Friday, June 29, 2007

Episode 10: Feeling Blue

What has gone before: Andrew Weazle, the owner of a failing coffee shop on the University of Alberta campus trades what he believes to be the final Friday night deposit in return for 'magic coffee beans' from a homeless man. After dumping the coffee made by the magic beans into a potted bonsai tree, a massive ash tree mysteriously grows overnight inside the shop. Following a miraculous weekend which saves the coffee shop, Andrew suddenly and inexplicably leaves work in the company of a mysterious and fatally attractive woman...

There is a common misconception among North American males regarding the term “blue balls.” Most men are under the impression that this dull, throbbing ache whose terminus is the testicles but spreads throughout the lower abdomen is the result of entering a state of arousal which ends before, shall we say, gratification. Or as Mick Jagger once sang, “can’t get me no satisfaction.” This misconception has been used, as is the propensity of the North American male to do so, as a guilt trip to get said satisfaction from one’s object of arousal (unless that object of arousal is 2 dimensional, in which case, one can simply literally take matters into their own hands, which leads to the question why people would refer to any sort of hanky panky as things “getting out of hand.” If things weren’t in hands, there really wouldn’t be much of a problem, would there? The problem comes when things “get into hand.”). The truth of the matter is that once the blue balls have set in, the only thing that is going to make them go away is rolling on the floor, because the reality is, “blue balls” are God’s way of letting someone know they need to stop being in a state of arousal and go mow the lawn. Or eat. Or go to the washroom. “Blue balls,” simply put, are caused, not by entering a state of arousal without climax, but rather, by entering a state of arousal and then not coming out of it for, oh say an hour or two. Or three.

To be accurate, there isn’t really a time fixed to the state. When Andrew was 15 and on vacation, he met a cute girl with brunette curls who was staying at the same hotel as his family was. They went for completely chaste walks, enjoyed demure moments seated on benches hand in hand, and exchanged innocent kisses goodnight. Then, one night while frolicking in the pool after the rest of the family had turned in, the brunette with tight curls (who by this time was wondering if she’d grown a tumor on the side of her face, since most boys had normally tried to explore under her shirt by this point; Andrew was completely inexperienced and so uncertain as to when to proceed to “next base”) swam over to Andrew who was sitting on the steps of the shallow end of the pool, and sat down in his lap.

There are moments in every young man’s life where he gets exactly what he wants and then finds himself at a complete loss for what to do with it. Most young men anticipate their first sexual experience with the anticipation of children on Christmas Eve, and Andrew was no different. He was not “taking things slow” out of virtue, but simple fear. He would have loved to explore beneath the shirt of the cute girl with brunette curls but was positive such a course of action would end badly. So when she swam over and placed her bikini-clad bottom on Andrew’s lap, he was initially very excited, hoping that this might have something to do with “next base.” Excited enough that the girl with tight brunette curls could tell, given her proximity to the source of the information.

Andrew had been correct in thinking this would lead to “next base”. The kisses were no longer innocent, but involved tongues, which Andrew recalled might have been second base, or perhaps the point where the shortstop normally stands. Hand holding gave way to holding other things (once again, things “getting into hand”) and things were moving along nicely when his father had called down from the balcony of their room, “Andrew?”

The fashion in which “blue balls” occurs is as follows: when the male becomes sexually excited, the arteries carrying blood to the genital area enlarge, while the veins carrying blood away from the genital area are more constricted than in the non-aroused state. As a result, more blood stays in the genital area than goes out (the clinical term for this is vasocongestion, which is difficult to say and likely lead to the coining of the easier-to-pronounce “blue balls”), a state which is necessary for certain physiological transformations in the male genital area necessary for the sex act. If the male gains “satisfaction” within a certain amount of time, the volume of blood in the genitals is reduced. If the act is prolonged and the blood trapped in the genital area for too long, one learns quickly that while the wages of sin might not be death, pain is.

