The Gran Toliar and the General

Two men are talking, a monk and a general. The general needs to convince the monk to move from atop a mineral deposit the general needs access to; though the monk is harmless, he is protected by some kind of barrier, physical or figurative, so the general cannot remove him by force. The mineral represents a philosophical rift between the two men’s cultures. The general’s culture wants to use the mineral to return to Eden, a paradise that cast humans out, and the monk thinks mankind needs to invite the Keepers of Eden to return to them by changing their ways while in captivity. Their conversation is as follows…

The Gran Toliar and the General, or: Premonition of One-Thousand Parleys

The general stands before the monk, unable to cross the protective barrier the monk sits behind.

General: You claim you are against violence in all its forms, My Gran Toliar. You also define violence as any action that removes agency from another person against their will; a definition I happen to agree with. Is sitting here obstructing our path, then, not an act of violence?

The Gran Toliar: Is it violent for a mother bird to shield her eggs from the predator? Read more

Kafrika (Excerpt)

The Crips and the Bloods are at it again.
They’ve got their AK’s and OG’s and gin,
Marching to the beat of their own drum.
And really, it is a fantastic one.

The Crips and the Bloods were gangs known for their lethal hijinks on America’s urban landscapes. In the late 20th century they went at each other’s throats, popping caps and dropping bodies in the manner of countries at war. Drugs were their currency; hankerchiefs their flags; AK-47’s their atom bomb; OG’s their generals. Though bloody and not without casualties, gang warfare provided one spectacular benefit to both sides: fear. Both the Crips and the Bloods became programs on a network owned in part by Osama bin Laden.

Do they hear it? Where they at, those clowns?
The woods of the Congo are burning down;
They said “Y’all got three minutes to show ya face
Or cut another strand from the human race.
Boom, boom, we run this place.
Africa is now our home base.
This whole block, this whole rock, this whole Earth;
Nigga, we own the dirt.
Y’all could throw the stone, we gon’ clap first,”
As arrows flew over the sound.

But here, in Africa, a third-world continent that welcomed no one, the Crips and the Bloods were accessories around the necks of warlords. All their bravado, all their showmanship, all their street cred and criminal records—all was as wind in the face of the local Kony. And that unsettled them a great deal. For what realm but hell did not shiver with each titanic step they took?

Exodus, a game played too long
Played too strong by wronger men.
Hunger then, I wonder when,
Shall end on a note not sweetly sung.

2150. A global population too high to count, too poor to count, and too angry. While the rest of the world wrestled with nitrogen levels, the U.S. concocted a more solid solution, pouring it into the water supply and settling in for the long wait. By the middle of the year, the missing person reports had all but snitched away the deed. Blacks, latinos, and Asians were vanishing by the thousands, and waking up back in their ancestors’ homelands.

Context Clue

“Listen Charles, I am growing quite weary of your stubborness to brush your teef.”

“Teef? What are these ‘teef’?”

Mrs. Henry turned round in a fury, searching for something to beat him with. The broom found its way into her stubby little fingers, and she was soon batting away at the little rascal.

“Let’s see you get out of it NOW!”

“Aha! You think you’ve Read more

Preparing the Divorce Papers

Started rereading that book I published a few months ago, finally through the lens of someone who’s never read it before.
 
The writing is really really good.
 
The plot is really really bad.
 
It’s a mess. No matter how much exposition I threw in there (and there was a LOT), it took effort to suspend my own disbelief. I’m the AUTHOR.
 
In summary: it’s a story about secret agents with powers chasing down a queen on the run. She’s running because she got impregnated in one of hubby’s experiments and isn’t sure how to react. But there’s a time traveler among the agents, and he’s lost his wife, and he’s doing this to find his kid, and the queen is jealous that he has a kid, and the other agents lost their memories, and the islands they’re in are trapped in purgatory… Like I said, a mess. Perhaps not a complete one, because I did tie a lot of interesting themes together. The climax of the book in particular frames some pretty heavy questions about the act of fighting for a child. Interestingly, that climax was written almost in post-production, which means between the time I started the book and the time I finished it, I became a much more insightful writer. Good thing, because I started writing the book 8 years ago.
 
