13 May, 2012

Informative Purposes...List of Stories Published with Links

     I decided to make a list of my stories that are published up to this point.  Each story will have a link to it, in case you want to read it, bookmark it, or throw things at me.  I figured this would be easier for people to find them, as opposed to fighting through the timeline on Facebook to find my random postings.

     In no particular order:

Would You Say I Do? - http://www.short-story.me/science-fiction-stories/353-would-you-say-i-do.html

How Exactly Do I Get Out of Here? - http://www.short-story.me/fantasy-stories/438-how-exactly-do-i-get-out-of-here.html

Now, Where is the Off Switch? - http://www.digitaldragonmagazine.net/lasanich-nowwhereistheoffswitch.php

Now What Does that Button Do? - http://www.digitaldragonmagazine.net/lasanich-nowwhatdoesthat.php

Why Didn't They Clean that Up? - http://www.staticmovement.com/whydidnttheycleanthatup.htm

One Last Day - This is the only story that is not online anywhere.  Sadly, the magazine it was published in folded as well.  I will repost it to blog once I see if it is accepted to an anthology or not.

     And that does it for now.  I am back to working on new stuff and have a couple more stories out for submissions.

07 April, 2012

Side Step...You Haven't Been on an Airplane in How Long?

     (In January I took a trip to California for some video work for a friend.  I was working on two separate shoots, basically riding shotgun with the production team, helping to organise, do odds and ends.  It was a lot of fun, although I will say that Cali drivers are by far the worst I have ever seen.  I lost count of the number of times I was nearly involved in, or the cause of a wreck on the highways and roads.  The following is my thoughts from flying, something I had not done for about 21 years prior to this point.)

The Trip Out:  21-January-2012
     As stated above, I had not flown in about 21 years.  I am mortally petrified of heights, among a few other things.  Because of that, I detest flying.  Besides my nervousness associated with doing the job at hand, the thought of flying set me up for a sleepless night.
     Because of this, you would think Mother nature might provide decent weather so I wouldn't have an added worry.
     Instead, she provides a winter storm.  You know the kind:  Snow...sleet...both at the same freaking time.
    At this point, you can most likely guess my level of happiness.  Oh, and I forgot to mention a fact.  My esteemed friend who I was doing this job for had booked me an early flight.  A real early flight, on the order of a 5:45am departure.  Add my displeasure at this early of a start and you get a large numerical representation of my extreme lack of happiness.  The trip from home to the airport was made in good order and slow speed despite this.
      I spent a bit being confused by getting my ticket.  Turns out I could not read my reservation form, but I figured it out after 3 tries and a walk around the ticketing area.  I smoked one last cigarette in record time cursing the snow before facing up to entering the security area.  I made a joke with friends about receiving a full body cavity search as my 'prize' for not having flown in comparative eons.
     I walked to the first checkpoint and handed over my license and boarding pass/ticket/whatever the Hell that thing is.  I had purposefully picked a female TSA to go to, knowing it would be easier to be cheesy when I asked my almighty question.  Once she was done I said to her, "You are going to laugh when I tell you this, but I haven't flown in 21 years.  What do I need to do to get through with the least amount of pain?"  She did indeed laugh, and politely gave me some pointers.
     For those keeping score, no, I did not receive that full body cavity search in Pittsburgh.
     I reached the gate in a most uneventful fashion.  Staring out the windows, my dismay deepened at the sight of snow and sleet falling as thick as ever.  I spent most of the wait glaring out the window at the snow and sleet, heartily cursing Mother Nature.  I was thus engaged when the plane rolled up and we slid down one gate for boarding.
     The call for general boarding came, and as I moved to the jetway door, a girl asked me a question about her seat.  I answered it to the best of my meager knowledge.  It was then that she informed me this was her first time flying.  I chuckled lightly, asking her how old she was.  When she she told me she was 20, I laughed again and told her how long it had been since I had flown.  Because my voice carries, another lady overheard me making that very statement.  She said, "So you are the reason we have such wonderful weather."  I informed her that there was mostly likely a bet on this point somewhere.
     I am certain that most anyone reading this has flown in winter.  Therefore I will skip the description of the 'Wash n' Wax' process commonly known as deicing.  I found it amusing to watch, but that is just me.  About half an hour elapsed through this process, but we soon taxied out and took off.
     As we climbed for altitude, a worrisome thought appeared.  Knowing our takeoff at Pittsburgh was delayed by about 30 minutes, I wondered about the Houston airport and how I would make my connecting flight.  When Mike booked my flight, I only had a 56 minute window to start with at Houston.  This disturbing thought rattled in my head as we came out above the clouds to daylight breaking and a crescent moon.
     For anyone wondering, my stomach was fine.  Once again my cast iron constitution held.  I barely managed nauseous.
     Looking out the window, I found myself almost able to believe I was not flying.  In an odd twist, the sea came to mind.  I am also patiently terrified of water, so this connection made little sense to me.  In it's own way, it was amusing and comforting enough that I was able to nap briefly, despite my lingering fear about my connecting flight.

