Friday, July 22, 2016

The Continuing Adventures of Princess Fire Cracker and Sir Hye Oye Part 3

No part of this may be copied or used without written consent from the author Renee Lake
Copy right 2016 Renee Lake
All Rights Reserved

Part One

Part Two

“How far are we from The Kingdom of Generosity?” Hye Oye asked, stretching out beside Ficra on the bed, admiring the cozy room with its pale walls and frilly blue curtains.

“Well if we can get a ride, then about one day.” Ficra was eating a big breakfast of bacon, eggs and tea. The Inn Keeper, John, and his wife, Laura, had been excited to see them and quite helpful, providing room and board for the night.
Originally she had tried to pay them for the bed and food, but had been told her grandparents had already taken care of it. Apparently they had given money to every inn in the kingdom, just in case.

“We’d better get a move on, I don’t want to waste the morning.” Ficra finished her last bite of egg and gave the bacon to Hye Oye. She quickly bathed and dressed in clean underwear and a yellow sweater, putting back on her leggings and boots. She packed up the purple robe and pulled it over her head.

She brushed her hair and teeth, yanking her brown hair into a pony tail. Her walking stick leaned against the door, she grabbed it and left the comfortable bedroom, making her way down stairs.

“Princess Firecracker! Are you leaving us so soon?” Laura bustled over, a thin tall woman in a black dress with a silver apron.

“I have to get to my grandparent’s castle.”

“Are you walking?” Laura asked.

“A ride would be nice, but I’ll walk if I have to.” Ficra said.

“I am sure someone could offer you a ride.” Laura handed her a wrapped parcel, “It’s a water bottle, some beef jerky and a muffin.”
“Thank you.” Ficra gave the kind woman a hug.

“I could be persuaded to take you.” A harsh voice said from the corner of the room. The first floor of the inn was a dark dining room filled with tables and the smells of people and cooking.

“Leave her alone Anders.” Laura said crossly.

“No, it’s alright.” Ficra turned towards the voice. The speaker was a robust older man with white hair, spoking a pipe.

“I am going home today and for the right price I could make a quick detour and drop you at the border.” He folded his arms over his chest.

“Anders is from the Kingdom of Selfishness.” Laura whispered, “He comes this way a few times a year to trade.”

“Stingy bastard.” One of the other patrons said loudly, Anders only laughed.

“I don’t have much money left.” Ficra said.

“I don’t want your money.”

“Then what?” Ficra asked.

“Princess we can find someone nicer to take you, don’t listen to Anders.” Laura said, placing her hand on Ficra’s shoulder.

“Not today you won’t, no one’s going that close to the Kingdom of Generosity for a few days, not with the fair in town.” Anders told them.

“It’s true Laura, but the Princess is welcome to stay here as long as she needs to.” John said, coming from the kitchens. He was a tiny man, balding with a big smile and covered in flour.

“But John! Anders wants the princess to pay!” Laura exclaimed.

“Nothing she can’t afford.” Anders said.

“Well, it’s up to you, Princess.” John said.

Ficra squared her shoulders, “I have to leave today, so what do you want?”

“That fancy walking stick.” Anders answered. Ficra’s face fell, not the walking stick! Her father had made it for her, it was special!

“We can still walk, we technically have two more days.” Hye Oye said. Ficra looked down at her companion and considered his words. What would her parents do?

“Deal.” Ficra looked up and noticed her words shocked not only Anders but the whole room.

“Princess…” Laura tried to warn her.

“It’s fine, it’s only a walking stick after all. Maybe Anders could use it more than I.”

Anders stood up, “alright then, Princess, let’s get going.”

She followed him out of the inn after thanking Laura and John for their hospitality. Anders had a nice cart with four horses. She and Hye Oye got in the back and settled in with the rest of his goods.

“Now I ain’t stopping unless I want to, ya hear?” Anders growled from the front seat.

“That’s fine, thanks so much for the ride.” Ficra said, though she was finding it hard to be polite to him.

“I could eat him for you. I think.” Hye Oye’s voice was soft so Anders couldn’t hear. Ficra suppressed a giggle and shook her head no.

The ride took most of the day, Anders didn’t say much and what he did say was not pleasant so Ficra didn’t try talking to him.
They only stopped once, by a river, while the horses drank. Ficra brought out her last sandwich, and an apple. She gave Hye Oye the jerky.

Anders eyed her food, frowning.

“Do you not have any lunch?” Ficra asked, Anders shook his head no.

“You can have some of mine.” She offered. Anders immediately grabbed both the sandwich and the apple and began gobbling them up.

“Hey!” Hye Oye roared at the man, “She said some, not all!”

“I’m giving you a ride, right?” Anders said around a mouth full of food.

“Ignore him Hye Oye.” Ficra said, her mouth thin and eyes wide, soon after they were back on the rocky road to the Kingdom of Generosity.

Ficra held back her tears as her stomach growled, she thought by sharing her lunch Anders might be kinder to her, maybe not so grumpy, but she had been wrong.

“He’s a real jerk.” Hye Oye said.

She could only nod, her throat burned and she felt like if she spoke she would cry. Her parents would want to her be polite to Anders, especially since he was doing her a favor. The ride, after all, was only costing her some food and her walking stick. He was going out of his way.

“You have a muffin and cookies, eat those.” Hye Oye said, laying his big head in her lap. She stroked between his ears, feeling better as he started to purr.

“No, he might think I owe him those too.” She whispered.

