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Status Report

Audience! I have some news, but first, an apology (to go along with the news).

First off, I want to apologize for a lack of a post/tidbit yesterday –  the reason being is the big news: I’m moving!

Now, I know this isn’t a very grand occasion, but it is an important part of my life, and therefore takes up a lot of time. The simple fact of the matter is that, in my rush here and there yesterday, I forgot to add a post on this website. For that, I am sorry, but I am also going to warn you: this occurance may happen again in the near future (since I move into the new house this weekend). So, if the day may lack its daily post, now you know why.

But some other minor matters is that the summer is almost here! June is just around the corner, and with it comes a whole slew of unleashed individuals to create mayhem and chaos. But, lucky me, it is also a time of work, and so my main priority will just be to watch over the screaming masses at the death-trap we call a public pool. How wonderful.

But, there will still be time for fun and games in the summer for all (or at least there should be).

So, here’s to having a fun summer.

 

The author.

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Tidbit #1: Black As Night

So, as my tidbits normally go, they are often inspired by something (normally a song or a scene from a movie), and I write the tidbit based on that inspiration. This first tidbit (as you saw) is titled Black As Night, and was inspired by the song, “Your Heart Is As Black As Night,” by Melody Gardot. The tidbit takes place roughly in the 1930s in a bar in America, soon after Prohibition had ended.

 

 

The Green Bar was pleasantly vacant in the later hours of the night, or the earlier hours of the morning. The only people present were Danny, my bartender, a new intern being trained by Danny, Philip, my escort, and the small band playing soft jazz in the background. But they told me she would be here, and I would wait all night if I had to. I quickly pulled out the small picture I had of her to, for the fourteenth time, engrain her image into my mind. The photo depicted a young woman, maybe late twenties or early thirties, in a tight black dress with cold, dark eyes and long flowing black hair. Deftly sitting in one of the seats at this bar, the woman’s dress sported off smooth, but deceptively powerful legs crossed underneath it, and no one would suspect that the hand that held a pink martini could just as easily hold a Beretta Model 1934. Make no mistake; she was beautiful, as beautiful as a black panther, and just as deadly. Trust me, I knew.

It was a while ago, one of my first assignments, when I was tasked of protecting a certain someone. As I was going up to his hotel room, I had the nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. That something was my client lying face-down in his bedroom with three shots in his chest. And there she was, half of her body already out the widow. I was halfway towards grabbing my gun when she turned and looked at me, her dark eyes and almost toying smile drilling itself into my memory. She blew a kiss, and then was gone. When I got to the window, the rope was swinging lifelessly, and there wasn’t a soul on the street on that late night.

I silently placed the picture back in my breast pocket, my hand making sure that the safety was off the Colt 1911 safely tucked away under my jacket, strapped to my side. I straightened my black tie, my matching jacket and pants contrasting my white shirt. If looks could kill, I silently mused to myself with a chuckle. The weathered door of the bar creaked open, and as I looked over my shoulder, I saw a burly man walk through the door. I shook my head, not recognizing the figure, and attributing the man to just another wanderer looking for a decent drink (and in all honesty the Green wasn’t a bad place to find one). I pulled out a Longfellow cigarette, opening my Zippo lighter to light the thing that was most likely going to kill me later on.

“You know you shouldn’t be doing that,” Danny commented with a small grin as he wiped off a glass. I chuckled and replied, “In my line of work, this is the least likely thing to kill me.” Danny chuckled and said, “You don’t need to tell me.”

I nodded as I took another drag from the cigarette, eventually saying, “You know, you’re really bad company.”

The door creaked open again as Danny said, “Well lucky you, looks like you might find some better company.”

I casually looked over my shoulder, and nearly dropped my cigarette. Approaching the bar was the woman: same black dress, same flowing hair, and same piercing eyes. I put out my cigarette in the ashtray as the woman took a seat beside me, her eyes drilling into me as she said, “Looking for someone?”

“I think I found them,” came my quick reply, a small smile darting across my face. The woman gave a similar smirk as she said, “Oh really? And what might this stranger want?”

I gave another smile as I said to Danny, “Some Marshfield on the rocks, and a pink martini for the lady.”

