Saturday, August 28, 2010

A vehicle for self actualization

Production notes for television spots A, 2,3,4. Each can be shown separately or combined but A must be included and first if more than one is shown.

{Begin with logo

Mr. Good CarЭ)

{Fade, open with blue house for testimonial #1}

Shelly Summers: Being a mom nowadays means being busy.

{Green 4-door model driving around a grocer's market parking lot}

SS: It's a full time job but I wouldn't trade it for anything. (language is focus grouped to appeal nostalgic and conventional norms while still offering choice to 3rd wave and post/ironic feminists and their loved ones)

{Close up of Shelly, 43. After last election, we decided to strike while the iron is hot and open with an ethnic. Next season's block of commercials will consist of conventional skin tones)

SS: But the most important job anyone could have needs a vehicle that gets me there, safely and reliably. For all of life's, ha ha, little bumps.

{Vaguely brown child actor "interrupts" Shelly by walking right into her waist. Be sure to remind VBC1 to giggle and hug Shelly at the same time. It looks creepy when he forgets}

SS: That's why we drive a
Mr. Good CarЭ. Whether I'm taking him to school, back from soccer practice, or the four of us to Grandma's house, there is always just enough miles left for another trip in a Mr. Good CarЭ

{Testimonial 2. For long form commercial, do not start with logo, begin with}

Father O'Malley {Rev Peters depending on region}: In a line of work like this, you answer to a
higher authority.

{Make FM/RP does his rising eye expression. He's been bugging us for years for a chance to use it and this is the one freaking time it would be useful}

{Time lapse of church steeple set. Make sure it is un-Romanesque as possible with room enough for a little doubt}

FM/RP: I see success in the eyes of my parishioners. The bottom line comes in smiles, in happy hearts, and eased minds. I'm not just saving a couple bucks; I'm here to save souls.

{Splice together footage of various stock church services. Be sure to make them broad but accessible with little to no images that could possibly convey condemnation, negativity, or responsibility. Avoid sermons that involve Powerpoint and white/blackboards as possible. Remember it does not matter what s/he is saying if the sound is off}

Mr. Good CarЭ is something I have faith in. And I'm someone who does not use the "F" word lightly. I know my Mr. Good CarЭ will always have just enough gas for one more trip. For a good cause. For someone in need.

{End with clasped hands lined up in front of a pew. Get a ages/health/flesh in various stages of preservation. Apply touch ups in post production if necessary}

{Testimonial #3 Hecter Mechendez, vet, breeder, dog whisper, 37, non threatening legal immigrant}

HM: No one does road trips like my guys.

{Character canines. Use A73 (Shetland Sheepdog), D41 (Black Labrador), T13 (White large poodle), and my niece's chihuahua (Chandra) lined up. A73 barks}

HM: For my job or for fun, I'm always carrying precious cargo.

{Hector walking four dogs at once in a park with a green multi-leash}

HM: I'm always working like, well, you know. I need a car that does the same.

{Shot of A73, D41, T13, and Chandra in the back of the pick up truck model. Be sure to tether Chandra tightly to the truck bed. If this proves to be too difficult, have a back up dog ready. Vehicle is driving on a road to a rural destination}

{Long form infomercial. Buy time for early morning Scyfy, QVC, HSN, and some webspace from less than legal torrent and streaming websites.

One youngish, male, hip, media personality. Think Connor Knighton and cast from who is willing to play ball. Cheaply. Dress him in jeans, button down shirt, and a yellow stripped tie loosely placed around his neck. Think "Biz-caz" with more emphasis on the "caz". Partner him with a slightly older woman. Think young, middle class, new mom who's responsible but still fun!}

Set should have round couches, a table top "island" style, and a wide window with a blue background. Have the ultra condensed, "zipcar" model right next to the 2nd couch. We're asking a lot from the American people and we want them to start associating our product with common things like couches.

Have an audience of about 30 folks. Hand pick them for plausible positivity}

Male Host: Hello everybody!
Female Host: Thanks for coming!
{Scroll past clapping audience}
MH: We got a lot of great stuff to cover, guys, so lets get started.
FH: So, Bruce {just call him Bruce} what makes a
Mr. Good CarЭ one of the best investments busy people can make in tough times like these?
Audience {off camera}: Hmmmmmmm.
MH: I'm glad you asked, Paula {Ditto, Paula}.
Mr. Good CarЭ is a operator sympathetic, 2-4 door, hybrid fossil fuel/brain wave powered vehicle.
FH: An
operator sympathetic, 2-4 door, hybrid fossil fuel/brain wave powered vehicle?
MH That's right. Half of
Mr. Good CarЭ , mileage is powered by the good feeling good people get from doing good things!
FH: That sounds great! How does it work?
HM: Through a bleeding edge paradigm shift in user/device interface! It's fantastic!
Audience: {Claps, cheers}

The following text and information is only for employees with proper clearance. If there is any doubt, you are not classified.

Any questions, feel free to contact me. If you have the clearance for that, of course.

---"S.elf M.ade"

Progress report #580
We've been getting some feedback from customer service. It turns out the "emotional fusion combustion field" of all current models of
Mr. Good CarЭ are susceptible to influence from the passenger's mental state as well as the operator.

{Image 1, graph demonstrating the drastic variance in mileage in inharmonious driving}

{Image 2: Husband with Democrat button arguing with wife wearing Republican button in the middle of a highway in the SUV model}

This can effect our product's image amongst 30-55 year old family focused buyers as well as placing their units at risk for damage, liability and/or mortal harm. Younger and older buyers, who make up a smaller percentage of our buyers
combined tend to be more in line with each others thinking. Unless they are driving with each other.

{Image 3. High definition black and white photo of a bombed out Nazi factory. Crew of army engineers pulling out a black, smoking, sharp, wicked looking V-Bug}

The technology behind our product is retro-engineered from a classified Nazi prototype automobile. Codenamed, the "Volksbadden", it was a gasoline free vehicle that would only work for divers and passengers with strong inclinations towards National Socialism.

{Image 4. Protype #5 slamming into a crowd of furloughed convicts. Be sure to blur out faces and the location of the private correctional they were rented from}

The US army engineer corps spent years and millions trying to adapt this exotic artifact to civilian use. Germany had already removed all its exo-tech and turned in into the conventional, popular "Bug". Completely forgetting it's legacy. During the Reagan administration, in an attempt to raise funds, the original and all its research was sold to the company.

{Image 5, Bunny-suit clad engineer holding a purple crystal with tongs in a laboratory}

We literally reverse engineered the "Volksbadden" by setting all its gauges and parts backwards. This is the success we have today. It is worth noting that the new model is compatible with old Nazis. This raises the question whether our product is powered from the feeling that come from committing a good deed, or feeling like what you did/do was/is good. Some of our researchers suspect our engineer's desire to make this device easily work for mass consumption may have effected and even be responsible for its performance.

{Image 6, 4 door SUV model covered in fuzzy bumper stickers}

We are currently expanding our customer options into models that are attuned to more specific ideologies. These will include animal rights activists/sport hunters. GLBTG equality supporters and those of conventional limits on /gender civil rights. Liberals, conservatives, moderates, and fringe groups. People with varying degrees of respect for reproduction options. Security moms, stay at home dads, and loners. We will have something for everyone.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

You possess me

I sat down in my assigned aisle. The plane was half full. Good. I wanted to be alone. I wanted to only think of her, my Estie. I needed to concentrate completely just to get a fraction of the feeling I get when we're together.

