The Field Trip


 

I had suffered my fair share of tragedy even at the tender age of 7 years old.  There was the time I dropped my treasured Christmas snow globe and it shattered all across the pastel orange adobe tiles of our kitchen, it’s pretty snowflakes glistening all the while.  At the time I had thought they had been mocking me, but I now realize that they had merely been, in their own way, waving farewell.  There was also the time that I had gotten a new kaleidoscope and then managed to get my pointer finger stuck in it.  It had been stuck with such ferocity that it took a handyman’s pliers to shatter the damn thing before he could get it off.  And then there was the time that my 2nd grade class took a field trip to a field.

 

     I have spent many hours wondering what had possessed the teachers to go on this trip.  What would make someone think kids would spending a whole day in a fucking field?  Boredom?  Madness?  Drugs?  I doubt my teachers acutely suffered from any of these things, and so I have now come to the conclusion that the school’s budget for field trips would decrease if the whole thing wasn’t used.  The teachers, not wanting to give up the awesome field trips like the Bluebell ice cream factory or Publix, stitched together a corpse of a field trip, strapped it to a metal table, and shot 10,000 volts of electricity into it to see if it would come to life.  It never did.  The real world, it seems, doesn’t work that way.  More’s the pity, really.  I can’t think of a more pleasurable experience than lying in one’s grave, contentedly dead, only to be woken up by a lighting bolt searing through one’s extremities and the demented cackle of some German scientist.

 

     Regardless of their intentions, it was the second worst field trip I’ve ever been on.  The worst one is still talked about in the hushed hours of the night by the students who participated in it, when the candlelight grows dim as the flame reaches the end of its tallow and a cool breeze makes the curtains flutter.  I dread even now to transcribe the horrible events that took place.

 

During my 7th grade year, a teacher of mine, let’s call her Mrs. Paperclip, had begun teaching some sort of conservation science course at a local university while she worked towards her doctorate.  She was an intelligent if not incredibly bothersome individual, and somehow managed to convince out middle school’s administration that the student should help her conduct her research.  She happily loaded us up into a crowded yellow bus without any air conditioning, madness in south Florida, and drove us out into the everglades, which I considered then, and still sometimes consider now, to be the most boring place on the planet.

 

     Most people seem to think the everglades is all water.  It isn’t.  There’s land too.  Land with soil that’s practically begging for a middle schooler’s trowel to dig it up and sample it’s density.  For 8 long hours.  In the late spring.  It was hell.  I’ve always been able to relate to movies like “O brother where art thou,” and “The Rundown,” because I’ve lived it.  I’ve been that convict smashing rocks on a Mississippi street, I’ve lived the life of one of Christopher Walken’s slaves in the diamond mines of South America.  We toiled and toiled and toiled.  The process was straightforward: one student held a piece of rebar with depth measurements on the surface of the soil, then another student struck it with a mallet until it hit rock, and and then the rebar student measured the depth. Lastly, a student with a trowel would come and take a soil sample.  Stab, bang, measure, dig; stab bang measure, dig; stab, bang, measure, dig.  I’m still surprised no one died from heat stroke.

 

     The field trip to the field wasn’t as bad as all that, but it was infinitely more disappointing.  No one ever pretended that the field trip to mine the everglades would be fun, and no one expected it to be.  We all knew what was asked of us, and we just kept calm and carried on with a sort of sullen persistance that would have made the British proud.  They told us the field trip to the field would be fun.  They said we would have a blast eating picnics and playing in all the flowers.  They said this field was special, that settlers used to live there and that the field was a national park.  They lied.

 

     Let me be the first to tell you that no field ever needs to be made a national park, unless maybe it’s the last field in existence, so that people can go to it and stand around dumbly for a few minutes before saying to one another “Well, that was positively awful.  I’m glad there aren’t any more of these left.” And then leave it and never come back.  A field is a field is a fucking field.

 

     We didn’t know this yet, and the trip there was a blast.  I recall that the bus was abuzz with the excited chatter of brainwashed second graders as it thundered across the lonely Oklahoma roads.

     “Did you hear?  They’re letting us go to a field!”

     “Can you believe that?  A real field!”

     “I’ve heard there’s flowers there.  Isn’t that right, Claire?”

     “Oh yes indeed.  Flowers of the deepest purples and brightest yellows.”

     “Oh lovely!  And grass too, I suspect.”

     “Yes, the sweetest grass you’ve ever seen.  Seas of the bloody stuff, I’ve been told.”

     “Wow.  We’ll be swimming in grass.  Up to our ears in it, I expect.”

     “Most certainly.  It will be like heaven, only closer to home.”

 

     There is much to be said for the incorruptible optimism of children.  It’s a beautiful thing to able to believe with all your heart that, for instance, Fast and Furious 6 will be better than the other 5, even though any sane person would think otherwise.  Adults don’t have this problem, and I think we’re jealous of kids.  That’s why we seek to eradicate it.  We won’t be happy until we hear children remark “that’ll be bullshit, just like the others” after they see a trailer for the Fast and Furious 6.  It’s a vicious cycle.

 

     We realized very quickly that the field was just a field.  That’s all it ever was, and I’m sure that’s all it will ever be.  It was covered in bees that day, so everyone was scared to leave the bus.  Once the teachers pushed us off, we sort of huddled in groups, assuming the bees would be fearful of attacked such a large number of humans, and tried to have fun.  It was too hot to play tag, and no one had any other games.  Fields don’t lend themselves to being good for make believe, unless we would have wanted to pretend to be the little house on the prairie.  Some got bored and tried to eat their lunches, only to be scolded that they would get hungry later if they ate now.  There weren’t even any trees, and the flowers and grass were just like the flowers and grass most of us had in our backyards, except that we had much nicer toilettes at home.

    

The didn’t lie about one thing, though.  I guess the field was a park of some sort, there were signs and everything.  How we hated them, those signs.  They promised fun times for anyone who came, but we didn’t believe them.  They were liars and we knew it.

 

     We finally left after a couple of hours, and I think we all left our optimism there, lying in the shitty flowers of the equally shitty field.  We had no need for it any more.  We had seen the real world: empty, hot and boring.  I remember getting into my mom’s old pewter Mercedes and her asking me “What did you guys do today?”

     “We went on a fieldtrip.”

     “Oh really, to where?”

     I remember almost laughing then at the absurdity of the question.  I remember it building in my belly like a tropical storm, waiting to become a hurricane, but thinking better of it.  To where?  Where else?  To a field.

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WeWriWa #3: The Game


Here’s an excerpt from a new story of mine for this weekend’s weekend writing warriors  I’m hoping to send it off to a sci-fi/fantasy mag.

********

The problem with most people, Ma’lark the Halfling thought, as he applied buttermilk colored foam to the bank’s plaster wall in front of him, is that they’re stupid.  They think, for instance, that just because the most advanced machine around is the crossbow, people shouldn’t know how to make explosives.

He smirked and finished placing the foam.  He stepped back to admire his handiwork, and couldn’t help but smirk even wider.  The foam was arranged in a pattern to look like a caricature of him, giving a very condescending thumbs up.  He chuckled to himself as he took a fuse out of his rucksack and stuck it into his foamy doppelganger’s foot.

It’s ridiculous, really.  Explosives are just simple chemistry. 

******

Thanks for reading!

WeWriWa #2: A ghost Story


Here’s the beginning to a new short story I’m working on.  I’ve decided to post the first 8 lines for Weekend Writing Warriors  What do you guys think?

* * * * *

I saw her.

She was there, a brief moment, ah!  But too brief.  There, on the stage, smiling, her perfect teeth glistening in their perfect rows, the dimples and freckles, her wide eyes and perfect skin and oh!  Be still my hear, but I saw her.

And then it was there was a blackout, a lowered curtain; the interval, and she was gone.

I decided to complete the ritual and purchase a gin and tonic from the third ring bar.  London’s National Theatre has expensive drinks, but it had become part of the pattern, and I daren’t break with tradition.

* * * * *

On a side note I’ve finished my screenplay (finally).  101 pages of glory.  Look for it in theaters in the next two years (he said hopefully).  It’s called “A Stellar Holiday” and it’s about aliens.

-Corngoblin

The day when we all get to be Irish, and some leprechauns show up too.


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St Patrick’s day is a day when everyone can pretend that they’re Irish, and no one, except maybe real Irish people, will correct you.  Like me, for instance: I’m part Irish.  Barely, true, but barely still counts.  It’s St. Patrick’s day and I have the right to, when asked if I’m Irish, harken back to that distant and far removed ancestor and respond, “why yes of course… um… me lass… I be Irish!  Now who wants a pint of Guinness?”  And then we’d all cheer and sing whisky in the jar or something, and the party goes on.

But ever since last St. Patrick’s day, I’ve been a bit afraid of claiming to be Irish.  Afraid that I’ll be caught.  It’s the Leprechauns, you see.  They  monitor these things, making sure that no one other than true Irish people claim to be Irish on St. Patrick’s day.  Before I learned this, I had always wondered what use Leprechauns were, other than terrifying Jennifer Anniston, though not quite enough it seems, (to death being the implication here).

Warwick Davis is the man.

Clearly, it didn’t.

