Friday, February 22, 2013

New Game

So you all know the Northeast was hit with a bit of a blizzard a while ago. Just a bit. A little more than two feet of snow, not counting the huge drifts the 45 mph winds threw around. There was shoveling, snow-blowing, terrible driving conditions, empty store shelves — I mean, it was not a lot of fun.
But what was fun?
Handsome and I went sledding.
Zipping down the hill.
Trudging back up to the top.
Zipping down.
Trudging up.
I started to be all about the resting portion of the whole sledding experience. I’m going to be 44 years old in a couple of months (or 56, depending on who you talk to and what kind of a mood I’m in), and I recently caught a humdinger of a cold. After a few of those trips back up the slippery slope I was seriously starting to feel like a tired old man.
Who am I kidding? I was a tired old man!
I began rolling off the sled at the end of each run to lay flat on my back in the snow and take a bit of a break. The breaks got longer and longer. Handsome sledding away while I lay there looking at the sky, feeling the cold penetrating through to my backside and the back of my neck.
One time I looked toward the hill, expecting to see Handsome either hurtling down the slope toward me or waiting in line for his turn to do so. I thought I would at least see the back of him as he climbed back up, orange plastic sled trailing along behind him, but I didn’t see him anywhere.
I sat up, looking about, and quickly spotted a flash of orange off to my left. I saw his sled nestled upside-down in the snow, but I didn’t see…
A gloved hand came up on the far side of the sled, rising up from the very ground, cupped palm filled with loose snow. As I watched the wrist flicked, flipping the snow over to land on the turtle’s back of the upturned sled. Curious, I walked over.
Handsome had wormed himself into a body-shaped impression in the snow and pulled his sled over on top of him. He had one hand thrust out into the sunlight and was slowly trying to cover the sled with whatever snow he could reach. I watched for a moment as my son tried to bury himself in the snow like it was a summer day at the beach, then shook my head, incredulous.
“Are you serious?”
The hand stopped moving, and from beneath the plastic shell his voice sounded strangely hollow.
“Uh, yes?”
“You can’t do that.”
“I can’t?”
I shook my head.
“No. No way. We don’t have time for you to do all that blind, with just one hand. Why didn’t you ask for help?”
I knelt in the snow beside him and started scooping loose snow over him with both hands.
Snowballs, crusty chunks, loose snow, I piled it all on and around him. Soon handsome had been reduced to nothing but a low mound in the snow, the tips of both boots protruding slightly, dark against the blinding landscape.
“Hang on, I’ll be right back,” I said.
“Okay,” came the voice from the mound.
The looks on people’s faces as I walked away from my buried son and climbed into the Jeep was priceless. How were they to know I was just getting in to get my phone so I could make some kind of pictorial record of our new game? How were they to know I’m a Horror writer?

I love playing “Shallow Winter Grave”!

Talk to you later!

P.S. -For those of you currently wearing a concerned expression: 

The boy was fine. I'm not a complete idiot. He wasn't under so much snow that he couldn't get out, and what with the sled being on top of him I could leave him a window to see out of. Or even wave for help if he needed it.

...and I did love taking this creepy close-up of his staring eye.

Talk to you later!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

It's All About How You Handle Pressure...

So, here’s the story:

There I was in Colorado, just a ways south of Denver, the former home of Mile High Stadium. That becomes important later on, I think. Even now I’m not sure.

I was on a visit with my friend SB, and we were out and about doing a few errands. She had stopped at an office she had to run into for a moment, and I opted, as Handsome so often does, to wait in the van while she went in. She exited the van and hot-footed it across the parking lot and into the building. I sat there for a moment just contemplating my hands.

Now, the hands of anyone with a physical job can take a beating, but the thing about the postal service jobs is that you have to handle a whole lot of paper. The thing about paper is that it’s dry. And the thing about your hands is, if you go around handling something that’s pretty dry all the time, your skin gets dry. It’s called “dessication”, but that word always brings to my mind movies about the Mummy. In those flicks they always refer to the Mummy as “a dry, dessicated corpse” — at least until he gets up and starts walking around chasing after women like a hormone-riddled college boy on his first Spring Break, the only real difference being that the Mummy moves like an octogenarian who just had a really bad enema—

But I digress.

My hands were dry. SB was in the building and I was in the van. I pulled out a bottle of lotion I’d brought from home - peppermint scented, I use it a lot - that has a kind of pop-top. You press the part of the lid that says “press”, and it pops in, popping the other side out, opening the bottle and allowing you to squeeze a controlled amount onto your palm.

Unless, of course, you take that bottle, seal it up at sea level, then take it oh, say, a little more than a mile into the sky. But I didn’t think of that.

