March started here with gray clouds and light rain, a damp lamb start for March (the belief is that March begins as either a lamb or a lion). I also managed some sleep, so it was a later start. As often happens, the morning disappeared while I wrote the blog, took my pills, and read my email and some news. The videos of missiles hitting and killing people in Kyiv, Ukraine, are hard to watch.
I open a can of Michigan Vegetarian Chilli and have that for lunch. Pretty much tasteless bean-only chili. This was some of the food sent from the church, and I am trying to eat it as it was given to help people. The second can of chili might need some work next time.
I dress and am ready to use Air Volvo in the early afternoon. The traffic is higher and more complex to Forest Grove–the pandemic lockdowns are ending. I can see the lines for coffee and at fast food are long. I stop at a McDonald’s to get a chocolate shake to make up for the lack of taste in lunch. And Chocolate is always good. I am still suffering from extreme cold sensitivity, which makes the shake hard to drink–My throat feels like it burns a bit. But, it is so good.
Without issue, I managed the entry rituals at Forest Grove Rehab and Care Center at 3900 Pacific Highway. I find Susie is still in her room, 44A, and I just missed her in a wheelchair. Susie’s best roommate so far, Terry, is headed home this weekend for homecare. We are happy to see Terry get better, but we will miss her as she has helped Susie stay calm.
Susie is happy to see me, but she is trying to speak about various things, which is not understandable. Susie has not backtracked but instead is trying to get out whole thoughts. I try to understand.
Susie’s Aunt Joyce in North Carolina sent a stuffed animal for Mardi Gras. Susie was talking to the bear the whole time. This put a smile on her face, and she named the bear, of course, Mardi Gras.
The cleaner shrimp in the aquarium at the facility is gone. I told the head of the facility that many shrimp disappear during Mardi Gras, and they should not be surprised. That got a smile.
Susie chatted with her mother, Leta, on my iPhone using FaceTime. Unfortunately, I still can tire quickly and leave before I get too comfortable, and Susie has to wake me up!
Susie was still talking to the bear when I left.
On the way home, a pickup truck driver decided to run a red light as fast as possible. I had stopped for the light with some abruptness as it did seem to change unexpectedly, but I decided to not experiment with the law, physics, and possible paint removal from Air Volvo. The pickup driver went another way and survived the experiment.
I tried to call Corwin, but he missed my call and ended up walking home with the rain only restarting as he reached Clarion Street. I asked him should we get some sausage and shrimp (not that one in the tank–I did not take it) to make something for the end of Mardi Gras or head out. He votes for dinner out. I also contact Mariah, and we agree to meet at BJ’s for dinner (they make an excellent Jambalaya).
I lay down to read and nearly sleep past our meeting time. Mariah has a table for us in the bar. I order noodles as I am not sure I can handle the whole bowl of Jambalaya. I do a chocolate dessert and share it with Mariah. I am quiet most of the discussion at dinner.
I missed the President’s State of the Union message. I heard it was not terrible.
My energy levels are low, and I find it a bit hard to accept not getting anything done but lying around and reading. I would like to write and build something. It is hard to not work anything but the minimal. I know this will pass soon, but that does not make me feel better now. I am also a bit upset that I missed a dose of my meds and have to extend my chemotherapy one 1/2 day. I am a bit worried that I have gone stupid. Mariah reassures me that I am not missing any IQ points.
I get a note from Kickstarter that the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland will be again this October. I plan to be there and write an entry to the 500-word horror story contest. I won last year.
I decided what I need is Brain Cookies. So I order the whole series of Old Man’s War books by John Scalzi on my Kindle and start with number one. I liked the other series, and it is vastly cheaper to just order it all on my Kindle in one purchase. I can hardly put it down, it is better than a Brain Cookie, and I finally sleep near 2ish. I had to get up and take my inhaler, which kept me up. I should have taken it at 10PM with my pills. Next time!
Here is my winning story, 498 words, from 2021:
“Istanbul” By Michael R Wild, email@example.com
The map is old, German, and shows every building in 1926 Constantinople. A book on the map opens to a faded page. The cover is loose, and the pages are falling from the book, a diary from great granddad Alfred describing his life as a tourist back in 1926 in what we now call Istanbul. A clip of hair from my late granddad’s head. It was gruesome work to slip into the cemetery and raid his corpse. At least the smell was gone after so many years, and the coffin had resisted the weight of the earth for years. It was unusually reinforced. I will have to remember that detail. There is an incense odor of myrrh and other exotic items I found in ingredients of exotic tea blends on the Internet. A candle is burning made of wax created from the fat harvest from the corpse of a murderer and an even more unpleasant raid on a graveyard, mixed with mummy dust. A new use for a microplane kitchen tool, I think. I remember slipping into a Curiosity Show in Niagara Falls. There a mummy is a lost pharaoh in deplorable condition. It was not improved by me breaking into the case and using the microplane.
My life was changed when Alfred died, and he sent me his diary and various other items. Using his notes, journal, potions, and arcane instruments, I became an Adept of the Weird. Soon I was learning terrible truths and summoning horrors that no law of our human science could explain. I stole, killed, and took what I would. I spoke incantations that would kill most men or women just to hear the words, let alone see what vista I opened—worlds and universes of burning chaos and power. Then, I harvested the power and used it as I wished, returning whole planes to quantum foam.
Now I can hear the hounds. They are following through the cracks and blasts and destruction I have wrought. They feast on the souls of Adepts who tread too heavily in the weird realms. The light in the room is the same, but somehow the dark is more. I turn to the words on the faded page. I ignore the corners in the room-filling with night. It is time to loop my soul.
I study the map, then look into the flame and breath in the incense, and imagine Constantinople of 1926 while chanting the words of power. I imagine standing on the bridge over the Golden Horn. I see myself there as Alfred. On the bridge is the tollman, and I reach into my pocket as Alfred and pay him to cross. I can taste the sea air and feel the warmth. The smell hints that the spice market is not far.
I am Alfred. The hounds have by now taken my body in my time. I have looped back. I am safe. I have great works to do.