What makes you think you are so special?
kitten   July 31, 2002

Bryan is somewhere on I-85 at this moment, headed north in a rented van full of his belongings.

Usually I'd come home and he'd either be asleep - which would allow me to annoy him with loud obnoxious music - or sitting at his computer, which would allow us to complain about our shitty DSL connection (thanks, Earthlink).

It was strange coming home today, to a place that seems really empty suddenly. Standing in the living room, the only evidence of his departure is the lack of DVD racks on either side of the fireplace - the wall behind them looks barren. There is definitely something missing there.

Also absent is the eternal humming of hyperion, the machine we used as a router, cables running all over the floor on the living room, from his room to the switch to the kitchen table I have my laptop on.

Come home and Molly is sitting in the middle of his now-empty and freezing room, and she asks, "purrrreoew?" So I explain to her that the hairless punk who used to pet her and chase her around with a feather duster isn't coming back because people organize themselves around small green pieces of paper, and there wasn't any to be found here, so he went back to whence he came.

I don't know if she understood.

Normally I'd sit here for a few idle hours and read, maybe sleep, or screw around online. Bryan would wake up eventually and we'd bicker with each other about taking the trash out, what we're going to do about food, whether or not Molly has a face, the stupidity of the Internet, the insanity of females, and every what and wherefore. Maybe we'd go find food and watch a movie, or just sit at our computers and see who can annoy the other more by blaring music across the hallway. And instead of bellowing down the hall and over the music, we'd get on IRC to bitch at each other. The whole #mirrorshades crew was privvy to our goings-on around here.

To be honest I don't know what we did to fill the time, but we always managed to somehow.

I have no idea what I'm going to do tonight. Sit here in front of the computer, I guess. Maybe watch TV. Haven't done that in a year or so, out of choice - but I can't think of much else.

It's too quiet around here.

Forty degrees and falling.
kitten   July 15, 2002

Our bodies moved in conjunction together in the heavy summer haze, racing towards the inevitable climax with desire and need, and afterwards, I lay pressed against her for a moment, her laquered nails etching her initials into the flesh on my back.

Eventually, I rolled off, after some minor resistance from her; exhausted, lactic acid flooding the muscles of my shoulders and stomach. Her naked form next to me, covered with a faint patina of sweat, breathing heavy in the warm breezes from the window. The curtains rippled the light from outside and cast shimmering shadowy forms on the far wall.

For me, sex flows with the mood, the whim and rhythm of the weather and environment. This is summertime sex, muscles sore, coming down from the heat of the moment and the air outside. It's a more athletic variety than most other moods, I think; my arms are almost immobile, shouders red with exertion. But mostly, I can feel it in my abs, the muscles there tense and tight. I'm not about to win any fitness competitions, but I'm not in bad shape either - still, regular workouts like this one have, over time, given quite a bit of definition to my abdominals, like iron bands.

Sex can be seasonal, the ambience outside affecting the mood within. There's slow and passionate winter sex, quiet and muffled like falling snow, a delicate scene lit by the glow of a fireplace or wood-burning stove, where the coffee is brewing. She likes her coffee black, afterwards.

And there's springtime, the storms rolling in under a silver poisoned sky, immense lightning corkscrewing to the ground, the energy inside these walls matching the electricity of nature's thunder outside.

Languid and beautiful early Saturday autumn mornings, gentle rain and slowly tumbling leaves, side by side we lay, her fingers on my chest and my arm under her neck. There's sex on the shores of some distant beach, slow and frustrating and moving in time with the surf. There's tawdry and soulless sex in cold and generic hotel rooms, incandescent lights and cheap off-the-wall paintings.. primitive and emotionless, but still dictated by the mood, the surroundings. Light and energy and decor. The ambience, the atmosphere, patterns emerging and commanding the rhythms and motions.

The smoke rose from her postplay cigarette as she gently purred to herself, and I'm at the bathroom mirror, cold water falling from the faucent into an azure glass, temperature and color counterpoint to the still-growing summer heat of the room. I could see the ember of her cigarette in the darkned reflection, forming an arc as she tapped ash.

And then she was on her feet, behind me, reaching under my arms with her own and wrapping them round my chest to hug me from behind, the waterglass forgotten in the sink as she explored my body with slender fingertips, precise mappings, a forearm against my back and the other brushing against the flat muscles in my stomach.

"You've got great abs," she told me, and giggled, taking the glass of water back to the now-rumpled bed.

Her hair was a mess.

SLAVERY IS FREEDOM!

