The last time I had to carry my sleeping daughter and run to the bomb shelter with her waking up in my arms to the sound of sirens, she was about one year old. She's almost two and a half now, and very advanced for her age, and there's a rockets alert once again. The rockets are getting closer and closer to my area and the siren may go off at any time.
I have no doubt that this time she will understand that something is terribly wrong if I have to do it again, no matter how playful I'll try to make it seem. Waking up to that horrible sound with me carrying her out of bed and us running to that terrible, cramped up space... I'm so fearful that it will traumatize her, that it will stay with her... Not to mention if, god forbid, a rocket would actually hit our building...
She is sleeping now. And I just want her to sleep through the night. And have a peaceful, happy day tomorrow at kindergarten - as she, or any other kid on this planet deserves.
But more than anything, as naive as it sounds, what I really want is that no one, on both sides of this conflict, or anywhere else in the world, would have to experience this any longer...
I just want all this madness to fuckin' end already, once and for all.
While the green elements may not be as dominant as I hoped they'd be, they did inspire this photo. And I do find the composition somewhat pleasing...
...So "Green" it is, then!
They say there's nothing better for one's health and well-being than eating healthy food, and I must agree. My second husband Ezra was probably the healthiest son of a gun that has ever walked this Earth. And I do feel exceptionally marvelous since I ate him.
Inspired by Metaphorest's sweet ol' Barbara Stevens (probably 10-15 years in the future, though)
(...And my sincerest apologies, Sarah)
Got my payment via wire transfer nearly 2 weeks ago. Wanted to wait for the papery thing... and it finally arrived today! Yay! (Not the photo/s I thought I'd be posting when I got it, but, well, this is what went on when I opened the envelope...).
So! Without further ado...
My work being included in the Tiny Book series was such an incredible highlight for me. Getting paid for it is just a beautiful, amazing, verging-on-ridiculous bonus. I feel so stupendously lucky.
Thank you, RegularJOE, wirrow & hitRECord. I'm truly chuffed beyond words. <3
INT. APARTMENT - NIGHT
The door to a dark apartment opens, and in walks HAROLD, a 50-something year-old distinguished man, wearing an elegant suit and a weary look on his face. He closes the door and turns on a dim light which reveals a luxurious, spacious high-rise apartment, with a wall-sized window overlooking Manhattan.
Harold throws his keys on a glass table nested by the gigantic window and takes a few steps further towards a wooden bar hosting a remarkable variety of alcoholic beverages. He grabs a bottle of whiskey and a glass and pours himself a drink. As he corks the bottle and prepares to take a sip, he hears a noise behinds him. It sounds like a gun being cocked. Harold pauses for a moment before he slowly turns around.
In front of him, sitting on a big white sofa, he sees A MAN in his mid thirties. The dim lighting makes it hard for him to see the man well, but sure enough, there is a gun in his hand.
Harold looks at the man for a moment and then takes a big sip of his drink. Once he's done, he makes a gesture, as if to ask the sitting man if he wants a drink as well. The man smiles and raises his other hand to reveal a glass, letting Harold know that he's already helped himself to one.
Harold keeps looking at him until he finally speaks.
So… may I ask?
By all means. What would you like to know?
Who was it that has… enlisted your services?
Ah. That, I'm afraid, is a secret.
Well, I ain't gonna be revealing any secrets where I'm going, am I?
That's true. But still, I believe they wouldn't have wanted
you to know it was them.
Harold takes another brief, silent look at the man.
Well, how much are "they" paying you?
Enough for me to do as they ask.
And what if I offered to double it?
Would you be willing to finish your drink… leisurely,
and just… leave?
I can't do that, Harold. May I… call you Harold?
Harold looks at the man with a stern expression, which gradually changes into a smile.
Harold points at the couch opposing the white sofa.
It's your house.
Harold keeps smiling as he walks towards the couch and takes a seat. He takes another large sip of his drink before he speaks again.
I do assume, though, that there is something that you want…
something… I could offer you. I mean…
if you didn't want anything you would have already
done the deed, wouldn't you?
The man takes a sip of his drink as well.
Name your price.
The man lowers his glass.
You can be acutely perceptive when you choose to be,
can't ya, old timer?
You do, in fact, have something that I want.
And I'd be willing to make a trade.
Oh? Well… What…
I am prepared to bend the rules ever so slightly,
and trade my secret… for one of yours.
Harold looks the man, trying to figure him out.
You would… tell me who sent you here
if I told you a secret?
Any secret, or a specific one?
That sure makes it sound like you're
a man of many secrets, Harold.
A little smile sneaks in on the man's face once again. Before Harold is able to respond, the man speaks again.
A very specific one.
Harold stares at him, thinking.
And that's as far as our negotiations are going to go?
I am a reasonably wealthy man, you know. How about that…
I'll tell you what you want to know, and quadruple what you were paid.
