Category Archives: crimes against humanity

“The One Who Got Away” Devil #3, Part II (Conclusion)

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Helpless.” Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it? This is the conclusion to a true story that was begun yesterday. I don’t think you want to read the ending without reading the beginning first.  To do so, go HERE.

“The One Who Got Away”

Devil #3, Part II

Perhaps if I acted normal, it all would go away–
this little game they’d started that I didn’t want to play.
I said, “Please let me out right here, a friend lives down the block!”
But silence met my pleas, as though they couldn’t hear me talk.
As the three of them kept talking about which way to turn,
the man I’d danced with quickly turned cold and taciturn.

He had said he was a stranger who came from the east coast,
yet he didn’t ask directions of the one who knew the most.
“Which way should we go, man?” He asked the one behind
as though there was a certain road he wanted to find.
Of me they took no notice–as though I wasn’t there.
The driver just looked straight ahead with a hardened stare.

My life’s worst fear had been to be in someone else’s power,
so the thought of what was happening made me want to cower
and beg and plead and scream and cry; but I did none of that,
though I felt like a bird first toyed with by a cruel cat.
My heartbeat raced but my thoughts raced ahead of them to find
escape from what must have been planned by his devious mind.

They took the road past houseless land—a golf course and a farm.
I knew the way led out of town—a cause of much alarm.
“Turn right here,” I said as we approached a lighted junction,
but as he turned left I knew that there would not be any unction.
I won’t go into all the times I pleaded with them to stop.
“My friend lives down this road,” I said, “Just leave me at the top!”

“Are we heading out for Casper?” said the stranger on my right.
I wondered what would happen if I chose this time to fight.
To slug him once and climb over to jump out of the car,
but with three of them I knew that I would not get far.
I also knew the stretch of lonely road from here to there.
The bodies found along that road—and knew how I would fare.

When I had left my house a party had been going strong.
I wondered who would still be there for I’d been gone so long.
Yet it was a plan and there were neighbors who might hear my screams,
so I gave them an alternative to their frightening schemes.
“It’s so far to Casper,” I said in a normal voice,
“Perhaps it would be better if you made another choice.

A good night’s sleep and food and drink is what might serve you best.
I live alone, my house is near. Why don’t you come and rest
and start out again tomorrow for wherever you are going?
If you are strangers here, then you could have no way of knowing
how far it is to Casper with no place to stop for gas.”
My suggestions fell on deaf ears. No one answered me, alas.

Once on the open road I would have no chance to escape,
What would happen next? Would it be Torture? Murder? Rape?
In less than a mile we would reach the Interstate–
the beginning of the ending of this ill-fated date.
I thought of all the stories where women were abducted.
It was a grim sorority into which I’d been inducted.

How would they tell my mother, my sister, my best friend?
Would I be another story for which no one knows an end?
I tried to think how I could end it, but could see no way.
No knife, no gun, no poison to aid me on this day.
I looked at the glove box. Was there a gun inside?
Was there at least one bullet in it? Enough for suicide?

Years ago when I first worried how I’d fare if I were one
of those unfortunate women snatched for a sadist’s fun,
I thought I’d get a capsule of cyanide that fit
on a chain around my neck in case I needed it.
But that seemed so excessive, so improbable and crazy.
Now I chided myself for being too damn lazy

to cover every angle to protect myself for what
I realized was happening –and this was the cruelest cut.
How did I feel? Not panicked, just the deepest sort of dread
of all that they could do to me before they left me dead.
Though I’m brave, I don’t do well with pain, so I have to say
I’ve always known if tortured, I’d give everything away.

There was no chance these men’s intentions were anything but grim,
so I kept my eyes upon the road and never looked at them.
Then I shifted to the dashboard. Was there any help for me
I was overlooking? And then I spied the key.
What if I grabbed the keys out and threw them in the air
into the grass beside the road. I wondered, did I dare?

Then I saw two headlights in the mirror, far back, but coming fast.
At nearly 4 a.m., I knew this chance would be my last.
As the truck got nearer, I reached out for the keys,
ripped them from the ignition, and then fast as you please,
hurled them from the car into the tall grass by the side.
The car came to a rolling stop as the engine died.

