Archive for February, 2011

Today, my cool creative cats,

I’d like to welcome you all into the back hatch of my Mystery Machine. Go ahead, try a brownie — they’re divine. Let’s all take a seat around the huka here and politick for a bit about something that’s been stuck on my mind for quite some time now. It’s just a simple question really, one that has far-reaching implications if the answer is yes.

What's a guy got to do to get a Scooby Snack?

Are psychoactive drugs important for society?

Now dude… I totally get it. Your not-so-groovy instinct is to say “NO”, and then go run and tell mom that I’m high on something funny. But I’m serious here, and I think that this question should be taken into honest consideration for a change.

The thought got lodged in my mind indefinitely at some point over the last two years when I was having (as per usual), far too deep a conversation with someone in a setting that was highly inappropriate for the idea itself to be expressed (probably a bar, or a nightclub) — Sometimes I have trouble turning my mind off. Anyway before I go on I would like to apologize to whoever it was (as I can’t remember — sorry on two counts), but also I would like to thank you, as things and thoughts like this truly make me feel alive. The topic of conversation which I had brought up at such an inopportune and inappropriate time, had to do with our cave-dwelling ancestors and, more specifically, their potential relationship with the good ole’ wacky-tobacky.

We started off, as I remember, speculating on the likelihood that ancient man/woman had burned some of the weed (as we would do well to remember that marijuana is a natural weed which grows with nearly no provocation whatsoever), in their nightly campfire to stay warm. Perhaps they had wandered into a new part of the woods, perhaps they had noticed other animals hanging around the stuff, but for whatever reason: they found it, they burned it, and they partied on it — inevitably creating what had always been destined to become the first Cypress Hill concert in history.

Being that at this point of the evening I had more than a few Johnnie Blacks doing the backstroke in my liver, I was more than happy to speculate VIA modern dance what these wondrous first nights must have looked like. I tend to draw a crowd. Then my unwilling hostage to this inappropriate conversation (who likely wanted to run from my caveman dance impression, which could only be described as “The Elaine Dance” from Seinfeld, only worse), posed an interesting question — that surely he instantly regretted asking as it dragged him deeper into the depths of intellectuality when surely he wanted to, as previously mentioned, run away from it with all haste — and it was this; “Do you think they would have done it again the next night?”

And that was it. The lovely Sarah Ann dragged me out to the dance floor (where she’d been dancing alone while I was pointlessly pontificating with an unwilling listener over the exceptionally loud music bar-side), and I mumbled something crude back over my shoulder as I went, like “No doubt”, or “You know it”, or, and far more likely, “Duh, I dunno…”. The conversation had died, and I promptly turned off all further thought so that I might go out to the dance-floor and live in my Medulla Oblongata for the remainder of the evening (the only portion of my brain that knows how to dance).

Now surely this makes me a nut (lol, like there was any doubt up until this point), but ever since that night the seed of a thought has been stuck in my brain, like that sesame seed that now lives between your molars because no amount of floss has ever been able to get it out. My detainee might not have realized it at the time, but the chain of thoughts that he’d activated with that simple innocuous question has kept me up many-a-night wondering about life, creativity, technology, and all of their true origins.

Consider this: Ideas cannot come out of thin air. Generally speaking a “new” idea will come when something that’s known, is added to something else that’s known, with potentially a slight perversion (the individuals creativity whose idea it is dyes the mixture), to create something “new”. But is it really “new”, or just a better way of looking at/thinking about two other things that already exist? I would suggest the latter. So if our world (or its “NEW” ideas), is indeed based entirely on “what is known”, than I believe that we can safely say that “what is known” can be defined as the input that we take from our five senses (as originally that is all we knew about the world, and especially so when we look back at the original example of the cavemen-us which is where all this started. Remember that? Way back up there? I do. Good times, good times…).

That's it, I'm going vegan!

I can tell that I’m falling deep into the topic here, but I encourage you to stick with the conversation as i would love to hear all your opinions on this 🙂

So anyway, if the input of our five senses is all we know about the world than one has to begin to wonder, where did creativity come from? Specifically the type of creativity that relates to abstract thoughts, such as art (cave paintings), symbols (ancient jewelery), and tools (Spears, No not Brittney, hammers, and thirty-piece socket sets). This all brings me back to the original question, that was posed to me at an inappropriate setting for the conversation I’d needlessly started, with an individual that I can’t remember the name of, face of, or gender of (sorry), and of which I never got to answer: “Would they have gone back to the Forrest, plucked the weed again, and dropped it once more into their camp-fire?”

YES!

Of course they would have. In a time without the modern predispositions and prejudices against or for drugs, why wouldn’t they?


Let’s face it, life in ancient times must have been staggeringly boring. Fulfilling — as to complete your job with full competency all you had to do was learn to hunt and gather (Sign me up for that job! Not to mention that it comes with a 501k that starts to pay out in the twilight years of your late teens) — but nonetheless relatively monotonous. Each task that they would undertake would surely have had an expressed purpose. Forget fun, fun wasn’t yet invented, all they knew was necessity. Learn to fish so we can eat. Learn to run so you can flee. Learn to identify non-poisonous leaves so that we can make a shelter without getting a nasty rash. Learn to spot differences in the scenery so that we can stay alive (Knowing the difference between a hiding tiger, and an odd colored patch of grass is not only life-saving, but also the speculative origin of racial profiling — more on that in another post as I’m getting off topic). But what could be the logical purpose for creating art be?

Some might speculate that sex would be a main motivational factor, as these days being unique might find you a date, but since when has being different rewarded an individual within a group of like-minded (and, dare I say, simple), people? Think back to high-school…Today is slightly different from what it must have been like for prehistoric man anyway. Today members of the opposite sex can see the benefits of being different — one only has to look at the Bill Gates’, the Steve Jobs’, and the Mark Zuckerberg’s of the world for evidence of why — but this surely was not the case back in those days, being that no track record to the advantages of being different had yet been established. In those times acting different than the pack hinted at the notion that you might not fulfill your duties within the group when the group needed you. This would have made you a severe liability — these were life or death times folks. These were a people who lived and behaved in such a way so that they might stay alive. That’s it. That was enough back then. Any preformed behavior that was outside of their societal norm would have not only been wasteful, pointless, and just plain odd, but it would have also likely been seen as a severe risk to the rest of the lives within the commune. And if that different person was you, it would have meant that your life would be at severe risk in turn. Preservation of the species and all. Sorry.