When Andrew’s father called from the balcony, Andrew was amazed at how quickly blood could travel from one area of his body to another. The damage was done however. Things had been “in hand” a little too long. He had passed the point where he would have spelled relief o-r-g-a-s-m. He now had his first case of blue balls.

He’d said a hasty good night and staggered out of the pool, to discover a sensation akin to having a ten-pound weight strapped to his testicles with a bungee cord. He suspected that in all the frolicking he and the cute girl had been doing, she’d inadvertently racked him; a light tap on a testicle can be as bad as falling straight down onto a balance beam.

He’d hid his discomfort as he exited the pool area, but once he was out of sight, he doubled over and crawled up the stairs to his hotel room. Slowly, painfully, he dragged himself upright before turning the knob on the door.

Before he could open it, the door swung in. Andrew’s dad was standing there, a wry smile on his face.

“You don’t look so good,” he said.

“I think I jumped into the water funny,” Andrew replied. “I think I smacked one of my nuts cannonballing.”

“M-hm,” his dad said, still blocking Andrew’s entrance. “And my guess is we had a little blueballing.”

Andrew had stared at his father a moment. “Uhhhh…” he said.

“Yeah, I thought so,” his dad said, and stepped into the hallway, closing the door behind him. He squatted down, and then rolled onto his back, bending his legs and tucking his knees to his chest. “Do what I’m doing,” he told Andrew.

Andrew looked around the bright, fully lit hotel corridor.

“If you want to keep feeling like you’ve got an elephant strapped to your sack, then be my guest,” his dad said. “But if you want some relief, then do what I do.”

Once he'd gotten over the shock of his father saying "sack" instead of "scrotum" or "testes", Andrew slowly, gingerly duplicated the position his dad was demonstrating. “Now rock back and forth,” Mr. Weazle said.

Andrew could feel the ache subside a bit just by curling into that fetal position. The rocking did make things better. And while they rocked, they talked. His dad had given him the “sex talk” when Andrew was in grade five, but this time it wasn’t so awkward. His dad was pretty upfront with him about some things. Condoms had been one. Blue balls was another.

That night was all Andrew could think about as he lay on his bed, his knees tucked against his chest, waiting in vain for the ache in his groin to go away. It had been ten minutes since he’d adopted the posture and nothing was happening. He wished he had the strength to get up and get something for the pain, but he could hardly move. Getting into the fetal position had been work enough. Rocking had exhausted his final reserves of strength. All that was left was to hope he fell into the oblivion of sleep, beyond the ache and pain.

It hadn’t started out as pain. Quite the opposite. She seemed to know more than simply how to please a man. It were as if she were directly connected to the very base of Andrew’s desires, and utilized every wile, every resource, every part of her body to send him to the edge of ecstasy over and over again. He had gotten to the point where it had become a blur of sweat, skin and sensory overload. And when it was finally over, he’d noticed the ache. He’d noticed it before, but hadn’t cared. He’d been single too long, and even when he’d been with a girl, they were never like this.

She had taken charge when they’d arrived at his place. In one way, she was like the cute girl with brunette curls in that she was exactly what Andrew had always desired, was convinced he would never have, and was scared shitless and uncertain of what to do when he finally got it. She, on the other hand, was neither frightened nor tentative. She had been bold, confident and at times, even aggressive.

Andrew had never done drugs, but he assumed that the delirium he achieved at some point in their fucking (it should be noted at this point that the author isn’t fond of using this word to denote the sex act, but believes that the act falls under three broad categories; lovemaking, which is between people who are deeply in love, who have been together with each other through difficult times and trials and know each other better than they know anyone else; sex, which is what couples do who have been together for some time and have decided to move things along physically, and fucking, which is what one night stands and “momentary lapses of reason” fall under) was akin to what being on acid might be like.

Now that it was over, he just felt spent. Used up. Drained of his vitality. Unable to move from the bed, he let his head loll to the side so he could see what time it was. Midnight. I spent the whole day like this? he marveled.

“I need to get up,” he mumbled. “Need to eat.”

