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02/01 Direct Link

I was a little younger than I was old.

Walking through the narrow passageway as the ship rhythmically pitched, I knew it wasn’t right. And to this day, years later, I still know it wasn’t right.

At the time I didn’t know why it wasn’t right or how wrong it really was. No, I felt it was wrong only because of what it did to me.

Later, many years after I left the narrow passageways and rhythmic pitching of the ship, I learned that it was never about me.

But then I was a little older than I was young.

02/02 Direct Link

“So what I’m hearing you say is that you don’t care about safety?” He asked, firmly. 

I knew he was looking to start an argument, especially one he could possibly win.

“No. I don’t care about you, and that’s you are hearing me say.” I replied, curtly.

He shifted his stance uneasily, and I knew that honesty had put him off guard. Honestly, I didn’t care much about him.

“But,” he protested.

“No, getting you the training isn’t going to make this place any safer when we’ve already got other people available. So, it’s just not high on my list.” 

02/03 Direct Link

You know I can’t do that right?

Okay, well I probably couldn’t anyway. It’s not that I wouldn’t want to put all of this down on paper, just that I don’t have the time.

And no, having someone follow me around to do it wouldn’t work either. Because I’d still have to spend the same amount of time, perhaps more, telling them what to write. Think about it a little bit more. That’d be like hiring a consultant to write a grant.

Sure they might tell you they’ll do the heavy lifting, but they still need to get the information. 

02/04 Direct Link

“I’m not saying that I want someone to steal my car, just that I wouldn’t be upset if they did.” I answered, as the class looked towards me in disbelief.

 “Of course you’d be mad, wouldn’t you?” the professor prodded as the class watched.

 “No, probably not. I have insurance, so I’d just get a new one.” I answered, confidently.

 "Even though they’d be stealing your car.”

“But how do I know the person stealing wasn’t going to donate it to Polly Klaas?” I replied.

 “But that’s not the point.” He stated, a little unsure.

 “Isn’t it?” I asked, smiling.

02/05 Direct Link

The snow packed tightly under our boots as we walked across the unmarked field.

There were no signs or markings to tell us that we shouldn’t be there, but somehow we both knew that to be the case. I could almost feel the trespass on someone else’s property as a palpable thing in the air.

Regardless, we walked on.

Somewhere at the edge of the field, where the woods began, there was a low stone wall.

The thin layer of soft snow continued to pack tightly under each footfall, with that same creaking sound as we reached the stone wall. 

02/06 Direct Link

“What are you talking about?” He asked furiously.

 Pointing at the live electrical cables sitting in standing water, she said “That right there.”

 Throwing his arm’s up in the air, he yelled, “really!”

 “Yes, really. And until we get them pulled up out of the water. All of them too, no one is going to start working.” She said calmly, looking directly at him.

 “You know this is ridiculous, we’ve always done it this way and it’ll be impossible to get them out of the water.” He replied.

 “Impossible?”

 He walked away in disgust as she started fixing the problem. 

02/07 Direct Link

It was all fruitless and trite; at least that’s how I called it.

One person would get up there and talk about how they were glad to be part of a great thing, how they were directly helping the economy.

Another person would stand in front of us and comment on how true all the bullshit we just heard was. They’d cite some meaningless study and congratulate everyone in the room for their hard work towards this noble goal. 

Sure, I was one of them. I got up there and spoke my part.

They asked me to.

So I did. 

02/08 Direct Link

“Sure I don’t trust her.” I said.

“But you’d still vote for her?” He asked, puzzled.

“Of course. Hell, I’d vote for her because I don’t trust her.” I replied.

“That doesn’t make any sense.” He said.

“If I trusted her she probably wouldn’t be a good politician. I want someone willing to lie cheat and steal for their constituents. Someone that will get the job done.”

“Wow, that’s pretty messed up man,” he said, before pausing. “I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one.”

“Good, because I don’t like it either. But it’s true.” I replied.

02/09 Direct Link

It was pretty cold and perfectly dark when I got into the car.

I didn’t check the rear view mirror before starting the engine and putting it in drive, and didn’t see the woman sitting behind me. It was one of those autopilot mornings, no time for keen observations.

“Hello,” she said as she quickly shifted into the middle of the back seat.

“JESUS CHRIST,” I exclaimed jerking at the wheel causing the car to veer sharply towards the median.

“Yes,” she said answering as if that was her name.

“What-“ I started as we smashed into the concrete barrier.

 

02/10 Direct Link

“I’m not going to extol the virtues of honesty today.” He said, looking across the small audience.

“I’d much rather give you all a realistic lesson on how our society works. And honesty for honesty’s sake never did anyone any good.” He continued, as the city noise hummed quietly in the background beyond the heavy wooden doors.

Pausing for a moment to clear his throat, he started again. “Sure there’s nothing wrong with telling the truth if it will benefit you, but don’t make it a habit. And the same can be said for lies.”

