Vegan Lavender Lemon Cheesecake

Lavender 1

Crust:

  • 9 Graham Crackers
  • 4 TBSP of Smart Balance vegan butter (melted)
  • ¼ cup of sugar

 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Just do it.
  2. Place your graham crackers in a ziploc bag and beat the hell out of them for what they did. Continue abusing them until they reach a uniform fine crumb texture.
  3. Add the pulverised crumbs to a mixing bowl with the melted butter (and sugar if you wish) and mix until you achieve a crumbly texture. It should ball up when whisked.
  4. Spread uniformly in the springform pan, pressing down on the bottom and pinching up on the sides ½ to a full inch.

 

Filling:

  • 2 8oz containers of Tofutti cream cheese.
  • 1 cup of Lavender Simple Syrup (recipe here)
  • 4 tsp of lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp of salt
  • 1 TBSP of extra firm tofu

 

  1. In a mixing bowl, food processor, or blender, mix the cream cheese and lavender simple syrup until it’s soft.
  2. If in a blender or food processor, incorporate the rest of the ingredients on low. If in a mixing bowl add the lemon juice and salt, on low, crush the tofu and add it last making sure that it’s completely incorporated.
  3. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 45-50 minutes. The cake should be slightly jiggly when pulled from the oven.
  4. Allow the cheesecake to cool at room temperature, then refrigerate for 4 hours.

 

Topping:

  • ½ cup lavender simple syrup
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ TBSP of cornstarch
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan on medium heat until the mixture boils. Let boil for 1 minute and remove from heat.
  2. Pour atop the cheesecake after it has been pulled from the oven, but before refrigeration.
  3. Garnish with lemon zest before serving.

Lavender 2.jpg

Chad’s Recipes: Butter

Okay, this post is a bit different than my others. Instead of a creative writing piece, I’ve opted to write out my cannabis infused butter recipe that I perfected during my undergrad years. 

What you’ll need.

 

  • 3.5 or 7 grams (depending on your desired strength) per 1.25 sticks of butter. I say 1.25 sticks of butter as some will be lost during the heating and straining process to follow.
  • Unsalted Butter.
  • Cheese Cloth and a Strainer.
  • Mortar and Pestle (or a grinder/ coffee grinder)
  • Double Boiler setup.  
  • Rubber Spatula

 

Heady Butter

  1. Preheat your oven to 240 F.
  2. Break up your cannabis and spread the buds evenly on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake your nuggets for 30-40 minutes. This process is known as decarboxylation and turns the inactive psychoactive acids i.e. THCA(cid) into good ol’ THC. Stir around your herbs every 15ish minutes to get an even bake.
  4. While your nuggets are decarbing in the oven. Melt your butter in the top portion of your double boiler on low.
  5. When your cannabis is done baking and your kitchen smells nice and pungent, crush it into a fine meal with your mortar and pestle.
  6. Add the cannabis meal to your liquified butter.Stir on low for 10-20 minutes. Do not turn up the temperature of the burner, it will not help.
  7. Your butter should be a bright yellow greenish color. Pour through your cheesecloth/strainer setup into whatever container you’ll want to keep it in; use your rubber spatula to scrape every bit out of the pot.

Tip: To get all of your butter, let the setup cool off a bit then wrap the cheesecloth up, twist the top, and squeeze the rest of the butter out. Your hands will get greasy, oh well.

 

For less heady butter preheat your oven to 250 and bake your buds for 50 minutes.

There you have it.  Cannabutter to use in almost all recipes. Try not to use your butter in any recipe that calls for a temperatures greater than 350 degrees.

January 17, 2017.

So this scene, like the 16th’s didn’t originate from a prompt. I wanted to explore the idea of desolation and loneliness. What’s one of the loneliest places on the planet– personally I think Antarctica is up there. 

Anton had never thought himself an explorer in any respect, but lo, here he was. A mix of pride and fear of the unknown welled in his chest as he and Marie, his team lead, marched on into the blinding brightness of the cold dunes at the bottom of the earth. It wasn’t like back at UCLA. Here, on a clear day, he could see to the horizon in almost every direction. Today was one of those days, nothing but blue skies and white ice. No trace of any other humans. To pull back from his mentally desolate edge, Anton occupied his thoughts with the waddle of penguins that had appeared on the horizon.

 

“It still amazes me,” Anton said through the black-mesh face cover that left only his eyes exposed.

 

“What does? Penguins?” Marie mused.

 

“No. Well, yeah. Penguins. But just the fact that a living thing has adapted itself to live in such an unforgiving place.”

 

Marie smiled, though Anton couldn’t see it. She understood his wonderment immediately. She too had been a newbie at one point– everyone had. Seeing the struggle of life on a documentary or in stills doesn’t compare to being up close and personal.  

