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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cutting the Cheese

I own swords.
I one a fairly descent sized collection of them.
I'm a fencer and I have had some experience with armored combat as well.
I understand the nature of blades and how they can be used as weapons.
I also understand how dangerous they can be and how to properly handle them.

But I, like everyone else, can make mistakes.

Distractions lead to mistakes.

When I was in college Farscape turned out to be a distraction and, ultimately, caused a mistake.

I was, at the time, nearing the completion of my undergraduate experience.
I was a double-major who did theatre as an extra-curricular (also for credit) and who had to work 20 - 30 hours a week to live within the credit limits of my creditors (e.g. I was racking up debt).

My budget on time was limited and, as such, I had to pick my leisure activities carefully.

Farscape, I had determined, was not optional.
Farscape was a staple in my weekly routine.
Farscape was part of my luxurious Friday evening.

One particular Friday evening I was home alone and had been delayed in making my dinner and, as such, was preparing a snack when Farscape began on the television.
I was cutting slices of a block of cheese and watching the show from the kitchen.
I, one who knows how effective and dangerous blades can be, was not paying enough attention to what I was doing. My alignment with the cheese was poor and the blade slipped. The cheese wedge popped free from the glacial chunk of the full block and flew to the floor with a grace matching only my that of any other food item that frees itself from a serving tray to relentlessly seek the lowest potential kinetic state around. My eye glanced at the cheese that was rotating through the air as the consequences of my poor attention struck me.
When the cheeseburg was freed from the larger mass the resistance on the knife was released and the pressure I had been exerting to cut the cheese was freed into new kinetic motion.

The point of the knife was the first to enter my flesh followed by several inches of the serrated blade.
I watched as a fissure opened at the touch of the knife. A fissure at the base of my left thumb.

"FUCK" I yelled.

My next recollection is that of sitting on the couch, paper towel wrapped around my injured hand, watching The Invisible Man. This was the show that aired immediately after Farscape (to this day I have not managed to watch the episode I missed, but that is besides the point).
I have snapshots, even a couple of video snippets of memory of what happened in between.
I recall looking in the mirror in the bathroom and seeking a sterilization agent.
I remember calling my, then, girlfriend who was living ten hours away.
I recall telling her what had happened while looking into the wound and seeing white.
I recall telling her "I suddenly feel very light headed. I need to lay down. Bye." and hanging up on her (side note, I still, to this day, get chastised for this).
I recall laying on the floor in the bathroom and putting my feet up on the toilet.

What I do not recall is cleaning up the mess.
The cheese was put away.
The knife washed.
The cutting board washed.
The floor mopped.
The bathroom cleaned.
I recall none of this.

I was sitting on the couch, with The Invisible Man playing when the youngest of my roommates returned home.
I think, in retrospect, that her key sliding into the lock is what grounded my memories such that I can remember from that point forward.
She looked at me and, before even noting my blood-soaked, paper-towel-clad hand, started to ask me what was wrong. Apparently I looked paler than normal to her eyes. Before she finished the inquiry, though, she cut herself off at the sight of my impromptu bandage.

She made me show her.
She spent the remainder of The Invisible Man, chastising me for being home and not at the emergency room. She argued with me and offered to take me. She told me I was being belligerent and stubborn (those whom have read my story, "The Walk" will detect a theme here when it comes to my being when intersected with any sort of physical medical trauma) and that I really needed to seek medical attention.
She was annoying me so I made a bargain.
My bargain was that when either of the other two roommates arrived home, if they agreed with her, I would allow one of them to take me to the ER without issue, resistance, or complaint.
She understood that this was the best she would get from me so she acquiesced.
At this point I was hoping to stay up to see the reairing of that evening's Farscape.
As I mentioned above, I did not get that opportunity because, about twenty minutes later another of my roommates returned home.
This roommate, at the time, was a veterinarian student and had accumulated significant experience working as a veterinarian technician. This girl knew medicine well enough that I trusted (and, in fact, still do) her opinion more than most. She had, I knew, assisted with emergencies and with routine surgeries and knew what she was looking at with traumatized flesh.
She barely had her key in the lock when the first roommate materialized outside her bedroom to intercept the new arrival.
Barely was the door to the apartment open when she said "He's an idiot. He hurt himself and won't go to the ER. Go look." (this MIGHT be a bit of a paraphrase; if it is I am being gentler to myself than she was).

