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{Wednesday, August 31, 2005}

It'll never be the same.

by Fred 9:12 AM

{Tuesday, August 30, 2005}

You begin at the beginning,
'cause that's where it starts,
the first moment of many,
first piece of your parts.
You could jump in the middle,
but that's just not as smart.
By the time that you're finished,
You'll know the whole thing by heart.

You begin at the beginning,
'cause that's how it's done,
from the opening scene
on page number one.
You could skip to the end,
but that's just not as much fun.
You'll get there soon enough;
there's no need to run.

by Fred 11:59 PM

Where do you begin?

by Fred 12:54 PM

{Monday, August 29, 2005}

"So how did we wind up penguins?"

"No, that's wind-up penguins. Like with a knob or a key you twist at the back?"

"Whatever. It seems like a weird way to go through a video game."

"Well, I told you, they've made some modifications. New levels, new bosses, new avatars. We're penguins."

"That wind up."


"Do we have weapons?"

"Only what we can hold in our flippers."

"So that's what? Like bombs, grenades, knives..."

"Mostly fish."


"Yeah. But only if someone comes by and winds us up first."

"Let me get this straight. If someone wants to attack us in the game, our only defense is a piece of fish -- and we still have to hope they're nice enough to wind us up first?"

"Yeah, pretty much. And the way the game is set, usually you don't throw the fish so much as...well, eat it."

"We eat the fish."


"Do we get life points or something for that?"

"Not really. The, um...the other players will probably kill us before that happens."

"Let me guess: they have bombs and grenades and knives?"

"Oh yeah, definitely."

"Man, this new game sucks."

by Fred 11:59 PM

wind-up penguins

by Fred 10:11 AM

{Friday, August 26, 2005}


by Fred 9:01 AM

{Thursday, August 25, 2005}

It's the sort of thing that never happens,
unless you count the times it does,
the sort of thing that simply isn't,
unless you could the times it was.
It's the impossible you never dreamt of,
unless you count all the dreams you ever knew.
It's everything you weren't thinking.
(The thoughts, perhaps, were thinking you.)
It's every moment you thought forgotten,
Every witching hour that's ticked past.
It's all those things you said just weren't,
yet secretly wished would last.

by Fred 6:05 PM

the sort of thing that never happens

by Fred 9:56 AM

{Wednesday, August 24, 2005}

You don't even have to try too hard and you can feel it:
the way August
shuffles into fall,
the way it almost falls over itself
trying to get out of the way.
It thinks it's subtle;
it thinks it's cool;
but there's a cooling-off you can feel a mile coming.
If you think September just happens,
you're not paying attention.

Or maybe you live in one of
those places
where there are no seasons, where
there's hot,
and there's cold,
but the transitions between
are like myths you maybe read about it books
or hear about happening to another people.
Maybe August and September are just extensions of the same thing
where you live,
part of a blur of months that separate
dead of summer
from dead of winter
(or summer's death
from a hint of chill).
Maybe you don't feel it.
Maybe there's nothing to feel.
Maybe you do try.

You see the holidays stacked up,
one after the other,
and they are very much a product of seasons.
A true Halloween needs a little chill,
Easter a coming or present thaw;
the 4th of July shouldn't feel
like the 5th of June
or November 1st.
Calendars are a product of transition.
They crave seasons.
They all but demand them.
The calendar knows that the only constant is change,
but that some changes

To live some place where its cravings
are meaningless,
where there are no seasons,
where mother nature tries to pretend there is no change,
or tries to compact it all together,
telescoping spring into winter,
autumn into summer --

It must always feel like
something isn't right,
something must be missing,
something needs to happen.

