jmfargo: (Default)
I stand, one arm dangling at my side, useless and streaming with blood from the jagged gash that runs the length of my entire bicep. It's deep and hurts more than any other pain I've ever felt but to pay attention to that now will mean my end.

The air is heavy with the scent of blood and pine. The rushing of the waterfall is all I can hear as I near it. I can't see it, as night has fallen and even a small line of trees hides much in the woods at dark, but I know I'm going the right way. The sound of the waterfall will mask the sound of my heavy breathing even as it masks the sound of my pursuit. It's a give and take, but I'll take what I can get.

I break through the trees, stumble, and I'm in the water before I see it. The cold grabs my leg like a vice and squeezes but at least it takes my mind off of the pain for a moment. I glance over my shoulder but still can't see if he's coming for me. If he is following I could die. If he's not then what happens would be worse. I liked my soul.

The coursing water coming from above slams into me as I back into it as far as I dare go. The cold numbs my arm which for just a moment is an extremely welcomed relief but then it numbs my entire body and I find myself wondering why this had to happen now, in November, and not during, say, August when we were having that heat wave that almost burned down the forest? That would have almost been pleasant.

The voice that suddenly breaks what I'm pretty sure is the onset of blood-loss-induced shock isn't deep and smooth, or loud and booming. There's nothing dark and sinister about it at all. In fact it's a bit nasal, whiny even, but suddenly the shivering my body is doing isn't all about the shocking cold.

"Jeremiah, why are you running? You wanted this meeting in the first place." He's much closer than I thought he could get without me knowing. I realize suddenly that he's standing at the edge of the water staring at me with eyes that are almost luminescent in the faint moonlight. I can only see his silhoutte and those eyes but I'd never mistake him for anybody else.

He continues speaking as I shiver and wait. "You summoned me here with the intent to trap me and demand my most prized posession. You thought that what you had learned about summoning those fucking Faeries applied to summoning a Demon, and not just any Demon. Oh no, you had to summon ME. Your personal Demon, quite literally. The one that knows you better than you know you. The one that has haunted your life since the day you agreed to the deal." He snickers at this and I can feel the malevolence pour off of him. "You thought it would be so simple, yet here you are, surrounding yourself with running water to stave me off as you slowly die from that gash in your arm. You wanted this sword of mine," I hear the sound of scraping metal against metal as he pulls the sword from its sheathe and we're both bathed in a very faint robins egg blue. I have to be honest, I didn't expect it to glow. It seems, somehow, too cliche. "Well," he snarls at me "you want it so bad, come take it and you can be sure I'll give it to you."

Using every last bit of strength in my body I leap at him. It seems to take forever to clear the eight or nine feet between us but by the surprised look on his pudgy little face I can tell this isn't what he expected. Instinctively he flinches back.

Maybe it's the pure rage mixed with joy on my face. Maybe it's just the surprise of the moment. Maybe it's luck. But in that moment he points the sword that he forged from my soul at me, directly at my heart.

Grasping the blade with both hands I fall forward. I feel the slice along the insides of my palms. I feel the immediate burning ice that runs into my chest. The pain is incredible. The joy is amazing.

My breath is short. Each puff agony. Looking him in the eye I shudder and force a grin. With my last bit of will I force out the words that will win me the day.

"Deal. I accept."

Falling, my body wrenches the blade from his short, stubby fingers. As the light darkens I'm not sure if it's because I can no longer see or because the sword, forged from our deal, is being reabsorbed.

~~~

Looking down at the bastard's body I spit. Little fucker. I can't believe he gave up everything I gave him just to get his soul back, or that he tricked me into making a deal. Smart little bastard, I had to give him that. Only one in about 5,000 ever actually found a way to get their souls back and usually then they're not willing to sacrifice it all just for a ticket to the afterlife.

I curse the sky for a while, which quite literally lights up the night in a beautiful shade of ultra-violet. The cursing is impotent. He won fair and square. But now I've learned and it means it won't happen again. Time to go out and do what I do best, over and over again:

Make another deal.
jmfargo: (ceiling cat)
Hello my friends. As you may or may not know for the past few years I have enjoyed writing for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol. Well, it's that time of year again. The first assignment is to post and link my intent to compete so...

