I'll come up with something in a minute.

I’m not thrilled with terms

When someone tells me they have a friend name “Doris” and that he’s a transgendered woman. I very much have to grit my teeth not to shout at them, “WRONG! You know someone named Doris, and she’s a woman!” You may replace assignations to suit your purpose on this.

I have no idea if I’m accepting, or lazy, or what, but it bugs me to have to listen to long strings like “Doris is a gay/transgendered/post-op/third-wave-feminist/second-generation-Irish-American/woman.” because to me, only the last word in that list of terms means anything. Also, it bugged me because when talking about Doris, it came out that Doris was born a gay man, became a woman, and still had a love for the cock. To me, this meant that Doris was a hetro woman, if anything. Woman loves cock, straight woman. Am I wrong here? Do we call women with a healthy wish to hide the purple bishop in her pickle pocket gay now? No? Didn’t think so.

If someone wants to identify as a man, I’ll happily call them a man. If they want to identify as a woman, I’ve got no problem with that. It’s when all the extra terms that I don’t feel are really needed come in that I have problems. Yes, we need these terms, because there are discussions that can only be had with technical terms. At some point I’m going to notice that Steve doesn’t seem to ever sport a five o’clock shadow, but I can’t help to think it would be rude to mention it. I know plenty of guys who can’t grow anything like the thick beard I sport when I leave off shaving for ten minutes.

I think part of the problem, for me, is that I have always felt like a man. I have never not felt like a man. If I wear a frilly shirt and dress in a velvet 18th century outfit only fit for Fauntleroy, I still feel ‘manly’ as I strut around. Not because there is something inherently manly about the suit, but because I as a man, am wearing it.

Another example, in the commentary for Hard Boiled, John Woo talks about a drink. Tequila is poured into a glass, followed by soda water. A coaster is put on top of the glass and you slam the glass on the table causing the soda to foam up before drinking it down. In the commentary he says “It makes you feel cool. It makes you feel like a man.” which, while I know intellectually what he means, realistically it confounds me. I always feel like a man, I never feel like a girl, or a dog, or a box turtle or any of the other things Republicans think we’ll be forced to marry if gay marriage is suddenly allowed. I really don’t know what they mean, when do they not feel like men? I don’t really get it. If I wear a frilly skirt, I’d feel like a man in a skirt.

I do get “I’ve never really felt like a male.” as an all the time thing. I’ve never felt particularly a part of my surroundings, I’ve always felt like an interloper. So I understand not feeling like you fit, I’ve never fit. I refer you to the second part of my online name. I don’t get feeling like something as a result of a drink, or because of some boots, or whatever. I cook, I clean, I do the dishes. These are man things in our house, because in our house a man does them. Collecting thing like knives, DVDs, and secret internet girlfriends are also clearly man things. Playing videogames and making sure the bills get paid are woman things.

This, mixed with my inherent laziness, makes me not want to deal with terms. I’m more inclined to want to knock off as many prefixes as possible, leaving just enough to get my point across. So, really, I don’t care if you’re a bi-poly-geeky-female who likes banjo music and marathon running. The fact that you’re a Canadian Person, to me, means that your love of hockey is merely you conforming to stereotype.

Of course, my perverse decision not to explain anything has been known to cause trouble for people. Particularly when I’m doing it deliberately, and perversely.

“Steve’s uh… awful pretty for a guy.”

“Yeah, well, some guys are pretty motherfuckers. Take me for example.”

“Not what I meant.”

“Then what did you mean?”

“Um…”

“Yes?”

“It’s just… is there something I should know?”

“Yeah, don’t mention the war. I did once, but I think I got away with it.”

“What does that even mean in this context?”

“Fuck if I know, aren’t you paying attention to the conversation either?”

So honestly, I’m not against the term, because sometimes there are times when conversations require you to say things in ways that can’t be said in other ways without drawing the talk into long lists of smaller terms. So we come to cisgendered, which I only heard for the first time about three weeks ago. I understand the importance of the term, but I still don’t feel anymore comfortable using it than I do any other terms of that sort. I have this feeling that instead of trans or cis woman/man, we should just drop the prefix and go with man/woman. I mean, fuck it, what point is there to saying I’m cismale because I wear pants and have never liked either the draft skirts present or all the girls trying to look up my skirt? If a man wants to wear a skirt, I don’t really want to bother with finding the correct term when “Guy wearing a skirt because he likes the draft” does nicely for me. Or, even shorter “Guy” because I don’t have to say as much that way.

I’m not thrilled with the idea that men are supposed to fulfill these roles and do these things and all that. I don’t wear a skirt because I don’t like the draft and women always try to look up my skirt if I do. And that’s disappointing because they just see my underwear. And even if they didn’t, they’d be disappointed. It’s not a show piece, it’s a working model.

March 31, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Baby’s First Noir Part 4

I just need to post this so I don’t forget tomorrow morning and disappoint Mrs. Smethwick…

Baby’s First Noir
Part 4

He looked at the small pile of acorns and nuts that sat in the whole in front of him. There wasn’t much there, but that was okay, he had a few more calls to make. He would have to get it done though, no good waiting around. He had to get this one before the snow started falling, or he could find himself a squirrel with no nuts.

Winter.

It’s the worst part of forest. The forest is a nasty place to be no matter what, but in the winter, when every door is shut, it’s even worse. The darkness, the cold, all you can do is curl up in a ball in your hole with a bottle and wait it out. The problem is that he didn’t have enough nuts to make it though the winter. He reflected that if he’d taken the full stashes that Chirpy and Chopper had stacked up he could have just filled his hole and forgotten about the whole thing.

That wasn’t the point though, that wasn’t even a percentage of the point. The point was that they had decided to kill him, and he wasn’t going to put up with it. It was one thing to have to deal with the foxes, or even the weasels, but to be robbed like that. Someone was going to have to pay for that.

