“Shhh,” Tinsel mouthed to Mercutious, as he deftly and silently approached his target. Mercutious sat opposite the campfire from Jupton. He couldn’t watch, but neither could he look away as Tinsel, the leader of the Elven resistance, lined up his first officer’s pointy ear for a playful–though painful–flick.
“Ahh!” Jupton cried, as he leaned forward and away from the assailant. Seeing Tinsel standing there with an ear-to-ear grin infuriated and invigorated him. “So you’re back! This is good. How does it look?”
Tinsel informed the rebel Elven leaders that since their last attack, Santa had doubled the number of guards at the wall.
“Were you able to get a response from Venspu? Do they know tomorrow is the day?” Jupton asked.
“I was. They do,” Tinsel replied.
“So this is it,” Jupton pronounced. “The end of Christmas. The end of Santa’s unlawful reign, and the end of the enslavement of two million innocent elves.”
“God willing,” Tinsel said. “You know the plan. We know the plan. Stick to the plan. Venspu wrote that he only has two thousand elves willing to fight. Of those, he personally vouches for only fifteen hundred,” he stopped, harnessed a grave look and continued, “that means the fight is ours.”
“The fight is ours,” muttered the small group of officers in unison.
“Santa is not going to go down easy,” Tinsel lectured. “He has his lists. He remembers everything.” A few of the men chuckled. “What?” Tinsel asked.
Mercutious couldn’t help but sing, “He’s making a list, checking it twice.” Soon the others joined in, “He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.”
A thunderous laughter erupted among the rebel leaders.
“That’s funny,” Tinsel assented. “You’re right. I talk too much. Get some sleep. Be ready at first light.”
And now another challenge to myself.
With one singular purpose in mind I created a second blog. You can view it here: petewooscammie.wordpress.com
I am not going to mention it here ever again (unless to announce wedding bells), but today, and today only, I’m posting writing from that blog. The About page comes first. Then my first post. If you enjoy what you read, please help a fella out and like and follow that blog too. While I’m making requests, ladies, if you could add comments that include the idea that you wish it was you receiving the attention, and gents, if you could likewise promote the general mood that Cammie would be silly to pass me by, I’ll owe you one big time. Thanks. You’re the best.
Cammie wants to meet a man and live happily ever after. To do this, Cammie is dating men in Denver. Besides many, many, many free dinners Cammie has not had much luck. Read about her experiences on her blog:
Pete heard about Cammie’s plight on a radio show that featured her heavily read, though young, blog. Pete has his own blog, Captain’s Log, and decided to see if he has what it takes to capture Cammie’s attention.
Unlike other suitors, he has two conditions. First, split the tabs and second, no matter what, no making out.
Her response: “Pete, I haven’t paid for a dinner in months, you’d have to be pretty special for me to start now!”
Believing that he is pretty special and hoping that she proves worth the effort and wait, Pete has decided to woo Cammie.
verb (used with object)
1. to seek the favor, affection, or love of, especially with a view to marriage.
2. to seek to win
Me: How do I get on the list? I’ve only ever met maybe two women worth competing for. You think you’re that high of quality? I like that. And I write too. Check out Captain’s Log. Might be good material for both of us. Oh, conditions include splitting the tab, and no matter what, no making out.
My Queen: Pete, I haven’t paid for a dinner in months, you’d have to be pretty special for me to start now!
Me: I wouldn’t let a woman pay for our first date no matter who she was. The thing about free is that you don’t know what you really paid until it’s gone. Most of the time free takes a portion of your soul, at least that’s been my experience. Your posted experiences seem to concur.
A quick survey of my brother and brother-in-law resulted in an opinion that you wouldn’t be worth the time it would take to pursue you. But they haven’t heard your voice.
WordPress Stats indicate that you likely clicked on my blog today and despite this, still replied. (Google+ referrer.) Were you bored or curious? You’ll find every reason to not encourage my pursuit if you read much of it, but this post will tip the scales one way or another for sure: On Breeding.
The Object of My Desire: Pete, do you have any idea what I look like or just hopeful? Also, I enjoyed your writing. Good stuff. But why did your family suggest I wouldn’t be worth the chase?
Me: Can we agree to only be honest on here? I’ll lead the way. On the radio you described yourself as tall and blonde, and you made it seem like a burden. So, while on the whole I prefer brunettes, I didn’t quite imagine you being repulsive. Plus, you have written that you’re going on four dates a week. That’s generally not a feat homely women pull off in the world of online dating, no matter how reasonable their cleavage makes them sound. Then, there’s you using your real name (why?) and a blonde woman working in Denver possessing a LinkedIn profile with the same name. However, I would like to add that I recently watched Beauty and the Beast for the billionth time. And it occurred to me that peers of ours would have to be pretty effing dense to not be aware of the “…warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within” concept. I, for one, breathe the concept. The point is hair can be dyed.
