Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dialogue Fragment

“What’s the difference—I mean, besides the obvious shape differences—between a hotdog and piece of bologna? Have you ever wondered that? Hmm?”


“Of course not. No one wonders about those kinds of things. We wonder about who will win the Super Bowl, or whether Virginia Oldman is wearing panties under that tight skirt, or whether we’re going to get out of a strange predicament alive. The exact scientific breakdown of what constitutes a hotdog and what constitutes bologna isn’t high on the list. But I’m curious now. And you should be too.”


“So what’s the difference between them?”

“I don’t know. Please—”

“You don’t know. You’re pathetic. Looking at you through the sites of this here Mauser, you’re even more pathetic than I originally thought.”

“Please, sir. You don’t have to hold all of us. You can let some of us go.”

“Hmm, and I suppose you’d be the first to go. Isn’t that right?”

“N-n-no, sir. Not at all. Release one of the women.”

“Spare me your self-righteous chivalry. We both know what you’re really made of. Would it help you better if I guaranteed you’d get out of this alive? Fine, I guarantee it. At least, I guarantee that I will not shoot you. Can’t say what the cops’ll do when they storm the place.”

“But sir, there are nine of us. You don’t need all of us.”

“Oh, but I do. I do. My Mauser has eight shells, you see.”

“Beg pardon?”

“Mr. Hammerstein, perhaps you would do better to just shut up for a moment and ask yourself a simple question. Why is it that you, and you alone, are the only one of my victims here who is not gagged?”


“You disgust me. You don’t even take a second to think about it and you’re already begging for the answer. But I suppose you’ll never be able to come up with it on your own. So I ask you to look at this woman here. What’s her name?”


“Tell me, have you ever slept with Mi-Mi-Michelle?”

“No. Please, put the rifle down!”

“It’s a shotgun, Mr. Hammerstein. Not a rifle. And I think I’ll keep it right here on Mi-Mi-Michelle’s temple for a second longer. I want you to look deep into her eyes. You see how frightened she looks right now?”

“She’s terrified! We’re all terrified!”

“No, you only think you’re terrified. None of you has died yet. Perhaps Mi-Mi-Michelle will be the first to go. You hold her life in your hands now, Mr. Hammerstein.”

“What do you want? Just tell me what you want!”

“Oh, but I already did. I want to know what the difference between a hotdog and a piece of bologna is.”

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Look over beyond what the pale mystic skies show clear
To find a purposeful knowledge, wisdom we forever impart. Near
The catacomb’s shadows and the dungeon’s darkness. Hear
With a heartfelt bitterness. Hate raging, embracing fear.

Look beyond the mystic show
To a knowledge we impart
The shadows, the darkness
With heartfelt hate embracing

Over what pale skies clear
Find purposeful wisdom forever near
Catacombs and dungeons hear
A bitterness, raging fear.

Look beyond the mystic show
Over what pale skies clear
To a knowledge we impart
Find purposeful wisdom forever near

The shadows, the darkness
Catacombs and dungeons hear
With heartfelt hate embracing
A bitterness, raging fear.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Rules of Chess

“I see you’ve come back.”

“Yes, Mike. It happens every day after work. Amazing, isn’t it?” Larry stretched and glanced over at the chessboard that Mike had set up. “Another game? You can’t be serious.”

“Indeed I am,” Mike responded.

“But I beat you six times in a row yesterday, and they were all Scholar’s Mates.”

“No you didn’t. And your use of the term ‘Scholar’ there is pejorative.”

“That’s the name of the move.”

“You’re just blustering and pretending to be an intellectual elite.”

Larry sighed. “Look, Mike, I just got back from work. I’m tired. I don’t want to play a game of chess right now.”

“Because you’re a coward and you know you lost.”

“No, it’s because I don’t feel like trouncing you again.”

“You know, you’ve got a real attitude. You didn’t come anywhere near beating me. I beat you each time.”

“When I checkmate you, I win. Not you.”

“Your claims of checkmate were unverifiable. I could still move.”

“Moving the king six spaces is not a legal move, Mike.”

Mike put his hands on his hips. “Oh really? Says who?”

“It’s the rules of chess.”

“Oh, the mysterious magic rules of chess. How convenient for you that they just happen to benefit you, huh?”

“They’re the rules—”

“I can’t see them.”


“I can’t see them. They don’t exist. You believe in this mythical thing you call ‘rules’ that you’ve never seen with your own eyes.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“You know what, Larry? You have a serious problem here. You have to win at all costs.”

Larry rolled his eyes. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the object of a game of chess to, you know, win?”

“Yes. But not at all costs.”

