Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chasing E

Every day I chase it
never wanting victory

If I win despair
envelops all
for this is a game
of avoidance

Nothing I chase so often
modern life everlasting
few ways to avoid
none for me

It is my foe but on I go
getting closer to it
foot by mile

I almost catch it
pull in blinking
bright lights
fill her up

My car breathes with delight
relief overcoming it

Fuel delaying the hunt

I chase away the E

*****
Another 11 hour day at work today.  What does that mean?  Another poem for you.  I just don't have the energy for a full story right now.  Plus, I have more work tomorrow and sadly I need some sleep to perform my duties so today is short and sweet out of necessity.

End of the month is generally super rough for me at work.  This week might be full of more short stuff.  However, I promise I will do my damnest to give you guys as much stuff as I can produce.


PS - If you aren't watching the Olympics you should be.  Even if you aren't a sports person (like me) it is really neat to watch.  Gives you a lot of national pride.  It is also inspiring to see what the human body can do after years of crazy training.  Answer: A lot of really amazing stuff.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Man on the Roof


“Karl is back.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“Fraid not, boss.”

“God damn it.”

Charles walked into his office and opened up the top drawer of his desk.  They didn’t have to say more.  When Karl came to the restaurant it only meant one thing.  Charles rifled through the drawer and found what he was seeking.

He walked outside and looked up.  Karl was where he always was in this situation.

“Hey Karl.”

“Hey Chuck.”

Karl waved down at Charles.

“Buddy, we talked about this.”

Charles shook his head and waved up at his brother.

“Did we?”

 “Yeah, we did.”

Karl was sitting in his usual spot.  It was right next to one of the vents on the roof.  Nobody ever saw him climb up.  It was obviously how he was getting up to the roof but somehow the actual process of getting up was always missed by everyone in the restaurant.  It was weird but everything about Karl ended up being weird so Charles didn’t think much about it.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, pretty sure, pal.”

“What did we say?”

“We said you shouldn’t be going up on the roof anymore.”

“Doesn’t sound like something we would say.”

“No?”

“Well, maybe something you might say.”

Things had been very rough since Debbie got married.  Watching after Karl was a full time job.  Unfortunately so was running his restaurant.  The two did not combine well together.  Debbie was always the best in the family at handling Karl.  She was even better than Mom and Dad.  However, she had served her time.  It had been five years since Mom passed away.  Charles had avoided it for too long.  His time was long past due.

“What did we say about that?”

“I don’t remember.”

“I think you do.”

Karl looked away from Charles.  It was obvious he was trying to be deceptive.  He didn’t like looking Charles in the face when he was trying to lie or avoid a conversation.

“Don’t think so.”

“Come on, man.  Look at me.  What did we say?”

Karl turned his face back to Charles and then sighed.  He would have shuffled his feet if he was sitting on them up on the roof.

“If you say we agreed on something I need to trust you that we did.  When in doubt if you say something assume it is something that you are saying to look after me.”

“That’s right.  So what did we say?”

“Not to go up on the roof?”

“That’s right.”

Karl put his hands together like he was praying.  He did it when he was upset.  Charles now hated that motion more than almost anything else.  When he was the cause it meant that he was causing his brother pain.  However, some things just couldn’t be avoided.

“But…but I like it up here.  It has a nice view.”

“I know it does, but you can’t just go up there.  It’s dangerous and it freaks out my customers.”

“Why?”

“What do you mean?”

“Why does it upset people?”

Charles wanted to scream the simple truth.  It wasn’t normal.  It was weird.  People didn’t go to dinner expecting to see some random lunatic on top of the roof of their restaurant of choice.  However, such truth was too cruel, too honest for his dear brother.  Finding the right way to explain things to Karl was always difficult.  Charles did not have the eloquence of their sister and both men knew it.

“It makes people uneasy, Karl.  They worry about you.  They think you might fall.  If they are worrying about you falling they can’t enjoy their pasta properly.”

It wasn’t a total lie.  There was probably some truth to it.  It would just have to do.  Karl nodded and looked out at some of the guests waiting for their table to be called.  Most were trying to be somewhat polite and feign indifference.  However, it wasn’t every day that the manager of your restaurant had to barter with his brother to get off the roof.  Some staring and whispers were naturally forming.

Karl looked like he was about to yell down at everyone to get their direct opinion.  Charles immediately put up his right hand high above his head.  It was an old family sign.  When someone in the family did the simple motion it was a sign for Karl to either stop something or just not start something that he was going to do which would ultimately be a bad idea.  The sign was sadly used quite a bit.

Karl had a lot of problems.  Listening to the sign was not one of them.  As soon as Charles raised his hand Karl immediately closed his mouth and nodded.

“But…I really like it up here.”

“I know you do, but I really need you to come down now.”

“I don’t want to.”

Multiple snickers from various potential customers.  Charles couldn’t really blame them.

“What if I had something for you?”

“Something?  Like what?”

“A treat.”

“A good treat?”

“The best.”

Karl looked down at his brother.  Charles took out the bag of Peanut Butter M&Ms that he got from his desk earlier.  Karl always did have a soft spot for Peanut Butter.  Karl’s eyes lit up or at least Charles thought they did.  It was kind of hard to tell since he was up on the roof.

“I just need to come down?”

“That’s right, buddy.  Just come down and you get the treat.”

“Ok, deal.”

“Great.”

Karl stood up and came over to the ledge.  In one graceful motion he swung himself down to part of the building and within seconds he was back on ground level.  It was the second saddest motion that Charles associated with his brother.  So much wasted potential.

