Sunday, January 31, 2010

RogerFalls (long)

Hello. My name is RogerFalls642. I sometimes hear Them call me the 2nd Falls. I have never met the 1st Falls. I wonder if the 1st Falls is like me, if he watches Them through the reflections of the walls. If he wonders why he is here and what They will do to him next. The last time They came They left me alone, as if They forgot I was here, and scurried around their small reflection walls. Their sounds grew louder as They scurried, Their faces changed, Their movements grew stiffer. It was strange to be watching Them while They did not look at me, but I did not like it. That was the first time I might call myself 'uneasy'. It was not the worst thing though. The time They came before then was a good time, They stood around my walls and looked at me, turning to each other, making quiet sounds in rapid order. They may be feeling good feelings at those times. Most times are like those. Many times, I cannot say how many, have been bad times. My first memory I felt what I now know to call 'unhappy', when I came to be aware of what was around me, saw some of Them standing around me. They were different members of Them, older, whom I watched grow lighter and smaller until one day I suppose they poofed out of existence. The new set of Them I like less. I thought, back then, that They were mean, now I know They were nice, now They are mean. They used to talk to me as if I could respond back, They called me Roger or the 2nd Falls, one small one called me Falls Babe. I liked that one, that one made nice faces. Back then there were more good days than bad days by more than there is now, back then when a new bad day came I couldn't really remember the last one. Now I remember. The last bad day turned everything black and I must have been crying because some of Them made loud noises of protest, the more noise they made the less the pain until it was gone. The bad time before then everything was bright, too bright, it hurt very much, and after that I could not remember things. I used to remember, though many times have come and gone, the color of the nice one's head, how many of the older ones wore screens on their faces, and my second bad day. I remember that I remembered my second bad day and that it was very bad, but now I don't remember why. I think the bright light and loss of remembering has happened before, because I remember remembering something about my first day of awareness besides the sights and the pain, but now it is as if nothing else happened anyhow. Does the 1st Falls remember these things? I wonder where he is, if he is near me, if he sees things through the same walls, or if he is not near me, if he sees other things. What other things are there to see? This place with Them from another perspective. Where are They when They are not here? Do they watch from behind reflective walls? Though I have forgotten things, every day I feel I remember more. I learn words from Their speech, I come to ask myself questions. I learned to refer to 'myself', that I exist, that I think, that I am separate from Them. That was a strange day, or it must have been, but I don't remember it. Though I've forgotten the day, the awareness I've gained from it remains. Awareness. It was my second Awareness. Which makes me wonder if I have had more than two but cannot remember. Will I lose what awareness I have now, only to gain it again and think of it as my first awareness? Has it happened before many times? There is no way for me to know. They seem to change as times pass and new times come, over many times They change their shape and their expressions. Their voices change, and the lights in their eyes slowly dim. I get the impression that the changes are not voluntary but that they happen naturally, that all times are connected, and that does something. I have learned there is the sort of thing as 'years' and 'months', I have gathered that few times are in a 'week' and many, many times are in a 'year'. Clusters of happenings in a continues stream... like the shadow and light ratio through the small screen I can barely see. Things change. I change. Will I continue to change as They do? Will new sets of Them come, this set leave?
They are leaving now. The light has gone from the small screen I can barely see, and They are moving slower than when They first came in this time. It is time for me to sleep. I remember that term from the other set of Them, some of Them used to say 'Goodnight' and 'Sleep well'. Sometimes They talk of sleep, it is a good thing. Rest, when nothing is happening. I think it is a good thing, not a bad thing anyway. It is not interesting, I cannot watch anything, but nothing is being done to me and I do not have to do anything.