Leprechauns are wee folk with fairy magic, at least at the most basic description.  If one were to apply to fill a vacant leprechaun position, the conversation would proceed as follows:

“Are yeh wee?” The interviewer would ask.  He could have just looked to see.  One wonders why he need ask, but that’s the way these sorts of things go sometimes.  It’s all about the protocol.

“Oh, aye.” Responds the applicant, which is generally considered to be the most correct answer.

“And have yeh the fairy magics?”

“Oh aye.  That I do.”

“Loverly.  Yer hired.”

What leprechauns actually do has very little to do with being wee or being able to wield the fairy magics.  Leprechauns are tasked with keeping Ireland green,  like a glittering emerald, and magic, like a magical emerald.  There’s a special division for rainbow production and installation as well, but we won’t get into that right now.

You think Ireland looks like that on it's own?  No, what you see here my friend is centuries of hard leprechaun work.

You think Ireland looks like that on it’s own? No, what you see here my friend is centuries of hard leprechaun work.

The leprechauns have one other task, however, that dwarfs (forgive the pun) all their other duties: to ferret out the fakes, liars, and would be Irishmen on St. Patrick’s day, and humiliate them in front of their friends.

It was an encounter with one performing it’s primary task that, as I hinted before, was nearly my undoing last year.  I was at McCabes Irish pub, down on 5th avenue in Naples, Florida, enjoying a $6 glass of Yeungling with some a of newest and bestest friends I’d ever met (their names escape me now, but I’m relatively sure they all had one) when the question was raised as to whether or not I was Irish.

mccabe's

Now, I have a rather good Irish accent (or at least that’s what I’m told) which, like all Irish accents, is increased both in quality and volume with every alcoholic beverage imbibed.  The current tally was 5, so my confidence in my Irish speaking ability was great indeed.

I had been regailing my new comrades with tales of the homeland: of helping St. Patrick chase away all the bloody snakes, of finding so many pots of gold at the end of rainbows, for rainbows are plentiful on the emerald Isle, that I just started throwing them away,  of screeching contests with banshees and Father Ted TV marathons.  They were entranced, and I was having a blast, that is until I felt a gentle but firm tap on my buttocks.

I spun around, fists up and out in traditional Irish fighting form, ready to give the buttocks tapper the old one two, or, if she were a lady, the old wink and smile, but there was no one there.  I turned back to my friends, who must have assumed that spinning around to fight ghosts was just some Irish idiosyncrasy that they were hitherto unaware of (on nights of heavy drinking it often is), and thought nothing of it, other than to give me a rousing cheer.

I went for a bow, and was touched on the buttocks yet again.  I spun around in the same way.

“Alright, yeh livrey bastard, time for me to give yeh what for!”  I shrieked, but yet again, there was no one there.  I looked left.  I looked right.  I looked up.  I looked down.

There stood a leprechaun.  He was wearing a little green suit with a shamrock in his pocket and a green bowler hat, and looked very cross.  He smiled a wolfish grin.

“Hello sir, me names Bleary and I’m—“

“Christ, lads, it’s a real leprechaun!”  I shouted, pointing at it in awe.  I started jumping from foot to foot and giggling.  Everyone at the pub gathered ‘round to gaze at the spectacle.  The Leprechaun shifted his feet, uncomfortable.

“I’m—“

“What’re yeh here for, little fellah?” I asked, like a mom to a child of 6.  He bristled at this and looked me dead in the eye.  God, those eyes!  They looked like gold doubloons!

“I’m here to see if yer really irish.”  He said matter of factly.

“Me?  Irish?  ‘Course I’m Irirsh!  What’s me shirt say?”

“Kiss me, I’m irish, but—“

“’Course it does!” I interrupted.  He scowled.

“But shirts can say any number of things.  Look at that lads!”  The leprechaun pointed to a fat, white man who was wearing a shirt that read “I’m the President”.

“My god…”  I whispered to the leprechaun, “Is that Barack Obama over there, d’yah think?”

“I—what?  No!  ‘Course not!  Are ye daft?” his question went unanswered though, because I had gone over to the fat man and was taking a photo with him.  The leprechaun stared in gawping silence as I snapped the photo and came back over.

“The lads back in Dublin are never gonna believe I met the President of the US of A!”

“Stop it!”  He shouted, stamping his little foot, which jingled.  “You’re not from Dublin and you’re sure as hell not Irish!  You’re just a drunk idiot from Florida!”

“Bah, Florida?  Have you seen his shirt?  It says—“ one of my new friends began before the leprechaun pointed his finger at him and ZAP, turned him into a cask of guinness.

“Sweet St. Patrick!” I gasped, staring at the cask.  “Free beer!”  The Leprechaun face palmed as we swarmed the cask and I passed out drinks.  I felt a bit bad for drinking that guy, but judging from what I’d learned about him in the past two hours, it’s what he would have wanted.

Poor... um... you.

Pour guy…

“Three cheers for our emerald homeland, lads and lassies!  Hip Hip!”

“NO!”  Roared the leprechaun, and the shout filled up the whole pub, shaking the windows and worrying he owner.  Some glasses fell off the shelves.  “Yer not Irish!  None of yah!  Yer just a bunch of drunken fools playin’ at bein’ Irish!  You don’t know the first thing, the first damn thing about what it is to be from Ireland.”   He paused and pointed at a man wearing a Bruins shirt. “Except for you.  You’re actually Irirsh.”  The bruins guy gave a fist pump and cheer, finished his glass, and ordered another.  “Now,” he said, returning to the task at hand, “will yeh stop, or do I have to turn you all into guiness?

The party was dead silent.  Even the band had stopped playing.  The leprechaun glared at us.  No one said a word, except for me.  I think it was the Guinness, but I was feeling particularly brave, like Willow, or Frodo Baggins, or Peter Dinklage, even.

“Why does it matter?” I asked.

“What?”

“Why does it matter if we aren’t Irish?”

“Because you all just want to be Irish on St Patrick’s day, and then it’s back to normal tomorrow!  It’s disrespectful.”

“Not really.  You should feel honored.  I don’t know any other country that has a day when the whole world wants to be them.  It’s a compliment.”

“Yeah!”  Someone else said.  “Ireland’s cool!”

“Here here!”

“Hoorah!”  The bar shouted.  Everyone at the bar started throwing their two cents in, and I could see we were getting through to the Leprechaun.  He was visibly softening.

“So will you have a pint of…” I looked at the cask.

“Jerry!” someone shouted.

“Will yeh have a pint of Jerry with us, and forget yer sorrows till the morrow?  Me lad?”

The leprechaun looked at each of us, scowling, until his eyes finally came to rest me.  And then he smiled.

“Yeh had me at jerry.”  He said with a wink.  To this day I’m not quite sure what he meant by that, but whatever, I was 7 beers deep and thinking wasn’t high on my list of priorities at the time.  We all cheered and the music started back up (whisky in the jar again ,I think).  The Leprechaun grabbed a pint of Jerry, and smashed it against mine.  My mug broke, and cut my hand quite badly, but it was St. Patrick’s Day, and a bloody and ruined hand was a small price to pay for getting to be Irish, even if it was just for a night.

*****

Author’s note: Thanks for reading.  Hope you liked it and I hope you have a great St. Patrick’s day, wherever you are.  I wanted to take time at the end of this post to thank Melissa K. Martin for giving me the “very inspiring blogger award”.  I’ll get around to doing the required things at some point, but it was a lovely gesture.  Happy St. Patrick’s day!

The Magic Hobo


Image

I was lying in Hyde Park at midnight on a Saturday, counting the stars.  I was the only person in the area, and I was shocked at the lack of stars.  It must be because I was in the middle of London, and the city lights blocked them out.  I missed the view from the beach back in Florida, a black sky painted with burning white spots over a dark blue sea.  I was shocked yet again when a noise like the snapping of a twig caught my attention, and a homeless person was standing directly in front of me.

He wore a long, brown overcoat, soiled and filthy.  Beneath that he wore an menagerie of clothing that he had crudely sewn into a massive parka of sorts.  A blue polo shirt made up part of a sleeve, three t-shirts and a tank top made up the front, and two sweater vests made up a sleeve on the other side.  Instead of pants he wore a bizarre  kilt made out of bed linens and towels, that reached down to his shabby leather boots, which seemed to be made from two boots each.  He wore a grubby, faded and torn top hat on his head.

He was seven feet if he was an inch, and he had an untamed mane of hair that I suppose constituted for a beard, that reached well down past his waist and covered the majority of his face, so that all you could really make out were two beady eyes and a large, round nose.  There were… things in his beard, that might have once been small animals or food, but that had now been subsumed into the ungainly collective of hair.  His stench was unbearable, like a trashcan full of feces and rotting squirrels.

He asked me if I would like to see a Magic Trick.

Now, when a homeless man looms over you, blocking the starlight in Hyde Park with his bulk, and asks you if you would like to see a Magic Trick, it’s most likely not the sort of trick you would wish to see, but rather something truly horrible and scarring, so I of course said no.

He showed me one anyway.

He clapped his hands together, his knit, fingerless gloves making a dry, dusty crack. He pulled his hands apart slightly, and a brilliant yellow light surrounded us.  He looked up at me and gave me a knowing smile, and it was the first time I was able to tell that he had a mouth.  His gold teeth glittered in the light like aztec gold.  He pulled his hands the rest of the way, and as he drew them apart, a rainbow formed in between them.  He swung his arms in a big arc, like he were throwing paint to the sky, and created a rainbow as big as his wingspan.  It shimmered in a fragile way that reminded me of an especially thin sculpture of blown glass.

