Monthly Archives: August 2018

“Same Old Lang Syne” released by Dan Fogelberg

Met my old lover in the grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
I stole behind her in the frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve

She didn’t recognize the face at first
But then her eyes flew open wide
She went to hug me and she spilled her purse
And we laughed until we cried

We took her groceries to the checkout stand
The food was totaled up and bagged
We stood there lost in our embarrassment
As the conversation dragged

Went to have ourselves a drink or two
But couldn’t find an open bar
We bought a six-pack at the liquor store
And we drank it in her car

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how

She said she’d married her an architect
Who kept her warm and safe and dry
She would have liked to say she loved the man
But she didn’t like to lie

I said the years had been a friend to her
And that her eyes were still as blue
But in those eyes I wasn’t sure if I
Saw doubt or gratitude

She said she saw me in the record stores
And that I must be doing well
I said the audience was heavenly
But the traveling was hell

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to time
Reliving in our eloquence
Another ‘auld lang syne’

The beer was empty and our tongues were tired
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out
And I watched her drive away

Just for a moment I was back at school
And felt that old familiar pain
And as I turned to make my way back home
The snow turned into rain

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Excerpt from “Golden Witchbreed” by Mary Gentle ~~Assassin~~

I walked into the room and onto the point of a blade.
……………………………………………
I went down as if I’d been dropped, already rolling, and caught him across the shins. The unfinished thrust took him forward. He fell, twisting. We came up facing each other. It was the man with the scarred face. He had his back to the door, harur-nilgiri still in his hand. Unarmed, I fell automatically into the ready position, as if this were a practice bout.
He cut. Incredibly fast. I swayed, let it slide past me. Balance. Too slow. The sleeve of my shirt snagged, the cloth turning red like blotting paper soaking up ink. Adrenalin pounding. Watch the eyes, the eyes and not the blade!
Grey light. Stars. No chance to turn and grab the stunner lying in the cell’s far corner. Silver light sliding on metal. The cautious sighting for a skewering thrust. He’s angry. I’m unarmed. I’ve dodged his cuts and slashes: yes, he’s angry. Good. And I move right –
Metal skids across brickwork. Panic: no! but it’s all I can do to back off safely. Out of reach. How long before I’m cornered: not long. Now: the feint, the circling, eye and eye. The ferocity of the dance.
And thrust.
I can’t get close and throw him. No chance, not one-handed.
(Concentrate: ignore the raw pain there.) He’s stronger than I am, can’t hold him.
And the razor-edged thrust –
Caught between two walls, cornered. And if I knock his arm aside, the return cut will take me just between the ribs, blunt and hollow-sounding as a butcher’s cleaver; and I can’t hold him.
Not fear: certainty. You fucked it up, Christie.
Coming for me quick, no place to move to, can’t move; taking me high in the chest, is it, or the throat, or –
So I came forward and saw the surprise on his face. Left-handed, not blocking the thrust but catching his wrist, pulling him forward.
The blade slid over my shoulder.
Still gripping his wrist, and the point slammed into the wall. There was a sharp sound clear in the air that – except for hurried breathing – was silent. Ugly: a snapping sound. His hand still tangled in the grip. A moment of numb stillness, neither of us believes this.
He shook his hand free of the guard, dropped the blade, and slammed through the door. Anger took over: utter, cold, and certain. Total: destroying all training and thought. So that I had the door open and was running down the passage, yelling, no, screaming with hate; the stunner in my hand and no recollection of picking it up. Running and firing left-handed, but the corridor twisted: I couldn’t get a line on him.
He kicked another door shut in my face, and I swung it open – a dead-end room, trapped him. But someone hung on my arm and shouted, then I was freed and someone caught me a tremendous clout across the head.
‘Christie, stop! Stop!’
I stood still, shaking, frightened at myself. I hadn’t expected to tap such reserves of fear and fury. Careless, I thought. Jesus Christ, use your brains, can’t you!
Fear and fury: the time I was beaten up when I was a kid, the time I was followed home by a gang of youths, hugging the street-lit centre of a dark road. The child’s fear, and the woman’s. And the same snarling reflex: you touch me and I’ll fucking kill you!

