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The Ice Bucket Challenge and the Cynic

Cynic: a person who has negative opinions about other people and about the things people do; especially : a person who believes that people are selfish and are only interested in helping themselves

Pessimist: 1.an inclination to emphasize adverse aspects, conditions, and possibilities or to expect the worst possible outcome 2a.the doctrine that reality is essentially evil 2b.the doctrine that evil overbalances happiness in life

Hypocrite: a person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs

It is so much easier to become a hypocrite when you are a Christian, than opposed to if you were, say, a Satanist. I battle my hypocritical tendencies constantly; analyzing what I say and do, trying to figure if they are in conflict with what I’ve said or done previously or at odds with the Christian life or expectations therein. I mean, it’s a constant battle between your self and who you truly are.

My friend, the Satanist, (I’ve told you about him, here, here and a little bit here) doesn’t  have to worry about being a hypocrite. I couldn’t guarantee the thought here, but it probably is a virtue to be hypocritical in the Satanist’s belief.

I enjoyed watching the classic television show The Addams Family, but was constantly confused by aspect of them enjoying the darker side of life while displaying attributes of loyalty, hospitality, friendship, patience; you know those things that are generally seen as positive or “lighter”. It was all so hypocritical and I couldn’t assimilate those conflicting behaviors in my young mind.

I still enjoy the “darker” things in life, such as reading horror novels or watching The Addams Family or listening to music that isn’t generally accepted by mainstream Christianity. I don’t think that makes me hypocritical, but some would disagree.

Which brings me to the point I have here. It all started with this whole “Ice Bucket Challenge.” In the early days of this summer I saw a few of these videos and it quickly reached a crescendo a few weeks ago. (Incidentally, I consider myself a sort of pop culture maven and will begin writing more analysis and thoughts here.) I found the videos fine and never really considered the typical/unpopular goofball such as myself to be challenged to do it. After all, these were cultural icons who were making a fool of themselves all for a good cause. Now don’t get me wrong, they aren’t fools for doing this, but allowing them to look the fool, being wet and cold and in some ways vulnerable, eventually brought about the idea of ALS to the forefront of international debate. It worked! Granted there are much more important causes to educate the world about; slavery, feeding the starving. But, that is just my opinion. Apparently this has raised over $40 million. These superstars are one upping each other on the creativity factor of which they can relate to the common man. This is now, officially, a cultural phenomenon. Even at my work’s social network site, they have a page dedicated to people dumping ice water all over themselves. Fortunately, I, nor my team, have been challenged yet because we are so far away from any corporate office that we are always forgotten. Always.

Then my brother challenged me. His boys dumped the bucket on his head and they had a lot of fun. I initially rejected the idea to do it, but thought that I could make some sort of statement and have my kids have fun with it at the same time. I wanted to say that who follows up with all these people who don’t accept the challenge. Is there some ALS Ice Bucket Police force making sure you get your donation in for not humiliating yourself. I saw the Super-Star as relating and us, and we, just humiliating ourselves. It needed to be more than just me dumping ice on my head. So, I did it and found myself forgetting all the things I wanted to say.

Sure, it was ridiculous and I knew that my participation in it would have the effect of nil or negative nil on the cause (that I necessarily didn’t care anything about), but my kids had fun and my wife even smiled about it. I posted it on that one site. I wasn’t going to keep it up long as I knew those I challenged would probably do nothing about it, (which was true) and it was just something that was a flash in the pan for me.

The next day my Satanic friend posts:

“I was going to ask someone what all this stuff about dumping water on people was about, but then, like an offensive Fbook post, I decided against it, as I don’t care. I reached this decision after concluding that humans are being led around like mindless sheep (as per usual), but probably never so bad as it is these days.”

Him and I agreed on one major point in High School: People Suck. This is what kept us together, our mutual feelings of how much better we were than everyone else. Nobody’s opinion mattered above our own. Since then, I believe I’ve grown the wiser in trying to understand people’s motivations and beliefs. Although there IS a lot of right actions with altruistic beginnings, people are still fallible and will make wrong choices even when they think they are right. I do believe we are all sheep. All of us. We have our own flock and do things for our flocks approval. He doesn’t realize the choices he makes are because of who he is, which is a series of experiences and related thoughts and actions he took because of them. He believes himself unique in his ideas and doesn’t realize that all those people agreeing with him are his flock and he is the mindless one seeking approval. I, wanting to answer, began typing something to this effect in the comments, but I didn’t want to start something that would never be finished. So I posted a general post regarding my thoughts on sheep and our sheeplike behavior. My Satanic friend then posts a huge rant about all these other problems in this world and how all these people think it is Obama’s fault, and how he never bashes religion, but makes scathing comments. It was basically our back and forth jibes at one another.

