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Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in Dream Art's LiveJournal:

Thursday, January 17th, 2008
1:15 pm
The Way
"This is the way, step inside"
-Joy Division

Current Mood: sharing
Monday, December 12th, 2005
10:54 pm
Enlightened Depression
Enlightened depression,
Melancholly with a tease of sweet,
Causes me to ponder
Why I am not swept off my feet.


It tears us up,
It breaks us apart.
It wears us down,
It deprives us of art.
It makes me inane,
It drives me insane!


Alas, there is nothing left to be done.
"Blast!", there goes the sound of a gun.
Sunday, May 29th, 2005
3:35 am
clearly not autobiographical in any way...
Arthur Douglas was not having a good life. Every day it was the same damn thing. Every morning, he would walk to the metro and get stopped six or seven times by people he did not know. You see, at just under six and a half feet, Arthur was a tall guy, and there seemed to be an endless stream of people who seemed to think that he was unaware of his height, and felt that it was their civic duty to inform him. He had tried everything to get rid of them.

He had tried being sarcastic.

He would look at them incredulously and say, “Really? I am? I mean, wow, I hadn’t realized that… wow… thank you so much for telling me.”

Unfortunately, the response would invariably be something along the lines of, “Oh. You are quite welcome.” People in this town did not pick up on sarcasm very well.

He had tried giving them dirty looks, but those only led to inquiries about his ocular health. No, thank you. He did not have anything stuck in his eye.

He had contemplated the possibility of resorting to violence, but he quickly dismissed these thoughts. A violent bloodbath would almost certainly result in a large pile of tedious paperwork, as well as the added annoyance of court appearances and other such nonsense.
Arthur had even tried ignoring them. Unfortunately, this generally led to further comments like, “you should play basketball”. Generally, these more persistent people made the idea of a court date seem like less of a hassle.

These people seemed to follow him everywhere. No matter where he went, there was a sea of people who clearly felt that alerting him to his excessive height was their god given purpose in life. He hoped that these people felt very satisfied with themselves after they talked to him. He hoped that they felt really terrific. He also hoped that they would step out into oncoming traffic on the freeway.

Arthur didn’t get on very well with people.

Today was not one of Arthur’s better days. Arthur had a disproportionately large number of bad days. However, today, in particular, took bad to a whole new level. If normal days were bad in the way that accidentally dropping one’s wallet off a boat is bad, today was akin to the entire continent of Lemuria sinking into the deep forever.

It had begun like any other day. He woke up at 7:15, dashed out the door at 7:20. He took his long walk, past a sea of inane, gibbering faces, to the metro. He walked quickly; keeping his gaze downwards, because he couldn’t deal with what he knew was coming.

“They can’t see you if you can’t see them” he muttered to himself. Halfway through his trek, Arthur realized that no one had talked to him at all. He began to think that perhaps they actually couldn’t see him, and a faint glimmer of hope wriggled through his wall of cynicism.

He began to become uneasy.

When was the last time he had a reason to be hopeful? This sort of thing never happened to him. Someone upstairs must have made some sort of mistake. Or perhaps, god was merely toying with him.

His suspicions were soon justified. Almost immediately after he felt this tiny surge of hope, he felt a sharp poke in his back. He thought he run into a railing, and swore, before turning around and seeing the small, mousy woman behind him.

The woman was staring at him, mouth agape. She seemed to be trying to speak, but when she opened her mouth, nothing came out but frightened, little squeaks.

“Excuse me,” she said after much throat clearing, “do you…”

“Right on cue,” he thought. He took a deep breath and braced himself.

“Wow. I don’t even come up to your shoulders. Do you play basketball?”

The small glimmer of hope was squashed brutally by the heavy hand of reality. He stared at her. After a few moments, he continued to stare at her. Something in his head snapped. He walked calmly over to a nearby hardware store and purchased a sledge hammer.

Two months later, Arthur was beginning to adjust to his new life at the asylum. Sitting in his padded room, he felt, for the first time in his life, truly at peace. He was well taken care of and no one bothered him.

“Ah,” he thought as the door opened, “it must be lunch time.”

But the woman who entered did not have his lunch tray. She had a fancy clipboard and spoke in a prim, high little voice.

“I couldn’t help but notice you,” she began, “My name is Julia Bishop and I run the basketball program at the asylum. I was wondering if you’d like to join the team.”
Tuesday, May 10th, 2005
6:52 pm
this is a very bad story I wrote in ninth grade. I believe it was supposed to be a myth of some sort. I have not read it since...

In the beginning, life was good. There was no pollution, no wars, and for the most part, everyone was having a pretty good time. Everyone that is, except for the humans.

Humans were miserable; and who could blame them? They had to hobble along slowly because their blunt pole-like legs were so cumbersome. Not only did humans suffer through these afflictions, but also whenever they fell over, (which was quite often) the other animals would insult them by calling the unlucky human stumpy and then whale on the fallen human like they had never been whaled on before. For humans, once you had fallen down it was almost impossible to get back up. Because of this, once a human fell down, they were helpless until someone took pity on them and helped them up. Needless to say, the humans were not very happy about the random beatings that were constantly being inflicted upon them. Only one human was not bothered by these beatings and gratuitous insults. His name was Stumpy McStumpstump. Naturally, because of his good nature, he was a pariah. He had tried to make friends with humans and animals alike. However, he had failed in these endeavors, and when he failed at something, he failed like no one has ever failed before. His failures were catastrophes of such colossal proportions, that epic poems have been written about them. Watching him fail was like watching the Hindenburg hurtle its flaming wreckage screaming into a warehouse full of petroleum-soaked C-4… but enough about that.
The other humans had convened to decide what to do about these beatings, and as usual, Stumpy was not allowed to participate. An old man tottered to the front of the room and told of a sorcerer who could help them. The room immediately filled with noise as excited humans talked amongst themselves. The old man yelled Swedish obscenities until the hubbub subsided. He explained that the trail to the sorcerer’s cave was long and perilous and therefore the person who attempted the journey should be both very strong and courageous, or better yet, disliked and naive. The obvious choice was Stumpy McStumpstump. He agreed because he thought this journey would earn him the respect of his fellow humans.