 

“I mean it is incredible,” Marie began. “But where’s there’s water,” she said kicking the ice with her spiked boots, “organic life always finds a way.”

 

Anton didn’t feel completely satisfied with the answer, but shrugged it off as the two continued on into the wastes.

 

The two marched alongside parallel to the penguins for a time, stealing a glance every few minutes. Compared to the hunched march of the colorless soldiers, Anton and Marie looked out of place. Both wore their institute-issued neon-orange jackets atop their black layered pants. Each had their fur-lined hood up over their head to ward off the biting southern wind. They were, by Marie’s estimation, about half of a mile out from base.

 

“This spot ought to be good.” Marie said turning to Anton and confirming their coordinates on their GPS. The two stopped and humped their heavy packs off. Slowly and deliberately the two took out the makings of Marie’s developmental probe. Altogether it weighed eighty pounds and stood five feet tall when completed. Due to the inconvenience of construction, they had decided before setting out to build on-site. Together they struggled for the better part of two hours trying to assemble the blasted thing with in spite of their bulky gloves.  

 

“Can you help me?” Marie asked turning to Anton who was then sitting on the ground attempting to assemble one of the legs.

 

“Hmm?”

 

“I need help,” she sighed holding up the base of the pulsing-sensor mount. “See this little screw here? It needs to go here, but every time I try to thread it, the damn screws sticks.” Marie held the two-centimeter screw up in her cupped right hand and the mount in the left.

 

Anton grunted his way to his feet, fighting the bulk of his gear the entire way up. “You tried the WD-40?”

 

“Couldn’t. My can is out.”

 

“Mine is too, almost.” Anton frowned shaking his can. “Here, let me see that,” he said reaching for the mount.

 

Marie handed over the mount, dropped the screw into Anton’s glove and pulled her magnetic screwdriver from her pocket. Anton grabbed all three in sequence and took a knee on the ice. His first attempt yielded nothing. Neither did his second or fourth or seventh, each becoming increasingly hasty.

 

“It’s these fucking gloves,” Anton grunted pulling the mesh away from his face. He stuck the index finger in his mouth and began to pull.

 

“I don’t think it’s going to work better when your hands become numb.” Marie said standing over his work.

 

“It’ll be real quick. I just need to get it started.”

 

Marie looked down at her watch, 2 p.m. The sun would be setting on their expedition soon turning their white tundra into a twilight-blue death sentence. At a brisk walking pace of 3 miles an hour she figured that their return journey would be about ten to fifteen minutes. With only 45 minutes to get this probe in the ground she wasn’t in a position to argue with Anton’s logic.

 

“Just be careful,” Marie said. “These conditions,” she paused to give her calculation a bit of credibility “you have maybe, two, two-and-a-half minutes until frostbite sets in. Once that happens, that hand’ll be useless until we get it warmed up.”

 

Anton nodded wordlessly, barely hearing Marie’s warning. His glove was now hanging from his mouth as he took the screw tried to force it down and through the threading. His first attempt was unsuccessful. By the second Anton’s hand began to shake heavily and his breathing became labored.

 

“Just leave Anton. Put your glove back on.”

 

Anton ignored the command and took a deep breath to steady. On his third attempt he forced the screw in partially. “Here,” he said handing over the mount. His hand shook as he put the glove back on.

 

“You alright?” Marie asked attaching the sensor base on top of the center stand.

 

Anton said slowly flexing his fingers. His right pinky and ring finger completely stiffened and all around his hand felt prodded at by invisible needles. “It’ll be fine. Fingers are just a bit numb at the moment.”

 

“Yeah, exposure to high winds and negative 40 degree temperature will do that to ya.”

 

Anton walked back to his pack for his chemical hand warmers while Marie finished up the initial mounting. Anton continued to flex his fingers and pace in behind Marie while she attached the rest of the legs to the constructed probe.

 

“So what does this thing do again?” Anton asked watching Marie hammer the second leg deep into the ice.

 

“It collects,” Marie began, exhaling between each blow, “thermal and flow data from underneath the ice.”

 

“Flow data?” Anton gaped.

 

“Sorry, yeah it’s an idea I’ve been working on for a while. So it’s essentially sonar that we use to measure currents of water under the ice.”

 

“Okay, but what’re the applications?” Anton asked trying to keep up.

 

Marie didn’t know if he was sincere at this point or just trying to save face. She was after all a leading climate scientists in her field and Anton was just a marine biologist.

 

“This continent is breaking. Not as in melting per say, although that is also happening. But it’s also literally breaking apart. My hypothesis deals with over-energized currents of water are running underneath the ice effectively carving off huge slabs of ice.”

