Thursday, December 28, 2006

Second Baseman

He held up his forefinger and his pinky, signalling to the outfield. He placed the ball of his fist into his glove, pounded twice, and kicked the dirt behind the bag. He moved into position, just left of the bag, and watched the signs from the catcher. He got into his crouch when the pitcher nodded. The wind up. The pitch.


Home at the End of a Long Day

He knelt and shook the dust out of his sandal. He seated himself on the small stool and waited for the new girl to arrive. What was her name? He never could remember, even when he wanted to shout for her to hurry and wash the dirt of the street from his tired feet.

He stretched his arms in accompaniment to an exaggerated yawn, hoping that would be enough to alert her to the fact that the master of the house was home, and she had work to do.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Artful Dodge

She'd never played before this day, and was quickly becoming addicted. She felt like some sort of hi-tech spy, running about the Net, dodging other players. It was as if it came straight out of science fiction tale. She'd never played before this day, but knew she would again. The fun of it all was enough to bring her back. The $100 prize for the week's top player was just added incentive.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006


The wind blew with a bitter cold, but a cold they hardly felt anymore. It had seemed so much colder at the base of the ski lift, even though the lower ground was sheltered from the biting wind.

He nestled into the space she'd left him. The snow had begun to drop again, creating a powdery surface on the ground ahead of them. The huge tube squeaked as it tipped over the edge, and
A three year old voice squealed its delight as the tube raced through the snow, with him situated in his aunt's lap atop it.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Perfect Spot

It was the perfect camping spot.

The saplings were cleared. The tents were erected. Wood for a fire was laid, but not yet lit. That would have to wait just a little longer. The jungle twilight would be short, and before it set in, the campers were having their first bath in more days than they liked to admit.

"We're going upstream," the girls said firmly, and left the guys to figure out how best to avoid the runoff from their baths.

It was a spot to which they would never return. Despite its perfection, they already knew that they'd never be back. The real question was whether they would ever get out. This was not a good jungle to be lost in. If they died in it, lost trekkers, they would not be the first.

But they weren't thinking of that as they settled in, got the fire started, and cooked the three packets of noodles they had left. It was all they had, but that wasn't enough to spoil this dinner together. Not in this perfect spot.

The First Line

The First Line is a literary magazine whose quarterly issue is always based on a sort of writing competition. The magazine offers the first line of a short story (hence its name), and writers develop the story from there. It is fun watching how the stories all turn out so differently, but from the same starting point.

At my main blog site, it is a common practice for us to initiate various writing challenges. I've started one here based on the idea of The First Line. The links to the stories that have come out of that challenge can be found in the comments section there.

Recommended Reading

Sunday, December 17, 2006



The van was longer than your average car, and made sharper turns. Even if Stevie had more driving experience than just those few times backing out of the driveway, this might have happened. Vans are just different.

And this was bad.

"OH NO! What I am I going to do, Lizzie?"

"Back up and try again."


"Now what?" He was near panic stage now.

"I don't know. Try going forward."


He stopped, put his elbows on the steering wheel, his head on his palms.

"We can't just sit here."

"I have an idea," he said.


"You drive."

"I'm not even 12 yet."


"Just back up and do it again."

"That just keeps scratching it worse!"

"So it's better to just sit here?"

On a Lazy Saturday Afternoon

He pulled the van out of the car wash. It would be several years yet before he could even try to get his license. But his dad - feeling lazy on a Saturday afternoon or wanting to give the boy a treat, who could tell? - had asked him to bring the company van to the car wash. It was his first time to drive, unless backing out of the driveway once or twice counted for anything. He'd brought his younger sister, now 11 years old, with him, just for the sake of having company.

As it turned out, she was good for more than just company...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Wind in His Hair

The wind in his hair. The smell of salt filling his nostrils. This was it. The perfect life.

Here he was king. Captain of his ship. So what if it was a two man craft (at most)! It was his! He was king! No one could push him around here. This was his kingdom, his world, and he was master.

A rude awakening splashed in on his reflections, the wake from his father's yacht. He looked after, wondering who the blond wearing nothing but a bikini and his father's embrace was.

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Break a Leg

"Break a leg."

He cringed. It was a good luck wish, he knew. But it hit too close to home.

This was the night. His first performance since that fateful day when "Break a leg" took on a new meaning for him.

He'd just finished the show. Opening night, and he was Hamlet. It was perfect.

Until the party. He'd run down the staircase to get some more beer. Apparently he'd had too much already. It wasn't the staircase, but the front of the stage. He dropped to the floor and clutched his ankle, howling in pain.

And that was it for Hamlet. The rest of the shows had been played by his understudy. And he'd been out of commission for 2 months. It had taken another six months to get another role. And of course, he wasn't cast as the lead this time. Nope. He'd pretty much made a wreck of his lucky break. (And whoever said "lucky" necessarily meant "good luck"?)

And there was Joel, the understudy-turned-Hamlet, now acting the lead on a small stage off Broadway. "It should've been me," he murmured, not for the first time.

Apparently the answer to the question was that it was, in fact, not to be.

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Poker DIY

She'd heard of poker addictions, but she never knew that they could have nothing at all to do with gambling.

That's where she found herself now, addicted to the fun of playing poker online with real live people. She'd invited several of her own friends to play, and they loved playing together online and talking about it when they spent time together unplugged too. It had become such a fun way to hang out together.

And she was making other friends there too, people she played poker with all the time.

It was one addiction she didn't mind. Certainly it was less harmful than the others she'd seen others indulge in.

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Running on Empty

Oh, just another half mile or so... come one.

She could see the lights of the gas station's sign, but couldn't quite make out whether it was Mobil or Exxon... something with red, white, and blue anyway.

The needle had been on "E" for the past ten minutes or so, having been slowly creeping nearer and nearer to it for miles. It was just so small between gas stations out here in this wildernes.

What was she doing here anyway? Running out of gas on some deserted road, and for what? Research? As if anyone else was going to bother about her work.

I hope it doesn't turn into another thing to regret. After they all laughed at the whole idea, it had better work out.

Exxon it was, and it looked like she was going to make it with little more than fumes to spare. She pulled in and groaned.

