Archive for December, 2021

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2021

December 31, 2021

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2021

This is one in a series of posts which I write about once a year. I do this primarily to give my readers some ideas they might use to get more out of their devices. I also think it’s interesting to go back and look at the previous ones, to see how much things have changed. Okay, let’s start a typical weekday in the Life of a Kindleer.

I wake up between about 1:00 and 3:00 AM…usually closer to 1:00 AM, sometimes a little later (but I haven’t slept past 4:00 AM in years). As I explained before it’s not from an alarm or anything, it’s just my habit. I’ve had it checked out medically, and it seems to be fine. Asleep at about 8:15 PM, up at about 1:00 AM…that’s around five hours usually. I also may fall asleep out on the couch maybe around 7 for around half an hour. I used to say in these that I didn’t fall asleep during the day, but I do on days when I’m not working…just short naps.

When I wake up, I pick up my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX 3rd generation, which I’ve been using for about eight years, a (knock virtual wood) considerable testament to an Amazon device’s durability.

I also pick up my Galaxy S10, which is next to the bed, too. It’s there as a back up. There is an alarm set on it for 5:00 AM, but I never use it…I let it go off, mostly as a reminder that it’s getting to that point in the morning, and to let the dogs know it’s breakfast time for them. It used to be because my Significant Other was going to leave then, but my SO has retired.

The other device I pick up is one of the best things I have ever bought! It’s my

iClever folding keyboard (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

It’s a Bluetooth keyboard which has the feel for me of a full-size keyboard. I use it with my phone, which lets me write effectively anywhere. Here’s my article on it:

As a writer who is also on social media, this gadget is my best new tool in years!

I go in the bathroom and do some wake-up things.

I do some reading on my Fire during this. That could be a book, or a magazine. I do about 45 minutes of exercise, floor work. I had a hip replacement coming up on three years, and it was great! Floor work seems to help, though, and I both want to get my exercise in and stretch out the time before the dogs see me so they can sleep later.

I check a series of apps on my phone during that:

  • the Ring app…I love to see if NHAs (Non-Human Animals) have come by the house: almost always cats, but we did have a raccoon come up to the dog door this year (the dogs didn’t notice)
  • Accuweather (I was very disappointed when Dark Sky sold to Apple and they deactivated the Android version of the app…this is the best alternative I’ve found, although I don’t like it as well)
  • AirVisual (we’re in California: I have to check air quality)
  • Twitter
  • a local news app
  • a 24 hour news app
  • Amazon Shopping to see what’s coming…by the way, if you share an account (we do), you can archive orders when you are logged in on a computer. That will keep other people on the account from seeing them accidentally
  • Word Crush (just a game I enjoy playing)
  • My work e-mail & Microsoft Teams (just checking for anything that might change my day plans)
  • Flipboard (that’s not just for myself, but for flipping articles into my free Flipboard magazines, including the  ILMK magazine at Flipboard)

The ILMK Flipboard magazine has tens of thousands of viewers and is at more than 70,000 stories. The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard magazine is well over 275,000 stories…it has a broader scope. Our dogs’ Butterscotch Chaos and Friends magazine has over 100 followers. 😉

I use the Alexa app on my phone to turn on the family room light. That’s a great advantage to having a SmartHome.

Next, I head out to the family room…and one of the dogs gets off the bed to come with me (I love hearing the dog do the shimmy, then land on the floor). The other dog is often already in the family room. They aren’t as habit-based as they used to be as to where they sleep, though.

Our

Echo Show (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

is also in a sort of sleep mode, but still displays the time. I think it senses I’m moving around out there and wakes up. 🙂 I glance at it. I really like what shows up on the display: the first event on my calendar, the weather, but also headlines.

Next, the

Fire TV Cube (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

comes into play. It replaced our Fire TV…and it’s really a big step forward! Since they improved the remote, it’s even more important. I can turn on the TV from the remote…and push a button to mute it. That sounds like a small thing, but I don’t have to whisper to Alexa.

I start with live 24 hour news. Once I feel like I’m caught up on the news, I watch something narrative (a TV show, a movie). We subscribe to Netflix, Hulu (without commercials…well worth a few extra dollars a month), and Disney+. I also watch Tubi and Prime Video. Now how much could I watch? But wait, there’s more! We also have Peacock (I definitely recommend the free tier), HBO Max, and I watch Airy.TV. Since the Roku Channel was recently added, I’m enjoying that! Unlike some of the others, I’d say the interface is very well designed and the video quality is excellent. Yes, that’s a lot of options, but remember that I’m not watching TV without doing something else at the same time. I’ve had people chastise me about watching so much TV (funny, they don’t say that about reading), so I tested it. I didn’t watch any TV for a year, and got nothing more done. So, I can kid people who say that, and suggest they do the experiment of watching more TV for a year and see if they get less done!