 

“Oh. Gotcha.”

 

Marie stood and reveled at the probe she had seen evolve all the way from her initial designs. The cold was beginning to spread through her toes and fingers now. It was time to head back to base before the cold crept any further. Marie turned westward. The waning sun was now nearing the horizon. For a moment the brilliance of the red and purple sky caught her off her guard..

 

“Hey,” Anton said putting a hand on Marie’s shoulder. “We should get going soon.I don’t want to get caught out here in the dark.”
“Yeah you’re right.” Marie said. “Just one last thing.” She reached in her pack and drew out an orange ribbon. Gently she tied the ribbon in a bow around one of the probes legs. They gathered their packs and set off with the sunset at their backs towards a blurred indigo skyline.    

 

Prompt January 11, 2017

: A siren, not blessed with the mesmerising beauty of his sisters, must lure sailors into jumping into the water by challenging them to fight him.

 

My only thing with this prompt was, I felt, that I didn’t spend enough time with the actual siren. Though that’s a great thing with prompts like these– you not beholden to any expectations and are free to write about whatever you want. 

 

“Aye captain,” Robbie the lookout called down from the crow’s nest, “we’re coming up on some rough looking shallows.”

 

Captain Greymane, stiff as ever, looked up briefly and nodded. He had heard the message, and chose not to respond. He knew exactly where they were– he had been here before many times and almost lost himself. The smell and the feel of the waves locked the captain’s stomach in a knot. Treachery was not far off.

 

“ALRIGHT,” Greymane hollered from the helm to no one in particular. “Listen up lads, if this be your first time on this ship in these waters, get a piece of twine and bound your hands together.”

 

Many of the men aboard stopped their work and looked at the captain with confusion.

 

“We’re to what?” called a voice from the main deck.

 

“You heard me you dog,” snapped Greymane, losing patience that he never had. “Bound your fucking hands together, or you’ll wish you had.”

 

Most of the crewmen quickly found random lengths of rope and bound their hands, some behind, some in front, and one eager musician tied his hands to look as if he was locked in a steamy embrace with the mast. At this the Captain looked to his violinist and together they shrugged.

 

A few of the crewmen had decided that this command was beneath them until the burly quartermaster set upon them with his lightning-quick whip. One sly deck swab, Martin, who had exceptional experience with slipping bindings had another man tie his hands only to free himself after the veteran crew’s inspection.  

 

‘Why in the bloody hell should I tie my hands up?’ Martin thought, “So that Quartermaster and that grouch Greymane can throw me overboard without a fight and then take my share of the gold?’

 

As the sloop slipped by the shallows which slowly ascended into a crude forsaken rock formation the crew found themselves utterly bored without the use of their hands.

 

“Hey you faries.” Called a high-pitched voice off the starboard side. “Yeah I’m talking to you.”

 

“MAN OVERBOARD,” cried one of Greymane’s sailor. Within a second, more than a dozen crewmen attempted to aid the sailor much to their struggle.

 

“Nope, try again you idiots,” the voice called again. The sailors stopped frantically scanning the waters and looked up to spy a hideous creature riddled with acne sunbathing on a jagged-ringed plateau.

 

“Get away from that railing,” bellowed Greymane as he kept hold of the rudder wheel.

 

“Get away from that railing,” the creature mocked back. He threw back his head of greasy tangled hair and laughed. “Do as your master says you lousy morons.”

 

Martin, who had made his way over to the railing to get a glimpse of the monstrosity yelled out in defiance. “No man is our master. We are free men.”

 

“Is that so,” The creature smirked. “Then why are all of your hands bound?”

 

Martin looked around and found his fellow sailors at a loss for a rebuttal.

 

“What’s a matter? Are you dumb and mute?” The creatures smile had twisted into a malicious mask.

 

“Shut it you wretched creature if you know what’s good for you.” Martin cried back.

 

“Or what?”

 

“Quartermaster, restrain that man.” ordered Greymane.

 

It was too late though. Martin took off his shirt and was diving off the side of the H.M.S. Swift as the rest of the crew watched on half in amusement and half in horror. Martin, who admittedly wasn’t the entirely comfortable in the water and had yet to completely find his sea legs was charging this prepubescent blob with righteous fury. What transpired only took mere seconds. The enraged Martin charged the creature with his hands raised with the intention to box. The creature shared no such intention and instead vaulted itself over Martin and propelled them both into the water never to be seen again.

 

After another hour of sailing in near silence the Captain ordered the restraints to be removed.

 

“Sir, should we have a service?” asked the Quartermaster.
“No. We don’t mourn idiots,” answered Greymane. “Especially not ones who fall for such petty insults. We sail on.”     

