Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Whole Hugey List of Adventures in ONE Day!!!

  1. I woke Charlie up without coffee
  2. AND then with coffee, which is definitely another adventuring :)
  3. And before that I was waiting for Charlie and Honcho so went outside and bounces in some clouds just like a jayboss does
  4. I even made friends with some owls and got to say owl noises!
  5. Then then then I had breakfast, which is always an adventure and even a double one because of pancakes with bananas and chocolate chip inside them.
  6. (Honcho says having two breakfasts isn’t an adventure, even if it is?!)
  7. Then we left the hotel and I helped fix bindings with some other guests reservations cuz I’m pretty awesomesauce at bindings!
  8. But! one guest was leaving and complanining in a not-jaysome way to the staff so I kinda roared like a jaysaurus and helped sort all that out.
  9. Then Honcho insisted I have another adventure helping the scared guest to the airport since they were kinda crying a little?
  10. And the airport was full of adventures cuz I got to go through a scanner that couldn’t see me and the staff for all kinds of confusled.
  11. So I went through the baggage one too because it was fun!
  12. And I helped two lonely airplanes make new friends.
  13. And helped an airdragon keep hiding, cuz no one else knows that airplane is a dragon but people were getting suspiciousified so I fixed that too!
  14. Then I helped a mom find her son when he want wandering, cuz all airports are connected but! he didn’t go to the Denver one, which is really weirdy you know, so I got him back pretty easily.
  15. Also, one Outsider needed help getting through customs so I totally sorted that out.
  16. Did you know that Charlie says one can’t make friends with the TSA officers? Cuz I did!!
  17. Then I met Charlie and Honcho and helped with a store in a mall that had gone all communist and was trying to give things away on the owner and making people really confusled!
  18. (This was mostly cuz it was forcing them to do long marches for stuff, I think, and Charlie says that’s not really communism and I ‘don’t get marx’ for being extra jaysome under communism! Which was totally a CharlieJoke :D)
  19. Plus I got to help a crosswalk not be cross, which is sometimes tough even for a Jay!
  20. After that, I helped one sidewalk not have many cracks in it too.
  21. And then we had to find some cult and stop them from killing some gods?
  22. Even if Charlie says the god maybe wanted to be destroyed but it was pretty confusing!
  23. Also, Charlie says gods can’t kill themselves so euthanasia is really hard for them and the god kind of went overboard and lots of other gods were hurt too :(
  24. But we fixified all that up and then had Lunch.
  25. Which was TWO adventures because I had two different lunchings! :D
  26. And after the lunches I helped stop someone from getting their purse stolen
  27. And then helped Honcho fix some bindings so the hospital didn’t lose power.
  28. Plus! I made friends with a kitten and helped teach her some really jaysome tricks! (Which Charlie says is at least not as bad the time I made pigs fly!)
  29. And then I helped clean up a weird hopscotch board that had gone ‘all kabbalah’ according to Honcho and was doing really strangey things to kids.
  30. I also fixed a merry-go-round that wasn’t making kids merry even if Charlie says that’s not really what they’re for?! Plus it was in disguise as a carousel but I fixed that too!

Sunday, May 08, 2016

The Secret Truth

He said he’d help us find our son. That was his promise, for the 10K we re-mortgaged our home to acquire. Everyone has seen Eric Evanier in the news. He predicted an earthquake in Chile two years ago. Posted about it on facebook, twitter, all the social media outlets when the others ignored him. Before that, he’d worked in a call centre, but he said the gift had come upon him and he’d just known. Just like that: he knew how strong it would be, where it would strike first, how many would die, how many would live.

Enough listened to him that more lived that might have otherwise. Scientists looked more closely at the area to disprove him, only for the truth to fly in their faces a plane right into their their facts. Boom, and it was over. He became one of those talk show regulars, hired himself out for things. And if he wasn’t always right, if he never was that perfect again, it wasn’t much talked about.

He took our money. The fucker took our money, and sent the police on some wild goose chase. They found our son. They found Kevyn, but too late. Nothing Eric said matched up. Not a damn thing, except the colour of a car or some shit. He hadn’t been dead long. That was the worst part, knowing they might have found him if we hadn’t – but we were desperate, Maria and I. We went to churches. We prayed in mosques. We did everything we could to try and bring our son back. Our grief just attracted vultures to prey on us.

It all failed. All the hookum, all the prayers, all the money. Faith is a drink, a high that vanishes too quickly unless you buy another bottle. I’m done with those. I waited, though, waited seven long months after the funeral. I made sure to only use public computers. Found out where Eric lived, surfed parts of the web people don’t to find out how to hack his security system. It was all hard work, which faith isn’t. It was real, which faith isn’t.