Not yet.

So I tapped the contents into the top of the bottle in a move that will remind anyone who knows a smoker of someone ‘packing’ the cigarettes before opening the pack. I aimed the bottle at my left palm, and pressed where it says ‘press’.


The lid snapped open as the contents, unbeknown to me, were apparently taking advantage of the change in pressure to expand and force its way out of the bottle all in one go. The whole contents. In one go.

Lotion flowed out into my cupped palm, actually streaming over and across my hand, nearly missing when it finally arced downward.

“Oh! Oh! Holy @%$!!” I yelled, suddenly an R-rated Arnold Horshack (kids, ask your parents, they’ll tell you) as I looked for some way out of the van before the mess overflowed my hand. I looked at the door handle, well recessed into the door and impervious to any kind of elbowing I could manage. I looked at the window button. No love there, the van was off so all the power windows would do was sneer at me.

I looked back at my hand. Half the bottle had made a break for it by then, and the other half was crowded at the opening, still pushing and shoving to get out like they were at a Great White concert (Kids? Parents). A tiny ocean of lotion was quickly outgrowing the confines of my hand and I needed to get out of there before I wound up having to shampoo SB’s seat thanks to my own little ‘Mr. Science’ experiment on changing pressures due to altitude!

Thinking quickly (well, I thought at the time it was quickly) I shoved the bottle at my mouth and held it with my teeth as I yanked the handle and shouldered the door open. I staggered out into the parking lot and whipped my hand toward the ground, sending a very full handful of lotion to spatter the tarmac like a bombing run from a well-fed seagull.

Only after the fact did it occur to me that, had there been an observer in that parking lot with me, say someone in another car somewhere, all they would have seen was the van start rocking, maybe heard me shouting, then seen me explode out of the vehicle to throw a fistful of goo on the ground by the rear bumper. (Kids… uh… never mind.)

But I digress.

At dinner that evening with our friends DH (female), DP(Male), and LC(female), I decided to share that little story. I even brought the little bottle with me. DP and LC were laughing, as was SB. DH, however, leaned forward to pick up the bottle and take a closer look at it. She then leaned over toward LC and held the bottle up before them.

“One,” she said, popping the bottle open with the press of a thumb.

“Two,” she said, sliding the thumb forward to pop the bottle closed.

“Open.” She thumbed it open.

“Closed.” She thumbed it closed. Then held it out toward me so I could get a very good look at what she was doing.

“One.” She popped it open.

“Two.” She popped it closed.

“One,” she began again.

“But,” I interrupted, “if I’d just done that there wouldn’t have been a story!”

“Two!” she finished, then stared at me.

“Uh,” I said, “…I panicked?”

Did you ever just feel stupid? I did.

Talk to you later!

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Wasteland

A lonely wind blows through the concourse, rustling our hero's shirt as he stumbles along. He stares about with wide eyes, looking for someone, anyone, but finding no one. He passes banks of seating, all empty. He walks up to counter after counter, sometimes walking right by, sometimes coming close enough to lay a hand upon the polished surface before finding the 'manned station' to be unmanned. The fluorescents are bright and unrelenting, without even a hum or flicker to relieve the monotony. The floor is spotless, the carpet clean, empty seat after empty seat smooth and new-looking. Terrible muzak pumps out of the overhead speakers, just loud enough to be hard to ignore, on the very edge of familiarity as if they've taken a popular song and twisted it, adding in horn sections that should not be there, string solos that should not be anywhere, until the once familiar is now almost unrecognizable, until listeners spend their time piecing it together bit-by-bit, finally coming just to the edge of recognizing the tune – and then having some bizarre auto-drum track suddenly come to fore in the 'song', smashing the listener's concentration and they lose the thread, again and again, each near-miss acting as a mental ram, forcing them deeper and deeper into a pit of despair and madness.

Is this the opening scene of some post-apocalyptic movie? Did our hero wake from a coma to find the world had changed while he slept, the entire populace replaced with hordes of ravening undead all waiting to fall upon him as the last bit of warm moving food they'll ever see? Is he some time traveler, lost in a future he was trying to avoid, nuclear disaster having forced the human race to move underground and devolve into pale, large-eyed cannibals? Is our hero, in a word, screwed?

Nope. It's Logan International Airport at quarter of six on a Sunday morning as I start my trip back to Colorado for the week. I checked in, got my boarding pass and made my way through Security, all without seeing a single other passenger. Since I walked away from the (strangely cheerful and helpful) people at the Security checkpoint I haven't seen a single soul. I've walked past four gates on the way to a fifth without seeing anyone, and it's starting to freak me out. I have been though this airport many times: sometimes it's been uncrowded, empty seats here and there, but it's never, ever been completely empty before. If I've ever wondered what surreality felt like, now I know.

