skonen_blades: (Default)
Coming home to your planet is always such a bittersweet experience.

Visiting simpler locales always leaves me feeling thankful for Karroway, my home planet. Simpler systems leave me in wonder at how the locals can even function. I had just gotten back from a recent addition to the galactic council. The inhabitants referred to it as Earth. I hate to call them primitive but they only had one mind state with a small percentage capable of two. The current minimum for intelligent life was at least five mind states but an exception was being made in their case because of their accomplishments. These one-state mammals had created basic silicate life, broadcast technology and even brushed with higher math. And not only did they suffer from one mind state, they had finite life spans! The definitions of membership and the galactic definition of life were being revisited. Earth was currently a pretty big tourist destination as a result.

That's why I went. I needed a distraction. Life on Karroway could be boring just with sheer noise. I turned three of my minds towards the porthole.

Karroway's four-planet heliod system came up bold and backlit by its three differently coloured suns. A red giant, a blue dwarf, and a yellow star sparkled brilliantly through the 8 ring systems interacting with each other. Our orbit-locked planets stood out beautifully. The gas-giant fuel center Leptus, the turquoise cloud-covered Reena, the temperate volcano paradise Cheng, and the startlingly Earth-like Rhoodus. Together the four of them orbited tightly around each other in traffic controlled ellipses and all four in turn orbited as one around the three suns. Each planet had a moon system of at least thirty moons, all inhabited. The rings collided through each other on the ecliptics, throwing sparkling dust out in constant rainbow fantails. Borealis sparkled along the gravitational bridgepoints between the four-bulbed shared magnetosphere. Unsuited travel between the four planets was possible as their atmosphere was also shared.

3 suns, four planets, 128 moons, and 8 rings. Overpopulated with complicated eclipses, dawns, and sunsets.

You can imagine my boredom at seeing Earth. No rings, one moon, one planet, and one star. Hard to believe complex life evolved on that rock at all. But my time there was relaxing.

It was contemplative. My multicolored body was of great interest to them. The fact that a good percentage of my biology inhabited the quantum was unbelievable to their scientists. There was a buzz of activity with every new alien that visited them. I was the first of my kind to be there, they said. My frilled tendrils blushed with the memory of how much I was fawned over.

I felt aggrandized and god-like, sure, but I was also humbled. These backwater rock-dwellers had accomplished so much. What had I done with all of my gifts? All of my insight, all of my dimensional awareness? All of my engineered biology? I had the ability to move single molecules with my tentacle tips and zoom in to watch it happen. I was immortal, having my choice of when to ascend. I had the capacity to speed or slow time, to access higher levels of energy life and talk to them.

For what? Idle fun. For all my complexity, all my afforded privelege and advancement, I was boring and lazy.

I felt invigorated.

When I got back to Karroway, I was going to write a book.

skonen_blades: (hamused)
April 30/30


Ringmining attracted a certain kind of personality. Not hermits, per se, but beings okay with long terms of isolation. Rarely, pairs or groups of people worked the rings.

The rings themselves played hell with transmissions when a ship was in them so when a ringminer was gathering, they were on their own.

The particles bounced transmissions around, sometimes for years. It wasn’t uncommon to hear garbled SOS beacons from a decade ago. The rings were creepy. It was best to keep the coms off entirely.

Each ringminer scoopship was a variation on a theme. Not unlike a baleen whale, these ships had wide mouths to collect all the crystals and sift through them for valuable minerals. It was tedious work but the rewards were there. It tended to turn the rings grey after a century of mining but didn’t damage them other than that. The ecolegal fights had been fought and ringminers were a profession for now.

Jordy and Lena were partners on Harling’s Spur, named for Lena’s grandfather. Indeed it had been her grandfather’s ship and was her inheritance when her own father passed. So many parts had been replaced on it that she doubted it could even be called the same ship. She was a second-generation ringminer.

Jordy was new to the business and Lena was starting to think he wasn’t cut out for it.

She’d met Jordy on a supply run to K-78, the largest general store asteroid near these parts. It had been a one stop shop to both bury her father and get a new partner. She’d been blinded by grief, perhaps. Jordy was handsome, long-haired and strong jawed, but she’d forgotten that appearances can be deceiving. After three nights of passion, she’d signed him on with visions of bouts of lovemaking in between bouts of mining.

The dreams of a teenager.

Jordy started complaining about boredom almost as soon as they hit the rings. “Nothing to do, nothing to do, nothing to do” had become his mantra. His constant sighs and huffs were contributing to the rising tension. Lena had tried to teach meditation, exposed him to the ship’s library and games system, even tried to teach him tantra but it didn’t work.

