Saturday, July 31, 2010

The House

Houses ought to be built on hills, but I’m against the idea of having a pool on a hill.  Water up high is a bad idea, and that is likely just a personal quirk. The owner of the house had in mind something like the Roman Coliseum, not like there would be mention of any other Coliseum but the Roman one. It’s a three story house, with an open atrium in the very middle, but with the three stories surrounding it, leading up on a spiral, but no staircases or stairwells at all.

Every room connects with another room via sliding door, and that’s part of the charm of the building is there is so much space there isn’t any real need for door or walls at all. The person who designed the house made it so when you see the house from the outside you see windows but you do not see any floors, and from the inside you see windows but you really cannot tell what floor you’re on either. It takes some getting used to, the walking up to a room not down or up a hallway, but up or down a ramp, and  were it not for the exquisite design for each room you might get lost. But once you enter a room you know, you really remember, where that room is in relation to the last miracle you just left. Each room’s wall is a mural, and each room has a particular set of windows that reveal the mural in a certain light.
There are no hand rails on the spiral walkways leading up, and in the middle of the night when you go from one room to anther that is something to remember. The small pool in the middle of the atrium serves as a North Star for it is always illuminated, but the designed wanted night to be night. There is very little artificial light in the spirals, and the observatory on the roof houses a telescope controlled by a computer that will reveal seasonal and habitual celestial delights.
Because the house is round, and because it is in an out of the way location, and because the designer and the builder of the house made sure that the general location was unknown, there are only a few tourists who visit the house each year. There are private security guards, of course, and the locals truly take umbrage at not being allowed on the property, but this is not a circus but a home. Over the years as the house has changed hands infrequently, all the owners have had one trait in common and that is the need for privacy. This is a building that speaks a language only a few can hear. This is a residence that can only be appreciated by a select few. The original owner who designed it left in his will a trust fund that insures a very complicated vetting process, so that each new owner complies with who the house really is.
The bottom floor, which is really the bottom of a spiral, is actually the third spiral, not the first or second. There is another building underground which houses the garage and the utilities. The sides of the building that face the sun collect energy from the light and covert into the power needed to operate the house itself. The bottom set of doors can be sealed by a rotating steel drum that once in place can only be moved via hydraulic pump, operated by hand. There are hidden compartments filled with water in case of fire, and but these compartments are heated by the sun so as to eliminate the need for hot water heaters.
One of the truly wonderful things about the house is the wings on top that can be unfurled and that will allow the top spiral to be disconnected, and it will rotate slowly in a stiff breeze. Nothing is left unharnessed that might be, and the wind is collected and stored like the sunlight. During storms the wings cannot deploy, of course, lest bad things happen, and the top spiral locks down if a certain speed is overmatched.
The pool, (did you catch my disapproval of the pool earlier) is a product of the waste water of the house being recycled and cleansed by solar and wind. It takes some never to swim in water that if not properly treated might kill you, but this is a house that covers all the bases. Rainwater is collected as well, and stored underground, so the use of external water is nearly zero. Unknown to most, there is also a generator that harnesses the power of the waves of the sea, half a mile away. The waves push a wheel forward and back all day and all night long, generating power for the house.

It is, of course, a house with secrets, and the library on the third spiral has a series of enigmatic painting and drawings that beg to be deciphered. They are rearranged, in a set pattern, every year, and if someone ever breaks the code I wonder what will happen. With the advent of the computer, the house was reworked for wireless, but the books still remain, as does the artwork. There is a replica of “Saint George and The Dragon” over the false fireplace in the library, and some consider this a clue, but I think it’s just a painting.

It’s the light and the darkness, really. It the daytime the windows let in an incredible amount of sunlight for reading, or painting, or living, and at night, there are no unimportant sources of light. Darkness is allowed to reign. The small pool of the atrium is lit, dimly, and the rest of the house remains pitch dark. It’s like being in a cave. Lights at night are strictly controlled so even if you want more light, it will illuminate a very small area, and no more.

I like this house a lot, I do.

Take Care,
Mike

Friday, July 30, 2010

Leper Over Medium

Eggs, bacon, hash browns, wheat toast, and coffee; it seems simple enough, and in the little franchise greasy spoon diners that dot the Interstate like ticks, you can get a decent breakfast at a decent price in a decent amount of time. I like to go about three in the morning because it’s almost too late for any drunks to be out, not that we have that many on the Interstate, but at three there is more of the dead serious type of traveler who wants to get in and get out of the place, and there are the people who are drifting, oh, and there’s me, too.
I don’t need the coffee but I want to feel it. I want to feel the rush, the buzz, the electric flow for just a few more hours before exhaustion takes over totally. It’s horrible stuff here but the refills are free, along with white sugar, I might as well be shooting up, but this is what it is.
The waitress is a war scarred veteran of one too many promises not kept. She is well past her prime and still on her feet this late in the day, still smiling, still calling men “Honey” and still smiling and still smiling. I almost order a human heart omelet just to see how long it would take for the smile to come unhinged. It’s like the stick on Mrs. Potato Head smile that you can turn upside down to make a frown, but I refuse to torment this woman. Life has not been kind to her.
The cook is a mouthy young man who has an opinion on every subject and is bouncing words back and forth with a man at the counter who looks like he might fall asleep in midsentence. There ‘s a couple of Wal-Martians in the booth behind me. The man is wearing a tee short three sizes too small to cover his girth, and it reads, “Sex Machine…” but the rest of it is hidden under a roll. The woman across from him has two gigantic loop earrings with Elvis silhouettes inside each. They make the same noises my mutts make when they eat. It’s a frantic gulping sound, and they complain they haven’t enough syrup, and it has to be warm, too. More butter too, dammit, while you’re over there, dammit. The overtired waitress smiles and brings them more.
There is someone in a booth. He/She is wearing a hoodie even though it’s damn hot outside. He/She is also wearing brown cotton gloves, and mirrored sunglasses.  This person isn’t eating or drinking but staring straight ahead. Great. The one night someone goes off the deep in I have to be in here too. The Wal-Martians are between me and the hooded stranger, and I hope I see the gun before the hooded stranger opens up with a very large handgun.
I wonder what it would look like, what it would feel like, what it would be like if one of these caffeine induced story lines came to life. The hooded stranger opens up and the two Wal-Martians block the door with their massive dead bodies as the rest of us try to flee. I’m taken hostage and the place gets surrounded by cops as the…
“You’re bleeding Honey.”
The waitress is talking to the Hooded One, and she offers to get a band-aid and leaves coffee. Blood, in the reality of a restaurant isn’t funny. I don’t want blood near me. The Hooded One accepts the offer of a band-aid and takes off a glove to reveal blood. Great, I’m having breakfast with a leper.

The Hermit in me demands that I get the hell out of the small restaurant with the bleeding person and the Wal-Martians.  The writer in me wants to know more. No, not about the Wal-Martians, I want to know why there is a hooded bleeding leper here. The waitress brings more coffee and the female Wal-Martian asks loud enough for people in Pretoria to hear, “WHY IS THAT BOY BLEEDING?”
“Boy” is one of those Southern Things. I know people incapable of having a conversation without ending each sentence with “Boy”. Generally speaking, it’s used as a slight pejorative but there are some people who just do not get it. Personally, this late at night I wouldn’t try to draw attention to myself or anyone around me. The Leper is trying to plug a hole is his (her?) left hand, and I have the feeling this is not going to end well for the Wal-Martians. You know, I’ve had enough coffee, and the eggs were good, but it’s time to go now, really.
The female Wal-Martians almost tips the restaurant over trying to wiggle out of her seat. It’s an odd sound, the noise rubber and plastic make when they are squeezed together. She lumbers out of her seat and heads toward the Leper. This might be… But no, The female Wal-Martian instead veers off to the bathroom. The Leper waits a few seconds then gets up and follows her. I can see the edge of the Women’s bathroom door, and that’s where the Leper goes.

Really? Leper is a woman?

Wal-Martian man grumbles aloud that his syrup is not warm enough. He’s one of those people who wants someone to agree with him before he starts to fuss. I ignore him, and I’m more interested in what’s going to happen in the bathroom. Wal- wo-Martian comes out of the bathroom walking a lot faster than she’s accustomed to going. When she sits down it’s like someone just dropped three hundred pounds from the ceiling.
“ DAMN KEVIN THAT DAMN WOMAN HAS DONE BEEN CUT…” but she doesn’t finish because the Leper comes out of the bathroom and walks towards us. She does walk like a woman, with that sense of grace most women have, but she’s in a hurry, and she isn’t smiling. She leaves a couple of dollars on the counter and the waitress parrots a goodbye see you later thanks for dropping by hope to see you soon type  message and goes back to the debate between the cook and the nearly asleep man.

