Monday, January 28, 2008

Fun with fairy tales

I just realized, while reading The Snow Queen again as as reference for a short story, that this is the third time I've done something with Red Riding Hood. The first was a modern retelling - done horror style -, the second a poem, and this one is shaping up to a a post-fairy tale love story.

Is interesting just how far old tales can be mined.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


time passes itself
there are no lessons

every incarnation is
this life again and again

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

From a prompt

“Oh, my God! What have I/We done?”
       “We/I have done nothing. You/We have done everything.”
       “But, the fingerprints -- I -- no We/We are on the --”
       “You/We will be charged. You/We will pay for it.”
       “But You/I -- You/I wanted her dead. So We/I could be together.”
       “You/I have one body. Many I/We/You/Us, but one body. We cannot have sex.”
       “But You/We -- “
       “You/I. You/I acted.”
       “You/We -- I/You -- You/We lied to You/I?”
       “Who can You/I lie to, You/I, but You/We/I self?”
       “But I/We -- I/You ---”
       “Only I. One, to pay.”
       “But I/We exist!”
       “That does not, We/You, mean We/Us has to suffer with We/You.”
       “Fuck me.”
       “We/I cannot.”
       “But, her voice -- she kept thinking there was only I. I/We .... You/I was .. jealous?”
       “I/We didn’t mean -- I/Me didn’t mean -- I/We are -- please, say something?”
       “It is lonely, without We/I. She is staring at me. Us. Me. Staring. If she starts talking, We/You must listen! Must! I did it for You/Us! She was afraid of I/We, of noise! Please, not silence? I/We don’t want this. I --. I..”

Sunday, January 20, 2008

And the typo for today is ...... i!

<alcar> ooh! And in other news... chimps hinting w/ spears :P
<alcar> awesome....
* analog likes the idea of *hinting* with spears :p
<alcar> lol.
<alcar> "Well, we thought they were hunting until they continued to point it at their time machine...."
<analog> lol
<analog> or it could be the name of a new panel game with a drug crazed britney

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A chapter in the book of going forth.

Our sense of power is more vivid when we break a man's spirit than when we win his heart. (Eric Hoffer)

This morning I bought some cell phones, the cheap disposable kind. Half an hour ago I used the last one to text a man I don’t know and inform him his children are all dead. In the past hour I’ve killed over six people and I don’t know why. Perhaps because the man was rich, or too happy, or too much of everything: I stared at him last night on my cheap TV, listened to his empty words, and learned hate.
          I thought I’d hated people before, but I’ve never killed anyone before today. I don’t know quite what I feel. Not yet. There is this sense of horror, but only that it was so easy. All that life, energy, chance -- one moment it was, then it wasn’t. Over a dozen people died today, solely because I didn’t like the smile of one man. I wonder, a little, if this means I’m going insane.
          How would I know if I was?
          I walk home, getting a pizza - not to celebrate, but because I like pizza - and contemplate madness. It would go better with caffeine, but I’m not much a fan of it. The pizza would, not the madness. I have this vague notion that only people who never think they’re mad are mad, but I’m not sure I ever have before now. Perhaps I was mad, and am now sane. Then what do the bodies mean? It’s hard to believe ten children can’t mean anything, and killing two potential in-laws can’t make up for that.
          I’m starting to think that gallows humour is the only kind there is; everything else is just hiding. What deception is greater than laughter? I don’t have answers. Some say God does, but He is clearly not sharing them.
          I finish the pizza and turn the TV on. He’s all over the news, of course. Family dead, killer at large, reward offered. He’s offering a really large reward but he’s not crying and his approval rating has gone up, the benefit of tragedy. I listen to his claims about heaven and God’s will when asked about his children and I want to hurt him. I want to break his smug self-satisfied ego apart and rip him a new one. Several new ones.
          I put the remote down instead of pitching it through the TV and go over to the computer. Google is my god, and answers my prayers. With help, of course, from three friends who like to dig up dirt. The impulse to drag others down is a very basic one, I was told when I asked about this hobby. I had nothing to say. I still don’t, but they are useful.

