Friday, August 07, 2009

Random Thoughts

-It's 11:00 p.msih and this is a good time for bullet points

- John Coltrane, how can a man say so much without words?

- Why is pleasure to be found in depressing feelings, numbness and akward films?

- Do I like Woody Allen films becuase he oddly looks like my grandfather or becuase of the artsy and philosophical points of view he expresses?

- Twitter is a compulsion because we want others to feel as strongly about our lives as we do.
We think something is important and if only someone else will feel the same.

- mid-twenties is an odd time. I want to have a stable relationship even children, but I truly fear commitment and certainty in the future.

- I love Michael Brecker. I wish I could improvise on the saxophone.

- We are never truly happy. It is delusional to think so and laughter can be silenced by life's bitter trials.

- Who am I to talk about trials?

- Beautiful music sends shivers up my spine. Does everyone feel that?

- My favorite part of music? crescendi

- If I'm going to get married, my future wife is living her own life somewhere. Right Now.

- If patience is a virtue, why is immediate and resolute action so prized in our society?

- What if I fail?

- Money is far to important to be left in the hands of those who know what to do with it.

- I'd like to be a jazz bassist, but I lack the drive to practice and the ability to network.

- I want to play saxophone? here's why

Friday, June 19, 2009

Chapter 1 part 1

Leah was a unique person. However, she didn’t look it this morning. Like everyone else, Leah woke late, jarred from sleep by the alarm. Zombie-like, she swung her arm in a wide arc to put an end the flurry of notes emanating for beside her. Straight from Liszt’s pen to her brain, the hammers struck hard and loud as Leah tried to end the rapturous torture. Her first swing missed and sent a wine glass flying to its demise on the hardwood floor. Coming back for another pass she swung her whole hand down on the alarm clock which caused an abrupt end to the piano mid-phrase. Leah sighed and put her head back down on the pillow. Morning was not her favorite time of the day and it came all too soon. Yet, the clock does not stop and she must be to work on time. Lifting the covers she slid lazily from the bed and resumed her zombie imitation. Straight from “Night of the Living Dead” she adopted a stiff walk and used her arms as a guide to the bathroom. This would not be a good day.
Leah went about her morning routine. A thoughtless set of rituals to take her from the state of half sleeping to full alertness, she ran through the steps much like anyone else does. Shower, dress, coffee, news, go; Leah knew these steps by heart and followed them to the letter. Towards the end of this custom, she sat drinking her coffee while listening to the morning news on television. Near a state of mental acuity, she took in the world and sipped her coffee.
“In other news today,” the anchor calmly said, “ a local man… sentenced to ten years…”
Leah took another sip of her coffee and wondered why she or anyone else should care.
“ Eyewitnesses claim…”
She took another sip.
“ The family of the victim…”
Staring at the grounds floating in the last few drops of coffee, Leah wondered whether or not to finish her cup.
“authorities say…”
Leah tipped her head back swiftly and downed the remaining contents of her cup and walked to the sink.
“…and now a look at the weather.

Leah flipped her jet black hair which she tied in a ponytail. She shouldered her laptop case and gave one final swipe of her hand to brush away any lint or crumbs that might spoil her otherwise immaculate appearance. In a dark blue pant suit, Leah looked even taller than normal. She was a slender woman who looked every bit the modern feminist. Leah murmured to herself while opening the door to her third floor apartment. The hallway matched the style of her room in every way except the wood floors. Maroon carpet accented the stylish and modern wallpaper that lined the hallways. A random set of lines and colors, the motif was like something out of the minimalist artist Piet Mondrian’s portfolio. It fit the downtown apartment building well, and it reflected Leah’s own preference for newness and modern sensibility.
She continued, alone, down the hall towards the parking ramp. She would be late if not for the brisk pace she always set. Navigating the halls in 4 inch heels, Leah still made record time to her car. She entered the cavernous expanse of the parking ramp. The empty echo of concrete continued, seemingly, forever as she approached her Silver, Toyota Prius. She opened the door with little ceremony. Much like her apartment, Leah kept her car extremely clean and was proud of the fact that it was in such a condition. Every part of her life reflected the control she asserted over the factors that governed her life. Leah was, in every way, an independent person. Individualistic, she knew how to have her way and use people and things to get what she wanted. It worked and she was applauded for her success.
The little Prius came to life with no hesitation and Leah swiftly navigated her way out of the ramp and onto the city streets. The quiet hum of her efficient vehicle was a calming respite from the chaos that was to come. Leah was a manager at the local wine shop. Albeit a successful manager, she felt the stress that came with the title. To combat the stress, music quietly played the background. A mix cd of jazz tunes mixed with the sounds of city driving to create its own background. The cd had been created by Leah’s brother, a local jazz musician, and he knew just which songs she might like. Stan Getz’s smooth Tenor Sax playing was in stark contrast to the virtuosic Liszt that had, just moments ago, revived Leah from her sleep. Jumping into her mind, Leah swore softly as she remembered the broken wine glass in her bedroom. It shattered her zen-like mental state and brought back the stress she fought hard to combat. She has been doing a little store “research” last night and may have had one glass too many. Though she rarely awoke with a hangover, Leah often felt one less glass might make her more alert in the mornings. Yet, she loved wine, its complexities, and the fun of thinking about wine’s merits while also getting a little buzz. Wine took the edge off and let Leah sleep in peace.
“Everyone needs a little medicating.” She thought.
Almost as quickly as it had started, Leah’s car ride came to an end. She sat in the car for a few moments allowing that last few notes to end the song. Leah would be strong, ready, and professional at work today. She took one last look at her outfit to check for lint or other debris that might distract the eye. Next she checked her face in the mirror, flipped it back up and exited the car. Leah was ready for whatever would come her way this morning, and she would rise above it all to prove she was the best.

