Saturday, January 31, 2015

The First Injustice

This is a short (very short) story I wrote once in a creative writing class I belonged to.

The First Injustice

The first thought was about the surrounding warmth that helped make him feel so comfortable in the place where he was living. The lack of light was normal to him as he moved about it the dark space of his familiar territory. After a short time of moving around to any spot he chose, he became completely in control with his small world. Soon he began to know exactly how and when to push the buttons he needed to push in order to get what he needed and wanted. He never hesitated to miss pushing a single one of them either. He knew without a doubt that he was in full control at the time and he intended to make sure he kept the advantage.

            Yes, it was true that he was living alone, but it never bothered him one bit. This was the only life that he knew and this was the life he had grown to love. Sixteen or more hours of daily activity took just a small toll on him, causing the need for a few hours of rest each night. As he rested, he was comforted by the silence and the lack of activity around him. His dreams were always sweet as he remembered the day just past, and as he yearned for the new day to come.

            It was so comforting to not have to worry about being hungry or having a place to catch up on his rest when he needed it. Sure there were times when things weren’t perfect, but they were few and far between, and even when they weren’t perfect, they weren’t so bad that he complained to himself all that much.

            He never had any particularly large worries to deal with, because he never caused any large problems that had to be dealt with. He just went along as if the world he knew was the hand he was dealt, and he did what he had to do in order to stay happy and contented in that world.

He was always careful with his dietary requirements, never consuming more nutrients than he absolutely required. He didn’t want to overdo it, which could possibly cause a health concern.

            Over a period of time, he experienced various feelings that he never quite understood. There were even times when he was slightly concerned—about the world he knew that seemed to be closing in on him. He couldn’t begin to understand that something really big was about to happen to him—something that would change his life and his world for all time. Even though he couldn’t see them, he could sense and sometimes actually feel the changes that were slowly happening, and he even seemed to sense that he was about to experience something huge that he had never known before. It wasn’t frightening to him at the time, but it was more a feeling of just not knowing what would happen, or exactly when it would happen. He just knew down deep that whatever it was that was coming, it was coming sooner rather than later.

            As the changes happening around him became more and more pronounced, and as the pace of the changes seemed to quicken daily, he somehow knew he was in for the ride of his life. He soon discovered that the proper amount of rest and sleep was much more difficult to get than ever before, and he wasn’t happy about it either. It made him grouchy and testy.

            One cold night in early January, the world he knew came crashing down on him as he tried to get some badly needed additional rest. Lately his rest had been less than what it once was, and he was now tired and grumpy most of the time.

It happened just as he started to fall off to sleep for one of his short naps. He suddenly felt his body being forcibly moved to a place he wasn’t comfortable with, and he fought it with all the strength he could muster. After a while, he was able to stop fighting because it appeared as though he had won the battle in which he had been engaged. But just as he started to feel somewhat comfortable again, and just as he felt the need for another short nap coming on, the battle was back on, bringing him fully awake immediately. The battle ensued with such renewed fury that it caused him to start wondering if he had the strength to overcome again. His opponent was overwhelming him with every second of every minute that passed. His body was pushed, pulled, twisted and stretched almost beyond its capacity to handle. His opponent was also becoming weary and had to stop for short breaks in order to gain back strength before resuming the battle again. Each time the fight resumed it was more intense than before.

When all the extra strength had finally ebbed from his weary body, he had to give in and face up to the fact that it was all over. He had lost the only real battle he had ever had to fight.

            Suddenly, a giant something invaded his territory and forcibly yanked him from the only home he had ever known. He was blinded with light at the same time something was dislodged from his throat. Then he was physically beaten, causing him to cry out as loudly as he could for some help.

            For a short time, he remembered the terribly harsh injustice of being forcibly pulled from his warm and comfortable world, causing him to shiver in the new and chilly place he now found himself. And then he was suddenly tossed from one place to another. Then without knowing what it meant, he remembered hearing someone proudly announce, “Congratulations, it’s a beautiful baby boy!” 


Paul R. Meredith   

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Ice Man Cometh

I wrote this very short story about 1982, I forget the exact year because it was handwritten on a yellow tablet at the time and then transferred to the computer many years later. But the story is completely true and it is one of the many stories I told my children when they were small. The names and the places are real. 
The Ice Man Cometh


It was a hot summer in 1940. Our family lived on the western edge of Decatur, Illinois, in what was then called a village. I was five years old and anxious to stand at the edge of the front ditch to watch for John, the ice man. My twin sisters, Darlene and Marlene, waited with me, as did my younger brother Danny and my baby sister Trudy.

            It was during the early days of electric refrigeration, and since our family was extremely poor, we didn’t have one of the new-fangled contraptions. Mom had a wooden icebox that held a block of ice in the top. It was vented to the bottom of the box in such a way so as to keep food and milk partially cool, but never really cold. Milk would last only a couple of days in the icebox before it would spoil. Once it spoiled, Mom had to make clabbered-milk biscuits with it, which Dad dearly loved.

