Spill yer guts.

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Chuck Messer
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Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Chuck Messer » Wed Dec 03, 2014 6:49 pm

Complex: Spill Yer Guts is more of a venue where one can post one's writings. It's been poetical in nature, though Tim has posted excerpts from a short story here. You need to post opinions like this to the Pavilions Annex. Just giving you the lay of the land. Take a look around, see what's on offer. We discuss a wide range of topics here. I think you'll find it interesting.

Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.

Tim Raven
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Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:53 am

I thought I added new stuff to the short story last time, but must have screwed up the text copy. So there is new stuff now on the 29 Doors story especially at the end, password is still Harlan's birthday.

I've also added a music video of an original song that I did a while back.

Tim Raven
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Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:09 am

I've added some new stuff to the end of the 29 Doors story, password is still Harlan's birthday. Chuck, I couldn't resist and I continued to edit the earlier part of the story. I just can't not do it!


If someone has the time, could they leave a test comment at the end of the story? I'd like to know that it works for someone other than me.


Tim Raven
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Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Thu Dec 11, 2014 7:37 pm

It takes a while to format the paragraphs on the friggin' web page, so I'll paste an unformatted update here now:

The House of 29 Doors

The Garret

I cross my arms and fall forward into the ocean.


The bubbles clear and my body sinks into the gloom cartwheeling and gliding, riding the subsonic current. A grotesque face appears from the deep blue twilight to greet me. Then another and another; the hostile faces rise but I don’t care.

My eyes are open.

The seabed arrives and I wake. A vast infinity transforms into mundane gravel and mud. To my left I sense something dark; an ancient rusting ladder. I pull up through the syrup tangling brine and plants. The ocean’s brew becomes warmer and warmer, then hot. At the top of the ladder I see a hatchway. I spin the wheel quickly and crawl upwards through.


The heavy hatch slips from my fingers and now I’m dry. Dry and naked as a dinosaur. I listen to the silence intently.

Life is an illusion, we think. A ridiculous cliche, but true.

“I know where you are.”
“What?” he said, looking up.

He spotted where the voice was coming from. Brobdingnagian book shelves of heavily polished wood encased what seemed to be a garret all the way up to the dark shadowed ceiling. A small woman was in a lounging position speaking from one of the few empty openings. She was the same color as the wood and just as bare.

“We’re acquainted.” she purred. “Your first question is usually where am I?”

He was confused. Hesitating for what seemed to him a really long time he stared. She remained motionless, staring back. The sight of her was a shock, she was so attractive and sexual. And her voice...
“I‘m not breathing” he said. “How long have I been here?”
“Old man, there are no clocks to measure it.” She languidly scratched the bridge of her nose. “You pinched. You came in through this door, one of many.”
“I’m not an old man. Do I look old to you?”
She vaulted to the floor with ease, her calloused feet chuffing on the lush antique carpet. Fresh dust motes leaped into the veiled streams of sunlight beaming through the open stone window.
“You know my real name then?” he said in a rush, “I’m not breathing. I feel like glue inside.”
She padded toward him and her eyes shined bright.
“No” she said. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
He could feel her core of body heat moving closer as she slowly slid the knuckles of both hands down his bare chest. He reflexively gripped her upper arm, pulled her closer and noticed she was covered in fine hair fuzz; a delicate white against her soft volcanic skin. Edde resisted slightly, perhaps on principle.
“No clothes, no secrets.” he whispered.
Almost smirking she casually reached down, cradled both hands together and gently lifted. Edde’s expression itself also flickered a sly smile. “We must talk first…” her request sounded strangely immodest.
He disagreed.

Afterwards, they both gazed out of the one large window in the room. The view from the tower was impossibly high. A fall to the ocean’s coast below would take an hour from an almost orbital height. He leaned out of the window farther.
“You ever try jumping?” His distant voice was joking, but her reply said otherwise.
“I feel like I’ve done everything possible and there’s nothing new left in this place. I look out of that window and wonder.”
“The world is constantly new, it’s minds that rarely change.” he said. He backed out of the window opening and confidently studied his surroundings. About two hundred feet in diameter, they were in a breezy stone tower room, part of the garret of a larger structure growing out of the top of a massive black cliff. Behind and far below he could hear the slate grey ocean pounding mindlessly against the swirling rocks.
Everything in the room looked familiar. He had the strongest feelings of nostalgia, deja vu, whatever you might call it. He could taste dust history on his tongue as he opened a well worn book from the nearest shelf. He put the ancient thing away and turned to the mysterious woman.
“I don’t know who I am.”
She flopped down on a large stuffed chair with a jungle print. “We’ve been in this room together before. You never remember. Men never remember.” She squinched her perfect toes a few times in the air and grinned.

