Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Space Opera, Inc.

She astrogated through the portal, simultaneously shrugged off her titanium-threaded cape and commanded, “Computer, 4-D martini!”  Almost instantly, a martini in Martian Crystal rose from a side table.  She took it down in one, cold gulp.  “This is the best mindfood I’ve had in a megayear.”  She collapsed into the nearest turbo chair and praised Xarlox that even in this posthuman wasteland, a good drink could still be found.  After all, terraforming was a tough morph, even with universal constructors.  She holo-sighed and decided to catch up on the novelmatrix she’d been neglecting.  All was meta in this particular gravilink.  Except…she’d forgotten to order tooth flux from the compussary again.  Just galactic.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Cupid's Quiver Has More Eros Than Yours!

Oh, yes, they're awful.  Awfully written, conceived in ignorance, here are the Valentine's Day cards I wrote last year.  Now presenting, Beck's Morality Tales.

“Pride is a Luxury That Few Can Afford”
“It is a rare bird who can grace the world with such beauty”, thought Peacock to himself.  He would look in the mirrored lake of the palace ground each morning and preen, for that was his one, solitary duty and he looked after it with due solemnity.  He spent each waking hour (and perhaps some sleeping ones too) polishing the gloss on his feathers, practicing the art of fanning and turning his head to the most flattering angle.  One day he reached the peak of his perfection, why, he was radiant in his handsome refinement.  He caught the eye of the princess, who promptly ordered him to the castle.  Once inside he was massaged and covered in all manner of unctuous perfumed concoctions.  Shortly thereafter his neck was wrung, each beautiful feather was removed unceremoniously from his chicken-y body and he was shoved into the ovens a confused-looking and ugly bird.  After he was done baking, each lustrous feather was painstakingly replaced and he was rested upon a platter made of the finest gold.  But it did not matter one jot to Peacock.   Because he was dead.

Pride yourself in your accomplishments but be wary, lest self-satisfaction lead to passionate consumption.  Do not make oneself seem too tasty for the eaters of this world.

“Music is the Food”
A woman designed to be the first to heal with the sound of her lyre.  When she was but a youth, she had been jilted by a man she had thought loved her entirely.  She hoped to prevent that for others in her station. She would not knit bones together as some claimed the wizard “doctors” could do, but would aim, instead, to heal the hearts of broken people.  So she spent the next decade honing her skills and sacrificing every aspect of her life in devotion to this one goal.  She knew exactly what chord would send tears back behind the eyes, which melody would make a person put down a self-destructive dagger and dance as if she was playing them instead.  She fed the love-starved and gave them a feast of emotional satisfaction.  The woman had such success that she was sought far and wide for her powers of joy-giving.  The only requirement she had was that she would always be separated from the audience by a thick curtain.  Otherwise the restored man or woman would be wont to fall in love with her themselves, caught up in the emotion of her song.  Decades passed and she helped anyone who came to her in need.  One night, as she played for a man on the opposite side of the curtain, she felt a familiar sensation as she heard the man cry his last tears while he spilled his woeful tale.  He had left the one person he had ever loved many years ago in order to fulfill an obligation of marriage he was bound to when he was but a child.  His wife had died some years back and he had gone in search of his young love only to find that she lived at home no longer and so he had spent all the years until now searching for her.  His heart had ached so eloquently for so many years.  And as her song finished its magic spell, he dried his tears and began to hum.  The woman threw back the curtain just in time to see the man from her youth leave with not a care in the world.  Unfortunately, she had cured him of his love for her.  In all this time, the woman had failed to heal her own heart and upon that point, died of a broken one.

Desire neither good nor ill and you will never be disappointed.  Like I am disappointed in my son, who is a laze-about.  Heinrich, do the dishes for the sake of all the saints!

