Thursday, March 31, 2005

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

Throughout the course of my life, I have come to certain conclusions about the world around me, and the people in it. For instance, I know that I will never enjoy watching commercials, except during the Super Bowl. I also know that on any given day of driving, I will come across a person who makes me seriously doubt my belief in obeying the 6th Commandment. I know that women like to shop, and men like to watch sports. I even know what the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow is.

I consider myself to be somewhat in tune with my surroundings, and in touch with some of the ways in which the world works. However, yesterday afternoon shed light on the fact that people in this world will always confound and confuse me with their apparent lack of anything resembling intelligence.

Yesterday, after I had left the office and was heading towards the parking garage to find my auto and start the painfully tiring 7 minute commute home, I decided to take the elevator. You see, my car was on parking level 5 that day, which is the very top of the parking garage. I could have walked up all of those stairs, but really it would be much faster to take the elevator, and I was in a semi-rush to get home and watch The Incredibles as I ate my dinner.

I climbed into the nearest vertical transport, along with 4 other Sprint employees. (I will also note here, that I was the only male in this situation. That fact has no bearing upon the outcome of this story, whatsoever. However, I think it is worth bringing up, since I have come to the conclusion that the woman-man ratio at Sprint is around 74-26…a fact that I see daily proof of.) I pushed the button for my desired floor (5) and stepped to the back of the lift to make room for the ladies. The first woman steps in, and pushes the button for her floor (4) and also steps the rear of the box to make room. The second and third ladies enter, and I can tell that this 1 minute elevator ride is about to become much longer.

Chatty McTalkie and her best friend, Neva Shutsit climbed on, and suddenly the small metal box to which I was currently a member became an amphitheater of gossip and skin conditioning tips. This, it turns out, was the absolute least of my worries.

They pushed the button for floor #3, and continued their extremely dull, yet apparently mega-important conversation. The fourth and final woman stepped in, and we were ready to get underway! It was then, I noticed that we were going to stop on floors 3, 4, and 5 today. Hmmm, that’s interesting. I had never seen that many floor buttons lit up in a parking garage elevator before, while working at Sprint. Wacky! Although, I felt a twinge of annoyance at the fact that my ride to the top floor had now become seriously slowed. After all, walking up to floor #3 was not that big of a deal. Those 2 chatty dolls could have handled that, just fine! Oh, well. It’s not as if they had pushed the button for floor #2, or anything.

(Insert foot-in-mouth joke here)

“Oh, wait. I don’t remember where I parked. It might have been on 2. Shoot! Um…oh, what the heck. I’ll just go to 2, to be safe! Hee hee!” said Chatty McTalkie to her friend, as she reached out her hand and pushed the button for floor 2, in what seemed like slow-motion. I was shocked beyond words, or annoyance.

That woman had just given us a local. An elevator that was going to stop on every single floor from the ground, all the way to the top. An elevator which would now become the longest destination machine ever, especially for the people who are waiting to get to the top floor…such as myself.

While I stood there with open mouth and eyes wide as golf balls, we began to rise above the ground, and head for…


The doors pushed themselves open, and we were now at floor #2. Chatty stepped off, and began the search for her missing car…a search which I am convinced is still taking place, at this exact moment in time.

The doors shut, and we began our ascension once more, rising to-


The doors pushed themselves open, and we were now at floor #3. Around this time, I noticed a slight banging noise in the deepness of my brain, like a toddler whacking an empty metal trashcan with a shovel. I tried to ignore it. Neva Shutsit climbed off, and we were once again on our way to-


Floor #4. The toddler inside my head had called up his friends, and they were now having an official rock out session complete with drums, hammers, cymbals, and backup vocals. I closed my eyes and tried to ignore them. The last two women exited the lift, and I was left alone to chuckle out loud at the absurdity that I had just witnessed.


Floor #5…my floor. I jumped out of the box, and headed towards my car with a frantic sense of “Oh dear God get me out of here” urgency that can only be described by the funny half-run, half-walk pace that I was keeping, which I’m sure made me look comparatively like a power-walker with hemorrhoids. Finally, I reached my car, started the ignition, and breathed a sigh of relief.

The ordeal was over.

As I drove home, I laughed to myself about what I had just been a part of. I laughed at the fact that I was in an elevator that stopped a total of 4 times in a parking garage. I smiled at the memory of that tiny metal box starting and stopping every 4-5 seconds, as those women got off on their respective floors. DING. DING. DING. DING. It was like Christmas bells, in March…and the humor in the situation did not escape me.

