His Majesty, The Ogre

There once was an ogre…

In the center of a forest of very tall, very gray trees lived an ogre with a skin of iron and mud. His palace was grayer than the trees and rose above them, a jagged stump among their gray needles and lifeless branches. He had once worried about the look of his palace. To make it more festive, he had grabbed some birds from the air and lizards from dark corners and leashed them to the sharp heights so that they would entertain him with their furtive and futile attempts to escape. When they died, he left them there, warnings to other birds and lizards to keep their distance, for the ogre was not to be mistaken for a friend.

The ogre’s scowl kept thunder clouds above his palace and an oily rain drizzling over all his lands. Tornados broke branches in the forest around him, and lightning pierced the air with dark bolts that sent long shadows scurrying through the forest.

The gargoyles who lived in the eaves and on the ramparts of his palace saw his scowl and knitted brow and thought he must be smiling. They were gargoyles, though, and all other creatures in the land knew his was the deepest frown they had ever seen.

The ogre became bored with his tall, gray palace and thought about what to do. He considered painting his face on all seven facets of its walls. He grabbed a branch from a tree, which then withered in shame for its part, and dipped it in a puddle of molten gold he kept in his treasury. With an impatient hand, he slashed at the walls of his palace, thinking how majestic he must look to all the creatures in his lands. As he walked around the ramparts, splashing gold from his tree branch brush, he made himself over seven times, each one different from the others. All his faces grimaced as the gold hardened into masques of despair, yet he saw them all as works of glory, works of perfection adorning his palace in the forest on his lands.

The ogre had lived in the palace his whole life through no fault of his own. His father, a frowning, fearful ogre in his own right, had built the palace by smashing the forest that once lived there and lashing the trees together with their own wilting roots and branches. His father had done all the work himself and the creatures in his lands had cowered to see the awfulness that had risen from what once had been green and living. So, the ogre’s son had grown up in the grayness and relished it as his own, a stark realm in which all color but gray and gold was banished beyond his sight.

Eventually, the ogre realized that the lizards and birds, the gargoyles and rats, the spiders and slugs who were his constant company among the gold chairs and tables within his shattered palace were not enough to keep him amused. He thought of a project to keep him busy as he plotted his next steps.

“I need a wide and deep moat to protect me in my palace from any enemies that may wish what I have earned!”

He spoke to the lizards and rats and birds and gargoyles and told them all he needed a grand moat and a broad drawbridge to keep them all safe, for it was in all their interests to be safe in the palace among his closest friends.

“I need this moat to be 20 fathoms deep and 100 yards wide. I need the fiercest fish in the seas to swim the moat and eat any swimmers who may try to pass. I need the edges planted with thistles so that any who try to enter the moat are cut by the leaves and stung by the sap. I need the drawbridge made of 20 fresh trees from beyond this sad forest that surrounds us and the 20 trees must be renewed every month so that the bridge is always young and supple when any visitor crosses it… with my permission, of course! Go make this so! You will be paid with coin of my realm beyond your deepest dreams.”

And the lizards and the rest of his crew set to work, night and day, making the moat 20 fathoms deep and 100 yards wide. As they felled the first lengths of fresh, green trees and filled the moat with water from the seas in which the fiercest fish would swim, the ogre came to them, one by one, and pushed them in, where they were gnashed by the sharp teeth and swallowed by the deep gullets of the fish they had placed there. The ogre scowled a long, satisfied scowl and went back over the drawbridge, pulling it up with golden chains he had fashioned from his stores of hidden gold.

He was safe now. His creatures, though, had been depleted as he pushed them all into the moat. He thought about this and knew what to do. He would marry a lion. He had never seen a lion but he had dreamt one in a dream and they were ferocious creatures that matched his own fearsomeness.

He sent his favorite gargoyle out beyond the gray forest to find him such a creature. The gargoyle, happy for the relief from his perching, searched for forty days and forty nights, then searched another forty days and nights just to make sure that the lion he had met on the first day was the most pleasing of all.

He brought the lion to the ogre and presented her. “This is a wondrous lion!” said the ogre, “but are you sure it is the most beautiful lion there is in all my lands?”

“Yes, your majesty” gargled the gargoyle in reply. “She is the most beautiful I have seen in all my travels, which took me through all your lands.”

“Very well then, I shall marry her” said the ogre. He did not ask but he married her all the same.