"Closed. Opening hours: 9 am to 11 pm." Who ever heard of gas stations closing for the night these days?

She looked at her watch. Four minutes after midnight.

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Life in Paradise

He'd thought this was supposed to be a tropical island paradise. Why was he sitting here freezing half to death then?

He huddled down and pulled the garbage-bag-transformed-into-a-raincoat tigheter about him, sheltering from the rain pounding down upon him. Cold... the one thing he'd never imagined he'd feel working in this sunny isle.

But he hadn't reckoned on the monsoon seasons. Hadn't factored that into his thoughts when he took the job. And now here he sat, huddled in the back of the lorry with a dozen other men in the same plight.

To make it worse, it would be months before he'd see a dime from that paycheck, with every penny of it going back to the wife and kids before he even saw a bit of it. Life, he was discovering, is not even. Not even in Paradise.

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Good medicine

I've been watching you doctor. The four patients you are monitoring are not showing the sort of improvement I had hoped to see.

You know I was not in favor of your little experiment, but you were so sure it would help. I don't see it helping though, do you?

In fact, they might be getting worse. What are we going to do about this? Hm, doctor?

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Used Car

Enough is enough.

This is the last time I'll ever be shafted buying a new car. I've had it!

That slimy no good used car salesman. What was I thinking trusting him? That checkered jacket. The smell of sweat, and the too-pearly white smile he flashed. I should've known all that fast talking was too much to be believed. And now I'm stuck here, on the side of this highway, with a lemon. And a five mile walk back to town.

Never again.

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Money Loophole

Recently, out of the blue, this guy came across a very strange loophole.

It quickly became for him a way of making FREE MONEY!

Hold on, I know that's a very hard thing to believe. But I stake my good reputation on this fact:

There is a guaranteed loophole you can exploit right now to easily generate a weekly sum of money from nothing. Joe Brice-Cohen, Managing Director of has figured it out, and he shares the secret with his readers in this book.

It's all about a logical loophole that occurs because of a special kind of business mistake made dozens of times each week. These mistakes allow you to make hundreds of dollars, legally, from nothing. Quite literally, this is a form of investment where you can never, ever lose.

It's a legal and legitimate way to be making money right now. And all because Joe Brice-Cohen stumbled across this brilliant idea.

Discover this amazing loophole here.

The Cube

Despite his uncertainty about what this strange object might be, he reached out a hand and gingerly touched the smooth multi-colored surface. Nothing happened.

A bit bolder now, he reached out and gripped the object in his right hand. It was a nice fit. Its weight was like a Nothing in his hand as he carried it nearer to his face and sniffed. It was a strange smell, like nothing he'd ever seen in the world.

He fondled the surface of the thing, wondering at the small colored squares that met his fingers. The grooves between each puzzled him, and he began poking at one of those spots with his broken nail.

It turned! The whole top of the box twisted as he poked.

What could this odd thing be?

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Hotel Bookings Online

It was going to be a long journey, and we were pressed for time. We needed to be able to make all of our stops count, and not waste any time looking for where to stay, quibbling about which hotel we like better, and all that.

So, we did the sensible thing. We looked for all of our information online, before ever leaving the house. We compared prices. We compared locations. We compared the facilities. There were so many things to choose from on that we had all the information we needed right there when we needed it. Best of all, the site offers a $100 rebate if we found a cheaper price elsewhere. That made it a clear choice for the way to go.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mike and Ike

Mike was in town for only a short time. Ike was working like a mad dog, and was consistently unavailable to meet up with his old pal, even though he knew Mike's time was short.

"C'mon man. I'm not going to be here that long," Mike complained, the cell phone's weak connection adding to his frustration.

"Can't help it. I gotta get the car back upstate this afternoon."

"Alright. I'll tell you what. I'll ride up with you. Then I'll fly back tonight."

"No way you can get a flight back. Not during the holiday season like this."

"But I gotta be back. We've got the meeting on first thing in the morning."

"Not a chance."

"Let me check online."

Within an hour, Mike and Ike were on the road, laughing it up as they drove. Mike sat back, feeling just a little smug about how slick he was, managing to get tickets at such a steal during the holiday season.

The four hour drive seemed to end all to quickly, with Ike pulling in at the airport to drop Mike off.

"It was good to see you, Ike."

"Yeah, well, thanks for going to all the trouble to get these few hours together."

They strode to the ticketing counter together. Within moments, their bravado vanished.

"What do you mean, I don't have a ticket for tonight?'

"No sir. But I do see you listed for a ticket on the 5th."

"But I gotta be back tonight."

The ticketing personnel stifled a smile, the first he'd really felt all during this busiest of travel days.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006


It all started with the cash advance Jackie secured. I was in debt. Bad. I had gotten myself in all sorts of trouble with this bum from upstate. That's the guy who used to beat me up. It was him who'd run up all the debts in my name, to be honest. He didn't have any credit at all, so used my name all the time to apply for loans, credit cards, whatever. Before you know it, my own good name was spoiled too.

Then Jackie came along. He wasnt' rich back then, but he applied for a payday loan and helped pay off some of my debts. He invested a bit of it, and made some money. I don't know where he was investing it at first. I was too messed up to pay any attention. But as things started looking brighter, I started watching and learning. Sometimes it was property, sometimes gold, sometimes other commodities. But Jackie seemed to have a golden touch. And to think, it all started with that cash advance that he took out for my sake.

showintale's blog

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Authorial Intrusion

Dear Reader,

I've been working on this blog as a form of exercise. I thought it would be fun to work on a particular aspect of fiction through blogging. Perhaps it is obvious enough to say I've been working on dialogue so far. This interest is generated by my love of texts written for the stage. So often on the stage, the action is mostly understood through a combination of the dialogue and all the "big" actions that can be shown, rather than through the subtleties that the screen loves so much.

In addition, I wanted to experiment with language and how each character's use of language affected that of the other characters. It hasn't quite worked out the way I wanted, and I am ready to try something new for a while. Perhaps I'll come back to these characters one day, and perhaps not. For now, though, I will just move toward a more general sort of story-telling, and begin working on other writing exercises and other aspects of fiction writing.

