Friday 3 March 2017

Story Challenge 5: The Yule Tides Are Rising [Part 2]

Hello again, my surprisingly loyal* fanbase!

* - I assume if you're reading this then you actually care enough to follow this blog, which produces next to no content on a regular basis. If so, great! Thanks for existing! You da real MVP.

So I'm back! I'm sure the crickets are sorely disappointed that they're out of the job. In a long-overdue move, I've decided to finish the intrepid tale of Captain Potato. I'm not sure if it will be any good, but hey, closure is closure right?

There's one particular person who's been waiting on this for a long time. They know who they are, but I want them to also know that this is, in part, my gift to them.

As a reminder, the subjects of this story challenge are:
- All the possible uses of a potato
- "Choo choo mother fucker"
- A fancy Christmas party gone horribly, messily wrong
- Justice
- Rampant and unabated climate change
- BONUS: a guest appearance by Nathan Fillion



Captain Potato.

Dave said the name again and again in his mind, but despite his best efforts he was utterly unable to turn the sound of it into something that made even a hint of sense to him.

What the hell did they spike the punch with? There's a dude in a potato costume getting ready to square up with heavily-armed terrorists...

To their credit, the terrorists seemed just as confused as poor Dave was. Aside from the distant sound of sobbing (which Dave assumed was Brenda, since she could barely keep it together on the best of days... this was not the best of days...) the whole floor was covered in a thick veil of shocked silence. Even the obnoxious Christmas music playing over the PA had fallen quiet, unable to deal with the sheer ridiculousness of the office workers' current predicament.

The good Captain himself seemed to be too caught up in his posing to notice, though after nearly a full minute of this he began to take stock.

"Ahem. Yes, Captain Potato is here to save the day! You terrorists are the root of all evil, and you will be squashed in the name of tuberous justice!"

No reaction. Not a soul in the place -- save perhaps CP himself -- had the wherewithal to plan their next steps. Id and ego alike were still busy processing.

After what seemed like an eternity, one of the assailants let out a frustrated groan from behind his Grinch-like (if the Grinch were made in China by someone who had no idea what the Grinch actually looked like) mask. "Can we just kill this dude please?"

The assertion seemed to wake the whole gathering from their collective trance. Dumbfounded stares turned to enlightened blinking to grimaces of rage wholly befitting the well-armed cadre of eco-warriors gathered hence. Grips universally tightened around all manner of dastardly weapons in the hands of their equally-dastardly wielders, prompting a smirk to appear on the face of our intrepid hero.

"The potato," he began, "is a truly versatile vegetable."

From behind the captain, one of the terrorists (this one with a mask that vaguely resembled a reindeer crossed with a balaclava made from an old sock) charged toward him with machete raised high and voice eliciting an angry howl. Captain Potato was unphased, and as the blade began to come toward his fleshy neck, he simply pulled a cord on the side of his cannon. The action caused a gout of white steam to shoot out behind him, and as it enveloped the attacker his battlecry turned into a scream of pain as he clawed at his blistering eyes.

"They can be boiled..."

The next brave contender, this one a woman in a modest hood and bandana, positioned herself to the left of the captain and brought a pistol to bear. Without missing a beat, he stepped back and turned, allowing the bullet to pass harmlessly in front of him while bringing his own shooter in line with his foe. Two quick pulls on the trigger and another shower of tater bits showered onto the collapsing terrorist.

"You can mash them..."

All at once, the room exploded into action now. Three downed terrorists was probably two too many to ignore, and thus shit had just gotten serious. Every bad guy (and girl) in the room had now turned their attention to Captain Potato and his unconventional tool of mash destruction. Knives, pipes, rifles, and possibly even a grenade (which, Dave realised, might explain the pin drop he heard before, but he was REALLY hoping that that was metaphorical) were now levelled squarely in his direction, yet he seemed completely unphased.

"You can even stick them in a stew!"

The third or so of the remaining terrorists smart enough to bring projectile weapons quickly set about finding both cover and clear angles of fire, ducking behind cubicles and human shields in the hopes of avoiding the spud cannon's deadly(?) barrage. The others simply charged, hoping that brute force and intimidation through numbers would be enough to fell their crafty foe before he could foil their evil plans of taking down TerraCorps. Dave, for his part and from his admittedly unfavourable vantage point, imagined that the latter group were kind of like Team Rocket grunts throwing out Zubats and Rattatas in the hopes that the one guy with a Haunter might actually be able to put up a fight. And much like those grunts, what followed was a massacre.

