Mini-update 2


So, apparently smiling planes are a thing that people like. For them who did not recognize the plane, it is an Messerschmitt Me 262. I happen to have another, still smiling, photo of the plane. Both yesterday’s and today’s photos come from my phone, adjusted using Snapseed, and given the final processing using Pixlr Express.

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I’m currently in Illinois. Earlier today I passed by these cars:

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Now, the roadside display does not really look like that; that was a panorama shot, and the curvature is an artifact of how close I was to the cars. 

The cars are, in fact, all in a line. They are all variants of Ford’s Model “put a letter here”.

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Like the first photo, all of the following photos were processed in Snapseed and Pixlr Express, and were so processed on the Samsung Note II (also snapped by same).

I won’t cover all of the cars in this post; I will start with the first.

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This car is for sale for $4,500 . . . 

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The seat in front has the writing “Mother-in-Law Seat”. 

The processing on the above was pushed a bit because the cars were mostly dark and in the shade, but the front of them all were in bright sun.  In fact, regardless of the angle, there were very bright portions of the background in each photo.

I also tried different “vintage” processing to give the car the appropriate look.

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Hmm . . . interesting, but not what I was looking for; close, but no stubby cigar.

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Better, but . . . I know! Let me try B&W.

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Not a bad look, but it’s too ‘modern’. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll hit on a good look eventually.

Walking around the car offers up different details of this ‘gag’ car.

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. . . let me give the ‘vintage’ look another shot . . . 

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Now that, that looks closer to what I envisioned as ‘vintage look’. Too bad I did not save the settings.

Continuing the tour around the car . . . 

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It certainly looks like something that might be fun to own . . . for about a day or two.

Here’s a pseudo macro shot (I plan to stop there tomorrow as well, if I have a chance, to get more macro-type shots).

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I should mention that this is one of them very rare times (the first I can remember) where I am traveling without my trusty Nikon D7000 and its assortment of lenses.

That’s right . . . my camera is 1,000 miles away. I don’t normally do this, but taking care of the camera was going to be a burdensome task given the particulars of this visit, so it made sense to leave it at home. I am carrying the Panasonic and, of course, my phone. If I have a chance to stop there again, I will be using the Panasonic P&S.

Here’s a shot at the interior of this beauty . . . 

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Really, these cars were in pretty good shape for being 80 or 90 years old. This was, as I said, the humor car of the bunch. The others looked much better.

Well, it’s late, and I have to get up in about 4.5 hours, so I should start thinking about getting to sleep. I’m setting this to go live in the morning. There is a chance I might be in Internet blackout for most of the day, but I’ll try to respond to any comments whenever I can (if I get any comments). Goodnight.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

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Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Aeroplanes, Airplanes, Cars, Machines, Personal, Photo-effects, Photography, Photography Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Mini-update


So, once again life yanks my attention elsewhere.  This is a notice that I might not be very active in the blogging universe for the next few days.

However, right now I can share a picture of a deadly, smiling, hysterical  . . . er . . . historical jet.

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That’s a photo from the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.

That plane sure do look happy!

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

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Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Aeroplanes, Airplanes, Personal, Photography | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Disperser Bookcases – Part V


books

I last left you with the Tri-Lakes Visitor Guide and local demographics.

Next up is a Sunset Book, Terrariums & Miniature Gardens, 1973. People might not know it, but I have somewhat of a green thumb . . . one of these days I’ll wash the paint off, but I’m hoping it will eventually wear off. Oh, and I also like plants, and have a number of them that thrive in our house.

This book has interesting projects in it, and while I am sure there are newer books, before I buy any of them, I need to read this one.

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The link I provided leads you to get used copies of it for only a penny . . . and $4 shipping.

Here’s an example of the content . . .

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They have a large section on plants, and various types of suggested arrangements.

The next tall-thin booklet you see is a guide to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Except it’s mostly hotels listings and attractions. Not worth showing as there is now more available online.

After that, the next thin book, the blue one . . .

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One of the few regrets I have about the 26 years we lived in Michigan is that we never did what we had said we would do . . . travel the shoreline and hit all of the lighthouses before moving away.

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HOWEVER . . . we still plan on doing it one of these years, and then I’ll do a book like this, only with better photos.

The next four things are all stuff by Jacovitti. The first is this book:

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The book contains two western stories, the first being “Per un Pugno di Spiccioli”, 1967, translates as “For a Fistful of Change”, an obvious send-up of “Fistful of Dollars”, 1964.

The other is “Occhio di Pollo”, 1957, which translates as “Eye of Chicken”, or maybe “Chicken Eye”. I have no idea what movie this one references.

The inside cover page gives the dates and a hint at the content.

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The action inside is over-the-top, and that includes the dialogue (it’s still funny to me, but then I read Italian).

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They speak of the “gun culture” in the US, but I grew up with these cartoons, with Tex Willer, and other action heroes who had one thing in common; a facility with guns, and a propensity to use them. My love for guns was firmly entrenched long before I came to the US.

The two pages above are from “Per un Pugno di Spiccioli”, and the following pages are from “Occhio di Pollo”.

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Yes, the blond guy is none other than Boffalo Bill. I wonder who Jacovitti used as an inspiration for the character.

And here’s a treat for my readers; the full “Occhio di Pollo” as a YouTube slideshow.

I liked those comics . . . but my favorite Jacovitti character is Cocco Bill.

The next book, “Trotta, Trotta … Cocco Bill!“, 1998, is a collection of Jacovitti’s personal favorite Cocco Bill cartoons. A fast-shooting, camomilla-drinking, Trottalemme-riding cowboy and all-around good guy who always does what is right – and that mostly means shooting up the bad guys – was, and still is, an inspiration for me.

Front Cover

Front Cover

Back Cover

Back Cover

Here’s a few pages just to get the flavor of the action and drawing style.

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As unique as the drawing style is, the writing is something else . . . hard to describe, and near impossible to translate, but trust me . . . still funny.

Next to the book one can see a couple of beat-up folders . . . those are folders containing pages from newspapers where Jacovitti’s cartoons appeared. You see, he not only drew westerns, but also detective stories . . .

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. . . and even pirates stories . . .

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I don’t remember right now, and it’s too late to call my mother, but I’m thinking those were clipped and saved in the folders by my uncle Marino. He succumbed to cancer a number of years ago, and these passed to me. I could be wrong; they could be from a friend of the family. Regardless, I have them now.

Not sure what will happen to them once I’m gone. They will probably be discarded by people who will not recognize in them the same joy and spirit that I did.

Those are the two big blue and slightly ‘fuzzy’ folders.

Next to them one can see the brown spine of another folder. There are actually two folders there, one being hidden. They are the original printouts (the first one printed on an Epson Dot-Matrix printer) of the first two stories I wrote. Both were written for my wife on her birthday (on different years).

The first one is on this blog, HERE.

The second one never made it in the blog, but can be read HERE.

If you happen to read them, remember they are over 20 years old, and my first attempts at writing. Not making excuses for them, but it could be I’m a little better now.

The last book on this shelf is “The Great International Airplane Book“, by Jerry Mander, George Dippel, Howard Gossage, from 1971.

The book was the result of a 1967 paper airplane competition sponsored by Scientific American. They would repeat it in 2008, and you can read the article HERE. That too resulted in a book: The New Millennium Paper Airplane Book, which I don’t own.