Prompt January 10, 2017

Prompt: The Devil appears before you and puts a heavy hand on your shoulder, “Look, we need to talk about you putting me in every Writing Prompt.”

Yeah this one gets a bit Meta for sure.

The sun glared through the living room window as I found myself lounging on the couch. The angle of the mid-January sun-setting was so perfectly obstructive that I barely could see anything on the television.

 

“Screw this,” I grunted to myself as I reached for the remote.

 

I tossed the remote on the floor and scooped up my laptop off the coffee table, turned, and put my feet up where the laptop had been.  

 

‘Might as well try and write something’ I thought.

 

I navigated to reddit for a touch of inspiration and perhaps a prompt. Many had to do with the Devil it seemed–even more than usual. I found a prompt to work with entitled: ‘You find out the Devil is actually an annoying coworker and that your office building is Hell, how do you piece together that you’ve ended up here?’ I smirked and let loose a symphony of clicking and clacks onto the keyboard. The sound of hard plastic shoes scraped on the steps outside the front door and then, there came a knock.   

 

“Hello?” I called. “Who’s there?”

 

“It’s the mailman,” they shouted through the door.

 

“One sec. Hnng.”  I grunted as I lurched to my feet. In my sweats and slippers I padded over to the door and undid the deadbolt.

 

“Yeah?” I asked opening the door.

 

At the foot of the door lay a lonely envelop.

 

‘What did I order’ thinking back through my recent Amazon window shopping. My first thought was that I’d done a spot of shopping after a drink or two.

 

A voice from behind me chimed in.

 

“I think you’ll like it. It’s one of my favorites.”

 

I wheeled around to a balding, sharply-dressed figure sitting where I had been just moments earlier. His face curled into a huge smile and I felt strangely at ease with this stranger in my house.

 

“Lloyd Blankfein?” was all I managed in my utter confusion.

 

“Not quite,” the man laughed. “Though he gets likened to me all the time.”

 

“Well who the fuck are you and how did you get in here?” My confusion began to spark into panic.

 

“I’ve had many names. But you can call me Lucifer.”

 

“As in the Devil?”

 

“Yes,” he squinted, “That’s another.”

 

“Aw fuck, am I going to Hell?” I said feeling a tightness in my chest. “What did I do?”

 

“Of course not m’boy, just calm down.” Lucifer laughed. “That’s not how any of this works. No I’m just here to ask you to stop using my likeness in your stories. That’s it. You’re making me out to be some penultimate evil but really, I’m not a bad guy.”

 

Lucifer’s nostrils flared and his dark pupils flashed an angry red.

“But,” I stuttered. “But, my draft. You’re why my protagonist descends into madness. I’m already 600 words in, I don’t really want to change it now.”

 

Lucifers smile dropped and he seemed to grow taller. A draft entered the room and the light overhead began to dim. The faint scent of sulfur swept through the room.   

 

“Listen,” Lucifer started, “I’m not evil. I’m not responsible for any worldly evil. And, I’m getting quite tired of taking all this heat all the time. Yes fine, I’m in charge of a nasty little place called Hell but not by my choice.”

 

I began to speak but a quick finger in the air cut that short.

 

“So,” he continued. “You will take me out of your story.” Lucifer’s tone indicating that the last was not a request rather a demand. I saw that there was no winning the argument at this point.

 

“Okay, fine.”

 

“Wonderful,” he said smiling and clasping his hands together. “I think your story will benefit ultimately. Too many stories nowaday suffer from one-dimensional characters who are either good or evil. Let me tell you, I’ve been around the block a bit and let me tell you–nothing is black and white so your characters certainly shouldn’t be.”

 

Lucifer now stood from his, well, my seat on the couch and rose to reveal a ‘man’ taller than I had ever seen.

 

“I should be going.” He said, hooves clacking on the hardwood floors. “Many writers to visit. Also you didn’t buy that package drunk,” he continued pointing at the envelope still in my hands. “I bought that for you. Enjoy.”
I watched wordlessly as this giant goat man strode out my front door and into the still grayness of the dying day. I turned back to the package and ripped the top of the envelope. Upended, the envelope produced an old copy of Mein Kampf accompanied by a note which read: “Even evil thinks it intentions are pure. Take it from one of the greatest villains in history.”  

Prompt January 9, 2017

Prompt: Your 11 year old nephew just ate 2 of your LSD gummy bears 45 minutes ago and you have to make sure he makes it through sane

Note: This one was pretty fun, but looking at it a few days later I think that the ending could use a bit of work.

 

“Hey Uncle Matt,” Timmy craned his neck round from the hum of the television.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Can I have a juice box?” The request was innocent enough.

