Bill O. farmer Bill O. farmer
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Brewing for a fight? colourful!

Allen Clarke Allen Clarke
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No offense taken, bro, but my 15 year old happens to go by the name of Troy. I may have to go and have a word with him just to make sure he doesn`t have any plans of turning gangsta on me.Later, dude.

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Daniel Bird Daniel Bird
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Intruder Alert Velocity


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She had a friend.

I awoke at 4:55 am this morning from a dream which I just had to write out as a short story while it was fresh in my mind. Now most of the story was from the dream I had, except the end - which I wrote to fit the turn of events in order to carry on (to the best of my ability) what seemed to be the most natural progression of the dream, in its wily transition. (STRONG LANGUAGE WARNING!)


      I was dreaming of Toni, my deceased oldest brother’s ex girlfriend who I had a secret crush on for some time. In the dream we were back to back, snuggling up against each other under a blanket allowing the true nature of our crushes to be revealed, if only by holding hands which was fine by me. It was one of those dreams that throws you a curve ball which does not in any way seem out of place, no – just the average shift between planes in the dream world, shifting seamlessly from one scene to the next as if it’s all normal. Simply talking – something about the house being cold, the dream landscape takes a sudden turn for the worse with the both of us no longer huddling back to back under the blanket, having a cozy silly little moment that relieves us of our infatuation with each other, no. Don’t you just dislike dreams when they do this – when suddenly the moment is shot to hell and you’re thrown into disaster?


      The dream suddenly shifts into ‘Kill mode’ with us manning a type of MECH ship on some god forsaken battlefield where all hell is breaking loose right before our eyes with a swarm of tank-like ships spraying lasers, rockets, and plasma beams in every direction, trails of smoke and searing blasts ripping through the air right over our heads. I’m the gunner and she’s manning the ship and together we’re suddenly fighting for our lives, letting cannons and rail-guns loose, mighty shells rocking the MECH in fantastic vibrations, deafening artillery charging the night in torrents of death, ripping into steel and cutting down invaders and their ships while a series of bombs rain down from above. A voice like some brave Captain screams out to the ships to man gun ports and ‘give em hell!’


     With a barrage of firepower lighting the night, the war zone is frighteningly loud, terribly busy and shockingly terrifying, with our MECH taking damage becoming suddenly staggering and sluggish with smoking consoles, the shredding sound of steel and the smoky scent of shells missing us both, passing right through the MECH missing us both within inches. We offer a single look that says we’re still alive when a series of massive explosions far in the distance lights up the entire night, bringing the whole scene to life: and like an army of ants marching forward on the night, determined and fearless, a seemingly endless slew of tanks can be seen charging closer, surrounding us firing everything they have at us which I finally see is a horde of MECHs racing out to meet them head-on, charging full out, deadly and savage, our reign of terror only beginning. A hell of a night it’s going to be!


     In this moment, some man or machine hell-bent on total destruction rips into the night with its nuclear arsenal, not taking any chances on any survivors, willing to stop us even if it means destroying entire legions of its own in the process. A towering inferno suddenly rips into the atmosphere and with the blinding explosion causing a mushroom of smoke and red heat to climb many miles into the night, I know – we all know – that death is imminent. The landscape is obliterated, the cities, the people, the trees, the mountains – everything is instantly vaporised including us, Toni and I. And like that I awake, suddenly relieved that it was only a dream, my heart pounding, the terrible action, the noise and the scene itself quite fresh in my eyes.


     Something is wrong! Instincts tell me in no certain terms, but I know. It’s that gut feeling that takes you in those hardest most frightening moments, when it drops in to save your life! And suddenly, a new fear takes me in my chest. And like that, I see only darkness when I hear a smashing of glass coming from the kitchen below my room. I hear the back door slam closed with a stumbling bumping in the dark. The power is out. My cell phone hasn’t even a single bar and the only response I get from it in my time of need is to shut itself off. Just great! No digital glow on my clock and the bathroom light is out. No Toni to share my fear! I’m all alone and the snow outside is enough to light my room so that I could easily see my way about. The sound of it whirring is unnerving, like a bad omen slamming snow into my window, rising up in little drifts along the sill.


