasing demand on an already overburdened budget. He handed out healthy but reasonable fines and released them without prejudice so they wouldn’t have a criminal record. Their bikes still lay in a pile in the campus parking lot so they had to walk through town and unwrap them as additional punishment. 

Needless to say, there was never a naked bike ride in Frytown again. Rent-A-Cop d311 was awarded a software upgrade which allowed him to solve complex problems without overheating The judge used footage from the incident to make a fortune on YouTube which allowed him to take his wife Wendy to Carl Jr’s supper club for a sumptuous barbecue. Creative thinking saved the day better than pushing and shoving ever could.          

War - By Mizeta Moon 

The crowd’s mood was changing. Where before they had hope for their future, recent events made it impossible to believe they would survive the constant attack on everything they’d strived for. Children bleeding to death in the streets. Buildings they’d scarred their hands to erect turned to rubble. Bombs exploding and disrupting a way of life focused on sharing and caring for one another. Sirens blaring. Machine guns burping death and destruction in every direction. Tanks using their steel treads to trample everything in their path. The crowd was now individuals fleeing the onslaught of an enemy hell-bent on genocide. 

When their homes were destroyed, they survived by salvaging anything they could reap from the rubble. A jar of pickles. A bag of flour. Two eggs from a chicken whose feathers were singed. Water filtered through a handkerchief from a muddy puddle to soothe a thirsting tongue. Whatever was required to defy the enemy became their daily practice. Their bodies were sore and tired but their souls were unwilling to relent to terrorism. 

“Up there! Can’t you see it?” A woman cried out in the midst of a missile strike that killed a hundred people trying to evacuate. “It’s a rainbow. An omen that salvation is imminent.” Unfortunately, her head exploded moments later as a sniper placed her in their sights. Hope was no longer a commodity. Bleakness painted a grim reality for all to experience. Rainbows were simply weather phenomena instead of something to feel good about. Flies swarming around corpses had become the norm. When it rained, gutters ran red with blood. 

Since the beginning of time there has always been someone jealous of what another has to eat, or their property, and has sought to usurp it. The thinking is– whatever they believe is wrong and we the righteous true believers have a right to expunge them and absorb the wealth of their labor. War is our way of life. Hatred and destruction are the only path we tread. To share the world is the aim of weaklings as only the ruthless and strong survive. Incessant war creates jobs and the need to rebuild so we are justified in spilling blood. 

 I, for one, will forever seek to share and plant seeds in opposition to the idea that war is the only way we can maintain a viable economy. My crops may feed few but the  joy they bring will echo beyond my tenancy.    

Discovery - By Mizeta Moon 

Officer Porky Pig hung up the phone and sighed. Somedays he hated being a cop. Someone was always doing something crazy and he had to pick up the pieces. Arresting people required a ton of paperwork and his hooves were clumsy when typing was required. Maybe the caller was a prankster and there was no crime but he still had to roll out. At least having Mister Ed pull the hay wagon would give him someone intelligent to talk to. His last partner Daffy Duck had been just that and his lisp made him hard to understand. 

When they reached the address that he’d been given, a rusted mailbox sat atop a weathered post leaning over so far that Porky wondered how Yogi Bear the mailman could deliver to it. A small opening in the trees was the access point for whatever lie behind them. Mister Ed said he’d wait there while Porky explored further because something smelled rotten and he’d get queasy if there was a dead body. The twisty lane led to a ramshackle house that looked deserted and a barn that seemed to be the source of the odor permeating the air. 

An investigation of the house revealed that it was inhabited but no one was home. Shabby furniture and worn out rugs made a statement about the occupant’s financial status. Sighing, he pulled his handkerchief out of his pocket and tied it around his snout. Anything that would make a pig want to vomit had to be terrible. Pulling the handle on the barn door produced a screech from unoiled hinges that made his skin crawl. He could leave and say there was nothing to see, but Chief of Police, Elmer Fudd might send Deputy Dawg to make sure and he’d be demoted. As the door swung open, a wave of stench rolled over him like waves breaking on the beach. His first step into the gloomy interior produced a crunch and he felt something squish under his hoof. He turned on his flashlight to see what it was. Bugs were everywhere. Not only on the floor, but they were also crawling the walls. 

