Sunday, December 25, 2005

Not exactly on the Christmas list, but...

For some of Kim's holisticky friends, the Winter Solstice is a time to get together and do some celebrating. Obviously, I wouldn't have mentioned this if we weren't part of this year's celebrations.

Dinah, a friend of Kim's, hosted a Solstice party (and incidentally had some kittens free, to good home). Short story even shorter, we got a cat. It was my early Christmas present.

It's amazing what people will do to be polite. I named the cat fingers, and person after person has paused in the dilemma of 'That's a really stupid name but do I hurt the guy's feelings?' and decided against it by saying, "Umm, yeah, that's a real cool... name?"

So, without further ado, here is Fingers (despite what Nicholas decides to call her):

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Lillian's Baptism

For those of you who were not there (and who were not aware), Lillian had her baptism today. I have to say, she handled it like a champion. The only part where she cried was during the pictures - and when three flashes go off in quick succession, I want to cry too.

A big thank-you to all those who showed up. It was nice to see you all and it meant a lot to have you out. I hope everyone had a good time afterward.

This is not a picture from the baptism but she was wearing this outfit for part of the day. There will be pictures of the big day sometime fairly soon, though I imagine they'll be on Kim's site as this here place doesn't get many pictures (or updated very often, as I constantly hear)

Despite being non-Church-types, I have to say I am very proud of the Leduc-Johnstoneses for coming out and taking part. Especially Meghan who stood up and agreed to be a Godmother to Lillian. She kinda freaked me out when she said "If you guys die, I'm taking her." You know, Meghan, that comes with Nick, too, and I'm holding you to that.

My thoughts on baptism: I didn't know, before today, that baptism was a ceremonial death and rebirth. I guess it makes sense. In the end, it doesn't hurt Lillian because if she grows up to believe in the Catholic church, it will be good for her, because it's her express-ticket to heaven and if she doesn't believe in it, then it's just a trickle of water over her head - although that would make it two baths in one day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Another oldie

This is something I started around the same time as the last one I posted. I like the opening. I've discovered that in the time since I wrote it, I've come to like the rest of it, too. There are pretty obvious areas where it could be improved but that just means that it's a work in progress.
Some day, I'll finish the story, maybe. We'll see.