The plane was half empty. That's too bad, I like having someone to talk to on long flights. Someone I can be close to. I don't like awkward old people conversations. They are usually about how much better things used to be, or what's wrong with their bodies. I guess the two are related. I looked for someone around my age. There he was. He was cute and there was such a feeling of calm around him. Maybe we can sleep in tomorrow morning. I always take the day I get back from a vacation off.

She's pretty. Not anything like my Estie but enough to be, distracting. I wish she was less attractive. I don't notice beautiful women as much as I used to. I don't want to, ever since Estie saved me and we became one heart. I hope this one won't talk much. I want to think just of Estie. Alone but with her at a distance.

He's handsome. Kind of like my last boyfriend (which may be why I like him). He feels completely different from Fred though. Fred had this angry, violent energy around him (which may be why I liked him). This guy is the opposite, an oasis of peace. I sat down next to him and smiled. I turned towards him and leaned forward. I wanted his attention.

"Hey there!"

What does she want? I had to acknowledge her, so I nodded.

"What's your name"

"I am Scott"

"Hiiiiiiii Scott"

A moment passed. Nothing was said.

I looked away and thought of Estie.

The more he ignored me, the more I wanted his attention. I'm still like this! No matter how far I go in life, I'm never going to grow all the way up. My sister, of all people, is past this. Whatever.

"My name is Liz. So, Scott, are you heading home?"

"Yes I, against my will, had to leave my Estie...."

"Is she your girlfriend?"

"She is my everything"

"I see"


"Well, I just got back from a little vay-cay"

Oh my God, did I really just say that? I'm such a douchebag. And if its one thing I know, its doucebags.

"How about you?"

"I had to go to a conference for work. I hate leaving my precious Estie"

I was hoping to drift away thinking about her but this one insists on talking to me.

I am aware how silly it is to get frustrated with a man who stubbornly insists on treating his woman the way I'd want him to treat me. Yet right now, in this moment we're living in, or was living in, I did not think of that. Sometimes, I just want something and am willing to suffer the consequences later. No matter what they grow into.

"You seem like a great guy"

I touched his hand. I wanted to make contact. A basic, easy, no pressure kind of touch. I wanted to ease into him in hopes he'd do the same to me ;-)

:-0 I felt it. A little flutter Her hand and then from within. Estie has my heart, my everything that makes me a man! But right here, right now, I remembered what it was to even look at an other. I'm a horrible, dirty, weak thing for having these feelings. Even if they are but a shadow, an echo of the nightmare I was before Esite. I can barely remember who I was and am better off for it.

"I'm sorry, Miss"


"I'm sorry Liz, but Estrella has my heart"

I've been shot down before but never so eloquently. Or consistently. What's with this guy?

What's with this girl? Maybe I need to show her. Once and for all.

"I'm not kidding"

"I know, you're faithful. That's a good thing...."

"You DON'T know, here, take a look"

I took her hand and put it under my shirt, guiding it upwards.

This guy is going from 0 to 50 in a second! I felt his skin. It was cold but warming up. We crept up until I was just under his left ribcage. There was a hole. Just that, a hole. I felt my hand sink into it.

Our roles were reversed. She penetrated me. I showed her where Estie left her mark. It was dry.

Real dry. I was expecting some sort of wetness.

Her hands grasped the nothing in my chest. So far as I know, my other organs are in place. Functioning. Keeping me alive. I'm not sure how it works.

This kind, sweet, handsome man had no heart. For real! I can see a joke coming a mile away and there was nothing funny about this.

I never showed this to anyone before. Besides Esite, of course. She is the one who made me this way. Who else could understand? Maybe a doctor but this, whatever it is, its not medical. Come to think of it, I haven't seen a doctor since Esite took my heart for safe keeping.

I slipped my hand from his chest. It was still dry. Okay. Okay. O-kayyyy. I'm not going to panic in a moving airplane. That would not work out for me. Okay. I've seen weird stuff before. Remember the "Closer" guy? That upside down asshole? Okay, okay. Ok. I've invested a lot of time in this, attempt, and I'm way past the point of no return.

"I kn..understan..ACCEPT that she literally has your heart. But, what about the rest of you?"

"I, I, I, don't...."

I'm going to put all my cards on the table. I never was a subtle kind of girl anyways.

"I felt you. You may be cold but I can warm you up. I do not think you are that opposed, physically at least, to spending some time with me. I'm not asking you for your heart. I don't even want your last name. I just a piece of you for a little while. I'll give it back when we're done"

She's not listening. She's right, but she does not understand. I do like her. I hate to admit it but I do. I love Estie more than anything but this woman right here is tempting. It's a good thing I cannot do anything about it. I better show her.

"Esite took another piece of me. She keeps that safe too"

I unzipped my jeans and showed her what else was not there. She did not say a word for the rest of the flight. We didn't say goodbye either. I hope I never see her again. Estie is the only one for me. She owns me.

Body and soul

Tuesday, August 17, 2010



He was the one who really did. It was her. He was their real father all along. They're secretly twins. Mom did not die in that accident, she decided to cut her losses and start a new life without you. She is her estranged daughter. It was his sled. He is her unknown son. It was all a dream. He had been fooling himself the whole time only to give himself something to do. He was secretly adopted. You were secretly adopted. Your mom is really your aunt. Your aunt is really your mom. He was insane the whole time. It was a fever dream or the last thoughts of a dying person. It was really just a TV show, play, book, movie, video game, holodeck, simulation, inside of a jar. They are all secretly the same person. Many people are pretending to be one. She never really loved you. He was cheating on you during your whole lives together. He had another family on the side you never knew about. It was Earth all along, it was an alternate history, alternate earth, alternate dimension. They are all trapped in a social experiment. He dies in the end. She dies in the end. You will die in the end. You're going to Hell if there is one. You never loved others as much as they loved you. There probably isn't a Heaven. God doesn't love you. You will never know the truth while you are alive. You will never see your dead loved ones again. It was all for nothing. No one will remember you after you are gone. All you did will be forgotten. The Earth will be burnt to a crisp in time. The sun will bloat and die. The stars will burn out. Heat, light, and all forms of energy will peter out to nothing. Time will cease to exist. Casualty will break down. The Universe will crumble into nothing. You have completed reading this piece.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dream Diary: Home on Mars

Dear Diary: Mars Residence

I took the blue door. Towards the bottom in the left hand corner. If any of them could be the loneliest one, it would be that one.

I was there again. I'm not saying I was getting used to it. You cannot get used to a dream. Even someone who does it as much as I do. But all dreams have a little....smell? of something familiar in them. Something personal that can be different and scary but the dreamer can't mistake or ignore where it came from.

It was cold. The trees almost looked blue. Snow fell. I was in a forest.
I had been here before. There were huge gaps you could walk through and igloos. One time, I went inside and found a lady. She was all blue and white wearing a robe. She seemed very comfortable in this hard weather. She acted nice but seemed scary. She laughed at me and told me I can't keep coming back here. She told me I'm running out of distractions. That someday, I'll come crashing down onto reality.