 The barn was huge and he hated crunching his way deeper but he heard what sounded like someone crying and couldn’t ignore the plaintive wail. When he walked past a huge pile of hay, he could see the source of the horrible smell. Cinderella sat on a stool in the corner, and the remains of a huge pumpkin on wheels that had cracked open was covered with bugs dining on its rotting interior. 

“What happened?” Porky asked. 

Cinderella sniffed, wiped a tear from her eye and said, “the Big Bad Wolf and Yosemite Sam robbed me of my glass slipper, then held me hostage when I was on my way home from the ball. It made me late and my carriage turned back into a pumpkin. It was dark, late, and raining when I got away from them, then the mice and toads ran away, leaving me stranded.” 

“Why didn’t you walk home when the rain stopped? And how’d the pumpkin break open? How long have you been here?” 

Cinderella held out a badly bruised and swollen foot. “For some dumb reason I was pushing the pumpkin inside. Why I wanted to protect it escapes me at the moment but just inside the door, I tripped over a bucket, sprained my ankle, then fell onto the pumpkin. It cracked and I almost drowned in the pulp before I could pull myself out. I can’t put any weight on my foot so I’ve been here for two weeks.” 

Porky whipped out his Acme walkie talkie and told Mister Ed to bring the wagon. Once they had Cinderella comfortable in the hay, they rolled out toward the Fred Flintstone county hospital. Just as they reached the head of the twisty lane an old jalopy pulled up and waited for them to get out of the way. Porky thought the driver looked a lot like one of the Beverly Hillbillies but being in the midst of a medical emergency, didn’t have time to ask for an autograph. He’d heard they fell on hard times after some bad investments. He still didn’t know who the mysterious voice on the phone was who said he should check out the scene for possible monkey business but was glad nothing was amiss other than a smashed pumpkin and a bug infestation. When his wife Petunia got back from touring Sunnybrook Farm, they could visit the ramshackle house together and maybe get a picture taken with Jed and Granny.         

 

Dyslexia - By Mizeta Moon 

Officer Lawrence knelt on the wet sand and looked at the young girl’s corpse, wishing he could’ve stayed home for his family’s turkey dinner like the rest of the department. Surrounded by fog with an empty belly wasn’t his idea of an exhilarating day. There was nothing he could do so he snuggled deeper into his Harris Tweed coat. Turning to the man who found the body, he said “why were you here?” 

The man wearing a wet suit with goggles wrapped around his neck said, “I was having my first scuba lesson when the train suddenly plunged off the trestle and fell into the bay. Scared my instructor so bad he ran home to take his heart medication. My phone was in my bag, so I called it in, then started walking the shoreline looking for survivors and stumbled onto her.” 

“She the only one you found?” 

“So far. I think most of the passengers are trapped under water. Coast Guard’s all over the scene. Why are you looking at me like I did something wrong?” 

Officer Lawrence pointed to the woman’s hand and said, “looks like she had several rings on her fingers, and a bracelet on her wrist. The depth of those marks tell me they were on there for quite some time. Want to tell me why they’re missing?” 

Realizing he was busted, the diver shrugged, then dug into his kit bag and held them out. “Figured she didn’t need them anymore. Gonna arrest me?” 

“Just get out of my sight,” Lawrence said as he palmed them. 

Inter-agency investigations were a nightmare. NTSB usually treated locals like they were dirt and since there was no evidence that the crash was anything more than an accident he could go home as soon as they arrived. No point taking on a petty crime that would involve a lot of paperwork. 

