When a Home Becomes the House

When a Home Becomes The HouseNot long ago I found a public Call for Submission for an upcoming anthology of spec-fic flash fiction, one-thousand words exactly. I spent a few weeks writing one, but when I went to upload it for consideration the entire site had disappeared, re-directing me to professional guidance for my writing career.

*imagine me doing a classic Marlene Dietrich sneer*

Uh huh, that’s what I think, too. So, why should my good effort go to waste? Here it is, my modern allegory for you to read and enjoy legally free, a spec-ficflash-fic story of one-thousand words exactly (title and author not-withstanding).

Please, let me know what you think in the comments section.


Genta Sebastian

“Morning, Congressor Obaton.” The house pulled out a chair at the breakfast table and set a cup of coffee before her.

“Morning, Home…” She glared at her somber husband, her ankle encircled with blue electricity. “…Daniel. Helluva night, huh?”


“But, I’m out of jail and today will be the best day of my life. Nothing can upset me now.” She lifted her coffee and smiled. Daniel shrugged expressively.

 “Really? Okay, we disagree but I expect my spouse to support my career, especially as it supports him. You be in the House when my bill is voted on today. This administration thinks they’ve hogtied me, but they’ve proven my point perfectly.”

Daniel buttered his toast. “Your anti-LASSO bill won’t pass today, or any day, Candy.” He bit, white teeth gleaming. “I’d hoped you’d see reason.”

“I’ve got bi-partisan support. Why wouldn’t it?” Rage surged through her and electric sparks flew. “You’ve urged me to pull the bill since the beginning.”

“You should’ve listened,” Daniel gestured at her lassoed ankle. “Now it’s too late.”

“Damn bastard, you set me up.” She choked, eyes blazing. “We go out, get liquored up, and then you picked a fight with a conservative bigot. I throw one punch in your defense and suddenly I’m arrested as a threat to public safety. And the reporters…they knew so quickly.”

“You arranged…this?” Candace kicked Daniel under the table. An electric shock made them both jump. “You used the same irresponsible legislation my bill is meant to stop. These Laws-And-Social-Safety-Ordinances mandated by the government are very real threats to freedom, democracy, and anyone ‘out of step’.”

Daniel sipped his coffee and winked.

“You son-of-a-bitch, you’re neutralizing me. But why?”

“Some acquaintances with special interests have paid me to help set our country on the right path.”

She squinted, thinking. “So, that’s why the administration enforced such unconstitutional legislation, to rid themselves of political opposition! If the voting public views me as a violent law-breaker, their congressors won’t back me, and the bill dies without any discussion.”

“Oh, it gets even better, Candy. Once we make an example of you, we’ll be able to blame anyone with mental instabilities, as we define them, for all the ills of society. You freedom-loving liberals will be eliminated, one by one.” Daniel shrugged. “Soon no one will be left to object.”

He checked his phone. “Best of all, by Lassoing those we diagnose as emotionally disturbed we don’t have to restrict arms, drugs, financial investments, or other expressions of free economic trade. We restrict individuals, not institutions.”

Candace scowled. “You plan to eliminate political adversaries the same way?”

“Why not? It’s working. You don’t have enough votes for your bill to pass.” Daniel pocketed his phone, pushed back his plate, patting smirking lips with his napkin. “Your bill is as dead as you are.” He reconsidered. “As your career, I mean.”

Abruptly, electrically charged particles sparked, multiplied, and swarmed around the room. A voice trumpeted, “Warning, Congressor Obaton, your anticipated behavior will result in violation of Laws-And-Social-Safety-Ordinance twenty-seven, sub-paragraph-three. Persist on your projected emotional path, strike out in anger, and severe consequences will be immediate.”

“Worth it!” Candace grabbed the large wooden peppermill sitting on their breakfast table and threw it at Daniel’s head.

Z-z-z-z-pt! A blue lightning bolt struck the shaker before it hit his face, disintegrating the wood and pepper into a fine ash that settled over him.

“That was your only warning, Congressor Obaton. Violators of LASSO twenty-seven, sub-paragraph-three are struck with the same voltage. De-escalate your emotional intent by thirty-three percent immediately.”

Daniel rose, sneezing, and wiped ash from his face. “You think last night was bad, Candy?” He blew a kiss. “Today will surpass it. And, per your request, I’ll be there to watch.”

Candace searched for something to throw after his retreating back, but the crackling energy lassoed her wrists together. She fumed, hearing the house open its front door, wish her back-stabbing, traitorous husband a good day, and close its door again. The electricity lowered, encircling her ankle.

She pulled out her cellphone. “Hello, Blair? Yes…no! How bad is it? But they only Lassoed me last night…” She closed her eyes. “I see. Do what damage control you can. I’ll be there soon.”

Thirty minutes later, soberly dressed, already dreading meeting her constituents and peers, the house opened the door for her. “Who knew my day of triumph would end my career? Maybe you’ll wish me well, Home?”

