Artfully, he dodged the bullet, turning to watch it plow into the wall by his head. Slapping one palm to his forehead, he gave out a great shout, “ki aieeeeeee!”, striking to the left with his other hand, shattering the small bird statue on the pedestal. The bird screamed, and dropped the tiny silver gun….. As entropy increased, gravity grew weak, then strong, tossing the players about the room like ten-pins in a row. Finally, a loud gong sounded, whereupon everyone dutifully trooped into the great hall to hear the daily proclamation from the beloved Leader in Mystery. Headache gone, thanks to the bird’s scream, he joined the parade, knowing he would find what he sought in the great hall…. His quest neared the end, and he could almost taste the cold dish of revenge, demanded by the blood of his murdered master…. Not for nothing was he called, “Pujin, the Merciless, Nearly-Master Killer of the Temple of the Divine Duck…..
Okay, so it fell apart at the end…. I couldn’t keep my tongue planted any longer in my cheek, and had to let it show its nose…. Hmm, that doesn’t quite sound right, does it? Never mind, we’ll pretend none of it happened, and just go on with today’s Pearl, or what passes for the creative process around her on mornings, like this, when I can feel Murphy staring a hole in my back, waiting for me to approach something with paint, or cold water, or poop of some kind, to try to get me to fuck up, so he can hit me with whatever he has in mind….. the asshole…..
You would think that after all this time, he would find someone new and simpler to fool, as I’m getting pretty wise to his games…. He’s a master, of course, at making us think we have him beat, so I don’t fool myself into thinking like that for long, but, a newbie surely ought to be more fun than an old curmudgeon like me who doesn’t even have the wherewithal to get overly upset any more at his shenanigans….. But, then, nobody ever said Murphy was smart, whereas he is often described as an asshole… the asshole….
I note a bit of symmetry in those last two paragraphs, at least at the end…. Too bad we had to subject ourselves to the tender ministrations of a force of nature to achieve that, eh? I’m not complaining about Murphy, as that has been shown to be a futile pastime…. No, I’m just blathering again, trying to fill up space for the intro section, which asked me yesterday to avoid anything fancy or involved today, as it has a mind to take a day off from the strain of coming up with a new way to open up these Pearls each day….. Which is to say, of course, that my own mind is wanting the day off today… I only wish I could indulge that request, but, we’ve got stuff to do….
Well, no, we don’t, that was a lie…. I was just trying to…. well, never mind, a lie is a lie, and there’s no excuse, so I won’t offer any….. I’ll just ignore it, and go on to the daily dive, which, given the crap I’ve created here, could conceivably get a bit dangerous for the uninitiated…. Please watch your step, I have a feeling it may get a bit tricky to navigate today….. Shall we Pearl?…..
ISMISM: Belief in any distinctive doctrine, theory or practice. Ismism was started up in the mid-1980s by a splinter group from “Atheists For Christ”. Ismism meetings gained quick popularity, and Ismism leader Ralph Snider travelled the world promoting his paper “Why I Argue A Lot”. The followers of Ismism are generally agreed to be very confused people. — Daniel Bowen’s TOXIC CUSTARPEDIA
Strangely enough, I believe a Church of ISISM was founded, as well, though not by Mr. Snider, to my knowledge….. What I do know is that the Board of Directors of the Amtrak system are probably charter members of both the church and the movement itself; this much is made plain by the obviously fucktarded business practices as carried out by their employees. The people who run the national train system here in the US are obviously those guys who got the C’s, D’s and F’s in business school, because their employees don’t seem to give much of a shit whether they do their work or not….. Allow me to describe my own experience with the results of their asinine inability to run a viable business….
The train station in Martinez, CA is rather nice, having been built within the last 20 years or so, so it’s still fairly clean, and most everything seems to work, except, of course the vending machines, which are programmed to steal money rather than give snacks. Oh, and there was the snack bar itself, which was closed during the period prior to the train’s arrival, choosing to ignore the 50 or 60 potential customers waiting to board the train… No sense in trying to make TOO much money, now, is there? Seems to be their attitude, because I’ve never seen the place open, no matter what time I’ve come there to meet trains….. They just like to have the open counter there, so people can look at all the stuff they can’t buy….
I’d booked a coach seat for my trip, but was not looking forward to a 14 hour train ride sitting up, so, when I saw that the trains were advertising on-board Wifi, I decided to pay the OUTRAGEOUS amount (more than THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS more than the coach seat, already more than a hundred….. for what is essentially a big bus….) they wanted for a sleeper compartment, the smallest they have, called a “roomette”. It’s almost big enough for a normal sized child to sit in comfortably, but for me, a Boeing 747 wide body, it was somewhat cramped, if I tried to stand up. That was okay, as there was no attendant assigned to my car, as I found out after having to haul my suitcase up a stairway designed to accommodate hobbits, or short, skinny elves, and I needed to sit down to recover from getting on board….
