Friday, March 7, 2014
It's an iconic scene from the modern classic Jurassic Park when the kids are being tracked by velociraptors into the kitchen.
Now what if they were hiding from cats?
See you next time!
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
I Did Not Eat Your Bagel
One day Little Nene's mommy called little Nene in a huff, "Little Nene where's my bagel? Did you eat my stuff?"
Little Nene stood up calmly, with Frankie doggy at her side, she cleared her throat and spoke looking mommy in the eye.
"Oh mommy," Little Nene said, "I've eaten many things, but I did not eat your bagel, to do so would be mean."
"I've made myself some cereal, some eggs and even toast. But I did not eat your bagel, that would hurt your feelings most."
"I've had bacon, I've had hash browns, I've had all of that it's true. But I did not eat your bagel, that bagel was for you."
"I'll eat chicken, I'll eat turkey, mashed potatoes or steamed rice. But I did not eat your bagel, that just would not be nice."
"Chips and salsa, guacamole, tacos and burritos too; but I did not eat your bagel. That's a thing I'd never do."
"I might if it were cookies, cake, or a slice of apple pie, but I did not eat your bagel and that is not a lie."
"So mommy please believe me, I'm a good little kid, I did not eat your bagel, but I can say who did."
Mommy and Little Nene saw Frankie doggie by his bowl, and in it was the bagel! Frankie doggy ate it whole!
Monday, March 3, 2014
After last taking extra time with "Time Travel Sucks..." I knew I didn't have a full week to produce the next story. I wanted to keep to my schedule, though, and decided to try something so I wouldn't fall behind. This story was written a bit like a stream of consciousness. I gave myself a topic and then just wrote it out as it came to me. There wasn't a re-write pass, only a typo pass. This is effectively how the story came out of my head.
The topic was: What if a wife was ready on time?
Ready On time
It was 6:48pm Friday night and he was nervous. Rubbing his hand against his freshly shaved face he paced the living room downstairs. He was ready: black slacks, a maroon dress shirt and a stylish charcoal sport coat. No tie, tonight was a no tie night, besides the shoes made up for any lack of tie, they tied the whole outfit together. But he made a mistake, he had been too honest. He had reservations for 7:30pm and the restaurant is just about thirty minutes away, it was 6:49pm and he was waiting for his wife. They had ten minutes before they needed to leave to be on time – only ten minutes – and he had told her the real time they needed to leave. His face contorted as he mentally chastised himself about the error. He should have told her that they needed to leave by 6:30, or better yet 6, but he didn’t he said they had a 7:30 reservation. There was no way that they were going to make it. It was 6:50pm.
He sat in the chair next to him and pulled out his phone to call the restaurant and warn them that they might be late, but then he hesitated. It was only 6:51, she had nine minutes. He decided that he wouldn’t call until it hit the “zero hour.” He stood back up and paced. He didn’t want to turn on the TV, then it would sound like he was getting comfortable and she may take more time. He grabbed an US Weekly magazine off of the coffee table and rifled through it, but nothing caught his interest. He looked at the time on his phone again, 6:52pm. He could hear the action happening in the bathroom at the top of the stairs in the master bedroom; the clinking of make-up brushes and hair implements. The sounds of sprays and the clink of plastic make-up cases indicated that she wasn’t close to being ready. It was 6:53.
“Almost ready, sweet heart!” Her angelic voice lilted down the stairs dancing a choreographed dance of lies that he was all too familiar with.
“OK.” He hid his frustration. This happened every time they went out. He’d want to leave by a certain time, but, invariably, they were always at least fifteen minutes behind that time. He had forgotten what it was like to be on time. It was 6:54. He sat back down and rested his face in his hands, rubbing lightly to ease the tension. This was going to be a fantastic dinner! He had been looking forward to it all month. The chef, Patrice L’Orange, was known for his work with both beef and vegetables and finding a way to turn them into a medley of delight that would explode in your mouth. It was described by Foodie Magazine as, “…simply the most exquisite food experience that we, in this office, have ever had. No course was wasted and every opportunity to make you feel like this was the most important eating event that you would ever experience in your life was met. Even the water on the table brought with it its own flavorful joy. It’s not so much that you “eat” when you dine from Chef L’Orange’s menu, but actually die and briefly go to food heaven before the angles of fine taste and texture wrap you up in their feathered arms and return you to Earth allowing you to keep the memories of a feast that you can never forget and will probably always yearn for.” He really didn’t want to be late. This was a near impossible reservation to get and there was no way that they would hold the table. It was 6:55.