My apologies for this intrusion,
The Author

showintale's blog

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Log entry. 3 January. Group A (Patients 389645, 390086, 465791, 025486)

The session this morning was rather chaotic. Almost amusing in its chaos.

Patient 389645 was going on about "them," as always. The only one who seems to understand what he's going on about is Patient 465791, and that is just so she can sell him something, it seems.

Patient 390086 was rather a surprise. While she did mention Jackie, she had no whopping tales to tell. Perhaps she just didn't get a chance to get a word in, particularly with Patient 389645 carrying on as he did. The two of them were obviously at loggerheads.

Patient 465791 went right on with her programme, trying to sell something- anything!- to anyone who would listen.

Patient 025486 was cut off by Patient 390086, and clammed up. Oddly, Patient 389645 jumped to his defense.

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Christmas Shopping?

"Psst. Hey! You there?"

"Of course. Where else would I be."

"Hey, don't sound so sad."

"It's just, ya know, being in here on the holidays and all."

"Miss your family?"

"I don't really have any family, except a sister. The one who visits me every weekend."

"Did you get her a present for Christmas?"

"How could I? There aren't any shops in here."

"You could shop online..."

"I've told you my feelings about that!"

"OK, OK."

"Besides, I don't have a dime to my name. Got some debts piled up too."

"Well... you don't like buying online, I know. But would you be opposed to making a few bucks there? There's lots to be had."


"Yeah. I can show you, next time we're in the rec room. We can get online there."

"Can't They see whatever we do then?"

"It won't matter if They do. Just don't put in any private info, ya know."

"Smart girl. That's always exactly what I say."

"Yeah, I know. I'm a quick study."

"Yeah, you are."

Log entry. 23 December. Group A (Patients 389645, 390086, 465791, 025486)

Will begin new programme of treatment today. Four patients will begin regular interaction, instead of each interacting individually with me. The interaction between Patients 389645 and 465791 through the vents in their rooms gave me the idea. After reflecting on Patient 465791's interruption of the session with Patient 025486 recently, it more or less convinced me that group interaction should be useful for all of these patients. Will observe the interacting together over the next few weeks, as an experiment, to see if the sessions show any useful results.

Will begin the sessions after the holiday. For now, we will all rest and celebrate together.

Just to clarify...

"So you're saying you don't trust anyone enough to even buy things online?"

"Well, it is scary, ya know."

"Sure. There are plenty of scary things in life that we do every day, though."

"Yeah? Do you?"


"Not me. I'm careful. I know how to keep out of danger."

"Yes, well... you do walk down the street don't you?"

"No, I walk on the sidewalk."

"That's what I meant."

"Oh. Then, yeah."

"But that is pretty dangerous. Someone could mug you."

"Uh... not if you are careful. Like me. I know They are always watching, so I watch my back. Ya know?"

"Yes. Well... the point is, you do things, even if they are scary, sometimes."

"What's that got to do with shopping online?"

"Well, surely you see the connection I'm making. You claim it's dangerous to give out private details. I'm saying it's no more dangerous than things you do in life every day."

"Oh. Hm. I see."

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Online Shoppers

And I'm telling you, she just buys everything online! She was going on about books, DVDs, clothes... all that is alright. I wouldn't much want to do it myself, but I know some people do. And man, she was just going on and on. She was talking about the huge variety of things she buys online. Even gold and jewelry! Can you imagine?

So, she goes on like that, and it just struck me how dangerous it all is. How could you ever give your personal details out like that? Just think what someone could do with all that information they've now got on you. Scary stuff, man.

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Early Retirement?

"You mean you and Jackie tried to retire?"


"But you went back to work thereafter?"


"And then you started this successful business?"


"And now here you are."

"Clearly so."

"May I ask a rather personal question?"

"Sure. Shoot."

"How old, precisely, were you when this happened?"



"Well, it's hard to remember that exactly. I'd say I was about 25 or so."

"Only 25? And you were retiring?"

"Well, yes, but Jackie was older. In his late 30s."

"And retiring?"

"Yes. He did very well and had made some rather good money, and thought he'd settle down to a quiet life. But this opporunity came up-"

"Yes. So you said."

"-and we couldn't pass it up."

"I see."

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Log entry. 21 December. Patient 390086

Patient was offended when she realized I do not believe the stories she has been telling. When I pointed out that people who have the sort of money she claims to have don't usually end up in this sort of facilities, but more upscale ones, she laughed at me. She claims that the money she and 'Jackie' have made is kept in a private account, protected from heavy taxation in this way.

She is good, I will have to admit. She comes up with an explanation for everything, and only very seldom waffles.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Log entry. 21 December. Patient 389645

Patient seemed to show concern for my state today. It seems he's coming out of his shell to some extent. Though he does still often revert back to his old paranoia. It is, still, real progress. He's come a long way since beginning our sessions together, though I must admit that it has been a frustrating path to achieve even the small bit of progress that we have seen so far. He is not easy to work with, not by any means.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

What are you worried about?

"So what has caused this concern in you, about my links and my website and all this?"

"Oh, you know... I've always really only been concerned for your own well-being and all. I don't warn you like this for nothing, and I certainly don't get anything out of it."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, what do you think I get out of it?"

"Oh who knows? Maybe you yourself are working for some higher ups that give you a promotion if you somehow 'convert' me."

"Is that what you think?"

"Me? Oh no. Not at all."

"Then why did you say that?"

"I was just stating a hypothetical. To make a point."

"Yeah, well. You've made your point."

"What do you mean?"

"Is someone listening to us?"


"Or watching us?"

"No. Of course not."

"Yeah. Sure. OK."

"You look uncomfortable."

"No- Ahem. No. Not at all."

Log entry. 19 December. Patient 390086

Patient is rather good at making the details fit into her narrative. She claims she is a novelist, and a famous one. Or rather, that she was a novelist, but gave it up for this love of her life who appears in all of her wild stories, this Jackie. But of course, her novels were of the racy sort, and not the type she'd use her real name on.

How convenient.

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OK, but wait...

"Well, that's all well and good. And it does make sense. I mean, I understand it, for sure. But, I still have a question."


"Are you telling me that you really were a successful writer?"

"Oh that. Why... yes... of course."

