Archive for the ‘ Short Fiction ’ Category

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor deleted files shall stop the Cynic from recovering his Freshman English project

THE CYNIC

2002

 

“Dna htiw ym nwo seye I was eht yelims gnignah morf eht sdnilb, dna I dias: Tahw sah deneppah ot ouy? Nda eht yelims dias “I evah neeb dehcnyl”

For Mr. Bloom:

evah a ecin yad.

 

  1. The Waking of the Brain Dead

 

April is the cruelest month, testing

My alarm can wake the dead, beeping

The Cynic is awaking, stirring

To begin his daily reign.

The comforter keeps me warm, covering

I am now in the kitchen, feeding

A little Captain Crunch with milk

The good ‘ol days I still do miss

And as I shower I reminisce,

And I went out of the sun, and into the Safeway’s 10

And to the brain-washing muzak we listened for an hour:

Galileo! Galileo! Galileo Figario! Magnifico-o-o-o!

The manager, he kicked us out,

And I was frightened. He said, Kid,

Kid, no loitering! And out we went.

In the strip mall, there teens feel free.

But enough of the past, for I’m out of hot water.

 

Where are the graduates, what knowledge grows

Out of this rubbish? Son of a gun, 20

I don’t know, or cannot guess, for I know only

A massive collection of bricks, where the sun bakes.

And the classroom gives no shelter, the learner no relief,

And the vending machine gives no change.

But there is a secret among these red bricks.

(Come and I will tell you about these red bricks)

And I’ll tell you something, but make sure

There are no teachers hiding behind you

Or no teachers coming to meet you;

I will show you what lies beneath this dust. 30

Annuit coeptis

Novus ordo seclordum,

E pluberus unum,

All others pay cash

“I suspected first a year ago;

“They called me a crazy dude”

— Yet when we* came back, late, from lunch off campus,

My stomach full, and hair gelled, I could not

Speak, but my suspicions were confirmed

As I saw staff members disappear 40

Into the underground via the drainpipe.

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.

 

Miss Cleo, famous scam artist

Has nothing to do with the story, nevertheless

Is one of the ugliest women on TV,

With a rigged pack of cards. Here, said she,

Is your card, the deranged Air Force Pilot,

(Those are wings on his uniform. Look!)

Here is Bloomadonna, Wizard of the Words, 50

The Vangoah of Vocabulary.

Here is the man with six numbers, and there is the tin,

And here is the one-minded student, and this card,

Which is blank, is something I spilled whiteout on,

Which I can no longer see. I do not find

The Hanged Smiley. Fear death by administrator.

Thank you. The bill will arrive shortly,

Please feel free to- I changed the channel:

There is such garbage on the tube these days.

 

Unreal classroom, 60

Under the rotting roof of a Phoenix school,

A crowd flowed in through the door, so many,

I had not thought AP had received so many.

Bells, short and infrequent, were signaled,

And each man stood post at his desk.

He paced up the rows and to his desk,

To where the attendance sheet was kept

With a dead sound, the EOP bell rang at the stroke of nine.

Then I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying: “Trevor!”

“You were with me when you wrote the suicide note, 70

“has it received a grade? Or did Bloom veto it?

“Oh keep that thought far hence, and away from Bloom,

“Lest he bring up stomping again!

“You! English techeur! – You likem my Freunch?

 

II. An Installment of Reading

 

The chair I sat in, like a quadriplegic,

Staring at the front, where the radio

Powered by its long-lasting dry cells, 80

From which a deep voice peeped out

(He was an old man who…)

Seemed to double the passing of time

Emitting sound from the table as

We followed along in our books

From our desks in sheer frustration,

In waves came the colorful language

Uncensored, came the strange synthetic phrases,

Unusual this story – we were troubled, confused

And drowned with the images; the descriptions 90

As the old man cast out his lines, his life

And talked to himself and the seagulls,

Floating in his skiff on the sea,

Stirring the waters on the placid surface.

Huge sea-fish snagged the line,

Pulled hard and sturdy, unrivaled size and strength,

And he ate raw dolphin, and was towed.

