There was something missing in his eyes. I couldn't make out the color or the shape. Lucas' might have been green, blue or gray, but they weren't vibrant.
"How long have you been fixed?
Lucas took two steps toward me. I saw his large hands clench his slender waist.
"Six years. I went through some personal issues. I became desperate so I tracked Anson Cluber and Connor Bulas down through my Air Force contacts. The technology is very advanced. I decided to upgrade everything, including my heart and nervous system. My quality of life is impressive."
Lucas' ooze of self satisfaction angered me. Pain shot through my shoulder, My knees buckled and I dropped the folder he had given me. The papers spilled over the asphalt. He didn't try to help me pick them up.
"Caleb, of the other five, you are the best candidate. I tried to get Bruce to get worked on last year. His habits and his stubborness have rendered him to a poor condition. We ceased contact last year."
I got the folder together and gritted my teeth in frustration. I spit my words at him.
"Dude, their are five people involved. We are all worthy of being corrected!"
Lucas didn't change expression as he dropped his hands and shook his head, disapprovingly.
"Don't you think I checked on all of you before deciding who to contact? Lena has female problems stemming from childbirth. Clare is a twice institutionalized bi-polar, and Breann can't...."
My eyes lasered towards his expressionless face.
"Breann can't what?"
Lucas stepped away from me, put his right hand over his mouth and tried to find different words to speak.
"Discretion is important in this situation."
I couldn't tell if Lucas was an actual misogynist or good at pointing out my blind spots with women.
"Breann is a reporter, Lucas. But she wants to live a good life. She deserves that chance."
Lucas turned his back toward me and began to walk away.
"Everything you need to find Cluber and Bulas is in that folder and that drive. My hands are clean now, Caleb. I have a family to get back to."
I suppressed my temper and took one last shot at getting Lucas to explain himself.
"So, you have a wife and kids, Lucas?"
He stopped walking away and turned back to me slightly.
"Yes, I've been married 14 years. My sons are 12 and 9. I called you because of them. Your family needs their leader for as long as they can have him."
It was a weak connection but I reached Lucas. I tried one more question.
"Is it worth it. Being what are you are?"
For the first time since talking to him, he smiled. It was slight, but definitely more than a smirk.
"It feels amazing. Knowing you are better than everyone else is relieving. Caleb, we were experiments. We weren't meant to live. If you go through the surgeries, you'll never get sick. You'll recover from injury quickly. Most of all, you'll be guarenteed to be around for your family for a very long time. The agony of sudden death is turned into the irony of almost eternal life."
Lucas' words were stunning, yet I didn't feel like talking to him anymore. I turned around and walked out of the dark parking deck into the sunshine.
*blogger's note* - This is another episode of the story I am writing. The other ones are here:
Today's song reflects the title. The agont and the irony is a great phrase. Harvey Danger is another 1990s one hit wonder band with a kooky looking lead singer. The lyrics of Flagpole Sitta are like a theme song for me since I suffer from anxiety. The voices inside my head, I swear to God they're snoring...here's Flagpole Sitta
A tall, thin man; Lucas Bonner looked younger than 40. His suit fit him perfectly. It was gray, conservative, devoid of personality with a gray tie knotted in the center of his neck. Lucas handed me a manila folder and a zip drive.
"Caleb, this will be our only contact. I am neither hungry for answers nor starved for attention."
I looked around the isolated parking deck, experienced a moment of zen, and asked my first question.
"How long will you live?"
Lucas smirked and replied.
"I am a hybrid. I will be well over 100 years when I expire."
*blogger's note* - This is another episode of the story I am writing. The other ones are here:
Today's song is what has been playing in my head all day. The first lines are awesome: "There must be something we can eat. Should find another lover? Should I fly to Los Angeles, find my asshole brother."
Gavin Rossdale wrote this song about his new age philosophy spouting friend Perry Farrell (then of Jane's Addiction). To me, for this story entry, the song represents Caleb's exasperation with logical answers being hard to find and grasping the bigger truth. Here's Bush's Everything Zen...break out your best air grunge guitar.
"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we're uncool." - Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the late great Lester Bangs in Almost Famous - 2000.
The thing I like the most about personal blogging is I can be myself. This is the place where I can tell you how much I dig superheroes, music snobbery, and my anxiety disorder.
I have another aspect of my personality to reveal. My favorite board game is Scrabble. I really really really like Scrabble. A lot. I would watch people play it on television. I like it so much, that getting beat by my wife yesterday 238 points to 231 points didn't upset me because I spelled aqua and adorns . I was happy.
