Hi Ho, Hi Ho

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

Gray the sky was for the clouds did hang low shrouding the world in gloom when I set forth ‘ere the breaking of dawn. My errand was urgent and I dared not tarry even for a bite of bread. The alarm had cried out in its urgency that I must away without delay. ‘Twas many a mile I traveled ere I broke my fast. I didst halt upon a moment at the son of Donald’s house, for my need to call upon the jakes was manifestly imminent. Whilst there I aquired the elixir of wakefulness and ate of the empty calories. Progressing then further upon my Journey, I didst enter the great city.

Throughout ages anti-diluvian, the wild men who lived amongst these hills gathered upon the banks of the river in due season. In idylic style, they fished its waters and hunted the antelope, dwelling in rude shelters made from the hides of slain beasts.

But no more.

In centuries past, invading hosts weilding seeds and plow swept them away, building constructs of wood, stone, and steel. They opened the way for the following hords to swarm across the land. Iron bridges were flung across the river. Roadways they built, and verily, they were wide, for horses a score abreast could pass unhindered. Yet, still the swarms overflowed their capacity.

Into this maelstrom didst I enter. Hordes didst throng about me in the diem’s chariot race of death. Thrice was my flank assailed. Thrice didst I dodge the threat, though it was a near thing each time. Vied we, one with the other, and each alone against all, placing our very lives in deadly peril to steal a moment’s lead from our rivals. My progress was cut off of a sudden by Darrell Du Plumber, whos need for haste manifestly outweighed my own, though his life seemed of much lesser value.

I persevered, employing all my will and dexterity towards forward progress. At last, my goal came in sight; my journey neared its end. Yet, even now my quest was stalled at the very brink of fulfillment. My very brethren stood arrayed against my entrance. Sticks and placards were in their hands. Girt with righteousness, they stood before my vehicle in their ranks.

Deploying the appropriate electronic command, I didst cause my sinister visibility shield to descend. One of these compatriots leaned towards the opening. I addressed him thusly:

“What’s up?”

To which he didst reply, “The union called it. We’re on strike.”

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The Thief

Detective Gilraen tried not to show the disgust she felt by being in such close proximity to such a foul creature. She really did try to treat everyone without bias but this stringy haired piece of slimy misery nearly turned her stomach. She just wished he would go back to whatever cave he’d crawled out of. She tried to avoid looking at him by staring at the glass wall in front of them but his pale reflection stared into her eyes. How could she avoid those gruesomely large orbs that seemed to shine with their own inner light like swamp gas. He looked like someone capable of murder, but only in the sneakiest sort of way. At the sound of his sniffling she turned her head to look at him directly. He sat with his hands splayed on the table, reminding her of a giant spider, and she hated spiders. Their silent trap laying and their far too many appendages were just wrong, and should be illegal. She repressed a shiver.

He should be on the other side of the glass, she thought, where the motliest rouges gallery she had ever seen was filing in. Even as they reached their places and turned to face the mirrored surface before them the gangly creature leapt to his feet and pointed a long thin finger at the lat figure in line, a well dressed portly gentleman in an immaculate waistcoat.

“That’s him,” hissed her witness. “The short one with the hairy feet. Just you see what it’s got in it’s pocketses.”


When Desperate Housewives Call Me

It can be difficult to make a living as a writer. That is why I moonlight when I can. Desperate women from all over the Austin area call me to come over and do for them what their husbands can’t or won’t. They pay me well to satisfy the one real need they have for a strong man who knows what he is doing, and they get it without all the bother or commitment of a relationship. It is also a task I usually enjoy preforming, even if it gets hot and sweaty.

That’s right, I fix things. I also remodel kitchens and bathrooms. I worked construction to pay for college and enjoyed it so much I ended up becoming a general contractor. Okay, there was a little more to it than that. For the equivalent in paperwork and cash as a semester at college, I became a licensed contractor, a member of the California Contractors Association and started a business that earned over 60k in the first year of operation.

But that did not leave much time for writing. So twelve years later I’ve reversed priorities. Being a writer is now my primary occupation. If that is what I want to do with my life, then it must come first. I still do some remodeling, but it gets done around my writing schedule. You have to be who you want to be now. Someday starts today if it is to come at all. What are you doing to follow your dreams?

Flashed Fiction

This is my entry for Chuck Wendig’s writing contest using the following five words in a story under 1000 words: figure, dusk, flirt, mobile phone, and wig. In contests like this I try not to use more than four of the five words in the first sentence.

At dusk, the familiar figure in a bad wig appeared once again to flirt with my imagination. She is my muse, and just in time to interrupt my work on chapter two. She speaks in a voice, soft and sultry.

 “The five words for today’s flash fiction contest have just been texted to your mobile phone. Don’t you want to see what you can do with them?”

