Saturday, 12 January 2019

The Christmas Spark

It was Christmas Day and Allan was alone. He was visiting his parents in the town where he grew up, but the morning had come and gone with gifts and breakfast, and now everyone had retired to their rooms for the afternoon. It was only natural after everyone stuffed themselves with so much breakfast, but Allan was bored. The spark of Christmas had truly disappeared this year after a relatively unexciting morning, and now there was truly nothing to do. It wasn’t that he didn’t appreciate his parents or his gifts, but Christmas just didn’t feel special this year.

He was in his childhood room, now converted over to a spare bedroom for when his parents had guests over (like himself, these days). Allan looked out the window and sighed deeply. He looked at the houses near him and wondered what their Christmases were like. He started tapping his fingers on the windowsill, humming to himself. ‘I wish that I could find the spark in Christmas again’, he wished to himself.

There must’ve been some magic in the wish he made, as he felt a sudden uneasiness take over his body. Something felt odd and alien about the room, despite that he’d been in there for nearly an hour. He turned around and looked at the bed, and the shelves, and some other things scattered about. He recognized them as his parent’s things, yet everything seemed so foreign. He scratched his head, running his hands through his thick, unkempt hair. He just had to cool off.

Allan went into the bathroom and turned on the cold water tap. He let it run for a few moments before cupping his hands under the flowing water and collecting some water to splash on his face. He looked up in the mirror, still feeling a little distressed. He looked over his own face. It was him. He didn’t know what to expect, but everything just felt so off.

He went back to his old room and fished into his suitcase, grabbing a hefty sweater. Staying here was shaking him up. He went downstairs and called out, “I’m grabbing a coffee from the shop, anyone want anything?” His voice cracked on that last word as he choked getting it out. There was no response from anyone in the house. Allan figured they must all be asleep. He grabbed the keys to his dad’s hatchback that he used to drive and unlocked the car on the fob. Allan then slid on his boots, grabbed his jacket, and was out the door.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Made For Each Other

Jake was nervous. This whole moving ordeal kind of sucked. He was going from his hometown, where all his friends and family were, to all the way across the country where he knew nobody. Even worse, the timezone was way off from home, so he wouldn’t be able to keep as easy contact with everyone as he’d like. He didn’t know how long he’d be staying here, but the market that his line of work is in was oversaturated at home, so he turned to looking national for jobs. At least he managed to find something well paying.

Part of moving was trying to find living arrangements. Jake had tried to talk to his friends at home to see if anyone knew anyone in the area who was looking for a roommate, but most of his contacts didn’t know anyone in the area, and the couple who did weren’t close enough with them to really inquire. Living alone was simply too expensive, so Jake was online on a roommate finding website.
Jake noticed two things when he was browsing through the listings on the site – every user on the site that he could see was a man, and most of them were pretty weird. A lot of the profiles of the men on the site showed that they were very gay – talking about their positions in bed or their type of man. Jake was appalled – he didn’t hate gay people by any stretch, but this was absolutely not what he was looking for at all. He was about to close the window and give up for the day when he saw a message pop up on the user interface from a “techdroid87”.

“Hey pal, I see you’re looking for a roommate in the downtown area?”

“Yeah, I’m going to be heading there for work in a few months and have had no luck securing a place so far”

“Haha I’ve had the same luck. Secured the job about last week, but nowhere to live yet”
“Where are you going to work?”

“Oh, it’s on my profile haha. But I’m in IT – not the most glamorous job in the world, but I like it and it pays the bills – or will once I move”

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Build A Bear

“Aren’t you a bit old for this?” asked the Build A Bear employee at the counter. It was certainly coming from a place of judgement, as the employee watched someone older than himself come in and make a bear all by himself.

“I thought it’d be a fun thing to do, my man. Besides, I’m a customer, am I not?” replied Dan. He was 26, a good four years older than the employee at the counter. He was certainly the type of man you’d describe as an urban hipster: kind of weedy, dressed fashionably, fancy red stache.

The young employee just shrugged. “Whatever suits you. You don’t need me to walk you through anything here, do you?” His attitude gave off the impression that he was probably equally parts disinterested in helping Dan and disinterested in working at all.

“Nah, I can do all of this myself. If you’re not going anywhere I can just give you a shout if anything goes wonky.” replied Dan. The employee, stone faced as before, just gave Dan a thumbs up as Dan walked towards the unstuffed bear plushies along the wall of the store.

There were a lot of various animals along the wall. Dan looked along the rows, seeing unicorns, dogs, cats, whatever type of monster from children’s video games was popular these days… Wasn’t Build A Bear supposed to be known for its classic bears? Dan was about to ask the annoyed employee for help right before he even started, but at the last second spotted a bear out of the corner of his eye. He approached the unstuffed plushie and picked it up.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Lunch Date

Harris was completely passionless. Maybe it was some sort of a midlife crisis, or the crushing weight of realizing that he was in his 40s and still in questionable financial circumstances due to being reckless and not thinking ahead when he was younger, but the daily grind of life had worn on him. His marriage with his wife wasn’t exactly failing, but where there was once passion and love now laid the same conversations, day in, day out. How was work? Boring. Nothing new. Talk briefly about TV. The same shit. Even raising his kids was starting to feel unrewarding. One in middle school, the other nearing the end of elementary. He loved them dearly, but they didn’t engage with him much and it stung a bit. Maybe he was getting unapproachable.

