View Full Version : A Big Mistake
May 25th, 2004, 05:20 PM
She was grinning to herself but the damned grin snuck out turning her otherwise pleasant face into some sort of smiling ogre and everyone knows ogres don’t smile. “Bad as in ‘Oh, my giddy auntie Mary, the son of a… I will have his.....” the thought of what she’d have of his brought a bigger grin and now she was mostly this tiny slash of lips surrounding lots of teeth supporting the happiest eyes the known world has ever seen. “What do I do now? I honestly didn't want the last word…” and she chuckled to herself as she realized how true that thought wasn’t, ”...but, I have a small idea... evil, evil man...”.
In the course of a man’s life he makes many mistakes, some big, some not big, and one finally fatal. I hadn’t reached the final one, yet. If I had been able to see Claudette’s face as she thought her thoughts, I’d have realized that this latest mistake was in the bigger than big category and the odds were very good I would regret making it.
Claudette is touched. That means a few of the nuts and bolts that should be holding her together have gone missing and it also means she has a talent. In these parts they refer to a talent like Claudette’s as a Talent meaning the person controls enough power to make them precisely the wrong people to be on the bad side of - as I had just become with Claudette.
It was such a small thing, too. But isn’t that the way of the world, the small things become all out of proportion, on the order of a butterfly causing a typhoon. Should watch the language, I guess. Claudette would not appreciate comparison to a typhoon.
There I was, enjoying an evening at the Devil’s Disciple, a nice little bar on the outskirts of town, not too quiet but – then, again – not too rambunctious. Was throwing the bones with a demon or two, tossing a pint or seven, and generally feeling pretty good about life. This one demon tells the old saw about Speedy MacPherson and fingers in the rear so I just had to tell the one about Monday nights and the theater. One thing leads to another and pretty soon I hear myself saying “for a good time, call Claudette.” You can’t be saying things like to demons ‘cause they tend to take you literally. I didn’t think anything of it as it would take a pretty powerful demon to raise Claudette’s hackles and she is not usually too discriminating who she’ll have a good time with so – as I already said - I didn’t think too much of it. Truth to tell: I didn’t think.
Thinking has never been a strong suit, I know. One of these days, though, I am really going to try to start doing some of it. Can’t hurt and just might keep me out of a little trouble, at least.
Too late for this time, though. I didn’t know it then but Claudette was sure to educate me in the not too distant future. Education is a good thing. People say that over and over and most believe it. Me? I think whether education is good or bad is more problematic than most would believe.
May 26th, 2004, 04:17 PM
Claudette what a mouth full of a name. my mother couldn't call me Pat or Joan it had to be Claudette after a favourite actress. Me, I wasn't the actress type. I was me. Some say I have talent, others say I have a screw loose if they are feeling polite, bloody bonkers if not.
I am used to it. You see my mind works sideways. Most women think on things like family, keeping up with Mrs, I have that nice set of colour matching pans, down the road. Me I think about the what ifs. It makes sense to me, because often when I think on the what ifs they tend to happen.
Talent you see.
Martin should of known better than to start me what ifing.
I mean what does a woman, who lives alone in a house that leans at 20 degrees to the left, do when a demon comes calling.
Not that demons haven't come calling before. They tend to question me about the what ifs. to see if any of my thinking on what ifs will get in the road of them dragging Mr sold my soul from number 22, off to a warmer place.
One drunken, hiccuping, grinning, leaning on the side of my door, demon, asking "Showw.. showww uss errrr a good time" Is very, very different.
"You mean you want to know the what ifs if I show you a good time?"
After scratching his groin, pointing a clawed finger at me and waving it. Flapping his jaw and trying to think he replied. "No, good time with you... I think"
"So," I ask, "who told you I would give you a good time?"
"I see Martin, as in Martin I am just trying to slip my way out of this troublesome thing called work by Goofing off Martin?"
"Martin, I have no intention of growing up Martin?"
