The Corporate Charade
In the corporate world, where vast fortunes are made, stories of deceit and charade can unfurl. How they evade their taxes, employ slush funds, with cunning and guile, and skimp on payments to workers, leaving them fixed in a bind.
The wealthy few, with pockets so deep, one would expect another to know when you are occupying more resources than you need. As they bask in luxury, poor workers' pockets run dry all too quickly. That they would choose to deny others while they lie, cheat, and steal, makes me wonder if it's all about maintaining their social status and power while the majority of others weep?
Can't the narrative be rewritten? Can we break free from this mold? It would be great if we were no longer confined by their dishonesty, unfair attitude and corruption, and better yet if the corporate world embrace justice, love and integrity - those better values that don't masquerade in deceit but in sincerity operate and serve.
Neha had always been told to stay until the last moment of every exam, to scrutinize every line until it bled in her vision. She had been taught to triple-check, then quadruple-check, then check again. She had been taught to squeeze her mind like a lemon, to drench the paper with the last powers of its acidic truth-serum logic. Above all, she had been taught to waste not even one second on false confidence. Although, with her former strategies, confidence was inevitable.
Not so now.
The ink is swimming on the page in front of her, and she has a terrible wrenching knot in her stomach. She lifts her head.
The proctor is far below her, rifling through papers in front of him as if he has lost an exam.
Suddenly Neha has an idea. Keeping her eyes on the proctor, she turns slightly in her chair, takes her exam, and drops down on all fours.
Heart racing, she looks around.
Fortunately, she is in the back, high up and nearly invisible, if it weren’t for the proctor and his dark eyes already having identified her. No matter.
On all fours, she creeps along the row. There is no way the proctor can see her: the man whom she has never seen before, the man who looks stunningly like her.
She reaches the end of her row. She takes a breath. The door is just to her left and up two steps.
The lectern is far below her, but the sounds of paper shuffling have suddenly stopped.
She freezes. It's too late: she can’t risk it, not now.
Suddenly, a buzzer goes off and she hears someone clear his throat.
“Time is up. Turn in your papers.”
His accent is like hers.
She abhors him; abhors him for succeeding in this world that she is clearly failing in, abhors him for his smug superiority, abhors him even for his very presence.
Chairs scrape against tile, bodies rise, and sighs emanate from various places around the big room, an orchestra of surrender.
Neha scrunches further toward the front of her row, where the wood paneling is hiding her from view.
He can’t have seen.
Yet still, there is a pause.
“Are there any tests still out there?”
His voice has an edge to it now.
Neha clutches at her backpack, a last-ditch attempt to make things right. She could just get up now, say she dropped her pencil and ‘sorry here’s my test’.
But she doesn’t. Instead, she stays absolutely still.
She can almost feel the proctor’s frown.
“And there were no other students in here?”
Neha hears the sound of fabric rustling, students looking around as if to find who the culprit is, glad that for the moment it is not them.
Neha takes another breath. She could still get up. She could.
But her heart is pounding and her hands are rooted to the carpeted floor.
She can’t. She just can’t.
Deal at Dennys
I check my watch. 9:36. He was supposed to be here a half hour ago. Shit. He's probably being tailed.
I should probably explain. I won't though. It's much too complicated, and I wouldn't even know where to start. I'm not one of those sappy "here's my life story" types. If there's anything life's taught me, I'm aware you couldn't give a shit about me.
He's our client. I don't know his name, and I have no desire to find out. We've been switching areas to avoid suspicion because I can't deal with cops on my ass. He must be good too. He never drops any hints. So I'm sitting in a shithole Denny's way earlier than I'd want to be. Like who meets at 9? But he always pays up.
He's not clean. Almost everyone is a mess. Twitching eyes, constantly licking their lips. Those are the signs the true addicts have given up on hiding. He calls too often to be a cop. If he did would've been brought to the Sugar Distributer Penitentiary.
King Kandy is known for his generosity. Except to normies. If he knew I was selling off my special acid trip licorice I would be dead. I know, so cliche. Yeah.
My name is Raymond Licorice. Never did forgive Ma for that one. Of course. The bad guy, getting poor innocent souls hooked on sugar.
Come on. I live in a cave. I'm not exactly rolling in dough here.
The client sits down. As always, clad in long brown trench coat, double rows of black buttons gleam like diamonds. A mask obscures his face, a hood covers his hair. Good grief, he looks like a third-grader's idea of a secret agent. He comes with a briefcase. Grey, cheap. Good. We both know it must be untraceable. He's just some rich asshole hooked on the taffy. Oh well.
"One pack RedVines, 15 grams of the black swirls" He says.
Of course I am more than supplied. A whole pack of RedVines? For a normie that could knock him out for a week. I wonder if he suspects where I get the merchandise. I wonder if he knows that I am the Lord of Licorice himself. I doubt he even knows about Candyland.
"1800" I price
He looks equally nonchalant
He drives a hard bargain. It costs me about 10 bucks but whatever he'll fall for.
Surprised? What else would I be dealing in? Gumdrops? King Kandy changed our currency after the Gumdrop Revolution III. Whoever he can fuck over he will. Especially his dear uncle Raymond and his Gran.
"1600 take it or leave it" I reply
He nods and passes over the briefcase.
I open it. Gotta check. I watch his expression. Then I notice. He's moving halfway through him. It's like his lower body is fighting with his top half. Addicts do strange things, but this shouldn't be possible for anyone but... Gloppy.
Fuck. I'm getting busted.
And by Gloppy? He wouldn't be able to find his Chocolate Swamp and he's attached to it. (Or maybe it's him?)(Honestly, I don't care enough to ask)
"Alright fine Gloppy. You caught me." I mutter, hoping to gain the brown blobs' mercy.
