you that don’t know, I live in the north, close to Canada, and this
year we have seemed to get a lot more snow and cold than usual. Last
week I went out to get the truck ready for a run into town. Normally
not a big deal, but I had not started it in awhile, a big mistake,
yes, and I had not driven it in the snow. My ten minuet (My estimate)
warm up the truck and get-it-ready-to-go trip turned into a few hours
of jumping it, letting it warm up (It was like 2000 degrees below
zero) and then getting in the thing to go. Since I don’t drive at
all, except around the yard, you know, getting things ready to go,
that meant my long suffering Mother had to drive the truck into town.
And, she hates the truck.
don’t mean to imply she doesn’t like the truck, I mean to imply she
hates the truck. HATES the truck. So getting her in it to drive it is
a big deal. But, I did all I could. Jumped it, warmed it up, opened
the door so she wouldn’t have to, after I pulled it right up to the
door. The only thing I could’ve done better is park it on the porch.
slightly over four feet tall, and the truck is four wheel drive, not
huge, but is is a step up into the cab. Her last truck was a two
wheel drive and didn’t sit much further of the ground than a car.
That, that sitting-off-the-ground-further thing , is strike one
against the truck as far as Mom is concerned. She wanted to take the
tires off her old truck and put them on the new one so it would sit
lower. When I explained she couldn’t do that she began to hate the
new truck even more. Strike two. The truck was almost out before she
ever drove it. And since I steered her towards the new truck I will
probably never hear the end of it.
pulled the truck up, all warmed up, opened the door for her and
offered to help her in. Bad move. Mom does not acknowledge age or
shortness. Nevertheless age and shortness do acknowledge her. She
doesn’t give in, just ignores it. So she climbed up into the cab, on
her own, and off we went… Off we went not too far.
forgot to mention that while I was moving the truck to bring it up to
the door I decided, “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to test out the Four
Wheel Drive?” … and … “Maybe we will need the Four Wheel
Drive on the way into town so I should make sure it works!” I’m
pretty sure I used an exclamation mark just like that too. I was that
enthusiastic about it. So, I turned the little knob on the dash from
Two Wheel to Four Wheel Low. Nothing seemed to change. A little light
did come on on the dash informing me that Yes, I was now in
Four Wheel Low. So I dropped the truck in first and plowed through
the two inches of loose powder on the driveway and fought my way out
into the wilds of the out back (End of the driveway). I will say
this, I never spun a wheel. That Four Wheel Low is phenomenal. So,
after my off-road adventure, I turned the little knob back to Two
off we went… In Four Wheel Low. Which meant that the transmission
was whining. The Motor racing, and we were doing all of twenty miles
an hour. Creeping down the road. So, idiot that I am, I said to Mom,
“What are you doing?”
not doing anything,” Mom says. “It’s your stupid
truck!” To illustrate this more clearly, in case I had missed
something, she goosed the gas to try to make it go faster.
other thing I forgot to mention is that I like to take a cup of
coffee with me. I have a travel cup of course but I don’t like it. If
you close the top on the travel cup the coffee is too hot when it
hits your lip. At least it is for me. So, I don’t use it. No. I like
a regular ceramic coffee cup filled right to the brim with hot, black
coffee. This time was no exception, but, thank God, since it was
about 2000 degrees below zero outside it had cooled off pretty quick.
goosed the gas, the truck jumped forward, I ended up wearing the
coffee. All over me and the floorboards, a little on the dashboard
too if I’m honest. That is when I realized, One: It’s not good to be
a Wise Guy with your Mom. Two: Hot coffee will go right through
waterproof jackets. I guess waterproof does not mean hot coffee
proof. And Jeans? Ouch.
I said. “Better take it home. Something’s wrong with it.”
Mom says. “The gas station is just down here. I’ll stop there.
Maybe we can fix it.”
explain a little more. Mom grew up on a farm. The phrase ‘Right
down there’ could mean ten miles down the road, or, the next
county over. I was calculating walk back distance to get the car
should I have to. But, the other thing about Mom is that she raised
us alone. She’s pretty used to making command decisions, and she
doesn’t require a whole lot of input from her idiot son who picked
the truck that she hates and is now screwing up her day. I think
that’s a fair description, or assessment of the situation.
I said, while I tried to figure out where to put the now empty coffee
cup, “I think we should go back.” Down the road she went.
she reached the gas station she pulled in and right up to the pumps.
