Empowered: Act 1, Part 3

Empowered: Act 1, Part 3



Time for Act 1, Part 3 of buy finasteride online in india Empowered! This may be my favorite part so far of Act 1 as it marks the full appearance of The Gemini Brothers! As the glue that binds my two stories together, let’s see if they treat Carl the same way they treated Legno. Why were they so callous with him anyway? Time will tell, but for right now, let’s get this party started:


Licking his wounds, Carl began to slink away. And El, seeing his friend with that all-too-familiar blank stare of disappointment, edged up to comfort him.

“So what happened, killer?” El asked, throwing his right arm around Carl’s shoulders.

“Ah, shit, you know, man. Same ‘ol story. She’s afraid I’d be too much man for her and all that. My cock’s just way too big.”

“I hate it when that happens!” El yelled, throwing back his head. “Come on,” he then gave Carl a slap on the back, “I’ll buy you a drink.”

“You mean the free punch on the table over there?”

“Someone’s salty!” El exclaimed jovially. “Better make it a double.”

“I don’t know, man,” Carl sighed, his voice heavy with regret, “I think I’d rather just kinda head back.”

“It’s only been twenty minutes! Don’t be a bitch,” El chided.

“Oh, shit! I’m a bitch? Now I totally want to stay here and hang out with you.”

“Ah, sarcasm. It’s a wonder why you’re not more popular,” El quipped with a slightly annoyed smirk.

“Whatever, man. You stay; I’ll walk home.”

“You sure? Come on, man. Mingle. The music hasn’t even started yet!”

“Nah, I’m tired anyway,” Carl lied, hoping it’d get El off his back. “Call me tomorrow, alright?”

Accepting defeat, El finally acquiesced to Carl. “You got it, brotha,” he said, half-heartedly.

The two shook and brought it in for a slight hug and parted. “Later, man,” Carl replied as he began to walk away.

“Later,” El responded, saddened to see his friend go.

As Carl began his exit in to the main hallway, he turned back once more to see Spore, still snapping away, and El, who, within seconds, was already in the middle of getting a number from a tall Indian girl whom he didn’t recognize. Carl was always baffled at how easy El made it seem.

He briefly paused, holding the heavy metal door slightly ajar. He closed his eyes, breathed deeply in and out through his nose, turned, and finally walked out.

While moving towards the exit and past the sign in table, all Carl could hope for was to get home in time to watch something decent on Adult Swim. Hopefully, it’d wash the taste of this night out of his mouth.

“If you’re leaving, you can’t come…” a dull, flat voice began to say.

“I know!” Carl yelled as he continued towards the front door. But before he could get very far, he was stopped by Ms. Hawkins, who was unable to find a teacher to help out the band.

“Excuse me, you there!” she called out.

Turning around to see who it was, he met eyes with the principal, who responded, “Oh, Carl, it’s you. Great! Do you have a quick second to help the band set up? They’re running late enough as it is, and I want to get them on stage before everyone starts rioting,” she said with a slightly forced laugh.

“I actually wanted to…”

“Oh, perfect, thank you!” she said, hearing what she wanted to hear. “No good deed and all that, right?”

With a heavy sigh, Carl responded, “Yeah, right. Sure.”

Visibly relieved, Ms. Hawkins replied, “You’re a lifesaver. Listen, I need to get back inside, but they’re out in the parking lot.” Rushing towards the gym entrance and back to chaperoning, she exclaimed, “Thanks again, Carl!” with her voice trailing off as she ran.

Walking outside and making a right towards the parking lot instead of a left to go home, Carl, annoyed, resolved to help these two as quickly as possible and just head the hell back to his house. Seeing the two men with their van filled with equipment, he approached them and unenthusiastically muttered, “Hey, Ms. Hawkins told me that you guys needed some help.”

The two men turned around simultaneously, and Carl was surprised to see their identical features: Both men had shoulder-length brown hair, bright copper-colored eyes, and thin faces painted with three days worth of stubble. They only difference appeared to be which side their hair was parted on.

“Thanks, kid,” the one brother said, “What’s your name?”

“Carl.”

“Hello, Carl. I’m Giovanni; this is my brother, Giuseppe.”

“That’s…interesting. Um…” he began, intrigued by their names.

The brothers stared at Carl as he toyed around with something that he was clearly hesitant to ask.

“What can you two…do?” Carl finally blurted, fully understanding the irony of his question.

Part of him was hoping they could do nothing.

With a big grin on his face, Giuseppe, who was clearly elated that Carl had asked that question, exclaimed, “Well, we rock all the boys and girls as the world famous…” he then paused for effect, threw back his head, stretched out his arms, and finished with “GEMINI BROTHERS!”

Carl turned to Giovanni, “Why is he yelling?”

“It’s…” Giovanni then sighed as he closed his eyes and rubbed his face with his hand, “it’s just what he does.”

“Anyway, what I meant was your names don’t describe your powers like everyone else’s.”

Raising his left eyebrow, a befuddled Giuseppe, who up until now was still staring upward with his arms outstretched, brought them to his side and met eyes with Carl. His question to the boy was a mere “What?”

“Your names,” Carl said, speaking more slowly and in a somewhat condescending manner, “what do they mean?”

“Hm,” Giuseppe pondered, “I don’t think we follow.”

Carl shot them a confused look and asked, “How don’t you know how it works?”

The two men turned to each other and shared a smile. Giovanni turned back to Carl and simply replied, “Humor us.”

A look of uncertainty pranced across Carl’s face, but he did as he was asked and explained, “Okay, well, as most people know, before you’re born, doctors are able to detect your power set, and your parents or whoever name you based on that. Like, my brother can hypnotize people, and he’s named Mesmer, and my sister can produce different kinds of EM waves out of her eyes, so she’s called Iris.”

“Giovanni, did you know that?”

“Of course I knew that, Giuseppe. Did you know that?”

“How wouldn’t I know that? Carl, did you know that?”

What the fuck is going on?

“Sorry. It’s just for a second, I thought…”

This never gets any easier.

“…you were like me.”

“Like you how?” questioned Giuseppe

“I…” he breathed in and then let out of heavy sigh, “I don’t have any powers.”

Never.

“Are you sure?” Giovanni asked.

“What?”

“Are. You. Sure?” he asked again, more deliberately.

Mockingly, Carl responded, “Pretty damn sure, man…”

“Maybe you do have powers, and you don’t even realize it,” Giuseppe suggested. “Maybe you have something along the lines of superlative cheese-digesting abilities.”

Carl gave Giuseppe an annoyed stare.

“Lactose supertolerance,” he elaborated.

“Okay, forget it. You two need help bringing this crap in, right?”

“On second thought,” Giovanni answered, looking in to the open van, “I think we can manage.”

“Are you guys for…you know what? Never mind,” he said, throwing his hands up in the air. Facetiously, he added, “Good luck with the show.”

He swiftly pivoted to finally start his long walk back home but was stopped half a moment later.

“Why ‘Carl’?” Giovanni inquired.

Turning his head back slightly, Carl asked, “What?”

“Why ‘Carl’?” questioned Giuseppe this time.

“I really don’t get what you guys are asking,” he said, now completely turned around.

“If your brother is ‘Mesmer’…” started Giovanni.

“…and your sister is ‘Iris’…” continued Giuseppe.

“…then why are you ‘Carl’?” they both finished in unison.

Carl gave a quick, annoyed shrug and hastily responded, “I…I don’t know. My mom just liked the way it sounded. It doesn’t mean anything.”

Again, he tried to walk away but was stopped once more.

“Might be the opposite, don’t ya think?” Giuseppe called out.

“Huh?”

“What my brother means is,” Giovanni said, “maybe it’s not that it doesn’t mean anything; maybe it’s that it could mean anything.”

“Still not getting it. Anyway, later. Good talk,” he replied with a sarcastic wave of his hand. He then finally managed to get away, grateful that they didn’t try calling him over for a third time.

Once he was completely gone, Giovanni turned to his brother and said, “At least this one’s not an objektophile, Beppe.”

“True,” Giuseppe said with a nod, “but he’s also not as much fun, Gio.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Carl looped around the building and started making his trek home. His eyes were pointed downward. His hands were in his pockets. He had that overbearing feeling of depression again.

Upset over being shot down.

Jealous of his best friend.

Angry at himself.

It’s never me. It’ll never be me. I don’t get it. What am I doing wrong? I’m nice. I’m funny. I think I’m good looking.

Whatever. Fuck it. I don’t care.

Goddamnit.

Fiercely staring at the ground, these thoughts repeated in his head over and again until he got in to his house. He walked in and wasted no time in going up the stairs and collapsing on his bed.

As Carl looked around his room, he saw posters of action stars, statues of superheroes, and bookshelves filled with tales of knights and cowboys and wizards and warriors.

All things he wished he could be.

I hate my life.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Finpecia online uk TO BE CONTINUED


Solid advice The Geminies gave to Carl, right? But why? What do they care? You’ll find out one day (probably three or four stories down the line…I have a lot planned for you jokers), but for now, just enjoy the ride.

Next week is the Act 1 Finale, and after spending the weekend writing, we may have to bump it up to four (or even five) acts. If you guys keep reading, I’ll keep writing. So let me know how much more you want to see on source url Facebook or Twitter. And I’m super interested in knowing how this compares to Wood You Be Mine?!






Empowered: Act 1, Part 2

Empowered: Act 1, Part 2



Hey, everyone! We’re back with Act 1, Part 2 of Empowered! For those of you who enjoyed the first part, I think you’ll like this one even more. We’re getting in to the real meat of the story, with old friends and new loves being introduced. And it’s my hope that the story will take you back to the simpler (although perhaps not better) times of high school. I know it’s evoked some memories from me, and I hope it’s the same for you. Let’s begin!


The pair of friends walked through the entrance, the doors having already been propped open. As they did, the reality of school starting again hit them like a tidal wave. Images of times past and times to come rushed through their minds, but all Carl could think was, ‘Our year’…I hope.

After the sensation of nostalgia subsided, Carl and El made their way on to the sign-in line; the teacher seated at the table in front of the gym entrance had the glamorous job of monitoring the attendees. As the two stood there, Carl managed to overhear a name uttered to the teacher, and immediately his stomach felt as if a boxer just unleashed everything he had.

“Wing Kong.”

The voice was cold and metallic.

“Thank you. You’re signed in. Remember, if you leave, you can’t come back in.”

“The horror,” the student replied. Carl could only image the dickhead ‘roll of the eyes’ move that accompanied this.

As the student stepped off the line and in to the gymnasium, El moved in front of the desk.

“Hello, and welcome to the Senior Mixer. Name please?” said the man to El in a dry, hanging drawl that seemed to go on for an eternity.

“Doc Drain! Drain Train! How was your summer?” El exclaimed, much more enthusiastic than he should be.

“Name please?”

“Really?” El said, slightly disheartened. “I had you for Honors Bio last year.”