True to his earlier assertion, as the captain ducked behind a cubicle of his own he launched an array of taters at the oncoming horde. One or two struck the lead runners in the chest, stopping them in their tracks and slowing those behind them. The others flew past the group and collided heavily with the glass wall of the office aquarium. It didn't take much for the assault to cause the glass to groan and then shatter, unleashing hundreds of gallons of water that surged over the immobile terrorists and swept them away in a heap. The squishy mass was quickly joined by a host of miscellanea that disgruntled office workers had used to decorate their desks before the wave washed the desks away as well. By the time it hit the outside windows, the once-clean water had turned a fetid mix of brown and red, having collected a decidedly non-trivial number of desk plants and their associated soil as well as no small amount of blood from the now-wounded terrorists. After all, if you put enough sharp objects in close proximity with a group of people too disoriented to control them, there are bound to be a few cuts and scrapes. The situation only got worse as the sheer pressure of the crashing pile caused the exterior glass to shatter, sending the screaming terrorists to their untimely end in the streets below. Amazingly, not a single hostage was caught in the fleshy tsunami -- a feat not lost on the remaining attackers that were now huddled even closer to their respectively cover.

Dave was in shock. Who IS this guy?

At this point there were at least five of the terrorists left in commission, though from his place on the floor Dave realised it really could be any number. He wasn't in much of a position to confirm, and being an accountant in the midst of the weirdest gun fight in the history of weird gun fights, he figured that it was probably better to keep it that way. What was clear, however, was that the forces of good and evil were currently in a standoff, and neither group was willing to risk making the first move.

Then, to Dave's complete and utter surprise, things got weirder.

"Get hammered, evildoer!"

Seemingly out of nowhere, a man in a blue shirt with a hammer emblazoned on the chest barrelerled heavily into one of the terrorists hiding behind a terrified intern. The extremist -- this one wearing a surprisingly detailed JFK mask -- went flying through the nearby cubicle with a resounding crunch, unable to brace themselves for the surprise attack. Immediately, all eyes shot to the new challenger, including Dave's.

Is that... It that Nathan Fillion?

The man, who may or may not most maybe-ly not (not?) have been Nathan Fillion, stepped forward with a flex and a dazzling smile. "Never fear, good citizens! Captain Hammer has arrived to save the day!"

Captain Potato, not one to waste an opportunity when it presented itself, hastily sprang into action, rushing toward the now-distracted terrorists with a renewed gusto. Bullets began flying everywhere, with the newcomer diving behind cover while one after another the remaining foes were dropped by the first captain's deadly-accurate spuds.

In a flash, everything was quiet again. Dave's heart was racing as if he'd just run a marathon. Watching this crazy, ta-terrific display was a better workout than all of the last year's half-hearted gym sessions combined. Needing a change in orientation to catch his breath, Dave slowly rose from the floor and stretched his shaky arms. As he did so, the captains approached reconvened nearby,

"Good work, spudsy! Looks like I came just in the nick of time and, of course, saved the day again."

"Saved the day? You took out like one guy."

"Yeah, but it was THE guy. You clearly would have been lost without meee--yello there, beautiful."

Captain Hammer caught himself mid-sentence as Linda rose from the floor and began to brush bits of potato off of her skirt (the back of which had the not-so-good captain rather captivated). At hearing his voice, she turned around with a start. She glanced behind her nervously, before settling back on Hammer with a shocked gaze that seemed to say: "Who, me?"

"You are in luck. With these nasty bungers taken care of I've just freed up my evening. Care to join me for a burger?" He leaned closer and brought the back of his hand to his mouth, as if to share some secret. "The hammer is my penis, by the way."

Before Linda's red cheeks and growing scowl could transition into a rejection, Captain Potato sighed and grabbed his compatriot's arm. "As much as I hate to come between a man and his plate of fries, leave the poor girl alone, Hammer. Besides, we've got stuff to do. Come on."

And thus the pair hobbled out, with Hammer mouthing "call me" to Linda and miming his hand into a phone before disappearing into the stairwell. Just as quickly as it had begun, the adventure had ended, and pretty much everyone was left shivering and confused in a sea of utter chaos. There was little activity, with all of the TerraCorps staff still trying to wrap their heads around what had transpired. Dave and Linda were the only two that even bothered standing up.

Shaking his head, he turned to the secretary. "So where does Gerald keep his stash? I need a damn drink."

"Amen," she agreed. She looked over to her boss, now fully unconscious and contentedly sucking his thumb on the floor ahead, then motioned with her head toward his office. "Come on. The sooner we kill these memories, the better."

Sunday 23 October 2016

They Might Be Plushies

Hey internet.

I'd apologise for the long delay, but we both know that's not going to stop me from doing it again, so... You know, here I am! And with a treat (I think). So quick backstory: basically, my partner wanted a stuffed elephant, but she said that when I gave it to her she wanted it to have a story. Being me, I took that as a challenge, so I got her the stuffed elephant (her favourite animal) as well as a stuffed tiger (my favourite animal) and a dream journal (with a nice little message I won't post here -- in part because it's personal and in part because it's written in the book, and I don't remember exactly what it said anymore). Note that the end of the story is a bit... esoteric. I promise it makes sense.

Anyway, here's Wonderwall.


Just kidding. Enjoy the story!


It was a quiet thing, this night. A soft quiet; a warm quiet; a quiet characterised by all manner of creature snuggled away in beds far from the chaos and danger of the dark wood. For many, the night was a thing to be feared, and so a kind blanket and a clever book were a welcome distraction.

