Transfixus Sed Non Mortuus

Here I Stand, Pierced and Transfixed

Browsing Posts in Prose

I stopped my bike because I saw something in that stygian alley. I opened my eyes a bit wider to see beyond the dimming light of day. Two eyes peered out. Dingy and wet, she crawled out of there and right into my heart. That day, my life was changed.

Last Night’s Dream

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Last night, I dreamt:

I was sitting outside a shop on a park bench. The sunlight was gentle and warm on my back. The sky was a rare blue and I remember thinking that this day was gloriously beautiful.

I stood up and began to walk in the shop. There were a set of double doors made of large panes of smoked glass and black metal. As I reached for the handle, I saw something reflected in the glass. I strained to look at it because it looked like a moving cloud. I turned around to see a giant swarm of bees coming straight for me. Before I could get inside, they attacked me.

I swatted and smashed, but to no avail. I tried to pull them off me, but they stung me again and again. I was in such pain, and (since it was a dream) I immediately felt my skin and face swelling up. Everything went blurry, and then there was only darkness.

The next thing I knew, I woke up in a white room with all kinds of strange equipment. I can only assume it was a hospital room, but there were no nurses or doctors around. A very eclectic group of my friends were there though. There were some people I hadn’t seen since high school and others who have been my best friends for years. They told me I had been in a coma, and they were very happy to see me awake. They gave me a get-well card and everything.

I was talking to an old friend and she said she was there (during the incident). She said that I kept asking, “Are they done stinging me yet?” over and over. I was very embarrassed and I told her so.

It was all very strange, and it was right around that point that I woke up…

Dreams are weird.

This is a story I heard from Marie at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore during my Summer Sleeping Bear Trip. I think she said it was an Ojibwe story, and I’m paraphrasing a lot. With that in mind, here goes:

Long ago, the Earth knew only cold. Never did the children of Fisher, Lynx, or Otter play in the sunlight of spring. There were no spring bird songs, for the birds could not survive in that frigid world. There was only cold and deep snow, and that’s all any of them had ever known. They all were gaunt with hunger all of the time, but Fisher was a smart Fisher. He wanted to bring some warmth to the Earth. He had heard that above the sky was a place called Sky Land, and that up there, the weather was always warm. Fisher decided that if he could break the sky open, he could bring warmth of Sky Land to the Earth about him. He enlisted his best friends to help him on his quest. These were Otter, Lynx, and Wolverine.

Together, the four friends traveled to the tallest tree on all the Earth. Otter tried to reach Sky Land first. He climbed to the very topmost branch and took a flying leap at the sky. Alas, he fell to earth, and in doing so, he found out that he could slide quickly over the snow. He completely forgot what he had been trying to do because this new thing was a lot of fun. So, off he went sliding down the hills in the snow. Lynx tried next, but he too failed and was distracted. Wolverine was a powerful and steadfast creature and at first, he too failed. But he doggedly climbed the tree and jumped and jumped again and again. At last, he was able to sink his claws into a tiny crack in the sky that he had created. He pulled and pushed, and at last broke a small chunk of the sky open. He fell to Earth and told Fisher what he had done. Fisher and Wolverine then tried to get into Sky Land through the tiny space. Luckily since they were so gaunt with hunger, they were just barely able to fit through.

Once inside Sky Land, they were amazed. The trees were not the cold and leafless sticks in the ground like it was below. They were filled with leaves and blossoms. There was rich cool grass to run and frolic through, with gentle streams of cool water. Most importantly, there were berries and good food for Fisher and Wolverine. They ate and ate, and then ate some more. They put food on their backs and thought of how happy their family and friends would be to have all this wonderful food.

As they were wandering around eating nearly everything they could, they came across the village of the Sky People. There was smoke rising from the hearths, but there was no one outside their dwellings. However, Fisher and Wolverine did notice that outside every place was a bird in a cage. There were all kinds of birds there. Fisher and Wolverine decided to let the birds free.

Quickly, they chewed through the clasps of the cages and let the birds loose. However, doing so caused a commotion loud enough for the Sky People to wonder what was going on outside. They ran outside to find Fisher and Wolverine looking quite sheepish. The Sky People were very angry!