So, I headed home wiser that day, for it was now apparent to me that life would never stop surprising me, or showing me new ways in which it could annoy me. At the same time, it also showed me that sometimes, you just have to sit back and laugh at the way things happen.


PS: You had to look up what the 6th Commandment is, didn’t you?

PPS: The air speed velocity of an unladen swallow is 11 meters per second, or 24 miles per hour. It beats its wings at a rate of 7-9 times per second.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Don't bunny in my hair, I just washed it

Happy Easter! I trust that you all had a good Sunday with family and friends, and that all was enjoyable?

As some of you know, my Easter Sunday normally involves Church and dinner with my mother...sometimes accompanied by my uncle and/or grandmother. Since my family has never been large, holidays like Easter are never anything more than dinner, for the most part. This year, however, I was introduced to the world of big family holiday insanity. My guide for said event was my girlfriend Jenni, who tried her best to prepare me for "Meyer Easter Bash 2005".

In the morning, I met my mom at church for Sunday Easter service. It was nice, and I left with a general good feeling about life, the universe, and all the birdies in between. My mother even gave me an Easter basket, filled with eggs of all colors, which were in turn filled with goodies galore. Chocolate eggs and jelly beans and M&M’s abounded; topped off with a nice bottle of Merlot. Ah, yes. Wine and chocolate…the cornerstone of any perfect Easter basket.

I said farewell to mom, and headed back to the apartment to pick up Jen. Together, we headed towards her aunt’s house where the festivities were going to be held for the day.

We were among the first to arrive, and so much of the first part of the day was spent standing around and waiting for the other guests. This proved to be more difficult than it sounds, since Jen was still not 100% over her chest cold, and I was only on day 2 of my horrible stomach bug. So, needless to say, standing around sipping water for 2 hours was not the speediest road to recovery we could have been on.

Nevertheless, we managed to munch on some snacks and sip some drinks, and generally had a good time chatting away with Jen’s family and friends of the family. Now, when I say “family” I mean FAMILY. You know…like “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse” family? Well, they aren’t a mob family, or anything. But there are enough of them, that I feel if they wanted, they could really create havoc in the crime world. They would be called the Meyer Mafia, and they would strike fear in the hearts of men…or something like that.

Anyway, she has a big family.

Eventually, they started the Meyer Easter 2005 scavenger hunt. Everybody was split up into teams, and those teams were then given tasks to complete. I guess this has been going on for years, and it’s become quite the reason for attending said Easter party. I’ve heard Jen talk about it before, and I was very curious as to what would be involved.

I looked on the team sheet, and saw that I was on team #7, while Jen was on team #2. Crap. That meant I would be on a team with people that I did not know, and that bodes badly. Although, it turned out that I already knew 2 of the members of my team, and Nelson was the only member I had to be introduced to. So, it turned out fine.

After the teams were together and ready, we received our “clue” sheet. It was basically a cryptic page about bunnies and the Oscars, the result of which would lead you to:

1-Name an Oscar-Winning actor who has the same first or last name as one of the Plaza Bunnies, that matches the clues on your team’s game sheet
2-Name the movie that actor won their Oscar for
3-Get a photo of your group along with the bunny statue on the Plaza that matches your team’s Oscar-winning actor
4-Figure out a scene from the movie that your team will act out for everybody else, later on

Whew. I was now knee-deep in the famous Meyer Family Easter Bash.

My team’s actor turned out to be Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas. So we piled into Nelson’s car, and drove down to the Plaza to search for a bunny named “Nicolas” or “Cage” or some other derivation. Luckily for us, Nelson already knew where a bunny statue was named “Nicolas” was, and so that saved us a heap of time and trouble. So we found the bunny, and gathered around it to take our team bunny photo. Then, we headed to Nelson’s house for a few props for our movie scene, and then headed back to Easter HQ.

After all the other teams arrived at the house, they began to prepare their skits and such, and so my team did the same. We decided to let Nelson play Nicolas Cage, and that 10-year old Madeline would play the hooker. Nice, huh?

Well, we also decided it would be too hilarious if we grabbed direct quotes from the movie, and had the two of them read them in a “dramatic scene”. This would have been funny enough…but Nelson had the great idea to replace every bad word with the word “bunny” to keep with the theme.