Leah hated her job. The honor of being the manager for the local wine shop was not all it cracked up to be. Sure, it had helped her knowledge of fine wines and she could use that knowledge to gain connections, but it wasn’t what she wanted. She wanted her own business; a successful bookstore. Leah had the idea all figured out, with surefire ways for gain customers and grow her business, but she was stuck working for someone else.
Leah played with the pen on her desk and looked down at the empty schedule on her desk. The pen twirled around her thumb with ease as she coaxed it along with her pointer finger. The pen would move rapidly on it’s own; a trick many knew well and one she had added to her list of stupid tricks. Looking over her shoulder, Leah wished that she might at least be able to work on the floor, meet customers, or interact with employees. This was not the case, sadly, and she had many things to accomplish before the day was done. The schedule beckoned, and she went back to the task at hand. Leah had a habit of talking aloud to herself when trying to solve managerial puzzles.
“We’ll put Janice on weekdays from nine to five since she has other obligations. Now, Gary will have to be weekends and evenings so he can show Jeff, the new guy, how things work here. Robert will need to be a split schedule on Friday. He’s not going to like that, but he’ll have to make some sacrifices. Let’s see, that just leaves a hole on Wednesday evening…wait…Thursday, and…if Janice can learn to be flexible…or I could ask Susanna to take on more hours…but…”
Another brick wall and Leah was back to the pen trick. She leaned back in her chair and spun a few times while scanning the wall. They were mostly bear except for a few posters from distributors, this month’s schedule, and a picture of Napa Valley.
‘I’d rather be there right now.’ thought Leah ‘Even with this paperwork; at least I’d have something to look at.’
She was contemplating just why the designers of the building would neglect to put a window in the manager’s office when Janice walked into her office. The short and dainty employee searched the office quickly with her eyes not wanting to make eye contact with Leah. She nervously tugged on the cuffs of her dark blue blouse and tossed back her graying hair. Janice was a veteran and Leah respected her more than any of the other employees.
“Yes Janice?”
“I need to talk to you about something. It’s important.”
“Well, what is it?” Leah was starting to get nervous. Janice was her best and most knowledgeable employee.
“The thing is I’ve really got a lot on my plate right now. With the kids growing up, my husband getting a promotion, and just my overall need to be there for my family. I’m having trouble keeping up with everything. You see, Charles, my husband, is gone more with this new promotion. He has more responsibilities and is in charge of a whole department instead of just a few people. My kids really need me to be there when they get home from school, and…”
“Spit it out Janice!”
“I’m quitting.” Janice looked timidly at the floor.
“I see.” Leah breathed a heavy sigh or resignation “Is there anything I can do to change your mind? I can cut back on you hours and find ways to be flexible.”
“No, I’m sorry, but my mind is made up in this case. Sometime you just have to move on for you family’s sake.”
“I’m sorry to hear this from you, but I wish you the best of luck.”

