Gamma fell *up*  a step this weekend and broke her foot. She said nothing much about it until the next day. I think she inherited my coordination and her mother’s stoicism.

Help me

Hello, dear 1%.  I am writing this with tears in my eyes, sorry I did not inform you about my trip.I actually made a quick trip to London and unfortunately attacked and mugged at gun point on the way to my hotel,all cash,credit card and cell were stolen off me but luckily I still have my passport with me.

I have been to the embassy and the Police here but they’re not helping issues at all especially those rubber bullets OUCH and tear gas and my return flight leaves anytime from now but I`m having problems settling the bills such as medical care and infrastructure not to mention education and the hotel manager won’t let me leave until I settle the bills.

I need your urgent help.

Sincerely, your old Friend 99%.

Recently, in an Austrian village…

Girl: [Telling story about girlfriends summoning spirits] The problem is, you don’t know in advance what you’ll get. You could get a good spirit, but if you get an evil spirit, it latches onto you and never leaves and hounds you until you commit suicide.

Man: The highest incidence of poltergeists is in households with 14-year-old girls.

Girl: Thanks a lot, dad!

Woman: You’re awful!

Man: Just stating a fact. Something about the psychic energy released during adolescence, maybe.

Girl: Great, now I won’t be able to sleep tonight.

Man: They did a study. Google it if you don’t believe me.

Cello update

Nothing new for ages, then the piano/cello notes to Arvo Pärt’s “Spiegel im Spiegel” arrive in the mail and I have met with a woman looking for someone to play cello duets with.

On the former: the notes look insane. They look like something I would see in a nightmare about playing and/or composing a piece, but not because they are complicated. On the contrary, because they are so simple. Simple, minimalistic piano, even simpler cello.  And behind that simplicity lies the devil, of course, or god, or both, or god when he’s drunk, or angels. We’ll find out. Go watch it on youtube. I am trying to get Beta to play it with me on harp, and also trying to get Gamma to fire up her piano and play it with me as well. First I have to learn the cello part. And get the piano tuned.

On the latter: she came over to my house last night and we tried a few pieces. I expected it to be awful and frustrating, since learning to play a duet is an order of magnitude harder than just learning a piece, and we didn’t know the pieces we were trying to play. But it was considerably less awful and frustrating than I had expected, which I expected, being an experienced pessimist and low-baller. So all is well. I am curious whether she will want to continue. I hope so. Probably. I do. As she left, she’s like all, do you play any other instruments?

And I’m like all, should I? And I’m like, saw, theremin and tin whistle, but not super-good or anything.

And she’s like, blink.

And I’m like, you know, singing saw? And I start explaining the theremin, with which she was perhaps not familiar, and offer to show it to her next time.

If there is a next time.

Who know?

We’ll see, won’t we?

The parking lot of lost souls

As usual, the shaman was riding his drum in search of a lost soul-fragment.

Riding it like a fine little pony through the underworld.

He was wearing a suit of sage, covering every inch of his body. Even his glasses were made of sage, with tiny little slits to look out of. To get to the underworld you have to pass through astral planes, and the shaman had stuck his head into the astral plane a while back unprotected (he had awakened and without thinking, still in a hypnopompic state, he had taken a look) and evil spirits had attached themselves to him like flying leeches, and getting rid of them had taken forever, and he didn’t want to chance that again.

The shaman was riding his drum down the street in the underworld in his sage suit and arrived at where the house should be, except it was a parking lot.

He had been warned this might happen. The original, historical, worldly house he was in search of had been torn down and the area turned into a shopping center. From the maps he had studied, the house ought to be right about there, in the parking lot between the office supplies store and the power transformer. The shaman remained calm and began beating his drum double time, with both ends of his stick.

Back in his yurt, the people surrounding him, keeping the small fire burning, watching his breathing, ready to bring him back should he stop, gasped.

What’s wrong? asked one.

Bodhran solo, whispered another.

The shaman rode his drum around the parking lot in a circle. Gradually, the outlines of the shopping center dissolved and an old house appeared. He went inside. The fire in the woodstove had gone out and the house was cold. It smelled of dust, old furniture and cooking grease. He found the soul-fragment standing in the corner of the living room downstairs.

Light fell through the window panes in angles that made no sense, and motes of dust swam in the beams of light.

Hello, said the shaman.

The soul-fragment was a small, black-haired boy with bright green eyes. He regarded the shaman briefly, then turned back to face the corner of the room, hugging himself.

Would you come with me? asked the shaman.