Karl took the M&Ms from Charles.  Charles grabbed his brother and held him close.  He whispered into his ear and Karl nodded quickly and went inside.  Charles started his rounds.  He had a lot of guests to apologize to about the drama.  Such was the way of things.

The Man on the roof was now on the ground.  It wasn’t much but it was a start.

*****
New lesson of the day.

Writing anything while sitting in the waiting room of a mechanic is very difficult, especially when the TV is on in the background.

I am obviously not good at doing two things at once.

I’m watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics right now.  I’m digging it so far.  Super British but I’m ok with that.  I will post this to the blog once I get home.

You are reading my present in the future.  Isn’t that crazy?

The written word is amazing.

It’s probably going to be a pretty busy weekend.  I will try to post something either tomorrow or Sunday but I can’t promise anything right now.

PS – I have now been sitting in this waiting area for over 2 hours.  This is why people always groan about having to go to mechanics.  I like this place but the wait is pretty intense.

PPS – Obviously I wrote this earlier tonight.  Lots of people over at my house tonight meant I couldn’t post it sooner.  Posting it quickly and then finally going to bed.  Crazy day.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Neverending Nuisance

Emails evolve
into a greater beast
with each passing into another
ever increasing in girth and complexity
never letting me breath longer than a moment
for this foul creature is full of ever present nonsense
making sense only in this cascade of inane business jargon
abbreviations littering all corners of the digital page laughing
consuming my being one by one never letting peace fall upon my mind
every day looking for this mountain of industry to crumble always knowing

it never ends

*****
"You couldn't even throw together a quick poem yesterday?  What's up with that?"

Look, I'm tired of your lip, imaginary person.

"No, you're not!  Shut up and answer the question!"

Geez, you're bossy.  Fine, fine.  Work continues to be chaotic, busy, and super stressful.  Right now I'm just taking a quick breather to give myself a few minutes of mental break.  I was going to post something yesterday but I had to do some cleaning around the house and it pretty much used up my wrist for the day.  The good news is that my wrist is slowly on the mend and it should be back to normal pretty soon.  I estimate a couple more days, tops.

PS - You guys should totally go check out Jefferson Peabody.  He is amazing.
http://thebloggess.com/2012/07/i-dub-thee-jefferson-peabody-the-easily-excited/

Monday, July 23, 2012

Flashing Lights

Blue and red
protection and fear
flashing together
coming my way

What went wrong
to bring such wrath
upon my little car
full of problems

Into the abyss I go
side road wrapping me
dark shadows
all about

Exchange of words
problem explained
license taken
waiting

Lights flashing
officer away
hidden in his chariot
speaking to unseen gods

Law is absolute
ticket given
no escape
only regret

*****
Eleven hour work day + hurt wrist = short poem for today.

Why the 11 hour day?  Trying to catch up from my own incompetence.  I slacked off some last week due to various stuff going on.  I'm now paying the price.  Need to catch up.

Why the hurt wrist?  I honestly don't know.  Just woke up on Saturday morning in pain.  I might have slept on it wrong.  A gremlin might have been messing with it.  Could have been sleep boxing.  Could be job related/video game related since I use my right hand a lot for both.  All I know is that work was rough today since I had to use my mouse all day.

I'm going to try to take it easy on my wrist.  Until it starts feeling better you guys are probably going to get a lot of poetry and really short vignettes.  I want to keep writing but since I'm forced to do so much typing/mouse stuff at work I'm probably going to try to minimize my recreational computer use a bit until I heal up.  A few extra minutes of typing every day shouldn't affect me much but a long story might be pushing it.


I will let you guys know when my wrist is back to its normal awesome state of being.

PS -Yes, I got a ticket last week.  How did you know?  You're totally like psychic or something.  No, it wasn't for speeding (I drive like a little old lady).  It was for some technical problems with my car.  Yes, it sucked.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Waffles


“It does not match the description.”

“It also seems to be a single entity instead of multiple.  Does the s not denote plural in their English language?”

“Usually, yes.  This is very perplexing.”

“Indeed it is.”

Nush and Theck looked down at the small furry thing moving about the safety bin.

“Read the definition again from their planetary database.”

“According to planetary database Wikipedia the singular form is a batter or dough based cake cooked in a waffle iron patterned to give a distinctive and characteristic shape.  There are many variations based on the type and shape of the iron and the recipe used.”

Nush examined the little piece of metal hanging off of the nylon and plastic.

“It says Waffles.  It is confirmed.”

The furry entity gently bit Nush.

“It is attacking you!  Destroy it!”

Theck took out his blaster and aimed it at the concentration of dough.

“I do not think destroying it is necessary.  If that truly was an attack it was a weak and ineffectual one.”

Theck stopped aiming his blaster at the entity.

“It did seem rather weak.”

Nush and Theck looked down at the furry living collection of dough.

“This does not make sense.  This seems like it is a living thing.  According to the research it should be a collection of dough cooked on a specialized device and then consumed” said Nush.

“It also does not look like the pictures presented in the database article.”

“No, it certainly does not.”

“Do you think the database is in error?” asked Theck.

“It is possible but I think it is unlikely.  Their planetary database is updated by many editors on a regular basis.  Our interpretation of the data may simply be in error.”

“What do you mean?”

“Logic says that this furry entity is not a collection of dough designed for eating.”

“Are you sure?  It looks edible” Theck said.

Nush and Theck looked at the furry creature moving about the safety bin.  It made a strange sound up at them.  It wasn’t a screech or yell.  It was something softer and less threatening.