He let that simmer for a bit. Then he jumped out of the window.

Whistling wind, rising quickly in pitch.
I jumped out of the window! That happened without conscious control!
Now the wind screams! There is no floor...
I can’t see the ground, this hurricane air is too strong! I can’t move my limbs, the wind has wrenched away control! My eyes water, blinded. In frustration I let go and my thoughts drift to color, spinning and cartwheeling.
A new vista appears - a sun bleached Roman garden comes into sharp focus. I walk over to the green and white marble bench and sit.
A tiny dog licks my foot. I reach down and smooth my thumb along the top of his silky little noggin.
The wind whistles violently.
I listen to the silence intently.

Cross your arms, close your eyes, look down and push.

The small woman must have jumped after me. She’s falling upside down, gripping me by the hair with one small hand in this relentless tornado. She yanks my head desperately close and screams into my ear.
Dappled light. Across the hairs of my arm. A faint breeze brushes them to attention.

I open my eyes and we’re back in the Garret. I don’t want to do this anymore.

He lay on his back. The small woman was on top of him. “Talk?” she said. “Yes.” he replied as he gently slid her off of his chest. “Perhaps we should close that window.”
“Don’t worry about that, you do impetuous things lately,” she said. “I want you to see this.” She lead him to the nearest shelf which was filled with curios and dusty books stacked on top of themselves. Standing by itself was a children’s chemistry set. Small glass vials of chemicals with cork stoppers were displayed in the old wooden case which was opened on its edge. It was hinged in four different sections.
“This is very familiar” he said quietly.
“You've seen it many times before. Tell me, do you remember anything of your past?” The small woman pulled a vial of sulfur from one of the little wooden shelves and tapped it with her perfect fingernail until the yellow powder loosened.
“This time, you mean?”
She remained silent. He furrowed his brows and began to close the chemistry set. Edde placed her fingers on his forearm. “Wait, lets put this back.” She put the vial into its spot restoring its numeric perfection and he folded the sections closed, securing the loose brass latch. Light from the window suddenly streamed across the garret and fell on the spot where they were standing; one of those random events that feel oddly significant.
“I remember the depths of the ocean, nothing beyond that, not even my name. You seem to know me, have I never had a name? How about you?”
“We’ve lived lives together,” she replied. “At one time your name was Dominic.”
“And you?”
“The earliest name that I remember having was Edde. You can call me that.” She danced suddenly towards the middle of the floor and gestured dramatically. “And this is the House of 29 Doors.”
He looked about. “I don’t see twenty-nine doors. Is this all there is? Are we trapped in here?”
“This way.” She walked over to an intricately carved area of the wall between two shelves. “If you press here…” A doorway opened. Circular stairs led down.
“Hah!” Dom laughed easily.
“Plot shortcut. When you have nothing but time any puzzle can be solved. That’s one of my rules, you know. Let’s roll.”
They wound their way down the wide wooden steps which were illuminated by some unknown mechanism. Along the way Dom noticed many side doors with different architectural motifs leading off from the stairwell. He wondered where they went? At the bottom of the staircase they exited the claustrophobic space and beheld a sunlit room so vast that the air density itself obscured the farthest reaches.