“I don’t win at all costs. I win by playing a good offense and a good defense. Yours doesn’t measure up.”

“You really ought to check your elitist tendencies.”

“‘Check’ them. That’s a clever pun.”


“Never mind, Mike. It was obviously an accidental pun. I should have guessed it, as poorly as you play chess.”

“Now listen here, Larry. Just because you declared yourself the winner by invoking some mystery magic ‘rule’ that floats invisibly up in the air somewhere watching over us while we play a game of chess does not mean that you play chess better than me.”

“Of course not. Rather, it’s my continual slaughtering of your defense and capturing your king that shows my chess skill trumps yours.”

“Such violent metaphors! I’ll bet you beat your wife!”

Larry looked at Mike. “Okaaaaaay.”

Mike stood and gestured angrily at Larry. “I’m not going to stand for this anymore!” He stormed out of the room.

Larry sighed and soon forgot it. Tomorrow was Saturday and he planned to sleep in. Unfortunately, he was woken at eight in the morning by a knock at the door.

“Are you Lawrence Adams?” the man at the door asked.

“Yes,” Larry said, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

“Get him!”

Before Larry could react, he was thrown to the floor. “What are you doing?”

“Dr. Graves has informed us you’re a threat to yourself.” Larry’s arms were pushed into the straightjacket.


“That’s right,” Mike said, entering behind the men. “It’s in my report.”

“He’s a psychology PhD,” the man restraining Larry provided helpfully.

“And I’ve made my report. Larry, you exhibit all the symptoms of a disease known as Mania. You have a narcissistic flair or ‘grandiosity’ to your personality. You are quite intolerant of others. Indeed, you have an ego-centric paradigm that means you simply lack the ability to consider the thoughts and feelings of those around you. It’s all about your thoughts and feelings. Sadly, no facts, reasoning, or logic will change you. On the contrary, arguing with you simply increases your mania, and for that I apologize. I have been provoking, perhaps envoking (I’m not sure which word to use) your illness by playing chess with you.

“The fact is, Larry, when you say, ‘I and those who play chess like me are better at chess than you’ then that’s the first sign that we’re dealing with some mental illness, and we must react with appropriate humanity. That’s why you will be taken back to my asylum and given shock treatments from now on.

“Don’t worry. I’m sure after just a few months of those shock treatments you’ll be able to play chess just as well as I can, and then you can reintegrate into society.”

Mike watched as Larry was dragged out of the house proclaiming his innocence. It was sad. The insane never realize they’re not crazy.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dialogue Fragment

"Jane...will you go out with me?"

"What are you, drunk?"

"After that response, I think I will be."

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Monday, August 11, 2008


A man was born today, not far
From where the world began to spin
Upon a pole, this axis turned
And brought about yesterday.
Tomorrow comes chasing after
But between the mist there lies a land
That we once knew
That we once knew.

Blue skies crash and waves foam
Over hills where once we stood
And watched the passion of the wind
Make patterns on dew-stained grass
This latter method would surpass
Everything we ever believed
That we once knew
That we once knew.

Under heaven's banner, folded
Amid the ruins of our blunders
Lay the foundation of our redemption
If only a breath of it remained
This realization of what it cost
Was dismissed as the old tradition
That we once knew
That we once knew.

Now we search blindly for what
We never should have owned
And therefore never should have lost.
It is too late for some
But not for all, not yet
For some of us still remember
That we once knew
That we once knew.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

An Introduction

My name is Peter Pike, and I’m a writer. Thank you, you’re too kind. But please, my story…it’s long and when will it end?

I didn’t mean to become addicted to writing. I know, we’re all in that boat here, yes. I started out small, like most of you did. I just read books. I entered reading contests, and my parents even encouraged it.

Yes, I think it’s shocking too.

Before you knew it, my imagination was…well, I don’t think “exploding” is too vivid a word. I imagined the stories I read and then I improved on them. I played with Tom Sawyer in the cave, and then I had Martians attack him.

Yes, these stories were convoluted and fragmented. But my family loved them.

What’s that you say? Yes, I suppose they were enablers. I doubt I would be addicted to writing today if it weren’t for them. But I digress.

As time went on…as I wrote more and more…well, my stories…they just seemed to take on a life of their own. After a while, I was writing every day. A little here, a little there. And suddenly there was a novel.

I couldn’t hide it anymore. And so I come here today to invite you on my journey, a journey I will take with all of you too. A journey through writing. A little fragment of something here. A poem there. Perhaps a limerick just for kicks. Who knows?

All I know is that I feel relief having made this confession. And so I stand before you all as we acknowledge with one voice:

Writing isn’t what I do. It’s what I am.

Thank you.

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