A bird in the hand is excrement.

I tend to take life a little too mildly, I settle for second-best quite often.

But if I look back and examine how much that’s cost me, over the years… Well, I wouldn’t recommend it. That’s a lot of lost opportunity inherent in “just take the safe path” and “take the sure thing”, over the course of a lifetime.

“Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks.”

Heinlein’s aphorisms feel like better advice. Wish I could keep them in mind more frequently, when making choices.

But I tend to be a pussy, when it comes to betting on the long shots. Most of the time, anyway.

I feel better about trying to catch those bushy birds, recently.

Yet… I can’t tell you yet. Time be a man of mystery and hold my cards close to the vest.

Closing with a Cliffhanger…!

RecDave Seal

Is that evil laughter?

A gift for Valerie

Well, I’d best tiptoe around this one.

Don’t tell my wife, but I’ve always wanted to give Valerie Bertinelli…. Rowrf! You know, stuff <ahem>.

I know, I know, I’m a pitiful old man. But an awful lot of guys in my high school would have gleefully removed parts of their anatomies to meet Valeri B. while One Day at a Time was airing. (1975-84…though honestly nobody much was watching it after MacKenzie Phillips self-destructed).

And (as you may or may not know) Eddie Van Halen arrived first, and shut out all of the dreams of my teenage buddies. For a decade, the bastard.

Good thing he’s a guitar legend, or else we’d all hate him for it. I mean, how could anyone hope to compete with a Rock Star, really?

So essentially, Valerie was my first, biggest crush. I mean, these days I purr at Liv Tyler and Kate Upton and other, similar modern also-rans. But Valerie was my first real heartthrob.

(Annie purrs at that Aragorn guy and Liam Neeson, it’s not only a guy-chauvanist-pig only thing.)

So I don’t know, what would I give Valerie (besides the obvious)? What gift would be appropriate without instantly alerting every Stalker Task Force in California?

Maybe I’ll send her a copy of my book. Assuming I ever have one of those?

Just bring it round my place Valerie, I’ll even sign it for you.

^ Don’t do it. Run.

RecDave Seal

I’ll sign anything you want, Valerie. Really! Anything!

Guess I blew it on the ‘Anonymously’ part, right? Dammit!

Storage

Inspired by: Olvidados by Jesus Solana

In the dusty storage room of a downtown office building, the cast-offs and detritus of dozens of office’s Lost and Found had been collecting for some years.

Leon, one of the maintenance workers, held one of the few keys to the storage room. He’d long ago abandoned any hope of organizing the chaos inside, there simply wasn’t any plan or pattern for the variety of items that came in every week. Umbrellas, purses and brief cases were quite commonly lost in office buildings like this one, and the maintenance and security personnel delivered those pretty frequently. The commonplace, every day items Leon had mouldering in the storage room across the hall.

Leon reserved this particular room for the unusual, the inexplicable items. That 40-inch television, for instance—left behind by an Audio-Visual presentations team? Looked almost brand new, wrapped in plastic. Did it work or not? A shoe box, with unworn shoes inside—intended as a present for someone? Pieces of computer equipment, common enough of course, but unopened shipping containers? What was inside them?

The most unusual, perhaps, was the life-sized mannequin. Fully dressed in business attire, gray suit, power tie, briefcase. It looked like it stepped directly out of a Men’s Warehouse or Macy’s or Nordstrom catalog. Leaning in the corner, next to a spool of coaxial cable, collecting dust on the Standard Peppered Gray Corporate Haircut Number Six.

This building was a dozen blocks, at least, from the nearest clothing store. And miles from any mall. Where did it come from, who might come looking for it?

But the mannequin bore a marked resemblance to the Standard Cube Farm Units that moved in and out of this building every weekday. Nine A.M. to five P.M., 50 weeks a year. The hundreds of men that passed Leon daily, without seeing—they just didn’t share the same universe with Leon.

Studying the mannequin became one of his favorite idle pastimes. He checked in every day during his rounds. Idle curiosity and plenty of time on his hands to look, wonder and speculate.

This morning, Leon unlocked the storage room and flipped on the light, just like a thousand times before. He pushed the door open, and jumped back in surprise.

The mannequin flatly stated, “Annihilate.” Pushed past Leon (without seeing him), and marched for the elevators.

There are times when being invisible is a real advantage, Leon thought, locking the storage room back up.

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Pending File

ParkInk404

We’re entering the final days of 2014 — how did you do on your New Year’s resolutions these past 11.75 months? Is there any leftover item to be carried over to 2015?

Well, that’s certainly easy. I didn’t make any resolutions last year. That kind of “life-planning lite” isn’t something I tend to go for.

What’s still in the ‘pending’ file? Let’s see; I’ve stopped smoking, salt intake is down, blood pressure is down, immediate survival prospects looking all right.

Cholesterol, I suppose, is still on the ‘pending’ list. And sugar, probably, Annie worries about that one. There’s always ‘eat right and excercise’, but I’ve never been a real fan of either (that’s more Brad’s Thang).