Take Care,
Mike

Thursday, July 29, 2010

“The Chaos” (by G. Nolst Trenite, a.k.a. “Charivarius”; 1870 – 1946)

“The Chaos” (by G. Nolst Trenite, a.k.a. “Charivarius”; 1870 – 1946)
Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse
I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye your dress you’ll tear,
So shall I! Oh, hear my prayer,
Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!
Just compare heart, beard and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written).
Made has not the sound of bade,
Say said, pay-paid, laid, but plaid.
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,
But be careful how you speak,
Say break, steak, but bleak and streak.
Previous, precious, fuchsia, via,
Pipe, snipe, recipe and choir,
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery:
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles.
Exiles, similes, reviles.
Wholly, holly, signal, signing.
Thames, examining, combining
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war, and far.
From “desire”: desirable—admirable from “admire.”
Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier.
Chatham, brougham, renown, but known.
Knowledge, done, but gone and tone,
One, anemone. Balmoral.
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel,
Gertrude, German, wind, and mind.
Scene, Melpomene, mankind,
Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, reading, heathen, heather.
This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.
Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet;
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which is said to rime with “darky.”
Viscous, Viscount, load, and broad.
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s O.K.,
When you say correctly: croquet.
Rounded, wounded, grieve, and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive, and live,
Liberty, library, heave, and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven,
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the difference, moreover,
Between mover, plover, Dover,
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police, and lice.
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label,
Petal, penal, and canal,
Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal.
Suit, suite, ruin, circuit, conduit,
Rime with “shirk it” and “beyond it.”
But it is not hard to tell,
Why it’s pall, mall, but Pall Mall.
Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,
Timber, climber, bullion, lion,
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, and chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor,
Ivy, privy, famous, clamour
And enamour rime with hammer.
Pussy, hussy, and possess,
Desert, but dessert, address.
Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants.
Hoist, in lieu of flags, left pennants.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rime with anger.
Neither does devour with clangour.
Soul, but foul and gaunt but aunt.
Font, front, won’t, want, grand, and grant.
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say: finger.
And then: singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, age.
Query does not rime with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post; and doth, cloth, loth;
Job, Job; blossom, bosom, oath.
Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual.
Seat, sweat; chaste, caste.; Leigh, eight, height;
Put, nut; granite, and unite.
Reefer does not rime with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
Hint, pint, Senate, but sedate.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific,
Tour, but our and succour, four,
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria,
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay.
Say aver, but ever, fever.
Neither, leisure, skein, receiver.
Never guess—it is not safe:
We say calves, valves, half, but Ralph.
Heron, granary, canary,
Crevice and device, and eyrie,
Face but preface, but efface,
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust, and scour, but scourging,
Ear but earn, and wear and bear
Do not rime with here, but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, clerk, and jerk,
Asp, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation—think of psyche—!
Is a paling, stout and spikey,
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing “groats” and saying “grits”?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel,
Strewn with stones, like rowlock, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict, and indict!
Don’t you think so, reader, rather,
Saying lather, bather, father?
Finally: which rimes with “enough”
Though, through, plough, cough, hough, or tough?
Hiccough has the sound of “cup.”
My advice is—give it up!

Chimney Leaks

The Church Street House where I lived as a teen had a fireplace and it was my job to keep the fire burning in the winter. The chimney leaked from the time we moved arrived in 1972 until my father had the chimney removed in the 1990’s sometime. He tried all sorts of remedies and fixes but nothing really did the trick at all, and each year we would have some new brown spot on the ceiling, as if we owned some invisible gravity defying dog who refused be housebroken.
I swore I would never own a house with a fireplace, and I would have kept that promise had this house not had one, but it was such a great house, even with the fireplace. True to the Firesmith family tradition, the chimney leaked even before I moved in. The realty agency sent someone to fix the leak, and if they had, this would be a very short essay on chimney leaks, now wouldn’t it?
If you walk into a mechanic’s shop and the place is eerily quiet that is a sign you need to ask directions to the zoo and then move on. Times are hard right now and there are a lot of people looking for work, whether or not they are qualified to do it, so I was looking for someone was in the business of fixing roofs, and who had a good business. Remember the last time I got into this and had a friend of a friend do it? Yeah, if that had worked out we would be here either. The search continued.
Of all the things to happen oddly, I went up in the attic to poke around and see if I would plug the leak somehow and it occurred to me after nine years of leaking of various levels of failure it was time to get serious. So I did what everyone does when they really have to make a decision; I found a way to procrastinate. I went to the Y to work out which is a time honored method of procrastination. The odd thing is I have actually bone home repair to keep from working out before. Anyway, when I pulled in there was a truck in the parking lot looking like it had survived a nuclear blast and on the side of it was one of those magnetic signs that read, “ACME Roof Repair” Okay, that isn’t what it actually said, but I won’t give anyone a free commercial until I find out if the leak is fixed or not.
When I talk to a contractor, and I talk to contractors every day of my life at work, those that talk the best game of how great they are usually are trying to sell something other than their work. I know a salesman when I speak to one. What I want to hear is how long you’ve been in business. I want to know your ideas on what might be wrong, and what went wrong with what I’ve tried. I also want whoever I’m talking to become a little antsy if the conversation goes on for too long. I don’t want to hear how cheap the work is going to be. I want to know it is going to be done right, and if there is a problem done the road, someone will come fix it again, and again, until it is done right.

Acme isn’t a salesman at all. In fact, he doesn’t have much charm at all, and that is a good thing in my book. I tell him what the problem is, and he tells me it ought not cost a fortune but he has to see the work before he can give me a real quote. I give him directions to my place, and he shows up exactly on time, which I like. I like someone who sells his work by telling me what he can for a price and then vowing to stick by it if something weird happens. The inspection takes just a few minutes and then he tells me he’ll come back later in the week. The price is lower than the friend of a friend was years ago and I like that. Acme has a plan and I like that.
The bad thing is they wanted to come really early in the morning to work. I’m usually asleep early in the morning, but the temperature gets up to a billion degrees in the heat of the day on a roof so I was in no position to make anyone suffer. The appointed hour arrived, and all I got was a two hour nap. Immediately the war began. No, silly, not with the roof people, the Wasp War. They discovered a wasp nest the size of a New England state hidden under the eaves. I told them all they needed was a large container of dishwashing detergent, and that would kill the wasps.
Blink. Blink.

One of the guys looked at me as if to say, “Gee, you hired us and it would be rude for me to say ‘bullshit, those wasps will eat me alive if I throw dishwashing detergent on them’ but I really think if I throw that stuff on them they will chase me off this roof and I’ll scream like a little girl.” He tosses the large container of dishwashing detergent upon the nest and lo! The wasps were killed!

If noise means work then I got my money’s worth. They pounded and hammered and I tried to sleep. A few hours later they started finishing up so I went up to check it out. It looks good. They put a sheet of rubber stuff under the shingles around the chimney, put in new shingles, and then calked around the edges. The coated everything between the rubber and the roof with tar so I think this might work,

Now, watch what I tell you; it won’t rain again for another two months.

Take Care,
Mike

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dead Full Moon Heat

Under the gaze of a full moon who emits no illumination to our artificial world, the light trees, as they are called, blast the area with unrelenting glare. These are steel structures with banks of lights attached to them, and they are a poor substitute for the sun. They cast garish shadows that confuse the eye. They create deep dark, dangerous shadows where it is impossible to see. They destroy night vision so when you leave the center of the artificial sun’s aura there is nothing but the blasphemous afterimage seared into your field of vision.
It isn’t safe the leave the light of the new sun, because of the traffic out here on the Interstate, and besides that, it’s my job to stay close, even when everything is going well. The crew is efficient and they work well as a team. They are replacing guardrail, but one of the dangers hidden by the bright lights are fireant nests, which appear to be nothing more than mounds of dirt. A worker is soon covered by them, and right there by the light of the new sun, he strips down to nothing twenty feet from I-75. He hides behind a truck, and uses a flashlight to try to find the most covered areas of his body as two of the other workers throw water on him from the ditch, using their hard hats are buckets. This is immediately funny to them, and at the same time, serious. Fireants are vicious and evil little creature who attack by the hundreds, thousands, and hundreds of thousands. The man nukes the nest with diesel fuel and before I can say anything, there is a small fire burning brightly. I do not like open flame around construction. They nuke the fireants on the old steel posts, and then they let the fires burn out. Steel does not burn, so there is no worry there. I mention to the foreman the perils of fire, and he puts a worker near the flames with an extinguisher, just in case.
It is seventy-six degrees at one in the morning. The only breeze is the traffic blowing past us at seventy miles an hour but it is a dirty and dusty wind that leaves the human face feeling covered with an oily and black film. “Diesel Dust” the homeless call it, and I’ve heard it makes a great insect repellant. When people become too poisonous for mosquitoes it is time to reevaluate the environment.