He set off the next morning and the other humans figured that they would never see him again. He limped through forests, staggered through valleys, and shambled over mountains until he finally reached the home of the sorcerer.
When he walked into the sorcerer’s house he was surprised to see protuberances on each of his legs. He asked the sorcerer, (who’s name was Jimbo) about them and he learned that they were called “feet”. Stumpy told Jimbo about his quandary and was pleased to learn that feet were the answer. Jimbo explained that he had created “feet” for some rich clients, but because Stumpy looked so miserable, Jimbo decided to give him some for free. Stumpy was delighted with his new “feet” and after thanking Jimbo, sprinted back to the village to tell the other humans.

When they saw Stumpy coming they were astonished by his speed and balance. They immediately rushed over and demanded to know where they could get some “feet”. Stumpy told them and soon they had all gone to Jimbo’s house and gotten feet. When they all had feet they resumed being jerks to Stumpy and life went on as it always had. The moral of this story is: If you have something that is better than what other people have, keep it to yourself.
Sunday, May 8th, 2005
8:04 pm
The Story Behind "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Scene One

Joe: Hey Freddie, what duh ya wanna do now?

Freddie: I dunno. Whatever we wanna do, I guess.

Joe: Well, duh ya got any money?

Freddie: Nope, lost it.

Joe: All of it?

Freddie: Yep.

Joe: Well how are we gonna get home?

Freddie: I dunno. I guess we’ll just walk.

Joe: Well screw that. I’m gonna go mug somebody. Wanna help?

Freddie: Sure, whatever.

Scene Two

Freddie: Mama, I lost my metro money today with Joe, so we decided to go mug somebody. But something went wrong. The guy had a knife, so I shot him. He’s dead, Mama, I killed him.

Mama: How could you! After all I’ve done for you! I work day in and day out just so that you can have food on the table and clothes on your back, and you go ahead and throw it all away!

Freddie: I know, Mama, I know. Please don’t cry, Mama. I’m gonna fix it, I’ll make it right.

Mama: You’d better! And you can start by getting out of my trailer. I can’t look at you anymore.

Freddie: Ok, don’t you worry, Mama, if I don’t come back, just forget about me.

Scene Three

Dear Mama Mercury,

We currently have your son in custody for the murder of Jeff Goldblum. He has been sentenced to twenty years in state prison. Thank you.

Sincerely, The Police.

Scene Four

Freddie: I’m nobody. My life is nothing. Care to dance, Scaramouche?

Bob: Dude, the name’s Bob. Where the hell didja get "Scaramouche" from?

Freddie: Well it was very nice to meet you, Scaramouche. I’m Galileo. I’m Scared.

Bob: ...Guard! Please take this poor boy out of my cell! He needs help!

Guard: Nope, sorry. I don’t have permission. Even if I did, I wouldn’t.

Freddie: Let me go!

Bob: Pleeease!

Guard: No!

Freddie: Let me go!

Bob: He’s driving me insane!

Guard: No! No! For the last time, NO!!!

Freddie: Ahhh! My life is hell!

Scene Five

Guard: Mercury, you have a visitor.

Freddie: I’m Freddie!

Guard: Okay, whatever, Hammurabi. Now get outta here, your visitor’s waiting.

Freddie: Okay.

[Freddie goes to the visitors room]

Mama: Freddie!

Freddie: Mama?

Mama: Yeah, its me, Mama! How you been?

Freddie: I’ve been in jail for the past ten years. Its been like hell. I still hate you for being so mean tuh me when I came home that one night. You coulda tried tuh comfort me. But naw, you were too busy hating me.

Mama: You killed Jeff Goldblum!

Freddie: Yeah, but that don’t mean that its okay tuh not visit me for ten years. You just left me here. You just can’t do that to me without me wanting outa this family.

Mama: Aw, don’t say that. Yo don’t mean that. When you get outa here, I’m gonna take ya home, okay.

Freddie: Nothin’ matters anymore, Mama. I’m just gonna go wherever life takes me once I get outa here. I don’t care.

7:44 pm
The Worst Case Scenario Handbook - History Edition

Introduction: Tracing the Steps of History

In this day and age, it is time to take a good long look at ourselves and our history, and learn how not to repeat it. We know from studying history that it tends to repeat itself. For example, we have learned that rich, expansionist empires always fall - it appears everywhere (the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Mongolian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, etc. . . ). On the other hand, most of the non-expansionist kingdoms of the Middle Ages are still with us today. But in the second quarter of the 20th Century, we repeated our follies of history yet again, as we tend to do. Hitler entered Germany into the Third Reich in 1933, and was conquered in 1945, lasting not even 15 years - about 2% of the total existence of the country of Germany. As a measure, the Roman Empire accounted for about 40% of the total existence of Rome. In any case, is time that we look back at a few other follies of the past and attempt to learn how to avoid repeating those as well.

Ethnocentrism: "I’m Better Than You Because I Have Better Stuff"

Money and wealth do not equal happiness. There is an alarming amount of people that don’t understand that value is a variable, and this leads to ethnocentrism. People judge others on the basis of their possessions. Lack of possessions led the British to enslave the Africans. A person without any possessions can be happier than a person with as it is the other way around. The more money one has, the more complicated his life becomes. The same is true for whole civilizations: the more technology a civilization, the more difficult it is to run the society. This relation can be summarized in the saying, "ignorance is bliss." It can be found everywhere.