I intend to compete in this years LJ Idol. It should be fun!

Now, real life may get in the way - I'll be living without a computer for at least the next few weeks - but I will attempt to post from my phone or public computers or whatever I can get my hands on.

Wish me luck!

Winding Up

Nov. 6th, 2010 08:03 am
jmfargo: (Default)
She's coming over again tonight. This is the eighth, ninth time? I need to do something more tonight. Definitely. I can't just put my arm around her and watch the movie without even trying to make a move like I have every other time. I can't chicken out.

I resolve that tonight the first thing I'm going to do is take her in my arms, kiss her deeply, and enjoy a night of making out wih this girl who seems to like spending time with me. Damn the consequences; it's time to make my move and just either take it to the next level or be done with it.

But, what if she laughs at me? What if she turns me down and storms off? What if all she really wants from this relationship with me is a cuddle and movie watching? What if I talk myself out of doing that and just make a few weak attempts at getting her attention during the movie in hopes that she'll turn and make it obvious she wants me to make a move? What if I chicken out? What's the harm in that?

But what if she gets tired of me because this is at least the ninth time she's come over and I haven't even tried to make a real move? What if she finds someone more interesting?

What if?

How can I be this guy? I'm normally confident, relatively well-adjusted, outgoing and not scared of anyone. I'm intelligent, witty, and not unattractive. What is it about an attractive girl that throws me off so badly?

Yes, it's true that I haven't dated anyone in over 10 years, with that whole marriage thing, so maybe I'm a little out of practice. It's also true that even before that my experience with girls was limited to about a handful, and depending on how you count experience then we could say much less than a handful. And yes, it's true that every girl I've ever dated or made out with has made the first move or at least made the signals so clear that a blind person could have seen them. I don't know how it works, otherwise.

The pre-date nervous energy courses through my body about an hour before she shows up for our pseudo-date. She's come over so many times that I've convinced myself that she has to like me, otherwise why allow my arm around her? Why the goodnight kiss? Right? I mean, those must be signs that she wouldn't mind something more to our relationship, that if I make a move on her then she probably won't laugh or pull away. She likes me. Right?

Half an hour before the date and I'm sure. Tonight I'm going to make the move. No doubt about it. She'll come in the door, I'll bring her back to my room as we usually do to sit on my couch and watch some tv, only this time I'll have the lights low, something smooth playing the background, and a simulated fireplace on my monitor*. Cheesy, sure, but I think she'd like cheesy; or at least appreciate the effort and get what I'm going for. Absolutely.

Tonight is the night. I'm looking good, smelling good, my room is clean, and I'm ready. Yes. Absolutely. Ready.

She's here.

"Hey Jess, come on in. I'm glad you're here. What movie do you want to watch tonight?"

Maybe she'll be patient enough to wait for me to make my move next time.

Maybe.

*Something like these three links, each pulled up in a separate tab:
RainyMood.com
Godot - The Fragrance of Dark Coffee
FIREPLACE
jmfargo: (Default)
Yesterday I learned that I was in the bottom four in votes for LJ Idol, and so I was out of the game. It didn't come as a surprise; I had been watching the poll all weekend and knew that I was in the lowest almost the entire time. I was surprised, to be honest, because I felt that my entry was one of the strongest I had written so far, but in reading my competitor's work I realized I was out of my league.

The competition started with 193 contestants. Some missed the very first deadline, so we'll call it 190. Out of 190 people, I came in the top 40. I can't help but feel some pride in that. Sure, having a relatively large friend list (and helpful friends) played a big part in getting me this far, but at least some of that had to be writing ability. I made it through at least one community-only vote, one contestant-only vote, and the Gatekeepers, people who were chosen specifically for their ability to choose the best.

How could I not be proud of my accomplishment?

But today I say goodbye. I won't be asking for votes anymore because I won't be in the polls. No more mandatory deadline meetings, or having to find something to write about that's vaguely on-topic. No more being on the List Of Shame, this close to missing the deadline.

I'll miss it all. It's been fun, and I've met some fantastic people. I'd like to believe I've improved my writing ability, and I've had a good time. My goals for entering this competition are fulfilled. It's time for the real competitors to start competing.

