Archive for October, 2009


Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

The following three things happened today:

-I started work on a rambling little essay about bears.  Then I found out that I couldn’t upload pictures for some reason, presumably because of some maintenance that’s coming up in the next week. 

-I gave up on that and started scraping together the first bit of a short story I’d got an idea for last night.  I got two thirds of a page in and flatlined, realizing that it would need both (A) lots of research on something I barely understand and (B) an actual plot. 

-I frantically, furiously hunted through my documents swearing like an inebriated linguist and hoping that I’d written something two years ago that wasn’t absolute pus on toast that I hadn’t already used.  I hadn’t. 

So….. to get about a roundabout way of saying it, this is my first official “I screwed up and didn’t manage to give you a single worthwhile thing all week” post.  No doubt this will turn into a slippery slope of pathetic down-the-drain derailment that ends in me posting something bimonthly to apologize for not posting.  Or it will encourage me to start actually going over what I’m going to put up on Wednesday BEFORE Wednesday arrives.  Whichever. 

I leave you with two things: My apologies, and the links to a pair of webcomics that are vastly more entertaining than anything I ever put up here. 

The Adventures of Dr. McNinja (Absolute absurdity.  Where else can you have a storyline involving a clone of Benjamin Franklin that makes perfect sense?).

Gunnerkrigg Court: (General excellentness.  Art starts off much rougher than it ends up being).

Again, I’m sorry.  I’m lazy, but this really shouldn’t be happening.

Film at Eleventeen.

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Good around twoish in the morning.  I’m Joey H. M. S. Fishlips and this is OMG’s Not Really News: gathered, semidigested, and regurgitated to the viewer with all the love of a mother seagull.

Our headliner tonight is not so enormously huge, gargantuan, gigantically jumbo-sized large that we’re going to drag it out to the last possible second.  Don’t say we don’t do anything for you, loyal viewers.  In the meantime, content yourself with the knowledge that you do not share the same fate as congressman Herman Bach, who yesterday threw out his entirely fictitious back in a staggeringly bad case of pun-related injury.  “I’ll never be able to look the public in the eye again,” mourned the ironically named and newly hunched Bach, who was promptly booed off the podium by humour critics.

A triumphant conspiracy hasn’t been revealed, and we’re the first on the scene: NASA has admitted that it did, in fact, fake the lunar landing conspiracy theories.
“It was just for a bit of a laugh,” claimed former astronaut Buzz Aldrin.  “We all had a few brews after the medals were handed out, I mentioned we couldn’t believe we’d done it, and then Neil said “Yeah, who would?” and the whole idea just spun itself out from there.  We were going to stage this big prank on April Fool’s day where we sent in a truckload of faked-up mail claiming the whole thing was a hoax, and we were about halfway there when some clerk found all the letters in the storeroom we were using and sent them all at once five months early.  We figured it’d blow over fast – it was too ridiculous to believe.  I didn’t expect it to get so out of hand.  I ended up having to punch a guy who took the whole thing seriously, for chrissakes.”  Buzz, who did not conduct this interview, then punched our reporter Jerry McMahon in the face, although he apologized afterwards, claiming it was “instinct.”  Jerry said it was all right, or possibly swore eternal vengeance; it was hard to tell given that he was now missing 83% of his teeth.

A sports article: the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games will apparently radically reformat the Games’ traditional setup.  Rather than opt for the “ancient and decrepit” method of running many singular events for different sports and skills, the Olympic officials have decided to simply place every contestant in a very large varied-terrain arena with all of their equipment and give the gold, silver, and bronze medals to “Whoever comes out on top.”  Critics have noted several flaws with this dynamic, such as potentially reducing the actual games to being three times as brief as the opening ceremony (rather than the current twice as brief) and granting unfair advantages to certain competitors, citing such hypothetical examples as an entire national hockey team clashing with a single snowboarder.  The committee’s response has been to “grow some balls already and go for the gold,” as well as the encouraging reminder that the minimum requirements to snowboard are one leg and half an arm.

