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Friday, March 22, 2019

F³ Secret of Success

            The takeout helped with the liquor, but I knew I’d be feeling the effects of the alcohol for hours, still. Kate and Richard sat on my couch, having a long talk. Richard appeared to be actually listening, which I considered progress given his earlier reactions.

Monday, March 18, 2019

M³ The Bad Ending


Red playfully—flirtatiously? —calls out the traits and submits to what will happen in the bed. This is a story about a girl wanting to be sexually active, who voluntarily removes her clothes for the experience. However, it is no less an assault as the story becomes violent. It is no longer a willing sexual encounter between two parties, but a rape. The wolf, then, really is two-faced as both a predator under the guise of someone that Red thought she could trust with such an encounter.

Friday, March 15, 2019

F³ Independent Confirmation


            Kate waltzed in without knocking, as I knew she would. I waved, and the room spun. I hadn’t had anywhere close to what Richard had drunk, but he was already showing off the storm rider metabolism.

Monday, March 11, 2019

M³ Matter of Trust

The disguise of the wolf is almost laughable. So much so that it’s hard to imagine the exchange between Red and the wolf as something to be taken seriously. It’s almost playful, as if Red knew fully well that this was not her grandmother the entire time. So why the deception at all? Why doesn’t the wolf simply eat Red in the forest? That would certainly be the most convenient for the wolf instead of risking Red go somewhere else.

Friday, March 8, 2019

F³ Sing Along

            I didn’t know how many drinks we had, but Richard and I had ended up singing a German drinking song Nikki had taught me. In between verses, he was telling me all about what had happened with the storm riders, Kate abducting him and taking him into the clouds, shooting lightning at him, Reilly throwing him off the cloud and them going into freefall for several minutes.
            “That’s rough, buddy,” I said.

Monday, March 4, 2019

M³ Put to Bed

The story carefully shows a civil conversation with the wolf, who is a known predator of the natural world, and he goes to great lengths to deceive her before devouring her. We have to ask, however, what is Red’s part in this? There is a line within the story in Perrault’s version that is most interesting as the wolf asks Red to “Put the cake and the little pot of butter upon the stool, and come get into bed with me.”

Friday, March 1, 2019

F³ Truth in Advertising


            Flynn looked over the ad, made to look like a government briefing on the latest piece of hardware, mixed with just enough marketing snark to take the dryness out.

Titan Industries Pulsar Cannon
            Normally reserved as a ship-to-ship weapon, pulsar cannons hold a spinning ball of ionized plasma in a magnetic bottle, then hurl it towards an enemy. The ionized particles wreak havoc with ship shields and armor. Miniaturization technology has finally enabled us to create a personal version of this weapon. Just like against ships, the pulsar cannon’s ionized plasma is ideal for use against armored targets, cracking and disrupting powered armors with little effort.

Monday, February 25, 2019

M³ Older than We Think

            Okay, so Grandmother is not related to Red. So what’s the deal here? Why is Red going to see her at all? The butter and cakes are probably legitimate, and most likely a payment for a service that Red wants done. But we need to know a little bit more about Red to figure this out.

Friday, February 22, 2019

F³ Wet Work

            I was bored, waiting. I had made Reilly and Natalie leave, and sent Kate to get some takeout. The guy, whose name they didn’t actually know, they simply kept calling him Moron, was still out of it. I hadn’t seen any signs of violence, but I knew the storm riders could pack a heck of a shock from their fingertips, so I didn’t rule out that they had knocked him out.

Monday, February 18, 2019

M³ Not The Grandma


            Yes, I know, the story calls her Grandmother so she has to be Red’s grandmother. The story is always right about such things. I can’t just say that’s not Red’s grandmother for no good reason. But I have good reasons. Honest.

Friday, February 15, 2019

F³ Tough Negotiator

            “No,” I said. I was kicked back in my chair, feet on my desk.
            Kate and the other three dripped despite the towels I provided. The man and the woman, both of whom looked familiar, had deposited the unconscious man on the floor unceremoniously. I thought it best not to ask.
            “I haven’t asked anything,” Kate said.
            “The answer is still no,” I said, pulling my feet off and slamming the seat on the
            “Come on, Matt, be a guy. Do it for the mystery.”

Monday, February 11, 2019

M³ Over The River And through The Woods


            I’m taking an interlude from both Greek myth and the Bible to revisit the fairy tale that is most on my mind. Little Red Riding Hood. I can’t explain why, but I’ve known there’s much more to this story than meets the eye, and I think I might finally have an answer.
            Grandma.

