Friday, October 30, 2009


As much as I long for a unified Canada, I can nevertheless not get rid of my deep, unyielding loathing and out right hatred for Quebec soverigtists. Their agorgance, and complete lack of perspective makes my blood boil. "Apologise" for "the patriation of the Canadian Constitution in 1982 without Quebec's consent." Its not like we didn't ask you, you demanded special, preferential treatment. There is no province more disgustingly spoiled than Quebec, no group more demanding then Quebec. Quebec is prosperous, culturally strong and healthy. And yet they act like they are second class citizens. Newfoundlanders have problems. Nunavut has crippling health and alcoholism issues. The separatists just want Quebec to be coddled. And I hate them for it.

Also, the Acadians were is Nova Scotia and the rest of the Maritimes. What the hell does that have to do with Quebec sovereignty?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

If on an autumn's night a traveller

I took a walk tonight, and found myself on the road less traveled. At the end of it, I came before a door that I have not entered in more years than I care to remember. The facade remains unchanged- stubby tower blocks of brick and fading paint. The parking lot has merely become more cracked, the windows remain that awful translucent mosaic- and all the hallways stained with the nicotine yellow of dying florescence. And then, for a moment of a moment, the scent of the place drifted towards me and...

And what memories. Scent, that most elusive of the senses, most beloved by winged Muninn- what a scent of memory it was. The acrid, sour stab of the industrial hallway cleaner, the musty, heavy crush of mold, the wispy brief hint of the sweet, miamasmic taint that is the hallmark of spoiled food. And above all else, most oppressive of all... the smell of failure. Despite. Despair. Ah, despair, the killing word. In that small suite of rooms, amongst the dust and grime, among the stains and junk, the foetid rotting garbage, the mildew and the cobwebs and the shit... amongst this refuse pit of a life I once knew someone.

I have met the living dead. No, that is not quite accurate, for the living dead are vegetables, and this man was not that. No.

I have seen the living damned. There's nothing you can do to them that will harm them, for every hour of every day their mind plays upon them the sins of the self- and there's no escaping your own damnation. Sartre was again, as I often find, wrong. Hell is not other people. That's something you say when you are desperate to blame your curmudgeonly, bitter ways on anyone but yourself. “I know how men in exile feed on dreams” Aeschylus said. Hell is a wasteland of solitude, a blight of your own making. Here in the arid dust you lie, as Huginn and Muninn tear flesh from your bones, carrion foul that they are.

"What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water."

Hell is nothing less then utter submission to despair.

I fear despair. I the heir of the Prager mimetic legacy. It bequeaths to each of its blood the habits of isolation, destruction and despite. That's a bit too much hyperbole, I'm sure, but every Prager has their only little brooding retreat. For each of us, a crumbling mental keep on a rocky outcrop, overlooking the oblongata sea. We go there to brood, and, like mad sorcerers of old, we conjure up the sins the fathers, and visit them upon our self. It's our little homunculus, our second shadow. It traipses at our feet, engorges itself on the scraps we feed it- blame, mostly. We blame it for all our failings, all our faults, all our mistakes. We need those mimetic sins, that genetic birthright that follows behind. Without it, we might have the gall to accept that our gloomy not-at-all-antic disposition is really entirely our own fault. And to totally accept blame, without a single reference to a predecessor, why, that's not the Prager way.

Oh, this sounds so dreary. And it would be a lie to say that all of this thought process happened with a single scent. But as I walked home, watching the dog snuffle and snort her way through the grass and listening to neighbours screaming fits, I felt a little less concerned with upcoming troubles.

'Don't let it bring you down, it's only castles burning.....

Monday, July 27, 2009

It unerves that my only post in the last month has been about posting. Oh, and to change my title picture.

Monday, June 29, 2009


For the all one of you worried about my next MacGuffin installment, I apologies for it's lack of existence. Bogged down in dialogue issue in Huế, it sits in limbo. Plus, my lack of sleep means I am cranky with my work right now. My habit of eating antipasto and cheese at one AM has something to do with it, no doubt.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I am, in twain, Dux; for those before me were giants.

I stand on the upraised arms of titans. I may make a passing reference to it from time to time, an offhand remark about something or other my grandfather or uncle might have done, a brief comment about deeds. But what Allan King's funeral has driven home to me is what I have always understood intellectually, but never before felt. No man is an island, no soul exists in a vacuum. And, as I realized today in the depths of Victoria College, my lineage, my sangre azul, titles suzerain, is just as prestigious as any Jarvis, McGill or Trudeau.

If I stand any higher the hoi polloi, it is only because I stand upon the palms of giants. Giants of their field, masters of their craft, touching the lives of thousands. Of course, just because I inherited such a legacy doesn't necessarily mean I am a good heir. That's the flaw in any inheritance system; a giant's reach may be high, but their shadows are long, and they grow even longer as the sun sets on their era. It is all too easy to fall from such a lofty perch, fall into darkness and remain permanently in that gloom of twilight. But if you can remain atop those up reached hands, dwarf or no, heir to the logos and whatever nonesense that is part of any legacy- if you can remain aloft, then you're always going to bask in the sun.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


The correct answer to the poll, by the way, was that she left them at home, like she's always does, every time. Seriously, Darlene, what is with that?

Agnus Dei Qui Tollis Assus Bovis

I have a secret confession to make.

It might totally ruin whatever street cred I might have as a bastion of intelligentsian sensibility and good taste. It might even lead to my mother taunting me- or even mocking me. Or flout me. Or... hoot... me... you know what, I think you made that last one up.

Forgive me Blog audience of Four, and really angry Miltonman, for I have sinned. It's been quite some time since my last confession. Here goes:


I love 7-11.

There. I said it. I love 7-11. And do you know why? Because 7-11 doesn't try and pretend it's something it's not. It sells crap. Crap of the purist, rarefied form. And no one leaves 7-11 under the impression that they have purchased something healthy. They have purchased, as said, pure crap (Crapure!), and then they will eat it. Some will feel gratified. Some will feel guilty. Some will be indifferent. This is consistent with the effects of attending a local place of worship. Being in the presence of articles of faith can lead to diverse responses running the gauntlet from orgiastic frenzies to sitting bored in a pew, as affected by the preacher as one might be by a dust mote on the floor. Each 7-11 is a shrine to crapure- no, it's bigger than that. Each franchise store is a chapel to crap. It offers t o it's followers the promise of hope eternal, of something more, no matter how inaccessible it might sometimes seem (by which I mean Beef Jerky. Now there's something inaccessible. Eight bucks a package, what the hell people?). Here, in this seraphic sepulchre, one might consume such victuals as to hit a sugar high so uplifting that one might touch the face of God. And when it might seem like anything will give you a heart-attack, that the organic lovers might win, the faithful know that they can prostrate themselves before the altar of the cashiers counter and be taken up into a Divine, loving embrace (the Crapture!). And at that altar, you can find the host of our chapel, the inscrutable taquito. What is in a 7-11 taquito, you ask? I don't know! I looked it up. Nothing. I even wikied it... and I misspelled it and got sent to article on Tacitus instead. Nice man, good with kids. But taquitos, friends, in their glistening, unctuous depths is the true Elevenian Mystery.

No, 7-11 is proud of its faith, its rich heritage, its venerable and sancrosant traditions. Its ads don't try to make their food look healthy, no, the lighting highlights the patina of grease, the beige and green hellion innards of a Jalapeno and Cream Cheese Taquito. And as for that display of fruit and sandwiches in the corner? Sacrilege, you say? Heresy? Not at all, I reply. It's merely a nod towards the existence of other faiths, like a note pinned to a church hall bulletin board informing members of an upcoming interfaith dialogue. A sign that the church is full of tolerance, but not ever taken seriously.

So sits august 7-11, administering alms to the trans-fat poor, and bestowing MSG on those who have none. Sail on, sweet 7-11, sail on.

*Next Week*
Street Cred: What is it, and how can I break it?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Act 2 Scene 2 Pt 1: Said I, "My friend, I'd like to go to Morow and return..."

Author's Note: This is only the opening excerpt of an update I am taking forever to write, so here it is just for the sake of having SOMETHING posted.

"Pearson, Pepp-"
'But you don't even-"
"I said she's an idiot, and I don't want her on my staff."
"Lieutenant-Colonel Anaconda, Ang-"
"Angie? She's a sweetie, and a crack shot, but a total air-head. No." Commodore Colby shot Molly a disgruntled look.
"Colonel, all these personnel are highly qualified officers. You need to choose a 2/1c."
"I know that, Colby. But I'm really not comfortable picking someone of this pay grade. I'm not USMC. I'm not Navy, I'm not Army, I'm not even a US officer, and now you're asking them to serve in an untried experiment, to a non-US officer who's fifty years older then they are. Screw chain of command, they're going to be resentful, and I don't want that."
"Well, what do you want me to do?"
"Pass me.... hmmm. Funghiguo, it's mostly jungle?"
"You'd think so, but the Italians did a big reforestation project to replace the native foliage with Italian trees. It worked. Sort of." He pointed out the vegetation on a map. Funghiguo was a odd misshapen lump at the bottom of China, right above a large inland lake. Molly and the Commodore had commandeered the office of the personnel officer at Subic Base, and had driven the poor man to distraction by throwing all his files into piles of disarray. The unfortunate fellow had gone to sulk in the corner. Molly addressed him now:
"You don't happen to have any files on... Rangers, and Intelligence and Security officers, do you?"
"I'm sorry, ma'am?"
"Get me people who were Ranger trained, and then made the switch to Intel." the man blinked and then, utilizing some obscure filing system, went about gathering various folders, which ended up in a small pile in front of her. She flipped through them absently, gazing on the unusual faces attached by paper clips or staples. She suddenly paused on one, gave the file a more detailed look through and said:
"That one." Colby reached over and looked it over."
"You can't be serious. He's so young."
"I want him."
"He's only a second lietena-"
"Bump him."
"To Colonel? They'd tear me a new one if I asked for a Fantastic LT to be jumped five pay grades to Colonel, it's un-heard of!"
"But he's the one I want."
"Look, Moliere. The best I can do is a promotion to Captain. Once you're promoted, you could brevet him to Major, but anything past that and they'll eat you alive. They're going to bitch like crazy about the promotion as is, he's only served for three years. The other members of your staff are going to have conniptions, taking orders from a lower-ranking officer."
"Doesn't matter, Colby. They take my orders from me, and if he speaks with my voice, they're going to have to live with it."
"Why the hell do you want this kid? Do you know him or something?"
"I met him, once or twice. Long time ago. Never thought I'd find him again." She glanced at the picture, as a wave of memory crashed over her.
"Long time ago."

