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C'mon in, take yer shoes off, and set yerself down. Here you will find comics, cartoons, musings, rants, . . . whatever strikes my fancy, or "Spins my Plush", so to speak.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Day After . . .


8-A Strange Benefactor


The sky was a pale grey as 387 looked out from a sea of Genies. Each was dressed in almost identical uniforms, except for the series of numbers located over each soldier’s heart. 387 himself was also dressed in the uniform, the only clothing he had warn since he was a young boy--basically as long as he could remember. He looked around at his fellows and watched as they slowly raised their right fists into the air in perfect unison. His eyes shot to the front and slightly above the throng, and he, too, shot his fist into the air.

Drakon stood upon his balcony, looking over his troops. Slowly, he raised his arms as well, and swept his hands as if motioning for someone to step forward. At first 387 thought that it may be himself, but he suddenly had a sense of motion behind him. The sense was hard to describe, as there was no sound--in fact 387 could hear nothing at all--or any indication at all. He just knew.

387 turned, knowing that to turn from Drakon was wrong, but an overwhelming sense of curiosity took away any self-control that he had ever had.

Even before his head had gone fully around, a slender arm brushed past his face. He felt a tickle at the back of his neck and spun a little faster to see a second arm that had brushed against his hair. He straightened his gaze and found himself looking into those shimmering green pools. Before he could even react, he was engulfed in that fire red hair, as the softest lips in the world parted his own. There was no more female and male. There was only one perfect being. And 387 could only feel . . . something. A belonging. A happiness. A wholeness. A . . . peace? Whatever it was, he had never felt it before that day in the Crucible, and, until now, he hadn’t felt it since. All he wanted was to stay in this embrace forever. He didn’t need food. He didn’t need water. He didn’t need air. He just needed this . . . female. To hell with Drakon.

“SKREEEE . . .”

The lips pressed against his suddenly fell away. Those shimmering pools rolled back and overflowed their banks. Her weight was nothing to him, but as she slumped into his arms, it was suddenly more weight than 387 could bear. He looked into her eyes and saw fear, and hatred, and all he could do was mirror those emotions in his own eyes.

He grabbed at her waist to lower her to the ground, and felt something wet and sticky. He looked down and saw only red. It flowed from a hole in her side where her left kidney had once been. It splattered over her clothing and his. It pooled at his feet. In fact, it all seemed to be flowing straight to him. As he raised his hand, it dripped from his fingers and disintegrated in the residual energy of his own just-released bio-blast.

387 only then became aware of the fact that all this had happened as if in slow motion. And with the realization that she was dead . . . that he had killed her . . . time stopped for a moment, then snapped back to real-time. 387, the angel still in his arms, turned toward Drakon. The sea of Genies had disappeared somehow, and the sky had turned fire red. Drakon stood on his balcony, looking at the scene below him.

387’s eyes filled with the same water that had been in the angel’s eyes, and his mouth dropped open.

“Forgive me, sire,” he mouthed, but still no sound penetrated the all-encompassing veil of silence.

But then, . . . a crackling. Faint at first, but building. Looking around to see the source, 387 could not find an explanation. Then a bead of sweat dripped past his eyes from his own forehead. He followed the gleaming marble to the ground, where everything was now on fire.

387 eyes shot open and he sat upright in a dark cavern. He gasped for air as he looked into a crackling fire built in a fireplace hollowed out of one wall. Over the fire, a freshly killed and cleaned fowl cooked, and the scent made 387 suddenly hungry.

He lay back onto the furs that made his bed, and he realized a sharp, shooting pain in his head. He remembered the chip, and what he had done to remove it. Without emotion he came to the realization that he had lived, and that what he had just experienced was only a dream. His personal situation resolved, he turned his attention to his surroundings.

He turned his head to a beam of light breaking through an opening in one of the four cold, stonewalls. The direct light blinded him for a moment, and he covered his eyes with his hands. As his pupils adjusted, he realized that he wasn’t alone. Attempting to guard himself, he flinched, but his once perfectly-tuned body no longer wanted to obey. Even his words of warning caught in his throat.

A large form blocked out the beam of light, and once more his eyes were forced to adjust.

“So,” the deepest voice he had ever heard rang softly in his ears,” you have finally decided to join me?”

The voice was like two oil drums beating together.

A large palm wrapped across his forehead. It felt cold and hard, not unlike the rock that made up the room,” The fever has broken. I must admit, I did not think it possible that you would recover.”

“ . . . ,” again 387’s words could not find their way out of his mouth.

“Ah, so you think that after all this time you will monopolize our conversation. I think not,” the voice was deep but comforting--it reminded 387 of another sound but he could not remember from where. “Worry not. If your life’s energy has returned, your voice will find it’s way.”

387 felt one of the rock-hands slide under his head and raise it, far more gently that he would have believed possible. He then felt a hard surface against his lips, as water ran past them and down his throat.

He hadn’t realized how thirsty he was, but now that it was in his mouth, the injured soldier couldn’t have enough, and he used all his remaining strength to suck in as much of liquid as he could. He felt a tickle in his throat and knew the water had gone down the wrong way. He coughed and choked, and in his own mind cursed as he felt the spray on his face as the fluid spit from his mouth.

The hand lowered his head back down. “Patience, my friend. We must not have you drown before you recover from your injuries.”

The beam of light suddenly grew brighter as the form moved out of the room. 387 opened his eyes in one last effort to see to whom he had been listening. He saw the flip a long red gown against the stone wall as the figure passed through the portal and was gone. No longer able to fight off the darkness, he fell into sleep once more.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Ballad of Fred the Pierogi


Written originally for Twitter, "The Ballad of Fred the Pierogi", is, as with all of Twitter, completely backwards:

Is this the end? The end of Fred the pierogi? Of course not. Fred the pierogi was devoured three days ago with salsa. He was delicious! Fin.