The new arrival forced me to remove my inappropriate bandage and reveal the wound which was still bleeding fairly heavily.

I will never forget what happened next.

The Voice came out.

I don't mean the reality show that premiered many years after Farscape was done. I mean the Bene Gesserit power. The Voice. My roommate looked at the wound and then at me.
She uttered "get in the car NOW."
And my body obeyed.
Not me: my body.
My body, of its own volition arose from the couch and headed to the door.
I was halfway down the stairs before I regained the ability to comprehend what was happening.

While I remember the ride to the ER as being in silence I don't think it was; in fact there is a shadow of a memory of my roommate forcing me to call my girlfriend and they discussing how stupid I was; but, that might be an incidental hallucination.

In fact, I don't even remember the ER visit much.

What I do remember is that it was my first time in the ER and it was my first time with stitches.

I HATE needles.
Having never had stitches before this was a problem.
Where I was injured was also a problem.
The wound, had it been a straight wound along an expanse of flesh that would accommodate it would probably have received 20 or even 25 stitches; but where it was made that impossible.

I received five.

A mere five stitches to close a significant wound at the base of my thumb.

Putting in the stitches was a problem.
First there was the needle to numb my hand and then, the second needle to finish numbing my hand because the first dose did not do it well enough.
I did a poor job managing the situation with those needles.

Then came the stitches.

I tried, with all my will, to let my hand relax and to remain steady for the doctor.
I failed.
He was unable to stitch my hand because it twitched and flexed too much each time I felt the pressure of the point of the needle.
My roommate had a solution for this.
She put her hands on my lower arm and restrained it.
It took all of my will and all of her weight to generate an environment in which the doctor could do his work.

I don't remember much of the ride home, either and only a vague recollection of any of the remaining aspects of the story exist.
The only true memory that is associated with this experience after the stitches going in was the stitches coming out.
I heal fast.
I heal very fast.
I healed fast enough to heal into the stitching.
Taking out the stitches was worse than having them put in.
Ultimately some of the threading had to be severed and left in.

Years later it did work its way out.

The scars from this incident still mar the base of my left thumb with a brilliant white zig-zag.
The mobility was, surprisingly, not impaired by the cut but the scar tissue has caused some tightening in the surrounding tissue.

There is a lesson to be learned here.

Always pay enough attention when you cut the cheese or you might hurt, or embarrass, yourself.

The Master Race - fiction

The world cried out in horror as the genocide commenced.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Reset - fiction

The plague appeared in several locations all at once; meaning it was almost certainly deliberately created and introduced.

Momentary Reflection - fiction


Nothing happened.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Sentence - fiction

He had been anticipating it for a long time and he finally took the plunge.

The Walk

I love dogs.I have loved all of my dogs. I love other peoples' dogs.
Dogs love me; at least, as a general rule.

My dog; however, was a jerk. He HATED other dogs.
He could not behave.
He got left behind a lot.

One particular Saturday evening my (now) fiance and I left our boy home to go visit with friends who had dogs of their own. Their beloved pitbulls were a handful, but a lovable handful. They ran and played, they demanded attention and affection, they begged for food. They were dogs and they were happy. I played with these dogs and I gave them the affection due to any dog as the fee for entering their domain as a visitor. I paid this toll willingly.

Eventually the time came that my fiance and I decided it was time to go so that we could tend to our own boy. He had been home alone long enough and he would need a walk and his share of our affection.

The ride home was uneventful.
Putting the leach on the dog was uneventful.
Departing the house was easy.
My dog was excited to go pee. He was excited to see me. He was excited for his "papa time."

