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When they arrived at Anna’s house the girls busied themselves getting things ready for the party. They were having a pre-graduation bash since they wouldn't be around long after the momentous day-and because Anna’s dad was not at home her abode was the logical choice.
Anna brushed a hand over a picture of her father as she made her way to her bedroom to change.
As a photojournalist Marty Preston had once spent most of his time in the remote areas of the world, a lifestyle that had abruptly changed when he’d met Anna’s mother Emma. For sixteen years he had stayed local to be with his little family, until three years ago when an accident had taken Emma’s life and he’d become a shell of the man he once was. In the months following the accident he had tried to be there for Anna, but after a while it had become apparent that he was more dead than alive. So he’d re-established some old connections and went back to working all over the globe. At sixteen years of age she had been able to care for herself, but it was still hard, she often felt as if she’d lost both parents instead of only one.
It was lucky for her that her mom had been the kind of person who believed that life was not a given and had taught her to expect the unexpected and deal with all that came her way with optimism.
It's all in how we perceive it Anna Banana,” she would say, “if your house burns down you can be devastated by the loss or excited at the prospect of building something new. Personally I strongly believe in the latter, and that my darling is how I expect you to live-with great hope and a sense of possibility, always seeking the light at the end of the tunnel or a glimpse of the sun breaking through the clouds. Because believe me there will be plenty of cloudy days. You can wish the rain would go away, or you can dance in it.
And the two of them had danced in the rain often in her young life, both literally and figuratively. She missed her mom desperately but refused to give in to the grief, wanting to honor her life and memory by following her advice. She often wondered if somewhere deep down her mother had known that she would be taken early, if perhaps she’d lived and believed the things she did because of it. She also wondered if her mom would approve of the trip she was taking.
Shortly after her mother’s death she’d learned that the grandparents she had never known had been deliriously wealthy and had left every penny of their vast fortune to her. George and Karen Tyler had been bluebloods who came from “old money” and when their only child had decided to marry “beneath” her they’d all but disowned her. Apparently they had completely changed their position once Anna had come into the picture, but right before her second birthday a sailing accident had claimed their lives and a reading of the will had named her their sole heir.
The money had been held in a trust by her mom until her death, then it had transferred to Anna’s father who wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. He had immediately hired a financial manager and the moment Anna turned eighteen it had been transferred to her. Her dad had simply said
It's yours by birthright sweetheart, it's more than enough to keep you living large for the rest of your days. Just try and always keep in mind that money isn't everything. I trust I've trained you well as to the important things in life, I'm sure for you it will only make life sweeter.
After that brief little pep talk he hadn't spoken of it again, and when she'd tried to ask him for advice on spending he'd simply shaken his head and shrugged. The financial manager had a lot to say about it on the other hand, but he was so boring and practical she ended up deciding she would figure things out as she went.
Her first big spending spree had occurred the previous summer when she and the girls had rented an R.V. and toured the country. They had alternately stayed in campsites and fancy hotels making for an incredible experience, and it was during that trip that they had begun planning this one.
She finished dressing and headed back downstairs, hearing Macey’s happy voice coming from the kitchen.
I have the party music set up and ready to go, her friend announced.
Awesome, Jess is talking to Jim who is picking up the alcohol as we speak, Jenna stated with a grin as Anna walked into the room.
Anna grinned in return. She strongly believed there was something about drinking under the legal age that made it more fun. She also felt if they were to change the age to what it should be (either 18 or when your parents gave the okay) there would be a lot less problems associated with it. She never could understand how a person could be old enough to fight in a war but too young to drink a beer. In Europe it would not be illegal, in fact she’d heard that in places like Ireland you could order a drink if you could see over the bar.
So what's he getting? she asked.
Everything we asked for-a keg of amber, wine coolers for the wimps like Jess, and a variety of bottles of liquor and soda. Jenna dodged Jess as she attempted to smack her for the comment.
Anna laughed, shaking her head. “Okay let's see…I have the table set up for beer pong on the second deck, the hoist deck is set with the stereo, the neighbors are apprised of what's going on and the food just needs to be brought down along with the coolers of ice." She ticked each item off on her fingers.
Her house was located across the street from the lake and they had a two story set of stairs complete with decks leading down to the rocky beach. They also had a deck on top of the boat hoist that her father had ingeniously built at the end of their long dock.
What about karaoke? Jess asked.
Oh yeah baby, that's set up with the stereo, Anna winked at her friend. The girl really loved to sing.
I can't believe your neighbors don't care that you're having a big party, Jess stated.
Well my dad talked to them, and as long as everyone who comes either has a D.D. or stays the night, it’s A-OK.
I'm surprised your parents are okay with this, Marina said to Macey.
Macey smiled her typical mischief smile.
They don’t mind if I drink as long as I'm responsible and I don't get in a car, and since I can walk home from here that’s obviously not an issue. Her house was located about a hundred yards away on the lake side of the street.
Still, they always seem to treat you like a child.
Macey waved her hand dismissively,
Nah, they're getting better, I'm graduating after all.
Holly clapped her hands for attention,
Okay girls come on, we have to start bringing the food down.
There was a chorus of
yes ma’ams, and they got to work.
On their second trip down the stairs Anna found herself being lifted into the air from behind.
Austin, put me down, she laughed.
Give me that, he took the cooler from her,
as clutzy as you are I would hate to spend your party at the hospital for a broken leg. He mock played falling down the stairs and she made a face at him. He laughed and waggled his eyebrows before jogging down ahead of her.
Yo Anna, where can I set up the horseballs?
Anna turned to see Nate, Austin's closest friend as well as the guy Jess was currently crushing on, calling to her from the top of the stairs.
The shore is wide enough, just bring the equipment down, you can bury the posts in the rocks, she called back.
She continued down the stairs musing about whether or not the twenty first century version of horseshoes would end up replacing the much older game. Anna personally preferred it because it required a little less accuracy, though she imagined veteran players would turn the nose up at it for the same reason.
The small group quickly finished setting things up as more people began to arrive.
Anna bent down to retrieve a cup and a blush spread over her face as she sensed Austin’s eyes on her. She wasn't the type to be easily offended, but embarrassed? Yeah, every little thing of a potentially sexual nature had her reddening instantly. Annoying, that's what it was. She made a production of straightening stuff out on the table so he wouldn't see her burning face.
Your ears are all red, he stated.
Yeah well, if your eyes had fingers, my bum would be red, she shot back.
I can't help it that my eyes have such good taste.
He was hovering over her shoulder so she pushed back against him.
Personal space, ever heard of it?
Okay, all right, you don't have to get all snippy.
Snippy? Did you seriously say snippy? She giggled and faced him. He was smiling back, but he had a peculiar expression in his eyes that belied his feelings to be other than light. She shifted uncomfortably hoping this was NOT the moment he chose to bear his heart. He reached around her and grabbed two cups, the look disappearing.
What's your poison today?
Beer, definitely no liquor for me.
Aww, come on, do you mean to tell me that a little bitty hangover has got you scared?
That was no bitty hangover, it was a mongo hangover from hell thank you very much, and it's not fear but self preservation. I would really like to get up tomorrow without puking.
He grinned at her as they headed over to the keg. Nate and a couple of others had beat them to it, so Anna left it to Austin to get her drink. She made her way over to Jess who was making eyes at Nate in a less than subtle manner.
Obvious much? Anna whispered, raising a brow. She took Jess by the elbow and led her down the beach.
When they were far enough away Jess burst out,
God, I know, I can't stop staring at him! I never noticed how freakin' cute he was! I want him to kiss me so bad right now.
Anna rolled her eyes, her lips twitching in amusement,
Weren't you just saying that about Brent Regault?
Oh yuck, I don't know what I was thinking, he is so gross.
Gross? I don't know if I'd go that far, he's kinda cute.
Yeah, until you kiss him and he slobbers all over your face!
Oh, eww, that is gross. So I take it Nate is a good kisser?
Yes! Jess grabbed her arm a little too enthusiastically, "He was so gentle, but forceful at the same time, it's hard to explain, but the way he touched my face, and then he put his hands in my hair, and he tasted like spearmint…”
She gushed on and on and Anna found herself wishing she could feel like that about someone, anyone. Jenna criticized her sister for flitting from one guy to the next, but Anna honestly loved that about her, she was even a little envious. To experience those feelings of excitement over and over, there was magic in that. Someday she was fairly certain Jess would settle down, but right now she was young, so why rush it? It's not as if she was sleeping with these guys, and how long did you have where you could just kiss your partners without it leading to something further?
Jenna walked over, her expression stating an acute desire to slap her sister and Anna put up a hand to stop the acid words before they came. Jenna sighed, snorted, and then grudgingly smiled. It was only Jess that made her react like that, if any of the rest of them were crushing on someone she would find it amusing. Not that Anna didn’t get it. She loved Jess dearly but the girl had a tendency towards mood swings and she harbored no illusions about how difficult they would be to live with.
Austin made his way over to them and handed her a beer.
So what are we pow-wowing about? Wouldn't have anything to do with my buddy over there, hmm?
Jess pounced on him immediately,
What did he say? Did he tell you about it? Does he like me?
Easy there cowgirl, yes, he's definitely into you. But he's Nate, not particularly demonstrative in that way.
Demon-what? Jess wrinkled her forehead.
Anna laughed loudly at her expression.
He means that he's not the type to talk seriously about it or come over and start quoting love poems to you.
O-kaaay, so what did he say?
Austin took several swallows of his beer then smiled at her patiently.
I believe his exact words were, ‘Damn that girl is fii-iine’.
By the look on his face Anna knew he had edited that a bit.
Jess smiled broadly.
So what should I do? Should I go over there, or wait for him to come to me?
Oh come on Jess, you know it's always better to make them come to you. Holly said as she joined them, getting the gist immediately.
Yeah but I'm not patient, Jess pouted making them all laugh.
There was a loud chorus of
It's Party Time!! shouted from the top of the deck stairs and they looked up to see about twenty or so kids making their way down.
Well, I think it's time to get this party started, Austin stated.
He set about organizing the games and shouted over the noise,
I have two lists for balls and pong, if you wanna play, getcha' names on them!
This is gonna be a total blow out, Macey stated as she grabbed Anna's arm and dragged her towards the dock.
What are we doing! Anna shouted over the music which had just been turned up.
We're going on the first boat ride, I formed a list for that earlier!
Oh, good thinking!
She had a decent sized speedboat, it fit ten people comfortably and could get up to 60 mph, which in an open boat was really zipping along.
