Saturday, September 4, 2010


Table of Contents

The woman stood at the platform, staring down the track eagerly.
"Charlotte, what are you looking at?"
"See that light?"
"There's no light."
"Just look for a second, Amber. I can see lamps glowing down that way."
"There's no towns in this area. Why did you make me get off the train at this station?" Amber, Charlotte's apprentice, threw her hands down to her sides in frustration.
The expression on Charlotte's face did not change. "We're waiting for someone."
Amber's look of confusion deepened. "Who? There's NO ONE here."
"They're not here yet." Charlotte's look of determination solidified.
Amber gave up questioning her and resorted to sitting on the ground, staring down the track, trying to see what Charlotte saw.
They waited for 5 minutes before Amber spoke again. "What do they look like?"
"It's just one person, and he looks like a man."
"That's helpful. Elaborate?"
"He has a thick beard, and short, black hair. He usually wears a blue shirt, and you'll probably hear him before you see him."
"Um... okay."
They sat for another 15 minutes, Amber waiting for whatever Charlotte was waiting for... so they could leave.
Then, a dim light appeared on the horizon. "Charlotte, you see that?"
"That's the train."
"Are we leaving on it?"
"No, he's on the train."
"The beard guy?"
"Yes. Him."
The light grew brighter. Amber could begin to see the outline of the train a bit more clearly. It was sleek and modern looking. And... clean.
Thirty seconds later, the train arrived at the station and slowed to a stop. The door to the engine room opened and a very familiar-looking man stepped off of it.
amber's jaw dropped. "Oh dear mother of god... i-it's... it's..."
The man spoke. "Billy Mays here with another fantastic product! Are you tired of inhaling smoke when you're in the engine room of your train?"
Amber felt so compelled and inspired by him that she heard herself saying "Yes!"
"Then have I got the product for you. Introducing: mighty coal!"
Amber was helpless before this man's charisma. "Mighty coal?" Amber heard not only her voice, but the voices of what sounded like a live theater audience. She looked around and saw that the pitch was so perfect that it was drawing a crowd from, seemingly, thin air.
"Mighty coal is the deliverance of the promise of clean coal. It burns with the same intensity as normal coal, but with only 10% the smoke, and it cuts weight by 50%!"
"No way!" The crowd said, completely captivated.
"To prove just how incredble mighty coal is, I am going to lick the inside of the smokestack." He licked it. "Now, while it certainly doesn't taste good, doing this with a smokestack that burns normal coal could kill you. I trust Mighty Coal with my life!"
The audience went wild with applause.
"Now, you must be asking yourself, mighty coal must be expensive, far out of my price range." As he said this, a man in a suit stepped out of one of the passenger cars, and began to walk towards Billy Mays.
"I'm happy to tell you that today only, a 40-pound bag of Mighty Coal can be yours for just two low payments of 14.99! And if you act now, I'll throw in a second bag for free!"
The lawyer-man stepped forward and muttered, VERY quickly, "Donotusemightycoalforcookinghomeheatingasasubstituteforcharcoalorannyotherfuelsourcesideeffectsofmisuseincludefoodpoisoningskinburnsandcancerofthemouthandlungsmightybrandsinccannotbeheldresponsibleforinjuryduetomisuseoftheproduct." (said in roughly 8 seconds.) He then took a very deep breath and concluded with, "restrictionsapplytowarrantyresultsmayvary."
The crowd flocked around him, shoving money in his general direction. At this point, Amber came to her senses.
"Charlotte, what's going on? Billy Mays is dead. These people... they don't have faces. And clean coal doesn't exist!"
"We're in purgatory."
"Pu-pu-purgatory!? We're dead!?"
"No, we're just visiting."
"Visiting? How did we get here?"
"We took the train, of course."
"Why are we watching a dead Billy Mays?"
"We need some of that coal."
"What, are you going to start grilling now?"
"No. Mighty Coal is train fuel, not cooking fuel. I hired a train while we were waiting. The only catch is that we have to supply fuel for the train."
"How are we going to pay?"
"I've got this."
They waited for the crowd to disperse, and Charlotte then walked up to Billy Mays. "Hello, my good man."
"Oh, if it isn't Charlotte! And you seem to have someone with you. Have we been introduced?"
"This is my apprentice, Amber."
Amber spoke up, nervously. "Uh... Hi!"
"Nice to meet you. Billy Mays!"
"Um... Amber Freud." They shook hands. Amber was reluctant to let go.
Charlotte stepped forward after Billy freed his hand. "We need some coal."
"I can cut you a fantastic deal, since we're old friends."
"What can you sell it for?"
"I'll give you three bags for the low, low price of 30.00. But if you act now, I'll throw in a fourth bag for free!"
"Deal." Charlotte handed Billy 30 dollars, and he gave her four of the bags.
"Billy Mays OUT!" Billy climbed back into the engine cab of his train, restarted the boiler, and as the train accelerated down the track, Amber heard him yell project "Hi ho, Oxy-Clean, Awaaaayy!!!!"