     Looking at the time upon arrival in Houston, I began to worry.  We had indeed lost those 30 minutes, which caused fret for me.  My mother and brother had gone to Utah by way of Houston a few months back.  The horror story they told me of the size of the airport and getting through it lodged firmly in my consciousness.  I talked to the young woman I had spoken briefly to upon boarding, and found she had only 10 minutes to find her connecting flight.  I sincerely hope she made it.
     At this point I must tell a point against myself.  I nearly forgot my carry on luggage, which had been stowed in a different area on the plane.  At the last possible moment I remembered it, and nabbed it.  Racing away from the scene of my near bout of stupidity, I heard the seconds tick by (Very) loudly in my head.  I had to stop and make sure I was proceeding down the right path.  Confirmation acquired, I boarded a tram for a quick trip to some other part of the large airport at Houston.  While running through the airport, I learned something.  It is rather undignified to attempt running with a huge laptop bag and dragging a small suitcase behind you.
     Thankfully, dignity is not something I subscribe to.  The subscription rate was too high, and the free gift sucked.
     I made the flight, being the last person to board.  The first plane I was on was a smaller jet, which I likened to a sardine can.  Now I found myself on a 737 with a bit more room, not to mention people.  Also on the 737 was little TV screens which you could buy programming for.  Annoyed by it flashing, I managed to turn off the contemptible little things.  While thus engaged, we made another uneventful takeoff.
     Climbing for altitude, I realised with morbid fascination why I had not been too unnerved with the height of the plane.  On the way to Houston, I never saw the ground.  The clouds obscured the ground quite well and stretched all the way to Houston.  Even on landing approach, I hardly saw the ground as the place was cloaked in fog.  Now as we made away from Houston, the skies cleared and I could see the ground.  This became fascinatingly unnerving for me.
     Staring at the ground as we headed towards California, I watched the vista change to desert.  I smiled in the midst of a calculation of damage I would incur from the height we were at.  I realised that I had never actually seen a desert before, except on TV.
     The flight to Cali was an uneventful one, excepting as we came in over the mountains for approach to the Orange County airport.  We bumped along pretty good which reminded me of driving on Pennsylvania's roads.  We rolled up to the terminal, the name of the airport prompting a snicker from me.  If you don't know why, I am not going to explain it.

The Trip Back:  26-January-2012
     I left California at a much more reasonable time, even though it would be pretty late when I got home.  I dropped off the rental and passed through airport security with no hassle.  Best of all, no full body cavity search at this airport either.  The only thing of note that occurred was me making a comment to the TSA agent about my name as it appears on my drivers license.  This prompted a chuckle from him as I went on my way. (And no, I am not telling you if you don't already know.)
     I decided to eat this time before getting on the plane.  On the trip out, I did not bother eating until I was in Cali and paid for it by being woozy and even more brain dead than normal.  Talking with my boss Mike, we had an amusing time making fun of people.  We also had an amusing time with why the fire alarm seemed to be going off.  I personally voted for them coming to take me away for my missed full body cavity search.
     Going from Cali to Houston passed supremely uneventfully.  The flight was not really bumpy, I was able to turn the screens off to stop annoying me, and the baby next to me did not scream hardly at all.  The only hiccup on this leg of the trip occurred after landing.  On our way to the gate, we were forced to sit, as the gate was not clear.  Once again I found myself sitting and watching time tick by with another short window to catch a flight.  After about a good 30 minutes, we pulled up and disembarked.
     Once again I found myself in Houston.  Once again I found myself doing a rapid march across the airport.  I felt like I was in some sort of repeat.  This time I managed to make it when they were calling general boarding.  I lucked out and had an extra seat to myself for the last leg of the journey so I spread out.  The only thing of note was the turbulence the whole way to Pittsburgh.  The woman sitting beside me did scare me a bit too, as I thought she might be ill.  Cast iron constitution or not, had she lost her lunch, I probably would have lost mine.
     As you can guess, arriving at Pittsburgh passed quietly.
     I know this portion of the narrative is short, but for some reason the flights home were far less interesting than those out.  I did write in a notebook on the flight to Pittsburgh in the turbulence.  All I can say for it is that my normally bad handwriting looked more like Sumerian cuneiform.  I am hoping that I will need to hire someone skilled in the art of translating ancient script to unlock what I was working on.

