I Don’t Expect You to Believe Me – Flash Fiction by Cheryl Caesar

The Heroines Among Us

Cheryl Caesar builds an intriguing mash-up of fiction and non-fiction in this flash fantasy fiction piece! Read below to see her creative interview about the heroine she admires: Greta Thunberg.


I Don’t Expect You to Believe Me

Greta: Thanks for doing the interview, anyway, on such short notice. 

I don’t want to do Zoom or Google Hangout. Staring at faces on the screen creeps me out. And I want to have time to think. What happened is really strange, and I want to express it as clearly and logically as possible. You can text me your questions. 

The last one I gave was a podcast, with New Scientist, at the end of March. I wanted to remind people that we have to keep saving the planet while we save ourselves from COVID-19. All the headlines focused on my dad and me probably having had the virus, and the “herd immunity” thing here in Sweden. That’s not what I wanted to talk about. I hope this time you’ll concentrate on what’s important.

OK. Last night two strange girls came to see me in my room. I mean, I had never met them and they didn’t seem like anyone from Sweden or England or the U.S. or anywhere I’ve been.

One was wearing a white robe that was draped and tied. And one had a tunic kind of thing, and leggings and short boots. She had something on her head like a kerchief. I don’t know much about fashion.

We used Siri Translate. It’s not very precise. It said the first one was called Sandy and the other was Jeannie. Some of the words I used didn’t seem to have equivalents for them. When I said “science,” Sandy heard it as “sophia” and Jeannie as “knowledge.” It made it hard to understand each other. 

I have never had visions or hallucinations. I have Asperger’s, which is not a disease. And when I was younger I was not depressed. I was sad, which is a logical reaction to the destruction of the planet. That’s why I stopped talking.

The same thing happened to them, too. That’s what they wanted to tell me. The Trojans said Sandy was crazy when she warned them about the wooden horse. She grabbed an axe and a torch and ran to show them, but they tackled her and threw them away. They called Jeannie insane too, and they’re still doing it. I looked it up on the internet this morning, and people are saying she was schizophrenic, or having seizures, when she heard St. Michael and St. Catherine and St. Margaret. I don’t know – this is hard for me too. I believe in science, not saints. But I could see that she wasn’t schizophrenic. And she definitely wasn’t having a seizure.

They called her “unmaidenly” too – why is it always about sex, and why do old men always know what girls should be like?  Sebastien Gorka called me “thunder thighs” – have you looked at him lately? That’s what they said about Jeannie, for wearing a man’s military uniform. She told them she had to keep it on at night so as not to be raped. Her father just wanted to marry her off. And Sandy said when Troy fell, she hid in the temple and Ajax raped her, and she was given as a pallake, a concubine, to King Agamemnon. We’re sexless and we’re too sexy. We can’t win if we play by their rules.

They said they were glad to leave this planet, at the end. They were both murdered, and Jeannie was burned to death. But they come back every now and then. The way they described it, it’s like a long plane journey. You’re so tired of waiting and carrying your luggage around that you’re glad to get on the plane. But then after a few hours in the air, you’re bored and cramped and you want off again. That’s how I remember it, anyway. I don’t take planes anymore, and I don’t let my parents take them either. Anyway, they don’t want to see this planet destroyed. They said it’s not time yet. And they’re not ready to spend eternity in the air.

Sandy said that after hundreds of years, she sometimes imagined the Trojans trapped in the horse, smothering in the heat. She and Jeannie imagined the 7 billion on the planet today, all stifled and burned alive, and had pity for them.

No, they were not very encouraging. They said I would probably have to die too, before people would start listening to me. But I should do it anyway, because only the young have the courage for it. “Don’t trust anyone over thirty”: that’s a saying my parents remember – isn’t that funny?

What kind of evidence do you want? I gave each of them a pair of my track pants – they thought they were really comfortable and protective. Well, you can ask my mom. She’ll tell you that the pants are gone. They didn’t want me to take a photo. They said I had to have faith – faith in my own experience. Well, isn’t that positivism and science? If I can believe it, why can’t you?