The man next to me grabbed out for the handle of the door,
but the driver screamed out to him with a mighty roar.
“Don’t leave the girl,” he said, and then he told the other guy
to hop out and find the keys—and then I knew that I would die
if I didn’t make a move and so I wedged my back and feet
and catapulted from the front right into the back seat.

I rolled over the car’s rear trunk and it was just my luck
that I landed in the road just as the headlights of the truck
came up behind and brakes went on and I went running back,
pursued by all three members of that frightening pack.
The driver of the truck was young—twenty-two or twenty-three
I beat upon his window, saying, “Help me! Please help me!

These men are trying to kidnap me! Please, let me in your truck!”
By then my former “savior” had arrived to try his luck.
“Don’t believe her, she’s a con artist. She’ll hit you in the head
and make away with all your money. Leave you in the ditch for dead!
She tried to do it to us, man. We were trying to find a cop
when she grabbed the keys out of the car and brought us to a stop!”

“My name is Judy Dykstra. I teach English at Central High.
Please don’t leave me with these men, for if you do, I’ll die!”
The driver then called out to him—angry to the core,
“You’re making a mistake, man,” as he opened up the door.
I ran around and climbed inside. The last things we could see
were three backsides in the grass, searching for a key.

We knew they couldn’t follow us, but still he floored the pedal
while I went on and on about how he deserved a medal.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” I said three times or more.
Then, “Why did you believe me and open up the door?”
“Because two of those characters looked so low down and crass,
but mainly ‘cause my sister had you last year for a class!”

This story that I’ve told you could have had a different end,
But as it was I spent the night with a longtime friend
who persuaded me that I should never ever tell
what happened on this evening, for it had turned out well.
“Do you know their plate number? Can you describe their car?
Could you tell their face descriptions? Do you know where they are?

And even if they find them, what could you possibly say?
They’ll say that you were just a girl picked up along the way.
They met you in a crowded bar. You asked them for a ride.
They walked you to their car and you chose to get inside.
You asked them all to stay with you, but they all said no.
Then you suddenly got angry and said you had to go.

They didn’t want to let you out and leave you all alone.
They said that they would rather take you safely to your home.
But you were drunk and even though they all said, ‘Lady, please. . . ‘
You reached out and suddenly you grabbed for the keys.
You threw them in the tall grass and jumped out of the car
a totally different person than that lady in the bar!

You convinced some poor kid they were kidnapping you.
And there was nothing else that they could think of they could do!
They didn’t try to stop you or to argue if you please.
They simply went back looking to try to find their keys.
Can you imagine in a trial what they would make of this?
You know you are the sort of person that they love to diss.

A female teacher out at bars who had been heavily drinking,
closing down the barroom. What could you have been thinking?
Your friends all say that when they left, you just didn’t show.
So you left the bar at 3 A.M. with someone you don’t know.
You get into his car with two more men you’ve never seen
For a teacher you appear to be other than squeaky clean.

You could lose your job for this, and your reputation!”
She ended her soliloquy in a state of great frustration.
So tell me please what do you think, was I right or not
In not reporting these three men, so they were never caught?
All I can say is that I wonder to this very day
how many other women died because they got away.

*

Thanks Be to Pure Hearts

The Prompt: Never Too Late—Is there a person you should’ve thanked, but never had the chance? Is there someone who helped you along the way without even realizing it? Here’s your chance to express your belated gratitude.

Thanks Be to Pure Hearts

 Thanks be to that creator of the universe—
the one I can no longer pray to in a church
because of those powers who take truth prisoner
and lead the masses to wherever they can be most safely trusted
to surrender reason to them.

Thanks be to that man who turned water into wine.
Not a teetotaler. Not even abstinent, or so some say.
That man who loved all and who would not strike anyone
except for merchants making a living from the church.
Two thousand years ago,
he saw that merchants and moneylenders
would lead the world wrong—
using the little minds of frightened men
to turn faith into a weapon.

Praise be to those at the beginning of it all
who tried to set a true course but made the mistake
of leaving the compass in the hands of human fools
who saw over all, how to use it for their own glory,
making power their god and oiling their way upward
not toward salvation
but toward ever higher places in this world.

Those who are not fools might speak our enemies’ names
yet be shouted down by those
Dunning and Kruger have named as their adjutants—
the countless mindless who speed the world toward ruin.

