Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Memory Lane

Do you remember your first car?

I do.

Remember your friends' first cars? Unless you and your friends grew up with a lot more money than I did, somewhere in that pack of first and second cars there was a vehicle, maybe more than one, that was sporting some repairs that were... well, let's just say they were more economical than aesthetically pleasing.

Less expensive, and even less fashionable.

Ugly, but cheap.

Like I said, maybe it was your car, maybe it belonged to someone you knew.

A fender picked up from the junkyard that was, though a perfect and undented replacement for the crumpled original, entirely the wrong color.

Hubcaps that did not match, or possibly weren't there at all.

A broken window replaced temporarily (all these repairs were intended to be temporary, it just didn't work out that way!) with a garbage bag, the loosely fitting plastic ruffling and snapping wildly, like a flag in a high wind, as you drove down the street.

A trunk, or in some cases an actual door held closed (and sometimes on) with a rope.

This used to be all high-school stuff, for the most part. Maybe into college. But we always assumed that as we got older this stuff would be less likely to happen.

Not so. Not with this economy.

In the past few years I've had a ruffling, snapping window. Sheet plastic rather than a bag, but plastic is plastic. I've seen people, adults, not kids, driving along with a rope for a trunk-lock, or clear packing tape holding together a shattered headlight lens. It reminds me of my youth.

And so, this morning when I went to work I was not exactly surprised to see what I saw. It made me laugh, I can tell you that. What I saw was this:

I know what's caught your eye. That black stuff around the back-up light on the back of that mail truck. Is that what you think it is?

Let's take a closer look.

Yup. It's exactly what you thought it was. It's a nice thick layer of sweet, black electrical tape. It just happens to be the only thing holding that back-up light (the red one with the white square in the center) to the truck. Without that high-tech tape that light would be hanging out on the wiring, just dangling loose and whacking against the back of the truck every time it drove over a bump.

That, my friends, is a member of the motor pool of the largest (employee-wise) business in the world, and it's driving around with a mickey-moused repair job worthy of every kid in the world who just got his license and just has to drive, no matter what his car looks like!

Takes me right back to High-School.

Ah, nostalgia!

Talk to you later!

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Fan!

Handsome and Wife walked out to the dining room table this evening to work on some of his homework, and found a tittering, giggling ass sitting at the table. He had a wide, silly grin, and was rocking back and forth staring at the computer screen in front of him while he giggled like a little girl. He would occasionally point a forefinger at the screen and pause in his laughter just long enough to say, in a strange high voice, "they read that, and that, but not that. Not yet!" Then this weirdo would dissolve into laughter once more.

And he, in case you haven't figured it out yet, was me!

"What's so funny, Dad?"

"Well, Handsome," I tittered, "you know how I write a weekly flash fiction story for Vamplit, right?"


"Well, I do that to get little samples of my work out there in a more public way. I put my story on Vamplit, and on my website as well. Then I tweet about it. So does Vamplit. So does another website we use called "FridayFlash". With all that tweeting my stories are kind of put in front of about 400 - 500 people every week. They might read them, they might not, but they have access to them - we're all doing this in hopes of expanding our fan bases."

I was rubbing my hands together.

"And according to my website, last week someone in Kansas got to my website through the "FridayFlash" link, and after they read my Flash for the week, they went on to read almost half the other stories on my site."

I was clapping my hands quietly now.

"And the same person came back this week, read my new Flash, then went on to read most of the other half of my stuff!"

I turned and gripped him by the shoulders, staring into his eyes.

"Do you know what this means?"

He shook his head.

"I think it means I have a fan! WOOHOO!"

Handsome was released, and the weirdo began rocking and giggling again...

Talk to you later!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Growing Up Giggles

Handsome and I went to the roller rink again today. We got there, got all skated up, and were out there on the floor, circling left, and left, and left, like some seriously low-cost Nascar knockoff. As we skated, I would occasionally lose sight of Handsome. I'd look about for him, and eventually find him skating right behind me. he was making a game of following me as closely as he could, weaving in and out among the other skaters as he tailed me.

That's fun, I thought, but I wish he'd find someone else to skate with, find some friends here.

Then, sometime later, I lost sight of him again. I looked about; no Handsome. I looked behind me; no Handsome. Eventually I found him out by the video games talking with another boy his age. The other boy skated off as I skated up.

"What's up?" I said.

"That's J," Handsome answered. "He used to go to my school, but he doesn't any more. I'm going to skate with him."

"Oh. Ok."

Handsome went to meet him and they skated off together, weaving about in the crowd of skaters circling endlessly on the hardwood rink. I watched them go by a few times, then I jumped into the crowd. I skated up behind Handsome. I stayed low, making myself no taller than he is, and tailed him closely through the people. J turned back to say something to Handsome and spotted me. His eyes widened, and he pointed back toward me. Handsome turned back, saw me, and gave me a nonchalant wave. Then he turned away from me and skated a little faster, catching up with J.

"That's just my Dad," I heard him explain, in a very matter-of-fact, I'm-too-cool-to-hang-out-with-my-Dad way. "I wish he'd find someone else to skate with."

I cruised to a stop, chuckling, as they skated on.

Be careful what you wish for, I thought.

Then I went off to talk to the odd little guy who skates at the rink every single day, as far as I can tell.

Somewhere, I'm pretty sure I heard God giggling.

Talk to you later!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lockdown. Sort Of.

I may have mentioned before that I've been working on a story for a Zombie anthology. I may have also mentioned, I honestly do not remember at this point, that the maximum story size they were asking for was 5,000 words.

That's terrific, that's roomy, I can work with that, I thought.  Then I sat down last week and wrote it. It was an idea that I'd had percolating in the back of my mind for a couple of months, since right about the time I was invited to submit for the anthology. It was a good idea - it still is. I banged out a story that I think I like an awful lot.

But it's 6,500 words.

Trying to shove 6,500 words into a 5,000 word space is the verbal equivalent of the late Chris Farley doing his 'Fat Man in a Little Coat' routine: painful, uncomfortable, and laughably ridiculous.

That's all right, I thought again, I have until the 31st to finish it - I can edit it down by then, right? I'll have the weekend in there plus my day off next week is in there. I'll have time.

I kind of wanted to make sure I had something in for this anthology, especially since they might be cancelling it due to a lack of submissions. Imagine my pride if they decided to go ahead with the book based on getting that one last submission that's worthy of printing -and it happened to be mine? My chest would be so puffed with pride people might think Dolly Parton had started shaving her head!

