The Sketch of Sam Monroe – Chapter 6.13 – Stiff Upper Lip

Image result for english moors by night
Chapter 6.12

 

“It’s done!”

“And well that it is…” I said as I shoveled the last bit of earth over the fragments of that shattered stone.

I gazed at Jones. His lip was aquiver. It was odd to see such a tall man so contorted by fear.

“Take courage…what can they do…they have no flesh.”

Jones gulped.

“Is there something you want to tell me Fred?”

He stared into the middle distance for an inordinate period.

“It’s not true.” He said so faintly that I could barely discern the words among the woodland noises.

“What’s not true?”

“That they do not have flesh.”

I laughed heartily and slapped him on the back.

“You take that Crowley fellow far too seriously. The man is a charlatan… a con artist. Thrilling conversationalist when he’s in a pleasant mood… but damn it man! He’s as unemployed as I and utterly lacking in inheritance. Charms and perversions have long been the trade of loafers the world over.”

Jones shook his head. “No…no…I saw them..”

I laughed again. This was a welcome break from the monotony of musing on my failures. “My man we have spent too many nights on the moors. I myself have had strange nauseas and fancies and I was born here. This desolate house is no place for an opium hound like yourself.”

“I have not touched the stuff in three years. I’m quite sane Roderick…a bit too sane really…a certain sleep has left me. I must say…I do not fancy the light of dawn.”

His words had a certain poetic quality that made them settle in my brain most oddly. I was momentarily dumbfounded.

“Look! Opium or no opium all this hullabaloo with spirits and orders and the like. These are fantasies. I mean we entered into this for the fun of it for the distraction…to rid ourselves of moneyed dissipation and now…it’s gone too far…we must quit this place Freddy. Let’s go to Spain …Italy even.”

He is in Italy.”

“Who?”

“Perdurabo and his chief…”

I had no idea what he was talking about nor did I have time to question him because just then I turned round to glance back towards the house. A figure was dashing towards us across the moors.

“What on earth…!”

I took out my binoculars. It was Beatrice! Her red locks all akilter my revolver in her hand…I’d never seen her run so fast.

I lowered the glass and just stood and stared while Jones leaned against a tree.

In the span of a quarter hour the diminutive figure reached us. To my great surprise I saw that she was barefoot.

I stared as she collapsed a few steps in front of me breathing heavily.

I leaned down and placed a hand on her shoulder.

“Betty…betty what is it?”

And odd sort of half groan half whimper came from the quivering nightgown that lay before me.

“Roderick…” She hissed…. “Roderick…the house…the singing…”

“Beg your pardon?”

“It…IT HUMS…Roderick…”

I felt a hand on my shoulder. Wheeling round I saw Jones face wear a somber tight lipped expression that sent shivers throughout my frame.

“Zo..d…e..c..ah”

It was unbearably hot and humid. The grim face that the hand on my shoulder possessed belonged to Graham Hoyt. His words were quite at odds with his bearing. “Are you coming to dinner?”

I rose from my folding chair and followed Hoyt to the mess tent.


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Of Mice and Pontiffs

Image result for mouse pope

 

It’ll be as a slow eternal drip of ‘you’re a piece of shit’ until you too die among your own waste in a hospital bed attended by bored and surly interns.

 

So I found a sick mouse. It appeared to be an infant. It emitted adorable squeaks and had little tiny people hands. Some have called me a chauvinist asshole. I submit this story as proof that I’m at least 25 percent chic.

Instead of stomping it with my doc martins (which to be honest may have been more merciful) I tried to nurse it back to health. Unsuccessfully mind you because when I returned home from work the little pestilence had expired.

Besides the fact that it was barely walking I think it was dehydration that had truly done it in. If you are a dirty hippy like me and can’t stand to let nature slay the weak here are some pointers that may help if you come across a sick or injured rodent/squirrel/bogwraith.

Image result for bog wraith
I can haz cheezeburger?

First and foremost find out if there’s a wildlife rescue center. The one near me advises not to give the buggers food or water and just take them straight there. By the time I found the damned thing the place was closing. They have a Dropbox so all that would have happened was it would have died in a dropbox. Unless there’s somebody there behind closed doors afterhours which I sort of doubt.

