::Words of Wisdom...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

:: She Whispered (Alternate #1)

She whispered softly into his ear. The smell of his aftershave flooded her with memories of her few memorable moments with her father. He would lather up and coat his five o'clock shadow with soap which always brought out a giggle from her even when she was trying desperately to stay hidden for fear of being discovered. Her father ritual of shaving was a deep fascination for her. "You look like an old man, daddy" she would say. He invited her into the bathroom with a grin. "Want to give it a try?" he said lathering up again for her first faux shave. Eagerly she climb upon the counter and tilted her head back, ready to receive her own white soapy beard. Together they shaved, he with his razor, her with her imaginary razor played by her index finger. She loved this time with her father, it was one of the rare moments that she had him to herself. He worked long hours at the mill and was usually too tired afterwards to give her the attention she needed. What she loved best was his big finish, the facial bathing of old spice. The smell wasn't all that pleasing to her but it was his signature smell.. that smell was her dad.
Eventually as she started getting older their time together became shorter and shorter. He took on more responsibilities at work in hopes of making more opportunities for his family. She knew he did it all for her and her mother but a part of her hated her father for not being there. The school dances, the first boyfriend, recitals... all the things that little girls want to share with their fathers.
Years flew by and his little girl became a woman with her own life. Her mother confided to her that her father's heart broke the night she left. She tried hard to believe that but it just seemed unheard of for her father to have any emotions. He was a hard man and hard men had hearts of stone, invulnerable to life's heart aches.
A nurse enters the room bringing her back to the present. The sheet covering his now frail body is stained with her mascara-tinted tears. "Are you ready?" the nurse states very matter-of-factly. She nods as the nurse places a bowl, safety razor and lathering soap at his side. She fills the bowl with warm water and begins to lather. She wipes a stray tear on the arm of her blouse not caring about the streak she leaves behind. She proceeds to coat his five o'clock shadow. He sees her daddy again for a brief moment as she gently shaves his thin fragile neck and face.
After putting the finishing touches to his stubble, she puts away the bowl and opens a small container of aftershave. With the ritual complete, she leans over and plants a kiss on his forehead. "Good bye, Daddy... See you tomorrow." Only the slowly but steady beat of the heart monitor is his reply.

Friday, August 19, 2005

:: She Whispered Lightly

She whispered lightly into his ear. The soft brushing of her thin pale lips sent the cackles of his neck to attention. Who he was didn't hold much importance to her, it rarely did. Her only drive was what she could get from him; the quicker the better.
"Please tell me again in full detail. I want the when's, who's, and where's. The less fabrication, the better..." She played gingerly with the remaining fingers of his left hand as a reminder of the price he paid for his previous transgressions. "I'm only thinking of you."
She hated this part of her work. She despised the way she so easily fell into the role of "Femme Fatale", the pain giver. Why couldn't they just cooperate for once the first time around? She knew it was a pointless question. Its human nature to try to preserve one's health. Little do they realize that in the one question she poses they hold that very preservation in the balance. She wondered if her small frame, the fragility of her appearance was an unfair hazard. A trap that was always sprung when she would corner her next lead. Requiring her to don the mask of the maiden of pain.
She was always impressed at how long they maintained their obfuscations, at how well trained they were at keeping his secrets. But eventually they all cracked, giving up the smallest of details which she fed back to her benefactor.
Another part of her work that she regretted. Trapped in a warped Pavlovian game of cat and mouse. Salivating for her prize whether she was successful with the retrieval or not as she rarely failed at attaining what her benefactor bid her for. All so she could get what she wanted, her prize. It was something so small and insignificant that most people take it for granted, but to her it was her life's blood. Silence is all she ever wanted. Silence from the faceless victims that had suffered at her hands much like the man that sat before her.
A mad paradox, she would jest, to be driven so deeply by the promise of silence that to achieve it she had to partake in the very act that was the source of the need of it.
The faint rasp of his voice brought her back to focus. The bloodied spittle hanging from his split lip, the glazed look in his eyes, the near fingerless maw strapped to the chair. This one is about ready she thinks.

:: Will Return After The Dust Settles

I'm finding myself with very little time to write or enjoy the writings of others these days. Sometimes I can only manage a quick read or two and that's it.