Then, this morning, as I was filling out one of my notification slips in the office, I wrote down today's date and stopped. I stared at what I had written. I sat bolt upright on the uncomfortable little stool that sits at my bench, and one of my co-workers heard me say "#$@%!!!!"

I had gotten the date wrong. I had done the math wrong. I had gotten something wrong! I thought the 31st was going to be this Thursday, leaving me my Wednesday off to work on the story.  I thought I had some time.

The 31st is Tuesday!

I got this strange feeling, maybe you've felt it before. One of the orifices in the lower regions of my body slammed shut. Didn't pucker. Slammed. Tight. Like Imodium on steroids. It was so sudden and hard I could almost hear it. The very suddenness of the aperture's closure coupled with the tightness to create a strange suction cup effect and I had to pry myself off the stool I was sitting on. And I had to pry myself up. Immediately.

Oh, sure, one of my body's emergency exits had battened its hatches, but there was another -in roughly the same area- that was unlocked and open, the door practically flapping in the breeze as it were. You've heard the phrase 'his guts turned to water'? Well, my guts went all watery, and that water was looking for someplace to go!

I hustled across the floor toward the bathroom with a most unusual gait. Trying to loosen the muscles in the back so I could actually take a few steps, while also trying desperately to tighten up the ones in the front so as to not make the trip to the bathroom suddenly superfluous, and at the same time maintain something approaching a smile so my co-workers might not guess what was going on, was actually beyond me, but I was trying it anyway. I made it to the bathroom, but only just. I was informed later that I looked like someone from Monty Python's 'Ministry of Funny Walks' skit.


So I spent some time in the bathroom considering the question, and I've continued to ponder it all day.

Where the hell am I going to find the time in the next three days to reread, then revise and rewrite a 22 page story, and still have the end product make some sort of sense?

What the hell am I doing writing all this here? I have to get to work!

Talk to you later!

Friday, January 27, 2012

What's the Story?

Has this ever happened to you?

I was talking to a couple of the guys right after work. TK and TR. When I walked up, the two Ts were talking about boxing, a sport that, though I like to watch it, I know next to nothing about. I stood with them, though, making small contributions to the conversation when I could.

Now, I'm not sure exactly what led up to it. I was paying attention, but I just can't remember what happened in the conversation to lead TK up to the story he told. But he told it.

Sort of.

"Check it out, there's this commercial, right, there's this commercial, and it's got this guy standing there like this, right -" here TK folds his arms across his chest and slumps, looking for all the world like a sleepy security guard. Trying to look tough, but sagging.

"This dude's standing like this, right, and then he opens his eyes!"

TK, who is tall and thin, sagged like a spent jack-in-the-box, leaning bonelessly to one side and gently bouncing up and down. The jack-in-the-box bounces because it is balancing on a spring. TK was bouncing because he was laughing.

He was laughing hard. Quietly, but hard. He was laughing, one might say, fit to bust.

TR and I looked at each other, then back to TK. Then at each other again. We could each see the other thinking Okay, something mighty funny must have just been said, and I missed it, What did I miss?
TK noticed we weren't laughing, so he took pity on us and explained the funny part. For our benefit.

"So the guy opens his eyes, right? He's standing like this and he opens his eyes, but he's got eyes painted on his eyelids!"

Thigh slapping guffaws. From him, anyway. TR looked at me again.

"That sounds like that old Three Stooges routine, doesn't it?"

"Yeah," I replied. "Or Pirates of the Caribbean."

TK was sitting now, wiping great tears of mirth from his eyes. He sputtered and gasped, and finally got some sort of control over himself.

"It was like, it was like, the guy had eyes on his eyelids, and he opened his eyes. It was like this movie I saw where the guy was a postal worker, right, and he did that thing with his eyes, right, with the eyes on the eyelids, and then he opened his eyes and the other guy jumped!"

The sound he made next I think I would write as "Bwaahhahahahahahahaha..." Laughter slammed into him with such force it actually knocked him backward on the chair. He leaned back so far his feet came off the floor, and then he slammed them back down again as he whip-sawed back toward us, throwing his head so far forward it wound up between his shaking knees. He flung his laughter toward us almost violently, as if there was just too much of it for one man to take, and he had to get rid of some of it or die.

TR and I looked at each other again. We were both laughing as well. Not nearly as much as TK; just enough to help him with his burden of laughter.

"That commercial," I said to TR, "not funny."

He shook his head, indicating that no, it wasn't. I jerked my head, pointing toward the huddled, shaking mass of giggles that had once been TK.

"That story, also not funny."

He shook his head again, saying "No! No, no no."

I pointed a finger at TK, who looked like he might be getting himself back under some sort of control.

"But he," I said, "he is funny!"

"Yes!" he agreed. We laughed as we walked away from TK, walking faster and laughing harder when he called out in a weak, gasping voice.

"Wait! There's more!"

No. No there isn't.

And I still don't know what the hell the original story was about!

I'd ask TK about it, but I'm afraid it would be too much for him.

Talk to you later!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I'm sitting here looking at the contents of my lunch bag. It holds the same contents every day; A couple of peanut butter sandwiches, some granola bards, and two PowerBar 'Protien Plus' mean replacement bars. I heard some of the guys in the office talking about going to lunch together. They go all the  time. I don't go with them. My route is across town from them, and I eat in my truck, usually while I work on this very blog. Besides, I have these sandwiches and 'meal replacement' bars.
'Meal replacement'. See, that sounds pretty good, that name. Hearing it always puts me in mind of that gum featured in the movie Willy Wonka & the  Chocolate Factory, the gum that's snatched up and subsequently eaten (against the advice of Mr. Wonka, I'd like to remind you!) by Violet Beauregarde. She tastes tomato soup, roast beef and a baked potato, and it's as real to her as if she were eating the meal in a fine restaraunt. Of course it all goes awry when the desert comes, and the blueberry pie fills her with blueberry juice. She swells and swells until she's eventually rolled away by the ever-present Oohmpa Loohmpas.
Not a bad feat, for a little piece of gum.  A whole meal, all going along perfectly until that little glitch at the end there, and even the glitch was delicious, according to Violet.

