Tom Flanders World

Writer of Fiction

Short Story – Alone in a Crowd

alone among chairs

People think that being alone is all silence and isolation. For me, being alone is standing still watching the world go around me in fast forward. They don’t perceive me and I don’t dare interrupt whatever they are in such a hurry to accomplish. It must be important. I’m not important.

Not that I don’t think I’m important within the scope of my own existence. I am as important as anyone else. I just don’t think that I’m more important than anyone else. I’m not one of those self-entitled people who think the world should bow down and step aside.

Those people should have their kneecaps broken. My court-appointed new best friend calls that an inappropriate thought. Apparently everyone has them, but the norms don’t act on them. My court-appointed life goal is to become a norm. Doesn’t that sound like a monkey barrel full of fun?

At the time it seemed like letting the court take control of my life was better than going to jail. Now I’m not so sure. This isn’t freedom. I’m not sure what to call it. Whatever it is, I only have to do it for six more months. My brothers are planning a coming out party.

My brothers are not my friends. I was a several years later surprise. Never able to keep up with them physically or scholastically I became the black sheep. My parents were too old and tired to care that I strayed from the norm. There’s that word again.

My brothers are normal. They’re falling down drunk every Friday and Saturday night. I like to drink but not that hard. That’s why it’s been easier for me than the other guys in the circle of chairs. They are normal. They have normal problems. Drunks are OK. I am not.

I wish I had some poetic trigger to my violence. Like, “I see a purple light coming from my head.” But it just happens. Like a car skidding off the road. No, it’s not even like that. Some guy says something insulting, not meaning it, and I’m pounding his face.

That hasn’t happened in a while though. They gave me these pills called mood stabilizers. They make everyone else seem like they are far away so it doesn’t bother me, no matter what they say. I don’t like them, but the name reminds me of the Star Blazers cartoon.

So here I sit in lonely and confused silence with the cult of the circle of chairs. Mood stabilized, unable to express myself. The others take their turns complaining about their lives and repeating the lies they told their parole officers. The facilitator writes it all down on their permanent records.

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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: March 2, 2020

100 Words – Packard

58 Packard

I was watching a 58 Packard float down the street and apparently so was she. We met with a thump. My superior weight knocked her to the ground. She smiled as I helped her up then I locked on to her weird eyes.

She had a cat’s eyes only they were round. They were a shade of blue that should not exist in nature. They were dark, almost black, but were bright as the sun. They contained joy and suffering, though I think the suffering part was her doing.

I was so mesmerized I didn’t even notice her walk away.


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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: February 29, 2020

Tom Week – Bike Trails

florida bike trails

2/20/20 – Forever Bike Trails

This part of Florida is full of amazing bike trails. There used to be hundreds of miles of railroad tracks to move fish and stuff around. The trains are gone and the tracks have been paved-over. Today I rode on a trail that runs from Trenton to Tennille. That’s 40 miles of car-free cycling, though I didn’t go quite that far.

Our neighbors here don’t know how fire works. The other neighbors try to help them but they mostly just make a pile of smoke. Their kids are not in school for some reason. It’s the dad’s opinion that drinking a six-pack a night, every night, doesn’t make you and alcoholic. The real Florida.

2/21/20 – Miscanopy

Another unpronounceable city. Everyone says it differently.

We are in a campground in a swamp called a prairie. Apparently if it’s flat enough for long enough it’s a prairie even if there is little solid ground. Somewhere in the park there are wild horses and bison. I will search for them tomorrow.

2/22/20 – Swamped

Went for a bike ride through the swamp today. Creepy green water that disappears out among the trees. The I saw an armadillo feasting on an ant hill. I did not know that there were armadillos in Florida.

2/23/20 – Payne’s Palmtree Prairie

They claim this is a prairie but there are palm trees. That’s not right.

No armadillos today but I came across one of the creepiest cemeteries ever. The creepiest of all was headstone that was just a cinder block with a plastic mirror glued to it. Carved into the mirror was a man’s name. I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture of it.

2/24/20 – Dog Park

Took Abigail to the dog park here at the Ocala RV park. She met a yippy little dog that could not understand why Abigail did not want to play.

2/25/20 – Beating The Rain

I rode my bike to the rental car place. 4.5 miles. I beat the rain by about 10 minutes. Then I had to wait an hour for the car to be ready.


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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: February 28, 2020

100 Words – Curiosity

cat curiosity

“Curiosity killed the cat.” That’s what teachers told us when we became too inquisitive. We were supposed to learn what they wanted us to learn, not what we wanted to learn. We weren’t supposed to question what they taught us no matter how stupid and unrealistic it seemed.

Columbus discovered America, even though there were already people here. Thou shalt not kill, unless there’s a war, then it’s OK. The president is lying to us to protect us.

Then they killed Andy. Beaten to death with metal rulers in the boiler room. The head teacher said, “See, we told you.”

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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: February 22, 2020

Tom Week – Wandering Northern Florida

northern florida belltower

2/13/20 – The Big Race Cometh

In northern Florida during Daytona Speedweek. (AKA the big race) A whole bunch of extra people are here. We are having to go all the way to the Georgia border this weekend. All the other campgrounds are full.

2/14/20 – Nearly Georgia

We are five miles from Georgia in a weird commercial campground that probably used to be a county park. Across the street is an abandoned motel. Across the highway from that is another abandoned motel. There are four large fireworks stores in sight. It feels like we are in some post-apocalyptic oasis.

And there are ducks.

2/17/20 – Three days later

Feeling better today. More energy and clarity. We are in an amazing place. A state park on the banks of the Suwannee River, dedicated to the guy who wrote the song.

I helped rescue a dog today. It was wandering in traffic and was very scared and probably already been hit. I parked the RV and grabbed a leash. A woman and I managed to get a loop over the dog’s head and get it off the road. A passerby called animal control.

When the animal control woman arrived she said that she already had two nearly identical dogs in her truck. It didn’t go quietly but now it’s safe.

2/18/20 – How I Love Ya

Got in a short bike ride today. A mix of paved and dirt roads. Nice scenery, but no alligators spotted. Pat took her scooter for a ride as well.

We’ve got not TV reception here so I’m getting a bunch of work done on my next videos. I had to download a new video editor. The once I was using just can’t do what I need it to do. Trial and error.

2/19/20 – Down River

We are sixty miles from the last park but still on the Suwannee river. All kinds of critters in the water here. We have a great view but no cable TV and 1 bar cell service. It’s going to be a quiet couple days.

The fish here don’t jump, they fly.


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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: February 21, 2020


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