If you can’t take it to a rescue center Qtips with water or goatsmilk might be the right decision. Even better if you happen to have a syringe. Mice eat broccoli etc. Do a websearch.

Annoyingly enough when I got home there was yet another sick mouse in the middle of my living room. Ugh…just as I’d sat down with my coffee to listen to my favorite E-pundits the damned thing squeaked. I’m surprised my giant hound dog didn’t try to off it. Could be the spots on the poor things back. Looked like wee tumors. Tragic, I put him in a box with the dead one and tried giving it water. It just sat there and as far as I know was buried or let go by a family member while I napped.

So, that and general fatigue are why I failed to post anything of substance yesterday. This little tragedy gives me some fodder for pontificating. Let’s have a philosophical wank shall we?

If I had come across these mice as a brood or as an adult I may have slain them on sight. They are after all disease carrying little vectors. Sure if it was a mom with nursing pups I may have released them in a field far from home. But getting gassed at animal control is probably more merciful than being dismembered by owls. Holy shit owls are awesome.

25+ Majestic Owls Caught On Camera | Bored Panda
I can see the damned.

Yet, because it was an infant and alone and sick (which means it might have been carrying an infection mice have very similar immunological systems so I’m kind of a retard) I felt the need to try to help it. Which may have something to do with me being a chic and wired to respond to an infants cry but I’m going to use this to say it had to do with numbers and health.

It’s easier to kill a platoon with a machine gun then it is to shoot a guy on a bagel run. Mice are quick little blurs of grey lightning that appear when you turn on the kitchen light. I don’t have much mercy for grey lightning. Definitely not the same amount as I do for a little squeaking thing that takes pathetic sips of water and stares at you with a pleading half lidded gaze.

So I suppose the conclusion from all of that is the banality of evil. Or rather how it unfolds. War is a shitty thing, that is just as destructive if not more destructive than murder, yet war is a hell of a lot easier than murder. Too easy in my opinion which is why we should be cautious about entering conflicts. There’s a primordial itch in all of us to secure our futures by any means necessary and its easy to excuse scratching it if the perceived enemy is numerous, healthy, and strong.

It’s also odd how it’s easier to care for a sick animal than a sick person. I think this too has to do with agency and capacity. People can hurt your feelings, and if they’re not making efforts to heal, it can get really frustrating. It can get downright hellish if you lose your temper with a sick person because sick people understand what you’re saying while yelling at a mouse freaks it out momentarily at worst.

There’s no finer torture than losing your temper with a terminal human. It’ll be as a slow eternal drip of ‘you’re a piece of shit’ until you too die among your own waste in a hospital bed attended by bored and surly interns. We still have a long way to come in end of life care, especially for the elderly, not only institutionally but personally on an individual level. It’s too often a thing that’s pushed out of mind until it’s too late to adequately prepare for.

Finally, let’s talk a bit about death itself and how to handle it. I don’t consider myself particularly wise or learned but I have paid attention to the thing for some time now. I think the healthiest thing is to view it as a passage as part of the same process that gave you life. Why should you want to live forever? Isn’t deterioration or one of the myriad accidents that can occur a sort of blossoming of its own that’s part of the rich garden of experience. I’m not Catholic I promise. I don’t get off on suffering and I don’t encourage it. I’m just saying it happens and suffering about suffering doesn’t make much sense especially for the sufferer. This is not by the way something you should say bluntly to a suffering person because that would make you a right cunt.

I think it is important to follow the instinct for life, to try to maintain your health, while being aware that your quinoa and yogurt diet won’t make you immortal and that you don’t want to be immortal anyway. Try to stay fit and capable of having a full range of experience without turning life into Lent.

That’s my mouse inspired pontificating. Hope you enjoyed. Since this was a bit of sermonizing please add to the collection plate in the patreon link if you can. A thousand mice will be freed from purgatory I promise.

Image result for benny hinn


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The Sketch of Sam Monroe – Chapter 6.12 – ‘Shot a Man in Rio’

 

Chapter 6.11

I found it amusing that only a few of even my own group understood my reference. There is something of inevitability in the unfolding of history. I do not believe in predestination and in fact count it as a blasphemy. There are however instances of such incredible confluence that a defacto form of predestination can be said to exist.