Turmoil has struck Hollywood, as five separate celebrity couples announced sudden marriage on the same day, dividing the attention of the tabloids so deeply that many of them split down the center and reproduced via cellular mitosis, creating “daughter cells” that are only half the size but can still support a camera and microphone while yammering intrusive questions.  Still, this was a stopgap measure at best, and all five couples immediately annulled in disgust at the poor press coverage.  Two of the women involved have been rendered pregnant by each other’s former husbands, in a twist so staggeringly contrived that they have admitted to planning the whole thing out beforehand as a script pitch.  None of this actually happened, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

The world completely fails to reel in fear at the news of yet another fictional and potentially deadly virus – North American snorkle-fever.  Perhaps this one will succeed at becoming an actual pandemic where SARS, the Asian bird flu, and swine flu have all failed.  Pathologist Doctor Dirk Diddler hypothesizes that the previous epidemic hopefuls became unsuccessful shut-ins due to a severe lack of “badass” in their naming.  Citing the “black death” and “scarlet fever” as his examples, Dr. Diddler forcefully encourages the importance of strong PR in any deadly pathogen’s success.  When asked about the remarkable historical success of the diminutively titled “smallpox,” Dr. Diddler ate his own beard in a paroxysm of rage and grief before committing honourable suicide with his PhD on global television, a move that was widely approved of by his proud parents.  “We always knew he would go far,” claimed Theresa Diddler, looking fondly upon the eviscerated remains of her eldest son and ruffling his bloodsoaked hair.  “And what a way to go.”  Theresa’s other children, Llyod and Doberman Diddler, are a famous tree bark salesman and an anti-animal-rights activist respectively.  Doberman himself hasn’t made news with his declaration to hunt whales “Solely out of pure spite” and armed with firehoses filled with maple syrup, intending to clog the whale’s blowholes with the delicious liquid.  Failure was attained immediately after the pre-launch pancake breakfast, during which the entire ammunition supply and one crewmember’s turtleneck sweater were consumed inadvertantly.  Doberman, when asked for comment, belched forth a hairball the size of an infant’s head.

A substance has been discovered that could revolutionize the global economy by replacing silly putty, experts in Los Alamos claim.  The semisolid, termed “Mucusplex” by its creators, is more than twice as elastic, packs four hundred percent more snugly into a plastic eggshell, and has the exciting and new trait of tending to violently explode when compressed above a certain arbitrary and constantly fluctuating limit.  The research team was scheduled for an interview, but this is invalidated by our next news item, which is the mysterious vapourization of all of Los Alamos.  A exhaustive CIA investigation successfully concluded that this incident was, in fact, under the jurisdiction of the FBI, who subsequently arrested and convicted a nearby local farmer for excessive belching.  He was executed four seconds ago, and his last words were reportedly a heartfelt confession of his illicit and passionate lust for herpes-afflicted carp.

And now our colossal, epic, mega-sized, absolutely false towering news item: France, Belgium, and Rhodesia have fused into a single collective mass of sentient matter, transforming into a five-dimensional shape so elaborate that to look at it unscrews your eyeballs from your sockets and places them delicately in your underwear.  Though rendered above the scope of mortal thought, the entity was still able to communicate in five brief skits of “charades,” each beautiful enough to send hardened tobacco-chewers into sobbing, spitting fits of joy.  Roughly translated, it is currently tapping into the alleged “life-soul” of the entire planet, which it will use to “bring the death of a thousand camemberts upon the false-planet, the asteroid, the contemptible lesser” in a manner deemed so complete and utter that “he will have never existed nor un-existed.”  Earth’s first reaction has been to mourn the overpoweringly sorrowful loss of chocolate and cheese that has stricken us today.

This has been OMG’s Not Really News.  I’m Joey Fishlips, and if you or anyone you love should suffer a tragedy, I will be happy to point and laugh at you if it is sufficiently entertaining.

Copyright 2009, Jamie Proctor.

Storytime: Jill.

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Jill was nine years old and bold and she went on a walk out into the world.  Skipping down the side road, taking the back trails, off she went; twists piled on turns till she was a good ways from home by anyone’s reckoning, and much farther by a nine-year-old girl’s.  She stopped to look for frogs in a small pond, and that’s when she came face to face with the big wolf.  It was standing under the trees a few feet from her, watching her with its sad wolf eyes. 

Who are you? she asked. 

I’m the big bad wolf, said he, and I’m going to eat you. 