“May as well get gas while we’re here,” she proclaimed. She shut
of the truck, jumped down to the ground (Nearly) and called back,
“Twenty” as she went inside.
my coffee soaked self out of the cab, pumped in the gas, I’m pretty
sure that Twenty Bucks, which got me around Five Gallons, is what my
first Muscle car (A 72 Plymouth Duster) I owned growing up used to
burn to start it. She came out, apparently having considered my
request to turn around, and said, “I guess we should probably take
the truck home… Something seems to be wrong with it.”
than say anything else dumb, I just nodded and got back in the truck.
She climbed in, turned the switch and all it did was click twice and
then nothing. The guy behind me tapped the horn on his truck.
‘#@$%^#,’ I thought. I climbed out of the truck and walked back to
dead,” I said. “Sorry.”
The guy said.
huh,” I agreed. “But at least you’re not the one who has to walk
three miles to get the car.”
the guy said
have a nice day too,” I told him.
after the three mile walk back to the house to get the car, I arrived
back at the gas station with my Aunt as a driver now, jumped the
truck and got it back home.
hate this truck,” Mom said as she climbed out of the truck once it
missed General Hospital,” My aunt told me.
write this today because I went to my Tuesday night Group meeting
last week, after that happened, and asked a few of the guys there who
are mechanically inclined what I did wrong. And, lo and behold, it’s
Tuesday again. So, it was on my mind.
it’s the @#$#@@ sensor,” one guy said. “Those #@$%$%$# sensors
always do that.”
you,” I said. I told myself to call a mechanic I knew and have him
fix the sensor.
no, no,” another guy said. “Those $#@#$@! sensors are pain in the
##@@#, but it was probably a fuse. Those #@@#$$@# fuses are almost as
bad as those %$#@#$ sensors.”
huh,” I said. “The #@$$@ Fuses or the @##$$@# Sensors. Okay.” I
made another mental note. ‘Note To Self: Check #$$#@ Fuses too.’
another guy said, “But the last time that happened to me it turned
out to be the #$$#@ motor on the (I have no idea what he called it).”
yeah,” The first guy said. “I forgot all about the #$@#@#$ motor
on the (Apparently he knew what the thing was called and how to
yeah… Forgot all about that,” The second guy said.
I asked, “No @#%$@#@?”
sorry,” He said apparently taking me seriously. “The @#$%$@ motor
on the (He knew the word too).”
this time I realized a few things. First: I could ask all I wanted,
it wasn’t going to fix the truck. Everybody had a different idea of
what it was. Two: At least I could check those things they suggested
or mention them to the mechanic. Three: Guys like to swear.. a
home and worried about the truck most of the week. Once it rose to a
balmy 12 below zero I went out and spent about four hours messing
with the truck. The indicator on the dash said ‘Four Wheel Low’ in
tiny red letters. ‘No #@#@#,” I thought. I found the sensor, seemed
to be working. I found the fuse, not blown. Hmm, I thought, It just
might be the Motor on the (Whatever the word was they used). Then I
looked at the switch on the dashboard. Just in passing mind you. I
was on the way out of the truck. I had conceded defeat. I flicked it
back and forth and noticed it didn’t rest completely at Two Wheel
Drive when I flicked it back. Meanwhile I’m running the truck,
letting the battery charge, cleaning the coffee off the dashboard
too, so I decided what the heck, I’ll look at the owners manual.
(That probably gave you pause to laugh. I will only say I am not
alone. Most men refuse directions or manuals. We’re too smart for
that sort of help). I opened the index, found my problem, turned to
the page, and read this,
MUST DEPRESS THE CLUTCH BEFORE SWITCHING OUT OF OR INTO FOUR WHEEL
thought. I did that… Didn’t I? Maybe… Yes… No… I was
conflicted, and, since the truck was running I pushed in the clutch,
flipped the switch back and forth from Four Wheel Low to Two Wheel
drive and … The light blinked out and Two wheel lit up.
I said aloud. “Sorry, God.” I added. “!#@$!,” I said again. I
waited a few minuets to see if the truck would blow up or quit or
something. It didn’t. I shifted into first and ran it up the
driveway. No whining transmission. No Revving motor, it really was
out of Four Wheel Low. I put everything together and went back into
fixed,” I said cheerfully.
She arched her eyebrows. “I hate that truck.”
know, Mom. I know,” I said.
what was it,” She asked?”
Uh, well it was the @#$#@ Flux Capacitor,” I told her as I hunted
around in the fridge for a bottle of juice.
She asked? “I saw ‘Back to the Future’. I like Michael J.
Fox. He probably never made his mother drive a truck she hates. What
was it really?”