"Martin the evil, evil man."
"He is not that bad you know?" The demon got very serious.
"No... what if..." I began....
The demon grinned, but not as wide a one as graced my face.
May 26th, 2004, 08:20 PM
What's the worst thing that can happen to you? Really! We used to giggle they'd want to send us off to a war we were already attending and we were pretty confident we could survive that if that were the worst thing they could do. And we honestly couldn't think of anything worse.
But as someone else wrote: "we were young and we were soldiers." What do young soldiers know?
Let me update the lexicon of worst things that can happen to you. Add at the top of the list "being on the bad side of a certain Talented lady whose talents do not lie on the romantical or affirming side of the male/female binaryism." She has those talents as well; she just chose not to employ those characteristics on my fate. Pity. I could have been up to that.
And do not bother to write to my editor about the non-existence of the word 'binaryism' because you understood it enough to know what I meant so that you could decide I was wrong and that is a whole lot more success than Lewis Carroll enjoyed.
No, she decided her Talent made a better match and she "what if"ed me. I know; I know! Only the most heartless wench would "what if" a person of my caliber into the midst of the POV fanatics. I'm here to tell you she did.
And as soon as I tell you that, those POV fans jump up and shout "there is no way you can know that she did that to you. It could have been any heartless wench with a "what if" Talent." And I must admit that any such wench could have done it but the other thing a character needs besides POV is motivation and she is the only heartless wench with the motivation and the Talent, so - by the goddess - it was Claudette who "what if"ed me into their clutches.
When the demon came by the next day to confirm my opinion that "for a good time, call Claudette", I knew he had become an evil smirking bastard in place of the evil bastard I had known the night before and I knew that because I could see the evil $%^&$^%#* smirk on his face. Sometimes, the character's face says it all, or maybe his choice of cologne because this demon was wearing "Cachet" and you know I can draw a whole raft of conclusions about what s/he was thinking from this one simple observation.
Suffice to say, enjoying a 100kt hangover in the middle of a fired-up bunch of POV fanatics is a less than satisfying way to spend the only day off I was getting this millenium.
That's my POV and I'm sticking to it.
Mod Edit: You take a Post that starts out "What's the worst thing that can happen to you? Really!" and right away you know the POV is askew. You do not wish to meddle with an otherwise meaningless thread but the power that runs in your veins cannot permit you to allow rampant foolishness in a forum over which you preside. Immediately you make the heart-warming, soul-satisfying edit: "What's the worst thing that can happen to a person? Really!" Then you move on to the next thread content in the knowledge your work here is done.
May 28th, 2004, 03:43 AM
One problem with "what ifs" they tend to build up.A line round the bath. The pile of junk mail on the table. Even if you have Talent, which I sometimes doubt I have to the degree other people imagine I have. You have to throw the "what if's" that haven't worked out. Bit like having a tooth pulled. It hurts like hell.
You see, for me each "what if" is a small dream, a hope, a wish of "what if" And not all "what ifs" work even if you have talent, which this morning after the departure of last night's demon and the arrival of another, even bigger, posting himself through my letter box. Sent by Martin, possible, just as possible it could have been a recipient of an earlier "what if" in fact the post mark on the demon's head points not to Martin.
But why would I suspect Martin?
Knowing Martin, and I do know him, well somewhat. I know he drinks beer when walking round grass courses. Not for horses these courses. These courses are for men with sticks to beat the hell out of some defenseless whitle(see I can make up words as well, though it could be a typo, whose to say . Not me for sure) ball. What the ball has done to be hit in the rough, bunker, lake, or up a tree I don't know.
Sorry, I got a bit sidetracked there, told you my mind works sideways especially with regards to "what ifs" As I was saying second one and demons and letting go of the "what ifs"
Second one and demons right....
