Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The March (3 word Wednesday - caustic, hunch, sacrifice, plus all other words for the month of March)

“Are you ready Lata?”

The Indian widow hunched over and nuzzled her husband’s body. How she longed for his warmth, to feel a pulse behind that thick dark beard. It had been a difficult night of mourning and Lata was weary. Poor Nanda was lost at such a young age. He had amazed her with his resilience, but the downslide was inevitable. Nanda’s strength depleted and he became ever frail with malaria’s growing hunger. Out of respect, the bald attendant avoided eye contact until Lata modified her veil. He commenced soaking Nanda’s corpse with caustic fluids. Lata bravely stared into the pyre. The flames filled her eyes with a bright brazen aura. Sati was a sacred ritual in India for an obedient widow to sacrifice herself into the flames alongside the body of her late husband. Many widows fought or fled; to Lata this was an honorable display of love’s tightest bonds.

“I am ready,” she spoke with deep conviction.

The last shards of her essence were forever united with Nanda, given to her love.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Upload Successful (three word Wednesday - brazen, hunger, nuzzle)

“Hello there, young lady.”

A brunette woman with a birthmark under the left edge of her lip blinked in disbelief. “You… you’re…”

“Yes,” the older blond man smirked as humble as he could manage, “I’m Rod Stewart.” He extended a hand to the star-struck woman. She wore an expression of breathless wonder Rod was quite accustomed to. He broke her bedazzled silence, “…and your name is…?”

“Me… oh I’m sorry… my manners… I am Lenka.” Her senses slowly returned. They were standing in a featureless room, larger than she had ever seen. Thousands of people were scattered about, and yet it was far from crowded. Swing music filled the room from an unknown source. Rod recollected her attention, “Lenka. Pleasure to meet you. I’m not familiar with you Lenka. Is that your name, or the name of your band?”

“Both actually. Mister Stewart, may I ask where we are?”

Rod smiled, “Aussie?”

“We’re in Australia?”

“No, are you an Aussie?” Rod was intrigued by her accent.

“Yes sir. I am…”

An interruption left Rod’s words inaudible. A young guttural voice spoke in a slight slur, “Hey hot stuff where you from?” A hair band rocker with a long blond mane whistled and raised a bottle. Lenka blushed. Rod put his hand on her shoulder and motioned her to walk with him. “Don’t pay him any attention,” he advised.

“Who is that?”

“Hey baby, don’t be like that! Come back!” The rocker protested.

“That’s David Lee Roth. He greeted me the same way when I got here. The rest of his band is around here somewhere… they can’t stand him either.”

Rod walked towards the center of the seemingly endless room. He waved to a man with an acoustic guitar and a fringe jacket. The acoustic man with the shaggy straight hair nodded back with an earnest smile.

“Is that John Denver?” Lenka asked quizzically.

Rod nodded affirmative.

“But isn’t he dead?”

“See that area?” Rod ignored her inquiry and pointed out a clearing, sanctioned off by a chalk circle, “Don’t ever stand in there.”

“What happens there?”

The background music changed to an Aretha Franklin song. Before her eyes, a bunch of men with brazen instruments and pinstripe suits appeared within the circle. “Alright boys that’s a rap,” the bald one without any brass instructed the rest.

“That’s where we return when we’re done.” Rod greeted the swing band as they packed up their equipment and left the circle, “Hey Andy… sounding good Scottie.”

“Mister Stewart”, Lenka did her best to avoid a tone of impatience.

“Please call me Rod. Mister Stewart is my father. Do you know those guys? They call themselves ‘Big Bad Voo…’”

“Where on earth are we?” Lenka interjected politely.

“Earth…” Rod let out a chuckle, “if only we were so lucky. This is hardly earth. You’ve…” Rod gazed upwards, searching for words, “you’ve been added.”

“Is that Sting?” Lenka glanced over Rod’s shoulder.

“Yes it is. He has not been talkative much to the new blood. Not since Eminem confused him for the guy on the Dyson vacuum cleaner commercials.” The background melody ended abruptly in mid-song. Rod looked around, “Uh oh... we have a skip.”

“What do you mean?” Lenka recognized the new song as a Green Day tune. Aretha Franklin stormed between herself and Rod from the direction of the circle, “…Never lets me finish the song, I don’t know why I’m even here!”

