War of the Worlds, The Invasion continues. A sample of something I write a while back. Fun stuff with an odd bent to it.
In the year of our Lord
Eighteen Hundred and Ninety One
This August Thirty First
The Globe Theater
The Queen's Room
"To be or not to be...that is the question." My lead actor spoke upon our stage. I watched from the second level gallery, making sure his pitch and diction were strong and clear enough. He looked up at me and I gestured for him to continue, but my mind was elsewhere. So much has happened since I last put anything down in my journal.
I'm not sure where to begin.
When last I wrote I mentioned I had sent my favorite pigeon to bring a message to my friends in Paris. I needed to know if they were alright first, and then if there were problems, what I could do to help. I had the ear of our Queen, and was not loath to wax it with soothing words on their behalf if need be. She was a stern queen, but a fair one. She loathed men who were weak and full of folly, but she loved men who were brave and daring, such as Jules and Wells.
Wells had been on her list of men she was considering knighting for his pretigious output of fictional journeys and adventures. She likened him to her other favorite, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whom I have not yet had the chance to acquaint myself with personally, as we do keep our lives in pretty much different worlds these days. I have passed him in the palace from time to time and we have chatted briefly, but that is not the kind of conversation that leads to a deep friendship, but rather a shallow courteous one.
I tend to the opposite. I like to know those I am around in all the ways possible. I suppose that is because I am a writer, an observer of life and as such my mind demands more details than most who go day to day on their life journeys.
As I was seated observing my actor deliver his soliloqy, Sarah returned. She always knew where I was and I always kept a treat for her. Perhaps that motivated her more than anything else, I can not be sure of what goes on in a pigeon's mind, other than utter kindness.
She landed on the railing beside me and cocked an eye on me, then nodded to her right foot where a note was attached. I gave her a treat, and hurriedly untied the message to read it. I was distressed while doing it, because my actor had just blown the next two lines and said, "whether it is bolder to go outside and face the storm than..." Furious at the disruption of my beautiful poetry, I almost chased Sarah away, but I kept my temper in check for both her and the actor.
He was having a rough time at home as I understood it. Something about a romance with another man that wasn't going well. I felt for him, for relationships were difficult with the opposite sex, let alone the same. It is the nature of relationships that they have difficulties. If you are looking for a peaceful and tranquil ride throughout your life, then do not seek a relationship, as they are not always tranquil or peaceful, they are human. And humans feel and sometimes too deeply. And sometimes too shallowly. The choices we all must live with.
I motioned to the actor to do it again and as he did I swiftly unraveled the note and read it.
"Dear Will, it is with the utmost sense of urgency that I request you speak with the brotherhood. Paris is in distress such as no man could ever have suspected to happen. Our beloved Eiffel Tower is now a broken toy, and much of our fair city has been burned and leveled to the ground. I fear that my dear friend Wells is taking this much harder than I, and I can barely look at myself in our mirror now, knowing we might have unwittingly set off the monstrous destruction we now survey about us."
It was a long note. I looked up and the actor was looking at me, an expression of what next. I glanced at my Stage Manager who stood right stage watching and motioned for him to cue the man. He did so and the actor got back in character again and continued.
I returned to the note, my hands trembling, for I feared the rest of the news that surely must be there.
"A strange device from another world has descended into our fair city and it immediately began destroying anything and anyone in its path. I fear it is but the advance guard for something far worse."
I looked up and muttered to myself. "Worse than destroying Paris?"
I shuddered in horror.
I read on.
"Contact the brotherhood, let them know we have a greater peril now than the war between our nations. That a War of the Worlds has begun.
"I shall endeavor to contact you again in two days if able. For now my friends and I must help as many as possible to survive this catastrophe.
"Your friend, Jules."
I looked up again, tears misting my eyes. It was that bad. The Captain's words rang in my ears again in remembrance and I knew at that moment that the play was not the thing in this case, and that the Great Wheel now turning was being spun by hands not meant to be guided by our Creator, but by something far darker.
Pardon me if I seem somewhat melodramatic, but that is my nature as an actor and writer, but as a human being I can only shudder in horror at the thought, "A War of the Worlds has begun."
And it was at that moment that a great shout arose from outside the theater, as if a great crowd were crying out in horror.
It Tastes Like Chicken
"A Journey to the Center of the Earth Story"
By John Pirillo
Dawn came like a brick load of cement. Pitch black. Always pitch black. It took him a few moments to organize his thoughts. As always. Tired. Dead stone tired. Like the rocks that hovered above, below and all sides of him. Dead tired.
"Get a life!"
He groaned, and sat up.
Rowlf growled when he bumped into the very large Insectoids side. Rowlf was a member of an underground species that he had discovered after they became separated from the Hollow Earth Special Forces. He looked creepy as hell, but had the heart of a cute puppy. Just so long as you didn't look into his mouth, everything was fine, but if you did, all bets were off. Ugly. Ugly. Ugly.
"Youse ugly twos!" Rowlf growled at him.
"Damnit. Talking in my sleep again."
He felt Everett sit up next to him. "When don't you? Stop talking that is."
"Thanks a lot."
Rowlf stood up next to them and rubbed his hands over the moss on the wall next to them. Agitated, the moss tossed chemicals up and down their furry lengths and began to glow a soft green color.
They had discovered the trick by accident after running out of matches and batteries for their lights. If you rubbed the moss one way, they glowed, came to life. Another way and they shrugged off their pale glow and descended into darkness.
Strange. But what wasn't hundreds of miles below the surface of the earth?
"I heard something." Russ insisted.
"You always hear something."
Rowlf growled. "Heard something."
"You always hear something, you big grasshopper, your hearing is like radar."
"Yeah. You heard me."
Everett stood up and stretched. "Can we see about breakfast. All this growsing is making my stomach growl."
Russ stood up and leaned against the wall, one shoulder against Rowlf, who acted as if he didn't notice, but he did. Rowlf loved his friends. He didn't understand or know why, only that they were stone buddies. Rock. Like the world about him. They didn't change.
"What do you suggest we start with??
"How about lizard eggs and worms?"
"Sounds good to me. So where?"
Something ran fast past them on the cavern floor, then scrambled up a wall and turned to eye them. Its two huge eyes were watery and bright.
"Well..." Everett said in his sharp English accent.
Rowlf finished chipping stone against stone and the dry moss in the shallow bowl of rocks they had mounded sparked to life, casting flickering shadows as flames licked at its mass. Everett stuck the lizard on its stick he had poked from its anus through its mouth over the fire and sat back, hands cupped over his knees.
"Smells like Chicken." Russ quipped.
"Yeah. Butt ugly chicken." Everett snapped back.
"No offense, Rowlf."
Rowlf shut his eyes and in his own way grinned, though neither of them could have recognized it. His race had much more subtle ways of showing amusement, affection, anger and so on. His eyes would twirl slightly when he was amused or happy. Depending on how much would determine whether it was amusement or happiness. Right then at that moment, it was amusement.
"Figure this should last us about ten steps." Russ countered.
"Hey! Ten steps are ten steps further." Everett added.
They both broke into laughter.
Rowlf's eyes snapped open. "Waughter? Why?"
"It's called irony, dear friend. Irony." Russ explained.
"Wike weapuns you worried?"
"Oh yeah, they really worried us." Everett joked.
Rowlf gave him a puzzled look, but Everett couldn't read it. Yet. He was starting to pick up on some of Rowlf's body language. He could tell when he was tired, hungry and curious by the way his antenna would droop or straighten, much like his pal "Jerry," his cockatiel would do with his tuft of feathers.
Russ looked over at Everett. "Still counting?"
They both broke into laughter, causing Rowlf to examine them both again closely.
Russ snorted. "Don't worry, Rowlf, we're not going mad. Crazy, maybe, but not mad."
"Not a helluva lot these days." Everett sighed.
He looked down the long black corridor to their right. "Wonder how far this one goes."
"I'm more interested in when do we find the one that gets us somewhere." Russ shot back.
"Yeah. Real juicy fat chance." Russ agreed.
Both were silent, meditating on thoughts best left unsaid. Both felt a tremendous sense of loss and sadness, but their friendship with each other and Rowlf kept them from sliding into despair, even though at times, it didn't seem far off.
"When we get back home, they'll call us heroes."
Russ snorted derisively. "I'd rather they called us a buffet. I'm starving."
They all then looked at the lizard, which was not quite toasty.
Rowlf's stomachs made grumbling sounds. "Sharving much."
"Rowlf. You eat it." Russ told him, suddenly feeling generous.
Everett looked at him like he'd just snapped, but said nothing.
Rowlf didn't budge. "Youse fwail. Must wheat fust!" He insisted.
Everett snatched the lizard. "Since neither one of you want it."
Before he could take a bite, the lizard was wrenched two other ways by Rowlf and Russ.
They each ate their portion in a delicious silence, savoring the warmth of its crunch skin and meat, as slight as it was.
Russ picked some smaller bones from his teeth and spit them out.
Everett did the same.
But Rowlf just crunched them up and swallowed them, his eyes rolling with pleasure.
"Sometimes I wish I was a dog." Russ admitted.
"Me too." Everett agreed, his eyes watching as Rowlf picked up the bones they had spit out and began crunching them.
Rowlf eyed them happily. "Whaste bwest part!"
Everyone broke into laughter.
Russ caught his aching sides, and then subsided into silence a moment. "Here we are...at the center of it all... and we're wise cracking about some dumbass lizard's bones."
"Yeah. Ain't it great?" Everett cracked in his best Ringo Starr imitation.
They all broke into laughter again.
Then the sound of something monstrous moved in the darkness.
They all jumped to their feet, grabbing their makeshift weapons of bone and stone.
Another day. Another monster.
As the monster rushed down the corridor to eat them, roaring like a monster from hell, they rushed up the corridor to eat it, screaming like a tribe of cannibals about to eat fresh meat. Someone was going to have a great meal this day. Hopefully it would be them!
The Eleventh Hour (1942) is the twelfth of seventeen animated films produced by Max Fleischer. They were all filmed in gorgeous Technicolor, so rich it is dripping with color. Great action, and right at you Superman!
"The Other Side of Chaos"
Journey to the Center of the Earth
by John Pirillo
The other side of chaos was as close as the Walgreens and as far as the Taj Mahal. When Erin got up that morning in the small town of Hoover, California, he was expecting to grouse about the weather again. It always rained. Over and over and over. He had heard on the news report that they had the third highest rainfall in the nation, though you would never have thought so with the horrible drought going on throughout Southern California.
He whisked through his morning rituals, shaving, grooming his hair, powdering his arms and underwear, and then slipping into his usual worn jeans and t-shirt. Everyone knew him in town as the t-shirt man. Or Jeans. He preferred Jeans, it sounded cool.
After all, he was a bright eyed and bushy tailed genius of a hippy. He had managed to find his niche in the small town, where the Sheriff was a portly man who rarely left his office, except for accidents, and the town gossips were regular clients of his. He always delivered and they always smoked. The new pot laws weren't going to cut into his business one bit, though he was sure it would in the larger cities for those scoundrels who brought the green gold into the country on the backs of immigrants and machine gun toting gangsters.
"Hey Jeans!" He was greeted by Molly Two Burgers. His made up name for her. She served the best burgers in town. Veggies. No one ate meat in Hoover. They were all vegetarians and except, for the Sheriff, who ate the occasional chicken sandwich, liked it that way. The local realtors usually discouraged any immigrants with big money who wanted to buy into the city and change it. If they weren't veggie lovers, they didn't belong there. Also, the local Mayor had made it the law that everyone had to vote yes for a new neighbor to move in. Course that was never done in public, the politically correct idiots would have had them sued ten times south of summer if they found out and they'd be big news across the nation.
No one wanted to be big news. A nice quiet leisurely life was the order of the day and carefully maintained in the open, and behind closed doors.
There was nothing nasty in it, they just didn't like the world out there, the meanness in it, the clambering and climbing over one another to achieve. To achieve what...a mortgage that no one could afford and the non-named depression took away from them and cars that cost a hundred times more than a person could afford.
None of the Hooverians, as they called themselves, none of them wanted to be part of the United States as it stood today. They called it the Lost Continent of the United States, because it had lost its way and sunk beneath the waters of logic and reason.
No one bought into that trash about God ruling from the state capitol and none of them believed that all children were angels. They were only too clued in about how children were, and made it their earnest duty to see to it that no child got away with anything. Ever!
The way they did that was to make sure the adults always did their duty and that no child was ever spoiled. It was terribly hard work for the smoke loving, peace hazed citizens, but they relished the idea of bringing up souls that actually had minds of their own, if not as rebellious kinds as now populated the larger part of the states.
Evans picked up the morning paper that Molly Two Burgers threw down before him and read the headlines. "Two eggs. Sunny side up. Four sausage. Golden brown..."
"Yeah. I know, Jeans. And no toast. A bagel with raisons and cinnamon with heaps of wet butter."
"Read me like a psychic."
"I am a psychic." She laughed.
"Yeah. But only to those ornery citizens who make the mistake of touring our humble little town. Speaking of which."
He laid the paper down. "My bones have been aching for days now. And you know what that means."
She handed his order over to Jake behind the counter and he began putting together the breakfast for Jeans. He waved and Jeans waved back. Jake was deaf, but he was one smart fellow. He made the best organic muffins this side of...well wherever!
Jeans leaned across the morning headlines....Terrorists cut off the heads of two state leaders in the Middle East and cook them for breakfast. "It means we're in for a big...gigantic change of weather."
"Well, I don't believe that to be true, Jeans. I do see those kinds of things, you know."
He felt the ache again in his bones. It was like a low, low vibration that was slowly building up within his body. "It keeps getting stronger, like someone was pressing me down into the earth."
"Well you sures hell ain't no black hole, Jeans." She laughed.
He returned the laugh, and then sighed. "I sure hope I'm wrong, because I don't want no one to get killed."
That stopped her grin. "Killed?"
He nodded. "Remember last time I had one of these, Brown and Sugar drove their car off the rain slicked bridge into the gully where the river was swollen. They never stood a chance."
Her face clouded over a moment in grief. "I loved them twos like hell."
"Yeah. Everybody did."
She went to her phone.
"Making that phone call."
He nodded. He knew what that phone call meant.
She did it, and then returned.
When his breakfast came steaming on a plate to him, he ate it quietly, even as more and more of the citizens poured into the small cafe to sit quietly, watching him. Finally, he finished, then stood up and faced the crowd of about thirty. The place was jam packed. The rest would be listening and watching on the video systems him and Jed, his brother, had installed throughout the town so this kind of thing could be done on a moment's notice without any great effort on anyone who might be inconvenienced to come at that time.
"Something big is about to happen."
"Better believe him."Molly Two Burgers urged.
Bread. A very large man. A baker, with huge Italian eyes and a meaty stomach from eating half of what he cooked stood up. "How big?"
"Bigger than your belly."
Everyone laughed, but Bread. "My tums pretty damned big, Jeans. You sure?"
"Yeah. Damn sure."
Bread, who was the Mayor, turned to face the other citizens. "Alright then. You know the drill."
Everyone began spilling out of the cafe, making it feel empty and hollow after all the humanity that had been breathing in it. Whiffs of pot smoke edged his nostrils. He wondered briefly who had been dabbling, then forgot it when Bread came over and sat next to him. He motioned Jeans to sit and he did.
"Weather like last?"
"No. Definitely not weather. Not that kind at least."
"Can you at least give us a hint of what's coming?"
Jeans hated doing it, but he knew it was a necessity. So he sat down on the floor and fell into his lotus meditation position. He let the world slip away and allowed himself to drift with the cosmos, his senses heightened and alert like a young kids. He felt the thrumming feeling again in his body, but this time it was more tangible, more palpable, as if it had a life of its own. He followed the vibration with his mind and found himself drifting not upwards...where rain and storms might be, but instead down. He felt himself accelerating and going further and further down.
He knew his body at that moment was sweating as if he were in a sauna, his heart palpitating from the effort of his descent, and then he saw it.
Bread and Molly Two Burgers had his body between them, his head in her lap. He opened his eyes. "It's horrible. We can't beat this one."
Bread and Molly Two Burgers looked shaken to their cores.
"There must be something we can do?" Bread urged.
"Yes. There is."
Jeans sat up slowly, wiping at the sweat of his forehead. "Everyone must sleep outside from this moment on. No one stays indoors. No one travels on the bridges, or on the waters. Make sure all our flammables are safely secured. Shore up our food and water supplies."
"Just what are we protecting ourselves from, Jeans?" Bread said as he got up to carry out the suggestions.
"The Big One. A holy god smacking, end of the world, up our ass, dead in the water, god forsaken Big One!"
They all headed in different directions, intent on making sure everyone was as safe as possible. They spent the next four days outside in tents, even when it began to freeze and huge winds began to blow, threatening to destroy their temporary shelters.
Then in the AM of the last day, when everyone began to doubt Jeans and his bones, the earth began to tremble. At first lightly. Jeans felt it in his bones the most. It became so intense he screamed in pain, and then all hell broke loose.
It was like someone had tossed a Nuke into the center of the town. They all fell to the ground as it struck, but no one's eyes left the town view, even as they were tossed and turned like eggs in a skillet by the violence of the shaking. It felt as if God himself had grown angry and decided to smash the earth with his cosmic fist.
Every single building in the town crumbled like a giant fist had whacked them. The two local bridges broke apart and plummeted into the gulches below them. The huge water tower that supplied the town fell over and a flood of water rushed towards everyone, but no one drowned, because their tents were on high ground.
But some were hurt, though precious few, by falling trees. Every single tree for miles was struck down like matchsticks broken by a massive hammer. Children cried out in terror, Bread felt his stomach flip flop as if it might never stop. Molly Two Burgers enfolded her twins in her arms and Jeans did the same, protecting them from flying debris made from the falling trees.
And when it finally ended, when the terror and destruction ended, what remained of Hoover was a huge chasm in the ground. But not one person had died. Nor would they. They had obeyed the laws of common sense and not ignored the warnings that had come to them, however unscientifically through Jeans.
And Jeans. Well, he had managed to save his crop and they might struggle a bit for awhile to get their food supplies back to normal again, but no one would run out of smokes.
And one more thing happened, Jeans never meditated again after that. What he had seen had changed him. He stopped smoking the green gold or any other color. He sold it to administer relief to those who needed it, but he refused to ever touch it again. Part of him knew that what had happened was more than an accident, for he had seen the source of the Big One. He never told one person what he had seen and never would, for fear of what it might draw to them if he did. No, instead he dedicated his time to helping the others rebuild their homes, plant crops, and heal the sick. Jeans had become a kind of saint in a way. Even if by accident.
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