Landon made his way into a large, mirrored room, the overhead lights flicked on automatically. The fluorescent tubes humming as they warmed up. Landon noticed one of the tubes wasn’t as bright as the others. He would make sure to stay on the other side of the room during his practice bouts.
Landon dropped his bag and took out a pair of calf length athletic shorts (he refused to call them capris) and a long sleeve shirt. He took his clothes with him into the bathroom. He locked the door behind him and unbuttoned his shirt, hanging it a hook behind the door. He pulled on his t-shirt and tugged on the neck hem. Landon felt constricted. His shirt was clinging a little too close for comfort. After changing into his long athletic shorts, he took his regular clothes off the hook and folded them neatly before heading back.
Landon adjusted his glasses as he stepped into the mirrored room. He nearly tripped as he backpedaled out. Michelle was stretching in front of the door. She looked up at Landon.
“Sorry,” Landon spoke softly, “I didn’t know you were here.”
“What?” Michelle asked, her voice seemed to boom in the mostly empty room.
“I didn’t know,” Landon spoke with a little more confidence, “You were here.”
“Yeah I just got here. My chemistry class ended early.” She adjusted her sports bra and plucked at her shorts. “The teacher,” She shook her head, “Professor. Whatever. Thought our reaction would take more time. But we finished. And I left.” She made a puzzled expression at Landon.
Landon realized his arms were frozen in a half-raptor pose. He quickly brought his arms down, gripping the bundle of clothes in his fingers. Michelle smiled awkwardly. She started bouncing on her toes. Landon sidled past the airborne Michelle and made his way to his bag. He tucked his clothes into the side pocket and started to stretch.
Michelle bounded over to Landon and got into a low lunge. Landon winced as he felt something in his back twinge.
“Your back again?” Michelle asked.
“Yeah.” Landon said softly, pushing his thumb into his lower back.
Michelle cocked an ear toward Landon, “Dude, you HAVE to speak louder. I can barely hear anything you’re saying.”
Landon stood tall and groaned exaggeratedly. With hands on his hips, he pushed forward arching his back.
“Bloody hell,” Landon projected loudly in a fair approximation of a London accent, “This is torture. Absolutely unjust. When I was your age, I too was lithe as a willow. Now look at me. The ravages of time be unfair.”
Michelle snorted out a short laugh. Landon had a penchant for melodrama. He started again, but clamped his jaws down when a few other fencers entered the room. Michelle greeted them enthusiastically. Her conversation settled on one boy in particular. Landon watched Michelle as she moved her weight from foot to foot. Landon turned to the side and reached down for his toes.
Landon was jogging around the room, when Mr. Bouchard entered. The fencers aligned themselves into two rows. Landon found himself displaced off to the side, under the dim, discolored fluorescent tube. They started drills and practice bouts.
Landon found it hard to focus. He knew his timing was off. Mr. Bouchard berated him on moving his arm unnecessarily. Landon focused on keeping his shoulders from moving too much. Apparently, his attacks were far too easy to read. Mr. Bouchard came around again. He berated Landon on his footwork.
Landon needed a break. He waved over one of the new fencers who was slashing at the air. His fencing partner taught the freshman a few new parries. Landon walked over to where his bag had been relocated. He pulled a water bottle from the side pocket opposite his street clothes. He sat down a comfortable distance from Michelle. She was drawing up a mini-tournament.
“Who do I fight first?” Landon asked.
“Some underclassmen. They’re pretty bad. But they’re tall and have long reach.” Landon nodded, he was the tallest and most veteran fencer on the men’s team. He supposed Michelle wasn’t fond of the new bloods, idiots who just wanted to hit people with swords.
“After that, you’ll probably face whoever’s left.” She paused for a moment.
“So.” She paused again. “How’s Chris doing?”
Landon looked at one of the fencers. Quick on his feet, he effortlessly ran through the new drills against his opponent. He looked like he was dancing.
“The blonde one?” Landon spied tufts of ash blond hair poking out from under the mask.
“Yeah.” Michelle face flushed slightly, “I’ve never seen him before.”
Landon looked at the mysterious fencer, “Huh, I guess he’s new.” Landon envied the lightness of the stranger footwork. He wondered if gravity makes exceptions for certain people.
“You might have to face off against him,” Michelle said, “tell me if he’s any good, okay?”
“Sure,” Landon said softly. He took one last sip from his water bottle before donning his mask. He picked up his sword.
Landon faced off against “Chris.” He managed to get in two touches at the start of the bout, countering his opponent’s overly aggressive flunge. But his opponent was learning; Landon backpedaled too much. For the next two touches, Landon had found himself backed up against the end of the piste. Landon grew irritated.
“En Garde,” ‘to hell with it’ Landon thought to himself,
“Prez,” Landon shifted his weight,
“Alle-” Landon stomped on the ground as hard as he could and lunged deeply at his opponent.