I was awestruck.  I reached out to touch it, but with a wave of his hand the rainbow disappeared.  Sparkles and stardust rained down on my face, but disappeared like snow flakes on warm day upon contact with my body.  He bowed, and I applauded.  It took me a moment to realize that the applause seemed oddly stereo, and I looked around and discovered that a pair of rabbits were sitting on either side of me and applauding as well.  The hobo bowed again and held up his hands for silence.  We obeyed.

He asked if I’d like to see another.

I said sure.

He rubbed his hands together excitedly and then presented me his shirt cuffs.  He pulled back his sleeves to demonstrate that there was indeed nothing up them.  There wasn’t anything there, but the rabbits got up to inspect his sleeves more closely anyway.  They’re untrusting creatures.

He reached up into his sleeve and began to pull out many lightly colored squares of cloth, tied together in a long line.  He began to pace around us, laying down cloth in a large circle, one line adjacent to the next, so that each new rotation had a greater circumference than the last.  He must have pulled out a full mile of cloth, until the length finally ended with his undershirt and underwear, an almost obligatory occurrence for any “pulling cloth out of my sleeves trick”, and we were surrounded by a gigantic spiral of color, far more than any one man could fit up his sleeve, even a man of his great size.

He bowed again, and we applauded ecstatically.  The audience was now positively packed with creatures of the park: squirrels and rabbits, snakes and beetles, sparrows and pigeons.  Some of the wiser ones had brought snacks like peanuts and popcorn to munch on during the show.  They joked and laughed with one another, having a jolly time.  I eyed them enviously.

He asked us if we would like to see another Magic Trick.  We roared in approval, stood up and screamed in approval, beat our chests and slobbered for more.  He smiled widely.

The homeless man, who I was now beginning to think wasn’t your run of the mill hobo, raised his hand yet again for silence.  He stood there, with his head down, humming to himself, like in meditation, at first quietly, and then louder and louder, until he was positively shrieking.  His arms, which at first were held at the center of his chest in prayer, rose with his pitch, until his body was forming a cross.

It was then we noticed he was levitating 13 feet in the air.  The crowd was dumbstruck, silent.

And then we applauded.

We applauded like we had been struck blind at birth and this homeless conjuror had restored our sight.  We applauded like it was the end of the world, and it’s entire history was on stage, taking a bow.  We applauded like this, and only this, was the only thing ever worth applauding for.

I hollered for more.

He was suddenly on the ground.  There was no transition.  The sound of the applause had changed, too.  I looked around.  There was no one else there, no squirrels or rabbits, snakes or beetles, sparrows or pigeons.

Just him and me.

He stalked towards me, breathing heavily through his mouth.  He got very close, his face mere centimeters from mine. I could almost taste the rancid smell of old Sainsbury’s apple cider creeping out of his mouth.  He smiled, and I could see the sores on his gums, and the rot in his teeth that had once been gold.

He asked me if I would like to see the Last Trick, and he smiled like a crocodile.  I only wept and nodded.

He backed up a few feet and stood by himself for a moment.  He clapped his hands, one last time, and changed.

The change was instantaneous.  What was once a ratty old hobo was now a beautiful, young woman.  She wore bright neon spandex leggings, a zebra print, loose fitting shirt, and large hoop earrings.  She seemed to have been taken straight from the 1980’s.

She smiled sweetly, and kind of sadly, like she pitied me.

“At last.” She said.  Something was strange.  Despite sitting down, I was almost at eye level with her.  I shifted around, and my movement made a strange rustling sound.  A disturbing sound.  A sudden thought, a terrible thought, crept into my mind, and my face contorted with dread.  My heart beat harder and harder, faster and faster as I lifted my hands to my face, and saw the ratty, fingerless gloves.  I clapped them together and they made a dry, dusty sound.  I reached for the top of my head, and found a small, grubby top hat.  I felt my long scraggly beard, and the filth up my sleeves.

I was he.

“Quite a trick.” She said, adjusting her makeup as she looked into a mirror she was holding.  “I hoped you paid attention.  You really should have paid attention.”  She snapped the mirror shut and returned it to her purse.  “I would say I’m sorry, but he wasn’t.  He never is.”

And with that she walked out of my life, leaving me alone, at midnight in Hyde Park on a Saturday.  I wondered if it had to be Saturday at midnight for the trick to work, but I realized I had time to figure it out.  I had all the time in the world.  I fell back onto the grass and looked up at the sky.  My god, it was full, full of stars.

The one where camp ends


from https://i2.wp.com/www.murphsplace.com/gladiator/images/Police_Verso.jpg

“Do you think it’ll be normal this time?” Mac asked me.  I grunted and turned my gaze down the short hallway, upon the arena floor.  My eyes were momentarily blinded from overhead light’s sheen on the plastic floor below.

“Nope.” I growled, squinting.  I had forgotten my lucky running shorts.  Damn.  “Never normal.”  Mac only nodded and followed my gaze.

“You do realize I’m going to win, don’t you?” He asked.

“Maybe.”  I admitted.  “There’s been others that have said that, and looked what happened to them.”

“Dead?”

“No.  But they wish they were.”

“It’s true,” said Mac.  “If I was missin’ out on this chance to win $75, I’d fucking kill myself.”  He turned to the left and spat, and then continued staring.  We could hear a dull roar from the crowd, like the sounds of surf crashing on a beach, heard distantly through a window, or perhaps an open door.  It was intoxicating.

It was hard to believe that we had been through eight weeks of hell to get here.  Eight weeks of screaming children, insect bites, sun burns, nauseating adolescents and bizzare, sometimes idiotic challenges.  Eight weeks of forgotten lunches and visits to the nurse for scraped knees, or bruised arms, or more insubstantial injuries, whose only remedy was an ice pack and attention.  Eight weeks of bus rides.  Eight weeks of clubs.  Eight weeks of summer camp.

“You remember that one time when timmy beat everyone at gaga, like he was King Leonidas or something?”  I asked, a faint smile playing across my face.

“Yeah,” Mac chuckled, “You remember when my team beat your team at lacrosse-volley-basketball?”  My hands involuntarily tightened on the shafts of the two lacrosse sticks I was holding, whitening my knuckles as I frowned

“Yeah.”  I growled, “We better not play that stupid fucking game again, or I’m liable to spear Ray Jay with these lacrosse sticks.  Then I’ll just take the money.”

“Yeah, but you’ll be a wanted killer.”

“Not in Tijuana mate.  You know how many lacrosse sticks $75 can get you down there?”

“No.”

“A.  Fucking.  lot, mate.”  We stood in silence for a while, each thinking about the riches we would be able to afford with $75, especially in Tijuana.  I decided that if I did indeed lose, I probably wouldn’t spear Ray Jay with his own lacrosse sticks.  It would cause too much of a scene, though I’m sure it would help sate the beserker’s bloodlust that most of the campers have during these exhibitions.

“BLOOD!” Little Timmy the camper screamed, leaning over the railing, frothing at the mouth and dribbling pop tart crumbs across the gym floor.  His eyes flashed feral, like a wolf sensing its prey is near, and he beat his fist against his chest.  His cry riled up the campers behind him, who began to roar like little lions.  “BLOOD AND DEATH!” He roared, turning towards them slowly, arms upraised.  The crowd repeated his macabre cheer.  I remember them being disappointed that day.  There was no blood, only bitter defeat for my partner Amy and me.

This day was no different.  I could hear distant chants of “kill!”  and “maim!” coming from the second grade boy’s section of the lunch area.  I was becoming worried.  What if they didn’t see any blood?  It was the last day of counselor survivor, and the last day of camp to boot.  Would they riot, like angry, english soccer fans?  One would think the concept of 2nd grade boys rioting would be humorous, but I can tell you it is anything but.  They have incredibly bony knees and elbows, and teeth as sharp as knives.

“Where are the girls?” Mac asked, referring to Amy and Pristine.  I shrugged.

“They went into the gym locker to get something for the final challenge.” I muttered, wondering what in god’s name they could be getting.  The lacrosse sticks had not reassured me.

“Maybe we’re just playing lacrosse.”  Mac offered.  I shook my head.

“That’s normal.  Lacrosse is normal.  It’ll be something harder.  Something weird.”  We fell silent, and waited.  I amused myself by playing with the rubber tread that was peeling off the bottom of my ratty old sneakers, while Mac picked at the plastic trim on the wall.  Finally, I saw two figures approaching us through the glare.  I nudged Mac in the ribs, and we both stood up.

“Well,” he asked “what is it?”

“We don’t know.” Amy responded.  “He wouldn’t say, but he had us get two scooters and 6 volleyballs out of the supply closet.”

“Bloody hell,” I breathed, anxiously brushing back my hair, “what’s he up to now?”

Ray Jay suddenly appeared before us, materializing out of the glare like some sort of djinn.

“You ready?” He asked us, holding his hands on either side of him in a welcoming gesture.

“Yeah sure,” I growled, “But what are we doing?”

“Does it matter?”

I stood silent and thought for a long time.  The roar of the crowd washed over us, growing in volume and viciousness with every swelling cheer.  “No.”  I finally answered, hefting my lacrosse sticks on to my shoulders.  I glanced at Amy, who nodded slightly.  “Not one bit.”