I had to press the clutch down to disengage it,” I admitted.
knew it!” Mom said.
tonight is group again. And the guys are gonna ask about the truck. I
guess I’ll just admit I didn’t do it right. Or I could blame it on
the @@##$$# Motor on the thing I can’t pronounce. I’ll play it by ear
I guess. Hey! Have a good week…
the clock ticks down for our planet and her inhabitants, powers that
have lain dormant for centuries are loosed on the Earth. Zero Zero
takes a look at a post apocalypse world in ruins. The governments are
gone. The police, the military. The United States is no more. And
even the simplest things are hard to come by. Some have hidden to
ride out the storm unleashed upon the Earth, others have taken a
stance in the fight. Those that survive the apocalypse are splintered
and isolated. Mistrustful of one another, but beginning to come
together in small groups. They have been told of a place a safety,
but getting there, if it exists, is not a guarantee. The powers that
have been unleashed may not be done with them, and they have to be
wary of everything and everyone in a world where firepower and
fearlessness rule the day… One last time Earth comes to the brink
of destruction. Controlled by powers both on and beyond the earth her
fate is left to a small group of survivors to secure. Zero Zero
begins with a secreted base that holds the keys of destruction: A
madman who holds those keys in his hand, and a small group of men and
women who will challenge him as the clock ticks down to Zero Zero…
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Light from another Moon:
He sat on the wall for hours. I watched. I saw when he noticed the name and number. Nothing. I slipped sideways, I watched. He traced the name with one finger. I saw his lips form the numbers. He closed his eyes, mouthed the name, the number, and opened his eyes again. Closed them once more.
How long, I thought. I slipped sideways again, traveling across time to the same place; short bursts. Less this time. It was dangerous. I wasn’t even all that good at it either. He was a no show. I slipped. I slipped again. There he was. His eyes closed his lips moving. He opened his eyes looked right at me. Really saw me. But I felt he didn’t know what he saw. I was not me… Not my actual self.
I dream as a sparrow. Unique? Probably not: After I decided to dream as a sparrow, I realized there were hundreds of dreamer’s who dream that way. Birds. Cats. Dogs. Lizards. A fly on the wall. His eyes held mine. He did know. I slipped back to where I had started from once again, and then let go, drifting in the blackness. Hoping for an easy return.
I fell hard, but there was no panic in. I lay on the mattress and wondered when it would happen. The ringing of the phone answered my question for me. I picked it up, but did not speak. An unreasonable fear lit a fire in my chest. He could be anything at all. He did not necessarily have to be a dreamer. He could be The Trickster himself. The Thief of Souls. He could be…
“Laura,” he asked?
I drew a deep breath before I spoke.
“You dream,” I said. There was nothing else to say.
“Wise words from a Sparrow,” he said. His voice was deep. No real accent. Inflection.
“I was afraid,” I said.
“Yeah,” he agreed. “Me to… So…” He asked?
“Where do you know,” I asked? “What places?”
“The docks… Around there… The factory… The house where I live with my wife and children. And I can create… I can create places,” he answered.
“Wife and kids,” I asked? Good, Laura, I chided. How stupid could you be? Or obvious… I thought about it. No matter, I still would have asked.
“I don’t understand it,” he said. “I used to go there in real dreams. Then one time the dream seemed to become a real place, or the place became real in the dream… It makes no sense. I rarely actually go there, but I very often start out there in my dreaming… There’s something wrong with it… Her… In that place.”
“There are places like that,” I agreed. A dream wife, I told myself.
“There’s a place farther up the river. Below the main factory. On the ledges. An older factory. They don’t seem to be there. No one… No dreamer’s. It’s a place from my childhood… Really not more than a foundation left on the river bank,” he said.
“How will I find it,” I asked?
“I’ll go to Locust Street: Sit on the wall. Watching, waiting. Once you come I’ll walk there; it’s not that far. You’ll follow me,” he suggested.
If he was anything other than a dreamer I could be in trouble, but it didn’t feel that way at all. “All right,” I agreed. I hung up, lay back on the soft mattress and slipped into a dream. A few seconds later I settled on the branch of a tall pine tree and waited.
He took longer. One second the wall was empty, the next it was not. Once he saw me he got up and began to walk. I followed him.
When he stopped I saw nothing but a small clearing at the river side. It was possible he saw something more than I did. Something I could not see. It was his dream after all.
Shape shifting is no big trick. If you dream you have gifts; I can shape shift easily. I dropped from the sky, slowed myself about five feet from the ground and changed.
It is fast. I have watched it in a mirror. It is not so fast that you cannot see what happens. But even if you see you may not understand.