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Excerpt from “As The Crow Flies” by Jeffrey Archer ~~Twenty Pence~~

“I don’t offer those at two pounds,” he declared, holding up a cabbage in both hands. “I don’t offer ‘em for one pound, not even fifty pence.”
“No, I’ll give ‘em away for twenty pence,” whispered Becky under her breath.
“No, I’ll give ‘em away for twenty pence,” shouted Charlie at the top of his voice.
“You do realise,” said Becky as they crept back out of the market, “that Charlie’s grandfather carried on to the ripe old age of eighty-three and died only a few feet from where his Lordship is standing now.”
“He’s come a long way since then,” said Cathy, as she raised her hand to hail a taxi.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Becky replied, “Only about a couple of miles – as the crow flies.”

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Excerpt from “Lost City of Z” by David Grann ~~Parasites~~

Manley was the first stricken. His temperature rose to 104 degrees, and he shook uncontrollably – it was malaria. “This is too much for me,” he muttered to Murray. “I can’t manage it.” Unable to stand, Manley lay on the muddy bank, trying to let the sun bake the fever out of him, though it did little good.
Next, Costin contracted espundia, an illness with even more frightening symptoms. Caused by a parasite transmitted by sand flies, it destroys the flesh around the mouth, nose, and limbs, as if the person was slowly dissolving. “It develops into . . . a mass of leprous corruption,” Fawcett said. In rare instances, it leads to fatal secondary infections. In Costin’s case, the disease eventually became so bad, as Nina Fawcett later informed the Royal Geographical Society, that he had “gone off his rocker.”
Murray, meanwhile, seemed to be literally coming apart. One of his fingers grew inflamed after brushing against a poisonous plant. Then the nail slid off, as if someone had removed it with pliers. Then his right hand developed, as he put it, a “very sick, deep, suppurating wound,” which made it “agony” even to pitch his hammock. Then he was stricken with diarrhea. Then he woke up to find what looked like worms in his knee and arm. He peered closer. They were maggots growing inside him. He counted fifty around his elbow alone. “very painful now and again when they move,” Murray wrote.
Repulsed, he tried, despite Fawcett’s warnings, to poison them. He put anything – nicotine, corrosive sublimate, permanganate of potash – inside the wounds and then attempted to pick the worms out with a needle or by squeezing the flesh around them. Some worms died from the poison and started to rot inside him. Others grew as long as an inch and occasionally poked out their heads from his body, like a periscope on a submarine. It was as if his body were being taken over by the kind of tiny creatures he had studied. His skin smelled putrid. His feet swelled. Was he getting elephantiasis too? “The feet are too big for the boots,” he wrote. “The skin is like pulp.”
Only Fawcett seemed unmolested. He discovered one or two maggots beneath his skin – a species of botfly plants its eggs on a mosquito, which then deposits the hatched larvae on humans – but he did not poison them, and the wounds caused by their burrowing remained uninfected. Despite the party’s weakened state, Fawcett and the men pressed on.

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Excerpt from “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez ~~Wedding Night~~

Everything else she told without reticence, even the disaster of her wedding night.
She recounted how her friends had instructed her to get her husband drunk in bed until he passed out, to feign more embarrassment than she really felt so he’d turn out the light, to give herself a drastic douche of alum water to fake virginity, and to stain the sheet with Mercurochrome so she could display it the following day in her bridal courtyard. Her bawds hadn’t counted on two things: Bayardo San Roman’s exceptional resistance as a drinker, and the pure decency that Angela Vicario carried hidden inside the stolidity her mother had imposed. “I didn’t do any of what they told me,” she said, “because the more I thought about it, the more I realised that it was all something dirty that shouldn’t be done to anybody, much less to the poor man who had the bad luck to marry me.” So she let herself get undressed openly in the lighted bedroom, safe now from all the acquired fears that had ruined her life. “It was very easy,” she told me, “because I’d made up my mind to die.”

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“My Brilliant Feat” released by Colin Hay

Did someone call my name?
Like a distant drum is beating
Or is it just another dream of long ago?
I dance again I am spinning
In the light I am living
And I can feel the power rushing through my veins
Once upon a time I could do no wrong
For the candle flickers, the flame is never gone

To my brilliant feat
They all pay heed
I hear the crowds roar oh so loudly

Is it a game of chance?
Or merely circumstances
A jack to a king and back
Then you have to pay to play
The world it won’t wait for you
Its got its own things to do
The sun’s gotta rise and drive another night away
And as I listen to the silence
I can hear thunder in the distance

To my brilliant feat
They all pay heed
I hear the crowds roar oh so loudly

To my brilliant feat
I make grown men weep
And still my eyes grow oh so cloudy

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