Christmas

Very Merries, Gang!

Nerdmaste, darlings. Today is Christmas Eve! I've spent the past few days in various states of playing nurse-mom to a sick kiddo to being the sick kiddo. I hit a state of fever-induced delirium last night that would've made sense of any of Hunter S. Thompson's worst trips. BUT! I wake up and said fever is broken, the full-body-ache has abated and I'm ready to hit this Christmas thing very lightly. (Because I'm still tired and all that other stuff that happens when you're sick.)

I've had a few different blog posts cooking lately and little time to post them. I've got some news to share when I am able, but today is not that day. Besides, it's not a day about me, it's Christmas Eve! The kiddo is dancing around expectant of St. Nick's arrival, my mother will be over later...presents are wrapped and food awaits prepping. All that glee.

And I know that you're probably just as busy. So, I will leave you with this, a blast from Christmas past. This is a bit of flash fiction I wrote last year featuring Cat and Marius from my Etudes in C# series. A little cheer with a stayr's leer. Have at it.

Merry Christmas. Have a good and blessed holiday and know that you are loved.

Nerdmaste, my friends.

Newtown, Connecticut

I am so angry I could breathe fire. So sad I might melt into nothing but tears.

This is not okay.

I was a freshman in college when Columbine happened. I remember empathizing with both victims and shooters for that one... people pushed to their limits and unequipped to handle the rage of years of bullying. I think that might have been when I all but solidified my feelings on guns.

I think guns are cowardly weapons. Anyone with motor skills can lift a gun, pull the trigger and kill someone. Period. While yes, marksmen have tremendous skill that took years to hone... guns as a weapon are cowardly. They are an easy way out. You can take a life without thought at 800 ft/second without looking at that person's face, without watching their life bleed away. There is no ownership in gun violence...only quick (pardon the expression) hair-trigger reaction.

School shootings. The Aurora tragedy. The Clackamas mall shootings earlier this very week. And now Newtown, Connecticut. An elementary school.

This is not okay.

We have a problem.

We--as a society, as a country, as goddamn human beings--have a problem when we're more strict about 3 oz. bottles of shampoo than we are with lethal weapons that are killing children in their elementary school. How is this okay? How is it alright that kids are going to school with metal detectors, schools that are more secure than prisons? How is it okay? We've made these concessions (metal detectors, security passwords, police patrols in schools etc) to "keep our kids safe" but what we're really doing is pandering to the shooters. We're not doing anything about the problem, we're just putting a condom on it and hoping it doesn't break.

What the fuck is wrong with us?

This is a systemic problem. It's not just about gun control. It's also about mental health care, about our society's priorities, corrupt government, a glutted gun lobby, a disgusting news cycle, a furor over losing rights that were to secure citizens the ability to have a weapon that took 15 minutes to load, aim and fire. There are so many problems all linked together, so many deformities and mutations that make shit like this possible.

But no....now is not the time to have that conversation. The NRA might get pissy and raise Charlton Heston's   mangled corpse as some sort of gun-toting lich. A politician might not get to buy that new Mercedes this year. Ratings might drop.

Fuck you. A parent has to go home right now and look at presents under a tree that won't be unwrapped. A kindergartner has to learn how to process survivor's guilt.

Where does it stop? When does it become socially acceptable to have this conversation and do something about these problems?

You have no idea how hard I will be hugging my daughter today. 

Flashbacks and Fear for the Future

Good Monday morning, gang. Alright, let's just mention it now: Yes, Whitney Houston passed away this weekend. I have to say that while I wasn't  FAN! of hers, I have so much respect for her. In the 80s it was Michael Jackson, Madonna and Whitney. She is part of the soundtrack of my life. She's someone's mother, daughter and friend and I'm sorry her light has gone out.Last night was the Grammy's and I was glad to see Adele kick so much ass. I am sad for the state of our youth, though, when Twitter is flooded with people saying they have no earthly clue who Paul McCartney is. *facepalm* I just don't know where to begin with that and I refuse to be the one to educate you now. Why? Because my lessons will be riddled with more profanity than a submarine with Denis Leary, Sam Kinnison and George Carlin in a pissing contest. Anyway.... it's Monday, it's morning. Life is pretty damn peachy at the moment. I got a new office chair! I now bask in the glory of lumbar support. AND! I made it m'self! Alright. So IKEA made it and I put it together. But I did it myself! Also... I GET NEW GLASSES. Went to the eye doctor this weekend for the first time in damn near 5 years. Sean did, too, because he's now over 40 and thinks his eyes are starting to go. Well, my prescription has changed (go figure). When the doctor asked me to cover one eye and read the best line I could without squinting, I giggled and proudly shouted, "E!" Sean, of course, read something about 11 lines down but couldn't read the copyright date. *rolls eyes* The doctor and I both felt absolute disgust that my husband's eyes are damn near perfect and mine are shit. We told him to get out.