I saw the bed again. Just in the middle of the snow. It was on a frame and looked clean. Not a fleckle of snow on it. How? I like beds. When I'm sad, or tired, afraid, or just bored I can always climb aboard and escape. I sleep a lot. I think I sleep a little more than I am awake. Its better that way. I hate school. My parents don't understand me. Poniko won't be me friend anymore and there is nothing on TV! I sleep to dream and I dream to live. I go to wonderful places when I sleep. I can go anytime I want to. When I write them down in this diary, I never record the time. Who cares what day it was, they are all the same. I write down where I went to and what I did. That's the real way to do it.

I was not what you would call comfortable but I fell asleep. It was a little different from sleeping normally. I was in the middle of a long set of stairs. It seemed to go on forever. There were hands reaching for the sky all around me. I do not know where they came from or what they were for. I could not see anything beneath the stairs either. Everybody seemed to float still in the air.

I reached the bottom and walked through a dark hall. I found myself in the parking lot of a big mall. It was not one I could think of at the moment but I know I have been there before. I walked past the elevator and moved on. There was a large opening to another hallway in front of me. It was on fire, a huge tongue of flame spilling from it. I wanted to go through.

I thought of what the woman in the igloo told me. That my dream world had limits. How someday I'd get tired of it and have to escape from here too. No! That will never happen! I'll always find something new to explore, something different to effect me. This place is so much better than being awake! I hate being out in the hard mean day with all the hard mean people who don't understand me.

I became the woman in the igloo. My shirt, my skirt became a white robe and my skin turned pure white. I felt so very hot. I was very uncomfortable outside of the snowy forest. I decided to bring the winter with me. The wind and the snow came in a blast of cold. We blew out the fire and I was myself again.

My clothes turned back to normal but inside the snow continued. The flakes fell inside the garage even though there were no openings to the sky. I noticed and just accepted this, dreams being dreams.

I walked through the once burning door, warping myself in steam and smoke. The garage was cluttered, covered in boxes falling off shelves. All their stuff was spilling out. Toys, books, DVDs, CDs; things no one wanted. They failed to sell, they could not fulfill their only reason to be. Now they had to be contained, taken care of and boxed up. I'm like that. I can't take care of myself very well. I don't like being around people but I need them. Life is so hard for me.

It was there again. Blind, roaming, probably deaf, aimlessly wandering. A trail of blood dragged behind it in a line. It was a mouth; big rocky teeth and scabby lips. I do not know what it ate. I mean it had to eat. It was a mouth and nothing else, how could it not?

There were no food in the boxes. Just junk. So it couldn't eat that. I did not see any people or bugs into the garage so it couldn't be eating those. Maybe it ate its mother. Maybe it was a mother and it ate its kids. I never felt threatened by it. It was the way it made me feel that scared me.

I walked past it. It never notices me. There as a gray door in the top right corner. I had seen it before but I had never gone inside. I thought about what she said again and decided to go for it. I walked through the door. The room was small and shaped like a...pear maybe an egg? It was all white. The door I went through smoothed out at an angle. There were these two lumps in the room on the floor. I'm not sure why. The was a round window in the center towards the top. It looked like an eye. I went through the next door, curved like the one I first went through.

He was the there, he was the first thing I saw. Tall, thin, and pale, wearing black. It looked like he was wearing a single piece of shirt and pants. Maybe they were the only clothes he owned. He sat in front of a gigantic piano with two seats. He played, softly and slowly, giving each note a chance to be heard. A chance to be alone, to disappear into silence. There was a huge window on the wall. I saw the star filled sky unfold in front of me.

Most of the "people" I meet in my dreams are not really people at all. They are birdwomen, or little clay dolls with blank faces. They have nothing to say but numbers. I see mushroom people who jingle like bells, snow women in igloos, and blobby walking shadows. This man, the piano man in the spaceship, was one of the rare "people", people. I walked up to him. I usually don't do that. His crossed, broken...? eyes danced around his face trying to look at me. To focus. His hair was long and like stringy. He looked familiar. Everything does but him even more.


He curled his lips and nodded.

My heart began to beat. Its like this every time I try to reach out to someone. Lately its even worse with men. Ever since I turned 13 its been hard to be comfortable around them. I can't tell if they want something I'm not ready to give or its the other away around.

"Are you by yourself?"

He nodded again.

"Yes, its better to be alone"

I usually felt this way too but I wanted to do something different. I thought about what the lady in the igloo told me and I was afraid. I almost never talk to people, I had no idea what to do. I looked around the room as he resumed playing softly. He stopped once a sound left my mouth.

"But then why do you have two seats and such a large piano?"

He starred at me. He was confused too. Time passed.

"Will.... will you play the piano with me?"

I could tell it was hard for him to reach out too. I smiled. It was not something I'm used to. It felt funny on my face.


We played together. I had no idea how long. We were in perfect sync. Its like we knew what each other were thinking. I was better here than I ever was back when I could take lessons. After a while, I told him I was tired and that I wanted to take a nap. He nodded and continued without me. There was a bed in the next room. I climbed in and slowly fell asleep to the sound of his music. I had never dreamed inside of a dream's dream before. That was new.

The horns and sirens woke me up. Lights were flashing. It was like a fire drill. I ran out of bed, still inside the egg shaped pear spaceship. We had taken off from the garage, somehow. I felt the movement in my feet. I ran to the control room with the piano and my new friend. He was panicking. He ran all across the room screaming and mumbling. I tried to talk to him but he was too scared. The Earth and the stars on the screen were shooting faster and faster. Like we were leaving them all behind. Good.

I felt a thump and we were there. My friend was leaning on the piano crying. He did not want to be here, wherever we were. I stepped out of the spaceship and walked down the stairs. We were on a red, rocky planet. I thought people needed space suits and helmets for places like this. I didn't. I could breathe just fine. The air was cold and stuffy. We were outside and there was nothing for kilometers but it still felt like I was in a small dirty room. It was snowing. Come to think of it, it was snowing inside of the spaceship too? Was it? I'm not sure but maybe...?

I curled my hands and pumped my legs. I imagined very hard until I felt it beneath me. I was on my bike. It rode fine of the hard rocks of Mars. I bet none of the other kids have taken a bike ride on another planet! I wish I could tell them but stuff you do in dreams do not count. I found that out the hard way. They laughed at me really mean too.

I rode and rode and rode and rode and rode and rode and rode. The hill started going up at an angle but it did not slow me down. Soon I was on the top of the Mars mountain. I looked around. There was nothing, no one, for as far as I could see. I felt the same way I do when I climb to the top of my apartment when I'm awake. In the real world. Only when I do that, I see lights, buildings, and people lots of people. I felt the same way on that roof as I did here. There might as well be no one when I'm up there. Its all the same and I feel the same. Sometimes I think about jumping. Just like that.

There was a little hole with steam coming out of it. I was too big and fat to fit inside. Somehow, I knew I wanted to go inside. I thought about how little of a person I was and how small big, empty Mars made me feel. I shrank until I was no bigger than a bug. I climbed into the hole and fell.

