Monday, July 28, 2014

(Fiction) The Peace Process

In the end, it was the presence of the murdersmith that ended the war.  He appeared at the peace talks, an austere figure in a razorblade suit and helmet made of bone and polished steel.
None of the parties involved would admit to inviting him there and no one had the balls to go up and ask the murdersmith himself.  The delegates avoided him, discreetly, while their various security attaches watched the creature, calculating escape routes and uttering silent prayers to any friendly higher powers that were listening that shit would not go down.
The murdersmith drifted.  He circled the room, on the periphery, a flute of expensive champagne in a black-gloved hand.  When the dancing started, he made his way out to the balcony, where he stood with his back to the room, the light from the two moons glinting off his helmet.  The delegates waltzed, trying to forget that he was there.
“I can’t decide.  Are you the life or the death of the party?”
The murdersmith turned toward a corner of the balcony, draped in thick shadows. A woman stepped out of the darkness. Her long, ash blonde hair, hung down her back and she wore a gown composed of sleek, chitinous scales.
“Neither,” said the murdersmith.  “I’m just crashing.”
A pale eyebrow rose. “Really? How gauche.  I’d heard your kind had better manners.”
He shrugged and turned back to the moons.  She came up beside him, standing so close she could smell him; he smelt like dust and ammonia and sex.
“So why are you crashing the party?” she asked.  “You know you’re freaking the fuck out of everyone in there.”
“Not you.”
She shrugged and her chitinous gown shifted; he realized it was a sort of swarm-thing, alive and symbiotic, clinging to her bare skin. Such things were out of fashion and mildly scandalous.
“Death doesn’t frighten me,” she said.  “I’m dying.”
He just nodded.  She liked that he didn’t offer fake sympathy or ask what was killing her.
“Are you saved?”
“No,” she said.  “This is me. All of me. When I die, that’s it.”
“I find that elegant,” said the murdersmith. “Neat.”
“Thank you. I think.”  She turned, leaned against the balcony.  The light from the open doors washed over her face.  The music had changed from a stately waltz to something quick and skirling.
“What dreadful music.”
The mudersmith put down his champagne. “Would you like to dance?”
She sighed. “I thought you’d never ask.”
He whirled her around the balcony, surprisingly light on his feet.  She laughed and her laughter drew the attention of one of the delegate’s wives.  The woman watched the murdersmith dance with the woman in the swarm-dress and pointed them out to her husband.  Her husband was high up in one of the delegations and, as he whirled his wife across the dance floor, he stared at the couple on the balcony.
He recognized the woman immediately; she was a member of one of the mercantile corporations that supplied arms to both sides in the conflict.  The fact that she was dancing with the mudersmith, fearless and smiling, caused a terrible suspicion to form in the delegate’s mind.
Abandoning his wife, the man rushed to find the head of his delegation, the Duchess of Xu.  He shared his suspicion with her, that the mercantile corporations were going to hire the murdersmiths to keep the war going.
“It makes sense,” admitted the Duchess.  “The corporations are the only ones benefitting from the damned war.”
“What should we do?” asked the man.
The Duchess pursed bone-white lips and looked across the ball room, toward her opposite number, the Prince of Something-or-Other.
“What no one expects us to do,” said the Duchess.
She gathered the folds of her gown, a confection of black cloud-silk studded with luminous diamonds, and headed across the floor toward the Prince.  The Prince, seeing the Duchess approach, decided to meet her halfway across the dance floor.  He asked her to dance, she accepted and, as they spiraled around the ball room, speaking softly to one another, a practical peace emerged.
The murdersmith and the dying woman did not notice or care.  They danced, slowly, on the moonwashed balcony, until the wee hours of the morning and then parted company, never to see each other again.

Monday, July 21, 2014

History Repeats Itself...With Dead Birds

Gentle readers, please bear with me, it's been a trying day.
It started nicely enough. I slept in, woke and went to the mall.  I've got an empty vase in my living room that I've been looking to fill with something.  I went by three stores, looking for ideas.  None of them really leapt out at me.
It was while I was at the third store that it happened.
I paid for my purchase (which I now have to return by the way) and went out to my car.
And there, sprawled on my hood, dead as the proverbial coffin nail, was a bird.
A crow.
It was sprawled across the hood of my car like a super-realistic paint job.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the second time a crow has died on my car hood.
The first time was in Anchorage a few years ago and I was witness to that particular incident. It was not an experience I wanted to repeat any time soon, in any way, shape or form.
But, there I was, again, standing by my car, pondering what the hell to do with this dead bird.
In the end, I used the shopping bag like a glove and pulled the corpse off my hood.  It tumbled to the ground in a lifeless sprawl of bones and feathers and already decaying meat.
Then I walked back into the store, washed my hands in their rest room and came home.
Where, if I may be quite honest, I think I'm going to get a bit blotto.
Or possible binge on white chocolate.
I haven't decided.
And that's the kind of day I'm having, gentle readers.
Here's hoping you're having a better one.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


The words will not fly.
Like lead, they fall from my lips
and the blank page wins.

Monday, July 14, 2014


Gentle readers, making art is hard.
However, shopping for it, is even fucking harder.
I have been decorating my new place and have come to the part where I need some art for my walls.
I would like something like this:
However, all I seem to find is crap like this:

I know that stores have to appeal to the broadest audience possible to make a profit, but must every piece of art I come across contain either (a) a precious beach scene or (b) a French street scene?
I hesitate to use the word 'bourgeoisie' in a pejorative sense, but I can't think of any other term that so perfectly defines common artistic sensibilities.
I suppose I should just be glad I haven't stumbled across paintings or prints of super-cute kittens peeking out of basket of yarn.
If I did, I would probably explode from my sheer vitriolic response.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Today, gentle readers, I am off to the dentist.
This afternoon, I get to sit in a chair, feet probably dangling over the end, while an older man in a mask and rubber gloves mucks about in my mouth.
I've never been particularly bothered about going to the dentist.  My teeth were never in good shape, so when I made the decision a while back to have 'em all taken out and replaced with dentures, it was not a big deal.  The dentist I went to at the time, however, seemed to think it was.  I think he may have taken it as a personal slight that I wasn't willing to endure years of pain just to keep my natural teeth a little longer.
Still, he did a bang up job on the removal.
I had all my teeth taken out in a single day.  I woke up that morning, before dawn, and popped a Valium. Then I caught a cab to the dentist's office where I filled out some paperwork, sat in the chair, and drifted off to sleep as the dentist was injecting my mouth with Novacaine.
I woke up a few hours later as he was filing down some of the bone beneath my gums where he'd had to remove wisdom teeth.  After that, he packed my mouth full of cotton, called me a cab and sent me home.
I walked around for two weeks with no teeth.  The dentist told me I would probably lose some weight during the time.  Actually, I put on five pounds.  He didn't seem to realize that ice cream and refried beans are both soft foods.  So, for that matter, is corned beef hash.
I don't miss my real teeth. Not even now, when I have to go to the dentist to get my denture repaired. It's an inconvenience, but that's about it. 
Actually, my life has pretty much improved since that day.  My health improved and, for the first time in my life, I had a nice smile.
There were oddities. I had to learn how to kiss all over again. 
And some minor inconveniences.  No chewing gum or taffy for me.
Weirdly, my toothless state has also given me a really funny story to tell involving a sneeze, loose teeth and a clerk at the post office.
Also, I can do things with my tongue now that I couldn't before.
So, overall, what most people would consider a bad event, to them, is just something interesting to me.
I suppose, like everything else in life, it's all about perspective.