Side Step...Chance Conversations

     It has been a very long time since I have posted anything to this blog.  In the span of months since that last Side Step posting, a great deal has occurred.  In it all, I have managed to really lose my mind as opposed to just misplacing it like I do my keys.  I am not going to bore everyone with the full details.  However for three easy payments of 19.95 plus shipping and handling...
     In short, everything that has gone on has taken me away from one thing I love:  Writing.  I was trying to get stuff submitted and accepted in all these proceedings and had hit a wall.  Nothing was getting accepted, even a story I had high hopes for.  When added to everything else I was trying to fight through, the rejections started getting to me.
     For months I have found myself practically unable to write.  Ideas even refused to grace my mind for the longest time.  Fear welled up in me, and I thought maybe I would never write again.  That single thought scared me more than I can easily describe in anything less than an hour of your time.
     For the record, I do not believe in the concepts of Fate or Destiny.  Based on what I believe in this life, neither are practical, nor are they smart bets.  To me, life is a series of never ending chances and choices.  Everything interconnects in some fashion, and what happens from there depends on what one chooses to do or not do.  I have a theory about time that works in a similar fashion.
     Chance is something else entirely.  I actually find it refreshing that I see chance in almost any situation, no matter how hopeless.  I believe the quote comes from Spock of Star Trek, about 'there are always possibilities'.  I modified that to say: There are always possibilities.  You just have to look for them.
     Two chance conversations have set me back on course with my writing.  One was with my very good friend Paul.  In a rambling conversation while I was editing, he gave me a few valid points.  We were comparing our writing styles.  Paul is much more geared to the Sherlock Holmes method of things:  Logical discourse, testing of chains of reason, collection and collation of details.  When he writes, he is detail driven, down to in some cases very small pieces of how things work.
     I am more given to the John H. Watson approach.  I write quickly, details literally playing in my mind in full colour detail.  I am not nearly as detail driven, focusing on my characters and the situations they are in.  As for detailed science, I sucked at science in high school, and to this day can not be brought to understand physics.  Such discussions usually end with me screaming in agony. 
     There is nothing wrong in either approach.  I have seen both done and each holds its own.
     (And yes, I am a very large Sherlock Holmes fan.)
     When I started getting my pile of mounting rejections, I began to fear that maybe I was lacking too much detail.  My old 7th grade teacher (A man whose opinions I respect from my early days of writing and will always respect) summed up how I write quite well.  He told me that my beginning and endings are almost not there.  He also told me that when I get going, I do not waste words or time, and that I made good and real characters.
     In short, he told me to stick with how I did things.  Paul simply had to hit me over the head with the clue by 4 to remind me of it.
     Another chance conversation came last week.  I was talking to the sister of my friend I am working for.  She was talking about writing and publishing some stuff related to her work.  We had a conversation about it for a bit.  Afterwards I reviewed what I was thinking and realised that nothing much was actually holding me back from writing, except myself.
     Amazing what a chance conversation can do.  Or in this case, two of them.

     In due course, new stuff shall appear.  Also, a couple of my older stories will reappear as I take them out of submission circulation.  The next thing I write will be a bit of real Life.

22 July, 2011

Side Step...Letter from a Listener

     (I had wanted to share this before now, but between running away for the 4th and coming back all depressed, I had just not had the heart.  Since coming back on July 4th, Life has been very surreal for me, as this is the first time I have not been in radio for 14 years...nor at DUQ for 13..)

     As many of you know, I worked at what was 90.5 WDUQ, Pittsburgh's News...Jazz...NPR station for 13 years.  I started there when I was in college, thanks to the help of another friend who was working at DUQ and going to Duquesne.  I have so many fond memories, and that includes the time I got stuck in the elevator at the Des Places building we used to be in.

     Back on June 30th, Bob Studebaker, who I worked with, forwarded me the following message.  I wanted to share it with everyone, as it made me cry when I read it.  It is a touching tribute not to me, but to what DUQ brought to this city, region, and the lives of so many.


Could you do me a favor, and tell John Lasanich that I think he's one of the "unsung heros" on the staff?

He's so unsung, he's not even listed. And he must not be allowed to answer the phone,'cause I can never get him at the studio.

If Tony's "the Voice," and you're "the Professor,"then John has got to be "the DJ."  With his simple, direct style,he must spin more music/hour than anyone else, and on his shift - jazz's natural "magic hours" -
it's just the time when it's the music we want to hear.

He's been much appreciated at our house. We'll miss him. Wish him all the best from us. Hope we have the pleasure of finding him "on the air," again soon.

~ Larry

16 June, 2011

Side Step...Updating the Universes

     I know that not much has been going on with my writing as of late.  For this I want to apologise to everyone.  I have been busy and moody, dealing with a host of Life's problems.  The biggest one had centered on my situation at the radio station I worked at for 13 years.  I was not sure what would happen after the sale actually happened.  The winds are shifting my sailboat as I now know my last night onair at 90.5 WDUQ is going to be the 28th into the 29th of June.  I am trying to find a radio gig somewhere in the area now.  I hope I hear something soon.

     In the last 45 days I also managed to totally trash my computer.  I lost everything, including all my stories.  It is taking some work, but things are getting recovered, so I will have all my current writing back.  I thought some of it would be lost to the echoes of time, but happily that is not the case.

     I have been struggling through a rewrite as well.  A story I have high hopes for has been frustrating me beyond the capacity to reason.  People gave me a variety of responses on it, all of them questioning my sanity and sentence structure.  Finally, I called on the ultimate authority in help:  My old English teacher.  I think he has set me right, it is just taking time.

     In short I am still here.  The factory of my imagination has been offline for a bit.  But with the wind changing directions and things finally resolving, I will be back to my usual.  New writing will appear soon.  I do have a story, 'One Last Day' due for publication in July, both online and in print.

     Now, to avoid those clowns in the clean white coats...

21 April, 2011

Side Step...What is Going On

I thought I would fire in a quick note, for those of you who may not talk to me often, nor see any of my posts on Fbook (Facebook).  I have not forsaken the blog, just been busy trying to get things published.  I was beginning to get worried, as none of the stories I was submitting were getting me anywhere.  Then I changed tacks, and now...

'Would You Say I Do?' is scheduled to be published in the near future at Short-Story.Me (www.short-story.me) on their website.  It was the first one accepted anywhere, and it took me by surprise.