Then I see my brother-in-law going off on people who are dissing those who are taking the ice bucket challenge. And yet someone else as well. Who knew that dumping water on your head could cause such division and rants!? I deleted all the applicable posts and cemented the idea to get rid of my FB, that I’ve been toying with for a while.

My friend believes that being a mindless sheep is getting more prevalent these days, but he doesn’t consider division through this social media and snippets of news feeding the fire, as the main culprit for our increasing sheepiness. We need to read full articles. We need to consider differing opinions, (not meaning being so open-minded that we accept everything). We need to ask each other “Why?” in a sincere, inquisitive way. We need to stop being so offended and defensive. But, alas my pessimistic side believes that this will never get better, only worse.

After all this rigmarole, I posted this:

“Visited a youth group tonight that a friend is heading up and I enjoyed the discussion leading to seeking out Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT), and how that ties into the purposes of our life. Like a lot of the churches around here, most of the kids are bused in and are there mostly to socialize. My eldest daughter came with me and told me after, that it is hard to believe that she could relate to these other young adults. She is shy around new people, much like me, and those kids are brash, loud and seemingly overconfident. I told her that their behavior is an indication that deep down they are probably scared and uncertain. I went on to explain that most of these kids probably don’t have many good role models or possibly parents or even people who care. We can’t believe things about people by just what they choose to reveal to the world. We can’t think we understand who they are by what they do among their peers. Then I went off on a rant about how sad this world has become because we believe things about others without knowing them, and feel our anger, resentment and/or violence is justified because of how much we suffered in the past or our people suffered hundreds of years ago. Then we assume we could control ourselves in that situation and suddenly realize that we have never been in their shoes so how can we understand. “Some men just want to watch the world burn,” goes off in my head. Maybe all people don’t want to be understood, at least by those who aren’t a part of their group. I see those kids, and I pray for them that they will gain knowledge of who they are, what gifts they’ve been given, and think about life, and the world and their purpose in it. That is where I am the optimist. I believe that you can reach those kids through love and connections of a transcendent nature, seeing that the world is beyond them. But then I see the world and how we aren’t getting any better, so what hope do they have when we can just sit back and watch it all come crashing down. My optimism wanes… but in their eyes you see some connections being made, ideas being sprung, and there is hope. Love your kids, find those who don’t have a mother or a father. Be those people who care, bring hope into their eyes. Change the future for them. We can provide hope with an outstretched hand. We can provide hope with laughter or a tear. I see nothing new about what is happening in this world, but those kids are new, and we can make a difference.”

In all this, I wonder about cynicism, pessimism, and hypocrites. Although in many ways I am a pessimist, I realize that I am not a cynic; thank goodness. But the majority of pessimists are turning to cynicism, and that is what is dividing us. Find out people’s motivations, make your world a little more closer. A little more friendly perhaps?

~Stranger

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Sunday Scrutinization: Tomorrow Needs to be Today

I am overwhelmed right now. Overwhelmed by what God has done and is right now, doing in my life. Everything is connecting and meshing in a way I had not expected several years ago. This is something I feel inadequate in expressing. I can be self-deprecating. I can make excuses that it is hard for me to connect with others. I can manipulate. I can be humorous like dry white wine with a lemon infusion. I can hide. I can forget about my hope. I can do many things. But, explaining my love, my fear, my hope and my total amazement at what is going on in what I have been learning.

I recently learned that there have been several people who have been secretly reading this blog and especially this segment. I don’t know if they like the expression of what I’ve learned, or perhaps seeing a teaching from a different point of view, or they like my writings(?), or something else, so writing this jumble of thoughts might not connect with the normal reader. I’m just going to summarize some of the specific things I have learned and my thoughts on what they mean to me right now.

