Thursday, February 28, 2013

[Random Fiction +1] Bird in flight.

My apartment was at the top of the building. It was an afterthought, I think. You took the elevator up to four, then you went down the hallway and took the stairs up to the top. You crossed the 'trying to be a patio' to my door and stood in the rain before you let yourself in. The bonus was, no neighbours to bitch about noise. The downside was, well, this was Langley, I entered my roost soaked more often than not.

Oh, you touristy types are all like 'Why not bring an umbrella?' Well, let me tell ya, if I bought an umbrella every time it rained, I couldn't pay rent. Perhaps if I didn't lose them every time I got on a bus it'd be a different story, but few are the Vancouver'ites who use the damn things anyway. Pull your hood up and squint, that's our answer.

So, my place. If it looks like some sort of hoarder lives in it, well, there's a pretty good reason. Though, I prefer extreme pack-rat to hoarder. I mean, you can walk through the place, there were seats to sit on, and there weren't any fire hazards. However, it was packed with sparkly things, various ingredients for various crafts, CDs, cassette tapes, VHS, Beta, you name it if it was a media form, I had it. I liked technology; I was generally the first to buy the new spiffy thing no matter how expensive it was. Which is kinda why I'm always broke. I should just steal them, but I kinda always felt guilty about that. Why can I steal a diamond encrusted watch off a guy who beats his wife but not his beta max? I don't know, just the way I am, I guess.

I was greeted at the door with a demanding meow. Apparently poor Miss Fluffikins hadn't been fed in a week. Or at least, that was her story. Cats can only tell time when its to do with things they don't like; medications, vet trips, sleeping hours of the two foot, that sort of thing. I looked down at her, "If I go into the kitchen and find plenty of kibble with a hole in the middle, I'll wring my hair out on you." I told her quite firmly. She just flicked the tip of her tail at me, we both knew I was bluffing.

I was fairly sure that Miss Fluffikins was a spy for one of the cats. I didn't think Cougar, I'm not sure he would even talk to his smallest cousins. Actually, for all I knew, there may well just be a Cat now. Certainly cats get worshipped enough. I can't say I know all my cousins, I'm pretty busy trying to make it day to day. By the way, next time you see a magpie, do say hello, okay? Every bit helps. Anyway, what would I do with her? Toss her back out into the rain? When I'd found her she'd been huddled under a juniper bush. Yeah a juniper bush in the Pacific North wet, I had to wonder whose brilliant idea that was, the plant wasn't doing much better than the soggy cat and her fresh born kittens. What can I do but pick them all up, bring them home and eventually find homes for everyone but the single mom. She'd decided I was her pet and didn't want to leave.

I put the kettle on with a yawn. As it boiled I checked email to find Horse had sent me a frighteningly large amount of money. How expensive was Toronto these days? I transferred said small fortune into my bank account and went over to WestJet's site to get myself a flight. I love WestJet, they're all about the happy. If I have to be stuck in a tincan with a bunch of mouth breathers and whiny children, I at least want people trying to placate me and make me happy while I'm there.

I'd just booked the flight and had started my tea when the door crashed open and a storm rushed in. I turned, a bit wide-eyed to look up at a soaking mad Cougar. "Dude! It was unlocked!"

Cougar's about five ten, but he seems twice that, just due to presence. Dirty blonde hair he kept gelled back, well, when it wasn't dripping wet, muscles of a lacrosse player and green eyes you could lose yourself in. Too bad he's such an asshole. "I know." He said, stepping forward. I couldn't help the meep as I scrambled out of the chair, it scrapped across the cheap lino, and backed up. "I opened it and then smashed it open. I would just hate to let you lose your damage deposit." He was snarling, that couldn't be a good sign. What had I done now?

I hit the wall, shit. "Whatever it is, I didn't do it!" I squawked.

He grabbed me by the front of my shirt. It was an easy swipe, he didn't even seem to be trying, the bastard. "It wasn't funny." He growled down at me.

"Shit dude, you never think its funny." I muttered, looking from side to side. Miss Fluffikins was about my only ally and she was quite sensibly hiding under the couch. I could see the tip of her tail lashing; not Cougar's then.

"Decapitating Lynx to make him reform for no reason? Washing my place in his blood? How is that supposed to be funny?" His face was like an inch from mine and he was growling. I could feel his hand starting to shift to paw. Shit, Cougar was bad enough on two feet with no claws.