Above the sail was displayed

And the man accepted the bizarre scene

The fish of Santiago, the fishing king 100

So rudely dragged; yet there the seagull

Sat and listened to the undiscouraged voice

And then she flew, but still the voice continued,

“Fish… fish” spoke his lips.

And on we sat through time

I looked upon the posters, staring forms

Looked back at book lines, and read between them.

Footsteps drew my stare

I saw his shoes, his tie, his hair

And the finger hit the button 110

And the tape grew savagely still.

 

“We stop here for the day. Yes, stop. How is it?

“Speak to me. Why does no student speak? Speak.

“I doubt some of you are thinking? What thinking? Think!”

 

I think the monotonous voice mesmerized me.

I think I have lost all thought, and been chilled to the bones.

 

“You want me to just tell you?”

That would be nice.

“You want me to tell? Well, I’m not going to do that!”

Suit yourself. 120

“Do

“You think nothing? Do you hear nothing? Do you remember

“Nothing?”

I remember

The wings on his uniform.

“Are you accelerated or not? Is there nothing in your head?”

But

O O O O that Code Hero Rag-

It’s so eminent

So irrelevant 130

“What shall we read now? What shall we read?

“I shall leave you, and walk down the hall

“So, then. This is what we will read to-morrow?

“This we shall do?”

The bell rings at ten

And lunch at twelve, nearly dismissed at fourteen.

And I shall spin a record

And ponder the location of the hidden door.

 

As I stood in line, I said –

I didn’t mince the words, I said to my friends, 140

AND WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE, SIR?

Now Bucky’s coming by, act smart.

He’ll want back the money he gave you

To buy yourself some fries. He did, I was there

And you salted them heavily

He said, I swear, I don’t know how you eat them.

And no more can’t I, and consider poor Bucky.

He’ll be in the Army in four years, and needs cash,

And if you won’t give it to him, you’re in deep, I said.

And I’ll know who to thank, Ax said, and gave me a strong stare. 150

AND WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE, SIR?

If you don’t pay soon the interest comes, I said,

Others make you pay if you can’t.

But if Bucky takes off, it won’t be with empty wallet.

You ought to be ashamed, I said, like a perturbed mother.

(And then came the kicker)

I can’t help it, he said, pulling a long face.

I borrowed more, I needed more blank discs.

(He has five already. I nearly died from concealing my laughter) 160

The sharks said it would be all right, but they’ve never gotten off my back.

You blithering idiot, I said.

Well, if Bucky won’t leave you alone, T.S. (tough situation)

What did you borrow for if you didn’t want trouble?

AND WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE, SIR?

Well, I’m taking off home, and vegging some more,

And I rolled my eyes at the beauty of the whole situation.

AND WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE, SIR?

AND WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE, SIR?

Later Ax. Later Saber. Later James. Later. 170

See ya. Later. Later.

Later,friends, later, comrades, later, later.

 

III. Open Flame & Baked Beans

 

The sky is broken, the last shreds of daylight

The news speaks of the West Bank. The sun

Goes down. I feel the light betray me. The light is departed.

Linkin Park plays softly, and I think.

The baked beans provide nourishment, vitamins,

Minerals, nutrients, awesome dinner

And I think of beneath the school. The light is departed.

And my friends, who loiter daily near its entrance; 180

This issue I must address.

By the waters of my pool I sat down and thought…

Linkin Park, play softly your emotional song,

Linkin Park, play softly, for I think hard and long.

But from my back a blast I hear

To rattle my bones, and I chuckled from ear to ear.

I think I killed some vegetation

And I considered the school’s plants

Under which a dull canal

Is it used on winter evenings as a gashouse? 190

Its purpose is unknown, and I’m a wreck.

And as my father bellowed,

I looked at the damp ground

And turned away and went inside,

Embarked to my room, dust to dust

But from my back time to time I hear

The sound of bean residuals, and I sing.

Sweeny to Green Day, punk-ish theme:

Do you have the time

To listen to me whine 200

About nothing and everything all at one?

Sha la la la la la, a Brown Eyed Girl…

 

Twit twit twit

Is someone making fun of me?