Friday, May 8, 2009

Firey the Angels bored.

Every few months, usually after re-watching Blade Runner, I feel driven, nay, inspired to have another go at Milton. Paradise Lost, considered one of the pinnacles of English epic poetry. The fall of Lucifer, the fall of man, rich mythological soil in which to reap masterworks of literature.

And Milton butchers it entirely. Oh, he has the decency to include the occasion good line, and in amongst the turgid verbal discharge that is shat across the page, one can occasionally find true, decent poetry. But ai, ai, ai, his verbage oozes in ink in column after column of the most unreadable rubbish. He cites everything and anything he can, whether it makes any sense to source them or not. Every king and god that worms it's way into Lucifer's fall just sucks all life from the poem. He is the king of the run-on sentence. He lords it over us, dragging out the poor syntax and damning the reading breath to a rarity normally found associated with Vermeers. I would rather read through the entire collected work of Bulwer-Lytton than have to read Paradise Lost.

Ugh. Milton, I shun thee. I consign your work to the undercrofts of ivory towers, to be perused only by the rare lost academician, who might note your oeuvre as a historical curiosity; the last breath of the Round Heads dying in rout and exile.

"Soun is noght but air ybroken,
And every speche that is spoken,
Loud or privee, foul or fair,
In his substaunce is but air;
For as flaumbe is but lighted smoke,
Right so soun is air ybroke."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Prodigal Lover

On bent knee
My clothes wrent
My body wasted

On knee I return, bowed.

Far, far better

To serve, if nothing else.

With that I can live,
If I can but serve.
It's enough.

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Love Affair with Diane Duane

I am finding it rather hard to write these days. Torn between a level of grief I have never before exsperienced, and the unimagiable stress of this year's end, I can barely write three snetences in a sitting. I want deeply to tell my story, but right now I am hobbled.

So I have returned to my love affair of Diane Duane, an author who...

Sorry, I'm far too tangental to write coherant sentences right now. Just, I love Diane Duane.

My itunes just shifted from It Seems To Me, a very poignant song of my father's about his divorce from my mother and his attempt to retain the trinity that is parents and child, even though the family has broken apart.... anyways, it just shifted It's A HArd Knock Life, from Annie. My brain is reeling.

I'm to bed, even though the rubber laytex fumes have rendered me sick to my stomach. Bloody props.

In alphabetical order, my top three authors:

Lois McMAster Bujold
Diane Duane
Terry Pratchett

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Paean for Pook

How can we
So superior in our intellect,
So high in our self-awareness
How can we really appreciate
The simple joy
Of a ball of fluff on a string?
A finger scratching on a box?
A paper bag
A Q-tip in the tub

All my words-
A vast collection
(My life's work)-
All these words fall ashen on my lips
When I try to explain the dignity
The nobility
The simple certainty of a humble fool.
No pretensions,
No arrogance.
Content to be himself;
A boy of very little brain,
But loving, caring,
My God, how loved.
Grant him rest eternal, Lord,
And may perpetual light shine upon him
A place of warmth.
A place to nap.

If you want a vision of the future,
Imagine a big orange cat,
(His underside all in white).
Imagine a cat,
A foil ball at his side,
Content in the sun,


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Grr Props

This blog is on a slight hiatus (maybe) until Props is over and done with and bloody Pentheus is finis. Oy vhey....

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Canadian Fireball Reporting Centre

There is nothing I can say that would make that any less awe inspiring. I now know where I want to work when I grow up.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Act 2 Scene 1: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

*Tick Tick Tick Tick*

MAY 16, 1974

The sweltering Pacific heat which filled the cramped office was entirely unaffected by the ineffectual fan buzzing on a stack of paperwork. Inexplicably, there was a large baroque clock shoved between a stack of meteorological equipment and the ubiquitous piles of paper. Commodore Everett P. Colby had tried his best to be as prim as possible. While the uniform he wore gave some allowance to the tropical heat, it was hardly ideal. He had ironed it (it was wilting), scrubbed himself clean (he was sweating) and cleared his office of flies (They had come back). He sat at his desk. Across from him, Moliere von Possenreißer had draped herself nonchalantly across a chair.
*Tick Tick Tick Tick*
"How was Milan?"
*Tick Tick Tick Tick*
"We were wondering if..."
"What do you want, Commodore?"
"What makes you think I want anything?"
"You dragged me here, Colby."
"I have no authority over you, you're not under US command.'
"Don't give me that crap, Colby, what do you want?"
The clock kept ticking. Colby's smile was a little strained. Molly just kept staring out the window.
"What?" A large file folder was slid across the desk.
"Funghiguo, it's about 800 miles south of Kunming, wedged in above Laos and Burma. Commonly rendered in English as The Mushroom Kingdom. Ethnically Bai, they were a segment of the former Kingdom of Dali that was given to the Venetians as part of a deal with the Yuans some seven hundred years back. It remained a vassal to various Italian states until Napoleon conquered Italy. A group of Italian nobles fled there, and declared themselves independent. They were occupied by Japan during the war, and returned to independence afterwards. Small, but resource rich."
"And not Commies, I notice."
"And they're not Commies."
"So what about it?"
"China. No matter how well it does in 'Nam, or Cambodia, at best it's just going to have highly co-operative allies. But Funghiguo doesn't have those countries disadvantages. It's not a Chinese ally, it doesn't have the terrain, it doesn't have the manpower to protect it's borders."
"But we do."
"Yes, we do." Colby tried to make himself straighter."Moliere, we've been in communication with our allies- NATO is willing to confirm your brevet promotion."
"On the books, you've still been a field-listed Captain since '44. We're willing to not only confirm it, but promote it. Brigadier General, along with your associated back-pay since Ortona." Molly raised an eyebrow.
"What else is it for me?" she asked. Colby grinned.
"Independent command and complete control over the combat theatre for at least a few months until the rest of the troops show up."
"What's the catch?"
"Well, for one, we can only give you a regiment."
"The 2nd Irregulars."
"Never heard of them."
"That's another catch. They're untested, brand new. Made up entirely of... your type of people."
"My type of people?" Molly's voice became icy.
"Fantastics. The non-humans, the meta-humans... the... inorganics." Colby at least had the dignity to look a little ashamed. "Look, the average CO doesn't know what to do when he gets someone with abnor- with unusual abilities. Does he single him out, and possibly ostracise him from his comrades, or does he treat like a regular grunt, and loose what could be a vital tactical advantage? This isn't an attempt to be segregationist, Colonel, this is an attempt to utilise valuable American assets. And think of a proving ground! We don't know when China will move, but if you get caught having to defend against greater numbers until we send in our full strength- you'll be lauded as heroes!"
"Greater numbers? How many troops are we talking about here?"
"Not... not many. Regiment is a bit of a misnomer, it's really a small battalion. Less than a thousand, at best."
"You're crazy. How big is this Fen... Fan...."
"Funghiguo. Forty thousand square miles, give or take."
"WHAT? You expect to defend a country the size of Austria with less than a thousand troops!"
"Don't be absurd. As I said, you'll be operating as expedition, shoring up defences and learning the lay of the land. We'll be able to get more troops in there once we finish up in some of our other theatres. In addition, the Fungese have almost fifteen thousand troops under arms. You're duty will be to liaise, and provide an American presence, in the hopes that it will deter the Reds."
"A token force, you mean."
"Please, Lieutenant-Colonel, think of what you could achieve here. You're already a living legend among the troops, think it what it would mean to all those Fantastics to see you leading in such a way. You'll go down in history!"
"I went down in history a long time ago, Commodore." Molly paused to bite a nail. "Can I think about it?"
"Of course."
The orderly looked disapprovingly at Molly. She objected to being ordered about, she objected to demands, and she most certainly objected to being referred to as a child. Molly, for her part, simply wanted in.
"I'm sorry, ma'am, but I cannot-"
"I'll be fine."
"But ma'am, I can't just-"
"I'm gutt, really."
"You could catch something from the-"
"Never been sick a day in my life, girl, I'll be fine."
"Colonel, I protest-"
"Oh, here we are. I won't be too long. Thank you"
"Sir, I-" SLAM. The door was closed in the orderly's face.
The inside of the hospital room was clean, with a few homely touches here and there. As a long-term patient, the effect of habitation was far less intrusive than as would be seen in a short-term patient's room. It was set up for routine, a place for everything, and everything in its place. The books by the chair for the afternoon read in the sun, the clothes placed near the bed for the early-morning dressing. The medicines discreetly placed by a pitcher of water. Photographs of children, of grandchildren, the hand-drawn pictures taped lovingly against the wall. Evidence of an amateur interest in sketching occupied a corner of a small table. The sketches were well rendered and of various things: a bird, playing children, the ocean surf. Warm and peaceful, so unlike the madcap chaos of the hallway. Snoozing in the corner was an old man, his cane by his side, surrounded by the debris of a long fought battle with a recalcitrant newspaper. At the sound of the door, he snuffled himself awake, and peered at the intruder. With consciousness came recognition, and an impish grin lighted up the old man's face.
"Possenreißer, you Jerry-bred pipsqueak of a golem, you, what in the name of God are you doing on this volcanic rock pile?" At his voice, Molly grinned like a little girl and threw herself into the old man's embrace.
"General Flagg, you curmudgeonly skeletal armerikanisch, mien Gott, how dare you sit here on your lazy ass and soak up all the sun?" With her face buried in his chest, Molly allowed herself a single moment of shock at how frail her old friend had become. Then she let it pass, and it was two old soldiers reliving old times.
"So that's their deal, General. Their equivalent exchange." It was later now, and Molly had told the General of her last few years.
"You lead their little experiment into a potential disaster... and in return, you get-"
"Power." She said it greedily, hungrily, fearfully. "It's what I've wanted for thirty years. I'm tired of this pseudo-rank, of being snubbed and having people time and time again calling up higher ups to confirm that yes, it's true, I can give them orders. Power, respect, rank...."
"And don't forget the back pay" the General said dryly. Molly snorted.
"Like I need it. Do I sound mad? Power mad, I mean? Maybe I am. I'm just tired of obeying other people's orders- think of it, Lawrence- independent command! The chance to work with my own ideas, instead of another wild charge into a line of bullets. I'm tired of Phyrus, tired of empty victories of ash. Maybe I can pull this off..."
"So you're going to take the commission, then?"
"Yes, oh, Gott, yes. For the epaulets, for the control, for the..."
"Glory?" the General suggested, a tad disapprovingly. Molly said nothing. "Achilles' Choice my dear- can you really have your cake and eat it too?"
"Come with me."
"As my military advisor" she said breathlessly "I'll break you out of hear, we'll be a wall against which the Reds will simply break themselves against. How about it?" The General chuckled.
"I'm older even then you, old friend. I've had my wars. I'm content here in my patch of sun. You go find your glory, girl. Go make me proud." The General smiled. "Sing me something, short stuff."
"What do you want to hear?"
"Something nostalgic- When The Lights Go On Again." With a smile on her face, Molly sang the old man to sleep.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Act 1 Scene 7: I do not think that they will sing for me.

