Artificial Peace

Daily Prompt: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

by Krista on February 26, 2014

What is the best dream you’ve ever had? Recount it for us in all its ethereal glory. If no dream stands out in your memory, recount your worst nightmare. Leave no frightening detail out.

Its the one and only time I have ever dreamed of flying.  It was spring breaking in Lloret de Mar, Spain, my junior year of high school. Not because my family has money. I was an Army brat living in Stuttgart, Germany. The trip was just a couple hundred bucks all in. The 19 hour, double decker bus ride kicked off the festivities, and on the return became a rolling detox center.

Once there debauchery, drunkenness, and general tom-foolery were explored in excess, as were the Spanish versions of all my favorite fast food joints.  A new introduction to my bag of indulgences was hash. Hey. It was a week away from rules, so I was running away from the lines.  The black, sticky tar was cut and fluffed before being sprinkled over Marlboro Red tobacco. Because the effects weren’t immediate I chased the smoke with some vodka. I had been spoiled with German beer so the Spanish swill just wouldn’t do.

I have only two other memories from that night. First is the dream. Second is how I woke from that dream.

I was flying. High enough that the features of land below were nothing more than a patchwork of dirt and mud. But there something odd about the look of the land. It didn’t have the familiar look of far off land I remembered seeing on plane rides. The chaotically organized quilting of grass and trees and roadways was missing from the view in my dream. And it seemed to be shifting and rolling.

For me dreams never flow in  a linear fashion really. Mine are more like hard cuts in a film, flashing vignettes of information. I linger in a scene for a bit,  and can even find some momentary purchase and the BAM! Its the next scene.

So I’m flying high above this landscape and then suddenly I’m just above it and it not shifting and rolling. It’s boiling. What from afar looked like dirt and mud was actually the red and brown hues of a brain boiling over the sides of my skull. I dodged geysers of brain matter shooting up at me. But the fear was swept away by the sensation of flying.

Hard cut. The brain rips open and sucks me down. I descend through miles high skyscrapers with no windows. The buildings are black behemoths, packed side by side, and look like a chorus of Easter Island heads. One row of heads sits across from another, heads arched back, screaming each each other. The bridge of their noses almost touch. creating a space just large enough for me to fly between.

Hard cut. I’m flying through a tunnel created by the arguing heads. But I’m traveling so fast everything is a black blur.

Hard cut. I wake to white porcelain. The tiled floor isn’t the cool respite I have retreated to so often when feverish but a warm, sticky kind of hug. I peel myself off the floor, the vomit like a band-aide covering my body. I’m not going to do laundry before the end of the trip so I toss them in the trash and take a shower. That of course was number two.

I don’t remember where that day fell in the Spring Break week. I do know it wasn’t the last day. The last day I got a tattoo from an American guy born and raised in a border town outside San Antonio that didn’t speak a word of english. A buddy of mine translated for all of us. My tattoo was of an upside down peace sign, Artificial Peace, was the slogan of my crew then. I won’t try to pretend I remember the idiocy of that belief. I do remember thinking on the trip to Lloret de Mar, that I wanted to get a tattoo because “I didn’t want to die without any regrets”.

“I didn’t want to die without any regrets”.

Let that hang in your mind for a moment. The profound stupidity. Shocking is that this thought was not borne by drunkenness. It came to me in the light of sobriety.

I still have that tattoo. It sits on my upper left shoulder laughing at its own punchline.

A mind is a terrible thing to develop, unsupervised.

Jimmie G

A system of Awesomeness

Daily Prompt: Shake it Up

by Krista on February 24, 2014

You’re 12 years old. It’s your birthday. Write for ten minutes on that memory. GO.

The party would be legendary. Turning twelve had never been so big. Everyone was invited and would be bringing something delectable, sugary, more food-like, than organic. This was the eighties, healthy meant aerobically exercising to music and the adults had come up with some catchy phrase for it. Twinkies were still thought of as cute. Michael and Spurlock hadn’t yet ruined McDonalds and ‘naturally flavored ice cream’ still seemed innocent enough.

There would be girls there, boys to I suppose, but they mattered very little. All the standard games would be made available, but only to lull the audience into temporary boredom. When the tensions ripened just so, my mom would do her best Vanna by opening the armoire doors housing our TV for the big reveal.

