Now What?

I invite you to predict the future of America.  If ever there was a time for writers to write, this is it.  Give it some thought and words.  Your honesty–and creativity–are always appreciated.  You are poets and word wielders.  Take us into a possible future, give us a new perspective, or blat out a personal reaction.

23 responses to “Now What?

  1. …but be careful what you pray for.”

    The Great Voice of the Universe twitched his tail, restless, irritable and discontent. Their prayers, now demands, had become insatiable. Science and medicine had peaked. No report of cancer in a decade; heart disease no longer existed; alzheimer’s but a memory.

    And still they clamored, seeking more while taking credit for all.

    Their final quest was immortality. Fools, all of them.

    For a short time no one noticed. Healthy people didn’t get sick, even colds. The infirm held to life, not dying, but not getting well. And the babies. Infants clung to their mothers’ breasts for months after weaning time. Pregnant women carried for ten, twelve months. Longer. But no one died. Science and medicine were baffled. The religious at first called it a miracle. Their praise of the Universe soon turned to a curse of the Darkness.

    In a fit of spite, not quite the great flood or the death of the dinosaurs, The Great Voice rendered all his beings sterile. Who ever thought He didn’t have a sense of humor.

    His children were not amused.

    Age stood still. Women who were already pregnant never gave birth. Babies never learned to walk. Children never reached adulthood. And the aged never died. And for this they cursed their maker.

    Suicide increased, especially among the pregnant. Murdering the aged became an accepted practice, passing for euthanasia. Neighbors took up arms against each other not knowing who to trust. Races decimated other races. Religions smote religions. Nations faded and died. Boundaries no longer bound. The world’s population approached extinction, leaving but two.

    The Great Universe showed himself to the couple who knelt in fear before him. “Rise, my children. Go forth and multiply.”

    The couple embraced, looked toward a tree, and plucked its fruit.

  2. Kenneth Molinelli

    It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.

    The official news agency had announced that The Leader would be issuing a tweet at 1400. The streets were filled with people scurrying to find an outlet to charge their cell phones. It was important to reply early and positively to The Leaders tweets, especially for the job security of government employees (and, since our victory in the Great Chinese Trade War, the few jobs still available were with the government). The War on Terror, despite our great battlefield achievements, had made oil scarce – I don’t remember when I had last seen a 99er driving a car — and blackouts were frequent. Having a dead cell phone was no excuse for failing to approve of the tweeted thoughts of The Leader.

    There were rumors of what was to be said. Perhaps the war had finally ended and the long delayed elections of 2020 were going to be held. Or, perhaps it was news of California. Since the secession there were constant rumors of war between the United States and the States of the Pacific.

    But there was no point in speculating. Speculators and collaborators had a history of disappearing…..

    (apologies to George Orwell)

    • Hi Ken!
      I hope you’re not an oracle. This sounds all too plausible, especially about having to listen to Leader Tweets (sounds like a kind of candy or perhaps some potty training underwear?), just in case it affects job security. It’s November of 2016. Let’s hope that in three years we’re not looking back at your fiction coming anywhere near to true. Say hi to old friends for me and write more! –Ann

      • Kenneth Molinelli

        Hey Ann –

        If you get a chance drop me a line at my e-mail address. I am retired now and am thinking of taking one of your classes. I’d like to get more information on how they work…and…I can fill you in on how everyone is doing. — Ken

      • Three years later, and so much of this is frightening familiar. Has the leader tweeter been reading some of Ann’s post and decided to fulfill a prophesy or two?

    • Ya mean cell phones are still around in 2020?

  3. How We Learned to Win the Next Election

    In a few years, women will not only know unequivocally that they are the intellectual equals of men, but they will start contemplating some of the startling weaknesses men have. It turns out that a vast majority of the voting adult male public can be almost entirely distracted and then ruled by their sex drives. That feisty little puppy hiding under the front of their pants has powerful imperatives. In comparison, the oft-mentioned moodiness of women because of their reproductive cycles turns out to be quite a minor issue. It’s not even in the same ballpark as men’s life-long need for their little puppy to find his target and wallow around.

    Those same young women who had once been told they could not compete, make a salary equal to men, or basically win at anything, including the office of president, soon discovered that the road to success was laughably easy.

    In the 2020 election, a coalition of female activists began a targeted campaign. They stood behind their statuesque, well-endowed female candidate and held out the promise of rubbing up against male voters, beckoning them to understand that there was an easy way to “Make American Men Great Again.” Those little puppies were, as always, desperate for more attention. In moments of rationality, everyone knew the path of sexual satisfaction didn’t quite lead to wider, more thoughtful national agendas, but the little puppies loved that rubbing and burrowing so much that they were hard to stop when distracted by certain visual and tactile incentives.