In contrast to the central office, the living room was refreshingly modernized. The puerile sixties carpets had given way to elegant hardwood. The swirls and paint-spattered wall paper had been replaced with paneling in classical styles. The furniture was non-descript without being Ikeaish, mostly comfy leather and Mediterranean style cushions. Recessed lights gave the room a warm glow that nevertheless managed to not clash with the panorama of stars that flooded through the room's many windows. Blazes had brought quite an entourage, and despite being a gaunt skeleton of his former self, he was boisterously greeting the various Tracey family members who had rushed to greet him, from the still handsome Alan grasping him in a bear hug to the various younger children running amok. As Virgil wheeled himself over to Blazes, Molly found a spot on the wall to lean against, next to Ruxpin's looming bulk.
"Didn't you two used to sleep together?"
"I thought you two used to be an item when he still did our milk runs." Molly walloped Ruxpin in the side. "Ooomph."
"Theo, I don't even like men."
"I saw the looks he used to give you." Ruxpin said dryly.
"He was very sweet." Molly said defensively. "He had quite a crush on me. Worse then that driver. Almost as bad as Slaghoople."
"Slaghoople?" Ruxpin asked incredulously.
"Oh you know how it is, Theo. Long cold nights in the jungle. A girl needs to find a way to keep warm."
"Girl? Even then you were in your seventies."
"Rub it in, why don't you." Molly said, sounding miffed. They watched as Blazes and Virgil continued to greet each other enthusiastically.
"You're the only one who calls me that, you know."
"Calls you what?"
"Theo. Even my mother only ever called me Mohiam."
"And your father?"
"Teddy, when he wasn't calling me Junior. Wait- I thought you used to screw Tito?"
"When will people learn to- oh, heads up." Virgil was beckoning Molly over. As she walked to him, Ruxpin whispered in her ear:
"Slaghoople?" which caused Molly to secretly jab her elbow into Ruxpin's chest (causing another muffled 'oomph').
"William" Virgil was saying "I have the pleasure to introduce you to an old friend, Brigadier General von Possenreißer of NATO, along with her aide, Colonel N'Ruxpin, formerly of the USAR."
"Aide?" Ruxpin muttered "Will I ever get out from under our shadow?"
"Oh suck it up you big baby." Molly muttered back.
"Colonel, I remember reading about your case. It was a travesty, sir, a travesty." Blazes' voice was a mere shadow of the once powerful bellow it had been. He was only
thirty-seven, but he was unimaginably gaunt. His flesh hung off his body, giving him an almost comical appearance.
"Believe me, Mr. Blazes, no one knows that more than I." Ruxpin said, shaking Blazes hand.
"Please, call me me Billy." Blazes turned his attention to Molly. As he did so, his face lit up with childlike wonder, and his eyes burned brighter. "General... I wrote a paper about you in university. I studied your campaigns, your music, your choreography. I grew up in Star City. When I was twelve, the Opera House put on a retrospective of your years as De Lune- big screen and everything. Your Elisabeth-" At this point, he was interrupted by a member of the service staff signalling dinner. Molly's face was beet red. "Excuse me, General, bu they always serve such a feast here. Mind you, anythings better than that damn astronaut food...." Blazes was swept away as a small mob of people followed the server to the dining room. Molly was left alone, save Ruxpin. It was suddenly very quiet, with the soft sound of the surf in the background. Into the stillness, Ruxpin again murmured
But Molly wasn't listening. She was starring at the doorway, having gone from vibrant blushing to a stark pale.
"General?" Ruxpin asked worriedly.
"He wrote... a paper. H wrote a paper, Colonel. I wrote of me as one would of any historical figure. Did you see his face? I'm already history, Theo. To him, I'm already history."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Act 1 Scene 6: The Leopard in the Dark Wood of Error


It would not be hard to dig the grave. Ruxpin had only a small shovel, but it didn't need to be very large. Bird had not been big, and the ground was hardly conducive to deep graves. The body lay on a linen sheet pulled from some compartment aboard the Airship, and Molly was examining the body, part autopsy, part funerary rite.

"I'm afraid there's not much I can tell you. It was very professional, very elegant, but I can't really tell you anything about who did it. All I know is, it was over quick."


"I would think... not."

"Christ." Ruxpin leaned against a tree, and slowly slid himself down. "Christ." he said again. Slowly, respectfully, Molly dipped a cloth into water, and then began to wash the body. She removed the dirt, the blood, the other blemishes. As she washed, she recited. Sometimes a dirge, sometimes a chant, sometimes in a soft song.

"Yitgaddal v'yitqaddash sh'meh rabba."

In a sudden movement, Ruxpin rose, grabbed the shovel, and began to dig.

"B'ʻal'ma di v'raʼ khiruteh
B'ʻal'ma d'hu ʻatid l'itchaddata.

The ground was moist, and every thunk of the shovel was accompanied by a muffled squelch of mud.

"Ulʼachaya metaya
ulʼassaqa yathon l'chayyey ʻal'ma"

The work was unexpectedly hard. Ruxpin strained in the heavy mud, his fur sleek with sweat.

"Ulmivne qarta dirushlem
ulshakhlala hekhleh b'gavvah."

Faster now, fueled by some inner rage, Ruxpin dug harder, faster, deeper.

"Y'he sh'meh rabba m'varakh
l'ʻalam ulʻal'me ʻal'maya
Yitbarakh v'yishtabbach v'yitpaʼar v'yitromam
v'yitnasse v'yithaddar v'yitʻalle v'yithallal
sh'meh d'qudsha, b'rikh hu."

The dirge had become a keen, pitched and full of vitriol in the harsh tounge in which it was uttered. With deft fingers, she began to close the linen around the body.

"Di b'ʼatra haden v'di b'khol atar v'ʼatar
y'he l'hon ulkhon sh'lama rabba,
chinna v'chisda v'rachamey v'chayyey arikhey
umzoney r'vichey ufurqana
min qodam avuhon di vishmayya v'ʼarʻa

It was not a scream of rage. It was far more primordial- far more animal than that. It was a roar, some vestige of the family Ursidae present in the depths of Ruxpin's soul. Howling his grief, Ruxpin slammed the shovel into the mud and fell to his knees, panting. Unfazed, Molly reverentially completed her ritual.

"Amen." she said quietly.

"Amen." Ruxpin echoed hoarsely. He climbed up out of the grave, and carefully picked up the body. "So damn light" he muttered, before he lowered it into the ground. He began to fill the grave back in. Molly sat at the head of the grave, her knees up to her chest, her ankles crossed. Twilight filled the sky, and the night was upon them. "More."


"Song. Prayer. Whatever. Just sing." He continued to bury. Molly sat back in thought for a moment, her hands sinking into the wet dirt. This time, her voice was pure and clear. Her pitch was perfect, and as she sang, her voice quieted all around.

"Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion,
et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem.
Exaudi orationem meam;
ad te omnis caro veniet."

Her voice died away. Bird was buried. Breathing labored, Ruxpin sat down next to her in the moonlight. He pulled out a hip flask, took a swig and passed it to Molly.