10:46 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

And, with one last swig of whisky, Fred the pierogi would head into the night to purchase feminine hygiene products at Shoppers Drug Mart.

10:44 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

"If only someone loved MY schwetty balls," Fred the pierogi would think as the SNL commercial that was on the screen faded slowly away.

10:43 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

Fred the pierogi would grab the European carryall that was an Xmas gift so many years before, shutting off the latest episode of Dollhouse.

10:41 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

"Get your purse," Fred the pierogi's wife would then scream. She was mean to Fred the pierogi, for Fred the pierogi's wife never loved him.

10:39 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

And, without fail, every week, Fred the pierogi would sit with failed anticipation as the same message, "Download Failed", popped onscreen.

10:37 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

Fred the pierogi would sit and wait as his laptop would earnestly chug away, downloading its update, bit by bit, byte by byte, until done.

10:35 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

Once a week, Fred the pierogi would receive a message from his laptop that an update to his software was available, & Fred would allow this.

10:34 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

One day, Fred the pierogi decided to download Apple Software. The download, like most downloads, was not without pain, but not so bad.

10:32 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

Once upon a place, in a time not very far away, there lived a pierogi named Fred. Fred, like all pierogis, was delicious with saut├ęd onion.

10:31 PM Dec 11th, 2009 from web

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Self Portrait

So I normally like to maintain a low profile . . . not speak too loudly, avoid cameras, that sort of thing. But, my Mom said the other day, "That sketch of the woman on your website is perfect. You should do a self portrait."

To this I responded, "I already did."

"Why haven't I seen it?" she replied.

"You have!" I said.

"Well why don't you post it on your website?" She answered.

So . . . it's old . . . it's more or less out of date . . . so it therefore can't do much harm. Here it is.

Of course, I haven't even written enough text to get to the bottom of the picture yet, and I have nothing left to say.

How about a parable?

A very religious mother once asked her two sons while watching a news report on the space station, "For heaven's sake, why do people have to do that? Head off into space, and risk their lives?"

The two sons couldn't answer the question.

Many years later, one of the two sons had married and had a beautiful daughter. The other was still single, but interested. On a magnificent summer day, they decided to attend a beer tasting. After the event, feeling somewhat tipsy, the wife of the first son came to pick up the brothers with her daughter.

Feeling hungry, the second son offered to buy dinner for his brothers family, and so the four stopped at a local restaurant. They ordered some food and drinks, and, as the daughter was barely more than a year old, she was to share her father's milkshake and meal.

After the drinks had arrived, but before the food, the first son looked at his daughter and saw her reaching for his milkshake. He happily brought the cup over to her and allowed her to wrap her lips around the straw. As she finished a deep drink he turned to his wife and began to pull the drink away. Just as he did so, the little girl reached out and grabbed the straw. Pulling it from the cup, she gently turned it over and stuck the opposite end into her mouth, sucking what was left out of the bottom."

"See? I knew it! She's smarter than we are!" a beaming, proud father turned to his wife.

"What?" She asked.

"How did she know to turn the straw around and suck the milkshake out of the bottom? She's never seen us do that. And her baby sitter would never give her anything like a milkshake."

The brother who was the girl's uncle watched the pride in the young parents' faces, and the answer to his own mother's question from years before suddenly dawned on him:

Maybe God exists. Maybe God doesn't exist. But assuming that such an entity or energy is there, to think that the "force" that could create all that is could care about being praised and worshipped is to assign one of the most base human emotions to something that has to be beyond such a thing. But what would provide meaning to any creator, as to any parent, is watching its creation, or child, exceed what it is meant to do, and do what it's not supposed to be able to do. Even so small an act as to figure out that some milkshake always gets stuck in the straw.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Day After . . .


7-A Desperate Escape

He felt a little light-headed. He had wrapped his wounds in shreds of his uniform as soon as he could afford to pause, but the rags were soaked through with his blood. And the elevation he had climbed to didn't help matters.

He had managed to get a good head start on his pursuers, but the tracking device implanted in his head since shortly after his birth would lead them to him sooner or latter. He had managed to find a crevice in a mountain face that he could reach, even in his condition. The ancient granite around him managed to block the signal, at least temporarily, but the closed quarters didn't make breathing any easier. And what he was about to do may very well make it impossible.

He hadn't known the tracking device could be made "invisible" do Drakon's satellites, but he had seen the confusion the rocky canyons had caused among his pursuers. They always reacted when he would pop into view while jumping over a crest, falling behind when he left their line of sight. They also hadn't detonated the chip, yet.

Programmed to detonate if it did not receive the proper signals in the proper sequence--one from an overhead satellite, one from his heartbeat, one a neurologic impulse--it had not yet gone off. Perhaps, in case an officer had to leave an accessible site--to go underground, like in the sewer--a delay was placed on the chip, so the officer could complete the mission.

Ripping a steel band that had beam woven into the seam of his pants, 387 blasted it with a bio-blast, cleansing it like a scalpel.

"Uhhh . . ." The exertion almost knocked him from the narrow ledge he had perched on. It had to be now.

"AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

He started screaming even before the thin steel rod penetrated his nasal cavity, lodging itself in the silicon-metal chip below his hypothalamus. Blood poured along the rod and out his nostrils. If he had any more strength left, the rod would have punched straight through the chip setting, puncturing his brain and killing him instantly. As it was, he collapsed backwards, convulsing, but alive.

Unconsciousness wrapped its warm arms around him.

And the wolves drew closer, but they had lost the scent.