Janice left the office in a hurry, and Leah was left speechless. With her hands on her head, she wondered what to do now. She was without her best salesperson and already had one trainee. Now her afternoon was swamped with work and she wouldn’t see the outside of the office until she signed out. However, this was not new to her. Many good employees had come and gone for various reasons. Leah would simply forget about Janice and begin a swift search for another salesperson. She thought back to who was left and began to weigh her options to hold the store over until she might hire another worker. Her option were with a varied group of workers: Gary was a very solid employee and a real enthusiastic salesman; Robert new his wines but was slow to stock or work the register; Jeff was new and obviously needed total supervision; and Susanna never liked to work more than she had to. Besides them, she had a handful of near-worthless college students who had very restrictive schedules and knew less about wine than they did about Pabst Blue Ribbon. Leah needed help fast.
A few hours of phone calls and writing online “help wanted” ads, but Leah was no closer to a solution; she would have to take on more hours herself and start working on the sales floor. So, with an air of finality, she slowly rose up from her chair and opened the office door. A rush of fresh air blew forward as she moved from the closed space of her office into the open and relaxed atmosphere of the sales floor. Fluorescent lights hummed in nervous activity while they illuminated the racks and shelves. The unnatural glow bounced off the polished tile floors and gave the space a fresh look. Leah walked down an isle marked “Australia and New Zealand” and watched her feet hitting the floor. The reflected rows of lights moved backwards as she strode down forward. Shelf talkers, little bits of information to help guide shoppers to the right wines, filled the shelves as she looked up to eye level. They told the reader about important scores from critics and described the flavors to be expected; Leah walked up to one that described a “90 point” Auzzie Shiraz and “gobs of fruit, blackberries, cassis, and a finish for days.” She picked up a bottle and inspected the label looking for information on producer, distributor, alcohol content, and vintage. Leah enjoyed looking at the unique labels and bottle shapes, but couldn’t get a nagging feeling out of her head. Looking left, and then right, she scanned the store and its contents while making a final decision.
“It’s time to quit. I’m sick of this job and the headaches that go with it.” And with that she went back to the office to write her letter of resignation.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

This is the chapter where the sufferer, Leah (for now), meets her brother at a bar. He is a jazz musician as plays a set. After the music they sit down and talk. They talk about wine – old world vs. new world. The sense of place, terrior. People are losing their “terrior”.

It was 8:00 p.m. and Leah decided to go downtown. She first called up her girlfriends and told them to meet her at the Musician’s Place, a wine bar that had frequent musical groups performing shows. Tonight was a special night for Leah because her brother, Michael, was playing the gig. He was a tenor saxophonist and leader of a small jazz combo. Mike was tall, over six feet, and thin. He had black hair just like his sister and was svelte. Whether that was due to his shared genetics or the jazz musician’s lifestyle could be debated but, either way, he was very much like his sister. That is, until you met him.
As Mike’s combo began their set, Leah sat down at a table in the center of the room. Her place in the room and way that she sat, almost a swooping motion, made it clear she wanted to be seen. Leah had always been the center of attention and knew what to do in order to be noticed. As if to confirm that fact, a waiter came immediately to her table.

“What can I get for you?” asked the waiter.
“I’ll need a minute.” she said without looking at him.

Oddly, Leah didn’t need any extra time; she would order a very particular bottle of wine for her friends who were soon to arrive. Leah glanced through the menu for one reason. She liked to look at the entire menu even though she could recite the whole thing backwards. A regular patron of Musician’s Place, there was no need for Leah to do this, but she did it anyway. Leah enjoyed looking through menus and wine lists thoroughly. She didn’t know why this might be the case, but she in enjoyed the task nonetheless.

The band started to play so Leah looked up and caught the eyes of her brother. There was no love lost between them ever since she has stopped talking to their parents. She had been distant because the divorce. It was a nasty and brutish affair. Her parents had loved Tom, her former husband, and she resented that fact. To Leah, it looked like they loved him more than they did her which hurt immensely. It hurt even more than the divorce that had pulled her through the mud, taken her money, and stolen her sanity for a year. Her parents wished for a son like Tom who was handsome, talented, and caring. They merely tolerated their own flesh and blood. However, Leah didn’t spare but a moment on this thought. To her thinking, she would forget a whole season of her life and thereby free herself from the pain that she lived with.