I'm driving, Macey announced to the group that had formed.
There were no arguments and they clambered in, Anna making her way up to her favorite seat at the front. She loved the wind hitting her in the face as they skimmed the surface of the water.
Her friend Geordy flopped down next to her smiling widely.
Hey Bo-nana, how's it goin'? Awesome party!
Great, and yeah I know! There were a couple more hours of daylight, and there was already about forty people on the beach. As they pulled away from the hoist she stood and waved to the shore dramatically shouting
Bon Voyage, We'll miss you!
Geordy grabbed her arm and pulled her down,
You're gonna fall over the side!
Nah, I always stand up!
And you haven't gone in the drink? You, the world's biggest clutz?
She slapped at him,
Stop teasing me! Why does everyone say that, I'm not that bad...anymore, she amended.
Yeah, uh huh, keep telling yourself that.
I really like the goatee, she said, smoothly changing the subject. He had started growing it a few months ago and it definitely made him look older. Without it his boyish face had him at a perpetual fifteen.
Thanks, it's pretty chill right?
They chatted about nothing in particular and twenty minutes later Macey turned the boat back in the direction of the hoist. Anna was in mid-sentence when she looked towards the shore and felt her heart do a stutter step.
Not now, she thought with an inner cringe, and not here. She closed her eyes tightly and looked again. Gone.
You all right, you look a little pale? Geordy leaned towards her.
She forced a laugh,
Fine, just had a little vertigo all of a sudden, weird.
Geordy was studying her, eyes narrowed doubtfully.
God what had she looked like? She smiled wider,
Seriously G, I just got a little dizzy for a sec.
Kay, if you’re sure.
She stood as the boat slowed and drew in a deep breath letting it out in a rush before plastering her face with a smile. She kept the smile fixed as she scanned the shoreline for more signs of them. The shadow men. Trying not to shiver with the thought, she disguised her nervousness by climbing hastily onto the dock.
Anna, you don't have to get off, Macey yelled to her over the music,
I'm going to keep driving!
“I want to but you go ahead, I know you love it!" She shouted back.
Geordy linked his arm through hers and they headed up the dock.
It was midday, yet the sun was yet to cast a single ray of light from beyond the grey clouds above. The dreary, sullen overhang of the weather matched in perfect unison with both men’s dark moods. The impending encounter with the difficult Mrs. Collimore was a storm just waiting to surface, whichever way they looked at it. Defensiveness seemed intertwined within her overall character so there was no “safe” approach to the situation at hand. Her version of previous events that was about to transpire would most likely be skewed. It was just a matter of to what degree and with how much added “salt”. Accountability to Wallace in some shape or form at the end of this day appeared inevitable. But their justifications for this unexpected visitation were feasible, at the very least. From Drucker's point of view, anyway.
The Corrola crept up to the high-curbed sidewalk as the unremarkable welfare complex emerged to their left. A patterned mesh of squared windows etched the face of the towering building block where she resided.
“Not exactly the grand vistas of a multi-millionaire’s luxury lifestyle. Wouldn’t you agree?” Drucker smirked. ”Something’s definitely not sitting right here.”
Doug unbuckled his seatbelt, adjusting his trouser line at the same time. A ritual only too familiar to his partner. ”Well, we gotta do what we gotta do. Let’s just get it over and done with. No sense in putting it off any longer. I just hope things don’t get too rough for us up there. I mean, if our last meeting was anything to go by.”
“Remember, we’re cops doing our duty. So don’t read into it too much.”* said Drucker. ”Even though a certain dark side of me can’t wait to hear what she has to say.” He leaned in closer to Doug who was now looking like a sea sick sailor about to puke his guts out. ”This here is the easy part. Tonight is what we gotta worry about. Up until now, everything’s been done above board involving us and this case. That all changes the minute we meet with Rob. So don’t sweat over this woman too hard. It’s just a routine check and with very good reasons to back it up. OK?”
Doug swivelled his head around to look at him. ”I’m guess I'm alright. It’s just the nerves are starting to kick in, you know? God only knows what kind of trouble were gonna be in later tonight. We got the confrontation with Mrs. Collimore now and the possibility of coming face or face with those murderous synthetics later on. I hate to admit it. But I’m scared, Druck.”
He placed a hand upon Doug’s broad, curved shoulder. “Everything’s gonna be fine, my friend. We’re going in with the right equipment this time. There’s no way those three crazy machines are getting out of this in one piece if they try anything. Trust me on this. We got the bull firmly by the horns. Just you wait and see.” The affable smile emanating from Drucker caused Doug to reciprocate. The uneasy feelings between the two of them filtered away through the tense atmosphere.
A short gust of wind tugged at their overcoats as the two men stepped out of the vehicle and marched toward the entrance to the large, rectangular tower. Graffiti images splayed the sides of adjacent buildings with an assortment of vulgar profanities embossed upon it in bold, coloured lettering. The main door leading to into the building was no better, with flaking paintwork around the skirting and small round chip marks dotting the frosted glass centre. A heavy smell of urine pervaded the air as they made their way up the narrow flight of steps. A group of noisy youths past them by in the corridor, bawling with laughter at a joke one of them had cracked earlier. They eyeballed them for what seemed all of several seconds before a tall, gangly group member muttered something under his breath and they all moved on.
”Nice neighbourhood” said Doug, grinning.
After reaching the six floor, Drucker pointed at a sign hanging overhead. ”Apartment 609, up that way”. A new vile, unidentifiable stench dissipated around them as they walked alongside a line of identical doorways. Each one displaying a small metal number attached just above the letterbox. On the other side, a sea of murky concrete structures rose up from the ground. All appearing to be built using the same specification of template as the rest.
”607… 608… There you go. 609.” mumbled Doug. He raised a hand and knocked hard upon the stained, brown door. Several seconds went by but no answer. He tried again, only this time a little harder.
”Goddamnit, just wait a minute, will you?” was heard from within the space beyond the doorway. They both looked at each other turning the corners of their lip. A muffled shambling could be heard, growing louder with every passing moment. Finally, a jangle of keys and the lock slid open.
She peered out from the side of the open door. ”Detective… Or rather Detectives.” she corrected, darting her attentions between the two of them.
”Mrs. Collimore” he said in an understated tone. ”I do apologise in calling on you so unexpectedly, but I had a certain matter to discuss with you and time was running short. Could you spare a few moments?” Doug slipped into his formal persona, expressing a look of concern and diligence.
”Well, one minute out of your busy schedule to ring and inform me doesn’t sound all that hard. But anyways, you’re here now. Come in, then.” She muddled away from the door allowing the two gentlemen to enter the premises. The small apartment looked in better shape than they had first imagined it to be. Slatted wooden flooring spread throughout the narrow hallway, looking fresh and bright. The patterned wallpaper featured tiny symmetrical diamonds replicating along either side. As Drucker got a fuller view of Mrs. Collimore, he noticed the difficulty she had walking on one side of her hip. Though the steel crutches under either arm aided in her manoeuvrability.
”I do hope you’re feeling better. How long did they say until you are back your normal self?” he asked as Doug closed the front door behind him.
”I already told you when we last spoke on the phone.” she snapped, making her way into the living area. ”A few weeks, maybe six. They said if the pain doesn’t go away from my hip, I may need to have an iron rod inserted into my pelvic region to provide extra support. Just great. Soon I’ll end up looking more like one of those metallic filth out there than my own kind.”
”Well, I wish you a speedy recovery, Mrs. Collimore.” he responded, with Doug beside him nodding his head in quiet approval.
”Never mind about that now. What have you come to talk to me about and where is my son?”
She remained standing in an awkward stance as Drucker wasted no time in getting to the point. ”Well, you’ll be pleased to know that we happened upon a very good lead which is being followed up with as we speak. By tomorrow morning, we should have something more substantial to give you, but things are looking very promising.”
A wry sneer was offered in return. ”And that’s what you came here to tell me, is it?” she cried out. ”You can see the hardship I’m going through right now, body and mind. Where the hell is the actual detective work in all this? If anything happens to my Nathan, I’ll…”
”Mrs. Collimore” he interjected, holding both hands in the air. ”I’m not quite done yet. Another delicate matter came to my attention that requires some clarification. If you’d be so kind as to assist us with it.”
”OK, then. Spit it out.” she demanded.
”Well, back at the precinct, it's customary to run routine checks on everybody associated with an investigation. The perps, witnesses, even the victims themselves. Well, the thing is, that means we also had to run a check on you and founds something what needs explaining.”
Her eyes fixed onto his, but behind them was now an additional element. A possible hint of fear perhaps. Though it was too early to place and Drucker needed more time and information.
”OK, then. What needs explaining?” she asked, in an unusual, subdued state.
”A recent transcation into a newly opened bank account in your name. For the sum of exactly two million dollars, transferred from a Mr. Clem Smith. First off, let me just ascertain for the record. You are aware of this, right?”
The blood drained from her haunted cheeks as a hidden horror gripped her from within, leaving in it's place a pale mask. She kept staring at Drucker, but in a sense almost looking through him. As if searching for an answer to some impossibly perplexing problem. Alarm bells started sounding in Drucker’s mind.
He felt closer to a hitherto undisclosed truth that may turn this investigation on his head. As far as he could tell, she had already given the game away…
The Symbiotic Protocol - Prologue
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 1
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 2
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 3
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 4
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 5
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 6
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 7
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 8
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 9
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 10
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 11
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 12
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 13
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 14 (1 of 2)
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 14 (2 of 2)
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 15 (1 of 2)
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 15 (2 of 2)
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 16 (1 of 2)
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 16 (2 of 2)
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 17 (1 of 2)
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 17 (1 of 2)
The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 18
End (but before the beginning) statement.
I’m someone who resides inside the Chronos Café. You’ll find me sipping coffee, staring out the window watching the infinite, but never quite seeing it. And I’ll never quite be able to understand that you are here with me. I want to. I honestly really do. But I just can’t comprehend how someone can be with someone who isn’t real.
It all began during a research expedition. I ate so much cottage cheese! I was trying to dream good… dream real good. I was trying to access myself on a subconscious level. I wanted to control the dreams, and try to use them for direct access to my subconscious. I’d have access to everything! Direct conscious control over the powerful subconscious! I wouldn’t be able to stop myself! But I was not prepared for that kind of power. The dreams became realer than real, often parodying real life. I’d wake up in bed as I went to sleep, living alternate lives, feeling and seeing every detail, more often than not believing that THIS world was the dream. I dreamed infinite worlds… I dreamed infinite me…
Oh yeah! And I went mad (or did I?). That’s pretty important to mention because none of this might not make any sense.