"When I was very little," Molly began, taking a drink "I went to a funeral at the Zentralfriedhof. I was even smaller in those days, a minuscule slip of a thing. I walked among the crowd, looking at their faces. Some were sad, some were angry, some secretly amused, some merely bored. Unexpectedly, I came across the mute, earning his pay at the edge of mourners. We stared at each other for the longest time. His face was more than sad- it was grotesquely tragic, some fierce mockery of any happy thought, like some sculptor had constructed the anti-joy. It scared me. Scared me so much I ran and ran and ran, past tombstones and grave sites and iron and stone. I hid myself so well. It took over four hours for Rebbe Tzvi and Tante Possenreißer to find me."

"Where were you?" Ruxpin asked, after a time.

"I was singing Ave Maria and dancing barefoot behind Schubert's grave for an audience of squirrels. In hindsight, it was probably that that gave me away. We never did find my other shoe."

"We're the last now." Ruxpin said moodily, lighting up. "Last of the Fallen Angels. How many were we?"

"When?" Molly asked.

"When they marched us off to Shyguy. How many?"

"614, counting the chopper crews and my command staff. Oh, and my driver."

"Oh god, I'd forgotten we had choppers. Bloody RPGs." Hearing this, Molly giggled.

"Lost 'em in under a month. And it's not like they were any good. Ancient Sikorsky H-19's flown by hotshot fly boys right out of flight school. Hell, those birds were probably flown at Chosin Reservoir." She grinned.

"And they never did send that car, did they?"

"HA! No, no they never did. The poor boy followed me like a little lost puppy for three months straight, with no idea of what to do. Eventually, I think.. yes, Sonic's platoon managed to dig up an Edsel from god-knows-where. An Edsel! In Pescotao! He was so happy to be able to drive me around in that scuffed up old crate. We'd go to those meetings with General Yoshi- you know the ones where he'd just lie face down on the desk and cry?- we'd go to these meetings, and that kid would polish that car up like we were going to visit Emperor Franz Joseph on parade." She took the hip-flask back from Ruxpin and took a long drink. "You know, I can still recite, word perfect, every line and note from Der Ring des Nibelungen, but I can't remember that boy's name."

"What happened to him?"

"Bullet. Through the head. Right when we pulled out of the Daisy Palace. Brains got all over my best uniform. I would've been wearing my fatigues, but there's was about three regiments of Reds between me and my damn quarters. Stained the lanyard and braid permanently." A tad tipsy, she managed to pull herself up to stand. A sudden change came over her. She went completely rigid, legs straight and together, posture straight, and executed with perfect precision a military salute. After a moment, Ruxpin rose his bulk up and saluted the grave as well. After a time, Molly said, quietly "Company dismissed". She and Ruxpin both relaxed. "The last ones, you say?"

"Well, except for Bunny."

"Oh god is that little bugger still alive?"

"Of course."

"So," Molly said, walking towards the Airship "Where to next?"

"We go south, general. We go south."


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Рукописи не горят

Damn it all.
Some minor phrase
Some glint of eye
Some perfectly
And I'm gone.

Not Memory Lane, no.
Not for me is so tranquil a metaphor.

Desirée I should never have come

Instead I face memory's dark maw,
Some Calcuttan oubliette
In which, safeguarded by purple prose,
Those most poignant fragments of the past reside.
Here, like Alice, I fall.
Hands clenched, teeth grit.
That eternal paradox that so enlivens
The masochistic duality of repression and remembrance.

To flirt with rescue

Unlike Alice, there is nothing curious here.
Here all is familiar,
Achingly familiar.
Each shattered minim contains,
Like a personal portraitured hologram,
An infinite number of recursions.
The sound, the memory
The touch, the memory
The eyes, the memory.
The agony and the ecstasy
The horror and the weeping joys
The remembrance of scent,
Of sound and taste and touch
The senses did dutifully record
Each moment
Of You and I
Of Her and I
Of Him and I
And Her again

When one has no intention

Each one is a case for tears.
Each one is a case for laughter.
When we get down to cases
As I so often do
Perhaps we might have...
If we but could of...

So long as I remember that I am mad
I have the strength to live the lie that I am sane.

Of being saved

Would Pyrrhus
Had he been given world enough and time,
To reach his old age-
Would he have returned to Asculum
And searched for some sign
That there had been achievement?
(This I ask myself,
without much need of an answer).
It is a not a question of concern.
It is but a styling of pretense-
A falsehood said in hope of sounding deep.

And with a start, I remember that this is not the time
To wallow in my own self-loathing.
I have work to do,
Things to do,
Tasks to achieve.
And so I drag myself back into the real world,
The one less preferred,
Where you and her no longer are.

Please try to forgive me.

Sometimes I sing.
Sometimes I lose myself in the clustered words
The recurring lines
And simple themes
Of patter songs.
So I go on.
And patiently wait
For when the next trigger might return
My masochistic self
To faded past
and Better Days.

Ἂν ἔτι μίαν μάχην νικήσωμεν, ἀπολώλαμεν.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Act 1 Scene 5: The lark still bravely.

The moon's reflection glittered in pale blue water of the natural pool. Above, the stars glittered in patterns that an Northern observer would find maddeningly similar yet subtly unlike the stars as seen from above the equator. Here, once proud Orion is stripped of his dignity and turned, topsy-turvy, to land on his head. Here, Graceful Cygnus glides along a different path, while around it all the Magellanic Clouds burn with the legacy of a poor doomed mariner.

The pool was dimly lit, with a few subtly placed shafts of light spread out from the rock and into the ever shifting water. The lights and sounds of the landing fields were blocked by the mountain, so it was relatively quiet here. In the palm trees, the birds were settling down for the night, and they fretted and chafed, and made their usual uproar. The only other noise was that of the swimmer's arms as they pulled him through the water, alternating between the backstroke and the front crawl. Whenever they reached an edge, the hands would grope at the pool's rough stone sides and flip the swimmer over, where he would continue on his journey.

Standing at parade rest, half-hidden in the shadows beneath an umbrella, Molly watched the swimmer wordlessly, her eyes following his every mood, her face impassive. This almost-tableau went on for quite sometime, the watcher watching serenely, the swimmer focused entirely on his campaign, until even the birds had bequeathed their noise making to the peaceful humming of the Cicadas. At last, his energy spent, the swimmer lay at rest, floating on his back in the water, his eyes closed. There was silence for a while. At last, Molly spoke.

"Hello. Virgil." To this, the swimmer laconically raised his arm, and gave a rather half-hearted salute, before he splashed it into the water.
"You didn't come to greet me. That's most unlike you." The swimmer began to draw himself towards the edge of the pool, where he lifted himself to sit on the edge, and proceeded to stare at the stars. At last he spoke.
"I do go in much for returns, anymore. It's departures that worry me most. Never miss a departure, if you can help it. They're much more reliable then returns." He spoke softly, reflectively, with out any bite or criticism in his voice. The breeze ruffled through the trees, but did not disturb the resting birds.
"It's been a long time."
"When was the last time I saw you?"
"That's a good question."
""It was in.... Pescotao? During the last air evac. You were the last one on the old TB2, screaming defiance until the end, still aiming at soldiers as the bay door closed." Virgil turned to look at Molly, as she smiled in bitter memory.
"They couldn't, or wouldn't, land any more Hercules. But you came back for me. You dropped into the golf course at Mach One, with angel flares burning in the dawn..... I remember that." She too looked up at the stars. "But that wasn't the last time you saw me."
"No. It was New York. You tried to stop me speaking before the Assembly. In the end, you were right. They didn't listen to me anyway.
"Where did you go, after that?"
"I went south. I just walked. I had thought of going back to Austria, but I knew the government wouldn't like that, much. I had to fight them tooth and nail to leave the country later on, and only for a short time." They listened to the water for a while, Virgil at the pool's edge, Molly remaining at rest beneath the umbrella. Again, she broke the silence.
"I left Alan arguing with Theo over whether or not the Airship should be airborne, and John was the one who fed me, but I didn't see the others."
"Dead" said Virgil quietly, after a moment. There was no response from Molly. "The reactor in the original TB1 had a tendency to... emit things it shouldn't, though we didn't realise it at the time. Cancer hit both Scott and Hiram in the eighties. Gordon... Gordon got his submersible caught in an underwater cave in. We tried to get to him, but...."
"He just sort of... stopped trying. Said he was tired, said he'd had a good run. Turned his radio off. When we finally found him later... he.... he looked very peaceful, you know. Very peaceful."
"And your father?"
"Dad didn't take Scott's passing very well. He started to talk a lot about going back into space, about seeing the stars again. Late one night, he just up and took TB3."
"Where did he go?"
"I don't know. Out there, somewhere." Virgil waved at the expanse of stars. "I like to think he made in through the asteroid belt. I like to think he's headed for something out there. I'd like..... I'd like a lot of things."
"You miss him."
"Oh God, yes. I miss them all. I was never supposed to be in charge. And we've changed. We have a staff now, and a payroll. Alan's been cranking out kids for years, its going to be a family business, rescuing others. That was always dad's plan... but it should be Scott behind that desk. It should be Gordon lapping me." He looked down from the stars, into his own dim reflection in the water. "I wanted to save people, once. Individuals. People I could see face to face. Now I sit behind a desk and speak diplomacy with princes. Now I try to save everybody. And I'm just too damn old." He sighed, and began to push himself backwards from the pool's edge.
"Do you want a hand, Virgil?"
"No. I'm quite used to this." In a moment, he reached his chair, and lifted himself in with a grunt. He wheeled himself over to Molly. Smiling, he said "I think we're the same height now. Who'd have thought?" Molly laughed. Suddenly, from far above, there was the crack of a sonic boom, which immediately woke the birds, sending them into a noisy cacophony. Virgil glanced up.
"That'll be Blazes coming down from the Command Centre. I've called a meeting, he wants to greet you in person. We'd better hurry." Molly nodded, and began to push the chair. "No, you don't have to... it's embarrassing, it's-"
"Don't worry about it" Molly said softly. "Besides, I owe you a few."
"But... I... well. Okay. I'll just... okay." They went inside, her short frame pushing him along, leaving a flock of disgruntled birds alone in the moonlight.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I was introduced to this at

I... I just... i don't.....