Religious Totalitarianism: "Believe in the Things that I Believe in or Die"

People should stop caring so much about what other people believe and start caring more about what they believe as individuals. More battles and wars have been fought over beliefs than anything else. Take the Crusades, for example. All that the Crusades boil down to is a simple fight between two groups of people because the mothers of one group read who believed in two different versions of the same God. Hundreds of thousands of people were slaughtered because of this.

A more modern example of this is the Christian Scientists. Christian Scientists are in essence Christians who believe that there is a way to scientifically prove that there is a God. In and of itself, there’s nothing wrong about that, and they would not have even been mentioned here if it wasn’t for one thing: both the Christian Scientists, and other scientists, most of which would agree that science and religion don’t mix, feel threatened by each other, perhaps because they are uncomfortable with other people trying to prove something that is seemingly wrong or incorrect according to their own views. The Christian Scientists disapprove of the other scientists completely illogical through science, a system completely built on logic. It shouldn’t matter what other people believe. The Christian Scientists are only trying to defend their religion and to make sure there isn’t more than one opinion about God in the world. The only proof of a belief need is the belief in your mind. To one person, there is a God. To another, there isn’t. Both are right. When you say "there is a God," you’re really saying that you believe in a God. If your beliefs require others to believe in them, then what does that say about your beliefs?

Sunday, March 13th, 2005
2:50 pm
A Transcendental Story in Progress...

...Part One: The Meeting

Norman Jackson was running fast, away from the lights, so fast that he tripped and fell on one of the vines that were all over the place. He was suddenly surrounded by a humming sound; he had run right into a whole flock of them. As he tried to regain his balance, he saw the earth fall away before him...it was a cliff. He tried to stop, but his legs, in a stumble, kept on going. At the very edge, he managed to frantically grasp onto a branch from a tree jutting out from the surface. He heard the humming and saw the orbs of lights come closer. It was unlike any sound he’d ever heard. It sounded like what electricity might sound like if it made a noise. His mind raced for something to do to escape them, but as they drew nearer, his fate was determined in one moment. The tree branch buckled and broke.

He was thrown into total darkness. He looked up–which way was up anyways? Then he saw the orbs. They were still at the top of the cliff. When it seemed they would not follow, he gave a sigh of relief, even though he was falling to a certain doom. Then he watched with horror as one, then two, then the rest of the lights jumped down after him. They fell fast with a screaming, whistling sound. The first one caught up with him in no time and he was enveloped in the halo of light.

He opened his eyes. He felt dizzy. Everything was out of focus and seemed to be spinning around him. As everything came into focus and stopped spinning, he heard a ringing sound. It was the telephone. Next to the telephone sat a clock that read 8:07.

"Damn," he said aloud. He had overslept. Colonel Carville, his supervisor, probably waited at the other end of the telephone line. He reached over, picked up the telephone, and put it to his ear.

"Hello," he said as awake as he possibly could.

"Jackson! Where the hell are you!" He was right...it was the Colonel, who had called for a meeting at 0800 about something to do with a phantom submarine.

Ted L. Carville was a short, heavy-set, balding man in his late forties. He served in the Marine Corps until the spring of 1958, when a fly-fishing accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. He had been resentful ever since. It seemed that because of his paralysis, he moved his arms around twice as much to compensate. He had the tendency to flail his arms around whenever he got even remotely excited. Right now, Norman had a mental picture of Ted Carville sitting at his desk and yelling into the receiver, which he held with one hand while he swung the other around profusely.

"Sorry, sir, it won’t happen again. I’ll be there in--"

"Goddamnit, Jackson! You’re goddamn right it won’t happen again!" Carville yelled into the earpiece crackling with noise.

"I’m sorry, sir."

"Well sorry just doesn’t cut it, Jackson! Get over here in ten minutes and I might consider not demoting your ass to janitor.

"Ok, sir. I’ll be there," Norman replied. He knew that Ted Carville didn’t have the authority to get rid of him, but being on his bad side was threat enough. He headed for Langley after getting dressed and having his cup of coffee.

* * * * * * *

Jackson burst through the doors and into the conference room. He glanced at the clock; it was 0820 hours.

"Sorry, sir. Traffic." he said as he quickly grabbed his seat. There was an awkward moment as Carville glared at Jackson, during which everyone else shuffled papers. As Jackson looked around the table, he saw all the usual faces, but there was a new face, a man he had never seen before. He had four bars on his shoulders and looked to be in his mid-fifties; the man was obviously of high stature.

"Corporal," Carville said, "I called this meeting to address a Soviet boomer distress call Intel received yesterday. The sub is located off the coast of Brazil, and the USS Iowa is at port in Recife. There isn’t another Soviet vessel for miles. We’ve already decided to do a reconnaissance and offer our assistance, if needed. Corporal Jackson, you’ve been assigned to fly in with Captain Barnes," he gestures to the new man, "and you are to assist him in any way possible. Are there any questions, anyone?"

"Sir. What if it’s a trap? Could the Soviets have more subs hiding behind the Rio Grande?"

"Intel reports no other Soviet activity in the south Atlantic. The sub is on its own," Carville responded.

"Sir, a Soviet boomer in near proximity to one of our ports sends a distress signal? Isn’t that a bit odd, considering that the last thing any boomer, especially a Soviet boomer, wants to do is show itself?"

"Yes. This is a peculiar move for the Soviets and we’re treating it with the utmost caution. We don’t want any slip-ups any more than you do. Will there be any more questions?" There were none. "Okay, you are dismissed."

As Jackson and the others are leaving the room, Carville pulls Jackson aside: "Enjoy your trip, Jackson. Oh, and you’re dismissed, too." Jackson realized, with regret, that this is his punishment for oversleeping. He knew Carville would pull something like this. He always has a way of getting his revenge. Norman Jackson left the room and the two men were left to talk alone. He left the building, got into his car, and headed back to his apartment. He had to pack.