That is was dark out did not faze my boy as he had lived through many years and had done many walks before sunrise and many more after sunset. The darkness was no concern for him.
The darkness was also not a concern for me.

We lived in a fairly urban area and it is a perfectly safe area; especially for an adequately large man and his 100 pound Akita. Never did we have concern for any person trying to bother us, even in the worst neighborhoods that we had traversed.

We no longer lived in a bad neighborhood.
In fact, it was one of the safest neighborhoods in the area, in one of the safest towns.
There was absolutely no reason to believe there might be a problem.

We were walking our accustomed triangular route that involved walking the perimeter of a section of land bordered by three streets.
We had walked this triangle at least 100 times without incident.

This particular night, though, was different.

We were five minutes into the walk and a horrendous yell reached us. "Oh my god!" it started, followed by "you need to get out of here!"
A bit puzzled I looked around and saw two younger women sitting on the bottom step of the second floor apartment access of the worst-looking building in the neighborhood. I did not have time to do anything more than see them before the one who was shouting stood up and continued "get out of here! my dog will try to kill you!"

I direct my dog to stop and pay heed but it was too late. Her dog had spotted us. He had been laying atop the steps, patiently sitting and waiting for his mother to let him back inside but my dog was suddenly much more fascinating.

This dog had been out many times when my boy and I walked. Each time he barked ferociously at us but each time he was contained to his yard by a chain; not a lead made of rope or steel cord, but a chain. This dog was not a friendly dog.

This dog bounded down the steps in three jumps.
The two women tried to stop him but he easily leapt over the seated one and ran past the one who was standing.
I watched, in horror, as he cleared the distance between the stairs and my dog and I. The situation caused a disruption in the flow of time for me so I cannot estimate the time it took; but dogs run fast and this dog ran very fast.
My dog, being the jerk that he is, was prepared to rebuff the attacker.
Suddenly I found myself in the midst of two large and angry dogs intent on killing each other.
The center of a dog fight is the worst place to be and there I was.
The attacking dog jumped and grabbed onto my dog's neck, sinking one fang and breaking the collar apart with the other.
I reached down and grabbed the dog, for I had no other options available to me.
The woman was yelling "choke him out! choke him out! it's the only way!" but her advice was not possible to implement.
Her dog's jaw was not a match for my adrenaline-powered hands. I pried his jaw open and pulled him off my boy.
"Tetsu! Leave it! Go! Home" I commanded. Each of the statements a command that he recognized.
He delayed a moment, hesitant to leave his papa to face this viscous enemy but he listened and obeyed.
My black dog ran into the night, down a busy road; toward home.
The attacking dog, angered by the loss of its prey, tried to follow. I did not allow it.
I was taken to my knees on the road, losing a sandal and having dirt and debris ground into my bare legs. Her dog had me down; but I was far from done.
I flipped her dog onto its side and lay upon it. It was suddenly at a loss for actions as it had never experienced a situation in which a mere human dominated it so thoroughly. It looked up and me and growled. I glared back down at it and tightened my hold. The contest of wills had begun and I was not going to lose.
Each effort the dog made to struggle was arrested by the fire that coursed through my muscles. Each attempt thwarted. Each attempt halted and countered. The dog could not move. The dog was defeated. The dog understood this and, with a look of his eyes, he relented to my dominance. I released the dog from the full hold and handed him back to his owner by his collar.
"Your dog bit me" was her reply. I think it might have been coupled with a scream during the height of the struggle but my mind was much more focused on halting her dog than it was on her.
I looked down at my my arms and legs as I rose from the ground, drawing her attention to the wounds inflicted upon my person by HER dog and her complaints vanished at the sight of me.

"Do you have him?" I asked and she replied in the affirmative.

I released the collar.

Her dog broke her miserable hold on her collar and bolted in the direction my dog had last been seen.
My hand shot out and grabbed him while dropping back to my knees a second time.
Her dog fell over at the force I imparted and he immediately surrendered to me a second time.
I handed him back to her again and said "do you have him this time?" to which she nodded.
"Are you sure?"
Her grip tightened in response and she held on with her other hand as well.
I let go a second time and she was able to contain the dog.