One such phenomenon is the global power of English. How is it that a small island nation surrounded by a frozen sea informed and continues to inform the whole Earth. How small the number of her sons, how great in number the adversaries and perils that beset her, yet she sat as regent of the world. While power proper has inarguably waned… for good or ill the world is still so very English.

Did Dee’s designs so many centuries ago help seal Britannia’s destiny as sovereign? Given the nature of our research, the heritage of the United States, and our current relationship to that jilted forbearer I could not but help feel that we were continuing Dee’s work.

So I knew that we would soon head north and east. I knew that we would be successful. What I did not know was the nature of that success. Even now I can not fully grasp the enormity of the implications that we uncovered for the sake of civilization. But I get ahead of myself.

Our training ground was actually just west of the true location of Dead Horse Camp. I have already described the first week of the second round of training. A lot of calisthenics, hygiene, and packing drills, basically what one would expect.

Week two was a lot more of the same. Except that it was tinged throughout with dire warnings of death.

“I will leave you, which means they will leave you, once we are more than a hundred miles in the depths, if the equipment fails or the helicopters aren’t avaialable, you will die. So don’t get hurt.”

One thing that I didn’t understand throughout all of this is why exactly we had to do it on foot. I mean…we had the coordinate why not just airdrop our way in? Of course the answer was a mixture of pride and ambition.

Cook had long wanted an excuse to risk his life and the lives of whoever was mad enough to accompany him to mount an on the ground expedition. An expedition where he could travel slowly and take in the terrain, the locals, what artifacts he may find. It did make sense from a scientific standpoint. The closer you can get to your subject the better.

I was relieved that upon hearing of all the random shootings, robberies, and deaths Anna was no longer keen on joining us. Honestly I wasn’t too keen to get a lung full of birdshot from the Amazon’s version of Johnny Cash. Some folk shoot you just to see what its like to watch a man die. Lobo had made sure to recount a recent case of a kayaker’s narrow survival after multiple shotgun blasts.

“He was lucky he was close to a village. We are not going to be close to a village.”


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The Strange Life of Artemus Foe – Concept Doodle (#StopBeards)

peterfoe


Ever wonder why hipsters try so hard to look like Victorian proles? I think it has something to do with the fact that this was the most recent time in history that the world seemed mysterious. Right before Antarctica was penetrated (gigrgity) by Amundsen and South America/Africa was mapped.

I think that there’s also a disconnect from actually producing things in this weird digital entertainment/economy that first world nations have going on.

So I guess I can’t be too harsh on the beardos. But my contention is the attitude. Cattiness and beards don’t match well friends.

Going to take me a while to produce an actual comic because I have a few weeks if not months of learning about perspective etc. since Im so shit at drawing. In the meantime I guess I’ll fill the ‘visual art’ void here by posting whimsical doodles with ‘witty’ captions.

Dudebro in the sketch above was modeled on the gent holding the shovel:

proxy.duckduckgo.com
As you can see I am indeed shit at drawing. Time to knuckle down.


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She Sells Seahells – Part III – (Original Story)

Hayreddin Barbarossa - Wikipedia


The Berber sat as silent as the grave. He raised his turbaned head and regarded me with a detached curiosity.

Our guest had gotten the best accommodation. Death was reluctantly indebted to the Mohammedans. It was the galley of some Suleiman fellow that had pulled him from the English channel. It seems the Ottomans still had designs on Rome and there were yet parties in England to accommodate them despite the wane of the Hapsburgs.

“Ah! Halstead, a most peculiar matter…one I trust you’ll find very much to your liking…”

“I’ve seen my share of slavers…”

“Why do you implicate him in this sin…besides do we not ourselves trade in lives…”

“I am not speaking from a pulpit Harris…I’ve seen my share of Berbers…”

“Yes, well this fellow is a scholar…a wiseman…you see and he had something on him when we pulled him from that Spaniards grip…”

“Oh?”

“Yes, I know that you are most keen on all those Indian tales and dusty tapestries…”

My eye had already found the object he was about to reveal. There on the oaken desk, beside the captains log sat an odd powder blue box, with oriental patterns inscribed along the sides, and a great pearl sat atop.