Now, let us take a look at my 'meal replacement bar'. Unlike Willy's gum, these bars actually claim to replace full meals. I have to admit, they are pretty filling for their size, but what about the taste? I mean, mud would be filling, but it would taste like, well, mud. Let's look at the ingredients listed on my PowerBar, and see how delicious it sounds!

  • Soy Protein Isolate
    • Um... okay...
  • Whey Protein Isolate
    • Well, alright. One question. What does 'isolate' taste like? Is it fruity or nutty?
  • Calcium  Casinate
    • Hey, at least it's not an 'isolate', right? Silver lining, right there...
Hmm... There are a lot of things listed on the back of this bar. I'll tell you what, I'll skip about a bit and just give you a sample of the listed ingredients.

  • Maltitol Syrup
    • Okay, it's syrup, but I'm pretty sure I'd smack you in the back of the head if you poured it over my pancakes.
  • Natural Flavor
    • Right. Natural Flavor. Right. Uh... flavored like what?
  • Soy Lecithin
    • You lost me at 'Soy'.
  • Ferrous Fumarate
  • Copper Gluconate
  • Chromium Aspartate
    • Um... what?
Okay, I quit. I have no idea what's in this thing. Maybe that's the reason that, unlike Violet raving about the ultimate tastiness of Wonka's gum, when people ask me how my PowerBar is I kind of squint and say "It's really not that bad!"

Forget this noise! I want a meal replacement that has ingredients I can recognize! Like, oh, I don't know... wait! Yes I do!
Ham! Beef! Maybe some mustard, or mayonnaise! Even chicken! I mean come on! They can't even make these dang bars taste like chicken. Everything tastes like chicken!

Oh for the Love of God!

That's it -I'm going to make a sandwich!

Talk to you later!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mah Na Mah Na

So I had this weird earworm this morning. It was in my head all through the day and into the afternoon before I realized what was really weird about it.
I didn't know the title. Not a clue. What I had running through my head was a song I heard on Sesame Street many many years ago, and on The Muppet Show in later years, but it's so amazingly catchy that it still has a place in my mental jukebox. Here's the video, taken from The Muppet Show:

So yeah... this is what I've had in my head all day. Catchy, isn't it?

Well, the first chance I got I looked it up (my Google-Fu is strong), and I immediately found a Wikipedia entry on it. It says, and I quote:

"Mah Nà Mah Nà" is a popular song written by Piero Umiliani. During its 1–15 September 1969 run on the WLS 890 Hit Parade ... It originally appeared in the Italian film Sweden: Heaven and Hell (Svezia, Inferno E Paradiso). It was a minor radio hit in the U.S. and in Britain, but became better known in English-speaking countries from its use in the 14th episode of Sesame Street,[3] the first episode of The Muppet Show, and also from its consistent use as the primary silent comedy sketch scene music for The Benny Hill Show."

That might have been information enough, but it went on to say:

"Mah Nà Mah Na" debuted as part of Umiliani's soundtrack for the Italian mondo film Svezia, inferno e paradiso (Sweden: Heaven and Hell [lit. Hell and Heaven]) (1968), a pseudo-documentary about wild sexual activity and other behaviour in Sweden. The song accompanied a scene in the film set in a sauna which gave its original title "Viva la Sauna Svedese" (Hooray for the Swedish Sauna)."

So. What I've been having roll through my head every once in a while for more than 30 years now is actually a song from an Italian movie about Swedish sex, a sauna scene no less, filtered to me through lovable puppets who star in a show designed for young children.

Is it any wonder I am the way I am?

I think not. I'm lucky I'm as sane as the voices tell me I am.

Talk to you later!

Mah na  mah na... doo dooo do-do-do... mah na mah na....  doo doo-do do....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Love You To Death

 A few months ago I was invited to work on a horror anthology. I was flattered, as it says right in the website that if you were invited to submit for this anthology it means that the people running the thing were of the opinion that you were a writer of sufficient quality to be sought out for the project. You weren't guaranteed a spot in the book, but they were actively interested in looking at what you might have to submit for the project.

In other words, they liked me.

The due date for submissions is January 31st, which is just one week away. I started working on it last Thursday, and I'm 5,500 words in. Since the word cap is 5,000, that means I get to edit and tighten it, which is good. I can always use that.

Here's the problem:
This morning on the project FaceBook page they posted that there haven't been enough submissions to create a book, even if they just accept everything they are given. And they don't want to do that.

“But wait!” I posted. “I thought submissions don't close until the 31st!”

“Yes,” they replied, “that's true. Perhaps we will get enough submissions by then to consider the project again, but we think it looks a little doubtful. If you have anything, please hold onto it and we'll try to either open the project up and get more submissions or try to use your stuff somewhere else. We'll keep you all posted, whatever happens.”

Terrific. Here I am, five and a half thousand words into a story, and I'm told they don't need the work? Tough luck, guys. I'm finishing the story. I kind of have to.

Did I mention that the working title of the Anthology was “Zombies Need Love Too”?

We were advised to make the story a story, and not to try to float some kind of Undead Porn story. “Pretty much anything else goes,” said the editor who was proposing the project. “Even humor. Especially humor. I mean, we're talking about stories of zombies and sex. How is that not funny?”

Now, I've already written the 'romantic walking dead' scene, and I'm about to go on to the 'morning after, oh my God I slept with that?' scene. I don't care what they do about the anthology – I have to finish writing this thing! I'm dying to see how it turns out!

(Sorry, I couldn't resist that one.)

Talk to you later!

Monday, January 23, 2012

If It Dies Again, Call Again

 I work for the United States Postal Service, the largest (in number of employees) business in the world. So this morning, when I went out on the road to deliver my route, I had some expectations. I expected to have the opportunity to do my job with the right equipment, the proper equipment to do my job properly. Imagine my surprise when, at my 3rd delivery of the day my truck should die. No coughing, no dramatic puffs of smoke, or grinding, it just refused to start. No clicks, no whirring, no nothing.


Well, we're the USPS, right? We should be able to handle this little hiccup, right?

No worries.

So I called the office and told my supervisor what was going on and exactly where I was.

“I'll be right out,” he said.

He sounded confident, so I felt confident. I sat and waited. I imagined (and since in the past 20 years I had been in a postal truck or two that had broken down before, I felt I had a good idea of what to expect) Boss coming out in his own car followed by one of the custodians in a postal truck. I imagined us shifting the truckload of mail out of my truck and into the working vehicle, and then I'd be in my way as the other two went back to the office in Boss's car to call the tow truck.

