Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rielle Hunter - The MHWIA

Unfortunately, I hate to admit it, but I have been the other woman before—one time knowingly, the other unknowingly. At both times, I believe Karma dealt me horrible blows for my inexcusable actions…blows that made me fall to my knees and repent for my erring ways. Rielle Hunter not so much.

The most hated woman in America (MHWIA) is now saying that she and her “Johnny” have broken up. I’m not buying it. She made the announcement on “The View” in what I think was a ploy to gain sympathy from women who were slated to eat her alive (and rightly so). First of all, she came on the show all covered up, unlike her “20/20” interview with a male host in which she bared her long legs for the world to see. I saw it as a manipulative ploy to gain sympathy from the ladies of “The View” so they wouldn’t light into her ass. It didn’t work.  

If you (she and John Edwards) can lie to the nation in such a bold and daring manner by coming up with baby daddy ruses, why not lie to America to gain sympathy so you can sell your book? They are smart enough to know that people wouldn’t touch that book if they are still together, so now they come up with the story that their tryst has ended? Insane. Again, I’m not buying it.

How dare that woman…the woman who slept with a married man—a married man who had a wife who had cancer nonetheless…talk about Elizabeth Edwards the way she does?! On “20/20” she called her a “witch on wheels” and blamed her for the reason why Edwards stayed—saying that Elizabeth knew how to make his life hell if he went against her wishes. And once again, the man who does wrong by breaking his vows comes out clean as a whistle while the women claw away at each other. Well, “woman” is more like it because Elizabeth can’t fight from the grave.

Shame on Rielle Hunter for blaming Elizabeth. Shame on her for letting John escape with little culpability. Shame on her for continuing to speak well of her and Edwards’ union without acknowledging how wrong it was for her (and him) to do what they did.

What Ms. Hunter is quickly forgetting is that the same way you get them is often the same way you will lose them. The only reason why she has/had her “Johnny” is because women around the world now recognize him for the scumbag he is and wouldn’t touch him with a 10 foot pole.

Look, people fall out of love and in love with someone new everyday. It’s life and we can’t help it. But to absolve yourself of wrongdoing and act like what you did wasn’t wrong is unbelievable and unacceptable. And I hope Karma pays her and “Johnny” a swift visit. But if we believe their lie, it already has because they are no longer together.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Shore - A Short Story

The Shore


T.C. Galltin

She washed up along the beach, her body contorted in the most unusual position. Her black hair was stringy and death discolored her skin. If she would have known it would have been her last week on Earth, she would have done things differently: told her family she loved them, apologized for wrongs. But no one knows when the end will come, do they?

The waves touched her skin repeatedly. The beach was quiet as the sun was beginning to rise, the purples and pinks dancing on the horizon. Maybe someone would find her, discover that she was missing, and soon her family would be crying from the news.

The seagulls called out to one another. They had found their morning meal, something to peck away at before the fresh meat rotted. Thank God Terra was beyond feeling because she surely would have gone mad at the constant barrage of beaks on her skin.

“Oh my fucking God.”

Daron Moore thought he was going crazy, that the alcohol from a hard night of partying was still in his system. He blinked, but the girl was still there. All of his roommates were back in the guest house, still asleep. He had wanted some fresh air, needed to get away from the smell of stale sweat and came upon this. He did a jig back and forth, placing his hand to his mouth, his head, his hip. What the fuck, he thought. He couldn’t think straight. If he had been thinking straight, he would have known to go back to get help.

He looked at the girl again. She couldn’t have been much older than him, her body naked. He couldn’t help but notice her ample breasts. At a moment like that, that was the last thing he should have been thinking of. Especially on a dead woman. Who did this shit? he wondered, still pacing back and forth on the sand. He touched his pockets, instinctively reaching for his cell phone.

“Damn. I left it back at the house.”

He stared along the beach, hoping someone else was around, that someone else would come along this scene and knock some sense into him, tell him that he was mad, that there was no body there. But there was no one else along the shore. Only him. And her. Her green eyes seemed to be staring at him…staring through him. Eyes the color of the water. He knew he would have to leave the girl there, but he didn’t want to. What if she washed away, carried by the waves back to the sea?

Oh, my Lord. I’m going to have to move her away from the water.

Daron bent over, his six-feet-six inches looking like some sort of awkward geometric form. He could smell the salt water all around them. Then it hit him, the horrid, awful stench of death. He couldn’t bring himself to touch her and could feel the insides of his stomach heave, threatening to come up. What the hell? he thought. I gotta move her. If I don’t and she washes back in the sea, they’re gonna think I’m crazy.