I woke up in a dark room. Or maybe it was a cave. I had grown back to my normal size again. I was afraid I would have no room but I could move around okay. This will be my home on Mars. It was hot inside that dark hole. I climbed down and crawled a little forward. There it was.

It was a blue, fleshy, tall, open, thing. It stood there...breathing? crying, something. It had green and red bumps on it that looked like tumors. It had a round, exposed,...mouth? like the gills on a fish. Green liquid dripped from a slit in its front.

It was disgusting. I did not know what it was but I hated it! I held out my hand and curled around the knife that I carry with me always. You can only see it when I needed it. I wish I could bring it to school but I don't think they are going to let me back anyways. I stabbed and stabbed and stabbed and stabbed it. It wasn't, but it sure bled like a normal thing. I could hear it scream and it shake but it wasn't enough. It would not die. I stabbed and stabbed and stabbed and stabbed but all I did was for nothing. Nothing.

I saw the snow mix in with its blood. It was snowing! Why was it snowing? I wondered how it could snow inside here and why things were so hot? Then I woke up.

I'm probably going to play NASU for a few hours. I think I can beat my high score. I'll go eat whatever my parents left for me and wait until I get tired enough to go back to bed. When I'm asleep and alive again, I'm probably not going back to Mars anytime soon. I can't live there. I don't care what that lady in the igloo was trying to tell me. I'm never going to run out of things to do while I dream. I'll keep going back, forever and ever. There will always be something new to see if I keep going deeper. Deeper and deeper inside of me, in my head. Where I'm safe.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ex-Nihilo (inc)

At half till midnight they gathered in front of the plastic metal altar. Family, friends, or just friendly folks. What they all had in common was that they were local well-wishers. Someone you could count on to hope for your best. They knew you felt the same for them.

Zell's box of Many Splendid Things

Zell was a bit of a loner. "Was" and "a bit" being the key words. Everyone has a little developing to grow through and Zell's took a little while longer. No one is born perfect, not even his Aunt but she's pretty close if you ask her.

He grew up safe and loved. That may not sound like the most
interesting story but it sure beats the alternative. Zell's childhood was pretty interesting, even if he did not often notice it himself.
Just about everybody thinks their lives could be more interesting. Especially when they are young.

On the western coast of a very fortunate place to be lived
and his family. His aunt, who was really his great grandmother was the first to come to this land. She remembered what things were like back there. There, where many other people with roots like Zell, came from. But Zell and his family kept mostly to themselves for their ways were different. Slightly mind you, but different enough to be very noticeable. Even back then and there too.

Zell walked home from school after a long day of keeping mostly to himself. He raised his hand a few times and spoke when spoken to but he really just wanted to be alone. He had gotten what he wanted. It left him feeling a little funny. He thought of this after his bus dropped him off at the stop, 4 blocks away from home.He walked the rest of the way.

His mother, Paula, stood in the front yard. Her hair was long. It swirled on the top of her head. She wore a dark blue pantsuit with a white blouse. She had a calm smile on her face. One that was full of patience and ready for work. She was talking to the clouds. Three of them to be precise.

"The city would like us to negotiate the next storm"
The first cloud, a small blue one, frowned despite its lack of face.

"Hmm, yes we understand your concerns but please, think of ours. There has been a disturbing lack of
THUNDERING in the past three months" His voice exploding on his favorite word, echoing throughout the block.

The second cloud, gray, big, and wide swooped down to Paula. It floated at her eye level. She sounded very sooty, I mean, snooty.

"What sort of example are we setting for the pufflings. Us Ele-mental Cloud-Citizens must be and feel free to practice our beliefs. This country was founded on raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggggggggg down on all outdoors. Why I remember the nice people who used to run around this country before you. They looked a little indecent in their feathers and leathers but they would perform the nicest little dance for us. For hours!"

The third and smallest cloud was dark and stormy. It did not say a word. Instead, it eliminated the lawn ornaments on Zell's yard one by one with awful, quiet lighting. Paula would duck or jump from time to time but she never lost her nerve.

"I see, I see. I'm glad we are talking here. We truly value what the atmospheric community has to offer. Could we hold off on anything major until the 4th day of this week? The day after tomorrow is the buffalo wing/jerk chicken snack alliance meeting"

The blue cloud floated up and down for a while, thinking.
"Why, what is on the 4th?"
Paula clasped her hands and smiled.
"Its not what's on the 4th, its what on the 3rd. The international fire festival will be held that night. Its not very fun and its certainly not safe. I'm not sure why we keep doing it. It must be one of our old blue laws"
The large blue cloud bobbed up and down. Thinking.

"Very well, I shall refrain from bringing
until midnight on the 4th. I think I can speak the same for Rainetta and Stormy" He floated away into the distance.

"Hmmmmm, yes" Said the big gray cloud as she evaporated into nothing. "See you again soon", she echoed from nowhere. A small, hyper-localized downpour materialized above his mom. It rained on her for 7 seconds.

"Always a pleasure, Paula"
The small dark clouded whispered before exploding. The whole
block was filled with a bright light. When it was safe to open them again, Zell spotted and quickly stamped out a crab grass fire.

"Wonderful! All there's left to do is for me to pick up my check at city hall!"
She turned.

Zell wished his mother had a normal job. Like most children, he was too familiar with is parents to be impressed with them, not matter how much they really deserved admiration. Especially from the people they strive for.

"Hi honey bear! How was school?"

Zell told her about how he got what he wanted that day. How that made him feel. Worst of all, he did not know why he felt it.Every feeling has got to have a reason. They can't just come from nowhere!

"I love you Zell, but I'm what the boys in the House call, and everyone else if you ask them, an "Alpha Dawwwwg"

She threw Devil Horns with her right hand, or the Cowbunga gesture, depending on whom you ask.

"I'm not great with other people's feelings. I have a hard time with yours, and even my own sometimes"

A gentle breeze skipped past the two, a division. Zell remembered and would ask less like this from her as he grew up. The distance would grow as time went on but they never stopped loving one another.

"Talk to your father. He knows the heart like no-one else. Trust me"

He walked inside. He resumed his worksheet. Zell had started it on the bus ride home. His fractions had received all the concentration and gravity one can give your elementary math homework in such a situation. He picked up his pencil, ignored a few now obvious errors he had made previously, and resumed.

"You do not add the denominators, Pug"

Zell looked around. His aunt had a way of filling the room with her presence. He circled the room with his gaze. On the 2nd time around, he found her; right in front of him.

"I only did it wrong on this one"

"Also wrong, I can see where you made the same mistake over and over. Go back to problems '3,7,11,13,17'"
"I'll do them later"
"You'll do it now"

And so he did, his aunt's eyes providing silent tips and quiet feedback. He thought of his day. How he wanted to be alone, got just that, and how it made him feel empty.

"Aunt?" Zell did not know her name, only her title. He would not dream of referring to her as anything else.

She was gone, off to perform one of the many essential things she invisibly completed everyday.

He looked out the window just as the light shifted. A cool breeze came through the window. Maybe it was the same one from before, around the world and back again. It drifted through the room and out another window. Zell wondered where his father was. He heard him from his office.