Funnels. Spirals. Sunday’s sermon started with funnels. One stem up, one stem down. Two church views. One view: the majority of Christians enter the large part of the funnel, the church, and make smaller, core groups that in turn minister to the needy church. The result: the church remains self-focusing, relying on the committed to keep a tenuous hold on the Christian community that could disappear like smoke. Second view: a committed, smaller core of community believers are part of the church that goes out from the church into the world to minister, to witness, to spread the gospel. Sure, it doesn’t stand up on all three legs, but you get it right? The spirals were introduced in the second lesson of Perspectives and is a very similar idea. One view: church in the middle an arrow spiraling toward it, the idea is the church is relying on its attraction so people will come and know God because of the people. Second view: church in the middle arrow spiraling outward. Obvious conclusion this is optimal because we go. We go. Which is the whole point of what I am hearing in my ear and in my heart. As John Zumwalt said last night, we are the only seed that resists being scattered. He made motions of throwing said and said, “Go!” and looked at his hand like the seed stuck. “Go!” he called and threw again looking at his unscattered seed. How long have I been resisting the command to go? He also spoke of the sower piling all his seed up for acres of field in the corner. How long have I stayed in the comfort of my own little pile of seed? We are the seed. We are meant to be scattered. My wife and I have talked about that we have possibly made the first and hardest step of being scattered. That West Plains move was being pulled from the plant in preparation for a more difficult scattering. This is our preparation. We are understanding that we need to go. I don’t know where, I don’t know when. But this is the beginning, the beginning of understanding that for too long we have been complacent and, this is hard, not obeyed the Lord.

Listening to John Zumwalt last night I realized something at one point and I wrote it down. Here it is: “My resistance to feel is because I feel I’m being manipulated. I have to understand that God will not manipulate me, but that I will move when I hear/feel You.”

How often have I felt God moving me to compassion and just understood that this person is just manipulating me!? Do you understand what I’m saying here? Someone spoke and I begin to feel compassion, mercy, understanding and shut it down because I felt I was being manipulated! That is Satan, and I rebuke this feeling and pray that the Lord would breakthrough and tell me the mercy, compassion and understanding is from Him, like He did last night. He spoke of the young girls in Mumbai, and whose feet are going to go there and save them from the sex-slave life they are doomed to live. Earlier in the night a question was posed, has God laid on your heart a country or people group to begin to pray for. He hasn’t laid any specific people on my heart, but throughout the night, young people’s situations kept coming to my mind, even before his speaking about the girls in Mumbai. During the break I was speaking with a couple of guys about this and we were talking about how the Super Bowl is a dark spot in our country right now. This weekend represents the highest sex-trafficking in our country. Where is the outrage? The news media? We ignore what is going on in our own country and once in a while talk about those distant parts of the world, that we might react to, may give money, or some care and good thoughts go out. Children are being bought and sold around the world and in this country. I have this bitterness welling up in the back of my throat right now, and I didn’t expect to dwell on this so, but perhaps this is where God is leading me, no manipulation needed. Shed a tear for all the innocence Satan has stolen, destroyed and killed. When am I going to say it is time to STAND? What is going on in my own community? Children are growing up in broken homes, not knowing a kind, loving and genuine word all around us. It may be time to get up, get off my seat, move my feet and do what He says. This can’t be tomorrow anymore. How long has God been expecting me to move? To be scattered and show His love, glorify His name, turn around, share His kingdom now!

God get rid of my excuses. Thank You for showing me that it has been You all along. Give me Your compassion. Show me where to go. I have had these works waiting for me from the beginning. You have revealed my gift of relation to younger people for a long time. It’s time to go to the darker parts of this world and reflect Your light to hearts that need Your love, that need purpose. Thank You for giving me Your heart in this. That I have this opportunity to grow with your church, thank You. That I have the opportunity to have my perspective changed, thank You. Get rid of all my excuses. We went through all the worldly difficulties of transfer in this world to train in trust, in trust more in You. You can do anything that needs to happen to this uneducated man, whose heart is growing more and more to glorify You. This family needs your guidance. Help us to know where to go, to know what to say. Guide our feet, be our tongue. In You, in you I find my peace. In You, in you I find my strength. In You, I live and move and breath. Let everything I say and do be founded by my faith in you. I lift up holy hands and sing: Let the praises ring! Oh Lord my God to you I give my hands. Oh Lord my God to you I give my feet. Oh Lord my God to you I give my everything. Take all I am.
Oh Lord my God to you I give my life.

Thank You God. Thank You.

Strange Confessions: My Current Spiritual Relationship Situation

Strange Confessions: I would much rather have a conversation, or hang out with those of the 6-18 year-old set. Adults make me very uncomfortable, and I seriously don’t make it easy for them to talk to me.