“OK, I’m ready.” His wife appeared next to him downstairs, he didn’t even hear her come down. His head perked up when he heard her voice, shocked to see her; looking hard like she was a phantom trying to deceive him. It was 6:56. She was stunning! Her brunette locks cascaded over her shoulders and down her back with a soft curl. Her eyes were brown and bright with just a hint of mischief. She wore a black cocktail dress that hugged her shape in a flattering way, but not so much that she looked uncomfortable. She was beautiful and it was worth the wait. Then she slapped him on the arm with her black sequined clutch, “Let’s go! I don’t want to be late!” She started toward the door and threw on a long sleeved black shrug that had a fuax feather boa collar. He bolted up and opened the door for her. He was amazed, happily so, that she was ready, not just on time but early! This never happened! Now they had enough time to get to the restaurant without any stress whatsoever. All of his anxiety melted away as he walked her to their Lincoln Towncar and opened the passenger door for her. He sat in the driver’s seat, gave one more satisfied look at the clock, 6:57, and smiled as he pulled out of the driveway.
The drive out of the suburbs and into the city was easy and predictable, as are so many things in the suburbs. They were able to get on and off the freeway with no trouble at all. Even though the freeway part of the trip was three times as far, the drive on the surface streets took just about as much time, but he was happy because they were still on track. It was 7:15pm. They pulled up at a red light, next to another black Towncar. He always noticed Towncars now that he owned one. They seemed to be everywhere. Most were owned by limousine services, so it was neat for him when he noticed one that wasn’t, like the one next to them. They were both stopped at the crosswalk, with the other Towncar in the left lane. Suddenly, on the red, the other Towncar made a left turn, squealing its wheels as it went. The husband and wife looked at each other; that was strange. It was 7:16. As they waited for the light to turn green they heard the buzz of a motorcycle, a street bike with its high pitched revving like a rattle snake that wants to strike but is caged. The sound crept through the traffic and then suddenly opened up as it approached behind them. The motorcycle, black and shiny like a beetle’s carapace, shot out into the middle of the intersection and spun in place as it did a wheelie landing so that it was facing the husband and wife’s car – right in the middle of the intersection! Did no one in this city worry about cross traffic?! The husband and wife were befuddled by the display of recklessness until they realized that the rider, dressed in all black, tight and armored motorcycle gear and in a fully enclosed helmet, was pointing at their car. The husband exchanged a look with his wife and then, awkwardly, made a frowny-face and pointed to himself as he shook his head no. The rider nodded slowly, “yes.” It was 7:17.
The light turned green and he looked at his wife with shock on his face. “Drive!” she yelled and he did. He pressed down on the gas and drove right at the rider, who wasn’t moving. The rider reached into his belt, and flicked his arm at the car. The husband swerved to avoid hitting the rider and his motorcycle and heard a thud on the front of the car. For a split second he was worried that he had hit the rider, but then he saw that there was a ninja star stuck to his windshield wiper. A. Ninja. Star. He pushed harder on the gas and raced down the city street, the lights were synchronized on this stretch so they had some room to maneuver. Behind them they heard the buzz of motorcycles, like a hive of angry bees chasing them. The wife turned to look behind them and immediately regretted her decision.
“Are there more of them,” the husband asked?
“Drive, just drive and don’t look back.”
