8/9 Central

If I was unknowingly the main character in the Truman Show (which, full disclosure, would have been canceled years ago for lack of compelling action and character development)—but say it hadn’t been canceled and there were secret cameras telecasting my every move—I’m pretty sure there’d be fan theories on those TV show discussion forums about whether or not I was secretly insane. I live alone in a single bedroom apartment with a cat and a loftice, which means I go no holds barred crazy person, especially at night when the sun goes down. What it has to do with the sun going down is beyond me, but there it is. I leave the bathroom door open at all times, talk to my cat in a Muppet voice, and laugh suddenly and without warning as amusing thoughts come to me.

Case in point: tonight I was getting ready for bed, thinking about the original Star Wars (like you do) and about that awful CGI George Lucas added to his series because he can’t keep his mitts to himself, and I was specifically visualizing that moment in the special edition of the first movie where Han Solo walks on Jabba the Hutt’s tail like the crime boss wouldn’t have immediately had him shot by his minions for blatant disrespect, and, naturally, Pizza the Hutt from Spaceballs popped into my head. So I’m standing there in the shower in a dead quiet apartment, save for the sound of running water and the quiet desperation of an old bathroom fan trying to keep up with the steam, and out from behind the dark of the full bath’s curtains (because I find it relaxing to shower in low light with only a nightlight casting weird shadows up the wall) comes this single, dramatic line:

“…and he ATE himself to death.”

I have said nothing else out loud this entire evening. I am going to giggle once, a little shrilly, tell my cat I love her in Mokuba Kaiba’s voice, and take myself off to bed. Check back here tomorrow at 8/9 Central for our next installment of the Truman’s Going Insane Show.

Don’t look at me, I only work here

Lately I’ve taken to calling my cat “Booger” in a stupid voice, goodness knows why; so much so that I’m afraid she’s going to start thinking it’s her real name. Naturally, to combat this I’ve started immediately following up “Booger” with her real name, said in a lower, more serious tone. I’ve been doing this for a couple of months at this point, so by now she undoubtedly thinks her name is “<muppet voice>HiBooger!<husky voice>HelloHarper.”


In other news, a new tenant has moved onto my apartment landing. He’s crowding my apartment door, but I missed my chance to evict him when he was first setting up shop. He’s built quite the mansion now, so I guess I’m stuck with him. Here’s a shot of him being neighborly:

He’s also taking care of other unwanted intruders, leaving their desecrated corpses to litter his walls like some sort of macabre decoration. More unfortunately, every time I see him he’s less likely to go screaming into his hidey-hole. He’s taken to holding his ground, undoubtedly glaring at me as I lock or unlock the door on my way in and out. I can’t help but imagine he’s got bigger game in mind:

If you never hear from me again, you know why. Any silence from here on out definitely has nothing to do with my work ethic.

Shiver me timbers

LOOK AT IT. *Loud oohs and aahs follow*

In other news:

Long on earth the battle rages,
Since the serpent’s first deceit;
Twisted God’s command to Adam,
Made forbidden fruit look sweet.
Then the curse of God was spoken:
“You’ll lie crushed beneath His feet!”

Please note: I am, in fact, in this video. Or at least my voice is. I happen to be placed perfectly in the path of the director. And yes, I realize this is not a very good update for a site called “The Story Folder,” but at least it will please my mother. That and it gives me chills, and there is nothing I like better than to share thrilled shivers. Someday I may actually do so with writing.

I know, I KNOW

I very nearly made it two months without an upload. If it weren’t for my meddling IT Guy, I would have gotten away with it too. He sent me notice that he had performed some housekeeping on the tech side of the site, and then very gently insulted me. (“Also, haven’t commented on there yet, but you be approachin’ that two month mark. :P”) The nerve of some people.

(Also, a good deal more seriously: Danke schön, Herr Schtep-Hen!)

