Sunday, June 16, 2013

His Suit And Tie

He adjusted his tie, fixed his hair, and checked his teeth in the mirror. His suit was new (but smelled faintly of the inside of a closet), and his shoes were polished black. A garbage bag full of torn pants and dirty shirts sat near the door, waiting to be disposed of. The signs were already in the dumpster behind his apartment building. 

Ten minutes passed while he stood in his bathroom, and he couldn't say what he'd been thinking during that time, if anyone had bothered to ask.  No one did; not that day, not ever. 

Sunlight poured over buildings and pooled between the shadows of leaves on the ground, driving the man's spirits further downward as he walked to the corner of 9th and Stewart. One of the busiest corners in the city; the corner that had been his station until that morning. As soon as he'd donned the suit, he'd given up on his previous occupation. His previous life.  

He told himself he wouldn't do this, but he couldn't resist. Just one more visit. He walked slowly by the cafe on the corner. No one shouted obscenities at him, no one heckled him, and no one looked at him with pity. 

"The world didn't end like he thought, I wonder what he's doing now?"
"Probably killed himself. Can you imagine? How ridiculous would you feel if you went to bed expecting to be lifted up to some city in the clouds while you slept, and then woke up to the realization that you'd been wrong? Wrong for like... years of your life?" Two regulars he recognized conversed next to him, completely unaware of their present company. 

Their laughter burned in his heart, and blood rushed to his face. He considered walking into traffic. He considered wandering down dark alleys, looking for bad situations. He considered a lot of things in those few moments of humiliation and fear of the unknown. 

He straightened his tie, and continued his walk toward the daughter he'd disowned after she told him she didn't believe in his God. Now that they had something in common, maybe they could reconcile. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Eric Clapton Is Pretty Neat

Sorry, all I can hear in my head is the song. You know the one. If you don't, you're missing out on some sweet, sweet earlove.

I could change the world right now. I am changing it, slowly. Not in any ways that'll impact you directly, unless you own that frozen custard place up on 5th. I may have relieved you of two pints of vanilla custard last night. Don't worry, I enjoyed them more than any of your customers ever could. I even left a tip.

It's pretty easy to change the world though, one small piece at a time. If you follow some of my easy instructions, if everyone did, the world would probably be a way better place. If not better, then definitely more interesting.

Teleport into a pet store and take the animals to a shelter. "What if I can't teleport?" You ask. Well, then this tip isn't for you, and your life is kinda lame.

"Don't you show up on camera?" I also hear you asking. Well, no, because I'm not stupid. I wear a mask. It's a pretty sweet mask. Quit distracting me, ok?

Spend a few of your hard earned dollars on some flowers. Tulips are a pretty good bet; they're simple and don't have a lot of emotional attachment associated with them. And, in the right places, they're like a dollar per flower. Pass them out to random people, especially tired-looking moms. If you don't get maced after you try to offer them the flower, you'll likely receive a surprised and genuine smile. You'll know it's genuine, because it reaches their eyes. That's another fun game; call out people who aren't really smiling and make everything awkward.

This one requires that you pay attention (for once in your life). If you're out somewhere and you notice someone didn't tip at a restaurant, or coffee shop, or whatever, and you know that person was kind of a jackass... make a big, loud show out of tipping FOR them. "Oh, miss/sir, this tip is for you BECAUSE THAT GUY IS A CHEAPASS." Etc.

Take flowers from a nice yard and put them into a shitty yard. Can you imagine this trashy, dirty yard with one really cool flower in it? That would improve the yard at least a hundred-fold. PS: Don't let the first person notice you doing it. Most people don't take kindly to grand theft flora.

When homeless people ask you for change, look them in the eye and tell them sorry, you don't have any change on you. Or give them change. Or offer to buy them food. Really, is it so hard to at least pretend that they're a fellow human being? Jesus Christ, people. I mean, I don't like the smell of urine any more than you do. And if you do like the smell, I won't judge you.

Be nice to animals. If you aren't nice to animals, I will come to your house and ruin your day.

If you see a kid being an asshole, and their oblivious parent isn't putting a stop to it... say something. I don't mean smack some stranger's child around, but ... you know, suggest it.

These are only a few of many things I could suggest to change the world. But it's time for me to finish off that second pint of custard.

(Mini-serial I wrote on This is in response to the question 'How would you change the world?' )

Finally, The Flying Car!

In 100 years, there better be some goddamn flying cars. I don't need a Jetsons scenario or anything, but I expected something better than the crappy system we have going on now. Although, now that I think about it... it'll probably be worse to have people blowing stop signs hundreds of feet up in the air.