I cocked my head. “My Mary would likely never raise her voice if I were to bring her such a gaudy trinket.”

“You’re the fool that married the prettiest girl in Norwich…Jane is just happy that she has a husband at all, which is why I am so well-kept!” He said petting his paunchy gut.

It was true…Harris was probably right…his wife was plain but I’d never known a warmer woman or a better cook. We both laughed.

“Well, anyway there is more than jewels to that little wonder.”

I cocked an eyebrow.

“Why don’t you bring it to me?” Harris said in an odd sort of way.

I shook my head in confusion but complied. I walked over in two strides and grasped the thing in my right hand.

I couldn’t move it. It wasn’t much bigger than a midsize snuffbox and I couldn’t so much as budge it.

I chuckled. “What manner of trick is this?”

“Frankly, I haven’t the faintest idea and was hoping you could supply the answer.”

“Me?”

“Well, yes you are the foremost expert on such things…you and your little club in Boston…”

“Hmm…well I’d love to help but a heavy box is just a heavy box…”

“You still don’t see…I suppose I am a terrible presenter…look…”

He strode beside me and tried to move the box. Nothing in his attempts seemed like an act. He was as limited as I in his capacity to budge the pretty little thing.

“Now..Timurhan…” He said motioning with his head for the Turk to join us.

Our guest wordlessly complied picking up the box with ease. He showed us a strange flowing scrip inscribed all on the bottom in neat rows of paragraphs.

“It’s a trick of some sort…”

“I thought you’d say that…” Harris replied and whistled.

The whole ship trooped through the Captain included. Each earnestly trying and failing to lift the box from where Timurhan had place it on the floor.

I stared in wonder.

To be continued .


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Announcing – The Strange Life of Artemus Foe (Again..)

The Strange of Artemus Foe - Steampunk Concept - one


So, I have decided to pursue this steampunk webcomic idea. Which is explained in a voicememo/youtube video below. I know I already introduced it but here’s some more concept art! If you can call it art. Concept doodles…but I had a blast…look forward to making this…with maybe a storyboard coming out sometime this weekend.



artie


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She Sells Seahells – Part II (Original Story)

301 best Ship of the line & other navy wessels images on ...
Part I

I was throbbing. Absolutely throbbing as a billion points of grain pressed into the exposed skin of my arm and face. Slowly the blinding light receded. It was replaced by a voice.

A gruff reeking voice. “Git up…eh…you git!”

I groaned.

“Halstead! retch’d derelict…up wit ya!”

I stirred. The sound of surf met my ears.

I raised myself up on an elbow as my eyes adjusted to the dimmer light of the sun.

“Dis right… up with ye, noaw..”

I stumbled up and immediately started to laugh.

“Who…who…who the hell are you?”

“Poor layd wuts that damned merchants sold to ya….”

“What…” I really couldn’t contain my laughter…”What the fuck are you wearing…”

“Ewd tink the crown ken clad us better…” Now the stranger was laughing with me.

I examined him. This had to be some kind of joke. Buckled shoes, some kinda capris, and an oversized tunic covered in thick cascades of unkempt ginger beard.

“Who the fuck are you man…seriously..jokes is good and all but where’s Danny?”

“Yir wits gon! Is no danny mong us nor in town. Ir! Trink dis…”

He shoved a dirty bottle of clear liquid in my hand. I smelled it. Seemed like water. I was painfully thirsty and my body hurt something fierce.

Who the hell was this guy. ‘Oh shit.’ I looked down and realized I wasn’t shirtless…and where the hell were my trunks. I had some kind of coarse tunic and bedraggled leggings that itched and oppressed with coarseness. The thought of being disrobed by the likes of this guy didn’t sit well with me.

All right I yelled standing fully upright. “That’s a great prank and all but really who the hell are you where’s Danny…why did ya leave me here at night…I coulda drown…”

Danny’s bearded cohort shook his head. “Mi lord but wut were in diz ween! Names Yost…remember..I pulled ew from the waves diz how thenk me ken no remember me…Yost..Van Yost ye trink addled boi. Rememver you your own name o?!”

