My month of sickness applied as an imperfect metaphor to the state of the union.

Coughing for a month straight has ripped my throat to hell, but it’s done fucking wonders for my abs.

I Endure

If you’re in queue in front of me, I just might reach out and discreetly touch your hair. I do it for the rush it provides, because it is bad, and I am bad, and everyone would be angry with me if they knew. If you knew. Which you won’t. Don’t worry, I take the responsibility seriously: My hands are always clean, and I would never allow my hand to linger, or allow my fingers to grab hold, or to yank. Just a passing brush–just slight enough to feel the texture. And brief. Just long enough to allow your soul to transfer from you to me, so that I might maintain my preternaturally youthful appearance.


Ahh, a crisp Thursday morning, and the tentacles are out. Tentacles everywhere, hailing from the corners of buildings, flying like high flags, crackling in the crystalline mist. Tentacles from under the sidewalk, jutting up through the tectonic rended chiclet-like squares, tickling the calves of satchel-toting randoms as they walk right into the warm embrace of their betentacled elevators. Small tentacles like flagellae, whispering on currents deep in the ductwork, in the still water of an abandoned tire lying afield, in your left shoe. Can you hear the thrum? Empty, they flap spasmodically, but when they are near enough to gain purchase, they tug at you, wanting you close, to hold you as long as they might, as tentacles will. The rest of this day I dedicate, then, to the tentacle.


Things are getting serious. A senior State Department official said Tuesday that U.S. officials would “move into thwart mode” if inspectors tried to return to Iraq without a new resolution. Now, if I remember correctly, the last time that officials moved into thwart mode was after applying the kill punch to the level 7 end boss during the Zondar Campaign. Fortunately the fragmentation of the vector blade array was far too optimized for the technology of the other players. Still, it was a close call.

My Approach

To help stem the tide of vitriol between Management and us, the creative troublemakers, we were asked to submit a “design approach.” This would be the document that detailed the rhyme to our reason. Anyway, I’ve always liked the sound of it–the phrase itself seems so thoughtful, so courteous. Kind of like, “design suspicion,” or “design flirtation.” And certainly nothing so hard as a “design edict.”

So we came up with our take on the official design approach, and presented it to management, who then grabbed the sheaf from our palsied hands and scuttled off into their meeting room for study as they searched for weak spots in our armor. They’re so cute when they do that!

Meanwhile, I got to thinking about this design approach. Back to the actual phrase, I mean. The more I thought about it the more I became certain that it was all this approaching that caused the trouble to begin with. Namely, Management endlessly approaching Design with requests. So, on the side I decided to come up with a “negative reinforcement work request discouragement approach.”

I haven’t actually tested this for efficacy, but it seems like it may finally be our ticket to peace. The idea is for Design to be positioned with its back to the wall so that we can see them coming. As they enter our invisible activation sphere I will begin to emit an even tone that will rise in volume in direct relation to their distance from my desk. I’ll do this until they’re standing right in front of us, holding the paper out with one hand, while trying to cover both ears against the now deafening screech with the other. The way I figure it, they will soon learn.

“Now, you don’t want to get too close to him,” they’ll tell the new employee. Everyone will nod soberly, their pupils dilated in fear as past experiences replay in their heads. Someone else will lean in to the new recruit and whisper, “He will make a sound that will harm you.” The boss will clear her throat then–no point getting wrapped up in something that can’t be changed. She’ll say, “We keep his inbox downstairs in car park, far far away, where it is safe. Someone will show you how to find it.” And order will be restored.

The excitement is almost more than I can bear. I think maybe I try my new technique tomorrow.


In one old Twilight Zone episode, the protagonist, a soldier, realized to his horror that he could sense which of his comrades were doomed to die by the eerie halos that enveloped them. Call it an overdeveloped case of synesthesia, this would best describe how I see the world.

It hasn’t always been like this. For me it began when, as a child, I noticed certain subtleties in the rendering of cartoons. These were visual elements that were plain enough for anyone to see, given they were a slightly autistic child with a penchant for obsessive attention to detail. In any given scene it was possible to divine which objects were destined for interaction by looking for telltale black outlines. Elements that lacked these outlines belonged to the background, and would remain static throughout the scene. (This was before computers made it possible to animate everything cheaply.)

Around the time I hit my teens I started noticing a similar weight around household objects, with those of imminent animation marked more prominently in a kind of thin spectral penumbra. As I gained experience reading these signs, the effect actually seemed to diminish. But this was only because it became just another type of information, like color, temperature, or roughness, woven into my perception of the things in my world.

Naturally you’d assume that I would exploit these powers by getting into the shell game scene, popular in metropolitan centers. But my ability actually loses cohesion in dynamic environments. Beside which, I do not wish to profit from the less gifted gentry. It would make me feel less than virtuous.

No, what I do gain is a cool appreciation for static spaces. I am a voyeur of inertia, and that gives me a sense of subtle satisfaction. Plus I know what you’re going to pick up a few moments before you do.


All I see before me is mine to do with as I please. Of a human’s affections, I will toy with them as I would a grasshopper leg. I will pretend not to see the grasshopper leg, but then I will twist around and leap upon the grasshopper leg! I’ve got you, grasshopper leg! I am wily. The grasshopper leg is no match, and I look nonchalant and aloof with the grasshopper leg in my mouth. Later, humans cannot resist my pink tongue.