Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I had taken on the role of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, and I was traveling with the thirteen dwarves -- though not through the expected setting of Middle Earth, but rather the cool, green pine forests along the shore of Lake Superior.
Evidently, we were on our way to visit the gym of one of the Pokemon trainers to negotiate on the behalf of Gandalf, who was away on business (he had recently become the director of an airline and was busy making some reformations).

The gym turned out to be a sumptuous mansion with a driveway three miles long.  When we finally arrived at the front door, Ash Catch'em was standing in the doorway to welcome us.  He showed us to a dimly-lit parlor, and we spent a forgettable couple of hours discussing terms for a lengthy contract concerning the airline.  Sometime during these monotonous dronings-on (I was paying more attention to the refreshments served about half-way through), Pikachu wandered into the room and casually stowed himself away in one of the numerous pockets of my green cloak, shrinking a bit so as to fit.  Nobody seemed to notice, and I thought nothing of it, assuming he only wanted a warm place to take a nap.
Eventually, having reached some sort of conclusion, the dwarves stood up; Thorin shook Ash's hand solemnly (I don't think there's ever been a moment where he wasn't solemn) and tucked a scroll into an inner pocket of his sky-blue cloak.  Ash ordered the company to take the winding dirt roads on our way to Gandalf's airport (our next mission was to deliver the contract to him for signing), then he showed us out, wishing us safe travels.  As we trudged down the long, gravel-covered driveway, the dwarves grumbled about how much time would be wasted if we took the back-roads instead of the highway, especially traveling on foot as we were.  They all came to the agreement that we would disobey Ash's orders and take the quickest route to the airport.
A couple hours later while we were on the road, we got word from a talking raven that Ash's prized Pikachu had been swiped from the manor and that he was also on the lookout for a band of disobedient henchmen.
The dwarves got spooked, even though they didn't know that I had Pikachu.  We ran to the next overpass and spent some time huddled underneath it while carriages, which presumably contained Ash's angry goons, rumbled overhead.
Finally, we made it to the airport and were ready to board the flight back to Middle Earth.  The goons were hot on our tails, though, so there was no time to haggle Pikachu (my new little friend) through security.  I ended up leaving him, looking very melancholy, in the Lost and Found bin.
We ran all the way to the boarding terminal and got on the plane just in time.  Thorin and Balin, the two senior dwarves, took their places in the cockpit and we were finally on our way home, safe from Ash's schemes and soon to see Gandalf again.  I wondered if the teacakes would still be good when I got back to my hobbit-hole.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


The year was 2051.  It was winter, and the outdoor temperature was hovering around ninety-five degrees Fahrenhiet.
Of course, I was holed up inside.  Everyone was holed up inside, just as they always were -- that is, of course, except for the dregs and radiation mutants.

You see, back in the thirties, a new painkiller was developed and put on the market.  It was a real hit; it was more effective than Advil or Tylenol and was used in almost every household.  What the pharmacists didn't know, though was thet when the tablet or gel capsule of the painkiller was exposed to sugar (outside of the digestive system), it became a heavily psychoactive drug.  This, of course, was passed around quite prolifically and unstoppably, as everyone thought it was unaddictive and harmless.  The drug, called "cloud," was distributed mainly in airports, trainstations and warehouses, or in places where statues were present.  Earlier in my life, I'd had some pretty bad experiences with the kids hanging around these places.
However, reports started popping up of people who had gone missing after flying into unquellable rages while using cloud and running out into the night after horribly maiming or murdering everyone around them.  By this time, it was getting dangerous to be out in the sun during the day, so it was assumed that they'd died.
Retrospectively, these cases all had a few things in common: the beserkers in question had all recieved the vaccinations against cancer that were now being handed out as freely as vaccines against the flu, they were all using cloud, and all of their freak-outs had occurred at night after the sun had set.

These beserkers were (well, are) the dregs; the reason everyone disposed of their  painkillers, the reason no-one goes outside anymore, and the reason why no houses are allowed to have lights on at night.  The dregs are attacted to and infuriated by it.
My family and I are currently staying in what used to be my grandmother's house, out in the suburbs.  She died just a few years after this all started to happen.  Some days, I wish I had met what seems to have been such a timely fate.
Anyways, this day dragged on like any normal day.  Once the sun had risen, my brother, sister and I pulled on our astronaut suits (which had imporved over the years and became available to the general public "for all your traveling needs."  Which reminds me: the richer class made a break for it at the beginning of the thirties and went to live on the moon.) and strapped on our oxygen tanks before opening the reinforced back door out onto the jungle that the world had become.
The plants and animals, of course, had adapted quickly, developing waxy coverings to keep out radiation and growing tougher, spiny skind to ward off dregs and radiation mutants.  Humans, after living in evolutionary stagnancy for so long, had been incapable of adapting to the changes.
Our goal this afternoon was to replenish our stores of fruits, greens and meat, if we could find any of the latter.  The fruits and veggies were easy; we'd always had a garden, so the smaller plots of stawberries, salad and flowers had transformed into larger areas for our mini-sustenence-farm that had grown up with the jungle.  I'd never been so grateful for all the canning mom had done when I was a kid -- food preservation is extremely easy when you can just put all your edibles in glass jars in the basement.
Somehow, we ended up staying out past sunset, even though there was no way that the oxygen in our tanks could've lasted that long.  The lights in the house were on, and I began to get the sickening feeling that we were being watched.
A strange, stick-thin man stepped around the corner of the house, regarding us with wide, huge eyes that reflected the moonlight in a perfect sheen, making him apppear blind.  He smiled a slow, feral smile.  That's when my siblings and I bolted for the door.
We managed to close the screen door on him, but couldn't manage the second, reinforced door for some inexplicable reason.  As the dreg punched his hand through the glass, I woke up.