My word nerdom and Scrabble romance started young. My grandparents bought me a reference book set of encyclopedias, dictionary and thesaurus. I would go into my room and look words and subjects up just to entertain myself. This is the first time I telling anyone.
What I enjoy most about Scrabble isn't the accumulation of points, it's the moment(s) you come up with a word that requires thought and planning. Any numbskull add drop and S on skate and hit a triple word score and get 50 points. The best is pushing tiles on the board that spell quixotic. That geek time of the big smile and fist pump combined with the look the opposition give you indicating you belong in a dork asylum is priceless.
My favorite memory of scrabble is right now.
I'm playing my wife again. She's trying to trash talk to a second straight win while I'm working on spelling zephyr.
*blogger's note* This is my entry into The Red Dress Club's RemembeRED writing assignment. The prompt was this:
Today's song is the first repeat in the history of My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. Last year, in writing about people listening to each other and being careful of the words they use, I referenced Missing Persons. As you can tell, this song is versatile. Also, Lady Gaga has NOTHING on the great Dale Bozzio. Dale looks like a piece of candy in this video. Here's Missing Persons Words....go die your hair blue.
The breeze lessened, curiously. I didn't say anything immediately to Lucas. I thought about how to get in touch with Breann or Ava.
"Caleb, I know this call is a bit of an odd surprise. I didn't think I wanted to be involved with my past. The more I thought about the five other people who have went through what I have, I felt I owed you a conversation."
Owed me? That line seemed so arrogant. We're dying from expiring robot parts. I wondered why he and Bruce were so elusive. The closest I had gotten to either was an email exchange with Lucas' former Air Force Academy teammate. I kept my cool.
"Lucas, thank you for calling me. So, how are you, you know, physically?"
I turned my phone to find the mute button so I could record the call and text Breann and Ava. Then he turned hostile.
"Caleb, you and I are going to talk privately or not at all. Whatever you just did with your phone, undo it. This is non-negotiable."
I recoiled at the weirdness. How did he know what I was doing?
"Lucas, I apologize. I was just texting one of the others to let them know we'd found you. I am so excited to hear from you."
Then a glare from the building to my left caught me, causing my eyes to shut.
"You're notifying Breann Lucos, the New York Post reporter. That will not work for me. The information you two have gathered isn't accurate and some people do not want to be involved with it."
I was annoyed and angry. The lack of personality was forgivable. He obviously wasn't going to hang with Breann and I socially. But, Breann, Lena, and Clare had been open and honest and enthusiastic. Even Ava was willing to identify the players and problems.
"Lucas, let's meet in person. Sometimes a phone call doesn't do a subject justice. Your area code is Tacoma, right? I had a friend stationed there after college."
I tried to text Breann again. Lucas yelled into the phone.
"Stop what you are doing! Listen to what you need to know to keep yourself alive! I can see everything you're doing!"
I turned 360 degrees, staring into every window. There were video cameras on every rooftop including my building. I slowly put the phone to my ear.
"Caleb, you are depending on others for your future. I can tell you how to save yourself. Knowing who the real enemy is, technology, not death, will keep you alive for a long time."
Now, I was mad. Getting lectured by a dispassionate creep was making me paranoid.
"Who are you? Where are you? and why in the hell do you care so little for the others?"
There was silence.
"Answer me Lucas, or whoever you are!"
I looked at the glare coming from the building to my left. I remembered that high rise belonged to a private jet leasing company headquartered in Seattle. I put the phone to my left side and raised my right hand like a salute to my eyes, trying to make put the silouette in the window. I put the phone back to my face.
"Is that you, Lucas."
He sighed and started to speak.
"Yes, Caleb. I walked over to the window. I've been watching you on a closed circuit tv inside this office. I'm in town for business. Now, do you want to talk on better terms?"
I never wanted to be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound more in my life.
"Yeah, go. I'm dying to know what you've got, Lucas. Literally."
The silouette moved away from the window.
"There were six. Two doctors named Connor Bulas and Anson Cluber developed robotic hearts that sent synapses to the brain and nervous systems.We're not all the same. The parts, the operations, the effects, were done in twos. Bruce and I were the first. We are the most alike. Lena and Clare are likewise. Thus making you and Breann the most related. The surgery you need can do more that save your life. It can extend it beyond your normal life expectancy. You need to pursue your own care and needs."
I started thinking that Lucas knew all of this because he had had the surgery. he wasn't sick and thus didn't care about the rest of us.
"Meet me in person, Lucas. Let's do this face to face, like men."
After more than 20 seconds of dead air, he spoke.