Since I became a Christian, I have always known that I have been blessed with the ability to relate with those of the younger type. Back in Utah I would try to recruit people to become an AWANA leader. One of the answers that really surprised me was, “Kids really intimidate me.” I’d stand there, shocked and amused, wondering how in the world kids could expose these people’s insecurities in such a way. Kids are the most honest people on the planet: they have nothing to hide, and they say what is on their mind. It has always been so refreshing to me, to not have to interpret what they are saying, whether or not they have some agenda, or are just trying to make me feel better. I have even had kids tell me that I am fat. It was annoying, but they told me the truth, as they saw it. I enjoy any time I can hang out with kids, finding out about them, playing with them, teaching them, learning from them. It has been a little different here in West Plains, but, you get right down to it, and kids are the same everywhere. I’ve held some pride in this gift and have given God the glory for it. I’ve always believed it was a blessing. Until last week… when I started to question my motivations for avoiding adults.

I’ve talked about in previous posts about another church family joining with the one we have recently become a part of, and  now there are lots of kids in our congregation. Lots of new names to learn. Lots of new friends to find out about. Another commitment I’ve made, when we have joined here, is for me to be more involved in people’s lives. You know, the iron sharpening iron deal, the relationship with peers, the making myself available for discipleship, the being an integral part of our congregation. Essentially, being the hands and feet of our Lord here on earth. I know, I know… perhaps part of that is having a great relationship with the children in the church. But, last week, I annoyed myself.

Before I explain about the crazy thoughts that went on in my head last week, I want to explain again, one of the many purposes of this blog: I write, to find out about myself. I get the idea in my head that I want to tell you something, something short and sweet. But, my brain works out things as I type, and I need to discover something that my subconscious keeps tap-tap-tapping away at my conscious part of the brain about. I need to understand this thing, and I need you to understand this thing too. I started this blog knowing that not many people would actually read this, and that is fine, so when I say “reader” or refer to “you” it just may be me that I am talking about. Well, whatever. I am a strange one, and I’ve never attempted to hide it. So, onward…

We have been having meals after services every week. It has been a chance to share a meal with those who have heard the same sermon we all just listened to, and to discuss our thoughts on it, sharing our lives, concerns and praises. I get my plate, look around the room and pick a spot that looks the most comfortable. The most comfortable is usually a table not full yet, but has people at it who can talk well and are already involved in conversation. I can sit, maybe answer a, “How are you doing?” question or two, but then I just blend in. I’m like camouflage: hidden among my surroundings, keeping the attention away from me. I am a professional conversation divertée: ask me a question, I’ll answer mildly, then ask the person next to me something a bit deeper, transferring attention with ease. I’ve been doing it for years. It’s not that I don’t want to really know people, or let them know me, it’s just that the standard situations we make to figure these things out are incompatible to my personality. Give me a pool table and a pitcher of beer and I’m a go! Set-up a game night where it goes deep into the night, to reveal Mr. Goofy-pants, and we’ve bonded. Take a hike on a strenuous trail together, friends for life… well, for a time: a good time I promise, maybe.

I suppose I had some more to say before I got to what happened last week. Remember? It’s about writing, about finding out more about me… Hmmm… sounds a bit narcissistic, no? Oh well, that was addressed in the last post. Whatever.

There is a lot more kids at church now than there was a few weeks ago, and they go out to play when they quickly eat up their meal. Since there are so many now, some might get in a bit of “trouble” out there. I’ve decided to make myself an adult chaperone. I go out and watch them, organize plays, have a bit of fun myself, talk to them, know them. It felt a bit like an excuse. It is a bit of an excuse. It is so much easier, so much more comfortable, so much more fun; to be with the youngins. My wife even asked me, “Are you ever going to be in with the adults?”

One of the reasons we came to West Plains, is because our life was “easier”, more comfortable in Salt Lake City. We only really knew, I mean, really knew that, was a few years of living here. Now, here I am choosing the easier, comfortable, fun way. Instead of the hard, uncomfortable, work that I need to do, to be the Christian God is calling me to be now; I’m taking the easy, wide road.