That's what I imagined.

Now you can imagine my surprise when Boss showed up all alone in his own car and started to shake out his jumper cables.

“There are no spare vehicles?” I said.

“Nope,” he answered, popped the hoods and connected the cables. He started his car, we waited a minute, and I started my mail truck. It started right away, like there was nothing wrong.

No bubbles, no troubles, right?

Boss coiled up his jumper cables and stowed them in his trunk, told me to let it run for 5 minutes or so before I tried to go anywhere, and got into his car.

“So, what,” I called, “if it dies again, just call again?”

“Yeah,” he said. “That'll work.”

Largest business in the world. Hand-held computers and GPS tracked vehicles.

"If it dies again, just call again."

We're doomed.

Talk to you later!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pretty Far From Horror

Feeling rather bad about the slightly depressing post yesterday, I've decided to go the other way with it tonight. To prove that I can write something other than Horror, I'm posting an excerpt from the very first thing I wrote when I started writing at all seriously. It's from a story I wrote more than a year ago called Dating Disaster, and it's pretty far from Horror. It also gets me out of writing a whole new post from scratch (it's late, and I'm feeling lazy). Though the whole story is about 6,000 words, this excerpt is less than 1,000 words, so I guess it counts as a Flash Fiction.

The set-up: Mark (our Hero) is describing an attempted date with Laurie to his best friend, Shelly.


“So, everything looks all set, right? The car, the cash, the reservation, I've done a dry-run by her house so I know I can find it.”
Shelly's full lips compressed into a tight line as she tried not to let her smile get out of control again.
“Yes, I remember looking for Peggy's apartment for an hour and a half that time,” I almost snapped, “and, as you pointed out, I try to learn. So everything's set and ready, as far as I can make it. New pants and my favorite shirt-”
“The blue cotton button-down?”, she interrupted.
I shot her with my finger across the table.
“That's the one.”
“Good choice, that looks great on you.”
“Thanks. So.... all set right? What could go wrong?”
Her eyebrows rose in a silent question, like she was afraid to ask.
“I get to her house, right, park at the curb, and start walking up to the front door. I'm running through kind of a mental check-list one last time, looking for anything I missed, when the thing that I missed came around the side of the house at me.”
“Laurie never mentioned that she had a dog. I never saw a dog on my dry-run to the house. I didn't see the damn dog now. But he saw me.”
“Her dog attacked you!?” Shelly's eyes were huge now, the concern in them having chased out her earlier mirth. “Was he big? Did he bite you?”
“I wish it were that simple” I said. “ I was walking up her front walkway, going over that list in my head, like I said, and I don't think that dog barked a warning, or if he did I didn’t hear it. The first I know of this dog he's about five feet away from me charging from my right.”
“Omigod!” I hadn't thought Shelly's eyes could get any bigger, but they had.
“Wait. There's more. So the dog's suddenly right there and charging and barking... and I panicked. I didn't look, I didn't think, my body just reacted and I bolted to the left. I think I was somehow planning on getting back in my car, or something, but I never got that far. The first or second step I took landed in a big pile of dog dirt. A freshie. I don't know if I actually did a full flip, but I DO know I hit the ground hard. Flat on my back. Knocked the wind out of me, and as a bonus, the back of my head smacked down right on the cement walkway.”
“Oh no!”
“Wait. So I'm on the ground, and my head feels like it was split open, and I'm SO not breathing, I'm trying, but I'm not breathing, and I was kinda considering that I might be dying. And then the dog got me.”
“Oh no!”
“Wait. So I'm lying there, dying, and suddenly there's all this snarling and barking and teeth snapping at my face. At my face. I couldn't move, like to get up or anything, so I just tried to cover my face with my arms and roll away. But the dog was there. No matter where I rolled the damn dog was there! It was like there were three of them! I don't know if it was trying to pin me down, roll me back over or bite me but all it was getting was my shirt. My favorite shirt, and it's being shredded.”
“Oh no....”
I held up a hand in a “stop” gesture.
“So. There I am, rolling this way and that on the ground, with my shirt all torn up, the wind knocked out of me and a possible concussion, and the dog's all over me.... and then the dog just stopped. The barking and everything just stopped, and the teeth went away, and in the quiet I can hear Laurie saying “Oh my God, are you alright? Bad Mitzi, bad.... Mark? Are you ok? Jesus I'm so sorry.” Stuff like that. So I rolled over and looked up and she's right there standing over me. I never even heard her coming with the dog making all that noise. And she has the dog. And I get a good look at it for the first time. Laurie was holding it.... and you know I don't know dogs, but it was a white fluffy thing about...”
Here I held my hands about 12-14 inches apart.
“This big.”
“Oh NO!”
“Yes. I kid you not, this damn dog is smaller than your cat.”
“No way....” Her eyes were watering.
“Exactly. So, Laurie has this little demon dog tucked under one arm, and she leans down and kind of reaches to me, like she wants to help me up. So I lean up and start to reach for her hand and she suddenly yanks it back, and her eyes get all big, and she kind of covers her mouth and nose with her hand and just stares at me. So I looked down at myself..... and you remember what I slipped in at the start of this fiasco?”
“Oh God NO!!”
“Exactly. I slipped in it, and while the lapdog from Hell was after me I was rolling around in it. So she's looking at me, sitting on the ground, wind still knocked out of me, semi-concussed, shirt all savaged by a dog I could almost hold in the palm of my hand, and covered in dog crap. And she kind of holds up the dog, like she's offering it to me, and says “Um..... this is Mitzi.”.”
“Date over.”
Shelly was just staring at me, her eyes huge, her mouth a tight, flat line.
“You may laugh now.”
She burst out laughing.

Not exactly Horror, right?

Talk to you later!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

No Fuzzy Bunnies Here

Recently, as in just yesterday, I became a new contributing author for Vamplit Publishing's ongoing Friday Flash event. Every month they post a theme, and each week they have a topic within that theme, and by Friday the authors who are going to contribute must have a Flash (1,000 words or less) Horror story prepared to post. I've seen it on Twitter, and it seems like a viable way to get my name and work out there in the public eye. I took a look at the topic they had posted for this week (circus acts) and a fairly gruesome story just popped into my head. I chuckled about it and got to work.
Sometime during the middle of the week I sort of wondered at the ease with which I came up with that story idea. I mean, it was within seconds of seeing the topic, and it just popped in there. Terrific, but maybe a little disturbing. As I thought about that, it occurred to me to take a look at everything I was writing at that time.
I had four writing projects all working in rotation, all at the same time.