So rudely forc’d.

Imbeciles.

 

Unreal Classroom

Under the glaring bulbs

Mr. Bloom, the Eloquent merchant

Unshaven, with a bag full of contraband 210

Ph.D. English, documents in hand,

Asked me in serious tone

To luncheon in the place where there is no darkness

Followed by a weekend at Metro Center.

 

At the right hour, I sat suspicious

Looked up from my desk, where the professor awaits

Had he known my subterranean intentions?

I Trevoreous, recently moved, and stuck between two women,

Who greatly obstruct my view, can see

That this hour, begins the Cynic’s strife 220

Time, will bring this problem into view,

And as our conspirators exchange, it lights

The stove, over which militants hang

Where curiosity and sarcasm are spread

The cynic’s theories are seeing their last days,

As the two parties ascend (the Otis escalator)

Pass Funkoland, Macy’s, Cinnabon, and Orange Julius

I Trevoreous, young prophet with smirk on face,

Perceived this scene, and quivered to think-

I gained knowledge of the Cynic’s decease 230

At the underground he shall arrive,

Accompanied by an agent, with a bold stare,

On whom the cynic’s assurance sits

Where he shall be taken, captured

And must endure the deathly fear

The time is upon us, as I guessed

Looking for a confidant,

Will confess to his dear teacher

He fears what’s in the underground-

Some brother lies beneath his feet. 240

Captured, betrayed, and assaulted at once;

And the cynic’s hands – futile defense;

Until he falls, with no response,

It’s whom he tells, makes all the difference.

(And I Trevoreous have foresuffered it all

been in the confines of the room;

I who saw Strafe below the ground

And saw him among the lowest dead.)

Let other cynics know the room,

For the number is a man number – the number is 101.

 

Strafe turns and enters through the glass, 250

Hardly aware of plans against me;

My brain was on the unanswered question ahead:

“Are you actually still reading this?”

And I thought of my imbedded skill:

I stomp people, no one exempted,

I pass people on the right or left,

With no signal given.

“And what of my musical connections?”

Be it Creed, or Queen, or Victorian Opera.

O Cd, Cd, I wish I could hear 260

I wish I could find my teacher,

For if it weren’t for him, I’d be doing-

Um, something else.

Now, for those hopelessly confused: you take me too seriously

Oh Mall Muzak take hold

You can skip this part if you wish.

 

How many times

Is it gonna take?

‘Till someone around you hears what you say?

You’ve tried being cool, you feel like a lie 270

You’ve played by their rules, now it’s their turn to try!

So back off your rules, back off your jive,

‘Cause I’m sick of not living

To stay alive

Leave me alone, I’m not asking a lot I just don’t wanna be controlled

It’s all I want… it’s all I want,

IT’S ALL I WANT, IT’S ALL I WANT!

Yi yi

Yiyiyah!

 

Repeat 280-292

 

“Golf carts by the trees.

Hide the entrance the Underground city

He sent me. By intuition I navigated

And found the doorway to my fate.”

 

“We’ve expected you, us administrators.

We wait under your feet. We run this cavern.

You don’t exist. But we could give you a ‘new start’

You have no commitment. Turn in your other cynics!” 300

 

“You’re all janitors!

I can connect

Nothing to a conspiracy!

You in greasy jumpsuits and dirty fingernails?

Use the underground to drink coffee?

Nothing.”

ha ha

Trevor takes things too seriously.

 

Laughing laughing laughing laughing

O man I am rather disappointed 310

O man I am

 

laughing

 

IV. Death by Administrator

 

Strafe the Cynic, not quite yet dead,

Forgot the rumors of conspiracy, beneath his feet

And the lack of his loss.

A Starbucks was under his feet!

He ordered a latte. As he added more sugar

He passed through the stages of his public education

Entering his teens.

Freshman or Senior

O you who remember the Tarot Prophecy 320

Consider Strafe, and what he said about TV psychics.

