Native Gods

“There is nothing left to win.”

“No, Rodrick. There is always something left to win.”

The town of Lambest nestled in the valley below was bustling tonight. Its citizens ate, slept, and made love fitfully beneath the light of their ever-torches.

“It’s not right,” Pluvius said, tugging at the tip of the beard which rested on his belly in time with each stressed syllable.

“Of course it isn’t right!”

“It’s never right.”

Rodrick shook his head. “Just say it, Pluve.”

“It’s not enough that they aren’t considered slaves. To be told you are free and to know you are free are two different things.”

Rodrick hesitated. “Pluvius. You can’t stop it.”

Silence.

“You know what they’ll do,” Pluvius said. “You know what they always do.”

“Pluve, why? These creatures, they’re barely sentient. They aren’t slaves anymore. Isn’t that enough?”

“No.”

“All right. So tell me. Tell me what we’re going to do.”

“We’re going to arm them.”

“You’re insane!”

“With knowledge, Rodrick. What do you think will happen?” Pluvius put a finger to the sky. “What’s going to happen when they come back?”

Rodrick shrugged.

“They’ll kill them. Or worse, re-enslave them. Is that what you want?”

“That isn’t what happens, Pluve. At worst, they’ll be relocated to another planet. That’s the way it always goes.”

“Yeah, relocated to the last planet that we pre-pillaged. We force our leftovers on them. Is this what we’re doomed to do? Again and again? Is that what we’re meant for? Walking over another race just for the supposed benefit of our own?”

“C’mon, Pluve. It’s not like they even know how to harness the planet’s resources.”

Pluvius smiled. “Not yet, my friend. Not yet.”

Rodrick’s eyes widened. “You can’t be serious. We’ll be burned alive.”

“That’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.”

“Pluvius, I’m begging you. They’re barely sentient. Chattel.”

“That’s where you’re wrong, Rod.” Pluvius smiled his best and most devilish grin. The uncertainty spreading over his friend’s face only made the grin widen. “We’re going to give them a fighting chance.”

Shapeshifting into two-legged lifeforms twice the size of the natives, Pluvius and Rodrick had no trouble convincing the locals they were gods. Then they went to work.

Teaching the primitive beings the secrets of tapping into their planet’s core was not an easy one. It took several lifetime’s worth of indigenous lifeforms just to finish creating the harvesting equipment. The refining equipment took twice as long. Rodrick eloped with one of the natives a few generations before the process was finished. A generation later, his wife surely departed, Rodrick did not return.

Pluvius found himself teaching the natives how to fashion not the weapons of war, not the tools of the conqueror, but good and useful things. The secrets of the ever-torch he imparted, and the earth-travelling disc, the hat of crystal rainbows, and stone oxen that would pull their plows every day and neither tire nor sweat.

Pluvius ruled them with a kindly heart and a firm fist. Crime faded into myth as the citizens thrived under their new god, and they created paradise with their new-found technology. Pluvius smiled each day as he awoke and he smiled himself into sleep each night.

To his surprise, and with the aid of the planet’s essence, they constructed new and original wonders. They made walking statues of alabaster as tall as twenty natives, equipped with spears like steeples that pierced the hearts of forest creatures again and again, until they returned with a kabob so full it could feed an army, had ever known armies. They made fountains of cackling essence that sparkled up to meet the stars, and they fashioned discs that could break the atmosphere, that they might meet the stars themselves one day, should the desire or need arise.

It was another two generations before the Intergalactic Conglomerate reappeared. Their last rock depleted, they had finally returned to claim the treasure they believed had remained buried.

Rodrick was at their side. He did not look into the face of his former friend as Pluvius was shackled. The natives were confused, and many were angry, but Pluvius told them in their scattered, chittering tongue not to be afraid as he was led away to the colonization craft.

“You’ve taught the mice how to reach out and touch the sky, Pluvius,” the Lord of Space and Time said in an amused tone. “And how do you respond to the charges against you?”

Pluvius smiled his best and most devilish grin. “I did it. I did it, didn’t I? Taught the little bastards everything. Your precious new planet is quite used, yes, nearly used up, I’m afraid. Now, will you let them be? Will you return to the stars and simply let them be?”

The Lord of Space and Time was quiet for a moment, then replied, “I’m afraid that is an impossibility, Pluvius. You never taught them how to kill. How do you expect them to survive? They will move to another planet once this one is drained, and they will die in the process.”

“I thought not, my Lord. No, I thought not. You will kill them, won’t you? You have to kill them. You can’t let the poor bastards live now, can you? Yes, have blood on your hands soon, will you? Will you?” Pluvius burst into laughter, a long and joyous laugh, the first laugh he’d had  in many, many generations.