The Gallery

He stopped, senses on overload. With so many strange things perceived all at once he was floored.
“It feels big, doesn’t it? Edde said. “This is called the Gallery.”
Chairs, chairs, chairs, as far as one could see. Here at the front they were movie theater chairs, big black comfortable ones. Farther back they resembled bleachers at a ballpark. Details beyond that were obscured by distance as the horizon sloped upward.
He turned to Edde and she spoke first.
“It’s curved upwards, yeah. I don’t know why.”
“How did you…?”
“It’s always the first...”
“...first thing I notice, right? Let’s sit.” He walked to the nearest movie chair and plopped down into its padded embrace, his heavy body weight squeaking the hinges. Dom resembled a well-groomed caveman in his physical prime, perhaps in his late twenties. Unconsciously confident and solid as granite. Edde sat in the chair next to him. She was notably small, in contrast.
“So Edde, can you explain this place?”
“Sure. You’re dead.”
Edde noted that Dom’s intelligent dark eyes burned with interest as she spoke. She continued, “The biological body that you inhabited recently died. Once that happens, your intellect automatically pinches here. People eventually find the hidden door and make their way down to the Gallery. Then they usually wait.”
“Wait for what?
“Unbeknownst to them their swift return into a new body with no memory of the past. A fresh start. It’s not like they know this ahead of time but people always rest in these seats after they come down the steps and if you sit too long, you pinch back to Earth. It’s by design, of course. All of this is by design.”
“So what happens if they don’t find that hidden door?”
“After a while they jump out of the window like you did. Bash themselves on the rocks and bypass the Gallery and immediately inject into a newborn body back on Earth. I think it happened to me many times. It probably took a lot of my lives before I finally found that door. We’ve learned that as we live over and over it hones our instincts. We don’t retain memory information, but it’s like we retain brain muscle memory from our previous experiences. Brain experience without the data, I guess. Intuition for what is right with no real reason to explain it. Everyone benefits from that kind of experience as they progress into their next life fortified with new habits”
“Huh. So then why is it so empty in the Garret? You’d think there would be lots of people stuck in there?” Dom heard something odd and immediately stood up and looked over his shoulder. A man was shouting in the distance, running down the Gallery's incline. Swiveling back to Edde, “And if people don’t know this, then how are you aware of it?”
She stood up and marked the distant man as well. “I know because I’m one of the first Awakened.” Dom involuntarily stretched, noticing that his neck was aching from constantly craning it about. There was crazy stuff everywhere. Looking up the slope he spied the running man who was shouting incoherently and getting closer and beyond that he saw a creature similar to a ten foot tall praying mantis doing a jig on one of the bleacher benches.
Edde glared at the approaching figure. “Dommy, real quick, there are lots of pain-in-the-ass people here who don’t like you. If this guy tries to hurt you just crush his head and he’ll pinch safely back to Earth. You take crazy chances lately like jumping out of windows. I don’t want to be forced to wait another lifetime for you to show up again.”
“I don’t know that guy.” Dom replied, puzzled. The running man stutter-stepped to a stop about ten feet away and from the depths of his diaphragm exclaimed with utter sincerity, “Old man, do you want this back?”
“I’m not an old…ehaa...” He jinked instinctively to the right as a knife sizzled a centimeter from his left ear. His inertia funneled him into a practiced reverse roll and crouch that was so perfect it looked sloppy. His left foot was firmly and happily planted as he tensed his body for attack when a purple green scythe suddenly whipped off the stranger’s head with a meaty pop. Shifting slightly to confront this new threat, Dom transitioned into a hold for two seconds. He watched the giant praying mantis stab the still surprised severed head onto one of its front claws and spin it like a cocky street baller.
“Dom, this is Taun, she’s an Egalitarian.” Edde gave the giant green monster a hug about the thorax.
“So she’s gonna cut off our heads too?” Dom relaxed an additional notch but just one. “Who was that guy? Do you know who that was?” Dom was confused once again in this strange place. Edde grabbed the spinning noggin and flung it away. “From the planet Egal. She has a limited ability to enunciate human languages, so I can translate.
Taun tiptoe-danced over to Dom and whipped her multiple arms into an intimidating and complicated salute. The wind sang the lament as she completed the maneuver. He backed up slightly and instinctively felt for something that should’ve been present at his right hip. “Hhhhello Hoold Hannn” she hissed in an abrupt, hollow, insectoid shout that sounded like an ancient wicker bullhorn. It was disturbing. She violently cocked her head toward Edde and ripped off a stream of explosive clicks.
“Taun says its time for alien sex.” Edde laughed and smacked the creature’s belly thorax.
“What?” Dom replied. “Are you kidding me?”
“Forget it, lets get out of here, we’ll talk along the way to the meeting.” Edde began to whistle “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” and quick-stepped up the sloped stairway, rapidly disappearing. Taun and Dom were left standing alone.
“So Taun, which one of us has the bigger dick?” Dom flinched a bit when Taun ripped back a clicky retort and launched herself up the Gallery stairs as if she weighed nothing, resembling an anti-gravity tumbleweed. “That was rhetorical, of course!” Dom followed with surprising enthusiasm.