'Now, What Does That Button Do?' was just accepted for publication in Digital Dragon Magazine's online April 2011 issue.  You can find them at:  www.digitaldragonmagazine.com

I have several other stories out that I am waiting on responses at this point.  I have begun work on a couple new things as well.  So no worries, I did not die or fall off the planet.  Or get hit by aliens.

22 March, 2011

Reposting...Hanging Over a Rail

(I am returning this story to the blog after months of trying to get it published somewhere.  If you missed it before, here is your chance to see it.  If you read it before, here it is for your enjoyment again.)

     Standing at the edge of the Great Cliff, a figure drew back the hood of his cloak. He looked at the swirling stars and mists of the Edge of the Universes. Smiling at the sight, he contemplated his vigil. Turning his attention to a nearby rock, he read the inscription carved neatly into it:
     In memory of the endless wanderer, Professor Loun Weicke 31,658- 35,165 Colrion Standard Epoch. Time Tracer Elite and Friend to the Universes.
     Running a finger over the inscription, he smiled broadly. A distinctly fitting, he thought in reflection, tribute to the man. He reached out to the top of the stone and picked up one of the trinkets left as part of the memorial. Lightly fingering each object, he picked up the ancient Terran pocket watch. Studying it carefully, he remembered that only the owner could ever manage to open it, let alone read it.
     A sudden beep gave the figure pause. Checking the communication device, he noted the confirmation signal from his client. Pulling the hood up, he waited for the client's arrival . Turning back to the edge, he silently stared into the mists and stars.
     “Ah, Ptolomus.”
     Ptolomus turned slowly at the sound of that cold voice saying, "Marshall, glad to see you arrived here. How are you?”
     “Dispense with pleasantries,“ Marshall said sharply. “Did you acquire all asked of you?”
     Ptolomus fidgeted, hesitating until Marshall's foot tapping transformed into a stomp. Knowing the words sealed his death sentence, he said, “That I was unable to accomplish.”
     The Marshall blinked once before exploding, “You are standing there telling me you dragged me to this worthless lump of mud, just to inform me of your failure!“ He hissed coldly, “Your life is forfeit.”
     Ptolomus spoke hurriedly, “Now wait a sec here. Don’t blast me to atoms that fast before you hear me out!”
     Marshall finished drawing his blaster. Maliciously he grinned and placed the blaster atop a nearby rock. “Go on,“ he urged mockingly, “tell me whatever you wish to say. Perhaps it shall determine how horribly you die.”
     Ptolomus wrung his hands at that statement. Knowing much from stories and reports on his client, he understood the truth of Marshall's words. He swallowed nervously and dived in.
     “Well Marshall, I know that you’ve been planning something of a take over of sorts. So why don’t you hitch yourself up on that rock. Make yourself comfortable even.”
     The Marshall opted to remain standing, eyes fixed in a cold glare. Ptolomus cleared his throat saying, “You know exactly where you are of course. Shansxi, the Edge of the Universes.”
     Marshall nodded slowly, intently watching Ptolomus. His hand hovered over the blaster. Ptolomus swallowed audibly, before continuing.
     “There goes a legend,“ Ptolomus intoned solemnly, “saying-“
“-how one sees thine future’s face, be whoeth he gaze,“ Marshall finished. “What of this silly legend?”
     Ptolomus almost smiled, but merely nodded. “Look over the edge if you would.”
     Laughing nastily, Marshall scooped up the blaster. Thumbing the selector to full intensity, he snarled, “I thought so much better of you Ptolomus. Such a simple and stupid ploy.”
     Ptolomus backed off a few paces. “It was not,“ he said earnestly,  “my intention to pull anything. Simply humor a dead man.”
     The nasty smiled reappeared on Marshall’s face. "Alright Ptolomus, humor I shall. Kindly refrain from moving."
     Smiling wickedly, Marshall trained the blaster on Ptolomus. Walking slowly towards the edge, he leaned over, peering into the swirling mists. Shock gripped him suddenly, freezing him to the spot.
     "Why Marshall," Ptolomus called mockingly, "you've turned the palest green ever seen. See something familiar?"
     Marshall leaped away from the edge. Aiming on Ptolomus once more, Marshall seethed. Resetting the beam intensity, he spat angrily, "Your cheap parlor trick earns you a slow death. One layer of skin at a time."
     Smiling expansively, Ptolomus reached out, picking the pocket watch off the rock. Clicking it open, he laughed at the time. Looking up at Marshall, he said evenly, "High Noon Marshall. Perfect time for a gun fight according to Old Earth."
     Marshall fought off a sudden wave of irrational fear, switching the blaster to full intensity and firing. Ptolomus promptly disappeared in the glow of full disruption, no remains save dispersing particles. Marshall stared for a count at the spot formerly occupied by Ptolomus. Shaking his head, he mastered his nerves and control. The fool Ptolomus managed to shake him with silly theatrics. The trick with the watch, he reflected sourly, especially so. In the end, Marshall brooded, all a cheap attempt to save his worthless hide.
     Reaching to his belt, Marshall pressed his signaler. Sighing, he waited to be transported away from this worthless planet. Plans would need adjusted after this delay.
     A laugh caused Marshall to jump and fire in three quick strikes. The laughter continued, sounding from every direction. Marshall backed against a rock outcropping, allowing for some cover. He winced as the laughter grew in intensity.
     “Come come, Marshall. Or perhaps," spoke the scolding voice, " between old friends, 'come come, Squadron Leader Makkia of the Tricameroon.'”
     Fear returned to 'Marshall' Makkia, practically forcing the disruptor from his hand. Makkia felt realization tingle through every fiber of nerves in his body. The use of his name and former title set his brain spinning. The voice nagged his consciousness, a feeling of recognition working just below the surface.
     “Strange forebodings and bad tidings chasing you? Surely this is not the same man I fought all those years,” the voice mocked casually.
     Makkia's thoughts crashed frantically, fear and realization choking him simultaneously. One single memory surfaced hurriedly, causing his blaster hand to tremble. Countless years indeed had passed since he last heard that hated voice. A voice he thought silenced forever, by his own hand.
     Unbidden, the name whispered from his lips:
     Appearing before Makkia in Ptolomus' attire, Weicke smiled. He bowed in grand gesture, returning the look of pure fury with a nod. He laughed as Makkia's burning eyes swept over him.
     “I feel deeply touched by your unfailing memory. To think we would have the chance to speak again after so many years.”
     Makkia shook. His lips moved, sound refusing to come out. Seeing his companion of the moment’s inability to speak, Weicke took pity on him.
     “If you are wondering how, I am quite simply afraid I can not provide an explanation,” Weicke said thoughtfully. “I, as were you, felt certain of my end, falling off the Great Cliff into the crossover.“
     Weicke paused, pocketing his possessions from the rock memorial. Placing each one in a pocket, he turned to Makkia. Noting the look of deepening anger, Weicke laughed.
     “To be brief Makkia, I found myself here, alone. I noted the marker where the things I had left before our ‘meeting’ were placed. I stared there for a good long time before realization sunk in: The Universe thought I was as dead as you had hoped.”
     Makkia fired, hitting Weicke in mid stride. The ion disruption deflected away from Weicke. Firing for a full five minutes produced zero effect. He lowered the disruptor with his rage boiling over.
     “Now that is a decent chap, “mocked Weicke. “I can see from your expression you dislike my gadget.”
     Makkia hissed, “Enjoy mocking all you wish. My guard will arrive and then I shall have the joy of ensuring your death.”
     Weicke laughed. Locking eyes with Makkia, he said nary a word. Makkia might be many things, he reflected delightedly, but stupid would not be on that list. Waiting, he was rewarded with watching Makkia realize the depth of his position.
     “Terribly sorry old friend.”

