Sunday, September 29, 2013

Diary Of A Man-Child 29/9/2013

     After church and after dinner, it was time to head to Wal*Mart for some late-night shopping.  Right away he saw something he just had to have.  "It's a wind-up walking zombie!  Clearance for $3!"
     "No," mother said.  "Absolutely no."
     He frowned, but held on to it, just in case she changed her mind.  They walked on through the store--looking at toys, at shelving, at video games.  Eventually he gave up on the walking zombie and tossed it up onto a display chair as mother was busy looking at irons.
     They were almost done, and decided to look at backpacks; sister's had broken.  While the girls were wrapped up in school supplies, he was looking at bins of sundry when he found it: a small, shark-shaped hat for dogs.  It suddenly appeared on his head.  His giggling eventually drew a beleaguered look from mother.
     She tried to hold it in, to ignore him, but eventually had to vaguely smile along.  "That looks pretty funny."
     "I have to buy it.  I have to."  He began to dance around, jumping and twirling in the middle of the store.  Other shoppers pointedly ignored him.
     Mother continued on, winding her way slowly towards the checkout.  He danced in front of her--tapping, leaping, high-stepping, and River Dancing until they finally got into line.
     "Fine, you can buy it."
     Even though it was late, the cashier seemed amused.  She scanned the hat, passed it back, and said, "Okay, you can put it back on."
     The old man in line behind them was less impressed.
     As they transferred bags from the carousel into the cart, he and sister discussed Halloween ideas.  "I'm going as Skyler White for Halloween," she said.
     "You should go as something more interesting.  Hitler maybe."
     She thought about it.  "Yeah, that could work."
     "Ooo, Sexy Hitler!  Khaki mini-skirt, low-cut SS jacket..."
     "What are you going as?"  Sexy Hitler seemed to be outside her comfort-zone.
     "Hodor.  I'll wear my cloak, powder my face...  Ooo, Sexy Hodor!  Shave my legs, powder them--"
     "We're leaving," mother said.  And so they did.
     Once they were in the car, mother retracted the sun roof, and he decided it would be a good idea to stand, shark-hat flapping in the breeze, waving at people as they drove past.  Those who saw were amused.  Most waved, some honked.  Then they were home, and their adventure ended.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Diary Of A Man-Child 27/9/13

     The day started off slow.  He was supposed to be meeting with a writer who was looking for a filmmaker, and had been texting back and forth to establish a meeting.

Ever been to starship its close to the circle theater

No, but I can probably find it.  Do you know the address?

1241 s louis

Its between 11th n 15th

     It had been a long day, and he was bored.  He was looking forward to the meeting; he wanted to work on some kind of film production.  Still though, he was bored, and ready to have some fun with this total stranger.

At 6:40, order a beverage, then get a table facing away from the door.  I will be wearing a blue shirt.  At 6:45 I will sit down behind you and pass you the briefcase   DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT.  Finish your beverage, then leave.  You will be contacted within 48 hours.

     There, that should be good.  Time to pick up sister.
     On the way home from her school, he told her about the last message.
     "What are you going to do if he responds?"she asked.
     He shrugged.  "Three options.  'Oops, wrong number.'  'Sorry, someone stole my phone.'  Or: 'Those are the conditions.  Don't contact the police.'"
     "You should go with option two."
     "Nah; I'll go with number 3.  Freak him out."
     Back at home he was upstairs, fixing sister's computer.  Every few minutes he would catch movement out the window.  He began deleting a program, then waited... waited... waited.  God, the computer was slow.  He looked out the window again, saw movement.  Construction workers on the strip-mall across the street.  Hmmm...  Outside the window, the balcony.  He had an idea.
     He turned to sister.  "Grab a blanket, hang it over the railing; I'll be right back."  He ran to his room, grabbed a puppet, and returned to her room, flopping to the ground.  He crawled out onto the porch, slowly raised the puppet, and began yelling, "Hey!  Hey everybody!  Hi, hello!  How are you?  What's up?"
     Sister was laughing.  "They see you!  Oh, my gosh, they're just staring at you!"
     "As soon as I get out off the porch, close the curtain."  He backed out, she closed it.  They laughed.
     Then his phone beeped.

What is someone sees the exchange?  Do we silence them?  Bribe them?  Flee?

     He smiled; this could work.
     So, he went to the meeting.  It went well.  They stood in the middle of a record store, discussing writing, music, drugs and... that was about it really.  An hour later, it was time to leave.
     On the way out, the owner yelled, "Hey!  We rent space here!  That'll be $20."  Yes, definitely time to leave.
     On the way home, he got a text.

Hey its dylan

     He didn't know a Dylan...  Time for a bit of fun.


Whats up

Is this my future gf

Nope, this is Hez.

who is hez

I'm a novelist/filmmaker.  Who are you trying to reach?

You gave .me your number on fb


What is the name of the person you're trying to reach?

Nothing bye

     Good, he seemed to finally get the hint.  He stopped off at a store, went inside to pick up snacks for his sister's sleepover.  He had gotten almost everything when his phone beeped.

Do you rememver me

I'm pretty sure I'm not who you think I am.