Whenever I’m going to head back for my shower, the more intellectual of the two dogs (Elf) has a very cute “trick”, and this is my SO’s favorite thing of the day. I say, “Wake up call!” I open the door, and the dog (all 14 pounds) leaps on the bed and vigorously licks my SO in the face! Update: the other dog now participates. Patty has started a new game. She likes to be lifted on to the bed (she can get up on her own). I go to pick her up and, playing, she scoots a few steps away. She usually does that at least twice, so I get her on third or fourth try. She isn’t running away…just scooting just out of reach.

Eventually, I go back to the bedroom…I do some exercise more there and that’s where I get dressed and such. In that room, we have a

Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*)

and our

Echo Dot (at AmazonSmile*)

I do some more reading while I brush my teeth (which I do for about twenty minutes…I’m pretty obsessive on that).

In the car, it’s the Echo Auto (on sale for only $19.99 as I write this!), which is amazing! I may listen to the news for a bit, but most often, that’s where I’m getting some reading done, through text-to-speech on the device. It’s so nice to be able to just say, “Alexa, read my Kindle book”. The Echo Auto also lets us hear and make phone calls, texts, and get directions. This year, it was super valuable: I was working on a special project for a couple of months, which could have me in the car for three hours in a day.

At work, I use our

Echo Spot (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping)

That’s a great work companion! I often use it to set alarms and timers, for one thing.

On the way home, I’ll listen to more of my book and/or 24 hour news (it’s been a very newsy year, as you know).

When I’m home, it’s back to the Fire TV.

Once I’m actually going to sleep, I read on our

Kindle Voyage (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I’m still re-reading the original fourteen Oz books. When I get to a point in my life when I have more time, I’m planning to write a book inspired by them (I have a few books to write in mind when that change comes), and being thoroughly conversant with them will be important.

That’s basically the weekday routine.

I do want to mention one non-Amazon piece of tech I use every day:

Oculus Quest 2 (at AmazonSmile)

It’s how I do my cardio: at least 30 minutes a day. I don’t eat between breakfast & dinner any more, so I work out at lunch. There’s enough room in my small office and I can really work up a sweat! Many people have commented that I’m in better shape. If they ask what I’ve been doing, I jokingly want to say, “Videogames”. 😉 I warm up with Beat Saber, then use FitXR. After that I use TRIPP, a meditation app, for an 8 minute routine to recenter for work. At home, I may use Supernatural rather than FitXR.

Hope that helps! If you have questions or comments, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :)

Shop ’til you help! :)

Happy bookish birthdays (31 December) to…

December 31, 2021

Happy bookish birthdays (31 December) to…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :)

Shop ’til you help! 🙂

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

Happy bookish birthdays (30 December) to…

December 30, 2021

Happy bookish birthdays (30 December) to…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :)

Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

Happy bookish birthdays (29 December) to…

December 29, 2021

Happy bookish birthdays (29 December) to…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :)

Shop ’til you help! 

Happy bookish birthdays (28 December) to…

December 28, 2021

Happy bookish birthdays (28 December) to…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :)

Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

Happy bookish birthdays (27 December) to…

December 27, 2021

Happy bookish birthdays (27 December) to…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :)

Shop ’til you help! 🙂

Happy bookish birthdays (26 December) to…

December 26, 2021

Happy bookish birthdays (26 December) to…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :)

Shop ’til you help! 

Happy bookish birthdays (25 December) to…

December 25, 2021

Happy bookish birthdays (25 December) to…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :)

Shop ’til you help! :)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

A Kindle Carol, Part 3

December 25, 2021

A Kindle Carol, Part 3

This is part 3 (and the conclusion) of the story that had begun in this earlier post.

It was like being everywhere at once.

Warmth and sorrow, family and fear, here and there…it was all the same.  It seemed to flicker like an old nickelodeon…phft-phft-phft as each smallest split second changed to the next.