As if in answer, She walked in the room with a plate of fruit. Andrew couldn’t imagine where she’d gotten the fruit from, since his fridge was usually close to empty; he subsisted on freezer-foods and stews and pastas from cans. She took a slice of honeydew and held it to his mouth. Her eyes looked at his cradled position with a look of interest.

“What’s this?” She asked.

“Nothing,” Andrew said through partially chewed honeydew and released his legs.

“You’re in pain,” She said.

“A little,” Andrew replied.

“We can’t have that,” She said, and ran her hand down along the ache. There was a flash of ice, like liquid cold, and then the ache was gone. “We can’t have you in pain. We have so much more left to do.”

“Not tonight,” Andrew murmured. “I’m too tired. I’m flattered, but really, I’m too tired.”

“Nonsense,” She told him, and fed him another slice of honeydew. “We’re just getting started…”

When Andrew was a teen, he and his best friend Richard had come up with the idea of “the girl in the closet.” She would look like a Playboy model, want nothing but sex, and live in the closet until called upon. She would not want to go to chick flicks or go shopping for clothes. She wouldn’t even want to spend time with you beyond sex. Andrew’s last thought before the delirium stole over him again was that She was the girl in the closet. And like so many things he thought he’d desired, finally getting Her wasn’t bliss; it was sublime…compulsion and repulsion all at once; it wasn’t just that he didn’t know what to do with her, but a part of him still above the delirium was really starting to wonder what she was, really, and Andrew was growing more uncertain with each passing moment that he really didn’t want to know the answer.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Episode 09: A sense of wonder bra

What has gone before: Andrew Weazle, the owner of a failing coffee shop on the University of Alberta campus trades what he believes to be the final Friday night deposit in return for 'magic coffee beans' from a homeless man. After dumping the coffee made by the magic beans into a potted bonsai tree, a massive ash tree mysteriously grows overnight inside the shop. Andrew and his new employee Lara discover that the Tree's growth has been limited to the coffee shop, but are still faced with the additional cost repairing the damage the growth has caused, when a deluge of customers miraculously descend upon the shop...

"We did it!" Andrew shouted, the front door swinging shut behind him, arms held out in triumphant exultation.

Lara smiled at her customer, a girl with a mass of brown ringlets pulled together with a pink scarf, handed over her change, and turned her attention to Andrew, who was now doing an impromptu victory dance across the floor.

"You're scaring the customers," Lara said. "I'm assuming the 'it' we did was clearing this month's rent?"

"By pennies," Andrew replied. "By the skin of our teeth. This past weekend was nothing short of miraculous."

"Understatement of the year," Lara said, taking an order for an espresso and turning to the relocated machine, no longer perched in the tree's high branches.

"If we keep up at this rate, we could even look at renovating the damage done to the building...putting up a new sign," Andrew said as he went into the back room to hang up his coat and toque.

"New sign?" Lara called, handing over the espresso. "So you like my idea for the name?"

"Beats the hell out of being The Coffee Break," Andrew replied.

Lara gave a self-satisfied smile and turned to the next customer, finding herself suddenly staring at one of the most physically striking females she had ever seen.

She stood around six feet tall, her stature only owing slightly to the knee-high leather boots she was wearing over fishnet hose. Hooker boots, Lara thought. A short, tight black skirt covered from mid-thigh to midriff, which was exposed, probably to showcase the woman's navel ring and impossibly flat stomach. The white half-shirt covered her breasts enough to ensure she wouldn't be arrested for being in public, and was transparent enough to demonstrate that while they defied gravity as though held up by a miracle bra, no bra was lending support. Fake rack, Lara thought. This ostentatious ensemble was completed by what could only be called a winter coat because it was made from fur and would have kept a hobbit nicely warmed. It mostly covered her arms and shoulders, across which fell golden waves of hair fit for a Loreal commercial. Extensions, Lara thought. The hair framed a heart shaped face with high cheekbones tapering to a small delicate chin, which held full and sensual lips. Collagen, Lara thought.