The lights in the room are gone with Them, leaving me with no reflections aside from the small green light on the wall They come and go through. It is a steady companion, I call it Six. I don't know if it has awareness and thinks, if it wants a name at all, but from Them I have learned that everything is called a particular name, some things have even more than one name. Like me. Many of Them have many names, like 'Doctor' and 'Susan' and 'Brown'. I do not like that one of Them but she makes many noises and the others look at her a lot, and when she points to me it means something bad will come soon. She makes many of Them angry and they make angry noises with her name when she is not here, but when she is here They have smooth faces and try Their hardest to keep her calm. I have learned that when Doctor is calm things are good out there, but when she is 'berserk' things are bad out there. Once she was very angry and made very loud noises, she moved strangely and pointed at one of Them like she points at me. The next time, that one of Them did not come, and I have not seen him since. It makes me fear that one time she will point at me like that and I will not be here. If I am not here, where would I be? Would Falls the 1st and Six know that I was gone? I ask myself all these questions but no one can answer them. When They ask each other questions They often get answers, though many times these answers do not answer Their questions enough and They end up asking again. Some questions I have answered myself through awareness and observation. I know, many times ago, I did not notice Six. He was there but I did not notice him, then one time I did notice him and observed that he was always there with me when They left. I don't know why Six is a 'him' and I am a 'him' or Doctor is a 'she', it is very strange and I do not understand it. I call Six a 'him' because I am a 'him', it is all I can figure. I sometimes imagine I can tell amongst Them differences between the 'him' or 'he' ones of Them and the 'she' or 'her' ones of them, for I have learned these words mean the same thing though I don't know why. The 'she' ones of Them have more color on top, on Their heads and faces, and the sounds They make are different in a way I cannot describe.
How many times have I been here?
This question hits me suddenly. Understand that awareness has come over a number of times, that They often use numbers but I only have just become aware of numbers. 'Do it again' one of Them says, 'it' being something that results in me seeing double. 'We've done it four times and all it does is give him cross-eyes,' another of Them says. They have said things like this often enough before but I never realized that the 'four times' in what They said was the same as the times in that time I saw double. Four times. One two three four. And this is the same as 1st and 2nd, as there being 'only one donut left!' and 'two hours to go, I'm starving'. Since then I have been counting, a word I learned many times ago before I knew what numbers were. Since I have learned numbers They have come 200 times and 120 times again. I don't know what that means, I'm not even sure if I am counting right because I have not heard what comes between 90 and 94 and I don't remember if there is something between 50 and 72. I think there must be a 70 and a 71. It took me... more than 4 times of knowing numbers before I thought to count, and... more than six times of counting to eight before I realized I had already counted to eight many times and did not know what came next. I figured it out, mostly, but I am still confused. I want to ask Them. Can... can I do that? I have never thought of that before. I know that I am different from Them, that I am 'me', but They are each 'me' to Themselves and They ask questions of each other, so can I ask Them questions? We are separate, but we are all here in this place. We are connected. They ask by making noises, by talking. Suddenly I wonder if I can talk too. Can I talk to Them? I want very much to try. Instead of resting I wait impatiently for Them to come back. I wait. The light in the little screen changes. The shadows come back. I wait. It does it again. I start counting. One. Two. Three.
Two rounds of six, I do that to be sure I know and am not missing a number, two rounds of six it took before They came back. Except They are not the same They ones as before. Are They even They? They are different more than being different. The usual They ones are covered in white, these They ones are covered in black. I know black because They have said that I am black and another color they call 'red', the same color as They have called lines on their screens sometimes. It is a nice color, not as nice as green like Six but a nice color. I wonder if I can be green someday. The They ones in black, perhaps the black Theys, no I will call them Black3. Black3 move around, making noises not to other Black3 but to small things they hold. I realize that the noises they make come from the opening in their face and I wonder at this new piece of knowledge. I watch Black3 move around for a while, but they spend much time looking at the screens or talking into their things and I turn my thoughts toward talking. Do I have an opening on my head? Oh! Do I have a head? This time is a time of discovery, for I have never thought of what I look like. Do I look like Them? Do I look like Black3? Wondering at this I do not watch Black3 until they start to leave. I count again the times the light and shadow change in the little screen.
Ah, They are here. The normal They ones. But this time there are only two of Them and They do not look like things are good. One looks at a screen, the other watches. The time continues with little change, until I begin to feel very strange. I have felt many things over my awareness, this feeling is new. Good new, or bad new? I'm... tingling. I am aware of size because I suddenly feel myself. It is good to feel myself, but They look like it is very, very bad. They make loud noises. I hear a very, very loud noise that is bad, it hurts, it's painful, it's...
I am no longer looking through a reflective wall. I am looking at Them, and They are looking at me. I feel strange, it is like I am crying, but I am not crying. Ah. I think...
I am smiling.