It’s saddening because I invested a lot of time and energy into this story, only to now have it in this irreparable state. I could rewrite it, but the core concept would remain a convoluted mess. I could continue it, but who’d read the sequel? I could abandon it, but then these characters would haunt me, making their way into my other stories.
 
I’m at a complete full stop.
 
It’s not over yet. I still feel like there’s a way to salvage this thing, somehow, some way. There’s something. I don’t know what to call it, or where it is, but it’s there, in the back of my mind, waiting to surface like a good dream. Something.
 
Or nothing. Nothing and a bag of chips. And if that’s the case, then this might just be the moment where I divorce that family of characters.

Large Little Annoyances

Today I noticed a cold sore growing on my upper lip as I crossed the street from school. It was a tiny little thing, just a bump. But I could tell by the way it felt when I tongued it—the way it rested snugly between a couple of other smaller bumps—that it was definitely a cold sore. Most people, when their cold sores grow in, they usually get these minuscule things that aren’t worth complaining about. But me, my cold sores have to be called “fever blisters”, because they grow into giant flesh-bubbles that entirely clutter up one side of my upper lip, reminiscent of herpes.

When I got home, I didn’t think on it. I ordered myself some Read more

Inspired Sword

Acrid black clouds swimming rapidly. The sun struggles to make its appearance through them, but cannot; only thin wires of gold thread the cracks. The clouds do not want the sun to witness what had happened below. No light should be beholden to tragedy.

An army of men lying dead. Swords and spears are held fast in their grip, a testament to their undying courage. One man, who has but seconds to live, preaches the words of some God.

“…and shall we, who bear…thy…image–” he catches his breath, he knows he is dead, “–be forever…in…in…”

Someone screams as if imploring him to hold his tongue. He obeys.

A great armored Read more

Next Please

It was a deceptively sunny day. Gentle breezes wafted down the cobblestone streets past pizza parlors, movie theaters, and milling throngs of consumers. Through Phat Pharmacy’s sliding front doors, an attractive female voice from an overhead speaker welcomed people to the store and encouraged them to sign up for their free loyalty card to start earning “big, big, big savings!” on front-end items today. The message was concluded with a jingle one might hear at an airport, and then Carrie Underwood came on. The air conditioning fanned customers into emotional submission as they wandered through each meticulously placed aisle. It was a wonderful day for that dreamlike thing called shopping.

Pegan Tagem, the cashier, was examining Read more

Zero Never Happens

An unprecedented magnitude 8.2 earthquake just hit New York City.

The catastrophe has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, billions of dollars in property damage, and thrown the nation into turmoil. But in a small apartment nestled in the armpit of Brooklyn, a family of six has suffered the brunt of the earthquake most.

What they experienced was not just physical pain, Read more

Mr. Mantastic

Having done everything he could to prevent the global apocalypse, Mr. Manchester now jumps off his Cloud Atlas and settles comfortably back in the seat of his 2013 Chevy Fantasm. The road opens up like a wide, gaping maw filled with a shit-long list of cars. They’re all pumping emissions and spiting the air with honks and obscenities and generally clogging up the arteries of life with the sheer hubris of their existence. The world is in trouble again and needs its Hero of the Wilds. It’s too damn early for that shit, thinks Mr. Manchester, grab-handling his car wand with vicious eyes set over the Read more

System Sisters Ch.1: System Log

Sys couldn’t yawn, so it was impossible to tell when exactly she woke up.

Her body, a petite little thing with a gray-white finish, simply started humming of its own accord. As if reacting to the sound, neon blue lights streamed through the crevices of the dark-tiled room surrounding her, washing her in a cool glow. Her slender figure was an almost aeronautic vision of beauty. Elegantly rounded corners; a thin, pretty face currently dark with sleep. On the side of her hip was her name tattooed in bold, royal-purple letters: “31-System.” She had no companions in the darkness—just as she had Read more