Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Fifth of November - English Folk Verse (c.1870)

Remember, remember!
    The fifth of November,
    The Gunpowder treason and plot;
    I know of no reason
    Why the Gunpowder treason
    Should ever be forgot!
    Guy Fawkes and his companions
    Did the scheme contrive,
    To blow the King and Parliament
    All up alive.
    Threescore barrels, laid below,
    To prove old England's overthrow.
    But, by God's providence, him they catch,
    With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
    A stick and a stake
    For King James's sake!
    If you won't give me one,
    I'll take two,
    The better for me,
    And the worse for you.
    A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
    A penn'orth of cheese to choke him,
    A pint of beer to wash it down,
    And a jolly good fire to burn him.
    Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
    Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
    Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Flight Attendant - Chapter 1

This is just a rough draft sample from a couple of chapters I've written on this story. Hope you enjoy.
- Jas

Chapter 1

I looked at myself in the mirror. I looked tired. I was much too young to feel old at 26. I was tired though. Not only was I tired of this job, I was tired enough to lay down and sleep for two days. I checked my makeup and pinched my cheeks. It was showtime and I was due on stage. It was hard work and long hours and I no longer loved it like I used to. I took a deep breath and heard an inner voice telling me to hurry. I opened the lavatory door and took my spot on “stage”. It was my turn to talk already. Cindy waved and mouthed the word, “GO!” to me. I began to speak.
“Welcome on board Flight 3462 to San Francisco. Our aircraft is under the command of Captain Sayers. He has informed me that our flying time will be approximately 3 and one half hours,” I mindlessly spewed out to the passengers over the microphone.
I continued, looking down the aisle, watching all the uninterested faces, “While we are here to ensure that you do have a comfortable trip with us today, we are also concerned about your safety. With that in mind, we ask that you take the Safety Information Card out of the seat pocket in front of you and follow along as we perform our safety demonstration.” No one does that I can see. Oh well, it’s their funeral I guess.
Knowing that only four or five people might give a shit, I felt like telling them to have a nice flight and skip the “Speech”. But since I have to, I went on, “Your seat belt has been designed for easy fastening and release. To fasten, insert the metal fitting into the buckle, adjust to fit snugly with the loose end of the strap and simply lift the buckle release to unfasten. Your seat belt should always be worn low and tight across your lap.” Across your crotch. Squishing your junk, fellas.
I stifled a huge yawn and prolonged the agony as my team demonstrated my words, “You are on board a 747. There are ten emergency exits, five doors on the left and five doors on right, each marked with a red EXIT sign overhead. All doors except the overwing doors at 3 left and 3 right are equipped with slide/rafts. These rafts may be detached in the event of a water evacuation. The overwing doors are equipped with a ramp and off wing slide. Life rafts are located in pull down ceiling compartments at the overwing doors. For our customers on the Upper Deck, your escape route will be down the staircase, and out the first available exit. In the event that the staircase is blocked, an additional door with an evacuation slide is located in the cockpit. Operation and use of the exits, slides and rafts are illustrated in the safety information card. Please locate the two exits nearest you, keeping in mind that the closest exit may be behind you.” I always laugh at that. Well, I laugh at the whole speech. Who doesn’t?
They knew a “water evacuation” was a joke, right? I went on to explain lighting to those who might have been mentally handicapped, “This aircraft is equipped with aisle path lighting which is located on the floor in the left and right aisles. Should cabin visibility be impaired, the exit path will be illuminated. White lights lead to red lights which indicate you have reached or are near an emergency exit location.” Remember this during a water evacuation? I didn’t think so.
Although I wish the oxygen masks were full of laughing gas, I wasn’t allowed to say that. So, instead I explained, “The cabin pressure is controlled for your comfort. However, should it change radically inflight, oxygen compartments will automatically open in the panel above your seat. Reach up and pull the mask to your face. This action will start the flow of oxygen. Place the mask over both your mouth and nose and secure with the elastic band as your Flight Attendant is demonstrating. Tighten by pulling on the ends of the elastic bands. Even though oxygen is flowing, the plastic bag may not inflate. If you are traveling with children, or are seated next to someone who needs assistance, place the mask on yourself first, then offer assistance. Continue using the mask until advised by a uniformed crew member to remove it.” Save yourself first. Always important.
Yeah. Right. I knew their god would be the only thing they’d be thinking about and he wasn’t going to save them in the event of a crash. We all die. But I digressed. I shouldn’t have been thinking my atheistic thoughts while preparing people for a possible “loss of cabin pressure”.
I was getting super fucking bored of this speech by now, but what’s scary is that I could say it in my sleep, “Your individual life vest is located in a pouch beneath your seat. Should its use become necessary, remove it from the plastic packet, pull the vest over your head and pull down on the front panel. Bring the strap around your waist and insert it into the buckle on the front. As you exit the aircraft, inflate the vest by pulling down on the red tabs. Use of the life vest is fully illustrated in the information card.” Which no one read.
Coming in for the home stretch I felt like feeling myself up, boobs and all, while continuing just to see if anyone was watching still. My team was watching, so instead I continued, “In preparation for takeoff, please ensure that your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright and stowed positions, your seat belts are securely fastened and all your carry-on items are securely stowed. Federal Aviation Regulations require customers to comply with the lighted customer information signs, other posted signs and crewmember instructions. Please observe the FASTEN SEATBELT and other lighted signs until they have been turned off by the Captain. The NO SMOKING sign will remain illuminated for the duration of the flight and smoking is prohibited throughout the cabin and in the lavatories. All lavatories are equipped with smoke detection systems and Federal Law prohibits tampering with, disabling, or destroying these systems.”
Federal law, motherfuckers. “Thank you for your attention. We will be airborne shortly.”
I hung up the mic and hoped for a round of applause. There was none. Fuckers. I’d had enough. I wanted this to be my last flight as an attendant. I didn’t really care what came next. I just wanted someone to save me. I felt like I was losing my mind.
We arrived on the ground hours later. After saying “Goodbye!” and “Thank you for flying with us!” dozens of times, including one drunk guy that gave me an unexpected hug and tried to grab my ass, I was almost ready to go home. I finished up my duties and checked out with everyone, walking to the parking garage alone.
I sat in my car and a wave of emotion came over me. I cried. I couldn’t figure out why I was crying. But that just pissed me off. Then I was angry crying. And that made me giggle while crying. So now I’m laughing with tears streaming down my face. I was a mess. I screamed and slammed my hands against the steering wheel. I took a few deep breaths and started the car. Fuck this, whatever it was. I was going home.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Borrowed from a Facebook post...