Truth be told, Sean and I are both a little sad he didn't need glasses. He found this awesome pair of rimless glasses. Sexy in a young Dumbledore kinda way. (And I love that Dumbledore doesn't set off my spell check.) So yeah, I pick up my new glasses today. I get to see again! *happy dance*

There is new ink in my future as well. I'm getting my memorial tattoo for Nicki in a few days. You'll see it soon and I'll just explain it all then with circles and arrows and captions and all that stuff.

SO! Today I'd like to offer you all a flashback. Some of you have been hanging around on my various blogs for a while, others are new. Back in 2001 or so, I blogged on this other site that I won't give press here. Had my own little following there. One thing the fans loved: my Vox Crania entries. Now, a few days ago I let you in on my character generation style with a Vox Crania post. To make it fun, I'm going to post one of the older, classic Vox entries.

This one was originally posted to that OTHER site on December 24, 2004. (Yup, it's my Christmas special!)

Quick primer for those who may not get it:

  • "Kemi" = my alter ego. My personality. Me. The Prima Wahine and Bee Girl herself.
  • "--ex Wahine" indicates someone who is in my life. Their "ex Wahine" vox is the version of them in my head.
  • Deus Ex Wahine is the part of me that figures shit out. Wisdom, Providence. Whatever.
  • Superman = a guy I had a date with back in 2004 before I started dating Sean.
  • Yes, parts of my body actually get a say in the Vox Crania.
  • Tigereyezz and Steal This Diary = My then-roommate and her then-boyfriend (now husband), respectively. Also, Steal was at the time a Legolas look-a-like.
Anyway, here's an old style post from yours truly and all the voices in my head. (Just enjoy how good you have it now that I've got 8 years of blogging experience under my belt and a more stable mind.)
Gift-wrapped Voxes Under the Tree - 24 December, 2004Kemi: *putting tinsel on the tree* On the last day of Christmas my Voxes gave to me...

Deus ex Wahine: A stupid special like on TV!

Clit: *putting tinsel on herself* I had the best dream last night...Superman was all sorts of sweaty and...

Kemi: Yeah and then my ex from high school showed up. Deus: I blame The Roomie and Steal. Kemi: So do I. Both: Damn the men with long blonde hair. Clit: Damn them indeed.

*doorbell* 

Kemi: I wonder who that could be. Deus: Expecting anyone? Kemi: Are you kidding?

*opens door*

Kemi: Look, Deus! It's Sarcastic Wit and Work-Induced-Dementia.

WID and Wit: Happy Christmas! Wit: We brought food. WID: We were going to bring the Wahine's Work Ethic, but the past week has turned Work Ethic into a cripsy crust.

Kemi: You brought a dessert I see. WID: Yes, it's a cheesecake with a nice cripsy crust. *looks knowingly at the audience* Wit: The crumble crust of a cheese cake is paved with good intentions. WID: Since this work ethic is fucking useless, we're going to feast upon it in this season of giving.  Movie Quoting Vox: We'd gladly feast on those who would subdue us. Wit: And how.

*Wit and WID go forth, skipping, towards the tree*

WID: What's this I see before me? Wit: Egg nog? Cider? Kemi: Margarita. 

Deus: Did you really expect otherwise from this Wahine?

*doorbell rings*

Kemi: I'll get it! *bounds back to door*

*opens door*

Kemi: Heart! and Mind! Look at you two, all friendshippy and stuff!

Heart: Very Merries, everyone! Mind: And Happy Stolen Holiday with large monitary burden--value to you, too. Heart: Why can't you just say Happy New Year? Mind: By which calendar, my dear? Heart: Impossible, this one.

Deus: Come in, come in. And what's this you've brought? Mind: Oh, just a little something we kinda went in on. Heart: I wrapped it. See. Deus: Why, it's covered in little...Superman S'es. Heart: And they're pink! Deus: Methinks you should go speak with Clit. Heart: Really? *bounces off in a flutter of pink* Mind: Deus, she's peachy, honest. But being the holidays I just let her go a little, ya know.  Deus: Keeps her sane, I'm sure.

*Dingdong*

Deus: Look everyone....it's our friends...Blue Man Group!

Blue Man Group: *enters* Kemi: Hi Guys! Blue Man Group: 

Kemi: Make yourselves at home, play, whatever! Blue Man Left: *crosses to Tree* Blue Man Center: *crosses to Cheesecake* Blue Man Right: *crosses to Clit and Heart*

Ex Wahine Delivery Man Vox: Knock Knock. Clit and Heart: *bounding to the door* Hello there. Delivery Man Vox: I have a delivery for Worker Bee.