It wasn’t that Harris looked unapproachable though. He did stay in good shape, even if going to the gym felt like more of a chore than anything, and his stature was enough to appear confident without being too imposing. Still, even at work he wasn’t exactly the most popular guy around. Mostly kept to himself in his office cubicle, working through lunch most days. It was hardly a glamorous job – “research and development assistant manager” was the fancy title, but it was mostly just tinkering with spreadsheets all day and doing odd menial tasks for whoever in charge felt like unloading their work for the day. For a job in R&D, it didn’t pay great either. Enough so that the family had food and a roof over their heads, but with their combined income Harris’ family wasn’t particularly well off.

It was just a day like another, or perhaps just like literally every single other one if you asked Harris for a description. He was working on his latest spreadsheet trying to find out the right part to purchase for one of the company’s latest developments. He let out a sigh, it was something he’d done a million times before. If he wasn’t so financially between a rock and a hard place, he’d consider quitting before this job mentally crushed him, but he couldn’t do that to his wife that he had grown stale with and his daughters who barely acknowledged him. He let out a deep sigh, resigning himself to the task.

Apparently it was loud enough to attract some attention from someone. He heard a chuckle behind him followed by some talking. “Rough day, eh Harris?”. It was Pierre, one of the workers in finance. He was dressed quite contrastingly to Harris’ polo and jeans. Pierre was dressed full stock in a suit and tie, with gelled back hair and a freshly shaven face to boast. He exuded enthusiasm and it clashed with Harris’ vibe of apathy.

Harris hung his head in shame a bit. God, he wished no one had heard that, and didn’t like how easily it was inferred. “I’m fine. Just feeling a bit under the weather.” He said, not lying but trying to pass it off as some sort of physical illness if he could.

“Right. Have you considered that’s because you’re working yourself to death?” asked Pierre, smiling in a way that he didn’t consider what he said to be an insult. Harris was a little concerned that his forced conversational partner was a mind reader at this rate. That was no small anxiety of his. As his heart started to beat a little faster, Pierre continued. “I see you here every lunchhour, working away by yourself. I would’ve thought at first that you just wanted to get your hours done, but if anything I’ve seen you leave late more often lately. What gives?”

Harris was a bit relieved, it was a relatively normal topic of conversation. “I appreciate the concern, but it’s just dedication to my job. There are tasks to do, and I do them. Is it not the same in finance?”. If Harris could change the topic and swing it back around on Pierre, he was happy. Enough talking about himself for the day.

“Sure, but not to that degree. I also don’t think the bosses are that tough on you that you absolutely must get everything done by that date. And it’s no small secret that you’re not the most thrilled about your work, so the dedication thing doesn’t make much sense either.” Pierre said, his smile breaking for a minute. “I just don’t like to see you down in the dumps, Harris.”

Harris didn’t know how to react. He wasn’t particularly friends with Pierre. Or anyone here, really. He let a faint smile out and replied simply. “Don’t worry about me, Pierre. I can take care of my own problems.”

Pierre’s frown only got bigger upon hearing that line. “Look. If you don’t want to talk, I get it, but at least come out to lunch with us tomorrow. It’ll be Friday, we have three or four of us that usually go out and grab steaks. I think it’d be fun, and I want you to come.”

Harris was a bit weirded out by Pierre’s urging him to come but didn’t want to be rude. “I’ll have to put some thought into it. Money, you understand.”

“It’s on the company card.” Retorted Pierre.

“I don’t want to burden the company with an unnecessary expense my way. But I’ll think about it. I’m not saying now. I’m saying ask me tomorrow.” Replied Harris, trying to stand his ground. It was a half truth. He wasn’t particularly keen on the idea, but he didn’t have a good excuse and would have to think about coming up with one.

“Well, beats a no! I’ll be sure to check in in the morning and see what you have to say then. I’m hoping you do come, but if you don’t want to I understand.” Pierre said, his smile returned. “In any case, I should probably go heat up my lunch now. I’ll see you tomorrow!”

Sunday, 2 September 2018

State of The Blog

Hello all,

Believe it or not, I'm not actually dead out here. I plan on more or less reviving this blog, but taking a very different direction with it than what's been the plan so far. The past year has been insanely busy for me, and the future is too, but I should be able to handle it a bit better now that some major life events are out of the way. I have a few things to address.

First: I'm no longer going to be doing captions. It's been a very very long time since I've done these in the first place, so it shouldn't be sad news to hear this. I'm simply not comfortable using other people's images anymore even if the Google reverse search turns up nothing. This leaves only the possibility of using stock images, which is something I'm simply not going to do.

I'll be shifting to a more story style of writing. The posts will be longer and more detailed rather than simple captions I can write in a brief period of time. They will likely be posted as attachments to the blog rather than actual files, but I may be able to change this if the format isn't received well or Blogger decides to not cooperate with me. I plan on putting out content on Saturdays, every two or three weeks. This new pace is much more manageable for me with everything going on and gives me the chance to queue when inspiration strikes. The first of my new stories is queued for this Saturday.

The last piece of news is that I intend on opening up for commissions in a couple of month's time if I can put out content at a reasonable pace. This is only tentative news but I'm hoping that there will be some interest. I'll put out more details on this as the time approaches because I still have to figure out details such as rates and what I am/am not willing to write about.

That's about everything. I hope that I can get a steady state of new content going with all this new planning.