I Myself

Something a bit different to work out the ol’ thinkin’ muscle. Drop a comment or like if you’d like to see more pieces like this.

I Myself

“I will prepare my utensils, and then we shall begin.”
These were the last words I myself heard before my life ended. I jumped ahead too far, let’s take a step back.

I awoke that morning, the same as I had day in/day out for the last ten years—had a simple breakfast of runny eggs, lightly buttered toast, and weak coffee. From there I showered, primed myself for the day, and walked the three miles to work. I work in a simple office that sells custom-made apparel and nicknacks, tailored to customer’s specifications. From the website you can place a photo, logo, whatever you desire on the product, choose a color, then purchase however many items in as many iterations as you wish.

The orders come through my desk, I myself am responsible for ensuring the customer’s order has gone through processing properly, and I address any last-minute modifications to our department’s designer before the order is finalized and sent to the printers. This was once an automated process, though we found that there were a number of issues that would arise from emailing or sending the files through our systems, so I myself took the responsibility of hand-delivering the orders on flash drives to the printers in the basement.

We are a smaller operation, to be sure, and though the office building my company leases has many floors, ours is confined to the fourteenth and basement floors. In order to get to the basement for the printers, I myself must take the elevator down to the ground level, make a brief stop at ground, then press an additional button to move to the basement floor. This is to prevent any office worker not of my company from mistakenly entering our printing operation, and perhaps disrupting any of the printing staff.

As I entered the elevator, I myself stand as close as I can to the panel of illuminated buttons, as to not prevent any patrons from accessing it, I jingle the keyring holding the flash drive, as I had done any other delivery to the basement. The idle tick is somehow calming as the LED numbers descend from 14 to G.

Floor Nine hangs a moment longer than it would in normal operation before a soft ding signals the lift has been called. Weight shifts in the lift as it adjusts to the stop before the doors slide open and I’m greeted by a young professional woman who works for the stationary office a few floors down. We make small talk, she smiles politely and leans awkwardly to finger the button for the fifth floor.

I know through my tenure that the fifth floor has housed many small operations like our own, though in recent months has remained vacant. I could address the woman, asking if her selection was in err, or I myself could choose to ignore the action as a matter none of my concern. This, as always, is my selection.

The weight of the lift shifts once more as the fifth floor is reached. The woman politely smiles, wishes me a pleasant day, and exits the lift. As I suspected, the fifth floor is vacant. The woman does not appear undeterred. None of my concern. The doors close and my descension resumes. Four…Three…Two…One…Ground. Pause for effect, then I select Basement. The lift lurches as it makes it’s final descent, slowing after a brief pause and the doors open to our printers.

I am greeted by the acrid smell of ink, as always, and see at the far end of the room the latest items come off the assembly line get inspected before being carefully packed and readied for shipping. I myself always call ahead before making my delivery, ensuring my presence has the least amount of disruption on operation, and am usually greeted by one of the printing staff awaiting the next order.

Taking a firm step into the room, a member of the printing staff waves me over to approve the previous order’s specifications. The order is still fresh in my memory, the approval takes only a few minutes. He then hands me a spare and thanks me for my service. I return to the lift and begin my ascension.

Once more the lift lurches to a halt at the fifth floor. The soft ding, followed by the doors open brings the familiar blank wall across the hall, with the unfamiliar sight of a lone woman’s shoe. This is none of my concern, though…

Before the doors close, I step out of the lift. From the right of the hall, I am faced with another blank wall. To the right, a barren corridor. Looking down to the shoe at my feet, I see nothing out of the ordinary—other than the unordinary placement of it.

“Hello.” I say to the corridor, receiving no reply. This is none of my concern, though…the owner of the shoe could very well miss its twin. Shoe in hand, I casually walk down the hallway. As I draw closer to the opposing wall, a faint light of fluorescent origin peeks around the corner. This is none of my concern. My coworkers are no doubt expecting my immediate return.

“Please, come in”. My earlier query of presence is met with these three, simple words. When rounding the corner, I am met by the gentle eyes of the woman from the lift encounter earlier. As if in reply, I hold up the lone shoe. She takes it from my grasp and gestures to the reclined seat beside her. I sit although every synapse screams their protest.

“I will prepare my utensils, and then we shall begin”, and it brings us to now. The chair is comfortable, I myself wonder if—

Concept Fiction: Your First Buggle Pt 1

Illustration: “Buddle Landing” – Shaddy Safadi

Your First Buggle, Part I

Magistrate Genki has issued a mandate that all would-be Wranglers receive proper training after last month’s incident with Wrangler Yalus and the High Court. Construction is still underway, and the court should reopen by the end of the month.