The book I do own is interesting enough:

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It has all the plans for building the planes that competed. Here’s an example.

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OK, I admit . . . this was a long post.

. . . but, look at it like this; we finally got through the first shelf.

Thank you for reading this Fifth installment, and I hope you join me for the remainder of the rivetting progression through my library. Lots of good stuff to come, if I do say so myself (I usually have to, as few others ever speak so of me).

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Cramped Serpent

Cramped Serpent

Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.  

If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: http://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Creative, Reading, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Flash Retrospective – Part VI


I’m breaking the pattern of alternating Flash Retrospective and Bookcase Exploration. 

You see, I’m a slave to order, patterns, and habit. It’s my nature, but I got me a notion to liberate my creative side, my free spirit . . . and for that I need to let go of what feels ‘right’ – order, repetition, predictability – in favor of chaos, impetuousness, and unpredictability.

Actually, these flash posts are easier and faster to put together than the Bookcase posts, and I am pressed for time.

Before I get to the two flash (back) stories for today, a photo from 11 years ago – Kuai’s shoreline in front of the Hyatt Regency.

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It’s one of those photos I come back to time and again . . . memories of a great vacation, a place that seems beyond the poisonous touch of the world’s problems; a photo from a more innocent age when we still believed politicians represented our interests (they don’t), when companies seemed to care about customers, about their employees, about their responsibilities beyond making as much money as they could at all costs and without regard to damaging people and places (they don’t, and don’t acknowledge any such responsibility – why they buy politicians), and a time when the promises of the future were not something one contemplated with dread.

Enough cheerful stuff . . . 

First up is a tragic tale of hopes and dreams, of sadness, of loss . . . all wrapped in a history lesson about a place near where I live.

Evelyn’s Story

By E. J. D’Alise (Disperser)
Copyright July 2013

Usually death cleanses memories of past events, of eons that flashed as the sum totals of bright streaks of life.  Thus I remember little of my previous lives, but this one tale I recall clearly. . . The story is a sad one, and I only repeat it so that others may learn from it.

Were that I had been there to perhaps affect the course of events, but time is indeed a river, and it does not lightly suffer changes to its path.

The year was 1878, and Palmer Lake, Colorado, near where I currently live, was coming into its own.  The fertile valley, the abundant water, and the railroad, all combined to make this a thriving and growing business hub.

Back East, an 18 year old girl dreamed of a good man, a gentle man, to help her start a family, to embark with her on her life’s journey.  Unlike most women, she had no use for the “bad boy” type. It came to pass she fell in love with Justin.  He had served as a scout in the army, and was now looking to settle down; to start a family, and create life instead of ending it.

They met, they courted, and soon enough Justin proposed.  Evelyn did not hesitate, and they were married shortly after.

The universe seemed poised to gift them both happy lives, but the universe can play cruel tricks, and do so for no more reason than a capricious whim.  Justin lost his job, and shortly after, the army pension stopped as well.  Evelyn had a job at the local bakery, and a good thing too, or they would have been unable to buy even what meager food they could afford.

The days, then weeks, passed, and Justin was unable to find employment.  In self pity and self loathing did he find solace with the idea of his wife supporting him, and that lead to the bottle.  Justin was not a “good” drunk; when drunk, his frustration would wake the man inside, and that man liked to hit, and not lightly, either.

Evelyn stood it as long as she could, but eventually realized the truth of it; he meant to kill her.  Not intentionally, but the shame that drove the drunk side of him saw her as the embodiment of his failures.

One morning, as he lay snoring on the front steps, she packed what little she owned, and made her way to the train station.  As luck would have it, this train rode all the way to Palmer Lake, Colorado.  There it would load up with local goods, pack them in ice, and haul them East. In return, it would bring the trappings of society to the small frontier town.

Evelyn did not know all this when she purchased her ticket.  All she knew was that she had to get away.

She stepped off the train at Palmer Lake, and saw something that caught her interest.

Typesetter Wanted

the sign said.  It hung on the window to the town’s newspaper’s office.  She knew nothing about it, but she could read and write better than most, and that gave her the advantage she needed to land the job.

The editor was an old hand at evaluating people, and knew something was amiss when he asked her name.

“Ev . . . Eleanor,” she had answered, “Eleanor Font, but people call me Elle.”

The editor almost asked for her story, but knew she wanted to leave that in her past. She was here to make a new life.

“You’re hired!” brought a huge smile to her lips.

She enjoyed it so, learning the newspaper business.   Having a job gave her satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, and most of all, a sense of independence.  Plus, she could afford to buy the frilly things she still liked.

10824_09MAY2010_1_DxOWithin a few months she was writing a tourism column, highlighting the red rocks overlooking the town as attractions.  They offered places where a person could forget the bounds of mortality, and commune for a few brief moments with the ageless formations that saw so many bright flashes of life come and go.

As more people from Denver came down for weekend trips to enjoy the beauty of the red rocks, she opened up a side business, selling picnic baskets to the tourists.  For a small fee, she would also lead them to her favorite formations, telling them of happy and sad tales of indians who were slowly becoming nothing more than curiosities, but had once lived in the shadow of the red rocks.

That’s how she met Hank.  He was the kind of man she had sought so long ago.  Still hesitant, they had begun a cautious journey toward what they hoped would be a future together.

Her fame spread, and, unbeknownst to Elle, a passing traveler wrote a freelance piece about her.  He sold it to a paper back East.  People there were fascinated by the West, and were always hungry for details about Western life.

That’s how Justin came to find out where his Evelyn had gone.  He boarded the next train bound for Palmer Lake, the angry man inside barely kept in check.

Elle always looked at the new arrivals, and when the train pulled up to the small station, she saw Justin get off.  He looked around, and then made a beeline for the newspaper office.  In a panic, she ran to the back, and out the rear entrance.  Her horse and wagon were there, and she rode off in them, just as Justin stepped from the building. Justin watched her for a moment, and then grabbed the nearest horse, giving chase.

Elle headed to the only refuge she knew; her beloved red rocks.  At the base of them, she left the horse and carriage, and made her way up to her favorite spot. Justin followed, screaming her name.10836_09MAY2010_1_DxO

Witnesses, hearing the commotion, saw the tragedy unfold. Elle, at the edge of a drop-off, Justin standing still, arm outstretched toward her, 60 to 70 feet away.  They heard him yell “Nooo!” as Elle turned, and stepped off the cliff.  They saw him drop to his knees, his head slowly sinking to touch the red rock.

One cannot know the reason for Elle’s actions.  No one blamed Justin, but himself.  Within three months, Justin had drank himself to death.

Elle’s funeral was attended by hundreds, possibly thousands.  The rock she loved so much was named after her . . . Elle Font Rock.

As often it goes, the details of the story were, over time, garbled by ignorant and dim-witted people, and eventually, without rhyme or reason, the rock came to be known as Elephant Rock.

But I remember . . .

The End

This story came from a pun first made (HERE), and I felt it was time to expand it, letting the full weight of it be carried in the minds of men (and women). The story and pun relate to Palmer Lake’s Elephant Rock, shown below.

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There are those who maintain a different history for Elephant Rock, but the pun alone should make the above the preferred version in the minds of men (and women).

My second story drew on an actual incident while we both lived in Carbondale, and worked at crappy jobs as I nearly worked my way through graduate school. The story itself was written in response to one of Conrad’s prompts, and the comments expand a bit on the concept and the basis for the story. 

