Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sometimes it is Magic

            Mortimer dropped his balls. He didn’t mean to do it. There were just so many balls and he only had two hands so the balls went spilling out towards the audience and off the edge of the stage. There were red balls and blue balls and polka-dotted balls; all kinds of balls rolling and hitting the audience in the face. Mortimer was scrambling to recapture his balls but it was futile. His balls were everywhere.

            It was strange that the audience laughed when his balls dropped. He had meant to simply juggle the balls and then perform some other magic tricks for this 8th grade talent show but now something new presented itself, comedy. He found that the laughter was intoxicating and he wanted more of it. So, as he attempted to recapture his balls; he threw in an exaggerated pratfall or two. His bumbling made the audience laugh harder and he was hooked. His dreams of becoming a magician were dashed in that instant and he now wanted to be a clown.

            He wouldn’t be just a regular red nose, fright-wig clown though. He couldn’t stand the smell of grease paint. He was once at a children’s Halloween party and there was a kid dressed like the Incredible Hulk, covered in green grease paint and the smell made Mortimer want to vomit. He’d be better than a clown, he’d be a comedian.

            Mortimer managed to collect his balls and stood stock still in the center of the stage in the bright spot light, breathing heavy, and a bunch of balls in his arms. The audience had grown quiet.

            “Tah-Dah,” said Mortimer softly.

            The crowd erupted again into riotous laughter and Mortimer felt himself start drifting up toward the ceiling with a new sort of elation. It was his first taste of some subtle power or control in his life and he really liked it. Mortimer moved to the small table to his left and started carefully depositing his balls in a cardboard box. He didn’t want to loose them again. As he was placing the balls in the box he looked back out toward the audience and made a nervous face, like he didn’t want his balls to go rolling all over again. Amazingly the audience got the gag and they laughed again.

            Mortimer dusted his hands off theatrically once the balls were put away and then did a quick double take toward the box as if to make sure none of the balls were trying to escape. He then turned his attention to the top hat. There was supposed to be a trick involving a rabbit in a hat. Not a real rabbit of course, just some foam bunny thing from a magic kit Mortimer received for Christmas. The top hat wasn’t real either, just a plastic hat from New Years. The hat had a hole in the bottom of it covered with black construction paper. The idea was Mortimer could place the hat on his little table, reach through the hat to a box under the table and pull up the foam rabbit. Mortimer suddenly had a different idea.

            He went through the same magical progressions that he’d practiced. He showed the hat to the audience, he put the hat on, he rolled up his sleeves and then took the hat off and placed it on the center of the table. He then delivered the lines he’d practiced in the kitchen with his mother.

            “And now, for your enjoyment I will pull a rabbit from this hat,” he announced.

            Mortimer waved his hands over the said the magic words.

            “Aruba. Jamaica. Oooh, I want to take you. Key Largo, Montego, Presto,” he said.

            Mortimer reached down into the hat but instead of pulling out the rabbit he pretended his arm was stuck in the hat. He feigned pulling and pulling and used his other arm to try and pull his arm out. He played to the crowd as if he could use their help and seemed able to mime his frustration without breaking character. He paused and looked out into the crowd with some exasperation.

            “Balls,” he said.

            The audience burst into laughter and Mortimer’s addiction was set. He took his bows at the end of his three minutes amid wild applause. He saw his father’s face filled with pride and his mother’s loving eyes in the audience. Laughter would be his drug and he’d spend the rest of his life searching for the next hilarious fix.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Triumvirate

            I hurried through the banquet hoping she wouldn’t see me. Or maybe I was hoping she’d see me. I wasn’t quite sure. All I knew was I had to get to the doorway and that required walking past the banquet table, where she was standing. I got to the doors and saw the other as she was talking with some other people.

            “Tell me when she’s looking,” I said to my ex-girlfriend as I tried to pull her from the banquet room doorway onto the dance floor.
            “When who is looking,” she asked me.
            “My ex-girlfriend,” I said to her.

            She resisted my insistence that we dance and stayed in the doorway. She was dressed in a blue and frilly dress, classy but somehow youthful.  I started dancing with her half in and half out of the doorway. She stayed in one place between the banquet hall and the lobby. I weaved back and forth around her and toward her. I looked over toward the banquet table where my other ex was filling a small plate with food. She was wearing a purple dress and caught me looking.

            “It’s how I keep my legs so nice,” shouted the ex near the banquet table and she toasted me with her plate of food.

            I looked away from the former girlfriend at the banquet table and at my well dressed ex-girlfriend in the doorway. I shrugged like a child and bolted past her and went up some stairs. I hurried up and arrived at a cozy yet unfamiliar bar and I quickly found myself a seat, which was odd because I almost never sit down at bars. It was crowded with familiar yet blurry regular faces. I felt slightly relieved to be in the safety of a bar and away from the women in my life that have caused me so much heartache and trouble. Not to mention the trouble and heartache I caused them. I felt the panic in my chest at the thought of two ex-girlfriends meeting each other start to subside. I also felt the tearing in half feeling start to pass.

            I sighed with relief and I ordered a drink. I started looking around this bar that felt like a place I’d been to but it was someplace new. I looked in the large mirror that hung behind the bar and sitting at a table behind me was the third ex-girlfriend. I cringed and felt my stomach tighten. She was a little hard to see. She was wearing black and it was rather dark in this strange barroom. I knew it was her though and I resisted saying anything to her. I hoped that she didn’t see me but I kept looking at her in the mirror.

            As I was watching in the mirror she suddenly took her top off and exposed her breasts to the bar. Her soft white skin seemed bright against the darkness of the bar. She didn’t jump up and down or anything, she calmly took her top off and sat back in the bar stool at her table. No one in the bar seemed to notice that she’d taken her top off but me or if they did, no one was making a big deal out of it. I turned around from the bar and confronted her.

            “What are you doing,” I asked.
            “Nothing,” she giggled.
            “You should put your top back on,” I said.
            “All right,” she said.

            She picked her shirt up from the table and started putting it back on. I looked at her breasts and I felt myself missing and marveling at them.

            “They are great breasts. I always liked them,” I said.

            She put her shirt back on and smiled at me.

            “Of course you did,” she replied.