But you have to believe me! You are the most important person in this world!
Anyway, before we begin, her name is Maya, and she is a dream. She is the realest dream I have ever had. She made me believe that I was real. And it was Death who showed me that I was just a dream. Both Maya and Death are beautiful women. Maya is not to be confused with Death. Or is she? I love them both. But that’s just madness…
Maya seems to reside inside of me. She visits me when I dream, in this world and the next. Death lives in the periphery of my vision; I’ve only seen her beautiful face once. She wiped me clean and gave me a new life.
“Don’t fall for Maya” Death said.
But I’m not one to learn a lesson. I made a promise not to change, and also I suffer from a stubborn heart.
Maya, I know you are nothing but a beautiful trickster. But then again so am I…
The weather was warm. I could feel the sand beneath me as I walked barefoot. I was heading down to the beach. As I walked downhill passed my metallic abode a memory hit me. I ran towards my abode to investigate. And there it was… a new book of mine. I couldn’t remember writing this one, but the memories were slowly coming to me. I checked the cover of this book. It kind of looked like my style but the colour scheme was strange. It had a pale green background with the faintest touch of purple blue. I normally used an easy to read font for covers, but this one took a second or two to read. I thought it looked odd and I wasn’t too sure of it. There was some red crying or bleeding from the centre. At least this red is eye catching I reassured myself. Regardless of the cover I felt so happy and content knowing another project of mine had been finished. There was always that high that came with completing long challenges. It was similar to the feel of completing a marathon. What an amazing surprise it was to discover this book!
It had taken me years to finish, but I couldn’t quite remember writing it. I felt like I had written it in a dreamy amnesia and the more I thought about it, the more memories I could recollect. I smiled and I began to skip my way down to the beach, high from the pleasure of satisfaction from being satisfied from the pleasure of writing this book.
But then I woke up. The happiness from writing this book slowly faded as it dawned on me that this book was a dream. And the memories I had of working on this book for all those years had been a dream. There was no satisfaction in that. I felt like I had been robbed. The reality of this book was snatched away from me. This book only existed in the dream world.
Irish Writer, Poet, & Lover
I'm planning to upload the full book in segments. Let me know if you like it and want more ^_^
It was unimaginable to think these same streets were bustling with people just a few hours ago.
Noise and chaos had been replaced by the wonderful orchestra of nightlife. The sway of the breeze, the chirping away of birds around with the crickets occasionally joining in. The many stars in the sky, together with the moon, providing the best lighting ever. It was a perfect stage for the end of the day's drama.
Work had dragged on a little longer than expected which threatened the chances of catching a bus. He did catch it, only to discover he had left his headphones behind. This was the last bus for the night but not even that fact would be strong enough to come between him and his headphones. Not on this night.
Corey had gotten off the bus at the next stop, which was already quite a distance from the cafe he had worked that night. He ran the entire distance back to the cafe without breaking a sweat; something he gave himself some credit for just before going in to retrieve his headphones.
The mumblings he heard were still running wild in his head. It was the manager's office but felt he had no reason to bother himself about it. He shrugged off the thoughts, and with his mind incapable of being idle, he suddenly began to admire himself.
In truth, it had been a very long walk home but he wouldn't have dared to try this just two months ago. Some viral video he stumbled upon on YouTube had motivated him to keep himself fit. It was tough keeping up with the early morning jogging initially but he kept at it. Tonight, all the hours spent jogging paid off.
The lights inside the house were still on, which meant his dad wasn't in bed yet. Corey dragged his almost 6 foot frame through the door looking very exhausted.
"What's the story today boy?" His dad asked from under his reading glasses. It was not the first time Corey would come home late.
"Won't the old man ask the young boy to eat before talking about the long day?" Corey managed to mumble the words as he made for the kitchen.
It was in truth more than a modest apartment for a school teacher. Living in a predominantly white neighborhood, Corey grew up a very privileged child.
The entire day was played out on the dining table after the meal had been devoured. There was never a boring time with his dad and he loved that.
"I better get to my room real quick. I've got an appointment in dreamland." Corey said as he kissed his father goodnight.
"Korede Evans, the true son of the one and only Kolade Evans, his very handsome father" his father said as he watched Corey leave the room.
Raising him in a neighborhood like theirs made it important for him to always remind his son of his roots. The rest of the world might call him Corey but to him, he will always be Korede.
Back to the old days life in the Soviet Union of the people is envisioned in 2017. Even it has a communist taste in 1960, but we also know Americans drew similar futuristic imgination before.
I try summarized the contents which provided in the slide show video.
The illustrations were drawn by L. Smekhov. It was very similar desire for technology surprisingly what was happening not only in the United States now .
Let's take a look at the images from the primary source Sergey Pozdnyakov .
Let's take a look at the figure of the Soviet Union in 2017, which was drawn in 1960.
The first slide is obviously the Title written as - 2017 years.
It is possible to look back how the Soviet Union special cinema device was evolved.
Exhibition of Futurama of the New York World's Fair, this illustration was held in 1939 . It was a futuristic streetscape, unlike the children of the Soviets in the work that the exposition visitors could see on Futurama attractions.
In this art, I was thinking - everything in the future of the Soviet Union is to powered by the nuclear energy.
In this art, it seems that the earth surface has melted and disappears, and what is going on inside the earth is also visible. In the depths of the volcano, the underlying molding ship made of special heat resistant steel has infinite, digging towards an energy source.
Wonderful space travel, these space travel illustration certainly seems to be very Soviet.
These space travel illustration is certainly what seems very Soviet, but if an American of you may notice.
It seems to be a boy Igor with a father who works for weather control stations. Weather control technology had been obsessed during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.
I think he is cooking his breakfast in a computerized kitchen. According to the instructions, it says "Automatic scooping weighs the necessary materials, special knife carves vegetables quickly".
Was “Space Families Jetson” inspired by this Soviet 1962 images, not sure. But it is also remembered that "Space Families Jetson" was a parody program exaggerating outrageousness, gaining ideas from the futurism of the 1950s. This computerized kitchen probably was inspired by the appearance of other futuristic meals that would have appeared in the 1950s. The futuristic exposition was held in Moscow might have affected. Not sure, it was an exposition planned by Americans who were obsessed with the future of food at that time than those of the Soviets.
In the above image, In order to talk with the mother rush to the TV phone that can be seen on the left side of the screen.
Mother is in the Black Sea water kindergarten, science from the future.
What will happen if you suffer from the harsh winter storm like the above image?
Dive in the basement.
Awaiting a wonderful utopia of perfect climate.
Students who were able to take a trip can see the underground cities.
Spring for forever....
Soviet own version of Magic Highway, USA 1958.
The above image is weather control station.
A problem arises here. We are in trouble with weapons that should not have dirty imperialists (Note: America).
I caused a storm, in the South Pacific weapons experiment. In order to save as many people as possibly, need to dispatch weather control stations.
In the crisis - brave officials of the weather control station stormed.
When the weather control station returned to Moscow, the staff were welcomed as heroes with the power to control the weather to save hundreds of lives.
And although it is a TV phone call, the group will temporarily meet again.
Everyone in Moscow gets a breath of relief and women throw flowers to brave Soviet heroes.
We greeted is very different from the Soviet Union's, but there are technologies that have been realized. What will be chosen and realized in the future imagined by the predecessors? It is also a revival that the times change and looking backward.
Welcome back Mr and Mrs Flanberg. Said the doctor with a wide smile as he opened his door and with a wave of his arm indicated that they should enter his office.
Please take a seat. He continued brightly as he walked around his desk to sit in his own chair.
Thank you Doctor Wright, the phone call said you had the results of our annual health checks. Mr Flanberg said.
Yes, yours came back all clear with results you'd expect for a fourty year old, not someone almost fifty. The doctor said brightly before turning his attention to Mrs Flanberg.
I'm afraid your results wern't so good, we did find a lump and the test shows it is cancerous.
Mr and Mrs Flanberg looked at each other as the doctors words sunk in.
Is it treatable? Mrs Flanberg asked.
The treatment really wouldn't be cost effective I'm afraid, instead I'd like to refer you to The Switch Foundation.
That's a shame I'd got quite attached to this body, it's been almost twenty five years. Mrs Flanberg said sadly.
I know but look on the bright side you get to pick out a new body and I'm told this years are exceptional. The doctor said his smile never leaving his face.
Now do you just want just the one referal or are you going to upgrade as well Mr Flanberg?
I think I'll wait a couple more years, it will be quite exciting to have a teenage wife. Mr Flanberg said with a grin that made his wife smile.
Well as you know all the costs are covered by your Health insurance. The Switch Foundation will contact you later today and then it's just a matter of going and choosing your new body together. They should be able to do the switch by the weekend. the doctor said standing and reaching over the table to shake their hands.
Thank you doctor, a new body is always a great excuse for shopping. Mrs Flanberg said excitedly.
So my wife always says. I hope you enjoy your new body, I know your husband will. The doctor replied.
Getting a new body is always an exciting time. Mrs Flanberg said as she turned to leave the doctors office.
Thanks for reading, if you missed the first part you can find it here. (It will explain how they get their new bodies.)