We were at coffee. While this comment, coming from one in my social circle, may seem commonplace, and indeed it is normal for our group to spend many hours at restaurants, annoying the clientele, and residing on the fringe of regulars, peering into the abyss of permanent banishment, this was not a regular meeting of the minds of Sam's so-called revolution. Granted, coffee has been known to slip into the morning hours where the sun has put in an appearance, sometimes for the second time, but to start coffee at this ungodly hour? Completely unheard of. Cliff and I had associated at this time of day, merely because he was my ride to my own personal hell for a time.
Another time that some of us had met early in the morning was when Alana's uncle needed ultra-cheap labour to help in moving his father-in-law to another house. To say he needed us is likely a gross exaggeration. Al Lawrence, all 300 pounds of him, could likely have, with the aid of his big brother, picked the house up and moved it with the furniture still in it. The house was, however, to remain in place, so it became a matter of repetition rather than brutish strength, hence the aid of his niece's mensch-like friends. At that event, Kelly, Cliff and I slaved over couches, work benches, and the like from the ungodly hour of seven in the morning. Hilarity ensued from the lack of sleep in any of us. This coffee was nothing like that.
Kelly, the same Kelly who giggled over Tibor and his beads on that fateful moving day, sat hunched over his coffee, looking at everyone as if they would steal his beverage, the very thing which, in its porcelain vessel, seemed to be his only tenuous link to sanity, lucidity, or whatever it is that prevents a person from grabbing the nearest chainsaw and making messy with people's intestines.
Cliff looked like I remembered him in the morning. He was more together than Kelly, but still, the grogginess had not yet worn off. It usually didn't until around noon. He mumbled a response to a question from the server, who asked him to repeat what he had just said. He grunted, and that seemed to be answer enough for her. His coffee, doctored with many packets of sugar, and a creamer, still seemed to displease him, though whether the displeasure came from the bitterness of the drink, or of the man at having to drink it, left me at a loss.
James, at least, seemed to be a little aware. He had been a truck driver, and used to having no sleep. He drank his coffee with a near-determination. As if he knew what he had to do, and the coffee was merely a tool to get where he needed to be. James didn't dislike coffee, but in this instance, it wasn't the taste he needed, it was the caffeine. He delivered his request for food to the waitress with a laugh, which seemed to delight the young lady to no end. With Cliff and Kelly playing the part of the death-warmed-over squad, it was a relief to see James treating her like a human being.
Monique proved to be the non-morning-person she'd claimed to be a few weeks ago. She drifted from half-asleep to wide awake to fading fast with almost seamless transition. She clung to her tea desperately, believing it to be her salvation in a time of need. And indeed this was a time of need. She looked around the table, and started, seeing Kelly for what seemed to be the first time. He must have really taken her aback, because she was completely distracted by him as she ordered her breakfast.
I'm not a morning person at the best of times, but my bouts of insomnia mean the same thing to me as James' job meant to him. Well, except for the whole "making a living" thing. I am thankfully able to deal with being up any time of the day for as long as I need to be. My coffee was a beverage, nothing more, as I waited for whatever it was we were waiting for. I declined to order anything when the waitress turned to me. I may have been a little brisk with her, but hey, I said I wasn't a morning person. Food in the morning gives me a stomach ache that doesn't leave until halfway through the day. Mentally, I took roll-call. I wanted to know who wasn't here, so I might dispense my wrath upon those who were too important to make it today.
Sam, whose dilligent work lent itself to our being chosen for this. He would be missed, but there was an unavoidable reason for his not being here.
Dave, who was with Sam, would not be missed as much, simply because his devious nature was so far beneath that of Sam.
Janine was supposed to be there, and there was no explanation for her absence. At last contact, she had told me that she would be there. My irritation picked up at her absence.
It was probably better that Atti wasn't there. Granted, his company was great, but his brashness was ill-suited for what was to transpire. Cliff wasn't a whole ton better, but he at least knew when to keep the comments to a minimum.
Jake was the one that flabbergasted me the most. He came in from BC with the sole purpose of this meeting, and yet he was a no-show. While it is true that Jake cannot be counted upon in the best of circumstances, this was one time when he would be sorely missed.
Aside from those mentioned, everyone had shown up. As I sipped my coffee, I pondered what was about to happen, and how it would change things between us. Mainly, however, I thought about how we came to be in this situation.
The hard work I praised Sam for earlier was the advertising he'd done to promote Two Sleuths Inc., the latest private investigating firm to come up in Edmonton. He'd done such a good job of promoting us as a top-notch firm that nobody would touch us. My guess is that potential clients saw the advertisements, and figured that we were too high-class for them. I can still taste the irony on my tongue. Especially considering the humble origins from which Two Sleuths arose.