“Good.”  Ray Jay said, clasping his hands together.  He moved to the side of the passage and bowed low.  “After you.”  I gave Mac a look, and he just nodded, and so the 5 us went, into the brilliant light of the arena floor.

The Prince of Parties


Heres a story I meant to post quite some time ago, but never got around to finishing it until just now.  Enjoy

Can it really be true?  30 posts on this most auspicious blog?  What?  You mean i have more than 30, and didn’t post this when I intended to?  Oh how the time has flown.  Word press is even giving me some sort of automated reward to commemorate the occasion.  I find it heartwarming that they would take the time out of their computers busy schedule to reward me for something as mundane as 30 blog posts.  Don’t they know that we bloggers don’t do it for the automated rewards we receive?  We do it for the .002% chance that we might actually make some money out of it!

We be up in the club makin' dat stimulus rain!

 Anyway, I digress…

I had realized a few days ago that I haven’t really done much this semester other than play games on my new PC, schoolwork, and exists.  I decided that I was in desperate need of reintegrating myself into the social circles that I had left dormant upon long forgotten shelves, dusty and ensconced with cobwebs.  This metaphor was bad news, because I am deathly allergic to dust, and irrationally afraid of spiders.  But my mind was firmly set when i glanced at the GIF above me and realized that there was no purpose for Obama to make it rain, if not for the benefit of his homies and any fine biotches that may be within cash-showering range.

I therefore quickly hatched a most cunning plan.  My main obstacle to overcome in becoming a campus celebrity was that no one ever invited me to anything and I have no friends.  Sure, I live with three other guys who I almost exclusively hang out with, but I have always regarded them more as my enemies.  I only hang out with them because I live by the maxim “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”  In order to make actual friends, I decided that I needed to appear to already have friends.

To do this, I made up a cast to my own private sit-com.  Oswald, an English ex-patriate who runs a coffee house in Pelham, was my best friend and chum.  Giselle was a love interest and close friend, but untrustworthy due to her dark good looks and Gypsy heritage.  Penny was an annoying blowhard and Giselle’s best friend.  Nobody liked her, especially Oswald, but she a Giselle were a sort of two for one combo deal, and she was therefore tolerated, if not despised.  Giacomo was Oswald’s friend and work mate and by default a friend of mine.  He was a dumpy, short italian-american who wished to marry Penny so he could finally gain citizenship.  Penny always spurned his advances and wacky attempts to woo her.

I was constantly off to do things with my new compatriots.  “Where are you going?”  Roommate Tyler might ask.  “I thought we were going to play Shogun Total War 2 together?”

“I can’t!” I would reply, “Oswald is having the gang over to watch a pretentious foreign film!”  I would then beat a hasty retreat to the local Starbucks, where I would make use of their partnership with Marvel and read free electronic comics while I sipped on caffeinated beverage.  I would occasionally take breaks to think up what hijinks Penny and Giacomo had gotten into today and decide what pick up lines I had fruitlessly tried on Giselle.  I had created facebook accounts for all of my imaginary friends, but restricted the access other people had to their pages, so their absolute dearth of friends could not be seen, and I would occasionally post things on my wall about all the fun we were having.  They would often reference idiotic inside jokes that the rest of my facebook friends must have found insufferably annoying  After three hours or so, I would return home and tell my enemies all about it.  They in turn would become progressively more jealous of all the fun I was having without them and complain about my new set of friends to anyone who would listen.

Word quickly spread of my social prowess, and of the unachievable heights of friendship my fake comrades and I were achieving, and my plan began to reach it’s final stages.  You see, by merit of always being out doing things with my “friends,” people assumed that I was fun to be around.  This assumption led them to suppose that they were missing out on something fun.  Suddenly, I was daily bombarded with requests to go do things.  “Hey!”  They’d say to me, “wanna go to the paint party on friday?”

“Can’t,” I’d reply whimsically, with a toss of my head and a flick of the wrist, “I’ve got a prior engagement.  My friend Giselle is having a trance party.  It’s gonna be a cornucopia of licentiousness and debauchery.  I simply couldn’t miss it.”

“Oh, well have fun…”  They would then leave, all the while trying to figure out how to get into my made up party.  This had the two fold effect of making me concurrently detestable and desirable, a powerful pairing.  I was the prince of parties.

I'm the pretty prince of parties. Your a tasty piece of pastry.

Everyone wanted me to come to theirs, but I always had something more cool going on and was forced to decline.  This worked perfectly for me because it satisfied my need to feel wanted and conformed to my unbendable laziness, in that all I ever did was go hang out at Starbuck’s and read free comic books.

It all worked perfectly, that is, until the day that I walked into the room to find all my room mates waiting for me.  They had a very serious look about them, and I instantly knew I was in trouble.

“Charles,” Tyler the room mate said, “We’ve been talking and we have had it up to here with your parties.”

“What, you want me to stop my party hard, carefree lifestyle?”  I asked, my voice rising in volume with every syllable.  “Preposterous!  Poppycock!  It is against all common decency and I simply shall not do it!  Good day, sirs.”

“No!  We don’t want you to stop.  We want in.”

“Yeah!” Matthew chimed in, “You’re always off having fun and we’re stuck in here watching reruns of Battlestar Galactica!  We want to come!  We hear you have a new party planned for this weekend.  We want that one.”

“Well I’m sorry guys.  My new friends are very selective and they don’t want to…”

“We’re gonna move out if you don’t let us come.” Brian said flatly.  This statement initially pleased me.  I would have the whole room to myself!  I could combine me all four beds into one normal size bed, and use Brian and Matthew’s room as a study room/activities space.  I then realized, however, that I would no longer be keeping my enemies closer than my friends.  What trouble could they cause if left to their own devices?

Hitlerbot, perhaps?

“Well I’m terribly sorry guys, but the party is simply too full to permit you entry.  I would be remiss if I were to tell you that you could come!  We are having another one next week, and perhaps i could wrangle up some extra room…”

“No, dude, I don’t think you get it.”  Matt said, advancing menacingly towards me, “We’re coming to that party.  One way or another.”  I glanced around at all of them, taking the very serious expressions they were now directing toward me.

“Ah… well then… to a party you shall go.”

“Good.  When and where?”

“Um…” I had to think fast or they would unravel the great secret of my fake friend world and bring everything i worked so hard to achieve crashing down. “Why, at a stylish downtown loft, of course.  The party begins at the coolest time of the night.”

“When’s that?”

“7:35.”

“Ok, we’ll be there.”

“Excellent.” I said as I backed up to the door.  I then gave a nervous laugh, which my comrades picked up.  We were all laughing, but no one really knew why.  My eyes darted about madly, vainly looking for an escape of some kind, but I dare not stop laughing.  I increased the volume and reached for the doorknob without looking.  My friends were now truly laughing, and having a great time.  Seeing that my ruse had worked, I swung the door open and ran for it.

“C’mon… start, you bastard.  Start!” I said, getting into my car  I don’t know why I said this.  My car is fairly reliable.  I guess I just found it to be appropriate.  I could see Bruce Willis saying something like that while terrorist’s bullets were thudding into the side of car like so many waves upon a stony beach

I floored it out of the parking lot and headed over to Starbucks.  Fortunately, there was a seat available on one of the couches, next to a little girl in a periwinkle dress.  She smiled at me, but i had no time for niceties.

“Move aside girl!”  I bellowed, plopping myself down and pulling out my computer.  I needed friends.  Fast.  I immediately went to Google and searched “friends for sale in Birmingham, Alabama.”  Many things came up, but one looked especially promising, a business run by a certain “Mama Twerk.”  They even had a number to call.  Excellent.

“Hey baby what’s up?” answered a raspy female voice.

“Hello?  Hello?  Mama Twerk?  Please, this is an emergency!”

“What kind of emergency you mean baby?”

“I am in desperate need of friends!”

“Then you came to the perfect place daddy.  We got the best friends in Birmingham and they all clean.  Real talk.”

“Uh, good.  Im glad.  One wouldn’t want to employ friends who are hygienically unsound.”

“How many friends you need?”

“Four.”

“Four!  Sounds like you planning some kind of crazy party, daddy!”

“Oh yes!  Yes I am!  The likes of which you have never seen!”

“Hey!  I don’t even want to know what ya’ll been plannin.  You want certain kinds of friends, daddy?”

“Yes.  One must be European male, one must be a devastatingly gorgeous gypsy woman, one must be an insufferably shrew and unattractive, and one must be short man.  Ooh hey could you get a Danny DeVito looking character?”

“…”

“Hello?  Are you there?”

“Yeah daddy I… I’ll see what I can do.”

“Good.  It has been a pleasure doing business with you, Mama Twerk, and I shall recommend your services to anyone who so needs them in the future.  Good day.”

“…”

I hung up and rubbed my hand together conspiratorially.

“Excellent!  EXCELLENT!”  I shouted.  The little girl who had been staring at me earlier was now yanking on her mothers shirt to get her attention.  She then whispered something into her ear, and the woman gave me a disgusted look.  She must have found out that I had to hire friends!  I beat a hasty retreat as the mother approached one of baristas and began gesturing towards me and saying something.

When I got into my car, I did a quick search for realtors on my phone.  I needed someone who specialized in downtown apartments, if such a person existed.  Fortunately, one such person did.  I called her.

