Marie Langston Carter

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Photo of Corinne Michel West (1908-99), taken by Jon Boris: from Pinterest

 

Marie was a poet, a thrill seeker and an artist.  She had a style of her own and she didn’t care what anyone else thought.  She was a free spirit and marched to her own drummer.  Her poems were deep and life changing.  She wrote about her own life and the things she had seen during her travels.  Her poems were about love, hate, war, compassion, poverty, death and beauty.   She left bits of herself in each of her poems.

Men fell in love with Marie quickly and fully.  She enjoyed them but never promised anything more than a few hours of her time.  She had no desire to meet the needs of another person and was happy with the life she led.  Children would have tied her down and having to cater to a man was never on her agenda.

During her travels she met great people, famous people and people in desperate need.  She saw clearly that the world was divided into the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots.’  She did what she could, wherever she went, and when she spoke to others she never failed to mention the terrible discrepancy between the rich and the poor.  She told university graduating classes the truth about war. She told them about the never ending screaming and dying.  She read poems dedicated to mothers mourning their dead children and she read poems about happy children who had nothing at all.  She assigned the task of changing the world to those who had come to hear her speak.  She asked them not to let her down…not to let themselves, or the world, down…but she knew that they would.

Marie was serious about life but her paintings were unrestrained and filled with joy.  Having seen the darker side of things, she celebrated the the best of it in splashes of color.  Her paintings sold before they could be hung on gallery walls.  Her passion for life drew people in and made them hungry for what they couldn’t seem to get for themselves.

Until the end of her life, Marie continued to speak for the disenfranchised.  She continued to travel and tell the stories of those who had no voice.  Her poems continued to inform and enchant and her paintings continued to sell.  Two days before she was hit by a car and killed,  she spoke to a sold out crowd at The Art Institute of Chicago, where one of her paintings had just been installed.  She received a standing ovation.

Wherever Marie went, she made a difference.  She paid attention.  She listened.  She watched.  She reported.  She made the world a better place and that’s the best legacy of all.

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by hitandrun1964

Eve Eggers

 

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Eve Eggers was the youngest of five children and the only girl.  Her brothers tormented her in what they thought of as a fun and delightful way.  Eve disagreed and told them that fun was never involved, just the torment.  Her brothers laughed and continued with their nasty ways, leaving Eve bruised, sometimes broken and battered.  As she grew older Eve was less and less inclined to take the constant punishment from her four evil brothers.  Her parents did nothing to protect her and told her that boys were rough and tumble and not to take it personally.  The school eventually called and told  Eve’s parents that they were sending an officer to their house because they believed that Eve was being physically abused, since she was constantly black and blue, cut and swollen.  The Eggers’ told the school it was all good fun.  The school disagreed.

Eve was happy that someone was finally going to look into her beatings.  The officer came, saw the four large and very strong boys and smiled. “Ah,” he said, “I had three older brothers myself,” then he had a cookie and left. Eve saw that she was on her own.

Later that night, after being pushed down the stairs for the thousandth time, Eve took a bat and broke the bones in her brother’s legs.  She laughed and said, “This is all good fun, Michael.  Just your sister, having a lark.  You know how girls are.”

She went into Peter’s room and kicked him in the stomach a couple of times with her pointy shoes.  “You know,” she said, as she took his penknife and cut his arm, “I can see why you like this.  It really is fun, but only on this side of it, believe me.  I’m so glad you all ate the pudding I made tonight. The extra ingredient you tasted was a drug that made you sleep so soundly, brother mine.”

She skipped to the next room and the room after that.  She left her brothers in quite a messy state.  When she was finished, she picked up her packed bag and fled into the night.  She purchased a train ticket with the money she took from her brothers’ rooms and went to the city.

Life was difficult for a while, but Eve was used to difficult, so did what she had to do in order to survive.  She took menial jobs and slept where she could.  One rainy Tuesday morning she saw a sign in the window of a woman’s clothing store asking for a cleaning woman.  She was hired, with reservation, since she looked quite pitiful, after all.  But she told the woman in charge, that if she was not happy with her work, she did not have to pay her and she would leave quietly.