Fuddlewump was one such creature. An elephant she was, with trunk, perhaps, a bit too short for her liking. Her rump was plump and round; her skin thick and dark; her ears large and floppy, as ears tend to be. It was on this soft, warm night that Fuddlewump the elephant lay in her soft, warm bed of moss covered by her large, floppy ears and tried desperately to dream. Dreams were sacred things to Fuddlewump. They were an escape from her sad and lonely reality, and they allowed her to be whatever she wanted to be. Not like she was, that is. Anything but that. No, in her dreams she was a graceful gazelle, bounding happily through endless plains. In her dreams she was a majestic eagle, her wings taking her higher and higher through the mountain skies. In her dreams she was a sly fox, darting from hole to hole faster than any hunter could catch her.

In her dreams, she was loved. In her dreams, she was special.

Not like reality at all.

And so she slept, tossing and turning as the dreams refused to find her. The moss was too lumpy. The night was too cold. The moon was too bright. Not at all a night for dreams. But she had to dream, and so she tried and tried and tried.

Above, hiding in the darkness of the leaves, was another creature, though this one was very different. Argos. A tiger he was, with sleek fur and shining claws. Like all cats, Argos was a curious thing, and so his piercing eyes cast the tumultuous slumber of Fuddlewump a discerning gaze. It would be nothing for him to put an end to the elephant: he could eat like a king for the rest of the month, and it would be over in a second. Still, Argos waited and watched, drawing ever silently closer.

When the light of day finally banished the dark, scary night and Fuddlewump woke from her fitful slumber with a resounding yawn, Argos was mere feet away, calmly and coyly regarding his potential prey. As Fuddlewump wiped the sleep from her dreary eyes and the world came to focus around her, the swatch of orange before her seemed almost too much to process. It took many more blinks that she might have thought to realise just what her predicament was, and when finally the predatory visage became clear in her sight a wave of panic instantly washed over her. Her terrified scream trumpeted through the forest.

Argos simply smiled, the mighty tiger not deterred by the elephant’s roar and after the long, resonating blast from the elephant’s trunk quiet once again returned to the forest. It seemed that all was silent save for the anxious breathing of Fuddlewump and the calm countenance of Argos (which to Fuddlewump seemed the loudest thing of them all). The tiger’s grin remained, and after they both had sufficient time to digest the tranquility of the scene he simply asked:

“Are you finished?”

Fuddlewump, shocked and befuddled, could only nod. She tried to slow her gasps to no avail. It was fear that kept her restless, though her foe made no move to strike. After living in that stress for far too long, she could only swallow and release a few soft words to the air: “Are you going to eat me?”

Argos thought for a moment, then shook his furry head. “No,” he said, as he stood with a feline stretch. “You’re far too loud to eat. It wouldn’t do at all. No, I think I’ll simply wait. When you are less loud, and when I am ready, then I’ll eat you.” He could see the elephant wanted to protest, but looking at his sharp fangs, she could only shrink back and be grateful that she hadn’t been eaten already. He broke the silence with a question of his own: “What’s your name, elephant?”

Fuddlewump thought hard about her response. She didn’t like her name, and she was certain that if he knew he might just eat her out of spite. “My name is Ellie,” she lied.

Argos circled around her then, his discerning eyes discerning that not all was as it seemed. He looked Fuddlewump up and down, side to side, over and under, and in the end sighed. “That’s interesting,” he said. “You don’t look like a Ellie. I do, however, look like an Argos, for that is what I am. Go on then, elephant. Go about your noisy business. I’ll just follow.”

Fuddlewump frowned, but in the end all she could do was relent, for Argos was very strong, and she was very timid. “Perhaps I am too loud,” she thought, remembering her roar from just moments ago. “Maybe I’m just too noisy for friends.”

And so she went about her day as only an anxious, too-loud elephant could: she stepped carefully though the forest, trying not to rustle the trees and cringing each time she heard the low thud of her massive feet; she considered rolling in the mud to cool off but feared that the splashing would be too disruptive; she ate fruits she found along the way, but avoided the juiciest ones in case she let her excitement get the best of her. It was a long, careful day, and ever present was Argos, watching and listening with a knowing grin.

When finally Fuddlewump returned to her soft, warm bed of moss, the tiger was still with her. Worried, she asked him: “Now what?”

“Now,” said Argos, “we sleep. Perhaps I will eat you in the morning.”

As he disappeared into the trees, Fuddlewump was not at all assured, and so she struggled to fall into a fitful sleep. Was she still too loud for friends? Was she going to get eaten tomorrow? Would anyone care if she did? Plagued by her apprehensions, she once again struggled to dream. For dreams were sacred things, and easily frightened. Only darkness kept her company that night; a sheer cover pulled over her head to provide a hollow promise of safety from those things without.

Sooner than she expected, but later than she’d have liked, that same darkness overcame her as she descended finally into slumber. When the night was done and the sun once more peeked through the thick canopy above, Argos was waiting, his tiger teeth gleaming behind his tiger smile.