 

‘He probably saw the drawer full of snack-packs earlier too’ thought Matt, ‘It’s only a matter of time.’

 

“Yeah sure. Get two. One for each of us.”

 

Wordlessly, Timmy hopped up from his cross-legged seat and bounded out of the living room. Matt listened to the pitter-pattering of the 11-year-old’s feet as he half-ran-half walked to the fridge in the other room. It wasn’t often that Diane asked Matt was asked to watch his nephew. But, when he was, he didn’t turn down the opportunity– it was nice having some semblance of company.

 

After a minute, Matt strained to hear the child’s footsteps once again and realized he could not. He reached for the remote lying on the couch next to him and muted the television– still no footsteps.

 

‘Fuck, alright,’ he thought.

 

In one clunky motion he pumped his legs and with a soft grunt and tuck of his gut, Matt was on his feet and started for the kitchen.

 

“Timmy.” He called. “The juice is on the bottom shelf, you can’t miss it.”

 

“I got it.” Timmy responded.

 

As Matt rounded the corner he looked down and saw two juice boxes sitting on the tiled counter adjacent to the fridge. Both french doors were still ajar and appeared to have sprouted tiny legs.

 

“What are you doing? Still hungry? After all that pizza?” Asked Matt.

 

The doors swung closed and there stood little Timmy with a rolled up bit of tinfoil in his hand.

 

“You didn’t tell me you had gummy bears.”

 

He didn’t.

 

“Where did you find those?” He asked staring at the candy.  

 

“They were behind the pudding. Here” Timmy thrust the tinfoil shell with two gummy bears towards his uncle. “Two for me and two for you.”

 

Two thoughts simultaneously collided in Matt’s ever-hurrying thought process. ‘At least he’s sharing,’ and ‘Oh shit, Diane is going to kill me.’ Both were true, though the latter was a bit more troubling. Matt took the tinfoil ball out of Timmy’s hand, scrunched it back up and put it on the upper-most shelf in the refrigerator.  

 

“Timmy.” Matt began sternly, “I didn’t say you could have any of these gummy bears, did I?”

 

“No,” Timmy said dropping his gaze to the floor.

 

“So you took these from me?”

 

“Yes,” Timmy responded, quieter than before.

 

“Well then,” Matt said wondering how his father might handle something like this. “It’s time for bed then.”

 

“Bed?” Timmy’s eyes began to water. “But, it’s only 7 o’clock. I’m sorry Uncle Matt. Please please no. Please can I stay up a little longer.”

 

‘I’ve got to be gentle with the kid,’ thought Matt, ‘He’s probably got another hour before those gummies kick in.’

 

“It’s either bed or I’m calling your mom. And she won’t be happy if she has to leave dinner early.” Matt said pulling his cell from his pocket and began mock dialing his sister. It was a bluff of course but he couldn’t think of any other card to play.  

 

As wordlessly as he bounded off, Timmy sulked his way from the kitchen, down the hall, up the stairs, and into the spare bedroom. Matt trailed behind, and began sending texts. The first to his dealer read “Hey, if you’re still good on L? I need 2 more.” The second, infinitely more nerve wracking text to Diane read, “Timmy said he want’s to stay here tonight. I’ll drop him off tomorrow, have a nice night.”

 

He read over the latter over carefully to make sure there were no mistakes.

 

Matt was halfway up the stairs when he pocketed his phone and walked into the bathroom. He briefly glanced at himself in the mirror, fixed his hair, and reached to the side and opened the medicine cabinet inside. On the bottom shelf was the purple sleepytime CVS-brand Nyquil. He hurried back downstairs to the kitchen found the two juice boxes and poured them into a glass. After scanning the safety warning on the back, he added three shots of the knockoff Nyquil and swirled the two together.

 

Matt, beginning to feel that time was not on his side looked at his phone– 45 minutes left. Okay– plenty of time, hopefully.

 

He entered the guest room and handed Timmy the glass of the sickly looking purple juice. Even though he was being punished Timmy was beaming–not a good sign.

 

“Here.” Matt said “Drink this.”

 

“What is it?”

 

“It’s your juice. You did ask for this so you can have it. Now finish it.”

 

Timmy followed the order the best he could, choking down the concoction, letting out a cough after.

 

“I think the juice went bad Uncle Matt.”

 

“Really?” Matt sniffed the glass and feigned curiosity. “I think you’re right. I’ll get some new stuff for the next time you’re here.”

 

Matt glanced once more at Timmy’s eyes searching for any sign of dilation. After he decided that Timmy looked fine he turned and walked to the door.

