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A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Chapter 27

The roar was deafening. Billy was sure that he was dead. His ears felt as if they were gushing blood, his vision blurring from a swirl of colors to the creeping edges of blackness. He seemed to lose all sense of form or function.

Suddenly in his dimming vision he saw the faded hem of a dress over his shoulder and the tumbling clank of a pistol hitting the floor beside him. Billy tried to lurch up but couldn't find his balance. He watched from the corner of his eye as Katee, his Katee, flung the lit stick of dynamite from the train. He heard the explosion distantly, almost lost in the ringing of his ears.

Katee appeared over him, cradling his head in her lap. She was speaking softly to him, but he couldn't hear what she was saying. Looking into her eyes he gave a grateful smile and caught one in return. Coughing a few times, he slowly propped himself up on his elbows. Katee ripped another strand of fabric of her battered dress and dabbed it to his ears, soaking up the blood. After a few minutes his head started to clear and the ringing began to soften.

Kate looked at him. " That's twice I've saved you Billy."

"Didn't know we were keeping score."

She gave another of her soft smiles and helped Billy lurch to his feet. Picking up her pistol, Billy looked around for his, failing to find it. The two then looked over to the body of Sheriff Root. Their friend, a man who had saved their lives. His mangled body, missing arm, had turned yellow and pus ridden. The back of his head was splattered against the floor, dead eyes staring back at them.

"What do you think happened to him Billy?"

"Whatever it was, we'll find out ahead."

Billy leaned down and removed the satchel of dynamite they had taken from Reny from Root's body. Securing it around his shoulder, he also took Root's spare gun. SLapping open the chamber, he checked the few remaining rounds and sighed.

"One way or another, we end this Katee."

She gave him a reassuring squeeze and nodded.

The two walked towards the engine, leaving their friend behind them.

End of Line.
Gerrad!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Movie Time: Rewind: High Noon


Hey all,

In picking a great film for this months edition of the Rewind, I wanted to pick an actor I hadn't highlighted yet. For that I chose Gary Cooper, and his Western masterpiece High Noon. Released in 1952 by United Artists, this film co-starred the fantastic Grace Kelly, Lloyd Bridges, Ian McDonald, Lon Chaney, Jr and introduced Lee Van Cleef to film.

High Noon stars Cooper as Marshall Will Kane, a lawman who decides on the same day to get married (to Kelly) and retire but finds out that a killer he had sent to prison years before has been freed and is en route to find him. The killer, Ben Miller (played by character actor Ian McDonald) is coming by train with his gang with revenge against Kane in mind. As the Marshall vies for support from the townsfolk he has protected all these years, he finds them to rooted in fear to help. They all pressure him to flee the town, including his wife. Kane agrees at first, but then realizes that he can't run from his fears, he returns to town. With his friends having turned their backs to him, Kane must confront Miller and his gang alone.

High Noon is really the start of the dark Western. Starring characters that aren't necessarily clear cut heroes, it would begin to change the way audiences viewed Westerns. With television providing so many hero Westerns, films started to get darker, leading to films like this, The Magnificent Seven, and many of the Clint Eastwood and Sam Peckinpah films of the 60's. Kane is the hero figure, but he is surrounded by people who are entirely self-interested.

Much of the film is an allegory to the famed blacklisting scandals that rocked America in the early 1950's. McCarthyism struck hard at Hollywood, labeling many screen writers and actors as Communists and effectively removing their ability to work. Kane represents the man trying to do right, and all the townsfolk the people turning their backs on so called blacklisters. In fact, screen writer Carl Foreman was blacklisted shortly before the film came out, causing the producers to cut his name from the credits to save face.

High Noon went on to win 4 Oscars that year. One for the incredible film editing in the movie. The movie is shot in near real time, taking place from 10:35 am to 12:15 pm, which is nearly identical to the movies running time of 85 minutes. The film is interspersed with shots of clocks that match up to the corresponding time. Gary Cooper also won an Oscar for Best Actor for his performance.

What I love about Cooper's performance is the expression he acts with in this film. They used minimal makeup to help accentuate the wrinkles and lines of pain and worry on his face. Much of that expressionism was real throughout the shooting of the picture. Cooper was suffering from a bleeding ulcer an back problems. Somehow he channels that pain in his performance, making Kane a truly tragic hero. Cooper even does his own stunts in the film, doubling amazing considering how hurt he was.

Several big name actors were offered the role but didn't get them for varying reasons. Henry Ford was grey listed for political activism, Gregory Peck thought it to similar to a previous film he did, and various reasons saw the likes of Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston and Montgomery Clift lose the role. Even John Wayne, who called his film Un-American expressed regret that he hadn't been offered the role when he accepted Cooper's Oscar on his behalf.

Grace Kelly, who appeared in far to few films for my taste, got her first real notice here. She had appeared in television and a small part in another film before High Noon, but the success of this film started her meteoric rise. She would go on to perform in Mogambo with Clark Gable, and make several films for the great Alfred Hitchcock, like Rear Window and To Catch a Thief, before marry the Crown Prince of Monaco in 1956. She became American Royalty.

High Noon is a great Western, it has been rated as the American Film Institutes's #2 Western of all time, behind The Searchers, and ranks as their top 27th film of all time. It's truly a great Western. A terrific climatic gun battles that is brilliantly choreographed, terrific character acting by Cooper, whose face tells a page worth of dialog in of itself. You also get great cameos by some of Hollywood's great supporting actors. And the beautiful Grace Kelly. Check it out, 1952's High Noon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Introspection

Hey all,

Posting from work in the waning hours of the morning. Originally I hadn't planned on posting tonight, but as I seem to be ahead of schedule I thought I would take the time to talk about this past weekend.

Sunday was the celebration of my niece's birthday. My younger brother has gotten married to a girl who is very good for him. With her comes my niece from a previous relationship, and they have a baby boy on the way. My niece, Lexy, is a really cute and good natured kid. The party was held at my brother's in-laws house.

As I arrived I felt really out of place. Surrounded by all these friends and family that I didn't know, I didn't feel like I belonged there. My brother, a person I have been so close to for so long, seems like a different person. Not in a bad way or anything, he has definitely taken great steps in maturity and responsibility. Steps to becoming a man and a provider for his family. He is really a family man.

I guess I am having a hard time reconciling the guy I use to have so much fun with as not the same person. I am really happy that he has found happiness. But I have to wonder what is wrong with me when I can't accept the changes that you make as you become a father. I recognize my selfishness in that statement, but I also think that the selfishness comes from love.

I look to some of my other friends, my old room mate Jeremy, or a few of the guys I went to high school went. I never talk to them anymore. Jeremy was almost like a brother to me, and once he got married and had a child, we never spoke again. Not through no effort of my own I know. I tried.

Maybe I am scared of losing my brother the same way. I have always been a guy who keeps his circle of friends small, sharing myself with a close group of friends, rather than the field of fringe friends many have. I see that circle growing smaller and it depresses me. Will my good friend Bill become like this when his new child arrives? Gone forever the days of us drinking and laughing, and onto the realities of adulthood? Maybe even my friend Jason moving on, to college or relationships, and here I remain.

