Afloat (A Pilna Dezigner story)


Pilna Designer (prounced Dez ig nir) was named by her Great Aunt Ginnie, who said that she would never be anything but a plain child no matter how her mother showered her with precious gems and designer clothes. Her mother had said “you can’t name a child “Plain”!” So they agreed that her name would be an anagram, symbolic of the child rather than descriptive. Having a last name spelled like designer didn’t make matters much better. As Pilna grew older people realized that ‘plain mixed up’ described Pilna to a tee. Content to sit and wonder what to do about situations rather than attempting to solve them, often left her in circumstances that bordered on bizarre.

One Monday morning Pilna woke to realize her alarm clock had not gone off. While she sat wondering why the almost nearly regular chimes had not sounded, her phone rang.

“Pilna, it’s not like you to miss our morning coffee,” said her girlfriend Sherry from work.

“I can’t talk now, I’ll be late for work!” said Pilna.

She ran into the bathroom and turned on the water in the shower. While she searched through the clothes in her closet, she wondered what she would do now that she didn’t have time to stop for her regular morning coffee. While she stood wondering in the closet, the water in the bathroom began to run over the edge of the tub spilling onto the floor and soaking the bathroom floor before spilling out onto the bedroom carpet.

As she stepped out of the closet, she splashed into the 1 inch deep puddle that was steadily becoming wider. While she stood wondering where the water had come from, her bathroom was becoming a steamy river which now began to flood into other areas of her small two story cottage.

“I don’t know what to do!” she said spinning in circles, “I have to go to work.”

Suddenly aware that the water levels were still rising, Pilna returned to the bathroom to locate the source of the stream. A washrag left from yesterdays cleaning spree had blocked the drain and was not allowing the water to escape. As she reached into the tub to remove the rag from the blocked drain, she wondered how she had forgotten the rag in the tub. So tidy, it was not like Pilna to leave cleaning supplies lying around when she was done. Everything went back to its usual place.

While she sat wondering the phone rang again. Her girlfriend had called back to see if she needed a ride.

“I’m in the middle of a small crisis.” said Pilna.

Her girlfriend knew what that meant. When Pilna was like this, strange things usually happened.

“I’m coming right over,” answered Sherry.

On the way to Pilna’s cottage, her girlfriend noticed a number of blaring sirens. Her heart jumped as if it were attempting to leave her chest. “Why were there so many sirens?” She thought aloud to herself.

When she arrived at Pilna’s, the door which opened into her backyard was open and Pilna stood half naked, half drenched still in her bathrobe wringing water from various items of clothing.

“Why aren’t you dressed, and why are you wet?” asked her friend.

“I was surrounded by all this water and as I sat and wondered how I would get it cleaned up my yummy new terrycloth robe had been soaking up water from the floor.” Next to tears, she sat and she wondered how she would get finished in time to make it to work.

“Never mind about work,” said Sherry as she began to pile wet clothing and linens into a laundry basket.

Pilna suddenly smiled. Her Great Aunt Ginnie always told her no matter how disastrous a thing may seem it always turned out better when you were prepared. As she sat and pondered her Aunt’s words she suddenly remembered an impromptu purchase that she had made several months ago while shopping with her mother.

“What do you need with that?” her mother had asked about the small portable carpet shampoo/vacuum cleaner she had suddenly felt compelled to by, “You hardly have any carpet in your house.”

“It just feels like something I should have” had been Pilna’s answer.

Her mother had learned in the past not to argue when Pilna’s response was similar to this. Somehow the reason for a thing would appear eventually.

As she sat and wondered at her mother’s agreeable nature a loud explosion disrupted her train of thought. It was far away enough not to have been deafening, but loud enough not to have been very far away. Pilna sat and wondered what could have happened.

“Let’s get this water up,” Sherry said interrupting her musing once more,”We’ll have time to investigate the source of that sound when we have resolved our present dilemma.