Go top 36! I'll be reading, commenting, and voting.

Wow

Feb. 2nd, 2009 10:32 am
jmfargo: (chico)
The Pooch Page shot up into the 100-reader range this week, which is absolutely awesome to me. I've been dropping in on animal communities over on Blogspot, which has garnered much more attention than I thought it would.

One of my 101 goals in 1001 days (a list that I will shortly be redoing, as that one is somehow sadly out of date) was to increase my traffic to 100+ hits a day for at least a week, and it looks as though I'm on my way to that, which is nice.

What does this have to do with you?

Well, nothing, I suppose. Of course, you could help me out by checking out the site, but if you're not already doing that then I'm guessing you don't care much about the awesome dog photos I put up there every day, so I won't beg. Just like I'm not begging for votes at LJ Idol. See? I can be strong.

Seriously though, I'd just like to say that it's cool for me to see my site actually getting some attention. I'm psyched!
jmfargo: (Default)
Call it The Law of Attraction, The Power of Positive Thinking, or even The Secret; the theory is the same: If you think good things are coming to you, they will. You just concentrate on the good stuff, ignore the bad stuff, and the world will be your play thing, leaving you healthy, wealthy, and in charge. That's all there is to it according to most people I've talked with.

Just ask Jane. Jane's a woman I met recently who stumbled onto this in a big way. Her first big challenge is losing weight, and it's one that she's been fighting all her life. Jane believes that through this powerful "think it, be it" approach to things, she can sit around all day and think herself thin. Wouldn't that be great? I talked to her during this time and she looked bigger than ever, but was convinced that she was losing weight. She'd been using positive thinking for three months, and was sure it was working.

Proof? Well, she didn't want to step on a scale because that would mean that she didn't just trust that the Universe was getting her everything she wanted. She didn't want to taint the pureness of her good thoughts, don'tcha know. She could eat anything at all, have as many helpings of loaded mashed potatoes as she wanted, and still lose weight. She was living proof that this thing worked!

Except, of course, when she finally did step on a scale at her doctor's office, she had put on more than twenty pounds in those three months. The doctor took her off the Krispy Kreme diet, put her on a medically regulated one, and she's doing better, but she's not nearly as happy about it.

Let me rephrase that. She ecstatic that she's losing weight. She's not so happy that she has to actually do work to make it happen.

Then there's my friend Chuck. Great guy, seriously. He went to college, got a degree, became a music teacher, traveled the world, and led a great life. He stumbled into The Secret, and it changed his life dramatically. Suddenly he didn't have to work at having a good life anymore, he just had to think himself into better situations. Everything was his for the taking, and he just had to clap his hands and say that he does believe in fairies. This was awesome, and just what he was looking for!

When I met Chuck, he worked the night shift doing a minimum-wage data entry job. His wife, also once a teacher, worked at a Wholesale store as a lady handing out samples. They were over their head in debt, couldn't travel anymore, and still convinced that the big payoff was coming. It was coming, don't you worry, life couldn't get them down because they knew that all it took was thinking positive.

That was two years ago. Last I heard, the payoff hasn't yet come. He's still in a job he hates, his wife is still getting flak from management about eating the free samples, and both of them are unhappy.

That all being said, you probably won't believe me when I say that I'm not bashing The Power of Positive Thinking.

No, seriously. I have nothing bad to say about people thinking positively and wanting the world to bend to their whim. I think the concept is awesome. The problem is that, as with so many different things, people only listen to the simple part, and stop there. They think they can think the world into submission, and never get to the step that says in order for it to work, you have to actually work towards your goal.

Let me say that again, because it's important:

In order for The Secret to work, you have to actually work towards your goal. You have to be willing to take chances, follow weird urges, and generally change your lifestyle to focus on the thing that you're trying to achieve while keeping a positive attitude about it. Without actually doing something to change your life towards what you're trying to achieve all you have is a happy attitude, which is nice, but doesn't get you rich. Or skinny. Or a girlfriend.

Okay, it might get you a girlfriend. Which is good. But when she realizes that you're jobless but not submitting applications anywhere because you're sure a job will just fall into your lap, your happy attitude might not mean much.

In other words folks, it's not just what you think. It's also what you do.