“You must learn to stand on your hind legs” said the ogre. The lion looked at him and snarled. He took this as ascent and leashed her front paws together, lifting them in the air towards the top walls of his palace. “Stay there until you learn” said the ogre. As she stood on her hind paws, roaring and weeping with the humiliation of this treatment, for she was a majesty in her own right, he sat in his gold chair with his hobbled feet up on a gold table and admired her underbelly, embellished as it was by eight teats ringed with golden hair. “You are a treat for my cruel eyes!” said the ogre as he continued to stare.

After a long while, although he lost track of the time as he lost interest in the lion, he unleashed her from the walls and let her stand on her own, which she did not. She fell to the ground on all fours and curled up in a ball. “Let me leave, hideous creature!” she howled in pain. “Why have you treated me so poorly, I, a majesty in my own realm and your superior in every way!” she roared.

“Ah now! That’s a problem” said the ogre as he flung her out the closest window into the moat.

The ogre wondered what to do next, for this first attempt at companionship had not gone as planned. Eventually, although it took some years, as the ogre was not as quick at thinking as he thought himself to be, he dreamt of another creature who might be his mate.

“Gargoyle,” for they were his most trustworthy assistants, “bring me a golden bear. Before you come back, make sure the bear walks on her hind legs. I don’t want to be disappointed again!” said the ogre. The gargoyle shuddered a little and loped off into the wilds for another long look around the vast lands beyond the gray forest. He found the perfect bear on the first day but spent a year looking everywhere just to make sure he had found the most beautiful bear of all.

“Bear, you must do as I ask and I will only ask once. You must walk on your hind legs when you are in the presence of the ogre. If you do not, this will all take a nasty turn which neither of us want to see.”

“I can do that, gargoyle, as I am a golden bear and my people have walked on our hind legs long before you loped along the ground.”

They returned to the palace. As the ogre saw them coming and saw that the bear walked on its hind legs, he lowered the drawbridge and let them in.

“Ah gargoyle! You have done well this time! You have found me a golden bear that walks on its hind legs. I shall marry her and she shall rule beneath me and raise young ogres to inherit my wealth!”

The ogre and the bear married and bore young. They were misshapen creatures with gray fur where golden fur might have been and knobby flesh where the ogre’s blood had its way but they were the spawn of this marriage and were raised so by the gargoyles in the palace. As they grew, they learned to speak as the gargoyles spoke and learned to lope as the gargoyles loped. When it came time for an audience with their father, the ogre was not pleased.

“Speak to me, young man!” commanded the ogre.

“I speak when the gargoyles ask” said his eldest son. The ogre threw his eldest out of the closest window and the fish below swallowed him in one bite.

“Gargoyle, I will give you a chance to correct this issue” said the ogre.

“We will do so” said the gargoyle, speaking for all of them at once.

The gargoyles returned to the nursery and spoke to the two young ladies and two young men who played there.

“You must speak to your father with reverence and love. Learn his language and his way of speaking and you will live to inherit his wealth and power” said the gargoyles, taking turns with the words as it would take too long for any one of them to say them all.

“We will do so” said the young ladies and men.

Soon, it was time for the ogre to see his spawn. He sent for them and spoke.

“Speak to me, young ladies!”

The young ladies spoke in their best ogre slur, complimenting their father on his wealth and power. The young men spoke as their sisters did, pronouncing their father the richest and wisest ogre in the world.

“Gargoyle, you have done well. You may take them all back to the nursery and continue your work. You have honored me with your tutelage!” said the ogre. They all returned to the nursery and continued to play and practice their ogre-tongue with care.

After a few years, he summoned his spawn and his spouse to the golden room with the golden furniture. It was time for them to go and tell the lands of his might and majesty.

“Young ladies, young men, dear spouse, and all my gargoyles! It is important that all creatures in my land understand my importance, my wisdom, my power, and my wealth. You must all go among them and inform them of these facts. When you have returned, we will feast on whatever we can pull from the air and whatever we can fish from the moat that surrounds us. Go! Return when all know what I have told you!”

The ladies, the men, the spouse, and the gargoyles all headed out of the palace and crossed the drawbridge. Before they crossed, as they always followed the ladies, the men, and the spouse in their travels, the gargoyles unlinked the golden chain from the drawbridge so that the bridge sat across the moat as a fallen tree sits across a stream. When they loped across behind the family, they lingered behind and, working together, one hundred gargoyles all at once, pulled the drawbridge from the palace. One end sunk into the waters of the moat. The fierce fish, thinking it was feeding time, set upon the trees, eating them from one end to the other until their bellies were full of splinters and bark and the drawbridge was no more.