The woman looked at the intern and said, “Make his drink for him right, and I’ll tip you extra.” The young man nodded, and started to work on my drink as Danny worked on hers. I looked at the woman as both of the bartender’s backs were toward us, saying smoothly, “What might I call the goddess before me?”

The woman gave a sly smirk as she said, “Jasmine… and what about you, smooth talker?”

I chuckled as the intern set my drink in front of me, saying, “David’s fine.” I took my drink and put it to my lips, faking to take a drink as Jasmine did the same. I could already tell we knew each other’s games – I suspected that the intern slipped some cyanide into my drink just as I knew Danny slipped some into hers. Looks like we both knew men behind the counter.

I set my drink down and wiped my lips with a napkin, asking, “It’s a late night – why are you out and about?”

“I was looking for a bit of trouble,” said Jasmine seductively, doing the same with her drink.

I smiled and said, “Trouble can be dangerous.”

Seulement pour les faibles,” said Jasmine with the same sly smile. I chuckled. Only for the weak. I gave a small nod and asked, “So she speaks… but can she dance?” Jasmine smiled and stood up, leaving a tip for the intern as she said, “Only one way to find out.”

I got up with her and silently took her hand as we headed out to the scuffed up wood floor. The band was playing a personal favorite of mine, a cool, slow song about a heart as black as night. I smiled as I pressed Jasmine against me, her form keeping pace with mine in the slow dance. My hand slid down her back and onto her thigh as she asked, “Satisfied?” her dark eyes a few inches from mine. Her dress, split along the side (and quite revealing of a woman in this age), allowed her bare leg to glide under my hand as I pulled the small knife strapped to her thigh. “Partially,” I muttered, still looking at her as I tossed the blade into a nearby booth.

Jasmine dipped, her hand slipping into my jacket and heading toward my pistol. I quickly pulled her up and spun her around, slightly twisting her hand to drop the weapon on the floor. Jasmine kicked the weapon across the floor, the pistol sliding to the far side of the room. Danny and my escort looked at me, worried, Philip reaching for his weapon. I slightly shook my head as Jasmine said, “You play a dangerous game, chérie.”

Seulement pour les faibles,” I muttered back as we swayed to the music.

I heard the soft sound of a knife being pulled from its sheath as the music picked up. I spun Jasmine around, my left hand grabbing hers as my right held her right, the knife to her own throat, her back pressed against my chest. Our backs were to the bar and our escorts, and I muttered, “It would be a shame to end the dance now.”

Jasmine gave a small, slightly pained smile as she tossed the knife away with a flick of her wrist. The knife imbedded itself into one of the wooden posts as Jasmine whispered, “I was thinking the same.”

After a few more slow moments, all of our weapons apparently discarded, Jasmine gave a small sign and asked, “David… what’s your reason for being out here?”

I looked at Jasmine, and after a long moment and another spin replied, “If I tell you the truth will you do the same?”

Jasmine gave a smirk, her dark eyes absorbing the light as she said in a hushed voice as her form pressed against mine, “Only one way to find out.”

I let my eyes gesture to my breast pocket, and as my back was facing the men in the far side of the room (my escort and what I presumed to be hers), she silently tugged at the photo until it caught the light. She looked up at me, her eyes taking a different light as she said softly, “I guess we’re both here to find some trouble.” I nodded silently and spun her around so that her back was pressed into my chest again as I said, “I guess so.” Jasmine lifted her head, her lips nearly pressed into my neck, and I caught the slightest glimpse of a photo of yours truly tucked away in the front of her dress.

“Peeping Tom,” said Jasmine with a smirk into my neck. I gave a small chuckle as I said, “Pardon me, M’lady.” Jasmine smiled, but as the song ended asked, “Where to we go from here?” I paused for a second as we swayed to the music, my right arm around Jasmine’s waist, my left holding her hand by her side. I said in a bare whisper into her ear, “You remember when I first saw you?”

Jasmine smirked, her fingers intertwining with mine as she replied, “Would it surprise you if I said I did?” A new song, this one a little faster about a place beyond the sea started, and I changed my movement to lead Jasmine in the rhythm of the song.

“Why didn’t you take the shot?” I asked, my voice a bare whisper above the music.

“I could ask you the same thing,” replied Jasmine.