At this point I realized my great fortune in the situation.
As her dog slammed into my dog and I a man was rounding the corner on his motorcycle.
The man, immediately seeing what was happening stopped and reached for a radio on his shoulder.
My fortune appeared in the form of this man, an emergency medical services technician, being on his way home at exactly the right moment to witness the entire affair and call for help as I was being attacked.

"Are you ok?" he asked as I noticed him for the first time.
"At the moment, yes. Where is my dog?"

"That way" he pointed toward my home "some lady was trying to catch him"
That lady, it turned out, was my fiance, whom had heard the fervor of the alteraction from inside our home and run out to see if I was in trouble. Her youngest daughter, who lived with us, also quitted our home.
As I was discussing the situation with the good Samaritan, while we walked toward the house, my fiance ran toward me.
She beheld a terrible sight.
I was being followed by the EMS man and lighted by the headlights of the cars that had stopped for the yelling woman in the road.
I was covered in blood and grit.
I was wearing only one sandal.
The leash of our boy was still attached to my belt with the carabiner I used to ensure he could not accidentally slip my grasp. At the end of the leash his collar, broken at the clasp, dragged in the dirt behind me.

I continued toward my yard, apparently the very image of a zombie.
The EMS technician followed, attempting to get me to lay down before I collapsed.
My fiancee followed.

I'm not sure when the ambulance arrived; to my mind it appeared out of nowhere and was just THERE.
The same for the police officers who arrived on the scene; I still have no idea where their cruiser was parked.

I was now standing in my yard with multiple people telling me I needed to calm down and lay down.
To me, they were unreasonable and belligerent; to them I have no doubt that I appeared the same.

Word came from the back yard that my fiancee's daughter had found my boy and, quite suddenly, the adrenaline crashed from my system.

"I need to lay down for a moment" I advised the medical professionals; and I did.

After a moment there was a stretcher manifested next to me and I, with some assistance, made my way onto it.

They loaded me into the ambulance and closed the door.

The technician in the back of the ambulance was prepared to help me and I him. I began inventorying my injuries to him with a precision that he was not accustomed to. As we went through all of the injuries we counted.

37. 37 unique puncture wounds inflicted upon me by the teeth of the other dog.
37 puncture wounds in addition to the various lacerations; and the road rash.

Immediately upon completing the inventory I realized that the worst part of my ordeal was about to begin.

The technician apologized for what he was about to do and then picked up the brush.
If ever you are wounded and there is debris embedded in your wounds you will experience the brush. The brush is to be feared.

The technician proceeded to scrub the dirt and grit out of my wounds with the brush. The experience was excruciating. The experience was far more traumatic to my mind than the entire attack.

The attack happened fast; the brush was slow.

The next worst part of the scenario was after my arrival at the emergency room.
I was checked in and promptly wheeled to the waiting room.
I witnessed an older man in cardiac distress wheeled in and past me.
I witnessed a man whose arm was hanging at an odd angle wheeled in and past me.
I witnessed a man who appeared to be gravely ill wheeled in and past me.
Interestingly enough I did not see any women checked in to the ER that evening.

I then had the opportunity to meet my landlord for the first time.
Me, all bloody and bandaged, confined to a wheelchair, in the waiting room and my landlord, a security guard at the hospital.

It was an interesting experience and conversation as my fiancee had managed the entire situation to get moved into the apartment.

Ten hours later I was allowed to go home.

Six visits, and six intravenous antibiotic treatments later, I was allowed back to work; still covered in bandages.

My dog had suffered only one minor puncture and showed no other immediate problems from the incident.

But, on the plus side, we did find the lost sandal.

The Concussion

Closing night of the show is always the most relaxed and, yet, the most excited.Everyone is ready to be done with the show and move back into their regular lives but, at the same time, they are in the routine of the show.
My routine was solid. I checked the house and stage areas. I checked the props. I checked to ensure my crew was there and I checked to make sure all of the stage directions were available.
Then I waited.