This all brings me back to that wonderful night around the campfire.

An actual recreation of the night in question

Up until this point, these people must have been living the life of a logistical analyst. Live by the numbers. Do what works. Stick to the plan. Find a routine. There’s safety in numbers. Stay alive at all costs. There was no language, there were no symbols, there was no music, just the steady beat that was the rhythm of their hearts.

They light the fire…

Now all of a sudden you’ve got Ug in the corner using sparrow blood to paint on a scallop shell, Ehh-gu dancing around like a maniac (in the background going crazy), and Mary (there’s always at least one Mary), singing out of key along with the rhythm of Ehh-gu’s feet. None of them knows why they want to do it, and it doesn’t even matter: they’re having pointless fun!

Soon: Ug (the budding artist), is painting warnings on caves that bears live therein — so stay out; Mary has realized that her tones effect people in particular ways, and she’s working on her technique (which will someday become language); and Ehh-gu has figured out that the ladies flock to the rhythm of his funky flow (also his footwork has improved for when he goes on the hunt). All this occurred because a psychoactive drug had taken a group of individuals out of their heads, out of the norm, out of what they did solely for logic, and brought them into a parallel state of being. A silly one mind you, one that does not always produce results (Notice I hadn’t mentioned Rarr who choose to repeatedly slam his head into a rock while under the drugs effect [However Bam-bu took note of this and made a hammer the following day, so really it all evened out in the end]) but a state of mind nonetheless that can shake things up and make something happen.

Obviously if the pack of Neanderthals had lived their lives in this state of stupor the planet might be run by hyper-intelligent dolphins, rather than us somewhat intelligent humans, but because it was all done in moderation (once a night, and a very little bit), we were allowed to survive, and form the basis of society as we know it.

Us! (In a nutshell)

Now, before anybody gets any ideas, I’d like to clear something up: I am not advocating the habitual use of psychoactive drugs — regardless of how much it may seem like I am. I do however wish to point out that there is a possibility that they might be able to help us as a species (on occasion), shake our thoughts free from the prison of “The Known”, where they simply can’t help to be born. The mind is one giant pharmacist to begin with, and a temporary imbalance might be just the thing to help those scientists with “Writers block”, that are working on a cure for cancer, or aids, or whatever, think a fair margin out of the box so that maybe, just maybe, they might stumble upon a cure. Who knows?

Anyway, like I said, all this is only a question. Yes; they might help society, No; there’s not a snow-balls chance in hell, and why. That is all I ask of you all 🙂

The purpose of this blog is mainly to spark creative inspiration in my readers, so if nothing else I hope that at least I achieved merely that. Whether or not you agree that drugs might be beneficial (again; on occasion) to the uprooting of fixed and narrow-sighted thought processes, hopefully you’ll formulate a fresh opinion on the matter, and if you have… well then at least I got you thinking.

~J

Stop! Stop I say!

Good creative people don’t read on any farther, until you speak aloud your answer to this simple question;

what are you?

You look funny...

I’ll wait………………………………

Huh? What’s that you say? The question’s not specific enough? Well OK then (picky, picky…), in that case let me rephrase… How do you define yourself? (I’ll wait some more, maybe watch a YouTube video…)…………… What!? Still to vague? Ugh (you sure are awfully persnickety today).

Tell you what, I’ll make it easier; circle those which fit you and I’ll just piece it together on my own:  Black, White, Smart, Dumb, Pretty, Ugly, Fat, Skinny, Blonde, Brunette, Redhead, Fun, Boring, Charismatic, Lazy, Active, Sleepy, Restless, Hippie, Druggie, Democrat, Republican, and/or other (and to the Blondes out there, please no writing on your computer screens – and if you already have, please use Windex, not white-out).

There, now was that so hard? So… this is you? A pessimistic, Skinny, Black woman, who’s fun, restless, a bit of a hippie, and a Republican? This is what you are? NO? So there’s more? Less? Sorry my clairvoyance must be in retrograde with this dang-blasted new moon…So you tell me! Come on then! Surely as an individual you must have a point of view – some perspective on the world that’s unique to you and you alone. So what is it? And no, at this point you are not allowed to phone a friend.

What do you believe? I believe you better get off my phone, I've got a bar to run!

Not such an easy thing to answer is it? (Nor should it be!)

Here’s why; even though we might be able to sum up our worldly allegiances with a few simple words (I.E. Democrat, Republican, optimist, pessimist, Vampire, Werewolf…), they are not, nor can they ever be, all the constituents that comprise what we are!

In fact I would argue that the very act of “Defining ourselves” undermines what is arguably the best quality that human nature has to offer: Learning and adaptability! For instance, and a very brief one at that, let’s say I’ve convinced myself, and tell others frequently, that I don’t like shrimp. It’s just me, I say. They’re slimy, and yucky, and weird, and taste awful, and I just plain don’t like them – never have never will – Ew! Now you tell me, who suffers in the end?

I do! ME! And (potentially), you!

Shrimp scampi is amazing. Butterfly shrimp curl up so nice and tender in the pan. Stuffed shrimp is to die for. Paella anyone? Gumbo? Stew? Stock? Amazing stuff we’re missing here! And we’ll simply never know, never get the experience of finding out (discovery is the best of what life has to offer!), because we’ve already made up our minds on the matter and now the issue is moot!

It’s called the burden of knowledge, and it’s as insipid as it is contagious. Tell yourself you know something, and that’s that! It’s all you know, and all you need to know. The only trouble is: that, is most certainly not that, and there’s always more to the story… Don’t limit your world (trust me, it’s small enough as it is)!

How many people do you know that make blanket assumptions like this?

Do these sound familiar?

Ker-Pow = Sense

Sushi is yucky; its raw fish! Leave him alone; he’s weird. Steak tar-tar should be well done, I’ll never eat that! I can’t understand it; it’s stupid. She’s this! He’s that. I’ll never. That’s gross! How can you? Why should you? Who would? How could? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!

When will it all end? Why should we miss out on life! Please creative people, please, never do this! EVER! (Seriously, I’ll come to your house and knock some sense into ya!)