Jill was very upset at this, and her frown showed.  My mommy says wolves don’t eat people unless they’re starving to death, she said. 

I’m always starving, said he.  It’s like a big pit in my stomach, little girl, and I’m going to eat you. 

Jill was a quick thinker, and she knew how stories went.  Wouldn’t you rather wait ‘till I’m bigger and have more meat on me? she pleaded. 

The wolf sniffed her, and wrinkled his big wolf nose.  You talk sense, little girl, he said, but I can’t stay hungry forever.  I’ll see you when you’re older.  And then he bounded away into the bushes, his ragged grey tail whisking away through the greenery. 

Jill smiled to herself around then, and she kept going on her walk.  She went out of the woods and down a lonely side road, one with only a single old farm on it, and then she stopped and knocked on the door.  A tall, thin man and his tall, thin wife answered it.

Yes child? they asked. 

I’m lost, she said.  Which way to line seven?

The tall, thin wife smiled, lips pressed firmly together, and her husband scratched at his lank hair with one cadaverous hand.  Take the road left from the end of the driveway, then walk to the intersection, then go right, and you’ll be homeward bound before you know it, said they. 

Thank you very much, said Jill, and as she walked down the driveway she felt their stares on her back, heavy like a bear’s paw.  She smiled again. 

Jill ignored the directions and went the other way at the intersection, and before long she was on the highway’s side.  Night was coming on, and the cars zoomed by without seeing her, because she was wearing dark clothing.  Jill walked careful and quiet, and before long she heard something breathing in the bushes near her. 

Hello? she asked. 

Hello? came her own voice back at her. 

That’s not funny.  And once again, doubled over: that’s not funny.  But there was a bit of a difference, a small strangled edge, like it was coming from a very big throat screwed up tight and twisted about to sound like a little nine-year-old girl’s. 

She spun about on her heel and faced the bushes.  What do you want? she demanded. 

There was quiet, and then a voice floated up, deep and raspy and colder than a skeleton’s love.  You, said it. 


I love the children.  Their parents tell them to look out for me, and I watch them from the forests all day, and run away when they play near.  Then come sundown, I take who I find, and I have found you.  I play and play and play with them all night, but in the morning they never want to move again, and they lie still and let bugs and birds pick at them.  I don’t know why.  Can you tell me why?

If you’ll let me go, she said.  I’ll tell you someday, when I’m older and know more. 

I’ll wait, said it, and then the bushes were empty. 

Jill smiled again, again, and she skipped towards home.  She made it to the end of the driveway before she heard the flip-flap-flop and gentle whisper of leathery wings, and then the tall, thin man and the tall, thin wife descended upon her, one in front, one behind.  They were ghastly in the faint starlight, and it glittered off their teeth.

Fair is fair, child, said they.  You took directions from us and gave nothing in return.  Now we take ours, and with no price set, we want blood.  

Jill was a quick thinker.  All I took was your time.  Don’t you want that back?  You can get blood anywhere, from anyone or anything. 

The tall, thin man frowned.  Time is precious.  Ours more than most, with our living so long.  We saw the crusades, we fed on battle-spilt flesh, we’ve glutted alongside ravens on the campaigns of Alexander.  A moment of our time is worth a lifetime of yours. 

Then come to me when the lifetime is almost over, said Jill. 

The tall, thin wife laughed silently, fangs spread wide at this.  Good girl, said they.  We will collect your lifetime at the end, and find you by its smell.  Good girl, said they, and they lifted up and away into the darkness overhead. 

Jill walked up the driveway and into the house and shut the door.  Well, she said, that was easy. 

Years went by and Jill grew up a little more with each one, a little bigger, a little smarter, a little more crafty.  She saw things in the bushes now and then, and sometimes sounds came from outside her window at night.  Her neighbour’s pets started vanishing, and she felt a bit bad about that, but not too bad.  And each and every year, one of three visitors would come to her door on her birthday, sometimes the same one twice, once thrice, but never four years running.  One would come in the day, one in the evening, one at night.  And they would ask if she was meaty enough yet, if she had enough time, whether or not she had the answer, and she would always say not yet, not yet, try again next year.  The visitor would leave, grumbling or silent, and life would go on. 