And I did it again this week. In fact, a couple of guys came out today to talk to me. They asked me how I was doing, what is going on… I gave the easy answers. I’m feeling a bit ashamed. One of them was the pastor, or head elder, (I still don’t know what to call him), I was about to tell him my thoughts, then my wife came out… probably to save me from some embarrassing statements on my part. I have to get out of this position. But, I have to admit that I don’t really know how to do it. Do I tell them this whole bit? Well, not the “whole” bit, but just my difficulty. I’m feeling like… no, I shouldn’t. I’m not like normal men. So I shouldn’t think that something that separates me from the others would be the thing that binds us. I appreciate where we are now, I just don’t know how to move on.

I have a very fulfilling relationship with the small group I have been a part of for the last couple of years. It has been only the last few months where I have truly been able to open up. Sometimes I believe I’m sharing myself deeply, but for myself, it might have been what I believe they may have wanted to hear. Which may account for some of the depression and lack of desire to attend for the first year or so. I protect myself by being open to the point of driving people away. I see that now… as I write. I do not want to be this way anymore. It is too fake for me. No, nevermind… I am moving beyond this, slowly.

One thing I do know, is that God knows what I need to do. He will lead me and guide me. I thank God that He is on my side, He is even on their side. I know there is no superficiality in their dealings with each other, I want it to be that way for me. Perhaps I do need to be a bit open about what I think, just limit it until things get… easier.

But not too easy.

~Stranger

Strange Fiction: The Discussion

Question eight, inspired by this article.

Tufts University: “Create a short story using one of these topics: ‘The End of MTV,’ ‘Confessions of a Middle School Bully,’ ‘The Professor Disappeared’ or ‘The Mysterious Lab.'”

The Discussion

“Well, she couldn’t really tell me how they got outside. But there was some… odd things she did say.”

“Like what?”

“Like, she couldn’t describe anything specific of what happened before she was woken up.”

“What does that mean? I mean Kaitlyn can’t shut up about what she read during the day or who she saw or what they said, when we drive home for the weekend. Is she my daughter or not? Where did she come from?!” Panic escapes from her voice.

“Now calm down Barbara. She is your daughter. I mean, she has the same impatience and sense of humor, only she is… different.”

“So, where did she say she came from?”

“Well Walter, she said Barbara woke her up, like she does everyday, and sent them outside to play, like everyday. Everyday is the same thing for her. Which is strange in itself, but she can’t really say anything specific about what happens before she went to sleep.”

“Okay… like she doesn’t remember what she ate, or what people said to her?”

“No. Like she knows she does her schooling here on campus, but she said she ‘thinks’ she remembers reading school books here. And then there are her birthday parties. It is like she knows what happens at a birthday party, and she only describes her parties in generic terms. She says that they ‘ate cake and ran'”

“‘Ate cake and ran’? That’s what she said?”

“Yes. And she said she has done it all before. You know, the interview, the questions, going to get something to eat. She was very disappointed in that whole aspect, but at the beginning she seemed, I don’t know, excited I guess. But then she mentions getting something to eat, and I tell her we’ll go to the pantry soon, and her countenance fell. She doesn’t want to go there.”

“Is she afraid of going in there?”

“No. She just… didn’t want to… maybe… look for something to eat in there. Or maybe she was thinking about what was going to happen next.”

“What does she say is going to happen next?”

“That one or another of us takes them to different parts of the building and talks to them again…”

“Do we take them to… Lab 19?”

“She doesn’t seem to recall the lab: no. But she was very excited to go there. Perhaps it was just because it was… different.”

“Should we take them there?”

“Now why would we do that Karl? Expose them… Hey. Wait. Maybe we shouldn’t do what we would normally do.”

“So what are you saying Anton? How would we know what we normally would do? Perhaps avoiding what we would normally do would lead us to actions that we always do…”

“No, no. I mean like… she said that we normally take them and interview them in other parts of the building… Is that what we are going to do?”

“Well I certainly want to talk to them some more. Your interviewing skills leave something to be desired.”

“Hey! This is a new to me Walter, give me a break. I didn’t want to shock these kids for crying out loud! We don’t even know…”

“What Anton!? What?! That they’re even my children? They are my children, that’s…”

“Wait a second Barbara, I’m sure that is not what Anton is saying. It’s all just so new.”

“Right. Right. We just need some time to figure this out.”

“Do you think we could be stuck?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well… they are telling us that they do the same thing everyday… maybe we’re the ones who are… in some sort of loop. Like we’ve had some effect from that… machine in 19.”

“How could we be. We haven’t done anything with it yet.”

“That’s why we should do what we normally wouldn’t do?”

“Why didn’t we do that before then?”

“Why didn’t we do what, before?”