Friday, February 8, 2019

F³ Uninvited Guests


            Belport’s weather was foul, fouler than normal, which generally drove down business. Jessie surfed the web while I enjoyed some Raymond Chandler, at least until the flash of lightning blinded me, followed by the thunder crack right above the building.
            “Oh no,” I said.
            “You say something, Boss?” Jessie called back.
            “Lock the door!” I jumped up, following my own advice.
            “What? Why?”
            “Do it! We’re closed; you got that? Just stay quiet and we’ll get through this.”

Monday, February 4, 2019

M³ Godly Natures


So the cosmos is at risk of repeating an endless loop of gods and goddesses undoing each others’ work due to their own petty obsessions, but there’s a bigger problem. The gods are specialized in nature. Artemis is goddess of the hunt, Apollo the sun, Demeter of agriculture, Poseidon the sea, etc. These specialized domains belong only to those certain gods. Yes, there is some overlap. Hera and Zeus both have prophecy. Apollo shares the hunt with his sister, and he and Helios share the sun.

Friday, February 1, 2019

F³ The Game


            “That’s a low blow,” I said. “Sincerity? That’s low.”
            “It’s not an act, not a lure,” Nikki looked scandalized without letting her smile slip.
            “I know. That’s why it’s low.”
            I sighed, trying to think of a way out of it, but nothing sprung to mind.

Monday, January 28, 2019

M³ Law vs. Chaos


Zeus made law (no one knows when because it’s only brought up in this story) that no god will be able to undo the actions of another. So, really, he can’t undo what Hera did.
Why make such a law in the first place, though? Most laws in the human world tend to form as part of a reactionary process. Bad things get done, then we finally get our act together and come up with something that says, we shouldn’t do this thing. This thing, whatever it is, is detrimental to society in some fashion.
With Zeus, we don’t see him set up very many laws. There is the law regarding messing with Hestia, the law of hospitality, and now the law about undoing the actions of another god. We’ve discussed the importance of Hestia and the law of hospitality with Odysseus and Polyphemus. We know that when Zeus actually lays down a law, it’s a big deal, like kind of universe-shaking deal.
This latest law we have is on the same level, and potentially universe-ending if not followed. As we’ve seen by examining the other gods, they’re not exactly the most thoughtful and stable bunch. They tend to follow their whims very easily, and lash out in the same way. They also struggle against one another using human proxies.
With Teiresias, Hera takes out her anger against him. With other gods such as Demeter, she lashed out against Erysichthon, causing him an endless hunger. Was it justified? Most of these transgressions generally are not by modern standards. If one of the gods felt that he had been treated poorly, he or she could have undone Demeter’s handiwork and that would be an end to it, except for Demeter’s ire. So what’s the harm?
If Zeus would simply undo what Hera did, what’s to stop her from re-doing it in the first place once Zeus isn’t around? The same goes for Demeter or Athena or Artemis. Where would this undoing and re-doing ever end? No progress would ever be made as everything would be trapped in an endless cycle of reversing the changes done by another.
The other reason concerns the nature of the gods themselves, coming up next week.


Friday, January 25, 2019

F³ Verbal Dancing


“So you were paying attention,” Nikki’s smile threatened to become Cheshire-Cat sized. “I should not have doubted you.”
            “I made that up on the spot,” I said, still looking at her leg.
            “Droll, Matthew. So, you’ve already deduced it all.”
            “Nope.”
            She sighed, and the smiled faded, too.
            “Nikki, I really don’t care about any of the politics in this forsaken place. If you’ve got a scheme for taking over or working in women through the back door, probably by slowly replacing the girls with your own people to listen in and blackmail people, fine. I don’t care.”
            “You know, Matthew, if you had the ambition for politics, you would do well.”
            “Never been my thing.”
            “Nevertheless, I could use your talents in the future with my endeavor.”
            “Not interested.”
            “I can make you interested.”
            “No, you can’t.”
            “Hmm, I’ve known you long enough to know that is probably true. There is nothing I could do to entice you?”
            “Nothing comes to mind.”
            “The noble cause of dismantling a sexist and archaic institution?”
            “Eh.”
            “And though you are quite interested in my physical features, I know you would not succumb to those charms if offered.”
            “Well, I wouldn’t put it in those terms as I would never wish to offend—”
            “Enough of your verbal dancing regarding my physical prowess.” She sighed, again, not the playful sigh from before or the exasperated sigh, this one was as close to real emotion as she ever gave. “I had hoped that we could be involved in a long-term project together. We only seem to collaborate when it is life and death. Where is the fun, Matthew?”
            I lifted my eyes from her leg to stare into hers.
           