Something about all those vowels. Van Yost…

“Where’s Harris!”

“Gadverdamme…woke now r ya? Guid…Harris iz profound buzzi wit dayt geitenneuker Timurhan!”

“The artillery…!”

“Powder iz secure…Kapeetan Deaf vaunted to teech lesson to you.”

“I may well have drowned! And the powder!”

“Iz safe you fool boy…dat Castillian dogs run off when we a fired…why you let em drunk ya?”

“I had to enter into a confidence…I did…get the key to Harris…I MAY WELL HAVE DROWNED! LEAVE ME PON THE SHORE!”

I launched with fists. But the old salt was strong and large. I hadn’t realized how tall he was till his long arm held me at bay like a tantrauming child.

“Noaw I say to forgit me title iz pardonable but what gratitude iz this ye soaked rat…shoulda left you to the sharks…” He spit on me.

More and more I recollected things. I apologized profusely.

“Well…allz well noaw but do no take evrey chance for poison..ye liar…INTO A CONFIDENCE…INTO A CONFIDENCE…klerelijer!

You say the Turk has loosed his tongue?”

“Aye.”


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Fractal Radio|Episode 20 – Fred Reed’s Cop Columns, Hurricane Florence, and Updates

 


A catchup vlog where I review topics like policing, surveillance, technology, chat a bit about the storm affecting (effecting? lol always hated this) the southeast and give some updates on upcoming content.


Mr. Reed’s Cop Columns – https://fredoneverything.org/category/cop-colums/


https://www.fractaljournal.com | Stories, Essays, and More!
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The Sketch of Sam Monroe – Chapter 6.11 – Rule Britannia!

John Dee Ashmolean.jpg
Chapter 6.10

It was possible to get used to it to some degree. But you could never get fully comfortable. I feel that everyone save perhaps the indigenous peoples felt it. That near constant fatigue that always hummed in the background.

It was the heat, the rain, the damp. Even though the scenery and the sheer vitality of the surroundings was exhilarating the constant onslaught of heat was nonetheless oppressive. It slowly drained you from sun up to sun down.

Lobo was determined to not only make us have second thoughts but to feel them. From the dim of 0500 to the setting of the sun we were driven like sled dogs. Cook couldn’t protect Anna from Lobo’s discipline. Not that she wanted to be protected.

Unfortunately she needed to be. It happened on a run down a black earth path. We were all encumbered by sixty pounds of gear. Save for Anna who had on forty. I suppose that’s what they call benevolent sexism. It didn’t help.

At the end of the run as we were returning to camp she began to complain of a constant dull pain that worsened the faster she walked. Once we’d actually arrived and removed her boots she found a telltale swelling.

“Stress fracture.” Lucas said.

Lobo was grinning like a wolf.

Cook sighed.

“It’s fine. I’ll be ok after some sleep.”

“No.” I said.

She looked pissed.

“Look, you don’t want to put anymore pressure on that. Especially at the pace we’re going.”

“Well, then I’ll just stay off it for a day.”

“It’s hard to diagnose the extent of the damage out here. It would be best for you to discontinue training. I honestly don’t know why you gave in to his bullying. It’s not like you’re going any further than Fawcett’s last camp.”

“I’m doing it because you’re all a bunch of macho retards.”

Lobo chuckled. “They may be retards but I have a hard time calling them macho.”

I really wasn’t bothered by this. I never considered myself macho. Except for boxing I’d always hated sports, was shit with cars, and rarely womanized.

“Dem’s fightin words!” Sam quipped rolling up his sleeves. His biceps had gotten substantially larger. We were all far stronger than we had been at the lodge. While age dampened the effect I felt almost as invincible as I had after my first boot camp.

“These are true words. Two of you idiots almost broke your ankles.”

It was true. We weren’t doing very well. But I felt that he was overestimating our short comings. He was fucking us on purpose. He wanted to sabotage this trip. Anna was his first victim. He hoped that we’d all follow suit. I don’t think he knew that ‘The Fibonacci Five’ didn’t have a choice.

Ever since John Dee…the cosmos didn’t have a choice.

“Rule, Britannia…! Britannia, rule the waves!” I burst forth into song.


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