He looked in the broken piece of mirror he’d found a couple of years ago and examined his eye. It looked a little better, when he patted his left ear though it was still the buzzing sound. He could hear things, but it was like having cotton shoved in there. If he’d been able to hear properly, he’d have heard her approaching.

“You’re back.” She said.

He turned and saw Ruby as she walked into the hole. Her red hair glistened on her small body as she moved towards then two sacks. She looked good, tight and lean, but tired. She touched one of the sacks with her toe, just enough to see what was in there, and then folded her front paws across her small but perfect chest.

“You did it?” She asked simply.

“Had to.” He said. “Winter is coming.”

“I told you, we you can have my stash.” She opened her arms and started to walk towards him.

“We won’t make it on your nuts.” He told her as she touched his arm, wrapping her tiny claws around his bicep. “We try that, it’ll kill us both.”

“It’s not that though.” She shook her head.

“No.” He admitted, “I don’t like being jumped. I don’t like having to be dependant on you.”

“I don’t mind it” She said, stroking his whiskers gently.

“But I do.” He told her, moving his nose closer to hers. “You shouldn’t have to put up with an old grey like me, you should get yourself a young red and have lots of babies.”

“I don’t want babies.” She told him. “I want you.”

They kissed, which is quite frankly too complicated to describe here. What they did after she led him to the other, smaller room in the hole is also far too complicated to discuss, but for different reasons.

Later, the two of the leaned against Ruby’s pile of nuts and smoked cigarettes. He admired Ruby’s body, stretched out on the bed of acorns as it was. She looked fabulous in the low light, her firm and taught muscles gripping firmly to her bones and the skin and fur draped carefully over that. He turned slightly to watch her as she smoked her cigarette and rolled onto her front, to allow her tail to lash back and forth.

“You’re too good to me.” He said, watching the swish of her red tail.

“You haven’t been too bad to me either.” She giggled.

“I’ve got get back out there.” He told her, looking at his watch. “There are three more of them.”

“You don’t have to.” She said, resting her hand on his arm.

“Yes I do.” He told her. “I’ve got to.”

He sat up and started to pull on his pants.

“Why can’t you just let this go?”

“Because we won’t make it through the winter.” He told her. “If I don’t do this, neither of us will make it. You’ll give me all your nuts, while you waste away. Then we’ll both die before January is over. Besides, if we let this go, they’ll do it to somebody else next year. Hell, they might even decide to do it to me again next year.”

“You can’t go on killing like this though.” She complained. “What is it doing to your soul?”

“I killed a lot during the war.” He told her as he put on his shirt. “Any stain on my soul is permanent and no detergent is going to get it out. These will be just a couple more details. If anything, it might improve my balance on the ledger to get rid of these bastards.”

“I’m trying to make you into a better animal than that.” She said.

“You do make me a better animal.” He told her, kissing her quickly. “But I’ve got to do this.”

“What about after though?” She asked.

“I don’t know.” He said, putting on his tie. “Maybe we can move to the city, live the easy life like Sam. He keeps saying we should move out of this dirty old forest. He said that even winter is easier out there. We could get a nice tree in the park. One with a little white fence around it.”

“And I could wear a lacey apron?” She asked. “Meet you at the door after a hard day at some office?”

“So long as you don’t wear anything else.”

She threw one of the pillows at him and laughed. It was a nice idea though, even if it sounded like some dream a million miles away. Sam worked in a big law firm, was able to afford a place in the city, far away from all the corruption of the forest. It was a nice idea though. Ruby would do well in the city, she would dazzle them.

He pulled on his coat. His shoulder felt stiff and hard as he tried to rotate it again. That was like his ear, not healing fast enough. Still though it was time to go see Chintzy, and get back what was his. As he walked out, he looked over his shoulder and saw Ruby standing completely naked in the doorway to her nut room. He felt like rushing back to get her and forget this whole thing, but it had to be done.

He walked out of the tree and started down towards the forest again.

March 29, 2012 Posted by | Fiction | | Leave a comment

Baby’s First Noir Part Three

Baby’s First Noir
Part 3

The forest hadn’t been warm all day, with the clouds and the winds picking up every few minutes. It was fully into autumn and all the animals in the forest were rushing around, trying to get their nuts and other supplies together for the coming winter. There was a rush of activity all about as they ran to and fro.

Chopper the Chipmunk had been busy all morning, but that was just by coincidence. He was trying and trying, in vain as it turned out, to fix his motorcycle. The problem was that he couldn’t seem to find where the rattle was coming from. That was actually a secondary problem, when compared to the larger issue that he only had a vague sense of what he was doing. He’d driven a bike during the war, but those were ugly and simple things compared to this. He hadn’t been prepared for the complexity of this bike when he’d stolen it three days ago and it had given him nothing but trouble since. If the owner was still alive, he’d have demanded to know how to fix it. He wished he actually knew more about bikes, then he could really justify his name.

He looked away from the bike when he heard the approach of a Heron sedan behind him. He prided himself on knowing so much about cars that he could identify one just from the rumble of the engine. He guessed that it was a black number, by how the color reflected in the chrome of the bike next to him. He turned, and found that it was Packard roadster, and it was a dark blue. Dark blue, he told himself, was quite close to black. At least he could recognize the animal who was getting out of the car without trouble.

Chintzy the Chipmunk wasn’t hard to identify. As his name would suggest, he was a great lover of chintz cloths. His pants, waistcoat and jacket were all made from different varieties of the stuff and each clashed with the other. His tie, a large floral print with a massive embroidered flower on it would have been the final insult around anyone with any sense of fashion whatsoever. However, as he spent a great deal of his time with Chirpy, Chopper and their other companions, he was seen as the natty dresser of the bunch. Chopper, after all, contented himself with just a leather vest and nothing else. It wasn’t like he was going to get cold while his fur was intact.

