This is more or less true. At least it’s true of almost every guy I’ve ever met, save for three who later left Narnia and admitted reality. How is it I’ve known so many Narnians? I mean, suspecting someone of living in Narnia is one thing, but having so many of them actually leave the magic kingdom and admit that they’ve got an appetite for more than Turkish delight astounds me. Just the sheer numbers astound me. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, guys who joke that they’d like to sleep with you aren’t joking. They’re just not going to act on it.
The problem with my life is that there just aren’t enough velociraptors to go around these days. If I had a small army of dromaeosaurs then I could work out so many of life’s little problems. Frankly, an army made up of any carnivorous theropods would do. Or some of each, for different plans. A dozen T-Rexs for big jobs, Compsognathus for more intimate hits. Deinonychus for the everyday stuff though. They’re good all around problem solvers. And of course the utahraptor for when you’ve had enough and just decide to wipe out everybody.
Sadly though, there just aren’t enough of them for me to put together the dino-death squad I want.
So on the latest poll I got a new question. As you know, I like to answer all questions, but this one is special.
This stuff’s gonna sell, right?
Hey, everybody? Could you do your old pal Grey Weirdo a favor? Check out the Fortunate Sky Steampunk shop for me. You’ll find a lot of neat jewelry at reasonable prices. If you want something more in the range of some nice rosaries, check out Purple Mercury Cat’s shop. Now in a little bit, the artists responsible for those is going to open a new shop, and when she does I would deem it a personal favor if you’d check that site out and buy something if it catches your eye. If you like what you see, pimp it around. Every artist needs encouragement and exposure, so if you could help get the name around I would appreciate it.
Thanks kids. I couldn’t ask for a kinder or sexier readership than you.
People think it’s just swapping letters and numbers so that “unite” becomes “untie” but there’s a lot more to it than that.
One such problem is words. I’ve got to make sure what I say, or I’ll screw things up and muddle my meaning. I just sent an e-mail where what I wanted to say was “I was just making sure it wasn’t anything urgent” but I actually said “I was just making sure it wasn’t anything important” which screwed the meaning.
It’s a small thing, and those words fit near each other in my head, but important was the wrong word and that annoys me.
Fortunately, the rest of the context probably saves me. That’s the nice thing about verbosity. All those words can make sure your point gets in by sheer numbers.
Pretty cool though, I spelled verbosity right on the first try. Ahh, but my old nemesis “fortunately” was spelled wrong. Win one, lose one. My handwriting is horrific too.
Syd got an envelope the other day. One of those things full of local offers because we changed the names on the bills and they think Syd just moved in. She was going through it, announcing what offers there were.
“Comcast, Direct TV, Carpets, AOL CD”
“You liar!” I announced. “There was not an AOL disc in there.”
“Here it is” She said taking the disc out and waving it at me.
Jack & Jill (A Love Story)
A Jack Collier Story
By Brett N. Lashuay
Part Eight: Jack Sees Jill
I followed the Fiddler Bothers in their truck for some time until we came to a medium sized house that backed onto a bit of woodland. I couldn’t be sure how far the forest went, but it was far enough that I couldn’t see the next house behind his. The driveway was just a few blocks of poured concrete which looked like it had been poured over a dirt drive way and died into grass before more than three long squares. Cole had actually driven off the concrete drive and onto part of his lawn, where the path continued to the back yard. I stopped the car and got out while the three brothers piled out of the F150.
Cole was on the porch, and the brothers went up it to flank him as they had done on the previous occasion when I had come walking to them on a porch. It was already hot, even though it would be cool weather back home for another two weeks. I had slipped out of my suit coat and take my tie off as we drove. I’d even unbuttoned my shirt and pulled it out of my pants. That left me with the t-shirt Debbie had bought me for my birthday exposed. It had the Hudson Motors logo on it and spoke about how you could get service for your car at the former dealership turned museum in Ypsilanti. Since I drove a Hudson, she had come to the conclusion that I needed as much paraphernalia for the company as possible.
As I walked up, I glanced up at the house and saw a young girl in the window. She was blonde, she looked enough like the picture Piper had given me, I didn’t look long. I glanced back down at the trio as they mounted the steps and acted like I had just been looking at the house for a moment.
“He kept up pretty good.” Joe announced as he mounted the stairs and slapped Cole on the shoulder. “He drives almost like a country boy.”
“We have country roads up north too.” I said shaking my head.