-Bearshaman

Slice a Hawaiian

“Hey kid, the fuck do you think you’re going? Yeah, you. The one pointing to himself and looking around all like, ‘He can’t possibly be talking about me, can he?’ Yeah. Where the hell you going, walking by me with a piping hot pan of, uh–”

“Canadian-bacon-pineapple pizza, sir.”

“Ah, yes–the Hawaiian. The hell don’t you just call it a Hawaiian pizza? Who the fuck orders a ‘canadian-bacon-pineapple’ pizza?”

“We already have a specialty pizza called The Hawaiian, sir.”

“You do? And let me guess–it’s got red onions and American bacon and some sweet-and-sour shit on it, and costs five bucks more than a real, honest Hawaiian.”

“Pretty much.”

“For fucking shame–uh–hey, where’s your nametag?”

“They haven’t given me one yet. I’m new. Name’s Shane.”

“Well, Shane. That’s some fucking bullshit. What kind of incompetent fuck doesn’t give nametags to his employees? He think you’re all just faceless drones or what?
“It’s a ‘she’, sir.”

“Oooooh, my bad. Hey, uh, between you and me–she hot?”

“She’s standing right over there behind the register. You tell me.”

“Wuh-hoah! Yikes. That’s a big negatory.”

“Well, if you’ll excuse me, I’d better get back to serving–“

“Okay, so serve me. There you were, walking right past me, holding a pan of Hawaiian–the real stuff–and you didn’t even stop to ask if I wanted a slice. I’m hurt, Shane.”

“But your plate’s full.”

“So? You think I’m gonna stop once I finish this plate or something? Just stack a slice on top that pepperoni-olive-sausage and you can go on your merry way.”

“Can’t, sir. It’s against–“

“No. No more of this ‘sir’ shit, Shane. I ain’t that fucking old. I ain’t gonna keel over mid-meal, grasping at the air with one hand and clutching at my heart or my throat with the other. Sir, ha! Name’s Johnny.”

“Well, Johnny–“

“Johnny Law.”

“Well, Johnny Law, as I was saying, it’s against company policy to give a customer a new slice if their plate’s full.”

“Hey Shane, this an all-you-can-eat joint, or what?”

“Tuesdays and Thursdays from five-to-eight, yes.”

“Holy shit, Shane. You pop a gear or something? You almost sounded human there.”

“Well, I’m sorry, but I have to go–“

“No, don’t gimme that, Shane. You stacked a goddamn pepperoni pyramid for that girl at the table over by the jukebox. Don’t gimme that horseshit.”

“Sir–“
“Johnny! Johnny goddamn Law!”

“Johnny, she’s an employee on break. And I didn’t give her those slices. She grabbed them.”

“Playing favorites for the ladies, eh? Wanna hold on while I go to Tijuana and grow some rusty tits right quick? That what I gotta do to get a fucking slice a Hawaiian ’round here?”

“Tell you what, Johnny.”

“Listening.”

“You eat a piece–one of those six on your plate–and I’ll give you a slice of canadian-bacon-pineapple.”

“Okay, fair’s fair. Lemme just cut this piece here–”

“I’ve never seen a spoon used for that before. You know, there’s a fork and knife over there next to your plate, sir.”

“Your point, kiddo? Knives are the tools of serial killers and forks are for people who can’t find their way around a goddamn spoon.”

“Huh.”

“Spoon’s a versatile tool. You can’t eat soup with a fork or a knife, but you can eat a salad with a spoon.”

“What about sporks?”

“Don’t gimme no goddamn lip. This ain’t fucking Taco Bell.”

“Okay, sir. Here’s your slice.”

“I ain’t finished this slice yet!”

“The pizza’s getting cold. I don’t want to disappoint other customers who love candian-bacon–“

“Christ alive, Shane. Don’t you fucking dare. You say that awkward shit one more time and I swear I will fucking show you why you don’t want to see me pick up a goddamn knife.”

“Okay, sir.”

“Fuck you, kiddo. Say it. It’s a delicioso motherfucking Hawaiian pizza you’re carrying. Say it or so help me, with Brando as my witness I will make your ribcage an offer it can’t refuse.”

“Okay, Johnny.”

“Yeah? What’s the pizza, Shane?”

“Canadian-bacon-pineapple.”

———————————————

Wrote this for a contest which spontaneously decided not to exist one day after I wrote a piece specifically for it which used the phrase “I’ve never seen a spoon used for that before” as per contest requirements. Ah well, I still dig it. Maybe they meant November of next year for the deadline?

-Bearshaman

Late-Night Movie Pitch

Lester is a man at the end of his rope–his own two brothers murdered one by one before his very eyes.

And he’s next.

It’s come down to this final race against the clock as he rushes to finish his time machine prototype before the killer tracks him down.

