Yes, I Shot Bambi’s Mom

Looking at the activity and response to my morning post, while many people stopped by, not many “Liked” it.

My initial response to the prompt “Fourth Wall” to put myself in my favorite movie was which one to choose. We have watched so many over the years and getting put on the spot to name your favorite before a morning cup of coffee is hard. I read the prompt aloud and my wife interjected “Bambi” as an idea.

While this Disney classic would not even approach the top of my personal list, it is readily recognizable and just her voice was enough to inspire my quick writing. I took her suggestion and used Bambi as the baseline movie.

Connecting the movie with two other prompts (Photo challenge: Refraction and DP: Reverse Shot) ignored earlier in the week propelled me forward.

Sorry if the post brought up painful memories and feelings of overwhelming sadness for you. My intent was to simply portray a scene from the hunter’s perspective. I specifically avoided delving into their motivations. Why were they hunting? Sport only? Necessity? Other? Doesn’t matter. For the response to the Daily Prompt whatever flows in the morning gets posted.

One wonders if the WP prompters get pleasure from triggering deep emotional responses from bloggers. Are they toying with us? Much like the real world, I suspect WordPress can be a cruel place.

A cruel place indeed.

Just when you least expect it, BLAM! There goes Bambi’s mom.

Movie Magic

The dawn fog settled on the meadow obscuring everything beyond a few feet. I sat motionless only seven yards within the tree line and waited. I had been in position since 3:30 this morning. Now the sun crept over the unseen horizon and began piercing the fog. They would arrive soon.

My friends had taken flanking positions nearby. Whichever one of us got first opportunity would take the shot. Steve was in a tree stand 25 feet off the ground to my left. Mike lay prone between a log and a boulder to my right. Together we formed a skirmish line 100 yards wide. We hoped it was enough.

The fog grew patchy in the sunlight. Cleared portions of the meadow grew more visible by the moment. The heavy dew bent the grass and flowers with sparkling drops. The moment approached.

I heard them coming. Hesitant footsteps at the far edge of the clearing. They stopped and held their position for a long time. They peered out into the open meadow. It was a dangerous place to be at this time. No cover. Men with guns could be all around in ambush. They stepped forward again and froze directly ahead of me. Just 40 yards away. Headed left to right. Exposing their flank to me. A perfect shot.

I raised my bolt-action rifle and sighted down the barrel. Inhaled slowly. Exhaled some, and held my breath. Squeezed the trigger and broke the morning silence with a deafening explosion of sound.

Steve called out from the tree stand, “You got her! A big doe!”

I got up slowly, stretching for a moment to release the tension. Mike joined me in a walk across the meadow to see our prize. As we approached the body, I heard noises in the brush. I looked and saw a young fawn scrambling away with others of his kind.

“A little bambino,” Mike said. “You’re right. This is a good place for deer hunting.”

You get to spend a day inside your favorite movie. Tell us which one it is — and what happens to you while you’re there.

Not the Shortest Distance

“Hey man, know where I can score some weed?” he asked from his car.

It was 2 a.m. and the bars in town were closing. Business at the all night gas station always picked up at this time. It was the only 24-hour station in town. From 1 – 3 a.m. a sporadic stream of drunks (partial or fully) wove their cars in and out of the pumps and sometimes made odd requests.

“Got any rolling papers? Do you know where I can get some? Are there any prostitutes in this town?”

As the lone attendant, it was unsettling at times. You just never knew who would stop and request another strange item. This guy wanted drugs. I never used them. Never saw the attraction or need. I didn’t even drink.

I looked at the driver. His bleary eyes watered and the aroma from his car was heavy with the smell of beer.

“Sure,” I told him. “Go straight for three lights and turn right. Go two blocks and stop. The building you want is a large stone one with wide steps leading up to the front door.”

“Three lights?” he asked.

“Yes. This is your first light, right here at this intersection. Go straight two more, turn right and go two blocks.” I repeated.

“Thanks buddy. You’re cool.” he smiled at me.

As he drove off, I made a phone call.

“Springfield Police Department, Officer Janson speaking.” the desk sergeant answered.