"Wasn't me!" I yelped. Unfortunately, he wasn't listening. My shirt was starting to rip. Son of a bitch, this had been a steal at Value Village, did he know how long I had to camp the place to find something this cool that had actually made it to the floor? I don't have many options when it comes to violence, my answer is typically to book it out of there at top speed. Unfortunately, that's a little hard when you're practically pinned against the wall, hung onto, and aren't fast enough to get out of arm's reach of your aggressor. So, I did what any incredibly canny girl would do, I hopped up onto tip toes and planted a kiss on his lips.

I think I was flying across the room to land very heavily on the second couch before he even realized he'd tossed me. This, however, gave me a chance to scramble for the balcony. I managed to grab my medic's bad on my way past. "I don't do blood and guts, Coug! You know that! Someone's playing you!" He just growled wordlessly. His form was starting to get more than a little fuzzy. Shit, he was practically all berserk. Had that someone been screwing with his head? While I'd be the first to call Coug a bit of a psycho, he wasn't usually this bad!

I managed to get the glass door open and scrambled out onto the balcony. It would probably be a more useful thing if it hadn't been built on top of the concrete squares that were trying to be a patio. But, I suppose, it did define my land from no man's land. Cougar was down to all fours and his words were yowls. Well, I could still understand him just fine, but since it was just profanity at this point, I won't bother translating.

I decided the hell with it, shifted and launched myself into the sky. One thing I am good at is shifting, I can do it faster than any of my cousins, and I could take whatever I was carrying with me. Many of them lost their clothes when they alter. I didn't know if hoped a mad Coug was one or not, considering he'd have to take my clothes. On the one hand, it'd serve the jerk right, on the other, I didn't have so many clothes I could spare a set. I circled my building a few times, but it didn't seem that he was going to be calming down any time soon, just growling and spitting, growling and spitting.

It was with a long sigh that I turned east towards Abbostford. I really could have used the break of not having to find somewhere safe to change back. My neighbours, if they looked up, might see a really angry tom cat spitting up a fuss, but humans would kinda notice someone appearing were a bird used to be. Some would rub their eyes and decide they needed more sleep, some would see. I really didn't want to deal with the crap that was someone seeing.

I totally hoped my phone was in my bag, I was going to need some luggage too. I started to alter course to head towards the Value Village when I grinned, I didn't have to go second hand, I had a large wad of cash in my bank from Horse. My chuckles may have sounded like caws to the locals, but it was a pretty merry sound to me. I'd managed two victories so far today, hopefully I wouldn't need to make for a third before landing in the self proclaimed centre of the universe; Toronto.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

[Gerbil vs. Human] Round 3 - KNOCK OUT!

See that green wheel? That's the one I swore I was never, ever, ever, ever, EVER putting back in their cage and was only keeping because I'm too cheap/much of a packrat to throw it out.

Last night, having not taken my zombie meds that morning so I would at least be able to drive to the doc's office and back, I was doing my usual round of insomnia. Mr Freddie would run on the wheel till it started making noise and stop. He would do this over and over. And I finally said, "Dude, that's kind of irritating." If a gerbil could say "I know, right??" he would have.

So I went to investigate and see if I could fix that wheel so it wouldn't rattle back and forth against the cage bars. Nothing obvious came to mind and I fiddled with it for a while. A small grey furry creature sat on the top of his house and looked smug. Ha. Well, I fixed his little red wagon.. er, white wheel.. green wheel.. SOMETHING! I scooped him up, put him in his travel carrier (there may have been a  squeaked  protest) and  dissembled  the cage so I could put the dreaded green thing in. I KY'd the contacts. I bounce tested the wheel. It didn't sound so bad.

I put Freddie back in the cage. He gave me a very good dirty look and promptly investigated everything human hands had contaminated in his home. He then found the green wheel. He hopped on it and started running. He ran on it for a good five minutes before hopping off for some water.