[kitten] I'm registering with TIPS.
[harb] TIPS.
[harb] This Is Pointless Shit?
[homeslice] The Intelligent People's Syndicate?
[kitten] And the Citizen Corps.
[harb] Tommy Insists Pam Suck?
[kitten] On behalf of President Bush, thank you for your willingness to serve in Citizen Corps. By volunteering for Citizen Corps you've already taken an important step toward preventing terrorism and making America stronger.
* homeslice sighs.
[harb] Oh.
[harb] A fucking traitor.
[kitten] I registered as Winston Smith, bigbrother@1984.com
[harb] You're ass is grass when you get h
[harb] hahahaha
[harb] Nevermind.

Nonstop violence in dreaming color.
kitten   July 9, 2002

It wasn't really hot inside, just seemed that way from the tension, tempers flaring and subsiding, and it was no longer my problem, so I stepped out onto the balcony's cool night air and slid the door shut behind me.

Smoke filled my lungs, inhale, a deep drag from a Gitane, hold -

(The balcony door, double pane and insulated, separated me from them, but I could hear them still arguing inside.)

- and exhale, thin wispy clouds curling away from my lips and dissipating into the night.

I stood a moment longer on the balcony, and relished the hot fire of alcohol as I sipped from the wine bottle in my hand. I could feel it go down, seering and burning and ending up in my stomach smoldering like a hot coal, and I loved every minute of it. Let them argue amongst themselves, for all the good it did them. Me, I'd given up - it was in the past; but somehow kept being forcibly dragged into the charade they played with each other.

I finished the last of my cigarette, watching searchlights in the distance dance cloverleaf patterns in the clouds, and flicked the ember-tipped remainder off the edge of the balcony, arcing a clean parabola to the asphalt far below.

Their voices had quieted, at least for the moment, so I wandered back inside, a little lightheaded, and put the now-empty winebottle on its side on the endtable on my way to my customary position on the sofa, one leg curled underneath me as I sat and regarded each of them in turn.

He, with his determined jaw and heavy brow, worried at a loose thread in the carpet with his toe. And she, her eyes blazing, dark hair cutting a smooth arc as she turned her head. Each still furious with the other, and I was always the designated mediator.

I hate this job sometimes.

A moment passed, and another, an uncomfortable beat. He finally took a deep, remorseful breath before speaking, his usual modus operandus of informing everyone of the gravity of his statement, typically exaggerated. "You have any idea," he said pointedly, "how much she's told them?"

"No," I replied, waving a lazy hand vaguely in his direction, "and I really don't care, either."

"You should care," he began, and stopped, curiously tipping his head as though listening to something the rest of us could not hear. I exchanged a brief glance with her, and he began again, "You should. We all should. It's a paper trail, dammit, and it leads right here."

This was becoming too much, and I was not in the mood. I shifted my weight on the couch, and my head swam. The alcohol was beginning to affect me more than I was willing to admit; the alcohol, combined with lack of food and sleep in the past few days. I tried to force myself back into full sobriety, but failed to do so quickly enough to halt his continuance: "I told you to.." and his voice trailed off once again as he glanced about with darting eye movements that I'm sure he spent an hour a day practicing. Then, and you could almost hear his mental gears grinding back to life, he started once more - "I told you not to keep it there anyway, didn't I. What are you doing, I said, you can't use it that way. I said, didn't I? And you didn't listen. Did you?"

Rhetorical questions. What was I supposed to say to that? Yes, he had told me; no, I did not listen. But now - and this was the key point he seemed to be missing - it didn't matter, and I no longer cared. And while I tried, through blurry alcoholic haze, to put together a new way of saying this that I hadn't already told him, I felt cold.

Very cold, and very quiet. And he could hear it again, and now I could, and she shivered slightly and I knew she could hear it as well; a noise, faint rustling.

Her eyes pinged doorwards.

I nodded at each of them, our discussion then ended, and their argument vanished into the ether. I stood, not without a considerable amount of effort on my part, and weaved my way on unsteady feet through the obstacle course that the small apartment had suddenly become.

I approached the door, and turned one ear towards it. There was someone on the other side - someone, or something, and it hadn't yet summoned the temerity to announce its presence in a more dignified manner. Or perhaps it didn't want to.

I grasped the doorknob, cool and polished brass between my fingers, rotated, and pulled the door open, preparing, and --

It entered the room, noiseless, moving in a smooth ballet of menace.

A horrified silence engulfed us; she was on her feet, his jaw agape, as we stood petrified, unsure of reality, wondering if we'd collectively lost our minds altogether.

It was the head of Bryan, returned to us on the anniversary of the night we had betrayed him.