The Garden

“So what’s up with the old man stuff?” Dom had double-timed it and reached Edde and Taun without any difficulty. Physical exertion made him high here, apparently. He felt like he was full of rocket fuel. The Gallery was behind them as they entered a new area which was a single spongy road traveling through grassy rolling hills. On each side were brilliantly colored plants, huge plants. The aroma was biting strong and intoxicating. “This looks like the friggin’ Wizard of Oz.” he whispered to himself.
“That’s the name that most of the people call you, you know. In case you’re wondering it’s because you’re a really really old man. As far as Taun and I can tell you’re the oldest among us. No doubt about it. Everyone has known you forever, even HaugTottesser...wait... you mentioned the Wizard of Oz? That’s what I’m talking about! Taun, stop.”
Edde was very intense. “Dom, we think you’re the first male to begin remembering his past lives. You see the importance of this...you are the first male...EVER in history...to remember anything, however small. You’ve been making references like that Oz thing out of the blue right after freshly pinching here. It’s more proof that you’re retaining memories and it might explain why you’re acting so weird and erratic. As it is now, you’re so old with so much instinctual experience you intimidate everyone. Your brain is bursting. You can’t remember shit about the past but if some idiot threatens you it’s ninja moves and dead bodies everywhere. I think your past life experiences are leaking through when you get distracted too, remember the Garret window? Taun and I are taking you to speak with the Awakened. Your behaviour is familiar to us; all of the Awakened have experienced this type of sporadic reverie before eventually remembering their past memories.
Dom scooped up a rock and whipped it into the flowers. If he was pitching in the major’s it would have clocked a puckering 110 miles per hour. He whipped another, harder than the first. “Why do you care about me so much, Edde?” She frowned and stepped back a bit from the rock throwing.
“Let’s stop here for a while,” said Edde.
Edde and Dom sat together on the grass at the side of the road. Taun click-toed close and slowly spun three hundred and sixty degrees, her multiple razor claws cutting deep intricate circles into the ground and then anchoring deep into the loose loam, a reflexive procedure which would protect her from the high winds that constantly sweep her home world. On Egal her practiced movements would have been considered that of a Veteran Soldier, the highest accolade. Taun then became very, very tall. She looked down and spoke a quick exchange with Edde and then began a heightened vigilance, looking afar.
Edde began her story. “Dom, it seems likely this is all an illusion. Our bodies, the landscape, everything. The only real thing is our intellects, which we suspect are immortal. A few of us have experienced what we call an Awakening. It happens only to the oldest women, never men. Eventually one day we die and when we pinch back our previous memories remain rather than being reset. Believe me, it’s the weirdest feeling waking up in a new baby body with all of your previous adult memories intact. Especially memories of the House of 29 Doors.”

Taun enunciated a quick series of chitters that sounded like “TTtttCCchhttTTTtt.” She then returned to her task, her multiple eyes sweeping the horizon.

Edde translated. “Taun thinks that only the oldest ones are granted the ability to remember because eternity would be an impossible burden for a young intellect. We’re not sure who created this place but there seems to be an organized intent.”
“So Taun is one of the Awakened, too?” asked Dom.
“Yup, we awoke together as Egal children around the time of the Minoan civilization on Earth. I found my way down to the Gallery and by chance avoided immediately pinching back. I traveled as a Lagger for a while and then ended up a long time later at the Egal Door. I rested there and decided to pinch to Egal. It sounded cool to live in the body of a different species.”
“So we were two Egalitarian babies, both of us soldiers. After a few years of friendship we both suspected the other of being different from the rest of our sisters and we confessed our pasts to each other and our awareness of the House of 29 Doors. We thought perhaps we were crazy that first lifetime but our stories matched up perfectly. Already having a lifetime worth of experience served us well in the Purple Slightly Blue-Green Stronghold on Egal. After a long life and successful partnership we both committed simultaneous suicide to see if we could pinch back here together and it worked as we suspected. We’ve coordinated our efforts ever since then.
Taun silently retracted herself down from her watch position and clicked softly a few times at Edde. Edde stood up. “Let’s go, a group of bad guys are coming our way. We’ll hide off to the side of the road until they pass.” Dom replied, “Bad guys? I thought the afterlife was supposed to be a paradise?” Edde replied over her shoulder. “The afterlife doesn’t exist, it’s actually eternity.”
The trio began to move quickly down the road, following Taun’s lead. Edde continued, “Taun and I have been to all twenty-eight doors each leading to a different civilization and one of the consistent patterns we found present everywhere throughout the known universe are good guys versus bad guys.” Taun stopped ahead and gestured with multiple arms to follow her into the field. Edde and Dom entered, the riotous colors leading to a grey, behind-the-scenes kind of place.
“This is good. We’ll be able to see them as they pass.” Edde laid flat to the ground and took a watch position. Taun high-stepped into the field of flowers like a mega-spider and instantly disappeared, following instincts that had served her for millennia. Dom also lay prone, watching the road patiently. In the distance he could hear singing.