“Hi. This is the attendant at the 24-hour station. I just gave directions to a customer looking for drugs. He’s pretty drunk too and probably shouldn’t be driving. He should be coming up to the station steps in a few minutes.”

A stranger knocks on your door, asking for directions from your home to the closest gas station (or café, or library. Your pick!). Instead of the fastest and shortest route, give him/her the one involving the most fun detours.


Earth Slowed by Double Impacts

NASA screwed up. Not that it matters now. Placing blame does nobody any good. But I blame NASA anyway. The rotation of earth has slowed. A full day now spans almost 25 hours.

Conspiracy theories abound in what is left of the internet. With millions of people huddled in bunkers, caves, or other underground shelters with not much to do but shiver, the blogs are full of wacky ideas. I read one post about how NASA missed the things that hit us.

They say the janitor at Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL) took the job to be close to the brilliant people there. A genius in his own right, he could have been part of an engineering or programming team if he applied himself, but he preferred the simplicity of cleaning up after other people. No one noticed him hanging around the Mars rover control desk late in the evening. The rover operator, Phil, had gone on his dinner break to a local buffet and probably wouldn’t be back for hours.

The janitor used his hidden skills to send text messages from the rover by making it draw letters in the sand. Nobody seemed to notice. Nobody cared what the rover did anymore. NASA had made driving a remote controlled car on another planet into something truly boring. The last reported event on the planet, a surprising rock that had moved, turned out to have been hit by the rover and rolled down an incline. So, nobody cared if NASA was having interplanetary vehicle accidents. Nobody looked anymore.

Except Astrid. She worked in NASA’s Near Earth Object (NEO) project. It was woefully underfunded and understaffed too. Charged with the duty to locate, identify, and plot the trajectories of space objects that might hit the earth and give warning, it was a failure. With almost no money to afford real astrophysicists, they used starving, lonely graduate students and sometimes high school astronomy club members to monitor the skies.

Astrid was lonely. Bored one night, she moved the focus of her instruments to see the surface of Mars. She eventually found the rover and noticed a pattern in the sand. Were those letters? She changed her settings and gasped. God was speaking to her! There in the sand of another planet was a message just for her!

hook up

After staring at it for several moments, she sighed. This wasn’t God. It must be those bored engineers at JPL again. With sufficient funding and toys on another planet, why did they waste time sending horny text messages only she could see? She knew she had commitment issues. Now, anyone looking at Mars knew it too.

The janitor had to cut the message short. The rover only had so much power available each day. If his words took too long to form, the batteries would drain and have to wait two more solar cycles to recharge. The warning would not be seen in time. He originally planned the message to read, “Asteroid, Comet, LOOK UP!” but soon realized he didn’t have enough power or time to spell out full words with punctuation. He shortened it using his Twitter skills. He couldn’t help the slope in the rover’s path that distorted the “L” into an “h”.

In the end, it didn’t matter. NASA’s NEO project failed to report the incoming asteroid and comet until just hours before they hit New York and Los Angeles. The impact devastated both coasts of the United States. New York City was gone along with a large portion of the surrounding states. The asteroid that smacked LA triggered the big earthquake always feared and the coastline now began near what used to be Death Valley.

Much of the US Government survived. The President had been on a golfing trip at an Air Force base in the Rocky Mountains. Much of Congress was on break from their 153 working days (each year) and had picked up where they left off blaming the other party for the lack of preparedness.

Now we huddle underground in a miniature ice age. The ash and dust launched into the sky has cooled the earth so much people are setting wildfires to burn entire forests in a rapid attempt to get global warming going again.

Zoomin’ Through the Pages

What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without reading a book (since learning how to read, of course)? Which book was it that helped break the dry spell? 

Reading for enjoyment has sometimes been overtaken by reading for necessity.

Work, school, and church all have regular reading requirements. In one’s life, there is only so much time to read.

For me, the reading dry spell was not brought on by time constraints. It was my body.
I had to break down and admit that aging is catching up with me.

For the first time in my life, I truly need reading glasses.
After getting them fitted, I was astonished at how much easier reading became for me once again.
Before, I had been experiencing tired eyes, difficulty focusing on text in low light, and was generally uncomfortable reading for extended periods.