"My brothers," said the pastor started with a deep voice. "Today we are in this chapel to deliver the bodies of our friends. He has come a long way, nearly half a century. A trip virtue, kindness, and compassion has passed. He is living their faith in the midst of the struggle and remain faithful to the end of life. He is an example of a devout member of the church. Goodness and virtue is doing is according to faith." "If a few days ago, he suddenly passed from among us, it was against his will. About death, only God knows the day is certain. His death was sudden shocking us. He did not trouble anyone. He did not give a message to the close relatives. In fact, there is no inkling about this departure." "Death is a mystery that long, tangled, and scary. But these deaths could also be a way of peace for the concerned because he had completed his task at the top of this mortal world. We do not need always uneasy about this death. Mystery upon mystery it once was also revealed by Jesus Christ. He died and rose again. He promised to return and awaken those who sleep in him, like a dream for a moment during the day. Everything will soon be restored, and eternal life in Him ...." He wiped the sweat from his forehead. His hand pointed to a woman who is at the choir. The woman stood up and sang a song "hope of resurrection" a self-solo. High-pitched voice to knock on every door minded people who are in that place, bringing them much drift, drifting far beyond the blue sky. Cradles away, and finally slammed back to earth when the sound stopped echoing in the chapel room. Pastor once again wiped the sweat trickling down his cheeks. The air conditioning did not seem capable of calming the turmoil in his grief. Then he opened a text from the Bible and read it. The contents, the hope behind these deaths. Row upon row of orderly people moving around the coffin, pay their last respects. At a glance "Garden Avenue" is no different from any other region. What distinguishes it is just the trees that towered like it was never touched mower. There is a certain distance between the tree and the other one. The grass underneath well maintained, no weeds. The streets were strewn everywhere cared for properly. Hundreds of vehicles were parked lengthwise at the park is an incredible sight for the Caucasians, but not for the Oriental. Caucasian people call Asians as "Oriental" while Asians, especially those from Indonesia, called the white "Caucasian". The long line of mourners was then surrounded the grave who received the body of a middle-aged man who lowered into it. The pastor said, "From the land back to the ground, which is of God back to God," and dropped the dirt on the coffin. The flowers are then sprinkled the mourners as a farewell and to "meet on a sunny morning" someday. On top of a car, sitting three people of color alias Oriental, on the way home from the cemetery. "Who's buried?" Asked the first man. "You do not know the man? Why do you mourn?" "No. Just because of sympathy. My friends know him, but he rarely speaks of him." "He was a rich man in our country. He was very rich. He has helped a lot of people, as was said by the pastor. One time, he defrauded by people. His efforts bankruptcy. He borrowed thither to cover its debts. Many people are helped, but at higher rates. Including those who are considered spiritual leader. Loans can not be restored because of the high interest. Banks seized his house. Every time the phone rang at his home, from people who collect debts. No more people who want to see it. He moved from one place to another. His children left him and announced in the newspaper that they had nothing to do with their parents. With the help of a friend who still sympathize with him, he fled into this country ...." The third man said, "He is a fugitive." The first man, "Huh? Why?" The third man, "Reported by comrades who with his faith." "Not by a business partner?" Asked the first man. "Not. According to them, things like that usual in business. But for his friends, it's a risk to bear. Their money has to go back! They do not care about any other reason. People owe not go to heaven," they said. "Debt? Do not we all who believe people who are in debt? That's why Jesus came to this world, to redeem those who owe?" The first man said. The second man, "They think this is about money, not about religion. Secondly it must be separated. People who have possessions think of his property, people who do not have any hope that someday in heaven had everything." A third man, "Here he is not peaceful. There are also people who lend money among the mourners, who kept after him, even to the cemetery to find out whether he's really dead. They do not think of the others, except for the money and interest. Otherwise, they've also revealed that know the address, will be reported as illegal immigrants to be returned to the country." "Who brought it to the funeral home?" Asked the first man. "His neighbors were suspicious because the apartment is always closed. He had died in the chair. Post mortem doctor said his death of a heart attack. The news soon spread among a countryman," said the third man. A week later nobody mentioned his name again. He has gone with the wind beneath tall trees and shade. Far from his relatives, away from the turmoil of his heart. Train death led him, with the wind that passes. ## The End
There were three of them.
They stood on the cliff edge looking down at the town below. The hoods obscured their faces, but it was clear from their movements that they were not human. Their movements were too erratic, and their legs moved beneath the robes as if they had an extra joint.
The one closest to the edge crouched slowly, a clicking noise emanating from the hood. His robes were a crisp, deep red, whilst the other two wore black.
The one in red gesticulated at the vally below, and made an odd chattering noise.
The others chattered back momentarily, before they moved passed him, diving from the cliff. The one in red watched as they fell, perhaps a few hundred meters.
The moment before they hit the ground, they balled themselves up, crunching heavily into the rock below. The old volcanic rock shattered, thick cracks echoing through it, before the dust cleared.
They stood in the craters from the impacts, unharmed from the landing.
Ones hood fell around its shoulders, and a disfigured face with many rows of sharp teeth and a multitude of horns and spikes was visible for a moment, before its head burst into flames from contact with the sun. It fell to the ground, thrashing, as its robes were consumed in the fire. A shrieking scream echoed across the plains.
The second, being more fortunate, ignored its companions death throes. The movement in its periphery vision slowed, the last twitches of its brothers corpse ending.
It crooned softly from under the hood, a melancholy noise.
It wasn't grieving its companion. It couldn't care less about it.
But the sun was frustrating. It longed to hunt, and it was hours to nightfall. It had not fed for a few days.
The town on the horizon had a large banner hanging from the walls.
It was maroon and gold, and a dragon was emblazoned across it the bold colours.
Figures moved across the fortifications, the sun glinting off their weapons. It hissed and lowered its eyes. The bright reflections were still miles off, but the light hurt.
It could smell them. It could almost taste them. Even from here.
It pulled its hood lower, dark leather gloves covering all fingers from the sun. The lord needed food.
The lands they had come from were exhausted now, and more flesh was needed to satiate them.
It paused for a moment, looking back at the smoking corpse of the other. It's twisted form was already decaying, leaving only the plated grey natural bone armour their kind grew.
It crooned again, this time in joy. One less mouth to feed.
It turned to faced the town, and began to walk.
(IMAGE SOURCE: strangelycompelling.tumblr.com)
Words from me:
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"Wait.....you two!" She laughed as she kissed her 10 year old twins on the lips and gave them a smothering hug.
"Now then, remember what i have told you. No going in the woods. Do you hear me?"
They sigh simultaneously. "Yes mum!"
"Be back for 4 for your tea. Don't forget your picnic.....there is bread and fruit and.....!"
They quickly ran out of the door and giggled as they ran up the lane.
"Toby.....are you sure about this?"
"Do you want to see the unicorns?"
"Yes.....but mum said!"
"Mum's always say things like that. If we take gold to the elf then he will take us to the land of the fables."
"If we get caught...."
"We wont get caught. Stupid people get caught, we're not stupid. Look how i got the gold. I sneaked up on him like a ninja. He didn't see." Toby jumped about in excitement flinging his arms and legs into the air.
"If he had caught you. You would be in cage in his smelly house, being fed rat droppings!"
"Well he didn't did he. Rumpelstiltskin is stupid anyway, he's got yellow teeth and a knotted beard."
"That doesn't make him stupid....stupid."
"Shut up Lucy...what do you know?" He stopped dead and stretched his arm out, pushing Lucy backwards, almost falling over the pebbled path.
"Oi.... pack it in...."
"Lucy he's there....the elf!"
In the distance they could see a little green man darting around some rocks, a mop of dishevelled blonde hair hopping around on his head.
"Let's go home Toby....i'm scared."
"Go home if you want... i'm going to see the cyclopes."
"But what if they get us!"
"They wont....we are in a protective bubble."
He ran off in front. Lucy looked around, panicked, not knowing what to do next before following him into the woods to meet the elf.
As they approached the set of rocks in where they saw the elf they slowed down in anticipation, their little hearts beating hard inside their chests.
"Surprise!" The elf jumped out from behind the rock.
"Nice to meet you!" He looked around quickly and quizzingly, his mannerisms depicted that of a field rat and his speech was squeeky and fast but clear. "Where's the gold you little darlings!" He stood rubbing his hands looking at the bag Toby was carrying
Toby eagerly opened his satchel. "It's all there Hermey, all of it!" He stood there nervously smiling at the elf, hoping it would be enough.
Hermey looked up at Toby. His expression was blank. Lucy and Toby looked at each other.
Lucy cleared her throat nervously." Well...Is this enough?"
"Is it enough? Is it enough?" He looked at the straw gold and looked back up. "Its bloomin' marvellous!" He giggled loudly as he danced on the spot.
"For you.... my little ray of sunshine's.....i'm going to give you the gold experience."
They both looked at each other and grinned from ear to ear, all Lucy's apprehensive had disappeared.
"Follow me, me lovelies!" He skipped through the wood's and the twins followed him, oblivious to any danger that lay ahead.
Soon enough they came to a huge gate that toward over them, making them look like little ants from the sky. Suddenly they heard the most hurrendous thundering noise.
The twins huddled together. "What is that?" They screamed terrifyingly as they saw a giant come towards them.
"Don't worry my dears. That's Borris. Just a simpleton who looks after the enclosure. Look..." He giggled as he ran up to Borris and kicked his big Toe.
Borris looks down at Hermey and flicks him out of the way.
"Good morning, Sir...Madam. I'm Borris. Lovely to meet you're acquaintance!"
Toby stood staring with his mouth wide open. Lucy nudged him before acknowledging the gentle Giant.
She curtseyed before him. "Nice to meet you Borris. I'm Lucy this is my brother Toby!"
Toby was still standing with his mouth open.
"A pleasure, i'm sure. Are you both ready to begin your journey?"
They looked at each other and held hands tightly. "Yes, yes we are ready!"
"Good... now follow me."
To be continued.......
Back in the Truck
Eventually we returned to Trog. I settled in but suddenly I was indecisive. I was resting in my easy chair conjugating my next move….what to do. When I came out here a while ago I thought it was real simple. I’d do a pre trip…fire it up..and go.
That was before the hunger.
Now I was sitting in my easy chair trying to ignore hunger pangs while I was thinking about options.
How many days had we been laid up? It couldn’t have been as long as it seemed because it seemed like it was just two days short of forever. The amazing thing was that I didn’t hurt…FINALLY no headache. I’d had a headache since just after that fight when Chris had died. None of the places that I’d been stabbed, sliced, shot, bruised or had broken bones hurt either. In fact they were all healing amazingly well.
Bubba had been shot up pretty bad too. Not as bad as me… but bad. He apparently didn’t hurt either since he was alternately licking and gnawing on my hand.
“Now quit that.” I told him “ That smarts. Don’t eat me I’m too tough.”
“We just got up from breakfast a little while ago. I had a double portion of Huevos Rancheros and you had Tuna. A LOT of tuna if I recall. Yet... I’m still hungry, REALLY hungry actually. Apparently so are you. Should I go back and get some food, and coffee? Or should I just make something here in the truck before we leave?”
Bubba sat back, tilted it’s head sideways a bit...and looked at me….like he thought I was crazy.
Strange looking cat. He had a forehead. I’d never noticed that in Parlor Panthers before. It must be a new genetic engineering modification.
Me and Bubba had just gotten settled… in Trog. The upside was that if I went back inside I’d get to see those lovely, mostly topless young ladies… The downside was…that’s I’d get to see those lovely, mostly topless young ladies. The ones with the long shapely legs, flat bellies…and...and…did I mention they were mostly topless?
Boobs have a primary and a secondary purpose. Their secondary purpose it to feed babies. Their primary purpose is to make men stoopid and ACT like babies.
There might be a lesson there.