Leah sat with her head in her hands as she watched the band play. They performed a dizzyingly fast Bebop tune. Her brother, Mike, seemed to soar through the air with flurries of notes coming from his saxophone. He had always been talented and was wonderful on stage. The music reminded Leah of a time when they were children. They had both gone to a summer jazz camp and Mike was able to wow the teachers and counselors with his playing. They said he sounded twice his age and couldn’t think of much to criticize. Leah, on the other hand, was not so gifted. She played the trumpet and couldn’t do many of things Mike could. She jealous of his talent, but knew he was destined for different things. She breathed a sigh and continued to watch her brother, the jazz musician. After the song ended her brother came to the mic to say a few words.

“That was “Salt Peanuts”. Thanks for coming to our show I hope you enjoy our next number. It’s an original written by our guitarist called “Paradigm Shift”.

The band started in with a flurry of notes but quickly slowed down. They moved together flawlessly proving Mike had made them practice this song many times. Leah was reminded of the many strange and interesting song she played on trumpet. She had quit after high school but still remembered most of the songs she played. A slight twinge of regret hit Leah as she wondered what might have been different if she had continued to play trumpet. The song continued and she suddenly remembered her drink order. Leah eyed the waiter who was standing on the other end of the room. He immediately moved towards her table.
“Château Pétrus 2000”, Leah said dismissively as the waiter approached the table.
“Certainly Miss”, stuttered the waiter.
He was shocked. She had not missed a beat as he came near her table and had proven her capacity to order the best of wines. The waiter, who was obviously new to the Musician’s Place, would certainly remember her next time. It didn’t matter the occasion; she would always act to leave an impression. It was a command over every situation that she wanted. Leah loved control and she longed to demonstrate it whenever possible.

Suddenly her friends arrived.

“Oh, hey guys. I’m so glad you could make it.” She said quickly and without purpose. “I hope you don’t mind. I ordered us something to drink. You all like wine so I’m assuming you will love my decision.”
“Oh, we always love whatever you chose. You’re the wine expert” said Jean.

Jean was the spokesperson of the group and usually made all of the conversation with Leah. Though four people, Leah, Jean, Rachel, and Faith, were present, in reality Leah and Jean did most of the talking. Rachel and Faith did most of the paying.

“I’d like to try a quick game”, said Leah.
“Oh I love your games”, replied Jean
“I’m going to wait for the wine to come and, barring any faults in the wine, we’ll see if you can guess vintage, place, or winemaker.”
“We’ll do our best Leah.”
“Before we start, I’ll give you a hint: it’s red.”
“Oh, that’s a big help”
“O.K., here’s the real hint: it’s French.”
“Hmm...” Jean looked at her other friends who gave no help, “Get ready to be amazed. You know I’m an expert in the wines of Burgundy, Bordeaux, and the Rhone.”
“Oh sure, don’t you mean Vin de Pays?”

They all laughed nervously. Jean nodded in approval then Rachel and Faith turned to watch the band. They knew when to speak and when to wait. Leah made it clear what they were to do and they followed blindly.
“Ok, here’s your chance to shine Jean”, said Leah as the wine arrived.
The red liquid slid from the mouth of the bottle and made a small pool in Leah’s glass. As the one who ordered the wine she was entitled to rule on the quality of the bottle’s contents. Was it spoiled, corked, or damaged? She could turn the waiter away and not pay for this bottle of wine if she decided. Leah liked that power, and with a sniff she nodded in approval. She didn’t need to sip the wine, and, in glorious fashion, she cast judgment down upon it. Leah looked to her companions and waited as they too sniffed the contents of their glasses.

“Well… it smells wonderful no matter who made it”, smiled Faith
“You’re on the right track.” Replied Leah as she eyed Rachel for a response
“I smell caramel.” said Rachel
“blackberries, tobacco, and licorice” shouted Jean.
“Great! Now take a sip” said Leah.
“Umm… it tastes smooth. It’s almost like velvet, but still has a real black tea component.” said Jean who had taken over the response duties as Rachel and Farah listened intently.
“So what is it?” asked Leah as she leaned in closely.
“Is it a right bank Bordeaux?” asked Jean quzzically.
Shocked, Leah nodded in approval. Jean had really improved in her wine tasting ability, but she certainly didn’t want to show her too much satisfaction. Leah looked straight into Jean’s eyes and asked, “Now… who is the producer?”
“Château Pétrus?”
“and the year?”
“No… it’s 2000.”