I sighed. The challenge was difficult to resist. And it certainly stimulated my imagination. But it seems like they were interrupting my novel too much. Six months and I’m still struggling through the second chapter. Yet I’ve managed to produce a flash fiction piece everyday. But no one buys those. I’m lucky to get them posted for free on obscure websites. It was time to demand answers.

Lying is not exactly a muse’s nature. It is more a matter of wrapping the truth up in layers of myth. But if you demand the truth, they have to give it to you.

“Why are these contests so important to you? Wouldn’t it be better for me to finish a significant work like my novel? As my muse, I would think your efforts would be better spent helping me finish that.”

She smiled at me sadly. “Oh, my poor writer. I am a muse, not your muse. Frankly, your writing is crap and I’m doing my best to keep it from happening.”

National Geographic

On Saturday, I attended the Texas State Jousting tournament which took place in the Village of Sherwood. I do not normally seek out entertainment that involves grown men poking each other with sticks. So when I say attended, what I really mean is that I keep a shop within the village where I sell the books we write and the toys I make. I can see the jousting lists from my doorway.

My shop also happens to be right next to the stables and the gate where the jousters come in and out. On this particular day the back area of my shop and all the surrounding area was crawling with National Geographic film crews. They were there to film the jousting for one of their TV Specials due to be aired this fall. Being a considerate and accommodating creature, I did my best to work around them, and even set up a couple of my chairs for them to use during the day.

Around mid-afternoon I was ready for a break myself and went out back to spend some time in my favorite lounger. This was when I discovered why National Geographic travels all over the world. It’s to get away from the wasted environments they leave in their wake. What I found in my backyard was cheese (I hope) smeared into the seat of my chair. The remains of the offending sandwich and the wrapper had been tossed on the ground nearby despite the large garbage can five feet away. Empty drink containers were scattered liberally around with other bits of random garbage. Before I could sit down and relax I had too wipe down my chair, cover it with a clean cloth, pick up all the garbage in my backyard, and kick the empty drink containers into a pile around their coolers.

But it turned out okay. At the end of the day they gave me a hat to thank me for allowing them to take over and destroy my eco-culture. This is in the civilized tradition of giving representatives of a local culture (i.e. obviously inferior and savage culture because they did not have the benefit of our civilization’s culture) cheap adornments in exchange for taking whatever they want.

Steampunk Physics

Today’s theoretical hypothesis is brought to you by the Backyard Professor. It concerns the nature of opposites. I am entertaining the possibility that the fundamental nature of opposites is that they are, in fact, the same. If we assume that the only constant in the universe is change, then it follows that everything is changeable. However, change happens within a set parameter. Therefore, opposites are simply different aspects of the same thing.

Let’s take light and dark for an example. As humans, we tend to think of darkness as an absence of light. But if we look closer, we see that visible light is simply a narrow range on the electromagnetic wave length spectrum. So far, humans have discovered radiation ranging from a fraction of the size of an atom to thousands of kilometers long. In theory, the range is from infinitely small to the size of the universe itself.

As simple primates, all we experience is light, darkness, and some seemingly unrelated phenomenon like load stones pointing to the north. But with the help of sophisticated measuring equipment, we can see an amazing range of wave particles that fill what appeared to be an empty void. Darkness is not an absence of light; it is a state wherein the wavelengths of the radiation are either too long or too short for us to perceive. Since other creatures and equipment can see or make use of these other wavelengths, then the true nature of light and dark lies not in radiation, but only in our perception of it.

“Join the longer wavelength side, Luke.”

Think about this. If we could lengthen and/or shorten radiation, could we create visible light out of darkness?

I’m not looking at your breasts, I’m reading your T-shirt

When participating in fantasy conventions, one is right where the mainstream falls over the edge into the bizarre and sacrilegious. This is prominently advertised on the myriad T-shirts seen about the place. The range starts with the merely devotional ones that proclaims the wearer’s loyalty to the green lantern or his favorite beer. It then travels through a range of sexy characters to humor where it finally ends with the inside joke. These are the ones requiring the specialized geek knowledge necessary to recognize the foundations of the humor. If you don’t get the joke then you probably didn’t watch the show of read the comic. “And then Buffy staked Edward, The End” is only funny if you are a fan of Buffy and annoyed with Twilight. And lets face it, if you’re at a convention, you probably are.

I don’t deal in T-shirts myself, but I do have my own inside jokes. I have long been known for my vampire slayer kits. Recently, by popular demand, I have added a zombie kit to my inventory. Each Zombie kit includes a Twinkie. About half of my customers ask “why a Twinkie?” The other half burst out with a variation on “oh my god that is so funny.”

Their reaction makes it worth explaining Zombieland to the others.

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