Posts Tagged Vandalism

In His Defense, the Success Rate is Still 100%

Arnold set his hat by the door and nearly tripped over a pair of black leather size 10s.  “Why are there–Whose shoes are these?

“They ain’t mine,” Cannibal Sherman said, his voice resounding from the kitchen.  “Ask Brett.”  Brett Krinkins had been the one to send out the invitations–it was his house, but he was nowhere to be found.

Arnold untied his laces.  Judging by the state of the shoes in front of him, he imagined he was the only one around who still did so.  The backs were broken down and the only set whose knotted bows weren’t still intact was the glossy black pair by his foot.

“Sorry, hon, nobody’s really that helpful around here.  Let me grab your jacket.”  Britt was the older sibling of the Krinkins pair.  “You might as well be talking to the walls.

Whose shoes are these!” she bellowed from the well-lit foyer.  She wasn’t asking a question anymore; she had turned it into a demand for an answer.

Arnold stepped back slightly.

“Quit yelling,” Brett called down the hallway.  “If we don’t know whose they are, we can just cut them both in half.”

Britt’s face wrinkled in a mixture of confusion and exasperation as her brother clomped down the wooden corridor.  “You do know that’s not how that works, right?  It only works if people are fighting over the item.  You don’t just hack stuff in half and expect to solve the problem.”

“I do,” Brett said, stepping into the entryway, his arms full of cheese wedges and a colorful mix of soda cans.  “And it does.”  He handed the cans to his sister.  “It got people to stop leaving their crap at my house.  Take these into the kitchen please,” he said to her, picking up the shoes.

She took the soda reluctantly, somehow managing to hang onto all of the cans and Arnold’s coat.  “Why on earth do we let you host?  You can’t just misapply one solution to everything you see and expect it to fix the issue!”

“I haven’t been finding tacky bakeware in my kitchen anymore,” Brett said.  “As far as I’m concerned, the problem was solved.”

“That’s the problem with you; you get one tool and you use it on the world!  When all you have is Solomon’s logic, suddenly everything looks like a baby.”

“The better to avoid kid-sitting duties, my dear.”  As he turned the shoes over in his hands, he felt a palm on his shoulder; he spun around to see Abrams’ somewhat irate visage inches from his face.

“They’re mine, thanks.”

Britt shook her head and strode off toward the kitchen.

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A Slight Departure in Tone

No matter how much effort they put into keeping up appearances, the kids back then were always looking for love; those who were truly brave would steal away on starless summer nights to MacNeely’s mansion at the top of the hill, slink in through the side door, stand at the foot of the mighty Victorian staircase, and loudly call out Old Man MacNeely’s name exactly eleven times in the hopes that he would use his powers to grant your wish for romance, if he didn’t use them to beat the everliving snot out of you as he threatened to do to all the other misbehavin’ punks that repeatedly broke into his house.

To this day, there are about five different people claiming to have started the tradition. Nobody has been able to provide evidence of having started the tradition, but everyone knows who pushed it out into the street for everyone to gawk at, the day he nearly had his head busted by MacNeely’s three-foot cane.

It was Steve Billings–the boy who nearly broke both his arms trying to shove his way through a solid oak panel, but still managed to outrun MacNeely down the hall to the garden door.  MacNeely wasn’t quite as spry as he always told us he had been “back in his cross-country days,” but he came close to catching Steve that night when Steve completely forgot MacNeely kept the front door locked.

In a mysterious twist, crazy Steve nearly broke Madalyn Barrett’s arms as he ran into her in headlong flight out the side door in the dark. Scared her half to death, and made her forget all about her own plan to summon Old Man MacNeely. She was too busy busting Steve’s head with a stick.

I guess MacNeely got him, in a way.

Madalyn and Steve started going out a week later. Neither went near the house again. I felt sorry for the older man for a few months after that; when the rest of the kids from down by the railroad line saw it had worked for those two, they redoubled their visits. I think he was seeing at least one incident a night for most of the summer, twice as many on the weekends.  I suspect the shouting and the collisions with his front door drove him to hire a butler.

I tried summoning him a few times myself–once before the butler showed up, twice after. It worked–well, the summoning part did. He came flying out of his second-floor study before I got my fifth “CAN YOU HEAR ME MACNEELY? I’M TIRED OF BEING ALONE!” out, his eyes wild with fire and his hands heavy with old shoes. I stuck it out through a couple of loafers, but I never did get to finish all eleven lines; by the sixth he had switched to steel-toed boots.

I had hoped to run into Jenna Hudson on the way out, no such luck. She never had been the type to get pulled into the crowd’s antics. Instead Ted Levitt was forced to dive for cover as I tore through the hallway, the enraged clomping of shoes both worn and thrown behind me.  Ted never considered approaching the stairs. As far as I know, he never went back either. He still stares at the mansion when he passes sometimes.

Actually, since the windows melted, he stares at it more often than not.

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There Are No Data, Only Zuul

NOAA is doing this thing where they revamp their webpages.

http://www.weather.gov/fgf/

The old page had everything that page has.  It also included current temp, wind speed and direction, humidity, cloud cover, and precip information for here and a bunch of random towns and cities nearby, and it was all right smack in the middle of the page.

I’m not mad, I just miss it.  If those numbers are still accessible somewhere, I’d like to know where.

Also–and this is an unrelated issue–the word data has reached the point where nearly everyone uses it as a singular.

Mind you, I’ll freely admit society is rather liberal with its usage of words, but in this case it just makes sense to let it shift.  The data says/This collection of facts/numbers/information says–the exceptions being those who are still trying too hard.  I think my stance stems partially from people’s near-universal treatment of data as a singular up until, I don’t know, about two years ago.  Suddenly it seems like everyone is back on the data train, even though the word datum is completely foreign to everyone except a few geographers who are hoping for a day in the spotlight.

If you actually use the word datum, knock yourself out, I won’t protest.

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Awards Night

   The auditorium was packed–rows upon rows of nameless faces: conspirators and colluders, perpetrators and abettors.  Lionel von Drath had apparently just left the stage; he was conversing in the corner with a pair of blue-suited henchmen and stroking his carefully groomed facial hair, mutton chops and a neat blond mustache.
Given a guess, Morris Brandeis suspected the man had given the same speech he had given to the crowd in Achany the week before: how he had graduated from the Academy of Villainy as class Maledictorian.  He probably thrilled the crowd with stories of exploding sandwiches and the thousand cheap and replaceable things he had lifted from the classrooms and the charity across the street and the teachers’ lounge on the days he wasn’t setting everything on fire.
He continued to walk down the incline between the left and right seating banks.  Cyrigan Ames was finishing up in front of him, but heads were already beginning to turn in his direction, even as she spoke of growing up in the town of Nicle, once the self-proclaimed “Friendliest hamlet on earth.”
It was a good story, he had heard it before as well–how she had grown with the town, corrupting it and changing it and building a reputation of her own.  It was no longer referred to as Nicle, however.  Ames was renowned for being the woman to single-handedly put the Evil into Niceville.
And yet the crowd was already drawn to Brandeis, who hadn’t yet set foot upon the stage.  Ames was slowing now; she had been winding down as he stepped in the door.  He watched the audience respond warmly as she concluded and stepped down to join von Drath.
Or rather, those who hadn’t noticed Brandeis enter responded well.  Those who had gave perfunctory applause in deference to tradition, even among rogues.
Brandeis approached the podium without a word; the crowd waited as anxiously as could be expected from such a crowd of hardened miscreants.
“My fellow malefactors,” he began.  “I’m certain you have heard your fill this evening of antics and escapades, high class and classless destruction.  I don’t intend to discuss my achievements with you tonight;”  –At this the crowd’s enthusiasm perceptibly sagged–  “I’m sure after two hours of stories the anecdotes begin to coalesce into a formless rush of noise, moreso when as listeners you weren’t the ones to perpetrate any of it.”
He took a short drink from a glass of water that had been sitting on the podium since before the first speaker had presented his case hours prior.
“So I will try to describe myself.”
He began to stroll across the stage, holding the glass in his left hand and drinking occasionally.  Von Drath crossed his arms and listened.
“Imagine a man who fights with nothing to lose, because he understands that anyone and anything can be replaced.  A man who trades in destruction not because of its effectiveness as a currency, but simply because he enjoys the smell.  One who each morning spreads butter made from the tears of children onto toast made from kittens.  A man who in his foulest and most desperate hour would find himself incapable of hurling the earth into the sun only because he would have done so long before that point.”
Brandeis returned to the podium and set the glass back in its place.
“I am that man’s evil twin.”

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Soliciting Help from Outside.

Last weekend a car had its window destroyed in front of the apartment building where I live.  This isn’t the first time it has happened, and we’ve had a number of eggings (my car and my brother’s old car) as well.

To my knowledge, nobody has been caught.  So in the interest of resolving the matter before these cretins bash in my windows, I am envisioning a sign of noticeable size placed in front of the building facing the street.

To the police and whoever is responsible for the vehicle damage:
The amount of recent vandalism deeply concerns me.
If you are unwilling or unable to solve the problem I will bring an end to it myself.

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Sometimes Work is Slow and There is Little to Do.

And we seldom (if ever) have psychologists wandering the halls.  If they do they don’t advertise their skills well enough.

Gary had a little land
Just north of Muscle Shoals.
But his neighbors didn’t like him much
and filled him full of holes.

Mary had a family
(At least that’s what she said.)
But mom and dad and Ned and Bert
lived only in her head.

Chester had a rusty axe
he used to skin a cat.
He flipped that sucker inside out
and wore it as a hat.

(Needless to say, Chester is serving a 40-year term in prison without parole, where he is no doubt actively shanking people with spoons.  The cat is fine.)

Wanda had a rare disease
that caused a wracking cough.
The doctor said “It’s in your head.”
and then she sneezed it off.

Maggie had a cup of joe
some toast and scrambled eggs.
But when she tried to pay her bill
a bear ate both her legs.

Waldo had a crazy knack
for blending with a crowd.
But no one knew just how it worked
with clothes so skabbing loud.

Harold tried to count to ten
but never made it there.
Although his brain said “One, two, three”
his mouth said “spllgmrfitz.”

Larry Potter got real drunk
and crashed into a tree.
You think that’s bad?
Well it gets worse.
A bear ate both his legs.

And for those who have seen Jurassic Park…

Dennis found some embryonic
dinosaurs for cheap.
But never got to sell them and
was eaten in a jeep.

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