 Fuddlewump didn’t scream this time, though part of her wanted to. She wished that the tiger had merely been a bad dream; a nasty, stinky dream that forced its way into her special space when she wasn’t looking. But he wasn’t a dream, even if he was nasty. No, her dreams would never allow him in, and so it was that in reality she was face to face with a vicious predator, and it was in reality that she could be eaten at any moment.

“So,” she asked. “Is today the day?”

Argos chuckled as he looked his prey up and down, side to side, over and under once again. He thought long and hard, but eventually shook his furry head. “No,” he said. “You’re far too big to eat. It wouldn’t do at all. No, I think I’ll simply wait. When you are less big, and when I am ready, then I’ll eat you.”

The familiar refrain was hardly comforting to Fuddlewump, who cast a sad gaze at her sizable rump and mammoth feet. “Perhaps I am too big,” she thought. “Maybe I’m just too fat for friends.” With a sigh she looked back to Argos, patiently waiting. He didn’t say anything else, but she knew that he wasn’t going to leave. He would keep following her until he decided it was time.

And so she went about her day as only an anxious, too-big elephant could: she went to get water, and patiently waited for the other animals to have their fill just in case she stepped on one; she walked through the paths of the forest, pausing at each juncture to question whether or not she would fit through the space; she helped baby birds get back into their nests high in the trees, for if she was too big the least she could do was help something too little. It was a long, humble day, and ever present was Argos, watching and listening with a knowing grin.

When finally Fuddlewump returned to her soft, warm bed of moss, the tiger was still with her. This time, however, she didn’t talk to him for fear of what he might say. After all, he’d already revealed so much about her: too loud, too big… What was next? The tired elephant didn’t want to know. “Eat me, or don’t. Do as you wish. I’m going to sleep.”

Argos simply watched and waited, slowly blending into the forest as the cover of darkness once again enveloped them both. She didn’t hope for dreams this night, for she felt she didn’t deserve them. The dreams were special things, and she felt very unspecial. No, the dreams would find someone more deserving. Fuddlewump wanted only to forget.

And forget she did, if only briefly, for the next thing she knew morning was upon her, and as he had been the day before Argos was simply upon his haunches, poised for whatever tigery thing he wished to do today. The elephant sighed, wondering if perhaps he’d eat her now. Was she quiet enough? Small enough? Did it even really matter?

She turned and nestled back into her moss, leaving the tiger to contemplate.

“Have you tired of our game already, elephant?”

Fuddlewump merely shook her head. “I’m simply tired, perhaps of the game, perhaps of everything else. You won’t even use my name. I gave it to you and you just tossed it aside.”

Argos laughed then, a deep, rumbly thing. “You gave me nothing, elephant, though I asked. It made you a much quieter thing. Not loud at all.”

Fuddlewump, confused now, rolled over and stared incredulously at her foe. Seeing her bewilderment, he continued:

“Two days ago I said you were far too loud to eat, and you were. But the truth is the loudest voice of all, and you chose to silence it. Actions, too, speak loudly, and as I watched you yours told me much. Perhaps it was all I needed, but our journey had only just begun.

“Yesterday I said that you were far too big to eat, and you were. But even though you are an elephant, and elephants take up so much space, it’s your heart that was the biggest. You never tried to push me away, even though you tried so hard to push away yourself. You put yourself at the service of others, even though they asked nothing of you.

“On both days I said that I would eat you when I’m ready, and so I shall. But I may never be ready, and for now I don’t want to be. As a tiger I could fill my belly many times over if I ate your flesh, but in the end the cost would be too great. You are too loud, too big, too special.

“So no, Fuddlewump. Today is not the day. It may never be. This is the way of things. All that’s left is for you to see it too.”

Fuddlewump could only stare, shock overwhelming her elephant brain as she tried to come to terms with what Argos had said. Her truth? Her actions? Her heart? Why was this happening?

She watched him closer and closer, and soon the tiger began to glow, seeming to become one with the air around him. She wanted to call out, to beg  for him to stay and give her the answer she so desperately sought, but the words would not come. She knew, deep within herself, that they would not make a difference. And it was then she remembered:

Dreams were sacred things. They were an escape from her sad and lonely reality, and they allowed her to be whatever she wanted to be. They let her break free from the fear and anxiety that ruled her life. They gave her hope for the future, and reconciliation for the past. Dreams were quiet and warm, soft and bright. Dreams were wishes unwished and truths unspoken.

As she watched Argos fade away, she understood. She saw him for what he was for the first time.

“Thank you,” she whispered. “I will never stop dreaming.”

Thursday 15 September 2016

Poems for the Broken Mind

This is a bit of a departure from my usual style, but I think it's a good thing. I won't provide context, as it will mean what it has to to those that it must, but know that it does mean something.


