Thursday, September 28, 2006
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Francois could remember a time when the beauty of the scene was enough to fill him with a lust for paints and brushes, and the strong desire to portray that beauty, to create a truer picture than his memories would allow. The emptiness that filled him now without such desires was a dark sore that tainted all his thoughts. Nothing was changed in the city, but it no longer inspired him to create, and he could not reason why it was so. He felt his life to be in rapid decay without the need to paint. His small reservoirs of pigments grew solid in their bottles and his brushes became brittle. There was no purpose. He began to consider what it would be like to throw himself from the tower, and considered the beauty of such an end. Either illuminated at night, or in the pinks and purples of a setting winter sun, glowing as he flew. He told this to the men of the book stalls and they humored him, recommending a certain kind of bolt cutter to get through the safety fence. But this was not a serious consideration so much as a waking dream. Francois knew that he had to paint. He decided that if he could no longer find purpose in appreciating the beauty he once saw, he would instead destroy it. He began painting again. He painted terrible scenes of rubble and plague. In his pictures the buttresses of the great church were smashed to the ground in clouds of smoke, and fallen bridges, stripped of golden ornaments, clogged the river. To massacre the scene was to provoke appreciation for reality. Pleasant pictures on cards trivialized it. Paintings once again came to him naturally, yet the emptiness remained.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
THE ODYSSEY: The UNTOLD Story:
THE UNI-OPTI-MONSTER BEAST and the REVENGE OF THE EYEBALL…
It was a dark and stormy night. The night itself wasn’t storm-like, for that makes little sense. It was storm-filled. I was a dark and storm-filled night. But then most nights are dark, aren’t they? It was night and the weather was not very good. That is very subjective.
It was night and the weather was rather wet. The wind itself was dripping. So much so, in fact, that my men and I sought refuge on a small island. We saw, as we neared its coast, that it was covered with sheep. Sheep are not usually fierce creatures, and shepherds are not usually fierce men. The light of a fire shone from within a small cave at the zenith of the island. One of the men joked that Marlon Brando probably lived there.
O! How I wished it had been Marlon Brando! For the beast we would soon face would torment our very souls! Marlon Brando would not! I assume. He seems kind of creepy, actually.
Our ship broke down just as we reached the sands of the beach. It was a convenient inconvenience. Though we knew it would take forever to get a mechanic in this neck of the Mediterranean, we also did not have concern ourselves with that until the light of day. And it was a sailboat. The warm cave sat at the top of the hill, inviting us like moths to some kind of warm moth reception. In my past experiences, it was always a good idea to seek refuge in strange, ambiguously deserted dwellings. This seemed to be no exception and my men agreed that we should make ourselves at home in whatever home we came across. Perhaps my mobile phone would get a signal at the top of the island.
O! Dreaded gods of Cingular! No bars at all! Their service sucks.
As we followed a trail leading to the cave, we ate sheep liberally. I advised my men that it was impolite to the nameless herdsman to take a single bite from a sheep, and then move onto another sheep without finishing the first. They had not been taught proper manners. As mother always said, if you bite the sheeps you bite for keeps.
It was a dark and stormy night. Did I already establish this?
With our stomachs full and our togas drenched, my men and I reached the cave. Though presently deserted, it was clearly in current habitation by a large, vile beast, perhaps an American. Bones of unclear source were thrown about on the ground. Blood stained the dirt and rock floor. Pastel wallpaper soothingly cooperated with the décor. The smell of death was corrupting. But you know how people try to mask a bad odor with air freshener, and they really just make a stranger funk by mixing fresh pine scent with decaying corpses? O! It was like that. But we choose to ignore the obvious scene of murder and lechery because we were chilly. My men lay near the fire while I sat in the extra large leather recliner. If only I had known it was a recliner of doom!
We were all in the state between sleep and waking, when your mind races, your eyelids fall, and your ears still hear the crackle of flame and sheep guts, when a sudden roar made us urinate, just a little bit. We all leapt upwards. The fire went out. I grabbed my mobile phone and surveyed the cave with its weak glow, revealing no movement in the rock chamber. My men idly sat. I looked towards the entrance… only to see nothing! Not even the light of the stars! We were trapped within the cave!
With no way of escape, we turned on the television. They were showing episodes of I Love Lucy and we soon forgot our troubles. O Lucy! You can’t be in Ricky’s show, you know that. I love the classics. Then, when Lucy was filling her face with chocolates, for the conveyor belt had the speed of swift Hermes, a sudden roar of movement came from the entrance. The blockage was removed, only to be replaced by a giant beast!