N.E.S.

Nintendo Entertainment System.

This was a system people. A system of awesomeness, which by being at my birthday party would make me awesome as well. This system not only had a console but a laser gun. A LASER GUN! This was Star Wars shit, those silly ducks never stood a chance. Neither did Billy and his stupid, out of date Atari. Good-luck being nominated most popular this year, Billy-boy. But what set the N.E.S. apart was R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy) My system had a Robot. Nobody else had a robot …with gyros! Spinning tops were for suckers. With the Nintendo Entertainment System it was gyros. And let us not forget Donkey Kong, Jr. This would be epic. 100% of the people I invited showed up. Problem was I only invited one and never told my mom about it. It was very embarrassing. But we had a great time with the N.E.S.

Jimmie G.

Ur-San and The Mantle of Responsibility.

I wrote this post this morning as part of a job application for Franchise Writer for the Halo Video game. By the time I wrote the piece and did some editing the job was no longer listed. Oh well, at least I got a post out of it.

The acolytes sat prone in deference before the Ur-San, which meant first-teacher in the mysterious language of the Forerunners. Ur-San could remain in silence for days, the acolytes would never protest.   He searched the students, the youngest only seven, the oldest an acolyte Ur-San had known since childhood. It cannot be you old friend. Who would probe the Mantle in some new way? Open a new vein to bleed out truth as yet unseen? The child with strong knees, not yet addicted to the hallucinogenic incense that filled the halls? Or the woman, perhaps some feminine mystery would unlock the final secrets of the Mantle? No matter, thought Ur-San, class must begin, and with that he taped the small bowl that sat at his feet and the acolytes came to attention.

Ur-San spoke in a soft voice, hardly more than a whisper. This was to force the acolytes to listen with their blood. He never colored his speech or used inflection as a means to underscore his own beliefs. That would create platitude regurgitating sycophants.  Ur-San was looking original thought, not homilies. Thus he taught the Mantle as one would teach an instrument, by introducing the notes and allowing the student to discover the music.

Ur-San opened his lecture as he always did. The Mantle of Responsibility was bequeathed to us by the Forerunners, given them by the Precursors. The Mantle’s great strength is none can prove its validity, only believe in it. The sun can be taken for granted because its existence is beyond doubt. 

The Forerunners were goodly masters that sacrificed themselves in the protection of all life in the galaxy. The Forerunners valued the bio-diverstiy of our galaxy, a diversity the parasites of the Flood have always sought to devour. The Mantle gave us peace and slowed the ugly race of progress. The Forerunners gave all and protected all, until the great Flood came and only the Forerunners were armed and prepared. Life almost gave way to the symbiotic slavery of the Flood parasites. The confluence of the Flood and the Forerunners losses left some humans to doubt their faith. Many amongst humanity believe that they are the rightful benefactors of the Mantle.

Who can say who, or what is right? Ur-an asked his students. We can only play the notes authored by  someone else, in hopes of finding a new song. Ur-San ran his hand over the first folio of The Eld, his fingers caressing the brass of the emblem that embraced the front cover. We begin with the first prayer.  And so another classes journey began.

Word Doctor

Daily Prompt: Money for Nothing

by Krista on February 15, 2014

If you’re like most of us, you need to earn money by working for a living. Describe your ultimate job. If you’re in your dream job, tell us all about it — what is it that you love? What fulfills you? If you’re not in your dream job, describe for us what your ultimate job would be

Dr. Jimmie G

I want to be a script doctor. Bring me your broken, injured, or diseased scripts. I will give them a standard check-up, of course covered under almost all Writers Insurance.     A CAT scan of your words to examine subtext is standard. I then check grammatical joints such as conjunctions, prepositional and indefinite phrases, et al, to determine responsiveness.

Patients point of view is then catalogued and cross referenced against material, this is the best method for examining the writer’s Voice.

After the examination is complete surgery can be scheduled to excise dead content tissue. For healthier scripts one or more therapies may be applied.