“Edde, who are they?” He felt an undeniable thrill.
“We are NOT going to engage with them, right?” Edde spoke quietly. “I don’t want any more distractions or delays this time so control your impetuous urges, Dom! We have to get to the Funhouse and speak to the Awakened and you gotta not get killed this time. How many times do I have to wait for you? We’ve kept your return as quiet as possible, so don’t screw it up. I know I’m being short but I’ve explained this so many countless times to you.” At that moment a joyous crowd of people began passing before them, oblivious to the hidden trio.

“We call them Laggers.” Edde continued. “They find their way out of the gates and figure out how to avoid pinching back. Then they form up gangs and intimidate the newly pinched and anyone else in their way. They’re almost always very young intellects, but not every one. Sometimes older ones get sick in the head and can’t break out of the behaviour.” The mob on the road chanted as the ones in the middle of the group supported an insane flagpole; ragged strips swayed and rotated on multiple masts as the pandemonium advanced, the revelers singing like parrots on bad acid.
“What are they carrying?” Dom raised his voice amid the cacophony and then inched forward to get a better view. Edde hesitated, then replied in a monotone, “It’s skin. They torture and flay people for fun and then attached the strips of meat to that wooden frame.” Dom lowered his gaze and stared at the parade of dirty feet. Edde grabbed his shoulder and squeezed hard. “Just leave it, it’s none of our business at this moment.”
Dom was sickened by the exuberance of the chant contrasted with the grisly display of torn flesh. “These people are evil! Why are they singing?” Dom began inching backwards in order to stand unseen. Edde spoke quietly into his ear. “It means nothing, Dom. Nothing. Like I said, life is cheap, it comes and it goes; it’s the intellect that’s important! Biological life by its very nature guarantees recurring and pointless pain. Listen, I was one of those people myself long ago. So were you! Ripping things apart! Joyfully! Ripping ourselves apart! Violence is not a sign of evil, it’s immaturity waving flags of ignorance. Evil is a false concept that doesn’t exist in reality. Evil is wishful thinking that life can be categorized, separated, uncomplicated and predictable with rules to be followed. Evil is something that other people practice, right? Wrong. None of us are evil and none of us are good. We’re something else. We’re intelligent.
“Well the hell with that, we should still kick their asses...!” His temper roiled intensely but he stayed hidden. Dom closed his eyes and crushed two handfuls of dirt with his powerful hands. “So as long as we’re stuck here then maybe you can answer me this?” He crawled closer to Edde. “First of all, I don’t know what you’re talking about when you say I have to control my impetuous urges. And secondly, there are billions of people on Earth, how can one room accommodate that rate of death? Thousands of people die every minute, how can your story be true? The place where I met you should be filled with people!”
Edde whispered in an undertone, “That’s one of the riddles that led us to believe that this environment is an illusion. We come here when our bodies die...and it seems to be a custom made experience. Each person sees different things when they arrive in the Garret. We always go through that part alone. You could technically stay there forever, I guess”
Dom interrupted, “Then how…”
“I was able to meet you there simply because I wanted to meet you there when you returned. This place will conform to your wishes if you request correctly. Time is loose here. I felt like I waited in the Garret for a few days but the reality is I sat there a lifetime waiting for you to return.”
Dom nodded and refocused his gaze to the road where some of the Laggers were lagging. A small group stopped near them as the main group of revelers continued on. It was a ragged crew; most of them were naked, which seemed to be the norm here. Some had articles of clothing; a strange melange of fashion from wildly disparate centuries. A few of them scattered to the edges of the flowers and began urinating using various appendages. The crowd was not exclusively Human. There were other beings taking part in the scrum. One of the short Humans drank from a container and then chucked it away, empty. He drew a well-worn Roman gladius from a scabbard strapped to his back and shouted, “Who’s got the hooch?”
“It would be wasted on you, you dirty little cooze!” One of the taller Humans whipped a wet slash of booze toward the swordsmans head, laughing.
“That’s the last time bitch!” The swordsman wiped his wet face with his arm, gripped his filthy gladius and made it sing, just barely missing all of those near him except for the tall laughing woman who abruptly stopped his blade with her forehead. She dropped to her knees trying to object, coughing “hukht..., hukht..., hukht...” over and over again. Her blood pulsed bright red as the swordsman kicked her in the ear to wrench his blade away from her brow; he then picked up the dead woman’s container and drank it also, chucking it into the flowers. It landed about a foot away from Dom’s head. He looked at Edde.
“I’ve seen enough.”
“Stop!” Edde reached but had no hope to restrain him. Dom lurched up and stalked into the road, ripping through the tall flowers. The remaining crowd retreated in alarm at his violent entrance as the bloody swordsman stood there oblivious, giggling to himself while pissing. Dom approached him from behind and tapped him on the shoulder. The drunk spun around.
Dom pinched the swordsman’s greasy nose between his forefinger and thumb and said in a mild voice, “Give me the sword and the scabbard.”
“Ass face!” The swordsman poked Dom away with the point of his blade as the remaining crowd gathered around. “I’ll be cutting you a new one, dickhead!”
In a brutally loud voice, Dom hollered, “It’s far more likely that it’ll be you singing the lament! Hand it over now!” The startled swordsman’s eyes opened wide. Hurriedly wiping the bloody gladius on his bare leg, he returned it to the scabbard and handed it over using both hands. “Sorry old man, I didn’t recognize you at first! Um... you remember me?” Dom smiled coldly, shook his head in the negative and began to don the harness while keeping a weather eye on the shifty dude. Ever practical even when wasted, the new ex-swordsman prudently gave up on any chance of reunion with Dom and quickly edged away and rejoined the remaining Laggers. Dom could hear him speaking in a distant excited voice.
“Hey you know who that was? That’s the Old Man you remember that guy? He’s the one that scratched all of those crazy Mellonites! We used to run together!” The crowd continued on the road away from Dom, doing their best to avoid drawing his attention. They chattered solemnly among themselves as they disappeared back towards the Gallery, a marked change from the exuberant mood that they had expressed only a few minutes earlier.
Edde and Taun joined Dom. There was an awkward moment of silence as the Laggers disappeared. All three looked at the stiffening body in the road. “Should we bury her?” Edde kicked the corpse lightly. It rocked like a giant naked eraser. “Nope. Once we leave here and no one is looking, she’ll vanish.”
“Ah, got it.” Dom waited for more. “Because it’s an illusion?”
Silence was his answer.
“OK… so let’s press on.” Dom’s expression invited debate but none was given so the strange trio returned to traveling in their original direction. Somehow the dynamic had changed and it seemed like it was Dom who was doing the leading now.