“Yeah, but they’re real country roads around here.” Daryl said and laughed.
I laughed too, just to look friendly. I was becoming their best friend after all, the best buddy any of them ever had. Except Dave, Dave was on to me. I didn’t mind Dave being on to me though. Dave was a reasonable amount of trouble and I don’t mind a reasonable amount of trouble. Dave was a back woods bad ass, but I’d killed seven professionals with one blow.
“So where do you hide them?” I asked, pointing to my left and starting to walk as a natural place to go around the house. “In the back?”
“Yeah.” Cole jumped off the porch like an old fat bullfrog, but he landed steady and without fuss. “C’mon.”
We walked around the back of the small house, and I counted the windows and marked their position. Most people don’t think about it, but you can pretty easily guess the layout of a house from the outside. There are only about fifty house designs in America, and even those are pretty standard once you look around enough of them. The wonderful thing about American architecture is that it values space over imagination. It would be a lot of big square rooms, stacked next to each other.
When we got to the back of the house I saw how shallow the woods really were, I could see some of the sheds for his back neighbor. I would hate to say that the lie simply fell apart there, but that’s what happened. There was no large barn, no deep woods to hide in, nothing. Why did they bother lying anyway? I was supposed to be their buddy and they weren’t supposed to suspect a thing. It seemed terribly unfair to me that they would try such to keep up such a lame lie.
“Okay guys.” I said putting my hands on my hips. “Tell me what the fuck is really going on.”
“What’d you mean?” Joe asked, trying to look innocent.
I’m pretty sure the look I gave him could stop clocks, it stopped him from grinning like and idiot that was for sure. I looked around the four of them, and if they intended to bum rush me they had their positions all wrong. No one was covering my back, there was too much room on my left flank. There would be space enough to shoot me to pieces without worrying about too much crossfire though.
“I’m here to help you.” I said distinctly. “I’m supposed to help make the shit die down so you can do business.”
“Yeah?” Cole asked.
“Yeah.” I said pointing over my shoulder. “So why try and get me to believe that you hide your workers in a wood that shallow? A four year old could find one illegal from the street in there.”
“Yeah.” Dave said softly. “Simple isn’t it?”
“There is no INS trouble, is there?” I asked.
“No.” Cole said.
“Shall I guess?”
“Go ahead pretty boy.” Dave rasped and folded his arms.
“Why not just tell me instead of starting a new story that will fall apart?” I said.
“Mexicans get out of hand sometimes.” Cole shrugged. “You know how it is. Sometimes they decide they want to get tough and demanding and we’ve gotta teach ‘em whose boss around here. That screws up a day’s production though.”
“Is that all?” I asked, arching my eye brows and choking back my disgust. “Is that what all the secrecy is about? Doing strike breaking?”
“Old man Piper wouldn’t approve.” Dave hissed.
“Old man Piper’s daddy paid old Purple Gang members to break strikes when the unions first moved into Michigan.” I informed him, falling back on my scraps of history friends had told me. “Piper is management, he understands.”
“Yeah?” Cole asked.
“Yeah.” I nodded. “I’ll tell him nice and quiet, and he’ll understand.”
“Maybe we don’t want him knowing about it.” Cole said, putting his hand on something near his back him. “Maybe we want to keep it quiet.”
“If that’s a gun you’re reaching for you’d better throw down.” I said, not reaching for the Marley on my hip. “If it’s your wallet, name a figure.”
“I like that.” Cole’s face broke into a wide smile and he put his hand into his front jeans pocket. He pulled out a thick wad of bills that were folded and barely contained by a rubber band. “I like a man you can reason with.”
“I’m reasonable.” I said smiling at him like I was dumber than a sack of bricks. “I can easily just tell him that the INS is cracking down and shit is going to happen no matter what.”
Cole took the band off the money and started to count out hundred dollar bills. He counted out twenty of them before stopping and then slipped the band back around the bills and stuffed them into his pocket. He folded the hundreds over once and held it out to me. I took a step forward and took the fairly paltry bribe of blood money from him. I slipped it into my pocket and looked at the three brothers, two of which were smiling and one of which was Dave.
“I can give you that every month.” Cole said, sounding proud of himself.
“That’ll do.” I nodded, while inside I was disgusted both at my complicity and my cheap price. I might be a cut rate detective, but I always thought I’d sell out for more than this. “Well, I suppose I should go back to the plantation then. I can pretend to poke around for a few more days and go home.”