Example: You can bunny me in the bunny. You can bunny on my face…just keep it out of my hair, I just washed it.

How great is that?

So needless to say, after Nelson completed his very serious and dirty Nicolas Cage monologue using the term “bunny” every few seconds…the crowd was roaring with laughter and my team won the competition!


Jen was happy for me…but also annoyed. I guess that in the 11 years she has been playing this Easter game, she has never won before. Bummer. I got a nice blue ribbon, and (from what Jen has told me) bragging rights for the next 6 months, so I was happy.

After the competition was over, we had dinner. Around this time, I checked my watch to notice that we had been a part of the Meyer Easter bash for almost 6 hours, already. Wow. Jen was feeling bad, and I was ready to go, as well. So after dinner, we decided it was time to leave.

So, I survived my first Easter Bash, and I must say it was a good time. I think next year I’ll try really hard to win again…just so I can have bragging rights over Jen for a long time!

Nelson's Bunny Monologue:
"Are you bunny? Are you bunny? Maybe if you drank bunny with me, it would help. Maybe if you bunnied me and I could taste the sting in your bunny, it would help. If you drank bunny with me bunny. If you smelled of bunny as you bunnied me, it would help. It would increase my esteem for you. If you poured bunny onto your bunny body and said to me "bunny this". If you spread your bunnies and you had bunny dripping from your bunnies and your bunny and said "bunny here" then I could fall in love with you. Because then I would have a purpose. To bunny you up and that, that would prove that I'm worth something. I'd bunny you clean so that you could go away and bunny someone else."

Friday, March 25, 2005

No Noose is Good Noose

Last night, while I sat on my couch and aimlessly channel surfed for anything mildly entertaining to watch, I came to the conclusion that my life is really boring at the moment. Well, to be fair I came to this conclusion the other day when I received an email from a friend, who was doing the necessary bi-monthly “catch up” letter. As I read the goings on in his life; the changes and pitfalls and wacky anecdotes, I began forming in my mind what I would say in my “catch up” letter to him. Then, to my dismay he wrapped up the email with “So, what’s new with you?”.

I was at a loss. The question stopped me in my tracks. It was then, that the horrible realization struck me…I had nothing new to tell him, whatsoever. There was nothing new in my life at all. No new job, or interesting stories to tell. There were no new characters in the story of my life, nor climaxes or plot-twists. Everything was exactly the same as it was, the last time we had our bi-monthly “catch up” conversation.

Holy crap.

I couldn’t even think of something funny to tell him, that had happened to me. Sure, there were things I could have told him that I had done recently…but really, none of them were that interesting. Certainly not interesting enough to bring up in a “catch up” email, especially when measured against the new things going on in his world, as compared to mine.

The best I could come up with last night as I went through all of this in my head, was that things aren’t really going badly. I know that “no news is good news” and that if I have nothing new to talk about, then that also means that there is no new bad in my life; no negative stories or events that have transpired that require me to shell out a long list of grievances. So, I suppose that I could tell him that things here are going fine, and that I’m not dead, nor do I have an inoperable brain tumor or scabies. Maybe that’s all a person ever really needs…to not be bad.

Then, after that horrible Doogie Howser, MD journal moment went out of my head, it hit me: I did have news for him!

In all my angst, I had forgotten some interesting developments in my sheltered yet sometimes inappropriately erotic life. Things that would be interesting for him to hear, and some things that would actually make him go “Whoa, really?” to himself (or out loud…I’m not sure how he reads email).

For instance…Jen’s brother is now home from Iraq, and is back in Overland Park. That’s big news!

Or, I could tell him about how we went out to the Plaza for drinks the other night, and I ran into Megan…who happens to be best friends with my ex, Nicole! And then he would gasp out loud as he read that, because he would remember that Nicole has no idea that I am now dating her former college roommate, after she specifically told me not to hook up with her friends after we broke up. Boom! That’s drama, baby.

Or I could let it slip out that I applied for re-admission to KU recently, and that I am a student again starting Fall 2005, new major pending.

Hmm. I guess I did have news for him, after all. Maybe I’ll start doing something new or different every week, for no other reason than to be able to have something to respond with, when somebody asks me “What’s new?”.

I think next week, I’ll start teaching myself underwater basket weaving.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


To those of you who read my blog on somewhat of a regular basis, I thought I would warn you that tomorrow's post might be another one of those "I'm doing nothing at work because I'm hungover" entries.