     Again I hear more shuffling in the dark below my room. It’s been a long time since I carried a gun in my bed stand but god I wish I had one now! I climb out of bed quickly and quietly, the cold hardwood and fear shooting shivers up my spine – the advantage being all mine that I know every square inch of the house, and even in the darkness I have no problem finding my way. That’s one good thing. I look around for anything I might use as a weapon just in case. Nothing that jumps out at me except a series of dumbbells sitting underneath a weight bench in the dark, somehow calling out to me, as if to say ‘Pick me! I can help!’ I take the lightest one, a good bashing one at twenty-pounds, enough to throw and seriously hurt or at least buy me a couple of seconds for ‘plan B’ to kick in, which I honestly didn’t have.


     I had not actually prepared for anything like this. The way I figured was: who would want to break into a shoddy looking green house anyway, when the houses all along the street were better equipped for a sizable score. Kicking myself in the ass for letting up when I had, on one occasion, actually thought of preparing for something exactly like this, simply letting it go with a ‘shit, who the hell would want to break in here?’Moving stealthily, I take the dumbbell in my hands and creep out the door, suddenly lowering as I approached the railing over the living room. All is silent. I scan the living room for any signs of the intruder. Nothing.


      Whoever is in the house has become suddenly quiet, perhaps put off by the size of the television and the speakers, not caring one bit of stealing the sofa or loveseat and a single chair or the simple coffee table. Maybe he’s disappointed that’s all that there is, certainly not worth the trouble of hauling through the snow on such a cold night. Utilizing the quiet spots, wanting to surprise my intruder, I creep silently along the wall to my left, opposite the railing, passing the bathroom with a few more feet to the stairs to my right. It’s only when I feel the first step beneath my feet that I feel suddenly a bit safer – don’t ask why, because honestly I couldn’t tell you. With my attention averted to my right, into the living room, I peer past the kitchen archway on the far side next to the window. I see the cupboards and hear some more fumbling.


      Whoever it is in my kitchen is going through my fridge, moving things around, when suddenly a step makes an ominous creak beneath my feet, causing the intruder to suddenly stop and listen. Caught in a game of ‘mouse and mouse’ for the moment, we both become very quiet and very still, just listening for a long while, until he becomes satisfied that he is alone and continues to haul food out. I can hear him opening the cutlery drawer and the thought frightens me, filling my mind with sharp steak knives. Fuck! He’s armed himself! I want to just go back upstairs and hide, but something inside me – some animal force brewing for a fight, those old ethics tell me that this is my house and no motherfucker comes into my home and steals shit and gets away with it. 1 comment


     It’s that stupid charge that I’ve grown accustomed to all my life: ‘fight or flight’ and sure as hell I ain’t running... It’s that thing – whatever it is – that will not let me go back upstairs and hide quietly until he just leaves, but how I desperately want to do just that. But...I keep going and going, step by cautious step until I hit the landing. I peer directly along the staircase and on through the first archway, past the kitchen and right on through the back porch. I look from this archway to the other, the one next to the window on the far side. Snow is coming down heavy blanketing the world in white, and in the silence I can hear the wind screaming through the back door where the broken window had let in my unwanted guest!


     Raising the dumbbell, ready to throw it, my heart racing in my chest, adrenaline jetting through, I creep between the sofa and the love seat with both archways equally to my left and to my right, so that I’m able to bolt through either should the moment require me to run out the back door. And for some reason I can picture him coming at me with the knife. My mind has always been overly imaginative and I suddenly get the feeling that I’m going to be killed in the next few minutes. Fuck I wish I had a gun! Suddenly my mind is giving me shit! What’s wrong with you? You should always keep a gun! Always! If you die tonight...it'll be your own damned fault! A sudden movement comes from the archway to my left, a shadow...a man, his silhouette lit up by the driving snow just outside the window.