I'm walking on shells, can't you tell?
With this bitter knell
Ringing through the countryside,
Rocking out on hells bells

My chest swells with pride
As I look inside
Seeing two lovers crossed
Crissed upon the great divide

I sighed once, cried more
Tells you what I'd died for
My eyes dried, stymied
Beside our senseless rage war

And so it gets deflated
My chest can't hold the pressure now
Pop goes the weasel with his
Eyes beneath a furrowed brow

Bow down before my princess
Prostrate on the weathered stone
A known groan sown upon her lips
A slight she won’t allow

I look back
Wishing to atone for all those things I said
A blurry slurry hurrying
The fury in my bitter head

This can't be the end, I refuse to accept it
I've gotta find an answer, now we've both been rejected
My application denied; the truth I suspect is
You want this back as much as me. We're worth it.

Let's test it.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Story Challenge 5: The Yule Tides Are Rising [Part 1]

DISCLAIMER: There's some strong language in this post. But it's the internet, so I'm sure you'll get over it.


Hello my loyal reader(s)! It's tie for another STORY CHALLENGE!

As a reminder, the story challenges I write come after I complete 10 "things" from my book 642 Things to Write About. I get suggestions from my friends/followers and take 5 of the best ones to turn into a story, which I generally come up with on the spot. It's a fun little exercise that forces me to adapt and provides some pretty creative writing prompts.

In any case, this round of suggestions did not disappoint. The five I've chosen are as follows (in no particular order):

- All the possible uses for a potato
- "Choo choo mother fucker" (I think I can say this three times before I'm required to rate this blog post R)
- A fancy Christmas party gone horribly, messily, wrong (red, which was another suggestion, also comes up a lot, but I blame the Christmas theme for that)
- Justice
- Rampant and unabated climate change

And I haven't decided if I'm actually going to use this yet, but if I do...

BONUS: An appearance by Nathan Fillion

Let's see what I come up with, shall we?


Dave sighed as his boss collapsed to the floor in a flailing heap, rolls of fat jiggling from bouts of thunderous laughter. The man was the head of TerraCorps -- the most powerful energy conglomerate in the world -- and yet after two glasses of egg nog his face and, consequently, his mannerisms, were redder than a sunset over a brush fire.

Shameless, he thought. This man will make more money while we're at this party than I do in a year. You think he'd at least be able to hold his liquor.

Still, not a single person here was brave enough to call him out on it, and so secretary and engineer alike were forced to chuckle nervously while he laughed himself into a stupour.

After awhile, however, it definitely wore on him. The facade was exhausting, and each day it became more and more apparent that this job would be the death of him. It was a sobering thought, which was ironic when he thought about the amount of alcohol he had to consume to deal with his reality.

Speaking of which...

He threw his head back and downed the last of his drink. It wasn't as strong as he'd like, but it would be a few hours yet before the company was willing to break out the really good stuff. Some silly PR nonsense about building lasting relationships with your colleagues through social bonding. It's a shame he hated everyone here.

Looking around, he didn't even recognize most of those present. It was a big company, after all, and it was impossible to know everyone. Dave worked in the finance department, and so he would occasionally visit the other parts of HQ to collect information for payroll or audits, but he didn't actually interact with the other employees all that much. He could count on one hand the number of people he actually spoke with on a regular basis, and half of those he wished he didn't have to. Still, it seemed strange to him that there were people here who worked in the same building that he could have sworn he'd never seen before. The scope of TerraCorps was truly mind-boggling.

His brooding was interrupted by two things. The first the feeling of something being placed of the back of this head. It was cold, and as best as he could tell through his buzz, circular in shape. Like some kind of metal tube. The second (which gave him a pretty good idea of what the first entailed) was Linda's screaming.

Linda was the boss' secretary. Considering the kind of harassment she had to put up with on a daily basis, the woman was not easily rattled. As she looked toward Dave and dropped her drink to the carpet, the banshee's wail of a terrified exclamation she released was a pretty good indication that things were about to go horribly, messily wrong. This foreshadowing, to Dave's dismay, was soon proven to be incredibly accurate.


Taking the queue, dozens of people dispersed through the crowd drew weapons of all kinds, putting on masks taken from duffel bags or secret stashes throughout the office. What had moments before been a scene of mirth and merriment quickly turned into something out of a nightmare. In Dave's mind, it was Die Hard meets The Dark Knight, and considering how many times he watched those movies he did not have high hopes for exiting the situation unscathed.

He wasted no time in dropping to the ground, hoping to minimise his chances of becoming an example to advance the plot. Luckily he wore a green shirt today instead of a red one; in these circumstances every little bit helped.

"Gerald Mendleson." The masked man who had been behind him stepped over Dave's prone form to approach the boss, still trying to stifle childish giggles as his inebriated mind came to terms with the situation. It turned out that the metal tube had been a shotgun.

How the hell did he even get that in here? The security in this building sucks.