Eve’s work was perfect.  She continued to sleep outdoors until she had enough money to rent a small apartment.  Every night, before she went to bed, Eve looked into the mirror and smiled at herself.  She thought of what she had done to her brothers and rejoiced in the fact that she escaped from their brutality.  Empowered, she went to her twin bed and curled up with Twinkle, a ginger cat she found in the alley and took home.

Once Eve had the shop in tip-top order there was little to do but maintain the job she had already done, but as she walked past the display window she noticed the dresses and models looked rather limp and out of sorts.   Without much thought, she climbed up onto the ledge and went to work.  She moved everything around, took things from the shop and turned the window into a delightful splash of color and beauty.

When the owner, Mrs. Nightingale, came in at nine o’clock she saw a line of women waiting to enter.  They were chatting happily and pointing at the window, nodding in agreement.  Eve was afraid she had done something wrong but Mrs. Nightingale was extremely pleased.

“I didn’t know you had an artistic flair,” she said to Eve.

“I just changed a few things around,” muttered Eve.

“You shall do it again and again, my dear,” said Mrs. Nightingale.  “From now on you are in charge of the window treatment.”

Eve couldn’t believe her luck.  Every week, people came to see what was in the newly decorated window.  Eve was so busy that Mrs. Nightingale had to hire a new cleaning woman, so that Eve had more time to work on her designs.

Eve was suddenly well dressed and saving money.  The customers sought her advice when making purchases and she became a saleswoman as well as a designer.  Eve was happy,  Mrs. Nightingale was happy and the customers were happy as well.

On the night of October 4th, Eve was closing the shop when she heard a woman scream.  She ran to alley behind the shop and saw a man beating a woman with a stick.  She never slowed down, she just threw herself at the man and knocked him to the ground.  She bit him,  kicked him and screamed in his face.  He hit her with his fist and she smiled.  The man blinked.  Eva smiled again and her eyes went a little scary.  She reached for the stick and pressed it against the man’s throat as hard as she could.  “See,” she said softly, “this is supposed to be fun.  It’s just boy stuff, right?”  The man gurgled and tried to push her off.  But Eve had him pinned down, the same way her brothers held her to the ground so that they could torture her.  The man’s face eventually turned a lovely shade of purple and even in the dark, Eve immediately though of how wonderful that color would look if made into a velvet skirt with a matching jacket.  The man finally stopped fighting and lay still.  Eve waited a moment, to make sure he wouldn’t move, and then she removed herself from his body.  She kicked him once then went over to the weeping woman and helped her to her feet.

“I’ll call the police,” she said to the woman.

“Why?”

“I think he needs a hospital,” said Eve, looking at the man. “He might have a broken rib.”

“I think he’s dead,” cried the woman.

“No, you just have to know the pressure points in the neck, that’s all.  I just knocked him out,” laughed Eve.  “He’ll be fine.”

The women went into the shop and called the police who arrested both of them immediately.  They were charged with attempted murder.  The man was taken to the hospital and give the finest care  The women were placed in dark, damp cell.

“There’s something very wrong with this situation,” said Eve.

“I agree,” said the woman, holding her broken arm tenderly.”

The women were held overnight.  During that time they made plans to start a vigilant group that would come to the aid of women who were being attacked by men.   Mrs. Nightingale got the women out of jail and demanded that the beaten woman be given medical attention.  She brought a reporter from The Times with her and the reporter took photographs and the women’s’ statements.   The story was front page news.  Women were outraged, men said that the man was probably just fooling around and having fun.

Eve had the reporter get a copy of her mug shot so that she could frame it.  Now, every night before she goes to bed, she looks into her own eyes and sees the fury there. She sees the thin smile, that may go unnoticed by others.  Most of all, sees her power.  The thing she doesn’t see…is fear.

hitandrun1964

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The Connely boys…

Short story

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Everyone thought Billy, Bobby and Jimmy were brothers, I mean they did have the same last name, after all.  But the truth is, the boys were not related in any way.  Matt and Clarise Connely had Billy and then sort of picked up Bobby and Jimmy along the way.