I look at my own life, and I always try to maintain a balance between the needs of responsibility and the needs of independence. I strive for that accord between the two. There is a time and lace for fun, as with responsibility. Too much of either in any direction is a bad thing. I saw how the loss of social responsiblity tore into my parents marriage, and how too much partying can lead to another's downfall. I would like to think that when it is my turn in a relationship, I will find a balance for myself and for my friends.

In regards to the party, my brother's in-laws were nothing but nice. But I knew I didn't belong there. I know that the thought of spending the Holidays there frightens me. I don't know where I belong these Holidays. I think that some part of me wants to be lonely, if only to feel something. I miss the security of my old friends and old habits.

I know that some parts of me are not ready to change. For all the things I don't like about myself, there are things that I do like. Maybe I am not into the full rigors of adulthood, but I know that I find a balance in my life between my needs and the weights of my responsibilities. I hope that I can be the best of both worlds.

My brother is moving on, and I am still right here. It's hard to let go sometimes.

End of Line.
Gerrad!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Flash Fiction: Confessions

Part 3 (of 3)

I stood in shocked silence. After all this time I had finally told her, and she was pregnant. Stuck in that place between heartbreak and outrage, words were lost to me. My mouth moved in silent speech as I looked for a way out of this. A way to take back what had been said.

She rose from her seat, the tears from her eyes leaving dark trails of mascara on her cheeks. She grabbed my hand and told me not to be sad. She told me of how much these past weeks had meant to her and how how important I was in her life. Of all the people in the world, I had never let her down.

I knew before she had finished with her speech what was coming though. She was going back to him. For all I was and all I could be, to her was a friend. Sure maybe a close friend, maybe there was a possibility in some distant future of more. But for now, and for her, I wasn't enough.

She launched into a litany of reasons why she was going back to him. For the baby, for the future, for what that child would mean to their relationship. Because he deserved a chance to be a husband and a father. She begged for an apology, she begged me not to be angry with her. How she needed me, to be a friend.

I said all the right things to put her at ease. Told her I would be there if she needed me. Told her I understood and that everything would be okay. She hugged me tightly and kissed me on the cheek.

After dinner she went to his house and I went home. They had a beautiful baby girl together and were quite happy. For about 3 months. He cheated on her again and left her to fend for the baby alone. I never talked to her again.


End of Line.
Gerrad!

Facelift!

Hey all,

I am very excited about the new look to the blog. I have really been wanting to update the took and feel for quite some time and earlier today I spent several hours playing with the templates. Jason also came through with that great new banner and I think it looks fantastic. I could not be more excited about it!

The old look with the browns and blacks was very somber and had a very "old timey" feel to it. I feel the blue, orange and black spread really help to pop it off the page.

I have got some great stuff planned in the coming weeks, in terms of story and poems, and I promise a bonus update later today.

You should also do yourself a favor and click the Idle Hands link over here ---->
Jason updated his blogs look and it really looks good. Thanks for reading and I will keep writing! Oh, and let me know what you think of the facelift!

End of Line.
Gerrad!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Feel the Fall

Hey all,

Here is another poem I wrote after watching yesterdays movie. A very solitary experience that evoked some very solitary memories and thoughts. Thanks for reading.


Feel the Fall


Look above to the back lit night,

The dusty stars, faded bright.

So many lights that break the black,

Yet to far away, not coming back.

The sky's filled dark and all's bereft,

And 'lo a falling star that Heaven's wept.

Trailing orb burns a silver streak,

From inky depths, like souls so bleak.

To see the night through stars and moon,

The evening glow reflects in gloom.

And alone I sit in the cold deep dark,

As the flame of life turns softest spark.

Huddled tight, though no wind blows,

Against the hurt that life bestows.

Though dawn may break just hours away,

Nothing will change with the rise of day.

The sky may fill with light and cheer,

But sunny skies won't change what's here.

My heart still draped in darkest pall,

Struck down now I feel the fall.

A salty tear to match that crying star,

It's watery path forms a jagged scar.

Though not of flesh, it deeper lies,

And another day that slowly dies.



End of Line.
Gerrad!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Movie Review: Tropic Thunder

Hey all,

Finding some time to myself tonight I thought I would head down and catch a movie. I like to watch a movie by myself every once in a while, it is a good time for me to occupy my own thoughts and really work out things for myself. I find it sort of cathartic to get out on my own on occasion and find solitude among the throngs of an audience.

Anyway I saw Tropic Thunder, a movie my room mate had already seen so it seemed a good choice for a solo pick. Tropic Thunder is directed and written by Ben Stiller, starring himself, Jack Black, and Robert Downey, Jr as three very different actors making a huge budget Vietnam movie. Stiller is the fading action star who is coming of a streak of flops and is looking to capitalize on a big comeback after his last film in which he played a mentally handicapped person. Black is a comedian famous who has starred in a string of "Eddie Murphy" type roles playing multiple characters in low brow comedy, who is also a drug addict. Downey, Jr is the accomplished method actor, a five time Oscar winner who totally becomes his character. In this film within a film, he undergoes an operation to change the pigment of his skin to become an African American.

The film starts with some great fake trailers giving you this back story of the types of films they are known for, then falls into the meet of the film. Shooting in Vietnam, they are adapting a war story by a Vietnam War survivor (played by Nick Nolte) called Tropic Thunder. The film is grossly over budget, the actors are all having problems working with each other. In an effort to save the film from being canceled, the director decides to shoot it as a "gorilla" picture. Lining the jungles with mini cameras, he takes them deep into the bush and leaves them, in order to get real. Unfortunately it becomes to real as they have tread into actually occupied territory, and the actors don;t know what is real and what isn't.

Let's start with the good. Casting was very good. Robert Downey is hilarious in his role. Honestly I wish they would have focused more on his character and less on Stiller. He has a subtle blend of over the top humor with a very sublime delivery. Jack Black is also pretty good as the heroin addict comedian who is grossly out of his element, and out of heroin! There was also a bit of stunt casting with Matthew McConaughey as Stiller's sycophant agent and Tom Cruise as an overweight, bald and hairy movie executive. McConaughey is fairly blase in the role, but as much as I am not a Tom Cruise fan he really goes against type to get the funny as the obscenity spewing movie exec. He really curses a blue streak and it's so unlike his usual roles that it is really funny.

The bad in the film is Stiller. I have never been a big fan of his type of "character comedy" like in Dodgeball or Zoolander. His character Tugg Speedman, is surely lampooning the action heroes of the 80's and 90's, but I didn't really laugh at anything he said. Really the moments that I laughed at were in the trailer, with a few exceptions. I wished they spent more time on the ancillary characters or with Downey interacting with the various members of the cast. Though there are times that you don't really know what Downey is talking about, where the line between him playing his character and him playing his movie within a movie character blurs. He says he doesn't break character until the movies over, but there are times where you aren't sure which he IS playing. Jack Black is also fairly underused in the movie, spending most of it combating different aspects of his addiction. Which is funny, but very one dimensional.