     And that's the last he heard from Dylan that night.

E.H.U.D.: Part II: Entropy

A compendium of the chapter comprising the second part of E.H.U.D.: Prelude to Apocalypse.
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23

Monday, September 16, 2013

Diary Of A Man-Child 16/9/13

     There were big plans for today.  He was going to wake up, take his sister to the bus, then walk on to the gym.  Work out, come home, get things done, work out.  It didn't work out.
     He woke up at ten, used the bathroom, and was finally ready at 11:30.  "Lunch time," he thought.  Lunch, an episode of Doctor Who, 12:30.  Still time for the gym.
     A mile into the two mile walk and he was ready to go home.  He had made some effort towards working out; the gym could come tomorrow.  Besides, mother had chores for him; he needed to get them done before picking up sister.
     Back at home he gathered the bed-liner for his truck, dragged it out of the garage, and was just about ready to drive to the carwash when he made a shocking discovery: there was a recliner in the back of his car.  At that moment, he realized he wouldn't be getting anything done today.
     The bed-liner went back into the garage, he went into the truck, and then on to Wal*Mart.  Two weeks now, he had been struggling; two weeks the cookie dough had called his name.
     Back at home; watching TV, eating the entire tube of sweet, sweet salmonela risk...
     3:45.  Time to pick up sister.  He went to the school, all three hundred pounds of beard and sleep pants, and tried his hardest not to look creepy.  At 4:00, he called mother.  "Yeah, is there a bail-time?  Can I just go home and she can make it back on her own?"
     "You're not supposed to pick her up today; she has piano.  We told you last night."
     Back at home, watching TV, regretting the cookie dough...

Monday, September 9, 2013

E.H.U.D.: Chapter 22

Chapter 22

Rachel sat in a cold grey conference room in the cold grey airport.  At least, she assumed the airport was grey.  She hadn't seen much beyond the terminal, hadn't been outside at all.  It was cold.  And now it was getting late, and nothing at all had been decided.
She looked at her allies: a group of six other passengers, each from a different flight, that had been selected to represent all the stranded passengers.  At least three of them were lawyers, but she couldn't remember which ones: everyone looked frumpy and unwashed.  They had been in here for over five hours, arguing.
They argued with the people from the airline: One vice president, two customer care specialists, two lawyers.  The lawyers she could identify from the suits they wore.  The rest...  she didn't even care who they were anymore.
One of the lawyers was talking, exhaustion evident in her voice.  “Again, we are in no way liable for this situation.  This was a government mandated grounding.  We sympathize with you, and will of course help to arrange lodging or other forms of transport, but we cannot and will not provide financial recompense for costs incurred during this layover.”
One of Rachel's allies answered; probably a lawyer.  “As this is a federally mandated grounding, then I am sure the federal government will reimburse you for any costs incurred while assisting us.”
God, were politics always this boring?  The news made it seem so simple, Mom's rallies made it seem so exciting.  Negotiating was just...  She didn't know how much more she could take.
Someone else had the same idea she did.  “Look, let's just table this tonight, figure it out—”
“We can't!  If we stop here, everyone's going to have to find hotels, with no idea of who's going to pay!”
The mobile in Rachel's pocket buzzed, and she straightened in her chair.
An enemy lawyer noticed the movement.  “Yes, Ms. Donalson, do you have any ideas you'd wish to contribute?”
“Little compromise on the last point raised.  Fifteen minute break?”
There was a moment of silence, then a babble of assent.  They all stood, chairs scraping, and walked stiff-legged out of the room.
Rachel remained seated and dug out her mobile.
There was a message from Tisha:  Rach - - check the news!
Rachel rubbed her forehead.  She didn't need any more on her mind right now.  Still, if Tisha thought it was important enough to message so late...  She opened a browser, began flicking through the news feed.  Almost at once she saw the name: John Donalson.  Click, open story.  An old photo, John looking younger, with hair.  The story...
Cyd was right.  After months of yelling it on the street corners, it seemed the homeless woman had correctly identified a Defender.  After displaying his powers, Donalson was invited to join President Latterndale for a summit on international/Defender relations.  Then, a force of U.S. soldiers ambushed and killed the erstwhile Defender.  The battle, short and brutal, had claimed the lives of at least ten soldiers, as well as over a hundred civilians who were caught in a building set alight by a downed chopper.
Rachel gasped and slumped back into her seat.  It had to be a joke, it couldn't be real—she clicked a link at the bottom, found a response video, listened as Senator Terstein's voice sprang into life.
“The time for action is now!  Even as protection and goodwill were offered to this young man, our military has struck him down!  So far, every Defender to pop up has been struck down, and I am forced to ask our president, 'Why, Edgar?
“What aren't you telling us, Mr. President?  I am beyond the point of giving you the benefit of the doubt, and so too, I hope, is America.  Where are you?  Step forward and set the record straight!”
Another link, another.  Riots in major cities, raids on army bases, more members of the LCR springing up all over southern California.
More links, international responses.  Iranian Ambassador Ahmad Mokri, denouncing America as a rogue state, advising all nuclear states to prepare themselves for possible hostilities. 
More links, NORAD readying anti-missile countermeasures, more links—
It was all Rachel could do to keep from crying.  John was gone... 
As the door to the conference room opened, as people returned, Rachel felt tears begin to streak her face.