With that, the ladies, the men, the spouse, and the gargoyles set off into the world to regale the creatures in the sky, on the land, that burrowed and swam and scuttled about, that the ogre was the wisest, most powerful, richest, and most important ogre in the world and that his palace was the most majestic in the land.

And if they wished to be as wise, powerful, rich, and important as the ogre, they would do well to keep their distance from that fetid, gray stump rising among the gray trees.

Second Thoughts

Irksome

Twilight

The crowd hadn’t been quiet all morning.

The crowd hadn’t been quiet all morning. Forty or fifty full-grown men shouting like had all just received a lifetime of wages or witnessed the Ascension. Men standing shaking their fists, sweating sweat, raising their voices in praise of the latest demagogue cajoling their time and attention. Promising promises so they could hope for hope. Like all other gods this one would deliver fields of smut-eared corn and paralyzed children, men bitterly drunk and women murmuring the rosary until the could say the stations by touching the intaglio impressed in their palms.

This crowd driven by this demagogue had kept Jascinto awake in his sweltering bed through the day until the two o’clock sun burrowed into his forehead, driving the water out through his skin, out into his sheets and into the heat of his dark room. The heat became as hot as it ever had been.

The crowd quieted.

Jascinto sunk into the torpor of the heat, the moldiness of his wet sheets and feel asleep.



The crowd started in again in the late afternoon when the sunlight streamed across rooftops and in through the Venetian blinds. Jascinto woke slowly as he had when he was young and reluctant to work in the fields. He rubbed his eyes with one old and scrawny hand, more like the foot of a perching bird, and pulled himself up.

The dresser top in this one room he rented was littered with the outdated tools he had once used with complete belief in their truth and necessity. A comb to make him look good was now filled with gray hairs and a paste of scalp cells and hair oil. Coins to pass among the merchants so they would think him prosperous though they all knew he was not. A rosary, that most intricate and repetitious of jokes. A shrine to the Lord Jesus. The tiny painting in a gilt-edged frame had cost one-fourth his weekly wages for four weeks, required a special trip to the votaries’ store. The oil votive candle half that much again. He had once hoped that this was a small sacrifice for eternal grace. He had heard that God came closer to you when your flesh became thin and your veins throbbing blue ribbons standing away from your bones. But God had receded instead and this candle, this picture, which had reduced his meals to beans and rice for almost two months, were no more than a shrine to the naive of the world, all those who hoped for hope but died and rotted like the rest.

Jascinto gently grasped the image of Christ and placed it face down on the candle, watching the flame gutter and die.

The crowd made more noise than ever before. Jascinto pulled on his socks, remembering the dust and rocks his feet had shuffled through, pulled pants over joints that had straightened and bent day after day, threaded one arm and the other through his yellowing church shirt, worn once like a mantle of sanctity and now like a shroud, tied his tie, too tight, and crept into the old suit coat, now as threadbare as himself.

Off the end of the bed were his wing-tipped shoes, bought when purity had ceased to matter as much as comfort. For half his life, sandals had guarded him against the sharp stones and invisible worms of the countryside.  As he had grown old and away from the church, the desire became greater to own a pair of these shiny shoes to hide his knotted and splayed feet. More time was spent polishing them at the end of a day and less time with the rosary until the only rosary voiced was a soft and wordless song as the buffing cloth extracted from the black leather a deep and vitreous glow.

Jascinto closed the door to his room and stood a moment at the top of the stairs. New anger swept through him as the crowd became louder, their one voice no longer deadened by the room’s insulation, slight though it was. Slowly he moved down towards the faint light falling in from the street. At the bottom of the stair, he sat looking into the crowd and across the courtyard at the brightly dressed man smiling and waving at the men, pacing with a pleased expression clipped on his face. The men pumped their clenched fists into the thinning heat of twilight, shouting against the facing courtyard wall, shouting the slogans of the man in the bright clothes.

Jascinto straightened himself up and walked from the rooming house into the crowd, drew the gun he always carried in his left coat pocket, braced, and fired. The politician reeled back against the wall, his arms flailing for balance, his chest showing first a clean hole, then a spreading stain that flecked his coat and the stage upon which he stood. As he fell, he slowly changed shape, first a dog-headed man with wings, then a bull with arms and a lion’s tail, on through a bestiary of awful creatures and hideous men, until Jascinto began to recognize the brutal gods of human history—Borgias, Richelieu, de Medicis, Robespierre, Saint-Just, Cortés, Pizarro—all reared their ugly heads and sunk again into a vortex of other gods from other worlds, some leaders of his own country condemned by history and perspective for their guileful cruelty. Suddenly, the surface of this soup of political faces froze into a many-headed entity, a representation of all that had been inflicted on the poor in their hopes for a better life. As this lost shape, such as it was, a pair of wild and loathsome eyes leered bloodshot and mad out of the fetid stew and became a dark, bloody puddle on the simple stage.