I'll step away from my doom-and-gloom scenario for a second here. Maybe we won't blow ourselves up or ruin our planet. Maybe we'll finally take a good look around and be like "Woops, oil really WAS limited!", and find something better. Cleaner. We'll have some cool nano-tech shit to play with. Maybe we'll speed up evolution in ourselves to become better, faster, stronger. Or maybe we'll mess some shit up and all grow tails.

Maybe waiting in line at Starbucks will take 2 seconds instead of 2 minutes.

Maybe we'll finally have a cure for Shitty Monday-itis. Or, you know... cancer.

And maybe, just maybe, they'll develop a remote that allows you to mute that lady you work with who has the really obnoxious laugh. Everyone has one of those.

(Mini-serial I wrote on In response to the question 'What do you think the world will look like in a hundred years from today?')

I Said 'No Salt' On My Margarita

Honestly, if I see myself at all in 20 years, it'll be a miracle. If it's not the suit wearing creeper, it could be that I finally kill myself in a teleporting accident. Or maybe I'll read the memories off of some particularly nasty piece of work and go insane. Or maybe I'll get hit by a car when I forget to look both ways. Who knows?

It sure would have been awesome to have "Precognition" on my list of Shit I Can Do, wouldn't it?

I'll probably be living it up on a tropical island somewhere. I'll only drink my drinks out of a fruit (pineapples and coconuts, please!). I'll never wear shoes again. I'll lay in the sun until I look like a leather wallet. I'll probably never get rid of the sand in those hard-to-reach places.

The idea of having kids is a nice one, but I don't want to burden a wife, or a child, with the problems I have. And, to be honest, I'm pretty selfish. I don't know if that'll change, but I do know that it makes me a pretty shitty superhero. "Not now, bitch, I'm trying to finish this episode of Doctor Who", I'll say as I shut my window against the sound of someone screaming in the night.

Well maybe I'm not THAT selfish. But pretty damn close.

I'm not motivated enough to move up the corporate ladder. I don't have a lot of ambition in life, except to make it to the end. Maybe, in 20 years, I'll meet my Suited Stalker, and we'll have margaritas instead of a brawl.

(Mini-serial I wrote on This is a followup to the story 'Real Life Slenderman')

Apples To Apples

The most important thing I can tell you is that QA is about as interesting as it sounds. Quality assurance. Here's how your shit is broken. Oh, you don't think it's broken. That's cool, but it is. Oh, you're not going to take my advice, and you're going to release it broken. That's cool, but now you have bad reviews. What do you mean, "this is QA's fault"?

That's my work. All the time. Sure, there are rewarding moments. When something I suggest needs to be fixed actually gets fixed. But that's such a small percentage in the face of all the times I deal with people who don't listen, people who don't care, and people who get hard-ons at the thought of meeting/exceeding a numbers goal. I don't give a shit about your 'records', you dick!

So my advice to you is that you do something else. Do something that doesn't involve people. In fact, just work with kittens and puppies. They're nicer, fluffier, and less likely to tell you that you're a moron for daring to suggest that their pet project is anything less than God's Work.

(Mini-serial I wrote on In answer to the question 'What advice do you have for young people interested in your area of work?' )

Sweet, Sweet Lemonade

Life doesn't give me lemons. I refuse that shit. Who said you had to take lemons from Life? Who said you had to take ANYTHING from Life? Lemons, limes, strawberries, kiwis; none of it. In fact, I GIVE lemons to Life. That's where Life gets all the fruit from.

Anyway, so I'll be honest. Sometimes I get a little down about things. I can't be 100% awesome all the time, probably. When I'm not at my best, I like to teleport out to this little tree house I've built out on the Olympic Peninsula. You heard that story, right? I hope so, otherwise this part makes no sense.

This tree house is pretty basic. Nothing fancy. Since I teleport out there, I don't exactly need too much in the way of amenities. Just a nice, comfortable lounge chair, a bookshelf, and a ton of my favorite books. Most people who know me wouldn't peg me for a reader. But I eat that shit up. Rothfuss, King, Simmons, Gaiman. Everyone reads these books thinking they're only fiction. Since I know better, they're a lot more interesting to me.

"But," I hear you asking, "what if you can't teleport when you're having a bad day?" Well, Mr. or Miss Sassypants, you could probably just pick up a book and read it in your boring ass living room.

(Mini-serial I wrote on This is an answer to the question 'When life gives you lemons, what do you do?' )

Brain QA

The future of my field looks pretty scary from this angle. When everyone is hooked up to the internet through a chip in their brain, what happens when someone needs troubleshooting?

Me. That's what happens. I'll come into your house, with my little box of specialized tools, and I'll crack into your brain. You'll take for granted that I know what I'm doing, and that I washed my hands after I took a piss. Maybe I did, and maybe I didn't.