Here’s another question for you, one more to the core of what I’m driving at;

~are we defined by what we believe, or what we do?~

This one’s a toughie, and (as always), the devil is in the details. Surprisingly it’s got a lot to do with the old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do”. Even though we all know this adage to be inherently duplicitous and disingenuous, who among us is not guilty of perpetrating its poor message? I know I am. I claim to be a liberal, but I do have some conservative ideals. I have been known to talk of atheism, but I do have to admit that there is an unusual amount of synergy to our world. I say I’m a lover of straight theater, but I do love a good musical.

Does this make me a liar? Does this make me a flippant? Does this mean I don’t know who I actually am?

~NO~

NO!!! ~~ Bad dog!

 

Not to worry good creative people. If you’re anything like me, and are guilty of this heinous crime, you’ve still got an out! There’s a shining path of redemption open to you right at your doorstep! In this blog we’ve spoken before about using one lexicon to define a term from another unrelated one, and how it’s imprudent and ineffective. Luckily this is another case of the same.

The trouble here is that “definition” is far too simple a thing to realistically encompass the whole of a life’s experience.

The trouble is; we won’t know who we really are until the bottom of the ninth, with two outs, and two men on.

The trouble is; when I ask you what, or who you are, there should be no easy answer.

The trouble is; action will always supersede belief.

If you’ve ever read this blog before, you might have wondered why I close each post with the phrase “Be observant, never judgmental”, and just what exactly I’ve meant. This is it, and today it is my message to you, as well as the interwebs as a whole. When we define things, or judge them, which is a perfectly natural thing to do, we put them into a neat little category so that it might be easier to comprehend. However, there is a difference between something being easy to understand, and being properly understood. Nothing is cut and dry like this. NOTHING.

You might say that you believe that abortion is wrong, but when your daughter gets knocked up by some ingrate the situation might change in a hurry. You might say hate blacks, or whites, or Asians, or… oh i don’t know, seahorses (this guy loves em!), but all it takes is that one golden soul/crustacean to turn your world around. Ask yourself: am i really a racist, a bigot, an alcoholic, an addict, or an (Insert blanket category here), or had I labeled myself as such out of convenience, but in truth I don’t neatly fit the mold?

Labeling yourself will do a lot for you. It can find you a group of like-minded friends, it can make you feel valuable, validated, and attractive (just to skim the surface), but if it’s all a lie, than what’s the point? Never fool yourself into thinking that you can know who you are, who your friends are, what the world is – merely be observant, have an idea of what you think is right, and aim toward that end. Althewhile being prepared to change what you know on the fly, as in this world nothing is for certain!

So what am I? What are you? What are we?

Human. Other than that I don’t know – and neither should you. But maybe, just maybe, if we shed our neat little categories, and bring along a little faith in ourselves and an open heart, we just might have a chance to find out someday through our noble actions.

~J

Good creative people, you know what really grinds my gears?

Money!

Yea that’s right I said it. I may need it, but I can’t stand the stuff. Frankly I’m tired of it ruling my life. It’s just paper after all! But somehow these days it’s come to not only rule me, but the rest of our society as well, and I believe it’s leading us all on a crash course to disaster!

Don't do it us!

Note before we go forward: I’m not trying to stand up here on my ivory soapbox to shout down from the soapy fresh green mountaintops that the stuff is the root of all evil, or that it will come claim your firstborn (which it might, and don’t blame me if it does), but I will stand by my inherent beliefs till the bitter end (next Tuesday?), that the stuff is positively ruining our society, and that some day soon we will be able to live without it – and because of all this we should merely start thinking ahead.

Here we go ~ see if you can follow my daily sequence of infuriating logic;

Happiness is derived from doing what you love

I don’t think anyone can deny this, it’s simple, straightforward and to the point. If you enjoy something than you will inexorably be drawn to it, not only because it brings you joy but also because it makes you feel whole. Like you matter. Like you have a purpose. Once this is accepted as truth we can move on to the second line of reasoning, which is…

In order to do what you love well, you need to work at it every day – and eventually share it with others

Again, this too I don’t think can be earnestly denied. No one’s an expert at anything right off the bat, regardless of how much they enjoy doing it. So if you want what you do to have purpose or meaning, than surely you need to get good at it. Right? Right! And this type of personal betterment matters – it’s what fuels the positive change in the world. Your passion must never stop growing. It’s a 24/7 job (or at least it should be), and you should love doing it!

By that same token if you really want to be happy, (and remember we’ve already established that in order to do that you need to have an earnest passion), than you need to make your talent an open book in your life. The gift you were given and the love that you have is all for naught if you merely keep it to yourself, locked in a dark closet, regaled to your personal musings alone, and fail to use it to enhance other people’s lives in some way.

So if we want a society of happy, well-adjusted, productive and sane people living here on the earth with us, than we might want to do all that we can to make what’s been listed above a reality. Right? Well, here’s the kicker…

In order to survive; I.E. Eat, drink, be protected from the elements, we need to make money.

Ka-Bam! Not that this comes as any surprise to all of you, but money buys things. We need things to survive. We have to work for money. But herein lies the conflict and catch 22 of modern life, which makes this integral part of the equation a bit tricky to explain and understand.

This, in my humble opinion, is the fundamental problem with our essential creativity; initially – at least in this modern world of ours (as it wasn’t always this way) – it’s not profitable. In the world we’ve created for ourselves, where cash is king and everything is caught in the orbit of the ever important “Profit Margin”, and without drawing power that investors can clearly see, people will simply not help to cultivate these new/cutting edge projects. Not only that, but they will unwittingly stand in the way of them.

This is why everything is being remade in the movies these days despite the fact that they’re likely to be horrid affairs, and that there are plenty of other great new scripts just waiting in the wings. Movies al-la: The Smurfs, The Thunder-Cats, The Ghostbusters, Avatar, anything M.Night Shamalamadingdong, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.. they’re profitable because of a namesake – not because they’re actually any good…

Meanwhile it is inarguable that all innovation and change in the world begins first with creativity… Something new! Now can you begin to see what I’m gunning after here? Creativity is made to run loops and perform tricks, but meanwhile it’s also responsible for everything that gives those in power the means to enforce these obstructions at all…

I say that's crazy! Crazy kat w/crazy eyes thinks it is too!