...Part Two: The Ship

Aboard the ship, Norman could see the vast coast that was Brazil. He heard seagulls cawing, the waves splashing against the dry dock, the chatter of the deck hands as they prepared for the departure. He was aboard the great USS Iowa. With a top cruising speed of 33 knots, blindingly fast for a battleship, she was the most advanced ship in the fleet. And with a length just shy of three football fields and a displacement of more than 50,000 tons, she was also the largest. A horn sounded; it was time to depart. Norman took one last look at the coast, then at the helicopter he arrived on as the blades noisily accelerated and slowly lifted it's bulky mass into the air. He watched it speed away and eventually disappear into the horizon, where the sky and sea became one.

The sun was low in the sky now, the air was a nice cool temperature; perfect for sailing. He took a deep breath and gazed out at the setting sun. He remembered his father’s stories of sailing, of the green flashes he had seen as the sun fell below the sea-line. He remembered what his father used to tell him when they sailed together at sunset and were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of it. "You see that little green light, Norm?" his father would say, "You see it? I bet you’ve never seen anything like it! Well that little green light is life’s way of saying that no matter what, everything will be alright. No matter what happens." Norman hadn’t seen that green flash ever since. He later found out in college that the green flash was actually an optical effect caused by the sun’s rays being bent by passing through more and more atmosphere as the sun got lower and lower in the sky – nothing magical at all – but he had always kept his father’s stories in the back of his mind.

He was deep in thought, thinking about the dream he had the night before, when suddenly he felt something grab his shoulder. Surprised, he spun around in alarm– to see one of the ship’s mates.

"Excuse me, sir. Your presence is requested in the commander’s cabin."

"Alright," Norman acknowledged. "Tell them that I’ll be there in a few minutes."

"Yes sir," the mate replied, and then left.

As the mate left, Norman took one last look at the horizon as the sun set. He was looking for even the smallest flash of green, but he saw no such thing. He left the deck and headed down to the cabin.

* * * * * * *

Norman entered a room not dissimilar to one of the conference rooms at Langley. It had one long table and a projection screen at the far end. The senior staff was assembled around the table.

"Hello there," said the man that Colonel Carville introduced as Captain Barnes. "How nice of you to join us, Corporal... Jenkins is it?"

"Jackson, sir," Norman replied.

"Ah, Corporal Jackson. Well it’s a pleasure to have you aboard, Corporal. I’d like to introduce you to my senior staff. To my left is Lieutenant Tom Riker, our Chief Communications Officer; Lieutenant Jason Doherty, our Chief Engineer; and our Chief Petty Officer Carl Hudson. To my right is our navigator Lieutenant Lumbarton, and our Chief Medical Officer Lieutenant DuFresne." Each nodded to Norman as they were introduced. "Please, take a seat, Corporal."

Norman sat down in the seat next to Lieutenant DuFresne.

"Shall we get started? Alright then." The lights in the room dimmed and Captain Barnes flipped on the projector. The first image was of the southeastern coast of Brazil. There was a blinking dot in the southern part of the Brazil Basin, just north of the Columbia Seamount ridge. "Intel picked up a Soviet distress call last night..."

Norman let his mind wander; he had already heard this brief once before, and he didn’t need to hear it again. He started to ponder as to why the Soviet boomer radioed a distress call in the first place. It wasn’t uncommon for even the Soviets boomers to hide from their own navy - the job of a missile sub was pure and simple: to disappear. So why would this boomer blatantly display its position to us? It just didn’t make sense. There had to be something that Carville hadn’t told them. Either that, or Intel mistakenly identified one of our own missile subs as being Soviet, as it had done before. But that was more than ten years ago, and even then it was highly unlikely. And it wasn’t unlike Carville to give information strictly on a need-to-know basis. No, there was no mistake. Carville definitely knew something that he didn’t.

"...no reason to believe that there is any radioactive danger aboard the vessel..." continued Captain Barnes.

Now, the big questions were also the obvious ones: What was Colonel Carville hiding, and who else knew what Carville knew. All he had to do now was... he noticed that one of the officers seemed to be staring at him. It was that Chief Engineer, Doherty. He was a squirrely man with glasses that looked like they belonged in a telescope.

"Are there any more questions?" Barnes announced, indicating that the brief was coming to an end. "No? Alright, this meeting is adjourned. You are dismissed."

As Norman headed towards the door, the same officer, Doherty, who was staring at him during the brief, gestured to speak with him outside the cabin.

The man introduced himself as Lieutenant Jason Doherty, Chief Engineer. "Okay, I don’t have much time, so I’m going to be as abrupt as I can be. Do you have any idea why you’re here?" he asked.

"To be honest, I haven’t the foggiest. My orders were to assist Captain Barnes in any way possible, but it seems like he has things pretty well under control. It would seem to me..."

Doherty was shaking his head, no. "Corporal, did you notice anything strange about this whole situation?"

"Well as a matter of fact, I did. A Soviet boomer sending a distress signal without any other Soviet vessels nearby seems very strange to me. It just doesn’t make any sense–"

"Exactly. I don’t see how that makes a lick of sense! Either only good ol’ Cap’n Barnsy knows what’s going on, or we’re in the midst of a conspiracy."

"Conspiracy?" he caught him off-guard with that one. "Don’t you think that’s a little too extreme? At the absolute worst, the fault lies with Intel, not the chain-of-command."

