Saturday, September 25, 2004

It's for bombs, too.

During a discussion on the necessity of methane expulsions from man, woman, child, and livestock, an interesting idea was born. My opponent said that methane expulsions were necessary or the entire world would explode with flying body parts. I disagreed. He countered with the fact that decaying meat of any kind exudes an unforgettable fragrance of rot and gases and that without proper regulation flying body parts would soon ensue. I countered with the fact that free floating gas, however distasteful to the uneducated nose, does not cause explosions and only in enclosed containers is flying body parts a likelihood. In that respect alone, he is correct that out is much better than holding it in and flying body parts might well be the result of lack of egress for such methane buildups.

Thus was born the Tupperware bomb. Long known and lauded for it's air tight seal, rotting meat placed inside, appropriately sealed and burped to expel as much air as possible, Tupperware would provide the most effective and least likely detected bomb. Build-up of methane and other gases due to the continued rot of the meat inside, which would be undetectable to sensors and metal detectors. Placed in a likely location, it would explode and provide the flying body parts my friend believed was inevitable with less modern methods.

The Tupperware bomb is also ecologically friendly, although a big enough bomb might trigger a greenhouse effect in isolated locations, which would quickly dissipate once the gases decay and move out on the winds. It would be unwise to stand down wind of such an explosion and unhealthy for any painted surface.

In case of a Tupperware bomb explosion in your area, get as far from the central detonation area and wear nose plugs or gas masks. Those of you who are familiar with the fragrance of an outhouse on a hot summer day when the resident family has eaten too many unripe apples or late season vegetables or other odiferous comestibles, will suffer no ill effects. After all, your olfactory senses are already blunted and somewhat damaged, so sit back and enjoy the fresh country air.

That is all. Disperse.

From the kibbutz

An old friend who lives on a kibbutz in the desert of Israel, who is also a retired journalist, sends me interesting views from his vegetable patch and peanut butter making business cum bed & breakfast. The one he sent me this morning is quite interesting. Beware. It is full of sarcasm and a pithy view of Israeli-Arab relations that only someone on the inside with intelligence and wit can give. I give you...

Muslim Olympics

By Mike Levine

The Arab/Muslim world, unhappy with the International Olympics Committee for allowing those pushy Jews to participate and win several medals, have announced the formation of their very own Olympic games.

The first games will be held in 2008. A huge Olympic village will be built on the site of the former city of Tel Aviv, which was completely demolished following the massive evacuation ordered by Ariel Sharon, who, in a message to the first all-Arab Knesset, said, “We have no partner on the other side, therefore we must make tough unilateral decisions and make the hard concessions required for real peace. This will once and for all prove to the world how democratic and fair we are and eliminate anti-Semitism forever. This is the solemn promise made to me by US President Bin Laden.”

Although the plans are being kept secret, some information has leaked out. These are some of the events we have to look forward to:

Artistic beheadings. Points will be awarded for the slowness of cuts, the loudness of the gurgling, and the distance the blood squirts. Points will also be awarded based on ethnicity of those beheaded, with Jews earning the highest awards, Americans next, Brits third, and so on. France, of course, will be excluded as they are serving as honorary judges in the competition.

Bomb design. Entrants will be judged on technical skill, ability to handle explosives without killing themselves, and extra points will be awarded for the amount of shrapnel packed into the bomb; things such as razor blades, rat poison, ball bearings, nails, screws, straight pins, and rusty iron bars.

Two-faced lying. Anyone can lie, but it takes great technique to be able to lie your head off when facing western journalists saying things like “we condemn the suicide bombings’, then turning the other face to the Arab/Muslim press and praising the same bombers as honored Shaheeds, martyrs and heroes.

Refugee camp construction. This great sport began in 1948 and reached it’s peak in 1967 when hundreds of thousands of Arabs were encouraged by their leaders to run from a ar they started, and who were then thrown into slums, called refugee camps, told they were unwelcome by their brothers in Arab lands, and turned over to the UN for care and feeding.

Sword rattling. Iranians are masters at this sport, having become champions with the retirement of Saddam Hussein.

Whining. This sport is learned at mothers knee who demonstrates it is far better to complain than to take responsibility for your own mistakes.

Playing the victim. This is the sister sport of whining, and the two games are often played at the same time. Instant ability to wail loudly and beat yourself are greatly admired.

Lynching. A sport played usually by a large team against one or a maximum of two victims. Inspired by the activities held in the Coliseum by the ancient Romans, the main difference is that the Romans used hungry tigers, whereby the professional Muslim lynchers enjoy using their fingers to rip the eyes from their victims, and their hands to rip out the guts and still-beating hearts.

Burning flags. Not as easy as it looks. Takes great skill to drape the flag folds correctly, so the American and Israeli emblems show up well on TV, and the burning must be slow and picturesque. A team numbering thousands who must learn to stomp on the burning flags without themselves being set afire supports this.

Digging tunnels. Points are awarded for depth of tunneling, speed of digging, ability to hide the earth removed, and the dimensions must be large enough to fit the transfer of missiles, shoulder held rockets, thousands of boxes of ammunition and explosives, and all must be accomplished without detection.

Shooting guns in the air. A very exciting and colorful game played at every funeral by thousands, even funerals of car accident victims. Points are awarded by the number of innocent bystanders and kids the falling bullets can hit.

Street fairs and celebrations. To mark important national events, such as 9/11, the murder of Jewish children, and the bombing of bus loads of innocent civilians. Includes skills such as throwing candy in the streets, ululating wildly, as well as shooting in the air.

These are just some of the sporting events contemplating by the organizers of the Muslim Olympic Games in 2008. Others are definitely being considered. In fact the organizing committee, whose chairman is President-for-Eternity Arafart, are requesting members of the general community to make suggestions for other games. Please send your suggestions to me and I will see they reach the committee.

In addition to gold, silver, and bronze medals, outstanding participants will receive 70 dark eyed virgins and an embossed key to paradise.

Deserving women will be awarded the honor of cleaning stadium stands and toilets.


When the alarm went off at 6:15 this morning all I wanted to do was go back to sleep, but another urgent matter called me from my cocoon of warmth. I got up, took care of all biological needs, turned the thermostat up to 64 and hopped back into my cooling bed. I don't usually use an alarm clock, preferring instead to get up when I wake naturally...or until I can't sleep any more.