“Name please?”

“Star of the lacrosse team?”

“Name please?”

Breathing in deeply and letting out a disappointed sigh, he responded, “Elcsum Gray,” and without missing a beat, he added, “And this is my lovely date, Carlita.”

“Fuckin’ hate you,” Carl muttered to El under his breath while shaking his head slightly.

“Thank you,” Mr. Drain Winters, better known as ‘Doc Drain’ to his students, replied as he scribbled down El’s name on to the sheet in front of him. In a tone drier than the Sahara, he continued, “You’re signed in. Remember, if you leave, you can’t come back in.”

“Okay,” El remarked in agreement as he stepped out of the way.

Carl then moved to the front; it was his turn to deal with the good doctor.

“Hello, and welcome to the Senior Mixer. Name please?”

“Carl Freeman.”

“Thank you. You’re signed in. Remember…”

“If I leave, I can’t come back in. Yeah, yeah. I got it.”

Not paying any attention to Carl, Drain finished, “…if you leave, you can’t come back in.” Seeing no need to acknowledge that last statement, Carl walked away from the table and towards El. Before making their way in, they could once again hear “Hello, and welcome to the Senior Mixer” with a flat, dreary inflection that hadn’t changed and likely never will.

“Come on, bud,” El said to Carl as he patted him on the shoulder, “let’s rock this.”

Within minutes, Carl’s prediction had come true, with the exception that music wasn’t yet playing: El was being his usual charming self, and people were huddled around him as witty anecdotes, pithy comebacks, and exaggerated tales of the summer flew at them left and right.

Carl stood, drink in hand, and nodded.

He nodded a lot.

When someone else finally spoke, El pulled him to the side and reprimandingly whispered, “You look like a friggin’ pigeon! What the hell are you doing?”

“I don’t know, man. Participating?”

“By making it seem that your head is too heavy for your neck to support it?”

“You were dominating the conversation. What the hell you want me to do?”

“Fine. I’ll set you up, and you knock it down. Be cool!”

Stepping back in to them semicircle of classmates, El interrupted and said, “Carl just reminded me of the greatest thing that happened this summer. Tell ‘em, bud!”

Christ, that’s the goddamn set up? Carl thought. Never one for improvisation, Carl decided to do what he does best.

He choked.

“I…uh…”

Carl then brought a balled-up fist to his mouth and cleared his throat.

“I gotta go to the bathroom.”

Turning promptly and making a beeline to the lavatory, Carl could overhear El. “Classic Carl! Always leaves ‘em wanting more, right?”

“Stupid!” he mumbled to himself. “Stupid, stupid, stupid! ‘I gotta go to the bathroom,’ that’s the best you can come up with? They’ll probably call me ‘Crapper Carl’ or some shit from now on.”

Leaning in with his shoulder to push the bathroom door open, Carl angrily threw his drink in the trash, placed both hands on the cold porcelain sink, and stared in to the mirror.

“Be cool,” he said to his reflection. “You got this shit.”

He unscrewed the left faucet and let it run for a few seconds. He cupped his hands, collected some ice cold water, and splashed it on his face.

“Alright,” he said once again to the mirror, “don’t be a social retard for once.”

Drying off his face and exiting the bathroom, Carl, with a strong, deliberate gait, made his way back to the dance. As he did, he noticed someone else reaching for the door as well.

It was a girl.

“Oh, my bad,” he replied as he pulled the door open and stepped to the side. “After you.”

With a smile and a ‘thank you,’ the girl walked in, and Carl followed shortly after. Not immediately, however; he wanted to give himself a moment to cock his head downward and score a quick glimpse of her backside.

Damn…she’s cute.

Making his way back to El, he gave him a punch on the shoulder to get his attention then promptly grabbed a loose piece of his shirt to drag him over and out of earshot from anyone around.

“Ow!” El whined while rubbing his shoulder, “What the hell, dude?”

“Oh, stop crying. It’s not my fault you’re not as durable as you are strong.”

“I’m fragile. Like a beautiful angel. Now what’s going on? You made us both look like a couple of jackasses when you left.”

“They probably forgot I was there two seconds later,” Carl replied with a roll of his eyes, “and I bet you just told ‘em the story of you and Flame to get the attention back on you anyway.”

“Well, she was most definitely…”

“ ‘…hot and bothered,’ ” Carl said, hastily finishing El’s anecdote, “Yeah, I know, I know. Listen,” he then jerked his head to the left to draw El’s attention to the girl he had just met, who was now standing off in the corner and taking pictures of the event, “do you know who that is?”

The girl, roughly 5’2” with dirty blonde hair, thick black frames, and a petite figure, was holding a large, professional-looking camera, complete with a strap around her neck for safe-keeping. A stranger to both Carl and El, they both looked upon her in awe.

“No clue, man,” El replied. “She must be new.”

“I held the door open for her earlier.”

“Holy shit! How hard did she blow you after that?”

“Fuck off. I’m just sayin’, I kind of have an in. Think I should go talk to her?”

“I mean, it’ll be tough since you’ve gotten rid of the pencil ‘stache and corn rows,” El joked, “but best of luck anyway, man.”

“You’re one to talk. I remember frosted tips and a pizza face not too long ago.”

“It wasn’t that…”

“Connect the dots, lah lah lah lah,” Carl began singing while pointing to different spots on El’s face, “connect the…”

“Just go over there!” El barked with a push, wanting both help out his best friend, and, more so, end the ridicule.

“Alright, alright! Chill!”

Carl, after stumbling slightly from El’s shove, regained his footing and nervously walked over to the girl he had met a few minutes prior. He sidled up next to her, but she was too busy taking pictures of the students and the surrounding area to notice.

“Ah-hem,” he said, clearing his throat.

Nothing.

“AH-HEM,” he said again, even louder.

Nothing.

Fuck.

Noticing the disaster-in-the-making, El gave a nudge to his portly Asian friend and said, “Hey, Brainstorm, do me a favor and TK a little tap on that girl’s shoulder by Carl.”

“You got it, man.”

With a raise of his right hand and a twitch of his left eye, Brainstorm sent the tiniest of prods to prick the girl’s left shoulder. Her attention was immediately turned to where Carl was standing.

Seeing both her and El looking his way at the exact same time, he caught a glimpse of his best friend shooting him a cheesy smile and a ‘wink-and-the-gun’ before looking away.

I coulda done it myself, El, Carl thought, annoyed.

“Um, hey,” was her only response to Carl after turning his way.

“Hi. Hey. Yeah.”

He stared.

After a moment that felt like a millennium, he shot out his hand perfectly straight and parallel with the floor.

“Carl. Is my name.”

“Hi,” she said with a curious smirk while stretching out her hand to meet his, “Spore is mine. Um, thanks again for holding the door open for me.”

Carl, thinking two steps ahead of the conversation, didn’t directly respond to her statement and instead followed up with, “I, uh, haven’t seen you around here. You new?”

The girl gave a slight nod and answered, “Yeah, my parents moved here from North Cali at the beginning of the month. My dad got a new job in the area, so…here we are.”

She didn’t sound overly enthused.

With a half smile, he replied, “It’s nice to meet you.”

Smiling back, she responded with a curious look on her face, “Thanks, you, too…‘Carl,’ you said?”

Before she could ask the follow-up question that always accompanied whenever he told someone his name, he quickly asked, “Spore, huh? Plant manipulation I’m guessing.”

“Oh, yeah. It’s nothing great, really…”

“Ha, I’m sure that’s not true,” he said playfully.

“Judge for yourself,” she responded. She then pointed out a window and said, “Here, I’ll show you. Keep an eye on that tree.”

Dropping her arms to her side, Carl noticed her brown eyes shift to a bright green as she tilted her head to the left.

“Look,” she said.

Now cocking his head to look outside, he saw the top branch on the large oak begin to move; the smaller branches on it contorted to form what looked like fingers. The branch then slowly went up and down, mimicking a wave of the hand.

“That’s pretty cool. I mean, there are a lot of crazy things you can do with phytokinesis. You ever try chemical manipulation and activate any recessive mutation or release pheromones or anything like that?”

With a fairly impressed look on her face, Spore replied, “You sure seem to know a lot about plant biology.”

Carl spent a lot of his free hours reading everything he could on different powers, researching if there were any others out there like him and the possibilities of trying to trigger any latent abilities he might have.

“I read a lot” was his only response.

“Oh, okay. But no, not really. That kind of stuff takes years to develop. My grandma had the same power set, and she was teaching me a lot, but she passed a little while ago.”

He was silent for a second then responded, “Yeah, that’s the worst.”

Carl never knew what to say to people in grief.

“Uh…yeah. Well, anyway, what kind of ability does ‘Carl’ imply?”

“I actually…”

He paused.

This never gets any easier.

“…I actually don’t have any powers.”

“Oh…oh.”

Never.

“When the doctors did the ultrasound, they didn’t see anything on the monitor. They thought it was a fluke; my mom actually went to two other hospitals, and yeah…nada.”

“I’ve never heard of that before.”

“Ha,” Carl said with an uncomfortable laugh, “no one has.”

“I’m…” she paused for a moment, then finished, “I’m really sorry to hear that.”

“I manage,” he asserted with a shrug, implying falsely that he accepted his fate. “I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never get pushed over the edge and in a moment of intensity have fireballs come out of my hands or something.”

Spore furrowed her brow and gave him a quizzical look.

“I, uh…I’m really into sci-fi.”

“Oh.”

Deciding to shift gears quickly, Carl gave a quick upward flick of his head and asked, “So, what’s with the camera?”

“Well, when my parents and I came in to enroll the other day, I asked about anything in photography since I’m really into it. It was always something I liked to do, so I was told to take some pictures of the dance for the yearbook.”

“Oh, cool.”

“Real quick,” she said while bringing her camera up to her face, “smile!”

Taken off guard, Carl hadn’t had time to form a normal-looking smile. The end result looked more than a little awkward.

Looking at the preview on her camera, she cocked her head back and gave a full-bodied laugh.

Carl couldn’t help but notice how pretty she looked.

“I’ll be sure to get you a copy. But, um, not to be rude, I really need to get back to the assignment.”

“Yeah, right, definitely. Definitely,” he said, nodding a lot once again.

Stop nodding, goddamnit!

At this time, the principal took to the stage that the theater crew put together earlier that week. A microphone and stand were in tow.

*tap tap*

The feedback echoed through the gymnasium, causing everyone, including Carl and Spore, to turn her way.

The principal, a fit black woman draped in purple and much younger than one would expect a principal to be, held the mike in both hands and declared, “Thank you all for coming! I hope you’re all having a great time! For those of you who are new, my name is Ms. Hawkins; hopefully we’ll never have the pleasure of meeting in my office.”

A modest laugh resonated through the room.

“And I apologize for the delay; the band…” she then shot an annoyed glare at the two men standing in the doorway, “…got a little held up. But they just arrived and will be ready to rock your socks soon, so get ready!”