Even though the door was closed, the muffled music still came through. Zell received lessons from his dad; at least a couple times a week (for all sorts of things). He did not like it that much but he was pretty good and getting better. He was starting to recognize the notes. He was begging to read the language of music. He always wondered why his Dad's music was just a little bit different, a little bit off from everyone else. Zell walked through the door and put his hand over his eyes, from experience.

Zell felt a few hit his face as he walked in. The black notes swarmed around the room. He opened his eyes. Marcus was somewhere between sitting and squatting, pounding away at the keys. Every time he played, a note would appear. Flighty, unprintable; they swooped, hovered, and perched all over the room. Marcus was getting ready for work tonight. Zell usually did not disturb him around this time but he wanted to talk about how today made him feel.




Marcus was startled. His hand slipped. The noise manifested in red tangles of lines. They looked like asterisks.

"Big Guy! How are you? Did you have a good day at school?"

"Yeah dad. I got to use the internet today for a whole half hour. I had it all to my self for recess"

"That's great! You like that!"

"I know, but"

Zell looked at his feet. He was not sure how he felt anymore.

"You don't sound too happy"

"I think ummm, I think I want to play with other kids more. I just don't know how"

Marcus smiled. That was rare. He almost always had a grin on his face, pleased with his life, himself, and the music within. He rarely seemed to react to the mixed world around him. Marcus was a beta dad; not aggressive, not passive, but quietly right. He wanted his son to come to the proper place on his own, no matter what the problem was. Marcus knew that doing the right thing because you wanted to was the only way to make a good thing stick. Paula, who was much stronger, who could command the weather even; she handled the day to day discipline. She was good at it.

"I know just the thing. I'll talk to your aunt. But first, grab the net and help me catch the best ones for tonight's performance"

Zell snatched the healthiest, highest flying notes and gathered them in a bag. He tied off the top and held it up to his father.

"Thanks. Now don't forget, I need your help cleaning up"

Zell frowned.

"I don't like doing that. I hate stuff like that"

Marcus lowered his sunglasses ever so slightly. Paula was one of the few to ever see Marcus without his shades. Zell barely knew what his father's eyes looked like, but he knew just enough to be afraid. Marcus had nothing there. Not "no eyes", nothing. No thing was there and it was so loud. The further you looked into that which was not there the louder it got.

"I'll put the good ones away Zell, now clear the room"

Zell put one hand over his mouth and the other on top of that. He whispered. The noise, the notes were all gone. Vanished. It was quiet, silent. It felt like there was something beyond stillness. It felt like there was less audible material in the entire universe because of what just happened. Because of what Zell did. Something his father taught him. It was unnatural like there would never be a sound again anywhere.

Marcus walked towards the piano and played a single note.

"Good job. Don't tell me you do not like 'stuff like that'. You're good at it. 'Stuff like that' is what makes this family special"

He closed the door before Zell even knew he was in the hallway. He got back to his homework. He fixed the mistakes he made before. It was a Friday but he did not want this hanging over his head all weekend.

He watched a little tv and then went to bed. He dreamed of his animal friends. He dreamt
of his glass boots that let him walk on walls. He watched a tucan, one he knew very personally, fly with a rainbow in its wake. It was funny how well he knew his animal friends, whom he only saw in the occasional dream. He knew them better than the real people in his real life.






And so he did. His aunt had tilted the top if his mattress forward. With one hand even! He gently slid down to the foot of the bed.

"Your father told me you'd like some more friends"

"Yes, yes I do"

"Now that I think of it, do you even have any?"

Zell could only think of study buddies and acquaintances. Ironically enough, the latter being a word he learned while with a study buddy.

I'm going to make something for you. Something you need to share. It will help you make friends. But first, we have to do some shopping"

Zell Marcus, Paula, and his Aunt sat down for breakfast together. His dad was tired from performing late last night. Mom was pretty satisfied with how the weather was turning out. Paula and Marcus ate traditionally while Zell enjoyed two lunches and a dinner whenever possible. Friday was his turn, so the night before he laid out the food and the spices. He said the prayer for the occasion, gave his thanks, and crossed it with a wish. He had faith it would cook itself through the night. Why wouldn't it?

Zell's Aunt did not like to drive. She was great at it but did not enjoy the experience. So she would often take the alternative route. It was not the most scenic way to go but it got you there, fast. She grabbed Zell and led him with one hand and the gas can from the garage with the other. She flicked her wrist and poured a few drops on the cold floor. She wrote the address of the mall on a small piece of paper. She dropped it into the gasoline pool and let it soak. They climbed into the car. As her hand turned the keys in the ignition, the note burst into flames.

When the smoke cleared they were there. Zell and his aunt stepped out into the parking lot. Zell's aunt wasted no time. She knew what children liked. Not what adults think children will like but what they actually do. They went to the Electronics Boutique before they changed their name and became ever more obnoxious. They bought the latest Playstation, a few games, and many controllers.

They went to the musty Games Workshop. Zell gasped, not at the fantastic creatures and wicked battle vehicles but at the fact he saw a girl in there. A pretty one too. His Aunt purchased all sorts of monsters, soldiers, aliens, cyborgs, robots, elves, and plenty of paint.

They stopped at the comic store that was rapidly morphing into a one stop hipster shop. They picked up ongoing serial issues, one shots, and graphic novels. Zell grabbed decks and packs of collectible card games with more of the monsters, vampires, super heroes, hackers, and lizardmen kids love.

They drove back. Doing it the special way in public was too much of a hassle. Zell was relived. When they pulled into their garage, Paula and Marcus were waiting for them. They held hammers and saws. A wood chipper roared in the back. Zell was a little nervous until he saw the box. It was sitting on a card table, waiting for him.

It was long and wide. It was a jewelry box that a boy could love.The box was bright green, no, yellow! It seemed to change colors the more you looked at it. It almost smiled at you. Even without a face. Maybe it was the way the handle looped or all the fun for nothing buttons it had.

He moved the top up and down. it did not squeak from its hinges; it giggled. Zell had never been more excited about something so empty before.

His aunt put the bags and boxes of toys on the floor. Zell's attention snapped back to them. He watched in horror as his mom and dad smashed them all! Hammers rained down on the video game paraphernalia. Plastic, metal, and discs flew all over the room. They picked up the pieces and placed them in the box. Paula scooped up the little army monsters and threw them into the chipper. She collected most of the dust and put that in there too. Marcus tore the comics and collectible card decks with his bare hands. Sometimes he did many at once, like those strongmen with phone books. His aunt scooped up the remains and poured them into the box. It was more then Zell could bear. He ran to his room in tears.

He stayed up late playing video games before going to bed. They were now not as fun as they were before. He dreamed of his animal friends again. Now they were boring and little difficult to be around. His glass boots broke after a few steps. He woke in the middle of the night. Restless, he crept silently down the starts as only little boys can do. He went into the garage. The box was still there; still spectacular. Zell was very confused that night.

He opened the box and peered in. Nothing.

"It's just a stupid box. Nothing but junk"

"Wrong even more. This is a box of Many Splendid Things"

Her aunt walked in, or rather, appeared.

"It's empty. Why did you give me a cool looking box with nothing in it?"