I sat at the computer, staring intently at the screen, occasionally moving the mouse across its pad, and clicking, double-clicking, or whatever the situation demanded. Finding a job on the internet was a lot less leg-work than actually leaving the home, but unfortunately, it yielded the same results. It wasn't that people weren't hiring, it was just that I had recently graduated university, and I wanted to find something in my field. The distinguished field of computer science. And they WERE hiring in that field, but whatever it was with me, they just didn't want anything to do with me. So, I continued to apply, looking high and low, but there was still nothing.
I am not ashamed to admit that at this point, I was still living with my parents. Unfortunately, they saw it as something that should be a point of shame to me. Especially since I wasn't working. It came to pass, that fateful day which found me searching on the internet, that my father came into my room to find me looking.
"So, boy, you don't have a job, and you're playing on the computer." To my dad, anything that doesn't involve back-breaking labour isn't really work. Thus, my looking for a job on the internet wasn't really looking for a job, it was playing. "We need to have a talk. Come to the kitchen." My blood froze. The last time anyone needed to have a talk in the kitchen was when dad's credit card was charged to the max with phone sex bills. Only his threatening to fight the charges in court had gotten them taken off. It was still unknown how those charges got there, but that was a matter for another day. Still, my dad had gotten in all of our faces that day, and nobody was left with a dry eye. Granted, I was ten, but he ground my brother, sister and I into dust, and blew us away. Now he wanted to talk to me in the kitchen again. Needless to say, I took myself into the kitchen with more than an ounce of reluctance.
"Yeah, dad?" I asked, my most innocent look on my face.
"We're waiting for the rest of the family." was all he said. Sure enough, within the very minute, my brother, sister, and mother entered the room, the feeling of dread being shared on another level between my siblings and I.
"We need to talk about where your lives are heading," my dad began. "It's not as if we haven't been generous with our home. We made it your home. Still, the only one of you to even make an effort on your own was Liam. And he made a piss-poor effort of it indeed." as he continued to speak, I could tell what was happening. And it was the Johnstone mass-exodus of 4401 that saw me with a small savings, and nowhere to go. As always, in times of domestic distress, I found myself at Cliff's house.
Cliff, through some weird coincidence, had found himself on the end of a rather rough tongue-lashing from his parents, as well. He hadn't been kicked out, but it seemed that his days in the house that backed onto Notre Dame Elementary School were as numbered as mine were at Casa De Bob. As we pondered what we would do, the thought came to Cliff first.
"When I was working at Paladin Security, they brought up the idea of becoming a PI. They said that there was this really cheap school where they teach you everything you need to know. All we have to do is go through the training, open up an office, and we're set." Glossing over the particulars is a big favourite of Cliff's, and with the simplicity of his plan, I was drawn in. We discovered the location of the school, and enrolled. We also rented out some office space in Edmonton. This would serve as our home while we went to school, at least until we could afford our own homes.
When we graduated from the school, mere weeks before the gathering at coffee, Sam became obsessed. He was sure he could turn our little firm into a booming business. "It's all in the advertising," he would continually tell us as he begged us to let him in on the action. We finally relented, as it became clear that clients were not simply going to fall out of trees, and money was getting awfully lean. He agreed to take a small cut from what we made, telling us that it was only fair for his pay cheque to rely upon his efficiency as an ad man. So, he went to work, and we did too. The first week we were open, Cliff and I got some fairly standard cases, wives cheating on their husbands, a little surveillance... nothing too great, but money was finally coming in. And then, Sam's advertisements hit.
The great thing about Sam is that he is incredibly enthusiastic. The not-so-great thing about Sam is that he believes everything should be targeted to the rich. His reasoning is that the rich have more money to spend, so they're more likely to buy whatever it is that he is advertising. This has cost him more than one job, and it certainly didn't to a lot to boost our client list. Until the Thursday before our fateful meeting.
That morning, the phone rang. Cliff answered, expecting the usual phone call from the power company, the water company, or some other creditor, looking to shut us down. But it wasn't.
"Two Sleuths," Cliff always answered the phone briskly, believing some nagging collection agency would just go away if they realized just how impatient he was.
Only hearing Cliff's end of this particular conversation, while frustrating, was quite an event.
"Yes, we would." His voice rose an octave.
"Yes, we could." His face brightened.
"Really? Of course, we will. You can be sure."
"Discreet?" He looked at me. Always the moral majority of our firm, I nodded.
"Of course we're discreet." He sounded wounded at any thought to the contrary. He grabbed a pen and a pad of paper, and began to write.
"Yes, I have the address. When is good for you? Next Monday? Yes. Definitely. Thank you, too. Okay. Bye." And he hung up the phone.
"Without going into detail, what's the word?"
"Man with job for us."
"More than that, Cliff. More than that."
"Sandy Traverse, from..." he looked at his pad, "Data Information Technologies wants us to meet him on Monday. He said some things that lead me to believe that this has something to do with corporate espionage."
"Ooh, reads like some kinda spy book." Despite my sarcasm, I was interested.
"Yeah, Tom Clancy meets Sam Spade. The Maltese Briefcase or some such." Always one to reach another level, that Cliff. "And we get paid."
"Any idea how much?"
"He mentioned Sam's ad, and it was in a positive light, so hopefully we'll get some kind of payday."
"Well, I hope we get SOME kind of payday. We're gonna be working afterall." Such a wit, I should have been a comic.