            The dream changed then. I don’t know into what or what happened next. That’s what dreams do. They tease and taunt you with filtered images of the past and mix them in the blender of your subconscious for a jumbled and emotionally draining display.  The purpose of these three woman, all whom I loved deeply and passionately, is not clear to me. I don’t know why I reacted to them as I did. All of them though have affected me to the essence of my being. Part of me was glad to see them. Part of me worried about it. All in all, it was just a dream and there’s no real consequence. So I’m writing about it now, wondering about the consequence of reality.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Political Arena

            The crowds gathered outside the Coliseum in anticipation of the games. This was to be one of the largest Gladiatorial contests of the year and most Romans wouldn’t miss it. There were banners and signs poking from the masses, supporting or decrying their particular cause. The crowds were chanting for their hero and each side was trying to drown the other out. The wine started to flow and sometimes the words got a little heated and there was some minor shoving between the factions of fans, but all in all it started orderly. The Roman Guards were able to maintain control with only a few deaths. 

            The heroes of each side arrived in splendor and all the pomp the Romans could deliver. Each hero had been carefully selected to fight for their cause in front of the Emperor and the members of the Senate. On the one side was the hero, Atonio Gaius, there to ensure the Roman government stayed out of the lives of regular Romans and let them continue to choose their own paths. The other side was the hero, Marcus Plius, of those who wanted to define what would be recognized as a legitimate lifestyle by the Roman government.

            The stage for a long and bloody contest was set. The crowds filed into the Coliseum and tried to take their seats but the excitement and the anticipation was simply too much for most. The Emperor entered and was both cheered and booed. The Senators took their seats amid a similar reception. The tone of the people was hot and their blood lust was at a high point. The people were on edge and they were eager to see which champion would reign supreme.

            The Emperor stepped from his private box to address the people.

            “Citizens of the Republic! Today we embark on a new chapter in the evolution of Rome”.

            He returned to his throne and the people looked at each other quizzically. They applauded his speech gently. The Emperor signaled the emcee to begin. The emcee bowed and turned toward the crowds and beckoned for their silence. The crowd slowly died to a murmur.

            “To honor you, the people, the Emperor has decreed this day of games to determine once and for all what kind of Republic we shall be. Your champions are ready!”

            The crowd erupted into cheers as the gates to the arena opened below and two magnificent men entered riding the finest chariots of the day. They waved and motioned to the crowds and the horses pulled them in large circles. They were dressed in similar fashion and there was little way to tell the two hulking men apart. The only difference was what they represented to their fans. They dismounted their chariots and approached the center of the arena on foot. The crowds shouted for them with full throated vigor as they walked.

            “Those who are about to die, salute you,” they both shouted up toward the Emperor’s box and to the people in the stands. The crowd went wild and all the building up was finally at a head. The two gladiators turned from the Emperor and faced each other. They drew their short swords and adjusted their shields. They slowly began circling each other. The sun beat down on their hardened bodies and the dust from the arena floor was getting stirred up with their movement.

            “It is the people’s right to choose the life that makes them happy and not be subject to the government’s definitions of happiness,” said Atonio Gaius as he lunged forward with his sword.
            Marcus Plious blocked this first jab with his shield and replied, “The people need the government to tell them what is moral and just, otherwise there would be anarchy”.

            Atonio lunged backwards and swung his sword to evade the fast and sharp blade of Marcus. The crowed roared and cheered the action.

            “A government of the people and for the people shall not be defined by their government, but the will of the people,” said Atonio as he countered Marcus’ lunge and deftly spun around him.

            “The people want a legitimate lifestyle defined by the court and I am to bring them that,” said Marcus.
            “Not enough of the people want that, and that is why I am their champion,” said Atonio as he swung for Marcus’ head.
“You’re a fool,” said Marcus as he ducked, “the people are not ready to handle this issue themselves, that is why I must fight”.

            Their swords met and clashed and their shields slammed together for hours in the blistering heat of the day. They would not give up however and they continued to spar and thrust at each other.

            “It is about equality,” shouted Atonio as he swung his sword.
            “It is about the safety of the children,” countered Marcus.
            “The children are fine. It is your fear that holds you back,” said Atonio.
            “It is your perversions that make you pariahs,” yelled Marcus.
            “My cause is about equality for all,” said Atonio.
            “Your cause goes too far,” said Marcus as he pushed Atonio backwards toward the Coliseum walls.

            The great crowds continued to cheer, yet the Emperor yawned and the Senators started filing out of the stadium.

            “My cause is just,” said Atonio as he rose from the dirt and swung again at Marcus’ head. He ducked again and countered, striking Atonio’s shield.

            The Emperor rose from his throne, almost unnoticed by the masses as they continued to cheer their champions on. His aides and confidants followed him closely out through the concourse and his waiting chariot. The head of his guards and long time friend, Michael Desimus, walked along side the Emperor.

            “My lord, does the game displease you,” asked Michael.
            “No. But I have a feeling it will go on for a very long time and no matter the end no single group will be happy with the result,” said the Emperor.
            “Then why do it my lord? Why have the games at all,” asked Michael.
            “To show the people that their concerns are my concerns,” said the Emperor.

            The Emperor placed a hand on Michael’s shoulder and gave it a slight squeeze. He nodded and moved toward his chariot and rode off toward the palace.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Duel

            It was numbing. A revelation. It was so unexpected, shock set in faster than expected. The air was silent for a long while as John and Marie realized how much they’d hurt each other. They dropped their swords and stood in awe of the bloody carnage they had caused. Marie held her hand on her chest over a long slash from John’s blade. John clutched his left side where Marie had pierced him and nearly run him through.

            “Why didn’t you tell me,” asked John as he staggered and wavered on his feet.
            “I didn’t want you to know,” said Marie.

            Marie fell backwards into a lounge chair in the study where their pitched battle had left the room in ruins. Books they bought together were strewn about and the globe they picked out on vacation to India was shattered on the floor. The large wooden desk was flipped on its side and had crashed into the glass case of the items collected from Egypt.  Blood was ebbing down the front of Marie’s night dress through her hands. John tried to walk toward her but stumbled on the Ottoman Marie had thrown at him early on in their heated duel. He fell to a knee in front of Marie.

            “Now, you get on your knee,” said Marie as she tried to straighten herself in the chair.
            “Very funny,” said John.

            John slid along the floor closer to Marie and pulled himself by the arm of the lounge chair so he could look at her beautiful face.

            “Why did it have to come to this,” he asked, “we are so in love. Why this then?”
            “Because you’re a fool. And I’m a fool,” said Marie.

            She placed a hand on the top of John’s head and gently smoothed his sweat matted hair from his forehead. John closed his eyes and let himself feel the softness of her hand. He let her hand slide down his face and he kissed it gently as it passed by his lips. He reached up and took her hand in his.

