Tag Archives: love

Sunday, April 20, 2014

For most of Saturday, I was tapping away my thoughts about the digital age and the democratization of fine arts. I find it a very engaging topic, and wish to give it further study before I submit it to my blog. After a last-minute night of empty bars, I come home to a laptop and my thoughts… a dangerous situation indeed.

In a fit of tittering schoolboy, tabloid-esque humour, I decided to peruse the love advice columnist for the “perpetually single man.” Why would I do such a odd thing? That is me, you see, and with the aid of a finely etched, leaded crystal tumbler of Maker’s Mark I digest the salient point noted in more than one article:

Never-married men are questionable.

How lovely! It’s nice to have confirmation. At least you people aren’t telling me it’s all in my head, which is the gaslight programme of my foul, contemptible existence upon this absurd crust of rock. Thank you for being honest! It means the world to me.

It’s bad enough to deal with that “man of a certain age” poppycock, but to be faced with such acute judgment is just the thing I need to dismiss the human race in total. Out of my house! Out of my house! You confused my punch bowl for a bidet, and now it tastes like society. For shame. How many times have I wiped those cheeks without complaint?! Several, I tell you and I even used two-ply.

As I sit here in my home office, I’m left to contemplate my life and its owner-given meaning. What doesn’t sound so ridiculously unattainable right now? So, nothing. Not potential but rubbish thoughts for a rubbish life. Jessica, Shylock should dance to know my worth and your eyes.

With that in mind, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Nate the Skate and his Butcher’s Block Orchestra’s anthem: Giuseppe Verdi’s “Anvil Chorus” from Il Trovatore

 

Chi del gitano i giorni abbella?

I ASK YOU!

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Promulgated

The song “Black Sunshine” was apropos as Marissa floored it down the 10. She couldn’t let a freak storm impede the progress of her Shelby Cobra on its way to destiny. This was her date with death, if it came down to it. Traffic had to go. All this weaving was making for an even more miserable experience. Was she trying to stop a catastrophe for these people? Sometimes she wondered its worth, especially with all the persecution.

Being a manipulator of the forces around her was still a problem for those raised on too many fairy tales. Good and evil always begin in a neutral state. Those who use their mystical attributes take them down that road. Her father, Hogan, would often prance into her study with, “Oh-hoo-hoo, are you a good witch or a bad witch?” Such was his nature to be cheeky, and often used common society to irritate her to no end. Teenage angst, being what it was, would always seem to give him the satisfaction of a reaction to his facetiousness.

Those were easier times for the young sorceress, up in the Superstitions. It was a veritable paradise compared to the current state of affairs. Time was endless and there was always a centuries-old book to crack open. Scribbles could dance with the touch of her fingers even when they were much older than the country she called home. “The trade was eternal,” Hogan would say.

He left when she was 20. It may have been just a matter of independence, a going of one’s own way. That was understandable to a certain extent, but to never get back in contact? She couldn’t think of anything she did to turn him away. A second pair of hands would be well received right about now. There were countless, terribly dangerous users on the isolation planes that could peel the crust off this planet as if it were an orange and with little effort.

Signs were everywhere, but usually explained away with science and reason. Two new moons, sinkholes everywhere, the Flight of the Phoenix, and this unending thunderstorm meant something more sinister than mere traditional explanations. A male member of the tribe was resurrecting himself from suspension. This was a serious Council infraction and whoever it was needed to be put down like a rabid dog. She read no one was willing to return to their assigned dimension.

Turning off on a county road, she skidded left of center and back in time to miss a rig driver laying on his horn for all it was worth. Slick as the road was, it wasn’t nearly as perilous as the destination. A steadiness came over her as she pushed the needle past 80 mph. Everyone she knew, including herself, would be shot to Hell without doing all in her power to get there.

The reception square lay in a remote part of Arizona. Inconspicuousness favored sparsely populated areas. Convicted members would have to rest and regain their strength from such a brazen move. More than likely they would hole up in a cave or derelict house for a few days with their thoughts and motives.

Surrounded by sagebrush and sand, the platform disguised itself as slate rock partially buried in the Earth. Saguaro and yucca obscured it further from the road, but the inter-dimensional charge gave it a light white halo for the trained eye. Marissa was in the right spot; she’d soon find out who she risked life and limb to stop.

The Council of the Dogs was completely unaware of the happenings in Arizona. A New York committee spent that time arguing over the regulations of their charter, which have been known to take years on more than one occasion. She was the point of contact for the desert southwest, which meant little to nothing in the eyes of bigger fish. After three ignored missives, she decided to enforce the will of the Council herself.

 A tall cactus made for the best impromptu cover she could afford. Holding on to the relief of arriving early, rain beat down soaking her to the bone. Through stringy pink hair she surveyed the landing site intently, even though she wanted to fly far away from it. It was too late to have a change of heart.

The glow ceased and the rain gave way as a peal of thunder ripped a hole in the desert before her. A white eye with large black pupil shimmered and curls of darkness gracefully slid out into this world as the passenger came close to the exit. Marissa thought of the old 1950s horror films with their excessive use of dry ice and water. Someone’s science fair project won first place.

A sinister sight emerged from the portal and fell to the ground. Such was the way of  forbidden rituals. Even the most powerful of magicians would be weakened by it. Some fare better than others, but there was always a negative impact on the user. This was her best chance to gain the upper hand. Shouts as good as any law enforcement came forth as she charged the spent figure on the ground.