"A simple businessman who spent his life building the world's most powerful energy provider. You claim to provide security, that TerraCorps keeps our cities running and our way of life intact. But your shady dealings and poor standards are driving our planet to an early grave! Do you have any idea what will happen if one of your precious nuclear plants has a meltdown? Hundreds of years of radiation soaking into the land, making it uninhabitable for man or beast!" The gun's barrel sank until it was pointed squarely at the boss' head. "TerraCorps is a sickness poisoning our planet. You are a coal-fuelled train spewing a cloud of death to envelop us all. The tracks are running out, Gerald. We're approaching the point of no return, and I'm here to put an an end to it before there's no turning back."

"Choo choo, motherfucker."

"Wha--" The masked gunman turned in surprise, but his exclamation was cut short as something shot forward and exploded on his mask, dropping him to a sorry heap on the floor. The projectile's shattered bits fell to the carpet right in front of poor Dave, who, as he looked at them, was filled with any number of nonsensical thoughts.

They were chunks of potato.

I'm DEFINITELY not drunk enough for this.

He craned his neck backward to see where the shot had come from, and his confusion only grew. There, standing beside a discarded Santa outfit, was a mysterious man wearing a brown and yellow costume that Dave couldn't begin to describe. The stranger was holding some kind of pneumatic cannon strapped to a massive cannister on his back, and the fluffy red sack accompanying his initial disguise was filled to the brim with spuds.

"I'm Captain Potato," exclaimed the man, raising his cannon as he struck a pose. "I've come to bury these evildoers once and for all!"

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Thing 50: I didn't know what was happening at the time

Hello internet! We're at thing 50! That means the time is nigh for another story challenge, so I'll be collecting suggestions shortly, and then hopefully writing something worth reading. The last one was pretty atrocious, so I have a lot of ground to make up.

Anyway, on with the thing.


Thing 50: I didn't know what was happening at the time

A happenstance so surely left behind
In solace now it wracks my tattered mind
But that, forsooth, a gnash upon the rind
In passing then it seeks to wax unkind

At fateful time, yet wreathed in mystery
I stood uncertain, plain for all to see
What magic, this? What ceaseless devilry?
Each answered question brought another three

What bits were true? When shall I find my peace?
Will my poor mind perchance to find the keys?
Unlocking this confusion as he grieves
A challenge fought yet lost upon the priest


Okay, so this was my sorry attempt at iambic pentameter. This concept, which I was introduced to in my highschool english class because apparently Shakespeare was a fan, involves 10 syllables in a line grouped into pairs. In each pair, the second syllable is supposed to have emphasis.

e.g.: "a HAPpenSTANCE so SUREly LEFT beHIND"

I feel like a missed the mark a bit, and it's definitely shorter than I intended, but this exercise was actually quite draining, as it's more of a technical piece than a creative one. As such, it stands as a bit of a departure from my normal style of things. Usually I try to vary the structure of my work to give it a more organic feel, and the way it sounds means much more than the way it's put together. This is the opposite.

Take that as you will.

Thursday 12 November 2015

Thing 49: Write a review of a novel or memoir you've never written

Hey team! It's that time again. I do believe I'm getting close to overdue for another post, so here goes nothing.

BY THE WAY, for those of you that used to read my stuff, you should be happy to hear that we're approaching another story challenge! After every 10 "things" from my fancy pants book here, I get some audience suggestions and craft a tale using five of the weirdest ones. So there's that to look forward to, which is pretty swell.


Thing 49: Write a review of a novel or memoir you've never written


This is, in my opinion, the only word which can adequately summarize Dominic Aquilina's first (and one would hope only) foray into the literary profession, if you could even call it that. The Boundless Depths, which I had the great misfortune of reading for the purposes of this review, is the sort of mindless drivel that one might expect from a first-time author only if one dearly wished for that author to fail. Aquilina somehow manages to capture everything horrible in the world and condense it into a string of glyphs that by some miracle flows into a semi-coherent gathering of sentences. To gaze upon the book's pages (and again, I use the term with great hesitation) is reminiscent of of an emaciated badger dragging a carcass studded with broken glass through one's corneae as it seeks to gain sustenance from the rancid flesh.

And yet, even these words fall short of what it is like to read The Boundless Depths. I would say that one must experience it themselves to fully understand, but this is a fate I would not wish on even my most execrated foes. That Breakwater Publishing saw fit to put ink to paper and produce this travesty is an insult to the entire forest from which each fateful tree originated. To burn each and every copy seems to be the only recourse before us, lest another unfortunate soul be subjected to Aquilina's mad ramblings.

In short, if I believed in any manner of a god, I would pray forgiveness for whatever slight caused it to allow such an abomination to spring forth from the depths of a long forgotten hell to plague us mere mortals in so permanent a form. The Boundless Depths, I can only hope, shall be banished to its namesake for all eternity, never to surface again. My life has been forever tainted for having read it.

I award -3 stars out of 10.

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Thing 48: The difference between the first death you remember and the most recent one

Heya. I'm not really feeling like writing today, but I did set myself a quota, so...

I suppose I should post an advisory, in that the following passage might be a bit disturbing to some. Take that as you will.


