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Two customers are waiting to be helped in a small shop.


SECOND IN LINE: Excuse me?


FIRST IN LINE: (silence)


SECOND IN LINE: Excuse me?!?!


FIRST IN LINE: I... sorry, I don't work here.


SECOND IN LINE: Are you Bo Jack?


FIRST IN LINE: (anxiously looks for help)


SECOND IN LINE: I'm speaking to you ma'am, are you Bo Jack?


FIRST IN LINE: No, I'm not... I'm actually a... male. A man. I'm not Bo Jack, I'm waiting to be helped.


SECOND IN LINE: (cutting him off) Hello! Is somebody here?!


POP: (emerging) Hello, yes! I'm Pop, may I help you with something?


SECOND IN LINE: Finally! A little service! Actually, this mailman was here first.


FIRST IN LINE: I'm not...


POP: Hello good sir, welcome to Bo Jack's Lollipop Repair, may I help you with something?


FIRST IN LINE: I'm not a... mailman. I'm just a... regular... man.


POP: Isn't that wonderful!


SECOND IN LINE: He told me he was a mailman.


FIRST IN LINE: I didn't mean... I was just trying to say that I'm not a... you called me ma'am so I...


POP: Can't I help you with something, sir?


FIRST IN LINE: Yes of course, sorry. I'm a producer for the midday show on channel 7. From time to time we...


SECOND IN LINE: Is this an exposé on a rat problem?


FIRST IN LINE: Well no, this... rat problem?


POP: We don't have a rat problem.


SECOND IN LINE: Last week you did an exposé on the rat problem at Shaky's Science Center.


FIRST IN LINE: Oh, you saw that! That was one of my segments.


SECOND IN LINE: It was awful. (to Pop) It turned out there wasn't a rat problem, those were Shaky's own pet rats. He uses them to demonstrate science.


POP: Oh dear.


FIRST IN LINE: There was a lot of... I'm not so sure... I'm still working on getting to the bottom of that incident.


SECOND IN LINE: Oh you're at the bottom all right. How much longer is this going to be?


FIRST IN LINE: Excuse me?


POP: (to Customer 2) Please bear with us just one more moment. (to Customer 1) Sir, I'm afraid that Bo Jack isn't available, he was recently hospitalized due to a frightful welding accident.


FIRST IN LINE: Oh dear, I'm so sorry! Was he... well... was it work-related?


SECOND IN LINE: Are you asking if he was welding a lollipop?!


POP: Oh sir! No! I assure you, we use only the finest glues in our repair process!


FIRST IN LINE: Oh thank goodness! For a moment I... did you say that you use glue to repair these lollipops?


POP: Oh yes sir! It's a powerful industrial adhesive, guaranteed to make the lollipop stronger than ever!


FIRST IN LINE: Really? Is this industrial adhesive safe to eat?


POP: Oh, sir! We strongly recommend against attempting to eat a lollipop once it has been through the repair process. A repaired lollipop is meant to be a keepsake, a memento, a souvenir if you will!


FIRST IN LINE: Oh I see. Of course! Ha,now that you say it, it seems ridiculous... repairing it and then eating it. (turns to Customer 2) I guess I'd have to be a real... horse's ass, wouldn't I?


SECOND IN LINE: (sheepishly opens her mouth) Not necessarily.


 

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And So It Begins

First there was a Ringmaster, and before anything else he set up a tent with three rings.  The rings were empty, and the Ringmaster strolled quietly throughout the tent.  The Ringmaster went to the first ring, and in the first ring he evoked wonder, and the wonder made a distinction between the unordinary and the ordinary.  The Ringmaster found this sense of wonder to be delightful, and he pondered this as he stepped out of the first ring.

The Ringmaster went to the second ring, and in the second ring he evoked amusement, and the amusement made a distinction between the funny and the serious.  The Ringmaster found this sense of amusement to be enjoyable, and he pondered this as he stepped out of the second ring.

The Ringmaster went to the third ring, and in the third ring he didn’t evoke anything in particular, but he did reflect on the sense of wonder he had in the first ring and the sense of amusement he had in the second ring.  As he reflected on these things he was inspired by the unordinary and the funny, and this gave him a new perspective on the ordinary and the serious.  His head was filled with all sorts of ideas when he stepped out of the third ring.