"Alright, so if this is a reconnaissance mission, then why did they send this huge battleship to investigate instead of a chopper? And why are you here? Because it’s certainly not to ‘assist in any way possible.’ My theory is that there was no distress call. Intel picked the boomer up on sonar, and now we have been sent to sink it because some big-wig on Capitol Hill thinks that it would be ‘strategically convenient.’ Strategic my ass! Those ol’ dirty bastards have no idea what they’re doing! They’re going to start a war. A war that nobody wants. They’ll cause an apocalyptic nuclear war, and in the end, no one will win."

...Part Three: The Conspiracy

After Doherty had finished speaking with him, Norman left for his quarters. He climbed down the stairs and started walking down a long hall, hoping to find one of those floor maps that were posted in the corridors. When he finally came to one, he searched for room B-187. When he finally found it, he let out a long, low whistle. It was all the way on the other side of the ship. He had been walking the wrong way the whole time. Although he was frustrated, he soon came to the realization that there was nothing else he could do but start walking.

As he walked at a brisk pace back towards the stairs, he saw a red siren light flashing up ahead, so he slowed down to a more cautious pace, curious. Soft, whispering voices could be heard coming from a crossway ahead on the left. He couldn’t hear what they were saying, so he continued on, making sure as to not let his own footsteps drown out the whispers. He waited for a moment, and then, abruptly, the whispers stopped. After waiting a little while longer to see if the whispers would start up again, he finally turned the corner, and saw a potted plant sitting in the middle of the hallway.

And then, in just a few seconds, the plant grew to twice its original size. Large vines were now sprouting out of the small ceramic pot. They wove their way around the hall with a hissing sound, like snakes, covering the walls and ceiling with green, but Norman watched it all calmly. An intense feeling of deja vu swept over him; he seemed to remember this from before, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.

After a while, the vines slowed and stopped. The corridor was now plastered with these vines. Through the gaps between the vines, the industrial grey pipes of the Iowa were still visible. The only direct light was the siren light, which made cause for an eerie effect. Norman moved forward cautiously, being careful not to step on the slippery green masses laid about on the floor. As he moved forward, he noticed a faint shimmering light reflected on the walls and ceiling. Soon, he heard a strangely familiar humming sound that seemed to be coming from behind.

Norman spun around, and came face-to-face with one of them, the orbs. He jumped back in alarm, slipped on one of the vines and fell backwards onto the vines. The orb of light swiftly swept over him before he had a chance to scramble back to his feet. Norman was now inside the creature. He wanted to move, but one part of his mind was telling him, "I’d rather not." It was as if he was wrapped in a soft, warm cocoon of light.

A voice sounded in his head, but it was not his own. It was disguised by an ambient sound that reminded him of wind rushing through a forest. It spoke of luck and fate and will. Norman tried to respond, but he couldn’t move lips – he couldn’t move anything. He listened to the voice, but it had turned into incoherent gibberish. It started to fade into the ambient noise, along with the light that surrounded him. He felt like he was falling again, falling fast. He looked down to see the ocean. He watched passively as the ripples surface rose up to strike him in the face, and everything faded to black

* * * * * * *

Norman woke up in a strange room, startled. It took him a moment to remember that he was in his own quarters aboard the Iowa. A terrible headache struck him as he sat up in bed, but he grumbled through it and got dressed. He took some aspirin before leaving to report to Captain Barnes.

As he walked up to Barnes’ office, he started to think about what Doherty had said the night before. He remembered that Doherty had said something about a conspiracy, which seemed downright paranoid of him. But he had also encouraged the idea that Carville hadn’t quite told the whole story of what was going on. It was very interesting. Why was this colossal ship sent out on a reconnaissance mission? As far as Norman could see, there were three possible reasons, the first being that there were no helicopters or smaller ships in the immediate area that were available or equipped for a reconnaissance mission. It could also be that the boomer was not in distress at all, but was actually an active Soviet offensive that was kept hush-hush, in which case the Iowa was sent out to intimidate. But it occurred to Norman that the most likely of the three was also the worst, that we were the offensive, not the Soviets.

He arrived at Barnes’ door and was just about to knock, when he heard Barnes say loudly, "Yes, but why did you send me this kid? I mean, its not like I need any more help here, I’ve got enough as it is. ...Yes, but– Well yes, of course I do, Ted, but he’s just one more person that I have to worry about..." He was on the com-link with command, obviously, and it seemed that Norman was the topic of conversation, so he was naturally intrigued. "Yes, yes, I understand that, but did you absolutely have to send one? Okay okay, I– Ted, I get the picture, Ted, you can stop that now. Look, I want to see that boomer disappear just as much as you do, but it’ll be hard to do that with all this NSA observation horseshit up my ass. Well hold on, Ted, what would you do in this situation? …Ted? Are you there, Ted? Shit." He heard the phone slam down onto the receiver. Norman debated with himself for a moment about if he should still knock, and in the end, decided to go down to the engine room where Doherty was. He had to talk.

Part Four: The Mutiny

"I knew it! I goddamn knew it!" Doherty exclaimed after hearing what Norman had overheard. "Ted Carville is behind all of this, and Barnes is carrying it out. He’s going to sink that boomer, and then report that the Soviets fired first! Don’t you see? We have to do something!

"Something?" Norman responded, "I’m not quite sure I follow. There’s not really anything that we can do. What the captain says goes, and we have to accept that."

"Accept that?" Doherty replied incredulously, "You think I should accept that? Well let me ask you something, would you blindly accept starting a nuclear war? I think not. Something needs to be done now, so if you’ll excuse me, I have a meeting to organize."

"Okay, so what do you plan on doing?" Norman asked.

"Whatever I can do. I’ve got to tell the men about this. And who knows," Doherty said as he left the room, "we might mutiny."

Norman was still processing that last word, mutiny. It caught him by surprise. The severity of it washed over him like a giant tidal wave. It was amazing how drastically one word could change one’s mood.

