Tag Archives: Fantasy world

You Seem Like a Real People Person

Been gearing up to handle the final content revision of my novel Leather to the Corinthians. This is one of my favorite rants, and I think captures the experience of the modern job hunt well.

 

Hey, I think you need to check your email. Did you get the autoresponse that I sent in regards to your application? The one that reads something like “thank you for applying, you have excellent qualifications, but unfortunately the position is filled.” If you received this email, you can disregard it.

I was very impressed by your interview. You were well spoken, and you sold your skill set with panache. You have the hunger in your eyes, you’re a straight shooter, and clearly, as you told me in the interview, you are a PEOPLE PERSON. A real TEAM PLAYER.

It’s an incredibly tough market. It’s hard to get a job, that’s evident by the gaps of experience on your resume. Nice resume by the way. Love the parchment paper, and no one ever uses quill and ink anymore. Are you one of those steampunk cosplayers? Do you own goggles? Ah, nevermind.

Your personal pysch evaluation results proved very interesting. Never have I seen anyone so pliable and willing that was convinced they were smarter than 95% of the population. I love this answer about aliens being discovered. You say you would be fine with it, but you are worried what other people will do. Funny, that’s what everyone says.

Your gratitude should really begin now.

Do you know how many people applied for this job? Yeah, I know your distant Uncle Earl has been working on the loading dock here for 20 years, but surely you must know that he has no juice here. Think about it, he’s still on the loading dock.

Your gratitude should really begin now.

All kinds of roaches came out of the woodwork on this one. There were kids fresh out of the educational mill, elderly fuckheads that would rather work than die, and then folks like you, folks taking a step back on the career ladder because the shit happened and now they can’t keep up with the black card monthly payments. You just had to have it, didn’t you? Hey, no judgment, I had to have it too. I am just doing a better job of keeping it, that’s all.

But that’s why you’re here, and that’s why you are so grateful. Remember that feeling when my subordinate called you and told you to come in and talk with me? Do you remember how the mere suggestion of opportunity caused you to squirt right in your pants? Never lose that appreciation. It will protect you.

Let’s get the general agreement right out of the way. Don’t expect me to take care of you. I will not look out for you. I will expect everything you have to offer each and every day. I will create policies for intangible reasons and demand you follow them. I will remove them just as quickly. And if it is a policy you don’t care for, give it two weeks. If it sucks, no one will be following it then.

I will constantly bury you in emails, phone calls, documents, and website logins. I will have a new important resource for you to master each day, and the next day I will think you are an idiot for using it. I will create forms and surveys, demand you take them, then do nothing with the results. I will be pure chaos. You will love me for it.

Your gratitude should begin now.

The paycheck you receive will be the exchange of your time and sanity for an unstable currency that is ultimately nothing but a number on a page. Remember, the name of the game is to get that number as high as possible. I am counting on your blind dragon chasing to complete this equation.

Now that we have all the official bullshit out of the way, let’s take a good look at you. Ah, you are perfect. A true beauty. Has anyone told you how beautiful you are today? Well, let me be the first.

You want this job, don’t you? You know that there are a lot of people out there who would love to trade places with you right now. Trade places with you in this very moment? Don’t be nervous, it’s ok to smile a little bit.

Now I can’t just give you the job, you still need to prove that my instincts are right, and you are the perfect person for the job. That should make you feel confident as we move forward with your audition. And, as I have told you before, you really need to express your gratitude.

Your gratitude should begin now.

I will extract my pound of flesh. If you want to travel this road, you will have to pay the toll. I will accept nothing less. Now, as you look about the office, you will notice a number of strange devices on my desk. These are my special testers, and they will help me determine if you are indeed the PERFECT FIT.

You had to know that I would expect a number of things today. I require a blood sample. A urine sample. A drug test. A hair follicle test. A personality inventory. A fingerprint. A retinal scan. And, I require a highly invasive process of finding the largest objects that your mouth and ass can physically handle. Before you walk out, just remember what it is like out there. Remember what the streets are like. Remember the creditor calls and the potential lawsuits. Now, tell yourself you can do this.

I believe in you. I believe you can handle all I have to offer. You will need to if you plan to survive with the company. We will not relent, and you can expect to take it in the ass on a daily basis. I will fuck you in the ass so hard that your soul will die a little more with each thrust, but it will pay the bills. So, bend over my desk, don’t pay any attention to the video recording device in the corner, and brace yourself.

Your gratitude should begin now.

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LEVEL UP!

At the end of last week, I put out a small excerpt from the actual novel. Jacob P. Smorely, a minor character at best, provided a first glance at Scratch Microphone and The Dodge Tribe. In the end, there was some great feedback…thanks to all who stopped by to click “like”, leave feedback, or send me a message. As I have mentioned before, my novel features a commentator of sorts (the sleazy SNAKE OIL SALESMAN), who lays out thematic monologues between chapters. Here’s another one for you.