“Chopper.” Chintzy said as he approached.

“Chintzy.” Chopper nodded to him.

“You’ve heard about Chirpy I supp-use?” Chopper wasn’t the smartest member of the group, but he always thought he heard a false note in how Chintzy talked. Like he’d looked these words up in books but didn’t know how to say them right.

“I heard.”

“You haven’t been up near the farmhouse reek-ently, have you?” Chintzy asked guardedly, his voice taking on an even more annoyingly nasal quality.

“What do you mean?” Chopper asked, grabbing his crowbar and brandishing it.

“Now, now my good fellow.” Chintzy raised his paws and waved them back and forth. “No need for that. I wasn’t act-using you, I was murr-ly asking.”

“You think I’d have killed Chirpy?” Chopper asked, still offended.

“Chirpy might have had it coming.” Chintzy suggested. “Rather, allow me to state that Chirpy did have it coming. He was no para-goon of honesty. One might suggest he was in fact the epi-tome of a back stabbing little so and so.”

“He’d never have the guts to stab.” Chopper said tossing the crow bar back to the ground. “Not even in the back.”

“You didn’t kill him then?” Chintzy asked.

“Did you?” Chopper asked.

“No.” Chintzy said, without a hint of offense. “If I had dek-ided to kill him, I wouldn’t have done it in that way.”

“Burning him to death is pretty nasty.” Chopper agreed. “So who did it?”

“I don’t know.” Chintzy said. “Did you pay Big Tony your port-shun of the score?”

“Sure did.” Chopper said. “After what happened to Bumpers the Bunny…”

They both took a personal moment to try not shuddering over the memory of what Big Tony had done to Bumpers and how long it had taken him to stop screaming. It had seem harsh at the time, but they all agreed later that Big Tony had indeed made his point about holding out on him. Chintzy rubbed his whiskers nervously and adjusted his jacket. Chopper wasn’t so sophisticated, and just shivered slightly, letting his fur stand up slightly. There was a breeze at that moment, cold and brisk.

“Winter’s coming.” Chintzy said, “Going to be a cold one.”

“Yeah.” Chopper said. “Cold.”

“I’m going to go talk to a few of the others.” He said. “See if anyone knows anything.”

“Yeah.” Chopper said, looking around him as the breeze picked up again. “I’ll see you around.”

“He’s right you know.” A voice said behind Chopper. “Winter is coming.”

Chopper spun around on his heel, intent on grabbing the crowbar again. However, among the many talents he thought he had, but didn’t, was an ability to tell how far someone was by the sound of their voice. Chopper actually spun himself right into the knife that plunged itself into his belly. He gasped from the surprise as much as the pain. A paw grabbed his shoulder and the weight of his stabber suddenly leaned on the blade and sank it deeper into his normally soft and loveable belly.

“Where is your stash?” his stabber asked.

“What?” Chopper asked.

“I see.” The knife with drew from his stomach and then plunged back in, pulling out and stabbing in again before his attacker knocked him to the ground and dropped his weight on top of him. “Do I have your attention Chopper?”

“Yes.” Chopper weezed, the pain was really quite something now.

“Okay then, listen.” His attacker said, their muzzles only half an inch apart. “You’re going to die. If I leave you as you are, it’ll take you a couple of very painful hours to slowly bleed out. If you tell me where you keep all the nuts you’ve stolen, I’ll cut your throat before I leave.”

“You’re crazy.” Chopper said. “Crazy.”

“Possibly.” His attacker pulled the knife out and stood up. He could see now, it was a squirrel, and a familiar one at that. “But an animal that thinks he’s not going to have enough nuts for the winter is likely to do some crazy things. You can die now, only slightly hurt, or you can die in a couple of hours and it will hurt the whole time.”

“Back of the garage.” Chopper gasped, holding his stomach, the soft fur of his belly now matted with blood.

“Thank you.” The squirrel walked away and came back with only a small sack of nuts.

“Got lots more than that.” Chopper suggested.

“Yes.” The squirrel said. “But this is all you took from me.”

“That’s where I know you.” Chopper said smiling slightly and pointing a blood soaked paw at him. “We took your whole stash.”

“Yes,” The squirrel nodded. “I remember.”

“We beat you up so bad.” Chopper laughed, despite the pain. “I kicked you in the eye, bet it still hurts.”

“Yes.” The squirrel nodded again. “It does. Good bye Chopper.”

“You just gonna leave me like this?” Chopper held up his paw, covered in the red gore that matted the fur on his stomach.

“Yes.” He said as he started to walk away. “Just like you left me, crawling along the ground looking for help. In fact, let me even the score up.”

The squirrel gave him a savage kick in the face, and something snapped in his head. There was a second kick on the other side and something else felt like it tore. Chopper could only see out of one eye after that, and could only see a blur with the other. It was then that the wounds in his guts really started to hurt and he realized that he didn’t have the strength to stand up anymore. He didn’t have a watch he could check, but he guessed that it didn’t take him hours. In fact, he was dead in a little under an hour.

The Squirrel had been right about one thing though, it had hurt the whole way down.

March 29, 2012 Posted by | Fiction | | Leave a comment

Baby’s First Noir Part Two

Baby’s First Noir
Part 2

Billy the Badger had been on the force longer than he cared to remember. He had seen some horrible things in his time, even worse than the site that was before him now. That hadn’t made it any better, remembering the things that were worse than this. The smell was the worst part, particularly when it was a furred animal like this. If one of those stupid toads smashed their cars and got burned to death, that was bad, but at least there wasn’t the stench of burning fur.

“You I.D. him yet?” Billy asked one of the officers, a small bird of some variety.

“It’s Chirpy the Chipmunk sir.” The bird chirped. “We found his wallet, but the M.E. wants to make a full examination of teeth before making a formal say.”