I wonder if you know how rewarding you complimenting my writing will be for you.
Why you wouldn’t be worth the chase? Two things. First, every vibe that your massive and complicated dating life sends out includes a resonance to “high maintenance.” Second, I think they were thinking about me being a divorced dad and because of, not despite, their high opinions of me and hopes that I find a good woman, I imagine they were nervous about you eventually hurting me.
In any case, I’m a big boy. And everyone knows that winners don’t focus on the bad things that might happen. They focus on Cammie. At least I do.
Apologies, I didn’t realize my tinkering changed the setting about whether just the opening or full text was emailed out. Here is today’s post again.
Below is a chat conversation I had with Ariel Johnson from AT&T. Try and enjoy it as much as I did.
Thank you for your patience! Your AT&T Representative will be with you shortly.
Welcome! You are now chatting with ‘Ariel Johnson’
Ariel Johnson: Thank you for using AT&T Chat Services today. I will be happy to assist you.
Ariel Johnson: I can definitely review the account to see when will be the autopay will be fully effective.
Ariel Johnson: By the way I hope you are enjoying your day!
Pete: Do you just copy and paste messages, or do you type them out like I am?
Ariel Johnson: I do type Pete.
Pete: I’m dying here.
Pete: Do you know what a proof of life is?
Ariel Johnson: Sorry no.
Pete: Well, in any case, I am enjoying my day.
Ariel Johnson: Awesome!
Pete: But I’m still not convinced you’re real. 🙂
Ariel Johnson: Yes I am.
Ariel Johnson: Please be advised that the autopay will be fully effective after 30 days upon enrollment.
Pete: You definitely did not type that.
Pete: So I should pay my bill today, but next month, it’ll be automatic/
Ariel Johnson: Yes
Ariel Johnson: For the current bill it will be paid manually.
Ariel Johnson: Rest assured that this will be the last time that you will be paying the bill manually.
Pete: What is your namesake’s dad’s name in the little mermaid?
Ariel Johnson: I don’t know sorry.
Pete: thanks for the help.
Ariel Johnson: If you know the answer is much appreciated.
Ariel Johnson: Since you are online I can assist you to process the payment now.
Pete: No need. I can do it. Have a great day.
Ariel Johnson: Please be advised that the autopay deduction will takes place two days prior to the due date on the account.
Ariel Johnson: Do you have any other concerns that I may assist you with?
Pete: Nope. I’m out.
Ariel Johnson: For convenience in the future, you can also manage your account using the MyATT mobile app on your phone.
Ariel Johnson: It has been a pleasure chatting with you today. AT&T appreciates your business. Again this is Ariel Have a wonderful day!
Ariel Johnson: Bye.
Men fall into one of two categories. There are those who-can-swing-a-sledge-hammer-effectively–and those who cannot. Those who-cannot-swing-a-sledge-hammer-effectively can be subdivided further into two groups: those who-cannot-swing-a-sledge-hammer-effectively because they are weak and those who-cannot-swing-a-sledge-hammer-effectively because they over-think it; whereas those who-can-swing-a-sledge-hammer-effectively remain united. Being fairly strong, Pete found himself in the category of unable-to-swing-a-sledge-hammer-effectively because of over-thinking it. Roughnecks nicknamed some variation of Thor seem to limit their thoughts about the task at hand to “object needs to be struck; strike object.” To his detriment, Pete, on the other hand, took a more studied approach. To him, the task included thoughts such as, “Is this really the only way to accomplish the task? How many people are watching? I hope they’re standing far away, because once I begin there is no telling how this will end.” And, “While I realize that I am supposed to be swinging this 12-pound piece of metal as hard as I possibly can at this other piece of metal, is it possible to unintentionally break anything? Follow-up: If so, will someone be mad at me for breaking it?”
There is another nuance of sledge-hammer use that rarely surfaces in white papers. Men like Pete have full awareness of what happens at that moment–the moment the back-swing ends and the forward-swing begins. Despite increasing his effective swinging average from .500 to .734 in seven months time, Pete couldn’t forget about the remaining .266 that was unpredictably divided between missing completely and striking the object in such a way as to cause his muscles to have to transition from “HIT THAT MOTHERFUCKER!” to “PROTECT THE MASTER!” in an instant. Lucky for his face and feet, an instant was plenty of time.
“Want a break?” one of them asked him.