I ask you; is it just me, or does this seem to present a conflict of worldwide interests?

Creation should be paramount – not its profitability – it’s what elicits change. Change is good (…I can hear the arguments over this one already). To create something with meaning that might evoke change, and/or best the test of time, we need first to be allowed to find a passion, and then be allowed the time to work at it – a lot, I’m talkin’ every day without fail – and then, and only then (and only then if we’re really lucky), can we ever hope to stumble across the next big thing. The next great innovation to push our culture (human that is) forward, and inbetter ourselves as a people. And might I remind you that the more of us that can walk this path, the more likely that it becomes to have that fabled “Ah-ha” moment happen. There be’s power in numbers I tellz ya!

But then again in order for most of us to survive in our modern world there’s practically no room for this type of commitment. It would seem that unless we’re born to a certain tier of class (I.E. the exceptionally privileged who don’t have to work a day-job), that we have no chance to take the necessary time to develop things for ourselves – things which to be properly fleshed out will undoubtedly take years – because in order to live and eat we have to focus instead on making another person’s dream come true! This is what I see as the problem…

Unless we win the lotto, or are born into money, than it is a near certainty that our ideas won’t be heard. Which tells us that as a society the only ideas that are currently taken seriously enough to effect change and shape our world come from one mindset. A wealthy one.

Now this isn’t all bad. Many wealthy people are great thinkers; after all, they’re the ones who can afford the best education (traded for, ironically enough, money – damn the confounded stuff!). But even though this will work for some moderate progress across the span of time, I believe that we are underutilizing the greatest potential of mankind by this limiting factor. Some 95% of the people on the earth are humble, blue-collar, moderately funded & good-natured people – who never get to be creative and express ideas because they work, and then come home to be family men/women and I say that they should matter too! They should have a voice! I should have a voice! Why do we all have to work our petunias off to have a voice?

AHHHH!!

Sure, I know what you’re going to say: that in the exhausted, twilight, post-work hours of our day we can bang out a few pages on our books, whip up that new recipe we conjured from thin air during the meeting yesterday, and try out the new dance move that had been inspired from a drifting cloud we’d spied as we’d daydreamed out from our office window – or anything else that we’d thought up while we were working for someone else so that we might have a chance to eat (GET BACK TO WORK!) – but in response to this I have to ask you: is this really the best way to make progress as a people? As a civilization? As an eventual member of a universal marketplace?

I’d argue “No”

And I think you will too if you care. This seems to me to be a wholly inefficient means of progress, and not to mention that the subsequent fruit of our hard creative labors is then gobbled up by the people with the majority of the means and none of the ideas – who then make the lions share of the profits on our work as well.

From a cashier at a supermarket, to a lowly construction worker, all the way across the spectrum to an office secretary, I’d argue that the people doing the majority of the work are also the least appreciated, the least funded, and viewed as the most expendable.

These incremental “results” (if they could so be called), are abashed sloth-like in their progress as well as their sleeping habits. We should – and do – have higher goals for the quality of human lives, but they all routinely take a backseat to procedure, red-tape, excessive profits, and preexisting (and nearly unnecessary), hurdles. Hurdles that serve to maintain the status-quo, which keep the wealthy on top, and the poor… well dogpile!

Sadly it would seem that as a species we have adapted a way of living that stifles, by its very nature, the very progression it so desperately needs.

Now before you get all huffy – look – I completely understand that the system we have in place – of trade, profit, and production – has been born from an earnest basis of reason and logic. But that system had its place and time, and I can see a brighter future for us all coming right around the bend. Can’t you? So I ask you: why wait?

If we can see what’s on the horizon, and anticipate its impact on us all, than we can prepare for it – so what are we waiting for? That would surely be the most logical thing to do, would it not? But I suppose that because of the current infrastructure, people still have to pay the bills (don’t get me started on the Fed). And because… well really we can’t conceive of any other way to be, as this is all we have ever known, how can we change?

It’s hard to imagine a world outside the fishbowl.

People a few thousand years ago simply couldn’t walk around with wheelbarrows full of apples to trade for eggs, milk, and meat at the market – it wouldn’t have been sensible – so they invented notes to represent these things, and began to acclimate these pieces of paper instead. But from the moment that our thoughts shifted from the worth being placed on those who tended the fields, watered the roots, and knew the trade (from those who did the work to those who had the bigger stack of hundreds – I.E. the better traders) – unwittingly our mentality of survival had been skewed, distorted, and kicked out of clear focus.

Think about it. In our modern society; “Who do we admire?” Who’s atop the dog-pile? The penniless artist who gains no fame or worth until he’s passed after years of starvation and suffering through his ever enduring poverty? Or the millionaire’s with their porches, their women (or men, I don’t judge) slung tightly to their arms, and the innumerous things that they own?

It seems to me that money has changed us (as a people) to worship those among us who are at the top of the collection heap, instead of those who we should worship – and walk among as well – who work toward the loftier goals of creation that benefit all of mankind.Or is it possible that these people too are corrupted by the allure of money, as their creativity is tainted from the moment of its conception with thoughts of greed, extortion, and profit margins?

Honestly who knows? Surely I’m ranting, as I’ve come to realize that I do all-too-often in these blogs (and also that they tend to run too long, surely I need to learn to be more concising – but it’s hard to get better at my craft when I work all the time :o), but I just don’t know any other way to express how I feel.

I will however wrap my thoughts up with this – and then post this behemoth so that it might all be open to discussion, as I’m eager to hear all your own thoughts on the matter – I believe that we soon will find ourselves at a tipping point.

Soon I think that through certain scientific developments (which I can name, and explain, but that will carry this post on into the 5,000 word range) that the earning of money for food, shelter, and water, which is to say the basics of living, will be supplanted by mere energy alone. And since energy will be free, once we come to master the plethora of excess energy shed by our very own sun every day, and/or the harvestable wind, water, geothermal, or nuclear (not to mention the potential of fusion in the future), we will be presented with a new world, not too far on the horizon, that can exist without the necessity of a dollar, or a euro, or a rupee.

What will be the motivation, if not for profit I hear you ask? The pure right to claim the position of being admired. Who wouldn’t compete with their co-worker, when they are engaged in something that they love, to be the first, the best, or the greatest? This world that I perceive will also be purer in its honesty of self-reflection, creativity for the greater good, and just.. well sheer awesomeness!