 

V. What the Saber Said

 

After the caffeine rush subsided

After the frothy mixture was downed

After the long walk home

The Cynic attempted to sleep

Tossing and turning and mattress reverberation

And thoughts of a red Moon over a white Valley

With the rocket at the center

His consciousness will become unconsciousness 330

With a little patience

 

Here there are no ravers but only punks

Punks and no ravers rule the streets

The streets which lead to this white valley

Which is the White Valley of rock and no techno

If there were ravers you could talk or think

Amongst punks one cannot talk or think

Trance is dead and the world is dark

If only there were ravers amongst these punks

Dead eyes glare back at this Red Mountain 340

Here one can neither rest or rave or chat

Even silence would be better than this

For thoughts run dry without the aid of trance

There is not even solitude in this valley

But pirced angry faces swear and snarl

From the doors of broken classrooms

And there are no ravers

 

And no punks?

If there were punks

And also ravers 350

And techno

A war?

And synths among the rock?

If there were the sound of techno

No more guitars

And white guys screaming

But the sound of keyboards over beats

Where the cynical friends can rave with their glow sticks

Beep blip dada blip bleep ta ta tatata

But there is no techno 360

 

Who is the dude who walks always beside you?

When I look, there are only Strafe and Ax

But when I turn again he appears

There is always another walking beside you

Wearing a gray hooded coat

I do not know whether he is a raver or punk

— But he is always there beside you

 

The Saber spoke, and his voice filled the air

Murmur of unorthodox intelligence:

Who are these you take orders from? 370

Over seven hours, each in respective quarter

They do not exist

They are illusions made by this Red Mountain

Yet they cost a lot of tax dollars

Strange, yes?

McCourtney Garcia Brooks

Eidenbock Bloom

Unreal

 

The Cynic, Strafe, let the puppy walk by – this time

In the glaring sunlight, he waited, once more 380

As students and teachers passed on both sides

Talking, all on cell phones

And he ducked his head and crawled back underground

He ignored the sound of the cooling towers

He ignored the bells above, signaling the hours

And descended further into the void, enclosed by earthy walls

In this decayed hole under the Red Mountain

Ax sat playing solitaire, and quietly singing

Amongst the graves, and far from classrooms

Surrounded by switches and cameras and things 390

It had no windows, and only one door

Dead ends can harm no one

And Ax sat alone in the control room

Destination Unknown! Ruby ruby ruby ruby so-ho!

Strafe opened the door, and a damp gust

Bringing Saber

 

Saber was last sunken, the last to leave

He waited for the tardy bell to ring, while the other ravers

Entered much sooner, the nimrods

The Cynic crouched, Ax sat in silence 400

Then spoke the Saber,

HA!

 

HAPPY: Why am I laughing, said Saber

My friends, your blindness wounds my heart

We, the last ravers, nearly surrendered

All the time you wanted answers from teachers

But now you know they never existed

Another week and you would have found sarcasm in an obituary

Or in memories, being rewritten by the Party

Or as falsehoods, being slandered by solicitors 410

In this empty room.

HA!

HARDCORE: This word is the key, said Ax

Turn away once and turn away forever

Should loyalty waiver and you’re in your own prison

Thinking like a raver – where lies your trust?

Inside your own mind, and only there!

This makes a hardcore person

HA!

HARMONY: The Cynic responded 420

Put simply, strength in numbers

More when all the numbers are in step

Independent, but when need be, submitting and obedient

To cynical hands

 

I sat back at my desk

Thinking, with the past behind me

Shall I declare my independence to the system in its native language?

I don’t need to walk around in circles walk around in circles walk around in

Raverthinkers unbellyfeel the system

Cynicism plusgood for modernman – here’s to ownself! 430

Teachers unpersons, thoughtcrime is nocrime

This voice shatters the calm of the day, like an alarm

Bless the ravers – we rise again.

Happy. Hardcore. Harmony.

Cynics. Cynics. Cynics.

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The Uncertain Adventures of Higgs Boson, Part 2

NOTE: Those not familiar with the works of Mr. Boson are strongly encouraged to begin here.

Chapter 2

Higgs Boson, On the Scene

Silhouetted against the oscillating red and blue of the police sirens, I spied the unmistakable form of Inspector Gambit. When the moment was right, he became aware of my presence as well.