    Rallies were held where women dressed provocatively and stood on raised stages to show the promise that large breasts, long legs, skimpy clothing, and gyrating hips suggested. How simple it became to trade a vague promise of puppy delight for a vote. Those puppies were needy, and if they gave women their vote, sexual glory would theirs. It was a movement! The whole crowd was shouting come-ons and moaning about what they would do when the promised female showed up. And the women on the stage just smiled and jumped up and down, to the delight of the crowd. The candidate smiled, gestured, and talked of the glory days to come.

    Meanwhile, women of all ages gave themselves a disgusted head-slap for not realizing sooner that their anatomy was far more compelling to men than any man’s anger at “being left behind” or his vague yearning for “change” or even his distrust of “elites” in Washington. Their candidate’s slogan of “Looking for Our Kind of Men!” showed up on t-shirts with memes of busty women bursting out of bikini tops.

    Even some women liked the rallies and planned to vote for the female candidate. They enjoyed the attention of the men all around them. For the women on the stage, their message was clear: “Come and get it; that is if you can figure out how to convince any one of us to comply.” They each had several bodyguards, but their slow, blinking, sexy eyes said, “Oh yes. Soon!” At the rallies, everyone was invited to dream of the days when men ruled. “Our Kind of Men!”

    The press constantly decried this blatant appeal to baser instincts, but the rallies kept growing. They were fun! Anyone who objected was quickly shown the door. The female candidate and her spokeswomen had zero trouble getting press coverage since they had all been chosen for their blatant sex appeal. One quick vote was all that was required, and then all dreams would come true.

    Gee, who would have thought peoples’ votes could so easily be won?

    • In that case, I vote for the lovely LaTrine, a bouncy, buxom lass who claims center pole as her home-away-from-home at Texas Teasers, a club billed as a gentlemen’s retreat, at least until three in the morning, when the gentle and not-so-gentle men have to return to reality, a place that LaTrine lost track of a couple of years ago when the suggestive stares of strange men were less concerting than what she endured at the hands of her father, under the disavowing eyes of her mother, who was glad the bastard was finaly giving her some peace.

    • No wonder Hillary lost.

  4. This is not an attempt to predict the future of America….rather it is a reflection of where we have been and who we have been. This is my 64th Birthday and I still believe that the smaller moments continue to hold us together….no matter what winds may blow. We must cherish the small but powerful moments.

    Cherish the Moment

    “What ya doing?” my older Brother, J.J. asked as he stood in the door of my bedroom.

    “Nothing.” I said

    “Well you look stupid.”

    “Well, you look stupider.” I sassed as he spun around to leave, nearly knocking over my 6- year old Sister, Chibby.

    Then Chib took her turn in my doorway, “What ya doing?” Her ability for original thought had not fully developed.

    “Nothing, I’m doing NOTHING….OK?”

    Then I heard my Mother’s voice,“What’s going on in there? I told you no fighting today. I mean it…No Fighting. Supper is almost ready, get washed up.”

    I clearly recall this scene. I had turned 8-years old a week before. My birthday gifts were a red and white blouse, a real baseball glove, a checkered bedspread and a feather duster. The feather duster was my Mother’s subtle reminder to keep my room clean.

    I was sitting on the floor leaning against the side of my bed with my legs straight in front of me. Reggie, our collie, was stretched out the full length of my right leg with his chin resting on the feather duster. He thought that was the best toy ever; his own bird on a stick. It was the day after Thanksgiving and the aroma of turkey still lingered in the air. . Snow was beginning to fall and a Johnny Mathis record played on the stereo in the living room.

    I remember thinking, as I sat there looking out my window, This is the best day of my life; everyone is home, I have a new blue and green bedspread and a better baseball glove than my brother. Reggie is warm and we are going to have leftover turkey sandwiches for dinner.

    Even Fifty-six years later, I still believe it was a best day. Sometimes God’s richest blessings are revealed in the simple moments in life

    • Ken,
      Here’s how it works. I teach three online writing courses and have been doing so since 2002. I work with which is a subsidiary of Cengage Learning. Here are my classes:

      1. Effective Business Writing. I’m 69, so I’m guessing you’re in my age range and this course might not be something you want or need. It’s a good class, but unless you want to brush up on how to write effective documents on the job, I wouldn’t start with this one.

