Better than Fiction (non fiction)

 

This new section will change and grow as all our new sections seem to take on a life of their own. We hope you enjoy this first set. In all our years of publishing, we have never featured a non fiction section (other than interviews and actual news pieces when we were a local art paper back in the 1990s), so we are open to suggestions on how to "get it right." 

Goodbye Santa Fe by Candy Marie

Well my friends, I have done it, sold the car. The 2001 Hyundai Santa Fe has served our family well. I still remember the muggy Spring day when Mom and I co-signed the paperwork. It was a pre-owned vehicle the the previous owner was an older nurse. I can still see Dad behind the wheel, as we would start off in the dark of early morning. We would fall in love with the Eagles and the The Band as we tracked the timeless highways of our organized road trips to visit distant family. It was the backseat that I would climb into and pretend I was a young child nestled safely between my two younger siblings. I remember holding more responsibility, being the captain of this vehicle, and I would take Mother to her doctors visits. Sitting in the car, carefully reading over the D.N.R. orders as we prepared for operations. I enjoyed the strength the large S.U.V. gave me as mother and I would return home from a good doctor's visit and we would order spiced teas and sip them as we heading into the scarlet sunset along Krome Avenue. I remember sneaking off with Nick and Katrina in the early morning and having grand adventures, being young and fearlessly driving down dirt roads with abandon. The car's shocks were put to the test and loyal Santa Fe handled like a stunt car. I remember starting to enjoy solo trips, Santa Fe and I had a gypsy's heart. My first real Solo trip was to Casey's new condo, I opened the trunk to reveal all the surprises I had brought for him. we would hang out around the trunk and lean on Santa Fe's well-built frame.

I remember that day in college when Mom and Dad gave it to me. I took care of that car like it was brand new. I remember our last Christmas before nursing clinicals started, Katrina and I making Play-Doh puppets in the backseat. I remember when it needed a tune-up taking it over to my uncles shop and my cousin Scott and I changing the spark plugs. I remember crawling underneath the hood and flushing the radiator myself, felt proud taking care of this wonderful machine. I remember the last time I took mom for a drive, she was so cold and my heater was broken, but by the grace of the still functioning seat warmers, we made it. I remember when Katrina and I decided to visit our Grandma Georgia when she first got sick. It was a steamy July day and my air conditioning was broken,so we pulled over at a little hole in the wall Mexican Cantina, and cooled down with a couples of soft drinks. I remember the last time I took the Hemingway kids for a drive, we got Slurpees from the 7-11 and went to the park. Now those children are just about all grown. I remember after my mother died, Dad and I drove back home, Willie Nelson played in the CD player, and both of us just cried. I remember Dad decided to help me change my rear struts, weird that is the last project we will ever do in the Santa Fe. I will truly cherish 15 years of memories. I never thought my heart could become so attached to a machine. I maybe selling this car but the memories are mine to keep. This is no sad goodbye, but rather a fond farewell. Goodbye Santa Fe. 

 

JŌB.   -  by James Hercules Sutton 

 

 

 

 

You know the plot. The Devil crashes a staff meeting and, when God mockingly asks him where he’s been, Satan says “around” and asserts there’s not one steadfast believer on earth. God takes the bet. How can he lose? He’s God. 


    Satan gets cracking. Jōb gets boils. His sheep, camels, crops, servants and children die. He spirals into debt. His friends say he must have committed abysmal sins and indict him for not repenting. There’s a long give-and-take between Jōb and his false friends, but nobody knows anything about true righteousness except Jōb. He hangs in and doesn’t lose faith. God wins His bet.

 

    But Jōb is morbidly depressed and sorry for himself, so God shows up and gives him a lecture: Self-pity is its own woe, and Jōb has no right to feel more important than clay, which, by the way, no man had a hand in creating. Then as disgorgement or because He feels like it, God restores double of what was lost and grants Jōb sons, but not the ones he lost.

 

    When Jōb ponders God’s responsibility and asks for a debate, he dummies up when he gets it. This is wise, since anyone who debates God loses before he begins, particularly when God shows up in a dust devil.

If he had been an Existentialist, Jōb would have realized that he’d been given the greatest gift of all, knowledge that God exists, but his comforter didn’t think of it.

