Tag: Flash

I Wanna Do Laser

Courtesy Terribleminds
Courtesy Terribleminds, make with the clicky-clicky

I was going to put this off until tomorrow. I was thinking of putting up my entry to Chuck’s contest as late as possible. But I can’t. I’m way too inspired, way too charged, to hold onto this that long. He set the word limit at 1000, so I guess my hope is to deliver twice the story in half the verbiage. That is to say: this is 500 words, and it’s all about doing laser. And rocking your face. Enjoy.

The most amazing thing I’ve ever seen on stage is the Wendigos. These guys that write songs based on odd search engine terms, and not every song they do catches the imagination of an audience. Most of the people in the stadium that night were there for the headlining band, anyway. But as they launched into their last song, ‘I Wanna Do Laser,’ something started happening. It was like night and day. Just a minute before people were wondering what the hell ‘Oatmeal Boat Canvas’ was all about. But the pulsing groove of that final song, the utter unfettered desire to live life, zap through obstacles, fucking DO something, was infectious. It rolled through the crowd like a plague of awesomeness, a sick fetid cloud of the unbelievably cool.

Chuck, the frontman, is rocking the mike. Thirty thousand people are getting into the groove of the song. After the first couple verses, the last two lines are grabbed by the audience who begin shouting it along with Chuck’s singing. In the middle of the song’s bridge, Chuck runs towards the back of the stage, towards the drum kit. His drummer, Larry, looks like he’s facing down a charging rhino. Chuck very nearly kicks Larry in the head as his foot heads for the bass drum pedal. He starts pounding out the beat of the song, which is how the bridge in the studio recording goes into the last verse, but Chuck has a different energy. His eyes are wild. Sweat is flying off his beard. He brings the mike up and shouts.

“My beard come so fat!”

He raises his fists in the air. The response from the audience is immediate, loud and boisterous.


“My beard come so fat!”


“My beard come so fat!”


Over and over again. The rest of the band stops playing. It’s just Chuck, pounding his foot down on that pedal and giving the prompts, communing with thirty thousand brand-new Wendigos fans. Larry and the others walk off stage. Finally, after a good two minutes of this orgy of joie de vivre, Chuck steps off of the pedal, and says it one more time.



The arena explodes. People are screaming. Chuck walks out to the front of the stage, looking around.

“Where’d everybody go?” Chuck looks off-stage. “You buncha pussies! Don’t YOU wanna do laser?”

He turns back to the audience, who are laughing, applauding, crying for an encore.


The voice of the crowd is like a wave. It washes over the stage and Chuck just stands there basking in it. He turns and looks to the band the Wendigos opened for. He’s grinning like a madman, white teeth shining out of the sweat-soaked tangle of his beard.

Steven Tyler turns to Joe Perry, looking like he just got kicked in the gut.

“Shit. We gotta follow THAT?”

Flash Fiction: The Hunter


It’s been a busy weekend, and I have a lot to write about, but it’s going to take some time to recover and process. So while I do that, here’s a bit of flash fiction that came out of this weekend. It’s my first honest attempt at fiction this short. So, as I will say to those willing to join in revising my manuscript when it’s finished (any day now), enjoy it but feel free to tear it to shreds. Tell me what works, what doesn’t work, and how it could be better.

Hunting’s a guy thing. I’m a guy. I know what’s expected of guys, but it was hard for me to buy into parts of that expectation. Living in my own skin always been more important to me than loud, obfuscatory machismo. I never learned to swagger, never bothered acting tough. These two are macho men. Have they ever been told that they’ve broken their father’s heart? I wonder this as I watch them approach the buck they’ve blasted with their shotguns, laughing and high-fiving. They smell of beer, like the stale stink of a dive bar. I’d had a bead on the stag when the buckshot tore it open. It moans, twitching in excruciating pain. The guy in the Confederate flag ballcap racks another round with a guffaw. They don’t see my perch, halfway up this old oak.

The rifle in my hands felt heavy yesterday. It’s an old rifle, composed of wood and iron. It’s a veteran of war, a liberator of nations. Now it’s surprisingly light. Rage bubbles over in my stomach. I remind myself why I’m here. Even as they grab the mangled horns of the buck to drag it away, exchanging lewd banter that they might consider witty, I tell myself I’m here to hunt deer, not people like this, not these ignorant disrespectful men who are secretly very afraid of what they don’t understand, that smash anything that fucks with their machismo.

I’m not here for them. I promised my husband I’d bring venison home.

Programmatic Mission Statement


My career path has been, to say the least, an odd one. I knew that published fiction was a tough field to enter, and that attempting to make a living from it directly out of university would be difficult, if not impossible. That knowledge, coupled with a challenge issued by a flatmate, pushed me in the direction of honing my nascent skills with computers into usable and marketable skills.

Things didn’t go so well in that regard. I worked for a few years in customer service, specifically tech support for a company in the wilds of Pittsburgh. I managed to squeeze in some freelance web work here and there, but never really found the time to truly develop my programming skills. A renewed search for the expansion of my knowledge and marketability lead me to a course in King of Prussia for Microsoft certifications.

It turns out the network administration environment and I don’t get along. There’s a great deal of stress and immediacy, no margin for error and no room for creativity. I struggled with the job daily until I lost it. Finally, after months of searching, I found my first true programming job. I’ve moved from there to another position and it’s come time to define what I want out of this particular branch of my working life. The more I work with PHP, the more I develop object-oriented solutions in Flash, the more I realize I need to be specific about my idea of a good career if I want to be happy to hop in a car or on a train to head to the office.

Don’t get me wrong. I consider myself a writer first and foremost. It’s the creation of new worlds, putting interesting characters into those worlds and setting events in motion that affect those characters that gets me up in the morning and makes me feel alive. Programming, however, is something of an extension of that. To that end, here’s something I’d like to call a ‘programmatic mission statement.’

Courtesy Leslie Town Photography

The creative mind is like a thoroughbred horse – it requires a firm but flexible grip, one that does not allow the beast to run wild, but also one that permits some leeway, lest the creature rail against its control and fight to be free. Just the right balance of control and detachment puts new ideas on the path to greatness. You know what you want, but permitting your trajectory to follow its own course allows for growth, stays agile in the face of inevitable setbacks and lends a sense of adventure to the overall process.

They’ve called it “the information superhighway.” If you want to travel on it, you’ll need a good vehicle. ‘Good’ is a subjective term – maybe you want something you don’t have to worry about, or perhaps you’re looking for a high-precision machine stuffed with power and bursting with cool gizmos. Either way, you need someone who understands both the beating heart of an Internet vehicle and how the paint’s going to look to visitors after everything is said and done.

That’s where I come in.

I take the ideas that float around the subconscious mind and make them manifest. I find new ways to get things working. I get my hands dirty. It’s messy and magical all at once. I turn dreams into gold – one jot & scribble, one line of code at a time.

I think that makes things pretty clear. It’s a shame it took me the better part of a decade to finally put this notion together. I’ll still be pitching to the Escapist, working on stories and columns and chipping away at the latest iteration of my first novel. But in the meantime, I have bills to pay and mouths to feed and, unfortunately, I haven’t quite earned the writing stripes to leave the day job behind. Until I do, I’d still rather do something I enjoy than flip burgers or stand on a street corner.

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