They caught up to traffic and had to slow down a bit. The husband tried to maneuver around the cars just to get some space, but it didn’t help. It was 7:18. Traffic was moving, but not quickly and the buzz of the motorcycles surrounded them as the riders, all in similar black outfits, flew past them and surrounded the Towncar. Other cars on the road slowed down and got out of the way leaving the panicked couple to fend for themselves. The wife gripped onto her husband’s arm and her face was a mask of fear. His face was that of panic and concentration. The car weaved between the obstacles on the road, mostly other cars, and he was moving fast enough that he didn’t even try to stop for the red light that he was headed toward! The Towncar blasted through the intersection, surrounded by the swarm of motorcycles. Horns honked and cars coming from the cross traffic slammed on their brakes attempting to avoid accidents. Fortunately for the couple, a truck that couldn’t stop in time slammed into a few of the riders in black, t-boning two of them and then becoming an unmovable wall for several more. It left a gap on the left side that the husband took advantage of. He peeled hard to the left and turned down the side street. A score of the riders in black buzzed past, while others, seeing the car change direction, made the turn.
“What should I do?” The husband asked.
“I don’t know, ram them?!” The wife gripped the dash board and was frantically looking to the sides. “Where’s a cop when you need them?” As if to answer her question a squad car passed the opposite direction and flipped a u-turn activating its lights and sirens in the process. The couple breathed a small sigh of relief and the riders began to back off and sweep down side streets. It was 7:19.
“Please pull over.” The officer requested from the loud speaker. The husband did and both he and his wife started giggling nervous laughter as their panic started to lift. The officer got out of the car and approached the driver’s side with his flashlight out and his hand on his weapon. The husband lowered his window.
“Thank God you showed up,” the husband said as he pulled up his license and registration, “we weren’t sure how we were going to get out of that!”
“What was going on? Who were those bikers?” The officer looked concerned and kept his eyes peeled on the street around them. It was a smaller side street with very little traffic.
“We don’t know,” the wife replied, “they just started chasing us.”
“Well, let’s get you out of here. Where are you headed?” The officer gave back the license and registration without even calling it in.
“We have reservations,” the husband sounded exacerbated, “we’re just supposed to be getting dinner.”
“OK, well let’s get you…” before the officer could finish his sentence his eyes went wide and he fell against the car. “Dr… driv… drive!” he forced out as his wind left him. The officer fell to the ground and the husband saw a ninja star in his back. He screamed and pulled away as quickly as he could. As they drove they saw the officer pulling his gun while on the ground and firing in all directions before a wave of black motorcycles came pouring out of the alleyways. The wife screamed and the husband turned with no real idea of where he was going. It was 7:22.
The riders seemed to be holding back, why the couple wasn’t sure. Every time he turned they would follow and then cut him off, forcing him to go a different way. He would find his way back to a main street only to be turned back by a hail of throwing stars and motorcycle blockades. It was 7:23. The windshield was cracked and his wife was close to tears. The husband turned down an alley, the only path not blocked off and suddenly found himself face to face with another Lincoln Towncar, also all black but with dark tinted windows. The husband slammed on the brakes, stopping just inches from the bumper of the other car. All of the riders stopped and collected at the entry to the alley. Anxiety filled the alley. The couple nervously watched both ends of the alley, darting back and forth between the riders and the mysterious car. Then the driver’s side door opened on the other Towncar. A man stepped out, tall with black short styled hair. He wore a black suit, crisp white shirt and a scarlet tie. This eyes were dark and brooding and he had the chiseled features of an international super-spy. There was an exotic sub-machine gun slung over his shoulder. He didn’t look into the car at all, his eyes focused squarely on the riders at the end of the alley. He walked up to the husband’s side of the car and tapped on the glass. It was 7:24.