     Makkia forced calmness upon himself. Thinking rapidly, escape with his life remained the only possibility. As before, Weicke’s appearance spelled the doom of his plans. Knowing no assistance from without would arrive, action from within would be required.
Makkia watched Weicke punch signals into a communications device. Flipping off the safety, his disruptor built to overload. Waiting for the overcharging to finish, he tapped a code onto his signal device. Holding a breath, he threw the disruptor.
     Watching the explosion, Makkia smiled. Even if the cheapest trick in the book caused little more than a distraction, it would suffice. The emergency recall would transport him directly into his escape vessel. Even with his ship occupied, nothing would override the vessel launch. Makkia smiled widened, already plotting a permanent demise for Weicke.

     Sandis Janil stared in total bewilderment at the body before him. Attempting numerous times, Intertime Intervention failed in capturing 'Marshall' Makkia. Janil motioned a pair of agents to convey the unconscious ‘Master of All’ to a cell on the I.I. cruiser. Satisfied, he turned to the architect of this drama.
Watching the proceedings in total satisfaction, Weicke favored Janil with a smile. Janil registered bewilderment once more at the simple fact of his existence. For years, the monument stood in mute testament of his demise. Yet, Janil thought, before me stands the legend.
     “On behalf of myself,“ Janil said thankfully, “and Intertime Intervention, we are much in your debit.” Pausing a beat, Janil asked, “I simply am astonished. How precisely did you accomplish this affair?”
     Weicke said mischievously, “Why Janil old man, you know my record.” At Janil's baffled expression, he merely laughed. “High sense of drama based on decent acting skills.”
     Janil nodded in confused agreement. Smiling, Weicke said, “Janil, look up Earth literature, Victorian period. You are looking for an author named Doyle. When done with your homework, let me know.”
     Bowing and nodding, Weicke departed grandly, leaving Janil a puzzle.

16 March, 2011

Reposting...Pale Spectre of Days Past

(I am returning this story to the blog after months of trying to get it published somewhere.  If you missed it before, here is your chance to see it.  If you read it before, here it is for your enjoyment again.)