At first, Scrooge/Everything couldn’t focus.  It was one rush of feelings, emotions, thoughts, and nothing.  You couldn’t look anywhere in particular because wherever you looked, you saw something else…or was it the same thing?  You (and I) saw yourself (and it) whenever we/they tried.

Eventually (although it happened instantly), Scrooge/Everything became aware of scenes.  Not as things separate from himself or from each other, but as part of existence (and yet, the whole of it).

Scrooge felt the immersion of someone reading a book…how you enter the author’s universe, while still being part of yours.

He was a single mother, a soldier in Iraq, the captain of the high school football team, himself, a surgeon, a small child sleeping on a cement floor with five other siblings, a cat, a dog, a thought, a prayer, a kiss, a tear…a moment.

He became aware of the Cratchit family.  Bob was still at work…we had that meeting tonight.  He felt his (Bob’s?) wife’s resentment, but resignation at the same time.  Two young children, who he knew were the twins, were playing a videogame.  A third tiny youngster shouted encouragement.

“Get him, Robby, get him!”

“I’ll get him, Tim.”

Scrooge knew there was nothing on the screen right then for Robby to get.  He was humoring Tim, who was blind.  His video self fired off a shot at the wall…the TV made the distinctive “pzzoo” sound of the ray rifle.

“Did you get him, Robby?”

“Sure did, Tim!  Sure did!”

The other gamer, a girl named Kelsea, rolled her eyes.  She didn’t really approve of lying, but it made Tim happy to be a part of the game.  She was itching to see the next level, and they weren’t going to have as good a chance of getting there if Robby kept wasting his ammunition charge like that.  Still, she figured it was worth it to see Robby high-five tiny Tim’s outstretched hand.

Buzz!

A voice came through the intercom.

“Mom, it’s me!”

Scrooge knew it was Martha, the oldest daughter.  “I’ll get it!”  Tim ran unerringly to the button and buzzed his sister up the stairs.

“Hey, Double-T!  I got you something!”

“Whatizitwhatizit?”

“Well, the teachers let us out early for Thanksgiving, and Ms. Ramirez dropped me off at the library–”

“Did you get me a book?”

“I did,” Martha said smiling.  “The Scarlet Pimpernel.”

“Oh boy, thanks!  What’s a pimplemill?”

Tim’s mother called from the kitchen.  “Pimpernel.  It’s a flower.”

“A flower?”  Tim was still holding out his hands to Martha.

“Not this Pimpernel, Double-T!  He’s a hero…with a secret identity and everything.”

“Like Daredevil?”

“Even better.  He saves people from the bad guys in old France.  If he didn’t, they’d cut off their heads!”

“Yaaaaay!  I’m going to go listen to it right now!  Thanks, Martha!”

Tim took the box of CDs that Martha slapped into his open hands and ran down to the room he shared with Robby and Kelsea.

“That was nice of you, Martha.”

“Well, Mom, Ms. Ramirez offered to drive me.  Mr. Cho brought turkey in for everybody, so I had enough lunch money left for the bus.  I can probably get one of the other kids to take it back.”

“Mom,” Kelsea said hesitantly, “Latella’s cousin is blind.  They don’t have to get books from the library…he gets all the audiobooks he wants sent to him for free.”

“That’s great, dear.  But to do that, you have to have a doctor certify you as blind as there is a lot of paperwork to fill out.”

Scrooge/Kelsea fell silent.  S/he knew that they couldn’t afford a doctor.  Scrooge/Mrs. Cratchit wished again that Bob had a job with full benefits.  She’d always wondered if little Tim’s eyesight could have been saved if they weren’t just going to the community clinic.  She knew it probably wouldn’t have made any difference, but she couldn’t help wondering.

“Mom, when is Dad going to get here?”

“I don’t know, Robby.  They have that annual marketing meeting tonight.”

“Dumb old Scrooge!”

“That’s Mister Scrooge, Robby…he is your father’s boss, after all.”

“I know.  I just hate that guy sometimes.  Why doesn’t Dad just quit and get a better job?”

“We don’t say hate in this house, you know that.  It’s not that easy, Robby.  It’s a hard time to find work out there.  Besides, your father likes working for Mr. Scrooge.”

Martha pouted.  “I don’t know why.  He treats him like dirt.  He doesn’t pay him anything, and he makes him work all the time.”

“I can’t say I really understand it either, dear, but it’s what your father wants.”

Scrooge suddenly found himself back in his office.  He was just himself again.  He was thinking about Bob, when a dark figure grabbed him by the wrist.