So if anyone has a Time Extrapolator handy, I would gladly pay you tuesday for a timeshare of it today.

Will be back soon...

Friday, August 12, 2005

:: The Surge (or My Wife and Her Short Stint With The X-Men)

Its not easy being married to a crime fighting superhero. Living in the shadow of someone with supernatural powers can be quiet humbling. No longer are you the top of the food chain so to speak. Sure I'm the bread winner with my thankless 9-5 gig but she's the one who secretly gets all the glory. "Look at me, I'm a crime fighter... oh la la!"

No, stop, we talked about this in marriage counsel. "She is not the enemy. It is not her fault she has abilities unexplained by science. Must be supportive of her differences. Her anchor." I think our shrink is on Mr. Xavier's payroll.

All this talk of being supportive and setting up sessions at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters to help her control her abilities. Isn't she a little old to be going to a school for kids? Have to admit the light bulbs have been popping less often since she started. And I can finally set the VCR clock.

But the idea of her fighting crime? What's a school have to do with that? Its like they are some secret department like the CIA setting up a fake college setup to recruit new spies. I mean really, what is it they expect her to do? Short out the villian's Lazer Beam? Besides, she's not the fighting type. And I can just imagine the drama that comes from them trying to tell her she has to wear those skin tight outfits. Not that she couldn't but she her self-conciousness will simply not allow it. No, I just don't see that working out at all. Must be supportive.

She's been on "patrols" for about a week now and... Ok, I think I hear her coming in now.

"Hi, dear... how was your day of fighting crime?"
"What do you mean they fired you?" "Cerebro? What's that?"
"Well shouldn't they have something like that shielded.. I mean if its THAT important. And what about tape backups?"
"Oh, well, I don't see how you could held responsible for their lack of forethought. Really... What did they expect from someone who's uncanny ability is to short out any and every electronic device in your proximity. I mean, really.. Amateurs."
"Come, come... its not that bad... you are a GREAT superhero. There are other supergroups out there.. here, I found this ad in the paper while looking for a cheap refrigerator to replace the one you.. uh, nevermind.. here look..."

"Got superpowers? Want to fight evil? Then JOIN US and let's PARTY HEARTY! Beer! Burgers! Babes!"

"This looks promising... right?"

