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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Short Story: 100 Feet

Hello blogging world. Been almost two years since I posted anything here. Two years of creativity dulling BS, but that's life. This isn't a return to blogging either, but the other night I finally wrote a new short story and this is the only place I've got to put it. First thing I've written in a long time, but it felt good to write again. It's a sequel to my previous short story 50 Feet that's been in my head for awhile. I was amused with the different responses on how people took 50 Feet, so this should be interesting. And oddly enough after writing this one, I've got another sequel idea.

Anyway, if anyone still drops by here to read it, thanks for that. See y'all again in two years...haha

100 Feet by Eaglewing

God giveth, and God taketh away.

Thats what they taught him in Sunday school many moons ago, but they never confirmed if the giveth was good, or the taketh was bad. It was assumed, he reckoned now, and he knew well what happened on an assume. On such a blanket statement, details were onerously missing, and as usual, the Devil was in the details.

It’d been three years now since that rotten night. A night that was full of take. He’d been pushing hard in a close to hundred foot Rocky Mountain double tractor trailer with the hammer down coming up a grade and when he crested that hill it didn’t matter how good the brakes were. A man, stone drunk, out in the middle of the road with his eyes to the sky instead of the inbound coffin filler went to meet his Maker in a hurry amidst screaming tires, hot brakes, and crunching bones and metal. Even now, with a few years distance, he could still see the man standing there right before impact. What was worse, he could still feel it. It was just another given moment of time, but one that would take from both men’s lives.

He’d been a wreck afterward. Nightmares brought the fear that no therapy could help, and the fear kept him out of his home - his rig. And not being able to face driving anymore triggered a hell of a chain reaction. The bills piled up, the self esteem dove down, and the bottle was in easy reach. His wife tried to help, but eventually got fed up and took the kids and left. He didn’t blame her. Bouncing off rock bottom, he even tried a church. He asked God to give him a break. The next day they repossessed the house. On the one hand, he didn’t have to worry about the mortgage anymore, but it wasn’t the break he was looking for. Either God had a twisted sense of humour or he should have been more specific.

So with nothing left to lose, he sought out a job from a friend of a friend for a company that needed long haul drivers and weren’t worried about details like vehicular manslaughter or logbooks, to put it mildly. It was off the books, but he didn’t care anymore. He drank just enough to dull the shaky nerves but still had a hard time climbing in. Sitting there staring out the windshield, he actually said another prayer. He’d had enough, and muttered to God to just give him some damn peace once and for all. He figured it probably bounced off the roof, but was worth a shot. He fired up the engine and promptly stalled it in first gear. Then he took his mind out of it and his muscle memory kicked in and he was off down the road and catching that next shift felt so damn good.

He didn’t even want to know what he was hauling, and kept to the back roads. It meant a twisty and hilly and long route, but that was the price of contraband. He didn’t mind, it gave him time to think. Of all that he had given just to have it all taken away. He wondered if the drunk he had killed had thought the same. Was there a God in charge of it all, or were we just colliding with each other in a fit of chaos? Why were some given the world while others had it taken away? And if it all was the slip shod enterprise it appeared, then what was the point? It was a joke he couldn’t get. Maybe some day he would. He guessed it was all in the way you looked at it, but that was hardly comforting.

To ease his mind, he took another pull of whiskey from his hip flask, and toasted God for giving him a second chance at the wheel. Swallowing, he was taken aback at the sight out the windshield of a lone deer in the middle of the road. Not an uncommon occurrence this high up in the hills, but one he wasn’t prepared for. Sluggish reflexes trumped thought, and the brakes locked on black ice. As fate would have it, the curve lay ahead. The deer bolted on to the shoulder, and the rig bolted off the ledge and sailed through the air, gravity welcoming it with open arms.

As he sat in the cab, eyes wide watching the rocky valley below rushing up, he suddenly knew what he’d say in the coming face to Face. The damn prayer had made it farther than the roof, because here came peace once and for all. He figured he had about another hundred feet before he met his Maker, and he started to laugh.

A hundred feet.

Give or take.

The End.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Short Story: Getting Somewhere

Well, been a while off the old blogging train here, but thought I'd try this. I'm probably not getting back to any regular posting, but wanted to try to write something - anything - good, bad, or unreadable. Been down with a flu bug here and have a day or two off work. Read the Ed Brubaker graphic novel "Coward" (Vol 1 of the Criminal series) and wanted to write something again. So here it is. Don't know if it's any good, but had to prove to myself I still could :) Enjoy if you can...


The engine of that Peterbilt moaned as the driver worked his way down through the gears. Then the unmistakable whoosh of the air brakes brought the shiny chromed workhorse of a machine to a stop by the side of the road. With every running light on and the reflections in the metal, it was like a ghost ship of hope coming through the dark night to the hitchhiker on the side of the road. She put her thumb down, grabbed her bag from the dirt, and climbed up into the waiting cab.

