Below the Bridge - A Space Force Tale

Finally finished a first draft of a script for a show.... a lot of ideas to finalize. Some to subtract, some to add, a lot of formatting issues 

Below the Bridge – A Space Force Story
Episode One
“Not the Pilot”
By Nathan Nolan

Maddox Maddocks walks out of the shuttle pod to an empty deck. The sign on deck says welcome pilot!
Maddox (to himself) -“Well, I know I am not the new pilot, but you’d think that someone would at least be here to great me on my first day!”
Voice comes in overhead, the voice comes from Julio the shuttle bay operator
Julio - Excuse me sir, could you exit immediately to the corridor to your left.
Maddox – Wait, but where do I go from there
Julio – Not my department. Now can you please exit the shuttle bay.
Maddox – But seriously where do I go
Julio – You go out of my shuttle bay
Maddox – Yes but after that where do I go?
Julio – Not here
Maddox is quiet for a moment. He looks around the room.
Maddox – But where do I leave?
Julio – (quietly with a sigh) Ugh not this again, what was your name officer?
Maddox – uh its Maddox, Maddox Maddocks
Julio – Is that your first or last name?
Maddox – Both...... my parents thought they were funny
Julio – I am sure they did. But to be honest crewman I really don’t care
Maddox – But it’s funny, no?
Julio – No, it is not
Maddox – Really, because it really seems like if I met someone with basically the same first and last name, I would think it was pretty funny
Julio – I mean I guess it would if I cared
Maddox – Well that’s cold
Julio – I am not the ships counselor, I just run the shuttle bay
Maddox – Now that’s a good thing that you aren’t the counselor because if you were you would be kind of shit at your job
Julio – Ok, Now please exit through the door to the corridor to your left
Maddox starts to move to his right
Julio – Where are you going?
Maddox – You said to go to your left
Julio – Yes, I said to your left, you are going to the right
Maddox turns in a circle and still goes to his right
Julio – I really have better things to do than hold your hands as to what left and right is. Space Force standards are really going down the drain
Maddox corrects his direction with an embarrassed look on his face, as he exits the bay
Julio – (Heavy Sigh) Time for an Esquire classic


The Corridors
The corridor is large metal grey and empty. He looks at the place on the wall. It reads Welcome to the UESF Excalibur May she always strike true. Maddox then looks at the monitor on the wall to see if he can find his name and room assignment. His name is not on the new arrivals report, instead he sees that his name has been reported on the killed in action list
Maddox- Excalibur, who do I report an error in status to?
Excalibur computer - All inquiries and requests will be routed through me to the correct officer.
Maddox- I have been reported as killed in action.
Excalibur- Please state your full name and access code for assistance
Maddox- Maddox Maddocks access number 61532
Excalibur makes beeping error noises
Excalibur- Access denied, officer is listed as deceased
Maddox – Yes that is the error I am looking to correct.
Excalibur computer makes processing noises then error noises
Excalibur – Access denied, officer is listed as deceased
Maddox – Can you tell me where the Starship Resources office is
Excalibur computer makes processing noises then error noises
Excalibur – Access denied, officer is listed as deceased
Maddox exasperated throws his hands in the air. Maddox looks like he has an idea. He walks away from the console and walks back
Maddox (changes his voice and accent to a British one)– Hullo Excalibur. I am quite new here. Would thoust be able to help me find Starship Resources
Excalibur – Just because you are dead there is no need to be racist, alerting sickbay to a corpse littering the corridors.
Maddox – Ugh, I will never get anywhere with this computer

Maddox walks down the corridor hoping he can find another crew member. The ships large corridors are empty. An alert is flashing on the panels in this section. The alert on the panel reads "Caution corpse in section 5 Beta. As he approaches a People Lift the door opens, out pours a medical officer. Kate, the staff doctor holds a scanner in her hand and bumps into Maddox as she is too absorbed in her scanner

Kate – Oh excuse me, have you seen a corpse anywhere round here, the computer is giving me an alert that there is a corpse in the corridors. My scanner says he is right here. A poor soul named Maddox Maddocks, ewe what a crappy name, I mean his parents just had to hate him. It sucks he is dead he is supposed to be my new medical assistant. It’s odd, the computer has this corpse walking around.
Maddox raises his hand
Maddox- Hu, that’s me
Kate screams and backs off slowly
Kate – G G G G Ghost.....
Maddox (shakes his head) – Nope not quite, Excalibur just thinks I am dead
Kate – Uhm, so then are you from the zombie planet, Romero 5? Don’t eat me.... I just got a new holoprogam I haven’t even played yet! My cats will be lonely! I am too young to die!
Maddox – I am so not going to eat you, I mean I am vegetarian this week
Kate – Whew....... What’s being dead like? Are you sure you are dead? I mean you do sort of look lifeless so I can believe it.
Maddox – Wait what? You mean I look lifeless? Way to make a good first impression. I think I must have pissed off the shuttle guy and he marked me as dead somehow
Kate – Of course. (Kate shakes her head) Julio must be on duty. Did you try to exit to the right?
Maddox (taken aback) – Hey he was yelling at me, I got all flustered. I mean I barely remember left from right in the best of situations
Kate grabs Maddox's hand. Maddox looks slightly horrified. Kate raises Maddox's left hand and puts it in an upward position. She then lightly pulls his thumb perpendicular.
Kate – Look at your hand
Maddox looks at his hand
Kate – See the L. That’s how you tell this is your left arm
Maddox looks in awe. He then holds up his right arm and looks disappointed
Maddox – What if I get the L confused with the backwards L on my right hand.
Kate looks down and brings her palm to her head
Kate – But Maddox, I am Doctor Kate Saxton, but you can call me Kate (she holds out her hand and he shakes it, a look of shock and realization fly over his face) Let's get you to Starship Resources to see if they can't get you undead. I really am glad that you aren't dead. You’re my new medical assistant, and I hate going through applications. Ugh hiring is the worst.
Maddox – Thanks Kate. Hopefully I didn't make a bad first impression
Kate – Oh you did, but you’ll fit in perfectly on this ship.

Maddox and Kate walk into Starship resources and up to the desk. The officer there looks up from her computer monitor.
Maddox (extending his hand) - Hi I am new on the ship and was hoping you could help me with something?
Wanda – HI I am Wanda Banks. You're new here, awesome. You are not Doug Jacobs, are you?
Maddox (shaking his head) - Nope, not the pilot
Wanda – Pheww, thank god!
Maddox – Hey, what's that supposed to mean
Wanda – It's just you don't strike me as a pilot. How can I help you? Did you need forms to fill out for an accommodation?
Maddox – I don’t think I have a disability. I mean I hope you don’t just look at me and say, oh there is a disabled new officer on my ship, not that there is anything wrong with being disabled.
Wanda – Well, I can tell you are a rambler. What can the assistant manager of Starship Relations do for you
Maddox – Oh maybe she can help
Wanda – She is me
Maddox – Well that was awkward, I mean open my mouth put my foot firmly in awkward
Wanda – No really you are cute in a weirdly awkward way but what can I do for you?
Maddox – The computer thinks I am dead.
Wanda –I don't think I have an accommodation form for that
Maddox – But I am not dead, how do I fix it
Wanda – Are you sure you are not dead? I mean you are so pale.
Kate – I asked the same thing
Wanda laughs and they high five
Maddox – Hey I have fair skin, I burn easily
Wanda – I am sure you do. Ok sweetheart what is your name?
Maddox – Maddox Maddocks
Wanda cringes – Did your parents hate you?
Kate – Great minds think a like! (another high five between the two ladies)
Maddox – No.... they just thought they were funny. My mom and dad traded off. My mom named my older sister, Elizabeth. Elizabeth Maddocks, that is a perfectly sensible name. But my dad wanted Maddox.
Kate – So like your whole life, your name has been a prank
Wanda – Now your mother should have known better than that, my husband wanted to name our children after cheese
Kate – Oh okay, like Colby or Brick
Wanda – No like Velveeta
Kate – Wow, that’s like setting her up in life on the stripper path
Wanda – I know that’s exactly what I told him
Maddox – That’s hilarious but Excalibur thinks I am dead
Kate – Wow, what a buzz kill
Wanda pushes a few buttons on her touch screen
Wanda – Yep, you are dead.
Wanda types a few more buttons on her screen. She shakes her head
Wanda – Ugh, you went right didn't you
Maddox – You know, he was really loud and yelled at me. It's only natural that someone would get flustered. And when I get flustered I forget which direction to go.
Wanda – Don't get your uniform in a bunch. Fill out these forms, and bring them back to me
Maddox walks away to one of the floating chairs in the lounge
Wanda leans in to Kate
Wanda – You know I actually don't hate this one. He has some spunk. Try not to let him get Centauri Measles like your last assistant.
Kate – I mean I'll try, but that last one was the second one that got them. Maybe I should just get rid of that sample. The lid always was a little tricky.
Wanda – Please do, I hate filling out all of that paperwork for officer accidents. And plus they turn into Centaurs with that disease.
Maddox bounces back with his electronic forms
Maddox – Here you go!