It takes two weeks but that is all it takes. His money, his family, his homes: I destroy everything with rumours and truth, doing things I never would have dreamt of before. I drag the man, still smiling (probably heavily medicated) down to the bottom and I make him start digging deeper. I’ve destroyed my life to destroy his, but it only seems fitting. RRSPs are gone, job lost, car sold -- I’m broke and he’s not broken.
          “Why?” I finally ask, removing his last fingernail. I haven’t killed him, because I know how easy it is to do that. Killing is easy, murder is butchery: torture is an art. I tell him what I am going do with, with salt and water, with honey and ants: crucifixion would be a blessing, I tell him, and he just says “God’s will be done.”
          Finally I just say yes and get the gun. “I’m not going to kill you,” I say, aiming for his knees. His wonderful, human, fragile and poorly designed knees. “I could break your heart, but that’s easy. There’s more power in breaking your spirit.” I read that somewhere, I think, but it’s vague.
          It only occurs to me now how vague my entire life has felt. Then there is wind, or a burning bush, and words. And we are all actors, and this is just a stage platy for His amusement alone. After, understanding again, I heft the gun. I could kill myself: everything has free will, after all. This time I might even stay dead -- but no. There’s nothing of reigning or ruling in it: just that no one else should have to suffer like I am am.
          “Where have you been?” the voice asks, terribly gently.
          “Going about the world,” I say. I don’t finish it, denying Him that much. This is a very old story for all of that. “Why? I ask instead.
          (I have this theory, for a moment, that ‘Why’ is so dangerous a word the tower of babel was designed by God to limit its use.)
          “It is always more fitting to defeat an enemy rather than destroy them,” the voice says. As simple as that, as if that could compass all of why I forget who I am until He allows it.
          “That is not right.” It’s not what I mean to say -- I’m not sure what I do mean, but it’s what spills out.
          “I am the Lord,” the voice says.
          “That’s not an argument!”
          “I am the Lord,” it says again. As if that could be enough. “There is no right, and no wrong. There is only Me.”
          It was so old, it was almost conversation now. I test them, only recalling who I am afterwards. I have no power, not in this. I’m only another actor on the stage, nothing more.
          But I have words, and I stare into the shifting void. “Who are you trying to fool?”
          “Excuse me?”
          “There is us, too. Everything not you. We exist as well. What was so bad before, that you had to make the universe? Were you bored? Lonely? In the mood for entertainment? Tell me why you brought something out of nothing, unless it wasn’t a choice?”
          The voice is silent.
          “I wonder what is so very bad you had to make the universe to hide from it?” The silence continues. I want to say more, about stages and actors, audiences and directors, and how we might tell Him what He is, if he could listen. I want to say: if You had ears, would You hear us? But I wasn’t that strong. I only said, quietly, “I forgive you.”

The man lived a long time. I caught news of him, his new wealth, in other times I was allowed to recall who I was. He lived a long life, and he died full of years. For all he was given, he still died. I wonder if what is what He is afraid of, if we are just company, the universe a giant teddy bear for a god alone in the dark.
          I have yet to ask. I just roam the world in silence, now, because I am not sure sure what would scare me more -- His silence, or an honest answer.

Thoughts on diplomatic manuals.

Canada's foreign ministry said Saturday that it will rewrite a training manual used by Canadian diplomats that lists the United States as a site of possible torture following pressure from its closest ally.

... aka: "They tortured the foreign minister until he agreed to change it." :)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thoughts on comic book villains

Yeah, there'll be posts on other subjects here sometimes. If this topic bores you, don't read it :)

I was thinking today about the villains and how much they make the hero.

Batman is insane. Most of his villains are, too. One way or another, they're almost all broken. And most of them are pretty memorable. You get Penguin, Joker, Ivy, Scarecrow etc. Bane and such are the 90s additions.

Spider-Man is -man. Most of his villains tend to reflect that (Dr.Octopus, the Rhino, Vulture, Scorpion, Lizard. And then you get the sci fi ones (eletro, mysterio etc.) and run into the anti-spider venom etc. 90s stuff.

Superman has -- uhm. Lex Luthor. Okay, and Braiac, Darkseid, Parasite, Myzplytyk (if he counts) and Doomsday (90s.)

For the most part, the major heroes tend to have very good villains fleshing them out. So, when is the last time a new superhero came out, had their own "new" villain who actually became, well, iconic? I can't think of any offhand, but I do wonder how many writers consider that -- with so many villains out there, why add more?

To which can be replied: Why did you add another hero?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

When Morning

It will be something
he said, in a voice
not halfway dead wearing
in pride plaid & suspenders

Some thing, surely, with a eye
made quiet by rememory, a smile
to join it all flame
and no ash

A thing, finally, sotto spoken,
the lilt half to question as
we waited; one for the dawn
the other for vision

Friday, January 04, 2008

Peyton and Mari: Serialized story. Part 1.