Overall the comedy falls a bit flat. The movie is so caught up in making fun of actors and movies that it forgets that it has to deliver on the things it's satirizing. You will find some laughs here, and if you are a fan of Stiller's brand of comedy, you will probably like this. For my money if you want a funny movie with a bigger emphasis on low brown humor, check out Step Brothers.

Thanks for reading!

End of Line.
Gerrad!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

From Sleep Arised

Hey all,

I wrote this poem about a week ago. In continuing efforts to break up the cadence and style that most of my poems have slipped into, I went back to one of my older formats to try and start something different. Using a four set stanza, alternating rhyming patterns, and only three word sentences. I like the limitations of the three word sentence as it forces you to really be concise in format. With only three words per line you can't waste words.

Before in my three word poems I used the format to belay a sense of urgency or importance, this time the stanzas are meant to convey a feeling of awakening. Rising from the sluggish morning and not being at your full faculty. Defiantly a different topic than my usual fare.

To b honest I am not sure how good the poem is after re-reading it. I wrote it during a particularly mind numbing meeting at work. I haven't written a poem that has really made me happy with it in a while, but I hope that someone can find some measure of appreciation with it. Writing continues to be an important part of my everyday life, and I hope that each time I do so helps me get better. Whether in terms of creating quality work, or in at least recognizing when I don't. I would love to hear any feedback you may have, and as always thank you for reading.


From Sleep Arised


The recurring bleat,

This cursed alarm.

An endless repeat,

'Causes me harm.


A stifled yawn,

So bleary eyed.

Still not dawn,

From sleep arised.


Of sluggish moves,

And tired bones.

Yet waking proves,

The morning owns.


Dreamed of dreams,

Beneath my mind.

The color streams,

Now lost behind.


Rise from bed,

This gathered feat.

Sweet slumbers dead,

Left in defeat.


But Day breaks,

Apart the Night.

And morning takes,

Its waking delight.


A grudging give,

Starts my day.

Life to live,

My thoughts assuage.


So greeting Sun,

I welcome you.

'Till evenings fun,

Can rise anew.


End of Line.
Gerrad!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 4

Able led me to the rear of Vickers and took me through a side door that blended almost seamlessly with the wood. Inside was Kade's office, a huge room magically expanded, it was packed full of books and spell casting supplies. The bright red aura of evocation magic surrounded the room, overpowering much of the magic sigils that protected the rest of Vickers. This was the most protected room in a very protected building.

Kade was dressed in his usual finery, high black books with gleaming silver buckles, dark green pants worked with gold lace that tapered over his boots. His shirt was matching in dark green and gold thread, open at the collar to show off the bronze pendant across his chest. He wore an assortment of rings on his fingers and gemstones in his ears. His short blond hair spiked in the front, seeming to explode from his scalp. Behind his desk rest a huge bronze staff with a silver headpiece. I knew that all of the items he wore served a purpose. Kade was Fell, an elf at that. His grasp of evocation magic (which focuses on the destructive side of magic) and in divination (which facilitated his ability to gather information) had cemented his position among the various factions. You didn't run Vickers without being powerful and tough, and despite our differences, Able Kade was powerful.

He sat down behind his oak desk and crossed his fingers looking at me. Time passed slowly as the tension built between us, neither saying anything. When Kade's goons let go of my arms finally, I adjusted my coat and reached for another smoke. Damn, I was burning through these things tonight. Striking the lighter against my hip, I lit the smoke and finally broke the silence.

"What seems ta be the problem Kade? I need to be gettin' home, almost past my bedtime you know."

Kade frowned as I blew a ring of smoke out. He hated smoking, and he knew I knew he hated it. I probably shouldn't have been pushing his buttons, but it had been a long night and I really didn't care at this point.

His lip curling, Kade finally spoke.

"Devlin, your antics earlier have really displeased the Were nation. You killed that Were without their sanction and crossed over several territories doing so. Your lucky that you weren't killed flat out when you got here."

I blew out another ring of smoke before I answered.

"Listen Able, you know as well as I do that it was my job. Part of the treaty states that I act above the factions when something gets out of control. I represent the interest of the Norms, and when Were's start killing Norms that aren't part of this world, it's my job to take them down. That thing was killing, and I don't give a damn who is pissed off."

I could see Able starting to get angry but before he could interrupt I spoke again.

" Look, I know your still pissed about the Uprising a few months ago and I'm sorry about that. But it is my job. I am the only one capable of doing it. Both Fell and Nightwalker agreed to my appointment, so that's what I am gonna do. If you want to stand here and bust my fucking balls about it for an hour that is fine, but your gonna have to give me a ride home."

I took another drag as Kade sized me up. A few months back some of the Nightwalkers had banded together to try to overthrow Norms. It's my job to protect those who aren't capable of protecting themselves, and in doing so I caused some damage to Vickers and to Kade, luring a few inside here to use the defensive magic of the place against them. It worked, but it really pissed Able off.

"Look Devlin, you need to try to work with me here, it's my job to run this Sanctuary and I can't have you coming in here pissing off my clients. It's bad for business every time you don't sanction your actions."

"Yeah, I'll work on that Able. We done here?"

He proceeded to ream off a few more warnings but I wasn't really listening. I hadn't done anything outside of my parameters and he knew it. He was just trying to ride my ass and make it look like he could control me. All for the sake of his clients. As his troll guards lead me out I dropped my cigarette on his floor and crushed it with my boot. Anything to ingratiate myself. Heh.

His goons gave me a shove out the front door. I adjusted my collar and squinted, my eyes pained by the tell tale lights of True Dawn. I reached in my pocket and pulled out my shades. I shoved one hand in my pocket and hailing a cab with the other. By the time I had hailed one my body was already shifting to adjust to the dawn. I quickly flipped the cabby a fifty and my address and told him to haul ass. It wouldn't do to change forms like this in front of the Norms.

Luckily the cab had decently tinted windows and by the time we reached my flat, the shades of my aura were just starting to show. I bolted from the car and made for the entrance, thumbing in my pass code quickly. Just those few seconds in the breaking dawn had my body in agony. The orange shades of ethereal magic radiating around me, my skin shifting to translucent. I got into the dark coolness of the hallway and took several deep breaths.

Concentrating, I turned inward, corralling the control of the magic in my blood and calming it. Turning it inward to control my form, directing my thoughts to maintain balance. After several minutes I had control, my skin back to its regular shade and the energies within contained. Running a hand through my hair, I knew I was tired. I walked down the hallway, my shoebox under my arm. Before I got to my door however, I knew that something was wrong.

The door to my apartment stood ajar, the magical wards around the frame had been unwound. It would take a serious User to undo those charms. I had woven some of them myself and the fact that they had been broken was bad. Maybe Kade was right. I really had pissed off some Nightwalkers. Fuck, this night just kept getting worse.

I eased my gun out of the holster and edged toward the door. Concentrating, I reharnessed my magic, the orange swirl augmenting my abilities, opening my sight and enhancing my strength and speed. I could feel the energies bursting through my veins, every detail drawn in sharp contrast. Time, slowing down as each sense reached beyond normal ability. Probing with my skills, I tried to get a reading from inside, but met only the tell tale shields of a User. Without looking and using my Second Sight, I had no idea what kind of magic was waiting for me.