 

“I’m not mad at you bud, but you can’t go and take things without asking. Good night,” Matt both said and prayed.

 

“Good night.” was all Matt heard from the darkness.

 

Matt hit the lights and shut the door behind him. The next two hours Matt sat against the wall adjacent the bedroom wrapped in his own anxiety. Any little movement sent shivers down his body as he strained to listen. Eventually he was able to distinguish the sounds of his own house and settled down a bit.
At 9:30 Diane finally responded. “Really? Okay then. Thanks for watching him Matt. I really needed tonight.” His dealer though, remained silent– typical.

Prompt January 8

The Prompt: A person invents a time machine for the sole purpose of traveling back in time to get the autographs of every historical figure (Washington, Napoléon, Hitler, Marline Monroe, JFK) before they die. After making hundreds of trips he becomes known throughout time as the grim reaper.

 

So this is a bit incomplete but at the end I think the reader will pick up on the implication.

 

“I know this is going to sound crazy, but i need you to take a look at this.” Andy said, sliding his ragged history textbook across the desk. The only other noises in the lightly dusted library came from across the reference section–probably just another senior studying for finals.

 

“Okay, two men dueling. Great.” Terry responded curtly, shoving the book back.

 

“No no. Look,” Andy said pressing his finger into the upper left corner of the small painting. Terry’s gaze left his AP physics homework once again to spy a figure in the background of the depiction.

 

“So,” Terry said, stirring in a stronger hint of annoyance.

 

“Don’t you think he look a little out of place?”

 

“Not really.”

 

“C’mon Terry, everyone else in this picture is rocking waistcoats and high socks. But this guy,” Andy said lifting his gaze to Terry, “he looks a little more modern.”

 

It was true, Terry saw. He couldn’t put his finger quite on it, but the man looked as if he was holding a legal pad and a quill.

 

“Hmm, I guess I see what you mean,” said Terry “…odd.”

 

“Well, wait–check this out.” Andy flipped folded over a chunk of paper and through a hundred years of history. The dog-eared page found them in the middle of Japan in the 1870’s.

 

“Notice anything?” Andy asked, the excitement began to show in his rising voice.

 

“I really don’t have an eye for this Andy. I’m a science guy not an art major.” Terry responded.

 

“Look here,” said Andy pointing. “What is the same white guy doing in the middle of Japan during the abolition of the Samurai? And again,” Andy said flipping to a picture of a Nuremberg Nazi rally, “looks familiar, huh? How is this guy showing up at every historically significant event hmm?” Andy questioned as if he was proving a point with a raised eyebrow to boot.

 

“So what? You think this guy is a time traveler?” Terry laughed. But the small sliver of mysticism was intrigued, Terry began studying the face of alleged time-traveler, finding a faint familiarity.

 

“Any more of this guy in here?” asked Terry.

 

The two flipped through the textbook carefully studying each image. Both read as far as the a small section devoted to U.S. presidents and humanitarian work.

 

“I think I found him again,” Andy said lifting his gaze from the book.

 

“Oh yeah?”

 

“Yeah, right here. Just behind President Carter. He kinda looks like you to think of it. Plus ten years and thirty pounds.”

 

Terry saw the similarity. If not Terry, they could certainly have been related to his father. The two boys chalked it up to a strange coincidence.

 

“I’m going to go see what else I can pull off the reference shelf. Be right back.”  Andy said.

 

Terry, still unsettled, returned to his own textbook and ripped a page out of his notebook for notes. The title of the chapter put his mind at ease. “Harnessing Quantum Uncertainty and Dimensional analysis.”    

Prompt Jan. 6 2017

WP:  They say the ancient dragons died long ago, wiped off the face of the earth by the first lords for the safety of all. No one ever told you what danger they truly posed. Now you stand before one, eyes have met, yet it does not lift a claw to harm you…

Sir Nicholas crept around the corner of the dimly lit cave. The flame of his small nub of a torch lept up and forward into the darkness. The tunnel he had been groping along had opened into a large cavern before him. After a few steps into the seeming void a soft jangling sounded from underfoot. Sir Nicholas curiosity had piqued and he crouched down to inspect the noise.

Fumbling with his large metal greaves Sir Nicholas tried, unsuccessfully to pick up the trinket off the ground. After a few attempts, he pulled off the lobstered metal, picked up the piece and held it up to the light.

“Gold?” Sir Nicholas asked as he turned the small yellowish piece in the light of the torch. 

“My god it is.” Sir Nicholas answered himself laughing.

As his eyes adjusted, Sir Nicholas’ gaze swept forward into the depth of the cave. Before him what was once just a murky darkness began twinkling with the unmistakable rich yellow of polished gold.