He was sleeping in his bed when I entered his bedroom. Not awake. Not aware. Not prepared. I found the gun he kept beside the bed, and that it was loaded. Figured he’d be that kind. I hit him in the face with the barrel to wake him, but not hard. I wasn’t going to make it easy.

He sat up. Eric Evanier didn’t match his publicity photo. Hadn’t in over a year: he had at least fifty pounds on that, probably from eating with famous people. His eyes were pale and wide as he stared up at me. I didn’t bother with a mask. You don’t have to be psychic to work out what that means.

“Steve. Steven Brown.” He didn’t try and run, just sat up and pulled a nightgown worth more than all my clothing about him, in a bedroom worth more than our house had been.

“You remember me.” I levelled the gun at his head. “You’re why Kevyn is dead.”

And then everything went off-rails. He burst into tears, and not the made-for-tv kind. “I did,” he said when he could speak. “Not just him. So many others. I haven’t had a real vision since the earthquake, but everyone knew I was psychic. I read up on cold reading, watched interviews of some famous psychics. Learned to fake things like that did. Sometimes, I think, I got something. Whispers, but never another shout. Never – that. I saw. I knew I wasn’t real but I couldn’t let it go. I couldn’t.”

I install carpeted. Installed them, before everything fell apart. I don’t know anything about cold reading or faking seances, but losing your son teaches you about people. About who they really are, and what they mean more than what they say. And I couldn’t shake the belief he was telling me the awful truth.

I could have asked. Asked for details, insisted on a confession. He kept crying, blubbering about how many he’d failed, how he’d tried, and debts he had to pay off by taking more clients. Debts. As if our son was – as if taking our money was something you did to pay for an extension on your home. I shot him. Twice, right in the head like they do on TV, not even thinking. It didn’t help.

I think I always knew it wouldn’t help. But I had to.

I left. Walked out, threw the gun in the ocean, made it to my car. Part of me wanted to burn his home down around him, but I left it. Like a church: you don’t burn them. You leave them so people can see how empty they really are. I drove for hours, found a hotel. Slept. Woke. Slept again. I’d never felt so empty in my life. The bastard was dead, and I had nothing left in me.

I woke up knowing.

There was going to be a fire in Anchorage. I knew the street name. The building number. I could see – could feel – how many would die. And maybe it was because I was so empty, or because I’d listened to Evan, but I also knew that if I told anyone then the knowledge would never come back.

So I didn’t. I didn’t, because I thought I had to be wrong. Because I needed to be wrong. Only the building burned, and everyone died. Right down to the last detail in the vision. Today I woke up knowing of another disaster, like I did the night before. I can see them now. So clearly. I know what will happen. I know what I could change to alter that.

And I know that changing anything will take this gift away from me.

I’m sorry.

I’m so sorry, but it’s all that’s keeping me going.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Facebook status updates part XLIV (Mar. - Apr. 2016)

The city loomed below us like a boil waiting to be lanced. All I could hope was that the pilot thought in different metaphors than I did.

“Good night,” the poem said.
“Is that the best you can do?” the prose replied. “You might as well tell the reader that it a dark and stormy night!”
“It is,” the poem said, cutting brevity down to the absurd.

No one realized how broken the healer was until he revealed that he could heal the wounds of others but not the simplest of his own.

Sometimes it feels as if we are all huddled in bus shelters waiting for buses that never come while those to places we are not going pull up one after another, depositing strangers oft with familiar faces who all laugh as they get on or off.

“No one talks quite enough, I find, about how much it costs to be kind.”

I used to pretend I had secrets from you, just to hide from myself how much of you was a mystery to me.

You are the one .exe file I cannot open.

I used to trust physics until I realized how often the warp drives failed on Star Trek. If the future can’t be safe, how do we expect to reach it at all?

Phil discovered that the only time he didn’t need to wear glasses was when watching porn. This was, he felt, not something he could explain to his optometrist.

“But I love you,” he protested. “All 99% of me.”
“The Occupy movement failed,” she said. “And marriage is not an occupation.”
And he explained, then, how she was Israel and he was Palestine - and the other way around as well - and he was still describing geopolitical realities when she walked out the door.

I delete the ending to every story I write because life is too messy for proper endings.

I waited for you, as scared as the last pimple on a face waiting to be popped.

I tried to explain my truth to you but you couldn’t wrap it within your own.

“I want to die knowing I’ll have been a trending hashtag on twitter.” He paused. “I’m just not sure how to go about doing that yet.”

