Sunday, November 23, 2014

Based Upon A True Story (From Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal)

The men didn’t lift me this time—not like they did when they threw me into the box. Instead, they put that same dirty rope they used before around my neck. Downward they pulled me into what seemed like an overwhelmingly large crowd of humans.
A male human took my rope and led me into a small yard where the smells were better. The smell of death was gone; in its place was the clean smell of farm life. In front of the barn stood a woman in a billowing red skirt, “Dinky little thing isn’t he? He sure smells terrible,” she said to the man.
I heard other animals calling, “Who are you?”
Still fearful and unsteady, I held my head up high and called back, “I am beautiful and strong. My mother told me so.”
So loud were the humans, I could barely hear their replies, but I thought I heard them laughing at me. That made me sad.
The man leading me wore blue from head to toe. Deeper into the dark barn he led me. Finally he pushed me into a small room with little patience for my unsteady legs or for the bruises that covered my body from falling.
In the dim light of the room, I heard a voice, “Hi. My name is Lucky. What’s your name?”
Afraid, tired, and hungry, I asked, “I don’t know, Lucky. How do you get a name?”
“Oh, sooner or later they’ll call you something. Then you’ll know your name,” he said.
“Then I guess my name is Dinky, because that’s what they called me.” I couldn’t manage anything more. Before looking around the room, I went over and drank some of the water in the pail. “I’m hungry.”
“There will be nothing more till morning,” Lucky said, licking my wounds and comforting me while I cried. We snuggled close and slept. Each time I woke up weeping, he calmed me down and reassured me.
Cock-a-doodle-doo filled the room. It was the strangest sound I ever heard. “What’s that noise, Lucky?”
“It’s called Mac Rooster, and he’s greeting the dawn and telling everyone it’s time to get up. We’ll get our breakfast soon now. It always comes after Mac Rooster calls,” Lucky said.
Lucky wasn’t my mother, nor was he an adult horse. He was too young to teach me manners or the ways of the herd, yet he’d been here longer and knew things I could learn. He was bigger than me and brown. With him near, I felt a measure of safety. Each day at the farm shortly after Mac Rooster called, they brought us our breakfast. For a while they only brought us the milky stuff, but soon the humans began putting hay and grain in our room along with our pail of milk.
“Dinky, I overheard the humans talking. Soon they won’t give us the bucket. If you don't learn to eat hay and grain, you’ll die.”
So each day I tried to chew it, but it didn’t seem natural. “Lucky, are you sure it’s normal for us to eat this when we’re so young?”
He just grunted and went on eating. Sure enough, the next morning the humans put only water in our bucket. Gone was the milky stuff.
Our room was old and smelled of other horses even through the thin layer of new shavings on the floor. That morning we woke to rain. It came down exceptionally hard, so instead of taking us out into the little yard, they tied us up inside the barn.
“Lucky, this is horrible just standing here unable to move around. Even being in the little room is better. I like it best when they put us out into the little yard, don’t you?”
 “Yes, Dinky, but I heard the woman say if we get sick we will be worth nothing, and they will have wasted their time and money on us. So we have to stay in here if it’s raining,” Lucky answered.
“I guess we are fortunate not to be on the cross ties. See those chains hanging over there on the wall, Dinky? Ole Jack told me, they are called cross ties and humans hook the chains one on each side of a horses halter. Then the horse must stand still, held between them, unable to move around much at all. We are too little for halters, so they tie us up instead.”
“I don’t think I would like cross ties Lucky. It is bad enough having a rope around my neck and tied to the post. Why do you suppose the rope is tied so high? I feel like my neck is being stretched off my head.”
“Me too Dinky, I don’t know why the rope is up so high though. I think it would be worse though to be on the cross ties.”
“What are halters Lucky?”
“I don’t know, Dinky, all I understood was they are something that covers the face. It doesn’t sound nice at all.”
Each day I learned a little more about life on the farm. “Dinky, don’t try to socialize with the chickens. They’re snobs and only like to talk amongst themselves. Besides Ole Jack told me they were just big gossips anyway.”
I wondered if there was something more to it, but I didn’t think Lucky would know. Maybe if I was here long enough, the chickens would talk to me, I thought as the woman led us out to the little yard.
“Hi, young’uns. How’s it going?” a strange looking little light-brown fellow with horns on his head and whiskers on his chin yelled from across the fence.
“There’s Ole Jack now,” Lucky said. “We better go over and talk to him, or else there’ll be too much ruckus, and they might not let us stay out in the sun today, Dinky.
“Howdy, Ole Jack. Where have you been?” Lucky asked as he trotted over to the fence.
“They lent me to another farm for breeding. Woo hoot, did I have a grand time, little ones. Who’s your buddy, Lucky?” Ole Jack asked.
“This is my new friend, Dinky.”
“Is he okay? Looks a little skinny and wobbly to me, Lucky.”
“Yah, Ole Jack, Dinky is still recovering from the trip and losing his mother.”
“Ah, another nurse mare’s foal, eh, Lucky? Hi, Dinky, welcome to the farm. I advise you not to get too comfortable here.”
“Why’s that, Ole Jack? And what’s breeding?” I asked shyly.
“Well, your mothers were bred to a stallion, and you were born. Your mothers were nurse mares. Unfortunately, a nurse mare is only useful for the milk she produces, which is why you were taken away from her. Her milk was needed to feed another horse’s foal. You two are just a byproduct of the breeding.
“Nurse mare foals have no real purpose. You’re not much use here on the farm. Chickens give eggs, goats and cows give milk, but the humans here think they can make a little money by selling you. Likely you’ll both end up at the meat market or the tanners. There are a whole group of humans here today. Likely as not, one of them will buy you, if not now then next time.”
“Does that mean I’ll never see my mother again?” I asked.
“I expect you won’t, Dinky,” Ole Jack said.
I started to cry. At least I understood why we were separated, though it didn’t make the separation any easier.
“Now don’t cry, youngster,” Ole Jack tried to console me. “It’s just the way of the world.”
I tried to think of something else instead. “What’s a tanner, Ole Jack?” I asked, because he seemed to know a lot.
“I don’t want to frighten you two, but a tanner is where they take the hide off your back and make bags and shoes for humans to wear.”
“But what does that mean? How could they take my hide without me dying? I don’t think it’s possible to live without it. What are bags and shoes anyway?” I asked.
“Dinky, calm down. I said I don’t want to frighten you, but it’s true. You’d die if they took your hide. Bags are what humans carry things around in, and shoes go on their feet.” Ole Jack answered.
“I don’t want to die! I don’t want to have my hide taken to make bags or shoes, and I certainly don’t want to be eaten,” I said tartly.