" Ahh fuck it," I muttered, and kicked open the door.

End of Line.
Gerrad!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thought Balloon!

Hey all,

I have been really enjoying writing my take on the Vampire / Demon genre that is so readily prevalent in today's sci-fi. I am not trying for anything especially new or dramatic with my sci-fi writing, part of it is my intent to really capture the feel of a guilty pleasure sci-fi romp. Nothing you have to work hard at to enjoy, but something I can have fun with while I am writing. Overall the books, whether Anne Rice or Stephanie Meyer, or Kim Harrison, all tend to follow the same line with different views on essentially the same story.

Personally I was aiming at a cross between Christopher Golden's Hellboy novels and Lillith Saintcrow's demon hunter books. Though certainly not as good as theirs. It is really just an excuse to write fun stories that I can share and continue what I hope is refining my craft and continuing my goal to write a little bit everyday.

At any rate over this month I will continue installments of The Darkest Dawn, as well as Under a Dead Sun. I like that each story has it's own manner, Dead Sun a disjointed tale meant to be read over different periods of time with different perspectives. That way you don't know what you are getting in each chapter. Then the straightforward Dawn. One is an experiment in storytelling practices, the other just an attempt to write fiction prose.

I want to reiterate that I know I am not writing anything grandiose, my stuffs more like to be found on the Sci-Fi channel than the local Cineplex. But that is okay with me. I love writing and words, and I want to write about the things that I want to read about. That is a big reason I attempt to dabble in different genres. Sci-fi and horror for fun, and the more personal stuff when I am feeling reflective.

My poetry and certain Flash Fiction are my attempt to define parts of myself that I can't express any other way. It is a chance to leave everything out there and see what happens.

Overall I just want to say thank you for continuing to read the blog and the stories (most likely all three of you!) and I will continue to do better.

End of Line.
Gerrad!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 3

It had taken me close to 30 minutes to finally hail a cab and another 15 to get to Vickers. By then I was out of smokes and getting a bit irritable. Vickers was the only true Sanctuary in all of Santa Diego. The place was protected almost as well as St. Augustine's. Place magic, or Location magic grows over time, as long as the site is in active use. Vicker's isn't as old, but it sees a lot more use.

A Sanctuary is a location that all species and breed can go to without fear. Part of the uneasy treaty that held the Fell and Other races in check, Vickers was a safe ground for all species to go about their own business unmolested. That being said, everyone casts their own brand of defensive magic across it. So break the rules of the house, and that magic turns on you. Even the strongest or the oldest User can't counter all the defensive magic from all seven schools of sorcery. Someone like me? Well, let's just say it wouldn't be pretty.

I paid off the cabby and glanced up at the two story structure that composed Vickers. I could see the blinding blend of color that marked the magical barriers around the place, from the reds of evocation to the swirling blacks of Dark Magic. I shifted my vision again to block it out, after all these years I knew what kind of stuff waited inside.

The door had it's usual two goons guarding the establishment. I didn't need my Second Sight to know these two hulks weren't human despite the illusion cast over them. One of them caught my eye as I moved through the door but he didn't stop me. Good thing too, I was in no mood for any of his shit tonight.

Vickers is Santa Diego's one stop shop for anything otherworldly you might need. Comprised of two stories of market booths and free standing stalls, anything goes here. Originally opened by a Fell weapons smith, he built it to the market Sanctuary you see now, which is supposedly where it got the name. Vickers was now run by a Fell User named Able Kade, a fairly well respected elf by both sides of the night, though we have had our fair share of differences.

I passed a lot of booths on my way to the back stairs, stopping only once to buy a couple of packs of smokes from a vendor that specialized in carrying Norm goods, that is to say stuff that some Fell types can't easily buy for themselves at the grocery store. At the top of the stairs I turned and headed for a small storefront all the way in the back.

I opened the door to see Gear working at his desktop. Garrison Dent, or Gear, as most of us called him, was one of the top User's in the game. He was also one of the few people I trusted with handling my equipment.

He let out a small smile as he pulled his goggles off. He was dressed dishelvedly, stained blue overalls with a red work shirt underneath, his salt and pepper hair sticking up in thick bushy spikes, pointy ears just visible underneath. His beard looked to have been burnt somewhat off, but that was typical for him. Always working on something dangerous. Short and stocky, he pulled his heavy work gloves off and threw them over whatever he had been working on. Some Fell User's were neat and finicky, gnomes like Gear wanted to get down and dirty with his casting.

"Heya Gear. Got some work for you."

I pulled off my torn jacket and threw it on the counter and placed one of my huge revolvers beside it.

"I need another patch on the coat and some more UV rounds. I took out that Were that's been plaguing downtown earlier and he cleaned me out. Also was hoping you had that other little bit ready."

Gear reached under the counter and pulled out a dented old shoebox. " I already filled yer rounds Alex, your fights been all the buzz through here today and I figgered you'd be needin' more. I threw a couple of new ones in there too, including some silver-coated water rounds that you can probably get that Father of yours to
bless. As for the coat, I can make it just like new."

"No Gear, I want it just like it was before. No better, no worse."

"I'll never understand your obsession with this old coat Alex, but I'll take care of it."

I lit up one of my new smokes as he went into his spell casting. Each User sticks to his own schools of magic, usually only one or two really well. Gear was a Creationist, using his powers to create new artifacts or equipment. Even with my Sight turned off, I could see the yellow strands of magic flowing through the room, invading the thread of the battered coat, weaving in along the large rents. After a few minutes, Gear stopped casting and held the coat up.

The large tears from the Were's claws were gone, though the same old scuffs and stains could still be seen, the worn lining still dull and ripped in the right spots. I dropped a roll of cash on the counter and pulled the coat back on. Tucking the revolver in it's holster I picked up the shoebox.

"How about the sword?"

"Another few days and it should be ready for your priest. I have a few other blessings to place on it as well as some I have arranged especially for you. It will be better than I promised I assure you."

"I trust you Gear. I'll checkin later."

On my way down the stairs I got more than my usual share of stares, wondering how I had missed them on the way up. A quick glance at my watch told me I had about 45 minutes until True Dawn, so I quickened my pace. As I approached the front door I saw Able Kade standing in front of it, along with more than his normal share of goons. A very unhappy looking Able Kade at that.

"We need to talk Devlin. Now."

It was never good news when someone used my last name.

End of Line.
Gerrad!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Movie Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Hey all,

We headed to the theatre this Friday to catch the new Star Wars animated film, The Clone Wars. In a very empty theatre, I had to do something I never like to do. Dislike a Star Wars film.

I am a huge Star Wars fan. The original trilogy I feel are some of the best films of all time, especially The Empire Strikes Back. Also, despite obvious flaws in the prequel trilogy, I like those films as well. Revenge of the Sith is a dialog coach short of being fantastic.