I don’t know about you all, but I look forward to that day, and the amazing innovation that will follow in the years that precede it.

So good creative people, what do you think? Can we have a world that exists without money?

I think we can, but I’ve been on the losing side of this argument many-a-time before.

~J

A short story,

(Part 1 ... Part 2)

ood ladies and gentlemen of creativity, curiosity, and (crap… I’m out of “c” words), cacodemonomania- and might I say good luck with that – I now present to you, without further commercial interruption, the conclusion of,

“And so he ran…”

Chomp… Chomp…

A blinding sunburst of pain erupted from his elbow as the Droid-shark sank its generous rows of fresh teeth into his all too yielding flesh. Having not been adequately prepared for the sheer stunning immensity of agony that fell on him in this instant, George became surprised to such a degree that he simply forgot where he was. In his fragile, half conscious, already oxygen deprived state of mind he yielded to his terra-dwelling instincts and reacted in an exceptionally normal way for a creature that resides on land: he attempted to suck a sharp intake of oxygen into his lungs.

Now mind you that this, under any normal circumstance, would be a perfectly reasonable thing to do (being that above land, where he was quite accustom to existing, there is a copious and voluminous quantity of the stuff for which to draw into your lungs whenever it may please you), however when you are underwater this action is phenomenally inadvisable.

Man is not a fish…

Fish have gills…

The bastards…

So because of this small bit of trivia which had fled Georges mind at quite possibly the most inopportune moment that anyone can conceive of, his body reacted to the water inside it (which had no place being there to begin with), in another perfectly reasonable way – had he been on land – it began to chough.

Consciousness quickly became a transient thing. Distantly George thought that he still sensed the layers of incisors sawing back and forth along the knob of bone that made up his elbow, and from across the sea he still heard the soft sound that the scraping teeth were making along the joint (which reminded of his classroom days – when people still went to school that is – and his peers would all run their nails along a chalkboard for its horrifically entertaining pitch), but even though these things seemed real, present, and happening to him, another reality had presented itself just beyond a freshly opened new horizon.

As Georges mind slipped away into nothingness, a bright white light opened up above, and with a meager bit of attention on his part towards the thing, George quickly discovered two distinct and separate states of being that he could inhabit. In one: he was being thrashed about by a shark that was dragging him to the surface of the bay – and twisting its torso in a pretty eager attempt to separate his arm from his shoulder – but in the other: he was being warmed to the core with a soothing, calming, radiant white light, he was listening to the sound of classical music, and the feeling in his phantom limbs had been restored.

Idly he flipped back and forth between the two. It reminded him of channel-surfing on the Holovision.

Channel 5 – pain…

Channel 72 – pleasure…

Pain…

Pleasure…

Pain…

Pleasure…

He wondered how long it would be until someone took his remote away on grounds of abuse

After mucking about with the very fabric of existence for a good bit (and actually finding himself rather bored with it, and wishing that there was something else on), George figured that it was high time he’d made his choice, and with pain being weighed against pleasure, there really wasn’t much of a choice to be made.

George welcomed in the light…

He felt his arm again…

His lungs tasted air…

He felt his hand again…

His feet hit feet hit the ground…

His mind was present…

His body was whole…

He peered intensely into the light…

 

“Why isn’t it working”

………….

“I’m not sure sir”

“Are you operating on the proper frequency?”

“Yes sir I am”

“Well if you were on the right frequency I’m relatively certain that it would be working.”

………

“I’m sorry sir”

“You’re always sorry”

………

…….

…..

.

“Well I am”

…………………………….

“Perhaps he is not in possession of a cerebral implant.”

“They all have the cerebral implants, you’re just working on the wrong frequency, get out of my way, I’ll do it”

“…………….”

“Yes sir…”

“Is he reacting?”

“No sir not at all.”

“Well I’ve still got a heartbeat over here, so he’s alive at least”

“Wait”

“What?”

“It would seem that something is happening”

“I told you that you were on the wrong frequency.”

“He’s not entered the interrogation reality sir”

“Than what’s going on?”

“His biorhythm and brainwave activity seemed to have spiked all of the sudden”

“He’s waking up?”

“It would seem so”

………

…..

.

“Hey?.. Hey you, can you hear me… Any luck on finding out this guy’s name?”

“No sir, there seems to be no record of him on file.”

“Well check again.”

“Sir, I’ve checked both the new, and the old internet two hundred times apiece in the past ten seconds, there is no record”

“Check again”

“Sir, I earnestly believe that he doesn’t have a brain chip”

“What do you want to bet that he’s got a brain chip under that primitive skull of his?”

“3”

“3!?… 3 what?”

“I don’t know, I hadn’t thought about it”

“………”

“He’s got a brain chip”

“He hasn’t, I can tell”

“He’s got one”

“He doesn’t”

“I don’t…”

“He does”

“Sir – I didn’t say that”

“……”

“Was that?”

“Yes sir”

“Hey buddy, you awake?”

“Am I dead?”

“He’s awake sir.”

“Thank you I could tell”

“Who are you two?”

“They always want to know who we are”

“Who we are is not important”

“Are you God?”

“If I said yes could we move on?”

“Sure, I suppose”

“Yes”

“Wow…”

“Indeed. Now, I need you to answer a very important question.”

“Direly important”

“Do you have a brain chip? And be honest, there’s “3” riding on it”

“Oh… “3” what?”

“Does it matter?”

“Well, no I guess it doesn’t. Did you say you were God?”

“I thought we were moving on past that?”

“We were. But, well it’s just… I wouldn’t expect God to bet.”

“Well we swear and drink too up here so get used to it…”

“Oh.”

“………………..”

WELL?”

“Oh, right, no i haven’t got a brain chip.”

“I told you”

“Oh shut up”

“You owe me “3” “

“Fine whatever, kill the light.”

All at once the blinding white light that had up until this point been filling Georges perspective neatly washed away, and he was finally allowed to gaze at heaven. Evidently it looked very much like the back seat of a flying car. No ordinary flying car mind you, as that would not be suitable for heaven, but nevertheless, despite the plush purple padded cloth seats, and the highly polished light brown leather trim, the space that George currently found himself in looked very similar, if not altogether identical, to the backseat of a flying car.

