Flash Friday Rides the Buses

It’s been a week, and I’ve procrastinated mightily. The procrastination is strong in this one…is what Yoda might say if he were my writing instructor. Or really anyone who knows me at all. 

Soooo with that in mind here is a random bit of stuff. Who is John Farutto? Why is he on the bus? Why are there so many commas? Only time will tell…Also, I just realized the book at the end is the name of a really real actual book. So I need you to imagine it’s called something else. Something witty. I knew I could count on you.

John Farutto stood huddled in the glassless remains of the bus shelter.What a waste of a day. But I guess that’s the point, Farutto mused. Work was a distraction, if not a welcome one. But at least she’s waiting at home, he thought.

At the thought his cheeks flushed against the cold mist of the evening. Ash made the days bearable, and filled the nights with something other than the periodic passage of buses, and the footscrabble creepings of mice or rats or god they sounded like raccoons through the walls.

The Bus came at last. Of all the buses in the city, this one was the most reliable. It was always five minutes late except Sundays and holidays, when it invariably zoomed past ten minutes early.

Farutto flashed his pass and boarded, grateful to be out of the cold and damp. Farutto tried to warm himself against the bus’ heater. He managed to warm his hands somewhat, but he huddled into himself and wished for the nth time that day that he had thought to bring more than a jacket.

A vision of Ash popped into his head. Her long hair, preternaturally red, eyes washed-out gold, her skin pale, lips colorless, corpse-like, as if all the color had gone into her hair and none had been left for the rest of her. He wondered what she had waiting for him. She always had something worthwhile, exciting, different.

Farutto lurched forward as the bus careened to a stop; lurched back as it started again. He stared through the buildings, the cars, the people, as they passed outside. Angry bees buzzed in his ears.

Above him a yellow sign said, “Please do not walk in front of the bus.” Farutto sighed, Just this time, he thought. Who am I to argue with the transit authority?

Just then a smell landed on his nose. It was either cookies, or urine Farutto couldn’t be sure. His thoughts were interrupted by loud drunken voice.

“A novel reader? Well, you’re on page six hundred and sixty eight. Six hundred and sixty something.”

Farutto saw the source of the ambiguous scent. Near the front of the bus a college girl in a pink track suit was trying her best to ignore the stinking drunk who had seated himself next to her.

“Is it Tolkien? What are you reading?” He leant in too close. Farutto grimaced in sympathy for the girl. It seemed that everyone on the bus had tuned in to see what would happen.

“Insomnia,” she replied, not meeting the drunk’s unsteady gaze.

“Insomnia? Oh. Stephen King? Ridiculous book. Ridiculous. I read it in hardback. Ridiculous. Ever read Clive Barker? Some of his early stuff. Puts Stephen King to shame.”

Farutto sighed. Tolkien, Clive Barker. Unfortunately he had to agree with the drunk. He sighed again.

Please, the sign implored, do not walk in front of the bus.

He raised an eyebrow at it, Spock-like. Lurched back. This was his stop. He stumbled out of the bus, looking up at the sign once more.

“Okay, okay,” he said out loud.

Then gasped as the wind hit him like a wall. This morning it had been April, soft and warm, but now it was November again, frigid and unyielding. Cars passed, disembodied headlights glaring like will‘o’ the wisps marching past in improbable formation; two by two.

Home was only a dozen yards away, he might as well go in and mark time, for one more night at least. He fought the wind across the road to his door, gripped the knob and slid the key home. Just inside the door was a book-sized cardboard package. Farutto ripped it open and pulled out the book inside: The Magician’s Accomplice, by Lin Ash.

She had arrived.

Redshirt, Looking Nervous…

Ever watched Star Trek?

If you’re reading my blog, there’s a better than ninety percent chance that you have. Do yourself a favour and read this excerpt from John Scalzi’s forthcoming  book Redshirts (via Tor.com).

Then do yourself another favour and pre-order it on Amazon.

Then if you’re feeling particularly nice to yourself, buy this shirt from ThinkGeek:

Captain, over here! Arrrrggghhhhh....