Friday, September 3, 2010

When I'm sad... She comes to me. With a thousand smiles, she gives to me free.

Ride on, little wing. Good evening everyone!

Today I have made an important discovery. A VERY important discovery. This discovery is that I have a twin. See my picture above? My hair is shorter now even though i'm still wearing the watch. (damn good watch I might add) I met a guy today at work (he works there too) and we look exactly alike and sound alike and we're in the same english class. This is very odd and I'll be covering more of this story as details emerge.

Hurricane Earl

One of my least favorite and at the same time most favorite things about living in connecticut has been the lack of severe weather. So of course when I heard that hurricane Earl was actually sweeping the east coast going due north, I got excited.
Of course, when it gets to us it will probably be something like an intense rainstorm as opposed to a hurricane like it is now. Apparently it's already weakened to a cat. 1 hurricane.
Oh well. Whatever it brings, I'll be happy as long as there are puddles. I like to jump in puddles. Yes, I am 4 years old.

War Poem

Table of Contents

A Scarred Soul

And as the bullets graze my skin,
I look around to see my kin.
My brothers in our freedom fight,
We’d train at dawn and rest at night.

The food’s no good, the pay is worse
I don’t do this to fill my purse.
I fight for you, and fight for we.
I fight so you and I stay free.

When I am done and come back here,
We will have won and had no fear.
We’ll raise a glass in victory
To US, from sea to shining sea.

There isn’t much to make us smile…
But the sun will rise in a while.
Though now we listen for the shells,
we’re almost done with darkened hells.

Someday, we’ll find our way back home
No longer, we’ll be forced to roam
And we’ll come back, no more to clash,
Our souls will come back from the ash.

It feels like stones against my heart
when they say killing is an art.

-A. Armetta, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sal Jackson Prologue

Table of Contents

Sal Jackson’s Wonderful Second Chance


Sal Jackson, a man with an unfortunate limp in his left leg and a slightly twitchy left brow, slid his key into the lock which kept his one-story, two-bedroom, and one-full-bathroom house safe from robbery. He turned the key, which set the bolt sliding back into the door. He turned the key back halfway and pulled it out, returning the key to his pocket. He reached for his cane which he had left leaning against the door-frame, and opened the door.
He reached inside and turned on the light. His home was exactly as he had left it. Spare jacket draped over the back of the chair in the dining room, TV remote turned toward the window, resting on the coffee table which was exactly one third of the way from the couch to the TV, favoring the couch… and his copy of Popular Mechanics magazine on the end-table… However, he seemed to have left the light on the end-table on. Ah, well… he hadn’t been gone that long. He ambled over to it, the rhythmic thumping of the tennis-ball-covered end of his cane on the wooden floor echoing up and down the hallway.
He clicked the lamp switch off. He picked up the small digital clock on the end table, and glanced at the red numbers glowing from the display. They read, 10:47 PM. (the PM was of course represented by a small red dot in the upper right corner of the display.) He decided that he ought to get going to bed soon. He went down the hallway to his bathroom, and he took his sleeping pills. He’d been having trouble sleeping lately, and his doctor had prescribed them. “I’ll take whatever you tell me to, if it’ll make me sleep.” He said to his doctor, when the doctor attempted to warn him of the severe side effects.
It was father’s day. Not that it mattered to Sal. His father had been dead for 40 years; in fact, the 42nd anniversary of the day his father burned alive in his own home was coming up. Sal was a father himself, but he hadn’t seen his son for a little more than 35 years. The last time he saw him was the day he had run away from home and joined a roaming band of musicians. Was he still alive? Where did he end up? These were questions that haunted him every day.
He then climbed into his bed, glanced longingly at the picture of himself, his late wife, Flora, and his long-gone son, Nathaniel (he kept the picture there to remind himself that he wasn’t always the hollow shell of a man he was now); and he waited for the pills to take effect. Until they did, he could only close his eyes in vain, only to have them open again 15 seconds later, turn onto the clock, and see, disappointingly, that morning hadn’t come yet… and then, suddenly… The pills hit him like a train. It felt like he had only closed his eyes for a moment, and when he opened them again, he was in a hospital bed, one-and-a-half feet tall.