Out the window to his right a great blue flame surged out of a sturdy conical turbine, wherein little pixie-like bursts of what could only be described as miniature fireworks exploded, and set as the backdrop to it all, beyond the window of heaven directly to Georges right, was the vast all-encompassing vista of space.

“This isn’t heaven, is it?” George asked dejectedly

“No” offered a voice from the front right seat ahead of him, “certainly not, don’t be foolish. No such place.”

“I would be inclined to disagree”

“Well than you sir would be an idiot” to which he then added under his breath, “And likely are…”

“If i could interject for just a moment” A meeker voice from the front left seat interjected for just a moment, “I believe that if we were all thinking clearly, we would have to acknowledge the fact that there are more pressing matters at hand than a senseless debate about an all-powerful deity, which might or might not exist, and which consequently has no bearing on our actions. For instance, where did you happen to store the data that you stole from the Green Machine refrigerator production plant?”

“…………”, said George, adding after a bit, “Who are you two again?”

“They always want to know who we are”

“We told you before, it doesn’t matter”

“I say it does matter if you want that information.”

“Fine… you first”

Looking to his left George saw far out in the distance the planet Earth, and surrounding it as always was the Belt. It would seem that he was off the planet. The only significance that George could take from this observation (other than the fact that while he’d made it he couldn’t help but notice that his left arm was fully in tact, and hole-less), was that he was captive, in space, to these two men.

“How about a trade?” George offered

“I’ll need to hear it first”

“Fine. You tell me how it is that I have my arm back, and that I’m not dead, and I’ll tell you what you want to know, provided that you tell me who you are after – and then promptly drop me off at the nearest tree.”

“Deal – rubber teeth – now you.”

“Rubber teeth? I’m going to need a little more than that.”

“………..”

“Should I sir?”

“No I’ve got it.”

“………..”

“Well?” Pressed George

The man in the front right seat of the car turned around and George finally got a good look at his face. He was very tall, and exceptionally muscular, and dressed in a very neatly fitting black tailored suit. This guy had money. The stoic look in his eye said both that he’d seen more than any man should, and that, at the moment at least, he was trying to look as unassuming as possible… It wasn’t working.

“Droids, as you already know” He began, “literally are everywhere. They are constantly updated with the whole of human knowledge V.I.A. their streaming wireless link to the net, and even though they are microscopic and receive their signals individually – which is precisely what makes them impossible to control once they bind together and take the shape of whatever they need to be in order to succeed at the single-minded task that they are currently pursuing, in this case, “You” – we are not bound by the limits of mankind, as we are not of it, so we can control them quite at our leisure. The guns that had been fired at you were merely projectors, the shark that had bitten you had rubber teeth, and rather than chasing you to bring you back to civilization where you would have faced certain persecution, they had instead been controlled by me…”

“Us…” butted in the softer one from up front.

“Us” conceded the burly man, “and rather than bring you into the local authorities, or simply kill you, I had them instead haul your sorry sopping wet behind, to US…”

“………..” George paused as all this sunk in, “So my arm…”

“Never bitten”

“And the boiling water”

“Runoff from the plant”

“I see”

“Now then, I’ve held up my part of the bargain, where is the data that you’d stolen”

“I downloaded it to my shirt”

“But you’re topless”

“I know”

“……….”

“……….”

“So remind me, where is it again?”

“I dropped it in the bay.”

“……….”

“……….”

“Now if you don’t mind, i do have reservations with that tree, and I’d really hate to keep her waiting, shall we be off then?”

“……….”

“……….”

The burly man with the gruff voice whipped around in his chair and slumped moodily into it.

“To earth sir?” Asked the voice from the front left seat

“To earth…” Responded the burly man from the right.

Heaven – that is, the flying car – banked a quick left, and took off steadily down toward earth. George, who had never possessed the type of money necessary to buy such a luxury vehicle as this (capable of interplanetary travel), sat slack-jawed the entire duration of the silent trip, and stared out the window with awe and wonder.

After a long while they finally broke through the atmosphere and George was snapped out of his stupor. He couldn’t help but to ask.

“So… before I go, I’d still like to know who you people are. You saved my life.”

“………”

“………”

“Should I tell him sir?”

“No, I’ll do it”

Once again the juggernaut from the front right seat swiveled his posture, and adjusted himself so that he was turned toward George. He smiled what he thought was a friendly and welcoming smile, but was in reality the type of smile that would make small children cry, and hardened criminals laugh in fear, and began to tell George his story.

“I’ll give you the short version, as we’re almost there” He began, ” I am not of Earth. I am not of the Belt. I am of a planet with a name that I’d doubt you could pronounce, and by that same token I won’t tell you my name as I doubt you could pronounce it either. The person sitting next to me is a hologram who embodies a side of me that I was better off without, and I won’t tell you his name either as surely you…”

“Couldn’t pronounce it?”

“Precisely”

“Can I try?”

“No.”

After a deep sigh he continued;

“Mankind was not given his due course of evolution. That is not to say that you hadn’t evolved, you did, it’s just that we helped you along a bit. At the time we were a very intelligent society, with a wealth of knowledge to share, and you’d been the first sign of life we’d ever found in the vast emptiness of space. We came across your planet by sheer coincidence, as it was inhabited by a common species of hostile lizards and we nearly ignored it altogether, but our scientists had placed a great emphasis on species classification so we came down to have a look around, and – much to our surprise – we found mammals, as you call them. Being the young excitable species that we were, descendants from a type of mammal ourselves and anxious for any sort of company in the cosmos, we spliced in a portion of our own DNA into yours with hopes to accelerate your progress, and returned home for a time.”

Here he took a deep breath and readjusted in his seat yet again.

“When we’d returned, much to our chagrin, we discovered a species that was not only barbaric and hostile, but astonishingly stupid. You had placed some people in higher regard to others, and were completely obedient to them regardless of how horribly they’d treated you. We saw you kill each other over ore, trinkets, even over food – which was abounding, and as such not a very good reason to kill for – and we watched you wage wars over foolhardy reasons, mostly over an insubstantial imaginary figure that ruled you from the sky. Our scientists said that the rushed evolution which we’d imposed on you must not have given your species ample time to evolve out these traits, which were characteristic of a primitive society, and suggested that another splicing of DNA was in order to fix what had gone wrong. We visited many cultures around the globe, the Aztecs, the Incas, the Egyptians, the Atlanteans, and sporadic tribes that we found along the way, and interjected our DNA once more.”