“We’ll come back with you.” Dave said, and I must say he looked a little more relaxed now. He looked like he knew what I was now. I was a guy who could be bought off for two grand a month.
I got in my car and started down the road, the Fiddler’s in their F150 followed soon after me. I didn’t know how closely they would be watching, so I declined pulling out my cell phone. I wanted to make a call right there and then, and then I remembered a function my new phone had. I still had my windows rolled up, so I just turned off my radio, put the phone in my lap and turned on the speaker phone. I dialed a number and waited.
“Hello?” The voice of Alice Liddell came up from my crotch, which is something I normally would welcome. It had never happened because Alice and I had never had the chance yet.
“Hi there Alice.” I said checking my mirror. “I’ve got you on speaker phone because I’m in a situation.”
“What kind of situation?” She asked. The Fiddlers were far enough back that I didn’t need to worry too much.
“If the guys in the car behind me know I’m talking on the phone they wouldn’t like it.” I said.
“What’s going on?” She asked.
“How would you like a promotion?” I inquired.
“You can get me promoted?”
“I’m working a kidnapping case.” I told her. “Only I’ve stuck in my thumb and pulled you out a plumb. There are about a hundred illegals at the Piper pepper plantation where they do the pickling. They’ve been mistreated by the sort of scum the INS is supposed to protect them from. I think they’re even killing some of them. I’ve just accepted two grand to keep the whole thing from old man Piper because Cole King and his three assistants the Fiddler Brothers are pulling something on the side. If you take them all in, you get to decide what they’re up to beyond murder and human trafficking.”
“How long have you been there?”
“Oh, about three hours now.”
“Sweet Nancy Reagan.” She said.
“When do you think you could get here with a lot of agents?” I asked.
“A few hours unless I send in the local police.”
“No locals.” I said. “I’ve got an idea they’ve been bought or scared. Piper owns a lot of land and employs a lot of people out here. King’s probably been using that as a lever.”
“Maybe you’re just paranoid.” She said. “You’ve been accused of that before, you might remember.”
“That only counts if you give weight to the word of some trained and educated doctors.” I told her. “And as we both know, the government spurns the work of informed and intelligent experts in favor of well paid shills.”
“Do you have a well paid shill?”
“I have the word of a cheap detective who took two thousand dollars as a bribe to look the other way.”
“Crap, we could go to war on your word.” She said and then sighed with thought. “I couldn’t get there until late tonight.”
“That’s fine.” I told her. “Just give me a buzz when you’re coming.”
“I’d like to give you more than just a buzz.” Her voice changed into something less than professional.
“Ah, but I’m almost to my destination, so I have to stop you there.”
“Damnit.” She muttered.
“Sorry.” I said as I hung up on her.
I hated to do that to her, but there was no way to prevent her from trying to flirt a little more, and that could be disastrous. I glanced in the mirror and found that the Fiddlers were still more or less the distance they had been. Either they didn’t suspect a thing, or they were waiting until I wasn’t in the car before they decided to kill me.
I was going to say that a little while ago I talked about internet crushes being like Courtly Love in this post. Except I can’t, because it wasn’t a little while ago. It was almost two years ago. The idea keeps coming back to me though, because it’s the closest analogue I can find for the fact that we feel very close to people we’ve never met and may never meet. We see pictures, so we can speak of beauty and for a given value, we do have actual relationships with them.
Of course, we can’t touch, in many cases we can’t even really talk to each other, which is why the courtly idea keeps coming back to me. I won’t pretend that this is some ideal love, or anything like a superior love, those concepts were injected to make people think not acting was more satisfying than actually acting. The thought being that the idea of consummation was even more fun than actual consummation, which is foolish if you’ve ever actually had an orgasm. However, it does seem that by studying the Courtly Love rules and regulations, we can sort of find ways to cope with things like crushing over vast distances.
I keep thinking the internet is like having a person you’re deeply hot for being in the same court, only instead of decorum you have the fact that the object of your affection lives in another city, state, country or even on another continent. It’s not an exact metaphor, because the people in the court could slip off for half an hour when no one was looking and do the business behind the tapestries. Where as all we have is cyber and webcams, and neither of those are nearly as much fun.
So, what I’m wondering is does anyone else see what I’m talking about here? Do we agree? Every time I think about this subject, I feel like I’m missing some crucial piece of the puzzle. Like there’s something that need to be said about this, but I don’t quite know what it actually is yet. There is something about poly in there too, but I’m not sure quite how to phrase it.