  1. A horror Flash story set in a circus for Vamplit's Friday Flash.
  2. I'm still working on my NaNo novel, Home Grown, which is a ghost story. An occasionally graphic ghost story.
  3. I'm in the middle of writing a story for an anthology I was invited to work on. The title of the anthology is "Zombies Need Love Too". I'll just let you guess what that one is focused on.
  4. This blog.
This blog seems to be the only thing I was working on that wasn't horror at all.

That's not right, I thought. I must be able to write something other than Horror, right?

So I sat down and tried to think of the opposite of Horror. Fuzzy bunnies, right? Fuzzy bunnies are just about as not Horror as you can get, right? So I wondered what kind of a story I could make out of a fuzzy bunny...

A fuzzy bunny sitting in the target sight of a flamethrower...

No! No, no... not that. Start again.

A cute little fuzzy bunny, and he's at work, ...and he's a slave at a Rabbit's Foot factory, forced to wield the chopper...

No! No no no... oh my God! Try again...

A cute fuzzy bunny, just hopping along, ... wielding the flame-thrower and exacting vengeance against the owners of a Rabbit's Foot factory... a bunny with only one leg...

Oh for the love of God! Okay... I'll try it one more time. I closed my eyes...

"Mommy, mommy, I want the bunny," said the little girl.
"Which bunny, Annie?"
"That one!" Annie points to a gray flop-eared rabbit sitting all alone in a rabbit cage. Its nose twinkles and wiggles as it gnaws on a carrot stub, so focused on that task it's oblivious to the watching little girl.
"That's Bugsy," says the man behind the counter. "We've had him for a long time, and he does need a good home. Would you like to pick him up? I'm sure he wouldn't mind."
"Awesome!" Little Annie is all smiles as her mother lifts the lid off the cage, allowing Annie to reach in and tuck her hands around the chewing rabbit. The girl lifts Bugsy out, cradling him against her chest.
"Oh, Mom, he's so soft!"
And Bugsy, having lulled them into a false sense of security, chooses this moment to attack. Annie's mother screams in shock and looks to the man behind the counter for help, but he's drawing the shade as he locks the door. He tucks a sign into the window behind the shade - Feeding time, back in 15 min.

Okay... I think I have a problem.

Talk to you later!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Postal Tardis

 For filling up our mail trucks, we in the Postal Service have gas cards issued to us when we need gas. They are specific to us, one to each route and we use them no matter what vehicle we have. If, for instance, I have a different vehicle for the day I would still use the gas card assigned to my route to fill the borrowed vehicle.
We are accountable for these cards, and we are not supposed to ever take them home with us. I believe the worry is that some unscrupulous person just might give their own personal car a fill-up on the USPS tab. Since my personal Jeep has a 20 gallon tank, to do this would be a great savings to me.

But no, I have never even attempted to fill my own car with the Postal gas card. I think it would be quite easy to spot, since I usually get 16-18 gallons at a time and mail trucks only have 12-gallon tank. Having a sudden big fill-up might stand out a bit.

That brings us to this morning.

I am using a truck different from the one assigned to my route at the moment, since I was under Inspection and they gave me a truck with a built-in GPS unit so they can track my movements all day.  This morning when I ran through my vehicle check, I saw that the fuel gauge was reading low. Very low. I went back in the building and fetched my gas card, and the filling station became my 1st stop of the day. I pulled up to the pump and ran my cars through the machine, putting in all the information it asked me for. Then I started filling it up.

How much will it take, I wondered. I always wonder that, as the gauges in these vehicles are notoriously inaccurate. How close to 12 gallons will I get this time?

I know it seems like a stupid thing to wonder about, but I do. I've gotten 11 and a quarter, 11 and a half, even a touch more than that before. I always want to see just how close to the full 12 gallons I need.

So I watched the numbers roll by. 10 gallons. 11 gallons. 11 and a quarter, eleven and a half, I was actually getting a little excited. Would this be a new record?

Twelve gallons. Twelve and a quarter. Twelve and a half.

What the hell?

I watched in shock as my 12 gallon tank took 13 gallons and kept on going.

What's it doing, pouring out on the ground?

I actually took a step back, getting as far from the vehicle as I could while still squeezing that pump handle, so I could bend down to look beneath it. I was  more than half expecting to see an expanding puddle of fuel under there, but the ground remained dry. I looked back at the pump just in time to see the numbers creep past 14. The pump handle jumped in my hand with an audible thud, and the auto-shutoff kicked in. I stared at the pump readout.

My 12 gallon tank now held 14.2 gallons of fuel.

"It's a Postal Tardis!"

For those of you unfamiliar with the science fiction Dr. Who , the Tardis is the fictional home/vehicle of the aforementioned Dr. Who. While its outer shape is that of a 1960's style London Police Box, the interior (through a judicious bending of Space/Time) has the size and general structure of a mansion, with multiple rooms and plenty of space. In other words, it's larger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Just like my gas tank.

Now, the problem I am anticipating is this: What am I to say to my boss when, suspicious that I was somehow gassing up my own car, he asks me just how I managed to get more than 14 gallons of gasoline into a 12 gallon tank? Do you think I should try my "I am a Time Lord and this is my Tardis" angle?

Yeah... me neither.

Talk to you later!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Running Out Of Ti

I need to try to get my blog done on my lunch. It just seems to work out better that way - I don't wind up scrambling in the evening or even the night, with midnight as a deadline, trying to get something down. Especially when I have no idea what I'm going to write about.

That's my problem today. I don't know what to put down here. I made sure I brought my little Sylvania Netbook with me this morning. My little netbook that I refer to as my 'Little Beastie'' that cost me only $100 at CVS, which isn't really good for anything but the tiniest bit of writing. I made sure it was charged up and good to go, and now I've had it in front of me for the last 20 minutes, just trying to think of what to write. I've been sitting here so long that I have less than 10 minutes left on my lunch. I've decided to try a little stream if consciousness writing to hopefully unlock an idea from somewhere in this head of mine. I'm just going to write down whatever comes into my head until I get an idea, then I can write about that and erase all this stuff and just give you the post. I just hope that I get some idea before I run out of lunch time so I can at least get it started to finish later.