            “We are fools aren’t we? No two bigger fools ever walked this Earth,” said John.
            “Well, you’re a bigger fool than me,” smiled Marie.
            John rested his head on Marie’s knee and tried to catch his breath. He felt it getting more labored but still felt the urge to laugh. It was something he and Marie could always do together no matter what. They laughed together at most things.

            “Remember how you threw the candelabra at me and shouted ‘How about a little fire scarecrow’. Where did that come from,” asked John.
            “I knew you’d laugh at that. It was to my advantage,” said Marie.
            “I did laugh, but you laughed too. The advantage was sort of lost then,” said John.

            Marie smiled down at John as he looked up at her. Their blood was now mixing on the floor about the lounge chair, staining the open books at their feet.

            “I wish we’d worked on our relationship as hard as we did our fencing skills,” said Marie.
            “Me too darling, me too. I’m afraid we’ve cut each other too deep this time to recover,” said John.

            A painted portrait of the two hung over the mantle over the large roaring fire in the fire place. The wood crackled and popped as the flames licked the wood. The portrait of Marie and John was bathed in the alternating shadow and light of the flickering flames. Their portrait still expressed the optimism in their young eyes but also seemed to now judge them as they clutched each other in their nearing death.  

            “My love,” asked John.
            “Yes my love,” said Marie.

            John struggled up to his feet and tried not to groan. He straightened his suit jacket and fixed his collar. Marie looked up at him.

            “Will you dance with me,” asked John as he stretched out his hand.

            Marie smiled and reached up to John’s waiting hand.

            “I’d love too,” said Marie.

            John pulled her up from the chair and they fell into each others arms and stood in the middle of the study. Marie rested her head on John’s shoulder and he started to hum to her in her ear. They swayed in each other arms in the firelight as dusk turned to night outside. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Phonics of Love

What is it about the voice
of someone you love?

It’s intangible.

Especially over the phone.
It’s broken down digitally
and beamed through the
air, sent hundreds of miles
up into the atmosphere and then
bounced back down to a waiting

It’s like describing a cool
breeze scented of lilies
on a hot summer night to
someone that’s never
known anything but
dust and desert.

The voice of your love
fills your mind with thoughts
of their sweet and beautiful lips
carefully forming each syllable and
sound. Each new word makes your
heart beat fast and blood flow. That voice
fanning the flames of lust, driving
one into a frenzy of erotic longing
and passionate desire for their touch.
You feel that one more gently
whispered word will make you burst
and all you want is to explode all the more.

Imagining your lover’s tongue
carefully arching and rolling
to bend the sugary words that
we long to hear. A sigh. A pause.
A deep breath.

It’s the tenor and the tone
of our lover’s words, the voice,
that nourishes through times when
all can feel lost. A lover’s voice
can make knees weak and stomachs
churn with delightful

A chirp, a tsk, a giggle, a slight moan,
can send one over the moon
and back to Earth with dreams
of touch and visions of
tender embraces.

The voice of a lover is
as powerful as the sun
and often just as warm.
It’s just how we imagine it
and wish we could wear it
like armor against all the
terrible things in the world.

And that’s what it is about
the voice of who you love. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Time Traveler

            “So thing really works Dr. Ray,” asked Gary.

            Dr. Ray didn’t look up from the large metal and glass box that he was tinkering at. A large Jacobs Ladder sparked with blue electrical bursts and snapped. The air was scented with ozone and a static charge hummed overhead.

            “It certainly works my dear boy. This device can transport you into the future,” answered Dr. Ray.
            “Has anyone tried it out yet,” asked Gary.
            “My pet gerbil, Roscoe, has been the first and only time traveler,” said Dr. Ray.

            He motioned over toward a large and cluttered work bench. In a clear plastic cage sat the overweight gerbil, Roscoe. Roscoe, the first and only time traveler sat motionless except for the heavy breathing it was doing. It looked like Roscoe was not only the first time traveler, but also the first gerbil with diabetes. Gary moved closer to the work bench to get a better look but Dr. Ray flung a long arm out at him and blocked his path.

            “Roscoe doesn’t like to be bothered while meditating,” said Dr. Ray.
            “Oh. I’m sorry Doc,” said Gary.
            Dr. Ray’s face hovered close to Gary’s face and Gary could smell the onion sandwich Dr. Ray had for breakfast. Dr. Ray smiled and turned back toward the buzzing and whirring machine.

            “No bother Gary. How were you to know about Roscoe’s meditation rituals?”

            Gary continued to look around Dr. Ray’s laboratory. It certainly resembled all the mad scientist dungeons he’d seen in the old B-Movies and television shows. It was dank and messy; cobwebs covered certain unused machines that didn’t appear to have any particular purpose. There were blinking lights and buzzing dials, a computer was probably the only near modern contraption in the whole lab.

            “So Dr. Ray, I appreciate the invite to your lab but I have to ask why I’m here,” said Gary.

            Dr. Ray turned around from the machine with a flourish. His dingy white lab coat swirled around him like a dancer’s skirt. He smiled at Gary.

            “You Gary are going into the history books as the first human time traveler,” exclaimed Dr. Ray.

            Gary could have sworn he heard a thunderclap and saw lightening flash from somewhere inside the lab.

            “You’re kidding right,” asked Gary.

            Dr. Ray stepped forward and grabbed Gary by the shoulders and shook him ever so slightly.

            “I am not kidding my boy. You have the endurance, the strength, the intelligence, the charisma, the chutzpah, and the fact that you’re the only one to answer my ad from the paper,” said Dr. Ray.
            “Well, if you think I’m good enough Dr. Ray. I guess, I’m your man,” shrugged Gary.

            Gary had seen an ad in the neighborhood news paper for a lab assistant position. He’d given a lot of blood at the donation office and had seen how the nurses work so he figured he could easily be a lab assistant. It didn’t seem too hard, just a lot of tubes and needles and things. He never expected he’d be the first human time traveler.

            “Now Gary, this is what I’d like for you to do. I’d like for you to step into this machine to my left. Once inside the time chamber I’d like for you to put on the special goggles. There will be a lot of bright lights and I’d hate to damage those precious blue eyes of yours. Secondly there will be two levers at hand level on both sides of your body. I just want you to hold those two levers and not to let go, no matter what happens, don’t let go,” explained Dr. Ray.
            “What happens if I let go Dr. Ray?”
            “Don’t interrupt. But, if you do let go you’ll be lost in the time stream and I might not be able to retrieve you,” said Dr. Ray.
            “Oh,” said Gary.
            “Now, there might be some turbulence and the Time Chamber might start shaking about, don’t be worried. This prototype time chamber doesn’t have the right shock absorbers but once we send you through time and back, I’ll get the grant money I need to make Time Chamber 2.0, or as I’ll call it, Alice,” said Dr. Ray.