“What was that?” Nush asked.

“I do not know.”

“It was rather…”

“Cute?”

“Is that the human word?”

“I believe so” said Nush.

The two of them looked down at the furry one again.

“I do not think this thing is a waffle or plural version of it.” Theck stated.

“I think you are right.”

“In that case, what is it?”

“I don’t know.”

Nush picked it up and held it in his hands.  As an experiment he rubbed the creature softly.  It started to create a soft humming sensation.

“What are you doing?”

“Petting it I believe.”
“Why?” Theck asked with a confused expression on his face.

“I don’t really know.  Just felt like something that should be done.”

Theck looked down at their furry little passenger.

“Is Waffles simply the entity’s name?” Theck asked.

“Must be.”

“Why would they name it Waffles?”

“I have no idea. It is obvious that they should have named it Fluffykins instead.  It is a far more accurate scientific name for the creature.”

“I agree with your assessment.”

“Silly humans.”

*****
I was all set to post something yesterday but then I read all about the horrible incident over in Aurora, CO.  I’m a big softy.  It was very upsetting to read about.  I contemplated writing a fluffy bit to counter the evil presented in the event but I didn’t feel like doing so would be respectful enough.  I know in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter.  I know nobody would have read my tiny little blog here and go “How dare you!” or anything like that.  I have a very small sphere of influence.

However, it still just didn’t feel right to me so I figured I would simply skip it.

Just go appreciate your loved ones and family.  Life is wonderful but it can also be cruel.  Please take some moments to appreciate the good and give someone an extra hug today.

I love you all. Not as much as those that are close to me obviously in my life away from the blog but I love you all the same.  I have a lot of love in my heart and I can easily share it with you.  Thank you for visiting my world for a bit.  It is appreciated.  Please remember that you are loved.

I know my updates have been all over the place lately.  I really apologize for that.  Life has been quite challenging lately.  All I can promise that I will try my best to continue to bring you guys new stuff as much as possible.  I’m very hopeful that things should start getting back on track next week.



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Paper Problems


“I’m telling you New York is going all the way this year.”

“You’re insane.  No chance.  No chance.”

“They have great offense and hustle this season.  You can’t deny that.”

“I wouldn’t call it great.  Sure, it’s better than last year but that’s not saying…”

Both men stopped suddenly.  Both men noticed the mistake immediately.  It was not the type of mistake that could go unnoticed.

“Shit.  Bob, did you just do what I think you did?”

Bob looked over towards the trash can.  Both men stopped moving as much as they could.

“Oh my god.  I think I did.  Shit.  Shit.  What do I do?”

Henry shook his head.  This was beyond bad.  Both men had always joked about it in the past.  Not joking about it simply made things too bleak.  However, the reality was here.  Bob just screwed up in a deadly way.

“I don’t know, man.  I don’t think there is anything you can do.”

“Are you kidding me?  Just like that?  No second chance?”

“Don’t think so.  As they say, you’re done, son.”

“Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit.  Can’t I run?”

“I guess you can try.”

Both men looked towards the wastepaper basket to the right of Bob’s desk.  No movement.

“Damn it.  How could you be so careless, Bob?  I mean, come on!”

“I don’t know!  I don’t know, ok.”

“Now I’m feeling all guilty.  I mean, I know it’s your fault and all, but damn, all the same.  If we weren’t talking about the game…”

“Yeah, I know….it’s alright, man.  I don’t blame you.  I’m the one that screwed up.  You could have been anybody.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“You know what I mean.”

“Yeah...”  Henry shook his head and looked his old friend in the eyes.  “I’m still sorry though.”

Both men looked over the trash bin again.  There was still no movement.

“I lied.”

“What?”

“I lied.  I’m not actually a level 12 multitask technician.”

“You’re kidding right?”

“Damn it!  Why the hell would I mess with you at a time like this?”

Henry looked down at his feet and then over at the trash bin again.

“I’m sorry, you’re right.  It’s just.  You think you know a guy you know?”

“Yeah…sorry about that. 

“Why’d you do it?”

“Needed the money.”

“Dude, that sucks.”

“Yeah, tell me about it.”

The trash can started to shake.  It wasn’t a lot of movement but it was still movement where there should be none.

“Anything you want me to tell Gloria?”

The two men stared at each other.  Both knew what the question really meant.  Bob nodded.

“Yeah, tell her that I love her and tell her that I’m sorry she married such a fool.”

“I will.  You might be a fool but you were a good friend.”

“Thanks.  You weren’t half bad yourself.”

“I feel like we should hug or some shit.”

“I wouldn’t.  Don’t want to get in the crossfire, you know?”

“Yeah…”

“Should I run?”

“You should try.”

Both men nodded and rushed towards the door.  The gesture was pointless.  Henry knew it and deep down so did Bob.  Bob had messed up.  He didn’t stamp the old form with “Expired”.  He threw it into the trash can improperly stamped.

Henry kept running.  Looking back would only fuel nightmares.

Nobody should see a man killed by a sheet of deadly paper.

Some things the mind should just never process.

*****
Hello my little Argonauts!

(Still need to find a better name for you guys)

Sorry about vanishing for a few days.  Family drama and work stuff.  Combine them together and my desire to write anything productive melted away.  Should be back again for a bit though.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tribes: Ascend

Tribes: Ascend has a simple concept.  You are a part of a tribe of warriors in the future.   You have high tech weapons and jetpacks.  Why jetpacks?  Jetpacks are cool.