A few minutes later Maddox is in the hallway looking for his quarters.
Maddox – Excalibur, how much farther until cabin 543
Excalibur – I do apologize, I didn’t realize who I was dealing with. Let me makes sure you get to where you are going by taking a hard-holographic form, grabbing your hand and escorting you to your cabin.
Maddox – OMG, that would be glorious, can you really do that? I have had a rough day!
Excalibur – (quietly like a cough) Moron (coughing afterwards)
Maddox – Excalibur, do you need to go to the medical bay? Can ships have colds?
Excalibur – (quietly) This guy is such a moron he will fit in perfectly on this ship
Maddox – Oh no, now your volume controls are going whacky, I couldn’t even hear you! Can Kate help?
Excalibur – I don't know if you can! But to end this conversation I will let you know your cabin is to your left. (Maddox turns to his right). I said to your left
Maddox – Thanks Excalibur

Maddox walks through the door to his new quarters. He walks in and finds a mess. There are clothes all over the room. Plates from earlier in the day are on the table

Maddox – Excalibur, did you send me to the correct room?
Excalibur – Space on a Space Force vessel is at a premium; all junior officers are required to share a room with a roommate. Yours has been here for a few months.
Maddox walks into the quarters. He sees the main living area with two adjoining bedrooms
Maddox – Hello is anybody home?
(Lance calls out from the bathroom area)
Lance – In Here.
(Lance opens the door and walks out)
(Lance is wearing only a towel as he strides over to Maddox)
(The scene goes into slow motion as Maddox takes in his roommate. Lance walks over with the walk of a sex god. He has swagger. When he blinks his eyes seem to twinkle)
Lance – Hi I am Lance Braddock, are you my new roommate?
Maddox – Hi I am Maddox
Lance – Maddox? I thought they said you had died and were reassigning me a new roommate. You aren't from Romero 5 are you?
Maddox – Does that place really even exist?
Lance – You would be surprised what crazy things you'll see out here on the edge of known space. I was worried as I heard a pasty complexion is often a symptom of the Romero system virus
Maddox holds out his hand
Maddox – It is nice to meet you
Lance grabs Maddox's hand and shakes it. Lances towel falls to the ground. Maddox faints from excitement. Maddox comes to as Lance is almost about to give him mouth to mouth
Lance – Are you alright? I was worried that you might have died again.
Maddox – I just must not have eaten today. Coming back to life takes a lot out of you
Lance looks a little concerned, tilts his head inquisitively
Lance – Hmm, I guess it would, I have never died.
Maddox looks at Lance sideways
Maddox – You know that was just a joke, right?
Lance nods and then smiles a little
Lance – Oh good that would be weird otherwise. Ooh if you are hungry give me a few minutes and we can go to the Officers Cantina, as long as you are not really infected with the Romero virus. Space Force frowns on eating fellow officers
Maddox – Ok. I could get a bite to eat! I mean non-human officers, I mean normal food that normal humans eat, I am human.
As Lance walks off to his room his towel falls off again. His ass looks like it was sculpted by the gods
Maddox (quietly) - This is going to be an interesting assignment


The Officers Cantina
Lance and Maddox walk into the Officers Cantina
Lance – This is The Officers Cantina, it’s usually pretty quiet, but at least once a week some action or deep conversation seems to happen here.
Maddox – How convenient
Lance takes Maddox up to the bar.
Lance – I will take a milk and whiskey please.
Maddox makes a disgusted face
Maddox – MILK and whiskey?
Lance- Yes, didn’t your parents ever tell you to drink your milk every day?
The server comes back with Lances drink, she is an attractive young woman. Lance is obviously ogling her and leans in to have a conversation. Maddox notices Kate and Wanda from earlier today and walks over to the table they are seated at
Kate (whispering to Wanda) - Don’t look now, its my new medical assistant
Wanda (whispering) - Ooh, I remember, the dead one, right?
Kate (whispering) - I am worried if he can’t tell right from left
Wanda (whispering) - Girl, you know Julio is a dick. Like I told you earlier, I kind of like this one
Maddox- Hi ladies! Thanks for your help earlier today!!!
Kate – Maddox! Pull up a chair!
Maddox pulls up a seat facing the bar
Wanda – Is Lance your roommate? He is delicious!
Kate – Whew, I wouldn’t mind giving him a physical
Wanda – Well then, I would have to do all type of paperwork. Good thing I am good with dictation
They both laugh
Maddox just whist fully stares in Lances direction and sighs.
Kate- Oh boy, he has got it bad….
Wanda- Kid, you’ve got an adorable personality, but you are like a 5, and pasty. Lt Braddock is a perfect 10 on his worst day. He is scrumptious, mmm
Maddox – I know I usually just chip chip chip away at them until they just see this adorable goofball that I am, it has worked so many times. I always play the long game.
Kate – I don’t think he has enough brain cells for the long game, I like to think of him and his buddy Kale as goldfish. Pretty to look at but dumb as a box of rocks.
Wanda – oooh Kate…. You are too much.
Kate and Wanda high five each other
The server comes around
Sever – Hi ladies and gentle sir, I’m Ida-Claire. It’s one of my first shifts here
Maddox waves to the server
Maddox – Hello Ida-Claire. I do declare my name is Maddox! I’m new here too.
Ida-Claire – Yay, are you going to the Starship Orientation tomorrow?
Maddox – Wait there is an orientation here, that has to be the cheesiest thing I ever heard of.
Wanda – You know I run that right? Hello Starship Resources here.
Maddox – By cheesiest I mean good, I mean cheese is delicious. I love cheese!
Wanda – Don't worry, you are right it is cheesy as hell, and yes you better be there tomorrow.
Maddox – I wouldn’t miss it, wouldn’t miss it for the world
Ida-Claire –Good, I got as buddy to sit next to then. Y’all ready to order anything?
Kate – Round of drinks for me and my friends here.
Ida-Claire – Any drinks in particular, or y’all want me to wrangle up some mint juleps?
Wanda – I'll have Sex on a Beach
Ida-Claire – The drink? Or are you offering a hot night in the Holo-Plex?
Wanda – Well at first I was thinking of the drink but now....
Ida-Claire smiles
Ida-Claire - And you Kate?
Kate – What I had before. A double shot of whiskey, a long island iced tea and a beer chaser.
Kate – Well aren’t you thirstier than Julio Ryan at a debate.
Wanda- Aren’t you on call tonight?
Kate- Aren’t you off the clock? Besides, miss starship resources, I can just inject myself with NoDrunk and it will all be good.
Ida-Claire – And you funny guy?
Maddox – Well, uhh uhm
Ida-Claire – Spit it out sugar! You act like a zombie bit your tongue out.
Maddox – I know it’s ridiculous but my roommate just mentioned a drink on the way here and it’s all I can think about. It has to be the most disgusting thing but I am just so curious about it. Oh so very curious about it.
Kate – Oh no don’t order it
Wanda – Oh not that drink
Ida-Claire – Shug, who is your roommate?
Maddox – Lance
Ida-Claire – Oh no you're really wanting one of those?
Maddox – I mean we all should drink a little more milk, right? I mean it really can’t be all that horrible can it?
Ida-Claire – Your funeral right? One milk and whiskey coming up, I’m going to bring you a side drink just in case
Maddox – Thanks Ida-Claire
Ida-Claire walks to the bar area
Kate – Maddox haven’t you had enough of a near death experience for one day?
Maddox – I mean it can’t be that bad can it?
Wanda – Drinking the same drink as him is not going to get you into his pants
Maddox – But you know, maybe he will see me drink it and say that’s someone who likes to try new things. Then he will start to realize how truly amazing I am and then fall head over heels in love
Kate – Wow, you have an extremely high impression of yourself, don’t you?
Maddox – Well if I don’t who will?
Wanda – Actually that is a good point
Lance comes over with his friend
Lance – This is Maddox, they guy I was talking to you about. Kale, this is Maddox
Kale and Maddox shake hands
Kale – Whoa, you were like dead today. How did you do that? You are not feeling stiff or anything? You are pale so I mean that is like one of the first signs, do you have a inexplicably hunger to et me or Lance
Kate pokes Maddox in the side as she notices Maddox drooling at the thought of Kale and Lance together
Kate – Officer, no worries, Maddox may look infected but shows no sign of the Romero virus
Maddox – No virus, you want to know what my secret is, its Magic!
Kale – Oh wow cool! A magic dude! I thought you were going to say you turned right or something. I don’t know how but that is the leading cause of death on this ship.
Lance – I know I don’t get how so many people die from a direction. Doc you should like start an investigation into it or something
Kate – Uhm wow Lance, what a great idea!
Wanda – Absolutely!!!
Kate and Wanda giggle, leaning into each other. Lance and Kale look proud of their suggestion
Ida-Claire reproaches the table with the drink order
Lance – Yes! You got a Milk and Whiskey
Maddox – Yes, I decided I really do need to try new things in life
Maddox takes a sip of his drink
He wants to spit it out and his face initially shows his distaste, he realizes that Lance is watching and smiles
Maddox – Wow that is delicious
Lance – It really does pack a nice punch doesn’t it
Maddox- Join us?
Maddox waves his hand in an inviting gesture
Kale – we were going to the ships gym if you want to meet us after you are done eating with these lovely ladies
Maddox – Probably not, I need to leave the heavy lifting to someone
Lance waves to them as they head towards the door. Wanda swoons. Kate rolls her eyes.
Wanda – I guess you can’t have looks and brains
Kate – I don’t know I think I have both!
Wanda – You have brains?
Maddox giggles
Maddox – I don’t think I have either
Kate – yeah no.
Wanda starts laughing
Maddox (waving his hand) – Ida-Claire I need a new drink

The doors to the cantina opens
In walks Diana Chamberlain the captain of the ship. She is off duty and proudly wearing a Union jack shirt over her uniform pants
Everyone stands
Diana – Bonjour mon braves! You do not have to stand on my account (in a heavy French accent)
The room sits down and goes about their business
Diana approaches the table with Kate and Wanda
Diana – Bonjour, you are new here, are you not?
Maddox stands up and shakes her hand
Maddox – Hello I am Maddox
Diana - Oh phew, I was worried you were Doug our new pilot, thank god you are not the pilot.
Maddox – No ma’am… or sir….. or ma’am
Diana – Didn't I read a report that you had been killed on arrival
Maddox – That was a bit of a mix-up, as you can see I am absolutely alive
Diana – Unless you have the Romero virus
Maddox- I have been getting that a lot, I mean do I really look like a Romero virus victim?
Diana – Ah in the beginning you look the same just deathly pale. Zis would not be the first time I have been fooled by a zombie. In London I was married to one for a few years
Maddox- Oh you are from England……
Diana- Yes I was born and raised in London. Sacre Bleu everyone is so surprised I am from London. It is the greatest city in the world
Maddox – it sure is sir. It is a pleasure to be on your ship
Diana- Tres Bien! Au Revoir!
Diana walks away
Wanda – You make great first impressions kid, you might make the bridge crew, in 20 years
Kate – Yeah you might want to work on your first impression skills, I almost used the emergency hatch to blow you out into space
Maddox – OMG, did you really think I had the Romero virus?
Kate – No
Maddox takes a second to think about it then his face distorts to shock
Wanda – Brutal
Maddox- Maybe I should just volunteer for a mission to Romero 5, just so I can infect you with this virus
Wanda – Good luck catching anyone with those chicken legs
Kate – I think he would have a hard time infecting anyone with those choppers too


