Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Green Desert - Chapter 3.5.1 - Séara

I threw open the front door and raced out. My car was gone! The fugitives had taken it. I felt my pocket. I still had the keys. I holstered my gun, but it didn’t go in––the gun I took from the cute foreigner––so I just kept my gun out.

My eyes drifted to the highway. My car sat there, alongside the road. The tow truck was doing a u-turn in the road. What was that dumbass Tamé thinking, towing my car? That had to be against the law.

I strode down the cement path to the driveway. Even if it weren’t illegal, I could scare him a bit. How dare he?

Tamé started backing his truck up the driveway at me. What now? I walked across the gravel to intercept.

The fugitives. I had to find the fugitives. They weren’t out front here––unless they were hiding in the bushes. I stopped, peered around. No movement in the brush. They wouldn’t’ve run this direction anyway. They were either still in the house or racing northward across the desert out back.

I glared at Tamé as he stopped his truck back-to-back with the white van.

I should call for backup, but it was Tépíto’s day off. I could handle it by myself. And that Bhanar was helping. I shot another dirty look at Tamé and ran back to the house. Past the front door, a small path led around the corner of the building. I took it at a full sprint.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

CPR simplified

The American Heart Association has revised their CPR guidelines. Basically, push hard and push fast on the chest thirty times in a row without stopping. Don't bother to check for a pulse. Keep the blood flowing.

"More than 9 out of 10 cardiac arrest victims die before they get to the hospital." "Effective CPR can double a victim's chance of survival."

Oh, and don't forget to call 911.

Iranian Justice

In Iran, women have the right to collect alimony after a divorce. The law even requires couples to have prenuptual agreements. But what good is an alimony payment 10,000 years after you're dead?

The woman asked for $15 million and the court agreed, but ordered it paid out monthly for the next 10,333 years, one gold coin at a time. Simple math (interest is not allowed) gives us the sum of $121 per month. I doubt that's sufficient even in Iran.

They have the laws, but what good are they if the judges subvert them? Oh well. We have the exact same problem here in the U.S.


I saw Trans-Siberian Orchestra's concert last night. Good show. Diane from my writing group invited me.

If you're not familiar with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, they play classical music in much the same way George Lucas tells stories: with lasers and big explosions. And electric guitars, but Mr. Lucas doesn't use those. Well, a couple times, but that doesn't really count.

I probably would've enjoyed it more if the guy sitting next to me (not in our group) hadn't said "nice..." or "yeah baby" every time the women singers or violin player were featured.

Green Desert - Chapter 3.4.5 - Fírí

Sunburnt or dead. Not a happy choice. We kept running. The sand scorched my feet, but that just made me move faster. We backed from above and below. I didn’t think I had any sweat left in me, but it just kept flowing. Zhíno’s clothes were drenched from me wiping my brow. I needed water. My legs burned, inside and out. My sweatpants rode heavy and wet on me, sticking to me, chafing.

“Stop,” I gasped.

Pí‘oro paused, scowled at me, then stared past me back down the winding trail. I dropped Zhíno’s clothes onto the ground, getting his jeans dirty. Sucking in deep breaths of precious air, I yanked down my icky pants, tugged them off my feet. The hot air felt cool on my bare legs. A slight breeze actually gave me a chill.

Pí‘oro leered at me. “Better?”

“Much.” He’d seen me naked last night and probably raped me, too. Right now, I didn’t care if he saw my panties. If only they weren’t granny panties.

I wadded the sweatpants on top Zhíno’s clothes and picked up the pile. We started running again and my lungs instantly rasped and my heart instantly pounded. Pí‘oro jogged with ease. How could he do it? He was fat and old. And he carried a full-grown man on his shoulder. In long sleeves and long pants, no less. Khakis, though. Maybe they were thin. Yeah, that must be it. Good ventilation, but still kept the sun off.

The sun. It was tiny, but damn it was hot.

“Píríuso, go away!” I muttered.

Monday, November 28, 2005


I finished painting my closet this weekend. Three closets and the bathroom finished. Bedroom, living room, kitchen remain. The practice rounds are over. It's only taken me seven months to get this far. . .


As you can see, it was really important that I got all the edges precise:


Green Desert - Chapter 3.4.4 - Umo

We reached the other end of town without seeing any signs for East Crater Road. I did a three-point turn in the middle of the empty highway.

I sighed. Lango twittered.

“Shut up.”

Amazingly, he did.

We had to ask for directions. I wasn’t about to waste my time wandering every street in town––even if it was a miniscule town like this. I turned the car into a gas station, parked in front of the convenience store.

“What are you doing?”

I ignored Lango and got out of the car, slammed the door. Three strides and I was inside the store. An old woman with a bad dye-job sat on a tall stool behind the counter, surrounded by cigarette cases, flipping through a glossy magazine. The glass door hit a string of bells and she looked up.

“I’m looking for East Crater Road.”

“Oh, well, you just need to go up this way.” She pointed back toward the stoplight. “Turn left at the light––that’s Main Street. Just keep going and you’ll get to East Crater Road.”

I frowned. “You mean if I go straight at the light, I’ll see East Crater Road?” We’d passed it on the way in.

“No, no.” She shook her head, her bronze-and-gray curls springing. “Turn left at the light.”

“But that’s Main Street.” I removed my sunglasses, folded them in one hand.


Friday, November 25, 2005

Turkey day

I get turkey tonight! And fresh pumpkin pie! And stuffing!! And it's not leftovers yet, but those will be great, too!

Yay!!! It's Thanksgiving Friday!

Green Desert - 3.4.3 - Bhanar

They could still be in the house somewhere, hiding in a closet or the attic or something. And they could have a gun. Zhíno had brought two. The beautiful policewoman––Séara, Vata had called her––now had one of those, but the other? Vata trembled. A tear ran down her creased cheek. Her hands clenched and twisted her skirt. She was either a good actress or she truly worried about Pí‘oro. Maybe they had kidnapped him, taken him as a hostage. Sure he wanted to rescue Zhíno from the cops, but the cops wouldn’t know that.

“Go!” cried Vata.

I scowled at her, but hopped onto the windowsill, crouched there for a second. A yard full of animals, ready for the slaughter. I spotted Sıpa‘ı talking to a smaller dog. I leapt down to the ground. The dirt squished around my bare feet.

Trails. Where were the trails? Outside the fence, of course. I ran to the back of the yard, pigs squealing and horses neighing. Horses. I could cover a lot more ground with a horse.

A pair of stables, little weathered-wood shacks, open on the front except for short doors. Two red horses with white stripes on their noses stared at me from the shadows. I stepped over to them, held out my hand for one to nuzzle. He licked it, wet and bumpy. “Okay, old boy. Let’s go for a ride.” I found the latch, opened the half-high door, entered the stable, ran my hand down his soft neck. He whinnied but didn’t ease away from me. I stepped onto a stool, both hands on his back.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for natural alarm clocks, sunny days in autumn, days off work, sunrises reflecting off the bottom of clouds, Mt. Rainier, and (of course) friends, family, and . . . chocolate.

