Thursday, June 25, 2009

Park City Zombie Apocalypse: Part Four

(You'll want to read in chronological order. Part One here, Part Two here, and Part Three here. Sorry for the lack of timely posting. Family in town + hyper demanding and clingy 3-year-old = tired Kiersten. If it makes you feel any better, I actually had zombie nightmares last night for the first time ever. I blame this story and Carrie Harris.)

"I know they're just up here somewhere," I said to Hot Stuff as we slowly drove up the winding mountain road. Lush green trees on either side obscured the view, making it impossible to see what was coming around each curve. Huge dump trucks kept passing us, heading down the canyon. I hadn't realized there was so much construction in this area.

Suddenly we broke out of the trees. On our right, set off the road several hundred yards, was a series of small, industrial looking buildings. Hot Stuff slowed. "Is that the mine?"

"I don't know. I haven't been here since high school." We both frowned, staring. When I came the mine was a big tourist attraction. These buildings were surrounded by massive chain-link fences topped with razor wire and--electrified? Really?

"It looks like that's a working building or mine or whatever it is." He was right--the parking lot was full. Even though it was only late afternoon, huge flood lights illuminated the entire complex. Several of the big dump trucks we had seen on the way were lined up. Men in biohazard suits pulled bulky things out, then dragged them along the ground into the building I was fairly sure housed the old mine.

"What on earth?" Hot Stuff pointed, squinting. "Are they pulling out--"

He stopped the car and we both stared, stunned, at the bulky shapes we now recognized.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Poetry: The Revenge: The Sequel

Someday I hope to have a title with about five : separating ideas. I could probably have added Redux to this one.

Carrie wanted me to write a poem about what it's like working for The Universe. (In case you didn't know, I'm one of its many personal assistants. Sometimes it sends emails through me.) And, in honor of Carrie's fabulous Haiku Book Reviews, I decided to stick to her format.

Secretary to The Universe

My boss, everywhere
Omniscient, Omnipresent
No faking sick days

It's a tough gig. You'd think I'd get a lot of good karmic pay. You'd be wrong.

Jamie wanted a poem about a little girl learning to swim. Interesting anecdote: I wouldn't set foot in the deep end until...far, far too late for me to feel comfortable admitting it on the blog.

Swimming Lessons

"I'm drowning! I'm drowning! Oh, mom, can't you see?"
Darling, the water comes right to your knee.
"But the deep end! It's scary! I simply won't go."
Then the joys of the diving board you'll never know.
"But what if I trip? What if I fall right in?"
Then it's a good thing you now know how to swim.
"I won't do it, I won't, I'll just--hey, there's my friend!"
And off she goes skipping to the scary deep end.

Alrighty then, that concludes our latest adventures in poetry. I'd have to say the best of this batch was the superhero poem. Some day I promise I'll take more than five minutes to write them.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Yesterday I asked for poem suggestions. The first came from Little Brother, who said, "Write a poem about a sad little boy who wishes so hard that he could fly that he does not even notice his other magical powers."

Dude. That's a short story right there. Still, I'll give it a shot.

"I wish I could fly," Danny said with a sigh,
laser toasting his muffin with beams from his eye.
"Life would be easier, of that there's no doubt."
Using one hand to shift furniture about,
"I'm missing a shoe," he moaned with great inflection.
"In the sky there's no need for dumb foot protection."
He x-rayed the house with his special vision
Saw his shoe, and two cars nearing collision.
Rolling his eyes, his transported outside
And stopped time as he moved each car to the side.
That done, he picked up his shoe from the yard.
"I'm afraid that not flying makes life just too hard.
How can I go on under such circumstances?
I step on poor Sally's feet at all the dances.
One day I'll be special, one day I'll feel good.
If one thing--just one thing--was better, I could."

Man, poor guy.

Lotusgirl requested a poem about a little girl lost in a field or garden of oversized vegetables.

Lulu yawned wearily
eyes blinking blearily
Still, she determined
to greet the day cheerily.

Sat up from her bed
eyes popped in her head
she must be in hell
surely she was dead.

How else to explain
the horror, the pain
of so many green things
she held with disdain.

"It can't be!" she screamed
as around her gleamed
carrots, broccoli, peas
in sizes obscene.

Bigger far than she
veggies she could see
crowding around her
it just couldn't be.

"No, I won't do it!
This nightmare I quit!"
She squeezed her eyes shut
in a petulant fit.

The veggies all sighed
it couldn't be denied
their efforts were wasted
and so the dream died.

Replaced by another
of Lulu's mother
serving her sweet things
until she developed type 2 diabetes and had to deal with that for the rest of her life.

The other two to follow later today, or perhaps tomorrow, depending on how much work I have.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Park City Zombie Apocalypse: Part Three

(You can find part one of the story here; part two, here. Or you can just scroll down, but if you're half as lazy as I am, you won't.)

I screamed, jumping into Hot Stuff before I realized just what the dark shape was. It was a cat--sort of. Someone had taken the initiative to shave it, leaving only a mane, a poofy tail, and furry feet. The rest revealed a rather overweight feline that was, no doubt, as horrified by its owner's odd sense of humor as I was.