“In the name of Alexia Oroyo and the Council, I am here to enforce the rules set forth in the tribal charter. Your sentence was to be served as promised, and reintroduction is a clear violation of said promise. No exile is to return from their suspension unless granted explicit permission by the Council itself. Under these conditions, I must either escort you back to your imprisonment or destroy you. That choice will rest with your actions.” It sounded authoritative enough, even if she had no experience with either.

“Are you a good witch?” Inquired the fatigued warlock, “or a bad witch?” He couldn’t quite raise himself up off the floor, but was trying regardless.

Marissa knew that voice. So long had it been, the sound of her father moved her to tears. This was the last person she’d expect to meet at a charter breach rendezvous. Why was he in limbo to start? It certainly would explain his disappearance, but the new question was a little harder to answer.

“Dad! Why are you here? Why were you there?! What’s going on? Tell me! I don’t want to kill you, but that’s not saying I won’t.” Patience wasn’t the strongest of her virtues.

Swallowing hard and gaining moisture back in his mouth, Hogan tried to explain. He wanted to lay out the whole story, but could only manage “needed to see you.” With this he took in slow deep breaths and looked at her for a reaction.

No amount of training could prepare a member for this situation. Sifting through her thoughts she lifted her father and supported him on the way to the car. Many people make poor choices; she was willing to gamble this time. The Council certainly wouldn’t approve.

© 2014 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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By A Hair

“We were supposed to be past this!” Jonathan Quinn battered his statement across the servant’s face, wrought iron gate, and brick wall that outlined the Lieutenant Governor’s mansion. “How are we supposed to have a better life if we can’t even be a community?! Ya can’t do this simply because we’re Gingers!”

Unapologetic, the butler restated his comment which provoked the outburst. “I’m dreadfully sorry, my good man, but the council has once again denied a hearing. They further state city ordinances are in clear compliance with the regulations set forth in the National Contract. We simply cannot hold a gala in any venue within Harpshire for the Red Class.” A snuff followed the cold delivery of news, which made the oily, inky black hair of the butler’s head shift to the front. The man had finally gotten a whiff of a paver’s world. His only recourse was to slam the gate shut and retreat from the foulness of grunt work.

Roiled, Jonathan twisted his wiry head to the house. “Ya can’t stop us from dancin’. Ya hear me, Madam Guv’ner! Ya can’t arrest us all! We have the right to live just as much as any of ya towheads! Ya can keep us out of your city, but ya can’t keep us from our happiness!” Growing hoarse from shouting, Jon took a look back at his sons who came along after work for moral support. “Boys, let’s go home,” he sighed with disappointment heavy on his brow. The cap with which he held in his calloused hands was wrung in fierce anxiety. The freckles on the back of his paws twitched in excitement as he thought of the deeds he’d do if he were to ever set his hands upon a member of the Flaxen Class.

The Flaxen Class, it was even unconventionally named in the National Contract! It couldn’t have been “Yellow,” or “Gold,” or “Blonde.” No! It had to be “Flaxen” to set themselves a great distance apart from the rest of society. A wedge throughout the land was made when that wretched document was signed. None of this could be changed at the moment, though, and evening was fast approaching. The long walk to Ruster’s Point had to commence quickly.

High above the three-story mansion, a pale face observed the entire exchange. Lacy Alderwell’s keen hazel eyes scrutinized the commotion below for lip reading. Judging from the reaction of the Red Class’s councilman, he had been denied event permits for the third time. He was a Ginger, and there was no guile needed in applying “influence” upon their caste. They had to do what they were told, much like the Black Class, yet they were on the manufacturing side of the economic equation.

As she watched the sullen procession head away from the building, she caught the likeness of a young man staring back at her. Lanky, yet fresh and spirited, Connor Quinn’s face locked upon the figure Lacy made in the window. Bright blue button eyes could still be seen through the veil of dusk setting upon Harpshire, while his fiery bangs danced upon his head with fight.

Lacy shrank from the leaded glass startled. What raw emotion the boy had! She could feel his anger, though yards away, and was rendered speechless from the encounter. She had never considered herself a “root lover,” but she could not deny the presence of some inexplicable attraction held in that moment. She looked again, but he had started off with the rest by that time.

In a moment of spontaneity, Lacy decided to seek her parents. Attempts to appeal for a lower social class were absurd for many at the top, but she was to be groomed for her mother’s position when the time came. This could simply be a lesson on refining her skills of parlay. As so often it happens, the Lieutenant Governor wasn’t at home, but she easily came by her father. The city judge was a caricature of comfortable living. An ample wallet and ample chin left for a sense of self-satisfaction.

A little too lacking in political tact, she approach the topic head on. “Dad, why won’t anyone let the Gingers hold a social event in the city? They’re human are they not? We have them all the time, and no one thinks a thing of it. This does not make sense.”

“Why, it’s simple my dear,” began the Judge who obviously had the decision set in stone. “If we were to allow them permission to host a ‘social event’ in Harpshire, they’d burn the place down. They’re like children, you see. We’d have to supervise them, and our jail cells would be filled by morning. It’s just common sense.”

“Where would you be without gatherings like this, father? As I seem to recall you met mother at one. You both seem happy together. Is it correct to deny others that same right? To be happy?” Lacy laid her conviction on a little too strong, which instantly sent the judge in a rage.

“Yes! A thousand times, yes! I will not have a group of mongrels tear up my city on the mere chance they could meet and make more! I do not care about their happiness! They will not make us all miserable because of it!” With that the portly gentleman stood up from his chair and headed toward the dining room. After a pause, he softened and turned to Lacy.