"I'm looking for Andrew Weazle," the lips said.

Lara stopped staring at the lips and looked into mezmerizing, golden eyes. Colored contacts, she thought. "Come again?" Lara said.

"I'm looking for Andrew Weazle," the woman repeated.

"Andrew," Lara called, "There's someone who wants to talk to you out here."

Andrew entered from the backroom, beaming, and stopped dead in his tracks. "Holy shit," he said.

Lara rolled her eyes. She'd expected him to gawk like any red-blooded hetero male would have in this porn-star-wannabe's presence, but a verbal outburst? She looked away from the spectacle Andrew was making of himself to look around the shop.

Andrew wasn't the only one making a spectacle of himself. Around the shop, many of the male faces were stealing glances, staring openly, pointing, whispering to other male faces, nodding, confirming.

She looked back at Andrew, who was leaning over the counter, listening intently to the woman, who was leaning in a manner that had transformed her cleavage to the depth of a national monument. Andrew was nearly bursting a blood vessel in his temple trying to keep his ocular muscles from swivelling downward. His face was a strange combination of excitement and terror. He looked as though he were working out a problem before finally nodding and turning to Lara.

"Hey, Lara," he said, awkwardly. "I have to...uh...attend to some business with this young lady. Seems she was interested in a position here."

"I thought you only needed one position filled," Lara said dubiously.

"Well, that was before the weekend...and our newfound success," Andrew replied.

"One good weekend doesn't mean we're going to be in the black all month," Lara said. She realized she was gritting her teeth.

"Well, luck favors the prepared," Andrew said.

"What's wrong with interviewing her here in the shop?" Lara asked.

"I don't want to be taking up room if there's a rush," Andrew replied.

"So do it in the backroom," Lara said. "I mean...conduct the interview there."

"This isn't up for discussion Lara," Andrew said, his eyes suddenly angry. "I still own the shop, I'm still your boss, and I'm going out to do an interview with this young lady."

"Does she have a name?" Lara asked.

"I haven't gotten that far yet," Andrew replied.

"And just how far are you intending to go?" Lara asked.

That got Andrew's attention. "It's none of your business," he said flatly, and turned to go into the back room. He came back out, jacket in hand, and walked out quickly with the statuesque woman, who turned to give Lara a mocking smile.

Lara gave her the finger in return.

Andrew shoved his way out the door just as Blackout was entering. He threw a surprised look at the blonde, and was about to say hello to Andrew when the door closed on him. He shook his head and walked over to the counter.

"Morning Blackout," Lara said. "The usual?"

Blackout nodded, then pointed over his shoulder, looked back at Lara, pointed again. and then gripped the edges of the coffee bar.

"Oh, come on," Lara exclaimed, "she wasn't that hot. And she was dressed like a porn star."

"That's just it," Blackout replied. "She is a porn star."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Episode 08: Chi with your Chai?

What has gone before: Andrew Weazle, the owner of a failing coffee shop on the University of Alberta campus trades what he believes to be the final Friday night deposit in return for 'magic coffee beans' from a homeless man. After dumping the coffee made by the magic beans into a potted bonsai tree, a massive ash tree mysteriously grows overnight inside the shop. Andrew and his new employee Lara discover that the Tree's growth has been limited to the coffee shop, but are still faced with the additional cost repairing the damage the growth has caused, when a deluge of customers miraculously descend upon the shop...

The rest of Saturday morning was a blur. Blackout's after-hours crowd was only the beginning of a veritable deluge of customers, streaming in through the door, and acting in a strangely un-customerly fashion.

Most of Andrew's previous customers were in a hurry to get somewhere else; their presence in his coffee shop was one more thing keeping them from being in another place--the coffee wasn't something they savored or appreciated, it was just rocket fuel to get them off the ground of the morning and out into the day.