  • Embellishment Massage
  • Storyline Corrective Adjustment
  • Multi-Character Distinction Injections
  • Continuity Prescriptions
  • Narrative Alignment

My Titan Package is geared toward the major studios. All the above services are standard in addition to:

  • Content Reconstructive Surgery
  • Multi-Author Storyline/Plot Fusions
  • Plot Anemia Corrective Treatment
  • Franchise Rehabilitation Therapy
  • Full Script may be commissioned with little more than a phrase.

No script is too small, no script is too far gone.

Whats your preSCRIPTion?

Dr. Jimmie G.

The Choke Lords

II

Castle Ferin had changed Houses many times over the years, presently it was the seat of House Berthold, a young House that had proven itself noble and true.  There were so few worthy humans, thought Terik, unfortunate the Bertholds should perish.  Not all would, they must find solace in that.

Terik mused on the drama of human architecture. For all their faults the humans had never lacked a flare for spectacle. Castle Ferin had been built on land known as The Choke. A point at which the wide and lazy Breede River was choked into raging whitecaps by the banks of two opposing rocky beaches. The Choke Lords had built Castle Ferin straight across the river from bank to bank and at the fore-wall they had fashioned a fantastic yawning mouth through which all traffic must pass. A gluttonous fool washing down the hard labor of the south with the Breede, thought Terik. 

The lands surrounding the Choke were to rocky to grow any tradable quantity of crops, but the Breede was the fastest route between the bountiful southern lands and the seats of power to the north.

It had been several weeks since the Choke Lord had taken a drink. Terik would remedy that.

But Jerin, clang, clang, clangThe burden you bear is for all of us.

Terik breathed deep, the pride of his sons sacrifice filled his chest. He turned back to find his Mahnikee assembled. There were no horns or drums. The battle cry of the Mahnikee was hardly a whisper, “lets give them a drink”, Terik said, and so the the taking of Castle Ferin began while the pigs lay sleeping in the mud.

Best Movies of 1987, Part II

We wrap up the monumental year of film that was 1987. If you don’t remember that year then take a listen and then hop in your way back machine and check out these fantastic flicks. These really are some of the best films.

3 Wishes for the employer that recently “let me go”

Daily Prompt: Lucky Star

by Krista on February 13, 2014

Today is your lucky day. You get three wishes, granted to you by The Daily Post. What are your three wishes and why?

First wish is for her horses to rebel against her. Break the fences and make a run for it. Or crash her buggy during one of her shows.

Second wish is for the low class, over priced bling she adorns her ties with to become permanent orbs of burning light that sear her flesh and blind all that look on her. This would not only cause never ending pain and prevent anyone from ever looking on her again. This would then lead to loneliness and sorrow. Thats how you kill several birds with one wish.

The third wish is difficult. I am wont to wish for world peace, but that may negate my prior two wishes. Nor can I wish for fabulous wealth for the same lack of comeuppance in would cause my villainous protagonists.

Which, after some reflection, brings me to my third wish. I wish her all the success she desires but no more than an equal amount of success for myself. I have to wish for her success because without me its not very likely.

The first two wishes stand. At least for a bit.

jimmie g

147 Comments

Daily Prompt: Karma Chameleon

by Krista on February 12, 2014

Look at the stupid people lining up for the on ramp. I’ll just cruise up a bit and muscle in near the entrance, solid white lines can’t hold me down. Suckers.

Alright. Who’s this ass hole. Just let me in. Who cares you waited in line. I’ll just edge in, he can’t stop me now. Ha. There we go Honda man. Trying to be the line police but you got schooled. Don’t fucking honk at me. Suck on my little birdie friend. There he is. Chirp, chirp. Don’t be a hater ’cause you waited in line.

Ha. Let me weave through these mid-class sedans so I can get to work and put more money in the bank.

The money I would make vanished from my mind as the brakes went out in the beamer, which was impossible, its serviced every couple of months. Then the left side wheel flew off the axel and I veered hard hitting the back of a passing semi. The hood of my car was penned down, raising the back end up. The driver hit his brakes hard bouncing me up and breaking off the right wheel. I saw the the cement wall on the shoulder through the sparks of my axels grinding asphalt.