My bird body expanded quickly, morphing as it did. I knew enough to cover myself as I changed. The clothes were an afterthought and did not come immediately. So far I had only shocked myself with that and I had no wish to shock anyone else with it. Most especially the first other dreamer I had chosen to reveal myself too.
It wasn’t so much naked. We have all been naked. If you dream it is a natural state of the dream unless you’re conscious of it and clothe yourself. It is the process that can be hard to understand. The feathers melt away. The flesh knits itself together, races across my body. Building it piece by piece. It happens fast, but it can be unnerving. For a brief second you can see the blood vessels swimming to the top of my skin from someplace deeper within me. Finally, the clothes come, the hair, the features draw themselves on my face. Dramatic. I knelt close to the ground, standing as I came together.
“I have never seen anything like that,” Joe said.
“It can be a little freaky,” I agreed.
He pulled out a notebook. “Page twenty-six,” he said, thumbing through it.
“What,” I asked?
“Page twenty-six,” he repeated. He turned it to show my name and the numbers. “Drove me crazy. I wasn’t as good then. I couldn’t remember where I got the name or the number from. And I could never remember the number in the waking world.” He turned the pad around closed it and slipped it back into his shirt pocket.
“Eventually I figured out how to take the notebook with me. I wrote in it, but it took so long to remember that I had written in it. Then once I found it, to know what it was.”
I nodded. “You can take it back and forth?”
He nodded. “Yeah. I can translate it both ways.”
I was impressed. “Maybe you can teach me. I’ve never tried.”
“Yeah, maybe you can teach me to shape shift” He raised his eyebrows.
“If I can,” I agreed. I looked around: As we had talked the old crumbling factory walls had rebuilt themselves around us.
“It’s because it’s private,” I said, gesturing at the walls. “A private place. It has to be built from your mind.”
He nodded. “Almost dawn,” he said.
It was my turn to agree. “You come here every night?”
He nodded again. “I’ll meet you here tomorrow.”
“You’re not weird… I’m not weird… Maybe we can help each other. I’ll be here.” I agreed.
I thought that he would say more, but he simply flashed out of existence. I shifted, side slipped, we were not of the same time, and I felt myself falling… Falling. Seconds later I landed. Crouched on my bedroom floor. Feathers flew in the air in a perfect gray-black storm. I made my way into the kitchen, started the coffee, and headed for the shower.
The Light from another Moon:
The garage was dark, as always, but enough light spilled in from the Moonlight to go through the items in the cart. The sacks were ears of corn. The parts were varied. A keyboard, missing the space bar. Two plastic stubs stuck up where it should have been. An old computer. The dinosaur kind. Huge and boxy, probably worthless. A small LCD screen or plasma maybe, the old flat screen type before flex screens.
She spoke from the darkness.
“Why do I always find you out here,” she asked?
I jumped. My heart skipping beats.
“The kids miss you. You’re never home.” She smiled, but the smile had too many teeth. Was too sweet. Too nice.
“I just got back,” I said. And that was true as far as it went.
“You’re always just getting back,” she said. She moved closer. The moonlight shining through her nightgown left nothing to my imagination, which is pretty good all on its own. Her hand touched my chest. Her palm flattened against it.
“I miss you too,” she said huskily.
“I… I have to go… I have to go again,” I said.
Her hand spasmed and then slapped flat against my chest. She backed away. “You are never here. Never!”
“I try? I’m your wife…” She leaned closer. “What’s in those other places,” she asked in a rough whisper. Her tongue came out, forked, purple, and licked at her lips. Colors shifted across her face. Iridescent greens, reds, oranges, yellows, purples. I sidestepped, and…
I found myself in the garage. Empty, but wrong. Something moved in the shadows.
The troll was on me so fast I did not have time to think. Stinking, hot breath on my neck, sharp claws sinking into me. I threw myself out of the dream and spun away into blackness. The pain followed. I spun down faster and faster.
I’d left my body sitting in a wooden chair pulled up to my desk. The force of my impact back into my body shattered the chair. I sprawled on to the floor and skidded all the way to the wall where I slammed to a stop.
When I caught my breath I checked myself over: Nasty bites on my chest, deep scratches on my arms. It could hurt you. It could kill you. I waited until I had my breathing under control and then made my way to the bathroom medicine cabinet.
The Light from another Moon:
Abignew squatted on his short legs and lowered his head to the ground. He inhaled deeply, sucking up the scent of the dream. He shook his head and shuddered as the scent worked its way up into his brain. A few minutes later he lifted his head and looked around the empty garage with his red glowing eyes. He snuffled deep in his chest. A bass sound like a suppressed snort. He lifted his head and sniffed the air, then slipped into the time stream…
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