He was a social animal. Perhaps he’d been blinded by lust as well.

Either way, this wasn’t going to work out and the hold wasn’t nearly full enough to justify a return trip. Lena knew that Jordy, soon enough, would demand to be returned home no matter what the expense. He wouldn’t wait six months and he was stronger than her. Things would get ugly.

She decided to nip it in the bud.

Another reason she’d picked Jordy was that he was a drifter of no importance. He didn’t have rich parents or a large family that would miss him. She thought that marked him out as the right kind of loner for the job. She was wrong about that but the upside was that making the problem go away wouldn’t raise too many eyebrows.

While he was sleeping, Lena brought the largest gravwrench they had in the toolbox down on Jordy’s head enough times to make sure he’d never wake up.

She jettisoned his body and the wrench into the dust of the rings. The surplus of supplies with his absence meant that she’d be able to stay here for a year. It would be difficult to operate the ship by herself but she could do it.

Maybe on the next trip back to civilization, a more proper partner could be found.

Ringmining attracted a certain kind of personality.

skonen_blades: (dark)
The weather hammered down outside and all eyes were on me. It was silent except for the rain crashing into the windows and slapping the street outside the open doors of this forgotten subway station palace.

I was wearing my father’s ring. It was a little silver dragon wrapped around my finger. I wore it because I thought it would bring me luck at the board meeting.

I wasn’t supposed to be there but I couldn’t stop myself from arriving here. I woke up with a fire under my skin and a need to walk. I didn’t have a destination in mind but I drifted from main streets to side streets to alleys with an increasing wonder at my own actions. I didn’t stop walking, even long after my own danger meter was in the red.

First and foremost, I’m white. Very pale and this was the old-iron, alleytown, cops-don’t-come-here part of town. Now, I was one of five white people at my company and there were fifty people there so I’m not too concerned about that in most instances. We had a lot of Latino, African and Asian people. I didn’t see race for the most part.

But I’d never been the only white person in a room full of black strangers. And this was a church of some kind. A church with a lot of jewelry, very old clothes, some bones, a lot of musicians and about a thousand candles.

It was raining like a hot tub had ruptured in the sky. Warm rain had soaked my cheap suit and plastered my hair to my skull. I had even worn beige because I read that it would help combat the heat. I was like a sliver of bone drifting through coffee, caramel, chocolate, and licorice.

Conversations stopped when I walked by. I walked by a stabbing and the victim and the attacker both paused to watch me walk me pass. Kids paused in their playing. Old men stopped laughing and telling stories. Barbers stopped cutting hair. People who were reading put down their books. A cloud of silence had followed me here to this place of worship.

And here I was. The ceiling sagged, growing fat with the water. It looked decades old but I couldn’t believe it wasn’t cracking open as I stood there. Old newspapers wadded up along the molding and corners of the floor, rounding off the corners with rat havens. The walls were paneled in cracked and peeling tin squares. Even with all the candles, most of it was lost in the shadows.

And a hundred pairs of eyes were looking at me out of deep-south faces.

I don’t know anything about voodoo except what I’ve seen in the movies. I don’t think that’s what this was. I didn’t see Jesus anywhere, though. And there were bones. Lots of bones.

I walked through a rusted iron squeeze gate like the kind on elevators from the 1920s. As I walked through the doorway into the room, the heat from the candles started to dry out my suit.

I noticed one empty seat at the front of the congregation. My feet kept moving. I had gone so far beyond my limits of fear that I felt like a passenger now. With one echoing step after another, my feet touched out a damp rhythm all the way to the front row. As I walked, the heads in room tracked me while they fanned themselves calmly. There I sat down in the one empty seat and waited. I felt as if the capability for surprise had vacated my body entirely and that the very real possibility of my death had arrived.

There had been people waiting outside. The one empty seat in the front row felt like it belonged to me.
There were six people on the stage. A beautiful woman in a lace black dress with a grayish cast to her skin, an ancient man with white hair and one blind eye, two young men in new suits that looked like brothers, a veteran in a wheelchair and a child. The child sat in the middle with a small gold crown.

As soon as I took my seat, the room came alive like nothing had ever happened. Play was pressed and I watched. The musicians started playing again, people talked to each other, and there was wailing and laughing.

People with ailments were brought forward to be cured by the people on the stage. There seemed to be an order but I couldn’t parse it. I saw a boy with crutches go to be touched by the old man but then I saw another young woman with crutches go to the brothers to be touched by them. People with nothing obviously wrong with them would walk up, sway, and then walk towards one of the six.