I shook my head, asking after a long pause, “Do you believe in fate?”

Jasmine laughed and replied, “I’m Catholic – I’m not supposed to believe in fate.”

“Then tell me this – do you think God would destine someone to love an enemy?”

Jasmine shrugged and said, “I wouldn’t know… I’m probably the furthest from God you can get.” She looked at me out of the corner of her eye and inquired, “Why do you ask?”

I looked down at her and asked, “Why do you do it?”

Jasmine looked up at me, her dark eyes catching mine, and she replied, “Do what?”

“Kill – why do you choose to keep on doing it? I know you have a bank account of nearly a million dollars – you could live on the interest alone.”

Jasmine gave a small shrug and said, “There are always going to be people to kill, and if I won’t do it, someone else will, and I might soon find myself on the other end of the barrel.”

“You already are,” I dangerously whispered, slightly gesturing to the men behind us.

“Then why don’t you call the shot?” whispered Jasmine back, masking her voice with the music.

“Because we’re both looking down the barrel,” I replied in a hushed voice. “They sent you, so that obviously means that someone is gunning for me.”

One of Jasmine’s eyebrows lifted into a small arch and she countered, “Touché, chérie… So what are you going to do next?”

I sighed and said, “I don’t know… But I was planning on a vacation.”

Jasmine gave a small nod as she asked, “Where to?”

I shrugged as I spun her around, saying, “I have a private place near Marseilles… hear it’s pretty nice this time around.”

Jasmine smiled and said, “Sounds lovely…” she looked up at me and asked, “But a little lonely though… would there be room for two?”

I paused for a moment, asking, “What are you proposing?”

Jasmine gave an almost evil smile, her eyes glittering, as she said, “It’s easy to take on a lone wolf, but when they hunt in pairs… the hunter is a little less inclined to follow them.”

I looked down at her and said, “It might be a very long vacation… after all, my company doesn’t like loose ends.”

“And who said mine did?” asked Jasmine almost temptingly.

I stared at Jasmine for a few moments, our song almost over as I said with a sigh, “It’s a shame… I think we could have had something in another life.”

“Who said we’d have to wait for another life?” asked Jasmine as our song ended. She stood ever so close, tantalizingly close, as she said in a whisper, “Make your choice – I’ve made mine. I want to get out of here alive.”

My eyes flicked toward my gun on the floor, a few feet away, and I said, “Marseilles, three weeks, Le Vieux Port?”

Jasmine smiled and said, “Three weeks,” as she bolted to the bar. Her handbag was still on her chair, and I dove for my Colt as she went for her Beretta. Philip pulled out his own Colt just as I reached mine, and Jasmine’s escort aimed a Lugar at Philip. As I swung around, Colt in hand, finger on the trigger, I had a moment to decide what I was going to do: Danny, holding a trench gun, was aiming at Jasmine, and Jasmine aiming at Philip. I gave an inward curse as I pulled the trigger. There was a flash in the bar as four different guns went off and the band scattered. Danny went down, the poor bastard taking it from my gun, his blast missing Jasmine, putting pellets into the wall. Jasmine’s escort took down Philip, his head arcing back before he could pull the trigger, and Jasmine finished off her escort with her Beretta.

Jasmine looked back at me, a glitter in her eyes, and she blew a kiss, saying, “Meet you at Le Vieux Port… Don’t be late.” With that, she quickly put her firearm in her purse and almost calmly walked out the door, casting one look back at me before slipping into the night.

I shook my head and caught my breath, my weapon still armed and ready to fire. I looked around the bar, at the new color on the walls, and sighed. I pulled out my wallet and left a $20 on the bar. It would at least do something for the mess. With another shake of my head, I went out the back entrance into the night, wondering to myself What the hell have I gotten myself into?

 

 

I hoped you enjoyed this first original tidbit, and expect more to come.

So, here’s to getting into trouble.

 

The author.

Sherlock Holmes

Many of us have already acquainted ourselves with the mysterious, and I quote, “high functioning sociopath,” that is Sherlock Holmes, whether it be the BBC television series (from where the above quote derives), or the original works written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. For those who haven’t, allow me to (slightly) brief you on what you missed. Sherlock Holmes is one of the most ingenious characters ever created, and is one of the most iconic detectives to date. His levels of deduction and intelligence are so abnormally high, they almost border the supernatural, and yet every time he explains himself, it makes perfect sense, and leaves everyone else looking like a fool.