“Inspector Benson, when did you get here?”

In reality, I had been here all along, but I am known for being notoriously difficult to detect. My name is Higgs Boson. I stand alone as the only elementary particle in the classic model of physics yet to be observed. By day (and occasionally night), I work as an insurance adjuster, largely because the title is easier to fit on a business card. I had been called to the scene on this particular evening to witness the aftermath of an unexpected inertial opposition. At least, that’s what it would say on the books.

“What does it look like to you, Inspector Benson?”

“What we have here, Inspector Gambit, is the result of a particularly nasty particle collision.”

The esteemed Mr. Gambit eyed me suspiciously.

“Car accident…”

“Indeed. Head-on. Kind of odd… quiet night, and on a one way street. What of the vehicles’ occupants?”

“No passengers, only the two drivers. Both unconscious, but here’s the odd thing… according to the paramedics, both seem to have been unconscious before the accident. And not only that, but one of the officers to respond said this is the third incident of this type this month. It appears that this may be related to some sort of crime wave. I don’t know if we cover against acts of organized crime, inspector.”

“Crime wave… wave. Interesting. These vehicles certainly did not behave as a wave. Nor would one expect them to. But in an unobserved state… Inspector Gambit, were there any witnesses?”

I knelt by the curb and began to examine the fragmented bits or wreckage.

“No. None so far.”

“Who reported it then?”

“A woman. She was on foot… she came up on the scene after wards.”

“Fascinating. Inspector Gambit, let us examine the various quarks–” I paused momentarily– “pardon me, quirks, of this… mishap. A deserted road. Both victims as yet unaware of their situation, and no direct witnesses. You know, a witness can have a great affect on the outcome.”

“Tell me about it. A credible testimony can cut a settlement down to a fraction of what it would have been.”

I paused, thankful that the brim of my fedora likely prevented my much taller colleague from observing my eyes rolling.
I briefly considered giving in to temptation—I could casually dismiss my colleague, find the information I was after, and stealthily find myself back in my office before you could say “ununnilium.” But, if there’s one thing that one must learn quickly in my line—it’s that convention must be observed. Much like electricians drawing current flowing from positive to negative, despite the opposite being true, I must play by the rules of my assumed profession.

“It occurs to me, Inspector Gambit, that this situation is rather improbable.”

“You’re telling me.”

“I believe,” I continued, “that under slightly different circumstances, this whole incident may well have been avoided. There are many ways these two bodies may have passed by… or through each other.”

“You mean the cars?”

“Yes, the cars. But they didn’t behave that way. No, they met alright, and they left pieces behind for us to study.”

“Yeah, that hubcap alone’s gotta be a couple hundred…”

“Strange that after such careful planning, designed specifically so that no one could witness the event, ended in exactly the most probable state that is empirically verifiable.” The beauty, the complexity… I had confirmed to myself my initial

“Are you saying you find it odd that two cars headed towards each other with no one currently driving them… managed to crash?”

“More than you know. Did you happen to get that woman’s phone number from the police?”

Inspector Gambit chuckled at me. “I’m sure you don’t mean to make light of the situation-”

I had lost patience with this man’s well intentioned ignorance. I give mass to all matter in the universe. I’m also quite rotund myself… described as a “massive particle” by those who know me best. Or think they do. “I never make light of the situation, Inspector. Her phone number, please.”

Hesitating, the professor produced from his coat a small pad, from which he ripped the top sheet of paper.

“The police already took her statement. I don’t know what you think you’re gonna get.”

“The truth, Inspector. This woman did witness the scene. And I’m sure she has quite a story to tell, though she may not realize it…”

I was gone before the well-meaning Inspector Gambit had time to study my motivations closely. I found myself at a nearby convenience store, using their one remaining operational pay phone. I heard a soft click as the line was answered.

“What’ve you got, Higgs?”

“Tauon, I’ve got a name for you to run. I need everything you can find on a Ms. Geneva Cern.”

“I’ll get on it first thing, Higgs.”

“Sorry Tauon, this is going to be a late night. I’ll be by with coffee and Bucky Balls… this can’t wait, she may be in danger.”