“The View of Others”
Three sisters flocked to the opera house for every bi-weekly performance.  They each hoped to fetch themselves a handsome husband with large pockets.  From their reserved balcony seat, they watched not the drama on stage, but the rapt audience.  Though they struggled in finding worthy suitors, they were witness to many secrets that people thought secure.  But the sisters had become experts in the social lives of all who attended the shows regularly.  Some brought mistresses, others wore fashions no longer in mode as their finances faltered and still others were the bachelors on which the sisters fixated.  Oh, lucky man who would be set upon by any one of them.  The first sister found herself a gentleman who attended only with his mother.  She soon inveigled herself to him and corrected the situation when she had the mother shipped off to a gentile home for convalescing old ladies.  The third sister met her match soon after, in the arms of an usher, with whom she would have run away had the others not prevented that catastrophe from occurring.  Instead, the two paramours cast lovesick looks at each other throughout the performances and she swore she would never marry.  The second sister, jealous of the first and third sisters redoubled her efforts and vowed that she would be the next to fall in love.  She had almost given up hope when she heard a voice that made her tremble.  For the first time in years, she turned her attention to the stage and there was the opera’s star singing, it would seem, directly to her.  He reached out his arms and beckoned, what could she do but obey?  She toppled right off the balcony and survived only by a quick-thinking surgeon and rapid trepanning.   She spent the rest of her life with the brilliant, single, rich and handsome doctor.  As a patient in his madhouse.

Infatuation sometimes leads to glorious encounters, sometimes to irreversible brain damage.

“Disinterest Overcomes Reason”
A musician, renowned far and wide for his songs, as a bard in the olden days, set his sights on a lovely patron of the music hall.  Every time he played there, she was reclined on a divan, pretending to read, but obviously stealing small glances now and again.  Surely she would feel well and truly blessed if she could but meet a man of such inarguable talents. After one of his performances he approached her and told her that he would be willing to offer her music lessons.  She simply flipped to the next page of her book.  “Ah, playing hard to get, are we, minx?” He laughed to himself.  He learned her place of residence from another regular of the hall and went to pitch his woo.  He stood outside and sang his greatest song of love, knowing that she would have to admit her interest in him and his music.  She opened the window and gazed upon him with disdain.  “Please leave me alone” was the reply to his heartfelt strumming.  He was stunned.  He had never before experienced such a reaction.  Surely, it was past a jest now.  She was trying, for some unfathomable reason, to wound him.  “But you must love me, you have not missed one of my performances at the hall!” he insisted.  She sighed.  “I am there every night.  I do not even care for the entertainment, I go for the coffee,” the lady said just before closing the shutters.  It didn’t matter, the musician assured himself.  He knew that she worshipped him, but perhaps did not feel herself worthy to be in his presence.  He could understand that.  He would just have to convince her that he was willing to go below his station in order to be with her.  He would prove to her that they belonged together.  Even if he spent every night in her bushes, watching, waiting for the first sign of interest.  Then he would have her!  Even if it took the rest of her pathetic and sad life.

Often, one is constrained by lack of proficiency or skill.  Sometimes the person simply does not care what you are doing, nor do they wish to join in your tatted obsessions.

