Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Holidays!

The blog will be back in 2013, so have a great holiday!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Top Hat

So, a couple weeks ago at work we got a couple-four-ish really big monitors in. I mean, really big. Like 80 inchers. A small feud immediately erupted over who would get said monitors. Let’s just say that words were used (such as ‘doo doo head’) and then before it could spill over into violence, we were told that the monitors would be mounted around the office.

We put away our bricks and bike chains (yes, we’re old-school rumblers) and then started discussing what would appear on these wall-mounted monitors. Rumors abounded. Some thought that they’d be used for company-wide meetings. Some thought that they’d run cartoons 24-hours (my personal favorite). Others made a strong case that these ‘monitors’ were actually observation devices that would be used to watch us, so the men in black would know whom to take in the night.

In short, we didn’t know and we waited breathlessly, as the IT began the slow process of installing the mounting brackets, running wires, sighting in the machine guns, and generally being productive.

NOTE: Our IT guys rock. They’re amazingly good at what they do and nothing ever fazes them. If there was a zombie apocalypse, they would be calmly erecting defenses and ensuring that we still had internet connections while the rest of us ran in circles, screaming and trying to update our Facebook status to ‘panicked’ or ‘being eaten.’

Thus about a week ago, with the monitors all mounted on the walls and all the complicated wiring tucked neatly away, IT announced that they were going to be turned on.

The monitors. The monitors were going to be turned on. I mean, I don’t know. Maybe the IT guys really liked their work and felt a need to announce it. I try not to judge.

Anyway, we all gathered around the monitor in our area, to bear witness to the great Turning On! And then, with little fanfare, the monitor sprang to life.

And we saw graphs.

Sixteen graphs to be exact, laid out in a four by four grid. We waited and watched. One of the graphs updated.

“Is that it?” someone asked.

“That’s the feed they gave us,” the IT guy responded.


We looked closely at the graphs. They were all bar graphs and one looked like a top hat. About thirty seconds in, they all updated, becoming slightly different versions of what they had been before. This happened again, thirty seconds later.

What were these graphs and what did they mean? The bravest among us stepped close and looked at the titles. One was ’09 SPLUN.’ Another was ‘TST ADVR.’ One guy thinks he knows what two of them represent, but the rest of us are dubious. 

Needless to say, the novelty soon wore off. The graphs change slightly about every thirty seconds, so something’s happening, but we have no idea what. It could be tracking Wonder Woman cosplayers for all we know (which would be cool).

Now we just generally ignore them. Occasionally, someone will wander by, glance at the monitor and announce ‘the top hat is still there.’ Which is probably good.



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Flight and Fancy: Part 6

The mime died silently and fell across my lap, a #2 pencil sticking out of his chest like a tiny wooden stake. 

“Seriously,” I said, as I tried to get him off of me. “You could just shoot through the cuffs.”

“You didn’t say to do that!” the Dame said as she .38’d another mime in the chest. 

“It was kinda implied!”

“Look,” said the Mountebank as he punched a mime in the face, his brass knuckles making a sickening crunch. “We’re following your script, as dumb as that seems now.”

“Well, you don’t have to be so literal!”

There was a pause, filled only with the sounds of the Mountebank panting and the clatter of brass shell casings as the Dame reloaded. A small pile of dead mimes surrounded my chair and I could only imagine how the rest of the room looked, as I was still handcuffed to my chair and facing a wall.

A red balloon with a slow leak sputtered by. A car honked twice in the distance. I was getting a cramp in my foot.

“How many waves has that been?” the Dame asked.

“Four,” the Mountebank answered.

“There’ll be at least one more,” I said. “The mimes always attack in prime numbers. And,” I continued. “If someone were to remove these cuffs, I could help.”

“Look,” said the Dame, as she shoved the mime off my lap and then sat down in his place. “Don’t get excited,” she added. “My feet hurt.” She held up a yellow 3x5 card. “Step 1: Release Donna and have her call the mimes and tell them where the Mountebank is. Step 2: Temporarily join forces to fight off said mimes. Step 3: Escape in the confusion. Step 4: (optional) The Mountebank swears revenge. Is that correct?”


