Turn The Music Up Until Your Head Hurts More Than Your Heart

A canary is binary because its yellow or it’s not, and if you have one caged and aging, waiting for the sweet evanescence of oxygen deprivation, why not take a vacation from self-contemplation and sing songs sung by bards unbroken, the unspoken words that render a soul turgid and urge a libido earthwards.

You’ve delved these mines before and deplored the exploration of fruitless exasperation, each nugget discovered another brother you mother handed off to some other, and your grimy face replaced with the more splendid race that chosen for its taste in terpsichorean waste unleashes research into cheaply purchased haste.

A web of crates, sent too late and unpacked and stacked into great piles of unrelated lakes, swimming in chaos a hundred miles from the nearest earnest face, so all you have to play with are your own toes and the throes of poetry thrown over your shoulder like boulders burdened by burgeoning self-hate.

In the great scheme of things, in the shower of memes, in the glossary unorganized and reading like a screed, the only explanation is an expletive deleted in the heat of fearing that repetition of one more lamb’s bleating.

Laugh with me now: the twilight’s last gleaming.

Thin wisps of smoke in the morning steaming off the top of your noggin and the sun also rising, rinsing the night’s agonies from your forehead, retreating, your heart in five four time beating, counting on the countless encounters that mire you in reality, fleeting, as that self-contemplation once more takes over and your rose colored glasses dyed the hue of your own eyes fog up and clog up the bog that make up your lungs as you trudge up another sisyphusean incline.

Birds of a feather flock together so long as their colors align, so if what’s yours is mine than for me to be a coward too I also have to be afraid of you.

And I am, friend, scared of the air we have to share, because my exhalation is your consternation and the music I’m screaming has no meaning to even me, it’s just inevitable breathing, solace taken in switching between erecting sentences and spelling correction, taking direction from dictionaries compiled by guys who died before I’d even been alive.

Tradition a glue stitching together the leather of the book that binds up this structure that has made us both four hundred words richer.

A For Rent Sign Stuck In The Yard The Next Day

fiction by Jason Edwards

No TV before 5 PM is a stupid rule. Mom says that when she was my age she would play outside all day. That’s because they didn’t have Netflix in the dark ages. What am I supposed to do, read books? It’s the middle of July!

At least the sun’s out today. It was cold all day yesterday.  I was trying to figure out how to climb our tree when Duke came over. He said he saw on YouTube this kid with one arm who could play baseball, and could I do that. I just stared at him till he walked off.  Decided not to climb the stupid tree.

Later a guy in a black car drove into Mrs. Pauley’s driveway. He got out and stuck something on her door and drove away. I was going to go over there and look at it but then it was time for shots. Mom hollers if I make her wait.

And now he’s back. If I was allowed to watch TV, I wouldn’t be out here watching. So it’s mom’s fault. I don’t like the stupid shots, they hurt. They make me wanna barf. But I think I’d rather have shots than watch this. Mrs. Pauley’s crying, really hard. Mom says she’s got six kids. She went over there when Mr. Pauley died and saw their pictures. “Every branch of the service, so I guess the country’s safe,” mom said.

She was being sarcastic. I know what sarcastic is. Sarcastic is when I holler at mom that I hate the shots and she says fine, go outside and die then. But you’re not watching TV.

There’s a police car too, so I guess she’s going to jail. Maybe she killed Mr. Pauley? But that was months ago. Mom took over a casserole. I hate casserole. We used to go to McDonald’s when we did shots. And then we started doing them every day. And mom said we could still afford tuna fish. Barf.

The screen door creaks open but I don’t move. I can feel mom standing there. The guy comes out of the house, holding a clipboard. Hands it to Mrs. Pauley, who just shoves it away. The guy says something to the cop. The cop crosses his arms. Mom puts her hand on my head. Come inside, honey. The screen door again and I’m all alone.

I’m going to be thirteen in three months. If I make it that far. Mom said that, not to me, but on the phone. But she was just being sarcastic. I bet I make it that far. I just bet. A taxi cab pulls up, and Mrs. Pauley gets in. Her front door is still wide open.

I can hear the TV come on so I stand up. I don’t even feel dizzy. The theme song for Gossip Girl. Sometimes mom lets me watch TV if there’s extra shots. She’s always breaking her own rules.

The Great White Nope

fiction by Jason Edwards

43 year old Bran Downson sits in a home office, stabbing furiously at a keyboard. His biggest fear: that a great white shark will come bursting through this office window, and devour him whole. Its steely teeth like knives stabbing into him as he’s rendered into so much pulp. An irrational fear, to be sure, and yet what fears are not rational in the face of the truths of existentialism? That we are, all of us, disconnected entities afloat in a meaningless, hostile universe, a bittersweet knowledge that only serves to make a democracy of the great human fearscape, and the only terror that compels you are the ones you’ve voted to a place of leadership? Bran Downson is also scared of spiders.