“Just think before you talk.”

02/11 Direct Link

Are you kidding me, why’d you think I’d do that?

Sure it’s something that a reasonable person might attempt, but that’s never been something that I’ve allowed to cloud my judgment.

Reasonable.

Life is too short for that garbage, and I’d rather live, if only for a moment. Many reasonable people simply look for survival, which is something I’m not too concerned with.

Besides, who wants to spend forever living a B movie? 

It’s safe, but definitely straight to video.

No, for me I think it’s only worth living if you’re happy right now. Plan for tomorrow, live for today. 

02/12 Direct Link

“No, I don’t think I’ll sit down.” Darryl said angrily as he paced back and forth across the lobby.

“That’s fine Sir, but I do need you to calm down.” She replied.

There were other people in the room, patiently waiting and looking at the meaningless corporate art. Most of them were of no consequence to the story.

He continued to pace, not heeding the request for calm.

“Nguyen, Billy.” The intercom called, as one of the nondescript patrons got up and walked toward the desk.

“How’d you get ahead?” asked Darryl.

 “Simple, I wasn’t an ass.” Replied Billy bluntly. 

02/13 Direct Link

It’s depressing mostly, to watch something gold fade away.

But maybe it should be with a sense of relief instead. Once it’s faded away, the arc complete, you know how it ends. There’s no surprise and the whole of its collective history probably won’t be thrown out.

Sure it sucks that it’s gone, but really, that it existed at all should be impressive. More, that it completed the arc, and found its spot in the societal memory, is important.

 Sometimes live gold can turn to blood or become toxic. However, once something gold fades, it will always have been gold.

02/14 Direct Link

The band’s sound blended melodically with the beach noises in the background as they quietly sat on the terrace above the enramadas and flurry of activity.

It could’ve been Tuesday, but neither of them was really sure. Life had slowed down, almost came to a halt at the hacienda. They’d wake up, wander about and settle down to write or read.

On that particular day the crowds were especially lively, maybe it was Christmas. But that was still of limited consequence to them on that terrace.

Besides, they weren’t there for the schedule or anything like that. 

Just to escape. 

02/15 Direct Link

“Did you drop the pin?” Jose asked, impatiently.

“Yea, just back there.” Replied Frankie, as he put his phone away.

They walked for a while, along what appeared to be a trail, before they came across another stream. This one was violently rushing across the ground and about four feet across.

“I’m pretty sure we can’t jump across that one.”

“Yea, if one of us gets caught in that, we’re screwed.” Said Jose, looking for suitable crossings.

They both scanned the area, but found few alternatives.

“What do you think?” asked Frankie.

“Meh.” Replied Jose, shrugging his shoulders.

 “Alright then.”

02/16 Direct Link

The blast grit lay about the deck like a fresh snow as I walked carefully along the port side of the ship.

I could see the set of boot tracks going towards the bow, and I knew that’s who I was looking for. They say he just wandered back in here after lunch, no respirator or anything.

“Hey!” I shouted, muted by the heavy respirator. 

It felt quiet under there, the grit in the air acts like an insulator for sound too. 

“Hey, are you under here?” I yelled again, but no reply. 

Where the hell is he, I thought. 

02/17 Direct Link

There’s a tiny speck of light that’ll flash on the horizon, looking straight west from here. And then there’s another one that also flashes on the horizon, but it’s about fifty miles north.

On a clear night they will both flash, seemingly out of tune with each other.

Tonight it’s not so clear and I’ve been watching for a while and haven’t seen either of them blink. I know they are out there, and if the night’s sky was a picture I could circle them with a pen. 

But still no flash. 

I wonder if they’ll be there tomorrow night. 

02/18 Direct Link

“Dammit, what the hell is that about!”

“I don’t know, seems pretty normal to me.” She responded, looking back at him.

There was a short pause, as they navigated the tall aisles looking for the eight pack of canned chili.  There were people everywhere and random displays blocked up the clear paths.

“I know they were here last week, I friggin know it.” He exclaimed.

“Probably, but we’re looking all over the store trying to find them. It’s a pretty brilliant strategy, actually.” She said.

“Why’s that?”

“Just think of all the new product’s we’ve seen today.” She replied, smiling.

02/19 Direct Link

There was a hollow knock on the ships hull, and we all heard it.

And somewhere near the lower fuel manifolds it struck again, this time with more repetitive precision. 

“What is that?” asked the Chief Engineer.

“I have no idea, there shouldn’t be anything out there.” Replied the watch-stander. “This is the first I’ve heard it.”

A few minutes later the knock stuck again, at the same place, against the hull. 

Shining a light into the bilge below the valves, the Chief looked and said, “well, it’s definitely nothing from inside the ship,” as she turned off the light. 
02/20 Direct Link

“There’s got to be some broken spare parts in the shop somewhere.” He yelled, chasing Aaron out of the generator room.

“But, I looked everywhere.” Exclaimed Aaron, the most junior engineer on the boat.

