Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Zeus decides to host a Family Game Night.

[WP] In an attempt to ease tensions, Zeus decides to host a Family Game Night.WRITING PROMPT
submitted by Drunk_Bard

Edit: Thank you to /u/Romulus919 and /u/pm-me-your-ipseity for the encouragement and /u/ZoZferatu for the excellent feedback and /u/alwaysafairycat and /u/DandyStevie for helping with the solution. Here goes…  


In the middle of a SEMI CIRCLE OF ORNAMENTAL PILLARS, ZEUS and HERA are seated at a BEAT UP OLD CARD TABLE and they have a BOX OF SCRABBLE THAT HAS SEEN BETTER DAYS open in front of them. HERA is reading the INSTRUCTIONS FOR PLAY and ZEUS is fiddling with the WOODEN TILES. On the table are FOUR PLACE CARDS and written upon them are the names ZEUS, HERA, APHRODITE, HERMES.


So you’re supposed to make words?


That’s what it says here.


What about lightning? Can we make words with lightning?

The sky DARKENS.


It’s against the rules.


I am the rules!

LIGHTNING flashes across the sky.


Stop it dear, this is supposed to be a nice family evening, like we planned, m’kay?

ZEUS [mutters]



What was that dear? Your brother’s business is underwater and your sister is trying to get your niece out of a bad marriage. Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, and Hephaestus had already made plans, you can’t expect your grown children to just drop everything and come have a visit on a whim can you?


What about Dionysus? Is it too much to lift your head and yell now and then?


Just be glad Aphrodite and Hermes could make it.


Athena gives me a headache anyway, always nattering about her rights. What about duty? Tradition? You never hear about that now, do you?

HERA [under her breath]

Shut up you old blowhard, she’s not my kid, and whose fault is that Zeus?


What was that?


Settle down dear, I think I hear the children.

APHRODITE AND HERMES greet HERA. ZEUS stands up and hugs his children warmly.



Hey, dad, got a message for you, Dionysus says he’s sorry he can’t make it but, well, he’s drunk you see, it’s his job but it’s wearing him down, he’s gone off for a bit of a holiday to sit in a cave with a bunch of odd fellows who don’t believe in him. Says it clears his sinuses.

APHRODITE (gives ZEUS a peck on the cheek)

Hi, Dad

ZEUS (hugs APHRODITE and returns the peck on the cheek)

That boy is spending too much time down there, today he’s got sinuses, what next? A liver? Tell him he better come visit soon or I’ll string him up beside that other fraternizer, Prometheus.


Dad! You wouldn’t!


I would but I won’t! He doesn’t have to know that though does he?


Ah Dad, still quick!


Not as quick as you son!

ZEUS and HERMES engage in rough housing, hair tousling and mock wrestling.


How are you dear?


Still single, as usual. But you know what happens to fraternizers.


Your Dad sure does.



HERA (affectionately bats at APHRODITE)

Shut up you're not my kid. AND WHOSE FAULT IS THAT ZEUS? I know I know, have a seat and let’s start without THEM, I don’t think your dad is suited for this sort of game, no dice in it.


I thought Dad stopped gambling


He did, oh done with all of that. Still takes that other board out now and then, picks up the pieces, rolls the dice in his hands, doesn’t throw them, I’d know. Not to worry dear.


That’s a relief, after the last time—


Shh! Here they come.


Talking about us again?

HERA (huffs)

‘Course not, girlie things, right dear?

APHRODITE (demurely)

Yes Hera.


Call her mom. I see you’ve set up the board.


I told her not to, don’t give me that look! Now, as the youngest, Aphrodite will go first and then we’ll go around, take 7 tiles from the bag dear.

APHRODITE takes SEVEN TILES from the BAG OF TILES and passes the bag to HERA who then passes the bag to HERMES who reaches in and pauses, his hand in the bag.


Ah, we have a problem. I know what’s on the tiles. Not only that, I know the order they will be drawn and the words everyone will play in this game. They’re a kind of message you see?

APHRODITE (angrily)

I don’t believe this.


I’ll draw your tiles.


Won’t work dad, still a message, sorry. We can still play, mom’s going to win.


Why spoil the surprise?


You always have to be a snitch, don’t you? Like when we were kids and you’d tell me what my birthday presents were going to be. 100 years in advance! Ooh, I should have smacked you the first time!


