Friday, January 28, 2005

Do I Dare Remember? - Chapter 1

I know some of you might be annoyed I haven't written in the toaster story in a while, but the fact is that I need a rather long break from that. I'll get back to it eventually but it's fun to try new things. This is the first chapter of a brand-new story, tentatively titled "Do I Dare Remember?" (DIDR) Hopefully it will run parallel to TNT, just like things were supposed to go originally. Oh, one more thing. This story may be a little heavier on the profanity, as it's going to be limited third person from a somewhat crude character. I hope it doesn't bother you too much.

A pair of scissors. An ocean of wax. Three silver monkeys. The visions filled his head like water racing down a drain. Spinning and spinning, impossible to grasp, and ultimately gone. Where the hell was he? Where had he been last night? What had he drunken/eaten/smoked? He couldn’t remember anything. He couldn’t even remember his name.
‘This must be amnesia’ he thought. ‘Figures I can remember what amnesia is, but nothing about my life.’
He surveyed his surroundings. It was familiar somehow. There was fruit here, in crates. Shelves and shelves of vegetables, too. It was a produce department. Yes, that’s what it was. He hadn’t realized it because something was off. There should be people in a produce department. He saw none. And it was dark. Was it the middle of the night? Instinctively he checked his watch. Funny, he thought, what the body remembers when the mind forgets. It was 4:00 AM.
He stood up. This act seemed innocent enough, but it brought on a massive headache. Damn but he wished he could remember something. He felt awful. A wretched taste was in his mouth, he ached all over, and he was hungry. He felt as if he hadn’t eaten in days if not weeks. There was fruit all around, and no one would miss it. Cautiously, he bit into a pear. It was good. He finished it rather quickly and started on an apple, then a peach, than some grapes. He loved fruit. He remembered this now, that he could eat fresh fruit all day. He had eaten fresh fruit all day once, but he couldn’t remember any details of the experience.
It was like that with his memories. They would come in little sections of sections, like the last remnants of a dream. Flashes, images, feelings, impressions that told him nothing. He was startled from his thinking and eating by a sound. The door was being unlocked. He instinctively thrust the stems, peels, pits, and cores into his pockets, wiped off his mouth and stood up as the grocer entered.
“What is the name of all things holy are you doing here?” the elderly man asked incredulously.
“I, uh, I’m…” he stammered.
“Robbing me, perhaps? Empty the pockets!” Before he could answer, the grocer had walked right up to him and done it himself, and he now stared at the assorted inedible fruit parts on the floor.
“Perhaps you were under the impression that this was a free buffet!?!” asked the man, a short fellow with a bushy mustache, “Or perhaps you think that just because you’re a young man the world revolves around you. And that because I am an old man I can’t stop you! That the world is your oyster! Well, I have news for you. This part of the world is still my oyster, and the price for all that fruit is $20.00 plus telling me how the hell you got here.”
“Well? How did you get in here?”
“I… I don’t know.”“You don’t know? I suppose you just woke up here mysteriously,” The man suggested with more than a hint of sarcasm.
“Yes, actually that’s exactly it!” he replied without any.
The grocer stared him down. It was a cold, hard practiced stare. A stare that said “I can tell if you’re lying. A lot of men have tried to lie to me, and they all end up telling the truth sooner or later, so you needn’t waste your time.”
But he wasn’t lying. So he stared right back with the confidence of a practiced liar who didn’t even need to use his polished skill. And the stare went on for perhaps ten seconds, but seemed to stretch into fifteen minutes or more when finally the grocer spoke.
“Let me smell your breath.”
He did as he was told. He didn’t see a reason not to.
“The fruit would mask it, but even so I don’t think you’ve been drinking. And there’s not a scratch on that head of yours. I can’t see how you’d contract amnesia.”
“Are you waiting to hear how I got it?" he asked, becoming annoyed, "Because the thing about amnesia is that I HAVE NO IDEA! I don’t even know who I am! I woke up here, confused, in pain, and as hungry as a bull elephant and I ate some fruit. If I have money I’ll pay for it. If not, I’m going to the hospital to check myself in, because somehow I know that that’s what you do when you have amnesia. Is that okay?” His head was spinning again from all that exertion.
The man stared him down again, but only for a minute.
“Go ahead, check for money then.”
He didn’t have any. Apologizing half-heartedly, he headed for the door. But as he began to move, the headache returned full swing.
“DAMNIT!” he screamed as he stumbled and fell.
The grocer was by his side in an instant. “You’re in no position to get all the way to the hospital,” he said. “I live above the store, I’ll take you to my spare room. My wife Helen will look after you.”
“Thanks,” the man grunted, to much in pain to argue.
“My name is Myron Hatch. I’m sure you don’t know yours, so I’m going to call you Teddy. Ok?”
And the two men shook hands, even as the old grocer dragged the young man up the stairs.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

