Friday, August 31, 2012


by M. J. Joachim

Paralysis hit during the night. Melissa rolled over to turn off the alarm clock, landing on the floor without warning. Her left leg was immovable; she couldn’t feel it, the tingling sensation she’d been worried about in her toes up to her ankle was gone.

Confusion had taken over her life. Ordinary tasks like making coffee and brushing her teeth became huge undertakings. Doctors were mystified, testing her for debilitating diseases like muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and rare forms of cancer. Nothing came back conclusive. Nothing showed anything at all.

At work, Melissa’s co-workers were more than a little concerned. This vibrant young woman was losing all sense of who she was and slowly, treacherously, becoming incapacitated. No one could understand how Melissa, a woman outshining her boss in every way, could inexplicably become so ill.

Melissa’s boss seemed to hold it together so well. She’d been his rising star in the company, the woman who made him shine. Why wasn’t it enough for her, he reasoned to himself. Who was she to side-step him and take any glory for herself?

He quickly closed and locked the desk drawer as she entered for their private meeting. “Here,” he said. “I bought you your favorite cafĂ© mocha again today. It’s made just the way you like it.” Melissa drank her coffee throughout the morning, unwittingly ingesting the small dose of arsenic he put in it each day.

Photo Credit:  Wikicommons, GNU Free Documentation License

Debt Accountability

by M. J. Joachim

Four years had passed since the day they bowed down in homage to their newly elected leader. He stood tall, with an air of authority and promise. The people were convinced he would improve the country’s status.

As they groveled in their poverty, fear gripped their hearts and souls. “We must work harder,” they cried in unison.  “We’ve failed our leaders,” they bellowed in shame. “We must make more sacrifices for being so selfish and arrogant,” they resolved together.

Without flinching at the irony, the people signed affidavits acknowledging their guilt. Then they boarded ships to China, where they physically paid their country’s debt.

Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain

Changing Venues

by M. J. Joachim

The noise in the waiting room was overwhelming. Patients happily chatted, as if the procedure was completely commonplace. Daily events were being discussed and future plans were being made.

Government leaders promised change. Citizens lined up in droves to receive their entitlements. They happily paid higher taxes for this privilege.

Government paid doctors performed the physicals and administered the shots. Each patient in turn became a blank slate, destined to be programmed and unleashed against each other. 

Photo Credit: Wikicommons, GNU Free Documentation License

The Price of Groceries

by M. J. Joachim

Bess walked down the grocery store aisle. Canned tomatoes on her left, her cart snuggled close against the coffee on her right. Display boxes were piled high, blocking her view from all the choices on the shelf, crowding the path.  After three months of living in this new town, she’d hoped to know the layout of the store a little better. It was not to be; she cursed the grocer, Nate, for constantly changing the scene.

This was to be her territory, a place she could meet new people, engage them in conversation about her enchanting artwork, and dazzle them with her charm. Nate understood perfectly; it was a game he’d played before. He waited patiently for the day Bess finally approached him to fix the situation.  Without warning she was whirled around as she heard the words, “Bess Harper, you are under arrest for the attempted murder on Nathaniel Braxtner. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will…” Nate was lucky. At Bess’s trial, she was convicted as the most notorious woman serial killer in Merced, California. Only one victim managed to get away.

Photo Credit: National Archives, Public Domain