I saw the dead body of a policeman brought in to be touched. He was not brought back to life but the woman in the lace dress touched him and her eyes rolled back in her head. She spoke in gutter creole patois and the widow of the man exploded with joyful crying.

A man brought his dog to the boy in the chair with the crown. The dog howled when it was touched but appeared unchanged even though the owner thanked the boy through blubbering tears of gratitude.

I might have sat there for a half hour. I might have sat there for two weeks. Time became elastic in the way that only happens when important things are going down.

The little girl that walked in caused a commotion. As she walked down the aisle, people pulled away from her suddenly and involuntarily. They recognized her as a human but it was almost as if a poisonous snake or man-sized spider has walked into the room. She wore a white dress with mud on the knees. She was barefoot and kept her head to the side. One bright pink barrette nestled in her hair. She walked slowly and confidently up the six. She had hazel skin and her eyes glinted in her sockets like obsidian reflecting flames.

They showed no fear but the intensity in the room amped up as she got closer to the stage. She stopped and looked at each one of them in turn.

And then she turned to me. The six people on the stage nodded sagely as if my arrival had been a mystery that was now revealed to them.

She came close to me and grabbed my hand. As if high on a drug that removed all care, I let her take it, feeling mildly curious. I felt a smile on my face and I raised my eyebrows in a greeting as she brought my hand slowly up to her lips.

My ring felt hotter.

In the winters in Minnesota, I used to breathe on my bedroom window at night. The white condensation from my breath would spider out at the edges on the glass, already turning to front.
When she breathed on my hand, it was like that except black. Like cracks in the shell of a hardboiled egg. Like an airbrush of pure panther darkness. My hand furred with velvet where she breathed. She exhaled powerfully, emptying her lungs over and over again on my hand.

I watched her eyes change colour from that startling black to a dark green.

The blackness on my hand coalesced like a sheen on a pool of gasoline. I watched it, entranced by it. Parts of the blackness scabbed over. Parts it grew black hair. It shivered across my hand, ebony goosebumps flickering across my fingers. I could feel it climbing up my shirtsleeves.

I have to maintain that I did not feel panic. She watched me and I watched her and the rest of the church watched us both.

She let go of my hand, empty of whatever she’d breathed onto me. I brought my hand up to see what would happen.

The blackness swirled, finding veins and cracks in my skin. Coal dust shook out of it, puffs of night spores wafted free. My body was fighting it. Then the blackness found my father’s ring.

It coursed forward like inky rapids, overlapping itself, concentrating itself in a stampede to get to my ring. The blackness circled and shrank as if it was going down the drain of my ring. All of the blackness found it’s way into my father’s dragon ring. The ring turned black.

I took a very deep breath. I felt very exhausted.

The little looked very startled and started crying. She didn’t know where she was.

The little boy came forward and held out a box with the skull of a bird on top and red velvet on the inside it. I held my hand over the box and he closed the box on the ring, pulling it forward and off of my hand.

As soon as it left my hand, I pissed myself and screamed. I stood up, my heart hammering and hyperventilating. The boy went back to his seat.

The woman and the brothers came forward and held my arms. I felt calmed by their touch. They guided me outside and left me there.

An ancient taxi waited for me. It took me back to my hotel free of charge. I swear we drove through a swamp for part of the journey.

All told, I was gone for four hours. I left at nine in the morning and was back for a late lunch.

I have no idea what it was about. It feels like a dream. All I know is that my father’s ring is missing.

And I feel like I barely knew him.

skonen_blades: (cyril)
Love’s diamond ring in an x-ray.

The couple came in on a Saturday night. The woman was crying. The man has his beige overcoat draped around her because it was raining out. I remember that.

It was as if they walked into the ER out of the fifties. I hadn’t seen a man put his jacket over his girl’s shoulders in years.

He was soaked through. His panicked eyes looked up at me. His story was amazing.

He had put the engagement ring on the top of her dessert in the fancy restaurant. She came back from the bathroom hungry. Before he could say anything, she took a huge forkful of the whipped cream on the top of the pie. The ring went with it. He screamed.

She had swallowed a diamond ring. The man was aghast at how the night that he had planned for a month had turned out so horrible. The woman was embarrassed that she’d accidentally eaten her own engagement ring and screwed up what should have been the most romantic night of her life.

They were both scared that the diamond ring was going to cut her up on the inside.