And now we found ourselves in the Denny's restaurant, prepared to both share the good news of our job, and to ask the help of those who would give it.
"So why the fuck are we here?" asked Monique.
James was quick to point to her and nod, his mouth full of "Moons over my Hammy".
Cliff turned to me. I figured I should say something, since I was the one who decided we should ask them for help.
"We had a meeting with Sandy Traverse at Data Information Technologies. Apparently, they received a manuscript in the mail. They tried replying to the person who wrote it, and there was no response. That was six months ago. Now they want us to try and find this... Gillian Tait. The reason Cliff and I are here is because we found Ms. Tait's home, but it was abandoned. We would like to ask your help in locating her." I could see I had attracted every eye at the table. Even Kelly perked up a bit for the story.
"What do you need us for?" James asked.
"That's a good question, James." Cliff replied. "We need you guys for different things. Kelly, we need you go scour the internet and find out everything you can about everything on this list." Cliff handed Kelly a folder. "We were going to get Janine to use her connections at CSIS to try and track Ms. Tait down. Monique, we need you to man the phones in the office. We've been leaving regular messages at Ms. Tait's home and place of work. If she gets the messages, we're going to want to be there to talk to her. If we can't, we want you there. Jake was supposed to help you there." Cliff turned to James. "Why are you here, James?" He paused, turning to me. I nodded. "We want you with us."
"What's in it for us?" Kelly asked. "It's not like this stuff is going to be easy." He shook the folder menacingly."
"You'll all share in our profits. From all that Sandy said, there's going to be quite a bit of money coming in from this." At this, they all nodded, and went back to their breakfasts. I sat back with a sigh, and finished my coffee.

The compound for Data Information Technologies lay sprawled out about the River Valley like an ant colony. Offshoots climbing the side of the hill, disappearing into it, only to reappear somewhere else.
As James, Cliff and I descended into the valley for our appointment with Mr. Traverse, I could see that my allusion was not entirely inaccurate. Through several windows could be seen flurries of activity, almost in chorus. Broadway dance numbers flitted through my head, but none of them had the hectic fervor required for this act.
Cliff pulled us into the visitor's parking lot, and the three of us made our way, excitement in our hearts, to the building that served as the brain centre for Edmonton's largest and most compelling example of capitalism in action.
Entering the building, we were instantly accosted by the Viking warrior, poorly disguised as a receptionist. Looking to the name on her desk, expecting to see Broomhilde, I was somewhat shocked, though greatly relieved to note her name was Ann.
Her disguise was better than I thought was the realization as she asked us without accent, in a voice that dripped helium to state our business.
Cliff, using his best Joe Friday "Just the facts, ma'am," stated our purpose, while James overtly avoided looking her in the eye, or even looking in her direction, for that matter. Maybe he went to a catholic school.
Directing us to the anteroom where we were to wait, Ann the Viking warrior receptionist pressed some buttons, seemed satisfied, and looked up at us in cold dismissal.
Fighting the urge not to run, I calmly turned from the reception desk, and walked to the anteroom, my cohorts in tow.

Fifteen minutes found us in Sandy Traverse's office. In one bold stroke, all of my high-corporate fantasies were dashed. In a word, Traverse's office could be described as stark. In a compound word, near-empty. The walls stood bare of any adornment, lacking even the usual concession to ego that was the University degree. The surreal effect continued as I realized that his desk, while holding a computer, phone and lamp, had nothing else. No paper, no pens, no pictures of the kids... nothing. I found myself looking forward to a time when I would once again be among people who made messes, had interests, and lived lives.
Traverse himself was as I remembered him. A slim man of average height, the man moved about in a manner that would put shame to a hummingbird. However, rather than seem panicky, or nervous, his movements had an efficiency about them, as if not a motion was wasted.
"Hi again. I won't waste any of your time. We have a dossier of Ms. Tait's information. What we were able to gather. The personal information is encoded with red tabs, professional with blue. Her curriculum vitae is in orange, though that doesn't really matter, since it's all at the back. You can pick up the dossier from Ann when we're finished. Do you have any questions?"
I could think of several thousand questions, none of which pertained to the case, and all of which would likely alienate Traverse toward us to the extend of terminating our contract. I kept my mouth shut.
"Without going over the dossier, there's nothing to discuss at this moment. We wouldn't want to waste your time with questions you may already have answered in the dossier." James seemed to understand the way this guy's mind worked.
"I like the cut of your jib, son." and with that, and without hurrying, Sandy Traverse herded us out of his office, promising to answer any questions we might have in the future.
"A cup of coffee." I said, once we'd had our showdown with Ann, coming away unscathed, richer by one dossier.
"What's that, Liam?" Cliff asked.
"That's what Traverse reminds me of. The human equivalent to a cup of coffee."
They stared at me in uncomprehending disdain for awhile. I never claimed to be insightful. It was just an observation, anyway.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Blast from the Past

Okay, I was rummaging through my old floppy discs yesterday, trying to find one that I could use to transport a file from one computer to another computer (the very reason floppies exists to this day, I suppose), and I found this very angry piece of writing. If any of you saw, the place where I stored my writings, you might have come across this. If not, then you might remember the stuffed-narwhal-toting woman who was my five-year first-love. Well, this is about the end of that whole thing. Keep in mind, this was written almost seven years ago (good GOD what happened to the time?).