With the release of Clone Wars I was excited to see a time period of Star Wars history that they have been teasing since A New Hope. I wanted to see the action and adventure of Jedi Knights fighting a full scale war, of Clone Troopers facing armies of droids and Jedi at the height of their power using Force abilities like we have never seen.

I won't bog you down with the back story of Star Wars, if you haven't seen the films you won't get this. Instead you get a PG rated film with a G rated storyline. The film really is just episodes of the new animated series. As an animated series of free television I am sure it would be fine, heck even great. As a theatrical release it falls flat. You don't get the same bang for your buck or epic scope that you want from your Star Wars film. We get a story of young Darth Vader taking on his first padawan trainer in the middle of the Clone Wars. Anakin Skywalker's trainee is a precocious and smart-alec pre-teen girl with a quick mouth that is obviously aimed to ensnare the younger audience. They are sent on amission to save Jabba the Hutt's baby son from the clutches of Count Dooku and his Sith apprentice, Assaji Ventriss.

You read that right. Darth Vader and his teen sidekick on a mission to save Jabba's baby. Part of me understands, the cartoon is aiming for a younger demographic and simpler storytelling dynamic to appeal to a wider range of youth for the home market, when the series hits TV this fall. But I feel that Lucas and the Star Wars team should know that people grew up with this series and a slightly more adult tone would still carry over to TV. We never got talked down to with the Batman Animated Series or the Justice League cartoons, and these come from the same studio. Don't even get me started on Jabba's swishy southern gentlemen cousin, Zero the Hutt.

Now the film isn't all bad. The animation is gorgeous and deep. The fight sequences are amazingly choreographed. The set pieces are varied and location shots look like they were lifted straight from the film. The voice acting is great, I was convinced that both Anakin and Obi-Wan were voiced by Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor, but in fact were spot on voice actors. You do get the always excellent Christopher Lee as Dooku and Samuel L. Jackson reprising his Mace Windu role. The sound effects, score and visual effects are up to Lucasfilm's usual superior standards.

My advice is to wait for this film to hit TV. The series will seem of better quality with the lowered expectations inherent in episodic TV. I can't recommend seeing this in the theatre. And as a Star Wars nerd, that hurts me.

End of Line.
Gerrad!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Flash Fiction: Confessions

Part 2 (of 3)

The following weeks after meeting for coffee were some of the best times of my life. We had fallen into a relationship that felt real and natural. We took things slowly, she had just been broken by her last boyfriend, and I wanted to make sure that everything was perfect. Everyday we spent time together, and every night we would talk for hours on the phone. We talked of hopes and dreams, of what was and what could have been, and of what may still yet.

It was almost everything I had ever wanted. We hadn't gotten intimate, but we had kissed and held each other. I knew the time was coming soon, the time to tell her everything. About how I had felt all these years and how long I had wanted to tell her everything that was bursting inside of me.

She came over to my apartment one night and I decided that I would tell her then. It had been a month since that fateful day and it was finally the right time. I had never felt closer to someone. I was ready to elevate what we had to the next level, to find out what that held in store for me. This relationship was the catalyst to start the rest of my life, a measuring stick for the success of my future.

She arrived, as beautiful as ever. Her hair flowing about her shoulder, an anxious look on her face. She new what I was going to say, I knew it. She gave me a great hug and the softest brush on the lips. As we sat down she looked at me and started to speak. Quickly I silenced her with a light touch of my finger on her lips.

"Let me speak. There is something I have been meaning to say ever since the day I first saw you all those years ago."

I laid myself bare, emptying my insides of every feeling, every emotion, every bit of myself that could be. How I knew in my heart she was the one for me, how I had pined all these years for her. How I knew I could wait 'for she was the only one I wanted. A tale of agony in the separation between us and how it felt to see someone treat her so poorly when I knew I was the one for her. I spoke for what seemed like hours, until I had nothing to say. Until I had nothing left, my heart placed on a table, all for her.

She looked at me all the while I as talking. Never saying a word, a small little smile on her face as her eyes filled with tears. They streaked her mascara as she sat there, but she never unfolded her hands, absorbing what I said as the dark tears ran down her face.

When I was done she finally looked away from me and stifled a small sob. She told me how beautiful all the things I had said to her were and how no one had ever made her feel that way. How she had dreamed that one day to hear all those things said to her. She also told me she was pregnant.

And all my world closed around me.

End of Line.
Gerrad!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Assorted Nuts

Hey all,

Just wanted to drop a few lines on several different topics today. First off I wanted to apologize for all the typographical errors in my last installment of Flash Fiction. I proof read it and still it was atrocious. Just terrible. I have gone through and edited it and I wanted to apologize. I know that I sometimes miss spelling or grammar, but I switched perspective in the story and there is no excuse for that. It is fixed and ready to go now, but I am sorry.

Second is my continued love of the Olympics. It is just incredible how every four years this spectacle really inspires me. It has been great watching Michael Phelps just CRUSH the competition. Every event a gold, every event a new world record. Amazing. The gymnastics have also been really fun to watch. Tonight is the woman's all around and I am really liking America's shot at the gold with hopefuls Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin. It doesn't even matter the event, I am just behind this wave of patriotism and the spirit of competition that these games have brought about.

I will say something about these games that will probably get me flamed, or at least ridiculed. I think that everyone who is calling Michael Phelps the greatest Olympian of all time is wrong. What he is doing is the peak of dominance, he is by FAR the greatest Olympic swimmer of all time, but the greatest Olympian of all time? I don't feel confident saying that. There are so many swimming events, so many medals in what is essentially the same sport that it is easier for him to get more medals. Not that I want to take away from what he does, because he IS the greatest swimmer of all time undoubtedly, but other great Olympiads did things to further not only their sport, but impact the world. Please take what I am saying with the understanding that I know what Phelps is doing right now is a feat we may never see repeated. Just think about some of these other Olympiads.

What about Carl Lewis, a man who medaled 10 times in Track and Field events (arguably harder and more varied than swimming) over the course of 4 Olympic Games (1984, '88,'92, and '96). He even missed a 5th Olympics from the US boycott of the 1980 Moscow games. How about Nadia Com─âneci, the first Olympic gymnast to score a perfect 10 and score 9 medals in only 2 games? What about Jessie Owens? A black man in the 1936 Olympic games in the middle of Nazi Germany. Achieving a gold medal and spiting Hitler's Aryan dominance theory is surely a feat of greatness.

There are a ton of Olympiads I know I am leaving out. Just remember, the most medals isn't always the best. Sometimes the greatest champion is the ones that faced loss and dealt with it. Sometimes the greatest athlete isn't the one playing for himself or his country, but for the betterment of the world.

Anyway, if your not watching these games you are missing greatness. Despite what I said about Phelps, watching him dominate these games is a special moment and I am glad to see it.

Enough rambling, thanks for reading. I will be back tomorrow with some more Flash Fiction. Stay golden ponyboy!

End of Line.
Gerrad!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Word Balloon: The Pro



Hey all,

With July over and the Dark Knight still ruling the box office, I thought it was time to highlight a genre in comics that is sorely overlooked. The comedy. Comic books started out as humor strips compiled into the comic format we know today, that is until the birth of Superman in 1939 began the long underwear invasion. Comedy is often an overlooked medium in comics today, and finding a good one that can be relevant to today's readers can be even harder.