My feet hurt and I can feel the sweat running down my legs into my shoes. The humidity hangs in the air like a light fog that cannot be seen up close. There, down the road a bit, it can be seen, and there, up the road a bit, yes, it is there also. But here only the lungs can feel it, and every breath a struggle between the atmosphere and the parasitic humidity that attaches itself to every breath, to feed on our energy and strength.
The people who have been at this for a while ride with their windows open and the AC off. Air conditioning is a venom out here that slowly kills your ability to tolerate the heat. It is better to be outside in it all the time, than to try to hide from it. Hiding from the heat now is like hiding from time, or gravity. The more time spent in the heat is the better you’re able to stand it. I park my truck a hundred yards away from the work so I’ll not be tempted. The walking does me good, and most contractors respect project managers who will stay with the work as it is being done.
Back last year, when I was working on the road during October, the nights went through a shift in temperature about ten at night. There was a distinctive downward jump, not a big one, but the heat of the day punched out, and left until tomorrow. A few hours later, true coolness would begin to creep in, and it would get downright pleasant. A couple of hours before dawn it would begin to get uncomfortably cold. As October turned into November, the coolness crept in more quickly, and the cold lasted longer into the day, making for very good sleeping weather. Working nights was nearly perfect then, and I liked it.
People aren’t the same in this weather. They’re more edgy, more irritable, and less friendly. It doesn’t matter how cool your home is for sooner or later you have to venture out into the heat, and even if you’re just going down to the store to pick up a few things Summer will have her dues paid.
Stepping out of an overcooled house will cause glasses to fog, and in the heat of the day, it can take the breath away. Triple digit heat is dangerous unless you’ve spent a good deal of time getting accustomed to it. A car’s internal temperature can reach one hundred forty. The time it takes for the AC to cool it seems to last forever, and in that forever, every pore in your body is going to open up like the Hoover dam getting hit by an asteroid. Working your way through traffic means your AC isn’t going to cool off as quickly and you will catch every light, and every idiot trying to cut you off. You have to park in another area code to get into the parking lot, the people in the store are morons, and the cashier a totally screw-up. Stopping for gas means you’ve got to stand out there in the heat while gas vapors float around you like explosive gnats. Getting back home means weaving your way through the same set of weirdness that you just survived, and all the while, the heat keep getting worse and worse.
And we wonder why there are more homicides in the Summer than any other time of year.

Take Care,
Mike

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Is it HOT enough for you?"

Late July in South Georgia is a place of heated despair. It has been so hot for so long no one remembers the cold weather of this last winter. The ice in the pond has been replaced by stagnant and fetid water that seems on the very verge of boiling if it were just a bit hotter. A few more degrees and we could catch fish fully cooked. The shade of trees offers not the cool relief from the heat but rather an oven warm respite from the radiological blast of the sun’s direct glare. It is hot. It has been hot. It might get hotter. There is no relief in sight.
Late July is no better than halfway through the worst heat of the Summer. This is the time of Siege. This day may be the hottest ever, but you know tomorrow might be hotter still, and if that day is the hottest on record then the day after that might be, and the week after that the temperature might hit triple digits for a week after that, but today might be worse than yesterday, and tomorrow has begin and you dread it like a double date with you ex-wife and zombie with hiccups because that day might be hotter still.

And the one after that, well, yeah, it too.

Go ahead and just sheer off that part of the thermometer that reads below seventy-five or so, because the temperature isn’t dropping blow that until the middle of September, and if it does it will be right before sunup. That part of the thermometer that reads in the upper nineties you might want to just go head and magnify that a bit because that is where the mercury will be for a spell. It’s locked in now. It’s set in red hot stone. It’s going to be the way it is until it stops being this way, and you’ll tear a couple of pages off the calendar before you feel relief.

There are species out there who love this, in case you’ve missed it.

The trees are soaking up the life right now, and this is great tree weather. The rains have fallen consistently and with good measure, and the Chinaberry trees are nearly blue-green they’re so green. They appear even darker this year because the leaves are so thick it creates deep black shadows between the limbs so everything seems framed in darkness. The grass grows eleven feet a second these days and the yard needs to be mowed again before the last time is finished, and I have a small yard. Even as hot as it is the rains have kept up with the evaporation rate, so we have frogs, frogs, frogs, at night. More plant life means more insect life and that means more of everything that eats bugs. The downside is wasps eats bugs and the Wasp Wars continue as I try to keep them from rebuilding on my front porch.
But the heat is oppressive. It is suppressive. It is ubiquitously universal. It is hot inside. It is hot outside. It is hot in between. It is hot at work. It is hot at play. It is hot in the pool, in the shower, and even in a deep freezer, where they keep the heads of Disney and Ted Williams, they are now beginning to have to wipe sweat of their brows of those men because it is so hot in South Georgia.

“…penchant for hyperbole”

Someone kicked over a fireant bed onto the sidewalk the other day and the ants died before they could crawl back into the grass. They just curled up and wilted like tiny little evil blades of grass. A swarm of mosquitoes followed me into my truck and died screaming when I closed the door, trapping them in a furnace replete with a decent CD player. Their tiny blood sucking bodies lay shriveled on the dash, their Rh factors turning into a thin red smoke. It is so hot bug are melting off car windshields and windshields are beginning to droop.

The highway soaks up heat like a crocodile on the banks of the Nile. We arrive near sundown and the sun isn’t blasting away at us but we can feel the residual heat rising from the asphalt like a disease. The surface of the road is hot, and it leeches through the soles of a man’s boots like it is burrowing into his soul. The air at face level is dirty with the dust of the passing traffic, and the heat makes it feel as if we’re breathing with our faces smashed down in an ashtray full of warm water. The heat is in everything, all objects manmade that have been exposed to the sun. Machinery is hot to the touch, and sitting anywhere is to invite that diaper rash feeling after a few minutes. The world has changed fundamentally from that of a world that is full of living creatures and living things, to an underworld, where we live in the warm, moist mouth of some giant creature, who forgot to brush his teeth.

This isn’t new. As far back as I can remember this is the way late July in South Georgia felt. There are times I can breathe deeply and feel the heat searing my very soul from the inside, and I feel my body accepting this fate, as if the humidity years to assimilate the beings who are mostly water themselves. The body human adjusts to the hostile air, and it makes amends with the sun, and those of us who work outside see this as just another day in just another week, in just another July, and it is just another Summer. There is no point, and no honor, in hiding from it, and there is work to be done, besides. Those who can survive the heat in the open know they can, and know they will. Those of us who challenge it know one day we will not be able to, but not this year. Another month and another month, and we’ll see some changes, but until then, it is Summer, and it is glorious.

Take Care,
Mike

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Southern Grammar Nazi

Being a Grammar Nazi in South Georgia is a lot like being a Fire Marshall in Hell. It’s like being a noise monitor at a Rap Concert. It’s like being a Prohibitionist on Saint Patrick’s Day in Savannah Georgia. It’s like cleaning up the Gulf Gusher with a teaspoon with holes in it while drinking shots of tequila for every gallon they keep telling us isn’t out there. Being a Grammar Nazi in South Georgia is about as popular as advocating the Metric System, which by the way, I do that also.
One thing that the Politically Correct Police haven’t shut down yet is the comic strip, “Snuffy Smith” created June 17, 1919 by Billy DeBeck, but taken over by Fred Lasswell and then by John Rose. The strip reveals the life of family of hillbillies who speak in Southern English, which is a form of slang. I’m sure there is no other cultural group that could be made fun of in this manner and the artist make a living doing it. I suspect there are two main reasons there has never been an outcry over this. (1) People really do speak in this manner. (2) They do not realize they are the butt of a joke when they read the comic strip because they assume it’s just the way other people speak.
No, not everyone in South Georgia is an undereducated redneck with poor language skills. But those who are seem to be downright militant about it. Trying to have an intelligent conversation with some of the people I know about the proper use of language is a lot like trying to convert these people to cannibalism; they do realize some people do it but the very idea of partaking themselves…
The comic strip makes the typical Southerner look like a shiftless moron intent on spending his days fishing and this nights stealing chickens. There is a moonshine still in the background, and a broken down shack for a home. 99% of the Southern people I know are hardworking people with exemplary work ethics and nice homes. I cannot tell you most of them do not fish, but the stealing chickens part is something I can truthfully say does not happen. Yet because the comic strip characters speak the same language as far too many Southerners, the general perception is those people who speak the language live that kind of life. Furthermore, because the Southern states are always mired in the very bottom of educational scores in the nation, the myth is reborn, like a Phoenix with a drawl, each year.
I know people who can coax from the earth good food and who can rebuild anything that is broken, and who can tell you when to plant and where to plant and how much fertilizer the crops need, and who if they found a wallet full of money would return it without taking a dime, and they would not take a reward for this, and they would never stop to think this is unusual. These are people who are good parents, who never mistreat their spouses, or children or pets. Yet for all their goodness of character, once they begin to speak it sounds so much like the Snuffy Smith it is nearly impossible for anyone from the outside to see past this at all. So incredibly ignorant is the manner of speech the treasure of the thoughts is totally lost in the trash of the words.

The irony of the Georgia’s anti-immigration movement is the hue and cry for there to be some sort of requirement for English to be the only language spoken in the state. About half the people I know are going to be deported to Possum Holler or Hooterville if this law takes effect. And no matter how hard I try, or what method I try, the offences seem to orbit around a few words and phrases.
1. Ain’t: In and of itself, this is the national word of the ignorant. The fact the word is in the dictionary seems to legitimize its place in spoken conversation.
2. Double Ain’t Negatives: “Ain’t got no” “Ain’t doing nothing” “Ain’t worth nothing” “Ain’t going nowhere” Use a Double Ain’t Negative in a job interview and unless you’re applying for a job in a chicken house with a broom, the person interviewing you just lopped off 50 IQ points from their opinion of you and 15K off your starting salary.
3. Verb Confusion: “They was going to going to school with him but he were late.” “I done seen the truth and it weren’t pretty” and my favorite when I mention someone sounds like they were educated by fictional characters, “It don’t matter” and “It don’t matter none”

You may think things are not nearly as bad as I make them sound but what I have related here comes straight out of the mouths of people I speak with each day. You may not think this matters but when speaking to people outside the cultural norm in this region this manner of speech makes us all sound as if education is a foreign language. Considering the test scores coming out of Georgia schools, that is a theory that might just have more validity than we would like to admit. English is the language we use to educate our children so what does it mean when we do not speak that language when we are at home with them?

