"One of the surest tests [of the superiority or inferiority of a poet] is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion."

-T.S.Elliot

Let's all be good thieves together.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Lake Fossil 3.14159: Pie Strikes! Part 1

First I'd like to apologise for my absence and silence these last few months, my personal issues decided to gang up and take turns using me for a punching bag as a result of which I haven't been able to finish any piece of writing since "Nickolaus Kane and the Spectre of the Exile". However I've started struggling through a new piece inspired by the title of Brian Keene's new Bizarro novel as well as one happy night which featured a session of Assassin's creed II, Godzilla Final Wars and a slice of an exquisite apple pie. Not only am I determined to finish this piece but I'm hopeful that doing so will blow some of the cobwebs out of my head and let me complete my list of promised stories.

After realising that it could be broken down into three separate sections I've decided to post each section as I finish it in order to help drive me onwards so I would like to present you with the opening of Lake Fossil 3.14159: Pie Strikes! And if you happen to read this Mr Keene please don't send your lawyers after me, I'm too pretty for prison. This piece is written in third person, I can't help but notice that my third person narration feels a little distant something which I will be trying to improve on as I continue.

Lake Fossil 3.14159: Pie Strikes!

In an undisclosed location, buried deep inside of a mountain, there is an American military installation. If you have the security clearance to know of its existence then you already know its purpose, if you don’t then you’re probably just glad to discover that at least some of your tax dollars escaped the senatorial hooker and rentboy fund. Inside this facility, overseen by a one-eyed grizzled general whose bald head has so many scars and dents it resembles Omaha beach after the Normandy landings, sit row upon row of intelligent young men monitoring satellite readings and various other computer screens, chattering away as they confirm and share various pieces of data, the majority of which regard the vastness of space and the many travelling objects within it, particularly their trajectories and how close they will pass to earth.

Let us focus for a moment on one of those young men, who initially volunteered for service to his country due to the dream of visiting beautiful foreign climes, shooting the irritating inhabitants thereof while seducing their attractive women, and punching out the tyrants who ruled there, but all too soon discovered that he was sadly lacking in the physical qualities the military required for decking dictators. By a twist of providence however they quickly realised that he was more than suitable for staring at monitors day in and day out, marking down little variations in data, and talking over lunch with the other young men of the day (which would be along any time soon) when he would ask the attractive receptionist out for dinner. Which just goes to show that the military can find a place for just about anyone: even if that place is in the latrines with a toothbrush.

He’s the real hero of this story. Without his dedication and intelligence countless lives would have been lost and we might have a very different ending, yet only his mother remembers his name. If these events were ever filmed he’d probably be played by the director’s cousin Denny, fresh from rehab and utilising a terrible Christopher Walken impersonation, something no one should have to endure but let's be honest you don’t really care about him either do you? Well that's all right, aside from his mother and the stray cat he's been feeding there's only one other person in the whole wide world who gives a damn about him, and you're going to have to wait until the end to find out who they are.

Anyway, one day, as per usual, this young man was carrying out his duty, with the studied diligence of a man who suspects that he could probably be replaced with a trained squirrel and has no intention of giving his employers cause to consider such an option, when he noticed an anomaly. After carefully double checking to ensure he wasn’t mistaken, he stood up and once assured he had the full attention of the supervising general said, “Sir, we have an unidentified object heading our way. It’s coming from… the Forbidden Zone!”

He stood there in a suddenly silent room, sweating with nervous trepidation as after a moment or two of contemplation the general levered himself out of his chair, which was far more comfortable than the chair the young man used, and marched towards him at a steady, relaxed pace, arms behind his back, rolling an unlit cigar in his mouth before stopping directly in front of him and looking up. Despite a height difference of almost a foot the young man could feel an ever growing urge to empty his bladder as he glanced into a single cold, pale blue eye that had seen more death and destruction than the entire collection of John Wayne films before quickly averting his gaze and staring straight ahead.

“Son,” the general said with a soft drawl as he took the cigar out of his mouth, “are you a three star general or higher?”

“No, Sir!”

“Are you the President or vice President of these beautiful forty-nine United States?”

“Forty-nine states, Sir?”

“Forty-nine. I will be dead, buried and damned to an eternity of Barbara Streisand yodelling Tibetan yak love songs before I ever consider Alaska, the frozen arsehole of Satan himself, to be a state. Now answer the question, are you the President or Vice President of America?”

“No, Sir!”

“Then why,” he said, his brow furrowing as he rubbed at his eyepatch with the back of his hand, “in the name of The King and his blessed blue suede shoes did you think you had the authority to use… a dramatic pause?”

“Sorry, Sir! It won’t happen again, Sir!”

“You’re damn right it won’t, son.” The general responded, his eye narrowing as he prodded the young man in the chest with the unlit cigar. “Just be grateful these new fangled health and safety regulations won’t let me smoke in here or I’d be using you as my personal ashtray for the next month.”

“Now,” he said after a thoughtful pause, “Tell me about this unidentified object and don’t use those stupid sci-fi terms you boys come up with in the lunch room. Those zones have names, good American names, son, and if you fail to use them I will take you outside and in the name of Elvis Aaron Presley himself whip them into you with my belt!”

“Yes, Sir! The unidentified object originated in the For… I mean Andrew Jackson zone and initially would have missed Earth by several million miles. However it corrected its trajectory and --”

“Hold up for just one second; you said it corrected its trajectory?”

“Yes, Sir, it has made three other corrections since then, and is now scheduled to intersect Earth’s orbit at 1400 hours this coming Saturday.”

“Then there’s only one option: get me… Poos√©!”

As the sound of snickering behind him grew the General swung around, murder gleaming in his solitary eye, and said “I will shoot the next man or woman who makes a sound without my express permission. Now someone get on the phone to the Lake Fossil facility in Illinois and get me Dr Poos√©!”

....

To be continued, hopefully soon.