The day after this interview was completed, the journalist called me and said she was receiving death threats if she went ahead and published it. So I’m posting my answers here on my Facebook page, without her name or her questions. Though I don’t really expect you to believe me. Greta


Author:

Cheryl Caesar lived in Paris, Tuscany and Sligo for 25 years; she earned her doctorate in comparative literature at the Sorbonne and taught literature and phonetics. She now teaches writing at Michigan State University. She gives poetry readings locally and serves on the board of the Lansing Poetry Club. Last year she published over a hundred poems in the U.S., Germany, India, Bangladesh, Yemen and Zimbabwe, and won third prize in the Singapore Poetry Contest for her poem on global warming.  Her chapbook Flatman: Poems of Protest in the Trump Era is now available from Amazon.

Follow:

Facebook page: Cheryl Caesar Author
Website: http://caesarc.msu.domains/

Call For Submissions – Online Open Mic March 2020

Yes, that’s right Ponderbots, the Online Open Mic in January went so well that there is another one coming up just around the corner in March!

So, if you didn’t get to submit last time, but you were wanting to, you now have another chance to participate! And if you did participate last time, you are welcome to submit again!

You know the drill, see below for guidelines, and I can’t wait to see what you’re pondering!

Submission Guidelines:

1. Send your art of any kind (poems, music, drawings, paintings, videos, or any medium of creativity!). It can be of any genre or topic.

(Disclaimer: Submissions that include hate, discrimination, or inappropriate content will not be accepted).

2. Include a picture of yourself or any photo that you feel represents yourself as an artist.

3. Include any bios, links to your work, or social media sites that you would like to be shared.

4. Email your submission to Mia Savant at pondersavant@gmail.com with the subject line: Online Open Mic.

5. Follow the blog site www.pondersavant.com. If you have Facebook or Instagram follow there as well @pondersavant.

6. Spread the word! Let other artists know about the Online Open Mic by your social media sites or word of mouth!

Deadline for submission is February 29th, 2020

The Art of Depression: Chella Courington

Artist:

Chella Courington

Follow Her Work:

chellacourington.net

Or

Purchase her books:

In Their Own Way
https://www.amazon.com/Their-Own-Way-Chella-Courington/dp/1680730649/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474213869&sr=1-3&keywords=Chella+Courington

Love Letter to Biology 250https://www.etsy.com/listing/213476565/love-letter-to-biology-250-chella?ref=sr_gallery_1&ga_search_query=Love+Letter+to+Biology+250&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery

Encroaching Sorrow

“Do you ever worry about death?” Adele asked.

Tom made a noise, a grunt mixed with a sigh, and continued reading.

“Tom.”

As someone aroused from an unexpected nap, he looked at Adele. Confusion and anger competed with each other.

“What?” he asked.

“Do you worry about death?”

“No. It seems pointless,” Tom said. “I focus on tomorrow.”

Nearly fifty, she was seven years older than he. They had been married almost fifteen years.

“Have I always been this way?” she asked.

“Which way?” he asked. “Want part of a beer?”

Tom’s usual response to her unease. He knew Adele loved to split everything. Halving was a communal ritual. If we share our food, that’s the beginning: we’ll share our love, our interests, our life. With each year together, she grew more dependent. Saying they were Plato’s soul mates destined to find their other on earth though it took Tom and Adele longer to search through the mingling parts. And there he was in his jeans and white Oxford shirt, sleeves rolled up, hair reminding her of a Romantic poet. Thick, curly and shoulder length.

Neither imagined his losing it, but like the rest of their lives, attrition became inevitable and one November day she noticed a bald spot on his crown. It appeared without warning when she leaned over him in bed. A monk’s tonsure. A circle the diameter of her thumb touching her index finger. Half of an obscene gesture. She felt the skin, surprised at its smoothness.

“Tom, your hair is gone,” as if the utterance was the cause, the curse.

The clock went askew. Its hour hand flying from two to seven to twelve and around again and again. They could hear the clicking, the warning, the sign that life would be different now. Minutes turned into hours so quickly that months obscured days then years. The tell-tell promise they would not be here forever. Like their parents and their parents before them, Tom and Adele joined the fold edging closer to the cliff. If Tom and Adele were lucky, they would be stopped by a stand of bamboo, giving them the time and space to take it all in, their life their love their loss, and would slow down so they could enjoy each moment, each day without being trapped in what might happen. That night, however, was not one of those moments.