I had to have all of my checks done before the cast arrived and then, again, after the house opened.
Between these two points in time I had "dead air."

One particular show in January, I cannot remember the show now, I decided to use this "dead air" to get dinner from the adjacent cafe. My roommate, who was also part of the show, asked me to pick her up some food as well.

I popped over to the cafe and purchased, then ate, my dinner and picked up the food for my roommate. There was, however, a minor problem. The line of patrons who were waiting to enter the theatre was too great for me to navigate the lobby area so I had to go around.

Going around involved walking outside on the sidewalk. The slippery, icy sidewalk.
The sidewalk that many, including myself, walked every day without incident.

The very sidewalk that betrayed me this night.

I walked along the sidewalk and I felt the betrayal under my heel. Friction was failing me.
My foot glided out, moving forward of its own accord, and my center of balance compensated by moving backward.

Time slowed down.

I looked up into the huge spruce tree overhead and counted needles on various shoots off of branches. I watched the light snow start to settled through the orange glare of a mercury vapor street light.
I watched as my roommate's dinner freed itself from the bonds of the to-go cartoon and ascended into the night sky, hoping to achieve freedom from the gravity of the world.

I watched the ever so slow arc of the world as I descended; ever so slowly, onto the sidewalk.

Time, while in slow motion, became my friend.
I had an eternity to calculate the trajectory of my roommate's dinner as it aspired to achieve flight.
I had an eternity to contemplate the destruction of my skull on the pavement.

I used this eternity.

I rolled my head forward, tucking my chin to my chest as my back alighted on the pavement with a thunderous sound. The impact knocked all of the air from my lungs and I emitted a loud "oomf" as I allowed my head to roll backward, gently, to come to rest on the ground.

The dinner was on its descent and I, with the eternal slowness of the situation, moved the carton into position once, twice, three times, catching each of the mozerella sticks as they achieved perigee in their failed attempt of freedom. The marinara sauce, however, fell victim to another fate. It's trajectory differed from that of the sticks in such a way that it found ultimate refuge in my right hand which, unbeknownst to my mind, had reached out to pluck it from the air.

The dinner was saved!

I had managed to NOT smash open my head!

Taking a moment to breathe, for having the wind knocked out of oneself is ALWAYS a painful experience, I rested on the sidewalk. The falling snow had returned to normal speed and was flittering down through the darkness to lightly coat the world in a glistening and sparkling blanket. The needles of the spruce tree merged into one dark greenish-bluish-blacking mass looming above. The orange glare returned to being a beacon of civilization lighting the street as it became coated with snow.

I sat up and reclaimed my upright position.
I strode toward the theatre and presented my roommate with her dinner; still warm within the to-go container.

I perched on a chair backstage and waited for the house to open; forgetting my second check of all my duties.

By intermission my head hurt tremendously. Concentrating on my responsibilities was difficult.
By the end of the show it was impossible.
I vaguely remember assisting with strike but, also, being excused from strike to make my way home.
It was obvious to myself, and others, that my headache was of greater concern to productivity than my presence would be to helping it.

I stumbled home in the falling snow and ascended the stairway into my apartment. I passed through the kitchen and opened the ivory-colored fridge to obtain a drink.

The drink disappeared too rapidly and I retired to bed. I slept.

The next moment it was bright outside. Very bright.
Too bright.

The light set fire to my eyes and that fire burned its way into my skull.
My brain was exploding from the optic nerve outward.

I climbed out of bed and made it to the medicine cabinet where I absconded with two each of ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

They did not help alleviate the pain; they merely helped decrease the rate at which it was getting worse.

I accomplished nothing that day. I drifted in and out of consciousness in bed and on the couch.

Ultimately my roommates convinced me to hang out in the living room with them while they watched the Superbowl so that they could keep an eye on me as my headache was quite severe and my behavior was concerning to them.

I saw nothing odd, except for the severity of my headache, but they insisted.

I drifted in and out of sleep from the couch.

It was when I muttered "when did the fridge turn green?" that my roommates became thoroughly convinced that something was wrong.