And now it’s time for the most glorious event in the life of any hero. It’s the time when you approach your quest hub and start grinding for experience. I have a quest for you, and I know you can do it.

Life is a grind, so I don’t want to just add one more to your grueling, pathetic life. But I will.

Complete my quest, and you will not only earn valuable loot, but you will be one more step to that constant goal, the goal to level up.

Who doesn’t want to level up? Who doesn’t want to chase the dragon?

Of course, we all do. My quest for you will send you to the far corners of the game map in the hopes that you will collect all the necessary components to build the great weapon, the weapon you will use to destroy the big boss.

Now, there is much you must master. There are the mechanics, you see, the mechanics of the fight that are unique but yet somehow familiar. There is really only so many ways to skin a cat, although I personally have never done so. However, the mechanics remain to be mastered, and the mechanics are a bitch.

Perhaps the worst part of your quest will be the necessary evil of working with others to achieve you goal. There is only one true rule for working with people – you must make the realization that people will disappoint you, and they will do so on a regular basis.

I take one look at you and I know that you are a solo player. You are already formulating strategies that will minimize your contact with others. You have been so damaged by previous collaborations that the mere idea of having to form a party for your quest ahead forcibly empties your bowels. I get that, but I don’t have an alternative for you.

People do suck, it’s true.

You have gotten so far in the game without them. It’s been a pleasure to grind for gold, get your XP, and solo quests. It’s your favorite part of the game, and I am taking it away from you.

Would it reassure you to know that this is a personal growth possibility? Would it help you to know that there is loot at the end of this quest that dwarfs all the loot you have managed to accumulate so far? What might I do or say that will entice you to accept my quest and seek the valor you crave so dearly?

Maybe if I gave you a public test realm walkthough of said quest? Would that get your desire to clear mounds of trash to rise?

I can give you a bit of a preview, but mind you, there are patches and hotfixes ahead. Your results may vary. Make your savings throw versus massive disappointment now. Scratch your balls and pray you roll a 20.

What if I told you that you would have the opportunity to eat mushrooms, grow large (or potentially small), get a second life, and valuable guild rep? What if I told you that the boss throws huge flaming barrels of fiery death? What if I told you that you could fill your belly with dots and run screaming from ghosts?

Starting to sound a bit more interesting? There are many phases to this quest; there will be much for you to study. There will be scrolls and lore, puzzles and traps. There will be many non-player characters to interact with. There will be cards to collect, and small creatures to match against your foes. It is key to know the abilities of these small creatures, for they will help you become a master.

So what say you? Will you help me with this quest? I am far too busy to undertake it myself?

What say you?

You say yes! This is good, I know that you will not regret the time invested, the ROI is quite high. There is much for you to do.

Update your addons, watch your videos, create a party, and go forth. You will have many obstacles to overcome, but with a solid vent connection and an attractive avatar, you are bound for glory.

Go forth and conquer, the entire kingdom is relying on you. Even if most of them do suck.

 

The Continuing Adventures of Jacob P. Smorely: Part 3 of 3

So, I pondered breaking up this last piece, but I figured I would just go ahead and post it. This short story/excerpt created a most curious response: THUNDEROUS SILENCE. I have posted a variety of material on my site, and I always get some kind of feedback. Here, nothing. Should I worry? Not sure, although being from my book I had hoped for something. HEADSCRATCHER LEVEL 10.

Hmmm, I do know that websites are perhaps not the best medium for fiction, although many folks do it just fine. Short pieces seem to do much better, and I get that. I figure I can either think, hey maybe my book really stinks, but honestly some very respectable folks have told me otherwise. I will say that as a small part of a much greater whole, it barely scratches the meta aspect of my novel and don’t let the simplicity and the absurdity of the story fool you, I mean to BURN THEIR PALACES DOWN.

Enjoy, and hey, why not share your thoughts? I very much welcome them.

…A day later, Jacob awoke to the beeping and booping of the native boys’ electronic games. Pulling himself out of his economy digs, he opened his tired eyes to the glory of a busy tribe at work with the daily chores. Jacob decided to walk over to Scratch’s Dart Swinger and stretch out a bit. As he walked across the camp, various members of the tribe waved and exposed various parts of their bodies.

“How utterly charming,” Jacob pronounced. Arriving at Scratch’s car, Jacob was promptly greeted by the manly leader.

“How the hell are ya?” Scratched asked.

“Dandy. Just dandy. What do we have in store for today?”

“Buddy, let me tell you, it’s gonna be a great day. I’m gonna have you come with me on a trading deal with the King of the Go Blow village, then we might visit one of the other tribes that wander this area. But first I have something to tell you.”

“What’s that, Scratch?”