"Zell my little Pug, the box doesn't work when you're alone. You have to share it"

She put one hand on his shoulder and with the other, she reached inside. She pulled out something round. It was glowing. It was wonderful! He could almost see it.

The next thing Zell knew, he was on the bust to school. Sunday had vanished like so many do. He sat next to Billy. Back then to Zell, he was an/əˈkwāntns/ ,someone he knew a little bit about but generally ignored.

"Hi Billy"

He smiled. It made Zell smile back.

"Hi Zell. I said 'hi' to you a few times before but I'm glad you just noticed. What's in the box?"

Zell realized it was in his lap. Oh my God, I can't believe they did this to me! Why did they make me take this to school? Talk about making friends, the kids are going to eat me alive because of this. THEY ARE GOING TO MAKE FUN OF ME SO MUUUUUCCCCCH

I don't know, Billy"

Billy reached in. Zell held his breath. Billy's arm bent and he pulled out two collectible card decks. Each one was in its own special case.

"Cooooool! I love this game. I didn't know you were a Spell Jammer!"

Zell did not know he was one either. He did not know how or when he became one but he did know how to play. Somehow. And he wanted to. With Billy.

"Let's play"

And so they did. Zell would play with Billy many times growing up from then on. Every time he was with friends and he reached into the box, he'd pull out the perfect toy for the situation. Without even knowing what he was looking for! He made other friends too and people even more special to a boy than a good friend but that came much later. That required a different kind of box. He made friends and special friends his whole life and even beyond that. The box helped start the whole thing but as time went on, Zell found other ways to reach out to people. He found new ways to like and be liked.

Zell would later grow up, grow into and later apart from, his very strange family. Yet he always stayed close and would never forget his box of Many Splendid Things. Even after he finally put it away; confident and comfortable around people. Zell was not a loner anymore.

Iwannatrytabea (inc)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Marou and The Big Bitch

And so it was that I, Marou the Very Terse (the "very" part I added myself, "Terse" being a beloved nickname the people have bestowed upon My Self) was called upon to investigate TrollRock outpost, the furthest and least watched sphere of our great empire. Scoffers will scoff and underestimate the magnitude of this task but this comes from their prejudices and not from a genteel understanding of the real life facts surrounding the situation. People really should not arrive at a conclusion before they themselves see what they are talking about! I hate assumptions! True, decades before my quest began, I too had many a chuckle in a tavern amongst knight and bureaucrat, the dedicated and the less so, all expressing a wistful desire's wish to be reassigned to such a remote location.

Deeply beneath the joviality, there was something left handed, something sinister surrounding TrollRock outpost. To say there was evil there would be irregardlessly redundant for the outpost had famously defended the larger, main body of Re-Chord Empire, our beloved home many a time on numerous occasions. Very few assigned to work there returned and those who did were irreversibly changed with radically extreme attitudes and different ways of thinking.

Fresh from discovering and making contact with another race of intelligent blue lizard-men (these ones had frills on their ankles, a stark difference never before witnessed in Lower Continent blue lizardmen) From this accomplishment, had made quite a name for myself in round adventuring circles and social networks.

I am (or I started out as) a Druid. I am not into your face about it, no, I enjoy plenty a holiday vacation into cities and urban environments of dense population concentration, ethnic and species diversity, and huge stark differences in technology depending on location, local laws, and available resources. Our world is so large that the city and the forest can co-exist. There is plenty of room for both. If not, we can always create pocket dimensions for blocks and buildings that scrape the sky. Nature, in all its beauty is wonderful and complex, containing thousands maybe even millions of years of history, equilibrium, and balance. But a couple of Wizards on a good day, or a pack of pixies, or even some of the Druid greats like "Barking Tree Feather", or "Gulch, {the sound a wet tree makes when it falls into a 100% naturally occurring hole}" could raise up more or less the same thing if you gave them like a week or around 7 days. I have not hit that level yet and I have all the time in a heat filled universe to get there if I don't get myself killed (like most people do and will) before then, so I took up a little bit of Rangering.

I took to spending many a day with my hands on a long taut bow trying to penetrate stationary and later moving targets with my wood. There is something cathartically satisfying about it but I just cannot seem to articulate that into words. Not only that, but this allows me to adventure on my own and share the bounty with no one but myself and inevitably the merchants I will exchange (after converting into some sort of recognized currency unless they accept only bartering) it for goods, services, and services involving goods.

So the good, kind, wise, just king sent me on My Self way to investigate. He claimed my unique character and perspective will provide me with an immunity to TrollRock's ways changing ways. He promised My Self an advance upon My return and I'm not sure that's how its supposed to work but he is the King after all. There is no way he could have such authority unless he was supposed to. I mounted and then climbed on top and rode my faithful, trusty, reliable, steed, Trans-Po and galloped (with occasional bouts of trotting) to TrollRock. Marou the Very Terse was off to adventure once again!

I was not experienced enough to ride the wind or sink into the ground itself for fast travel but I had a few tricks that extended the durability of my magic horse. Every 6 hours or so I would shrink it down to the size of a fly. I would then use more magics to refresh its spirit, renew its lost calories, and remove any lactic acid buildup hindering the movement of its muscles in conjunction with its bones and ligaments. You know the natural way. A well rested horse means a well rested rider which is exactly what I needed to be.

After twilight and before sunrise I saw him. I was practicing drawing my shaft when I spotted him from my hat mounted vision-lens. There he was, a goblin, or maybe just a midget orc, it can be hard to tell sometimes. He was just kind of standing around. No doubt he was thinking of villages to raid or dirty, stupid, awful, intolerant goblin stuff to do. I lined him up in my sights, to snipe him dead alone. Acknowledged by none other in his last moments but his killer. Me.

I thought for a moment as my view focus close up to his face, spotting his pores and constant, uncontrollable micro-expressions,. Maybe he is one of the good ones, an exception. I started feeling for him. At the moment, he was just whistling as he walked through the dew. No doubt he was on his way to doing something bad or leaving the location of a vile deed, but at the moment, the very moment I saw him then, alive, he was harming no one. I flirted with sparing him as I let go of the string. It was too hard to resist feathering him, and right between the eyes too! Sweet! I do love headshots.

I was on the cusp of having just enough experience in the Ranger arts that I could take it to whole other level (like I had done previously and will continue to do so about 15 or slightly more times). As soon as he drew his last breath I felt it, the knowledge and the wisdom well up inside of me all at once. As I took a moment to process and organize this quickening I suddenly grasped a few other concepts and muscle memory routines to make me all around better in other Ranger ways not just directly related to the bow (but including and additionally too) . There was a slight pain in my chest as I felt a small but perceivable part of me leave. Something good and important had diminished within My Self. I made a note to make up for this (possible mind you) unprovoked act of goburder with a few random acts of obvious, nuance free positivity which I by now no doubt had hardily accumulated once I completed that particular quest. As I learn more about this world, our home, and the people (and slightly less) who inhabit it, I discover more and more instances of once acceptable forms genocide backfiring, even harming the good Hero's soul.