The husband lowered the window carefully about half way. The man spoke softly, but firmly in a voice that had no accent, but at the same time could have been any accent. It was a voice of authority and it issued commands, “You’ve gotten yourself in a bit of trouble by getting me out of some. For that I thank you. Now it is time for me to finish this and you need to leave. Do as I say and you’ll make it out.” The man tossed a stack of cash onto the husband’s lap. “This should cover the damage done to your car, plus a little extra for your trouble. When I’m done talking you need to drive in reverse as quickly as you can and then drive away. You will not be followed; the riders are looking for me. Nod if you understand.” The couple both nodded, jaws dropped. “Then go.” The man stepped away from the car and brought his weapon into a firing position. The couple looked at each other and then the husband put the car in reverse and backed out as quickly as possible out of the alley! The riders moved if they could, but the husband clipped a couple on his way out. But they were not followed. Instead they heard the roar of motorcycle engines and the barking of submachine gun fire. They pulled out of the side street and ended up on a main road, only a few blocks away from the restaurant. It was 7:25.
They pulled up to the valet, the car a little worse for wear with a few ninja stars hanging off of the door, the windshield wiper and the trunk. The fenders were battered, but at least still attached to the car and there was road dust on everything. The valet approached cautiously and opened the driver’s side door. The husband got out, still a bit shell shocked, and placed the stack of cash in this jacket pocket. He moved over to the passenger side and helped his wife out of the car. She was still stunned as well. They entered the restaurant and approached the hostess podium. It was 7:29.
“Stevens, party of two.” The words came out of his mouth, but later he would not remember saying them.
The hostess smiled, “You’re right on time; let me show you to your seat.” The hostess led them to a nice cozy booth by the window. They were seated and handed menus. The couple looked at each other suddenly realizing that they made it. They smiled at each other and then started laughing uncontrollably, like crazy people. The hushed mutterings and glares from nearby tables helped to silence them, but they could not believe what had happened that evening. They ordered ridiculously expensive wine and decadent appetizers; they had lived so they were going to live it up! As they sipped their wine they saw a black Lincoln Towncar pull up outside the restaurant window. The passenger side window rolled down and the man with the dark hair and suit nodded to them before driving away. It was 7:47.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Pomplamoose is a song writing duo who made their bones on YouTube doing video songs where they record themselves playing and singing and then use that footage to edit together music videos. It's a neat concept that has been copied quite a bit. Now they are starting to do some really neat work with projection and that's where today's video comes in! Here is their cover/mash-up of Pharrell's "Happy" combined with Daft Punk's "Get Lucky":
You can she more of their stuff at their CHANNEL.
See you next time!
Friday, February 21, 2014
52 in 52 Story 7 "Time Travel Sucks and Other Stories from the Society for the Betterment of Humanity"
This week has been particularly trying as I've tried to get this story ready and up. As I've been going through the 52 in 52 process a lot of my old story ideas have started racing to the front of my mind hoping that they might get a second chance at being written. This is one of those stories.
EDIT: I took out the Proto-Story. It seems to have gotten in the way of people reading the version that I wanted them to read.
Time Travel Sucks and Other Stories from the Society for the Betterment of Humanity
There is a bright flash of light. It is the kind of flash that you can see through your eyelids no matter how tight they are shut. And through your hands and sunglasses and lead plates that are 3 inches thick. I know because I’ve tried just about everything excep
"Alright, people, you know the drill. Start looking around in here and tell me if we hit our target. Provided we are in the right time and time-line we can get started. The sooner we start the sooner we go home. And Vargus clean up the newbies puke."See, he's a prick.
Technically we are each supposed to have a job. Capt. Bell is the prick that tells us what to do and decides whether or not we've accomplished what we were supposed to while we're here. Dr. Aaron is the historian and medic. She's the one who tells us how to act while we are whenever we are, is given the "original" history that needs to be changed, and patches us up if we need it. Her and people like her are called "Brains" by me and people like me. Stinky, as I mentioned before, is the engineer. They get us back from whenever we are. I like those guys and Stinky is the best. The only problem is that the man farts every time we travel, as you may have noticed. It's sick. As if traveling isn't hard enough then you have to deal with the dueling scents of rookie puke and Stinky's farts. But there’s a reason why he’s the most requested engineer at the Society and it’s because he’s got the longest perfect record for getting teams home. That’s a big deal. You can put up with some pretty bad smells when they come out of a man that can bend time and space as well as he can. He’s also one of my only friends. Having this job does a number on your personal life. I had to take off my backpack to clean up the rookie's puke. Thankfully he paid attention to protocol and didn't eat anything before we traveled. It's mostly just a wet spot on the floor. A smelly wet spot, but all that takes is a little of my special saw dust made just for us time travelers: time dust. I have no idea what makes it special, but we aren't allowed to take it from the building or use it in our own time line. See, I'm a grunt. I get all the bullshit jobs that none of the important three want to do. I'm here to clean spills, get food, and do whatever to make the job easier for Capt. Bell, Dr. Aaron and Stinky. That's what the kid is here to do too; he’s training. He looks really young to me, maybe twenty-three. I guess they had to start recruiting younger. At least it looks like the green is fading from around his gills.