“The Writ of Fools Oft Falls Flat”
A man of intellect determined to gain the affection of a poetess he had lately made acquaintance of.  She scorned him at every meeting: every tearoom, every parlor, every dinner and every play.  This only increased his ardor to own her heart.  She knew that in certain circles he was considered a genius, but she found no value in his views, nor did she honor his opinions.  To be frank, she thought him a right dolt.  After a few months of his unwanted attention, it was clear that she would not reciprocate his feelings.  The man of intellect would have to find another means of claiming her.  He appealed to her father and in these days of arranged marriage, it was quietly decided between the two men that the poetess and he should wed.  The night he made his pronouncement, the lady gave a great groan of disgust and rolled her eyes, planting her face firmly on the table. No matter.  The man would have what he wanted and she would come around to his way eventually.  After a few prone minutes, she lifted her head and fluttered her eyelashes.  “My dear sir, would you join me for a tea tomorrow afternoon so that I may become better acquainted with my future spouse?”  His heart leapt with joy and his calculating mind congratulated itself on their easy victory.  He arrived the next afternoon and immediately began acting as the proprietor of the home.  For surely he would inherit the estate soon enough.  His wife-to-be waited on him, seemingly very anxious to please.  “How is the tea, dear sir?  Is it to your liking?”  He nodded that it was adequate and to prove his pleasure, he took another large sip.  But then he began to feel strange.  “What is in this tea?” he queried.  “Blackberry?”  The poetess immediately straightened up and the haughty look settled back over her face.  “I’m afraid not.”  She settled into the chair next to him.  “You couldn't leave well enough alone.  I actually despise you and your supposed cleverness.  To think, that I would actually ever submit myself to you!  Ha!”  She sipped her non-arsenic laced tea and watched the man of intellect slowly sink into a stupor that would eventually lead him to the great land of the afterdeath.

Endeavor for its own sake is often pointless, holding one up for ridicule among peers, leaving one bloody and full of regret. Or regretful and full of blood.  I am always forgetting which one.

“”A Gentleman’s Agreement”
Two men of gentle quality went about a picnic on a finally summer day.  “What better way to spend a free afternoon?” one remarked to the other.  “Indeed.” It was so agreed that they should dilly and dally among the elite, who had also stepped out for a stroll in the park.  Whilst on this stroll, the first man did spot a lady of rosed-cheeks and fair countenance.  Not wanting to appear too interested, he quickly turned to his companion and was about to mention his discovery when the bosom friend suddenly let out an “I say!”  The second man quickly made strides towards the lovely young thing seated, rather scandalously, alone on the park bench.  The first man quickly apprehended the eager suitor and claimed that he had seen the woman first.  Therefore he had first claim upon her.  He cited a long honored rule about such things which were never written down, but supposed to exist, in brotherhood, between each man.  The second man responded with a “tsk” and pushed his friend out of the way in effort of pursuit.  A slap was heard as the first man connected his upturned palm to the second’s face.  This quickly led into a dirty brawl in the lane and when they had finished, both were exhausted and neither felt the victor.  A 20-year friendship had been sacrificed, a nose bloodied and knuckles broken.  When the second man opened his swollen eye, he saw his friend curled on the ground in pain and then saw the empty park bench.

In pursuing love, there is no code of honor.  Sometimes the sting of a brotherly slap rings sharper than the song of steel against steel but quickly leads to indifference on the part of the fairer sex.

“The Drive to Becoming
It is said that the desire to marry is one of the most natural things in the world.  The gentleman and his lady certainly thought so and as they had been going steady for a decent amount of time, it was decided they should wed.  Off they hopped in their jalopy to get hitched and honeymoon at Niagara Falls.  On the long drive from their wedding to upstate New York they realized it was the longest time they had spent together, alone, since they had begun courting.  Soon, the easy banter fell to awkward silences, which quickly gave way to muttered grievances.  By the time they reached New York the lady was shouting something about her mother being right about him.  The gentleman parried with the comment that his previous girlfriend had not been such a harpy and perhaps he had chosen the wrong woman to bind his life to.  When they finally arrived at the falls, both deemed it better to keep going, past the honeymoon suite prepared especially for them, past the tourist attractions and straight over the falls into the foamy roaring of the water itself.  The silence that followed was the most blissful moment in either of their attenuated lives.

Do not desire to marry.  It can only end in knife-fights and attempts to emotionally destroy one another in a show of one-upmanship that eventually leads to murder-suicide.  I mean, my marriage didn’t work out, but I don't like to think of myself as a bitter person…

Monday, May 28, 2012

Why? You may well ask.