Monday, August 08, 2005

:: Geekapollooza

Every Wednesday night (and the occassional Sunday) I entertain a small group of friends to a night of storytelling. Each have a part in telling the story. Its not much different from the online forums where you read the first leg of the story and the next person continues it. There is a plotline to adhere to but the path to it can take any number of creative twists and turns. Its only limitations are those of the persons involved. The stories are set in a world far removed from our own where magic is the core of all that exists and wealth is found typically in the clutches of greedy dragons. The story is mine, the game its based on is Dungeons and Dragons. The flagship of the RolePlaying geekdom. Some of you may scoff and judge.. that's your prerogative. My wife was very much like those people, until she tried it. Some say its a form of devil worship, to that I say "fiddlesticks". Or that its just a form of escapism, which to that I say, "you are correct. But its no more worse than watching TV to escape, or reading a book, or any other pasttime that takes your mind off of everyday things". The stigma that comes from this genre is from the stories of those that abuse it. The troubled kids who run around killing their parents because they believe they are vampires. Or explore a sewer line and whack off an arm because in their game his character lost an arm. Yes, these stories are true. But are rare nuggets of fanaticism that comes with life. These games didn't create the mental stability, it was already there and unfortunately was used as an outlet. A movie that really captured the slow mental unravelling and how it can be attached to RP is "Mazes and Monsters" starring a young Tom Hanks.
I grew up with a very active imagination. My brother, two years my younger, and I would re-enact great wars with our action figures. The dirt mounds my dad would have brought in to level out the back "40" were staging areas for the evil geniuses. Even when the idea of GI Joe faded that didn't stop us. With a bit of paint, cloth, glue and imagination we had our version of the Justice League or X-Men (whoever was cooler to us at the time). I started into the "world" of table roleplaying when I was around 13 when my parents bought me the "Basic Edition" version of Dungeons & Dragons. This intrigued me a bit but with no one in the neighborhood really into sitting at a table for a couple hours when they could be exploring the wilderness that was our backyard, I shelved the game. A few years later when I could drive and took my brother to the local comic store, a whole new world opened to me and courted the angst in me.. I found "Vampire: The Masquerade" and a group of fellow imaginists.
We would meet every Saturday night at this guy's house and delve into the gothic punk world of darkess. This was action figures in first person perspective and I loved it. We never believed we were real vampires, never really drank blood.. it was an innocent way to tap into that primal spirit and be something else for one night. To be fair, I have met with gamers that probably should have been institutionalized a long time ago. The ones who live and breathe the game, day and night. The ones who come to the games dressed as their character and transform their entire persona to match their character for that night (or even permanently). The ones that become filled with REAL anguish at the demise of their character. "Dude, its just a game.. lighten up." I continued with this group for a while until the storyteller up and left his wife. That was rough as he always painted her as a bitch and she's really a pretty wonderful person. She's been a good friend ever since that day. A few of us in the group didn't want to break ties so we took root elsewhere and moved to "Star Wars" by West End Games (Now owned by WoTC). Being one of the fortunate to have grown up with Star Wars this was a wonderful way to continue the story after Luke, Han and Leia. This continued on for many years off and on in between the many spurts of real life butting in. Eventually I got a job away from home and had to say goodbye to my Roleplaying buddies.
We stay in touch and trade stories.
While in TX, I found a group that was into Impromptu Theatre or Live Action Role Play based on Vampire: The Masquerade and while the group as a whole was on the freakish side even for me, there was a small splinter group that was pretty decent. Now this experience was even better... it took the action figure first person perspective and gave an almost real (or 3D) twist to it. I was (am) also very interested in acting and directing which made it all that more appealing. Eventually this group split and formed its out Troupe and it was here that I found a great group of Storytellers. But real life again reared its evil head and I was forced to pack up my family and move to CA.
Moving into a new area always means having to look for a new group which can be pretty scary and tedious. You have to weed through the weirdos and fanatics and yet find someone who can share in the creative work of storytelling. I've been lucky enough to find great sets of people both here in CA and in TX. I still trade stories with the group in TX and occasionally will collaborate on stories together.
Anyway, Good times and friends were had.. and many fond memories and not one of us ate the heads of bats, murdered our parents, or mutilated our bodies (except for the occassional non-game piercings). If you've interested or not, I would like to invite you all to participate in your local World Game Day and join in on the Geekapollooza!!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

:: Nature's Revenge

I can't really blame Mother Nature. I mean if someone tried to kill someone close to me I think I would want to exact some form of revenge on them too.
But I would at least attempt to ensure only the person involved was getting theirs, so to speak. Mother Nature isn't so precise or nice about it I guess.

Its not that my wife went out of her way to kill the tree and technically its not dead (yet). She, in her need for cleanliness and to make that is black or green white again, decided to bleach the front walk way. This involved pure bleach to be pour along the walk away, a little scrubbing and hosing the bleach away. The innocent bystander in this drama is the poor mulberry (at least I think its a mulberry, I'm no arborist) who not really knowing the difference in rain water and chlorine rich water drank it up like a Jimmy Jones follower with koolaid. Little did he know he was drinking himself to death. When signs began to show of the tree's demise, paramedics were called in to attempt to resuscitate via two week treatment of thorough watering and feeding of plant food. Its current state is still in question as its still deathly brown but there are shoots of new growth appearing.

Regardless of its condition, the reason for the condition soon fell upon the ears of Mother Nature herself. She examined the circumstances and enacted her justice in the form of the most annoying flock of birds to ever to perch on a branch. Not only are they loud and obnoxious but they are loud and obnoxious at NIGHT! These birds have been charged to sleep all day and wake up and chatter as long and loudly as possible from dusk to dawn. I'm just glad it was one tree as I can only imagine what we would have received for a forest.

I've thought about putting a hose to the birds to chase them off but they are obviously smarter than that... recently they have been holding off on their blaring chattering until the Mrs. and I are snuggled in our bed and drifting to sleep. There has to be some sort of appeals process I can protest to in order to lessen the sentence. She planted flowers out back and though she nearly killed them too, she's been working very hard on keeping them both healthy. That's got to count for something, right? If not for her sake, do it for me, Mother Nature... I'm the one who has to get up at dawn to get ready for work. Sure it makes Mrs. T crabby but she can nap if the kids are allowing.