Tonight, Jen's brother Bryan (recently home from Iraq) will be in town, at his mom's house. This is a time of celebration and joy...which will be accompanied by mass amounts of alcohol, I'm assuming. So...hopefully I will be able to restrain myself and be a good boy. However, if you know me at all, you also know that I just love a good celebration and a chance to have a few drinks with friends and family, so I doubt I'll be good.

That means that tomorrow's post (if I do one) will be boring, at best. So...just a head's up.

Actually...come to think of it, THIS post is boring.


Friday, March 18, 2005

Opera Opiate

Hello, faithful but few readers! Today, I thought I would create a post about one of my not too well-known passions: the opera. Now, I know some of you are looking at the screen with confused, cow-eye stares and cocking your head slightly to the right…but try to stay with me.

While I find it interesting that a person who likes beer, sports and topless dancers would be remotely interested in something as moving and sensitive as the opera, I am also very proud of my hobby. Having played the violin for many years, I have always had an appreciation of the arts, and the opera is nothing more than that: art.

So, now that I’ve defended my passion to you (which may, or may not have been necessary) I will continue with today’s discussion.

Monday night, I attended Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball) by Giuseppe Verdi at the Kansas City Lyric with Jenni and my mother. Our seats were not bad (balcony center 4th row up), except for the fact that we were pretty crowded in, and uncomfortable. However, once the performance started, we displayed complete knowledge of our surroundings, and in a very baseball game move…proceeded to move to less inhabited seats so we could stretch our legs. The performance began, and I settled down for a night of fun.

Oh Lordy….was I wrong.

Act 1
Ah, I see they are going to try to assassinate the king. Wait…now the king is blathering on about some chick he’s in love with. Oh! She’s married…of course. And her husband is…(gasp) his best friend. Oh, this should be good!

The best thing I can say for the first act, was that everybody was singing in key and the costumes were cool. The stage props and design were impressive; as they used ambient light to simulate the morning sun through the windows. Other than that, I had nothing good to say about it.

Act 2
The king is still babbling on about his true love…who happens to be married to his best friend…who happens to be the one man keeping the king alive while the assassination attempts grow more and more dangerous. I wonder if cats spin constantly in space, trying to gain balance? This seat is not very comfortable. Jen has now informed me that this opera has a running time of 3 friggin hours. Uh-oh.

Act 2 was pretty much the same stuff, and I really can’t say much about it. The plot began to get a bit more interesting, but really that I’ve already given you a complete synopsis of the entire event…so much so, that you can now speak intelligently about this opera, even if you’ve never seen it (I won’t discuss the ending because some of you may desire to see it, despite my little review). Frankly, the plot was a little cliché and boring. Oh, and the lady that plays the king’s love interest has a fondness for falling down on the ground and weep-singing. How passionate….gag.

Act 3
Uh-oh, the king’s love for the married woman has surfaced…and his best friend is (surprise) angry. He might….oh, no! He might kill the king! What a shocker. And that lady is back on her damn knees again, doing that weep-singing thing! Now the king has decided to have a ball…a masked ball. I wonder what will happen next. Dammit, lady! Get up off the ground and take acting lessons! Cripes.

I bet cats would constantly spin, if they were in outer space. I mean, they say cats always land on their feet….but what if there is no gravity to help them? Hmm. Damn, this seat is really uncomfortable! How much time is left? I want my bunky.

The third act was by far the most interesting of the entire opera. The plot “twists” were extremely predictable, and left nothing to the imagination. Some of the scenes were not that great, either. I will say that one of the performers (the married guy who’s wife loves the king) did an excellent job during his “my heart is breaking” solo; it was very good and I could almost taste the pain behind the music.

* * *

All in all, Un Ballo in Maschera was not the best opera I have seen. I did not sympathize with any of the characters, which in my opinion is essential to loving an opera. I also felt like the story was interesting, but stretched out and over done and used up. The singing was great, but the songs were not memorable. I would not buy a recording of this opera, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t see it ever again.

Now, having said that, here is what the Kansas City star thought about the performance, so maybe you should read their review, instead. However, if you trust my opera judgment at all, you will steer clear of this performance, and wait until Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) by Mozart hits the Lyric in April. I personally cannot wait for that one, as it proves to be a great performance indeed.