This is it.

The terrible Muzak on the outside is competing with the Twilight Zone theme I'm hearing from inside my head, and I'm starting to wonder if I've accidentally wandered into the waiting room known as Purgatory … or maybe Hell. This Muzak is truly, truly bad, and what with the strange and total isolation …

I have to take a seat, I have to catch my breath. I try, but I can't. I can't catch my breath and my heart is racing like a car engine being revved up out of control … oh, crap, I think I'm having panic attack …

Oh, wait. A door just banged open off to my right, a custodian thrusting his cart out into the corridor. Back the way I've come I see two Security officers coming this way, and … wait … yes, in the distance beyond them is a passenger, another passenger, walking this way towing a wheeled carry-on like a small dog being forced to go for a walk.


I sigh. All is right with the world once more.

I think I'll take a nap.

Talk to you later!

P.S. - Seriously, it was the easiest time I've ever had, probably will ever have getting through the airport, the security... but I was so freaked out by the sheer emptiness of the place I called my mom just to make sure I wasn't dreaming.

P.P.S. - Roll Poll Results!
Did you vote? I did. 
And the winner is...*drumroll* ...

Over, with a solid 100% of the vote!

So apparently the friends I was arguing this point with can go $#!% in their hat! They should have voted!
Thank you to everyone who voted in the Roll Poll! I'm sure I'll have other stupid questions for you to help me with in the future. 

P.P.P.S : And for those of you who've actually read this far, here's a little bonus, just for you! It's a silent movie parody of the "battle" between The Hulk and Loki from the movie "The Avengers". I think it's pretty clever, and, honestly, I can't see that scene from the movie without laughing -- so here you go!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Off the Cuff, or Utter Crap?

I spent a good part of this week (lunches, anyway) writing a lengthy post about some pretty stupid crap happening at work recently. I finished it this afternoon, went back to read it over, and said to myself Holy #%$#, this is utter crap!
Was I really going to give you six pages of me bitching? Really? Wow, what did you ever do to me?
Soooo... I scrapped that week's worth of work, and started from scratch a little while ago. 

You see? I love you all that much.

So instead of my well-crafted bitching you're getting two off-the-cuff Funny Handsome Moments and one stupid question to answer.  Please take part in the poll... everything I've read about having a good Blog says that audience participation is key.

So participate, dammit!

Okay... here we go...

~ ~ * * ~ ~

Funny Handsome Moments:
  • Sitting down to put on his shoes, he placed his sneakers on the table next to him. He spoke to me for about 30 seconds, then began to look about the room, a blank expression on his face. When I asked what he was looking for his blue eyes widened still further, and he proceeded to point wordlessly at his sock-clad feet. Not only had he lost the sneakers he'd put down right next to himself, he'd gone blank for the moment on what they were called.
  • I was making dinner, Handsome was helping. He added the milk and butter to the potato flakes and stirred them up, adding more flakes as needed until the mixture was judged to be the right consistency. While he was stirring, the corn came out of the microwave and was put in a bowl on the counter, and he had to step aside for a moment as I took the pork chops from the oven, resting the broiler on the stove top next to him.
    The potatoes being done, Handsome stuck the mixing fork in the pot and stepped around me as I was pulling plates from the cabinet, and went into his room. The door closed, and I heard the sounds of his PlayStation game commencing. I strode over, opened the door and planted myself right in front of his television.
    "You just made the potatoes, right?" I said, leaning down to make eye contact.
    "Right," he said.
    "And you were standing right there when I took out the pork chops and pulled the corn out of the microwave, right?"
    "And you saw me getting out the plates we're going to eat off of, right?"
    "Yeah. Right."
    "And after all that, are you telling me I actually have to come in here and tell you dinner's ready?"
    He stared at me for a moment, in wide-eyed thought, then offered a weak smile and, apparently, the correct answer.


    ~ ~ * * ~ ~

    And now for my stupid question: Are you an over or an under?

    What am I talking about? 

    Toilet paper.

    When you load up the roll, how do you load it? Over or under? I've actually had arguments with people about this, so I just thought I'd ask. 

    You out there! Yes, you! The WYMOP reader! Are you an over or an under?

    Please, help me answer this burning question by tossing a vote into the poll to the right. My 'Roll Poll', if you will. And if you think this is a stupid question, I'd just like to remind you of a certain saying we've all heard again and again:

    There are no stupid questions, only stupid people.

    That's it for this week. Do your thing, enjoy your life, and watch your ass while you're making other plans!

    Talk to you later!