Part of his email also included instructions on ways in which I could fix some of the problems I’ve been complaining about for the past two and a half years. You likely won’t notice any of these edits, but since I have nothing else to talk about I am going to point them out. I’ve spent the morning cleaning up my menus (the only thing of real interest here is that I added a rhymed description to the Poetry Page and created a novella section on the Story Page; it only seems fair to let people know what they’re in for when they click on a link) and going through my blog, scouring each post for videos that I can replace with links to my YouTube page. Yes, I have a YouTube account. It exists solely as a repository for my videos.

But the real discovery this morning was this: that the titles for my blog posts are ludicrously unhelpful. That said, these titles do—when viewed in order with the chaff removed—imply an intriguing story, involving the murder of an officer of the law:

This is not how I want to go
A Nickel’s Worth of Free Advice
I find public confession cathartic – don’t mind me
For Blood and Money
We Attack at Dawn
I’d say I have a good excuse, but
I guess it actually WAS me, officer
Well – There you go
I don’t get no respect
My Honor demands I pick up that glove and give satisfaction
Flying Officer Irv Peterson Bites the Big One

The story having turned ugly, we then get into the psychology of guilt and a possible motivation behind the tragic death of Officer Peterson:

And I would’ve gotten away with it too
They Found Me
In the meantime
I’m Back (sort of)
Requiem for a missed chance
Radio Blackout
All Quiet on the Midwestern Front
In fact
Foiled Again

In the next section, a desperate escape attempt follows:

Nine Million Feet in the Air
Yeah, but who’s driving this thing
What SAY you
Point Is
Congrats, I guess
Liquor on Isle 2
Whoa buddy
Well, here you go
Abandon All Hope
Until Morale Improves

Morale, however, never improves, as the story ends, like all tragedies do, in Chicago:

Unseen Crackdown
No Harry Don’t Look at the Light
The Last of the Light Bleeds Out
The Black Hole of the Midwest

Mind you, this does not take into account such posts as “Eyebrows in Heaven”; “I live somewhere in the vicinity of the Wood Between the Worlds and an English-to-Idiom Dictionary”; “Rhymes with Idiot”; “Schmidiot”; “The Many Faces of the Lernaen Hydra”; “Adventure Time with These Guys”; “By Hook or by Crook”; “King Friday Speaks”; and “There is no entry in Microsoft’s thesaurus for the word snot.”

(Though, now that I lay these out in order too, it appears there was also a high-adventure epic fantasy woven between the grittier threads of the noir novel at play in the foreground.)

On a totally serious note, it must also be pointed out that, since I’ve only tagged approximately 5% of my posts with appropriate descriptors, your best bet for locating anything on my site is to Google it. Still, I do find it poignant that the blog post left standing for nearly two months as the most recent update to thestoryfolder.com was the diatribe about Chicago (“The Black Hole of the Midwest”). The obvious implication being that the city truly did exhibit a gravitational acceleration strong enough to hold everything from particles to electromagnetic radiation to a 32-year-old office worker, once more inexorably sucked into an airport capable of deforming spacetime.

The Black Hole of the Midwest

Today’s mid-travel adventures go like this:

  • Get through security at the Fort Wayne airport at 12:38 p.m.
  • Settle in to the waiting area for my flight, which will begin boarding at 1:40 p.m. for departure at 2:11 p.m.
  • Please note: this flight has nothing to do with Chicago. The plane will not approach Chicago, it will not take a shortcut through Chicago, it will not give Chicago a passing glance as we make our way south and west, headed towards Big Sky country. Instead we will fly under Chicago, to Dallas/Fort Worth. When we take off, we will be exactly 190 miles away from Chicago O’Hare by car (if you take US-30 W; 211 miles via IN-14 W or 227 miles by US-24 W) and that distance will immediately begin increasing at a speed somewhere between 460-575 miles per hour. I have, in fact, purposefully scheduled my flight plan to not involve Chicago in any way. At most, I will gesture rudely out the window at Illinois as we bisect the state on our way to Texas.