"Well, um... then, why have I never heard your name before meeting you here?"

"Oh. Hahahaha. That's easy. Of course I used a pseudonym. I wasn't writing precisely the kind of thing I'd like my real name to appear on, if you know what I mean. And besides, I have a half-crazy daughter who's convinced that every book I write is based on her. She's a bit of a narcissist."

"Oh. Well. Yes. I see."

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Recommended Reading

And so there I sat, at the book signing. It was hot, and the line was still very long, but I had only agreed to another 20 minutes or so. I knew my agent would hate it, but I wasn't about to stay a minute longer than I was obligated to.

And that's when it hit me. The writer's life wasn't what I was wanting. At least, not this sort of life. I mean, what Jackie was offering was just so much better, you know? I mean, who could resist him?

Recommended Reading

Log Entry. 19 December. Patient 465791

Another odd session. Seems to be the week for them, I suppose.

Patient was trying to sell me property, and I had to explain to her how happy I am with my own arrangements. In the end, it seemed that I was convincing her to use my agency. Strange how the tables were turned that way yet again. I am not sure quite what brought me to do it. It was a surprise to me as much as to anyone.

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Ocean Front Property

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mixed Bag

Fiery icicles hanging from the lofty peaks of the random rainmakers. Riotous rolled-up youthful kittens rollicking about, winding through the thicket. They know, they know. They always know that life is no rifle range. Shoot the rapids, scale the ripples. Ripped up, ripped off, ribbons of reeking rabid wrappers. Rancid in the least degree, we are no more the boys of winter, nor summer.

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"I'm sorry. Can you say that again?"

"Wind, reigns, deer, closet full of poesies."

"Shall we all fall down?"




"Um. I said, 'shall we all fall down?'"


"Do you understand what it is I am referring to?"


"You said a closetful of poesies. I picked up on the rhyme 'Ring Around the Rosey,' and made a pun on it."


"You do get it, don't you?"


"Don't you?"



"Hahahahahahahaha... aaaaaaaaah."

"Yes, that's it. That's it indeed."




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Friday, November 17, 2006

Log entry. 18 December. Patient 389645

A very odd session with patient today. Seems he wants to turn his paranoia around on me, seeking information about my private affairs. I suspect he thought he had me cornered, feeling uncomfortable. I've outsmarted him then. Of course, I am used to such things and wasn't in the least disconcerted by his tactics. Although he is certain to try to dig more into my private business, that doesn't bother me a bit, not in the least.

Will see patient again in 2 days to follow up.

When's the Big Day?

When's the big day, huh? Heard you were tying the knot... getting married... starting a new life... all that stuff. It's sweet, really. I never quite thought of you as the marrying type.

It must be really difficult, in your line and all.

Does she know? Is she in on your secret? How does she take it?

Or have you kept her away from all of that world?

I've always wondered how your type does it. I mean, it isn't all that uncommon for guys like you to get married. Part of the cover, maybe.

So, what does she say about it all?


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Log entry. 17 December. Patient 025486

Odd session with patient today. Just as we were getting into our discussion, Patient 465791 burst in with her normal drivel. (Back to that, after the silent treatment from the previous session. More on that in her own file.)

Patient responded to the interruption in an acceptable way, with one exception. The words contained in his speech still did not flow in a sense-making way.



"What are you doing in here?"

"Why... I'm just telling you about the Knot Wedding Shop."

"Can't you see I am with a patient?"

"Not a shop? Have patience."


"You need to leave this instance."

"But, don't forget to visit that shop, ok?"


"And if you want some help with honeymoon plans, I can recommend that too-"

"I said out!"

"Rabid cobras running wild all over the site. What a fright it gives to all around!"

"You're funny."

"That's it! Nurse!"

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The Journeys of Showintale

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006


"What's to see?"


"Don't you understand that all these things you are saying make no sense?"

"Dollars and cents, assuredly. It can't be that the president's men were putting it together once and for all. The tidal wave and the fishy hucksters will always be that way. Once and for all."

"This is just the sort of thing I mean. Your tone is reasonable, but the words you string together don't make sense."

"Riding the fence."

"Wait, I should rephrase that. The words themselves make sense. But not the way you've put them together."

"Eyes see."

"Yes, they do."

"Pay your dues."


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Jungle Jumble

Jungle jumble burning bright, with night tiger's eyesight failing. I cannot tell nor can I sail when the night air is so filled with foggy brimstone. Henry Ford's model airplane took off to the dance, without a date on the calendar girl.

Once it happens, it can't complete the process, if you know what I mean. Does he? When the time comes, the hellfires will rise up and call us blessed. And then we will all know just how relaxed a state we live for, and that it won't last for long. The euphoria that fills the bucket to overflowing, will decrease, but he will increase.

When the download is completed, that should be the end of the story, at the end of the day. So I've heard.

You see?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Log entry. 17 December. Patient 390086

Saw patient for these 2 consecutive days. Perhaps I finally have her. She claims her picture appeared in the Times a few years ago during the Hannukah season with the Prime Minister of Israel. That should be easy enough to disprove, I suppose. It might just be the needed break. If I can show that she's never appeared in the paper with the Prime Minister, perhaps she'll cease to believe these wild tales she's telling.

Let me guess...

"Let me guess... was this friend you visited the Prime Minister of Israel?"

"Why, yes! How did you know?"

"Lucky guess, I suppose."

"Oh you are a joker. I know! You saw my picture in the Times, didn't you?"

"In the Times?"

"Sure. It was just a few years ago. I suppose you might recognize me from that picture."

"Do you remember which month?"

"Um.... it was Hannukah."

"Oh. Yes. Right. I see. Um.... which year?"

"The first time was maybe 6 years ago. But I think the picture appeared three or four years back."

"I see."


"Oh. Nothing much. Just curious."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Log entry. 16 December. Patient 389645

Perhaps I moved too quickly with the patient today. Seems he was ready to open up to me, even talking about fond memories. But I pushed for him to trust me with more, and he clammed right back up. Seems afraid that my gestures of friendship had ulterior motives.

I was right about Patient 465791. Patient 389645 today admitted that the two of them have been talking. I am afraid he influenced her.