Martin tends to "make sure" about things so it would not be one demon, but three that will eventually show up on my doorstep, through my letterbox and in my shopping. Asking for a good time and saying Martin sent them. Though the one that has come through the letter box isn't leering and asking for a "good time". It is growling and snarling. In fact laughing at me and pointing a finger. It makes me feel as if I have forgotten to put an item of underclothes on and it knows.
As I was saying, trying to get back to the main trust of this. Martin and the number three. Its a habit I have caught from him, it leaks out and causes a lady of my aquaintence to commment I have been hanging out with Martin too much. I would like to make a point now I have never "hung out with Martin" yet. But there is always a chance.
Now as to letting go of the "what ifs" I have to let a big one go today... major effort, lot of pain, but means I can deal with the demon that has come through the letterbox...
May 28th, 2004, 09:21 AM
Standing in a field of POV fanatics, beset on every side, my mind attempts the effort at thinking of a way out of this predicament. Me, Martin, in a field of POV fans, looking for safe conduct! Where is Neville Mariner when you need him?
What was it that chaplain told me? Things are best done in threes? All homilies should have three selling points, each selling point should have three hooks and each hook should have three particulars, like Liza’s father in “My Fair Lady,” every sentence delivered in threes till Higgins is overwhelmed. I’m telling you it’s true; I’m showing you it’s true; you know it’s true.
That’s it! The solution finally bursts brilliant as a sunflower, a crack of lightning, the fire in Claudette’s eyes when she contemplates my fate. “All you people get yourselves organized, you hear? I can’t be taking you seriously en masse. We need to get to some kind of order to this. Those of you who think my character ought to be reciting these things from an omniscient POV, you line up over there. You who want him to be first person personal, over there. And all you fence sitters, line up in the middle.”
The fanatics are good at following directions. Takes no time at all to determine the vast majority are fence sitters; can determine that with the naked eye; don’t even need a show of hands.
The fence sitters are cheering wildly that their POV is to hold sway, their smiles matching my own, their feet stomping rhythmic, even their catcalls and whistles in cadence. The first person personals are taking my dismissal personally while the omniscients are chanting wildly there is no way I can know what the first person personals are feeling. Reminds me of the old beer commercial: “tastes great”; “less filling.”
Since Neville failed to show, I take the baton signaling for more crescendo from the right, less staccato from the left. A wave in the right direction makes those on the left furious. Those in the middle scamper to get out of the way of the charging masses but all three groups surrender to the melody – well, to the melee.
In the confusion, I slip away intent on having words Claudette. Three words, as a matter of fact. I intend to march right up to her and demand that she “cut the crap” knowing full well such behavior, while emotionally satisfying, is stereotypical and clichéd. As a hack-in-good-standing, I feel justified anyway.
The thing I dread most is that she will demand we sit for a while and compare rejection slips. I always suffer in the comparison not by quantity but quality. I have as many or more than she does but hers tend to be personally written and mine follow the form letter format.
Oh, well, no wimping out. Excelsior! And all that.
May 31st, 2004, 04:08 PM
Martin's demons. Rather the demons Martin has put on my tail fill my evenings with their questions.
"What is a good time?"
"Martin says it is all a matter of POV, he has the hoofprints in his backside to prove it."
"Thought he had a map there." I reply and wink. Damn map, drives me mad. To much swinging too and fro.
"What Martin's rear?" The first demon laughs, nudging the second while the third fiddles with the TV control.
"No Map does."
"You need a Map?" The Third asks and switches on the weather.
"No I need the what ifs to become words, the words to join together and once joined together to make sense." I snatch the TV control off number three demon and turn the channel to number 1, but not liking it turn to number 3, but that is shifting about so I give in and swtich the TV off.
"Is that wise?" Numbert two demon asks and cracks open a can of beer. "What will Martin say?"
"Scream most likely, the weather report he is getting is not very good."
"How is he..." Then number one demon snatches the beer from number two and up ends the tin, missing his mouth. beer splashes down like rain, like tears, like me melting.
