20 May

My idea:

Technologically-assisted team tag.

Here’s how it works. The team captains hold a GPS that tracks the enemy team captain. Everyone is wearing belts with those flag-football flags attached on both hips. The teams start in the city, miles apart, and move toward each other with the help of the GPS navigation. The objective is to tag the opposing team captain. But anyone who is tagged (i.e. flagged ripped from belt) is out of action. So you can spread your team out as you get closer to each other and take out the opposition one by one.

Ideally, each team is on hands-free walkie-talkies so they can communicate with other team members and coordinate ambushes and whatnot. I figure teams of about 10 people would be ideal, and I’m thinking the captains need some other name. The “target,” maybe? The “coxswain”? The “Q-Bert”? I don’t know where that came from, but I like it.

14 May

That’s that.

Well, that one was a little longer than I anticipated, but fun anyway. I’m working on a choose-your-own-adventure; hope to have that or some other piece up in the next couple weeks.

09 May

Missed Opportunities (part 12)

“What took you so long?” she said.

I shrugged and bit my lip.

It took her a second, but she recognized I wasn’t Jake. “Colin?”


Her face softened. “What are you doing here?”

“In a philosophical sense? I don’t really know.”

She scoffed. “God, you guys are so much alike.”

“Really?” I felt a tinge of regret but pushed it away. Instead, I focused on her smile. And her eyes.

“Where’s Jake?”

I took a breath – a big, pre-leap breath. You know the kind. It’s what you do before telling your boss you’re quitting or before telling a pretty girl you love her. “Yeah, about Jake. He, uh, he’s breaking up with you. He’s too much of an asshole to tell you to your face.”

She stared at me with those emerald eyes. For a second, I thought she was going to call me out, accuse me of murdering Jake, yell at passers-by to look around for a body. But then she laughed. “Nice try,” she said.

“No, no, I’m serious.”

“Yeah, I know what you’re doing, Colin.” She stepped closer and whispered, “Ever since you saw me and Jake doing it, you’ve been after me.”


“Oh, c’mon. Admit it.” She put a hand on my chest.

The image flashed in my mind of what this Colin guy might have seen — live pornography between a devilish, blonde-haired flirt and a replica of himself. It might have been pretty difficult to turn away from.

“I can see you’re remembering,” she said.

Imagining, actually, not remembering, but it wasn’t worth quibbling. Fantasy, memory – they’re more or less clones, aren’t they?

“Look, if you want to get down my pants, there’s a better way to go about it.” She ran her hand down my arm.

I touched her neck, entertaining the possibility of driving home with her at that moment. After all, it’s about not missing out, right? A barrage of images flashed in my mind – blond hair, disheveled couch cushions, long legs.

But here’s the thing; some opportunities are mutually exclusive. If one lives, the other must die.

So I left. I went home to Maggie.

It was a sobering walk. My aches and pains resurfaced. And the prospect of dinner wasn’t much consolation. But once through the front door, I saw Maggie on the couch, looking all cozy and cute. And only then did it dawn on me that I had just escaped death. Twice. Maybe three times. And now here I was, staring at my reason to live.

The brief and crazy notion entered my head that I could tell Maggie everything. I could confess it all. “It’s like a disease,” I’d tell her. “But I’m a survivor. I’ve got you and luck on my side. We’ll get through this. Together.” But instead, I asked, “Have I told you recently I love you?”

“Well,” she said, “you just bought Not Dogs. And I’m of the mind that actions speak louder than words.”

“Fair enough.” I got out the dogs and put them in the microwave. “Hey, you wanna go up to Mt. Hood this Saturday?”

She set her knitting down. “You sure you want to miss out on your bird thing?” she asked.

The microwave beeped.

“Oh, I’m not missing out.”

“You’re positive?”

“Yeah. I’m positive.”

“Well, then, yes. I’d love to go.”

*The End*

07 May

Missed Opportunities (part 11)

He swung; I swung. We both missed — or so I thought. But the blood that splattered on my face made me think otherwise. When he swung at me the second time, more blood flew in my eyes. I wiped my face off and saw his arm, dripping fat drops of blood that landed in spiky circles on the pavement. I’d slashed the wrist on his knife arm.