“She was cut off… you don’t disrespect Aretha Franklin,” Rod amused himself with his pun. Lenka stared at him with a hunger for answers.

“She looked good back then, didn’t she?”

“Back then?”

“Yeah we seem to stay the age we were when we produced the uploaded songs. The real me is much older than what you see, I think I aged pretty well…”

“Rod, please explain.”

Rod gestured to lower her tone while they passed by an unconscious Amy Winehouse, nuzzling with a near-empty bottle of whiskey.

“Don’t ask,” Rod whispered, “We tried but... she won’t go.”



Rod distanced himself from Amy before continuing, “Look around Lenka, have you noticed everyone is a musician? That’s what this is, the world of Dop-i, a world of musicians. No fans, no agents, no bodyguards, just musicians. We aren’t sure how to get out of here. But we have Al working on that.” Rod pointed to a man sitting on the floor fidgeting with computer parts, clearly identifiable as Weird Al Yankovic.

“But, there’s people here that are deceased,” her eyes locked with Kurt Cobain in the distance.

“Yes, well they surely weren’t dead when they recorded music now were they?” Rod countered. He put his hand to his ear as if answering an invisible cell phone, “Oh, it looks like I am up. You’ll have to excuse me Lenka.”

Rod Stewart disappeared before her eyes. She looked over her shoulder at the circle. The members of Green Day had returned. ‘Forever Young’ began to play.

Billie Jo looked at Lenka, “Welcome to Paradise.”

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Caesar's early years. (three word Wednesday x 2 - pulse, shard, weary, modify, obedient, veil)

“Julius, on what grounds dare you state such a boastful claim?” Cicero’s index finger bent slightly backwards against a flat marble surface. Behind him sat Senator Gaius Rabirius. Though weary in his years, Rabirius still had a good fight in him, and had a generous amount of pull before the council. He was not only allowing but getting entertainment from observing his obedient defender Cicero, who was outraged at Caesar, to argue on his behalf.

Julius paced calmly on the lowered stage of the council halfshell, also amused by Cicero’s aggressive stance, “Your senator has committed perduellio and shall be tried before a panel of judges...”

“Nonsense!” a vein in Cicero’s forehead began to pulse, “Rabirius has been a loyal and revered Senator for several years, your accusations shall warrant severe consequences dare you not retract your claim!”

The bearded man nearest Julius jumped to his feet and placed his right hand upon the pommel of his sword, “Hold your tongue knave, or perhaps I shall hold it for you!”

“Titus, that is enough”, Julius placed his hand upon the bearded man’s shoulder. Titus modified his posture to a more leisure stance. Julius stepped around Titus, “Many years past, your ‘loyal’ Senator had taken the life from honored tribune Lucius Appuleius Saturninus to better his own position. I’d like to point out that attacks against active tribunal can be declared an act of treason.”

The silent audience in the marble half shell of seats rolled into several mumblings and mutterings. Julius exchanged eyes with the elder Senator; his wrinkled diabolical sneer was clearly interpreted as ‘you’re next’. Cicero’s rambling mouth was drowned out by the crowd. A clamoring gable from praetor Quintus cast a veil of silence over the crowd. Quintus peered around until all attention in the room belonged to him. With a hand gesture, he granted Cicero the stage for a response.

“What proof have you of such condemning words!?” Cicero’s nostrils flared.

Julius looked back and nodded. With that, Titus took his leave. Julius continued, speaking to the senators and councilmen of the crowd rather than Cicero, “I believe you shall find my source both reliable and credible. Good people of Rome, I ask that you appoint me as judge to this ‘loyal’ Senator. Together we shall reveal his true loyalties and create a stronger council for Rome.”

“Who are you to judge Senator Rabirius!” Cicero hissed, “You shant be the sole judge, we appeal for a second!”

Julius smirked, “That suits me fine. Now without further ado, may I present our honored guest.”

Titus returned to Julius’ side, accompanied by a graceful older noblewoman with hair pulled upward into a ponytail. The crowd fell into instant discord. Julius spoke over the commotion, “Gentlemen, a woman that needs no introduction… but our manners would be disgraced without proper welcome, Cornelia Rabirius.” Across the crowd, the Senator glared in rage at his estranged mistress.