  • Announcement at 1:41 p.m.: We’re all here and ready to go, but the airplane scheduled for use in this flight from FWA to DFW is delayed in holy bananas how are they still ruining my plans Chicago. It is waiting on the tarmac at O’Hare International Airport, ladies and gentlemen, while flight control attempts to unsnarl the traffic jam on their runways. It should arrive at 2:15 p.m. and we’ll do our best to offload, load-up, and take off at 2:45. Come talk to us at the Gate 8 Desk if you require assistance.
  • Nerves start in, but no need to stand in the line at the desk for a missed connection: I will no longer have time for dinner in Texas, but if I speed walk (and/or run, depending on arrival and departure gates) I can still make the next plane.
  • Still no sign of a plane at 2:15 p.m., but the rolling grey of a storm has spread across the horizon and is rapidly approaching. Less than two minutes later, an almost-literal sheet of rain hits the large airport window to my right, the wind blowing so hard and suddenly it shoves an unused but prepped boarding ramp at the building. Everyone looks up at the window as it groans in protest, watches the rain continue to rapid-fire against the glass for a moment, then goes back to their phones.
  • The rain tapers off in time for the announcement at 2:23 p.m.: Due to weather, the airplane from Chicago—which had been circling the skies above the mess of clouds over Fort Wayne—has been diverted to Detroit. They will wait out the storm, refuel, and try again. Flight board now reads, “Departure Time 5:11 p.m.”
  • By 2:24 p.m. I’m third in line at Gate 8. At 3:00 p.m. I head downstairs to reclaim my checked bag and text my ride, hoping he’s available to pick me back up at the airport and drop me off at my apartment for the night. I have been rescheduled for a flight that leaves first thing tomorrow morning.
  • At 6:53 a.m. To Chicago.

Copyright Violation

Somewhere on my blog is a tagline that reads: “A folder of ideas, stories, ramblings, and rhymes”. I am, however, beginning to realize that the tagline should read, in its entirety and in all caps: RAMBLINGS.

Also: I’m back, kids. I don’t know yet what that means for my post schedule, but time—as always—will tell. While on the plane between work conferences, I filled out a couple of pages worth of notes for a quarter-baked story I’m hoping to throw into a cake pan later this month, but time will only tell that too. In the meantime, I could scalp some of my other projects to fill out this post, but as they deserve full development, I’ll fight off the temptation this time. Save for this set of lines, which will someday serve as the synopsis on the back of a book:

“What’s the ‘E’ stand for in ‘E-Team’?”

Standish crossed his arms. “Evil. Obviously.” The hello, duh was implied.

“Let’s be honest here,” Hench added without looking up from the paper. “It certainly doesn’t stand for ‘exceeds expectations.’”

All Quiet on the Midwestern Front

July is going to be a rough month for updates. As you may have already noticed. We’ll see how August shapes up.

In the meantime, I receive spam from several online sources, and one particular email caught my eye; so much so, I forwarded it to my regular email from my work one so that I could share it to my blog. It contained such gems as:

  • He was a young lady
  • traffic was a beast and your egomaniac sister is acting up again
  • She realized that could have been a mistake when Date Nine looked her up and down then frowned
  • Dating can be fun some fun!
  • Sorry for exposing your secrets, roughness
  • Be well picked Pete, I’m not used to that kind of date
  • dodge personal topics
  • Perfect for finding things that you have that resembles your date.

Until finally closing on this last helpful piece of advice:

  • And speak your

The Last of the Light Bleeds Out

I stood on the concrete in my bare feet and watched the world come to an end.

The sky was orange, ailing sunlight swollen across the dull clouds of a humid evening. Sound still existed alongside the nothing – cicadas singing throatily at each other in the ditch behind the apartment – but there was no laughter; no crying, no talking, no cars on the road or evening joggers. Across the street a TV flickered silently in a living room window, but the people inside were all gone. There was no one left to turn it off.