“Yeah.” Billy said, stroking his long snout. “He should.”

Someone had called it in, to complain about the screaming. That was disgusted Billy the most. The screams had to be pretty terrifying, the sound of an animal being burned to death, but they had only called to get someone to tell him to shut up. It was one of the things Billy hated about this forest. He was counting the days until his retirement, when he could move to the city and live like a sensible animal. He hated this forest, and its rotten heart.

“We have a motive yet?”

“Well, it’s Chirpy sir.” The bird said. “What sort of motive do you want? He was going to end up dead at some point.”

“Enlighten me.” Billy said. “I’ve worked homicide my whole life.”

“Right sir.” The bird nodded.

Billy realized as the bird told him a story about petty crime and repeated visits to several pens that he had no idea who this officer was. Billy was going to have to check the marking to even know what kind of bird this was and the hat prevented that. He couldn’t even tell if it was a male or female officer. He knew he was too old, and he shouldn’t think like this, but all these little birds looked more or less the same to him.

“So you see sir,” The bird, who probably has a name like ‘Nibbles the Nitwark’ or something wrapped up the tale, “Someone probably got mad at him for something.”

“Burning an animal alive is pretty nasty though.” Billy said.

“He’s dealt with some pretty nasty animals, sir.” The bird shrugged.

“Evening Billy.” Capt. Stout the Stoat said as he approached. “Hello Farley. What have we got?”

He was an old stoat, no longer able to wriggle down narrow holes because of his current waistline, but a thoroughly sensible animal. Billy liked him because he had served on the force for as long as Billy had, and they had seen some things together during the war. He also liked that Stout had a cup of coffee in each hand and that he handed one over to Billy. The fact that it was one cream and on sugar was simply icing on the cake of friendship.

“Black one sugar, right Farley?” Stout asked as he handed the other cup the bird.

“Right.” Farley said. “Thank you sir.”

“Farely?” Billy asked.

“Farley Finch sir.” The bird saluted. “Sorry I didn’t introduce myself before.”

“It’s fine.” Billy said. “I’m just relieved it wasn’t Foamy or Fluffy or something.”

“No problem sir.” Farley said.

“Anything stolen from the victim’s home?” Stout asked.

“Hard to say Captain Stout.” Farley answered quickly. “His place was a hell of a mess to begin with, his parole officer is up there looking around now.”

“It seems that there is a lot of nuts in his place that didn’t belong to him.” Billy added. “The chipmunks have been active most the autumn as I understand it.”

“Yeah, but they’re rarely your problem.” Stout said lighting a cigarette. “Someone must have disliked him a hell of a lot.”

“You think it’s Big Tony?” Billy asked, looking at his captain with a sidelong glance.

“Nothing big happened recently.” Stout said. “Or is that the point?”

“I’m just thinking out loud.” Billy said. “But the last time we almost got a hold of him because we got that ferret just as the job was done. Maybe he’s trying to clear up the workers before the job’s been pulled.”

“Or Chirpy screwed Big Tony on a job? Maybe he didn’t pay him off enough.”

“What about that sir?” Farley asked, looking at something near the toadstool. “Someone left an acorn. Might be a sign for someone.”

“Or it could have just dropped.” Stout suggested.

“No good to think like that.” Billy said picking up the acorn and having a look at it. “Just a normal acorn though.”

“Might be a clue.” Farley said.

“Maybe.” Billy said, more to himself. “You say it looks like nothing was taken from Chirpy’s place?”

“I said it looks like nothing was taken, but it’s hard to tell.” Farley said, sipping at his coffee.

“What are you thinking Billy?” Stout asked.

“Not sure sir.” Billy said absently as he slipped the acorn into his pocket. “Just have a feeling, that’s all. Let’s run any active case where Chirpy was suspected, maybe we can turn up someone with a serious grudge.”

“That could take all week sir.” Farley said. “And I’ve got to be on my way south soon.”

“Yeah?” Billy asked. “Oh, right, winter. Well, you didn’t become a cop for the money or the sex, you became a cop so you could wade through piles of paper work. So let’s do that.”

“Right sir.” Farley saluted and flew away towards police headquarters.

“This is going end up being nasty.” Billy said to Stout. “Mark my words.”

“You’re sure?” Stout asked.

“If there’s anything I know about this dirty old forest, it’s that a crime is always about to happen, and that things can always get worse.”

“That’s why I like you Billy.” Stout commented. “You’re like a shaft of sunlight that breaks through clouds of despair.”

March 28, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Baby’s First Noir (Part One)

This is the story of a poor little squirrel, that lost all his acorns. And winter is just around the corner. I know, only about 10 billion of those around right? Well, this one has a minor twist in that I set it in a Hard Boiled context, because Captain B.J. Smethwick (in a white wine sauce with shallots, mushrooms and garlic) (Mrs) was complaining about having to read them for her job as an editor. I decided to see if I could make one Mrs. Smethwick would enjoy reading.

It was late and Chirpy the Chipmunk was walking home from a night of carousing with his fellows. It wouldn’t be a complete lie to say that he was quite drunk, having sampled many of the soured grapes in the old hollowed out tree that the weasels ran. He checked his pockets, looking to see how much money he had left. Totally unaware that he was being watched, he drifted from tree to tree, trying to find his way home. He stumbled past the rats who were swinging their purses and waiting for customers. He looked threateningly at a mouse, who was trying to sell late night sausages beyond all reasonable hope of profit.

Behind a large raspberry bush, a figure watched as Chirpy snarled something at the mouse. A small warm speck of light shown as the figure took a drag on its cigarette. A cold breeze passed through the forest, reminding everyone just how late in the seasons it was. Three weeks, there was only three weeks before the first snows of winter could be expected. The figure’s silhouette became obscured and then settled into a sensible shape as the figure adjusted its overcoat. As Chirpy got closer to his personal tree, it was becoming time to have a word.

