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Transmissions, Vol. II: “The Comet Catastrophe”

11 Jun

Gorblimey it’s been too long. I’ve been busy (read: unfocused and unmotivated), and I know the temptation to point a trembling finger and wail that the old evil ways have risen again to scour the earth must be overwhelming. I won’t stop you. Excuses, like an origami sponge, tend to be pretty bad at holding water.

I come with an offering; please accept it. Let not your wrath rain down upon my tiny mortal soul! Instead, enjoy my recent submission to one of my writing classes: a rhyming children’s story in the style of Dr. Seuss, about a lonely little boy who dreams of escaping his boring life and venturing forth into the galaxy.

Shut up!

Ladies and gentlemen: Johnny Hubble in The Comet Catastrophe.

One starry June night, when the air was quite clear,

Johnny Hubble played out in the yard.

Through the quiet and dark, all at once he could hear

A faint noise – if he listened real hard.

 

Was it Mom or Dad? He looked back at his house

But they were both silent indoors.

At first it was quiet, like the sneeze of a mouse

But soon it was more like a roar!

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Transmissions, Vol. I: “1959”

11 Mar

Okay listen.

For you to be reading this is an immense gift to me. If I were alone in a space capsule, drifting in an infinite tide, I’d still transmit nonsense into the void, to keep my brain from overheating. I need to do that cognitive dump, so the chamber can re-fill. The fact that someone wants to listen to that process is like discovering someone’s actually out there, reading me loud and clear. So first of all, thank you for that, insane person.

I have, however, set out a purpose for this digital space: it is to collect all my mental spillage, no matter how banal or self-indulgent. That means that, sooner or later, the following was bound to happen. I beg your indulgence in a bit of ridiculous creative writing, just because I was experiencing an adjective surplus and man, them descriptors need love too. I called the first of these exercises “Transmissions, Vol. I” in the hope that there may be more volumes to come, and that with each iteration they’ll improve. I honestly have no idea what to make of this week’s product; maybe you can help sift through the chaff and tell me what it means.

—-

She sat alone on the broken statue’s head, the Thompson across her lap, drawing long and hard on her last Gauloise. Imported, you know, from France. She sighed and smoke poured out her mouth and nose. They tasted great, but Better Homes & Gardens had a few things to say about housewives who smoke. Now every time she lit up, the familiar soothing calm was spoilt with a vague guilt, like milk just gone sour. How stupid it seemed now.

She looked up at the skyline, at the skeletons of twisted metal crumbling under a curtain of fire. The sun was gone, but even here at the city limits her face was pallid in the pale and hateful light. She heard the dull sky-rumble of B52s in the distance.

She stubbed out her cigarette and stood, replacing the Thompson’s empty drum magazine, carefully sliding back the bolt, slinging it over her shoulder. Her beautiful baby. Nowadays it received all the love she had; all the love that should belong to her family, but her family was gone, and now her baby was all that kept her alive. It was a funny thing, to love a weapon as you would a child. She thought of how her Johnny would laugh, to see her now. To see her pumping rounds into a horde of scaly bastards, empty cartridges rattling past her face, side by side with Communist soldiers, screaming, howling like a banshee.

War had a way of changing a girl.

It was quiet now. She looked up at Lincoln’s headless body, sitting regally calm above her, ludicrous and majestic. He sat like a king on his blasted marble throne, surrounded by rubble, ensconced with dust. She laughed aloud in the silence and wondered how Honest Abe would feel about her using his face as a seat.

She turned, and then closed her eyes tightly against the sudden glare. She couldn’t hear it yet, but she knew in a moment she’d feel it.

Her tattered, blood-spattered gingham dress flattened against her body, her well-kept hair blew backwards, and tears were ripped from her eyes. A great bellow of dust struck her, and a second later, the shockwave slapped across the ground and knocked her footing loose. She struggled to stand. Through squinted eyes in the fading cloud, she saw the immense mushroom of flame and death blossoming over the city’s corpse, and the rumble shook her very bones. The tears flowed freely now, but she did not look away.

Standing for a long while in the glow of annihilation, she felt a swelling in her heart. She peeled back her lips and bared her teeth in a terrifying smile. They couldn’t have survived that!

As if in spite of her sudden hope, she heard a foot knock some rubble loose. She turned in an instant, her baby at her hip, her eyes flashing and wild. The velociraptor stopped and turned its head to look at her, like a bird.

There was silence for a moment, except for the earth shaking softly under their feet.

She smiled again, an animal grimace.

“Howdy doody time, motherfucker.”

For Your Consideration: Celebrity Sketches

13 Mar

Inspired by recent events, as well as the brilliant work of Brendan Adkins over at http://www.xorph.com/anacrusis, here is a collection of what I like to call sense sketches!