Nope…can’t risk it. I’m stoopid enough without any help. We really needed to go. We had a long ways to go…about seventeen thousand miles yet actually…maybe less maybe more…Time to get moving.
The vampire has the below described features.
The fear of the sun - nature in the night
A vampire can live a normal life during the day, and other people may not even notice any difference. But a vampire needs sleep regularly as well as other people. However, they prefer, if possible, to be active at night and sleeping during the day. Although it can sometimes be difficult due to the large amount of light or noise during the day, disturbing sleep. The night for a vampire is beautiful and calm. With her arrival, they did not become filled with some great energy, it's just their feelings, the vampires night only I feel much better.
Vampires have very heightened senses absolutely everywhere. They see very well at nighttime, you need to emphasize that no one can see in absolute darkness, however, while there is at least a small amount of light, vampires can see very clearly. For example, the moonlight is enough to engage in normal daily activities, except that eliminating the possibility of reading. Vampires can hear and if it's hard to believe, at least, vampires can hear more than anyone else. Moreover, in contrast to other people, not entangled in the sounds. All this has a lot to do for them is very annoying, and vampires can become aggressive, if there there are too many of such stimuli.
This ability can be blocked, but for a vampire, just enough to feel what is happening and understand the emotions of others. Quite possibly the fact that vampires can feel how others are feeling, at a time when communicate with them. This is to some extent can become confusing if someone is very emotional. Then the vampire might sometimes be uncertain, and if he even feels his own feelings, he just acts as an extension of someone else. Here you need to mention why a vampire can be considered very passionate. Just vampires feel much stronger, both emotionally and physically.
The mood swing
This may be due to the empathy and heightened sense, maybe instinctively, because of the thirst for blood, or even animal nature, but the mood swings tend to be common to all vampires and can be sudden and very dangerous. The desire to break someone's head, to the strongest love of a vampire may take only a few seconds.
This is really dangerous as a vampire, mainly caused by a serious blood lust. This is mainly the when the whole mind of the vampire the instinctive side of nature. Of course, this can be manageable, but it can also be too strong and cause aggression. This condition can make the vampire to lose control and restraint.
A vampire is generally stronger than the average man. Perhaps it is because the vampire uses more muscular energy than most people who on average use from it only 10%. This is in all probability because of the need to hunt and the animal nature. Previously, a large force was very beneficial in today's society, it is not actually required in any case, in such volumes as before, but nevertheless it is still there.
Vampires are not anti-social as such, they just aim to adapt and therefore some of them are not developed socially. They feel different from others. And I feel that people might just make fun of them if they knew about their nature. Some people can read the differences in man, it sometimes appears as if they thought the man eccentric, or slightly different from the behavior inherent to most people. But in General, certainly there are some more reasons why a vampire should not be as social as others.
View of the world
Perhaps due to empathy, or behavior, the mind of a vampire might work a little differently. Vampires have more understanding. From their side it's like looking at things from high, they see the world as a very small place and can even feel when something goes wrong globally. Still, it's not something more than merely having a slightly different point of view on everything, in addition mixed with empathy and animal instincts including.
Vampires are not evil, however, it was the only sentence that you can write. If people are injured, there is little chance that the vampires will give a lot of care - although they may care, and some do their best, but mainly regarding those who are close to them. Line of evil vampires, probably comes from the instinct of the hunter, if the hunter will experience empathy for the victim, then how will he be able to hunt on it. Still, some vampires are trying to somehow develop a line of evil, they get pleasure from the suffering of others. For example, they receive great satisfaction from the thrill caused by the demonstration that their mind is stronger than the man.
The immune system
Vampires tend to have a very good immune system and rarely get sick when others around them get sick, they never seem to catch diseases regardless of anything. And even if they get sick, then quickly recover, unless it is something that requires more than a medical examination. However, history was not yet known that the real vampire has ever had AIDS, even though he liked to drink a lot of blood, but it's a case that is quite long in fact, AIDS was not known, and the vampires known for a long time. There are reasons to assume that their immune system is due to the ability to boil the blood, therefore, or the virus is destroyed in the process of digestion, or immune system adapted enough to destroy it then.
Resistance to death
This does not mean immortality, the vampire may die, but the vampire can develop their survivability due to the large age. Also, due to a good immune system and better healing the vampire is more likely to survive a wound that should be fatal. The ratio is about is that where a normal person can have a 5% chance at survival, a vampire would have a 10%-15 %.
To have blood is a necessity. Blood vampires need because of their physiology, to support life, and simply feel good. It must be emphasized that the physical body does not know what needs blood, like any other addiction, the thirst for blood is opinion, knowing what you need. And sometimes being a vampire can take a lot of time while feeling will capture you and you understand them. Vampires unlike humans can boil the blood, but this acid is necessary much stronger than what is required in the stomach of a normal person, and sometimes vampires get burned. Apparently this pain and leads to obsession vampire blood lust from long fasting.
Yes, vampires are real, and they are described here with the research of views and experience. But many of the ideas are only theoretical and they have no other evidence except the conclusions are based on the most logical assumptions.
KhôngGian & Thời Gian, (KG&TG),có lẽ cần phải bay nhanh như ánh sáng .
Muốn bay nhanh như ánh sáng , thì duờng như phải lột bỏ hết các hình thể và khối luợng (để cho mass = 0 ), nghĩa là cần phải ... "thoát dạng" !
Chuyện Tây Du Ký kể rằng Tề Thiên Đại Thánh (TTDT) có 72 phép thần thông, đủ tài lực để biến ra nhiều hình thể khác nhau mỗi khi cần thiết. Hắn chỉ cần niệm chú, đổi các quan điểm và ý niệm của tri giác mình là xong . Trong chuyện đó sứ mạng của TTDT vốn là để phò giúp Tam Tạng trên đuờng thỉnh kinh, chiến đấu với đủ loài ma quái vốn luôn luôn bao vây quấy phá và ngăn trở họ .
Trên hành trình xuyên qua thế gian này, kể ra thì chúng ta cũng có chút thần thông để thi hành sứ mạng của mình đấy chứ , chẳng phải là không đâu !
Từ thủa lọt lòng chúng ta đã từng dầy công tu luyện để mà có thể hóa dạng đều đều , như thế mới hòng đối phó đuợc với mọi thử thách của kiếp sống:
- Khi còn nhỏ thì ta đã từng khoác dạng học sinh, dạng đứa con trong gia đình, dạng thanh niên thiếu nữ ..v…v..
- Khi lớn lên thì lập tức đội nhiều lốt, nhiều vai trò trong xã hội, trong làng xóm, trong quốc gia, và trên thế giới …v..v..
…khi thì lên voi, lúc thì xuống chó,
… ... khi thì khóc, khi thì cuời ,
… ... ... ... kể ra không xiết !
Chúng ta chỉ có khác Tề Thiên Đại Thánh ở chỗ là :
- ta đã “nhập dạng” mà không biết,
ngày qua tháng lại , tâm trí cứ khăng khăng ngộ nhận rằng … mình đích thực là những cái dạng đó .
Duờng như chúng ta đã quên mất cái “phép Thoát Dạng" ,
… đã bỏ rớt mất cái chân dạng của mình từ thủa nào rồi ….!
Cái “chân dạng” này hình như rất khoái giả dạng !
Mà hễ cứ dính vào dạng là sẽ dính trong mạng luới của KG & TG ...
Tôn Ngộ Không bởi trót quên mất phép Thoát Dạng nên cứ mãi ... không ngộ ,
ngày qua tháng lại cứ mãi kẹt trong cái vai trò khỉ !
“No motive is pure. No one is good or bad-but a hearty mix of both. And sometimes life actually gives to you by taking away.” - Carrie Fisher -- RecklessPrudence
He only wanted to do good. To improve things for everyone. To make the world a better place. There were just a few things that he needed to make sure of. For the good of everyone. Well. Almost everyone. There were some... bad elements... that needed dealing with.
The drains on society, of course. Those without any plausible avenue to making the world better. Those who took without giving. And those who made too much noise about the way things needed to be done. Those who put the brakes on the wheels of progress. Useless people.
They needed everyone to work for a better world. And if they would not or could not work, then they did not deserve the world everyone else made. Getting rid of them by any means necessary just made sense. It was the greater good.
Then he had to get rid of the troublemakers. Those who insisted on perpetrating crime. The genetically deficient. The ones who came into the land to be a leech on society. They had to go. Only right and proper people deserved to prosper.
And as for the right and proper people... obeying the holy book had to be a proper way to behave. Which meant that the women could not be as wanton or as decadent as recent years had made them. They should be following their husbands. The rule of the holy book was the only one they needed.
Then he had to be sure that the decadent media was withheld from impressionable citizens. Banning it or destroying it, to keep his people out of danger. Bad ideas made bad people.
It had to be working. He was doing everything right for the good of all. Which was why it was such a mystery why everything went bad.
Isolated and ignorant, his people had nobody left to blame. Except for him. They didn't even know what to do after the revolution came.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / PinkBadger]
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Xét ra thì mỗi ngày tôi cũng thường bay đến một nơi mà thời gian vốn đã biến mất . Trong giấc mộng hằng đêm , tôi hình như đã từng vút nhanh đi còn hơn là ánh sáng: mắt không cần nhìn .. mà vẫn thấy , tai chẳng cần nghe .. nhưng vẫn biết . Những điều mà tôi nhận thức đuợc tại nơi đó không còn lệ thuộc, chẳng bị gò bó bởi không gian và thời gian nữa .
Nhưng tiếc thay mỗi khi tỉnh giấc, tôi lại thuờng gạt bỏ , phủi quên hết những chi tiết tình báo quý giá vô ngàn đã thu luợm đuợc tại nơi này . Cái bộ máy thu-thanh-phát-thanh mà tôi quen ráp lại xài trong lúc tỉnh xem ra thật quá thô thiển , không tài nào ghi đúng và quay lại cho thấy rõ những gì phát hiện đuợc trong cõi mơ ... Phải có cách nào để điều chỉnh nó chứ !
Cách đây nhiều năm tôi từng có một giấc mơ lạ và ngộ nghĩng . Nó đáng ghi nhớ bởi vì vào thời điểm đó đã giúp cho tôi thấm hiểu đuợc chút khía cạnh sâu xa của cuộc sống .