Why should I? asked the boy.

He sent me. He wants you back.

He doesn’t want me back. He left me here. For a real long time.

He wants you back, said the shaman.

Go to heck, said the boy.

I come from there, I believe, said the shaman.

The green eyes regarded the shaman. Are you the devil? Or a demon or something? said the boy.

I am a shaman, said the shaman.

That’s what the devil would say. He wouldn’t say he was the devil, would he?

Look at me, said the shaman. You see clearly. You are awake. Do I look like the devil?

The devil doesn’t look like the devil either. He looks like the angel of light. He looks like, I dunno, a pretty girl.

So am I him, said the shaman.

The boy looked hard. No, you’re not. You’re a guy. What’s a shaman?

Like a doctor, said the shaman. He wants you back.

He doesn’t want me back.

He wants you back. He sent me to get you. He wants to wake up. He wants to see.

I don’t believe you.

Back in the yurt, those watching grew concerned when the shaman’s breathing slowed down so much it was nearly imperceptible. They stoked the fire.

May I take your hand? said the shaman. He stood closer to the boy, and the boy did not shrink away so he took his hand. It was small and light and warm, despite the unheated house.

I promise you he wants you back. He regrets leaving you here and he wants to wake up, but he sees that he needs you to do that.

He said that? said the boy.

The shaman nodded.

I have stood here a long time. A heck of a long time. But you are telling the truth, said the boy.

Back in the yurt, the watchers sighed with relief when the shaman’s breathing picked up, and the drumming slowed back down.

The fire had burned down to glowing embers, so it was not immediately clear when his eyes opened.

Still motionless, the shaman looked around. He was awake, for the first time in a heck of a long time.

Well, whatever, nevermind

The setting:

A darkened stage. Maybe with howling wolves yipping around the perimeter, if you have budget for that. Dark, and cold. A man sits in a Mazda 2 with 160,000 km on the odometer and 4mm of brake pads left.

Two teenaged girls climb into the car.

Girl one: Hi, Mr. Living.

Man: Hi.

Girl two: Hi, dad.

Man: Hi. How was the movie?

Girl two: Ok.

Man: Ok.

Girl two: can you take Girl one home?

Man: Sure. [turns on car stereo]

Sound effects: something slightly industrial, vaguely so, with the result that one is not immediately sure whether it is music or is something falling off the car?

Girl two: What CD do you have in?

Man: Sigur Ros, I think.

Sound effects: clearly music, more industrial and darker now.

Girl two: isn’t Sigur Ros, i dunno, chiller?

Man: [Checks] I mean, Nine Inch Nails

Girl two: I was thinking.

Man: Nine Inch Nails, not Sigur Ros. Easy mistake to make.

Girl two: Heh.

Man: Could happen to anyone.

In the land of the blind

The one-eyed man was buying a newspaper from a newspaper machine. He put in a few coins, opened it up and took two papers, because he could. No one else was going to read them anyway, right? And it’s not like someone was going to, what, see him do it?

The one-eyed man had a lot of extra newspapers piled up at home.

He was going to go do a little shoplifting at a convenience store when someone tugged at his sleeve.

Excuse me, sir, could you help me across the street? I am blind, you see.

Yeah, of course you’re  blind, thought the one-eyed man. This is the land of the blind. Just cross the street on your own, he thought — it’s not like anyone is out driving or anything.

But old habits die hard. The one-eyed man led the blind man across the street.

The street was totally empty, except for one man a few blocks away walking in circles with his cane.

A tumbleweed blew past them while they crossed, that’s how empty the street was.

The blind person at the side of the one-eyed man had a seeing-eye dog. Most of them did. The one-eyed man didn’t understand why they always asked him for help.

Maybe because he was king.

A king has responsibilities.

The seeing-eye dog snarled at the one-eyed man. It was a golden retriever, he had never seen one of them snarl before.

Seeing-eye dog, thought the one-eyed man. I mean guide dog. Guide dog, right? he thought.

The dog stopped snarling. As soon as the one-eyed man turned his back on it, though, it nipped him in the calf.

Hey, WTF? he shouted. Your dog bit me.

The blind person apologized, but it was hard to understand because he was already walking away and the wind had picked up.

The one-eyed man went home. His apartment was messy, but he never got visitors, so who cares? He made himself a bowl of instant noodles.

In the street below, a bunch of blind people were huddled together, staring up at his window with their blind eyes.

He couldn’t figure it out.

The one-eyed man had imagined this king stuff differently.