“Is it really that bad?”

“Oh yes. This is the work of Graviton.”

To be continued…

About the particle: When not evading detection deep beneath Scandinavian metropolises, Higgs Boson can be found reading National Geographic, collecting rare cigars, and taking frequent short trips back in time.

About the author: Strafe maintains a high number of online contacts, especially considering the fact that he exclusively identifies himself through a pseudonym. He is a music enthusiast with a casual interest in misanthropy. He met Mr. Boson 2003 and has since been entrusted with bookkeeping duties and other light clerical work.

Rent: The Alternate Script

This post is largely inspired by the work found at The Editing Room. I’ve wanted to do this for awhile now, and depending on reception, more similar works may follow.

I got the idea for this when Rent came to Gammage in early 2009. I considered going, but ultimately opted not to when I realized the irony of seeing a performance about minimalistic living, when tickets for said performance were going for the approximate annual income of the characters portrayed.

~STRAFE PRESENTS~

RENT
The Alternate Script, Abridged
with apologies to Jonathan Larson

FADE IN:

INT. STAGE—NIGHT

A row of harsh spotlights hires a diverse CAST; a perfect blend of ethnicity, gender, perceived socioeconomic status and sexual orientation. Seriously, add a guy in a wheelchair and this could be a stock photo for a math textbook.

WHOLE CAST
(singing)

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six
hundred minutes…

They perform “Seasons of Love.” Good song.

FADE OUT.

EXT. NIGHT—GRENNICH VILLAGE.

GRAINY FOOTAGE FROM AN OLD HANDHELD.

MARK (V.O.)
December 24, 1989. I’ve decided to improv my filming in thirty-second segments, with no lighting, primarily at night. Instead of my old shit. Since this cuts pre-production time to zero, my days are now completely free. I cannot pursue employment, however, because this would undermine the Bohemian ideals of–

The tape reel RUNS OUT. mark shrugs and gets on his bicycle as power chords and 4/4 rock drumming FADE UP in the background.
ROGER, MARK, and COLLINS rhetorically and harmonically muse about how they might meet their financial obligations for the previous year.

MARK & ROGER
(singing)
How we gonna pay, how we gonna pay…

Few solutions are suggested which do not include pyrotechnics.

To that end, the past-due residents of Alphabet City display an amazing sense of community and choreography by making it rain flaming eviction notices. A black SUV approaches.

EXT. ALLEY WAY—NIGHT

TOM COLLINS succumbs to a brutal beating. His absence does not go unnoticed by his protesting friends above: he is granted a curious “Where is he?” during the next instrumental tacit. That’s it until morning though.

COLLINS
I’m dizzy.

MARK, ROGER & ENSEMBLE
(singing)
We’re not gonna pay, we’re not gonna pay…

Ironically, the communal escapades have focused everyone’s attention to the street, leaving no local residents to monitor the alleyway. Had this mugging taken place during a less festive occasion, there may have been at least one person dumping burning trash out the BACK window, and this whole tragedy could have been avoided.

CUT TO:

EXT. CURBSIDE IN FRONT OF APARTMENT COMPLEX–NIGHT

BENNY confronts MARK and ROGER RE: Mark’s ex-girlfriend’s unwelcome protest, to be held the following evening on private property.

MARK
(singing)
What happened to Benny, what happened
to his heart?

BENNY melodically asserts an offer to forgive his friends’ debts and trespasses, provided they quietly and nonviolently prevent MAUREEN’S protest.

BENNY
Just stop the protest, and you’ll have
it made…

ROGER
Didn’t she leave you for a woman? After multiple instances of infidelity?

MARK
Well, yes, but–

BENNY
It should be noted that, judging by the equipment her attorney and life partner has moved into my building, the “protest” appears to be little more than an avant garde one-woman promotional venue. There appear to be no provisions to raise funds help house any of the homeless who stand to be affected by my investor’s construction plans. Oh, and she plans on singing.

MARK
And if I stop this from happening?

BENNY
(singing)
You’ll see boys…

ROGER
He’ll do it.