While he waited, a small suitcase floated onto the rocks about fifty feet from where he stood. Walking over, he picked it up and shook water off of it before setting it on the sand and popping its latches. Examining its contents led to a big surprise. There was a passport with photo attached of the woman lying dead on the beach. The irony of her luggage following her didn’t escape him as he dug deeper. He discovered a train ticket, which was expected but soon realized it was for a different train than the one that crashed. The ticket was for the number 13 express, not the number 31 local that lie at the bottom of the bay. The only thing he could surmise was that she took the wrong train because she was dyslexic. Now the fact she was dead became a greater tragedy. 

By the time the feds arrived he’d copied all her pertinent information into his notebook and put her jewelry in his car. He hoped to provide a small degree of comfort to her relatives by sending it along. When he got home dinner was cold and the football game was almost over. At least his in-laws were gone after scarfing everything they could and leaving his wife to do the dishes. He nuked a plate and started to eat but couldn’t get the dead girl’s face out of his mind. Appetite gone he went to his study to type up his report. As he worked, he thought about the effects of dyslexia. How many people suffered misfiled forms or turned the wrong way? How many of those situations led to tragedy? He understood that others died on the train and were where they were meant to be and when. Was the girl? Such questions could lead to drinking and sleepless nights.        

Memory Lane - By Mizeta Moon 

The red gate led to the burial plot of the Duquesne family. It was a pretty gate surrounded by honeysuckle vines and buzzing bees. Dappled sunlight took away what could have been a threatening presence and infused the scene with a sense of tranquility. People inside were truly resting in peace. I unlatched the gate and stepped inside to pay my respects to someone I felt privileged to have known. 

Malcolm Duquesne and I joined the peace corps while we were in college. Every summer break found us digging wells in third world countries or vaccinating children against malaria and other diseases. We shared food around campfires, told tall tales and got drunk when the opportunity arose. After graduation I went into corporate law and Malcolm became a fireman, following his family’s tradition. A college education wasn’t required for the job but his degree in computer science led to him making extra money developing apps for gaming. When stuck in boring meetings about some company suing another for copyright infringement, I often wished I’d followed his lead. He was on the front line saving lives and making a difference while I worked hard at protecting my pension plan, hoping not to be downsized. 

When caught, the arsonist who caused Malcolm’s death stated that it was the greatest blaze he’d ever ignited. He showed no remorse for the loss of life and millions of dollars-worth of property damage. He smiled at the cameras as the police loaded him into a van and vowed that he would do it again as soon as he was released. Evidently, he considered himself a crusader, at war with an oil cartel my company happened to represent. Local news agencies broadcast footage of the fire for hours before the smoke and toxic fumes forced everyone to evacuate the immediate area. Night fell and all they could show from a distance was a glowing mass along with hundreds of flashing lights from emergency response vehicles. Once again, Malcolm was at the forefront, sweating, laboring, desperately trying to make a difference. 

Dawn revealed massive destruction. Soot covered haggard faces reflected the agony of retrieving bodies incinerated by searing heat while ambitious newscasters lobbied for exclusivity, unmindful of anything but ratings. Another day, another tragedy, another opportunity to move up the ladder. Meanwhile, Malcolm was missing. When last seen, he was valiantly trying to rescue a dog nursing a litter of puppies in a storage shed. His captain had advised him that it was too dangerous, but Malcolm’s sense of duty and humanism propelled him into the maelstrom without concern for his own well-being. His body was found the next day with his coat draped over the mama and five dead puppies. 

All the medals in the world can’t bring him back or truly commemorate his bravery. I’ll always remember his laughter when we rode into the jungle on the back of a flatbed truck wondering what we were doing there. Being by his grave brought back a flood of memories that will be etched in my mind till the day I die. All I could do was sit quietly on a stone bench and sip from my flask while tears rolled down my face. As the sky began to darken and evening chill caused me to shiver, I rose and slowly walked back to the red gate. I knew I would come again.        