Jascinto dropped his gun to the pavement and walked back to his room.



Jascinto woke in a sweat to the sound of a chanting crowd. Though he didn’t know the figure pictured on his dressed, it burst into flame.



Jascinto awoke in terror. A crowd chanted. the mysterious figure pictured on his dresser stared into him, the wild eyes drawing closer to his barren soul.





Directly inspired by the parable Ragnarok by the Argentinian genius Jorge Luis Borges. No characters in this expansion are intended to represent anything other than an unfortunate dynamic between those who sow hope and those who reap their tears.

©1983, me, all rights reserved
Urgent

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Something is Going Well Around Here!

The 1,000 “like” road marker disappearing in the rear view mirror…

The WP auto-post function just told me that I have accumulated 1,000 “likes,” which are all because the imaginary “you” have been appreciating what I’ve been pouring forth since June 22nd. It hasn’t been four months yet and I have so many “likes!” Who knew?!?

I’ve logged 87 posts (one was a repeat, so doesn’t really count and one was a reblog in respect for a new WordPress-induced friend) in 111 days, meaning that I’ve hit about 78% of the days between start and present. Not bad. Could be better. Let’s see if I can pick up the slack.

Thank you, everyone!

MSOC

Waiting…

There’s an unnatural quiet transfixing the house.

There’s an unnatural quiet transfixing the house.

The two kids, fourteen and eleven, sit on the edges of their beds, one facing the back of the other, both staring beyond the door leading out, both seeing nothing but their own separate thoughts.

The air in the room is lit with a million motes illuminated by the sun falling towards the horizon, half-blocked by palmettos and live oaks, by a wisteria vine that has sunk its predatory tendrils into the earth a hundred times, always grasping for more, more, always rising again with indisputably beautiful flowers to distract from the business it has with the earth’s nutrients, it’s vendetta against neighboring trees. The motes float as they glimmer, absorbing and diffusing light, making the silence fill with dread.

Bedclothes bunched at the bottom of each bed, kicked out of the way during restless sleep, damp with anxiety. A pillow lies off the side of one bed at an angle, its case parted like a scream stifled by the kapok stuffing and the crumpled tag. Another pillow jammed against a headboard, bent double at its center, its breath knocked out, unable to gasp, staying silent in solidarity with the worn wooden floors and chests of drawers, the bookshelves, their clothes hanging like ghosts in their shared closet, the door jamb with their names and growth marks fading away, their book bags collapsed and askew on throw rugs lying out of place too near the door, their escape and their confinement.

If a bomb had gone off the walls would be down, the floors scattered with drywall dust and framing shrapnel from the home that once had been. They would have been mangled and sore with splinters, battered with gypsum chunks, with novels impelled by that instantaneous force into their foreheads and torsos, with fractured doors and airborne door knobs, with candelabra from the dining room, with silverware clanging away from its drawer, with armrests and ladder backs from the chairs set around the table waiting for a dinner that would no longer arrive in their bombed house. They would be hidden by an explosion of clothes, their stockinged feet peering out from a shirt cuff or a pair of worn dungarees, their faces hidden by a molehill of balled up socks, the air choking with new motes swimming away from the epicenter of the catastrophe.

But that is not what happened. So they sat. Waiting for that last argument to settle into the seams of the house and join its companions among the joists and conduit, among the pipes and insulation, among the spider webs and silverfish in the damp and dusty crawl space beneath their thoughts.

Careful

The First Date

She looked fine.

I met her on one of the less-populated branches of the web, one where unpopularity could be confused with privacy, where loneliness could be mistaken for intimacy.

She looked fine. She seemed fine. As I approached, trembling a little on the inside, I could smell her and she smelled better than all the flowers that had ever wafted their perfumes past me.

She turned a little, perhaps shy. We had never met and it was to be expected. At least I thought I expected it. The shyness. Maybe what seemed one way was another. In retrospect. Maybe it was caution. Or curiosity. Was I what she was looking for or just another guy on the web?