At twenty she entered university, by twenty-five she had a degree in law school.  She made friends there, some boys, some girls, and one of the girls came crying to her in the night one day, full of alcohol and sorrow and a story about a date gone very, very wrong.  Jill soothed her and sympathized with her and put her to bed, and said she’d phone the police, and since that day was her birthday, she heard the caller at the door just after the friend drifted off. 

Hello, she told the wolf.  I have meat for you, young tender meat, tasty and fine.

Then give it to me, said he, for I’ve followed you too long and my poor belly’s aching for you. 

It’s not mine to give, but it’s yours to fetch.  You can find your fare at this address, she said, and she gave him the name that the friend had cried from. 

Thank you, howled he, and then he was off into the night with his grey tail wagging.  The friend was fine in the morning, and she never heard from the boy again. 

There were only two visitors now that she might entertain each year.  At thirty she entered local politics, by thirty-five she was a senator, and she was in a dangerously close vote for a bill she could not afford to miss.  The deciding motion was to pass the day after her birthday. 

Hello, she told the thing that arrived in the darkness.  I have your answer. 

Tell me, said it. 

They die, said she.  They wither away and die in your dancing, die of fright.  Do you know why this is, what this is?

No, said the voice. 

Go and ask this man, she said, and she named another name, one of her fellows of the senate.  Go and ask him, and he’ll show you what I mean. 

The chief opponent of the bill died of a heart attack at home before the vote could take place, and it was passed by a narrow margin, thanks to some clever arguments from Jill. 

At forty-seven, Jill became the President of the United States of America, with fifty-seven percent of the popular vote. 

She won her re-election campaign at fifty-one with fifty-nine percent, and most people thought those eight years were pretty good years.  And every year, the oval office would get a little bit darker on one day, when she had a special visitor that she sent away all her aides to meet.  They never showed up on any of the cameras, and they always went away disappointed and left the white house a bit darker than before. 

She left office quietly and without fuss at fifty-five, and most people thought she’d done a pretty good job, and were more than happy to put her in the supreme court.  At ninety-two she was sick, and stepped down from office to live in her house, a new house near her old home.  There, as she sat in bed writing, she heard the door open. 

In they came, the thin couple, and their stares were all the demand they needed. 

She put down her glass of water.  Well? she said. 

We come for what is owed, said the couple. 

Jill smiled for a fourth time.  Then you will have it. 

Our lost time? Asked they. 

Oh, it will be properly compensated for, she said.  A moment, wasn’t it?
For us, a lifetime, said they.  Our time is worth more than yours. 

Oh is it? said Jill, in a sweet voice.  When she was a nine-year-old girl, her parents would’ve known that for trouble, when she was a forty-nine-year-old president, her opponents knew the same. 

Yes, said they, and she heard a bit of uncertainty there.  They were used to using fear, and its absence troubled them like a weaponless soldier. 

Not by a long shot, said she. You are speaking to a woman who was for eight years the most important person in the world.  For the next forty, she was heard closely by all those who followed her, and she’s just finishing up her memoirs, which many, many people are also waiting for. 

You have done much in a short time, said they, but we have lived for long. 

Jill laughed.  And what have you done in that time? said she.  Eaten a few dead men out of many dead men on a nameless, pointless battlefield before history began?  You are crows, but without the intellect of crows.  Jackals without cunning.  Vultures without craft.  You have done nothing, have lived nothing.  Empty, long, hollow lives.  And my time is worth more than yours.  You took a moment from me in my youth with your bartering and threats, and you have stolen several from me now.  And you will repay me what is mine, in the proportions that are mine, NOW!

At the shout the tall, thin man and his tall, thin wife flinched backwards, as if they’d been struck, and then at the next instant they unravelled into less than dust, all their time unrolling out of them in a sigh that sounded like a scream. 

Jill took in all those moments with a small gasp and a giggle, then picked up her pen and wrote the last word of the epilogue.  On her way out the door, she posted her memoirs in her mailbox and tipped up the little flag.  It was going to be more fun, thought she, to find another set of parents this time around.  She’d helped make the orphanages better, after all. 

Jill walked on out into the world, nine years old and bold. 


Copyright 2009, Jamie Proctor.