Thing 48: The difference between the first death you remember and the most recent one

Borogan's fingers clenched more tightly around the woman's throat. Her thrashing had long since stopped, but still he squeezed, hoping against hope that he would feel... something. Anything; some whisper of life sparking through the swirling blackness of his soul.

And yet, it remained quiet.

Of course it did. She was a nothing; some nameless harlet he'd torn from the streets during her time of sin. Nobody would notice. Nobody would miss. That was perhaps the problem, he thought to himself.

I have not taken life. I have merely granted freedom.

Not that it would make a difference. All of the others had been the same. All but one.


His grip strengthened at the recollection. He remembered the thrill of the act. He remembered her pitiful cries and the salty bite of her tears and he kissed her cheek in the throes of passion. He'd never felt more alive than in that precious moment, and he longed to feel it again.

This would not be the last. No, he would keep searching until he found it again, or until the universe and all its gods saw fit to end his quest prematurely. There could be nothing else.

There would be victory, or there wouldn't.

Either way, there would be death.

Friday 6 November 2015

Thing 47: The time you were the most terrified -- your knees were knocking, your heart was racing, you could barely stand to be in your own skin

Greetings viewers. It's time for another terribly unexciting chapter of "Dom writes some things and nobody reads them!" Let's see what the universe has in store for me today, shall we?


Thing 47: The time you were the most terrified -- your knees were knocking, your heart was racing, you could barely stand to be in your own skin

"One step closer, and she dies."


So I tried something a little different today. I'm really good at writing too much -- sweeping, long-winded passages rife with emotion and descriptive elements. I'm really bad at writing short things. I figured this time around I would try to be brief. I think my above passage (inspired by the amazing 6-word story that pretty much everyone knows about already) actually says quite a lot in those few words, but I want to know what my audience thinks!

So yes, if you're reading this, please comment. I want to know if you can paint the same picture in your head that I had in mine when I put this together. Also, I can write a longer version if people would be interested in that, but I won't know unless you tell me.

Challenge extended.

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Thing 46: Describe Exultation

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self."
~Ernest Hemingway

So yes, I came across that quote while watching Kingsman: The Secret Service, but somehow I feel as if that doesn't make it less pertinent. Self improvement is something I've pursued for many years now, and I think it's incredibly important. I further believe that mister Hemingway phrased the importance is this pursuit in more eloquent a manner than I might ever have been able to manage. Hearing in again has inspired me to actively work on trying to be more accountable. As such, I'm going to attempt to author a new post here at least once every other day. Primarily this is to practice my craft, for whatever that's worth, but I also think that having some concrete and consistent responsibility helps to build character. If you read this and happen to know me outside of this blog, keep me accountable.

We both know I need it.


Thing 46: Describe Exultation

I had to look up that word. I think my vocabulary's rather good, but nobody's perfect. Personal development!

In any case, I decided that this time around I wasn't going to make a proper story of things, but rather I'd simply try my hand at meeting the requirements of the passage using a more normal sort of approach. After all, not everything's a story, and sometimes information should be dispensed in other ways. This harkens back to the discussion about different learning styles... But I digress.

My purpose for this entry is to describe a word, and I'm going to do that by telling youa bit about my last few months. I'll spare you the details here; not because I don't think they're interesting or because I wish to hide anything, but because there are others parties involved and it would be unfair to them if they were so publicly ousted. It's their tale as much as it is mine, and I haven't the right to tell it on their behalf.

What I will say is that some time not so long ago I because aware of some news which was, at the time, incredibly upsetting for me. In essence, a lot of things that I thought were real turned out to be false, and I had no way of coming to terms with that reality at the time. When I tried to open discussion on the matter and obtain some measure of closure, things became markedly worse. It looked as if one of my best friends would be gone from my life forever.

Needless to say, I did not take this situation very well, and sank into a fairly dark state of mind.

I had two fairly important solaces at this time which stopped things from escalating further. The first was my writing. When things become truly awful, I find that simply transcribing my thoughts can be incredibly cathartic, and it serves as a huge help. At the end of that week, I had no less than six pages of some of the darkest and most depressing work to ever find its way to paper through my hands. It was actually fairly well-written, and I considered publishing it here for that reason alone, but in the end I decided against it in small part because I didn't want people to be concerned, but in larger part to protect the interests of the other parties.

The second solace was my job. I'm very lucky to have found employment with a wonderful company here (Local Line! Check us out (after we launch the new version of our app next week)!). It's web development, which I swore I would one day put behind me, but the work is interesting and the team is both incredibly talented and incredibly supportive. I happened to formally start with the company a mere week after that fateful revelation of mine, and so I retreated into my labour with gusto. For the next month it became the absolute best part of my life, and I shudder to think what might have become of me if the job was a soul-crushing one. I'm grateful every day for the opportunity.

But again I digress. The point I'm meandering toward here is that I was at a very dark point in my life. Despite the job and my writing I could lose entire days merely by thinking about the friend I thought I'd lost. It's amazing how heartbreak can utterly consume you, like a viscid shadow oozing over your soul and blocking out any hope of one day seeing the light again. It was awful.

