ENTER: OBLIVION – “2 ACROSS” – SHORT FICTION

by Stephen Daniel Ruiz – May 5th, 2020

They say that no one knows their own future. This is probably for the better, since it isn’t exactly conducive to happiness to know everything. Despite the adage, “ignorance is bliss,” the best course of action in life is to figure out what you don’t know and make your decision as to whether or not you should learn it. One must ask, is it useful knowledge? If the answer is yes, then the next step is to commit to the learning process. The future, however, is a different monster altogether. The unknown future is likewise uncertain. With a little perspective and understanding, it might be discernable, but with so many variables, the possibilities are virtually endless, at least, that’s the way it appears. The known future, on the other hand, is unalterable and therefore the knowledge is useless. One can do nothing but wait, and while waiting, either think about the inevitable or pretend as though you don’t know you’re going to be murdered by day’s end.
Such was the fate of Oscar Schmidt… – CONTINUE READING

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THE ART of LOVE (& LOATHING): A NOVEL – THE FIRST PAGE

by Stephen Daniel Ruiz

…a wry, cynical, yet surprisingly touching look at life, creativity, identity, and love through the eyes of a flawed but likeable protagonist.”
undefined – IndieReader

Every year, thirteen people are crushed to death by vending machines.
It’s not the most romantic way to go, and it doesn’t leave much contribution to a memorable epitaph. In fact, it’s a bit sad in a pathetically human way. The most likely cause of this accident—if we are to call it that—is from said victim trying to retrieve the nondispensing item they had paid good money for. Sometimes all it takes is a solid whack on the side of the machine. Other times, however, it takes everything you’ve got to get what you want, the thing that is rightfully yours, and it ends up killing you.
Within a single year, the odds of being killed by a dog are one in 11,273,142. The odds of being murdered with a gun are one in 24,974—depending on your demographic of course. Choking, one in 100,686. Alcohol poisoning, 150,681. Falling down a flight of stairs, 157,300. Bee sting, 25,364,571. Asteroid collision, one out of 74,817,414. Chances of winning the lottery, one in 175,000,000.
Now, I’m not a mathematician. I got all those statistics from the internet, so there’s a vulnerable certainty I feel in those numbers. Yet, as I stood watching the old man in the yellowed t-shirt and faded jeans recycle his money for more scratch-offs, I wondered what he thought his chances of winning actually were. Not just winning but transforming his life. Something in my gut told me that even if he did win, he’d end up right back at that convenience store counter gnawing at his toothless gums, smelling like piss and PBR. I considered telling him that he had a better chance of getting killed by an asteroid than winning, but I couldn’t recall the last time I’d even heard about someone being killed by an asteroid. It made me curious as to who this mysterious 74,817,415th person was each year—the lucky bastards. – CONTINUE READING

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LYRICS – “THE BIRDMAN”

Later on we’ll decide
Whether
The float was in the feather
Or our bones were put together
Just the way we need to fly

Later on we’ll decide
Whether
The love was meant forever
Or it held our lives together
Just the way we need to die

Later on we’ll decide
Whether
The truth was put together
By the lies we told each other
Just to say that we survived

The war is all over
But your friends are gone
You’re not even sure which side
You were fighting on
You’re searchin’ for love
But there’s just no room
I see ya lookin’ through
Say whatcha gonna do

Later on we’ll decide
Whether
The days were so much better
Than the last one spent together
Was the saddest kiss goodbye

The war is all over
Now the time has come
For you to decide which side
You’re livin’ on
Your wings are ready
And the sky is blue
I see ya looking through
Say whatcha gonna do

Heaven help the Birdman
He got a lot on his mind
They say that leavin’ his nest
What got him in this mess
But it’s only for a time

Heaven help the Birdman
He got a lot on his mind
They say that leavin’ his nest
What got him in this mess
But it’s only for a time

Copyright © 2020 Stephen Daniel Ruiz

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STUDIES IN GRAY. – “THE SONG” – SHORT FICTION

by Stephen Daniel Ruiz – July 10, 2019

“…What we have here, Bill, if you—if you let me speak, Bill, what we have here is a classic case of bait and switch. There’s no way that the White House is truly backing this, even as a declared fully partisan plan. There’s too much at stake here for both sides, too much to be lost on both sides, and what I was—”
“Leonard, I’ve known you for a long time—”
“—what I was trying to say—”
“—I’ve known you for a long time, Leonard, and I’ve always respected you until this very moment. How could you honestly believe this whole bait and switch theory when it’s blatantly obvious that the whole thing’s been concocted by the far left to distract the general public from the important issues—”
The radio clicked to silence, the cab of the semi becoming heavy with the reverberating sound of the engine. The passenger window was down about halfway, and the air was sweeping the stale out. That was how Carl liked it sometimes. Quiet, natural. The stale was new. It had smelled sweet before, but now there was the pungent odor of nothing. It had been giving him headaches, or at least, that’s what he kept telling himself. Carl hadn’t been sleeping exceptionally well, either, but it had been a boon for his travel time. Being paid by the mile, he made the most of his insomnia by cutting down his delivery times, and he found himself beginning to appreciate his restlessness. – CONTINUE READING

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