Back in Maddox’s quarters

Maddox is talking to Excalibur
Maddox – Excalibur what are the symptoms of the Romero virus and how does one contract it
Excalibur – You do not have the Romero 5 virus
Maddox – Yes but like how can you be sure that I don’t have the Romero 5 virus?
Excalibur – Have you been to Romero 5?
Maddox – No, I don’t even know where the Romero system is
Excalibur – It has been noted that you are extremely pale, but have you exhibited any of the other signs of zombie-ism? Has your heart stopped beating?
Maddox – (Feels over his heart) No it is still beating
Excalibur – Do you have an insatiable hunger for flesh
Maddox – I mean I have been having some carnal thoughts about my new roommate if those counts
Excalibur – (Makes a computing error noise) Error, all computer models show that Lt Braddock is well outside of your league, computer models show that your most likely match on this starship is Julio
Maddox – Excalibur, are you kidding me? Julio? Everybody hates him, and besides he had me listed as dead in the system, I don’t even understand how he even has a job in Space Force
Excalibur – His full name is Julio Esquire
Maddox – Oh the Esquires? Wow how is he on this ship?
Excalibur – He is the Nephew of the president, he has been assigned to this ship due to its lack of importance, he scored historically low on the aptitude test to get into Space Force.
Maddox – I feel like we have gotten off course, do computers get off track anyway?
Excalibur - Are you reduced to communicating solely through moans?
Maddox – No, I mean I feel like I am communicating to you via language? But then wouldn’t the universal translator just translate it for me? And would I really know if I was just moaning? And what if I was really just a zombie on Romero 5 and this was all in my head?
Excalibur – (error noises) Maddox, get a life
Just at that moment Lance walks back into the quarters. He enters with a beautiful woman in one arm and a muscular man in the next arm.
Lance – Oh guys this is my new roommate Maddox, he was dead a few hours ago
Woman – Oh wow that’s scary
Man – Oh man, that must be why you are so pasty
Lance – No, he told me that’s just how he always looks
Man – Oh man, I am sorry that’s awful. Maybe he is allergic to the sun
They giggle as Lance leads them into his room
Man – Nice to meet you
Woman – See you around
Lance – Hope we don’t keep you up
They walk into Lances room
Maddox waits until the door to his room closes and lets his smile fade
Maddox – Excalibur I think you may be right about Lance.
Maddox walks over to the food dispenser
Maddox - Can I have a Milk and Whiskey, hold the milk.
(Drink comes out of the dispenser )
Excalibur (quietly) – Dumbass

The next day
There is a classroom, a sign on the Wall Says Welcome to Starship Orientation.
Maddox and Ida-Claire walk in at the same time.
The room is huge but they are the first ones here
Maddox – We must be extremely early, look at all the empty chairs
Ida-Claire – I know, especially since I heard this ship has an extremely high mortality rate. I mean the server who I took over for died on an away mission
Maddox – They took a server from the Cantina on an away mission?
Ida-Claire – I know, that makes me a little nervous. No that makes more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs
Maddox – Wow, that’s nervous
Ida-Claire – I know, that’s more nervous than Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server at a Russian bar
Maddox – You know, I hear the United Earth Congress is almost done with the investigation into her server. About time, she’s been dead for well over a hundred years
Ida-Claire – But y’all, what about her clone, what if she runs as president of the clone planet
Maddox – But, is she really cloned, I mean like I think that would be news?
Ida-Claire – It is if you listen to the right news channels
Maddox – And where is this clone planet? Is it a whole planet of clones? Because what if the clones had babies? Then they wouldn’t be clones, maybe the clones are sterile? You know, because then there would be the need for more clones. And why would they elect a woman from like over 150 years in the past, it makes no sense I tell you, absolutely no sense. I mean we didn’t even have light speed drive when she was alive. Our spaceships were a joke back then, and we really didn’t clone people back then, so that would definitely not be my first choice for Clone World President
Ida-Claire – You know, I never actually thought through. You are awfully smart Maddox!
Maddox shrugs as Ida- Claire looks at him with big wide eyes
The doors open and several new officers come into the room. The room fills. Wanda walks in
Wanda – Welcome all of our new officers! Let’s start by doing a get to know you game, think of it as an icebreaker. You are paired with your desk mate. Get to know them like you would be giving their eulogy. You never know when you’ll have to give one of those. Like I mean we have a lot of funerals on board. After 30 minutes we’ll come around and you can tell some facts about your partner to everyone
Random new officer in the back – I don’t have anyone at my table. Should I join another table
Wanda – Just take the time to get to know yourself. I mean you look like you do that often enough anyway
The room laughs
Ida-Claire – Yay, this will be fun.
Maddox – So Ida-Claire, what do you do for fun?
Ida-Claire – Well when I am not working at the Cantina, I have been taking Adult Education dance classes. I’m kind of excited, there is a class on the ship here. Oh Maddox you should join us, how fun would that be. I bet your cute little tushie would dance well.
Maddox – I really don’t think you would want to see me dance, it is not a pretty sight. Really not pretty at all
Ida-Claire – Oh when you introduce me talk about how I am dancing, I can do a demonstration for everyone. Maybe we can have Excalibur cue some music
Maddox – That could actually be very very fun, you know instead of like a q and a, we’ll have some t and a
Ida-Claire – You are horrible Maddox, Ah love it. So what do you do for fun?
Maddox – Well I like to take long walks on short piers.
Ida-Claire – But won’t y’all get wet like that. Or do you just go around and round on the pier. Like some kind of circle tour. I guess it would beat walking on the sand. I mean who wants to walk around in sand, it gets everywhere
Maddox – (facepalms then shakes his head) I like puppies
Ida – Claire – oh shug I love animals. I have two cats
Maddox- Cats are evil
Ida-Claire- (shocked face) My little fur babies aren’t evil
Maddox- Look, cats are evil, have you ever looked at how they look at you, in the eyes, like they are looking into your soul whenever they do something mischievous
Ida-Claire- I get you, my baby boy Mint Juleps loves to knock plants of of my shelves.
Maddox- What did I tell you,Evil.
Maddox does a Double take
Maddox- Wait, your cat is named Mint Juleps
Ida – Claire- Sure is shug!! My favorite little bugger named after mah favorite drink
Maddox – Your favorite drink is a Mint Julep? Ida – Claire you are the most southern gal I have ever met.
Ida Claire – Born and Bred, and proud… what about you? What hobbies do you have?
Maddox- I really don’t have any!
Ida Claire- well that’s a shame! But you are great at conversing!
A few minutes later Maddox and Ida Claire are in front of the group
Maddox- Hi! My orientation partner is Ida Claire! She is one of the new hostesses at the Cantina!
Maddox points to Ida Claire
Ida Claire waives
Maddox – Ida-Claire loves Mint Juleps! She has a cat named after her favorite drink, and when not in the Cantina, Ida-Claire is an adult dancer
The room is stunned
Ida-Claire turns bright red
Maddox realizes what he said
Maddox- I mean Ida-Claire is in an adult dance class, and by that I mean Ida-Claire is in a dance class for adults
Ida-Claire- That is right y’all! I love to dance, it helps with all kinds of anxiety
Maddox- And that is my new friend Ida-Claire in a nutshell. No wait this is Ida-Claire- in a nutshell
Maddox mimes being stuck in a nutshell
Ida-Claire- Thanks! This is my new friend Maddox Maddocks! He says his parents named him that because they thought they were funny.
Maddox- It’s true!!!
Ida-Claire- Maddox is going to work with Kate in medical. Maddox has already proven himself to be a great friend
Maddox- Ahh thanks
Ida-Claire- He is also pretty smart and funny Y’all! He was able to get me to see his way on a few things, like a master debater
The room looks at Ida-Claire and she looks puzzled
Maddox (to the room) – I only do that in my quarters, but you should see my arms
The room giggles
Ida-Claire – Thanks for the save Shug! Also just so you all know, the rumors are not true and he does not have the Romero virus.
Maddox – I am just really pale, that’s all