            Ice man John worked for the Polar Ice Company down on Van Dyke Street. He drove a flatbed, horse-drawn wagon with huge rectangular chunks of ice on it. Mac was his big brown horse, and we loved old Mac almost as much as we loved John.

            Mom had a square, four-colored sign with a number facing up in the window for the size of the ice block she needed each time John delivered, which I believe was twice each week in our neighborhood. Each of the four sides of the sign was a different color so John could read it easily from the street. Mom could order a twenty-five, fifty, seventy-five, or one hundred pound block of ice from John, depending on how much ice in our ice box was still left that hadn’t melted yet. Most of the time Mom would order fifty pounds.

            As John and Mac pulled up next to our front yard, John would yell, “Whoa there, Mac,” and Mac would stop still while John tended to his ice business. We waited anxiously as John pulled back the big canvas cover from the ice. Then he would look at us kids and say, “Does anybody here want a big chunk of ice to suck on?”

            We would all raise our hands and yell, “Yes,” as we gleefully danced around.

            John would chip off a large chunk for each of us kids with his big old ice pick, and then he would climb down from the wagon and hand the ice to us. He would then throw a big rubber cape over his back and pick up a big black set of ice tongs. He would grab the big chunk of ice with the tongs and sling it over his back and deliver Mom’s ice order into the house and place it in our icebox. The rubber cape kept the ice from getting John’s shirt wet. As he delivered the ice inside, we would all stand and talk with Mac, his big beautiful brown horse. John had cut ear holes in a large straw hat and fitted it to Mac’s big head to keep him cool while he stood and waited in the hot sun for his master to return to the wagon.

            Once John had delivered Mom’s ice inside, he always asked us kids if we would like to pet old Mac. “Yes,” we all yelled in unison, and John would tell us to go ahead. WE never did it without his permission.

            One day John told us the next time he delivered to our house it would be Mac’s birthday. I ran in the house and begged Mom to bake Mac a birthday cake. Reluctantly she did bake a cake for us two days later, cutting off a large slice for us to feed to Mac when he came again. “You must ask John if Mac can have cake. It may not be good for him,” she warned.

            Sure enough, we stood at the edge of the ditch in our front yard and watched Mac and John come down the street. When John said, “Whoa there, Mac,” I ran out and asked if we could give Mac a piece of his birthday cake. I held it in my hands on a napkin. John looked at it for a minute, and then he said, “Sure, why not? It is Mac’s birthday today. I'm sure Mac would love the cake.” I held it out to Mac and he slurped it up and swallowed it whole. Danny, Marlene, Darlene, Trudy and I all sang “Happy Birthday” to Mac. It was great fun watching old Mac lick his chops to get all the icing.


We enjoyed seeing John and Mac for two more summers, but then one day they never showed up at out house. I asked Mom, “Do you think John is sick, or do you think it is Mac?”

            “No honey,” Mom said, “John has gone off to heaven to be with the Lord. He won’t be able to come back to our house anymore. I’m so sorry.”

            “What about Mac? Will he get a new master?” I asked Mom.

            “No Sonny, Mac has been retired. He is very old and deserves his rest. He has worked very hard for many years. Your dad is getting us a refrigerator tomorrow from your Grandma Meredith. We won’t need the ice any longer.”

            I was too young to realize that going to heaven meant that John had died. I’m not sure how long it was before my older friend next door, Gene Carr, told me John had died. I remember I told my brother and my sisters and we all cried.

            Dad and my Uncle Orville borrowed a truck from one of their friends and hauled the refrigerator from Grandma’s house to our house. Grandpa Meredith had bought a brand new one for Grandma and she gave us her old one. It was a big white box with a great big round motor on top. It was very heavy, but Shelby Nanna, our neighbor, came over and helped my dad and my uncle Orville to get it in the house. Dad plugged it in and it started making a loud humming noise. Mom was standing there smiling because she was so glad to have the refrigerator.

            Mom was right; we never needed any ice after that. Mom could even make ice cubes in the new box. It was really great!


Paul R. Meredith

Circa 1982

Friday, January 9, 2015

Let There Be Light

Let There Be Light is a short nine-page parody on The Creation. It is a humorous twist on how it could have happened. Please know that this is a fun story and not one to consider as anti-Christian in any way--far from it.

I just love to take a topic and see what I can do to make it be a story that will make someone laugh. I hope that is what it will do for you.

While I have no intention of publishing the story at this time, I do reserve the right to do so later if I see it actually has some benefit to someone out there.

If you would like to read the story, email me at:

I would appreciate any comments you would like to leave at the bottom after to read the story.

Thank you,