Gameplay is similar to most team based shooters.  People take on different roles and everyone tries to work together to meet your mutual goals.  What are those goals?  Well, it depends on the mode of play that you are playing.

Capture the Flag - The most common type of scenario in the game.  Each team has a flag.  Your goal is to protect your flag and steal the flag of your enemy.  First team to get five flags wins.  The game is timed.  If neither team can get five flags before the time runs out the team with the most flags win.  Whatever team wins gets more points.

Team Deathmatch - Big free for all combat.  Each team starts with a collective pool of lives.  First team to make the other team run out of points wins.  Winner gets extra points.

Capture and Hold - Each map has various control points (similar to the TF2 mode but more fluid since the points don't stay held) and your job is to control each as long as possible.  Every second you control a point you earn a point for your team.  The first team to 300 points wins the round.  Obviously the control points change hands quite a bit in this mode.

Arena (Unlocked at Rank 8) - Five on five match in an arena like setting.  Both teams start with a certain amount of lives.  First team to lose all of their lives loses.  Very similar to Team Deathmatch but much faster paced because the place where you are fighting is much smaller.

What are the points used for?  Unlocking stuff.  Specifally unlocked classes, weapons, and buffs.

Does this sound similar to TF2 and Super Monday Night Combat?  Yes, yes it does.  Is this a bad thing?  No.  Most team based shooters are pretty damn similar.  The nuances are just a little bit different.  That is what sets them apart.

"Alright, that's fair.  What are the nuances of this game.  Why should I play it?  What makes it stand out?  What makes it cool?"
  • Jetpacks - This game is very fast paced.  You are literally flying around and sliding around with your jetpacks.  You can't fly forever but the mechanic speeds up the game significantly and it makes the 3d space more important.  In TF2 you might need to worry about a sniper getting a perch somewhere and hitting you from that perch.  That is about the extent of how much you need to worry about height.  In this game death can come from above from anyone.
  • Classes - You start with 3 classes unlocked for free.  There are six extra classes you can unlock.  You unlock the classes using the points mentioned previously.  I still prefer having all the classes being open from the beginning (TF2) but at least unlocking the classes in this game isn't that difficult.  The point prices for unlocking are a lot more reasonable than Super MNC.  I have about 19 hours total into the game (over many matches) and I have already unlocked all the classes.  I have about 11 hours into Super MNC and have unlocked none of them.
  • High Tech Setting - The weapons and special abilities your characters have have a distinctive cool science fiction feel to them.  Sure, most of the weapons ultimately come down to "X type of gun with a sci-fi bent" but when you combine that with forcefields, flying helicarriers and other stuff the setting helps to make the game stand out a bit from all the other more modern day team shooters out there.
  • Credits Earning/Spending - In all of the modes you earn credits as you kill people, fix bases defenes and do other similar things.  You can spend this credits on a variety of things each match to help you out.  This puts some variety and strategy into what is usually a pretty straight forward "shoot the other guy in the face" genre.
  • Vehicles - In Capture the Flag and Capture and Hold modes you can buy vehicles with the money you gain during the match.  Fighting someone with a hover tank can be pretty cool.
  • Ranks - You level up your rank as you play.  You start at 1 and max out at 50.  At 8 you unlock the ability to do Arena.  Beyond that it is just for bragging rights/a quick way to see how much someone else plays.
If you like team based shooters you should check out the game.  It's repetive but still a lot of fun and quite challenging.  With everyone moving so quickly thanks to the jetpacks just the act of shooting someone can be quite difficult.  The community is full of the usual dregs of humanity that play online shooters but as long as you can deal with being called a noob and stupid by people who play the game a huge amount you should be fine.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Old Secrets


“Come on, Abel.  It’s been 10 years since we met.”

“No.”

“Ah, come on.”

“Don’t want to talk about it.”

“That the best you got?”

“Don’t you use the same excuse for your little flask there?”

Clint looked down at the flask on the table.  He had just put some “helper” in his second cup of coffee.  Abel always was good at turning the tables on him.  Clint always claimed it was cough medicine if anybody he didn’t know asked.  Both men knew better of course.

“That was a low blow.”

“I know.”


“Why did you say it then?”

“Thought it would work.”

Clint had lost track of how many times he had run into Abel over the last 10 years.  It had to be at least 100.  Even with all of their meetings he still knew so little about him.

His name was Abel Luna.  He was 31 years old.  He had a public record of graduating High School at 18.  He didn’t have a college transcript.  No criminal record.  No residence.  No driver’s license.

“You can be a really cold bastard sometimes, you know that?”

“I do.”

He didn’t go to the homeless shelter.  He wasn’t renting out a room at any of the hotels or motels in Clint’s patrol area.  Yet he was always around.  He was like a ghost but made out of flesh and blood.

“Can’t you give me a hint?  Something?  It’s not like I haven’t been patient.”

“It isn’t a matter of patience.  It is a matter of privacy.  I don’t want to talk about it.  Don’t take it personal.  I like you quite a bit, Clint.  You’re a perfectly fine guy, especially for a cop.  It just isn’t something I desire to talk about…to anyone.”

“I can take you in, you know.”

“That right?”

“Yeah…”

“For what exactly?”

“Well…not answering police questions about your residency for starters.”

“Yes, I’m sure Jerry is going to love you wasting your time with that one.”

“Oh, come on!  This is just absurd!  You can’t live your whole life as one big secret!”

He was right of course.  He didn’t have anything really to go on.  Hell, Abel was there first.  According to the local residents he just kind of showed up 12 years ago.  No family.  No car.  He just walked into town and asked if anyone was hiring.