“Thanks for stopping! You’re a lifesaver.” She tossed her bag at her feet and turned to take in the driver. He was built thick and muscled, on the scruffy side of good looking. A beard and John Deere ball cap bookended what were sadly kind eyes however, and the young girl felt at ease even with a stranger.

“No problem, darlin’. Where you headed now?” he replied as he let her get situated in her seat, and gave her a once over. A little young for hitching rides he thought.

“Home to Thunder Bay. How far are you going?”

“Further than that, but I can get you there.” He checked his mirror, released the brakes, and started back onto the highway, going back up through the gears to get up to speed.

“Thanks. My name is Lorrie, by the way.”

“Jack. Nice to meet you. Been on the road long?”

“Not really. Just trying to get home. Nowhere else to go when you’re broke and bottomed out, right?” She sighed and looked back out the window.

“Makes sense I guess. Though I’d think a Greyhound would be safer than hitching for someone as young as yourself. Never know who’s out here. They ain’t all as nice as me.” he laughed as he shifted gears again.

“Well, I’m old enough. But broke means broke. I just want to get home, mend some fences maybe. Where I went didn’t work. Had it better where I was. Too bad you never know that at the time.”

He nodded and they carried on in easy quiet for a stretch, rolling through the miles under the moonlight. He thought she had nodded off, but she spoke again, eyeing a picture on the dash.

“Who’s that? Someone special?” she asked pointing to the faded picture of a woman he had taped up long ago.

“Yeah, someone special. She was my wife. Took that last ride to the other side a few years ago now.” He looked at the photo for a few seconds before gazing back out the windshield at the road ahead.

“Oh, I’m so sorry. What happened?” She asked without thinking, a fault of the young.

He didn’t answer right away, and she thought he might not say a thing. Eventually though, he did. “A couple drunks, behind the wheel with too much power and not enough brains. Crossed the median when she was driving home and wrecked it. The docs did what they could, but couldn’t do enough. I got the call from my dispatcher. Never pushed this old girl so hard. Drove all night through a whiteout blizzard to get back, almost lost it myself a couple times. Just made it in time to say goodbye.”

She was quiet for some time after that, as she just didn’t know what to say. He didn’t blame her and welcomed the quiet. He wasn’t sure why he’d said so much, but sometimes it was easier talking to strangers. Still, he figured he should break the silence.
“You know, it’s good you’re going back home. Family is important. I don’t know what fences you got to mend, but it’s worth the work.”

She nodded soberly, then asked “Do you get back home much now?”

“No, been out here ever since. Her and the road were the only places I ever found any peace. Down to one now. But I like it out on the highway. What about you? Been gone long?”

“Yeah. I went looking for things that were bigger than me. Was going to be a model, have fame and fortune. It didn’t work very well. Wound up doing some things I’m not proud of. And now I’m broke and going home. Can’t say they didn’t warn me. I was just too stubborn and had to do it my way. I’m pretty sure I broke my Momma’s heart too, and disappointed my Daddy. I just hope they’ll open the door for me when I get back.”

“Well, good families are thicker than blood. They had the good sense to warn you, so I’m pretty sure they’ll just be happy you made it back. Parents never really let go of their kids.”

“I hope so. I left a good boy back there too. He wanted to get married and I wanted to see the world.” She turned back to the starlit night outside the glass of the truck cab and said quietly. “Now look at me.”

He did, and he saw a fallen angel, just one of many. But she was at least moving in the right direction.

“Well,” he finally said. “I’ll bet it’ll work out. Might not be all roses and smiles for a bit, but you’re doing the right thing now. That counts for a lot.”

She turned to look at him. “Did it work out for you? I mean, what happened was awful. How does that work out?”

He hadn’t thought of that, and it took him a minute to respond. “I don’t really know. I miss her a lot, I do. But somewhere out here I’ll find it. Like I said, it ain’t all roses and smiles, but you take what you can get. I keep rollin’ and it’ll work out somewhere.”

She smiled at him and nodded before they lapsed into easy silence again. As the miles passed and they drove through the night, she finally did put her head back and fell asleep, at ease with a stranger beside her at the wheel. He glanced at her from time to time, and wondered if her dreams were the good kind.

They rolled into Thunder Bay as the first hint of sunup pushed through the night sky. He tapped her on the shoulder to wake her. “We’re here. Where can I drop you off?”

She rubbed the sleep from her eyes. “The bus station is close enough. I can walk home from there.”

He brought the Peterbilt to a stop again outside the bus depot and applied the brakes. Turning to his rider he knew he should say something.