There are places where the seasons spread themselves out,
ease into being themselves,
where a cool breeze at the end of August
tells you autumn is on its way.
(It tries to hide,
but autumn is on its way.)
Leaves change color.
Leaves fall.
Snow shrouds the ground.
Snow thaws.
And that thaw just keeps on going
until it's gone,
and the leaves change again.
There are places that recognize transition,
that play (more or less) by the calendar's rules,
where you can tell,
on a late afternoon's walk home,
without really trying,
without trying too hard,
that autumn is approaching;
autumn is shuffling in.

by Fred 6:25 PM


by Fred 10:01 AM

{Tuesday, August 23, 2005}

As luck would have it, Lloyd was not the first to arrive at the party, and his fear that Shelly would put him to use welcoming the other guests proved to be unfounded. He barely saw her once the entire evening. He did see -- and was forced into several awkward conversations with -- some of the people he'd worked with that summer, either they or he trying too hard to be polite, trying not to ruin the night with talk of what had happened before he'd quit. He could see Warren, circling a few times, near enough that the man's silence was obviously a deliberate snub. He would not even meet Lloyd's eyes. The scars on the man's face had started to heal, Lloyd saw, but clearly Warren was still upset about the accident, about the damage ot the store, and he was not going to talk to Lloyd about it. Lloyd was half tempted to use the sight to peer into the man's head, but that would only serve to further remind everyone of why he'd quit, of what the accident had done to him. Lloyd wasn't good enough yet to keep Warren or anyone else from noticing.

by Fred 6:19 PM


I can't swim. I've never really been able to. I mean, sure, I can stand in water up to about my chest with no trouble; I can play in the water, but I never go past the shallow end. I just can't swim. Does that matter? Well, sure, if I were in a pond or a lake, it would matter a lot. If I were anywhere that was submerged, my lack of swimming-based knowledge would suddenly and powerfully come up.

Right this minute, I am on the seventeenth floor of an office building. I can see the Fort Worth skyline, impressive in its compactness, reminiscent of Houston if one is honest with oneself, and I am not thinking about the fact that I cannot swim. I will be, though. If I could see the future, which I can't, my own ignorance would suddenly come into sharp relief for a period of some fifteen minutes in my own personal history, and forever, one could argue, in the larger history of the world.

I cannot see the future, either. It's just one more of my little failings. I can't do double ten-key entry, either, although I've often thought I could. I'm not very honest with myself about double-entry ten key accounting. I also can't swim or see the future.

Two of these will be important when the water main breaks on the eighteenth floor. The third, the one I am worrying about, will never matter in my life. I have taken employment which requires that I be able to perform double-entry ten key accounting. A water main is going to break, and I will be swept under a torrent of water from the floor above. If I were able to see the future, I might have suddenly needed to use the restroom on the twentieth floor. If I were able to swim, I might have been able to reach the stairs. As luck would have it, the only one of the three I am worrying about is the one which will never matter again in the whole of human history. Now is the end of time; some minutes from now will be the end of my time. If I believed in reincarnation, I would wonder if I might learn one of these three neat tricks, swimming, fortune telling, or ten-key double entry accounting, in my next life.

I don't believe in reincarnation; and I still can't swim.

by MisterNihil 11:29 AM

as luck would have it

by Fred 9:25 AM

{Monday, August 22, 2005}

A Marxist Frameup
by Mister Nihil

If you had all the tea in china ready and waiting in a boat on the docks outside the SS SAN FRANCISCO, a small vessel with no bearing on the proceedings, you'd have to wonder if the simple fact of recursivity would cause you to suddenly have both lots and lots of tea and also absolutely no tea. I suppose the answer lies in this question: at which instant do you want all the tea? If you have all the tea in one instant, then the amount of tea becomes, rapidly, zero, which means you must needs have zero tea. All the tea you had previously must then exist at some point other than "in your possession," in which case physics suggests that the low-energy state is the "preferable" one, insomuchas one considers the term "preferable" in this case as meaning "the state to which physics suggests physical matter will tend towards." History will show, the state in which "all the tea" has thus far existed is, in fact, "in china," and so it will rever to this state. Thus, if you had all the tea in China at some place other than China, then you would have to consider that it would sort of throb into and out of existance, as you would suddenly have and then not have, instant to instant, all the tea in China.
Prove or disprove. Show your work.

by MisterNihil 5:45 PM

Not one of them ever called the man a communist. They didn't dare. They worried about sounding foolish. So they just hinted. They let it be known, whether in dinner conversation with friends or in falsely casual asides offered at any of the monthly faculty meetings he himself was unable to attend, that it was certainly a shame that communism had taken such a strong foothold in the campus community, that to serve in this or that war, or sacrifice this or that for a country, only to find the very things against which one had fought -- the very things -- gain renewed acceptance in their college classrooms...well, it was just a shame, that's all.