Mmm. . . chocolate.

Here's what I saw when I cracked open my eyes this morning:


I, of course, ran to get my camera and then stood on my balcony in the cold for several minutes, snapping fifty or more pictures.


It feels like it's been forever since I've seen Mt. Rainier in the morning. We've been stuck in a fog for weeks. But I think it's finally disappated for good.


Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!


Green Desert - Chapter 3.4.2 - Vata

Deputy Nulıpéshı stared into the chapel and swore.

“Please, Séara, before they get too far!”

Séara turned her face to the foreign kid. “Nobody’s in there.”

“That’s what I said!” I shrieked. I had to get control of myself. This wasn’t at all proper. Breathe deep. I pointed into the spare bedroom. “Out the window.”

Séara eyed me suspiciously, but Bhanar ran at me. I stepped back into the corner and he careened into the bedroom, dodged the bed, caught himself at the open window. “I do not see them.”

Séara joined me at the doorway.

Bhanar turned, eyebrows lowered and jaw tense. “Where did they go?”

I shook my head. “I do not know. Maybe they took one of the trails. Maybe they circled the house and are stealing your police car.”

Séara’s breathing paused for a second. “Bhanar, you go to the trails. I’ll check my car and then I’ll join you.” She turned and started down the hall.

The kid asked, “Can I have a gun?”

The deputy paused. “No.”

“But. . .”

I snapped, “Hurry! They don’t have any guns. Go stop them.”

The young foreigner stared at me, studied me.


Séara ran down the hall and around the corner.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Sleeping in?

Along the street outside our office (in a residential neighborhood), a woman is sleeping in the driver's seat of a car with the engine running and the headlights on. I considered waking her up, but didn't.

I turned off my alarm clock this morning and woke up a half hour later without it ringing. I wanted to roll over and close my eyes, but I couldn't because I might fall asleep and miss work. I always manage to get out of bed quicker if my alarm doesn't ring.

Green Desert - Chapter 3.4.1 - Tamé

I turned back to the front door and stopped. I really didn’t want to go back in that house. I’d never known the Kılímıs very well and now I was glad I hadn’t. Something mighty strange about them two. And their guests were ten times worse.

I looked at the police car as it sat behind my tow truck. It was in the perfect spot. I could just lift it up, get it out of the way. But I shouldn’t. It’s a cop car, after all. I scratched my chin. The sun was damn hot. Aw, what would they care. I wasn’t about to hurt nothing.

A minute later, I had the cop car hitched up. I climbed into my cab, started the engine, put it in reverse, and slowly backed down the driveway. It was tricky going. I’d never backed up a tow that far before. At the end of the driveway, I waited for a couple cars to pass on the highway, then backed the cop car onto the road, cranking the steering wheel. Once I cleared the ditch, I pulled forwards onto the gravel roadside, parked with the cop car clear of the driveway. No problem. I grinned as I hopped out of the truck.

I flipped the lever for the crank and the car started back down, the chain clanking as it fed through the pulleys. My gaze drifted back up the driveway. I’d been hired to tow the car in the garage. Two vehicles blocked me from it. But I could move them two just as easy as the cop car. And there was plenty of parking alongside this road here.

The cop car settled on the gravel and I unhooked the chain. I frowned at the house. Sure. Why not?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


If one question mark indicates a typical question, and if two question marks indicate urgency (or a typo), and if three question marks indicate a dire emergency and mild insanity, what do seven question marks in a business email indicate?

42 years ago

Does anybody remember what happened 42 years ago today? I don't, but that's just because I wasn't born yet. . .

Green Desert - Chapter 3.3.6 - Fírí

A sheep stared at me. “Baa-aa,” it said.

At the far end of the yard, past all the cages and coops and stables, past all the pigs and sheep and rabbits and cats and dogs and cows and horses, Pí‘oro unlocked a wide metal gate. “Come on,” he demanded.

I jogged the thirty meters, the dirt soft and moist. Pí‘oro held open the gate––chicken wire on metal pipes––just enough for me to squeeze through. A dog tried to follow us, but the big man nudged it with his leg and locked the gate shut.

Pí‘oro turned and started running down a well-used trail through the brush and rocks.

I hurried to follow. “Where are we going?” I asked between breaths. The sun was already cooking me––my skin was on fire. The trail was dusty and loose.

“I know a gully, not more than a couple kilometers, where we can hide.”

A couple kilometers? I couldn’t run that far. I was going to die! Pí‘oro outpaced me, leaving me further and further behind. Sweat poured into my eyes. I wiped it away with the wad of clothing. “Slow down.”

“Can’t,” he called over his shoulder.

My chest pounded, my throat burned in the hot dry air. My skin burned––with this heat, I’d be blistering in a half hour. Zhíno would too, his whole body. “He’s going to burn,” I wheezed.

Pí‘oro didn’t stop. “Which would you rather: sunburnt or dead?”

Monday, November 21, 2005

Busy busy busy

Back to work, you!

I'm actually being productive today. Plenty of sleep over the weekend. Not many distractions (relatively speaking).

I'll probably have to work Friday to get what needs to be done by next week done by next week. But that won't be too bad. Even fewer distractions with nobody around.

Green Desert - Chapter 3.3.5 - Umo

The sign read, “Tuhanı, population 1,873.” I could easily see the far end of town, straight down the highway. One stoplight. No pedestrians. Too Pétíso-damned hot for walking. It was nearly freezing in our car. I was raised in Mokıraozı.

“What’s the address?”

Lango checked the printout. “5430 East Crater Road.”

“Yeah, but where is that?” We were almost to the stoplight.

“How the hell am I supposed to know? This town’s just a fucking dot on the map.”

I gently braked to a halt behind a shiny red pickup. I snorted a laugh. “At least it’s on the map.”

“Well, it’s not a Sarıman map. It’s just a state map.” Lango flapped the folded roadmap in my face. Zhupísı and South Saírédí.

I swatted his hand away. “Do that again and I’ll kill you.”

Lango laughed––well, more of a twitter. “You haven’t yet.”

I tapped my sunglasses down my nose and glared at the greasy little man. “Try me. I’ll be sure to change my ways for you.”

He pointed out the windshield. Green light, the red truck long gone. The car behind me waited patiently. I tapped the gas, rolled through the intersection.

“Where’s the house? We just crossed Main Street.”

“East Crater Road. I said.”

I sighed. “But where’s that?”

Green Desert - Chapter 3.3.4 - Bhanar

“The Kılímıs are sacrificing animals in there. A rabbit last night. I stopped them from killing a dog today.”