Perhaps the influence will do them both good. One talking too much, the other not enough. One too trusting, the other not enough. It will have to be monitored though.

You sure have a lot to say today

"You're talkative today."


"Yes. Indeed."

"I guess. Does it bother you?"

"Not at all. I rather like it. I'm just wondering why the change."

"I guess I am lonely. My neighbour won't talk to me anymore."

"Why not?"

"She thinks I'm one of you, I think."


"Yeah. I knew you'd like that."

"No. It isn't that. It's just rather curious."

"What do ya mean?"

"Well, why don't you tell me what happened?"

"What do you want to know for?"

"Well, I do rather hope we can be friends, you know."

"Do you now?"

"Certainly. I've been trying to be your friend all along."

"So you have...."

"Does that bother you?"

"Not that exactly, but...."





"OK. I see."

Log entry. 16 December. Patient 390086

Patient seems very confused. Seems to be confused, thinking she is some one of some importance. Even implied she is Al Gore. When I pointed this out, she became belligerent.

It is getting rather serious, these lies she's telling. Dealing with a pathological liar is never easy. The difficulty, at the moment, is finding out just how much of her lies she actually believes, and how much she is aware it is all made up.

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By Implication

"Are you trying to tell me that you created the whole blog advertising frenzy?"


"It sounds like that is what you are saying."

"No. Who do you think I am? Al Gore?"

"You are not Al Gore."

"I know I'm not. That's what I said."

"No you didn't."

"Well, I did imply it."

"Just like you implied you started the whole blog ad craze."

"I did not imply that! I just told you about how these things work!"

"But surely you can see-"

"No I cant see!"

"I see."

"I'm sure you do."

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Sunday, November 12, 2006




"Hey, lady!"


"What'cha doing?"

"I'm not talking right now."

"Good, good. Don't talk to Them."

"I'm not talking to anyone."

"That's not a bad idea, to tell ya the truth. So what happened to bring about this change?"


"Did you hear?"

"I heard."


"I already told you I'm not talking."

"But... but you can talk to me! Surely you know I'm harmless."

"How would I know?"

"Why..... because...."

"I see."

Friday, November 10, 2006

Log entry. 15 December. Patient 025486

May have taken a risky approach with patient today. I treated the Fruit Salad Speak as if it were coherent dialogue. Convinced patient that what he needs is a goal, something to make him more focused. Patient will be taking up an online course.

This might have been the wrong suggestion, but it was the first that came to mind. It grew out of his Fruit Salad Speak.

I talked way too much in the session. You'd have thought I was Patient 465791, the way I was going on!

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A Hole in My Life

There's a hole in my life. Black hole, white sky, blue grass, country music, or country style dining.

Loneliness overwhelms the green state of being when the orchids are in bloom. Or when they wilt under the cold rains of the jungle night sky. Concerted effort is needed to apply ourselves to the destruction of the village. Progress!

Education. That's the secret. A hole that must be filled.

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Log entry. 15 December. Patient 390086

Thought I'd made some real progress with Patient today. She was recognizing the difference between reality and fiction, describing the need for auto insurance. Kept a clear line between that and the film she'd seen firmly in place while discussing the two. Was very hopeful this represented a breakthrough.

It seems, though, that she cannot apply this difference in reference to her thoughts about Jackie. Hoping this will be a starting point for real progress. Perhaps, eventually.

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Car Crashes

It was so cool. This car was flying, and I mean flying down the road. It swerved here, swerved there, and finally jumped up over another car, flipping several times and finally landing on its roof. The driver opened the door and got out-

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Log entry. 15 December. Patient 465791

Patient seems to have been talking too much with patient in neighbouring cell. That is Patient 389645. It seems today she (Patient 465791) decided to take Patient 389645's approach and stop speaking to me at all. It is something of a relief from her normal ongoing chatter. Those two couldn't be more opossite, as far as that goes.

I am afraid, though, that this is anything but progress. Uncertain at present what approach to take. This is certainly an unexpected obstacle in both patients treatment.

We will see.

You do realize...?

"You do realize, don't you, that I mentioned this very thing to you some time back?"

"No, I don't think you did."

"Yes, you've tried to make a prescription for me before. See, it's here in my notes."

"Hee hee ha ha hee hee ha. That's funny, Doc. You had me going for a minute."


"I almost believed my neighbour when you said that."

"What do you mean?"

"Um. Never mind. Maybe I should just shut up."

"No, no. Go on. This is most interesting."


"Come now. We've always gotten along so well."


"I see. OK then. So be it."

showintale's blog

Friday, November 03, 2006

Log entry. 14 December. Patient 389645

Patient continues to persist in paranoia. Observation sessions generally end with an attempt at turning the tables (patient trying to question me). Seems perhaps some progress today. Conversation was more sustained.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Just because I am paranoid, it doesn't mean they aren't out to get me

"So you think we are out to get you, and that we are based in South Africa?"

"Aha! So you admit it!"

"Admit what? I've only asked you a question."

"Yes, but you gave yourself away."

"Oh? How so?"

"You said 'we.' That proves it. You are one of Them. I knew it all along!"

"Nonsense. It means nothing of the sort."

"Sure, that's what they all say. But you've really slipped up this time."

"Oh I have, have I? Look, I want you to read this article for discussion at our next session."

"Yes. That is how They -- You -- always work, isn't it? Distributing your propaganda."

"Oh, nonsense. Just read it whenever you have time, and we will discuss it at our next meeting."

"Yeah, ok. Sure. I'll read it."

"You will, won't you? You aren't just saying that?"

"Of course."


"Sure. I promise."

"Remember, we don't break our promises."

"Hm. You don't?"

"No. Never."

"I see."

showintale's blog

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Grand Conspiracy

I don't know what all They are up to, but I've found a good lead to gathering more information. There's been talk of South Africa that I've overheard. I'm sure there is at least a cell there, and I suspect it is one that is very high up. Maybe even the HQ itself. I'll have to keep alert so as not to fall into the trap. But South Africa seems as good a lead as any, at the moment.

It's all a matter of keeping alert, of staying just one step ahead of Them.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Buyer's Trip

We boarded the small plane to make our wait to South Africa. It was a twin engine affair, all we could afford at the moment. But we knew the silver bullion we'd pick up would make it worth our while.