A Report on Fritz Hollander's Short but Remarkable Journey into the Alternate Universe

Fritz Hollander was a remarkably unremarkable man. He lived in an unremarkable house on an unremarkable street in an unremarkable city not even worth naming for the purposes of this narrative. He lived a remarkably unremarkable life, remarkable only insofar as it's remarkable unremarkableness, not in any real, substative remarkable way. It was about halfway through the first paragraph that Fritz Hollander would have realized that the word unremarkable had lost all meaning, except of course that an awareness of the text of a third person narrative of an episode of his life would be a remarkable thing for a fictional character to possess and Fritz Hollander was far too unremarkable to have it.
One day Fritz was drinking his morning unremarkable coffee and reading about the day's unremarkable events in his unremarkable copy of the New York Times. He might have made a remark afterward, if not for the intense unremarkableness of his surroundings. Presently, he fell through a sudden and rather remarkable vortex into the alternate universe.
Suddenly surrounded by remarkable things, he presently began to make remarks.
"I'll say!" he remarked, and "My word!" and lots of other remarks of the sort people remark at remarkable things. He was seeing quite a few of these in the alternate universe, such as a duck with shoulder pads, and former president Gerald Ford playing the dijereedoo for a group of well dressed but badly behaved pirates.
Presently the vortex reopened, and Fritz Hollander found himself back in his unremarkable life.
"What a remarkable experience!" he remarked, and finished his unremarkable coffee. He went on to have an unremarkable day, and to be featured in a most unremarkable story lacking, among other things, good characterization, varied word choice, or a real plot. Even with the trip to the alternate universe, it was overall an unremarkable day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Something else

This is not part of the toaster story, but it's equally unplanned. I just felt like writing something new.

There is a theory that states that dolphins are actually more intelligent than humans. The theory states that because they don't have opposable thumbs, they haven't been able to focus on scientific advances like humans. Instead, they channel their vast intellect into music, pleasure, and procreation. They do live a good life.
This theory may or may not be true, but it illustrates a crucial point : Intelligence without ability is nothing. And nature is cruel in it's checks and balances. The most intelligent species in the universe is, in fact, classified as a kind of rock. Found on Vorpoura VI, the Ignilli possess an intellect unmatched by anything in the rest of the universe. Unfortunately, they possess no ability to move, communicate, or express this intelligence in any way. They simply are - not seeing, not hearing, not doing, just thinking.
Ignilli have no experience, so all their thoughts are original. They have composed musical pieces with no prior knowledge of music so incredible that Bach, hearing them, would quit and take up plumbing. They have created fictional universes so real and vibrant that Asimov, taking one glimpse of them, would burn his collected works. They have invented machines that would improve life for humans in ways we can't even imagine, without even knowing what a human is. They are like unto gods of their own realms.
But Ignilli don't die either. And after a certian number of years all the thoughts have been thought. The whole universe of potential ideas has come to them, and still turned up no way to break through to the outside world. Most don't even acknowledge that there is an outside world, thinking it much more likely that they are all there is.
And then the boredom starts. For eons they have been bored. Some desire to take their own lives, but of course they can't. They can't DO anything. Witness the tragedy of the Ignilli, and think: If anyone could free even one from it's prison of inaction, it could share so many things with us. But of course, nobody knows the Ignilli exist. Those who go to their home, Vorpoura IV, just see an ugly, rocky planet. And of course it's not colonized. Oddly enough every time it's been tried the colonists were suddenly overcome by deppressive boredom and killed themselves. Scientists think it's something in the air.