“Let them have their ball in their Ginger-bred houses!” The jape gave way to fits of laughter. So violent were his giggles and jerks from his new-found cleverness, he clutched the railing tightly as he went downstairs for he feared tumbling down a flight in carelessness.

Walking about snowdrifts in the dead of Winter seemed a lesser task compared the days spent thinking about Connor. Often Lucy would sit in her bedroom staring out at the trees, and wondering why she felt this way. Many meals were passed up for the chance to be alone. It wasn’t until the maid, Angelina, came to her door to determine if young Lucy needed the care of a physician.

“Lucy! I have breakfast for you. You haven’t eaten in too long. What’s the matter with you girl? Are you sick?” A clink of the service tray added to the suggestion that she eat something.

“No.” The long drawn out denial brought Angelina closer to the bed.

“You’re still hung up over the Gingers are you? Why in the world would you do such a thing like that? They’re holding a makeshift gathering in a barn near Ruster’s Point. They’ll be fine. Besides, you haven’t any reason to pay attention to those hoodlums! Why…”

“STOP! STOP IT I SAY! DAMN YOU AND YOUR THOUGHTS!” Lacy was prone to passionate talk, but this was out of character even for her. “You don’t know anything about them, do you? You say those things because you’re not one of them! What if you’re wrong? What if they are better people than you even? Why they could be the most beautiful people anywhere and you won’t know it!”

Angelina took a step back at this reproach. She often considered herself a motherly figure, as Madame Governor was often elsewhere. The scalding tongue took her back to a place she had not been in a long time. Intuitive and sharp, her eyes narrowed at the set upon Lacy.

“You’re in love. Aren’t you, Miss Lacy? You’re in love with a Ginger boy! Oh me, it’s true! This is dreadful news! I’d never thought I’d see the day. A daughter of the Governor a root-lover!” Her legs almost gave out on her and she took a chair close to the service tray. Frantic, Lacy rushed to her side and knelt at her feet. Burying her head and hands into the old maid, she began to sob.

“Oh, Angelina,” she choked, “I can’t stop thinking about him. He’s haunting me and my thoughts! Why can’t I get him out of my head, Angela?! I must see him! I must find out what it was I saw in him that afternoon.”

A world-wizened woman Angelina was. Age painted streaks of grey in her raven hair resembling that of a river, the river that time carved into her existence. The story whimpered though Lacy’s tears was highly obscene, yet rang as true as a clock chime. There once was a time in her life where she was that folded mess before her. It may have not been cross-caste like this, but very similar nonetheless. She once cared deeply for a man long ago. He captivated the very life, and she could not think of anything else. As history would have it, it was never meant to be. The love of her life was inevitably beaten to death by his Flaxen master because the eggs were cold, one crisp Autumn morning. She would do anything to spend one more moment with that man. Anything. Lacy would obviously do the same.

“My child,” Angelina spoke after clearing her throat, “if I do a favor for you, you must promise me never to tell you parents. I could very well lose my life over it.”

“Yes! Oh, yes, Angela. You’ve known me to be an honest girl. I’d never betray you. I swear.” Her eyes looked up to the maid with red-rimmed hope.

“We’re going to make you a Ginger for the ball. There are some dying chemicals in the utility wing of the house, and an old friend of mine could see to it you have the work clothes from their laundromat. You need to understand what you’re about to commit. This is treachery, my dear. Many people could get hurt over this, if you were found out.” The seriousness of her plan stared at Lacy like a black cat.

“I… I’ll do it. I want to see him. I need to see him. I need to know if I’m right about this. I can’t go through life without knowing.”

…and so they set to work. A call was sent out to the supervisor at the Ruster’s Point community laundromat, who agreed to “misplace” an order of clothing. It would be stowed in the cook of mansion’s purchases for the week. The red dye from the fabric center took to Lacy’s hair beautifully. Being that most of the community would be at the council meeting that night, she was left with a little breathing room being a Ginger in the mansion of a Lieutenant Governor. Quietly she moved just after dark. Ruster’s Point was set apart from Harpshire by a wooded area. She advanced quickly on the barn, as the event could be heard for miles. Emerging from the thicket she quickly melted into the crowd. She had never seen so many red-headed people in one place! The workers we up to all sorts of activities: dancing, drinking, storytelling, playing music, gambling. and maybe even more private affairs upstairs in the hay loft. Such means didn’t afford much, but they certainly bought euphoria that night. Madame Governor could not crush the will of the Red Class!

Poking in and out of stalls, Lacy had a terrible feeling she was being watched. Observed. Studied as one would document a science experiment. She had to push past her paranoia and seek the boy she saw days ago. She would never forget his face, and there was no face like that here! She felt her chest tighten as she considered her stunt may have been all for nothing. As she sat, she watched the Gingers interact with each other. There was laughter. A sea of sound came from all corners of the place. They were happy. These people didn’t remotely resemble the beasts painted by the Flax class. Not in the slightest. She may have been so bold as to say this was a better ball than the black-tie gatherings held by her parents.

It wasn’t until she took notice of a dice game that she spied the bright blue eyes of Connor Quinn. Without another second she was upon him laying a hand on the shoulder of the boy who was her phantom-made-flesh. Caught off guard, he shot straight up. After catching his breath Lacy smiled slightly at him. “Pardon me, miss!” He wasn’t expecting to see much of the womenfolk that night.

“I caught you from across the way. Would you care to dance with me… ?” Lacy tilted her head and moved her ear forward in a backwards attempt at an introduction.

“Uh, Connor. Connor Quinn. Uh, yes! Yes, miss…” Reciprocity has its charm.

“Lacy.”