Fisher and Wolverine took off like shooting stars and headed for the hole they had made. The Sky People were right on their tails. They ran faster than the Sky People and arrived at the hole a short while before them. However, all their eating had made it so that they couldn’t fit through the hole anymore. So, Fisher and Wolverine frantically beat on the bottom of Sky Land while the Sky People drew near.

Wolverine beat and clawed at the crack and Fisher chewed at the corners. Soon, a small piece fell off, but it wasn’t big enough yet. Just as the Sky People were nearly upon them, Wolverine gave a mighty crash to the outer part of the hole, and broke it open enough for him to get through. Wolverine jumped down onto the Earth. Looking up, he that poor Fisher didn’t make it. They Sky People had got to him just before he could get through the hole.

The Great Manitou saw all this and admired Fisher’s caring and courage. He put Fisher up in the sky for all to see (also known as the Big Dipper), and also allowed Fisher to bring Skyland to the Earth for a part of the year. Fisher brings the spring when he arrives, and as he is leaving, it is fall time. When he is gone, the Earth is as it was, a cold and wintry place.

And that’s the story of Fisher.

Last night, I dreamt:

I was riding my bike down this long and winding dirt trail. I was looking for the Highway M-22. The trail opened onto a large farm with split rail fences all along its length.

I paused for a moment, and then saw a few kids coming up to me. They were dressed in old-timey clothes, including old leather boots and heavy cotton shirts. There was a girl in a long dress as well. As they approached, I said hello and asked if they knew where M-22 was. They didn’t, but offered to get me some water, which I assented to.

In the meantime, the girl and the oldest boy talked to me about the “world outside.” I found that they were completely ignorant of the things of the modern world. So, I told them of some of the great things that I’d seen. I told them that there were machines that could look inside a person to see if there was anything wrong with them. I told them of the machines that made ice anytime they wanted. I spoke of cars, trains, and planes. I told them of air conditioning, high-rises, and malls.

“Take me with you when you go,” the girl said with more than a little longing in her voice.

A cloud came over my thoughts, and I told her that it’s not all amazing things. I told them both that while there is much to marvel at, I have seen much that makes me shudder. Then I spoke of robberies, murder, wars, genocide, and needless death. I spoke of people rushing around like bees without a heart. I told them of those trampling the freedoms of others without realizing it. I told them of the constant push towards infinite liquidity, and the resulting unhappiness.

As I said these things, I realized how unimportant getting to M-22 really was for me. I paused and said, “What about here? What if I stayed here…with you?”

The next thing I knew, I was with their parents discussing working for them. They were concerned that I would poison their sons and daughter with my tales of the “outside world.” I told them how their daughter had already asked to go with me when I left, but I had told her of much of the craziness of that life. They seemed satisfied, so they allowed me to stay.

I then had a bunch of flashes of memories: hard work, hot sun, and laughing all the while. My bike began to rust, and then one day, I had a hankering to see the “outside world” again. I couldn’t get those thoughts out of my head.

I was staring at my bike while I decided if I should go or stay. Then, I woke up.

Once, in the windy misty north, there appeared a child. He might have dropped out of the sky, or maybe he always was there. Who knows? He knew neither his name nor a human language. He had no idea how he had came to be, nor had he any memory but white and snow.

Harold, a polar bear of rather ill repute, was the first to come across this strange and nameless child. The scent of the child hit Harold’s nostrils while he was trying to find some good seal flesh to tear into, but something about the smell drew him away from his previous thoughts of seals. The smell was sweet and though he had never smelled anything quite like it before, Harold thought it smelled delicious.

He lumbered slowly on his way in the direction of the smell. Since he was not entirely sure what to expect, he was a little more careful than normal. Though he weighed half a ton of pure muscle and fat, he knew that even he could be lured into danger by other creatures in this harsh permafrost. Yet when he arrived at the place where the child was, he was rather taken aback. For you see, the child stood there without fur, yet without shivering either! It was the strangest thing Harold had ever seen. Even little polar bear cubs have to keep warm!

Harold circled warily around the little fleshy child. The child looked up and saw him circling. As Harold circled completely around the little creature, he again smelled the sweet smell of the child’s flesh. He licked his lips and prepared to charge the child.

In the Polar Bear language, the child asked, “What are you doing?”

At this, Harold was very surprised, and stopped his charge. “I’m going to eat you, little one. Be quiet now and don’t make a fuss. You are delicious, and I am hungry.”