It was night. It was always night. They were in the middle of rig move and in the process of hammering up one of the mud-line’s hammer unions. A hammer union is a particularly fiendish way of connecting two pieces of pipe–several inches in diameter themselves–which must not leak under pressure. A thick metal ring with three or four gear-type knobs protruding at even intervals, the hammer union (permanently affixed around the male end of the connection) is first twisted onto the female end’s threads by hand. Upon reaching the limitation of its human’s tool-less ability, a hammer is then lifted by a gloved hand and proceeds to strike the knobs in an effort to seamlessly seal the union.
“Na, I’m good,” he answered in the middle of his quick breather.
After a few more solid swings, the tone of the metal-on-metal contact lowered several octaves until the four men heard the deep sound of the hammer hitting the entire mud-line that signals the job is complete, rather than the high-pitched sound that informs all that more swings are necessary.
“Peter, I bet you one hundred dollars I can get one more full turn out of it,” Becki volunteered.
Breathing hard, Pete peered into Becki’s soul, saw innocence, and said, “Whatever man. There is no way. No way. That one is not moving anymore. It’s good.”
“If you think so, then bet me,” Becki rejoined.
“You bet me one hundred dollars that you can get a full turn on that union?” Pete asked, his winnings already spent.
“Okay. That’s a bet,” said Pete, offering his hand.
Glee filled the other two men’s eyes as they each claimed witness to the bet and excitedly awaited the outcome. But not as much glee as filled Becki’s eyes.
“That’s the wrong way Becki,” Pete said, shaking his head that even the fastest roughneck messes up righty-tighty lefty-loosey sometimes.
“Wrong way!” yelled an onlooker to the unceasing Becki.
The twinkle in Becki’s eyes could be seen for miles. It spoke so loud that he needn’t put his voice to use until the loosening turn was completed at which point he asserted, “Like I said, one full turn. Pay up.”
A very sad Pete put up one volley in a futile argument concerning unstated betting assumptions.
At the young age of twenty-two, Becki had waited a full tenth of his life to put to use one of the oldest oil-field bets on an unsuspecting worm. Suffice it to say, Becki got more than one hundred dollars. He made a friend.
“Alright guys, gather round, gather round,” he began with a slight amount of force to his voice. “Gather round. Christmas came early this year.”
The men formed a natural circle and tried their best to hide their interest with looks of confusion. Gatherings like this did not normally happen. They did see, however, that Pete had a full bag in his hands.
“Okay. I want to tell you guys something. A few days into this hitch I was laying in bed thinking about how I, like you, have to work over the big three upcoming holidays. And that sucks. I then remembered that I have some cash on hand as a result of the home selling/home buying fiasco you guys know about. Because the only reason I work these days is for money and because I have some money, I told Richard a week or so ago that this will be my last hitch. I am quitting,” Pete announced.
Short Brush chuckled, thinking it was a joke.
“I’m not kidding. And to prove I’m not kidding, I got you all something as a going away gift. I also want to take a minute to talk to you differently than I normally have. I know I’m just a floorhand here, but in my past life I was a leader and had more of an instructor/speaking role. Since I’m leaving, I figure I might as well say what’s on my mind about you guys.
“John, I got you an iTunes gift card. It’s got twenty bucks on it. What I want to say to you is that after I leave, you’ll officially be the most considerate roughneck. Keep it up. Also, I respect the zeal with which you and your fiancé live out your Christian beliefs. At the same time, you sometimes seem like you are two sermons away from strapping on a suicide vest. I’m just saying.
“Short Brush, despite the fact that I’ve told you how to get movies for free, I also got you an iTunes gift card. Enjoy. What I want to say to you is that you’re fat and lazy. Everyone knows it. Everyone knows you hide in the stairwell behind the drawworks. I don’t know who you think you’re fooling. That said, I don’t believe that you’re fat because you’re lazy, I believe you’re lazy because you’re fat. So here’s a deal I’m willing to make with you. Lose forty pounds and if by the time you’ve lost the weight plus three months you’re not a motorhand, I’ll pay the difference in your salary for a year. It’s not much, so don’t get too excited, but I’m serious. You saw how I paid Becki when I lost that bet. As you lose the weight, you’ll get more respect, and the work will become easier. There’s no reason you can know so much about fantasy football and not this job. Who knows. You might get promoted as you are. But, nothing to actually do with the weight, I’m sure you will if you lose the weight. Lose the weight.
