Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? Entry #10

April 13th, 2009 by Wordsman


“You’ve got to be kidding me!  Not another one!”

Abigail and Theodore stood at the entrance to yet another tunnel of the ceremonial orange gates.  They were tired, cold, and hungry.  But the path went on nonetheless.

“Fear not,” said Theo, who strode into the semi-darkness like a person whose legs weren’t screaming in pain, though Abigail knew they must be if he had it even half as bad as she did.  “I am confident that our trial will soon be over.”

“Confident?” she asked, struggling to follow her quixotic brother.  She was so weary it was difficult to even use sarcasm.  “How can you be confident that we’re getting close to the exit?”  She realized a moment later that when he said “their trial” he could be talking about something completely different, but she preferred not to think about what that might be.

“I thought that would be obvious.  You passed the test.”

“What?”  Abigail was not sure which bothered her more: the fact that he was talking about some mysterious test, or the fact that he said “you” instead of “we.”

“When you first came here, you doubted the existence of the Fox God,” Theodore explained.  “You even mocked him or her,” he added reproachfully.  Abigail wondered how he could be reproachful at a time like this, but she did not have the breath to say anything about it.  “But now,” he continued, “after your experience in the shrine, you understand that the Fox God is real.  You believe.”

Abigail leaned on a post while she caught her breath.  “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said.  It was a fact that she often (in fact, almost constantly) suspected was true, but only rarely was she certain enough to say it out loud.  “I still don’t believe in any ‘Fox God.’  That’s not what he wants, anyway.  I mean, it’s not what he would want, if he existed.  Or she.”

“What do you mean?” Theodore asked curiously.  “Isn’t the gathering of followers of primary importance to any god?”

It was a strange conversation, Abigail had to admit, at least for two people who knew nothing of theology, but she had certainly had weirder.  Plus the longer they talked the longer it would be before she had to walk again.  “Sure, it’s only natural that a deity would want to have as many believers as possible,” she said.  She was not concerned about incurring divine wrath by talking about gods as abstract entities rather than as revered supreme beings.  As far as she was concerned, things couldn’t get much worse.  “But you can’t convert an unbeliever with tricks and intimidation.”

“Of course you can,” her brother argued.  “Haven’t you witnessed the power of the Fox God with your very own eyes?”

“Ears, mostly,” she muttered.  “All I’ve really witnessed are a couple of conveniently timed gusts of wind and my own overactive imagination.  And my point,” she continued, wondering why she was bothering to make a point, “is that getting a person to say she believes just because you threaten her isn’t any good.  A believer who only says she believes because her house is going to get buried in brimstone if she doesn’t isn’t much of a believer at all.  It’s like extracting evidence under torture; the person will say anything she thinks you want to hear, whether it’s true or not, just to get it to stop.  The Fox God wasn’t trying to force me to believe, because he knows that wouldn’t count.  Or she.  If she existed, I mean.”

There was a pause before Theodore asked, “So what does the Fox God want?”  He actually looked concerned.  Did he really think that her saying “I believe” had anything to do with their ability to get home?  Or was he just putting on an act again?  And why did it always have to be so hard to tell?

“To mess with us.  The Fox God’s a trickster, right?  And I think that the joke’s probably almost done,” she added hopefully.  “I don’t think this Fox God is too cruel.  I caught a couple of guys desecrating the shrine earlier, and all he or she did was scare them a little.  I mean . . . oh, whatever,” she said, wincing as her head started to hurt.  It was always difficult to have a conversation that one side thought was entirely hypothetical and the other didn’t.  “Maybe it just wanted to give us time to think,” she added thoughtfully.

“Think about what?” her brother asked, brow furrowed.

“About the Fox God, of course,” she replied with a loopy grin.  “I’ll admit that when I first came here I dismissed the possibility of the existence of a ‘Fox God’ without even giving it a second thought.  But I’ve had plenty of time to consider it, so now I can say that I truly believe that there is no Fox God.”

“Good enough for me,” said a voice.

Abigail paused.  The voice sounded as though it could have come from her brother, but she couldn’t tell for sure.  She decided it was better not to ask.

They kept walking, and after a few more minutes the tunnel of gates ended, and after a few more they were out of the forest and back on a city street, and a little bit after that they found themselves back at a train station.

“There we go!” Abigail said happily.  She had collapsed on a bench the moment they arrived.  “I told you we’d get out.”

“Yes, but . . .,” Theodore said.  He was frowning and staring at a map.  “It looks like this station is two whole stops away from where we originally got off.”