Just as we began to board the plane, an official ran out toward the runway, followed by five police officers. The official was waving documents in his hand, shouting. The police officers were waving their guns.

"Hurry up!" I shouted to the pilot. Jackie was frantically closing the door.

"No way can I take off now!" the pilot objected.

"Consider it an investment," I replied. "We'll give you a silver bar when we leave Johannesburg safely."

The plane was off the ground in less than three minutes.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Burger and Fries

"Hey pal? You there?"

"Who's that? And what do you want?"

"It's me again. C'mon... surely you recognize my voice by now!"

"How can I be sure it's you?"

"Alright, forget it. You don't have to talk."


"I just wanted to tell you about the great meal I had at McDonald's. It was great. Me and the kids, and we had a ball."

"You take your kids to eat fast food? That's horrible for them, you know?"

"Oh! But the face of fast food has changed, thanks to McDonald's! They offer all sorts of good-for-you food, and it's as great tasting as ever!"


"Yeah. The McDonald's near my place has salad and fruits and yogurt... all sorts of healthy choices for you."

"Yeah? A healthy fast food place? Where is that?"

"It's on I-45 in League City, Texas. And the kids love it, of course."

"I never heard of kids loving healthy food."

"That's the joy of it. Every time I tell them we're going for McDonald', they are thrilled, and don't even realize how good for them it can be! It's like sneaking in the good stuff with lots of fun."

"Hm. I see."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Few Simple Questions

"So, what does that mean exactly?"

"The mean of the average of the two coordinates in hyperspace explodes that melting pot."

"I'm sorry?"

"Finding the coordination to dexterously increase mobility in formidable situations grants considerable value in your stock. It's elementary."

"Yes, well, even so, I'm not sure I'm quaint -- er, quite, I mean -- quite following you."

"Quiet? Insufferably."

"Well, at least we agree on that."

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Mixed Bag

Peanut brittle ice cream freezes on hotplates in the oven. Former presidents in the bakery pack their bags and go into solitary confinement. After work, at least, so the piggies say.

Final convents isolate conventional endings. And the dish ran away with the spoon.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Log entry. 12 December. Patient 390086

Patient has just come to realize that I don't believe her stories. Continues to insist upon their veracity.

Next appointment: 14 December 2 pm

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Monday, October 16, 2006


"I see."


"So now you are telling me that you've given a lecture to the International Society of Archaelogists?"

"Yes. In Cairo. About 8 years ago. And without any preparation. Isn't that hilarious?"

"Certainly. A riot. Was this before or after you were in Gandolfo?"

"Er... before. Yes. It was before. Jackie was still with me in Cairo."

"Before or after the plane crash in the jungle?"

"Um..... Hm. After."

"And before or after you were abused by that man?"

"Certainly before that. All that happened after Jackie died. I told you I was in a real pit then, emotionally."

"I see."

"It must've been Jackie's death that got me so down."

"Well. One would think so."

"I still miss him today."

"Hm. The jungle treks and desert digs must not be the same without him."

"Oh, come now. I haven't done anything like that since he died, really."

"No? I would've thought you'd been off to the North Pole or some such."

"Well... no."


"No. But we did go to the South Pole together before that awful event when he got shot."

"Of course you did."

"You don't beleive me do you?"

"Why wouldn't I believe you?"

"Hm. I see."

showintale's blog

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Giving a lecture

I stood in the front of the large crowd, all looking expectantly in my direction. I felt a trickle of sweat run down my back. I didn't know I was expected to make a speech. This gathering of archealogists from all of the world looked my way, silently, awaiting me to enlighten them on the Golden Age of Byzantium.

I hadn't studied Byzantium since I was studying in the postgraduate program at Yale.

I let the silence grow thick. The heat in the room seemed to have suddenly jumped to a temperature to match the desert sands outside these walls.

I cleared my throat.

"Ladies and gentlemen, Your Majesty, and members of the press," I began....

showintale's blog

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Log entry. 11 December. Patient 465791

Patient unwell yesterday. Appointment at the Round Table postponed till today. She, like the patient before her, took to writing on the Table. Her writing, like her speech, seems to be spoken in advertisese.

For the next session, I will try to break her out of that pattern of speech.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Log entry. 11 December. Patient 389645

Patient spent whole time at the Round Table writing. On the Table.

Content is the same, all about "Them," how "They" are out to get him.

Next appointment 14 December.

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Keeping My Mouth Shut

Alright. I've learned a lesson. I can't keep talking, no matter what they do to provoke me. No matter what. I just have to keep my mouth shut and bear it. I can't say anything. Maybe they'll stop noticing me then.

But that doesn't stop me from writing. I'll put all my thoughs down here and keep it all private. They won't know, and maybe They won't drug me anymore then. I don't want anymore of Their drugs. That was horrible, thinking They really had me in Their control for all the time I was out. Terrible.

But I don't think They got anything. No, that little weasel in the white coat and black glasses didn't seem none to happy the next time we met. No, I think I foiled Them. Them and Their stupid drugs. But I outsmarted Them still.

I've got to get out of here before They do get to me though. I can't take it forever, even though I'm careful.

Maybe that guy in the cell next to me will help. I don't know yet if he can be trusted, but I'll see if I can't get him talking some more. He might be of some use.

For now, I'll just have to shut my mouth and bear up under the strain.

showintale's blog

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Log entry. 10 December. Patient 025486

Patient infuriatingly insists on continuing to converse in nonsensical phrases. Tried to force him to speak properly, at which point he shuts down, refusing to speak at all.

Next appointment for 13 December.

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"I'm sorry, but none of that makes any sense to me."

"Sensory flint to be? Scanty reality seems to be. Aloft in the dungeon, dragging forth the dragon's fourth pleated skirt. For the first time, sensory flint to be?"

"You see, I know all the words, but the way you put them together is nonsensical."

"Unbiblical? Spiritual perhaps, dragging the drugs into the doorknob. Incantations can't afford plantations. Sensory flint -- Ha!"

"Exactly! 'Sensory flint' -- ha! indeed. What does 'sensory flint' even mean?"