But, this brings us back to the purpose of the piece itself: exultation.

Very, very recently I found out that all was not lost. I reconnected with that friend, and they expressed interest in once again becoming part of my life. This, my dear friends, is exultation. A quick Google search defines is as "a feeling of triumphant elation or jubilation; rejoicing." And let me tell you, those words made my heart soar. To them it was likely nothing, but to me it was if my world suddenly stopped falling apart. That maybe -- just maybe -- there was something to look forward to.

Exultation is knowing that friendship did not die. Exultation is learning that many of the horrible things you thought about yourself might be wrong. Exultation is waking up and thinking that things will get better.

Here's to being optimistic for the first time in years, in thinking I might not be wrong.

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Thing 45: Your most transcendent ice cream experience

Two in one week? What is this madness!?

Yes, my dear follower, I am doing another! Because hey, why not. It's not like I'm doing anything else. I figured it was high time to start taking this whole writing nonsense seriously again.

Anyway, here goes!


Thing 45: Your most transcedent ice cream experience

Jared yawned as his slippered feet slid across the tiles, slowly but surely bringing him toward the freezer. It was 5:37 AM, and if he were being honest with himself he was mighty tired, but this was his weekend. No job, no girlfriend -- just the sweet freedom to do whatever he damn well pleased.

And you know what? He damn well pleased some damn ice cream.

He stopped for a moment at that, furrowing his brow as he tried to determine if that thought actually made any sense. Through the haze of the lateness of the hour (and possibly the lingering alcohol in his system) he couldn't be sure, but his keenly-trained literary mind was leaning toward a definite "no." Still, he wasn't nearly confident enough for his liking.

I guess that degree in english literature really wasn't good for anything. Mom was right.

Scowling now, he ripped open the freezer, not even flinching as the door collided madly with the cabinets and bounced slowly back toward him. It was a bit of a sorry sight inside, considering the number of frozen pizzas he had engorged over the past few days, but like a shining beacon the box he knew to be present sat prominently at the fore of an otherwise empty shelf.

Ice cream. Cookies and cream, no less. For some reason he'd always been a bit ashamed to admit it, but that was his favourite flavour. He supposed that particular thought process had something to do with his father's irrational fear of salmonilla. He ignored it with a shrug, managing to find the perfect balance between abject rage and utter nonchalance.

It was that kind of weekend.

He grabbed the box with a tired hand and slid it off the shelf, letting it and the arm that held it drop lazily to his side as he shuffled toward the cutlery drawer. His empty hand fished around in the thing and pulled out the first spoon it found. The fact that this spoon was nearly the size of his fist was irrelevant. It's intended purpose was supposed to be gravy or some such, but he figured it would work for ice cream just as well. After all, he wasn't planning on using a bowl, so having a spoon that doubled as one was probably the next best thing.

Utensil in hand, he dragged his feet and made his way to the living room, being sure to headbutt the freezer closed on his way past. The impact was a small one, but it did manage to wake him up ever so slightly. It wasn't much, but it allowed him to muster enough latent energy to hop over the back of hte couch when he arrived at it, landing with a resounding thud with perfectly complimented the kung fu movie still fruitlessly playing on his TV. It was some kind of marathon, but he hadn't really been paying attention. It was mindless, and he appreciated that. Why think? Waste of time, really, all things considered.

He sighed and took another look at the box before him. The packaging was different from what he remembered. Then again, it had been a very long time since he'd had any ice cream at all. Stacey was lactose intolerant.

Screw you, Stacey, he thought. You made your choice.

He popped off the top and let it tumble to the floor, wasting no time in injecting his monstrosity of a spoon into the hardened creamery. It was no easy task, but by now he was determined, and nothing was going to stop him, so a few odd grunts and more effort than he cared to admit later, he was happily munching on his prize. It tasted... different. But no, now it was a matter of pride. Who cared what it tasted like? This was the ice cream of triumph. It was a celebration of freedom and independence and being able to produce lactase. Unlike some people. Stupid Stacey.

Hey, is the room supposed to be spinning like this?

As the walls leaned toward him he began to question a great many things. Who was he talking to? Did he even ask that question out loud? Why did this taste like purple?

He was reasonably certain that this was not the normal ice cream-eating experience. Yes, something was decidedly different. But what? And less importantly, why? Unable to put any of his eleven fingers on the former, he directed a raised eyebrow down toward the ice cream's lid, sitting happily on the carpet. Reaching his leg over the couch's parapet, he wrapped a tentacled appendage around the thing and turned it so that he could see the other side.

It just so happened that the expiry date was written there, and from his high vantage point, plainly visible.

Ten years. It had been expired for ten years.

There was a quiet moment then. Well, relatively quiet. The strange hum emanating from pretty much everything in the room was a bit daunting, but htere was a strange peace to it, and now that the screaming had died down he had a precious window to dwell on this new development.

With a shrug, he brought the spoon to his lips...