Here are some terms:
1. Stupid: This is an inability to learn. Nowhere in what I have said do you see this term used in reference to anyone in Georgia because of the way they speak.
2. Ignorant: Uneducated. I have used this term, and I think considering the test scores of our students it has been earned.
3. Willfully Ignorant: Knowing better but refusing to act upon knowledge in the name of some sort of homage to culture.
That last one is killing us folks. We ain’t going no where, and we ain’t doing nothing until we begin to realize the words coming out of our mouths cloud whatever it is we have to say.

Take Care,
Mike

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Hell Index and The Leaky Roof

The Heat Index is that mythical creature the weather people use to tell you it is a lot hotter than anyone suspected. For those of us who work outside this is not news. For those of us who work outside in the open, next to asphalt that is over three hundred degrees, not only is it not news, we live past the Heat Index, well into the Hell Index. If you think it’s hot outside while you’re mowing or weeding or sitting by the pool, try being on the road with this stuff. Working asphalt in the Summer is like walking down the road with Death Valley tagging along at your heels like some sort of black topped Cerberus.
Odd then, at this juncture, I’m having my chimney worked on.

Nine years ago when I first walked into this house one of the first things I noticed was there was a slight leak in the roof where the chimney resides. That was one the list of things to be repaired before the house was sold to me, and the guy who worked on it seemed to know what he was doing. It didn’t leak for a while, but then it did leak again, so a friend of mine told me she had a friend who did that sort of work and I hired the guy over the phone without meeting him first.
He showed up the first day dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, flip-flops, and wearing a pair of shorts that might have once been used as a covering for a Zeppelin. He got out of his truck, threw a cigarette on the ground, and was taken aback when I asked him to take it with him when he left. Worse, he didn’t bring a ladder with him. You came twenty-five miles out into the middle of nowhere to work on a leaking roof and you didn’t bring a ladder? I did have a ladder, but it was only a six footer, and that meant I had to steady it while he climbed. Remember the Zeppelin shorts? Ewww!

Generally speaking larger people like heights less than smaller people, and severely overweight people do even less well in high places. This guy got up on the roof and acted as if we were dangling over some abyss. Yet he seemed to have a plan, and I told him he could start the next day when he brought the right tools and the stuff her needed. He assured me he could get started right away so I left him to it. The problem was I had to hold the ladder each time he went up or down, and that was getting to be a problem. Worse, by the end of the day, he said he needed a few things from the hardware store and would have to come back the next day, or the day after that. I said that was fine, and he stood there and looked lost. Pause. Pause. Pause. Yes? Oh, well, I’m running a little short on money… Hmmmm, well, I wasn’t about to pay him up front but I did offer him enough for materials. He wasn’t very happy with this, but he left and said he would come back the next day.
The next day came and went, as did the day after that, and then the weekend appeared with no sign of him, and finally the following Monday I called him and asked him if he had finished the job. Job? Yes, the job I hired to you to. Oh, that…uh, er, which job? The chimney leaks, remember? High place, shaky ladder, money exchanged hands for material? Oh, yeah, I was just on my way out there now.

I was at work and the guy calls me and asks me where my ladder is stored. I tell him it’s out in the back, in the shed, and he asks me if the dogs bite, and I tell him they haven’t bitten anyone yet, but I have no idea how they will react when I am not around. As it turns out, poorly because Sam went after his hand when he reached in to open the gate, and that put an end to him working at day, and so traumatized was he after that, he took the rest of the week off as well.
Okay, here’s the deal. If you’re going to work on my leak, I need to know when you’re going to be there, I need for you to bring your own ladder, and I need to know when this thing is going to be finished. Okay? Thanks! Bye!

The next day I get a call from my neighbors who are really decent about calling me when things go wrong at my house when I am not around. One of them pulled an automatic rifle out on a friend of mine who thought it was a good idea to sit in my yard and wait for me to come home. Okay, he’s a spooky looking dude, and I understand that. Still, I though the SKS was a bit much. Yet here is this phone call about a fat man on my roof drinking beer. I decided to go home at lunch to see what was going on, and my worst fears were realized.

His ladder was one of those retractable ladders that slide down within itself, and if it was a foot long it was thirty. He had tied it off at the bottom but it had slid down sideways, trapping him on my roof with nothing but a cooler full of beer and his cigarettes. He had made the most of the day by drinking nearly a twelve pack of beer so by the time I got there it was far too late * for him) for any work to be done. I took great exception to the beer. His feelings were hurt that I said anything to him after all he had gone through. He stood there in front of me and I stood there waiting and finally he asked me if I could give him a ride home.

Three months later, after he had theoretically stopped the leak for all time, the leak reappeared. I called him up and he told me he would be glad to work on the leak again, at the same price. I threatened to sue him. After I hired a lawyer we discovered he wasn’t a licensed contractor, and after the threat of having him arrested for working without a license, his wife showed up at my doorstep with a check and a chewing. But I did get my money back.

Take Care,
Mike

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hemingway and Wal-mart

Ernest Hemingway said: "I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, 'Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.'"
I never get this thing called “Writer’s Block”. Likely, there are those people out there who wish I would get it, but I don’t. Mostly, I have come to suspect those of us without deadlines or editors, or for that matter, any sort of pressure to write at all pretty much have it a lot easier than those real writers who have to make a living doing this.
Hemingway went into combat to improve his witting. Among writers and lovers, there is a theory that states those who suffer the most as the most capable of being able to feel the most. There may be, in point of fact, some truth to this, but I will avoid both marriage and war even if it means living alone, and writing no better than I do.
Papa Hemingway was nuts. He was a brilliant writer, and none better in a genre that he alone exists in, but the man was certifiable. The clarity of his work, the pureness of his writing, and the sheer domination he had over the Muse that tormented him is awesome. I don’t like many of his books but I do admire the man’s skill. The man rocked out with a manual typewriter. His ability to describe a scene is unequaled. But damn if the man wasn’t a freaking loon.
Hemingway locked up productively speaking and stopped writing for a while, just before he published “The Old Man and the Sea”. He went for a spell without being able to do anything he liked, or for that matter, anything anyone else liked either. The alcohol might have spoken to a lot of that, but Papa was a professional. He was a writer and he drank. I suspect the rest of us writers might not be so damn driven to drink if it were not for Hemingway. To become like the legend you have to drink like that legend.
I don’t drink nearly as much as I once did, and I never write while drinking. Someone sat me down one day with a stack of short stories I had written while sober, and another I had written while drunk. She explained to me I wasn’t funny when I was drinking. Nothing I wrote was humorous, or for that matter, was meant to be. “Being funny, Mike, is part of being alive” is what she told me. There are things you do to improve your writing and there are things you stop doing to improve your writing.
Okay, mostly I don’t drink and write but I have been known to sit down and pound out an email or an essay and then the next morning not remember some of it. Beer is a good suspect when this occurs. But I’m such a damn lightweight I can be totally wrecked off four beers. I suspect both my drinking ability and my writing skill is inversely proportion to Papa’s.

Writer’s Block to me is something akin to having a condition that prevents me from breathing. But as I said earlier, I have no deadlines except my self-imposed deadline to write every day. It isn’t a real deadline it’s just that I do write every day. Eventually, like a cat in cave full of bats and laser pointers, something is going to trigger an impulse. I swear to dog if you are in dire need of something to write about go to Wal-Mart. If nothing else either your belief in divine creation will become sullied, or your knowledge of evolution will take a beating. And that’s just in the parking lot.

If people cannot, or do not inspire you to write you are not paying attention. Human beings are exceedingly dangerous animals. Were we to be happened upon by aliens I strongly suspect they would either wipe us out as a defensive measure, or stay the hell away from us until we calmed down a bit. Up until the advent of the Taser, do you realize there were almost no nonlethal projectile weapons? Papa didn’t have to go into war to get combat experience, no, all he really had to do is go to Wal-Mart on a Saturday afternoon.

Once upon a time it took some doing to reach more than the people you knew personally but now if you’re good, and you know how to work the system you can reach as many people as you can figure out how to reach, and who spend their time online and reading. Some of the videos I’ve seen lately, including a profanity laced rant by an eleven year old girl, make me question this medium, but I suspect she isn’t the first eleven year old in history to use that sort of language and she will not be the last. The obvious solution is to flee this place, and never return, but that is paramount to surrender.

“Write the truest sentence that you know.”

It really is that simple you know. Look at how much truth is there in just seven words. In that very short sentence Papa commands himself, and you too, and me, and everyone else who ever waited for The Muse to kick in, waited for that idea, that feeling, that one good sentence to appear, Papa demands only that you do what you know. That sentence is there. It is there within you and it always has been and it will always always always be there inside of you.

Writer’s Block is a myth. It is a tale told by those who do not write. If you write, all you need do is listen, listen to the truth inside of you. You do not need war, or old men, or insanity and you sure as hell do not need to drink, or to die, to write.
Hell, the man wasted six words; write.