John Paul Satre could have profited from such knowledge, since he lived in doubt and was windy about it. For Jōb, his false friends, and Satre, the morals are obvious:


    (1)    Get on with it, and don’t blame God.
    (2)    Suffering is the human condition.
For us, there are more:
    (3)    God accepts collateral damage.
He’s willing to screw up a righteous man to win a bet He couldn’t lose.
    (4)    Sin consists of denying rightful choices to others.
Satan’s assault on Job is an assault on Free Will, which is an assault on God, which is why Satan does it. Unjust Dominion is sin for mortals, too, but we overlook it, since it’s the basis of Capitalism.
    (5)    The best suffer most. But being a little less righteous than perfect would have kept Jōb from being a target.

 

    The story’s premise is suspect: A perfect being wouldn’t stoop to being an accessory-before-the-fact. Then there’s Satan. He lost all powers, except speech, when tossed from Heaven, so his only power is power to tempt. This doesn’t present much of a problem, given the job he does on Jōb, but it raises the possibility that one could be tempted to blame Satan rather than getting on with God’s work. This has been known to fill pews.

Meet the "Liberal" Mr. & Mrs. Buttons

Noted Author Taylor Caldwell Tells of Her Childhood Encounters with the "Thriftiness" of Liberals and How These Experiences Turned Her into a "Grim 'Conservative.'". (Opinion Past)

Recently a flowery young "Liberal" male with flowing hair and flowing hands — and a flowing tongue, too — demanded of me that I explain why and when I became a "Conservative." He wanted to know how I got this way.

Frankly, I couldn't remember just how and when, and I went home musing to myself. I searched my memory and soon it all began to click in my mind, episode after episode — all of them very painful one way or another. There are doubtless a hundred psychiatrists around who will find the following recounting of those formative experiences very interesting.

 

Heart for the Poor

 

It all began, doctors, when I was a child. A "Liberal" aunt of mine, who had never herself been in need of anything material, had a deep passion for the Poor, from whom she was very careful to keep far, far away. While we still lived in England, where I was born, Auntie would frequently gather together outworn garments which her family had discarded and prepare them for the Women's Guild of our local Anglican Church. She would sit before the fireplace, I recall, and singing some sad Scots or Irish ballad in a very moving soprano, she would carefully snip every single, solitary button off the clothing.

I was very young indeed when this practice of Auntie's suddenly seemed outrageous to me. "Auntie," I demanded, "what will the Poor do for buttons?"

Auntie had very remarkable hazel and glittering eyes, and they usually glittered on me unpleasantly. They did so now. "They can buy them," she snapped. "They're only tuppence a card."

I pondered. If people were so poor that they had to wear other people's cast-offs then they certainly were too poor to buy buttons. I pointed this out to Auntie. She smacked me fiercely for my trouble and then began to shriek.

 

"A wicked, wicked girl!" screamed Auntie. "She has no Heart for the Poor!"

My uncle, hearing Auntie's shrill cries, stormed out of his studio and demanded to know what was the matter.

 

Auntie pointed a shaking, furious finger at me. "Your niece," she said, "doesn't want me to give these clothes — these poor old worthless rags — to the Poor!"

 

I was standing up now, having recovered from Auntie's blow. "If they're rags," I said, reasonably, "why should the Poor want them, anyway? And she's taken off all the buttons."

 

"Impudence," bellowed Uncle, who like Auntie was a flaming "Liberal" and also very fond of making a great show of loving the Poor (whom he had never met). And he grabbed me and soundly thrashed me on the spot. I am afraid I didn't ardently love those relatives after that, which was sinful, of course. But from that day on buttons had a special significance for me. I noticed that other of my "Liberal" relatives removed buttons from the garments they were preparing for the Poor, though I never discovered them patching these same old garments. One rich relative did answer my cynical question about the button snipping with the brief reply, "It's thrifty, and I suppose, Janet, that's something you'll never be." I made it a point of learning all about thrift — and the lessons were all about me, too — and it never appealed to me thereafter. Thrift is an estimable virtue, I have heard, but somehow when I encounter thrifty "Liberals" — and they are inevitably tight with their own money — I always seem to see those buttons being snipped off the clothing for the Poor. I often think of the old little poem written by some Englishman who ought to be immortalized:

 

To spread the wealth the Communist's willing:

 

He'll tax your pennies and keep his shilling.

 

To this day I find myself referring to male and female "Liberals" as "Mr. Buttons" or "Mrs. Buttons," among the less invidious names I employ when I am in form.

 

Mama was also both a "Liberal" and a button snipper. I remember that her laundress, in England, was really poor. . . .

Copyright  Better Than Starbucks 2017, a poetry magazine

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