     Watching the twin suns sink slowly toward the horizon, I smiled faintly. The light shaded into a deep hue, suiting my thoughts perfectly. My smile assumed a very sad cast as I looked to the sky.
      My name is unimportant, but it is Johaniz Marife. Only an elite few actually knew that name. I, however, was known by many other names on thousands of worlds. Countless cultures, living and dead, knew me by song, stories, you bloody well name it.
      Spending thousands of years chasing the Darkness across time and space provided me with several lifetimes of stories. Adventures beyond the Dreams of Avarice flashed through my mind in an instant. The successes far outweighed the failures of my journey. I smiled again as they flew by in my mind.
      The failures came to surface as well. My failure to save Acsehc of Adelborn IV from the clutches of the Cult of Polla. My inability to save the rule of Arian the Fair at the time of the Solar Concordia. The loss of the race known only as Q;idh.
      Sighing to scatter all the memories with the breeze rustling the trees, I returned to the here and now. Waiting, even now, managed to cause my blood to boil. I mused ruefully about all those philosophical lessons on patience. Good thing, I decided ultimately, I never bothered with attending those lessons.
      The sound of footsteps behind me summoned me from my memories. I played the drama out, letting the approaching figure stop and stare at my back. I smiled, knowing that the person behind me was doubtless attempting to summon his loyal guards. Sadly, facing me alone represented his sole choice.
      "I do not know how you got here, but my guard is on the way to remove you from this holy place."
      Smiling at the false bravado coming from my companion in this place, I remained in place. My patience tried, I returned the favor. My reward came quickly in the form of shouting.
      "I am Lord Voris! Answer me you shall! Who are you?"
      "I know very well who you are, "I said in an even tone. "I even know quite well what you have done."
      "WHO ARE YOU?"
      I laughed wickedly at the creeping hysterics in Voris' voice. By now he knew he was not receiving help from without. Knowledge and understanding was a wonderful weapon when used properly. Laughing again, I said mockingly, "Why Voris, where is the calm that charmed a planet?"
      A snarl issued from behind me.  Laughing again, I felt the strike of a plasma disruptor, and then again. Waiting for him to cease firing, I spoke evenly. "You know who I am Voris. Let your memory work back to those you threw as it where in thy headlong rush for glory."
      I continued smiling into the light of the twin suns. Behind me, I knew Voris' face would be twisted in the thoughts of memory. Knowing the dictatorial mind well, I furnished ample time for his memory to flow. A sudden gasp prompted another laugh.
      "I killed you..."
      Turning and smiling, I watched all the color drain from his face. Voris stared at me, then through me. Transforming my smile, I spoke evenly and sarcastically. "Oh yes Voris. Your eyes deceive you not, nor thy memory."
      Laughing, glaring with all my rage, I spoke. "I am as real as you remember. As real as when you thought you tossed me off this very cliff."
      Voris snarled again at me. I could see his hands flexing, eying me up to try again. Yelling again, he spat, "You powerless fool. Challenging me? You dare challenge me on this world you lost?"
      I yawned at his outburst. Voris leaped for me, but found himself frozen in air. I waved a hand, dropping him unceremoniously. Peering down at him, I let the rage carry through to my voice. "I told you I would come back Voris. I knew you would subjugate this priceless world, with your lies, your domination. I did nothing, this world having shown trust in you and themselves."
      Hissing and spitting, Voris rose before me. Shaking in total rage, he screamed, "Damn you Marife. You may have humiliated me in this moment, but the world is mine. Mine! There is nothing that you can tell these mindless sheep. Nothing! Their will is mine, I broke them and swooped when they were weak. They think as I wish them."
      Pausing, Voris continued at the smile on my face.  "Laugh Marife, LAUGH! Laugh while you can, my guards will come when I do not return. I'll turn your mind inside out! Serve me you shall, an example to these foolish people. I'll turn you, making you my puppet to dance, DANCE!"
      Letting Voris pant from screaming, my smile shaded malevolent. I tapped on my collar, saying pleasantly, "My Lord Voris, I thank you. That simply goes down in the books as one of the best abdication speeches ever."
      Ignoring his stunned screech, I transmitted the the recording to an uplink. Broadcasting around the entire planet, I knew the effect. Turning back to the matter at hand, I smiled at Voris. Waiting eons for this moment, I slowly pulled a small container from my right sleeve.
      "This, " I spoke calmly, "contains a particle of temporal energy. When released, you and I will disappear from time, in a most permanent fashion. No hope of recovery, nevermore a starfall, sunrise, or tea. Just gone."
      Voris snapped out, "You are a Time Tracer! You can not do this! I know the rules of InterTime Intervention. I demand my rights!"
     I smiled sadly for him. "Correct Voris. I am indeed a Time Tracer, and a founding member of InterTime Intervention for that matter. Under ordinary circumstances, I would be bound to accede." My smile fading to sadness, I continued. "Luck is with you not. Dying am I, and leave you for InterTime Intervention to save shall I not."
      I tossed the container up. In a moment, I watched the temporal energy swirl. Smiling, I watched time spiral, hearing Voris scream.

12 December, 2010

Additional Scans...Story of a Life Snippet 13

(This story I have worked on in bits and pieces for about three years.  This is the first new piece I have added in a while.)

     "You have much to teach many people still in this Life."
     At times I have felt as if my knowledge was outdated, trite.  I have also felt like I have nothing left to teach anyone, as Time itself has flashed on by.  For all that I see and know, not everything I think is right.  And as was proven to me, I really can be wrong at times.

     Talking with my friend Hanna one day, I lamented the Darkness I felt creeping up on me.  The poor girl listened to me, as I just rattled right through insanity.  I just kept going and going.  Hanna managed to stop me when I took a breath  I waited, hearing the gears in her head turn.
     She said the above statement to me.  For one of the rare times in my Life, I was speechless.  The notion had never occurred to me.   As I learned more about her thought on the matter, I realized just how right she was.  I was taken aback, proving once again I certainly do not know everything.
     We talked for a little bit, about a variety of things.  I laughed at one point, prompting a mystified reaction from Hanna.  I explained my laughter as a sign I understood my own humanity.  Sometimes, I told her, I forget that I am human. 
     From time to time I need reminded of things.  Spending so much time outside of myself, I tend to forget to look inwards.  One of the dangers I suspect of being who and what I am.