Finally, he made a feeble attempt to reach for her fingers, which slipped through his hands. He breathed in deeply and reached again, this time connecting with the dead form. The skin was hard from rigor…rigor… He couldn’t remember what they called it and began to think of all those times he had vegged out during biology class.

She was relatively small and her body moved easily this time and Daron sighed from relief, watching her legs leave a trail along the sand. There were no signs of trauma—no bullets, no knife wounds, no blood. There was no way for him to know that she had been strangled after being violently raped. All the fluids had been washed away by the salty water.

Terra, in the next realm, was thinking of this stranger who had just moved her body to safety, far away from the touch of the water. She could feel ghost whispers of the pounding her body received as she remembered how her killer went in and out of the crevices of her privates. She could vaguely see his evil grimace as sweat poured off him and fell on her neck, her face. She remembered his grunts as he went back and forth above her. She looked away from her contorted body, not wanting to recall what happened.

She saw the black boy as he sat on the sand, still in shock from his discovery. A peaceful walk during the morning was turning into a huge ordeal. She could understand why he wasn’t going to get help yet. We don’t always react like we should when we find ourselves faced with an unusual situation, especially something like finding a dead body. Yeah, we think we would be calm, cool and collected if faced with the unthinkable, but most of the time we aren’t. Terra found that out the hard way.

“Who the fuck did this?” Daron asked the empty beach. The only answer came from the laps of the water as they hit the shore. “Let me go get help.”

He finally came to his senses and began to make the jog back to the beach house, which had to be a quarter mile from where he found the body. The sun had already come up and was beating down on him. Out of breath, he barged into the house and looked around, trying to see if someone was up.

“Yo, Bobby!” he called, waiting for an answer from his roommate. Nothing. “Seth!”

Again nothing. Damn. They’re still drunk as shit, he thought. They can’t hear a damn thing.

He ran up the marbled steps, his tennis shoes smacking the stone and making noises in the silent, expensive resort. He went straight for their room, shaking Bobby violently.

“What the fuck is wrong with you, D?” Bobby said, throwing his arms up to shield himself from his friend’s hands.

“Someone…someone is on the beach. She’s dead, Bobby.”

Bobby rolled away from Daron and hugged his pillow. He must have thought it was some sort of prank. He was used to Daron and his pranks. He closed his blue eyes and ignored his roommate. If Daron hadn’t drunk all those shots, Bobby probably would have taken him a little more seriously. Daron popped him.

“Yo, if you do that shit one more time, I’m going to whop your ass.”

Daron hit him again and Bobby sat up, prepared to lunge.

“I’m not kidding, Bobby. There’s a girl on the beach. She got black hair and she’s our age. Come on. I’ll show you.”

Bobby looked at him like he had been using drugs or going crazy, but Daron brushed it off. When Bobby saw the body, he would be vindicated. Bobby better apologize for getting ready to start some shit, Daron thought, while Bobby was calling their other housemates.

All five of them made the trek to the beach as questions reverberated around them. Who was she? How did she get there? Who would do something like that? Beach Glacier was a private beach. Only a few people had access to it. Did someone from their area kill the girl? Had she been killed somewhere else and her body traveled the expanse of the ocean, only to land there?

Mitch would have to call his parents and let them know what was going down. But he wanted to see if it was a joke before he made the unwelcome call.

“Daron, if this is some sort of joke, it ain’t funny,” Mitch had said, staring Daron down. “You get us up at the crack of dawn and make me think about having to call my mom. You know how she is. I’m telling you now, it better not be a joke.”

They were almost there.

“Look,” Daron said.

Her pale body was glistening, the sun bouncing off it. Her black pubic hair contrasted with the brown sand and was visible from the distance.

“Holy shit,” Trey said, his Jamaican accent even more accentuated.

It was clear between the boys that something serious was afoot, something that would change them forever.

“You gotta be fucking kidding me,” Adam said, looking like he was about to puke. His blond hair was waving in the wind and his face was pale.

Daron felt possessive over the girl. He didn’t want his buddies to get too close and defile the bond that he felt for her. He had found her and felt the need to protect her. How goddamn ironic is that, he thought. She’s already dead. The worst has been done.

Trey pulled out his phone and Mitch stopped him before he could dial 911. “Wait a minute. There are five guys here. The cops are gonna think we had something to do with it. She’s naked, Trey.”