Hell, son, I'll add a million on top of that.
You don't need to tell me who sent you.
You just… go, and I vanish. Off the grid.
You can tell whoever it was that wanted me gone
that you have thrown my body in the river.
They'll never know. I assure you of that.
I will be out of sight, and you will never have to work again.
The man nods lightly while Harold is speaking, and breathes out air as he finishes, seemingly considering the elder man's offer.
Quadruple, plus a million you say…
And a bottle of my finest Champagne.
Harold smiles. The man still appears to be thinking.
You are a shrewd businessman, I'll give you that, Harold.
Remind me… what is it that you do again?
Harold stops. The man smiles.
Did you, by the way…
stop working once you realized you had enough money?
What… me? No, but…
And what about secrets?
What do you…
Did you decide to just quit it all when they became too much to handle?
What do you have more by now, Harold? Money, or secrets?
The man slightly raises his gun, making it more visible and present.
I'm going to ask you my question now. The answer you
give me will determine the next set of actions.
Well… what… go on then...
The man leans forward.
What does it feel like, to kill people for money?
Harold keeps staring at the man and then bursts into laughter, looking ever more confused.
Share this one secret with me, Harold. How do you do it?
Harold still has a smile of confusion on his face.
I'm sure that this is… a truly… wonderful,
excellent joke, but I don't get it.
How can you kill so many people, random people, for money?
It's not a complicated question.
Well, perhaps you can tell me. I mean…
Harold points at the man's gun and snickers nervously.
You know who you are, Harold.
Who are you? Why am I here?
Harold's smile slowly fades away. He looks at the man, blankly.
Who sent me here, Harold?
Who am I? WHO AM I?!
The now-evidently-livid man's questions are followed by a deafening silence. Harold keeps staring at him; his facial expression rapidly changes into one of an apparent, sudden realization, and a conclusive, yet peaceful acceptance.
Now, how do you kill people for money?!
Harold looks straight into the man's eyes.
The man swiftly raises the gun, points it at Harold and fires.
* * * * *
A slow dolly shot, starting at a bullet hole in the wall-sized window, eventually ends up at the couch, where we see Harold's dead body, with a bullet hole in his head, and a gun in his hand.
This is such a random story…
When I was in the fifth grade I was a very shy boy, at least when it came to girls. And, as I reckon quite a few shy boys have along the years, I had a major – secret - crush on the most beautiful girl in my class (as major as a fifth grader's crush can be). My only confidant re: that matter was my best friend at the time.
One Friday evening, at a schoolmate's party, my friend and I were hanging out in the garden when his newly-announced girlfriend joined us, coupled with that winsome secret crush of mine. I don't remember what initiated it, or if anything even did - just that the sole purpose was to embarrass me - but at some point my friend looked at me, then at that girl, smirked, and announced, out of the blue, that I "wanted her to be my girlfriend" (and then burst into evil laughter). Not only did the SOB reveal my big secret, but of all people… he revealed it to HER.
This could have easily been one of the top 3 most embarrassing moments of my life up to that point, if she didn't just look at me, smiled, and - to both his and my utter surprise - said "okay".
…And she did. Become my girlfriend. For the next two years.
And it was really beautiful. Innocently beautiful. During our time together, I never stopped to think about such things as status or what it meant for coy little me to be the boyfriend of the most beautiful girl in class. I just plainly enjoyed spending all that time with her. And that's pretty much what we did, spent a whole lot of time together. It was all very innocent, but so very sweet.
The most moving gesture I can recall was when she one day arrived at my home, handed me a sealed letter, told me to open it when I'm alone, "cos it's a secret", and walked away. I rushed to my room, closed the door and unsealed the envelope. The letter had a big "I love you" written on it and it was all covered with hearts in different colors. And it was a scented letter… which smelled almost as lovely as her. That was the first time a girl told me (or, well, wrote) that she loved me. I still remember exactly how that letter looked, and smelled.
It was a really lovely period… all thanks to a secret being exposed (...maliciously). :)
Random, I know. I wasn't even sure what made me think of it after all these years until I now saw Mcgettigan's "First love" tiny memoir prompt word and figured it must have got stuck in my head when I first came across it. Can't post it there 'cos it's way too long, but… I guess it fits with the "secret" and "school" themes (not necessarily usable, but at least fits :p)
~ Hollywood presents ~
Da Vinci's Mona Lisa
She's back, and this time - she smiles even broader
Painted by Renny Harlin
Coming soon to a museum near you
"In which goofball Uncle Dave comes to visit"
The Invisibles' home's entrance hall, static frame, no sound. The front door opens abruptly, swiftly followed by a sitcom's "beloved-character-makes-an-entrance" frantic audience cheering sound (though we, obviously, see no one). The excited cheering, mixed with increasing sounds of laughter (and at some point an extremely amused audience member's barely audible "oh no, he didn't" cry), goes on for about 6-7 seconds, when it is cut abruptly by the theme music and end title.