"You OK kid?" It's his first trip so I feel like I should be nice. Besides he and I are in the same boat and it won't hurt to have an extra hand in my corner when this trip goes to pot, and it will go to pot.
"Yeah, thanks." Then he spits some left over puke out of his mouth managing to miss the time dust that I’ve already spread on the floor. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a stick of special "time gum" for him.
"Here, this will get the taste out of your mouth." I said it with all the sincerity I could muster seeing as how I now needed to use more time dust to cover his spit.
I guess it’s important to know that the entire team gets outfitted with special stuff for each trip. First, and most noticeably, we get period dress. I'm especially fond of this when we go to ancient Rome or ancient Egypt. Dr. Aaron looks great in that stuff. All of us have general supplies that are kept in our pockets or pouches (depending on the style of dress). Its stuff like "time gum" which biodegrades really fast after ten minutes of chewing, a small beacon so the engineer can find us if we get lost, and even some currency appropriate to our trip. Then there's the special kit that we each get. Leaders get the only weapon, usually a gun, and PDA that has mission info in it. Brains have a similar PDA but with a full "original" history and reference material. I say "original" because, when you've been doing this as long as I have, you start to realize that you end up going back quite a bit to fix mistakes from other trips. There is no "original" history anymore; we've screwed so much stuff up. Engineers have just one job, get the team home, so they get a backpack, made as time specific as possible, which has the return equipment; it looks like an old traveling salesman’s suitcase that opens up to show something that vaguely looks like an old typewriter, but where you’d expect to see the keys there are dials and switches. Where you’d put paper is a large glass cylinder that spins and fills with electrical discharge. Wires come out of everything on it and it always smells like it’s going to catch fire. It’s totally archaic, but it's my favorite piece of equipment because it gets us home. Grunts like me get a time-suitable backpack filled with all the miscellaneous stuff like the time dust, water, rations, matches - camping supplies basically - and some crazy batteries to jump the return equipment, just in case. Also, before you ask, yes we bring our own water. You know how you’re not supposed to drink the water in Mexico when you visit? Same thing when you time travel. The last thing you want is Montezuma’s Revenge when you’re three and a half centuries away from home.
The kid finally gets it together and takes off his pack. Not only is he young but he's kid of small too. About five foot five and a bit lanky. He's got a mop of dark hair and very sharp features. His cowboy stuff doesn’t fit him right either. He just looks awkward. He was probably a goth kid back in high school. We start to look around the room. I start glancing at the crates; Wills searches intently for any info that might be on them. What he doesn't know, and I do, is that Stinky will have it all figured out in a couple minutes. I take a chance to sneak a look at Dr. Aaron; most of the time she’s the best part of the trip. Back home she always looks so serious with her hair up and wearing the tan jumpsuits we all have to wear at the Society, but in costume that's a whole different deal. She's about five foot four - great height - with blonde hair down to her shoulders. Soft features and a button nose that twitches when she thinks too hard. Her eyes are green and sparkle. She looks like she belongs in a magazine. I would love to see her naked. The frontier lady get-up isn’t the most flattering thing she’s worn, but I’ll take what I can get. If only we were in ancient Rome or Egypt, or maybe she could just wear a French maid outfit. Yeah, that'd be good.Before I get caught staring Stinky gets our attention, "Got it! Looks like we hit the right spot, with an extra six hours to spare." That was good news; we have time to eat!