Corrupt Law Enforcement Officer Clancy Thompson grips with steely fingers the steering wheel of a Mark IV Ryan-Class Aquato-Ride tanker-transport utility vehicle. Traffic is superb on I-5 today, flowing like the tresses of an ethnically ambiguous woman dangerously but only morally and not legally close to the age of consent. His biggest fear: that the great white shark swimming in the hold of his tanker-transport will not do the job when Clancy has it flung through the upper-floor home office window of his next target. An irrational fear, to be sure, considering the 15 years of training under his belt, the ten thousand hours of practice in performing this particular operation, and the solid-gold crucifix he wears under his vibra-tech bullet and taser and naughty-glances proof vest, proof that God Himself is on his side. Still, operations like these, unnecessarily complicated for the sake of an outlandish and therefore entertaining plot, are too oft wrought with unforeseeables. To take his mind off of it, Clancy Thompson thinks about his favorite Eagles song.


He seems to cling to the steely girders like a june bug on tree bark in the syrupy warmth of a Kansas July. His back hovers above the racing asphalt, a black unspeckled by sunlight here in the shadows of the truck above. Rogue Librarian Cutter Cliverson checks the security of the carabineer holding him to this speeding vehicle. All is good, despite the speed at which he travels, just a few inches from a messy death. His biggest fear: that great white sharks will continue to be abused by men for otherwise righteous causes. His mission: to thwart an attempt to fling poor Carol into the upper floor home office of an evil poetaster. Not because the poetaster doesn’t deserve justice. He does, and Cutter has in his various pockets blades that will carry out the job. But not at the shark’s expense. Cutter Cliverson checks his GPS-enabled watch one last time, sniffs the air for that tell-tale scent of Callery trees, and readies himself for action.


Bran hears a screeching of tires, ignores it. He is literally miles from the nearest body of water, a fresh-water lake, and many more miles from the Puget Sound, too orca-choked for great-whites to survive, and thousands of miles from San Diego. He continues to smack the keyboard around.

Clancy tugs the wheel and turns off the highway. He needs to maintain momentum. Running a red light, he ignores the honking horns. An alarm on his dashboard flashes; he’s losing water out of the tanker hold. No matter. He’s within a quarter mile of his destination.

Cutter pulls a small explosive from a pocket on his combat cargo pants, wedges it in his mouth and unhooks the carabineer. He begins to climb up the backside of the truck, clinging tightly is it rounds a corner at top speed. A cacophony of honking horns applauds his efforts. He ignores the pain as his shoulders are nearly wrenched from their sockets.

Bran hits a few more keys, grabs the sticky mouse, clicks send. He is furious. His superiors need to know that the mission is a bust. The writer is nowhere to be found.

Outside, Clancy tugs the wheel again, nearly tipping the truck. Ahead, the driveway of his destination. He calls into his mind memorized maps and schematics. The driveway is a good 500 feet in length, long enough for him to get up momentum. He flips a switch on the dashboard, opening the hatch that holds the shark.

Cutter sees the hatch opening, knows he has only seconds left. He spits the explosive into his hand, and sticks it to the servo that will lift Carol into launch position. He hesitates before arming it. Carol will be harmed in the explosion. Cutter grits his teeth. It’s for the greater good. Carol will die, but people will learn that using sharks to attack people is not a viable option. With tears in his eyes he drops back. His pant leg are caught in the mechanical launch arm. Damn it.

Bran stands up, catches sight of the truck hurtling towards the window.

Clancy floors the accelerator, and with a triumphant scream, pounds the large red launch button on the dashboard.

Cutter feels the sharp tug of the mechanical arm on his cargo combat pant leg, as he and Carol the Great White Shark are flung into the air. The small explosive goes off, three milliseconds too late.

Bran dives out of the room as the shark and librarian come crashing through the window. The truck slams into the closed garage door below. Clancy pulls a knife out of his pocket and cuts away the airbags. He jumps out of the truck and dives through the hole made in the garage door. Into the house and up the stairs. He turns right, towards the home office. Sees Bran, staring into the office through the door. The smell of Callery trees and rapidly bleeding great white shark. Clancy sees Bran peer into the room, and hears him say “What the hell are you doing here?” Clancy is about to answer, when Cutter emerges from the room, brushing Bran aside. Clancy’s eyes go wide in shock. “What the hell?” he says. Finally Bran notices him, and his eyes, already wide in shock, doubled in size. Cutter sees Clancy too, looks again at Bran as if recognizing him for the first time. His eyes are also wide.

“What the hell!?”

“What are you doing!?”

“Where’s the target!?”

“Who’s the target!?”

“What the hell!?”

Carol, in her last throes, thrashes a bit, and dies.