I watched the world end in my bare feet, and I wondered why no one had called me to tell me it was happening. To exchange I love yous as the day faded away into flat silence, to ask how you’re doing (“Oh I’m fine. And you?”) just because it’s familiar and polite. To say goodbye and then almost add “Talk to you later” because it’s habit, only to pause and say nothing instead, right before you both hang up. But no one had called. The world had stopped but I’d missed the train in the station, which had churned and eaten up the tracks, gaining speed without a warning whistle before disappearing into the darkness without me.

The sky bleeds a heavy purple and red, time’s last sunset slowly melting into a blackening horizon at the end of earth’s shortest and longest week. It will not rise again. I stand on cooling concrete, listen to the cicadas’ courtship call, and for some reason I know this is all right.

Someone will be by later, to pick up the stragglers.

Where does nonsense like this come from? From the fact that my stupid air conditioning is broken and I have to listen to the stupid cicadas dialogue at each other in the stupidly humid night air. In the meantime I’ll be over here, waiting for the world to end.

Updates and Corrections

This time, I blame my parents for the week break from my blog. They were on vacation here in Fort Wayne, and thus so was I. They also cleared up a few things from the last couple of posts:

  1. The insect brutally murdered by my father, on camera, was a box elder bug. Like so*:
  2. Also, apparently Dad fled the scene and dashed across the street at St. Paul’s second Easter service, meaning the entire family was there. His correction either kicked off a memory or a spurt of imagination, because now I think I remember that the story came up over dinner because Dad asked Mom if she’d noticed. She said (again, if I’m not making this up) that she did notice him leave, but other than thinking it was weird, had already nearly forgotten about it by time the ham was coming out of the oven.
  3. And finally, this one is not a correction but an update, pointed out by my mother: the gnats in my apartment didn’t set up a cemetery on my bathroom counter; they’re suiciding into my nightlight. I was more astute with my original choice of gif than I realized:

    1. Also, proof:


*iStock photo stolen from this website: https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/occasional-invaders/boxelder-bugs
** not actual size

***Because I’m worth it.

Once More, with Feeling

Happy Trinity Sunday everyone! Almost forgot about the annual posting of “Apples Are Apples.” I meant to publish it as a picture book by this Sunday, but today is not that day. Maybe next year, Aragorn.

Apples Are Apples

The teacher was young, pretty, bright and unpaid;
She volunteered Sundays to teach second grade.
With felt board and markers, activities, more,
She’d gone through the stories they’d heard of before,
At length thought she’d tackle mysterious this:
That God is three persons, three persons He is.

“Good morning,” she started, “I know that you know,
“There’s only one God to whom we can go,
“That one God is greater by far and by most,
“Called Father and Son and also the Ghost.
“So we say there’s one God, yet we pray to all three –
“Can anyone try and explain that to me?”

Silence first greeted her as she expected,
As five pairs of eight-year-old hands lay neglected.
Then one hand in front, with cautious progression,
Raised slowly, like maybe she’d asked a trick question.
Her encouraging “Yes?” got, “It is what it is?
“God is three persons, three persons He is?”

“Good,” she said slowly, but didn’t quite mean it,
And pulled out an apple to get them to see it:
“An apple is made of three parts, that’s the key,
“The peel, and flesh, and seeds to make three,
“And yet though all different they all make up one –
“Like Father and Spirit and Jesus the Son!”

She waited one moment and then all en masse,
An “Oh” went around through most of the class.
She’d known it was in her to break it down low
To eight-year-old levels with language they’d know.
Quite pleased, she then called on a hand from the back,
Which answered, “So God is in pieces, in fact!”

“Uh…” said the teacher, but jumping right in,
The kid from the front said, “Three bits in one him!”
“I see!” cried a girl, but the teacher said, “Wait –
“You’ve misunderstood, you must get it straight,
“Though all three are different, each are full God,
“Not pieces nor bits nor three peas in a pod.