"I sent it to him." I put the TV control down and look out of the window. Black, pitch black, with the orange glow of the street lamps down the road.
"Do you like the dark?" The number one demon leers at me.
"Take it or leave it." I mutter and shift off the sofa.
"Dreams come in the dark." Number two chuckles turning in his seat as I back to the door.
"We come in the dark" Number three adds and picks his teeth.
"Then you can bugger off." I retort and dash out of the door, snatch my coat and bag and am off down the road.
"Yes!" The demons say as one high fiving it and dancing round the room.
"We got her moving" One said.
"As fast as a shooting star." Two added.
"Martin is not going to be pleased, he wanted a quiet drink and a storm is coming." Three laughed.
"Well she did send him the weather," they all say together....
June 1st, 2004, 02:39 PM
There's something about being a demon, I've got to admit. If I don't they'll hit me hard, and I don't like that like that...
Used to be one, now there be three. Met him, asked: Demon? Daemon? Daimon? All, they say, and I, no, and they, I know.
Came to bug me? I ask.
Came to bug nobody, they say, and nobody being my name, the oldest pun of them all.
I used to be a deus ex macchina (who can help, they ask, nobody they say, and I do), still am, only used up, ex deus, MacChina, almost. I need to make a living so I make a living pun, and that's no more sought after than a deus ex macchina, but not limited to one use per text...
Don't bug me, I say and they You guy bug or lady bug and I you spotted the lady bug? And they: Ha ha ha ha! Have no humor, demons don't. You can tell, they laugh at my puns. You can tell, really, I won't mind. My mind, mind you, isn't stable driven by words not meaning, like this:
I see a sea horse, and the sea horse I see sings, single note, C, and voice, you guessed it, hoarse. Old pun. Why does the Mariner know there's a sea horse in the sea? He went to see! What Mariner? An ancient one, an eville one, a two, a three...
And they, not pleased, hit me, and it strikes me.
I want to be free, or, no, I want to be dear.
June 1st, 2004, 02:53 PM
These come in threes? First, there is the POV fanatics plague; then, there is the demon-in-the-machine who sparked and spit and slew my boot drive just because I was going to replace him with something bigger and faster. And people insist with the myth that size doesn't matter. This particular demon-in-the-machine thought the Lady Who Shares Her Life With Me needed a session of cold turkey as well as I did and for three long days we have wandered the world wondering what we used to do before PCs. <We did arrive at a few solutions but I thought we were doing those things while the PC was up and running. May be getting older than I thought.>
Claudette will ascribe the crash to my manly failure to read the destructions but I did! I followed them to the letter including deciding what kind of kinkiness they deserved: master-slave, master-master, or select. I thought the democratic select method would work nicely and the CD-ROM drive agreed but those two hard drives flat refused to advance and be recognized. The BIOS kept saying: "I can't find "em; I can't find "em."
I hooked them in parallel and series and everywhere in between. I worried about notches on the connectors and whether the motherboard was as receptive as only motherboards ought to be. All these things I took into my philosophy, Horatio, and still there were more things than I dreamed.
Finally, at the terminus, in the end, I gave it up to an expert. It will only cost me two children and my left one but he promised the right one would still function so, perhaps, the children can be replaced. But, what if the editing Claudette demanded I accomplish is lost? Certainly, the Map is still running around her machine and the ethernet and the cosmos and down at the quantuum level but I'll have to do it all again. Editing is bad enough the first time; forget about the second.
And I still haven't been to Claudette's to utter those three little words. Hmmm. Isn't there a science fiction title about "The Three Fixation of Hereford Eye?" Well, if PKD had talked to me, we could have worked up a story to fit that, I'm sure.
Ah, there is her abode. Now we get down to it.
June 2nd, 2004, 05:11 AM
When is an abode not an abode? When it is a place you live now and then but it does not exist outside.
Inside it is a bar, a room. a place to met and talk.
Martin enters the storm of broken machinery clattering in his wake.
