Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The phrase we dare not speak!

Is it a real memory or a false memory? I am almost convinced it’s a real memory: that in the former era of my youth people would dare to say it aloud. And it was fairly common:

“I don’t know.”

Is anyone still reading? Or did I scare everyone away with these most vulgar of words?

I’m sure it used to happen over and over again. One person would ask a question. “What does a hen weigh?” or “Do you know what time the bus comes?”

And the other person would say “I don’t know.” And as astounding as it seems, this was socially acceptable. The first person would appreciate the second person’s honesty, and then immediately get on with their life, and pursue the course of action appropriate to this not-unexpected circumstance, the inquirer seeing oneself as a mentally competent individual capable of proceeding with their endeavour in a manner independent of the missing link, or else with another plan for discovering it.

As with other antiquated norms, I am not eager to let this go. I still like to think that it’s okay to ask a quick question on the chance that my associates might know the answer, before proceeding to Google if they don’t, or making due without the errant factoid. I am not ready to make Google my bestest friend.

But this rarely goes well. It seems to have become unbearable in this culture of (mis)information-bombardment to appear as less than all-knowing. And so “I don’t know” situations turn into a lengthy charade where the questioned imagines they see beyond the question and insists on solving an imaginary version of the problem, and then the asker must humour the asked so as to coddle a fragile ego, and no one gets to get on with their life.

“Oh - uh - you should bend your knees to pick up the hen.”

“Right, yeah. Well I don’t actually need to pick one up…”

“You could always put the hen on the bus instead of shipping it. It’s one price for the bus. It doesn’t matter what it weighs.”

“Well, I wasn’t really going t-”

“Or just ship it while it’s young, before it gains much weight.”

“Okay…. Thanks.”

I still tend to say “I don’t know” when I don’t know, and trust that the inquirer will not die from awkwardness, and that they feel welcome to ask further questions on the subject if there is still a chance I can be useful.

I may be alone on this but I still insist: It’s okay not to know everything.

Okay. Thanks for listening to my little rant. You can go get on with your life now.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Growing up

I am so old that my life can now be conveniently measured in centuries. This week I officially turned .5 centuries old. And I feel like it. Though I seem to remember youth as though it were very recent, I have felt old for years now. In physical terms this age brings growing hardship. In terms of emotional health it is a comfort.

My older friends are aghast when I report being old and they insist that no, I am young. But I cannot abide their optimistic view. They seem to imagine that they are still young and that all these physical ailments are some cruel offence against us. But of course we are old. These wonders of technology and medical wizardry are a perversion to natural life (for which I am grateful!) and so of course they come with costs. These tricks prolong life but not youth. We are a race of elderly. Of course we should expect to suffer. Unfortunately there is no fairness to it. I have suffered less than my share while others whom I love have suffered more. When my dues finally mature I only hope to make peace with my own ills.

Meanwhile this milestone comes at a convenient juncture. As the many symptoms of my own neglect ramp up and finally weigh so heavily that I am truly moved toward self-improvement, so does this 50-year marker remind me how little I have accomplished in terms of the outer purpose I so easily recognized for myself years ago. I seem to have taken the easiest, most optimistic approaches to this goal, expecting myself to have the ability to successfully communicate when the moment calls for it, and for others to easily catch on, and perhaps most significantly: for others to make the rare assumption that I actually possess (or may possess) the rare insights I hint at.

Well this all has to go.

I have toyed with many organizational structures for documenting my learning and many attempts at writing THE BOOK. I have tried it as biography and other forms of non-fiction and also as eclectic collections by different themes and structures. No attempt has lasted long.

Recently I believe I may have realized finally what angle I should approach it from, which I intend to explain later. 

Aqualad told me recently that teaching is a good way to learn, and I get that. I am thankful for that reminder and reinforcement. And this, after I confessed my own doubt in being a teacher to him, for the reason that it might - it might - be fair to say that the program I dared to teach is one that I have not truly graduated from myself.