"The golden mean is halfway there. It floats through the air. It scalds the scalp's hair. It's all like apples in pairs."

"Apples and pears?"

"Apples in pairs."

"Hm. I'm afraid I don't get it."

"Sensory flint."

"Whatever sort of flint, or fruit, or whatever. I don't understand it. You will just have to speak properly if you want to be understood."


"So? How about it?"


"So. This again?"


"Alright then. Have it your way."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Second Helping

Dainty dollars added up, making it through the wilderness wanderings. The heliport landing was smooth as concrete and jam. Faintly walking through the corridors of the vast expanse, he stumbled over the cloudy pond.

Warrants issued for his release, requests from the peanut gallery. Excavations completed before schedule, we moved closer to the pretentious deadline set. Keyboards, laptops, hair dryers, filament all fill the firmament to capacity. An understatement to the nth degree.

Matted and exhausted, the pup sagged townward. The sounds of the atmosphere oppressed and bouyed him. All was quiet.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Log entry. 9 December. Patient 390086

Patient proving difficult. Refuses to believe the truth about her stories -- that they are all lies.

Next appointment 12 December.

Do you even know where Gandolfo is?

"Do you even know where Gandolfo is?"

"Why, yes. Of course. I just told you I was on the road to Gandolfo when this happened."

"Yes, but you said the desert. It isn't in the desert."

"I didn't mean desert per se. I meant the icy polar wastelands."

"Mm-hm. Try again."

"Uh. The tropical rainforests?"

"No. You don't even know where it is! You've never been there."

"Well, no. You see, I didn't finish my story. The bandits, you see, abducted me. I had to go with them and spend weeks as their prisoner."

"Yes. In the rainforest. Or was it icy polar wastelands?"

"No, in a small shack in the desert. But they flew me there, with a black hood over my head. So I really don't remember where it all started. Just that we were trying to get to Gandolfo when Jackie got shot."

"I see."

Sunday, October 01, 2006

On the Road... to Gandolfo

We were on a long journey. As we made our way down the road to Gandolfo, we happened upon a party of bandits. Jackie stopped the jeep. We slowly stepped out.

Before we could utter a word, a bullet whizzed through the desert air, and Jackie dropped to the ground in a heap. He was dead.

"Wait! Stop! Don't shoot!" I shouted, trying hopelessly not to panic.

"We won't shoot you," said a dark-skinned, dark-haired, dark eyed man, stepping forward. "You're much too valuable to us alive."

"Me? I asked feebly.

"Oh yes. Don't pretend with me," he smirked. "You're the only one who knows where the jewel is kept."

"You must be mistaken," I said.

"Mistaken?" He raised an eyebrow. "Then maybe you should join your friend."

I gulped. Sweat beaded on my forehead. I didn't know what I'd do. I didn't even know what jewel he was talking about.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Log entry. 9 December. Patient 389645

Patient refuses to talk, but does so most vociferously. Indeed, talks non-stop. Most helpful for observation.

Will observe patient at The Round Table in two days.

A voice from the neighbouring cell

"Pssst. Hey, pal."

"Who's that?"

"It's me, your neighbour."

"Is this some kind of trick? Are you one of Them?"

"No, nothing like that. I just wanted to tell you about some property."


"Property. You know. Land. Houses."

"Are you sure you aren't one of Them?"


"How can I know?"

"Do I sound like one of Them? And if I were one of Them, would I be in a cell?"

"Well, no. I suppose not."

"OK, then."

"But how are you talking to me?"

"Look up. You see that vent way up in the top of your cell?"


"It links to mine. We can talk through that. Then we won't feel so lonely."

"Well, as long as you are sure you aren't one of Them."

"Yeah. I'm sure. But about that property...."

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nothing to say?

"Yes. Well, I can see you have nothing to say."

"That's right. Not a word. I don't want to talk to you again."

"Well, why not?"

"Oh, you know why not. Don't pretend that way. You and your conspiracy and your drugs and all. Yeah. I got nothing to say to you.

"What conspiracy?"

"Oh no. That ain't gonna work on me, pal. I'm onto ya. And I ain't talkin'."

"OK. OK. You don't have to talk."

"Good. 'Cos I don't got nothing to say to you. Or none of your slimy spying friends neither. I don't want to talk to you. Not a word. Not a word. Not a single word."

showintale's blog

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

You again

Oh. It's you. Again.

Yeah, I figured I'd be seeing you around.

But I got nothing to say to you.

That was a dirty trick, you know, drugging me up like that.

I really just don't want anything else to do with you.

Mum's the word, you know. All that sort of stuff.

Nothing to say to you, not at all.

I would rather not see you anymore too. Not to be rude or anything. It's just that after that dirty trick, I kind of think you are a lying cheat, you know.

And anyway, I got nothing to say to you.

Nothing. Not at all. Not a word. Nothing.

showintale's blog

Monday, September 25, 2006

Log entry. 7 December. Patient 390086

Patient, it seems, has been stringing me along all the while. Not abused. Delusional. Tells big whopping lies. Will monitor the situation further.

Next appointment set for two days from now.

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Further Questions

"Wait. Are you going to tell me you managed to land the plane in the jungle?"

"Well, yes. I mean, if you want to cut the long story short."

"What happened to that abusive fellow you were with?"

"The pilot?"

"No. The man you talked about in our last session."

"Oh. Um. Him?"


"Well, um... this was before I met him."

"I see."

showintale's blog

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Flying Over the Jungles of Africa

It was muggy and hot. Real hot. Sweat dripped from every part of my body. And I do mean every part.

The little plane bumped and bounced over the tops of the jungle's trees. The growth was thick. And the green of the trees was almost oppressive, it was so all-pervading.

Suddenly the engine on the right started sputtering. I leaned out of the side of the plane, and saw smoke streaming into the air.

"Hey!" I shouted at the pilot, grabbing his shoulder. "What's wrong with the engine?"

It was then that I noticed the small dart sticking out of the right side of his neck. He slumped over, either drugged or dead.