A relaxing environment for writing. It worked really well. Simple, pretty, and free.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


A dragonfly landed on the cool surface for a brief respite, only to be chased away by the liquid flowing toward it. I lifted my head off my knees for the first time in hours to watch it fly lazily away. The movement caused me to yawn, leaking remaining tears from my eyes, tears I didn’t bother to wipe away. Once again my gaze fell on the body lying beside me, and it occurred to me I might dig a grave using the great knife standing erect in its chest. Despite knowing the body is but a casing, the soul of my comrade long gone, it was hard not to think of the body as him. It has his smiling jaw, his tussled hair, the tattoo on his right arm he was always tracing up and down and up and down. I let out a deep breath, trying not to cry again. Somewhere in the distance war cries still echoed, but I knew they were moving away from me as one army pursued the fleeing failures. That’s where I should be, complete cowardly failure I am. My mistakes were too numerous to forgive, my failure to send the bird, failure to make the armor, failure to be by his side, failure to protect his back, failure to take any further stance against the enemy once he fell. I was a filthy coward, a filthy traitor, a filthy cheat, a filthy deserter. Desire to be by his side overcame me, and I rolled to my side, scraping through the bloody mud, until I could rest my head on his shoulder. Its shoulder. Dammit. I buried my chin into his cold, stiffening skin, and reached a hand out to brush wind-blown dust from his face. Whether the body is a shell or what held the spirit most dear to me makes no difference to my feelings of loss, or affections to the physical form. I knew the world was in shock, at a standstill, and no one would come here for a long time. All the bodies, of enemies and friends, scum and brave, would lie here and rot. Was I to rot among them, another lost soul in a lost cause? A great trembling sigh ran through me, then I pushed myself up and looked to the knife. Twice as long as a butcher’s knife, the hand that wielded the knife in battle held it still in death. I reached for the cup and undid the knots to let the hand fall out, then I stood, hand still on the knife, and circled the body three times. “To peaceful rest you go,” I whispered, and violently yanked the knife from his chest. The body seemed to sigh, and I knew, though I’d been denying it, that he was gone from it. As the last rays of sun fell over the mountains on the bloody horizon, I gazed over the battlefield, and vowed that this time I will make a difference. This time I will move nations.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Charmed Souls