They were living on Elm Street, in a sleepy sort of town, when Bobby started hanging around their house.  He and Billy became friends and what was once a, “would you like to stay for dinner,” invitation quickly turned in to an every night occurrence.  Bobby, it seemed, was afraid to go home. Clarise could see it on his face and in his manner.  One night, when everyone went into the living room, she asked him to stay the kitchen for a moment.  Clarise asked Bobby to sit down at the table, which he did rather reluctantly.   She gave him a plate of chocolate chip cookies, right out of the oven, so the chips were soft and stringy, just the way he liked them.

“You’re almost living here,” said Clarise sweetly.

“Can I?” asked Bobby.

“Can you what?”

“Live here,” he answered in a rush, his eyes wide, chocolate smeared across his upper lip.  “Please.”

“I don’t know if your parents would like that,” said Clarise, leaning toward him, grabbing a cookie.

“They won’t care.  They won’t even know I’m gone,” said Bobby.

“I’m sure they’ll miss you.”

“They won’t.  I promise.”

“I guess I can talk to your…”

“NO,” shouted Bobby, in a panic.  “You can’t say anything or he’ll beat her.  He’ll beat me too.”

“Your father beats you?” asked Clarise, as calmly as she could, though her heart raced and her face felt flushed.

Bobby looked down, and nodded.

“Okay then,” said Clarise.  “Welcome home.”

Bobby put his head down on the table and fell asleep instantly.

Clarise walked into the living room and said, “I want to move and not tell anyone where we are going.”

Matt said, “Okay,” since he knew his wife was never frivolous and assumed that she had a good reason for wanting to leave.

By the end of the month the family was gone and Bobby had a new last name.  Everyone was happy and none of their relatives asked any questions but simply accepted Bobby as one of them.

The same thing happened when they met Jimmy.  He was younger and had burn marks on his arms and scars on his back.  They moved again and things went quite smoothly, since they knew what they were doing this time.

The three brothers got along famously and their new neighbors said that they never met such lovely boys.  They were polite, well mannered and very helpful.  Mrs. Smith, a rather elderly woman, said that Bobby always helped her carry her groceries, if he saw her coming down the street.  She said that he had pulled some weeds from her flower bed without her ever saying a word.

No one ever looked for the boys or, if they did, no one ever found them.  Matt and Clarise were delighted with their children and their children were grateful and delighted to be their children.

Years went by, “too quickly”, laughed Clarise, and the boys became men.  I should say the brothers became men because they were brothers in every sense of the word.  They graduated from college and married.  Matt and Clarise became grandparents and their grandchildren were given their names.  The boys were loving and generous fathers and husbands.  They had learned the difference between love and hate at an early age and vowed never to be anything but kind.

Matt died in his sleep one night and everyone celebrated his life, with tears and stories about his twisted sense of humor and his inability to hammer a nail into anything, without bending it.  All of the children offered their home to Clarise, who gratefully declined, saying that she was happy where she was.

Everyone called her everyday, food was brought to her door, and she was invited for dinner four times a week.  She often refused but that never stopped her boys from asking again and again.

A small party was held in honor of Clarise’s eightieth birthday.  Bobby and Jimmy both stood in front of the guests, with tears running down their faces and told how their lives were saved by their wonderful parents, Matt and Clarise.  They asked those present to help children who are being tortured by their parents, so they can have safe and loving lives as well.  They waved Billy to the stage and he said that they were starting a home, called, Connely‘s Safe Haven, for kids who had no where else to go and that was their gift to their mother on this special night.

Clarise was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from her boys.  She kissed and hugged them.  She told them how they had given her so much joy and that she would steal them again and never look back.  They knew that she would and now they would do the same thing for kids who were being abused.

Clarise crossed over a few months later.  She had written a letter to each of the boys telling them that biology had nothing to do with parents and their children…it was all about love and nothing more.  They knew that to be true.

 

 

 

Post Script:

The Connely‘s Safe Haven is a great success.  Matt and Clarise’s picture hangs in the hallway and everyone who enters the building and asks for help, eventually hears the story about how the boys became brothers.  Classes are given to anyone who wishes to attend.  Classes about kindness, about the role that men played in the lives of their loved ones and in society as a whole.  Classes about control, about violence.  Classes about being a father, a husband and a good person.  The classes are for boys and girls alike, because girls need to learn that they should not take abuse from anyone they know and that life doesn’t have to be that way.  Not everyone is helped because they stay at Connely‘s, but the brothers never intended to help everyone.  Their goal is to help as many as they can and that is a goal they are meeting with flying colors.