I took an x-ray.

The ring was there, lying on top of the other food in her stomach, a perfect white circle in the center of the milky clouds of flesh and bone.

She said that she had tried to stick her fingers down her throat but that it hadn’t worked. We were running low on emetics and I wanted to save that stuff for the inevitable Saturday-night suicide pill-poppers.

I assured them that they were in no danger. The diamond wasn’t big enough to cause any damage. It would most likely come out the other end in one piece. Just keep an eye out, I said.

Reassured but nervous, they left.

I never saw them again.

I have the x-ray hanging in my office.

I imagine them both looking into the toilet bowl and digging through the shit to get to the promise.

That’s love, I think to myself when I look at the x-ray. It never fails to make me feel good on the inside about humanity.

skonen_blades: (Default)
I’d like to remember her the way most ex-boyfriends remember their exes. That is to say, when I’m drunk and missing her, I want to remember that space right under her ear, her easy smile, and that way that she’d hiccup if she laughed too much. When I’m angry at her and hurt, I want to remember that time she kissed the bouncer just to piss me off or how she’d constantly complain no matter how awesome our life was.

Instead, all I can remember is her left hand in the sunglight, hanging out the car window on August 22nd.

She slowly turns her hand, her ring catching the light and shining in my eyes for a second before it ends. In the memory, the sun looks like it’s nearing the horizon. The shadows of the bushes are long on the ground outside the window in the fading desert light. We’re parked. She’s splaying her fingers lazily and looking at her ring. A glint, a flash of light in my eyes and the memory is over.

I don’t see her face in the memory. I can feel my ear pressed against her chest.

I think the wipers weren’t top of the line. Maybe their schedule had been just that little bit too tight. That little fragment of her hand in the sun had slipped through their nets. I wondered if there were anymore. It’s hard to search for memories that may have been missed during an erasure solely because they had been misfiled. I mean, where did you accidentally put them?

Was the time you wiped strawberry juice off of her unbuttoned white blouse filed under ‘stain removal’ somewhere in your head? Were her instructions on how to get to that store on fifth that sold the cheap eels filed under ‘maps’ and never looked at again?

I like to just let my mind wander and see if it comes across something that stands out by not standing out. I wouldn’t know it if I found a picture of her face. I wouldn’t know it if I remembered a few seconds of her speaking. The only way I’d know is if I had no idea who that person was.

Not knowing her would be the only clue that she might be the woman that I lost.

Sorry, the woman that was taken from me.

Even if it was a cheap rush job, it was still miles away from a bank account like mine. I figure her daddy must have been rich and didn’t want me following her. His little girl had been slumming with me. I had no idea why he didn’t just take her away and shoot me in the leg or something but maybe he had. Maybe he’d tried to take her away a few times before.

Maybe this was the only option left to him. If he could afford a wipe on a gutter rat like me, well, I must have been tenacious and he must have been obscenely rich.

I think the ring in the memory I keep looking at is an engagement ring. I see its lazy arc up into the sunlight before the flash of light again and it’s over.

skonen_blades: (didyoujust)
Seriously. I want to see a version of The Ring but with porn. Exactly one week after watching the home made amateur porn tape that some kids made in a cabin, you will get sexually assaulted in a nightmare way. You will be ridden hard and put away wet. Big titted deformed blonde cheerleaders will crawl out of your television and tag team you. They’ll find you gibbering in the closet.

Here is a painting mash up of myself and Ashley Wood. Ladies and Gentlemen, the fantastic four horsemen of the apocalypse. You can see the original a few posts back. It's not comedy gold and you tell it's been altered but I like how it turned out.

Can you imagine the fear that a chicken would have standing on one side of a busy highway? I know the answer now of why the chicken crossed the road. ‘To get to the other side’ is just a snide way of saying that you might think that the chicken’s goal is a simple one but it was terrifying for the chicken to do. So terrifying that there was no way he could NOT do it. We are all chickens. We are all afraid. But sometimes we gather up our courage and do something so impossibly beyond our capabilities or something so dangerous that to succeed will change us forever. And we know that backing away from this challenge will also change us for the worse. We are faced with the choice of living with the cowardice or taking the risk. Wondering what might have been or looking back on the adventure, however it turned out. A person has to do what a person has to do. It is the most cowardly among us that become the most heroic when they rise to a challenge.

And here is a spectral picture of one of the glowing ghost horses that herded us off the beach after the fireworks.

I'm off to the lantern festival tonight. I hope you're doing well. Talk to you soon.



skonen_blades: (Default)

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