Trong đêm đó tôi mơ thấy mình bị lâm vào một tình cảnh rất lúng túng và nguy ngập: tôi đang lái một xe vận tải lớn thì xe chết máy nằm đuờng . Sửa xe không đuợc, phân vân chẳng biết phải làm sao để mang đuợc xe về nhà . Tự dưng trong đầu nảy ra ý định dùng một cái xe hơi nhỏ đang có sẵn kế bên để kéo chiếc vận tải đi . Kéo đuợc một quãng thì xe vận tải bắt đầu tuột dốc , tự nó chạy vuột đi khiến tôi thật hết sức hốt hoảng luống cuống . Ngồi trong cái xe nhỏ, tôi cố gắng đuổi theo để mà chèn mà chặn cái xe lớn kia lại . Nhưng không xong , rốt cuộc chiếc vận tải đó chạy vuột mất … biệt tích …
Cái cảm giác hốt hoảng, bất lực và tuyệt vọng trong giấc mơ đó đã bám víu và ám ảnh tôi không ít sau khi tỉnh dậy . Nó khiến tôi bứt rứt khó chịu mãi cho tới ngày tôi ngộ ra một điều:
Trong cuộc sống hằng ngày tôi vốn thuờng có một quan điểm bảo thủ , thận trọng và dè dặt . Từ nhỏ tôi đã đuợc huấn luyện đào tạo với cái ý niệm tự sinh tự lực, luôn cho rằng mình phải cố gắng, nắm vai trò chủ động trong đời sống của mình . Đầu óc óc tôi đã tích tụ nhiều khái niệm nhiều quan điểm rõ ràng về cuộc đời, về thế giới v..v... Xét chung thì đời tôi đã có chút kết quả thành tựu . Nhưng mà kinh nghiệm sống cũng đã cho tôi nếm không ít khó khăn và thất vọng . Vào thời kỳ đó tinh thần tôi đang trải qua một giai đoạn sa sút . Những sự việc tôi chứng kiến, nghiệm trải qua trên thế gian này, càng ngày càng làm cho tôi bàng hoàng, băn khoăn , thất sách . Mọi việc từ trong gia đình nhà cửa vợ con , cho tới công chuyện làm ăn sinh nhai , đều diễn tiến theo những chiều huớng riêng của nó , bất kể mọi cố gắng mọi hơi sức của tôi ... Dù muốn hay không, tôi dần dần đã phải đi tới sự chấp nhận rằng các khái niệm, các hiểu biết , các kiến thức mà tôi từng thu thập học hỏi cả đời, hầu hết đều là sai lệch , đã đuợc xây trên những nền tảng giả tạo , thiếu sót mơ hồ . Những sai lầm này một phần thì do tôi tự tạo ra qua cái khả năng thô thiển của mình , nhưng một phần nữa lớn hơn đáng kể hơn lại là do các yếu tố từ cái thế giới quỷ quái bên ngoài .
Lúc nhỏ tôi vốn rất thích và hay đọc những truyện Tàu như Tam Quốc Chí v..v.. trong đó có trình bày về những thử thách, những ”mê hồn trận ” mà các quân sư đầy mưu luợc thuờng dàn xếp bố trí để hãm hại và tàn phá địch thủ. Sống hơn nửa đờì nguời , bây giờ tôi mới tỉnh ngộ rằng từ lúc lọt lòng tới nay, chính mình cũng đã kẹt trong một cái mê hồn trận vĩ đại và cực kỳ tinh xảo ! Bao nhiêu là luới bẫy hiểm hóc chằng chịt , bao nhiêu là giây nhợ lôi kéo đã đuợc giăng mắc dàn xếp khắp nơi . Cái ý muốn làm chủ cuộc đời mà tôi thuờng có đó , bây giờ nhìn kỹ mới thấy quả thật là tức cuời , nó chẳng khác chi việc tôi muốn kéo xe vận tải đi về nhà vậy .
Cái xe nhỏ bé mà tôi đang lèo lái, làm sao có thể chuyển huớng đuợc chiếc vận tải cuộc đời ... khi mà nó đang tuột dốc ?
Muốn thoát khỏi cái mê hồn trận tên là "KG & TG" này , có lẽ cần phải ... bay nhanh như ánh sáng .... !
She was fierce, her demeanor told me as much. It was in the way her violet gaze met mine. The way she always seemed to be correct, and she knew it. Her long blonde hair swept past her shoulders in straight strands. It illuminated her beautiful features, making them look sharp, merciful and stern. Everything about her screamed independance but I could tell that there was a yearning for someone else. Someone to ease the blow of pain that life dealt her. She had no idea how much I wanted to be that person for her. She would much rather I remain "just a friend." But right here in this moment, she was my everything. Even as she stared across the room, her gaze settling on a man about my age. She gave me a small smile and I had no choice but to let the love of my life stride across the room. I had to watch as the independance in her eyes glittered with a newfound attraction; I had to watch as he stole her heart. But she was still as beautiful as ever, even if I couldn't have her.
This was a glance at the relationship of two fictional characters "Ian and Arielle". Written by Sarah Bourgeois. Picture from the internet.
All Rights Reserved.
When I was a little kid, I had a few favorite books.
One of them I remember very vividly to this day.
The exact particulars of the stories were a little hazy
with the passing of over four decades,
but the art I remember as though I just flipped through it yesterday.
I'd spend hours staring at that art.
So, I thought I'd track it down and share it.
The pictures turned out to be a little difficult to find.
but here are a few.
I think I may know where my interest in mutton chops came from.
Then I actually was able to find a reading of the entire book.
The reader isn't much for voice acting, but here it is. Enjoy.
Tami Reads “The Book of Giant Stories” By: David L. Harrison
Trong phòng tôi có treo một cái đồng hồ điện tử trên tuờng . Cứ mỗi giây thì nó đổi hình số một lần, luôn nhắc nhở tôi rằng thời gian đang lặng lẽ trôi … Mỗi sáng tỉnh dậy tôi thuờng mở mắt liếc cái đồng hồ này . Nếu nó chưa đúng 06:00 thì tôi vẫn hay nằm nuớng, ngủ tiếp …
Thế giới tôi, sự hiện hữu của tôi, vốn dựa trên những cái mà tôi nghe thấy và nhìn thấy như vậy . Nếu không có âm thanh và ánh sáng thì cuộc sống của tôi sẽ trở nên rất là lang bạt mơ hồ .
Sáng nay lúc hé mắt tỉnh dậy, cái đồng hồ hiện cho thấy là 05:58 . Tôi nhắm mắt ngủ tiếp . Một giây sau, ngay lúc cái đồng hồ đổi ra số kế tiếp thì cái giuờng tôi đang nằm vụt bay đi với tốc độ của ánh sáng rời bỏ căn phòng . Cái hình ảnh của số 05:59 đuổi kịp theo tôi nên khi mở mắt ra tôi thấy 05:59 . Chưa tới 06:00 giờ mà ! cho nên tôi lại nhắm mắt ngủ tiếp . Cái giuờng tôi nằm vẫn tiếp tục bay nhanh như ánh sáng. Cứ mỗi giây sau đó , cái hình ảnh của số 05:59 lại đuổi kịp theo tôi nên mỗi lần mở mắt ra tôi vẫn cứ thấy 05:59 . Trong lòng khoan khoái tôi lại tiếp tục chìm trong giấc ngủ triền miên của mình . …
Đối với cái thế giới của căn phòng còn nằm yên đó thì thời gian đã đứng khựng, đã ngừng lại cho tôi, bởi vì tôi vừa trót bay nhanh như ánh sáng .
Cái tình cảnh kể trên thật ra rất phù hợp với lý thuyết Tuơng Đối của Einstein . Đối với những thứ bay nhanh bằng tốc độ của ánh sáng , như các quang tử (photon) chẳng hạn, thì thời gian không còn trôi nữa , nó đứng lặng . .. biến mất …
Thế giới của chúng ta, và ngay chính chúng ta nữa, đuợc kết tạo từ các điện tử , nguyên tử v..v.. những thứ di động rất chậm so với ánh sáng , cho nên ta vẫn luôn kẹt cứng trong cái khuôn thời gian này . Trong một cõi khác, nơi mà mọi thứ đuợc tạo dựng lên từ các hạt tử di chuyển nhanh như ánh sáng thì cái thời gian và không gian như ta thuờng biết chẳng còn có nghĩa lý chi hết .
If you missed the Prologue click here
Anna mused that there were few things, at least in her limited experience of life, that were more beautiful than a waterfall. She closed her eyes against the fine mist blanketing her face and listened.
It was a combination of things really. The constant thunder of its endless pour over the sides of well-worn rock, but when you listened closely it was as if there were hundreds of individual streams all calling out their own unique, triumphant cries as they jumped over the side in complete and joyous abandon, and when you put it all together it became one voice, like a well-trained symphony.
And that was what she saw of it with her eyes still closed and her head thrown back, breathing in the chilly vapor that seemed to refresh her to her innermost core, yet another element of its glory.
She slowly opened her eyes and began moving backward out of its delicious spray to fully take in the sight. She drew in a breath and experienced a shiver of pure pleasure. It was mesmerizing to watch and she grinned foolishly at the thought that those hundreds of slivers of water looked like strings of diamonds leaping into the shimmering robes of an angel, rippling the gown as they flowed to the bottom.
She heard voices headed her way and it broke apart the magic of the moment.
What is it with people that they are so rarely in tune with nature? She thought in exasperation. They're always loud and oblivious to everything around them except the sounds of their own voices. She watched as the group came stomping over, somehow managing to be heard over nature’s thunderous music. As they reached the rocky edge they stopped in unison, and in that brief moment there was absolute silence. Hmm, perhaps not so unaffected after all, she thought with a small smile. She watched them for a few more seconds before making her way back to the park’s expansive lawn.
As she walked she laughed to herself thinking that her ungenerous thoughts of the group were just a mite hypocritical. In a few minutes her friends would be arriving and the six of them would hardly be pensive and quiet as they made their way down the river bed to the main waterfall. She shook her head in bemusement and focused on her surroundings, smiling widely.
It was a beautiful day, the sun was out in full force and she knew the grass would feel amazing on her feet, so she slid her sandals off and curled her toes in the soft green blanket. She dropped down on the spongy warmth and stretched out on her back, closing her eyes blissfully as the breeze from the falls tickled across her face. Just give me a pillow and I could easily take a nap, she sighed. She entertained the thought for about two seconds before deciding against it. The girls would be there any minute and she shuddered to think of the different methods they might use to wake her up…cold water in the face, a spider on her chest, shouting in her ear, hmm, yeah, staying awake was definitely safer.