Plant a Towel For Earth Day 42

I love Earth. It's where I keep all my stuff.
Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image by Reto Stöckli (land surface, shallow water, clouds). Enhancements by Robert Simmon (ocean color, compositing, 3D globes, animation). Data and technical support: MODIS Land Group; MODIS Science Data Support Team; MODIS Atmosphere Group; MODIS Ocean Group Additional data: USGS EROS Data Center (topography); USGS Terrestrial Remote Sensing Flagstaff Field Center (Antarctica); Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (city lights).

So, we’ve been celebrating Earth Day since..hold on, let me google it…1970. Wait. I just realized that its the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day. One normally gives towels on the 42nd anniversary, right?

In 42 years we’ve accomplished diddly-squat which is, in my opinion, the worst form of squat. Sure we recycle some cans, and that makes us all feel good. We walk to work more often, but really to what effect? Anthropogenic climate change hasn’t stopped or even slowed down. Quite the opposite. Sooo…I propose that each citizen give away a towel, or better yet, plant a towel instead of a tree for Earth Day this Sunday.

It’s at least as useful as anything else we’ve done.

Best Thing Ever: At Least I’m Not Brent Spiner…

This is getting filed under, “How did I not know this existed?” Seriously, how did I not know this existed? Because it’s the best thing ever. I’m only on episode 2, but I know what I’ll be doing tonight instead of sleeping, or writing.

Praise be to Tyr: Norse Goddess of Best. Things. Ever.

2-Day Poetry Madness

I just finished CV2’s 2-Day Poem Contest with 26 whole minutes to go. They give you 10 random words and you have to make them into a poem in 48 hours. In between running a birthday party and tending to sick kidlets. Or whatever *your* life throws at you.

My no-doubt stellar piece of writing is off to be judged for what seems like way too long for someone with compulsive checking behaviours.

But here’s last year’s entry, for anyone who is interested:

American Can

Here treacle time flows over uniformed days in succession.
Living by rote,
there is no chance to wonder who benefits from compulsive down-looking deference.
But bleached bone factory carcass tells the story
for anyone who can hear above the booming voice of Industry
now only wind and pigeon quibble.

While disenfranchised rock-throwers mar the face of their abandonment
with twenty years of tiny rebellion,
the once-window cascade crunches green now underfoot
with scraggly chicory sticks and gravel glass.
Turn away and put up an umbrella against the rain –
there is nothing left here to save.

Flash Friday Kitteh Edition

It’s Friday! It’s Friday! Tomorrow we all stay home.

Except those of us who don’t. :/ 

The point of FF (for me anyway) is to publicly shame myself into producing something every week. That said, this was doubleplus unfun to write, but I hope that my hating it doesn’t equal you hating it…

It was a Thursday when Taffy ran over the cat; the kind of day where the sun peeks out from behind the clouds at last. The cat was pavement-grey striped with cracks, its yellow eyes dandelions in the sidewalk. It met Taffy’s eyes for a second before it darted out. Taffy panicked and stomped the brake. The sun flashed like a bomb blast on the dashboard, as something altogether too big tumbled over the hood. Taffy paused for a moment, hands shaking on the wheel, then he got out and nearly vomited at what he saw.

It was a girl. A girl with sleek grey hair and impossible yellow eyes.

She was crumpled in a heap with a bloody gash on her head. She started to rise, but then fell back, leaning on one hand. She put the other hand over the bleeding cut. Taffy stumbled back.

“No! Come here,” she wailed. “Come here.”

Taffy came and knelt down beside her. He reached for her shoulder.

“L-listen,” he stammered, “I’ll go get my cell phone and…”

She bit him. Her teeth sank farther into his hand than he thought possible. He yelped in pain and struggled away. Once in the car he locked the door and took a deep breath. And then another. Taffy reached for his phone to call the ambulance. It was bigger than he remembered. And the hand that reached for it wasn’t a hand at all: it was a paw. He turned to the window and saw his reflection: lanky, sleek, and pavement grey.

Fuck, he thought. I hate cats.