The First Ring

The Ringmaster found himself swimming and soaring inside his own head, afloat and adrift in the ideas that were coming to life in his mind.  He was startled into an awareness that he was not alone, but he was reluctant to leave the cocoon of his thoughts.  Eventually his awareness grew irresistible, and he began remembering his own form, and then suddenly he plummeted back into his body.  He opened his eyes and saw his brother dancing about, and he remembered what he wanted to tell him.

“I just had the dream again where I was flying.  I never feel more confident than I do when I have that dream.  Is there a way that we could recreate that here?” said the Ringmaster.

The Ringmaster’s brother nodded and said, “I can’t remember the last time I met anyone this side of the angels who was even willing to fly.  If you could find someone who is willing, I could give them the ability.”

The Ringmaster pointed to the first ring and asked, “Could we do it over there?”

The Ringmaster’s brother grinned and said, “I’ll go get the rope.”

The Ringmaster started out by demonstrating to his brother all of the maneuvers he had dreamed up while flying among the ideas in his head.  At the same time his brother was hurling great lengths of rope into the air to get a good look at it from that perspective.  As their experiments began to take shape, the shape that they gradually took was that of a trapeze.  The Ringmaster and his brother examined the trapeze that they had created, and it sparked in them a sense of wonder.  

As the trapeze swung toward the Ringmaster, he became aware that the movement was as graceful as it was powerful.  It was an angelic display of beauty, and in awe he called out, “Who are you?”

She didn’t know what had happened or how she got there.  A faint feeling of recognition flashed across her face when she thought she saw a lion out of the corner of her eye, but she decided that it must have been an apparition or a trick of light.  It took her a second to realize that she was flying, and a second more to realize that someone was speaking to her.  Without thinking she said, “I am your acrobat,” as she waved to The Ringmaster.

The Ringmaster clapped his hands, and the acrobat recognized instantly that this was her first memory of music. She climbed down to the ground with the same natural ease that she had when she was maneuvering in the air.  The trapeze continued stirring overhead as other acrobats arrived in the same manner after her.  The Ringmaster approached her and began telling her how wonderful it was to have all of them there in the first ring of the circus.  The ring was bustling in such a way that it seemed it had always been bustling, and so it was that the ring took on a life of its own.

The Second Ring

The Ringmaster was distracted as he approached the second of his three rings.  Though he was intending to work on plans for the second ring, he couldn’t help noticing that his brother was involved in some kind of commotion just outside the tent.  The Ringmaster went outside and saw that his brother was yelling and throwing things, but he didn’t seem to be particularly angry.

The Ringmaster approached his brother and said, “What is going on out here?”

His brother picked up a tomato, threw it at a rowdy crowd of people, and said, “Shenanigans!  This group of ne’er-do-wells was wandering by, and when I asked what they were doing they challenged me to a snowball fight.”

The Ringmaster took a moment to scan the area and said, “I can’t help noticing that there’s no snow anywhere in sight.”

His brother jumped out of the way of a rapidly approaching clod of dirt and said, “It’s somewhat unorthodox, there’s no question about that.  But this doesn’t seem like a group that would let that kind of detail interfere with the progress of a good snowball fight.”

The Ringmaster laughed as the so-called snowball fight continued, and he began hatching a new idea as he watched.  He approached the group of ne’er-do-wells and said, “I can see that you are a harmless bunch of characters, and most likely a misunderstood bunch at that.  But I also know that this type of behavior is usually frowned upon in the normal course of things.  Have you ever thought of looking for a place where things don’t always follow such a normal course?”

The group of ne’er-do-wells liked the Ringmaster’s idea, and they responded very enthusiastically to his premise.  At that point he said, “I want to show you a place that I think would be perfect for you.  If you want to see it, just follow me!”

The Ringmaster led the group of ne’er-do-wells into his tent and introduced them to the second ring of his three-ring circus.  As they entered the second ring and resumed their usual antics, they discovered that the Ringmaster’s brother was an expert at designing projectiles, crafting mallets, and inventing props like they had never imagined before.  The group of ne’er-do-wells told the Ringmaster that they were now his clowns, and he told them that they were already creating a wonderful sense of amusement.  Even as he turned to leave the second ring, the Ringmaster laughed at the thought of the gags and the stunts that the clowns had already perfected.