Comic creators Garth Ennis (of Preacher fame) and at the time unknown artist Amanda Conner created one of the most popular humor graphic novels in recent history. Titled The Pro, it was an adults only orientated tale that featured a very mature take on the traditional super hero tale. Published by Image comics originally in 2002, this prestige format graphic novel has gone into four different printings since the first release.

The Pro stars a literal Pro, a prostitute who gains super powers from an alien being who is betting with another creature that any person, given the right opportunities, can and will do good. The Pro, a down and out hooker saddled with little money and a consistently crying infant, wakes one morning to find herself with super powers and an invitation to join the League of Heroes.

The League, comprised of an assortment of super hero parodies, like The Saint (Superman), The Knight and The Squire (Batman and Robin) The Lady (Wonder Woman) The Lime (Green Lantern) and Speedo ( The Flash), all welcome her to the team. After clashing with some super villains in a patchwork costume that can't contain her breasts, as well as her consistent use of coarse language and adult behavior (she continues to use her super powers to aid her in her prostitution alternate identity) The League is ready to drum her out. The final straw occurs when she repays the Saint for saving her kid by giving him his first blow job. The occurring climax afterwords creates a result that has to be read to be believed. Ultimately, the question asked is does great power belay great responsibility? The Pro answers this, but in a way you don't imagine.

Garth Ennis is at his lampooning best here, satirizing the state of comics in general and the absurdity that pertains to current comic mythology. Underneath the gross out humor are real questions, but honestly who cares? This is the teenage sex comedy of comic books. The parody of such iconic images are so over the top that you can't help but find the humor in the situations. The straight laced Superman figure discovering sex, the more than a hint of a homo-erotic relationship between the Batman and Robin arch types, the over-sexed but proper Wonder Woman figure, and the blatant stereotyping of African American heroes that so ingrain so many of their comic counterparts in the Lime are spot on. Garth Ennis really catches the humor in situation. Garth is not known for doing super hero stories, and in fact has a general dislike for that particular medium in comics. In the Pro, he sends up super hero comics in a way that only Garth Ennis can.

The standout creator of the book is artist Amanda Conner. She was a relative unknown in comics before The Pro, toiling away on such little known books as Vampirella and in Archie Comics. The Pro opened her to comic readers everywhere, showing her skills to do both capes and comedy. She is a very versatile artist who added the perfect visuals to Garth's story. Garth also wanted a female creator on the book who "got" the tone of the story and Amanda was his first choice. She created the look and feel of the book and gave the comic some credibility from the stand point of women (which honestly helped off set any feeling of misogyny that the blue tone may have inspired).

I recommend this book for August because it IS unlike anything you will read. It's dark and funny and adult, and really really good. You can check out The Pro, published from Image comics by Garth Ennis and Amanda Conner. Up top you can see the original cover to the book, and below is the most recent reprint. Oh, and if you get the most recent printing, the creators have added a 12 page story featuring The Pro versus a rival prostitute villain, The Ho, and eight-armed street worker. It's fantastically funny. Check it out!

End of Line.
Gerrad!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Chapter 26

Billy watched as the creatures surged against the door. Katee and he barely made it inside the general store with the beasts at their heels. Root and the store's owner, Reny, barricaded the door with whatever they could find. Katee was sprawled on the floor in the back of the store, her hands propping herself up as she took great deep breathes, clearly winded and exhausted from their flight from the livery.

Billy looked at her, such resolve and spirit, and a sort of radiant beauty that still clung to her, despite the the dirt and tears and singes that adorned her well worn dress. He quickly boxed that thought away, and the thought of the kiss they had shared in the loft. This was not the time for daydreaming.

He picked himself up and helped Root and Reny finish barricading the door. After a few minutes, the doors and windows had been blocked as best they could, and the Sheriff looked to the three of them.

"We can't stay here for long. What ever the fuck those things are, this won't stop'em fer long."

Reny nodded in agreement. "We are gonna need a plan."

Katee had picked herself up and came to join them. She gathered the stary strands of her blond hair into a tighter ponytail and looked to the three of them.

Reny sighed. " I should check on my family. They will be worried."

As he headed up the back stairs, Katee close behind, Root looked at Billy.

"We only got once chance of getting out of this town. And all of us probably ain't gonna make it."

Billy grimaced and thought to himself. Somehow, being inside didn't seem like as much on an improvement as it did a few minutes ago.

End of Line.
Gerrad!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Line Up

Hey all,

It's been a while since a new edition of The Line Up, my column on my current TV habits. In the dearth of summer TV programming, their usually isn't much to watch. That all changed on Friday though, with the arrival of the 2008 Olympic Games.

I don't know what it is about the Olympics, but I really become obsessed with watching them when they roll around. Especially the summer games. Normally, there is no way I watch swimming, diving, or track and field events. But you add that level of global competition and national pride, and something clicks inside me.

It's really the scope of the games that gets me. Close to 150 countries vying to be the best in the world, not only for personal glory, but for all the people of their nation. It's really a moving experience.

I didn't get to see all of the opening ceremony, but what I did see looked spectacular. The size and grandiose effects the Beijing has put forth has assuaged any doubts I may have had about China hosting the games, and about their ability to step up as a super power. I think this helps China, offering a better look than mostly gets reported about the country.

In terms of the events, I have watched a ton of coverage, including Women's Fencing and Badminton (so you know that I have the Olympic fever if I am watching that!) I was especially impressed with the cross country bicycle race. The back drop for the ride included Tienanmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven AND the Great Wall of China. Just incredible. This week will see them amping up swimming and diving events which I really root for, as well as gymnastics which I really get into, but again only at the Olympics, Add the drama surrounding men's basketball with the "Redeem Team" and their quest for gold, this is going to be one of the best games ever.

Do yourself a favor and tune in. Every fours years we can get a small glimpse of something that brings the world together in both a spirit of competition and national pride. This is chance to watch greatness and a chance to see something historic. Not only China's rise to a super power, but the globalization of sports across the world. I can't wait to see more.

End of Line.
Gerrad!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 2

Father Quinton drove me back to the church, St. Augustine's. It wasn't much of a church, a small brick building with a cross at the peak of the bell tower, but it was old. In my line of work, old always beats grandiose. The power behind place magic, especially place magic of a holy locale, always grows over time. As long as the building stays in use, the power will grow. Hell some places retain power long after their time simply based on the residue.

St. Augustine was one of the first churches built in Santa Diego, and was rebuilt from the stone and stucco of it's earlier brethren buildings into the brick and mortar church here today. As we pulled closer, I had to shut off my second vision, the glowing energy surrounding the place was to much to handle. A mix of orange and blue, spells of defense and protection, both ethereal and holy magic blending in a spiral so bright it was blinding.

Quint parked the car and I got out slowly. He led me in through the back way like he always did, and sat me down at the table inside a small kitchenette. Quint lived on the second floor and usually cooked his meals up their, instead of the one down here that was for the Sunday Schoolers. He still hadn't taken me upstairs yet, hell he probably didn't trust me yet. But that was okay, I knew what I was, and more importantly, I knew what my job was.