I've lied.
I've cheated.
I've run.
I've hid.
I've dodged.
I've blamed.
I've hurt.

I've been the victim.
I've been the villain.
I've been the hero.

My life is filled with a lot of crazy, stupid, selfish, egotistical, prideful, thoughtless shit.

I've hurt people because I hurt.
I've lied because I was scared.
I've stolen because I was unwilling.

Will I do more stupid shit in the future?


Have I figured out how to walk on water?


But every day I WAGE WAR.

Every day I revel in the moment.
Every day I work to BE.




I HONOR my weakness.
I HONOR my strength.




I am who I am right this second, right this very second because of every single choice and decision I've ever made.

The good.
The bad.
The ugly.
The beauty.
The lies.
The truth.
The anger.
The pride.


And who am I right now?
Who am I this very second?


My journey as a KING is expanding.
My journey as a KING is awakening.


God thank you for this life.
God thank you for this calling.
God thank you for the experience.
God thank you for the light.

God thank you for what IS.



Sunday, September 21, 2014

I wrote a short story for the Writer's Weekly Fall 2014 "24-hour Contest". They give you a topic and word count and you have 24 hours to write a story. 1st through 3rd places range from $300 to $200. So here's what I submitted at only 880 words (just under the 950 limit). Now I wait only six short weeks to see how I did!:

Amanda zipped her coat and pulled her collar up tightly to try and brace from the onslaught of the cold November wind. She looked back as her sister Janet emerged from the tarot reader’s shop. They looked at each other in a sort of shock at what they were just told. 
Janet shivered and started to ask, “Do you think we should talk about the warning…”
Amanda cut her off, “I don’t want to talk about it. She’s just a crazy old woman who told us a crazy tale about the crazy things we told her.” Amanda began to walk, trudging through the piles of dried up red and orange leaves covering the sidewalk.
Janet walked along side her insisting, “Amanda, c’mon, why don’t you want to talk about it? She told you not to go home tonight, to move out.”
Amanda reached her car and stared at Janet. “Janet, we saw something. But it wasn’t a horrible, murderous ghost like the old woman claimed. I’m not leaving my home or running in terror.” With that she began to unlock her door and get in. They drove separately so she waved goodbye to Janet.
Janet didn’t wave back. She was staring at an elderly man that was slowly walking by that stopped to lean over to Janet and put a finger to his lips as if to shush her. Janet looked at him oddly, “Well, hello to you too!” she exclaimed. The strange, old man smiled and walked on, tipping his old, worn hat.
Amanda watched the moment and briefly forgot about the cold wind biting at her cheeks. “What was that all about?” she asked Janet.
Janet shrugged, “I don’t know. I guess I’m either talking too loud or he doesn’t want to hear what I have to say.”
Amanda waved bye again and got in her car and promptly started it to turn on the heater. As she drove home she reflected on what she’d seen around the house. It was just a dark figure out of the corner of her eye occasionally. It wasn’t scary to her. She just sometimes didn’t appreciate the bumps and sounds in the night or the random hushed voice that seemed to be coming from somewhere. After Janet screamed from the kitchen one evening while over for dinner, Amanda was convinced by her sister to go to the fortune teller. Janet swore she saw a dark figure behind her that disappeared when she turned around.
She arrived home as it was getting dark and found the front door unlocked. That was strange since she obsessed about locking it usually. She turned on the living room and kitchen lights and began to heat up some leftovers from the fridge in the microwave. The phone rang suddenly, cutting through the quiet of the house.
“Hello,” answered Amanda.
“It’s me. Are you alive? What’s happening?” asked a worried sounding Janet.
“I’m fine. Sheesh. It’s just a fortune teller. Let it go,” Amanda exclaimed.
“Amanda. Listen. She said someone would die. Tonight. This is ridiculous. I’m coming over,” and the phone went dead. She knew Janet had set her mind to it and there was nothing she could do but endure the night with her.
A small noise came from the bathroom down the hall. Amanda looked around the corner, seeing into the dark bathroom and shrugged it off after seeing nothing. She went back to preparing her leftovers for her measly dinner she’d concocted. She turned slowly blowing on the hot food and there it was. The dark figure.
At least she thought it was. She looked up quickly and there was nothing to see. Just a glance from the corner of her eye. As always. She sighed and went to sit down at the kitchen table. After a few bites, while expecting Janet at any moment, she heard a noise again from behind her. As she turned around to see what it was two large hands belonging to an even larger, scary looking man wrapped tightly around her throat.
She looked at him in panic and tried to scream but nothing came out of the closed windpipe. After a moment of struggling and fighting she began to fade. A cold blackness enveloped her and she slipped away…
When she came to she was on a stretcher in her living room surrounded by EMT technicians and police. She lifted her head in confusion and noticed the blood. And the frantic weeping coming from the kitchen. There was blood all over Amanda and the kitchen floor she noticed. And there he was. The scary man was laying on the floor in a crumpled, bloody mess.
Janet noticing she’d woken ran to her side, “OH LORD AMANDA!” she cried. “Thank goodness you’re alive. The burglar is dead!”
“What happened?” she weakly asked.
“What do you mean? I came in and found you on the floor next to this man, thinking you were both dead!” Janet sobbed and couldn’t continue.
She gathered herself and looked at Amanda, “She was right! The old woman was right! Someone died tonight!”
Amanda looked over to the corner of the kitchen suddenly remembering seeing the dark figure as she passed out. And she knew. She had to stay in this house. Protected.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

I'm writing again. And I'm happy about it. I have four stories I'm writing on right now. Different genres of course.

One: A man lacks the mental and moral difference between right and wrong and commits murder. He gets away with it and goes to his grave tormenting a detective that knows he's guilty. The truth revealed after death.

Two: A woman is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and struggles to get through the day and cope with her new illness. True story.

Three: A young bartender woman lives a lonely life only to accidentally meet a military computer intelligence man and unexpectedly fall in love, not without some heartbreak.

Four: A young boy buys a pawn shop guitar and finds himself in a band and on stage unexpectedly. 

Each story I'm somewhere between 500 and 2000 words. It's so hard to pick on and run with it, feeling like I'm neglecting the others.

What are you writing lately?

Are you participating in the November novel in a month challenge coming up soon?

- Jas