As usual, please excuse stupid mistakes (but please, do point them out) as I get these out pretty quick and with minimal editing.

“Closure”

By E. J. D’Alise (Disperser)
Copyright September 2013

Marisa lifted the hopper cover. She sighed, and cleared the jam from the feeder.  Closing the cover, she gave an expert hit to the lower portion of the hopper using her palm, and then leaned over to press the “Clear” and the “Start” buttons. 

The pills resumed flowing, filling each bottle with the proper number of . . . what where they?  Oh, yeah . . . Peruvian superfast slimming and toning herbal miracle powder; all natural, all organic, and used by the ancients to prolong life and promote a healthy and youthful appearance.  

Marisa off-handedly pondered the fact “the ancients” life expectancy was half that of modern humans . . . half the grief, worry, and misery.  

Her mind wandered, as it often did, thinking back to the twists and turns of her life.  She had lived through the late stages of the middle-class boom, the beginning of its demise, starting with financial crisis after financial crisis, and ending with the rise of powerful interest groups who, after a while, did not care if everyone knew they owned Senators and Congressmen. 

Opportunities dwindled, good jobs slowly disappeared, and menial jobs became the norm.  Jobs like working at this pill factory, without benefits, and barely making enough to pay for food.  The government took up the slack, providing all sorts of “free” benefits.  The ancients might have called it slavery.  The politically correct term was “contributing” to society.

Mark had called it; he had seen it coming, and it was the reason he had risked the asteroid mining run.  He knew they had no hope of beating a system designed to keep everyone in their place.  He called it “the return to feudal times”, where privileged individuals enjoyed the benefits of technological wonders, medical advances, lives of incredible luxury, and never gave a thought to the vast majority of people struggling with little hope beyond that of survival. 

The offer was tempting.  Riding on a mostly automated mining spaceship, all one had to do was make the run to the asteroid belt, return, and be set for life with an above-average pension, guaranteed housing, and free basic medical. 

Still, Mark would not have tried it without the added insurance; should the person die during the trip, their family would be entitled to those same benefits.   Marisa had argued, pleaded, threatened, but ultimately could not stop him from going; he was doing it for them both, but mostly for her.

Eighteen months out, on the return leg, the signals from the ship had stopped.  One year later Marisa learned about the buried clause in the contract Mark had signed.  Without telemetry reports that the ship had malfunctioned, it was assumed the pilot had either erred, or intentionally sabotaged the mission, and no benefits would be paid to the survivors. 

That had been nine years ago, and she had been single ever since.  She could not accept that Mark was gone, and besides, he was the only one for her, her soul mate, and no one could ever take his place.   

But single people did not fare well in the system; they could not earn enough on their own, and they did not qualify for as many benefits.  She could no longer afford an apartment, and now lived in one of the many group homes.  She could barely afford the fees, but at least it was shelter.  Still, there was no hope of ever leaving the place.

Marisa’s focus returned to the present upon hearing a buzzing.  An electrical malfunction; smoke was seeping from behind the control panel.  She removed her gloves so she could pry the panel open.   It finally came loose, and the hose used to transport the cleaning acid sprayed her face and hands; a melting wire had cut through it.  

Marisa staggered backwards, unable to open her eyes, and unwilling to use her hands to wipe them; like her eyes, they too were burning.  Her involuntary yell and movement caught the attention of the shift supervisor.  The supervisor rushed her to the washing station, and rinsed both her eyes and hands.  Finally able to see, Marisa looked at the supervisor; the woman was not happy.  This was going to cut into production quotas, and also required reporting a safety occurrence.

“May I go to the restroom to wash up?” Marisa asked, wanting to soothe the lingering burning to her hands and eyes. 

“Your break is not for another half hour.”  The woman motioned to the repair crew that had been alerted to the problem, pointing them to her machine.  “You can work at one of the auxiliary machines until then.”

Marisa looked at the woman.  Perhaps frustration, perhaps anger, perhaps just common sense made her reply.

“No.” 

Turning, Marisa walked toward the restroom.  When she came out, both her shift supervisor and the plant manager were waiting for her. 

“To my office.” The man did not wait for an answer; he just headed off. 

Marisa followed, still clutching the wet paper towel, occasionally using it to wipe her eyes.

The office was stark; a desk, a table, and two chairs.  The man motioned for her to sit. 

Marisa shook her head.  She was not going to have him tower over her.  “No thanks; I sit all day.”

The man sat behind the desk.  He looked at her; he was half smiling.

“Leaving your post is cause for dismissal.  As you know, we have a long list of applicants waiting to take your place.”  The man enjoyed what little power he had, and leveraged it whenever he could.

“Please,” Marisa tried, and almost succeeded, in keeping her voice from trembling, “I need this job.  I’m a good worker, and always exceed my quota.  This was an accident.”

“Well, you did walk away from your station when asked to return to it.”  The man stood, and came around the desk.  He was her height, but still tried towering over her.  “Now, I suppose I could be persuaded to be lenient . . .” He let the word hang out there, looking at Marisa with an even bigger grin on his face.

Marisa looked at him for a few seconds.  “I would rather die.”

The man lost his smile, and was about to answer when a strange sound began to grow.  Sirens could be heard approaching, and then the sound of helicopters, and what could only be a couple of low-flying military jets.  The man ran to the window, looked out, and then ran out the office door, yelling “Stay here!” as he went.

Wiping her eyes, Marisa went to the window. 

She had never seen anything like it; no one had.  There, in the front of the building, hovering about forty feet off the ground, sat a craft with strange markings.  It was big, at least sixty feet long, but not as big as what cast a shadow over the whole parking lot . . . that craft hovered a couple of hundred feet from the ground.  It was difficult to see it all, but Marisa guessed it was at least three hundred feet long and at least a hundred and fifty feet wide.  The indentation on its underside matched the shape of the smaller craft, which was now extending a ramp. 

The metal being that came out was at least seven feet tall.  As it stepped off the ramp, a dozen police cars stopped on a semi-circle in front of it.  The policemen exited the cars, weapons drawn, and used the cars as shields as they trained their weapons at the robot.

Marisa ran out of the room. She wanted to witness first hand the first human contact with an alien race, even if it was a robot.  As she ran down the stairs, she absentmindedly thought robot overlords could not be any worse than human overlords.

A few people had ventured outside, but most choked the exit, preferring to remain in the safety of the building. She pushed her way through layers of people, finally standing outside, no more than one hundred feet from the robot. 

The robot faced the officers.  Regular army personnel had joined the officer’s ranks.  The robot did not move as it stared down the barrels of a number of weapons.  By then, the helicopter gunships were coming into position, one opposite Marisa, and one off to her side.

The robot looked at the far gunship, and then turned to look at the other.  In the process, it turned toward Marisa.  It stopped in mid-turn, and seemed to focus on her.  It took a step toward her just as the bullhorn blared.

“STOP!” 

The robot slowly lifted one arm.  The hand, or what passed for a hand, resembled a closed fist, and as it rose, a finger-like protrusion extended.  It pointed above them. 

Everyone looked up.  The big ship was nearly silent, and remained silent as port after port opened on its underside, and all manner of barrels protruded from the openings.  Along the periphery, shutters opened, and what looked like articulated weapons dropped, each acting independently and focusing on different targets. 