"I'll do it on one condition. Nothing is recorded, photographed, or put in Breann's newspaper or the internet. I don't want to be involved with the others. You agree and I'll give you Anson Cluber and Bruce Nolans."
I was dumbfounded by his demands. I played along.
"Deal. Name a place and time. I want to know where I come from."
This is another episode of the story I am writing. The other ones are here:
Today's song is mostly atmospheric with a slight lyrical nod to the story where Michael Stipe says "he's alive, he's alive" and the opening riff and line "everybody here, comes from somewhere". I was listening to R.E.M.'s Accelerate album earlier (it's good, you should own it) and thought the music matched the sudden turn of events. Plus, I wanted to include something relatively new, this song's only three years old. Dig the guitar and get into the feel. It's R.E.M.'s Supernatural Superserious.
People watching is an underrated pastime. Taking an inventory of your surroundings can bring you upon the most interesting types. While watching my daughter cheer for her high school football's scrimmage I kept seeing this girl who reminded me of someone. Her makeup was slight but sophisticated. She was completely distracted. She played with her iphone incessantly. I never saw her acknowledge her friends. Then, it struck me hard, this girl was kind of, sort of, like me, at age 17.
Her insouciance was intriguing. I never caught her name but she looked like an Allison. Allison was convinced she was meant for bigger and better things. I was like that. At 17, all I thought about was journalism. I wanted to be in New York covering sports or news. While her friends were gossiping and being silly, Allison smiled occasionally and kept her face buried in the iphone. Every once in a while, she would daydream.
I like my life right now. I never think about what might have been or what never happened, unless it makes a good blog post. Allison's dream gaze and her indifferent body language were so familiar that I wanted to sit down next to her, and say "dude, take in these simpler times. Life is a bout to get really friggin hard."
I see some of this with my daughter. Tay wants to be an investigative journalist. She wants to college in Boston then take over the world, one byline at a time. Tay has 3 more years before she is in Allison's position. Allison looked so eager to fly the coop, she was clucking with anticipation.
I doubt I'll ever see Allison again, unless she decides to grace her soon to be old high school with her bound for better glory self. I hope she takes in her good times, keeps a positive attitude, has humility, and plans for not making it, in case crap happens. When she was leaving I heard one of her friends mention New York. I assumed, for the sake of this blog post, that's where she was headed by the end of the summer.
The entire time I people watched Allison, and thought about my Tay, I sang Dexter Freebish's Leaving Town to myself. The lyrics are ideal to how I was taking in Allison and my daughter, Tay.
Today's song is from one of the best one hit wonder's ever. Dexter Freebish is from Austin, texas. They are named after a roller coaster. Their lead singer is just named Kyle. This song won the John Lennon songwriting award in 1999. It also fits every girl and/or guy we've known or we have been ourselves that has huge dreams, beyond their small town. I hope Allison hears this song and finds humility. It will help her find the success she dreams about. Here's Leaving Town.
P.S. for us Christians, this song serves as a theme for tomorrow's unlikely occurrence that I am unable to mention for fear of offending the "enough about The Rapture" crowd.
Her breath against my skin was more overwhelming than the medication coursing through me. Ava opened her mouth and ran her lips over mine, grazing them as she spoke.
"There's a reason why you haven't stopped calling me over the years. It's more than me being a doctor. You need, You always have. We're connected, just admit it and let's find a way to be together."
I pulled away and closed my eyes. I hoped I was asleep and Ava was another bad dream. I reopened them and there she was, running her hands over my chest as she dropped her bags to the floor.
"Av, we're married to people who deserve better. I'm sorry for leading you on. I'm scared. I'm dying. I'm a damn robot or something."
I put my hands over my face, thinking about the phone call I should make and the fallout from the nuclear bomb that would be my life over the next few hours."
Ava picked up her bags. She curled her lips and furrowed her thin blonde eyebrows. I knew the look. It was the same one she gave me when I rejected her years ago.
"Caleb Runson, you're a coward. You live inside some box that you think is moral and good. It's a lie. It's a prison. I'm your ticket to freedom from the slow death inside of you. That heart isn't the only thing going bad. I'm across the hall. Two doors, that's it."
She left, slamming the door to my room. I sat on the bed, and choked back tears. I dialed my phone and waited nervously for Shane's voice.
I felt I was walking in slow motion when I got to the diner. It was the same spot where I met Breann days earlier for the first time.
"Dude, you look awful. Did you sleep at all?"
I hadn't. Hours on the phone being yelled at by my rightfully indignant wife then a few hours of worrying about how to talk to Breann and Ava the next morning left me with perhaps an hour of sleep.
