1. It was a recipe for success. That’s what they all said. It was foolproof advice, the 7 Commandments for leading a happy fulfilled life and fun- filled life: Pretend you have your act together. Pretend everything is right with the world. Whistle while you work. Keep the sunny side up. Let your smile be your umbrella. Whistle a happy tune. Try try again. Don’t let the bastards bring you down. But when I looked in the mirror the only thing I knew was that I was lying, the façade like dried up peanut shells I kept cutting until the sadness finally poured out, stained Band-Aids rusty with grief.

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    1. Okay … okay … you’re definitely getting somewhere. I’d suggest that you write down that incredible last sentence as a launching point for a story wherein the reader doesn’t know about the 7 Commandments.

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  2. Not that it matters to you, per se, but it matters, and it matters because—I’ll have you know—it was quite the success. Everyone arrived; everyone ate; the cake was fantastic; everyone left, and I was swimming laps on the roof by eight o’clock, pee em, which put me in bed around ten. Who celebrates birthdays anymore, as adults?


  3. Was it a recipe for success? He was forty four years old and he was a sad broken man. His father had died ten years ago, and though he kept trudging on, he always believed that he was going to be happy to die.

    His father had been a distant army infantry soldier and it had left Michael dreaming of nothing other than joining the infantry when he grew up. She had asked him once what he liked to do when he was a child. He had looked at her incredulously and said, “Really? GI Joes.”

    He had figured it all out. He was going to join the infantry, thus forging a bond with his father that none of his six siblings had. But he was going to college first because obviously it is better to be an officer than a grunt. Of course he already knew so much about his nations wars, that history was an easy major choice.

    That was the recipe. Get an education. Serve your country for twenty years, move into central intelligence and retire with a hot, much younger wife and undeniable social status. Everything about his plans had seemed reasonable. Other than being quite the man whore, Mike had always been one of those pretty solid people. He had grown up believing most of what he was taught without questioning it. He fully expected everything to go as planned.

    Then he entered the army. In the first six weeks of boot camp he fell two stories off a ladder when the man trying to get through the window kicked him in the face. If he’d taken time to get heal it would have set him back a full year and caused him to repeat it, so he tested through cracked ribs and a slightly displaced, very painful right femur. He passed and spent the next ten years living in fields (infantry does not get tents), eating horrible food out of packages that he thought was ok and knowing that if there was a gas attack he would use one of his men (supposedly the weakest link) as a canary to figure out when it was safe for the rest of them. He knew he was picking the soldier that bugged him the most and not the weakest link. He hated himself before he started serving as a war criminal in Guantanamo. protecting the water boarders and torturers. That of course was his opinion of what he had done. After ten years he retired as an Army Captain and started applying for those security jobs.

    To this day he believes he was always passed up due to having been poor and not knowing which fork to use. I’m sure that did not help, but I think it was his lifestyle choices that stopped him in the end. You can’t fuck that promiscuously, drink that much, literally shoot men for shitting in the woods, become conscious and work in government security. It was a recipe for disaster.


    1. [ for future reference: I found this site where you can easily copy and paste your words to see the word count and character count. I won’t ever care about character count here, so just look for the WORDS on the indicator to the right of and below the box where you’ll input your text. ] https://wordcounter.net/


  4. “And it will be just like white powder?”
    “It will BE white powder… Pure Ormus. Then we’ll bond it to salt and use that cold press to hide it in ice for the journey – we’ll probably have at least a few interested parties on our tail before we even get to the pier.”
    “And then?”
    “And then what? What do you mean and then? Then we disappear over the horizon in the wooden hull of our unwitting savior… Do you know what we’ve just made here?”
    “Uh… yes.”
    “This seal is a Rosicrucian cross, it means you’re in over your head and now we need to get out of here. But you better believe we’re taking every last little speck of that white powder with us.”


  5. Get up every morning and practice. You’re told it’s a recipe for success. But sometimes it’s still not good enough. Disappointing. You wonder if you’re wasting your time. If you should have put your efforts into something else. You feel like you’re running out of time. But still you do it because it’s the only thing you’ve ever done well and that’s only because you kept doing it. It’s an unhealthy cycle.


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