We turned the corner and the policewoman dropped down to a crouch, waving her gun at Vata. “Put your hands where I can see them, Mrs. Kılímı.”

The old woman just stared at us.

“Your hands, please.”

“Yes, dear.” Vata smiled benevolently and held out her hands. “They just went out the back window. They’ve kidnapped my husband.”

What? I could barely believe my ears. “She is lying! Mr. Kılímı and Fírí were together. He wanted to rescue Zhíno, too.”

The policewoman flashed her large brown eyes at me, then back to Vata. “Show me the sanctuary.”

Vata whined, “We don’t have time for this. They’re getting away.” She was almost crying.

The policewoman stood up, gun still drawn. I could see over her head clearly that Vata wasn’t moving, just wringing her hands.

“Show me.”

Quietly, I said, “It is the first door on the right, I think.”

“Thanks.” The deputy walked forwards, eyes and gun firmly on Vata. The young woman reached the open door, glanced though. She did a doubletake, staring into the room. “What the hell?”

Friday, November 18, 2005

My closet is empty!

My clothes are all in my living room now. The painting must continue! And quickly! How long can I live with my clothes stacked on the arm of the chair?

I'm just dreading the time when I'll put plastic over my bed and have to sleep on the couch. . .

Green Desert - Chapter 3.3.3 - Vata

I could not allow them to take Pí‘oro’s body away from the house. I had to get them back into the chapel. It was the only place where Névazhíno would hear me, might possibly listen to my plea and do as I requested.


Fírí sat perched on the windowsill, one leg inside. Zhíno and my husband’s body––and Zhíno’s body––already stood outside in the backyard. Fírí stared at me for an instant, then lifted her bare foot and jumped out the window.

I took a step into the spare bedroom.

“Put your hands where I can see them, Mrs. Kılímı.”

At the bend in the hall, little Séara crouched, gun pointed at me, her black uniform starched and clean. Young Bhanar stood behind her, now wearing only a baggy pair of shorts.

Your hands, please.” Séara’s hands shook. She breathed hard. Sweat ran down her forehead. She chewed her lower lip.

“Yes, dear.” I showed my hands, palms toward her. “They just went out the back window. They’ve kidnapped my husband.”

“She is lying,” spouted the foreigner. “Mr. Kılímı and Fírí were together. He wanted to rescue Zhíno, too.”

Séara looked back and forth between me and Bhanar, her ponytail whipping against the epaulets on her shoulder. She settled on me, gun held level at my gut. “Show me the chapel.”

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Green Desert - Chapter 3.3.2 - Tamé

I kept my hands where Deputy Séara Nulıpéshı could see them. She sure had a big gun, nearly half her own weight, I’d reckon. I’d never seen her draw it before. Maybe she never had, except on the shooting range. She frowned at the kid. “What do you mean, ‘chapel’?”

Bhanar shrugged. “That is what she said.”

I got my feet under me, hands still out, and managed to heave myself standing.

Séara lowered her gun. “Show me.”

The kid started down the hall, the young policewoman following close behind––ignoring me. Bhanar said, “I did not see the room, but Mrs. Kılímı went through a door.”

I straightened my cap and released a deep breath. I didn’t know what these people were messed up in, but I was thinking it was about time for me to leave. The police were here. They could call me back when they had all these crazies locked up and their cars moved out of the way, if they still wanted that old car towed. One of these fools must have the keys to that car too. The police could just drive it away themselves.

I walked out the open front door, closed it behind me. Squinting in the hot sunlight, I tugged my cap-brim lower. The rocks and dirt reflected a bright ochre to the horizon. Closer, in the driveway, Séara’s police car blocked my tow truck. No room to squeeze by, at least not with my big truck. I was stuck there.

“Aw, Pétíso.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Today I feel like:


It's my internet and you can't have it!

Yay! The status quo was maintained!!

I'm referring to the news that the U.S. will retain control of internet domain names. China and Iran and other anti-free-speech countries wanted control, and some European countries wanted to help them. But we kept control of the internet. Yay!

Of course, if China and Iran and the UAE and whoever want to set up their own censored internet, I say good luck to them. Competition is king.

Green Desert - Chapter 3.3.1 - Fírí

Pí‘oro ran through a doorway, Zhíno’s head barely missing the jamb.

“Be careful!” I got to the door. A bedroom, boxes and papers piled on the made bed, the dresser, the floor.

Pí‘oro stood at the window, his back to me, Zhíno’s arms dangling. Something odd about his arms, but I couldn’t place it. The window slid open. Pí‘oro pushed out the screen.

“Come here. Help me with him.” The large man put one of his legs through the open window.

I rushed around the bed, reaching out my one free hand––the other had Zhíno’s clothes––and put it on my boyfriend’s head, making sure it didn’t hit the window.

Pí‘oro lifted Zhíno’s limp legs through and then his own leg so he sat on the sill, Zhíno’s butt bright in the sunlight. “Watch his arms,” the old man ordered.

I squatted down, grabbed Zhíno’s wrists, lifted. It hit me. What was wrong. No injuries. No bullet wounds. No broken wrist. Vata had healed him. But the dog––I glanced at it over my shoulder––still lived. What had she sacrificed instead?

Pí‘oro hopped out the window and I almost didn’t react quick enough, lifting Zhíno’s healthy arms over the sill and letting go. The big man landed softly on his feet, turned. “Hurry!”

I raised my foot onto the sill and through. “But I don’t have shoes!”

“There’s no time.”

From the hallway door, Vata snapped, “Stop.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Remember Liberia?

In case you missed it, Liberia had a relatively peaceful election last week. The results have been tallied and 59.4% voted for Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Her opponent, George Weah (who has the backing of both gun-toting sides in the most-recent rebellion/coup conflict), has claimed fraud. International observers, however, declared the election "peaceful, transparent, free and fair."

Let's just hope that the men with guns decide their best option is to live in a free society rather than start shooting people. The results have to be certified by November 23. We'll see then what they choose to do.

Green Desert - Chapter 3.2.5 - Bhanar

“You! Put your hands where I can see them.”

Tamé must’ve done as she asked, because her eyes shifted back to me. “Keep them up, boy.” She shifted her gun to just one hand and slowly stepped towards me, nostrils flaring and brow furrowed. Her brown hair was pulled back tight from a smooth-skin tan face. “No sudden moves.” She reached at me with her free hand.

What the hell was she doing? My arms tingled. I couldn’t keep them up forever. And now she was going to tickle me. Her hand headed for my crotch. The snout of her gun encompassed my vision. What the hell was she going to do? My blood pulsed hard.

In one quick motion, the young policewoman lunged forward and back, something hard and metal sliding up out of my shorts. The gun. I still had had the gun. How stupid was that?