I laid under the covers getting warm and knowing the snooze button was about to run out and the alarm would scream at me to get up. Why the urgency this morning? I needed to get up and clean house because I had company coming at about 9...or so I thought. Didn't take very long to get everything straightened up but I do tend to leave house cleaning to the end of the week, which conflicts with my work schedule this weekend because I have two clients to finish work for this weekend. I'm much better at night, more energetic and more likely to get things done when I'm not tired from being up at the crack before dawn...and I heard the crack this morning.

Right now I'm yawning hugely and anxious to get back to bed for a little (all right, a long) nap. But I can't go back to bed. I have company...sort of. The landlords are staining the south side of the cabin and at the rate they are progressing they won't be done by dark. They have covered my wall of windows with blue tape and brown paper and the sun can't get thru to my plants or to me to keep me energized enough to stay awake. I'm like a sunflower on days like this, turning my face and body toward the sun to bask in the warm glow. Not today. I feel more like a potato that becomes poisonous with the touch of the sun.

Maybe I should change the music. Evocative and romantic songs are not conducive to any kind of hard-edged productivity. But all I want to do is sleep.

Luckily, the landlords will be out of here tonight and I will have my sanctuary back. I can turn my favorite music up as loud as it will go, take off all these clothes and get comfortable again. I can leave dishes in the sink for tomorrow and slouch into my favorite chair in the bedroom with my feet up and dive back into Cold Mountain or Mattie's manuscript. You really don't know how precious silence is even when it is punctuated by scolding squirrels, chattering chipmunks, and pattering porcupines chomping circles of bark from the trees. I even miss the soporific drone of bees drunk on nectar and the buzzing hum of hummingbirds dive bombing the deck and whistling past the windows.

Oh, for the simple peace and quiet of the near monastic life of writing, emailing, and research. I'm spoiled.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Quick shots

Welcome to a new visitor who has decided to stick around for the fun (which has been sadly lacking of late), [info]picturebabe.

In other news, I have been hired as the new horror host on Bella Online on my own horror literature page. It will take a bit of time to get it all organized and go thru training, but let me know your favorite hisses and kudos and I'll check them out. After all, it is all about the readership.

Happy Yom Kippur to my Jewish friends and Blessed Mabon to my Wiccan friends, and to the rest of you...have a happy whatever.

Oh, and there is a news flash. The [info]uniqueluddite has succeeded in beating me at Scrabble in our first game together. He knows as many words as I do. And the follow-up game is being hard fought at this moment. Gods, but I love a challenge.

That is all. Disperse.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

The now infamous Anne Rice response

Son of ETA: seems to have deleted the Anne Obrien Rice review (and the crop of reviews that came after it). Fortunately, some things which are posted on the internet have a way of being preserved forever.

From the Author to the Some of the Negative Voices Here, September 6, 2004
Seldom do I really answer those who criticize my work. In fact, the entire development of my career has been fueled by my ability to ignore denigrating and trivializing criticism as I realize my dreams and my goals. However there is something compelling about Amazon's willingness to publish just about anything, and the sheer outrageous stupidity of many things you've said here that actually touches my proletarian and Democratic soul. Also I use and enjoy Amazon and I do read the reviews of other people's books in many fields. In sum, I believe in what happens here. And so, I speak. First off, let me say that this is addressed only to some of you, who have posted outrageously negative comments here, and not to all. You are interrogating this text from the wrong perspective. Indeed, you aren't even reading it. You are projecting your own limitations on it. And you are giving a whole new meaning to the words "wide readership." And you have strained my Dickensean principles to the max. I'm justifiably proud of being read by intellectual giants and waitresses in trailer parks,in fact, I love it, but who in the world are you? Now to the book. Allow me to point out: nowhere in this text are you told that this is the last of the chronicles, nowhere are you promised curtain calls or a finale, nowhere are you told there will be a wrap-up of all the earlier material. The text tells you exactly what to expect. And it warns you specifically that if you did not enjoy Memnoch the Devil, you may not enjoy this book. This book is by and about a hero whom many of you have already rejected. And he tells you that you are likely to reject him again. And this book is most certainly written -- every word of it -- by me. If and when I can't write a book on my own, you'll know about it. And no, I have no intention of allowing any editor ever to distort, cut, or otherwise mutilate sentences that I have edited and re-edited, and organized and polished myself. I fought a great battle to achieve a status where I did not have to put up with editors making demands on me, and I will never relinquish that status. For me, novel writing is a virtuoso performance. It is not a collaborative art. Back to the novel itself: the character who tells the tale is my Lestat. I was with him more closely than I have ever been in this novel; his voice was as powerful for me as I've ever heard it. I experienced break through after break through as I walked with him, moved with him, saw through his eyes. What I ask of Lestat, Lestat unfailingly gives. For me, three hunting scenes, two which take place in hotels -- the lone woman waiting for the hit man, the slaughter at the pimp's party -- and the late night foray into the slums --stand with any similar scenes in all of the chronicles. They can be read aloud without a single hitch. Every word is in perfect place. The short chapter in which Lestat describes his love for Rowan Mayfair was for me a totally realized poem. There are other such scenes in this book. You don't get all this? Fine. But I experienced an intimacy with the character in those scenes that shattered all prior restraints, and when one is writing one does have to continuously and courageously fight a destructive tendency to inhibition and restraint. Getting really close to the subject matter is the achievement of only great art. Now, if it doesn't appeal to you, fine. You don't enjoy it? Read somebody else. But your stupid arrogant assumptions about me and what I am doing are slander. And you have used this site as if it were a public urinal to publish falsehood and lies. I'll never challenge your democratic freedom to do so, and yes, I'm answering you, but for what it's worth, be assured of the utter contempt I feel for you, especially those of you who post anonymously (and perhaps repeatedly?) and how glad I am that this book is the last one in a series that has invited your hateful and ugly responses. Now, to return to the narrative in question: Lestat's wanting to be a saint is a vision larded through and through with his characteristic vanity. It connects perfectly with his earlier ambitions to be an actor in Paris, a rock star in the modern age. If you can't see that, you aren't reading my work. In his conversation with the Pope he makes observations on the times which are in continuity with his observations on the late twentieth century in The Vampire Lestat, and in continuity with Marius' observations in that book and later in Queen of the Damned. The state of the world has always been an important theme in the chronicles. Lestat's comments matter. Every word he speaks is part of the achievement of this book. That Lestat renounced this saintly ambition within a matter of pages is plain enough for you to see. That he reverts to his old self is obvious, and that he intends to complete the tale of Blackwood Farm is also quite clear. There are many other themes and patterns in this work that I might mention -- the interplay between St.Juan Diago and Lestat, the invisible creature who doesn't "exist" in the eyes of the world is a case in point. There is also the theme of the snare of Blackwood Farm, the place where a human existence becomes so beguiling that Lestat relinquishes his power as if to a spell. The entire relationship between Lestat and Uncle Julien is carefully worked out. But I leave it to readers to discover how this complex and intricate novel establishes itself within a unique, if not unrivalled series of book. There are things to be said. And there is pleasure to be had. And readers will say wonderful things about Blood Canticle and they already are. There are readers out there and plenty of them who cherish the individuality of each of the chronicles which you so flippantly condemn. They can and do talk circles around you. And I am warmed by their response. Their letters, the papers they write in school, our face to face exchanges on the road -- these things sustain me when I read the utter trash that you post. But I feel I have said enough. If this reaches one reader who is curious about my work and shocked by the ugly reviews here, I've served my goals. And Yo, you dude, the slang police! Lestat talks like I do. He always has and he always will. You really wouldn't much like being around either one of us. And you don't have to be. If any of you want to say anything about all this by all means Email me at And if you want your money back for the book, send it to 1239 First Street, New Orleans, La, 70130. I'm not a coward about my real name or where I live. And yes, the Chronicles are no more! Thank God!