They normally stormed out if the lineup took too long, or became irate if the particular type of coffee they wanted, but that Saturday morning, they did neither. While they waited in line, they gazed up at the canopy overhead in wonderment. Andrew kept waiting for someone to ask how the hell he'd grown a full sized tree in the middle of winter, or why the espresso machine was hanging from its branches, but aside from Blackout, no one seemed to want an answer for the mystery. They had been compelled inside out of the cold to have an experience that went far beyond coffee. Or tea for that matter. When Andrew informed people that they were making fresh pots of coffee and it'd only be a few moments until it was ready, they asked what else they could have, and often settled on tea.

Andrew was slack jawed.

Throughout the morning, Lara hurried back and forth between tables and the back room, throwing dirty cups, plates and utensils into the industrial dishwasher, rushing out new bags of coffee beans for Andrew to grind, refilling the sugar and cream containers, taking only one smoke break, and limiting her non-customer-service language to the back room. Andrew handled the grinding, the brewing, the boiling, the steeping, the cash and the smiles, which became increasingly less forced until finally around noon, a lull fell upon the shop. He looked up from putting fresh coffee on, the sound of the front door opening drawing his attention; a group of people were exiting, laughing amongst themselves. The only customers left in the shop were a love struck couple gazing at each other across a table nestled beneath one of the tree’s low-lying boughs, what Andrew could only assume was a midget dressed in a bright red jacket--Guy looks like a Leprechaun, Andrew thought, and Blackout and a few friends who were in the corner of the shop near the west window-wall, engaged in a heated debate while drinking round number who f-ing knows. Andrew took a deep breath.

A mix of scents filled his nostrils; coffee blending with tea and baking, along with a smell he could only think of as 'green'. That's how Andrew had described a visit to the Devonian Gardens in Calgary once. Green. It was how he described what it was like taking a spring course on the University of British Columbia campus. And it was the smell underneath everything else he was currently taking in with that deep breath.
Or above everything else, to be more accurate.

Lara stepped out of the back room with a tray of cups fresh out of the dishwasher. He looked over at her and gave an exhausted but satisfied smile. Bemused, he thought to himself. Or maybe confused and couldn't give a shit.

"I'm not much of mathematician," Lara said, "but I'm guessing we made a shit-load of money this morning."

"It's never been that busy in here," Andrew said. "And the way the people behaved..."

"Like they were in a Japanese Zen garden instead of a campus coffee shop?" Lara said.

"That's one way of putting it," Andrew said. "I think it would be safer to say that they came in looking for the Japanese Zen garden and bought the coffee to justify staying. I didn’t have one complaint all morning. It was like they were all high."

“Well, Blackout’s crew was,” Lara said. “But I know what you mean. I only had one smoke break all morning…and that was more out of habit than anything else, to stave off the craving or the bitchiness. But I’m almost certain I wouldn’t have needed it.”

“Bizarre,” Andrew said. “The tree must be good for feng-shui.”

Lara looked at the damaged tile. “I don’t think any feng-shui books call for this much deconstructionist interior décor. It’s not that the Tree is for feng-shui. I think it is feng shui.”

Andrew poured himself a coffee and proffered an empty cup to Lara. She nodded, and he poured her a cup as well. “How do you mean?” he asked, handing her the cup.

“It gives off good chi, good vibes, you know? Positive energy,” Lara replied, upending the sugar dispenser and sugar flow out in a white pillar.

“That’s true,” Andrew said. “You’d think, with everything that’s happened today, I’d be losing my mind. But I’m not. I feel strangely calm about the whole thing. I still don’t understand how it happened...but I also don’t know that I really care anymore. I mean, if it’s a dream, I’ll wake up. If it’s not…there’s a giant tree in the coffee shop. What the hell am I supposed to do about it? Call in an arborist? A tree felling crew?”

Lara was stirring the coffee-sugar sludge, and said, “I’m not sure you could fell this Tree.”

“You know something I don’t?” Andrew asked.

“Women always do,” Lara smiled.

“Women always what?” Blackout asked, walking up with his coffee cup empty again.