“Very good,” Bell sounded cocky. What a prick. “Team, let’s mobilize and see if we can put ourselves up in the local hotel.”
Dr. Aaron looked up from her tablet as if she was in a video for a swimsuit calendar, at least that’s what I saw. “If we arrived where we should have then we should be inside the warehouse at the edge of town.”
“We’re wherever the co-ordinates that were given to me point to,” Stinky started putting away the return equipment and getting it packed away. As he was closing up the case we heard the opening of and saw a beam of daylight shine in from a door that was behind a stack of crates. Everyone froze, as is protocol, and the Captain put his hand on the six-shooter he was equipped with for the mission.
“Whoever you are, I heard ya’! You better come out or I’ll fill every square inch of this building with bird shot!” It was an angry native! Those are the worst kind. “Come on out, now. I’m serious!” And he sounds old and nervous, a bad combination in an already bad scenario. Somebody needed to fix this.
Dr. Aaron made the first move, “Hello? I’m afraid that we were just looking for some shelter.” A woman’s voice did have a way of diffusing these situations. “I’m coming out from behind the boxes now with my husband. Please don’t shoot us.” As she spoke she gave us the hand signal to hide. Wills, Stinky and I did just that as quietly as possible making sure that we were in place by the time she and Bell were visible. She introduced the two of them to the native and gave the approved cover story about being new in town from back east and received the anticipated hospitality. Soon the three of them were all chuckles and apologies and they left with him, hopefully to accomplish the assignment.
This is always the boring part of the work. Eventually the Brain and the Captain will go off and get the job done. Sometimes they take a grunt with them, but I prefer it when they don’t. When things go wrong, as they sometimes do, the grunt is the one who won’t make it back. They don’t pay me enough for that. While they were off doing what it is they do, the three of us stayed back to sweep the area for temporal bogeys and then prepped for the eventual departure. As grunts and engineer, we are tasked with staying in place unless forced to evacuate by extraordinary or life threatening circumstances. It sounds like the Society is concerned for our safety, but the truth is they want to mitigate the risk of time-stream errors and paradoxes. They don’t want our corpses stinking up the timeline and they go to extreme measures to make sure it doesn’t happen. Since our fearless leader and the Brain were now out of our presence the countdown started, for this mission it is four hours past action point. That may sound a little confusing. If the team is ever separated, and we almost always are, then there is a predetermined time when everyone is due to rendezvous at the original arrival point. That time is determined in relation to the “action point” which is the thing in history that we are attempting to alter. So in this case we arrived about six hours prior to the action point and then we will wait a maximum of four hours after that point before Stinky, Wills and I crank up the machine and go back to our native time and space. Typically we are out pretty quickly after the action point, but as I’ve mentioned Capt. Bell is a prick and he likes to show off, especially if the assigned Brain is as attractive as Dr. Aaron. If I could I’d bring a book to read to pass the time, but I can’t because it might get left behind causing a paradox. Playing cards, you may ask, can you bring playing cards to pass the time? Nope, same problem. Playing cards from the present (future?) are significantly different from the past so they could cause a paradox. Music? Nope, paradox. Smart phone? Nope, paradox. Hell the PDA’s that the mission Captains and Brains use were just recently certified and had to be outfitted with a self-destruct device just in case they are lost or left behind. We don’t even get to pack our stuff, everything is packed for you at the Society and then you get thoroughly searched before departure. So what do we do to pass the time? Every grunt has their ways, most break protocol and purchase something from the current time period to occupy thier time, but I personally like to play a little game I came up with called Ration Bar Poker. One of the few things that we all bring with us are the ration bars. They are each printed with a serial number on the packaging so that the Society can keep track of where each bar is assigned. These serial numbers are a combination of numbers and letters ten characters long, so you play it a bit like ten-card stud. You break up the bar itself into five pieces and that becomes your betting money for the game. Depending on the expected duration we could each be carrying up to ten of fifteen of these bars and that can pass a good amount of time. The packaging is also one of the few things that we carry with us that doesn’t instantly biodegrade. The kid and I have to make sure that all of the trash is picked up before we go. We tucked ourselves into a back corner of the warehouse where we were out of direct sight of the door and got ready to wait.