Quickly walking off the stage, Ms. Hawkins approached the two tall, thin men, both wearing matching olive green leather jackets and dark brown corduroy pants.

“Remember to keep it clean,” she said with a mild sneer and an angry forefinger in their faces. “I know the reputation you two have. And we’re not paying in full considering you showed up a full hour late.”

“Do you know how far away Sicily is, love?” the one man piped.

“What?” she asked, befuddled by the remark.

“Don’t listen to him,” the other man advised. “The money won’t be an issue. But if we could request some help bringing our equipment in, that’d be fantastic. The sooner it’s all set up, the sooner we can go on.”

“Fine” was her only response and she promptly turned and began to march away from the two men.

When she was only a mere ten steps away, the one man turned to the other and cackled, “Bit of tight ass that one is, don’t you think, brother?”

“I heard that!” she snarled.

“I said it loud enough so you could, love!”

Back in the gymnasium, Carl was looking down at his feet in anxiety. Collecting some nerve, he began to ask Spore, “So, um, I know you got this assignment and all, but maybe after you snap a few more pictures and the band starts playing, I was thinking…”

Silence for a few seconds as he continued to gather his courage.

“…dance?”

“Oh,” she replied, slightly taken aback, “um…I mean, I’d like to. I really would. But I really need to be taking more pictures. I want to make a good impression, ya know?”

“Yeah, word. Word,” he awkwardly replied, hands now in his pockets. The nodding recommenced.

There was a pause for a moment.

“Word.”

STOP! he screamed in his mind.

“Word.”

GODDAMNIT!

“Cool, cool, cool.”

YOU’RE GOING TO DIE A VIRGIN!

“But hey,” she said, “it was really nice meeting you. I’ll see you around, alright?”

“Yep, yep!” he agreed, forcing a big, toothy smile.

Sweet Jesus, did you have stroke at some point?

“See ya around!” he exclaimed with a quick wave of his right hand.

God, I hope I don’t see her around.


TO BE CONTINUED


Oh, Carl, Carl, Carl. We’ve all been there, though (well, all us guys, anyway). Cute blonde girl with a booty? How can any man resist? Although, let’s not forget the immortal words of Bell Biv Devoe: Never trust a big butt and a smile. But who knows? It may just work out for the best.

And also, look who’s back! If you were confused at Giovanni’s comment at the end of Wood You Be Mine? (“There are other worlds than these.”), now you have an idea. How did they get here? Well, that I’m not quite ready to reveal, but you will see them interact with Carl next week. And hey, they’re always fun, right? See you then (and hopefully on Facebook or Twitter as well) for Act 1, Part 3 of Empowered!






Empowered: Act 1, Part 1

Empowered: Act 1, Part 1



Here we are! The start of my new story, Empowered! I’ve been mentioning it for the past month or two, and now I’m incredibly excited that I can share it with you all today. If you enjoyed the humor and style of Wood You Be Mine?, then Empowered, the story of a world where having superpowers is the norm, will be right up your alley.

It’s going to be a fun next few months, so get your ass ready!


Decibel. Octane. Wavelength. Hourglass. Paradox. Not a random collection of words, instead these are the names of the people of this world. A world with a similar past and present as ours, except for one key difference: Everyone here is born with a superpower.

You’ll meet Spore. You’ll meet Wing. You’ll meet Elcsum and Iris and Mesmer and Insight.

And you’ll also meet Carl.

Carl doesn’t have any superpowers.

Carl’s a mutant.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I don’t want to go to the fucking dance, alright, El?” Carl screamed in to the phone. “It’s a dumbass dance for a bunch of kids to grind up on each other to shitty music from ten years ago!”

“I don’t know how you can say that out loud and not think it’ll be an awesome time,” the voice on the other end of the line answered back. “What are you afraid of? You have absolutely nothing to lose. Come on. Get dressed and I’ll come pick you up.”

Letting out an annoyed sigh, Carl responded, “Just go yourself. I’m not gonna have a good time. I won’t ask any girls to dance, and they won’t ask me. So what’s the point? I can stay at home and have the exact same experience, except I won’t have to put pants on.”

“You’re not wearing pants right now?” El asked after a momentary pause.

“Go without me.”

“I’m coming to get you. You need to come out of your shell. Senior year starts in two days. It’s our year. Let’s start it off right.”

“No.”

El chuckled, “You’re cute when you think you have a choice.”

Closing his eyes and throwing his head back in defeat, Carl replied, “You’re comin’ no matter what I say, aren’t you?”

“Yes. Now for the love of God, put on some pants and meet me outside in ten minutes.”

“Fine. Alright. See you in ten.”

“See ya soon, bud.”

*click*

Doing as El requested, Carl started getting dressed. He dug through the pile of clothes on the floor of his closet; shirts and pants and socks and boxers flying in every corner of the room until he finally found the pair of jeans he was looking for. Bringing them up to his face, he let out a sniff to see if they were safe to go out in.

Breathing in, he hesitated for a moment as the scent lingered in his nose.

“Good enough,” he said to himself as he apathetically put them on. Now moving over to his dresser, he opened the top drawer and grabbed the first button-down shirt he could find. It was crimson red and about three years old, but it still fit him well enough. A little tight, perhaps, since he got it before he started working out, but still wearable. After fastening the buttons on the shirt except for the top two and rolling up his sleeves, he trudged down the stairs, the image of how the night was sure to go running through his head.

He imagined standing next to El as his friend charmingly made conversation with girls and guys alike while he stood there like some leech who’d shrivel up and die if detached from his side. And that was the best case scenario.

“Ma!” he yelled while crouched down in the hallway closet looking for his sneakers, “I’m going to the dance! El’s gonna be here in a few minutes to pick me up!”

“Okay, baby angel, have a good time! And call me when you get there!”

Carl closed his eyes and shook his head. He was 17. He didn’t need the nickname ‘baby angel’ anymore, and he definitely didn’t need to call her when he got to the dance.

“Ma!” he yelled again, “Why do you need me to call you? The dance is at the school, where I’ve been going every day for the past three years without callin’ you!”

“I just worry, honey! Have a good time playing with your friends!”

“We’re not ‘playing,’ ” he muttered to himself.

“What was that, young man?” his mom rejoined, her tone less ‘sweet’ motherly and more ‘mother’ motherly.

“Nothing, ma’am,” he sheepishly replied back. Carl often wondered if his mom’s, known as ‘Insight’ to everyone else, real power was super-hearing. In actuality, she had the power of empathy, which Carl knew all too well. She could sense your thoughts and feelings as if they were her own, making her overly emotional and sensitive to everyone around her. Couple that with a mother’s natural inclination to be protective of her child, and you could only imagine the kind of overbearing anxiety she had towards him and his siblings.

And although deep down he knew that it’s better to have a mother who worries too much as opposed to one who doesn’t worry at all, Carl still sometimes toyed with the idea of slipping a Xanax in her morning coffee.

Finally finding his sneakers, Carl wedged his feet in (he never bothered to untie them), dug his finger in to the back of each to bring up the flap that was now crammed between his heel and the shoe, and stood up to leave. As he grabbed the cold metal doorknob, he let out a quiet sigh and muttered to himself, “Here we go.”

He was already regretting this.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Carl stood outside, hands in his pockets, gazing at the night sky. He attempted to whistle, but all he was able to produce was a wet sputtering noise as spittle came flying out of his lips.

After a few minutes of waiting, Carl finally heard that familiar *swish* sound followed by a loud *thunk*.

This continued about five or six times until El ultimately landed right in front of him. As he did, he whipped his shaggy blonde hair to the side and out of the way of his brilliant blue eyes.

El, short for Elcsum, had the power of super-strength. Every muscle in his body was a hundred times stronger than normal, and, as such, his legs were powerful enough that he could leap to fantastic heights.

“Hey there, little buddy!” El said with a big grin on his face. “Ready to go?”

Carl hated ‘little buddy’ almost as much as he did ‘baby angel.’

“Does it matter?”

“Nope!” El replied as he grabbed Carl and they shot off in to the air. When El said he was coming to pick you up, he meant it literally.

*swish*

Carl really wished his sister hadn’t borrowed the car.

“This is always degrading.”

“Oh, stop being a baby. We’re going to have fun tonight!”

*thunk*

Carl, knowing he really was sounding like a baby, resolved to be positive about the situation. El was right; he was being a downer. Acting like that will only guarantee having a crappy time.

*swish*

“Fine, I’ll be nice and happy for the rest of the night. I promise. Here: Big smile for ya!”

Carl then opened both his mouth and eyes wide to give El a creepy, clown-like smile.

El winced and remarked, “I hate it when you make that face.”

“What face?” Carl asked, his smile even wider, his bright white teeth glistening in the moonlight.

“I have absolutely no issues dropping you.”

*thunk*

“You’re just uncomfortable because of all our sexual tension. But seriously, I’m still not sure why you wanted me to go.”

*swish*

“What? Because you’re my best friend! Why wouldn’t I want you there? And…”

El opened his nostrils wide and sniffed.

*thunk*

“…and what’s that smell?” he asked, once again wincing.

Carl began to think maybe he should’ve put on a different pair of pants.

*swish*

Changing the subject, Carl asked, “So, umm…who’s all gonna be there?”

“Errrrbody gonna be there! And I’m glad you got dressed up for it,” El replied, mocking his shirt. “Baby Gap have a half-off sale?”

“Psh,” Carl replied, “I love this shirt. Haters gonna hate.”

*thunk*

“Well at least it shows off your new build. Little Carl putting on some muscle over the summer…”

*swish*

“…I can hear the ladies dripping from all the way up here.”

“Jesus Christ, El…”

“What? Anyway…”

*thunk*

“…we’re here. Look alive, bud!” El said, followed by a pat on the back that was a little too hard, causing Carl to stumble forward.

“Dude, you really, really need to remember to hold back more.”

“Hey, Muscles, sorry! I thought you could handle it.”

“Asshole.”

“Love you, too. Also, do me a favor and, every instinct you have, do the exact opposite of that.”

“I’m here, ain’t I?”

“Fair point. Aight,” El said, “time to get our groove on.”


TO BE CONTINUED


The inaugural post of Empowered wraps up! How does it compare to Wood You Be Mine? Which intro grabbed you more? Are you excited to see where the story goes? Was Carl too whiny? Was El too inappropriate (or not inappropriate enough?) You know I would love to hear your feedback, be it positive or negative, so let me know you think one Facebook or Twitter. Next week, all of you who’ve been reading along since Wood You Be Mine? will enjoy what happens? Why’s that? You’ll just have to come back next week and see! Hope to see you then!