“Well, you hang in there Lorrie, I hope you find what you’re looking for. Hang on to that family of yours and mend those fences any way you can. Life’s too short for stubborn pride anyway.”

“Thanks.” She paused, then smiled again. “For the ride and the talk. I hope you find that somewhere that’ll work out too.”

He nodded. “Good luck, darlin’ ”, he said as she climbed down out of the cab and shut the door. A wave goodbye sent him on his way as he pulled back onto the blacktop, opening the throttle and shifting gears. As the sun kept coming up, his thoughts lingered awhile on Lorrie and he hoped she’d find her way down the right road, and maybe even marry that good boy she once knew.

As for him, he was married to the road now, and he wouldn’t have it any other way either. She could be a cruel mistress too, and a rough ride was to be expected. But if you knew how to love her, and handle her curves just right, she could make you feel at home in the middle of nowhere or just somewhere in between. It was where he felt the best, and the most peace he could find anywhere now. Some thought it was a lonely, bleak life, but then they just didn’t understand her, the road. It’d be their loss.

So he drove on, living for those light beams in the dark, the white line, catching that next shift, and rolling by another mile marker. Glancing at the picture on the dashboard, it was all he really cared to know anymore, anyway.

As long as those wheels were turning, he could still tell himself he was getting somewhere.

The End.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Been Thinking About Leaving Long Enough To Change My Mind

(blog title is a Rodney Crowell tune by the way)

Well, it is a long weekend here in Canada, and so I thought I'd blow the dust off my blog and see what's left. One week going blog quiet led to another and another as it was an unintentional break brought on by fatigues and lack of time as 2009 is turning out to be just as cruddy as 2008. I thought about hanging it up for good as I don't have much left to say, but I still enjoy writing and reviewing movies and don't truly want to abandon it altogether. So, it appears I'm at a bit of a quandary as I contemplate the direction of my blog, if there is one at all. Life fatigue vs minor enjoyments and all that. Something had to give, and it's usually the stuff I enjoy as history repeats itself. Needless to say, posts will probably be rather infrequent for a while as I deal with the BS that is life. A post a week should be doable, but even that seems daunting at times.

However, a discussion on an episode of Diggnation gave me an idea on how I want to reinvent my web presence. We'll see if anything comes of it though. I did buy a few domain names tonight for fun, so it might lead to something.

Either way, if nothing else comes out, big thanks to all those that have read and commented. It's been a fun four years, and I hope there's more. I've got a story rattling in my head, and other things I want to try, and I want to blog about them too. However, as the song says - "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need."

Thursday, April 09, 2009

April Showers...Um, Snow

It's the beginning of April, and with that comes the smell of spring in the air, the start of baseball season, BBQ's, no more winter coats, and...SNOW? Yes, the first two days of the week dumped some snow around here, but it's all gone away now. Still, gotta love Canada where the Toronto Blue Jays start their baseball season (and they won! May as well enjoy it, there won't be many this year) while it's snowing outside and I drive to work in this:

Sill, I loved it and wished it would stay snowy right through August. I guess I should move further north.

And in an unrelated picture, I managed to snap this shop driving along the highway in town. My '89 Dodge Ram about to pass an old '89 city bus. They have mostly newer ones now, but this has to be one of the older ones in the fleet. Still, they don't make them like they used to when two 20 year old vehicles can still be Kings of the Road.

Extract Trailer

Courtesy of Cinematical, a new trailer is out for Mike Judge's new comedy Extract. This has the workplace comedy/misery feel of his Office Space cult classic, and has some genuinely funny moments in the trailer, at least for me. Compared with some of the...let's say unique individuals I work with (and who doesn't?), this really hits the nail on the head of workplace dysfunction. I love the bit where one woman's flip out over who's doing what leads to a brutal chain reaction of events. I could just see that happening too. Anyway, enjoy the trailer and look forward to this come Labour Day.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Wolverine Movie Leaked, FOX Earns It

The internet is awash in buzz (at least the sites I frequent) about the leaked and pirated Wolverine movie. Somebody dropped this thing on the world - a month AHEAD of it’s theatrical release date. Movies winding up on the ‘net is nothing new, but something of this kind of blockbuster status being leaked early certainly is. Reportedly it’s DVD quality too, not some shaky cam job either. This isn’t great for the Wolverine movie, and it’s really bad for Fox Studios who are really worried about Box Office dollars now, but I gotta say it looks good on ‘em.

Now, while I’ll admit I was tempted to download it, that temptation was quickly doused when I learned it was an early workprint copy. This means incomplete special effects, visible wire work, green screen, and none of the reshoots added in. No thanks. I’ve been waiting for a Wolverine movie for a while, and when I do see it I want the complete version on the big screen. I just hope it doesn’t suck, and unfortunately it might. There’s been many reports of this being a train wreck, largely in part to interference from Fox chief Tom Rothman, but I keep hoping that Hugh Jackman’s solid grip on the character pulls it through. We’ll find out soon enough.