The Third Ring

A desolate silence was sweeping and swirling around outside the tent.  Occasionally the dull rumble of pandemonium would roll in from beyond the horizon, echoing with the chaos that was swimming and soaring in every direction.  The Ringmaster was discouraged to see that everything outside seemed so hopeless and dark.  Doubts about whether his circus was worthwhile crept into his restless and wandering mind.  His acrobats and his clowns noticed his distraction, and so they too started to feel a little distracted.  They watched anxiously as the Ringmaster walked with slow, heavy steps to the third ring of his circus.

Once inside the third ring he dropped to one knee, lowered himself to a seated position, and then reclined slowly back onto the ground.  He folded his hands across his chest and let his eyes wander slowly about the tent.  As the Ringmaster remembered everything that he and his brother had done to create the trapeze and usher in the acrobats and wrangle the clowns, he started to feel as though his whole body might be floating ever so slightly above the ground.  He found himself rolling gently down a hill, and he giggled as he turned and bounced and turned and bounced on the lush, grassy slope.  He began imagining the clowns running ahead of him, racing like horses to keep from being steamrolled by their leader.  He imagined the acrobats flying overhead and making nosedives directly at him, and then pulling up just before colliding with him.  The acrobats would buzz the heads of the clowns, causing them to dive for cover and then flip quickly back onto their nimble feet.  Gradually the clowns mustered the courage to ignore the acrobats buzzing overhead.  So the acrobats began grasping the heads of the clowns firmly in their hands, and then as they soared back up into the clouds the necks of the befuddled clowns stretched out into long rubbery lines from their heads down to their bodies that were still running down the hill.  As they reached the clouds, the acrobats would then release the clowns’ heads and watch as they were reeled back in to rejoin the bodies that continued to run as though they were oblivious to the plights of the exasperated clown heads that were plummeting back toward them.

The Ringmaster awoke suddenly from his dream to the sound of trumpets blaring throughout his tent.  He jumped to his feet and began spinning in every direction, looking frantically for the source of this stupendous sound.  But the trumpeting had stopped, and there were no trumpets to be found anywhere in the tent.  He noticed his brother putting up torches throughout the tent, and he ran over to see if he knew what had happened.

“I was just having a dream like I’d never had before, and the last thing I remember hearing sounded like trumpets.  Did you hear those trumpets just now?” said the Ringmaster.

“I did hear them, but I don’t think it came from any trumpets,” said the Ringmaster’s brother.  “I’ve been hearing more and more music like that since I started setting up these torches.”

The Ringmaster began walking slowly from torch to torch, listening carefully for the sound of music.  He said, “It feels almost like the music is running in circles around these torches, but the torches aren’t making any of the music.”

A faint feeling of recognition flashed across the Ringmaster’s face when he thought he saw a lion out of the corner of his eye, but when he turned there was no lion in sight.  A torch flickered on the opposite side of him, and for a moment he thought he saw a great elephant illuminated in its flame.  These flashes triggered the memory of familiar voices of trumpeting elephants, purring lions, whistling monkeys, and thundering horses.  He recognized that this was the music he was hearing now.  He turned to his brother and said, “This tent is full of invisible musicians.  There’s an orchestra of ghostly animals performing a symphony of their very own.”

His brother nodded and said, “I think this band of ghosts is drawn to the flames of these torches.  When I look at you standing in the center of the ring surrounded by all of these torches, I can see them dancing from flame to flame out of the corners of my eyes.”

The Ringmaster swayed confidently within the third ring of his circus as he began conducting his newly found band.  The animals followed their new leader through the melodies and rhythms that they discovered together as they each performed their parts.  The form of each animal became clearer as the parts that they performed became more unified.

The band continued to play on through the night.  The animals no longer seemed to be ghosts at all.  The acrobats continued to fill the first ring with wonder, and the clowns continued to fill the second ring with amusement.  The Ringmaster was inspired to see what his circus was becoming, and he leaped out of the third ring as he ran to share some more new ideas with his brother.