Poor gerbil, humans just train so very slow.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

[Random Fiction] This has been stuck in my noggin

It seems most stories start in coffee shops, I wonder why that is. Perhaps its because writers are often broke and a cup of coffee is all they can afford; but this seems a bit unlikely to me considering the amount the fancy trendy shmucky places charge for a cup of over burnt beans. Perhaps its because you can people watch; although I’d have thought a mall a better place for it. Maybe its because its somewhere warm they can sit on their asses for hours and have washrooms nearby. Well, whatever the reason, I, Horse and Bear were meeting in a coffee shop. Bear paid for my coffee since I was a bit between successful jobs. Cougar had been invited but he was still a little cranky at me because of an incident twenty-six years ago. All I’d done was.. well, that’s not important, really. Let’s just say it was really funny.
My true name is Magpie, I’m the spiritual embodiment of the animal. I guess in the lingo of some, it makes me a demi-god. Mostly, it just means I have some tricks at claw and I don’t age. I’ve seen a lot, you know. I’ve even done some things. I’m not like Horse, he’s done all sorts of battles and wars. I’ll heal if I can, but I don’t like wading in blood and guts and anger and hate. Bear’ll fight if he feels home and family are threatened, otherwise he’ll stick to his cave. Its probably why I like Bear more than Horse. Anyway, these guys call me ‘Maggie’ and I call Bear Barry and Horse was Hearne. I was trying to resist calling them Barry and Harry. Mostly because Bear didn’t have a very good sense of humour.
Let me tell you what we must have looked like to a person looking on us. We sat at a stained wooden table, etched with grafitti of so-and-so loves so-and-so and opinions of various past politicians. I was on one side, Bear and Horse sat on the other. Bear is big. If Bear signed up to play linebacker for the CFL no one would be surprised. He’s not as tall as Horse, but he towers over me. He has sort of middling brown hair that he tends to wear shaggy since he forgets to get it cut and then just sort of hacks at himself. His hair is forever falling in his eyes and he’s forever brushing it out. He has really big, sort of blunt, hands. His skin, these days, is mostly metis. He looks well tanned with an undertone of red.
Horse is really tall. I don’t mean basketball player tall, but he’s just over a foot taller than me. He looks thin, part of its how he dresses, but he’s really whipcord atheletic. I’ve seen Horse pick up more than he should without even burning energy to do it. He’s kind of like a long distance runner meets ballet dancer. Though, I really don’t want to picture him in tights thank you very much. He has blonde hair that he wears long, falling down his back, thick, kinda wavy and makes any girl walking past want to dig her hands in and braid it. He has these bright blue eyes that are always moving, he knows where everyone and everything is around him. Horse looks so white he practically reflects. We like to tease him that the sun is trying to turn him back to red man. Its probably a good thing Horse has a sense of humour or he’d have stomped me long ago.
Me, well I’m like five feet, four inches. Yeah, pretty short, right? I wish I could say I was delicate like a bird, but unfortunately I’m more stocky than anything else. Of course, if I didn’t wear layers of clothes in a mix of Lolita and street hag, I’d probably look slimmer. I suppose I should care about that sort of thing, being female, but I really didn’t. Anyway, so, as I said, short, stocky, dark brown eyes, skin that’s more olive than red, and slim fingers good for reaching into pockets. A girl’s gotta make a living, although Bear made me promise long ago to keep my fingers to myself when he’s about. I suppose its the least I can do since he often buys me food and drink. Bear’s a good guy. I have black hair with a white streak, most say ‘Oh, totally Rogue!’ or ask if I’m a Dragon’s Den fan, but let me tell you, I had it centuries before either existed. Its my fashion statement, not their’s!
This was possibly the first time Bear had ever called us together. Normally it was Horse or Wolf, or y’know, one of the rabble rousers or war mongerers. So, we’d been really curious. I guess we four (gotta count Cougar even if he didn’t show) were the only ones in the area to hear the call, ‘cause I know some of the curious like Vixen and Mink would have been here in a shot.  Maybe we should teach Bear how to use the internet.
“So, what’s up?” I finally asked since it didn’t seem Bear was going to do much but compare crafting tips with Horse. “I mean, I don’t think you wanted me here to know how to stick one bit of wood into another.”
Bear gave a bit of an ironic smile, brushing that shag out of his face yet again, “True. You’re better at taking things apart than putting them together.” Horse snorted, amused. I just rolled my eyes, no point in disagreeing since it was true, but I wasn’t going to encourage him, either! “No, I .. we, need to do something about the pipeline.”