At this, the child raised a single eyebrow and said, “That’s silly. Why would you want to eat me?”

As Harold was about to reply, he heard a low growl from behind him. Turning around, he saw the gray wolf Maya, the gray wolf matriarch, and five other gray wolves in close pack formation behind her. As Harold looked back, Maya made a motion, and the five others spread out around her and started circling around Harold.

“Maya,” Harold growled in his best Wolf (though according to most wolves, he had a terrible accent). “This food is mine to eat, and if I must I will fight you for it!”

Maya growled in her turn, “We are hungry and have traveled long in following this scent. You will not take such a lovely food from us.”

At this, the child again spoke up, this time in perfect Wolf language, “You are silly ones. I’m not made for you to eat me, and besides, you can have your fill soon.”

Maya glanced over Harold’s shoulder and yipped, “What craziness are you talking about?”

The child was making something in the snow that looked like little oblong snowballs, and stacking them on top of one another. Harold looked back at the child, and Maya, seeing her chance went right for his thick neck with a growl. The five others surged around her and Harold reared up with Maya still attached to his neck. The seven beasts swirled and struggled for a long while, but the wolves could not break through all Harold’s fatty tissue. For his part, Harold was dancing, pawing, and hitting the wolves. Soon, he had broken one of the wolves’ back, but the fight still boiled hither and thither.

All at once, in the midst of that horrible din, the child’s voice shown through, “It’s dinner time.”

Maya glanced over and saw a huge pile of meat where all the oblong snowballs had been. Harold was too busy with the fighting to have heard the child. Seeing all that meat, Maya gave the command to retreat for a moment. Harold shook off the four other wolves and glanced around.

“I knew you couldn’t best me,” cried Harold.

Maya said in an annoyed voice, “Just turn around, you fool.”

The child said, “Oh yes, please do.”

Harold turned around and there before him stood the largest pile of meat he had ever seen. It looked so sweet and succulent.

With a loud cry of happiness, he ran to the meat and began to chow down, completely forgetting the battle. He didn’t even notice or care that the wolves jumped in right beside him, and were eating heartily. The meat was something that he had never tasted before, but it was amazing. For her part, Maya was in complete agreement with this idea. She was chewing as fast as her mouth would allow, and that still didn’t seem like enough.

After they had eaten their fill, they all sat down with bellies as full as full could be. That’s when Harold noticed that the child was no longer to be found!

Harold asked Maya, “Did you eat the creature when I wasn’t looking?”

Maya replied, “No. Where did that little thing go? I have need of such a creature as that.”

“As do I,” replied Harold.

Maya said, “Not as much as I, for I have many mouths to feed.”

Harold said, “Oh, don’t be ridiculous. I need to eat more than your entire pack every day!”

They argued for a long while afterward, but they were far too full to fight.

They never forgot the “Nameless One” as the child came to be called. Harold especially remembered the delicious meat that the child had made for him. As time passed, all other meats didn’t taste very good at all to Harold, nor did they taste well to Maya.

One day, Harold happened upon a crazy idea while chewing on a seal bone. He decided to that he would go in search of the Nameless One, and then he could get all the meat he wanted.

Last Night’s Dream

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Last night, I dreamt:

I was camping with a group of people on the edge of a small lake. However, we weren’t camping in tents. We were in these small a-frame structures with clear glass tops.

At one point, we were sitting around the bonfire and George, an older man (that I don’t think I ever met in real life, but knew very well in my dream) had just got done singing. Everyone was telling him what a good job he did. He just laughed and then went into his a-frame glass tent-thing.

He came out with a flare pistol, which he shot into the air. As the flare went up and exploded in the sky, everyone got really angry.

“What are you doing?” someone shouted.

“You should only use that in emergencies,” another declared.

I didn’t say much.

Within five minutes, a couple of hummers filled with park rangers came rolling up. They looked in a hurry.

At this, George yelled, “Oh my, are you guys in some sort of trouble? Is there an emergency you need help with?”

In my dream, I thought this was the funniest thing ever: the way George turned the emergency around. I couldn’t stop laughing and I was on the ground rolling around, and could hardly breathe.

I woke up from last night’s dream laughing. However, after my brain was somewhat sorted and back to normal, I realized that it actually wasn’t as funny as I thought it was in my dream.