I approached. She extended a hand and helped me up. This was moving quite fast! I considered my options and settled in, feeling her energy coursing into me as I pulsated against her, brittle limbs embracing, tight and loose, urgent and relaxed.

It was then that it all went wrong. She turned her head, opened her mandibles and bit into my left eye, blinding me. But she just munched, cracking the crisp facets of what had been a perfectly good eye into a chitinous snack. I opened my mandibles to protest and she assumed, I guess, I was offering her one. Well… both. But one at a time in a token act of selfless courtesy on my part, I suppose. And there it went, my left mandible falling apart in her mouthpieces and departing whatever still remained of my head.

At some point in this dismemberment, I realized I was still within her, priming what would be a new generation of young mates, guys and girls, ready to pair off and go through something horrid like this when they grew up and became adults. At this point, I felt a flutter of hope and tried to pry myself off her, away from her hooked arms, her tight and unyielding embrace. She would have none of it.

It’s an odd thing, being eaten so soon in a relationship. I know I had hoped for a second date, maybe a third. This had been my first, of course. It would be my last. Perhaps my expectations had been too high.

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Panic
Pretend

Thanks to confabler for unwittingly providing me with the idea for this piece!

I Was Nominated (and Accept)

Confabler nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award!

My distant, yet close friend Confabler has nominated me for the Shiny Shiny Sunshine Award. I love her imagination and sense of whimsy; she lets her muse du jour lead and she follows. There’s a wonderful freedom to that which is (1) difficult to allow in the rational process of “writing” and (2) enjoyable to find.

1. If you were to choose an insect that would take over the world after human extinction, who would that be?

It sort of depends on our route to extinction. If it involved an epidemic, the population of flies might see a giant uptick. This would be a good one:

mydas_sp
Gauromydas heros

If it is a slow process, then I nominate the Japanese Rhinoceros beetle because it would be awesome if creatures  with such improbably fashioned protuberances were to be the alpha species (Megasoma and Titan beetles would be acceptable alternatives):

800px-kabutomushi-japanesebeetle-july2004
Allomyrina dichotoma

 If our extinction took all other terrestrial life along for the ride, I would like to see this enormous isopod (a relative of our terrestrial roly-polies) rule the seas (note inclusion of actual human hands for sense of scale):

Giant_isopod.jpg
The underside of a male Bathynomus giganteus, a species of giant isopod captured in the Gulf of Mexico in October 2002.

2. How old were you when you first read Harry Potter? And your favorite author of course?

I was pretty old when I read my only Harry Potter book (the first one). I didn’t enjoy it enough to complete the series, although I’ve seen all the films and enjoyed them well enough. In the period I read that first one, I was typically reading a lot of history and didn’t find that it was a good use of my time. When I was really young, I read the Classics Illustrated versions of novels, which were quite good at introducing a curious young mind to the wonders of literature without having to do the work (sort of illustrated CliffsNotes (I didn’t use these in school though), if you will). When I was a little older, I read Robert E. Howard, Sax Rohmer, John Carter of Mars, H. Rider Haggard, Stanley Weinbaum, George McDonald fantasies, etc.

My favorite author is Gabriel Garcia Marquez for One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. His writing is so rich, amusing, full of simple wisdom and abundant humanity it is hard to believe he was just a human being writing about the lives he saw playing out around him. I literally would read some passages and have to put the book down as if I had just sipped the richest chocolate elixir in the world and needed to savor it until I sipped again. His Spanish-to-English translators did a good job in getting it right; Gregory Rabassa (OHYoS translator) was even praised by Garcia Marques himself!

3. If you were invisible what is the craziest thing that you would do?

Here’s an odd one: Go and hang around bigots, transcribe their conversations, and publish them for the world to see how terrible people speak when they think no one is listening (but, oh yeah, we have the internet so this already happens). If I could walk through things, which seems fair since I’m invisible, I would go around seeing what it felt like to do that—see if there were different textures to different things on the inside than on their surface.

4.what food makes you feel like a hungry hyena?

This has changed so much over time! These days, I don’t get this kind of urge anymore. In my early adult (late teen?) years… ICE CREAM!!!!

5. A song that makes you dream?

Gymnopedie #1 by Erik Satie


6. Have you ever planted a tree?

Yes. Unasked but answered: quite a few!

7. Choose your man: superman/ Spiderman/ iron man and if he was your best friend one thing that you would make him do?

Can I choose Supergirl? If I can, I would have her take me around to various places in the world, build shelters so I could stay there and visit free, then whisk me off to the next place on “our” list (she would be enjoying the sight-seeing with me, of course! What kind of boor do you think I am?!?!).