“J, You don’t know how glad I am that you came out here. We sure had a blast the other night, and my people seem comfortable around you. And the bottom line is that we would like you to become an honorary member of the Dodge
Tribe.”

If you have ever been an adventurer/explorer (WSM, A/E), or have ever known one, then you know this is an offer that makes their pants wet. “Why, It would be an honor, Scratch.”

“Exactly. What it boils down to J, is that we need some exposure. That’s why I sent the release out. We need a man of your stature to do a nice, glossy travelogue and get us a bigger name. Think you can do it?”

“Why Scratch, consider it done.”

“Good. Now listen. This week we’ll just get down to business and you can walk around and observe and write down what you see. I assure you that I’ll have Full Access Press Passes set up for you so you can do what you do best. At the end of the week I’ll clue you into the final stage of your acceptance.”

Scratch and Jacob shook hands on the deal and so it went. The next week proved to be a highly educational and rewarding exchange of cultures that can be seen in the runaway bestseller The Dodge and I: The Continuing Adventures of Jacob P. Smorelv, on sale now, soon to be a major motion picture. However, due to certain Tribal Limitations, Jacob was not allowed to write about his final stage of acceptance into the tribe. However, various hints of evidence have been pieced together here for a Dramatic Recreation:

On that fateful morning, Scratch woke Jacob up early, so that they could leave the encampment without waking the tribe. The two friends walked in the early mist.

“Now is the time to conclude your greenhorn status. I will walk with you for many miles until we come to the Warrior’s Grove. It is there that you will engage in the time-release ritual.”

Jacob nodded and cleverly disguised his nervousness. “Of course, time honored, umm, release,” he said.

The invigorating preparatory hike was a good time for Jacob to gear up for the enigmatic ritual. As they walked through the wilderness, the serene surroundings calmed the adventurer down. Aside from the occasional early rush
Traffic Copter, the scenic hike proved a most valuable time killer. Eventually they reached the grove.

It was a large circular clearing surrounded by ancient trees. In the dead center was a beanbag, to which Scratch motioned.

“Sit.”

Jacob plopped down into the cushy seat.

“J, this is the Warrior’s Grove. All members of the tribe must come to this grove once in their life and commune with the Great One. You sit in the comfortable, form-fitting seat of time-honored tradition. Around you is a circle of old TV sets, which will be tuned in to a variety of entertaining channels. You are to sit here until you see a vision, a vision that will help the tribe in some way.”

Jacob nodded. “I understand. Piece of cake.”

Scratch continued. “In order to help bring about your vision, you will consume various cherry flavored Cough Syrups. Take these bottles and consume them now.”

Jacob took the bottles of Syrup from Scratch, and with great bravado, threw away the dosage cups that they came with. He proceeded to guzzle the medicine down.

“It is with deep admiration that I leave you to the Great One. May you score for our team,” said Scratch. The mighty warrior chief then turned and left the grove. Jacob’s head began to swim. As he watched the tubes flicker with informercials that became cartoons that became shouting preachers that became revolutionary new products, he felt his head weigh him down, and he slumped even further.

“Must remain vigilant,” he thought. “Vigil rust memains,” he said as he passed into blackness.

Day became night and it was the national anthem blaring on one of the TVs that brought Jacob into consciousness. Trying to shake off the cough syrup’s veil of obscurity, he looked about the grove. In the distance, there was a glimmer of light.

“Or was there?” though Jacob.

Yes, there was a light. A flashing point of blue light off in the distance. Knowing that it must be special, Jacob got up off his butt and ran for it. Although the light seemed far off, it was easy to get to and it was not long before Jacob reached it.

And there it was, a glorious flashing blue light suspended in the air, and below it, were boxes and boxes of new and exciting hair care products that the tribe was sure to enjoy. This was it! This was the sign that would assure Jacob an entry-level position in the tribe.

“Hey,” a disembodied voice boomed from above. “I thought you were gonna save some for me.”

Jacob tried to shake off the ultra strength cold medicine and look around the room. Looming over him was his good friend, the King.

“The Great One,” was all Jacob could say.

“Of course it’s all you can say, you’re all jacked up on the cough syrup we were supposed to share. I can’t trust you with anything. And you’ve got my toys allover the room.”

The King stormed out of the room, his face twisted into a mean pout. Jacob cracked a drunken smile.

Another adventure for the books.