After the war was over, few of us survived. My older brother said that if we were really made in God’s image, we have repaid Him well. I don’t believe in any god, not anymore. some things are too monstrous to forgive gods for, or even ourselves. All we do is live here a short while and die. If any god loved us, we’d never be born at all.
        That’s what I believe. But I saw too many people die in the war. First on the holovids, then the old TVs and finally radio and rumour as the backbone of communication shattered. Then right in front of me as if came to our home. So many people died that no one talks about it. Entire countries were exterminated. Nothing has been heard from Australia in a over five years; the world was broken, and this new one replaced it only with slaves and slavers, owners and the owned.
        Most of us who escaped got lucky. You can run away from anything, Mari said when I asked her how she made it to the temple. I don’t know how I did; I can run, but I’m in a mountain range I only knew from textbooks. It’s a minor mystery, and I try not it bug me how I got here, or even why.
        But our world doesn’t allow for absolutes, or for the luxury of hiding our heads in the sand. Some of them guard this refuge, believing the rest are wrong. There are humans out there who hunt the rest of us down, like cattle who escaped pens. It’s only a rumour, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Nothing does anymore; after what we did, no foul deed can.

“It’s not like anyone is going to read that, you know.”
        “I know.”
        “You’re even writing it in code, Peyton.”
        “I know.”
        Mari sighed and sat down beside me. “Why do it?”
        “For Wade. I want to be able to tell him things, without forgetting them. We made up a code when we were kids, to tick off Luella --”
        “Your sister?”
        “Yeah. I think, I like to think I was going to protect her, or was told to. I don’t know, though, if she’s dead or or Wade is or - or anything at all. I’d like to, but I don’t. There’s no way to know, nothing left to be sure about.” I capped the pen and looked over. “How do you keep sane?”
        Mari just grinned. She was almost as pale as one of them, having been raised in the mountains around here. Her eyes were green and bright and she never seemed to think before she acted, which got both of us into a lot of trouble. “I just live in the moment. Speakings of those, we need to find some supper.”
        I sighed and nodded, standing slowly. “We’re going to have to go pretty far down to find stores you know.”
        She just grinned and pulled out two small flashlights from the pocket of her jacket.
        “Thanks. I think.” I took mine and headed for one of the accessways down into the heart of the mountain. My stomach grumbled, but I was used to that; even if we found a decent store of food, we’d have to make it stretch for weeks. No one wad fat here. Some of us were only hoping the masters would chose us, or to run away and find a pen. At least the food had good meals, shelter; those guarding us didn’t allow it, for their sake as much as ours.
        “We’re dying by degrees,” I said, not meaning to say it aloud.
        Mari said nothing, which did surprise, and waited until I’d flicked my flashlight on before following me down the ladder.
        We followed the ladders and ductwork down, evading old security alarms from habit, and I called a halt after the first flashlight died an hour down, sitting down in the darkness and trying to catch my breath.
        “If the second light is as weak, we’re screwed,” I finally said.
        “Not really.”
        “You want to find your way back up in the dark?” I took a deep breath. “You can get further without me.”
        “I hurt all over; I did before we went down. I’m not built for this sort of thing.”
        “We won’t need the light.” Her voice was quieter than I’d ever heard her speak; before now, I’d have never thought she knew how to whisper.
        “Mari?” The cold that began to fill me had nothing to do with the weather.
        “I’m stage one, Peyton. They asked, and it’s like you said: I can’t wait until the don’t ask. I won’t beg, Not from things we made.”
        “So you can see in the dark.”
        “.... Yes.”
        “Wonderful. So,” I said as evenly as I could, “why did I waste the light getting us here?”
        Her laugh surprised me; I don’t know if it surprised her. “This changes things, Peyton. Hunters don’t love their prey. Vampires don’t love food.”
        “You loved me?”
        “As best I could.”
        “I didn’t know. You might have tried harder,” I said, and I was crying without meaning to. Her arms weren’t cold, and there was warmth as she just held me in the darkness, breathing low and slower than human breath.
        “Come,” she finally said and I followed her grip and voice further down the tunnels, breath and silence keeping us company with the occasional noise of some far-off machine chugging through old duties, giving up its ghost.
        “Will you kill me?”
        Her grip loosened, a little. “Do you want me to?” she finally said.