            Dr. Ray was looking off into the distance with a dreamy glare in his eyes. Gary stood by his side, imagining the future. He felt like this Dr. Ray was a good enough guy and if he was successful Gary wouldn’t have to worry about sharing that dirty apartment with Moonbeam and her hippie friends anymore.

            “Let’s do it Doc. I’m ready,” said Gary.
            “Excellent,” said Dr. Ray.

            Gary stepped up toward the time chamber and opened the chamber door and stepped inside. The goggles were hanging from a small metal hook and Gary put them on over his head. He gave a ‘thumbs up’ to Dr. Ray as he closed the door after him. Gary looked to his sides and the levers where there so he took hold of them. He looked through the window of the time chamber and saw Dr. Ray fiddling with some dials and tapping at the computer keyboard. A loud clanging noise started, as if giant steel pistons were coming to life somewhere in the bowels of Dr. Ray’s lab. Gary felt a little nervous as the noise intensified. He looked again through the window and Dr. Ray was flipping large switches on the lab wall and sparks flew out from them. A low whine started somewhere and Gary felt the hair on his arms and head stand up. He felt a tingle through his body.

            Dr. Ray went up to the glass window of the time chamber and asked if Gary was ready. Gary nodded back to say that he was. Dr. Ray began a countdown.

            “10…9…8…7…6…5…thrusters at full…4…3…2 power at maximum…1!”

            Dr. Ray pulled a giant switch on the time chamber machine and the lights in lab flickered. Electrical arcs surged across the room and cast a giant shadow of Dr. Ray on the far wall. Unseen valves hissed and the whole basement laboratory started to shake and pitch. The ground seemed to rumble and resist Dr. Ray’s creation.

            Gary felt the time chamber shaking and he started to get scared. He looked through the window and saw all the sparks and flashes of light. He heard the rumbling and the tornado sound the time chamber was making. He looked out through the window at Dr. Ray who seemed to be dancing in the flickering strobe of time travel. It was getting to be too much and Gary started to feel like an astronaut in one of those old NASA tests where they get spun around in a centrifuge till they pass out. But he continued to hold on to the levers as tight as he could.

            Everything went black. The machine stopped rumbling. The lights stopped flickering. There was silence. Gary realized he had his eyes closed. He opened them and saw he was still in the time chamber. He looked out the window and saw Dr. Ray jumping up and down with excitement. Gary let go of the levers in his hands and took the goggles off. He opened the Time chamber door and stepped out.

            “Success my boy! Success!” shouted Dr. Ray.
            Gary Looked about the lab and everything seemed exactly the same. Roscoe the gerbil was the same fat thing in its cage. The room was still dank, but filled with a little more smoke.

            “It worked Dr. Ray?”
            “It absolutely worked my boy. Welcome to the future! You have traveled exactly 35 seconds into the future!”
            “Um…,” said Gary.
            “You’re famous! The world’s first human Time traveler!” shouted Dr. Ray.

            Gary started to doubt Dr. Ray’s credentials about being a doctor.

            “Doc, I was actually in the time chamber for about 35 seconds. I didn’t go anywhere. I just, you know, went in and then came out, just 35 seconds after I went in,” said Gary.
            “Correct! You’re in the future!”

            Gary looked at the ‘Doctor’ dancing about his laboratory. Dr. Ray stopped at Roscoe’s cage and gave it a playful tap.
            “I told you Roscoe, but you kept saying it was impossible to send a human into the future. So it’s not only you anymore. Jealous much? I love you too,” said Dr. Ray

            Gary looked at the door that led to the upstairs and started toward it.

            “Well, Dr. Ray, this was great but I’m going to go, um… explore this future world, um… can I get the twenty you promised?”

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hot Dogs Dream of Mustard

            After a surprisingly and particularly depressing night of haunted memories and disappointing discoveries I eventually made my way to bed.  I was feeling exceptionally drained and slightly angry. I rested my foul dispositional head on the pillow and I soon fell asleep. It seems I purchased a ticket to the Fever Brain Station as I boarded the sleepy train from Lucidville to REMmington.

            As it is with most insane dreams, I do not remember how the whole thing started. I can try to piece it together from the brief snapshots now in my now waking mind. The first thing I remember is being at a hockey game. It was clearly an ice rink and there was a hockey game going on. There were regular hockey players, skating their hearts out, and it was clearly a very tough game. There was lots of hard hitting action and the crowd loved it, cheering and roaring with each vicious hit. Plus there were the elephants on the ice to contend with.

            There were elephants on the ice and it seemed they were there to maintain some sort of order. There were perhaps five or six giant elephants acting like line judges. At one point, one of the hockey players got too close to one of the elephants and a minor scuffle broke out and the hockey player slashed at the elephant’s neck with his ice skate. This was met with boos from the crowd and the elephant became enraged and tried to squash the hockey player, but the other elephants came over and sat on the upset elephant until he calmed down. There was some struggling as the elephants sat on the prone elephant on the ice.

            While the elephants regained some composure, Titanic on Ice started. I’m not kidding. An Ice-Capades version of James Cameron’s 'Titanic' started. It starred Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel. They were pretty good skaters actually. There were some tropical themed ice dancing numbers that weren’t in the Titanic movie and the whole time “Jack” and “Rose” saw each other, Jack would remind Rose that they were jumping ship and when the left they had to remember to take the others with them. The others always seemed to be some sort of Disney type characters like clocks and talking animals. It got to a point where Jack was ready to jump ship into a near-by canal of flowing water cut into the ice rink surface. He asked Rose if she was ready, she said she was, so Jack jumped into the roaring canal. Rose didn’t jump in though. She skated away from the edge of the canal, wringing her hands near her bosom and that seemed to be the end of Titanic on Ice. I don’t know where the elephants went. I’m assuming there was a very creative ice-capade stage crew.

            I felt myself being pulled backwards and everything switched to a very personal point of view angle. My mind’s eye refocused backwards through the tunnel that led from the stadium to a darker place, a nondescript and undefined place. I found myself confronted by an old chimpanzee. He was sitting very close to me and we were looking at each other. It was almost looking in a mirror. We looked right into each other eyes. I was looking at him through my own eyes. He looked very old and gray, and he was missing some hair in places around his face. I remembered that I had looked at the elephants when they were on the ice and noted that they looked very old too. They were dry and wrinkled and seemed as if their skin was made of crepe paper.