3 Things

Jan. 27th, 2009 06:45 am
jmfargo: (pooch page)
1. I made it to the top 40 in LJ Idol! Somehow I got through The Gatekeeper vote. I guess people liked my look at science as wizardry. Yay!

I'd like to add, however, that this elimination was tough. I'm amazed to see who ended up not moving on, and really thought that most of the 14 who are leaving us were going to continue on much longer than me in the competition.

2. I've started watching Torchwood, the Dr. Who spin-off. I'm 5 episodes in and I have a question for those of you who have seen the show: Does Gwen (the main character) EVER get smarter? Right now she's part of this ultra-top-secret alien-hunting group, and she's a complete and total ditz. She messes up in a major way at least twice an episode. It's horrible.

3. Maggie, our pit bull puppy, actually slept through the night last night, allowing us to go to sleep within a half hour of going to bed. Hopefully this trend continues and she'll eventually stop whining at bed time. That would be nice. I need my beauty sleep.

LJ Idol

Jan. 22nd, 2009 08:13 pm
jmfargo: (Default)
I will not be begging for votes this weekend. Not because I made the top 50. Oh no. The reasons are much more diabolical than that.

This week is The Gatekeeper vote. This means that some mysterious people, unknown to the contestants, hold the fate of 14 people in their hands. Their votes decide the fate of the competition.

If I make it I'll be in the top 40, but the competition is fierce. There are 54 people left, and we're losing 14.

This just got nail-bitingly interesting.

I Wish...

Jan. 22nd, 2009 01:49 pm
jmfargo: (Default)
Science can do anything; create wonders, destroy civilizations, heal the sick, and raise the dead. Our wizards wear lab coats. Our cleric's vestments, scrubs. There is magic everywhere, and because we can explain it we dismiss it, become complacent with it. We forget how amazing our world is.

As a teenager I longed for a world where I could create flame from my fingertip, always ignoring the fact that a Bic lighter will do this easily, quickly. I would have been willing to study arcane texts for an entire night, simply for the ability to communicate across far distances with friends, when touching a few numbers on a keypad would allow me to do so in minutes. The world didn't seem magical, because I couldn't see the magic in the science.

Clarke's Law states "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong." Nothing is impossible. We can achieve anything.

It may take time and practice. It may take study and long hours. It might mean having to unlock the secrets of the universe. I wanted mind-to-mind communication; as cell phones become smaller and smaller, integrating themselves into our daily lives, this is becoming a reality. Anything is possible. Everything.

And aren't we already in an age of magic and wonder? Communication with people around the globe in an instant. The ability to travel outside of Earth's atmosphere. The strange but wondrous ability to pump water from miles away into your home. These are things that we take for granted now, that at one time seemed the most amazing things in the world.

The dark side is there as well, of course. The fireballs capable of leveling entire cities, beams of light strong enough to disintegrate whatever they touch. All is there in the magic of science. All of it can be studied, improved upon, and brought to constructive uses. The fireball can be tamed to power cities, the beams of light can surgically remove a tumor in an instant.

Just as a wizard must study hard their spells, ready their minds through years of practice, a scientist must learn the formula, perfect the practice, and then change the world.

I wish somebody had told me this when I was a teenager. I might have grown up to be a wizard.
jmfargo: (Default)
If the voting on LJ Idol ends as it stands now, I'll be out.

I'm not begging, but I am pleading. If you haven't had a chance to go vote for me, please do so. I've enjoyed the competition, felt that it's stretched my writing chops past where I thought they ended, and generally want to continue.

I'd like to be able to say I made it to the top 50. If I make it to the top 50 I'll stop asking for votes. That's a promise.

Voting ends at 7pm Monday.
jmfargo: (Default)
Last week was a contestant's only vote, and I was surprised to make it through.

This week the bottom 10 are being dropped!

Please help me. I don't know if I'm going to make it through this time, but I'd really like to.

Thank you.
jmfargo: (Default)
I have purple hair because I think it looks good. I'm not trying to freak anyone out, or rebelling against the norm. It's just something I thought would look cool, so I did it. I like it, and if you don't then that's just fine; we can still be friends. I won't even sneer at you. Promise.