“I’ll, I’ll be set for life,” Nicholas stuttered. Dreams of lavish parties, women, and untold excess swam through the mind of the lowly household knight. Nicholas’ mouth began to water at the thoughts as he started forward toward the bulk of the riches. He crouched down before the mound and dug a small hole to set his torch in. Beside the light he laid his cumbersome greaves, he wanted to feel his newfound fortune with his hands.

While sorting through coins of kingdoms past and picking out a set of ruby and sapphire-adorned chalices, the problem of transportation suddenly crept into the back of the mind of the single knight.

“Hmmm,” he thought aloud. “I don’t dare hire anyone to do the lifting for me, I’d run the risk of being robbed. And, if I have another of the lord’s knights to help, my lord will expect a share.”

Nicholas squatted and mulled over this dilemma. Above him two gilded serving platter eyes blinked open and rose 30 feet to loom over the hunched knight.

He was still focused on the foot of the pile when a feeling of dread swept over Sir Nicholas. The hair on the back of his neck pricked up and he felt that he was being watched.

“Hello,” Nicholas called out, expecting to hear only his own faint echo.

“Hmmm,” Ardruin yawned, still shaking the sleepiness from his eyes. “Why hello. I haven’t had visitors in so long. To whom do I owe the pleasure?”

Sir Nicholas leapt backwards tripping over his torch and snuffing it out in the process.

“W-W-Who’s there?” Nicholas questioned aimlessly into the dark.

“Oh my apologies sir. Here,” Ardruin said, breathing a plume of fire upwards to the hanging jeweled chandelier suspended 70 feet above Sir Nicholas’ head.

Light quickly filled the cave and Nicholas’ initial shock escalated to a seizing full-body terror that let loose his bowels.  

“A Dra. A Dra. A Dragon.” Nicholas stuttered. He promptly began reciting the bible verses as they popped into his head, as he was sure this was the end.

“Yes, I am a dragon, as men say. Though technically I’m a wyvern. And I have a name: Ardruin.” he paused and began again, “I know I’ve been hibernating for quite some time, but is it not still customary to introduce yourself too?”

Nicholas looked up from his mumbling prayers and managed to squeak out only noises of terror. After a minute or so, he huffed “I’m Nicholas. Sir Nicholas of House Truing”

“It is certainly a pleasure to meet you Sir Nicholas. And to what do I owe the pleasure of a visit from House Truing?” Andruin asked.

“Uhhh,” for a few moments Nicholas’ true purpose for coming had completely escaped him so instead he asked: “Are you not going to eat me?”

“What?” Andruin asked, caught off guard by the bluntness of the question. “I do not eat people.” The scales on the Wyvern’s face seemed to recoil in what might have been disgust.

“But, you’re a dragon. I thought Dragons only ate the flesh of man.“

“Again, I’m a Wyvern and that’s utter nonsense, do you think we live to be as old as I, 679 years give or take, by feasting on the flesh of such nasty creatures. I mean no offense, it’s just that you humans are filled with bitter acids and literal shit.”

Nicholas, more confused now than he was terrified, responded “No offense taken. Uhh, speaking of shit, do you have a loo that I could use, you gave me such a start that I’m afraid I’ve gone and soiled myself.”

“Unfortunately not, Sir Nicholas of House Truing. You’re standing on my bathroom.”

Nicholas looked around for a moment and didn’t see anything that would qualify.“You mean to say that you shit on all of this gold? Why?” The images of wealth and excess that filled Sir Nicholas’ mind turned to literal shit.

“Of course not,” Andruin laughed, “All of this gold is my shit.”

Nicholas walked over to one of the fine ruby encrusted chalice and held it up to Andruin.

“You shit this flawless chalice? Then prove it.” Nicholas challenged.

“It doesn’t really work like that Sir Nicholas. You see, I eat raw ore and expand my cave and then when it’s time, my body expels the ores, just golden.”

Nicholas looked unconvinced.

“We wyverns used to just bury the scat until we saw that you humans were digging it up and trading them for other goods. Then we started keeping them and molding them into what you have there.” Andruin said proudly.

Nicholas stared blankly at the wyvern looming above him and slowly lowered his gaze to the flawless chalice then back to the Wyvern.

“So, if you made this and you don’t eat people, then why are there so many stories of evil dragons, err Wyverns, who hoard gold and kill men?” asked Sir Nicholas.

“I suppose,” Andruin said thinking over his response slowly, “that history is what the winners decide it is.”

“I’m not sure I follow.” Nicholas said now studying the craftsmanship of the chalice.  

“You see Sir Nicholas of House Truing,” Andruin began, “We wyverns used to used to coexist with you humans a long time ago. It must have been…well, hundreds of years ago.” Andruin frowned.