This appears to have been written by a particularly bigoted Spam not... it's entirely nonsensical. Read and enjoy it's bizzaro world of comics causing man-on-man love.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Oh dear.

I'd go so far as to say that this was the most embarrassing thing Gerry Anderson ever did.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


Well, reading week and the craziness of the First Week Back are now done with, and then next entry is half-way written. Patience, gentle reader.

Act 1 Scene 4: Forteen Cannibal Kings

The elephant sat exactly where it wanted too, a minor miracle, in the curving angled office. His suit was of a military cut, with silver piping, and more gold braid than was common on modern uniforms. He had eased his bulk onto an aging bench, where it noticeably sagged on its degraded plastic legs. He was drinking tea, the tea cup held delicately in his massive... well, the could only rationally be described as hands. He looked young, in his mid-thirties at most.
Across the desk, Virgil Tracy sat with his elbows propped up on the table, holding his head up. A smiled kept playing across his lips as he chatted with his guest.
"Monsieur Tracy, I can assure you, I have spent hours with the Ministre de Intérieur, poring over customs records." The elephant's English was spoken with a heavy French accent. He paused to take a sip of his tea. "Madame Bizet hasn't entered our borders in over two years."
"But she did perform some services for you in the past, yes? I remember an INTERPOL record we received some years back mentioning her work with you." The elephant chuckled.
"That was was a private family matter, of interest to no one but the House of Loxo."
"Really? As I recall, the decapitated body of deposed President Isabelle Loxo was found in her suite in Côte d'Ivoire. Her head was apparently... stolen."
"As I said, it was a private matter."
"But your own family member?"
Remise-à-Neuf was a difficult time. This was merely the last mess to clean up." The elephant finished off his tea. "But as to your matter of this ring, it never entered the Kingdom. If you'll excuse me, Monsieur, I have a long flight back to Africa." The elephant heaved his bulk off the bench, and shook hands. "It was good to see you, Virgil." Virgil pressed a button on his desk. An aide entered.
"It was good to see you too, Zephir. Anna, see His Highness out, and would you see Mister Matrix in." The elephant managed to squeeze himself through the door, and a minute later was replaced by a bemused Enzo Matrix.
"Who in the name of the User was that?"
"That was his Highness Prince Zephir-Roland de Pachyderm-Loxo, from the court of Queen Flora of Equatorial Celesia, and he was here to lie to me in an open and friendly matter." Virgil pointed for Enzo to have a seat.
"Equatorial Celesia. It's the Elephant Kingdom, and tends to operate as a tax haven for old colonial exiles. Anyways, Sandiego bought a house there some years ago, and visited fairly often. We know she spent some time there after she stole the Ring. The Prince was here to tell me otherwise, as we both knew he would."
"But if you knew he would lie, and he knew that, why...?"
"It's polite diplomacy. If she was there for any length of time, it means she was doing work for them. There was a palace coup back in the early sixties that created a Republic for about thirty years before the monarchy was restored. During that time, many of the art treasures were looted or sold by the republican government for funds, and the palace itself was left a half-burnt ruin. After the Restoration, the elephants attempted to return their cultural treasures. When ever their attempts to do it legally failed to work, they turned to people like Carmen to help them out. Maybe forty to forty five percent of the total returned items have been due to her. To make a long story short, Zephir presence was a way of informing me that whatever Carmen was doing in Celesia, it had nothing to do with our search. Which means another dead end." A muffled roar interrupted Virgil. He glanced out the window and watched as a flash of red, silver and fire burned screaming towards the heavens. "God speed, Valentina." he murmured to himself, before he pored more tea. "How's Ecureuil?"
"He's fine. His legs are being checked by the MDs. He didn't tell them anything- not that it would matter much. You've been the Southern Hemisphere's worst kept secret for years.I didn't think it would be so easy to pull him out, though."
"Whiplash was never good at hiring goons that were sociopathic enough to really be decent guards."
"But this was far too easy. If I didn't know better, I'd..."Enzo trailed off.
"You'd what?"
"Well, it seems cliche to say it, but if I didn't know better, I'd say he was allowed to escape. I mean, its not as though-" Enzo was suddenly interrupted by the harsh ringing of the telephone. Virgil answered it.
"Island Actual, go ahead."
"Mister Tracy, this is Tin-Tin. We've had an unidentified bogey heading our way for the last seven minuets."
"What's its speed?"
"Pretty slow, sir. If it maintains present course and speed, it won't reach us for over an hour or two at minimum. I th-" there was a pause "Sir, they appear to be transmitting their registry code now... its... it is SIA Airship 144525-L..." Still holding the receiver to his ear, Virgil turned behind him to pull a book off the shelf, where he began to flip through the pages.
"SIA... SIA.... oh, there... Sovereign Illiopian Airshi-"
"Sir? Please advise, sir, do we let them enter our airspace or not? Mr. Tracy?" But Virgil wasn't paying any more attention to the phone. He was starring out the window, his skin pale, scanning the horizons for something he had thought to be impossible.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Guffin War, Act 1 Scene 3: Unkind as any, and the wrath of many. (Even the vegetables don't like him)

Enzo tried to wriggle out of the shaft. His legs had cramped from sitting crunched up, and his foot was asleep. He finally flumped out onto the floor, landing painfully on the grate. He proceeded crept down the shiny corridors in a rough approximation of 'stealthy'. His movements were perhaps too furtive, too imbued with pantomime to be be take seriously, but fortunately, his path was unimpeded by even a janitor.

The basement cellblock was patrolled fairly regularly, but its general disuse meant that the average guard would simply avoid it on his rounds. The one prisoner was hardly in any position to escape. Enzo discovered that he could just stroll into the cells, which irked his inner sense of theatrics. At least the security was decent. A multi-variable Tyrell code, virtually unbreakable to anything but a super-computer.

It took Enzo eighteen minuets.

Jean "Cache" Ecureuil was in remarkably good spirits when Enzo found him. His leg had been mangled by the delicate ministrations of the PWI torturers. He smiled wryly when Enzo entered his cell. He even attempted a joke.

"You're kind of short for a.. a..." however the metaphor escaped him "... person here to... rescue me" he ended lamely. "I don't suppose you have a change of clothes on you?"

""Can you walk?" Enzo asked, checking out Ecureuil's leg. "And you're covered in fur, why does it matter?"

"Well, I feel naked without my coat. And yes, I can hobble, if I must"

"Hell, I can carry you out" Enzo gave a boyish grin.

"Please, spare me the indigni- oh, well guess not." Ecureuil was picked up, albeit gently, and Enzo sauntered back the way he came.


"Now, that's just not fair!"

Angelica did not look up from filing her nails. "What's not fair, dear?" she asked in a neutral tone.

"That cursed boy just walked out, see? How dare he! In my cells, too! How dare he foil my scheme for information!"

Angelica had long ago learned to deal with her husband's melodramatic posturing. She continued to stare at her nails. Each one just had to be.... perfect. She could and had spent hours working on a single finger. She simply replied, laconically "You have a lousy security staff, Lee."

"But it's just not fair, I tell you. Oh, I am so alone in my plans." Snidely Joanna Whiplash turned dejectedly away from the screen, where he had spent that last few hours morbidly viewing the security tapes. He flung himself backwards onto his desk, nearly knocking over his wife's platinum inlaid nail kit. Her only response was to roll her chair back an inch or so and to exchange her file for cuticle scissors.

"Lee, you know you weren't going to break him, not with the goons you employ. Ecureuil has been around for years, he wasn't going to open up over a mangled leg."

"But I was going to the Council. I was going to present them with information! The location of International Rescue! The member rolls of the Rescue Heroes! Where Dick Tracy gets his great hair!" Again, he flung himself back on the desk, his hat falling to the floor. There was a long pause, as Angelica was displeased by the curve on the nail of her left pinky, not that she showed it. Finally, she merely said "They wouldn't have listened anyways. They never do. Not to you."

"Oh, it''s so true!" He sat up unexpectedly "You've got to help, me, darling, you've just got to! You know I can't do these things on my own!" There was more silence, as Angelica moved on to her right thumb.

"Go home, Lee. I will make things all better."

"You promise, darling? You'll do that for old me?" Snidley was on his knees, starring pathetically with puppy-dog eyes, his moustache drooping. More time passed. His wife did not look at him. It would be false to say that theirs was a relationship devoid of passion. It had plenty of passion, but it was supplied entirely by Snidely. His wife, in the words of Dickens, was as hard and sharp as a flint, secretive and self contained. As solitary as an oyster.