Wood You Be Mine? OG Version

Wood You Be Mine? OG Version



Just when you think we’re done, I present to you the original version of Wood You Be Mine? Written by me in my 12th grade Creative Writing class, the assignment was to take a popular fairy tale and put a new twist on it. As most of you guessed, I took the story of Pinocchio and asked, instead of a wooden boy becoming…you know what? I think you all know by now what I was going for. So here it is: The original, unedited version of 17-year-old Steve Giordano’s Wood You Be Mine? Please remember: I wrote this over eight years ago; the style is…less refined. That said, see if you can point out everything that was carried over in to the new version! You’ll be surprised how much was left in.

Legno Ragazzo was a poor Italian boy who had been orphaned at a young age. A kindly old man named Mr. Saggezza had adopted little Legno when he had been eight years old and Legno, now ten, was not content with how things were going with his life. Sure, Mr. Saggezza was great, but there was something that was definitely missing. He finally realized what that was when they were taking a nice stroll down the street, and Legno saw the most beautiful girl that he had ever seen. She was his height, with beautiful cornflower hair, deep brown eyes, and a nice oak finish. The girl was a wooden toy hanging in the store window, but Legno did not care. She was gorgeous, and she wood, I mean would, be his.

“She will be mine, but what would Mr. Saggezza say?”

“That’s she’s made out of wood and that it’s creepy,” Mr. Saggezza replied.

“How’d you know I said that?”

“I’m standing right next to you, Legno.”

“Oh. I thought I was having one of those moments like in a play where I say something out loud but I’m the only one who hears it. Y’know?”

“You could’ve just thought it instead.”

“I figured that this would be more dramatic.”

“I see.”

They continued on their walk for a few more minutes, and finally they returned home. Unbeknownst to them, they were being followed by a helpful insect known as Jiminy Termite. He had overheard young Legno’s problem and wanted to aid him the best that he could. He came into Legno’s room that night with intentions of introducing himself.

“Legno, wake up Legno,” Jiminy whispered, “I’m here to help you claim your love.”

Legno slowly woke up and saw Jiminy on his nose, staring at him.

“AAHH! AAHH! Termite! Someone kill it! Mr. Saggezza!”

“Shut up, Legno!”

“You can talk?”

“Yes, I’m a magical talking termite.”

“I see… AAHH! AAHH! Magical talking termite! Someone kill it! Mr. Saggezza!”

“Legno, be quiet! I’m here to help you!”

“Who… who are you?” Legno stuttered.

“The name’s Jiminy Termite, and I’m here to help you. See, I overheard your problem and am interested in helping you out.”

“Why?”

“Why not? I believe that every good deed goes noticed and I have taken it upon myself to personally ensure that you become a wooden boy.”

“That sure is nice of you, Timiny!”

“Jiminy.”

“Oh, right.”

“Yes well, anyway… get some rest, because tomorrow, the search to fulfill your dream will commence!”

Legno went straight to bed and dreamt about the future with his soon-to-be lady. He imagined himself holding her, running with her, laying down with her and looking at the stars. Now sure, most people would say that you can’t do any of those things because you’re made out of wood, but Legno wasn’t exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. He also began to think of all the other fun stuff you could do if you are made out of wood: Polishing yourself with tarnish, sanding down the rough edges, and making a bunch of knock-on-wood jokes whenever he wanted to. Life as a piece of wood sure did seem pretty sweet.

The next morning, Legno woke up to the sweet smell of Mr. Saggezza’s breakfast being cooked. He went downstairs, pulled up a seat, and began to tell Mr. Saggezza what happened.

“Are you sure you didn’t just dream all this up?” inquired the old man.

“No! An insect told me last night that I would became a real wooden boy soon so I can marry my love… my amor.”

“Which is the toy girl in the window?”

“Yes.”

“And this was told to you by a magical talking insect?”

“Yes.”

“Are you on drugs?”

“Not to my knowledge, but who knows what they were serving us at the orphanage.”

“Oh, God…”

“Mr. Saggezza, I don’t understand why you can’t be happy for me! How would you have felt if people told you that you couldn’t marry Mrs. Saggezza?”

“I’m not married, Legno. Have you ever seen a woman in here, ever?”

“Huh… well I’ll be. But my point still stands… you can’t stop our love!”

“My boy, I believe that every person has to go their own path. If this is what you truly believe your destiny is, then by all means, go for it.”

“Thank you, Mr. Saggezza!” Legno yelled as he ran out the door.

“If you ask me, that boy’s already made of wood,” the old man muttered to himself.

Outside, Legno found Jiminy waiting for him by the house, just itching to get things started.

“Top of the morning, my dear boy. Ready to start your adventure?”

“You know it, Jiminy… but where do we start?”

“Well, all we really need is to find a shooting star. A shooting star will grant a young child any kind of wish that they desire.”

“That’s stupid. What else you got?”

“The shooting star is really the best thing you can go with.”

“That doesn’t make any sense… how can a hot ball of matter spiraling through the sky grant any sort of wish?”

“Yeah, you’re right that is stupid. Hey, did you hear about the one guy that wanted to be made out of hickory and talks to insects?”

“No. Sounds like a moron, though.”

Jiminy rubbed his brow in frustration and said, “Fine, no shooting stars. I know of some old lady in the forest that we can talk to, so let’s try her.”

“I love old ladies! They always have the most interesting aromas!”

The two partners ventured into the forest until they reached a house made completely out of candy. They looked at the nibbled-on dwelling for a few moments before knocking on the door.

“May I help you?” the sweet old lady asked.

“We’re looking for someone to grant my friend’s wish. He wants to turn into wood.”

Oh, I may be of some assistance, why don’t you just come in…”

At that time Legno noticed a boy boiling in a pot of water and his sister in the oven.

“Help us, for the love of God, help us!” they cried.

“Eh, it looks like you’re already getting ready turn to that boy into a ladle and that girl into a pan.” Legno commented. “We’ll go somewhere else.”

“Come back any time, child,” the decrepit woman relayed.

“Know any other places?” Legno queried Jiminy as they were leaving.

“Well, I know a guy who knows a guy that says he’s heard of a guy that has a magical lamp. Let’s try him.”

So the two then went all around town until they found the lamp, and finally they were able to track it down and release the all-powerful genie.

“I will grant you any three wishes that you desire!”

“You know, I thought ‘Good Will Hunting’ was magnificent,” Jiminy replied.

“What’s that?”

“Nothing.”

“Okay, so wait… I only get three wishes?” Legno asked.

“That’s correct.”

“Man, only three?”

Jiminy added, “But Legno, before you were happy with just one.”

“Yeah, but that was before I knew that there could be more. Just think of what I could get with four, or dare I say five, wishes! I wish that whole ‘three wishes only’ thing would change.”

“Fine!” the genie yelled, “It is granted! No wishes! That’s what you get for being greedy!”

The genie went back into his bottle, and Legno once again was left without someone to make his dream come true. It was getting pretty dark and Legno had felt like it was never going to be achieved.

“Look Legno,” Jiminy screamed, “a shooting star! Trust me, make a wish!”

“No!”

“I wish you weren’t so stupid!”

“Ha! See! It didn’t work!”

“Just do it or I won’t help you again!”

“Fine, if that’s the way you’re going to act… ‘Oh, spectacularly stupid shooting star, please make me into a wooden boy!’ ”

There was a splash of light and Legno was gloriously transformed into a wooden boy, just like Jiminy had promised. His wish had come true, and he had his friend Jiminy Termite to thank for it.

“Thank you Jiminy, you were right this whole time!”

“Yes, well, as long as things turned out well now, that’s all that matters.”

“How can I ever repay you?”

“Well… I haven’t had a real wooden boy in such a long time. I think I know how I’ll get repaid.”

“Wait, so you only helped me just so you could eat me?”

“Yeah, basically.”

Jiminy lunged and devoured poor unassuming Legno. The boy had wished for so much and it all had turned against him. Now he was just a pile of sawdust on the ground.

Moral: Plastics are the wave of the future.


THE END


An unexpected, not-so-happy ending here, but it’s an interesting prototype to the story that I eventually produced, don’t you agree? I remember thinking this was awesome when I first wrote it all those years ago, but now I look back on it and cringe (the same with Girls = Satan for all y’all old enough to remember that one). So what’s the verdict? Is there anything here you like more than in the new version?

And on a more important note, Empowered starts next week! In a world where everyone is super, what happens to the one kid who isn’t? A story that will stir up both feelings of nostalgia and lament from the days of high school, our new hero, Carl Freeman, must learn to find his place in a world where being different is the worst thing possible. See you then!







Drawings From Kevin: Timothy

Drawings From Kevin: Timothy

In another installment in the “Drawings from Kevin” series, my good friend depicts SPOILERS mentor-turned-villain Timothy in all his glory. I feel that he found the perfect balance between civilized and sinister. But what do my loyal followers think? Peep this shit and let me know Facebook or Twitter. And, no offense to K-Bone, but this isn’t the special treat I had for you all this week. That’s coming Thursday, so I hope this satiates until then!


Click for a larger view!


Pretty sick, right? The kid’s got talent, that’s for damn sure. What do you think though? Does he look like how you imagined? I appreciate any and all feedback, even if you think it’s absolute trash. Click one of the links below to let me know, and a new post is coming in two days!






The Wood You Be Mine? Finale

The Wood You Be Mine? Finale




Well, here we finally are. In the extra long conclusion to the story, we finally say goodbye to Legno, Timothy, and Saggezza. For once, I’m actually not sure what to say. Not to get too sappy, but this was a pretty personal accomplishment for me. So, like it or hate it, I’m proud of it regardless. And for those who’ve enjoyed my writing, don’t fret: I have two stories now that are in production. In two weeks begins Empowered! For all of you pining for the awkwardness, drama, and heartbreak of high school, that will be the tale for you (also, it has superpowers). But for now, join me in the thrilling final post to Wood You Be Mine?

Legno, with Timothy still perched upon his shoulder, made his way up Deus Ex Collina, the highest point of town. The sun was beginning to set, and the orange glow was blanketing the land as the sky began its shift from blue to pink.

“I still think this is a stupid idea,” Legno blurted to Timothy, his words seething with incredulity. “How’s asking a rock for something going to make any sort of a difference?”

With a sigh, Timothy responded, “It’s common folklore, Legno, that those pure of heart will get what they desire most. And although you’re…”

Timothy paused for a moment to choose his next words judiciously.

“…a unique, albeit perhaps callous sort at times, there is indeed a lot of good in you. If the legends are true, then I have no reason to see why it wouldn’t work, son.”

Only half listening to Timothy, Legno was too busy focusing his attention on the ballad being sung in the distance:

There ain’t no prick big or small/Trust us boys, she’s had ‘em all!

“Gah!” Legno yelled. “They’ve started! It’s done! Game over, man! Game over!”

Suddenly, a flash of light appeared in the sky. As the professor had predicted, the star shot through the heavens, a trail of shimmering gold marking its path. In mere seconds, it’d be gone from their sights forever. If Legno had any chance at all, it’d have to be now.