“Wait!  Slow down”

The ghost of tomorrow did not wait…it never does.

“Where are you taking me?”

Scrooge felt himself fall through the floors of the building.  He thudded on to the lobby floor.  Workers went past him, carrying chairs and tables.  They came out of the freight elevator, headed for a big truck on the street.

“Somebody must be moving,” thought Scrooge.

The spirit pointed to where the building receptionist was opening the glass case that contained the directory.  She slid out one of the printed names.

“Spirit, tell me…what is happening?”

The spirit continued to point.  The receptionist walked over to the garbage can where a security guard was standing.

The guard smiled at her.  “Well, that’s it, huh?  They are finally gone.”

“Well, it was only a matter of time, I guess.  I heard on the news that they went bankrupt.”

“Got any news on a new tenant?”

“It’s not that easy to fill a whole floor.  I’m guessing it will be awhile.”

She dropped the laminated name in the silver bin and walked back to her desk.

The spirit led Scrooge to the garbage can.  Scrooge stood, afraid to look inside, afraid at what he might see.

“No, spirit, no!”

The spirit stood, immobile and impassionate.  Scrooge couldn’t help himself…he saw the J. Marley Publishing sign, with the logo of Jacob on it.

“Bankrupt!  It can’t be!  I won’t let it happen!  You…you wouldn’t show me this unless I could do something about it, right?  Jacob said it could change…he said I had a chance if I could learn something!  I’ve learned, spirit!  I’ve learned that books are books, whatever the format!  Its not the paper, it’s the words that matter!  And poor Tim Cratchit, and a million others like him!  We…I can help them!  Please, spirit, please!  Give me another chance!”

“Unca?  Are you alright?”

Scrooge found himself back in his office again.

“You…you’re still here!  The business is still here!”

“Sure it is, Unc.  Geez, how long was I on that phone call, anyway?  So, you want to get back to that meeting?”

“Yes…yes, I do!  Cratchit!”

Bob was surprised to hear his boss yelling.

“Get in here.  No, wait, start some coffee first.  Nephew, tell me about those e-books.  I want to do them…I want to get started right away!  Make sure they have that read-aloud thing…that’s important!”

“Sure, Unc, that’s great!”

“Cratchit…Bob, I’ve decided you are going to get a bonus!”

“Uh..a bonus, sir?”

“Yep!  I’m getting everybody in your family a Kindle!  You tell Tim he can have all the books he wants, and you send me the bills.  When he gets done with The Scarlet Pimpernel, you tell him old Neezy wants to talk with him about it.”

“Yes sir!  Bless you, sir!”

Epilogue

Scrooge was never again troubled with spirits.  Jay-Em e-Romances were a permanent part of the bestseller lists, with the first one in the series  always being offered for free.  Martha Cratchit wrote a few herself, eventually becoming a successful author.  The company thrived, and the Greasy Cat Foundation, with Timothy Cratchit as its Executive Director, became a leader in providing free e-book readers to those in need.

May we all learn from the past, savor the present, and build a future not just for us, but for others.

The End

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog on December 24, 2009.

A Kindle Carol, Part 2

December 25, 2021

This is part 2 of the story that had begun in this earlier post.

“The Greasy Cat!”

The spirit child rippled with laughter at the name.

Scrooge’s eyes grew large, and he shook his head to clear it.  There could be no doubt.  Although it was much smaller than he remembered it, he was seeing the treehouse of his youth.  They had called it “The Greasy Cat” after a secret meeting place in The Scarlet Pimpernel.  While the name, Le Chat Gris actually meant “The Gray Cat”, that had been beyond his level of French at ten years old.  Marley had known that “chat” meant “cat”, and the rest had been a guess.

“But how can it still be standing after all this time?”

The spirit child rippled again.

“It couldn’t be, could it…the house was sold years ago.   This whole area is an industrial park now.”

“Not now, silly head,” said the child.

“Of course!  This is the past.  Oh, the times Jakey and I had up there!  The laughter and the secrets.  I’d love to see the inside again…but my legs are more rickety than that old board ladder.”

There was no whirlwind, just a whisper…like the too loud hsh-hsh-hsh of small children hiding behind a couch.

Scrooge suddenly found himself inside The Greasy Cat.  He thought he would feel claustrophobic, but he didn’t.   The room hadn’t gotten bigger…and he didn’t seem smaller.  In fact, he didn’t seem to be there at all, and yet, it was all perfectly clear.