Quint cleaned my wounds, which were already healing quite nicely, and fixed me a small meal. We didn't say much to each other, me replaying the fight with the Were in my head, Quint probably offering prayers to his God. After he was done and I finished the meal, he asked me to lower my head. He repeated as string of prayers I had heard countless times before, asking the Lord God to forgive the sins I had committed, and to bless me as his agent against the night. I knew that it was bullshit though. I didn't matter how many monsters I killed, how much work I did in God's name, the Damned don't get repentance in the end.

When he was done he gave me a clean shirt form the cache I left here, and went to throw my old in the trash. Before he could toss the coat in, I grabbed his wrist.

"Not the coat Padre."

He breathed a small sigh and handed it over. I shrugged the coat on, the long tears in the back flapping as I headed for the door. The torn coat was a helluva lot less conspicuous than the two guns on my hip, and I wasn't really looking for any more trouble tonight than I already had. Thumbing a smoke from the crumpled pack, I flicked my dented Zippo out.

"See ya tonight Quint."

He traced the cross over his chest as I shut the door and I could have sworn he shuddered. Rookies. I looked up to the moon, and I could tell I still had a few hours before true dawn. I figured I had enough time to hit Vickers before it was time head home. Pulling a long drag of my smoke, I walked down the block. Fuck it was hard to hail a cab at this hour.


End of Line.
Gerrad!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Movie Review: Step Brothers

Hey all,

My room mate and I caught Step Brothers last night and I thought it was the funniest movie I have seen this year. I feel I should add a precursor to this statement with the fact that I just seem to dig any comedy with John C. Reilly. I couldn't really care whether or not Will Ferrell is in the film, it's Reilly that makes the movies for me.

Step Brothers stats the aforementioned Ferrell and Reilly as two 40 year old men who still live at home with their respective parents. Ferrell's mom and Reilly's dad meet each other at a medical conference and fall into love very fast. Upon their marriage, Ferrell and Reilly are forced to love together and share a room, Immediately hating the other for ruining the good thing they had before the marriage, the fight and prank one another until finally being unified by their mutual dislike of Ferrell's younger brother, the model son. Eventually the two man children overwhelm Reilly's dad, and forces them to try to become real adults.

This film is rife with typical Ferrell humor. If you have seen any of his other movies, Talledega Nights, Anchorman, or Reilly's Walk Hard, it's the usual affair. What works in this film is the incredible chemistry between Ferrell and Reilly. You genuinely feel how much fun these guys are having making the film, and the gross out humor and over the top antics kept me laughing.

The truth is that I want to see the film again. Both Walk Hard and Talledega Nights have become very quotable films around my friends and I and I know Step Brothers has several great quotes. My favorite parts of the film are Ferrell's younger brother's wife hilarious attraction to Reilly's character, and the great music video that the two brothers make.

Let's be honest, if you liked the movies I compared this to, then you won't regret it. If you don't, well it's more of the same. Personally I recommend this movie as the funniest film of the year, I think you should check it out.

End of Line.
Gerrad!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Flash Fiction: Confessions

Confessions (Part 1 of 3))

She was 16 years old when we first met. I was 19 and still in high school but I knew there was something special. Three years really didn't seem like that big of a deal in the scheme of things, but it was enough to make me think. We had struck a fast friendship but I was always quick to keep things cordial. Two years wasn't that big of a deal, I could wait, I could bide my time.

It was harder after I graduated. Less reasons to see each other and less reasons to remain friends. I did my part, I still felt the same but she moved on. I always thought a part of her knew, or suspected, that was why she had never dated before. But as I went on to school, she moved on too. We would get together for movies or lunch and talk on the phone, but she was coming into her own. She made other friends and met other boys. Boys her own age, boys that said the things I had been waiting to say.

It was then that I started to think about moving on. After she graduated and started living her own life we talked less. I still thought about her often but I couldn't get her completely out of my mind. I stopped inviting contact, tried to forget her. After a while it was easier, though every time she called I couldn't bring myself to say no.

When she called to ask me to meet her for coffee, I figured it was my time to come clean. She was seeing someone and had been for a while. It was pretty serious from what I knew, but I was going to lay it out and let come what may. If spurned, at least then I could move on, if not, well even I knew that scenario wasn't likely. I needed to come clean after all these years. Living a lie, even if it was to myself was to hard.

As I approached for coffee, her eyes were puffy red and swollen, tears down her cheeks. She met me in a blubbering rush, about how her boyfriend had cheated on her and dumped her. How she couldn't trust anyone, how broken her heart was. I hugged her tight and smoothed her hair. And I knew I could wait a little longer.


End of Line.
Gerrad!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

When I Was Young

Hey all,

Here is a poem I wrote while I was supposed to be taking notes in a meeting. I think the lethargy and apathy of the moment definitely controlled the topic, but you can decide that. = ) I did try to vary the format a bit. Lately all of my poems have been two line consecutive rhymes, so it was definitely my goal to not repeat that pattern.

I also purposely reused two lines in the first and last stanza to try to add some cohesive bookends to the poem, only changing the rhyming pattern. Maybe not my strongest work but here it is anyway. Thanks for reading everyone.


When I Was Young


When I was young,

I had great dreams.

As years went by,

They pulled at seams.


Like grains of sand,

Though my fingers.

They've passed me on,

Only remembrance still lingers.


The foolishness of youth,

Holds much wonder.

Until the reality of life,

Crumbles all asunder.


Hope and chance,

Were once my favor.

Then reality arrives,

And in Keeping, savors.


Mounting bills,

My selfish debt,

Responsibilities at work,

So soon you forget.


Sacrifices are made,

No matter the cost.

The dreams I once had,

Were the first things I lost.


How I wanted to write,

Or somehow create,

'Till the oppression of life,

Overwhelmed my plate.


Attending more school,

To understand myself,

Of traveling the world,

Now placed on the shelf.


Promises made,

That I failed to keep.

So many regrets,

Broken promises un-reaped.


When I was young,

The future was so clear.

As the years pass by,

I became trapped by my fear.


End of Line.
Gerrad!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Assorted Nuts

Hey all,

I published my next of what I hope will be semi-ongoing flash fiction series. As Under a Dead Sun reaches toward the end, with what i am guessing is 5 to 6 or so more installments I wanted to gear up my next pulp serial. I have been reading alot of cheesy vampire demon hunter type books and thought it might be fun to take a "stab" at that genre.

Sort of ridiculous and fun, just a story, maybe a bit longer in format with a definite sense of order in the story telling. I am still going to try to end the tales on chapter like breaks, maybe relying a bit less on cliffhangers and more in terms of context and such. Anyway I hope it will be fun. Anytime you can write about monsters and vampires and the occult should allow for some fun pulp action.

I decided after Con to cut my other serial, Rocket Ted short. One, I read not one but two stories along the same lines as what I was going to do while surfing the Internet. I just didn't feel as if I could bring something original to the plot. The second is that honestly I lost direction with what I was going to do with the story. I didn't outline it well enough and I lost my way. I am thinking about doing smaller, more autobiographical bits as filler in the mean while.

