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More Hub Ideas That Turned Into Short Stories

Updated on August 26, 2016
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth has been a member of HubPages for five years. He is retired from a 23-year career in the weekly newspaper business.

"My headline and summary are introduction enough."

— Kenneth Avery
Miss Arkansas 2014  2nd Runner Up in Miss  America Pageant 2015
Miss Arkansas 2014 2nd Runner Up in Miss America Pageant 2015 | Source

No trophies for Second Place

Sad is not the word for all of the heart-wounded, broken-in-spirit runner-up's who fall silently before the masses in public exhibition after giving their very being to a fault to just win some inkling to bolster their personal dignity.

They smile. They stand so stoic in line. Hoping their tailored-names will be called in an emcee's next breath, and after a blurred heartbeat, they hear another's name that is quickly swamped and swallowed by the applause of entertainment addicts from shore to shore.

I wonder. I really wonder where they go now? What do they do? They have no excuses and have been prepped to not acknowledge the word "losing." I do think that after being second runner-up, no job or position will ever satisfy them.

"We" are watching you
"We" are watching you | Source

Metropolitan time machines

But not for traveling back or forward in the invisible topic of film, book, poems and song: time. These somewhat obscure devices have been hanging before us since our youth and yet we do not understand their place in our space in the endless universe.

Traffic lights. They do save lives. They do keep traffic at a sensible flow. But I know their secret. These silently smiling creations with three eyes are really time-altering devices that if you stop to think about it, can and do alter our lives two and a half minutes at a time.

Let me ask you. What would you do if not for the traffic light that stopped you this morning on your way to your bank and made you wait? Who would you see if you had not sat in annoying traffic with some mundane talk radio station blaring if you had been given those two and a half minutes?

Those are things we all need to think about and in respective terms.


Wake up, sleepy citizens

You are cleaner, more-presentable today thanks to a mostly-overlooked throng that do the same thing day after day or night after night and never ask anything of us. Did you ever think of that? Even when we tromp their clean floors with our thoughtless, dirty feet, they never complain.

I would not make a successful janitor. Not that I am above such work. No. This work is above me in all of my senses and thoughts. I am not a patient, enduring man. If I were a janitor by choice or chance, I would fail in a short span of time. Knowing me, I would spew hateful protest at some well-dressed CEO or trial lawyer who scuffed my tile floor that I had spent 12 hours buffing to a Marine Corps shine.

My hat is off to you, America's janitors. And my bull horn is aimed at your sleepy citizens who walk in your sleep to work and home again on these unsung souls' work. Isn't it time you paid them a little homage?

The sadly-overlooked Army buddy
The sadly-overlooked Army buddy | Source

Who remembers Army buddies?

Do you? When you were either drafted or joined the military, did you write down your buddy's name, hometown, hobbies or dreams? I think not. That might show how unmanly you were.

No, you just made your bunk, shined your rifle and drank a cold one or two with your buddy on a peaceful night in some PX or weekend pass. You never thought that this man (or woman) would be the one who would make it possible for you to see your little girl, "Sally" again and kiss your wife, "Jossie," with a kiss to rock the Islands of Hawaii.

Who of our military really takes time to burn the face of their Army buddy into their memories? I cannot answer that. If I did know, I would hope I would write every soldier who has ever served in the Armed Forces.

Just filling a space
Just filling a space | Source

Just filling a space

We are the crowds that clamor round and about the celebrity entourage and his handlers. We are the people celebrities call "fans," because we have been labelled this shortened title because people have grown to think of us as fans and we could not live without seeing our favorite Hollywood star.

We are not the dramatic type, but we pretend when we are alone in front of our bedroom mirror that we are film stars. We speak words of dialogue that our stars have spoken in their last film.

And these highly-paid plastic schmucks don't ever know that we are alive. Who is the fool here?
Filling our spaces. That's our job. That's our place. No celebrity would taste a mouthful of fame without us. Scary concept, but true.