The only lighting in the room came from a two-battery flashlight with a cracked lens.   If Scrooge needed any more convincing, that would have done it.  He remembered reading so many things with that thin black jagged line across the words.  They pretended it looked like a Z, and that they could use it like a Zorro signal to call that masked defender of the people.  Although there was one night when they would swear they had both heard Tornado’s hooves, Don Diego remained as hidden from them as he had from Sargent Gonzales.

But who was holding the light…

“Jakey!”

“They seek him here,
They seek him there…”

The boy with the flashlight read on, paying Scrooge no heed.

Suddenly, another child’s voice echoed through the gloom in a lightning crack:

“They seek him in his underwear!”

Both kids exploded in raucous laughter, slapping each other and rolling on the floor.

The older Scrooge smiled.   The spirit child became a cloud and whirled around the room, mirroring the boys as they made no attempt to control themselves.

“Oh, I loved that book.”

“Not a book,” said the spirit child sternly.

“Of course it is!  That’s The Scarlet Pimpernel!  That’s why we named the treehouse the Greasy Cat.”

“Comic book.”

“Comic…say, that’s right!  We were reading the comic books!  I remember now.  We would get them at Fezziwig’s.  We used to ride our bikes down there and sneak the comics back under our shirts.  Wouldn’t do to have Dad catch me with a comic, even if it was a classic.”

“Not a real book.”

“They were real to us!  Realer than school, realer than anything!”

“Fake books.”

“Hey, at least we were reading, right?  I might not be what I am today without those comic books.”

The spirit child flew at Scrooge, and for a moment all he could see was a wall of white.

He blinked his eyes and found himself back in his office.

He jumped when a figure suddenly entered the room.

“Hey, Unc…I just need to make one more call…gotta follow up on something with one of the kids.  You know how kids are, right?”

Scrooge’s nephew turned away, his thumbs flicking on the keys.

Left alone in his office, Scrooge gave the question more consideration than it had been meant to deserve.

It had been a long time since he’d thought about children.  Children didn’t buy JMP books.  He didn’t have any kids of his own.  This company had been his life.  When Marley died, he had felt like a single parent.  JMP had been theirs…it still was.  But he had suddenly had to do it all by himself.  They had always divided everything.  It wasn’t as simple as good cop/bad cop, or tough love/tenderness.  They were both tough, and everybody knew it.   They were just tough in different ways.  Marley was tough with people…Scrooge was tough with the numbers.

When he’d been left by himself, he didn’t try to copy Marley.  He couldn’t, there was no point to it.  So, he’d just let that part die along with Jacob.

He missed him now.  He’d know kids.  He’d known what people…all people wanted.

Didn’t Cratchit have kids?  Scrooge thought he did…in fact, he was sure he did.  He’d never met Cratchit’s family…not that he could remember.

“I wish I knew more about them.”

A breeze seemed to cause the potted plant in the corner to wave from side to side.  But it couldn’t be a breeze: there were no windows, and the air conditioning was off.

“Hmph.”

The plant continued to move.  Scrooge smelled that distinctive plant smell, like walking by a park after a rainy day.  The smell terrified Scrooge.

The plant was plastic.

The smell began to fill the room.  It reminded Scrooge of a particularly unpleasant trip, when he had gone to Hawaii for a publishing convention.  He’d always hated travel…meeting with people had been Marley’s part of the deal.  But Marley had been too sick to go…he’d gotten better, that time.

Scrooge coughed and hacked.  Why wasn’t his allergy medicine working?

When he could stand again, he saw that the room was covered in ivy, overgrown in leaves.  They were still growing…flowers sprouted, tendrils twisted around branches.

A man stepped into the center of the room.  At least, “man” was the closest approximation Scrooge’s confused mind could make.  Whatever it was, it was part of the jungle that was all that Scrooge could see.  He couldn’t see where the man started and the plants stopped.

“Ebenezer Scrooge.”

“Are you the second of the spirits?”

“I am here and now.”

“What will you show me?”

“I am here and now.”

The ivy continued to grow and expand.  Scrooge felt it pressing against him, wrapping around him.  He struggled. It covered his face.  He couldn’t breath!  He felt it go through his skin, becoming part of him…or he of it?  Scrooge found it hard to think…his mind was stretched, and the thinner it became the less of him was left.

He fought to control it…control was always how he got through things.

He lost.

To be continued…

The story continues in Part 3.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog on December 22, 2009.


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