Friday, September 16, 2022

Just in case

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

Mom ~ bed ~ coffee ~ bagel ~ 4 cats ~ snore

They were submitted by:


I don't really know why I decided to learn Morse code. I've been at home since... Well, I don't like to talk about but I've been living with Mom and her 4 cats since my breakdown. Let's just call it what it is. I was burnt out working in special education and everything piled on and the world went nuts with COVID and I just couldn't keep up. I had to stay inpatient for awhile. I had to quit my job. So now I'm here right? I'm not delusional. I'm not crazy. I'm not psychotic. 

I just need to make that clear.

And I don't know why I decided to learn Morse code. Like I said. I thought it might be fun. I thought it would be easy and different and useless. I mean who uses it anymore? I just wanted to know a thing that wouldn't be used to market me. Does that make sense? I just wanted to have a thing that was all mine. I saw it in one of my dad's old boy scout books and went down to the old used bookstore at the corner of Graham and Pine and found a full actual book with practice and everything. 

Ok and I got a little too obsessed and also got 5 more books about codebreaking and history and shit but it's still not crazy. I'm still not delusional. Ok? I need that to be clear before I continue. I'm not losing it whether I had a little nervous breakdown or not. I feel better than I have in a long time even though I know I have a long road to get back to where I want to be. But I get up every day and look forward to having a breakfast bagel and coffee with Mom. I look forward to helping her out around her. I look forward to play time with the cats. I even taught them how to do tricks! So life isn't the best it's ever been or the best it will be, but it's good. I'm good. I'm in therapy. I sleep well when I don't wake my own self up with my loud as fuck snore. I'm not... This isn't because of what happened. Just please believe me.

Ok. So.

The first time I noticed it, I'd been doing the Morse code thing for a couple weeks. I was getting better at it, right? The first little bit of doing it, I just couldn't get it. I thought I'd never remember all this shit. It's like making a whole language out of beep boop beep beep. But it weirdly also made me feel closer to dad. He was so into boy scouts as a kid. He made it all the way to eagle scout. And then he was always a scout leader for my brother when it was his time to do scouts. I never really got that experience. I never got the camping trips or the badges or any of that shit. And then he was gone. Who expects to lose their dad at 16 before he can even teach her how to change her oil or fix a flat? It was kind of an unexpected consequence of getting into it. It felt like I was getting a half ass chance to do things over with dad. And the code history was pretty fucking interesting on top of that. I was in bed reading way too late every single night. Navajo coder talkers? How does history get better than that? Ok ok bad phrasing. How does it get more interesting than that? I suddenly started to understand all those Ken Burns documentaries dad had been into, all the history channel shows. I felt like I was finally starting to understand him... And for a long time I had never felt that connection. I couldn't. He'd always been busy with Joey not me. He'd never had time for tea parties and princess on ice shows. He didn't talk about periods or makeup or dating. And then he wasnt around at all. I'd been more than a little resentful.

Anyway, I'm digressing. The point is that I wasn't looking for anything weird and I wasn't in a bad place. For the first time in my life my dad was becoming a whole, interesting person. I tapped into parts of me that were straight from him, and it felt great.

So I'm doing some work in my Morse code book when I hear some tapping on tree right outside my window. I'd heard it before and figured it was just some super persistent woodpecker, but now I noticed a pattern. The pecks had a rhythm now that my previously untrained brain hadn't been able to pick up on.

It was Morse code.

Now listen I've been wrestling with this. I know how this sounds obviously. I know how it must seem, so let me assure you I've gone back and forth on this. It took me days to bring it up to even my mom. It took me longer to write this down in case this is what's left of... I don't know. The truth is really that I don't even know if this message is for me or for birds or for animals that aren't birds or for humans in general. Why Morse code if it wasn't? That's what I keep coming back to. Why a human made language?

But what if it isn't human made? What if we stole it from patterns we noticed in nature? Ok I'm getting ahead of myself here. What I need you to know is that mom heard it too. She doesn't know how to translate it but she heard the patterns. She wrote down in her own way what she was hearing and it was definitely repeating in a short pattern. I helped her translate--without really telling her first what I'd heard!! And it was the same. We heard the same thing. Doesn't that make me more credible? My mom has been the most solid person I have ever, ever known. You ask anyone, well anyone left, and they'd say the same. She was a constant in the neighborhood taking food to sick people, picking up supplies, keeping someone's kids if they had an emergency...leading Sunday school and working at the elementary school library. My mom is an indefatigable force of good and she's amazing and she's sane.

Even if you question me, you ask anyone in this community, and they'd believe her. They would.

We both heard it. And I don't know what it means. But I don't think it's good.

"They're coming soon."


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

On the Border

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

What TF Sarah

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, September 9, 2022

No Ocean No Cry

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This month 5 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. 

My “Secret Subject” is:

If you had a choice, would you rather live by the ocean or in the mountains? Why?

It was submitted by:

Uh so...I guess this is my answer hahaha


I think I'm the only one left now.

The sun was just starting to stretch its tendrils of light above the horizon which should have been a comfort all things considered but that thought, that she was the only one left, created a startlingly deep well of emotions. No one expected to be the final girl. Real life didn't work like that. Thinking on it now, those girls always seemed more than slightly relieved even while traumatized and full of fear and grief and confusion but how could she be relieved? She should be dead right along with the rest of them. Wouldnt that be the kindest thing? To face an eternity of nothing so she wouldn't be haunted by what she'd seen? So she wouldn't have to face the fact that there was a whole world of darkness and shadow and death and tentacles that she hadn't known about? How would she ever sleep again?

In movies the final girl is always some badass who faced down whatever monster or demon that some guy with no trauma (probably) had imagined up to be a metaphor for depression or whatever but apparently real life didn't work that way. She had run. The moment she could, she ran without looking back and she hid. She hid while all her old college friends were screaming and begging and dying, torn apart by that...that thing that had crawled out of the waves and grew legs right in front of them, its beak gnashing, tentacles burning and pulling and ripping... None of them even thought it was real.

Ha. She'd pissed herself. That's what she'd done. Where were all the final girls in the movies who did that? Her face was crusty with sweat and tears and snot. Why did they never look like this?

She'd seen too many bad horror movies.

Not a single one prepared her for the real thing.

They'd all come to this little beach to celebrate Jenny's wedding. A wedding that would never happen now. Jenny was somewhere down the beach in 4 pieces if that thing hadn't eaten her yet. It was supposed to be a 4 day girls trip. They were going to some clubs, to wine tastings, snorkeling... This was just the first fucking night. It was supposed to be a chill smoke and drink session by the waves as the night wore on. They were laughing and reminiscing and catching up. It had felt so goddamn good to be back with the people who'd held her when she cried over what happened with Mason, who had her back when she'd pressed charges on him...they felt like home in a way she'd never had with anyone anywhere and now...they were all gone. It would be kinder if the writers of her life just let her die now.

The screams had stopped a long time ago. The creature or whatever it was hadn't bothered to look very hard for her. She'd only gotten a few yards down the beach between two small changing huts. It hadn't even really looked in her direction...maybe it understood that nothing it could do to her would be as painful as being the only one left. She'd watched it walk back into the waves and crawl under them but didn't dare come out because death might be a blessing but she couldn't will her legs to get her there.

The sun rose higher. Seagulls and crabs were feasting. And she knew if she could somehow explain the truth to anyone and be believed or come up with some sort of believable lie...she would never ever be able to face a beach again.

Humans should fear the ocean.

She crawled inside one of the huts finally able to let her guard down enough to move and slept.


Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

What TF Sarah

Part-time Working Hockey Mom