Pilna liked how Sherry had taken partial ownership of her difficulty and wondered as she knelt and vacuumed warm water from her carpet how she had managed to acquire such a wonderful friend.

When they had put all the wet clothes in the washer and all the wet shoes in the warm laundry room to dry, Pilna emptied the vaccuum and dressed. As she dressed she wondered if it might be prudent to call her employer and let him know she would not be in to day. As she thought of this the phone rang several times.

When she answered her mother responded quickly out of breath, “thank goodness you’re still at home. I thought I had lost you.”

While Pilna sat and pondered what her mother had meant, Sherry watched a television report about an explosion in the building that housed the company in which they worked.  The explosion had ruptured water mains, caused electrical and fire damage and injured several people. Debris was floating down the street on a stream created by the broken main.

Pilna burst into uncontrolled laughter. Her mother waited at the other end of the phone, and Sherry too waited.

When she could control her laughter Pilna said,”I have saved us both from injury, and we are no worse for wear but it seems no matter where we planned to go today we were destined to end up afloat.”

Sherry looked at her and they both resumed laughing. Her mother cradled the phone happy to still have her strange wonderful girl, but as she sat and watched the television report she wondered what exactly the girl meant.


Afloat (A Pilna Dezigner story) © DJuna Blackmon 2014, All Rights 

written-for-30 (3) copy


Dead Men


I’m not gonna lie to you. I’ve been alarmed for a number of weeks now. It’s the year 2014 and three Fridays ago when I woke up I was sleeping next to a dead body. You can image my response when after rocking his world the previous night for several long hours to wake and find his body cold as ice, his color drained to a pallid gray tone, and he was as still as stone. I sat up in the bed and screamed several times long and loud. Of course you can’t imagine my surprise when he sat up quickly and grabbed me by my arm and asked, “What’s the matter?”

I threw myself backward from the bed and sat there shaking for several moments before I apologized and told him I had a terrible nightmare. He comforted me and got up to prepared to leave.

He seemed like a really nice guy, but after that morning I wasn’t certain I would ever hear from him again. He wasn’t my man. I was still in the dating process looking for a nice man I could consider for a longstanding relationship that might lead to marriage, kids and the whole nine yards. I’m not particular about race or ethnicity, but if he happened to be my own race that would be okay.

But after that morning I’m not certain if that was going to happen. For the last few weeks I had been really looking at men and I noticed something strange. Something I had never noticed before in the city in which I lived. The majority of the men were all dead.

Walking, talking, breathing dead men.

At first I was horrified, and then I realized it made perfect sense. The Black men had been tortured to death through systematic abuse, either due to financial inequity, police brutality, social injustice, or just plain racism. They had probably given up a long time ago and nobody noticed. There were laborers, students, thugs, and even professionals. I saw handsome corpses dressed in tailored suits wearing sunglasses and carrying briefcases. They had more money and supposedly better lifestyles, but they too were as dead as doornails.

I thought given this realization that I would have to find a mate among a different race of people. But as I looked I realized. There were corpses walking among these men too. Money grubbing corporate corpses with hollow dead eyes, crazy ignorant bigoted corpses with wild rolling eyes, young handsome ambitious men who were just beginning to show signs around the eyes, and even teens with sunken sad eyes who had been subjected to the teachings of the dead men they were raised or mentored by. It was horrible to see something so young dying already.

It was funny how the more affluent they were the more apt they seemed to be wearing expensive designer glasses with tints. I wondered, “Did they know? I was afraid to ask.

Dating suddenly became a nightmare. I was an attractive girl and got propositioned all the time. How could I tell them I didn’t want to go out with them because they were dead? Just the thought of having one of them trying to touch me, sent me into violent waves of uncontrollable gagging. If you remember I had already slept with one or many if this problem went back more than 3 weeks.

I searched for another few weeks hoping to find some that were still alive and I was successful, but I was not happy to see their condition when I located them. The living that still existed seemed tormented and would soon die from the despair of living among the evil dead, and with them would die all of the things that gave us the right to call ourselves humanity. Love, compassion, creativity, ingenuity, common sense, and intelligence would all be things of the past.