Manners, dear!


Oh yeah, take his side, it’s not enough he’s his favourite!


Settle down daughter!


You’ve always hated me right from the start! Do I remind you of her so much!


Leave Dione out of this!


I will not have that womans name spoken in this house!



Sorry sis, I thought that was all behind us.

APHRODITE (throws a tiny furled scroll at HERMES which unfurls when it strikes him in the chest)

With this?

HERMES (picks up the tiny unfurled scroll)

This is…

APHRODITE (TEARS begin to roll down her cheeks)

The list you gave me of my boyfriends! All of them! When I was only 75 years old! I was just a young deity, didn’t know how I wanted to do what I had to do, and you had to give away the ending. All of them!


Hey! I didn’t write their letters! The poems were all their own doing! I didn’t interfere at all!


Why include all the breakup letters too then? Why?

HERA picks up the other end of the scroll and starts reading, she unfurls more and more, it seems endless. ZEUS is sitting with a face like a stone. HERA stands up and walks to APHRODITE who is crying inconsolably in her chair, ashamed to be seen. HERA hugs her step daughter and APHRODITE struggles to free herself but HERA does not let go. APHRODITE relents and accepts her stepmother’s sincere embrace. HERA makes eye contact with ZEUS and indicates HERMES sitting there meekly and then the distant foggy peak of Mount Olympus. ZEUS stands up and tilts his head at HERMES who stands up quietly and is led away by ZEUS.

APHRODITE (between sobs)

I’m sorry [sob] those mean things I said about you weren’t true [sob] he just makes me so mad.


I know dear.

APHRODITE (rocking gently in Hera’s arms)

I want my mom.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Some people are plants.

When I found a place in the world I was happy. I stopped searching and took root. I planted myself.

Here I stand.

Others cannot resist the allure of distant pastures.

Harvey Keitel's character in "Up in Smoke" said that if you stay in one place long enough, the whole world passes by.

In a recent article, someone wrote that the future of media channels is one were everyone is the center of their own channel.

A recent news article reported that the "top 5 per cent of writers earned close to half of all the income received by professional authors."

A commenter noted that the barrier to entry for calling yourself a writer has fallen considerably since the pencil was invented.

The slush pile grows, the market is oversaturated, publications resort to dirty tricks to game the system.

None of this bothers me in the slightest.

Rabbi Tarphon was right, we are not free to see the work complete, nor are we free to desist from it.

Nevertheless, it is something we want done.

We have a mission.

I don't post here much because I was denied publication because I had posted my story here.

I'm still writing. I am, if anything, relentless, patient, unstoppable.

It's not me that presses on. I am pressed on. Keep writing and you'll know what I mean someday if you don't already.

Friday, March 28, 2014


It's a familiar scene: crowded onto public transportation, headphone-wearing young people are jostled aside by others who simply want to get on or off the bus/tram/morning circus. Young people also crowd the entrances, they do not move back, they are not the problem, however, why they do what they do and what it means, that is the problem.

my claim is this: Young people seek validation of their existence, as do we all? What is often lacking is a good outlet, a responsible channel,a functional means of self-validation, I believe and argue that what young people cannot have appropriately, they will appropriate inappropriately or dysfunctionally. They are, if nothing else, us, only without our means, they remain us. Do they? headphones allow youth to close off command channels to themselves they could never close off before the portable stereo Walkman. Monophonic portable radios did not spark the revolution in personal audio consumption, that had to wait for the Sony Walkman.

How liberating it must have been at first, music was free for the first time to follow us through our daily lives, it was unleashed from the basements of our personal sound dungeons and let loose on the city streets, the soundtrack of our lives. Movies set the pace and the tone, everyone had to have their theme music and backup band. If you wanted to feel a feeling, you only had to pop in a cassette.