Yet for this day, I want to turn my back on those I’d rather curse
to thank pure hearts who still can see the way.
There is still, I know, a part of them in all of us,
evident in everyday things: a mother’s sheltering arms
or in as simple an act as taking the smallest piece of pie.

So when we give thanks today,
thank those who remain kind within the world,
carrying along the spirit
of those first beneficent acts
that started with the dust of stars
and from it created consciousness
and then implanted some good turn of will
so as to give hope in a world
that feels divided in the blackness of the universe,
lonely in this night
but steering by those pinpricks in its cover
through which light shows, even in the darkest dark.

Mind Freeze

  • The Prompt: Overload Alert—“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” — Gertrude Stein. Do you Agree?

    Mind Freeze

    There is new news all day long, for every single minute.
    By radio and television, we are immersed in it.
    Even on the Internet, they repeat and repeat
    every warlike action, every athletic feat.

    We know before their spouses do when politicians slip,
    view every starlet’s nightclub spree via a Youtube clip.
    Stock market scams and Ponzi schemes and other news that scares
    as big guys pick our pockets in order to line theirs.

    Sans Blackwater and Monsanto, we would be better off,
    but we’d still be deluged by news of Enron and Madoff!
    We consult Wikipedia to see what it might say,
    keep up with the Kardashians a dozen times a day.

    It’s hard enough to keep abreast of those they might be bedding,
    let alone to know the date of their most recent wedding.
    Who has gained a pound or two or who’s the most hirsute?
    This information makes our lives a Trivial Pursuit.

    There are so many details that come at us day and night,
    filling up our minds until our craniums feel tight.
    We’re stuffed with sound bites, news clips and every TV show
    until it is inevitable. Something’s got to blow!

    No wonder that we can’t remember names of our best friends
    or what we came out shopping for or how that movie ends.
    We can’t remember song lyrics or what we meant to do
    when we came in here for something. Was it scissors, paint or glue?

    I am forgetting everything I always used to know.
    Every mental process has just gotten kind of slow.
    It’s taking me much longer now to ponder each decision—
    a factor that the younger folks consider with derision.

    Like-aged friends agree with me, for they all feel the same.
    They all have minds stuffed just as full, and we know what to blame.
    There’s too much information, and like any stuffed-full larder,
    to locate things within them gets progressively harder.

    If we could sort our minds out the same way that we pack—
    putting unimportant stuff way at the very back
    and all the more important things in front and at the top,
    we wouldn’t have to search our minds and wouldn’t have to stop

    to figure out the names of things or places or of folks,
    and then we wouldn’t be the brunt of all their aging jokes;
    but it seems that we can’t do this so perhaps the answer is
    to just turn off the TV news and gossip of show biz.

    The scandals and the killings—all the bad things that astound us—
    we’d leave behind to concentrate on happenings around us.
    We’d notice more the little things in our immediate world:
    the spider in the spider web, the bud that’s tightly furled

    and notice when it opens, and the dragonfly that’s on it
    and take a picture of it, or perhaps construct a sonnet.
    See the children who are hungry and instead of our obsessing
    on matters where we’re powerless, instead bestow a blessing

    on all those things around us where we have the power to act.
    When we see whatever needs doing, to take action and react.
    Perhaps then all the horrid facts that rise up in the mind
    will settle to the bottom and then all of us will find

    the keys we’ve lost, our glasses, and remember why we came
    into this room and how to recall every person’s name.
    And all the time we save we’ll spend on the important things
    and feel the sense of purpose helping others always brings.

    The world is too much with us with its bad news of all kinds,
    and all this information simply freezes up our minds.
    Perhaps with less input, there would be less facts to astound us
    and we could concentrate on what’s important close around us.

Daily Post: The Avid Student

Today’s Prompt:  You can choose any person from history to teach you any topic you want. Who’s your teacher, and what do they teach you?