I wanted to learn a new instrument. I grew up around music, and so it's natural for me to want to try my hands at the musical world as an adult. I played the cello growing up, and the guitar was too main-stream. Besides, I have Guitar Hero. Why would I want to play the guitar when I could master the air guitar? Same thing with the drums. I have Rock Band, do I really need to learn how to beat on the real thing? I decided to go way out there. I bought a recorder. It's okay if you don't like the way it sounds. I don't either. I'm convinced nobody does. Or maybe that's just when I play it; I'm not sure yet.

When I was picking classes for my first college experience, everyone tried to help me decide by asking what I wanted to be later in life, what I wanted to get from the experience. I had no idea what my end goal was other than "learn something interesting," so I took the first thing that sounded good: Arabic. Turns out this may change my entire life. Instead of looking at what I wanted to do down the road I made the choice I wanted to make now and let that lead me to the path I might follow later.

I lead a rather conventional life, but whenever possible I take the reins and change direction, go against the flow of the river. I let life push me around quite a bit, and I enjoy myself within the simple confines of how I was raised, how life has shaped me, but I've learned that sometimes you have to turn things around, do something just because it's interesting, be at least a little non-conventional. Sometimes you have to march to the beat of a different drum, to use the phrase.

While everyone else is saving their pennies because of a recession, I spend. Somebody has to spend their money to help save this failing economy, otherwise it'll never get better! My wife and I will never have children, or dependents; if we die in debt, we win!

I like starting conversations with strangers despite what my mother taught me. In line at the grocery story I like talking to the old, young, middle aged woman, man behind me. I like making them smile when I make a little joke. I enjoy listening to them talk about why they're at the grocery store today. It brings people slightly out of their comfort zone, talking to strangers; it's nice to see them react positively.

I do things different. I am strange. These are things I've said about myself since I could understand the differences in my life. I revel in the fact that I'm not just like everyone else.

I have to do things my own way or I'd go insane; just like everyone else.

Wait. What?

Jan. 9th, 2009 08:50 am
jmfargo: (Default)
The last thing he said before hanging up was "Well, there go the curtains."

I used to work for Sony TiVo tech support. It was a good job, and not only did it pay the bills, it also gave me stories that will last me the rest of my life. One or two are fairly unique, and the rest are like any other tech story you've probably ever heard. If you've actually been in tech support, you may have heard my favorite story; it's become legend.

The call came in at around dinner. I picked up the phone and gave me normal introductory spiel, "Thank you for calling Sony tech support, my name is Jeremiah, may I have your name and telephone number?"

The man calmly gave me his number, his name, and all the general information that we needed before we were able to start diagnosing the problem. He told me his TiVo wasn't working, that he couldn't get it on his screen.

"No problem, sir!"

For the next ten minutes we went through basic diagnosis features. Unplug it, plug it back in, check the wires, hold down the power button for ten seconds, etc. Real basic stuff. Nothing worked. 90% of calls were fixed within the first few steps, but sometimes they were a bit harder. No big deal.

"Don't worry, sir, there are a few more things we can check, and if they don't work then we'll set you up with a repair ticket!."

He was very genial the entire time. Never said a cross word, was as friendly as you would want on a tech support call. Probably one of the best people to talk to if you're tech support; willing to listen, asks questions when confused instead of just going ahead and doing the wrong thing, and generally nice. I was surprised, then, when he interrupted me.

"Jeremiah, I have a question." I told him to go ahead. "Is it supposed to be on fire?"

Wait.

What?

"Are there supposed to be flames coming out of the back of it like this? I mean, I've never used one before yesterday, and it smoked when I tried using it. When I called you I saw a little flame come on and I figured that meant it was working. Thought I should check, though; is it supposed to be on fire?"

I was sent home early that day. My hysterical laughter was causing a distraction to the other workers.

LJ Idol

Jan. 3rd, 2009 09:02 am
jmfargo: (Default)
Vote for me?

When LJ Idol began, I told myself that I wouldn't ask for votes, that my winning or losing should stand simply on my merit as a writer. I held high convictions that I could get somewhere with the competition without once having to turn and say "Please, go cast your vote for me!"