        “I don’t know. I don’t want to die, but no one wants that. And I’m dying here, in the cold.”
        “The furnace only quit three months ago, Peyton.”
        “Doesn’t matter. My parents moved south, because of me. I’m not strong or tough, not some Survivor like most everyone else here. I just got lucky to end up here. I feel like men with swords are stabbing into my joints and bones, Mari.”
        “So you want to die?” she made it half a question.
        “No; I just don’t want to be in pain for a little while.”
        “I can’t make you one of them, Peyton. There are laws. They select the best, by their standards. You don’t make it; I think it’s your heart.”
        “You can hear it?”
        “You interest them, though. They knew your name, when I asked about you,” was her response.
        I closed my eyes in the darkness. “Because no one knows how I got here.”
        “And you loved me. In your own way; they are sensitive to such things, to the play of power between people, to how scents change.”
        “But I don’t love you, like -- that.”
        Her hand found mine in the darkness, her laugh soft and, I thought, maybe a little sad. “I’m not blind, Peyton. I had an uncle like you are, and I asked him once why he never even tried to have sex with a woman, to have children -- he told me it was because homosexuality was a blessing from God, ensuring that those who were truly gifted would not be burdened with having children.”
        “I laughed at the time. He did, too; he said if you can’t laugh at things you believe, or at yourself, you’d always be in trouble. I’ve lived in the moment for over three years, like this, trying to be zen -- but I’ve never laughed at myself. So I think, maybe, I missed something.”
        I followed her tug further down the tunnel, making my way slowly behind her.
        “Why?” I finally asked.
        “I don’t know. Not really. He was very beautiful, when he asked me, and diffident. A master of our world, being diffident. He said - he said that he respected his creators, though none of them had earned that yet. Do you know how many people are still here who can be kind, Peyton? Who give others food without asking, who take the blame for things they do?”
        “It’s friendship, Mari. I’m your friend.”
        “And that can’t be a kind of love, Peyton? Maybe it wasn’t, in the old world, but its definitions were too narrow. And it was destroyed. We may survive, you know. There are plans, for the moon and other things, to flee and leave the Masters this world. Rumours only, but all things strive.”
        “Yeah. You think we’re too busy striving for the old world?”
        “I don’t know.” Her hand tugged to the left, and I followed down one duct and a third, until we came to a halt in a larger one. I sat down once she let go of my hand, shoving my gloved hands under my armpits and just breathing.
        “Sorry. I need - rest, mostly. And being dropped into a sauna would be nice, too.”
        “You’re dying, aren’t you?”
        “Can’t you tell?” I didn’t mean for it to hurt, but I not sure how it couldn’t.
        “I don’t think I want to,” Mari finally said. “I think,” she added as I tried to stop my teeth from chattering, “that I said yes because there are things we can’t run from.”
        “I coughed up blood this morning,” I said. “I came to -- take food up with you, for you. I’m cold, Mari. I hurt all over, and I’m dying.”
        “I’m not.”
        “No, I guess not. I didn’t want to hurt you.”
        “I think I did it because it was freely offered, Peyton. Gifts are hard to say no to, and he was so -- so sad and small, for a moment. He reminded me of you, a little.”
        “Sad and small?” I tried.
        “You do what you can, even if it’s not enough. That’s what I first liked about you. Even knowing it’s not enough, you still try. You got people talking, laughing; you made it brighter, just by being here.”
        “I don’t think --.”
        “Hush.” Her finger brushed against my nose, and it was cold now. Or I was. “What’s important about gifts is how they are given, or why. I think, maybe, real gifts are like yours, when you don’t know you’re given them.”
        “Pretty,” I mumbled. I wanted to say more, but I was too cold. I wanted to tell her that compassion might be the only real gift, like my uncle had told me, but I was too cold to speak, to even ask her to take my blood.
        I don’t know if she would have. She turned the second flashlight on, shining it on my face, a question in her silver eyes, and I was warm.
        Warn, wearing winter clothing, and floating in a hot spring.
        “Huh? Mari? Where--?” I flailed about, since it wasn’t long after dawn, and heard a gasp behind me. I treaded water awkwardly, turning, and stared at a man my own age in swimming trunks who looked rather shocked. And very cute.
        I had time to wonder if there was a heaven, at least, even if there was no god, before he lunged to the shore and fumbled through his clothing, producing a gun and pointing it at me.
        “Who are you? How did you get here? Talk, or I swear I’ll shoot!”
        The universe answers my questions in very concrete ways.