Take Care,
Mike

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Billy And The Mountain

1996 doesn’t seem that long ago sometimes, and sometimes it seems as if it were another lifetime away, and the people, events and places, works of fiction, or part of some historical display, but not relevant to this life, this place and time, or for that matter, relevant to me. It was fourteen years ago, however, and no matter how I feel about the time, it is what it is, and it will never come back to me in any form except memory, and of course, writing.
In the business of Transportation Construction there isn’t very much cross pollination between construction companies. Anyone who is fired from one has difficulties getting a job with another in the same area. Rarely are employees poached from one company by another, although that is more frequent than the hiring of the fired. Sometimes a disgruntled employee can talk his way into being hired on by another company so they can perhaps learn something of the old company’s ways, but that too is very rare. Most men who own their own construction companies are not interested in advice from outside their own circle of advisors. The consequences of poor judgment in this business are an abrupt end of profits, so most owners already trust what they are doing. Or they are already gone.
There was a motor grader operator of great renown who quit three different companies, all of which were top of the line operations, because as the best, he wanted to get paid as such. Three times the company in question let him go rather than up his pay, but a fourth local company did pick him up, and he is still there today. Personally, in over eighteen years in this business, I have know at least one operator that might have been as good as he, maybe, and two that might have come close, but no one I have seen was, or is, better. Is it worth what he was asking? Obviously he is as good enough to bring in more profit than he costs, or he would not be there.
I knew a man who talked his way into a job above his skill level, and the company that hired him is now bankrupt. That speaks to the judgment issue, and I have known men who were able to talk their way into jobs only to be released from their responsibilities within a year or so. Most companies will give you a year to either sink or swim, and it is a shameful thing to be hired into a position higher than you have had before, and then a year goes by and you are ushered to the door with a handshake and a grim smile. But mostly people of any sort of skill stay put, either through lack of ambition, or they are being rewarded to do so.
Lower level workers rarely change companies within this business simply because running a shovel is something almost anyone can do. Once a worker has been in one place for a few years, even the shovel operators, they are making better than entry level wages so there is little for them to switch jobs. As I have already said, those who are fired usually cannot get on with another company.

I met Billy in 1996, and he was working for another company, running a shovel, and now he’s working for someone else and he’s still got that same job. The last fourteen years have not been kind to him physically. He’s likely a little younger than I, and when I first met him he looked younger still. Now he looks much older than I. Drugs, alcohol, and/or a life regulated to manual labor in the Summer heat and endless shifts can age a man. All of these things taken in combination can age a man quickly. Still, this is a man who takes pride in his work. Even at the lower end of the skill ladder, Billy has always tried hard to do what was right, even if it meant little to anyone else. Day in and day out, Billy has gone out into the heat, the traffic, and in fourteen years, he hasn’t moved up at all.
We talked about that project, fourteen years ago, and it seems he took a break away from the shovel to drive a truck for someone else, hauling pulpwood, but came back to asphalt. We talked about those who quit, got fired, moved on, retired, or just plain went missing and never came back. Billy’s mind is sharp and clear; he remembers names and men and problems on projects from fourteen years ago better than I.
There was a project where a man donated some of his property as easement to the construction company that was running the show. The man’s only stipulation was they move a rather large rock from his property. Billy was there, and I remember he was the person they wanted to help clean up the pieces of the rock when they were done breaking it up, but the rock wasn’t a rock at all, but the tip of a small mountain sticking out of the bedrock and up into that man’s property. The company had to dig down several feet, get several men with jackhammers working for a week, and finally satisfied the man when they moved enough rock to fill four or five dump trucks. That was genuinely funny and that story has made the round for a while now. Other men have heard it, and they come over to listen to two people who were there. Billy makes a show of how he told the operator that the rock went down deeper than they thought. How much deeper? Billy told him, “You better call the boss because he’s going to lose some money here.” I remember when he said those words, those exact words, fourteen years ago.
I asked the supervisor about Billy, and why he never got past the shovel, and he told me Billy had gotten a job driving a truck and was doing fairly well. Billy’s daughter was killed by a drunk driver one night, and the man lost everything that went with living after that. He got his old job back and never once looked up again. Billy’s daughter was the first member of his family to go to college. He was on the road when she died, and it took them a couple of hours to find him, and tell him.

My niece leaves to go to Mercer in one month.

Take Care,
Mike

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Worst Poet....EVER!

There was a woman in my past who was quite possibly the world’s worst poet. Actually, she had an incredible future in the greeting card creation department, but as far as the rest of the poetry circles went, I was afraid she would get her feeling hurt. It’s not that she didn’t have talent, because she did, and it wasn’t that she didn’t put her heart and soul into her poems, because she definitely did that too. But she had such an extremely limited vocabulary it was difficult for her to find new words, and it was hard for her to use different phrases to express the same emotions as she had in previous lines. I so wanted to take her to a poetry reading but could never find one anywhere near where she lived and she was not one to travel.
How bad was it? Most of the poems she wrote could be sent via text message.

I tried to get her to open up to new words, new ways of expressing her creativity, and I sent her poems by different poets that I really liked, and she pretty much shot them all down as “too weird”. Okay, poetry has never been my strong suit. I like the stream of consciousness thing too much for many people’s liking, but that’s what I like. Yes, in point of fact I do see that as heading down the tracks of hypocrisy, to defend what I like as what I like while trying to get someone else to try something new.

The Couplet Creator also got as lot of encouragement from me to continue to do her work the way she did her work, and to do it the way that made her most happy. She had enough quirks to be one of those mad genius types; she only wrote in pencil, never used a computer, wouldn’t let anyone read anything she had written until she was done, destroyed all copies of anything she didn’t like, wrote in one notebook only, and never wrote more than one poem on one page, no matter how short it was. This was how she did her work. This was what did it for her. This is how she expressed who she was, and I was to find out later that she at one point in time wrote poems in the bathroom, and flushed them as soon as she was finished with them, to keep her husband from finding them. No one knew she wrote poetry, and had written it for decades. As soon as she discovered I was a writer, she told me, showed me a poem or two, and began keeping them.

One day we sat down and went through a book of poems by Emily Dickinson and my friend really liked some of them. She liked me reading poems to her, and she liked the idea that I would, even though poetry isn’t my strong suit.

I hide myself within my flower,
That wearing on your breast,
You, unsuspecting, wear me too—
And angels know the rest.

I hide myself within my flower,
That, fading from your vase,
You, unsuspecting, feel for me
Almost a loneliness.

She liked that one muchly. It’s a simple poem that really reaches out, and I told her that I thought she was very much like this. I got accused of trying to seduce her for saying that, and much of the problem was just so; she believed any compliments had an ulterior motive.

I urge her to keep her poems in a safe place, and read them to herself after a few days, and try to imagine rewording a piece here or a part there, and reworking the piece to see if it sounded or felt different. She did like that idea, and one night she called me very late and read a poem she had written three or four times, and felt at least two of the versions might be what she was trying to say. The first version of the poem, and I swear I can almost see the words, but they just escape me, spoke of love longing to be free, and the second spoke of love longing to be freed. One was someone who was in love with someone, but they did not know it, and the second was someone in love with the wrong person, but with the substitution of a couple of words, the meaning changed. The woman babbled about what she was feeling when she wrote it, and how she had taken her notebook out to her car and sat down and rewrote the thing by the illumination of a security light to get away from her house, just to change the settings in her mind, and she was totally and completely lost in her creativity to the point I think she forgot I was on the phone with her. It was a turning point in her life. It was the day she threw herself over the cliff without any regard as to whether she would fall or fly. She had arrived at being a poet, with all that it means to do so, and it was a beautiful moment.

She stopped caring if someone saw her writing. She stopped caring if someone asked. She didn’t let anyone read her poems but she stopped destroying them, and started sending them to me via email by the version.
99.9% of her poems were still wretched.

The Muse I serve doesn’t require that other people like what I write. She doesn’t require that I be loved, or have an audience. She doesn’t care if I am never published or if I write a novel that is never read. The point of creativity is to create, not to create for someone else, but to let the inner workings of the mind expand past the known, and the seen, to reveal what is not known, and not seen.
It doesn’t have to be good it only has to be done well. And in that, she and I, both of us, have found peace. She remarried a while back, and the new husband didn’t like me. The day I saw her for the last time I made her swear she would never stop, and without hesitation, she told me she would not, even if it killed her.

Take Care,
Mike

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Biggest of Big Weddings.

Dee and I have been dating the last six months or so and I’ve been sucked into her world totally, not that it’s such a bad thing. She’s a social person, with a lot of friends, and there are times when we would go here or go there because this person or that person would be there. We hang out with Alex, her ex-husband and his girlfriend, and I find that weird. We also do the parent thing for her two kids, Toni, a bright and energetic thirteen year old who is nearly thirty, and her nine year old son, Randy, who is a quiet bookworm. I like Randy’s tastes in books and he’s always ecstatic when I tell him about Sci-fi he’s never read before.
Marcy is Dee’s best friend from grade school and for reasons no one can figure, her and her long term partner, Todd, have decided not only to get married but to throw a giant wedding, not a big wedding but a giant wedding, one that would make Scarlett O’Hara said, “Damn, that’s ostentatious don’t you think?” I get roped in as a usher because Dee is a bridesmaid and there are eleven practice runs between here and the middle of September, do not ask I have no idea why September, but that’s when everyone’s social life will come to some sort of culmination.

