Jim Archives

March 24, 2008

Jim: All Nice and Nietzsche

Sitting by the stairs, Rancher Sterling watched a cowhand slump away from the hiring table and out through the saloon’s door. He summoned his foreman over.

“Yessir?” asked the foreman.

“I told you we needed every hand we could get for the branding. Why did you turn that man away?”

“But that’s Zeb Hoskin’s boy,” the foreman explained. “We can’t hire him.”

“Why not?”

“Darn kid spends every off minute reading from college books. Mathematics, sociology, things like that. But mostly philosophy.”

Sterling scowled. “Reckon you’re right,” he said. “We can’t hire a man who puts Descartes before the horse.”

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April 14, 2008

Jim: Season Ticket

Our primitive devices strained to hear the music that we could not.

The underlying rhythm is soft: nothing more than a whispering hiss of random microwaves reverberating across the cosmos.

With each technological advance, we heard marvelous new sections of the celestial orchestra. Every star, from massive red giant to wildly spinning pulsar, throbbed its own deep beat. Cold matter, magnetic fields, dark matter, and dark energy combined into the eternal symphony.

Whole societies formed to compile, record, and catalog the glorious anthems of creation and existence.

But the technologies were misused; malignantly twisted and perverted.

And the music stopped.

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March 10, 2009

Jim: The Gig

The band laboriously climbed onto the stage. They were gaunt with age; arthritic joints and deep wrinkles attesting to decades of hard living, mostly through drugs and debauchery.

Sneering roadies handed guitars to Chopper and Kryss while Stix settled behind his drums and surveyed the crowd. Thousands of hungry eyes filled the cavernous room - a good turnout! It really didn’t matter, though. The band would play despite the attendance. They played every evening.

Stix pounded the rhythm for their first number, wondering how many they could finish this time before the demons rushed the stage and tore them apart.

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March 11, 2009

Jim: Where They Come From

Fists placed firmly on her hips, Madra asked, “Why aren’t you in school?”

Leah rose from harvesting beans and stretched. “I’m not going back there, Mother,” she calmly replied.

“That’s absurd!” Madra spat. “What will you do without an education?”

“Jake will find work and support me,” Leah cooed.

Madra’s eyes narrowed as, once again, she began to lecture on the evils of men, especially that no-good Jake. Then she saw a tiny pink hand clutching a green cabbage leaf and understood. Instead of the intended scolding, she gave Leah a gentle hug. “Yes,” Madra whispered. “Jake will find work.”

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March 13, 2009

Jim: Another Boring Workday

Frankie stepped outside and then bent over to tie a loose shoelace. Two powerful bullets whizzed silently past and thudded imperceptibly in the neighbor’s lawn.

He stepped toward his car but decided to walk to work instead. Two more sniper rounds quietly missed. Frankie grinned up at the cloudless sky and strode briskly down the walk, whistling contentedly. He was already well around the corner before his car exploded into a fiery ball.

Despite three more unnoticed attempts on his life, Frankie arrived to work early, clocked in, put on his nametag, washed his hands, and turned on the Fryolater.

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March 23, 2009

Jim: 99...98...

“I bet I can guess why you’re wearing a mask,” Denny said.


“My first thought was that you’re hiding some horrible disfigurement. But that wasn’t right because it would mean these other people are disfigured, too.”


“Then I thought you might all be villains, hiding your identities so nobody could track you down after you commit your nefarious deeds. Or maybe superheroes hiding loved ones from vengeance. Then I noticed all the nametags.”

“I see.”

“That’s how I came to guess this is an elaborate costume party.”

“Interesting,” replied the anesthesiologist, increasing the drip. Denny promptly fell asleep.

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March 24, 2009

Jim: The Lowest Form of Serial Romance

Of all the beaches on all the Thousand Islands, this one was Giovanni’s favorite because this is where he'd met Daphne. He remembered her on that warm summer day so long ago, her French braid glistening with seawater while she joked about his formerly thick Italian accent. “Eets-a wonderful-a here,” she’d mocked playfully. “Thees-a would be a good-a place to build-a a House.”

Giovanni now had it all. Well, almost all. He owned the beach and the magnificent house he’d had built for the two of them. “If only I still had Daphne”, he sighed.

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch…

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March 27, 2009

Jim: Two Scents Worth

“That is a blend of many foul odors.” Colonel Vance twisted the ends of his enormous waxed mustachios and continued, “That is the smell of the townspeople evacuating their bowels and bladders as we rode down on them. That is the smell of guts and blood as we wreaked upon these people the carnage they so rightfully deserved. That is the smell of bones crushed under our horses’ hooves and of honest sweat as our soldiers crushed all life from this town…”

“No, no. This is something like onions…”

“Oh,” the Colonel grinned. “I’m making stew. Would you like some?”

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March 30, 2009

Jim: Consequences

Over the seas I’ve traveled,
Across the land I’ve roamed,
Always dreading three little words:
When she says, “My husband’s home!”

Grabbing shoes, shirt, socks and pants,
Out the window I go.
I scurry across shingles and over the edge
But he still sees me, though.

I pause for a moment to put on my pants
Then I tear across the lawn.
He comes out the door holding a bat,
All red-faced fury and brawn.

I put on speed, racing toward my car,
Feeling my impending doom.
Not only was Hubby catching up,
I’d left my keys in her room.

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April 2, 2009

Jim: The Warranty Expired

The man paced the repair shop’s waiting room, nervously stroking his copper hair. He grimaced at the sludge in the Styrofoam cup but sipped anyway. At least it was hot. He stopped to stare momentarily through the single dark window then resumed his pacing.

The mechanic finally entered, the name Hef stitched above the breast pocket of his shabby coveralls. “It overheated again,” he rasped. “All fixed now.”

“About time,” the man replied. He swiped his debit card and collected his keys. Soon the vehicle lifted into the sky, casting the rosy gold of morning on the waking world below.

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