"Tea?" I ask, he frowns. "coffee, then or gin martini mixed, no shaken, Gordons or Bombay shappire? Not beefeaters, remember BSE? (Been sozzled enough)
"Coffee," he grunts and flops in a chair the bits and bytes falling round him .The once been, ceased to be ex-hard drive wizzing, and clattering, nipping at the gathering demons' ears.
"Problems. They seem so large don't they?" I sigh... Martin looks at me and his lips twitch, he knows I about about to moan and doubt, rant and rave, curse and swear. He will nod his head, but inside I know he will chuckle at me. But my doubts are real at this moment.
"I believe I have lost it?"
"What?" Martin leans over his drink, whatever he wishes is this drink that steams hot, yet is ice cold....
"Then fit new batteries." He sips his drink.
"Easier said than done. I find in thinking of the form, the construction, the need to write in a manner that conforms to grammar, POV, tense and all the trailing pieces that come along, is making the words fail before they are born."
"Explain!" Martin huffs..
"Before I just wrote, let the story ramble round my head, come out of my finger tips and smear the monitor before me. It had power and energy, even if the words were mispelt, the grammar was nonexistant and the tense did not know if it were coming or going with or with out the POV. But at least the story was written.
There to be edited and sorted and though about. Now the story, from the first word is blinkered and hedged in by all the "craft" I have learned. If hums and dodges, can't make up its mind. A word gets placed down, then is edited right away. It doesn't even have time to get to know the word before or after.
Too controlled. No flowing freedom. Too much like hard work.
I worry the writing has become a chore?"
The three demons chackle under then table and leer at one another....
June 2nd, 2004, 08:04 AM
"Let me sort this out," I complain. "Is it you dealing with morning showers riddled with puns and their attempted siblings? Is it you caught in the field without the lilies but blessed with a plenty of POV fanatic substitutes? Is it you who cannot testify to the memory of a pair of hard drives?"
"One little rejection slip.....well, one little latest rejection slip - they do tend to blur together after a while - and you're contemplating the end of the your universe? You need some Scotch, lady, or some bourbon or - I shudder to think of this - a jigger of that Super Wal-Mart's gin you're so fond of.
I know of another therapy rumored to work quite well but it involves a closeness and a trust that Claudette may not feel towards poor old me at the moment. Me? I am the soul of a trusting person but then we males generally are when contemplating such therapy.]
"Did you not know that rejection slips have their own union with their own rules of existence. Here look at this.." and I shove a wad of printed material before her. "Paragraph 3 is titled "Spontaneous Re-Generation." Subparagraph a is titled "Modes." Subsubparagraph (2) is titled "Random". Down further, four subsubs in, is the data we seek: Paragraph 3.a.(2)(c)1.a. which clearly states that "Once a nascent writer is blessed with the first rejection slip, similarly worded and formatted rejections can be delivered ad absurbio or ad infinitum, whichever feels better."
"Do you not recall all the biographies where the authors were made to suffer for their art? Were they allowed to enjoy their work? They weren't even allowed a decent post partum depression before their muse forced them back to their keyboards."
At this point, I wonder what the hell I am doing here? This is a Talent sitting next to me on the settee - how did she get on the settee? Wasn't she in that difficult chair across the room? - a major Talent. Inspiration appears from out of the blue ceiling - what kind of person paints their ceilings blue? - to burst unconsidered from my mouth: "why don't you 'what if' one of those cute little pet editors that follow you around like sheep cleaning up your grammar, erasing all your spelting errors, and mixing a decent martini?"
The brilliance of this concept dazzles poor Claudette. It takes her breath away and the lack of breath makes her face turn red and judging by the throbbing vein on the side of her head makes her pulse increase and her fists ball. When stunned with my brilliance she looks amazingly just like she does when she's truly pissed at me. I suppose economy of facial expressions may be an energy conserver but it is just a little too conservative for my thought processes. I consider strongly the advisability of returning to the field of schemes.
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