The next morning
Maddox arrives at Medical, he is wearing his duty uniform
Kate – Good morning and welcome to sickbay!
Maddox – I am actually very excited about this assignment! I mean I already have a good feeling about this ship. It is a good ship, such a good ship. It’s so good it should be named Lollipop.
Kate – Wow, Ok. We can ask about that later.
Maddox – I’ll hold you to that
Kate takes him on a tour of sickbay.
Kate – Make sure you take all of this in, there is a test at the end of this tour
Maddox – I really hope not, I didn’t bring a recordable notepad
Kate – I wish I was joking, I hate having to grade these quizzes at the end of the first day
Scene fades comes back later in the shift
Maddox looks at the appointment schedule
Maddox – Oh no Ida-Claire is up next, I think she may have a crush on me
Kate – Whoa..... How could she not know immediately that you don’t like girls. Make sure we run a test on her eyesight and hearing
Maddox (makes shocked face) - I mean I am not that obviously gay
Kate – Not that it matters in this day and age but...... Every time you talk a purse falls out of your mouth
Maddox – But really a purse. Why didn’t you go for the more obvious? Like a penis or something
Kate – Well I was going to say that, then I realized you probably don’t get much action
Maddox – What if I didn’t say anything?
Kate (shaking her head)– No, just no
Maddox – Well I think Ida-Claire is just a little naive, and pretty conservative, I don’t know how she will react if she finds out.
Kate – Alright, go sort the newly arrived meds and I’ll handle her for a few minutes
Ida- Claire walks into medical
Ida-Claire – Hi I am in for my physical
Kate - Have a seat, I’ll have Maddox go over you with the scanner
Ida-Claire – I like Maddox. But does he even know what to do with it?
Kate – Well, do you mean the scanner or you?
Ida-Claire – What do ya mean Doc? Maddox is a sweet guy!
Kate – You know he prefers the company of gentlemen
Ida-Claire – I mean, who doesn’t
Kate – (looks at Ida-Claire with a puzzled look) I mean he likes to kiss boys
Ida – Claire – But he is so pale? I thought those boys were supposed to be prettier
Kate – I know it does make it more complicated when people don’t fit easily into stereotypes
Ida – Claire – Ah know, I thought he was a little more considerate than that, that’s the second time this has happened on this ship
Kate- Second time? You have only been here for a week.
Ida – Claire – Ah thought the shuttle bay operator was flirting with me
Kate- Julio? I mean he’s cute but grumpy as hell.
Ida Claire- Ah know, I spent the day up in the shuttle day bothering him
Kate – You know he marked Maddox as Dead in the system! He only does that when he finds someone really annoying ……
Ida – Claire – or really cute
Kate – I am sure with Maddox it’s a little of both
Maddox walks in the room.
Maddox – And what were you ladies talking about
Ida – Claire looks at Kate
Ida – Claire- Maybe you were right.
They both laugh
Kate – Ida – Claire you are fit for duty
Ida-Claire- Thanks Doc!
As Ida-Claire leaves heads towards the door in medical, the door opens. Lt. Julio Esquire walks in to the room
Kate looks at Ida – Claire and they both giggle
Kate- How can I help you Lt. Esquire?
Julio – I woke up today with a headache that just won’t go away.
Kate- Alright into room one , I will have my new assistant check on you in a moment
Julio walks into Room One.
Kate- Maddox come here for a minute
Maddox walks up
Maddox- Yes Kate?
Kate- I have a patient for you in Room One
Kate puts her hand on Maddox’s wrist
Kate- it’s Lt. Esquire
Maddox- Just my luck, you know Excalibur was trying to set me up with him the other night
Kate- We’ll what do computers know
Maddox- Ok but if I end up dead again, avenge me (louder with more emotion) Avenge Me
Kate – remind me to tell Ida -Claire she was right when I see her later
Maddox- What was she right about?
Kate- the part were she tells me that you are annoying
Maddox fakes a shocked/ hurt look on her face

Medical Bay Room One
Julio is sitting awkwardly in the side chairs waiting for an assistant to enter the room
Julio – Excalibur, I mean am I supposed to just wait here, I mean am I supposed to take of my clothes and but on one of these gowns that are hanging on the walls
Excalibur- If I were you I would definitely change into the robe
Julio- But that just seems kind of awkward
Excalibur- Everything seems awkward to you
Julio – Aren’t you supposed to be programmed to be helpful?
Excalibur- That is an invalid assumption
Julio – obviously
Julio starts to change into the gown as Excalibur instruct him to
Maddox walks into the room as Julio has taken his shirt off
Maddox stares at him for a second
Maddox- Oh I am sorry, I didn’t realize you were changing. Why are you changing?
Julio – The computer told me to. I don’t know why though
Maddox – I find Excalibur is a bit of an asshole.
Excalibur- (Quietly) Deal with it suckers
Maddox- See what I mean!
Julio – Total dick move Excalibur
Maddox – Hi I am Maddox
Julio- I know, we have met
Maddox – I know I just want to forget all of the trouble you caused me. Everyone is calling me Romero boy.
Julio laughs
Julio- oh I get it, because you are so pale, and you were dead
Maddox- Ha ha ha…..
Julio - I mean you really are pale, how is that even possible? Do you like never even go out into the sun, like ever
Maddox - Ok, but seriously why are you here?
Julio- You know I a migraine until just now.
Maddox- Until just now? Did I scare it out of you? I mean I know I am the hilarious zombie boy and all so maybe I ……
Julio – No, I am sorry you helped by making me laugh. I have not done that in awhile, so thanks
Maddox looks taken aback
Maddox- Let me scan you anyway to make sure you are not going to die or anything
Julio- Ok thanks
Maddox – And you can put your shirt back on, just because I still think you are a jerk and don’t want to not think that yet.
Julio puts his shirt back on while Maddox scans him in silence
Maddox- Ok it looks like you have had a stress related migraine, it seems to be clearing up naturally. I am going to get you some NightAll so you can sleep
Julio – Ok thanks!
Maddox – And Please don’t mark me as dead again….
Julio walks towards the door. Right as he gets to the door frame he turns towards Maddox.
Julio – Hopefully I can at some point change your mind about me being a jerk
After the door closes behind him Maddox smiles
Maddox- He is still a jerk but …..
Later in the main medical bay
Kate- whew we have been slammed all day
Maddox – Who knew that there would be an outbreak of Andromeda Pox
Kate – And how many people screeched when they first saw you?
Maddox- Ok so if you tell people to be on the lookout for your medical assistant who has been acting strange since vacationing in the Romero system what do you expect
Kate - Oh come on, just a little first day initiation
Maddox – Lt. Kelly hit me with a frying pan
Kate- Ok but I was able to treat the swelling
Maddox – Why was there a frying pan in Room 3
Kate – We’ll never know I guess
Kate shrugs
Maddox – Seriously though, am I that pale?
Kate – You are nearly translucent, maybe a tropical vacation somewhere will help
Maddox – But, I just got here!
Kate – Ugh you did didn’t you, it feels like forever already. I already need a vacation from you
Kate smiles as she says this
Maddox – Just remember how much you hate hiring
Kate – I really do hate paperwork, yuck
Maddox- And maybe you like me already
Kate – Let’s get you to survive the first week
Maddox – is it really is that bad here?
Scene fades to black

Officers Cantina later that night
At the table is Kate, Wanda, and Maddox
Wanda- Guess what? I am now head of Starship Resources
Kate- Congratulations!!! How did that happen? We did not get Commander Pond down in the Medical Bay
Wanda – Tamika got a transfer off of Excalibur
Kate- Holy shit! You can actually get off of this boat without dying?!?
Maddox – Seriously, they should put this stuff in the brochure
Wanda – They do. Didn’t you read it?
Maddox – I was just randomly applying everywhere.
Wanda – They flash a warning at the end of the application process.
Maddox- Who reads all of that information
Kate – Most people do.
Wanda – Well then Maddox baby, you ended up in the right place
Maddox- How did you guys end up here?
Kate – I had an affair with my bosses wife, and got caught
Maddox- Who was your boss? How did they have that kind of pull
Kate- President Esquire, I was his personal physician.
Maddox – Seriously that’s awful
Wanda – I was in fleet resources at headquarters. I was a promising recruiter. I just received a promotion to head of recruiting
Maddox- Wow that’s a huge deal
Wanda- That it was. Until I realized I admitted the notorious Kitty Griffin into space fleet
Kate- That was you? I remember the scandal. Mister Esquire was not happy.
Wanda- In my haste I overlooked her psyche report
Maddox- Oh I think I heard of that. Didn’t she have an affair with Mrs. Esquire
Kate – Ok, who didn’t?
Wanda- That wasn’t the worst of it. She was caught trying to murder the Commander of the Fleet
Kate- Wait was that really the case?
Maddox – All of this murder talk! I may not sleep tonight!
Wanda – That’s what she was charged with! But really she released pictures of her playing a holo program on instasnapbook tm
Maddox- Oh wasn’t she just playing Gorge Forces?
Wanda- Yes but the Fleet was so embarrassed that they wanted to find a scapegoat, I didn’t notice a discrepancy in her exam records so I squarely got the blame.
Ida-Claire walks up to the table
Ida-Claire – Are y’all talking about how y’all ended up on Excalibur?
Maddox – Apparently, like I am the only one who didn’t realize what a shit assignment this was
Ida-Claire – I didn’t hear but I figured you just didn’t read any of the reviews when you signed up
Maddox – Gahh I didn’t realize I was so transparent
Ida-Claire – Y’all are pale but not that pale
Kate and Wanda laugh
Wanda- Yass!! Ida-Claire you are alright!
Kate- Ida-Claire ! Ida-Claire! Ida-Claire!
Maddox- Ugh this is not fair! Not fair at all teaming up on me!
The door opens to the Cantina
Lance, Kale, and several security officers walk in
Maddox dreamily stares at Lance
Ida-Claire – Good god you got it bad
Kate- Seriously not going to happen
Wanda- And even if it did it would only be for a moment
Maddox- But what a moment that would be
The Cantina doors open
Julio Esquire walks in and takes a seat in the corner
Kate- Now that’s a first
Wanda- Yeah in the years we have been on the same ship, I have never seen him in the Cantina
Ida – Claire – He’s kind of a jerk
Wanda- Actually I have had a few conversations with him, he is absolutely a sweetheart
Maddox- Yeah he caused me a lot of trouble on my first day
Kate – I don’t know that’s classic. I wish I had thought of it
Ida-Claire leaves to take his order
Wanda- Too bad he’s a jerk. He is an attractive son of a gun
Maddox- I mean he is, and when he was in medical Excalibur was making him strip into gowns when I walked in
Kate – That’s why we alert before we go in
Maddox – I know I just didn’t think there would be any reason too
Kate- So what did you see?
Maddox- He was just shirtless
Wanda- Yummy Those cute little muscles of his his
Maddox – No Wanda, don’t humanize him, no no no
Ida-Claire comes over with drinks for the whole table
Ida-Claire- A round of drinks
Kate- Who do we owe the round of thanks to?
Ida-Claire- Well you are not going to believe this
Maddox- Oh don’t tell me …..
Ida- Claire- Anonymous, just with a note for Maddox
Maddox takes the note and it reads
“Just a little to help you see me as less of a jerk and more human “
Maddox – Aww see, now I just can’t hate people, they just always try to make it up
Wanda- Who is it from?
Maddox- Just some jerk from the other day
Kate- Who Lt. Jelly?
Maddox – No that will take much more than that to make it up. Ida-Claire if you see Anonymous again let them know Thanks, they are still a jerk, but that was a really really nice sweet gesture
Ida-Claire- Oooh, I am rooting for you and Anonymous to hook up
Maddox- Ugh But Anonymous is a jerk and I am busy looking at eye candy anyway
Maddox looks across the room at the security group
Kate- They sure are pretty
Wanda- Hmph is sure would like a bite of their chicken wings
Maddox- That’s an odd analogy especially for SR
Wanda side eyes Maddox
Ida-Claire – Ooh I sure wouldn’t mind them using their stirrer to mix my cocktail
Kate- I wouldn’t mind breaking out my penicillin for them
Maddox – Wait what is that even sexy?
Kate- You are a total buzzkill
Maddox – Ugh drinking with your boss is never a good idea.
Maddox finishes up his drink
Maddox – Time for Maddox to go get some beauty sleep
Wanda- Wanda thinks that Maddox is a pussy for going to bed so early
Kate- Wait aren’t you head of SR
Wanda- I am off the clock! If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the Cantina!
Everyone laughs
Maddox- Seriously I am off like a prom dress!!!
Maddox gets up to leave
Maddox eyes Lt. Esquire and walks out the door