Chirpy looked up at his tree and wondered if it was worth all the effort to climb to the top where his room was located. Besides, with all the nuts he had stolen recently, it would be hard to get in there and get comfortable. He’d be comfortable when winter finally came, but it was still warm enough to lie in a drunken stupor here at the roots of the old hickory. He was just about to make up his mind when it was made for him by a large smooth rock that grazed the back of his head. He sank to his knees and before passing out he felt a pair of paws on him. Had he been capable of thought at that moment, he would have thought that he was in deep trouble.

When Chirpy came to, he was tied to a toadstool. He looked around, but he couldn’t see much in the dark besides an indistinct shape. Absently, he began to wonder how much he’d actually had to drink. His head hurt a lot and he was in a strange situation. He began to think that maybe he was in some kind of trouble and began to think who he had ripped off recently. There were so many though, and his head hurt so much. He figure approached him and he tried to focus on the face that was coming through the gloom in the dim light.

“What you want?” Chirpy asked before something splashed in his face.

For a moment, he thought it was water, and then he got a sniff of it. He was in trouble all right, big trouble. Someone had gone to the effort of stealing some gasoline from the farmer’s machines. The only person he knew who could do that regularly was Big Tony, and he’d always kept on Big Tony’s good side.

“What’s this?” He asked as the figure turned the can up and splashed more gas onto his head. The smelly stuff started to soak into his fur, it would take days to get the smell out. “Look, you’ve made your point. Whatever it is, we can work it out huh?”

The figure looked at him and then reached back into the gloom, dropping a sack in front of him. The bag spilled slightly and a few nuts scattered onto the ground in front of him. A grey paw swept out and scooped them back into the bag. He recognized the bag, it was one of the bags he used for robberies. The gang had stolen a load of nuts recently, and that was his cut.

“You want the nuts?” He asked. “I got loads. Here, let me out of these ropes, huh?”

The figure picked up the sack and pulled it back into the gloom. Chirpy was starting to get nervous, the fact that whoever this was kept silent was getting on his nerves. He was starting to panic, animals who don’t talk are animals you can’t talk out of things.

“SAY SOMETHING, WILL YA?” He finally shouted, the panic jumping past his brain and leaping out of his throat.

“Winter’s coming.” The figure said, flicking a lighter and showing his face. It was a squirrel, Chirpy could see that right away. It wasn’t just a squirrel though, it was that squirrel they’d beat up and robbed a week ago. He was covering his face with his hat, but it was hum. “Gets cold in the winter.”

“Look, we can work this out.” Chirpy said, panic making his voice shake and shudder.

“Sometimes I feel like I’ll never be warm again,” The squirrel said, “You know, in winter? You want to be warm, don’t you Chirpy?”

“Don’t do this?” Chirpy begged.

“Winter is coming and I don’t have enough nuts stored up.” The Squirrel said. “I did my hard work and you guys robbed me.”

He came close and waved the lighter at Chirpy, who screamed an incoherent stream of profanity and please. He took a step back and closed the lighter, killing the flame and winking the light out of existence. The only point being the red glow at the tip of his cigarette. Chirpy could smell the tobacco as the squirrel blew smoke into his face.

“We can work this out.” Chirpy said. “I’ve got lots of nuts. We can split them right down the middle.”

“I just want what’s mine.” The voice said, laced with menace. “My nuts. Any other nuts in there belong to someone else and I don’t take what’s not mine.”

The red glow of the cigarette came close and touched Chirpy’s blue cotton vest. The squirrel blew on the tip and it glowed brightly for a few seconds before the gas soaked garment burst into flames. Chirpy screamed immediately, even though it was actually a few seconds before the heat and pain actually struck him. He screamed a lot then, but the squirrel had already thrown the sack of nuts over his shoulder and started away. It wouldn’t be true to say that he couldn’t hear Chirpy though. For one thing, Chirpy was very loud and got much louder before he got quiet and squirrels are renowned for having very good hearing. Even if one ear was badly damaged when a pack of chipmunks cracked him across the head and kicked him in the ear so that everything from his left was just a buzz of vague noises. Still, Chirpy’s cries followed him into the night, distinct and clear as he took his sack of nuts home.

He had to find the rest of them, get the rest of his nuts before winter came. It wasn’t revenge he had told himself. He just wanted to get what was his. Retrieve the things that belonged to him and maybe a little more to make up for the lost time. He couldn’t gather nuts while he was getting his stores back, and he wouldn’t be able to work as well with his ear and his eye messed up like this. He was worried about that, but maybe a winter’s rest would help them heal.

All that was for later though, for now he had to get this sack home and find the next one in the group.

March 27, 2012 Posted by | Fiction | | Leave a comment

Five, Five and Five Equals Me

I once had a young lady pose a question to me. It was during a flirtation (that didn’t end up going anywhere because I was being “too glacial” for her tastes) and as such we were knee deep in the “Getting to Know You” phase. It was a pretty good question, and I think I flubbed the answer. Yes, I still worry about these things a decade and half (or so) later. The question was “What five books, five movies and five albums would give me the best idea of who you are as a person. Maybe not the ones you like the most, but the ones that had the biggest influence on you.” Or words to that extent. I couldn’t provide satisfactory answers at the time, but I’ve had time to think about it and probably could now. Reasons weren’t asked for at the time, just titles, although the reasons for choosing each one might have been explored upon later.

5 Books
The Red Box By Rex Stout – This is the first really good Nero Wolfe book. There are better books in the series, but if you want the first one that was really great, this is the one to read. Some of you probably know my views on Nero Wolfe by now.

The Hobbit By J.R.R. Tolkien – Because it’s The Hobbit. You need to read The Hobbit.

The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald – This above all others, was the first real piece of literature that I didn’t just plain hate. There has to be something in that.