I wasn't speaking at first. Breann and I had developed a chemistry. It was as if we'd known each other all of our lives.
"Look, Caleb, I know I've only known you for a 3 days, but we're dying together so we might as well do it with maximum effort. Did you sleep with Ava?"
I looked at her with shock, then looked down at my eggs.
"Caleb, we're related here. I mean, you know, like by parts inside of us and by some far out circumstances. I would never judge you. Ava is a snake. I've seen her kind all my life. I know women really well and I don't like most of them. So, just tell me where your head is and I'll be here."
I felt nauseous from my guilt and anxiety.
"No, I didn't sleep with her. I've been on the phone with Shane all night. I told her every minute of the last 24 hours. Three of those minutes included Ava and I kissing. her kissing me. Plus, her spending the night 50 feet away from me. I mean, I should be more concerned with finding the others, getting a new heart, and being with you. Instead, I'm worried about you hating me, my wife leaving me, and how to sit on a plane with Ava."
Breann reached across the table grabbing both of my hands and looking at me in the eyes. Browns meeting browns. It was like looking in the mirror. It was the most comfortable I had been in days.
"Dude, we will stay together as much as we can. I'll call Shane, introduce myself. I can't promise you that you won't be in the nastiest doghouse in Georgia for a while, but I'll help you and your wife understand that this is an impossible situation. Just stop going off and dealing with Ava alone. She owns you. I've had a person or three get over on me through the years."
Breann and I talked in the cab ride to the airport. She walked me through the airport. When I left her I felt better physically and mentally. Then I saw Ava in the terminal. She held two cups of hot chocolate. Then looked at me sheepishly.
"Hey. I didn't sleep much but coffee would just make me jittery right now. I got us a couple of these."
Typical of her. Act like nothing happened to protect herself.
"Ava, you're right. I need you. I don't trust anyone else with this crap inside of me. But I'm married and I love her. From now on we meet with my wife or Breann in the room. It's professional and it's with perspective. I know this is my fault. I take that on me."
Ava took a drink of hot chocolate then sat her cup down next to her bags. She glared at me then composed her thoughts.
"Years ago, when you got divorced and we had chinese at our old favorite place downtown. I gave you a similar speech because I was getting married the next week. You were flirting. It was ok, you were single but I wasn't. You were so screwed up because of your ex and the stress and your disorder. I went home that afternoon and told my fiance I couldn't marry him. Then the next morning you wouldn't answer your phone so I went back to him and made up some crap about cold feet. I told him to give me a do-over, like we were 10 years old playing in the backyard."
She was crying. Huge tears streamed down her face. I believed they were real. I sat two chairs away but made peace.
"That's what we have here Av. Let's call this whole thing, The Do-Over."
She stopped crying quickly, looked at me and smiled suspiciously.
*blogger's note* - This another episode in the story I am writing. This post is inspired by the good people at @Studio30plus aka http://www.studiothirtyplus.com by their writing prompt "THE DO-OVER".
Today's song was way too easy to lay down. It played in my head and on my computer the entire time. It's from my second favorite band of all time, Radiohead. The words are Caleb. He does it to himself. Here's one of the most brilliant songs ever written....Just
"You should write. Do a blog. People should read what you put on paper."
I know, she's my best friend, my partner, she's supposed to stroke my ego. The thing is, Bobina is usually right.
My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog is a year old this weekend. My first post was something about music. I was about to attend the Butch Walker concert. Over 210 posts later, this site has evolved into my creative outlet for the book I'm writing, and connected me to some amazing human beings. There are actually folks kinda sorta, almost like me out there. I have discovered men and women with voices in their head, mental illness that drives them and scares them, who have talent that aren't appreciated enough.
I don't have a title or an ending to the story I am writing. There will be two to three fiction posts a week until we get to the end. Right now, the story is about 40 percent posted and 80 percent written.
The greatest thing about having a blog is the community, yes I mean to use that word, that I have become an excited part of. Last July I stumbled across Velvet Verbosity. Through Velvet's unique 100 Word Challenge I met Tara, pronounced Tar Rah. She lives on the east Florida coast, has two almost grown kids, and writes and photographs amazingly. I also have gotten to know talented people like The Sluiters - Katie & Cort , Marsha and Michael and Jana and Leah and Aimee and Kat and CDG and Chopper Papa and Alan and many others. One of the fellow bloggers I have really enjoyed as much as the ones already mentioned is Lisa aka Randy from Random Girl Blog.