There was the faintest hint of laughter inside Abigail’s mind, but she just shook her head to clear it.  “So?  Can we still get home from here?”

“Well, yes, but it’s the wrong station . . .”

Abigail shrugged.  “Good enough for me,” she said.

Posted in Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? | No Comments »

The Jenoviad Entry #9

April 10th, 2009 by Wordsman

The pack’ed train was silent
Speak up?  No one would dare it
Especially after they saw
The raging form of Barret

So all the passengers ignored
This group of terr’rist pigs
Even AVALANCHE ignored
The useless Wedge and Biggs

“Look here, Cloud,” said Jessie
When of cars they’d reached the third
Cloud saw the screen and thought, “Oh great
I saved some giant nerd”

“This map shows Midgar,” Jessie said
“The sectors, one through eight
And all the pillars that support
The giant upper plate

“This is the path the train will take
As down from plate it goes”
Cloud looked out and just said, “Man
This lower city blows”

“Shut your mouth!” big Barret yelled
“The hell you think you know?
The people only stay here cuz
They’ve got no place to go

“All o’ this is Shinra’s fault!”
The big man went off ranting
“Yeah!” cried Jessie, eyes a-spark
Cloud’s praise she started chanting

“Really!” said Cloud “It’s okay
No need to laud my feats, uhh . . .”
Toward the window, Barret said
“I hate this effin’ pizza”

Posted in The Jenoviad | No Comments »

Movie Two-Liners Entry #9

April 8th, 2009 by Wordsman

This week’s puzzle:

A young couple falls in love while running away from authority.  Just when they think they’re finally safe, their best friend’s father splits them up as part of an effort to get closer to his son.

Last week’s puzzle:

A recent graduate struggles to find his role in life.  Despite losing two father figures and holding down multiple jobs, he still manages to find time to visit relatives in the hospital, give one old schoolmate career advice, and help another find his purpose.

And the answer is . . . ▼

Posted in Movie Two-Liners | 1 Comment »

This Day in History Entry #8

April 7th, 2009 by Wordsman

A historical point hard to handle:
What the heck is the Teapot Dome scandal?
Albert Fall wheeled and dealed
For a prime oil field
To Watergate it can’t hold a candle

Posted in This Day in History | No Comments »

Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? Entry #9

April 6th, 2009 by Wordsman

WARNING: This week’s picture contains a word that most people consider to be inappropriate, so I have hidden it behind this tag.  If you feel that your eyes would be soiled by seeing this word, you may continue to read the accompanying story without examining it.  However, I cannot guarantee that you will get the same enjoyment if you do not look at the picture.

Consequences be damned! ▼

“Hey, do you see anyone?”

“No, man, the coast is clear.  Do it!”

“Alright, I’m doing it!”


Abigail looked up.  She had been walking along the path of ceremonial gates for an uncertain amount of time, though she was pretty sure that it had either been about fifteen minutes or a week and a half.  The eerie silence was definitely getting to her, but, since she was totally lost, she had no choice but to keep trudging forward, hoping to run into her brother . . . or anything at all, for that matter.  Throughout this time she had been hearing voices, but these ones sounded different.  The voices did not belong to Theo (not that he wasn’t perfectly capable of having a conversation with himself), but they did seem to be coming from a distance, unlike the discomforting whisperings that had been floating in her head.

She spotted two figures a ways ahead of her.  They were crouched down on the side of the path, busy doing something.  Even from that far away she could hear a fair amount of snickering.  Her brain, however, only took the time to process these facts later on.  The moment she saw them, all she thought was that this was a chance to see a non-vulpine face for the first time in far too long.

“Hey!” Abigail cried out desperately as she began to dash toward the two unknown figures.  They appeared not to hear her, and a few seconds after she started to run they sped away at a fast walk.  Having longer legs than her, they were quickly able to put some distance between them, and Abigail was too tired to keep up her pace anyway.  She stopped to catch her breath right around the spot where the two mysterious figures had been crouching when she first spied them.

After a few moments of panting she happened to glance down at the post she was leaning on.  Abigail scowled in disgust.  She now understood why the two boys (once she saw their handiwork, she could only think of them as boys) had taken off so fast, and she no longer felt disappointed about not having been able to catch up with them.  Abigail was not opposed to graffiti per se.  In some forms it could almost be considered a legitimate art form, and there were certainly some “canvases” that could only be improved by a little more paint.  On the other hand, a lot of it was childish and vulgar, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and was written in a place that, to some people at least, was considered sacred.  It was this kind that always drove her crazy.