A woman walked along the beach. Thick, exaggerated sunglasses hid most of her face. That and the ridiculously large hat she was wearing. Aside from her hat at glasses, she wasn’t wearing much else. A few triangles of fabric covered her groin and breasts. When she was married, she never dared to show off. But today marked her 35th birthday and a newfound freedom. She was sure the universe was sending her signs. A sort of “welcome to the rest of your life.” half the house, the car, the bank accounts. Today was a going to be a good day. She layed a towel on the beach and looked around. It was quiet for a Friday afternoon, just the way she liked it
John dreamed about skydiving. He had been 22 years old when he first jumped out of an airplane. He had just graduated from the University of Arizona. He hoped to go again, but too many things got in the way. Besides, he had more important things to do. After all, he had his own office, having graduated from the cubicle life. He had a new car. He had a nice apartment just south of the city. To top it all off, he had a steady girlfriend. John had everything he thought he ever wanted. Still, John dreamed about falling from the sky. Suddenly, John’s leg cramped horribly. He cried out, sitting up quickly to at his hamstring. The sudden movement promptly tossed him into the water. Disoriented, John flailed wildly, his hand colliding with the large paddleboard. Clinging to the mass of fiberglass and wood, he waited for his leg to relax. Clambering back onto the board, John heaved for air.
A small boy ran after his dog. He grew frustrated with his small feet and the shifting sand. If he knew how to curse, he’d curse his short, uncoordinated legs and the dog that refused his affections. He opened is mouth and let out a squeal. Suddenly the ground was in his face. He was confused. His mouth was full of the gritty sand. He made a mental note to never eat sand. Before he could right himself, He heard his father exclaim “ohmahgad” and “itsokaybabyitsokay.” Large human hands appeared, seemingly from nowhere, gently wrapped around the small child’s torso and lifting him into the air. Instinctivly, the small boy reached for the nearest handholds. In one hand, he gripped the tough fibers of his father’s beard, in the other hand a fold of his father’s shirt. The small boy was dizzy. The sudden change in altitude was disorienting. When his nausea settled down, he promptly vomited his lunch into his father’s shirt pocket.
John sat up slowly on the board. His heart still racing faster that it should. He looked around. He wasn’t too far from shore. He looked around for the paddle. He couldn’t find it. His heart rate picked back up. He must’ve dropped it when was napping, or perhaps when he fell off the board. Cursing under his breath, he flopped onto his stomach and paddled to shore. He was in good shape. A thousand meters wasn’t that far. John had swum farther distances before.
A young woman reclined in a wooden chair atop a wooden fort with the word “Lifeguard” painted in faded red letters. She was gently rubbing her eyes with the sleeve of her lifeguard t-shirt. She’d just taken out her color contacts and thrown them onto the sand below her elevated hideout. They’d been bugging her all morning. She had been in such a hurry, waking up at her boyfriend’s house. She didn’t have time to clean up. Eyelids raw from the rubbing, she rummaged through her purse and found a small mirror. She had smudged off most the makeup; a few clumps of mascara still clung to her eyelashes. She picked at them with her fingertips.
John heaved for air. He couldn’t go any farther. Luckily it seemed a woman wearing an absurdly large hat had seen him waving. He was dehydrated and sunburnt. Relieved, he sat back down on the paddleboard. He wondered how much longer until the lifeguard came around in a boat to pick him up. He laid back down for just a minute. His sunburnt shoulders prickling with complaints. He looked up at the sky. His vision going white, as if the sun was bleaching out the colors.
The woman went back to her spot, adjusting her bikini as she walked. She shrieked as she swatted at the dragonflies that had found her tanning spot. She hated bugs more that anything else. She couldn’t understand why her ex-husband loved camping so much. She blamed the his coworkers. They were geniuses at times, buried in their work, at other times they were insufferable idiots, running off into the woods with an ounce of weed and bottle of Jack. She refused to dwell on the thought any longer. She laid back down and stretched out in the sun.
The lifeguard looked around frantically. She had radioed for a paramedic before she jumped into the boat. She found the binoculars and scanned the ocean as the other lifeguard steered. The sun was setting. It was hard to make anything out. The boat passed by a number of surfers, she cursed under her breath. Had she gone too far?
The little boy ran down to the shoreline, his dog firmly affixed at the end of a leash. He looked at his father, wading out into the waves with his clothes on, trying to wash off the peanut butter and jelly sandwich his son had ate and regurgitated. The dog barked and pulled the boy to the waterfront as a man on a large surfboard washed up onto the shore.
John lay faceup on a stretcher. He didn’t remember getting back to shore. He could hear a dog barking. John blinked his eyes. He saw a young girl standing over him. She was talking to a large man who turned to look at John. He felt himself slipping. He couldn’t make out any of the words the large man said. John felt cold in his groin and lungs. He closed his eyes. His head hurt. He was slipping off the stretcher. He felt himself get picked up. John was sure he was falling. He never felt himself hit the ground.
Six Months of Selfies
I spent the first six months of this year taking selfies, tracking the progress of my face. 487 pictures later, this is the result. I hope to continue this study, gathering data on my face for the months to follow, as follow up on the long term efficacy of isotretinoin therapy.Also. Hair.
"Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is."
Day 3 #rtx2014
Day 2 #rtx2014
Day 1 #rtx2014
Boot sequence initialized.