Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Five Minutes to a Healthier YOU!

(OK, maybe not so much healthier...)

I got five minutes to kill, so let's sprint it up.

-----

Some forgettable grunge-lite pop song was playing in Eddie's head as he cautiously looked around the corner. Robbing the bank had been the easy part. The hard part was getting that goddamned Filter song out of his mind. That, and the masked idiot chasing him.

Everything Eddie'd read and seen about Spider-Man led him to believe he was fake. No one could be that stupid, but that powerful, while leaping around and shooting webs. Eddie was finding out the hard way he was wrong.

He had been wrong about a great many things over the course of his lifetime, but this mistake was going to put him away for a very long time. His uncle had gotten him out of some tight jams in the past, being a Yale-graduated lawyer, but now Eddie was looking at real time.

The judges always added extra time whenever you were brought in by one of the capes. Eddie didn't know if it was out of spite or if they thought since a super hero had to come in, that made the alleged crime more heinous. All he knew was, he needed to get the hell out of Dodge with a quickness.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Not Even For 5 Minutes...

(So much for restful sleep, ever. You're welcome.)

You like'a da word sprints, eh? The word sprints, she is a'good, no?

I give you more word sprints.

---

“For the love of all that’s good and holy, if you don’t tell your insipid, whatever, friend, to stop talking this very instant, I promise you, what he will awaken to in the morning will make that scene in Godfather look like an outtake from the Care Bears.”

“Jesus, Terry. That’s kinda dark.”

“Why is he still yammering?”

“Jack, shut up. You’re hurting his nib’s feelings.”

Jack, who had been listing, in chronological order, every provable lie Donald Trump had told since announcing his presidency on that iconic escalator ride in June, 2015. He’d been talking more than an hour and had just gotten to August of ’15 when Terry reached his limit.

Terry was an effete gentleman. He was also a dangerous one. His threat to Jack wasn’t baseless; he had used that scene with the bodiless horse as the motivation for several of his pieces. Or contracted revenge murders. Whichever.

He was currently tied to a chair with a rope which, frankly, was really only there for the aesthetic. First, have you ever tried to tie anyone to anything with rope? You can never tighten it tight enough for it to do any difference. If Terry stood up suddenly, he’d be free. Plus, Tony couldn’t tie knots for shit. Second, and probably should’ve led with this, Terry is basically Superman without the moral code. Seriously. Those two idiots are about to fucking die.

Five Minutes of MAYHEM! (and word sprints)


I got five minutes, I'm stoned, and I'm near a keyboard. Giddyup.

---


The man went by the absurd sobriquet of Barracuda Joe, despite being named Fred and never actually having seen a barracuda. Ever. Not even in a book or online. He had no idea it was a fish. Fred—or Joe, I guess—thought it was a bird of some sort and believed it to be resplendent. His word. Seriously. I know, right?

Anyway, Joe arrived at the address in the email at around two in the morning, several hours early. He had been taught from an early age to always respect those who want your company by arriving early, letting them know you literally could not wait until the mutually-agreed upon time. Using this logic, Joe was about to enter the home of a mob boss who was going to give Joe $100 to stand look out for a thing they were doing Thursday morning. The meeting was scheduled for 1 p.m.

Tomorrow.

Joe’s about to get his ass beat.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Timber Hawkeye: It's Not You, It's Me

(Buy this book now. Seriously. Do it.)

Have you ever noticed that the same things you consider irritatating are actually pleasant or even soothing for other people? Hot weather, classical music, laughing children, long drives, thunder storms, data entry, gardening, and so on... Those things are not the problem, you are. Someone is looking forward to what you regularly try to avoid, and what you see as the solution, someone else thinks is the complication.

When I get annoyed by someone blasting their car's stereo in a residential neighborhood, I remind myself that I used to do the same thing when I was younger. And when cigarette smoke grosses me out, I recall my own Marlboro Days until my judgy-wudgy attitude dissolves. It's important to keep ourselves in check so that we don't start thinking our way of being is somehow superior or ought to be universally practiced by everyone else.

I often say you will only be surrounded by annoying people and frustrating situations until you learn not to get annoyed or frustrated. We need to stop blaming outside forces for our own lack of internal peace. It's our personal responsibility to remain peaceful regardless of what's going on around us (not try to control everyone to live in accordance with what we think is right). 

When I talk about personal responsibility, it's not just accountability for the way our life has turned out so far, but also for the perspective from which we continue viewing the world. We need to stop expecting perfection from others because we can't possibly offer it in return. Have you considered the likelihood that someone finds your own attempts at mindfulness extremely frustrating or annoying? The windchime in your zen garden might be perceived as inconsiderate and presumptuous by a neighbor who hates the sound, or maybe your idea of "normal" is ridiculously absurd to someone else. Never assume that you are any less irritating than the people you try to avoid.

If I get aggrevated, it's because I'm the one who hasn't yet learned not to get annoyed. It's not you, it's me. You are actually my greatest teacher, and from the moment I start looking at you from that perspective, all I want to do is thank you, not kick you in the teeth :)

So let's join Rumi in that field beyond "right" and "wrong." You have your way, I have mine, and the wheels of the bus go 'round and 'round.--Timber Hawkeye

319 Comedic Fantasy Books That Are Awesome

(Should've been at least 320...just sayin'...)

I found this list on Goodreads. It's user-generated and is the top 319 comedy fantasy novels of ever, at least to this user. There are definitely some inconsistencies (all the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books are listed, but so are the anthologies; same with Robert Asprin's MYTH books), but it's still a very solid wishlist of some of the best comedic fantasy novels ever written.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

300 (Seconds)!

(Tonight, we write in Hell!)

