A Shared Ending

This story first appeared in the paperback book as William and Mary; the copy below is a major revision.

By Andrew G. Alt

William lived in a small town a few miles from the city. In his youth, he had been an amateur boxer, but after two years, he joined the United States Navy, deciding it could offer better long-term benefits. When William had been in the Navy for about two years, a shipmate introduced him to a woman named Dorothy.

Six years later, William felt he’d seen enough of the world and wanted to stay in one place. This also gave him and Dorothy a better opportunity to get to know each other, and after a year, he proposed and they were married.

During that year, he became employed as a supervisor for a company that manufactured gas-powered engines. His experience in the Navy, coupled with his honorable discharge, ensured that he was able to avoid starting at “the bottom”; on the first day of work, he began training immediately for his position as supervisor. He learned quickly and soon became an excellent team leader. After eight years, he was promoted to assistant manager of the entire manufacturing facility.

William was over six feet tall, which meant that his co-workers always fought to have him on their team when they met after work for basketball. Several of William’s female co-workers were drawn to his blue eyes, well-built physique, and good manners. They often flirted with him, but William always clearly expressed that the only woman who would ever hold his interest was Dorothy. He always added, “And that’s a fact that will never change.” Continue reading →

The Problematic 6000

Subcategories: humor, science fiction, satire

By Andrew G. Alt

In the year 5999, humans had found solutions for almost every problem. It was a peaceful era in our future that was hated by all who enjoyed war. With no challenges, many actually believed life was too easy.

Professor Zinkerton was a scientist and inventor working on the one remaining problem: being able to invent good excuses for doing things one would rather not do. For twenty-three years he had worked tirelessly to ensure people would have the ability to conjure bullet-proof excuses for any situation. Finally, on January 1st of the year 6000, he finished his masterpiece. Continue reading →

James’s Love

Subcategories: family, parable, short story

By Andrew G. Alt

There was once a man who had much love in his heart. James loved his family and friends. He loved God and his church. He loved the outdoors, the sunlight, and all the wonders of Creation. However, like all people, the love in James’s heart was sometimes covered by other feelings, some which were unpleasant and had the potential to be harmful to himself or others.

James had recently bought a new car. It was the best one he’d ever owned. It was comfortable, stylish, and very fuel efficient. It was reliable and got him to work on time every day. It carried him to meet his valued friends, and visit his beloved family. James used the car every day and became very accustomed and attached to it. He relied on it to be there for him when needed. He loved the car, and sometimes even felt the car loved him. Continue reading →

The Money Trees

By Andrew G. Alt

There was once a beautiful kingdom peacefully ruled by a benevolent king and queen. In financial terms, the kingdom’s citizens were much like our own: some were rich, some were poor, and some fell comfortably into the middle.

The king’s son, Prince Cameron, was rich. He was highly educated, but sometimes didn’t utilize his skills and talents. He spent most of his time gambling, going to parties, and neglecting lessons that would teach him how to be a good dictator.

A peasant named Johann worked in the king’s garden. He was hard-working, honest, and always took pride in his work. He had a wife and five children to support, and therefore was poor. He and his family lived in a small two-bedroom house near the castle. They could view the castle through a small, broken window, and often they spoke of its beauty and its majestic appearance.

Johann had become friends with a peddler named Elijah, who resided about four kilometers beyond the border of the kingdom. He was a pleasant fellow and was always greeted with friendly smiles when he came to the kingdom to peddle his reasonably-priced items. Elijah also brought news to the citizens about noteworthy developments occurring throughout the region. Elijah and Johann met with each other frequently. Often, their days were highlighted by stimulating and friendly conversation. Continue reading →

The Camel in the Desert

Subcategories: fantasy, short story, fable

By Andrew G. Alt

(Listen to Audio)

Once upon a time, on a world far from our own, in a desert that spanned thousands of kilometers, a camel walked near a narrow stream of water. The camel lowered his head to drink. By the time his mouth was near the ground, however, all the water had evaporated. He began walking again to find more. He’d hoped to find a lake, but even a small river would make him happy.

Being thirsty made him sad, but he was also sad because he was the only camel remaining. All his other camel friends had died. One had even committed suicide. He’d only been able to say goodbye to one of them; the others had gone up to Heaven much too suddenly.

He walked along further, and in the distance saw a lizard. The lizard wasn’t moving, and the camel approached the lizard easily. “Mr. Lizard, why aren’t you moving?”

Continue reading →

The Obedient Parents

By Andrew G. Alt

(Listen to Audio)

Once upon a time, in a land not far from yours, there lived a small boy and a small girl who sometimes did not like to listen to their parents. The boy’s name was Billy and the girl’s name was Holly. Sometimes the parents would say “It’s time to go to bed, dear” or “You can’t have ice cream until you eat your vegetables, honey.” Often the parents had to order the children to clean their bedroom.