Dee seems to be the kind of person who would go along with some giant party simply because everyone else is going in the same direction, and I’m not sure I like it. We met at the Y, she works out hard, she’s a good mom, but she doesn’t write, and I’m totally uncomfortable talking about writing around her circle of friends. Her brother, Jake, is a bit of a redneck, and I can see why Dee hitched her wagon to people who are living a life well above how she was raised. There’s a little restaurant near the Y that’s more atmosphere than substance and I’ve found myself there more often than I like. Marcy’s friends are okay but they rarely talk about anything truly interesting and this damn wedding has consumed them all like Bilbo Baggins’ birthday party taking over The Shire.

Dee was weird about sex because she knew a girl in High School that had sex with five guys over the length of High School and everyone she went to school with thought this woman was the epitome of all things evil. The girl drank and smoked cigarettes. She skipped classes. She wore low cut skirts. She even stayed out past nine in the evening on school nights. Dee lived a guarded life in High School and on our third date she told me she had only slept with four men in her entire life, and that number five thing bothered her. Three of the men she had slept with were married, one was dead, and one was her ex-husband, so she figured sooner or later she would have to go to five to get laid again. Now she felt really bad for all the things she had thought about that poor girl in High School, and it was weird even listening to a conversation like this, much less trying to piece together my part in it.

I’ve always been rather amoral sexually. As long as you aren’t doing anything unsafe and you aren’t hurting anyone else, and you aren’t taking reproductive risks, what you do with your body, and whoever’s body who happens to be willing with you, that is certainly your own business. That’s the big thing I don’t get about the whole gay issue; how is it what other people do with their sex lives affects me?
But that’s a problem with Dee, too. She views sexual amorality in the same light as sexual immorality, and was more than just a little appalled at my views on sexuality. It was a sticking point for a while, but she made me swear I would not cheat on her, not like I would, and despite her misgivings about having a lover for the fifth time in her life, things went as well as I could have expected and better than I had hoped.

With every wedding there has to be some sort of prenuptial celebration. Dee, Marcy, and the rest of the wedding participants were to go have a night on the town drinking, and Toni and Randy were to spend the night over here with me and the mutts. They brought every Disney movie ever put out on DVD with them, and I checked my text messages that read, “OMG! Marcy just sang ‘Proud Mary’ at karaoke!!!!!!!” and that sort of thing. I fell asleep in the middle of some movie about a boy and his peach, and when I woke up the kids had crashed on the sofa as well. It was almost seven in the morning, and so what better way to start the day than to go get breakfast in Valdosta and, by the way, waking your hungover girlfriend in the process? I told the kids we were going to get pancakes, and Toni swooned. She loves the blueberry syrup as if it was her very lifeblood. I’ve never seen anyone slurp down that much blue stuff.

We used my key to get into their house and I told the kids to go wake up their mom, they burst into her bedroom and suddenly everything stopped. Dee sat up in bed with her mouth open, trying to say something, and the guy next to her rolled over and looked around like he was lost too. Toni started screaming at her, and I cannot in good conscious here repeat the words but there were pretty wicked for a thirteen year old. They guy got up, realized he was nude, tried to grab a sheet and managed to uncover Dee who was trying to get everyone out , and I simply walked out of the room, and out of the house.

A cop pulled me over for speeding and he asked me why I was in such a hurry and I looked at him, and asked him if this was a dream, if any of it was real. He shook his head and told me it wasn’t, that was why he pulled me over, and I woke up. Dee, Toni, Randy, Marcy, and everyone else evaporated like the dark does before dawn. Before I made it to the kitchen to get some coffee they were all gone, except what you see of them here.

Take Care,
Mike

Monday, July 19, 2010

Gackled From The Writer's Almanac

It was on this day in 1692 that Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Howe, Sarah Good, and Sarah Wildes were hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. Their accusers were mostly young girls who fell sick with strange fits and hallucinations, and then testified that they had seen these women flying through the air or asking them to sign the Devil's book.
Today, many scholars see the witchcraft trials as a product of tensions in and around Salem. There was a strong divide between the town of Salem, a prosperous port town, and the village of Salem, which was a poorer farming town. The village of Salem formed its own congregation, and it was divided bitterly over the choice of minister, but eventually selected Samuel Parris, who was the choice of one prominent Salem clan, the Putnams. It was Parris's daughter Betty and her cousin who first displayed the symptoms that were quickly labeled the result of witchcraft, and the girls were soon joined by one of the Putnam daughters, Ann. The Putnams were enthusiastic witch hunters, with Ann's mother, also named Ann, accusing fellow townspeople as well. In general, people who were accused of witchcraft fell into two categories. Some were easy targets — they were old, social misfits, or generally unpopular. Others were upstanding citizens but their accusers had something to gain, either property or status, from the downfall of the people they accused.
On top of the personal politics, Salem had been engaged for years in failed wars with Native American tribes, and morale was low. So witchcraft provided a convenient excuse: Not only was the Devil in league with Salem's enemies, but Ann Putnam claimed that the town's former minister, George Burroughs, was also a witch, and he had bewitched soldiers so that they would lose against the Native Americans. Burroughs, once a popular minister, was one of 20 people executed for witchcraft — 14 women and five men were hanged, one man was crushed to death by stones for refusing to stand trial, and five more people died in prison.
Eventually the furor of the witch trials subsided. The Reverend Increase Mather was the president of Harvard, and his son Cotton had been one of the leading ministers to promote the use of spectral evidence in the trials, which allowed testimony of supernatural events to count as solid evidence. In October of 1692, less than three months after Nurse, Martin, Howe, Good, and Wildes were hanged, the elder Reverend Mather spoke out against using spectral evidence, and he wrote: "It were better that 10 suspected witches should escape than one innocent person should be condemned." In 1697, Samuel Parris was replaced by a new minister, Joseph Green, who urged the most prominent accusers to publicly apologize, and who tried to mend town rivalries.

Too Much Coffee, Demons and Writing

I’ve been reading a lot about Demons and possession lately. It’s research for a novel and I have to admit that reading about Demons, working myself into physical exhaustion two days in a row, and drinking a lot of coffee can make for some fairly interesting synergy. Developing a character who isn’t human is difficult to a degree, but it’s something I’ve done before. Developing an incorporeal character that tends towards the ethereal is a little harder. Throw in the fact the character has a very serious attitude problem towards people, and well, it can be quite devilish.
Most of the characters I invent tend to live inside of me in some shape fashion or form, and to have this one getting all fleshed out and suited up is fun, but it is also a little weird. I sat down with him a few days ago and went through some attributes he would have and some he wanted but I wasn’t willing to write in, and like all good fictional people, he more or less was pissed that I didn’t just turn the entire thing over to him. I’ve been through this before too. If you have never written fiction before all of this sounds more than a little stranger, and quite honestly, it still bothers me betimes, but at the same time, no one said paying The Muse was cheap, or easy, or for that matter, made for good mental health.

My human characters are going along nicely, and those who are not supposes to play nice with one another already do not like each other. I have a police detective as the main human, a priest as her antagonist, his assistant who is a weasel of the first order, a virologist who is as amoral as anyone I have ever invented, and a psychologist who thinks the Demon is just plain mental illness run amok. Throw in a very rich man who lost a wife to a serial killer, and who has a crush on the cop, and I think it will all really not work out in the end.
Like a kid with a toy, I like to invent neat places for things to happen. The story is centered on a possessed man, who may or may not really be possessed and the aforementioned people have him penned up in a lab. The problem here is a lot like the guys at the New York zoo back in the early days of the zoo, and they sent a telegram to someone they knew in India. They wanted the very biggest King Cobra anyone had to offer. The snake person in India told them he could get them one, and he sent it by steamer, with a guard to keep in alive until it got there. The guard handed over the crate and the zoo keepers took it to the zoo and opened the crate and out poured eighteen feet of seriously pissed off cobra. It stood six feet when it reared and it chased them all out of the room, and it was a full day before they would figure out how to get it into its enclosure.
Having a Demon is one thing, but keeping it quite another.

The priest and his sidekick want to kill the Demon outright, and they think if they convince the others in the lab there really is a Demon, they’ll agree to it. The psychologist thinks any sort of behavior that reaffirms the patients idea he is possessed is a very bad thing. The detective things it’s all a waste of money, and wonders why the hell they have a virologist hanging around.

Here’s the thing; Let’s say you could sit down and talk to a Great White Shark about why sharks attack people. It really doesn’t happen so often so that there is a great concern for it, but at the same time, it would be good to know why sharks do what they do.
That last paragraph ended with a word count of 666 by the way.

But what if Demons were not evil? Suppose they were much like sharks, or lions and tiger and bears, and merely fed on humans as a means of existence? Throughout human history there have been tales of Demons and they are not always malevolent. If you could sit down and have a nice civil conversation with an ethereal creature that needed to possess a human being to survive, would you?
Meanwhile, you have to think about the idea of having the conversation if there is some sort of possibility the priests might be right. If there were evil, and could convince you there were not, and they really needed to inhabit people, and not very good people would do, at what point would you think it’s a good idea to let a Demon hang around?