Leah breathed a sigh of relief. Jean was very good, but she could not be allowed to guess correctly. If she had guessed the wine, the entire group hierarchy would be turned upside-down and Leah needed to be in charge. Therefore, the night was saved. Leah and her friends sipped the glorious wine as they listened to her brother play. They talked, drank, laughed, and sighed as the night went on. Leah ordered a few more wines. These were more obscure, cheaper wines that still deserved drinking, but wouldn’t rack up more on the already hefty bill. Leah had decided a long time ago that she would open with a big wine and allow the girls to get tipsy from it and then follow with some less pedigreed wines since they were unlikely to notice the quality anyhow. She knew the game to play and played it well.

“Well girls,” said Leah, “I think it’s almost the end of the night so I’ll say goodbye. I must speak with Mike before the end of the night. Otherwise, what was the point of coming out?”
“You’re right”, said Jean, “We should get going too.”
“I’m so glad you all came”, said Leah as she glanced at each of her friends making sure to pause and make eye contact with each one.
“We’ll see you soon Leah. Oh, and we’ll cover the bill,” said Rachel.
“I love you all so much”, remarked Leah. However, her look said something much different. Rachel was not supposed to speak even if it was to graciously pay for the drinks. These were rules to their friendship; only Jean was to be the speaker for the group. Leah had made her group of friends on purpose. They were to follow her lead. That way Leah might control their actions, lead them as a whole, and find satisfaction in having friends who will do what she asks at the appropriate time. Too many friends had been unreliable in the past and Leah had decided to take control.
Two more songs later, Mike ended his set and packed up his instrument. Leah and her friends had finished all but the last two glasses of some Australian Shiraz. Her brother was even more into wine than she was and Leah wanted his opinion on her choice. It might not have been the like the first wine, but Leah never had a wine than she didn’t deem worthy of imbibing.
“Hi Mike”
“Hi Leah”
“Thanks for coming out.”
“Yeah, I love your music.”

There was an awkward silence

“So, I’ve got two more glasses of this wine.” said Leah hurriedly.
“For old time’s sake?”
“I wish you would.”
Mike swirled his glass in the air an eyed the contents with a critical eye. He sniffed the contents if the glass and thought for a while. Deep in thought, he swirled and moved the wine again checking for color and density. He watched the little “legs” form on the side after he swirled the liquid. Mike sniffed the glass again
“Red fruit, oak, vanilla, cedar box,” Mike listed off the qualities he found in the smell of the wine. He took a sip.“Mmm… more oak on the taste, some blueberries, and soft tannins. I can tell by the style its new world and very oaky so my guess is a Penfolds Shiraz.”
“Wow Mike. You always get it dead on.”
“Thanks Sis.”
“Well, it’s just incredible, I’m certain you have improved since I saw you last.”
“Since the divorce.”
“Yeah” muttered Leah. It had been years since the divorce and she hadn’t seen anyone from her family in the intervening years. Why had she chosen this time to come out? Leah shuddered as the she realized that the family she once knew was foreign to her. “It’s been a while.”

“Leah, can I talk to you about something?”
“It’s pretty random but follow me for a minute.”
“I’ve been thinking lately about the old world vs. new world issue in wine.”
“Go on.”
“We see all of these over extracted, over produced wines across the globe. They have too much oak and too much alcohol, and I can’t help worrying about the future of wine.”
“Absolutely! These over-done wines have hit the world market and appeal to an international style. It appeals to people on an individual level; we all love richness and high alcohol, but where is the sense of place? We want… no, need an identity of place in everything and wine is no exception. Wine must express terrior, the identity of the earth. I should taste the slate and limestone that the grapes were grown on. I should taste the hot summer or the rain in the fall for better or worse, and then the wine will express individuality. You see, only when wine expresses the community of things that surround it can it be true to its terrior. In this way wine is very much like people. We need a sense of place or community to make us who we are. People can find individuality within the things that surround them. Without that human terrior we end up as overdone and out of place people. In other words, we lose that which makes us ourselves.”