The chimpanzee was telling me something in sign language, or at least Chimpanzee sign, because I don’t think it was the classic American Sign Language. This chimp was trying to tell me something and he kept pointing to the right side of my head. I reached up to the side of my head and noticed that my arm was a chimpanzee arm. It seemed that I was also a chimpanzee. I reached up with my chimp hand and felt the right side of my head and there was something there. I started to pull on it and it really hurt. It was very painful but I kept pulling and eventually I plucked a little square, black, transmitter looking thing from the side of my head. It had a little blood and hair on it. I passed it to the other chimp. I seemed to be crying. The old chimp just continued to look at me and I noticed he had a little dried blood around his nose and eyes. He was crying too it seemed.

The sleepy train arrived at its destination and started buzzing its wake up horns. There was a vibration that accompanied the buzzing and honking and I was very disturbed.

            I woke up. I didn’t want to get out of bed. The dream, combined with the emotional stress of the previous night made me want to stay in bed all day. I hit my snooze button and reminded myself that I shouldn’t be upset. I wasn’t omitted or forgotten. I was the role model, the first one, the best one and the one that all others were eventually judged by. Or at least that’s what I told myself so I’d stop feeling so sad.

            The alarm went off again and I got up. I hated getting up. I couldn’t put this crazy dream into any kind of sense as it related to the evening, or even what had transpired through the previous day. Ice Elephants and hockey players, Titanic on Ice, chimpanzee medical experiments, a reminder of an old poem I once wrote about the doom of short haired girls and how I always seem to be by the window of the bar waiting for her to come and sit next to me.

            I wondered as I got into the shower if hot dogs dream. I wondered if they dreamed of mustard. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What is That?

It's keeping me
from sleep.

Is it my bones making
that awful noise?
Is it my feet?
Is it the winter cold
howling through
the various cracks
and crevices of my
Am I grinding my
Are my neighbors
hiding a Yeti?
A Sasquatch?
Are there children
under the stairs?

I can’t see it.
I can only hear it.
The creaking.

It sounds like a noise
a Hollywood studio
would use to simulate
the sounds on a Pirate
ship as it drifts across
a watery soundstage.

Is it an Earthquake?
Is it the end of the world?
Is it love?
Is it hate?
Is it just what it is
without meaning or

Is it the sound of
skeletons dancing
around a funeral pyre?
Is it a thousand ancestors
stirring in wooden caskets
under ground?

No, wait… It’s just the wind. 

Monday, March 18, 2013


            Jane stabbed at the monster’s eye with her trusty buck knife. The beast growled and hissed as foamy puss squirted from the now vacant eye socket. Jane drove the knife in deeper and the monster stopped struggling and fell dead. Jane put her foot against the monster’s head and used a little leverage to dislodge her knife. She wiped it clean on the beast's purple fur and holstered it on her hip. The children against the wall behind her were crying and wishing for their mothers. 

            “Jane? Jane? Are you paying attention,” asked Mrs. Simmons.

            Jane realized she was staring out the window at the playground. She looked back toward her seventh grade classmates and they were all laughing at her. She wondered how long she’d been daydreaming before Mrs. Simmons bothered her.

            “I asked you a question Jane. Who was Julius Caeser?” asked Mrs. Simmons.
            “He was the first Roman Emperor. Assassinated in the Senate by his friends”, said Jane coolly.
            “That’s pretty close, thank you,” said Mrs. Simmons.

            Jane nodded and looked back at her classmates. They had all stopped laughing and staring; except for dumb Billy Rausch. He was a trouble maker and Jane would like to karate kick him into oblivion. He was always trying to get into the girls bathroom at break time and see the girls pee. There was something wrong with him. He was just staring at Jane now, rubbing his chest. Jane thought he might be playing with his nipple, but she just decided to look away. He was gross.

            Mrs. Simmons continued her history lecture about the Romans and the Roman Empire and Jane imagined herself as a Roman Centurion, decked out in that cool reticulated armor and hacking away at barbarians with her short sword. Jane knew in her bones that she’d always been a warrior. Her imagination always took her to a place where she was the dashing heroine. At home, in the basement, she’d put together a good collection of survival gear and weapons. She had also asked her mother for karate lessons, but she had to wait until after basketball season was over. He mother said there were just too many activities going on at once. Jane thought that was dumb. She was an only child and all her mother ever wanted to do was go shopping. Jane couldn’t stand shopping. It was the most boring thing ever. It was even more boring than algebra. 

            Jane the Centurion stood over the defeated Barbarian king. She was covered in the blood of the vanquished. The king begged for his life but Jane showed no mercy. With a quick stroke she slashed the head of the king clean from his body. The head tumbled toward Jane’s troops below and they cheered for her. Jane Caesar had a nice ring to it, thought Jane. She sort of smiled to herself and doodled in the margin of her notebook.

            Other girls drew flowers or cutesy things, but Jane doodled knives and spears and the occasional monster truck. She just didn’t know why girls had to be so cutesy. Her mother was always trying to make her wear a dress or wear a bow in her hair, but she just didn’t want to. Jane’s dad pretty much let Jane to whatever she wanted. They’d go out to the woods almost every day last summer and just walk around exploring. It was great. Her mother would never go to the woods. Her dad liked to hike. He didn’t climb trees or jump out of airplanes or do any crazy things on ATV’s or anything, he just liked to walk outside in the woods. Jane would run all over while her dad hiked. She imagined herself as Robin Hood as she weaved between the trees and her father was the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. He always played along.

            The bell rang for the 10:30 am break and dirty Billy Rausch launched like a rocket out of his chair and headed for the bathroom. Mrs. Simmons didn’t notice. She shut off as soon as the bell rang. She sat back her desk and took a long drink from her metal coffee container. The rest of the kids followed the weird Billy Rausch out in to the hallway. Some were going to use the bathroom, others just to get a drink at the water fountain. Jane saw the popular girl, Sarah Tanner, was leading the pack of cool girls out of the classroom and Jane wanted nothing to with them. She bet Billy Rausch was waiting to try and get a look at Sarah’s girl bits. Jane stood from her desk and went toward the windows. It was still wintery out even though spring was approaching. She sighed and wished something would happen, something awesome like an alien invasion or mole people or an earthquake. It was so boring in school.

            Jane leaned closer toward the windows and looked out past the playground to the houses across the street. She wondered what kind of evil was going on in them. Was there a super villain working in on of those basements, just nearing completion of his mega-death ray? Would she be able to save everyone in time? 

            “What are you looking at?” asked Carrie. Carrie was Jane’s best friend. She was a bit girly but she didn’t laugh at Jane or make her feel dumb. Last year when they had to write their, ‘What I Want for Christmas Themes’, the other girl’s laughed at Jane when she asked her dad for a sword for Christmas. But Carrie didn’t laugh. Later she said it was cool that Jane wanted a sword.