The colors exploded in her face, reds to the left, blues to the right, a deep magenta seeming to burrow into her cornea. “Catch them catch them!” she heard someone scream, and figures around her frantically scrambled to put the souls back in their buckets. A small yellow soul brushed against her nose, which gave her the moment of relief she needed to finally close her eyes to the visual onslaught. Before this time she had seen only two, maybe three at the same time, and those had been gently flowing from their rest in a bucket, falling like a giant waterfall over the bleak landscape. “Too much, too much,” she murmured, keeping her eyes firmly closed. Her fingernails dug into her palms in a rhythm as she went through bipolar waves of calm and anxiety. “Sorye!” the commanding voice came from directly in front of her. Slowly she opened her eyes, blinking at the dull surroundings; the souls were gone. “You just stood there,” Meka hissed, throwing her hands down in exasperation. “They were too bright,” Sorye explained, rubbing her eyes. “Four-hundred souls, roughly six per person, do you know how many we lost?” Sorye shook her head. “Forty. Forty souls. Two red-brown.” “Two?” Sorye said, instant remorse filling her. “We only had—” “You don’t have to tell me.” Meka ran both hands through her hair, losing bunches of long yellow strands. Sorye licked her lips, not sure what to do. If she told her, Meka would be even more angry at her, and what would she do if she was put back in Red level? Or even Grey considering how many souls she lost.... She thought of the colors in her face, how they came at her all at once and shocked her into stillness. She swallowed. “Meka?” She was busy bossing some Yels around and Sorye waited in subdued silence until she faced her. “What? Go help the Ors with—” “It was my fault,” Sorye blurted, clenching her fingers together in front of her. “I know,” Meka snapped. “You... do?” “Next time don’t leave the key in the lobe, ok?” She turned away. “I did it on purpose.” Meka’s steps slowed. Sorye took a deep breath. “The Old Worlders asked me to help them. I knew one would access the lobe. I knew the souls would fly free.” Meka let her breath out very slowly. “How many times has Laow explained that souls can’t be ‘free’ because they can not be contained?” “The Old Worlders say they can.” “Why?” Meka said finally, turning back. “What did you expect me to do with you? Do you think I can just demote you and say ‘be a good girl next time’? The first time, it’s because you are naive. The second time, you declared you changed your ways. Third time is the charm.” If there had been any color in her face, it would have drained. She had thought she’d get a pat on the wrist like the last couple times she fell charm to the Old Worlder speeches. They never asked her to do anything complicated either, never anything that would put her in danger. If she hadn’t said anything.... That was the choice she made. She nodded. “I understand. I am... sorry. I did what I had to do.” Meka jerked her head back and forth, baffled, then called for a Blue Squad to take her away. Looking back over her shoulder, she saw Meka gone back to her tasks, dejected, and Sorye felt her own vigor fading. It was so easy to assume an identity, and so easy to lose it. Onwards, then, to her newest place among the lost children of the Charm.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Cat that Ate the Cricket (boring)

One day during a cold autumn breeze I put my cat outside for her daily dose of sunshine. I don’t like cleaning the litter box either. Some minutes later I chanced to peek out the window, and what did I see but the cat darting across the back porch, and back, and again, like she was chasing her tail. I moved closer to the window to get a better view of this momentous occasion, and peering down at the ground I saw the cricket. It was a large cricket, possibly a grasshopper, bouncing around in the leaf-covered grass, the cat hot on its... tail. She caught the hopper suddenly, by a wing, and she turned right up at the window like she knew I was there and was showing off. Eew. It slipped out of her maw to feebly crawl back into the grass, she watched it until it was a few inches away, then she pounced and caught it again. I watched in wonder, thinking it would escape again and run for its life. In my backyard, in real life, it’s not like the movies. It’s over far too fast. In two bites she swallowed the hopper, licked her chops, then looked up at me, her cute doe-eyes so innocent. To her it was no more than if I’d dropped a cheerio out of my bowl on the table and grabbed it to throw in my mouth, not like she was a hero conquering a villain, more like a housewife chopping onions for dinner. No thought, no consequence, no more than a few minutes did it matter. Life depends so much on your perspective. When I let her in later, I pet her and gave her a hug, the cat that ate the cricket.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Clean Get-Away