“Chris, I’m giving your gift to you kinda backwards. Here’s some batteries. You’ll also get my flashlight and crescent and pliers before I leave. What I want to say to you is that you’re tall and not just for a Mexican. I’ve seen tall men get promoted my whole life for simply being tall. People want to follow tall men. But you work for a company which values character above all else. So take advantage of that. In the Air Force we said that Integrity First means doing the right thing when no one is looking. I’ve seen you not do the right thing occasionally. We’ve all done it. But I challenge you to do better. Recently you have been and it made me proud every time no matter my reaction in the moment. Everyone will follow a tall man with character.
“Becki, as you know it was love at first sight. I got you not one, not two, not three, not four, but five cans of snuff. They didn’t have it in a log. I’m sorry if that takes away some of the thrill of opening it. What I want to say to you is that you have to tell the women you’re sleeping with that you have an STD. If it’s not against the law not to, it’s at least unethical. I also want you to know that you have limitless potential. You can do anything you want. I mean it.
“Richard, iTunes for you too. What I want to say to you is thank you for keeping us safe. Thank you for keeping me safe. Nobody needs to get hurt on this job. You keep us safe by your professionalism and the fact that you stick to the rules. More than that, you keep all the other crews on this rig safe by having a reputation for sticking to the rules. Other drillers know you’re out here doing it right and that helps tip the scales when they are uncertain how to act. Regarding your marriage, one time while I was in Iraq my mom told me to “hold her like a butterfly.” I never did figure out what that means, but maybe you will and maybe it’ll keep you married.
“That’s it. Let’s finish out these last two days safely and go home.”
“Speaking of people sounding black or white, I just watched this thing on back-up singers-,” the family matriarch began, steering the conversation in a new direction.
“Yeah, one of my friends mentioned that that is just a fantastic film,” the no-good smart-ass disrespectful-though-very-funny adult middle-child added.
“It really was!” she said earnestly, taking back the floor. “And the surprising part was that a lot of the singers were black and got their start in churches as little girls.”
“Ha. That’s exactly what my friend shared about the film. Funny.”
“Well, what I was going to say was that there was one scene where the girl said that she was singing back-up for Ray Charles. And she told a story about a time when Ray Charles stopped the concert and just played one note over and over again telling her that that was the note to sing. That note,” she said, repeatedly pressing her finger into the table with her eyes open wide in a reenactment of the scene. Laughing, she continued, “And the singer said that after that moment she never missed a note ever again. It was so embarrassing.”
“Crazy,” said the middle-child, voicing the sentiment he felt was expected.
“I mean just think of it. With all that noise and the sound of the crowd he was still able to pick out her voice,” she said, letting a natural pause emphasize her child-like wonder of the skill involved in such a feat.
He lived for moments like this one. Unable to withstand the opportunity, he timed the punchline perfectly as he inhaled with about-to-speak force and added with a tone of disbelief, “And he was deaf!”
“Blind!” the son-in-law corrected forcefully, coming to her defense.
“Blind!” the mother rejoined, happy to be defended but wishing she was faster to correct the constantly instigating know-it-all smart-alec.
Not only quicker on the draw, the son-in-law was also the first to shake his head and leave the table mad at himself for ever believing his brother-in-law had anything of value to say. Everyone else just laughed and laughed. The middle-child just smiled.
As for our storyteller? Her face red as a beet she laughed until she could not laugh anymore as she wondered what she ever did to be treated this way. She would have thrown something at him if everything in the room wasn’t so darn nice.
A lazy and depressing morning without H- resulted in a 1/16th mile walk to the local gym. While navigating bushes along the narrow sidewalk, which is dangerously close to a busy street, I saw a woman in fitness gear approaching. “Hmm…maybe she’s cute,” I thought. As the distance between us closed and I proceeded to verify my hope, I heard a car slow beside me. I turned. In the car was a sixty-ish year old woman with her window rolled down, also in fitness gear.
“Do you know where G- park is?” she asked.
“Yep, it’s right before the light that’s a half-mile behind you on the left.”
A confused look slowly began to subside, but not completely. “Where?” she asked again.
“Just make a U-turn here, and right before that stop light back there, take a left. It has a purple playground.”
“Oh. Thanks,” she said, still not confident that she has the skills necessary to make the half-mile journey.
“Actually, wait,” I said, “that’s not G- park. That’s P- park. My mistake.”
Losing color in the same pattern as a water ripple extending from a dropped stone, a new terror spread across her face.
“No worries. G- Park is just across the street from P- park. It’s through the stop light and on the right. It has a lake with geese. Just as easy to get to, though I’m not sure where you’re going to park. I always walk there since I live so close.”
The woman was in a state of despair usually reserved for cataclysmic events like city-wide black-outs, tsunamis, or terrorist attacks. She then asked, “Will you just get in and take me there?”