Click Here for Ticket Info

Friday, March 11, 2005

The Tiny Pond, part 5

Crying out, he dove under the surface of the pond, arms outstretched and searching. He pulled his arms through the water, and dove deeper and deeper down into the cold blackness; blindly grabbing the shadows, searching for any sign of Barbara. The water around him was growing darker, and the cold had now fully seized his limbs; he was barely making progress, now. He turned his head up towards the surface and began to kick towards the air, but saw nothing above him but black. He was turned around. Panicking, Frank turned to his right, and then to his left. Nothing but darkness surrounded him, as if all the lights in the world had suddenly been shut off. His lungs were burning; he couldn’t hold his breath much longer. Frantically, he tried to swim in another direction, searching for any signs of light from the surface of the pond. He could feel the cold water on his eyes, as they opened and closed, but he could not even see his own hands in front of him.

He was too deep, oh no he was too deep and he couldn’t find the surface anymore. Where was Barbara? Had he swam the wrong way to save her? He turned again, and headed in what felt like “up” to him. His lungs were burning harder now, and his heart was pounding in his chest so loud, he was sure the sound was echoing throughout the water in vibrations that would cause ripples on the surface.

He kept kicking, praying that any moment, he would see the sun shining down through the water and know that he was safe. He kept blinking his eyes and pushing the water in front of him, trying to gain some type of speed, though this proved to be difficult, since his legs were now so numb, they might as well have been anchored to the ground with chains.

As Frank began to believe that this was where he was going to die, drowned in the small pond by his mill, he saw above him very faint traces of…light. Light! He had chosen the correct direction to swim, after all! There was the surface, directly ahead of him, not very far away, maybe twelve feet. He rushed himself towards the soft yellow and white glow, a feeling of relief washing over him as he grew nearer and nearer to the sunlit salvation above him. He kicked his feet faster and faster as he drew close to the pond’s shiny surface. He was almost there….almost about to break free of his watery prison and breathe again. He reached out his hands, ready to make one last pull out of the water, when he felt a sharp pain run trough his fingers, and down his hand. He yelped under the water, a muffled cry of pain that almost sounded comical. Not caring what he had struck his hands on, he pushed towards the surface again…only to feel his head bang against something hard, like a ceiling. He thrust his hand out in front of him instinctively, and felt a hard, cold surface above him.


The pond’s surface was frozen over…but how could that be? He was just on the surface, swimming…there was no ice anywhere around him. Surely, it could not have gotten that cold, so quickly?

His lungs were burning harder, now. They begged to be free of the water, to swallow in oxygen again. His heart pounded still louder in his chest. He began to beat his hands against the bottom of the ice, trying to make a hole. He pounded as hard as he could, his hands smacking the jagged ice with as much force as a man could muster underwater, and in some places the ice was so sharp it began cutting into his knuckles and skin. His blood began to form a smoky red haze around him, yet he continued to hit the ice and try to break free from his watery coffin. Finally, he heard a loud crack and he knew that the ice above him had begun to give way. He pushed hard with his hands, and in a Herculean effort he broke away a chunk of the ice ceiling, and was able to shove his head through, into the open air above.

He let out a gasp, as if he were exhaling and inhaling at the same precise moment. He felt the hotness leave his chest and face, felt himself relaxing again. He took another deep breath, and then another. Soon he felt normal again, and began to realize that only his face was out of the water; the rest of him was still trapped below the layer of ice. He tried to pound again on the ice, but his arms had begun to go limp from the cold water, and the loss of blood in his hands. He began to scream for help, a cry of need and distress that only a man in a desperate situation could attain; a cry of sheer panic and fear. He yelled and yelled, and began to beat his head on the side of the ice, hoping to make a larger hole for him to escape from. The ice caused stabs of pain in his temple as he tried to jar loose one more piece; then suddenly he felt a small explosion of pain on the left side of his head, and then a feeling of warm began to envelop his neck and chest, and he knew he had cut his head open on a piece of sharp, jagged ice. As his own blood flowed around him, he cried even louder and begged that somebody could hear him as he pushed and pushed at the heavy ice that held him captive.

Suddenly he heard a cracking behind him, and then another crack…and then another. The ice was breaking! He was doing it! He pushed harder, but soon realized then that the sounds he heard were not the ice breaking, but footsteps. Somebody was walking on the ice, and they were walking towards him. He yelled for help and tried to crane his neck around, to see his savior. Then his eyes fell on her face, and he smiled. It was Barbara, she was safe! She was staring down at him, and smiling. He smiled back and thanked God that she was here now to save him. Then, she turned and started walking back to the edge of the pond, her yellow summer dress blowing in the wind.