She glanced at the gun she just took from me, then shoved it in her holster. Her shoulders relaxed. She chewed her lower lip again, flicked her long, dark eyelashes. Her gun still pointed at me, she demanded, “What’s your name?”

“Bhanar Narak.” I tried to smile peacefully.

She frowned. “You called.”

I nodded. “Zhíno is in one of the back rooms. Mrs. Kılímı called it the sanctuary.”

The policewoman’s frown deepened. “What do you mean, ‘sanctuary’?”

I shrugged. “That’s what she said.”

Monday, November 14, 2005

Drink up, Granny!

Here's a must-have for every nursing home: a pub!

Ahh. . . Ireland.

Rice wins!

The Rice Owls football team finally won a game! They had a fourteen-game losing streak, which was the longest current losing streak in the country. But on Saturday, they beat Tulane 42-34. Yes, it's always good to pick on the team without a school.

After the game, Coach Hatfield commented, "It was a great team victory. Some of the guys even remembered the words to our victory song afterwards."

Green Desert - Chapter 3.2.4 - Vata

My husband threw the unconscious young man over his shoulder like a towel, then trotted over to me. My husband. My old husband whose knees were so bad he had difficulty getting out of the car. My old husband who couldn’t even lift our television set.

“Come on, let’s go!” he yelled at Fírí.

I stepped backwards, away from the door, bumped into Sıpa‘ı. The dog whimpered. Pí‘oro grabbed my shoulder firmly, kept me from falling backwards. He grinned into my eyes. “I love you, Vata.”

Was he possessed? Was this Zhíno’s spirit in my husband’s body? How had this happened? Did Zhíno know magic that I could only dream of? Pí‘oro’s eyes were hardly his own. He moved like a youngster. He could do anything he felt like. “I love you too, dear.”

Fírí ran up to us, a bundle of clothes under her arm. Her eyes stood open wide. Her skin glistened.

In the living room, someone barked orders.

“They’re inside,” whispered the man in my husband’s body. “Follow me.” He ran down the hall away from the living room. Zhíno’s limp body bounced and flopped against his large back.

Fírí didn’t even look at me as she raced to follow her boyfriend. I shuffled after them, Sıpa‘ı easily outpacing me.

How could I get Pí‘oro back? I didn’t have the power, certainly, to exorcise Zhíno. Perhaps if I called upon Névazhíno, He would assist me. Perhaps He would intervene in this special case. I was a loyal worshipper, after all.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

You'll never leave!

Go out and rent the dvds for the British tv comedy The League of Gentlemen, written and performed by a small group of insane, sick, and twisted men. It's quite, quite funny. Sort of like a modern-day Monty Python's Flying Circus, but the characters all live in the same town and they interact with the characters from the other sketches.

"Welcome to Royston Vasey -- You'll never leave!"

Green Desert - Chapter 3.2.3 - Fírí

The “chapel” was like I left it, except some of the braziers had burned out and except that Zhíno was naked. I hurried across the dirt floor to the sacrificial altar. “Zhíno!” I grabbed his face with both hands, turned him towards me. His color was gone. He was dead. Tears leapt to my eyes.

Why? Why did they do this to him? Head in hands, I collapsed to his chest, the tears streaming. His skin was still warm. I had just missed saving him. Vata had just killed him. I raised my head and screamed, “You fucking bastards!”

I dropped my face to his bare chest again. Why did they kill him? What had he ever done to them? Why was his heart still beating?

I stepped back. He was alive.

Shadows blocked the hallway light. The Kılímıs. Pí‘oro glanced down the hall before saying, “We can either hide him in here, tell them it’s a closet, or we can get him outside, run away.”

Police were thorough. “We have to leave.”

Pí‘oro leapt down to the floor, ran the few steps to me and Zhíno. “Get his clothes. I’ll carry him.” He took Zhíno’s arm, bent slightly, straightened with my naked boyfriend on his shoulder. “Get his clothes!”

Where? Nothing in this room but the altar, the braziers, and–– ah. Outside the circle, shelving. I ran. A tidy pile of folded clothes. A big handgun.

“Come on. Let’s go!” Pí‘oro stood in the door.

I shoved the gun in the dirty clothes and grabbed the whole pile.

Friday, November 11, 2005

But what do I do next year?

Last night, the UTHRs had a "Leader Celebration" -- a little party to honor everybody who has led hikes, backpacking trips, scrambles, cross-country skiing, rock-climbing, or organized things such as social hikes, potlucks, pubnights, games nights, book club, etc.

I won the award for most outings led in the past year, which was six official hikes, three official backpacking trips, and one unofficial backpacking trip. I think the next closest was around four or five total hikes. They gave me a fleece vest with the Mountaineers logo.

The only reason I led so many hikes this summer because nobody else was going where I wanted to go! I'd read the hike selection and think "boring, boring, boring" and pick a really cool place like Panhandle Gap or Sahale Arm or Ingalls Lake or Robin Lakes and then just sit back while people signed up to join me.

Thank you, veterans

Veterans' Day is, of course, today. It is also the day created to celebrate the end of World War One. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the armistice went into effect. (Eleventh hour of which time zone? Wherever you happened to be, I suppose.) Armistice Day became a holiday in the '20s and eventually changed to Veterans' Day because . . . because it seemed like a good idea.

For some reason, I thought Memorial Day celebrated the end of World War Two, but I was quite wrong. It's a Civil War holiday, started in 1868. We have V-E Day and V-J Day and D-Day, but those don't hold the same cachet as Veterans' Day or Memorial Day. They just don't make holidays like they used to.

Green Desert - Chapter 3.2.2 - Bhanar

It wasn’t bad guys who were chasing Zhíno. It was the police. Did Fírí think I hadn’t been here last night? Did she think I was an idiot?

I half-jogged across the soft carpet of the living room to the front door.

Tamé blocked me. “Pí‘oro said not to open it.”

I sidestepped him. “It is the police.”

Bam! Bam! Bam! “It’s the police!” came an angry woman’s voice.

Tamé grabbed at me, caught only my tshirt. “Stop,” he hissed.

My shirt stretched out behind me as I reached for the doorknob. “Let go, you idiot. I called the police. Now they are here.”

“I can hear you in there. Open the door!”

Tamé tugged my shirt, tried to reel me in, breathing loud.

“Hold on a minute,” I called. “I will open the door.”

The middle-aged man hissed, “You’ll get us all killed.”

My tshirt started to rip, little tearing sounds. I switched tactics, leaned toward Tamé, let him yank the shirt over my head, off. He thumped loud on the floor, my tshirt in his hands.

I turned towards the door just as it slammed open. A policewoman, handgun pointed straight at my chest, both hands gripping and regripping the gun, a twitch in her eye. “Hands up!”

“But. . .” I put my hands up. The door must’ve been unlocked.