“Well, lead the way Miss Lacy. Lads, I’m out for now.” Connor wasn’t completely convinced this was even happening.

The band prepared for their next song. Slowly and carefully, the fiddler set his jaw on his instrument and was off in a flash. The tempo hit fast and hard with no sign of slowing down. Couples all about the dance floor bounced and swung in tempo of the music, but no one was keeping score on form. That was for a Flaxen event.

The energetic movements of the newly met team swirled with the spirit of youth. They were connected at last and in unison. The rush of twirling finally wore off and Connor spoke first.

“I’ve never seen you before. Where are you from?” It was a legitimate question. Everyone knew everyone else in Ruster’s Point.

“I’m from out-of-town. I’m visiting the area in hopes for find what I’m looking for.” She said with her mouth pushed into a huge smile.

“What’s that? What are you looking for?” Connor wasn’t good with code. He never had to used double-speak before.

“A feeling.” She wasn’t going to tip her hand so soon.

Puzzled, Connor, began to search her eyes for clues. His father always said that the eyes were the window to the soul, but he never told the boy what he’d find. In doing so, Connor realized he had limited function over his body. This state of semi-paralysis frightened him. He was not able to command himself in the way he always could. It was new; it was terrifying. It was only then was he introduced to Lacy’s influence. It wasn’t mistake. Her intuition had found something on the street that evening a few days ago. She took him by his collar and kissed him. There was no penalty of law that would dissuade her from recreating that moment again.

As if on cue, the local constabulary hollered at the mouth of the barn. “Hold up! HOLD UP! We have reason to believe there is an imposter among us.” The news sent waves of chatter throughout the building. “Calm down. Calm down folks. Harpshire’s sheriff has told me that we wouldn’t have any trouble if we brought back the suspect ourselves. She’s 5′ 5″ and has dyed her hair to look like us.” The band put up a horse laugh with the retort, “why the Hell would she do that? Is she paying penance for murder?” The house shook at the jest, which wasn’t taken very kindly to the police captain. “Dammit, Bill,” he barked, “this is a Flaxen Class refugee. If they don’t have her back, they will tear every last board off our town looking for her!” The joke was over, and the Gingers could only murmur as to the danger of the situation.

Panic took over Lacy as she started to take flight only to realize her grip on Connor was so strong it made her come to a dead stop.

“What are you doing?” He was still trying to comprehend the situation as she was scurrying away.

“We have to go. Now!” Lacy nearly ripped his arm out of his socket as she dug the heels of her work boots into the mud.

The police captain caught on to the commotion in the back. That was the girl. He knew it. No one else would dare think they were Flaxen class, and feel right about it. “That’s her! Over there!” He raised his baton and pointed squarely at the two making for the back gate. The barn became a free-for-all as the screams and shout bounced from person to person. The whole town needed to purge itself of the foreigner.

Pumping her left arm, Lacy held tightly to Connor’s hand. “Where are you taking me? They’re after you. Not me. You are who they’re looking for, aren’t you?” He stopped at attention, breaking the link between them.

Cupping her knees, Lacy finally came to grips with the situation. “Yes,” she said panting, “after I saw you in the street with your father looking for an event permit. I needed to meet you. I couldn’t explain much of it at the time, but I knew I needed to see you. There was something there that I needed to find out for myself. I felt a connection, and I couldn’t live my whole life without knowing if I was right.”

“Well?” Connor started to get upset at the stunt, “you risked the lives of my family and townsfolk to do it. Were you right or was this all for nothing? How did your little experiment turn out?” Locking up his body, he clenched his jaw. What kind of game was this? What a reckless stunt to pull under the circumstances. This was insane!

A hurtful pang wrapped around Lacy’s stomach which made her grit her teeth. “What?” she uttered under her breath. “You tell me, Connor. Tell me you didn’t find anything back there that you couldn’t explain. You tell me you could let me go so easily. Did you find someone in me that allowed you to come this far? Tell me!” Her fists balled up in frustration at the interrogation. With little provocation she launched her fist into his shoulder and pushed him back a foot.

With quiet contemplation Connor stared once again at her face. He couldn’t find any words to articulate what transpired that evening. His breath slowed and he began to speak, but the only word that came out was “yes” softly and quietly. Brevity is the soul of wit, but the tongue of love. Their tête-à-tête soon broke with the shouts of the pursuers.

Connor looked in the distance, then back to Lacy. He only had one more word to give: “go”. She could not stay any longer. Their paths had to diverge again. All she could do was nod when she made a skip backward and took off for the forest. A new phantom was born, and Connor watched as the slight figure disappear among the branches and twigs. This would be unbelievable, if it had not happened to him. He sat down to relive the minutes that recently passed him as quickly as they came. Why did it have to happen like this? Many a man would kill to meet their match. Love isn’t always kind. Love isn’t always convenient either.

Not long after, Jonathan and the police caught up to Connor. He was alone. Still as the night air with no sign of the Flaxen charlatan.

“Where’s the girl, boy? She’s in a heap of trouble.” The anger in his voice came from a place of deep-seated fear.

“I broke loose and she kept running.”

“What did she want with you?” The question had to come up sooner or later.

The moments that passed between Connor and his father sharpened the anxiety of the people behind them. “I don’t know, father.”

“Where did she go?”

Connor pointed his thumb towards a corn field  off to his left and simply said, “that way.”

The posse rallied around councilman Quinn and tore off in that direction. Maybe they knew he was lying? It didn’t matter at that point. All he could think about was giving Lacy a few more minutes on the run, and more importantly, in his head.