I took an extra day to relax, polish my dagger, tighten my string, sharpen my pole, clean my sack, and even to indulge myself a little. You do not want to walk into a dangerous situation with sex on the mind. It's distracting. Sometimes the foul but pleasing to the eyes villainsesses adorn themselves, lightly, loosely, in garments that are very distracting. When fellow champions of justice do the same it can lead to embarrassing situations, non-professional conduct in a professional (but non-conventional) environment, and starring on my part. Sorry ladies of valor. There is nary a spell for wondering eyes that tend to hover around cleavage. It takes a strength of character that comes less from adventuring and more from just becoming more mature and less creepy. This is a virtue I find little time to nurture when I am usually and mostly bouncing from dungeon, to cave, to tower, to town, and back again. It is all too a deeply profound way to live.

My equipment was primed, my body rested, my mind filled with spells because that's how they worked, somehow. I would later start looking at magic through the point system, it's much more convenient and flexible for your modern magic user. The idea of memorizing a spell multiple times and forgetting it after casting it while still having reserves of memory is pure fantasy. That fact that it still works for some is besides the point. I tethered Trans-Po with a rope attached to a large object he could not move despite his supernaturally augmented abilities that were already quite impressive without such fantastical modification in order to guarantee he would be there upon my return. Whoops.

Legend foretold and spoke of the current leader assigned to TrollRock outpost. The Terrible Big Bitch. Re-Chord is a progressive, forward thinking empire yet we are well within reason and a sense so everyday it is apparent amongst the commoners. It is rare to see a female in charge of such a dangerous, remote, far flung frontier. She kept the kingdom safe and the border secure since her placement there decades ago but she was infamous and negatively famous for her methods. She was well known for her terrible wraith and mighty rages.

I hiked up the narrow path. The mountains to My Self, nothing but a forest at an angle with less trees and more rocks. I knew I was close because the clouds gathered and the sky darkened which is something it tends to do when big, important, and interesting things (the kind worth a story) happen.

The first thing I, saw, in the distance was... a smith. A smith of... some sort. Meh. I never really bothered to learn which kind does or makes what. I just usually go by the picture outside their shopE (which is the proper way to spell it, I do not care how long you have been working) unless it says something completely different or needlessly, pointlessly, without meaningfullyness, ironic. It's so pretentious; I hate it when people try to come off as more sophisticated than they really are. Its really just a sign of insecurity.

"Hail, smith of wares. I am Marou, the Very Terse. I bestow upon thee a greetings of salutation"

He smiled a simple smile and gave a simple, basic answer.

"Hi Marou, my name is Peol"

Despite his abrupt, informal salutation, I sensed a kind, simple soul and shook his hand with my own. I felt sweat and common grease patter my palm. It took My Self about 7 years to do it, but I resisted my urge to instinctively wipe my hand immediately in front of him. I turned around first.

"What brings you to TrollRock Outpost?"

"I have come to speak with the commander, your commander, the commander of this outpost, though on an academic, chain of command, and situational level I could fulfill this function wonderfully. It is a rare, uncommon thing indeed for such a thing to be left in the care of a woman, heh. So as you can see, she must be given guidance periodically in regular, multiple, numerous, intervals"

"I see"

He looked around, nervously pensive and I wonder if he did really see? It was as if he was worriedly concerned that my words would endanger us into a perilous situation of clear identifiable threat.

"The Good King has sent me to investigate her. The Big Bitch"

His eyes widened. Or maybe the iris shifted a little bit. It's hard to tell but what was apparent was shock on his part. I can read people very well even when its subtle body language like this.

"The Big Boss. The Big Boss! That's what we call her. Or 'Miss' Some of my elders have earned the right to call her "Estrella" which I think used to be her name. Back when she first started here a few decades ago. I think I've been here long enough to call her that but I'm going to wait an extra year to play it safe"

I could see that I could not get an honestly objective account of her skill based competence from "chuckles" over here. So I extended my hand once again to meet his in a shake and I moved on, proceeding forward.

As I walked his voice trailed off, a last minute appeal. "She does a fine job. Aye, she's tough, but she is fair. Most commanders are just the former". He called out a parting word. A pathetic plea to the prideful vanity of his femthority figure of position.

I continued to continue. The air grew cold, harsh, and biting as I ascended upwards. There were these little huts where the employee's families lived. A wise man would have kept such weak links like husbands, wives, children, and loved ones far away for they are weak links in a solid chain of defense. It is better to allow the workers infrequent but large chunks of time with them for the annual or bi-annual break. Here it seemed to be the opposite with the guards, archers, wizards, smiths, and cooks working in shorter shifts. This would give them frequent, daily, but shorter breaks for their time off.

I spotted a fair maiden in the distance. She was casting spells upon a large square of crops divided into four sections. They were harvested and later rotated to enrich the soil. She was completely focused on her task. Her face, pleasing to the eye, her figure, the same but more.

"Hail and greetings fair maiden"

She turned to me, surprised.

"¡ßѧ! what?"

A corrupted, malformed spell screeched towards me. I recognized what it was going to be and let it hit my arm. A patch of grass replaced the hair once on it. It made My Self feel calm and a whole lot less hungry. It spread to the other arm too, over time. I still have it and its kind of nifty and I do not know if I want to have it disenchanted.

"I'm sorry, are you alright?"

"Yes, for I knew your spell would prove harmless and incapable of doing damage"

She wrinkled her brow. It was cute and endearing. No doubt this would be the only wrinkle she would allow with her vain magics.

"If you give me the chance, good sir, I can prove to you not all of my spells are harmless"

"Of course"

"I can tell by the small patch on your arm that you are an investigator for Rec-Chord"

"Observant and beautiful, you are quite the commodity"

She gave me a most unladylike sneer.

"Well, good sir, I can tell you, Miss Estrella, you may know her by the unfortunate and unfair title..."

"The Big Bitch! Yes, I am quite informed, thank you!"

"Shhhhhh, keep your voice down. Please call her Estrella, if you insist"

"I do I do insist on not calling her Estrella!"

"Estrella is tough but the fairest commander I have ever had"

"So she is as lovely as you?"

"I meant fair as in just, wise, evenhanded, competent, that sort of thing. I'd hate to go on for no reason. It really should not matter what she looks like. I have never seen her when she's not working but I hear on her off time she's quite pleasant. She's never not working though"

I could see this one was biased as well. Probably even more than the simple smith for there is an insidious feminine brotherhood of sisters who cover and accommodate one another to make up for their obvious womanly deficiencies.

Like the simple smith before her she called out to me with her voice speaking words as I continued on my way.

"You know, being highly pleasing to the eye of those who's nethers are too close to their hearts is not always a good thing. Maybe if I just wanted to bounce around, giggle, pose, and be gawked at for millenniums things would be easy but that's not me. I wanted to work, I wanted to be good at something and often it seems like you can't be beautiful and competent too"

I cared little for what she had to say but I record this for the sake of this yarn. I'm sure it bores you too. I was fairly far away but her voice carried, augmented by witchcraft like, no doubt, her visage. Not that I minded, in fact I prefer it in general and encourage all females of acceptable intelligence to enhance themselves visually. Why wouldn't they? Its great.