On this particular occasion, Billy and Holly were cleaning their room because their parents told them to do so. As they were picking up their toys, they each reached for a small plastic elf. When they touched it at the exact same time, it began to glow bright-green and made a sparkling kind of noise. The elf quickly grew to be as tall as Billy and Holly’s teacher at school. He had a bright-orange mustache and beard. His ears were pointed and he was dressed in clothes that seemed to be about 5000 years old. Continue reading →

The Search for the Enchanted Balls

By Andrew G. Alt

(Listen to Audio)

Once upon a time in a land not unlike our own, two tabby cats named Janice and Jacob were playing in a grassy field with their enchanted balls. Janice’s ball was pink with purple stripes. Jacob’s was bright green with small yellow circles. They loved their toys and played with them every day.

One day as Janice and Jacob were playing, they both lost their balls. They were heart-broken. They went home and cried themselves to sleep. The next day, they decided to search for them.

Janice and Jacob left to travel the world to search for their beloved toys. They didn’t know how long their search would last or how far they’d have to travel to reacquire their precious treasure, but they were determined. Continue reading →

The Blind Man and His Neighbors

Subcategories: short story, parable

By Andrew G. Alt

(Listen to Audio)

A kind, gentle man and his family once lived in a large forest. His family and friends all loved him, and agreed he loved God and wanted always to do the right thing. He was even good to the animals who lived nearby. He was poor but had enough money to make sure his family remained fed and healthy. Despite his lack of wealth, he kept a positive attitude and his face nearly always held a friendly smile.

There were citizens in a neighboring town, however, for whom the Man held no good feelings. They had a bad reputation and dressed strangely, and spoke oddly. Outwardly he wasn’t mean or disrespectful to them; but he avoided and ignored them, and pretended they didn’t exist.

One day the Man was in the forest chopping wood to provide his good wife fuel for cooking. As he chopped, small wood chips suddenly flew into his eyes. They penetrated deeply and swiftly. He screamed with agony. His wife came running. Upon seeing the pain on her husband’s face and that he was using his hands to cover his eyes, she realized immediately what had happened. She quickly grabbed him and entered their vehicle, and drove him to a nearby hospital. When they arrived he was soon taken to an emergency room, diagnosed, and operated on. Finally the Man’s eyes were bandaged. He was then wheeled to a recovery room and tucked into a nice, comfortable bed. Continue reading →

The Grasshopper and the Cliff

By Andrew G. Alt

On a dry, hot day, the sun shone brightly onto the top of a cliff. A grasshopper looking for food wandered to the cliff’s edge. He peered down and considered jumping from the cliff for several minutes. The grasshopper knew he might not survive the fall but was curious nevertheless. He finally decided against it and went home to his family.

The grasshopper, however, couldn’t forget the urge to jump from the cliff’s edge. The next day he returned to the cliff. He looked down for several minutes. Afterward, he went home to his family. Continue reading →

The Magic Brain

Last updated on 30 June 2014

The copy below has been revised and differs from the version published in the book.

Subcategories: fantasy, short story, fairy tale, parable

By Andrew G. Alt

Once upon a time, a man named Ralph lived on the planet Aurelius. Ralph had a wife, two children, and a very active imagination. At least once a day his family requested that he tell them a story or a joke. He gladly did so, creating events and characters so quickly that one would believe he was reading the story from a book, and his jokes were so funny that his children’s mouths were often sore from too much laughter.

Although interesting and imaginative, the characters in Ralph’s stories could not perform magic; they had no special powers nor could they grant wishes. The reason for this was that unlike the people of Earth, Ralph, nor any other Aurelian, had ever encountered magical fairies or other cosmic beings who granted wishes or cast evil spells.

☼ ☼ ☼

On a bright, comfortably warm day, Ralph sat on the grass, his back against a tree, looking at an extremely large rock. Although the rock was motionless and not doing anything noteworthy, Ralph had been intently watching it for nearly two hours. This might seem like a boring activity to most people, but because he had a fluffy and glittery imagination, the things he saw on the rock were the same things the people of Earth would see on a movie screen. He was imagining an adventure unfolding, and with only the power of his mind, he was able to see many action scenes and characters joining together to form a movie. Continue reading →

The Prisoner

Subcategories: fairy tale, fantasy

By Andrew G. Alt

Look into the sky and you may see the Moon. If you look past it you’ll see a bright star. Look past that star and open up your imagination. You’ll see a solar system. Within that solar system you’ll see a moon. Stand upon that moon and you’ll see a small world.

There is a prison on that world, positioned miles underground where it’s so dark even light is unable to travel. Living inside are people who have committed horrible crimes against their neighbors. The prisoners are locked into small cages surrounded by gray stone blocks cemented together. Continue reading →

Hovering on the Winds of Thought

By Andrew G. Alt

A lonely time ago, a space was swimming in the mist formed by the winds of thought. The space had no other purpose. One day, it realized it could do more than only swim, so decided to fall through the mist.

After an immeasurable amount of time,  the space landed between some vowels. Although they didn’t mind associating with the space, the new partners remained lost in a misty void and felt incoherent and incomplete. For many years they aimlessly soared through the darkness. Then one day, they lightly touched several confused consonants that were floating upon a lazy breeze passing nearby.