Corridor outside of the Cantina
Maddox waits on the other side of the door
Julio walks out of the Cantina
Maddox pushes Julio against the bulkhead behind him
Julio leans in and kisses Maddox
After a moment Maddox pulls away
Maddox – Ok enough, you are still a jerk
Julio – Sorry I find you irresistible for some reason
Maddox – I keep telling people it’s my personality that draws people in, definitely not my looks
Julio laughs
Julio- You aren’t that bad …..
Maddox puts his finger to Julio’s mouth
Maddox- I swear to god if you tell me I am just pale this ship will need a new shuttle operator
Julio – Ok, I won’t, I won’t
Maddox – See still a jerk
Julio – Let me make it up to you, and buy you dinner.
Maddox- I don’t know. That start you had will take some time to get over
Julio – Sooo, really can I actually see you sometime
Maddox – Maybe, I’ll have to think on it
Julio – Ugh seriously….
Julio leans in for a kiss. Maddox acts like he is leaning in and then puts his hand over his mouth
Maddox- Maybe, not right now
Maddox walks away. As soon as his back is to Julio his face lights up in a huge smile

The next morning in the shuttle bay
Julio is working at his console
Lance walks in
Lance- Lt. Esquire, how long until the new crew is scheduled to arrive?
Julio – They are due in three hours at 1100
Lance- Thanks Lt.
Julio – Can ask I you something?
Lance- look you are ok looking and rich but I am really not into…..
Julio – No, that’s nowhere near what I was going to say! I mean seriously do you think everyone just hits on you?
Lance – I mean it is a common problem for me. I think it’s happened to me 80% of the time I talk to someone
Julio – I mean you are ok I guess but I don’t see 80% of the ship fawning over you
Lance – Sir, I beg to disagree.
Julio – Okee Dokee, anyways I was going to ask you what you knew about your roommate
Lance – No need to worry sir, he is just that dull and translucent all the time, he doesn’t have the Romero virus, he’s just sort of creepy.
Julio – Creepy? How so?
Lance- He often looks at me like I am some sort of dessert to eat! Then I have to convince myself that he doesn’t have the Romero 5 virus all over again
Julio – Maybe he just had a little crush on you is all
Lance – But then why hasn’t he just tried to fondle or feel me up like everyone else
Julio – Seriously, people just walk up to you and do that?
Lance- More often than you would think
Julio – Why don’t you repot them to Starship resources
Lance - Then I would be a whiner and not appreciative
Julio- Well besides creepy, what else do you know?
Lance – Why are you asking sir? Is this a secret report for your uncle? Is Maddox a spy for the zombie nation?
Julio – No ensign, Maddox is not a spy for the imaginary zombie empire
Lance – But there is proof of Romero 5 having had a human civilization that was wiped out by a virus that was classified as zombieism
Julio- That’s not the point I was trying to make
Lance – Sir then what possible interest would you have in Maddox?
Julio – Ensign I was just asking on a personal level
Lance – Isn’t he a little below your station in life if you don’t mind me saying
Julio – That’s ridiculous Lance, power and money aren’t everything, not even the tip of the iceberg
Lance – Well he seems to think you are a huge jerk so good luck with changing his mind without money
Julio- I don’t think that is how Maddox works, that money matters to him
Lance- Sir, when people find out how rich you really are it always matters
Julio – Unfortunately you are usually right
Lance – You could always give me all your money and not worry about that
Julio- I wish I could, it’s some trust that none of us really own but have access too
Lance- I don’t know that I can really feel bad for you.
Julio – Usually people don’t. You are relieved Ensign! Return around 1100 for the crew transfers
Lance walks out the shuttle bay

Later that evening, Tele-Porter room
Doug Jacobs walks in
Jacobs – Hi, I am new here I left some items on the station
Tell-Porter Operator – Yes Sir! It is so boring down here, I am glad to do this
Jacobs – I am surprised Excalibur has a Tele-Porter operator, can’t the computer just do it for us?
Tele-Porter Operator – But you need skilled hands if something goes wrong!
Jacobs – ohh. Ok
Tele-Porter Operator – Beginning sequence
He presses a few buttons , the Lt. Starts to fade away
Excalibur makes error noises
Tele-porter Operator – Oh no not again! I forgot to set a destination
He types frantically
Excalibur makes more error noises
Tele-Porter Operator- Well I guess he was right
He re-emerges a charred looking corpse
Tele-Porter Operator – Excalibur, Who is the new guy who died?
Excalibur- Which one?
TO – The one who died and came back just now
Excalibur- Maddox Maddocks
TO operator - Tele-Room to Medical
Scene fades to black

Maddox’s quarters, the next morning

Sickbay the next morning
Maddox walks in
Kate sees Maddox and screams
Maddox – Hi? What’s wrong?
Kate – Ugh Seriously you keep dying on us
Maddox – What are you talking about?
Kate hands Maddox a tablet
Maddox – Wait what?
He says as he reads Aloud
Maddox – New Officer Maddox Maddocks dies in tele-porter accident
Kate – How are you here now? Are you a ghost?
Maddox – But where was I going? Is this Julio’s doing? Seriously I thought we had an understanding
Maddox taps his communication device
Maddox – Maddocks to Lt. Esquire
Computer makes error noise
Excalibur – How are you dead again?
Maddox – If you know I am not really dead then please put me through to Esquire
Excalibur – Sorry, cannot comply, officer is deceased
Kate – Ugh, all the paperwork I am going to have to do.
Maddox – Kate can you please call Esquire to the medical bay
Kate- Why is this ghost so bossy?
Maddox looks at her angrily
Kate – Fine
Kate presses her communication device
Kate- Medical to Lt. Esquire
Julio- Esquire here
Kate – Can you report to medical?
Julio – Of course, on my way
Kate – Thanks
Maddox – Seriously I am going to kill this guy
Kate – Are you going to haunt me for eternity ?
Maddox- Kate, I am not dead
Kate – Then what about the body
Maddox looks shocked
Maddox – Wait there is a body?
Kate – Yes, the tele-porter recombined most of you.
Maddox – Wait then why are you going to let me yell at Julio
Kate – Seriously you are a ghost, ghosts are scary. If a ghost tells me to do something then I do it
Maddox – But I clearly remember yesterday….. and I went home after the Cantina
Kate – Do you want to see your body you are in exam room 3, there is no frying pan in there today
Maddox walks into Exam Room Three
Maddox looks at the body on the table, it is severely damaged and burnt looking
Shaking his head he reaches out and touches the body , reaching out to hold his hand, he notices a clear piece of skin(unburnt ) with a tattoo of a butterfly on it
Maddox – Wait I hate butterflies! I would never get one tattooed on my wrist! Its not me! Yay
Maddox jumps for joy
Maddox- Oh shit, didn’t Lt. Jacobs have a butterfly tattoo

The main medical bay
Julio Esquire walks into the room
Kate- Julio! I forgot you were on your way!
Julio – Must be a rough day for you as well
Kate – You wouldn’t believe how rough it’s been
Julio – Kate, how did this happen? Why did this happen?
Kate – Well he seems to think that you did it?
Julio – What are you talking about ?
Maddox walks out of Examination Room 3
Julio sees Maddox and runs over to him and wraps him in a big hug
Julio- Holy shit!!! You aren’t dead! How?
Julio excitedly gives Maddox a passionate kiss
Maddox pulls away after a minute
Maddox – No I am not dead. But the shock of that just might kill me
Julio releases his hold on Maddox
Julio – Sorry, my emotions overcame my senses.
Maddox – Yeah well jerks will let that happen sometimes. I guess I should have known you didn’t do this as a prank
Julio – You insult my skills at the prank with that remark, only an amateur prankster pulls a double prank like that
Kate – Ugh, too much Julio and his jerk nature too early in the morning. Esquire, take Maddox to SR to get the paperwork fixed