"Yes, Lee. I would do anything for you." She spoke almost without wmotion and continued to focus only on her nail. For a man who wore his heart on his sleeve, Snidley's expression as he gazed at her was relatively inscrutable. If anything, it could be said to be one of longing, if nothing else, but as there was no one there to look at his face, it could have been anything. Finally, mumbling thanks, he rose to his feet and made ready to leave. He paused, awkwardly, next to his wife for a moment before he hesitantly learned down and kissed her on her head. It was treated with as much response as anything he ever did around her. As he reached the door, he paused to look at his wife. She was unimaginably pale. Though once warm, her skin (though flawless) was now almost akin to pure alabaster, with none of the pinkish tones that one might find in an albino. Her hair, once a rich strawberry blond, had also lightened. Some would call it flaxen, but a more correct coloured would be white ash, like one might find in a campfire in amongst the burned wood and marshmallow residue. Her eyes were grey, her lips bloodless. She only ever wore robes de style, in various neutral tones. The only colour on her was what she would paint on her nails after her long hours of maintenance. And what colours they were! Deep royal blues, ebullient reds, vivid robust greens in all manner of valence, tint and hue. But that was the only outward sign of emotion. Everything she spoke was in the same calm, measured tones, and her eyes never betrayed what went on inside her. With an inward sigh, Whiplash adjusted his hat and left. For a while, Angelica continued to work on her digital maintenance. Finally, evidently satisfied with her minutiae of adjustments, she selected from her store the colour of polish she wished to use- a Persian green only commonly found in the paintings of Monet. However, before she began to paint, she paused, and then wheeled herself over to a nearby telephone, an obsolete, though elegant rotary phone. She carefully dialed, and waited for her call to be answered. She spoke as she always did, detached as ever. "Good afternoon, Charles. I need you to get me information. Failure to do so will be perceived by me to be a problem. And like all problems, I will make it go away as quickly and efficiently as possible. Do we have an understanding?" There was a pause.


Friday, February 13, 2009

James' Guide To Relationships ("Happy" Valentine's Day) Pt. 1

People often ask me "James, you magnetic stud-muffin, you, you have such a way with the ladies, what is the secret of your success?" To which I say "How can any fish know the true wisdom of the greater coral, filled as it is with squirrels?". Then the people look at me askance, and I silently pump my fist for successfully pulling off a Wrongboy's History of the Earth reference. So, for you, gentle reader, I have this small guide that should answer every question about relationships ever.

1)What is the most important thing in a relationship?

I want you to take both your hands and grab your hair. Now pull really hard. While you do that, smash your face against the keyboard. Hurts, don't it? That is only a fraction of the pain you will feel if you fail to COMMUNICATE with your significant other(s). Talk, all the time. Don't do what I do which is speak in cryptic babbling before signing out of MSN to go play Psychonauts, no. No, you talk to your lover(s), about everything. Honesty, truth, admitting they need to wear deodorant (that's a toughie), admitting you don't share their pastie fetish- these things are important. Think about it, won't you?


Guys? Gels? Transgenders etc? Please, wear deodorant. There is the pleasant smell of sweat that occurs after vigorous labour, and then there is the sour, unpleasantness that is a partner who has, alas, failed to apply what my mother termed "pong juice". Please, think of the children. Imagine having to say "I remember the night you were conceived. Your mother stunk like a trailer park kegger in July." That's just not a romantic story.

3) Watch the skull.

So, you are passionately kissing somebody, and suddenly, there's this tremendous CRACK. Yes, you have hit the other person head against the floor/bed-post/wall/statue of the Virgin Mary/person behind you. Watch out for that. Do it too many times, and they'll start talking about how true love only ever happens once, or how how important Valentine's Day is and other symptoms of serious brain damage.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I swear, the next Guffin War update is being written!

You know that "your porn-star name" meme where you take your pet's name and the street you grow up on and then combine them? It occurs to me, somewhere, we have such poor candidates as:

Fido Fourth Concession

Kibbles Guelph Line

Water Main

JD Salinger

Humpy Highway Three

Friday, February 6, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Goodnight Mr and MRs America, and all the ships at sea. Let's go to press.

So regular erratic posting will resume as soon as A)Production week finishes B) The Theatre washrooms stop spilling sewage all over the stage B) I get this damned funeral over and done with.

So for you, gentle reader, this cat picture:

Dune Cat. Don't listen to him, though. He lies. I am the Kwisatz Haderach. The only issue I have with that series is Frank Herbert's amusing approach to the span of years. Much like Assimov's 10000 year Galactic Empire, Herbert does the same thing with impossibly big numbers.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Guffin War: Leitmotif I

The seething mass of persons that crowded Wángfǔjǐng street would have surprised to notice that they were subconsciously making a space in their midst, if only they were capable of noticing such an act.

Are You Telling Me You Don't Like Chinese Food?

"I'm merely saying that, given my current state, I'm not very partial to the whole culture."

There's Going To Be A Large Amount Of People. We Need A Good Place To Make A Reservation

"But does it have to be Chinese? And why does it need to happen at all?"

I Believe It Will All Be Very Meta. I Look Forward To How It Ends

"Forgive me if I don't share your enthusiasm."

Your Problem, Mr. Bird, Is That You're Rather Short Tempered

"Was that a crack about my height?"

Do Forgive Me

Tweety shot his companion a look. "Hey, how does this place sound" he said, pointing to a sign.

Oh Dear. 'The Little Piggies'. I Am Deeply Afraid That That Joke was Inevitable

Things that stand out from the Budget and today's debate

All the following comes from the government's official budget site, at

"Providing $50 million over two years for a national foreign credential recognition framework in partnership with provinces and territories."

I have no idea what that means. I keep trying to parse it, but it doesn't come through.

Further down, a memorandum informs me that this is a program devoted to examining the credentials (Diplomas? Degrees? Resumes?) of foreign immigrants. That's good, but it could be less flowery.

"Allocating an additional $3.5 million over two years to offer an additional 600 graduate internships through the Industrial Research and Development Internship program launched in Budget 2007."

Just 600 internships? I know that's in addition to whatever the current number is, but that's a very low number. And the funds work out to about 5, 800 dollars per intern- is that in direct cash, is that in services provided or what?

"$20 billion in personal income tax relief"

That's 20 BILLION dollars that are not going to government services this year. (On a totally unrelated note, did you know there are seven remaining Trudeau appointees in the Senate? And one Joe Clark.)

"The Government will provide a one-time grant of $15 million to the YMCA and YWCA to place youth in internships in not-for-profit and community services organizations, with a focus on environmental projects."

That's odd choice to specify the YM and YW CAs. Christian associations, do they offer jobs to non-Christians? I have no idea.

Jean Dorion, BQ, Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher had this to say in today's session:

"The Bloc Québécois has put forward the unanimous priorities of the National Assembly of Quebec. They have been rejected by the Conservatives and the Liberals, who thus choose Canada over Quebec."

Well, yes, M. Dorion. That's because it's the FEDERAL government, not The Quebec-Centric government. What a stupid thing to say.

I need to say that, reading today's debate, one thing strikes me. It's all about the past. Each MP stands up and talk about how things were ten, fifty, a hundred years ago. The Liberals can barely say a hundred words without referencing the previous government, the Conservatives can only talk about promises they've already made, the NDP harp on about what people have said. There's this odd disconnect that nothing is in the "now".

Ruddy hip-hop.

So, there's a loong lull in Wardrobe today. I am spending my time trying to read the Budget. it has graphs!

It's not very readable.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Guffin War: Act 1 Scene 2: Like who doesn't have an interositer.

It must be said that despite his nominal criminal affiliations, Fuzzy Cicero Lumpkins hardly deserved the the abuse he was shortly about to receive. He had been born amongst a large brood of children in a teeny, nameless village that was about a two-day hike from Dogpatch, Kentucky. His father worked his entire day handcrafting spittoons, coming out of his workshop only to grunt and eat meals. His mother, a city woman who had fallen for his father after the Second World War, was a scatter-brained, ineffectual woman who could never keep track of her children, and certainly never recalled Fuzzy. The only thing about him that she had ever remembered was that "he looked nothing like Irving Thalburg". Fuzzy, unloved and certainly unwanted, fled home at what he general assumed was 17. He ended up working in the underbelly of the distillery district of Frankfort, paid to look threatening and to think as little as possible. Like many poor Fantastics of his generation, Fuzzy wound up in the service of Bluto Ricca-Accardo, who's domination of Chicago crime in the 60's allowed him to push his empire outside of Illinois and into surrounding states. Miraculously, Fuzzy managed to avoid getting embroiled in the turf wars with the New York Families, and entered the eighties alive and a basically spotless record. He remained a a low-level flunky, however. Having spent a year in house-arrest for tax issues, Bluto surprised many onlooker by bowing out early, retiring from any criminal activities. His organisation was covertly purchased by Pickles-Whiplash Industries. When Snidely "bought the Outfit", Fuzzy found himself on an actual payroll in an actual company, thought he continued to be little more than hired muscle. But now he had a pension, a health plan, and he got to travel. At this point in time, he was manning the security desk in the local PWI branch in Moneghetti, which wasn't bad for the destitute country boy from nowhere. It should be said that following the event, Fuzzy was treated for his injury, and even went on to settle down and have a happy ending. But at this juncture, his fate is to be used to block projectiles that would otherwise scuff the enamel of the PWI security desk.