“My father has one rule with people he speaks to: tell him truth, especially if you think he doesn’t want to hear it. A king no one disagrees with lives only in a world of mirrors. It’s one of the first things our mother taught us, to try and live in the world and not in our idea of it, or the idea that’s shaped around us.” Jasia snorted, unable to stop herself. “I know it’s not always possible: I’d be the last person to claim I can understand the lives of rural commoners and the like, but being told truths and opinions we don’t agree with helps in that.”
“‘If no one stands up to a king, they become little better than an emperor’,” she quoted.

“We can’t get rid of celebrities: they are the new nobility. Without them, who will be able to be properly eccentric in our too-rigid world?”

The last of the great meme wars was fought between Hello Kitty and the emoticon army. They had an emoticon of Hello Kitty on their side, but even so there were no survivors.

“I know you’ve broken up with me, but I’d like another chance. I won’t spoil the ending of another tv series or movie for you. I promise.”

It is the first of April, when no online news source is to be believed.
Wait. That should be most days anyway ....

Kelly’s mom never stopped claiming that a spoonful of sugar would help the medicine go down, not even after Kelly was diagnosed with diabetes.

Excerpt from this morning:
My brother told me once that the problem of being a prince is that there are limits to the amount of truth one is allowed to speak, perhaps especially to friends. I don't think I understood it until I had to thank Jasia for the clothing her House had made for me without giving away just how much it meant. It was not a gift, but even so: there are favours one can never repay and no royal should ever have those hanging over their head. I thanked her again formally as we made our way toward the gala. I'd like to think she heard the words I couldn't say, but we didn't know each other well enough for that.

The fun of writing parts of a scene on an iPhone ...:
The ballroom was large, even wider than the cavern below the castle though not nearly as tall. The gala had spread out into two other ballerinas, one of which I was certain I'd never been in before.
... Because ballerinas are clearly a special kind of ballroom.

“Everyone asks if I’m telling them the truth, as though expecting I even know myself anymore.”

Once upon a time, there were three bears that never understood why any human thought they’d actually eat porridge at all.

“There must be a villain to this piece that isn’t me,” she pleaded with the director.
“We’re doing a play about the Book of Genesis. What else did you expect?”

If it tastes good, it's bad for you. And more delicious.
- the rule of food.

"You did it," he whispered to everyone he met, and said nothing else at all.
Sometimes the words were a shout or cry, othertimes a scream or whisper.
But there was always that look in his eyes.
That look that said that there are some things we never escape from.
Because we did it, all of it, and we will never own up to it.

Once upon a time, there was a king who abdicated his throne for love. But his love turned out to love the king more than the man.

“I’m sorry. You have to leave. I said I could only be with someone I trusted and you lied to me.”
“I did? When?”
“You told me you were an atheist.”
“But I am!”
“You said ‘Oh, God!’ at the moment of climax.”

Stories I will never write: a historical fiction piece where the Catholic Church is broken up not in a protestant revolution but for being a monopoly.

I wanted to be a superhero. But when all you can do is make people’s faces explode, it seems fate has other plans.
So many people now need to visit their plastic surgeons again, and I get a commision each time.

I knew you had fallen for my fiendish trap because I understood the power of the prisons we make for ourselves. It took everything I had not to cackle that you were finally under the power of the nefarious Doctor Midnight when you said, “I do.”

“The world changes,” Princess Kisp said. “What people fear may not change, but why they fear it does.”

“Of course you’re going to become a superhero when you grow up,” Dad assured me. “We have the best insurance plan in the business.”

“You say that nothing changes save to get worse, but I refute you thus!”
“Thus? What is your thus?”
“Pictures of kittens and puppies.”

"You speak of choices as though consequences were something that happened to other people."

So. Some companies make you work OT (sans pay) for smoke breaks; one could apply that to prayer breaks as well I imagine.
Which is a fun image, since you could get people complaining about secondhand prayer.

I said every word I wrote was about you. But none of them are. You only exist between the lines of text as how nightmares lurk in all dreams, like how love is the core of loss. Everyone has to find the places where they don’t belong, the seeking not a hoping. Trying not to be the sought. What do you do, if you can’t be a home for you, if you can’t fit yourself? You wander, perhaps wishing to (become a) wonder.
It is a difficult thing, but the secret of life is that all things are difficult. That the hunter is always the hunted. There is no growth that is not hard. And we would rather have been spared the pain than grown. Because there is no truth that cannot reek of ugliness. Being hard is what makes us powerful. But we forget the bitterness coring into the apple. Stone can shatter at a single touch. We are all Medusa, also the Minotaur. The cracks we never see run deepest.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Directory Assistance

Directory Assistance

There is an office without a switchboard in it, which the few people who visit consider to be a sin. Somewhere in the basement of the building is the IT department that does everything behind the scenes, and the voice-over people who do everything else. Nothing is what it used to be. Some days that’s bad. Most days it isn’t.

