Leaving the Scene of a Crime

7 May

One hundred words for Friday Fictioneers, a group of writers of all stripes and skill levels whose moderator is Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, based on a picture by Barbara W. Beacham. I love you all. Aloha, D.

Next prompt


The beleaguered heart of the sea still beats in time with the moon, but the estuary, once fecund beyond measure, is devoid of life. The harbor is home to weekend sailors whose vessels rarely leave their slips. Big box stores sell Orange Roughy and as long as the price is right, no one questions the cost.

 This tale had a hopeful beginning and a middle replete with halcyon days…. but it is headed for a bad ending.

Heinlein called stupidity the only universal capital crime. He was right.

 A reluctant witness, the moon moves farther away with each passing year.



Scene of a Crime

God Exits


If all of the world’s woes could be fixed by reducing the population by 99%, would you volunteer to leave the stage to the lucky 1%? No? Multiply that answer by 7 billion and you can see the real problem. But does our desire to keep living give us the right to destroy the cradle of 95% of the life on the planet? W.S. Merwin nailed it in his poem, For a Coming Extinction. I write about it here because I’ve decided not to be silent any longer. Tell the story, pass the word, raise hell, make waves, get off your ass, call your Congressmen, demand change, boycott, educate yourself, speak out and for the sake of the oceans, stop swallowing whatever it is the powers that be try to feed you.




52 Responses to “Leaving the Scene of a Crime”

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) May 7, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    This one was sad … no-one ask the price, and sailors never leave shore.. and soon even the moon leave us to care for ourselves..

    • dmmacilroy May 7, 2014 at 11:45 am #

      Dear Bjorn,

      And we got here one step at a time. No one else to blame but us.

      Thanks for reading.



  2. Gunn's Cabin Fever May 7, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    Totally, and utterly mesmerised by such powerful writing – the subject was real, but the writing, the writing………!!!!

    • dmmacilroy May 7, 2014 at 11:47 am #

      Dear Sir Gunn,

      You are too kind. Thanks for reading this one.



  3. David Stewart May 7, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    I like your contrasting of price versus cost. That is what it comes down to, the short-term price of goods, conveniences and luxuries versus the long-term costs of our way of life. Thank you for your passionate writing on this. Enough complacency is enough.

    • dmmacilroy May 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

      Dear David,

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Spread the word and perhaps our children will see the tide stemmed.



  4. erinleary May 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    Great reminder of our need to change. The costs are too much – we’ll pay with the future. This article is one that made me really take notice: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/. Glad to see you here. I hope all is well.

    • dmmacilroy May 7, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

      Dear Erin,

      All is well, thanks. And thank you for the great link. I am going to start compiling them on another blog to put my money where my mouth is. I appreciate your help.



  5. elmowrites May 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    Great to see you back, Doug. I’m sad that it’s with another Cassandra warning, but not because I think you’re wrong. Loved the writing – your skill hasn’t faded with lack of practice, the cost / price distinction is particularly strong.
    I dare you to come back next week… I double dare you to do so with a happy story!!!

    • dmmacilroy May 7, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

      Dear Jennifer,

      Happy story? What are those?

      Thanks for reading. Sorry to darken your day.



      • elmowrites May 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

        🙂 Not darkened, it’s good to have you back with the Fictioneers, and your writing’s to shiny to darken the day.

  6. wmqcolby May 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    Doug, you definitely have the sea in your blood. The Heinlein reference was my favorite (not only because he was from Kansas City, of course) and I laughed out loud.

    Good stuff, my friend!

    • dmmacilroy May 7, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

      Dear Kent,

      I’m glad you like the Heinlein reference. He would not be silent now, either.



  7. silentlyheardonce May 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    A dark and gloomy tale but the photo is just that. Nice writing.

    • dmmacilroy May 7, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I felt the same way about the photo. The power lines in the distance, the development in the far right horizon, the shopping cart and the encroaching masts in the marina across the estuary.



  8. Helena Hann-Basquiat May 7, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    What lovely language, Doug, and the use of the relationship between the sea and the moon was inspired, darling. I loved your deliberate distinction between the price and the cost. I’ll give you a quote that this reminded me of from e.e. cummings “Progress is a comfortable disease.”
    Good to see you.

    • dmmacilroy May 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

      Dear Helena,

      You are kind to this old salt. Thank you for reading and for the E.E. Cummings quote. I fear it is a disease we shall regret having.

      It is great to be seen, especially by you.



