The Totally Zoned

Three people sit at a corporate dinner.  None want to be there.  Where do they go? What thoughts pervade their minds as they devour their choice of fish or steak or a pile of beans because no one understands vegetarian options still. 

As a lecturer drones on about spreadsheets and capital expenditures, a powerpoint, dry and humorless, rolls behind them.  The three heroes of this tale have entered…

The Totally Zoned.

At table one sits Bettie Jonas, accountant from the Dacono branch.  She opted for steak.  It is dryer than the powerpoint.  She is the only Dacono representative at the corporate retreat and knows no one else present.  It is a long three day weekend.  What thoughts pulse through her head at this very moment?

“Mechs v. Zombies. I would watch the crap out of that. I’m writing SyFy tomorrow morning.”

Table seven has a much more laid back feel.  There is laughter, an inside joke is slowly developing and a trip for next summer is being arranged by the sales group folks who all opted for the fish option.  Tony Wrangler, IT from Cleveland, is not participating.  When he first sat at his table he laughed that no one present had seen Airplane.  As time dragged on, his mind wandered and he totally zoned.  What thoughts currently plague his technically configured mind?

“Bambi in space? Jeepers, Tony, what does this note even mean?”

Emilia Thompson is a systems architect from the Dover branch.  She has been the systems architect at the Dover, Delware branch for twelve years and helped the lecturer build the presentation she is now expected to observe.  Emilia Thompson is totally zoned.  Her mind is racing with new forms of old things.  Her strategy to appear interested in uninteresting situations involves adapting songs to fit her mood.  Her current challenge is personalizing and regionalizing the 1978 Warren Zevon piano rock classic, Werewolves in London.

“A-oooo! Werewolves in Dover, DE. A-ooooo!”

Fret not for our three players. The evening is quickly drawing to a close and desert tray is circulating the dining area.  Aperitifs will be served and cabs called as needed.  They will all be a little late to join the closing round of applause though.

For they are in…

The Totally Zoned

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Regulations State

“Thanks for coming to this safety training.  As leaders in your departments, I want this to be your first takeaway.  First, everybody look at your hands.”  Darrell, OSHA certified safety instructor, started the class.

Fifteen faces stared at thirty hands.  Darrell knew he had his audience.

“Good.  Those hands are important.  Those hands can act if they want to.  If they don’t, no body will.  Remember that.  The opposite is you could act real rude and totally removed and act like an imbecile.  No body wants that.”  Darrell appealed to their sense of power.  He felt the whole safety talk and dance was going well.   Continue reading

Lyrics from My Upcoming Album

The first road trip of the summer has come to a close.   One thing that must happen on a road trip is sampling local radio stations.  Through one leg of our trip through very sparsely populated regions of the upper mid-west, we found 16 radio stations that came in without static.  Of those, nine were country stations.  Four were religious stations, two were public radio and one pop station filled the airwaves.  This is a lot of country music to take in.  I’m not really a country music listener, but after spending a weekend with the car radio’s ‘scan’ feature picking up thirty second bits of country songs, I am excited to soon drop my own country record.

Here now, the lyrics of track one, tentatively titled “Friday Night”.

(verse 1

Sitting on the back porch

It’s Friday night

Only sittin’ ’round till the feelings right

Then we kick it off. Yeah we kick this off.

(Boom. chorus time) Continue reading

Wilbur Robs a Jewelry Store

Long, deep, loud breaths.  Wilbur could feel his heart race, pulse pounding in his ears.  All he could hear was rapidly pumping blood.

“That heist went south, Man.  How did they get there so fast?” Wilbur’s partner in crime asked.

“I don’t know. I just don’t know.  We got the jewels. We got the money. We’re going to be alright,” Wilbur explained.  He was hardly convinced his own words were true.  His spine pressed into a cold wall of red brick.  He didn’t know what street he and his partner had found refuge on, but he knew the buildings here were not going to hide them for long.

Sirens grew loud and soft again as squad cars moved down a nearby street.

“We have to move,” Wilbur told his partner. Continue reading

Behind the Menu

“What can I get ya’ this fine morning, ma’am?” Shirley had asked the question a thousand times before and leading into the moment, there was nothing special about the woman sitting in the booth.

She was not even meant to be covering section H that afternoon.  Barb called in sick at the last minute, again, and left the manager scrambling to find coverage.  Shirley wished she had actually stopped by the library before work to pick up her reserved book on putting ones self first, but she had not.  Before her manager had even asked, she volunteered to cover the section that night.  She wondered, long after this night, if she had picked up the book and read even a few chapters, if she would have avoided what was in store. Continue reading

People on the Highway

We all take on a number of roles in our daily lives.  Work, home, neighbor, family, friend, consumer, on and on; many hats sit atop our heads.  Sometimes though, people really focus on one role, becoming heightened versions of themselves like some sort of parody of their cultural subset.  I love when this happens.  I think most people when they see me instantly judge me as a “dad.”  Cargo shorts, slip on shoes, button up shirts with some sort of stain on the shoulder, heavy purple bags under my eyes, the whole mess.  Of course, whenever people see me I am generally holding a baby too and the connection is pretty easy to make from there.

Today at a traffic light I was part of a four car group of over-the-top representations.

This tale is called: Reality TV Continue reading

10 Ways Life is Different as a Writer

1) You have an opinion on keyboard brands. And using a keyboard not your own feels icky.

2) You’ve requested a ever friend spend a day with a voice recorder. That clever friend has written more than one line in your work. They’ve been thanked with beer.

2) Numbers are hard.

4) Picking between more time to read and more time to write is the most difficult “would you rather” out there.

5) “It’s not procrastination, it’s networking” – you justifying so much time on Twitter.

6) “This is market research” – you wandering a bookstore. In an aisle well outside your genre. For the fifth time this week.

7) When meeting a new person, the writer instinctively judges the person’s name and figures out what genre that name is best suited for.

8) There’s no bad time to write, but coffee intake has a disproportionate say on wether or not the writing is good.

9) there’s one word that no matter what, no matter how many times it is typed or looked at the writer will always misspell the first time. When it is corrected, the word looks weird.

10) Making parody lists is entertaining.