“Legno!” Timothy screamed. “It’s there! Make a wish before it’s too late!”

“This is so damn stupid, Timothy! Giant rocks don’t grant wishes!”

“My word, Legno! I wish you weren’t so stupid!” screamed Timothy in a rare moment of frustration.

“Ha!” Legno screamed back. “It didn’t work! Told you!”

“You have nothing to lose! Just try!”

“Fine!” he said, finally giving in to Timothy’s demands. He turned towards the hurdling meteor, threw his arms out and towards the sky and proclaimed, ‘Oh, spectacularly stupid hunk of rock, I wish I might, I wish I may, be a wooden boy this day!’ ”

For a beat, all remained as it was.

“Welp,” Legno began, “I don’t hate to say ‘I told you…’ ”

Suddenly, a prickling sensation encompassed Legno. It was tolerable for a moment but quickly became unbearable.

“I…uh…ow,” an unnerved Legno blurted out.

“Legno?” a flummoxed Timothy responded.

“I…I…”

His body began to convulse. He fell to his knees with his hands planting themselves on the ground to keep himself from totally collapsing. Timothy hopped off and stared in amazement.

“Legno, is it what I think?”

“I…I don’t…ow. Ow! Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow!”

It was then that a flash of light surrounded Legno’s body. He tried to talk. He tried to scream. But no words were able to escape his lips. The light appeared to raise Legno’s body in to the air, hovering a meter above the ground. Timothy looked in awe as everything they had worked for that day finally came to fruition.

And within moments, he was dropped back on to the ground, once again on his hands and knees, struggling to catch his breath.

“What…*huff* the crap…*huff*… was that *huff*?”

“Legno,” a wide-eyed Timothy said in disbelief, “look at yourself.”

Slowly, Legno picked himself up off the ground, and just as he did, he understood Timothy’s request. His hands, his feet, his whole body…he had gotten his wish.

Joints were now golden colored hinges.

Pale skin now a light brown oak.

The pimple on his nose now a tiny leaf.

His gray eyes now orbs of glass.

He was finally a wooden boy.

And with that came a price.

“HOLY MOLEY!” screamed Legno. “I take it all back! Everything I said about you, that stupid rock, the professor, all of it! It worked! I…I can’t believe it, it worked! I feel like this isn’t real! I feel like I may wake up at any moment now!”

Legno’s grin spread from wooden ear to wooden ear. He could barely contain his joy.

“Come on, Tim! Hop back on!” he cheered, while patting his shoulder. “We can still make it before the Geminies leave! I just heard them sing something about a rooster inserting itself in to a kitten, whatever the hell that means.”

“Oh,” Timothy began, “pay no mind to the inappropriate spew of those gypsies. As of now, they and this whole ‘Marion’ business are no longer of any concern.”

Legno stood there, dumbfounded. A look of utter confusion was painted on his face as he furrowed his brow to try to understand what Timothy meant.

“Um, do you mean you don’t think we’ll get there in time? I know, so if we leave now, we’ll…”

For the second time that night, Legno let out a loud, shrieking howl.

A hot, searing pain shot through his right ankle. Looking down, he immediately noticed a large chunk had gone missing, sawdust now littering the ground before him. Clutching his wounded ankle with both hands to lessen the unbearable throbbing while tears of agony flowed down from his eyes, he saw Timothy in front of him with a wicked smile draped across his face, specks of wood littered on his lips.

Legno tried to form a rational thought, but his head was spinning. So much had happened in so little time. He could barely process what was happening. “What are you…! Why would you…! I thought we were friends!”

“Oh, Legno,” Timothy said looking at him. “Oh, poor, pathetic Legno. If you only knew. Recticulitermes lucifugus, or ‘rectal fungus,’ as you so lovingly put it, is a breed of termite. Or, in other words…”

He then jumped onto to Legno’s left ankle, taking a large bite out of that one as well. Legno, no longer being able to support his weight, now collapsed to the ground.

“…wood eaters,” he finished as he jumped back on to the ground.

“Tim…” Legno began in utter disbelief, the tears in his eyes no longer just ones of pain, but also of sadness and heartbreak, “…you did all this just to eat me?”

“Mm, well, originally, my plan was to hide in the case of your would-be girlfriend and feast on her, but then I saw you, overheard your plight, and I thought, ‘A real live wooden boy? I should save my appetite.’ I just couldn’t resist, you see.”

In the distance, unheard by either party, there was galloping.

“Oh, and I hate to be melodramatic, and moreover, there’s nothing I want less than to put up with your incessant whining and free-flowing stream of imbecilic thoughts any longer. So before I go right for your head and put you out of your misery, are there any last words? And please, let’s make them coherent for once.”

Just then, a figure slowly came from behind the insect, doing his best to not be overheard. Seeing this, Legno let out a broad smile that encompassed his entire face.

He began to laugh.

“What’s so funny?”

“It…” Legno choked out, trying to hold back his laughter, “it just that looks like I wasn’t the only one with a little crush, Timothy.”

“What are you…”

At that moment, Timothy was interrupt by a booming voice. Loud, angry, and determined.

“Hey, bug!”

Turning around to see who it was, Timothy was only able to catch a mere glimpse of his face.

His boot, however, he got more than enough of a view.

“Oh, dear,” Timothy murmured to himself.

And with a disgusting mix of *stomp*, *crunch*, *squish* filling the air, Stefano Saggezza brought down his foot upon Timothy. As the bottom of his boot met the ground, he violently moved it from right to left a dozen times, ensuring that Timothy didn’t survive the experience.

Then, slowly lifting his leg so it was parallel to the ground, he inspected his foot to make sure of Timothy’s demise. Tilting his head, he saw Timothy’s flattened, lifeless body. And with an unforgiving flick of his forefinger, he sent the bug off in to the distance, ending the story of Timothy the termite.

“Should’ve wished for a harder shell, you bastard.”

Turning to his son, Saggezza had a look of sorrow in his eyes. There Legno was, a boy completely made out of wood. His heart broke seeing his like that way. He slowly made his way towards the boy.

“Legno, are you okay?”

“Well, other than, you know, missing huge chunks of my ankles, not as bad as you’d think, all things considered.”

“Oh, Legno. It can’t believe it was true. You did this for a doll?”

“Crap! Marion, is she…” he then popped up and limped forward, despite the pain in his ankles making it feel as if he were stepping on knives.

He stood in silence for a moment, desperately hoping to still here the song of the Geminies.

Nothing.

“They’re gone,” he muttered, downcasted. “She’s gone. All of this was for nothing.”

Putting his hand on Legno’s shoulder, Saggezza said, “Legno, I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry for all of this. If I had been a better…”

Legno looked up at him woefully.

“If I could’ve guided you better or just been there for you…but, it wasn’t for nothing. You’ve learned a lesson today, son.”

“Plastics are the wave of the future?”

“Failure is a part of life,” Saggezza corrected. “There’s no way around that. You can either let it help you…”

Saggezza looked at the ground.

“…or halt you.”

“But I didn’t get the girl.”

Picking his head back up, Saggezza responded, “Most relationships fail, Legno, even before they begin. But you tried; you need to see that that’s the important part. If you hadn’t, you would have failed regardless. She might be gone, but there’s still something to be learned here. And the sad fact is…”

Pausing to take a deep breath and momentarily reflect on his own shortcomings, Saggezza continued, “The sad fact is sometimes we lose. There are just some things we’ll fail at no matter what. And guess what? There’s nothing wrong with that. When you know what you can’t do, it helps you discover what you can do. Every failure helps us to learn a little more about ourselves; every failure gives us a clue about what we’re doing wrong, and we’re that much wiser next time.”

“But what did I do wrong? I changed everything to be with her.”

“Legno, regardless of all of what happened, you can’t be with an inanimate object. I mean, that’s…that’s just fact. How would you even…”

Saggezza then began miming with his hands Legno and Marion’s possible interactions.

“You know what? Forget that part. The real point is that you went through all this trouble to change yourself for someone. And if you need to completely overhaul who you are and what it is about you that makes you special to get someone to like you, then they’re really not liking you, Legno. They’re liking this fictional character you created. Life’s too short to pretend to be something you’re not. Let’s say it worked. Let’s say you were able to win Marion or any other girl over by being someone who isn’t Legno. How long could you expect to be happy? Eventually, it’d begin to eat you up inside.”

Looking at his ankles, Legno responded, “Or outside.”

Saggezza let out a sad smile. “Come here, son,” he said. Picking up Legno from underneath the armpits, he carried him over to Maggie’s steed and gently lowered him in to the saddle.

“Where’d this come from?”

“An old friend.”

The comment marinated in Legno’s mind for a few moments before it clicked with him. He hadn’t even thought to ask how or why Saggezza knew to save him until now.

“Maggie’s a swell lady.”

Saggezza was quiet for a second, and then smiled and said, “The swellest. Let’s go home, son.”

“Sounds good, pop,” was Legno’s response, turning Saggezza’s smile even wider.

There was a calm, welcomed silence as the two rode off towards the sunset, Legno firmly mounted on the horse while Saggezza followed closely to its right, reigns held safely in hand. Saggezza silently thanked God for letting him save Legno…and for letting Legno save him.

“So when we get home, do you think I should polish myself off before bed?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Elsewhere.

Two brothers were stowing away their props for the night. One put a wooden marionette in her case as the other made quick work disassembling their stage.

“It’s a shame,” Giuseppe remarked, “I really was hoping Legno would come to see the show. You know, see ‘Marion’ one last time.”

“Beppe, we both know that that wasn’t his path.”

“Yeah, but I’m a sucker for happy endings, Gio. We can’t all be as dour as you, brother.”

“His ending was happy in its own way. That’s the whole point.”

“Yeah, I know. But still,” Giuseppe remarked pensively. “Anyway, I’m all finished up. You good to go?”

Giving a nod of acknowledgement, Giovanni simply remarked, “Come then, brother. There are other worlds than these.”

The two brothers, going at their own pace, silently made their way north in to the Sicilian woodlands. With a *swoosh* and a bright flash of light, they were gone.


THE END


Well, that’s all I got for you clowns. Not much to really say that I haven’t already said, and more importantly, I’d like more to hear from all of you. Let me know if the finale gave you a sense of closure, if it made sense thematically, or really just any thoughts you might have. As always, let me know on Facebook or Twitter. Empowered starts in two weeks, and next week’s post will be a special treat. See you then, and thank you all so, so much for reading!






Wood You Be Mine? Act 3 Interlude

Wood You Be Mine? Act 3 Interlude




In a bit of a departure from what I’ve been posting, it’s time to switch gears from the Legno/Timothy story and focus on Saggezza and former flame Magdalena. How will the perpetually inebriated Saggezza react to seeing the woman that broke his heart years ago, a heart that’s never fully healed? Find out below:

Across town, Stefano Saggezza laid on floor, where he had passed out hours ago. He was awoken by a knock at the door.