WID: I'll sign for it. Worker Bee is Blue Man Center: *shoves heaping piece of cheesecake in mouth* WID: ...indisposed

Delivery Hunk: Merry Christmas. *leaves*

WID: K, what have we here. *opens bag with large Santa face on it* Bath stuff. From ... Freaky-Eyed-Boss Lady?? What the hell? Kemi: That's nice of her. She's been driving you crazy and to aberrant acts of cannibalism and she gave you bath gel and a loufa! WID: What is she trying to say? That I don't bathe? I do! DAILY! With expensive shit from Victoria's Secret. Clit: What say we do some after Christmas shopping together, there, WID? WID: What the fuck is this?  Movie Quoting Vox: PC Load Letter?

*ding dong*

Kemi: Look everyone! It's Hoss and CatEyedGirl Ex Wahine! And they've brought The Boy! Hoss ex Wahine: Greetings. CatEyedGirl ex Wahine: Heya, darlin'. The Boy: *hugs Kemi*

*ding dong* Deus: And look, it's The Divil ex Wahine and Tower ex Wahine with the Venerable Pooh ex Wahine!

Divil ex Wahine: Happy Holidays, my Ego and I will be over here under the mistletoe. Clit: That's what I forgot!

Tower: San Juan is the Greatest Game Ever! Assembled Ex Wahine Voxes and Kemi: SHUT UP!! Blue Man Group: 

CatEyedGirl Ex Wahine: This cheesecake is phenomenal. What did you use for the crust? Sarcastic Wit: Lots of hard work. Pooh Ex Wahine: Look, something shiny.

Hoss ex Wahine: Beer. Where is the beer?

Kemi: Wow, Deus, looking around I'm not sure who's missing.

*dingdong*

Deus: How hard did you work on this script? Kemi: What script?

Movie Quoting Vox: *opens door to see The Illustrious Roomie and Steal This Diary* Neb Dolan (spelling?) SUBTITLE: You're Late.

Assembled Voxes turn and stare.

Hoss: You're done. Movie Quoting Vox: It's a quote from LoTR!! Aragorn arrives to Helm's Deep... bah, fuck you all.  Venerable Pooh ex Wahine: *following Movie Quoting Vox* But I got it!

Kemi: That's the holiday spirit!

Tigereyezz: He's Here!!!! Steal: Hi. Tigereyezz: He's here!!!! Wit: *to Steal* Cheesecake? Blue Man Group: 

*ding dong* Kemi: Now I really wonder who this could possibly be...

*opens door*

Bri and Carrie Ex Wahine: Surprise! Bri ex Wahine: Hello, lover! Carrie Ex Wahine: Jaymbay *running tackle hug*

Kemi: WOW! What are you doing here? Bri and Carrie Ex Wahine: Well, it's your Christmas special.  Bri ex Wahine: what would it be without all of thems you love present, eh, sweets?

*Thumpa Thumpa music starts playing* 

Sarcastic Wit: Ya know, every time there's thumpa thumpa a Drag Queen gets his stilettos. Kemi: That's right.  Deus: Gods bless us everyone.

Kemi: Wow, we've got friends, and margaritas and good music... what more could anyone ask for?

Blue Man Group: *starts playing along to thumpa thumpa, a tech'ed out version of PVC IV*

From all of our Voxes to all of yours...

Very Merries, Happy Christmas to all and to all a Good Time!

Christmas Flash

bzOnce again I'm posting for your enjoyment a piece of flash. As is usual, this comes from a challenge waged by Chuck Wendig.  The prompt is "Christmas in a strange place". Any genre. 1000 words. You have one day. Go. My first thought, honestly, was to write something that took place in the back of a Volkswagon. Or at Ground Zero.

As many of you know, I've got a series in production that I refer to as Etudes in C#. Book 1 (TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES) is finished and I'm seeking representation and publication. (Call me.) Book 2 and Book 3 have both been started and I've written a companion short. The rest of the series is in outline form. While my daughter is home on Christmas break I'm letting this project breathe...but I had an idea of tying in this challenge with that world. What follows is a prequel of sorts following Catherine Sharp and Marius on one of their earlier tasks for Eris.  At exactly 1000 words, I give you the rough cut of "Belize Navidad ". Thank you for reading.

Also, as it is Christmas Eve Eve, I will be going radio silent here on the blog to spend time with family for the next few days. Whatever you celebrate--Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, Festivus, Giftmas or something else entirely--I wish you the best of days and brightest of blessings. Boomdeyada and Nerdmaste!