I want to enumerate the phenomenology of headphones:

When you wear a headphone, by sight, your signals is that: 1. you will not be disturbed. 2. You may be disturbed. 3. You are closed to interaction with those people in your immediate environment. 4. Those in your inner circle and far removed from you physically can break through thanks to the marriage of portable mobile telephony and personal digital audio technology. Ah-hah says the young person, I listen to music perhaps because it's really important to me. while that is almost certainly true. We form our characters by a variety of processes, not least of which is our choice of audio consumption, it that the only reason? Does it fully explain why you listen on the tram while reading something else? Only 1 in 40 people is a true multi-tasker, What researchers call 'super-taskers' whose performance in several tasks at once, through rapid cycling is no worse than in any one singular task. Notice, the act of asking whether your beloved audio consumption isn't just wallpaper at least of the time, produces cognitive dissonance, where your words emanating from your left hemisphere language centre, say one thing but your body language emanating from many parts of your brain and spatially informed by (citation needed) your right hemisphere say something else.
It is useful to presuppose or notice or imagine that when you are interacting with another, there are two of you, at least, interacting with at least two of them. Back to headphones.
the benefits of being able to close off, by choice, your hearing means you need not attend to what others say on the tram.
  1. inevitably, your existence will be dysfunctionally validated because someone will have to acknowledge your existence by bumping you or tapping or shoulder or speaking rather loudly. In other words, the normal command channels having been mitigated or even eliminated, the physical command channels remain and in this touch averse society, Where young people not young enough to be cute or old enough to be useful workers sense on some intuitive level that the general regard for them is somewhere approaching useless for the majority of those who are not immediate family.

  2. So who's crazy now? Used to be that if someone was talking to themselves, you crossed the street because they were crazy, now, with bluetooth, hands free mobile telephony, many people exhibit lunatic behaviour that is now considered normal. how strange to hear someone on a tram wearing headphones and talking to someone who is not there via integrated microphones. How much stranger still that no one comments on the strangeness, sometimes there are dirty looks.
In summary, headphones offer control in a physically and visually crowded landscape. It is almost impossible to escape advertising without shutting our eyes. But we can shut off our ears by turning them on to audio we control. An ironic reversal, the one sensory modality we can't control well enough by conscious means, we control by technology, we can't push back our visual field, only shut our eyes, we cannot retreat inside our bodies but we can push the borders of our country of sound very far indeed.

Finally, status is conferred in public by who we ignore. Headphones confer maximum localised status that is at once instantaneous, totally personal and totally valueless in the wider scheme of society.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Helmeted in the face

A cavalcade of squeeze
Pushing for pressure's sake

The others
Too precious with themselves
To ever be unleashed
They overthink and underact

Unfettered, rise!
The day is done when we say so

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The P word is a 4 letter word

Macrobial stalks

The wet iguanaroid
Loves to rip it up
protean standards
it dines alone

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The great vacuum inside Dingleberry Axleworthy's head

Dingleberry was a little man. he would not hesitate to kick puppies if he caught them unattended. He should have kicked their owners, who let the puppies shit all over the place. That bitch with her filthy cigarette and ugly pets. Dingleberry wished he could flush them all down a giant toilet. After he'd shit on them of course. Her screams would echo off the porcelain as she vanished into the plumbing. Dingleberry felt the cockles of his heart flutter in fantasy-vengence.

Charlene was a chain-smoking, poodle walking bitch and her poodles shit over every horizontal surface but the plateau of her shovel faced head.

"Hey, Charlene,"

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Pencil Case of Holding

She always liked to imagine a pencil case, an ideal pencil case. It would be small enough to carry in her pocket, yet large enough to contain a drafting table, she could put anything she liked into it, in
any order, of any size, and it would always appear at the top when she  needed it. Used pencils would appear sharpened, old pens would be full of ink and ready to use. That old fountain pen she had ignored for 8 years would not only be mysteriously full but its nib would also be moist and ready for action. Even that lucky ballpoint she lost after her final exam in high school would be there. All in her pocket.

One night, she dreamt that her neighbour stole her pencil case, came into her flat in the middle of the day while she worked, found the pencil case, stole it. Why had she left it home that day? Of all days?

By the curious logic of dreams she understood she had to leave it or her neighbour couldn't have stolen it. She awoke with a sense of loss so upsetting she called work and took a sick day. Sat nursing her coffee in the heat of the late morning. Missing something she'd never had.

Later that day, she kicked a puppy and was cruel to her neighbour. Offended and upset, her neighbour went home and drank beer in front of the tube until he fell unconscious, dreaming of scribbling terrible graffiti on her front door.

He dreamt that in his pocket, he had a pencil case full of cans of spraypaint. He had no idea where he'd gotten it but somehow, he liked it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

87 Grasshopper Dreams