The first step toward everything; a program for others, a one-off problem solving tool for others, a book that “the world” might need to hear, and perhaps most important of all: a written “proof” behind my condition; a consolidation for my own confidence, was completed - oh - more than a decade ago. And still I have not taken the obvious second step! Which is to flesh out the framework; the complex hierarchy, into a proper outline. To assemble all the math, in other words.

Why have I avoided this so long! Subconscious fear? Laziness?

I have to do this. And I realize that this is probably a test. If I do it - and I must - I will appreciate a result. Maybe I will be reinforced and emboldened. Or maybe I will fail and fall into doubt, and turn to some other outer purpose.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019


I’m noticing, over the last few days, how increased mindfulness (or wakefulness etc.) doesn’t only avail wisdom but also the simplest intelligence. I have had many meetings and social engagements lately and have been a little more on the ball and have noticed how much clearer I see the relationship dynamics without the nigglings - the wisps - of pride and paranoia twisting my perception. All these relationships look so much more joyful, beautiful and worthwhile and full of possibility through detached observation.

The word detachment seems to scare people off though. I’m talking about perception that is without these false filters of need; dependency; expectation. I find this hard to describe. For me it comes through organic trust in the lessons I have learned, first-hand, about the illusions spun by instinctive mind. For me detachment has no negative connotations. It is not about lack of love, for instance. In fact it avails so much more love.

I’m sure that Tolle or Buddhist literature would describe a different path for finding this detachment; a path or paths which I seem to have forgotten precisely. I recall these readings too dimly at the moment. For me it came through the habit of creative solitude and a bottomless fascination for truth; or more accurately it turned out, the absence of truth and the forensic study of its displacement. It is why, in my more powerful state of former years, I was strong in leveraging influence; nudging people more toward creativity, before I began faltering and eventually withdrawing, more intentionally of late.

I am reminded the advantages of clarity when one is not so self-interested in the dynamics of relationships. It is enough that we are all alive, human and imperfect together, and taking on this great drama together, as witnesses to the universe, and to our own potential as a creature of harmony; both internal and collectively.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Friends and neighbours

I took Aqualad out for lunch at the Great Old German restaurant; his favourite Scooterville eatery where it is decidedly uncorporate. Large portions. Barely marked-up wine. We tackled the Plate for Two which I will describe only as a mound of exciting food over a thick giant schnitzel on a platter on a hot plate set between us. We are accomplished Pro Devourers though both on self-improvement courses and less indulgent than usual. I insisted he take the leftovers home.

It’s funny. The task of writing is much more than a report of what has been on your mind. The very act produces new thoughts. It is an invaluable act of reflection; of internal conversation. And here at this moment I am realizing that he reported (let it slip?) that he’d been present there two weeks ago. That makes sense as it was his birthday at the time. By coincidence that would have also fallen just after my first proposal that I take him there as a reward for surviving his dental surgery and flu combination. Which means that… not only was I not invited to his birthday dinner for the first time in years, but I was very deliberately not invited.

Strange perhaps that I don’t feel especially hurt. I am accustomed to thinking of them as my second family and that, clearly has become an indulgence worthy of embarrassment so I will stop.

I have seen Earth Writer and Dog Whisperer only twice in the last half year; Aqualad three times now, and his delightful girlfriend zero.

There were awkward moments at the cottage last summer and I’m confident that there were complete misunderstandings about matters of no real consequence to me. If their cooling stems from only that, then that is a tragic mistake. And if it stems from more than that, which I assume it must, then I am at a complete loss. I am blissfully unaware of whatever failings I have perpetrated, at least in terms of friendship. But failings have been a theme for me for some time now. No reason to assume they should all have fallen onto my own radar.

The greater tragedy is that Aqualad (if I understand correctly) is in essence turning down the greatest gift a human being could receive for reasons that do not sound sincere but might be. I think it more likely that he is humouring me; managing me; not wanting to say that he has no reason to believe in me.