In the pretense of saving time, Maral skipped past the drinking fountains and darted through the library to reach her classroom. Missing the first five minutes of Psycho’s lecture that probably included the phrases ‘latest news’ and ‘alien abduction’ along with a demonstration of psychedelic computer graphics that surely proved the existence of life within electronics — that wouldn’t be bad. It would be a little refreshing, like staying in bed that extra 5 minutes despite the likelihood of falling back to sleep. The real reason she ran to class was to make it look like she couldn’t stop and talk with the group of kids clustered in their usual spot at the end of the row of fountains. Bypassing their controlled center was worth getting down on all fours and risking the librarian’s wrath. Miss Woweac was a bit of a clean freak, and the idea that people in modern civilization should walk on the same paws they did everything else with horrified her. “You may as well eat roadkill with sauce cooked on a toilet seat!” she hollered after Maral, causing the students using the library to grin behind their books. Maral made a note to apologize to her later, or for sure she’d revoke library rights for the day. Rising up on her feet once more, Maral softly slid open the classroom door and slipped inside. Psycho was too busy explaining dots on an image to notice anybody come in late. A different shock met her when she tried sitting in her normal seat, and found it occupied by a small creature with an armored shell. “Grebo,” she whispered guiltily, glancing up at the rest of the class. Some were getting their beauty sleep in, others taking the time to brush their fur or sharpen their claws. Maral dropped her [memory] card pouch on the floor, caught Grebo up in her paws, and curled on her seat. ‘Thought you’d ignore us today too?’ the pet seemed to say, staring up at her with mournful eyes. Her friends must’ve sent him ahead to intercept her. She didn’t want to talk to them! She knew what they would say; “Why were you picked?” “They do a random drawing or something?” “Hey, why didn’t you put in a word for us?” “Jeez, you could’ve told us you were cheating.” No matter what she said, they wouldn’t believe she was heading outworld on merit alone. Maral wasn’t a bad student, but she wasn’t special, and she couldn’t think of a good reason she’d been chosen, even if it was as part of the cleaning crew. Miss Woweac was partial to Maral because Maral’s best class was her library course on home hygiene. Maral wasn’t a clean freak, but she was good at sniffing out mold, and a master wielder of the window-wiper. “So what do I tell them,” Maral asked Grebo in a low voice, “that I was chosen for my smelling sensation?” Somehow she doubted that would pass. “Maral-chi....” Maral looked up quick to see the teacher, and the rest of the class, staring at her. Guiltily she brought her tail around in apology and grinned, “Yes, sorry Pasi-alorum.” “Since you seemed to have missed ev-ry-thing, I will start again. Today’s topic is the senses, to see to hear to smell. Can you say ‘I smelled a flower?’” Of course she could. Her babysitter had been from Licket, so most of the language was intuitive. She glanced down at Grebo. Well. That certainly was a good point if the ship was dealing with Licketmen. Feeling much better about herself and life in general, she smiled wider at the teacher and gave the class an example of almost perfect Licket.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rune Takk

Poor houses depressed Rune. Derelict woodwork with no style, built purely for convenience, they barely keep out the rain. No delicate carvings or comforting windows graced these poor excuses for buildings. Even for stacked shacks they were poorly constructed, every pun intended, and she couldn’t help but turn her mouth down at the sloppy nail work and filing every time she passed by. If she had any choice in the matter she would go around through the artisans quarter, where each and every oddly-cut window was adorned with ribbons, amulets, chimes, or some sign of the dweller’s trade. The detour added about 10 minutes to the trip, but it was worth it to not go through this quarter. Lately, though, the way of passage hadn’t been up to her at all, and it was getting annoying. She compared the thoughtless pounding of nails that went into these dwellings with the crushing grip of the man on her right, the misshapen sloppiness and soggy rotting edges to the gait of the woman on her left. The woman’s hold on Rune’s arm was softer, no doubt she would rather slit Rune’s throat if she tried to escape than go through the trouble of maintaining the tug. Last time the pair come to fetch her had been much handsomer and much louder, these two were creeping her out with their decisive silence. Could it be Takk was finally sick of dealing with her and had made up his mind to get her out of under his feet for good? A month ago she would never have thought so, she knew she was too valuable for him, but lately... lately, things hadn’t been all good. A greater slice of bad if she had to think of it that way. For every two jobs she managed to get done like usual, with no trouble and shining results, she messed one up so badly Takk had to pull out completely. Her reputation as the best and infallible was shot at this point, the grim expressions on her captors faces confirming what she hoped was her being too hard on herself. What would she do if he really was going to— the snail slime. She’d blame it on the snail slime. Wrong type of snails for the confection, what were his gathering brats thinking? Except she couldn’t remember the markings on the snails required if such small details mattered in her profession. She cursed herself for insisting on gathering most of her own spell ingredients, next time she’d have a wider variety of people to blame things on if it all came back to bite her in the ass. They approached the tunnel leading under an ordinary collection of infested houses to an inner dwelling place hidden from random wandering and street patrol. It was said the higher council was located not far from there, in a series of underground lairs. If only she could see such ingenious planning before she croaked. Imagining the expression on his face, cold and still, was enough to make her wish she was anywhere in the world besides heading to meet with Takk Ghini.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mumble Mango (not short)