(This fairy tale is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License)

There once was a young girl by the name of Myriad. She was a wonderful wonder to behold with shimmering red hair that sparkled like hot coals of a cooling fire. Blue were her eyes, and oh, so radiant a blue were her eyes that a glance from her could bring light to the darkest heart and was a balm for the most forlorn soul. She was the youngest of twenty children, and she herself was a shepherdess at the edge of the Great Forest.

When she was a little girl, she had fallen into the lair of Will O’ Wisp and had made a friend of that ghastly creature. That alone is a great proof of her amazing abilities to bring light where there is dark.

This particular instance I am about to relate happened when she had seen twelve summers, and at that time, it was a fine fall in the Great Forest. The leaves of the trees had turned a thousand shades of orange, red, brown, and yellow. Some of the leaves had even fallen to the ground below, draping the forest floor in a thousand pretty colors. Seeing all this, Myriad decided to go for a walk to view all the splendid colors as soon as her chores were done.

She got the sheep in the pen and was about to head out when her father, the ever-loving man that he was, told her to bring a shawl in case the air cooled quickly (as it often does in the great forest). She ran back into the cottage, grabbed her shawl, and off she trod into the forest.

She admired how the sun shimmered among the reds and yellows. The light was broken into tiny pinpoints of light as it was filtered through the boughs and leaves above her. Feeling quite merry, she began to hum a little tune that was fresh in her mind. She had traveled along in this manner for only short while before she came upon the ogre of Gallowpeak.

For those who don’t know, the ogre of Gallowpeak was one of the most ornery and spiteful creatures one could meet in all the Great Forest! To make matters worse, as soon as the ogre set his eyes upon poor Myriad, a tiny piece of his heart that was still left for loving fell in love with Myriad! Oh, imagine a creature that had lived for hundreds of years falling in love with a girl not yet thirteen! Of course, the ogre of Gallowpeak had no shame or honor.

Irregardless of the impropriety of such a thing, the ogre cast a hard eye upon her and demanded that she be his bride that very day. Myriad looked up at the powerful creature who could toss her like a rag doll from one end of the forest to the other if he so chose. But aside from being a gentle and beautiful soul, Myriad also had a strong bit of wit on which to rely. In truth, wit is often all anyone can rely on when outnumbered or overpowered.

Myriad took stock of the situation and ever so gently, she spoke, “Gentle lord, I have no dowry or trappings for such a thing as a wedding.”

“I care not,” replied the ogre.

“Well, you must understand that it is the law of the land that all my older sisters be married before I. We cannot have any spinsters in my family.”

“I care not for your laws or your family. I care for you alone,” the ogre boomed.

Myriad replied, “Then if you care for me, then give me a fortnight to prepare for a wedding.”

At this, she had the ogre. For on one hand, he wanted Myriad to love him, but on the other hand, he wanted her for his wife that very day. He decided on a compromise of seven days. At the end of seven days, she would be at the top of Gallowpeak mountain for the marriage, or the ogre would come and find her. He had said the word “find” with a tremor of ominousness in his voice, and Myriad did not want to know what he would do when he “found” her. One thing that she did know was that she had to find some way of stopping the wedding.

Myriad ran home and told her father what had happened. The father knew that even if he should gather a hundred men, that would not be enough to fight such a one as the ogre of Gallowpeak. Myriad, for her part did not know what to do either. She had been able to postpone the wedding, but she knew that unless she left the Great Forest and never returned, the ogre would find her. Yet, even if she did leave, then his anger would flow to her family and to the gentle countryside that she had grown to love. That, she could not abide.

At last, she happened upon an idea. As I mentioned before, she had become friends with no other than Will O’ Wisp. She was surprised at herself that she hadn’t thought of it before. Surely the powerful lord of the swamp would have some idea for stopping this marriage!

Immediately, she ran to the domain of Will ‘O Wisp. Once inside his domain, she found him asleep. He awoke with a frightful start at Myriad’s hurried awakening, and though Myriad had grown to love Will ‘O Wisp as a brother, even she was frightened at his unearthly waking. Though she didn’t show it, she grew even more frightened after she told him her sorry tale, for his anger could barely be contained. The baleful orange eyes of Will O’ Wisp were filled with an unearthly fire, and his thin lips were set in snarl after snarl as she relayed her tale of woe.