And it’s true there is no reason to believe in me; no reason for anyone to. I look for opportunities to help those I love and those who demonstrate the rare mental fortitude in the rare and vital realms that I have advance experience in. But I did not graduate from that rare academy. I got close and then backed away. Or did I flunk out perhaps?

Aqualad cannot possibly have much understanding of what he is turning down. We’ve discussed it far too little. But a close bond remains between us it seems. And there is no deadline. Whatever I do manage to accomplish when I break out of this fucking cocoon, may change his regard for me, and in the mean time I will look for opportunities to nudge him in useful directions as opportunities arise.

Not that our dynamics are a motivator for me now. What motivates me is honestly just between the universe and I. And the universe, I must remember, is not ours to command. We can only offer our best advice and then let causality do what it must.

It really is surprising though, that I don’t feel especially hurt. I would have expected to be.

At the core of my “2019 resolution” whether it shows between the lines or not, is the intention to be mindful. Perhaps already I am.

I returned home from our German smorgasbord, parked afar, and walked; exercised. I heard my next-door neighbour’s door opening, a usual precursor to awkward endearments; a fantasy that this perversion called suburbia is some sort of community. But I found myself looking eagerly, and it was the man who emerged and he wore a great smile. My own was immediate. We traded happy comments on the lovely mild weather. Mine were sincere and I’ll assume his were too. Then as I turned up the drive way the lady appeared. “I can’t believe it’s 2019 already!” she said.

“I know,” I said, then sincerely: “Time is cruel.” She laughed. I smiled.

Maybe it is some sort of community.


Friday, January 04, 2019

Dispatches from the Social Assistance Office

Red-faced old man (barking directly through the people he’s talking about): “That’s pretty rude of them speaking another language right in front of us! They can understand us but we can’t understand them! Who knows what they’re saying about us!”

Younger man across the way: “Doesn’t bother me any.”

Red-faced old man: They don’t give a shit about us!

So sadly, this is the second time such an episode occurred here. I have now sought clarification and learned that it is my place to inform such complainants of this inclusive government institution’s policy on language and also on the matter of bullying and how to go about not getting escorted off the property - in my firm and friendly, persuasive happy way...

I don’t look forward to this likely occurrence but I certainly won’t hesitate to act.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Red Herring!

So here is the game board for the game I’m just finishing up. It’s called Red Herring and it’s going to be awesome! Much fun I’m sure.

The images are from my collection of 700+ cartoons I drew over a two-year period playing Eat Poop U Cat online. They just provide colour basically and generally fit the theme. It should have occurred to me years ago to make use of these now-orphaned cartoons in some of the games I make. Given the weirdness of the cartoons, generally, I could easily put together a Dixit adaptation.

The board is simply a scoring track which the players (from 3 to 12) will move their tokens along. The large central-ish panel is just the right amount of space to hold the THING cards, the Red Herring cards, the LOLnuts and Fish Chips. In hindsight I should have left space between the scoring paths instead of just a thicker black line. It would have looked clearer that way. I continue to learn from mistakes.

Production came together quickly considering I had to brainstorm 200 question cards (such as “What’s locked in your basement?” or “What did you go back in time to capture?”) and 200 red herring cards (such as “Satan” or “My achy breaky heart” or “Cream of Sum Yung Guy”). Luckily I have a head flooded with trivial nonsense (and the odd nugget of brilliance!).

I’m eager to test it.

The game I mean; not the brilliance.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

The projects

I'm sorry for cluttering this blog with all my housekeeping. These recent articles are really only here to help me get my head on straight:  

So here’s me trying to finally take the advice received for more than a decade from several close associates who work in the project management realm and are probably really good at it. This is my attempt to organize my project goals so as to work on them one at a time and get them completed. Something tells me I might not be doing this exactly right:

Priority: Crazy Legs
Back Burner: 7 miscellaneous
Shelved Indefinitely: 7 miscellaneous

Priority: The Million Dollar Maple (Y-A)
Back Burner: 1 project
Shelved Indefinitely: 2 projects

Priority: The Hoot’n'Nanny collection (11 stories)
Back Burner: 1 story

Priority: The Universal Perspective (poetic compendium - working title)
Back Burner: various climate essays