“Know something we don’t,” Andrew replied.

“Ain’t that the truth,” Blackout said, raising a hand to reject Andrew’s raised pot of fresh coffee. “I’m waaaay over my caffeine limit. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t leave this morning…I’m tired as hell, I’ve got the new season of Galactica on DVD waiting for my to indulge, a gig to do tonight…but I just…loved being here this morning. Maybe it’s this tree thing.”

“Well, it’s that or it’s because it’s a magic bonsai tree grown from magic coffee beans,” Lara laughed.

Blackout furrowed his brow, one eyebrow arched.

“You’re weird,” he said to Lara, and put his cup down on the counter. “Hot. But weird.” He gave a friendly salute to Andrew. “I will say that the tree décor beats the hell out of that poor excuse for a bonsai you had behind the counter,” he said. “But you really need to get the espresso machine back. The good vibrations from your ambience aren’t going to cut it forever man.”

“I’ll get right on that,” Andrew said, watching Blackout leave with his friends. Which left only the love struck couple. The midget was gone as well.

“Hot…but weird,” Lara said as the front door closed. “Is that supposed to be some sort of compliment?”

“With Blackout…who knows?” Andrew said. “The guy bought your whole fake tree story…he’s obviously on some different wavelength of reality. There’s no way you could mistake this thing for a fake, unless you absolutely wanted to.”
“Maybe he wants to,” Lara said. “I mean, I believed in it right away, but I wanted to believe. I always have… to believe that magic could really happen.”

“So that’s what you think happened?” Andrew asked. “You believe those coffee beans the old man gave me were magic?”

“You have a better explanation?”

Andrew thought for a moment. “I don’t have an explanation,” Andrew said.

“Makes a hell of name for a coffee shop with a magic tree in it though, don’t you think?”

“What does?”

“Magic Beans,” Lara replied.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Episode 07: Blackout

What has gone before: Andrew Weazle, the owner of a failing coffee shop on the University of Alberta campus trades what he believes to be the final Friday night deposit in return for 'magic coffee beans' from a homeless man. After dumping the coffee made by the magic beans into a potted bonsai tree, a massive ash tree mysteriously grows overnight inside the shop. Andrew and his new employee Lara discover that the Tree's growth has been limited to the coffee shop, but are still faced with the additional cost repairing the damage the growth has caused...

A loud pounding on the front doors startled both of them. Lara jumped up from the tree and whirled around. Andrew thrust his head out of his v-arm reverie, disheveled hair peeking out from fingers splayed across his head.

A face was pressed as close as it could be to the glass, one hand over the eyes to allow the viewer to see from the bright morning glare outside to the dim interior of the shop.

"Blackout," he said with a grimace.

"What?" Lara asked.

"He's a weekly regular on Saturday and Sunday mornings," Andrew said, waving at the face pressed to the glass. Blackout's free hand was pointing emphatically at the handle to the door. "He's a DJ...does a regular gig at one of the clubs on Whyte. He does the after-hours cool down stuff, so he's up all night, then comes in here for a caffiene fix."

Andrew crossed the debris-strewn floor and opened the front lock. Blackout slipped into the warmth of the coffee shop and pulled off his toque. He was a broadly built man in his late twenties with a goatee and a shaved head which was mostly bald.

"Man, you're late," he said, rubbing his hands together and blowing on them. "I was standing outside for a good ten minutes before I thought to knock."

"I was busy," Andrew said dryly.

"With what?" Blackout started to say, but stopped in mid-"what?" when his eyes took in the shop. "Holy shit. What happened here?"

Andrew looked at Lara. If a picture is really worth a thousand words, most of the words in Andrew's current picture could be summed up by How the hell am I supposed to explain all this. Lara's picture could have had the caption, I'm not the one who let him in.

"I'm renovating," Andrew said, a weak smile on his face.

"Is that a real tree?" Blackout said, squinting as his eyes continued to adjust to the dim light inside the shop. "That can't be a real tree. You didn't have a tree here last week."