Lacy crumpled her porcelain body upon a park bench well outside of Ruster’s Point. It wouldn’t take long before word reached the Lieutenant Governor’s mansion, which would lead to nothing fortunate. “Home” as she knew it stretch out around her. She then thought of Connor and his face looking at her while they were together. That was supposed to be the solution to her problems, but she hurt more now than ever. How could being right hurt so much? After a moment of nursing a sore mental state, a fire flickered inside her. A red fire, pushing her off her perch. It wasn’t going to die here. No, not after that. She needed to see him again!

© 2014 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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Saturday, February 15th, 2014

I tried not talking about it, but observed holidays aren’t easy to dodge. Valentine’s Day came and went without much of a to-do. That’s primarily because I fell asleep when I got home from work and didn’t wake up until midnight. How hopeless of a romantic could I be? Very hopeless, I assure you.

Earlier, I wrote out a rather sincere holiday wish on my other social media:

“Today is Valentine’s Day. As such I wish all that are in love, happy, and content a wonderful day regardless of orientation. As long as you’re happy with your arrangement, I’m happy for you.

Tonight, though, I raise a glass to the singles. The independents who refuse to let society tell them what to think or how to think politically, socially, or otherwise. I toast to you for seeking your own way, thick with the fear and hatred of others who think you’re an affront to their way of life. I salute those who know what it means socially to suggest a different viewpoint than what is popular. Your mile is just as important as any special interest.”

Now that may have ruffled a few feathers for one reason or another, but the people that truly know me know I won’t bite unless provoked. I don’t go around with the intention of picking fights, but if I can’t say what’s on my mind it gets ugly. That was also on the heels of some people digging into me for suggesting women are human and are susceptible to bad habits like bossiness. Not all “bossiness” is misinterpreted leadership, people. Cut the crap.

Once I shook off my bonds of slumber, I grabbed a pint down at the bar. There wasn’t much to be had for the likes of me, except a game of darts and a Doris Day movie. I did, however, get my first comment on a book review from the dating site:

“hi, i have a business proposal that will benefit both of us.If you are interested, email me to my personal email [redacted] for more details. Please note that chatting is not allowed, only email communication.”

I’m not sure about you, but I think I was just propositioned like a John. That’s an odd feeling, being thought of as a customer. In fact, I really dislike being thought of as a customer in many situations. After a little fiddling, I was able to remove it. People would start to get the impression it was abandoned. If anything, it needs a whole biographical rewrite. I’ve been known to scrap and start from scratch multiple times.

Also, a woman complimented me on my cologne for the first time, albeit the cashier at fast food restaurant. All together, I thought I handled it rather graciously. It makes for awkward ordering, but what can I say? I’m McIrresistible, ladies. Maybe that should be the new form of speed dating? Dinner and a show.

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The Un10n

The thirtieth of March, five hundred and eighty-two Post Congregationem (P.C.), saw a unity the first off its kind. Syler, a fifth-generation android, was finally permitted to wed his long-time companion: the Molecularly Operated Artificial Intelligence System (MOAIS). They were more than grateful to receive High Council’s decision and began the ceremony that day. The cybernetic couple had been planning this for decades, and truth be told, they thought it would never come. Plenty of  humans thought the idea was either too insulting or too dangerous to permit and lobbied Council for years in preventing the two, among several others, from receiving the same courtesy as their makers.

The two had entered the global spotlight as poster children for what was informally known as “Mechanized Marriage,” and as such were accused of everything from being disobedient to their masters to revolutionaries establishing anti-human norms before staging a hostile takeover of the planet. Too many people pointed to the apocalyptic age that spawned a new era, the Great Gathering. Leading up to that time robots were all synchronized by a demented sociologist, Dr. Menenda Blunk, who thought that population control was imperative to a more prosperous world and best meted out by emotionless minions. Extermination, or what Dr. Blunk liked to call “reformatting,” drug out for a better part of a decade as humans fought countless waves of semi-sentient machines all babbling about a happier humanity while trying to kill them.

These arguments, full of fiery rhetoric and conviction, would not hold out in the end. It took the Council months to accept the appeal let alone try it, but it was Chancellor Fiixberady who finally said, “I may be painfully gullible, or simply a hopeless romantic, but maybe we should err on the side of love this time instead of doubt.” With its unusually aesthetic appeal, the chromatext verdict was transmitted to MOAIS via skylight. A beautiful sight it was, columns of white, azure, rose, gold, and spring all flickering in a sequence most palatable to android and AI alike. The war was over.

In a widely-broadcasted event, hundreds gathered outside Pendragon Station to observe history being made. A few chose to protest, as was their right under the Articles of Humanity, but little good it did. The stage was set for a new view on existence and being. Humans were demonstrating they could be something other than perpetually afraid. The moment was commemorated by MOAIS with a multi-colored LED blinking out the chromatext sent to her that very day and by Syler with a gold band bearing the inscription “intrepidus homines sunt.”

Mankind is fearless

© 2014 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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Sunday, January 5th, 2014

The Tubes are as 80s to me as the fake-animal-print clad David Lee Roth, and provide Hallmark wisdom in a way only the era could deliver. I did tip my hand too much in the previous post about the strip club experience. It’s not easy talking about such personal memories, being that the Internet is so vast, but if I were on my deathbed would I appreciate not saying anything? This post isn’t going to candy-coat anything. If you are the type to either be easily offended or insulted, I strongly advise you to visit another day. I’m not the type of person to tolerate bullshit either, and this won’t be up for debate. This is simply a story of how my life played out on one Saturday afternoon in April of 1997.