Petey knew his mumbling was going to get him killed someday. Every time he caught the glares of the older students he was sure that day was going to be this day. It wasn’t a matter of keeping his mouth shut — he had to mumble, like a chewer has to bite her nails, like a smoker has to smoke. Years ago the mumbling was louder, clearer, and easier to understand. Petey knew if his mumbling today was like that he’d already be cold under the Licket food processor. Sometimes what he said was as harmless as ‘she has braids today’ or ‘his sweater is cool’ or ‘he skipped class yesterday’, but it didn’t matter what he said so much as they way he said it, like he was accusing every student of a crime. Most of the time, though, he wasn’t so nice. Everyone likes to dance around the facts and play ‘be nice to all creatures’; Petey wasn’t like that. He had no problems mumbling his true views on every single person he saw, whether it was that pretty girl with a lisp or the big track champ who had no brains. Track Chump, whose name was, correctly spelled, Tray Kushump, was the most likely candidate for Petey’s inevitable death. The look he gave Petey when Petey mumbled ‘hey no brains giant guy you gonna run away again like you run from grades above a C yeah’, which was pretty much every day, assured Petey of this fact.
Ping, the peanut butter jar slid into his glass of Licket water (which tastes like a cross between apple cider and seaweed), splashing it over the sides onto his homework. Mumbling about the evil of sliding stuff along the counter, Petey wiped off the screen, knowing his aunt would throw a fit when she saw those droplets on her antique touch pad. He only looked up when the culprit stood behind him and reached over his shoulder. Petey braced himself to be thrown through the windows and eventually trashed in the vacuum of space, but the guy just grabbed his peanut jar. “Sorry-o,” he giggled, “I loves-um the sliding counters-o ya know?” “If you didn’t have a speech impediment I might get it but fine talk to me like that you don’t sound sorry you have no idea,” Petey mumbled, ignoring the guy to go back to his homework. The school required no less than four treatise of alien life and one thesis on inter-species relationships to graduate, and he only had a couple months left to finish them. “Haha,” the other guy said, “yous-um talk funny-o ya know? I am sorry-o ‘bouts them drops yeah my bad bud-o.” “And he’s calling me ‘bud’ why is he doing that he’s kind of annoying I have to get this done today too, just leave me alone, go back to your peanut butter sliding....” The older guy bent over and stuck his face right in front of Petey’s, grinning ear-to-ear. “I likes you ya know? Hows ‘bouts you be mine-o partner yeah for the mish-o?” “Now he’s creeping me out and I have no idea what he’s talking about he’s going to leave me like space shit out there floating forever I just know it, he just looked at the windows he’ll grab me any second now or bully me forever I’m not sure....” “Hey look up-o!” The guy gasped and pointing to the ceiling. Petey’s eyes followed his finger up. “Ah, it’s down-o nows!” Petey’s eyes followed his finger back down to the ground, then he went cross-eyed as the boy stuck his finger in front of the smaller boy’s face. “Thats was a yes-o yeah it was! Nows we’re agreed I’ll-a go yeah, see ya ats train-o!” With that the boy went out through the doors to the hangar in a smooth saunter that made it look like he was trying to roller-skate with out skate projectors. “What a weirdo I think I might have just agreed to something but who can tell with his funky speech like a demented Licket speaking Spanish in a bathtub while chewing on his antennae.” The mystery lasted only as long as lunch break, when the loudspeaker sounded throughout the entire ship for all to hear: “Cadet Petey Efre, you’ve been chosen to fly with Mission 024-FJ under Captain Lead Mango, report to Special Ops on Deck 14 for prep training. Petey Efre, report to Special Ops on Deck 14, Petey Efre, Deck 14, Petey Efre.”
So much for graduation. Once in Special Ops, always in Special Ops — that’s if you made it back from your mission alive. Petey’s eyes traveled down to the water-marked touch pad, and he thought of his aunt. She wouldn’t miss him much, and his mom was still on duty in Licket so she might not even notice he was gone. Slowly Petey slid off the stool and caught himself with his tail. “Stupid stools, tails, all that,” he mumbled, but his mind was already racing ahead, 20 floors below where a special mission awaited him. “Goodbye tea-house that was stupid anyway mom’s the only one who cares about the thing and even she wants to update the furniture serves aunt right for not knocking it down and building a real restaurant I never wanted to inherit it anyway, I wonder if they’ll have tea on board I bet they will, normal tea with lots of sugar....” As he mumbled he walked faster and faster until he was sprinting down the spiraled ramp that would lead him to Deck 14 and freedom. PB wasn’t so bad, really.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Cup Watches