“So this is what we do? We just wait here?” The kid, Wills, had been so quiet until now that I was surprised at the sound of his voice. He stood awkwardly by his pack, his right hand gripping his left arm and kneading it.
“Pretty much,” I told him. “Pull up a crate, I’ll show you how we play poker out here.” I pulled a bar from my pack and waved it with a big smile. I was feeling a little extra peckish and was looking forward to eating my winnings.
Sticky snorted, “No way, Jack.” Then he looked at the kid, “Don’t fall for it. Before you know it he’ll have all your food and he’s terrible at sharing.” Stinky laughed, the kid gave a small smile. I punched Stinky on the arm.
“Great! Now what do we do? We have a whole day to kill.” I leaned back on my pack on the ground and tore open the bar in my hand and started gnawing on it. Stinky just shrugged and lay out on the ground to take a nap.
The kid walked up to me, “I guess you could show me how to do stuff? This is my first mission.” He had a point. I was supposed to train him and I guess now was as good a time as any. It was certainly better than just sitting around for the next nine hours. I told him to grab his pack and I took him through his job as a grunt.
After fifteen minutes there was nothing else that I could tell the kid about being a grunt.
“So, we’re, like, the team bitches?” Wills asked with a completely reasonable level of offence.
“Well, yeah, I prefer the term “gofer” or “support,” but, yes, essentially we are the team bitches. The most I’ve had to do in my last 4 missions is put down some of this time dust on puddles of puke.” You could see the disappointment come across his face. I suddenly felt really bad for him. What did they tell him to get him to sign up? Wills turned around and walked away. I gave him his space and went and had some water and ate again. We were still over eight hours away from departure, but I didn’t want to eat too much later otherwise I might puke on the return trip and so far I have a pretty good record of not puking. I plopped myself on the ground and ate while Wills sat and faced the wall of the warehouse.
The hours passed slowly. The sun started to set and we heard the piano in the saloon off in the distance. I always wondered what real cowboy whiskey tasted like. It’s a shame I couldn’t run over really quick and have a drink – but, you know, paradox. Besides we were close to the action point and it may be in that very saloon where something happens that may mean the future for humanity or the destruction of it, it’s so hard to tell. Then the door opened and closed, we followed protocol and froze.
“Let’s go!” It was the prick. Capt. Bell rounded the boxes looking for us with Dr. Aaron behind him.
Stinky woke up with a start, “All set, Captain?”
“Yes, this mission was a success. Let’s get back.” He had a shit eating grin on his face and looked back at Dr. Aaron who shook her head.
“Yes, I need to get the smell of cow pies out of my hair.” She moved next to the rest of us as Stinky opened up the case for the return equipment and started working the dials.
I started cleaning up my area and doing an idiot check for any last minute time bogeys that I’d need to cover up or collect. I called to the kid who was still over by the wall, “C’mon Wills, let’s go home.” He picked up his pack and moved slowly over by Capt. Bell. Stinky was hunched over the equipment. Sweat was building on his balding head and he kept wiping his mustache. Working with the equipment is always a delicate operation.
Then we heard a mumble out of Wills. I looked up at him and he was standing there with his head low and holding his left arm again with his right hand kind of twisting on his center of gravity.
“What was that Wills?” Capt. Bell asked.
“I don’t want to go.” Wills looked like a sad child. I was embarrassed for him.
