Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Clerkenwell Kid

Like snapshots of another world. A friend of mine recently linked me to this blog. The author’s short stories, while some are a bit melancholy, are really amazing reads. I meandered around the site trying to find out a bit more about him, and apparently he’s a musician, and if you look hard enough there is a link to his myspace where you can listen to some of his music. While it’s a bit too morose for my taste, it’s still quite beautiful and some of it hints at vintage 40s jazz. The stories are like the music. They’re rather surreal glimpses at a uchronian world that has a very 1940s feel. Short and sweet and beginning in medias res without any background or resolution, like the passing window into a life which one sometimes catches in a photograph of a stranger. The stories are just that. Short snippets. They give one the impression of looking at pictures of some life in a world that never was.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

In a galaxy far, far away

Long ago...
Originally uploaded by empyrean_squire
You've got to love living in a place like this. We've got everything here. On the front page of the paper today was a story about a 62 year old man who was shot and killed while he was out for a walk. The sad thing is, that's hardly even news in the Antelope Valley these days. What's interesting about this particular murder was the fact that the man was shot through the chest with an arrow. Who shoots people with arrows in suburban neighborhoods in the middle of the night? Maybe it was some of the wiccan kids who hang out in front of Barns and Noble at night. Maybe they were acting out a live action D&D quest and the sexagenarian didn't make his saving roll. Or maybe one of the gang bangers on that side of town decided he needed some culture in his life and joined an SCA group. Oh the possibilities.

That's nothing though, about six months ago the mother of some thugs must have attended a PTA meeting or something and decided to take the advice about being more involved in her kids lives to heart. One night she loaded up the family sedan and drove her kids and some of their friends over to the house of a rival gang member so they could pop a cap in his ass. They shot up the house pretty good, and fortunately no one was injured. Apparently Mama neglected to teach her kids to shoot. For shame!

As if all of that weren't enough, now we've got some Lord of the Sith running around stealing IPODs.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Bumming Cigarettes

"Ah, so you've become a beggar" She said.
"Not necessarily," he replied, holding it loosely between his lips. "You see, the chief difference is in who is benefiting through the transaction- the receiver or his client."
"You mean the parasite or its host." She casually retorted, disinterested.
He lit the thing and drew deeply, causing the smoldering end to glow fiercely and retreat like some slow burning fuse, consuming itself. "Some parasites are beneficial to their hosts you know, in which cases the relationships are more symbiotic."
She rolled her eyes and waited for him to continue.
"If I were begging money, for instance, like that deplorable character over there, ultimately I'd be negotiating with a person to hand over their most precious commodity- Time. You've of course heard the phrase 'time is money.' Time is the only thing in the universe that has any significant value. Think about it, we are each alloted so much of it, and that's it. When you boil it down it's the only thing we have which we can't get more of. It's the 'reductio ad absurdum of all human experiences.' Then, to make matters worse, we sell it- by the hour no less. They call it 'a career' and in reality, all you are is a harlot. Prostituting your time away to the highest bidder. 'Here,' they say, 'is a week of your life in the tangible form of a green piece of paper.' And then these leaches come up and ask you if you can spare a dollar. Damn. Hardly live with myself I could, if I were making my living by stealing minutes and hours of a fellow's life."
"So explain to me how bumming cigarettes is any different. They cost money too. Just how do you propose the giver is any better off?"
"Oh that's easy" He said, taking another drag off the slender white cylinder held in his fingers. He exhaled the thick smoke like an old locomotive gathering momentum. "Cigarettes kill people. Lung cancer and all that. Every cigarette you smoke is equivalent to losing a couple hours of your life. I'm doing them a favor taking the things off their hands. Instead of asking people to give me time in paper form, I'm giving them time. I'm offering to extend their lives, and they don't even realize it."
"Brilliant," she said sarcastically, "Relativism at its best."
"Precisely," he said.
"Of course, wouldn't it be more beneficial for everyone involved if you threw those borrowed cigarettes away, instead of smoking them?"
"No" he said, tilting his head back and blowing smoke straight up in the air. It dissipated and became one with the dense fog surrounding them. "That would defeat the whole purpose."