Monday, January 21, 2019

M³ Gender Reassignment


            So, the stories of Zeus have been on the heavy-handed side for a while. It’s time we do one that’s actually kind of fun, especially one that is so bizarre. Today we examine the story of Teiresias.
            One day, Zeus and Hera had an argument (shocker). The argument was about who gets more pleasure from sex. Zeus says it’s women, and Hera says it’s men. How do you solve such a disagreement? You consult an expert who has been both. They go to talk to Teiresias.
            So, Teiresias was on a journey when he came across two snakes joined together in, um, okay, they were having sex. I will not deny that Teiresias is something of a voyeur and perv for watching the snakes go at it, and he’s a real jerk because he took his staff and smacked the snakes. Instead of breaking them up, well, some kind of weird magic took place and Teiresias suddenly became a woman.
            He was that way for seven years until he came across the same two snakes going at it again, and thought, “Hmm, if I hit them with my staff again, I will change back to a man.”
            I have no idea what kind of messed up, stupid logic led him to this conclusion. I must stress this to everyone, if you come across a pair of snakes having sex, do not, DO NOT hit them with a stick. Just imagine how upset you would be if you were finally managing to get some and a weirdo smacks you with a stick. You would probably bite the guy, or break his skull open or something.
            But Teiresias was right in his deduction, and he becomes a man again. Thus, armed with the proper experience to adjudicate Zeus and Hera’s argument, they pay him a visit. Now, having experienced the pettiness of the other gods, we know that it’s probably not a good idea to give a god an answer that he or she does not like. Adjudicating such an argument between gods is a recipe for disaster.
            My advice, try not to have completely unique cosmic experiences. That way, disagreeing gods will not visit you and demand you choose between them. The more you know.
            So, the two show up and put T to the question. His verdict: women get more pleasure from sex. Zeus wins the argument.
            Now, one would think that if you’re going to piss of a god no matter what, you don’t want to piss off the king of the gods, so this was a wise move on T’s part. Can we trust his answer is truthful? He does have motive to lie, assuming he thinks he can get away with it. As a general rule, it’s not a good idea to lie to gods. Sure, they’re not omniscient, but they are very knowledgeable. Zeus, especially, would be good at sniffing out a bluff. He’s had some experience at politics.
Hera isn’t exactly a pushover, either. She’s knowledgeable in her own right, used to ferreting out Zeus’s illicit affairs and punishing his lovers and illicit offspring. I don’t think it’s in T’s best interest to try lying. The payoff just isn’t there.
If he lies, he risks pissing off both of them because the implication is that he thinks they’re stupid. If he tells the truth, he’ll only piss off one. So, we can be reasonably sure that his verdict is truth. So, ladies, you get more pleasure in bed than men. It’s a fact, now. We can cite the case with Teiresias as precedent.
Of course, because Zeus wins, that means Hera is mightily ticked off. She blinds Teiresias. Completely, totally blind. Which, as far as curses go, is actually pretty mild compared to the likes of what Demeter, Artemis, and Athena have done.
Now Zeus is here, but he doesn’t reverse the blindness. The reason is pretty interesting, and has important implications.
Stay tuned.






Friday, January 18, 2019

F³ Proxy


            “I’ll bite,” I said. “Why vote down women’s membership?”
            Now Nikki smiled. She rose smoothly, crossed the space and sat on the couch facing me. At some point, the zipper on her skirt had moved from just above the knee all the way up to her hip, showing off a very generous amount of leg.
            She arched her back as she leaned towards me, presenting a fabulous view of cleavage. It was completely intentional, she was trying to distract me. I didn’t know why, and until I did, I felt justified in looking where she wanted me to look. After all, she was taking the time and effort, it would be rude not to look.
            “On your way here, you ran into Theresa, did you not?”
            “Sure, I guess.”
            Nikki rolled her eyes. “You know, Dumpling, for a supposedly observant detective, you have difficulty with salient details.”
            “Yup,” I said, continuing to leer down Nikki’s blouse, letting my eyes slide to her leg.
            “Really, Matthew, must you be so obviously distracted?” Nikki chided.
            “Yup.”
            “The young redheaded woman.”
            “The one who decidedly didn’t fit the standard physical or behavioral model for Fairhaven Club. Decided glimmer of intelligence, but she’s not as good at hiding her contempt for people as she thinks. You let her wait on any of the big wigs and even they’ll figure it out eventually no matter how good she is at showing legs and cleavage.”
            Nikki blinked, then the smile went from simply flirtatious to genuinely fond.