Now, Sherlock is by no means perfect, and has often run into drug problems, and in his BBC television series, has the nasty habit of smoking and shooting the wall of his flat when he is bored. He is, even in his books, a little rough around the edges, but even more so in the television series (where Benedict Cumberbatch truly encompasses the “high functioning sociopath” nature of Holmes). Holmes, very much alone when it comes to relationships, only has Dr. John Watson has his one friend. Together, they have solved many crimes, some of which were considered impossible by Scotland Yard, but only “elementary” to Sherlock himself.

Though few of us possess any ability near Sherlock’s deducting skill, we still feel like we can connect to the human side of the crime-fighting machine. Though he may hide it, Sherlock does have emotions, often intense ones (though they mostly manifest themselves in either electric joy or disdain, depending on the day). He feels loyalty, intense loyalty to the chosen few that he does care about, and he hates those who would threaten, or harm, those he loves.

Here is the best summary of Sherlock Holmes: everything is heightened. His emotions, his bad habits, and, of course, he crime-solving skills. But, it anything, that aspect makes his character more iconic! Yes, maybe more mentally unstable, but iconic none the less!

So, here’s to iconic high functioning sociopaths.

 

The author.

Strategy Games

Admittedly, I’m trash at such games. I might talk a big game, but when it comes time to show, I’m mainly playing defensively after a disastrous initial attack. Chess, Battleship, Monopoly, any Star Wars game ever created – I’m not very strong in any of them. I have my wins occasionally, but it is mostly due to slip-ups my opponent made, and not skill on my own part.

But I can’t stop playing them! Something about the, well, strategy behind them, intrigues me! The planning, a (rare) successful execution, it all gives me a thrill like skydiving might give someone else. One of my current favorites is a game called Star Wars: Armada, a game completely about the space battles taking place in our favorite galaxy far, far away. The customizable ships, the various special squadrons, and the knowledge that no battle will be the same brings an opportunity for (personal) fun like none other. However, my (frustratingly younger) brother seems often at times to have the advantage, and can easily destroy some of my most heavily armored ships.

And yet, I still continue to play. I think something might be wrong with me at this point – for Sherlock Holmes, he gets his joy from solving crimes and some less-than-legal substances; for Indiana Jones, it’s hunting for long-lost artifacts (which belong in a museum!); for me, one of my many joys is playing strategy games… Unfortunately, I, unlike Sherlock or Indy, am not good at what I enjoy. Oh well – practice makes perfect, or so they say.

So, here’s to our joys.

 

The author.

Minecraft

What an interesting, and sometimes underwhelming, game! I mean, you would think that humanity would be past the point of being entertained by a world of blocks and harsh pixels. But the Minecraft game has gone far beyond the expectations most had of it, and has a widely dedicated fan-base, myself included. But what makes it so intriguing, so playable? Why is it fun?

Quite honestly, I haven’t the slightest idea, at least, why other people think it’s fun, but these are my reasons.

1: Its creativity.

In Minecraft, there is a high chance that what can be imagined can be built. A city of gold? Piece of cake! A B17 that can drop live pieces of TNT? Not a problem. A gun-slinger bar for the cowboys of the Wild West? Certainly! Almost anything can be created in the world of blocks (except a perfect circle). This limitlessness, this world of endless possibilities fascinates me, and it allows me to be my own limitation – in a world where the sky is the limit, the only thing keeping me on the ground is my own two legs.

2: Its content.

Now, the creativity part is a vast majority of what the content holds, but what is actually in the game? Sticks, stones, swords, guns? What can be built, and what materials can you build it from? In the normal version of the game, many of the materials you see in the world today are included in the world of Minecraft (and then some extra). There is the obvious building materials, such as wood, and dirt, and sand and so on, but then there are other materials to build more exotic items, such as iron to build armor, flint and feathers for arrows, and even diamonds for a powerful sword. Add some choice mods, and extra materials, and crafting recipes, are at your disposal to build whatever comes to mind.

3: Its story.

