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“Cheeseburgers”

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“Wait. Nurse, come back. I, I can’t do this. I’ve changed my mind. Maybe we can try again tomorrow.”

 

“Sir, it’s ok. We talked about this. You can do it.”

 

“No. I, I feel like I’m holding her to tight. She’s, she’s so tiny.”

 

“Let me check. She looks fine. She looks very happy. See how she’s pressed against your bare chest? She can feel your heartbeat. She needs to know you’re here. She needs your warmth and to know you’re fighting with her. She’s a fighter this one.”

 

“I can’t, I, I just can’t. I’m not ready, she’s, and she’s not ready. Take her back please; put her back in the incubator. We can try again tomorrow. Maybe she’ll be stronger tomorrow. Maybe I’ll….”

 

“Sir, sir; you can do this. Look at me. You can do this. We’ll be right outside. I’m going to dim the lights now.”

 

The door closes and the room goes hauntingly quiet.

 

An hour passes and his back continues to tighten. His legs are rigged and his arms hurt. He sits like a stone statue in the dark quiet room; holding her. The buzz from the lights in the ceiling is deafening and most certainly will wake her.

 

“Nurse, nurse can you hear me?” he whispers

 

His whisper startles her and she squirms on his chest trying to connect with his heartbeat again. She struggles and panic creeps into his mind. She wiggles more and then settles. Her tiny hand with its loose skin presses against her face. She’s ok.

 

“Are you a fighter? The nurses say you’re a fighter.” He whispers.

 

She shifts slightly upon hearing his voice then settles once again.

 

“Are you a fighter? How can you be? You’re so tiny. The nurses say your lungs are underdeveloped and you got a tough road ahead. You weren’t supposed to be here for another two months. What’s your hurry? This world ain’t nuthin worth seeing really. It’s tough out here in the world and you’re so tiny. You’re like eight quarter pound cheeseburgers. That’s pretty small. Yeah I just compared you to some cheeseburgers. My first job was flipping burgers. I reckon you don’t care much about that.”

 

The nurses gather outside the room huddle by the window.

 

“How’s he doing?”

 

“He’s telling her about cheeseburgers or something like that.”

 

“Cheeseburgers?”

 

“Yeah, he’s telling her about cheeseburgers.”

 

“Did you see the drawing he sketched?”

 

“Drawing?”

 

“Yeah, he didn’t have a camera when we first brought her to ICU. He asked me for a pen and paper then sat down and drew her.”

 

The nurses stand at the window and listen to his random stories.

 

“He’s gonna make it.” whispers one of the nurses

 

“Yeah, she’ll get him there.”

 

 

-Chris Crider 2018

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“Lambs To The Slaughter”

Our elected officials expect us to believe they have the solution to school shootings. They want you to believe the solution is gun control. You’d have to be a special kind of stupid to believe that solution will ever work; ever. If you believe that then I’m sorry but you are the largest part of this problem.

When a person(s) makes the decision to shoot up a school that person no longer has the right to anything. That person should be shot dead at the front door. I don’t care about his life. I don’t care how sad he was or how he was bullied. I don’t care about him or her at all in that moment. Shoot him dead and we can discuss his poor life later with all the kids that are still alive. I’d rather have the difficult conversation with my kids about why someone was gunned down at school, than stand over a casket saying goodbye to them because they were lambs to the slaughter.

We send our kids to “gun free” zones daily. Criminals are jackals and our kids are prey. That is the simple truth. Until this fundamental concept is realized we’ll continue to see grieving parents mourn their babies. This is not a law problem; this is a common sense problem. Guns aren’t going anywhere. The tables will turn only when a wrongdoer is met with swift and deliberate justice for his action at point of incident.

If we sit by idle and let our children’s safety be debated by others then what does that say about us. My heart breaks for those families that mourn their loved ones. However this fallacy that gun control will protect them is lunacy. It’s time to wake up.

 

History provides all the evidence you need for the “anti gun” movement agenda, but this rant is over for now. Take it or leave it.

 

 

-Chris Crider

“WHY THE TREES FELL”

“WHY THE TREES FELL”

By Chris Crider

 

 

     One sunny afternoon near the edge of the forest, two trees had a very interesting conversation. One tree was old, tall, and wise, and the other was young, small, and pretty new to the earth. From where they were they could see far and wide across the flat land in front of them.

     A loud clap of thunder shook the quiet afternoon as a big storm approached from off in the distance. The little tree shook with fear when he heard the loud thunder. The big tree noticed that the little tree was shaking. A few moments passed and the little tree spoke.

 

“Is it true that a long time ago some of the trees just fell over to the ground?” he asked.

 

“Yes, Lil Sap, that is true” said Stalwart, the bigger tree.