“You see,” she continued to fix what she’d taught,
“Each person’s full person not thirds like you thought.”
She paused with the hope that they’d understood that,
Waited to see if they got it down pat,
Then: “Huh,” said a boy, “So it is what it is?
“God is three persons, three persons he is?”

“Well…yes,” said the teacher, “But let me make plain –
“The apple was not the best way to explain –
“So here,” she said moving the apple from sight,
“An egg has a shell and a yolk and a white,
“And—wait,” she said seeing the same problems here,
“A shamrock…no, pretzel…no, water, my dear!

“Now water, yes there is a three-things-in-one.”
There, she thought calmly, I won’t be undone.
“Water is something we see every day,
“Can anyone tell how it lives in three ways?
“You can’t? Well I can, and I’ll say in a trice:
“Water is liquid or steam or it’s ice.”

But once again from the front row came a thought:
“So God changes forms for each name that He’s got?”
“At last it makes sense!” called a voice from the rear,
“So He’s not bits and pieces?” a boy said, unclear.
“No, sometimes He’s father and sometimes He’s son,
“And sometimes He’s—” “NO,” said the teacher, undone.

“God’s always Father and God’s always Son
“And God’s always Spirit: three persons in one.
“He doesn’t change into each one as he likes
“He’s always each one, yet separate alike –”
But jumping the gun, one girl cut in: “He is?
“So God is three persons, three persons He is?”

The teacher sighed loudly and blew out her breath,
Wracking her brain for a sample they’d get,
Then turned to the board, pulled the cap off a marker,
And drew the sun sharply, her face and tone darker.
She held up a hand just to take a time out,
Then faced them still smiling; quite grimly, no doubt.

“Now here,” she pushed onwards, “You see what I’ve drawn.”
“A sunset!” one said, though another cried “Dawn!”
“Close enough,” said the teacher, “And now I’ll explain:
“The Father’s the sun, and the sunshine – it’s plain –
“That’s Jesus, and heat’s where the Holy Ghost’s at.
“Now tell me, please tell me, you understand that.”

First quiet then, “God is just offshoots of God?”
“I guess,” spoke a boy with a mystified nod.
“Well that can’t be right,” the front boldly declared,
“It must,” said a girl who knew teachers prepared.
“Not a chance,” scoffed a boy, “Yes He is,” she sneered back,
And teacher, poor teacher, her expression turned black.

“Fine,” snapped the teacher, “I don’t understand,
“It makes no more sense than a God who is man,
“Or a Word that can make into being what’s not,
“Forming the world like a potter his pot,
“Or wine that is blood and just ‘cause he said,
“With body that’s in, with, and under the bread,
“An ‘is’ that means ‘is,’ no matter how dense
“We sinners as sinners can’t make it make sense,
“And who here has seen someone raised from the dead?
“Put your hands in His side or seen where he bled?
“So, no, I don’t get the impossible math,
“How three can be one and one in three hath
“A wrath taken on by a three in the one,
“Or that then a three of the one – not the Son –
“Proceeding, creates in me faith in a one
“But also in three (impossibly done),
“And yet here I am and I’m saying to you:
“In unity Trinity, fully God through.”

Deeply stunned silence was all that they had
For the teacher they clearly supposed had gone mad.
They made not a peep, she shared not a grunt,
When “Oh!” went that kid, the one sitting up front,
“You’re saying you mean that it is what it is,
“That God is three persons, three persons He is.”

Beaming, the class sat with backs proudly cast,
Glad to have answered her question at last.
“Yes,” sighed the teacher in quiet defeat.
“Oh good,” said a restless girl, tapping her feet.
“Is it time for the craft?” one went on to add,
Unaware that they’d trashed every project she had.

The teacher peered into the bag she had prepped,
Past clover green paper and ice as it wept,
Past glue for the yellow yarn meant for the yolk,
And all of her samples the Godhead just broke.
She finally said, “I’m afraid not today,
“Let’s go get some sunshine, let’s go out and play.”

And later they all ate the fruit she had brought,
For apples are apples and aren’t what they’re not.