Priority: 7 miscellaneous projects
Back Burner: 8 miscellaneous projects

Priority: Zinger, Red Herring, Family Dysfunction, Prestige, Mornington Crescent, List It
Back Burner: 13 miscellaneous

Priority: Quantify
Back Burner: 8 miscellaneous
Shelved Indefinitely: 1

Back Burner: “Crosswords for Hipsters, Beatniks and the Criminal Fringe” (working title!) 26 complete

Back Burner: 2 projects

Back Burner: “astrology” project, GoFundMe project, 3 stand-up routines

Priority: “Minerva” as DM
Back Burner: 2 enterprises as player
Shelved Indefinitely: 2 projects

I hesitate to include this because these are much more than projects. These are relationships. These are real people. I include them because realistically I must budget my time and organizational attention for them just as I budget for everything else:
Priority: Guitar Man, Lonely Lumberjack, Theatre Guy, Soul Man, Grampa Munster
Back Burner: 5 projects
Shelved Indefinitely: 1 project  

Priority: 2 “clients”
Back Burner: 1

Priority: 4 projects 

32+ projects on Back Burner!

This is all a brief summary drawn from a master spreadsheet full of details. I have now added columns for importance and urgency which feed the aggregate priority column, which… will now tell me what to do?

If anyone actually skimmed through all this, I wonder what you’re thinking. Am I nuts?

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

The Plan

Here, in quick form, is the plan for 2019. I share it here because it is here where I intend to track my performance and here where I shall suffer embarrassment (in theory) when I fail. We’ll find out if that works at all as a motivator:

  • eat according to plan
  • exercise
  • meditation
  • progress on sleep project
  • progress on diet project (as negotiated with dietitian)
  • read
  • write
  • progress on priority projects per schedule*
  • reward: Mindcrack: if all work up to date. Otherwise, none.
  • bed when required or when tired; whichever comes first.

  • 5 blog articles (short and sweet)
  • 4 sessions Poetic Process (“Enlightenment for Dummies”?!?) (of late I have definitely been a qualified dummy)
  • 2 sessions D&D Minerva revision/preparation
  • community work per schedule
  • publish report card

*priority projects… this is a giant prioritization process I have to wrap my head around next. I will devise a strategy and publish here soon.

Can I do this? I firmly believe it is functionally possible. Let’s see what happens.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Why 2019 will be a great year...

… or else disastrous. I’m fairly sure it will be one or the other.

Here’s 2018 at a glance:
  • celebrated somewhere between ten and fifteen good night’s sleeps
  • was tired and/or dazed almost every waking-ish moment.
  • made about a dozen good decisions and at least ten thousand noticeably bad ones.
  • got fatter, pushing the limits of available affordable clothing. Even the shockingly outrageously expensive fat guy stores are growing a little doubtful when I squeeze through their door.

  • I much enjoyed the constant servicing of my first undoubtedly real addiction - every single day as far as I recall, which, by the way, I imagined that I could actually give up any semblance of a healthy life in exchange for. Yes, I could actually imagine (not desire but imagine) giving up all my creative projects (roughly 150 active projects on file!), plus all my goals plus all my friends in exchange for a life immersed in my addiction, and this without any sense of alarm at all. This strikes me as a useful test by the way: if this can be imagined without alarm. This thing is not a secret by the way but I wish to reveal it in a more useful way than this, and soon. For now, I seek brevity.
  • My mobility has reduced drastically and my volume of employment and financial functionality likewise.
  • I have been entirely scattered in my pursuits and badly unproductive. I started many new projects and finished a couple. 
  • I have made little net progress taking back my bedroom from the storage room it ruthlessly evolved into.
  • I have been almost entirely unmindful; unconscious; instinctive; spiritually asleep.
  • I have been mostly without pity and with feelings closer to contempt or disdain for these creatures of society who surround and resemble me so much.
  • I have let many close personal relationships suffer, and felt unwisely grieved over some which I covet too dearly.
  • I have also made valuable, unlikely new friendships.
  • Somewhat surprisingly this year I have received more support, and commitment to keeping me working - at sites I can handle - from my employer. The prospects look good for 2019 if I can keep my mobility from slipping further.