I'll bring up a little external computer that allows me to go into that cesspool you call your mind, so that I don't have to jack in directly. I'd bet that's a form of contact that would give too many people the willies to allow. I know I wouldn't want a stranger interfacing directly with my most private and sensitive bits.

Let's say the problem you're having is that all of a sudden, you can only see the color blue. Every other color is showing up gray scale. I'll plug in a little something something, tweak a few lines of code, and blam. You see colors again. I imagine everyone will be on pause or whatever during this procedure, but maybe if it's something minor like a color freeze, they'd be awake.

Maybe it's something worse than that. Maybe we'll be so dependent on the mental internet that, should something go wrong, you might not be able to access any financial networks. Your ability to purchase anything will disappear. I'll come in with a little bit of computer magic to fix you up right.

You'll pray that the Brain QA employees are honest people, and that they wouldn't find it funny to leave a porn app in your circuits. Can you imagine how distracting it'd be if you were on the freeway and a dick popped up on your HUD?

(Mini-serial I wrote on  The question I answered was 'What do you think the future of your field of work looks like?' ) 

To Create A Better Place

I'd tell the next generation not to show their tits on a webcam.

I guess that's a cheat answer, isn't it? I can't just use that as the answer to every question. I mean, it's good advice for any generation, really.

Okay, okay. Basically, if I were President of the World, I would make sure parents taught their children not to be assholes. There's nothing worse than a kid who doesn't say "thank you" or "please". Well maybe there are worse things, but it's still pretty high on my list.

I'd grade parents on their parenting. Your kid knocked every shirt off a display rack and you watched them do it, and didn't make them clean it up? You get a D-. Your kid is obnoxious in a theater and you don't excuse yourself to take them out of the room? You get a G. Yeah, a G. Don't ruin my fucking movie, it's expensive to get in there and watch it. And don't get me started on the popcorn. As President of the World, popcorn would go back down to a reasonable price.

Basically, I can't help the next generation, because that involves fixing this one. And this generation is a hot mess of entitlement and playing WoW instead of making sure their kids aren't calling other kids "faggot".

(Mini-serial I wrote on  The question I answered was 'How would you make sure the next generation is better prepared to move the world in a good direction?' )

For The Children, And The Children's Children

If this planet is not reclaimed by nature, vines creeping up over skeletons of people and cars alike, by the time my great great great grandchildren are a possibility... well...

I would want to tell them not to show their tits on a webcam. Obviously this doesn't apply to greatgreatgreat grandsons. Although who knows, maybe in the future it'll be a thing that everyone has a pair of tits. And there probably won't be webcams either. But the equivalent. Don't show your goods to random people. Have some respect. Too many stories in my day (is it too early to say 'in my day'?) began with "She made the mistake of flashing some random old guy her body..." and ended with "Police report..." or "No remains were found..." or "Now she's a stripper". I wouldn't want any of that shit for my children's children's children. I mean, I wouldn't want it for my children either, but you get the idea.

Maybe I should go carve this on a stone somewhere so it's not lost to time. I'll make sure not to do it by an ocean.

(Mini-serial I wrote on, answering the question 'What message do you want to deliver to your great-great-great grandchildren?' )

A Well Kept Secret

I don't tell anyone that I can teleport. Can you imagine how many people would want to study me, pick my brain, or weaponize me? All I want to do is skip the hassle of traffic. I mean, it's not like teleporting is particularly useful. It's fun, sure. But I can't carry extra weight, so practical trips to Costco are right out.

Mostly I just use it to get to and from work. If I crave a midnight snack, sometimes I pop into a late night grocery. No, I don't steal from stores that are closed. I tried it once, and felt too guilty about the shoes to ever do it again. I ended up giving them to some homeless lady just so I didn't have to look at them anymore. "Did you think to put them back?" I hear you asking. Well, yeah, I did think about that, but I figured as long as I'd already stolen them, I might as well do something good with them.

I can teleport to places I've never been to before, but it's risky. Since I have no idea what's gonna be sitting in the way when it happens. If it's just a small thing, like a small box or maybe a rock or something, I experience a really unpleasant numbness all over my body, and I appear shifted a little to the side of the object. Sometimes, I lose things when that happens. I don't know where they go. The biggest thing I've lost on a trip like that is a shoe. I'd hate to think about what would happen if I accidentally teleported into the wall of a building, or a cave, or a tree.

I've been able to do this since I was little. But this isn't a story about my childhood, it's a story about how I get to work. And the answer is; I teleport into the women's bathroom, handicap stall, and I pray no one is in there when I do it. I've been pretty lucky so far, but I'm looking forward to a really awkward day in the near future.

(Mini-serial I wrote on