Archive for September, 2010

Tobermory v3.1

Latest edits to this short piece. Here’s hoping that it’s better for it! Here goes:

Tobermory. She tastes it on her tongue. Exotic. It drips like mango down her throat. Nearly half the group has been here before, out of the twenty odd divers she is standing with at the Parks Canada’s office in the Georgian Bay. The rest have heard about it. Here it was, only ten hours away from Montreal. Tobermory. The divers speak of it like a place of legend. Mecca. The one Canadian dive site to make it into those “50 Places to Dive Before You Die” books. They are handed numbered discs that say FATHOM FIVE, the name of the park, blue plastic dog tags that nobody will ever ask to see again. They are told to wear it on their person at all times when diving. Later on, she will tie-wrap it to her BCD.

She wanders through the Welcome Center’s museum, where they keep corn under pressure, still edible (at least for fish), from the wreck of the Arabia. Later, Serge tells her that this is how researchers found the wreck in the eighties – following fish with corn in their bellies. Before that, diving operations would drag their anchors along the bottom until they hit the boat. Damaging it with the ‘I-wants’ of the tourists. Today, it was unthinkable. Take only pictures, leave only bubbles.

Lake Huron is called the Ship’s Graveyard because of the sheer number of wrecks. She figures that demands some kind of respect – that even back in the eighties people would have had better sense than to drag anchor. But then again it isn’t all solemn: hanging unseen and all undiscovered in the Crow’s Nest restaurant is a picture of Serge and his buddies, a letter on each asscheek: TO-BE-RM-OR-Y!, the year. There’s a balance to be struck here.

The next morning, they board the Lark at eight. She has never been seasick before. She is now.  Stare at the horizon, keep your face in the wind, drink diet cola, it has aspartame. She rehearses what she will say after she rinses her mouth, can feel the smell of breakfast on her breath. Her instructors tell her the fish will love her – it is their way of showing concern. She will say I puked twice on Lake Huron, but Lake Huron didn’t puke on me. You tell me who wins. Lame, but it breaks the tension.  The divers suit up, check equipment. They will be diving on the Niagara II.

There are no waves and no horizon under the water, nothing beneath your feet to muddle your mind. No seasickness. The only way out is in.

Tobermory

A short scene written for Fiction 426. This is the rough draft, hoping to clean it up by Wednesday and then I’ll update it here or in a new post:

Tobermory. She tastes it on her tongue. Exotic, it drips like mango down her throat. Nearly everyone else has been here before, out of the twenty odd divers she is standing with at Parks Canada’s office in the Georgian Bay. Sounds exotic, but really it’s Southern Ontario. And yet, the divers speak of it like a place of legend. Mecca. The one Canadian dive site to make it into those “50 Places to Dive Before You Die” books. They are handed numbered discs that say FATHOM FIVE, the name of the park, blue plastic dog tags, so that non-existent inspectors can look them up in disused databases if they want. They are told to wear it on their person at all times when diving. Later on, she will tie-wrap it to her BCD.

She wanders through the Welcome Center’s museum, where they keep corn under pressure, still edible (at least for fish), from the wreck of the Arabia. Later, Serge tells her that this is how researchers found the wreck in the 80s – following fish with corn in their bellies. Before that, diving operations would drag their anchors along the bottom until they hit the boat. Damaging it with the ‘I-wants’ of the tourists. Unthinkable by today’s standards. Take only pictures, leave only bubbles.

She thinks that’s sort of disrespectful, seeing that Lake Huron is called the Ship’s Graveyard because of the sheer number of wrecks. But then again, hanging unseen and all undiscovered in the Crow’s Nest restaurant is a picture of Serge and his buddies, a letter on each asscheek: TO-BE-RM-OR-Y!, the year. There’s a balance to be struck here.

The next morning, they board the Lark at eight. She has never been seasick before. She is now.  Stare at the horizon, keep your face in the wind, drink diet cola, it has aspartame. She rehearses what she will say after she rinses her mouth. They tell her the fish will love her. She will say I puked twice on Lake Huron, but Lake Huron didn’t puke on me. You tell me who wins. Lame, but it breaks the tension.

There are no waves and no horizon under the water. The only way out is in. The best cure for seasickness is scuba diving, especially when you are in Tobermory to dive in the first place.

BLOOD TEST

In the voice of a character named Imre:

BLOOD TEST

The smell of other people’s breakfasts through open windows.

Early morning Saturday blood test.

Go early so you won’t have to wait past

Your appointed time. Your appointment time.

They know you’re coming. Called you yesterday.

Reminding you of a half-remembered date

Three, maybe four months ago.