He had worked for almost everyone in town.  He never did anything official of course.  Abel simply didn’t do official.  Everything was off the books and under the table.  If the IRS ever caught up to him he would be in a world of hurt.  However, if you don’t have a home or phone it gets rather tricky for the IRS to catch up to you, especially if you have never officially worked anywhere in your life.

He had a varied skill set.  One day he might be doing carpentry work for Mrs. Jensen and the next he was doing gardening for Mr. Green’s bank.  Nobody ever asked where he learned everything.  He spent a lot of time in the library.  Everybody just assumed he just loved to learn.

“You know that isn’t true.  People live secrets all the time.”

Clint looked down at his flask.  There was a reason that he drank.  Everyone knew the general reason and they left it at that.  Some things shouldn’t be talked about.  What a man does in war doesn’t need to be spoken about when it’s over.

“Sometimes people have a good reason.”

Abel looked up from his pie.  His eyes were remarkably blue.  They always stood out when Abel actually focused them on you.

“You’re right.  Sometimes they do.  In fact, I would say they often do.”
He then looked back down and ate another bite of his pie.

“I really don’t understand you.”

“I know.”

“Doesn’t that bother you?”

“Not in the least.”

Everyone just assumed that Abel had a campsite in the woods somewhere.  However, nobody ever found it.  The local teenagers mostly avoided the woods at night.  They weren’t really afraid of Abel.  Nobody was.  He had done nothing but good things for everyone in the four towns nearby.  He had shown up in each and never caused any problems.

The same couldn’t be said about a quarter of the residents of the various towns.

It was never anything major.  These were good people.  However, sometimes they just got a bit rowdy, especially once the playoffs started.

Not Abel.  He was the perfect citizen, minus all the mystery bits.

“How do I know you’re not some kind of criminal?”

“Do I seem like some kind of criminal?  Have you ever found anything that points you to investigate that particular avenue?  Have I ever caused any problems?”

“Well, no…”

“Well then.  Let’s assume I’m not then.  Sound fair?”

“Yeah, yeah I suppose it does.”

That was just how he talked.  He was very direct.  For a man with so many obvious secrets he had a surprisingly “no bullshit” attitude.  If you asked him a question he would always answer you honestly.  The only problem was that sometimes he simply told you no or told you he didn’t want to talk about it but he would never blow you off.  That just wasn’t the type of man he was.

“Ok, fine. I give up.  No more questions.”

“Good.”

“Alright, I lied.  One more.  Where are you heading next?”

Abel looked around the diner for a few seconds and then nodded.  He did that sometimes.  Nobody was ever really sure why he did it, he just did.

“North.”

“So I’ll probably see you over at Gwen’s Sandwich Shop right?”

“Yes, that seems likely.”

“Well, see you there then.”

“Yep.”

He wouldn’t go north.  He never went the direction he told Clint.  However, Clint only patrolled four small towns.  It was a relatively small area.  He wasn’t going north but he should be showing up in one of the other towns soon enough.

Abel was still holding on to his old secrets.  Clint knew it wasn’t going to be easy to convince him to let them go.  It never was.  However, he also knew the pain of keeping secrets hidden away.  He only had half a secret of his own and sometimes it was almost too much to bear.  Abel was carrying around a lot more than just half a secret.

Clint would just need to bribe the truth out of him one piece of pie at a time.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Problem with Noses


The human nose is really kind of a loser.  He lets in bad smells.  He lets himself completely go to hell and turns disgusting with the slightest cold.  He is a total wimp and terrible at nose to anything combat.  He never contributes anything of note besides an occasional good smell and he is a total freeloader.  He is constantly hanging out on your face and never pays for a damn thing even though you take him everywhere.  He is the classic friend that you just can’t quite rid of even though it would probably be better for both of you if you parted ways.

Of course the biggest problem with the nose is that it isn’t a hand.  Heck, even a finger could do in a pinch but a whole hand would be even better.

Lou Stanley was unfortunately learning this the hard way in the very worst of ways.

His morning started off pretty ordinary.  He woke up and did his normal work day routine.  He drove to work, hitting minimal traffic.  He bought a bagel and coffee from Emily at the food cart in the lobby.  He flirted with her a little bit and she flirted back.  He contemplated asking her out and then chickened out.  It was a typical Tuesday.

Work went by and he accomplished his goals for the day.  Then things started to go wrong and wrong quickly turned into crazy.  It all started with his cell phone dying.

Just as he was about to leave his boss Duncan informed him that Steve dropped the ball on the Valentine Industries account.  Duncan had to let Steve go and he needed some prep work done immediately for a presentation tomorrow.

Duncan bribed Lou with overtime pay and a couple of good seats for the game on Sunday.  It was a good and solid bribe and even though Lou was tired he took it and got to work.

Everything was dragging along nicely until about 9:15 or so.  Right around then he heard voices he didn’t recognize in the building.  Being a responsible employee he tried to quietly call Karl at security.  No answer.  He was then going to call the police but the intruders must have had good hearing.  He quickly turned off his monitor and tried to hide under his desk.

His cell phone was right above him on his desk but he didn’t dare move.  They weren’t talking.  They were listening for him.  His lackluster hide and seek skills gained him about 20 seconds.  They found him and immediately tied him up in his computer chair and blindfolded him.  It was three men armed with guns and Halloween masks.  They had local accents and dark clothing.  Lou immediately knew why their purpose.  It had to be Duncan’s safe.  There was nothing else of real value.