“Behaviour counts.” Dom made some small adjustments to his new scabbard belt. Dom was left handed so he slung the scabbard on his right hip. Edde replied, “What was that?”
“All of those things that you said about life being cheap and only the intellect is real. That’s fine, but behaviour matters. We live in the here and now and that’s where behaviour counts. That’s all I have to say about it.”
“I won’t say a word. But now that everyone knows you’re here all the crazies are going to come out. We should move in a straight line from now on.”

The Funhouse

“It’s called the golden hour.”

Dom had reached the crest of the biggest grassy hill he had seen yet and the three of them took a break to enjoy the view. A warm, slightly orange and shadowless light filled the air, invoking that wonderful feeling of relaxation just before a notable sunset. Giant mirrored domes were peppered every 50 meters or so, hundreds of them, their reflective nature making them hard to see against the dark green grassy meadow of the valley below. The spaces between the domes were heavily crowded with beings of all types.
Edde continued, “Except that here it’s always the golden hour because the light never changes. This valley is called the Funhouse. It’s geographically in the middle of all twenty-eight doors so you’ll find all sorts of people here. This is where the normal folks hang out, Lagger crazies have no presence here.
“Why do they call it the Funhouse?”
“Because it’s fun.” Edde was still a little pissed after the Lagger incident.
“Hah, I bet.” Dom was in a great mood. “You mentioned twenty-eight doors, I thought it was twenty-nine?”
Edde sighed. “There are twenty-eight doors that each pinch to a different world. The twenty-ninth door is something different and apart from the rest. There’s reasons that no one has ever gone through the twenty-ninth door. And of course, everyone knows that you want to be the first person to do it.”
“Great! Let’s go down and check it out.” Dom quick walked down the grassy hill towards the nearest dome. Edde and Taun followed, resigned to whatever might happen this time, their tenth attempt to get Dom in front of the Awakened.
“Do you think it’ll work?” Edde was in a pensive mood and wanted some assurance. Taun chittered a very terse reply, which Edde left unanswered. Far in the distance below they could see Dom entering the welcoming crowd, with many recognizing him immediately and shaking his hand and pounding him on the back. He was soon absorbed into the mass of humanity and all of the other intelligent beings lingering in the Valley of the Funhouse.