I was thinking of my wife naked and warm as I crashed into the wall. The back seat and air bag fought for who could give me the biggest kiss. It felt like their affections exploded my head. Then the fire started, a beautiful blue dancer, but instead of burning my car it was burning away all the pettiness in my life. Burning to a crisp all the moments I was almost the better man could be but instead took a different path. The blue flame burned all the bad choices of my life to ash until it was a raging white hot flame. Thats when it really started to hurt.

It seemed every I’m sorry I ever uttered was a log feeding the flame. Every I’m sorry not uttered was gas enraging the flames.

And then a silhouette came through the flames. Impossible. No one could survive that heat. What could be left of me to save? It was him. The guy in the Honda.

He just stared at me for a bit. No sympathy. No concern. It wasn’t the flames punishing me for my sins, it was him. Terror gripped my heart as he leaned toward me and whispered in my, “was any of it worth it?”. I knew he was talking about all the things he saw.

Was he in my mind?

He was. I felt the splinter suddenly. I didn’t know if he put it in my mind, or if he was the splinter.

I felt sorry for the things I had done. For being  a dick. For being annoyed that my kid wanted to talk to me. For waiting for the flames to burn sense into me.

And then air filled my lungs and the sound of blaring horns rang in my ears. The Honda was right next to me, the guy motioning for me to roll down my window. He had messy blonde hair. He pushed black rimmed glasses to the top of his nose and then asked if I was okay. His soft, forgiving eyes already knew I was. That I would be better than I had ever been. I barely nodded my head yes and he drove off.

I don’t know if Honda guy had anything to do with what happened, but he is tied to the memory of that illusion, or whatever it was.

Thank you Honda guy. I play with my kid as often as I can and I sure shit never jump the line.

Jimmie G.

 COMMENTS 147 

nycgirl: He is real. I was at a party making fun….

pappabear: I refused to give a guy directions once and imagined being beating within an inch of my life….

timeoutman: I wouldn;t move my bag off the seat next to me on crowded bus

…hit me wife…cheated…hit and run…

It would be awesome if you would add your own flash fiction account of what you did and what Honda guy made you see in the comments field. Really. I would love your collaboration with this ~ Jimmie G.

I Call it Shut Up Juice

I’ll start with a preemptive strike. I love my daughters. There. No need to get gushy about it.

You should know dear reader that I typed  paragraph and a half of what could by some professionals be called gushy. It has been excised.

Babies can cry, loud and long, and they don’t lose their voice when doing so. They can go for hours. The worst is when the shrill cry for help bounces off the ceiling and canon balls into your ear. To back track a few sentences. It should be noted that no baby is an ass hole. None of them cry just to piss you off. Usually they’re hungry, wet, or have poopy diapers.

Still, there are times when you have just fed the beautiful little beast and yet they can’t be soothed. That’s why I always have a bottle of the precious breast milk ready at room temp. As close to the real thing as possible.

I call it Shut Up Juice (patent pending) I never say this out loud, when my wife is near. But I think those words sometimes. It rages through my mind. It courses through my blood when I curl into a ball in an attempt to exorcise the frustration. And it works every time.

Baby has her own juice. Its called the coo. She brings it home with a smile. These in combination energizes tired limbs, melts away frustration, and makes you fall in love a dozen times a day.

Well look at that. Gushy anyway.

Jimmie G

The Great Table-I

This is a bit of a republished post. I started out wanting to redo the Great Table Page as a series of individual posts and immediately realized I also needed to do some editing and revisions.

I

Clang, clang, clang, the two small cylinders that hung from Terik’s neck began to rattle. Both cylinders were fashioned in iron and etched long ago in a language now dead. They were battered and ugly and looked more like the discarded vials of a cheap apothecary than the vessels in which lay the hopes of an entire people.

Clang, clang, clang, the cylinders sang.

“They rattle more of late my lord”, said Terik’s man, Jekin.  “Yes” answered Terik, “they sense their freedom. They long to be released.”  Jekin was wise in all things soldierly but little else. The subtly of magic confounded him.  “How so my lord? They are but garments.”

“Stronger than any shield, yet lighter than silk. ‘Garment’ is such a small word for something so big , old friend”, retorted Jekin’s liege lord.

“Powerful, aye, but not alive. My platelets are just as strong.”