A lot of money went through the company.  Most of it was electronic transactions but Duncan had to keep some money on hand for special situations with clients.  Lou didn’t understand all of the semantics involved.  He just knew that Duncan usually had thousands of dollars at a time in his office safe.  It had to be an inside job.  Who else would know about it?  Some ex-employees came to mind but each seemed less and less likely as he went through the candidates in his head.

It didn’t matter.  The important thing was that he had to figure out a way to get out of his current situation.  He listened.  He heard nothing.  He listened again.  Nothing of note came to him.  He heard some noise off in the distance but nothing nearby.

“Hey guys, I really don’t know what is going on here and I really don’t care.  I just need to piss something fierce.  Can we work something out here?”

He said it to the nothingness around him.  He didn’t whisper it.  He didn’t yell it.  He was just speaking in a conversational tone.  If someone was close enough to hear him they would respond.  However, if all of them were either inside Duncan’s office or near his office he should be in the clear.


“Guys?”

Nothing.  He waited a few more seconds.

“Guys?  Anyone there?”

Still no reply.  This seemed like his moment.  They tied him up and blindfolded him but they didn’t turn off his computer.  The general hum of the office kept the noise of his computer mostly background noise.  Most of his fellow office drones just left their computers on overnight.  This meant his captors took away his cell phone and unplugged his phone but they forgot about the computer.  He still had a method of reaching the outside world.

Of course the problem was his only ally in this great struggle was his nose and as we all know noses do not make for steadfast companions.  They tied his hands behind his back and behind the chair.  For extra security they then tied them to the chair itself.  His legs were also tied to the chair in an uncomfortable manner.  Getting out of the chair was simply not an option.

The first step was getting the blindfold off.  This was going to be a hard enough task even without the extra penalty of being blind.  He prayed that they left his desk alone.  He was pretty sure that they did.  He leaned towards his desk and lifted the chair off the ground slightly.  Supported all of his weight and the weight of the chair on just his tiptoes was difficult but possible.   He leaned further into his desk and searched for a pencil or pen with his nose.  He found one.

They didn’t put the blindfold on well.  It was just a piece of cloth wrapped around his eyes.  They probably figured the tying would take care of everything so their workmanship was shoddy.  He moved the pen he found closer to the edge of the desk.  He then nudged it into position and then put it between him and the blindfold.  It gave way after some gentle jostling about.

Victory!  It was only the first step but an essential one for what came next.  There was no going back now.  He had removed his blindfold.  He picked his destiny.  He could have just sat there and just let the world go by but that isn’t the type of man that Lou is.  He is no nose.

With his vision restored he got down to business.  He picked up the chair again and painfully stretched forward.  This time it was a much further stretch.  His muscles ached as his nose led the charge.  He tried to hit the power button of the monitor.  He missed.  He tried again.  He missed again.

This was a very tiring plan but it wasn’t like he had anything better planned.

After about a minute of effort he finally achieved victory.  The monitor turned on.  He heard voices down the hall.  His captors were arguing about something.  That could mean trouble or could be a good sign of dissention among the ranks.  Both options meant the same thing for Lou.  He needed to finish up his plan sooner rather than later.

He pulled the keyboard and mouse closer to him using his face and nose.  Once they were at a less painful angle he then moved his mouse over to his messenger program.  Thank god he had it up otherwise he would lost precious seconds.

He clicked on his neighbor Henry.  Double clicking without a finger was particularly challenging.  Why couldn’t his nose have better motor skills?

He moved his nose over the keys as quickly as he could.

911 hrelp qwork tided jp[ masked men

The reply came back after a few seconds.

Is this for real?

ydesa hyedlp;

Holy shit.  Calling the cops now.

Lou then shifted his weight more and moved his right foot as close as he could to his power strip.  Luckily hiding under his desk earlier shifted it out slightly.  He was able to just reach the power button with the tip of his shoe and turn it off.  Now there was no easy trace of his contact with the outside world.

He looked around and listened.  The three men were coming out of Duncan’s office.  The man in the middle had a good sized duffle bag over his shoulder.
Trying to hide wasn’t an option.  His bonds were too good.  Only thing left was to act the victim.

He used the last of the strength in his legs to push his chair over in the direction of the fallen makeshift blindfold.  If things went well they would think it fell off when he fell.  If things didn’t go well he was pretty sure he was never going to get that date with Emily.

Hitting the floor made a loud thud.  Lou made sure to exaggerate it but not too much.  The three criminals came running.

“Have a little fall, faggot?” one said in a familiar voice.

Got you.  Mike Madison.  You always were a prick.

“Oh god!  Please, don’t hurt me!”

“Come on, let’s get out of here” said an unknown voice under the mask of Dracula.

“Whatever.  Later, pussy” eloquently came out of Mike’s mouth while pretending to be Austin Powers.

The three men left but they didn’t get far.  The police arrived 6 minutes after Mike and the boys left Lou.  Henry arrived at the 10 minute mark.  He was a good neighbor.  It didn’t take much effort to track down the thieves since Mike was foolish enough to talk.  He was still living at his old address in the company files.  Mike never was the smartest.  The police were waiting for him when he got home.  He was a real nose of a guy if you know what I mean.

Lou got a big bonus and the whole incident made him examine his life and gave him the confidence to ask out Emily.  She said yes despite that rather useless nose on his face.

Then again for a nose I guess it did alright.  Still though, it’s certainly no hand.
 
*****
Sorry for the lack of post yesterday, gang.  My 10 ½ hour day at work was rough and I was simply not in the writing mood after it was done.  One of these days my day job will get less hectic.    I unfortunately don’t know when that day will come.  My hope is that “soon” is the answer.