Fortunately, one of them was adept at medical concerns and she suspected a concussion and, from that point forward, I was tended to properly.

The fridge eventually dropped its green cloak and returned to its proper color and the headache faded into nothing but memory.

And we all learned that it was possible to concuss oneself without actually hitting one's head for the concussion is, nearly always, a secondary impact between the brain and the skull.
The action I took to prevent a head injury is the same action that caused the concussion I received.... only an improvement on the concussion I WOULD have received if I had not tucked my head.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Stranger - fiction

A dust cloud heralded the stranger's arrival as well as his method of transportation.

Hauntings - fiction

I've been strolling down this road for a long time; how long I do not know.

The Signal - fiction

The signal was detected.

The Chip - fiction

When they perfected the chip they said it would only be used on criminals; that it would be their price for reintroduction to society.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Rapture - fiction

The world is filled with a lot of the Faithful.

New Arrivals - fiction

New arrivals happen almost every day here.

A poem of mourning

The vessel has passed
The sea of humanity
Knows only the wake

Note: I wrote this the day I knew my dog's time had come and lost it among the drafts of works in progress. When I can remember the specific date of his departure from this world I will alter the publication date to match.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

"Postal" - fiction

No one knows, for sure, where the term originated but it has stuck.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Cat Who Lit Itself on Fire

Pookie was a slightly heavier cat of white and orange whose real name was Marmalade. Pookie, though, had the rare, if not completely unique, characteristic of having survived meningitis as a kitten. Pookie was, as one might imagine, handicapped. Pookie’s handicap did not hinder his survival for Pookie was a beloved indoor cat. Pookie was able to walk, with some assistance of a wall, in a straight line. Pookie was able to eat and use a litter box. Pookie was able to find a heating vent and howl like the world was ending until it provided heat for his singular enjoyment. Pookie was also able to climb about on the furniture until he was comfortable enough for a nap. Pookie, in his unique fashion, loved spaghetti. To say Pookie was a connoisseur of  this food was unfair as Pookie did not care of the quality of the product; he loved all variations of spaghetti the same.

Pookie’s owner was a friend of mine whom I met at college. In our Sophomore year she had to make the ten-hour trip home from school for our spring break and was despairing over having to make the drive alone. I, with nothing to do that week, was willing to accompany her as I had never been to her home state. We made the journey in the requisite time in an uneventful manner and arrived at the home just in time for dinner. Dinner, as it was easy to prepare and provided a window of time between being ready and needing to be eaten, was spaghetti.

Upon entry to the home and the requisite introductions to my friend’s parents we all sat down to eat in the living room. Her parents alighted in their accustomed chairs and my friend and I found seats upon the sofa, in front of the coffee table. Pookie, of course, had developed a grand interest in the wonderful smells of his favorite food and was vocalizing his interest in our dinners as he wandered about underfoot. After seating myself on the sofa my friend realized that she had forgotten something, I cannot any longer remember what it might have been, and returned to the kitchen to locate it. As I was a guest in the home I set my plate on the coffee table to wait, patiently, for my friend to return before I began to eat. This, it turns out, was not the best course of action.

Upon the center of the table was a scented candle, burning away to perfume the air. The candle, oblivious to everything, was patiently performing its designated task adjacent to my dinner plate. Pookie, being the insistent cat that he was, opted to take advantage of the placement of my plate to acquire for himself some of his beloved food. He leapt, with a grace that did not mirror his walking ability,  onto the table and stepped directly toward my plate in an effort to help himself. This, of course, placed him directly over the aforementioned candle. Pookie’s positioning was singularly effective for stealing my dinner but, even more so, it was also conveniently placed for the candle to supplement its fuel with his fur. Barely a second after Pookie approached my plate to help himself to the spaghetti his coat erupted in flame. Time slowed down as I watched the flame dance from one piece of fur to another and grow across his flank. I reacted as fast as my body could move, which was painfully slow to my mind. I snatched Pookie from my plate by the scruff of his neck and slapped the engulfed area of his side until the flame was out. Pookie, oblivious to the danger he was in, howled in anguish and surprised. He struggled to escape my grasp and clawed his way up and over my shoulder, ran along the back of the couch and disappeared through the doorway into the kitchen. Relieved that the danger of a home engulfed in flame had passed I sat back in the couch and issued forth a sigh of relief.