Are we done with my boring check-up now, doc?

All righty then. Is there anything filed under ‘personal development’?

Ponders the psychoanalyst couch… No, nothing particularly pressing, I’m no crazier than this time last year, I don’t think.

Charitable work?

Bwahahaha. Sorry, yesterday I was Sauron. Today I’m the Easter Bunny?


 

I’m too dull to have good resolutions. To have really good resolutions, you need to have really good sins, right?

Wrong house. Maybe you should try next door? They like to party into the wee hours—so there must be a few resolutions hanging out down there.

Other than a tendency to wake up Sauron, some mornings, I don’t think I have any fun news for the Resolution Fairy (or whoever it is that deals with Jan. 1).

And for the odd Sauron mornings, I have my Babble Therapy (the one I share each morning with you folks). Aren’t you lucky?

RecDave Seal

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Where the shadows lie

Better, I thought. This setup was so much better. Looking west, toward the ramparts. So much more modern, so much more efficient.

The last time was mainly a fluke. A bizarre series of coincidences and luck. Fate scheming against me, unfairly and to my detriment.

But as I admired the new fortifications, the new battlements, the new highway system, landing lights, communications towers—it was easy to forget, and to dismiss what happened last time.

My troops were ready and my plan secure, nothing could go wrong.

This time, I’d be certain to crush all of the damned hobbits first.

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Inspired by this Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

 

Bone-white and Blood-red

Bone-white and Blood-red were two special little girls who shared a cottage in the woods with a wicked old crone (who might or might not be their mother). They were as alike as two skulls in a catacomb, except for the color of their hair.

Bone-white was the quiet and studious sister, who stayed at home in the cottage with the crone, studying the ancient grimoire of wicked necromancy together. Her hair was the yellowish-white of ancient bone.

Blood-red was the wild sister, who roamed the forest and tortured the lore of the woods from whatever dryads and evil fauns she could capture and chain. Her hair was the deep sanguine of drying blood.

One evening, as they were sitting around the cottage brewing some rancid chipmunk stew together, there came a great pounding at the door. Blood-red pushed back the bolt, eagerly hoping for a man—but it was just a moth-eaten old bear. She quickly lost interest.

“Do not be afraid,” said the disreputable-looking bear. “I only want to warm myself at your fire.”

Bone-white and the crone glanced at each other, wondering who this threadbare bear might think was afraid, exactly.

“Sure, why not?” said the crone, cackling softly to herself and idly stirring the stew.

The bear blinked, momentarily taken aback, but closed the door behind him. Blood-red snorted, bored with the evening thus far.

The bear said, “Here, children, knock the snow out of my coat a little.” And he stretched himself by the hearth and growled contentedly.

For this Blood-red began to show some real enthusiasm—torturing woodland creatures was one of her specialties. Both sisters took up hazel-switches and began beating the decrepit bear severely, first knocking the snow from his fur, but quickly stepping it up to tub-thumping on his thick skull.

The bear (a rather dim ursine really) laughed at first, mistaking this for play. But when his skull began to ring from repeated blows, he called out:

“Bone-white, Blood-red,
Will you beat your lover dead?”

What a silly question that was. Of course they would. And so they did.

In the morning, Bone-white used her necromantic grimoire and the corpse of the bear to create a shambling zombie-bear. Waste not, want not.

“Now I shall never chance to see,
My golden treasure returned to me.”

Bemoaned the zombie-bear. This piqued the interest of the old crone, of course.

“What are you talking about, you wretched old bear?”

The zombie-bear explained, in the forest lived a nasty dwarf who would gain free access to the bear’s precious stones, if the bear wasn’t available to guard them.

“Go find this nasty dwarf and kill him, girls, bring back the loot,” instructed the old crone.

And so Bone-white and Blood-red begrudgingly put on their traveling cloaks and reluctantly set off for a long walk in the woods.

After some time, they came upon an old dwarf with a wrinkled face, and a white beard a yard long. His beard was caught beneath a fallen tree, and he was jumping around and swearing like a sailor. He glared at the girls with his fiery eyes and cried:

“Get me out of this thing, you stupid girls! Come move this log off my beautiful beard, Sugar-hips, and maybe we can have a little fun.” And he gave a particularly pervy leer at Blood-red.

Now, Blood-red was a bit of a wild-child and a “bit of fun” wasn’t beneath her, normally. So she stepped forward eagerly. The nasty dwarf actually grinned and reached for her—until he caught the glint of cold steel from the knife in her hand.

After the screaming ended, the girls searched the nearby area and found the zombie-bear’s little cave. And of course the jewels.

They returned with the jewels to the crone’s cottage. The riches funded the entire Cottage Expansion Project, bought for Bone-white plenty of new evil tomes and a fine selection of leather corsetry for Blood-red.

But no one married anyone and there were no happily ever afters.

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No actual anthropomorphic animals or dirty dwarves were harmed in the making of this post.