Where was she going? Was she going to get help? Perhaps a large branch to help break the ice around him? He called out to her, but she did not respond. He could no longer see her, and panic set in once more, as he yelled again for her help and began to scream.

Then, he heard it.

A soft sound, it carried to him in waves. It grew louder, and louder as he listened, and he slowly began to realize it was laughter. He turned his head once more, and saw Barbara standing on the edge of the pond, staring at him and laughing. Her hands were folded over her chest, and her eyes burned with hatred. He could see the maniacal glee in her eyes and she watched him struggling beneath the ice, helpless.

He began to scream again, and then stopped suddenly as a realization stuck him that was almost as horrible as the icy water he was trapped in. He stared into Barbara’s eyes, searching for pity or forgiveness, but finding none. She stared back at him, and
without another sound, she turned around and walked back to the mill, her hair blowing behind her.

* * *

That was how they had found Frank Sutherland; frozen and lifeless, floating in that pond in a pool of red blood. Nobody could figure what had happened to old Frank, or how he had fallen into the pond in the first place. When they pulled him out of the water, they saw all kinds of marks and gashes on his hands and face, but couldn’t come up with an explanation as to the cause of them. The local police and some of the town’s more helpful locals walked out into the pond and tried to find clues to the reason for Frank’s demise…after all, the water was only a few feet, at it’s deepest point. They found nothing, and Frank Sutherland’s death became the talk of hushed whispers and gossip, as his wife’s death had been.

Maybe people in town believed that Barbara Sutherland had simply left town; that she had moved in with her sister in the city, and that was the end of that. Still others said that they had never heard from Barbara again, and that she had never reached her sister’s home, and that Frank had killed her in a rage. They never found her body, but they did find her suitcase and purse tucked away behind some old wooden beams in the old mill. When the police asked Frank about this, he came up with wild explanations and lies, and soon not one person in Applecroft believed that Frank Sutherland was anything less than a murderer. After all those years working in the mill, if Frank had wanted to hide his wife’s body, he could have done so with almost no effort. Still, no charges were filed and Frank was left to his own despair and guilt.

The people in town continued to speculate and talk long after Frank’s death; about his wife and about their deaths. If you asked any of the older members of the community, they would tell you that Frank killed Barbara and hid her in the old mill, and that her ghost drove him to the tiny pond, and drowned him.

Whatever the truth was, the people of Applecroft would never know. They forgot about the old mill and the tiny pond, and soon the spot became nothing more than a distant memory; a shadow of old times and ghost stories that would only be remembered by
the children telling each other stories about the ghost of old Mr. and Mrs. Sutherland that haunted the tiny pond by the old tree.

The End

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Tiny Pond, part 4

She was gone.

Barbara wasn’t near the pond; she was nowhere to be seen. The yelling from the pond had ceased once more, and the only sounds came from the blowing of the wind, and the creak of the old mill above him. Frank looked around again, frantically searching for clues to where she had gone to, but saw nothing. Nothing around him but white snow and the pond, which lay almost perfectly still, as if made of glass.

He had seen her, hadn’t he? She was right there…right near the water’s edge. He saw her in her summer dress, standing exactly where he now stood, but there were no footprints in the white snow; no indication that anybody had stood there except him. He shook his head and turned around again, hoping to see her leaning up against the old oak tree and smiling at him, the way she used to…but there was nobody there.

Could he have imagined her? Could he have imaged all of it? The voices and the screaming and Barbara…could they all be tricks that his mind was playing on him? Was it possible that he was losing his sanity, as so many people in town said?

He looked up at the old mill once more, as if searching for answers in the old stone and wood. His eyes stopped at every window; every hole in the wall, searching. He was not even sure what he was hoping to see up there; he just knew that he hasn’t going crazy. She was here, dammit. He saw her, clear as day…he hadn’t imagined it.

Defeated, he heaved a deep sigh and turned back towards the water. It shone back at him, reflecting the rays of the sun in a brightly lit pattern that hurt his eyes. He started to look away, intent on heading back up to his old piece of fence to try and figure out exactly what had transpired here today…when something under the surface of the water caught his eye. It flowed beneath the surface, near the middle of the water. It seemed to be swimming…no, it was floating. The yellow hue of color beneath the water was darkened by the depth of the pond, and the murkiness of the water inside it. Frank squinted, and stared at the floating object with curiosity…what was it?