            “Nothing really. Just looking out at the houses across the playground,” said Jane.
            “I think Billy took his thing out and waved it at Sarah in the hallway,” said Carrie.
            “There’s something wrong with him,” said Jane.
            “No Duh,” said Carrie.
            “Did you see it,” asked Jane.
            “I did not!”
            “You wanted to though didn’t you,” kidded Jane.
            “Shut up! I did not want to see it,” said Carrie.

            Jane nudged her shoulder against Carrie’s and giggled. Carrie giggled too and blushed. The bell for the end of break rang and all the kids shuffled back obediently into the classroom and Mrs. Simmons stood from her desk and walked out the hallway to collect any stragglers.
            “Are you going to sit at the usual spot for lunch?” asked Carrie.
            “Yes I am,” said Jane.
            “Okay, I’ll see you then,” said Carrie as she turned and went back to her seat.

            Jane nodded and went back to her desk. Billy Rausch hadn’t gotten back into his seat yet, neither had Sarah Tanner. Jane looked out toward the open classroom door and could just see Mrs. Simmons back. She appeared to be yelling. Jane could tell by the weird jiggling in Mrs. Simmons back fat. Whenever Mrs. Simmons yelled, on the playground or in assembly, she jiggled like Jell-O.  Jane looked at her notebook and picked up her pen and started doodling a monster truck, with giant spinning tires, on a road made of skulls. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Lucky Green

            The sunrise broke through the morning grayness. Connor rose from his bed and stepped toward the window. He stretched and scratched and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. The birds that had perched in the tree out front were chirping a morning song above the grumbling sounds of traffic grinding through the city streets.  Connor felt a sudden urge to call in sick and enjoy the daylight instead of suffer through another office cubicle hell.

            “Call in well,” Connor mused out loud.

            He grabbed his phone from the dresser and started dialing the number for his boss. He stopped before pressing the call button. He started to wonder if calling in well was the right thing to do. He had responsibilities at work that needed his attention. Then again, this beautiful day needed his attention too. He put the phone down and looked at the clock on the wall. He still had an hour to make up his mind. He didn’t much feel like waiting for the bus and mashing up against all the other wage slaves. The bus stop was right in front of his place, but it was such a long bus ride.  The birds chirped again and Connor looked back out the window at them.

            There were nearly a dozen birds perched on several branches. They weren’t spread out too far from each other nor were they right on top of each other. They were curious looking birds though. Connor didn’t recognize them as sparrows or robins. They had a curious greenish hue to their plumage. It was something Connor never noticed before. He’d heard the birds tweeting often, usually at four o’clock in the morning, just loud enough to remind him that he had been out too late that night at the bar. The chirping was usually the noise that let him know he’d made a terrible mistake. But he’d never actually seen them until this morning.

            Connor looked at his phone again and considered his options. He could start his St. Patrick’s Day celebration a bit early if he called in. Maybe he could convince Susan to play hooky with him and they could do a little day drinking or find a way to amuse each other on this slightly warming late winter’s day. He smiled at the thought of convincing her to come over and lie about with her in bed, tickling her and kissing her neck a little as they lay together. But then his thoughts switched back to his damn cubicle and the work that was there waiting for him. The terrible commute also weighed on his thoughts.

            “Screw it,” said Connor as he picked up his cell phone and dialed his boss.

            The phone rang and Connor practiced his sore throat voice. He sniffled to make it sound like his nose was congested. His boss answered on the fourth ring.

            “Hey Mr. Raljapour, it’s Connor”.
            “Yes,” said Mr. Raljapour.
            “I’m calling in sick. I seem to have caught a little bug or something, and I don’t want to spread it around,” said Connor.

            Mr. Raljapour sighed heavily.

“Are you sure you can’t make it today,” asked Mr. Raljapour.
            “Yeah. (Sniffle) I’m just not feeling up to it today,” said Connor.
            “Alright, feel better, we’ll see you on Monday,” said Mr. Raljapour.
            “Thanks. I will see you Monday”.

            Connor hung up the phone and did a little jig. There was something about playing hooky that gave Connor a curious sense of joy. It was like getting away with something without any real consequences. Plus he didn’t have to deal with the damn bus or the other annoying commuters. He looked out at the birds perched on the tree outside.

            “Looks like we’ll get to spend a little more time together today my feathered friends,” said Connor.

            The birds perched on the tree limb all turned and faced Connor. Their little beady eyes stared straight at him and Connor took a step back.

            “Whoa. Holy mother,” said Connor.

            He took a few cautious steps toward the window and looked back at the greenish colored birds. They were still staring back at him. They were still and silent and looking right at him.

            “Ooooo-kaaay,” said Connor.

            Connor looked away from the window and remembered he wanted to see if Susan would play Friday hooky with him. He called her number. He was all ready to go into a playful back and forth, a shameless flirting he hoped would convince her to drop her shift at the salon and play with him all day. Her voicemail picked up and Connor’s heart dropped a little. Her voice was so cute on the outgoing message.

            “Hey Susan, it’s Connor. I decided to play hooky today, maybe get a little head start on St. Patrick’s Day. I thought you might like to play hooky with me and hang out or whatever. So call me back and let’s play. Talk to you soon.”

            He hung the phone up and frowned a little. He’d gotten his hopes up that Susan would answer the phone and would be dying to spend the day with him. He started to think that was unrealistic now. Still, he was free from the bonds of work and could write his own ticket today.

            He looked back toward the strange birds perched outside. Three of them were now perched on his window ledge. They were still looking in on him. They seemed larger than they looked when they were perched on the tree branch. Connor thought about trying to shoo them away. They seemed a little aggressive to him now.

            Connor turned toward the bathroom and figured he might as well start getting cleaned up for the day. The bar opened at ten and he figured that if he cleaned up now, ran to the bank, and then to the convenience store for cigarettes he’d be ready by noon for lunch and a few daytime cocktails. He liked the bar in the daytime. There was a certain element of fun with sitting in the daytime with a cold drink. He wasn’t sure why it was fun; he just enjoyed the relaxed nature of it. It suited his character.

             He checked his phone to see if Susan texted or phoned him back. He was still deeply hoping she’d come out to hang with him. He really liked her and hoped she felt the same way. No messages, no texts from Susan. Connor sighed and pouted slightly, but the day would go on.

            Connor was startled when he heard a heavy thud hit the window. He spun around and looked at the three birds perched on the window ledge. All three, in unison, were banging their heads against the window pane. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud.