This time, however, her anger was on more levels than usual.  It was just so unfair.  She had been banished to wander the silent, orange tunnels alone for an approximate eternity, just for suggesting that she did not completely believe in the existence of the Fox God.  These delinquents, on the other hand, who thought they were so cool, were going to get away with defacing its shrine, laughing all the while.  Where was the justice?

“So do something about it,” a voice in her head suggested.

And, without giving the idea a whole lot of thought, Abigail decided to do something about it.  Had she finally snapped under the pressure of the shady green silence of the endless forest?  Possibly.  All she knew was that she was mad as hell, and she was not going to take it anymore.

“Hey!” she shouted again, in a tone thoroughly different from the one she had used before.  After their initial sprint the two boys had slowed down, which allowed Abigail to catch up with them fairly quickly.

The two boys turned around when they heard her dashing up the path, and they looked down at her, confused.  “Are you lost or something?” one of them asked.

“Yes,” she replied hastily, “but that’s not the point.”  She glared up at them.  “Are you going to apologize?” she asked sharply.

They frowned.  “For what?” one asked.

Abigail’s eyes glinted.  “You know what.”

The two boys looked at each other and shrugged.  “Dude, let’s just keep going,” one said, and they turned away.

“It’s not me you should be apologizing to!” she called after them.

They turned back.  There was a hint of fear in their eyes.  “What?”

She took a deep breath, unable to believe she was actually going to say it.  “This is the Fox God’s shrine,” she declared solemnly.  “You have offended him by defiling his home.”

One of the boys swore.  The other chuckled.  “Whatever,” he said.  “I thought you were going to tell the park ranger or whatever they have around here.”

“The Fox God is a trickster,” Abigail continued, struggling to keep a straight face, “and he doesn’t like tourists to begin with.  What do you think he’s going to do to you when he sees what you’ve done?”  She wished Theo was there.  He was much better at this kind of thing.  “Many people have gone missing on this mountain over the years, never to be seen again.”

They were no longer laughing.  “Oh yeah?  What’s he going to do?”

“Anything he wants,” she said casually.  “He can deal with a couple of punks like you as easily as breathing.”

At that moment a gust of wind rushed through the tunnel.  It was unusually warm for the cool, shady forest, and it felt surprisingly damp, almost as if it had been exhaled from a giant mouth.  Still, it was not nearly as unsettling as the noise that accompanied it, which, to someone in the right state of mind, sounded distinctly like high-pitched, inhuman laughter.

The boys never stood a chance.  They took off immediately, screaming curses at the top of their lungs.  Despite the fact that she was now alone again, Abigail felt strangely satisfied, even after she thought she heard a voice in the breeze whisper, “Thanks.”

Posted in Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? | No Comments »

The Jenoviad Entry #8

April 3rd, 2009 by Wordsman

In the car, gloom settled
Like a suffocating shroud
AVALANCHE, well, some of them,
Well, one worried ‘bout Cloud

“Maybe he got captured”
Said young Jessie, quite on edge
“Maybe he just ditched us”
Said the realistic Wedge

Then suddenly, with just a knock
Cloud from above descended
He, with a grin, said, “I’ve arrived
Your waiting now has ended”

Jessie cheered “Hurrah!  Hurrah!”
Then stopped, for fear of swooning
But there were some who thought Cloud’s show
Just overblown buffooning

“The hell was that for?” Barret yelled
“Are you effin’ insane?
Don’t you know the normal way
To get onto a train?

“Just get a seat!” he ordered
As he stormed off in a huff
“Don’t worry,” Jessie said to Cloud
“He’s really not that tough”

“Come on, Cloud,” said Jessie
As she seized the group’s new star
Leaving Biggs to wonder why
They had been in the cargo car

Posted in The Jenoviad | No Comments »

Movie Two-Liners Entry #8

April 1st, 2009 by Wordsman

This week’s puzzle:

A recent graduate struggles to find his role in life.  Despite losing two father figures and holding down multiple jobs, he still manages to find time to visit relatives in the hospital, give one old schoolmate career advice, and help another find his purpose.

Last week’s puzzle:

A teacher gets distracted from his classes trying to find an old box that’s been missing for a while.  He finds it, loses it, tracks it down again, tries to destroy it, and then when it’s finally opened he doesn’t get to see what’s inside.

And the answer is . . . ▼

Posted in Movie Two-Liners | 2 Comments »

Next Entries »