End of an Era

Rage fills the core of everything that I am. I walk the streets of Edmonton, and all I can think is, 'That BITCH! I can't believe I let her do it to me again!' Crossing the street, I think of ways that I can avoid seeing her forever. It's obvious that I'll have to quit my job. What is equally obvious is that she fucking did it to me again. Walking is about the only physical activity I can emotionally endure at this time. Keeping my breath at a normal rate is a labour. I still find myself wheezing as I fume. I've been walking for an hour, and I still can't calm down. I hope that by the time I get to my car, I've calmed down enough to drive. While I expected to feel hurt, all I can feel is shock and rage. Here comes the high-level bridge. Can't be much more than a twenty minute walk to my car. Time to start thinking of other things. But I can't. The only thing I can think of is the way that that bitch turned around. Last night was the greatest night of my life. Unfortunately, every night turns into morning. All nights have to end, but for normal people, with the day comes clarity. An epiphany. Maybe this is for the best, but all I can think of right now is, I can't figure how she let herself get that close AGAIN! I know, you're all thinking, 'again?' Well, I won't go into that now. What I will go into, however, is the 'this time'.

Ignorance and night are bliss

The bar wasn't exactly bustling, but neither was it dead. Most of the pool tables were open as Nicky and I entered. I've never been one to pass up pool, and hey, the chance to play pool with a girl that I thought I might be falling in love with all over again tempted me beyond all normal reason. Things had been culminating to this point for awhile. It sounds cheezy to me, thinking of it right now, but that night, there was something in the air. While I can't explain it entirely, there was an expectation, like there was going to be a big change in my life. Nicky was still beautiful, the semi-mischevious twinkle in her eye far from diminished. I had seen that twinkle extinguished for a time, and at that time, it spoke of such a deep suffering that, in its absence, those eyes caused me pain. Still, that night, she laughed, her eyes shining majestically. Her laugh was my reason for hearing, her smile my reason for sight. With the right look, she could make my heart skip a beat, and this night, she was free with her glances. And I had her to myself. Too many nights, the two of us would only be part of the triad sitting at a table with the man I considered to be my rival. Matt had known Nicky's love, and, I was sure he screwed it up. And still he was a welcome addition to the group. Not tonight. We laughed, we shot pool, and we talked. A friend of Nicky's was at another pool table. He looked at me as a challenger to his territory. He must have felt that he lost the challenge, because he left. What he left behind were another friend of Nicky's, and that friend's boyfriend. They were a sight, the boyfriend draped all over the girl. Things from that point got a little hectic. We played pool with the leftovers, and agreed to meet them at Rosie's for karaoke. An evil thing, Karaoke, conducive, certainly, to madness. Merely the mention of singing in a bar left Nicky quite strange. The mention also saw the last of the leftovers. At least at this bar. We were alone. And she was talking. There was no laughing. She leaned in close and started talking about her dead fiance. The man who had killed himself. My pulse actually quickened. I could feel my face start to sweat. She started talking about how nobody could ever replace her John. With Nicky, I had become accustomed to making no assumptions as to where her conversation was headed. She brought up marriage, asking if I ever thought about it. I said I had no trust. (this was the truth) She said that not all girls were game players. I think now that she must have been talking about other girls. Especially given our history. I wonder also if it is the girls who say that not all girls are game players who are the game players... else why would they get so defensive about it... or maybe all girls ARE game players. But she said that the idea of marriage was becoming more attractive to her all the time. Get this, I was so programmed not to assume anything that I failed even to see this blatant hint. I can laugh about it now. Eventually, we finished that pool game, my aim being somewhat off, with the weight of Nicky's soliloquy throwing my mechanics off. Considering what Nicky had just said to me, you probably already guessed that she had been drinking. So, I took the reins of her