An attendant from the car behind mine showed up after about 20 minutes, when I was informed that she wouldn’t be able to turn down my bed, as she was still working on the car behind her, and wouldn’t be done for a while…. So, if I wanted to lie down to sleep, I had to drop down the upper bunk, get the mattress waiting there, then figure out how to make the two facing chairs turn into a bed to put it on… Well, this was too much for my back to accomplish, so I just tried to crawl up on the bunk to sleep, after the ordeal of trying to remove clothing in a space not big enough to turn around or bend over, once the bunk was down… all without hurting my back…. ‘Twas indeed a small miracle…..Climbing up was another ordeal, whereupon I found the only light control was down below, so rather than try to go down to find it, I tried to sleep a while with the light shining in my face….
Between the light in my eyes, the rocking and noise of the train, and my old bladder, my sleep lasted about 30 minutes…. Getting up, throwing on pants, using the head, and coming back to my tiny little space was so exhausting I decided to just sit up rather than try to get back in the bunk… so, I settled down to sleep in the chair, which I could have done much better in one of the big coach seats, as it turns out….. Sleeping fitfully from about 2 AM until about 6:30, I saw nobody, train staff, or passengers, stirring about…. I sat up, painfully finishing the Pearl I’d worked on for that morning…. painfully, because the alleged table was about the size of a postage stamp, with nowhere to use the mouse, but in the air next to the table…. not terribly useful.
About 0700, I took the computer and walked back to the Parlor Lounge, where the WiFi was supposed to be available, when the car was scheduled to open, at 0700, according to the literature with my ticket. The attendant there was still working on getting the car ready, so I asked him when I might have the service I paid for…. He informed me that it was hooked up, but only worked when the train was in Klamath Falls at the station…. the rest of the trip, the mountains and terrain blocked the signal from the network…. “Brilliant,” I thought, “Not only can I not get my Pearl posted, I have nothing at all to do for the next five and a half hours….”, having not brought a book, thinking the computer, and internet, would entertain me….. SIGH…. I was beginning to believe I had somehow died without noticing, and was now on the TRAIN TO HELL…..
I went back to my “roomette”… On the way, I saw the young lady ostensibly covering the service in my room, and asked her if I could get the breakfast service in my room, as advertised. She said she would be there “in a few minutes”…. 30 minutes later, she shows up, takes my order, acting as if she was doing me a favor, and disappears, with no word as to when it might be expected…. After about 45 minutes, the train pulled into Klamath Falls, where it sat for about 25 minutes to let off and take on passengers and luggage, allowing passengers to step off the train to have a smoke, if so desired (no smoking allowed anywhere on the train….). As I stepped off to do just that, I noted the attendant performing the same act of vice-maintenance; I said nothing, just finished my smoke and went back to my room, so I wouldn’t miss the food’s arrival…. I needn’t have hurried, as she didn’t come in behind me, as far as I could tell…. I checked, because, as I said, I was starving…..
The train resumed the journey, but, still no breakfast…. After another 45 minutes, and over two hours after I asked to have the food, telling the server I was starving (my exact words….), it still hadn’t arrived…. I got up, pretty steamed, and started toward the dining car, intending to find some food… As I rounded the turn in the car behind me, I saw the young woman approaching with a large paper bag in her hand…. I said, “Aha!”, spun on my heel, and started back to my room, not even looking at her after turning…
As I walked through the door between cars, I growled low in my throat, and hit my walking stick hard on the metal floor to catch my balance, (the floor moves….). and express a bit of frustration… At my room, I stowed the stick, sat, and waited for the food… She arrived and literally dumped the bag on the table, without a word, set down the coffee I’d asked for (two hours before), then, continued down the hall, and down the stairs to the conductor’s office below, where she apparently complained about my hitting the stick on the floor….
As I was trying to get my food out of the bag and fit on the tiny little table, the conductor appeared, and said I had been “threatening” to the attendant…. Well, at this point, I had had enough, so I proceeded to let my PTSD have its way, and treated the conductor to a full blown, tears flowing, crying rant, detailing my miserable night, the worse morning, and my intent to sue the rail system for everything they had….
I told him I had paid less money to stay at a Five Star Hotel, (the truth), that I was disabled, and had to carry my own luggage on board, spent a miserable night without a bed, that I had received NONE of the services for which I had paid over three hundred dollars, and I was now going to try to eat my COLD sausage and eggs with my COLD coffee, and he should just leave me alone before I totally lost control…. Having ranted in full out crying mode for about five full minutes at that point, I sat back, looked out the window, and ignored him until he went away…..