That lasted about a week. I started reading other people's entries (something you should do; they're awesome) and realized that I need all the votes I can get to get me as far along as possible. I want to stay in as long as I can, and the only way I'm going to do that is with a little help from my friends.

I've seen an improvement in my writing from when I started. Having a topic to focus my mind on, having to compete against so many other amazing talents, I've really had to stretch my skills. It's been fun.

I'd like to stay in. If you have a few minutes, please follow the link at the top and vote for me. If you have a good hour or so, follow some of the links to other people's entries; there are some really amazing pieces out there this week, just like every week.

The bottom two vote-getters in each of the three tribes are out this week. I'd like to stay in, and I need your help.

Thank you.
jmfargo: (Default)
Every time I leave my house, I expect it to burn to the ground while I'm gone.

Every time.

Read that again. Take a moment to realize that I'm not joking. Every time I walk out the door I think it will be the last time I see the house. I step out, drive away, and a tiny part of me says goodbye to the place I live, the things I own.

Now, take a moment and imagine what that must be like. That's how I live every day.

But, it doesn't stop there.

The trucker I'm passing swerved slightly; I'm about to die in a fiery auto crash.

That dog looked at me; it's going to attack me.

My dog threw up; she's dying.

The plane is going down.

The car's check engine light is on; it's about to explode.

I smell smoke; the house is burning down.

The phone is ringing early in the morning; someone I love has been hospitalized.

Every little fear that comes into my head becomes some kind of horrible scenario that plays out in my mind to its inescapable conclusion. What would probably never even occur to most people becomes a certainty in my mind. The world is going to end, and somehow it'll be my fault.

But.

I push past this. I don't never leave the house just because I'm afraid it will burn down. Instead, I go, tell myself I'm being silly, and walk out the door. I drive past the trucker who's going to slow on the thruway and I haven't been killed, yet. I rescue the stray dogs that somehow seem to end up at my house; I haven't been bitten, let alone attacked. So it goes. I ignore the nagging thoughts of failure, pain, and loss. I go on, I conquer the fear.

I'm the bravest son of a bitch I know.

I know this isn't normal. I've been told so by many people, most of my life. If I let it take over my life I would never leave my bed, terrified of the world and what might happen. Any moment of sadness or pain would be justification of my fears. It would be a sad life I lead. I know, because it's already played out in my head now that I've thought about it.

Every day I work to get past this. I push past the fears I have and get on with my life. I find the resolve, every day, to be as alive and happy as I can be. I take a moment to confront the fears, abolish them, and move on. It's not easy, but I do it.

In this new year, I resolve to continue pushing past the fears that try to crush my life into meaninglessness, to live my life as though these unreasonable fears don't exist, and to continue to conquer them. I will not let myself fall into my mind's trap.

This resolution's a daily one, and I reconfirm it every time I get out of bed, step out the door, pet a strange dog, or even turn on my car. Every time my car doesn't explode, the dog doesn't bite me, and my house remains standing makes the next time slightly easier. Not much, but slightly. Maybe eventually I'll accept that my house will still be there when I get back.

That would be nice.
jmfargo: (Default)
I really poured all my writing ability into this week's LJ Idol story, and from all the positive comments I've received I'd have to say it was worth it. I'm quite proud of the entry.

That said, if you liked it, I hope you can take a moment to go to the poll and vote to keep me in the competition!

The deadline is Noon on Tuesday the 23rd.

Thank you!
jmfargo: (Default)
I chambered another round. The weapon was old, slow, and hard to use, but with a little extra brute force I heard the satisfying sound of another bullet sliding into place. I had already used two to good effect, which meant I had four more if it didn't jam on me. It always jammed on me. Usually at the worst possible time.

Light filtered through the overhead branches. I listened quietly, packed tightly into a small copse of three or four trees in order to better protect me from view and enemy fire. I knew the rest of my team was out; I had heard their cries of defeat clearly. It was up to me, and if I was unlucky (I was always unlucky) that meant there were still four of them.

Four of them, four shots left. Not good odds with my track record.

Crack. A branch snapped, somewhere off to my right, and everything went still. I slowly, carefully, moved the gun into my left hand and leaned my head around the tree to see that it was one of them. He could be the last, or there could have been three more, just out of sight. I wasn't sure, but I knew I had to do this fast.