Come home. Stranger asks if you know

What time the bus comes.

I don’t know, you say.

Are you here just by chance? She asks.

Yes, you say. But you’re still

Waiting for the bus.

Driver goes slow, announces every stop

Like a man who knows he’s on time.

Feel elated, having the blood pulled from you.

You pretend you won’t look but you always

Watch it pierce the skin.

Lab tech has you press down cotton and

You wonder as you fight not to cross over

Your legs – if you didn’t press –

If no one pressed when the needle

Came out – would it spurt?

Blood right into the centrifuge of

This lab – where they take you

If you’re early. Even

By forty minutes.

– Linden Imre Tanner.

The Fantastic Adventures of Granny Rancor in Space

This is supposed to be an annoying nod to the Sci Fi serials back in the day like Flash Gordon. It’s also a short story relating to my Star Wars Saga Edition campaign, wherein the characters did indeed do all that is herein described. If you want to know more about this campaign, head this way:  http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/star-wars-joms

It was written for our first annual Lavaltrie camping trip, where we had a competition for all the cool kids to write their own story and share it.

Without further ado…

THE FANTASTIC ADVENTURES OF GRANNY RANCOR IN SPACE!

Longer than just a long, long time ago, but in that same trippy galaxy far far away, a child was born. That child was served with an excellent Dijon glaze at Mrs. G. Rancor’s celebratory celebrity dinner thrown to celebrate the birth of her grandson, William G. Rancor – by invitation only. There was much celebration and the who’s who of Sleheyron poured many libations in honour of William Rancor (or maybe they were just trying to drown the ugly thing – who would want two of those on one planet?). With William’s birth, Mrs. G, as Mrs. Rancor was known to her friends, was assured an heir to her vast empire, securing it for another generation.

It was the last party that Granny, as she could now call herself, would attend for a long time. Juvenile rancors don’t clean their own diapers or cover up their own temper tantrum corpses now do they? (In case you were wondering, the answer is a definite no.)

William grew, and Granny let him take on more and more responsibility, until eventually he was in charge of the business of running her Sleheyron crime empire. As everyone knows, those luckiest of souls born into the tyrant rancor species generally have wide set eyes, which makes for an interesting time reading crime empire paperwork. William soon developed a weakness in one of his eyes, and had to wear a monocle. Granny Rancor was deeply disappointed at the weakness in her genes, and at this point would have generally eaten her offspring, but she was getting too old to continue running things, so that was that. Granny Rancor retired and lived in the shadow of the greatness she had helped to create, staying on as a simple advisor. Her days were blissfully simple, filled mainly with knitting, crossword puzzles, and staying up-to-date on the most current technologies. Her new favourite mode of transportation was the jetpack, much easier for old rancor legs, and her home defense system was the ever-elegant army-issue blaster carabiner, model X-50. She had a wide load fire escape installed in the roof, since she had begun to overindulge a bit much for someone who wasn’t getting as much exercise as she used to.

Little did she know that these new occurrences in her life, along with her newfound past times, would be the only thing to save her life one fine Sleheyron summer day when her world was torn apart, along with her grandson, empire, and indeed the planet itself.

After a long and heated battle with a scrappy group of terrorists, Mrs. G was forced to use her jetpack to escape through her emergency hatch in the roof, carrying along her customary set of extra knitting needles and her blaster rifle. While flying towards the headquarters of her – her grandson’s – crime syndicate, she espied a smoking ruin and remembered that William had been invited to a kind of bal masqué today and at this very address.

“Oh dear, but he must have lost his temper,” she growled to herself, and descended to hear the body count. Who would ever have linked her terrorist home invasion with this smouldering shell? That was when she just briefly lost control of her jet pack and was shot sideways into what turned out to be the very ship that Patrick Patois had chosen to spirit away his terrorist group.

Caught in the slipstream of the ship, and helpless due to its superior mass (though not by much), Granny Rancor flailed like a dinosaur, and was carried through the city, up into the atmosphere (where finally she clung for dear life, forgetting that she had a jetpack) and then out into space. Having not been warned about this sudden and far-reaching sojourn, Granny Rancor was not equipped for the vacuum of space. She lacked a breathing apparatus, and so she had to hold her breath. Her jetpack controls were frozen by the too-quick ejection into the atmosphere, and were likely to stay that way out in the coldness of space. There was nothing to do but be dragged around by the terrorist ship.

“Gee,” thought Granny Rancor. “I am in dire straits.”

She took her spare knitting needles out of her apron and began unraveling and reknitting her old lady cardigan into an extremely long lasso – something like a kilometer long. It was a thick sweater. She found the work calming. This took some time, and Mrs. G. was worried that at any time they might activate the ship’s hyperdrive. She cast about for something to lasso, and that was when she spotted the moon.