 

“But why? Why did they just fall over, Stalwart? Were they old, or did something knock them down? Was it a big storm like the one that is coming this way?”

 

“That’s an interesting story Lil Sap, and it’s quite the opposite of what you think.”

 

“Why did they fall over then, Stalwart? What do you mean opposite?”

 

     Stalwart replied “Well, Lil Sap, it happened far off beyond the open field in front of us, and it happened a long time ago. A group of humans wanted to make a beautiful forest inside a glass dome. They wanted to build what nature had built and thought that they could do just as good a job. They did a very good job indeed, and almost matched nature perfectly. Flowers grew and other plants too. It was magnificent. Trees began to grow and reach high into the air. They were given plenty of water and had lots of beautiful sun to help them grow. Over time they got taller and taller. Everything was going just as planned, and the humans were very pleased with their creation.”

 

     Another loud crack of thunder followed by lightning interrupted Stalwart while he was speaking. The little tree trembled, and was very anxious as he looked at the big storm headed their way.

 

“Stalwart, was it………. was it a storm that knocked the trees over?” asked Lil Sap.

 

     Noticing that the little tree was scared, Stalwart reassured him that he didn’t need to be afraid.

 

“No, Lil Sap, it’s not like that at all. During the process of creating their own beautiful indoor forest the humans neglected to give the trees the one thing that made them strong. They forgot to give the trees wind.”

 

“Why wind? Why did the trees need wind, Stalwart? The wind looks scary and tries to blow us down” interrupts Lil Sap.

 

     The storm was getting closer and the little tree grew more anxious by the minute.

 

“Well, Lil Sap, without wind, the trees didn’t know how to be strong. As they grew taller they looked strong but were weak underneath. They had no foundation because they had weak roots. Some of them fell over just simply because of their own weight. It is the wind that pushes on us that makes us strong. It is the same wind you fear that makes your roots dig deeper into the ground. When your roots dig deeper into the ground, you become stronger. A life with no wind may seem desirable and safe, but a life without wind will make you weak; even the slightest breeze will push you over.”

 

“But the storm, Stalwart! What about the storm? It’s getting closer, and I’m afraid”

 

“Do not be afraid, Lil Sap. You must understand that it is in the storm where you get your training. It is in the storm where you get your strength. You can do this, Lil Sap! As the wind pushes against you, dig your roots deep and wide into the ground and be strong. The storms you fear will make you stronger, and the more storms you face, the less scary the next storm will be. Are you ready, Lil Sap?”

 

     Lil Sap nervously replied “Yes Stalwart, I’m ready.”

 

     The storm blew upon them with great force. The wind howled and pushed both trees back and forth. The wind got stronger and Lil Sap held firm and dug his roots deeper into the ground.

 

He shouted “I’m doing it, Stalwart! I’m doing it!”

 

“Yes, my young friend, you certainly are! You’re doing great! Don’t give up! Don’t ever give up. Dig your roots deep! Grow stronger each time the wind blows against you!”

 

     The storm raged on for hours and the two trees stood firm and confident amongst the struggle. A few times laughter could be heard in between rumbles of thunder, and as the storm calmed the two trees stood solid and unmoved. Moments passed and the tranquility of the calm afternoon soon returned. The two trees stared across the open field where the glass dome once stood.

 

“It’s better to have wind in your life than no wind isn’t it, Stalwart?” asked Lil Sap

 

“Yes, Lil Sap. It truly is better to have wind in your life. In fact, your life depends on some wind from time to time. Without wind, all the trees will fall.”

 

The End.

 

 

Chris Crider © 2018

 

“RUN”

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After I do a quick mental check of my body, I realize the spill I took was over one hundred yards straight down, ending in a blanket of snow, brush and possible homes of certain vermin that have recently escaped. My silhouette, most certainly visible from the ridge above is far from the snow angels I made as a child; it’s a death warrant if I don’t move quickly. I stagger to my feet, grab the small leather messenger bag and make for the tree line as fast as I can; trying to shake the stench of lime from my naked body. Each step in the deep snow becomes like quicksand. The snow all around me bursts sporadically before I even hear the cracks from the rifles above. Which bullet will find my flesh? The cold is blistering and I almost welcome the heat that it will offer me in that fleeting moment before it ends my life.

I just wanted out. All they had to do was let me go. The war is over yet they refuse to let mine end. I bought their propaganda and became one of the best; becoming the worst. Now I run. I’ll do their dirty work no longer. My life is over anyways. Any chance at normalcy was sold long ago; my ghosts make sure of that.

