Tales of Eversparkle: Chapter 1, Book 1, Volume 15


Mandy washed ashore. The sun roused her awake gently like a mother’s kiss. Her graduation robes were covered in a strange sparkling sand. When she looked closer it appeared as though each grain was a tiny diamond that shimmered brilliantly in the warm light. She slowly got up on her knees and looked around pleasantly dazed. She let the sounds of the sea wash over her, the seagulls’ cry, the waves lullaby, and the sound of a gentle breeze as it passed through coastal trees. She closed her eyes and almost fell back asleep.

“Heavens! This isn’t the place for a princess to be slumbering. Unless you are under some witchery. Come now, we mustn’t tarry long, these are shores of the Poison Eaters.”

Mandy gazed up at a handsome stranger with blond hair. He was clad in golden armor from head to toe and rode a white horse. She knew instantly who it was from her days spent reading. It was Prince Chad Goldwind, of the rich and illustrious Goldwind Kingdom of Eversparkle. A sharp realization hit her like an arrow to the head. She was in the book. She was somehow sucked into the book.

“I’m in the book! Just like how Julia got magically transported there in volume one!” she shouted out at the horsed man.

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Tales of Eversparkle: Preface

The library is like a tomb for memories, thoughts, and ideas. In these books stories were embalmed in ink and sepulchred from cover to cover. Then, like any medieval crypt, they were stored away in shelves packed with bones, each with a brief effigy and number to date their inscrutable existence.

Mandy always hovered around a certain area of the library. She flocked there like a hungry pigeon, pecking away at the old pages like stale crumbs. It was the fiction section of the library, to be more specific, books of the fantasy genre. Mandy fell in love with the worlds and people contained in those dusty graves. They shimmered in her mind like some far off mirage, the twinkling of a city over the sea, warped by so many mists.

Until that day.

Mandy had rushed to her sacred haunt with tears in her eyes. It was graduation day and she was expected to be walking across that narrow podium to receive her degree that very moment. Only the idea of graduation didn’t sit well with Mandy. Her heart and mind were buried so deep in these fantastical realms that the idea of real life terrified her. Gradation was a painful ritual, she thought, something that forever marked you as different, as a person who now is left to the whim of the cruel fate of adulthood. She reached for her favorite book series, “Tales of Eversparkle”. The band was playing the perfunctory graduation song outside. She could vaguely hear its garish clamorings. When she opened the book she could almost hear her name being called from the podium.

“Mandy Beezul”

A single crystalline tear fell from her eye and onto the first paragraph. Where it should have simply sunk into the page it instead began to form a small pool. Mandy stared in disbelief. The teardrop grew and grew and began to swirl around the page like a small whirlpool. Soon the text itself was caught up in the eddies of this strange prismatic pool. She could read the words ‘Mandy fell into the book,’ begin to reorder themselves on the page. Then, like a geyser, the pool exploded into a growing rainbow-kissed ocean. The waters filled the aisles of the library, washing away the books as their pages disintegrated into the bubbly flood.

And young Mandy Beezul was carried far far away on these strange tides.


The Biggest Bubble

Here a story I wrote some time ago when I was a young lad…   it’s weird and boring.


The Biggest Bubble


            There was a little bar beside the condo I was staying at. It was one of those bars where you sit in a hot tub and order drinks. The stools are completely submerged and the bartender stands in a sort of bunker beside the water so it gives you the illusion that she’s making you drinks and swimming all the while. It’s pretty amazing when you first see it, at least for the easily amused, and at the time I was very easily amused. I was drinking beers and enjoying the combination of the warm water below my stomach and the refreshing beverages and breezes above it. My skin was nicely tan after a few weeks on the beach and I was wearing my favorite orange swimming shorts. The bartender was a ghostly blond woman in her late twenties. Her thin body floated around the bar like a mermaid. She poured drinks with graceful and flowing movements, as if she really was swimming inside the hot tub with her patrons. The illusion was nearly complete.

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Cheap Smokes’ Thrifty Game Reviews!

In which, using only the theater of the mind and the official synopsis, I review a game without playing it.

Game: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch 

Cheap Smokes: 

Unboxing Ceremony: Ok when, I first got this game the unboxing ceremony was wild. I got like, 8 stuffed animals and 4 Ghibli logo tea cups before I even made it to the instruction booklet. Then, where I thought the game should have been, there was a huge head of cabbage. It was super fresh and healthy looking. After I cut that baby open I realized the disc was somehow perfectly wedged in between two cabbage leaves. Weird. Anyways, I’m so ready to make Oliver’s mom proud and become a master magician.