Monday, January 14, 2019

M³ Men vs. Gods


            Okay, so we have to break this all down. Zeus, by providing Pandora is enabling a method for humanity to learn and grow past their mistakes. Sure, they have to suffer through some stuff to do so, but he also threw in hope to make sure it was possible to grow.
            Zeus goes on to father heroes, providing examples for what humanity should aspire to, what they have the potential to become, whether it’s Perseus using his wits and Batman-esque items to save the day and rescuing Andromeda from her blaspheming parents or Hercules setting aside his own pride to atone for actions under madness.
            Lastly, we have the realization of the human potential in heroes such as Diomedes and Odysseus, representing physical and mental prowess of humanity, respectively. The question we’re faced with, though, is why does Zeus want this?
            We’re on shakier ground, here. Zeus, being Zeus, never comes right out and states his purpose. We’re going to have to infer his purpose from the evidence at hand. The actions are too deliberate to think it’s accidental. We know that he wants humanity to grow.
            Furthermore, we know that Zeus is something of a politician. He can make alliances, and he doesn’t renege on them. He was honest in his dealings with the Cyclopes and Hundred Handed-ones.
            He forgave the Olympians for their attempted coup, asking only an oath from them.
            He is adaptable. He can adjust what he’s doing and change his own behaviors. He is a fierce opponent resorting to brutality when he feels it’s justified, will avoid entanglements in his mediations between the gods, even relying on his mother Rhea (yes, the one he raped) to mediate between Demeter and Hades.
            Out of all the Greek gods, he is the most skillful and adaptable, mostly because the others, as we’ have seen, are incapable of change in any way. They are the way they are. Forever.
            But with humanity, there is a race that can change and grow, and they have done so at a phenomenal pace, cosmically speaking. In a few dozen generations, human heroes have shown that they can challenge titans (Odysseus defeating Polyphemus) and the Olympian gods (Diomedes routing Ares). It’s only a matter of time until they will be able to rise up as an entire people to become more powerful than the gods themselves.
            The only gods they will be able to replace, though, are the gods who cannot change, meaning the rest of the Olympian gods. Zeus himself, however, will be immune to them as he will continue to grow and change even as the people do. Moreover, he has been their patron from the beginning, skillfully manipulating events to most benefit them without the other gods ever knowing.
            Could they ever rise up in power enough to challenge him? Well, sure. But then, that’s just the pattern established since the beginning of time in Greek mythology. The son replaces the father. Zeus, however, will not be replaced by the likes of the unchanging Olympians, who have proven themselves spiteful and petty in their disputes. The god who eventually replaces Zeus will be a worthy successor capable of the same growth as Zeus himself, if there’s ever even a need to replace such a skillful and capable king of the Gods.


Friday, January 11, 2019

F³ The Secret Smile

            The redhead guided me to the simply named room 8 not far away. The Fairhaven Club didn’t go in for fancy names for rooms like convention centers did, but the layout of the rooms had never quite made sense to me. For example, room 8 was next to rooms 7 and 11. I tried my best to think of a Vegas connection, but came up with nothing. If there was an actual plan, it wasn’t done logically.
            The redhead opened the door for me, and I slid in. Nikki was already there, dressed in a business suit. At least it would have been all business if the silk blouse didn’t plunge almost to her navel, and the skirt featured a zipper on one side that allowed a lot of leg to show.
            I’m sure she zips it down and buttons the jacket for actual business, though. This is for me, a pretty distraction. And it is, too.
            She gestured to the couch opposite of her chair, then to the antique bottle of scotch on the table. It was unopened, which was odd. An older scotch should breathe a little before drinking.
            “It went well?” she asked.
            The question itself was odd, from her. Nikki was the world’s greatest flirt, especially with me, and for something as small as a proxy vote to take that from her was enough for me to pay full attention to the meeting.
            “Ruffled feathers. Confusion,” I said.
            A small smile.
            Silence.
            It stretched on for minutes. I studied her without studying her, resting my eyes on the scotch bottle, but taking in everything about her. But nothing was out of place. She was immaculately made up and dressed, as always. She was more enigmatic, today, sure, but she had spells of that.
            “Right. So I’ll---”
            “Ask,” she cut me off.
            “I don’t care,” I said.
            “Ask, dumpling. For me?” That small smile grew, and I could tell she was proud of herself. She had a scheme, and she wanted to gloat about it.
            So do I appease her or piss her off?