The ship easily coasted to a stop, right in front of a large, full tree which was stunningly back-lit by the bright night sky. The Alien in the front seat (who’d looked so much like a man to George that he couldn’t make out any difference –  even if that man could have easily been a linebacker), took an exceptionally deep sigh, and continued on with his story.

“That is when we saw you use the bomb. The debate on our planet had been raging fiercely: should we destroy our failed experiment, or should we give it some more time? This was the event that had tipped the scales. Now my other and I are your last hope. We gave up everything we knew back at home and choose to come here instead. We’d convinced the whole of our society that we would serve as your caretakers until you’d reached the enlightened stage of your evolution – which is taking much longer than we’d hoped –  and we have been here ever since. Whenever there is a problem, we fix it. Whenever you do something that might jeopardize yourselves, and in turn your planet as a whole, we get in the way. Because we should have not played god, and because every life is important. Do you remember the story of Roswell New Mexico?”

“The air balloon from the 20th century?”

“That was no air balloon, and we were there. Remember when the sun burnt out and needed to be re-lit because you had been stupidly hauling garbage at it for years?”

“No…”

“Of course you don’t, because we took care of it. Zombie crisis of 98′, teleportation of organic matter 07′, invention of wormhole technology of 13′ – any major happening on earth that has occurred within the past two-hundred-fifty years was of under our supervision, and was carefully controlled so that a species you have never met, on a planet you’ll never see, won’t kill you all for being primitive.”

“………”

“Conspirators”

“What was that?”

“You two are behind every conspiracy theory that I know of… You are “The Conspirators”

“………..”

“Perhaps we are. But whatever we are, we’re your protectors.”

“The Half-Breeds can help you, we found out that they’ve been controlling the masses minds on a global scale by using the device…”

“We know that. We put it there. And now, because the GM corporation has found this out and is using it to influence the minds of the world, I have to now find a way to get a shirt scrapped off the bottom of the bay so that I can do my job.”

“He hates swimming”

“I hate swimming”

“Why are you telling me all this?”

“Well, for two reasons I guess. For one, I’d made a deal with you, and a deal’s a deal. And for another, you won’t be remembering any of it.”

“How can you realistically expect me to forget a thing like…”

The brilliant white light in the back seat of the car had turned back on with a flash, and George quickly gave in to the soporific effects that it’d had on his mind. The Conspirators, yes… that name suits them just fine… Carefully unloaded George from the back seat of the car, and left him in an open field next to a tree so that he might have his date.

“You know, I rather liked that fellow.”

“I could tell sir”

“There might be hope for the human race yet, you know that?”

“You’d never doubted it.”

“………”

“………..”

“I’ll tell you one thing, I’m not going swimming”

“But sir.”

“You heard him, we’ve got help on Earth now, this could be our ticket back home… Let’s see how they do”

 

CREATIVE PEOPLE!

I DID IT! Wow! I mean, I really did it. It might have come out better, given unlimited time and resources, but I’m very happy with the ending here. Plus did you notice the custom artwork? stylish ;-D.

This project was particularly trying because I have to think so intricately about what’s said (as the characterizations have to be consistent), and what happens (as this too has to line up), as a lot of what happened here is integral to my forthcoming trilogy, “Welcome to the Future”, but, all-in-all, I’m happy, and I think I’ve succeeded.

I hope that this works as a stand alone short, and that you’ve all liked it well enough (plenty of people have subscribed because of it, or at least it would seem), but wowie-wow-oh am I tired.

Beddie by time……

As always my awesome Creative Peoples, be ever Observant, never Judgmental, Strive to create every day, and make sure to trust yourself; because if you can’t, how can you expect anyone else to?

~J

P.S.- sorry it ran so long!

A short story,

*Pro tip*: Read part I first 🙂

SPLASH…

It’s very likely that swimming would have come perfectly naturally to George – had he not currently had a sizable hole in his right tricep. So rather than swimming, he sank – in fact quite rapidly.

Of course he knew that it was inevitable at moments like these to become painfully aware that if he had only ticked off a little, “Yes” box some years ago, rather than the, “No” which he’d so valiantly chosen (because of some silly ideal that seemed direly important at the time, but that for the life of him he couldn’t presently remember), at the moment his brain might be recommending his best possible actionable strategy – rather than drawing a large blank like it was.

It would say;

Try to do what comes naturally…

Synchronize your limbs…

Think like a frog…

Tread Water…

George’s mind had never said a word to him before, and he’d always been just fine with that. Well, all up until now that is… Now he’d wish it would speak up with some timely words of wisdom for both their sakes…

Perfectly inept at the task of swimming, George flailed about helplessly as he descended into the murky depths of the polluted bay beneath him (looking all the while like he was feverishly attempting to dance without any innate sense of rhythm whatsoever), fighting dearly to hold on to his breath, and praying that he’d sort all this swimming business out neatly before he’d drowned.

Motivation is a funny thing. It always comes when you’d least expect it, and it never fails to evoke transformation just as soon as you welcome it into your life. For instance, if you were to grab George from the water at this point, offer him a towel and a warm beverage, and tell him that all would be forgiven so long as he answered this one question, “Could you have been any more motivated to swim at this point”, he would have answered with an instantaneous and resounding “No!”. But, as it turns out, he’d be lying. Unintentionally mind you, but he would. Before this moment he’d woefully underestimated the power of motivation, which often can come from the most unlikely of places – certainly that won’t happen again anytime soon.

In this instance, motivation came in the form of a litter of laser beams – one of which missed his head by mere inches,

(They’re taking pot shots at me… and their aim is improving…)

The red tinted beams shot downward into the water beneath him at the speed of light, and disappeared in a flash,

(Why haven’t any of them come in after me yet?)

Unbeknownst to George, as the highly charged photons shed energy in the water below – they boiled it.

(I should probably listen for a splash…)

The water he drifted into was now cooking his skin…

~Motivation: teaching us to swim away from boiling patches of water since the birth of man.~

As George continued to thrash his arms about in an arrhythmic nonsensical matter (which was quickly proving not only to be utterly pointless – as he’d accomplished nothing thus far save for turning slightly from left to right – but also a wholly wasteful expenditure of his rapidly dwindling energy reserves), he began to feel a curious coldness envelop his body.