I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but I never trust anyone who says they have a single favorite of any given thing and tries to sound expert about it. Movie, book, painting, food. Whatever it is, I just don’t trust people who sound like they know what they’re talking about, but only on the one item.
Let’s take books for an example. If someone were to tell me their favorite book was Dracula, I’d be suspicious right there. If for no other reason that they picked Dracula for a favorite. I mean REALLY. If you have one favorite book, then you probably don’t read much. If it’s your favorite horror, favorite vampire, favorite example of a style that was already considered outdated when the book was first written, then yeah I’ll buy that. However, to just say it’s their favorite book? I’m already thinking they’re trying to pass. Now if this person then went on to talk about all the themes and character arcs along with analysis of each thing, but I’d never heard them say this about any other book? I’m thinking that this person is a full of it. If they’re talking up all these points about Dracula, but I’ve never heard them say anything like this about any other book, then I’m suspecting that they’ve just read a few Wikipedia pages about the book, but don’t really understand the differences.
It’s not like someone says “Oh, that Caravaggio is my favorite painting” and I instantly suggest they’re a lying son of a bitch. It does raise a red flag for me though. I never learned about art formerly, but I know a good amount about the history and I can spot a painting with depth from one that seems to be mostly flat. I won’t begrudge someone a casual delight in art. BUT! If they then talk about use of light in the painting, the colors, the shapes, but never mention anyone else’s use of light (ignore the fact that Caravaggio was a dark painter and only tended to paint the foreground object in any kind of light for a moment) that’s another red flag. If they then talk about all the other things that Caravaggio had as his hallmarks, but never talks about anyone else I start to think they’ve just learned what people say about this one painting and can’t apply it to anything else. That does help me suggest they’re a lying son of a bitch.
The worst, the very worst for me anyway, is when someone does it about movies. Of course most your everyday people just gives you the old “I don’t want to think about it” when they talk about movies. I’m not talking about those people, that’s fine if they don’t want to think about themes or color or focus or anything like that* because they aren’t trying to pretend like they know all about it. No, I’m talking about people who will repeat the same four things everyone knows about Citizen Kane, or try to sound knowledgeable about Seven Samurai while giving the same talking points as the back of the Criterion Collection DVD box. Just saying Seven Samurai is your favorite film doesn’t do it much for me unless you’re going to justify it with some serious qualifiers. I mention it because I myself mentioned it as my number one favorite in a list I did sometime ago. That was forcing myself to put things in a list and one had to take the number one slot though. Also, I think people forgave me, or they didn’t read the list. It’s still up near the top, but next time I’ll get someone who can do flash and create a cloud of favorites rather than a list.
*Well, actually it’s not. You’ve got to think about shit or your fucking brain will atrophy in your skull and turn into a useless sludge of gray goo only good for feeding particularly hungry zombies who can’t be choosy right now.
I just don’t think much of a person who only has one favorite that they claim they’re enthusiastic about. I think people who are really into something should have a number of favorites if they’re really into the subject they’re discussing. Particularly if they’re giving details that would make one think that they are really into the subject. It makes me think they’re trying to fake their way through, and I don’t like that much.
See, I know how to fake my way through a talk about books and movies, because I used to do it all the time. I’d realized at about age 12 that almost no one had read most books or seen most movies either, so I learned the main points about your average classic and got on without reading it. Got me through a lot of talk about Moby Dick that did, and thank god because when I tried to read it I quickly realized why I’d been faking it all this time. Actually, I can still do this for most things, but it feels dishonest. The internet has made faking the details about a given book or movie much easier. You don’t need to read Tarzan of the Apes now, you can just look up the Wikipedia page, which will give you most of what you need and the Tarzan character page will fill in any blanks you might need. Hell, now you don’t even need to have read a single book to claim that Tarzan is your favorite and talk about it intelligently. At least among most people, because few people have actually read any of the Tarzan books and the only Tarzan they know is Johnny Weissmuller. If they even know who he is anymore.
As I say, one of my biggest problems is I know how to fake my way through conversations like these. I learned those tricks at a young age and can spot them a mile off because I’ve used them enough. However, I’ve done a lot of work in the intervening twenty years since I learned those tricks so that I wouldn’t need them anymore. As a result, when I see someone outside of their teen years trying to use those tricks it annoys me. Sure, they’re useful for a time, but at some point, you’ve got to pony up and actually learn some shit.