Now I apply the speed reading technique learned in high school so many years ago and voraciously consume books once again.
300 pages in just a few hours? No problem.
Download some more eBooks and keep going.
Discover new authors and blaze through their entire series in a week? Absolutely.

Start blogging and experience a whole new world of writers? Awesome!
The range of styles, voices, interests, and artistic expression available through the WordPress community amazes me.
Fellow bloggers are great! (click…read, click…read, click…read,…)

Verbal Jousting Needs How Many?

A lively group discussion, an intimate tête-à-tête, an inner monologue — in your view, when it comes to a good conversation, what’s the ideal number of people? 

The Canadian Mounted Police have a saying, “One mob, one Mountie, even odds.”

That’s how it is when I’m involved in a lively group discussion. I can work the crowd into a laughing frenzy or a hostile debate, sometimes both if the mood strikes me just right. How many people are too much depends upon the topic. Some rough guidelines to follow are provided here for your consideration.

Sex? Just the two of you.

Bodily functions? Up to three. Shouting for toilet paper to be brought to you is allowed in a family setting.

Health issues? There appears to be no limit to the size of the audience on this one. Stand in line at the grocery store and listen to the seniors describe their ailments in detail to anyone in listening range.

Politics/Religion? It’s an international stage where no one convinces very many to change their minds. Best avoided.

Sports? It varies with the particulars and the gender of the competitors and spectators.

How did curling end up in the Olympics? Those people are considered athletes worthy of competing at the highest level? Come on! It’s ice bowling without pins or beer!

American football? Whatever. Less than one hour of actual play continually interrupted by group planning sessions. “What should we do next? Hey, I know. Let’s try to get past them and move the ball further down the field. If we’re lucky, we can make it all the way and then do it again.”

I could go on, but my wife is standing near me watching me write this. I think she wants to talk to me.

I Know Every Word

Time to confess: tell us about a time when you used a word whose meaning you didn’t actually know (or were very wrong about, in retrospect).

For those of you that have browsed my About page, you’ve seen this. The ability to string big words together comes naturally. It stems from a competitive sibling environment where puns reigned supreme and verbal Judo was the norm.

If I don’t know it, I can fake it with confidence. Most people will not admit their own ignorance and back down from a challenge. I know from experience that you can be the smartest person in the room by just a little bit, and that is enough. No one needs to know if the difference is measured in millimeters or kilometers. Being ahead by any distance is sufficient to win.

I’m not pompous, just brilliant. Observe:

Allow me to pontificate in erudite terminology to demonstrate my lexical superiority for those fortunate enough to be beneficiaries of my intellectual creations. This summary provides a glimpse into the cerebral prominence available to my audience.

Readers will benefit from the enormity of my ability to transform meager communications into radiant examples of obfuscation that frustrate lesser individuals from penetrating their true meaning. The conversion from clear language into elevated phrases only graspable by the scarce initiated provides a filter that inhibits scrutiny and creates collaborative barriers to the market space.

The Electric Snowflake (Part 3)

The Electric Snowflake shot through the sky like a bottle rocket. This was fun! Who else could circle the globe in an instant then stop on a dime? He dove recklessly to the world below, spinning wildly out of control completely without fear. Within inches of the ground, he stopped. He looked around and began to drift lazily over a small ridge. As he surveyed the landscape, he wondered what it would be like to touch down and stand in the grass wiggling his toes.

“NO!” he told himself.

That was the one rule above all others that he must obey. Never touch the ground. To do so would mean instant death to him and the slow death of his people above and the world below.

Other than that, he had it pretty good. His purpose was to trigger the snowstorms of the world. Only he could do it. He traveled all over the planet at breakneck speed to cause the gentle falling of white, puffy flakes on open meadows. He screamed to the mountains to inspire the mighty blizzards that whipped the craggy peaks. He cruised slowly to roaming countryside hills and sparked the dry, crusty snows that blew and drifted high.

It was a good post. One he took seriously and enjoyed. He was caring in his approach to his job. He took the time to survey the land before he buried it under a blanket of white. He made each storm fit the need.