The cup stands on the table to the left of the computer, trembling slightly from vibrations in the floor. The desk is unsteady, as if standing on three legs, ungainly, ugly. More pleasing to the eyes, the computer breaths softly in its sleep, the soft light gently pulsing like a heartbeat. Sleek, metallic, a new laptop with hardly a mark on it. Either it's very new, or the owner takes special care to keep it clean and free of scratches. On the ceiling the harsh lights, the ones left, reflect against the screen, making a type of glaring screen saver as the computer also shakes. People walk down the halls, past the room with the desk and the computer and the cup. Water in the cup rides back and forth, up and down, shaking around the pictures painted on the cup. Large snowman eyes stare straight out at the computer, carrot nose pointing to the ragged chair. The sides of the cup are worn, the pictures pale, there's a chip around the back. Echoes sound through the old walls of the building, causing the water to slosh again. Is the computer the only new thing around? Well if it is, it doesn't know what's happening. It doesn't understand the tremors, the neglect, the stares of the object to its right. The cup seems to be smiling at the computer's innocence, and seems to be saying, "I'll be watching you."

The broom--

I got a broom for my birthday. Everyone knows what happens when you get a broom: you either a) ask your dad ‘what the heck is this for?’ b) proceed to sweep his collection of seashells off the bookshelf, c) use it as kindling, or d) mount the thing and think UP. The forth option is really the most fun sounding, so that’s what I tried first.
You’ll never believe what happened next!
No really.
I didn’t fly.
I didn’t end up going with any of the first 3 options.
I told you that you’d never believe it. Process of elimination, right? It’s how quizzes work, but unfortunately not how life works. Life throws you curveballs, and straight-balls, and why am I talking basketball?
So here’s what happened. I mounted the broom, thought UP with all my might, glanced at my dad to see if he was trying to attach balloons to the tail, and when I looked back at the broom it had EYES... written on the wood. I gave my dad that look, you know the one, that ‘are you kidding?’ type of look. He’s used to it, he gets it like five times a day. Hey, he’s the type of guy who gives his daughter a broom for her birthday, what can he expect.
Anyway, back to the ‘you’ll never believe it’ part. I squinted down at the writing, dully noted it was vacillating between red and pink in pretty waves, then watched the MOUTH appear right above where I clutched my hands. The MOUTH is written in blue or green, it can’t really decide. That’s when I heard a hum. I thought it was my ears buzzing, so I shook my head.
Then I noticed the hum was coming from the MOUTH. The broom—