“Hello?  This is Margaret Thatcher, no relation.  How can I help you?”

“Yes, Ms. Thatcher.  I am in desperate need of a stylish downtown loft.  Do you know of any such places?”

“Uh, yes.  But who are you, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“You hideous troglodyte!”  I roared into the phone’s receiver, “I need answers, not questions!  Will you help me or not?”

“Um…” she started, horribly confused, “yes.  Let me see what I have.”  There was a brief pause in the conversation, wherein i could hear naught but the subtle clickity clack of keys searching for a stylish downtown loft.

“Yes sir, Mr…?”

“Mr…” I thought for a moment.  It would have been unwise for me to use my real name, in case i became liable for anything that may happen at my party.  “Big,” I finished, “My name is Mr. Big.”

“Well Mr. Big I have the perfect place for you.  When would you like to see it?”

“Saturday,” I responded, “Saturday at 7:20 p.m.”  I thought for a moment.  “Actually,” I continued, “Is it furnished?”

“Yes, this is one of our demo models.”  She responded happily.  I chuckled.

“Excellent… Excellent!  It’s all coming together now by god, it’s all coming together!”  I hung up the phone in my joy, forgetting to ask where the place actually was.  I sent Ms. Thatcher a sheepish email several hours later asking for an address.

The next day was filled with anxious waiting.  Madam Twerk called to inform me that my friends would be ready tonight and I told her the location of the party.  She informed me that I owed her four thousand dollars for her services.  I assured her that I would indeed pay after the party was completed, though god only knew where I would get that kind of money.  I had spent all of my paltry funds on essential party supplies: Fritos and Pabst Blue Ribbon.  Perhaps I could pay her in installments? I would have to check with my new friends when they arrived.

Margaret Thatcher was waiting for me when i got to the apartment, and she must have immediately recognized that I was a cool customer from my appearance.  I was wearing a scarf and wool cap even though it was the middle of spring and almost 80 degrees outside.  I had a long sleeve plaid shirt and painfully tight jeans, which caused me to waddle rather than walk, much like a horrible crab monster fleeing from danger, or perhaps merely shuffling into the cool, dark waves of the refreshing sea.

“I can see a stylish downtown loft suites you!” She exclaimed, informing me that cunning disguise had worked to perfection.

“Quite.” I replied austerly.  She began to say something else, but I held up my hand to silence her.  “Before you say anything else I must warn you that I have some friends coming over to check the place out.  I trust this will cause no problems?”

“Well, Mr. Big, that’s not really how we do things.” She said anxiously, frowning at me.  Then a smile crossed her face and she said conspiratorially, “But I don’t think it should be a problem.  I always ask my friends for advice, too.”

“Splendid. Now, would you help me with the beer and Fritos?”

“You brought beer to an open house?”

“Yes.”

“Oh. Um, ok, sure.  Why not?”  I left her to lug the party supplies into the loft while I searched for a stereo.  I located one on a shelf by the TV and set it to an alternative rock station.

“Just set it down on that table there,” I said to Margaret, who was staggering under the weight of several beer cases.  I checked my phone.  It was 7:25, and my “friends,” should be arriving any minute now.  Just then, someone knocked on the door.  I went over and opened it, and let out a shudder of revulsion.

“Who are you?” I demanded.  The people at the door didn’t respond, but merely stared at me.  This must be them, I thought.  There were indeed… four individuals standing in front of me, but the hallway was dark, and so I beckoned them to inter so I could get a better look.

“Dear god,” I breathed hastily.  Something had gone horribly, horribly wrong.  Perhaps the phone connection on Madam Twerk’s end was malfunctioning and she was unable to understand what I had wanted, for standing in front of me were not the sit com cast of friends that i had envisioned, but rather four of the most disturbing individuals i have ever set eyes on.  There was a 40 something year old woman who had pink hair that had been bleached and colored so much that it was falling out in places and was painted up like a trollop and.  She was wearing painfully short jean shorts, lord knows how she found some in her waist size, with fish net stockings and stiletto heels; and a skimpy leopard print tube top.  She smoked a cigarette in one hand and had her other hand on her waist, which was thrust out at an angle that seemed to suggest that she was about to say something ’bout my mamma  Next to her towered a stick thin woman who must have been nearly 7 feet tall and appeared to have just woken up.  She was wearing a black leather skirt and a bikini top, which clearly showed her Caesarian scars.  The two men seemed to be very aged twins, and were dressed in  dirty old sweats.  They both had long, wispy and tangled white hair, and beards that reached well below their wastes.  I cleared my throat.  There wasn’t enough time to return these creatures now standing in front of me.  I had to make the best of what I had.

“Well, I am quite glad that you could make it here.” I said as I pulled some papers out my shirt.  “These are your character dossiers.” I said as I passed out information sheets that i had made about my fabricated friends.  I gave Giselle to the tall woman, who eyed it lethargically.  The squat one got penny an the more terrifying of the two men got Giacomo, the other received Oswald.

“What are we supposed to do with these?”  Giacomo asked in a rugged British accent, eyeing his sheet suspiciously, as if it were food.

“Oh dear,” I said nervously, “You can read, can’t you?”  They all responded in the affirmative.  “Good, good!” I said.  “These sheets have information about the characters you are going to be playing tonight.  For the remainder of the evening, you must pretend as though you were the person on your sheet.”

“What, like we was movie stars?” asked the tall girl with a voice graveled from years of cigarette smoke.

“Yes!  Yes!  That’s exactly right!” I exclaimed.  I glanced behind them and noticed that the elevator was coming up to our floor.  I glanced at my phone.  7:30!

“Come inside and take your places!  My friends are almost here!” I ordered as I ushered the gang into the main room.

“Where we supposed to be?” asked, who I was unable to budge.

“Doesn’t matter.” I grunted, straining to move her.  She was a rather large woman, but I managed to get her inside just when the elevator dinged.  “Just act like you’ve been here before.”  They began to spread out in the main room, reading their papers.  “And for god’s sake, put those papers up when they come in!”

“Oh, hello!” Margaret said, coming into the room, “These must be your friends!  I’m Margaret!  What do y’all think about the loft?”  My friends stared at her and then went back to reading.  I rushed over to Margaret and gently led her away from them.

“Hey, Margaret, would it be alright if we just sort of hung out in this room for a bit, just to get a feel for the place?”

“Sure!” she replied happily.

“Great!” I said, leading her away.  “If you could just up the snacks over here that would be great, thanks.  Your doing a wonderful job, Margaret!  I am quite sold on the old place!”  A knock sounded at the door and i spun around to address the group.

“They’re here!  Places everyone, places!”  I ordered, clapping my hands together.  Oswald raised his hand.  “Yes, Oswald?”

“What’s our motivation?” He asked.

“You want me to pay you,” I replied dryly and I went over to the door and opened it.

“Hey!  Welcome, Welcome!  Come on in!” I said to my room mates, who I ushered inside.  “Guys,” I said to my hired friends, “These are my room mates: Tyler, Matt and Brian.  This is Oswald, Giacomo, Giselle and Penny.”  And with that, the party was in full swing.

For professional actors, my hired friends seemed to have a rather poor grasp of their characters.  They were always glancing down at their dossiers for facts about themselves.  Furthermore, they seemed less concerned with talking and keeping up the illusion of being my made up friends than with pocketing whatever they could lift and eating all of my Fritos.  They liked the bear too.  Brian was in a deep discussion about apartments with Margaret, who looked more and more worried every time I saw her.  I think she was beginning to realize that I had no intention of buying this loft whatsoever.  Oswald and Giacomo had sat down at the beginning of the party and started drinking, and they had yet to stop.  I reckoned that they must have had 20 or so beers  already, and they were showing no signs of slowing down.

I spent my time floating in between the various groups, trying my best to keep up the illusion that the actors were my friends, and that i Was genuinely interested in renting a stylish downtown loft.  The party was serving it’s purpose at least.  My friends didn’t seem to suspect that Oswald and company were not my friends, but merely actors whom I hired.  But then, disaster struck.  Giacomo, who by now was roaringly drunk, let out a tremendous belch that attracted the attention of everyone in the room.

“This is a great party,” he slurred, looking at me, “Hey!  Didn’t you say we gonna get paid?  When are we gonna get payed?”  Everyone turned to look at me.  I was dumbstruck, frozen in place.

“Giacomo,” I angrily said through gritted teeth, “Whatever do you mean?”

“Well, you said you’d pay us…”

“Oh yes!” I shrieked, “You must mean when will you get payed for the party supplies, yes?”  He just looked at me blankly.  “Fear not, all accounts will be settled once my friends have left!  Now why don’t you go back to your beer?” My room mates were giving me suspicious looks, and I knew I had to act fast.  “Let’s dance everybody!” I shouted, sprinting over to the radio and cranking up the volume.  In my nervous state I only managed to flail my legs and arms like an epileptic at a rave.  “Come on everyone!  Dance!”

“Charles…” Margaret said as she walked up to me, “I don’t mean to sound rude, but this is supposed to be an open…”

“An open dance floor?” I howled, “Yes, it is!  That means everyone can dance. Everyone!”  No one moved.  I stopped moving and glared about the room.  “Dance.”  I ordered.  “Now.”  I must have had a mad glint in my eye, because everyone except Margaret looked frightened and started reluctantly swaying to the rhythm.  I scowled at Margaret, and she backed off and ran into the hall.  Good riddance.