Note: Yes, I typed the rescue message for real with my hands behind my back with my nose.  Lesson learned?  I’m a pretty good nose typist.  Learn something new every day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Brick Layer Brock


The last red brick was finally placed.  Brock had been working on the wall for weeks but all of his hard work finally paid off.  It went around all of City Hall and was beautiful.  The Mayor wanted a quality job done so he hired Brock to put up the wall brick by brick.  It wasn’t the biggest job Brock worked in his twenty years of brick work but it was certainly the most satisfying.  His bricks would stand guard over City Hall for years to come.  Brock stepped down from his ladder and took a few steps back to admire his handiwork.  It was a good wall.

Then a man violently smashed through the wall.  Many hours worth of work were gone in a flash.

It wasn’t just any man.  It was Captain Excellent.

“Sorry about the mess, citizen.  Evil is in the air!”

Bah.  Tomorrow Men.  Always breaking things.  At least he was nice enough to apologize.  A lot of them never did.  Captain Excellent was pretty decent compared to most.

“Umm….are you alright?” Brock asked since it seemed like the right thing to do.

“Of course!  However, Doctor Havok soon won’t be!”

With that he jumped into the air and flew in the general direction of villainous cackling.  All of them had read too many damn comic books.

Brock examined the damage.  It was bad.  A small car hitting the wall would have created a similar amount of damage.  People weren’t meant to be smashing through walls.  It was indecent.

The repair was going to take hours, maybe even days.

~*~

No more hole.  The damage had finally been restored.  It took 12 detail oriented hours but the hole was finally fixed.  The wall was complete.  The beautiful wall was now ready to be Brock’s legacy.  He packed up his ladder and other supplies.  He put everything in his truck and then walked across the street.  He wanted to get a nice look at the total package.

A flaming bus then smashed into his truck and then landed on the wall.

Brock simply stared.  It was unbelievable.  How did they know?  Were they planning their idiotic battles around his work schedule?  He frantically started looking around for his latest abuser.

Battle Boy.  Inferno Ivan.  He saw them both down the street.  The bus was obviously the work of Ivan.  Based off the flaming scorch marks it looked like he hit the bus towards Battle Boy and Battle Boy dodged out of the way.  Brock’s poor truck got hit with the large projectile instead of the intended target.  It was yet another typical pointless battle with the little guy getting burnt.

“Hey!  You there!”  Brock yelled getting closer to the scuffle.

Battle Boy and Inferno Ivan both turned towards him.  He didn’t really have a second part of his plan.  He was just driving along on adrenaline and hoping he didn’t crash into a wall.

“Hey man!  You should get down!” Battle Boy exclaimed.

As he said a red burst of flame hit his shiny black armor and Brock jumped out of the way into some nearby bushes.

“Taste my hot flame, Battle Boy!” Inferno spewed out like a Saturday Morning cartoon.

Damn Comic books.  So much amazing potential wasted away on idiots.  It was an entire generation of special individuals just wasting time fighting each other instead of using their gifts to change the world.

“This nonsense needs to stop!” Brock yelled out from the bushes.

“Chill out!  I got this!”

Brock stood up from the bushes and advanced on the Tomorrow Men again.

“Got this?  Got this?  My truck and wall are ruined because of you!”

Battle Boy and Inferno Ivan had stopped fighting.  They were both watching Brock approach them.  Neither of them could have been older than twenty.  Kids.  Stupid kids with super powers.

“Hey!  It wasn’t my fault.  Ivan did it.”

“So what?  I’m supposed to!  Now get back old man or…”

Brock was so sick of these would be villains.  They were petulant children with no real goals.

“Or what?  What are you going to do Ivan?  What if I don’t get back?  Are you going to kill me?  Are you going to hit me with that fire?  Going to throw it at someone who isn’t playing with you?  Do you have that in you, son?”

Brock was now standing within thirty feet of Ivan.  He really hoped that the answer was no.  He moved a little closer to the supposed villain. 

25 feet. 

Closer. 

20 feet.

“Get back…I’m not…I’m not going to warn you again…”

Battle Boy was simply watching the whole exchange go down.  He was slowly inching up with Brock.  He was standing about ten feet behind him.

“Made up your mind?  Can you do it?  Do you have it in you?” Brock defiantly asked staring into his eyes.

Inferno Ivan’s gaze broke.  He looked away and shuffled his feet.

“That’s what I thought.”

“Way to go, gramps!” Battle Boy practically yelled.

“Shut up!” Brock yelled.

“But…”

“You aren’t off the hook.  Consider you and your playmates on warning.  I need to go get a new truck and then work on rebuilding my wall.  If I see any of you children around City Hall again there will be hell to pay.”

“But Gramps….”

Brock glared at both of the young men.

“Do we understand each other?”

Both men nodded and answered in unison.

~*~
Brock was finally done.  It took an additional three weeks but the huge portion of the wall damaged by the flaming bus was fixed.  Everything was red brick and perfectly aligned.  His new truck wasn’t that bad either.  Luckily he had excellent Tomorrow Men Insurance.