The wide barrel of her gun still facing me, the policewoman leaned to look past me, biting her lower lip.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


After watching _Revenge of the Sith_, my first task was to complete a project I've had planned since I first heard that George was actually producing a prequel trilogy.

During one of my high-school summers, I took the original Star Wars trilogy and wove all three movies together, scene by scene. You had the intro crawl and the Tantive IV being chased and captured by the star destroyer, and as soon as you expect it to cut to Leia sneaking about, you get the intro crawl from Empire and the probe droid landing, followed by the opening crawl from Jedi and Vader mentioning to Jerjerrod (or whatever his name is) that the Emperor is not as forgiving as Vader is. And quickly back to Leia and Artoo, then to Hoth, then to the droids going to Jabba's palace, etc. etc.

So I did the same for Episodes 1, 2, & 3.

Last night, I started watching the finished product. A couple small glitches (eg clicks and pauses), but that's okay. Especially when the image quality goes in and out and is bad most of the time. But at least the sound quality is good. Because we all watch Star Wars movies for the music, right?

A couple interesting juxtapositions presented themselves. Obi-Wan and Anakin are riding the elevator up to Amidala's apartment (Hayden Christensen's first scene in Clones) and then it cuts to the same two characters/actors riding up in an elevator on General Grevious's starship. Padme is comforting young Anakin after they leave Tatooine about how he really misses his mother. It then cuts to the scene where Anakin sneaks into the Sandpeople's camp and watches his mother die (and then starts slaughtering the Sandpeople). One juxtaposition in slightly worse taste is the scene where the green-girl jedi is shot in the back (repeatedly) by stormtroopers, then it cuts to a bleacherful of people standing up and cheering. Well, Anakin just won the podrace, after all.

Holy Day of Rana

If it's cloudy out (which it is here, of course), don't fret. Celebrate! For today is the Holy Day of the Goddess of Clouds, the peaceful and serene Rana. Thank Her for Her protective cover from the sun's harsh rays. Thank Her for . . .

Bugger. Can't think of anything else to thank Her for. That was supposed to go on a bit longer. Oh well.

Green Desert - Chapter 3.2.1 - Vata

Zhíno lay unconscious on the altar, pale in the firelight. He had no wounds. I hadn’t done the ritual, not a syllable of the incantations, and yet his arm was not broken, his flesh not rent. Somehow I had performed the spell. But it hadn’t been me. I hadn’t even gotten Sıpa‘ı into the chapel. Sıpa‘ı had still been running around fine when Pí‘oro. . .

Why weren’t they here with Pí‘oro yet? “Bhanar? Tamé?” No response.

I hurried across the room, sliding my feet into the slippers on the steps. Zhíno would be fine for a while yet. Pí‘oro, however.

They weren’t in the hall. Voices indistinct in the living room. Why’d they take him that way? Why hadn’t they listened to me?

I turned the corner and collided with a large man. He caught me, more agile than a man that size should be. I should have been flat on my back, hit my head on the wall.

“Vata, my dear.” It was Pí‘oro. He grinned, still holding me like in a dance dip. “You’re beautiful.” His eyes sparkled. His cheeks glowed. It was Pí‘oro.

“Wha. . . ?” was all I could manage. He’d been almost dead.

Pí‘oro stood me up and rubbed his hands together. “How is Zhíno? We must––”

Fírí pushed past us. “We don’t have time for this.”

Pí‘oro laughed as the young blonde stomped through the chapel doorway.

“What in the names of Vuzhí and Pétíso happened to you?”

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Today is the 200th day since I returned from my vacation in Europe. I'm about ready for another trip. Somewhere warm, perhaps.


I had something to say. But I forgot.


Well, it looks like Washingtonians are agreeing with me on I-900, I-912, I-336, and SJR-8207. But not on I-330 or I-901.

62.5% voted for I-901, the "clean indoor air act." The "we'll tell you what you can do on your own property act." But apparently only 22% of non-smokers saw the issue that way. I haven't been in the minority in a landslide worse than that since . . . since I voted Libertarian last year.

I see the imminent creation of "smoke-easys" all over the state. "Private" clubs where the general public is not allowed (thus they get around I-901), but in fact it would be easy to get in -- as long as you wanted to smoke or didn't mind being around smokers. 20% of Washingtonians smoke. If I had a restaurant, I'd seriously consider playing to that market.

Green Desert - Chapter 3.1.6 - Fírí

I crawled across the cement floor, raising to a crouch. Moving kept me warm. I had to save Zhíno. The cop didn’t come to the garage. He went to the front door. I had to get inside first, warn Zhíno.

I pushed open the kitchen door. Bhanar was still standing there like an idiot. He looked at me, slack-jawed and stupid-looking. He hadn’t even finished cleaning up the blood yet. Dumbass.

I hurried past him, turning into the living room to find Pí‘oro, a man in overalls, and the brown dog walking away from me. Towards the front door.


They did, even the dog, looking back at me.

“Don’t let them in.” I wracked my brain, searching for some pretext. “It’s the bad guys who are chasing me and Zhíno. I saw them from the garage. They’ll kill us all.” I put urgency and anxiety into my voice, or so I hoped. “We got to protect Zhíno. He’s the one they’re really after.”

Pí‘oro nodded. His eyes nearly glowed. “I was just going to check on him. Tamé, don’t open it.” And he turned down the hall, moving faster than he’d ever walked before, the dog having to run to keep up.

I sprinted across the living room. “Do you have any guns?” We had plenty in the boxes outside, but. . .

“Just the two your boyfriend brought in.” He felt the small of his back, paused. “Somewhere.”

Green Desert - Chapter 3.1.5 - Bhanar

Pí‘oro dropped down on his haunches and scratched Sıpa‘ı playfully behind his ears, under his chin. I had no freaking clue what just happened.

“What just happened?”

Tamé lifted his cap and rubbed his balding scalp. “I don’t know, honest.” His eyes stood open, his jaw slack. “He just, you know, woke up.”

Woke up. He just woke up. My hand was on the hilt of the gun in my belt before I realized it. I didn’t draw it. Not yet.

Pí‘oro looked up at me, his eyes full of energy. “I don’t know what happened, son, but it was the best thing that every did to me. All pistons are firing. It’s like I’m ten again.”

“But how? This does not make any sense.” He’d been acting all angry and then he collapsed, like a heart attack or something. But he was in a coma. And after a seizure, he woke up, better than ever. They certainly didn’t cover this in that first-aid course.

Pí‘oro hopped to his feet. “Where’s Vata?”

A doctor. I needed a doctor.

“In the ‘sanctuary,’ I reckon,” answered Tamé. He just stared at the lively old man.

“Do you have a phone book?” Any doctor would do.

“Sure.” Pí‘oro bounded to the kitchen. “It’s in the cupboard over––” He stopped, staring at the floor, the blood. “Zhíno,” he whispered.