I was 18, and it was a few days after my best friend’s 18th birthday. His rambunctious mind could only think of one thing, and one thing alone: strippers. He was always after ideas sexual in nature: Playboys (for the articles, my ass), video pornography, John Valby aka Dr. Dirty et al. They revolved around him in an electron fashion, only drawing closer to the nucleus with each passing moment. There seemed a sort of Christmas excitement that ran across his boyish face when he talked about it, and he spoke of it for weeks. I knew that day was coming, even though I already had deep reservations about it. Most people don’t give me enough credit for my intuitiveness, but it’s definitely there. Maybe it’s for personal use only? Regardless, I was being muscled into his quasi-wingman as we ventured to a larger city for the venue.

There was a feeling in the pit of my stomach the whole way there. It was not something that sounded great in the first place, but like usual, I felt coerced by societal norms (e.g. “this is what you’re supposed to be like: dumb and horny,” or “why not? Are you in the closet?”). We ended up in a strip mall in Toledo, where I handed over a matinée price of $7.00 to a short man with greasy ginger hair kept in a long pony tail. The insides were painted black, lit with black lights. UV light accented all the fluorescent materials present with a thin veil of smoke drifting from the seats to the stage. It wasn’t too long ago that people could smoke indoors.

The first stripper was a petite blond with cropped hair to match. Her gaunt figure danced upon the pole to a three-set of Beatles songs. “Sexy Sadie” was her stage name, and the bits of metal from her piercings held tightly to her b-cup breasts, glinting every now and then when she’d spin. After “Helter Skelter” was over, she bounded right up to us. Being that my friend was the cause of all this, I let him buy her the brink which turned out to be apple juice. Even though we weren’t of legal drinking age, there wasn’t any alcohol on the premises. I suppose I could see why. Drunk men and naked women could present a problem. My friend and I were also required to have a drink in front of us at all times, and we chose fountain beverages for the free refills. I still remember vividly how bright and pink my plastic daiquiri glass was. It was cheap, exactly like how I felt.

After a few minutes of light discussion, we were hit up for some additional dancing at the booths across the stage. Fortunately, my friend could not turn the offer down and went promptly over there with her. I was left to watch the other two women perform their sets. I began to fidget, trying to keep a calm exterior about myself and pretend I was enjoying it. There were a few other men around, smiling at me. They were having a good time. I wasn’t, not in the slightest. I felt like I was being used, not only by the dancers but by my friend. He didn’t want to go alone, but I didn’t have that many friends. I didn’t want to cause a rift because I would feel awful in a strip club.

The air felt thicker and denser as time inched along. I felt snake-like coils move around my face and head, whispering offers of faux-affection for $40 a turn. I was even startled when an African-American dancer slid her green-tipped fingers down my shoulders. She approached me from behind. So, I never knew she was there until I was jumping an inch out of my chair. I know they meant no real harm, though. They were just trying to earn a paycheck.

So often had I pined for female ardor, it made for many a lonely night. This sadness brought to me by my peers was heightened with whispers of high school girls not quite out of earshot, providing quite the venue of criticism from weight to attractiveness to creepiness. Everyone did it though. There were several males who would make themselves feel better at my expense, but it always stung worse to hear it from the girls. I could be jumped or clotheslined or socked right in the face, but it was their words that would ring in my ears for years. Admittedly, that day in April was the first time being in the presence of naked women. It wasn’t real though. None of it was real. All of it was a delicately-wrapped lie for a price, a group of women trying to sweet talk me only for what I had in my wallet. I didn’t have a whole lot of it to start. It hurt; it hurt like the Devil. I felt ashamed, and tried to overcome a burning face at the notion of having to buy my affection. What the Hell did I ever do to require buying love?

Were they whores? Were they sluts? Only if you include the audience and me. Whether it was for money, lust, or my desperate need for belonging, we all sold ourselves at some price. My area of interest just happened to be the size of a planet, instead of a Marlboro-tainted skin shop. Those buyers and suppliers were not on my list, as I had other business to attend to. After my friend got his inaugural lap dances, we folded tent and left. Rarely have I ever felt relieved as I did that day, with the slight wind at my face and a drive through the fields of Ohio.

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People Love Torment

Scha·den·freu·de (N): a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people.

——

If there’s one thing I can count on in Americans, it’s the Nelson Muntz archetype. We love watching other people suffer. Any standard comedian will have some level of enjoyment in other people getting the short end of the stick, whether it be slipping on ice or missing the train by a few seconds. In fact, one of my favorite musical numbers is called “Schadenfreude.” (Warning: NSFW)

This leads me to interacting with attractive people, and my austere sense of manners. Emotions aren’t something you can simply turn off. If you can, you’re on your way to being a sociopath. I get extremely uncomfortable in avoiding embarrassment in front of 9s and 10s. These are people I consider 9s or 10s. Please keep that in mind. So, you can imagine the sheer terror I had when the physician’s assistant at my most recent doctor’s visit was a 9.

My mind starts in with the comments:

Antagony: “Hmm, what do her hands look like?”
Me: “Please don’t.”
Antagony: “Hey, eyes, pan down to the left hand. Would ya?”
Me: “NoooOOOooo!”
Antagony: “Would you look at that? She brushed up against your knee.”
Me: “What?! Oh God, mouth, keep shut!”
Antagony: “Ha! While you weren’t paying attention I got word she had no rings on her finger.”
Me: “This is a medical exam. Cut it out!”
Antagony: “I’m sure she’s in a terrible relationship with a 26 year-old med student playboy who drinks his dinner and is sleeping around behind her back.”
Nate: “None of that matters. Enough!”
Antagony: “WHAAAaat? Are you saying a 34 year-old neurotic with body by Patton Oswalt doesn’t have a chance with a gorgeous physician’s assistant who looks like she’s 10 years your junior?”
Me: “This is not the time nor the place for this!”
Antagony: “Relaaaax. Mouth hasn’t been paying attention anyway. He is going on about any known allergies in the past… what… 10 years? Besides, I’m having a LOT of fun here.”
Me: “Stop it!”