When Myriad completed her story, Will O’ Wisp stood there towering over her, shaking in anger. At last, Will O’ Wisp spoke, “I will rend him limb from limb. I will chop him in a thousand pieces with my swamp axe, and scatter him over the Ocean of the East. I will…”, but Myriad stopped him in mid-sentence.

She cried, “Oh, you mustn’t! I have no love for Gallowpeak, but I cannot have him destroyed on my account!”

At that, Will O’ Wisp looked shocked and stared at Myriad for a long while. Then, he laughed his cold, strange laugh. “There are things inside you that I will never understand,” he replied. “If that is what you wish, than I shall acquiesce. What would you have me do?”

“I just don’t want to marry him. That’s all. I wish him no ill will.” Myriad replied.

Will O’ Wisp stood there thoughtfully for a long moment. Perhaps he stood there for two long moments. While he was doing so, Myriad put her shawl over her head. At that, old Will O’ Wisp remembered something he hadn’t thought in many a year. An old witch of the grey shawl had told him a secret that he had kept for a long time.

“There is an old saying that if you can grab an ogre at the knee for seconds three times three, he must grant you one request. If it is in his power, he must obey. However, if you loose your hand before those nine seconds are complete, he has power over your name and you must grant him one request, and obey it. I think we both know what he would ask of you should you fail.”

Myriad shuddered. Nevertheless, she plucked up her courage and said, “Then that is what I must do.”

Will O’ Wisp then told her that when she goes up the mountain in seven days’ time, she must walk right up to the ogre as he sits on his stone throne. By gently putting her hand on his knee, he might not notice her plan. He told her that he would disguise himself and be near her to protect her when the time came. He also told her that the ogre of Gallowpeak has a group of spies at his command, and to tell this plan to no one. In fact, she should not visit Will O’ Wisp again till after this whole ordeal was behind her.

In order to fool the ogre, Myriad acted as if she were going to get married. Her mother cleaned up her best dress, and she made sure that her whole family would attend the wedding. Of her plan, she told them nothing. They were sorrowful for her going away, and the ogre’s spies saw this, and indeed, those wretched spies were satisfied that she was preparing for the wedding.

The seventh day came all too soon, and Myriad and her family began the trek up Gallowpeak mountain. There were three tens of people all told, but no one seemed like they wanted to speak. It was a sombre trek indeed. For her part, Myriad was scared that she would fail, so she too was very sombre and quiet. She also was worried because she hadn’t seen Will O’ Wisp at all in that sombre company. At last they reached the giant stone gates of Gallowpeak. The gates swung open and the thirty people went inside.

When Myriad was presented in the hall of Gallowpeak, she took her place next to the ogre. There was a small bench adjacent to his stone throne on which she sat. As soon as she sat down, she reached her hand for the ogre’s knee. The ogre, on seeing this thought that she was seeking to hold his hand.

“Aren’t you the forward one?” he cried. Then he clasped her hand tightly, and called for the guests to take their seats around the hall, and for the entertainment to be brought out. Myriad’s face grew pale as she realized that she might not be able to grab the ogre’s knee without him noticing. A group of dancers came out, and they all performed magnificently. However, in her present condition of consternation, poor Myriad could not enjoy it. Yet, she certainly did pretend she enjoyed it every time the ogre cast his eyes upon her, though every second seemed interminable and her heart thudded in her chest as she thought that her plan would fail.

One of the dancers in the troop stood out for her poise, rhythm, and speed. She was leaping to and fro like a stag. From one end of the hall to the other, she danced. The others soon stopped in amazement. The musicians continued to play, and the dancer whirled and gazed on the ogre all the while. The ogre let loose Myriad’s hand and began to clap along with the music. Myriad’s heart grew light again with a tiny sprig of hope. That sprig of hope bloomed in Myriad’s heart as she let her hand drop to his knee. Her father didn’t know what to think when he saw her on what he thought was such good terms with Gallowpeak. Little did he know the reason for her impropriety.

On seeing Myriad drop her hand, the dancer danced all the faster and more wildly. The ogre paid no attention to the hand that held his knee fast. A few seconds passed, and the dancer made an amazing spin that surprised all there. The ogre was laughing and clapping to the tune’s time as six seconds wore on. At the count of seven, the dancer accidentally slipped and fell. The music jarred to a halt and the hall was silent at the count of eight seconds. At that instant, the ogre glanced down and seeing a hand on his knee, he gave a fearful knowing glance at Myriad and tried to pull it away. But he had seen too late for nine seconds had passed!

