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Old Road Apples Goes Political: Save The Bees!

Thus far, I’ve ranted a lot, poked some fun, and expressed a fair deal of pointed revulsion, but I’ve avoided specific advocacy of social and political causes.  A friend of mine says this is “tepid,” but he’s a sandal-wearing brown-bread chewing bicycle-zealot who’s always talking about his footprint.  I tell him his footprint would be more profound if he got himself a good pair of lug-soled work boots and knocked it off with the Birkies.  The thing is, I don’t want to alienate liberals or conservatives, who annoy me separately, but equally, nor do I feel the need to lecture folks too much about subjects that seem obvious to me.  Finally, were I to give full service to all the stupid crap we do, collectively speaking, this blog would be a morose, suicide-inducing testament to the ultimate failure of mankind. (Just like the nominating conventions of both major political parties, but without all the jackboots, tear gas, and billy club beat-downs.)

But I digress. (Wouldn’t THAT be a good name for a blog?!)*

The news about connections between major insect pollinators, especially bees, and bee Colony Collapse Disorder, and a group of widely used pesticides called neonicotinoids is–and should be–galvanizing.  If you like bees, or trees, or pretty flowers, or if you’re one of those humans who likes to, um, eat food, the studies released a few days ago should scare the heck, er hell, no, the freaking shit out of you.

Consider this your heads-up. I’ll be posting more pollinator news as time allows me to gather and learn a little more about what I’m talking about!  In the meantime, here’s a link to get you started:

http://www.treehugger.com/tag/colony-collapse-disorder/

 

*It IS a good name–and someone is already sitting on it on all of the major blog sites.  The WordPress variant contains one post, from 2007–abandoned blogs with cool names, from losers who are just sitting on ’em: hate those.

Categories
Fiction Excerpt

Excerpt: Novel in Progress

Someone asked me about the novel in progress…here’s some:

It took both of them to drag me up from the hole, and from their grunts and curses  it wasn’t easy for them.  I had stopped struggling weeks before, and was paid for it with harder currency than when I’d fought back, but there wasn’t a chance in hell I’d walk docile, like a cow, to whatever was next.  Passive resistance was the better option,  although that brought the gnawing pleasure of my bare feet and ankles thumped against each concrete stair riser as they dragged me up, one thug under each arm.  My boots had been taken with my uniform—government property

At the stop of the steps they paused, waiting for the sentry outside, calling after her with additional profanity.  She wasn’t one of them—just one of those who stood by idly, day after day, doing what she was told, avoiding eye contact, complicit in their silence.  I can’t say that I blame her—or any of them—and had spent countless hours fixated on the question: would I do it again?  A better man than I certainly would.  A lesser man would lie and tell you he would.  I can’t say that I could. I’m not proud to admit it, but what’s pride but something someone stronger than you can take?

Tumblers spun inside the door, a bolt was thrown, and the armored entry swiveled open.  The goons and sentry exchanged more curses, and I was dragged to the right.  A turn to the left would have meant another visit with the Colonel, and another beating wrapped in a skin of interrogation.  The passage to the right led down a long hallway, through another armored door, and outside.  I could be headed for the stocks again, or the mudpit, the colonel’s preferred discipline—a pool of sopping mud into which a prisoner was tied spread-eagle and face up into the incessant rain. The mudpit was kept sodden, but not full, so a prisoner could relax as long as the rains were brief and widespread.  Prolonged showers filled the pool with slick mud, forcing the punished to crane his neck up and forward  in order to breath, for as long as it took for the rains to stop and the liquid to sink down into the sodden ground.

I much preferred the stocks, or the beatings for that matter.  Beatings lasted for minutes, then they left you alone.  It could rain here for a week straight.

“Hey there, Mikey’s awake,” Corporal Charkviani rumbled. Igor Charkvani, a perfect goddamn Igor if ever such a beast roamed.

Raul Cloutier laughed his exaggerated, hyena laugh. “We’re in trouble now, Private Space Command gonna is to get us.”

Charkviani, a leering, menacing coil of muscle and tendons, rumbled his amusement.  I imagined Cloutier, younger and smaller and ever ready to please, jumping up and down, clapping in satisfaction.

They had put the usual black bag over my head, bound tightly at the neck, ostensibly for safety—lest some maniac like me discover their true identities.  Of course, they insisted on tormenting and teasing me, with a regular selection of violence, all the while keeping a running dialogue in their distinctive, heavily accented voices. I held faith that the time would come that I could repay their hospitality.  In fact, I lived for the moment.

They wore rain hoods and goggles

The bag came off my face.  I squinted into the deep gray skies as specks of rain fell upon my cheeks.  Though afraid to look up—the guards responded intensely to eye contact—I recognized our location immediately.  We stood at the threshold of the main gate, far from the hewn wood scaffold the Colonel had erected behind the administration building.  A pair of sentries stood on either side of the gate, stone-faced  in their narrow shelters—Clarke and Modobo, decent soldiers not known to be the Colonel’s lackeys, but not the sort to take a stand against him, either.  Like most of the unit, their sin was in pretending not to see, and staying silent when what they saw was unavoidable.  Still, I doubted they’d let their compatriots execute me, at least not in the middle of the fort.

They had no problem with one last thrashing, however.  Charkvani and Cloutier wasted no time…