The Avid Student

Mrs. O’Leary, teach me how
please oh please, to milk a cow.
I won’t leave here till you do.
I’m bored today, and feeling blue.
Yesterday I baked a cake
with that new baker, name of Jake.
It didn’t rise.  It tasted awful.
Couldn’t eat but one small jaw full.
Day before I went to see
Joe the tailor.  Him and me
made a dress of chambray lace
but when I held it near my face
I found it itched me terrible.
To wear it was unbearable.
So I went on to see the preacher.
Wanted him to be my teacher.
But when it came the time to pray,
he found he hadn’t much to say.
I fear that I destroyed his faith.
I left him white as any wraith,
but found the cobbler in a pew
and asked him how to make a shoe.
He’d witnessed what the preacher did
and so he ran away and hid.
So Mrs. O’Leary, it’s up to you
to show me something I can do.
I know it’s dark, but I need right now
to know just how you milk your cow.
I brought a lantern.  I’ll hold it high.
It’s not real light, but we’ll get by.
I’ll just sit on this straw bale.
You fetch the cow and fetch the pail.
I love the way the hot milk steam
swirls around the rising cream.
I love the rhythm and the pomp
of my light squeeze and Bessie’s stomp
whenever I let loose her tit.
I cannot get enough of it!
But now we’re done and I can see
that bucket’s much too much for thee
to lift,  I’ll put the lantern down and
come with thee to give a hand.
I’ll come right back and close the barn.
Tomorrow, I’ll have quite a yarn
for everyone I want to tell
I finally did something well!!!!

For those of you unacquainted with Mrs. O’Leary, I include this description of The Great Chicago Fire of 1871:

“The summer of 1871 was very dry, leaving the ground parched and the wooden city vulnerable. On Sunday evening, October 8, 1871, just after nine o’clock, a fire broke out in the barn behind the home of Patrick and Catherine O’Leary at 13 DeKoven Street. How the fire started is still unknown today, but an O’Leary cow often gets the credit.

The firefighters, exhausted from fighting a large fire the day before, were first sent to the wrong neighborhood. When they finally arrived at the O’Leary’s, they found the fire raging out of control. The blaze quickly spread east and north. Wooden houses, commercial and industrial buildings, and private mansions were all consumed in the blaze.

After two days, rain began to fall. On the morning of October 10, 1871, the fire died out, leaving complete devastation in the heart of the city. At least 300 people were dead, 100,000 people were homeless, and $200 million worth of property was destroyed. The entire central business district of Chicago was leveled. The fire was one of the most spectacular events of the nineteenth century, and it is recognized as a major milestone in the city’s history.”

Stop stoning of gays and others in Brunei

Brunei wants to start stoning gay people and other people convicted of ‘crimes’ like adultery.

Brunei is small and wealthy, but has international ties that could influence its leader, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. He’s linked to some of the world’s most exclusive hotels in the US and Europe. Brunei is also negotiating a high-profile trade agreement with countries like the US. The Beverly Hills Hotel is one!

Together, we could push elites to stop doing business with Brunei while the Sultan lets innocent people be stoned to death – and raise a global outcry against this cruel law.

This part of the law hasn’t gone into effect yet – but it will soon if no one does anything. Will you sign the petition asking global leaders, companies, and celebrities to stop doing business with Brunei in response to these brutal punishments?

Sign now: http://www.allout.org/brunei

Getting governments, companies, and celebrities to loudly pull out of doing any business with Brunei isn’t just about hitting the Sultan financially. Brunei’s setting a dangerous example by adding, rather than ending, the death penalty. If there’s not a massive global outcry, other leaders might do the same, thinking there’s no personal or political cost for them.

Some celebrities and companies have begun to move their events, refusing to give money to the Sultan’s world-famous hotels. But, it’s not enough – the CEO of the hotel chain just went on the record calling the boycott unfair and refused to comment on the law.

If we can get thousands of people from all over the world to sign right now, we could stop travel companies from offering these hotels to their customers. The bigger the protest gets, the more likely the outcry could affect the trade agreement negotiations. We could turn this from a small annoyance for the Sultan to a serious problem that requires him to pay attention to the global condemnation of the new law.

Sign now to get governments, companies, and celebrities to stop doing business as usual with Brunei:
http://www.allout.org/brunei

All Out members all over the world have gotten key corporations to speak out in response to anti-gay laws. During the Olympics in Russia, we helped raise a huge outcry that got some National Olympic Sponsors to speak out against Russia’s anti-gay law. And, recently, we got Orange to pull ads from a tabloid that outed lesbian, gay, bi and trans people when the Ugandan anti-gay law passed.

Now we have a chance to really raise the alarm about Brunei’s new death penalty in the media and in the circles that the Sultan and his family move in. Will you speak out now against Brunei allowing gay people and other innocent people to be stoned to death?
http://www.allout.org/brunei