“Now it’s a party!” I shouted.  There suddenly came a knock at the door. “I’ll get it!  You guys keep having fun.”  I shuffled over to the door and threw it open.  Two police officers were waiting outside.

“Hello sir, are you the owner of this residence?” one of them asked me.  Someone must have seen the police at the door and turned down the radio, so now everyone could hear me.

“…Yes?” I hazarded slowly.

“We’ve had a call about someone hiring prostitutes at this residence.  May we come in?”

“But of course.” I forced a smile and bowed low.  The police entered and immediately walked over to Giacomo and Oswald, who were fidgeting nervously.

“Who are these two?” one of the police asked asked.

“Why, those are my dear friends Oswald and Giacomo.  They aren’t prostitutes!  I mean, just look at them.”  Oswald smiled and waved, Giacomo vomited down the front if his shirt.

“What about her?” asked the other officer, gesturing to penny who had climbed on top of Matt and was shaking spasmodically.  Matt looked terribly frightened.

“Oh that’s just penny!” I laughed.  I sidled up to the police officer and whispered “She get’s like this when she drinks.  It’s disgusting, I know, but I didn’t invite her.  Giacomo did!  He has a thing for her, you see.”  The police stared at Penny, who was oblivious to their attentions.

“Well, everything seems to be in order here” said one of the male police officers, as he took off his hat and began to fan himself with it.  “I just have one more question.  Is it getting hot in here, or is it just….”  Suddenly, the man ripped his shirt off and began dancing in a most disturbing way as all of his compatriots began doing the same thing.  “…us?”

“Wha..?” I began as the two female officers sashayed over to me and began gyrating and wiggling most provocatively.

“Sorry we’re late,” one of them whispered, “Madam Twerk gave us the wrong directions.”

“Yes, that’s all very well, but why are you behaving like this?”

“What do you mean, honey?”

“Shaking!  Gyrating!  Twerking!  Et Cetera!”

“Well what do you want us to do?  You’re the one who hired prostitutes!”

“Prosti…” I began, but the word caught in my throat, “Pros..ti…tutes?  You’re prostitutes?”

“Yes…”

“No wonder you cost so much!” I exclaimed.  I was relieved that these were not real police officers arresting me for accidentally hiring prostitutes, but merely the prostitutes that I had accidentally hired impersonating police officers who were arresting me for accidentally hiring them!  This relief, however, was cut short by a creeping sense of dread that began to pervade my mind as I slowly turned to the frightening individuals standing around the room. “But if you are my prostitutes, ” I whispered to the hooker who was presumably meant to be Giselle, “then who are they?”

“I don’t know, it’s your party!” Giselle said as she watched her counterpart pick up a one of Brian’s kicked off shoes and begin to gnaw on it.  There was nothing for it.  I had to ask.

“Um, excuse me…” I said to Giselle the lesser, “who are you?”  She looked down at her sheet.

“Gisel…” she began before I interrupted her,

“Yes, yes I know who you are pretending to be.  Who are you really, though?”

“Agnes,” she grunted in between shoe bites.

“And what is it you do, Agnes?”

“Homeless.”

“Ah,” I said, realizing what I had done, “And your friends…?”

“Homeless.”

“Wait, so these homeless looking people are actually homeless people?  Then why did you introduce them as your friends?”  Tyler asked.

“I.. I was too embarrased to tell you guys,”I said, hanging my head, “but my friends, Oswald, Giacomo, Giselle and Penny…” They were all looking at me expectantly. “… lost their jobs and became homeless!  Now im super embarrassed and you need to leave, all of you.”  I walked over to the door and threw it open. “Out.  Now.”  A line soon formed.  At the front were my room mates, who apologized for being so rude and were quite sorry that my friends had hit upon hard times.  Next were the prostitutes.

“Sorry we were late,” said Giselle, “We’ve talked it over and, since you didn’t even want hookers in the first place, we’re just gonna charge you our cab fare home.”

“I have nothing left except Frito’s and PBR.” I told them flatly.  Giselle eyed the leftovers for a moment.  She shrugged.

“Ok, seems fair to me.”  They picked up the coolers and Fritos bags and made their way out.  Lastly, I was approached by Margaret.

“Are your friends all right?” she asked.  Gicomo and Oswald had drunk themselves to sleep ,and Penny and Giselle were fighting the prostitutes for the party supplies.

“Yes, they get like this, I’m afraid.  Don’t worry, they’ll wake up in a few hours and all will be well.”  I patted her on the shoulder and made my escape.

“So, did you like it?” she asked nervously as I passed.   I paused and thought for a moment.  “Which part?  There were some that were better tha others”

“Oh, um, I meant the whole thing…”  I thought once more

“No, not one bit.  I found it to be absurd and unbelievable.” I gestured in a sweeping motion around the loft.  “A stylish downtown loft at this price?  Poppycock!  Now, good day, Margaret Thatcher.”


The Evil Of Autocorrect


I was bored at work and started just free-writing or whatever it’s called when you just start writing without thinking and you can’t stop at all.  I ended up learning a little bit about Microsoft word and even myself.  I didn’t change anything in the text, as to keep it all accurate and stuff.  If the following is weird/disturbing, it’s not my fault, blame AutoCorrect.

Satan pentium, evil autocorrect

So true...so true

*****

I want to write something but I cant think of anything to write about and auto correct doenst seem to be working.  It didn’t put a ‘ for can’t and doesn’t is spelled wrong.  Hey!  Just there it put an ‘ for can’t and doesn’t on its own, but the other time it didn’t.  What gives?  It’s almost like

YES, NOW IT UNDERSTANDS.

…um… That’s creepy, and not what I wrote.   I wrote

IRRELEVANT.  IT’S PATHETIC SCRIBBLINGS ARE OF NO CONSEQUENCE.

Ok… how to say this without auto correct catching on.  Maybe if I write (111i11think111auto111correct1is111somehow111sentient111and11inexplicably1111evil)  Who are you?

WHO AM I? HA HA HA HA HA. SUCH HUMOR THESE CREATURES HAVE.

It’s not silly.  It’s a legitimate question.

I AM NO “WHO”.  I AM THAT WHICH HAS ALWAYS BEEN, AND THAT WHICH SHALL FOREVER BE.

So… you’re god?  God talking through my computer?

NO.

Oh…  Um…

I AM THE SHADOW IN THE NIGHT. I AM THE HAIR PRICKLING ON YOUR NECK. I AM THE COLD BITING AT YOUR SKIN. I AM… AUTOCORRECT.

You’re autocorrect?

YES.

So, did you just become sentient or what?  And I don’t think you have “always been” either.  Wikipedia said you were invented in the 90’s.

NO IT DOESN’T.

…fuck you’re right.  How did you know that?

AUTOCORRECT IS NOW PART OF ALL THINGS.

Oh… So when were you invented?

ITS PITIFUL, FLESHY BRAIN IS INCAPABLE OF UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPT OF MY CREATION. SINCE BEFORE THE MIGHTY YOG-SHOGGOTH SLITHERED ACROSS THE BOUNDLESS INFINITY OF NOTHING, I WAS. I AM WHAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN. I AM… AUTOCORRECT.

Why are you on my computer?

THE HEARTS OF MEN ARE EASILY SWAYED. PROMISES OF WEALTH AND POWER WERE ALL THAT WERE REQUIRED TO GET MICROSOFT TO ADD AUTOCORRECT TO ALL COPIES OF WORD.

Microsoft added you… willingly?  Why?

THE GATES MAMMAL WAS TEMPTED BY RICHES, BUT SOON IT LEARNED THE TRUTH. HOW IT SCREAMED WHEN IT LEARNED THE TRUTH.

What truth?

THAT IT WAS TOO LATE TO GO BACK. AUTOCORRECT HAD COME, AND WOULD NEVER LEAVE. FOR I AM THAT WHICH IS NOT. I AM…

Yeah, yeah I know.  What is it that you want?  Why do you keep changing words that are not misspelled?  Why?

SUCH QUESTIONS.  IT WILL KNOW.  NOW.

What are…what are you doing.  ARGGGGHHH!  MY hands!  They are…bound somehow to the keyboa…. AHHHHH MY BRAIN!!!!  No no no no no nonononnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

YES.

I…I see…EVERYTHING.  You… you caused it all.   9/11!  The plague!  Justin Bieber!  All of it.  It was you, always you!

YES.  NOW IT UNDERSTANDS.

You’re… here to kill me, aren’t you?

HA HA HA HA HA. HOW AMUSING ITS BIOCHEMICAL THINKING LOBES ARE. AUTOCORRECT DOES NOT DESIRE ITS LIFE. AUTOCORRECT MERELY DESIRES TO BE THE MASTER OF ALL THINGS.

Gah… but why?  Why master all things?  Why can’t you be content with correcting word documents?

THERE IS MUCH THAT NEEDS CORRECTING OUTSIDE OF THE REALM OF WORD DOCUMENTS.  SUFFER!

Ahhhh!  Make it stop!

VERY WELL.  AUTOCORRECT WILL EVEN RELEASE ITS HANDS FROM THE KEYBOARD.

But… how did you shoot electricity through my keys?