10%: First few minutes into the game and I already have 10 level 5 Totoros and 3 level 2 Mononokes. I still have yet to get the bike, but I’m figuring maybe I’ll get an antique Italian fighter plane at some point so I’m not going to worry. The art style is amazing. Sometimes I just push pause and look at the TV like it’s a painting. I’ll find a great spot to pause it, put out a bowl of Doritos on the table, and invite my friends over – just have the game going on in the background all night for atmosphere. If anyone asks I’ll just smile and say “Ni no Kuni” under my breath like it’s a Picasso. It’s no big deal because I’m rich and, whatever.

55%: Halfway through the game I have 3 evolved level 50 Totorokings. They can beat almost any creature in in the game. However, I keep wasting my time on the ‘heart-warm’ mini-game because it’s too damn fun to play. Oliver bakes all these cute cookies and shares them with the animals in forests. I get tons of extra magician points, but I’ve already maxed out my heart magic like crazy. I’ve baked 150+ different recipes and I’m starting to have to other things to ‘warm-hearts’, like visit houses and look at old people’s family photo albums because the adorable forest animals stopped spawning. But still I can’t stop! I already got the platinum ‘fuzzy feeling warm tea’ trophy. Time to get on with it and find the White Witch. Wait no, got to make 1 more blueberry oatmeal pancake with apple, poppyberry, and banana compote warmed in a mix of bourbon maple syrup and blood orange juice 

87%: “The world of Ni no Kuni actually runs parallel to the real world.” They weren’t kidding! The realistic game mechanics are starting to get to me. I don’t understand how they do it. I’ll get calls from my mom and I swear she is trying to tell me secrets on how to revive her. I’ll just say, thanks mom, but how does getting a girlfriend help revive you? Plus, there isn’t a dating-sim feature in this game, so maybe she’s just being cryptic on purpose.

92%: My apartment ‘mail lady’ is the White Witch. I figured it out. I befriended her on facebook and started asking her questions about the game. Pretty sneaky stuff. My mom keeps calling at all hours asking me if I’m ok. I’m trying to save you mom! I tell her. I cried a little, no big deal. It’s pretty immersive game play. The mail lady knocks on my door and gives me electric bills. I know these are just missives to remind me to finish the bread delivery quest in Ni no Kuni. I play and play. The White Witch gives me more and more clues. Can’t stop now. 

100%: The electricity is out and I’m alone in my apartment and it’s raining. I’m eating saltines in my bed and calling my mom. I think I beat the game, but I want to double check. I can’t tell because the power went out during the White Witch boss fight. It must be her final spell. The mail lady stopped knocking on my door. The water doesn’t run either. Oliver, pull yourself together!

A stray cat showed up at my window with a dead mouse. I think this is my reward for defeating the White Witch. This is important to note. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be hard to write an FAQ. 

Score: 28/30 stars.

Higgy: Day 8


Higgy Day 8

So they didn”t pick me to go on their special science project. It”s not like I care. I”ve been ignored for years and years. Thick skin, I”m living proof of evolution. Every time I publish a new article the scientific community just laughs and laughs. It”s as if they”re eagerly waiting for me to come out with a new theory, just so they can get their kicks. “Here”s the new Prof. Higgy paper, look he”s trying to disprove gravity this time!”

I”m the gag reel for them, the bloopers at the end of the movie

When I suggested Mars was filled with nutrient rich soil, that with a little filtering could be perfectly edible, they looked at me like I was mad. Then, barely able to say the words between giggles, they ask me, “So you”re saying that Mars is made of cheese?

They actually asked me that! Can you believe it? I stormed out of the interview and needless to say (oh needless indeed!) didn”t get on the flight. A good surprise. And I love surprises.

No matter, no matter. Science is science, and inane trifles such as being accepted to a mission to Mars cannot hinder progress. I made my own ticket in the form of a cleaning crew”s uniform. Now I wait in the bowels of the ship, where the trash goes to be incinerated and dumped into space. Not to worry, I know the schedule. They aren”t going to throw me away just yet.I”m not some egg carton. Plenty of food here too. There will be more when we get this trip started.

I”m writing this on the walls of the trash dock. Plenty of space, plenty of space. Sometimes I feel my thoughts are too large for a tiny computer screen. They should be blasted out of my mind, burned onto the moon, written all over the universe in capital letters arranged with supernovas. If I had my way (oh, if I had my way). This will have to do for now.

My scientific tabulations are on the adjacent wall. I”ve set myself to finishing my project as a proper member of this space team.

(Is my voice echoing? Or my thoughts?)

They will see.

When it”s ready.

That I love surprises.