The robot resumed walking toward Marisa, who took an involuntary step back. 

It stopped a few feet from her, and extended its other hand, also looking like a closed fist.   The hand stopped a foot from her chest, and slowly opened. 

It took a few moments for Marisa to recognize Mark’s wedding ring.  Her eyes swelled with tears as she reached for it.  Lifting it gently from the outstretched hand, Marisa clutched it to her chest, her eyes closed in grief. 

After a few moments, she opened her eyes.  The robot had not moved, and stood in front of her with its hand still outstretched. 

Marisa looked up at its head.  As she did, letters words began to scroll across the featureless metal.

“Mark is waiting.  He sent me to get you off this rock.”

The End

I’ll let readers in on a secret (or maybe not so much of a secret) . . . I want off this rock as well. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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If you wish to know more, please read below.

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Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Stuff, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Flash Retrospective – Part V


This next photo would have been a good match for the last story in my retrospective . . . except this is an abandoned sugar processing plant, and not an old barn. Oh well.

untitled-2_DIGI

I don’t have an appropriate photo for today’s flashback . . . get it? Flashback. I’m looking back at some of my old flash fiction . . . no? Never mind; it’s not important.

These are a bit longer than other flash works, and the three of them form a complete story. Now, I know full well that if I just link them here, only one, maybe two people will bother clicking on the links.

Therefore, I will incorporate them below, and even include the photos that came with them. Perhaps then three, maybe four people will read them.

Here’s the first one.

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Awakening . . .

By E. J. D’Alise (Disperser)
Copyright June 2013

The gun within reach, Ed opened the door. He had checked the security monitor, and so was not surprised to look down at the pre-teen girl standing on his porch. What did surprise him was the tomahawk hanging from her belt. It looked hefty, but she did not seem bothered by its obvious weight. 

“May I help you?” he asked, even as he scanned the surroundings. Anyone else out there would have triggered the infrared sensors, or the motion sensors, but old habits were hard to break. 

“Is Evelyn home?” The girl’s voice sounded more mature than her stature and appearance would indicate. 

Ed focused on her. Not many people around these parts knew his girlfriend’s name. They had moved here a few years back, and had kept to themselves. Especially so, considering the two previous attempts on Evelyn’s life. 

Ed looked at the tomahawk, and stole a side glance to his gun. 

“You would not make it.” The girl’s voice was matter-of-fact, and she seemed relaxed, but Ed knew, as people know these things, she spoke the truth. 

They stood there for a full half minute before Evelyn came up beside him. 

“Who’s at the door?” she asked. 

The girl bowed her head as she dropped to her knees. “My Queen, I offer my services.” 

Ed looked at Evelyn, and when he looked back, the girl was once more standing upright, but this time a little straighter, almost in a formal pose. 

“. . . uh . . . what . . . I mean, who . . . “ Ed was not sure which of the dozen questions swirling in his mind he should ask. 

“Please, we should get inside. I don’t think I was followed, but you are near awakening, and The Bidden are searching for you.” The girl motioned inside the home as she spoke. 

A beep. Then another. And another. And more still. The motion sensors were going off all around the house. Ed had already grabbed his gun when the first creature crashed through the kitchen window. 

It had barely landed when the tomahawk embedded itself in its head. Ed registered it must have been thrown with some force, as it nearly split the creature’s skull in half. 

He turned back to the girl, then moved to be near Evelyn. The girl stopped him with one hand, and it felt like he was pressing against solid rock. She held out her other hand and, with a juicy noise, the tomahawk returned to her. She grabbed it out of mid-air, and without stopping, jumped over Evelyn, landing between two more creatures. In a motion too fast to follow, she sliced them both in two.

“Quick,” she said, “to your shower!” 

Ed stood motionless, trying to process what was happening. 

“NOW!” the girl’s voice moved them to action, and they sprinted down the hallway, the girl bringing up the rear. 

They burst into the main bathroom, and the girl unceremoniously yanked the shower’s glass door off the hinges, and shoved them both in the shower as she turned on the water. 

The cold water was a jolt, and they tried to avoid the jet, but the girl held them fast. 

“Whatever you do, whatever you see, if you want to live do not step outside the stream. FOR ANY REASON!” 

With that she turned to dispatch another creature, and then two more, and then half the wall was ripped away by a grotesque upright figure. 

“Great,” said the girl, “a Solid-i.” Even as she spoke, the figure reached out and grabbed the girl, dragging her from the bathroom. “DO NOT LEAVE THE STREAM!” Her voice died down even as they heard the sound of her tomahawk striking what must have been dense flesh. 

Shivering, standing in the warming stream of water, Ed and Evelyn watched a number of creatures file into the room, silent, but focused on the pair in the shower. Ed remembered his gun, and shot at one. It did not even flinch, and wherever the bullet had struck, it had no visible effect. They stood, letting the water run over them as a few more creatures jammed in the confined area. The pressure from the creatures pushing from behind caused one at the front to lose its balance, and lurch forward. It stepped on a small puddle that was forming outside the shower, and immediately howled in obvious pain. 

Ed was about to splash the rest when he stopped in shock. Evelyn was changing in front of his eyes. Her hair lengthened as he watched, and changed in color to a deep black. She grew a few inches, and her frail figure filled out to something a fit athlete would envy. Her eyes closed, she took a deep breath, and when she opened them, they were as black as her hair. 

“Stay here.” Her voice had changed as well, sporting a deep, musical timbre. 

As she spoke, she lifted her hands, and her nails were now at least six inches long, and glowing. 

Ed would have made to stop her as she stepped out of the shower, but his brain was trying to process it all, and keeping him frozen as he stared at the love of his life. Her normally gentle face was now a mask of fury. Beautiful, terrible, fury. 

The front line of beasts tried to back up, but the wall of creatures behind them impeded their retreat. Evelyn, his Evelyn, tore into them. Silent, swift, and almost a blur . . . the wall of creatures broke, but not before twenty or so laid atop each other, practically cut to shreds. 

Ed recovered from his stupor, and stepped out to follow her as she chased them into the hall. Instantly, two creatures crashed through the small window to his right, and were upon him, teeth and nails flashing and tearing at him. The last thing he remembered was hearing a furious scream that sounded part war cry, and part anguish. 

Ed woke to an eerie quiet. No; he heard the soft murmur of voices. He tried raising from the bed he was laying on, but the pain awoke to assault him on multiple fronts. He grunted as he laid back down. 

Evelyn and the girl were suddenly at his side. They carefully stripped some of the soaked towels wrapped around him, and replaced them with fresh ones. Neither spoke. 

It took a few minutes for the pain to subside, and for his brain to clear. 

“What the hell is going on.” He meant to put more emphasis to his question, but he lacked the strength. 

Evelyn was about to answer when suddenly both she and the girl turned. A tall, muscular man entered the bedroom. Not quite looking like a man, but definitively humanoid, he was wrapped in a loose cape, and black metal was visible underneath when he moved. He stopped in front of the girl and Evelyn. Two more figures entered, short weapons-like implements held in each of their hands, and they went to stand on either side of Evelyn and the girl. One last figure entered, and made his . . . no, her way to Ed. She stooped down, and carefully lifted and removed each of the towels. 

She then opened a small container she was carrying, and sprinkled the content on Ed. Immediately numb, Ed watched as his skin was literally being rebuilt, the deep wounds healing, the cuts closing. He almost missed the conversation between Evelyn and the man. 