Causality is so profoundly simple in nature but so uncontainably complex in its networks that we imagine it to be something other than what it is, so as to indulge in vain fantasies of the why and the blame… but I can trace some generalities: Lack of sleep and lack of mindfulness both hover near the centre of this great mess, like two galaxies converging into chaos, and I am finally at the point where I can more than just identify the most useful initial battlefields should I take an interest in living again, before (in some ways) it is too late. I am at the point, very recently, where I imagine the addiction contained in its place and imagine the specific tinkerings of a comprehensively healthy life, and it all looks and feels good to me. Not just that the rewards look good to me but the path looks good to me. It looks difficult and doable and satisfying. If I was prone to that thing called hope it would be applicable here.

Something really seems to be happening to me now, and I aim to share it here, for I have felt for some time that the real purpose of this blog, should it ever mature, is to document my struggle; that which regards my inner purpose. Though I intend to go on sharing my outer purpose amusements as well. I expect 2019 to be a busy year for us, dear blog. I dare to intend to visit daily.

Okay… five times a week?

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Merry Dismas

“Merry Dismas,” I said to the old-time-crook-turned-volunteer-over-the-years, as I arrived at the church. Dismas by the way, (we are told) was the thief on the cross who asked Jesus to remember him.

Soon I was reminded of two of the core talents of this large motley crew of ex-cons and the parishioners and other weirdos who find the time and wherewithal to fall into their lives (or too often the facsimiles thereof) in the interest of community safety (in the interest of basic humanity is more like it): Which are… cooking and singing! The meal was perfect, tender and tantalizing and the notes, pitch and acoustics which followed, upstairs in the sanctuary were… damn fine. I closed my eyes, sealed my lips, ignored the lyrics for the most part and just.. savoured.

After all had filtered out except for Soul Man, the High-Flying Dutchman and myself, the Dutchman indulged himself with the grand piano. His home model is an upright. I relayed the sad state of my slow dysfunctional explorations into classical music and was rewarded with a lively and wickedly effective demonstration of the basic differences between Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Schubert and Chopin, as I leaned over the bouncing strings and hammers, really feeling them and realizing that I really need to scrap these classical collections with their random moments and actually sink my teeth into one composer at a time. And from what I heard, I knew I had to go straight for Bach. I’m exploring now; starting with organ pieces; some of them of the “fugue” persuasion. Probably not the right starting point. Oh well.

This Dutchman fellow always intrigues me. He’s super-well read, a clear thinker, smooth talker. I hope to see more of him but I did not propose this last night. I am not currently brimming with confidence that my company is much desired by others at this time. Perhaps I will try to get some of my shit together. It's resolution season after all.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

A New Dope Part 8 of 8


“Goodbye RB little buddy!” cried CIBC looking up at the rear of the rebel X-wing fighter where RBC had been installed atop the aft thruster. “Don’t be a hero! Keep your pretty head low!” RBC whooped, bleeped and trumpeted and spun his head a few hundred revolutions within fifteen seconds. “I’ll save you some biscuits!”

“You all ready RB?” called Captain Fluke as he approached. RBC twittered, tweeted and chirped.

“He says don’t get him killed, you cocky stuffed turkey,” said CIBC.

“No he didn’t,” said Fluke. “I’ve been studying his language manual and I’m pretty sure he said Get me out of here. This gold-plated automaton is a giant bore.”

“Damn,” said CIBC sadly, his head hanging down.

“I’m just kidding CIBC!” Fluke exclaimed. “I can’t understand robot language!”

“But that’s exactly what he said!”

“Dude,” said Fluke. “You robots are both heroes. You’ll go down in history! Be proud of yourself, CIBC!”

“I am but it’s true. I’m ever so boring.”