She gave me a blog award called:
So here are the rules:
Our fellow bloggerspresentus with a lot of opportunities for furthering ourblogs, and gaining followers. Here is a way to Pay It Forward to them. When you have been bestowed with the honor of the Pay It Forward Award., insert this award atthe topof ablogpost along with these rules, and find FIVE fellow bloggers to bestow it upon. Thank the person who awarded you, mention them in your post, along with a link to your favorite post on theirblog, anda shortblurb about why you liked it. Next, comment on theirblogto let them know you are bestowing the award on them, and that they should do the same. And remember: Good Bloggers Pay It Forward.
Here's the deal. Everyone on my blog roll is a must read. I'll follow the rules and name 5 but know this, if I'm taking time to read their stuff, they're awesome.
1. Actually, I'm going to cheat. It's the internet. There are no rules. I have anxiety. I write about it often. Reading about mental illness is important. These 4 ladies write about what's in their heads with grace, dignity and honesty - Maasiyat, Hed, Haven, and Holly aka Blackbird.
2. Canada is more than hockey and beer. It's about good bloggers. JenO and Andie not only talk funny, they are funny. You should read them and follow them on twitter. Your life will be more entertaining.
3. I don't call myself a daddy blogger. Neither do Chopper Papa and Alan. They are dads who blog. Their humor, realism, and advice are just straight badass. They are also fellow music and comic book nerds too, so go read them.
4. Love rules my life. My beautiful wife and three gorgeous daughters give me all the l o v e I will ever need. If I ever need more, I know where to go. Judy, aka J, writes positively every day. She has a running blog topic called The Love Project. It will brighten your day just by clicking on it. Go there now.
5. I can't decide who to end this blogger's award deal with. Karen is hilarious and a joy to read. Girlatrockshow has great musical taste. Mollie is from Oklahomabut lives in the UK and likes all the same tunes I listen to. But CDG is a huge fan of my fiction and an aspiring novelist too. Her blog is excellent.
Thank you to anyone who reads this blog regularly. Everything put on this site is either part of the book I am writing or honest details of my unique, satisfying, but crazy life.
Happy One Year Anniversary to My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. It's made my life better.
Today's song is a guilty pleasure. Since I am posting a happy, feely, lovey stuff today, Supertramp has always been outside of my music snobbery. I like their 1970s stuff a lot. Here's Give A Little Bit...
I'm a comic book geek. I'm also a superhero dork. The glut of action films, specifically from Marvel Comics, is in my wheelhouse.
The disclaiming paragraph written, it's now imperative that I tell you non geeks and not so dorky why you should go see Thor, The Mighty God of Thunder, currently making an otherwordly amount of cash.
Kenneth Branugh, Emma Thompson's ex husband, the dude who was Hamlet, the arrogant teacher in Harry Potter, and the villain in Wild Wild West, directs the latest Marvel Comics property. He brings a lot of emotional heft and character depth to the project.
Thor is a comic book character taken from Germanic mythology. Wait, I'm losing you.
Thor is played by this guy:
Chris Hemsworth, a 6'5" Australian who talks EXACTLY like Heath Ledger. His voice is uncanny to late actor. Hemsworth gives weight, both in physicality and acting ability. He is Thor. You get it.
Anthony Hopkins plays Thor's dad, King Odin. Natalie Portman, easily the worst character in the film, plays Thor's love interest, astrophysicist, Jane Foster. There's a lot of action, a good amount of humor, and plenty of story to set up sequels, and tie ins to the other Marvel properties, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, and Captain America.
You won't need to be as versed in the comic books as I. There's plenty of exposition to lead you through the Gods, realms, villains, supporting characters - great work by the females Jaime Alexander as Sif,
Thor's childhood female warrior pal, and Kat dennings, Jane Foster(Portman)'s wise cracking scientist friend.
I am was pleasantly surprised by how it all worked. I saw it in 3D and usually, anything that gives me a headache, I bash. This, I gave a pass to. It's that good.
Oh, comic book nerds, I have this to tell you. There's a cameo by a Marvel comics character. He's played by The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner. It's a bow (all pun intended) to a future film. Then, stay around for the post credits scene where Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury shows up. The plot twist will make you happy.
The last good piece of news is also today's song. Foo Fighters contributed their new song, Walk. When Thor can't get the hammer out of the desert, Stellan Skaargard's doctor character, Erik Silvig, takes Thor to a bar for boilermakers, and Foo Fighter's provide the sound.
The Hill Of Sugar, suburban Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Hi, I'm Lance; in 1972, I was sent to prison by a military court for a crime I didn't commit. I promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, I survive as a soldier of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find me then, maybe you can hire my blog can beat up your blog.