“. . . told me you would handle this personally, that no harm would come to him. He nearly died.” 

“I take the blame for it.” The girl had spoken, stepping in front of Evelyn. 

Evelyn gently moved her out of the way. “No, Lynd; the responsibility was mine. The consequence is mine to bear.” 

The man flicked the cape over one shoulder, and drew a slightly curved knife. Upon clearing the sheath, its cutting edge glowed green. Evelyn offered her throat. 

“NO!” Ed had never moved so fast in his life, nor with such power. He was not sure how, but he ended up standing in front of Evelyn and the girl, his back to them. The man who had drawn the knife was embedded halfway into the drywall, and the other two were doubled up on the ground.

The remaining figure nodded. “Nearly awake, now.” 

(not) The End

The original was presented HERE, and I explained this came out of left field, and that I had no plans to add to it. 

But add to it I did . . . here’s the photo from the second part of the three part story.

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And here’s the second part . . . 

Awakening . . . (Part 2)

By E. J. D’Alise (Disperser)
Copyright August 2013

Ed awoke in a daze, and he did not recognize his surroundings.  He vaguely remembered collapsing after his burst of action, but not much else.

He was in a strange room, with two guards standing by the door, and Lynd sitting on the floor, her back to the wall.  Her eyes were closed, and remained so as she spoke.

“Are you back with us?”

“Where am I?”  Ed stood, and floated halfway to the ceiling.

Lynd was faster than the guards, grabbing his foot, and stopping his spin before he hit the ceiling.

“We’re on the moon,” Lynd answered, lowering him to where he could grab the cot he had just left, “be careful how you move.”

“The moon?  You mean our moon?”  Ed slowly sat, his hands keeping a grip on the edge of the cot.

“Earth’s moon; not your moon.” Lynd sat back down as she answered.

“What does . . . “ Ed did not finish.  The door opened, and the female, or whatever it was, that had tended his wounds walked in, along with two more guards.

“Good, you’re awake.” Then she smiled.  “Well, not awake awake, but getting there.”

“Where’s Evilyn?” Ed slowly stood, keeping a foot hooked to the leg of the cot.  It was anchored to the floor, thus allowing him to stand and face the female.

“She is in the holding cell. You interceded in her behalf, but she must still face the consequences of her failure . . . once you are yourself again.”  The female came to stand in front of Ed, and unceremoniously lifted his shirt, poking places Ed remembered sporting open wounds.  There was no indication of any scar, or damage to the skin.

“I am Kamo,” the female stepped back, giving a curt bow as she spoke.

“I’m Ed, and what failure are you referring to?” Then he looked around, taking a moment to register and process everything he had just heard, and what he could remember.

“Who are you people, and what do you want with us?”  The pitch of his voice rose a bit, and he tried to control his mounting anger.  His life had been thrown into chaos, and he was quickly losing patience with these beings.

“You are not ‘Ed'; you are Ledonair Aredin Venlor, chosen Lord of the Fifty Fifth Alliance.  We call you Ledo, for short.” As she spoke, Kamo gave another curt bow, as did the four guards.

It was all a blur after that.  Lynd was also moved to the holding cell, and Ed was fitted with clothing similar to Kamo’s and the guards, but with additional decorations.  He now wore shoes which adhered to the floor, but did not stick to it when he walked.

He has listened to Kamo as she brought him up to speed.

Apparently, the Fifty Fifth Alliance was not yet official, and until such time as it was formerly recognized by the various Systems, he was fair game.  Any of the races unhappy with the alliance could try to eliminate him before the Alliance was ratified.  Once ratified, his position would be secure, as any action against him would result in immediate and grave consequences for the responsible System.

That did not mean they would stop trying; only that they would not be as open about it.

Meanwhile, the FARs, the muscular caped guards, were charged with his protection.  They had helped hide him in a remote and little known world; Earth. The FAR, as far as he could tell, were the equivalent of the U. S. Secret Service.  The acronym stood for something he could not remember, but the description of what they did matched the mission of the Secret Service.

All that was something he could wrap his head around.  The part he was having trouble with, was his identity.  The other part was his speech; he found himself switching to languages he did not know, but his brain obviously remembered.  Just saying a word usually brought back memory of both its meaning and origins.

Annoying at first, he soon found speaking a language composed of words from multiple other languages held the advantage of word choices that, because of their native meanings, were better at conveying ideas, intent, and feelings.

Those around him adjusted as well, as they were already versed in this aggregate language.

He learned that memory of who he was had been suppressed while in hiding on Earth.  The Awakening was bringing some of the memories back, but the total so far eluded his consciousness.

The was also having trouble adjusting to the changes to his body.  He’d always kept somewhat fit, but in the span of two days his body had hardened, his physical appearance that of a sculpted athlete; a taller and heavier athlete.  It messed with his balance and sense of his physical boundary; he bumped into things, and was prone to stumbling.

All of the races in The Alliance were the byproduct of the marriage of genetic modifications and technology.  Everything he had witnessed and attributed to magic was, in fact, very advanced technology, including the beasts who attacked him in his home.  The Fluoride in the water was what had kept them at bay, and he had a passing thought the conspiracy theorists would have a field day with this.

His own body was being returned to its normal augmented state, and to help it along he sparred with a few of the FAR.  He was faster and stronger than they.  This was a surprise to Ed; the FAR were part flesh, and part machines.  He learned his body was being modified at the molecular level, and aggregate traits from various races were being woven into his DNA.  He never felt better in his life, or at least the life he could remember, and as he trained, he began to regain his muscle memory.

Eventually he settled on two young members of the FAR as his permanent sparring partners.  They were not high ranking, but they were among the most skilled.  That they were brother and sister further appealed to Ed.  Loretu and Morean came from a long line of FARs, and the closeness of the training helped form a bond between the three.

Then he started to remember in earnest.  Ledo was not a nice guy.  Well, he wasn’t technically a human; regardless, whatever he was, he was not nice.  In fact, few people around him were nice.  All belonged to one ruling class or another, and all were nasty pieces of work, and Ledo was their leader by consensus . . . or fear.

It was Ledo who had come up with the plan to hide himself among the humans, and had personally contracted with Evelyn and her people for the local protection detail.  In part, it was to minimize the risk of one of his followers suddenly having a change of heart. To ensure the best effort from Evelyn and Lynd, he held their sisters as hostages.

While Lynd was her given name, Evelyn’s real name was Ereynd.  Specifically, Queen Ereynd.  A race composed of mostly warriors, and mostly female, they lived on Evanor, were not technically part of The Alliance, but were under its rule.  Ledo had used his influence, and the capture of the Queen’s sister, to enlist her services.  Lynd had been a bonus, as she was fiercely loyal to her Queen.

Once he remembered enough, he gave the order, and preparations were made to depart the Moon. The thirty-seven hours journey made use of the “tunnels” in between time and space; tunnels one could use as shortcuts to any of the known universes.

As he continued to remember, Ledo’s tone of voice changed to match his impatience with his underlings, and few traces of Ed remained in the being who would soon rule the known universes.

(not) The End

I don’t know . . . as I re-read this, it seems kind of weak; not something Hemingway would have written. Anyway, the original posting (I have no idea why anyone would go there) is HERE.

Regardless, I’m committed now . . . here’s the final installment, complete with the photo that accompanied it. 