Volvo. On the way to Karaoke,(also known as "the killer of all that is good... or not") Nicky turned to me. Since we were stopped at a red light, I felt safe enough in turning to face her. "You know I want you to ask me, right?" was all she said. I considered playing dumb, but I couldn't find the will. Her eyes were twinkling, afterall, and she was smiling. Granted, it was a nervous smile, but the very reason I was given eyes, nervous or not, was not a thing to be trifled with. "Y'know, Nicky," I began, my breath catching as I did, "I kinda made a promise to myself before I started hanging out with you again." She just sat there, so I took it as my cue to continue. "I promised that I wouldn't ask you out again. Still, when I made the promise, I knew I'd break it." The nervous smile became one of genuine pleasure. "But," again, the nervousness found its way to the surface. This did not make me happy. " if this doesn't work out, I promise YOU that I'm not going to ask you out again." This finally provoked a response. "I don't think that's fair. Just because I..." Somehow, my voice managed to cut her off. "Nicky, you have to understand, I've asked you out what, five times?" A shocked look crossed her face, sending the smile to oblivion. "You never asked me out. I was wondering what was going on... you must never have been an asker." An asker... what a strange title. "Don't say that. Please don't say that." and I proceeded to list the occasions on which I asked her out. That's right, I asked her out five... six times. The sixth time, she said yes. And she smiled, and she laughed, and her eyes twinkled with merriment. All was right with the world. My heart swelled with the potential of our relationship. Was there anything we couldn't do? Was there any chance that this night could get better? I didn't think so. We arrived at Karaoke, and the leftovers became the main course. Songs were sung. Of the notables, My Sharona, Everybody Must Get Stoned, and Blowin' in the Wind were sung by members of our table of four. One song that will not go away is Never Ever by the All Saints. It played as we left, and for that, it will stick in my mind forever. We did leave, though now I wish that night had lasted forever. And we did get to Nicky's apartment, where, unfortunately, there was no couch. I can't stop wondering what would have been different if there had been a couch. Still, she insisted that if I behaved, I could sleep in the bed with her. I agreed, and we slept together for the first time. And I did behave. Though it kept me up all night, I behaved. I think I have have slept a total of a half-hour that night. At one point in the night, I put my arm around Nicky, just to convince myself that it was real. Then I felt foolish twice over. Once for what I was doing, so I moved it again. And then again when she called me on it. So, I lay there, with her back to me, feeling no tenderness. It was like my salvation lie on the other side of that person, and there was no way I was going to get to it. I still wonder what might have happened differently if I had kissed her, if I had made love to her. Would we still be together? Would we be married? Would my parents approve? Would that matter? I can answer that one... no it wouldn't. But I was faced with her back, and it felt like I was trying to ram my head through a wall that didn't even exist. Is it that I want closeness too badly, or is it that I fear it? If I didn't fear it, I would have held her or something. But that night in the bed quite accurately caricatures the entire relationship. I tried half-assed and more than half-scared to get close to her, and she kept turning her back. Whether she was turning her back in fear or in disdain, I don't think I'll ever know, but the itching in the back of my head which isn't new hair growing in tells me that it was fear. The very fact that she had a fiance die on her tells me that Nicky is afraid of losing the one she loves if she ever vocalizes that love. And maybe that's where I get my particular hang-ups. I want to say that it doesn't matter, but it obviously does, because I'm walking through Edmonton, swearing in my head at the woman I'm in love with. But that night was wonderful compared to the morning.


The high-level bridge moves underneath me as I mull the events of the day so far. It's obvious that the bridge must be moving underneath me, because the recollection numbs me and dumbs me past the conscious ability to walk. I throw change over the edge of the bridge, hoping it will land on someone rowing. Rowing... another area to which Nicky pertains. Can I not escape that bitch? What the fuck went wrong?

