Translations

College English professors shuffle the greater influx of language into two distinct categories: what is said and what is meant.  That is, what the greater number of these tenure-track sweater vests may define as ‘denotation’ and ‘connotation’ when restricted to single word or phrase, or those thinly disguised political allegories that has kept Orwell’s Animal Farm for years from the hands of Disney’s animators. 

“No duh,” the kids say. 

Frankly, plain honest integrity is a relic of the storybooks.  Most conversations require translators, word-sherpas to cut a path through the various layers of polite or veiled rhetorical BS.  Advertisers spin half-truths; politicians conceive full-lies; one girl I dated in college doubted everything but her religion: God exists here on Earth, dwelling in the body of one, David Matthews.  Don’t drink the water, indeed.

The only saving grace for our species lies in the unilateral agreement among peoples of all races to never say what they mean.  As such, our honesty depends entirely upon the propagation of lies.  The sweater-vests would call that ‘situational irony.’

Thus, for a moment, let us peel back the curtain, shall we?  Take a look at the truth behind the words for a change:

Ryan’s girlfriend, Mary, visited the house last Saturday.  The rest of the family had already left to the kalee, a month meeting of Irish dancers established by the state Hiberian Society — lovers of all things Irish.  Every month Mom, Dad and the kids visit a local lodge or Knights of Columbus hall to dance, cavort, and play cards until the music gives out or the ladies grow tired.  It’s all good family fun, so of course I try to avoid it like the slug shuns sodium.  Shannon and I sat downstairs engaged in a FIFA 2009 match on the Xbox, when Ryan shouted that he and Mary were leaving for the dance.

“Ryan, make sure bring home you know what!” Shannon shouted back up, scoring another goal on me.  In the background, Mary tutted.  “Mary, I know you’re thinking that I’m talking about alcohol, but I assure you that drinking is the devil’s brew!  If you booze, ya lose!”  He’s talking about alcohol. 

“Riiiight . . .” Mary muttered in the kitchen. She suspicious but clearly has no idea.

“Oh and Ryan!” Shannon screamed again.  “Make sure you get the dark stuff!”  He’s talking about Guiness.

“Are you talking about porn?” Mary retorted quickly after.  I . . . I have no idea what she’s thinking here.

Shannon and I burst out laughing.  Fade to black.

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The Obelisk: Part 2

“I almost prayed that you wouldn’t ‘ve shown . . .”

“Nothing to be done now,” Paul sighed.  “Last time they emerged after only a day.  Twenty-four hours.  The paste Alice gave me should be wearing off too.  They’ll smell me soon enough and the whole area will become an overturned hornet’s nest.  Just like last time.” Continue reading

The Obelisk: Part 1

Two weeks, no posts.  Sorry about that.  I’ve been working on this particular story for some time now, never quite getting it to the point where I felt comfortable publishing it or in this case, sharing it with others.  To paraphrase Hamlet, the ending is the thing, one which I haven’t been able to master yet.  Honestly, most felt either unoriginal, confusing, or just plain weak, and after sixteen different iterations (sad, isn’t it?) I think I’ve found one that works. 

Maybe . . .

Well, you be the judge (i.e. I hope you enjoy it!). 

The Obelisk

The blood dripped freely from Paul’s arm as he shuffled into the kitchen. The cut had not been deep. Only a mere scratch, but he had tripped coming out from the forest, aggravating it. The bandages – if you could call them that – a few medicinal leaves stuffed into the cut, held in place by a few torn strips from Solomon’s bed, swelled with the reddish-brown hue of dried blood. It was all that could be spared so Paul did not complain. At the least the throbbing had subsided, now only a slow waltz; his fall among the roots and trees had inflamed the pain into a tarantella, making the last league to the house an ordeal.

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Luddites in Love

Lately I’ve been immersing myself in the works of O. Henry so much so that I decided to write my own for geeks like me.  Imitating another author’s writing style is not as easy as it first sounds — mostly because the gauge for success is rather ambiguous — but anything that helps me become a better writer . . . well, I’m not going to ignore.  

Regrettably, the sibling response was decidedly mixed.   Katie really enjoyed it, while my dearest brother after some consideration responded with a ‘meh.’   Needless to say, I’m anticipating proofreading his next law brief. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the story — more than Sean, at least.

Luddites in Love

With the exception of honeybees, ants, and reality TV starlets, the modern American citizen communicates more than any other species on earth.  Since the dawn of the iPod, it is said that the human species has stumbled upon the evolutionary fast-track to cyborg-ification.   Cell phones strapped to our ears; fingers typing out ten texts per picosecond; cat videos by the billions streaming on YouTube.  From dawn to dark, we expose our life’s tapestry of photos, quotes, and gossip before an expectant public like specimens in a digital zoo, to be ogled, examined, and meme-ed at the first opportunity.    The sum total of pheromones exuded by the world’s ant population palls to a day’s worth of status updates from an average college sorority. Continue reading