But can he save his brothers from their fate? Or will his meddling result in a world that no one wants to live in anymore?

It’s a new psychological thriller from the mind of Tim Burton.

Starring:

Johnny Depp as the murderous beast,

Helena Bonham Carter as the reluctant love interest who will eventually discover that her heart is still capable of love,

and Ving Rhames as:

The Third Little Piggie.

This summer you won’t want to miss the only movie guaranteed to blow…

you…

AWAY.

-Bearshaman

Some Rambling on Writing

Chatterdank7

You know that whole thing about writing every day and how everybody should do it?

I’m not sure I really agree with that. I mean, I’m sure it works for some people.

But I tend to think it’s more like muscle training: occasionally, you have to give it a rest. If you don’t, your muscles don’t recover properly and your progress doesn’t properly get saved.

Not to say that I wouldn’t love to be able to write something I could fall in love with every day of my life.

Another big factor in my experience is inspiration. If you don’t experience life, you can’t write about it. You can’t glean the glimmers if you never stumble upon them.

Not to mention there’s that whole being able to achieve a proper flow state thing. The key to unlocking a flow state at will seems to be squirreling itself into new hiding places around my brain each time I think I’ve got a firm grip on it.

In other news, I’m reading Redshirts right now and it’s hella good. My first Scalzi book.

Anyhow, done rambling.

Have a continually and increasingly groovy day!

-Bearshaman

Alternate Bio 8

Brook is a student in college by day and an unwitting angel of the homeless by night. Although she remembers her action as dreams, it is in fact she who is the legendary Whispered One, providing what small comforts she can to the homeless across America beneath her preferred cloak of darkness. The vagrants that rise in the morning with fluffed-up pillows under their heads where only cold concrete was when they drifted off murmur small prayers of thanks to her upon waking.

And woe be unto the bored sociopath teen who seeks to harm her charges–for not all angels are always cherubic.

-Bearshaman

Alternate Bio 7

Aaron is a student in his fifteenth year of college who holds legal residence in roughly fifty-two countries. This one time, he got a fortune from this fortune cookie that dropped his jaw and changed his life. He’s been chasing his enigmatic dream of “good luck will find its way to you” ever since.

Canned Green Beans

Canned Green Beans

I don’t much like sleep. Every night I spend hours awake in bed, dicking around with my cheap laptop on message boards and chatting up old acquaintances on IM. Of course, my friends, well, they do like sleep. The first one usually logs off around midnight. The second is gone by one. Within an hour or so, the chat boxes go blank, everyone idle or disconnected. And I dread that moment. I don’t want to be alone, with him.

See, my dad died when I was real young, too young for me to have many memories of him. I don’t know what kind of guy he was. Hell, I don’t even remember how he died. I was too little, and mom doesn’t like to talk about it. The one thing I do know is that he loved to eat green beans. Seems like mom’s always heating up a pan of the stuff. And she’s always sighing, over the nasal whirr of the automatic can opener, that a can of green beans was all it took to make dad happy.

I don’t care for them myself. Dunno, I may have liked them once. I mean, you’d probably learn to hate filet mignon if you had to eat it at every other fucking meal. I always groan at the table when she sets down that steaming bowl, always wrinkle my nose at the earthy aroma.

Then her eyes shoot downward, and she starts to sniffle. So I relent. I even grab another helping after I manage to get the first one down. Makes her smile like nothing else. I try not to gag on the split-end threads as they congeal in my throat, but it’s tough. If I swallow forkfuls down like a pill, without chewing, it makes it easier. Sometimes they don’t go down the whole way, and I have to swallow again, quick, before I take my next breath. I always make it to the bathroom before I puke. I look into the mirror, my face straining as it all fountains out. It doesn’t even bother me anymore. It’s the same as pissing or shitting: just some normal, somewhat pleasant, intimate bodily function. But what does this have to do with why I don’t like to sleep? You’ll have to excuse me. I’m a bit tired and my mind tends to wander.

When I do fall asleep, I go into the same continuous dream I’ve had for the past fifteen years. The only dream I’ve had for the past fifteen years. I’m still in my bed, my room mostly unchanged from the one I fell asleep in. The only difference is the thin line of light underlining the base of my closet door. Thing is, my closet doesn’t have a light in it. It’s pretty small, and the clothes and hangers within can easily be seen by the glow of my bedroom lamp. But the closet’s always lit up in my dream.

At this point, I can either go to the closet door, or I can sneak past to the kitchen. If I try to do anything else, I wake up. And I’m not sure exactly how it works, but if I’m too loud in my dream, mom and my sister Jenny wake up.

Sometimes it wakes him up too. He starts moaning, but my family can’t seem to hear him. I sure as hell do. Sometimes, he screams. It really pisses me off when he screams.