Bam! Bam! Bam! Someone pounded the front door.

Green Desert - Chapter 3.1.4 - Fírí

I willed my body to move. I had to move. I could see the cops feet coming closer.

Still breathing hard, still sweating horribly, I threw myself to a sitting position, scrambled into the garage, behind our little brown car.

Had the cop heard me? I held my breath. My pulse raced.

Crunch. Crunch. Footsteps on gravel, purposeful, striding, powerful. Coming to take me away forever. Coming to lock me away forever. They stopped.

I held my breath. Silence. My nose throbbed. My head was about to explode. A roaring in my ears. Pain in my temples. My throat burned. Can’t breathe. Cannot breathe. My head pounded, filled with expanding rocks.

I gasped, raw and sandpaper. Noisy. I sucked in gulps of air. The cop was going to come over and grab my wrist, arrest me. Shoot me. I was dead. Might as well breathe deep. Breathe deep. I enjoyed my last breaths as a free woman.

The concrete was cold and hard, dirt-covered. My white tshirt would be all rusty on the back. A shiver crawled up my back, rattled my head.

The cop. Where was the cop? What was taking him so long? He should be picking me up, dragging me to his car, reading me my rights.

Another shiver shook me. What did I do with my sweatshirt? I looked around but didn’t see it.

No cop. He hadn’t been going for me. . . . What about Zhíno?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

And now one from Carly Simon...

You're so strange
I bet you think this song is a donut
You're so strange
I bet you think this song is a jelly
Donut donut donut
I'll figure out the rest of the lyrics later. . .


Puesto que cinco por ciento de mis lectores hablan español como su primera lengua, realmente debo tener uno en cada veinte postes en español. Ha sido postes del thirty-eight (que no cuentan el desierto verde) puesto que fijé en español, así que estoy detrás de horario.

Por otra parte, sé hablar apenas español y estoy confiando en Babelfish de Altavista para traducir para mí, así que éste es probablemente absurdo a noventa y nueve por ciento de mis lectores. . .

Es demasiado malo yo no tiene cualquier cosa decir.


You better go vote today. Really. Go vote. Now.

If you live in Seattle and don't know who to vote for and don't want to think for yourself, you can copy my answers here, here, and here.

If you live in King County and don't know who to vote for and don't want to think for yourself, you can copy my answers here and here.

If you live in Washington State and don't know who to vote for and don't want to think for yourself, you can copy my answers here.

If you want to think for yourself, be careful out there!

Green Desert - Chapter 3.1.3 - Bhanar

“Sorry,” I said. “A dog.”

“You’re calling about a dog?” asked the woman.

“No! A dog was licking up the. . .” I couldn’t say it.

“The what? Why did you call? Is this some kind of prank?”

I shook my head. “No, no. Pí‘oro Kılímı fell unconscious and now he is having a. . .” What was the word in Sarıman?

“Is he having the same thing as the dog is licking up?”

What? “No! I do not know the word. Shake. Shiver. Vibrate.”


“Yes! That is it. Please send paramedics. The address is. . .”

Pí‘oro walked into view in the living room, grinning broadly like he was drugged out. Tamé followed, eyes big.

“What’s the address?” asked the dispatcher.

“Um. . .” I rubbed my eyes. Pí‘oro was still there, walking jauntily towards me. “Never mind. He is okay.”

As I hung up the phone, I heard her say, “I knew it was a prank call.”

“Are you okay, Mr. Kılímı?”

Sıpa‘ı ran past me, stopped by Pí‘oro with wagging tail.

“I’m great, son. Great. Never felt better. My good man Tamé said you were on the phone again.”

Monday, November 07, 2005

It was warmer in May

I went hiking on Sunday. Oyster Dome. Third time I've been there. Different route this time. All but the last quarter mile was new trail for me. I've posted a bunch of photos again...

I didn't lead the hike, which means that we started hiking at 11:20 instead of 9:something. (-: The days are short these days. It felt like the sun was setting for about half the trip. Dark underneath the trees. Difficult to see the trail in places. And no, I wasn't wearing sunglasses!


Part of the route was on the Pacific Northwest Trail, which goes from the Pacific Ocean to the Great Plains. Over 1000 miles. We didn't go quite that far.


This route came from the coast, as opposed to halfway up the east side of the hill like I've done before. Twice as much elevation gain, but less mileage. Plus, we got to see the bat caves! Well, no bats. And not really caves. Just gaps between boulders that fell off the cliff. Spooky drippy wet darkness, though.


When we got to the Oyster Dome lookout, the sun was below the horizon. Well, at least that's how it looked, since the clouds blocked the sun, but the ocean reflected it up at us.


It was cold and windy atop the cliff. We hid in the trees for lunch, putting on extra layers. Then hurry up back down the trail.

And here's a picture of me, halfway back down the hill, once the sun got below the cloud layer. I *do* let other people use my camera!

Kim found something interesting. . .
It's just a rotting piece of wood, actually.

See? It's sunny! It never rains in Seattle.

Green Desert - Chapter 3.1.2 - Fírí

I dropped to the ground, out of sight between the two cars. My lungs pounded. Someone had punched me in the gut. I couldn’t get enough air. Like last night, before the Kılímıs kidnapped me and drugged me and. . .

Had the cop seen me? The cruiser was in the driveway, probably parking behind the tow truck. He hadn’t been going fast. He hadn’t had the siren on.

Sweat dripped onto the cement below me. The world shrank, got dark. Tiny fireflies. I laid down, misjudging and hitting the ground hard with my shoulder. On my back, breathing quick but trying to slow it down.

The police. I had to hide. Too late to close the trunk. Or was it? Minivan and tow truck in the way.

Deep breaths. Very bright sunlight baking me on the hot ground––gravel on my right and concrete on my left. I turned my head right, looked between tires. No movement. No feet.

I lurched to my feet, grabbed the trunk, pulled it down as my knees gave out. I fell hard on my butt. The trunk clicked––latched but not all the way closed.

Over the thunder in my ears, a car door slammed. Move. I had to move. Crawl if I had to. Or else it was prison for me. My muscles didn’t listen. Crunch of feet on gravel getting louder.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Green Desert - Chapter 2

(back to Chapter 1)

2.1.1 - Bhanar
2.1.2 - Fírí
2.1.3 - Bhanar
2.1.4 - Fírí
2.1.5 - Bhanar
2.1.6 - Fírí
2.2.1 - Zhíno
2.2.2 - Bhanar
2.2.3 - Fírí
2.2.4 - Zhíno
2.2.5 - Bhanar
2.3.1 - Fírí
2.3.2 - Zhíno
2.3.3 - Bhanar
2.3.4 - Fírí
2.3.5 - Zhíno
2.3.6 - Vata
2.4.1 - Bhanar
2.4.2 - Fírí
2.4.3 - Zhíno
2.4.4 - Pí‘oro
2.4.5 - Vata
2.5.1 - Bhanar
2.5.2 - Tamé
2.5.3 - Fírí
2.5.4 - Zhíno
2.5.5 - Pí‘oro
2.5.6 - Vata
2.6.1 - Bhanar
2.6.2 - Tamé
2.6.3 - Fírí
2.6.4 - Zhíno
2.6.5 - Pí‘oro

on to Chapter 3!