     In that second, I don’t know what takes over but I suddenly scream out in my deepest voice, “Troy! That better not be you fucking with me man!” My hands are shaking and my heart races off the charts and I call out again, hoping its Troy, my Girlfriend’s stupid drug addicted cousin. “If that’s you Troy, I’m not mad at you!” All my years at smoothing things over with terrifying people, all my charm, all my tact suddenly comes round full tilt! “Just come on out, you’re freaking me out man!” Silence. “Come on out and I won’t kick your fucking ass!” It’s not Troy. Troy would have sauntered out with his tail between his legs and his head hanging low. I’m scared now. The image of a man with a steak knife haunting me right there in the dark. 1 comment


      A sudden reckless urge comes over me and without thinking on it – with all my strength, I throw the dumbbell far across, through the archway, the sudden crash of it toppling a toaster and smashing a coffee pot startling the intruder and myself! In a moment that defies all instinct to flee, I hear his sudden movement race around to the archway to my right! In a moment that I should have ran I hear him scream! Not Canadian! African maybe! A sudden chase instinct clears the way for me when a sudden wash of fear strikes home within his heart, causing him to run. Like a mad man I race through the archway as he flees round the opposite archway into the living room! That alone scares me to no end. Why the living room when the back door is right there? Why didn’t he bolt out of the house?


     I stop at the knife set in the wooden sheathe next to the fridge and take two large cutting knives in both hands, yelling out loud and dangerous my new found strength, hoping to relinquish his, “Motherfucker! I have two huge knives now!” My own voice startles me, the fear racing through, turning violent, turning mean and nasty like the old days, ready to defend my life with a homicide, ready to lash out and not stop until the intruder is down, ready to defend my home, the very idea of self-preservation striking a note in those deepest places within my soul, but still I wish I had a damned gun! “I’m coming in! Don’t fuck with me! I’ll fucking stab you up man! I’m not fucking around!” And I mean every word. How can I not, now that the power has been handed over with a simple gesture as a fleeing intruder?


     With both knives ready to stab out, my nerves ready to propel them forward with the utmost animosity, I slowly make my way around the archway next to the staircase, slipping slowly and cautiously into the living room. And what I see next is somewhat puzzling to me, and yet very relieving. Still I hold the knives up, ready to kill, ready to destroy the intruder if I feel so much as the slightest resistance. Luckily, the man before me is backing away, very afraid suddenly, his head shaking apologetically, his hands up as if to beg forgiveness – that I just let him be, that I just let him make it out alive. With the light from the snow brightening up the living room I see now all the answers, hitting me where they should, forcing me to reconsider. And like that I yell out “Don’t you fucking move man! I swear to God...!”


     He backs away, his voice coming in lost and terrified, “Please mister! Don’t...! Don’t do it!” A sudden wave of relief enters my soul at those words, at the natural pleas of a man in fear of his life. I recognize that tone at once. And suddenly – just like that – I have the power! The cold dangerous game of mouse and mouse has suddenly turned in my favour, suddenly becoming ‘cat and mouse,’ where I am the cat, the aggressor, the predator. And no more rage races out through the adrenaline in my blood, no more death scene pouring out through my mind, wishing death upon this man, no. Only pity. I lower the knives only slightly, a gesture that allows him the sense that I am a reasonable man, that I will not kill him if he just ceases to make me nervous, if he just makes no sudden movement.


     His thin jacket, ripped and torn suggests he had been beaten and robbed very recently. Perhaps only minutes ago. I can’t see the blood about his eyes, nose and lips. His skin is too dark. I can’t see the frostbite taking his ears, making them burn, his afro is too thick. Skinny and shoeless he stands before me, a broken soul, a terrified soul. And at once all those good things mamma ever told me about having a kind heart and looking out for the weak and lost and the down-trodden comes back to me like a whip. And what comes out of me next is not the desire to hurt or destroy or to cause fear to this man, but rather to help, to aid him in his quest for safety. But make no mistake...I will not lose my power with such gestures of faith, with such a kind heart stealing me away to being a good man right then and there.


     “Now look...!” I point a knife to myself and then back to him, “You sit down right there and don’t move and we’ll both get out of this!” He sits down, closing his jacket around him, his socks still covered in chunks of snow. I look him in the eyes right there in the dark, “You understand?” He nods that yes, absolutely he understands, and any time out of the blizzard relieves him of a more threatening outcome that surely would steal him away from this life. And right then and there, I will not let that happen, “Now, you just be cool and be calm, okay? I’m going to help!” And like that, after all the fear, after all the uncertainty, he is calm and safe and secretly – behind those eyes, he thanks God. I know that look. I know that silent reasoning that happens when the most dire circumstances become lessened, when a man faces death and walks away a better, kinder soul because of it; because of seeing the human-heart in another.


     “Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back!” I make to head upstairs to fetch a sweater, a coat and a pair of shoes which I hope he fits.