The Darkened Path

Another installment of my fantasy genre poetry. Just a brief moment, one that I plan to connect to something greater…

So in the grace of all that has passed I stand
in snarling mania wondering
how the clouds will form

I don’t know this forest or its paths,
It’s too dim to see the low branches or the
unevenness of the road

Grant me this one request that when
a sliver of light slices through and falls to eat
a search party will track my travels

For alone and stumbling in foreign land
has been my way and my fate but I know
my isolation is artificial in a thick of being

Poison spiders weave taut webs far ahead
in unmapped land — forward I forge
unknowing of their surprise

Denizen troll and violent predators awake
behind nearby trees and vines — I am an
unexpected victim they so randomly kill

Save from special attack and grip your
weapon tight because it’s not about
heroism but simple survival

When the moon is high and you just don’t
stop moving think of my jungle
and its numerous pitfalls

Because no path is free of traps and
craven foes lurk about
I carry my soul’s protection about my neck

 

Past Deeds

Most people have something in their lives that can cause a shiver or grimace when reflected upon. In keeping with my recent visit to fantasy-tinged works, I am putting this one out there. Hope you dig it.

 

His sword sat on its dusty mantle
Singing whispers to him in the night
How long has it been, friend warrior
Just how long has it been

He has not slept a whole night ever
Always resting with one eye open
Hand slightly clenched in a terminal cramp
Holding the sharp steel of his might

It sings soft murder harshly
I am so thirsty tonight it says
It seems that I never drink anymore
Why must you just lay there, warrior

Too many voices have been ended abruptly
Mad foes struck down continuously
Orders followed no matter how much blood
That is but one reason the warrior lay fitful

In the shadow and dim light
A slight gleam rides along the blade
Calling out pockmarks and scars
Where unfortunate flesh and bone were scored

The quiet breaks again with the weapon’s call
You are not whole without me
Deathvoice taunting him quietly
Angered that the warrior will not grasp it

For regardless of his master’s orders
This soldier will not fight again
Too many screams ride his mind
Too many echoes of shallow graves

Quiet the bastard blade
Toss away the worn and wasted armor
Splinter the shield into dust
Still, the fight is never over

Enter the hero in the desperate night
And allow him to walk the dawn
For when all you know how to do is fight
Peaceful sleep, when had, must be respected

Time to Fade

Well, well…Game of Thrones did not disappoint last night. Yes, it’s a lot of set up, but if you have read the books you are well aware of how fast Martin’s universe expands. In keeping with this, here is another one of my fantasy genre inspired pieces.

"William's Silhouette" by Matthijs

I was dirty and damp
when I finally rode in
I took my sword’s hilt
and banged heavily
upon the gates of home

And they did open
the worn and the sick
sang my praises
the leper choir
honored their protector

Another pilgrimage has
been finished
another score have seen
the power and the light
and my weathered face gleams

Success has been hard
my once glowing armor
has tarnished and chipped
bent, its regal crest
hidden by filth and blood

How the bandits
have fallen in pagan charges
and the heretical and insidious
have struck fiercely
in the battle for the soul

I raised my weapon determined
and gritted my teeth
bathed in the gore
showered in the screams
because I was armed by rite

They fell in ferocious torment
the pilgrims offered thanks
but the magnitude of the favor
was beyond their concept
I always fight alone

Alone the protector
Alone the savior
none of my host have taken the blade
from my tired grasp
or wiped the grime from my eyes

My nature predetermined
I shoulder this crest
and accept the object of
my fight — for this only that
which sums my form knows

That road and its beaten trails
Took my people through turmoil
I watched and checked them
Tirelessly for what can only
be an infinity of exasperation

So now I have dismounted my beast
And my feet have finally touched
The ground of my memory
and I can set my sword down
drop my shield and breathe deep

My chest heaves and I cut
The ties which hold my steel
It rings as it hits the stone
The village gasps collectively
As I fall to the earth

I cannot help anymore
I have fought beyond my reserves
I cannot witness death
At my hands again
My eyes well in relief

I don’t have to fight anymore
My realm has tightened to
Only my senses and as this
Warrior passes and the protected panic
I silence the screams for good

Of Dust and Prayers

Hey so we are nearing the weekend, and this weekend brings the return of Game of Thrones. I dig this show, I dig the books. And, I have always had a soft spot for the old fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons, LoTR thing. That being said, I have a few poems lying around that have a sort of fantasy world feel about them. What was I looking for when I wrote them? Not really sure, maybe experimenting with setting, character, or just a general feel. Here’s the first.

"Fisherman's Church" by Christos Tsoumplekas

The pious bother had been
deep in the caves
for some time now

Tending to the graves and tombs
shrines of the soldiers of faith
that came before him

Nonsecular views know they were
just men in a power scheme
full of secrets, lies, and sins

The brother knew this
he knew the caves
he knew where the demons hovered

Tending to the saintly shadows
maintaining those that did not decay
and hiding those that did

The brother was safe there
the world outside had moved on
he didn’t have to concern himself

And in turn, most of the world
outside, in progress
did not concern itself with him

But like most things
it could not last
he would have to surface

Every reason and excuse played out
for some time he stalled
but in the end

the dead can always wait.