And don't forget that today's the Holy Day of Nokí! So you better eat something to show Her that you care.

Green Desert - Chapter 3.1.1 - Bhanar

We had to practically sit Pí‘oro up to get him around the bend in the hallway, lifting heavy under his limp shoulders. Tamé tripped backwards and landed hard on the floor, his hat falling off. I thought for a second that he’d passed out, too, but he sat up quick, looked at Pí‘oro, met my eyes.

The towtruck driver said, “I think we should call the paramedics.”

Of course. I’d been so quick to follow Vata’s instructions that I forgot the basics. “Yes.”

I laid down the old man and just as I started to step around him, Pí‘oro spasmed. My head almost hit the ceiling. His whole body jerked back and forth, every muscle firing randomly.

“Do not let him choke on his tongue. Hold him down!” I turned down the hall, racing for the kitchen phone. Behind me, Pí‘oro coughed––his diaphragm muscle in the seizure, too.

I yanked the phone off the wall, pushed the ambulance preset with my thumb. It rang. I sort of spun slightly, anxiously waiting.

The dog was licking up the blood off the floor.

“Sıpa‘ı, no! Get out of that!” I leaned down and smacked him on the rump.

The long-haired lab jumped, glared at me, and wandered toward the screen door.

“Excuse me?” said the phone.

The Jedi are evil!

I bought the _Revenge of the Sith_ dvd last night and watched it and most of the special features. The typical gag reel (easter egg) was replaced with Yoda rapping. I want my gag reel!

But as I watched, I realized that Anakin turned to the dark side because the Jedi pushed him there. They didn't trust him. They shut him out. Palpatine, on the other hand, befriended Anakin. Palpatine showed respect to him.

And when it came time for the Jedi to arrest Palpatine for the crime of being a Sith Lord (Is that really on the books?), Mace Windu decided to assassinate Palpatine instead. Anakin argued (correctly) that Palpatine needed to stand trial, and stopped Windu from killing the Supreme Chancellor. True, Palpatine was an evil person, but the law is the only thing between us and anarchy. When American soldiers found Saddam Hussein in his hidey hole, did they shoot him dead? I think not.

The Jedi Council thought they were better than everybody else. They didn't trust the senate to fix problems diplomatically. The Jedi Council didn't trust democracy. The people of the galaxy elected Palpatine and this small group of Jedi elites were unhappy with that democratic action. Does this remind you of any elections in recent American history?

In the duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin, Obi-Wan declared that only Sith deal in absolutes. This is apparently his final rationale for deciding his friend is evil. The odd thing is, however, that all throughout the movie, it has been shown that the Jedi view the world in absolutes (Good vs. Evil), but the Sith in fact see and use every shade of gray. The Jedi are obviously so wrapped up in their dogma that they are unable to see its fallacies. Religious fundamentalism. It's a good thing they got wiped out before they resorted to terrorism.

Environmentalists kill trees

Yesterday my entire mail delivery consisted of nine political postcards. Nine. In one day. Including the primary, I've probably received fifty of these postcards this year. And these aren't tiny 3x5 cards. Most of them are 8x11 sized, glossy color.

Since I live in Seattle, almost every single one of these is sent out by a liberal Democrat, who undoubtedly is a devout Environmentalist. I'd just like them to all know that I didn't recycle their junk mail. It went straight into the garbage. Ha!

On a related note, why does every Ron Sims postcard read like a David Irons postcard until I get to the punchline? They list all of Irons's ideas and proposals and they all sound like good ideas to me! But then they say to vote for Sims. I don't get it. . .

Green Desert - Chapter 2.6.5 - Pí‘oro

Lights swirled at the far end of infinity. Red, brown, green, teal, blue, purple, and back to red. Pinpricks against the void growing to huge swaths of color. Green, yellow, pink; white, turquoise, teal. Ultraviolet, antiyellow, ultrayellow, green.

Finally they coalesced, forming sun-drenched dirt close to my one functioning eye. I couldn’t move. My wings were broken, my feathers torn, my talons snapped. Above me, a wolf snarled, saliva dripping from its fangs. It sniffed, growled deep in its throat, and lunged.

I braced for the teeth in my flesh, for the snap of my spine, for the final flicker of pain that was my sorry life. but the wolf paused, gazed deep into my eye.

A flash. A fallen eagle beneath my snout, unprotected, an easy kill.

And back to my nearly lifeless body, waiting for the final moment, waiting to die.

The wolf lifted a paw, placed it on my exposed chest. A jolt. My heart pounded, my wings twitched. Flesh rewove itself, bones knitted, skin and fingers grew. Life surged throughout my body.

I flexed my muscles, flapped my wings, stood up and looked the wolf in his huge yellow eyes. I nodded my unending gratitude. The wolf bowed his head, abashed. I flapped my wings, hopped forward, and launched myself back into existence.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Moisture Farm d'Owen

Every time I hear "Hotel California," these are the lyrics running through my head:

On a hot desert planet
I was not quite sure where
Warm smell of bantha fodder
Rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance
I saw a flickering light
I threw my arms up and I yelled real loud
A Sandcrawler was in sight!

There I was in the transport
I hit my head with a bonk
And I was thinking to myself
"Why does that droid always say 'Gonk'?"
Then they opened the hatchway
And they showed me the way
There were two guys buying me out there
I thought I heard one say. . .

Welcome to the Moisture Farm d'Owen
Such a boring place, wish I was in space
Plenty of room at the Moisture Farm d'Owen
Any time of year, it's hot as hell out here

Luke's mind's Academy-twisted
He's got the Anchorhead trends
He's got a lot of pretty, pretty droids
That he calls friends
How they work in the courtyard
Constantly sweat
Luke wants to remember
Owen wants to forget

So I called up my master
"Artoo ran off this time"
"The chances of finding that droid
are one in sixty-nine"
And still those Tuskens keep raiding
From far away
Killing Jawas in the middle of the night
Hear the Stormtroopers say. . .

Welcome to the Moisture Farm d'Owen
Such a destroyed place, such a destroyed face
There's smoke rising up
From the Moisture Farm d'Owen
What a bad surprise, look into his eyes

Luke came back from the homestead
He was looking kind of glum
And Ben said "You'd've been killed too, Luke
There's nothing you could have done"
And in the Mos Eisley Cantina
I got kicked out from the feast
That's where they met up with Han Solo
And a big, hairy oaf of a beast

Last thing I remember
I was hiding behind a door
I had to find a passage back
To Docking Bay 94
"Blip blip," said the spy man
They were programmed to receive
They started shooting at our smuggler's ship
And we could barely leave.