Fubar - By Mizeta Moon 

School was never the same after they turned the dragon parking area into a practice floor for outdoor rhythmic gymnastics. Sure, watching all those lithe young ladies swirl their ribbons and tumble and roll was swell, but being dropped by a dragon required to hover, then leave, led to a ton of bruises and strewn paperwork that was hard to recover on a windy day. Besides that, my dragon missed yakking with the others waiting to ferry their charges home after school. Now there was a traffic jam as they returned instead of an orderly lift off like before. I began to hate the very idea of rhythmic gymnastics being an Olympic event, not to mention the snooty moms who thought their daughter was the cream of the crop. The elitism ran rampant through every grade while thousands of dollars were spent on sequins and hair gel. 

Anyway, one day after school I flew into downtown Gresham, thinking I’d treat my dragon to pizza as consolation for being barred from campus. He loves pizza with extra garlic and jalapeno peppers that make his breath super fiery. Me, I’m more of a chicken pesto with extra cheese kinda girl. Fortunately, there was an empty spot in front of Main Street Pizza and we swooped in before someone else could grab it. Parking in Downtown Gresham can be a challenge so I’d learned to be quick or suffer endless circling. Unfortunately, there were nearly a hundred online orders being processed ahead of mine and the wait was interminable. By the time I procured our box of steaming toppings and cheese my dragon was cranky and hungry, not to mention being irritated by the overtime parking citation a zealous meter maid stapled to my saddle. I was amazed he hadn’t torched her but relieved he didn’t, as torching a meter maid was a federal offense. I noticed she was across the street ticketing a group of circus clowns for allowing their elephant to defecate in the street. Thinking I might get her to rescind the ticket, I approached her as she swaggered back to her scooter. 

The meter maid she couldn’t and wouldn’t tear up the citation, then plopped her fat butt on her seat and drove away laughing. I was tempted to follow her and have my dragon light her up in an out of the way place but before I could act on that impulse a tremor tore downtown to shreds. Buildings collapsed, fires broke out and the screams of injured people filled the air. I’d never experienced a natural disaster and had no idea what I could or should do to help. Frightened and confused, I climbed into the saddle and urged my dragon to take flight. Circling the area, I noticed there were hundreds of cars experiencing gridlock while trying to escape. Everywhere I looked, a big rock blocked the road or tumbled buildings prevented egress from the impact zone. The one point of humor in the situation was the meter maid’s scooter wedged nose down in a crevasse running all the way across Burnside. She was covered with dust and obviously took quite a tumble. The knees of her uniform were shredded and blood oozed from several patches of road rash. I could have ignored her plight since she’d been such a bitch but I remembered one of my classmates mentioning his mom was a meter maid. That led to me urging my dragon to land nearby and tax his muscles by allowing her bulk to climb aboard. It took a moment, but with a mighty heave we got airborne, then managed to deliver her home. 

It took weeks to repair the damage and get things back to normal but the next time I went to school I discovered new parking spaces for dragons near the front entrance. Evidently, someone lobbied on our behalf. Downtown Gresham also dedicated some spaces to dragons. It turned out that several dragon riders helped evacuate wounded citizens to hospitals outside the impact zone and were rewarded for their humanism. After that experience I was proud of myself for being mature enough to not surrender to my base urges. Who knew when tragedy might strike again?    

    

Fishing - By Mizeta Moon 

Inspired by a conversation with Darren Schrader

 

Someone told me about this great place to fish so I thought I’d check it out. Unfortunately, it was at a lake on an island. That meant I’d have to pay someone to drop me off, then come get me later. Having made a fortune on bit coin transactions, the expense wasn’t the issue, but lack of wifi was until I remembered my satellite phone. Even while fishing I like to make money and track what the market is doing. So, grabbing my gear and packing a cooler led me to a weathered pier where a boat I chartered bobbed gently on the incoming tide. The captain was an affable sort who pointed out landmarks while we were underway so sailing on the bay was peaceful and relaxing. I have to admit that I scanned the horizon a few times hoping a Gilligan’s Island scenario didn’t develop but even if a storm arose, we were within sight of land at all times so I focused elsewhere as we swooshed toward our destination. Squawking seagulls flew by. A pelican dove in and scooped up a fish. A pod of Orcas surfaced, blew, then disappeared. The breeze was warm as it tousled my hair. 