  

Monday, January 7, 2019

M³ Zeus Doesn't Tell


            So Zeus is capable of growth where the other gods are not. Zeus also has his eyes on humanity to be something special. After we factor in Prometheus, Pandora, all the heroes, especially Hercules and Diomedes, the guy has been planning something big. But why is he maneuvering behind the scenes? With Pandora he concocted the idea that it was all a punishment. Why?
He hid his involvement with heroes behind adulterous affairs, playing them off as nothing important beyond them being his children. He didn’t raise them or pay any special attention to them. Why?
Well, as we’ve seen, the Greek gods are pretty petty. They lash out and inflict horrible punishments on mortals for small crimes (poor, poor Teiresias). It’s just who they are. Not only that, they fight amongst themselves. If they’re not lashing out at mortals who committed crimes, they’re arguing with one another . . . and lashing out at mortals in the process. In that respect, they really are a family, as some of the worst fights in history happen inside of families.
Now, you’re Zeus (temporarily, so don’t let the power go to your head or other places) you have a plan. It’s a cunning plan. An intricate, cunning plan involving humanity that will take hundreds of years (maybe thousands), requiring constant nudging in the process. It’s very delicate. At any point, the whole thing could just collapse, and it’s back to square one.
Do you tell your family, who are fond of fighting with one another? Let’s not forget their habit of transforming and punishing humanity on a whim. What are the odds that they are going to think that this intricate, cunning plan is a good idea, especially since it favors what the gods consider to be lesser beings? What are the odds that they would understand this plan in the first place? I mean, I think Athena would get it, but I’m not confident about the others, especially Ares or Dionysus.
He doesn’t have a choice but to hide his plan because the others wouldn’t support it. They would completely screw things up because they can’t get along with one another or because they want to punish humanity. Zeus has to maneuver in unexpected ways, covering his tracks with other actions. In this respect, he’s absolutely brilliant. He disguises the creation of humanity’s role models with his own affairs, creating the illusion that he cannot control himself, that he is a slave to his own passions instead of carefully maneuvering things just right.
Pandora, including all of her godly gifts, will be a punishment to humanity because she’ll let loose the plagues that will ultimately teach humanity to overcome adversity, to rise to any challenge, up to the point that Diomedes can openly challenge gods on a battlefield.


Friday, January 4, 2019

F³ Maneuvers


            I had only made it a couple dozen steps away from the super-secret-clubhouse room in the Fairhaven Club before I felt a hand on my shoulder. I shrugged it off and spun around, fingers pointing at the young man and a hard glare.
            “I’m not one of the staff you go groping, pal. Hands to yourself.”
            He looked shocked for a moment, then became indignant as his partners flanked him.
            “See here, sir. I shall be reporting to Ms. Alexander that you violated—”
            “Shut it,” I said, sick of the man’s speech pattern more than anything else.
            “I voted how I was instructed to vote. You wanna go ahead and squawk to Nikki, feel free, but she’ll be more annoyed with you than me.” My eyes went back and forth to the three of them, all puffed up with righteous indignation. “Probably as annoyed.”
            “As instructed?” One of the men behind said.
            “Why would she . . . ?” Hansen began.
            “We are trying to---”
“I know what you’re trying to do,” I broke in. “And it might be a good idea, but it’s not my call. I voted the way she wanted me to.”
“I don’t believe you,” that was the first guy again.
“Fine. Take it up with her,” I began walking away.
“I shall have you thrown out of this club!”
“Great! Suits me fine!” As I stomped off, a buxom woman tried to take my arm, and I shied away from her.
You know, if those guys really wanted equality, they’d give the staff real uniforms and stop making them act like dolls.
The brunette gave up trying to latch herself to me, but followed a step behind.
I was on my way to the all brass escalator down to the exit when a slim redhead, unique for her lack of bust size, extended a note to me.
Room 8, Dumpling.
The note was in Nikki’s neat hand, and smelled vaguely of roses. I brought the note up to my nose. It was too subtle to be perfume.
I lifted the note, ready to crumple it in my hand, but didn’t. Crumpling it, dropping it, all would have been useless gestures as either the redhead or brunette would scoop it up immediately.
I pocketed the note, but was still prepared to leave the Club when I noticed that the redhead barred my way. She stood directly in front of the escalator. She stood there with a defiant lift to her chin that reminded me of Nikki.
She’s one of Nikki’s. Either hired by her or paid directly by her. I could get by her, but it would probably cause a scene and send stories buzzing through the place. “Oh, did you hear what young Allen did with the staff?” The young idiots would be scandalized and have me thrown out. The old boys would pat me on the back and give me a cigar. And Nikki laughing the entire time.
“Lead the way,” I growled.
I really hate the Fairhaven Club.