Would what you were learning from the Demon be worth the risk of letting it sit in front of you and speak to you as if were just another creature on earth? But then again, what if the Demon was just a part of nature, and you had the possibility to learn from another being, possibly as intelligent as humans, but with their own view of history, and their own culture?

If you take good and evil out of the equation and look at Demons as part of the nature world, you still have the same problem as we have with the Alligator or the Grizzly bear. When one of those creatures kills someone, they are usually hunted down and killed. There have been some cases where people did seriously stupid things, like the guy who said, “Watch how close I can get to it!” The gator didn’t like it. The man was chomped. When you infringe upon the personal space of an eleven foot long gator, it will end poorly.

I’m not the most religious person on earth so my question to those who might be is this, “Would you allow a Demon to possess someone if you could learn more about them?”

Take Care,
Mike

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I Fought The Lawn And The Lawn Won!

Rather than make the trip into town and workout at the Y, I decided to grab the push mower and do the whole yard in one afternoon, starting in the heat of the day. Now there’s a good total body workout if I ever saw one! Ungodly heat, a push mower, and a yard that is inhabited by three hole digging, limb toting, poop dropping dogs. On top of this were the remnants of the dead tree, and all its assorted smaller pieces, suitable for projectiles. Two weeks worth of slacking off and daily rain made parts of it look like Lindsey Lohan’s hair after a hard night. I was sober, yes, why do you ask?
The push mower in an ancient device that I bought for a hundred bucks about seven years ago and it shows its age, too. The carburetor is controlled by a piece of bailing wire that I twist to the right when I want the engine to rev up. The flap on the back is missing, so I have to wear safety glasses when I mow. The last time I didn’t I got pegged in the eye by a stick and was blind in my right eye for two days. I got to wear a patch and say, ARRRRR! But that didn’t really make up for the pain. One thing about push mowers is you cannot kill them, even if they can kill you.
The mower cranked on the first pull and it looked like an easy day. Well, if you count pushing a mower around in the heat for up to three hours easy, but the workout had begun! Bert has always had a fascination with the mower, but this time, for reasons I cannot explain, he began to follow me around. Lucas, who thought a new game had been devised, began attacking Bert. Bert, knowing I would not let Lucas pester him, began to get closer to me, and at one point they collided with me, knocking me down. So now I’m pushing a mower, and kicking at dogs, who think the kicking is a game too. Lucas grabs a shoe, with my foot in it, and knocks me down. So, I get a stick, and no, I would not hit the dogs with a stick, but they don’t know that. Yes, I could have put them all inside, but Bert rolled around in the pond as all this got started. I swear he looks like a green otter when he’s covered with mud and pond plants.

As I got the dogs settled into not helping me mow, now I’m pushing a mower and carrying a stick, and no, I would not hit the dogs with a stick, but they don’t know that, and suddenly the heavens open up and it begins to rain. Not a simple shower, this is a Gulf Gusher type leak and before I can think about what to do next, the mower dies on me anyway. It’s the bailing wire, and it’s bailed on me, so now I have to rewire the thing. I clean the air filer while I’m at it and the rain stop as I pull the rope again. The sun comes out, and now the temperature is back to the mid nineties, and the humidity is so bad my safety glasses fog up. Good thing I have a stick because I am almost blind. The foggy glasses makes it seems like I’m some sort of exotic bird. I have to cran my neck up to see under the glasses and then down again to mow. Since I can’t see much I ram the stick into a tree and because I have it situated over the handle of the mower, it twists out of my hands, causing me to let go of the handle which shuts the mower off. I put the stick down and Lucas, who must have seen this coming, streaks in and steals the stick, and runs for the woods.
I get the stick back, get the mower running again, done the Stevie Wonder safety glasses, and all hell breaks loose. It’s got to be something weird because even Bert is losing his mind. I shut down the mower to discover Lucas nose to nose with a snapping turtle the size of a small mountain. How did this thing get into the yard? I have to shoo the dogs away from it, and put the stick down to pick it up, and of all people, Sam rushes in and grabs it. Sam is afraid it will attack me, and to him, it’s just an armadillo with short legs. But the act of grabbing causes me to drop it and suddenly the entire pack wants in on it. Remember the part about me not hitting them with the stick? That’s gone now.

I ease the turtle over the fence near the pond, and he hits the one limb in the area code, flips over, and lands head first in a stump hole. Damn, now I have to go save him, and in the meantime, the mutts are going crazy barking at the poor critter. Turtle saved, put into the pond, and the lawn has grown another inch since I started.

Now I’m mowing again, the grass is very wet, and sticky, and the mower doesn’t like it at all, but I want to do things tomorrow so I have to cut today. Bert is stalking me, Lucas is stalking him, and they’re barking at one another right behind me, but out of stick range. Remember the Wasp Wars, where victoriously, I chased the wasps away from the porch? They all relocated to some sort of refugee camp under the eaves of the house, and they see the mower as some sort of genocidal attack on their species. I ran from the point of attack, waving the stick in the air, and run headlong into Bert, and suddenly I’m face down in the grass. Lucas thinks this is fun and ambushes me.

I started mowing at four in the afternoon. I finished right at dark, four hours later. I busted my lip on the stick when Bert tripped me, I have four wasp stings, and my right wrist is sore from the fall. I was looking for a full body workout, and I sure as hell got it.

Take Care,
Mike

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Physics.....not everyone has heard.

Road Work

As if on cue the clouds roll in near five in the afternoon and the rains falls in short sudden bursts, and in a few minutes an inch of water can be standing where there was hot pavement a moment before. This is the way things work in South Georgia during the Summer and it’s something we all live with. It can be raining like hell on one end of the street and the sun shining on the other. There have been soon odd consequences of having a truly wet Summer, and this Summer has been a very wet one, but that isn’t what this is about directly. The rain isn’t good for road work, and that is what we’re trying to do.

Back in June there was a wreck in the Interstate and all I really know for certain is a truck driver rammed another truck and was killed. The truck that rammed the other truck was basically gutted; the engine was shattered into a million pieces, the cab of the truck was destroyed, and the fuel tanks were ruptured. Diesel will dissolve asphalt so the crew has to mill out the contaminated asphalt and put new asphalt in its place. Because of the wet weather they decided to do the work starting at two in the morning. This would give them four hour of time before sunrise, and at the same time, because they have been rained out of nightwork all week long, it will give them a very long day to get some things done on another project where they can work during the day.
It’s not spoken of, the reason we’re here, the death of a man who was driving a truck on our project. This isn’t the first fatal accident they’ve seen, and it’s not my first either. People die on the road. You do your job, you try to do everything right every single time, and you hope it’s enough. Most of the time it is enough and everyone goes home alive. Sometimes nothing is enough and someone does something you cannot foresee nor prevent. We still do not know the cause of the accident but distraction or drinking are the leading candidates and someone had called 911 to report the man’s driving before the wreck. We cannot allow ourselves to get distracted by this. We have a job to do, and we have little time to do it.
There is not grumbling or complaining about the hour we begin because it is what it is. Everyone knows why we’re out here. The rain stopped at ten, four hours ago, and the traffic has had four hours to dry the pavement. You would think it wouldn’t take so long but some types of asphalt hold water within, and as it’s milled out the water comes out of it like water coming out of a sponge. Traffic going over the road is like having a constant wind blowing over it, and water evaporates quickly.
There is a staging area near the site and as the traffic control is put into place the machinery lines up in order. The milling machine lumbers forward, followed by trucks, and as the milling begin the asphalt equipment begins to move towards the site. We’re only doing a patch that in one hundred twenty-five feet by fifty feet, but it still has to be done right.
Traffic is still moving at two in the morning, and I wonder where all these people are going. It’s not impossible that I know someone passing by, and sometimes I imagine someone reading my blog and saying, “Hey! I was riding by there that night, I wonder if…” Somewhere passing a few feet from me are people who have their own lives, who perhaps write, or paint, or perhaps they drink and drive, but I will never know. They move away from me at righty-eight feet per second, and for only the very briefest time can they see me, as if I am a dark falling star already on the ground. I’m there as a reflective vest, a blinking light on my hat, another on the vest, and then they’re gone, or I am, depending on the point of view. We won’t call, but I will write, and I hope if you’ve been one the road, someone working there likes you if you were driving safely.

  Everything goes very smoothly but I am already tired. I stayed up all night, like I have tonight, and my energy level begins to sag. I refuse to just keep drinking coffee because I won’t sleep, but by four I’m feeling it. By five I feel nearly dead but the end is near. The crew is efficient and they are tying down the loose ends of the work by six. At seven I head towards home, a driver on the road who is a little sleepy, and we all know where there might end.