They would never mention the man by name, or the classes which he taught. Though fishing for agreement among their colleagues, they made sure to keep things vague. It was just a shame, a fact they would mention as if resigned to it already, as if -- well, that's life, and what were you going to do? They could, and would, remember when Marxism was a four-letter word, when "communist" was an epithet that could ruin a man, his academic reputation, and not the sort on which that reputation could be built.

They never mentioned his name, and they never said much more than that, but they let it be known that they were displeased.

And, of course, none of them were terribly surprised when Professor Winstone turned up shot dead in his office. That sort of thing happened to communists.

by Fred 11:11 AM

Marxist Frame-up

by MisterNihil 2:02 AM

{Sunday, August 21, 2005}

Ragamuffin Pool

by MisterNihil 12:11 PM

{Saturday, August 20, 2005}


They say every society is just three meals away from anarchy. Truth, though, is that every society is just three meals away from learning how to fend for itself. Sure, that might seem to be a collapse of society, but what it really represents is a return to the very basics of society. I mean, what is society if not a group of people trying to feed themselves through whatever means are appropriate? The only difference between capitalism and communism and feudalism and totalitarianism is just how the food gets spread around, pardon, but the real basics of what makes it work is just, does food get produced? In modern societies, of course, the question of production v. purchase is either negligible, food's still showing up, or the single most important question you can ask, now your society needs another society to live and what if they decided they didn't like your hair and so wouldn't sell you food? That, then is the difference between a perfect society and a political one. In a perfect society, there's food; in a political one there's money to buy food.

Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there's some weight to be put on art. Whatever.

by MisterNihil 8:44 PM

Marble Art

by MisterNihil 8:41 PM

{Friday, August 19, 2005}


Lingering light from last minute morsels of prepackaged pringle flap fluidly from finality, fingerfucked apathetically around arguably argyle amoebae; rapacious regalia ragging on ripped-off ring-tossers divided deviously by druidic damsels from Damocles' Dowry. Whisky whorls of Wogglebug T.E. re: me and bees and Bobby McGee, blow flows of growth round crows feet trees, tinkle wrinkles, the fink crinkles and flushes wildly. Proudfoot's pride soot washes wishes swishing out to sea, grambling gumboots on a gambit hef a'lunching out with me, cran a'berry franklin lightning linger lingeree.

And then I open them again.

by MisterNihil 12:05 PM

Close your eyes. Describe what you see.

by Fred 9:02 AM

{Thursday, August 18, 2005}

But what if you just stopped taking that kind of call? What if you stopped, all of a sudden, you understand, taking the kind of telephone call that makes your life a little cheaper? The uninitiated, those who still subscribe to the lie that you don’t know what kind of call it’s going to be until you answer, may say that’s a ludicrous suggestion. Sure, I suppose that if you don’t understand the situation, you might fall for that. No, it’s as simple as wolves. It’s as easy as falling off a cloud. There’s a sense to it, I guess. Cynicism is an art that takes practice. Feel free to give away those little pieces of dead soul, learn the art of saying exactly the nastiest thing you can think of; you’ll learn, eventually, that the world is listening, and though it keeps a loose accounting, eventually even that’s enough to kick the shit out of you every so often. The world can count to several thousand and trade them for eight or ten teeth so fast you’ll honestly believe you’ve been punished for something you didn’t do.

The world knows: you deserve everything. You create your reality one pit viper at a time, one “Fucke!” at once, once nastiest-thing I don’t have to think about at a time. Whether through the conscious sickness engendered in your fellow man or the unconscious bite of a brick from thirty-thousand feet or the sudden death of fellows, punishments tend to be a long time coming and they collect interest even as you accrue capitol.