The ogre knew that the three times three seconds had passed, and a sharp cry of pain escaped the ogre’s lips and pierced the silent hall with a mournful echo. He lept away from Myriad in one bound as if to run away. But as he tried to take another step, it was as if he hit a large wall, though nothing visible stood in his way. He slowly turned back to Myriad and dejectedly asked, “What is your request?”

“I cannot marry you,” Myriad simply said.

“That is not a request. Ask and I must grant whatever you ask if it be within my power,” the giant replied all the more dejectedly.

At this, Myriad paused to think. She must word her request so that there would be no loopholes for the ogre to cause trouble for her later. At this, the dancer who had danced spectacularly went up to Myriad. She whispered something in Myriad’s ear. At this Myriad smiled.

Myriad said in a loud voice, “My request is that you follow my commands in all things from this moment until the end of your days.”

The ogre hung his ugly head and said, “Your request is granted.”

During this exchange, Myriad’s family had been very confused about everything that was taking place, but when the ogre said those words, the hall echoed with a gasp and then a cheer of twenty and nine voices at once. They didn’t understand how Myriad had done what she had done, but they were ecstatic!

Myriad said, “My first command to you is that if you seek a wife, you find one who has lived at least as long as you have. It is most unseemly for an ogre such as yourself to be traipsing around with a child like me.”

The ogre meekly shook his head, while Myriad’s father nodded sagely in agreement.

Myriad spoke again. “I also command you to practice being kind to everyone. I know that there is much good in you. You must have some higher feelings than you know. Your love for me, though unrequited, is proof of that.”

The ogre again nodded his head.

Myriad spoke a third time. “To show you that I owe you no ill will, I command you to come to my cottage for supper this very evening.”

At this, Myriad’s family gasped again in surprise. There was still much to fear in looking at that giant of an ogre standing before them. Myriad’s father did not nod so sagely as he had at her first command, but if he was displeased, he didn’t show it.

Myriad made sure to speak to the dancer and invite her to dinner as well. After all this, the family strode out of the hall, through the stone gates, and down the mountain with Myriad, the ogre, and the dancer trailing behind. In fact, before the thirty and two reached the cottage, the three stragglers seemed to be on the noble and good terms of friendship.

The dinner that night was a bit tense at first on account of various fears of both the family members and the ogre. The ogre didn’t know how to behave at a dinner table, but Myriad and her siblings were patient teachers of etiquette. For the family’s part, there was still a lot of fear of such a powerful creature in their large, but meager cottage. However, after everyone had eaten, a few songs were sung and some stories were told. Soon, the ogre found something inside him that had never existed before (or if it had existed, it had been a very long time). He found himself feeling feelings of warmth, gratitude, and friendship. He began to sing along with the songs and tell a few yarns of his own. All this warmth and feeling of belonging he had never experienced before, and his ugly face became a little less hard as he began to smile and laugh along with the family.

It came out in the course of the night that the amazing dancer had been none other than Will O’ Wisp. At this, the ogre grew angry for having been fooled, but Will O’ Wisp whispered some things to the ogre that at first made him more agitated, and they whispered together for a while longer until Will O’ Wisp had set the ogre quite at ease. The rest of the evening went by in a blink of a happy eye.

I dare say that once again, young Myriad had made a friend out of someone who heretofore was incapable of such relationships. As the years passed, through Myriad’s gentle guidance, the ogre grew ever more gentle and kind to all around. He took a female ogre to be his queen, and she too became as gentle as Gallowpeak himself. His spies became farmers, blacksmiths, and other tradesmen. His dark and stony mountain became a park of sorts, and people from far and wide would travel to that mountainside and marvel at how it now bloomed with rare and beautiful flowers where only harsh and jagged rocks had once laid claim. It became a destination for picnickers, and all these, the ogre accepted quite gracefully and majestically. Thanks to Myriad, he came to be known as the gentle ogre of Gallowpeak.

So ends the story of how Myriad met the ogre of Gallowspeak.