Cicero broke a nearby vase into shards with his sword, attempting to restore some order. “You vile wench! You dare destroy Senator Rabirius reputation! I shall end you, here and now!”

Titus pushed Cornelia behind him and drew his own blade, “Try it Cicero. The council would love to watch you bleed before them.”

Julius looked to the praetor, whom had already lowered the flag.

“Order! Order!” Quintus vigorously slammed his gable. “This meeting is hereby adjourned!”

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Matryoshka (three word Wednesday - amaze, frail, sacred)

“There it is! The Sacred Tome of Ivos!” Annos points his bony index finger towards an ancient altar, out of place in the dead end of a large cavern system. A dusty brown book rests atop a granite pedestal.

“Do you think we were followed?” Hurst spins his agile body around and cocks a bow. “I’ll watch our backs, you go get the tome. Careful there may be traps!”

Annos smirks with confidence at his elven comrade. “Don’t worry, I practiced my lock picking and detect traps skills. I will be right back.” He perches his black hair behind his pointed ears to watch for any poison arrows or loose rocks in his periphery, and advances with a steady tiptoe. Hurst pivots back and forth, keeping an eye on his friend, as well as their escape route. A clicking sound comes from under Annos’ left foot. A whirring sound of an approaching airborne hatchet is getting louder, but suddenly ceases with an interfering clink of an iron arrowhead. Annos looks back to Hurst, “Nice shot, thanks!”

Hurst smiles, but his celebration is short lived. “Hurry we gotta go!”

Annos nods and steps up to the granite stand. The book before him is quite sturdy despite its frail appearance. Annos places the tome in a backpack and returns to Hurst, carefully sidestepping any other potentially clicking floor tiles. Hurst motions to examine the book, but Annos reminds him of the urgency to leave. They walk a score of steps before Hurst stops in his tracks.

“What is it?” Annos stares quizzically.

“Aw crap. I have to go.” Hurst walks over to the wall of the cavern and sits down. “Are you okay to get out of here?”

Annos frowns. “Bummer. Yeah I will be ok. I can sneak out no problem. Good grouping with you, see you tomorrow?”

Hurst agrees and within ten seconds he fades from existence.


“Chris your friend is here… aren’t you going to…”

“Yeah mom, I’m just logging out!” Chris takes a headset off and places it to the left of his keyboard. He jumps to his feet, and grabs his skateboard in one quick maneuver to leave the room. Brad waits in the living room, his red hair tucked under a colorful helmet. Mother looks on from the kitchen, “Chris, don’t forget your kneepads and helmet!”

“I know mom”, Chris has already retrieved her suggestions from a coat closet.

“Dinner is at 5. Be back for dinner.”

“I know mom”, Chris gears himself up.

“Be careful!”

“I KNOW MOM”, Chris blurts with a tone of a fourteen-year-old boy annoyed with his patronizing mother. Chris and Brad depart for the park with skateboards in hand.

“How did the game go?” Brad says in a cracking teenage voice.

“I grouped with my friend Annos from Ohio. We got this really cool Sacred Tome! It was great, I shot a hatchet out of the air!”

“Wow! That sounds like fun!” Brad is amazed, and a little jealous. “I can’t wait for my birthday, my parents are gonna buy me that game.”

The boys pick up the pace as soon as they are within sight of the skateboarding park. Chris is thankful to live just blocks from the best park in town; half-pipes, quarter pipes, ramps, pyramids, funboxes and handrails are all placed randomly in a fenced off area about the size of a baseball diamond. Brad hops on his board and skates to his favorite ramp. Chris kicks off the ground for some speed and soars into the half-pipe. Brad springs onto a handrails and rides it with ease, then lands to observe Chris. Chris turns abruptly into the incline of the half-pipe, propels into a one-handed handstand, and brings the board down into the half-pipe with uninterrupted speed.

“Whoa nice move!” Brad cheers in a pitch that is half-boy, half-man. Chris steps off his board and walks to a stop.

“Aw crap”

“What’s up?” Brad asks.

“I have to go. Are you ok to get home?”

“Yeah Chris, no problem. We can hang out later.”

Chris waves at Brad, then sits against the chain link fence on the boundary of the park. Within ten seconds, he fades from existence.