Oh! I have an idea! Terrific, I can just-

Dammit! The low battery warning just popped up on the Little Beastie! Crap! I could have sworn the battery was fully ch

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I've Got Nothing

So this was one of those days where nothing really noteworthy happened to me all day. I got out of work and came here to my wife and son's house to wait for them to get back from wrestling practice, and write my blog. The whole drive over I was thinking "What can I write? What can I write?" By the time I walked in the door here I had an answer, of sorts.

I've got nothing.

Wife's dog is currently perched on the back of the couch, in his usual spot when she's out of the house. He'll just lie there keeping an eye on the street below that window, watching for her to come back. I walked in the front door, went right to the couch and patted the dog, giving him a good ear scratch.

"I have to write my blog, Dog," I said to him, "but I have nothing to write about. What am I going to do? Do you know what I should write about? Any ideas? Hmm? Anything?"

Dog just stared at me as I scratched him, and I realized he was probably a little worried about me. Here I was, a grown man, and I was seriously asking a dog for advice, and I was at least half-hoping that he'd pipe up and give me an answer.

That would be enough to worry anyone, I thought. No wonder he's looking at me like tha-

That's when it hit me. I was standing there seriously worrying what the dog was thinking about the fact that  I was seriously asking him for advice. Seriously?

Now I'm worried about me. Seriously.

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Sticky Situation

 Paper mache is messy stuff. The paste is heavy, and it drips all over the place. You can make the paste less thick, but then it tends to soak through the paper faster. Soaked paper isn't all that good at holding together, especially when it's weighed down by paste (even thinned down, the paste is heavy) and someone is trying to lift it by just two corners. You tend to wind up with a crumpled pile of paste-laden paper on the floor while you try to unstick the two torn-off corners from the tips of your very sticky fingers. For this very reason (the mess) when Handsome and I got to the paper mache step in our 6-ft long T-Rex made of PVC, chicken wire and paper mache I put down rosin paper. I taped a big square to the floor and put the project right in the middle of it. What I forgot to do was put some on me.

I'm not a complete fool. I put on my crappiest clothes for this little project. I've painted in them, plastered in them, done yard work in them. You name the dirty job I've done, and I probably did it in these clothes. This little job, however,  was too much even for my most formidable of clothes. And the paper mache wasn't the biggest problem. 

It was Handsome.

The paste mix was in a large bowl I put on the edge of the rosin paper. I positioned it so that, hopefully, we could both work with it. Maybe not at the same time, but pretty close. 

This hope was foolish, and turned out to be a mistake.

It started out with some of the paste dribbled onto my forearm. I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt, and I was squatting by the bowl sluicing the excess paste from a paper strip, watching my hands and paying attention to what I was doing. Handsome, it turned out, was doing the same thing, only standing straight to do it. And looking at the dinosaur that was taking shape rather than his hands. He sluiced the excess paste right off the paper and onto my forearm.


"Oh! Sorry Dad!"

Okay, so now a bunch of the hair on my arms was glued down to the skin of my arm.

Terrific. It could have been worse...

About a minute later, though: 


"Sorry Dad!"

More hair was glued down.


Then, not two minutes later, the topper. I was at the bowl again dipping paste onto yet another in the long line of strips to be pasted to the chicken wire frame. I had waited specifically until Handsome was done with the bowl and was busy placing the larger sheet of paper across the dino's back. I figured it was going to take a little while to get that piece placed, so I'd have a little safe time at the bowl and not have to worry about the plaster casts on my arms expanding, or how painful it was going to be to peel them off my arms when we were done. My head was bowed, I was looking into the bowl, when Handsome sighed and took a little step back to look at how the piece he'd just put on looked. He was still holding the brush with which he had applied the paste to the paper. He wasn't paying attention to what he was holding in his hand, and so he was completely oblivious when he accidentally swiped the brush across the top of my bowed head.

Can you say 'Three Stooges moment'?


"What? I - Oh! Sorry Dad!"

Next time I'm getting my own bowl of paste!

Oh - and as a side note, at no time did the boy dribble, splash, or brush the paste onto any part of me actually covered with those work-clothes I told you about.

Talk to you later!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mail Bag! 1-16-2012

1st Mailbag of 2012!!
(And it's no more promising this year!)

This is the Digital Deals Special of my Mail Bag series! I got plenty of ridiculous emails in my Junk Mail folder in the past 30 days, but when I was sifting through the pile the name “Digital Deals” kept popping up again and again. What I'd like to do this month, in a little effort to get the New Year started off right, is to pull out a few of those emails from those marketing wizards at Digital and give you my 1st impressions of them. Never even opened them, just saw the subject and reacted. Think I bought anything? We'll see. Ready to give it a read? Okay then!

  • Digital Deals: "Can you answer this question?"
    • Yes! Yes I can! And that is the correct answer to your question! Duh!

  • Digital Deals: "I have never used a more effective product"
    • Good for you! That't terrific! Great news, love to hear it!
      ... Uh... effective for what?

  • Digital Deals: "Wow- I should have bought more"
    • Okay, you buy more. If I don't buy any, that means there will be all the more for you! See that? I'm there for you, pal!

  • Digital Deals: "Yes we have them - Clip-In-Hair-Feather-Extensions - Our deal can't be beat!"
    • No, I don't have any - hair for your Clip-In-Hair-Feather-Extensions - Your deal isn't necessary! Bowling balls have more hair than me - Don't you people even look at your target audience?

  • Digital Deals: "They Giggle, Wiggle and Dance!"
    • Terrific. So do I of you buy me enough booze. I could wind up going to jail, though. Maybe you should too... let me make a phone call...

Okay, that's about all I have for now. Of course, I had quite a few emails that could have been included here, but for their sheer tenacity coupled with an almost complete lack of sense, Digital Deals won my Fantastically Frequent Foolishness Award for the months of December/January, an very important and prestigious award that I just made up on the spot.

Think they'll show up to collect?

Me neither.

Talk to you later!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Troll and the T-Rex

This afternoon, Handsome wanted to start putting the paper mache on his dinosaur.

For those of you who may not know, my son decided one day to begin construction (with a little help from dear old Dad) of a 6-foot long T-Rex, made from chicken wire and paper mache. I added in the idea of a basic skeleton of PVC pipe - for that story you can check out this link --> "Handsome's Little Project".

He was concerned this morning about a paper mache structure so large. He was worried that it would collapse in upon itself since, as he said "Paper mache is so weak."