Today, it's 300 seconds of writing! Or, you know, the usual five minutes. Either way. Let's do it.

---

Batman sat quietly on the fire escape, not quite sure what he was seeing.

Two men had just arrived in the alley, quickly getting down to business. The first one to talk looked to be about 5'8", 150 lbs; a skinny guy with a rat face and some serious acne scars. The other was easily 6'5" at three bills. They both spoke in rapid, hushed tones before the big one nodded and reached into his pocket.

His hand emerged and he thrust it at his smaller cohort. When he opened his mitt, there was a small rectangular piece of cardboard, almost like a baseball card. Based on his friend's smile, this was what the little guy was looking for.

The Dark Knight used the advanced optics in his helmet to look closer. It was a Pikachu Illustrator card. He knew what it meant. It meant Pokemon had come to Gotham.

---

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Jennifer Sweet Problem

(My story isn't nearly as interesting as this picture's origin. For reals.)

This fuckin’ kid, man.

Christ.

Look, I know my job isn’t very kid-friendly and I know they have a right to defend themselves, but man, this kid is too much.

My name’s Kevin and I work at an odd place. We provide childrens' monsters with living quarters, which happen to be under those childrens’ beds. I barely graduated high school, haven’t cracked a book since then, and I’m making almost $50 grand a year at a job I’m not even sure how I got. Seriously. I went to a strip mall a couple blocks from my house to see about a temp job or even joining the military and now I’ve been here eight months.

It was a great gig until Jennifer. Jennifer Sweet, or Jennifer Fuckin’ Sweet, as we call her here. Granted, eight months isn’t a long time in the grand scheme of things, but at a job like this, it’s almost tenure. So I’ve seen a lot. And little of it good.

We’re putting monsters under kids’ beds. This ain't a Pixar movie. They’re legit terrified when these things show up, which is intentional since the monsters (an alien race referring to itself with a series of clicks that requires two tongues to recreate) feed off the energy created when the youngins are scared. The monsters take almost all the energy, so the kids only remember the incidents as vague nightmares.

We, on the other hand, see it all. Each monster has an implant behind their left eye acting as a camera. It gives us a perfect view of what they’re seeing. No idea why we do it and I can’t imagine it’s for anything good. But the company pays well, they have great insurance, and they don’t drug test. I think they pick people like me who aren’t real bright and smoke a lot of weed so there aren’t a lot of mental health issues. Seeing kids screaming in horror because of what just crawled out from under their beds isn’t the best way to make a living, but enough pot and enough PS4 and that shit just leaves your mind.

But Jennifer Fuckin’ Sweet, man. Good Lord. We’ve never had a monster reject a child. Ever. Jennifer, though, has managed to send every monster we’ve assigned back to us as an emotional wreck. One of them is still under medical observation for trying to kill itself. Suicide is unheard of to these creatures, but Jennifer managed to get in their heads and create absolute havoc. Depression, anxiety, paranoia…she’s turning them into my dad, only without the ability to use ice cream and bourbon to self-medicate.

And I know. We’re probably doing some really shady shit here. I mean, our job is to scare children so an alien race can eat their fear. On paper it sounds pretty bad. OK, it sounds bad when you say it out loud, too. This kid is probably a damn super hero or the next Hitler or something. I don’t know. What I do know is that she’s fucking with my job and frightening a lot of two-tongued, orange-haired, terrible-smelling monsters.

The first time was about a month ago. We sent one of our clients down there (they all look/sound/smell the same and I have no idea to tell them apart; identifying them is above my pay grade) and he came back two days later making some odd noises (even for them) and shedding heavily all around my desk. Fun fact: their fur not only smells faintly of catfish bait but is also sticky. That means when they shed, you can’t just wipe the fur off your desk or run the vacuum. It’s a whole thing.

From then on, it became a daily event. We’d send a monster to Jennifer’s bed and they’d come back the next morning, terrified. We’d send another monster down there, same day, and the next day, the process repeated itself. Sixteen straight days, sixteen straight monsters returning and refusing not only to not go back, but they also wouldn’t let me reassign them. This is literally the only time this has happened and now I’m monster poison because it’s a kid in my section.

My manager has been pretty cool about it. Todd said he gets it’s not my fault, but the monsters we’re dealing with tend to be pretty superstitious and there’s a rumor they have some kind of hive mind, so if one of them doesn’t want to work with me, it’s a sure bet none of them do. I heard we’re working with the alien leadership to get them to work with me again, but I also heard it’s not going well.

What is it about this girl? I mean, all I’m doing is just to live my life and save a little money. That’s it. And God forbid it happen to Andy, that fuckin’ douche. This kind of shit always happens to me. The monsters don’t complain much, but when they do, it seems like it’s the ones I’m working with. The kid’s room smells funny, there isn’t much room under the bed, the kid’s going through puberty and experimenting with their bodies, both loudly and vigorously. Look, I’m not here to provide a five-star experience. I’m here to get you in front of a scared kid so you can do what you have to do. What they do in bed after the lights are turned out ain’t my problem.

“Hey, Kev, Corporate told me to give you this.”

Todd slides a folder across my keyboard.

“Thanks, man. So what’s up with Jen—“

“Just read it.”

Todd turns around and leaves. My stomach is feeling kinda squirty. It’s a fucked-up job, but I don't mind it and like I said, the money’s sweet.

I open the folder to see a single sheet of paper with my name at the top, followed by four sentences. In those four sentences, two words stand out and I instantly understand. The other words tell me I’m no longer responsible for Jennifer (Fuckin’) Sweet’s “Monster Situation” and that the monsters will still work with me. But those two words let me know we’ve stumbled onto something bad, something we’re not going to escape anytime soon.

Umbrella Academy.