It was a man, nearly twice the height of any of us. He had a silly looking comb-over and wore a monocle. A monocle, for he had but one eye! And I don’t mean like a pirate. His single eyeball was centered above his nose, and sat in its socket looking, looking! as eyes are prone to do. And he was dressed like Fred Flinstone.
The beast spoke. “Is that the one where Lucy tries to get a job and then the chocolates move too fast so she stuffs them in her mouth and clothes? A classic! HAR HAR!”
Our very hearts tripled their beat. I turned off the television.
“WHY HAVE YOU INTERRUPTED LUCY? THAT WAS THE BEST PART!”
The uni-eyed manbeast’s fury was boiling! He rushed towards us.
“O Opti-tron monster!” said I, “O Uniball! Destroy us not!”
“Do not call me uniball, for people may misinterpret that. They may think I’m like Lance Armstrong. Do you understand my humorous reference?”
“I do, mono-retina-saurus! I do! The uniball of Armstrong! Your wit is striking!”
The monster was proud of his joke. One of my men did not understand the reference to the bicyclist. “Monster, I do not get it!”
A hot anger filled the eye. The monster reached down and grabbed my slow friend, and then devoured him! The monster tugged at him like a piece of old jerky.
“O sheep-raising man-eating mono-eyed giant!” said I, “Eat us not!”
“I’m kind of hungry.” He then grabbed another man and ate him like a slippery chicken wing! O. I’m running out of exclamation marks. The giant reflected upon his meal. “It would probably be best to pace myself, as Greek food keeps me up all night.” He licked his fingers. “I shall slice you up and put you in some tupperware.”
My men and I did not see any means of escape. With two of us dead, there was only myself, and an ambiguous number of associates. We could not overtake the monster.
“Just let me get some scissors. I ordered some scissors from the television that can cut through a leather boot!”
An opportunity was arising and our escape was imminent. I looked to my men with telling eyes. The monster rummaged through a drawer in search of man shears.
“Ah. Here we are.”
Now! My men and I ran around the room, scurrying below the giant like escaped hamsters. The giant ran at us, scissors in hand.
“Giant!” said I, “Do you dare tempt the god of fate by running with scissors?”
His anger grew. “The gods know nothing of these scissors! These were a limited time offer.” He stomped about, unclear which direction to go. His slippers, hollowed sheep on his feet, did not provide adequate traction. With all of our strength and endurance, we sped around the room, dizzying the uni-opti-monster-beast!
The great man fell. The scissors of legend, so sharp they could cut through a shoe, and yet still tenderly slice a tomato, went through his monocle, through his eye, and through whatever might have been behind his eye.
“I’ve got scissors in my eyeball!”
Blinded! We sprinted from the cave and to our boat. We had survived the encounter. We would find safety at sea.
But just as we were pushing off the boat, I turned back and saw a great dark orb rushing towards us! The eye! With scissors still in place, the eyeball rolled down the hill like a mushy bowling ball. A bowling ball from Hell! The monster screamed from within the cave.
“That was my only eyeball!”
With a quick leap I grabbed the handle of the scissors and swung the eye out to sea. Out to see!
The waters had calmed. We slowly drifted away from the island. One of my men turned to me and said, “That was kind of weird.” I agreed.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
I've thought about what I know. I don't know a lot of things or people, but I know some. There are things from long ago. I know the cold walk to school in the morning over the frosted grass, down one hill, up another, and across the field, and I know the soft, satisfying crunch that came with leaving small footprints in the iced dew. I know the feeling of the dried plants on the embankment and their sharp seeds that held onto your socks in the summer, and the bright orange wildflowers covered with terrible, harmless ants. I know the sound of the blind beetles that crashed into the stucco walls and the windows, and the beautiful green sheen on their disgusting hard bodies. They flew like an overloaded plane, too weighty to maintain control. I imagined them wearing goggles like fighter pilots in old wars. I know the rush of air and the feeling of disobedience that came with an unsafe bike ride down a hill, and I know that hill was much steeper in youth than it is today. With that I know the pain in a bicycle crash and the burn of pavement against skin. The real pain of the crash was in the stomach; it was the sickening embarrassment of failure, like spilled milk. In youth each moment was felt to be significant and each failing or victory was truly felt. The happiness and sadness and all feelings in that time of life, in the first decade, are as true as any others, but they do not last. No one recovers as quickly as a child and no one is hurt as easily or amused as easily.
I know a few things from more recent times, things about people, but it might be a while before I can write about them. I'd like to write about them some day. Keep an eye open.