Beyond these waters lies success...DANGER!

As [info]elementalmuse pointed out in her journal, there is a tempest in a teapot that has garnered the attention of at least one major newspaper. Anne Rice has answered her critics on their mostly anonymous reviews of Blood Canticle, the last of the Vampire Chronicles. Like many another successful author, she has dared to end a beloved group of characters that have become legend. If you're looking for the review, don't; it has been deleted. And yet with the power of the Internet it is here: Anne Rice's response

Being a writer is a double-edged sword and sliding down the razor blade of life (as one close friend calls it) is no picnic for even the most famous. In many senses writing a book is like birthing a child that you give your best and send out into the world to be greeted, hopefully with praise and kindness, but more often than not with catcalls and jeers.

As a reviewer, I bring my experience, taste, and sensibilities to what I read and try to point the way to what I consider good and bad books and stories, but reviewing is a subjective art...and art it is. It is one person's opinion, my opinion. Even Poppy Z. Brite has taken on the anonymous and often vicious reviewers of in the name of striking out on a new track, one that does not involve horror or boy love or anything that is remotely close to what made her a recognizable name in horror. Writers evolve. They take chances. They move forward. And to be trapped by the words you write into yet another book about the same characters when you may or may not wish to continue them is to create the very scenario that Stephen King envisioned in Misery.

Writers become trapped by successful characters and worlds, places that no longer offer them creative freedom or a place to build, remodel, or even imagine any more. So many writers, yes, and even actors, have been trapped by personas they created that took on a life of their own. Unfortunately, without the man behind the curtain or inside the character's skin, the creation dies. It is like being an indentured servant for the rest of your life, forced to perform the same act over and over when your relish and joy are gone.

That being said, good and bad reviews are better than none at all because they generate sales. If you cannot stand the heat, stop standing in the fire. Writing requires strength and a willingness to risk yourself and your literary children, and both must learn to stand on their own and suffer, as Shakespeare once wrote in Hamlet, "...the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune..." or find some quiet and safe a/vocation where you will not be challenged.

Is there a story here...?

I'm not counting, but time stretches between us, separating us even when we are close enough to touch. I am constantly aware of you, my mind reaching out to touch you, find some sense of what you're thinking, feeling, experiencing. And in the meantime, I pour those emotions into the writing, making love to you with words since I cannot make love to you with my body.

You infuse my body, my mind, and my soul with a conflict of feelings, first searing me with passion and then filling me with contentment and peace and love. It's disconcerting and exciting and loving and pain all rolled into one.

So, today I wrote more scenes of passion flaring between two people, the scenes building in my mind from a word or a thought, growing from the core of emotion and passion that burns me in unquenchable flames. I immerse myself in you, call you by different names, and yet they are all you. The clear hazel fires that burn in your eyes between the dark fringes of your lashes. The crooked smile that sparks my nipples erect and races along my skin and into the deepest chambers of my heart. The open honesty of love that spears my heart and holds me prisoner. All of them, from the touch of your skin against mine, your touch setting fire to my nerves and body, starting the fountain that opens the way to join us and bind us in pleasure that is so much more than mere pleasure. Through it all, you are here, your hands on mine, your lips a fiery line from my neck to my shoulder and trailing down my spine. I reach for you with words since I cannot reach for you with my arms.

I seek you in dreams and sleep, connecting with the warmth and love I feel every time I taste your name on my lips and feel your heart beating in time with mine. My body aches for you and my soul yearns to be joined with yours. But I know I must wait and wait I do, impatiently at times, but ever hopeful.

Reading Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine, I read one of the little vignettes of the small town of Green Town about an 80+-year-old woman and a young 20-something newspaper reporter. He fell in love with her picture before he realized it was a very old picture, but they became friends, sparking town gossip because they sat and talked over tea and biscuits every day for weeks. On his last visit to her, she signs and seals a letter in a blue envelope and tells him when he gets it she will be dead, but for him not linger more than 20 years and to make sure he dies in his early 40s of pneumonia so that come 1985 or 1990 they can get the timing right and be together as they should have and seemed to have missed the second time around. she says he will order some exotic flavor of ice cream and a girl just the right age will comment. They will talk and it will be their time because they have come around again, gotten the timing right, and they will have their time together without age or circumstance between them. That begs for a story. That screams for someone to take the story to its conclusion and bring these star and time-crossed lovers together where they should have been all along.