The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett – a hugely influential book on my writing style as far as detective stories goes. I like the movie, but the book is better.

Connections By James Burke – there wasn’t room in the pervue of the questions for a TV series, so I’m cheating and putting it in here because there is a book version.

5 Albums
Early Alchemy by Acoustic Alchemy, while Arcanum would probably be a better choice realistically, there would not be the opportunity to listen to the early version of Sarah Victoria and that would be a tragedy.

Narada Decade this is a compilation of some of the music from Narada’s first ten years. I like this sort of music. I find when people say they don’t, I can almost always find a song on this or the second Decade collection that they get into.

Diamonds and Pearls by Prince There has to be a Prince album on the list, and most peoiple won’t get it if I point them towards The Batman album.

Travelers & Thieves by Blues Traveler – this is not the album most people would pick when choosing something from Blues Traveler, but it’s what I choose.

Truth from Lies by Catie Curtis – Again, maybe not her best over all album. However, the question was what album would help you unlock all the little secrets.

I saved this one until last, because we can all sing this song by now…
5 Movies
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Seven Samurai
The Dark Corner
Dumbo
Young Einstein
With The Maltese Falcon as an irritating sixth entry because you need to have a sixth entry once in a while.
No surprises there, right?

I often wonder if I had given an answer like this, back in the day… ah but it doesn’t matter. If you have an answer to the 5+5+5=U question, why not post it in your own journal?

March 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FIRST! First girl anyway… even though it isn’t!

So Hunger Games is doing quite well at the old Box Office, which is nice. I’m always glad that something people actually seem to enjoy is making the big bucks. That people went in droves to Transformers 3, just so they could lament what a piece of shit it was (Seriously, parts one and two didn’t clue you in?) confounds and saddens me.

HOWEVER!

I am having a problem. People keep going on like this is the first time EVAR that a Fantasy / Sci-Fi movie has had a female protagonist. This kind of pisses me off, because I sit there going yeah, yeah. Except of course for Tangled… The Tomb Raider movies… Underworld Series… Lady Snowblood… Terminator Movies that have Sarah Connor… Buffy… Kill Bill… Alien series… Xena… The Wizard of Oz… yeah, first evar!

I know, the field is way over wang-haver-fied. I know that there is nothing even close to balance for female protagonists…I just get annoyed that every time a strong female is featured, it’s like everyone hits the reset button. Everyone suddenly acts like there has never been a girl in a movie before.

There are lots of movies with women, strong women, who are even respected by geeks (a notoriously misogynistic crowd*) and to pretend that none of them exist just so you can be excited because this new movie features a boob-haver as the main character pisses me right the fuck off.

*Don’t bullshit me, you fuckers hate chicks more than any other group I’ve ever been around and you need to fucking work on that shit.

March 26, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Twins in Death: Chapter One – Part Three

Twins in Death

A Tale of The Weirdo

By Brett N. Lashuay

 

 

Chapter One: The Ballad of Captain Scourge

 

 

March 10th, 2002

11:52 a.m.

           

            Captain Scourge was floating high above the city. His mind was rattling around inside his head like a dry split pea in a pop can. His heart was thumping like a fist-sized muscle made up of four valves designed to pump blood throughout the body, which it was. He was flying over the city, he had his outfit on, and there was something amazing about that. There was a feeling in having the costume that he hadn’t quite expected.

 

            He had sort of believed, deep in his heart, that he would just feel like a dork in a mask. He had thought that he would feel like he expected to be exposed at any moment, that people would just laugh at him. No one was laughing though, and he didn’t feel that way. He felt like some kind of God, about to descend and dispense justice from his fingers.

 

            Who was going to laugh at him now? Who was going to make fun of his clothes, or the way he walked? No one, that’s who. They couldn’t fly, they couldn’t make electricity dance from their fingers. They were tiny ordinary soft mortals, and he was flying above the clouds. This wasn’t a bad feeling for a person to have, particularly when one has had to walk amongst the petty, tiny mortals every day of their life.

 

            He looked down on the city and wondered what to do. He could begin anywhere, really anywhere. He didn’t see anyone else flying, he was alone up here and even as he lowered himself towards the street, the only people who were up this high, needed towers to stand as high as he did. He thought that there would be at least some other super hero flying through the air. A single green clad person did zip past somewhere over New Jersey, but he could only just barely see it. It might have even been a small plane of some variety; he couldn’t really tell from here, it was probably a hero though.

 

            It was an advertisement for designer jeans that started him off. It was stupid and insipid and degrading towards both women and men. A woman wearing only a pair of jeans so low you could see what his mother always called ‘The Crack of Dawn’ just poking out the back of the jeans. She had one arm draped over her breasts, which had probably been enlarged on a computer. A man in jeans hanging nearly as low stood behind her, looking out with the sort of vacant stare that men in fashion photographs had. There was nothing going on in his head, the lights weren’t even on. It assumed all women had as small a waist as the girl in the ad, and that all men wanted that in a woman and nothing else.

 

            In a nutshell, it was everything that was wrong with the world. It foretold that if a woman wasn’t as thin and promiscuous as the woman in the photo they would never be happy. It told young men that they had to be muscular and vacuous as well, or they’d never land a chick like that. It told everyone that this was what they had to live up to, and if they deviated, they would be shunned.

 

            The people who looked like the people in these ads had shunned him from their company for years. His hand extended and the bolts danced from his fingers. The tendrils slid across the paper, causing the faces to blacken and smoke. The ad caught fire after a few seconds and he swept down into time square, his heart thumping from the thrill of destruction. The huge TV screen that had been put in Time Square was showing an ad for a movie, a bad remake of a pretty bad movie that was a lousy book to begin with. Yellow electricity crackled around him and with a sudden thrust of his arm, the huge screen exploded. He sailed into the air and rained the thunder of his rage down upon them.

