It Only Hurts In Your Heart

IT ONLY HURTS IN YOUR HEART

Janelle can’t stop crying. I can’t say I blame her. I’ve done my share over the last two years, though the amount of tears both of us have shed in the last six days makes the last two years seem like an office party. Darren Eggers is on the TV, though he’s really not there. It’s a pre-recorded loop, and he’s been repeating himself for the last six hours. The first three times he gave us his news report, Jan and I held each other, both of us shivering from the icy infusion of absolute terror.

“I don’t think I can do it,” she says between sobs. “Mike… I can’t do it.”

“It’s the only way,” I say, wrapping my arm around her stomach as we spoon on the bed. I put my lips close to her ear and whisper, “We have to. If we don’t… We have to.”

“I’m afraid.”

“I know, baby. I’m afraid too.”

Janelle, the woman I’ve been in love with for twenty-nine years, turns over to face me. She hasn’t worn makeup in over a year, since there hasn’t been any makeup to buy. There hasn’t been anything to “buy” for the last year. There’s not enough people left to run a store, let alone a factory or a farm to actually produce something. The last thing I bought was a .45 automatic, a pump shotgun, and two boxes of ammunition. They were the last weapons left in the store, maybe in the city. Gary, the owner of the gun store, sold me two of his personal firearms, knowing there wasn’t going to be anyone left to shoot (or do the shooting) soon enough.

Even though we’ve been together for three decades, and I’ve seen Jan without makeup for much of it, it took me a while to get used to her natural face. She’s still the most stunning, heart-stoppingly gorgeous woman I’d ever laid eyes on, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that she is one of those rare, truly beautiful women that doesn’t need makeup to make jaws drop and tongues wag. But without makeup, she can no longer hide the sadness, the despair that has infected her. That has infected everyone, according to the news. Or will soon. Except it isn’t the infection that’s going to exterminate the human race.

“Is it going to hurt?” she asks, wiping a tear away with the back of her hand.

“Only in your heart,” I say, kissing the cheek she just smeared, tasting the salty hopelessness of our situation. “But otherwise, you’ll just fall asleep.”

Janelle begins to cry again, her mind hearing the unspoken and never wake again. I didn’t think I had any emotions left in me to join her. The wetness on my own cheeks says otherwise. Continue reading

“Enforcer” on sale $3.99 (Amazon eBook)

This week, “Enforcer” is on sale for $3.99. Lots of hockey, organized crime, profanity, violence, and other mature/adult themes. Not for the faint of heart. 410 pages.

We Are All Responsible For Public Education

(This is my response to some people in a Facebook thread who think their tax dollars shouldn’t be used to provide others with a public education)

My wife teaches in the BISD (Boise Independent School District). I’ve met hundreds of teachers. I’ve met maybe two out of hundreds that probably shouldn’t have been teaching kids (go figure, both were male coaches).

There aren’t many professions that work harder as a whole than teachers. When you take away from the public education system, you hurt teachers (boo hoo, right?). Teachers have this dreaded word they use, you might have heard it used in other instances, and that word is “attrition.”

Attrition in education is when the public school system continually gets underfunded, or talking heads on cable news shout as loud as they can how terrible teachers are, how rich they are, how lazy they are, how ineffective they are.

Attrition is when new teachers that went to college, passed all of the tests (and they aren’t easy, don’t ever let anyone tell you becoming a teacher is ‘easy’) and started their career in the public education system, KNOWING they were going to make very little money for the first ten years, and even after ten, they’d never be making these ridiculous numbers shouted by talking heads like “$100,000 a year! to work for nine months!”.

Attrition is when these new teachers begin to realize, some in their second year, some their fourth, each teacher is different, that as much as they love their career, it is no longer economically viable, nor is it a career that holds the prestige that it used to, and in a lot of cases, the politics at all levels, from the Statehouse down to the local county commissioners, is so negative that it makes these new teachers begin to dread having to deal with it on a daily basis. Continue reading