  9. patriciaruthsusan May 7, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

    Doug, Rich language for a sad state of affairs. I don’t know what it’s going to take for people to wake up and really demand change. Where we live here in India, people try to just survive each day as it comes. There’s so much red tape people get strangled in it.:( Very well written. 🙂


    • dmmacilroy May 8, 2014 at 9:28 am #

      Dear Susan,

      What it’s going to take is what it usually does…famine, war, disease…and by then it will be way too late for a great many of the species now alive in the oceans. I am to the point where I don’t give a rip about humans as they have little to recommend them (en masse) as stewards of the planet. I do understand what it is to live from hand to mouth and I understand that for a mother and her child, the health of the oceans will always take second (or twenty-third) place, but therein lies the challenge…

      Like I said, I think it’s headed for a bad ending. That our species keeps thinking that it’s all about us is a sad comment on our intelligence level. I guess that sort of single minded focus has been what has kept food on the table for so long, and, ironically, hs brought us to this moment in time.

      Good luck with your 700 million countrymen. We’re not far behind in that department, but I’m thinking we’ll not catch you anytime soon.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.



  10. sustainabilitea May 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    Doug, my heart jumped for joy when I saw you were back and not even this cautionary, true tale can dim that. Too many are too far removed from the land and the sea to feel its pain and the money involved on either side is so great. But you’re right, let’s not go gentle into the dark night!


    • dmmacilroy May 8, 2014 at 9:33 am #

      Dear Janet,

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I thought that I might as well vent my frustration by sounding a clarion call of sorts to those I can reach. I’d rather go down trying than not.



  11. gingerpoetry May 7, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    wundervoll Doug! What a language, how powerful pictures! I admit, had to look up few words this time to get it translated, shame on me. It sounds laconic, disillusioned – but you are so right, it is never too late to stand up and fight for a change. The first step is the one you make by yourself. Great to see you here again,
    liebe Grüße

    • dmmacilroy May 8, 2014 at 9:38 am #

      Dear Carmen,

      I am astounded at your skill with two languages (and more, for all I know). Taking that step as we speak. More soon. Great to be seen, too. Thank you for reading and commenting.



  12. Sandra May 7, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    A red letter day! Lovely to see something from you, and a terrific thought-provoking piece too. I loved the concept of the moon distancing itself from us; one can hardly blame it. And don’t get me started about weekend sailors either…
    I hope we’re going to get to read you regularly Doug, you’ve been sadly missed.

    • dmmacilroy May 8, 2014 at 9:39 am #

      Dearest Sandra,

      I thought of you as I wrote about the weekend sailors. Thank you for dropping anchor and reading my story. I’ll try again next week and see how I do.



  13. storydivamg May 8, 2014 at 3:29 am #

    It’s a pleasure to read something new of yours. 🙂 The cautionary tale reads well, and your mastery of the English language works to your advantage here. Personally, I think the second paragraph could be cut without losing any of the actual story. Overall, however, you’ve handled a difficult topic without becoming preachy, which is no small feat, especially in 100 word or less.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    • dmmacilroy May 8, 2014 at 9:44 am #

      Dear Marie,

      I applaud you for saying the second paragraph could just as easily go. Thank you for that. It remains because it establishes a certain rhythm that I was looking for in this short piece.

      Avoiding preachy is a great compliment and I appreciate that, too.

      This is not a cautionary tale, however. It is, rather, an obituary for the myriad species cradled by the oceans of the world….and, in the end, ourselves.



      • storydivamg May 8, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

        Yes, all too often, cautionary and obituary collide these days. The eternal optimist, I continue to hope there is a way we can reverse these consequences in some way or at least prevent the demise of the entire Mother Earth. So sad.

        All my best,
        Marie Gail

  14. Perry Block (@PerryBlock) May 8, 2014 at 4:25 am #

    Great call to action and I hope many respond. I saw a scientist on Bill Maher talking passionately about this a few weeks ago, and my son has been active in this as well. The moon analogy is inspired.

    • dmmacilroy May 8, 2014 at 9:46 am #

      Dear Perry,

      Thanks for the kind comment. Any chance you remember the scientists name? I’m collecting links for another, more focused blog.



  15. Jan Brown May 8, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    My geology professor said, “When the ocean dies, so do we.” He tried to warn people that it was dying waaaaaaaay back when I was in college. Not too many listened then. But when I talk to my nephew and nieces, and see the choices they have made in how they live, work and run their businesses, I have hope that the next generations will do better. They know they have to.

    • dmmacilroy May 8, 2014 at 9:50 am #

      Dear Jan,

      They know they have to only because reality is setting in. Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the face” and I believe that that is where we find ourselves right now. Like I said, a bad ending.

      I hope you rattle their cages. Hell, show them this story and tell them to wake up. Blame me. I can take it.

      Thanks for visiting and reading. Good to see your again.



  16. rochellewisoff May 8, 2014 at 9:05 am #

    Dear Doug,

    You write as though we could understand.