By the time the shot hit him in the back I was already running. I knew I had made the right decision; the sounds of pursuit came clearly from nearby as I took off. I was never the fastest, but in the woods I was in my element; instinctively I could dodge the trees, briars, and roots. I knew I wouldn't win a foot race against these two (three?), but for a short sprint I'd be fine. I just had to find

There. A tree large enough for me to jump behind. If they were as close as I thought they were they might stumble past, just a few steps, just far enough for me to take the shot. If they were farther away, well, maybe they wouldn't see where I went. It was a long shot but it was the only way. Ducking behind the tree I hit the ground, my weapon trained at chest height.

The first one did exactly as I had hoped. He stumbled past the tree, thinking I had just changed direction, not realizing I had completely stopped. My round exploded into his chest, not even giving him enough time to realize what had happened before he was out. It was a perfect shot, but there was no time to celebrate. The third of my enemies was right behind, I was on my back, and I could see him raising his semi-automatic into firing position. I was going to be dead in less time that it takes to say "Duck!"

I rolled. The ground next to me shot up dirt, leaves, and splashes of color. I kept rolling, all the while trying to chamber another round. If I could. Just. Get. It. Keep rolling, keep moving, don't stop or you're dead. Come ON, gun, work! The tree next to me shook violently as it got hit by a projectile meant for me just as the gun clicked into place. Two shots left, at least one person standing, shooting at me. I had to make it good or I was done. I had to make it through; I owed it to the three other guys laying in the dirt. They were counting on me.

I stopped rolling. The next shot from my adversary flew wide; he had started shooting ahead of me instead of at me, otherwise I'd have been out. I looked at the man firing at me. Goggles covered his eyes, but his mouth was set in the grin of a mad man. His weapon was trained on me, and time slowed down. I could see his finger pull the trigger as I tried to point my smaller, older, less powerful weapon at him. I saw when the puff came out the end of the barrel. I knew I was dead.

Only.

There was no impact. Had he missed? My own gun was finishing its arch towards my target. I saw his hand twitch again, this time not even a puff of air came out, let alone something that was going to mean it was Game Over for me. I squeezed my own trigger, and watched as a red blotch blossomed across the left side of his chest. He hit the ground. I stood up.

Keeping a careful eye on my surroundings I walked over to the man on the ground. I had known him for a long time, but here we were enemies, old affiliations didn't matter. He was breathing heavily. I chambered my last round and, my voice barely a whisper, asked him "Are you the last one?"

The look on his face should have tipped me off. Maybe, had I paid more attention to what was going on, I wouldn't have had to do what I did. He laughed, and spit at my feet. "You're about to find out!"

I ran without looking. Thunk. The tree next to me shivered violently and exploded with color as it was struck. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. Three more shots, all closer, grouped better. I ran blindly. Somehow the shots missed me as I dodged through the woods. Somehow I was; wait. He was leading me somewhere. Where? I learned where as I stumbled to my knees in a last minute attempt to not run over the cliff that overlooked a nearby stream from far above. My left hand, gun still clutched tightly, dangled over thin air, my right grabbed the sturdy root of a nearby tree. I stood up once I knew I wasn't going over the edge and he laughed.

He was close. Not right next to me, yet, but nearby. "Just give up, Jeremiah. You've got nowhere to go and a crappy weapon. I've got this state-of-the-art gun, with you trained in my sights. You lose. I win."

I turned around and nodded. "You're right, Andy. I've got nowhere to go." His sneer turned into the smile of a man who thinks he's just won, but that would change quickly. "Nowhere to go, if I were sane." And I stepped off the edge.

Raising my own weapon as I fell, I got him in my sights. I squeezed off my last shot, the look of surprise on his face was worth whatever was about to happen to me. How deep was the water? Were there rocks underneath the placid surface? Was I about to die? Did I mention I wasn't really a swimmer?

The water was up to my chest. There were no rocks where I landed. I didn't die. Thankfully, I didn't have to swim. It was okay. Of course, I had to see if I had won; if my shot had struck true. I climbed the cliff face nearby, using the roots and small trees as handholds. It didn't take long, but I was wet, tired, and worried it had all been for nothing. I heard movement up top, but I had to see, had to know.