10354_MISC_082408_1

Awakening . . . (Part 3)

By E. J. D’Alise (Disperser)
Copyright August 2013

They arrived on Garent in the middle of the day, and Ledo took in the light from the double sun, the smell of damp air, and the increased gravity . . . and he smiled; Garent was the seat of the Fifty-Fifth Alliance.

It was a busy time.  Training, getting updates on the state of The Alliance, getting reports on new and old enemies, on potential friends, and on the mood of his future empire.  On the third week on Garent, he went to visit Lynd at the detention center.

“Lynd,” Ledo smiled as he spoke, “you’re not looking too well.”

The girl rose with some effort, did a small bow, and answered with a curt “My Lord.”

“I remember both you and your queen arrogantly stating no one would get near me while under your protection.”  Ledo did not give the girl permission to sit back down, and with some effort she continued standing as he paced the cell.

“I nearly died.”  Ledo stopped in front of her, and stared down at the small figure.  He knew her to be a fierce fighter, but not now, not in her present state.

“Guard!” He turned as one of the FARs appeared to his side.  Ledo pointed to the girl.  “See that she is fed, and restored to good health.  I want her in peak form for what I have in mind.”

With that, he turned and headed to the other cell.

Ereynd was already standing when he entered the cell.  The FARs wanted to put themselves between Ledo and the long-haired, black-eyed Evanor Queen, but Ledo waved them off.  What had been a fit physique was showing the strain of incarceration, but he knew she was still a capable fighter.  Perhaps no match for his current state of training and physical fitness, but not someone to be underestimated.

And he also knew she cared for what he once had been.  She would not move to strike him.

Besides, the consequences to her planet would be dire.

~ ~ ~ ~ o o o ~ ~ ~ ~

Ereynd watched Ledo using her peripheral vision, avoiding direct eye contact.  It ached to see him so.  Taller, stronger, fitter . . . not her Ed.  He began to speak, and walking a circle with her at the center.  She did not move.

“Queen Ereynd . . . You showed a weakness I would not have imagined of you.”  He walked around the silent figure, and stood directly behind her.  She could sense his presence, his physical strength, but she did not move, nor did she reply.

“You had real feelings for Ed; you let yourself feel for a weak, ignorant, and limited male.” Ledo resumed his circle, and came to stop in front of her.  “It nearly got me killed.”

Ledo let the words hang, but Ereynd did not respond.  The words hurt to a depth she did not want to admit, and it was all she could do to keep her eyes fixed at a point on his chest, and not look up to meet his own.  She was afraid of what she would see if she did.  No, not afraid; she knew, and did not want to see it.  She wanted to keep her memories intact.

“I have devised an entertaining and fitting punishment . . . I want you to get fit, and regain your strength; you will need it.  Do not think of rebelling; you know who I hold.”  He waited a few moments for a response, then smiled, turned, and walked out of the cell.

Ereynd let her breath out slowly once the cell door locked shut.  For a brief moment, her shoulders sagged, grief welling up.  Then she thought of her sister.  Of Lynd’s sister.  She straightened as the cell door was once more unlocked.

A young FAR entered, carrying a much better meal than had been offered for the past month.

He set the meal on the small table, then came to stand in front of her.  His eyes she did meet, and saw no malice in them.

“My name is Loretu.  My Lord commands me to help you regain your fighting form.  You should know, we will not fight to the death, but we will fight hard.  We commence in three days.”  He turned, heading for the door, but stopped before exiting.

“Lynd will be training with my sister Morean.  In two weeks, we’ll switch places so as to vary the training.”

The young man hesitated, then slightly bowed.  “Queen Ereynd; your sister is fine, as is Lynd’s sister.  You should get some rest.”

Ereynd contemplated the door that has closed behind the young man.  She forced herself to remember not all subjects of The Alliance were evil . . . just the one she loved.

Training began as promised, and while a bit rusty, plenty of food and rest helped her regain strength and speed.  She threw herself into her training as a way to bury the hurt.

In the second week, Loretu missed a day.  When he came back, he was healing from a wound.  She did not ask, but he volunteered the answer to her unspoken question.

“An attack on Ledo.  We stopped it.”  He looked at her.  Ereynd did not think she betrayed any emotions, but after a few moments, Loretu continued.  “Ledo is fine.”

Her emotions were mixed.  Ereynd knew Ledo was not Ed, but the silly hope borne out of love had a part of her care for the physical remnants of what was no more.

Another week passed, and then she met Morean.  Morean was a lot like her brother.  Dedicated to her task, but with an underlying . . . humanity was a good word.  Ereynd had learned the meaning of that word while on Earth, and she liked its foundation.

Morean told her Lynd was nearly recovered.  Due to her lower station, she had fared worse than Ereynd, and consequently required more care.  Ereynd doubted that very much; Lynd liked having her adversaries underestimate her, hence her purposefully smaller stature and young appearance.  Her augmentations had not been cheap, but Lynd’s family had indulged her; if their only offspring was going to be a warrior, she would be the best warrior their money could buy.

During this final week of training, she learned of another attempt on Ledo’s life.  This time he was alone, and he dispatched all three assassins without suffering any injury.  Ereynd guessed he was at his peak, with all enhancements fully deployed.

Three days later, Morean came to her, and asked her to prepare.  She would be brought to see Ledo.  Ereynd hated her involuntary elation at the news; quickly suppressed, but a reminder she still had feelings.  On an intellectual level she knew it was hopeless and silly.  Never having experienced love before, she knew she was subject to a heightened intensity, and equated her involuntary reaction to that of a silly schoolgirl.  And yet not . . . the hurt saw to that.

Loretu and Lynd were waiting for them in the hall.  It was the first time she had seen Lynd since Earth;  they exchanged an imperceptible nod.  With Loretu and Morean at their sides, they walked the length of the hallway, heading toward two massive doors.

Two FARs swung them open as they approached, and she and Lynd walked into a small arena, the doors closing behind them.

They walked toward a raised platform.   Ledo sat at the back center of it, and off to his side sat the Eleven Lords of The Alliance.  On the side of each Lord, standing slightly behind them, were their personal bodyguards.  To Ereynd, they looked soft.

“Welcome to the judgment.”  Ledo’s words brought a murmur of approval from the assembled audience.  

Ereynd had argued against The Alliance, and no doubt part of the reason the Lords were assembled here, was to witness her fate.  It was a good diversion from last minutes meetings before agreements were formalized, and the ruling body for the next one hundred years came into power.

Ledo continued.  “You might wonder what I have planned for you.”  He pressed a button on his chair, and two guards emerged from a side door.  Between them stood her and Lynd’s sister.

Both she and Lynd made a move toward the girls, but Loretu and Morean had drawn their short swords, and stepped just forward of them, facing them.

“You would never reach them in time.”  Ledo motioned, and Loretu and Morean backed away, then turned, heading to the girls.  They took the place of the two guards who had brought them in.  The guards backed away, closing the doors as they left the arena.   

Ereynd eyes finally took in the details of the arena.  Other than Loretu and Morean, no FARs were present.  The twenty two bodyguards made up for that.

“This is how it will be. Queen Ereynd,” he bowed slightly to her, and did likewise toward Lynd before continuing, “Lynd; you two will fight to the death.  The loser’s sister,” Ledo pointed to the girls at the side of the podium as he spoke, “will be killed.  The winner will also be killed, but her sister will be spared.”

