Saturday, July 26, 2008

Voila! Tricked out Deck! Friday Snippet, July 25, 2008

And here is the finished project. Presto, chango.

Below is a snippet from a short I'm working on. Artemis Hancock is a gunslinger. The narrator--well, is something a little different. First draft--may change, please do not quote or repost. Thanks, and enjoy!

And I understood something about Artemis Hancock I hadn’t understood before. He had a purpose. That purpose might be the only thing keeping him sane. I gave that piece of data to the Keeper, not willing to risk losing a fact that would take me one step closer to fulfilling the terms of my punishment and returning home.

When he curled up in his blanket, I waited for sleep to take him. I dropped the girl’s aspect. Without the need to alter his perception, I could be myself.

I padded away from the campfire’s light. The desert night enfolded me in cool velvet, yet carried the sounds of scurrying creatures and the occasional snap of rocks losing the heat of the day. Somewhere in the distance, a creature sang its mournful loneliness to the stars. Coyote, scavenger, the Keeper supplied, but I had heard the sound numerous times and even caught glimpses of the slinking creature in the twilight hours.

I did not fear scavengers, or even the predators that walked this desert. My scent usually deterred anything that crossed my path. If not, my teeth and claws could take care of the rest. If anyone on this planet saw my true form, I would have been shot on sight. Or perhaps burned at the stake.

Stoneriver Valley up close did not impress me any more than it had at a distance. The town crouched in the darkness like some fantastic, sleeping beast on the desert floor. I could smell the fear that lay, pall-like, over the place. But here—here in this tiny collection of sticks where people huddled in the darkness with their fears of the unseen and the unknown—lay the answer to the riddle of Artemis Hancock.

The town had been laid out in a kind of crude cross shape, with the main dirt road serving as the shank of the cross. As I passed the buildings that lined this shank, I caught a familiar whiff. In my travels with Artemis, I had smelled the sourness of beer before.

I paused in front of the tavern. At this time of early morning, even the tavern was dark and silent. With the coming of daylight, that would change. The people would creep from their hiding places and find their courage in the bottles that lined the tavern shelves.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Idiocy, or Ignorance Ain't Bliss

Here's the latest idiot proposal to the American public:

Doing away with the 401(k) plan.

You read that correctly. The only truly portable, pay-your-taxes-later plan the working Joe has in place to save for retirement with the help of his employer and the comfort of ten to twenty diverse funds to choose from so he doesn't have to think about it too much and get a headache. That 401(k).

Here's the idiot suggestion for an alternative-- a government-mandated pooled fund similar to Social Security. The proposal is to remove the employer from any involvement and put the responsibility squarely in government hands.


Like the government has been really savvy on the way it's handled Social Security funds to date that I'm putting the rest of my retirement money in their hands. (Step right up, folks. See the two-headed dog! Satisfaction guaranteed! Only one thin dollar!)

The grumble has been that 401(k)s are nothing more than a tax dodge for the wealthy. What?! Only the wealthy can save money?! I find that assumption so ridiculous I'd laugh myself sick if it didn't infuriate me so much.

It's a kind of reverse discrimination. An "if I can't save money and don't have a 401(k) then neither should you" type of attitude.

Sour grapes, anyone?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Got Deck?

And this is the deck that Jack--- er, Greg and Cheryl, built.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Friday Snippet, July 4, 2008

And here's a snip from my latest short story....

First draft. Please don't copy or repost, subject to change.

Tara Medichi stood on the ship’s deck, dressed as the bride she never was, and pulled her skirt out of the sea spray that washed her feet. The wind whipped at her dark hair until it stood out like a pennant. She took deep breaths of the fresh air, glad to be out of the dank darkness below deck, even though she knew what she would face.

She glanced over her shoulder at Captain Ferrel and his crew, who watched her avidly, even while busy shortening sail in the stiff wind that snapped the sails and made the ropes groan.

He was coming. Wind and wave always preceded his arrival. She turned to face the sea and steeled her heart.

Cold billowed off the water. Her breath smoked in the frigid air. A geyser erupted from the sea, high as the mainmast’s yardarms. The geyser broke over the ship, drenching her and the crew. When the water receded, the deck around Tara glittered blood-red, and the sea wraith stood before her.

The crew blanched and shivered although they could not see the apparition. She knew they felt its cold and inimical presence. Captain Ferrel eyed the blood-rubies but made no attempt to approach.

“Jeryn,” Tara whispered, tears slipping down her cheeks. “Oh, my poor love.”

Her fiancĂ©’s anguished, tortured features flayed her heart into a thousand pieces. The gaping wound of Jeryn’s slit throat grinned at her, maniacal and red. The deep slashes over his torso and arms oozed.

Have you found him? Have you found the one who took my life?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Not quite Hoover Dam....

but the deck is built. All the boards together and level. Needs a few more screws in it, but I can essentially say I helped build a deck. Nearly killed my out-of-shape self doing it, but I'm here and still alive. Boy, do I feel a sense of accomplishment! When the camera gets charged up, I'll post a picture.

I think the Friday snippets have died. I'm still going to post--much shorter--snippets on this site, but not whole chunks of story, and probably not even whole scenes. Just some of what I hope is good writing for people's enjoyment. Whether I post something every Friday remains to be seen.

I'll definitely still check out the usual suspects' blogs because I enjoy reading them.