 

            The people had been standing in line, waiting to see an RTV V.J., and it was a bad time for something like that. Captain Scourge hated RTV, hated the fact that they played less than twenty songs and played them over and over again, when they played music at all that was. Lord knows that it would really be a killer if Rock Television played music, it might be enough to take us back up to Orange Alert. After all, there were episodes of the Real Planet to play and those stupid cartoon characters that just sat around laughing like they had power tools shoved up their rectums. His hands directed down as he spiraled through the air, and eighty-five people, most of them teenagers, received a sudden and nasty shock.

           

            Oddly, no one actually died by his hands, not then at any rate. Their hairs stood up on end, and then duparoh and other synthetic clothes began to crackle between people. Cell phone’s screens blinked randomly before snapping and shattering in their plastic cases. When the bolts flew between them, people were thrown several feet. When he shattered glass some people got cut pretty badly.

 

            One girl took a shock and suffered a sudden bought of paralysis. Her body slumped into the street and was struck by a taxi. She suffered a broken wrist and a concussion, but she didn’t actually die. She spent the next two years in physical therapy, and was phobic about lightning for the rest of her life, but she didn’t die from the attack. Her not dying meant that her injuries would be forgotten, while a sudden death would have been remembered. If there had actually been deaths, Captain Scourge might have been better remembered. As it was, several of his victims never even learned his name.

 

            It would surprise people later that Captain Scourge was just another kid, about the age of his first victims. That what he had needed was a hug and possibly not living in a world of constant inane commercials. He had just been another kid, angry at the world. What was depressing is that after learning this, many schools implemented a policy of persecution of anyone that didn’t fit in that would guarantee more violence. Indeed it would have caused a great deal of violence if other events hadn’t prevailed.

 

 

March 10th, 2002

11:57 a.m.

 

            The Weirdo had a small device that was about the size and shape of a bic pen. This was not a bic pen you under stand, but a pen shaped device. So much was this device pen shaped that we may just continue to call it the pen shaped device. This pen shaped device was more like a star trek style communicator. It was a homing beacon, person-to-person communicator, and locator all in one. So ingenious was the micro technology involved that it actually had room in certain models for a ballpoint pen to be placed in side. The Weirdo had opted for a flashlight to be in his though, a small bright LED.

 

            The reason I bring this up now was to explain that just as The Weirdo was perusing the menu, and thinking about what he might like to order, a single sharp beep came from the pen shaped device and a voice carried from it. The sharp beep made his entire body freeze, and he went rigid before the voice came a second later. To say he was displeased to hear the sharp beep would be an understatement akin to saying that Hitler didn’t have the greatest love for all the Jewish people of the world.

 

            “Rubber Duck? This is Pig Pen, you got a copy on me c’mon?”

 

            The Weirdo did not sigh, did not look at Shannon with an apologetic smile. He didn’t wince or groan, or do any of the things people in movies tend to do when business calls.  He simply sat rigid for a long moment, and internally threw a short savage temper tantrum. He’d expected it, because he believed in an all mighty force. He believed strongly in a great and powerful force that bent the universe to its will, and he was sure that force hated him. He believed in this like the Pope believes that being a small minded bigot is the best way to attract converts or that Detroit fans believe the Lions really will make it this year. He knew that God, if you wish to dignify the idea with a name, hated him. God hated him and wanted to see him suffer, and thus his meal would once again be interrupted.

 

             The Weirdo had told everyone that the person who interrupted his meal would die a horrible death if it weren’t an absolute emergency involving life or death.  Actually to be perfectly frank he told them that the life or death of the person who called would be the life or death in question.  It might be thought that perhaps The Weirdo was trying to be colorful when threatening to kill the person who caused him to miss yet another lunch. The Weirdo was not, per se, a colorful person. He usually got around the “irony” and sarcasm of the day by simply telling the truth in a dead pan way that made people wonder if he was telling the truth or being ironic or sarcastic. It would, therefore, be a very dangerous thing, not taking what he said seriously.

 

            It was for this reason that he didn’t wince, or apologize, or groan. After a moment of perfect stillness that let Shannon know he was kicking over the furniture in his mind, he let his hand move. He simply reached into his coat and drew the device out quickly, pressing the send button and sending a message back. His voice conveyed that he was well prepared to kill the entire world to get some peace and quiet, if that was what it took.

 

            “Ten four Pig Pen.” He said in a way that made it sound as if he were letting the most obscene profanities fly, by keeping a perfectly calm and level voice. “What’s your twenty?”

 

            “I’m on my way to Times Square, someone’s doing, well something.”

 

            “Is that the best description you can offer?” The Weirdo asked. “You know what today is?”

 

            “They said something about a guy shooting lightning from his fingers.” Tommy said. “Frying the innocent civilians and things.”

 

            “Ah.” The Weirdo said. “I see.”

 

            “Yeah.”

 

            “I’m near enough, I’ll be there in a bit.”

 

            He stood up and looked at Shannon, worry crossed her face, but nothing else. No anger, nor frustration. There would be other lunches, and other dinners, this had to be important. She smiled at him weakly as he looked at her. She wasn’t really worried, he’d always come back before, but there was the chance so she had to say what she had to say.

 

            “You be careful.” She said.

 

            “Okay.” He said and walked out of the cave like restaurant and into the relatively bright light of day.

 

 

© 2012 Autumn Knight Productions

March 25, 2012 Posted by | Fiction | , | Leave a comment

Allow us to discuss games for a moment.

Syd is playing Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time IN 3D on her 3ds, and the game froze, which caused her to turn the machine off, and loose her progress because she hadn’t saved in some time.

This caused me to complain.

In the old days, our games didn’t freeze, the game play didn’t have to stop.

Unless you were on Windows, then the shit froze all the time.