He began to walk along the bank of the pond, never taking his eyes off of the strange, floating thing under the water…it almost looked like some type of plant, but it was much too large to be something as simple as a leaf. The wind began to blow harder, and the chill was beginning to creep up his legs, and into his belly. He began to shiver, and crossed his arms over his chest as he walked along the pond, staring out into the watery depths. Then, almost in slow motion it seemed, something began to emerge out of the water where Frank was staring. It was straw, or something like straw, anyway. It was black and shiny, and matted together in large clumps as it rose from beneath the surface of the pond. Strands of it stretched out over the water, and rose along with rest of the head…

Oh my God, it was a head…a person’s head? Somebody was coming up from under the water! Frank’s eyes widened, and he shut his eyes tightly and shook his head. Was he really seeing this? Who would be in the water? There wasn’t anybody around for miles…

He jerked open his eyes as the realization hit him: Barbara was in the pond. That’s where she had gone to! Without another moment’s hesitation, Frank plunged himself into the icy cold pond and began to trudge towards the center of the pond; towards Barbara. The water stung his legs and feet, and with each step the level rose higher and higher, until he was almost treading water. Each time his hands entered the water, it felt like daggers piercing his skin, and he could feel his legs beginning to go numb from the cold…but he had to keep going. Just a little further, and he was there. He could see her head more clearly now, and it was definitely her…the grey streaks were much more evident, now that he was level with her in the water. He called out to her to hold on, as he waded as fast as he could, which he knew was not very fast, indeed.

He could no longer feel the soft earth beneath him, and was now swimming out into the middle of the pond, as his teeth chattered and his arms grew tight. He knew he couldn’t swim very long in the water; it was too cold. Already, his legs were almost completely numb, and though he tried to kick them harder, it felt as though weights were attached to his ankles, dragging him under. Still, he kicked more and more, and drew his arms through the water, swimming in the frigid cold liquid towards his goal. He tried to call out to her again, but water sloshed into his mouth and choked him. He spat it out, and kept swimming; kept swimming out into the water, as the waves he was now making splashed into his face and over his head.

He could see she was only a few feet away now, her head turned around facing the other way. He couldn’t see her arms…was she treading water? Oh God, was she even alive? He quickened his stroke, and kicked his stiff legs more frantically than ever.

Just a few more feet…

When he was almost able to grasp her, her head suddenly sank back beneath the surface of the pond, as was gone. Bubbles popped up in its place, and Frank heard the unmistakable sounds of something sinking.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I Don't Think Anybody Reads This

Ok, I've officially decided that nobody reads this stupid blog. Now, I'm not upset about this... it's just a random blog about nothing, and I seem to lack the creative abilities to make that interesting enough for anybody to read on a regular basis.

So, maybe I won't post The Tiny Pond part 4, because it might just be a waste of my time.

Then again, if somebody is reading this, it would be a shame to disappoint them by quitting. Of course, if nobody is reading this...wouldn't that mean I'm talking to myself? Oh, God. Is this the first stage of some sort of psychotic episode? Am I turning into that guy who walks down the street arguing with himself?


Perhaps I should take it easy. I don't want to wear one of those white jackets, with extra-long sleeves.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Tiny Pond, part 3

Frank turned on his heels, and headed back the way he came towards the spiral staircase. His legs had began to cramp up, but he didn’t care. He knew he had to out of that place as quickly as possible, or else something might happen. He started down the stairs, his right hand gripping the old wooden railing tightly as he descended. Each step he took echoed throughout the old mill, as if the walls themselves were speaking to him. He tried to climb down faster, taking the steps two at a time. His legs ached, and his heart pounded still harder in his chest. He was halfway down now, and soon he would be outside in the fresh air, where he would be safe. Yes, he would be safe outside.

As he passed one of the broken windows, he stopped dead in his tracks. He thought he saw…did he just see that? He knew he had to keep going; had to keep going down the stairs…but he had to have a second look. He became still, and listened. His quick, labored breathing was the only sound around him, and it seemed to calm him somewhat. Forcing his will, he turned slowly to his left, and looked out of the broken window, to the small pond below. It was a woman, with long brown-grey hair, and a yellow summer dress. She was standing by the pond, her arms hugging herself tightly. She seemed to be staring out over the water, swaying gently back and forth, as if trying to comfort herself. She seemed familiar, but he couldn’t get a clear look at her face.