CUT TO:

INT. THE APARTMENT—MORNING

The PHONE RINGS. Mark answers.

MARK
Hello?… Maureen?

AROGER, holding his guitar, stares mark down.

MAUREEN (V.O., on the phone)
The samples won’t delay, but the cables…

MARK hangs up. He glances at ROGER.

MARK
That was easy. Merry Christmas.

ROGER
Cool. Hey, check out this riff.

CUT TO:

INT. CUTTING ROOM FLOOR—DARK

MARK (V.O.)
December 24, 1990. I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone by. We have accomplished so much…

INT. A RECORDING STUDIO—DAY

ROGER at guitar, with MARK on tambourine and backing vocals, ANGEL on drums, and TONY LEVIN on bass.

RECORDING ENGINEER
One… two… three… four

ROGER & MARK
(singing)
…and when you’re living in A-MER-I-CA, at the end of the mil-EN-I-UM…

PAN OUT of the studio, out over the New York skyline as a light snowfall begins. CHRISTOPHER LEE narrates:

NARRATOR (V.O.)
Benny was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Angel, who did not die, he was as good a friend, as good a landlord, and as good a man.

Roger had no further intercourse with strippers, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!And so, as Roger observed, Happy Birthday Jesus!

The Uncertain Adventures of Higgs Boson, pt. 1

Many of us are at least peripherally familiar with the media-induced controversy surrounding the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. The main purpose of this, the largest, most-expensive machine has has ever built, is to detect the Higgs Boson, also known as the “God Particle” (despite the preferences of the scientific community). In Particle Physics, the Higgs Boson is the last holdout—the only elementary particle which has yet to be directly observed. Sounded to me like a good character.

Chapter 1

My name is Higgs Boson. I lead a lonely life.

It wasn’t always this way. There were 5 of us Boson brothers… 6 if you count Graviton, though we were never quite sure about him. He just never seemed to follow the standard model. We played by our own rules; occasionally interacting with the Lepton cousins, and the Quark family (when we had to). For quite awhile things were really going our way. If I had to guess, I’d say it was the first 14 billion years or so… but really, that’s a meaningless figure without an Observer.

It was around that time, when the Observers came, that things started to break down. Electron went first. We warned him about falling in with that Hadron crowd; it was like he was just begging to be noticed. But he was stuck in an orbit he just couldn’t escape. None of us blamed him though. When he was on his own he was just so… negative. Those protons really just balanced him out. I attended mass with them a few times; they were good people. As for the neutrons, I personally had no feelings toward them one way or the other.

Some of us blamed Neutrino. We couldn’t believe it when they found him—he could fly through the earth and not hit a thing. He said there must have been a man on the inside, to be spotted like that. Most of us didn’t believe him.

I did. I think it was the quarks. They always loved the fame… especially Charm. He and Up just couldn’t get enough of it. And when the Observers realized that, not only were they right about the quarks, but they could manipulate them as well, the rest of the Quark cousins went quietly. They went for the Leptons next. Then the Bosons.

It was around this time I decided I needed to take a stand. I’m all for knowledge, and truth, and understanding. But some matters should just be kept private. That’s when we decided to start the Agency. Tauon Neutrino (not to be confused with his two-faced brother) and I set up shop in late 1995, in the wake of Top Quark’s (he was a hell of a drummer!) funeral. Our mission was simple—promote discovery, curiosity, and above all, truth. As long as it threw them off our trail. There’s plenty to learn out there, and I always believed that, if they truly knew why we shouldn’t be found… why the Observers are far, far better off without sharing burden of the secrets I’d carry, they’d be better off not knowing.

In the meantime, I needed a new face. An identity I could show to the public. Tauon would handle the paperwork, the legal bit. Meanwhile, I’d be in the field. I needed a job that would let me get out, take me all over the world, and allow me to influence the who’s-who’s in the various communities. Most importantly, I needed to be easily forgotten. Overlooked. I needed to a position in which people would hesitate to look me in the eye. For awhile it looked hopeless, but then, I found it; the perfect cover for a socially evasive professional with a hidden agenda.

I became an insurance adjuster.

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