The office phone rings. It shouldn’t ring, since everything is automated. They stopped the old rotary phones from getting this number years ago, and I have a cell phone for personal calls. The phone is here because someone thought it appropriate. The problem of symbols is that they must be used. The thought feels almost alien, but I have lots of strange thoughts along at work. There’s just me in the office, so sometimes there has to be a lot of me to stop the boredom.

To counter the fear.

I pick up the phone. Terrible things happen when I don’t.

It is the boy. I know that before he even speaks. He is eleven, and I have no idea how I know this. He is cheerful. He almost always is. You can feel friendship and warmth when he speaks. If there was a geiger counter for it, he would be off the charts. The last time I tried not to answer the phone, everyone I met was sad with me for days without even knowing why. I’m terrified, but at the same time I feel safe.

“411. How can I assist you?”

“I have some information to give you,” he says proudly.

“That’s not how it works. This is a directory-assistance.” I try every time, but my truth isn’t his truth.

“I give lots of assistances,” he says happily. “I bet I’d give tons of assists if I played hockey because it’s not fair to hog all the goals and! today I ate six six whole hot dogs really fast, even for a Jay, and impressed lots of dogs so they did a helping for me and we found a kitten together and make the Sphinx not be sad-face at all you know!”

“I didn’t know.” I’ve checked the internet. Often. I don’t think he’s getting these stories from other sources. I don’t know if that helps at all.

“Uh huh! And now you do, so you can be extra-jaysome and all kinds of helpfulicious in helping people!”

I want to cry, but I don’t think he’s understand I think he’d be sad, and every instinct in me screams that it wouldn’t be wise. “Are you God?” I ask. I don’t mean to. It slips out.

“I’m Jay! And I’m not a god at all for all sorts of reasons. Some of them are even really good ones, and I’m kinda hury you forgot about me me –.”

“I didn’t!”

“Cuz I called an hour ago about the –.”

“The town without a fire department because they employ fire elementals, yes. I’m not likely to forget that.”

“Oh, good, because that’s pretty important for people to know and – oh, I gotta go. Charlie says we’re going to have another adventure!”

“I don’t need to know about it,” I say, but I’m speaking to just a dial tone. No one else has ever called beside the boy. Whatever he is.

He doesn’t call back before it’s time for me to clock out. Sometimes it’s like that. Some phone calls are short, others last for almost an hour. He asks me about stuff I’d like to learn sometimes, saying that being information must be pretty lonely. I try not to respond to that. Sometimes he speaks wisdom, too, that makes up for what seems to be nonsense. And he’s so happy that I can’t – I think he’s saved my marriage, somehow. Just by making me feel larger than I am.

Our daughter insisted on getting a doberman last month. Jay’s mention of dogs makes it hard to forget that as I leave the office and turn on my cell phone. My wife has been trying to train it, the dog has failed four obedience schools – once leaving one instructor with stitches – and we’re running out of ideas. I have four texts on my phone from her about it, and arrive home to find she and Anna have left the dog outside. They’re hiding inside. From our dog.

Sometimes I think work is a way of hiding from life. I fear the phone calls. I need them. There’s something, something too important for words, and I walk up to the gate and put my hand on the latch. We named her Buttercup, or at least Anna did, and she growls fiercely upon seeing me, showing teeth. A teeth-face, like dogs do.

“Shouldn’t you be more jaysome?” The words slip out, as natural as anything I’ve said today.

And Buttercup pauses, and ceases to growl. She wags her tail, and doesn’t try and bite when I scratch behind her right ear. I open the back door, let her into the house, and Anna and Joan stare at me in an awe I’ve never seen before. Not directed at me. Buttercup curls up on her bed to gnaw on a toy, as content as any puppy that ever was.

“How did you do that?” my wife says.

“I work for 411,” I say. It’s an old joke between us, when people ask for trivia and I know it. “I informed Buttercup about something she’d forgot.”

And Joan asks Amy to call for pizza, and I say there are words that can calm even wild dogs, but it’s not safe to share them. Joan doesn’t ask questions. I don’t know what she sees in my face, but it’s enough that she doesn’t press me.

I almost want to use the word to see if Amy can improve her grades, but I don’t think I dare. I feel like I’m teetering on an abyss, and I have no desire to fall in. We have pizza, watch a movie. Joan and I have a late night, sometimes talking.

I come into work the next morning, and for once I’m waiting for the phone to ring. Because I have an adventure to tell Jay about, and I’m certain he’ll love hearing about it. Even as he tells me all of his.

For once, I’m not afraid.

I hope it lasts.