HaugeTottesser was tired of waiting. Not just waiting for that old human to arrive, but just waiting for time to end. Millennia hung heavy on Hauge’s brow as she devoured yet another appetite suppressant. HaugeTottesser was a Mellonite, and her’s was an enthusiastically carnivorous race whose gate was located on the loneliest side of the House of 29 Doors, the territory leading to The Dreaded Teardrop. It was here, at the Mellonite Gate, that the entrance to the twenty-ninth door is guarded by her race. Mellonites were very touchy about territory, especially when it belonged to them.

Tim Raven
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:44 am

I've added some new stuff to the 29 Doors story here:


The password is still Harlan's birthday 052734.

This is probably the last incomplete post. The next one I post will be the finished 1st draft.


Tim Raven
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:46 pm

Back to the comfort zone for a few minutes...


Sometimes it’s good to change your shoes
without notice.
It makes the heart beat faster
and the mind skip slower
the feet move slower
and the fingers snap faster
the eyes blink faster
and the knees bend slower.

Sometimes it’s good to change your shoes
with notice.
Then it makes the pasta beat farther
and the mower mind skipping
the flower move seating
and the fasteners snap fingers
the easter blinks at flies
and the caster bends freer.

So much freer.
When you change your shoes.

Tim Raven

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Chuck Messer
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Location: Lakewood, Colorado

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Chuck Messer » Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:25 am

Here is just a snippet, a slice of life, a scene that played in my head years ago after watching The World at War once again. It's not part of anything bigger, at least not at this time.


The men were assembled in the Berlin square, their ashen, unshaven faces matching the gloom of the overcast sky. They stood there like shabby statues, the only sign of life being when they occasionally shifted on their feet. Manfred Roemer stood in the middle of them, wearing the same frayed overcoat and almost shapeless hat. He shifted from one foot to the other, shivering with the rest of the men, listening to Goebbels, the Toad Man. Goebbels was at the podium, barely able to see over the top, croaking his speech like a little tree frog.

He didn't seem to be forming words, just making shrill noises about the battle to come, and the ultimate triumph against the evil Bolshevik army that even now rumbled just outside the city limits. Roemer could hear the rumble, like distant thunder that just rolled on and on, slow and unstoppable.
He almost laughed when Goebbels mentioned about how he knew the terror and triumph of battle, as if the army would have ever taken that scrawny, misshapen little man. Poison Dwarf, indeed. And now, of course, he began ranting about Bolshevism and the Jews.

Roemer glanced around him, at the ruin that was once Berlin. It was amazing that anything could still be left alive, after all the fire and hate that spilled out of the bellies of British and American bombers. Roemer hated them, even though he knew they had every reason to be so angry.

Why was he here, among all these men with their stone faces? Not that he felt there was much choice. The Nazi party had made lynching legal and there were men and boys hanging from lamp posts here and there because they tried to refuse. Men were rounded up, whether they were fit or not, given a rifle or a Panzerfaust rocket launcher, and hastily trained, so they wouldn't shoot themselves in the foot. His asthma had kept him out of the army. Now he was in the 'militia', Der Volkssturm, holding a Mauser rifle that rested heavily against his shoulder. The sharp smell of gun grease mixed with the pungent body odor in the air. There hadn't been water for bathing since the bombers smashed the water mains a month ago.

He didn't want to fight for the Fatherland. The Deutschland that put Hitler in power, and made that poisonous toad, Goebbels, it's mouthpiece. He had kept quiet at first, as those that didn't disappeared. Hauptman, Von Arnault, etc. Names were all that remained of friends he knew he'd never see again. Finally fed up, he became part of a network that kept thousands of Jews hidden in Berlin, right under Der Fuhrer’s nose. The Jewish families were shuttled from one hiding place to another, in an elaborate shell game, with the Gestapo trying to guess which shell held the prize.

Whoops! Goebbels started to mention the extermination of the Jews, caught himself and moved on. He was getting carried away, apparently.

He didn't feel particularly brave, or heroic. He couldn't even remember any faces among the families he helped move around.

Goebbels finished his speech with the words; "Now people rise up and let the storm break loose!" The words fell lifelessly onto the crowd, into a mass grave of closed faces. There was a smattering of applause.

Goebbels seemed disappointed by the reception his speech got from the crowd. He dismissed them a flick of his hand. The men turned and moved toward the Brandenburg gate. Roemer moved with them, as the shuffling of their worn shoes made an endless scraping sound on the pavement. He kept his eyes on the back of the man's neck ahead of him. He knew why he would be fighting. The German army had slaughtered their way across the steppes, and starved millions of Russians to death. Now, the Russians were fighting their way into Berlin.

They would not be in a forgiving mood.