“Obviously you missed something though, and I don’t care if you dump every vidmar onto the ground. Find the eighth-inch fittings.” Finished Brian, as he turned around and walked into the dark machinery space.

Everything echoed differently when the ship was dead in the water, and there was something about the ships movement. Like the sea was happening to it, rather than the other way around. 

02/21 Direct Link

It was a stupid political bet, one I knew I was going to loose. 

But sometimes you have to make a sacrifice, allow yourself to loose, in order to win the next one. And sometimes the next one is worth it.

It sucked that it ended up being a very public spectacle, however that’s just part of the game. I pushed all quarter to have the zoning regulations changed in the Outer Richmond during the next session. I made no secret about it either, leveraging it as a pro-business position to please my constituents.

But with concessions come owed favors. 

02/22 Direct Link

“It’s not my job.” He said, grinning as he walked onto the bridge wing.

“Yea,” replied the boatswain half paying attention. “But, it’s someone’s job.”

The sea was gently rolling the boat from port to starboard and a dense fog shrouded the horizon, as Louis assessed the condition of the mounting bracket for the big-eyes.

“I’m pretty sure that’ll take me a few hours,” said Louis. “If they have the parts and the right wire.”

“Well, you’d better get looking.” Replied the boatswain, as he continued to scan the indeterminable horizon.

“Roger that,” he said abruptly as he ran off.

02/23 Direct Link

Well, that wasn’t bright, I thought.

Looking at the bent pad eye’s on the engine, I was desperately trying to figure out how to continue drifting the heavy piece of machinery across the generator room. But, with two of the lifting eyes bent, that didn’t seem likely.

The clock kept advancing, and with each minute I drew closer to a bad decision.

I had tried a couple haphazard-rigging configurations, but with the overhead so low they didn’t work. And upon each new attempt, I found the lifting eyes more distorted.

Shit, how do I fix this real quick? I thought. 

02/24 Direct Link

They walked along the dusty valley floor.

The ground showed signs of an old wash, traced out beneath their footsteps, and the scattered remains of dried out plants. It had been some time since this place last saw rain, year’s maybe.

“It’s kind of a bummer that this place dried up,” said Karen.

Shrugging her shoulders, “Meh, I don’t know.” Replied Evelyn. “If this thing was still full of water, we would’ve been stranded on the other side of the mountains.”

“So?” Asked Karen, rhetorically. “We’re just two people, think of all the shit that used to live down here.”

02/25 Direct Link

Sure, I’ll tell you everything you think I know.

If it’ll help paint your side of the story, it’d be my pleasure to lay it all out there. I won’t be too specific about the semantics, that way you can frame it however you want. Because in the end, that’s what matters anyway, right?

So, there let’s just start with the basics of the situation.

John was there, and not only that. He was kind of like the ring-leader for the little covert group. He didn’t take minutes at the meetings or anything, but he did egg them all on.

02/26 Direct Link

The yard was silent, almost painfully so.

 In the abysmal quiet, I had lost my self, and wasn’t able to recall time.

Was it still break, or did I miss that altogether?

As I walked past the dry docked ships, I couldn’t help but wonder what was going on. What caused the quiet on the yard.

Reaching into my pocket, I grabbed my phone for reference. And found sure, enough, that it wasn’t break. But then what time was it?

There was a smallish ferry vessel near the edge of the railway, which seemed like a good place to start.

02/27 Direct Link

“The fox guarding the hen house?” I asked amused.

 “Yea, I guess that’d be what its like.” He said, avoiding eye contact.

 "But surely you are joking.” I replied, looking directly into his dodgy eyes.

 As we sat there, I couldn’t help but be amused with the situation. It wasn’t the fox guarding the hen house at all, as that would be far safer for the hens then what I had in mind.

 “Maybe, whatever you think,” he said.

 “No, but really.” I said, pausing. “Do you really think I’d take a chance on one of them? That’d be crazy.”

02/28 Direct Link

It wasn’t terribly well conceived, our plan.

I think we mostly cobbled it out of spare parts and pure necessity. The sort of magic only found at the very bottom of a vidmar, or buried somewhere under the deck plates.

But, with scarcity comes some brilliance.

It was a very American idea, nothing as systematic as what could’ve been figured out. No this was pure six gun, wild west stuff. And it was this sort of ingenuity that kept us just a little ahead of the rest.

Did I like having a short budget? No, not really.

But it helped. 

02/29 Direct Link

The ship was covered in wounds, the scars of a busy life 

 Smashing into a pier over here, running onto rocks by the quay. It’s normal duty for a boat, but with maintenance all navigational sins can be forgiven.

This boat was a little different though, it was ragged, needing almost every inch of steel to be replaced. Her new owners didn’t really get the concept of cleaning.

They just wanted her to work, nothing more.

It’s interesting though, to see the care that went into the ship when it was younger, and still saving the new owners from headaches.