 

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by hitandrun1964

But He Only…

It’s hard when sheltered little girls start to grow up and get interested in boys, and boys return the interest.  You only want to really talk about positive things with your daughter, because she’s your little girl and you cannot imagine adult types of things happening to her.

Then it’s time for the first date, and she’s excited and going on and on about how good looking he is, and how sweet he was when he asked her out, and you’re thinking “Good.  Because that’s what my daughter deserves.”  Not that you’ve told her that.  She should know that.

She goes out on the date and he’s a perfect gentleman, and everything is storybook.  She’s so happy she’s giggling as she goes about the house, talking on her cell phone to her girlfriends.

After about a month of dating, he asks her to go with him to a dance.  She’s very excited and “I can have a new dress, right?  Can I have a new dress?  Can we go shopping, Mom, please?”  And of course, the answer is Yes.

You go shopping with her, and you find the perfect dress: it covers in all the right places; it’s something your own mother would have approved of for you, and she looks beautiful in it.  So, you figure, that everything is fine.

The night of the dance, he picks her up wearing a tux, has a corsage for her and promises you and your husband that he will have her home promptly at midnight.

You’re confident in him, because he’s never broken a curfew in the month that they’ve been dating.

He returns her home at 12:05, but that’s hardly worth mentioning.  She comes in and she’s happy, she says she’s happy and says she’s tired and wants to go to bed.  You wish her a good night’s sleep and off she goes.

In the morning, when she awakens, she calls her girlfriends, and tells them that he pushed her last night.  He got upset because, while he was getting punch for her, a boy from her Chemistry class came over and was talking to her about the last lab they’d had, and how crazy their teacher is.  She was laughing with the boy, because she agreed.  Her boyfriend, as he was walking back to her with the punch in hand, saw her laughing and talking with this other boy.  The lab partner excused himself and walked away when her boyfriend returned.

Her boyfriend asked: “Who was that?  What did he want?”

She replied: “Oh, nothing we were just talking about Chemistry.”

He accused: “You were laughing.  Looked like you were having a good time.”

She told him it was no big deal, and then his face darkened and he pushed her.

She didn’t fall to the floor or anything, but she felt scared.  He had never been anything but gentle with her, until last night.

Another phone call comes in to her cell phone; it’s her boyfriend, she has to talk to him.

He’s sorry.  He shouldn’t have pushed her.  He wants to make it up to her by taking her to the movies tonight.

She says, yes, and gets ready.

You notice that she’s all bubbly and happy again, and wonder what the dark cloud had been that you’d noticed earlier, while your daughter was on the phone to her friends.  Maybe it was just those teenage hormones.

You don’t ask.

She goes to the movies and they have a wonderful time.

About a week goes by, and she’s walking down the hall in school, with a bunch of her classmates — boys and girls.  One of the boys is her Chemistry lab partner.  Her boyfriend is looking for her, and he sees her having fun with all of these people, and with that one boy from the dance, laughing and talking with her.

He can’t see anything else but the just the two of them.  Laughing.  Together.  Very together.

He walks up and grabs her and drags her away from everyone else.  He’s holding her arm so tightly, as he pulls her to her locker to talk, that he leaves bruises.

“You’re hurting me!  Stop!”

He begins to rant.  He accuses her of cheating on him with her lab partner.

She’s confused; her lab partner is just a friend, she doesn’t know why he’s upset.  And he’s hurting her.  She tries to pull away.

His hand reaches back and slaps her face, and calls her a whore.

Nothing like this has ever happened to her before.  She doesn’t know what to think or what to do.

She tells him to leave her alone, and she stalks off to class with her arm hurting and her face red, still feeling the handprint.

During class, she’s distracted, thinking about what happened.  How could this have happened to her?  Why would he do this? He’s always been so gentle, so charming.

And she thinks, she must have done something wrong.  He said she had, she shouldn’t have been talking to those kids, that boy.  She didn’t mean to be doing anything wrong.  But that’s what upset him, so she must have been doing something wrong.  Right?

Over the next few weeks, she pulls away from her friends, gradually and steadily.  Her grades go down a little bit, but not enough for her teachers to worry, to call her parents.