 

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Even after uploading "The Anglerpod Waits and Waits", and getting lots of great feedback, I continued having ideas for that video. So I've revisited the beginning bit and the ending bit a bit, filling in empty spots and putting a new shine on it.

If you're interested in remixing this, the higher resolution can be found here:

http://www.hitrecord.org/records/228331
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We had some discussion last week about RECording some readings of this story about these two silly best friends, and it looks like I'm the first to upload one. Who's next?
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Here's what I've been working on this week for the RE:Cities collaboration. I found a story weaving through the things some of you were saying about cities, and I put various clips of city noise under it, and various clips of city video over it.
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This is just a story about a guy thinking out loud about forming a family band.

So that's it, then. We'll go to the five-and-dime, buy matching vests and top hats, and form a family band. We'll take to the road in my four-door sedan and shlep around whatever instruments we can keep strapped on top. Maybe I could even invent a new strap designed especially for family bands, and that will help support us financially while we're in the "learning how to play musical instruments" phase. We'll only play in cities that end in -ville or -anooga, and make records that can only be purchased at truck stops. In between songs we can take turns telling stories about my childhood memories. In fact, that'll be the most important part of the show. I'll tell the story about the lighting factory that was across the street from the drive-in theater in my hometown, and how I wasn't familiar with the word "lighting", so I just imagined that the sign was misspelled, and so I thought that it was actually a factory that made lightning. And I was so worried about the lightning factory being so close to the drive-in theater, because what would happen if some of the lightning escaped from the factory and struck the big drive-in screen, because maybe nobody would know that it was real lightning, they might think it was just part of the movie, and then everybody at the drive-in would be killed by lightning. But I thought my uncle was so cool because he worked at the factory, so his job was to help make lightning, plus he lived in a house that was right next to a junk yard, so he could see piles and piles of wrecked cars anytime he wanted to, and I wanted to be just like him. And the whole time I'm telling this story, if it's my turn to tell the story, the rest of you could be stacking our top hats into a pyramid, and that could be our thing, since no other family bands build top hat pyramids during their shows. And after we become famous and wealthy, we'll play fewer and fewer shows, and make fewer and fewer records, and eventually we won't be a band anymore, we'll just be a family. But we can still drive to our favorite cities in my four-door sedan, but it would be more like a vacation, and people would still recognize us because we would still be wearing our vests and top hats, and they would say hi to us when we eat in the restaurants we ate in as a family band, but now we'd just be a family. And even if we never become that successful as a family band, it wouldn't be so bad if we eventually had to get other jobs and stop being a family band, because we could still be a family. It wouldn't bother us, because eventually we might forget we were ever in a family band, we would just think of ourselves as a family, except when we see some of our records when we go to truck stops, and then we would tell stories about the time when we were a family band. Then we would leave the truck stop and go home, and go back to just being a family.
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I'd started thinking about reRECording some Morgan M Morgansen footage into a dream sequence a month or so ago. I was intrigued by the idea that the "white wall" world might be Morgan's reality, and the fully animated world might be his dreams. And when Joe announced the Inception dream doc, I decided to go for it. I have a few different ideas about what might be going on in this RECord, but I'm pretty satisfied that it's still quite a mystery to me. Maybe you'll see a story somewhere in there as you watch it....
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There was a time when I had a single, clear memory of you I remember the sweetness and the sorrow of that memory But I don’t remember the memory itself The idea of that memory has been whitewashed The details have been blurred or else discarded A new clarity has been conjured, manufactured, forged So, yes When you ask if I remember I will say that I do And in a way I do And I will smile in a way that should let you know That I have no idea who you really are Because if I remembered now what I did remember back then The smile would be different Somehow.  The first domino falls Where once there was remembering, there is only forgetting The years pass. I’ve found a new happiness While keeping up an old habit I sit in front of the screen Playing back my recorded memories Passing the darkest hours of the night Watching scenes captured and stored From thousands of ordinary days Searching for a flash of recognition And when I get that first sensation of drifting off I will pause the recorded memory at that very moment And take that frozen moment, whatever the moment And remember I forget everything else And make that one distorted image the thing I remember.