She stared up at the sky and decided to play her favorite childhood game while she waited-cloud animation. There were large pieces of white fluff scattered and floating across the great blue and she found her first cartoon immediately as a Viking ship came into focus, proud sails billowing in the wind chasing after a...large dog? Yup, complete with a lolling tongue. To the west a clown on stilts was bending down to pick up....nooo, not a clown, a transformer, and he was stepping out of another dimension. Good one, she mentally applauded...
Anna bo banna fo fanna!
She sat up and grinned as she spotted her friends making their way across the clearing. Her lip twitched at the sight of Jenna singing and bopping her head, her wavy long black hair swishing back and forth. She bumped her generous hips against her sister Jess who laughed and bumped her back, though when Jess did it the motion was far more sensual. With a classically beautiful face and an hourglass figure that tapered into long legs, Jess always looked like she’d just stepped out of a magazine. The siblings did a dance skip and Anna grinned before shifting her focus to the others.
Macey was watching the sisters with an expression of mock hilarity, a look that was often seen on her exotically attractive face. She was smiling from ear to ear, and God Anna loved that smile. White and wide and genuine, it was nearly always present. She giggled as she watched Macey reach out and goose Jenna, laughing loudly as she dodged retaliation.
“Hey, what about me?” Jess sulked teasingly.
“Ooh baby, get over here,” Macey made a kitty sound.
Anna grinned as she caught Holly’s eye roll in her peripheral.
Marina caught it as well, “Oh come on Hol, you know you want some!”
Holly looked up at the tall blonde and smirked, “Don’t even think about it,” she warned.
Marina made a move toward her and Holly darted away with a squeal, her wavy brown hair streaming out behind her.
God I love my girls, Anna thought. All so different yet they complemented one another perfectly.
They reached her and she hopped to her feet, joining the two sisters of the group in song, doing a little shimmy shake.
Party tonight! Jess clapped Anna five and bumped hips with her, still dancing.
You know it! So what guy are you lusting after today? She raised an eyebrow, her lip curling in a teasing smile.
Jess smiled back at her in a very impish way, so Anna prodded,
Who is it, spill!
Nathan Ryden, Jenna stated,
she totally made out with him the other night at the pier.
I did not make out with him, it was just one kiss!
Uh huh, is that what we're calling five minute long tongue action these days?
Jess glared at her sister, then gave it up and grinned.
Okay, she confessed,
I guess I made out with him a little.
Nathan, really? Since when do you like him? Marina piped in as she tied her long blonde hair back in a lopsided ponytail.
Do you really need to ask that question, Jenna rolled her blue-violet eyes,
it was just a matter of time since he's one of the last remaining cute guys in our town that she hasn't had a fling with.
You are so mean to me, and you make me sound so bad! Jess pouted.
Anna draped an arm around her shoulder.
Don’t listen to her, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being boy crazy, Jenna just likes giving you crap.
Oh pu-leeze, Jenna drawled,
this coming from you? You've kissed exactly two people and it took eons for you to get to that point both times!
Anna blushed and shook her head.
It's not my fault that guys look at me and see a cute little sister.
That earned her a chorus of boos.
Anna, what are you talking about, you’re gorgeous! Jess put in, a frown creasing her brow.
Yeah, false modesty is very unattractive, Jenna added.
Hey, I'm not being falsely modest, I just happen to know that my pixie look does not elicit strong sexual urges from the opposite sex. Since some of my friends have guys eye-screwing them everywhere we go, I should know. Being five foot three and petite of build she was convinced she was too tiny and childlike to ever be considered sexy. It was only her silvery blonde hair and unusual turquoise eyes that allowed her to admit she was attractive.
What about Austin? Holly offered.
He doesn't count.
And why not?
Because he’s like a brother to me,” she held up a hand to stop the objections, “yes I know he feels differently, but I just...I don't know.
"But he's tall and handsome, and obviously does not think that you're too childlike,” Jess pointed out.
Well that's just because I have such an amazingly sexy personality! See, I'm not falsely modest, in fact I find myself fantastically awesome. She stuck out her tongue and laughter filled the air around her.
Eh hmm,” Holly cleared her throat as the laughter died away, “if you want to talk about pixie-ish, let's talk about me instead. She waved her hand over her body and raised her eyebrows.
Anna shrugged smiling,
We're both pixies. Holly was a little taller but even slighter in stature if that was possible.
So, Marina chimed in, tapping her foot in mock impatience,
are we going to stand around all day discussing our looks, or go see our waterfall?
“Eww Mar, you be-otch,” Macey laughed and poked her in the side
They headed down to the river bed and began their trek towards the great falls, a much taller version of the one Anna had been soaking in before they arrived and therefore the main attraction, although privately Anna preferred the entrance falls. They were explosive and wild, the way she secretly wanted her life to be. Glancing around at her friends she wondered if any of them felt the same.
Over the years of their friendship, particularly once they’d turned sixteen and could drive themselves, they’d spent a great deal of time at this particular park. So much time it had begun to feel like an extension of their backyards. The previous year had rend some changes in that routine however, since she and Holly had graduated a year before the others and Holly now resided in the state of North Carolina where she attended college during the school term. Their group of six had become five for a time and they'd all felt the loss.
Anna had continued to live at home, taking some courses at the local community college, but she was currently toying with the idea of moving to California once the summer ended. Macey would be relocating to Buffalo for university and Jenna was considering the same....soon they would be living separate lives. It was equal parts exciting and profoundly sad, the duality giving her a head spin.
When they reached their destination they all stopped to pay homage to the great waters rushing down from high above. Though it was narrow, the sheer height from which it fell was greater than that of Niagara Falls making it impressive in its own right. Sometimes, when there were few people around, they would swim at the base of it. Today the park was busy and they would not escape notice if they were to jump in with their typical banshee cries so they restricted themselves to the benches that lined the wooden railing.
Their conversation consisted mainly of their impending trip to Europe. The journey overseas would begin in two weeks, a mere two days after the remaining four girls received their diplomas. They had been planning their great escape for a year and it was hard for them to believe it was almost here.
The vacation would center in London, with side trips to France, Ireland and Italy. At first they had thought to stay in Paris for the greater part of it, but the language barrier presented a problem. They’d finally agreed on five days each in Paris, Venice, and Dublin, the remaining two weeks would be spent partying at the famous English pubs and clubs in and around London town. Initially they'd intended for their trip to last the entire summer, but Holly had an internship, Jess a job obligation, and Macey's parents wanted her home for a bit before she moved into the college dorm-so they’d narrowed it down to a month.
Sooo, are we ready to head back? Macey inched in that direction indicating that she was and they all stood. Macey was never overtly demanding, she would always tell you what she wanted in a question, but after years of friendship they all knew that when she was done with a particular place she would become mildly and increasingly irritated if they continued to stay.
They walked back through the canyon continuing their discussion of Europe. Holly had been doing her research (she could always be counted on for that, organization and planning were her specialties) and she had an itinerary made up for them. Anna insisted however, that they leave some things blank. She liked surprises and doing things in a fly by night fashion, as did Marina which was evidenced in nearly every one of their excursions.
When they were once again at the grassy field that led to the parking area, Anna halted to salute her entrance waterfalls and turned to the girls with an expression of thoughtfulness.
Isn't it amazing how two hundred years from now, barring any major catastrophes, that water will still be pouring down over those rocks?
You think too much, Marina grinned, pushing her playfully.
She shrugged, smiling back. Well I think it's cool, she thought defensively, it's just too bad I won't be around to see it.
"And did you see Eastenders last night?" my wife excitedly spurts, to her friend, in our living room.
I am in the kitchen, preparing food for these two wankers.
Later I might speak with my wife about something that truly excites me: imagining being a floating, invisible eye. She will not respond so excitedly as she does now, when thinking about a fucking soap opera!
What am I doing in this bland relationship!
Kyle? she calls, from her seated, presumably comfy arse.
What is it, dearest? Sweetypie? Love of my life? What can I help with?
Come in here and tell Maria about that time you pictured happiness in your future!
For the comedy factor, or? I call.
The two laugh. Seems I don't need to go into the details.
I burn their food a little, and spit into it many times.
Would you two like some champers with that? I enquire.
We already have some wine, says Maria.
Alright, I say, taking from the cupboard two champagne glasses.
I bring them to the bathroom. I fill one with water. I crack and break the other one, roughly but not completely, so it can still be drunk from, albeit with effort, reluctance, and possibly injury; into this glass I take a long piss, filling it right the fuck up.
• • •
Here you are, lovelies, I say, setting their food down at the dinner table.
Ah, you're a wee sweetie, says Maria.
I smile, and ostentatiously pull the women's chairs out before they in them sit.
You're so chivalrous, Kyle, says Maria.
My wife makes a look, one that announces to the entire planet that she is tired of my manners, that she wishes to be pumped nightly by some stud that gives no shit about her feelings.
In several minutes, she, face cut and bleeding on her champagne glass, her condemning tongue engulfed in my piss, will understand that my good-boy pretence is over.
• • •
You were right to do what you did, says the police constable, as he takes my statement.
Sounds like your wife was a heartless bitch.
Aye, I say, growing impatient.
Right; can I leave?
Aye, says the constable, placing a cigarette into my mouth and lighting it for me.
Have fun in your singledom, Mr. Mullan.
Will do, I say.
Now, with my wife dead, and Maria already pining for me, made known to me through a constant stream of texts to my phone, I am certainly excited.
I pull from my pocket my wallet.
How loaded am I? Mother of shit; I can do anything!
My first action: a call to the local animal shelter:
I'd like to make an anonymous donation, I say.
I'll be round shortly.
• • •
Sir, starts the shelter supervisor, as I enter the lobby.
Thank you so much for wishing to make a donation!
What? I say.
I think you've got the wrong bloke.
This supervisor is surprised, growing dejected after he finds out why I'm here:
I am here for your heart.
Would you like it on a platter? a lobby-dwelling parrot asks.
Fuck it; sure, I say.
Instantly this parrot begins pecking furiously at its cage's latch; soon it has broken it; soon it is through; now it goes straight for the supervisor, pecking the shit out of his face, screams flying all around.
Gosh; way to go, I comment, moving for the till to begin smashing at it, locked, to open for me.
Thankin' ya, replies the parrot, after its pecks silence the supervisor for good.
Thankin' ya very much.
Here, I say, wrapping a wad of banknotes with an elastic band and setting this in the parrot's cage.
Escapee cash. Now, my requested heart: is it ready?
Several minutes, the parrot informs me, after just starting on the supervisor's chest.
I have just broken through the hypodermis.