After leaving me at a small dock and promising to pick me up the next day, the captain sailed away and I started up a dirt trail leading into a stand of trees. The trail wound its way uphill for about a mile, then emerged into a flower-filled meadow at the edge of the lake. I felt like the queen of the world on my private estate. There was a wrought iron bench to sit on and a fire pit to use after gathering wood. I decided to fish a while then get domestic later. I could hardly wait to land a big Kokanee and pan fry it for dinner. Digging through my bait box, I selected,  then plunked my lure in the water. It turned out my friend was right. A half hour later I yelled FISH ON! Though no one was there. It was such a beauty I kinda hated taking its life but would respect it by eating every useable bite and giving the innards back to nature. 

As evening fell, the sizzling sounds of butter turning my filets brown in a cast iron skillet made my mouth water with anticipation. A glass of chilled Chardonnay complimented my meal of wild rice and salad I made before coming. My contentment level rose as I listened to thousands of birds singing goodnight to the sun. I wasn’t sleepy so I stoked the fire, then baited my crayfish trap and dropped it in the water after anchoring the chain with a big rock. Crawdaddies and grits would make a great breakfast. When the stars came out, I was treated to a dazzling display of splendor. Eventually, the moon climbed overhead and shone a circle of light onto the gently lapping lake. The ring was beautiful as it worked its way toward me, shimmering like a band of diamonds lying on black velvet. Pouring the last of the wine into my glass, I raised a toast to the universe, then sipped contentedly as the sandman crept into my soul. I slept like the proverbial log. 

After breakfast, I caught two more fish and put them in the cooler with some crawdads. One for the captain and one for me and my cat Phoebe. I hiked out slowly, then sat on the dock waiting for my ride. When sails appeared on the horizon, I stretched, then turned to look back at the island. Such a beautiful place required revisiting.

Negative Body Image - By Mizeta Moon 

Olive Oyl was tired of being skinny. She could turn sideways and people thought she left the room. She wanted to get a boob job but being a cartoon character didn’t pay much. Water balloons in her bra leaked and deflated, so what she was left with was a wet blouse and the same flat chest. Lately, Popeye had been dating Bluto’s voluptuous cousin from Wisconsin and she was jealous. Milk-fed beauty superseded her devotion to her muscular hero. Bluto continued to pound on Popeye like usual, but she could tell his heart wasn’t in it. If Popeye married his cousin, he’d have to cut him some slack and Olive’s supply of spinach in the pantry wouldn’t be needed to overcome adversity. 

Desperate for a solution to her dilemma, she called Daisy Duck’s dating service, hoping the sexiest duck on the planet could help regain her man’s attention. Daisy taught her to waddle her butt as she walked but it was so narrow no one noticed. Meanwhile, the dairy maid was leading Popeye further down the path to eternal bliss. She called Cruella for advice but with so many dogs barking in the background she couldn’t understand a word. Sleepless and fatigued, she called Tom Hanks to ask if someone in Seattle could come to her rescue. Tom said no but wished her luck. 

A few nights later, Popeye banged on her door with his big fist. Powdering her nose, and freshening her lipstick, Olive answered with hope in her heart. “I brought you a present,” Popeye said when she answered. He’d obviously been drinking and reeked of cheap perfume. Instead of refusing him entry and rejecting the package he proffered, she grasped it like a life preserver tossed to someone drowning in a sea of self-pity. 

After she ripped the paper and stripped away the Scotch Tape, Olive laid eyes on a bottle of muscle building protein powder. Evidently, Popeye thought she needed to fatten up to be desirable. Having hoped for more, her previously suppressed anger exploded. “So, the way I was drawn isn’t good enough for you?” She yelled. “No one asked me what I wanted to look like. What makes you think that someone with large breasts and wide hips can love you more than me? I’ve been your ally and nursed you back to health after countless beat downs from Bluto, not to mention Wimpy’s constant demand on your generosity. His appetite for hamburgers has to be taxing. You owe me more than money. Isn’t loyalty worth something in your world?” 