Night and day, and the big one-eight-zero

The half-hour I slept was obviously the last part of the night. I wake up, feeling partly frustrated, partly relieved. The one thing I want in my life is happening, if in a way that I felt it not happening over three years. The barrier (her back) was so frustrating, but she finally accepted me. She was finally accepting the fact that she loved me. If she could only tell me. But right now, just the fact that she accepted it was enough. Pteri was awake too, beginning to squawk. Nicky stirred. My heart beat faster. I remember spending all those nights on her couch before, hoping she would wake up, so I could spend more time with her, but loving her too much to wake her up. As she rose, I rolled over and lay on the middle of the bed. I stretched. She watched. That obvious interest made me self-conscious. I wasn't wearing a shirt. And she accepted me. I got up and followed her to the kitchen, where we talked about nothing while she brewed some tea. Maybe my self-consciousness was getting to me, but I felt the need to call my mom. Damn, Freud would have a field day with me on his couch, but I'd just tell him to kiss my ass. I felt bad because my mom didn't know I wasn't coming home that night, that wonderful night. And I think I wanted everyone to know what was going on. Mom just seemed like a rational choice. To everyone in the room but Nicky. I hung up. Nicky turned on me. "You had to call your mom?" "I just thought it would be polite. I mean, I told her I'd be home last night, I just didn't want her to worry." I got defensive, Nicky got offensive. "I didn't know you still had to answer to your mom." "I think the tea's ready." Non-confrontational me. We drank tea. She started to make lunch. "Can I help," I asked. "Sure." She didn't tell me what to do when I got to the kitchen, and I retreated to the sanctity of the living room. Time came to get more tea. Her patience was short. Pteri wouldn't shut up. "SQUAWK!" "Where's your cup?" "I'm not" "SQUAWK!" "Entirely sure. I think it's in your" "SQUAWK!" "room. I'll-" She was off like a shot to her room to retrieve the cup. Her patience continued to shorten. I began to realize something was "SQUAWK!" wrong. Or maybe it was "SQUAWK!" everything was wrong. Why didn't Pteri "SQUAWK!" just shut up? I couldn't think straight. Dinner was ready and I ate. Nicky watched me eat from the kitchen. "Are you done?" she asked, Pteri's SQUAWK piercing my drum. "Yes. What's wrong? It just feels like-" "Well, it's one day into the relationship and I feel like I need space already." "Well, if that's the way you feel" my world came crashing down as I admitted "maybe it's not going to work at all." "Maybe you're right." I cleaned off my plate into her chicken by accident. "That's the stuff I was going to eat." I smacked myself in the head. Why wouldn't Pteri shut up? If that fucking bird woulda shut up, I could have figured something out, some way to salvage something, but I was getting a head ache, and I had only had about a half-hour of sleep, and I really couldn't think. I cleaned my bones out of her chicken, and threw them in the garbage. By then, I knew everything was wrong. Nothing would ever be right with Nicky again. I got mad. "Maybe I should go." I said, anger bubbling inside me. All I was thinking was 'hold it in. Hold it in. Just a couple of minutes.' "Can't you wait until I've eaten?" She was happy to be put out by the big bald guy who wanted a ride to his car. I didn't give her the satisfaction. "Maybe I'd better walk." "Are you sure?" again with the honeyed tongue. The twinkles came back. I didn't give a fuck. All I wanted was to be gone. I wanted no more games. I wanted to release the volcano, but I didn't want to give her the satisfaction of seeing the effect she had had on me. "Yes. I think it would be a good idea." She backed up two steps. I grabbed my jacket and walked out.


I didn't think it would happen, but I'm starting to calm down. Which is good, because there's the sunbird now. I'm still pissed off, and in shock, but now I've got a game plan. It's obvious I can't go on working at the University. I've got to get out of there. Nicky still works there, and since I won't ever see her again, I can't work there. So, I'll need another job. So, I'm a young immature guy, am I? A real mama's boy? I'll show her, I'll .. I dunno, but I'll do something. And I'll move out. I need some release. If I don't like, pump weights or something, I'm going to go nuts. THAT'S nuts. I haven't lifted weights since high school. The closest thing I've done to that is the bleach factory. FUCK! That's IT! The bleach factory. A job, and a release. I guess I should probably apply at Miller's too, but FloPak is what I need right now. Into the car, and off to Nisku to apply.