With a belabored moan, he pushed himself up, wiped the drool from his bottom lip, and stumbled towards the threshold. In a swift motion, he opened the door, only to see the last person he ever expected to see.

The two shared a sad, meaningful look for a moment, and then, without a word uttered between either party, Saggezza shifted to the left to clear the entrance, and the woman slowly entered.

“Hello, Maggie,” Saggezza said.

“Hello, Stef,” she rejoined.

“You know, you’re still the only person I let call me that.”

She smirked.

“And what little pet name did you give for the guy you left me for?” he asked bitterly.

Looking at Saggezza cockeyed, she questioned, “You mean…God?”

“Yeah, I suppose that’s pretty short enough already,” he replied while turning towards the kitchen to rummage through his liquor cabinet.

Now more than ever, he was going to need a drink.

“Campari, Campari…he never brought back the…Legno! Legno! Where’s my Campari!”

“That’s actually what I came here to talk to you about, Stef.”

“What?” he asked, rolling his eyes. “Don’t tell me you’re here to berate me about my drinking, too.”

“No, as much of a concern it is, that’s not why I came. It’s about Legno.”

Snapping back to a sense of sobriety, Saggezza asked, “What’s wrong? How do you even remember him?”

With a sad smile, Magdalena responded, “How could I forget the child you wanted me to raise with you?”

Saggezza didn’t respond.

“He came by the church earlier; he came looking for a ‘miracle.’ He, well…he wanted to become a wooden boy.”

“That *urp* that sounds like Legno all right.” With a worried look beginning to drape over his face as the reality of something happening to Legno starting to sink in, Saggezza asked, “Is he okay?”

“I don’t know. He was with this…talking insect…”

“And I thought I was the drunk.”

“I know it sounds unbelievable, but it’s true. And listen, this overgrown bug – ‘Timothy’ Legno called him – I don’t trust him. There was a malicious air surrounding him. I really think something bad is going to happen to Legno, Stef.”

“You’re sure about this? I…” he stopped himself midsentence and and slowly turned his head to look at the ground, ashamed. “I know I haven’t been the best of fathers and was never really there for him, but if what you’re saying is true…”

“It is. They said they’re going to be at Deus Ex Collina by dusk. They were on their way there when I left. I took one of the church’s horses to get here. Take her; you might be able to beat them there. I can walk back to the church, just bring her back when you’re done.”

Picking his head up, Saggezza replied, “Thank you, Maggie, and I…you know I never stopped loving you.”

“I know, Stef, but this isn’t the time. And please tell me this lifestyle,” she then stretched out her left arm and waved towards the mess of empty bottles and trash, “isn’t because of me.”

With closed eyes and a shrug of his shoulders, he responded, “I don’t know what you want me to say, Maggie.”

“Oh, Stef. I’ll always love you, but just not like that anymore. You need to accept that it’s over and move on. Please, go to Legno. Make sure he’s safe. You still have a chance to make things right between the two of you. But all of this,” she once again waved towards the mess, “it needs to stop.”

“I know. I never wanted to live like this. Without you.”

“Stef. You pushed me away, and now you’re doing the same to him. If he feels empty inside, be there for him. Be the father he needs. Give him strength and guidance. He’s getting that from someone else now because you’re not there. And…and just go, Stef. Before it’s too late.”

Grabbing his boots, mud glued to the bottom and smelling as if something crawled in them and died, he forced them on, not wasting any time to untie and tie them. He whipped his canvas jacket on and rushed out the door. Turning towards Maggie one last time, he said, “Thank you. And I’ll make it all right. I promise.” As a single, hot tear rolled down his eye and on his cheek, he said in a low voice, “I’ll fix everything.”

Maggie walked slowly towards him and kissed the tear away.

“Goodbye, Stefano.”

“Goodbye, Magdalena.”

Finally, he turned and ran out towards the horse. Planting both hands on its backside, he used all his strength to throw himself up on top of the beast. Grabbing the reigns, he whipped them forcefully, and with a loud “Hyah!” he was off.

And with a pitiful, garbled “Nyah,” he pulled over to vomit.

“Oh, Lord,” prayed a disappointed Magdalena, “please get him there before he gets arrested.”

TO BE CONCLUDED


A bit more serious, personal entry, but one that I’m personally proud of. Do you feel the same? Hopefully the lack of slapstick humor wasn’t too much of a turn off. Was the drama as effective as the comedy? I sure hope so, but let me me know what you think. The next few stories will lean towards the dramatic side, so think of this as a taste of things to come. And guess what? Next week marks the conclusion of the entire tale! I never thought I’d get to this point, and I want to thank all my friends for the support. Hit me up on Facebook or Twitter for questions and comments, and I’ll see you all in a week!







Wood You Be Mine? Act 3, Part 1

Wood You Be Mine? Act 3, Part 1




Yes, all: We’re at the start of the final act of Wood You Be Mine? But it’s okay. The next two stories are already in progress. I won’t give away too many details, but here are the titles: Empowered and A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. Want to take a guess what they’re about? Drop me a line on Facebook or Twitter! But for now, let’s all enjoy the start of Act 3.

“Shooting star; what a quack,” bemoaned Legno. “What now, Timothy?”

“Well, when all else fails and things look their bleakest, it’s not uncommon to turn to a higher power” was Timothy’s response.

“You mean, like, God?”

“Well, the Professor, although being hyperbolic, did say it’d take an act of God. And seeing as we have no other options currently, I don’t see how it could hurt. Granted, I find organized religion to be a bunch of hooey, but I’m not an unreasonable insect. Surely there’s a chapel or some such where we can inquire about a miracle for you.”

“If that’s the case, when I went through my biweekly routine of rummaging through the chest in Saggies’ closet that he thinks I don’t know about, I found a picture of a woman, and on the back it said ‘Magdalena’ and ‘Chiesa dello Spirito Santo.’ So, I don’t know, maybe we see if this Magdalena is still there, drop Saggies’ name, and perhaps she can fast track us a miracle up to the big man himself!”

“Curious. And you two don’t attend church often?”

“No, Saggies says he gave up on all that a long time ago.”

“Well, I can’t quite fault him for that,” Timothy stated pretentiously. “In any event, do you know where this church is located?”

“Yeah,” Legno said as a cold chill went up his spine, “I’m not super keen on the idea of going there, though. It’s right next to a cemetery. I’m not too good around dead things.”

“Death, Legno, is just an extension of life. There’s nothing to fear. If anything, it enhances life, reminds you to live it to the fullest. And that’s exactly what our mission is today, is it not?”

“Yeah, you’re right.” Taking a deep breath in and out, he continued with, “Let’s get a move on then. The place is a bit of a hike, but if we hurry, maybe we can get God to whip us up a miracle before dark.”

Pumping his skinny little calf muscles for what felt like the hundredth time today, Legno headed east until he came upon the church. Noticing that the sun had begun its downward journey from the sky, Legno’s heart started beating with the fury of a stampeding elephant. Time was running out.

Finally arriving, Legno zoomed up the steps. Grabbing the metal ring and pulling open the tall, heavy door, Legno walked in to the church and was immediately awestruck. Adorned in the structure were stained glass paintings depicting the struggles of Christ, rows upon rows of benches, eager for parishioners, and, in the back, a woman lighting one of the many candles on a modest looking table as she silently prayed.

Legno, not being especially religious, wasn’t sure how to approach her. Is he allowed to interrupt? How does he address her?

“Wait are you waiting for?” whispered Timothy. “Go on; ask her if she knows this ‘Magdalena.’ ”

Trepidatiously ambling over to the woman, Legno cleared his throat and spoke. “Um,” he began, “Sister, right?”

The nun, whose eyes had been closed as her lips softly uttered a prayer, stopped midsentence and turned to Legno.

“Sorry for interrupting you,” he said sheepishly, “but, um, we’re looking for someone. I think her name might be Magdalena?”

“Oh yes,” the Sister replied, not at all bothered by Legno halting her prayer, “I believe she’s in the back room cleaning up. I’ll ask her to come over when she’s done. Do you mind waiting a moment?”

“No, no…that’s fine. Thanks.”

The nun turned back to the table to finish her prayer. Moments after, she slowly turned around and gracefully moved towards the back room to retrieve Sister Magdalena. As the pair waited, Legno soaked in the atmosphere of the church. Not a regular attendee, it was the first time he had stepped inside a church in years.

There was a calming ambiance in the building; Saturday mass wasn’t to start for another few hours, and the only persons around were the nuns and clergymen.

“Hello, child,” came a voice from behind him in a warm, motherly tone. “Sister Maryanne told me you wanted to see me. Do I know you?”

Legno turned around to face the woman. She was tall, just over one and three quarters meters. Although older, her face told the tale of a beautiful young girl who graciously aged in to a mature older woman, with her white coif and black veil carefully framing her delicate features.

“Well…” Legno replied, “do you know a man named ‘Stefano Saggezza’? I found your picture in his room, and I thought you might be able to help us since I don’t really know any other religious folks.”

“Stef…” Magdalena replied, in a tone barely above a whisper. “Are you…Legno?”

“Yeah! How’d you know?”

“Stef and I…”

“He prefers ‘Saggies,’ actually.”

She smirked and continued, “He and I were…friends. One of the last conversations we had was on the day he adopted you.”

“Oh,” Legno then paused, confused by this revelation. He cocked his head and squinted his eyes as he looked at her. “Really?”

“Yes, he thought that with you…” Magdalena stopped for a moment and looked down as a pang of emotion swept through her. ‘Stefano Saggezza’ had been a name she’d been trying to forget for a long time.

“He thought that I what?”

“I’m sorry to interrupt,” Timothy said, finally chiming in, “but we’re not exactly here to reminisce, are we, Legno?”

“Yeah,” he agreed, although disappointed he wouldn’t hear the rest of what she had to say on the subject of his parent, “Yeah, you’re right. Sorry, Tim.”

Magdalena had not previously noticed Timothy. Although oversized for a bug, he was still easy to miss. Upon the initial sight of him, she jumped back with a shock, her eyes widened, and she let out a frightened squeak before covering her mouth to silence it.

“Oh, ha, yeah. That’s Timothy. We’re buddies.”

“He’s your…friend? A talking bug?”

“I’m so much more than that, dear. And might I add, you look quite becoming in that habit,” Timothy replied in an attempt at playful flirtation. Magdalena hesitated for a moment and gave a forced smile before turning back to Legno.

Magdalena stood without moving or making a sound and let Timothy’s presence sink in. Due to her livelihood, she he knew that there were things that couldn’t quite be explained; that’s why it’s called ‘faith’ and not ‘fact.’ She was able to accept the unacceptable. Today, the unacceptable was the revelation that there are apparently some insects that can talk.

As a nun, she accepted this reality. But as a woman, her intuition told her there was something not quite genuine about this ‘Timothy.’