“I think yours stronger than most Mahnikee. But even your platelets cannot bid one soul to another.”

“It takes more than magic  to make a king, and much more to make a goodly king, begging your pardon my lord.” Not even Jekin’s platelets could protect his heart from cracking open at the loss of his nephew, his charge.

I am sorry I could not have chosen you old friend. “You have the right of kingship. Magic is not enough to make a goodly king.  A mistake the humans make all too often. But you are wrong about these garments as you call them.  They are the key which shall open the door for our people.  It is time we have a seat at the great table.”

“Hmmpf” answered Jekin, “I won’t pretend I understand my lord. But my sword is yours as ever.  As for the rest. I would rather a tent than a table, great or no.”

A smile crept across Terik’s face. “A tent?” That is rather soft old friend.  Have we been around the humans too long that you should need a tent?”

The comment was as silly as saying the sun is cold. “No need to be cruel my lord”, answered Jekin.  “It is bad enough we serve the pig lords on this campaign, but the rain is worse. Nonstop for seven days. The Breede has overflowed and washed out the latrine lines. Now we walk in cold mud and shit. Begging your pardon again, my lord.”

Terik looked over the camp at the soft skinned humans, the luckiest of whom were sheltered from the rain under heavy canvas tents. But those were for lords and landed knights. The larger part of the human host sat pruning in the rain, their resolve softening like bread in stew.

Terik and his fellow Mahnikee were not quartered from the rain either. But the Mahnikke were protected.

The platelets that grew hard over their skin in adolescence, the very same bark like armor that earned them the hated name of Wood Elves, protected them from rain and blade alike.

Wood Elf. A derogatory term shackled to the Mahnikee by the supposed High Elves to frighten children. “Behave or the Wood Elves will steal you away and eat your heart. Be kind or your heart and skin will grow as hard as a Wood Elf.”

Clang, clang, clang, the cylinders stirred.

Anything that was wanton or craven or other than good and pure had been ascribed to the Wood Elves, and all the lies made up and whispered through the thin lips of the soft, pasty skinned High Elves. High Elves indeed.

Clang, clang, clang.

Soon the truth would be laid bare and the Mahnikee would take their place at the Great Table. But to bring low the High Elves Castle Ferin must fall.

Jekin stood just off his lord’s shoulder, both looking on the human camp. “The Pig lords have little regard for their rank and file. It makes them weak. Most will run before scaling the walls.”, said Jekin.

Terik pitiedThe Pig lords small folk. Conscripts. Unworthy adversaries. “They shall have no need to storm the walls. We shall let them in.  All will have what they want, and with little blood.”

“All but those within the castle, my lord.”, said Jekin. Terik, still looking on the human camp answered his man, “The Pigs will not have the slaughter they desire, and Castle Ferin shall not lose as much as it fears.”

“Unless the Pig lords should learn of our intentions, my lord.”, warned Jekin.

There is advantage in being discovered thought Terik. “If so this land will be littered with dead Pigs. Either way I think this will be a happy day for the Mahnikee.”

For the first time in a long while Jekin smiled.

A quarter league off the lords of House Martin were rutting about in the Campaign Tent planning the final siege of the castle. The Martins were a gross lot, their sigil a pig,  and never had a sigil been so truly matched to a house. Most Martins were squat, round of belly and short of legs, and just in case the imagery were not blunt enough the gods had seen fit to give them flat, turned up noses.

Clang, clang, clang, clang, the cylinders flew into a rage. Jerin must be near. Terik turned to find his son’s head bowed in deference. Terik bowed in return. Jerin then paid the same courtesy to Jekin.

“I am no lord that you should bow your head to me” said Jekin. His tone suggesting he was offended. His eyes betraying his affection for the young lord.

With a broad smile Jerin replied, “Soon enough I shall no longer be a lord”. A sore subject with Jekin, he brushed it aside with a hmpf. Neither Jerin or his lord father pressed the issue. Instead Jerin addressed his lord father, “It is just as the soothsayer said it would be. We must act quickly, my lord.”

Terik turned back to look on the pigs of House Martin and said, “Tonight we wrap our hands around the throat of the High Elves and reclaim our birthright”.

Jimmie G.