You don’t know.

Then, it’s spring.  She comes down for breakfast with a turtleneck on.  It’s a beautiful, warm spring day.  You ask her why the turtleneck?  It’s a beautiful morning!

“I’m cold,” you’re told, tersely.

She’s running late, she doesn’t want to talk, and she hurries out the door before you can ask anything more.

She’s running from herself, but you don’t know that.  She’s running from a situation that she just can’t understand.  She’s afraid, and you can almost see that, but you can’t understand why.

What you don’t know is, the night before, on their last date, her loving boyfriend tried to choke her.  The turtleneck is covering the bruises on her neck.  She knows you would never allow her go see him again if you knew.

But he loves her.  He told her he did; well, after he choked her.

And she loves him.  Well, usually.

She wants to ask one of her old girlfriends if this had ever happened to them.  But it was embarrassing.  What if it hadn’t happened to them?  What if they thought it was her fault, if they knew she did something wrong?

She can’t talk to you.  You’ve never talked about anything like this.  You’d never understand.

She decides to just keep the information to herself.

Six more months go by.  He asks her to go steady. She eagerly says yes, but there’s a little voice inside that’s saying, “Run.  Run.”

He tells her that now, she will be His.  And no one can every interfere with them.  He’ll take care of her, she won’t need anyone else, because she has him.

Several more months pass.  They have a horrific argument and your little girl comes home.

Her face looks like pulp.  He punched her this time, and she cannot hide this from you.

He had the right to do it, he said, because she belongs to him.  They were going steady, after all.

You see her.  “What happened?” you ask, and for the first time in months, she tells the truth.

But she still thinks it’s her fault.  He always says she’s stupid and ungrateful and a burden to him, and she’s lucky he loves her at all.

But he does love her.  He says.  Between the punches.

“Do you love him, this boy?” you ask.

“I..I think so,” she says, and she starts to cry.  “I don’t know,” she admits and you hold her.

“Mom, I’m scared.”

And your heart breaks.

 

 

This young girl has found herself in a spot many young girls find themselves in.  They think that abuse is only broken bones or going to the hospital.  That’s never happened to her.  He only pushes.  Only shoves.  Only yells. He’s only REALLY hit her once.

What these girls don’t understand is that a slap, a push, a shove, twisting her arm, punching her face; belittling and calling her names; separating her from her friends — isolating, it’s called — it’s all abuse, battering.

They don’t understand that they are in danger, and this one person is the person they should be terrified of, and should get away from.

Hopefully, after talking to a counselor with or without her parents, and dating some other young men who treat her with the respect to which all young women are entitled, she will learn that she did not deserve the violence her now ex-boyfriend introduced to her life.

Hopefully, in the future, the men that she picks will not be abusers, and she will not spend years of her life living in violence in fear.

 

But  you could have helped, long before it started.  You could have talked to your daughter, let her know with words and actions that she IS special, and worthy of love.  You could have told her that no one ever has the right to push her, or shove her or call her names, and if they do, she should always come to you.  That you will always be there, and you will always listen, and that you would never think…

She deserved it.

Because she never could.

Because NO ONE ever deserves to abused.

 

BJWordPressDivider

Barbara Mattio

idealisticrebel

love is not abuse

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SHE

SHE

SHE

She moves through the night, unseen, unheard.  Her rage, at injustice, gives her wings.  Her sword cuts true.  She lingers in those places where violence and abuse take place, waiting for her moment to strike.  She sees all and knows all.  Her Guardianship gives her direction and leads her to those who destroy the lives of others, physically and mentally.  She lurks in dark doorways, listening for the cries of those who cannot defend themselves.  She never hesitates, knowing that her magic cannot be used against the innocent.  Children hide under beds and in closets, desperate to get away from grasping hands.  People cry and beg for mercy.  Animals cower in terror.  The night exposes violence, the hatred that some humans have for each other and for every living thing  The Guardian, infused with unearthly power, levels the playing field.  People can feel her, in the darkness, as she brushes her dark hand against their cheeks, assuring them that the end of their torment has arrived.

