there's not a whole lot going on

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


The coffee wasn't very good that day - mostly burned and tasting a bit like someone hadn't cleaned the pot in a while, but he didn't say anything. He just drank it in silence while staring out the window.

She asked him how the coffee was, explaining that it took longer to make than usual, even though she'd cleaned it the same as she always did.

He told her it was fine and took another sip as if to prove his point. Then he went back to staring out the window.

She turned in her seat to see what was of such interest, but couldn't see anything besides a few birds and a cat or two who seemed more interested in the flowers than the birds. She turned back around and looked at him.

"You're goin' home today, aren't you?" she asked.

"Yeah, you know that."

"I was just making conversation. Are you looking forward to it?"

"I would except for what I have to do."


"I just wish that old guy hadn't decided to take up residence on my grandfather's place. We've been farming that land for years, it's not like it even looks abandoned."

"You think he's looking for squatters' rights?"

"I don't know what he's looking for, I just wish he'd stopped in someone else's house."

He finished the last bit of coffee and stood to leave.

"I better be goin'. It's a long drive, and I'd like to get there before dark so I can get started in the mornin'."

"Alright." She hugged him. "I'll see ya' when you get back. Don't forget to call me a couple times."

He gave her a quick peck and walked out the door.

"I will."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Into the Highlands*

The shouting was finally beginning to fade behind him as Ethan plunged through the forest, struggling past the vines and shredding his skin and clothing against the thorns. He wanted to slow down, but he knew they would follow him and anyone else who had escaped the final onslaught of dragons and warriors. Dragons had not been seen in those parts for more than two centuries, and few in the city still believed, or rather, few had believed the great monsters had ever existed until today when on rushing wings and spouting firy streams they screamed into the village as the warriors on their backs showered arrows into the fleeing masses. The castle's defenses had weakened during the seven day siege, but they could have held out, could have won through with a little more time. And no dragons.

Ethan stifled a yell as he tumbled down the unseen cliff that broke the hill he'd been climbing. After shaking himself off, he found that he could not ascend the cliff, nor could he walk the shoreline, for the small patch of sand upon which he'd landed seemed to be the only break in the cliffs allowing a footrest. Knowing he had little time before the dragon warriors began seeking him, he started for the water when he suddenly landed face first in the dirt before him. Jumping to his feet, Ethan whirled to face his adversary, reaching for his sword and crouching in the only fighting stance he knew.

A smile on the face of Wilomena, Princess of the Gnomian Highlands, greeted him.

"Ah, Squire Ethan, you wouldn't use that sword on your protectress, would you?"

Ethan stood silently, poised for the expected attack.

"Squire Ethan, I see that you have grown untrusting and that a slight trick leads you to think the impossible. How is it that one who once danced in my father's halls now draws his sword as though to slay me?"

"Ah, Princess Wilomena? Forgive me, I did not know it was you. Your father's balls have been out of my memory for a very long time, and for a week now, I have been at the ready day and night for nothing but a fight. We have no time, I'm afraid, for greetings, but only for running. I do not think those who follow me will be any more affable toward you, however charming and beautiful you may be."

"That, my friend, is precisely why I sent you sprawling on your face just now. You cannot enter the river as you are, but you cannot stay here either. I will not follow you, for I have other business to attend to. No," she waved her hand at him, "I will be fine, gnomes do not have the same troubles with dragons that humans have, and that is why I may help you and you may not help me."

The doubtful expression on Ethan's face gave way to surprise as a great doorway appeared in the side of the cliff. At Wilomena's touch the gates swung open and a young Gnomian called Ethan forward. Still stunned, Ethan looked from Wilomena to the boy with uncertainty. His mind was made when a dragon flew past them as it searched for him in the river. As Ethan darted through the gates, he heard Wilomena calling, "Squire Ethan, remember my father, remember the balls, let yourself not forget them again!"

The gates closed as Ethan stood dumbfounded, and he did not move until the little Gnomian boy took his hand and led him through the hill.

*Quite possibly the worst thing I've written so far...

Thursday, August 7, 2008


We walked through the night, sure the hunting grounds would be bountiful, fully expecting the sun to rise over miles of billowing grasses reaching to our thighs. We knew beneath the surface we'd find what we were looking for - mice!

We'd had no luck when we started out in town, mostly losing cheese to the bigger mice like the Pirate Mice that occasionally follow unwary hunters returning for more cheese or better equipment. Everyone in town had been helpful, suggesting that we try our hand in the meadow, using a low grade cheddar that would likely only lure the weakest mice while we learned the techniques that would make us truly great mouse hunters.

And so, we walked through the night, hoping to set and bait our traps in the morning, so that we could leave the area surrounding them still and settled before the mice came out at night. We had heard that they were clever, recognizing the presence of humans and waiting a time before cautiously approaching, and we hoped that our plans would prove more clever than they.

As we watched, we scanned the undergrowth, looking for mouse sign, hoping to spy a few that would promise us good hunting the next day, but we saw none. We walked into the field as the sun began peering over the mountains, bathing the meadow in its rosy glow, and then we saw it: what must have been the biggest zombie mouse ever seen munching on the remains of someone's rat terrier. His owner must have run away, terrified by the mouse's enormity.

The four of us hunkered down, hoping we hadn't been spotted. Zombie mice were solitary animals, few hunters ever caught them back to back, and they were known for their ferocity when cornered. Hunters had lost fingers to zombies that weren't fully incapacitated by the trap. We'd even met one smelly old man who claimed the empty socket on his left side had been left by a zombie. They were tough cookies, and we didn't want to find out how tough.

As we watched the zombie mouse ripping the flesh from the terrier's dead bones, I became aware of a warm, stench filled breeze blowing across the meadow. I turned to glare at Mike who had eaten pickled herring and onions for dinner so that he would back away from my position, only to see the mother of all zombie mice glaring back at me.

The others were gone, I hadn't heard a struggle, and I'll never know what happened. Just as the zombie opened his cavernous jaws to rend flesh from bone, I heard the winding of the king's horn! The hunt was on, and the zombies were fleeing. As I stood from my position, crouched on the edge of the meadow, I watched in stunned horror as hundreds of zombie mice fled.

I knew in that moment that I would need a bigger trap and a lot more friends.

*MouseHunt has many various instantiations, one of which is a Facebook application that I play a bit too much (I checked my trap four times during this writing).

Monday, August 4, 2008


Sort of. I learned how to knit with the aid of several websites, but didn't quite knit what I had intended to knit. Instead, I wound up making this soap sack. If you'd like to read the details, they're over at Lost in Holland.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


I'll be back when Texas is done.