He paused. If he was waiting for a reaction from them, he would be disappointed; neither she or Lynd showed any reaction. She was not going to provide him the satisfaction.  

“I want to see a good fight; anything less, and I give the order to kill the girls.”  With that, he rose, grabbing Lynd’s tomahawk and short sword from the side of his chair as he did so. 

Ereynd did not need weapons.  She was a weapon.

Deliberately, he walked toward the pair.

Ereynd calculated the odds, worked out scenarios, contemplated possible actions. 

No good; the bastard had it pretty well worked out.  She had no illusion about the survivor’s sister living through this.

So be it; whatever portion remained of her love was now barricaded behind a cold curtain of hate.  The last act of her life would be to take Ledo with her.  She could sense Lynd’s tension, and knew they had reached the same conclusion.

She watched Ledo approach, calculating the moment she should make her move.

Ledo stopped within arm’s length of the two.  He looked at the pair, and if he noticed the barely restrained tension in them, he gave no notice of it.  He also ignored the glow beginning to form at the edges of Ereynd’s nails.

His face relaxed.  And then he winked.  He probably did not know it, or maybe he did, but that saved his life as both she and Lynd held their attack.

He spoke to them in a soft tone, inaudible to the group on the platform.

“Evelyn, Lynd; wait until I am back at my seat, and then charge into the group.  I’ll hit them from the side.  Your sisters are armed, and my bodyguards are there to help them.  We have the element of surprise, but there are a lot of them, and we can’t afford to let any of them live.”

To their credit, Evelyn’s and Lynd’s reactions were confined to their eyes.  They stared at him for a moment, then both blinked in unison.

~ ~ ~ ~ o o o ~ ~ ~ ~

Ed threw the tomahawk and sword at Lynd’s feet, and headed back up the platform.  He did not hear Lynd move, but heard the weapons clang as she picked them up.  He heard the sharp intake of breath from one of the Lords, and guessed Evelyn, his Evelyn, was transforming into her fighting form.

He too had learned about humanity, first hand.  He had learned the beauty of it, and the determination of it when someone threatened the welfare of those one loved.  A new order was about to come to power, but not the one dreamed of by these Lords.

He sat, hand on his weapon, looking relaxed.  Lynd’s tomahawk was a blur as it sailed from her, striking the Lord farthest from him.  Lynd and Evelyn were not far behind it, tearing into the far end of the group.  That left his side unguarded as everyone’s attention was drawn away from him.  Morean, Loretu, and the two girls had little to do as Ed, Evelyn, and Lynd finished the last traces of The Alliance.

The End (for now)

Rather long for flash fiction, don’t you think? I think so. The third installment was first presented HERE.

As usual, these were presented as written, with minimal editing.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Stuff, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Wide Angle and Macro


Saturday afternoon,clouds rolling in, I picked up my camera, snapped on my Sigma 10-20mm ultra-wide lens, and went outside.

Flowers, Flowers,

For as late as it is, the flowers still look pretty good. 

The thing with an ultra-wide lens is that you have to get pretty close to fill the frame with the subject, and that is exactly what I wanted to try with the sun behind heavy clouds, assured harsh sunlight would not blow out the colors. I cranked up the ISO (relatively speaking), and shot at f/14 to get a bit more depth of field.

Flowers,

I went from flowerpot to flowerpot, mimicking a would-be bee.

Flowers, Flowers,

This being late afternoon, some of the flowers – them who do so – were beginning to close.

Flowers,

I made my way around the yard.

The maples in the back are beginning to go. They are going pretty quick, at that; just a few days ago there was barely a hint of red in them leaves.

Flowers,

The dark clouds were to the South and West, obscuring the sun, but this was aimed North and East, where the sky was still bright. When I shot this a thinner membrane covered the sun . . . a few seconds later a heavier cloud covered the spot, and it was different.

Flowers,

I was standing pretty close to the trees , the camera angled up – one of the advantage of wide lenses.

Here’s a couple of closeups of one branch . . .

Flowers, Flowers,

As usual, WordPress takes the photos, resizes them, dulls them up, and tries to present them so that most people go ‘meh!’

You can click on them, and you’ll bet a better – and larger – version in a new window. You can also go to the SmugMug gallery HERE for the full-size versions. There are multiple versions of some shots as it was pretty breezy, and I was not sure if the photos would come out blurred, so I snapped a few extra when I though a gust was trying to mess me up.

Why include near-duplicates in the gallery? Why not? They are still decent photos.

One of the small shrubs has already gone all red . . . 

Flowers, Flowers,

The Yarro I planted earlier in early Summer is doing pretty well, and it even had a visitor.

Flowers, Flowers,

Of course, this being a wide-angle lens, it did not matter how close I got . . . I was not going to get a true macro of the fly. Still, I like the composition.

I also like the flowers themselves.

Flowers, Flowers,

Aside the festive colors, they remind me a bit of broccoli. Not a fan of broccoli, I, but I like these flowers.  

The Black-eyed Susans are late bloomers, and they’re still fairly photogenic.

Flowers, Flowers,

Of course, I had to shoot my favorite showy flowers. They are taking over their little flowerbed, and I will likely split them up once they go dormant.

Flowers,

If you want to spot the Harvester lurking in the flowers you’ll have to click on the photo for the larger version.

So, having done the wide-angle bit, I went in and exchanged lenses . . . put on my 105mm Macro , I did. I then headed out hitting the same spots as the wide-angle photos.

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers,

As it was cloudy, and as I was shooting free-hand, I shot as wide as I could, hence the shallow depth of field. I understand some people like that.

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers, Flowers,

That last shot reminds me of tormented souls forced to watch reality television while eating broccoli, their silent screams not echoing in the vast emptiness of the ether.

Flowers,

Really do like these flowers a whole lot . . . oh, and here is the Harvester . . . 

Flowers,

These flowers can really be diverse in their presentation . . . 

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers,

There are a few stragglers – flowers who do better during the summer, but are hanging on even as the season is closing in on them.

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers, Flowers,

Most of the Daisies have died, but a few are putting up the good fight. The coneflowers once again failed to deliver. They must have been hurt more than I suspected as this is the second year they underperformed. The above were two of the better ones.

How about some leaves? OK.

Flowers, Flowers,

I’m actually pretty pleased with these shots as the wind was picking up, and moving stuff about . . . 

Flowers, Flowers,

. . . including the Yarrow, now with a different fly paying a visit. Never seen such a shameless, two-timing Yarrow before.

There are more shots in the SmugMug gallery HERE, but let me show you some I like. Keep in mind the wind was moving these a bit, so I am very pleased with these shots.

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers, Flowers, Flowers, Flowers,

The Sedum Autumn Joy is in flower, but they are already turning . . . winter’s coming.

Flowers, Flowers,

Remember the little red bush? 

Flowers, Flowers,

Some may wonder why I came out again with the macro lens  . . . it wasn’t my intent, but I had seen the following, and hoped the grass would keep from blowing them away.

Flowers, Flowers,

I had started to shoot some of the Black-eyed Susans when my eye caught a movement.

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers,

I have no idea what it is, and I am too lazy to look it up. At first glance it looks like a miniature spider, but wrong number of legs.