            “Hey,” yelled Connor and he walked up the window and banged the glass with his hand. The birds didn’t stop. They kept hitting the glass with their heads and beaks. Their greenish wings were slightly unfurled and they continued to hit the glass. Thud. Thud. Thud.

            “Quit it, you damn birds,” said Connor.

            The birds stopped suddenly and all three looked out toward their left, at the street below. Connor followed their gaze to the bus stop. The bus stop Connor stood at every morning waiting for the bus. He heard tires squealing from around the corner and the sound of a crash. A car barreled through the bus stop kiosk smashing everything to bits. Glass and metal shattered in all directions, like a bomb had hit it. The car flipped over on its side and flames licked out from under the hood as it skidded to a stop on the sidewalk behind the destroyed bus stop kiosk. Cars swerved and crashed around this accident and a truck slammed into a car stuck in the intersection pushing it into three other cars.

            “Holy Shit,” exclaimed Connor, “that could have been me!”

            Connor looked down at the window ledge and the three birds were gone. The birds that had been perched in the tree were also gone.

            “Holy cow. Thank you St. Patrick,” said Connor. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pre-Traumatic Stress

It’s all in my head,
this anxiety about things
that have yet to happen.
I’m wound so tight
about it all.

Nothing has happened,

And that’s making me
itch and twitch.
The possibilities of
horror and tragedy
spill over into my
waking thoughts like
water over the levee and
makes me nervous.

It’s the anticipation of
something dreadful to
come that keeps me
from enjoying the

“By the pricking of
my thumbs,
something wicked this
way comes”.

I’m frozen. I’m
petrified. I’m afraid.
of things that haven’t
happened, or might happen
or probably won’t happen
at all. 

The future is a beast,
ready to tear me limb from
limb and feast on my marrow,
and make worm’s meat of me.

Maybe I’ll stay inside today.
Maybe I need a long, sustained
cuddle with a pretty woman. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

All the Party Popes

            Jeff checked his wristwatch. He was still feeling pretty jetlagged from his flight two days ago from New York to Vatican City to cover the election of the new Pope. He figured it was around 11:00 in the morning New York Time when another black cloud billowed from the roof of the Sistine Chapel. The crowd seemed to sigh a little bit and Jeff went about taking minor notes for his article. He wanted to try and capture the mood of the regular Catholic but they all seemed so terribly devout and dedicated to the Holy Father, that getting an unbiased opinion of the Papal election from a regular guy on the street seemed impossible.

            He looked at his watch again as the crowd that had gathered in the square started to disperse. He thought it was odd that he was still wearing a wristwatch. It seemed no one around really did anymore. It was just an oddity of the time it seemed. He felt somehow old fashioned to have a wristwatch while everyone else around him seemed to rely solely on cell phones for the time of day. Which was now mid-afternoon and the Italians were getting ready for supper.

            The Italians and Rome were quite a sight for Jeff. They were the perfect blend of the old world and the new. There were modern and efficient buses to and from the ancient buildings that dotted the Vatican and Roman landscape. He guessed that having a wristwatch in Rome seemed somewhat fitting considering how this eternal city had managed to age gracefully against the backdrop of the ever evolving world. It was great background for his story; the ancient election process of the new Pope against the immediate information age.

            Jeff walked through the streets for a while trying to get a flavor of the Holy City. He’d never been before and he wanted to get a real taste for it. He’d watch the Rick Steve’s travelogues from PBS and felt he had a working knowledge of the city but still felt awed by its age and seemingly unending survival. He stopped by a small café for a rest and to take a look at his guide book and take a few notes.  He always had to have a notebook with him; otherwise all his genius thoughts would fade away before he could get to his laptop. He started scribbling some notes as a casual waiter brought him a coffee.

            “You here for the new Pope,” asked the waiter.
            “Yes. I’m a reporter, covering the event,” said Jeff.
            “Ah, you put me in your story. I tell you all about the great Popes,” said the waiter.
            “You know about the Popes,” said Jeff.

            The waiter nodded and smiled. He wiped his hand on his white apron and pulled a chair out at Jeff’s little café table. He extended his hand to Jeff.

            “I’m Paulo, I give Vatican tours sometime,” said Paulo.
            “Jeff Minor, nice to meet you. So what can you tell me about the Pope’s,” asked Jeff as he shook Paulo’s hand.
            “The Popes are a crazy, party bunch,” said Paulo.
            “A party bunch? What do you mean,” asked Jeff.

            Jeff re-opened his notebook and was ready to finally get his word on the street view about the pope’s election. How good it was that he happened upon this little coffee place.

            “The pope, he and all the popes, they have a long history of being cashews,” said Paulo.
            “You mean nuts. A long history of being nuts,” said Jeff.
            “Yes. Nuts,” Paulo smiled and laughed, “the popes are nuts.”

            Jeff started to wonder if this might not be the right guy to talk to about the pope. What could a waiter at a little café have to say about one of the most powerful people in the history of humanity?

            “It is said that Pope Julius II had three illegitimate daughters while pope,” said Paulo.
            “When was that?”
            “He was pope from 1503 to 1513 I think. Pope Paul III, had four illegitimate children. He was Pope from 1534 to 1549,” said Paulo.
            “You’re very firm on these dates, how do you know that’s correct,” asked Jeff.

            Paulo smiled and looked over at the barista and motioned for two more coffees.
            “I tell you, I give tours. I know,” said Paulo.

            Jeff nodded and wrote the dates in his notebook to be researched later. But it was very interesting, he’d never heard of any Popes that had children. He asked Paulo to continue.

            “Pope John XII from I think the year 955 murdered several people and was caught in bed with another man’s wife,” continued Paulo.
            “Well, that’s a very long time ago. Is there anything on more recent popes,” asked Jeff.
            “Reporters, always want the dirt on the new guys. No appreciation for the history,” said Paulo.
            “I’m sorry. I’m just not sure my readers will be interested in Pope’s from that long ago. I’m interested though. I think it’s fascinating,” said Jeff.

            Paulo looked at him in the face for a very long time. He sipped from his little espresso that the barista had placed in front of him. Paulo then lit a cigarette and blew the smoke up in the air. He motioned to the wafting smoke with his hand.
            “You wait for that? The white smoke, and then you leave Rome,” asked Paulo.
            “That is the plan,” said Jeff.  
            “That’s a shame. You should stay, learn, and see,” said Paulo.

Paulo stood up from the table and pushed his chair in toward Jeff. Jeff wasn’t sure what was going on.