Anyway, enjoy the new series, The Darkest Dawn. Let me know how you feel about it.

End of Line.
Gerrad!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 1

I let out a long slow breath and inched my way to the corner. The worn ivory grip on my gun felt reassuring in my right hand. My left inched closer to the end of the wall and I steeled myself for a peek around into the alley. I knew whatever was on the other side of this wall was up to no good. I tightened my grip again on the pistol and pulled my old rosary beads out of the front pocket of my battered leather jacket.

I peeked around the corner and immediately knew I was in trouble. The were beast was huge, easily 12 feet tall, dark brown fur stretched over muscle and bone. The thing had thrown it's rags away as it as it loomed over the splayed remains of what had once been one of the local girls. I didn't like to think that this thing had been running wild for the past 2 days and only now had i tracked it down. Were's were fast, but this guy was fast and big, never a good combination. I thumbed the hammer back on my pistol and burst into a quick roll around the corner, before I had to much time to think about what I was doing.

My fingers and thumb were a blur, one pulling the trigger the other thumbing the hammer in rapid succession. The huge revolver blared with each blast until only the clicks of the empty barrels sounded. Each shot hit the Were with the force of a small explosion. The bullets had been infused with UV rounds in a silver casing, about the only two things that could really put a permanent hurt on a Were.

The Were let out an ungodly roar and I got my first real good look at his face, huge gaping jaw, all full of yellow teeth and those red eyes, burning with a special kind of hate for people like me. People who's job it is to take down these son's a bitches.

I had to give it to this one, he was tough. He had taken all 8 rounds on my gun to the neck and chest and was till on his feet. I dropped my pistol and let one of my silver knives fall free from my coat sleeve. In the same motion I skidded to a stop, my boots sliding on the bloody cement and ducked into a another quick roll, bringing myself in closer to the Were. He let out a long swipe of his claws catching me across the back as I pulled into the dive. My leather jacket caught some of it, but I was gonna need a helluva lot of bactine later.

Finally in close enough I paused just enough to ram a quick elbow under the beast's jaw. My gifts gave me some advanced strength and speed, as well as a few other handy bonuses, but nothing I could do physically would hurt him. That wasn't the point though. With his head I did two things, one (and most importantly) I kept him from biting me. I can heal good, but nothing can help you once you've been Were-bit. The second thing was to raise his chin just high enough for me to get a knife shot. Thrusting upward I plunged the silver blade deep into his jugular vein, stopping only when the hilt would go no further.

A bright gush of blood flew from the wound and the Were let out another scream. That much silver in his veins would feel like acid running though his bloodstream. I tried to back out but the Were caught me with a wild back hand and I landed hard against the dirty brick wall, my breath leaving in a great woosh.

Slowly I picked myself up and drew my spare gun from the holster I kept at the small of my back. Never use one when two will suffice I always say. I pulled up and aimed at the Were, which was now mostly writhing and mewling on the ground in pain. I let two more shots fly, each one through his head. Finally, the Were stopped moving and lay in its pool of blood.

I holstered the gun and retrieved my other from where I has tossed it, though I left the knife in place. Were's had wicked fast regenerative powers, and while I was pretty sure this one was dead, I had learned the hard way that it was best to take no chances. I pulled a crumpled smoke from my other coat pocket as I placed my lucky rosaries back where they belonged. Lighting the cigarette I headed back out the alley to meet Father Quinton, my local liaison who was waiting for me.

I must of looked a lot worse than I though when Quint saw me, he paled a lot more than usual. He was still fairly new to the hunt, having replaced my last liaison after the events of the last Uprising, after the last time I made a mistake.

"Are you okay Alex? Your covered in blood and your coat looks like it was cut off of your back!"

I took another drag of the smoke before tossing it aside. Just another in a string of bad habits Quint didn't approve of.

"Don't worry Father, it's not the wolves that I can see that worry me, it's the ones I can't."

He made a small noise that I couldn't quite hear and offered me a benediction. Just another night in paradise.

End of Line.
Gerrad!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Viva Las Vegas!

Happy August all!

July has been tagged and bagged and into another month. The year is half over already and time seems to be moving at a much faster pace this year. Anyway onto the events of the weekend.

My good pal Bill turned 30 while I was at Comic Con, and his wife Carmen planned out a great surprise party for him. As many things coincided with the two of them not really being able to celebrate his birthday on the actual day between their jobs, they had arranged to take a weekend trip on the following week. Bill believed that he was going to Sedona with his wife. The truth was that she had called of of his friends and arranged a surprise trip to Las Vegas where he would get to hand out and party in Vegas with his guy friends, while she and the ladies took in the sights and a show.

Bill was really surprised to see all of us there, including his friend Jesse who flew in from LA with his girlfriend. I drove up after work on Friday by myself, having failed to secure a direct flight to Vegas (there was no way I was doing a layover in LA that would have taken me longer than it did to drive) I even took my PC with the thought of blogging and updating post party time. The hotel we stayed at, the Imperial Palace, charged $6.00 and HOUR for Wi-Fi, so I said screw that plan.

We did the usual routines in Vegas, though I am not much of a gambler. We generally drank and partied until we couldn't take it anymore. It was doubly cool though that the hotel was hosting Roller Con 2008, a 2 day collection of well over 700 Roller Derby Girls. Drunk punk rock girls in tights and short skirts always makes things better. Probably the most fun we had was the late night to early morning karaoke session at the hotel. Bill with his fantastically bad cover of David Lee Roth's Just a Gigolo, me doing a heavily censored Ballad of Chasey Lain from the Bloodhound Gang, and Bill's co-worked Brad covering Plush by STP. The part that was really fun was the three of us covering Journey's Don't Stop Believin' and the entire room surging the stage to sing along. All of us at the top of our lungs belting out those lyrics, roller girls breaking down the barricades to the stage to grind and kiss on us as we sang. I see how rock stars get all that tail now. Literally the whole place, at least 100 to 150 people singing Journey. It was an incredible experience.

We also hit some great buffets with crab legs and prime rib. Up until Comic Con I was still on my faithful Vegan diet, which we all agreed that I should lift for vacation. I extended it to this weekend so as not to complicate matters when we went out to eat, but starting Monday I'm heading back onto it. My goal will be to continue to cut out meats and fried foods, eggs, and limiting dairy to skim milks and slight cheeses. I think I will add in some grilled chicken to allow for some variety, but limiting that. I keep hearing that I am losing weight, but I'll be happier when I can notice it.

Anyway, Las Vegas was a lot of fun and I look forward to posting up soon. I stopped halfway on the trip up to Vegas to attempt to write a poem at a very scenic location, full of mountains and valleys, but the mood wasn't right to finish it. I will try to take another crack at it and post that soon. I also want to run another Introspection and try to catch the films that I have fallen behind on, specifically Step Brothers by this weekend. Maybe even an original Flash Fiction. I hope you enjoyed the post, thanks for sticking with me.

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Gerrad!