Green Desert - Chapter 2.6.4 - Zhíno

A wave lifted me, carried me on its crest. The earth shook and fire roared around me. A hurricane flowed through my body, engulfing me with strength. Electricity zapped through every fiber of my being. Surging power focused around my right shoulder, my left wrist. Invigorating ecstasy emanated from every ounce of my existence. My left arm pulsated with energy, hurting almost. A blinding pleasure so great it became pain. I could do anything. I could do everything. I could touch the sun. I could move planets. I could bring my parents back.

The throbbing energy dimmed, but echoed in my soul. On the yellow beach before me, a carapace sat, soft waves tugging it to and fro. An empty shell of a giant crustacean, only tiny strings of flesh dangling from its joints. Its eye stalks were shriveled and desiccated.

I raised my foot to crush it, to grind it to dust, to extinguish all that remained of its life––because I could. But then I was that crab, squinting with one passable eye up at a gargantuan elephant foot, thick and wrinkled and gray, just hovering over my life.

I stepped back, lowered my foot well clear. The crab watched me, but his eyestalk quivered, curled downward. I placed the end of my trunk on the cold shell and willed energy, blood, flesh, life into the poor creature, my brother, myself.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


I've come across a neato site of comics and drawings. . .

It's called That's his cartoon. Apparently I think potatoes are very funny. . .

Green Desert - Chapter 2.6.3 - Fírí

The garage door stood open. The towtruck sat behind a white minivan and a shiny tan sedan. But those cars would be moved in a minute or two. Evidence. What evidence did we have in the car? My suitcase I already got. But Zhíno’s shit.

My heart pounded. The police would show up any second and the gangsters just after them. I yanked open the back door and threw out Zhíno’s duffel bags, bits of window glass falling off and tinkling on the cold cement floor. The bags landed on a stack of old newspapers, tipping it over and spewing papers across the floor, under the car.

The trunk.

I opened it, put the keys back in my pocket, still in the shadow from the hot midday sun. I sweated like a pig. Cardboard boxes, closed, full of guns and explosives and Píníno-knows-what. If Gogzhuè didn’t get it today, we were dead. They were fucking going to kill us.

I heaved out the first rattling box, practically throwing out my back, and dumped it against the wall beside the garbage cans. The next box wasn’t any lighter. My hands shook. The police or the thugs would show up any second now. And then I was a dead woman.

Another fifty-pound box, on top the other two. And a fourth. The heat seeped into my pores, draining me, sapping my strength. My tshirt soaked through. My sweatpants stuck to me. A fifth box. Three more. My chest heaved. I wiped my brow with the back of my hand. I grabbed the next box, lifted.

Out of the corner of my eye, flashing green and red lights.


In case any of you bothered to watch The Amazing Race last night, they went to Costa Rica. The episode wasn't very good by TAR standards, due to complete bunching halfway through the leg and a Philimination caused by a Random task. The site of that poorly-designed bunching was Poas Volcano, a place I've been!

I recognized the crater itself; I recognized the paved path leading to the lookout; I recognized the gift shop. The path that they were struggling with running on was very flat and only a couple hundred yards long. Kinda high elevation, I suppose. I bought a notebook made of banana paper there. . .

The entrance to the park had the flags of Costa Rica and Taiwan flying side-by-side. I don't think Costa Rica has very good relations with Beijing.

The overlook was rather crowded when we were there. The racers didn't really have any competition for viewing when they were there. Of course, they barely glanced out as they grabbed their clues.

Straight ahead and down is this green lake at the bottom of a smoking crater. My Costa Rican professor described the volcano as an old man who sat on his porch and smoked cigars all day, every day, for the tourists to take pictures of him.

Big crater. Too big for my point-and-shoot camera. Well, it would be too big for my digital camera, too. Actually, disposable cameras have good wide-angle lenses. . .

Green Desert - Chapter 2.6.2 - Tamé

In a blue hallway, the foreign kid walked, Pí‘oro lay, Vata stood, and a brown dog sat.

“Bring him to the chapel. Follow me.”

I shook my head. “What chapel?” The nearest chapel was in town. Pí‘oro looked dead. Shouldn’t we be calling the paramedics?

“Take an arm,” the kid ordered in his thick accent.

Vata disappeared around the corner, the dog walking after her. Vata apparently knew what she was doing. I lowered myself to one knee beside the kid and grabbed Pí‘oro’s limp arm. He had a pulse.

The foreign kid let go.

“What are you doing?” Was he joking around or just stupid?

He shouted down the hall, “Sıpa‘ı, come here!” and hit his leg.

“The dog ain’t going to be able to help us, son. Grab his arm!”

Sıpa‘ı trotted into sight, wagging its tail. The dark-haired boy sighed happily.

“Let’s do this if we’re doing this, kid.”

But the foreigner just scratched the dog behind its ears, muttered something in his foreign language, and pushed the dog past me to the living room with a slap on its flanks.


Finally he grabbed the large man’s other arm and we started dragging Pí‘oro down the hall, his waist still on the carpet. The hall turned a corner and we had to flip Pí‘oro over and sit him up and bend him around. This was insane. The kid was insane. Vata was insane. I should call the paramedics.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Green Desert - Chapter 2.6.1 - Bhanar

Vata used a word I didn’t know.

“To the what?”

She pointed down the hall. “To the ––” She repeated the strange word. Temple? Sanctuary? Something like that, but it still didn’t make any sense. “Get Tamé.” The towtruck driver.

I hopped over Sıpa‘ı and hurried past the frantic old woman. Hopefully Tamé would understand her. Pí‘oro seemed fine, though––as fine as you can be for having suddenly collapsed in a coma. I yanked open the door. Tamé wasn’t there. “Tamé!” I stuck my head outside into the sunlight. He was halfway back to the gravel. “Tamé. Come here. Pí‘oro is ill.”

The man in overalls frowned and jogged back to me. I held the door for him and led him inside.

Vata had walked past her husband. “Bring him to the sanctuary. Follow me.”

Tamé stopped short. “What sanctuary?”

I squatted down beside Pí‘oro and grabbed him near the shoulder. “Take an arm.” The sanctuary must be where she took Zhíno. The surgery room. Where they slaughtered their pets.

Just as Tamé took Pí‘oro’s other arm, I let go.

“What are you doing?”

I twisted around. Vata was already out of sight, the dog with her. “Sıpa‘ı, come here!” I slapped my thigh twice. Had she already got him? Killed him? I wasn’t about to help the Kılímıs if it meant killing Sıpa‘ı, that was for Névazhíno-damned sure.