This is NOT what my friend and her parents saw.

Imagine, if you will, that your daughter brings home a male friend from college to see your home and meet you for the first time. Imagine that, in the past, your daughter has made good judgment in friends and that, as a result of this, you had no concerns that this young man must be a good character for, otherwise, she would not be his friend. Imagine then that you see this scene before you.

The young man sat on the couch and, with the respect that is not often seen in the current day, waiting for our daughter to return from the kitchen before beginning to eat. Pookie, as usual, wanted some of the spaghetti and he jumped onto the table to investigate the young man’s plate. The young man, in response to this, violently grabbed the cat and beat him furiously until the cat managed to escape and run away.

That is what my friend’s parents witnessed and she, as she was standing in the door from the kitchen as the event happened, witnessed the same.

I looked at them and saw their frozen countenances and realized, in horror, what they must have seen happen. It was obvious that they did not see me save their cat but, rather, abuse it. The telltale sign of this was that each of the parents had stopped, fork midway from their plates to their mouths, to blankly stare at me. Their horror was so complete, and the room so stunned, that I watched as the spaghetti unraveled from their forks and fell back to their plates while they sat, frozen in time, staring at me.

After an eternal period of mere seconds I broke the silence. “The cat was on fire” was all I managed to utter. This accomplished my intent; it broke their curse of solidification and they reanimated. But, to my chagrin, their countenances did not reflect the relief that I expected to see. Rather, their faces contorted into a new shape of further disbelief as if to say “You beat our cat and THAT is the best you can come up with for a lie?”

I realized my outlook for retaining good graces was rapidly diminishing. “Really, the cat was on fire. I think he is fine now” I professed to their unchanging faces.

In horror I realized that nothing I could say would change their mind; that only some additional evidence could exonerate my actions. It was then that the smell made its way to them. At that moment their noses all wrinkled as they took in the stench of burnt cat fur. They all began sniffing a bit more thoroughly, taking in the reality that I had experienced and professed to them rather than the reality that they believed they had witnessed.

I cannot recall which of them spoke first, nor their exact words but the sentiment of “wait, the cat was REALLY on fire?” was conveyed to me, and to the others in the room. I answered this with a simple “yes.”

Pookie was hiding but his handicap had already caused him to forget why. All he knew was that he was scared. He was coaxed out with a bit of spaghetti in his own bowl and examined. His flank, the one that had retained very little sensation since his bout with meningitis, was no longer only white and orange. A large patch of his fur was now brown. The brown of hair that is burned and melted. The brown of fur that is singed on the outside but intact closer to the body. His side was hideous and smelled terribly but he was oblivious to these facts because he was happy to FINALLY get some spaghetti.

This story is a true tale with a happy epilogue for the cat. Pookie lived for several more years and died of old age. His owner and I ended up in a relationship for several years before moving in different directions with our lives. She and I are still friends. When I last saw her parents they insisted that I was always a welcome guest in their home, even though their daughter and I were parting ways.

(Author's Note: this is tagged with the fiction tag as it is an amusing bit of writing that readers of my fiction stories who use the "fiction" filter might also enjoy. It ABSOLUTELY happened.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

To Sell or Not

Out of curiosity I compiled all of the story and story-like posts into a single MS Word document. I was thoroughly surprised to find that it is more than 100 pages.

This prompts me to wonder if I should compile the material into an eBook format and sell it on Amazon as self-published for $4.99 or so.

With a smaller page size (8.5x11 is the current) it should yield 150 - 200 pages of reading for someone.

As always, comments are welcome.

Hunters - fiction

The door flew open and the murmur in the room suddenly cut off.

Saturday, July 12, 2014