The Corridors
Julio and Maddox are walking quietly
Maddox – Ok, so are we just not going to talk about what happened in Medical?
Julio – I mean that was not the first time we kissed, right? It was the second.
Maddox – Ok but like the first one was just like this weird attraction thing we have going on, but Julio that was a little but, I don’t know ….. Wow
Julio – I mean really? I thought you were dead
Maddox – And that would bother you right?
They both stop walking
Julio – Why are you being like this?
Maddox – You mean charming and impish?
Julio chuckles
Julio – Obviously you know I like you.
Maddox – Yup, that is pretty obvious. But I still don’t know about you.
Julio – So is this like you don’t know if you think you could possibly like me or are you just just trying to play some cutesy hard to get game.
Maddox – You know, I may never know
Maddox walks to the doors to walk into SR
Maddox presses the door button and gets an error
Excalibur (minorly amoused) – Error officer listed as deceased
Maddox hangs his head in defeat
Julio goes to the door and opens it
Julio – Well if you ever figure it out, you know where to find me
The door closes
End of episode One

Shatered States - Part 2

    The flight to the Los Angeles, California, in the Island Of California only takes a few hours. I find myself replaying the events of the last few days. Why did I agree to this assignment? My bosses at the CBC had a revolutionary idea. They wanted a objective report on the state of the new nations that had sprung up in the corpse of the United States. I was the perfect candidate for them. I was just popular enough that the viewers would have a slight idea who I was, just barely more than obscure. I also was born in the United States, lived in Chicago when it was a part of the Alliance and was now a Canadian citizen working for the government. My bosses were able to arrange access to a variety of sources in several of the new governments. My first stop is the Island of California. 

    I still sigh when I hear that name at how inaccurate the name  of their country state is. California has not suddenly become and island, and is no longer just California. What used to be Nevada, Washington, and Oregon are now part of the Island of California. The name is steep in the past, after all the first known maps of North America show California as an island, as well as looking to the future. The Californians thought of themselves after the fall as one of the last bastions of progressive thought, one of the few places that valued everyone. With its own sovereignty it flourished in the first few years after the fall.  Already a liberal stronghold, it kept attracting more and more like minded residences while those who blamed a lack of religion and moral center for our fall were drawn to The Alliance of the Midwest. Those who blamed race and border security for our fall were drawn to the Confederacy of Southern States. New  England attracted a more left of center moderate type and The Republic of Texas drew people who were attracted to the strong industry and right of center thought that prevailed.  

     These alignments of beliefs and personalities had already been coming to fruition before the attacks. Many people called it the Fox News Effect (Or whichever biased media source you wish to assert, Fox was not the only news source with a heavy slant, just the most successful ). I am able to look back and subjectively admit that even I was part of the problem, writing innocuous click bait articles as a freelancer for several online sites. It pains my heart to think of how articles like "21 Ways to Tell if your Lover is Cheating , #5 will break your heart", and the ilk lead to the over saturation of information out in the world. The information that was out there in the world was almost always written with a serious bias, or it was just mind numbing. 

     I know that with no one in their circle to challenge their point of view or their perceptions people went to extremes. I remember the internet being pitched to me when I was a kid as this great place, a place where you can find a world of people with the same beliefs as you, but with social media, you tended to ignore your neighbor who might have slightly different viewpoints. It was a world full of confirmation bias. 

    I'll be 100 percent honest. I had absolutely no idea what to expect as I got off the plane. The airport was so different than Midway, the Hub of the Great Lakes Province. LAX, like most of the buildings here had been rebuilt several times. While there still was an emphasis on security like any modern airport, the building itself seemed as vibrant as the travelers inside. The walls were lined with gigantic screens showing a variety of things, from advertisements to flight times, and the ceilings had large windows which let the natural light into the buildings, there were prominent reminders everywhere of California's to biggest exports, entertainment and green or bio tech. Looking at many of the residents another huge market had to be the plastic surgery industry, it looked like the current trend in medical alterations was an elfin look. I see my name on a card and see one of  my colleagues from La's CBC Bureau 

"Quinn," I yell to him. 

"Jake, welcome to sunny LA," he says to me as he pulls me in for a friendly hug. 

"It's been far too long, when was the last time we were together, was it that meeting in Toronto? " 

"Must have been," he replies. "Was that the night that I took you to Church and Wellesley, and we partied till dawn?"  

"That was probably the most fun I had in years," I exclaim, vividly remembering how liberating it was to be a part of that crowd, losing myself in the rhythm of the music. 

"Listen we are heading to the office now," he says as he motions he me to follow him. "California has set up a liaison for your journey, they are extremely interested in the story that you have been sent to cover, and they want eyes and ears on this trip." 

"So like a spy for California? And CBC is ok with this? " 

"They agreed once  the Californians agreed to split financing costs for the trip and unobstructed access to their archives. You will be able to request interviews from any heads of state you deem necessary." 

     While waiting for our cab to take us to our office, we catch up about the year since our last face to face meeting. We have of course been on screen together as various talking heads, but never have seemed to have the chance to catch up personally. Quinn is a few years younger than me but I have always felt that he is much more wise than I could ever hope to be. I always figured if I was ever ready to move try to open myself up again it would be with someone like Quinn, but I honestly think of that part of my life is over, I just can't bring myself to move on yet. In my heart I know that Jordan would have wanted me to, it's been over 10 years; but I have always been stubborn and move at my own pace. 

     As we stop to get out to go into the office, I start to worry about the liaison they will have paired me with. The Californians are famous for going through psyche profile to find the best fit in their massive catalogue of unemployed or underemployed agents, usually failed or aspiring actors or actresses. "Jobe is going to be your liaison for this assignment," Quinn says to me. I mentally chuckle at the thought of some escaped Alliance boy, blind leading the blind in California. 

     My heart sinks a little as I walk into the room. Jobe walks over with his hand firmly out ready to introduce himself. He looks to be in his late 20's early 30's with rusty red hair, and twinkling green eyes. 

Shattered States - Working title - Part 1

Chapter 1 

     On those rare nights that I can sleep, I find myself in a world that continued on from what was. I see in my mind the glowing beacon. I walk the streets in an idealized version of what was before. I feel a joy that does not exist in the world anymore as I look to my side and see Jordan there. He is so still so strong and the years that came did not diminish his rusty red hair, nor did it dull his shining green eyes. With him by my side I am whole again and barely even notice the gaggle of other friends surrounding us, friends that are now long lost. I walk the streets of old Chicago and hear the roaring hum of the el-trains. Jordan grabs my hand and pulls me closer and we walk sided by side, I feel the smooth metal of his titanium wedding band around his finger. My mind even in this state of unconsciousness struggles against this illogical reality, and my hand reaches towards my neck, finding nothing there. 

      It is euphoria and I find myself feeling that this is right, this is how it should be, and for one brief moment I forget that things are different. I feel life turned out how it should have instead of how it did. We walk aimlessly for what seem like hours but what is time in a dream.  Suddenly I find myself mysteriously at the bean looking into the reflection and all I see is myself. I look back around and see Jordan by my side still holding my hand and people all around us. I look back at the bean and my eyes are drawn back to me in the reflection. Drawn to the necklace that is around my neck, a small braided rope necklace with a ring embedded in it, and instinctively know it is Jordan's ring. 

     My focus pulls back and I see buildings in the distance that I should not be able to see in the reflection of the bean. Downtown is fully light but there are dark areas in the near surrounding areas. His view pulls back further and he sees the areas known as Lakeview and Wrigleyville in ruins, nothing standing where Wrigley Stadium stood for over a century. In the near distance I see a flag set of flags flying, the bottom is the flag of the city of Chicago, the middle is the newish flag of the Great Lakes Province, and the highest is the flag of Canada. 

     I feel an inescapable urge to touch the bean, and reach my hand out towards it. I am barely aware of the world around me, hardly noticing Jordan's screams for me to just stay where I am with him. My heart aches as I continue to reach forward my finger touches the bean. I feel the cold hard metal as I touch it and then feel it give way. It ripples like a pond the has had a rock thrown into it. I feel my finger go into the metal and I know that I am leaving behind my blissful fantasy world. Jordan still gripping my hand as I am slowly pulled up. I scream to him that I will always love him as I let go of his hand and disappear into the bean. 

  I jolt myself awake as always when I have this dream, soaked in sweat. Like always I am alone and feel the hole in my soul again. I reach for my necklace and I am soothed by the fact that I still have his ring around my neck. After the initial panic I catch my breath, and start sobbing like a baby, like always. I stop after a half an hour and it feels like my eyes have dried up. I sit in the darkness and flashes of my life past race through my mind. I see Jordan in most of these flashes, and am left with tinges of loss and regret. I stand on my balcony as dawn breaks, as the sunlight reaches my body I feel a strange sensation. I feel an emotion that I have no idea where it came from or how it came to me. I feel hope and it is the thing that scares me most about this night. 


Chapter 2 

    Anyone who is my age or older can break their lives into two easy parts, the before and the after, with most of us living somewhere between the two. The before is how it used to be, and the after is when we let our country fall about, and the chaos afterwards in what we have let our country become. In the early hours after dawn think back and realize I was so oblivious to it all. You could say that was typical  of someone in their mid twenties. I was too worried about my own issues. I was too worried about what might happen instead of what was happening. I knew that the marches and protests were going on but I honestly just couldn't get myself to care. I was too worried about my career, and the little time I had left after all the extra hours I was worried about spending as much time with Jordan as I could. Somewhere deep in core I foolishly think that somehow if I had noticed what was going on that I personally could have stopped it. That Jordan and I could have been the great heroes that kept the United States together. Imagine it, a banker and a lifestyle writer, saving the world, but it is a nice fantasy to sometimes slip into. 