Wrangling Your First Buggle

After completing flight school, you’ll want to go out and wrangle your first Buggle. Now, I know all you redhats are itching to get out and serve the colony, but there are some precautions you need to take before you saddle up. First and foremost:

  1. Know The Species

Here in Fareway, we cater to two types of Buggles—Amber and Red Horn. We’ve all heard the stories about Jakis Ullong wrangling not one, but three Red Horns in his heyday, but I can tell you from first-hand experience that Reds are not taken easily.

Red Horn Buggles are easily identified by their dual, two-point red horns located just above the proboscis. Red’s are volatile, stubborn, and can tear a man to shreds in seconds.

Amber Buggles, on the other hand, are readily available, easy to maintain, and all round more reliable than their red-horned counterparts. While you’re all itching to go out and defend the colony, remember—a careless wrangler, is a dead wrangler.

If, by chance you happen upon a nest, remember these important points:

  • DO NOT climb the Black Conifers beyond the village and take an egg, larvae, or mothlet—you’ll find yourself face to face with the broodmother, or worse, a bull moth.
  • DO NOT go scouting out alone; find a veteran Wrangler to escort you and several others to the gestation fields where the proper precautions have been taken (the more scouts in a group, the greater chance you’ll succeed).
  • DO remember your hook/pokers in case the inevitable happens, or you find an available Buggle.
  • DO remember to secure your safety harness to your saddle—many Wranglers have fallen to their deaths due to improper care of equipment, or negligence of security procedures.

2. Know Your Equipment

Every Wrangler has been given a standard-issue, heat-treated Conifer Hook/Poker. Any other poker is either bought, made, or acquired through many years of service (any bought/made Hook/Poker must be cleared by a WPA Agent before use in the field). It is important to note that the poker does not make the Wrangler—a successful Wrangler uses a Conifer poker as skillfully as they would a metal, or hardwood poker.

An Amber Lamp is also given to wranglers. The lamps help guide Buggles when they get too distracted or bored. The lamp’s metal housing has an adjustable ring near the top that can be simply attached to any standard Hook/Poker.

If for whatever reason your poker or lamp has been lost in flight, use the reigns of your saddle to guide the Buggle towards the landing lights on the outskirts of the village or nearby outpost. The awaiting WPA’s (Wrangler Protection Authority) will guide you to a safe landing.

Be cautious, Be safe, and I’ll see you in the field!
Wrangler Dandon

Concept Fiction: Tommy Was Ready

Welcome back!

I’m a big fan of concept art; games, films, new-age experimental shenanigans—you name it, I probably have a book or saved piece of it.

Part of my current novel-aspiring blunders is writing a complete story. If I’m not missing an ending, it’s the beginning…or the dreaded middle. So scary.

An idea to exercise this writer-muscle is a combination of the things I love—Writing and Concept Art (look at it all come together!).

Below I present the first piece of this new category, Tommy Was Ready. This is a piece inspired by an image in the book Beginner’s Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop by the publishers over at 3dtotal Publishing (pg 144-147, if it matters). It is titled Closet Monster, and created by Rafael Nascimento, and yes, it’s an idea brought on by Disney/Pixar’s Monsters Inc.


Tommy Was Ready

Tommy was ready. Every night, a monster appeared from his closet, took something, and then left. They took his baseball cards, his baby sisters’ teething rings, loose socks–whatever they could get their hands on. When it began, Tommy was frightened. Now, he took pride in finding new ways to drive the creatures off.

It wasn’t always the same monster, they came in all forms. Some were small, and had big, bulbous heads–others were tall and lanky. One trait they shared was their awful smell–a mixture of gym socks and fabric softener, with the pungent sweetness of rotten fruit.

Benny, his pet fish acted as an alarm. Benny was active, but he hid when a monster came through the closet door. They never made sounds themselves, the monsters. Only when they opened doors or stepped on a loose board was their presence made known. Tommy thought maybe they had some sort of ninja training to be so elusive.

Tommy tallied the monsters he’d defeated on his bedroom walls. His parents didn’t appreciate the warnings. Adults never understand. They only understand that Tommy had marked his walls and asked him to clean it. When he tried explaining his reasons, they rolled their eyes and gave in.