Don't you agree?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Electricity off...

Last night, very early evening actually, the lights went out. They flickered and came on and went out again without warning. A blue-white light flashed in the back yard. I picked up the matches I keep near my desk, took a candle from my cabinet, and lit it. Predictably, it was a black candle. Fit my mood last night.

I came face to face with an end to dreaming and a snap back to reality. I tend to forget sometimes that my life is simple because I've chosen to keep it simple and that not everyone is able to do the same. My life has been complicated more times than I care to count, but I always reach for the simple answer.

Today someone asked me if I didn't see gray or did I only see black and white. The answer is that gray is a color, too, but it has become an excuse. Yes, there are extenuating circumstances from time to time, but that does not change things all that much. That is not a gray area. That is an exception to the rule of black and white, but the black and white remain.

Someone else said I was an action oriented person, which is true, but it was not always so. I have been hampered by indecision, by procrastination, and by not wanting to confront a situation head on and it has always ended up creating more problems than the original problem. You can't help avalanches, but if the river is slowly rising, cutting new trenches in the levees and you don't shore up the foundations, you can be sure the river will come crashing thru the disintegrating barrier and take away your house. There's a great line in Cold Mountain.

Ruby Thewes is talking about the insanity of the war. Basically it boils down to: everybody's complaining about the rain, but they made the weather and then they go outside and stand out in it and yell, "Shit! It's raining!"

I usually save my personal rants for my paper journal because writing helps me think and sort thru things. But this is my journal, too, and something I'm going thru might help someone else sort something out or get a different perspective. Writing in my paper journal helps me talk to me, but I'm not much good for interactive feedback...not without someone sending for the white coats with the wrap around jacket and the big net.

So you're all guinea pigs in my evil plot to make the world a simpler place. So quit kicking and fall in line. Make your life simpler. Follow me right off the cliff and into the sea like the good little lemmings I know you all are.

But seriously, we all tend to make things more difficult than they are. We worry about next year, next decade, and about things that haven't even happened. I've done it. You've done it. And it paralyzes us all. You don't know what will happen until you make a move. Think of the absolute worst that could happen (and I don't mean important parts falling off either) and if you can face that you can face anything.

I've had some interesting adventures in my life and things have not always been easy, but one thing I know that few people ever find out is that I can face anything and live thru it. I have walked thru the fire and walked out the other side intact. I wouldn't suggest anyone follow in my footsteps, but if you never take a chance, if you spend the rest of your life being afraid of what might happen you will never move far enough away to find out that you just missed out on the best part of your life.

Life is about risk. Take a risk, even if it's only doing something you've always wanted to do but were afraid to try. Go to a mall and sit and watch the people if you're afraid of social situations. Tell someone you love them even if they don't say it back. Be honest with yourself and put yourself out there. Sometimes you will fall down and get dirty and sometimes...more times than you realize...someone will offer you a hand and help you up. And then there are the times you try something completely out of the ordinary and find you like it so much you want to do it again.

My grandmother always said we weren't allowed to not like something unless we tried it first. Gagging, coughing, and various disgusting sounds followed sometimes, but at least we knew what we did and didn't like. And sometimes we got a surprise and something we were sure we'd never like turned out to be something we loved.

In the meantime, here are a few lyrics:

I got crazy yesterday and I called her to say,
"Please, baby, won't you come home tonight?"
I can't even trust my brain to get my heart in from the rain
I know that girl's a hurricane in her own right.
Then, early next morning after she was going I sat there in my chair all alone
I called my friend a cryin', asking him why that girl was always doing me so wrong.
He said, when the gates are all down and the signals are flashing
and the whistle is screaming in vain,
if you stay on the tracks ignoring the facts,
well, you can't blame the wreck on the train.

No, you can't blame the wreck on the train.

Well, how many times have I promised myself
not to do the same thing as before?
I swear I will leave it alone and believe it
and then I'll turn around and do it some more.

Well fool me one time it's shame on you
Fool me twice it's shame on me
That's what my best friend warned me
when he called me this morning
then he reminded me...

He said, when the gates are all down
and the signals are flashing,
and the whistle is screaming in vain,
if you stay on the tracks ignoring the facts,
well, you can't blame the wreck on the train.
You gotta quit blaming that train.

Believe it.

You're not safe...

These past few months I have read a lot of journal postings by people enmeshed in untenable relationships. They complain. They moan. They gnash their teeth, but they do nothing about it. They might send a link to a web site or a journal post or even write a letter, but nothing changes for more than a minute. Nothing happens. And still they complain, still they moan and gnash their teeth about their horrible situations.

Guess what? It's time to do something about your situation. No one can do it for you.

If you're unhappy and not getting what you need from your relationship you have two options: get out or shut up and put up with it.

Your friends want to be supportive, but you should not expect your friends to be tolerant and supportive forever unless you do something to change the situation. It's in your hands. Whining about the same situation post after post is the same as standing out in the rain griping about getting wet. Get out of the rain or enjoy being wet. There is no middle ground.

It may seem safe in that little hell away from paradise you have constructed and it certainly is familiar, but it is not safe. Dying by inches is not safe. You might as well climb into your grave and pull the dirt in over you because you're dead. No situation is safe--not love, not hatred, not living. But hell can be really comfortable when you trade happiness for it. After all, who cares about the heat and the darkness when it's something you know?

What does it take for you to do something about your situation? Guts? A fire under your fence? Hope?

You're not safe. Living is not safe. Happiness is not an easy road and it is not safe either. You have a choice and making no choice is still a choice.

If you're unhappy, find what makes you happy and go after it. If you're afraid, forget it. Everyone is afraid. If you're dying by inches, either climb into the grave and die or get up off the fence and live. There is no middle ground. You cannot eat your cake and have it, too. So, get out or shut up and crawl back into the hell you created with a smile on your face and a shovel for the coal to keep it nice and hot. Life will not wait forever. Sooner or later it will give up and move on.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Masculinity 101

If you haven't read [info]wordweaverlynn's post or aren't on her friends list, check it out. I've said the same thing for years, garnering lots of unwanted attention from the feminist front.

If you don't read the comments, read this: Just because the grass is greener on the other side doesn't mean it isn't over the septic tank.