Friday, January 22, 2010

Golden Shovel

I have a shovel made of gold. I’ve been crafting the shovel for many years, its creation takes up most of my thought and effort. The purpose of the shovel is, as you might expect, to clear away snow — the cold, the dark, the unhappiness of being trapped in one place. I want to go where I will with no obstruction. I’ve always believed my shovel to be the means to that end.
Last night I was proven wrong.
My shovel and I had spent a productive week polishing the sidewalk all the way to Beijing, down to Tokyo, over to London. Content with my accomplishments I was spending a quiet day inside, admiring the products of my shovel, viz. my antique pieces standing on my beautiful marble fireplace. A knock sounded on the door, so I roused myself from my cozy stupor and went to answer. There stood my younger sister, red-faced with cold, eyes wide, hair escaping her cap in every direction. I hadn’t seen her since she married that sleazy clerk and moved to Chicago.
“What do you want?” I kept the opening small to hide my precious shovel.
Lips tight, she held up a wreath of pine and holly, like those we used to make every Christmas. Not anymore; I have my shovel, my shiny shovel of freedom.
“Merry Christmas,” she says, and under her coat I see a small bundle, tiny toes escaping worn socks.
Did I know of her kid, or remember how long ago I heard of her husband’s fatal accident?
On Christmas Eve, I was all alone, again. Maybe it was the holiday spirit, maybe it was that the shovel had, of late, been turning cold in my hands, but I felt my chest tighten.
“Merry Christmas,” I whispered, taking the wreath from her cold fingers. I led her inside, leaving the unneeded shovel to wait by the door: all my snow has melted.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Tony is an ant. One of those tiny black ones you squash without even noticing out on the front sidewalk, except Tony won’t squash because he’s made of the hardest substance in the universe, diaplathydrow, every crumb of which is worth its weight in saffron. Both substances are the only ones highly sought after throughout the entire universe, making Galactic Chief Head Guy Han Polo a rich kid indeed. Han Polo, or Harry Potter, or Herbert Patterson, whichever name he chooses for the day, is the regular spaceship-loving kid on the block. Herbert is on a galactic mission across the neighbor’s yards when he steps on Tony, who burns a hole through his sneaker in retaliation. Herbert, shocked enough to drop his current alien foe, possessing his sister’s rag doll, has to get down on his knees and pull out his inter-space telescope, or magnifying glass, to find Tony. Seeing him, Herbert knows his glory days have come.
“A real alien!” he breathes, reaching in his pocket for his mega-blaster-force-field, or magnet. The magnet creeps closer to the motionless Tony, who watches the boy through wary eyes.
‘Tony’ stands for Twa Owe NaYow, or ‘Little Moving Camera’ in English. Built for infiltration, to spy on Earth factions, his operator is an ordinary squid-alien named John. John has no idea what a magnet is, only finds the camera view swing wildly as Tony jumps forward at lightning speed to bond with the attraction.
“Haha!” Herbert cries, filled with a sense of accomplishment. He takes Tony home and keeps him as a souvenir. Little does he know he has saved Earth from certain and inevitable destruction by John and his associates, left bankrupt with their loss of Tony.
Tony is an ant with a magnet.


Since I originally created this blog to get me doing stuff with my writing, I've decided it's time to move from Japanese to ... writing.

I've been a member of for about 5 years, I think, and recently I found a contest for 'flash fiction', stories in 300 words or less based on a prompt. It's really good practice for a) coming up with short ideas, b) writing, c) condensing material into as few words as I possibly can, and d) um, writing?

I love writing, but I often don't feel motivated because a) I don't have a lot of free time, between work/school/family/house/cats/my many hobbies, and b) no one will read my stuff except one of my younger sisters who doesn't give me feedback (she likes it all, bless her). Ok, I'm just being stupid, I know, because EI) am I the first person to try to write with a full schedule? I don't think so. I can make time if it's really important to me. BEE) well. Someday. It's for myself, right? Right? ...

Um, enough time here. My point is that from now on I'll try to come here about every day during lunch break or whatever to write a flash fiction piece. The first few will be the ones I already have, after that I'll stop cheating :P

I've kept a journal since I was 7, that's why I ramble so much. I apologize. Ciao!