Guess the only thing I can say is to stay on the good side of Mother Nature, otherwise she's a spiteful bitch.

Monday, August 01, 2005

:: Ode to Bruiser

We each got our pick of the small litter, one pup to call our own. My brother picked and named his pup and like any boy/dog relationship, they were inseparable. It hard to tell if he was really going to be a big dog or not, especially when we were not sure who the "father" was. The only clues we had were the fact that he was the biggest of the litter, showed the most lab features and was a steam roller when it came to feeding time. He was the third and last survivor of a litter of nine due to the severe weather we had been having in our small town of SW Louisiana. His brother and sister were given away after they were weened from their mother mostly because financial reasons and because one of them took a snip at passerby (which I am positive was antagonizing the dogs on a regular basis but had no proof).

The boy grew to a young man and the pup seemed to have grown into his namesake, at least physically, filling out to be a very large golden lab mix. Beautiful dog as far as mutts go. And his mannerism was anything but having the most gentle disposition of the three. He was probably the dumbest, but he was as lovable as a dog can get. The boy and hisdog's relationship only grew and so did everyone else who crossed paths with this dog.

I was working for my dad doing onsite tech support for his Computer Systems firm and was pretty good at it. Good enough in fact that he felt he could go on a week holiday and leave me in charge. This thrill my eighteen year old self to great extent. The week went on pretty well, had all the clients taken care of and all was looking good for the weekend. The friday before our parents' return, a storm blew in... a bad one. The dogs were uncannily frightened of bad weather. It think it was mostly due to their past experiences with them. The mother and pup had both almost drown while giving birth so whenever it thundered they went hiding. You would usually find them under the dog house we created for them and usually hide together. I was running late for my only appointment on that Saturday and luckily the rain let up a little. I rushed outside did a quick check for the dogs and saw momma dog under her house as usual and assumed Bruiser to be with her. I started my car and quickly backed out of the carport only to hear the yelp of a dog. I quickly opened my door to see what had happened and saw Bruiser attempting to get out from under my car... terrified, I jumped out to help only to have the car roll by itself as I had forgot to put it in park. Further yelps and cries... I was mortified at what I had done, I quickly turn off the car. At this point it hits me that the crunching noise in my head was not me or the dog but my car door as it had rammed into the carport post. Further mortification sets in... but I focused on the life or death situation at hand.

Bruiser managed to get himself out but was dragging his backside.. not a good sign. I try to help him but in his state of mind he's not having it and snips at me. I know that I have to get him to the vet but have no way of putting him in the car. I comtemplate my options... "This is going to kill my brother..." I phone the vet only to be told they don't do house calls nor can they do surgery. Damn this backwater town. You'd figure with the number of farms and the like in the area they would have such a place.. I'm left one a last option.. one that I continue to live with this day. We only had one gun in the house and it was locked away to be used only in defense of the home. I ran inside and nearly ran into my brother. "What's going on?" he asked. As I swallowed back tears, I explained to him what happened. "I'm sorry, but I backed over Bruiser... I'm so very sorry." I think he knew one of the dogs were injured when he asked but to hear it was HIS dog.. I might as well have punched in the gut. "That's not the worst part, bro" I sadly thought to myself. "Let's call the vet," he scurried for a phone. "I already did.. there's nothing they can do for him. He's in a lot of pain. You know what we have to do." He just hung his head, "I know" "Do you want to do it?" I asked. "No, you do.. I don't think I could." And he walked back into his room silently sobbing.

I loaded the gun forcing back the river of tears trying to escape. Outside, Bruiser just laid there whimpering and yelling. He had inched his way out of the gravel driveway near the house. I stood before him and cocked a shell into the chamber of the 12 gauge, the rain has started again. Looking at him there forced a flood of tears and memories to hit me with such intensity I wasn't sure I could do it myself. The despair in his face and the yelps of pain help me resolve myself. I wiped the mixture of tears and rain, took aim and released him from his pain. I looked away from the mess to find my brother standing at the doorway watching the whole thing. I knew then that neither of us would be the same.