Next Part

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I started COLLEGE on monday. I mean, holy crap. It's fricking college. So it's been all good so far, just a lot of work. But if I ever want to become a REAL bachelor, and not just a fake teenage one, I need to work my balls off getting a bachelor's degree. You may at this point be asking, "What could you possibly be getting a degree in?"
I will tell you.
I'm getting a degree in cinema. Which i am leading up to with a degree in Broadcast Cinema from the college I'm currently attending, Middlesex Community College. It's 'aight.
Okay, okay. I'll never ever say "Aight" again. That's just generally a bad thing to do. So I'll resort to using "aight's" proper cousin, "okay." Okay?


Table of Contents

Prologue: Mud

The mud-soaked man opened his eyes. For a few seconds, he could not see, though his eyes were open. There was a high, ringing sound reverberating within his ears, like feedback from an old speaker. His vision began to clear, slowly, and steadily, until it had reached the point where he could guess at his surroundings from the blurry watercolor shapes his eyes were feeding to his brain. His hearing, too, had reached a point where he could hear some of what was going on. What he saw and heard was heavily disconcerting. He thought he heard screams in the distance, true, signs of life. Not screams of joy, or screams of excitement. These were screams of pain, anguish, and loss. But the silence was heavier, almost completely suppressing any sounds. As though someone had placed a huge plastic cup on top of him, and all he could hear were sounds from outside.
Less than a foot from his face was a hand. He poked at it (which was difficult because throughout his extremities he was experiencing extreme spasms) and realized seconds later that there was no body attached to the hand. He quickly drew his own hand (which thank god was still attached) back to his side. He resolved to try to stand up. He pushed himself up onto his elbows, drew a knee forward, started to support weight on it, brought his other knee up, and finally rose to his feet.
He looked around him. His vision had cleared substantially in the time it took him to stand. It was now almost back to normal. All about him were strewn bodies, dead and torn apart by the force of the artillery barrage that had apparently been called on their position. It was a wonder he could stand without any help. He knew what he must do. He must look for survivors. He was out on recon, after all. He began to make his way (carefully, as there was sharp debris everywhere and the field was carpeted with mines) toward the nearest scream he could hear.
As he walked he passed scenes of gore that would leave a man of weaker constitution vomiting and in the fetal position. One man’s arm had been blown off (He recognized the arm by the watch it was wearing. The watch was still ticking.) and was resting in the entrails of another man who was the unfortunate victim of one of the first blasts. It exploded less than a foot from him. He was lying down to try to protect himself. In a way, he did, the blast only took his legs and lower abdomen, leaving him alive and in extreme agony until he died of blood-loss and shock. Ten feet away were the man’s legs. They had been nearly liquefied and were currently plastered all over the side of the foxhole the rest of the man’s body was in.
He suppressed a gag reflex as he looked over this. He willed himself to keep moving. The voices were still screaming. He knew he was not the only survivor. As he stumbled over the masses of wire that had been so carefully strung over the battlefield, he heard slight grunts from people slumped in the trenches with fatal wounds. The slight grunts of those doomed to die. He forced himself to stop thinking about it. If there was one thing that being in the war had taught him, it was that the more you ask or wonder about why things are the way they are or how things might be if they were different, you find yourself wishing you hadn’t, for usually, the less that gets questioned, the better.
His pondering had taken up the time it took him to reach the screaming voices he had heard. There was one private, a greenhorn most likely as he was only 18, screaming bloody murder. His face was covered with the entrails of another soldier who had been blown to pieces by a claymore.
“Kid. Hey, kid.”
The kid continued screaming.