"It looks fake to you?" Andrew asked.

"Well, looks really real," Blackout said. "But it can't can't grow a tree in a week. And it's deciduous...they don't have leaves in the winter." He sounded like he was trying to talk himself into believing the tree wasn't real. Lara took the opportunity and jumped in.

"I made it," she said.

Blackout looked at her, his expression betraying the fact that he hadn't realized she was in the room until just that moment.

"F-ing A," Blackout said. "That's a remarkable piece of work. What did you use?"

"Well, the main trunk and the branches are real," Lara said. "I got the idea from how they built Fangorn Forest in Lord of the Rings."

"Very cool," Blackout nodded in appreciation. "And the rest?"

"Silk plants grafted into the real parts of the tree," Lara continued.

"How the hell did you get it in the door?" Blackout asked.

Lara's eyes widened. She hadn't thought of that.

"We brought it in through the window," Andrew chimed in. "Those windows slide open to make a patio, remember?"

"No, I don't," Blackout said. "I don't think you've ever had them open when I've been here."

"Well, it's usually too cool in the morning," Andrew said.

"And it came in pieces," Lara said. "Branches had to be sawed off and then reattached to transport it in the first place. The upper regions where the foliage is really thick...there aren't even full sections of branch up there."

"That had to be a crazy amount of work," Blackout said. He looked down at the floor and the damage the Tree had caused. "You obviously aren't finished. I just really needed a coffee."

"I can make you one, if you don't mind waiting a few minutes," Lara said. Andrew shot her a look that said we need to get him out of here. She returned his look with a glare that said we need to make some money, dipshit.

"Where's the espresso machine?" Blackout asked, taking a seat at the bar.

"In the back," Andrew replied. He looked nervously up into the tree to where the espresso machine was still precariously perched. It looked to be in pretty good shape if he could just get it down. He followed Lara behind the counter to assist her in making a pot of coffee with the regular coffee makers which had miraculously survived the tree's onslaught.

"We thought it best to keep the shop open while renovations were taking place," Lara said.

Andrew coughed and nearly dropped the pot he was filling with water.

"I still haven't got your name," Blackout said.

"My name's Lara," Lara said, cleaning off the bar and the counter.

"Mark," Blackout replied. "But everyone calls me Blackout."

"Because he plays the music until it isn't black out anymore," Andrew said, filling the machines with coffee grounds. He found himself falling into his morning work routine. If only that espresso machine were down here I might actually be able to make a bid at doing business today. But I'd need customers for it to make a difference.

"Well, if you're serious about being open," Blackout said, "You should clean up all those chairs and tables. I had a pretty full room when I shut down and the group wanted to know where they go to get some java...I told them all you make the best damn coffee I've ever tasted, and they're all on their way over."

Andrew looked at Lara. She looked up at the tree with a smile on her face.

"I'll get the broom," Andrew said.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Here comes the Director's Cut

When I originally wrote the episodes in March, April and May I had no idea how bloated the storyline Episode 7 started would become. I figured that the thread of Episode 7 would be over and done with by the time I reached Episode 13. Instead, the story was starting to ramp up, not plane down. Sometimes the story writes itself.

Add to this my realization that Episode 1 took place in January and the arrival of the Leprechauns in Episode 7 was miraculously only days away from St. Patrick's day in March, leaving about two months of missing story running around somewhere. Which brings us to the Director's Cut.

So in short, I started to revise the story.
It seemed like a good time to go back and flesh out the things that would have lead up to a journey into the tree. Besides, that way the climax can occur at the Pole right around Christmas!

I know it's not linear, but the story got away on me before I knew it! Besides, given the space/time possibilities within the story itself, maybe we're all just traveling the Tree.

I've taken out the post Episode 7 installments until the new episodes are done. When they're finished, I'll repost them all in sequence, with slight editing to reflect the story as changed by the events prior. That might sound confusing, but solider'll all make sense by December 31.