What was she doing out here? It was, after all, a good distance from town to be walking, with no coat or scarf. Perhaps she drove a car? No, he would have heard the engine, would have heard the tires crunch through the snow. Surely she didn’t wander off on her own, and get lost? Whatever the reason, Frank saw she was down below him, staring out over the pond. He decided that things were safe, now. Whatever evil thing had stalked him before must surely be gone by now; monsters don’t like an audience, do they?

He called out to the woman, feeling relieved to see another person about. His spirits lifted as they did when he was a child, and his mother would come into his room at night to turn on his closet light, and scare away the boogyman. He waved his arms and called again, trying to get her attention. The woman simply stared out over the water, and made no attempt to look up at him. Could she not hear him? Perhaps he was too high up, or the wind was blowing too hard down below? He called to her again, louder this time. Suddenly, he heard the shrieking again. It was louder, and more panicked than before. His heart stopped in his chest, and his stomach lurched inside him.

It was still here.

This time, the screaming was not coming from inside the mill, but seemed to be coming from the pond itself, as if there were an invisible person standing on the surface of the water, wailing in agony. The woman by the pond didn’t seem to hear the noise; or she was simply ignoring it completely, he couldn’t tell. Whatever the reason, she continued to stare out over the pond, slowly swaying and holding her arms over her chest. Her hair blew in the wind, and suddenly she began to move.

As Frank watched, she took a step towards the water, and then another. He called out to her again, told her to stop...but she continued to move towards the bank. Soon she was only inches away from the pond; another step and she would dive headfirst into the cold water. The shrieking from the pond was louder than ever, and Frank was beside himself with apprehension, not knowing what to do. He considered running down the stairs again, when the woman turned around suddenly, and stared right into his eyes.

He clutched his chest so quickly he nearly knocked himself backwards. He backed up against the railing of the mill, then turned and began to run down the stairs, as fast as his legs would carry him. He continued to keep his hand on the rail, but only for balance as he was now practically running full speed. He had to get downstairs now, right this very moment. It was her…she was down there. His beloved Barbara, after all these years. She was back.

Was it real? How could it be? She couldn’t be back…she couldn’t. She was dead, wasn’t she? Yes, she was dead. He had seen her body lying there on the floor, bent and twisted at the bottom of the stairs. He could still hear the sounds her throat made as the breath was wrenched out of her by forces unknown. He could still see the look in her eyes; still see the fear.

Barbara was dead, it couldn’t be her down there, it couldn’t. Still, he descended faster and faster, his heart pounding in rhythm with his footsteps, until at last he reached the bottom of the mill. Just beyond the wall to his left, he could hear the yelling of the pond. He had to get outside. He had to see Barbara, tell her he was sorry for what he did. She had to know it was an accident...

He ran through the old wooden door, and turned to his left, towards the pond.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I Now Own a Viper

Well, that’s a bit misleading, isn’t it? I was not trying to insinuate that I have purchased a new Dodge Viper sports car, nor was I tying to convey that a new reptile buddy now resides in my living room. I was actually referring to my new car security system upgrade: the Viper 350HV.

Now, this is exciting for me for the following reasons:

1-I’ve never before owned a car alarm system
2-I purchased it at $50 off normal sale price
3-Best Buy hasn’t had any in stock for over 2 weeks.

I have been waiting for this damn alarm for over 2 weeks now, even though I purchased it long, long ago in a Best Buy store far, far away. Everyday I would call the store to inquire about my newly-purchased (yet so far phantom) alarm system…only to have the idiots at Best Buy tell me that “No new alarms have been shipped to the store. Please call back tomorrow.”

You bastards! Give me my damn alarm system!

Well, today I received the phone call I had been waiting for. Jeff from the Car Audio Department informed me that they now had in stock a new Viper 350HV car alarm system, which was ready for me to pick up at my earliest (2 weeks ago, you fuckers!) convenience. So, today after work I will hop on over to Best Buy and see if they do, in fact, have my alarm in stock. If so, then next Wednesday, Dante will get an alarm installed, and he’ll be safe from all those evil Overland Park car thieves…heh.