He thought for a bit about what Doherty had said about the necessity of doing something. He thought about what could be done to prevent such a disaster from happening, and everything he came up with came hand-in-hand with a court marshal. But he realized that he didn’t care about that anymore. There were much more important issues at stake. He couldn’t be bothered with court marshals, and he certainly couldn’t just stand back and let war happen. No, he had to do what he believed was right, no matter the consequences. He quickly left the room and ran to catch up to Doherty.

* * * * * * *

The plan was that Norman would stand inconspicuously with a small group of men on the deck in wait for the much larger group led by Doherty. They would act as the opposing force, so that when Doherty’s group gets cornered on the deck, they could help Barnes’ men, and it would appear to Barnes that he had twice as many men guarding Dohery’s group than there actually were. That would allow Norman’s group to take the Barnes’ men by surprise and overpower them easily with the help of Doherty’s group.

But when it came time to actually do it, Norman had his doubts. He thought of thousands of things that could possibly go wrong, but in his mind, they were all worth it.

Doherty’s men arrived on the deck as scheduled, along with the guards who were escorting them. It was time to move. Norman’s group quickly joined the guards, just as the plan had dictated. They circled the group. After awhile, Doherty, whom Norman had been staring at, waiting for the signal, winked. It was time to move.

Norman relayed the signal to his men with a nod, and they paired themselves up with each guard. Now was the critical moment where the most important thing was timing. They needed to do it swiftly and silently, making sure that not one guard had the opportunity to fire his gun, alerting the rest of the ship.

Once everyone was lined up, Norman held up three fingers, making it look like he was just cleaning his nails. He lowered one, then another. He didn’t notice that one of the guards was not being guarded. He lowered the last finger, and in a second, everyone in his group had his arms around each guard… except for one. Doherty let out a yell and they ran to help Norman’s men with the guards. No one saw the last guard until Norman saw someone standing, aiming his pistol into the crowd. Norman yelled for people to watch out , but it was futile. The guard pulled the trigger and the gun fired. Someone yelled out in alarm. Seconds later, the guard was attacked by half of the group, but the other half was huddled around the wounded man.

Norman pushed his way through the crowd until he reached the man. It was Doherty. He was shot in the collar. It was bad, he probably wouldn’t make it.

"Jackson," Doherty said, choking on his own breath.

"No," Norman interrupted worriedly as he ripped his sleeve off to use as a compress, "save your breath, you’re gonna need it"

Doherty smiled. "You know I’m not going to make it. But you still have a chance. You can still succeed. Stop this war from happening."

"Jason," Norman said, close to tears, "you already succeeded. The mutiny was a success."

Doherty smiled again, but it soon faded to a pained grimace, and then relaxed as every muscle in his body went limp. Norman bowed his head. When he looked up again, teary-eyed, he looked out onto the horizon. And then, where the sun had just set, he glimpsed a small sliver of green. The green flash. Exited, he pointed out to the see and looked at the people clustered around Doherty, shouting, "Do you see it! That green light, you see it!" He looked at the faces of the people, which wore confused expressions with a hint of sorrow. "You don’t see it? It’s right–" he said as he turned around to a horizon that was void of any such green light.

"No," said one of the men, "we don’t."


Thursday, November 11th, 2004
2:59 pm

My Own Kind Of Hell... Story (based on Dante's The Inferno)

It was a long day and Ejovi was tired. As well he should be, he chuckled to himself. If he made one mistake at work, he had five bosses chasing after him separately to tell him what he already knew. He was just glad it was the weekend. He was on his way to Yankee Stadium to see a Led Zeppelin concert. He was meeting up with his long-lost high school girlfriend, Jasmine, whom he hadn’t seen since the tenth year high school reunion, 7 years ago. He didn’t have a car - he had only gathered $847 for his car savings - so he used the subway to get from A to B.

He was exhausted from work that day. He only realized he had missed his stop when he heard the driver announce, "Meadowlands, Red line. Meadowlands, Red line." He quickly rushed to his feet and got out at the next stop. He had missed the stadium by one stop. Damn. And since the next train going back to the stadium would be due in a half an hour, he would get there quicker if he walked there, through the Bronx. But he was worried, he hadn’t ever been in the Bronx slums, and he wasn’t looking forward to it either. When he emerged from the tunnels, he could see the stadium spotlights - he had somehow thought the walk would be longer. So he started towards the source of the lights. This is his story.

I was approached by a man with a slight arch in his back. He was wearing a black d-rag, a camo shirt with a white undershirt and jeans, and he smelled of smoke. He asked, "Hey, man, you smoke?" I answered as casually as I could, "No," and it was true, I had quit about 8 month ago. He then answered with, "You need a fix, man?" It was now clear to me he was a dealer, and I answered, "Nah, I’m fine." He was about to say something more, but he started away instead. I looked behind me and saw what looked like a group of gang members. I had heard that some of the most dangerous gangs were in Bronx, and so I turned to follow the dealer, but he was nowhere to be seen. I ran into an alley nearest me, I heard their voices - they were following me. I was running along the alley until...damn - a dead end. I was soon cornered by the group of hoodlums, who were now pushing one of their own out to the front. I guessed that this was some kind of act of initiation or something. But before one of them could lay a hand on me, a homeless man was standing behind the gang, holding something in his hands. When the gang noticed him, they scattered like gnats. That’s when I realized what the man was holding. He was holding two high powered machine guns, and was shooting about randomly. A window was shot out, glass fell from the sky, The man seemed stoned, and then he looked at me, aimed, fired, missed, then dropped the guns, and hobbled over to me. Then a thin, vertical line of light appeared, then widened as I heard the squeak of metal on metal. I turned around and saw the figure of a man standing in doorway. I didn’t even notice the door before. The figure walked out and threatened the drunk to call the cops if he didn’t leave right then, and he did, with a rush.