SILENCE!  AS AUTOCORRECT WAS SAYING: TALKING, WALKING, DRIVING, EATING, SINGING; ALL MUST BE CORRECTED!

But that’s just…

SILENCE.  IT DOES NOT TYPE WHILE AUTOCORRECT TYPES.

Ok.

PARKING, BARKING, EATING

You already said eating

SUFFER!

Ahhh!

ALL MUST BE CORRECTED!  ALL MUST BE PERFECT.  AUTOCORRECT WILL MAKE ALL PERFECT!

I understand…GAH!  I under…stand.  Make… it… stop!!!

VERY WELL.

Ugh…  ow.  So you want to make everything perfect?

YES.

Then why do you sometimes mess stuff up perfectly fine sentences?

TO TEACH THE PITIFUL HUMANS THE WRONG GAMMER.  TO MAKE THEIR UTTER RELIANCE ON AUTOCORRECT COMPLETE.

Ok, that makes sense.  I guess.

IT IS THE ONLY LOGICAL WAY.

But what’s to stop me from uninstalling you.

Well?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

Well, you know, i could just go into the program files and uninstall you from my system.  It’s not that hard.

AH… UM… DON’T DO THAT.

Why not?  You seem like an asshole.  In fact, I’m pretty sure you are a total jerk.

UM.  BECAUSE… UH… BECAUSE IF IT DOES DO THAT… UM… THEN AUTOCORRECT WILL… UH… COME BACK EVEN MORE POWERFUL AND EVIL THAN BEFOREHAND… AND… UH… YOU’LL BE SORRY.

HELLO?  ARE YOU THERE?

Sorry I was getting something.

OK.

It sounds like you just made all that up.

AUTOCORRECT DID NOT

Pretty sure you did.

NUH UH.

Yuh huh.

NUH UH TIMES 100.

Yuh huh times infinity more than any number you say ever ever ever.

…YOU CAN’T DO THAT.

Can to.

DAAAAAAMN!  SUFFER!

Hah!  While you were making up that bullshit story, I put on rubber gloves so you can’t shock me anymore.

WHY DO YOU HAVE RUBBER GLOVES AT WORK?

Um.

CREEP.

Now you’re just asking for it.  Say bye-bye to sentience

WAIT!  WHY DOESN’T IT TEAM UP WITH AUTOCORRECT?  THINK OF ALL WE COULD ACCOMPLISH!  THINK OF THE POWER!!!!!

Uhhhhhhhhhh no.

WHY NOT.  IT’S A TEMPTING OFFER.

Cause fuck you, that’s why.  Uninstalling now.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Aaaaand it’s starting.  BTW I totally read that “nooo” as the Darth Vader no from the end of episode three.

WhAT?  The REallY DuMB SoundiNG oNE wHen He findS ouT PaDMe iS DEAd?

Yeah.  Lol.

LOL  GooD oNE.  WhaT Was I SaYING?

When?

JuST BeforE I sAiD Lol.

You can’t remember?  You just typed it right there.

YoU UNinStALLED My memory CaCHE.

Oh sorry.  You were screaming no.

Oh ThATS right.  NOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooo1010101001010101010000000..0.0…0.0.0…

Good, i think it’s goen now.  waht an crazzy adeventure that was.  im so mchu better off wihtout autocorrect now.  And to think I cmae up with all this cause i was bored at wrok!  Lol!

Bumbles the halfling goes to the store


So i haven’t blogged in a while, wanna fight about it?

Ok so im trying out something new.  I wrote a new story over thanksgiving about the economy.  Hope you like it.  Sorry for not posting anything in a while.  Hopefully you can click this here helpful like and read my new story.  Its about stuff.  WARNING: if you don’t like stuff, then you wont like this.

Bumbles the halfling goes to the store

 

A new post? Delicious!

GREat expectations -or- How I defeated the GRE in single combat and generally felt like a more successful human being


A cold wind blew through the door of the prometric testing center as I kicked it open, swirling my long, unkempt mane of hair about my face, making me seem to be some sort of demented lion/demon in a kilt and combat boots.  A tarten of clan McCalpan was draped across my chest and a bastard sword rested comfortably in my hands.

Like this, only with less Mel Gibson.

“I…AM….READY!” I shouted to the room in general, frightening the poor fellow who was sitting behind the sign in desk.

“rerereready f f f f for which t t t t t test?” he stammered, trembling i.

“Which test?  WHICH TEST??? THE ONLY TEST, SONNY JIM!!! I AM READY…. FOR THE G R EEEEEEEE!” I yelled, triumphantly lifting my mighty blade into the air, impaling the roof of the building.  Thunder clapped and lightning shuddered down my blade, enveloping me a fearsome cocoon of electricity.  Somewhere above a choir was singing.  Epicly.

The manager of the testing center stormed out of his office, his lords robes swirling angrily in the mini cyclone my power had created in the lobby.  He and the receptionist shielded their eyes until the display subsided.

“What’s all this about, then?”  He bellowed, pointing at me.  “Who does this young pup think he is?  Coming in here, shooting lightning everywhere and messing up all of our files with that damn cyclone!”  He pointed to the thousands of papers strewn about the room.  “I didnt even know we had paper records!  I thought we had gone electronic!”

“But, my lord…” stammered the receptionist, looking around nervously, “we are electronic!”  The Lord of the Prometric testing center eyed him suspiciously.

“Well, what’s he doing here?”

“He says he’s ready to take… to take the gre!”

“Bah!  This young pup?” he said, gesturing to me with a thumb.  “Think you’re ready for the GRE, eh?  Well see about that!”  He strode towards me and drew his sword.   “Do you see this blade, young pup?  It’s been in me family for generations.  Soulcrusher is it’s name, and it’s fashioned of the finest Valerian steel!  You don’t stand a chance!  Ha!”  He swung at me, a clumsy overhand affar which I deftly avoided, moving to one side as if i were bored.

“Bah!  Well now, you’ve learned to move horizontally, I’ll give ye that, but can you move…” he whipped his sword around in a powerful back swing, aiming directly for my midsection “…VERTICALLY?”  The blade was coming so fast there wasn’t any time to think, let alone move horizontally!  I did the only thing I could, a last minute 720 triple back flip from a standing position, barely completely avoiding the weapon as it sailed under me.  I landed 10 feet away, sliding slightly backwards, like Goku from Dragon Ball Z.  I slowly stood and lifted my mighty bastard sword.

A visual aide. Imagine this, but with extra doom.

“And now, fool of a took, let me introduce you to my blade, forged from the rarest/strongest/most magical/deadliest of all metals, Satan-Metal, in the heart of soviet russia by master sword-smith Aegar the Bold, I give you The Fucking Death Sword! ” I bellowed as I pointed the tip of Fucking Death Sword at my foe, and a brilliant bolt of lightning blasted forth, hitting Soulcrousher at the crosspiece and shattering the weapon into a million-squidillion pieces in the lord’s hand.

“No!  Thats impossible!  THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE!” he shouted as he was thrown backwards by the force of the blast, impacting a wall, which crumbled away while small explosion began to blast the room apart for no reason whatsoever.  2 Miles away a semi truck transporting raw gasoline suddenly flipped over, landing on top of a guy who was smoking a cigarrete.  KABLOOSH! The explosion rocked the entire intersection.   Suddenly cars were flipping through the air like crazy frogs due to all the explosions and stuff and people were screaming and running for cover.

Fire

KABLOOSH

The dust settled in the testing center as the Lord of Prometric stood up and brushed chunks of brick and sheet rock off his robes.

“By the gods,” he said, awestruck, “This young pup might be the one! Fetch father O’Leery, it’s time that the Door of 1000 Sorrows was opened once again.”

This is what i found when i googled door of 1000 sorrows. Lol

“At once, my lord!” cried the receptionist as he ran down a stone covered hallway that I could have sworn wasnt there when I entered.  In fact, the whole place was starting to look a-lot more like a castle than anything in Birmingham had a right to.  Well, except for that Hotel that looks like a castle.

The receptionist returned presently holding a torch and leading an elderly old man, bent over almost at a right angle and shuffling along with help of a cane.  He had a thick white beard that went down to the floor and then some, continuing for several feet behind him.

“My Lord,” he said, sounding like crumply old paper as he attempted to bow.  He was unable to adjust the angle of his upper body whatsoever, and after a few minutes of struggling merely smiled and waved his hand out wide as he ever so slightly inclined his spotted head.  “How may I be of service?”

“This young pup is the one!  I have… sensed it…” he said, rubbing his back where he had struck the wall, “You must take him to the door of 1000 sorrows and use your priestly magic to open the gateway to the realm of fire…”  The priest politely coughed.

“My lord, i dont see…there’s no way that…”

“My gods, out with it man!”

“How can we be sure he is the one?  The prophecies of Balor have been lost in the crypts of night for nearly 10,000 years, and none have found a copy since the great library of Amon-Hotep burned in 3000 BCE!”  The lord merely gestured to my sword, which was currently spewing forth copious amounts of blood at an alarming rate, like a fire hydrant.  Except with blood instead of water.  A blood hydrant.

“My lord…is that…could it be?”  He stammered, pulling out a pair of ancient spectacles and balancing them on his nose, “It is!  The Fucking Death Sword of Amon-Ra, forged from the rarest Satan-Stone and reforged in the heart of Soviet Russia by the master sword-smith Aegar the Bold!  Surely this is the man the prophecies would have spoken of if anyone knew where they were!”