Be smart. Check it out for yourself and learning Masculinity 101. You owe it to the rest of us to see things from the other side.

Hold onto your husbands, girls...

I'm back.

Which is apropos of nothing. I just like the line.

Anyway, I have nothing to say so I will say it and make it as long and pointless as possible.

My resurrected friend from Israel, the retired journalist, chastised me today for being an elitist piggie about writing keyword crap. Now, this come from a kosher vegan Jew who recently urged me to give up that filthy meat (piggy) or I'd never meet a nice Jewish accountant or (sorry had to double check the verbiage) nice Muslim beheader. On that note, I am proud to say I finished all six of my little erotic scenarios with some help from a very [info]uniqueluddite who helped me write the last one where girls were kissing. I felt it was time he stretched his wings and tried something new. He did very well, by the way, and I'm pleased with the results, although the 300-word limitation meant I had to cut out some of the really good stuff. So, thank you very much, [info]uniqueluddite, for your views and your prose. Maybe you are right and you're turning into a woman. Guess I'll have to become a lesbian, huh?

It seems that while I was working erotic magick, my friend (for the time being anyway) [info]elementalmuse, has been blackening my name around the LJ communities by exaggerating my selfless devotion to her well being in helping her change her eating habits, but saying I have been *itching her out over not eating. This is a horrible and completely false piece of information. And the next time she forgets I'm going to remind her much less nicely with my foot up her bum. I owe it to her since she has already blackened my name and my gentle personality.

And now for the good stuff -- or semi-mediocre stuff, as the case may be.

Please remember the follow are only vignettes not meant to go beyond a certain point. There is no graphic sex or violence (quit time there will be), just the beginning. The rest is up to your imagination.

For the first and last time, I present whoring for dollars:

1/ Kiss

"No!" Darla pulled away from Scott. "You haven't called or come by for a week." Darla spun around, pushing Scott away as he moved closer. Her first instinct was to scratch the smile off his face. How could she have believed him? She shook her head and backed away.

"I called."

Tears glittered in Darla's eyes as she clenched her fists at her sides, rigid with confusion, anger, and hurt. "You didn't leave a message."

Scott took a step closer. Darla threw her hands up. "No! I meant it."

"Honey, let me explain."

"So you can tell me more lies?" Darla sidled past Scott, keeping as far from him as possible, and opened the door. "Just go. And don't call me again." Darla looked at the floor.

Scott's hand brushed hers on the door knob. She jerked back. Scott caught her hand. "I did call."

Tears slid down her cheeks.

Scott brushed away the tears, pulling Darla slowly closer. "I got called out on an emergency run into the bush. It took longer than anyone expected."

"I thought…."

Stroking the back of her neck, Scott urged Darla closer. Shivers trailed down her spine like the drip of fiery ice. Scott's lips were warm against her ear. "I missed you."

The hard knot in the pit of her stomach uncurled.

The clear green of Scott's eyes glittered with passion. Darla's body throbbed. Hot kisses rained down her neck and across her shoulders, sparking her nipples erect. Rising on her toes, Darla slid her arms around Scott's neck, acutely aware of the growing bulge against her belly. Scott's fingers slid down her back and cupped her buttocks.

"Please," Darla whispered.

Scott devoured Darla's lips, sucking her tongue in and out, peeling the straps from her shoulders as she reached for his zipper.

2/Sheila/Jonathan -

Nearly jumping out of her skin when the doorbell rang, Sheila straightened her skirt, took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Jonathan was an old friend who happened to be in the area. He's probably married with ten kids by now. We're just saying hello and catching up, she reminded herself.

As soon as Sheila opened the door she nearly fainted. His voice over the phone had been deep and masculine, but she wasn't prepared for the tall, handsome man standing on the steps. The memory of the chubby boy in his Boy Scout uniform dissolved as they hugged.

Jonathan's hand was warm against Sheila's arm and goose bumps pebbled her skin as they stood together on the deck.


Sheila shook her head, closed her eyes and took slow, deep breaths to calm her racing pulse.

Turning Sheila around, Jonathan cupped her chin in his hand and tilted her face upward. Amber fire burned in his eyes and a ribbon of desire exploded in Sheila's belly. "This can't be happening," she protested weakly as she pulled away.

Jonathan caught Sheila's hand and gently turned her around. "Not this time, Sheila." Tasting Sheila's lips, Jonathan ran his tongue over her bottom lip.

Fingers twining in her thick chestnut curls, Jonathan tilted her face up, looked deep into her violet eyes. He kissed her again, coaxed her tongue with his own, molding her body against him.

"Why now?"

"I'm tired of waiting." Jonathan picked Sheila up and set her down on the table, moving between her legs. He pushed her skirt up her legs, caressing the smooth skin of her inner thighs.

Sheila gasped.

Jonathan pressed his hot, hard length against her sensitive mound.

"You certainly took your time," Sheila said as she wrapped her legs around Jonathan and scooted closer.

3/ Couple on beach

"Peace at last," Trevor said as he slid his arm around Elena. "The kids are finally off to college and I have you all to myself."

The sun gilded the steel trusses of the bridge across the bay, lowering into the gentle swells and foam. A breeze, scented with the promise of autumn, tickled the hairs away from Elena's cheeks. Trevor kissed the side of her neck. Elena snuggled closer. "That tickles," she said.

"I know something else that tickles, too." Trevor slid the sweater off her sun bronzed shoulder and traced a line of liquid fire with the tip of his tongue.

"Don't!" Elena pleaded. "Someone might see." She looked around at the empty beach, sighing as Trevor's cool fingers grazed her flushed breasts.

"Never bothered you before." Trevor slid the sweater lower, exposing the tops of full soft breasts. He lowered his head and mouthed her nipples through the fabric.

Elena arched her back and leaned against the picnic table in the fading light. Stars winked on above her and she sighed when Trevor cupped her breast and pulled her closer, his other hand slipping beneath the waistband of her shorts, dipping into the hidden honeyed warmth.

Giving herself over to the moment, Elena reached beneath Trevor's shirt, fingertips barely touching his sun-warmed skin, tracing circles and swirls across his belly and up his sides. Trevor shivered at her touch. Elena slid her hands up the length of his back.