He took time to meet with the Snowflake Squadron Leaders and mingle with the troops. He made sure they knew their assignments and boosted morale in the process. They were giving their lives so the world below could live. On his command, they swarmed from the clouds. Swirling and drifting with fervent abandon intent upon completing the mission. Occasionally, he dove with them. He directed, encouraged, and shared in the pride of the job.

Yet always, he remained alone. It was not all fun and games being solely responsible for the snowfall of an entire planet. After diving with a squadron and sharing their enthusiasm, he always felt let down. None of the folks he met could ever understand how lonely it was to be unique. He missed his childhood friends. Occasionally, he wondered what happened to this boy or that girl. All it did was make him sad.

It was during one of these dives that he saw HER. Out of the millions of flakes he’d met, she caught his eye. It was a gentle flurry over a sleepy little town scattered among the hills. She led a team to coat a barn roof. He glided to her and watched her blush at his approach.

Can’t Get There From Here

Think about the town where you currently live: its local customs, traditions, and hangouts, its slang. What would be the strangest thing about this place for a first-time visitor? 

“Take a left.” he said.

“That won’t get us there.” she replied.

“Sure it will.” he stated. “Our destination is directly over there. Taking a left here and a right at the first intersection should get us right where we want to be.”

“No it won’t.” she answered coolly. “There is no cross street that will connect us from here to there if you take a left here.”

“Just do it. I know this will work. I’ve got a great sense of direction.” he insisted.

“It’s not going to work. We’re going to be late.” she remarked.

“I knew I should be driving.” he snipped. “Why did I let you have the keys?”

She turned left and drove up the street. They went all the way to the end, stopping at the water’s edge.

“See?” she asked, “It’s a peninsula surrounded by water on three sides. They didn’t build any connecting bridges or roads out of this neighborhood.”

He looked across the water at their destination only a short span away. It should have worked. It was right THERE!

They would have to backtrack now and take the next street over to drive up the next peninsula.

“How did you know?” he asked her in a subdued voice.

She paused and blushed slightly before answering, “I tried that last week when I came over here the first time.”

“This is a stupid place to live.” he said.




My Biggest Day Preparations

It’s the night before an important event: a big exam, a major presentation, your wedding. How do you calm your nerves in preparation for the big day

18 hours to go. I’m sleeping just fine.

It’s August 1 and the New England summer is at its peak heat today. I’ve left final wedding preparations until this morning. What’s the rush? The wedding isn’t until this evening. Plenty of time to drive into the big city and pick up my tuxedo.

Considering that I was across the continent just a few days ago without a plane ticket or any money to buy one, picking up a fancy rented suit today is minor. I have no other preparation wedding duties. I’m sure the bride and bridesmaids have much to do. Hair, makeup, final clothing adjustments, and pre-wedding pictures are on their agenda.

I get up and have an unremarkable breakfast. It’s so average, I don’t remember it 27 years later. I’m staying with my parents until tonight. This isn’t the house I grew up in. That was sold and demolished in the past two years to make way for a new subdivision while I was away.

I have no emotional attachment to this place. The house is unfamiliar and strange to me. I don’t know it’s creaks and quirks. In the old house, we could prank whoever was in the shower by turning on a hot water faucet elsewhere and it would diminish the flow leaving them suddenly cold. The startled shouts of a shocked brother was always good for a laugh. I don’t know how it works in this place.

My eldest brother is also my best man today. He is driving me to the city for the tux later this morning. The store opens at 10 am. 45 minutes to drive there, 30 minutes in the store, 45 minutes back. That will kill a couple of hours. Only 8 more to go.

“Let’s go bowling ,” I say after we get back from the tuxedo store.

Not because I’m thrilled about bowling. It’s just an idea to kill a few more hours. We drive to the local alley, go in, but can’t bowl. They’re waxing the lanes in the mid-afternoon lull.

“What now?” my brother asks.

“I don’t know. There’s not enough time to see a movie. We’d be late then. How about we go to the arcade and waste some coins?” I reply.

“Whatever you want. It’s your wedding day.” he answers.

We go and spend almost 90 minutes playing most of the games. He looks at his watch and says we should drive home and get dressed for the wedding. Plenty of time.

Why did we agree on an evening wedding?