It has never been explained to any one's satisfaction the why of Enzo Matrix. Even to those (admittedly few) familiar with his complete history, how he had gotten from the state of reality that was his childhood, to the Now of now, remained an utter enigma. Though neither he nor Fuzzy would have found it of interest, both of them could only guesstimate at their actual age and, like Fuzzy had once did, more-or-less assumed he was "about 17". Whatever the reason, Enzo and his uniquely green skin found himself squished into an ventilation-shaft that was located about a metre behind Fuzzy Lumpkins. The architect of the PWI building wasn't an idiot. That vent really wasn't supposed to be there. But various... nefarious elements in the building's construction demanded certain rooms be built there... and here... and there... and to accommodate, pipe and shaft security was compromised, and the protests of the very clever architect were overruled by large, burly men who could make the action of adjusting their massive ties seem threatening. Enzo was waiting for Fuzzy to go on rounds, or some such activity, but Fuzzy had discovered that the security computer was equipped with software for Mahjong. They didn't know it, but they were at a non-verbal, non-conscious stalemate. Enzo refused to go forward without Fuzzy leaving him access to the computer, and Fuzzy was unwilling to stop playing Mahjong. Unfortunately for Fuzzy, Enzo was younger, and therefore much more impatient about waiting. Fulled by a desire to complete his mission and a desperate need to go pee, Enzo resorted to kicking the grating, hard. It had been cheaply and poorly attached to its mounting, and so it was propelled much harder than Enzo had expected. It hit the back of Fuzzy's head with considerable force. In a stunning moment of utter clarity, Fuzzy perceived two thing: his mother had loved him, in her own impotent way and his current game of Mahjong was fundamentally un-winable.

"Rats." Fuzzy said aloud. And then he slowly, gracefully keeled over.

New Chapter

I do plan to write a new chapter, but I must ask this question for the comments. To all three/fourish of my readers, do any of you actual read it? I mean, am I just writing it for my own amusement? I'll keep writing it (I LIKE my own amusement), I'm just curious as to whom cares.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Happy New Years

Well, Happy New Years, which so far looks to be exactly like 2008. York University has been provincially ordered back to work, so 45000 students lost an entire semester's worth of money and time and education, and all.. for... nothing. Because nothing was resolved, nothing was changed. In Ottawa, the coalition falls apart and Harper returns to unchallenged government. Unemployment has risen to 12.1 percent, but a small headline today noted that the payment of bonus will proceed uninhibited. That's one of the same overspending madness that brought us here in the first place. And for all his talk of change, for all his talk of a new order, Obama still let that vile, intolerant Rick Warren officiate at his inauguration. So hurray for change. Hooray for this brave new world of sameness, identical in all ways to the year before.

And the thing is, it's all our fault. Because Canadians couldn't be bothered to understand their own electoral process. It takes no effort to find information these days, it's the God-Damned Information AGE. A few quick jabs at the keyboard will find you tonnes of information on how the government works. History gives us coalitions. But we feared it, because we only listened to our elected officials, who acted so contradictory and foolish that no wonder we felt afraid. Politicians can feel this. They can feel the undercurrents of society, and they act on it. A good person does what is right. A good politician does what he can to stay aloft. Michelle Jean had a change to act as the Constitution and precedent empowers her to do, but she crumpled under the weight of "doing what the public wanted", which was act as a figure head and do only as the Prime Minister wants. Poor Dion was forced out, because of the grudges of his own people, not for any lack of competence, and in strides the pompous Ignatieff. Ignatieff doesn't want a coalition, it's not his idea, the credit doesn't go to him. So he chooses to dissolve it, to satisfy the cowards of his own party who don't want to upset the status quo AT ANY COST. The cost, of course, is Stephen Harper reigns again unchallenged.

I don't believe Stephen Harper is evil. He is not some mindless robot, or spawn of Satan, or twisted monster that some have described him to be. To do that, we would do the exact same thing we did with the Bush presidency, where we only looked at the caricature, the parody, and we ignored the true threat of the man time and time again, because we called him a puppet and a fool. A clown. And so the dancing, prancing fool of a piper led the children out of Hamlin and down into the river, where they followed him laughing at his idiocy, and the water came over their heads and they drowned. To accept the hyperbole of Harper is to deeply, deeply underestimate the man. No, Harper is something far worse. He is simply a man who is utterly, unequivocally wrong. He is firm, unbending in his mental convictions, no matter how he bends to placate the public. Harper is simply wrong, and he is leading us into this new era of status quo.

So, Happy New Year, here at the end of January. Onwards and around.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Adventures of the Average People

Do I need to buy The Time Chasers Special Anniversary DVD?

No. No I do not.

But I want to. I sincerely, sincerely want too. I can't give yo a decent reason why. I mean, this is a terrible film, but I have loving watched it on MST3K many a time, watching Nick and his massive bum chin prance about the country side in a Castleton T-shirt, getting his girlfriend shot, himself killed, his boss killed and crashing two aircraft. But it all turn out okay, 'cause of time and terrible 80's plaid and stuff. And in the end, that's what really matters, right?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's 'return' on Macs.

Judicious use
Of the enter key
Creates the illusion
of poetry.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

These are the shadows of things that have been.

Author's Note: the following comes solely from my own meandering experience. There are no doubt inaccuracies. I humbly beg your forgiveness.

When I was a boy, my mother worked as an auctioneer's assistant, along with a plethora of other jobs designed to keep us in health and home. It should be said that my father also worked this form of labour, but in my mind it is linked with my mother. She, harassed and flustered by her gregarious employer, would dart about the auction house doing whatever it was that needed doing, while I, grossly short for my age, would often lose sight of her for long periods of time.

The term auction house is a bit of misnomer. My childhood was spent in the small provincial town of Creemore. The town was situated in an primordial lake bed, as demonstrated by the picturesque valley surrounding it, and the predilection of local home's basements to flood. one of many former railroad and mill towns that dot the landscape of Southern Ontario. In my youth it was a tired old town, by the time I left it in the early stages of puberty, it had its fancy Bistro and was already showing the signs of it's Lovecraftian re-animation into the shambling monster of place it is today. The presence of the brewery allowed Creemore to survive the death of the railroad the was the doom of many of its peers. Today, however, that same brewery has spelled out the doom of Creemore village life. Already filled with tchotchkes and bored teenagers, it is like a sleeping gorgon awaiting the kiss of princely subdivision to whisk the town into a world of banality and the mundane.

But I digress.

Bellow the hillock that the Junior Junior High-school was built on (Grades 4-8. Make of that what you will) were two long, warehouse like buildings of astonishing similarity. I can only assume they were built by the same developer back in the fifties, but that is only speculation. Each warehouse was sided in wide aluminium panels and ugly concrete blocks. One, the arena, was green. The other, a colour that can only be described as nicotine yellow, was the legion. It was in that building that John Simpson held court.

In those days, less than twenty years ago, it was still an acceptable practice to smoke indoors. It's comical to think back of it now, but everything in the legion was stained by it. The grey concrete, the hideous faux wood paneling, the display cases, the chairs, the fluorescent lights- it was all dyed by a yellowy-green patina of exhaled nicotine. On auction days, you could find all sorts looking at the wares. Young couples looking to purchase conversation pieces; old ladies come to reminisce or complain about their childhood; brass, arrogant nouveau rich who descended from their Olympian chateaus to act like caricatures from seventies sit-coms. Beer-bellied, moustached truckers whose presence there was never adequately explainable. I suppose even truckers occasionally desire miscellaneous turn-of-the-century gardening tools, or 1970s issues of Vanity Fair.

There were also the people who came there because they presumably went there everyday the building was opening. They were the ones responsible for the fine coat of yellow bequeathed to the building's interior. I suppose these men were nominally the veterans the legion was created for, but I can only ever think of them as the epitome of their generation of Farmers. In the words of James Lileks, these were the men who spent their Sundays in church, staring out the window and thinking about coffee. They were almost uniformly burly, and rarely over 5'10. Ruddy, red faced, with thinning hair cut very short, usually greying. They always wore a combination of worn denim, lumberjack shirts and the ubiquitous baseball cap. They spoke in that patois unique to rural Southern Ontario and the Maritimes, a drawl that will suddenly speed up, peppered with “you know” and “right” and “see”, such as “Oh, you know the Litmin's place up on the ninth concession near [insert relevant hamlet here], right? Well, I was down there on Monday, see, and seeing as there cow was sick, I thought...”

These men would sit, filling half the seats, and converse with each other with all the solemnness of Torah scholars, occasionally punctured by a deep laugh. They never bought anything, they were simply there because they had nowhere else to be. These men were serviced by the legion's bar, a filth ridden hole-in-the-wall in the back of the hall. I can still remember the taste of their sandwiches, the tuna and egg-salad that always tasted sweet. I can only assume that it was the poor quality of mayonnaise in their manufacture. When not at the legion, these men would spend their days smoking outside the post-office, or eating in the local greasy-spoon diner (God, how I miss that diner). The grubby tables, the faded white curtain gauze that hung ineffectually in the long bank of windows. The fare was what you'd expect, various undercooked, watery eggs, bacon dripping with fat, crunchy, overcooked home-fries (the best kind). But on auction days, at least a few of these men would dutifully make an appearance.

If it was a particularly hot day, the best place to sit was the floor. The cool of the concrete could be felt through the palm of the hands, bringing relief to a small child sweating in the heat. Mum would often leave me in the care of the lovely cash-box lady who sat at the back, near the snack bar. I have long since forgotten her name, but she called me munchkin, a name I still loathe. For some reason, whenever I think of her I am immediately greeted by a visage of a pull-string Urkel doll, which I cannot explain. To placate me into not nicking antiques and running amok, my mother would on occasion buy me donuts from the aforementioned Snack Bar. These were blobs of yellowy dough, covered with a horrendous, gut destroying icing sugar and sprinkles. One bite gave you your monthly sugar intake, and I almost never finished my donut, because by the second bite, I was already disgusted with the very taste of those saccharine monstrosities. Looking back on it now, I can easily see that my mum was in her element in all that chaos. Though she'd probably disagree, it is my mother's drive and will that drive much of the family forward, and amongst that madness that is an auction, orders to get one item, hand off another, organize this and that and the other, I have no doubt that she handled it with the the same inimitable skill with which she approaches everything else.