The three men descend the stairs, and walk into the kitchen. Bran opens the fridge, pulls out three beers, opens them and passes them around. “This is messed up,” he opines.

“Where’s the target?” Clancy manages, after taking a long pull on his beer.

“I don’t know.” Bran says. “I came here for what looks like the same reason. He wasn’t here. I just found some old guy, tied up in a closet.”

“Who’s the target?” Cutter says. He knows, but he asks anyway.

“The writer,” Bran replies.


“The writer, the guy who wrote this crap, who’s writing it right now.” Clancy says. “I was sent to take him out. I don’t know why. He’s trying too hard, I guess. Not towing the line, pumping out nonsense like, well…”

“Like this.” Bran says. He frowns, hard, drains his beer.

Clancy nods. “And you were sent to stop me, Cutter? I thought we were on the same side.”

Cutter shrugs. “We are. I want him gone too. But not at shark-kind’s expense. I didn’t know it was you driving the truck. Besides, I failed. You were able to fling the shark through the window.”

“Yeah,” says Bran. “And thankfully, I got out of the room in time.”

Clancy stares at his beer bottle label for a few beats. “This old guy you say you found. What’s up with that?”

Bran pauses too. Then smiles an evil grin. “Let’s go find out.”


Two minutes later, three men crowd around an old man sitting in chair, his hands tied behind his back.

Cutter pulls the gag out of the man’s mouth. “Who are you,” he says.

“I’m Thomas Berger!” the old man shouts. He looks to be about seventy, round bald head, thick lips, eyes that suggest he’s actually probably a pretty good author himself.

“Any idea where the writer is?” Clancy asks, holding a knife in his hand, idly running his thumb along the blade, drawing blood.

“Yes! He went to the 7-11! It’s just a few blocks from here! To get a Dr. Pepper and a bean burrito! I think he forgot about me!”

The three other men look at each other. Bran nods. Cutter nods too, and pulls out his own knife. “let’s do this,” Bran says.

They start to leave. Behind them, the old man shouts “Wait! I have a knife too! Take me with you!”

The three turn and looked at him. Cutter shrugs. “Sure, why not?” He cuts the old man loose.


They see the writer walking towards them as they leave the house. He doesn’t even seem to notice the large truck crashed into his garage door, the gallons of shark blood pouring out of his home office windows.  “Oh, hey guys,” he says, carrying his stupid Dr. Pepper and his stupid bean burrito.

They did not hesitate. They attack him, sharp metal flashing in the rare Seattle sunlight. The guy falls, bleeding. He has time to say “You too, Thomas Berger?” And then covers his face in shame.

They don’t stop. Not for a long time. They stab him with their steely knives. But they just can’t kill the beast.

You Don’t Have to be a Fanatic to be a Fan

The name’s Stan. I don’t know what it says on my birth certificate, or even how long I’ve been on God’s Green. But people call me Stan and treat me like a guy pushing 60, so I guess that’s who I am.

I work in the Lost and Found at Safeco Field, home of the Mariners. Been working forever, it feels like. I got a calendar on the wall (lost but never found) that says it’s been 40 years. Which is odd since Safeco was only built 16 years ago, in 1999 and the Mariners themselves have only been around since 1977.

But nevermind that. Down here in Lost and Found, logic isn’t really all that important. I mean, people lose things, and they come here to find them again, and sometimes they do even if it don’t make sense to.

Like the time this fella shows up, looking for his dad. Says his old man passed-away a week before, and he’s not sure what he’s supposed to do now. So I look through one of the boxes and there’s this old beat up hat. Hand it to the guy and he starts tellin’ me about how when he was a kid his old man would take him to ball games. They’d sit there up in some sky-scratchin’ upper-deck, all the players on the field small as ants. Eat boiled hot dogs and if it was rare sunny day his old man would even let him have a sip of his watered-down beer. I ask him, you got any kids, and he says yeah. And I tell him, supposed to be sunny next Wednesday, and Anaheim’s in town. Then he smiles and walks off.

We got all kinds of stuff down here. Hats, like I said. Lots of sweat shirts and jackets cause maybe it’s a little bit cold when you get here and then King Felix gets fired up and pitches a one-hitter through seven innings and you’re on your feet hollerin’ the whole time. Then Seager or Ackley busts things open and the bull pen cleans things up and you’re so high you don’t remember your wind breaker.

Gloves, necklaces, bracelets. Sunglasses. Did you know Seattle sells more sunglasses than pretty much any other city in America? Cause we don’t got enough days of sun in a row to remember where you put your last pair I guess!

There’s a few stuffed animals down here, too. An old chewed-up Mariner’s moose. That one makes me a little bit sad, I can admit. I mean, some kid probably got that when he was here, dragged it back a few times maybe. It became a good luck charm, and then one day the Ms do their usual one-run showing and the kid sets the moose down and doesn’t bother to pick it up. Someone brings it to me. Sits here until, what, 2001 happens again? Probably not.