Captain Bell smirked and put his arm around Wills, “This is your first trip, right? I know, it’s a really amazing thing that we’re doing here, we are traveling through time, but it also means that we have to be very cautious and so we can’t stay.” Bell was being as friendly as a prick can be, but it wasn’t enough. Wills made a face that was a twist of anger and the start of tears and then grabbed the six-shooter off of Bell’s belt! He shot Bell and then turned the gun on Stinky! I called out and that distracted him enough, but the gun went off and hit the return equipment. Dr. Aaron screamed out and Stinky started swearing. The kid turned the gun on Stinky again, but I was able to reach him before he could get another shot off. I had the gun in my hands and we were wrestling as I heard the equipment squeal in ways I had never heard it sound before and Stinky swearing up a storm. I started feeling the warmth that comes with the trip and my vision started to white out – at least we were still going home. The brightness came and then we were elsewhen.
I came too and I was on a dusty plain. No smells this time, except for the dust in the air. I looked to my left and I saw the device, sputtering and whirling down. I saw half of the body of Capt. Bell, the lower half. Stinky and Dr. Aaron were nowhere in sight, but Wills was here, he came too quicker than I did. He was standing away from me and still had the gun. He was looking out over the plain and I could hear him crying. Then the panic set in.
“What the hell did you do?!” I screamed at him as I ran. I wanted to tackle him and shake him! I wanted to know what the hell he was thinking! I wanted to know what they told him to get him to sign up. Before I could reach him he turned around a put the gun to his head.
“I’m sorry.” Then he pulled the trigger. The sound didn’t echo, there was nothing around for the sound to bounce off of, but it stopped me in my tracks. There’s a protocol for dead bodies in the time line. A bit of kit I don’t like to even talk about. Like I said, the Society doesn’t want our bodies stinking up the timeline and they have some very extreme measures to make sure it doesn’t happen. It’s a device, every member of the team has one but they so rarely get used. Normally if someone dies in the field we just bring the bodies back with us so they can be properly buried or whatever. In rare cases, like this one, we each have a very small device, the size of a make-up compact, which we use to dispose of bodies. We each carry one, just in case. We use them whether the body is dead or not, like a hyper functional cyanide capsule that also eliminates any evidence of the body. It’s the panic device, a last resort. I always keep mine in a separate pocket away from anything else I may use; I really don’t like to think about it. But now here I was, with one and a half bodies in a place I did not recognize alone with a piece of equipment I do not know how to use.
I went to Wills and took off his pack. I kicked the gun away and found his device in his front pocket. I set it on his chest and watched his whole body burn and vaporize away. It felt like I got punched in the gut. I felt a tear in my eye. I went and did the same for Bell’s legs. Then I gathered Wills and my packs together next to the return device. I sat down next to it and broke down. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I pulled out my own device and looked at it; so much power in the size of a compact. The wind blew at me as I sat and I tried to prepare myself for what I had to do.
Then I smelled something, something familiar – it smelled like an electrical fire! The return equipment! It wasn’t dead! I pulled it closer to me and looked at it. It was definitely run down, and you could see the damage that the bullet made, but the central cylinder was still in one piece and there was still charge flowing in it, I figured that had to be a good thing! I put my device back in its pocket and started messing with the dials and switches. I’d never been this close before, now I saw that there was a small readout displaying red numbers that I didn’t understand. As I turned wheels some of the numbers changed, when I flipped a switch and then turned the wheel some of the other numbers would change. I was just changing numbers wherever I could. I could still get home – as long as I knew where home was. I started thinking really hard about anything that Stinky had ever said, anything that could have been a clue, but he never talked about coordinates, only that he had gotten us to them. And I knew that this could be tricky, because not everyone was as good as he was. In my panic and desperation I made a decision. I took all the supplies that I could out of Wills pack and added them to mine. I grabbed the gun with its three bullets and threw it in there too. Then I sat at the machine, whirled some dials and hit the switch. The machine started revving up, the cylinder spun, and I got that warm feeling. What’s the worst that could happen, I figured, maybe I end up at home or somewhere with more people, but I had to try something. The light got bright, I felt the heat and I was gone…
Sometimes I feel like our cat Charlie does this without the fancy claws. Regardless, this is still a better movie than X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
See you next time!
Friday, February 14, 2014
For the originals you can follow these links:
Kanye West "Power"
My Little Ponies Anthology 1
See you next time!