“You sure are a sassy little fellow aren’t you? Maybe that will help you survive. Sometimes, you nurse mare foals find homes. You might become one of the privileged ones, but I recommend you don’t count on it. I don’t want you to get your hopes up, little ones. You won’t stay here long.”

Sunday, November 16, 2014

From Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal.

Terrified for my life, I was flung to the floor and against the walls so many times by the movement of this box I was trapped in. I was afraid to try standing again, so I cowered in the corner. On the floor of the trailer was a bed of soiled straw. I lay there watching the sunlight crawl across the dirty brown walls. The shadows from the sun hitting the bars in the window looked like enormous fingers coming to get me as they crept across the walls of the trailer.
No longer was I able to see the grass, the sky, or Mother. I lay there trembling and alone with no one to love or cuddle me—just this large space all around me that smelled of old manure, urine, fear, and death. Some of the smell was my own fright. The stench was so strong it made me sick. Where were they taking me? Without Mother to protect, nuzzle, and teach me, how would I survive? I felt so helpless.
My misery and my deep need to belong and feel loved were so strong, the solitude of my mind wandered back to the same questions. What would happen to me? Who would teach me? Would I get a chance to live as she promised? “Remember her words,” I told myself.
“Hold your head up, son, you must be strong.”
With every fiber of my being, I held on to her voice in my mind. It helped to ease the apprehension, the hunger, and the throbbing from my bruises.
The movement of this box stopped. When they opened the door, I was crouching in the back corner of the trailer like a weakling. One of the men held a bucket in his hand and the other a rope. The smell coming from the bucket made my stomach rumble. Even through my fright and the fury I smelled on these men, my stomach growled. There was no place to escape from even the dirtiest of these men.
Both of them were dirty, unshaven, and wearing blue jeans and sweat stained t-shirts. Joe’s whole face was covered in hair. I could barely see his eyes through all the hair as he crouched down beside me. The other man once again put the rope around my neck and held my head in a forceful grip. Without so much as a kind word, the man called Joe stuck his fingers into the pail and forced them into my mouth. Not even the nasty taste of his grubby fingers stopped me from tasting the flavor of the milky stuff.
Hungrily I found myself sucking his dirty fingers. Several times the exercise was repeated. I sensed the resentment in these men even as they pushed my head down into the bucket. Famished, I drank greedily.
Impatiently the men pulled the bucket away from me and carried it out the door. Still hungry, I whimpered.
The man who put the rope around my neck complained as he slammed the door, “Stupid junk foal. I don’t know why we always get stuck with this job, do you, Joe?”