For a game that is mostly about exploring the (quite literally) endless world, and building incredible works of art, or destruction, Minecraft does have a unique story. It does have a definite end. And it does wrestle with some of the questions many of us ask ourselves today, such as who, or what, made us? What is our purpose? Why do we have this drive within us to create ourselves? In order not to spoil the ending, I’ll simply say that the ending of Minecraft, albeit in a confusing way, tries to address these problems.

4: Its graphics.

Alright, I know what all of you are saying right now: “But your exact words were, ‘you would think that humanity would be past the point of being entertained by a world of blocks and harsh pixels!'” And yes, of course I said that, but the simple fact is that we’re not, and I’m included as one of those individuals. I think that the simplicity of the graphics, the bright, and sometimes, dark colors just add to the charm of the game. Call me old fashioned, but this is one case where I think simple is better.

So what makes Minecraft so fun? If I have to explain it at this point, I’m starting to think that I might not be the best at explaining things (which might be perfectly true). But, to sum it all up, the graphics, the story, the simple creativity of it all makes it one of the most fulfilling an entertaining I know to date.

So, here’s to building wonders.

 

The authors.

Field Day

Many schools have a “field day” at the end of the year, where the students, normally being cooped up in class, are released to participate in outdoorsy activities such as volleyball, softball, and basically anything involving a ball. I remember my school certainly had one, and though other people looked forward to Field Day, and enjoyed it when it did come, I often regarded the day with dread.

But why should I? After all, I was fairly in shape, and wouldn’t completely embarrass myself in an organized sport – that much was true, yes, but the simple fact of the matter is that I didn’t want to participate. Sports were never my thing, not that I couldn’t do them; I just never wanted to. The closest I’ve ever willing participated in an extra-curricular, after school sport was chess tournaments held about once every two months. I just never saw the point in sports. Two people, or teams, would chase something, whether it be a ball or a puck, and try to get a point by either carrying that something to an imaginary line or putting that something into something else, like a basketball net or a soccer net – I just don’t get the point.

“Intellectual,” I can hear you muttering under your breaths, or hiding with a well placed cough. Yes? And your point being?

But my physical prowess, or lack thereof, is not what makes me dread Field Day – is the fact that that is all Field Day is! Now, I remember that my school, if it was rainy out, would have a room dedicated to only board games, and that was delightful: it was almost like Christmas morning! Seriously: a room where chess, Monopoly, and a Jenga set the size of a door frame were all tucked away in. It was boring-intellectual heaven. It was so good, in fact, that I hardly remember a thing about it.

But Field Day is, in all seriousness, a welcome relief to the monotony and stress of school-life. It provides an opportunity for staff and student alike to get a rest, recuperate, and have some fun just before being thrown into the eternal torture that is final exams. Oh, you clever headmasters.

So, here’s to surviving final exams.

 

The author.

An Introduction

I was always told that the best way to start an introduction is with a firm handshake… well this is going to go well, isn’t it? I was then told to look whoever I was talking to in the eyes and say, “Pleased to meet you.” Do believe me, I am pleased to meet all of you, but I’m having a hard time distinguishing your faces… I was finally told that the most effective way to end an introduction is to begin a conversation. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere, since, besides, what is a blog besides one drawn-out conversation between the author and the Internet?

Now, being that this blog is titled, “An Introduction,” I think it’s only best that the first conversation is about introductions. As many of you know, introductions often hold a greeting, and a sharing of names, and then possibly a discussion of hobbies, or where you are employed, or whether or not the soda is a little flat. But the main difficulty in introductions are the names, especially on the Internet where privacy is so dearly clung to and often regarded as an illusion. So, in order to keep things simple and as private as they can get, I am the author, and you the audience: a pleasure to meet you.

Now that that’s out of the way, we can drill down to “the good stuff,” the parts to where we actually get to know those we are talking to. But seeing is believing, and showing is much better than telling (especially in writing). So instead of telling you (the audience) what my “good stuff” is, I’ll simply show you. How? Through these posts and occasional tidbits, of course. Some are bound to be long, while others I can predict will probably not reach over a paragraph, but, like any piece of a chocolate chip pancake, these posts and tidbits will contain a bit of “the good stuff.” All you have to do is find it.

So, here’s to happy hunting.

Good luck, and good night.

 

The author.