An excellent video about what it means to be an individual.  Does individualism even enter the realm of reality when we have already dismissed other beloved concepts (such as freedom, chivalry and even love) as products of fantasy?  Early this Memorial Day, as I honor American patriots and those that have sacrificed themselves for the ideals of this country, I would do well to examine exactly what it is they were fighting for.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Forever Young Adult

I have to say: these people get it.  One of my favorite new resources for recommendations and a good belly laugh.

Effed-Up Fairy Tales: Bluebeard

Friday, April 6, 2012

Onto the Nexting

My poem The Haunted is currently available for viewing at the Washington State History Museum.  Part of the exhibit "Intertwined: A Requiem for the Trees" I sought to capture the feeling of a haunted wood.  Not a forest haunted by human ghosts, but a city haunted by the ghosts of trees that have been felled.  Other superb artists have added to the narrative of loss and hope for our future.  We will always see you as you are, not as you are now, dear Kopachuck.

Now I must decide if and when there is to be another writer's meeting.  Perhaps a few trial runs are the ticket.  But then how to get the word out to a wider group of artists?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The French Lesson

 Ah, yes, another Juniper Tree Submission.  Unfortunately, did not make the cut, but still a decent little story for 500 words.  The challenge was to end the story with the finishing line below.
                “My tutor is evil.”            
                My sister, Agnes, was always dramatic.
                To prepare for our move to a small coastal town, St. Something or Other, our parents insisted she attend lessons with a French tutor. 
                 “My French classes were tough at first too.”
                 “Yeah, whatever, I guess.”
                Agnes, who insisted on concert tees, began wearing lavish dresses and using French randomly.  Agnes adored her rat, Faust, but he had “gone missing”, quickly replaced with a fluffy cat, named Mr. Pierre. 
                Something was definitely wrong.  One night, I noticed a strange scent coming from Agnes’s bedroom.  I knocked on the door.  She stuck her head out and smiled politely.  The smell intensified.
                “What perfume are you wearing?  It smells like old people.”
                Her eyes clouded and slightly darker, she said in a perfect French accent, “Ah, seely, Mama and Papa frown on parfum.”
                 “You’re not Agnes anymore, are you?”
                She smirked and raised her eyebrow.  “Agnes vas so unappreciative, zis is correct, yes?” She tilted her head.
                “Who are you and what have you done to my sister?”
                “I vas not alvays tutor, I vas once the village vitch.  I knew ze spell and asked ‘er to repeat it back to me, en Francaise!  Agnes vas young, now I am young again! She patted me on the head. “Do not vorry, I vill be a sister perfect, yes? It vill be our secret.” She slowly closed her door.
                I didn’t want a “sister perfect”, I wanted my weird Agnes.  I knew I could never convince a priest to come with holy water and crucifixes, so this would have to be a do-it-yourself exorcism.
                The next night I was left to baby-sit.  I filled a bottle with tap water, turned off the lights and waited in her bedroom.  It seemed like hours before I heard her turn the knob.
                “Are you in ‘ere, sister dear?” She called in a singsong voice.  “Are you playing ze mean trick?” 
                She flicked on the lights and I jumped from her closet, spraying her with water.  Unfortunately, she was only wet…and angry. 
                “You leetle…”
                I must’ve bumped into Agnes’s stereo because suddenly, punk rock came screaming from the speakers.  The witch covered her ears and shrieked with pain.
                My hand hovered.  “Shall I turn it up to 11?”
                All the blood left her face as she pleaded, “Please, anyting but zat! It sounds ‘orrible!”  
                She muttered some words in French and Agnes’s small body slumped to the floor.   I hugged my sister in relief.
                Agnes opened her bright, bewildered eyes.  “What's with the music?  We having a party?”  She looked down. “Why am I dressed like an idiot?” 
                I smiled.  “You rest; we’ll talk about it in the morning.”
                “Je vous verrai dans la rue Germaine.”
                I froze on the spot, hoping I had misheard. “What did you just say?” I asked shakily.
                I turned back to Agnes, who was stroking Mr. Pierre.  “See you in St. Germaine!” She laughed as her eyes clouded over.