“Leah replied “I happen to enjoy these ‘new world’ wines and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that? If it’s in the glass and smells and tastes like wine then how is it not wine?”
“But Leah the terrior”
“I could care less about this sense of place and your stolen French vocabulary. It’s just an opportunity to excuse poorly made, thin wines.”
“You can’t believe that. I know for a fact you’ve had many great wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux, California, Germany, and the list goes on. You know a great wine when you see it and what makes it great?”
“Ok, I see your pint there, but what about your little ‘human terrior’ idea? I refuse to believe that it is our surrounding that makes us who we are. I make the decisions in my life and, though others might affect me somewhat, I’m still my own person. My actions, emotions, and thoughts could be virtually the same here or back home with Mom and Dad.”
A smile crossed Mike’s face, “You’ve certainly changed, but I can still rope you into a philosophical discussion.”
She returned the smile and said, “And you haven’t changed a bit. You still think the same way and your solos still sound stiff and uninspired.”
“Hey! That hurts.”
“Well, you deserved it.”
“Never make fun of a man’s profession and never make fun of a musician’s ability.”
“Oh sure, I can’t criticize you, but you’ve got free reign to say whatever you wish?”
After looking at each other for a moment they burst into laughter. This was the first time in a while that they could joke together and it was good to ease the tension. Leah was never good at setting other people at ease, but she knew when the air was cleared. They talked for a little while longer about work, friends, and old times, and then said their goodbyes. Leah was happy to see Mike, but for some reason felt that this was the last time they would speak to each other. She was going places, and there was no need to be held back by a need for terrior.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

What if you lost all sense of self? Identity, self-awareness, what makes you who you are; it is crucial to survival in this world. As humans, we need to be individuals unlike some living things that don't posses this quality.. this mental capacity. What if we as a people lost our sense of self; one at a time until all mankind was a wash of generic existence?

First, we began to seemingly choose to alter our future. In something akin to a mid-life crisis we begin to throw away our careers, friends, family, and everything else that makes us who we are. It looked harmless,but it's a cumpulsion that can't be stopped. An avalanche that is just beginning to turn this world upsidedown.

Next, we began to forget. Our memories were wiped away. Not all of them, but key events of the past dissapeared from memory. This too seemed harmless, but those memories are not just forgotten. They are literally gone and they no longer existed.

It continued, as we, chameleon-like, had our ohysical features change. Blues eyes were now brown and short people were now tall. The physical features that made us who we are were drastically altered. The blind saw, the athletes were crippled, and the world took notice.

In one final moment, the transformation was complete. The last event began with our language. We could no longer percieve the words I, ME, My, Mine, and any other word relating to who we are. Our own names are forgotten, but it does not stop there. Even when these words are found in another context they vanish. The letter "I" was gone as well as any words containing "me" within them. We couldn't remember the names of those who share ours and our names too were not visible on paper though others might see them.

This is the state of mankid after the collapse of self. Who knew that our lack of community and concern for all mankind would lead to nature or god taking away our "self". We continued inward in selfish pursuits and individualistic endeavours, viewpoints, and life choices to the point where we collapsed. You might consider it a biological safety valve, devolution, a virus, or any of a number of things, but one thing is sure. We are changed.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

This moive was incredible.
The climax where he wins the 20 million rps. was an amazing collection of emotions. With the many things happeing at once you don't know what emotion to feel and are left with numbness much like the hero, Jamal.

I loved it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The house was completely run down. You couldn't tell from the outside, but he knew. There wasn't a single house left that hadn't been scoured for supplies, pulled to pieces to make firewood, or simply destroyed in some cathartic fit of rage by one or many pepole who knew they weren't long for this world. No, the house wasn't good for anything anymore. It's french doors useless props to impress high scoiety friends who had become ash long ago, the hardwood floors torn up and no longer able to carry the creaks and groans from the man sneaking downstairs for a latenight snack, and it's brick fireplace no longer in service to man but instead in service to a family of raccons. They knew the value of this place and could put it to use. At least some living thing could do so.
He grumbled to no one in particular about entering the house. Who was there to hear? God? But he was hungry and he learned long ago to trust the oustide chances. Besides, he had no choice. It was this house or death. Nearly three days wihout water and alomst a week without food left him weak and hopeless.
Moving down an empty hall way from the empty kitchen he checked his pockets. The search produced a small prybar and he held it like weapon, ready for a possible attack. His eyes darted back an forth as the hallway led to an open family room. The room contained dusty, ruined furniture; someone had already taken the stuffing from the chairs and couch for insulation.

"That's alright", he thought, "I already have a thioat to endure this hard, endless winter."
He continued to check the room for more useful items. With the prybar he loosed some moulding he oculd use as firewood, and then he tapped on the floor in search of possible trap doors. He had been saved more than once by finding hidden cellars or bomb shelters created by the former, paranoid homeowners.
"I suppose they weren't really paraniod", he guessed, "they were right."