Outside the legion, mounted on a hideous concrete pillar, was a fighter jet. At a guess, I'd say it dated from the Korean War, what with it's silver body, reminiscent of an Airstream, and general air of decrepitude. It was the dream of every kid to somehow manage to climb the tower and sit in or on the jet, but I have no idea if anybody ever managed it. From on that jet, you'd have a good view of the surrounding town. At the foothill in front of you, you could see in the distance the long road that led up to the map-marker of Cashtown Corners. On that road sat the town's two gas stations, Shell and a place that I believe was called “Sunny's” or some such. These gas station were within a kilometre of one another, and they were locked in an eternal struggle to take away each other's customers. Behind you rose the edifice of the century old, three story schoolhouse, with its bell tower and ancient maple trees. You could no doubt see the steeples and bell towers of the town's four churches- Anglican, Presbyterian, United, and the sinfully ugly Baptist church, which had to have been built in the fifties. The Catholics had to go outside of town for their religious needs. And right in front of you was the arena (I'm fairly sure I haven't reversed the buildings in my mind).

I never, ever played hockey as a child, but nonetheless memories of that place persist. There was an acrid smelled that filled the air that became quite harsh once you went out onto the ice. I believe that the arena may also have had an equally atrocious snack bar in the observation area, but that may be a false memory. I can recall, with stunning clarity, the helmet that my parents purchased to protect my fragile brain pan. My mother being the economically minded person that she is, purchased it second hand from somewhere or other, and I was required to wear it whenever I went on the ice. Like most things from my boyhood, my head was too small for it, and I looked ridiculous wearing it. It was a black hockey helmet, scuffed somewhat, with a white line going around the circumference at the base. There was a dirty white strap that seemed dangerously thin, and in order to keep the damned thing on my skull it was always so tight as to slightly choked me as the helmet jumped around on my head. I remember walking out to the ice, very careful to walk only on the rubber matting because I had been taught that to step on the concrete would destroy your skates for eternity. I was, at best, a horrible skater, barely past the stage whereby you sort of hobble/walk along the ice. My father was always graceful on the ice, prepared for it by an adolescence of hockey and an adult life of dancing. I was always seized by jealousy, as he would talk to me face to face, effortlessly gliding backwards. I remember too the horror of tying my laces, wrapped twice around in a desperate attempt to get them to somehow fit my tiny feet. It always hurt, afterward, because the side well of the skate had dug into my narrow ankles. I always loved the way the ice looked, slick and wet after the Zamboni had gone over it.

But it is the legion that I remember most clearly. In later years I would deliver a speech there that would be totally panned by by the judges, to which I still remain bitter. It was in that legion that I first joined the cub scouts, of which I'll no doubt return to in some later work. But I often missed that pseudo-pastoral childhood. I still do.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cold Concrete Floor

As I grow older
And my hearing starts to go
I find that more exchanges remind me of
Cigarette smoke.
Clouds of it.
A childhood in the legion,
Surrounded by the relics of the dead,
While, through grainy mic,
The auctioneer's booming voice
Sings out it's kinetic patter song.
And I sit there,
Trying to breathe.

Dem people from Jersey is brutes.

When I learned
They had killed off
Edith Bunker.
I wept.

And my last certainties
Like that other pink slipper.

As solitary as an oyster

I have often joked to anyone within earshot that I have an auto-didactic classical education. And then I laugh. As the sentence is unusually dense and really not very funny, nobody else ever laughs. The benefits of a classical education used to mean that you could converse with other learned persons on weighty topics of great import. But since no one cares about weighty topics of great import, you're left to make jokes about Blake that no one will ever find funny. And to be fair, I can completely understand why. Acting like a pompous git is never very well liked. But what is it that has caused the decline of classical studies? The phasing out of the study of ancient Greek and Latin no doubt played some part, but the myths and stories of antiquity have been translated into the vernacular for at least two centuries now, and the handy-cap of not reading a text in it's original prose doesn't mean that it's tenants and observations are any less relevant.

Andrea: "Unhappy is the land that breeds no hero."
: "No, Andrea: Unhappy is the land that needs a hero."

The above is a passage from Brecht's
Leben des Galilei. I could make the argument that in this trying time of crisis and universal brouhaha, people have no need of heros, but that simply doesn't match up with historical evidence. In crisis, people like stories of heroes. Today, though, we don't have heroes. We have our celebretatum, for whom we clamour for details of their lives and musical choices, but they are never the sort of people who perform "great deeds". Charitible work not withstanding, our celebrites are not heros of renown, but entertainers: singers, actors, dancers. Bards used to tell the stories of heroes. Now, the focus is on the bards themselves.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Return to the Wasteland Pt. 2

I have returned to my place in the shadows.
I watch the band begin the beguine,
Note who has changed partners,
And who sits out a set.

But for a moment there, I once again
Was blessed enough to take another turn.
A stately waltz, it's steps close held,
Its undertones of eros more evident with every refrain.

I tried.
I really did.

But with every turn, with every pass I saw
At his place by the door,
The mocking grin of the Amaranthine Porter.
It was doomed, as I knew we would be
The moment the band-leader hefted his hand.
The music grew louder,
My steps faltered more,
The spectators voices a deafening roar.

It didn't matter.
As Mollari said,
I had forgotten how to dance.
Like good dancers,
We bore it till the end.
The music ended, and with his skeleton smile,
The Footman made his way through the floor
And to a special few
He gave them back their coats.

Again I was afraid.
And I was right to be.
Shattered by grief, and the madness of heartbreak,
I again found myself in that blighted wasteland.

But I am back now.
I recorded the dances, their partners, the songs and sets.
It is my job, I am a watcher.
Thus, I watch.

It will have to be enough.

Return to the Wasteland

Time has passed.
Wind has worn down the carbon scored stones.
The animals and worms have taken the dead,
And what riches were held within the Walls
Have been stripped.
I had hoped,
I had prayed,
To not return.
Why am I here again?
This open tomb,
Sixty-two square miles of fallen rock and mortar.
For one man's choice, a city died.
For one man's choice, a generation gone.
As for my choice...

I knew the consequences.
Yet I had the gall to hope.

More fool am I.

I think Rand would have been displeased by teflon.

The true purpose of post-modern literary and artistic criticism is to bring the world to a point where it is impossible to say the phrase "I like potatoes" without it being ironic, symbolic of the Irish Potato Famine, Sisyphus, Anglo-Frisian relations, the cold wa, modern technology, sexual feminist re-interpretive Randian values and the rise of teflon waffle irons; and finally to also be a reference to an amusing anecdote about Oscar Wilde, Bette Midler and/or Ron Paul.

See, literary critics are no better than Hollywood producers. They don't want you to read Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird, they want you to read Granville Hicks Presents Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. They want to remove all of the author's presence from the novel and infuse it with their own self, just like a hermit crab emptying a shell and taking up residence.

Only, you know, different.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I have a new post, but I can't finish it tonight. I will to bed, and post upon the morrow.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Guffin War: Act 1 Scene 1: A country road. A tree

The ground was quite damp; understandable in the muggy heat. Ruxpin simply lay passively. He hadn't slept in over a day, and despite the threat of being shot, he was tempted to simply doze off in the mud. The voice spoke again, harshly.

"Hände hoch oder ich schieße!" Ruxpin didn't speak German. He simply waited for the voice to remember where it was. Eventually, almost apologetically, the voice spoke in English. "If you please, hands where I can see them." Well, that was said, but not how it sounded. Forty years away from Austria had done nothing to remove the harsh, guttural accent, which rendered the phrase as "If hyu pleas, hends vere hy ken see dem". Ruxpin slowly complied. There was silence, accompanied only by birdsong. Ruxpin finally filled it.

"If you'll forgive my impudence, ma'am, there can only be a limited number of six foot bears wearing pants you've ever met. Now what are the odds that you'd be tracked down by one you've never met."

"Still the wit, I see." The voice replied at last. There was more birdsong. Ruxpin realized that he was, in fact, dozing off in the mud. He struggled to pull himself awake.

"You're a hard woman to find, Fräulein."

"Not hard enough, apparently. You still smoke, I smell."

"And you're still Austrian, I hear. It's kind of wet in this mud."

"Yes. I imagine it would be." A foot was removed from his back. With a weary sigh, he rolled over onto his back.

Mollie Halbmond von Possenreißer looked much- no, almost exactly as she did when Ruxpin had first met her in Huế in 1963. Later in life he had gained access to her security files, where he discovered that she looked exactly the same as when she had reached her full growth in 1915. She was short, about four feet in total. It was impossible to describe her features without using the term 'elfin', but she was hardly childlike. The face was smooth and youthful, but lines around the eyes betrayed the maturity of her character. The hair was jet black, and amateurly cut in a style that hadn't been popular since Colleen Moore has starred in Her Wild Oat. On her right hand was a grubby, dirt stained ring, but other than that she wore no adornment. Her clothing was non-descript, worn but serviceable. She still had her sidearm trained on him, a modified Browning M1911A designed to fit her small hand. She was holding it in a deceptively casual manner that Ruxpin knew from experience not to underestimate. Her lithe frame was unnaturally strong,and more than one opponent had been felled through overconfidence.

"What do you want, Major?"

"It's Col- well, it was colonel, anyways." At this, Molly raised an eyebrow.

"You get too mouthy for your own good?" Ruxpin chuckled.

"Sexual deviancy, if you can believe that." Molly smiled.

"Well, it sounds like you." She uncocked the pistol and holstered it. "Why are you here, N'Ruxpin?"

"Well" he sighed "First of all, I need your help to bury a comrade."