It was pure, dumb luck.

It was also pure, dumb luck that when he swung a backhand and hit my hip, his switchblade closed on his fingers. Apparently, his knife was the broken one.

He grunted and peered down at his skinned knuckles. I took the opportunity to kick him in the knee, hyper-extending it backwards and sending him to the ground.

There was one thing left to do. I jumped on him, grabbed hold of his hair, and plunged my blade into his neck, transforming it into a fountain of blood – thick, scarlet blood; sweet, syrupy blood. Wonderful blood. God, the euphoria was amazing.

I was drunk on it. Which must have been why I had no qualms or fears about opening the back door to Peace and Harmony Co-op and washing my hands in a sink conveniently situated right by the door.

And when one of the hippie employees came out of the nearby bathroom, flashing me a perplexed look, I said simply, “Hey, what’s up?”

He looked pissed. “Do you work here?”

A tip for effective lying: don’t confirm or deny. I tried to look offended. “You don’t remember me?”

He scratched his head. People actually do that, you know.

“You seriously don’t remember me? I’m Colin; you’re Brian. We’ve been through this.”

His expression moved from anger to confusion to shame. Beautiful. “Oh,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

I patted him on the back as I walked past him into the store. People always forget when they’re wearing name tags.

I got a few more looks when I emerged from the back room into the front, but I walked outside without incident. My Not Dogs were still on the ground. The box was dented a little, but they seemed otherwise unharmed. I couldn’t say as much for Julie, who was leaning against a car on the street, arms crossed and looking ready to scold her boyfriend.

I remembered my promise and sobered right up.

05 May

Missed Opportunities (part 10)

“Yes.” His certainty was off-putting. It seemed almost out-of-character.

“Don’t you every wonder why?”

“I’m a philosophy major. That’s all I do.”

I chuckled.

“Look, it’s simple. There’s a switch on the wall. You turn it on, you might die. You do nothing, you won’t die. What do you do?”

I had to think about it for a second, but yeah, the way he phrased it, it was obvious. You do nothing. “Point taken. But still, you never get curious? After years of not turning the switch on?”

“Look, I’ll tell you a quick story.” He folded his blade back into the handle. “The first college class of my life, the professor came out with a small black box with a question mark painted on it. He set it down in front of the lecture hall and asked us what we thought was in it. People took all sorts of guesses and then one kid finally raised his hand and said, “˜the answer.’ “˜Yes!’ the professor shouted, and he went on to give a basic definition of philosophy as the “˜history of human questing after answers.’

“Well, every week, he brought that box back and used it to make some new point about the kinds of questions we ask or about the underlying cultural assumptions we make or about what it means for something to exist, right? He never ran out of lessons based on the box. I mean, this guy was a really good professor. You went to class just to hear what he’d say about that damned box.

“And then, on the last day of the semester, he asked us all if we wanted to know what was in the box. Everyone shouted yes, of course. And then he asked, “˜Shall I open the box?’ And again, everyone shouted yes. We were like crazed children, poised on the edges of our chairs. But then that one kid – the one who had raised his hand on the first day of class – he raised his hand again and said, “˜No, don’t open it.’ And everyone went nuts. They were yelling at him and calling him crazy. But the professor quieted us all down and said, “˜Think about this. Think about it for a few minutes. And if your answer’s no, you may leave. I’ll see you on the day of the final. I’ll be back in ten.’

“And with that, he walked out of the room, and we all sat there, dumbstruck. Minutes ticked by; people were kind of whispering to each other. And then one by one, people started leaving. They started filing out the back door. And I mean, everybody. After ten minutes, everybody had left. Except me.

“When the professor came back – it had been more like 20 minutes, actually – I was the only one left. And he asked again, “˜Shall I open the box?’ And I went down to the front of the lecture hall and said, “˜Yes.’

“So he unlocked it -it had been locked, of course – and he opened it up. But I didn’t look inside. You know why?”


“Cuz it’s more fun not knowing.” He flipped his knife open and came at me.