Trevor kissed Elena softly, searching. Elena's teeth caught his lower lip and sucked it. A deep moan escaped his lips as Elena thrust her tongue into Trevor's mouth, sliding along the length of his tongue, suckling his tongue. She writhed in his lap, wrapping her legs around his waist.

"Please. Now," Elena said as she unbuttoned Trevor's jeans.

4/ Embrace

How do you tell your best friend you want more than friendship? Lilia wondered while she opened the refrigerator and took out vegetables and meat for the dinner she and Johann were making together.

Johann stood behind Lilia, his breath warm on the nape of her neck, sending a fever of desire through her that she fought to ignore. He reached around her, his body so close to her she was afraid to breathe.

With a quick peck on her cheek, Johann took the steaks from Lilia and strode to the counter. Lilia breathed slowly.

She didn't know how or when it happened, but somewhere during their five-year friendship, Lilia fell in love with Johann. She watched women come and go, the silent and faithful friend in whom Johann confided all the details of his relationships.

Oh, if only Johann would take Lilia in his arms and search out the heated wells of her desire with his long, strong fingers, kneading her heated flesh until she was ready to accept him deep inside.

Closing the refrigerator door, Lilia took the vegetables to the counter and began preparing the salad. Johann heated the grill and finished rubbing dry marinade on the steaks, kissing her cheek as he bustled past.

Lilia shuddered at his touch. She knew she could not go on like this, not any more.

Pushing the salad bowl aside, Lilia walked out onto the deck and stared into the jeweled sky, whispering a prayer.

"Lilia?" Johann walked onto the deck and stood behind her, his hands on her shoulders. "Why so quiet tonight?"

Tears glistening in her eyes, Lilia turned and put her arms around Johann's neck and kissed him.

Johann smiled tenderly down at Lilia and kissed her again. "Dinner can wait," he whispered as they embraced.

5/ Girl in field

"Marcy, wait." Peter ran across the field, jeans swishing in the tall grass. "Where are you going?" he called.

All Peter could see was Marcy's short blonde hair bobbing above the tall grass before it disappeared altogether.

Peter kept running, casting about on all sides, looking for some trace of his girlfriend. Marcy was as exasperating and wild and exciting as she was unpredictable. He wasn't sure what she would do next, but she promised today was the day.

"Marcy!" Peter called as he tumbled to the ground nearly on top of his elfin-featured girlfriend. Her eyes sparkled with mischief as she laughed at him sprawled in the grass.

"When I said you could jump my bones, I didn't mean it literally," Marcy giggled.

She leaned back on her hands, eyes closed, face turned toward the sun like a beautiful flower. Peter sat up. "Here?" he asked.

"Why not?" Marcy kicked off her shoes and took off her jacket. Peter watched mesmerized while she quickly shed her clothes, revealing inch after inch of rosy hued skin until she was as naked as a pixie of the field. He was too stunned to move or press his advantage.

"What are you waiting for?" she asked, tugging off his jacket and pulling his shirt over his head.

Embarrassed, Peter stood up and turned his back on Marcy's greedy stare. He pushed his jeans down and stepped out of them, skin prickling with goose flesh.

He heard Marcy stir behind him, taking his hand and urging him down onto the ground next to her. Peter scooted around. Marcy looked up at him, eyelids lowered, suddenly shy. "I always wanted it to be you," she said in a faint whisper as Peter lay down in the soft warm grass and pulled Marcy to him.

6/ Girls kissing

The scent of smoke and the clear crisp days of autumn followed Sarah and Rebecca as they walked across campus, leaves swish swishing around their feet.

"I can't believe Hardman gave me a B. I worked really hard on that paper." Rebecca kicked up a fountain of gold and scarlet leaves.

"He's hard on everyone. I had him last semester and barely squeaked by with a C." Sarah smiled up at Rebecca, marveling at the deep brown of her eyes. She shook herself. Rebecca could never be interested in her. "Come on. Let's take a real hike for a change," she said as she started up the steep trail under the shadow-dappled canopy of scarlet maples.

Rebecca hesitated. "I'm not sure about this."

"You can make it." Slender coltish legs gracefully maneuvering the jutting rocks and roots, Rebecca climbed up the slope, stumbling a little at the top, then slipped and fell into a pile of leaves at the side of the narrow trail, pulling Sarah down on top of her.

"Just call me Grace," Rebecca said with a tinkling laugh. She pulled a leaf from Sarah's burnished curls, brushing her cheek with a lingering touch.

Sarah smelled the warm sweet scent of jasmine as Rebecca kissed her softly on the lips. Green and gold flecks shimmered in the deep brown depths of Rebecca's eyes, a slow smile playing at the corners of her full coral lips.

Breathing unevenly, Sarah caressed the soft curve of Rebecca's cheek and kissed her, tingling with anticipation and excitement. Rebecca sighed softly.

Like a butterfly, her fingers stroked and darted away down Sarah's neck to her shoulders, teasing down over Sarah's breasts. Sarah, usually more aggressive, lay back and arched against Rebecca's touch. She gasped once as Rebecca's slender fingers dipped toward the blazing center of heat. Sarah pushed against Rebecca's hand.

"My place or yours?" Rebecca whispered.

Now about that cigarette...

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Something old is new again...

More than 20 years ago I had an adventure in New Orleans, some of which I have alluded to. My mother found a piece I wrote about it immediately after the adventure and sent me a copy. If you're interested in new old stories...

Vacation can be such an ugly word when you're stuck in a strange city with no money, very few clothes, and no transportation. In fact, vacation isn't really the word I would use. The word is nightmare. No, that isn't exactly right either. If you're stuck in a nightmare all you have to do is wake up. When you're stranded in New Orleans for the first time in your life waking up won't help. Maybe I should get right down to cases and tell you about my most memorable vacation.

New Orleans conjures visions of Mardi Gras, parties, dancing in the streets, parades, and, if I'm to be totally honest, drunken revelry.

I arrived in New Orleans with a knowledgeable friend across a bridge of light. I thought I was on the road to a romantic adventure. It was an adventure all right, but I'm still not sure what kind.

We stayed at the YMCA at Lee Circle, so named for its geometric configuration and the fact that a bronze statue of General Robert E. Lee astride a horse decorates the center of a cement circle amid a beautiful floral display.