Or on a console, one where proper testing hadn’t occurred.

Or on a board. Watching a board game freeze will change you, make you realize that there isn’t much good in the universe. I once watched a Monopoly game sit frozen for three years, before someone finally shut it down and put the stupid thing away.

After that, I never played monopoly again. Unless there was a chance to look down a pretty girl’s shirt when she reached across the board, because I am nothing if not a pig.

March 24, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I Got Your Rape Culture Right Here: Part Two – I’m annoyed that the one time I was accused of rape, no one bothered to look into the issue.

You might wish to peruse part one.

Warning: This could be triggery as hell, but I don’t feel comfortable cutting it and making it easy to skip. :/

I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be annoyed that the one time I was accused of rape, no one bothered to look into the issue. I mean, everyone assumed I was telling the truth, and everyone assumed the girl was lying. As the beneficiary of that, I suppose I should be glad, but in retrospect I can’t help but feel annoyed that no one really bothered to ask that many questions. It was a serious issue, and no one treated it seriously. Okay, nice to be believed, but sad that everyone shrugged off the issue.

Allow me to explain.

Once there was a girl who had a massive crush on… you know, I’m not exactly sure. Yes, she wanted to get into a relationship with me, but she also wanted to be with some of the people I was with too. I’m not sure if this was so much a crush on me, so much as a crush on the situation. She just wanted to be part of the show, but she wasn’t balanced and rule two states: Don’t stick your dick in the crazy.. This situation was part of the formulation of that rule. Don’t bang drunk chicks came later, and because of similar situations.

So we’ve got this girl, who I worked out was psycho just as I was getting to a point where I might have really gotten myself into trouble. Now, I never actually slept with this girl, never got beyond some mild kissing. I then worked out she was a bit nuts, and about the time I had worked out that there was something wrong, a lot of other people also reached a similar conclusion. She faked a beating her father gave her, according to the person who said she told them, by smacking herself in the face with a book. A lot of people more or less came to the conclusion that she was too rich for their blood and cashed out of that card game but quick. I had already left that hot mess on the road by the time the “beating thing” came about, having decided that her talking smack about Syd was not on.

So a few weeks later, I get a phone call. I’m going to disguise things by even giving false initials.

G: Hey, how’s W in bed?
Me: No idea, it never got that far.
G: But she blew you right?
Me: Uh, no. It never went beyond first base.
G: Who the fuck says first base in 1996?
Me: I do. I’m all full of anachronistic shit.
G: That’s interesting.
Me: Ain’t it just? I also say ‘groovy’ a lot.
G: No, it’s interesting that you say you never fucked her.
Me: Why?
G: She’s saying that you and her basically fucked on a daily basis though most of May. Then one day, when she wasn’t in the mood, you ah… how do I put this?
Me: Are you talking rape?
G: Yeah, I guess I am. She’s saying you raped her.
Me: Okay, I deny that. It never got near sex with us.
G: Okay.
Me: Okay?
G: Well, she’s been saying that you and her fucked for a while, but she just dropped this rape thing today.
Me: Okay. So, what do you want to do about it?
G: Nothing I guess. I mean, I believe you.
Me: Okay.
G: Just look out, she’s talking all kinds of shit about you.

There was then another conversation with a person who said that she’d said I forced her to perform an oral act upon my person, but they didn’t even mention it to me at the time because they thought it sounded like bullshit. This was just the final nail in the coffin and after that whole accusation thing W was sent off to the island of misfit toys. The last I heard of her was over a year later when she called me, trying to patch things up. That conversation involved the words “suicide attempt” and “institution” and an admittance that she’d made the whole thing up because she was mad at me… or Syd, or G or U, or whoever she thought she was mad at. There was also a lot of crying and throwing herself against the stony rock face that passes for my tender mercy.

I didn’t say much, just admitted that the accusation had bothered me, and that I wasn’t sure I could bring myself to forgive her for making it. The thing is, we wouldn’t have gone back to being friends if I had, and my soul is pretty comfortable with the black marks on it. Makes it look all goth and sexy. To this day, I’m not sorry for not having handed out some half hearted bullshit non-apology like “Well, I guess we both did things wrong” and I’m not sorry for saying “Shush little lamb, I forgive you all the wrongs you tried to do me.”

What I feel is a deep sense of anger. Anger that someone would falsely accuse someone of the one of the darkest crimes our society has. Anger that everyone else just sort of looked at her, and then at me and went “Naaaaah!” without ever trying to really investigate the matter. Anger that things like this only serve to make it that much easier for a genuine case to be dismissed. There might even be some anger at myself, for not going into a righteous fury, demanding the truth be shown. I just let everyone drop it, and allowed the event to become another bump in an already bumpy summer. It became just another ostraka cast in to the voting that led to the eventual shunning of W from the group.

I’m still kind of bugged by how easily the whole thing went from accusation to acquittal though.

The thing that really keeps me up nights though, is that thought that I must have been associating with some real pieces of shit. Most the people in that group that I still associate with, either didn’t hear about this until much later, or only heard about it through third party channels because they’d decided that seeing W again wasn’t part of their life plan and they were already prepared to call her a lying bitch if she claimed the sky was blue and would have waited until sundown to scream that it was clearly orange and red. The people who let the accusation drop, the ones who heard it first hand, were so dismissive of it that subconsciously I think it tripped a switch for me. I watched them after that, and I must say that their attitudes to later events like this one did not bode well for us still being friends.

I don’t like how the thing was handled. I don’t like how some people I called friends treated the accuser. I don’t like how lightly it was all treated. Mind you, I don’t like people lying about me either. In fact nothing gets my blood up so much as someone telling a lie about me. The whole thing leaves me feeling sick and ambivalent about humanity.

Yeah, there’s no joke here, just another reason as to why I claim that life has no real heroes.

March 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment