Posts Tagged Words
You stole my heart, valentine! Please give it back. Just because I donated a kidney doesn’t mean you can freely take more of my organs.
I didn’t fall for you, valentine, I was pushed. I will likely carry the scars for some time.
Valentine, I have determined that your positive impacts currently outweigh the negative effect of your presence. I have therefore also determined this relationship should continue.
Valentine, I wanted to write you some poetry, but I am functionally illiterate and honestly, I’m not sure you even speak English.
Emerson gestured toward the second-floor walkway across the plaza, directly in front of the overstuffed bookstore she frequented on the weekends. “What about that one? She’s carrying an umbrella.”
“Why would that make a difference?” Rafael asked, leaning into the painted brown rail. The barricade was attached solidly to the structural steel in the floor below and yielded nothing to his weight.
Em pointed up at the glass roof overhead. “The precipitation forecast hasn’t bumped above twenty percent in almost three weeks, and it’s nine-thirty in the evening.”
“I can think of at least three stores on that side of this mall that would sell an umbrella. Sales wait for no man,” Rafael said. “Or woman. I would argue that it seems too silly for someone to carry an umbrella.”
“If I didn’t know better, Rafael Gerous,” Emerson said, hissing out the final syllable of his name. “I would say you’re being deliberately obstinate. Fortunately for me, I do know better, and whatever misguided train of thought is running through that head of yours, I’m not wasting my money on tickets. Fine, you could argue that she just bought the umbrella. But if that’s the case, then where’s the tag? And why,” she lowered her voice, “Isn’t she carrying it in the giant bag in her right hand?”
In one swift motion, Emerson pulled her phone out from her vest and began dialing.
Rafael let most of the air in his lungs hiss slowly out of his mouth. “Why do you keep that thing there?” he asked, tensing imperceptibly and checking his watch. “Between that and your obsession with Turandot you look like you’re about to plug someone with a couple rounds every time that song goes off. And who are you calling?”
“Your brother.” She pointed to a pair in the crowd about thirty meters ahead of the two women, who had stopped briefly as the second placed something in the plastic shopping bag. “You notice those two by the rail staring into the fountain?”
“The mayor–he was supposed to be downtown this evening!” Rafael began moving toward the pair, but the nearest transverse walkway was beyond the fountain; they would have to double back. “Forget my brother. We can handle this. It’s not a crime to carry an umbrella.”
Emerson was already three steps ahead of him, her feet clipping briskly across the aged grey tiles in front of The Abdominal Showroom. She slipped the phone back into her vest, ignoring the two men by the window somehow managing to make doing crunches an aggressive act. “Don’t even start with me, Raph. I didn’t get this job by making assumptions based on looks. We need your brother. Something feels deeply wrong about those two.”
“We’ve got this!” Rafael said. “This is a mall! Why call Daniel? We have no reason to believe this is a serious matter.”
“It is serious,” she bit back. “I know of two threats against the mayor’s life.”
Rafael sucked in a quick breath. “The bald guy over there? The one whose greatest accomplishment in office is not drooling on the podium at council meetings?”
“You really have been kept in the dark,” Emerson said, shaking her head as the two passed a small stand selling overpriced cheese. “I guess it’s not your fault. That’s why I called in. We aren’t going to be able to stop them, but your brother is on his way. This situation is about to get Dan Gerous.”
If someone can come up with a functional reverse dictionary, I think they could make a great deal of money on the ads they would no doubt coat their webpage with, since that’s how it’s done these days.
For example, take a word like homunculus. Say you want a similar word, but with a non-person meaning. (If it were a math equation imagine Homunculus – person + thing) As in a perfectly formed tiny version of a thing. Maybe it’d give you simulacrum or something similar as a result, even though it doesn’t quite match the parameters.
My point being that English has a metric stuffload of words and it’d be nice if it came with a manual to navigate from word to word so you could fall back upon it when your mental reference materials inevitably came up short.
I think it’s done.
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.
As of this moment book two has eclipsed book one in word count by ~350 words or so. 210,000 total.
For comparison, this is about 550 pages longer than anything I was ever told to write.
I’m sure most, if not all of you have heard the St. Ives riddle. To those who are the exception:
As I was going to St. Ives,
I met a man with seven wives.
Each wife had seven sacks.
Each sack had seven cats.
Each cat had seven kits.
Kits, cats, sacks, and wives,
how many were going to St. Ives?
I don’t have time to argue the math or the reasoning behind it, but it’s safe to say the answer is a number. I’d imagine it somehow relates the questioner, a man, seven women, and 49 bags filled with 343 adult cats and 2401 kittens total. (Evenly distributed into the sacks, of course.)
It bothers me that whoever is asking the question is so bloomin’ vague. The fact that you can argue seventeen different answers (YOU were going to St. Ives! 2800 wives, sacks, cats, and kittens were going to St. Ives! The St. Ives Bureau of Random Economic Statistics gives a figure of 48,439,000 incoming cat units for fiscal year 2007!) means the question itself needs work.
It seems to me the lack of specificity is a symptom of a much deeper problem, however. And it’s not as if the questioner can’t be specific. He or she is quite certain about the number of cats per bag. In fact, the certainty about the contents of these undoubtedly massive sacks seems to imply that there was a conversation with these mysterious cat transporters:
“Hello, travelers, what’s up?”
“My seven wives and I are making our biweekly cat delivery.”
“Oh! I can’t imagine any logistical or social problems arising in a career like that! I myself am a dentist; the one out of five who never agrees with the others for plot-driven reasons that are never completely explained. How many cats are in each bag?”
“These are sacks, my contentious dentist acquaintance. There are 7 cats and 49 kittens in each sack. How did you know the cats were in the sacks?”
“I must confess the hissing and shrieking as the sacks scraped along the ground gave your secret away. Also, it says ‘CATS’ on the side.”
It begs the question why this person was talking to the cat people in the first place. Do you have any idea how much feline biomass was packed into those containers? A reasonable weight for an adult cat is approximately 10 pounds. Given seven sacks per wife and 7 cats per bag, we have a total of 490 pounds of Adult Cat Weight alone.
Clearly, these women are not to be trifled with.
But we aren’t finished. Now for the kittens. While we aren’t given the exact location of St. Ives, (I suspect it’s Utah) in America they seem to suggest splitting cat families no earlier than ten weeks, an age that would give the kittens a weight of somewhere around two pounds each. Of course, the people we’re talking about don’t seem to be the type to follow reasonable suggestions, but I imagine any cat rancher would rather not spend more money on cat food than is necessary, and would likely sell the cats at this time. (If these people were ranching said cats and kittens to be used as food, it’s possible age isn’t a factor to them at all. I find this somewhat absurd, even by polygamist cat-rancher standards.)
343 kittens per woman at 2 pounds each gives us 686 pounds of Kitten Weight.
490 lbs. ACW
+ 686 lbs. KW= 1176 pounds of cats per wife.
To put that in perspective, these women are lugging around a third of a Buick over their shoulders, except instead of hauling harmless, relatively inert hunks of automobile, they’ve packed 56 cats into a cramped space, and they’ve done it seven times over. Each.
I have a hard time imagining two cats shoved into a bag together for any length of time. Shoot, even one cat.
Of course, it is nowhere stated that the cats are alive…
Take out one of the logistical problems and suddenly the riddle becomes ever so much more disturbing. Assuming the police are not eaten for sustenance by the Seven Strongest Women on Earth, I can see the headlines:
POLYGAMIST CAT-RANCHERS CAUGHT WITH 2744 DEAD CATS ON WAY
TO ST. IVES FROM ST. IVES CRAP I DON’T EVEN KNOW
If you meet this walking catastrophe on the way to town and your only concern is mathematics, your garden is most likely short a few vegetables.
…Kits, cats, sacks, and wives,
Don’t bother with math, just flee for your lives.