“You know. Something different. Obviously they are saying that they’ve done this before. I have to assume that it was actually us they were talking to… We know that we aren’t… being deluded here.”

“How do we know we aren’t being deluded here?”

“Well Kaitlyn and Rylee are playing in the library right now. At least the ones we know…”

“How do we even know that?!”

“Okay, calm down. We just need to think. If we’ve done this before we need to do something different. Those girls in the pantry are definitely Kaitly and Rylee, just… not… um… the ones we know. We aren’t fully aware of the machine’s capability in Lab 19 yet, but we know it has to do with magnetic resonance displacement and electric…”

“I told you we should have gotten some experts in here the day that thing showed up?! You don’t even know what you’re saying, do you?”

“I know enough that those two girls that I saw today are an anomaly beyond anything I’ve experienced and it has something to do with that machine. Now we’ve got to realize that.”

“Should we bring in someone who might know something…”

“No! Now we all decided that what appeared here is something we need to figure out ourselves. The specifications for that lab were such that it was perfect for when the machine appeared! Now how does that happen? Huh? Who designed this building? Did they know that was going to appear 3 years ago? No, they couldn’t have known we are now responsible for what happens here, and we have to decide what to do next.”

“I say let’s bring them in to the lab.”

“For what purpose?”

“Maybe they’ll remember something.”

“No. No. I will not let them go in there.”

“Barbara, I agree. That would come to nothing. What purpose would it serve?”

“Should we bring them to meet the… you know… the others?”

“What are you…”

“No! Again. What purpose does that serve? Even if there was some paradoxical anomaly that would happen or not, we don’t want to scar the… children we have here. We need to do something against what we would normally do but not something that would harm what we have here.”

“We could take them somewhere.”

“Where?”

“How about outside of the campus, to the city? Take them somewhere they might enjoy, that they may have looked forward to. Because, obviously from what their expectations are what they have to look forward to was just being interviewed around here.”

“You’re right. Should we all take them?”

“What about the other girls.”

“They’re my girls!”

“Okay. What about the children we have here?”

“Shouldn’t Barbara take them out?”

“I’m not taking them anywhere.”

“Do you have any… compassion for them Barbara?”

“Well… of course I do. They’re just children.”

“Who look, talk, and act exactly like Kaitlyn and Rylee.”

“I talked to them and they are Kaitlyn and Rylee.”

“Why don’t you take them out?”

“Fine. And then what? Take them to a motel?”

“Barbara, you’ve got to take them out. Take them to your home. See how they react. See if… they… enjoy themselves.”

“What about my children?”

“We’ll all take care of them. They’re like our children here too.”

“No. I can’t do it.”

“Not even for the sake of discovery? Or perhaps, somehow, we’ve done something to get this ball rolling. They are your children after all. Maybe all this is our fault.”

“Don’t you manipulate me, Walter. I know my responsibilities as a parent, and it is here with my kids.”

“We could call John, have him come by and take them to his home.”

“Out of the blue like that? I fight him enough for the time he wants to keep them. He’d get suspicious, me all wanting to give them to him now! When we’ve got another court date in a month. He could use that against me.”

“We’ll call him. Tell him it’s an emergency.”

“He’ll want to know what.”

“We’ll tell him we’ve got a big cleanup for the next couple of days.”

“And make him think I’m exposing our children to dangerous situations?”

“Come on, Barbara. You know you’re the only one who can do this. To gauge their reactions and you know them. They are your children.”

“I’ll go with you, Barbara.”

“No. You need to stay here with Kaitlyn and Rylee. They like you best Anton.”

“But you need an impartial observer, someone to record this all: for posterity.”

“I’ll take Karl. He’ll do. He’ll be a good observer, he likes to watch.”

“Hey!”

“Fine. He’ll go with you. Now let’s get you all packed up. I’ll go talk with Kaitlyn and… I mean, the ones in the pantry. Tell them what we’re, you’re going to do. Ask them what they’d like to do.”

“And I’ll go talk to Kaitlyn and Rylee, let them know I’ll be gone 2 or 3 days.”

“Okay, great. You’re really making the right decision here Barbara. We all appreciate it.”

“It better be worth it.”

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Strange Fiction: The Interview

“What is your name?”

“Kaitlyn.”

“Do you know your last name?”

“Yes I do. Do you?”

“Do I what?”

“Know yours, silly.”

“Yes I know my name. But I’d like you to answer the questions though.”