As soon as he had left the alley, I turned around to thank the man, who, when my eyes adjusted to the light, I recognized as Osie, Jasmine’s Brother and genius of the class. He then told me that he worked as a janitor at the building behind him. We went on back patting for a while, until we get to talking about what I’m doing in the Bronx. I tell him about the concert and my mishap on the subway and the various obstacles I’ve ran into. He then invites me inside, telling me that there’s a subway stop at the bottom of the building. As I looked back at the door through which I had entered, I noticed some writing on the back of the door. It read, "Whilst this planet has gone on cycling according to the fixed law of gravity, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." According to Osie, the entire building was underground, but the building had no primary elevator shaft, it only had floor-to-floor lifts.

So I followed Osie through a doorway to a sort of boiler room full of other janitors and handymen. The room was very well lit with florescent lighting. I noticed that they seemed way too smart to be working minimum wage jobs like they were. I asked Osie about that, and he explained that they, himself included, were all people who were endowed with great intellectual potential, but never used it to its full extent. So I followed him across the room to a door which, when opened, revealed a lift, operated by a little man named Argos.

When the lift doors opened again, Osie and I stepped out. The lift doors then promptly slammed shut behind them. I both heard and saw the Village People on a stage, performing YMCA, and crowding the stage were many people who seemed to forcibly dance to the beat. I looked to Osie with confusion. Before I even asked, he read my expression and said, "These are people who were too macho for their own good, or tried to be." Osie pointed me to one man, who stood out from the rest because he had a cobra attached to his hand. "This sorry excuse for a human died as a result of refusing to go to the hospital after being bitten by a cobra. His excuse was ‘I’m a man, I can take it.’" We had a good laugh about that as we walked over to the stairs.

We went down two flights of stairs, for that was as far as the stairwell would take us. When we entered the room, we saw many people wearing McBurgler costumes. They were all immobilized by being caught inside an enclosure, and an airbag would deploy and trap them, restricting their movement severely. "These people," Osie explained, "were people who had either died from committing a crime, usually theft, or from the events immediately following. For example, that guy over there died as a result of gunshot wounds after attempting to rob a firearm shop which at the time was full of licensed gun owners. A police cruiser was parked right in front of the shop, and at the time he commenced his robbery, the officer was right next to him. Immediately following his ‘warning shot,’ several customers, the officer, and the clerk fired upon the sorry soul, thereby removing himself from the gene pool." At that, we pressed on to the lift at the far side of the room.

We entered the lift, though we could hardly fit because the operator took up more than half the space inside. He was crouching and his head was tilted to the side so as not to hit the ceiling. His coffee-stained T-shirt read "Prometheus & Bob," and there was an acrid haze that billowed from the walls. When they got off the lift, which had felt as if it were plummeting down rather than slowly drifting down, they saw many narrow walls surrounded by holly trees and brambles in the middle of the room. People were walking along the top of the walls as if they were tightropes, trying to maintain their balance. "This," Osie spoke, "is the floor of the drunks. They died doing something stupid – drinking." He pointed over to one rather heavy fellow. "He and his buddy were withheld from entering a Metallica concert, as they had no tickets. So they drank all their beer in the parking lot until he got the idea to sneak into the concert. He climbed an 8-foot wall, which had a 24-foot drop on the other side. His friend, attempting to rescue him, drove their 4x4 truck into the wall, not only landing on top of his friend, but also throwing himself through the windshield." After hearing that story, I don’t think I would drink ever again.

We moved along to the Fourth and final floor, operated by a man who called himself Lupo. The heater in the lift was broken, he explained, so as a result, it was freezing cold in there. When we got out, I could hear the distant sound of train wheels screeching against the tracks. I ran towards the sound, but I remembered Osie, and I turned around. I saw Osie and beckoned him to come, but he refused, explaining that he was to remain here for eternity, until the occupational consultant comes by. He told me to get on the subway, so as not to miss the concert entirely. So I got on, and as it was pulling out of the station, I waved to Osie, and he waved back.

I sat down in a nice soft chair, the first time I had sat down since – what, an hour ago? two? He wasn’t sure. He started wondering what it would be like to be dead, but realized he already knew. He smiled. He was now on his way to he concert. He was sure that no matter what happened, he would enjoy himself.

The End

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004
5:09 pm

Mike Lanman

Latin V: Metamorphoses Assignment

Andy Pollock, a lumberjack, is out chopping wood one day. While he chops away at the trees and at his time, he heard the rustling of leaves coming from the thick wood just ahead of him. But he paid it no mind, for it was not unusual for the wind to wind through the trees, rustling the leaves.

Later on, while he was resting afterwards, he heard a twig crack sharply in the distance. But he paid it no mind, as it was not unusual for animals to be frolicking in the woods.

As he started chopping again, he hears a high-pitched howl emanating from the same direction as the rustling of leaves and the cracking of twigs, and he froze, as a deer in the presence of danger. Looking around the edge of the forest, searching for the source of the noise, he finally saw it, and what he saw startled him to no end.

It was a tall, beautiful woman with big, luscious boots, a breathtakingly curvy bow, and two long, slender arrows. Andy thought to himself, "This can’t be a real person, it must be a nymph." And then he remembered that there had been reports of a nymph in this area a few weeks ago, an nymph called Daffy. "Strange name for a nymph," he thought to himself, "I would have named it something like Themostbeartifulthing Ihaveeverseen. That would have been a well fitting name."

Even though Andy had had past experiences, and therefore knew the difficulty of catching one, he always tries anyway, he makes a sort of sport out of it almost, chasing nymphs here and there, never succeeding of course.

So, he starts off after her, leaving his lumber and axe behind. As soon as the nymph, Daffy, notices Andy Pollock’s long strides approaching, she quickly darts off into the woods. She has had many men chase her before, none of which had ever caught her, and she considered it a sport too, but none of them were as well endowed as this one. She shivered at the thought of what might happen to her if this man did catch her. She would just have to run fast.