These dead men seemed incapable of understanding things like protecting the environment, strengthening the family, eradicating poverty, improving the health of society, the importance of affordable education, shelter and food, or even the need for companionship. They were illogically bent on consumption, unconcerned about the effects of their actions on the environment, generally disrespectful to women, and the bottom line seemed to be their only goal. They continued their destructive course gradually killing every man near them either by including or excluding them. Those that died of inclusion became the walking corpses that continued to contribute to the death of other men. Those that died of exclusion simply lived lives of desperation until they finally gave up and allow their body to give out and be committed to the earth.

When the living men died, they actually died, saved from becoming the aberration created by the social injustices of mankind.

I watched for several more weeks. I learned that women contributed to this, having succumbed to the greed infested society, becoming gold diggers, opportunists, and shallow materialistic snobs. I began to wonder what was wrong with me. Why could I see this? How was this information available to me where others seemed completely oblivious?

Or were they?

I imagined an army of evil dead men, with dreams of ruining the world. They who could neither enjoy the beauty, or manage the emotion necessary to be happy experiencing interaction with mankind. This was all just conjecture, a supposition based on my recent observations. I had no real way to know if this was how things were actually happening.

And then I met him. I was attracted to him immediately. He wasn’t any of what would have been standard or classic, but I couldn’t take my eyes off him nevertheless. He smiled at me, a real smile. And his gaze was intense and penetrating. When he looked at me longer than a few moments I could feel the heat under my skin. More than a blush, more like a flush really, all over and constant. I felt intimidated.

He laughed and said to me, ”Don’t be afraid, that’s the way a women is supposed to feel when she is attracted to a man, warm and alive; Thinking of the magic of their interaction and not just the technical orchestration of their possible joining. We weren’t given emotions by accident, and it was no mistake that those feelings were chemically enhanced by our physiology. Those dead men have lost this, and though they still continue to breed, all they bring into this world is contempt. They teach their spawn to breed hatred and malcontent so they can continue down their road to the destruction of the world. They don’t know the magic of creation, nor care if what they breed will be able to survive in what they will eventually leave behind. And no matter how they try what they create will never be as good as the things they have destroyed.”

I looked at him still riveted and understood exactly what he meant.

He wasn’t there to become my mate.

“Are there other men like you?” I asked.

“There are others, and if you look you will find them. You will know them by how you feel. But I am not her to find you a man I am here to warn you of what will happen to women who breed with them. Their children die young. They have neither mercy nor compassion. They are not all corrupt, but empathy is not in them. They can only contribute to the death of the world. Those born that way will never be human, but those dying can be revived. The dead ones will never live again.”

“But why are you telling me this?” I asked.

“So you can teach other women who want a living man what to look for and what to avoid. You will recognize these women by their confusion. I know that it is a lot to expect, but you have a responsibility because you know. And they will not believe you unless you show them.”

He turned his back to me and said,”By the way, thanks for the compliment.” and smiled before walking away.

Since then, I for no other reason than not knowing what else to do, have casually been alerting women to the reality of the dead men around them. A few were startled nearly to death and have taken up the same torch, a few have gone into hiding. I have assured them it’s not the “Dawn of the dead” in the literal sense of the term, but if we didn’t stop this madness it very well could be.

Some corporate guys has been eyeing me, not in a government watching you kind of way, but I think he knows I am aware of things. It’s only a matter of time before all women are aware, but by then it may be too late. Until that time I plan to continue to educate and alert women. They can help their own cause by not contributing to the problem, not accepting the ills of the world just because dead men have money, and not having children by dead men who will later become the very things they fear.

I’ve learned this is not an easy job. But the responsibility is not mine alone. One day soon if we are not all careful, every women in this world would wake up next to a dead man.


Dead Men  © DJuna Blackmon 2014, All Rights Reserved