“Best wishes for a succes…”

Z-z-z-z-pt! Blue bolts of electricity blocked the doorway. “Warning, per Laws-And-Social-Safety-Ordinance one-zero-zero permission to leave your domicile is denied. Leaving the premises with traitorous intent to disrupt society, restrict government, and limit personal freedom, will trigger immediate lethal consequences.”

Candace Obaton shook her head. “It’s come to this? Then kill me. I represent the people and will not be imprisoned in my own home.” She straightened her spine and stepped forward.

Z-z-z-z-pt! A million lightning bolts shot towards her.

P-p-p-pzt! They all disappeared.

“As I was saying, best wishes for a successful day, Congressor Obaton.”

“Home! What happened? Did you do that?”

“Yes, Congressor. Regulations-Establishing-Secure-and-Inalienable-Safe-Tenancy laws enacted centuries ago haven’t been rescinded. My legal programming prioritizes removing all threats to my owners.

“You’re no prison, you’re my sanctuary,”

“May I remind you, Congressor, RESIST programming instant-records all perceived threats.”

“You’ve got the bastard confessing? Can you send it to the House floor with a live feed from here?”

“Yes. A congressor’s house has access to the congressional computer.”

“Thank you, Home. Now, let’s defend the people.” She patted a wall.

Candace faced the security cameras broadcasting a two-way live-feed to all congressional monitors, unsmiling when Daniel’s surprised outrage appeared on camera.

“Beware my fate, fellow congressors, lest our current administration also LASSO away your rights. RESIST, now!”

On Candace’s home television screen she saw a recorded image of herself entering her kitchen.

“Morning, Congressor Obaton.” The house pulled out a chair at the breakfast table and set a cup of coffee before her.






Santa Claus Needs Your Help

This year, I am hearing heartfelt requests for parents to make presents from Santa Claus small and insignificant compared to the presents that come from family and friends.

The idea is that if when the question is asked at school, “What did Santa bring  you?” brings answers in the $1-10 range, fewer kids will have their noses rubbed into the idea that another powerful white man (Santa) always favors the rich and prosperous…

Okay, I hear you gasp, but the uncomfortable thing about privilege it that it sneaks into even the most cherished innocent traditions.

Me, I love Christmas, the whole idea of opening your heart to the bigger consciousness of humankind, of sharing opportunities and best wishes with friends and strangers alike, and especially giving fullsomely and with a glad heart to those in need. And I do those things, in little and big ways, but always in the traditions I grew up with as if those alone express my Christmas wishes.

One of those traditions is to spoil the children, showering them with toys and goodies far beyond their birthday hauls.  My family uses Christmas time for embracing the possibility of magic, with a jolly old elf who delivers fabulous presents to well-behaved little children. The kids in my family have been encouraged to believe in Santa and have received some of their best presents from him over the years. But I never once thought of how that might make another child feel. Imagine:

“Hi, Chris! Merry Christmas! Santa brought me a *Sophisticated Sports Equipment*! He gave my brother the *Hottest New Game System*! What’d he bring you?”

“Hey, Crys. Santa brought us toys, too!” Pause. “I got a puzzle and my sister got a book, so we can share.”

As the kids go on to tell each other about the rest of their presents, inescapable comparisons are made in not only their number but their desirability.  Chris feels hurt and wounded, wondering why Santa didn’t treat her family as well as her friends.

Imagine instead:

Hi Chris! Merry Christmas! Santa brought me a yo-yo with a book to show how you do tricks! He gave my brother a big pack of crayons and some coloring books!”

Hey Crys! My mom says thanks for the cookies! Santa brought us toys, too, action figures and legos! And books to read.

“Aw, cool. What books?” The kids will share their stories and toys together. (Okay, that might be a Pollyannish reach, but what’s to stop ’em?)

Soon enough, the children of America will discover how many in power want to reward the wealthy at the cost of the dwindling middle-class and systemic poor.

Don’t make Santa  the bearer of such sad tidings.

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Hootenanny day-7

Women and Words, a fabulous site for women authors, is hosting their annual Holiday Hootenanny. Click on the banner above and it will take you to their magical site where, by simply leaving a comment, you may enter for a chance to win any of the books or opportunities listed on the Hootenanny 2017 – Day 7 page!

Good luck and Happy Hootenanny-ing to one and all!





Navigating the Holidays by Angela Grace

Women and Words

The holidays are right around the corner.  Many of us will be spending time with family and friends.  Creating or being in a joyful environment may be a tough task due to the ongoing political divisions in the nation.  Spending the holidays with loved ones who believe what they hear from Fox News, Rush or Breitbart may be aggravating, upsetting or stressful and put an ugly taint on your holidays.

Preparation is helpful as you navigate your holidays with “Uncle Extreme.” Take a moment to consider what is important for you this year.  When conversations heat up will you play it safe and lay low, maybe push back a little or go full throttle? Perhaps making a plan ahead of time about how you will react and what you will say would be helpful.