Trey looked at the guys and put the phone away. Terra exhaled from the safety of her spiritual home. What four out of the five boys didn’t know was that her killer was among them. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fighting on the Street/An Old Lover

It’s weird. I have been feeling the urgent need to revive my cause against domestic violence on social media. With the release of A Recipe for Disaster, my second (but first) novel and my computer issues, I haven’t been on top of domestic violence awareness. Well, yesterday, as baby girl and I were walking home, the Universe reminded me of why I need to continue to raise my voice against DV.

At first I thought they were playing, tossing love taps that young couples often engage in. But then I heard the resounding sound of fists as they landed and knew it wasn’t for fun. He hit her and she hit him back. In the middle of the sidewalk, a couple (about 20 years-old or so) was fighting.

They would throw a few punches as they kept walking down the street, saying a couple of words along with the punches. I couldn’t make out what they were saying. I kept walking up the street toward them. A little girl was crying and getting between the couple (she had to be about 7). My heart broke as I stopped with baby girl and wondered what I should do.

They were coming toward us and the punches continued. My first instinct was to get between them to stop the fighting, but I thought of my daughter and the rough section of town we live in and thought against it. I looked around for help. I saw a woman in a car on her cell phone and prayed that she was calling the police. In case she wasn’t, I fumbled around for my cell phone in my diaper bag and came up with a sippy cup and diapers instead. I cursed myself for not cleaning out the bag so I could find my cell phone easier.

My lips parted to yell “stop” at the couple, but nothing came out. And then I saw him. An old lover. Big. Tall. Strapping. I knew he would be able to stop it. He was walking out of a building toward his car. After years of not seeing him, my first thought in the midst of the frightening situation was, “Wow, he still looks the same. He looks good.” He had noticed the couple, too, but I don’t think he saw me.

“_____, stop them!” I yelled out to him. He said a few words to the young couple and so did I.

“Ya’ll shouldn’t be doing that in front of that baby,” I said. What I really should have said was, “Ya’ll shouldn’t be fighting period.” But we don’t always say the perfect thing in the middle of the moment. It’s only after the incident is over that we come up with the right words.

I looked at the young woman who had also been throwing punches. She looked at me. I saw tears rolling down her face, probably from a mixture of embarrassment and gratefulness. How many times had she and her boyfriend been fighting like that in the middle of the street? I wondered. The boyfriend glanced at my ex-lover. He was skinny and I knew he didn’t want any part of my big, hunk of an ex. They stopped fighting and kept walking as me and my ex watched. Finally, they parted ways and the ex and I were left standing there.

I introduced him to my baby girl. “What?! You done went and had a baby on me?” he said, commenting on how pretty she is, and I smiled with pride. “Yeah, her father is a bastard, but I love my little girl,” I said and told him about my baby daddy and my unlucky streak with life.

“Well, I’m rich now,” he said in that ever-confident, joking manner that he always had. He looked good, like life was treating him well. I glanced down at my worn-out clothes and felt embarrassed. This was the man who had seen me in my hay-day when I was able to get my hair done, buy nice clothes and strut around like my shit didn’t stink. I felt like I was reduced to a lower denominator, but I began to wear my scars with pride as I recounted the past few years. I’m still standing in spite of everything, I thought.

Then he did what I wasn’t expecting. He blessed me financially at a time when I need it the most. He put the money in my hand and hugged me and I couldn’t help but rejoice as I thanked him profusely. God is so good, I thought over and over again. The bitterness that tainted our relationship and caused it to end was gone. Old wrongs were forgotten as we stood there looking at one another. Yes, he’s still sexy. Could I see myself testing those waters again? No. But I can’t see myself with anyone right now. I have a lot of work to do on me before I get involved with anyone again. Besides, the only person I’m concerned about is my daughter and how I can get back on my feet. And knowing my ex, I’m sure he has a gaggle of women in his life right now vying for that #1 spot.

But I’m grateful. Grateful that our paths crossed and he was able to stop a potentially explosive situation. Grateful that he was able to help me and my daughter. Grateful that God used an instrument that once brought me pain to bless me so I could forgive and move on. Grateful that I got a reminder to continue the fight against domestic violence so I will never forget that there’s someone out there who needs to hear what I have to say. And so I’ll continue to speak on.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Dangers of Social Media

I haven’t done a blog post in forever. This one took a while because of family issues and the fact that I wanted to be careful of how I worded it. As I said before, you can’t implicate someone without proof or you can get yourself in a whole world of trouble. So, now I think I’m ready. Shall we proceed? Yes, indeed.