I looked up an article on Paper Mache and showed him where they said the stuff has a strength comparable to that of wood. Then I looked up some examples of art made from paper mache. This is the largest example I found:

That gigantic, happy-looking being is a Troll, made entirely of paper mache over cardboard on top of a rough wooden skeleton. Very much like our chicken wire over pvc design, I'd like to point out. It's sitting behind the artist who created it, a very talented woman named Kim Graham. Clicking on her name will bring up her website for you, just in case you were interested in seeing a little more of her work. Including a photo spread of the making of that smiling gargantua sitting behind her in the photo.

Needless to say, Handsome saw this and went a little wild. I'll admit, when I showed this to him I didn't realize I was raising the bar for his expectations about the dinosaur. But not to worry... I think I fixed that. Also inadvertently. 

We slapped some rosin paper on the floor in the basement and positioned the chicken wire dino in the middle of the square. We took a Boston Sunday Globe and cut quite a few strips to work with. I got a huge bowl from atop the fridge and mixed up the flour and water, kind of guessing at what kind of consistency would work best for us, and we went down to the basement to start putting a paper mache 'skin' on the T-Rex.

Now, it's been 25 or 30 years since I last made anything with paper mache. I knew I'd forgotten a few things. I'd forgotten the proper mix of flour and water, and I think I had it a little thick. Maybe not, I'm not sure. I'd forgotten what kind of coverage you get for your flour, and we wound up being a little short. I'd forgotten just how slow and difficult it can be to work with paper mache, but at least there's no 'due-date' on this thing; it's for fun. 

The one thing I had not forgotten was what a mess this stuff tends to make. Thus the rosin paper on the floor. Thus our wearing clothes from the rag-bag in the basement. I remembered the mess, but forgot everything else.

We left the house this evening with the dinosaur unfinished. 

His tail, though, his tail is... well, unfinished.

Almost finished though. The tail, that is. Well, not almost. More like half-way. A little more than half way.

We had to stop, there was no more flour in the house.

I received my shopping order from Handsome himself - 6 more bags of flour for tomorrow.

This may just take a little longer that we thought. Maybe we'll have it done by 2013.


Talk to you later!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dual Meat Gone Bad

The other night Handsome took part in his first Dual Meet for wrestling. There was, of course, a problem. In a Dual Meet, two schools face off and field a team of the best wrestler they have in each weight division. My son wrestles in the 120 lb bracket, but he's nine. He's just big and solid. He wound up being matched against a 13-year old, and this was not the teen-ager's first time on this particular merry-go-round. The Teen was rangy, and closer to my height than Handsome's. They met in the circle, shook hands and squared off. I think it was while they were shaking hands before the bout started that Handsome, neck cranked back to look up at his opponent (who will be shaving in a year or two), realized he was going to have a problem.

Luckily, it was over quickly.

The Teen wrapped him up in about 5 seconds, using moves Handsome had never seen before. He still hasn't seen them, since somewhere during the wrap-up he got the Teen's thumb in his eye.

The speed with which it was over left Handsome embarassed, while the thumb in the eye left him crying in the middle of the mat. I'm pretty sure the crying did not help the embarassment. He was a good sport, shaking hands with his opponent and the visiting coach, and then going to have someone look at his eye. They were worried about a possible scratched cornea, and we put a cold compress on it to keep the swelling down. It was while we were out in the hall putting fresh cold water on the compress when the Teen came out on his way to the bathroom. He stopped to apologize for hurting Handsome and ask if he was alright. Handsome informed him that he was fine but for the thumb in the eye.

"What?" The Teen looked startled.

"Your thumb," answered Handsome, "it went in my eye."

"Oh," said the Teen, surprised. "I didn't know about that. I'm sorry, I didn't mean it."

"Dude," said one of Teen's teammates (three were out in the hall with him) "I think he's a lot younger than you."
"Yeah," I said, "I was going to ask about that. How old are you?"
"Me? Thirteen. Why? He's younger than me, right, like eleven or something?"
 "He's nine."
It was like my words echoed around the hall as, eyes wide, the Teen and his teammates just stared at Handsome and turned my statement into a question.

"He's nine?"

"Yeah," I said. "He's just kind of big." Handsome just nodded and held the compress to his eye.

They all went quiet for a moment, then one of them turned to the Teen and pushed his arm to get his attention.
"Dude ... you took on a nine-year-old."

Handsome and I left them then, returning to the gym floor where the wrestling continued. I don't know about Handsome, but my ears remained tuned to the goings on in the hall behind us until they faded in the distance. 
There was some serious ribbing going on.

I kept an eye on the Teen whenever I could for the rest of the match, and as far as I could tell from body-language, the ribbing continued for the rest of the night.

Handsome eventually forgot about his eye, joshing and playing with some of his teammates.

Of the two of them, Handsome and the Teen, I'm not sure who actually took the worst drubbing that night. As far as I know, the Teen's has continued, maybe even still going on as I write this. I'm not sure which is worse: the thumb in the eye or a teen-ager having all his teammates aware that he wrestled against a nine-year-old.

I think if I had the choice, I might choose the thumb in the eye.

Talk to you later!

Friday, January 13, 2012

On My Own Again

Today was the last day of my inspection at work. I was told I was going to be going out on my own to deliver my route (like I've been doing for almost 20 years... whoopie!) and that they would only be counting my mail in the morning and keeping an eye on me in the office.

That's what they told me yesterday.

This morning, I was informed that I would not be taking the vehicle normally assigned to my route, but I would be taking one of their 'special' trucks. One of the ones with a GPS unit, so they could track my movements all day long from the comfort of their office.

Okay. Terrific.

So I have the points in my route where I have a bar code that I have to scan, kind of like a night watchman making his rounds. Plus whenever I scan a package for delivery, their computer gets a record of the time I was at that particular address. And now I have a GPS unit tracking my truck, just in case I'm going to try anything tricky.

Okay. Terrific.

Then, while I was out there delivering, one of my supervisors just 'happened' to stop by to see how I was doing. About an hour and a half later, the other supervisor came by. He was 'just checking on how I was doing, making sure I was maintaining a good pace'.

About an hour after that, the first supervisor came by again, this time with the Postmaster in tow. Just to see how I was doing. They interrupted my lunch, but it was no biggie. They were 'just stopping by'.