“You come tomorrow and I tell you about Pope Alexander VI and his ‘Joust of the Whores’. It is a great story. You come back tomorrow,” said Paulo.
“I will. Thank you,” said Jeff and he put his hand out toward Paulo.

Paulo took his hand and shook it. He then turned back toward the café and disappeared inside. Jeff paid for the coffee’s and started strolling back toward his hotel. He’d come back if he saw black smoke tomorrow. But if there was white, his assignment would be done and he wouldn’t need to see Paulo again. But then, maybe he would come back. Jeff check is wristwatch. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Hard Stone

            There she was; beauty incarnate. She was a Venus practically floating on a sea of awe from the eyes of the men around her as she made her way onto the CTA train car. Her eyes were blue, her cheeks were blushed, her features were delicate, and her body was the picture of health and vitality. If Cherub’s were floating about her head I was too enamored to notice.

            She found her seat and her gaze about the train car broke the collective laser beam stares of support from the men all around. No one dared make any eye contact with this beautiful woman of porcelain skin and light brown hair. Every man was afraid she could see right through them and they would probably be right.  I felt that if she looked right at me I’d turn to stone. It reminded me of the tragic story of Medusa.

            There are some ancient stories that indicate Medusa was a ravishingly beautiful maiden and in some complicated Greek story of rape by Poseidon and the jealous rage of Athena, she was transformed by an enraged Athena into the serpent haired monster that could turn men into stone. I’m not saying this woman that got on the train was Medusa, but her effect on the men around her was similar. As much as I would have liked to approach her and introduce myself, I was turned to stone and anything I could have said would have fallen to the floor of the train car and shattered to a million bits. I’m just glad I didn’t look her in the eyes. I very well may have turned to ogling dust.

She was pretty extraordinary though and I found myself very jealous of the people in her life, whoever they may be. I started wondering what her laugh was like and if she liked to draw in the wet sand of some quiet beach. I wondered who got to embrace her. I wondered who got to tell her that they loved her. I wondered if she felt lonely and isolated in her beauty. I wondered if she was considering one of those hideous facial piercings. (Ladies, do not put more holes in your face than you already have. For me, it’s not that attractive). This would be a terrible shame. It would be like poking holes in the Mona Lisa or putting arms back on Venus Di Milo with a rude gesture on the end.

I can only say that when she rose to exit the train I felt a sense of sadness. I knew that I would probably never see her again. I didn’t have the stones to even try to talk to her. I think I know why though and I thought about it a lot after her departure. It’s because I’m not interested in just trying to have sex with her, it’s because I would want a relationship with her. If I was just interested in going at it like a couple of bonobo monkeys, then I don’t think I would be so hesitant to speak to her and ply some terrible pick-up lines. That’s not what I want in my life though. It’s not who I am.

I have not been simply interested in sex for the sake of sex in a long while. I may flirt and tease a bit but I’m not just a wham, bam thank you ma’am sort of guy. I’m actually looking for something more meaningful. I have been for a long time. That’s why I think I find myself alone a lot of the time. That and anytime I consider talking to a woman of such obvious beauty I turn into the stone man or the blubbering idiot. I melt faster than butter in a frying pan.

It’s funny though; I often wish I had that same effect on women. That a woman could look at me in my simple and plain face and consider me with amorous desire and an imagination inflamed with ideas of Sunday mornings spent in idyllic splendor. Or at least long enough to go to a wedding with me.  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Word Soup

Words can be like water
in a large pot, set on the stove.
The flames lick the bottom
of the pot, or the electric
coil sparks to life,
heating the watery

The hot words soon bubble
and boil over the edge and
sizzle and spit as they slide
down the side of the pot
and splash to the hot range top.

A quick stir and the words
may calm down for a little,
but left unwatched
they start their roiling and
churning again until
no lid, no spoon nor speedy
hands can cease their
cascading boiling.

These words can burn and
scar and singe and scald.
They can wound and bring
the most violent of tears to
the eyes of even the most
confident soul.

They leave a lasting mark
on the skin left behind,
a reminder to the heart what
horrible things hot words can

Keep an eye on your
words as they simmer, and
stir them to keep them calm,
check the heat and turn it down
if it’s too high. Never leave your
words unattended. 

Biblical Stuff

            So I’ve been watching The History Channel’s presentation of “The Bible” and I have to say I’m less and less pleased with it; at least the Old Testament portion anyway. I have always been aware of Old Testament God’s penchant for destroying cities and turning people’s wives into pillars of salt and such, that isn’t what has been getting to me about it.

            It’s all the murdering and killing done in the name of God. So far The History Channel has re-enacted a lot of the early Bible scenes in which the Israelites are searching for the Promised Land and along the way have killed a lot of damn people. I am aware that history is rife with the subjugation of the weak or the conquest of the wealthy. I am not naïve regarding the want for land or riches, access to trade routes and the sea or the struggle at times for the most basic of needs. I just find it hard to accept that it was all done with God’s blessing, and in some cases, encouragement. 

            God is a curious motivator. He tells us he loves us and then tells us to go kill those people because they have displeased him. I’m no fool and the machinations of a deity can always be manipulated by unscrupulous military leaders and kings who tell the people that it’s, “God’s will that we smite the tribe of heathens over the hill”, and if we happen to get a little rich along the way, well, God wants us to be happy. So, chop-chop.

            I know that history has always been written by the winners and as winners they can put any spin they want on the past. I just am uncomfortable with a loving God authorizing the death of so many through the voices of so few. I guess I am a New Testament God kind of guy, the one who sent his son to preach love, peace and tolerance of all creeds and kinds. That’s much more up my alley.

            As a moral code I find the New Testament much more pleasing; the whole, do unto others as you would have done upon you, he without sin should cast the first stone, turn the other cheek, meek will inherit the Earth, and so on and so forth. I just find that message, the one where all are welcome and have a chance at salvation, frankly, cooler.  I’m just not a cheerleader for the Old Testament.

            The other thing that really bothers me about The History Channel’s “The Bible” is the strange legitimacy it seems to be giving to the Crazy Christian factions. Hard core, born again, Evangelical, Bible belt types make me very nervous. They hear the words of God but not the message. That makes me nervous. Any group that takes the Bible as a literal text without questioning the authenticity of some of the passages makes me afraid. If we are made in God’s image, then it is our God given nature to question the world we see around us. The Bible, in my humble opinion, at least the New Testament, is a guidebook for treating others with respect and love. It should not be taken as a literal description of history, nor should the Quran, or the Mythology of the Greeks or Romans.  
I hope the History Channel’s version will begin to balance it out with a little actual scientific history.