Not just empty tin boxes
Not just empty tin boxes | Source

Empty tin corridors that change lives

To you, "Mr. and Mrs. Average Citizen," we are just tin boxes sitting on wooden or steel posts holding a letter or maybe a long-overdue package. We watch you yawn in the morning as you slink along dragging you ratty robe behind you to get the bills, sale circulars and maybe a letter from "that" irresistible lover you enjoyed a week ago.

But wait. Take the time to let the next sentence sink deeply into your spirit: We are not just mailboxes. We are the holders of your fate, sir and madam. Yes, we are that and more proud of that than a beef producer in Nebraska winning a blue ribbon at his county fair for having the best-looking bull.

Respect us as you open our lids. For "this" time what you get out of our bowels just might be "that" letter of promotion you have slaved for. Or it might be the back-pay you, "Ms Single Parent," have begged your "ex" for because his child is hungry.

We feed your flock
We feed your flock | Source

Nameless miracle workers

Standing in a straight line from 11:30 a.m. until 12:05 p.m. People in sane America call us the cafeteria workers. These same sane people could care less who we are or what our names might be. Just as long as we feed their children, which by the way, is the "only" perk we have each day.

We have the world's best feeder of flocks for our pattern: Jesus. Except our bread and fish are bought by taxes by these same uncaring sane people whose kids we feed. Why, I wonder, can't these sane people who wear clothes that are dry cleaned, sometimes smile at us or even say, "nice job?" Talk about a miracle.


The postman's feet

are silent most of the time. Even if we are sitting lazily on our front stoop with coffee in hand on a summer morning in Chicago or maybe Concord, New Hampshire, then we would have hot cocoa in hand.
The postman's feet are never written about even by the late literary men of genius talent. Not a Carl Sandburg nor a Hemmingway. Not even a Hunter Thompson ever stopped to think about the feet of this all-important American fixture: the postman.

His feet have carried him a thousand miles each week. His feet ache, hurt, even bleed. Do we care? What is more scary is do we know how to care?

God bless you, our postmen's feet. May your pathway grow softer and smoother with each you trod your route. Until that day arrives when you will trod your last route, and then slowly trod your way into a quiet and hopefully-peaceful retirement.

"I love and appreciate you, my dear followers who read my feeble attempts to bring a smile or two to a face or two."

And a good night to, Butte, Montana.

© 2016 Kenneth Avery


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    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      2 years ago from Texas

      Ken, all these stories and fantastic, I understand them all. I often think about the janitor one every time I walk into a spotless clean building.

      Yes I think about the postman also and how his feet must ache.

      Pageant queens, I do not worry about most of them have the education to follow their dreams even if they do not win, it will just take them a little longer.

      Blessings and hugs my dear friend.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thanks for a trip down memory lane and a smile or too.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      2 years ago from Beautiful South

      I have to hand it to you. This is quite a smorgasbord of tender vignettes. I love the photo of the beautiful ladies that includes Miss Arkansas 2014 runnerup to Miss America 2015. I don’t know what she is doing right now, but I thought I’d give you a followup on another one, Elyse Edy. Elyse was Miss Arkansas 2010 who was first runnerup to Miss America in 2011. She was the one who won over the audience with her yodeling ventriloquism act. She is now a successful TV anchor who has just moved from KTHV in Little Rock to the sister station in Atlanta, GA. I really miss her on TV. She is an adopted biracial child, and here is a link to her great story.

      One other comment, those of us who sometimes work past 5:00 o’clock in our building have established connections with our cleaning staff. We make it a point to get to know the ones who stick around awhile and give them our respect. In our former building, one lady had her grandchild murdered in bed when a bullet went through the wall during a drive-by shooting, and she appreciated our concern. Another staff that we care about are the security guards. These are all very interesting people, and most are very likeable. OK, enough comment for today.

      I hope your health is improving and that you are doing well, good friend, Ken.

    • DreamerMeg profile image


      2 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Great vignettes and some very important thoughts set out here.


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