“One day though, the King of you humans called a meeting with our chieftain and asked if he could keep the wyverns from producing more gold. Can you believe that Sir Nicholas of House Truing? The audacity of it all. It’d be like asking you not to shit.”

Nicholas thought he saw a flare of anger pass through the Wyverns eyes.

“As it was so ludicrous,” Andruin continued, “Our chieftain flatly refused this request. It was explained to us that the miners who helped with our dwellings were not to be paid in any more gold. They were, we were told, amassing a wealth rivaling your king. After that small sorte and our flat refusal of his appalling request, the king sent many of you knights to come and dispatch of us. I was one of few to escape this attack but many of us weren’t so lucky.”

“So,” Nicholas began, “let me get this straight. Wyverns aren’t really dangerous. They shit gold. .And they were killed because they simply exist?”

“I suppose that is one way to sum it up Sir.” Andruin said.

“Whichever King called for your death is surely dead now. Why do you choose to stay in hiding?” Nicholas asked.

Andruin paused. “We don’t show our faces anymore because of how you humans perceive us. We would be killed off before we could even explain ourselves.”   

Nicholas’ gaze returned to the pile of wealth. Greed slowly crept up his spine.

“So you don’t want people to know you exist. Then how much is your privacy worth to you?” Nicholas said as a smile crept across his face.

A look of pain crept over the Wyvern’s face.

“Oh, it’s come to this then.” Andruin sighed.

The massive Wyvern crawled over the mound of wealth and pinned down Sir Nicholas before the knight could reach for his sword belt.

“I…I thought you didn’t kill humans,” Sir Nicholas gasped struggling to reach his weapons.

“I said we wyverns don’t eat humans.” Andruin’s nostrils flared and smoked. “I said nothing about killing them.”

“Wait, please.” Sir Nicholas was cut off before he could finish his sentence. A pillar of fire crashed down onto the knights head and melted both flesh and steel.
“Fucking knights.” The wyvern sighed as he lumbered back into the darkness of the cave to sleep.     

My Day Off… And Violent Video Games Rot the Mind

I’ve spent my vacation doing literally nothing. Between Xbox, eating, and trying to catch the fucking mouse that’s made its home in my room, I’ve let the days slip away. And, it’s been pretty nice.

In my opinion there’s no other way to spend a few days off. Sure, you might feel like shit at the end just due to sheer unproductive-ness, but that’s when you become the most productive– like right now.

To the meat.

Monday evening I found myself playing a great game many of you may have heard of called Grand Theft Auto. Great game and great story. Anyway, I was doing story missions and coincidentally my girlfriend who was coming over at the time to watch the newest episode of Westworld, just happened to see me play the most notorious mission in the whole game. This particular mission made headlines when the game first came out. In it, you play as the psychopathic protagonist, Trevor, and well, you torture someone to the edge of death.

Yes, it’s horrific, but it drives the story. I was mid-way through waterboarding this poor chap, when my girlfriend turned to me with the most concerning look. Almost as if she was watching my transformation from Dr. Jekyll she knew into the crazed violence-addicted Mr. Hyde.

“Are you  getting any enjoyment out of this?” She asked.

I admit the question took me by surprise, as, weirdly, a small part of me was. I mean where else in life would I do this? Certainly not to another living person, I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to do it– I hope. But that’s part of the fun with these games, I can do whatever I want with no consequences. Then, when I’m finished, I just turn off the game.

Of course, my girlfriend’s questioning didn’t end with just the aforementioned one.

Just as I attached a car battery to this sad digital bastard’s nipples, she asked: “Don’t you think this desensitizes you to violence?”

Well, no. To be perfectly honest I think that if anything, violent video games make me, in particular, (as I don’t want to speak for anyone else, as I have no clue what I’m talking about) more sensitive to violence.

I’m not going to play Grand Theft Auto and then think that waterboarding or going on a murderous spree on the street is okay whatsoever.

But, who knows. Maybe the radiation and violence coming from my video games have rotted my brain so much that I’ve actually turned a corner and I’m being sensitized once again.

Phew, I better swear this shit off and watch some T.V. Maybe I’ll start binge-ing “24”.

 

Addendum- Welp, my girlfriend read the post. I oversimplified her argument as I often do. She thinks that while yes adults can separate the fantasy from the reality, children cannot. And I agree, like I think any rational adult can. The game is rated “M” for a reason. No one under 17 or 18 should really be running around Los Santos stabbing poor sons-of-bitches in the face in first person.

(And 17 and 18 are arbitrary numbers, I know. Whether or not your ready to play certain games or watch certain movies should be based on maturity–though that would be impossible to slap a number on.)