Horse and I exchanged a startled look. Horse ‘cause Bear didn’t exactly start fights, he more ambled into them and cleared up the mess by knocking everyone out. Me, ‘cause, well, “Uhm, Bear, the people’ll are like 65% against the thing. The First Nations are refusing to let it be built on their lands. What’s to be done?”
Bear sighed, “I don’t know. I just have a feeling.” He shook his head, “I think the government knows its on the way out and might see a way to get power and money before they’re replaced. They’re projecting a lot of hate in other directions and ducking the pipeline as much as possible.”
“The premier totally told Alberta not a chance!” I said.
It was Horse’s turn to shake his head. “No, she didn’t. She gave a price tag and said ‘meet it or beat it’ in the Michael Jackson sense. What if they meet it?”
I gave him the ‘you’re crazy look’ and then gave it to Bear too for good measure. “C’mon Bear, what’s the real deal? You don’t just stick your nose in.”
“I have a feeling.” He repeated.
I sighed. Bear was not one of us who had visions or foresights. He really wasn’t. I mean, we may help and support all the good people of the land no matter when or how they got here, but we still had our areas of influence and this so wasn’t one of Bear’s. My eyes narrowed, “Snake asked you, didn’t he?” Or at least, I think Snake was male at the moment, he kind of changed back and forth as he saw fit.
Bear shrugged a shoulder, “Does it matter? I feel he’s right. We need to look into it.”
I wanted to ask ‘why us?’ but Horse was already agreeing. I could probably finish the coffee and high tail it outta there, I mean, technically speaking while we were family we were more like third cousins from opposite sides of a bunch of marriages. I had no official obligation, I had no blood sworn duty here, but I like Bear, I’d even tried to seduce him a few times. Besides, as I said, he feeds me and that’s not something to forget. “Okay.” I said, startling them both. “Do you have a plan?” I asked.
“No.” He looked to Horse.
Horse looked briefly up at the ceiling, the whole ‘I should have known’ gesture. “Alright. Let me think.”
So, Bear and I ignored talking about Snake and my feelings about him and his visions and talked about ways I could go straight and get a real job and I told him why not and well, basically, it was the same argument we’ve been having for centuries. Hey, at least I wasn’t into prostitution. That argument always got me Bear’s droll look. 
“Maggie’ll go to Toronto and infiltrate their HQ, find out all information you can on what the big wigs are doing about geting their way. Bear’n’I will go to Edmonton and figure out what they have so far and what they’re prepping for. I’d be surprised they’re not already building supplies if they thnk they’re going to get the go ahead.” I opened my mouth, “I’ll cover it, Maggie.” I closed my mouth again, wondering if I should be insulted.
“Okay.” I agreed. I didn’t like Toronto much, but then, I didn’t like any city much. I was a suburbs and rural kind of gal. A sigh, I suppose I’d have to find some sort of office slave outfit or six too. The things I did for my friends. Another sigh, yeah, they were friends. I know Bear’d be there in a heartbeat if I, say, needed bailing out of jail or something. Horse’d be there for any fight, ready to defend me even if I was in the wrong. 
“I’ll Interac you the funds.” Bear looked puzzled at Horse’s words.
“We’ll teach you computers sooner or later, Bear.” I said. I loved computers, the wonders you could do with hacking. Not to mention video games were fun. 
“That’s okay. I’m happy coming to you when I need the technological help.” He said. He looked ready to get up and go right now. I guess our meeting was over.
I drank down the last of my disgusting coffee, I wasn’t one to turn down free caffiene no matter how rude it was, and stood up. Swinging my vintage world war 2 medic bag over one shoulder (I only mention it because I totally love the thing) I stood up. “I’ll let you know what flight I get and stuff. But I’ll have you know I’m flying out of Abbotsford. YVR is a beautiful airport, but that many people just gives me the hives.”
Horse blinked, Bear sighed. Neither, however, tried to convince me otherwise. Probably ‘cause YXX was cheaper to fly out of anyway. Either way, I was soon out the door and back into the rain of the Pacific North West; the Pacific North Wet to us locals.
I didn’t much like flying. Wait, let me rephrase that, I didn’t like flying when it wasn’t my wings doing the beating. But, I guess shifting to fly all the way to Toronto would be a bit of a waste of energy and take forever besides. It was possible to do a translocate, but that really would be a waste of energies and I really would be a useless bird for quite a while after; I only used it in the uptmost of emergencies. I wasn’t like Beaver who had an entire country’s worship, I didn’t have the energies to waste. I gave a glance up at the murky overcast sky. Maybe it’d be warmer in Toronto; I didn’t mind rain but I was getting a bit tired of all the gray.