Logically he deducted that the deeper water he’d drifted into must be the culprit, and, for the moment at least, he appreciated it; he let it soothe him. He closed his eyes and relaxed his arms – putting aside for the immediate future his aspirations to be a swimmer – and let the cool water thoroughly ease his aching muscles and calm his throbbing brain. Before now, his whole body had been aflame with the negative aftereffects his surging adrenalin had left him with, and he thought that if only he could regain his wit for a moment (in this cooler more temperate water), that he might be able to take on the daunting task of swimming anew in but a moment.

The moment transpired like this;

Cold turned quickly to cool…

Cool, to hot…

Hot neatly became uncomfortable…

And uncomfortable transitioned hastily to boiling…

Danger”, screamed his brain, “DANGER

Sure… now it was talking…

His eyes cracked open in a flash, and his surprised lungs expelled half his oxygen reserves in a shocked, soggy scream, as he quickly realized that his all too logical deduction (which intuitively and wrongly related his depth, to coldness of the water), was entirely off the mark. Forget about broad side of a barn, this was somewhere off in the next galaxy.

Miraculously however, it was in this very moment – just as soon as his brain disengaged from the task at hand and his survival instincts had room to kick in – that George learned to swim!

Awesome!

It’s only too bad that he’d lost most of his oxygen in the process.

Not so awesome…

He quickly vacated the area (where he’d just been willingly cooking like a lobster), with a surprisingly efficient and completely impromptu left-handed underwater version of the breast stroke. His heart raced, and though there was obviously no oxygen around him to draw in (a fish passed him by and became insanely jealous of its gills), he nevertheless pictured himself leaning heavily on some sturdy object and heaving in air for dear life. His lungs were burning, and heart was thrumming with tremendous gusto, but it would seem that – for now at least – he was safe.

He had to think it…

Splash…

Oh great…

He wasn’t exactly sure what had taken the Droids so long up there on the surface to finally decide to make up their minds about entering the water, but whatever had transpired was now immaterial – it had resulted in only one thing as far as he was concerned – he now had company.

Despite the fact that the polluted water around him was murky and burned at his eyes, George nevertheless fought through the pain and turned to glare up at his pursuers. He needed to know how many had entered the water. If all three, than he might have a brief window of time for which to swim past them as they sank, to effectively make his escape on dry land (where he’d obviously belonged if his swimming lesson had taught him anything). He strained his eyes to see up through the great volume of murky water above him, and had to push himself (and his poor peepers), near to his threshold of pain before he’d spotted anything significant – but what he’d eventually seen through the harshly shaded water, made his heart sink below his feet.

The lights of the GM building (that he had just raided), back-lit the dock on the surface, and George could clearly see two figures silhouetted there on the pier; standing side by side and having their blackened physique illuminated intermittently by bursts of sparking light from where their wrists might be (if they were human). The third however, and this was the part that had made him lose his cowardly heart out of the bottom of his firmly soled black shoes, seemed to be in the shape of a large fish, and was swimming quickly and expertly down into the waters in search of him.

His pursuer had changed shape BEFORE entering the water…

The other two Droids must have thrown the third in…

No record had ever cited of this type of behavior…

George hadn’t anticipated this at all…

Surely this was very bad news…

Gasp! (there goes the air)

Rut-Roh…

He instinctively began to swim down and away from the unknown (but likely to be hostile), form above, before quickly remembering that unlike some creatures (like that show-off fish from before with the gills, the bastard), he actually required oxygen to continue operating his body. At this realization he made a quick *180 in the water and headed instead up toward the surface of the bay, knowing full-well that he was likely to be shot, more likely to be killed, and even more likely yet to have his shirt stolen, but despite the likelihood of all these things, he simply didn’t care: George wanted to live.

His ascension toward the surface was hasty, and brightened sporadically by short-lived luminous bursts of light resulting from the near misses of the laser shots that rained down on him from the dock above. One grazed his shoulder and he rolled to the right. Another tagged his toe and he moved to the left. A third hit his hand dead through the center – and that stopped his momentum cold.

Without all of its initial heat, the normally humane laser shot (which would both pierce you and cauterize the wound all at once), had left George bleeding openly in the water. Frozen, hopeless, and full of regret, George watched as the shadow of the large fish-like thing that the third droid had taken the shape of, halted its serpentine sweep of the area it was in, and rapidly descended into the water – aiming it’s nose in his direction.

His lungs screamed at him to swim, but he just didn’t have the will to do it,

(So this was it…)

George knew at this point, with absolute certainty, that he was about to die,

(Was all my hard work and effort for nothing…)

He thought of his lovely wife, and his two darling children, and wished that he could hug his lost son once more,

(Is this the end…)

He hated the world for what it had become, but was proud at all the progress the Half-Breeds had achieved,

(It’s not so bad…)

The evidence existed, and he had found it,

(At least I fought for what I believed in…)

Someone else would soon champion the cause,

(Surely the world will soon know the truth…)

George took off his shirt, and let it sink into the depths below,

(They are controlling our minds…)

The Droid-fish approached George in the water, and opened its terrifying jaws…

 

Hey there my creative troupe!

Hopefully you’re all thoroughly enjoying the story of George thus far, and you’re all so very inspired by his harrowing tale that you’ve not only subscribed (seriously, subscribe, what are you waiting for?) so that you might hear the conclusion (I’m excited, are you?), but that you’ve also been inspired to work on your own creative endeavors as a result.

I have to say, this has been fun! I’m fleshing out a part of my book that I hadn’t paid much attention to before, and I’m learning a lot about my characters and their past… This experience has been invaluable to me, and I only can hope that you’ve all enjoyed taking the trip along with me as well.

Anyway, as I’ve been working on this for the better part of my day, I have in turn been ignoring the edits on my novel, and now I must get back to them. So, good creative lot, it is at this point that I regrettably must bid you all adieu, and resume my necessary (but laborious), task.

As always; strive to live without judgment, but never stop being observant, and make sure to create every day!

 

And remember!

Not every day will be your best, but if you just keep at it (creating that is), some days will be!

~J