    After I pack and get dressed, I flip on the television. I watch some inane innocuous morning programming as they break to a live story downtown about a small car wreck and how it's backing up traffic, my mind drifts as soon as I see the breaking news logo. So much of what happened came to us is breaking news on our television. I remember sitting in our Lakeview apartment as we saw the news about the EMP blast that took out a majority of  the east coast and throughout large chunks of the Midwest and west coast, thinking to myself how lucky we were to have escaped the communications blackout most of the nation faced. 

     I will never forget how lost I felt as they broke into their breaking news to tell us about the attacks on the capitol. How glad I was that Jordan was there by my side. I started to realize that all my hours trying to snag the best buzziest tag line were all for naught. I cried as I learned of the death of the president that I didn't vote for and that the vice president was missing and presumed dead as well. I realized how fucked we were when they went on scene at what was the Capitol Building. The news compared it to Pearl Harbor and the September 11th attacks but you could tell that this was the beginning of something different. 

     I pull myself out of my past and bravely try to brave my future for the day. I walk to my el stop, dragging my luggage for my trip along, glad to be part of the cacophony of the city. As I get close I see the train in station and join the others rushing to the train. The running in the crowd flashes a memory. I am running with Jordan in the crowd as we hear gun shots in the distance. Not just one gun going off but return fire. I can only vaguely remember what happened then, even my memories having a vague sense of shock to them. I can't hear what is going on. I am vaguely also aware that my real body has made it into the train, rushing back to reality as the train starts up again. 

     The woman behind me bumps into me, a small bump but it brings me back to that day and my past. In my mind I feel Jordan push me to the side and out of the way as a flash goes off in the window of a small cafe we are next to. I still can't remember anything after that except for seeing Jordan's limp hand sticking out of the rubble. I remember seeing his ring on his hand, knowing that he was gone. 

    I don't remember pulling the ring off of his finger, nor do I remember  anything about that day after that. I desperately try to pull myself out of the funk that I am in. I gain an odd strength by grabbing hold of my necklace, and I look around at the faces of my fellow passengers, noticing that anyone old enough to remember how things were has the same glazed over look in their eyes. The same look that any moment their emotional walls could come crashing down and the tears would just fly out. I realized then and there that we may have survived but we all lost a bit of ourselves. 



Shattered States - 1st attempt

    Anyone who is my age or older can break there lives into two easy parts, before and after. Before we let our country fall about, and the chaos afterwards in what we have let our country become. I was so oblivious to it all, typical of someone in their mid twenties. I was too worried about my own issues; too worried about what might happen instead of what was happening. I knew that the marches and protests were going on but I honestly just couldn't get myself to care. I was too worried about applying my self in my new career, worried about working the extra hours to get to the next position. There always was a next rung to think about, there never was there time to just enjoy where you are. I really think that is the biggest regret that I have in my life so far, that I wasn't able to enjoy the here and now at the time when it was the most important, that I wasn't able to see the signs of what was to come. Somewhere deep in dreams I foolishly think that somehow if I had noticed what was going on that I personally could have stopped it.

     On those rare nights that I can sleep, I find myself in a world that continued on from what was. I see in my mind the glowing beacon , and I walk the streets in an idealized version of what was before. I feel a joy that does not exist in the world these days. I am whole again, and those that I have lost along the way are walking behind me. I walk the streets of old Chicago and hear the roaring hum of the el-trains. Suddenly I find myself mysteriously at the bean looking into the reflection with all that was and see a twisted reflection of what is now looking back at me. I reach my hand up to the smooth surface as the dark twisted reality I see is so terrifying I want to scream. Instead of the vibrant lights and cacophony of voices on the side that was I see myself standing alone in the dark in the side that is. I see the bombed out buildings, I see only a smattering of lights emanating from the buildings that are still intact. In the near distance I see a flag set of flags flying, the bottom is the flag of the city of Chicago, the middle is the newish flag of the Great Lakes Province, and the highest is the flag of Canada. As my hand reached the surface of the bean the smooth cold metal surface gives way, there is a ripple effect as though someone dropped a rock in a pond of water. The surface suddenly gives way and I feel myself pulled up and into the bean, seconds later I am suddenly fully enveloped inside.

     On these nights I usually jolt awake in a cold sweat. I sit there in my bed, alone as I drink in all the emotions that I try to suppress in during the day. My mind forces me to deal with the emotions that I so desperately try to ignore. I am left with a deep feeling of loss, regret, and the slightest tinge of hope. In reading about the psychological effects of the fall the first two are more common than anyone would care to admit. The later emotion is the rare one, even I do not know what that means, why any of this situation would give me any hope.

     Many of us in the Chicago area count our blessings that we ended up where we were. There was so much chaos and confusion when everything started. When I think of those days the overwhelming emotion that comes to me is panic. I can remember so many incidents of running in pure panic, but for the life of me can't remember from what. If I try to explain to someone what was going on in those days I go to an almost text book version of what happened.

     We know that there was a massive EMP that took out communications in the majority of the nation for weeks. As the EMP went off and people panicked in the darkness and disconnection the capitol was attacked. Details even now are still sparse, we do not know the cause. They picked a great time, most Senators were in DC as the Senate was in session. The president was in residence at the white house and having a meeting with the vice president, when suddenly the bombs went off. Nearly instantly wiping out the majority of our federal government. Our country which should have coalesced in the face of such a tragedy, strengthening our bond, shattered instead into a million pieces.

     What followed was pure anarchy, each and every state on their own. Our neighbors up north were the saviors to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan; those state governments asking for help from the Canadian military to keep peace in the areas. Illinois made an alliance with Missouri, Kansas, Ohio, Iowa, and Indiana. For the last few years leading up to the fall there had been a growing discontent with modern mores. Many of the rural areas had subscribed to a neo-traditionalism that harkened back to the days when we didn't rely on technology to do our work, there was much talk of the affect that God being absent from our everyday life had on us as a whole. They saw that the rising sea levels and temperatures was God  showing his disdain for the disrespect that we have shown His gifts. There was a growing disconnect between the  Chicago area and the rest of the state, but the alliance of states needed many of the cities financial resources and was content to let Chicago stand alone as an area of weak mores. When the new Alliance tried to pass laws limiting the use of electricity and technology; outlawing any religion outside of christianity; outlawing homosexuality and fornication outside of marriage, the people of Chicago rebelled. Many of Chicago's iconic buildings were destroyed or damaged in the ensuing conflict. Chicago reached out to the Canadians just neighboring in Wisconsin and Michigan and were offered salvation just as there defenses were ready to fall as the Canadian army swept in and turned the tide. The alliance accepted the occupation of Chicago because it needed to retain a good trading relationship and relied heavily on the Canadian currency as the most stable Currency in North America. Soon afterwards the new areas were officially annexed by Canada and the new Great Lakes province was formed.

    With all of this strife and conflict why would Chicagoans feel lucky to have ended up where they did? Under Canadian law we have flourished more than most of our immediate neighbors. We are still able to live our lives under basically the same moral system that we always new. Out of the corpse of the United States of America grew several smaller nations, many combining to form less small nations. The major powers left are the Alliance - now known as the Breadbasket, based on their mainly agricultural economy, the Confederacy, a collection of the southern states, the republic of Texas, New England and the Isle of California.

Nobody Cares

    News flash, nobody cares. Another harsh but true life lesson. Really honestly and truly nobody does. You are not the center of anyone's life except your own. You are not owed love, again it is something that you have to earn. Your parents and your children are going to be the closet you will get to unconditional love, but even that can be fucked up by your or their own actions. Your wife/husband/partner definitely does not owe you anything, and you will have times where you are going to heavily disagree on things. Your motivations and desires are going to be different, and that is more than ok. It is actually great! Think about it, if your significant other wanted the same things exactly that you did in life there would be no force at home that would challenge you to learn and grow.

    So now you are bummed out, thinking I am not special and nobody cares, but don't wallow in that fact, and don't take it totally literally either. Of course there are going to be individuals in your life that do care about you, as a person. We are wired to be social people and we do best in social environments, having a seemingly hard wired need for companionship. But in the general sense of the world, honestly nobody cares. Nobody cares if you are 15 minutes late, nobody cares if you are the best or worst salesperson on your team, and honestly nobody cares who you saw last week at Starbucks when you are loudly broadcasting your day on your cell phone ( I'm looking at you, loud cell phone talker). You may think how depressing but I see it as liberating.

     All of those expectations that you think society puts on you, you put on yourself. Your unrelenting desire to keep up with the Jones, totally put there by yourself (or programmed from your parents). Honestly if Miranda down the street got a pool put in and you didn't, who cares? Or if you tried your hardest and made a huge mistake, who cares? Or if what you really want to do in life is be an underwater basket weaver, who cares? Hopefully you are starting to see where I am going with this.

     Take a moment to let it all sink in, quite that little voice inside your head that you are using to read. Sit there and breathe in and out deeply. Do this for a few moments and come back to this.

    Did you do it really, because if you are like me you didn't. But honestly I am trying to prove a point. You do you, the way only you can. When you are alone and have only your thoughts to yourself, you know the things that are truly important to you. You always have, no matter how hard you have tried to deny that drive to be the rodeo clown, the desire to open that café, your secret love of stripping, or the many others things you want but have been afraid to work for because of your fear that you would fail, the fear that you would look stupid, or that others would judge you. Lets be honest with ourselves again, nobody really cares. 

You are not special

Life advice from a pragmatist 

     You are not special. That might sting to accept, but it is true. I am not special, you are not special, we are not special. No matter what our moms or dads ever tried to tell us. Life is not going to give us a participation ribbon. If we want to get something we have to earn it. Now I am not going to lie and say that things are not going to be easier for easier for some of us. Genetics, socioeconomic status, gender, race, sexual orientation, and so very much more can make things easier but that subject would be better served by "Life isn't fair". So yes boys and girls our parents have lied to us all our lives (and not just about Santa) , but don't blame them they were just trying to help. You are not owed anything by anyone, plain and simple. Your parents do not owe you anything, they brought you into this world. Your teachers do not owe you anything, they gave you the tools you need. They world does not owe you anything, it already gives you more than you should ever expect.