Darkness engulfed Philadelphia.  Beyond the light of Sky Crest, blackness extended into infinity.  There were occasional sparks of gunfire, brief flares of stars exploding into existence, then fading away into nothingness.
Indistinct movement passed over the gunfire, and Amanda Latterndale shifted her focus, took in her own reflection in the glass wall that curved overhead.  She could see the penthouse behind her, open wood floor for twenty feet, then continuing under the steel loft of the floor above.  Ethan sat in the small living area in one corner, playing with his one legged Gigawatt toy.
Movement again.  An aid, up a flight of stairs to where Mistlethwakey stood in conference with several soldiers.  The aid pushed in close, said something to the General, waited for a response, then returned the way he had come.  Minutes passed, the General dismissed his entourage, then descended the stairs and came to a stop next to Amanda.
“It's kind of beautiful, don't you think?” he asked in a somber tone.
“In a rather perverse way, yes.  Did the messenger bear bad news?”
Mistlethwakey ran his hand through his hair, shaking his head.  “Just an update on Norgent.  It looks like he's going to be okay.”  He dropped his hands, then fell silent.
Amanda glanced at him.  “Something on your mind?”
“Just...” he gestured back at the few soldiers who continued to mill around upstairs.  “They're so damn concerned with what's happening outside, they're not seeing the bigger picture.”
“Which is?”
“We're on the edge of nuclear war.”
Amanda let that sink in, ground her teeth.  “They're really that afraid of what the Defenders will do?”
“The Defenders?”  Mistlethwakey shook his head.  “For once, this isn't all about them.  We're a nuclear power, with an absentee president, terrorist groups in control of our biggest airport, rioting in all our major cities, and politicians very publicly calling for armed revolt.  Most in the last four hours, I might add.  We're the very definition of an unstable state.”
Amanda sighed.  “And Ed assured me we'd be safe here...”
The General turned and appraised her.  “He was absolutely right; this is the safest place on the goddamn planet.  It'd survive the end of the world.”
She smiled.  “You know something I don't?”
He nodded.  “Damn right.”  He returned to staring out the window.
She returned her attention to the reflections.  Behind her, Ethan was gripping the Gigawatt, swinging it at a small stand of army men.  The innocent play seemed so wrong in light of what was happening just outside their window.  The bigger figure would hit, the little men would fall.  How many civilians were dying out there, gunned down as they tried to break into police stations, or take over train lines? 
“Have you been speaking with Ed?”
Mistlethwakey looked up.  “Hm?  Not as such.  He's not exactly on speaking terms with me at the moment.”
“Seems a bit odd for him to name you NSA.”
He shrugged.  “I think he was trying to get me out of the way.”
“Has Ed been speaking with anyone else?”
“Ashby said he's been a little withdrawn lately...”
“Right.”  Amanda stood a little straighter, let the room blur as she focused on the eternal night outside.  “Then as far as anyone's concerned, you're speaking for him, as security adviser.  You'll get a SEAL team, infiltrate LAX, take the damn thing back.  If they fly out any planes, you shoot them down as soon as they're clear of the city.  This country's been on lockdown long enough.”
He quirked an eyebrow.  She turned for a moment to look at him, saw that he was offering no resistance, returned to her vigil.
“Once the skies are clear, you're going to get as much FEMA support flying as is humanly possible.  I know it's not your purview, but you see it gets done.  You land food and medicine in all the major cities, the ones with the worst fighting: Chicago, LA, San Antonio, New York.  You get the idea.  Pick a spot, somewhere large but defensible.  Lock it down.  Then, you start letting in anyone who wants to get away.  Make sure they don't have weapons.
“Here, you do it in Sky Crest.  I know you've got some barricades already.  Now, everything outside Kensington's a dead zone.  Hell, even Kensington.  You now have the tower, the mall, and the immediate surroundings.  Pull back the troops.  Anyone who wants can come in, but absolutely no one gets out.”
He nodded, then ran his hands through his hair again.  “You're suggesting concentration camps.”
She returned the nod.  “Hostages.  It'll mostly be women and children who come.  Safety, food, and medicine.  You said yourself we're a destabilized state.  People out there are fighting for ideals, for the future.  If you take their families, their futures, they'll have nothing to fight for.  If you take the families hostage, the men have no choice but to give up and go home.”
They stood in silence for a minute, the last few soldiers descending the stairs and making their way to the elevator.
“You realize he's not coming for you, right?”
Amanda clenched her jaw.  “How long ago did he choose the world over me?”
Mistlethwakey shook his head, shrugged.  “I don't have an exact date; it's ancient history to me.”
“Just make sure you get it done.  Then we can get back to worrying about those fucking EHUDs.”  Amanda turned from the window and stormed away.  She approached Ethan, got his attention, gathered him in an embrace.

Mistlethwakey watched in the reflection, then looked beyond the shadow world into the darkness beyond... and smiled.