“My name is Kaitlyn Unger, Mr. Anton.”

“So, you know my name then.”

Laughter.

“How old are you?”

“Seven.”

“And do you know the name and age of the girl with you?”

“Duh,” she rolls her eyes, “She is my sister. She is four years old and her name is Rylee.”

“How did you end up outside the facility?”

“My mom said to go out to play.”

“What is your mother’s name?”

“Mom-ma.”

“Do you know her name?”

Hesitation. “Barbara.”

“Have you noticed anything unusual that happened to you lately?”

“Like what?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe bright lights from nowhere, or strange sounds…”

“Do bright lights usually come from nowhere?”

“No, there is usually always a source. Did you notice lights?”

“Nope. Just the sun was out. That’s not… unusual, is it?”

“No, the sun comes out everyday. So nothing out of the ordinary that you remember?”

“Nope. Nothing.”

“Did someone do anything… strange then?”

“What does that mean? You mean like breathe fire or something?”

“No. I mean like,,, um… tell you to do something you didn’t want to do, or put you somewhere you didn’t want to go?”

“No. Every day it’s the same thing.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean we are sent outside to play, then you bring us in here and ask us all these questions.”

“Everyday? You mean we’ve done this before?”

“Duh! We did this yesterday. And the day before that, and afore that, and that, and there and such.”

“You mean you feel like you do this everyday?”

“No. I mean…” deep sigh, “we do this everyday.”

“Okay. How long have you been doing this?”

“For like ever.”

“Like, how many days?”

“Like… um… fifty-ten.”

“When was the last time you did something different?”

“We never do anything else.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, Mom comes and gets us out of the room and makes us go play outside. Then we come in here with you.”

“What else do you do?”

Sighs, “Nooooooothing!”

“Okay. When is your birthday?”

“September… the… a… seventeen.”

“And you had a birthday party, right.”

“I guess.”

“You don’t remember.”

“I think I did.”

“What did you do on your birthday?”

“Ate cake.”

“What kind of cake?”

“The kind you eat… duh!”

“Okay. But what did you do?”

“Birthday party stuff and stuff.”

“What kind of stuff?”

“You know. Eating, and playing, and running and stuff.”

“Right. Tell me something specific you did.”

“What is pacific, um… skapific?”

“I mean, tell me exactly what you did on your birthday.”

Rolls eyes, sighs, “I told ya’. We ate cake and ran.”

“Okay, alright.” Rubs the bridge of his nose. “Tell me what else you do.”

“I’m hungry. Can I eat something?”

“In a minute. We’ll eat when we’re done. Do you remember anything else? Like do you go to school?”

“No. Why do you ask me if I go to school. I don’t go to public school.”

“You don’t go to public school?”

“No.”

“Then how do you learn?”

“Like, with school books and stuff.”

“Do you learn at home?”

“No.”

Rubbing the bridge of his nose, “Okay. Where do you read these school books and stuff.”

“I think maybe here.”

“Maybe here?”

“I think so.”

“Okay, since you’ve done this before. What comes next?”

“Umm… We eat!”

“What do we eat?”

“Whatever we want!”

“Okay. What did you eat yesterday?”

“Um… I think we had a peanut butter and bread. There isn’t a lot to choose from. It’s always the same thing to choose from.”

“Oh yes, always the same. I got it. Then what do you do?”

“Then we talk some more with other people here, and then we go into one cool room after another. And, questions, always questions.”

“What about?”

“How did you get here? Who are you? Who are we? Blah, blah, blah…”

“Hmmm… Do you know what we do here?”

“Sciencey things.”

“Have you ever been to any of the labs.”

“Hello? Like every day!”

“What about lab 19?”

“I don’t know… what’s in lab 19?”

“Well, it’s very large, and very tall, and it has a machine in the middle. It’s kept dark in there, and there are no windows.”

“I don’t think so. Can we go there now? I mean, after we eat?”

“Maybe, but we need to get a few more questions answered before we do. Let’s go get something to eat.”

“Okay! Do you think we can have something different today? Like maybe… some oranges?”

“I don’t know. You know your way around the pantry, right?”

Disappointed. “Yeah, I do. Always the same.”

“Well, we’ll see if we can’t change that. Let’s go.”

 

(This fictional account came from a dream I had the other night. I am trying to see how I can develop it further. Maybe this is it, or maybe it’ll get more broad.)

~Stranger

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