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I was interested in seeing if I could reRECord some really great text RECords into another text RECord - not something I often think of doing. I bookend-ed this with pieces of "I See Legs", which is something I wrote during my first week as a hitRECorder back in July.

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And the truth is
On any other night
She would have been a blur
Blowing past my car window.
But there I was
Waiting to cross the busiest street in town
When without a sound,
Without so much as a shadow
She glided up to the corner
And then ebbed gently back
Toward the lamp post
Where yellow light
Sprayed down the back
Of her black dress.

And the truth is
The walking wasn't so bad.
The light flurries could be
(Romantically)
Called the cold kiss of January -
She had sloppy lips though
And got specks of spit
On my cheeks
And in my eyes.

And the truth is
The first words I said
Didn't come from my mouth.
The first thought I thought
Didn't start in my head.
I was unwillingly bound to someone else.
I didn't know what was going to happen to me.
But I wanted to break free
So I cut the ropes.

And the truth is
I wasn't like you
A bruised fruit
Fallen off a tree
Shining on the ground
For everyone to see.

And the truth is
You looked like you were made of chalk
You looked like you had never been living,
Had never blinked, had never made a joke.
Reality fell away
I found myself lying face-up
Under the bed
Staring at the brown weave
Like it was a magic-eye puzzle.
I had left my feet in the hallway.
I had swallowed my tongue.
The bones in my body had disintegrated.

And the truth is,
I will never hear your voice again.
So please, I asked, play this one last.
Soft, so we can hear the men cry.
You became so small.
A stamp or a xerox copy.
You nor I will ever know when to heal.

And the truth is
I fingered smiley faces
Onto dew-covered car windows
While walking to the train from your house.
In the morning,
While owners drove to work,
Light would catch their windshields
Revealing the filthy ghosts
Of my self-expression.

And the truth is
Since I boarded this bus
I've been trying to escape you,
But you are a bird.
You are a bird that travels with me.
You are hidden in the heart of every tree.
I blink away the memory.
I don't know where I am,
But it seems far enough away
And I need some fresh air.
This ache is stretched across the length of me.

And the truth is
My feet feel detached from the rest of me
As I kick at the place where the cuff of my pants should be.
My knees are locked in place
And my legs are bound by the same hypnotic spell
That flicked my senses into a drifting dream.
The traffic relents
And she leaks away from the corner
And across the intersection.
She never even noticed
The witless shell of a man
Left floating in her wake.
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A shadow embarks bearing a heavy load
And makes his way down the Forgetful Road.

This creature is a stranger, but it seems that all who are seen traveling this road are strangers.  He has no bags, no pack, his arms are empty.  But he bears a heavy burden all the same.  You can see it in his stride, his posture, his sullen appearance.  This shadow chose this road over every other remaining option.  A thousand wrong turns brought him here.  A thousand more turns lay directly ahead.

A shadow embarks bearing a heavy load
And makes his way down the Forgetful Road.

From this point forward, every fork in the road is a penance.  Every crossroad is a chance to escape.  Every decision made is an opportunity to be unburdened of the consequences of a decision made before he reached this road.  When the burden is dropped the unwanted memory is dissipated.  The road continues to wind deeper into the darkness ahead.  Though there are many branches, all branches still belong to this one road.

A shadow embarks bearing a heavy load
And makes his way down the Forgetful Road.

As the shadow makes his way further down the road the decisions come easier, he makes them a little quicker.  Though the darkness grows deeper and deeper and the road descends lower and lower, the shadow seems more lively.  Too many memories are like a death sentence for the shadows.  A shadow filled with memories runs the risk of becoming material, of taking on substance, of taking on mass.  He cannot imagine what he might become if this happened, he doesn't even want to think about what might become of him.  He decides to play it safe and just take a trip down the Forgetful Road.

A shadow embarks bearing a heavy load
And makes his way down the Forgetful Road.
-----


Having recently been asked in a fairly public forum when I'm going to write something for the Shadow Caste collaboration, it got me thinking about how I could "fit in there".  Attilee just asked a couple of days ago for some world building, and that got me thinking some more.  This might fall into the category of world building, for at least one small part of the shadow world.  It might be an idea that needs some more development, if it inspries any ideas.  It feels to me like it's just the start of an idea.