     "Why do I get shit on for being nice person?"
     Over the course of many years I have been asked this question.  Each time I have failed to find an answer.  The situations causing it to be asked vary, but the end result is the same.

     My friend Jennifer called me one day in the not so distant past.  When I answered, I heard something I never expected:  her crying actively.  Getting her calm enough to talk, I soon found out why.  The story reaffirmed why I like my cat more than people sometimes.
     A guy that she had been friends with had decided to just play games with her.  It was a terrible mess indeed, ending with me wanting to exterminate the problem.  I shook my head while talking, more so when she asked me the above question.
     In the end I did manage to help, but the scenario made me ponder my lot in Life.  Somehow I managed to be supremely lucky through things like this.  As another friend has told me, I am just very good at what I do.  Others agree with me, thinking I am just supremely lucky.
     Talking to Jennifer reminded me that I wished I could do more to remove some of the painful things that happen in this Life.  To that end, I tried any number of things.  None, sadly, seemed to do much good.  I knew this would not be my last encounter with the question either, making my mind turn more.

     A frown creased my face, as the wheels in my mind fired to maximum velocity.  I laughed, feeling like I was in my own version of A Christmas Carol, with the ghosts of Christmas just taking turns.  The pattern, however, showed a definite shift in things happening.
     My thoughts rambled on, a sense of an answer appearing on the horizon.  Know not precisely what the answer might be, but something hovered at the edge of my thoughts.  Perhaps, just perhaps I was wrong about a lot of things.
     My calm returned, allowing my mind to function fully.  Acceptance and a willingness to learn coloring my thoughts, I waited to see what episode awaited me next.

09 December, 2010

On the New Frontier...Who Said Shopping Wasn't Fun?

(This story combines some fact {From my experiences, as well as those of others.} and fiction from the holiday shopping season.)    