Still, having this leaked and possibly ruining Fox’s tentpole release of the year must be some kind of karmic backlash. Consider all the ways Fox has screwed it’s product’s fan base and gone out of its way to damage good shows/movies over the years, I can’t help but feel like Nelson on the Simpsons and point at Fox and go “Ha-Ha!” Gotta say Fox, you earned this one.

But it doesn’t stop there. Oh no, Fox has to up the ante. After swearing legal vengeance on whoever leaked it (or downloads it) and even troubling the FBI over it and asking movie web sites and the fan community not to download and review the film early, I read this over on when Fox News reporter Roger Friedman posted a review, on FoxNews's website, of the recently pirated, illegal copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

As CinemaBlend’s Josh Tyler goes on to write: “let the implications of that sink in.”
Really, it’s a doozy. Now, while Fox comes out to indicate News and the Movie studio are different entities and Friedman is a freelance writer, it still boggles the mind they’d let this happen. Go ahead and read the entire article by Josh Tyler and you have to shake your head at the incompetence shown by FOX. After complaining non stop about movie piracy for eons, and getting a lot of facts wrong along the way, and trying to make their product as difficult as possible to get to the fans, and now begging the online community to ignore the leak, they wind up with an early review of a downloaded, illegal, pirated version of Their Own Movie on Their Own Website! Kudos to you FOX - you have attained an EPIC FAIL. If you ever open your mouth about pirated content again after this, I hope you’re laughed out of town.

It’s just really too bad it had to happen to the Wolverine movie. The first X-Men movie is one of my all time faves, and I’m a huge Wolverine comic fan as well. I’ve been waiting for a solo Wolverine movie for a long time, and now all this drama has to surround it. After the first awesome trailer, I’ve been avoiding any further clips/trailers/spoilers like the plague. I’ll be going to the theatre to see this, no doubt, but I’ll be regretting the fact my money is contributing to Fox - the worst movie studio of all time.

In the end, the Wolverine movie and those that worked on it don’t deserve this. However, Fox Studios, the corporation and CEO, certainly does. Way to go karma.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Burn Baby Burn

Here we are in April, which means a quarter of the year burned up. Yay. The quicker the better I say.

I appear to be back online here in a solid way for a change. Starting last week, my (probably 7 year old) Linksys router started to cough, then choke, then die on me. After messing around with it and limping along for a couple days, I finally gave up on it. Looked like I'd need a new router. Luckily, I've been using an Apple Airport Express as a wireless access point for my network, and I'd forgotten it can be used as a router as well. It took me a little to get it online and then setup right, but that was more me and my dearth of networking skills. Apparently it's got a firewall as does Mac OS, so I'm back up and running. The downside is I have no wired access to my network at the moment, so I may consider an upgrade to get the old XP machine online again. The upside to the switch though was a massive burst in internet speed. I guess my old Linksys router was really slowing me down, but I think I'm getting true wireless N speed now on my iMac. On top of that, this seems to have fixed what I thought was a bug in Mac Mail, but that left along with the router. So the router going up in smoke was a very good thing apparently.

Otherwise, it's same old on the western front here: tired. Watching CMT here and listening to Dierks Bentley's song Feel that Fire. I wouldn't mind feeling a bit of fire either. Speaking of CMT, what's with the jamming the screen full of every bit of graphics and moving text possible to keep you from seeing the actual video thats playing? Rather annoying, but it did tell me that it's EmmyLou Harris birthday, turning 62. So happy birthday to one of the best ever.

Oh well, on with the show. Enjoy your Thursday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Hog On Ice

Good grief. Just had to post about this. We've already had word recently there are movies in the pipe that are remakes of MacGyver, The A-Team, and Missing In Action. Really, how are they going to fill the boots of Richard Dean Anderson, Mr. T, and Chuck Norris?! I don't think we really need remakes of these shows/movies, but whatever, we already know they'll probably suck the high wind (see Dukes of Hazzard movie, Starsky and Hutch movie, Bewitched, etc).

But now they've gone TOO far! They've announced the Coen brothers are remaking True Grit. What?! For starters, John Wayne movies don't need to be remade. (I'm ignoring the fact Rio Bravo was remade three times, twice starring Wayne, and one of the remakes has been remade. Don't ask.) But come on, this is unnecessary.

Granted, if anyone could pull this off, it'd be the Coens, but I just can't really see any current actor being able to successfully utter the famous line:

"Fill your hand, you sonuvabitch!"