I sat back in stunned silence, sweating and all alone. "Don't panic," I told myself. "You can do this. You gotta get yourself out of this one."

showintale's blog

Friday, September 22, 2006

Log entry. 6 December. Patient 465791

Patient questioning my qualifications. Perhaps some paranoia and distrust, mixed with delusions noted in previous session.

Conducting a new round of observations at the Round Table on 10 December. Patient's behaviour in private will be observed through two-way mirrors.

A curious one, this patient.

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Commodification? Says who?

And now a word from our sponsor....

....After these messages, we'll be right back....

....Don't go away. We'll be right back...

....We now interrupt our regluarly scheduled program with a word from our sponsors....

....We'll be right back after this commercial break....

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Log entry. 5 December. Patient 389645

Patient experiences extreme paranoia. He is certain that an unnamed "they" are listening in to every conversation. Indications that "they" may be voices in his head. Extremely unstable. Given to violence. Patient had to be sedated before the session ended. If further violence occurs, restraints may be in order.

Next session scheduled for 9 December, 11:20 am.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006


"So you're sayi--"

"Shhhh!!!!!!! Didn't I tell you to keep your voice down?"

"Well, I just--"

"No, no, no, no! You don't understand how serious this is! Move over here closer... closer... there. If we keep our voices down, like this, we can talk more privately. Maybe then we stand a chance. Maybe."

"OK. So you're saying that someone is watching us?"

"Not just us. They are everywhere. And They have a finger in everything."

"OK. But who are 'they'."

"Listen, buddy, I know better than to risk that -- you know who They are."

"Well, what makes you so sure they care who we are? Tell me, when is the last time you saw one of them."

"Wait a second. You're one of Them, aren't you?"

"No. How could I be one of them?"

"Yeah, I should've known. Oh great. How did you find me?"

"Sir, you came in here of your own accord. Remember? You checked in yesterday."

"Yeah, that was a good cover. Real good."

"Listen, I want you to answer some questions for me. When did you first begin to feel someone was watching you?"

"I ain't saying nothing."

"Don't be silly. I'm not one of them. Just tell me when this whole thing started."


"Come on, now. Be reasonable. Didn't you come here for help?"


"Nothing to say?"

"Not a word. I know how you operate, and I won't be duped again. HELP!!!! HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SOMEONE GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEY'VE GOT ME!!!!!!!!!!!! HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE--"

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Monday, September 11, 2006

They're listening

Not so loud.

They're listening, you know. They have ears everywhere. And they hear everything.

They're everywhere. We are never really safe from them. They're in our schools. They're in our places of worship. They're on the streets. They're in our offices. They're in our bars, our parks, our cars, our homes. We can't escape them. Sometimes I think they are even inside my head.

And they don't play nice, either. They have nasty, nasty practices. They'll torture, interrogate, and haunt your every step once they find you. So be careful. Very careful.

They are watching, I tell ya. If they get to you, you won't know what hit you. You won't even know who you are anymore.

showintale's blog

Log entry. 4 December. Patient 025486

Patient seems dissociated from the real world. Unable (or unwilling?) to communicate in normal patterns. Uses words in nonsensical orders, without meaning. Unable/unwilling to talk in any other form than a sort of "fruit salad" of words.

Next appointment set for 10 December, 4:30 pm.

showintale's blog

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Line of Questioning

"I see. Yes. Well, can you tell me what brings you here?"

"Torn in threes and fives, foundling siblings scramble by. Short-eared, dog-tailed, curvature of the spine. Halcyon nights, haunted days, wavering whimpering wallowing wildernesses..."

"Yes, yes, very well. How long have you been like this?"

"Fillet of fruitcake?"

"Come now. Do stop it."

"Schoolyard barndoors?"

"Seriously. Please do stop talking nonsense and answer me. How long have you been like this?"




"Nothing to say?"


"Very well. We'll just sit here until the hour is up then."

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Fruit Salad Speak

Jello scorched fallen porches. In fourteen thousand years we ran aground upon a treetop, looking toward firefox dens. Potatoes thrown forever farther, into a molten dive. Google gaggle jabberwocky overtly scalding sacred ground. Summed up, summoned over, taken aback, crying forward. Eighteen million times finally fixed on supernovas. Yesterday a few feasts muddled through another diner. Dinosaurs didn't dig it, and left.

showintale's blog

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Log entry. 4 December. Patient 390086

Patient shows little resistance to bullying tactics. Unable to stand on her own. When pushed, she capitulates. High tolerance for abusive relationships. (Self-loathing?) Inability to think under pressure. Strong attachments, all the more so when vulnerable. Cannot distinguish harmful behaviour from love. Mistakes own neediness for love too.

Patient's 4th appointment. Next scheduled for 7 December, 9:07 am. Was warned about tardiness. (Functionally, a test of will power.)

showintale's blog


"How long had the relationship been abusive?"

"Wha...? I didn't say abusive. It's just that sometimes he lost his patience. And I... well, I didn't help matters. He isn't a bad man...."

"Are you saying you still can't let go?"

"Well, I've let go. I mean, I don't live with him anymore or nothing."

"Is the relationship ongoing?"


"Do you still keep in touch with that man?"

"Well, yeah, I mean, you can't just cut ties, can you?"

showintale's blog

Saturday, September 02, 2006

It was a dark and stormy night

It was a dark and stormy night. Or was it? I can't remember really. I wasn't focused on the weather, all curled up in front of the tube like I was. It was late at night, that I know. Nothing on but reruns. And lousy reruns at that.

But I wasn't watching them anyway, the reruns. I wasn't curled up in front of the TV in some nice cozy stance. Naw. I was curled up clutching my abdomen. I didn't have enough sense to wonder why it was aching so much. All my senses, instead, were caught up in the ache itself. It hurt. My abdomen, I mean. It hurt bad.

I didn't want to make yet another trip to the hospital Surely the frequency of my face being seen in the emergency was beginning to arouse suspicions. Wasn't it? Or was I just another face in the crowd, just another number on the forms filled up? I mean, it wasn't like anyone was calling me by name and offering me coffee while I sat for those countless hours in the waiting room.

But at least he was passed out by this time. If I decided to go to the emergency room again, it wasn't going to be that hard to get out of the apartment. Well, yeah it would be hard. But not because he was trying to stop me. At least not that, this time.