“Okay, I don’t have time to play cybertherapist. See you on the flip side, Goldie!”

“Not if you’re dead.”

“AdiĆ³s! Get out of the way now! When I blast off I don’t want to melt you!”

Fine. Be that way.” He departed while Fluke closed himself into the cockpit and chose some pretty switches to flick off and on.

MOMENTS LATER… Flyswatter’s fighter emerged into the star-speckled battlefield of space where he joined the blue squadron and red squadron who were amusing themselves with a grand-scale game of capture the flag, X-wing style. “Follow me, boys!” cried Flyswatter, and off they sped toward the Great Imperial Bowling Ball.

“Who died and made him the boss?” came the voice of Ace Fantasmo over the space radio.

“Probably that old fart Ben Kablooey pulled some strings,” said Kentucky Detox. “He got himself a big reputation like a hundred years ago or something and they been treating him like royalty ever since.”

“Um, guys?” said Flyswatter. “We can hear you.”

There was an uncomfortable silence as the great rebel dope fleet sailed the galactic space currents toward their ominous destination.

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE BOWLING BALL… The dark chihuahua mask peered over the shoulder of ensign Hertzel at the space monitors which tracked two squadrons of approaching dope fiends.

“Shall we fire up the tractor beam and suck them all in?” asked Hertzel.

“Negative,” wheezed Dark Gaydar darkly. “We will launch a bevy of fighters upon them as they arrive. I myself will pilot a pie fighter just for poops and giggles. I shall serve them up a few slices of whoop-ass.”

SOME FUTURE MOMENT IN TIME… For the second time in a week the Great Bowling Ball loomed in the space sky before a nervous Fluke Flyswatter. “Here we go,” he said, he glanced left and right to take in the view of all his co-fighter boys and girls and take a dose of courage… but they weren’t there!

“What the-! Where did everyone go!” RBC buzzed and chittered. He looked in his rear view mirror and suddenly realized that the whole company were flying in single file behind him. “What are you goofballs doing!” cried Flyswatter. “Quit clowning around!” RBC suddenly whooped and whistled and Fluke realized that dozens of pie fighters were streaming out of the pie hole. “Oh no!” cried Fluke. “Boys, this is not the formation that Fish Sticks designed! What the hells are you all doing!”

“Uh, you said to follow you,” said Hot Dog Diggity over the radio.

“That was just an expression! Get back to the plan! Jeebus!”

The train of fighters began immediately to fan out but already Fluke was drawing a lion’s share of attention. Laser blasts reigned down on him as he tried to make evasive maneuvers. The ship was struck multiple times and hiccupped violently but held together. But Fluke’s helmet was dashed against the dash and rung his bell, leaving the boy stunned momentarily.

RBC meanwhile shrieked and squealed. He was on fire as were numerous bits and pieces of the ship. RBC whipped out his inspector gadget fire hose and blew white powder at each unauthorized flame, safely putting out each fire. And then he went silent and limp.

“Oh my gord what am I doing here!” murmured Luke aloud. “Why did I ever toast my home and my relatives! This sucks! And my laser assist module is deactivated! How am I going to shoot anyone!”

“Use the force, Fluke,” came the voice of Opie Wan Ben Kablooey like magic.

“Ben, is that you!”

“Of course. I’m in the back seat.”

“Oh wow! I didn’t even know!”

“I think you hit your head too hard,” said Ben.

“Welcome aboard Ben! Hey you want a drink or some peanuts? We got a flight attendant on board! That’s my pal RBC back there!’

“Yes, I know,” said Ben.  We’ve all been hanging out the last week. We’re well-acquainted.”

“Oh okay. Ahhh, what are we doing here again? This seems like a bad idea, coming back here.”

“Fluke, listen to me,” said Ben calmly. “Make your way to the poop chute at the rear of the bowling ball and shoot down every pie fighter that gets in your way!”

“We don’t like the pie fighters,” said Fluke.

“That’s right. We don’t like the pie fighters.”

“And they don’t like us?”