Is it the nature of the world, or is it just my own personal disease that makes me think everything is deserved? Take it how you will. Only my own personal disease matters to me, and only the way I see things will ever be the way I see things. You are welcome to perceive what’s going on as martyrdom, and you’re welcome to kick your own ass from here to hell and back.

by MisterNihil 11:02 PM

[removed by author]

by Fred 6:24 PM


the wolves at the wall

by Fred 10:18 AM

{Wednesday, August 17, 2005}

[removed by author]

by Fred 6:34 PM

What are the limits of learning by machines?

by Fred 8:41 AM

{Tuesday, August 16, 2005}

The new missus 'n' I
Lay 'neath a luminous sky.
Like a numinous eye
The moon shone down from above

"I knew this ruinous guy,"
Said the new missus to I,
"By the name of Louis N. Nye,
And we thought we were in love.

"Quite a humorous guy
(And quite fluent in Thai),
But never true to us -- why?"
Here my wife just offered a shrug.

by Fred 11:59 PM


by Fred 8:33 AM

{Monday, August 15, 2005}

There are things in the woods
That'll eat you alive
That'll burrow beneath
Or fall from the sky
They'll feast on your flesh
And they'll peck out your eyes
It's best not to go there
If you want to survive

There are things in the woods
That just shouldn't be
The most awful beasties
You ever did see
They have terrible teeth
And they're always hungry
Best stay out of the woods
If you want to stay free

by Fred 11:59 PM

Don't go there.

by Fred 9:54 AM

{Saturday, August 13, 2005}

For almost a week, afraid to spend it, Terry kept what was left from the robbery in a shoebox buried at the back of his girlfriend's closet. Earl and Jay had already split with the rest.

It had been a slow night, that Tuesday, and cash register at the store had only had about eighty dollars in it to begin with, and the safe was empty.

The gun was Jay's, so he figured he deserved a bigger cut, and Earl was his brother, so that upped his percentage. When you came right down to, Jay said, all Terry had done was point out the best way into the store. He hadn't picked or broken the lock on the back door; he'd just noticed it was busted. Jay and his brother had done the heavy lifting. Jay had brought the gun. He was the one who'd thought to outfit them with the masks. He'd had to go to three different stores to find the right ones -- and that was the sort of thing the cops could use to trace back to you, if you weren't careful Big guy like Jay, with a record, buying masks eight months after Halloween -- that was the real risk, not hanging around some back alley all day waiting for a fix and noticing the door to the convenience store sometimes didn't shut right. Jay'd brought the gun. Earl was the muscle. Terry'd get his commission, but the take had been pretty disappointing, he had to admit. Could he really blame them for only giving him $11.87? That was all that was left.

by Fred 11:59 PM

That was all that was left.

by Christy 9:57 PM

{Friday, August 12, 2005}

No one ever forgot the toast Jacob's father gave at his son's wedding.

When he first raised a glass to the happy couple and wished them all the best in the world, there were scattered ahs and how sweets throughout the reception hall. The bride's mother began to tear up. But when he threw that glass to the floor with a loud "Huzzah!" and then yelled to the band, "Hit it!" a few people began to shift in their seats or stare at the man in surprise. The band, who it appeared were not in on this new development, showed at first a decided lack of hitting anything. They, too, stared.

Had he been drinking? more than a few people surely wondered. More than usual? But Jacob's father continued, and eventually his motions to the band won them over and they began to play.

"Let's rock!" shouted the man, and so they did.

Later, when the evening had drawn to a close and the guests had gone gome (or at least to the line at the valet window), there were still whisperes and murmurs about the toast -- how Jacob's father had rocked, how surprisingly well the band had accompanied him, and how much, everyone wondered, that laser-light-show finish had cost him.

Retiring to their hotel that night, Mary asked her new husband, "Did you know your father could breakdance?"

by Fred 5:49 PM


by Fred 8:52 AM

{Thursday, August 11, 2005}

At first the numbers meant nothing. Lionel had never been particularly good at math -- his brain just wasn't built for it, he liked to say -- so when he first heard the voice repeating what later turned out to be a string of seventeen different numbers, he detected no immediate pattern among them. In fact, he detected almost nothing, barely heard the voice at all, and, had it not been for a snippet of a song he thought he recognized and that preceded the voice at the beginning and end of each loop, it is unlikely that Lionel would have done anything more than switch off the radio. It was nearly 3 AM, and he was supposed to be at work in the morning. He probably wouldn't go, but he could still use some sleep. He hadn't been sleeping well lately. But the song, which he knew he recognized if he could only remember from where, kept him sitting at the kitchen table with the transistor radio playing in the background.