(This fairy tale is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License)

I hope that love and laughter are yours today. I hope that happiness and joy bring you gently to the other side of today. I hope that every person you meet builds the love of your fellow-man today. I hope you have a very very Happy St. Valentine’s Day today!

Dear Santa

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Dear Santa,

As I’m sure you are aware, I’ve been way better this year than last. A lot of the improvements and efficiencies I implemented at the beginning of last year are producing results. My net niceness (shown in blue on the graph below) has definitely shown improvement over the last 11 months.

I know there’s plenty of room for improvement, but I think we both can agree that you should DEFINITELY put me on the “Nice List” this year. Right? Maybe? Well, when you are checking the list twice, please note that this month should be a new record in terms of net niceness!

Now that we’ve got that little presentation out the way, here’s this year’s list:

1. Sandra Bullock with a big red bow (as you may recall, I have put this as my number 1 since I was twelve…)
2. World Peace
3. Louis Garneau Power Seal Shoe Covers (Size Medium)
4. Some more energy and time management skills
5. Spanish-English dictionary
6. For people to learn more about the environment and work to protect it
7. Blackburn Voyager Bike Light or Blackburn Flea USB Plus Solar
8. More love and compassion
9. Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
10. Health and Happiness for all my family and friends
11. Tea Infuser and some loose tea leaves
12. Music CD’s or iTunes Gift Cards
13. Irish books, music, etc.
14. A Good Scarf
15. A gift certificate to Running Fit
16. Reflective Gear, such as long running pants, reflective bands to hold my pant cuff off my bicycle, etc.

But of course, I will be happy with whatever you think I deserve, Santa.

I hope you and the missus have a great holiday, and I hope to see you soon.

Sincerely yours,

John Walsh

Corey was the name I gave her, and I got her for free. I had been driving my parent’s seventy eight ford fairmont for a while when my uncle gave me the first car I ever owned: a 1988 Chevrolet Corsica. Man, I thought she was beautiful!

The car was a metallic gray color with red and black accents and she had been well taken care of when I received her. The interior was a light gray color as well. When I went to the Secretary of State’s office and got my name printed on the title of ownership, I was ecstatic. I remember that I would sometimes just drive her for hours (though I didn’t have much in the way of gas money) just listening to the lull of the engine, and every once in a while, I’d turn the radio on as well.

Corey was equipped with a tape deck radio and a year or so after I got her, I bought a Philips CD Player with a special adapter that went in the tape deck. Then, I was always listening to cds. I found that I loved music in many of its forms, and I could sing along at the top of my lungs on long drives and no one would ever know, or if they did notice me, they didn’t care.

I remember taking Corey on long trips up north for camping trips throughout high school. I also would pack some of my teammates for cross country in there and we would roar off to practice shouting at pedestrians and doing things teenagers inevitably do. I would kiss a girl or two from her front seat. I would roar off to many places I had never been. I thought she was the coolest thing on wheels, not because she was the best looking or the most expensive, but because she was mine.

After a few years of ownership, I had to touch her up with some paint as rust spots were appearing, and they were growing larger. Due to fading, the color I got matched from the side of the car didn’t actually match the hood. So, Corey had a few spots here and there of darker coloring. That gave her a lot of character.

I took her with me when I went to the University of Michigan. I mostly drove her on weekends during that time, or if I wanted to come home to see the parents. It so happened that on one fateful day, my transmission was acting kind of funny. I decided to drive it back to Jackson to see what my mechanic could do. As I headed down the road, the transmission just seized up and Corey came to a halt for the last time.

When I found that she couldn’t be repaired, I acted tough, but I knew a little piece of my history was dying inside. I went with Steve, my brother in law, as we brought it to the scrap yard. I remember the churning in my stomach as the large crane came down and it’s dirty hard claws smashed into Corey’s windows. I remember the overwhelming need-to-cry-out sort of feeling as the car was lifted off the trailer and carelessly tossed on top of a huge stack of other cars, trucks, and vans. The whole ordeal made me sick to my stomach and made me feel like I had abandoned Corey in her hour of need. As Steve slowly pulled away, I wiped the single tear that was forming in my eye away, and looked at the road ahead.

I will always remember her, and the many amazing and awesome times we had.

This little ode was brought to you by the commercial below. It really brought a lot of those feelings back to me, and I would probably do something like this because I’m a very nostalgic person.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qgn6Fv-n0bc