I think this means I’d make a good confidence man.
Tall. Dark. Handsome. Ken doll. Rico Suave. Fabio. No, I don’t have anything in common with any of those descriptors–especially not Fabio’s luscious locks.
When I write I want the word’s feeling to be the only thing that is measured. I don’t want to be stuck in the horrible situation where people only buy my books because they like the way my face looks. But some of you have been reading for a year now and I know the feeling of “I know it doesn’t matter, but I wouldn’t mind knowing what this person looks like.” So we’ll compromise.
Growing up around bodybuilding, the value of the mirror over the scale was ingrained in me. Rather than attempt to translate mirror-speak into English, however, I think it’ll prove more useful to share what others see. Have you ever noticed how some men just volunteer to the world what they see? Well, it happens to me frequently–especially on the rig. And as you’ll see, I think simply passing these descriptions on to you should give you what you want, while allowing me to retain a level of writing purity.
First up is, “Peter. You’re so innocent looking man.” That was my personal favorite until the more direct, “Peter, how’s it going tonight? Man, you just look like a virgin.” That guy even knew I had a child. Can you imagine how it feels to be complimented so highly, and yet not? Oh well, like I’ve always said, “Once a virgin, always a virgin.”
Still don’t have a clear picture? Try this one. Picture a small rectangular metal room with two doors, one on either end, that normally seal walk-in freezers. There is a loud air conditioner blasting a nearly cool, steady current of air from one end to the other. The four men standing in the room make it seem like adding one more would be impossible, yet it frequently houses a dozen or so. Next, you notice a sudden story-killing change to their mood. Faces start scrunching as searching eyes pull heads along a comprehensive scan pattern. Breaths are taken in through the nose in patterns that echo a hitman’s double-tap. Finally one of the men asks another, “Did you shit your pants?”
Shaking his head no, the accused man looks to the third man whose eyes are already wide as he, in turn, shakes he head in denial. They can’t even imagine I would do such a thing, so I don’t even get asked. That’s right. I have the face of a man who doesn’t fart. Now you know.
1. First, nobody likes people who try too hard. And a good eye-catching headline, such as, “Did Michael Jackson Secretly Confess to Janet That He Was Guilty?” or my favorite one from LinkedIn of late, “10 Reasons You Should Quit Your Job in 2014”, these types of headlines that really beg the reader to point-and-click reek of strong cologne before a big date. Rather than trying too hard, it’s better if you try just the right amount.
2. Second, your reputation is worth more than the ad revenue generated by clicks. And readers often feel let down when they discover (again) that Michael Jackson didn’t confess anything to Janet, and that there is not one good reason, let alone ten, to quit working in 2014. After time, people will question your integrity and motivations.
3. Third, and finally, the most enticing headlines are always one mistake away from pissing readers off.
So there he was. Like the eleven preceding days, he woke up at 5:05am, drank some V8 and a protein shake, and ate a cup of oatmeal. Grabbing his salami sandwich, he headed from camp to the change shack where he put on a pair of coveralls, which even after washing strained the definition of clean. After a brief safety meeting he grabbed a pair of gloves and headed outside. Taking in one last moment of stillness, he rolled one ear plug at a time between his left forefinger and thumb and then placed them into his ears. Finally, he picked up a case of bottled water and began the climb up the three flights of stairs which led to the rig floor. It was his thirty-third birthday.
The day proceeded no differently from any other. That’s the beauty of the work. Suddenly, however, in an act which some might label a miracle, he looked down to the ground and saw a co-worker carrying three familiarly brown and orange cardboard pizza boxes. It seemed someone up above was smiling down on him.
The hot-n-ready’s made their way up to where he was, and he happily indulged in a slice the first moment he could. What the reader doesn’t know was that sitting on the same table, brought up to the rig floor only moments earlier, was a bag of McDoubles. Remember, now, that he had his salami sandwich waiting. So while everyone who knew him knew that the McDouble was his favorite fast food burger in the whole wide world, he had vowed that he’d stick with his sandwich that day. But now, on his birthday of all days, he was staring at his favorite burger and pizza–free for the taking. The packaging alone had him salivating like a French mastiff. And now that he had committed to the pizza, he said the hell with it. Though it remained seated fairly high on his bucket list despite its nominal price, he had never before eaten a slice of Little C’s followed by a McDouble. Unable to stand there and stare for forever, he quickly grabbed the burger and headed back outside. Within a minute he found himself gasping for air and wondering if he really was going to die choking on a McDouble. Lucky for all of us, he stayed calm, swallowed hard, and smiled a smile that rivaled the Pacific’s width. And to think he was getting paid.