[General Update] Just a few words on .. zzzzZzz..

(A Freddie clone, not the original.)

Thank you Speedy for another award, and thank you Mick for checking up on me. And thank you Hannah for the very nice quilt, don't worry, I won't tell your Mamma that you stole half her supplies to make it.(*) Maddy's personal nibbles with Umbra's fur all over it made it even better. ;)

Where I have been.. As some (most) of you know, I have all sorts of physical issues which result in pain. There is never NO pain, its always a scale of how much pain. Anyway, the  codeine  he had me on was working less and less after A LOT of bitching he's finally exploring different ways to deal with the pain. He won't prescribe "short acting" (4 - 6 hour) pills, only the long release. The problem is, PharmaCare don't cover most long release. Their opinion is, the short acting do the same thing and cost 1/10th the price. I can see their point, but the long release and short release actually do have quite different effects.

ANYWAY! So he put me on this medication that's supposed to regulate the nerves. While they'll still say "Ow." they'll do it properly and not  manically  and in full force. Or at least, that's the theory. I'm on week three now and I haven't really noticed any changes except I'm trying to not pop more pain pills because the pain is not fun. One of the side effects listed is "May cause drowsiness." I say it may cause narcolepsy. Holy crap, I go from drowsy/blurgh (where I am now) to SLEEP NOW! And if I don't want to fall asleep as I am, I have about 3 minutes to reposition or relocate myself.

So, as you can imagine, this has done WONDERS for my creative abilities. (Ah. Ha. Ha.) It also means I'm conscious for about 4 - 5 hours a day. (Seriously.) It wouldn't even be so bad if it were at least restful sleep.. but of course, its not.

Anyway, that's where I've been. Freddie is happy and chipper. My Cabana Boy is still far too good to me. And I had a dream the other night Mr Mick came to visit, stole all the bed covers, snored, and farted in my bed. I do so miss having a rabbit about.. :)

(* - No actual quilt was made. Honest. Truly. I don't know where all those supplies went, 'Shell!)

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Zen of Bun: Hoppy Valentine's Day and a Giveaway!

Dearest Furry Godson Mickey,

I have oats with your name on them.

Purely coincedental, but I'd also like to throw my name in the hat for the candles! ;)

(Who thinks bunny bribery is perfectly legal.)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Silly Bunny Dreams.

I was lying in bed, half-asleep, when a nose nudged me and wiggled under my arm. A eyelid slowly lifting revealed a buff coloured bunny, nose wriggling away. "Mrrr" I managed. I then brought hand to soft fur to stroke his nose and head, giving little rubs between loppy ears. "Does your Momma know you're here?" I asked.

A snort from the bunny.

I tapped him on the bridge of his nose. "Hey now, your Momma has you and two boys to look after. It's a full time job."

It's been debated for years if rabbits can actually roll their eyes. If Mr Mick didn't actually roll his eyes, he gave it a very good impression.

"The Boy Younger may be at college, but he's still her boy. And you know how human boys are." Actually, I thought bunny boys as impossible, but it didn't seem very diplomatic to say so.

Mr Mick shook his head and allowed me to pet him some more, even being generous enough to throw in some tooth purrs.

"Were you here to visit Freddie? He's been getting a little pudgy lately; he could probably use the exercise of trying to keep up with you and Speedy."

Mr Mick yawned to show off bunny teeth and then snorted.

"Yes, I know, foo' gerbil. Which doesn't mean you don't have a soft spot in your heart for him."

That earned me one lagomorphic dirty look.

I chuckled and continued to stroke the soft fur, a yawn escaping from me. "Sorry, these new meds are knocking me on my ass. They should say "May cause narcolepsy."

A bit of a headshake, either the comment wasn't worth full rabbit appreciation of humour or he didn't want to dislodge my petting; perhaps both.

"And I didn't get much sleep while I was visiting the Cabana Boy." I added.

A disgusted snort; apparently Mick didn't want to hear about human love lives.

It was my turn to roll my eyes, "Not because of THAT, you dirty minded rabbit. The mattress wasn't soft enough for my delicate self."

Mick flexed his paws, shifting weight around, as if evaluating my mattress. The pillow top made it as soft as a down comforter, the layer underneath was firm enough to hold you without putting pressure on you, and there was plenty of support beneath that. In my opinion, it was the perfect bed, even if some did find the top layer too fluffy. Mick shrugged and yawned again, this time giving a good stretch.

"You know you're more than welcome to nap with me, but you better be home in time for breakfast."

That got me a disgusted look.

"Right, sorry.. as if you'd miss breakfast."

A final snort and inner lids lowered as Mick decided this was an acceptable place to sleep. I continued to pet his nose and ears until I followed him into the land of Nod.