8.How much time do you spend in front of the mirror everyday?

As little as possible, which involves shaving and brushing my teeth. I find that shaving my teeth first helps with the brushing.

9.why you started blogging and tell us about the post enjoyed the most making.

I was having a bunch of conversations with people who did not seem to understand the wonderful humility of learning and doing science and wanted to see how well I could write about how science is a discipline that can assist us all in not leaning out too far over our skis (getting ahead of ourselves and pretending we know stuff we don’t). Blogging has become so much more than that since my first post on June 22, 2016, and I have had so much fun writing fiction and revisiting some poetry I wrote several decades ago (and finding them easier to “fix” than I remembered).

I’m not sure which of my posts I enjoyed the most. They’re all my children so I like them all? I probably like the odd bits of fiction that I had no idea were inside me when I woke up and then found them on the page looking up at me. I like The Big Day of these. Of the science posts, I like The Mess: Parts 1 & 2 and the Appendix 1 items best (maybe). Of the historical pieces, I like Risk Management. Of the life pieces, I like Building Blocks the best. Anyone who reads this is encouraged to make up their own mind; I am hopelessly biased.

10. Which social media platform are you addicted to (including WordPress)?

I don’t do much social media except WordPress. I don’t like Facebook at all and deleted my account. WordPress is addicting but in a very healthy way! You get to create something and share it with new friends from all over the world. That’s a great addiction have.

Now the rules:

1.thank the person that nominated you.

Thank you, Confabler. You are a true virtual friend, and I don’t mean that in any Pokemon way either!

2. Answer the questions from your nominator.

Done.

3. Nominate fellow bloggers you follow.

Hereinafter lie the following nominees in no particular order (order, of course, being an illusion):

Confabler – it would be completely wrong not to boomerang this thing back at her; how could I like what she writes and like that she nominated me but ignore why we share interests at all?

November_child –  in her poetry, every word is judiciously considered for its various meanings and the images they stir and she makes great short stories that are deep and playful and serious all at the same time

anonymouslyautistic – for doing an AMAZING job of writing about this misunderstood spectrum of living – and for inviting others who share her interest to contribute

English Lit Geek – because she searches the web and her library for poems that communicate her inner soul to us all out here in the ‘sphere and I appreciate this!

Wiser Daily – because this guy writes REALLY well about every single subject he wraps his mind around, because he is not a scientist but writes extremely clearly about science, because he is just a damned good writer!

Breathmath – because they are doing an astonishingly serious job of trying to get the world to see the beauty in mathematics

Sheryl – because she’s written a book, is working on others, has great tips for doing the same, and kindly visits my offerings fairly often

The Nexus – because he writes REALLY well about physics and does a great job of doing what I set out to do, whether I’m doing it on any given day or not

The Biology Yak – because she is passionate about biology and shares her passion in every word on every topic she chooses

afternoonifiedlady – even though I have no idea what it is to be an afternoonifiedlady, I love her rants about living with and without her ex and trying to wrestle with notions of romance – she is very witty and amusingly pissed off!

Yaskhan – for her lovely, succinct way with words

urbanagscientist – because she is at least as worried about the misunderstanding of science as I am

Luke Atkins – because he writes really well about difficult subjects and he writes like the stuff matters a lot, which it absolutely does!

And there are more in my list of 119 writers that I am following but this is enough for now.

4. Give them 10 questions to answer.

If you wish (and I clearly cannot impose this on any of you, please respond to confabler’s funny questions. I enjoyed them, maybe you will too!

Kind regards, MSOC

https://confabler.wordpress.com/2016/09/20/shiny-shiny-sunshine-award/

It was Generous of confabler to choose me. Now I have to Jump off and do other stuff!

The Quarterback

Fifty separate conversations…

Fifty separate conversations ricocheted off the oak-stained paneling and died in the burnt-orange shag. At one of the dozen round, collapsible tables covered with clipped-on, mysteriously stained mixed-fiber table cloths, this one baptized in draught beer and drops of seafood sauce, a couple of classmates sat with the quarterback and his spouse. He stared off into space, while she scowled down at her hands clutching an empty red cup.

A classmate walked up, smiling nervously, glasses, mouse-brown bangs and a black ponytail scrunchy, a nice summer dress.

“I had such a crush on you in high school!” she said.

“You want him, he’s yours,” said his wife.

He was on the bench and had been for 40 years.

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Hike