The rest of the trip passed in, blissful, silence. Ficra enjoyed watching the countryside go by, she waved at people she saw and laid back, looking at the clear blue sky, enjoying the warmth of the sun and cool breezes.

Finally they reached the boarder to her grandparent’s kingdom. The Kingdom of Selfishness, Friendship and Generosity all met in this one spot. Ficra thought it was interesting how the Selfishness part didn’t look any different from the other kingdoms, well, not until you got to know the people living there, that is.

“Alright Princess, this is as far as I take you. It’s about an hour out of my way from home.” Anders said, not even looking at her.

Ficra and Hye Oye got out, she left her walking stick in the back of the cart. She felt sad as she took one last look at it, maybe her father could make her another one. Her stomach was empty and achy and not just from lack of food.

“Thanks again for the help.” Ficra told him.

“No thanks needed, just leave that beautiful stick.” Anders said.

“I did. I hope you have a good day.”

“Whatever.” Anders made a clicking noise with his mouth and the horses began to pull the cart away. Once the cart was out of sight Ficra and Hye Oye found a nice patch of dark green grass to sit in.

“What a big jerk.” Hye Oye said, he began to clean himself.

“His life must be sad indeed to be that angry all the time and that horrible.” Ficra sighed and pulled out the muffin, grateful Laura had packed it. She was awful hungry.

“You were too nice to him.”

“What would being mean to him have gotten us?” Ficra asked, drinking some water.


“More like ditched on the side of the road.” Ficra finished eating and stood up, stretching. It was only a few hours walk to her grandparent’s castle and Ficra wanted to get there in time for dinner.

As she and Hye Oye began walking they didn’t see the half dozen tiny bats watching her from the trees.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Black Lives Matter and Yes So Do All Other Lives

So I've taken a few days before writing this, one because it's such a hot topic and two because I wanted to be sure of what to write.

First off let me state this:

Yes, all lives matter, yes blue lives matter, but right now we need to focus on black lives matter.

Yes, I grieve the police officers in Dallas, no one, whether cop or black person should be murdered, it is NOT ok.

Yes, I understand not all policemen are bigoted shoot first ask questions later douche wads. Many are great people, with amazing values, who are not racists and hate injustice.

Now onto the rest.

Black people are treated differently in the USA, they are looked upon as criminals, hoods, and second class. I know what that's like to an extent, as a woman, I get treated differently than my white Mormon husband.

I have friends with bi-racial kids who have had to talk to them about being respectful to police and doing what is told of them within reason, but to always remember that because they are black they are more likely to be harassed or shot than treated like a white person. How is that a lesson a child should learn?

I watched that video of Alton Sterling being shot, I watched both of them. It was murder, plain and simple. I watched him get pinned to the ground, he struggled a bit- but does that mean he should be killed?-NO.

I watched as they realized he had a gun, but it wasn't in his hand and a police officer pulled out his own gun and shot him point blank: FOR NO REASON. Then, in horror, I watched as the police officers decided not to do any sort of cpr and instead pulled the dead man's gun OUT OF HIS POCKET.- Nothing about this is ok and if you think it is you are part of the problem. It doesn't matter if he had misdemeanors or if he was selling boot legged cds, that doesn't mean he deserved to die.

Too many times I see this same scenario on the news. Suspicious black person- well he or she must be a bad guy let's just kill em. It makes me fear cops and makes me want to tell my kids to make sure they don't get in trouble, not because trouble is bad, but because I don't want an over zealous cop to kill my kid. I am half Puerto Rican and if I feel this way I can only imagine what the black community must feel.

We've come very far in our country in regards to equality, but it is still lacking in many areas. White privilege is a real thing and if you don't think so- guess what- you have been on the receiving end of it.

African Americans represent 26% of Americans who live in poverty, this is compared to 10% of white people. That's not because they are lazy or stupid or criminals. It's because they do not get the same chances as white people. They don't get offered the same jobs, or the same pay. They are treated like second class citizens, just like women. And Goddess save you if you are a black woman.

In 2015 33% of African Americans had a 2 year degree compared to 47% of  white people.
In 2012 African American men had a median income of less than 40k while white men's yearly income held an average of over 50k.  Don't get me started on women, those numbers are depressing.

The white unemployment rate is under 5 % as of February 2016, however for African Americans that rate is almost doubled at just under 9%. - that's not including all the African American's currently residing in US prisons.

1 in every 15 African Americans are in prison compared to 1 in 106 white- this is shocking- especially since there are more white people in the USA than black. I guess you could roll your eyes and say, "well maybe they commit more crimes." That is simply not true, the black community is treated more harshly than the white community. I could rant and rant about this, but instead here are some nice articles, educate yourself.

It all boils down to this:
If a black person and a white person each commit a crime, the black person is more likely to be arrested. This is due in part to the fact that black people are more heavily policed.

Something needs to change- and by change I don't mean cop killing- again (and why I have to repeat myself) DON'T KILL EACH OTHER, THIS IS NOT THE SOLUTION.

I don't actually know what the solution is. I do know police officers need to use their guns as a last resort, it's why they have tasers. They need to listen and not fear members of the black community.  I know white people need to admit that they have white privilege and black people need to help educate us on the racism they see every day. We all need to have patience and love towards one another and respect our races, religion, sex, gender, and individual rights.

To end this blog I leave you with a quote from Deb Besinger and this article she wrote:

"The bottom line is this: of course all lives matter, of course all policemen matter ― and to support one or all of these things doesn’t mean you are against the other. 
However, to be offended by BLACK LIVES MATTER is a glaring representation that YOU don’t get it."