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I'm not a big fan of the ending for this one.  Has anyone got any bright ideas?


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"Jamie."
"..."
"Jaaamiiie."
"..."
"Jaaaaaaamiiiiiiie."
"Come on, Jamie.  Keep it together, man.  Just keep your head down for two more hours, then you can get out of here, go home, make a nice cup of tea, and then maybe you can think about cracking up in the privacy and comfort of your own home."
"Jaaamiiie."
"What, Uncle Andy?  What do you want?"
"Jamie, that's no way to talk to your dead uncle."
"I'm... I apologize, Uncle Andy.  I shouldn't have snapped at you like that."
"Jamie."
"What?"
"How's that Cobb salad treating you, Jamie?"
"This can't be happening right now."
"What's that, Jamie?"
"Uncle Andy, I need to... I'm very busy with work right now.  I have a 4:00 deadline, and I have to... I just need to work on this right now."
"Jamie."
"Yeah?"
"I was right about that Cobb salad wasn't I, Jamie?"
"Ohhhh...."
"Jamie."
"Yeah?"
"You should have ordered the taco surprise, shouldn't you Jamie?"
"Come on, man.  Just two more hours."
"The taco surprise rules, Jamie.  The Cobb salad sucks."
"OK."
"OK what, Jamie?"
"OK, I should have had the taco surprise for lunch."
"Damn straight you should have had the taco surprise, Jamie."
"The Cobb salad was a mistake.  Are you happy now, Uncle Andy?"
"There's no use crying over spilled milk, Jamie."
"Huh?"
"It's time to let go of that horrible mistake you made at lunch, Jamie, and get on with your life."
"But you just said..."
"I didn't say anything, Jamie.  I died seven years ago in a fiery lollipop factory explosion.  Don't you remember that, Jamie?"
"I do, Uncle Andy.  I remember that very well."
"Do you further remember how I came to be in the employ of that lollipop factory, Jamie?"
"Yes Uncle Andy, I remember that I was the one who convinced you to take that job at the lollipop factory."
"That's right, Jamie. I was poised to start my job at that shiny new hand grenade factory right across the street. But you would have none of that, would you Jamie? No, you were adamant that the hand grenade factory was far too dangerous a place for your beloved Uncle Andy, weren't you Jamie?"
"But Uncle Andy, I was so horrified at the thought of you working every day at that awful factory, constantly surrounded by all of those hand grenades."
"And look where it got me, Jamie! Look at what became of the man who turned down the hand grenade factory for that job at the lollipop factory! Dead at the age of 51. Do you know who isn't dead, Jamie?"
"I know, Uncle Andy.  Nobody at the hand grenade factory has ever died on the job."
"It's one of the safest places in the world, Jamie! You could run an orphanage in that factory, and distribute kittens to all of the orphans, give each orphan as many kittens as he can stuff in his grubby little pockets, and the orphans and their many kittens would dance in the streets every day, rejoicing because of how happy they are to live in a place as wonderful and safe as that damn hand grenade factory."
"I'm sorry, Uncle Andy. I never wanted you to be killed in a fiery lollipop factory explosion."
"Don't apologize to me, Jamie. Apologize to all of those orphans who don't get to live in that bastion of sunshine and smiles that is the hand grenade factory."
"You... you're not making any sense, Uncle Andy."
"Of course I'm not making any sense, Jamie! I'm a guilt-induced hallucination who takes the ghostly form of your beloved dead uncle to hurl insults at you as you slip slowly into madness."
"Yeah... yeah I know you are, Uncle Andy."
"Jamie."
"Yes Uncle Andy?"
"Would you like a lollipop?"
"No Uncle Andy, I don't really enjoy lollipops anymore."
"You know Jamie, lollipops are a lot like kittens: you're never really too old for either one of them."
"I know, Uncle Andy.  You know, I might like to have a kitten."
"Then what do you say we stop talking to illusory relatives and make our way down to the good old hand grenade factory.  I hear that the view there is spectacular around this time of year."