Continue reading →

Mount Solation

By Andrew G. Alt

Once upon a time there was a mountain — several, in fact. Upon one particular mountain stood a man and he was alone. He was not completely alone; the clouds swarming above were his companions.

One day, The Man decided to give them all names. After 100,000 years,giving names to all the clouds became tiresome for The Man, so he changed his mind. After 10,000 years of not naming clouds, he thought to name the raindrops which the clouds produced. After 50,000 years, naming raindrops grew tiresome so he ceased giving names to the raindrops. The Man, of course, became very bored. After 5,000 years had passed, he had the idea to give names to the grains of sand and dirt he saw on the mountain. After 25,000 years, this began to tire The Man. He decided to quit naming all the grains of sand and dirt. Continue reading →

Newly-created Blogs

I’ve created two new blogs and moved many posts from Mental Dimensions to the new sites. These are the links:

Meditation and Mental Health
https://meditationmentalhealth.wordpress.com/

Music Posts and Forum
https://musicpostsforum.wordpress.com/

Although I’m not finished fine-tuning, I won’t need to write any more announcements regarding this change.

Anyone wishing to receive post updates from my two new blogs may do so by using the sign-up form, which is located in the right-hand panel on each site.

Extracting Order from Chaos

In an effort to extract Order from Chaos, I’ll be creating two more blogs. If you see things disappearing and reappearing, don’t worry that your imagination is malfunctioning, but rather feel assured that I’m casting spells using a magic mouse.

The extraction process will be completed within 72 hours. I thank you for your continued existence.

Honoring the end of life

Originally posted on Life and Lims:

I’ve been able to attend two really beautiful funerals this year, both for people who were extraordinary, and who had wonderful families. I was struck both times by what a special experience it was to share in the remembrance and celebration of the lives of these people with their loved ones. At both, there were many, many experiences shared, sweet and tender memories and funny ones, recounted with laughter and tears.

But how often do you hear people say they enjoyed attending a funeral? That they looked forward to the funeral, that they cherished the time they took to be there?

Americans (and probably many in modern, Western cultures) are far behind some more “primitive” cultures: we do not appreciate the death process or anything surrounding it; we tread with great trepidation around death; and we don’t honor those who are aging, stepping ever closer to death each day. It’s a…

View original 660 more words

Conversations With the Homeless | Gotta Find a Home:

Posted by Andy Alt

Quoted excerpt by Dennis Cardiff

When I’m with the homeless I don’t judge. I ask a minimum of questions, only enough to keep the conversation moving. I don’t interrogate or ask about their past. Mostly, I listen and try to understand. I am often asked why I am there. Although the reasons are deeper, I usually answer by saying, ‘The conversations here are more interesting than where I work.’ I visit these people, on the streets, on the way to my place of employment, and at noon hours.

What I have learned over the past four years has changed my life. These people, who I consider to be my friends, are alcoholics, drug and other substance users. Some work as prostitutes, some have AIDS, most or all have served time in jail for various offenses. All of them I would trust with my life. They have welcomed me into their street family. I am honored to be considered a member.

[…]

via Conversations With the Homeless | Gotta Find a Home:.

Recent posts from Dennis Cardiff’s site, Gotta Find a Home
Continue reading →

“With your Wings”, Rare Steinbeck WWII story finally published | Stars and Stripes

Posted by Andy Alt

I haven’t read “With your Wings”  yet, but I’ve enjoyed a few of John Steinbeck’s books and am planning to check this out:

NEW YORK — In July 1944, Orson Welles wrapped up one of his wartime radio broadcasts with a brief, emotional reading of one of the country’s favorite authors, John Steinbeck.

The piece was titled “With Your Wings,” an inspirational story about a black pilot that Steinbeck wrote for Welles’ program, and it seemed to disappear almost as soon as it was aired. There are no records of “With Your Wings” appearing in book or magazine form. Even some Steinbeck experts, including scholar Susan Shillinglaw and antiquarian James Dourgarian, know little about it.

[…]

Steinbeck, who died in 1968, wrote often about social injustice and on occasion featured black characters, notably Crooks in his classic novella “Of Mice and Men.” Gulli, whose magazine specializes in reissuing obscure works by famous writers, said in a recent email that “With Your Wings” was characteristic of the Nobel laureate’s worldview.

“Steinbeck was an idealist. He saw America as this wonderful land with so much to offer but on the flip side, he could see inequality, he could see greed and excess destroying the working classes,” Gulli wrote. “This story strikes me as an effort to show middle America that African-Americans were carrying on a huge burden in defending the United States and the allies during the war.”

[…]

via Rare Steinbeck WWII story finally published – U.S. – Stripes.

“With Your Wings” is available for purchase on the Strand Magazine web site:
Holiday issue of the Strand with the unpublished John Steinbeck story or check out Strand Magazine for subscription options that include the holiday issue.

Recent posts from Stars and Stripes:
Continue reading →

The Little Mermaid

Posted by Andy Alt

Long before the Disney movie, The Little Mermaid was a story written by Hans Christian Andersen. For curiosity seekers, here’s a link to an English translation of The Little Mermaid.

http://hca.gilead.org.il/li_merma.html

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