     "So it is completely fried?"
     A distracted nod from the computer engineer confirmed my statement.  I groaned, adding this to the small list of disasters for the day.  The engineer muddled about in silence, only chewing up my patience further.  Huffing, I said finally, "Solutions to this little disaster?"
     Staring for a count, he finally said thoughtfully, "The main processing unit has to be replaced.  The main logic circuits have fused, causing the system to lock in a loop. "
     Nodding, I mulled this over.  Knowing just how important the system was to operations, I frowned at it being down.  The company had a backup, but the system was older than it needed to be.  Knowing engineers as I did, I shuddered at how long this fix might take.
     "Is this a component I can run out and buy, then have you install today?"
     "Yes it is, "the engineer turned to me.  "I just thought of that.  Give me a moment to get you the information and switch you over to the backup."
     Minutes later, armed with precise details of what to buy, I set off.  I puzzled over the look given to me by my secretary Torli.  When I told her that I was running out to buy a piece of hardware, she merely nodded, her scales shading a crimson color.  I laughed it off, walking briskly in the fall air to the nearly shopping outlet.
     Upon reaching the parking area, I noted in dismay the place appeared to be packed.  Crossing through, I attempted to reason why the place sported more shoppers than normal.  Surprise flared through me as I walked, seeing the signs of people camping out.  My surprise ended, as realization of the date caught up to me.
     The day after Thanksgiving in the United States region of Earth.
     The traditional start of the Christmas holiday season recognized by a multitude of people on Earth.
     Black Friday!
     I calmed my racing thoughts, assuring myself it could not be all that bad.  I regained my calmness and sense of purpose as I reached the nearest entrance.  Surely, I told myself, in this day and age of technology, not everyone would be that silly.
     That thought lasted long enough for me to walk inside the outlet.  A moan of contempt escaped me unbidden, as my eyes and ears confirmed the worst.  The place was filled with beings of all kinds.  My plan of a quick run in and out faced the need for serious revision.  Gritting my teeth, I set off for the first store.
     Weaving through people, I only managed a couple of collisions.  I quickly lost my bearing, as the shopping area looked totally different.  I attempted to to flag down a passerby to no avail.  Shrugging, I set off in search of my objective, by any means available.
     After a protracted struggle past two large sales and the throngs attracted to them, I paused at a bench.  Sitting down, I yanked off first one shoe, then the other to rub my feet.  I knew the computer parts store was near, but I saw more sales ahead.  My mind wandered off, contemplating turning back and giving up.
     "What do you believe is the miracle of Christmas young man?"
     I turned to the right, startled at the question.  Standing beside me was a man dressed as Santa Claus.  Looking up at him, he stared back into my eyes.  My mind raced, strangely considering a serious answer to the question.  I never bothered celebrating the holiday, let alone think about it.  After several moments, I said as no answer formed in my mind, "I simply have no idea."
     To my utmost surprise, the character beside me merely nodded and departed.  Staring at the spot he occupied, I frowned at this random encounter.  I jumped up, moving off in the direction of the computer parts store.  I set my focus to maximum for the trip.
     A sudden bump and shove caused me to pause.  Grabbing the individual responsible, I smiled at them.  Holding out my hand, I snapped my fingers.  The girl in my grasp eyes widened, realization coming home.  She ruefully handed over my credit and identi cards.  I let go, giving her a meaningful shove in a different direction. 
     I continued on my journey, managing to reach my target minus (Much) more insanity.  Managing to side step a wrestling pair of customers fighting over some item, I leaped to the counter.  Reading off what I was looking for, a sales clerk returned with it.  Grumbling at the price, I forked over the necessary credits, departing lest a fight erupt.
     Passing a toy store, I doubled back.  My inner child surfaced at the worst of times always, but I relented and entered.  Surprisingly, the place seemed quieter than the rest of the shopping outlet.  I meandered my way through the store, grateful for a bit of quiet before attempting to escape.  I picked over the toys, some of them reminding me of days past.
     I picked up a transforming robot, smiling as it reminded me of my youth.  Turning over the package, I read over it with some amusement.  A slight smile surfaced, lasting until a mass hit me.  Turning, the toy also managed to disappear from my hands.  A female Eloisan glared at me, holding the toy I formerly had.  Looking up, she said defiantly, "You had this long enough.  Now it is mine."  And with that she marched out of view.
     Stunned, I quickly exited the toy store.  Walking slowly, I attempted to avoid contact with any being.  Christmas music blared over the roar of people, making a sound I never wanted to hear again.  I contemplated the total insanity of this holiday shopping thing I found myself in.  As I did, I bumped into a group of Santas.  As they moved off, I chuckled at my earlier random encounter.
      A small child appeared before me, causing me to crash into a (Inconveniently placed for me.) column.  Looking down, I prepared a full tirade for the child.  I stopped short, noting the ragged clothing.  I frowned, bending down to look the kid in the eyes.  I looked into void black eyes, as I handed her a mess of credit tokens.  I tried to decipher her expression, but she departed rapidly.  I watched her disappear in the middle of a large mass of shoppers, sighing.
     Shaking my head, I returned to my original purpose.  Just then a commotion of noise and light grabbed my attention.  Turning left, my curiosity caught me and sent me to the location.  Judging by the crowd, something truly entertaining had to be occurring.  I maneuvered for a clear view, finding a spot at the front of the crowd.
     A laugh overtook me at the sight presenting itself.  A magician, top hat and all, performed random magic tricks.  Some of them I knew, once having a friend who was a stage magician show me the inner secrets.  I laughed anyway, memories surfacing.
     Just then my eye caught movement at a corner of the small stage.  Looking closely, I noted both the ragged little girl and the Santa that asked me the question.  Both seemed, to my eye, to be just watching everything and everyone.  Keeping a figurative eye on them, I paid attention to the magician as well.  Laughing at a trick, I lost sight of those two figures.  Shrugging, I moved off before the performance ended and I found myself stampeded.
     As I deftly sidestepped a singing performance, a hand touched me.  Turning, I found myself face to face with a blue skinned Palatini.  Surprised, I opened my mouth to say something, but stopped.  Uncertain moments passed, then the Palatini let go and departed.  I stared at its retreating form (Members of the Palatini transcended traditional gender classification.) until I forced myself to locate a bench.
     Sitting, my mind worked into overdrive.  I knew from previous experiences that holiday shopping did weird things.  Nothing in those experiences accounted for what seemed to be happening around me now. I realized that I had wanted to leave the shopping outlet for sometime, but kept finding ways to stick around.
     A thought nagged at me.  Something about this felt vaguely familiar, as if I had seen it somewhere. I fought my rushing thoughts, eyes searching for something out of place.  On a whim I flicked out my scanner, dialing it to search for everything under the sun.  When the scan and my eyes returned a negative result, I huffed.  Perhaps, I mused in contempt of myself, I am getting too jittery in my advancing age.
     Rising from my seat, I calculated the distance to the exit.  Drawing a breath, I steeled myself for the dash to it.  Clutching my package close to me, I walked briskly.  I managed to dodge several large knots of shoppers, minus running into anything.  The exit appeared in my visual range, prompting a slight smile.
     I stopped in my tracks.  An odd sensation gripped me, the nagging feeling resurfacing.  Everything I saw and did replayed through my mind in one flash.  Turning, I spotted the Santa Claus, the little ragged girl, and the Palatini.  All three of them stood, looking intently at me.  I returned the regard, mind running for all it could. 
     The three of them wavered before my eyes, showing me nothing but a snowy landscape and a house.  My mouth shot open, as they returned to being three different beings.  The ragged little girl moved to me, holding out a small, bound book.  Mystified, I took it, looking at her.  She backed away, then all three disappeared from view.
     I turned, looking at everything going on in the shopping outlet.  Suddenly, I saw beyond the chaos of the shoppers.  I actually saw the people of all races, from all places.  My hand gripped the book tightly.  I looked down and ran a finger over the cover as I read what it was.
     A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.
     I strode out of the outlet.  Just then my commphone beeped.  "Yes Torli, I am still alive."
     "Good Mr. Kaden, "Torli rasped.  "Galactic Charities is here.  Shall I send them off as usual?"
     Smiling, I said, "Not necessary.  I am on my way back to the office.  Please have them wait."
     The moment's hesitation before Torli answered provided all the answer of her thoughts on my sanity.  "Of course Mr. Kaden."
     I laughed as I rang off.  I too would question my sanity, excepting the fact of the book I held in my hand.