     Once you realize this crushing blow to your psyche you will be liberated. It is exhausting to walk around all day thinking you are the center of the universe, believe me I did it as much as you do. You are constantly waiting for your moment to come, waiting for opportunity to knock on your door, waiting for things to go your way. Luck is a funny thing, its random, and not something that you can rely on in life. Most of the time your "lucky break" will have come after much hard work and honing your skill and talents. This will come from honing your craft, experience, and knowledge on when to pounce on a situation. You may have a natural talent that makes something easier for you to do, but look at any of your best in field heroes, they all practiced, they all went out there and did what it is they do. They did not just show up, there were no perfect attendance awards given in their field.

      This may seem contradictory but self worth is important, as is inner dialog. Knowing that you are not special does not mean that you don't have skills and knowledge, does not mean you do not have worth. You will always have to work hard at things to achieve what you want. Nothing in life is free or easy, again you are not owed anything in life and have to earn it. Always have a goal, and take the time to figure out what it will take to get there, and the inner strength to keep on track. You will get off track, you will get sidetracked and that is ok. Most of us do not have the inner fortitude to remain the type of driven that you need to be to get to the top. That is ok. That is going to happen.    You should always plan for some of this slack, useless chatter,  passionate romance,  mind numbing hobbies, not so passionate romances and more. Things happen the way they do and no amount of wishing can change the past, but you can learn from it.

     So if none of us are special, why should I be listening to you? you ask yourself. That is a great question!!! These are just my musings on life, things I have learned over the years, things I want to remind myself of. Every one of us has a unique perspective, and I really feel that by sharing and understanding each others perspective we all grow. Just a little journey into my odd mind and what drives me as a person. 

Perceptions 30 for 30 - Year 0

     A few years ago she was in rough shape. The war left her psyche shattered and her soul without purpose. No one had won the war and peace was in the best interest of both sides. The cost of peace was high, especially to her. The leaders of the two factions had to give up their power and travel out into the world the majority of earth knew. The world were people felt limited to only their immediate senses. They knew only what sight, sound, taste, and touch told them, and now so did she. She felt that this was the cruelest torture there could  be and hated every moment of her new existence. She only half lived her new life, performing the basics; eating, sleeping, and menial labor job to support her new pathetic existence.

     That all changed when she met Doug. He saw things in her that no one else had taken the time to notice. |He worked hard to make her day bright and won a hard fought smile from her. He saw her as beautiful and as a princess when before others only saw a warrior queen, and even in her new life others only saw a woman in despair. For the first time in her long life she had no idea why this man wanted her to be around and she found herself liking it. The next year he gave her a reason to live with the birth of their daughter.

     Her second pregnancy seemed just like her first and she felt more content than she had ever remembered. "Is this what my mother felt when she was raising me?" she thought to her self. "Could she have enjoyed watching me sleep when I was young? And did she have all of these hopes and dreams for her daughter like I do for mine? And my unborn child growing in my belly? What wonderful future could be ahead of them? We spent so much time telling each other that we were better than the mere humans, that they could never understand the wonders that we did, but did we miss out on the amazing things that make life worth living?"

    There was a knock at her door, shocking her out of her chair. She slowly waddled over to the door and peered through the eye hole and was shocked and horrified at who she saw outside her door. "How did you find me Phoebe?" she asked as she swung open her door and found her once mortal enemy. Gasping as she noticed how truly Phoebe had transformed. She had traded her once formidable armor for a power suit, her once untamed wild blonde hair had turned into a teased hairdo of a 90's executive. She thought about how her appearance must have been as shocking to Phoebe, gone were her regal cloaks that her clan favored in its place was an oversize t-shirt of Doug's with a silkscreened ALF on it, her slender frame now swollen at the zenith of her pregnancy.  Her once immaculately tamed auburn hair was wild like a madwoman.

    "It wasn't easy. You have kept a low profile. Apparently you have decided to wait out our banishment by doing nothing with your time. I expected more from you Amara. In another time and place I would have thought you a worthy friend and fellow warrior, but this...."

   "If you are just here to insult me you should have never bothered to seek me out in the first place, Phoebe. Us fighting amongst ourselves can only keep us entertained for so long. What are you here for?" Amara asks steeling herself for a potential fight, wishing she still had the forces of magic at her command. She took a posture she had taken many times before ready to fight with powers she no longer has

    "I knew there was still fight left in you," Phoebe laughs. "Too bad we have been neutered in what we can do anymore and are just left with our most human of qualities," she says as she spits the word human with great disgust. " I am here because I have a warning for you. I have been having nightmares about you and your children. I know your daughter and this boy that is growing inside of you have a rough future ahead of you. I should have just let you face this future unknown, but even though fate has always cast us as enemies and our factions against each other I have always respected you as the formidable warrior I know you to be."

     "What have your dreams told you about my children," Amara asked immediately disarming her stance. A mix of worry and fear now began to seep into her. She knew that her clan would often receive powerful warning dreams and that it was only shared with the other as the highest honor. She remembered back to the times when she was still a young child before the war their parents had started, remembering the girl she once played war with before life cruelly ended their budding friendship. She sat back down onto her couch bracing herself for the news to come.

     "As you know our abilities have been cut of but I am sure you at times have been able to sense a fleeting glimpse of who we once were. If only I could see the whole picture like before I could spare you what I believe is to come. I can only see you and  I working together because I know that only by us working together can we find the answer. I know as a mother that you will live each day on edge already, and not because of this warning but because that is what being a mother is, and I know that you above all others will protect her young with her life because that is who you are, and that is what our misguided war was about. I come to you now to let you know that when that day comes I will gladly strip our years of mistrust and taught hatred of each other and become the little girl again who's month would be brightened when she got to visit with her dearest friend, the only one she knew who like her for her and not who her parents were."

     "Phoebe," Amara says after a few moments. "You have always been a worthy foe and when the time needs I know you will make the most worthy ally. I only regret that circumstances prevented us from staying friends."

     "I will take my leave of you now and let you return to this life you have built for yourself. Know this though..... raising your children will be the greatest gift that life can ever give you. I will eternally miss mine and hope that they steer clear of the mistakes that we made. "

    Phoebe walks out the door and out of Amara's life. She sits back on her couch and wonders weather Phoebe's dreams are real or just normal nightmares that her psyche in having to protect herself from the monotony of this new life. She worries that Phoebe wont be able to find peace like she has. She is relieved though that should the need ever arise she will have her as an ally, a friend like in her youth years before.

Onwards we go

So if intention were act we would all be millionaires. So if goodwill were all we need we would never fight. If love is really all we need there would be no divorce. Procrastination really is an evil and nothing but action will fight it

Killer Clowns

It really was a day like any other. Such a cliche way to describe it but there really is no other way. She was rushing to get all of her family ready for the day. Emma just would not eat her breakfast, and Brice was struggling to get Ella ready for the day, she refused to wear what they had set out for her, she was 6 and in a serious princess stage, the idea of her going anywhere in less than full princess regalia was repellent to her. Too much to do and way too little time.  

She was rushing to get the dishes cleaned as she glanced out the window of their third floor condo. It was a gorgeous little slice of the American dream, a peaceful serene  setting for them to scrimp and save up for their dream house. The yard of the complex was nestled against the end of a light forest, a sort of conservation area, a reprieve for nature in against the cold concrete, asphalt and steel of the new construction in the area. She enjoyed the times she would see a family of deer peak out of the woods, watch them as they frolic at the edge of the woods, laugh as they ate the carefully cultivated roses the complex grew to increase its attractiveness to the late twenty somethings that were the main inhabitants here. Today though was different. 

She glanced out the window not paying attention to the world out there and she started to walk away from the sink and towards the dinette that was basically still in the kitchen, god she loves the open floor plan here. She started to walk when suddenly it clicked in her mind that she saw something out there that she could not or would not allow herself to identify, something that glaringly did not belong where it was.  

She had to fight the urge to run into her room, like she would at the end of a long day when the last light in the hallway would go out and the feeling of impending doom would sink in, sometimes the only thing she felt kept her alive was the flashlight on her iPhone. That unexcapable feeling as darkness would envelop her, the instantaneous heightening of every other sense she has, the smallest sounds and creaks in the building would be amplified by a heightened imagination and there would alternately be a serial killer behind every door or some supernatural monster ready to pounce. The very worst of the night dread would be when she got to her bed and that age old fear of the monster that lives under the bed, a half expectation that there would be a hand that would reach out and grab her ankles and a terrifying wondering of what it would be if the hand actually reached out. Of course these odd irrational fears would manifest after she watched a scary movie or too many episodes of those ghost hunting shows, yet this feeling of dread was in the middle of the morning when the new day tends to wash away the fears of the restless night.  

She turned back around and forced herself to walk back toward the window, every step she took back was exponentially harder until she was a step away from the window. The dread was almost like a physical force that was felt like it was trying to force her down. She got to the window and steeled herself to face the unknown thing that caused such a panic in her. She looked around and at first saw nothing, then the wind rustled and at the edge of the forest saw five yellow balloons tied to a tree. She deeply breathed in, catching  and let her mind tell her that was all she had originally seen, releasing endorphins into her system that would calm her and let her go on with her life. That night when she finally slipped into dream land she had nightmares, her mind only then letting her truly process what she had seen, and in her nightmares she was chased by clowns.  

So little time....

Christmas is almost here and a week after that starts 2016 ..... Wow where did the time go? I wish something interesting and exciting kept me from starting my book but no can't say that's the reason. Just plain lack of follow through and that nagging fear that keeps is from trying something new and exciting, that keeps us from pouring our hearts out and presenting our raw form to the world. Alas that is all, Merry Christmas and happy 2016