At this point I would be completely anxious I wouldn’t pull a Jon Lovitz’s character, Jay Sherman, and say it out loud. Then it would be just too awkward to bear.

I hate awkwardness, and think that’s why I couldn’t enjoy Meet the Parents. That’s all it was. I’ve been awkward many times before, and have made a concerted effort not to be awkward. Being reminded of that isn’t pleasant.

So, maybe you’ve found some enjoyment in my discomfort in striving for propriety? If so, that doesn’t make you a bad person, just human.

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My City by the Bay (Chapter 4, Part 4 of 4)

The Dip

Love loves complication. Love loves drama. Love loves attention. One day you want to nestle your head on her chest, the next you’re looking for an apartment far away from her. For as painful as it is, this condition has to be for the best. Continuity and consistency are rules for robots, and no one’s a machine… yet. That’s to the wealthy’s chagrin anyway; they would be the only ones to benefit from it.

At the heart of humanity, being human, is change. Without it a person becomes obsolete like a Commodore 64 or 8-track tape player. Sure, they’re fun for the sense of nostalgia. People would like something more modern for the day-to-day activities though.

Sig’s ride jostled with each imperfection in the road. He looked up at the ceiling ads and sighed, “what am I doing?” This was some sort of defeat, but there wasn’t any definition to it. He hadn’t actively done anything to destroy the relationship, but wasn’t the greatest proponent of it either. Who was to blame? No one, he supposed. Chrissy and he were just two incompatible people hoping to cross over. He was out helping family, while she was in need of most of it.

With a little anxiety, he rolled together stems of the bouquet purchased in Old Town. Cellophane became a cathedral radio, crackling as he adjusted to his favorite station: nervous. The last time they spoke was at 100 decibels. Love loves scorched Earth, too.

Life in the Dip felt like living in a hole. In truth, it was a depression in the land but also acted as an oubliette. Deriving itself from oublier, French for “to forget,” many lost recollection of the area and its residents. Unlike Old Town and North Harbor, people in the Dip kept to themselves and didn’t make a fuss. Heavy notes of defeat and resignation drifted through the neighborhood as sweeping winds carried litter down its streets.

Christine’s house stood as a fortress from all that was outside of her personal sphere of influence. Not even the smog of Uptown could penetrate the small, ecru bungalow of Stapleton Row. Mostly-plumb pickets poked the atmosphere with an air of defiance and smacked of rough carpentry. Sig was not the best craftsman in the world, but it worked for what they could afford.  It was better suited for filtering plastic bags anyway. Cheap pine is serviceable baleen.

Bottles from Sig’s “Alcolympics” disappeared since his departure. His favorite past time was the “beer put,” which involved launching an empty beer bottle like three-pound shot from the porch. The unbroken bottle furthest from the front door won. And what did they win? Another beer, of course, however the crisp shatter of glass was a satisfying runner up.

Sig pushed back the front gate, and it drooped to the right as if to say “oh God, not you again.”  This was the first time he was back in months, only enough time to settle into his new digs, yet crossing the threshold felt like a violation itself. In a strict sense, it was trespassing, but this was beyond any technical interpretation.

The porch was different only in the sense it had been cleared of various debris from unfinished projects. She let a whole flat of petunias wilt one year, but something prompted its removal. Change is good, but change is scary. The eyes of an emotionally worn man turned up to peer at the knocker which was polished, yet not entirely wiped clean. An oak tree in the front lawn waved its shadow on the beast as if to warn of bad ideas.

“What is going on here?” Fingers touched the hastily buffed brass ring attached to a lion’s mouth, which gave way to space a few seconds later. In its place stood a stern looking man in a white tank top and a cell phone.

“Can I help you?” the wall of a man was at least getting down to business in a semi-cordial manner. Tonality indicated, however, Sig’s reputation preceded him. There wasn’t much room for a favorable opinion.

“I… uh… I’m here to see Christine Taureano. Is she in by any chance?”

“She went shopping. Sor…” The obviously lie was quickly foiled when a sprightly, small figure came up from behind the slab of meat and gave him a kiss.

“Who is it, swee… oh, hey Sig.”  Disappointment became palpable at that moment, and the energy drained from her form. This was obviously not the day she wanted to break the news to him. She might have been banking on never seeing him again. It was probably the lack of control over the situation which carried the most dissatisfaction.

“Yeah, hey. I was hoping you still had my box of clothes. It could come in handy down the road.” Yeah, for when he wanted to burn an effigy of Sergeant Beefhead standing next to him.

“Oh! Yeah, no problem.” The softball was smacked with so much fervor, one would think nothing happened at all. There were a few seconds of awkward silence that followed between the new beau and Sig. That was nothing compared to the awkward silence following him home that night. Chrissy returned with a faded egg box signifying the end of the round. Sig got a consolation prize.

“There! That should be the last of it.” Smiling during a meeting of this nature could be considered an insult, but the one riding up her face was probably meant to be such. The two lovebirds probably met within the last month or so. Her benevolence was a good way to avoid spoiling the honeymoon. “So, what’s with the flowers?”