“Listen when I’m speaking to you!” He took the kid’s shoulders and shook him until he stopped screaming.
“Who are you?”
“The name’s Tom, but that’s not important. What’s yours?”
“My name is Frank. This… I mean, what’s left of this… is what used to be called Harry. He was a good soldier, and a great friend. He’s saved my life at least three times.”
“He’s gone now, you need to move on.”
“I just can’t believe he’s actually dead.”
“It’s war, Frank. You got to know that people die here.” Frank’s head drooped in a reluctant nod of agreement. Tom continued.
“I got to find the rest of my group. I’m in Golf Company, 347th Infantry Division.”
“I was in Kilo Company, same division as you. But that last barrage took out our CO. I don’t know if anyone else in my company survived.”
“Come with me, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one from Golf that survived. Last time I saw my CO he was squatted down in a trench we just finished digging, along with the rest of us; and he sent me and two other guys out on recon.”
“Do you think everyone in the trench ended up okay?”
“Can’t say for certain, that barrage took out the other two guys for sure, and the rest of my group most likely thinks I’m dead.”
“Did you see the bodies?”
“I saw the arm of one of them in the entrails of the other. The arm still had the guy’s watch on it. It was still ticking. Damn good watch.”
They started the walk back to Tom’s Company’s trench. As far as Tom knew, his company was still squatted in that trench.
They walked side by side in a grim haze of silence, until Frank finally spoke up. “So… How long you been in the army?”
“About 4 or 5 years, I’m 24 now.”
“So you joined the army when you were about 20?”
“Well now! The kid can count!” The grim silence returned.
They walked back through the scorched, torn-apart area where the barrage took place. The kid, who was apparently of much weaker constitution than Tom, retched at the sight of the sprayed corpses. He spat out the bile that had risen into his mouth as they continued onward.
They walked past the foxhole with the ticking watch. Tom walked over to the arm, removed the watch, and put it on his own arm. Frank looked on in horror.
“You’re just going to take his watch?”
“Do you see the rest of his body anywhere?”
“Isn’t that disrespectful?”
“He’s never going to have use for this watch ever again. If I didn’t take it, someone else would have. Like I said, damn good watch.”
Finally, Tom’s trench was within sight.
“Hello!” yelled Tom.
“You alive up there?” a voice from in the trench answered.
“Do I sound alive to you?”
“That you do.” A head rose from the trench, followed by a neck, shoulders, and a chest. A pair of arms rose from either side and lifted the rest of the man out of the trench. “So what happened to Kerry and Mitch?”
“That barrage killed them. This here’s Kerry’s watch. The thing was still ticking while it was on his blown-off arm.
“Huh. Damn good watch.”
“Glad to see you alive again, Dave.”
“You too, Tom. Who’s the kid?”
“This here’s Frank. He’s from Kilo. Those poor bastards took most of the hit.”
“Yeah. That’s what the kid said.”
“Kilo’s stationed about 50 miles east of here. You walked that far?”
“No, I walked about a half-mile at best.”
“Then what the hell is that ki-”
Frank spoke up. “Sorry to disappoint you, gentlemen. But I’m afraid you all die here.”
“What? What kind of nonsense are you talking, soldier?”
“I’m not from Kilo. I’m with the resistance. You’ve been had, men.” Frank pulled out a grenade, pulled the pin, and tossed the grenade into the trench. As an afterthought, he followed this with a second grenade. He heard a groan from one of the men in the trench. The groan was silenced mercifully by a flash from the muzzle of Frank’s gun. He pulled out a radio. “This is lone ranger to base, lone ranger to base, do you copy, over.”
“This is base, reading you loud and clear. And for the last time, Frank, stop calling yourself Lone Ranger. It’s silly, over.”
“Frank to base, reporting golf three, five, niner has been neutralized, repeat, golf three, five, niner has been neutralized, over.”
“Good work, Frank. Once again, you never fail to astonish. Return to base immediately, over.”
“Frank reading you loud and clear, returning to base, over and out.” Frank took one last look at his handiwork. He kicked what was left of Tom’s body into the trench. It looked less out of place there, he decided.

Tom’s arm was blown off and came to a skidding rest in the midst of Dave’s entrails. This arm wore a watch. The watch was still ticking.