Emails, a personal visit and closure, sweet closure

I wasn't home ten minutes when the phone rang. It was Wayne. "You understand, of course, that you'll be at the end of main line." he started right away when he discovered that it was me. "I wouldn't have it any other way." Another wonderful new beginning. The conversation ended, and I found some more loose ends to tie up. Nicky still had my UofL back pack, and the University extensions center still had my CDs. Oh, and I had to quit. The trip to the University seemed to last three seconds. A fast three seconds. Maybe two-and-a-half. Still, before I knew what was happening, I was at the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology. Up the stairs (I usually used the elevator, but I was light on my feet on this day), and I was in my old office, collecting my CDs. At this time, the director of the good ol' institute was in my office, a concerned look on her face. "Is it Mubina?"(my immediate boss) I had already terminated my employment before coming in to tie up the loose ends. "Nope. I don't want to go into it." "If it's Mubina, you can tell me. It doesn't have to end like this." "It isn't Mubina, you can trust me on that one. If it WAS Mubina, I would let you know, to be sure. but it isn't." "That what is it?" She was getting upset. "Well, I really don't want to go into it." "Please tell me." "It's Nicky." And she went away, somehow still convinced it was Mubina. I was continuing my way through the institute, collecting stray CDs I had used on the many computers I operated. Mubina confronted me. "If you had a problem with me, I thought you would at least have come to ME with it." "If the problem I had with you was such that it would cause me to quit, I would have come to you well before it reached that." "If I'm the reason you're quitting-" "You're not. I promise." "Well tell that to Jan." (the director and mother of Nicky) "I did. I promised, just like I promised you." She had been crying. "Well, tell her again." She always had to be tough around me. I couldn't figure it out, but I didn't have to. I was done. "I'll tell her again, but I already told her once." "Why are you quitting?" she got past herself, (something I gave her great credit for, honestly) and looked at my situation. "I don't want to go into it." I guess we both always had to be tough around one-another. She accepted that. I crossed the hall, and there was Nicky, working at her desk. Was it her that told everyone that Mubina was the reason I was quitting? Could she not see? "I thought you said it wouldn't come to this, Liam." She said. "Well, it did." "You said quitting wasn't an option." "I was wrong. Where's my bag?" "Oh, it's right here." Honey voice once more. Didn't work a bit. I took my bag, with a promise to Mubina (which I gave a half-hearted effort to complete, but never did), and no intention of ever returning.(a promise to myself and I have heretofore kept unbroken) I still had to tie up loose ends. My life has always seemed to be about tying up loose ends that most people are content to leave loose. Still, it was about closure for myself, and I needed to let Nicky know what happened, and how it affected me, and where I was going from there. In a three page long email, I let Nicky know that the way things had happened at her place, that Friday, had made me lose all faith in her, and in any possibility of a relationship. I told her that what transpired was the reason for my quitting, not any friction with Mubina, half-hoping that she would fulfill my promise. I told her about the night and the day, and how they both made me feel, and I told her good bye, and that I would not see her again. And I felt like a piece of crap. But that wasn't the way things ended. In a response that I never expected to receive, Nicky torched everything about me. She went some places I didn't even believe were there. Aside from calling me irresponsible, immature, and other such things, she told me I didn't know how to take care of her bird. That message, fortunately, struck no chords. I found it so utterly absurd that it gave me the boost I needed to start the healing process.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Boys, We’ve Hit the Jackpot

I discovered, this morning, that my creamer does not have an expiry date. This made me think.

Things to think about a creamer that has no expiry date:

1) I could really cash in on this! Sit the creamer on the counter for a couple of weeks, drink it down, and in the ensuing stomach ailment, bring Lucerne to its KNEES with a lawsuit that will see me into a bigger house and early retirement.
2) What if the spoilage of the creamer is linked causally to the expiry date… I could really cash in on this! I could market my own “never-spoilz” creamer that would last forever, and bring Lucerne to its KNEES by providing a product they never realized that they had all along.
3) I am really too easily amused.

In other news, I’ve been programming work-related things (a fix for the fix that fixes the problem with the papersize) and stuff for an online programming contest. Currently, I am ranked 20406th out of 63502 (although, really only 34976 people have submitted answers). So, I have my work cut out for me but I’m working on it. So far, I’ve done a mathematical formula string, a robotic arm program and a bin-packing problem. Who knew that after university, I would actually get to program?

My little piece of programming history. Look for the pink link 24843

Turns out, Houston sucks. From what I hear, the Texans might be planning on tanking the rest of their games so that they can have a crack at the top spot in the draft. I’d hoped that after their inaugural season, I would not have to see them pick #1 overall again. Looks like I was wrong. But what happens when they play the nearly-as-crappy San Francisco 49ers? And how do you convince your players to roll over for the other team? What does the Coach or GM say?

“You know, fellas, we have a crack at a running back who is a lot better than Domanick or a quarterback who is a lot better than David. I want you guys to go out there and make it look convincing. Hey, you can even hold a lead for awhile, as long as you don’t have it when the clock reads three zeroes. Can you get behind me on this? There’ll be a little extra something in your pay envelopes if San Francisco beats us.” Pathetic.

Stupid Texans are making my season hell. Ah well, at least they cut Crash Riley.