As he listened, Lionel realized it wasn't just the song; the voice was a little familiar, too. Did he know that voice? he wondered. Sometimes, especially late at night, you could pick up cell phone or two-way-radio chatter on the old set -- never more than a few moments, a static hiss of conversation you usually lost completely if you tried to improve the reception at all. Sometimes, late at night, you heard weird things: mangled station identifications from DJs too stoned or inept to work the day shift, music selections that wouldn't fly past standards and practices during the day, long stretches of silence as stations went off the air for maintenance or whatever. And sometimes, Lionel was sure, you heard numbers. Nothing so weird about that, really. It would not have surprised him if he'd been told that what he was listening to was its own musical genre, that some stations devoted entire blocks of programming to it.

He really needed to get some sleep.

But when he noticed that the first four numbers were in fact his own birth day, month and year, and the next four those of his ex-wife, Debbie -- 3, 18, 19, 67; 12, 7, 19, 72 -- he realized there might be something more to it than that.

by Fred 7:08 PM

numbers station

by Sharon 10:52 AM

{Wednesday, August 10, 2005}

We hitched a ride on a star,
But we didn't get far,
And the tail of that comet just froze us in our tracks.
So we touched down on a moon,
But we knew pretty soon
We'd have to turn 'round and dive into the black --
Head out into space
And knock down the star-speckled wall,
Head out into space
For no good reason at all.

We let the moon sit
As we broke our orbit
And bid fond farewell to gravity's charm.
We spun 'round a sun
In part just for fun,
In part 'cause the cold void could not keep us warm --
The cold black of space,
Where all the temperatures fall:
That's where we were headed
For no good reason at all.

by Fred 6:24 PM

heading into space for no good reason

by Fred 8:30 AM

{Tuesday, August 09, 2005}

"I don't know what that means," says Lucas.

"Which?" asks O'Grady. He peers at the open text in front of her.

"Oh, that," he says. "It doesn't mean anything, I'm afraid. I think you'll find Basqild is unique among the many languages you'll encounter here. Certain of its words have no meaning."

"What, haven't they been translated yet?"

"No, girl, you misunderstand me."

He rises from his chair to check the pot on the fire, lifts a spoon, tastes, dashes salt.

"It's a perfectly simple tongue to understand. Took your father's exo-linguists only a few days to master, from what I hear, and they were offered entry into the Guild less than the standard year after arrival. No, it's all been translated."

"Then I don't understand," says Lucas. "They're -- what? They're -- "

"Place holders," the old man tells her as he lets the lid fall back on to the pot. "Interspersed randomly throughout. They have no meaning because what they represent is lack of meaning."

"Well that's weird."

"Yes, indeed. The Basqid believe that meaning can only be approached when directly confronted with its opposite, with its lack."

He lifts the pot from the fire and lowers it to the trivet he has placed on the table.

"Or that's what they believed a thousand of their years ago, when the dominant language was apparently being codified. Nowadays," he shrugs, "who knows? Now eat. Your father will feed me the vehrnig beasts if I don't get you home before first dusk.

"Now there's a creature with a disagreeable language."

by Fred 7:02 PM

Does anyone really know what That means? How do you define That anyway? If I point to That and ask what it means, how can I even be sure that your definition of That is equivalent to my definition of That? It would have to be, wouldn't it? Otherwise, you'd be giving me your definition of That, not my definition of That.

Maybe all I really want is someone else's definition of That I've already stated I don't know what That means. Can I go about figuring out what That means without asking someone else? Reading a book or surfing the net is really just a solitary way of asking someone else. I'm asking the person who literally wrote the book on That to tell me what That means.

It seems like there are a lot of people in the world who know a lot about That. Every place you go, every page you turn, every image you see is someone trying to tell you about That. They are telling you That happened. They are telling you That is going to happen. Telling you to watch out for That. Then, when That does happen they say "I told you That was going to happen." And when That doesn't happen, they say "That's not what I said."

I step back for a minute and read what I am saying about That. Almost sounds like I'm making a political point here. Hmmm.

I look right and see them lying about That, trying to make Their That look like My That.