Social media can be a good thing (you have the world at your fingertips). At the same time, it can open you up to a host of criminals that prey upon unsuspecting victims. My last blog post was about my computer that got hacked. The criminals inserted spyware into my system. This post is about some of the ways they operate.

In my last post, I also mentioned that my hackers have fake accounts everywhere…and I mean everywhere. I’m sure they number into the hundreds. Why the fake accounts? To get thousands of followers at their fingertips.

For example, let’s say you create a quote account, Zen Zenobia, which specializes in disseminating new-age quotes to center yourself. On Twitter, these hackers will have their already existing fake accounts mention this account so it can gain new followers. They may even set up a Facebook page for the account and a website (there are tons of websites that these hackers have set up, but I’ll speak more on that later).

By getting other accounts to mention Zen Zenobia, Zen’s followers can skyrocket into the thousands. I suspect there are hundreds of accounts that are controlled by the same hackers. What next? Zen now has thousands of followers clicking on her links and downloading things that may have spyware programs attached to them. (It’s a known fact that cyber criminals often tag along onto legitimate programs to infect a host’s computer.) After amassing their followers, these criminals now have a gaggle of people they can prey upon. Not to mention the fact that the more followers they have, the more followers they will gain because people want to be in on the next big thing.

The hackers set up blogs and other websites as another way to scam unsuspecting victims. I saw one blog that claimed to have a Word Press plugin, which may very well be legit. But let’s say that the hacker attached spyware to that Word Press plugin. Next thing you know, your personal information is at their fingertips. They can look into your e-mails, steal your credit card information and then infect others in your address book. By the way, they even have a website catering to black women that has almost 50,000 followers. Once again, they are everywhere, doing everything they can to generate money by any means necessary.

Another thing these accounts do once they amass followers is ask for donations for this cause or that. The cause may or may not be legit. In most cases, they will tag along on a legitimate cause like breast cancer awareness in order to appear trustworthy/altruistic. But what the scoundrel is really concerned about is scamming people out of their hard-earned money. For example, one fake account asked for $1 donations from their followers for “operating costs”. Ahem *coughs*. Scam alert. They may even have a “contest” to choose the next best independent novel. But what they will do is have a $25 contest fee. At $25 a pop, imagine how much money they’re raking in.   

The social media accounts in question also stress that you share their FB page or Twitter account with your friends and family. And we all know why: to get more followers. I have seen these hacker accounts constantly offer prizes so you can share their FB page with people in your network. It’s like leading animals to the slaughterhouse. Because of us—and because we have shared their information—they have a host of people they can prey upon.

As I said in my last post, I have seen publishers create fake accounts to lend prestige to their authors in order to sell more books. They even go so far as to acquire manuscripts and steal pictures of people in order to create a whole new persona to sell books. Whose pictures and manuscripts they are stealing is beyond me, but I know it’s happening. Let’s say this publisher has 50 books they are selling under various labels. Again, imagine how much money they are raking in by creating these personas. These scammers will do anything to achieve their mission of defrauding people.

I believe the same group of hackers is all over the Internet with their fake accounts, their fake websites, etc. trying to figure out novel ways to defraud people and steal money. Let me reiterate: They try to gain prestige for their accounts and websites by amassing thousands of followers so they can look like the next big thing. Many times, the victims have no idea what happened to them and don’t even realize their computer system is compromised. Others, like me, get the feeling that something is not quite right.

Because I began to realize that these hackers set up business ventures (i.e. publishing companies, editing businesses, etc) to hide what they’re really about, they came after me. They tried to sabotage my self-publishing venture by attacking me with a fake account that posted a scathing review of my novel. They also changed my social media posts so I could appear incompetent or deleted them altogether. It took a year before I realized what was going on. (Read my other blog post "The Case Against TC" to find out what happened.)

This hacking ring is bigger than me and my little old computer. Who knows how long they have been operating and hacking computers. I really hope someone brings them down, but why do I suspect that’s not going to happen? It hasn’t happened yet and law enforcement is behind the times in dealing with cyber crimes. The only thing I can do is hope that Karma pays them a visit, that something takes them down. I actually feel like I’m the protagonist in a movie…”War Games” or something like that. You know, the one who knows that evil exists but no one believes them. Le sigh. Until they are taken down, be careful out there, folks. Someone is always watching.