     “Please sir!” He looks at me, his thick accent coming in strong, “I beg of you...! No police! Please sir...!”


     As much as anybody else would have called the cops, I still have those ethics about me that tell me in no direct way that calling the cops is out of the question, wrong somehow – to me, “Relax dude. I’m not going to call the cops!” And even if I wanted to – which I don’t,  my cell phone is dead. The power must have gone out shortly after I fell asleep. The house is cold, the hardwood floors give me shivers, and I want to complain, but save it, thinking to myself: There’s an African guy in my living room who must be absolutely dying from this cold. I can only imagine he’s wishing for home, the warm dry air, the seasonal temperatures, and then I think of all the reason’s people emigrate from such places: the death, the horrible things that go on, the slavery, the killings, the murder rate and the poverty.


     Shortly I come back with fresh socks, a t-shirt, heavy sweater and winter jacket that I haven’t worn in a very long time. The look on his face is one of supreme delight. He reaches forward. I stop him with a hand out, the knives no longer in view, “Before I give you these...” And then I figure now is the perfect time to ask him his name, “What’s your name?”


     “Doola.”


     He is shivering to death now but I calmly help him understand the error of his ways. “Before I give you these Doola...I gotta tell you man, that...well, you scared the shit out of me. I’m gonna give these to you because it’s the right thing to do. You look like you got the shit kicked out of you.” He nods, suddenly embarrassed and ashamed. “But I gotta say man, that...you...” I point to the back window, “well, you owe me a window.”


     “Yes sir.” His hands go to his chest, a gesture that is both meaningful and true to the best of his ability, “Anything.” He is shivering uncontrollably now.


     I look him in the eyes, pointing to him, “You give me your word.”


     “Yes sir.”


     “No...! You have to say it!” I say it for him, “ ‘I, Doola, give you my word that I will fix your window.’ Now you say it.”


     “I Doola give you my word that I will fix your window.”


     I hand him the clothes, “Now don’t lie to me.” My eyes warn of a simple danger.

     He shakes his head, looking me in the eyes, “No. I will be back to fix your window!”


     After Doola offers a thousand apologies, washes up, warming up by the second, and after taping the a plastic bag over the small corner window, I can’t help but to feel a little ‘ghetto’ with the window out of place with the others, like the first move in a game of tic-tac-toe. Doola and I – strangely enough – warm up to each other. No police necessary. After fixing him a sandwich and a warm bed on the couch, I say to him quite frankly, setting all my trust into one basket, “Don’t steal from me Doola! Or I will call the cops.” He shakes his head. I have this sudden feeling in my blood, the kind one gets when they’ve overcome some strange wilderness of doubt and pain only to be freed by a higher power, a deeper source of inspiration. And I only have one favour to ask of him. “Only one more thing I ask of you, Doola.”


     Covered up in the blankets, already on the verge of sleep, a renewed faith in man shining over him, he says, “Yes sir. Anything.”


     “Well, two things actually...”


     His eyes light up, ready to set his own mark, ready to prove his worth.


    “First of all, my name is Daniel. Call me Daniel.” He nods. “And second...tell me your story over breakfast.” His eyes light up even more with the mention of breakfast. I just hope this damn power comes back on.” And like that, the little RED ‘off’ light on the stereo comes on as does the rumble of the furnace, beginning its sudden march through the old house. “Goodnight Doola.”


     “Goodnight sir.” I offer a look, “Goodnight Daniel.”


     And like that, relieved and feeling somehow lifted in my soul, I head up the cold stairs and down the hall, looking over the railing one last time at Doola who is still troubling with the night’s event, perhaps rejuvenated in the spirit of man, perhaps thanking god he and I came to terms in the darkness without bloodshed, which I can’t help but to imagine that he had seen enough all his life. Curled up beneath the blankets I can’t help but to think that right this very moment he is thankful that god had led him here to my house when he could have ended up in a cell, his night ending with a slew of charges and the only outcome, that of a cell and a good long time to think things over.


      And with that I am left thinking how I can’t help but to feel a kind of safe air washing through my house; the wild transition in my heart from ‘intruder alert velocity’ to perhaps making a new friend. All is well in my world. And the heat is already taking me and my blankets on soft pillowy clouds, and I am not afraid anymore. And neither is Doola. We both make it out alive.


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