Well, I think I got the message across, to him, at least, as a bit later, he came back, apologized for my troubles, and tried to make nice for the company…. He couldn’t do anything about the ticket price, of course, (note the eyebrows wiggling up and down…..) but he suggested I complain and request a refund, because the management needed to hear about this kind of thing…. He stated he would be talking with the supervisor of the attendant for her lack of sensitivity and laziness, and offered to help me get my bag downstairs when we arrived in an hour or so…. His attitude, correct as it was, only served to point up the contrast with the service I should have received, and didn’t, in any respect…..
Fortunately for all, my friend was there to meet me, and whisk me away before I could devise a way to torment the office staff at the Eugene station, or blow somebody up like I’d been blown for the last 14 hours…. Instead, we went and had lunch, and I was able to decompress enough to enjoy the rest of my visit with my buddy and his partner, Cyn…. The wine helped, for sure…..
This rant has helped a bit, as well…. though, I have to say, in looking back over it, I was nicer than I should have been, and much nicer to them than they were to me…. This is also going to help, because I intend to include a link to this Pearl in the letter I send to them, eventually, with the expressed hope that the tale goes viral on the Net, and my intent to publish it as widely as I can, to start a whispering, word-of-mouth campaign as a message to them to either clean up their act, or get out of business…. I’m not going to settle for anything less…. They’ve already lost my business for the rest of my life, and I had intended to travel by train a lot…. Now, that is NOT going to happen, not without some kind of assurance that stuff like this doesn’t happen again, to anyone…..
“The only thing wrong with doing nothing is that you never know when you’re done.” — The Stovall’s Law of negative inaction
Composing the above mild rant tired me out, not unsurprisingly…. Before I started writing so much on a daily basis, I hadn’t realized that PTSD, as one of its characteristics that comes down on the negative side, can make it tiring to think about old stuff that was of a traumatic nature, due to the tendency for the emotional content to recreate itself, strongly, generally causing an overflow of tears and embarrassment (I know, it’s okay to cry, but doing it in public places is somewhat of a facer, what?….. Not exactly the image I’m trying to create on the streets…..). Any who, I’m fagged, though having only been up about two hours….
A fresh poem isn’t ready, so I’m going back to the archives, but will add a fresh haiku, written this morning, before pasting in the older poem….. As every day this month, this is for the April National Poetry Writing Month Challenge, with the updates to be found here: http://www.napowrimo.net/ (I still don’t know if I’m doing this right, but, oh well….)
Bright sun rises up,
glory against a blue sky.
Joy is now, today.
A Failure to Germinate
Marking the days in elements of sad disarray
only holds me thrall, as I laugh while I may.
With cold, hard hands so impatient and cruel
pulling me to this vale of tears, a pathetic old fool.
Feelings sit silent, cast in shadows and light
breaking forth to implicate such vengeful might.
Just below the surface they patiently hide
to sally forth bravely, colors bright as they ride.
Tears and pain transform valued assets in hand
while comfort and serenity retreat to a far land.
Bold, bright patterns of hope garnish my ruinous state
until reality enters, full of disdainful portions of hate.
I sort out the illustrious measures of vision gone mild
only to find them transformed, now vicious and wild.
In my deepest desires I find myself calloused and cold
with faithless advocates whose souls have been sold.
My search finds little to support any hope of relief
far too much time has passed to bolster such belief.
The sad becomes real, and real becomes unfounded
until flights of such fancy are all dead, and grounded.
Nature has informed me of the newly hatched crime
that reality has boasted of proudly, time after time.
The last answer we think of is always the best
as we come to terms with fate, our hope at rest.
In re: freshness, since the poem section is only half and half, I’ll put together an old-school pearl for this last section today…. It’s a bit shorter, and takes less time than another rant…. Here is one with a very obscure, but valid, point…. which, of course, is left as an exercise for the Gentle Reader….. (that’s you…..) ….. Enjoy!
But Faith, fanatic Faith, once wedded fast
To some dear falsehood, hugs it to the last.
– Thomas Moore (1779-1852) — Lalla Rookh, The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan
‘Tis not the fairest form that holds The mildest, purest soul within;
‘Tis not the richest plant that holds The sweetest fragrance in.
“Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast, obscure, unfinished masterpiece.” — Vladimir Nabokov
“In God We Trust.” I don’t believe it would sound any better if it were true.” — Mark Twain
“Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality.” — Jules de Gaultier
“It is human nature to think wisely & act foolishly.” — Anatole France
He ne’er is crown’d
With immortality, who fears to follow
Where airy voices lead.
– John Keats (1795-1821) — Endymion, Book ii
Okay, why don’t y’all sit back and cogitate a moment while I go back and punch this up….. Not too shabby, I think…. I may hit out at Amtrak again some day soon; I don’t think I quite got all of my anger at them resolved. No worries, everything comes in the fullness of time, so I’ve heard….
Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..
When I works, I works hard.
When I sits, I sits loose.
When I thinks, I falls asleep.
Which is Why….
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.