It pulled to an abrupt halt in front of us, sniffed the air with as suspicious a look as a cat can manage, and then curled up in a ball and went to sleep.

I jumped again as a young man popped up from behind the counter. His narrowed eyes went from us to the cat, and he nodded as though satisfied of something. "Welcome to Dolly's Books. Can I help you?"

I laughed nervously. This city was weird. "Umm, what's up with the cat?"

"Early warning system."

I frowned at Hot Stuff, but he just shrugged, apparently not getting the joke either. We perused the book store, ultimately deciding on a couple of finger puppets to bring home to the kids. The young man rang us up; his eyes constantly darted to the door and he seemed even more twitchy than I felt.

"Thanks," Hot Stuff said, taking the bag.

The young man nodded grimly, and bid us farewell with a muttered, "Good luck."

Back out on the street, I took Hot Stuff's hand. "Is it just me, or is this place strange?"

He nodded. Then, being Hot Stuff, he started laughing. "It feels like a zombie apocalypse movie or something. Like at any moment zombies will come boiling out of the empty stores, or crest the top of that hill."

I laughed with him, trying to ignore the nervous pit in my stomach. He was exactly right. When he jokingly started talking strategies for when the zombies came, I grasped his hand tighter and paid attention--just in case.

A small restaurant was open, and we ducked in. "Excuse me," I said to the hostess, who had quickly stashed something behind her back when we walked in. "We wanted to find the silver mines, but they aren't listed on any maps."

Her eyes went wide. "The silver mines?" she whispered.

We nodded.

"You don't want to go there."

To be continued...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Park City: Zombie Apocalypse Part Two

(Read part one here.)

Hot Stuff and I found a parking spot in a nearly empty lot, then walked over to Park City's Main Street, holding hands.

"Gosh, there's no one here," I mused. We walked up the street for a while, finding to our dismay that most of the shops were closed. A mall-type center advertised tourist information, so we went inside.

Instead of bright lights and bustling (or if not bustling, at least populated) stores, we found the whole building dim, barely lit. Metal grills were pulled down over most of the store fronts, giving the entire place an almost sinister feeling. The escalators, silent and stilled, lead to a second level shrouded in shadow. I shivered as we walked, feeling unseen eyes looking down on us.

I was being silly.

The tourist information center was abandoned. Neat rows of pamphlets and advertisements lined the side, so we perused and took the most promising of the bunch. We had our hearts set on visiting the silver mine, where Hot Stuff's great-grandpa had worked, but oddly enough not a single pamphlet even mentioned it. I glanced up at the chalkboard behind the empty desk. A single handprint disturbed the layer of dust--perfect at the top and then dragged down, as though someone had grabbed the chalkboard and then been pulled away.

Were those faded brown spots on the linoleum floor beneath the chalkboard what I thought they were?

"Let's go back out to the street," I said, frowning. I didn't like this building. Just as we opened the door, I thought I heard one of the store grills rattling. Shaking my head, I braced against the chill that even late May couldn't erase from the mountain air. I needed a happy store.

"Hey, there's a bookstore," Hot Stuff said, pointing across the street. We walked over, both of us moving quicker than normal. Three of the doors were locked, and my heart fell. Was nothing open? Then, to my relief, we found the main entrance. We pulled open the door and a dark shape streaked across the floor toward us, inhumanly fast.

I screamed.

To be continued...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Park City: Zombie Apocalypse

Hot Stuff and I had been looking forward to this trip for months. For the first time in the five years since we had kids, we'd be spending more than eighteen hours away from them. Together. It was going to be heaven.

Or so we thought...

We couldn't believe the deal we found on a gorgeous lodge just outside of Park City, Utah. Two nights for the price of one--it was like they were luring us out there or something. We pulled off the freeway to a fantastic view. The lodge, dark gray and weathered to perfection, stood out in the broad green valley overlooking a reservoir. Driving around, we found the underground parking.

There were no cars.

"That's funny," we mused to each other. I wondered if we were in the right place, but there were no other parking areas, so this had to be it. We unloaded our suitcase and got in the elevator.

The doors opened to reveal a rustic, tastefully decorated lobby area, all leather and natural woods. It was easy to picture this place on a cold night, filled with readers, talkers, drinkers, their cheeks still holding the day's chill in rosy spots. But apparently mid-May didn't have the same lure; no one was there.

Two women, a blonde and a brunette, stood at the desk, speaking in nervous, low tones with each other. They didn't ask for our names when we walked up--clearly they had been expecting us. As they entered our information, they shot us darting looks. There was something strange in their eyes. Guilt? Why would they feel guilty?

They handed us our key cards and bid us a good stay.

"What about breakfast?" I asked. The lodge had advertised a continental breakfast, but with how dead things looked around here I suspected that was only a winter feature.

"Your breakfast," the blonde whispered. I frowned. Funny how I'd never noticed that your and you're sound just the same when people say them.

The brunette shook her head, giving the blonde a sharp glare. "We don't offer breakfast in the off season," she finished.

No wonder they looked guilty. Maybe the lodge wasn't such a good deal, after all. There was nothing to be done about it though. We found our room. The entire place was eerily quiet--maybe it livened up at night.

To be continued...