The men moved through the Brandenburg gate like a dust cloud. Manfred trudged eastward with the others, keeping his thoughts to himself, as usual.
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.

Tim Raven
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:45 pm

Chuck, that was an interesting read, much different than your naturalistic poetry style. I liked it, you should elaborate on this story, Roemer is an interesting character. Try some dialogue, I found that to be the hardest to generate. Writing is cool, it's like tiny little endless experiments - let's change THIS word and see how it sounds. Nope. How about this word? At least that's how I do it. I'm obsessive I guess.

What do you think you would call this piece? I'd love to read the final manuscript!


Tim Raven
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:42 pm

Hmmm, perhaps the last one...


I realized something today
for the first time
life is cheaper than bread
but much more expensive to make.

And there is nothing more to add to that simple truth.

Tim Raven
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:46 pm

I added a bunch of new stuff to the House of 29 Doors story here:


Getting close to finishing, I can see the tunnel light! Do you think the sex is too much at the end? I kinda like it.


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Chuck Messer
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Location: Lakewood, Colorado

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Chuck Messer » Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:41 am

I suppose the above snippet was a bit of an experiment, with only one bit of dialogue -- the quote from Goebbels' speech. I'm not sure what I'll do with that bit just yet. The title that popped to mind was Götterdämmerung.

Of all the threads in this place, this is the one I'll miss the most.

Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.

Tim Raven
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Tim Raven » Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:49 am

Yup, me too, Chuck. Got a few days left...


Douglas Harrison
Posts: 1036
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:26 am

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Douglas Harrison » Sat Dec 27, 2014 5:06 pm

I became a fan of Harlan Ellison's work (and of the author, natch) in my late teens, when a close friend of mine gave me a copy of the utterly inimitable Deathbird Stories. The experience was revelatory: I had no idea that literature could be so exciting, profound, adventurous and relatable all at the same time. I was full of unchannelled passions--ambition, love, resentment, lust, compassion, cold fury--and I wanted to see the wider world and to be so much more than I was. Harlan was the sage guide who had explored the myriad woodland trails in the giant forest before me.

In this life I have not made half the difficult choices I should have, or worked at what would have made me happy, but I have come to understand reality in a richer way than I would have if I hadn't encountered Harlan's words, and more importantly I've come to have a better sense of my place within it. Ellison's stories and essays are touchstones for me, and I find I come back to them more than those of any other writer. I am a child of the twentieth century, and Harlan Ellison, the same age as my parents, is the twentieth-century writer who taught me the most.


Douglas Harrison
Posts: 1036
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:26 am

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Douglas Harrison » Sat Dec 27, 2014 6:08 pm

When I began posting here in 2003, I thought that I had found an outlet for the many thoughts I didn't have an opportunity to share in day-to-day life. I worked in a retail store, and most of the conversation I had was with customers or my fellow employees, and it never was never exploratory or complex or particularly witty. I wanted to talk about the artistic, the abstract, the philosophical, the scientific, the unusual, the fantastic, and on and on. But I'd come home a bit tired and unsocial, turn on my computer, and surf the Web or play games. I wouldn't make the sincere effort to establish a voice and a presence on this site.

When I did post, I worried about what I wrote--the grammar, the syntax, the tone, the level of formality, the content--and my OCD did not help matters. In the end I kept most of what I had to say to myself. Every so often I'd make a more substantive effort to get to know the other posters here, like when I travelled to Dragon*Con in 2004 and to DC in 2008, but I never did the work to stay in touch with those I met. I wanted friends here, but, as ever, I lacked commitment.

Relationships require us to give of ourselves when we would rather sit in front of screen, read a book, drink a few beers, or just get lost. We need to reach out to, check in with, and help those whose community we wish to be a part of. We need to care. I need to care.


Douglas Harrison
Posts: 1036
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:26 am

Re: Spill yer guts.

Postby Douglas Harrison » Sat Dec 27, 2014 6:54 pm

It occurs to me that this is supposed to be a poetry thread and the above two posts should more properly be placed in my "Webderlanders" thread. I did, however, try to spill my guts. And I know this forum gets more traffic than the others, and I did want to address everyone.

Steve B., I'd say it's okay to move the posts, but that makes me sound ungrateful for the effort that would require, so I'll just say I'm sorry.

That being said, here's something to keep Tim happy:

the adversary
comes unnannounced
drinks your water
steals your towel
your mouthguard

there are rules
but only for you

the adversary's behind you
turning with you
it's tied up your legs
and your arms
with your legs
and your arms
and you look for help
but see only
the mat


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