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hitandrun1964

 

Chicklets want peace for everyone and everything…

The chicklets would like everyone and all things to live in harmony.  I gently tell them that, for the most part, the human species is incapable of doing that.  They just stare at me and ask, “Why?”  It’s so easy for them to love everyone and everything…to be happy.  They can’t understand why it’s so impossible for others to feel the same way.  So, they are sending their love out to the world, hoping that it makes a difference.  I hope that it makes a difference as well, somewhere, for someone.

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by hitandrun1964

Flower, Rene, Ginger, Mouse, Sparkle and Katie

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Holly mentioned Rene and I know Laurie loves him too, so when I saw them walking to the park I asked if they would mind posing for a family portrait.  Rene and Flower are still madly in love.  They continue to lead Rescue Raids and help those in need.  They also help train Rescue Dogs for different groups who have joined in the Rescue Movement.

They have started a family and were happy to introduce their chicklets.  Ginger is following in Flower’s footsteps and loves taking risks and jumping off of things.  Mouse is Ginger’s shadow and is always by her side.  Flower is giving Sparkle a ride because a horse stepped on her foot.  Flower said that Sparkle knows she shouldn’t play underneath the horses but she loves them so much she just can’t stay away from them.  The horse who stepped on her was horrified and promised to give her rides for the rest of her life.  Katie is the youngest and has a personality much like Rene’s.  They are a very happy family and send chirps and peeps to all of you.

 

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by hitandrun1964

Cricket and Flutterby

“My mom said that humans are unhappy because they aren’t free,” chirped Cricket.  “They work at things they don’t like, they forgot how to play and they spend a lot of time doing what other people tell them to do.  She said all of that makes them crabby.”

“If I had to live that way I don’t think that I would be happy either,” peeped Flutterby.

“I know.  My mom said it makes them dangerous and they never think they have enough of anything, they always want more and they don’t care how they get what they want.  She said they’ve always been that way, from the very beginning.  They don’t embrace life they try to beat it into submission.”

“What does that mean?” peeped Flutterby softly.

“I don’t know but the hens just made cornbread.”

“I love cornbread,” peeped Flutterby, flapping her tiny wings with excitement.

“After we get some bread we can go to the Rubber Duck Pond and take a Gondola ride,” chirped Cricket gleefully.

“I’m so happy,” whispered the small chicklet.

“Me too,” chirped Cricket, turning in a circle.

“I feel bad for the humans.”

“Why?”

“What if they don’t have cornbread?”

 

 

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by hitandrun1964

Clarence, James and Roxy

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The chicklets were on their way home from a luau when they started talking about humans again.

“My mom said that we have to stay away from humans because they believe that they have the right to decide who gets to live or die,” chirped Clarence.  “She said they hate us.”

“What did we do to them?” peeped Roxy.

“Nothing,” chirped Clarence.  “They just hate us, that’s why they treat us the way they do.”

“Well, my mom said that if aliens from another planet attacked the earth,  all the wars would stop so that everyone could fight against the aliens.  As soon as they were finished killing them, which my mom said would never happen, they would start to kill each other again,” peeped Roxy.

“What’s a alien?” chirped James.

“Someone who lives underground at Area 51 in Nevada,” peeped Roxy.

“What’s Nevada?” chirped James.

“I have no idea,” chirped Clarence honestly.  “None at all.”

“Do you think they sell food there?” chirped James.

“Maybe,” answered Clarence.

“I’d like some popcorn,” chirped James

“The kitchen’s still open,” chirped Clarence.

“Maybe if humans stopped fighting for a while and had more snacks they would be happy like we are,” peeped Roxy.

“I don’t think so,” chirped Clarence, shaking his head.  “My mom said they’re broken.”

 

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by hitandrun1964

Edward and Muffin

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“My mom said that what doesn’t kill you doesn’t make you stronger,” chirped Edward.  “She said it just makes you miserable, unhappy, depressed, broken and destroys the joy you once had in life to the point that you often wish whatever it was, did kill you.”

“What does that mean?”

“I think it means that it’s better not to have anything try and kill you.”

“Oh, that makes sense,” chirped Muffin.  “Why didn’t she just say that in the beginning?”

Edward shrugged.  “You know how moms’ are.”

“Want some cotton candy?”

“Sure.” chirped Edward.  “So don’t let anything try and kill you.”

“Promise,” peeped Muffin.  “You either.”

 

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by hitandrun1964