Monday, July 22, 2013

The Finger of Life

To Whom it May Concern:

This blog is a place for me to write things OTHER than my usual fiction, which does tent to be about Things Dark and Scary. I do have a little announcement to make on that front, though, and I'm kind of excited about it.


Late last week I signed and sent back a contract with Hazardous Press. They have agreed to publish my first book, a small collection of original ghost stories, all written by yours truly. It is called The Dead of Winter and is the first book in a proposed four-book series.

Huzzah! Happy-dance!

More information about the book (should you be interested) will be posted on my FaceBook Writer's Page (to get THERE, click HERE), so you can 'like' me there to get updates as more information becomes available.

That is all. We now return you to the blog post already in progress.

Here's the story:

I had a crap morning.

Well, it might not have started out as a crap morning. I mean, I’m not really sure about the walk from the bed to my desk, but if that part didn’t suck I’m not aware of it. But if part of my morning didn’t blow, then that was it. The part when I woke up and walked straight out to my desk. But right after that...

Let me explain. When I started writing I had an ancient laptop. It was on its way out, slowly wearing down with nearly constant use. I bought a nice little laptop to act as a replacement for it when it finally failed, put that nice new little laptop away while the ancient one finished dying, and just kept working. The stubborn old ancient one managed to hang on for just long enough that the warranty on the nice new laptop had expired before it gave up the ghost in the machine. I broke out the new warranty-less new laptop and started putting it to daily use.

...that’s when I found out the nice shiny new laptop has motherboard issues. Serious motherboard issues that make it hard to use as a portable laptop and will someday make it impossible to work on at all.

I cursed and swore and started shopping. I settled on a nice little Acer Chromebook, waited for it to go on sale so I could actually get one, new, for just $150, and tried it out.

It was fantastic. I love the feel of it, the portability, the size and setup of the keyboard, the
whole online aspect of working on it —  I had finally hit the ball out of the park. I had what seemed the perfect working tool for my writing, editing, emailing, researching... just everything I want and need a computer for. It was perfect. That’s what I had waiting for me when I walked out to my desk first thing in the morning. I had a Flash story to create, a blog post to write, and a metric buttload of editing still to do and I was going to do it all on my wonderful little ChromeBook.

I sat down.

I turned it on.

I heard a little whine, then a little wheeze, all in one sound. Whine-wheeze...

I listened.

I heard it again. Whine-wheeze...




I had recognized the sound of a hard drive slowly grinding itself to bits as it worked, grinding again and again, whine-wheezeing every few seconds. After just two months of use, just long enough for me to absolutely fall in love with it, my ChromeBook was beginning to destroy itself right beneath my very fingers.

I sat there for a while, listening and cursing, wondering how long my little ChromeBook had to live. I tried to look up information about it on the internet but the ChromeBooks seem to be too new for there to be a lot of failure info out there. I looked for the receipt, knowing full well that, though the machine was purchased just two months ago, no manufacturer was going to accept any kind of warranty claim without one.

I looked in my desk, pushing aside pens, papers and junk. I looked on my cork-board, rummaging through pinned submission calls and emails from publishers, casting aside receipt after receipt for other things, other purchases. I even found and searched through the original packaging the ChromeBook came in, all the manuals, quick-start guides, cardboard and styrofoam packing.

I did all that searching, but turned up nothing. Nada. Squat. But that’s not what completely ruined my morning. It was bad, don’t get me wrong, but it was not the final straw. The final straw happened when I turned around to leave the room.

I turned to find a huge hand right in my face. It was bigger than my whole head and just two inches from my nose and the middle finger was raised.

“How’s your day now, Dude?”

I peeked around the tremendous digit to find Life standing there in my room, giant grin spread across his face, long arm extended toward me with that lincoln log of a finger pointed skyward. He was big, he was wide, he was tall. As paradoxical as it sounds... Life was larger than life.

“Were you planning on keeping that little gem of yours for years and years?” he said. “Don’t you know I’m what happens while you’re making other plans? Read your own blog, man, read your own blog!”

There was laughter coming from somewhere behind him, but there was just too much finger in my face to see what was going on.

“Excuse me,” I said, holding tight to my temper. “You’re giving me the finger, and it’s right in my face. I mean right in my face. There’s really no need of that, is there? I mean, it’s both insulting and really, really annoying.”

Life laughed.

“That’s kind of the point, Dude!”

The finger pulled away a bit as he turned to look over his shoulder at where, I now saw, Fate and Chance were holding on to each-other to keep from falling down with laughter.

“He’s kind of a dumb-ass, isn’t he?” said Life. Fate and Chance gave it up as a lost cause and just collapsed to the floor, laughing so hard tears fell from their eyes like metaphysical rain.

That’s what did it. That was the last straw for my morning. Having a room full of anthropomorphic personifications of abstract concepts just pointing and laughing at you while one of them taunts you is enough to ruin anyone’s morning. I sat down in a huff to call Best Buy.

“Best Buy, can I help you?”

“Hi, I was wondering if you could issue a replacement receipt for me? If I came down there with the original packaging my ChromeBook came in, could you scan it and do some sort of inventory search and maybe re-print my receipt?”

“Sure! Oh... well, did you purchase it with a credit or debit card?”

“Um, no. I paid cash. Does that make a difference?”

“Yeah. I’m sorry, sir, but we have no way to track cash transactions through our system like that. If you had used a card on the purchase it would be no problem, but since you used cash... I’m sorry, sir.”

I hung up the phone.

Booya!” shouted Life, the big, hairy knuckle of his upraised middle finger actually brushing my ear as the other two hit the floor again, incapacitated by laughter once more. I looked at Life and his over-wide, class clown, schoolyard bully’s grin... and I kicked him in his great big larger than life nuts.

“How’s your morning looking?”I said as I stepped over his writhing form and headed for the door. I paused in the doorway, making a ‘hurry up’ motion with one hand. Misery scuttled around Life and caught up to me in the other room, and together we walked out to the Jeep to go run some errands.

Misery does so love company.

Talk to you later.

And this week's Bonus Video For Your Entertainment: Crazy Dancing Best Buy Guy!
Seriously, this video popped up when I did a search for the Best Buy employee I used above. I couldn't use it in the body of the blog, but there was no way I could pass THIS guy up!


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