Comprising of increasingly faster shots, divided by a black screen, we see extreme close-ups of a man and a woman, both in their early thirties, both good looking. The only sound is a heartbeat.
We see the woman's cherry-red lips, she's half-smiling. We see the man's eyes, they're slightly rising to look straight at the camera. We see the woman's palm moving her hair behind her ear. We see the man faintly untying his tie. We see the woman's eyes, they're initially shut; she opens them quickly, staring at the camera. We see the man wetting his lips.
A distant ambience of people talking and cutlery rattling can be heard now. The heartbeat's volume is rising.
We see the man's leg, it's underneath a table, it moves forward to lightly touch the woman's leg opposing him.
The ambiance becomes more and more audible, its volume increases in sync with the increasing volume of the heartbeat.
We see the woman's hand on the table, reaching out and slightly touching the man's palm.
With no black screen before it and sans the heartbeat, a very short 2-shot reveals the couple sitting opposing each other at a restaurant, staring at each other's eyes. A waiter promptly arrives, places a dish between them and flambés it. The flame is astonishingly high and it soon fills the entire screen. The only sound audible now is the sound of a fire. "RE: Fire" appears on the flame.
When I was 18 I joined the army, as one does in my country.
The evening before I began my service, the weirdest thing happened. My girlfriend and I were on our way home from our last date prior to me heading off to boot camp when suddenly, I saw everything twice. I shut my eyes, believing that it was bound to go away, but it didn't. I assumed it might have been due to stress and thought I'd probably sleep it off.
The next morning I awoke and still, two of everything.
I got to the induction center, underwent the stages of becoming an official soldier and continued to boot camp, the whole time seeing double. I became increasingly worried, but still hoped that I'd wake the next day to find everything is back to normal. That didn't happen.
On the second day, I told my commander about my condition and asked to see a doctor. He laughed it off, and my request was denied. I went from 4am 'til night, through the physical (and mental) stress of the rigid boot camp routine, which included long, quick walks on bumpy surfaces with full bags on our backs, a nightly run - again, with those bags on our backs - and firing firearms at a range, all the while being completely disoriented. I eventually had to ask fellow soldiers to hold my hand and guide me during those lengthy walks and late-night sprint (and do my darn best at aiming when it got to firing those firearms).
On the third day I practically begged to see a doctor and was finally granted permission. The base's doctor first gave me a funny look, then told me that "yeah, it happens to many soldiers due to the lack of sleep" and that "it'll wear off soon enough", not even making a slight effort to try and sound convincing. He then smiled and shouted "next!".
The days that followed were more of the same. Nonstop exercises, walks, runs, duties, humiliations and whatnot, with me having double vision throughout it all and my condition being dismissed. One of those nights I ended up crying (for the first time since I was a kid) out of frustration, and in fear that this was something that had to be treated urgently or it could become permanent, if it hadn't already. My superiors thought I was lying, and we weren't supposed to have time-off for two whole weeks.
Luckily for me, though, for some reason they've changed their minds on the fifth day and announced that we were going home for the weekend the next day.
When I got home on Friday I went straight to the doctor – something that I wasn't allowed to do. We were only supposed to go to military-approved doctors, and arrange for it to happen through our superiors. But my mother worked in a hospital and was able to arrange for an expert professor of neurology to see me "off the grid". And I was so incredibly lucky that she did.
After a series of tests I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune neuromuscular disease named Myasthenia gravis. I was told that it's a permanent condition, that - at that stage - could be treated with pills, that I would have to take for the rest of my life. Stress may have been a catalyst, though it could have also just been the darnest coincidence that it broke a day before my service began, but either way, it was an authentic, serious illness, that was bound to surface at some point and that, as I suspected, required urgent medical care, especially since fatigue and spending hours in the heat – two elements that I've experienced in boot camp, in abundance – are factors that could have worsen it drastically.
The condition was regarded as being so grave, that, to my surprise, I was instantly notified that I couldn't serve in the army and had to be discharged immediately. I was also told that I was very lucky that I was able to see a non-military doctor, since army doctors are "always inclined to believe that soldiers are lying".
The pills had a relatively rapid effect, and (even though I was extremely dispirited by my brief encounter with the way the army works) a couple of days after I regained my normal eyesight, I decided that I was going to go back and do my service, as a volunteer.
I still had to go back to boot camp to return my equipment to the quartermaster. When I did, the base commander asked to see me. I was very intrigued to hear what he had to say. When I walked into his headquarters, all he told me was - "if you managed to cheat your way out of service, then kudos, well played" - very-close-to-literally adding insult to injury.
And that was my first (double) impression of the army.
I went on to do a 2-year voluntary service, despite it all.
...A late night raw ramble. May be revised later on.