    Kia Ora,


    • dmmacilroy May 8, 2014 at 9:52 am #

      Dear Rochelle,

      How nice to see you here. Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope someone, somewhere, understands. More than that, though, I wish we’d all just disappear and let the rest of the species live in whatever way they see fit. I hate being part of the sixth major planetary extinction…

      Shalom and Aloha,


  17. talesfromthemotherland May 8, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    I spent most of yesterday debating a similar story… this picture evokes the feelings so strongly. Today, when I looked again, the 2011 tsunami came to mind. However, the deep sadness I feel about the destruction of our environments and this glorious planet are captured spectacularly in this evocative, disturbing post. The story, as well as your words following, are deeply moving. Wonderful job, Doug and so nice to see you here this week! “The beleaguered heart of the sea still beats in time with the moon…” just beautiful.

    • dmmacilroy May 12, 2014 at 9:05 am #

      Dear Dawn,

      Thank you for your kind comment. Your story was equally evocative and heartfelt. It is nice to be back, if only for a moment.



      • talesfromthemotherland May 12, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

        Thank you Doug. We have missed your presence here. I see you pop up on other stories, and it’s always nice to see that icon. 😉 I appreciate your feedback; thanks.


  18. misskzebra May 8, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    This is an issue that is very close to my heart, and related, in an odd way, to my own post. It makes me very uncomfortable that the political parties gaining the most traction in my country are the ones who have an incredibly poor voting record on climate change and the environment.

    • dmmacilroy May 12, 2014 at 9:10 am #

      Dear MKZ,

      The people of the world are going to have to stop breeding and start being better stewards of the seas or the seas will be a cradle of death instead of life. The prompt really got to me and I have enjoyed hearing comments by you and others that tell me all is not hopeless. Shout it out while you can……or batten down the hatches, because trouble’s coming.



  19. Claire Fuller May 8, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

    Lovely to see you back Doug, and with such a heartfelt and important piece. We just all need to shout loud enough.
    (A perfect line: as long as the price is right, no one questions the cost.)

    • dmmacilroy May 12, 2014 at 8:56 am #

      Dear Claire,

      Thank you for the welcome back. The prompt moved me and our shared plight moves me. I will shout with you.



  20. rgayer55 May 9, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    Dear Doug,
    I can’t add much to what has already been said here. I’m reminded of the TV many years ago where an American Indian looked upon a stream filled with garbage while tears streaked down his cheeks. Many native peoples worshiped nature and respected its life-giving ways. Then, we “civilized” tribes began raping the land and sea with no regard for the future. Ooops, I guess I had something to add after all.
    Well done, my friend and thanks for posting a story everyone needs to read.

    • dmmacilroy May 9, 2014 at 10:55 am #

      Dear Russell,

      There are people out there working to make a difference. if you hear of any or come across their links (or any links) please send them to me. I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and try to become an ombudsman of sorts for that sort of information. Stay tuned. And thanks for reading.

      We meeting in Joplin, or what? Should I bring my portable tornado shelter? Talk to me.



  21. patrickprinsloo May 9, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    Time to rethink our life style, I guess. Have you linked in with the Transition Movement? They seem to be doing good things.

    • dmmacilroy May 12, 2014 at 9:00 am #

      Dear Patrick,

      I thought I’d answered this earlier. Will try again. I don’t know who they are but i will look them up and learn. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  22. elappleby May 9, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    ‘As long as the price is right, no one questions the cost’ – is a very clever line. You got my brain whirring with this one, a thought-provoking piece.

    • dmmacilroy May 12, 2014 at 9:01 am #

      Dear El,

      Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  23. Amy Reese May 9, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    Welcome back, Doug. Great story, although a sad message. I wish it wasn’t all too true. You’re right. We need to demand change and action. Any inconvenience will not be worth price we will pay later. Aloha!

    • dmmacilroy May 12, 2014 at 9:14 am #

      Dear Amy,

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Our children are going to be pissed and the creatures in the sea will have none. It is sad being in the middle of it all and feeling powerless. Wish us luck.



  24. sandraconner May 11, 2014 at 12:53 am #

    The imagery in the first paragraph is so powerful, Doug. And your seemingly unemotional descriptions of sailors who don’t go out to sea and box stores selling Orange Roughy have a QUIET quality to them that captures the reader’s feelings better than a loud, hard-nosed diatribe could have done.

    What’s more, you caused me to learn a new word. Yes, I admit it: Even though I’ve been an English teacher all my life, I had to look up the word “fecund.” Of course, I could figure out the general meaning from the context, but I wanted to be sure I was correct since I do not recall reading or using the word in my lifetime. Thanks for helping me grow my vocabulary.

    • dmmacilroy May 12, 2014 at 9:20 am #

      Dear Sandra,

      Your comment embodies the word ‘generosity’ and I cannot thank you enough for it. You always share your insights and thoughts in a way that leaves the recipient feeling very good about their writing and themselves. As for helping you learn a new word, you’re welcome and here’s another one. Mahalo nui loa.



  25. high five and raspberries May 12, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    This took my breath away. Is it that we are blind or, like the generations before us , are we going to do as we please and let our Grandchildren clean up our mess? Is it already too late? Earth is our Mother and we have failed her miserably.

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