By his count, Tommy had fought back close to sixty monsters; you might call Tommy an expert at monster hunting. Tommy never had the courage to try and hit the monsters in their own homes. They didn’t live in closets, Tommy knew that. Denting up the walls of his closet left him with nothing but two weeks grounded. That was alright by him. Every moment away was another chance the monsters had to steal more of his family’s things.

Tonight, however, Tommy had a plan. He would finally cross into the Monster’s home. The routine was the same each night: Mom and Dad kissed him goodnight, the light went off, he’d get comfortable, and then the change in the air as the closet door slid open. Anxious as he’d ever been, Tommy waited.

He kept one eye on Benny–still in sight. Tommy closed his eyes, and the gentle draw of the sliding door trained his eye to his fish. Benny was gone. Not him hiding, the bowl was gone–curse those monsters! Tommy mustered up his courage and sprang into action, as he reached for his baseball bat he saw the slimy, sucker-tipped fingers that held his prized baseball draw into the depths of the closet.

Slide into home, Tommy thought as he leaped to the door. He managed to get through just it closed. He saw the monster ahead, padding down a nasty-looking hole illuminated by a sickly green glow. On the far end was a door like his, but weathered and cracked. Tommy looked back to his room, only to find it had vanished. No turning back. Tommy pressed his ear to the foreign door, hearing no activity. He tried the handle, being as gentle as he could. He readied his bat for whatever awaited him.

The door opened to a small room–a ragged, dingy version of his own. Looking around, he saw all his things decorating the area. He spotted Benny immediately to his left. It would be simple to take the fish and run, but the monster would return. Tommy had to end it tonight. An old bed sat at the far wall, and beneath a heap of patchwork blankets was the unmistakable silhouette of the monster he’d just seen.

Just another one for the board, Tommy thought. He tiptoed to the bed and gripped his bat tight. As he raised it, the figure rolled around to face him. The monster opened its eyes and let a shriek that made Tommy jump and drop his weapon. A light came on, and Tommy whirled around to see another monster come into the room. The monster stared, horrified as it looked on Tommy.

Tommy glanced around the room once more, it was then he understood. Posters featuring monsters dressed in uniform held bats, ready for a pitch. Shelves along the wall sported glistening trophies with little gilded monsters. This wasn’t a snarling monster’s room­­, this was a child’s room, and in this world, Tommy was the monster.

He turned back to the frightened child clutching its covers, wide eyes darting back and forth as tears streamed down it’s face. The child held his baseball between its tiny suckered fingers protectively. Tommy thought of his own baby sister, clutching her blanket when the wind-swept trees scratched at her bedroom window.

Tommy took a step towards to the bed, the child reeled back in terror. He looked down at the bat he carried, the many summers he enjoyed outside playing with his friends brought on a warmth within. He raised his bat with both hands in a presenting fashion and took a step further. The child looked down at the bat, then behind Tommy at its parent. Tommy felt a gentle hand rest on his shoulder as he gave his bat away.

Every night since, Tommy went to visit the child, swapping stories of victories won on the field, sharing his toys, and enjoyed getting to know his new friend beyond the closet.

3/4 year’s resolution.

Hi, Hey, Hello,

Here I am, well into the new year with two mildly-successful attempts at NaNoWriMo under my belt, and like a teenager on prom night, unsure of how to continue. I’ve been searching for that sweet nugget of novel we’re all voraciously trying to find, though it’s starting to feel less like digging in the sand and more like carving Mount Rushmore with a pen-knife.

I find myself staring at the blinking cursor defeatedly (as we often do), waiting for the Muse to turn up to give its welcoming brain massage and instead having my door kicked in by a velociraptor ready to give prostate exams.

As the adage goes, writer’s write, but we all know how difficult it can be to muster up the motivation to strap in and soldier on, like a timid dominatrix at a BDSM convention (sidebar—can a dominatrix be timid? Is that its own fetish? Google that later).

That is why, dear reader, I have started this blog. Accountability is the name, liability is the game. During NaNoWriMo, finding motivation wasn’t easier—however, typing your word count at the end of the day only to see the-little-progress-bar-that-could raise 1/8th of an inch was just enough groin-tingling excitement and relief needed to continue on. Taking a smidgen of weight off the 50,000 Word Mountain precariously teetering ever-so slightly above my head felt both empowering and humbling, and I hope having that same level of responsibility here will do me good, like a…nah.

Were there enough irrelevant analogies in this? I think not.

Stay tuned!