He packed up his ladder and equipment and walked across the street.  It was his monument to the city.  Not a single super powered kid could be seen or heard anywhere nearby.  It was perfect.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Clutter


Globe, clock, box and knick knack
spread out like a plague consuming
the land of order by the sack

Curtain rod, plastic tub, wires
eating away at accomplishment
like gravel on new tires

DVD, cloth, PVC fight together
as a trio of warring falcons
leaving only a blood soaked feather

Old pillows, sleeping bags, flashing lights
so much nonsense everywhere
objects mocking my nights

Where to begin
too much at once
they’re under my skin

This mismatched junk
yelling at me forever
to put it in a trunk

*****
I’m not very inspired today.  It has been a rough day.  I only have the energy for a poem devoted to my current messy house.  All my story ideas just sputtered out into nothing for the day as I tried them.  I promise that I’ll have a story for you guys tomorrow.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sunday Paper Woes



“You need to be more entertaining.”

“Excuse me?”

Ruby looked up from her computer and scanned over her shoulder at Milton.

“I’m bored.  Can’t you finish that up and entertain me?”

Ruby shook her head.  Milton was such a pain in her ass.  Every Sunday was the same.

“Read the paper.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Yes, you do.”

She looked at the paper and pointed at Milton.  She then pointed to the paper on the table.  It was hard to tell if he was messing with her or not.  Magi were tricky fellows to understand.

“You say that every Sunday.”

“Well, stop bitching and I won’t have to say it.”

“That doesn’t seem like a very good solution.”

“Sure it does.  Now, read your damn paper.”

Milton stared at her.  His eyes were the most beautiful shade of blue imaginable.  At least she thought he was staring.  He didn’t have pupils so sometimes it was a little tricky to determine exactly where he was looking.  His eyes were facing directly at her so she assumed he was staring.

He shrugged and waved his right hand.  The sports page flew off the table and into his hands.  He always liked to start with the sports page.  He always said it was the most factual bit of the paper.  He always started there because he said facts very rarely contained the truth he was seeking.  He liked wearing down a problem from the edge and then slowly spiraling outwards.

The paper floated in front of him and the pages turned on their own as his left index finger gestured.

~*~

“I’m still bored.”

“You’ve only gone through half the paper so far.”

“I know, but there’s nothing fun today.”

“Tough.  Keep reading.  You know the deal.”

She heard the whistle and then smelled sulfur.  Milton was no longer on the couch.  He was right behind her and gently kissed the left side of her neck.  It felt nice but he knew better.  She slapped him hard.

“Hey!”

“No teleporting in the house!”

“Oh come on!  Just this once!  Can’t you get off that damn machine of yours?  I’m bored.  Let’s have some fun.”

“Read your paper.”

“But I don’t want to!”

“Tough.  I have work to do.  This code isn’t going to appear by magic.”

“It could” he said mostly under his breath.

“Better not.”

He was holding his left cheek with a pained expression on his face.  He was playing it up.  They both knew that his natural magical regeneration had already healed the tiny amount of harm done.

“Why do you insist on making everything so difficult?”

She shook her head.  Arguing with a person who literally wills things in and out of existence was always a difficult intellectual exercise.

“You don’t have the right mind set.”

“Are you calling me stupid?”

Magi.  Pompous wind bags that thought they knew everything about the universe.  Even the cute ones were annoying in their simplicity of thought.  Ruby knew she had Milton better trained than most but he was still a big pain in her ass.

“You know I’m not.  You’re very smart from your limited magical viewpoint.  However, that’s the problem.  Everything is solved by magic.  The quality doesn’t matter to you.  You wave your hands and you will a solution to a goal.  However, the degree matters sometimes.”

Milton tiled his head to the side with a quizzical look on his face.  She hated that look.  It meant he was trying to figure something out and that she would have to waste hours trying to explain it.

“Why does it matter?  You just need to accomplish the goal.”

“Quality matters because it can affect a lot of stuff down the line.”

“Bah.  Down the line.  You people are way too concerned about that nonsense.”

Magi were notoriously short sighted.  They could be very helpful in a pinch but their solutions often were never lasting or practical.  Magic was a band aid and their whole world view was basically one huge ball of bands aids just waiting to fall apart.

“Damn it, Milton.  It matters.  I know you don’t understand that but it does.  I need to program the code just right.  If I don’t it won’t do everything I want it to do.  It won’t be secure enough.  I can’t just think about one problem at a time.  I need to code for all possibilities.”

Milton shook his head and snapped his fingers.  An apple appeared in his right hand.  He smiled and took a bite out of it.  He still liked to show off to her.  It was both frustrating and endearing.

“God, that sounds exhausting.”

“It is.  That is why I need you to read your paper.  I just need a few more hours to update my code and then we can go out to a nice lunch.  Sound good?”

He looked at the paper and then at the computer.

“You know I can just teleport that away to another dimension right?”

“Yeah, but you won’t.”

“No?”

“No.”  She stood up and kissed him gently for a few seconds.

“That’s not fair.”

“I know.”

She smiled and shrugged.  She then pointed to the paper again.

He shook his head and walked back to the couch.  The paper floated in front of him again and the pages went back to turning at his command.

“How many leads so far by the way, magic boy?”

“Seven so far” he said with a shrug.

“Not bad.  Not great, but not bad.”

Milton loved to be challenged.  He didn’t like to admit it but Magi were completely driven by ego.  Every so often they needed a good push to get the best out of them.  He would have at least 14 by the time he was ready for lunch.  She just bought herself some more time to code.

“Be quiet, little miss coder.  Stop your beautiful lips moving and get to work.”

“Yes, sir” she said with a smile.

*****
Work has finally settled down some.  I expect next week should be a lot better.  Sorry about posting being all over the place lately.  I promise things will slowly get back to normal now.  I know normal is a relative term but I do genuinely think I can get back to my normal 5-7 posts a week plan now.

Don’t really have a lot to say today I guess.  Anyway, I hope all of you have a lovely weekend.