As I crested the rise, I saw him sitting against a tree, smoking a cigarette, his weapon on the ground, his eye protection taken off. I walked over, and he looked at me, grinning. His face was covered in red. I had hit him perfectly between the eyes.

"Now that was a good game of paintball."

I agreed.
jmfargo: (Default)
The poll for LJ Idol voting is up!

You guys have done an awesome job of keeping me in the running, and I really appreciate it. We're halfway through the season; somehow I'm still in. I am honestly shocked and delighted. I'd love to make it further, so if you want to show me the love, go give me a quick vote? I'm in the first tribe now.
jmfargo: (Default)
Sometimes I think the rest of the world is hiding some big secret that I can only vaguely understand. I know they're all thinking about it, that at least 50% of the population (according to television, and most females I know) are obsessed with it. Supposedly I should be a member of those 50%, because I'm male.

In truth, I just don't get it, and I've started to wonder if that means I'm broken.

Watch any PG-13 movie, and what is romance distilled down into? When their eyes meet across the bar you can feel the electricity, and you know that some scene soon they're going to tumble into bed together, a sheet artfully hiding any bits they might not want shown to the world. And if there's not romance in a movie, you can always leave it up to the people in the world of fan-fic to put it there later. It simply must be put there to satisfy some inner hunger from most of the people in the world.

As a man, I'm expected to be always thinking about sex, sizing up every woman as an object, valued for her assets rather than who she is. Even if I'm not vocally objectifying women, many would have you believe that every female friend I have, I have only because in some way I want to have sex with them. Every attractive woman that walks by me is in danger of me jumping them on the spot, because I'm a man. Everyone. Every time. This is what I've been told.

Well, I'm here to call bullshit. I'm here to tell you the shocking truth: I like sex, but I don't care about it.

I don't think about it constantly. I don't crave it every moment of the day. It's not the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing on my mind when I go to sleep. I don't have a terabyte of porn on my computer to access at a moment's notice, when I "need my fix."

I'm not that guy. I'll never be that guy. I was becoming that guy for a short period in my life, and I didn't like what I saw. He's gone now, not even a whisper, or a whimper.

It doesn't make me any less of a male, but maybe less of a man in other people's eyes. I don't know, and I don't care. Sure, sex is nice, but there's much more to the world that I'd rather spend my time doing. Is that so hard to understand, so bad? I don't know. Maybe it is. Maybe I'm supposed to be what society expects of me. Maybe at least some of who I'm expected to be should manifest itself for the public. Or maybe, just maybe, I'm fine the way I am.

I'm happy. Content. I don't need to lust after every boob or ass to be who I want to be. I don't have to laugh at raunchy "jokes" told around the table by my guy friends. I don't have to be that guy.

Even if a small part of me might want to be.
jmfargo: (Default)
I don't think reality's hit home for you quite yet. You're still in shock, still unsure of what's happening, not quite steady on your feet. You don't think you know how to react, and so you just keep acting how you've acted before now, one day at a time, doing the same things that got you to where you were.

I really wish I could help.

You were doing so much better, or at least you had us fooled, had us thinking you weren't toting around a thousand pounds of depression with you. We all thought you were improving, and then you changed. Before you even told me what had happened, I knew. It was obvious that you had gone back to your old ways, that you had regressed.

I wish I could do something.

She's doing well, and I'm happy for her. Well, I think she's doing well. Nobody really knows, as she doesn't come to gatherings, doesn't meet up with anyone, even when she says she will. If someone were to want to find her, they'd just have to knock on the door of her house. If she's awake, she'll answer the door, because that's the only place she is if she's not at work.

I just hope she's happy.

He's not worth my time any more. He wouldn't listen to the words that anybody said to him, whether they were coached in helpfulness or etched in law. His ears went deaf, and his ability to see the consequences of any actions he might take went blind. I tried, I talked, I begged, I quietly nudged. Nothing I did helped.

I gave up.

They love me. They help me when I'm down. They're everything I need to get through a tough day. They are wonderful, they are horrible, they feel pain, they heal pain. I love them.

They are amazing.

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