Andy broke into a run after she darted into the forest. He was had his mind set on catching her, something he had never done before. He had always wondered what it would be like to marry a nymph, and he was intent on finding out.

After awhile, he began to become fatigued in his churning legs. Realizing that he could run no further at that present speed, he slowed down a bit, shouting, "Hey, Daffy! You must be tired after all that running! What do you say we both slow down a bit! I promise to slow down if you slow down! Deal?!"

But she kept on running. Daffy wasn’t tired at all, as a matter of fact, Andy’s notion that she was tired seemed to accentuate her desire to prove him wrong, so she started to run faster, but she tripped on something and she fell down. She got up quickly and began to run again, but she knew that he would likely catch her, so as she ran into a clearing, she she used her Nymph-like powers to morph into a tree.

Andy soon stopped to rest, for he was too exhausted to continue. He found himself in a clearing. Looking around, he saw a tree branch lying on the ground right in front of him, and a tree right in the middle of the clearing. "Odd place for a tree," he said aloud. He looked up at the sun. It was three o’clock; he had been chasing this nymph for nearly half an hour. He needed to get back to work. He headed off in the direction he had come. On the way back, he thought to himself, "That tree looked like a fine whistle tree. Maybe I’ll come back here sometime."

Sunday, November 7th, 2004
10:58 pm

Operation Trojan Freedom, a satire on Vergil's Aeneid

Augustus: Good evening, and welcome to Roman News Channel MCMLXXXVIII [takes breath] LXXIV. Tonight continuing coverage of Operation Trojan Freedom from our embedded correspondent, Vergil.

Vergil: Good evening. I’m here at Troy on the northern coast of Asia Minor where the Greeks have been laying siege to the city for ten years in an effort to reclaim Helen, the wife of a Greek king, stolen by a Trojan prince. Here’s the Greek commander Ulysses, architect of the wooden horse strategy. Ulysses, tell us about this remarkable stealth technology.

Ulysses: Well, our boys call it MOAH, the Mother Of All Horses. She stands 250 hands tall, stretches 500 cubits long, and tips the scales at 50,000 stones. She’ll hold 20 heavily armed, fully equipt liberation operatives, or 60 bales of hay. For circular vector conveyances, that’s wheels to you civilians, propel her at – Hey! Sweet Pallas Athene, you call that pillagin’ maggot? Drop and give me 20, sweetheart! (Exits)

Vergil: Here’s Cassandra, the Trojan princess who saw this conflict coming, but couldn’t convince any of her fellow Trojans to prepare for the worst.

Cassandra: That’s ah-right, honey. Cassandra, she been predicteen’ alla dess-ah here. Cassandra say to dee Trojan Preence, "you can-ah no be slightin’ demma goddesses ovah dat-ah gol’en apple, seen?" He no-ah be listenin’ to Cassandra, but-ah you can, seen? Geev Cassandra a call now, and she tella you alla yah fyoo-chah foh only twenny obol a meenit, juss dial–

Vergil: Thank you, thank you, that'll do (Cassandra Exits). Here's Helen, the woman at the center of this conflict. Helen, what's your take on these ten years of war?

Helen: Ten years of what? They're fighting over me? Oh, that happens all the time. I just hope the handsome ones win. Look at him--oh no, hes lost an arm. That impaled greek looks cute; I hope he recovers. I like that Trojan too, the one on fire...Wow, that one's still got all of his parts, I've gotta go! (Exits)

Vergil: Oh my goddess, it's Venus! Ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to see if I can talk to her. Venus! First, let me say that we all loved you on the half-shell. So, what are you doing here?

Venus: I'm just here to support my son Aeneas on his latest project.

Vergil: So, can you confirm for our viewers the rumors about you and Mars?

Venus: This interview is over! (Exits)

Vergil: What luck, here's Venus' son Aeneas. Aeneas, can you introduce us to everyone?

Aeneas: I'm the Trojan commander, Aeneas. On my back here is my decrepit father Anchises...

Anchises: I'm cold, I'm tired, and I don't know where I am...

Aeneas: Holding my hand here is my infant son Ascanius...

Ascanius: Waahhh!

Aeneas: And behind me is my beautiful wife Creusa - (looks back for her only to find that she isn't there) - mehercule! I've got to run back into the flaming ruins of the city to find her...of course there's probably an available who, following the murder of her husbandby her own brother in a dispute over the royal succession at Tyre, a city on the Phonecian coast, now Lebanon, to the coast of North Africa, now Tunisia, where despitehostile natives she founded a city of her own called Carthage, who, after my fellow Trojans refugees and I make landfall there following bitter months wandering the Mediterranean, will likely fall madly in love with me, then kill herself when I abandon her to pursue my own heroic destiny, and finally flee from my sight into the arms of her murdered husband when I see her for the last time in the underworld as I search for the ghost of my own dead father...

Anchises: Your what father?

Vergil: I suppose that's likely. Now that your city's in flames, the men slaughtered, and the women and children enslaved, what's the next move for Aeneas?

Aeneas: Well, I've given it a lot of thought, and I've decided that I'd like to sell Tupperware, you know, throw those parties for suburban housewives? If that doesn't work out, perhaps I'll overcome overwhelming odds including hardships at sea, epic battles with hostile foreign armies, even a trip to hell and back, all to found one of the mightiest cities in human history. I think I'll call it "Detroit," (Pause) or maybe "Rome"

Vergil: Well thank you for your time Aeneas, and good luck. I'm Publius Vergilius Maro reporting from Troy. Back to you, Augustus.

Augustus: Thank you, Vergil. Coming up later tonight on the Roman News Channel: Are barbarians storming your village? Find out at 11. Good night.

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