I-75 stretches from somewhere close to Fort Lauderdale Florida up to Chattanooga Tennessee.  When it reaches the Georgia state line it becomes my problem until it reaches Exit Eighteen, where the project ends. Each day, thousands of people will pass over the asphalt that this crew has placed the day before, and by the end of the life of the asphalt, perhaps millions of people will have zoomed past the place I’ve written about in the small hours this day. I can’t sleep thinking about the people who use my work to go from one place to another sometimes. I’d like to know if they like the smoothness of the road, or if they like the way the road feels as they drive. I’d like to send out a mass email with a poll in it, or perhaps get a robocall going. But they are all gone, and it will always be this way. I feed migratory fowl, bird with steel feathers and if everything goes very well, they will fly away swiftly and quietly, and never know I was there.
Take Care,
Mike

Friday, July 16, 2010

Possession (Rated NC-17)

Colleen sat down in the chair to the control room and for the thousandth time resisted the urge to smoke. Tony kept a pack hid in his desk, she knew that, but she also knew he didn’t smoke very much, and for reasons unexplained, Toby smoked girlie cigarettes. She liked Cowboy Killers or Camels. The Poison Gas Threat seemed to be mythical in nature after the events of the last twenty-four hours so there was no reason to worry about that. She had sealed herself in, so if the weirdness was right she didn’t have to worry about it escaping. Whatever happened when the sun came up, would happen, and Colleen wasn’t worried, unless…
Colleen turned the microphone on, and said, “Good morning.” She reached over and flipped the lights on.
The man sat upright in his bed, rubbed his eyes and looked at the clock. He smiled, and turned his head towards her.
“Good morning.” He stood up and Colleen realized he was nude. “You’re a woman.”
“Yes, I am, and you seem to be male.” Colleen took a deep breath. “I turned the filter off, and this isn’t being recorded.”
“The security woman who rescued me?” The man asked.
“Yes.”
“And now what?” The man slipped into the red jumpsuit that was his only article of clothing.
“You’re a demon?” Colleen asked.
“Yes, I am” the man replied. “Or at least the governing authority in the mind of the human you see before you is under my control.”
“He’s possessed?” Colleen urged.
“Absolutely so” the man replied. “For over five years now, “ the man began as he paced over to where the mirrored wall was, “I haven’t been allowed to ask questions and you have allowed  me two. “ He smiled. “You’re operating against protocol, are you not?”
“My name is Colleen.” And as Colleen said the words aloud her heart rate picked up. “Should I address you by the name of the person you are…possessing, or..?”
“My name is the Demon Regal.” Regal told her. “Address me as Regal.”
“Regal?” Colleen allowed herself a small laugh. “That’s a little pompous, isn’t it?”
“Considering all things I find the name quite fitting, Colleen.” Regal replied. “Ask Bennett and Duggan what they think of me now.” He sat cross legged on the floor and raised his hands over his head in a stretch. “I trust my actions of the last day have caused quite a stir, and your friends in black have been banished from the facility.”
“How old are you?” Colleen asked suddenly.
“Total or linear?” Regal replied.
“What’s the difference?” Colleen asked. “Which is greater? What does one mean versus the other?”
“I want to see who I am speaking to, first” Regal said with a smile.
Colleen reached for the switch and then hesitated. “There isn’t any way for me to do that.”
“Odds of truth exceedingly low” mocked Regal. “But you didn’t come down here to ask me my age or the condition of the poor human I’ve enslaved.”
“Oh?’ Colleen held her breath. What if he could read minds? What if…?
“You are here to see if I will possess you.” Regal replied. “You’ve locked the door behind you, and now you’re waiting to see if any of this is real. You do not believe I’m a demon, and you do not believe in possession. You are trying to do exactly what Bennett did because nothing you’ve gained from me in the last year or so has made sense. All the questioning and cross questioning has yielded absolutely…” Regal stopped as the lab door slid open.
“Hello Regal.” Colleen said. She held up her Glock and slid a round into the chamber. “How old are you?”
“I am three thousand four hundred fifty years old, total, and nearly three hundred of that linear.” Regal said as he began to stand.
“Sit please.” Colleen said.
“You are not going to shoot me, Colleen.” Regal laughed. “You didn’t come here to kill me.”
Colleen took careful aim and fired the pistol. The round slammed into Regal’s left leg, just above the knee.  She took a step back and he rose to his feet sweating in a language Colleen had never heard before.
“The protocol has changed, Regal, “ Colleen told him, “I’m tired of playing games with everyone I meet, so I’ll tell you what to do, and then you’ll do it, or I’ll put a hole in your head, and we’ll see if there is really a demon there.”
“You think so?” Regal staggered to his feet. “You think you’ll like it? You think you’re going to get rid of those thoughts in your head because you aren’t running the show, is that what you think? You have no idea, no idea at all what you’re going to find in there. You think murder is the worst you’ll relive? You think I can’t make you sit and watch the reruns of every mistake you have ever made until you beg me to control you?” Regal lurched towards her. “Right now the human inside has hope, real hope, actual joy in the feeling you might pull that trigger.”
“Well, I guess I’m going to find out what it’s like.” Colleen leveled the gun at Regal’s head and a sudden shock dropped her in her tracks.
“Goddam! What the hell are you doing?” It was the last words she heard before she passed out.

“Any reason in particular you went inside containment?” Colleen woke up to discover she was strapped to a bed in a room very much like the one Regal was being held. The voice was without gender or inflection.
“It was the best way to get some answers” Colleen replied.
“You will be quarantined for another month or so, or until we’re sure you haven’t been possessed or compromised in some way” the voice said.
“You’ll let me up before then or I won’t tell you what he said.” Colleen replied. “I think you have a demon in there, you know.”
“I already knew that” the voice said, and no one spoke to Colleen for another twenty-four hours. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hysterical Boxer Descent

The Demon Writing

On a very cold and rainy day, back in 1994 or so, I sat down and began writing a story about a Demon who was explaining to a human why demons are the way they are. The story began out of nowhere, and the things I write about, the history of Demons, how they live, how they die, what happens to them when they are dead, were all things I had never thought about before, and everything I wrote was brand new to me. The name of the Demon was “Regal” and he referred to himself as The Demon Regal. That’s the way some Demons speak about themselves, you know.
Oddly, this story never was completed, namely because when I started writing this it was very early in my life as a writer. I had been writing for less than a year or so. In fact, this was only the second time in my life that something came oozing out of my mind and onto the screen on its own accord. I did not sit down to write a story about a demon. I did not know there was a story about a demon. But there was, and it was coming out of me as if it was there all along and I had never known it.
At that point in time I hadn’t told anyone that I wrote. I didn’t feel like I was a writer. I could read the things I had written, and really at that point in time I could have read it all in about half an hour, and I could also tell I wasn’t very good at this writing stuff at all. Every time I re-read something I had written I discovered a glaring error of some sort and the word processing software, when I ran what I had written through it, had so many errors the computer would lock up and refuse to look for more. My sentences flowed like a river of anvils going uphill against the wind. My sentence structure looked like a raft made of different sized logs and limbs on that river of anvils. My ability to describe scenes and people read like a first grader trying to explain quantum mechanics to Buddha. It was ugly to the point of distraction, and my spelling was so bad I couldn’t use the spell checker. I couldn’t even get close enough for that to help me.
The cold and rainy day stuck me in my apartment and I couldn’t go anywhere. The apartment wasn’t a very warm place, and it was small. It was once an old hotel and it looked like an old hotel that had been turned into apartments. It was in downtown Tifton and other than the hour long aerobics class that was across the street from my apartment, there was little to do or see in the town. The class wasn’t something I did, but their upper window was at an angle to one of mine so I could see part of one woman who always worked out in the same spot. I never met her, or saw anything but one section of her body, but that one part, oh my. She became the inspiration for another part of the Demon story.

I didn’t start out looking to rewrite all things Demon, but that was the direction the story took.

One of the biggest problems I had when I began to write is I knew no writers. I had no idea what I was doing other to emulate the writing I thought was done well. Fortunately, I had always been an avid reader, and it helped to have a copy of the Lord Of The Rings as a reference as to how things were done, when things were done right. Yet the technical aspects of writing wasn’t my biggest problem. What puzzled me, and sometimes frightened me, was one minute I was looking out of the window at a cold and rainy day, and then the next I was pecking away at a story that hadn’t existed until that moment. Moreover, not only did I not know where it had come from but I also had no idea where it might be going. The cold and rainy day turned into a cold and rainy night, and I was still struggling to make the story work but it was working.
I wish someone could have told me all those years ago writers sometimes have little control over what pours out of their minds. Characters sometimes have their own ideas about where a story is headed, and sometimes they do things all by themselves. Yes, I do realize that sounds strange and believe me, the first time it happened to me it freaked me out. I could not explain why I was writing what I was writing, where it came from to begin with, where it was going, or why characters I had invented were doing and saying things I had not planned at all.

I put the Demon story away for a while, and got into writing essays and short stories, but would wander back on occasion and rewrite parts of it, delete parts of it, and more or less whittle at it. As of yet, some of my ideas on the nature of Demons remain fairly unique and that is always a good thing in stories like these. I wrote myself into, then out of a logical flaw, and that was a term I had never even heard of when I started.

Here’s an odd thing: I was sitting at my desk, watching the cursor blink, listening to the rain, and without warning, I wrote the words, “I am a demon, yes that kind, the kind that that possesses people.”  It was as if the words magically appeared. I liked the sentence, but it needed something. The demon needed a name. I decided to use the first name I saw when I looked around the room. The word “Regal” was a word in a newspaper headline…

“I am the Demon Regal, yes, that kind, the kind of Demon who possesses people…:

Take Care,
Mike