This thing was small, but moved very fast, making it difficult to get a clear photo of it. It was a crawling in and out of what to it must have looked like canyons, and based on its behavior, I’d say this little fellow is a hunter. Right after the above shot, I lost him; he must have gone to the underside of the flower.

Speaking of which, the flowers themselves . . . 

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers,

And then, on another flower . . . 

Flowers,

I tried to get as close as I can as the flower and the creature both moved about with wild abandon. 

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers, Flowers,

It went into one of the mini-canyons, and I did not see it again.

I waited there, kneeling in the grass . . . I must have looked weird to my neighbors, but that’s nothing new.

I went to the last pot I was going to photograph, and found another bug.

Flowers, Flowers,

This guy watched me for a bit, and then went on the move.

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers, Flowers,

You know what? It started to look a bit unfriendly, like it was going to pick a fight. Mind you, I was pretty confident I could have taken it in a fair fight . . . but I did not know if it was planning to fight fair, so I went back in.

Time elapsed between the first and last photo of my impromptu shooting spree, 29 minutes. 

It was a fun 29 minutes. I should do it more often. Beats eating broccoli.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We Have the Eyes

We Have the Eyes

Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.  

If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: http://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Flowers, Photography, Photography Stuff, Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Disperser Bookcases – Part IV


First, a reminder of the books we’re looking at:

books

The last book I covered in the previous post is Mythology by Edith Hamilton.

The next book is “Vacanze Matte” by Richard Powell (1964). It’s the Italian publication of “Pioneers, Go Home” (1959). The book was poorly adapted and greatly miscast into the movie Follow That Dream (1962), with Elvis Presley.

Photo of original movie poster from Wikipedia

I won’t summarize the plot here as one can read the Wikipedia entry. What I will say is that I’ve only read this book in Italian, and did so when I was 11 .

It is a very funny book, at least in Italian. Frankly, I don’t see how English could match the tone and cadence of the Italian language edition, and I’m not going to try and find out.  For reference, here’s the Italian cover.

Vacanze Matte - Powell001

I won’t recommend the American version because I don’t know it, but if you can read Italian, go for it!

I picked up the next book in the used book section at Goodwill.

Office Bookcase001

Fantastic Realms by V. Shane purports to teach you to draw your own illustrations for the fantasy novel every writer has in the works.

In High School and College I used to draw to pass the time. Sometimes I copied existing things, sometimes I made up stuff in the style of Jacovitti. I wasn’t great, but I wasn’t bad, either.

I bought this book because I’ve always meant to get back to drawing. I probably never will, but the book – along with other guides I’ve accumulated over the years – serves as a placeholder for yet another of my wistful dreams.

Here’s some examples of the content . . .

Office Bookcase002 Office Bookcase003

Now, for me it’s a little frustrating because it seems deliberatively deceptive. Look at the first sketch on the first page. I could do that.

Look at the second sketch . . . I’m pretty sure it takes more skill than I have to just throw those details in there, and my efforts would not end up look like that. Look at the dragon drawings. Again, a big jump between the first and the second, and then finishing touches, right?

Someday I may yet master the techniques shown here, but I’ll do it through other venues since the book does not explain much.

Here’s another example of the step-by-steps associated making a drawing of a room.

Office Bookcase004 Office Bookcase005 Office Bookcase006 Office Bookcase007

Child play, right? I mean what idiot would not be able to follow these instructions?

Well, Bob, it’s not as easy as it looks. For one, like everything else one does in life, you can’t just jump in and do well. It takes practice.

But for now I can hold on to the dream I am just a few pages and a free afternoon from opening my own cartooning business.

Of course, if I am to become a cartoonist, I need to look the part! I need to get in shape!

Enter “A Practical Approach to Strength Training” by Matt Brzycki.

Strength Training002

I have the 1991 Second Edition (cover shown above), but the link will take you to the 2012 4th Edition.

The book is pretty good at covering not only the mechanics and physics of strength training, but the genetic and practical factors as well. Unlike other offerings I’ve seen, it does not promise to make you something you are not.

During the time I played racquetball I did very little weight training. Once I quit RB I started going to the gym six days a week. I don’t want to do much beyond retaining my strength as I age, but because I no longer play RB and am doing more weights I now have more muscle mass than I’ve ever had in my life (no, not entering contests anytime soon – I don’t like getting all oiled up). I’ve cut back the weights to only two days out of six, the other four concentrating on a cardio-only workout.

. . . and no, I’ll never look like the guy on the cover.

And now, a random cartoon about exercising.

Long_Pants

You can’t see the next booklet in the lineup very well because it is rather thin . . .

Office Bookcase027

The year was 2003, and texting was catching on, and Verizon wanted to encourage it (it’s always about money), so I received this booklet. It’s about 40 pages divided into two; the first part has “English to Text Message” . . .

Sample Page - English to Text message

Sample Page – English to Text message

. . . and the second part has “Text Message to English” . . .

Sample Page - Text message to English

Sample Page – Text message to English

As you can see, all one needs to transform oneself from a relic of the older generations to “ebkac” is to study this book . . . for them not hep like me, that translates to “error between keyboard & chair”.

Most entries are acronyms from the words (moving right along – mra), but some are amazingly clever (Sleep or sleeping – zzz).

I had not looked at this booklet for a long while, but having spent a few minutes going through it, I already feel sth.

I have two copies of this next book; one I bought, and another was part of an introductory offer for a SF book club . . .

Extraterrestrials001

I am a bit conflicted about Barlowe’s Guide to Extraterrestrials by Wayne Douglas Barlowe. I think I have the 1987 reprint since I did not start reading science fiction until 1983, but that’s not why I am conflicted.

It’s the same issue I have with movies; I read a book, envision the characters and places, and then I see an interpretation of them on screen, and I’m disappointed it’s not like what I imagined.

For instance, I am a big fan of Ringworld by Larry Niven, and my favorite character in the book is Nessus, a Pierson’s Puppeteer.

So, here’s the problem . . . I have no preconception for some of the creatures from various books (heck, some I had never heard about until this illustrated guide), but for some I had specific visualizations, and my visualization of Nessus did not match the illustration.

Extraterrestrials002Extraterrestrials003

In this particular case, the coloring and details seemed wrong to me; too bright, too angular, and too blue. But, hey; I’m just the reader.

By the way, the only film adaptation that came amazingly close to my visualization of places and creatures described in the books is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. If anything, the book crystallized my visualizations rather than conflict with them.

The last part of the book has various illustrations (not sure if they are working sketches) of the creatures in action poses.

Extraterrestrials004

Extraterrestrials005

In those oh-so-much-simpler pre-Internet days, this was indeed a special treat for the fan of the genre.

The next slim pamphlet (the last thing I’ll cover in this post) is something we saved from when we moved here . . . 

Office Bookcase022

. . . and it still has my original reminder to save it. Not that’s I reference it for anything, but it does have information for the community I live in, including comparative demographics.

Office Bookcase023 Office Bookcase024

Of course, now everything is electronic . . . Tri-Lakes Demographics

I don’t know how useful the information is because the numbers don’t jive, but since it’s only of passing interest, I can’t be bothered to get to the bottom of it.

Thank you for reading this Fourth installment, and I hope you join me for the remainder of the rivetting progression through my library. Lots of good stuff to come, if I do say so myself (I usually have to, as few others ever speak so of me).

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Power

Power

Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.  

If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: http://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Creative, Reading, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , | 6 Comments