Belize Navidad
by Jamie Wyman
            “I can’t believe this,” I groaned. “It’s Christmas Eve. On the other side of that wall there are beaches with sugary sand and gin clear water. Pool boys just waiting to bring me fruity drinks with little umbrellas in them. And here I am stuck with you.”
            I glared across the cell at Marius. His long hair hung in charcoal waves around that smug bastard face. His moustache and goatee twitched as he sneered.
            “Oh, you think this is how I’d choose to spend a holiday? Trapped with a prude like you? Not even a drop of wine to make you the slightest bit more interesting. And of course on that beach there are the bikinis to talk about. Thongs, Catherine! I’m missing nubile women of loose morals in thongs!” He let his head fall back. “This, Miss Sharp, is hell.”
            “Are all satyrs drama queens or is it just you?” I asked.
            His lip curled in disdain as he turned away from me. There wasn’t much space to maneuver in this bulbous prison, but Marius did his best to draw up his human-looking legs and fit into the curve of the wall.
            Marius and I had been sent on a business trip of sorts. Our boss is Eris, the Greek goddess of discord and bitchery. When she sent me to Belizefor an all-expenses-paid Christmas getaway, I should’ve realized that this was no present. I’d made it to the tropical paradise, but our job landed us in this spherical cell with the goatfucking satyr.
“Fucking Eris,” I said. “She can’t give fruit baskets or a bonus check. When Eris stuffs your stocking it makes you wish she’d handed you a bag of flaming dog shit.”
Before my eyes, a fire appeared. In the center of the blaze, a brown paper bag curled around a lumpy mass. I gagged at the stench. Marius jerked and stamped to put out the fire, smearing the contents of the bag on the golden floor.
“What the bloody hell was that for?” Marius shouted. “These shoes cost more than half a year’s rent on that hovel you call an apartment!”
He slipped off his shoe and began scrubbing the sole clean on my pants.
“Jesus, stop! I didn’t do it!” I kicked him back onto his side of the sphere and let out a frustrated growl. “Spending Christmas locked up with you and now I’ve got shit on my jeans. Just fantastic.”
Marius tossed the soiled shoe to the other side of the cell. “As if it’s such a chore to be near me. At least I know how to have a good time. We wouldn’t be here if you weren’t so work, work, work all the time.”
He may have had a point there, but the bastard isn’t allowed to be right about anything. It’s true, though, that if I hadn’t been so hellbent on finishing the job, the djinn might not have woken up when we tried to steal the lamp. How was I to know about the shrieking idols?
Miserable, I curled into myself. “It doesn’t even feel like Christmas. I wish I had my pajamas.”
Marius’ eyes widened.
“What?” I asked.
He pointed a slender finger at me. “Just how did you do that?”
I looked down to see that my stained jeans had been replaced by my favorite pair of red-and-black fleece jammy pants. Stunned, I muttered, “I have no idea.”
Marius’ eyes shifted conspiratorially. To no one in particular he called, “I wish we had a good bottle of port.”
A smile spread across his face as a black bottle appeared between the satyr’s feet.
“Lovely,” he said. “Now, I need a corkscrew to open it.”
Nothing happened. “Well, bugger,” he said. “It was worth a shot.”
I held up a hand. “Wait. I wish I had a corkscrew.”
Instantly, I held the tool.
“Oh, now this could be fun,” I said.
“You have no idea,” Marius leered.
Exposing the golden apple brand on his forearm, Marius rolled up his sleeves, cracked his knuckles and set to work. By the time he’d finished making a score of requests, he’d filled our cell with more wine, a duck glazed with raspberry and shallot sauce, buttered snow peas, and a shortcake trifle. Our feast presented itself on glittering silver trays and gilt plates.
“Take some wine,” he said filling a crystal goblet. “You might actually become bearable company.”
Though Marius had wished for elegance, I shook my head. “This doesn’t feel like Christmas at all.”
At my command, strands of colored lights wound around the walls. A pumpkin pie joined the food with a can of whipped cream, and the air filled with the sound of Bing Crosby.
“This is Christmas?” he asked incredulously.
“Oh, wait.” With one more wish, he wore a red Santa hat. “Perfect.”
            Spying the fluffy white ball dangling over his face, Marius rolled his eyes. “Bon appetit.”
            It’s not every day you find yourself trapped in a genie’s lamp with a rat bastard satyr. But, with his decadent tastes and my touches of home, Marius and I crafted our own version of the holiday. For a little while on that one day, I didn’t want to kill him.
            When the duck was little more than a carcass and the trifle had been reduced to crumbs, Marius sat back swirling wine in the bottom of his glass. He muttered something that I couldn’t quite catch. I may have been spraying whipped cream into my mouth.  “What was that?” I asked.
            After draining his port, he shook his head. “Nothing.”
            I sagged, full of yummy food and warm from the wine.
            “You know, Catherine, there is one thing missing from this gay yuletide celebration.”
            He pointed to the ceiling. To my horror, I saw a bundle of green leaves and white berries dangled there.
Marius smiled and bounced his eyebrows.
“I wish we were back in Vegas,” I said.
And just like that, the holiday was over.

If you enjoyed this story, please consider reading the Cat Sharp novels WILD CARD and UNVEILED. 

Wild Card:

 

Unveiled:

   amazon.com