It’s not a bad job, though. I get to come to most of the home games, get to watch sometimes if I want. Other times I’m down under the concrete, sorting and arranging, taking calls, sending notes up to the box seats. Players lose things too, and I’m in charge of that.  Derek Holland lost his stuff in that game a few years ago, and the Ms got 8 runs off of him. I wrapped it up and put it in the mail for him, and he got it back, eventually.

But one thing they got me doin’, lately, is to hunt around for the Ms mojo. It’s been lost for a while now. They have me searchin’ high and low for it, all over the place. Last season they kept finding it in other ball parks, which is great, but I don’t workin those, I work here. And I just can’t find it. Mariner’s lost again last night, this time to the Twins, which isn’t shameful or anything, but still. Givin’ up 12 runs in two games? No wonder they got me lookin’ for it.

Anyway, that’s what I got on my plate, most of today. The Ms are on the road for a while, Rangers, Astros, Angels. I’m hopin’ I can find something by the time they get back for the As in the middle of May.

Cause you see, I’m not what you’d call jaded. I’m not a cynic. I’ve been around for a long time, and expect to be for a long time still. People talk about “fair weather” fans, and in a place like Seattle where it rains a lot, that metaphor’s got some weight to it. But I don’t judge. Baseball’s for everybody, season ticket holders and once-a-season folks alike. Everybody deserves to find what they’re lookin’ for: a nice day at the ballpark. A win, now and again.

So I’ll keep huntin’, I guess.

Hey, you know what? LoSTANdfound. That’s why they call me Stan! I just thought of that!

Sweeping the Waves (Photo of the Day)

sweeping the waves

My submission for the Daily Post Photo Challenge theme: Motion. Captured this while walking on the beach one soft morning in Carlsbad, California (just outside San Diego). It was fascinating to watch these birds skim along the edge of the breaking surf as they looked for their breakfast. If I’d had my act together, I would have used a longer zoom and swept along with them; as it is I’m still pleased with the way this came out.

The Trouble With Those Mothra Girls

It’s dark inside Chop Suey. The floor is sticky from spilled beer. I mean a hope it’s beer. A sour smell in the air, of marijuana sweat, the ozone coming off of poorly-wired amps, a few cheap candles back by the novelty photo booth. I’m waiting to see Daikaiju, a surf-guitar band out of Huntsville, Alabama. It’s a Monday night in Seattle.

There’s barely anyone here. One band played, something fuzzy and forgetful, to a crowd of about 30 people. They broke down their set while I grabbed another beer. I least I hope it’s beer. The next band managed to hang on to half the people in attendance. And now, guys in dirty white t—shirts and ten thousand miles of road weariness on their shoulders are setting up a drum kit. There are so few people left inside, they’re not even bothering with the stage. They’re setting up right on the floor.

A drum kit, surrounded by speakers, surrounded by guitar stands, and a black web of licorice wires, spaghettied on the floor, draped over soundboards. It’s a mess. A complete mess. But no microphones.

What if, right now, there’s an asteroid hurtling towards Earth. And it’s the perfect size to do nothing more than punch through the roof of Chop Suey and kill those four guys who are at this moment putting on kabuki masks. Would I be grateful? That I’d seen them perform before, that I’d always have those memories?

Or would I envy you, reading this now, who have probably never seen them perform, and don’t know what would be missed. Because as much as I can describe for you this place, this set-up, these four guys, I can never convey to you the amazing. I’m reduced to resorting to vague words like “amazing.”

If an asteroid were to punch through the roof right now, that itself would be sort of incredible. A story to tell people. An extremely unique experience. I bet they’d interview me, the papers or the TV or some magazine. And that’s too bad—because I can describe that for you just fine. The sound like a freight train, the heat, the vibration, getting knocked on my ass. Confusion and chaos and running to the back… and then?

And then trying to tell you that Daikaiju will never perform again? You’d think me shallow, to focus on THAT and not the fact that an asteroid nearly killed me.

daikaiju2013But if you’d ever seen them perform, you’d understand. Because here they come, running up to their instruments, throwing their guitars onto their bodies. Daikaju IS the asteroid. They’re going to destroy everything else for the next hour as they run around the floor, wrapping us up in their spaghetti licorice, knocking us over with so much reverb, we’re never ever going to be able to describe it.

People are flooding into Chop Suey now. We’ve gone from 30 people to 15 to 5 to about a hundred. And yes, that’s beer spilling everywhere.  For this writing assignment I was supposed to tell you how I’d feel if something I loved was suddenly gone. But I just can’t do it. Tell water what it feels like not to be wet.