“That’s no moon –” Oh, sorry about that. Wrong story.

It was at this point that the terrorists blew up Sleheyron. The force of the explosion threw Granny Rancor towards the moon, and by tucking her arms at her sides to be more aerodynamic, Mrs. Granny Rancor plummeted towards the moon, which thankfully has no atmosphere for her to burn up in.

“There is nothing,” said Granny Rancor,” for me to hook my lasso on.”

She then took inventory of what she had with her and rolled a natural twenty on her intelligence check. Hooking her knitting needles back into the end of the lasso, she then looped the lasso around her considerable girth. She reversed the knitting needles so that she was holding them pointed down. When she passed by the moon, she threw one and kept hold on the other. The first stuck neatly into the rock and held there. Granny Rancor was tethered to the moon! She pulled herself in on the line until she was on the surface. As previously mentioned, the gravitational force on the moon was not very strong, so Granny Rancor proceeded to take off her second sweater (she was old) and knit it into slippers. When she was done, she snugly slid her knitting needles blunt-end first into the soles of the slippers and anchored herself.

But what was there to do or see on the moon? She looked behind her and remembered that her planet had just blown up, a fact that had escaped her notice earlier when she was being jettisoned through space.

“Well fuck,” she said sweetly. With no means of winterizing her jet pack, getting off this rock and getting her revenge on those that destroyed her legacy was going to be no mean feat. She decided to take a walk around the moon and maybe brainstorm or something. After all, Sleheyron had many satellites that might have been thrown out of orbit now and could be waiting to crash into each other.

“That would be a sight,” she said to herself. “I am beginning to feel light-headed.”

After all, she had been holding her breath for some time now, and she was old. She fainted a dainty faint.

When she woke up – and she was very glad to find that she woke up at all – she was in the dark.

“Have they blown up the sun then?” she growled. But she soon spotted a line of light at one end of the room, as if filtering under two large doors. And there was air.

She approached and the doors didn’t open. They were reinforced plasteel, perhaps large enough to be the doors to a cargo bay. She heard movement on the other side of the door, and her huge arthritic claws kindly asked the cargo doors to move aside. Unfortunately, her claws also “moved aside” the top half of a bipedal alien from the bottom half.

“Oh dear, you shouldn’t have surprised old Granny,” she growled contritely. “Before you go dear, how did I get aboard this ship?”

“Ugh…” said Jimothy the dying crewman.

“Don’t mumble now, speak up.”

Granny Rancor slung Jim’s top half over her shoulder and asked for a tour of the ship. Jim did not object.

“Well, after me, then,” she growled, stopping herself mid-chew when she realized that she had been snacking on Jim. “Sorry.”

Jim was forgiving.

It wasn’t long before Granny Rancor met another biped at the ship’s controls. “Mrs. Rancor, what happened to Jim?”

She peered at him – it was hard to focus on him when he stayed so still. “You know me?”

“Yeah, that’s why we picked you up off that rock! We’re returning from a delivery for your grandson. What the hell happened down there?”

“Terrorists, hmph! Worked, dear, you worked for my grandson. Now you work for me. My hands are a bit too robust for your ship’s controls.”

So it was that Granny Rancor and the unknown helmsman embarked on a journey together to avenge Sleheyron.

“By the way, I’m Chopak,” said Chopak, who hadn’t agreed to anything.

So it was that Granny Rancor and Chopak the helmsman embarked on a journey to avenge Sleheyron. Honestly, did you think he would argue with a tyrant rancor? All they had to go on was the fact that ship was pink, and that Granny Rancor suspected that her earlier attackers were responsible.

While Chopak tried to track the other ship based on Mrs. G’s description, Granny Rancor started equipping herself to avoid the problems that had nearly caused her demise previously. She built an air supply into her jetpack, and used that same air as a heating system so that the controls wouldn’t freeze up. She crocheted an air hose and then superheated some of the fake cargo that they had been carrying (aquariums) into a large astronaut helmet that still looked something like a fishbowl.

When she was done her preparations, she told Chopak to head to the nearest republic outpost – but just then, the ship’s hailing receiver went off. They were being hailed – but by whom, and why? Who knew they were here that hadn’t died back on Sleheyron? The ship’s radar hadn’t detected any other ships in the area that could have spotted them. The hail rang once, twice – three times now. Would they answer?

FIND OUT NEXT TIME IN THE NEXT INSTALLMENT OF THE FANTASTIC ADVENTURES OF GRANNY RANCOR IN SPACE!