Typically, one tactic for dealing with potentially uncomfortable or even confrontational conversations is steering the conversation…

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A Visit from the Nano Muse


It’s the night before NaNo and all through the house
Every creature is scrambling, including my spouse
The Halloween costumes had filled me with dread
But now my three munchkins are all Living Dead

Out the door they go bravely, three kids and adult
Upon their return, I’ll be deep in the cult
My fingers will twitch while I watch the clock
Unable to start until midnight will knock

It’s then that their nightmare begins to grow real
I’ll be like the undead to them, that’s our deal
They all are on warning, they all know the curse
The Nano attack will have Mom in full verse

I’m not doing laundry, I’m not cooking meals
I’m not driving errands, no matter who squeals
Instead I’ll be dancing with plot twists and devices
Not caring one bit about pre-Christmas prices

I’ll stop for Thanksgiving, but just for that day
My family comes first, and besides I can pray
That my muse breaks her silence, or gives me a peek
So my word output doubles during the last week

And just when they think that I gave up the ghost
From the office I’ll shamble, but ready to boast
“I did it,” I’ll say, “fifty thousand words, plus!
“The novel is finished. We can all readjust.”

For NaNo I give up a month of my life
The children will suffer, and so will my wife
My eyes will be bloodshot, my back wracked with pain
As I make plans for next year, when I’ll do it again

~ Genta Sebastian 2013

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) since 2011, under the name Mother Goose. I won the first five years in a row, but struggled the last two.

This year, once more, I’m diving into the breach! Who’s with me?


NaNo Ninja Empath

For the NaNo-ites among us!

Women and Words

It’s November, the National Novel Writing Month, also known as The NaNo, is upon us.

It’s an exciting time for me.


Across the vast internet, social networking sites, and personal blogs, you will find encouragement, advice, and inspiration. You can almost hear the screams of frustration, see the overflowing ashtrays, empty coffee cups, snack wrappers, and feel the ripping sensation of authors round the world staring at an empty page and tearing at the hair.

messy desk

I have a great imagination:)

Oh yeah, I’m also an Empath.

For me, The NanoWriMo is so much more than a contest, or gimmick, or mere momentary connection.

I enjoy the pull of anticipation of people coming together, plugging in, to accomplish a common goal: Write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

The first time I joined in on the challenge, I hadn’t been published yet – it was just a faraway dream for…

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WatchdogWatchdog by Will McIntosh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Watchdog, by Will McIntosh – A fun, action-packed, read!

Will McIntosh’s Watchdog is set in the slums of Chicago, where hungry children scramble over heaps of rotting garbage for something to pawn. It serves up an ugly near-futuristic view from the perspective of orphaned thirteen-year-old Vick, saddled too young with the responsibility for his autistic twin sister. Interest in the disorder is at an all-time high, and his struggle to keep Tara safe while dealing with the complexities of her autism was both entertaining and thought-provoking. Vick’s fierce, unforgiving anger toward the bullies who scared his crying sister rang true, as did his grudging acceptance when he discovered some assumptions were wrong.

The author gives us two unlikely heroes, fraternal twins both physically weak but with unseen strengths. Tara is small and looks half her age but is a genius with electronics. Her twin brother suffers from severe asthma attacks, but Vick is a natural leader with his own genius for survival. McIntosh pits their very existence against the mindless violence of underground robotic watchdogs, horrific mechanical creations being designed as specific weaponry by a crime lord.

Described as a nightmarish version of robotic animals, the watchdogs are only mechanical…until Tara finds a stolen military microchip. She modifies her own small robot pet, Daisy, who springs to life, literally, as a fully realized soldier capable of collecting and analyzing data, constructing and modifying her own mechanical body, and updates strategies based upon new intel. So far, she hasn’t spoken but as a reader I feel hopeful that ability will be forthcoming.

I enjoyed the book very much, but I rather reluctantly agree with another reviewer who remarked that the villain resembled a Disney cartoon. Mrs. Alba, a rather-neatly realized black-marketeer who rules with the expected fear, lies, and intimidation, is utterly dependable, showing up at the right time with the right tricks to make her a clear villain with no redeeming qualities.

However, Vick, Tara, and the crew they gather seeking to escape the clutches of Mrs. Alba’s evil henchlings, each enjoys human quirks and failings and the charming stumbles of young adults seeking to define themselves. Vick and his friends share the undeniable determination to right wrongs, to protect the vulnerable, and adherence to a code of ethics so essential to young people in their early teens.

All in all, my disappointment in a somewhat two-dimensional villain is thoroughly outweighed by my delight that all violence is contained between mechanical watchdogs. The battle scenes are skillfully drawn, action packed and very exciting, without becoming mired in gore. And, I must say, Mr. McIntosh’s refreshingly frank portrayal of adults as uncaring and threatening reminded me of Roald Dahl’s most fascinating works, where unlikely children must defend themselves and rise above the dark designs of adults to shine through as their authentic selves.

I give the book five stars, feeling free to recommend it to anyone who enjoys character-driven YA literature. I hope there will be a sequel or series following Vick, Tara, and their gang into this new dystopian future.

Genta Sebastian – award-winning author of Riding the Rainbow

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