The way he said junk foal made me cringe. It sounded as if he was talking about a piece of garbage. Holding my head up even in my dread, I let my mother’s words again run through my mind. “Remember, do not pay any attention if you hear the words junk foal. These are words used by ignorant humans.” For a little while, letting her voice play in my mind helped ease my panic.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Teaser: Unedited from The Hollowers Part II

On the stainless steel table lay what was left of Jerry Nilan. The empty eye sockets seemed to stare at something and a wide toothy grin stretched across the skin covering his bones. They knew it was skin, yet it appeared mummified over the bones. All the tendons and muscles were gone. Just this dried, brittle skin, stretched across the bone of his head, those empty eye sockets, wide nostrils, and that horrible grin.
Even Doctor Smelter, a veteran of autopsy felt chilled just looking at Jerry. The V-shaped cut he had made across the rib-cage of the corpse, now closed gave no secrets to the cause of death. In fact, it made everything that much worse. Doctor Smelter, still spry in his old age, turned to his tall, thin assistance and said.
“Charles, I just don’t get it. What could possibly have drained all the fluids and tissue from Jerry? Why even his eyes are missing and yet, he has the biggest grin, from ear to ear on what I suppose we would call a face. This is probably the eeriest body I've ever had in autopsy.”
“It sure is spooking me out sir, I mean how he can have died happy? Wouldn't whatever did this to him have been insanely and horribly painful?”
“One would think so! Perhaps, you hit the nail on the head though Charles, he went insane from the agony. But, what could it have been? I don’t know of any disease or creature that could have done this and so far we aren’t finding anything.”
“There’s not even an organ left in his body is there?” Charles asked.
“None that I have found. Why I couldn't even find a small puncture wound or an incision in his body that could have been used to remove them either. He is just a bag of bones with a thin layer of that horrid, dried, brittle skin covering the bones. Whatever it was even removed his muscle and sinew. It’s simply worst thing I have ever seen.”
“Do you think it would be so bad without the grin sir?”

“Well, it would still be awful, but you are right the grin makes it all that much worse. What do we know about this Jerry fellow?”

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Imagine a world where there is no middle class, no environmental controls, no education for the poor, no safety nets for the young or the old. A world with no minimum wage and no way for woman to protect themselves. A place where everyone who isn't wealthy is a number and owned by the company. Their lives and families at the mercy of the few, the corrupt, and the powerful.

As we head into the mid-term elections, so many will not vote, many will vote based upon one issue, some along party lines, and some based upon lies created to deceive and divide people.
If we become a nation without safety nets for our children and elderly, with no minimum wage, health care, or education for anyone that is not already wealthy or born into wealth. Where will we be?

If we become a nation of one religion, the question will become which denomination of which religion will become the STATE religion? What will happen to all those who believe differently?

Today there is a movement for South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida to succeed from the United States and form a country called Reagan and build a country based upon anti-gay, pro-life, as long as it is the fetus, without care for women, or the children, without any environmental or safety protections, and with a state religion.

We will have a nation that resembles the story I wrote called, The Between Times. It is a story of a grim world, with little hope for the poor. But, there also is a bit of hope and a bit of magic, within its pages.

In Orwell’s, 1984, he paints a picture of Big Brother in the form of the government, it is a picture that many use to try to prove that anyone who believes in safety nets and protections, are evil. In The Between Times, I see a world where the corporation owns the people and that world is not pretty. It is a world where religious wars are fought to make more money for the richest among us, while the poor are fodder for the war machine. A place where children are no longer protected once they are born, for the truth as my research shows is that those few who are throwing billions of dollars into buying elections and our government do not consider anyone who is not wealthy to be a person. No in their minds they are only fodder for their work force and their wars, which serve only to produce more power for them. It was true in nineteen thirty-three, when a few millionaires tried to overthrow the government and place a fascist regime in its place and it is true today.

Although, there are some who hear the word magic and believe it evil. In The Between Times, although it appears to be magical it can also be a metaphor for what can happen if people from every walk of life put their energy in one direction and how powerful that would be. It is a revolution of sorts, though not one that is carried out in the streets nor is a shot fired, but still hope is found in ‘the prophecy,’ begun by Jewell’s mother Rebecca, while she was standing waiting for her death.