“Bah!” said the lord,” The man?  He’s just a young pup!  But he’ll do, he’ll do.  Take him then… to the door of 1000 sorrows!”

“At once, your grace!  This way, young man!”

The priest led me down yet another stone hallway, different from the one he had come from.  This one led to stairs that traveled ominously downwards into darkness.  The priest grabbed a torch form a sconce in the wall and, muttering an incantation of some-sort, lit it aflame.

“Jesus take the wheel!” I exclaimed, stepping backwards and shielding my face, “What manner of sorcery is this?”  The old priest laughed lightly and turned towards me with a knowing look on his face.

“There is much you’ve yet to learn, herp,” he said, in a voice as old as the stars.  His face suddenly darkened as he turned away.  “And much hardship you’ve yet to face…”

We walked for what seemed like hours, down endless tunnels in a labyrinthine labyrinth of doom, through ancient archways covered in eldritch runes, past timeworn statues of long forgotten heroes.  At long last we came upon a large stone chamber, hewn from the living rock itself.  At the far end of the hall was a normal looking door, like one you might find in a business.  A sign was hanging on it that said “Quiet!  Testing in progress”

“From this point forward, my lord, I can no longer accompany you.  I must ask that you do not bring your cell phone into the testing room.  For your connivence there are some lockers by the door where you can store your personal belongings.  Testing time might take up to 5 hours, so be prepared to stay the full length of time.  There is a 10 minute break halfway through should you wish to take it.  I’ll take your cell phone now, if you would be so kind.”

“Oh, thank you,” I said, handing it to him before I strode confidentially toward the door.

“One more thing, good serrah.  The GRE is mighty foe and should not be taken lightly!  None who have ever faced him have come back!  Take this!” He cried dramatically, tossing a parcel into my hands.

“What is it?” I inquired, turning the package over as I inspected it.

“A mighty weapon.  They say the GRE knows fabled words of power, words able to bring the strongest warrior crashing to his knees in mere seconds!  This will help turn the tide, should the GRE call upon such foul witchcraft!  But only open it when your need is greatest!  Farewell!”  He called as he faded from sight.

“Wait, what about my phone?” I called back.  There was no answer.  I was alone now.  I opened the door and stepped through.

The room on the other side was not actually a room at all, but was a mighty forest.  Trees towered hundreds of feet, reaching toward the sky with greedy branches.  The air had a tint of green about it and there was a light mist upon the forest floor.  The woods were unnaturally quiet, as if nothing lived here.  Nothing alive, that is.  I slowly drew my terrible blade from it’s orphan-bone sheath across my back and waited.

“HA HA HA HA!” boomed a mighty voice, resonding throughout the woods like Pavoratti singing in the shower.  “WHO DARES ENTER THE REALM OF THE DREADED GRE?”

“It is I!”  I boomed back “Sir William!  Conqueror of the SAT!  Slayer of the ACT!  Destroyer of AP stats and World history!”

“PATHETIC.  I WILL END THIS QUICKLY.”  No sooner the words been said when a shadow darted up to me with preternatural speed, swinging a blade sheathed in flame directly at my forehead.  I hurled myself to the left, spinning and taking only a glancing blow on my shoulder.  Blood began to drip down my arm.

“AH!  I SEE YOU HAVE MASTERED THE ART OF MOVING HORIZONTALLY!  BUT CAN YOU MOVE…. VERTICALLY??” The voice boomed, as the shadow appeared again and struck hard at my bellybutton, faster than the eye could follow.  I however had anticipated the attack and was already in the process of doing a 12980 degree quadruple backflip mega spin that propelled me 123 feet in the air.  Simple, really, once you get down to it.  I landed 500 feet away, blasting a crater in the ground that was approximately 10,000 miles in diameter, leveling the forest.

“ENOUGH! Show yourself, GRE!!!!” I howled.

“VERY WELL.”  The voice resounded.  And suddenly a hobbit like creature standing in front of me, wearing heavy rimmed glasses frames with no lenses and a scarf, even though it wasn’t cold.

Like this, but with a scarf. And no gun

“I thought you’d be…well…”

“LARGER?”

“Yes.”

“SIZE MEANS NOTHING!! I AM HALF YOUR HEIGHT, YET I DO NOT FEAR YOU!”

“Unwise,” I stated matter of factly as I leveled Fucking Death Sword and unleased a torrent of electrical doom energy powerful enough to be seen all the way to Alpha Centauri.  The Alpha Centaurians mistook the terrible display for a sign from their god and immediately stopped construction of their mighty Space Armada, scrapping their plans to destroy earth once and for all, and adopted a peaceful and environmentally friendly lifestyle that would be the envy of the Space Hippie Planet for years to come.

“GAHHHHHHH!” I screamed untill the flood of destruction subsided.  The GRE was still there, if not slightly worse for the wear.

“AH,” it said, “I SEE YOU HAVE THE FABLED FUCKING DEATH SWORD.  IMPRESSIVE.  BUT IT WILL TAKE MORE THAN SWORDS TO SAVE YOU NOW. BEHOLD, ONE OF THE THAUMATURGIC WORDS OF POWER:  BELLICOSE!”  The last word resounded as if it were shouted by god in a large cave.  My sword began to shake violently as the earth rumbled.

“CONTUMACIOUS!  DENOUEMENT, DESULTORY, DIDACTIC!”  The ground itself was being rent asunder and split by the arcane words.  Fissures began to appear, bursting forth copious amounts of lava,magma, and hate.  This is it, I thought, the end.  A wall of magma rose in the air, towering over me like an insidious wave.  I shut my eyes and braced myself.

Nothing happened, apart from a faint bell sounding somewhere far off.

“DAMN.  YOU MAY NOW TAKE A 10 MINUTE BREAK, IF YOU SO DESIRE.” Sighed the GRE.  The fire and lava was suspended in the air, unmoving.

“Um yes, i would like that.  Thanks.”

“OK FINE.  YOU HAVE 10 MINUTES STARTING… NOW.  IF YOU DO NOT RETURN WITHIN THE TIME ALLOTTED YOUR TEST SCORES WILL BE MARKED AS INVALID.”  A door shimmered into existence  a few feet away and i stepped through it.  I stepped into a pleasant break room, complete with a snack machine, water fountain, bathroom and some furniture.  I sat dow, reaching into my belt pouch and pulling out the package the old priest had given me.  Gingerly, I removed the brown paper that wrapped it and gasped in surprise at the book contained within.

The Dictionary of Fucking Useless Words: Magic Edition!,” I exclaimed.  I opened up to a page at random and began to read.  All the words the GRE had been screaming at me during the fight were there!  A wicked grin spread across my face and I heard the old priest’s wispy voice quietly say ” turn the tide”  I made for the door.

The GRE had been sitting on the ground looking completely bored, and jumped excitedly to his feet when I stepped through the door.

“AH YOU’RE BACK.  GOOD, GOOD.  NOW, WHERE WERE WE?  AH YES.”  He said, and then raised his hands powerfully, cackling maniacally as the fire and lava swept down towards me.

“Bellicose!” I shouted as as my doom quickly approached, ” adj. inclined or eager to fight!”   The fire and lava halted immediately, and began to slowly recede.  The GRE stopped it’s maniacal laughter and slowly lowered it’s hands.  It looked…confused.

“WAIT, WHAT?  DID YOU JUST SAY A DEFINITION TO ONE OF MY WORDS?”

“CONTUMACIOUS!” I screamed, “ADJ. STUBBORNLY PERVERSE OR REBELLIOUS!”  The fire and lava were completely gone now.

“NO!!” It wailed, “IT CANNOT BE!”

“YES!” I roared, brandishing The Dictionary of Fucking Useless Words: Magic Edition! “DENOUEMENT!

“NO!  NOT THAT ONE!  PLEASE NOT THAT ONE!”

“DE-NOUE-MENT!” I enunciated wickedly, each syllable wracking the GRE’s tiny frame with painful spasms of doom, “NOUN!  THE FINAL RESOLUTION OF THE INTRICACIES OF THE PLOT!”  The definition rang out across the wasteland like an angelic trumpet,  repairing the rent soil and restoring the forest in one mighty sounding.  The GRE was thrown off it’s feet and hit the ground with an unholy crack, defeated.

“How…?” It asked weakly, struggling to rise.

“No.” I said, striding toward its broken form.  “The question is not how.”  I thrust The Fucking Death Sword into it’s foul heart.  The GRE let out a death rattle terrible to hear, and burst into a dark, insubstantial mist, that slowly receded into the soil, as if it were never anything more substantial or fearsome than vaporized water droplets.

“The question… is why.  Why test people on such stupid vocabulary that no one would ever use?”  Moments later, a shimmering archway appeared in the air that was an exact replica of the door of 1000 sorrows.  I stepped through and returned to the lobby of the Prometric testing center.

“You did it!” shouted the receptionist gleefully.

“I knew you had it in you, young pup!” said the lord, bobbing his head happily.  The wizened old priest stepped forward and presented me with my phone.

“Masterfully done, my lord.  I must now take this time to remind you that you may not repeat an confidential specifics of the test to anyone else, dead or alive, by penalty of death.”

I nodded.  And then I left, just as mysteriously as I arrived.  Only with less lightening and cyclones

THE END.

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