“Legno, you never told me what it is I can help you with. It’s apparent you’re not here to discuss Stefano,” she said, her bright green eyes shooting a quick glare at Timothy and just as quickly turning back towards Legno, “so what is it I can do for you? I’d be happy to help in any way possible.”

“Well, there’s this girl. And, granted, I don’t really pray that much, nor am I super religious, but, I don’t know, I was hoping the, uh, the big guy up there,” he said, pointing the ceiling, “could throw me a bone or something.”

“I can light a candle and say a prayer for you, dear, but I can’t promise you anything. That’s not quite the way God works. As much as He loves us all, He’s unable to grant wishes and give us anything we want. That would take all the meaning out of life. Do you understand?”

“But why?” Legno asked, his eyes beginning to water, “Does he want me to suffer or something?”

“Oh, Legno,” she said, kneeling down to meet him at eye level, “without suffering, there’s no compassion. Without suffering, we become complacent. Without suffering, one’s true character is never tested. I like to believe that He tests us every day. And every day, we have opportunities. Do we make the selfless choice or the selfish choice? I believe every one of our actions has a consequence even though you may not be able to tell right away. All I can really tell you is to be a good person, do the right thing, and happiness will come to you. Life has a way of balancing itself out. I promise.”

Looking down, he murmured to himself, “But I want happiness to come now…”

Having heard enough, Timothy decided to interject. “Legno, and my dear, please do not take offense, but I think she may be a little off on this. ‘Power of prayer’ and glorification of suffering, if you want to be an outside observer and let life and opportunities pass you by, then by all means, take her advice. However, you can be like me, take initiative, and you can claim what’s rightfully yours.”

Magdalena, feeling furious and condescended to, was boiling up inside but kept a quiet and dignified veil of placidity.

“Come, there’s still time to make our way to the top of Deus Ex Collina to see that shooting star. If what Professor Cannizzaro said is true, you’ll be a wooden boy by dusk.”

‘You’ll be a wooden boy by dusk,’ resonated in Magdalena’s head as her left eyebrow arched in bewilderment.

“Might as well,” Legno sighed, “seeing as we’re all out of options.” After finishing his sentence, he gave a quick hop over to Magdalena and wrapped his arms around her for an unexpected hug.

“Bye, Mag. And thanks anyway. I’ll tell Saggies you said hi.”

Touched by the boy’s tenderness, she said, “Of course, child. And…” she gave a quick look to Timothy once again and finished, “and be careful.”

Down but not quite yet defeated, Legno lightly sprinted back towards to the entrance, pushed the tall wooden door open, and, before leaving, turned around to give the church one last look. And one last poignant look to Magdalena as well.

Magdalena watched him as he left, and, for a few moments, looked at the door. She stood there quietly gathering her thoughts before heading towards the back room and in to the head nun’s quarters.

She knocked on the door and the voice inside invited her in. Wasting no time, Magdalena asked, “Mother Superior, would I be able to take an afternoon leave? There’s someone whom I need to see.”


TO BE CONTINUED


And with that, we begin our winding down of this tale! Next week will be the Act 3 Interlude, and I’m sure you all have an idea on who she’s going to see in a confrontation years in the making. How’s Act 3 so far? Does it tickle your fancy? As always, let me know on Facebook or Twitter! See you all soon!






Wood You Be Mine? Act 2 Finale

Wood You Be Mine? Act 2 Finale




Everyone have a happy holiday? Fantastic. Ready for it to get even better? I know what you’re saying: “Stephen, master of the written word and, you’ve achieved so much in your short time as a renowned Internet blogger. How could you possibly top your earlier entries?” And that’s a 100% valid question, so you’ll just have to read this latest double-sized entry, the thrilling, pulse pounding, heart stopping (I think those last two contradicted each other) conclusion to Act 2 of Wood You Be Mine? Hold on; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

“Kind of. Sometimes when I’m feeling gassy, I like to take a match and…”

Deciding to stop Legno mid-sentence, Timothy replied with, “Never mind. I knew it was a stupid question before I asked it.”

“Yeah,” Legno said in agreement, “you only have yourself to blame for that one.”

“Regardless, the point I was getting to is that, if magic can’t help us, then perhaps science can. It’s been said that all magic is is science we don’t yet understand. Go to that bookshelf over there and look for a book entitled Scientists of the World – A History. During my time here, I educated myself the best I could. Luckily, Esther had scores of books on a wealth of topics, science being one of them.”

Doing as Timothy said, Legno walked to the bookshelf. He ran his fingers over the spines of the books, feeling their hard, leathery exteriors.

“Stop, there!” Timothy said, with Legno’s hand coming to an immediate halt. Placing his bony pointer and middle on the top of the book, he pulled it down and in to his palms.

“Heavy,” he said. “How is this supposed to help us?”

“Well, let’s start by opening it up. Look in the table of contents to see what page a ‘Stanislao Cannizzaro’ is on.”

Legno flipped open the cover, and immediately the book’s stale smell filled his nostrils. His face winced and eyes watered a bit as he breathed in the stench between the pages.

“Christ,” he managed to cough out, “doesn’t she ever actually, I don’t know, read these things?”

“I think the only time she ever gave them much mind was when I’d ask her to get them for me. And that’s why I think this book may be exactly what we need,” Timothy retorted as a smirk grew upon the left side of his mouth, the thoughts of success exciting him.

“Umm…” Legno began as he ran his forefinger down the index, “Stanislao, Stanislao…ah, here we go!” He then moved his finger across the page, careful to follow the dotted line exactly to its end point.

“Page 42,” Timothy replied, looking at where Legno’s finger stopped, “that should have exactly what we need.”

With the delicacy of a drunk fumbling for his keys, Legno threw the book open, landing on page 187. He then began to feverishly flip backwards through the pages, a *fwipping* noise filling the air as he did so, and a glimmer of hope once again filling his eyes.

187…186…185…184…

“You know,” Timothy said, “you can just…”

“No time!” Legno yelled.

162…161…160…159…

“I mean, we are on a bit of a timeline, so if you could…”

“Can’t stop! Won’t stop! Eye of the tiger!”

143…142…141…140…

“Oh, for the love of…” Timothy sighed, “stop for a second, would you?”

Hopping off Legno’s shoulder and on to his hand, Timothy made his way towards the book, reached out his right hand, and began rifling the pages starting at the beginning, keeping eye on the numbers in the top left corner.

“Ah, he we are,” Timothy proclaimed. “See where my hand is? Open to that page.”

Legno began moving his fingers carefully down the ridges of the dry, unevenly bound pages until he reached the correct one. Flipping it open, he saw the following:

“I have no clue what the hell it was I just read,” remarked a baffled Legno. “How is a Candid Zorro supposed to help me?”

“Cannizzaro,” corrected Timothy, “and it’d be proper to refer to him as ‘professor’ when we meet him.”

“This is the guy you think can help us?”

“That he is. The good professor has made his career on being able to change one organic compound in to another. Who’s to say he wouldn’t be able to change flesh to wood? Granted, it’s a long shot, but it’s the best shot we have.”

“Well, I trust you,” Legno said, although half heartedly, “so where to? It’s not like we can just go knocking on doors until we find him.”

“The book’s a few years old, but if it’s still accurate, then we should be able to find him at the local University in the heart of town.”

“Blah, I’m not looking forward to this walk back,” Legno muttered, “how about this time, you carry me?”

Had any other person made that comment, Timothy would’ve thought they were joking.

Now with the sun at its highest point in the sky, the trek back to the city wasn’t an easy one. Hot sweat poured down Legno’s brow; every inch of his body had a wet stickiness to it; the armpits of his shirt turned that greenish brown color that men know all too well.

Finally back in town, Timothy instructed Legno to walk in to the heart of the city. “That’s where the University is,” he claimed. “One of the biggest buildings in town; you can’t miss it.”

Compared to the walk through the forest and back, traversing to the University felt like no time at all. Within mere minutes, the pair of travelers were already pushing open the big wooden doors and entering the impressive main hallway of the school. The intricately designed gray marble floors ranked amongst the impressive things he had ever seen: The walls were so white that it almost hurt his eyes, and the entire hall had that worldly scent of old literature.

The two wandered the halls until they stumbled upon an elderly lady who appeared to work there. “Excuse me, ma’am?” asked Legno, “I was hoping to find a ‘Stanislao Cann…zinarro’?”

“Professor Cannizzaro?”

“Yes! Yes, him! Does he still work here?”

“Mmhm,” was her response. She then extended out her left hand, pointed a bony finger, and finished with, “if you follow this hallway all the way to the end and make a left, his will be the third office on the right.”

“Thanks!” he said, turned and took two steps before turning back towards the old woman.

“Is there something else I can hel…” she began before Legno came up, opened his nostrils wide, and breathed in, with the melody of air whipping against the stuffy congestion filling the entire hallway.

The woman stood there, nonplussed as Legno merely said “Thanks again!” and galloped down the hallway.

Turning to Timothy, he said, “I said it before and I’ll say it again: They really do have the most interesting scents!”

It was the second time that day Timothy had to keep his contents of his stomach from decorating Legno’s left shoulder.

Legno banked down the corner of the hallway, nearly overshooting the third door on the right. “Stop, right here!” Timothy exclaimed. “Third office on the right!”

Coming to a screeching halt, Legno needed to catch himself on the wall to avoid having the momentum knock him down. After taking a second to catch his breath, Legno gently knocked on the office door as he pushed it open ever so slightly.

“Excuse me, Professor Cannizzaro?”

The middle-aged man, who up until now was preoccupied with examining a slide with a sampling of ammonia under his microscope, looked up upon Legno, failing to notice Timothy. Despite only being in his mid-30s, the professor was already extremely accomplished, and he sported a neck beard that all professors are expected to grow at some point in their careers.

Although not pleased by Legno’s barging in unannounced, he wasn’t particularly angered by it, either. A straightforward man, he simply asked, “May I help you?”

“Hi, my name’s Legno. And this,” he said pointing to his shoulder, “is my talking bug friend, Timothy.”

“Charmed.”

“I, um…” he paused, not quite knowing how to react to Timothy’s presence, and finally deciding to finish with, “Okay, fine, why not? How can I help the two of you?”

“Well, Professor, Legno here has a…unique request,” Timothy answered.

“Oh? And what might that be?”

“He’s been quite taken with this *ahem* wooden doll.”

“She’s everything a woman should be and more,” Legno replied, his hands folded and pressing against his chest, his lovelorn eyes staring off in to the distance.

With a confused look on his face, Cannizzaro responded with “I…see. And where do I come in?”

“We’ve read up on your work,” Timothy stated, “The changing of one organic compound to another, and we were hoping that there might be a way to do the same for Legno here.”

“You want me to turn this doll in to a real girl?”

“Ha!” Legno laughed, “That’s retarded. No, I want you to make me a wooden boy.”