I look left and I see them act appalled at those on the right lying about That...just before they start lying about That.

No, this isn't political. Both sides are trying to tell me Their That is My That. They both claim the other side is lying. And both are...but both aren't. They just see That from different sides. There are many on each side who are able to see That from many different angles, but it seems like those who can only see That in one way are the ones who truly believe they know what That is.

Actually the only political difference I see is this. Those on the right that only see That in Their way...it seems when I mention they seem to have only one way to look at That, they say "What other way is there to look at That?" And those on the left that only see That in Their way? When I mention it to them, they say "No, actually I do see this in many ways. That's why I'm on the left." While the responses are very different they are equally frustrating.

No, this isn't political. This is personal. I don't know what That means. If I don't know what That means to me, how could anyone else possibly know what That means to me. "Bryan, you should do That." "Bryan you shouldn't do That." "Bryan, don't make a habit out of That." "Bryan, if you do That, then this other That will happen and you won't like this other That."

Seriously, shut up.

There are two components of That. There is That itself and there is the way That is perceived. We all perceive That differently. Your That is not My That. You don't know what That means to me. I don't know what That means to you.

Ya know what's funny to me. Those who think they know a lot about That also seem to be the ones who don't realize the myriad ways there are of looking at That. It also seems like those who think they don't know a lot about That are whom I go to for advice. They remember we see That differently.

And That is all I have to say about That. What does That mean to you?

by Bryan 6:57 PM

I don't know what that means.

by Fred 11:08 AM

{Monday, August 08, 2005}

[removed by author]

by Fred 5:29 PM

I tell myself nobody knows, but I see it in their eyes. It's exactly forty-seven steps from the stairwell to my desk- forty-nine if you count sitting procedures- and in that time all I see is filth. My coworkers are idiots. I wonder if they know that.

When I think about their punishment, something tells me I've made it all too easy to decipher. Last year's holiday party is a blur, the pretty girl in accounting made me forget how much I despise these people, and with enough punch I don't exactly remember what was said and to whom. If, just once, I let it slip how unclean everyone was, my cover may be blown.

Ironically, I went to that party so they'd suspect less. God forbid they describe me as a sullen loner on the news later. I couldn't deal with that.

I've had to be friendly.

I make the coffee once in a while, sometimes I bring cookies on a disposable platter. Not too friendly, mind you, but just enough so they'd never suspect.

But sometimes a secret isn't a secret. Sometimes, for all my planning, I may as well have scrawled my secret plans across the outside of my cubicle. It's so obvious! How could I have been so stupid?!

It's exactly twenty-three steps from my desk to the fire hose. I have to move fast in case they're onto me, but not too fast. I don't wanna play my hand until I've got the hose in it.

When these animals are finally purified, maybe I can get some work done around here.

by rocketo 9:47 AM

sometimes a secret

by Fred 8:37 AM

{Friday, August 05, 2005}

The world could end, could fade away
Go off, pretend it's judgment day.
A veil of tears could descend
And turn the sky a lonely gray.
And still the grass will grow.

The earth could split and eat us whole;
Not much to eat once it's on a roll.
It could chew and spit out our eternal soul.
And still the grass will grow.

The skies could burn and fall apart.
The world could turn in fits and starts.
And I could earn this broken heart.
And still the grass will grow.

by Fred 6:03 PM

and still the grass grows

by Sharon 11:00 AM

{Thursday, August 04, 2005}

They found the first of the bodies when Thomas was twelve.

His mother didn't want him playing around the caves where the old well had collapsed any more than Thomas wanted to be stuck playing with his younger brother, James. But that's where they were, toting the flashlights they'd stolen from their father's workshop and peering into the dark, mud-lined holes. They weren't much, the caves, little more than holes in the ground, little open mouths in the earth you could easily miss if you weren't careful. Scattered in the grass were stone and brick pieces of the well that their father said had been there when he was a boy. Nothing remained of the well except another hole only a little larger than the others, filled in and boarded up decades before either Thomas or James had even been born.