Popeye leaned away from her fury. “I am what I am,” he said. “Do you think I had a choice about my character traits? How would you feel if you were destined to pummel and be pummeled as your ongoing reality? What if I wanted to be a painter capturing images from flowered fields? Did my creator explore different options and give me choices? You’re skinny. I’m a muscle-bound freak who might not like canned spinach. What say we blow this pop stand and write our own script from now on? Bluto said he could use a break and has always been attracted to you. The two of you could be our neighbors in Hawaii and I could marry his cousin Lulu. We could raise three little pigs and share food we grow with the old lady who lives in a shoe with her foster children. I’ve heard her welfare check no longer covers the bills.” 

Olive Oyl smiled. “You’re right,” she said. “I always wanted to sleep with Bluto but you always thwarted him. Now that we’re being honest, I got tired of paying for your spinach years ago. If Lulu wants to be your meal ticket from now on, I wish her luck. Men like you never change.”          

  

      

Reluctant Participant - By Mizeta Moon 

It was cold and the concrete was abrasive to the thin soles of her flimsy shoes. The wind kept lifting her short skirt and she wanted to seek shelter but with a sick child in a motel room she couldn’t turn back. She didn’t want to be a whore but time was running out. If she didn’t pay rent in the morning the street would be their new home. Abandoned by the man who promised her a new life in a new country she only had her body to sell, having lost everything to a war that destroyed all in its path. 

A car slowed and she could see hungry eyes scanning her but she must not have been the right type as the man seeking temporary thrills accelerated and disappeared into the night. The wind blew harder and she shivered beneath the see-through shawl affording a glimpse of her tiny breasts. She wished she was more voluptuous but couldn’t change what nature provided. Perhaps she’d need to seek sustenance from a shelter. The problem with that was that resources were stretched thin by the escalation in poverty and homelessness. How could a recent immigrant expect prioritization when displaced natives were struggling to survive? 

Her feet felt like blocks of ice and her calves were growing numb. Snow began to fall. It had been two days since her last meal. Her baby needed medicine and was going to die if she couldn’t make money soon. 

Approaching headlights gave her hope. It was late and she was the only girl on the street. Servicing someone in a warm car could turn her life around. When a sedan pulled to the curb and a door opened, she scurried to jump in before the opportunity was lost. When the police found her body lying beneath the Hawthorne bridge the next morning, they labeled her as just another whore who took the risk and paid the price. When the motel owner called about a dead baby in one of his rooms, a patrol car swung by but there was nothing they could do. Later that day, a maid cleaned the room after the baby was sent to the morgue. The cops asked about the man who’d rented the room for the deceased but discovered it was paid for with a stolen credit card. With nothing to go on they pursued other crimes. No one knew her name or where she came from. Another Jane Doe to bury in a pauper’s grave.     

Beauty Contest - By Mizeta Moon 

They are beautiful 

Each in their own way. 

Some short, some tall 

Some big, some small 

Every color of hair, skin, and eyes. 

Who lives inside the body 

Is the woman you should know. 

You can learn to touch them. 

You can learn to share. 

You can learn to laugh and love. 

You can learn to live. 

Because love lives inside her 

She is sensuous and warm. 

She’s brilliant, she’s awesome 

When you learn to speak to her. 

Not just speak to her breasts 

Expecting clitoris to be available. 

Each one a dazzling sparkle 

Of the rainbow that is life. 

The one you should find beautiful 

Is the one who shares your life. 

Rape 

It’s her body. 

She’ll share it with whom she chooses. 

Rape is violence, hate and contempt. 

It’s her body, 

The house where she lives. 

No one has the right to invade her 

Like a castle under siege. 

Should she always walk in fear 

Knowing danger’s near? 

It’s her body.