The arguments people in Christian circles propose for not pledging allegiance to our flag and our country are specious.

Some talk of divided loyalties – how pledging allegiance to the flag and country has us impossibly serving two masters.

Others talk about allegiance being contrary to our faith in Christ, defining it as acting out one’s duties to his lord, as loyalty and faithfulness, as constant commitment to further its object’s good name and cause.

Still others object as meaningless the phrase “Under God” or pledging to an inanimate object (the flag).

All three arguments are all somewhat plausible – but wrong.

A road dead-ended quietly into a drab yellow stone plaza.  Several structures of the same dusty dingy yellow stone, hundreds of years old, surrounded the plaza.  Footfalls raised stale puffs of dust with each step.

To the east in the gloom stood doors to an old frayed church huddled against its larger looming neighbor.  It was also made of the stone, but the thick, tall doors rose in dark wood gleaming despite the dust in the growing dark.

The air around lay dry and still.  No wind blew, no breeze teased the dust.

The entrance reached over their heads.  At a glance, the dark doors were at least nine feet.  A pediment of sorts crawled and curled and curved its way up and over the doors in a half-moon arc.  Inside the pediment’s half-moon shined defiantly two quarters of stained glass, like slitted eyes of a baleful being staring out from the church.

I wasn’t standing in the Oval Office when it happened.  Those upper echelons don’t know I exist.  Didn’t, I mean.

I bet it was quite a shock, though – a hologram appearing out of nowhere just to the right of the Resolute desk?  I would have loved to have seen the expressions on their faces.  Did they think it a prank?  Did they disbelieve their eyes for a split second?

You know bureaucrats.  It took them way too long to figure out it was real – the message and the alien.

If the figure hadn’t been dressed in high fashion – as in Milan – would it have been so incongruous?

She didn’t seem like the girl he remembered from college.  She hesitated just a little, an almost indiscernible pause, each time before she spoke.  Her only unguarded moment came when she met his wife for the first time.  Her face lit up, and she smiled in delight.

She calmed slightly as she greeted T.

They all sat back down at the bar, H. standing between the two women.

He gestured at the bartender to order his wife a drink, and picked up his own glass, idly twisting it as he watched the others.

Her face expressed a calm warmth, and she was back to the slight hesitation before she spoke.  She spoke clearly, in a low voice, unhurried.

The girl he remembered could babble on for hours.

Sifa and Peter On Hold

I am putting my first novel, Sifa and Peter, on the back burner for now while I hone my writing skills.  It’s become evident that the novel is rather intricate for a first novel.  Take a look at my story premise:

A young woman damaged by her childhood and too eager to please, as well as a mother grieving from a damaging and traumatic genetic legacy of blood clotting, and a hard-working but selfish cousin, come together in during a family member’s crisis, coming to terms with not only family secrets but their past, their flaws, and the true desires of their hearts.


I’m going to take some time for shorter works. More on that to come.

Poetry Warning: Desolate Landscape

When the sad and lonely sky reverses itself

In a dry and dusty land where the brine pools

And dries before it touches the ground

One turns away from pitiful attempts

To build a bridge across the chasm

To deny the want the desire the purpose

All the while the struggle to surrender twins of anger and resentment

Repeats over and over like an unsteady drum

Eyes are opened wide by a greater hand

And one can no longer hide a head in the sand.

Rain fell in a heavy cascade onto the windshield, a veritable waterfall that wipers battled in a futile effort. She peered cautiously ahead. Even at this slow speed, the wind still buffeted the car and shook it constantly. Her hands gripped the steering wheel tightly as she jerked the wheel back and forth in small, tight motions in a fight to keep the car in a relatively straight line.
“Just a little rain,” she said out loud. “What an idiot!” Her sarcasm echoed oddly, competing against the sounds of the beating rain in the otherwise empty SUV. “The idiot formerly known as my manager,” she added.

Her manager had seemed a decent enough guy when she had hired on last month, but in the last few hours her respect for him had plunged.

A stronger gust slammed into the car, causing it to shudder. She winced and gripped the steering wheel tighter, thankful for the bigger mass of the SUV rental.

Her whitened knuckles were a testament not only to the fury of the storm but also her fear barely held at bay.

Departing hotel employees, the latest weather report, and a late burst of sanity had finally prompted her departure, but drunk co-workers celebrating the hurricane waylaid her in the lobby. It took precious minutes to extricate herself and drive away.

Now the storm was almost on top of them all.

The two cousins completed their cooldown and headed back to Peter’s car.  She breathed in the crisp air, craning her head to look up at the vibrant autumn light shining through the leaves.  Far overhead in the blue sky a V of ducks headed southwest, honking faintly in the distance.

She suddenly pitched forward.  Peter grabbed her arm to steady her just in time.  “Careful!” he chuckled. “That sidewalk crack just attacked your foot.”

She ducked her head and blushed beet-red as her phone rang.

“Hi, Mom!” In the next instant, she collapsed onto a nearby bench, her face now unnervingly pale.