These are short pieces; some with narrative, some without, which all serve to evoke or express a certain feeling, emotion, setting, personality, idea, et cetera. They’re like literary doodles! In the ones you’re about to read, I take the persona of certain celebrities who are beloved or interesting to me, and stick ’em in an unusual situation. Some of them make sense, a lot of them don’t, but they’re all intended for fun.

Here’s the interesting part: each sketch is precisely 101 words long. The aforementioned Brendan Adkins, who provided the idea, described his reasons for doing this as follows: “because I want to get better at writing, and there’s exactly one way to do that”.

Now that is an idea I can get behind.

So, for your consideration, and with apologies to Mr. Adkins: Celebrity Sketches.

*

A gentle smile tugs at Jimmy Stewart’s face as he breaks cover and turns into the snow. His Winchester spits, four times, and he thumps back down behind the boulder.

“I, I think y’better head back. Y’don’t look so good,” he says, and Mr. T’s responding growl is so derisive that Jimmy Stewart laughs.

A thump as the ice-bear’s paw hits the snow. Jimmy Stewart tips up his hat and grimaces upward, and Mr. T’s eyes flint down at him. Automatic rifle, ursine mount, and boxing champ roar as one and leap forward. The snow cloud settles, and Jimmy Stewart grins.

*

Smoke hangs in rings and the naked lightbulb cuts through them. Three shadows around a table silently belch their smog until one breaks the silence.

“So what happens now?” says Bogie, impatient as always. “They’ll be along soon.”

“I think it’s safe to assume they’re already here.” Cary Grant’s voice is rising. “They’re coming for us next. What the hell are we supposed to do?”

The two look at the third. Brando’s eyes, impassive and haunted, narrow out at them from under the smoke. His teeth grin out from the gloom, and his chuckle is a blast of exhaust.

“Run.”

*

How did Harrison Ford master the bullwhip? There are many stories.

Some say the knowledge was always within him, waiting for adventure to crack his soul and set it free.

Some say it was within the whip itself, that its power glows into the hand that holds it; but these are fools.

Some say William Shatner taught him, in the docking bay on the way between galaxies. But could they have practiced, with a single weapon between them?

Some say he watched a lot of Westerns.

Some say he is no master, just a silly, overenthusiastic maverick.

But these are dead.

*

Jeff Goldblum’s fingers slide effortlessly over the keys. His singing voice is fair, but it’s when the music dies off and he stands next to the machine that Jeff Goldblum’s real talent emerges.

“Bree. That’s a beautiful name. I once dated a girl named Bree,” he is saying, as he smiles. “She was very lithe.”

His smile gets even wider now. “I, uh, I hope you’re the same way.” The gloves slide onto those perfect hands. “I like a girl who’s nice and, uh, nice and… flexible.

A klaxon sounds. As the cage descends, Jeff Goldblum is grinning.

“Good girl, Bree.”

*

Elizabeth Banks leads you into the tent, holding back the flap of the hippy fortress. “Don’t mind the smoke,” she laughs. She is so pretty.

“Have you met Seth?” A dark mass in a corner, half beanbag, half curly-headed man, nods at you. He offers a fatty, but you decline politely. You’re starting to feel light-headed. Is there any water?

“Not for miles, honey,” says Elizabeth Banks, her beaded earrings jangling. Her hand is on your chest, and her breath is close on your cheek. “Not for miles and miles.”

Then Zeppelin starts up, and you’re lost in time and space.

*

The fireworks are just starting over the dunes, and in the starlight Bill Nye can make out the camel’s silhouette galloping towards him. He puts down his telescope and salutes.

Colbert looks down at him, his suit pressed neatly, smelling of jasmine. “Found anything yet, Science Guy?” His sneer turns into a smile as he jumps, and Bill Nye embraces him tightly.

“This could be it. A real one! After all these years!” Nye is his usual excitable self.

Colbert’s smile fades. Bill Nye points skyward, and the pair look past the crackling colours, and at the plummeting ship in the distance.

*

Bullshit, thinks Keanu, as he lets out the clutch and listens to the roar.

There’s no way, thinks Keanu, as the exhaust plumes out and the dirt flies under his spinning wheel.

Why wouldn’t she tell me? thinks Keanu, as the wind whips his hair back, and the sun sets on the flatline horizon.

What, I’m to stupid to understand? Is that it? thinks Keanu, as the rumble softens, and he stops beside the smoking wreckage.

Good fucking riddance, thinks Keanu, as his boots knock the dust aside. His sunglasses are off, and a tear rolls down his cheek.

*