Later, when it was nearing dark, the supervisor/Postmaster car cruised by again, moving slow and somehow in a vaguely threatening manner. Like a blue metal shark.

Right about this time I stopped drinking any water. Sometimes if I drink water too fast it gives me gas, and I was afraid that if I belched too loudly the police would show up with guns drawn!

Boy, I'm so glad I got to go out on my own again...

Talk to you later!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Ugly Dance

I worked all day, in the rain, with an inspector with me.
Did I have a terrific day?
Then I went to watch Handsome in his first Dual Meet for wrestling. They divide the wrestlers by weight, and since my 9-year old is so big he wound up paired with a 13-year old. One who is not a 1st year wrestler.
It was not a good match.

So tonight, I'm copping out on the Blog and sharing today's earworm with you instead. I'll give you a link to where I heard it, and maybe you can get it stuck in your head as well. So click on the link below, and prepare yourself for The Ugly Dance!

Talk to you later!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Hairy Eyeball

So, today at work was my official inspection. I had yet another gentleman walking behind me with the clipboard and a handheld computer. The funniest part of my day was when I was, once again, delivering to my old age housing. Thank you Mr. R.

Mr. R and his wife are some very friendly customers. He tends to meet me at the door, hand me his outgoing mail, and take in their mail three or four times during the six-day delivery week. Generally, if Mr. R fails to meet me at the door then Mrs. R at least calls out a 'hello', 'good morning', or some other friendly phrase. The two of them are polite, happy, and almost always bring a smile to my face.

This brings us to today. Mr. R opened the storm door as I climbed the stairs, calling out his usual "Hey, what you say!" Just as I hit the top step I saw him glance to his left and notice today's Inspector. The Inspector was waiting for me down on the grass, clipboard and computer quite evident. Mr. R gave him a slow once over, and I heard him grunt "uh-oh".

I walked across the porch, accepted one outgoing letter from Mr. R and handed him today's mail. He didn't look at me as I did this, his entire attention taken up by the man on his lawn.

The man with the clipboard.

As I turned and headed back to the stairs I heard Inspector say "Good morning!" His voice was bright and obviously cheerful. Then I heard Mr. R's response.


It was only one word, hell, one syllable, but it was delivered in a very flat voice. An over loud voice, so there could be no mistaking the tone.

Mr. R did not approve.

When I looked back I saw Mr. R giving Inspector the hairy eyeball.

No one gives the hairy eyeball like Mr. R.

Mr. R is a small, old Italian man. He does not have what they call a 'unibrow', rather he has a matched set of slightly bushy, somewhat powerful, and extremely expressive eyebrows. He has dark eyes, and a strong nose. What he lacks, is teeth.

When I look back, I saw Mr. R still holding the storm door open, his body having settled into position. Arms folded across his chest, shoulders set, legs not exactly slouched, but relaxed. A stance that says 'I am fully prepared to stay here all day'. Atop this resolute stance was perched a face magnificently suited for giving the hairy eyeball.

Those extremely expressive eyebrows were drawn down to form a unibrow that stood out like a shelf from his fore head. His jaw was drawn up tight in disapproval, lips pulled in. His jaw was drawn up quite far, in fact, due to his lack of teeth. His lips were pulled in so tight it was as if his face close up like a fist. His strong nose looked even stronger protruding from that creased mask of displeasure, but it had nothing on his eye.

His right eye was squeezed shut in a wink, but there was nothing sly or fun-loving in the gesture. The eye seemed to have been pressed shut by the weight of that powerful eyebrow. It did seem that there was some kind of pressure involved, since the other eye, the eye toward Inspector had bulged out to twice its normal size. It was huge, the curve of it spilling out beyond the border of that shelf of brow, dark iris surrounding a pupil both large and black.

That pupil was trained on Inspector like a cannon mounted on some great ship. Mr. R did not move and his stare did not waver as I descended the stairs and Inspector began to follow me on to the next unit. As we walked I could feel the force of that stare against my back, and I was not even its target. Its malignant power washed over Inspector as he walked, pouring around him to slap against my back, turning me into some sort of odd collateral damage.

When they coined the phrase 'if looks could kill', I'm fairly certain they had Mr. R specifically in mind.

I don't know how Inspector survived.

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Going South to Go North

This afternoon I related a story to the Postal Inspector who was walking with me all day, something that had happened to me on the route years ago. I thought it was a little funny, so here it is.

The man pulled to the big car to the curb. He was calling out to me before his window had even begun to motor down.

"Excuse me! Excuse me! Could you tell us how to get to Route 128 from here?"

I leaned down to peer in through the passenger's side window. His wife, small and dark-haired, sat straight in the seat, firmly belted in and staring straight ahead, as if oblivious to the conversation being shouted across her face.

"Well sir, I can get you started. What you want to do is go back this way," I pointed back the way he had come, keeping my arm low so as to be visible to him through the windows.
"You follow this street here until it reaches a five-way intersection. Straight across from you will be a Do Not Enter sign. Don't go that way." I smiled. "Take the street to the right of that one and go all the way to the end, then take a left. You'll be on Pleasant street. Take that until it forks, and take the right fork. That's Lafayette street, and you'll follow that all the way down the hill and into the next town. Once you're in the next town, keep an eye out for an intersection that has a Fire Station on the far corner from you. There should be a sign there saying Rt. 107. If you follow Rt. 107 you'll start seeing signs directing you to Rt. 128"

He didn't write any of this down, or even look at me as I spoke, merely looked straight ahead, much as his wife did. He, though, made hand gestures as I spoke as if he were mentally reviewing my directions in his head, curving and moving his hand in the air in front of him to simulate lefts and rights. When I had finished he looked away from me, out his window for a moment, then finally turned toward me.
"I want to go north, but I can see by the sun you are sending me south. Why are you doing this? Is it just to mess with me? Why would you mess with me like that?"
I was surprised, but his tone was belligerent, and he really was demanding an answer.
I thought about it for a moment, then sighed.
"Well, sir, the fact that you're on a peninsula kind of limits your options. I was sending you south to get you to the mainland, where you could go north to find 128. If you'd rather just go straight north from here, go ahead, you're pointed in the right direction. You're going to get a little wet, though. Might want to roll 'em up."
I gave a small wave to the silent woman who sat not two feet from my face and still had never even glanced my way, straightened up and continued on my way.

I wonder which way he chose to go?
Oh, well. I'll never know for sure.

... what a dink.

Talk to you later!