If you're ever in need of neat and inexpensive accommodations, the YMCA in any town is ideal.

My room was comfortable and clean, if a bit Spartan. Downstairs was a restaurant specializing in healthy cuisine, a swimming pool and an exercise room all available for use very cheaply. My friend and I were quartered on different floors, which is where my trouble began. When I awoke the next morning ready to see the sights, he had disappeared. Checking at the desk I discovered he had checked out. This wasn't a major problem unless I add that when I checked on my car it had checked out with him, along with most of the money in my wallet. To be fair, I must admit that he did leave me $50, most of which I spent in a pay phone trying to locate him. I should have saved my cash.

My vacation had begun in earnest.

As I said before, staying at the Y is a really good choice. It's economic and they house an agency known as Travelers Aid, a fact I didn't know until I converted most of my money to quarters and dumped them uselessly into the public telephone. Indeed, Travelers Aid is a miraculous agency. They called all around Florida, where my friend and I had been living before the vacation, and Indiana, where his parents resided, to assist me in tracking him down.

Our friends in Florida were very helpful. They told me he had sold all the furniture in my apartment, which they were in the process of removing, and gave notice to the landlord that we were moving out. This was bad news enough, but I also discovered that he had mentioned that after dropping me off in New Orleans (a fact of which I had been completely unaware) he was heading west.

The next step was contacting his parents in Indianapolis who were kind, but of no help at all. They had disowned him several years before. The Travelers Aid representative smiled understandingly and asked me if I had anyone else I wanted to call. My first instinct was to phone my parents, but being the proud, upstanding, and thoroughly bull-headed individual that I am, I decided to tough it out alone.

Travelers Aid offered me an option. If I would like to stay in New Orleans they would offer me two weeks of help in finding a job, give me some free coupons for local fast food restaurants and allow me to use their phone and address in order to make job contacts. The hitch was that I would have to find a job. I also had to find a place to live. The YMCA wasn't free.

If I had been a man, my alternatives would have been better, but as a woman there were few choices. I could sleep on the street, in the McDonald's restaurant on Canal Street (as long as I continued to buy something to eat) or I could go to the Baptist Mission on Magazine Street, which was the rub.

As a woman I would only be allowed to stay at the mission every other night since their policy forbade women staying two nights in succession. Had I been a man I would have been allowed to stay every night for a small charge or I could rent a lounge during the day. I guess women didn't need accommodations on a regular basis. There were other options, but I wasn't quite ready to throw in the towel yet.

Food wouldn't be much of a problem with my small supply of coupons ($5.00 a day). When the coupons ran out I could also go down to the monastery on Tchoupitoulas, which only housed men, and get a free meal from the monks. This involved waiting in a very long line with a motley group consisting of winos, street people, and the like. Being a woman was a bonus-finally. Being of the female gender meant I went to the head of the line. (I guess the monks were afraid of the influence of feminine wiles being used on their parishioners if we stayed out there among the men too long.) If you had a male friend you could pose as a couple and get ahead of the line together to enjoy a filling meal of bland variety and taste.

The Baptist Mission was my first stop since I must vacate my YMCA room in a couple of days-we had prepaid several days in advance. I got down to the business at hand and began pounding the streets, and the YMCA's free phone, for a job-to no avail. Every interviewer I contacted asked the same question: "Why did you decide to move to New Orleans?" I couldn't very well tell them the truth. Could I?

"Why, I moved here to enjoy the scenery?" No, that didn't sound quite right. "I have friends down here who recommended it highly." Well, that was closer to the truth, but it still didn't get me any jobs. Finally, I gave in after uncounted rejections and near misses and walked down into the French Quarter, the tarnish pearl of New Orleans.

Walking into the Vieux Carre, as it is called by the residents, was like entering a foreign world. The sights, sounds, and smells that assail you there are at once delicious and pernicious. Little red lobster-like creatures were piled high on many a platter in vivid display while inexperienced visitors smiled weakly while patient waiters and waitresses educated them in the proper handling, disposal and enjoyment of the native delicacies known as crawfish (or mudbugs to the unknowing).

At other tables in diverse establishments practiced patrons downed quantities of raw oysters on the half shell garnished with myriad combinations of chili sauce, hot sauce, lemon juice and horseradish, either directly from the shell or on saltines with expressive relish. The usual fare of hot dogs, hamburgers, and cafeteria-style menus were also represented alongside places that offered pizza slice or whole pies and a local staple-the muffaletta.

The muffaletta is a large round of hearth-baked bread which is split in half and topped with meat slices and cheese and grilled in pizza ovens. When the toasted concoction is removed from the oven it is opened once again and a salad of marinated olives, onions, and secret spices is deposited. Once the top is precariously in place it is cut into quarters and served. Only a person with a hearty appetite and a disregard for his gastronomic capacity should attempt to eat an entire muffaletta. While it is an enjoyable feast, it is nevertheless a feast which could easily feed four, or two with good appetites.

Aside from the visible victuals of the French Quarters, there are a host of more fashionable restaurants that tantalize the passerby with edible curiosities possessing names out of fiction novels from days gone by. There are gumbos, etoufees, French cuisine of infinite variety and name, and the more standard fare of mainstream enterprises. Nothing is left to chance in the Quarter's offerings. All tastes and novelties are represented in an astonishing array of cuisine.

If you have the urge to partake of liquid refreshment, there too the French Quarters outdoes itself with selections of the more pedestrian type as well as a Baskin-Robbins-style place where you can buy daiquiris that span an entire spectrum of taste and visual array unequaled anywhere. You may take your libation anywhere in the Quarter, or the city for that matter, and quench your thirst as you stroll among the shops, restaurants and sights. In some locations you may even buy a souvenir glass named for your particular cocktail, such as the Hurricane, that was first invented and distributed by Pat O'Brien's on Right upper extremity St. Peter-named for the famous actor Pat O'Brien. Don't misunderstand, you can purchase the Hurricane in any locale in Louisiana but its birthplace is Pat O's, as it is affectionately called by the denizens.