Suprisingly, his search did yield a trapdoor. The hollow knock rang true and pronounced the possibility of hidden treasures. He removed the moth-eaten rug that hid the door and pryed open the trap. Looking into the infinite darkness he fumbled to find the stairs. It was too dark to see and even if he could find a light switch at the bottom there was certainly no power. Quickly, he pryed loose a chair leg and took a piece of the rug and wrapped it around to create a makeshift torch.
"I hope there isn't a gas leak" he thought.
He produced a lighter from his other pocket and a flask from his inner pocket. First, dousing the cloth in alcohol he then lit the torch which illuminated the entire room.
"This was once a very beautiful home." he conjectured. "These people had money, power, and prestige and where are they now?"


He made his descent into the cellar. It was a brick one probably created by the original owners, and it must have held some great treasures at one time. Hoping this space had not been found before, he looked around once he arrived at the bottom of the stairs.
He looked around and saw a long corridor leardin to a room. He walked down the corridor. The wall contained family photos of trips to Hawaii, France, California, every place imaginable He wondered what the trips might have been like, what those times were like before this new age of survival began. Before the end of time and the beginning of chaos.

Reaching the end of the corridor he arrived in the room. It was a small cave with old barrels and shelves; a wine cellar. He checked the racks for bottles or anything at all. Most of the slots were empty, a few held broken pieces of glass, and some the carcasses of long dead rats. He searched the floor and found a case that looked intouched.
"Former looters must have thought this was a table" he said out loud to on one in particular.

He pried the top free and lowered his torch. The case was full and held bottles marked: Chateau Petrus 1985. What a find if this were another day and age. Wine was useless for the most part; better if they contained water instead, and the wine was long past it's prime.
"It must be vingear by now" he thought as he broke the top of one bottle.
He poured a little into his cupped hands and sipped. Proving his point, he spat out the turned liquid and stared at the case. A fitting symbol for the world that once held much promise. Now it had turned sour and, from here, there was no going back.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I sat in this chair; an akward, inflexible thing that brought more to mind that just sitting. The way I sat in this too short, too small object brought to mind a curiosity in my life. An idea that came back again and again through the years. I am old at twenty-four. Not to say I feel physically old. I was aerobically in the best shape of my life, and there seemed no end to progress in the direction of fitness. No, I was growing younger on the exterior, but my interior deterioration chugged along at it's consistent, nonstop pace.
In that chair I felt my feet bend together, my shoulders slouch forward, and my hands shrivel inward. Even my hair seemed to lose it normal fullness and my eyes felt weary from years that hadn't even existed. It was as if I had lived another life full of experiences and could not wait to find rest for my bones. They creaked but did not hurt. I was two at once, a stranger within another stranger which made the whole of me old, but young.
I repositioned myself within the chair and let out a sigh not of tiredness or sadness. It was a sigh made from the joining I experienced. As if the meeting of two created a rush of the air that once stood between them. Coming ever closer, they pushed together until there was no visible space between them. Then the real fusion began. Quickly, molecules collided in a real but unreal connection. Pushing out theose that were redundant and fusing those that must be joined; one experience to another, one scar to another, and one memory to another.
Why was I old and young? I had been told on different occasions that I seemed like a grandfather, or and elder. I sat in the way that old men sit and thought in the way that old men think. I would feel drawn to the elderly and their story as if it were mine. I was fact checking their statement for corroborating evidence to a story I didn't know. My kindred spirits were not to be found among those who shared my birthyear, but those who might have been my physical father or grandfather.
There were parts to my age and seemed to come from many places. They were drawn from time and place and pulled towards me as if I were some blackhole, but my insatiable power did not draw matter to a place where gravity was irresistible. I was irresistably drawing experience, life force, and understanding to me and I would connect age with youth in a cold fusion that permanently altered my very being. I pulled from the rugged, western cowboy whose weathered face knew too many places and had seen too many things. I sucked up the english gentleman whose manners portrayed the understanding of history and civility. I absorbed the dying soldier whose deathbed prayer hoped for a better world, but knew all to well the futility of his bitter struggles.
With these pieces fused I sat and waged war within myself. Hopefulness against cynicism, misery against ecstasy, martyrdom against egotism, independence against community, and on and on it went until every battle was waged and every war fought. No answer was to be found and no reilef was to be administered. I was, all at once, the epitome of all things ancient and new. The worlds longest standing questions raised in my mere existence and, without a word, I continued the long march through old age.