“And is there anywhere on this card where it says ‘Step X: remove handcuffs from idiot?’”


“Well, there you go.” The Dame sighed. “My trigger finger hurts, too.”

“Maybe you should lighten the pull on your trigger,” the Mountebank said. “My fingers used to hurt after a long day of shooting people, but then-“

“Boss!” Donald said, presumably as he ran into the room. “I had to fight my way past the mimes, but I got your Doritos and that duo-.”

The Dame fired once and a bag of Doritos flew by on my right and a duodenum flew by on my left, both hitting the wall with a sickening splat, echoed a split second later by Donald hitting the floor.

There was a moment of silence, interrupted by what could have been bodily fluids leaking out.

“Sorry,” the Dame finally said. “Reflex.”

“It’s cool,” said the Mountebank. “I think you just winged him.” I could hear the Mountebank’s slightly irregular footsteps, as he stepped over bodies. “Ah, nope. Right in the head. Well,” continued, amiably enough. “If this doesn’t work, I’m going to torture the crap out of both of you.”

“Fair enough,” said the Dame. “But we’re probably going to be dead anyway.”

“Incoming,” I said. “I just heard the mime’s silent battle cry.”

The Dame turned and looked at me. “How?”

“Does it really matter?”

And then the mimes were upon us. I wish I had some sort of thrilling narrative I could write about the battle, but seeing as how I was still handcuffed to the chair, I couldn’t really see anything. And all I could hear was the Mountebank’s occasional swearing counterpointed with the bark of the Dame’s .38.

“Are we done?” the Dame finally asked.

“One sec.” I could hear the Mountebank’s footsteps recede. “Yep,” he said, his voice distant. “All clear.”

“Great,” said the Dame. There was one more shot.

“Ow! What’d you do that for?” The Mountebank said.

“Well, we managed to not escape in the confusion, so I figured I’d wing you and we could just walk out of here.”

“Sound plan,” agreed the Mountebank.

“Thanks.” There were two more shots and suddenly my hands were free. I stood and turned.

The room was a mess, with dead mimes two and three deep, all the way to the large warehouse door. The Mountebank was just outside the doors, his hands on a thigh wound. I let the Dame lead me out, as I had no idea where anything was.

“We should do this again sometime,” the Mountebank said, as we passed.

I paused. “What? Have a fight with mimes?”

“I was actually referring to the torture bit earlier.” The Mountebank held up his corkscrew. “Fun for kids of all ages.”

“I think not.”

“Ah, well. Revenge will be mine and all that.”

Two rights, a left, a staircase going down, and we were out in the cool night air. Across the street, was the Iggy’s Buffet and my truck. I glanced behind me. “You mean all of this went down fifty yards from our last adventure?”


I glanced over at the Dame. Her .38 was gone and her oversize sunglasses were tucked into her pocket. 

“Hey,” I said. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.”

“You still want to hide out?”


“Well, I’d be glad to help.”

The Dame stared at me for a moment. “Two conditions.”

“What’s that?”

“Zip your fly.”

“Sure thing,” I said as I zipped. “And the other.”

The Dame took a deep breath and stepped closer, leaning her head on my shoulder. She looked up at me and for the first time, I noticed her eyes were a very average brown. “I would kill for some pancakes.”

“I can make that happen.” I reached out and put my arm around her shoulders and for one brief moment, everything was right with the world.

Then half-a-dozen helicopters painted in black and white mime colors rose up from behind the Iggy’s Buffet. Mime’s with imaginary machine guns at the doors. In a colossal puff of smoke, several hundred ninjas appeared from the West, complete with shinobi katanas and mortars. Simultaneously, dozen-odd clown cars screeched up from the East, disgorging a veritable army of clowns, carrying weapons ranging from rubber chickens to Stinger missiles.

“Oh come on!” I managed to say, right before everyone opened fire.

Le Fin