For Thomas, the caves were just another in a string of disappointments their holiday on the island has brought him. He missed his friends and the neighborhood and even school. He hated the smell of the bay that drifted even into the town a mile and a half in; he hated the town, where there were nothing but tourists, and few of those with most everything closed up for the winter; and he hated having no one to play with but his eight-year-old brother and nowhere to go except to these stupid, lame caves.

Batman and the Hardy Boys wouldn't be caught dead in these kinds of caves.

by Fred 5:06 PM

Jack glanced at his sister, pretty beneath the apple tree under which she was dozing. Blonde curls of hair blew softly in her face and he caught himself staring again. He knew it wasn't right, knew it was forbidden to have these feelings about his sister. It's just, he reasoned, I don't get out much. This was a horrible excuse and he knew it. Jill was his sister. Sister.

But Jack couldn't stop thinking about her. Even now, he had been standing in this spot not ten feet away from her for at least fifteen minutes. At his side he carried a shopworn bucket, strips of decaying wood held together by rusting metal bands. The inside had been sealed with resin a long time ago. Jack had been reading at home, trying to do anything but think about sweet lovely Jill, when his father, with flushed cheeks and bloodshot eyes, stumbled in and demanded water. Jack protested almost as an afterthought before taking the pail that had been thrust into his hands.

So naturally (or in spite of himself) he went off to find Jill. Like always, she was dozing at the base of the steep hill. The one with the well. He wasn't looking for Jill, he reasoned, but she happened to be here. Of all places! Yes. Jack barely considered why a well was placed at the top of a hill, where his great-grandfather had to dig that much deeper to strike at the aquifer many feet below. He pulled Jill up and told her about their father's demands for water. They straggled uphill together, and as he lowered the pail into the dark water, he suddenly turned to Jill and said, "I love you. I want to love you." It wasn't the best line for inspiring incest.

Jill's face scrunched up quickly and soon turned to anger. She punched Jack hard, in an unexpected blow that knocked him off his feet. "Shif, Jill! You broke my toof!" he cried, tears of love lost and broken crowns streaming down his face. He pushed her away from him suddenly, and she rolled down the hill a few feet before he stormed away.

Tomorrow, Jack would leave this place and never look back.

by rocketo 1:11 PM


by Fred 9:41 AM

{Wednesday, August 03, 2005}

I used to like that song
How's it go?
The one you were always humming
The one I'm sure you know
The one with all those words
That say just what you mean
That if I'd just said to you
I'm sure you wouldn't leave

I used to like that song
Who's it by?
It used to make me laugh
How much it could make me cry
It never made it to the charts
Or got on the radio
But if they'd just play it for us now
I'm sure you wouldn't go

Because you used to like that song
I'm sure you did
It made you feel so light
It made you feel just like a kid
With it humming in your heart
You knew love could do no wrong
You used to like me once
When we used to like that song

by Fred 5:46 PM

I used to like that song.

by Fred 11:19 AM

{Tuesday, August 02, 2005}

Committee meetings are always the worst.

Upper management insists on sitting in. Forget the added paperwork that necessitates, or the aggravation of being dragged into the office when there's genuine field work still to be done -- what bugs me most is, they always ask the same dumb questions. And I don't think they even bother listening to the answers.

Everything they need to know is in the report. Documented and initaled. But I don't think they look at that either. Do they ever read the things? I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn they can't read.

When they ask, how did you happen to be there?, what they're really wondering is, how can we make it appear like we're the ones who sent you? Or they're considering all the different ways they can distance themselves from you, should they whole thing blow up in their faces.

Like we're not careful. Like we don't have extensive training before we're even allowed to approach the damn time portal. I swear, the company hasn't got a clue when it comes to being a field operative. They just figure, since they foot the bill, they've got the right to question every little decision we make. Yet not a one of them has ever so much as stepped a year outside of his or her own time period.

They know perfectly well how I came to be in 1921 and what I was doing in Berlin. The trip was sanctioned. The fluctuations are on the books. Recorded. Everything I did there was pre-determined, stamped, approved, and filed in triplicate.

But still, they ask. I hate committee meetings.

by Fred 6:42 PM

"How did you happen to be there?"

by Fred 10:54 AM

{Monday, August 01, 2005}

Look out your window.

by Fred 6:29 PM


<blockquote class="topic">your topic</blockquote>