"I thought it was just the males who would dismiss a comely witch of prowess but the females do it too. They are even worse! Maybe its jealously or some other base absorption of the toxic folly around them. A self defense mechanism that attacks the innocents around her! But nay, not Estrella. She's tough and she's fair. That would be okay with the scoffing public if she were a heeeeeeeee!!!"

Of course for that is the proper role in the grand scheme of things. The big picture, the subconscious narrative, a tried and true trope. A theme for thought, if you will possibly consider this fancy into your mind's brain.


She had overestimated how long she needed to extend the sound and it accompanied my ears for maybe half of a whole, complete hour encompassing a rough estimatude of 30 different sequential minutes. Including the seconds too.


Wench, please! Enough. Does not one and all of us together collectively as one even though we are many detest unnecessary, repetitive, redundancy? That was my name of nicks given to me when I was a wee lad barely over a century in the highest of schools. Not the most advanced but the last level of that particular part of publicly provided by the state common education. Alas, that is my biggest, deepest, largest, most personally profound weakness in my life. True, my family could afford to send me to a private one but I did not have the "aptitude" at the time. I am a late bloomer, if you will, and such a turn of phrases of words into a meaning beyond their specific, literal combination of subject, verb, and noun, is always quite the hilarious tickler of ribs to Druids and Rangers like myself (or double self) and if you give me time I will turn out alright. It was also an accurate statement of truthfulness in accordance with facts that exist that I attend a Kollege of Druidery that was very exclusive and more importantly, expensive. Not to me personally from my own account of currency, property, and contacts but the parents in my family that I came from.

Come to think of it, did I not have an instructor with a name like Estrella back when I was a wee lad?


And so did I come to the actual border, where the empire's land did truely end at this specific spot, right here, or there, because I am not longer "here" with "here" meaning "there" as in the end of TrollRock outpost the one specific most important part that is guarded by the Big Bitch and her crew of brainwashed sycophants. I saw him standing there. Tall, mighty, muscled, thick, and Barbaric. I mean I found him quite rational and lucid but clearly this was a Barbarian of a very advanced level. They say the human who chooses not to extend his years makes the best Barbarian. The dedicated hitting their peak and holding onto it for longer than you'd think. Being neither of those I never found much appeal in that class (in the loosest term, no doubt, huzzah!) of adventuring.


"Stop right there".

His voice was loud and bold, like it would be the sort of thing you express into written words with extra ink.

"I know why you are here and I will allow you to fulfill your duty because we are all loyal children of the Empire"

"Many thanks, I see you are one of the good ones, all too rar..."

"Shut your mouth of fornication and listen, squishy wizard..."

"Druid with a lot of experience in Rangerin..."

He growled and it felt like a slap across the face. My face. The face that tells you the story you are listening to unfold sequential with the occasional colorful and necessary interruption to provide flavor and content. You know! His voice somehow was so strong that he could in bursts simulate a percussive attack from a distance.

" You will soon have experience with my axe if you do not allow me to finish my thought"

I stiffed a giggle when me mentioned the concept of cognition.

"I here, Hudson Rock, the Barbarian, am telling you Estie is the best boss anyone could have. I, someone as uncommon as myself too scoffed like a scoffer at the idea of working for a woman. But she is tough and she is fair. I'd say she is just as tough as she is fair. Its a perfect combination. She doesn't just tell you what to do, she works with you. Sometimes literally working with you"

Clearly the female has no concept of delegation.

"She could do this job all by herself and at first, she did! But that's too much and she does not want to go through that Hell. She's more valuable looking at the whole operation. I get frustrated, Barbarian rage frustrated at the false idea that she can't do this job because she's a she. And it makes me madder when people give her a hard time for doing it so well. Why she's the only boss I ever had who could look past my buggery and judge me based on my work...."

He trailed on and on, looking fairly sad. Right around when he started complaining about his parents I held up my hand in a false but necessary non-verbal body language provided apology of sorryitiude. He nodded and let me interject, with words that I had just thought of.

"Everyone here tells me how great she is and the empire has not been invaded. So this is working. But I still need to speak with the Big Bitch to properly review her, no matter what the results have been"

His voice cowered and shrank. The grip on his stone axe (yikes!) loosened.

"Shhh, she can hear you. Don't call her that. She hates that"

"I careth not for if the Big Bitch wishes My Self to address her properly she will stop hiding behind her underlings afford the same polite courtesy to My Sel.."


"Is this a joke? Of all the idiots the Good King could send, he choose you"

"No one but 'Marou the Terse' could be this condescending and unnecessary"

All three heads laughed. One of those angry laughs. They spewed ice, fire, and lighting.

"Marou the Redundant. Really. Good. To. See..........................................................................................................

"I heard everything you said. Every. Thing. And you say quite a lot"
"You are the same pompous little jerk as you were in High School. People like you have no sense of humor. You probably think they really mean it when they call you 'Terse'"
"Being better, much better granted, at casting spells and sniping one of the pretty rare innocent goblins doesn't make you a more complete person"
"It does not take your character to another level. It doesn't even make you more interesting"
"You are still an asshole! Stop being such an asshole!"

All three heads shot out their element once again. This time in a guttural rage. She pawed at the ground, grinding solid rock like it was dirt. It really hurt, burned, shocked, and froze My Self. It probably should have been fatal to my corpus bodily form but I suspect Estrella had such perfect control that she made it just as damaging as it could be without being deadly. She was huge. Like maybe the height of two elves standing on top of each other with a little extra dwarf at the peak.
All six eyes glowed. All three jaws were filled with razor sharp, pristine white fangs. They crowded her mouths. There was a spiked collar on each head. Her ears, which looked like they could be floppy in happier times, stood right up. Spiked. As in actual spikes not just straight up but they looked like another part of her gigantic monstrous form that could kill me. Just like her razor barbed tail. AND THIS WOMAN WAS A WIZARD WHEN I SAW HER SO LONG AGO, "NOW", OR AS IN "THEN", NOT "NOW" IN THE CURRENT AMOUNT OF TIME THAT WE ARE OCCUPYING BUT THE "NOW" AS IN "THEN" THAT I INSTANTLY BEGAN REMEMBERING AT THAT THEN THE "NOW" MOMENT, MY TIME WITH ESTRELLA. SOMETHING I HAD BLOCKED OUT OF MY MIND BECAUSE OF I BLOCKED OUT MOST OF HIGH SCHOOL FROM MY MIND BUT HER IN PARTICULAR BECAUSE OF HOW SCARY SHE WAS!

"Now I respect the fact you have a job to do. Ask whatever questions you need to. NOW"

"How are things going here?"

"FINE. Now get the fuck out and deliver your message, errand boy. And don't think you're fooling anyone. Everyone knows you've turned"

The last things I heard her say as she teleported me back was "You did a fine job Hudson but I do not need you defending me...."

I returned to the Good King with the truth. The border was defended by the finest person for the job, no matter what the "proper role" a sex should occupy. I had gained real experience. Not the accumulation of impressive effects that are not very useful in social situations but life experience. I resolved to be a little bit less of a bigot, day by day, for an epiphany is something that takes a little while to sink in or it will tragically pass you by. I also resolved try make great efforts to live up to my name. My real name, not the ironic one. I'm going to start getting to the point from then on. So how did I do? Be honest.