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Tori recently created a couple of characters named General Apathy and Major Boredom. RKBear mentioned at one point that those two characters should team up. I was inspired, and I thought it'd be fun if they were best friends, and very silly in a child-like way.
-----

Major Boredom ran up to General Apathy, smacked him on the baldest spot of his head with the smelliest part of his hand, and cried out, "General Apathy! Guess what!"

Dazed by this latest attack from his best friend in the world, General Apathy squeaked a little bit to commemorate his pain, shrugged his shoulders with all of his might, and said, "What the devil is it, you old horse thief?!"

Major Boredom laughed with all of his belly, clapped his hands together, and said, "I have a major announcement to make: I love swimming! This concludes my major announcement, so now I must fly on my personal aeroplane to an important meeting in Tahiti!" Major Boredom began running in small circles around General Apathy, and as he ran he extended his arms as if he were an aeroplane. "I love swimming, and running, and skipping, and climbing, and cavorting, and doing this!" And Major Boredom thrust his hand across his body, under his arm pit, and feverishly began making arm pit fart sounds.

General Apathy began clapping and giggling with delight. He thought arm pit fart sounds were the best, and Major Boredom knew it. General Apathy reached for his briefcase and said, "Hey, you've got to see this! I was walking down the avenue, looking in the windows of the shops along the avenue, and I saw something, and I knew instantly that I had to buy it for you!" General Apathy thrust both arms into the gaping maw of the briefcase, like a cliff diver plunging into the the icy depths of an exotic oceanic briefcase. As both of his elbows disappeared inside the modestly-sized briefcase, his expression became suddenly quiet. Major Boredom could tell that his friend was trying to create an atmosphere of suspense, so he dropped his jaw in mock anticipation of the overwhelming feeling of utter disbelief and awe. General Apathy slowly lifted his hands from the briefcase, cradling what looked like a mason jar full of bees. He was brimming with excitement as he said, "It's a mason jar full of bees! The dream is now a reality!"

The combined buzzing of the bees inside the mason jar was impressive as it filtered through the crude holes that had been jabbed in the metallic lid. Major Boredom broke into a mild grinning sweat as the jar was thrust into his welcoming bosom. He was speechless for a moment, overwhelmed by the generosity of his thoughtful friend. The bees grew anxious as the tremors of sheer delight began to radiate throughout their makeshift glass house. Major Boredom regained his mastery of language and said, "You have said well that the dream is now a reality, friend of friends. Every day of my life until now was merely a prelude to this great new bee-filled existence!"

General Apathy was overwhelmed with delight by this response. He longed to hear more, so he asked Major Boredom, "Would you, by any chance, have any kind of sensation that resembles the feeling of being born anew?"

Major Boredom began nodding his head with vigor and said, "This is an extraordinary coincidence, because I was mere moments from exclaiming that I indeed do feel that I have been born anew!"

General Apathy slapped his knee, then slapped his friend's knee, and continued along the same conversational lines. "If I were to muster the courage to allege that your current euphoric condition has suddenly rendered you capable of hearing what can only be described as a choir of angels, would my allegation be the sort of thing that you could verify as being accurate?"

A look of solemnity overtook Major Boredom's countenance, and with a serious tone he said, "You have literally taken the words directly from my mouth, my good man! I could very nearly believe that you saw the words 'choir of angels' forming on my lips, so near was I to speaking that very phrase!"

General Apathy found himself in the throes of mind-altering cheerfulness, and he continued confidently with this line of questioning. "Would it be a stretch, in any sense of the word, to suggest that your mental and emotional states are conspiring to convince you at this very moment that the answers to the great riddles of life are now available to you in a way that they have never been made available to you before?" He was squirming very near the speed of light toward the brink of his chair as he finished this latest question.

Major Boredom neither flinched nor blinked before launching headlong into his response. "I feel certain that the answers to the great riddles of life are now seeping into my eye sockets by way of this heavenly shaft of light that has just now engulfed me." He then shrugged his shoulders to commemorate that bit of the conversation and said, "It's just the greatest thing ever, having this mason jar full of bees."

General Apathy finally sat back in his chair to relax, exhausted from the battering he had taken from these waves of delight. He winked to his friend and said in a surprisingly subdued voice, "It really is the greatest thing ever."
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