“Okay then. Fluke veered off and began circling the great dark orb…

MOMENTS LATER… “Hey there’s a lone pie fighter back here,” said Fluke. “Almost like he’s been waiting for us.”

Ben frowned at the cosmos. “That’s not just any pie fighter, Fluke. This one is especially dangerous.”

Fluke began firing laser blasts. “Hey, I can’t aim for shit, Ben! What’s going on!”

“Your targeting mechanisms have re-purposed to serve the pellet insertion, Fluke. You will need to use the f-”

“The what!” cried Fluke.

“The pellet insertion! Remember!” The boy continued spraying lasers everywhere. ‘Fluke, we cannot win this battle this way. You need to use the FORCE!”

MEANWHILE about a space mile away the Dark Vader accelerated toward the lone X-wing fighter. “I have you now, Flyswatter! Right where I want y- Oh shit!” a random laser blast struck Gaydar’s pie fighter right smack on it’s obsidian nose, sending it in to a helpless roll. Gaydar was sent somersaulting helplessly into the void of space. “Damn everything,” he huffed. “I never should have had unprotected sex with that woman.”

Flyswatter drew up tight to the Great Ball’s slick dark surface. Any enemy fire which missed him was sure to strike their own mother ship! He tried to activate the poop chute finder but something was wrong. “RB, check the targeting systems please! Something is askew!”

But RBC was blackened and silent.

“RB! RB!” Fluke cried.

“Fluke,” said Ben.

“It’s okay, Ben. He slips into sleep mode after 10 minutes of inactivity. I just have to give the mouse a jiggle.”

“I’m sorry Fluke,” said Ben. “Not this time. RB cannot help you now. You will have to-”

“I know, I know! Use the force! Give it a rest, will ya?”

Ben shrugged as the boy studied the Great Ball’s surface, looking for poop clues. “I think I see it!” he cried. Suddenly laser blasts shot by him on one side, then the other. “Gods dang it!” he cried, praying to find the chute before he got blown to smithereens. Ben meanwhile prayed to the Force.

Suddenly there was an explosion behind him as his pursuer met with smithereen fate ahead of Fluke.

“Got him!” came a familiar voice over the radio. “You’re all clear now kiddo!”

“Hand!” cried Fluke. “Hand, is that you! How many back seats does this thing have!”

“I’m in the Aluminum Fulcrum kid! I came back to help you out because I thought maybe there would be another reward! Wait! No! I mean, because I care about you guys and everything!”

“You’re awesome, Hand! I can’t wait to hug you when all this is over!” and kick you in the gonads… he said under his breath. “There it is! The poop chute!” Fluke grinned wildly and bore down upon it.

“Kid, what are you doing!” said Hand.

“Fluke?” said Ben.

“I’m going in!” cried Fluke.

“You won’t fit!” cried Hand. “Insert the package and then pull away!”

“Oh damn,” said Fluke. He noticed that one of his pretty buttons had a little sticky note stuck to it with the word “insert” scrawled on it. The chute rushed at him! He smacked the button and pulled up with all his might.

And the Great Bowling Ball… would never strike again. It blew up real good.


Back at the rebel base there was a great celebration. They drank beer and champagne. They smoked marijuana - but only for medicinal or recreational purposes, and they played space monopoly and lawn darts and TV tag.

Later RBC was fully repaired and he joined the party and organized a Play Day tournament for everyone. He and CIBC and Fluke and Hand and Chewie were all on the same team. They kicked ass, especially at the egg carrying event and the one where you have to dig your shoes out of a pile and be the first team with your shoes put back on. CIBC set the new record at this event because he simply detached and re-attached his entire feet, which he and RBC had been practicing for a whole year.

Princess Louise handed out first place medals to everyone on the team and there were much applause. Fluke looked around for Ben but he was nowhere in the crowd. For the ghost of Ben Kablooey had finally satisfied his destiny, and he returned to the grave to rest in peace.

TO BE CONTINUED in Episode V: THE EMPIRE BOWLS A STRIKE…! (Yeah, probably not.)