Cannizzaro glanced at Timothy quizzically. Timothy’s only response was a shrug of his shoulders and a shake of his head that seemed to imply ‘I know. Trust me, I know.’

Breaking the momentary silence, Cannizzaro answered, “Any other day, I would’ve called you absolutely insane for even suggesting that, but standing before me right now is a walking, talking…Recticulitermes lucifugus, correct?”

“You are quite right, sir!”

“So it certainly appears that the line between ‘possible’ and ‘impossible’ is blurrier than I had previous thought. That said, even if there were a way to do that, it’d take years of research and experimentation, and that’s time I just don’t have. I’m sorry.”

“Me, too,” muttered a disenfranchised Legno, “Marion’s leaving tonight, and now it’ll take a miracle to become a wooden boy by then.”

“Well…”

“Well? Well what?”

“I don’t want to get your hopes up, and I can’t at all guarantee anything, but a hobby of mine is astronomy, and the skies tell me that there’s a meteor shower coming tonight around dusk. It should be dark enough for you to see it clearly.”

“How does that help us?” Timothy responded, asking for the both of them.

“If you believe the old folklore, those with the purest souls will get their heart’s desire when they wish upon a star.”

“Wishing upon a star…that has to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!” Legno retorted, his response being more than a little skeptical.

Looking up and to the left, Cannizzaro whispered to himself, “Said the boy who wants to become a wooden doll…”

“Pardon his manners, Professor,” Timothy interjected, trying to save face, “but besides that, could we trouble you for any other possible solutions?”

Cannizzaro breathed in slowly, shook his head, and then answered with “An act of God.”

“Ugh. Timothy, let’s go. Professor…” Legno began, and he now had a sheepish expression on his face, “sorry for my attitude, I didn’t mean to be rude. I’m just frustrated is all.”

“No need to apologize. We’ve all been love-struck at one point in our lives or another. And good luck. Remember: Meteor shower tonight. Go to the top of Deus Ex Collina, the hill at the edge of town; it’s one of the highest points in the area. You’d have a great vantage point.”

“Yeah, yeah…maybe.”

“Look at it this way: If it works, you get what you want; if it doesn’t, then at least you get to see a spectacular show.”

Legno let out of weak smile and nodded in appreciation as he left.

“Thank you again, Professor,” Timothy responded. “Best of luck with your research.”

“And best of luck to the two of you.”

Pushing open the door, Legno and Timothy left the way they came in. Waiting a moment for the door to close completely, Cannizzaro then turned back to his microscope and muttered to himself, “If you ask me, that boy’s already made of wood.”

He then paused for a second and took his eyes away from his microscope once again and said pensively, “Hm, Recticulitermes lucifugus.” He then leaned back in to the eyepiece of his microscope and began carefully adjusting the lenses before finishing his thought aloud. “I wonder how that boy was able to come upon such refined, intelligent termite.”


END OF ACT 2


And with that, Act 2 comes to a close, and Timothy’s treachery is revealed. Poor, poor Legno. Dramatic irony will fuck you every time. Did you see the twist coming? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter! Next week begins with the premiere of Act 3 as Wood You Be Mine? winds down to its epic finale. See you then!







Wood You Be Mine? Act 2, Part 3

Wood You Be Mine? Act 2, Part 3




I’d like to start this one off on a slightly more serious note. As the holidays are approaching, we should all look to give back a bit. For those of you who may have some extra money, think about donating a couple dollars to those less fortunate. One of my favorites is Toys for Tots, but there are a ton out there to choose from. ’Tis the season, loyal readers. Make someone out there smile.

Alright, now that the sappiness is out of the way, last we left off, Legno, with Timothy as his guide, was off to see the witch of the Sicilian forests (no, not you, Aunt Adela). Can she do for Legno what she did for Timothy? Let’s find out in Act 2, Part 3 of Wood You Be Mine?


“Truth be told, I don’t know why she didn’t. Boredom, perhaps? Or maybe just loneliness.”

“You never asked?” said a baffled Legno.

“This is going to sound silly,” Timothy began, “but I suppose I was afraid of knowing the truth. Like if I were to look at it too closely, I might see the cracks beneath the surface of the whole thing. Like knowing the truth would be the pinch that woke me up from the dream.”

“Is that why you didn’t stick around?”

“I did for a while; I owed the old girl that much. So I spent time with her, conversed with her, helped her prepare her meals, and the like. As I said earlier, I believe she just felt like having some companionship.”

“Sounds kind of nice, I suppose.”

“It was for a time. She taught me everything I know. But after a while, I knew that I needed to move on.”

At this point, Legno’s investment in Timothy’s story began to wane. If girls or odd bodily functions weren’t involved, he usually couldn’t care less. Changing the subject to something of more interest, Legno asked, “Could you tell me more about you wife?”

“Oh, certainly. She was someone I had known for some time, but I never had the confidence to tell her how I felt. After I became what I am now, I realized it was finally my time. We fell in love and are now happily married with seven million children.”

“Good Lord, seven million? Your stamina must be out of control. And I can’t even begin to imagine what she looks like down there after popping out all those kids.”

“I think we should change the…”

“I once saw a picture of a guy who lost a big chunk of his torso after a bear bit in to it. If I had to take a guess…”

“So how about your foster father?” Timothy yelled, doing everything he could to speak over Legno. “You haven’t yet spoken of him.”

“Um, I think he’s doing all right down there?”

After a heavy sigh, Timothy rephrased, “I meant, in general, how is he? What does he do?”

“Well, Saggies, as he prefers me to call him, is a teacher. But I don’t think he really likes it or anything. He seems depressed all the time. And he drinks a lot.”

“Oh, that’s…that’s very disheartening. Do you have any idea why?”

“Um…not really. I mean, I’m a ray of sunshine, so it’s not my fault. The only thing I can think of is that I sometimes hear him say the name ‘Maggie’ in his sleep followed by a whimper.”

“Ex-girlfriend I take it?”

“Beats me. I kind of always assumed it was some sort of liquor they don’t make anymore. Or like a pet turtle that he used to have.”

“So those are your best guesses: Discontinued alcohol or turtle?”

“Well, when you say it like that, it just makes me sound like an idiot.”

Timothy bit his tongue and decided it’d be proper to just let that comment slide.

The next few minutes were filled with a comfortable silence; Timothy quietly soaked in the scenery, the forest’s musk filling his senses and reminding him of a time gone by, while Legno’s thoughts were brimming with the life he and Marion were sure to have. It was a life of joy, of passion, of tenderness, and of endless ‘knock on wood’ jokes.

And of late nights sensually applying varnish.

And of even later nights filled with sanding down each other’s edges. Those rough, rough edges.

Life as a wooden boy…oh, it was definitely going to be sweet.

“We’re here, son. Look! You can see her cabin just over that hill!” Timothy exclaimed, snapping Legno back to reality.

With a few shakes of his head, his eyes, which seconds ago were blankly staring at the ground, widened and appeared to fill his entire face as his destination finally came in to view.

“Hey, you’re right!” Legno cheered as he made a dash towards the cabin, too excited to merely walk the last few meters.

As he drew nearer, the mundanity of the cabin’s exterior became apparent. Although unimpressed, Legno attempted to remain positive.

“You’d think such a powerful witch would have a fancier place,” Legno commented as he ran his fingers over the cabin’s oaken façade, which, though unassuming, was still well constructed. “But it’s pretty cool to see such professional craftsmanship. I guess my wood will be safe in her hands, huh?”

“Oh, dear,” Timothy muttered to himself while massaging his forehead in an attempt to circumvent the impending migraine Legno was sure to give him. “Be a good lad and give the door a few raps. I don’t know if the old girl is home or not.”

Legno, making his way to the door, did as Timothy requested and gave the door a hearty knock with his fist.

*Thunk*

No answer.

“Try again,” said Timothy.

Legno once again raised his fist to knock on the door and brought it down with the force of a hammer; he desperately wanted the old witch to be there and was hoping her reticence was due to her not hearing him the first time. The sound of flesh and bone against the wooden door was even louder this time.

*THUNK*

*THUNK*

*THUNK*

Still no answer.

After letting out a heavy sigh of disappointment, Legno responded, “Of course. Of course she wouldn’t be home. Why would I expect to have any sort of luck with the way this day’s been going? Let’s head back. Maybe I can patch things up with Diana. ‘Diana, when I said your ass looked fat, what I meant was you have a great figure for popping out a whole mess of kids. Our kids.’ ”

Timothy snapped back, “Oh, stop complaining! A few bumps in the road and you’re ready to throw in the towel! It may not exactly be proper etiquette, but open the door and see if she’s in. It’s possible that she’s just asleep.”

“Let’s try,” Legno said quietly as he turned his hand and placed the bottom sides of his fingers underneath the hand-carved notch and gently opened it.

*Creeeeeeeeek* went the door as Legno slowly pushed it forward. As he leaned in, his head poked through and he uttered a simple, “Hello?”

For a third time, no answer.

“Walk inside,” Timothy replied. “Here or not, she wouldn’t mind my coming through unannounced.” He then turned his attention away from Legno and yelled, “Esther! Esther, dear, are you home? It’s Timothy, and I brought a friend who is quite intent on meeting you!”

“Look,” Legno said as he pointed to the table in the middle of the room. The cabin was fairly tiny, and it didn’t take the boy long to get a more than cursory examination of the place. “There’s a note on the table.”

“Well, it’s more than a bit rude to read someone’s personal letters, I’d say,” Timothy replied.

Walking towards the table, Legno countered with, “But it looks like it’s addressed to you.”

The note, which laid flat on the table, was filled with big, barely legible scribble, with

sprawled across the top.

“It appears you’re right, son. What does it say?”

“Yeesh,” went Legno as he squinted his eyes to try to make discernible the old woman’s scribble. He proceeded to read the note aloud:



“Germany?” Legno responded, confused. “Can we get there before tonight?”

“Legno,” Timothy sighed, “Germany is almost a thousand miles away with seas and mountains in between.”

“Okay, so, what’s she doing there? Why isn’t she here?” Legno asked, his tone almost turning in to a shout.

“Oh, she has the sweetest little place there. Children from all over…”

“So that’s it!” yelled a once again defeated Legno as he cut off Timothy, “This friend of yours decides to take a goddamned vacay and I’m shit out of luck!”

“Did I say that this was my only idea? Failing to plan is planning to fail, Legno.”

“So then what now?” Legno asked, as some placidity returned to his voice.

“Let me ask you, Legno, are you a student of chemistry?”


TO BE CONTINUED


Believe it or not, we’re just about at the halfway point of this tale. But without the witch Esther, what is poor Legno to do? What’s Timothy’s Plan B? Will there be any more thinly-veiled penis jokes? The answers to all these questions can be found next week for the conclusion of Act 2 of Wood You Be Mine?

And if you need a taste of what’s to come after that: Twists, turns, lost loves, new beginnings, but unfortunately, fewer nut shots (sorry, Alex). See you in a week!