My past stands before me over this mountain and my future is behind me hunting me like a rabid dog that must be put out of service. “Just a little longer” I tell myself; “push forward”. My ankle is shredded from the fall and the pain pushes me past my limit but I run like I did when I was young. The bones fragment beneath my skin and my mind goes to snowy days like this, running through these very woods with the bitter cold stinging my nostrils and my younger brothers chasing me. Our laughter filled this forest and I long to see them again. No laughter here now; only shouts from soldiers and the barking of dogs that are on my scent. The forest is thick and I’m near the border.

Trees around me fracture and bark is thrown into the air mixing with the falling snow. I taste the wood when I gasp for air. The bullets are killing everything around me but me; another dose of sick irony. I navigate the trees blind in the dark as I’ve done so many times and the violence I once embraced is ripping apart the only good memories I have left. I pray I make it to the border. I will not surrender my life to these unworthy jackals.

I stop abruptly and fall to my knees at the edge of the forest. The clearing is about one thousand yards with the border on the other side. I slow my breathing and prepare for my last sprint. My naked body trembles uncontrollably as I stare out across the kill zone. The full moon offers me little cover; at least I won’t die in darkness.

My rest is cut short as the bullets from my old unit rip apart the trees to my left and right. I break from the concealment of the forest, messenger bag in hand and charge out into the open field. I barely make it twenty feet when the whole field turns to day. The lights from the guard towers ahead are blinding. I keep running. “Just make it halfway” I tell myself. “They won’t come after my body this close to the border.” Sirens from the guard towers in front of me ring out and heavy machine gun fire from behind riddles the field all around me. I’m almost halfway when gunfire erupts from in front of me. I run faster with my arms out high and to my sides like an Olympic runner nearing the finish line. The field goes silent. Both sides realizing they’re shooting at the same man finally stop. I crumble under the weight of my frigid body only yards from the border; bones exposed in my lower legs. Redemption is near.

“Stop!….. I know this man” shouts a young officer from the guard tower.

The clatter from the big metal gate echoes through the open field and a shadow approaches me. From the icy ground I see him standing above me. He looks just like his brothers; and his father.

“Stand up” commands the young officer. “Get up or I’ll shoot you like a maimed dog!”

I struggle to stand and the bones in my lower leg rip through my skin. I wobble side to side; my naked body shivering out of control. All my strength is directed to staying upright. I clutch the blood covered leather bag tightly.

The young officer stares at me while his men silently navigate this surreal meeting. He steps closer and un-holsters his sidearm. He raises it to my head with a trembling hand. His voice cracks as he speaks through tears.

“You killed both of my brothers. You took my father away and left me to die; now here are you before me. I’ve prayed that you’d stay alive only so I could be the one to kill you.”

Unable to stand any longer I collapse to my knees.

“Stand up you bastard! Where is your uniform? Did you think you could hide your evil in your nakedness? I know you! We all know you!”

The other soldiers quickly snap their rifles up and eagerly anticipate the command to fire on me.

“Stand up! You owe me this! Stand up and face me!”

From my knees I stare upward at the young man that I took so much from. I’ve stayed alive only to offer him my life. He quickly places the cold barrel to my head and draws the hammer back. I close my eyes and say goodbye to my ghosts at last. His hand trembles and he falls to his knees in the snow with me. Tears roll down his red cheeks. I curse him.

“Damn you! Finish this!”

He shakes his head side to side and gestures to his soldiers to stand me up. He rises to his feet and holsters his sidearm.

“Everything in me says I should hand you over to those across the field or kill you myself. You came here for redemption but you’ll receive no such gift from me.”

As the other soldiers lift me to my feet, a single rifle shot from across the field rips through the quiet landscape and the bullet finally finds me. Warmth at last even for that fleeting moment before my life ends. The blood pools in the snow around my broken naked body. The young officer kneels next to me. I clutch the messenger bag tightly and raise it to his chest.

“The letters inside are from your father. He wrote to you often. I promised him I would get them to you. They’re unopened. Can you please read some to me?”

The young man ripped open the bag, unwrapped the bundle and carefully opened the first sealed letter and began to read out loud.

“My dearest son,”

-Chris Crider ©2018

“Shoes”

My new shoes hurt and the ground scorches the feet of the shoeless,

Why wouldn’t my soul cry out?

If it doesn’t rip when I see suffering, should it smile in the bounty?

Shouldn’t my soul cry out?

Damn these shoes.

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Chris Crider 2018

Shells

I walk under the shell of others
They are not mine
I simply dwell amongst them
From beneath their cover I observe quietly
Waiting
Watching
Enjoying their joy
Sharing their pain
It is not mine
This shell is a facade to me
A temporary terminal
A glance from a passerby
His shell is magnificent
It is not mine
The sun shines
Shadows everywhere
Each one unique
A double life beneath
They are not mine
Chris Crider 2017

Day Trip. 6 June

Source: Day Trip. 6 June