"What's gloppy?" asks Gloppy, in a strangely high nervous voice that doesn't resemble Gloppy's deep, mascotish, dumb chortle.
"Take off the coat!" I yell
Slowly he takes it off. What the fuck is happening? It's two kids , no older than 10, sitting on top of eachother. He- or should I say they, shrugs guiltily.
Fuck this. And that, dear reader, is why I no longer go to Dennys.
(Hey thanks for reading. This is my first attempt at doing an actual short story. It may get continued, it may not. )
Favorite Character in the Bible-Ruth
Ruth is my favorite character in the Bible. I love and adore her dedication to her mother-in-law, Naomi. After her husband died and Naomi told Ruth to go to her own people, the way she told the second daughter-in-law, Ruth pleaded to stay with Naomi. After reading about Ruth, I desire to be a woman of virtue in any way similar to her. Ruth 1:16,17
“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, My God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The LORD do so to me, and more
If anything but death parts you and me.”
My first reason is because Ruth loved Naomi and when she married into the family, she took her vows more seriously than anyone else I have read about. Ruth devoted her life to her husband and his family, regardless of death.
In our society, people rarely have this kind of loyalty to another person, and divorce is prevalent. Once a couple separates, they typically no longer maintain a connection with the in-laws. Not in all cases, especially if children are involved, but we jump from one marriage into another and continue making the same mistakes.
The second reason is that Ruth accompanied Naomi to Bethlehem. Despite having no ties there, she made the decision to be tied to whoever Naomi was tied to. Naomi was distraught when she returned to her native land and expressed it by telling the women there in Ruth 1:20, 21
“Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”
My heart feels the pain and the loss that Naomi might have felt. She returned to her people and In doing so she felt anger and hurt to be an old woman who surpassed living longer than her husband and two sons.
As I read this passage in the Bible I am aware of the LORD working in Naomi’s life through Ruth. Ruth was an ambitious woman and requested permission of Naomi to go and glean the barley fields after the reapers among the sheaves.
This sentence and part of the story of Ruth allows me to imagine doing that type of work would be similar to our people working in the lettuce fields prior to mechanical engineering. The work was long and tedious, and Ruth was bent over from sun up to sun down.
The greatest gift in this illustration is the self-less attitude Ruth lived by. She expressed gratitude upon meeting Boaz who was the wealthy owner of the fields she was picking fragments from.
Throughout the story Ruth listens and obeys everything Naomi tells her to do. She never reveals doubt or complaints because her heart is full of love and compassion. Ruth lives her life with integrity, doing her best and trusting GOD for the rest.
My last reason for favoring the book of Ruth is because it shows that if we believe and do not doubt in the LORD, then He is faithful and just to provide for our needs. Ruth's belief in the God of Naomi and her commitment to live accordingly led to her being blessed beyond measure by the end of her story, along with Naomi.
I do my best to live my life similar in helping others and not complaining. I believe that if I put myself out there for anyone else; it is not for selfish gain but to honor the LORD my God.
The door was opened,
no one knows by whom,
when or even why,
but so it remains,
to the spiritual.
Had we forgotten,
we may have survived.
Alas, we're all flawed,
Brutal, "I love you,"
hours of neglect
and all the grooming
have had a hand
in my decision
to become humane.
In the quiet hours of dawn,
When the world is a soft whisper,
I find solace in the hue of the sky,
A canvas painted with the first light,
Gentle, soothing, infinite.
It's the color of the ocean's depths,
Where secrets and dreams intertwine,
A dance of waves under the sun's gaze,
A melody of tranquility,
Endless, embracing, eternal.
In the eyes of a newborn,
There's a glimpse of this shade,
A reflection of innocence and wonder,
A spark of the beginning,
Pure, hopeful, serene.
It's in the twilight,
When the day meets the night,
A moment of calm,
A bridge between two worlds,
Quiet, reflective, peaceful.
This color, it whispers of freedom,
Of a boundless sky and an open sea,
A journey without end,
A path of possibilities,
Tranquil, vast, liberating.
It's the color of my solace,
Of my dreams, of my quiet moments,
A shade that feels like a deep breath,
A color that holds the essence of peace,
Calm, cool, collected.
To Laugh Again
I remember that laugh.
12am shaking twist bottle caps.
Cool harbor mind deploying frigate fleets,
loading shrapnel cannon rounds.
mental artillery crashing eroded beaches.
Climb claimed machine gun nests,
rest once your weary heartbeat spits
Vacay once voracious riptides,
shove hard liquors down.
Drunk to comatose depths,
swimming past layers of my room's darkness;
Sung night eccentric
tender evergreen nectar
Spread sentient liquor,
sweat of eve, revival infested.
anger swims like
Sea dragons in abyssal
canyons; burdens comet onyx
sealed, orange volcanic bliss
Covet our ghostly spirits
drifting unfinished countertops
nod at her, round up
Chivalry and spit wicked
whistle, sentient liquor
storms valhallan guts
Awake in afterlife;
unconscious fights my
Caustic mind regrets,
fight time with swamped
Dimes, lost time and sickened
Seconds, lost to Beelzebub:
God reunites the visage, drink
to disunite the feelin'..
History may not repeat itself, however, it does often rhyme.
We must confine
Free speech’s lifeline
Quest for answers
Truth and lies intertwine
In vino veritas
There’s truth in wine
BART stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit
2019 came back to me in a Snapchat memory. It reeked like BART on a Friday night, all vomit and trash and grimace. We’re all going somewhere important; next year, they’ll tell us to stay home and drown in liquor. Before the pandemic, I counted down the minutes until my train was coming. But it only took us away from each other. I don’t reminisce often. But I can still smell the vomit. I can see her walking away, after telling me a secret. BART continued on. In 2020, it was forbidden, a vice to want movement. Who carries us?