Oh, you have, have you? I ask, bending down to unplug the till, now grappling with it, yanking it from its installation bay, lifting it high above my head, and launching it at the parrot.
A few feathers fly as the bird is crushed.
I think it died instantly: for I heard no sounds of pain, only quick, gravitational reactions, those of bones bending, cracking, snapping, from insupportable weight.
Two fewer hungry mouths for the animal shelter, I sing, as I exit the place.
Oh! Two fewer hungry mouths for the animal shelter!
I hope the animal shelter's staff appreciate my anonymous donation.
• • •
kyle! going out with a few mates in a bit. if you want to join. maria x
Hmm. Why not, I suppose?
I call a taxi.
down at the egg on toast. you coming? x
My taxi arrives. I enter.
Egg on toast, please, I request.
I'm a taxi driver, buddy, not a bleedin' food vend-
The pub, I say.
Ah, says he, starting the journey.
aww why won't you come? don't you like me? x
got a raid
you'd rather play video games than see me?
Busy tonight? I ask, of the driver.
Seriously, says he, after a pause and a sigh.
If I had a quid for every time I am asked that very question, I'd be a -
I asked only to annoy you, I admit, looking out the window.
Ah. Ha. You're a right comic, mumbles he.
So, traffic bad tonight, is it? I ask.
The driver ignores me. I snigger.
Man, I'd fucking hate to have your job, I say.
Wankers asking you the same questions every fucking day.
A gap of silence.
Aye, says he.
So, who was the fifth and final Prime Minister of Northern Ireland?
Who was the fifth and fina-
I heard you. How am I meant to know that?
No idea. I don't know it, in any case; so you could answer with any name you like and I'd know no better.
Right. Mickey Mouse, then.
And do you resent your parents at all? Perhaps for their fucking when you were a child and could hear them? Perhaps for their splitting up? Perhaps for their forcing you into careers in which you wished for no involvement?
What have my parents got to do with anything? he exclaims.
Probably a lot, I muse, checking the meter.
How much do you get paid out of that?
Mate, the questions: cut them out.
Yes; ok; but how much?
Did I ask you how much you get paid?
No, I agree.
Alright; one last question; may I ask one last question?
The driver sighs, fucked-off now.
I take his sigh as my cue:
• • •
I'm a few streets away from the Egg on Toast, I think. Taxi driver threw me out; meh; expected as much. Oh; a text:
you're a weird guy. I knew I shouldn't have looked at you twice
Humph. Get a clue, Maria.
• • •
I am on hold, after telephoning the Egg on Toast; for I demanded to speak with the owner, who is said to always be upstairs with 'babes' selected from his establishment's clientele.
What is it, he grunts, after finally coming to the phone.
You are my hero, I lie.
Please, tell me your secrets?
Hah! he exclaims, hanging up.
I enter the pub, and head right for the bar.
What can I ge-
13 snakebites, I suppose I'll have, I say, nonchalantly.
Kyle! Maria calls, rushing over.
I knew you'd come! And I'm so glad you did.
Hey, I say, calmly, turning to her.
What are you drinking?
Oh; a strawberry daiquiri, please!
And your earrings? Where'd you purchase those? I ask, ignoring her drink order: for I wished to know what she is drinking, not what I should buy for her to drink.
Oh, my earrings? They're from a shop called -
Care? I utter.
No, says she, taken aback by just a few centimetres.
Ah, I say, turning back to the bar.
Barman, where are your manners? This lady ordered a drink!
Oh! My apologies, says he, turning to fix for Maria her strawberry daiquiri.
Kyle, I thought you had a raid to attend?
You said, via text.
I lift one of my ready snakebites, and purposefully yet apparently accidentally knock the prepared remainder over.
My, my, I say, to the shocked barman, apologetically.
I am terribly sorry.
That's alright, lies the barman, as he moves to clean my mess up.
Here, I say, taking from my wallet around £300, now handing it over the bar.
Take this for your trouble.
It's my job, argues he, politely pushing my offer away.
Take my paper guilt, for fuck's sake, I urge.
The barman looks around him before accepting my money.
You'd get sacked, would you? I assume.
A quick nod.
Kyle, want to join us at our table? Maria asks.
In a sec, I say, moving to the coin box, en route calling back:
I'll be with you in a sec!
• • •
I just don't know what I am doing? I splutter, to the Samaritans volunteer on the other end of the line.
I am rude to people without realising it until afterwards? And I am so heartless! So heartless. Please, relate to me a snippet of your life so I might understand even a fragment of what it is like to be normal!
Sir, the most important thing right now is to understand that there is no such thing as normal! We are all different, in one way or ano-
I fucking hang up. What's the use?
• • •
Hello, I say, as I sit down at Maria's table.
Hello, everybody. Are you having a good night?
Nods; a few utterances of yes; and a lipstuck smile from Maria, who grabs me by the arm warmly, as if I am her fiancée.
Kyle, why don't you tell everybody about that time you pictured happiness in your future! she exclaims.
For the comedy factor, I suppose?
Why not, gent, says one of the men at the table.
Why not. Go right ahead!
Carry on, chap, says another man.
Let us know.
In time, I say, rising from the table and moving for the toilets.
Excuse me; won't you?
• • •
I just can't do it, I quietly cry, into the mirror.
Why can I not do it? Why?
I remain in the toilets for what seems like hours, chain-smoking by the window as I let my tears loose upon this night's air.
• • •
Kyle? Maria calls, knocking at the door.
They're closing. Are you alright? I have been so worried!
Then why didn't you come in earlier? I, snivelling, ask.
Now she rushes in and hugs me fiercely. She attempts to kiss my mouth; I reject her; she instead goes for my neck, once, twice; she, done, withdraws, and stares into me.
Why were you crying? What's wrong, Kyle?
Uncontrollably I shove Maria away from me; she stumbles back some distance, slowing down in time to avoid the closest sink.
Kyle, what is wrong? she, annoyed, asks.
Maria, I suddenly say, drying myself off with a paper towel, and walking across to try to embrace this woman's withheld hand.
Would you like to have some cheesecake with me?
Cheesecake: would you like to have some with me?
She will decline my offer.
Please say yes, I almost beg.
She will never again wish to see me.
Goodnight, I, embarrassed and defeated, say, leaving.
She will completely forget me in just a few days.
I watch other people and envy them. Their lives seem safe and predictable. Not mine. I’m always at the center of a storm. Mind you, it’s a storm of my own choosing.
It’s my fault I was very nearly killed in an auto accident—drinking far too much and popping pills—so, I suppose there’s a reason why I long for an ordinary life, just as there’s a reason why I obsess about dead people.
I look at Elias and he’s smirking—of course, he’s a shrink and doesn’t buy half of what I say, especially statements that begin with ‘because’ and end with a contrite look on my face.
“You tend to see yourself as a victim, Leon, but everything that’s happened to you is the result of choices—your choices—Maya included.”
I don’t know why he always keys on Maya. Yes, she’s the storm in my life, and yes, my lifeboat is swamped in a maelstrom, so I guess he figures he’s a lighthouse. But he’s not—he’s not a light to me—more a foghorn continually emitting warning blasts.
And maybe that’s why whenever I see Elias, it rains.
It’s past five when I exit his office and head back to my Rosedale manse—an Art Deco home formerly owned by Jessica Skye.
Jessica was a Thirties’ actress with Garbo looks who haunts me continually—partly because of her huge dark eyes staring at me from her portrait above the mantel—and partly because she inhabits a virtual wing of my house.
I know it sounds crazy but the closest I can get to explain it is to compare her ethereal abode to Wonder Woman’s airship—partly invisible, but real. I access her hideaway through a portal in my basement that outwardly appears to be a wine cellar, but actually is a Thirties’ speak-easy. Behind some swing-out shelves lies a second door that leads to a part of the house that is not of this world.
I still can’t quite wrap my mind around the whole experience but when you live in a Cubist house once owned by a Thirties screen star, I suppose anything is possible. Really. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable.
Besides, Einstein said the Past still exists, around a bend in the river of Time—so, I’m not crazy if I believe it’s true, and I’m not just taking the word of a genius, because I know–I’ve been inside Jessica’s shadowy apartments.
That’s right, I’ve seen the Mobled Queen and she’s haunted me ever since.
In my mind I picture her extant wing of the mansion as a Cunard liner from the Thirties ran aground on a desert island. The ship’s crew and waiters, all in white, wait upon her while she throws elaborate island parties replete with exotic fruit and drinks the color of water. She and Amelia Earhart live on in a perpetual sunny afternoon beyond the ken of the world at large.
I know—I sound insane, but as I stand here in the rain outside my manse, it all seems so clear. Somewhere in time, there is a sunlit garden where beautiful people are whiling away a June afternoon—it’s not something I hallucinated—I’m inner-directed and know what I know. That sunlit garden party is real. I stumbled upon it once, and fully intend to go back and prove it exists.
But just how I’m going to do that, I have no idea.
I eat a light supper sitting in the front room by the light of the fire. It’s basic, if not a Spartan repast—Swiss cheese on rye and a glass of Shiraz.
I know—with my history of alcohol abuse I shouldn’t, but ever since I explored the basement speak-easy and stumbled upon that portal to the past, I’ve needed the occasional drink to calm my tremors.
No, they’re not DT’s—they’re more a distant thunder—a reverberation that pulses inside me every time I remember the dark surprise in Jessica’s eyes.
I can see her still.
Sometimes, I tremble so much, I have to squeeze my fingers tight into a ball and scrunch my eyes closed and try not to see that white petal in a dark sea—Jessica's face in the garden below, staring up at me.
I admit–it challenges belief. A second-floor room in a turret that doesn’t exist in this time or space—I mean, how can that be? But I was there! I know it’s real—as real and palpable as this longing for a woman that’s been dead half a century but nevertheless has managed to ignite a conflagration within me.
The rain has stopped and I wander outside and stand on my front lawn. It’s cool and there’s a slight breeze. I look up at the manse Jessica built—a monolith towering above me—a Cubist house with curving lines, now illumined with the aura of a full moon about to crest the roof line.
It’s romantic standing here beneath the dark oaks, listening to the rustling leaves, and watching the Moon break free of shadows and beckon to me.
A wild delight surges through me. I can sense Jessica near. She’s on the grounds with me and the darkness provides just enough obscurity to soften the stark actuality of everyday and liberate her spirit.
I begin to shiver and have to go in. I force myself to shut the door on my fantasies, but it’s futile—I know I can’t shut her out completely, because nightly, she haunts my dreams.