Jim Archives

October 30, 2006

Jim: Misconceptions

“Dude, you got it all wrong.

“First off, ignore the way I look. Did I shamble up to you, moaning; with my arms stiffly out in front like some sort of Lon Cheney knock-off?

“I most certainly did not. My balance is impeccable. Here. Watch me do a little dance.

“Of course, I can’t get any dance partners. I think it’s because I smell bad.

“And why would I possibly want to eat brains? That’s just gross.

“I can never sleep, though. And I’m so tired.

“So I won’t mind if you blow my head off with that shotgun.


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November 1, 2006

Jim: Right Out Of History

The bones from the mid-Cretaceous were fossilized to hues of mahogany and chestnut and spread out across the floor into rough skeletal assemblies.

Professor Hornby cleared his throat and said, “Now here’s the exciting part. Notice this small group of bones in the stomach of the predator?”

I saw the skull fragments and gasped.

“That’s right,” the professor grinned. “A hominid. A man from 70 million years ago!”

“Th-that’s impossible!” I stammered.

“We’re still trying to figure out the scraps of yellow and blue fur. But I assure you that I personally dug these bones from out of the bedrock.”

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November 2, 2006

Jim: Accessorizing

In her mind, Grace played the conversation over and over again:

“How long have you been here at NASA, Grace?”

“Fourteen years, Director Fields.”

“And what have you done all that time?”

“I work in Payload Assembly. Right now I’m assigned to the Europa project. The robot is nearing completion”

“And where, precisely, is the robot being built?”

"Here in the Clean Room, Director.”

“And do you know why we are building it in the Clean Room, Grace?”

“Because we cannot risk germ contamination on Europa.”

“So tell me, Grace,” the director sighed. “Why aren’t you wearing your damn gloves?”

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November 3, 2006

Jim: After The Jayhawks Won

One of the half-dozen beer-soaked revelers inside the Winnebago karaoked with the music, “Hold the line…Love isn’t always on time…”

“Hold it down back there!” Darrell yelled. “We’re coming up on a thunderstorm.”

John stumbled forward. “The highway’s straight from here to Wichita,” he slurred. “Just blow right through it.”

Darrell grasped the wheel and drove into the blinding rain. Then something hit the RV and it began to roll…

* * *

Darrell surveyed the damage. “Looks like we walk,” he said.

“Where to?” Skip asked.

“Those green buildings, I suppose. This yellow road seems to go that way.”

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November 6, 2006

Jim: A Three-Hour Lesson

”Okay,” the professor said. “Let’s try this again. The way we calculate amperes is by multiplying horsepower by 746 and then dividing the result by the efficiency percentage of the circuit.”

“Is that for alternating current?” I asked.

The professor shook his head and sighed. “That’s a corollary of Ohm’s Law for direct current.”


“So for a single phase alternating current, you also need to multiply the divisor by the power factor.”

“I’m not sure what all this means,” I mumbled.

“What it means,” the professor replied. “Is that you need to pedal that bamboo and coconut bike faster.”

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November 7, 2006

Jim: Poor Execution

The putrid steam-bath of the Guatemalan tropics made everything drip; me most of all. But I’d chased the killer all the way from Texas and it was time to finish the job.

“Guess you should try another tree,” the killer chuckled.

I scowled at my guide, Pedro. “Set up the noose.”

Pedro tossed the rope over a thick branch and tied the knot with quick-fingered efficiency. But the test pull broke the branch. Again.

Pedro made a wide gesture all around. “The indios, they call these trees balsa,” he said.

“That must be Injun for ‘God damned worthless’,” I snarled.

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November 8, 2006

Jim: The Day Everything Changed

“This is just wrong!” My face squeezed with revulsion. “No way!”

The corners of Tim’s mouth twitched into a cruel sneer. “I thought you said you wanted to be in the club.”

“Yeah,” Chris jeered from his usual spot behind Tim.

“So,” Tim continued. “Are you in or out?”

“Is this the only way?” I pleaded.

Tim crossed his arms and grinned. “The only way,” he replied.

I swallowed hard and, with arms held stiffly at my sides, trudged into the dark closet where Sally waited with pursed lips.

You shouldn’t have to get cooties just to join a club!

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November 9, 2006

Jim: Don't Rain On My Parade

Langley grimaced. Yesterday, large herds of horses signaled a stable economy. Today, however, there were dark clouds on the horizon and the sky vomited pennies. That could only mean change was in the air. And, of course, an ill wind blows no good.

Langley needed a Master Economist to help him weather the upcoming financial storm. Too bad the Martian economic apprentices were all so green.

Now, economics is an eat-or-be-eaten profession. Fortunately, Master Economist Ruby already had breakfast by then. Anyway, her hands were tied.

“You should save for a rainy day,” Ruby advised. She was quite a gem!

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November 10, 2006

Jim: One Of These Days

The walkie-talkie on Norton’s shoulder hissed to life. “Open Flow Valve T14” echoed eerily through the midnight labyrinth of pipes.

“T14,” Norton grunted in reply. He strained against the valve until it suddenly released, dumping a thick stream of fecal sludge onto his boots.

Inspect Valves Y3 through Y11.”

Guided by the dim light from his helmet, Norton trudged through the blackness toward the industrial sector.

“Y8 is closed,” he told the walkie-talkie after arriving.

Open Valve Y8.”

The torrent of liquid carried the cloying odors of pungent nutmeg and sweet maple. Norton turned away and ralphed up his breakfast.

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November 13, 2006

Jim: Night Fever

The soldier carefully verified my identification. “Go on in,” he grunted.

White-coated technicians scurried throughout the laboratory in meandering orbits around a steel-haired doctor. “You called the CDC?” I asked him.

He pumped my hand. “Thank God you’re here! We hope it’s isolated.”

“You’re sure it’s Strain BG-2?”

He nodded. “And even worse than the ‘70s pandemic. See for yourself.” He pointed to the quarantines beyond the glass.

I checked off the symptoms. Feathered hair, polyester blends, bell-bottoms… “But disco is dead,” I gasped.

Then I noticed the doctor’s platform shoes. He caught my eye and confided, “So are we.”

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