So I walk quiet, ball-heel, out to the kitchen. I grab a can of green beans and one of those hand-crank can openers. I get the lid off the can and plop the beans in a bowl. Then I grab a spoon and a pile of napkins with one hand, the bowl with my other, and head back to the room.

Each movement through the hallway is completely controlled, and I usually get back to my room without anything happening. Sometimes, I get the scream. It startles me, and I drop the bowl or knock it against the wall. God I hate waking mom and Jenny up. If they wake up, I wake up. I’m a very light sleeper. And when I fall asleep again, the dream just resumes at the spot where it left off. Makes it tough to get back to sleep, knowing that the scream is there, waiting.

Sometimes, I’ll tap on the closet door before I go into the hallway. Then he shouts and cries the whole time I’m gone. It’s annoying, but that way I’m not startled when I creep back from the kitchen.

I juggle the bowl, the spoon, and the napkins as I reenter the room. Then I shut my big plank of a door, speeding and slowing it at just the right moments to minimize creaks. After that, it’s just a few steps to the closet. My room isn’t very big.

Every night I open the closet door and every night he’s still there, all shackled up. The ceiling is draped with thick chains that drop down onto manacles encircling his wrists. Another set of chains snakes up out of the ground, constricting his legs and strapping him down to the metal stool he sits on. His arms rise upward, permanently in a champion’s celebratory pose. When he catches sight of me, the drool starts to gather around the edges of his haggard pioneer’s beard, and his good eye goes wide.

He can’t move, so I have to feed him. He seems to appreciate it, though he can’t say anything. He hasn’t had his tongue for a long time now. His eye, well, I can’t remember when he lost that. It’s hard to remember every little detail of a dream.

Feeding him takes time. His missing tongue makes chewing difficult, and he can’t swallow food like a pill, the way I can. I only give him one or two pieces at a time. I drape the beans across his back molars, and he chews them with small movements of his jaw. I can’t give him too much too quick. It takes a while, so I tell him about my day, my dreams, the news, whatever. He seems to be interested, but I can’t tell for sure. At least he doesn’t scream when I’m in there.

Sometimes, he throws up. Even when I just put one strand carefully in the side of his mouth. Even when he chews it fifty-seven times first to fully savor that godawful flavor. Fuck him. I sacrifice my sleep for this sack of shit. I don’t even get a goddamn choice in the matter. Do you know what it’s like, to have to feed your dead dad food that makes you retch on sight? And to do that for hours, every night? Sometimes, if he’s taking too long, I wolf down the beans right there in front of him, puke it up in the bowl, and force him to drink that down. I’ve even vomited it straight into his mouth when he’s pushed me too far. If he throws it up again, I catch it in the bowl, then hold it to his face until he finishes. I gag the whole time, but at least that way it’s over quick.

Once the feeding is over, I pat him down with the napkins. Then I talk with him a bit longer, try to stay with him until he falls asleep. When that’s done, I open the door and start my day.

I bet you’re wondering why I cut it off. It was in the dream where he confessed he’d always hated green beans. Fucker went on to say that the only reason he’d ever made a fuss over them was to make mom smile. I got so pissed, I grabbed the steak knife I’d brought in with his dinner and carved that waggling tongue right out of the bastard’s mouth. How dare he leave us with that lie, when she only ever cooked them to make him smile? He had his chance to tell the truth, and he wasted it.

That’s why I decided he’d eat nothing but green beans every night, until he’d learned his lesson. He still hasn’t. I can tell. Fucking prick.

——————————————————

Between the misfortunes and the crunch time of the lit mag and my collecting/selling “job thing,” I haven’t had time for much else. Except Bloodborne, which is very likely the greatest game I’ve encountered in my nearly thirty years of controller lobbing.

So I’m going to spam some older work until I get my blogging in order.

This first piece of spam might not be the tastiest, but it has a place in my heart nonetheless.

I wrote it a few years back after housesitting for a relative when he went out of town. During that time, I was not allowed to have anyone over, so it was just me and a few of his pet things.

One of those pet things was a half-dead lizard that lived in a closet on a towel under a heat lamp. Each day I force fed the thing spoons of goop from a Gerber jar in addition to little worms I would have to squish until they died and was supposed to shove in its mouth and force it to swallow with strategic throat and belly rubs.

I hated every minute of it. Of course, I can only imagine how if felt like for the poor lizard thing.

I channeled the experience into a side story for a novel I was writing at the time which I’m terrified to go back to. That world, a kind of alternative universe, has been a kind of home for many of my more horrorish/paranormal short stories.

It also ended up being my first attempt at a Creepypasta kind of thing. I’m not sure if it’s 1spooky, let alone 2, but whatever.

-Bearshaman