There are the usual assortment of tourist traps and scams that abound in areas where money flows freely from vacationers-or conventioneers. Racy lingerie and accessories, feather masks, Mardi Gras loot, Voodoo toys and sundry souvenirs can be found in any number of shops. If you prefer a more expensive remembrance you need only walk over to Right upper extremity Royale and browse the antique, jewelry, crystal and Civil War emporiums that sedately announce their presence in authentic storefronts dating back to the Quarter's colorful and roguish past.

Above the hustle of commercial fanfare in the cobblestone streets of the Quarter perch the wrought iron balconies where, during Carnival time, revelers drop tokens, beads and other festive trappings on celebrants in the streets. In calmer times, the balconies perch above the spectacle like decorous structures of an age gone by.

Chief among the architectural wonders of the French Quarter is the St. Louis cathedral, its gothic presence a brooding counterpoint to the riot of kaleidoscopic chaos that reigns in its very shadow. The verdant plaza that fronts the cathedral is known as Jackson Square, so named for the fenced-in sanctuary that boasts a bronze statue of General Andrew Jackson mounted on a rearing stallion.

The chief attraction of Jackson Square is not so much the converted structure of Jax Brewery, now honeycombed with eateries and shops, the Café du Monde, where the airy sugar-dusted confection of beignets hold sway, or the moonwalk, that lover's lane along the banks of the Mississippi River where you can purchase a ride on one of the paddlewheel steamers that make scheduled stops there.

The main attraction is still the conglomeration of artists who have earned the right to set up their easels to display their talents for all to see and buy. Only the most persistent and most gifted artistic geniuses may pitch their tents along the wall of Jackson Square's marble and wrought iron fence.

Many other sights and delights await the earnest traveler and the milling throngs that inhabit the reaches of New Orleans and the Vieux Carre, but they are still waiting to be discovered. Brochures and catalogs hint at the mystery and beauty of New Orleans, but only a personal trip along the city's cobbled streets among its throngs will truly satisfy the senses.

Transportation choices abound in New Orleans and the French Quarter. If you have the money, you can rent a horse-drawn carriage and see the sights beneath a fringed canopy while the driver points out the salient points of interest. Walking, of course, is the main form of transportation on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter since the only cars allowed within its confines are public or delivery vehicles, thus making it easy for pedestrian traffic. If you venture outside the Quarter you will find one of the best public transportation systems in existence, which includes the St. Charles street car, still in operation.

Even in the midst of my curious misadventures I found time to stroll those historic boulevards and drink in the ambience around me. Lack of money shouldn't be a deterrent to enjoying the carnival atmosphere of New Orleans.

If you wish you can hire on at Lucky Dog to push a hot dog-shaped cart and hawk your wares to the multitudes for a percentage of the sales. If you are of a more adventurous nature you can also opt to pass out literature or try your hand at acting in any one of the local pitch shows. If you possess a commercially artistic nature you can purchase a vendor's license inexpensively and, with a few pigments and glitter, paint faces for a fee. If you're willing to undergo a little weakness, you can sell your plasma at one of the donor centers every other day for $15 or $20 to get you through the rough times. (Since they only extract the plasma and give you back your red corpuscles, you can replenish your plasma stores with a large drink-of any kind.)

There are also the street performers who dance, juggle, sing, perform magic and mime or acrobatics, tell jokes, or just entertain you for tips and spare change. Shoe shine boys are an institution in the French Quarter. For a handful of change or a couple of dollars they baffle you with their riddles, tap dance on homemade taps made of bottle caps or bits of metal, or, if you really want to polish your image, shine your shoes. Free enterprise is the name of the game and many transients, indigents, and unlucky people find their way to the Quarter to make enough money to live, eat and bolster their dignity for just one more day.

Truly, in all the world there is no place I would rather be homeless than in New Orleans where the poor and the affluent stride side by side in pursuit of their dreams.

* * *

Amazing how someone's writing can change in a few years.

Will wonders never cease...

Just when I thought I had it all--peace and contentment--my past comes looking for me. First it was a friend from high school and then two more guys came looking for me. One is a friend from Ohio. He and I used to meet at Starbucks every Saturday morning to chat and trade jokes while he told me how he was getting along with his flying trials. You see, he told me he could actually fly and not with a plane, but he never actually got around to showing me he could fly more than a few feet.

Well, a few weeks ago Duke emailed me and told me he was going in for heart surgery. He came out of it just fine, but he surprised me by asking me if I had ever considered him as a boyfriend. I told him no. I always considered him as a friend, a good friend. He was a little sad about that. Seems he misses those Saturday mornings eating muffins and showing me how far he could fly.

A couple of days ago another surprise arrived in my email. A retired reporter from New York living in Israel emailed to ask how I was doing and where I was. I haven't heard from him in at least three years, but being the good reporter he is he tracked me down. I must be leaving trails of radioactive bread crumbs or something. Anyway, he's still in a kibbutz in Israel running his little B&B and he is about to be joined by an Australian lady who has a thing for retired Jewish reporters who just can't stay away from typewriters or peanut butter. Surprisingly, he informed me that all his previous attempts to get me to Israel were not just for my patronage of his private B&B but for nefarious purposes of hedonistic pleasure. Go figure. I thought he was kidding all this time.

A bigger surprise is that he has read my journal and told me, and I quote, "I forgot what a good writer you are." High praise indeed from a syndicated investivative journalist of his stripe, even if he is retired. Imagine that.

He also chastized me for my self destructive low self esteem in getting involved with married men, but I don't quite see it that way. Of course, he does have a personal prejudice since he is a single, retired, naturalized Israeli kibbutz living B&B owner, but he did have a point. I explained that I was closing some doors to the past and getting rid of the self destructive tendencies and low self esteem by living in this mountain cabin alone sans male companionship eating pork. To which he replied, "You ain't never going to find a nice Jewish accountant or fanatical Muslim beheader eating that filthy stuff." Pork, he means. Like I can afford pork. Besides, no Jewish accountant or Muslim beheader is going to be happy up here in the back of beyond without numbers to crunch and people to behead, so it's a moot point.

At any rate, I need to find those radioactive bread crumbs and sweep the trail for tracks or I'm liable to end up over run by men and there goes my peace and contentment. I mean, really, men and me in a secluded cabin? What are the odds?