      2. Beginning Writers Workshop. This is a creative writing course for people who would like to get some practice and guidance to begin writing creatively. That would include fiction and/or creative nonfiction (everything from essays to humor to family history to travel pieces). There is a lot of writing in this course, but I do not address publishing. There are other classes for that. This is my most popular course, and it has been for years. Your classmates would include other people who want to experiment, begin, or even fine tune their writing. I’ve students as young as 8 and as old as 96. Most are from the U.S., Canada, and Australia, but since the Internet is everywhere, I can get students from all over the world. You’d get supportive feedback and direction. You could use a nickname if you wanted to be anonymous. By the end of the class, you will write and post a short creative piece (on any topic, in any form) of around 500 words. I share comments on it so you know strengths and weakness. Continuous Education classes via online learning are non-credit courses without grades, so you do not compete with your classmates. Everyone is encouraged to take whatever their next step in writing might be. My goal in this course is to get people started writing and not quitting. I set up my blog as a way to keep giving ex-students writing challenges. Sometimes I post too, just for fun.

      3. Writing Essentials. I got so frustrated with the lousy level of basic language skills that I wrote this course to give people a quick review of word choice, spelling, punctuation, word usage, sentence writing, paragraphing, and other basic skills. I don’t address these skills in depth in either of the other courses. There is also a good online course called Grammar Refresher that helps people nail down verb tenses and other grammar issues.

      You can check out the syllabi for these and other online courses at They’re inexpensive and typically available at schools and libraries everywhere. I love teaching them because since they are non-credit, people show up to learn, not just to pass a test.

      The best way to keep in touch with me is here through this blog. Feel free!

    • Sometimes I think age eight is a turning point age. Here you are conscious enough to notice how good things are. It’s a moment of wisdom untainted by the ravages of adolescence but also old enough to be self-aware. Good piece!

    • Peanut – what I appreciated about this story was although I assume it is a true biographical revelation, it was written as a piece of fiction which allowed me to enjoy as a reader-voyeur and not as an intruder into a personal reflection. As a bit of fiction I think the last paragraph is totally unnecessary. But if writing as a reflection, then I guess it’s okay. It got a bit too “Hallmark” for my taste. But that’s just me.

  5. Short fiction fans might enjoy this sight which I recently came across:

  6. I dunno. I’m just kinda scared.

  7. Me too, Lulu. To quote Dorothy when she ended up in the land of OZ, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.” Or better yet, Bette Davis in “All About Eve” when she says, “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

  8. A few days ago I reluctantly agreed to go with my friends to march in the Los Angeles Women’s March. (I’m not usually in favor of large crowds, so this was a big concession for me). I am now happy to say I am a proud participant and am ready to arm up with votes, words and real action.

    Miraculously, the weather held out, because in drought stuck Los Angeles this last week of rain, had one dry day – that being the march day. Maybe there is a higher authority – and it’s a woman!

    The march was awe inspiring, even though the logistics of getting to the march were brutal. Busses were jammed, trains were overflowing, the normal 20 minute ride became a 2 hour ordeal Yet, with all the cramming and waiting in ticket lines, or for busses, trains and at stations – everyone was polite, helpful and happy to be marching in their pink P’hats and a variety of outrageous or profound signs.

    We marched along together, singing chants, shouting slogans, along with men and women, both old, young, pregnant, holding newborns, asians, blacks, hispanics, muslims, whites, a total mix. There were people with canes, walkers, and in wheelchairs, children in strollers and we marched on. This was the America I hoped to see and there it was.

    My sister marched in Orange County, my niece in Santa Barbara, my Aunts, Uncles and cousins in NY, Chicago, Florida and Seattle. We are a family born in US, but from immigrant parents and grandparents. Eastern Europeans escaping the Nazi pogroms, we are proud of our heritage and of being Americans. Our family has expanded to include hispanics, african americans and even a few Indiana wasps.

    Last I heard, the number or marchers in Los Angeles was somewhere between 500,000 and 750,000. I think 699,000 were in the same restaurant we went to after the march, yet, we managed to have a pleasant peaceful lunch even though they ran out of their famous apple tart tartin. Maybe it was the inspiration of the march, or maybe the 3 glasses of wine. Whatever the reason, I will keep marching, working for protection of women’s rights, immigrant’s rights and of course, my wine.

  9. It’s 2020, and since our last president was declared incompetent to serve, we’ve been led by a panel of scholars, each selected for their integrity, honesty and willingness to serve without pay for four years. Other nations are examining our amazing progress and initiating ways to emulate our success in peaceful governance.

    Each step in our transformation has been completed to the satisfaction of those put in place to accomplish what they do best, conquering homelessness, feeding the poor, improving our health care system. It’s all beginning to work……all thanks to one crazy tweeter!

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