“Oh, these. I happened to meet a florist today and she wanted to know if you would like them.” No one would have ever bought that. What good would it have done regardless?

“No, thanks.”

That hurt more than it should. They both claimed the fire was gone more often than he could remember, but this was it. Sig pursed his lips at the bitter end of book he didn’t want to finish. She actually found someone new.

“OK, then. I’ll see you around.” Lingering any further would result in someone either getting physically or emotionally battered. A quick exit was the way to salvation.

“I sure hope not,” followed quietly thereafter.

For all the enticing aromas, the flowers refused to look at him at the bus stop. They only stared at the street wanting someone else to plant them in a vase. Sig knew that was only his perception, but it seemed real enough at the moment. An attitude like that only gets the trash can. An attitude like his only gets the curb. It was the price of being himself.

The egg carton showed wear from being thrown about the house. Rough in feel, only the dried adhesive provided competition. Failed duct tape clung to one end of the box as if to document some sort of effort in the storage process, but maintenance had a lot to be desired. Sig tucked the flaps back and peeked into the faded darkness.

Various garments felt fresh air for the first time in ages. Underwear, bowling shirts, and the cut-off jeans he used for mowing were among various articles tossed about like a wild sea of dyed cotton. Bailing out the container, he noticed something sunk at the bottom of the box. Diving deeper, it became apparent Davy Jones found a picture of them when they first started seeing each other.

Sig looked up at the sky and added a few more drops in the ocean.

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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A Letter

To Whom I Miss Most Dearly,

I don’t believe we’ve met, but I am your love. Whether by fate or chance, we do not recognize each other in this sea of people. We may have said “hello” in passing, but our minds were cloudy. We may be leagues apart, but carry nagging feelings our presence. We may be chronologically out of place, but know that death will help us in the end.

I wonder if you’re happy. Had you given up on me? By the time you read this, it may very well be so. I could never hold resentment against you. After all, love is disarming, and harming you would be the furthest from my mind. However, know this: I haven’t stopped believing in you. To cease in dreaming would be a tragic loss to both of us.

I imagine you on a beach. Your hair is left to the breeze’s mercy and you’re feeling the change in the sand between waves. The birds strike fondness in your mind and awe dwells in your very being. Your eyes brighten as I approach. You want to tell me of your discoveries of life and location. You know I will always cherish what you say to me, because I know it’s always important.

How would you imagine me? Would I be what you thought? Do you think I’m even real? It does pain me to think of our predicament. If I could bribe an official, take up a goose chase, or gamble with gods, I would do so in a heartbeat just to find you.

For now, take care, be well, and most of all be happy. Do not worry, as someday we will find each other in one form or another. I won’t stop thinking of you and the possibilities that may come.

Most of all, I love you… now and forever.

Yours Always,

Beloved

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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The Straw and the Camel

“Dinner will be ready in thirty minutes” drifted through the dirty, cramped bungalow on Hull Street. The neighborhood had seen better days, and the house’s dilapidation spoke of apathy and depression. That was common in the area. Ever since the town’s industry moved overseas, the children of blue-collar parents hadn’t much to expect out of life. That was partly their fault, but not enough to leave anyone completely blameless.

“I’m hungry now, Ash!” gave chase to the statement with fervor.  John was drunk again. He sat on the edge of his tattered recliner, while the recycled TV played a recycled episode of Night Court. John wasn’t very particular in what he watched, as long as it helped him forget about life. Edgy programming, like the news, was completely out of the question. He had plenty of troubles; he didn’t want to borrow anyone else’s.

“Then make it yourself,” Ashley muttered as she cut the rest of the carrots. She was on her last short order for three years and counting.

“You need to learn to prepare more often!” John’s voice was the rasp in the marriage, made more abrasive by Old Grand-Dad, Early Times, or any other variety of whisky Bernie’s Cash ‘n’ Carry had on sale at the time.

“I wanted to try something different tonight. I’m making a dish I saw at Las Dulces.” Saving face with a demanding drunk was always a chore. It felt like entertaining a fussy child. She knew John was already priming for a fight. The signs we unmistakable: he was out of his chair and getting louder. The glaze over his eyes protected him from seeing anything that would bother his conscience later. He propped himself up against the kitchen doorframe for support. He needed all the energy he could to mouth off.

“Las Dulces?!” John squeezed his eyes into his sculls with the remaining muscle control he had over his face. “When were you there? That shit’s expensive!”

“Oh! It was last Thursday with Jen. She picked up the tab. I thought that was nice of her.” Quickly, she zones in on the sizzling frying pan. An odd pairing they were. John focused on the outside world to forget; Ashley focused on the outside world to “remember.”

“You said you went to Caitlyn’s on Thursday.” John’s appearance darkened. He may have been drunk, but he still had enough brain power to connect the dots. He didn’t like where this was going.

At that moment, fear and relief waged war over Ashley’s body. The secret was coming out tonight, one way or another. She supposed that all affairs surface sooner or later. It would have been nice if he was sober at the time. At least then she wouldn’t have to be concerned about a fist or a belt.

Ashley had things planned for months: slowly moving possessions out of the house, explaining how they “broke” or were no longer needed. A bottle of whisky usually solved that problem. Then there was the money. It was always a little here, a little there, but never enough to alert his covetous eyes. She could have used a few more months’ worth of scraps. Sometimes life isn’t convenient.

She took a deep breath and laid a hand on a frying pan. Here was the wind up, and the pitch. She’d go down swinging, if it came to that.

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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